THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 155: Jenné Claiborne, Vegan Chef

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

No. 155: Jenné Claiborne, Vegan Chef

Age: 29
Where I live:
 Harlem, NYC
Job: Vegan Chef, Cooking Instructor, and Health Coach

R29_JenneHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Absolutely! For the first 3 years of running my business I was overworked and always stressed out. I could never find time to do it all, and would lose sleep to fit a little more in. It wasn’t fun. In the last year I have found balance by giving myself a “slack day” each Thursday where I schedule nothing work-related. I have also organized my schedule so that I work on certain projects on certain days. I try to stay strict with myself to avoid falling into stress mode. I check in on myself every 4 weeks to make sure I’m prioritizing balance and joy. So far it’s working well!

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or impossible and why?
I think “having it all” is a mindset. I feel wealthy, successful, loved, and healthy when I am living from gratitude. However, when I start to think of all of the things I still want, I definitely don’t feel like I have it all. It’s all a matter of perspective, and the grass is always greener on the other side.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I’m a procrastinator, so balancing that trait with getting stuff done ain’t easy.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m getting much better at balancing my relationships—especially with my partner and my parents. For too long I did not prioritize our time together, and now I’ve been making that number one… right next to health.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
I use Nozbe to organize my to-do lists, genius ideas, and 90-day goals. I break down my goals and ideas into steps and give myself deadlines, which takes away a lot of the overwhelm… especially the procrastinator’s overwhelm.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From your mother? This is from my grandmother: She’s always reminding me to relax and take care of myself. I cherish that advice. It’s so simple, true, and wise.
From your spouse?
 Nurture what you already have, and don’t worry about what you lack.

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Getting a massage :).

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That “patience is the principle part of faith.” It all works out in due time, so focus on the process, the experience of living, and move in the direction you’d like to go.

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
That I can always grow and become more open-minded.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
The cleaning, of course.

Whose job do you wish you had?
A vegan Chrissy Teigen maybe.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
A lot. Afraid to offend here :(.

Favorite books?
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison and Scarcity by Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir. Two totally different books!

What are you reading right now?
1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus by Charles C. Mann, Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, and Kindred by Octavia Butler.

Biggest vices…
Activity?
 Instagram binges.
Food? Soom’s chocolate tahini spread.
Website? Pinterest.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
8.

What do you read every morning?
Novels—Kindred.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am pretty awesome.
I wish: were rich and could afford a fancy NYC brownstone.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“I am so blessed.” And I mean it.

R29 ShootAbout Jenné:
Jenné is a vegan personal chef, passionate cooking instructor, health coach, and the tummy behind Sweet Potato Soul—a vegan food blog. She was born in Atlanta, GA and lived there until leaving to receive a BFA in acting from Boston University. Though she no longer acts, Jenné spends a lot of time on camera sharing her love of vegan cooking and nutrition with her Youtube audience. Jenné’s passion for food was fostered as a child down South. Soul, attention, and love—magical elements introduced to her by her grandmother—are the three main ingredients she puts into every dish she makes, no matter how simple. She studied nutrition at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and is a voracious consumer of nutrition science and behavioral psychology.

Find out more about Jenné:
www.sweetpotatosoul.com
Facebook: sweetpotatosoul
Twitter: @sweetpotatosoul
Instagram: @sweetpotatosoul
Pinterest: sweetpotatosoul

 

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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