THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 157: Sally Paridis: Founder, CoClear

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. 157: Sally Paridis: Founder, CoClear

Age: 54
Where I live:
 The prettiest little place in Westchester County, NY
Job: Founder, CoClear
Kids: Two daughters (Jessie, 18, and Hannah, 16) and a son (Daniel, 11)

photoHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Before kids I studied law and worked in the music royalties business in Australia followed by not-for-profit work in the US. Through my experience in the not-for-profit sector, I learned to tune into the issue that I most connected with. That’s the environment and better management of our resources.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or impossible and why?
I don’t think anyone would want to have “it all.” I mean there’d be nothing to aim for after that. It would be like having a whole dessert station to yourself—as a kid you’d think, yum, this is great, but as an adult you learn moderation is the trick or otherwise you bulk up too much. I think the challenge is to keep improving your mission, goals, and achievements and discarding the bits that you don’t need anymore. That’s what is exciting.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
How to experience my changing energy levels and accept them. I tend to crave my high-energy moments more than my low-energy moments—although I’m learning to respect and listen to the low-energy moments as well. There’s insight to be had there too.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Tuning out negative attitudes and focusing on positive possibilities.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker?
 “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
From your mother? “Have the courage of your convictions.” William Shakespeare happened to say the same thing, but it was my mother’s mantra for all four of her daughters.
From your daughter? “Don’t worry about us so much.”

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?
Singing. I love to sing—in the car, in the shower. I would make myself a little studio, and I’d make music.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
To follow my heart as much as my head.

What do you hope to know by the time you’re 60?
To follow my heart as much as my head.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Maintenance management. I mean when the wire breaks on an electric toothbrush and you want to get it fixed—it can take five calls to work out where to get it fixed. I don’t like the lazy approach of throwing it away and buying a new one, after all I’m in the sustainability business so I am always determined to figure these things out and not buy in to this “disposable” society—but fixing things in a whole house—that takes time.

Whose job do you wish you had?
A midwife’s. I think watching the act of birth over and over must give you extraordinary insight into the human condition. Plus witnessing the joy of new parents—now that’s a high.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
An Ebola nurse’s.

Favorite books?
Robert M. Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance—when I was 20 and still is.

What are you reading right now?
Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton. Yes, I saw the musical.

Biggest vices…
Activity?
 Spending too much time at my computer when my kids would like to talk to me.
Food? Eating chocolate—any chocolate—all chocolate and more chocolate. It’s the dopamine rush.
Website? Instagram.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
7. I like my sleep.

What do you read every morning?
The New York Times headlines and theSkimm. I tend to listen to radio (NPR) more than taking in published news.

Complete the following sentences:c
I think I: am entering the most productive phase of my life.
I wish I: could convince more corporations to use less but make more.
My kids are: the greatest joy I have ever known.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
Be the change that you desire.

Anything else you’d like to add?
I wish I could remember all the jokes I knew when I was 20. I had a huge repertoire of jokes.

CoClear-logo-largeAbout Sally:
Sally is the Founder of CoClear, Inc.— a consultancy that specializes in fast life cycle analytics. CoClear runs a web application that makes fast life cycle analysis possible across company product portfolios informing their environmental and financial impact. Previously Sally founded the Advance Green Network—an international network of Australian expatriates working in the “green” sector. Prior to this, she was the US Development Executive of The Wildlife Australia Fund, Inc. Before moving to New York in 1993 Sally worked for Freehill Hollingdale & Page and the legal department of the Australian Performing Rights Association. She was admitted as a Barrister to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 1993. Sally has three children and lives in Westchester, NY with her husband, Steve.

Find out more about Sally:
www.coclear.co
Twitter: @CoClearCo
LinkedIn: Sally Phillips Paridis

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

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