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, the novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.
- The Balance Project interview series recently celebrated its first birthday!
- Fortune ran a feature about The Balance Project.
- Want to be a part of The Balance Project? Complete the interview.
No. 98: Pauline Nakios, Co-Owner and Creative Director of Lilla P and Leo & Sage
Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Over the last few years, my husband and business partner and I have ramped up our team. This has allowed us to focus on the big picture goals of the company. I was easily bogged down by the day-to-day responsibilities. Having wonderfully committed and talented employees has allowed us both to grow the business.
Is the job you have now the same one you had before kids? If not, how and why did you change directions?
I started Lilla P in 1998 and the business was my baby! In 2006 I had my first child. We are fortunate to live very close to the office which creates a wonderful balance between work and home life.
Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I’m not sure there is such a thing as “having it all” as that concept can mean different things to different people. As an entrepreneurial couple, we are driven to do better, do more, and strive for the growth. Setting those high goals makes you strive to “have it all.”
What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I try and exercise and take time to do things for myself but it’s very hard—I blame my lack of time management skills for that one!
What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
I’m getting better at delegating and having others take over some responsibilities. This allows me to balance my day and focus on the big picture.
What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From your mother? “Always find time for yourself.”
From your spouse? “Work hard, play hard.”
From your kids? They are quick to let me know if I’ve been on my computer too long or sending emails on my phone. I try and do that after they go to bed.
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?
Oh wow, that sounds like a dream! I would exercise and watch the news at the same time. On the way home, I’d stop for a coffee or juice and actually sit down and enjoy it as I flip through Instagram. I can get a lot done in an hour!
What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
I wish I’d known how important networking really is.
What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
My hope is that all of this hard work will have paid off and I will have shown my children how important it is to give your all to everything you do.
What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
As I try and answer this question I realize that I already do outsource the things that I just don’t have the time to do myself. It’s a luxury and living in NYC, you can outsource just about anything.
Whose job do you wish you had?
It would be wonderful to successfully run a non profit that supports a cause that I’m passionate about. It would not be easy, but helping others in need is such a gift.
Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
What are you reading right now?
I’m afraid that I don’t have the time to read—unless I’m on a long-haul flight without wi-fi.
Activity? The Internet.
How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. I get a solid 7 hours on average.
What do you read every morning?
My emails and occasionally Womens Wear Daily. When I get that extra hour a day you mentioned above, I would read the newspaper!!
Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am fortunate to have such a great work-life balance.
I wish I: had worn sunscreen when I was younger!
My kids: fill my heart with love and pride!
Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff.”