In this new Q&A series on work-life balance, I hope to learn from other women, and men, out there about how they deal with the issues of balance in their lives.
This week, my Q&A is with Heather Dorak, entrepreneur, founder and owner of Pilates Platinum in Los Angeles. I thought it was so cool how a young women in her early twenties decided to open her own studio in L.A., went for it and found great success, expanding into three other locations. I wanted to learn more about how she found her success as a businesswoman and what “work-life balance” means to her.
How did you identify your passions and follow your dreams?
My first passion in life, turned into an unhealthy one. Dance was a daily affair. I lived and breathed dance. If I wasn’t at school, I was dancing. Every day after school I would be at dance and get home by 9pm. If I could have kept dancing into the night I would have. It was a place where I expressed myself. I felt confident moving my body, and it served as a place where I could really let loose as well.
All of these amazing opportunities I experienced in the dance world also turned into a very unhealthy world of self comparison. There was always a battle with the mirror, a competition to see how skinny I could be. It was a challenge that I could have with myself every day that involved no one else and I couldn’t control. I hung up the dance hat and needed to find something healthier.
When I discovered Pilates, it was the first time the mirror experience was eliminated. I no longer found the challenge in seeing how skinny I could be. I wanted to measure my success on doing a move and lasting the whole duration of time. I measured my strength against time and the machine, which turned into a beautiful thing for me. That’s when this then became the true passion I was looking for that also included so much healing in my life. What I was feeling, I had to share with others.
Read more about how Pilates helped Heather heal from body image issues.
What does the term “work-life balance” mean to you?
Creating peace with the mind.
If your mind is at peace then your life is in balance. This means if you are constantly thinking about how much more work you still need to get done, or that you never have time to work out, or see a friend, then your work-life is not balanced. The balance doesn’t happen overnight and honestly is always a work in progress since things in life and work are constantly changing. This doesn’t mean that work-life balance isn’t achievable; it just means that the balance needs to be fluid and flexible.
What do you wish you do differently in how you manage your day and time?
I say this very confidently, but then also light hearted at the same time: I don’t wish to do anything differently. It has taken me trial and error to figure out what works for me. If you would have asked me a few years ago if I wished to have done things differently, then sure. I have learned a lot and have grown a lot. There is no recipe in how to figure out your life. You have to take advice from others and figure out which pieces fit together to work for you.
What do you feel you don’t have enough time for, or wish you could tackle better?
It is important to take time for what is important to you. I understand that sometimes you just feel too overwhelmed in the mind from work to be able to separate yourself and find time for other things, but as long as this isn’t a recurring thing, give yourself a break and people in your personal life should too!
Do you have advice for someone starting a new endeavor and grappling with issues of following their passions, doing meaningful work and making a difference, while managing their time so they can find their “balance” (whatever their definition may be)?
Make a list of priorities.
Try and keep the ones at the top in check while you are starting a new endeavor. We aren’t super human, we can’t do it all, and that is OKAY! It is important to tell yourself this. However, if you are super passionate about something or just a one-person show, then other things are most likely going to have to be put on hold until some of your way has been paved.