One of the obstacles to work-life balance, and one of the keys to it at the same time, is what we choose to think about and focus on. It’s so easy to get into a loop of thinking (or even yet obsessing) about work, goals, deadlines, and things we hope to achieve. It’s just as easy to let stress overtake us too.
As we hit July, and the half-waypoint of 2016 passed, I couldn’t help but assess what I’ve done so far to reach my goals of getting my books published and growing this blog. And though I always strive to stay positive, inevitable stress ensued, along with self-criticism, and negative thoughts.
That’s where the danger of thought loops that can take over our days, even weeks, comes in. Sometimes we play tricks on ourselves.
As is often the case, I came across Whose Mind Is It Anyway? when it was exactly what I needed to read. Short and simple, it does what all good books do: Identify and put into words (and in this case drawings), things we need to be more aware and conscious of. It’s a fun guide to getting out of our own heads, with chapters on connecting with our hearts instead of just listening to what’s swirling in our minds, staying calm, avoiding stress and relinquishing control. Here’s a great trailer for the book, that shows the fun illustrations and some of the themes:
It’s worth a read, especially if you want to work on reducing stress, prioritizing what really matters, and finding more balance this summer.
Morgan Bogle is the designer and co-founder of Freedom of Animals, a new sustainable and cruelty-free luxury bag line born out of a love for animals and featured in Vogue, InStyle, Elle, and more. The line currently has a partnership with actress, writer, and animal rights activist Nikki Reed for the Spring 2016 collection. Bogle shares her take on following your dreams and a balanced life:
How did you identify your passions and follow your dreams?
I have always known that I would work with animals, in some capacity; originally it started with dreams when I was a little girl of working with sea lions in the wild (not sure where this came from!), to be a veterinarian, to volunteering with elephants. After years of dreaming of all of this but being locked into the fashion world, so to speak, I decided that I could easily marry the two worlds. I had no idea HOW I would go about doing this, but I knew I had to. I have been manifesting my entire life – building mood boards, practicing the art of manifestation, listening to authors and spiritualists speak of how to bring into your life that which you must have.
What does the term “work-life balance” mean to you?
It meant NOTHING to me up until this year as I literally worked 7 days a week to build the brand. I had no balance in my life. It was entirely about building the brand to support the mission. I couldn’t stop, I had gone mad!
Then this year, after collaborating with Nikki on two seasons, I started to watch her accomplish many things with calm energy, and I became inspired to do the same. Work-Life Balance now means a lot to me, and I can’t live otherwise. It means to take care of my family (boyfriend, two dogs and three cats) first thing each morning. I then take care of myself for about an hour. Once my day has started, I focus entirely on the bags and the mission, then I wind down (earlier) and don’t even discuss business at night. This allows me to understand that everything will work out for the best and to trust the natural and organic cycle of life.
Do you think “work-life balance” is possible?
I now know that there is no other way to be successful, happy and in sync with the natural flow of life. Doing too much each day isn’t sustainable, so the sooner we can all learn to be in the moment, be balanced and trust the process, the more successful we will be.
What do you wish you do differently in how you manage your day and time? What do you feel you don’t have enough time for, or wish you could tackle better?
I wish I had a bigger team, to delegate more of the tasks that I feel consume too much of my time. I would prefer to be doing more research on sustainability and organizations than working with the sales and warehouse.
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 to so they can find their “balance” (whatever their definition may be, whether it is taking care of their health, time with loved ones, being present in their daily life, etc.)?
I think that people who have the drive to follow their passions, and especially people who are compassionate, will go about it however they feel they need to – which is usually driven by a ferocity too large to control. Usually those that can’t live without doing meaningful, purposeful work are fiery and probably don’t practice much balance.
I think, in my case for sure, that things eventually fall into place and that a calm takes over. My advice would be to intelligently go after what you need to go after and the ‘how’ and ‘balance’ will fall into place. Of course, looking back, I wish my understanding of balance came much sooner!