We had the good fortune of connecting with Aina Kohler and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Aina, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
This word “balance” has recently come up in my life multiple times. It always makes me check in and ask myself, “am I balanced?” Of course I find balance important, but am I good at it? I’m guessing it is a question most of us ask ourselves. Or is it? When I go through my day, I don’t have an agenda or spread sheet that runs numbers and graphs to let me know if I am balancing everything out properly in my life. I know specific things that need to be done, and kind of fill in the day from there. What can happen though, is when your plan goes astray, or you forget something important, that this question of balance, can lead into other questions that we ask ourselves that offer a pathway into looming self doubt and guilt. Am I doing enough for my business? Am I letting people know I care about them? Am I taking any time out for myself? What is time for myself? Should I be doing more as a firefighter? Am I prioritizing my time properly. How much sleep do I need? But most popular of all…. Am I spending enough quality time with my family? However, I find that sitting and focusing on these things don’t get you anywhere. I think one of the greatest ways to tell if you are balanced or not, is to determine whether you are happy. When one priority is imbalanced, it can lead to unhappiness. Am I doing these things to make me happy, make my family happy, or make other people happy. I feel like the true balance is sharing your time so that you do things for others, as well as yourself. Is my life fun? Heck yah! Do my kids and husband suffer a little as a result? Maybe? A lot of the times when I ask myself these questions, it makes me crave efficiency. In order to have it all, you must do it all. In order to do it all, you must be efficient. I could definitely get better at being more efficient. Sometimes I waste tons of time picking out an outfit, or spacing out on my phone when I could be doing something else, anything else. It is a daily struggle for me to stay focused. I have come to realize at my 2 days away from 40 old age that I didn’t know before, is that balance takes support. It takes asking for help from family and friends when needed, and successful delegating to family and co-workers, which can be very delicate. I am a firm believer in catching flies with honey though so success in asking for help is pretty high, as long as you don’t abuse any of the situations. My biggest weakness when thinking about balance and when I feel like I am imbalanced, is having the ability to say no. To take on too much by constantly saying yes, is when I can spread myself thin and can stress myself out. Saying no, would be another one of the great lessons I have learned and still working on the older I get. All in all, my most basic summary of balance as I come into 40, is trying to do everything I possibly can while holding it all together. Home life, kids, husband, house, friends, fun, work, surfing, working out. If I can do all that in one day or at least the majority, I feel like I had a great balanced day. I feel like the time I need for myself comes when I go to sleep. However, when I try to fit so many things in one day, I usually go to bed really late and always leaves me saying to myself “ If only there were more hours in the day.” Balance!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Life lessons started a long time ago with sports. I had an amazing coach that expected so much more of us than to just perform on the field or court. No excuses is one of the biggest lessons that have stuck with me. If you mess up, fine. Just don’t do the same thing again and don’t make an excuse why you did it. Becoming a firefighter was at two different departments was one of the more challenging things I had don’t later in life as far as physical and scholastics go. I loved every bit of if the first time through. Changing departments and going through training again tested my will to continue to be a firefighter. But I did it. Owning a business was always something I thought about doing. As a firefighter, you have the schedule and down time to pursue ideas and dreams. When a surf school came up for sale two weeks out of my second fire training academy, it was extremely exciting and scary. Taking such a big risk with a rather large overhead and commitment was extremely intimidating, and left no room to fail. My biggest misconception was how much time away from home owning a business was going to take. I have twin 9 year olds, and buying a surf school was like having a third child. In the beginning my balance ratio was hugely off. My kids were getting less of me then the business was. However I knew that was only for a brief period of time if I could get thing up and running efficiently. I ended up finding my balance, however it is hard to keep.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take them sailing out to honolua bay on my parents boat my dad built and stay for at least 3 of the days. To sit in this majestic bay and watch life go on around you is amazing.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My parents were always my number one supporters, however, I think my husband and kids may have surpassed them as of lately in the support department. I also had amazing coaches growing up that put a lot of time and energy into me that helped me realize and accomplish goals.

Website: lahainasurfshack@gmail.com
Instagram: LahAina Surf Shack
Facebook: LahAina Surf Shack
Yelp: LahAina Surf Shack
Youtube: LahAina Surf Shack

Image Credits
Frenchie @Maui Digital Images

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