We had the good fortune of connecting with Dhaujée Kelly and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dhaujée, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When you think of balance, what comes to mind? Is it a yogi in tree pose, a cyclist on a tightrope or young children on a seesaw. Over time, I have accepted that balance is relative. That is the scale must tip at some point, so achieving what we call a work-life balance is relative to where your attention must go. This wasn’t always my point of view, I used to attribute how much ‘life’ time I was awarded by how much ‘work’ was produced. From denying myself periods of rest or socializing, to missing meals and rescheduling dates with my fiance; work-life balance was about earning something only after I had felt productive. As I’ve matured in entrepreneurship and aligned myself with holistic studies and practices, I’ve embodied an understanding that the scales will tip and I should be mindful about how much pressure I put on either side. Being mindful is key to having a healthy work-life balance. There are times when my meeting schedule is packed, emails unanswered, projects are unfinished but I need a meaningful social interaction to ground me. Taking a break to cook a meal with my fiance or face timing my best friend is a mindful way to maintain social balance despite a heavy workload. No longer am I in a space where I am judging myself for not having an image of hyper-productivity. On the other hand, there are moments where I’ve gotten lost or comparative in an instagram scroll or have made it to season 20 episode 1000 of a series knowing there are responsibilities looming. I am mindful of regenerative rest and work to recognize moments where the scale tilts to cause unhealthy habits. I return to the mantra that balance is relative. Even when the scale is tipped and the responsibilities shift, it is important to remain mindful about what best serves you and supports healthy productivity.
What should our readers know about your business?
My work sits at the intersection of education and wellness. For many years, I worked to keep these aspects of my business separate, but over time, I realized the value of intertwining theories from both studies. I support businesses and individuals by curating programs aimed to increase mindfulness in learning or professional spaces. Whether developing community strategy, training incoming staff, establishing corporate wellness modules intention and impact are key in all aspects of my business. Establishing my presence in this way was not easy. Those who knew me as an educator didn’t understand why I no longer ran my yearly summer camp. Those who met me in a yoga class were unsure why I was no longer as active on the mat. People’s expectations about the direction of my business began to penetrate my confidence. I took some time to myself, walked away from an education contract that I’d held for 4 years, and deepened my studies in wellness and curriculum development. Deciding to go the consultant route was best for me to truly understand my place in these spaces. Pivoting my work wasn’t easy, but it was necessary for me to work in my purpose. This transition was made easier with the support of my fiance, friends and family and past clients who recognized the value in the work that I offer. I now discuss my work with confidence and don’t internalize the fact that it doesn’t sit under a ‘common’ title. Although the work is independent, I’ve built lasting relationships with clients and have been part of dynamic creative teams. I have the opportunity to work with schools, yoga studios, co-working spaces, artists and community organizations who want to build more mindful, engaging and impactful programming.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many lovely things to check out in the city, hopefully exploring can ensue once the pandemic is under control! I’m all about enjoying the Los Angeles landscape, so a hike at Temescal Canyon would definitely be on the itinerary. I like this trailhead because there are so many options to take in the natural beauty of Los Angeles while getting a healthy work out. Take a trail one way, you end up in Santa Monica mountains, another and you’re in Topanga approaching Malibu. All loops have beautiful views of the ocean, hills and Canyons and of course nice, fresh air. Then we’d have to take a trip to the flower district to find a new house plant or bouquets to refresh the home. Find so many species of fresh and dried flowers, plants and more! Plus you’re near the fashion district if you’re into that. If you get hungry at the flower mart, take a moment and stop by Black owned, Poppy and Rose. The brunch options are amazing and you’ll find the best fried chicken in dtla there. Then, we’d rent a bike from Bici-Libre, a nonprofit bike shop in los angeles to do a city ride. From downtown, there’s a route that can take you through the city and to the beach! Of course, the train is available along the route if we get a little tired. But what better way to explore the city than to cruise through in the bike lane! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’d like to dedicate this shout out to my fiance, Andre. He has been my biggest supporter in navigating Los Angeles as an entrepreneur. He is a cheerleader and coach who consistently reminds me to stand in my power and true to my value. I thank him for the business introductions, advice and overall support beyond our romantic relationship.
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