We had the good fortune of connecting with Julia de’Caneva and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Julia, how has your work-life balance changed over time?

I would characterize my relationship with work-life balance over the years as night and day. Rewind back even 4 years ago, I was working several freelance jobs, skipping lunches, and working at all hours of the day. I was exhausted, running on adrenalin and black tea, and still always feeling like I was behind and needing to do more. Now, I work slowly, move slowly, live slowly. Not at a snails pace, but rather, in my mindset.

I no longer feel the pressure to work more or do more for the sake of “being productive”. I clearly see the value in taking my deliberate time and savoring the wonderful bits. Work-life balance isn’t so much an even time exchange between work and life, but rather a prioritization of things that are important to you outside of work. I used to think work was king, that it had to come above everything, including family holidays, quiet nights on the couch, and far-away vacations.

Everything felt urgent and important, and when you’re working several freelance jobs, you can’t afford an off-day. Just because you’re exhausted from one job, doesn’t mean you can slack off at the other, so you get into hustle-mode and work-work-work. That hustle-mode is addicting and habitual, both things that make it hard to break the cycle. After getting cancer forced me to slow down, I now see how when I spend time doing puzzles, reading books, sewing clothes, etc. it’s taking the pressure off of what work means to me. Having ways to feel engaged and fulfilled outside of work means that work only needs to serve one facet of my life, rather than being the end-all-be-all. I so value my time not working, and in turn it helps my time working feel lighter and more engaging.
Slow living isn’t about moving like molasses, but rather a mindset shift into intentional living. When you’re purposefully choosing your actions in each moment, you start to build a life you’re proud of, one you won’t regret on your deathbed. Too often the regrets of the dying are that they worked too much, and too often we ignore that beautiful warning. Intentional living has become my antidote to overworking. When you’re careful and deliberate about how you spend your time, you naturally choose to work less, because you realize how many other opportunities there are to feel useful, engaged, and interested.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?

I am a Life Coach for Cancer Survivors and Burned Out Women, both categories I know very well. You might be surprised how much the Venn diagram of those two populations overlaps. I bring the lessons I learned from cancer together in my own coaching framework (S.M.I.L.E.) to help people declutter their internal worlds in order to live with more intention and ease. Intentional living is about ensuring that your actions in each moment reflect the person you most want to be. There has been no more relevant year for people to examine what truly matters to them. For that collective self-reflection, I’m so grateful, and I know people will be better off because of it in the long run.

I want the world to realize that it’s not too late to change everything. It’s not too late to break out of burnout, external validation, and having to live up to someone else’s prescription of life. I want people to know that it’s possible to find contentment, ease, and spaciousness simply by slowing down. A regular mindfulness practice, such as meditation, has been a beautiful antidote to my overworking, Energizer Bunny approach to getting sh*t done.

I still check all of the things off my to-do list, but not at a pace that jeopardizes my family time, relationships, hobbies, cooking time, TV watching, and perhaps most importantly, in a way that prioritizes and celebrates my physical and mental health. When you sprout a tumor in your neck from the sheer enormity of self-inflicted stress, it calls into question your mindset that brought you to that point. It’s these realizations I bring into my coaching to help people break out of their habits and the stories they tell themselves in order to live more fully.

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.

The beauty of LA is that there is really something for everyone. I always tell people from other cities that I live a fairly leisurely life in LA, all things considered, which is in part due to my nature as a highly-sensitive person (it’s a technical term!) and introverted homebody-ness. My must-see list includes mostly nature and restaurants. I love going to the Huntington Library Gardens, which is beautiful at any time of year because different sections are in bloom at different times. I’m a west-side dweller, so much of my LA world revolves around the west side, but there are some restaurants I’d drive across town for.

If you’re planning a visit, plan to get anything at Tacos Por Favor, a Godmother sandwich at Bay Cities Deli, a build-it-yourself salad at Alfalfa, or Bludso’s BBQ (LaBrea) for lunch. Grab a snack at Tartine Bakery, a couple sliders at a Kogi food truck, or some ice cream at Sweet Rose Creamery. For dinner I’d get a French Dip at Hillstone Santa Monica, California curry at Natalee Thai, scallion pancakes at ixlb Dim Sum, a garlic knot at Milo + Olive, spicy fusili at Jon + Vinny’s, fluffy egg and veggie rolls at Kiriko sushi, any udon at Marugame (Sawtelle), Old Skool ramen at Tatsu, or even catch a beautiful sunset from the patio at Moonshadows in Malibu.

It’s fun to grab a coffee or chai at the Brentwood Country mart (maybe even a croissant from Farmshop) or Alfred Coffee and then head over to walk around by the rose garden in Santa Monica. You can enjoy your treats while overlooking the sparkling ocean view.

Los Liones is the perfect hike because the initial sweeping 360 vista is only a half-mile journey, so even your least athletic friend can manage their way up. Getting to see the enormity of LA after switch-backs nestled into gecko-laden rocks and a huge variety of different trees is such a great pay-off. There are a few benches you can rest on before you head back down. The drive out to Los Liones on the PCH is great, and even if you take the back roads up through the Pacific Palisades, there are plenty of shops and a McConnell’s ice cream shop you can stop at on your way through the mansions on San Vicente.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Of course, I wouldn’t be where I am without my amazing and supportive family & friends, I’m so lucky I get to sound like a cliche! As far as diving into entrepreneurship as a serial freelancer for nearly 10 years, I want to give the biggest shout out to the ladies of the BRA Network (https://www.bra-network.com/). Started by Carrie Murray, the BRA Network is a beautiful group of women entrepreneurs who lift and support one another. It’s the networking group you always wish you had. Without the knowledge and support of those women, I wouldn’t be nearly as far along in my own understanding of what it takes to build your own small business.

Website: https://julia.coach/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/life.coach.julia/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.