We had the good fortune of connecting with Selena Vidya and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Selena, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My balance has changed dramatically over the years. I think about work life balance in this way: If I’m properly planning my priorities for the day and staying on track, I can use the remaining time to do whatever fulfills me and practice self care. But I *have* to prioritize self care and make it a non-negotiable calendar item otherwise I won’t do it. My past self? ‘lol @ work life balance, what even is that?’ I always joke and say that I’m a recovering workaholic when someone asks me this question, but there’s a thread of truth to it. When I first started building my career, something drove me to work, and work, and work, and overachieve, pick up all the slack, and stress myself out until I was physically sick. I had no work life boundaries or balance. It wasn’t unheard of for me to be working until 3 am, only to wake up at 6 and head early to the office. I thought work was everything and you couldn’t have a life outside of it. It was a dark time for me from a mental health perspective. I can’t even remember who I was back then, and that point in my life really launched my journey into finding out what kind of work life balance works for me because I couldn’t carry on that way. I eventually carried the work ethic I had into starting my own business and had to “unlearn” all of the bad workaholic habits I used to wear like this terrible badge of honor. I learned about what kind of balance I was comfortable with and how important self care is. I always ask my guests on the PermissionLESS podcast how they balance everything they have going on so they can perform at their highest. The answers always vary but one common theme persists: scheduling in self care and being flexible. I truly don’t think one version of work life balance exists and stays that way forever. The line is constantly moving; you have to figure out what works best for *you* during this season of your life. The life you live is *just* as important as your work, because your work only gets better when you grow as a person and have the full life experience to learn from. For me, work life balance now means having a strong schedule in place with *everything* on it. Work priorities/deadlines, self care, the fun life stuff, things that nourish my soul, and entertainment in whatever form that is (books, movies, podcasts). I know that running my businesses will take a toll on me mentally/physically if I get into tunnel vision mode, so I force myself to make time to enjoy the things that bring me happiness – like taking a bath every sunday night, long drives with music to watch the sunset, or just staring at the wall thinking while drinking coffee (lol) I accept that some days, work will takeover my other plans, and other days I’ll find myself with time on my hands because I got through my priority list. With the latter, I give myself permission to do whatever I want and follow my curiousity for the rest of the day rather than add more work to my plate. That’s balance.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Every business or project I’m building right now ties into these central themes: Helping businesses generate more revenue online, and helping entrepreneurs and creatives thrive/grow/profit through different products, coaching and content. For my main company, I took the leap to launch my digital strategy agency, Orthris, in 2014. We focus on organic search strategy, content strategy, and ecommerce site build outs and I’ve had the pleasure of working with large companies like Headspace, Crowdrise, Ticketmaster, Carbon38. I took all the knowledge I had from working in agencies prior – including the successes, failures, stress points, and growing pains – to double down and build my own. I don’t really like dwelling on the past, but the few years leading up to that moment were really tough from a mental health and interpersonal standpoint and mentors played an important role in helping me transition from that point into who I am today. I carried a lot of the stress into my own company and then realized I can do whatever tf I want, so why am I still defaulting to my old stress-mode? While there’s a lot of lessons I learned growing and running Orthris (and tons of things I messed up along the way) I’d really like to fast forward a bit to talk about the difficulties and challenges that come with being someone growing multiple businesses at the same, while experiencing growth on a personal level, and being someone who *also* likes to be in control of things. Throughout the process of launching Orthris, I realized some of my strongest qualities are 1) the ability to see things from both a business and creative perspective 2) having continual faith in myself and others to take the leap and come out on the other side successful and 3) helping people get unstuck and out of their own way. I have a deep desire to help other entrepreneurs and creatives succeed because I love seeing people live their most empowered, successful lives. Most people in these categories have certain mindset, productivity or performance challenges that hold them back from hitting that next level, so I’ve started moving into products and services that help them grow/thrive/profit. A few of these being: Agency Builder – this is an in-depth program that fellow entrepreneur and agency owner Nick Eubanks and I launched earlier this year with the mission of helping aspiring or current agency owners grow through a set of battle tested tools and processes to grow, scale and profit. hello amber is a wellness company with CBD products to help our customers create balance, promote less stress, and kick up the happiness factor in life – especially for those who are in high stress environments like business owners. The MAP Planner (actionalchemy.co/map-planner) and my PermissionLESS podcast work together. Our audience can listen in on other people’s journeys who are taking risks and living a permissionless life, while also having the tools to create their own introspective mindset practice with the MAP planner to take inspired action each day and move closer to their goals. To do this, I had to be OK with possibly losing the safety/security of Orthris if I lessened my time there, and dedicated time elsewhere. By far the hardest thing I’ve done outside of growing my first company was then expanding into those other areas of business that interested me – including my own creative pursuits in the entertainment industry – in a way that builds upon one another and still follows my core mission. I had to make tough decisions to not focus on certain other things I really enjoyed that didn’t fit into my vision and also leaned on other people when I’m not so used to doing that. I’m a deeply involved person when it comes to my work, so being able to loosen up the reigns on Orthris to give myself space to grow these other areas was quite the challenge. It meant turning down smaller clients with lower budgets who may lead to churn and turnover, while ramping up efforts for higher retainers clients and partnerships so we were attracting businesses that were really focused on long-term growth. It also meant trusting other people be in charge of accounts and work knowing they would meet my expected standard of work so I could step away and build out my new areas of focus. The balancing act of maintaining an existing company while growing others forced me to double down on my self care and really be conscious of how much I was working so I didn’t slip back into my workaholic tendencies. It meant being highly organized and putting everything on a schedule was the only way to stay on top of everything. It also meant I had to decide really fast whether a project or potential business was worth pursuing, and being OK with cutting my losses if I need to move on. in 2021 I’m planning to focus heavily on media production and coaching to reach as many entrepreneurs and creatives as possible. I’m an insanely curious person and love learning about what people are working on, so I’m looking forward to being able to dive into other people’s worlds and projects to help them get their stuff launched and out into the world with the least mental friction as possible.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I’m located in Studio City right by ‘sushi row’ and honestly most of what I enjoy doing involves eating and driving around, lol. We’d start off by hitting up Haruya Izakaya for some delicious sushi, then cruise down Ventura Blvd to see all the different restaurants and places along it. After that, we’d drive down Mulholland Drive because everyone has to experience that when they come out here. There’s a beautiful overlook off it where you can see in all directions and it’s pretty breathtaking. The next day, we’d head out to Malibu, taking the winding canyon roads out there. We’d relax and people/dolphin watch from one of the smaller more private beach areas. From there, we’d drive down and through Weho/Bev Hills to pass through the Sunset Strip and old music venues like the Viper Room and other venues like the Comedy Store. We’d head over to Hollywood to visit a stable out there that has trail rides so we could take horses out to get a view of the Hollywood sign and also experience some kinda scary, narrow trails. I’m not a fan of a lot of the touristy things around LA, but the Griffith Observatory is a must, so we can see the Tesla coil and some other really fascinating science-y things, Plus, the views. (Are we seeing a pattern here?!) We would absolutely have to visit Perch and get the outside view of downtown while eating dinner, And lastly, walking down Ventura Blvd to grab a beer/wine/champagne at Laurel Tavern.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This question is difficult! So many people have helped me along the way. Akvile DeFazio and Pamela Lund are both friends (and business owners) who have been my support system, my emergency help line for weird business situations, my comic relief, and always there when things get too stressful and I need a figurative shoulder to cry on. I learn so much from them every day and I’m so grateful to have these amazing women in my life. Shout out to the person I’ve chosen to spend the rest of my life with – Shane. Even though this tiny box will not suffice, he’s my biggest supporter, helps me stay grounded in the present, reminds me of all the things I’m capable of when things get tough, and his talent and creativity are incredibly inspiring to me. And last, my mom! Ever since I was little she’s continually told me me there’s no limit to what I can achieve in this world, and I really believe that thanks to her.
Other: Agency Builder: https://nickeubanks.com/agency-builder/ hello amber CBD: https://helloamber.co/ PermissionLESS Podcast: https://permissionless.com/ Orthris: https://orthris.com/ MAP Planner: https://www.actionalchemy.co/map-planner