We had the good fortune of connecting with Sierra Ehlert and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sierra, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I was a teenager I wanted to be as busy as possible. I’d fill my time with as many extracurricular activities (and work) as much as possible. I had been raised to work hard in order to be successful, which was definitely not a bad thing but the definition of “working hard” was not something I was taught. In my teenage mind, that meant filling every spare moment with an activity…and so I did.
Throughout college and into my early 20s I continued to carry this “work hard” mentality. At one point I was working a few jobs at once which amounted to 70-80 hours per week for several months and I was quickly reaching burnout. I was always rushing from place to place, staying up late and waking up early just to fit everything in, and my mental health was suffering; although I didn’t know it at the time. Many people I knew would praise me for my work ethic and make comments about how they’ve never met anyone who works as hard as I do and I took pride in that.
It wasn’t until I reached my late 20s that I realized what I was doing with my life: rushing around and always trying to cross the always-moving “finish line”. I was so focused on being “successful” that I wasn’t enjoying the journey, which happens to be the majority of life. I wasn’t taking time for myself to do the things I really enjoyed. I kept putting those things off because I needed to focus on reaching my goals before I could “enjoy life”, which I now realize is NOT what I should be doing.
I think it’s very important to balance the things you need to do with the things you want to do and that’s going to look different for everyone. Setting goals is important but enjoying the present moment instead of living in the future is how I’m becoming a better person. I’m also a lot happier with where I’m at in life because I’m enjoying the smaller things and soaking up each experience.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Being able to create things has always been an important part of my life so I’m extremely thankful to have been able to turn things that I love to do into a career. When I first started my business, I had no idea what I was doing. Thankfully, I had grown up in the time of the internet so I was able to learn almost everything I needed to know through a Google search or on Youtube. The fact that the internet exists in my lifetime has really changed the game for me. So many doors can be opened just by having access to technology.
I’ve learned so much about myself during the process of starting my business and I continue to change. Some of the services I provide are things I never had considered as an option for a career when I was younger and that’s pretty amazing. One thing that I’ve realized is that you don’t have to pick one thing and stick to it. It’s ok to try everything in the buffet and dive into the things you enjoy most after you’ve sampled everything.
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.
When it comes to trips, I really like to wing it or let my friends pick where they want to go but some of my favorite places to take people are El Tejano for drinks, Portos for pastries, a beach (typically somewhere in Malibu), my rock climbing gym (Touchstone), Griffith Observatory because #science, and a local boba joint.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are a lot of people who have collectively helped me understand the importance of work-life balance but I think the turning point for me was when I read Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey. It’s full of life lessons and his approach to living his best life. 10/10 would recommend to a friend!
Photos by me (Sierra)