We had the good fortune of connecting with VALLERIE COLEMAN and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi VALLERIE, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I was naturally drawn to this question because the name of my company is Stand InBalance. The idea of standing in balance is actually a paradox – finding balance in our lives isn’t about achieving a static state. As sentient beings, balance is a fluid, ever-changing experience. It’s actually through the work of trying to attain some balance that we grow, change and have moments of serenity.
Balance is an interesting concept. From the outside it would seem that I had better balance earlier on in my career when I worked solely in the office as psychologist and had time after work and on the weekends to hang out with friends and family. However, I didn’t feel a true sense of internal balance.
Since purchasing the ranch and building Stand InBalance I’m more content and balanced inside, but living on and running a ranch means you don’t really get a day off! As the owner of both the ranch and the business, I wear a lot of different hats. I love both aspects and for me it’s great to offset the heady/intellectual work of being a CEO, supervisor, and psychologist with hands on work around the ranch.
As we’ve gotten more successful, I’ve gotten even busier but I’ve also been able to hire more staff – it’s an on-going balancing act!
I’ve found it’s essential to delegate, to take short breaks during the day where I can just do nothing and re-charge, and to take a break from the computer for at least a full-day once a week. I have to have that head space to be able to be a leader. Although making time for friends and family is a challenge, I’ve gotten much better at turning off the Stand InBalance work and having quality time with family in the evening.
The Stand InBalance motto is: When we do the work to Stand in Balance we have the awareness, resilience, and flexibility needed to make the world a better place — one person, couple, family, and business at a time.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Located in the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains in Westlake Village, Stand InBalance is a leader in providing Equine Assisted Growth, Learning and Psychotherapy (EAL/EAP) for individuals, couples and families, as well as growth and learning workshops & retreats for individuals, groups and teams. Using interaction with horses and donkeys (we have a herd of 11 equines), our professionals provide opportunities for participants to develop greater self-awareness, increased self-confidence and improved communication & relationships. Horses, due to their unique animal nature, act as mirrors for our inner selves and provide immediate, non-judgmental feedback that can help identify strengths and create lasting change, healing and growth. Programs are not about riding or horsemanship, they’re about gaining the tools to face life’s challenges from a place of calm, inner strength.
Building Stand InBalance — into the business it is today has truly been a labor of love. I’m so proud that our dedication to providing high quality services and equine welfare has paid off and we are thriving as a stand alone EAL/EAP business. We are literally bursting at the seams (ranch space and staff capacity) in terms of the amount of contracts and daily services we provide.
Shifting from providing psychotherapy in a traditional office setting to becoming an entrepreneur and building a ranch based business with employees was really a challenging. The biggest lesson for me along the way has been how important it is to surround yourself with wise, engaged and supportive people – It takes a herd to build a business. It was critical that I had a terrific business coach who helped me identify my vision and put it into action along with all of the basic nuts and bolts. That enabled me to hire some amazing staff and learn how to delegate (an on-going challenge). Having a terrific Office Manager / Executive Assistant who is really dedicated to the vision and knowledgeable about small business has made a huge difference as well.
Some other lessons – don’t re-invent the wheel, improve upon it.
Be true to yourself and authentic as a leader.
Be flexible and pivot as needed while staying connected with your gut and your vision.
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.
I’m actually a home-body and lots of friends come to visit us to get away from the city and be able to hang out on a ranch with horses…so this is a hard one.
I would definitely be asking friends, office manager and the rest of my team for suggestions!
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?
There are so many people that have had a huge influence on the success I and we enjoy today!
I could not have built Stand InBalance without the guidance, support and encouragement of my Business Coach – Barb Garrison!
Thank you BARB!!! https://internalgroove.com/
And of course I have to thank my wife, Lorraine, and our Stand InBalance Herds – both the humans and the equines. We wouldn’t be what we are without them!
Alessandro Gentile – Gentile Images