The Coronavirus has given many us an opportunity to pause and think about life, our purpose, and even the right work life balance. What’s your perspective and has it changed over time?

Helen Ashikian | Founder & CEO

When you own your own business there is no “work/life balance”. Especially when you own the business with your husband. I am also a mother of three; two girls and a baby boy. So for now, my focus is to raise my kids, maintain a happy marriage, and grow my business. Each area requires a little more or a little less depending on the moment. Being able to navigate in and out of priorities and situations is how I think of balance. If my kids are sick, or my daughter has a project for school, or I sense they need some TLC, I will shift my focus more to them. If it’s a peak season or we are gearing up to launch a new collection, I might have a few late nights of work after the kids go to sleep. Being adaptive is key! Read more>>

Brittany Gash | Intuitive Marketing Consultant

I used to be an all or nothing type of person. I had to be doing either all of the things or absolutely nothing. I didn’t realize it at the time but my lack of balance was a completely extreme and unmanageable way of living life. Work was a major part of my life beginning even before I finished my undergrad program because I had a part-time job while in college. Life was work and in order to have a good life, I had to always be working hard, working late, and overachieving at all of it. A solid work ethic was everything for me but it did not lead to the life I wanted. I was exhausted and unhappy. I felt like I was reaching for something that was so high that even working at 100% wasn’t good enough. While I still very much have a strong work ethic. Read more>>

Masha & Victor Payes | MVP Zone Owners

Being a fitness studio, at MVP Zone we preach balance is one of the core skills not only meaning the actual balancing while performing exercise, but as a bigger concept too. Knowing how to balance healthy lifestyle and fun, being productive but not overworked is so important for our body and for mental health. It has become even more crucial in the last several months when COVID-19 erased the borders between our personal, family and work lives. After 6 months of having our fitness studio closed for in-person operation due to California regulations, we made a decision to close down the facility and move 100% online so we could focus on providing a more wholesome service to our MVPs, as we call our clients. Working from our apartment was a challenge at first, because our living room has become a fitness studio and a filming scene twice daily when we have Zoom workouts. Read more>>

Summer Lall | Musician & Music Therapist

Over the years I’ve noticed a shift in my work/life balance. As a creative by trade, the lines between work and life are blurred. Work is part of life and I’ve made a conscious effort to choose activities and means of generating income that fulfill my soul and resonate with my purpose. Since the two easily flow into one another, I have had to make some boundaries for myself to prevent burn out as well as work-a-holism. Some of those boundaries include having a time each night where I ignore my phone, having set work hours even when working from home, and learning how to say no when the opportunity isn’t a good fit. Motivation and enthusiasm both come in waves. Rather than trying to force it when all I want to do is relax and read under a tree, I have learned to trust the ebb and flow of inspiration and drive. Read more>>

Anne Kim | Founder, Digital Strategist & Event Producer

When I first started my business, I began with no concept of work life balance. I had been bombarded with ideas about the entrepreneur’s hustle and how it took a great deal of perseverance and struggle to become successful. Most of the people I followed online (and looked to as motivational mentors) emphasized the importance of working hard and long hours, doing whatever it takes to get the job done. So I began with reckless abandon, intent that my story would become something to share so that I, in turn, could also encourage new and budding entrepreneurs to do the same. Grit your teeth, bury your head and do the work. As an entrepreneur and especially a new business owner, there is usually a minimal working budget which requires a great deal of out-of-the-box thinking. The beauty of this is that it pushes you to build partnerships faster. Read more>>

Lee Dyson | DJ & Production Company Owner

This is a very timely question with everything that has happened in 2020. I work in the special events industry, which has been decimated by the pandemic. As a creative/solopreneur/business owner, I’ve always struggled with balance and overworking until I reach critical burnout. From 2018 until now, I’ve had several events that created a forced break (Motorcycle accident, Kidney stone etc., and Covid) that created time & space I would have never allowed myself previously. Self-care is so important but, I think we often get so enmeshed in our business that it becomes our whole identity, and it’s easy to lose yourself. Hiring a business coach and working with a therapist helped significantly shift my perspective and change the lens through which I view my life. Read more>>

Bella Mokover | Martial Arts Master

WE forget that balance is fragile. Remember the old way to measure weight? smallest piece may destroy it. I teach my students understanding Harmony, not balance. Harmony – is when everything in your life resonates well, when you love what you do, when your life’s work is your rest, when your family respects and shares your enthusiasm, when your true friends know your values – well that is Harmony. Work and life are not separate, if we are truly loving what we do. Find a way to love it, to rest, while working and you will never need a vacation from work. When my kids were younger and I had greater family demands, I had to plan and choose what was important for me, what was nourishing me, so I can nourish my family. Read more>>

Billy Kheel | Artist

When it comes to work life balance I’m like Mary Lou Retton on a balance beam – perfectly balanced and great looking in an American Flag onesie. Up until my second kid was born I spent most of my time in dingy warehouse spaces and decrepit sublets in the shady parts of town. After child number two I realized things were infinitely more complicated and I decided to convert my garage into a studio space that I could work in and that was my Mary Lou double somersault in 1984 moment. Eliminating my commute and being able to be close to my kids has helped tremendously with my work life balance. Its great when one of my kids wanders into my studio with brutally honest feedback or incredible ideas that I never would have thought of. I loved when my son came in with the idea to make a cardboard shield that looked like a Pollo Loco sign. Read more>>

The Contaminator | Multimedia Fine Artist, Messenger & Performer

Running and branding 5 multi-media art careers, let alone running and branding 1 art career is a full-time commitment. There are a lot of sacrifices to be made to complete a quality vision that’s relatable, and marketable. A hard lesson I have learnt along the way is the importance of balance and the art of “letting go” to keep and create a fluid work pace without exhausting yourself to sickness. When I was younger, I believed the most accurate way to deliver this art was to run my body to the ground while giving myself away completely. A good friend taught me to be a little selfish with your time and energy. So instead of trying to be at every opening and help every stranger I saw in need leaving myself with no energy, I then began to direct all of the energy in the art world. That way, I could help people with my art, while improving my art, my health, and strengthening my message. Read more>>

Nikki Lanoue | Massage Therapist & Photographer

Work/Life balance was the driving force for becoming self-employed. The first 10 years of my working life (14-24 y/o) I was a slave to retail, and the 40 hour a week, need-health-insurance-through-a-company life. I was also the most unhappy and unhealthy I’d ever been during most of those years. The deep desire for true balance and happiness set me on a path of self-discovery. The moment I realized planning work around life was possible, VS life around work, my world was changed forever. Balance became the goal. I began to unsubscribe to the belief that I needed to find one place, somewhere/someone that would see my value and give me what I needed. I began to subscribe to my true value and what my unique gifts are that I bring to the world. My time slowly became more and more valuable, for how I personally spent it as well as how I was compensated for it. Read more>>

Ana Estela Lloyd | Akashic Records Practitioner & Life Coach

This is my exact thought process when I think of the word balance: In Spanish it’s pronounced Libra it means pounds. Pounds make me think of weight, scale. Weight + scale = the weight and scale of things. Libra is ruled by Venus. Venus, birth of Venus, think luxury, erotic, indulgent, jovial, alive! Then I begin to think of all the decisions I’ve made. Of the way my life has been up to now. What does my life lack? Where and how have I been indulgent? Where have my decisions lacked passion? Where have I wallowed in the weight of a decision I made? Why was it there? When did it start? In these questions I discovered my life lacked balance. My marriage, the way I mothered, the way I worked with clients, all heavily out of balance. I have sooo much FOMO, fear of missing out, and because of it I realize I never planned my days. Read more>>

Marek Nold | Co-Owner

Balance is the key to a happy life. Some may think being an entrepreneur means giving up everything and working 24/7, but it doesn’t. There are certainly are sacrifices but all things worthwhile, are worth the work. Balance also takes practice and I think of it as a skill. In this day and age, it is incredibly hard to turn off and be present in whatever you are doing, therefore it is always on my mind. It does take effort. It is hard to let an email go unanswered or a text responded but overtime, you begin to realize that the “urgency” our modern lives demand, is mostly fictitious social pressure. The world will still be there if you postpone the email or text for a couple hours or even days while you enjoy an adventure with your family and friends, go on a bike ride, hike, surf, make music, read a book, or whatever you enjoy. As I said, this takes practice but for me it is very important. Read more>>

Elizabeth Prather | Mindfulness Consultant & Mentor

Work life balance had always been an interesting idea that seemed to elude me. That is, until I found meditation, and became an entrepreneur discovering work that fills me up with purpose while allowing me to help others. As a young, ambitious, college graduate, I was ready to work hard for the leadership goals that I had set for myself. Yet, as the years went by and I was awarded promotion after promotion, I began to notice that I was always working. Even when at home, I might be strategizing on a current project or thinking about a difficult client or employee interaction I was going to have tomorrow. The idea of work-life balance was as elusive as a good night’s sleep. Neither were at the top of the ‘to do’ list. Eventually this inability to take care of myself and separate work from the rest of my life took its toll, leading to burnout, and feelings of a deep lack of meaning and unhappiness. Read more>>

Brad James | Telecommunications Executive

When I was fresh out of college and started my business, there was, quite naturally, a drive to succeed, as well as a strong desire to not fail. I had come from a successful family and was accustomed to a certain lifestyle. Starting from ground zero, with a business model that required making “sales” on a consistent basis puts you behind the 8 ball right off the bat. I have often joked that I did not receive my first commission check for nearly 6 months, and it was for about $9.00. People often asked me if I framed the check. I said ” hell no, I cashed it, I needed the money”. I went to a private school here in Los Angeles, and may of the kids had very well known, successful parents, and many of them went on to have well known, successful careers. I would often go down to Palm Springs on weekends where my family had a home, and I would play golf, Come Monday Morning. Read more>>

Angelica Sotiriou Sotiriou | Artist

The word “balance” to a woman of my generation, is integrated into every decision I have ever made. As a woman career artist, it has not always been easy to find room in my life to create my works and put in the time to establish my “brand”. I have many “hats” I have worn. Care-giving daughter, mother, partner, wife, career-artist, working-teacher, community member…are just a few of the roles that were expected of me as a woman and the roles that I have loved and would have laid down my life for. There has been an ebb and flow with each role to find balance. Striving to be equitable in the attention and dedication each one received, well that was and is never easy. The balance often meant that I moved much of myself out of the way, keeping just enough to not totally disappear but leaving just enough of me to maintain a sense of place. Read more>>

Kimberly Rice | Head Brewer

I think for anyone ambitious or project based this is constantly a challenge. You really have to commit your full self to something to make it work, at least in the beginning. But that is unsustainable. In my experience, people typically don’t realize the point at which that is no longer working for them until they are much past it and burnt out. I use the age old barometer of when you stop feeling inspired by a project that once was your everything something is askew. For writing I usually do a reset by just setting down the script for a few weeks until I can come back and remember the reasons I was originally excited about it in the first place. The brewery is different because I can’t just not go in for a few weeks. I typically find my resets by going out to the farm that Sage’s owners have. Read more>>

Lilah VolpeEmerson

My work life balance has changed tremendously in the last three years. Not only am I co founder of The Seeking Light Foundation, but I am also Co Owner of Card De A gift shop in the Riviera Village. I also make Soy Candles in my garage, aka my candle factory… and on top of all that I am a widow with 2 young daughters. So… yes I am busy. To say the least. But I enjoy it very much. I think it’s important to keep moving and and growing and living… especially through grief. I hope it is something my daughters will admire in me, later in life. Read more>>

Lara Solanki | Unit Stills Photographer & Artist for Healing

The awareness for work life balance didn’t quite come naturally to me at first. In my late 20’s I made the choice to end my full time salary job to becoming a full time freelance Unit Stills Photographer for film and television. Back then, I felt like if I wasn’t spending every minute thinking about or doing something that made me feel productive, then I wasn’t working hard enough. Over the years, I realized that all I was doing was burning myself out and not enjoying the life I thought a freelance life could provide. While it wasn’t an easy journey to get to where I am today, I feel that now more than ever I have the most control over how I balance out work and life. It sounds cliche, but you really have to love what you do. There was a time during my freelance career where I questioned if I really wanted to continue working as a stills photographer- the hours were harsh, and the quality of jobs were just not where I wanted them to be. Read more>>