We had the good fortune of connecting with Denise Csaky and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Denise, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Finding work-life balance is a challenge for so many people. It’s something I also struggled with years ago while attempting to do “all the things” and trying to live up to others’ expectations. But what ended up happening is that I wasn’t doing any of these things very well. I was feeling completely depleted and spread so thin that I didn’t even have it in me to figure out how to improve my situation. It was like being on a hamster wheel and dying to get off but not knowing how. The good news is that finding this balance IS possible. It all comes down to pinpointing the intersection of two things – energy and fulfillment. Specifically, it’s about recognizing how much fulfillment you’re getting from the things you’re spending your energy on. Then, you need to notice which of these things are out of alignement, and shift your priorities to focus on the ones that DO bring you more joy and positivity. From there, you can either reduce, outsource or eliminate the rest. This process sounds simple but it isn’t always easy. It involves getting comfortable with valuing yourself and being honest about what’s truly important to you. Honoring these things through clear and thoughtful communication and appropriate boundary-setting allows you to then give your attention to what matters most. As a heads-up, this does require making some choices that may disappoint others. But if your decision supports your health, wellbeing and long-term goals, then following through on it ends up being a win for everyone. The key is to do it in a way that you’ll feel good about in the long run.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a Certified Executive and Career Coach who helps women professionals design a career around their passion, purpose and values. I also work as a Business Strategist to help companies create a more meaningful culture that ignites and delights their employees. But if you met me today over a cup of green tea and asked me what I do for a living, I’d tell you that I help professional women achieve their Firefly Moment. Then you might scrunch your face in confusion (and rightfully so!) – to which I’d further explain that your Firefly Moment is about tapping into your unique zone of genius and using this talent to find freedom in your career and unlock more meaning, energy and fulfillment. It’s not about hightailing it away from your existing job and leaving a dusty trail of resentment behind. It’s about reclaiming your passion for your work, whether that’s by improving your existing position and making strides inside the company you already work for, by moving into a new position at a new company or by working for yourself. I can speak to all of these different situations because I’ve personally experienced each one. I worked for a decade in a corporate setting within the high-stakes publishing industry. I then co-owned and managed a family-run spa business for a decade, in a highly-competitive market. And I now run a coaching and consulting company, doing the most meaningful work of my life. All of this happened while feeling at times like a complete mess and loathing my job; as if the years were whipping by in a blur and I was still “stuck” in the same place; trapped in a position that didn’t reflect my values or passions and dreading going to work because the culture didn’t fit with my goals. All the while, feeling as if there was no time or energy to figure out how to change my circumstances. After finding my way to the other side and helping others get there too, I can confidently say that loving your work is possible – even if you feel like you can barely take a bathroom break, much less figure out how to carve a path to more fulfilling, purpose-driven work. It involves connecting to yourself to remember who you are and what you want, making decisions that align with that and taking action on those desires, one step at a time.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes to Melissa Cassera, who bucks the trend of doing business in a formulaic way in exchange for work that feels fun and allows you to show up as your whole self. After years of trying to do things “right”, she’s shown me that there is another more authentic way to run a successful business!