We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Elisa Magill and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Elisa, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance… What an interesting phrase! It is a topic that I’ve always been passionate about, but not one I always understood when it came to my own life. In a way, some years back, I think the “life” part was just the living process for me (breathing, eating, sometimes sleeping), while the work part dominated my waking moments. Somehow, I had this attitude that if I worked hard, I was taking care of everyone around me, and that my life would follow suit and be good as well! As this attitude continued to influence my daily decisions and behavior, I also started to develop a feeling of guilt when I would take time off. I remember feeling like I had to explain why I was going on a trip if it was not a work trip… like someone would think, “why is she wasting her time when she should be working?” When I did go away, 99% of the time I would take work with me. I figured I could get it all done and not miss out! In a sense, I think my brain got addicted to always being “on” and working on something. It made me feel like I was progressing, especially as there was a period of time there where it did energize me. However, what I learned was that if you continue with that level of intensity for too long (for me it was over 20 years), eventually you will burn out and your health will suffer! When you are not balanced in your work and life, your body will eventually tell you to stop, and if you do not, it will make you stop. Don’t let yourself get to that final stage!!! For me, I failed to pay attention to my own life for too long (fortunately not to that final stage though). Here I was coaching and training others to be balanced in their work and life, and to avoid distractions and to pay attention to themselves as well, but without realizing it, I wasn’t practicing what I taught. This misalignment wasn’t intentional, however. It was just something that became a habit for me and I thought I was doing the right thing at the time. I put everyone else before my own needs. This might be okay for a while, but not for sustained periods of time. It’s vital to take care of yourself first so that you can be more “present” and able to take care of others. It’s like the airlines tell you before your flight takes off. In case of an in-flight problem, put your own oxygen mask on first, then assist others! This is important for us to do in our own personal lives as well!
So when did my “aha” moment occur? Well, during my entrepreneurial career, I also took on fulltime roles, where I disappeared even more into my work, sometimes working 80-100 hour weeks, while driving sometimes up to 3 hours one way to get to work… again, feeling like I had to take care of everyone and everything else. I eventually completely forgot to take care of myself. I had to get fast food at 10:00 p.m. at night when I left work because I missed dinner. I wasn’t exercising. I gained weight and didn’t feel like “me” anymore. I remember one day telling my husband that if I didn’t change things, I felt like something bad was going to happen. I was right. I started to have physical symptoms of stress and burnout.
So… what did I end up doing you might ask? I ended up taking my own advice! To do so, I had to complete three steps. 1. Acknowledge that I needed to change my work attitude (i.e., it’s okay to take some time for me); 2. I had to revise my priorities, business plan, and daily method of operation (DMO); 3. I needed to put “ME” back into the equation. What’s interesting, is ME has a double meaning… first, it means putting something in your life and business that makes you “feel like you.” It’s what sparks your soul! It is what makes you excited to get up in the morning. Next, because it makes you feel this way, it builds ME: Momentum and Energy, which together creates true ENDURANCE in all that you do! Once I figured this out and started to implement it, I realized that I needed to teach others how to do the same thing! That is what I do now. I implement brain science and emotional intelligence research to help business owners identify what it is that sparks their soul and help them to see how they can integrate that into their business strategy and life for true work life balance AND satisfaction!
For me, I love being out in nature and movement. I love exercise, hiking, and running. In fact, I went from being in too much pain to hardly walk, to successfully completing my first half marathon on April 16! When I do this, I feel like I come alive! I am excited to then sit down and work in my business with an energized brain and body! But… that is what works for me. What works for you? If you correctly identify this and put that into your DMO… it will help you sustain not only today, but tomorrow and into the future as well. It helps you navigate the ups and downs that we are experiencing from the world around us as well as our everyday business challenges. Just some thoughts for now! Join me in the future for some of my free webinars to learn more on how you can create success by design versus default… to live a life full of vitality on your terms!
Dr. Elisa Magill, Endurance Business Builders
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Just like growing up, a business that is in true alignment with who you are on the inside is a growth process as well. As such, my business model has evolved over the years, but has always had the “individual” at its core. I’ve always been intrigued with what makes us unique… what makes us “us.” I would think about how people would process information, think about things, and interact with their world. What others might call a “problem,” I termed a “different way of being.” If we could understand that, we could then celebrate individual differences and encourage each other to find our true unique selves… to live in congruence with that, and to NOT ignore our gut feelings, or our inner voice.
These are some of the thoughts that guided my personal philosophy on life and business. I started studying psychology to understand my son’s diagnosis of ADHD at the time. Studying this in undergrad led me to completing a Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, which is the marriage between psychology and business (understanding how people work to improve motivation, productivity, performance, strategic plans, etc.). Upon graduation, I started my second entrepreneurial focus to support entrepreneurs (the first was as a medical transcriptionist… not something that sparked my soul). This second focus is the one that I adjusted over the years as I learned about what not only I loved, but what my clients needed as well.
This journey wasn’t easy by any means! While I was earning my doctorate, I was a single mother who also had to work to support myself. My son was diagnosed with ADHD in kindergarten, and I ended up having to pull him out of the public school system to home school him halfway through 7th grade. That’s a whole other story that I do share in my “Harness Your Entrepreneurial ADD…” e-book (bestseller on Amazon). Through all of this, I had to learn to work hard and to not give up. I think this is where I may have developed the “work hard and don’t stop” mentality that eventually led to me burning out though! lol. So, yes, work life balance is needed.
As I flowed through time and upgraded my personal business, I had to learn steps to manage distractions and to get busy and productive, versus spinning my wheels and feeling “forever busy.” To do this, I created a program entitled, “Distraction to Action,” and I followed it! It helped me to build momentum in my business. Then, I shared it with my clients in an online interactive program.
However, after taking on another fulltime position as the Dean of a university (while still working my personal business part time), I went back into burnout mode since my father and mother also started to experience health problems during this time. Unfortunately, we lost my father in 2019, and then a couple of months later, my mother had a mild heart attack, multiple stent surgeries, and then fell and broke her neck. She’s still in a stiff-necked brace as her bones are not healing. It was near impossible to help take care of her and my job (which I had to drive to LA for), so I resigned in the middle of the Covid-19 lockdowns to dive back into my personal business. This was a HUGE risk… leaving a stable career in an uncertain business environment, especially when others were telling me not to do it, stating that coaching and consulting businesses were taking a big hit. However, the vision of what COULD be if I took that risk, along with the fact that I could create a flexible life and work schedule so I could take better care of both myself and my family was too attractive to pass up.
It was during this time that I gained more clarity, realizing that the “Ebb and Flow” of life (its ups and downs) could discourage us and make it hard to be personally energized in our life and business. Hence, I went from rebranding my business first to Academy for Transformational Success, and now to its current name, Endurance Business Builders. Clarity struck! It’s all the same “juice,” just in a better package with a more focused core. In having to go through these challenges myself, I was able to identify the “IT factor,” which Ignites Transformation and builds resiliency… that staying power or “grit” that produces true endurance.
Is business easy now? Nothing is ever easy, but if we have balance and include what we love into our business, we can find the flow. I put this into my signature formula: Momentum + Energy = Endurance! If we use these tools we can stay the distance! Set your intentions and harness the journey to create success by design! I continue to work on this in my life and business, and helping others to do the same keeps me motivated! I have big plans for 2022 and can’t wait to include you! Please connect with me if you’d like to know more or if you’d like to join our free webinars or business connection events! Also, if you’d like to receive a free gift, click on the link below to request your personal copy of my eBook, “7 Steps to Transformational Success.”
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Work life balance includes taking time for you, right?!? So here are a couple of ideas:
1. If you love the outdoors and hiking: You can go to Lake Hodges in Escondido and enjoy a beautiful walk, hike, run around the lake! I’d do this and take a picnic basket that you can enjoy after your workout. You can end the day by making the short drive to the beach to watch the sunset. Maybe get some drinks and dinner at the local bar/restaurant.
2. Recently, while running my first half marathon in La Jolla, we ran through the Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve (provided by the Torrey Pines Docent Society). It was absolutely beautiful! They also provide free guided nature walks that you can schedule in advance.
3. San Clemente, a short drive from San Diego, has a really nice hiking trail along the beach! You could walk this, hike it, or run it and do all of the steep stairs they have up and down the coastline for really good workout! If you go both ways (on the north and southside of the pier), it’s close to 5 miles. Then, depending on the day, from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m., the Fisherman’s has a great $5.00 dinner you can get (with a drink purchase). You can eat it sitting on the pier overlooking the water. You can also order from their regular menu as well any time of day. I love this workout!
3. If you’d like a 4-day weekend getaway and you like camping, you can drive up to Big Sur and camp along the way! Or… if you like comfort over camping, there are several great choices for hotels or AirBnB’s as well. You can also stop at Hurst Castle for a tour along the way.
Just a few ideas! 🙂
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to give a heartfelt SHOUTOUT to all of those incredible women entrepreneurs that I have met over the years. Those who shared their journey and provided encouragement to me as well as those who I was able to encourage and support as well. Without this collaborative connection, it is not as easy to envision the future that we dream of. So THANK YOU to all of you fabulous people! I also want to thank my sister, Rene Hader, who is also a creative entrepreneur. It’s funny how we think along the same lines and have similar ideas, even though we didn’t share our ideas with each other during the planning stages. That’s DNA for you! I also want to thank my father, who passed in 2019 (also a business owner) and my mother, who would help watch my son while I earned my doctorate and worked as a single mother some years back. Also, thank you to my husband, James, and my son, Jason, who patiently listen to me ramble on about my new business ideas! Last, but not least, thank you to Erin Cary, who introduced me to this great Shoutout series! Here’s to a great future, locking arms together as we are all STRONGER that way! Thank you to the Shoutout team as well for inviting me to participate. It’s an honor to share with your tribe!