We had the good fortune of connecting with Hais Lindeman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Hais, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
In the beginning of my career, especially after graduate school, my entire focus was about building my clinical expertise. Being single and with a new profound motivation to explore the possibilities, I put all my time and energy toward working and furthering therapeutic skills. Working 10-12 hour days was the norm and I never questioned it. As I became licensed and after over a decade of working, that model was no longer sustainable. In that span of time, I became engaged and married and was preparing to start a family. Working a 10-12 hour day came with less satisfaction and more stress which lead to many burnout symptoms. I began feeling dread and anxious before going into work, distracted while at work, and chronic fatigue after work. Activities that recharged me before became less enjoyable and tedious. Most of all, I was experiencing compassion fatigue professionally and personally. In the society where productivity is emphasized at the expense of the employee, it was difficult having to clarify my priorities and demands and how to balance them. Attending to demands while neglecting my priorities was all I knew, and I built a successful career around this imbalance. As my family grew, my allegiance and priority became thinner and dystonic with overworking. My personal quality of life, relationships and family became the focus. My readiness to change became action when I left my full-time job in 2016 to open my own practice, with the mission to control my own hours and be present with my family. Since then, the balance has returned, I feel refreshed and excited going to work and energized while at home. The bottom line is, being able to recognize signs and symptoms of burnout is very important but not enough, intentional actions and plans to change are required as part of cultivating balance. Additionally, none of this would be possible without asking for help and support from others and willing to accept that help. Work life balance changes throughout your life and career, being able to know when to make the change is very important.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
As mentioned before, my private practice came from the recognition of a need for work-life balance autonomy. Two years prior to fully moving into private practice, I created a plan and started taking small steps toward that plan. I first joined a private practice outside of my full-time work to learn the private practice model. As I increased my time in this practice, I reduced my time at my full-time job. During this two year, I mindfully put away a part of my earning each month to eventually open my practice with some capital. Unfortunately, during these two years, I had to put in more hours into work and less time at home, with the eventual goal to take control of both. By early 2016 I finally launched my practice full-time and left my other various employments. I managed my fear and anxiety about the success or failure of my business by staying close to my mentors and previous supervisors as well as other clinicians in the business. The first year of the practice was difficult as the practice was still building and it was not clear if it would be sustainable. Being able to ride through the emotional waves gave me the perspective that trusting myself, my ability and capacity while acknowledging my fears and anxiety to obtain help and support were crucial to the strength and growth of my practice. What I am most proud of is being able to build something from scratch and being able to actualize a vision I had for myself for many years.
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.
Being in San Diego, the beach is one of my favorite hang out spots, particularly Coronado or Del Mar due to their dog friendliness which is perfect for my pup to chase seagulls, hop waves and belly flop into the ocean. Various San Diego hiking trails offer different levels of difficulties and scenery. Cowles mountain hike is a rigorous uphill path great for an intensive workout, Torrey Pines Nature Reserves offers a beautiful scenic route along the Pacific ocean while Mission Trails Regional Park will guide you through the natural dessert landscape. However, my most exciting and favorite spots to explore would be restaurants that offer different cuisines. For a nice dinner, Pomegranate Russian-Georgian Restaurant on El Cajon Blvd. in University Heights serves a comforting and unique dishes in a cozy and homey environment, get the lamb Shashlik if available, you will not regret it. For more adventurous foodies, El Cajon Blvd in City Heights or Convoy Street in Kearny Mesa offer various pan-Asian flavors from Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, Japanese, Hawaiian and more. Restaurants to check out in City Heights are Minh Ky, Hoai Hue, Pho Hoa. For Kearney Mesa, check out Phuong Trang, Tofu House, Menya Ultra Ramen or The Originial Sab-E-Lee Thai Cuisine. If you venture to South Bay, don’t miss Tacos El Gordo, Los Pollos Rotisserie & Cuban Bakery, or TJ Oyster Bar.
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?
I attribute a lot of my success to the mentors and those who have come before me. I’ve been very lucky along the way to have empathetic, knowledgeable, and wise mentors personally and professionally. Each person met my needs along the way and paved the way for me to enter the next stage of change. My first supervisor was in a women’s prison drug and alcohol treatment program who taught me the value of love through truth and boundaries. My second clinical supervisor provided the validation and encouragement I needed to feel competent in my early work with families, adolescents and youth. My third clinical supervisor taught me the importance of research and evidence-based treatment and their role in effective treatment. Concurrent with my third supervisor I was engaged in an intensive 6 month supervision with a psychiatrist from UCLA specializing in the treatment of challenging patients with severe co-occurring pathology. Outside of clinical supervision, I sought mentorship with an LCSW who was skilled in mindfulness and cultivating self-compassion which assisted me in recognizing and creating a work-life balance as I built my career. Currently I am at the end of a 3 year intensive psychodynamic training with an expert trainer and a group of dedicated clinicians who have helped increase my insight and hone my skills through a psycho-diagnosis lens. I stand on the shoulders of these incredible individuals without whom the success of my career and personal life balance may not be possible.
Hais Lindeman, LMFT