Welcome to the Sweats & Balances Blog - The Balancing Act. Here, we will be featuring #goals women and their answer to the simple, but complicated question - What does Balance mean to you?
Next up, we have some S&B Q&A with Mary Bemis - a fellow digital advertising maven - who just started her own sustainable clothing line, Reprise.
When you have lost balance, how have you gotten it back?
Finding a work life balance is actually something that’s really important to me and largely the reason that I switched industries. In finance I was working in an office past midnight every night, with barely a break on weekends, and it had my life completely out of whack. I was losing touch with friends, missing birthdays, straining my relationships, and just not enjoying life. I finally realized that unless I was missing these events for something else that I loved, I had to make a major change.
I should say that I don’t think you necessarily need to quit to find more stability in an out-of-balance situation, but for me this was the case. In the process of leaving, most people were surprised to see how unhappy I was which made me realize that communication is key in finding optimal balance! After leaving I took a step back to really focus on myself and what makes me happy. It felt a bit awkward for me to focus so much on myself but that feeling of fulfillment is completely a personal one. I decided to focus on things outside of work that I loved like working out and eventually found my way into taking sustainable fashion classes in the evenings – a big passion of mine!
How have you found balance in your career/what does balance mean to you?
I can happily say that in my new career at Xaxis I have found an amazing sense of balance. It’s not just because my hours are much more accommodating, although that’s something I am grateful for. I think the best part is the sense of community and blended distinction between co-workers and friends. This has always been my favorite part about any job – and I’m lucky to still have great friends from all the jobs I’ve had, even back to my college internships. There’s something about feeling included and having fun at a place you spend most of your day that gives a much stronger sense of happiness.
For me, balance is all about compromising with yourself. Life isn’t always going to come easily (and you shouldn’t want it to!), you might not like your current job, roommate, financial status, etc. but as long as you can say that you’re happy in equally as many areas I’d say that is a great place to be in. It sounds counterintuitive, but things are always changing and we’re always making compromises for ourselves to get to that optimum balance point. There are always going to be things that we love and things that we want to change, that’s what keeps us growing. I left a job for more freedom – but it wasn’t a perfect trade. I had to give up some parts of that job that I liked to tip the scale back towards even. I think it’s important to check-in every day and see where your “balance meter” is because it could change every day. It’s important to make sure you have a sense of both daily and long-term balance.
What is your single most important piece of advice for our S&B ladies?
On my way out of my last job a friend recommended the book: “I Could Do Anything if I Only Knew What It Was” by Barbara Sher and it truly changed my life. It’s essentially a self-help book that encourages you to realize your true passion in life – no constraints. If your dream is to move to Thailand and become an elephant trainer, then do it! She teaches you that there’s no such thing as a crazy dream and almost anything can be achievable if you truly want it. This is largely what prompted me to start working on Reprise. During one of the exercises, I realized my dream job would have me being creative and producing something, be heavily focused on the environment, allow me to live healthfully and be able to wear leggings to work. Starting a sustainable activewear company seemed obvious after that!
Since starting Reprise I’ve had so many people come up to me and tell me about the businesses they want to start. And my advice is always to just start! It doesn’t have to be as big as quitting your job or putting all your savings toward a new business idea, but the best way to achieve the great kind of balance in your life is to dedicate formal time to things you love. One friend of mine recently started taking drawing classes. She knew she loved drawing, but she never found herself making time for it amidst her busy schedule. Once she blocked time in her calendar for the classes, she told me it was one of the highlights in her week. This is something that requires such a small time commitment but provides such an amazing sense of balance and happiness! If you’re living in a big city, I’ve found that there are classes and meet-up groups for just about every hobby and passion – you just have to get out there!
Check out Reprise's kickstarter page and help Mary bring this thing to life!!
Mary is the founder and CEO of Reprise Activewear, a line of sustainable, plant-based activewear designed and created in New York City. She is also an Analyst at Xaxis where she works on advanced campaign analytics. Mary balances her busy work schedule with yoga, boxing and attending sustainable fashion events in the city.