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 are featuring Courtney Kundtz!! Here is her first-person account on finding BALANCE in her busy life!
Hi, Courtney Kundtz here! Thank you to S&B for all the amazing partnerships to date! I have met so many amazing women and it has been a pleasure to teach yoga with you all! Little bit about me….currently, I am the Head of Account Management at Roku for the Advertising Platform business. I am also a 200H (almost 300 hour!) certified yoga instructor. Currently, I teach yoga at Y7 Studio, a hot-vinyasa style class inspired with hip-hop music. Between both my career and my side-hustle (+ planning a wedding this year!), I spend a lot of time on my own (and my future marriage’s) balancing act. For the most part I have it figured out, however, the time, effort and energy I commit is truly spent reminding (and re-reminding) myself that I everything is exactly how it should be right now and I have to be OK with that. Here is my balancing act!
How have you found balance?
It took me a very long time, basically my entire career to date, to allow myself to get to a point where I am at peace with my career journey and I think that concept should be OK for all of us! I think there is a ton of pressure out there to have things figured out at is relates to the words “career” & “future”. I want to get into this more in a moment, but if I have been thinking about these expectations for certain points in life a lot as I head into a “big” year personally. I am about to turn 30, about to get married and have been in my current career situation (Head of Account Management +Yoga Instructor) for 2 years, which for anyone that knows me, that’s a tenured career in Courtney world!
Sidebar: our current demographic of working women more than ever before, have exposure to so many more career options, paths and inspirations at our fingertips. To me, this allows for so much more future potential! The concept of career changes, side hustles, part time gigs etc is hot and should give us all more confidence that no matter what stage of life you are in you can find your career and kill it.
OK back on: The reality is we live in a world of high exposure, which creates perceptions and expectations and it would be a lie to say they do not creep in daily. Without even trying we all end up comparing our life to others. It’s everywhere, your peers, your office and hello social media, oof. What I have worked really hard on especially in the past two years is how to be better than this, to be OK with me and my life—flipping that pressured mentality. A typical thought stream I work to tackle through almost daily that I know you ladies have felt too goes something like this: “holy crap, I am almost 30 what am I doing … my friends all have kids, I am not even married wtf, am I behind? ... why do I wake up and have 50 emails already at 7am, this is BS, I am stressed, help! … why don’t I have more women leaders where I work, I need advice … ” (I swear a lot, sorry mom!) I want everyone to know that it is OK to feel this way and it’d be nuts to not be impacted by your surroundings but the advice I can hope to give others is how to just be real and ok about it. The more you can do that, the happier and more joyous it all is.
I’d be lying if I said I go a week feeling I have perfected this concept of balance, but I am OK with that and I think that acceptance is a part of how I hold the balance act. When I do start to feel that I am losing the balance I bring myself back to 4 key concepts, mantras if you will, that without fail, give me instant perspective. In yoga, a mantra is defined as a sacred message, a key text or something you can rely on and fall back on to reset your focus and intentions. It took me a while to get them and to be willing to be responsible for finding them when I needed them. (aka all the time)
I can confidently say that when I think through these mantras in a moment of pause or with a big breath or with a cocktail, they are SO effective for me and has drastically elevated my daily health, my stress levels, my career, my relationships, my happiness and my balancing act! I hope these can help you too!
1. Know that everything is happening for a reason
In my life, this translates into be OK with how things are right now and that if you really want something, it will happen when it should. For me, this is teaching yoga. The struggle was real after: I graduated from my 200-hour TT in spring of 2014 and was honestly shocked that when I walked out the door that was it. I had no leads, no opportunities and no real practice auditioning, I didn’t even know how to apply for one! Looking back, I don’t really know why I expected all of that to fall into my lap, but I had to keep working hard to keep pushing towards my end goal of becoming a teacher. After that moment of realization, I hustled. I did whatever it took: forcing my friends to take my class in the kitchen of my apartment, I ran workshops that cost me $$ out of pocket and taught for free at lululemon on weekends. All of that, plus being able to trust the flow is what it took for me to have my first permeant class two full years later. I just kept trying and knew that every step was exactly right and would take me where I wanted to go. Sometimes life spares you from what you want, to give you what you need.
2. Be confident in your choices good or bad, but be sure to learn from the bad
My career is advertising is a great representation of that. The second job I ever took, 3 years into my career, was total shit. The company sucked, my boss was unsupportive and unmotivated, BUT if I didn’t know what bad was and I hadn’t gone through that, I wouldn’t have the intelligence to be better today—that leap was critical. Possibly even more important, I met the people in that exact moment in time that helped me get my career at Roku where it is today. Taking the shit and making it valuable. All your experience plays a role.
3. Have an outlet
Coincidentally, right after that shit job, I came to terms with the fact that I needed something more that my desk job to be a happier and more fulfilled individual. It was in the moments I was so miserable that I needed something to take my mind away from it—yoga was just that for me. I practiced not as exercise, but as a way to take a break from my work email. It was powerful and absolutely critical at the time. I decided that I wanted to take it to the next level and become a teacher and I kept upping the game there—hopeful that I could help people discover yoga in the way that I did. For me it was something fitness related, a world and true passion but it doesn’t have to be. My advice: finding something that isn’t your day job, something really valuable to you as an individual, and dedicate time and energy towards it. I promise it will give depth to your days and happiness to your outlook. Bonus if it helps release endorphins. Oddly, this distraction (and the endorphins!) usually makes you better at your job as well.
4. Build a killer support system
Big or small, find a network that drives the vibes you like. I am pretty extroverted and could find a piece of this concept in any community I walked into. I am that girl that gets emo when I take a soulcycle class and vibe off the person next to me or really feel the teacher’s music. However, on a deeper level I have found this so wholeheartedly in my friendships, my mentors at work (especially the female ones!) and most importantly my partner. Even if they hate yoga (and I know some of you do!!) being supported in a passion by them regardless is so critical especially if you are someone that is never sure about your decisions or needs some guidance from time to time. (aka me!)
It took a while for me—and it’s still hard. I have shit days at work all the time. I teach yoga classes from time to time where the fun is not there and it can feel like a chore. These are the moments when I must have the right tools to remind myself that this is life and if you trust the path forward, you work really hard and you have your outlets and your friends it’s all going to be OK. This is the balancing act: dealing with the stuff, good or bad, in the ways that keeps you growing and moving forward. Its powerful, so try to find what it is that can help you be that badass all the time. It is a huge goal of mine in the next couple years to continue to find others and foster this mentality in communities like S&B –as women, as working women, as 6am workout warriors, let’s get this going anywhere and everywhere we can.
See you on the mat! Namaste, Courtney