We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Tsong and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
The most important thing to understand about balance is it is a calibration. Balance shifts and changes according to your life and what is most important to you. It can be easy to think of work/life balance as a set thing, and sometimes people think it means getting off work at a reasonable hour. I see balance as a constant calibration that has to work for you. Are you getting enough time to move your body, eat well, spend time with people you love outside of work? Do you feel connected to yourself? Are you setting clear boundaries so you can have time for all of those things?
When I was a reporter, I didn’t have a clear sense of balance for many years. I would go home after writing a story and worry all night about the story coming out the next day. When I started practicing yoga, I began to understand that balance was more about my mind, and releasing worry and doubt about what I had done at work that day. Now, as an entrepreneur, balance is about taking care of myself throughout the day every day, so I have the energy and clarity to support my clients and grow my business. We live in a world where we are inundated every day with alerts and updates. It requires more diligence and structure for everyone, myself included, to recalibrate into a work/life balance that allows you to feel whole.
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?
I am an entrepreneur and work/life balance coach who helps high-achieving career women know why they are here so they can enter their next chapter with bravery.
In my 20s, I made choices people thought were cool and courageous — teaching English in China, living in rural Washington state as a reporting intern, or moving to Anchorage Alaska, sight unseen, for a job as a reporter. But while those choices were outside the norm, they never felt courageous to me. I was always trying to impress people with my choices; I didn’t make them because they were my specific dream. I didn’t know how to make choices out of a deeper calling or purpose.
The first truly courageous choice I made was leaving a reporting job at The Seattle Times so I could teach yoga full-time. It was the first time I made a career shift because I felt called to do it, not because I cared what other people thought. It certainly wasn’t the most secure or practical choice — as a yoga teacher, you work for yourself and are on your own for retirement and don’t get paid when you don’t work — but I felt I had to leave or I would always wonder what would have been.
It was the first of many uncomfortable choices I have made to follow my pathway to purpose. Making that decision to leave the security of my reporting job taught me to trust myself for my next big steps, including the call to write my first books, Yoga for Hikers and Yoga for Climbers, and then starting my work/life balance coaching business. And, the growth was a huge reason I now get to help so many women discover an aligned life path so they live on purpose. It’s the most fulfilling work I’ve ever done, and it also would not be so rewarding if I had not had to take my own leaps of faith along the way.
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.
When it comes to a friend visit, my first immediate priority is always outdoor adventure and great food. I would look for great hikes with epic views, or at the very least, a tough one that will work the legs. I also would take them to nearby parks that I love, to show them the places where I move my body and ground down. After that, we would find the best bakeries and coffeeshops, so they could get a sense of the vibrant neighborhoods I love, and then I would make sure to line up meals at my favorite restaurants, with diverse flavors including Korean, Chinese and Mediterranean. We would also make sure to take a day to check out the best museums, and giving ourselves the gift of time to learn.
Combining nature, local parks and delicious cuisine is my favorite way to share places I love with friends I love.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I love an opportunity to shoutout my teachers! I started working with Susanne Conrad, founder of Lightyear Leadership, a decade ago. She is a transformational leader, and has been hugely impactful in my life. She has seen me evolve through every life challenge you can imagine, and I would not be the leader and coach I am today without her support. She has taught me so much about faith and trust in myself, and I benefit every day from her insight and love.
Other: Do you want to jump out of bed with energy and clarity every morning? Join the 5-Day Morning Routine Challenge! Build Morning Habits that LAST. Start with Day 1! go.nicoletsong.com/morning-routine-habits.