We had the good fortune of connecting with Tiffany Lee Gaston and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tiffany, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I love this topic because I personally struggled with finding balance where work and family life collide. Never easy when you’re hungry and driven to succeed, but highly necessary when you begin to feel the other important things in life begin to lag a bit or you feel the tug of a needy child whom craves your attention. The mom guilt kicked in and I discovered the need to build boundaries to protect what is most important in my world. For me, family will always come first and I never wanted to live with regret . Years of competing in fitness consumed much of my time and the constant travel became something I loathed. I decided I was unwilling to miss important events and special moments with my family and a shift began. Feeling compelled to be more present with my children was important to me and ultimately the reason I learned to become less of a “yes” person. I learned to build boundaries around my work life and much has changed for the better since making that choice. Balance is important because it ensures the ability to successfully chase your goals, while protecting and valuing your time and that which you hold in highest priority. I have the utmost respect for someone’s time, because of learning this delicate balancing act myself and I’ve been fortunate to blend work and family life in taking on the management of my youngest daughter’s music career. in recent years and backing away from the fitness space a bit in doing so. This has been one big passion project for me because not only do we get to spend lots of time together, I get to look after her and care for her as no one else ever could. I’m so grateful to be in this position and it’s been one big learning curve for us all.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a freelance writer, author and fitness expert of over 25 years, I’ve had lots of incredible opportunities along the way, but I can assure you, things were far from easy. To work in the fitness space often comes with the assumption you’ve always been in shape or somehow had it figured out. That couldn’t be more inaccurate in my case, as I had to overcome an eating disorder and body dysmorphia at a young age. I’ve done lots of work to unravel the self doubt I carried in order to overcome and it’s an ongoing process to this day. I can honestly say I’ve learned more through the struggle than I ever would’ve without it and feel this is often true for many, so long as we always get back up after taking those hits. What’s most profound to me is that as a young girl that idolized the supermodels of the 90’s and all things fashion, the dream of becoming a model was quite comical, due to my 5’5″ stature. A scout once told me to my face I’d never cut it, but what I did know is that there was a place for me and I was going to find it. I did just that within the fitness industry and proved that scout wrong by landing 11 magazine covers, each on my own. That, along with countless features in publications around the world have allowed me to prove to myself that I am very capable of anything I set out to achieve, as long as I believe it. The confidence that comes from breaking through your self limiting beliefs has taught me that we all have the same opportunities if we truly want something badly enough. I knew I’d never be a runway model, but I ended up quite a successful fitness model instead and in turn, I’m ultimately modeling behavior for my children that where there’s a will, there’s most definitely a way! I never thought hearing “no” as a teen would light such a powerful fire within me that it would turn into what it has, but I thank that scout for they did so much more for me in creating that resistance.. My passion for health and wellness would come to be something that inspires others, but that motivation I’m able to offer others is something that pours back into me and allows me to keep repurposing my gifts and providing that as a source for others. I feel that’s been the secret to the success of my brand. I’ve worked in the fitness industry for so long and the desire to remain true to me is something I’ve always been proud of because it will undoubtedly draw the right people to you. In an oversaturated industry where everyone with a smartphone is now a life coach, guru, motivational speaker, influencer and the like, I’ve always remained most passionate in staying true to me, which is something I feel transcends all walks of life. No one will ever teach as you do, so being mindful that while you may not be for everyone, you will undoubtedly attract the right ones in being true blue YOU!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh, this is fun! First off, if they weren’t staying with me, I’d suggest the Princess, Montelucia or the Phoenician among several of the great resorts we have to offer. We’d definitely have to spend one morning hiking Camelback mountain, followed by refueling with afterwards. One of my personal faves is the AG burger at Arrowhead Grill. Then, I’d make sure to spend a day shopping at the Quarter or the Fashion Square and we’d hit dinner at either Dominick’s, Mastros or Steak 44, though we love Cafe Monarch for special occasions. I wish I had even more creative ideas, but we’ve been spending lots of time at home due to the current state of our world.
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?
My husband gets all the credit as my major motivator and life cheerleader. As a very successful entrepreneur himself, I’ve been so fortunate to have him in my corner and he certainly tells it like it is. When he sees me struggle in life or business, he is always great at getting me to see where I’m losing momentum and it’s typically in the areas that don’t come as naturally to me. He’s the first to call me out and the first to level me up and offer suggestions as to how I can overcome. Not always what I want to hear, but most definitely what I need to hear at the time. Hsving someone believe in you more than you do yourself at times, has made all the difference along this journey and in my own confidence. And it wouldn’t be fair to disqualify my “why” which will always be my incredible 3 children that move me to want to better myself daily. To leave a legacy I’m proud of would never be as important to me without these three humans looking to me regularly for advice and I’ve never taken anything more seriously than that. It’s actually what they think of their mother that moves me the most. I want them to be proud and know what it takes to get anywhere worth going…loads of hard work.
Eric Grenhalgh – EMOM Photo James Patrick Michael Spain Smith Yasmin Tajik – Shalimar Studios