It’s hard to believe, but we’re already into our third week of Changemaker Q&A! This week we’re sitting down with Andrea Bailey of Lightbox Communications. I met Andrea on a chartered school bus that was headed to the Oregon Zoo for the opening party of the third… wait for it… World Domination Summit. Though the ride to the zoo was brief, I connected with her and a few of our fellow travelers along the way.
When I reached out into the Portland community for stories to share here, I was thrilled to hear from Andrea. She is one in the series who didn’t make it all the way to collapse before she realized that she was headed in an unsustainable direction, and I felt compelled to share all sides of the journey so that we can each find a marker along the way that more closely matches our own struggles and triumphs.
1. What is the world changing work that you are bringing into existence? (Tell us a bit about what your work means to you and why you think it’s important for the world.)
I am a marketing consultant for holistic health care professionals (think acupuncturists, naturopathic doctors, massage therapists, yoga teachers, holistic nutritionists…). My work is all about empowering them to cultivate a client community that will support their business for the long haul, and to feel authentic in the process.
As a society, we need holistic practitioners to have sustainable businesses so they can be around to help navigate the changes that are happening in our health care system and our living environments. To name just two of them, I think we need to take on more responsibility for our own health, and to really pay attention to balancing out deficiencies and toxins in our surroundings. Holistic medicine is excellent at that.
And personally, I am just thrilled every time I see someone let go of generic marketing scripts and formulas, and instead begins to communicate in a way that really suits them and lets their personality shine through.
2. What were the signs that made you realize you were off balance, or working in a way that was unsustainable in the long run?
My thoughts started to sound like a broken record. Am I working hard enough? Am I doing this right? Why didn’t x, y, and z happen already? At some point that loop got in the way of my eight hours of sleep, and that’s when I got really motivated to figure this out and change things.
3. What are you doing differently now – how are you maintaining a balanced place moving forward?
The single most important thing I changed was my perspective. I realized that I wasn’t overwhelmed by the work itself. Whenever I was stressed out, it was because if my interpretation of what was going in, because of expectations or fears. It dawned on me that that I had a choice to be worried/perfectionist or not, and that insight alone was super helpful.
And, as I’m sure you and many in your community have found, too, the yoga mat is a stellar training ground for letting go of stressful thought patterns. I would simply listen to my broken record during practice and it actually made me laugh after a while because I started to see so clearly that none of these thoughts had anything to do with who I am or what I’m worth.
4. If you could give that past self one piece of advice or guidance, what would it be? Or, if you wouldn’t change anything, why not?
I would tell myself to trust my own rhythms more, and to make the most of the right times for each activity. There are times when I am full of energy and creativity, and others when all I can do is clean up my desk. Now I don’t mind working long days when I’m inspired because I know I’ll get some R&R again soon enough, and I’m also OK with logging off and heading out for a walk at two in the afternoon because I know I’ll kick butt again when I’m back in that zone. It brings a lot of ease to my work.