Coaches & Trainers, Founders, Interviews

Balancing the Grind With Beth James, Brand & Business Coach, Co-Founder of StressLess

July 17, 2019

Beth James is a branding specialist, business coach and co-founder of StressLess – a holistic health initiative for employees.

Additionally, she is trained as a Meditation & Yoga Nidra teacher and enjoys sharing this transformative practise with others in both private & group classes.

Balance the Grind spoke to Beth about her marketing career and transition into coaching, co-founding StressLess, using meditation to help her stay grounded, getting out of the city to recharge and more.

This conversation is brought to you by HelloFresh, delivering delicious ingredients and simple recipes straight to your doorstep each week.

1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your background and career?

I started my career in the advertising and marketing business at various agencies in Sydney. In my twenties, I had a strong desire to go travelling so I packed up my life and went backpacking around Europe. During my travels I passed through the city of Berlin and loved it so much that I decided to stay.

Following this move, I spent the last 8 years working in the local tech and start-up scene in various brand, marketing & communications positions. Last summer, I decided I had enough of a network to break out on my own so I started a business offering brand and business coaching services.

In addition, I am trained as a meditation teacher and recently co-founded a project called Stress Less – which is a holistic health initiative aimed at tech industry employees.

2) What is your current role and what does it entail on a day to day basis?

I am a branding specialist, business coach and co-founder of StressLess. I optimise businesses for success, by creating alignment between values, people and brand.

I work as a typical coach and have a number of different clients who I partner with on a project basis. This usually involves: business sparring, brand development and writing strategies, consulting and trouble-shooting issues, conceptualising marketing plans & communications ideas, auditing and running workshops and training programs.

3) What does a typical day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I start the day with meditation – always, no matter what. Some days it is 5 minutes, other days it is 45 mins, it really depends on my mood, and how much time I have! Meditation helps me stay grounded and start my day in a calm, centred way.

After this I go to my co-working community and set up on whatever desk I can find. I will go through emails from clients, address urgent concerns and follow up with more emails and sometimes calls. I then break for lunch where I enjoy meeting other coworkers at the nearby kitchen. In the afternoon I usually block out time for working on current projects.

Once a week I set time aside for my own business development, promotion etc. It‘s so easy to get caught up in the day to day – so I really try to carve out space for managing and building the actual business and moving my ideas forward.

4) Do you have any tips, tricks or shortcuts to help you prioritise your workload?

It‘s all about breaking up my day in to chunks of work. So the morning is usually dealing with urgent items and the afternoon is for bigger, strategic projects. I use my calendar to create hourly blocks, so each hour I am usually working on something different. This helps me to manage my time and stay focused.

I recently started writing my intentions for the week on a Monday morning, to help me get clarity on what I want to achieve each week. This has helped me align and stay on track.

5) In between your job, life and all your other responsibilities, how do you ensure you find some sort of balance in your life?

Well, the reason I started to work independently and built my own business is because I wanted more work-life balance and flexibility with my schedule. But ironically, it didn’t work out that way because when you run your own business it can sometimes feels like you never switch off.

On one hand, I love what I do so I am always thinking or focusing on work in some way, but on the other hand I know how important it is to take a break and recharge.

I am learning to put away my phone and laptop in the evenings, and stop working on weekends. This disconnection definitely helps – but in general it is the practice of meditation that keeps me balanced and helps me to have perspective on my daily challenges.

6) What are some of the things you do to take time out and recharge?

Living in a big, hectic city – I really crave connection with nature. I like to travel to the nearby forest and lakes (when the weather is good) and go for a walk or swim.

Just being out of the intense energy of the city is very calming for me. I also make sure in general I lead a healthy lifestyle – good food, rest, exercise etc. In the past I had different ways of coping, like meeting people after work for drinks and gossip sessions or by eating junk food to “treat myself” for getting through the week.

This kind of behaviour didn’t serve me in the long run as I just felt burnt out and more unhappy. I have learned to clean up my act and this has helped me immensely to cope better with the day to day pressures of life.

7) What do you think are some of the best habits you’ve developed over the years to help you strive for success and balance?

As above – a healthy lifestyle is the number one thing that keeps me balanced. I eat well, meditate and take rest when my body calls for it. This kind of intuitive listening and understanding of what my body needs has been a game changer for me.

I also work on my mindset a lot, and try to see the positive and fun in life as much as possible. We all seem to take ourselves so seriously these days – especially in the entrepreneurial/business world!

8) What is the number one thing you do to make sure you get the most out of your day?

I do one thing I love each day. So it might be meditation, a dance class, going for a walk, swim, meeting a friend etc. Every day doing one thing I love brings me a little extra joy.

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