Juggling work-life balance can be a real three-ring circus, which Lauren & Jesse know first hand. Led by listener questions, this new podcast is all about sports, biz, and family. [ASK YOUR QUESTION]
You can experience pretty awesome wins in life. You know, like professionally competing in triathlons, breaking national running records, and growing your own business from scratch. But some days it all comes down to negotiating how many bites of food your five-year-old is willing to eat for dinner. This week’s show is all about that work-play-love balance. How do you try to excel in multiple areas of your life, and not end up feeling mediocre in all of them? How do you set athletic goals that won’t lead to burnout? How do you adjust to a new child in the family? And how can you change your role in a business you co-own with your spouse? Tune in to hear Lauren and Jesse answer those listener questions, and more.
Lauren is taking a Wild Writing workshop with Laurie Wagner.
Jesse is super pumped about the all-new PBJ All Day Granola from Picky Bars.
And they’re both pretty excited about the new video they made about the new granola.
Have either of you considered running an ultra?
J: Yes, I’ve considered it.
L: Yes, I’ve considered it, too!
Both: We’re not super durability people, so long, long races haven’t really appealed to us.
How important is the pool buoy in swimming?
L: I do like having my ass levitated by a flotation device while swimming.
J: I also enjoy having my ass levitated while swimming. It’s certainly a tool to use while swimming, but you don’t want to become dependent on it because it may get in the way of otherwise having good body position. I will say that I use floaty shorts, like these from Roka.
Hey, what’s your favorite beer?
J: Viscious Mosquito by Sunriver Brewery.
L: RPM by Boneyard.
How do you tell non-runners and some runners that the marathon is not the “ultimate” race?
L: You write an article called 10 Reasons the 5K is Freaking Awesome. But there’s probably not a profession in existence that people do not have a very narrow view of, and so sometimes you just have to explain your way out of it. But any race, any distance is great if that’s what you want to do. That’s part of the reason why I wrote the Compete Training Journal with Roisin McGettigan-Dumas.
I value quality over quantity, but as a new mother, runner, and PhD student, I feel mediocre at all three. Do you guys ever feel this way? What can I tell myself to cope?
J: Managing this feeling and managing productivity in all three areas is really the crux of this podcast. Do we ever feel this way? Yes. A lot. It’s a daily feeling for me. I try to ebb and flow the focus of my various activities—so when I’m racing triathlon, I’m more focused on sport and less on business and family. And then there are certain times of the year that are very important to Picky Bars, and so I shift focus away from athletics and family. How do I cope with it? I understand that I’m always kind of moving toward the next thing—for example, at the peak of a family or business streak, I know that I’ll be heading back into a season of athletics.
L: Instead of thinking of it as doing a “good” job or a “mediocre” job, or a “bad” job, see if you can change your relationship to each area—and change how you define success there—without adding judgement or loading it.
Both: You may be in a season of feeling mediocre now, but certain things aren’t forever, like your PhD program. So know that things in these areas of your life will shift, and you can shift, too.
I’m training for my ninth marathon right now, but I’ve never before trained especially seriously. This time, I’m committing more to my training, and to this race. And I’m excited! My current PR is 3:35. But with a renewed commitment to training, I don’t feel like 3:35 is enough of a stretch. The goal that excites me however—3:20—seems ridiculous at this time. How do set goals that excite you while also making sure you don’t set yourself up for injury or burnout?
J: My gut advice is to lean into a tougher goal. Lean into something that feels a little bit crazy. A little bit harder and more exciting. And be OK with the fact that your goal may not come to fruition. I’ve set goals like this before, and I’ve failed miserably many times—and the world didn’t end. I just came back and set the goal again, or made a new goal. Ultimately, the process of pursuing that goal—and the things I learned along the way—was worth it.
L: I agree. If you do pick the stretch goal, I would encourage you to do so because you’re setting a destination. It’s really just the road you’re going to go on for the next few weeks or months. That pathway is where you’re going to have most of your experiences day to day. Nothing that happens on race day can take those experiences away from you. And if you get a “no” on race day, it may just be a “not right now.” You don’t need to load it with that much meaning beforehand.
I recently gave birth to my second child. There’s a big age gap between this baby and my first who is six years old. Since I’ve had so much one-to-one time with my first child, I’m having trouble adjusting to the way my relationship and quality time with her has changed. Any tips on adjusting to adding a new child to the family, and how to maintain a relationship with your other children?
L: I so remember this feeling. I think the first months are really hard. What I do to make myself feel better overall is that while having a second child has definitely changed my relationship with my son, I have given my son another relationship. And some of the time that would’ve been spent with him and I, he’s able to spend nurturing the early stages of a new relationship that will outlive me.
J: I felt this today. Zadie is running around crazy. Jude is getting ready for school and trying to play with me, and I’m thinking that Jude is really getting the short end of the stick. What this question has prompted me to do is set up some time where I am just hanging out with Jude. I want to make sure I have that time set aside—even if it’s just 30 minutes to an hour—every week.
My husband and I started a business a few years ago, and for the first few years it was all hands on deck. Now that the business is maturing, it makes sense for me to step back and pursue other things professionally. But we’re finding it hard to escape the trap of me getting sucked back into the day-to-day of the business, or discussing the business at all hours of night and day! What suggestions do you have for putting up boundaries around when we are business owners and when we’re on “family time”? How can we transition me out of the daily operation? Any thoughts?
L: If you intend to work at the business, and you know that your role is going to be a CFO or an executive coach, then I think a good way to think about this is to imagine that your husband is hiring someone for that role. If your husband hired a part time CFO or an executive coach, what responsibilities would that person have? How often would they need to meet? How would those meetings be requested? Would they be requested at the dinner table? Probably not…
J: I agree with Lauren. Having a defined role and having defined times to meet—that’s what helps eliminate all of the business stuff bubbling up during family time. One thing that I would encourage you to do is proactively identify those times for your husband—so that he knows there’s a time you guys will get to meet. If you help schedule in time, he’ll be able to put those meetings on an agenda like everything else, and won’t need to worry about bringing it up at dinner because it’s on his mind.
As always, submit your work/play/love question at pickybars.com/workplaylove - Thanks for listening!
Gift ideas for athletes, how to fit in exercise in an already packed schedule, when to have kids, and lastly, why are age-groupers peeing on the bike during triathlons?
Lauren's NYT Op-ed, marathon performance, finding love, avoiding burnout while pursuing your career, and what success for Picky Bars looks like to them.