Forget Work-Life Balance to Focus on Work-Life Satisfaction – with Tevis Trower

Work-life satisfaction – do you have it? We hear those buzzwords of balance and mindfulness get thrown around in many circles, but how do we achieve them? As much as we desire less stress and more fulfillment in our careers, not many employers are dedicated to truly valuing their employees. Today’s show provides food for thought and answers to some of our toughest questions about work and life.

Tevis Trower is founder and CEO of Balance Integration, and she’s an expert and pioneer of wellbeing as the foundation for sustainable success, both professionally and personally. Heralded as “The Mindfulness Guru for the New Millennium,” Tevis has coached powerful organizations ranging from Disney to Morgan Stanley on optimizing their most precious assets–human beings. In this episode, Tevis shares her fresh perspective as we explore mindfulness, why wellness is an inside job, and we deep dive on what it takes to get empowered to live and work with your best self and a lot less stress. We also cover some simple exercises to reclaim your energy, health and calm the spirit to manage stress.

From beauty school dropout to rockstar

Tevis admits to being a beauty school dropout and is now a performer in The Rock Academy, pursuing her “rockstar dreams.” She found the Academy as a great way to get back in touch with her guitar in her part-time hometown of Woodstock, NY. This part-time home in the country helps counterbalance the craziness of the NYC life in her Chelsea apartment. 

A series of bold choices

As Tevis pursued her Global MBA from the University of South Carolina, part of the program offered an overseas internship. This was back in the early 1990s, and the Spanish programs were all full, so she went to Brazil to work for GM and added Portuguese to her repertoire of languages. It was a bold move she is grateful that she made, and one in a series of bold choices that defines Tevis’ life. 

Becoming the “corporate mindfulness guru”

The word mindfulness implies something abstract; it’s a name Tevis doesn’t love for this practice of being fully present. She explains how just as the heart pumps blood, the mind pumps reactions to stimuli, through a filter of previous reactions. Her parents were hippies and her dad was a Montessori teacher, so she grew up exposed to all kinds of creative thinkers and spiritual practitioners. Studying the power structures of our culture showed her that she wanted to lead from the inside to make change. She noticed how some people cultivate a habit of contentment, while some cultivate discontent, but it took the 9/11 attacks to underscore her decision to leave her job and focus on mindfulness. 

Be awake and aware

Tevis says that there are many teachers and wisdom paths that say, “Stop, wake up, and be present now.” We need to align with what is and be in service to it, instead of being in service to the drama. Tevis’ work has been about planting seeds of opportunity to being awake and aware. Her work gives people the tools to do just that.

Wellness and inspiration

Wellness is hampered by the fear embedded in the human system. We hear, but don’t often listen to the inner voice of wisdom that tells us to step away. It’s a tug-of-war inside us, and injecting practices like yoga and meditation into the corporate environment can help, but having impact and shifting the cultural barometer have their challenges.

Taking care of employees

Taking care of employees comes down to a spiritual or practical contract. Aside from the death of the corporate pension, Tevis says that the “being taken care of” notion doesn’t exist. Thoughtful employers understand that their “ask” of creative employees is greater than it’s ever been. The notion of spiritual contract in the workplace is about aligning with everyone’s reality.

The dark side of engagement

People are burning themselves out and working from the standpoint of alienation from self, and they are incapable of compassion for themselves and others. A lot of this comes from imposter syndrome because we figure out as kids how to get love by being better than everyone else. We’ve created an unhealthy culture that prizes the wrong things. 

Trust issues

Studies show that people have more trust in their employers than they do in other institutions. This can be both good and bad. It means people have such low trust in everything else in their lives that work is the last remaining bastion of “Can I count on you?” Fostering trust requires greater transparency. The key for employers is to show employees that their leadership is human, and they will start to trust. 

Discretionary time

One way to foster more trust is to allow employees to block time for their projects and control their communications to maximize productivity when needed. This allows scaffolding of behaviors, mindset, and attitudes. Tevis’s advice for managers on the interpersonal level is that the same human conundrums are present everywhere, and the human struggle to be thoughtful and compassionate with ourselves exists on all levels. Everyone in management should be engaged in lifelong learning. If the people in management can’t help themselves grow and be better, then they can’t do it for their employees.

How to focus on self-care

Tevis has tips to follow to prioritize self-care. She says to schedule cushions of time between commitments and to slow down. This means to move slowly, walk slowly, and talk slowly – all of which allows your overworked nervous system to relax. When you’re waiting for something to happen, feel your feet on the ground and breathe into your belly. Go ahead, try it!

Highlights of this episode:

  • 5:39 – Getting an MBA in Brazil
  • 8:19 – Corporate executive to corporate mindfulness guru
  • 18:34 – Life happens, with its trauma and drama
  • 21:57 – Integrating wellness and inspiration into corporate culture
  • 28:32 – Getting your needs met at work
  • 33:43 – Creating alignment despite the dark side of engagement
  • 41:41 – How we establish a foundation of trust
  • 46:14 – How it boils down to discretionary time
  • 48:40 – Advice for managers
  • 51:16 – Sneaking self-care into work
  • 53:25 – Fem Five

Resources Mentioned:

The Fem Five:

1. Favorite book to recommend for women?

  • The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander & Benjamin Zander

2. Favorite self-care hack?

  • ”Starting each day with a grounding prayer and always being willing to try a new thing.”

3. Best piece of advice and who gave it to you?

  • “A former boss told me to ‘Be bold’. Another boss told me to ‘Take care of yourself and do your job’.”

4. Female CEO or thought leader you’re into right now?

5. One piece of advice you’d give your five years younger self?

  • “Have patience and kindness. We have to give it to ourselves if we want to give it to the world.”

Last Time on The NextFem Podcast

Embrace Your Crazy to Build a Successful Platform – with Christy Laurence

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