Some people want a family someday but have no idea how that could work with work.
Some others have children and then have the mom guilt or the dad guilt.
While you’re at work, you feel guilty about being away from your child and when you’re with your child you feel guilty that you’re maybe missing out on something with work or you’re not keeping up.
One woman created a company to help professionals keep growing their personal careers and still have family time.
It was so successful she sold her company for millions.
Kathryn Janicek: 00:00
Some people want a family someday but have no idea how that could work with work. Some others have children and then have the mom guilt or the dad guilt. While you’re at work, you feel guilty about being away from your child and when you’re with your child you feel guilty that you’re maybe missing out on something with work or you’re not keeping up. One woman created a company to help professionals keep growing their personal careers and still have family time. It was so successful she sold her company for millions.
Kathryn Janicek: 01:18
Hi, this is Kathryn Janicek here with Audrea Fink and Julie Holton. We are your Think Tank of Three. Our guest today is Joyce Marter. Joyce is a national speaker, a psychotherapist, entrepreneur, author, and you may have seen her on television. She’s also been interviewed by publications all over the world. Recently she’s taken on something else that we can all learn a lot from. We’ll talk about that in a little bit. Joyce, thank you so much for joining us. I’ve known you for a few years. We met in Chicago where we both live and work and I’m constantly in awe of your, the business that you created and grew, all your current projects and oh, and the little fact that you’ve also raised two young women through it all. That’s a lot on your plate. Mother, wife, national speaker, entrepreneur and author. It’s a lot.
Joyce Marter: 02:07
Thank you so much for having me. I’m so honored and excited to be talking with you all and I am super passionate about my work and also work life balance and I’m just really excited to speak with you.
Julie Holton: 02:19
Joyce, you must be an expert on work life balance to balance so many things. Each one of those things is a full time job. I mean, laughing aside, you’re, you do a lot.
Joyce Marter: 02:29
Thank you so much. I appreciate that. And I have a lot of energy and excitement for the work that I do and I believe that when we take time for self care, we’re able to do more and to be more effective in our work and I definitely haven’t done it alone. I have a lot of support, which I think is another huge component to success. Having people in your life both personally and professionally, that lifts you up and help you succeed and I certainly haven’t done it alone. I’m very grateful for everyone who’s supported me in the process.
Audrea Fink: 03:04
I love hearing about support and having a community of people who help you get along. I think we’ve talked about that in the past on this podcast, how important that tribe is for your success.
Joyce Marter: 03:16
It’s key and I really believe in having kind of a personal and professional board of advisors, those key people that you really trust and you turn to for support. So in my personal life, my personal life, advisors might be my best friend, my family, my therapist. I think we all can benefit from counseling or therapy or coaching at different points in our lives. I believe in self care, so I even have a massage therapist I see once a month. All these people kind of helped me stay grounded and on track. And then with my work I have a consultant, I have a mentor, accountant, attorney, people who really help me grow personally and professionally.
Julie Holton 04:02
I love that Joyce and I love the term your personal board. It’s like having a personal board of directors. My friends could all put that on their resume but the time that they spend talking to me for sure. So Joyce, tell us about how and why you started your company, Urban Balance.
Joyce Marter: 04:18
Well I had been working as a psychotherapist in the Chicago area and I worked in employee assistance program work, which basically is, it provides short-term counseling and referral services or employees of client companies. So very high volume. And I’ve worked with people in many different industries and I noticed as I was referring them out for ongoing care that a lot of things, therapists in the Chicago area only accepted Blue Cross Blue Shield insurance because it’s kind of the easiest to work with and the highest reimburser or they were self pay and charged maybe $150 a session, whereas most people can’t afford that.
Then maybe they had other types of insurance like Aetna or Cigna or United behavioral health and a lot of therapists didn’t take that because they pay a little bit less. And I saw the need for insurance friendly counseling or therapy. I personally think that we all can benefit from therapy at different points in our lives. I don’t think it means that we’re crazy or in crisis. We all have mental health, like we have physical health and I see it like going to the doctor or the dentist that it’s a, a preventative and routine form of healthcare and people should be able to afford it.
And so when I started my private practice, I decided to be insurance friendly and be in network with most insurance companies so it would be accessible and affordable for people. So instead of coming for three or five sessions when they were in crisis, they could afford to stay in therapy and really do their work and get better because it meant paying, you know, maybe a 15 or $25 copay and set up 150 a week. And so it really kind of made up the difference in value.
Audrea Fink: 06:10
I want to talk a little bit about, this maybe normalizing mental health care, right? So the idea that you don’t, it’s, it’s a preventative and normal form of care versus necessarily something that you only go to when you’re crazy or in crisis. Can you tell us a little bit about that mentality, that sort of ethos?
Joyce Marter: 06:30
Yes, absolutely. I am so passionate about these stigmatizing mental health issues. I think that we all deal with mental health issues at different points in our lives as part of the human condition. And it doesn’t mean we’re crazy. It’s not our fault. It’s a normal response to our nature and our nurture and we all deal with stressors. We deal with relationship issues. We may experience grief and loss. I think we all experience some form of depression or anxiety. Addiction is running rampant in our country and many people are dealing with addiction issues and this is something that people need to talk about.
We need to remove the shame and the secrecy and the stigma and recognize we’re all dealing with these issues and help is available and the perspective. And so I love speaking and writing about mental health issues because I’m so passionate about it and if we can all kind of share like, Hey, yeah, I’ve been there, I felt that way, and it’s very normalizing and validating for other people and then they know that they’re not alone and that’s a big part of getting better and transitioning and transcending that, moving forward and then becoming your best self.
I also think that mental health care or counseling isn’t only about dealing with mental illness, it’s also about becoming your best self. So really promoting your strengths, you know, figuring out who you really are on a deeper level and reflecting about your life and your relationships and learning how to manage your emotions and your feelings and your interactions with others in a way that’s going to help you really excel both personally and professionally.
Kathryn Janicek: 08:24
And I find what’s really sad is all of the, what we would call a mental health issue, how so many times it leads to a physical issue. So it’s to me maddening that we don’t as a country treat them all together because someone can develop a very debilitating physical issue that would be on our, you know, our medical insurance card and you are on an insurance card, but we could have maybe prevented it if we had the mental health.
I know that in my twenties and thirties I didn’t want to see someone because I was afraid my HR person or my, because they are separate, you know, you’ve got a separate health mental health hotline sometimes with your insurance, the company that you use. And I would, I thought as a 20 something, I thought, wow, will my company find out that I wanted to see say someone for loss or you know, I was experiencing overwhelmed with trying to achieve at a higher level and I was just really making myself super anxious because I wanted to achieve and I wanted to talk to a counselor.
I wanted to talk to somebody who would be deemed under mental health, but did I then cause more migraines, you know? And so I ended up not going to somebody to talk about that underlying issue. I just treated the migraines, which maybe I could have prevented some of those, but I was afraid someone was gonna find out because they are so separate. There’s a separate line that you call with mental health with your, it was some of your insurance cards from work. So that’s sad. I find that very sad.
Joyce Marter: 10:02
It is sad and frustrating and I hope more and more people are recognizing the mind body connection. And it’s exactly as you said, they’re so interrelated and just intrinsically connected. And I really believe that our feelings are waves of energy that we hold in the body. And some people say that depression is kind of stuck energy or anxiety is when you’re not feeling grounded and sickness can manifest when we’re holding any negative energy in the body.
And you’re absolutely right if you cause symptoms like migraines or gastrointestinal symptoms are very common with anxiety or heart issues, sleep issues, insomnia. And sometimes people end up at their primary care physician talking about these issues and may or may not be referred for therapy or counseling. And I think it’s in both. It’s important to treat it from both perspectives and have more of a holistic approach.
And you also brought up some really good points about sort of confidentiality and fears that maybe your employer would find out that you’re seeking help. And I love all the progress in recent years with the, with HIPAA, the Health Information Privacy Act, that really all of your care is confidential and you know, between you and your therapist.
And with the American Disabilities Act, you know, therapy or counseling falls under that. So it is something that is private and confidential and I think more and more people should feel comfortable utilizing their insurance because it is a benefit that’s available to you and in 2008 the Mental Health Parity Act was passed and that basically ensures that mental health or behavioral health care, which also includes addiction is covered at the same rate that your medical care is covered at. So the benefits are really very good, and they’re available to you to utilize.
80% of companies also offer an employee assistance program benefit, which is free to employees and they can have sometimes up to three, five or eight in person counseling sessions that are free to them to use for any kind of issue that they might be dealing with at home or at work. And so I think it’s important for people to move past those fears and just reach out and access help.
Audrea Fink: 12:38
I’ve definitely used my employee assistance program for mental health. I think it’s a phenomenal benefit companies can offer.
Joyce Marter: 12:45
Julie Holton: 12:47
And Joyce, I want to pull this back to Urban Balance because I want to make sure we’re emphasizing for our listeners. You took all of what you were seeing going on, all of these things that we’ve talked about, and you created an opportunity. Not just for a business, which you did very successfully, but you created an opportunity to connect therapists with the people who needed them and still need them. It’s still ongoing. Can you talk about that? Because you created this really big phenomenon of being able to connect people to those resources that they need it.
Joyce Marter: 13:23
Thank you so much. It really is surreal to me. I never would have imagined that Urban Balance would have grown to the level that it’s at today. I just can’t believe it has, you know, over a hundred therapists working from 13 locations. I think I would have been happy with five at 1.5 people working for Urban Balance.
I started it really one person at a time and the intention was work life balance and creating work life balance in my own life and for our clients and also for our staff. And when I started Urban Balance, my oldest daughter was two and I really knew that being a mom was my highest calling. I just felt so honored to have this beautiful child and wanted to be the best mother that I could to her. And for me, part of that was maintaining my career because I am so passionate about the work that I do and it’s so meaningful to me.
And so that was important to me to still have my practice. But I wanted to be able to be home with her more than if I worked a traditional full time job. And so I realized that if I could provide office space and billing services and referrals to other therapists, I could be at home with my daughter and still earning an income. And so it really is kind of a win-win because I was able to have more work life balance. And my staff ended up, and this wasn’t intentional, but it turned out that most of the therapists that we ended up hiring, were working parents who were also looking for work life balance and they were highly educated, experienced therapists who didn’t want to have the risk of hanging their own shingle and starting their own private practice and having to manage all of that.
But they wanted to see maybe 15, 20, or 25 clients a week. And so that worked well for them. They could pick the schedule that worked well for them, you know, daytime, evenings or weekends. And then for the clients they’d have great care and insurance friendly services and we could match clients with therapists who really specialized in whatever area of need that they were speaking. And so I believe the universe will support a business that’s doing good in the world,that’s a win, win, win for the staff, for the clients and for the ownership. And I believe that that’s what happened with Urban Balance.
Kathryn Janicek: 15:52
For someone who has a great idea like this and sees you know, a way to help their, their clients, their patients, and, or you know, customers and also help create more jobs that might be more beneficial for people’s life. What was the scariest part of doing this, you know, in, in all those years? What was the hardest, scariest thing owning this company? Creating this company?
Joyce Marter: 16:17
The scariest thing was the financial risks. And I think any entrepreneur has to have a high threshold of risk tolerance. And my best friend also says she accuses me of psychotic optimism, which is the really, you know, always looking at the good parts. And I’ve heard that that’s a characteristic of entrepreneurs, that they have to almost have blinders on and only look at the positives and be able to kind of detach from fear. I think the hardest part for me was financial.
And the reason for that is because we were insurance friendly, sometimes insurance companies take time to process their claims. Claims might take 30, 60, 90 days to process. And for that reason we always had a lot of money outstanding. And when the Urban Balance was very small, it was manageable because it was just maybe a few thousand dollars. But as it grew, it became hundreds of thousands of dollars that was outstanding in insurance.
And it caused a horrible cash flow problem around 2008 when the housing market crashed and our line of credit went away. We had stream cash flow problems and that was extremely stressful and really scary. And the way I was able to move through that was by really practicing humility. Instead of saying, you know, “Hey guys, I’ve got this, I have it all figured out.” I said, “Wow, we are in a pickle and I need help.”
And once I asked for help, it was like all the staff and all of our vendors and consultants were pitching in and coming up with creative solutions and we were able to turn the ship around much to the thanks of my CPA who really helped kind of tweak the business model and helped us get proper lending. And it was a very stressful time.
But I love the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, she says, “A woman is like a tea bag. You never know how strong she is until you put her in hot water.” So that time really taught me a lot of resilience and gave me confidence that I was able to move through something really challenging. And it reminded me that, you know, we don’t have to be alone in things.
We can reach out for help and access that support. And again, I think that is a huge part of being successful, is surrounding yourself with people who are going to collaborate and help you grow and develop.
Kathryn Janicek: 18:53
Kind of checking your ego at the door, right? Having to say, you know, you might be paid a month or two from now, but stick with us and everyone could understand because of the major crisis that was going on that year. So you were asking them, you know, I’d like to make sure that this company is, is around in a year, but this is how you can help me. That’s great, Joyce. And I think everyone can learn to sometimes, we have to check our ego and just admit if there’s something going on, and people will step up. That’s great.
Joyce Marter: 19:21
Absolutely. I just said, “I’m so sorry we’re in this situation.” And really it was my ego that prevented me from seeking the business and financial consultation that I should have sooner. And I, it was fear too. I was afraid somebody would say that my business model didn’t work. And in hindsight that was foolish, you know? And so I’m so glad that I finally did seek help and that people were willing and able to help correct the, the situation. So very grateful for that.
Julie Holton: 19:52
Joyce, I want to tie in, you’ve talked about self care and when, and thank you for sharing that you went through something so major for you. Because I think oftentimes as entrepreneurs we put ourselves in this own, like we put the, put ourselves in this own box where we don’t necessarily want to talk about the hard times because we don’t want people to look at us and think, especially as women, we don’t want people to look at us and think, oh, she can’t handle it. Or, look at her business. She can’t, you know, she can’t hack it. And so as entrepreneurs I find for myself that sometimes I don’t want to talk about when I’m struggling. I don’t want to reach out. I don’t want to, I don’t want to ask. I don’t want to let anyone know even though that could really help me.
Julie Holton: 20:31
And so thank you for talking about that. And I would love to hear from you, when you were going through that, instead of isolating yourself because oftentimes we feel like we’re on this island, right? As entrepreneurs that no one knows what we’re going through and it’s hard to reach out and it’s hard to talk to other about what’s happening.
What did you do for self care? How did you strengthen yourself mentally, emotionally? Because that kind of stress, I would imagine is the worst kind of stress when you don’t know what that next step is going to be. With so much happening all at once. And I’m sure at that same time too, while you’re handling all of that business stress, you’re still a wife, a mother, you have all of these other things going on. So what did you do for self care and what would you recommend for other women to do for self care when we are in our most stressful times?
Joyce Marter: 21:22
Well again, I believe so much in us all receiving our own counseling or therapy. And I would say my own personal therapy was a big form of self care. And through that work I was really able to turn down the volume of my inner critic. You know, we all have that voice in our head that kind of puts us down and oftentimes we talk to ourselves like we would talk to nobody else. And I really learned that we have a choice to become our own best friends and our own most compassionate advocates.
And so changing that thinking from being your worst critic, to being supportive and kind and loving and compassionate and learning how to practice self compassion, self forgiveness. To recognize that you’re a human being. Nobody is perfect. We are all works in progress. We all make mistakes and that’s normal. And so learning how to honor your experiences and honor your feelings and talk about them with other people and that helps you kind of move through them, and it just makes things go a lot better.
I believe also in the importance of, I know it sounds very basic, but just making sure that you’re getting enough rest, which is sometimes very hard as a working parent and making sure that you’re having good nutrition and that you’re having fun, that you’re practicing your hobby is you’re seeing your friends. You’re filling your cup with activities that are meaningful to you.
And I believe also in the power of meditation. I think meditation, you know, really it brings your attention to the here and now by connecting with the breath, which I believe ties together the mind, the body and the spirit. We can kind of quiet the mind and connect with our deeper self and come to a place of peace. So I think that’s really an important part of self care as well. I love apps like Headspace and Calm that help people develop in that meditation practice. It’s a simple thing that’s free that we can all do. We can all take some time for quiet reflection each day. And it does kind of reboot the mind, the body and spirit and puts us on a good path each day.
Audrea Fink: 23:48
So Joyce, you’ve now built this amazing company with this large network of therapists. It’s insurance friendly so that it’s affordable for your community to go and then you hung in there through this valley, right? This challenging time and you came up on the other side of it really in a better spot. So at the end of all of that, why did you decide to sell it? Why did you decide, you know, it was time to move on to the next thing?
Joyce Marter: 24:13
Well, when I was going through that darker, more challenging time with the cash flow problems, my accountant asked me what my exit strategy was. And I never really thought about that before. And I realized that I love being a therapist and I love speaking and writing and sharing the mission of de-stigmatizing mental healthcare. But I wasn’t exactly loving my role as CEO and meeting with accountants and attorneys and kind of dealing with the liability and the responsibility of multiple staff and leases.
And so at that time I decided in my mind that I could give Urban Balance another solid five years and I was going to devote a lot of my energy to, turning the ship around and having it be strong and successful with the thought and intention of possibly selling it to an entity that would help it grow and develop and reach and help more people from there.
And also kind of getting my chips off the table. So obviously Urban, Urban Balance with my greatest asset financially, but there’s some risk being involved in business. And so if I were able to sell it, I could kind of cash in my chips, which would give me some peace of mind financially.
And so when Urban Balance was strong and successful, I hired a business broker and we had 50 people interested. We were really lucky to have a offer. And I sh- I chose a buyer who I felt was really aligned with the mission of promoting access to care and sold to Refresh Mental Health in 2017 and I was able to reinvest in the parent company a bit.
So I was able to kind of stay in the game and it’s still reap the benefits of Urban Balance growing. But also to be free to do the work that’s really meaningful to me and free up my schedule so that I could speak and write and, and lead in the way that I really enjoy. I do a number of board positions and enjoy that kind of leadership in the profession. And so I’m so grateful for that. And Urban Balance is continuing to thrive and I’m really enjoying doing my speaking and writing.
Kathryn Janicek: 26:38
And you have so much to teach people for, you know, when it comes to their business, their professional life and their personal life. And you’re currently speaking across the country and you know, since I know you, I know you wanted to help more people by taking on this speaking role. That’s the kind of person you are, your heart is that you’d want to help people.
And then this gets you in front of a lot more people. But were you ever afraid of being vulnerable on stage talking about things that are, might be personal? That might be, you know, that we just talked about when it came to your business life, your fear, do you ever feel afraid of doing that up on a big stage?
Joyce Marter: 27:14
Absolutely. And on multiple levels. And when I first started public speaking, it was before I started Urban Balance when I worked for the employee assistance program and my boss had asked me to go to client companies and give presentations and I told them absolutely I cannot do that because I have social anxiety, I’ll get way too nervous. My voice would shake, I’d hold little cards.
He, he made me do it and he supported me and, and took me to presentation after presentation. And after watching me a few times they said, “Joyce, you know what? You’re really, I hear you in the lunch room. You’re a good storyteller. And your presentations really are just telling stories. So just tell stories.” And once he gave me that advice and mentoring and he believed in me, I was able to find my voice.
And I still get nervous every time I speak and afterwards I feel great. So I just try to remember that I really get so much out of it and enjoy it. I love sharing with people what I’ve learned from my clients over the last 20 years. It’s been an incredible honor to get to know so many diverse people in such an intimate way and to learn from them and their experiences and I feel really called to share that. And so absolutely I get nervous.
I also do self disclose, and I share some of my own struggles, my own issues with anxiety or mistakes that I’ve made. And I think that’s important. I think that it helps people feel connected with me and realize I’m – a normal person. I’m a normal woman that is like anyone else. And we all experience these things, and I think if we can laugh about it and we can normalize it and we can get support, we can all do better. And I feel very passionately about sharing that message.
Kathryn Janicek: 29:18
And that’s one of the reasons why we do this podcast is we want to get vulnerable. We want other people to hear that, that we go through things – that other women go through, things that they go through. And that’s why we interview high powered women during this podcast ’cause we want to show them this huge bio at the top of this person’s amazing.
But then we dissect a little bit and we, you know, then they realize when they’re listening, oh my God, she was afraid of starting a company and then she sold it for millions? Well, well then why can’t I do it? You know, if they’re listening to this in the car and their bathtub or while they’re breastfeeding their child or they’re putting dinner on the table, whatever is. Or you know, on the treadmill that, you know, we all, anybody at the table has gone through this and that nobody is stronger than anyone else. So I think that that’s great that you are doing that on such a large stage.
Joyce Marter: 30:07
It’s great that you’re sharing that message as well. It’s so important and, and you’re absolutely right. We’re all capable of greatness. We all have our own unique gifts and inability to share those with the world.
And I think we all self sabotage and we set our own feelings. And through information like your podcast or my talks, we help people expand their thinking and welcome a greater life and welcome greater prosperity.
Audrea Fink: 30:35
And I think it’s so important that that message is sort of reiterated in various places to various people. I have had numerous people come up to me and say, “Oh man, you guys have it together on your podcast and you’re these amazing women.” And I’m like, I am a hot mess 99% of the time. Like the only reason I sound put together is because we edit when I mess up. Right?
So I think it’s important to talk about those vulnerabilities with women so that they know this, this isn’t perfection and perfection is not actually the goal. We are here to be vulnerable. We’re here to be open and we’re here to go sort of achieve whatever our life’s purpose is.
Joyce Marter: 31:15
Absolutely. And I think we all have an ethical and moral responsibility to support one another. To help one another and lift other women up. And to celebrate each other’s unique gifts and not be competitive but really come from a place of the perspective of abundance that we all have wonderful talents that we can celebrate and somebody else’s talent doesn’t make you any less.
When someone shines their light that doesn’t dim your lights. That we each have our own bright light that we can shine and our own ways of being successful and we might be at different points in our trajectory on our journey of success. And that’s fine, that’s normal. Progress isn’t linear. You know, we each have a journey of lessons and challenges and setbacks and there’s learning and growth that occurs in those processes.
Julie Holton: 32:11
Joyce, this is Julie here and I have this incredible pleasure of being able to work with you on, on a business side of things. And, and I have to say that one of the things that I love so much about working with you, and I say this to my team all the time, so they’ll back me up on this, that you are just so genuine and, and clearly that lesson you learned in humility that you as you described it years ago, is something that you take very seriously in your daily life because you are doing so much for so many.
But really when it comes down to it, what people see on your website, what they see on social media, that is you. You’re just here and you’re available and you’re sharing your stories. And I think that that needs to be acknowledged because as Audrea was saying, I mean so often times like we’re all, we’re all women. Like we’re all normal women.
There’s no such thing as this like perfect person living in this perfect world. No matter what social media influencers show us, that just doesn’t exist. So for you to be able to open yourself up and be vulnerable. And not only that, but to take these lessons and to take your background, your education, your ability, whether it’s through therapy or through your speaking engagements, to share that and to leave that impression on other people um, I think it really shows just how genuine you are.
Joyce Marter: 33:23
Oh, thank you so much Julie and it’s a pleasure working with you as well. I’m so grateful and I appreciate the comment about authenticity because it’s taken me some work to get there. I think in the past, I mean we all have egos and we all have that kind of mask that we wear to the world around us, and I had a a mask of, of really kind of pretending I had it all together and then feeling very anxious and insecure inside.
And once we’re able to kind of learn how to take off that mask and be our authentic, vulnerable self, it’s very freeing and honestly it allows you to have more intimacy and closeness and more genuine interactions with other people. And I always say that happiness isn’t sort of attained if we’re not living our life in a way that’s congruent with who we really are. So the more we can be honest with ourselves and with others, the more our life is going to move in a way that feels really aligned and really meaningful on a deeper level.
Julie Holton: 34:30
And on that deeper level, I think one way that you are really showing, this is something we haven’t talked about yet today. You are now a yoga teacher in training. Why take that on? You have so much going on. Tell us about that.
Joyce Marter: 34:45
Thank you so much. Yeah, it’s been a wonderful process. I, I love yoga so much. I used to drive by the yoga studio in Evanston where I live everyday and I would think, oh, maybe someday when I’m thinner, when I’ve lost weight, when I’m in better shape, I’ll go to yoga. Because in my mind I imagined everyone in their, in their Lululemon looking perfect and being able to do all these poses that maybe I couldn’t do. And finally one day I got over myself and I just went and people were all different shapes and sizes and ages and yoga is for everybody and every body.
I love yoga because it really ties together the mind, the body and the spirit. And it really is meditation with movement. So when you connect with the breath and you’re doing the poses, you can get into kind of a meditative state that quiets the mind and really connects the body with the spirits.
And I’ve experienced the sense of flow, which is really getting into that zone where you’re feeling balanced, you’re feeling flexible, you’re feeling strong, and you connect with your spirit actually in your body. And it’s very empowering. And I saw it really transcend into my relationships and into my business and having more peace and more sort of mindful presence as I moved through life. And it really was super helpful also with my anxiety.
So I found it really very powerful, very healing and decided that I would continue my practice and the studio owner invited me to do the teacher training program, which I found really to be a way to deepen my own practice and I love the idea of sharing what I’ve learned about yoga and meditation and my workshops and trainings.
And I’m actually in Columbus, Ohio today with my high school girlfriends. Some of us haven’t seen each other in almost 30 years, and I led yoga this morning and it was wonderful. I, I love teaching people what I’ve learned. I think it’s something we can all do that can really bring us peace and decrease our stress and anxiety.
Kathryn Janicek: 37:07
That was a good gift for them. That’s really nice.
Joyce Marter: 37:10
I loved it. It was really fun.
Audrea Fink: 37:12
This is Audrea, I have one last question for you before we start to wrap this up. You know, we’ve talked a lot about finding balance and sort of the various things that we do in mental health and sometimes it seems like the message to find work life balance seems to actually be just another expectation we place on women to do everything perfectly.
We have to find time to meditate, a time to be kick-ass at work. We have to find time to be a parent or a partner and we are supposed to do it perfectly while balancing all of these things, you know, at once.
Do you see a way in which we can reframe this discussion about work life balance to actually be a healthy way of looking at finding balance that isn’t really just another performance for women in how to do it all correctly?
Joyce Marter: 38:01
Yeah, absolutely. So to me, motherhood was really a wonderful lesson in embracing imperfection. That there is no perfect mother. In psychology, we talk about the good enough parents and that we all can only do our best and, and we’re not perfect and that’s okay. Your house isn’t gonna be perfect and there’s going to be dishes in the sink. There’s going to be toys on the floor. You know, I remember when my kids were young being in my office, sitting in the therapy chair and I would have like crushed Goldfish lining the bottom of my purse, you know? Or spit up on my blazer. You know, it’s just, it’s not going to be perfect.
And again, practicing that self compassion. And I had a mantra, I would say I’m only a human being. I’m doing the best that I can and that’s all any of us can do. And I think really prioritizing self care is probably the biggest message that I would want to give people. That it’s kind of like being on the airplane when the flight attendant says you have to secure your own oxygen mask before assisting other. You really truly do.
You have to take care of yourself first or you’re going to be of no use to your work or your kids or your partner. And that requires self care. So taking time to refill your cup and to cut yourself some slack. And recognize that, hey, if you only make it to the gym one time a week, at least you made it once and just giving yourself credit for all the good things that you do.
Julie Holton: 39:35
And for our listeners who have not yet seen Audrea’s blog on this, you guys, check it out. I’m telling you, this was screaming at me from my computer screen and then the funny thing was I was texting Audrea and she’s like, oh I don’t know. I just was kind of not sure if I was feeling it this week. And I was like, I don’t know what you’re talking about because I need that. You wrote this for me.
So if you are feeling everything that Joyce just talked about with self care, it is not one more thing you have to add to your plate. You are not required to get that mani- pedi. You are not required to go to brunch with the girls and then Instagram about it. You are only supposed to do what feels good to you. What is going to actually feed you and help you manage that stress. It’s not one more thing that women need to do perfectly.
Audrea Fink: 40:25
Thank you Julie for plugging that article.
Julie Holton: 40:26
I mean that, I mean that. I’m not just like throw it out. It sounds like I’m just like, praising everyone today. Maybe I’ve had a lot of a lot of coffee. Good energy.
Joyce Marter: 40:34
I love it.
Julie Holton: 40:34
But I mean it guys, I mean it genuinely,
Audrea Fink: 40:37
So the article is “Stress Management vs. Self Care. Let’s Not Lump them Together.” And I had read this – a different article that really hit me. Joyce, I’d actually love your thoughts on this, but one of the comments in the article that I read that sometimes stress management is actually really uncomfortable, right.
So sometimes self care is making the choice to build a life you don’t have to regularly escape from. And sometimes it’s a really unbeautiful thing. It’s a really uncomfortable thing. It might be sitting down and like, forcing yourself to do budget work. It might be finally severing that unhealthy relationship.
And so often when we talk about self care, and I loved the way you talked about it in this podcast because I, I, I think you didn’t do this so often when we talk about self care, we talk about that mani-pedi, right? We talk about, oh go get it your facial. Or we talk about doing something that will make you look better versus make you feel better or be better.
Joyce Marter: 41:36
Yes, absolutely. I love that you brought up the budget thing too. I just recently gave a talk on financial self care and you’re right, sometimes self care involves some of those more difficult tasks.
I loved also that you brought up ending a toxic relationship. Those are hard things to do, but you have to kind of dig deep and say, I care too much about myself to allow myself to be in this relationship that’s unhealthy for me and I’m going to advocate for myself in a way that assertive and direct and clear and set healthy boundaries in my life.
Whether it’s fine financially or emotionally or relationally, that’s very important and very empowering, which is also an aspect of self love. So I think those are all great plans.
I can’t wait to read your blog. I also love asking people to think about if they were a cell phone, where their battery might be at. So what would their charge be at any given moment? And I asked one of my graduate students that. She was really exhausted and depleted and she said that it was at 1%. I had another mom that I was counseling with three kids and she said her battery was that 3%.
And we don’t have alerts like our phones have. We don’t get the little red bar that says, you know, danger zone. We need to recharge. We need to learn how to do that for ourselves. So I like thinking about it. Maybe you have relationships that drain you. I had a friend that I used to get together for lunch and every time I got together with her I would come home and realize I had to take Advil because I had a huge headache because it was not a mutual, reciprocal, positive relationship for me. She would kind of vent and then I would kind of absorb her negativity and have a huge headache.
So looking at how to recognize when people are draining your battery and do you need to shift or change your relationship or your boundaries with them or even end the relationship all together. And that’s okay. Sometimes that needs to happen as we grow and develop.
Kathryn Janicek: 43:46
Absolutely. Well before we go Joyce, we collect advice from successful women during whenever someone is a guest with us on our podcast and we’d like to share it with our community so they can also, you know, give their own answers and also learn from your answers. We have three rapid fire questions for you. Are you ready for the rapid fire?
Joyce Marter: 44:07
Sure! Sounds great.
Kathryn Janicek: 44:07
Okay, number one, is there a lesson that you’ve recently learned that you wish you would have learned earlier in your career?
Joyce Marter: 44:16
Yes, and that would be the lesson of detachment and that’s really the ability to unplug or let go of whether it’s fear or other people’s responses and kind of zoom out and look at things from a greater perspective.
A good example of this was I was at Target and the woman in front of me was yelling at the cashier. She was very rude to him and he stayed completely calm, cool, and collected and professional and didn’t seem at all bothered by her. And when I got up to him I said, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry that that woman was so rude to you and like how’d you do that? You are amazing.” And he said, “Oh, I don’t let anyone in my head who isn’t paying rent.”
And I think that’s a really good skill. I think a lot of us have other people’s – we worry what other people are thinking or we have other people’s thoughts or opinions. And if we can learn how to detach and kind of let go of that, we’re going to have a lot more peace.
Audrea Fink: 45:16
So question number two, what advice would you offer to your younger self say 10 years ago?
Joyce Marter: 45:22
Oh my gosh. I would tell myself to slow down. I wish I could give my younger self a big hug and just tell her how much I love her and what a good job she’s doing and how you know, what good intentions I had and I would just say I’m worth more than enough and that I deserved self care. I deserved self love, I deserved love in my relationships and to just really sink into that and relax into that. And treat myself with the love and care that I so easily gave to my kids or my clients. It took me a long time to learn how to do that for myself.
Julie Holton: 46:06
What do you think is the most important skill for a woman in today’s professional setting?
Joyce Marter: 46:11
I think being able to set boundaries in a way that’s assertive and clear. I always say healthy self-esteem is midway between diva and doormat. So the diva is somebody who’s kind of entitled and intrusive and not respectful of other people’s boundaries and the doormat isn’t respectful of her own. So when we have healthy self-esteem, we can communicate and relate to other people in a way that demonstrates respect for ourselves and respect for them.
And I think that’s really important for women in the workplace. I think it’s very easy for many women slip into the the doormat category and take on way too much, far more than is fair. Or, far more than their own share or responsibility. And so in my counseling and therapy, I always advocate for my clients to kind of shift those boundaries and show themselves the same respect that they show other people.
Julie Holton: 47:13
Joyce, if any of our listeners are looking to get ahold of you, what is the best way for them to reach you? Can you share your website, email? What’s the best way for people to contact you?
Joyce Marter: 47:22
My website is joyce-marter, M-A-R-T-E-R, .com and on there is all of my social media links. So I welcome people to email me or follow me on social media, check out the website, let me know how I can be of support and resource to you.
Julie Holton: 47:39
And shout out for Joyce’s Instagram account. If you need that daily dose of inspiration, Joyce gives out some beautiful quotes that I know I look at every day. So if you need, if you’re like me, especially on Instagram, great for quotes and if you want a little bit of Joyce in your life, follow her on Instagram.
Joyce Marter: 47:56
Aw, thanks so much.
Kathryn Janicek: 47:58
Yeah, I’ve been following you there for a couple of years now and I always love your quotes, so thank you for sharing those. And please share this podcast with anyone you may think needs this advice. I
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