We had the good fortune of connecting with Amira Sookram and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Amira, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I used to think of balance as a weighted scale, where each side had to be the same weight to keep the scale in equilibrium. Then one day while practicing yoga, I was sitting on my foot in a toestand and I balanced all of my weight on my 5 toes, but instead of sitting directly on my foot, I sat a little to the side. It was that spot that helped me find my balance.
And then it hit me: balance is not symmetry.
This applies to all aspects of life as well. If you choose to break up your week into equal parts for different life areas (e.g. work, rest, play, family, friends, health, etc.), you may not feel balanced. But when you spend more of the time on the things you love, while balancing out the things you have to do, there you can find balance.
Personally, I see my work life balance as balancing between doing things for my future Self vs. honouring my current desires. I don’t want to hustle so much that I can’t enjoy the process of working towards my dreams. I also don’t want to be indulge in my desires all the time because I may not take action to do things I have to do (like laundry or cleaning out my email inbox).
Balance is always changing. Self-awareness and mindfulness are key in continuously finding your work life balance.
One day, you may need to work harder to finish up a project and other days you may need to take more breaks. Sometimes we need to travel into the extremes before we can find our middle ground. The Buddha experienced this idea by going from an over-indulgent lifestyle to abstaining from food (extremes). Then, he came to his teaching of finding the Middle Path.
You get to define your balance and your middle. It doesn’t have to be symmetrical.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m Amira, the author and podcast host of Guilt Free Goals. I teach people how to set goals with ease based on my background in Health Psychology and personal experience. My goal is to inspire everyone to honour their energy levels by balancing out their goals, flow, and rest—guilt-free.
My passion for goal setting stemmed from my struggle with mental illnesses. I was diagnosed with clinical anxiety and depression as a teenager and continued to wrestle with them into university. I was the last person I would have trusted to commit to a goal.
I went off to university to study Computer Science… but I hated it. I had a plan to finish school and find something else to do because I couldn’t imagine coding for more than 4 years. This threw me into a deep depression. I slept all day and avoided studying and even going to class.
Everything changed for me when I went through therapy and was guided towards a path that was better suited for me. I started to take Psychology courses, raised my grades, and actually enjoyed what I was learning.
When I started my concentration in Health Psychology, my professor gave us an assignment to make or break a habit. So, I set a goal to practice yoga for at least 10 minutes, three days a week. I was so committed to my new habit, I practiced every day for the entire month (and almost the entire year too).
After yoga, I started to change the way I ate, which lead to a change in how I was feeling, and that ultimately led to changing my mindset. I noticed that making one small change in my life catapulted into a complete lifestyle change. Everything was connected.
I started my first business in Social Media Marketing within two weeks completing my degree. TheThen, I wrote my first book Goal Setting 101 which transformed, with each small step, into Guilt Free Goals.
Guilt Free Goals teaches people why setting goals can change your life, how to set goals, and includes motivational theories that help you stay consistent.
Unlike other success gurus, I encourage people to find their own flow and prioritize their feelings. If you don’t want to wake up at 5am, become a millionaire, or be a best-selling author, that’s cool. You don’t have to set big goals to find joy in your life.
I learned the hard way that doing things I didn’t enjoy would never lead me to feeling mentally healthy. But, finding ways to add your joy into your daily or weekly life can totally transform you and move you towards how you want to feel.
And to me, the most important part of setting goals is making it feel good!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For me, the best part of someone visiting is catching up and getting to talk about all the things we wouldn’t be saying over the phone or in a text. I love connecting deeply with people and hearing about the things that they’re passionate about or what ticks them off.
I would take my friend hiking or to walk near water because I find it so grounding. I also love to stay active and getting out into nature is something my friends and I love to do together.
I always love to check out and share my favourite Italian restaurants to finish off the day. Sitting on a beautiful patio with deep talks, a glass of wine, and an amazing friend is the best thing to do after working so hard on my dreams.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would love to say that my success came from the people who have inspired me since I started my business like Danielle LaPorte (author of The Desire Map) or my coach Krystal E Woods (Human Design Coach). Before they even had a hand in inspiring me, I was tugging on my mom’s sleeve while she was working. I saw the energy my mom put behind helping people and creating an online marketing business that has been around since the 90’s. My mom taught me how to balance out my ambitions with listening to loud music and dancing in front of the mirror late at night. She taught me to be brave, take the risk (explore freedom), and work for yourself. I learned how to be my own boss, think differently, and create a unique way to view the world. I would have never saw the opportunity to jump right into entrepreneurialism straight out of school if it weren’t for her. Now that I’ve done it, I am extremely grateful and lucky to have had such a motivated role model growing up.