We had the good fortune of connecting with Carrie Thrall and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carrie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I strive on a daily basis to achieve that ideal “balance” of work responsibilities, roles and tasks with life responsibilities, roles and tasks. I work with clients on this as well given my business is focused on coaching to prevent burnout or overwhelm from stress. This concept of “balance” though, is a tricky one since we truly can not achieve that ideal balance. What I have learned and work with my clients around is that rather than striving for balance, look to become a master at prioritization and shifting focus to the priority in the present moment.
Truly, trading off between priorities is how we achieve great things both at work and at home. If I am focused on my present priority of family time, I am not distracted by the work tasks in my office or that meeting that I need to schedule. If I am focused on my work, I am not thinking about the dinner I need to prep or the laundry that needs to be finished. The mastery here is focusing on one thing at a time, without distraction, and keeping track of when you get diverted from the task at hand.
This was a hard lesson for me to learn. I used to over-work, miss out on opportunities with friends and family due to focusing on doing too much and getting consumed with all priorities that I was juggling in the air. I started to lose sight of my goals, lose sense of who I was and wanted to be and got lost in the “doing” of it all. Now, I am a master at single tasking and get so much more out of life due to this focus on the priority of the moment.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
For just over 10 years, I worked as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in service to America’s Veterans and Active Duty Service Members. I excelled in this career and moved up quickly into an administrative role. While this career was rewarding at the start, more and more, I found myself hunting for something greater that moved beyond reacting to problems to creating something proactively. I was frustrated with the bureaucratic tape blocking progress, I worried each day what new “fire” would need attention, I doubted that systemic problems would change, feared that I would not have the answers to the many problems brought to me on a daily basis and I even found myself putting what I value most “on the back burner” until I could find more time or energy to deal with it. I began to dread the end of a weekend knowing that I would need to prepare for doing it all without the needed passion or energy to make it all happen.
I then realized that what I had been telling myself was “just a phase” in my career was actually burnout peeking its ugly head into my every day. I was not happy or finding much satisfaction in the minor or even major successes in my job and could not see an easy way to regain the energy or drive needed to do the job well. I know I was not alone in this process as many in this system were feeling the weight of doing more with less support. For me, though, I came to realize that my holding blind loyalty to something outside of myself was quite disappointing and at times demoralizing. I began to look for more, something that does not focus on problems, diagnoses or deficits. What did I find? Coaching came to the top of the list as it views people as whole beings with inherent gifts, strengths and greatness that, with some support, can be accessed and flourish. I knew then and I know now that I have so much more to offer than what could be placed in any specific “box” defined by an organization and I began to transition from therapist to coach.
Then, after much reflection, training, certifications and my own personal coaching sessions, I decided to leave my position and go out on my own. I created ABC Coaching, LLC with a focus on helping people develop deeper connection to their well-being. I faced many anxieties and fears taking this risk leading me to learn I could rely on what I have within me, my values and my passion to help others to move into this new world. I know some of you reading this can relate to the journey because if you are working in a professional setting, own a small business, work from home, are retired or whatever your current context is; burnout, ignoring your values and passions or putting yourself last on the list will affect us all.
My brand continues to evolve especially as the world faces a health crisis and all the helpers, high achievers and caregivers face that burnout monster to a much larger extent. I have continued to focus my practice on helping people overcome their high levels of stress, manage burnout and create avenues to wellness. This process encourages development of values-based goal setting, accountability, growth and prioritization to create a thriving life
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Living in Colorado, there are so many amazing things to see. I would take a road trip down to the Garden of the God’s and Pikes Peak to get some amazing time in nature. Going downtown Denver to visit the botanic gardens, zoo, art museum and see a show at the performing arts complex are just a few of the great things to do. Food is plentiful downtown too- going over to the Highlands neighborhood for some great eats (really anywhere you go over there will be good!). If there is time left over, going up to the high country for hiking or skiing at Vail or Breckinridge is a great day or weekend trip.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I could not have gotten to where I am today with out the loving support of my family and guidance from my mentors and colleagues. Without guidance from my supervisors, mentors and peers, I would not even be where I am at today. I want to particularly appreciate my husband who has supported my efforts to go out on my own and continued support as I learn this crazy life of being an entrepreneur.
Other: Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/healthyhelpershub