We had the good fortune of connecting with Jen Kates and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jen, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I believe less in there being a “balance” between work and life, and more that it’s an integration of work and life. I think there is less of a possibility in finding a perfect balance in your life and work because balance doesn’t really exist. If you want to achieve something, there is going to be a level of sacrifice, and when there is a level of sacrifice, then true balance doesn’t exist since you need to skew your attention towards the thing you want to achieve. However, if there is a level of integration between work and life, then you’re better able to make the time for what fills you up in your life in addition to the work that you do. Integration, to me, looks like greater focus while you’re working by paying more attention to the task at hand. Then, when you are spending time with family or on yourself, you are focusing on exactly what you’re doing in that given moment (and not checking work email or work tasks). Is this easy? No. Is it simple? Yes! With practice, I believe greater work-life integration can happen and be successful versus striving for greater balance (which can seem like an unattainable goal). Historically, I made time for myself very easily, especially before I started my own business. Once I started my business, however, my time and focus skewed more towards work, with self-care and other elements of my life taking more of a backseat. Now that my business is thriving more, I’m finding myself taking more time to spend on myself and my loved ones since I have always known how important it can be to focus on your own health and filling up your cup before being able to fill up the cup of others, like with my clients.
What should our readers know about your business?
Shift Human Performance offers expertise for busy working professionals to find a way to keep fitness, nutrition, and recovery manageable. I help you find that work-life integration that we talked about earlier. What sets me apart from other coaches in the industry is my experience – I previously worked in the biotech research field for over 12 years, spending every week traveling on the road for work, so I’ve lived the road and weekend warrior life that most of my clients are currently living. Not many coaches can say they’ve done that. Together, my clients and I work on the essential habits that are more likely to bring them sustainable results, especially as they become more autonomous. I’ve worked with clients in-person and remotely, some of which are former professional athletes who were at the top of their sport, to stay-at-home parents who are looking for ways to get more sleep in their life. My approach is truly customized to the client and what they need, as well as what they’re able to do at this moment, unlike other cookie cutter coaching tactics and programs. Some moments that I’m most proud of include working with clients who have tried EVERYTHING before coming to me, and they look at me as a bit of a “last resort” in order to get their health in order. (No pressure!) I’ve even had clients who are left pondering gastric bypass surgery because they’re feeling hopeless after trying everything without seeing much improvement – fortunately, they come to me, and with some patience and persistence, they’re able to find ways that work for them and they see the weight loss that they so desperately needed for their health and longevity. It’s moments like these that remind me why I do what I do.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
There is no place like Denver and the entire state of Colorado! I’d definitely take them to my favorite neighborhood hangout, el jefe, for Taco Tuesday and their delicious mezcal margaritas. For breakfast, Sunny’s has some of the best pancakes in the city, and The Universal is another favorite breakfast spot. For some specialty coffee, Huckleberry’s takes the top prize (and I’d grab some beans to go). Outside of places to eat and drink, we’d explore Red Rocks for a workout on the stairs, and hit some great local hikes around the Front Range. Live music and tasty brews would be found at New Terrain Brewing in Golden. All in all, I’d just look to stay outside and enjoy the mild temps and abundant sunshine we have here year-round.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The VIDA MTB Series has really helped me grow as both a coach and a person. They’re a group of womxn mountain bikers who support one another past their levels of discomfort in order to find a greater sense of confidence both on and off the bike. I first learned about them when I attended a mountain biking clinic back in 2015, and I’ve been a part of their community ever since. Definitely check them out if you are searching for a mountain biking clinic geared specifically to womxn!
Ben Duke Media and Lindsay Rogers