We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Ragin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you? I would have to say that the most important lesson I learned fueled my passion for my current business. That lesson is that self-nurturing (self-care) is essential.
I had normalized exhaustion in pursuit of a successful career/life. As a result, I was mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. The exhaustion resulted from daily stress due to overcommitment, both in my personal life (parent, daughter, head of household) and my professional life (executive director, CPA pursuing a graduate degree). While I believed I was following the path of success without self-care in my life, it was just the opposite. I felt tired and overwhelmed. And even though I was busy and constantly on the go, I was not showing up as my best self in any of my relationships, especially with myself. It was not a pretty picture.
Yet I continued on that path, ultimately stopped dead in my tracks by a medical issue – a blood clot. Luckily for me, the blood clot was superficial. However, the experience forced me to reassess how I was living. I realized that my path to success was not sustainable. That is where my self-care journey began.
I re-evaluated my lack of a work-life balance. Over time, I became familiar with the dimensions of wellness. My self-care approach aligns with the National Wellness Institute’s dimensions of wellness – a holistic and complete approach to all aspects of who we are as humans. I explored and studied the following dimensions of wellness – physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, spiritual, and social – and found ways to implement the missing elements in my life to find my work-life balance.
While I made the needed adjustments and used the NWI’s dimensions as my guide, making the transition was not easy for me initially. I learned how to create and include small, manageable daily self-care activities in my life. These activities are the antidote to the daily stressors in my life. My new mindset and self-care activities made me a better leader, a better parent, and a better me. So, self-care was beneficial not only for me but also for those in my circle of influence.
Implementing self-care activities in my life has been transformative for me.
What should our readers know about your business?
I partner with busy professional women to find their work-life balance! I was listed as one of the Top 15 Coaches in Denver for 2022 by Influence Digest. Unfortunately, many dynamic women have lost a sense of self due to sacrificing themselves in their professional careers and personal lives. This can manifest as putting themselves last on their to-do list or not prioritizing themselves at all. Perhaps asking themselves questions like, “How did I get here?” Yet, women in this phase of life still have dreams and want to make strides in their careers and personal lives. And while their current path might not be healthy or sustainable, often the challenge is not knowing where to begin to make the much-needed change.
Solving this problem is very important for many women. The solution offers the possibility of thriving in our lives, not just surviving in daily life or simply getting by. How do I know? Because several years prior, I was this woman. I, too, had no work-life balance. This woman is in urgent need of self-care. I am not talking about only pampering activities or a good vacation. Although, those activities are helpful to a degree. To experience real change, we need self-care activities that are more consistent in our daily lives.
I also know how beneficial it would have been to have someone guide me in making the changes necessary to integrate into my busy life. And to bring with them a sense of respect and compassion in a safe environment, without judgment. Reflecting on my life experience and hearing other women’s experiences sparked the idea and built the foundation for my coaching business.
I currently offer coaching services that provide women with a safe, confidential environment to meet their specific needs. As part of my coaching services, I also have created micro-meditations. These meditations are a combination of affirmations with breathing exercises. I call them “micro” because they are about 5 minutes or less. So, they are helpful without being too time intensive. They offer a boost of encouragement and compassion to the listener.
In addition to coaching, I offer workshops to individuals and organizations on topics such as self-care and resilience. These workshops are highly interactive, and each attendee walks away with a plan they can implement immediately.
I am so proud and grateful to be recognized for the work that allows me to live out my purpose to help others. I am also available for online or in-person speaking engagements.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to? Colorado is a beautiful place to live, and many people are here for hiking, sports, skiing, and outdoor life. I love to take in the breathtaking views of our mountains as much as possible. I worked in Boulder many years before starting my own coaching business full-time. One of my favorite things during my commute in the mornings was reaching the Scenic Overlook. What a spectacular panoramic view of the Flatirons and the city of Boulder and the surrounding areas. It felt brand new every day, and I never got tired of that view.
The things I enjoy the most are usually indoor activities. I love good music and good food. My favorite genre of music is Jazz. Denver does not disappoint in either area. Before the pandemic, I would go to the Soiled Dove to see acts such as Euge Groove, Brian Culbertson, Alex Bugnon, and my favorite Norman Brown. In addition to the Soiled Dove, Winter Park hosts a beautiful outdoor two-day Jazz and R&B Festival every July. It was an annual event for me to attend with my sister, Robbin, and Jonnie Jones, my brother-in-law. It is a beautiful environment to listen to great music, dance, or chill out.
As I said, I love great food. Sometimes Allan, my partner, and I will go to Ted’s Montana Grill. They have several locations throughout the Denver Metro area. All of their food is delicious, even though some of my friends go there specifically for the beef dishes. For special occasions, though, I like YaYa’s Euro Bistro in the Denver Tech Center. The food and the service are both outstanding.
Since I am a self-care person, I believe in pampering. Let’s be clear, self-care is more than pampering, but I confess I am a card-carrying member of SPAVIA. Oh, my goodness, there are several locations throughout the Denver metro area. When I lived in Broomfield, I received my services from their Bradburn and Orchard locations. Now that I live in Denver, I recently went to the location in Lowry! The services (facial, massages) are excellent. It has a very relaxed and peaceful vibe. If you want to de-stress, I highly recommend it.
Even though Colorado is known for its outdoor activities, there is plenty to do here for everyone– and that includes people like me – the indoors type.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition? Throughout my life, my family (especially my mom, Joyce Johnson, and brother, Larron Jackson) have always encouraged me in my many endeavors. I am grateful for their continuing love for me.
I also want to acknowledge my partner, Allan Sledge. He helps me whenever and wherever he can on this new journey. He is my IT person and photographer, a jack of all trades. I can always count on my sister, Robbin Hutchins-Jones, to support me and bring others along with her to all my events. My children, John Nichols, Dr. Joi Bryant, Cortney Ragin, and Aaron Ragin, always show me so much love and support. My family’s support has been critical when creating my business from the ground up. I’m also fortunate to have a wonderful group of friends, from the west coast to the east coast and all of the points in between, who are very encouraging. I hesitate to name any of them because I know I will leave someone out. But they all know who they are, and I appreciate each of them very much.
I’d like to recognize Susan Miller, COO of Iron Horse Architects, for acknowledging that the conversation of self-care belongs in the workplace. She was the first to bring my “Self-care and Why it’s Important” workshop to the corporate environment. Iron Horse Architects is a wonderful organization that does excellent work. It has collaborated with industry partners on several award-winning projects.
Additionally, I want to give a shoutout to the excellent leadership I worked with at the Dress for Success Denver organization, Amara Martin, Gloria Padilla, and Patricia Vernon, for allowing me to present to their Professional Women Group (PWG) a truly incredible group of women. I had so much fun with this group! I love and respect this organization and its mission in our community.
And last but not least, I want to thank all my attendees from my various workshops for your patronage.
Linkedin: Laura Rochelle Ragin
A Sledge Photo (Allan Sledge)