We had the good fortune of connecting with Mike Ensley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mike, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Striking out on your own with an independent practice is a daunting task. In the beginning it’s hard to have good boundaries with work because you’re so focused on the tenuousness of its day-to-day success. But as a therapist I realized that having a balanced relationship with my business is important not only for my personal wellbeing, but I grew to see it as a vital opportunity for modeling healthy living for my clients. Even when it feels difficult to do, I stick to the virtue that my rest is as valuable to my clients as my work.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
One of my favorite creative outlets is photography. I love the variety and beauty in nature, and look forward each year to exploring some national park or unique nature spot. The endless lessons of the wild continue to inform the work I do in counseling. When we open ourselves to the awe and wonder that our universe can inspire, it sets our lives in a context that’s exciting and humbling. Nature shows us the coexistence of seemingly opposing forces; it hold so much beauty, tenderness, and delicacy, and is also brutal and unforgiving. Establishing a counseling practice was not easy. It meant contending with forces in the world and in myself that threatened what I knew my purpose to be, the spirit and impact I wanted Comeback Story Counseling to have. I’ve learned to remind myself whenever an unexpected challenge or difficulty arises to view it first as a chance to practice what I preach, to remain close to what my clients are experiencing, which is the struggle of becoming and staying alive.
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.
Well the week would probably start on the Ceran St. Vrain Trail–one of my favorite spots any time of year–so we could also enjoy Sunday brunch at the Jamestown Mercantile. We’d also head up to spend some time at Red Feather Lakes and hit Lady Moon trail. After showing them my office in downtown Loveland, we’d probably throw some axes at Axe to Grind then hit up Crow Hop or Big Thompson Brewery. If it was summertime we’d definitely have to head down to Castle Rock for the Renaissance Festival, but either way we could satisfy our nerdy side at sci-fi-themed Outworld Brewing in Longmont, a town you can’t visit without eating at The Roost.
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 Joshua School in Boulder is a place where I learned and grew and experienced so much of the best in people. I’ve also depended greatly on the support and friendship of other great counselors like my colleague Christa Sing and my former supervisor, Stacey Blank.