We had the good fortune of connecting with Heather Deecken and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Heather, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Work life balance – what a challenging topic! There was one point in my life where I had a really poor work/life balance. Over the years, I adopted this mindset of, “The busier I am, the more successful I am.” It has been challenging to get out of that mindset, however I have become to recognize how wrong that belief is! When I was working a full-time agency job, I had a difficult time finding that balance between my work life and my personal life. When I wasn’t at work, I found myself still thinking about work. It even got to the point where my first thought in the morning would be, “What is on my to-do list at work?”. The unfortunate part is that I totally thought this was normal at that time. Although we learned in school the importance of self-care, I still found myself having a difficult time finding that separation between work and personal life.  Shifting my mindset and recognizing the importance of self-care and a work/life balance has really changed my work. I began to realize that if I wasn’t taking care of myself, how can I help others learn how to take care of themselves? I now try to live by the quote, “You can’t pour from an empty cup”. In other words, I can’t be 100% present in my work or my relationships if I’m not taking care of myself. In April of this year, I quit my full-time job and pursued my dream of opening up my own private practice as a mental health therapist. Once I followed this dream, my perspective on work/life balance has absolutely changed. I feel that once I began to experience what it was like to practice self-care and separate work from personal life, I thought to myself, “Is this what I have been missing?!” I have learned that I do not have to always be working, in order to be successful. I can enjoy my days off and be present during them, rather than being preoccupied with the thought of “What do I have to do for work?”. I now cherish these moments because I know that I am filling my own cup, so that I can fully be there for my clients. I also know that I am not the only one who struggles with this. My ability to experience and overcome these challenges allows me to take on a different perspective with my clients who may be struggling in a similar way.

What should our readers know about your business?
I currently have two businesses that I am so beyond grateful for! I have a private practice as a mental health therapist, called Awakening Hope LLC, and also a beauty and wellness business. With both, I am able to help a variety of people live their best life! For my mental health therapy, I specialize in those who have experienced trauma. I am trained in EMDR therapy, which is a therapy technique that helps individuals break through the chains of their past. That way, they can take control over their present and future. Before I got into private practice, I was working at a substance use treatment center as a therapist. I always knew that I would eventually want to start my own private practice, however didn’t have any set plans or timeline on when I would begin building it. To be fully transparent, I had become comfortable at my full-time job after being there for about a year and a half. This was conflicting for me because I always knew that if I was not getting out of my comfort zone, then I was not growing because with discomfort comes growth. Back in March of this year and the start of the pandemic, I saw it as an opportunity to take a leap of faith and open up my own private practice. I knew that for my own mental health and self-care, I needed to make a change. Quitting my job and dedicating my efforts to my private practice created a lot of anxiety and uncertainty, to say the least.  Leaving something that you are comfortable with is never an easy decision to make. However, looking back, I am so beyond proud of myself for trusting my judgment and going after my dreams. Although I didn’t know exactly what I was getting myself into,  I knew that this step would give me the time freedom I had always wanted.  A few days after leaving my full-time job, I ended up getting involved with a great, supportive group therapy practice, called Bayview Therapy, and have been loving every day of building my own practice. The biggest lesson I learned with this leap of faith is to constantly get myself out of my comfort zone. Comfort zones have killed more dreams than failure ever has. I try to find one thing daily that I can do outside of my comfort zone, whether it is in my businesses or my personal life!

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.
If my best friend was in town, I would definitely take her anywhere that has outside restaurants and a shopping area, such as the Coconut Creek Promenade or Mizner Park. Really, you can find me any place outdoors. We have to take advantage of the Florida weather, right?! We would shop for a bit and then stop for some lunch at one of the local restaurants.  After that, I am all about comfort and having people over for appetizers, dinner, and cocktails. To be completely honest, I am a total homebody! I love being snuggled up on my couch with my dog and some food, while having meaningful conversations with my friends and family. This way, we can catch up on life with no distractions! Nights like this definitely involve lots of laughter and reminiscing of memories.

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?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to both my parents! Every step of the way, my parents have always been behind me. They support and encourage me, while also allowing me to make the decisions that align with my heart and values. From a child to current, they instilled compassion, dedication, loyalty, and a strong work ethic in me. To be completely honest, I don’t know where I would be without their advice and love. I have been able to trust my judgment and decision-making because I know I have been led by two incredible people. I also want to dedicate a shout out to Dr. Kate Campbell who really supported and assisted me in building my private practice to what it is. Thank you for your continued guidance!

Website: https://awakeninghopellc.wixsite.com/awakeninghope
Instagram: awakening_hope
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/awakeninghopellc
Other: https://www.psychologytoday.com/profile/748331

Image Credits
Susan Barbini

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