Balancing the Grind with Chelsea Pottenger, Founder & CEO at EQ Minds

Chelsea Pottenger is an international motivational speaker, an accredited mindfulness & meditation coach, and founder of educational platform EQ Minds.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I’m the founder and CEO of EQ Minds. We are an educational platform that specialises in mental health, wellbeing and performance.

I spend the majority of my time presenting (usually live but now virtually) to corporate clients and also running our online business. I have been blessed to work with some of the worlds biggest brands like: Google, Ebay, Uber, CBA and Macquarie Bank just to name a few.

Prior this, for 12 years I worked in the corporate world, burning both ends of the candle. Then a life adversity happened, I had a beautiful baby girl and suffered Post Natal Depression.

After recovering, I retrained as a mindfulness and meditation coach, began studying Psychology and now I am a proud ambassador for mental health charities including The Gidget Foundation and R U OK?.

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

Today I have the pleasure of delivering one of our workshops via Zoom that deals with Stress and Mindset during COVID, to two corporate clients and a Council in Victoria.

The council in Victoria has all its staff working from home and in lock down which obviously is very stressful. I will share with them some tools and strategies to deal with the uncertainty and stress that our current situation presents.

I will then hit the road to get to the Squeak E. Clean recording studio where I am recording some meditations for Insight Timer and recording a new online program for our business. Somewhere in there I will check in with our team at EQ Minds and do the days socials.

However above all else I will schedule in some time in the calendar to do some exercise, meditate and make sure I have some time with my daughter, and husband.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

We have been extremely lucky that our business was primarily online before COVID through our website, podcast and socials. Our public speaking events and corporate workshops were quickly transitioned into virtual workshops.

This has meant my travel has declined a huge amount, which has given me much more time at home. This has been amazing as I can spend so much more time with my daughter and my exercise routine has been more consistent.

We recently employed a new member to the EQ Minds team. That has been a little hard for her, Grace, as we still have not met her face to face. Obviously we want to rectify that as soon as possible. We are so fortunate that technology has allowed this, but there is nothing like personal interaction at times.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

EQ Minds tag line is “Recharge Your Life” so it is more than just a goal. It is part of our purpose. EQ Minds is a space for busy minds, seeking out simple tools, to reset, recharge and navigate the challenges of every day life.

To achieve this in our own lives we have some strict boundaries in place. We take a small break every six weeks, even if it is just a day. At the start of each week we schedule in exercise and meditation.

The last year we have enforced even greater rules around balance, like limits on workshops per day, days of travel, saying ‘no’ to more things so we can give the ‘yes’ things more focus and energy.

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5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

One major thing I have personally put in place is saying No to more things. I used to be a Yes to everything, and that meant I was getting burnt out.

It was hurting myself, my family and the people I said yes to as I couldn’t give it the full energy it deserved. It has improved my focus in my business and more importantly it has improved my focus in my personal life and given me more time with my family.

I have embraced surf as a therapy. I no longer just go on the weekends or when the weather is great. Every time I get in the water I feel great. And that feeling lasts long after I have left the water. So now I go 3-4 times per week if the waves permit and I feel amazing for it.

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Favourite podcasts: Dr Daniel Amen and Jim Kwik.

Favourite books (recency bias): Where the Crawdads Sing and Boy Swallows Universe.

Non fiction: Why We Sleep by Dr Matt Walker, Brain Wash by Dr Perlmutter and Gut by Guilia Enders

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

  • Bose QC 35 II Headsets which are unbelievable. They are well travelled.
  • Calm App which I use every night.
  • Oura Ring which tracks my sleep

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

It’s really hard to narrow it down. I think with all experts in their field, its about choosing the best parts and trying to integrate what works into your life.

Oprah, Arianna Huffington have shared powerful stories about learning by their mistakes. Anyone that can be vulnerable and share their story and what they learnt is worth listening too.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Self care is not selfish. Flip the lens on work life balance.

Does your child, partner, friends, co-workers, deserve someone who is tired and worn out and can’t give their best? Or do they deserve someone full of energy, giving everything 100%. I know which version I like of myself. I’m sure those around me want that version too!

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.