Balancing the Grind with Dina Mostovaya, Founder of Mindset Consulting

Dina Mostovaya is a global cultural & business strategist; the founder of Madrid-based Mindset Consulting, a company that helps tech startups and venture funds with strategic communications, as well as Sensity Studio, an art communications firm based in London. 

Let’s start with your background! Can you share with us your career journey and what you’re currently up to?

I started my career in 2007, when I took an internship at the Metia Group agency in London, where I fell in love with PR. There, I learned valuable skills by observing my peers and assisting them with journalists’ RSVPs for events, monitoring daily news, drafting press releases and news for the agency’s website, and more. 

For over fifteen years, I have worked with talented entrepreneurs and innovative tech brands in the United States and Europe, both at communications agencies and as an independent consultant. My natural “skill set” was crucial to building a career in PR, where daily communications, thinking big, and working across cultures are the keys to success.

As an independent consultant, I had the opportunity to work with top-notch clients, such as eBay, Ecwid (acquired by Lightspeed), OneSoil, PayPal, Vivaldi, venture fund Target Global, and others.

In 2020, I founded my own agency, Mindset Consulting, which specialises in strategic communications for tech companies and venture funds. This year, the firm was honoured as the Agency of the Year at the prestigious 2023 Golden Bridge Awards, a remarkable achievement considering the company was only created three years ago. Today, our team works in major global cities with the most courageous brands worldwide.

After 16 years of working in the technology and venture markets, there was little to surprise me, and so I set the intention to find a new field that would inspire me and infuse my work life with fresh ideas. Therefore, in 2023, I entered into the art world and launched Sensity Studio, a London-based art communications firm that helps brands engage with culture-sensitive audiences. Leveraging our deep insight into the art world and our extensive experience in the tech industry, we help companies and galleries create communications that truly resonate with their communities.

On top of my professional endeavours, I am driven by a passion for lifelong learning. Right now, I am pursuing a two-year International Development program at New York University, which has allowed me to deepen my knowledge in global affairs, human rights, gender issues, and more.

We’d love to know what a typical day is like for you. Could you describe a recent workday?

My daily routine is constantly changing, since I spend over 80% of the year away from home on business trips. This means I need to make frequent adjustments to different time zones. However, for me, this lifestyle has become the norm, and I have learned how to handle it effectively, managing my energy to ensure both my work and personal life flow well.

Before the pandemic, I worked 16-18 hours per day. However, during the lockdown period, I reconsidered my work-life balance and created new rules that helped me improve my daily efficiency and take better care of myself.

For example, today, I very rarely schedule calls in the morning. Instead, I dedicate it to personal activities, such as going for a run right after waking up. If I’m in Barcelona, I love running in the mountains near my house. If I am on a trip, I usually go to a local park. When I come back I have breakfast, read the news or a book, and then start working. 

For a long time, I schedule all of my meetings in a row for one or two working days. That way, I have an opportunity to work quietly for the rest of the week. I do this at home, in addition to answering emails and having calls as needed–usually, I have between five and seven calls per day. 

When I’m home, I work until 8-9 p.m. and then spend time having dinner with my family and watching movies, or else reading something about art. 

Can you define work-life balance for yourself and share with us your approach in maintaining it?

The first and most challenging lesson to grasp is that there is no one-size-fits-all formula to achieve balance.

Furthermore, my personal interpretation of “balance” does not entail spending an equal amount of time on every aspect of life. Instead, it involves understanding my priorities and developing the discipline to respect them. A quote that resonates with me states that discipline is “the most powerful expression of self-love” because it means delaying immediate gratification for greater future rewards.

To determine my priorities, I utilise the “wheel of life,” a helpful tool that assesses how well-rounded my life currently is. Each person’s wheel will undoubtedly look different. Mine consists of five segments: physical health, mental health, self-development, career, and family. On a monthly basis, I reassess each of these areas, honestly examining whether I have allocated a balanced amount of time to each segment.

Among my routine practices to maintain balance are the practice of asceticism and dedicating 2 to 3 hours per week to being totally silent. In addition to this, I love reading books about spiritual and emotional development, morning exercises, healthy foods, treatments like vitamin infusions, and more.

Change is constant, and it’s essential for growth. Have you made any lifestyle changes in the past year to improve your work-life balance?

During the pandemic, I shifted the way I approached the different areas of my life. Around this time, I realised that I had accomplished one of the most important goals I had set for myself–founding Mindset Consulting and building a team of professional managers.

Our successful launch and scalable growth gave me an opportunity to breathe, and to work less. Having a reliable team gives me the necessary peace of mind to spend a quiet, calm morning and bring myself to a good psychological and mental state to be ready to tackle the day. 

Also, after moving to Europe at the beginning of 2022, I got used to a slower work pace, which enabled me to spend more time with my family. For me, work-life balance means spending enough quality time with my husband, studying art, and working on Mindset.

My focus is on the depth of my relationships, I prefer quality rather than quantity. At least two or three mornings a week, my husband Max and I go for a run together. Also, our tradition is to always have dinner together, and I never work on weekends unless there is a force majeure-driven problem that urgently needs my attention. 

We’re always on the lookout for new resources! Can you recommend any books, podcasts, or newsletters that have helped you in your journey towards balance?

To develop emotional intelligence and nurture spiritual growth, I particularly recommend The Diamond Cutter by Michael Roach. It covers the practical application of Buddhist philosophies.

Also, I enjoyed reading How Champions Think: In Sports and in Life by Bob Rotella. This book is about how to make a commitment, how to persevere, how to deal with failure, and how to flourish under pressure and overcome any challenges.

Last, but not least, my newly-developed passion for art has inspired me to look for insightful podcasts on the subject. I particularly enjoy Dialogues: The David Zwirner Podcast and The Great Women Artists Podcast. 

Before we wrap up, do you have any final words of wisdom or insights on work, life, or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

Being a female entrepreneur is no walk in the park, but I thrive on the challenges and rewards it brings to my life. From the very beginning, my ultimate aim has been self-mastery, so I constantly strive to keep growing and developing myself in every area of my life. 

To achieve that, one invaluable lesson I have learned along the way is that the idea of being too busy is a myth. With effective prioritisation, you can do anything. The key to moving forward and reaching your goals lies in identifying what truly matters to you and using those priorities as guiding stars to stay on track.

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.