Balancing the Grind with Frances Frey, Director at Think Maven

Frances Frey is the Director at Think Maven, which offers personal leadership development and brand consulting for next-gen CEOs, founders and in-house professionals.

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

I was always desperate to get out of school, finish university and get into the workforce – I had a lot of entrepreneurial role models around me growing up. I started interning in media and PR agencies from the age of 16.

From here, I kept ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ for the next 14 years. I had an exciting career in PR, working with global tech giants, innovative startups, and industry disruptors, there was no ‘balance’ back then, but I loved it and there was never a dull moment!

Then I guess you could say I had a quarter life crisis as the big 3.0 hit the horizon – but the best kind of crisis, that reset a whole new course in my career.

Fair to say this was a long time coming, as I have been somewhat of a mindfulness and personal development junkie from the age of 16. I won’t bore you with the details, but I basically questioned my intentions, challenged my vision, followed my heart and dived headfirst into my ‘dream job’ in the field of human development.

I spent several years professionally training in neuro-linguistic programming, meta-coaching, developmental coaching and more recently, energy healing.

I originally started Think Maven as a developmental coaching business however since I founded the business it has evolved. It now includes training and workshops, speaker opportunities and energy healing.

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

As a business owner, no two days are ever the same.

My day starts with a quick scan of the emails over a morning Matcha followed by a walk up to the Cape Byron lighthouse or along Suffolk Park Beach. I end the morning with a meditation and a personal Reiki session.

In the afternoon, I usually have a few virtual coaching sessions throughout the day along with a meeting with my colleague to plan our next workshop, ‘HeartFULLness’ which is running this July.

I’m also in the process of writing a book so I’ll spend at least half an hour to an hour during the day smashing out a few pages – every little bit counts right?!

In the evening I might run a Reiki session for a client or another coaching session.

Before bed, I will either do a quick meditation and Reiki session to slow the mind and help me fall asleep, or if I’m feeling inspired, I’ll journal and write some more.

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

Definitely. I spent the last year living between Bondi, Byron and Bali along with a bunch of trips back to NZ. There wasn’t much of a time difference, so I was able to work across all three of those countries without too much disruption.

However, you have to be willing to compromise – this lifestyle presents its own challenges like anything in life. I missed out on a few great gigs whilst living in Bali. That said, I have no regrets!

I’m now based in Byron Bay where I have an office space at home which is great. When I’m doing the back-end stuff however I often take my laptop and set-up myself up in a local cafe – there’s so many great spots to choose from around here.

One thing I have also noticed is that I also get a lot of creative inspiration when I’m exercising. As a result, I’ll often voice record stuff as I walk so I don’t forget it! My best work always unfolds when I’m not in routine, but when I’m present, in flow or having fun so I try to capture the magic however it may fall.

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

This is an interesting question. I think work life balance has a different meaning for everybody. For me personally, balance comes in the form of energy.

Am I giving back to myself, as much as I am giving to my clients and business? Am I creating space for care, love, attention, and listening to my needs too? Am I filling my tank, to ensure I am full enough to give to others?

For example, am I stopping to reflect, to ask myself ‘why is ‘X’ important to me’? ‘Am I saying yes to this opportunity because I want to, or because I feel like I have to?’ Am I slowing down, whether it simply be through breathing to reconnect with the body, or the mind, through meditation or simply stopping to be with the simple pleasures in life, like a sunrise.

I am grateful to be in a position where balance comes naturally to me now. I love what I do, and it does not feel like work. I could coach seven days a week some weeks without question. I can do this because I love it, but I also ensure I am balancing this with ‘me time’.

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

Of course – our work never stops.

Meditation + Reiki. I aim to practice both 5-6 times a week, if not every day. I think most people are aware of meditation benefits but reiki (a form of energy healing) takes things to the next level in terms of harmonising and balancing my system on multiple levels. Not to mention I rarely get sick.

Perfectionism. Perfection is a habit – it is a collection of thinking and behavioural patterns within our personality that have formed over time through. It stifles creativity, lowers self-esteem, stops us taking risks, and keeps us striving for unrealistic benchmarks which are impossible to meet.

I have embraced the imperfect and the unpolished and I’ve never felt more mental freedom, productivity and creativity.

Imposter Syndrome. It took me a decade to ditch my Imposter and the process was not an easy one. I used coaching tools and practices to overcome Imposter Syndrome and now I share these learnings and insights with clients, my Facebook community group – ONE WOMAN, and it just so happens to be the topic of the book I’m writing.

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

  • A New Earth – an oldie but a good one! Eckhart Tolle
  • An Everyone Culture, Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organisation, Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey
  • Theory of Everything, Ken Wilber
  • Figuring Out People, Michael Hall

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

I am a simple gal however there are a couple of pretty predictable things:

  • Laptop
  • Audible / Kindle
  • Zoom
  • Canva

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

To be honest, I am inspired by the every-day heroes. From small business owners who are overcoming adversity of some sort, to parents and even caregivers who are juggling their life with others.

People who kick ass everyday simply by being themselves and succeeding the everyday juggle, are the types of people I am inspired by.

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

Leadership always starts with Self. How we lead ourselves, from the inside, will determine how lead on the outside. Never stop investing in yourself on a mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual level.

Find a way to express yourself creatively, regularly and it does not have to be work-related, it could be painting, dancing, writing, dressing up, whatever flows through you that brings you joy.

Try not to be too attached to a static vision of how you see yourself in a role, a career or business. Give yourself permission to be open to the unknown.

As we evolve, we often outgrow the picture we painted for ourselves, and so we force ourselves to adapt to an outdated view of how we thought things would be. Sometimes a ‘no’ or unexpected shift is the push we have been waiting for in a more fulfilling direction.

My motto for life, ‘F*ck fake it till you make it.’ Own it while you are making it! You could be waiting a while, so why not have some fun now?

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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.