A Full-Time Life
In recent years, “work-life balance” has become the biggest buzz phrase. There are countless articles on the importance of maintaining work-life balance, listicles on how to achieve it, and studies on its impact.
So it initially seemed strange when success coaches Kimi Morton and Pua Pakele & Cabot stood up at a workshop they led earlier this month and denounced the concept.
They don’t want work-life balance, they told the people at the workshop. They want what they call work-life integration.
Work-life balance, Morton says, “creates a bipolar experience of the world.”
“Work-life balance, really, what it does is it gives you this feeling of work is pitted against the rest of your life,” Morton explains. “It also gives you this feeling of your work is this lame thing that you have to get done and then you have time for your real life.
“Rather than feeling this dichotomy between work and life, we like to integrate them.”
That integration is the basis for their Best Life Ever, a multi-faceted business that offers individual and corporate success coaching, produces a podcast, hosts workshops, and has created a weekly planner system — all aimed at helping people connect their work with what they value in life, to help them be more successful and fulfilled in both personal and professional spheres.
“Everybody deserves — and has the ability to create — their best life ever, to create an amazing life,” Morton says.You know that feeling where you can’t believe how much time has passed? Maybe you’re having it right now — you’re shocked that it’s already the end of December, or that we are staring down the end of 2016.
Well, Morton and Pakele & Cabot don’t have that feeling — not anymore.
That time-blurring-together sensation, they say, comes from when you’re not doing things that are meaningful to you. You might be endlessly busy, but it’s hard to tell what you really get done, or why you’re even spending your time and energy on those things.
And Morton and Pakele & Cabot have been there. (“Your mess usually becomes your message,” Morton quips.)
The pair first met about four years ago while working as trainers at Egan Inoue’s Fit Body Bootcamp and bonded over their similar approach to working with clients: They tried to help them beyond just the physical aspects by incorporating mental and spiritual considerations as well.
“You can’t solve every problem with just eating more protein and drinking more water,” Morton says.
“We geeked out on the tools and the biohacks and all of these other things that affect our health and wellness other than diet and exercise,” Pakele & Cabot recalls.
So when Morton wanted to launch her own podcast, she asked Pakele & Cabot to join her, and together they created a series called Hot Better Pop Radio, a sort of grab bag of all the things that they were interested in.
But in addition to their fitness coaching and their podcast — endeavors that they enjoyed — they also had other corporate jobs. They felt spread thin.
“We were busy — we worked multiple jobs … and we were tired,” Pakele & Cabot recalls.
“I was losing track of time and things were not getting done,” she adds.
In an effort to get a handle on everything and come up with podcast topics, they devised a weekly planning process for themselves.
“This weekly check-in quickly became a crucial part of our week,” Pakele & Cabot says. “It completely elevated the way we managed our business and brought so much ease and clarity to our lives.”
“We found that checking in weekly served as a gentle and sustainable practice and allowed us to ask the right questions and stay in alignment with our big vision as we navigated through the week,” Morton says.
It was through that process — the same one that they now sell as a planner book — that they began to identify what they really wanted to focus on in the podcast, and in their work overall: helping people optimize their lives.
In December 2015, they rebranded their podcast to Best Life Ever, then grew it into their full-time endeavor to offer the range of services and products that it now entails.
“It changed our lives,” Pakele & Cabot says of their planning process. “We were like, we can’t not share this.”Morton and Pakele & Cabot joke that they have an “underground mission statement” for Best Life Ever: “We just want to help you not feel crappy.”
In their work, they often encounter people who are going through life simply for a series of checkpoints — happy hour, the weekend, their next vacation, retirement.
“One of the things that breaks our hearts is when people say that they are working toward retirement and they just have to get through their work,” Pakele & Cabot says. “You spend at least 40 hours a week at work … Don’t hate every second of that.”
“It really breaks our hearts when we talk to these people who have these big visions for themselves but they feel like they can’t get there,” Morton adds.
Much of Best Life Ever’s services are aimed at helping people get to whatever “there” looks like for them.
The Best Life Ever podcast brings in a range of guests — recently including chef Fred DeAngelo and founder of virtual assistant company Leverage Ari Meisel. Their weekly planning system is designed at reframing the conversations people have with themselves — prompting them to ask questions about what they want, how they’re feeling and what their overarching vision for their life is.
They also offer workshops — including a monthly one at Happiness U — on topics that include time management, productivity and more.
In their individual coaching and corporate consulting, Morton and Pakele & Cabot draw upon their backgrounds in sales, marketing and community building to guide clients in identifying their goals, and putting accountability tools in place. With individual clients, they often work with people who are feeling unfulfilled in their work, are overwhelmed, or are looking for a transition. In corporate coaching, they work with businesses in a range of industries — so far including sales, marketing, health and fitness — to address company pain points including task prioritization and workplace wellness.
“What we do is give people an alternative vision that they might not be able to see from where they are,” Morton says.
“We like shattering paradigms,” she continues. “We have people all the time where they think, I have to do it this way because I have always done it this way. And it is like, do you? … That is one of our favorite things to do, is to just open people’s minds to all of the possibilities that are out there.”The year since Morton and Pakele & Cabot have launched Best Life Ever has come with its set of challenges — walking away from traditional jobs with regular salaries was an obvious financial risk, and they admit that they have had to figure things out through trial and error along the way.
But while they still have their plates full, they know all that busyness has a deeper meaning.
(They credit a large part of the success they’ve had as a business to their amazing working relationship. Pakele & Cabot calls their meeting “fateful;” Morton calls Pakele & Cabot her “ultimate life hack and business hack.”)
“There is nothing like the feeling of somebody coming up to us and saying, ‘Wow, I heard your latest podcast’ or ‘I just got your planner and this is happening because of it,'” Morton says. “The fact that we had anything to do with that in their lives, that is everything to us.”
“Now that we have this business, I wake up and I am just like, Best Life Ever! What am I going to do? I open my computer when I am still in bed — and I am so excited,” Pakele & Cabot says.
It is the urge to spread that type of energy that really is at the crux of Best Life Ever.
“There are going to be shi*&! times for sure — it’s about how you perceive those and how you transform them,” Morton says. “For us, the ‘best life ever’ is thinking big, busting through your limiting beliefs, working through the challenges, doing the best that you can every day and having some frickin’ fun along the way.”
For more information, visit kimiandpua.com.
Morton and Pakele & Cabot both work from home. In order to manage their daily workflow while keeping in sync, they utilize a number of productivity and efficiency tools. Here are a few of their favorites:
Manage daily “chatter” out of your email and your text messages. Slack is like organized texting that respects other people’s time and schedule. slack.com
Let people schedule based on your availability and take the back-and-forth out of scheduling meetings, calls, consultations, etc. calendly.com
Keep all of your documents in one place and easily share them with your team and clients. Morton and Pakele & Cabot love Google Drive for shared writing projects, podcast notes and more.
A shared task management platform that feels like a virtual whiteboard or office. asana.com
Best Life Ever weekly planner
They say this has been the secret to their success and alignment as a company. kimiandpua.com/rockyourweek
Tips to Turn Your Big Vision Into Reality
Morton and Pakele & Cabot warn against jumping on the New Year’s resolution bandwagon. In fact, they are kind of anti-New Year’s resolutions.
“Who is to say we have to do that on Jan. 1?” Morton says. “Any moment is an opportunity to create whatever it is you want in your life.”
So instead of a New Year’s resolution, Morton and Cabot encourage you to use this time to start thinking about what they call your “big vision” —the overarching way you’d like your life to be. Here are a few tips that they shared to help turn those dreams into a reality.
Keep it top of mind
Keep your big vision written down where you can see it, refer to it, and refine it as the year goes on.
Continually ask yourself what bold action you can take to get closer to your big vision
As businessman and life coach Tony Robbins says, “the quality of your life is determined by the quality of the questions you ask yourself.
Seek out support from others that have accomplished similar dreams
Ask for help.
Don’t wait to celebrate
Acknowledge your small wins each day, play more, live in gratitude for this moment. It will help you to feel more fulfilled and enjoy the journey.
Leverage the secret sauce: accountability
Find a big vision accountability buddy, post the action you’re going to take on Facebook, find a coach or form a Best Life Ever weekly planning book club.