Set clear boundaries. Boundaries are essential to your success. You have to set your limits in order for people to respect you and your time. When you set clear boundaries, you let it be known that you value your time and energy and in return you expect people to do the same.
As a part of my series about the strategies that extremely busy and successful leaders use to juggle, balance and integrate their personal lives and business lives, I had the pleasure of interviewing LaWann Moses.
LaWann is the Founder & CEO of WannMo, LLC. She is a Life Success Strategist with a consulting firm that provides coaching services to clients. She is the Creator and Host of the More Than A Mother podcast, where she helps moms pursue their dreams and be great moms at the same time. LaWann is an advocate and visionary leader who has a passion for empowering others to rise up, reclaim their power, and live a life of boldness, purpose, and authenticity. She helps moms ditch the guilt, master their time, and maximize their energy so they can do more of what they love and enjoy. LaWann believes love is the greatest gift of all and she strives to do everything in love.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share with us the “backstory” behind what brought you to this particular career?
My journey to becoming a Success Strategist started many years ago when I became pregnant a few months before graduating high school. As a teenage girl with plans to go to college, I found my college dreams thwarted by this unplanned pregnancy. While my friends were preparing to go to college, I was preparing for motherhood. I had to grow up, get a job, and overnight I went from being a child with no responsibilities to someone’s mother.
From there I was thrust into the world of teenage motherhood, lack, and poverty and soon depression took over my life. I lost all motivation for everything and found myself emotionally unavailable to my son and withdrawing from life altogether. One day I decided I was going to end my life, however through what I call “divine intervention”, my life did not end that day.
Instead, that day became the beginning of my transformational journey which led me to where I am today. It wasn’t easy and I encountered many setbacks over the years, but that day I became determined to live and achieve success no matter the odds.
I have built my business on the foundation and actionable steps I took to achieve my own success in many different ways over the years. I now work every day to empower my clients to remember their identity and reclaim their power so they can live a life of boldness, purpose, and authenticity. As a Success Strategist, I help my clients renew their mindset, master their time, and maximize their energy so they can do more of the things they love and enjoy.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started? What lessons or takeaways did you take out of that story?
Business is full of interesting stories, especially when first starting out. I learned early on the importance of having a clear message and a target audience. Failing to do so will not only confuse your audience, but it will also leave you feeling all over the place and lacking clarity in business. I made the mistake of a generic message and trying to reach too many people at once which caused me to be stuck and stagnant in my business for way too long. The main lesson and takeaway are: Narrow down your audience and have a clear brand message. By trying to serve everyone, you end up not serving anyone.
What does leadership mean to you? As a leader, how do you best inspire others?
Leadership means building community and providing guidance and instruction to others while working towards a common goal. I feel I best inspire others by connecting with them on their level and letting them know it’s okay to be who they are at that moment. Too often, people think of leaders as “above” or “on a different level”, however, it’s important to note that leadership is simply a gift/skill given to certain individuals. Leaders are everyday people who are operating in their gifts.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I would not be who I am today without the love and support of my parents. I have so many stories I can share, but I will say my parents have been the foundation for my success. No matter the choices I made, the crazy things I did, my parents are the epitome of unconditional love and support.
When I became a teen mom, my parents never stopped supporting me. In fact, I had an entire village of support which I called my “support squad”. Whether I needed a babysitter while I attended school or transportation to and from events, my support squad was there. This extended beyond my parents, however, my parents have been my foundation throughout the years. They are always there to support and help me on my journey towards success and achieving each and every goal set forth.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now shift to the main core of our discussion. This is a question that nearly everyone with a job has to contend with. Was it difficult to fit your life into your business and career? Can you articulate what the struggle was?
It definitely was a struggle to fit life, business, and career together. The struggle came from what I like to call “supermom” syndrome. No matter the support we have from our spouses/significant others or our family, moms feel we have to “do-it-all”. This leads to a tremendous amount of mom guilt because we set our standards so high and that we in essence set ourselves up to feel like failures, less than, or that we are “bad moms”.
I felt a lot of mom guilt in the beginning with working, being a mother, and then trying to build a business. I felt bad if I gave attention to my business when my kids wanted my attention, but on the other hand, when I didn’t give time and energy to my business, I felt just as bad. However, through a series of events, I realized if I wasn’t at peace, if I didn’t feel content then I was no good to myself or anyone else. Once my mindset shifted and I freed myself from supermom syndrome, the struggle began to lessen. From there I took actions to make myself a priority, I found that things started to flow and work together much better.
In order to give greater context to this discussion, can you share with our readers what your daily schedule looks like?
My day starts early. I wake up at 5:30 am for prayer and meditation. Then I check my business emails and plan out my priorities for the day. I take my oldest daughter to the bus stop at 6:30 am. Then I return and wake up my youngest daughter so we can get dressed and ready to leave the house. Upon leaving, I drop her off at my parents’ house and then I go to work.
Currently, I work a full-time job Mon-Fri (8:00 am-4:00 pm) as an advocate for a local police department assisting victims of crime (mostly domestic violence) victims with obtaining services and other case-related needs. I use my breaks and lunch hour to work on my business. You would be amazed at just how much you can accomplish in 15 minutes when you are focused and have a plan. The work I do in my business each day looks different. Some days it’s just emails and content creation. Other days I am squeezing in client calls during my lunch break or other networking type activities.
After work, I pick my daughters up from my parents’ house. We eat dinner and complete homework. After we get settled at home, I use the evening hours, typically 6:00 pm-10:00 pm (sometimes later), to work on/in my business. This is where I do most of my client calls, podcast interviews, co-working, etc.
Saturdays are dedicated to housework and business work. Sundays are for church and rest.
This is typically how my days go from week-to-week. I take breaks when needed to spend quality time with my spouse and kids or to take care of my mental health because self-care is very important to me and we all need to disconnect to avoid burnout.
Did you find that as your success grew it became more difficult to focus on the other areas of your life? Can you explain it?
I don’t believe it became more difficult to focus on other areas of my life, however, I learned the importance of pivoting and prioritizing. As my success grew, I learned how essential it is to be flexible in business. Routines and time-blocking helped me navigate the different areas of my life. Also, I learned how to say “no” without excuses or apologies. I used to be the person to volunteer for and be involved in everything, but then I found the more I gave to everyone else, the less I had for me. I had to take steps to prioritize my time and preserve my energy so that I could show up as my best self in all areas of my life. These strategies helped make the process of aligning my success with the other areas of my life much easier.
What was a tipping point that helped you achieve a greater balance or greater equilibrium between your work life and personal/family life?
The tipping point came a few years ago when I reached burnout and became completely exhausted. At that time, I was constantly on the move. My kids were involved in numerous activities, I participated in numerous ministries and committees, and was constantly giving of myself and my time to others. When you combine this with everyday life and issues in my personal life, I wound up feeling completely broken and depleted.
It was at this point in my life that I realized I needed to find harmony in life. I needed to establish a greater equilibrium in my life so I could do my best in my work life and personal/family life. And that is exactly what I did.
Ok, so here is the main question of our interview. Can you share five pieces of advice to other leaders about how to achieve the best balance between work and personal/family life? Please share a story or example for each.
So here it is leaders. Stop trying to achieve balance. Balance does not exist. There will always be something that requires your attention at any given time that will take precedence over something else. It took me so long to realize this and I don’t want you to make the same mistakes I did.
At one point in my life, I chased balance so hard that I wound up miserable, unhappy, and burnt out. In my efforts to achieve balance, I lost touch with who I was at the core and forgot my identity. It wasn’t until I realized balance was unattainable that I began to see life differently. Leaders, here are five pieces of advice to help you stop chasing balance and instead find harmony in life.
- Stop trying to multitask. Multitasking causes you to split your attention between too many things at one time. Instead of being productive, you find yourself with so many open and incomplete tasks, leaving you with much more work to do. Multitasking adds to the stress of trying to achieve balance, so just stop. Instead, prioritize your time. We all have an endless list of to-dos. If you are anything like me your to-do list continues to grow each and every day. Sometimes our lists are so long that we find ourselves with so many incomplete tasks from day-to-day. By establishing priorities each day, you will soon find that you get more done in a day.
- Get into the habit of time-blocking. Time blocking is when you dedicate a specific amount of time to your tasks and responsibilities throughout the day. Set a timer, work on the task, then when the time expires, wrap up what you’re working on and move on to the next item. Setting a timer for as little as 10 minutes can leave you feeling so much more productive each day. For example, say you want to check your emails. Set a timer for 30 minutes. Go through your inbox and do what you need to do. When the timer sounds, stop what you are doing and move on. By dedicating specific time periods to certain tasks, you will find that you feel less overwhelmed by all you have to do.
- Set clear boundaries. Boundaries are essential to your success. You have to set your limits in order for people to respect you and your time. When you set clear boundaries, you let it be known that you value your time and energy and in return you expect people to do the same. Boundaries are necessary for all areas of life: work, business, family, etc. To effectively achieve life harmony, you must work within a clear line of boundaries. If you allow people to take advantage of you then they will. Do yourself a favor and establish your boundaries from the beginning.
- Take a break and disconnect. Leadership can be taxing on you — physically and mentally. It takes a lot of energy to be a great leader in all areas of your life. Just because you are good at something doesn’t mean you don’t need to take breaks. On this journey to harmony in life, give yourself a break. Constantly, moving and being on the go will burn you out quickly. Life is a constant juggling act, be sure to work some breaks into it. The work and business will be there. Your to-do list isn’t going anywhere so take some time to enjoy life.
- Grant yourself some grace. It took me a long time to realize that balance doesn’t exist. I was doing myself more harm than good constantly chasing after balance. Although I now see balance through a different light, the transformation and mindset shift didn’t occur overnight. It took time, patience, and most of all an intentional effort to do things differently. Take your time. Implement a few changes each day. Don’t get frustrated and go easy on yourself. Be kind and grant yourself some grace to figure out the best ways for you to achieve harmony in your work life and personal/family life.
Setting priorities, creating goals, and working each day in all areas of your life will soon give you the “balance” you so desperately seek. Strive for harmony overbalance. Get the areas of your life to work in sync with one another so that you can live with peace and contentment. By shifting away from the traditional “work-life balance” ideology, you will gain a different outlook on life and find the freedom to live a harmonious life.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”- Maya Angelou
This quote is relevant to me in two ways.
1. Perception forms reality. Oftentimes, I can’t change the things around me, but I can change how I look, feel, or think about them. By changing my attitude towards situations, I am able to shift my mindset and see things in a different light.
2. I have the power to choose and if there is something I want to change then I have every right to do so. It reminds me of the great power I have as a human being even when I feel powerless. I will always have the power of choice so I can either change my situation or change my mindset. Either way, the power lies in my hands.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I have a podcast called “More Than A Mother” where we believe moms can pursue their dreams and be great moms at the same time. Through this I hope to start a motherhood movement. I hope to empower moms to flip the script on motherhood. For too long, moms have sacrificed everything for their families and loved ones. Moms seem to lose their identity in motherhood and roles, and feel guilty when we take steps to do things outside of mothering and caretaking. However, the More Than A Mother movement is saying goodbye to mom guilt and hello to our dreams and goals. No longer does motherhood mean losing oneself.
When I last checked, there are 2 billion mothers in the world (85.4 million in the US). Imagine how impactful such a move would be. I hope to inspire nations of mothers to rise up, reclaim their power, and proudly say “I am more than a mother”. They can proclaim, “I have dreams, goals and I’m going after everything I want and more. That doesn’t make me any less of a mother or take anything away from my other roles. I was a woman before I was a mother, and I have every right to have joy and be content in all areas of life”. We give accolades and pay homage to our moms and those that came before us. We understand they did what worked for them, however now is our time moms, and we can have it all.
What is the best way for people to follow you online?
I hang out on Facebook and Instagram. People can connect with me on both platforms @LaWannMoses.
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights!