“Listening to the still small voice within will help you discover your life’s purpose and lead you into your destiny”, Karen Rae of ‘Balanced Life’ and Parveen Panwar, Mr. Activated

Listening to the still small voice within will help you discover your life’s purpose and lead you into your destiny. When you are living out your life’s purpose, it will put you in a state of FLOW. You’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that you are doing exactly what you are “meant to […]

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Listening to the still small voice within will help you discover your life’s purpose and lead you into your destiny. When you are living out your life’s purpose, it will put you in a state of FLOW. You’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that you are doing exactly what you are “meant to be doing” at just the right time!

As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Rae.

Karen Rae is Founder and CEO of Balanced Life and creator of The Signature Balanced Life Planner®. She is a thought leader, influencer, and risk taker, and provides the vision and energy that has inspired the creation of Balanced Life by Karen Rae®, a brand of planners, journals, and inspirational products that help individuals regain control of their lives and reach their full potential.

Karen is a single mother of two young daughters with a passion for helping others. She not only runs the day to day operations of Balanced Life by Karen Rae®, she plays an active role in and serves on the Board of Directors for Positive Impact Worldwide, a nonprofit organization that provides food and other life essentials to families in St. Petersburg, FL.

The Balanced Life by Karen Rae® story is very interesting, and we are excited to interview Karen about her successful COVID-19 inspired start-up business and entrepreneurial spirit.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I was raised in a small town in Indiana. My dad was an industrial pipefitter who worked 7 days a week and overtime. We took a one week vacation each year. My mom owned a custom drapery business (when I was younger) and did some lifestyle modeling; she also volunteered her time to serve others.

Both of my parents taught me that nothing in this world is handed to you, you have to work for it, and they encouraged me to do just that — I babysat, waited tables, mowed lawns, and even detasseled corn in Indiana one summer when I was 15 years old!

Fortunately, both of my parents instilled a very strong work ethic in me from a young age and illustrated how a strong work ethic cannot only allow you to achieve great things but will set you apart from others.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

My mother and grandmother are a big source of inspiration to me. They both instilled in me the belief that “No dream is too BIG for God!” They taught me that if God calls you to do something, he’ll make a way for you to do it, even if there seems to be no way!

When I was a child, my grandmother started Champion Acres Lake and Campground where she hosted camp meetings and gospel singings, and my mother started and currently runs a faith based, non-profit organization that provides food and other life essentials to families in our community.

Being of service to family, neighbors, friends, as well as to our community was a key part of my childhood. I saw my mother and grandmother volunteering their time, talents and funds in so many ways. Not only did they believe it was the right thing to do but they truly enjoyed being of service to other people. Watching the pleasure they gained from giving back was inspiring and became a common theme in the lives of my sisters and myself.

My career choice and passion for helping and serving others has evolved in a way that was modeled to me by my mother and grandmother.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My mom has encouraged me to follow my dreams and has given me the most help. She has always believed in me, sometimes even more than I believed in myself! My stepdad has also joined along with her in supporting me; they have helped me in every way possible, from helping me get my young daughters ready for school, fixing us breakfast, putting gas in my car when it was 28 miles to empty and I didn’t have a dime to my name, to investing a portion of their savings and retirement into my businesses! They have gone above and beyond, especially during a great time of need in my life, to help me get back on my feet and encourage me, which I will never forget and forever be grateful for!

I know that I am blessed to have a supportive family!

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I have certainly made my fair share of mistakes, none of which I look back on and find funny, lol, but all of which I have learned a great deal from. For instance, I owned an advertising business before starting Balanced Life by Karen Rae® that went from zero to 2 million dollars in sales the first 18 months that we were in business. I wish I would have had a mentor to advise me on reinvesting the majority of the money we made back into the business. Instead, I paid myself and increased my lifestyle to the point that I was tied financially to working “in the business” doing sales, rather than in a position of strength financially to spend my time working “on the business,” which would have taken it to another level.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

I would say dream BIG and BELIEVE in yourself and your dreams. Avoid the naysayers. Listen to the still small voice within yourself and go with it! Surround yourself with like-minded people. NEVER give up on your dreams (even if you have to change paths). Constantly engage in personal development — read or listen to self-help and business books. Read or watch biographies, they are a great source of information and inspiration. Find a mentor, someone who has “been there and done that,” and can give you direction, tips, advice, suggestions, motivation and support!

And remember, no one ever said that it would be easy, but it’s worth it! It’s a roller coaster, you’ll have lots of ups and downs. Enjoy every part of the ride. It will pay off!

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I have to first mention the Bible because I have relied heavily upon Scripture to provide me with direction and solutions for every situation in life. Secondly, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, was one of the first personal development books I ever read, which had such a profound impact on me. With this book I realized for the first time how powerful our mind is and the influence that our personal beliefs have on us and our success. I have never forgotten this and have consciously chosen to BELIEVE that I can achieve whatever I set my mind to and so can you!

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” Teddy Roosevelt

This is one of my favorite quotes because when I look back over my life, I have certainly won some and lost some, however I wouldn’t trade it for anything because the WINS were amazing and I would not have experienced the WINS without the losses.

I heard a long time ago, “if we avoid the peaks and valleys, we’ll never experience the peaks,” and this resonated with me. I don’t know about you, but I want to experience the peaks, I don’t just want to play it safe and exist, I want to go for it and really live and experience the best life has to offer!!!

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I am working on getting The Signature Balanced Life Planner® in as many people’s hands as possible, because I believe without a shadow of a doubt it will help individuals regain control of their lives and reach their full potential.

The crazy thing is, I never set out to start a new business or create a product, but when life slowed down as a result of the pandemic, it was a blessing in disguise for my family. I decided that when life returned to normal, I didn’t want normal to look anything like it looked before, I wanted to live my life more intentionally and focus upon those things that matter the most.

This thought is what inspired me to write a plan, which led to the creation of The Balanced Life Planner®, a guilt-free weekly planner that walks individuals through how-to set their life goals and plan their days in a way that achieves balancein the 5 Fundamental Areas of Life — Faith, Family, Finances, Fitness, and Friendships.

The Balanced Life Planner® is a culmination of lessons and experiences I have gained over my lifetime and enriched with inspirational quotes and ideas from others. My hope is that the planner will help individuals discover their life’s purpose and reach success in ways they have never experienced!

Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

Our daily habits ultimately set the tone for our entire lives, this is why it is so important to create habits that improve our lives, and I have learned that good habits don’t happen automatically, we have to be intentional in building good habits that align with our goals.

For instance, living a balanced life is important to me, therefore, I have to be intentional about planning my days in a way that includes actions that contribute to each of the 5 fundamental areas of my life, like starting my day by reading a daily devotional, taking a few minutes each day to text a friend to let them know that I’m thinking of them, or taking a couple of mile walk each morning.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

Our habits (our actions) determine our success and potential, so they are of utmost importance because they determine the outcome of our lives.

One of the most important habits I have established is setting aside time every Sunday to plan for the week ahead. I determine what needs to be done both personally and professionally and what action steps I am going to take each day to complete important tasks and at the same time maintain a healthy life balance; planning out my days helps me to avoid distractions and keep my focus on what matters the most.

I have also developed the habit of journaling, which is a stress reducer! It helps me sort through and organize my thoughts, to get a grip on my life, and make sense of things. Journaling gives me comfort, clarity, and confidence. I wouldn’t want to do life without my journal.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

Developing good habits starts with clearly defining our goals and determining what actions we need to take each day in order to achieve our goals.

I have found that reflecting upon my days helps me to develop good habits by recognizing the habits that are serving me well and those that are not, I then replace those that are not with a good habit. The best thing about habits is if they are not working for us, we can change them!

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

When I think of wellness, I think of our physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing, which starts with living a balanced life. When I think of performance, I think of setting boundaries and operating within our full potential within the boundaries that we have set for ourselves, and when I think of focus, I think of clearly defining what is important to us and avoiding anything that would distract us from focusing upon those things.

So, the three habits that I have established that have helped me most in these 3 areas are planning out my days in a way that focuses on each of the 5 fundamental areas of my life, reading self-help books regularly that challenge and inspire me to be the best version of myself, and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals who support, inspire, and hold me accountable to reaching my balanced life goals.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Writing down our goals and dreams and then asking ourselves, “WHY is this goal or dream important to me?” is a very important practice to do. Writing down our goals and getting to the core of WHY our goals matter and what we want to feel, experience, or share as a result of achieving them gives us a reason for doing the work that it takes to realize our dreams.

I give 5 Action Steps to Achieving the Life You Want to Live in The Balanced Life Planner®, they are Commit to the disciplines required, it is essential to achieving the life of your dreams. Define what you want to accomplish and WHY it is important to you. Plan and Execute your plan. There is no better time than NOW to take the necessary action to start living the life that you were born to live, and Join a community of like-minded people who will support, inspire, and hold you accountable to reaching your personal life goals.

These are all practices that will help you choose actions and develop good habits that can change your life significantly.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

I have established the habit of going to bed early, sleep is critical to success, and rising early before my children start stirring. I use the early morning hours to read a daily devotional, which is uplifting and keeps me grounded in my faith, and exercise, which clears my head and makes me feel more motivated.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I recommend reading your goals daily to remind yourself of WHY you are making the sacrifices you are making and taking the steps you are taking daily; this will keep you motivated and on course to achieving your goals.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

Spending a few minutes each day on focused thinking helps me to process everything that’s going on in my life; I like to do this first thing in the morning. Having quiet time and reflecting on my business, my mental and physical well-being and personal relationships gives me clarity and helps me lead a more productive and balanced life.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I use The Balanced Life Planner® to plan my week ahead which helps me to set my priorities each day and build good habits.

As a leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Listening to the still small voice within will help you discover your life’s purpose and lead you into your destiny. When you are living out your life’s purpose, it will put you in a state of FLOW. You’ll know without a shadow of a doubt that you are doing exactly what you are “meant to be doing” at just the right time!

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I would like to offer support to single mothers, including but not limited to counseling, a mentorship program, financial support for basic needs, such as housing and transportation, as well as offer grants to female entrepreneurs.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to meet with anyone who could advise me on how to raise capital and grow my business into the multi-million dollar brand that I know it is capable of becoming, so if you, whoever you may be, are reading this and like what you see, please reach out to me! 🙂

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can learn more at, connect with us @BalancedLifeKR on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, or reach out to us at [email protected] They can also share their Balanced Life Story using #BalancedLifeKR.

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