Thank you for sharing your story with us. What is your professional background? How did you end up with this career?
I am a former litigator who now operates An Imperfectly Perfect Life, LLC, a professional mindset coaching business serving women who are in their tricky middle age years, helping them create the second half of life that they desire. I am also the author of the nationally acclaimed Friendship transformational book series, which includes The 50/50 Friendship Flow: Life Lessons From and For My Girlfriends and Make Your Mess Your Message - More Life Lessons From and For My Girlfriends.
I made the transition from litigator to stay-at-home mom (to a small fitness studio owner during the years I stayed at home) to professional coach by changing career direction as my life circumstances changed. When my children were young, my husband and I learned that our daughter was suffering from developmental delays that required a significant amount of specialists and appointments which was the catalyst for me leaving an active law practice. While staying at home with the children, I became very active in mixed martial arts and interested in fitness which led me to opening my own home studio that was filled 7 days a week with primarily mothers of preschool and school aged children. I closed the studio after learning I needed both hips replaced, receiving a diagnosis of hip dysplasia in my late 30s. I continued to have a few health challenges thrown my way which led me to believe that many of my life challenges were placed on my path so that I can use those experiences to be of support and guidance to others as they experience life’s unexpected twists and turns. My belief brought me to my current career as a life coach.
How did you begin your remote work journey? Where do you see yourself in the next year? What tips do you have for others who are working remotely?
My coaching practice has always been remote. The difference that the pandemic brought was that phone appointments transitioned to 100 percent Zoom video appointments. In the next year I’ll continue to work remotely, with most of my clients residing in states outside of my own. I am a very structured person that surrounds myself with lists and schedules so working remotely feels no different than if I were working in an office surrounded with co-workers, except for the benefit of less distraction and interruption throughout my workday. While working remotely feels very natural to me, I’ve learned from clients who have made the transition to a remote work life that organization and structure can be a challenge. For my clients who are struggling to find structure, I help guide them to create a calendaring and task system that works for them, and I remind them that on average it takes 66 days to form a habit. We then make structure a habit by creating a challenge after we create their individual working solution. My clients agree to challenge themselves to follow the created working solution for 66 days, revisit on the 67th day or so, and make adjustments as needed. The 66-day commitment gives the new working solution an honest shot and creates some pretty huge insights into discovering personal working styles, dislikes, likes, and even deep self-discovery.
What is your self-care routine and how do you find time to integrate it into your daily life?
I start my day with breakfast which includes a cup of black coffee followed by an at-home 45-to- 75-minute workout, then shower and make sure that my hair, make-up, and clothing choice is appropriate to answer the door or to receive an unplanned video call. I get ready for my day in this way even on days that I’m at home and have no planned meetings. I think mentally it is important to be ready for whatever the day throws my way. I joke that one never knows when they may be a witness to something and find themselves on the news, so it’s good practice to be ready for whatever the day brings.
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Putting yourself first is important to your overall wellness. Given this, what are your best holistic wellness tips?
Give yourself the grace of saying, ‘no.’ I used to burn the candle at both ends, trying to slay my goals while also making sure that I was there for friends, family, and colleagues whenever asked to attend a social gathering or to collaborate on a project. The number one wellness tip that I’ve learned is the art of saying ‘no’ without worrying that saying ‘no’ will negatively impact a relationship. Carving out time for myself to put my energy into my career is very important to me right now and it is not selfish.
The second tip I have is to take time to physically move each day. If you have just 10-minutes to spare, take the 1- minutes to repeatedly climb up and down a flight of stairs or take a 10-minute walk. Our bodies are designed to move, but our lifestyles have become so stagnant that while we exercise our minds at work, we neglect the importance of movement in our bodies. Each time I think that I’m too busy or too tired to exercise, I remind myself of the gift of being able to move and it is a gift that I don’t wish to waste.
My final holistic wellness tip is to find a nutrition plan or diet that works for you. Plan your meals and food throughout the week. You don’t have to count calories or become obsessed with the scale but be mindful of what you are putting into your body. Food is fuel and our bodies deserve the most premium fuel without overfilling our tank or running on empty.
What was the toughest challenge you faced during your career?
When I was younger, practicing law, my toughest challenge was self-confidence. As an Asian-American woman who was only 24 years old when I was hired as a criminal prosecutor in 1994, I didn’t look like any of my colleagues who were primarily older Caucasian males. I allowed the perception of who I was based on my appearance to affect my self-confidence. My faltering self-confidence caused self-doubt and I had to find strength to believe in myself even when I didn’t look like what my profession was used to seeing walk into a courtroom and often was initially treated as lesser than by both opposing counsel and even the Judge, at times.
How did you get through that period? What advice for people dealing with similar difficulties?
When I was a new attorney, I played the song, “I will survive” by Gloria Gaynor on the way to work each morning. I don’t suggest that as a tool for survival, though it certainly is a fun song to sing along to.
In my current role as a professional life coach, I work with many women who are experiencing what I experienced as a young professional, they feel they do not belong which has been commonly coined, “imposter syndrome.” When this issue arises in coaching sessions, I begin by asking my clients if what they are telling themselves is true. An example would be the belief I had, “I don’t belong as a lawyer in the courtroom.” As a coach I would ask, “Is that true?” And of course, the answer is, “No, it is not true.” I then ask my client, “What is the truth?” The truth is, “I do belong. I graduated from law school, I passed the bar, and I was hired to represent my client. I most certainly belong.” And through this practice my clients become conscious of the false beliefs they’ve allowed to enter their heads and they consciously rewrite those false beliefs, replacing them with what is true.
Mental health and feeling good are crucial to maximizing performance. How do you prioritize your mental health?
This is where the art of learning to say “no” that I referenced earlier fits in. When we overburden ourselves with too many commitments, we become both mentally and physically exhausted.
In addition to learning to say “no” to prioritize my mental health, I have also learned to listen to my gut. Often our bodies are more honest with us than our minds are. When we get those physical symptoms of anxiety – that’s the time that we need to listen to our gut. Our bodies have an amazing way of telling us that we need a break! Our physical bodies know when we are negatively affecting our mental health, we simply need to listen.
Before the pandemic hit, you may have worked in an office or corporate setting, but what do you foresee happening now? How do you see companies allowing employees to work post-pandemic?
While the modern-day workspace has changed and more people are working remotely, I believe we’ll see a push to get back into the office as many companies recognize the value of employees being able to interact in person with one another which promotes not only an understanding of individual roles but also an understanding of an individual’s role inside the business as a whole. When working side by side with someone in the same physical space, especially someone from a different department or who has a different position in the company, it is much easier to grasp how each position affects one another and the company’s overall business wellbeing and growth. The hybrid model of remote and in-person will continue but I don’t believe that the 100% remote work environments that we saw implemented in many of the large corporations will remain the norm.
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If you could have lunch with one person in the world, who would it be and why?
I would have lunch with Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine. I am interested in his background as an actor and comedian turned politician and war hero. I am interested in the journey that brought him to where he is and what gives him motivation and strength to move forward in the face of extreme adversity. I am also interested in his views on leadership and effective communication.
If you could inspire a movement, what would it be and why?
For the last 3 years, my mission has been to challenge my readers to sit down one on one with friends, colleagues, and even new acquaintances to let them know what they’ve learned from having that person in their lives because everyone we meet is both our teacher and our student. Too often we only hear about what someone has meant to the people around them when we attend a memorial service, we need to have these conversations with one another while we have the opportunity. I suggest committing to five people to meet with in a year’s time:
- Set a date. One on one.
2. Set your intention and let go of ego.
3. share your admiration and your observations.
4. Ask questions.
5. Finally, write it down, take a photo, keep a journal, capture the moment.
Please list your social media handles so we can tag you.
You Tube: https://youtube.com/c/Sharileid
Bio: Former litigator, Shari Leid currently operates An Imperfectly Perfect Life, LLC, a professional mindset coaching business primarily serving clients who are in those tricky middle age years, helping them create the life of their dreams. She is a national speaker and author of The 50/50 Friendship Flow: Life Lessons From and For My Girlfriends and Make Your Mess Your Message: More Life Lessons From and For My Girlfriends. Her third and final book in The Friendship series is scheduled for Fall 2022. Follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn.