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Meet Madelin, who’s bringing clear information to the world of gastroenterology… and LOVES it. No seriously, read on to learn more about her work/life/passion balance journey…

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?

I’m the Senior Manager of Clinical Guideline Development at the American Gastroenterological Association Institute (yikes, what a mouthful!) Basically, in my day-to-day job, I coordinate the development and publication of guidelines for doctors in the gastrointestinal field. These guidelines are based on very rigorous reviews of the scientific evidence about how to diagnose, evaluate and treat all sorts of digestive disorders, from colon cancer to acid reflux. Our goal is to make sure doctors across the country are all up-to-date on the latest scientific evidence so that they can provide the best care possible to their patients.

As part of this job, I also write patient summaries for each guideline. These summaries take our guidelines and put them into plain, everyday language so that doctors and patients can better understand one another – the doctor can explain a diagnosis and how they intend to treat a condition, and the patient is more likely to know what questions they need to ask their doctor as well as how to care for themselves when they get home.

We’ve all had experiences when we walked out of the doctor’s office after a diagnosis or treatment decision with our head spinning with so much information, and wondering, “okay, so… what did we just talk about in there?” I hope that with my patient-oriented summaries, we can ensure that patients get all the information they need to manage their conditions effectively from the start and avoid problems down the line.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
One of the first real magazines I ever read was my father’s monthly subscription to Skeptic magazine. One of my yearly Christmas gifts was a World Almanac, and every Christmas morning into my adolescence was spent cozied up on the couch with my nose in the new edition, soaking up all the information that excited me. I have an insatiable appetite for new information, especially when it comes to things related to health and science.

Over the past year, it’s dawned on me that my career interests, my hobbies and my overall lifestyle all have two shared threads running through them: the theme of soaking up information, and the theme of applying that information to practice. Evidence-based medicine is a huge interest of mine and guides just about everything I do in my “day job” developing clinical guidelines. But it also plays a large role in my time outside of work – for instance, I love to participate in online skeptic and science advocacy forums and listen to podcasts about evidence-based fitness and nutrition. When I’m not plugged in, I’m either in the gym using science and evidence-based methods to prepare for my first bodybuilding competition, or in the kitchen experimenting with different ways to create healthful meals that satisfy my raging sweet tooth – which is almost as insatiable as my zest for knowledge!

So as you can see, my passion for seeking out evidence and applying it to my life – and also communicating science-based information to others – pops up just about everywhere throughout my day, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. I find that because my interests and hobbies complement my 9-to-5 job, it helps me make sure that I don’t get too bogged down in working. I have so many outlets through which to express my love of health and science, and my job is only one of them! I feel lucky to be starting on a career that is fed by my biggest passions in life. There’s so much rampant misinformation around health these days, and I want to be part of improving the conversation and improving lives through the spread of information that’s based in facts, not emotions like fear.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
My interests ranged from oceanographer to movie producer! Somewhere around the age of 12, I saw my first episode of “The West Wing” and instantly decided I wanted to be in politics. I loved trying to figure out what makes people “tick” – why they vote for a certain candidate and how they form their beliefs. It took me 10 years to figure out that the extreme lack of work/life balance that’s inherent in politics was not a good fit for me – I value self-care too much to go down that road. I had an epiphany while I was working 80-hour weeks and living off of pizza one summer during college that what I really wanted to do was change lives through health communication, and keep my own health and sanity while doing it. Not to mention, if what you really care about is getting the straight, scientific facts to your audience, politics is probably not the best field to go into.

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I want to be the person behind the scenes of a highly impactful public health campaign  – hopefully, several! – that will get people to change their behaviors around health. As Mad Men’s Peggy Olsen said, “I want to create something of value.” In fact, advertising and health communication are very similar – I just want to sell better health to Americans, not panty hose.

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
https://instagram.com/madelinrose – but be forewarned that you will regularly encounter gym selfies and food pics – the two most hated of all digital photography subjects.

Anything else you want to share?

I came across a quote from Maya Angelou the other day that I felt describes my life philosophy perfectly: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive: and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” Leave it to Maya for that mic drop.

 

Hi! Who are you?! What do you do?
Hi! I am Betina and I do a couple things for work. Right now, my main role is that I am a Director at a new social sharing platform for sharing tastes and opinions called Tastetracker. I am focused on marketing, building community, and finding interesting tastemakers to help create great content for the app. I also recently became a certified yoga teacher, and am working on developing that as a part of my career. I am really interested in the energetic ties between yoga, positive psychology, and creativity. My friend Cobi and I are working on something around those interests called Om Atha.

Work/Life/Passion Balance, what’s your method?
I think that balance you’re referring to is the main reason I do yoga. And it’s the reason I block out “CHILL” nights on my calendar (I have this sickness whereby I want to do everything so I overbook myself and forget to have “me” time – so I have to schedule it). I didn’t pay much attention to balance until I found that after a few years of living in New York, I was totally off balance and disconnected from so many things I really loved for my whole life before. I realized that I needed time and space to re-establish that connection, and get to know myself again. Safeguarding that energetic balance is similar to going to the gym, or eating healthy. It’s a practice, and it takes work and commitment, and if I don’t do it, I feel like crap, and not like my best, most happy self.

Actually, exploring methods for finding balance is one of my passions. It’s why I study yoga, and it’s why I developed an interest in positive psychology. It’s also why I am not-so-secretly obsessed with personality tests, and even more esoteric things like astrology. It’s ALSO why I love art. Throughout history, humans have come up with so many fascinating and diverse methods for developing self-knowledge, self-expression, and self-care – I am fascinated by that!

My method is that I make it a daily practice to stay connected to my core values, and to trust my body in determining when specific things are needed. The general recipe is a cocktail of socializing (friends, family, parties), writing, reading (and sharing what I read), stretching, sweating, making things with my hands (collages, food), and satisfying my inexhaustible curiosity by trying/seeing/hearing/experiencing new things. I don’t like to be too regimented, but I know I am happy when I have a pretty good balance of those things each week.

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a fashion designer, and I wanted to join the circus. I feel like I am a little closer to the second option.

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
Oh god. I think about this all the time. Rikki, you know this. I have so many ideas for this, so maybe the next thing I should work on is committing, so that I can pick one (or two) to focus on.

I read this awesome quote today by James Victoire: “The things that made you weird as a kid—make you great today.” I liked it so much, I tweeted it. So does that mean I should be a fashion designer and join the circus? Sometimes I think, yeah, in a way.

So with that in mind, I’d like to keep teaching yoga when I grow up. I’ve been practicing since I was 15, and I love sharing what I’ve learned. I also would like design to be a more significant part of my daily life. Drawing and collage used to be my favorite pastimes as a kid.

Some other ideas: writer (specifically, I want to be Martha Medeiros – she is amazing), costume designer (for movies), accessories designer (jewelry and/or shoes), art therapist, digital nomad (hehe).

Can’t wait to see what happens! NEITHER CAN I!

Thanks for chatting! Where can folks find more info about you?
Tweet @betinavb
Gram @betinavb
www.betinabethlem.com
www.tastetracker.com (sign up for our private beta!!)
betina.bethlem@gmail.com

Last week we met Jesse, who’s a pretty impressive individual with a focus on bettering himself, others and getting companies running. Also, he’s a super talented cook which I can attest to. If you want to catch up on what we discussed last week, check it out here.

On how Jesse compares to Beyonce and Obama:
I am pretty obsessed with the concept that we all have 24 hours in a day. Time is the only asset we cannot get back once it’s used. I really like to think about how I can use my time most efficiently and how I can optimize my potential. I have a brother with autism who wasn’t really given a fair shot at life. It is even more motivating for me to realize my potential. I don’t feel like I’m quite there yet. Part of me thinks I need to be building a network, a platform where I can share/facilitate meaningful content. My newest hobby is finding YouTube celebs and learning how they form communities around their passions. Emergency Awesome is my new favorite channel. Charlie, the personality is the nerdiest most awesome guy, who spends his whole time talking about video games, TV shows like Game of Thrones and other weird shit. I love his cadence and true sense of self. I’m toying around with how/if/when I’ll create a little soapbox.

About the mystery of startups:
The last thing I spend a lot of time thinking about is fundamentals-based cash flowing businesses. I think some VC’s have created a mystery regarding the “value” of young companies that isn’t completely fair or realistic. We live in a time where technology can be used to create real businesses that generate real cash. I love the idea of being able to “counterpunch” – respond quickly to market opportunities through simple digital business modeling. I’d love to get to a point where we can spin out 1-2 ideas per year to take chances at these opportunities. Thats all for this rant, moving on…

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Chef. A friends mom actually remembers asking me this question distinctly, and always reminds me of my answer.

I actually took this a step further when I was looking to go to college and looked at some Hotel/Restaurant Management programs. After speaking to a bunch of people in the industry, I decided against it.

I’ve always loved being in the kitchen. When my brothers gravitated to video games growing up, I always leaned towards hanging out with my mom in the kitchen.

I also think that there is no better way to garner community and forge new relationships than being at a dinner table. For me, the greatest single moment of solace I have each week, is at a Friday night dinner, after the meal, with a few drops of wine left in the glass. Sitting there, digesting, not just the food, but the conversations of the night and the progress made over the past week. Exhale to perfection.

Now that you’re pretty much a grown-up, what do you think you’re going to be when you grow up?
I’m never growing up… haha. I honestly want to be a Dad. I want a bunch of kids running around. I think I was meant to have a big family. I’d rather be defined by the family I create instead of by the career path I forge.

How do you focus on your career while knowing you’d like to be defined by the family you create?
Because I’m focused on my career, I am less focused on the women I am bringing into my life. In order to have a family, I need to have a wife. In order to have a wife, I need a girlfriend, in order to have a girlfriend I need to date. Vicious cycle. I’m not sure if one day I’m going to wake up and realize I need to dedicate real energy to that. Right now I tell myself to listen. Listen to the opportunities that come into my life and take advantage of them. If I come across a beautiful/nice/sweet young woman in line at the coffee shop, you better believe I’ll be talking to her.

When it comes to professionally, I really do believe in the “Entrepreneurial Path”. I like defying convention. I like the flexibility of being able to run multiple businesses with their own life cycles.

I’d like to have a bunch of businesses running that create wealth through technology, but I have this weird image of owning a couple breakfast/coffee/coworking restaurants. I’d be a happy as a clam talking to customers and seeing their days brightened by a service I was offering.

Want to learn more about Jesse? Check out these links!
Twitter: jessehmorris4
Instagram: jessehmorris
Business: http://www.joinspartan.com
Email: jesse@joinspartan.com
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessemorris2014

Anything else you want to share?
I am a quadruplet.

Now for the second part in our two-part series learning about how Alexa, our double-careerist makes space for work, life and passion. If you want to catch up, read Part 1 here.

How do you feel about your work/life/passion? How do you feel like it will evolve?
I have the best job in the world.  I get paid to backpack 20 miles a day off trail at 10,000ft and catch frogs.  But my work is seasonal, temporary, and without benefits.  Looking forward to a life with more permanence and stability, I am addressing the differences between wants and needs to guide career decisions.  I need a home, a community, daily exercise in the mountains, and time with my amazing husband.  I want (but may need) to think critically and problem solve, to make things with my hands, and to live in a place I love.  I don’t want to feel like I can’t afford avocados, or fresh berries, or a teeth cleaning, or a new exhaust system…

What are some things that sorta hold you back?
I make a lot of excuses to NOT pursue the things I love.  I have a hard time taking risks.

What do you do in your free time to get more passion in your life?
I bake my own bread and crackers and make my own yogurt when I have time.  I run and ski and climb but rarely take ownership of risk in the latter two.  I do yoga on my own but usually call it “active stretching” because I don’t want to buy in too much.  Not much in this world is better than sleeping in with the person you love, enjoying a breakfast of bagels and lox and stove-top espresso, going out for an afternoon hike, ski tour, run, or climb, and finishing off the day with tasty homemade dinner.  Oh, and reading is WAY better than watching Netflix but sometimes TV happens….

When you were little, what did you think you’d be when you grew up?
As a kid, I honestly didn’t know what I would be when I grew up. I thought I would figure it out as I went along.  And, now that I am partially grown up, I still don’t know what I will be when I am fully grown up, or if I will EVER fully grow up for that matter.

I will say that as a child,
1) the bottoms of my feet were usually black and tough from running around barefoot outside;
2) I had a sketchbook and enjoyed arts and crafts time;
3) I would conduct week long experiments in the bathtub to create the perfect bath product concoction, and when my mom would invariably knock one of my incubations over while shaving her legs, the experiment would have to start over from scratch and I would not be pleased; and
4) I put myself down for naptime regularly.

So, not much has changed, except that I am worse about the sketchbook and better about the experiments.

Now that you’re grown up, what will you be?
An ecologist-baker-printmaker-mom-homesteader, of course.

How can we find you if we want to learn more?
Rikki Goldenberg has used smoke signals in the past with pretty good results.

Anything else you want to share?
Um, when a page won’t load on Chrome, ever wonder why there is a dinosaur at the top of the message?  Try pressing the spacebar once, and then press it again, and watch that dinosaur…

So there you have it folks! But, one of the last bits of advice Alexa shared may have been my favorite:
It was actually good for me to write these sorts of thoughts down.  I’ve been going back and forth about returning to school for ecology since September, and I just need to do it.  It is time to commit, because committing to something is better than waiting to commit to the “right” thing.  There is no “right” thing at the end of the day.  I do not believe in soul-mates, and I do not believe in a soul-career.  In both cases of mate and career, the chemistry needs to be there, but so does the effort to make things work.  Its about making the choice right, not so much about making the right choice.  Masters (or PhD…..) in ecology, here I come.

Here’s to committing to try new – scary- things! Thanks Alexa!!

If you’re interested in telling me about your own work/life/passion balance creation, shoot me a note at workhappi AT gmail.

We’re excited to share with you Alexa’s take on managing work, life and passion in a two-part series. Alexa is a biological science technician for the Department of Interior from April to October and a ski instructor from December to March. Her story is one that shows just how you can truly craft your own approach to work and joy – and location.

What kind of work do you do?
At the Department of the Interior, the research projects I work on vary in scale, scope, and subject – from grasses to amphibians, from killing invasive species to saving endangered ones, from desert riparian corridors to alpine meadows and lakes. As a ski instructor,  my main bread and butter is ripping around the mountain with 4-6 year olds.  Sometimes trying, but generally adorable.

What are some things that make work “work” for you?
Structure. A job gives me purpose and structure, which in turn helps me manage my free time better.  My dad says, “If you want something done, give it to a busy Alexa.”  Catch-22, but I waste my time when I have limitless amounts of it. I work well with structure but without being micromanaged.  My ideal work environment provides a loose framework within which I can work creatively and with autonomy.

Meaning. I need to work, and my work needs meaning. I am not put together to have my work simply fund my free time.  Work does not need to be awe-inspiring or profound, but it must have a purpose I can get behind.

Repetition. All jobs have repetitive elements.  I do best when my job requires some creativity, problem-solving, or new human interaction on a regular basis.  If not, I better be working outside in a beautiful place.

Outside time. Getting paid to play outside is great.  I currently get paid to backpack and ski, and I have been paid to hike, canoe, climb, and play in the mud in the past.  But no one pays you that much to play outside.  Its a trade-off.

Check in next week to learn more about what Alexa does in her free time, how she’s planning for the future and how I normally try to reach her.

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