We have been reading a lot about motivation lately. How to maintain it, how to stay inspired, how to motivate ourselves to take on new projects and dream of new adventures at a time when we feel like we’re all a bit stuck. This is currently (of course) because we are physically stuck at home. However, feeling stuck or at an impasse in life can happen at any time and for a wide variety of reasons. That’s where the pros can help! Women like Neha O’Rourke have made it their goal to help those of us who need a little extra inspiration and guidance. She’s the life coach behind “Somewhere in Between” career and energy coaching, focusing on educating others on the benefits of working your way out of burnout and into fulfillment. She’s the perfect person to kick off this new week and help us all stay on track towards our goals and dreams for the future.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
I love this question! If I could go back to my younger self, I’d tell young Neha to say “no” more often. 

I’d find a way for her to truly know that she does not have to please everyone and she’s allowed to say no — and not have to explain anything to anyone. “No” doesn’t mean you’re a failure or incapable of doing something. In fact, the opposite; “no” means you know your priorities, boundaries and your self worth. 

When you say “no” you are really saying “yes” to yourself. 

What were some of your first jobs and how did they lead you to where you are now?
I’m a big believer that all of our past experiences — good or bad — are intended to serve their own purpose to shape who we are today and who we will be tomorrow. 

This belief system has been a recurring theme in my life — especially as it relates to my career.  Every internship, every job, every career choice I’ve made has been essential in laying down the foundation for my future success. 

Yes, even my first job as a hostess that I worked part time during my sophomore year of high school. Yes, all five of my internships through college that spanned cities like Chicago, Columbia, Minneapolis, and Atlanta —and industries like tech, broadcast, social media, advertising, and more. Yes, my early years in advertising where I rose through the ranks in a highly competitive field —ultimately leading me to experience major burnout. 

Each one of these experiences taught me lessons on how to manage my energy, real life experiences, learning from others, etc. I could very easily have had the mindset that my advertising career was a waste or a failure because it ultimately led me to put my career on pause. The truth is that I had incredible experiences and learned some so many skills that ultimately made my journey into entrepreneurship that much easier. 

What is something no one tells you about starting your own company?
What a great question! You simply must build out your “business community” of like-minded entrepreneurs. While family and friends can be amazing support systems, you’ll want to be in ongoing conversions with individuals and even groups of people who can relate to your everyday moments  and lifestyle. Having a community of like-minded entrepreneurs has been beneficial for my personal life, as well. You can learn more about my whole process here!
And about being your own boss?
It’s SO important to check in with yourself as a person, not just as the boss of your company. Your personal goals are as important as your professional goals so make the space and time for them. Approach your personal goals with the same tenacity and commitment as your professional goals.

How do you find a healthy work/life balance in your own life?
I think of it as work/life alignment, because I think balance is an unfair expectation. Aligning means giving support to your life and bringing all aspects of your life together in agreement.

I like to take a two pronged approach to this with intentional structure and fluidity. Structure looks like carving out time as a non-negotiable for myself – for me that’s a morning routine and a promise to not answer emails in the evening (unless urgent). From a fluid perspective, I’m always aligning with my energy because I believe flow yields a better output than force. We’ve all been there when you have work to do, but you’re really tired and all you want to do is just relax. In those moments, I choose to relax and do the work later. When I listen to my body, I find that not only do I benefit but the work benefits, as well. I’m able to do better work when I’m aligning it with my energy versus forcing it. 
Why is goal-setting important during this time for our economy?
When we are met with uncertainty and hardship, it’s really easy to quickly hit the panic button and start doing things out of a place of lack. However, that doesn’t serve your energy and it also brings you father away from where you ultimately want to go. The truth of the matter is, that when everything is uncertain, everything that is important becomes clear.  

Goal-setting helps you prioritize those important things, especially in  \daunting times. By setting goals, you’re able to create conscious decisions that move you closer to where you want to go. In times like now, you may have to pivot your strategy, but when you know your goals, it’s easier to make decisions that still continue to bring you towards your long term goal. It’s important to remember that things will get better and when they do, if you’re making decisions based on your goals, you’ll be positioned to move forward with more ease.

What is your biggest accomplishment to date for Somewhere In Between Coaching?
My biggest accomplishment to date has been maintaining a 100% success rate with my clients. I am so grateful to see my client’s lives change through the work we’ve done together. I was also grateful to have been named “20 On The Rise” in the coaching industry by Honeybook and Rising Tide Society for my impact, empowerment, purpose and passion. 
What is your five-year plan for the company?
My five year plan for my company is closely tied to that of my personal life (something I encourage my clients to also think about). For me in the next five years I’d like to start a family and maintain a strong and healthy business. 
Tell us the best business advice you have ever received!
Put your blinders on and do you. There are so many opinions of what you could/ must/ should be doing, but your opinion is the most important. 

What do you love most about Chicago?
Chicago is a really special city for so many reasons, but what I love most about it is that it has the diverse opportunities of a big city but warm values of the Midwest which creates a beautiful culture. In the entrepreneurial space, it’s so much fun to see this translate into a welcoming and collaborative community bursting with opportunities. 

It’s no wonder Chicago has had the highest concentration of female entrepreneurs in the U.S.
What are some of your favorite spots in the city?
I’m originally from Minnesota, the land of over 10,000 lakes, so the lakefront path is my absolute favorite spot in Chicago. I also love exploring coffee shops around the city — Heritage is one of my favorites (get the iced macadamia milk latte — you will not regret it). 

For more inspiration from women making waves in Chicago, check out our past weekly Women We Love features! You will be ready to take this week by storm!

The post Women We Love: Neha O’Rourke, Consultant and Life Coach appeared first on Lux & Concord - A Chicago Lifestyle Blog - A women's lifestyle blog offering inspiration for your closet, career, and more..
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