Putting your life on pause to focus on your well-being is no easy feat. It means giving up the day-to-day things that give us routine and structure, often pay our bills and give us self value, even if those things are what are making you unhappy. But Lorna Borenstein, CEO and founder of Grokker, a premium wellness video network, made focusing herself and her well-being a priority. Here’s how she achieved her #BHmoment.
What steps did you take to take care of yourself more?
“I was hesitant to step off the career hamster wheel to take a much-needed break. I had to challenge my long-held personal beliefs about how a career defines you. Who am I without status, without title, without more money?
“For me, the only way to pursue well-being was to embrace what made me so afraid — leaving behind the status of the high profile job. I actually took nearly a year to transition from the company, helping to hire and prepare my replacement, that gave me time to gradually adapt to the idea of taking time off.
“Then, I changed my LinkedIn profile to read Chief Family Travel Officer. And I took time off to travel with family and figure out how to change my life for the better. Away from the stress and the burnout, I was able to calm my mind and chart a path to well-being.”
What things did you do daily to prioritize yourself?
“I incorporated the regular practice of yoga into my life. As a former triathlete, this was a life-changing new habit for my physical, emotional, and spiritual self. I learned how to be still and to be present. I pursued true well-being.”
Now as the leader of your own fitness company, how has your outlook on working changed?
“In 2012, I made the decision to help bring this well-being to others by founding Grokker, a wellness video network with the mission of helping people become their best self. I created a company where I can bring my whole self to work each day, and where I help others in their own journey to well-being.
“When I decided to re-enter Silicon Valley as an entrepreneur, I understood that to avoid burnout and remain true to my authentic self, I needed to bring a whole new approach to work. I had two requirements: One, I had to do something that I felt so passionately about that I couldn’t not do it; and two, I had to create a culture with values that reflected who I am now, and work with people that I love.”
What led you to make this change in your life?
“I grew up as the child of immigrants and the value of hard work and career success was instilled in me at a young age. In fact, my first job was unpacking boxes as a stock girl in the garment district in Montreal at age 11. In 2008, I was president of publicly-traded Move, Inc. I was at the apex of a successful career that had spanned the U.S. and Canada and included high-profile roles at HP, eBay, and Yahoo.
“However, despite this external success, I found myself deeply unhappy. I realized that I had all of these beliefs about career success being the path to joy. I had to re-examine these beliefs and discover which ones were serving me and which were not. This re-examination changed my life and led me to decide to pursue physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being as my life goals.”
Looking back at the changes you’ve made, would you do anything differently?
“I learned that joy is not just a reward at the end of a life well-played. We can achieve physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being if we are willing to do the hard work of challenging our own belief system.
“You need to periodically examine and challenge your beliefs. Honestly ask yourself: Are your beliefs still serving you? It was life-saving for me to challenge those beliefs I held since childhood.”
Why is your life better now?
“I tell my children that every day of my life is better than the one before it. I am living in the moment with gratitude, and no longer chasing the external validation I once craved. I am lucky enough to work at Grokker now, where I get to bring my whole self to work every day. It is truly my dream job.”
What is the biggest tip you tell friends?
“As a busy founder, CEO, and mom of three, I stay centered with a mantra I call 8-3-3: 8 hours of sleep a night, 3 nutritious meals a day, and 3 sweaty workouts or challenging yoga practices per week.
“If you see your life as a three-sided tent, you can only withstand one of the flaps coming unhooked at a time. If more than one flap is unhooked at a time, your tent will fall over in the slightest breeze. If you always have one flap unhooked and flapping in the wind, you won’t have good stability. So practicing 8-3-3- daily is how I try to stay centered, healthy, and happy. For me, this is non-negotiable. I suggest that everyone find their own ‘non-negotiable’ that you must do to maintain your own well-being.”
Anything else you want us to know?
“Focusing on your own well-being doesn’t mean you have to do it alone. In fact, the vast majority of today’s top employers provide corporate wellness services like Grokker to their employees for free. If your company doesn’t offer an on-the-go wellness solution, ask for it. You’ll be surprised at just how much influence you have.”