On Illusions Of Having It All: Bernadette Chavez-Piñon

On Illusions Of Having It All: Bernadette Chavez-Piñon

Leading up to our Winter ‘19 iteration of WORK, we'll feature select interviews with some of our conference's speakers and thought leaders. In this interview, counselor Bernadette Chavez-Piñon shares her thoughts on the illusion of work-life balance and trusting oneself. Click here for the full conference schedule.


“I’m a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC-S) working with adults (18+) in Austin, Texas. I provide therapy and other resources to help individuals overcome stress, live mindfully, and cultivate the life and the relationships they want. My personal mission is to empower and encourage individuals to navigate through changes and transitions in life genuinely, authentically, and with respect to their values and identities.””

What she’s currently working on:

Supporting individuals through some of the toughest times in their lives is important to me, and it is an honor to be invited into someone’s life journey to help them in whatever way they need. The therapeutic space that I offer to clients can help them manage their daily experiences and navigate through the many changes and transitions of life. They can increase their insight and awareness about what’s happening in and around them and take actions that are in line with their values and what’s important to them. Learn more about her practice here.

How do you approach concepts of "work-life balance?" Does that term mean anything to you? 

The term "work-life balance" has always frustrated me because in the past, that translated into perfectionistic behavior that caused a lot more stress and frustration than balance. Instead, I prefer to focus on different values in various areas of my life like work/education, relationships, personal growth and health and leisure. In the book, The Happiness Trap, Russ Harris illuminates how using values to drive actions works to connect "a heart's deepest desires" with daily actions. He states "the reality is that sometimes you'll have to focus on one area more than another or that some values will compete with each other." A question he proposes when you're feeling stuck is: "What's most important in this moment, in my life, given all my conflicting concerns?" The more a person practices value-driven actions, the more opportunities you’ll have for a sense of purpose in life. 

What advice do you have for starting/switching career paths? 

A few things come to mind. First, build a community that will support and encourage personal and professional growth. Not everyone fits the role, so be as specific as you can with who you want and need in your circle. Second, know that you are going through a period of transition and that it will feel normal to experience all kinds of feelings from excitement to doubt. The process is not linear so expect to take a few steps forward, more steps back, or even go in circles.  Lastly, take your time. You may want to compare yourself to your peers or have expectations on things you "should" be doing. Everyone is on their own journey, including yourself, so be as kind, patient and encouraging as you can be.   

Have you ever experienced a form of career uncertainty? If so, how did you overcome it? 

Absolutely. When I experience uncertainty related to my career, I check in with myself and others to find out what's going on. Some thoughts that go through my mind are: Is this imposter syndrome? Am I not doing what I want to be doing? Is this the right environment for me? I tend to ramp up a few things at this time like going to therapy regularly, attending consultation groups where I feel safe bringing up my concerns and asking questions, increasing the frequency of my yoga practice, writing more, sleeping and eating regularly, hydrating, etc. Over time, I end up getting a clearer sense of what I need and want to do. 

What makes you resilient? (Resilience is the ability to withstand tough conditions and recover when things are difficult.) 

I credit my sense of discipline and focus to a 10-year yoga practice. When I show up to class and get on the mat, I know it's time to do some work even if parts of me are fighting against it but it also means meeting my body where it's at and listening to what it needs. Therapy has also been a major source of emotional support. I've learned to give myself as much time as I need to process experiences and to heal. 

About WORK: WORK is a biannual pop-up space, designed for sharing new ideas and approaches to creative and entrepreneurial work. The event's panels, workshops and speaker sessions explore personal and professional curiosity, storytelling, diversity and equality, business management and creative entrepreneurship. Our next conference pops up on Jan. 19, 2019 from 10 AM to 5 PM at Rowling Hall in Austin, Texas. ✨Click here for more information.

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