We had the good fortune of connecting with Debbie Gonzalez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Debbie, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I’ve come to understand balance, not as equal parts of time between work and life, but as an intentional choreography of the most important things to me. When I align my activities to my values, I experience more joy. Through assessments and personal development, I discovered my character strengths are love, love of learning, and spirituality. Therefore, engaging with family and those I love brings me joy. Learning something new excites me. I believe in a power greater than me and the enormity of the universe. Being immersed in nature refuels me.
There are times when I find joy in my work. I made it my mission to bring a moment of happiness and love into tragic situations because we all feel good to know someone cares for us deeply. However, especially in social service, it’s tempting to buy into the story that I must sacrifice to serve. Without vigilance, my choices led me into the habit of dedicating more and more of my time and energy to work. You don’t even see the burnout coming.
Human nature desires a simple formula for balance. For me, the reality is that both work and life ebb and flow. When I prioritize living, then fitting in work makes better sense. For me to be my best in work, I need to grant myself the psychological permission to live.
What should our readers know about your business?
I founded Debbie Gonzalez Coaching LLC as an avenue to inspire emerging and experienced leaders to find joy and balance. Through training and coaching, I provide a creative process that allows them to spark the leader they want to be.
What sets me apart from others is my commitment to authenticity and transparency. Each person is an expert of themselves. I share the strategies, I discovered through my bumps and bruises, to support mental wellness and avoid burnout. In essence, I provide the space to develop the psychological permission to embrace joy. In the field of helping children, the work is hard but it doesn’t have to be painful. We may experience joy.
I am most proud of the difference I’ve made. Whenever I hear about the success of someone with whom I worked or receive a kind note, my heart soars with gratitude. When you are invited to be a part of someone’s journey, it’s a gift. That aligns with my values and makes me joyous. Of course, building a business requires a bit more.
The challenge for any business is gaining visibility and converting a sale. Transferrable skills are key. Assessment becomes analytics. Understanding the power of an online presence, critical. Fortunately, my love of learning helped. Promotion is a focus as I continue to get the word out.
Along the way, I learned that I can do more than one thing. While I am a Social Worker by trade, I am also an entrepreneur and author. Writing children’s picture books is a creative outlet that connects me to children. In my career, I often related more to the children served than the roles I held. I want my books to be a simple, sweet moment for the reader which leaves them feeling joy.
My advice to others is to ensure that your pursuits include activities that bring you joy. Remember to practice gratitude and you will see more beauty around you. Life is fragile which adds to its wonder. Seize the day.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Let’s go on the off beaten path. I’m looking for events by Brené Brown at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She is proud of the city of Houston and a wonderful example that Social Workers can do many things.
In the Houston area, I’m checking in with Jandy Flores of Children Books for The Gambia to help box book donations.
As for food, it’s food truck time. I want to stop at Tacos Tierra Caliente and The Waffle Bus.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Shoutout to those who believe in me especially when I struggle to see my own gifts. There are so many that have poured into me, I am bound to leave someone out. Know that the appreciation is in my heart even if you are not directly named.
It starts with my parents who did the best they could to give me the opportunities for what they couldn’t even dream of. I miss them. I wish everyone had an admirer of that caliber.
My husband, Andy, who cheers, celebrates, and supports my endeavors.
I have a squad of family, mentors, mentees, and coaches. Success does not happen in a vacuum. We learn from everyone if we remain curious.