We had the good fortune of connecting with LaToya Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi LaToya, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
I use to be terrible with work/life balance. It wasn’t until I experienced extreme burn out in a position and was questioning whether or not I wanted to continue to be a counselor, that I started really taking self care serious. My balance has changed over time as I have had more time available in my schedule. My thoughts about balance have shifted. I use to feel guilty about taking time for myself and could not turn my brain off of thinking about all of the things I needed to do. That still happens every once in a while but now I try to view it as ‘I won’t be good for anyone else in my life if I have not taken time for myself’. I believe I show myself much more self-compassion.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am most proud of and excited that I get to work with and train the next generation of counselors all over the United States. These individuals are working hard to learn and grow in all the ways that they can so they can be the most healthiest and effective version of themselves for their future clients. My journey was not easy by any means but as a child of single mother, determination and a strong work ethic are some of the things that have helped me to persevere. I believe I overcame challenges by just continuing to do my best, engaging in my own personal therapy and reiki, and utilizing the support of those closest to me. It is so important to me for people to know that seeking out counseling services is not weak. It has made me a better person, counselor, and educator. I have learned that it is okay to ask for help, it is okay to pause and rest, and it is more than okay if things don’t go according to plan. I have found that I always end up exactly where I am supposed to be.
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.
I am still newish to the area of Houston and I have not been able to explore as much as I wanted to due to COVID. If I had a friend visiting for a week, we would do a lot of eating. I like to work out a lot too so I would take them to Memorial Trail for a walk or run. I would take them to Axelrad and Woosters for drinks, Grace’s, LA Crawfish, Chuy’s, and Lotus Seafood to eat, and The Yellow Cup and Inversion for coffee.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to dedicate my shout out to my supportive village. They know who they are! I also feel like my higher power definitely deserves credit and recognition in my story!