We had the good fortune of connecting with Mikayla Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Mikayla, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
The balance I work toward has evolved with my priorities. We create balance when we’re living in accordance with our values, which changes throughout our lives. In my past, I chose schoolwork and alone time over a social life with friends. That was balance for me then. I pulled countless all-nighters writing, skipped meals to study, and edited until my perfectionist tendencies were satisfied. I wasn’t even necessarily focused so much on my grades – it was just that school as a means to my future career was that important to me. I loved school, learning, writing, and creating. I spent the rest of my time walking my dogs and being in nature, often alone. I felt content in my life then and look back on those days fondly, although I struggled so much with allowing myself to rest and connect with others. Have any extra time after completing the to-do list? Let’s find something else to tack right onto the day. I couldn’t stand to sit still or do anything I deemed unproductive, but now I’ve realized there were some mistaken beliefs hiding under my busy-body persona.
That feels like a different person. I guess in a sense I was – now I have so much more to juggle and my priorities have drastically realigned themselves. I carry too much weight to stay on the tightrope I clung to before. I’m now incredibly intentional about where my focus and mental energy go each day – I aim to wear one main hat for each specific day versus trying to do a little bit in every area and stretching myself way too thin. That’s of course much easier said than done. My roles are often very conflicting. I think any working mom will tell you that the two rarely go hand in hand. When my husband is stuck at work, I have my son at the office with me during team meetings, to clean or restock, put together furniture, and work on the computer. I am so grateful for my son’s flexibility and adaptability, as well as my team’s eagerness to help me entertain him while he’s up here at the office with us. My focus and energy are divided, but it all gets done. On a typical day, I’ll stick to three to five main little goals for the day with a few flexible tasks I can focus on if I decide I have the time and energy. Breaking it down in that way – what is today’s problem, and what can wait; what do I want to do for myself and my family today, and what do I feel like can sit on the backburner – has helped tremendously. Not everything is a need, and even if it is, it’s not necessarily today’s need. I focus on what’s “good enough” instead of an unsustainable sense of perfection.
Rest, social time with friends, and time with my husband are things I have to intentionally account for despite loving time spent in those ways; I remind myself that I’ll never find the time – I have to create it, and those things fill my mental and emotional cup.
It’s so tough to recover from burnout – the best thing is to prevent it in the first place. I operate on the belief that self-care is a spectrum, and it’s okay that we’re going to have days where we’re at the very bottom of that spectrum. Sometimes I’m using a face roller with my serums and doing yoga, drinking my sleepy time tea while I journal, and other times I’m binge watching reality TV, brushing my teeth, and calling it a night – balance.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I certainly wouldn’t say it’s been an easy road, but it’s manageable and so rewarding. My mental plate has stayed very full, which is probably tne toughest part. We don’t have any training on running a practice in school, so I went in almost totally blind. That’s important for people to know – you’re allowed to chase your dreams and find the tools along the way. I’ve learned a lot so far, and I’m eager to keep learning what does and doesn’t work. Sometimes it’s just a matter of adjusting my expectations, or not really setting any and seeing where things go. That sort of flexibility has been transformative and I’ve learned to extend that to myself and others – I think that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned. All of the counselors on the team have different strengths than each other and myself, and I think we all have the awareness that we all bring something different to the team. They’ve all been very flexible with me as I figure out the business side of things as well. There have been several things I’ve completely forgotten to do, messed up, or misunderstood in some way and I was so hard on myself in the beginning – I still am, but I’m giving myself the room to be human. Almost everything can be fixed. Very few things are permanent in that way.
I think I had some fairly rigid boundaries in the beginning for myself and our practice policies, and I’ve broken down those walls to account for the fact that we’re all just doing our best.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First thing is first – I would stop by Wisdom Vegan Bakery for breakfast to grab an iced coffee and the most delicious food – the absolute must-try top of the tier baked goods and sandwiches.
Hitting up Thad’s and a few other shops in Old Town Spring is the best place to get anyone a thoughtful gift, or to spruce up your own home. We’d go to Lynn’s Table for lunch, and Popp’s for some popcorn and ice cream.
It’s so nice to get some fresh air at W.G. Jones State Forest or Pundt Park. We’d bring the dogs, kids, and stuff for a picnic.
TopGolf is an absolute must for a bit of fun, as well as a concert at The Woodlands Pavilion or spend the evening at Pete’s Dueling Piano Bar.
Something we couldn’t miss is POST Market for a gorgeous sunset over the Houston skyline, amazing food, and to browse the vendor markets for unique artistry.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I absolutely agree that the people around us deeply influence how we see ourselves and help shape us into who we become, and positive support is undeniably so powerful. It’s a really special relationship when you can fully show up without fear of judgment or shame. I am unconditionally supported by the people in my inner circle, and I feel empowered to take healthy risks and really put myself out there with their support.
There are so many, but the first person to come to my mind when thinking about success is Dr. Megan Garzaglass. She was my supervisor during in-school practicum, then my LPC-Supervisor, and is now an amazing mentor. It was pure luck that I was placed with Megan – my entire class was assigned to another supervisor, but we were one over the maximum allowed students per supervisor. One person in our class would be assigned to someone else, which of course turned out to be me assigned to Megan.
I truly don’t know who I would be as a professional without her guidance, support, and endless encouragement through the years. She believed in me, and in turn, I learned to believe in myself. She helped me find my voice and still challenges me in the best way.
Beyond that, all of my people in my close circle are really rooting for me, and me for them as well. It’s important to be aware of how you feel around people – if you feel guarded, insecure, and anxious, or refreshed, connected, and safe. My husband who I’m pretty sure thinks I’m a superhero, my family that taught me I have no limits to what I am capable of, and my friends that sit in my excitement with me all deserve endless recognition. Having that group of friends that all genuinely wants the best for each other and builds each other up is so beautiful, and I’m grateful that I’ve found that.
The Mindful Movements team is incredible. I noticed that on my “off days” I can rest easy knowing that things are being handled well. Our admin, Ashley, has helped me fine tune our processes and continues to go above and beyond with every interaction she has, every problem that arises, and in helping us find what is and isn’t working. She takes initiative in every way. All the girls really do – they’re all such phenomenal counselors that are very obviously so passionate about their clients and the work they do. I feel like we really connect as a team and help build each other up. I’m grateful to have all of them and I always want them to know how outstanding they are as professionals and as people.
I’m also incredibly proud of every client I’ve ever worked with personally, every client that’s walked through our door, and everyone that’s even called. I know it’s so hard and scary to seek help, and all these people are out here doing it anyway, on the road to healing. It’s amazing, and it’s an honor to be able to witness it.
Other: TikTok: @mindfulmovements