NexGen Panel: When It Comes To Work-Life Balance, The Two Shouldn’t Be Separate
Three MSP executives speak about overcoming challenges, including mental health challenges, in their life and what they do in their personal life that will benefit their business at the XChange NexGen conference.
Allen Falcon knew he needed to make a change when a family member was in crisis.
“There have been many times where you sort of get that little knock on the door that maybe some things aren’t right or in sync,” he said. “So I ask all of you, what would it take for you to walk away from your business?”
Falcon, CEO of Westborough, Mass.-based MSP Cumulus Global, was part of panel titled “It’s Lonely At The Top: How To Manage Your Energy And Mental Health,” at CRN parent The Channel Company’s XChange NexGen 2022 conference in Orlando, Fla., this week.
The panel, moderated by Allison Cohen, event director at The Channel Company, included Falcon; Nancy Henriquez, vice president of sales and marketing at Irving, Texas-based MSP Synetek Solutions; and Paul Vedder, co-founder and managing director of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.-based MSP VXIT.
Most times, when asked what it would take to walk away from their business, CEOs have a number in mind, according to Falcon.
“It wasn’t money for me,” said Henriquez. “In actuality it was a failed marriage, children on the brink and my mental health. All of those things combined was not worth being alone at the top.”
And when it comes to a work/life balance, the two shouldn’t be separate, Falcon said. “It’s just life. Work is a part of life.”
Vedder said at one point in his life he “didn’t know how to work through the things that were going on inside of me.”
“I sought help and it was crazy because once I sought that help and I learned the tools on how to kind of navigate some of that stuff … I could almost see my problems from afar. I was on this carousel and I didn‘t even know it.”
Amid his family crisis, Falcon knew he also needed to take care of himself, referencing the advice passengers receive on an airplane: Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting others.
The panelists spoke about overcoming challenges, including mental health challenges, in their life and what they do in their personal life that will benefit their business.
Here are three ways the panelists said people can focus on themselves and their mental health to help them and their business succeed.
Meditation Helps People Become More Focused
Henriquez has worked meditation into her daily routine, which she said has caused a tremendous shift in her life and has helped her become more focused.
“Having a moment to stop anything and everything is something that is so helpful,” she said.
One thing that Falcon finds meditative and zen for him is food preparation. Each weekend he spends three hours grocery shopping, cooking and prepping all his food for the week.
He also practices breathing exercises that help him expel stresses, anxiety and fears.
“Ill do it in my office in between Zoom calls,” he said.
Tanaz Choudhury, president and CEO of Houston-based MSP TanChes Global Management, told CRN that the panel reminded her that it’s OK to fail. She also has learned to take a moment to herself during the workday when needed.
“Everybody knows I have an open-door office policy,” she said. “But if my door is closed, they know not to bother because it‘s so rarely closed. If I make a habit of closing my door, I’m taking a breath whether it‘s laughing, crying, staring at the trees. Whatever it is that you find joy in.”
Seek Professional Counseling
From personal, family, couples and even professional therapy, the panel agreed that seeking professional counseling is beneficial to an individual’s business. When one is happy in their personal life, everything else, including their professional life, will fall into place.
Henriquez started going to therapy when her life started falling apart. She originally wanted to know how to put it all back together, but now it’s turned into something more.
“It‘s not just survival. I feel like I’m past that now,” she said. “I‘m more so thinking about what are the habits I can do in order to be present.”
Vedder brought up how he was happy to see such a panel about mental health and therapy at the NexGen conference.
“This is something that‘s addressed at [The Channel Company’s] Women of the Channel [event] because it’s easy for women to talk about their feelings,” Vedder said. “But in a male-dominated event, we don‘t do it. That’s not OK because we‘re struggling too and we need to talk about it.”
As much energy as Vedder puts into his business, he puts that same energy into himself, his marriage, his kids and his physical health. But he said self-care isn‘t about going on a vacation or “sitting around and binging Netflix and eating bonbons.”
“I think that self-care is the opposite of that,” he said. “It’s getting out of bed early and getting to the gym, moving your body, drinking water, saying no to sweets, eating good food, things like that.”
Henriquez practices self-care by having an executive therapist who not only addresses her challenges but how to take care of her team as well.
“Ultimately speaking, we‘re in a business of people, so if you can’t be there for your team on a human level, then what are you doing?” she said.
All three individuals on the panel are also involved in peer groups in the industry. This helps them connect, professionally and personally, with other executives and like-minded people.
“When I started to execute personally for myself, get my mental health, my emotional health, physical health, all that in mind, everything else just started to fall in place,” Vedder said.