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Erica Feucht - Work should feed your life, not eat you whole

Erica Feucht is a Mompreneur who co-founded Pit Liquor, a natural deodorant company. She and her husband started the company together while their oldest child was a wee baby. Erica was seeking balance in her life and getting away from the unsustainable 90 hour work weeks she often did in publishing.

In her own words, "I wanted to work, but I couldn't find anything that I was enjoying. And so I focused a lot on being a mom. And then at about that nine month point, with the baby...I really need something else to do, that's gonna make me feel like I've got some sort of balance that I'm not like spinning my wheels, and I love being a mom. But I also felt like I was going to be a better mom, if I had something else to put my creativity towards as well."

As the company grew, Erica strove to create a culture that supported work-life balance. She was guided by a belief that work should feed you not suck you dry! Her empathy for others helped her build the kind of company people want to work for.

"I saw myself in each person that came onto our team. And as we built more and more, I just realized how much I wanted people to work to live and not live to work, and to have their life in that balance...[work] should be something that feeds your life while you're there. But it shouldn't eat you whole. And I think a lot of the work structure in America eats people whole, especially moms, and I think there's a lot of disparity."

Erica's desire to foster work-life balance is a direct response to the disparities she's seen negatively impacting working parents.

"I think in order for people to feel any semblance of balance in the trenches of parenting, there has to be give, and the give has to come from the workplace."

So, how does a leader foster this type of environment within their company?

It starts with "boundaries and communication...if somebody comes to the team, and they say...I need to take care of my family as well. But they don't spell out what that means. It means that they haven't taken the time to consider where they would like work to stop, and they would like life to begin, and where they would like life to give away to work. And I need people to think about that, and to also be very clear about it, so they can tell us."

Not only is supporting work-life balance the right thing to do, it also supports business success.

Erica observes, "you can't actually squeeze more out of people. You need to give them space to decompress, and then they can come back fresh."

Of course, things aren't always rainbows and unicorns. Every leader experiences setbacks and struggles. Exceptional leaders recognize what's within their control and do something about it.

Erica reflects, "learning how to look at the situation that you're in, and recognize how you've been instrumental in creating it, and then saying to yourself, that means I can fix it...none of this is out of my control, even though it all feels out of control, because entrepreneurship feels so wildly uncontrollable."

Being the type of leader who exhibits a deep level of self-awareness doesn't just happen. It takes discipline and practice. For Erica that includes an active meditation practice, "on my best days I meditate. And that's really helpful. [I] write my own mantras and work through them, and let them evolve as I'm going through them. And it helps me get to the bottom of what I'm really struggling with."

We wrapped up by exploring what co-creating looks like at Pit Liquor. This is how Erica describes it, "as long as you create alignment, and then you bring in people you trust, you need to let go of basically everything. And at the end, your company needs to be able to function without you telling people what to do, but instead listening and asking them, 'What do you think needs to happen, aligned around this goal?'"

These show notes are just the tip of the iceberg - there are many more other gems of wisdom in the full episode. This conversation is sure to inspire leaders and entrepreneurs who are building companies doing good both for their people and their customers!

Contact Erica and Pit Liquor

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