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How to Get What You Want with Anush Hansen

George Grombacher September 22, 2022

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How to Get What You Want with Anush Hansen

LifeBlood: We talked about how to get what you want, how to think about and find work-life balance, why so many of us feel stuck and get burned out, and how to get started, with Anush Hansen, Licensed Professional Counselor, and Certified Career Counselor. 

Listen to learn how to make your desired changes stick! 

You can learn more about Anush at BalancedCardSorts.com, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher


Anush Hansen

Episode Transcript

epo this Georgiana time is right welcome today’s guest strong and powerful a new chance and a new show. Are you ready to do this? I am ready, George. Thank you. All right, let’s go. I knew she is a LPC licensed professional counselor. She is a certified career counselor and the creator of the work life balance card sorts of simple, engaging and powerful tool for helping you identify your values, clarify what you want and need for better balance and wellness. A news tell us a little about your personal life some more about your work and why you do what you do.

Unknown Speaker 0:49
Sure. So personal life. I live on the coast of Maine, Southern Maine, with my husband and my stepdaughter who’s off to college this year in Boston, and my son who just started fourth grade on Monday.

Unknown Speaker 1:07
Yeah, busy, busy week. I grew up in Massachusetts in a multicultural multigenerational family. My father came here from Iran, his Persian Armenian to go to MIT in the 60s.

Unknown Speaker 1:26
When I was born, pretty soon after he moved to the States, he brought my grandparents over from Iran. And so I grew up in a multi language multicultural pod and went to

Unknown Speaker 1:45
public schools in Massachusetts, but also went to Armenian school on the weekends very,

Unknown Speaker 1:51
very My Big Fat Greek Wedding esque, although not not quite that extreme. So I, I’ve loved growing up in that way. And

Unknown Speaker 2:03
in terms of professional life, I started out as a public health researcher and program evaluator, I worked for about 20 years in university settings, doing Health Promotion Research,

Unknown Speaker 2:20
a lot of evaluation of various chronic disease prevention projects and initiatives have developed a lot of assessment tools, a lot of survey instruments in that time. And then ultimately, over a very long and windy career

Unknown Speaker 2:39
journey, which totally is exact all over the place. I went back to get a second Master’s in Counseling, and eventually opened my private practice, which I have now, which is a career and wellness counseling, practice. So that’s a very short description of how I got here. But I think that’s awesome. So I appreciate you sharing the story. And what a story moving from Iran to the United States and going to MIT and, and everything else. So So yeah, my, you know, my, my father’s very much a scientist. So he’s, he’s literally a rocket scientist, like that is his career. My mom is an artist, so a painter, and graphic designer, she had a graphic design firm in Boston, for about 20 years. And I really always have sort of, toggled between the science and maths and the create the creative part of who I am. And I honestly struggled with that for for quite a while figuring out, like, what made me the most happy and what felt true to who I am. And I feel like finally at 47, I’ve gotten to a place where I get to get to flex both sides as a counselor, but also as a business owner and a

Unknown Speaker 4:06
developing these tools and whatnot. So never could I have predicted that this is where I would land.

Unknown Speaker 4:15
But here I am. And I love what I’m doing. And they love helping my clients and other people

Unknown Speaker 4:24
explore the career in a way that allows sort of the serendipity to happen. Like we can’t, we can plan as best as possible. But there’s also some element of luck and happenstance and just, you know, the unfolding of who we are. So that’s that’s part of why I love what I’m doing.

Unknown Speaker 4:45
Isn’t that the truth? We can have a plan, but we’ll see how it survives its collision with reality.

Unknown Speaker 4:54
Well, I love it. I mean, I think that probably a lot of the people that you’re working with and serving are the

Unknown Speaker 5:00
similar, right? You’ve got your dreams and goals and desires. And then you’ve got to earn a living and you’ve got expectations from your, from your parents that came here from a different cut whatever it might be we we all have that we’re all struggling with it and we’re trying to figure it out. Absolutely. Absolutely. And that’s that that’s that’s not easy. It leads to a feeling of imbalance leads to frustration that leads to burnout.

Unknown Speaker 5:32
Or those feelings get even more. So growing up in a general multi generational home was burnout a thing? And is this is this something that that we’re now talking about? And I’m not trying to trivialize it? No, no, not. I mean, not for me, I would imagine it’s different for every family. But my, my father was lucky in that he absolutely loved what he did, like I was growing up, there would be little scraps of paper all over our house with these insane equations written on them. It’s just how his brain worked. And he would describe it to me as like a game like this is this is just fun. That was about all I could know about it, because it was all, you know, security clearance stuff. So I didn’t have like a very clear picture of of what he was doing each day. But I knew that he loved it.

Unknown Speaker 6:27
And I will say, you know, when I when I was considering leaving my research job at University of Southern Maine, I had been there for about 15 years. And even though the work I was doing was really important, I loved my colleagues. It just didn’t fit with who I was. And I was pretty miserable. And that was sort of spilling into my personal life, feeding my anxiety. I just wasn’t feeling like who I was. And I remember my dad saying, Why would you leave that job? He still has a very thick Iranian accent and I cannot do it. I’m not good at accents. But, you know, why would you leave that job? It’s it’s such a great job. And he was right on paper, like, it was amazing. It paid pretty well, the benefits were as good as you can get totally flexible,

Unknown Speaker 7:16
lot of autonomy, but it just didn’t fit with my natural strengths and my natural talents, whereas his work, which he did, you know, his entire life. He loved it. So he didn’t, you know, he hadn’t had that experience of that mismatch of, you know, who he was and what he was doing.

Unknown Speaker 7:40
So, yeah, I guess in a way it did impact me not, not in that my parents were burnt out, necessarily, but that they had different experiences in their careers than I did early on.

Unknown Speaker 7:58
Yeah, I think that that’s it, I think it’s fascinating. So,

Unknown Speaker 8:05
so people, so you, you, you created this, this work life balance card, sort, and there’s there’s eight different categories emotional, social, physical, occupational, environmental, financial, intellectual, and spiritual.

Unknown Speaker 8:21
And I think it’s also because it has a visual representation to it. And oftentimes, we have a hard time expressing ourselves, and sort of putting our finger on

Unknown Speaker 8:32
what it is, I don’t know why I’m unhappy. I just know that I am. That is exactly why I created this, because clients would come to me so overwhelmed, so exhausted, so burnt out, feeling completely trapped and hopeless.

Unknown Speaker 8:52
And feeling like there was absolutely no way to change things, or to take any kind of step in a different direction, because they were literally just trying to get through each day. So where would that energy come from, to like, figure out things they could tweak or, you know, if there was a way to make their current situation work or if they needed to pivot into something else. And so that that dread and hopelessness is really hard to pull people out of and sort of help them see more in a clearer way. And it’s very specific, small changes that they could start making to move towards something better. And there there are a lot of other cards or tools out there like I I did not create card sorts. So I had been using a card sort tool called the nodal career Values card sort. And I had all my clients use this I still I still do have most of my clients use this in addition to the work life balance assessment, and one of the values in his card deck was

Unknown Speaker 10:00
called work life balance. And almost every client in doing that card sort would put work life balance in their top, top 10 cards. And so I started asking each client, well, what does work life balance mean to you? How would you know you had work life balance? What would that feel like? What would that look like? What do you need more of? What can you start letting go of to make room for?

Unknown Speaker 10:26
Feel more balanced and well. And so I started listening to clients. And I would ask the same questions over and over, but get very different answers, because everyone’s circumstances and roles and responsibilities are, are different. So over time, I was like, I need to create a tool to capture this. And the beauty of card sports in general, is that it takes sort of this swirly, you know, all these ideas you might have about why you’re unhappy, or what you could change or what you want, or what you don’t want, it takes all of those thoughts and puts them down in a concrete way right in front of you. So you can see them, feel them, move them around, organize them, and then have actual words to sort of

Unknown Speaker 11:17
interpret what those mean to you. And so it helps people see from like a high level holistic view, see what’s going on in their career and personal life. See what they want more of see how things might shift once they get a little bit of what they want more of, and then rework their narrative and start making small changes and building momentum toward towards some, some balance.

Unknown Speaker 11:46
The thing about like, work life balance and the term work life balance, you know, there’s plenty of folks out there whose say, work life balance, yeah, right. That’s not a thing like that, that just doesn’t exist. And I agree, if we’re looking at work life balance as an endpoint. So, you know, if you make a change, and you’re like, Oh, I’ve got my work life balance, now I’m good. And for the rest of my life, like we know, like, that way, like, every week, every month, every year, every day, like different things come up, and we have to adjust accordingly. So I’ve tried to think of work life balance as a daily practice, almost, you know, like, if you have a mindfulness practice, or if you have a exercise habit or routine, work life balance means continually checking in with yourself to see what needs to be nurtured, and maybe what might need to be released or let go of, in order to keep that wellness. We all know those eight domains of wellness to kind of keep it

Unknown Speaker 12:58
from toppling over. It’s never perfectly straight. It’s always, you know, it’s always wobbling. But if we know what we have to pay attention to what area of our life, whether that’s,

Unknown Speaker 13:11
oh, I need to take a 10 minute walk around the block today, because I’m feeling kind of anxious at work, or all the way to I need to shift my career entirely because this isn’t, this isn’t working for me anymore.

Unknown Speaker 13:25
So that’s that’s kind of how I conceptualize work life balance. There’s other terms out there for it. I’ve heard work life harmony, work life integration. I think they all kind of mean the same thing. I mean, whoever came up with those terms, may may think I’m wrong, but I feel like it doesn’t matter so much what we call it. It’s more about what the practices and allowing ourselves time to pay attention to it. Yeah, I think that that makes a lot of sense.

Unknown Speaker 13:54
I like to call it rhythm. So that’s just my throat, throw mine into the ring there. Yeah, rhythms. Good. I like that. And because never, like I think you’ve I think you said that really nicely. The the continually checking and recognizing what needs to be nurtured.

Unknown Speaker 14:14
If if if we never sort of dig into it, then then we just have no idea. We feel like the tail is wagging the dog kind of a thing. And you mentioned what I wrote down as an intervention. If I’m feeling really frustrated, maybe just taking a walk around the block. What role do those small little tweaks or interventions play?

Unknown Speaker 14:33
Yeah, I mean, that’s how any change happens, right? Is is one small step at a time. So perhaps one day you decide, Oh, I really need this walk because I’m feeling really anxious and I need to just take a break. But maybe over time, that little walk becomes more of a preventive

Unknown Speaker 14:55
intervention or preventive tool where you know, okay, I

Unknown Speaker 15:00
I’ve been at my desk since 830, I need to get up now and take that mental break and that physical break away from my screen away from all the stimulation coming at me. And I need to eventually work that in as a daily practice. And then maybe you’re helping to prevent that stress and anxiety from reaching such a high level, you’re kind of bringing down the threshold of your your anxiousness, or whatever the feeling is, before it spirals into something that is harder to come back from. So you know, any any small micro change or micro step, no matter how small it seems,

Unknown Speaker 15:49
can can help and can accumulate to help you feel more in control of your own day and your own health.

Unknown Speaker 16:02
Yeah, so that’s, that’s how I would I would describe like how those small interventions can can lead up to something more significant and work working that more into your rhythm using the word that you you mentioned, that makes a lot of sense. So when I can’t,

Unknown Speaker 16:24
I hate I hate labels and categories. But if if I can’t name my problem, then i It’s like eating an elephant. It’s like, oh, my god, how am I gonna eat this elephant? I can’t ever do it, but it’s a small bites. So being able to go through the exercise of in this example, your work life balance card sort. And that that will help me to break down the problem, kind of understand the problem, break it down into consumable, actionable bites that will help me to start to feel like I have some agency and control over this. What was otherwise before an uncontrollable overwhelming burnout situation. Right. And so there’s this, this quote, and I, I’ve tried to find out where it came from, I think it came from the business corporate community, but I haven’t been able to pinpoint where it comes from maybe, you know, but there’s, there’s this quote that says, you can’t see the label when you’re inside the jar. That one, that’s a really good one. I don’t know where it came from either. Okay, yeah, I so I, I’ve interpreted it my own way. But a therapist, colleague of mine, sent it to me once. And so

Unknown Speaker 17:41
when I picture that I picture, you know, myself at one time, or my clients who are,

Unknown Speaker 17:48
again, like swirling around, or even like drowning in this in this jar of, of nonstop

Unknown Speaker 17:58
commitments and chaos, and, you know, just just not being able to see what it is they could do to change things. The label is on the outside. So, as a counselor, I can help clients discover what that label is. And the card sort can also help people either on their own or with the help of a counselor or coach, or advisor, put some labels on put some language to

Unknown Speaker 18:30
what it is they could do,

Unknown Speaker 18:34
again, in very small, incremental steps, so

Unknown Speaker 18:40
I just love that. And it applies to anyone, like,

Unknown Speaker 18:45
I’ll hear myself saying things to my clients. And afterwards, I’m like, why can I? Why can I apply that in my own life? Alright? Because it’s so much easier to see from the outside. Because we all have our internal monologues and you know, the things we tell ourselves and our habits and our compulsions and whatnot. So I just really love that image of the label being on the outside and sometimes needing some help or a tool or a resource to help you sort it out. Literally.

Unknown Speaker 19:23
Literally, yeah. I mean, there must be, obviously we’re, we’re all unique, special examples of God’s creatures, but sometimes you might just look at somebody like it’s so obvious. It’s written right on your forehead. You can’t see it. Right. Right. Exactly. That’s why we need each other. It’s exactly right. Another, I think, really valuable

Unknown Speaker 19:49
step in using this tool, or just in helping address the issues of burnout in general, is that

Unknown Speaker 19:59

Unknown Speaker 20:00
The process of sorting these cards is kind of the first step like you do the card sort, you document where things landed. But then there’s a second component of it, where users will go through 15 follow up questions. And these help them narrow down what they wanted to start working on first, not to say that other things are not important that they said they wanted more of. But again, you have to start somewhere, and you have to start small. So it has them, choose their top three career and their top three personal priorities, ask them to think about if there are any themes or connections across those, and then ask them to pick one to start working on now. Or soon. Ask them what that means to them what that priority means to them, why it’s important, what’s getting in the way, what they can start letting go of what’s one teeny tiny change they could start making? And then it has them create a very specific goal that is relevant to that priority. And then ask them to dissect it even further. So what’s one small change, you want to start making now to work towards your goal? When will you implement that? What do you anticipate might be a challenge? What strengths can you use, that you possess to help overcome those challenges? How will you hold yourself accountable? And who can you share your goal with to help check in with you and keep you accountable?

Unknown Speaker 21:33
And then

Unknown Speaker 21:36
who can you speak with? It might be that accountability partner, but it might be someone else, someone at home, a partner, your family, a friend, someone at work, your supervisor, your management, your colleague, who can you take this information to and have a conversation about how they can help support you, in your attempts to bring more work life balance into your day to day, because they think having those conversations is a critical step. Because if you’re trying to make all these changes in your life, but the structure around you or the culture around you, is not supportive of that, you’re not really set up for success. So these conversations, you know, especially I guess, while at home and in the workplace. But these conversations that employees can have with leadership or with their manager, or maybe starting off just with a colleague who they trust,

Unknown Speaker 22:37
can can help

Unknown Speaker 22:40
just create a little bit of a culture shift, where we’re like actually talking about these things that we need, rather than pushing through not discussing these challenges, and ultimately, losing in place or, you know,

Unknown Speaker 23:01
you know, other other negative outcomes. So just think the conversation aspect of this, you know, the cards help you organize in your mind, they put them out, out in front of you, you process through them yourself or with a club coach or counselor, but then taking that and talking to others in your life who can help support you is critical, I think, yeah, I couldn’t agree more. I think that that makes a ton of sense. It’s, I mean, prior being able to prioritize, and, and then focus otherwise, if we’re not successful doing that, we’re just going to kind of spin our wheels and just keep feeling burned out and and on the balance. So I think that that is a wonderful sequence and process. So thank you for sharing that.

Unknown Speaker 23:48
Thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage with you? Where can they find the work life balance card sort and all of it? Sure. So the card sort website is balanced card sorts that calm

Unknown Speaker 24:06
you can reach out to me by email that’s Anoosh at Kennebunk counseling.com. So a new SH at Kennebunk counseling. And you can also connect with me directly through the balanced card sports website, there’s a contact form on there.

Unknown Speaker 24:25
And that goes straight to me.

Unknown Speaker 24:29
What was the other question?

Unknown Speaker 24:31
That is just just how you’d like people to connect. So yeah, absolutely. I’m happy to answer any questions or or share share what? How I think this can be used in different settings and different kinds of clients or employees. Love it. Well, if you enjoyed this as much as I did shownotes your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to balanced car

Unknown Speaker 25:00
The sorts.com Check out the free resources get in touch with her. And, I mean, I think that we all suffer from feelings of being out of balance or burnout so it could be a great resource. Thanks, guys. Thank you so much. And until next time, remember, do your part by doing your best

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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