Balancing Career, Competing and Life…Or At Least Attempting To!

Melissa Doss

Two weeks ago, The Barbell Spin asked me if I was interested in writing an article about balancing career, Crossfit and life. Of course I jumped at the chance because I absolutely LOVE writing. I was a journalism major in college and don’t often get the opportunity to write something other than a legal brief (so boring!). I promised them I’d have it within a week…and here we are two weeks later! Ha! Writing this article in between doing laundry so I have clothes to wear at regionals and while trying not to burn my dinner in the oven. 😊 So you can say I’m still trying to find my balance some days.

As I’m sure every small business owner can relate, when you open your own business, your priorities change. A lot! Over the past two years upon beginning my solo practice as a family law practitioner AKA being my own boss, my priorities have completely changed. Not to say I wasn’t a hard worker when I worked for someone else, but I will admit that it’s different. I did the work that needed to be done and moved on. I didn’t frequently work nights, weekends, early mornings or whenever a client needed me. I didn’t give clients my cell phone number. I wasn’t available at all times. I was a nine to fiver and still had issues balancing competing, coaching and family. I thought I was SO busy. Yes, I had to physically sit at my desk for 8 hours a day, but when I left work, I was done for the day. I could concentrate on CrossFit and having fun! As I’m sure others do as well (or at least I hope so I’m not alone!), I will confess that somedays I feel like I am completely failing at everything! I’d like to believe that’s normal.

There’s something amazingly awesome that happens to you when you own your own business, whether it be a Crossfit gym, a law practice, a restaurant or a laundry mat. It’s one in the same. You become this doer of all things and put your livelihood and professional reputation above all else. While this has been an amazing journey for me, it has also been a tough one. My time in the gym has decreased, time spent with friends has dwindled, and time spent coaching Crossfit has almost been entirely eliminated. However, my life has mostly changed for the better.

I now have to pick and choose who I get to spend time with, which has made my friendships with those people that much sweeter. It’s hard to tell people no, but balancing a stressful career with competing and family time means prioritizing your time every single day. It’s absolutely necessary! I used to be really really bad at this, to the point where my husband asked me to turn my phone off at night because he felt like I wasn’t present. Talk about a wake up call! He was so right. Now, most nights when I’m home with my family, or enjoying time with my loved ones, I’ll turn my phone off or put it on silent so I can concentrate on being in the moment. No I can’t give 100% to everything all the time, but I can give 100% of myself at that time.

While time spent training has decreased, the time I am in the gym is more intense, more meaningful. I know I have x amount of time to get training done and I don’t mess around as much as I used to. I get in, get what I need done and get out. Yes, my volume has been lowered because my available time has lessened, but my body and attitude have never felt and been better. I’m excited to get to train most days because it’s a stress reliever… not something that I have to do. The lack of available time and recovery was also part of the reason I decided to go team this year. I know personally I don’t have what it takes to train like an individual or compete as an individual on a high level any longer and I’m okay with that! Team is so much more fun for me anyways! With age comes wisdom or so they say!

My advice to anyone struggling to balance in life, is to prioritize what is important to you, (which can change depending on the day) and stick to it no matter what. For me, God and family will always be above all else, but depending on the day, my other priorities change. Unless I’m competing, work always comes first, then training and spending time with friends. However, when I’m competing, I’m all in and everything else is put on hold for the short term. For you, it may be spending x amount of time training for a huge race or competition, which is cool. However, you must also know that some other area of your life may suffer for a short period of time and that’s okay! I think the greatest lesson I’ve learned trying to “do it all” is that I can’t actually do it all, all of the time. I can be a total bad ass at home when I’m home. I can be a bad ass at the gym when I’m training. I can be a bad ass friend, daughter, etc. and also a bad ass attorney. However, I can’t be all of those things at the same time. For me, balancing is all about giving 100% of myself to the task at hand and being okay when I fall short in one area of life… it just gives me more to work on for next time 😊

Melissa Doss is a 4-time individual CrossFit Regional Athlete. She will be competing at the Central Regional with her team, Maximus, this weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. You can follow Melissa on Instagram as well as her team.