Friday’s Featured Female – Brittany Bendall of MyOwnBalance.com

Welcome to another Friday’s Featured Female!  

Today I have the pleasure of having the very lovely Brittany@MyOwnBalance.com here today.  Brittany is a soul sister in her love of fitness, food and listening to her inner voice.  The more I learn about this girl, the more she surprises me (she lived in Australia at one time – lucky girl!).  I also didn’t pay her to say nice things about me but she did anyway – so…..have you met, Brittany?  Yes, I ripped that line from “How I Met Your Mother”

MyOwnBalance.com

Brittany from MyOwnBalance.com

 

Hi everyone!  I want to thank Melissa so much for inviting me to guest post today.  I met Melissa at Fitbloggin earlier this year and right away I was struck by how friendly she is and how passionate she is about health and fitness.  Melissa, I wish you the best of luck launching your nutrition practice!

I definitely know how difficult it can be to take a risk in your career.  I started my blog, My Own Balance, when I was working as an associate at a law firm and was pretty unhappy, but let me back up a bit.  I knew that I wanted to go to law school and become a lawyer since I was in high school so I put myself on a tunnel-vision path to get there.  In college I majored in the typical pre-law subject of political science and minored in law in the liberal arts.  After graduation I waited two years to officially enroll in school but once I did, I knew I was in the right place.  I threw myself into my studies limiting my social calendar and excelled at my classes.  In my second year I joined the law review and even published an article.

 

MyOwnBalance.com

 

After graduation I began working at a law firm in midtown Manhattan.  I knew working as a lawyer was going to mean a lot of long hours and some tedious work.   I didn’t realize how incredibly difficult life as a lawyer was actually going to be.

 

I have always prioritized health and fitness in my life. I started dancing ballet at the age of 5 and continued to dance even in college where I was in a dance company.  I played field hockey in high school and also ran track.  I even began teaching fitness classes in high school, something that I continued in college and for years afterwards.  During law school, I used workouts as an outlet for my stress and I always prioritized healthy eating.

 

As a lawyer, however, I barely had a second where my blackberry was not blinking with a new email from a client, a colleague or a partner.  Carving out time to workout was increasingly difficult and weekends no longer belonged to me so the long bike rides I enjoyed with my husband became a thing of the past.  Maintaining healthy eating habits became progressively more difficult as well with bagels provided to the firm every Friday, pizza lunches and group dinner orders when we worked late (which was constantly).  I felt like an outsider bringing my lunch from home, ordering my own salad for dinner and getting up at the crack of dawn to fit in a workout before work.

MyOwnBalance.com, yoga

 

As a way to vent my frustration with the long hours, the cranky clients and the even crankier lawyers, I decided to focus on my love for fitness and healthy living.  I started my blog to chronicle my mission to stay healthy and find more balance in my life.  In addition to talking about my workouts and healthy recipes, I also made a point to focus on the wonderful things in my life like travel, family time and social events with friends.  By writing and taking photos of these things, I realized that life was not all about work but about the things you love.

 

I continued to work at my law firm for another six months after I started my blog.  However, around the holidays last year, it became clear to me that I couldn’t go on working the way I had been.  I was incredibly unhappy and I lived for blogging about my latest fitness adventure.  I didn’t enjoy my work and I was constantly stressed out.  I decided it was time for a change.

 

Friends and family suggested switching to a different firm, going into government work or trying to get an in-house position.  While these suggestions all made sense, I realized that it was not just the firm that I disliked, it was life as a lawyer.  No firm, government organization or in-house job was going to provide me with the professional satisfaction I was seeking.  I made the difficult decision to leave the law.

 

After a failed first attempt at a non-legal position, I finally ended up at my current position where I work as a legal editor.  It’s the perfect position for me!  I get to use my legal degree researching and writing articles that are published online and I can simultaneously maintain my blog about healthy living.  The best part is that my new position allows me the time and energy to do both of these things and I never feel guilty anymore for prioritizing my health.

MyOwnBalance, cycling 

I can’t say the road was easy and the decision simple, but I am so much happier now than I was one year ago.

What I learned from my journey is that no matter how much you think you should be going down one path, if it doesn’t make you happy there is no point staying on that path.  Look for parallel paths or choose an entirely different one.

Life is too short to be unhappy!

Comments

  1. says

    I’m glad you found a career path that works for you. The cruel joke of law school is that studying law is nothing at all like practicing law, which most people don’t find out until they are stuck under a pile of debt and in a job they hate.

    There are attorneys and even law firms out there that do value health and fitness. I know because I’m (still) an attorney, and I work for a law firm. It’s not a big Manhattan firm, but it does have offices across the country. The main office (where I don’t work) has a personal trainer on staff and a gym; several of the regional offices also have a gym (our building has a 24 Hour Fitness in it, so they didn’t build us a gym). We also have annual fitness challenges, and the firm fields teams for charity fitness events such as Hustle up the Hancock, and a relay team in the Detroit marathon. The firm is also a main sponsor of several events.

    I’m pretty lucky, I know lots of people don’t have it this good! There are, however, several attorneys I know who also practice yoga or teach yoga (I do both).

    Oh, and glad to find another attorney health and fitness blogger :)

    • says

      Hi Elyse! Thanks for stopping by. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog as well. Brittany is pretty fabulous – she’s the type of person you might want to hate because she’s smart, cute and so nice but you just can’t because she’s great. I’m so glad to call her my friend.

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