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Episode 102: How to Find Work-Life Balance When You’re Passionate About What You Do with Jillian Ashton

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As a small business owner, you have your hands in every element of your business, which often makes balancing work and time away from the office a bit of a challenge. To make things even more difficult, most of us are extremely passionate about what we do, causing the lines between work and personal life to become that much more muddled.

No one understands this challenge more than Jillian Ashton.

Jillian is the president of the Indiana Canine Assistant Network (ICAN). By training and placing service dogs, ICAN helps kids, adults, and veterans overcome challenges and have more independence. Jillian is beyond passionate about the work she does with ICAN—which has given her more than her fair share of struggles with work-life balance.

In this episode of Priority Pursuit, Jillian walks us through her thought processes and tactics for finding and committing to a work-life balance that places your priorities at the forefront.


How to find work-life balance when you're passionate about what you do.

When it comes to work-life balance, the first thing you need to focus on is deciding what your priorities are. According to Jillian, everything else—where you place your time, what you include in your schedule, how you handle balancing situations—builds off of what is most important to you and your life.

Once you understand these priorities, it is important to actively include them in your schedule. For example, one of Jillian’s priorities is having a quiet moment to think and prepare herself for the day. Because of this, she physically schedules out time on her calendar every morning to sit quietly and read or think about the day ahead.

She not only understands what is important to her life—she also is sure to be intentional and uncompromising in the way she includes it, just as you would be with a job or task for your business.

That being said, Jillian is quick to note that no matter how intentional you may be, you will have times when your schedule and priorities don’t work the way you want them to. As a mother of three, she explains there are times in your life where you simply won’t have control over where your time goes or when you’re able to do certain tasks.

However, regardless of when these times come up in your life, Jillian suggests loving where you are and living with an ounce of grace. These moments, while sometimes frustrating, don’t last forever, and you never know what you might be missing if you focus on what you “should” be doing instead.


How to shut down for the day.

When it comes to choosing a hard and fast time of the day to stop working, half (or even more) of the battle is making the decision that you want a life outside of work and that you’re going to actively pursue it. As with a majority of work-life balance, creating a work schedule for yourself is extremely individualized and based on your priorities.

As small business owners, you are used to making strategic plans to further the growth of your business and steer it in the right direction. Jillian recommends you do the same thing with your life. Think about where you want to see yourself in three, five, or even ten years. What kind of relationships do you want? Where do you want your fitness level to be? Are there any hobbies or proficiencies you want to improve?

When you have these in mind, think about what you can do now or in the next few years to reach those goals. Are you able to do all of these things while staying late at the office?

Overall, Jillian claims having a set time to turn work off for the day simply comes down to what you decide to prioritize for your life and committing to that decision.


How to Get Everything Done.

At this point, you may be asking, “How do I get everything done at work if I’m leaving the office earlier?”

Jillian states that constantly grinding away at work shouldn’t be the only option to get everything done and get you and your business where you want to be. In fact, constantly focusing on work oftentimes leaves us worn out and not at our best—both for ourselves and the people around us. Jillian argues there are approaches you can take that will help navigate your workload without sacrificing yourself to do it.



As a small business owner, you’re likely used to doing everything yourself. However, Jillian shares that there is a beauty in surrender, in being vulnerable enough to ask for help. While she admits it isn’t easy to give up control, Jillian explains that understanding other people have skills you don’t and delegating tasks can help both you and your business.



Clarity can similarly benefit your personal and business worlds. Going back to priorities, once you are clear on what you want and how you plan on accomplishing it, you are able to avoid adding things to your schedule that are not conducive to your plan. Likewise, when you are clear on the direction and goals of your business, everyone is on the same page and working together in the same direction.


Does work-life balance exist?

Jillian optimistically says yes, work-life balance does exist, you just have to strive for it. It comes down to your priorities and whether you decide to live to work or work to live—and there is no one right answer. Overall, there are so many elements that make up your life and who you are as a person. Don’t focus on the elements that don’t align with where you want to be and risk missing out on the wonder of all the others.


Be sure to listen to this whole episode (at the top of the page or wherever you listen to podcasts) to hear more about Jillian’s tactics on how to find work-life balance when you’re passionate about what you do. If you’d like to connect with Jillian, you can find her on LinkedIn. You can also learn more about ICAN by visiting their website or following them on Facebook (@icandog) and Instagram (@icandogs).


Links & Resources Mentioned in This Episode


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The Priority Pursuit Podcast is a podcast dedicated to helping small business owners define, maintain, and pursue both their personal and business priorities so they can build lives and businesses they love.

You can find The Priority Pursuit Podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Podcasts, Stitcher, and wherever you listen to podcasts.



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How to find work-life balance when you’re passionate about what you do with Jillian Ashton on the Priority Pursuit Podcast!



Leverage Kelly’s marketing experience, insights, and leadership to grow your business.

As the founder and chief marketing strategist at Treefrog Marketing, a co-host of the Priority Pursuit Podcast, a StoryBrand Certified Guide, and fractional chief marketing officer, Kelly Rice has spent more than two decades helping small businesses take their companies to the next level by providing trustworthy leadership and building effective marketing strategies and systems.

She has dedicated her career to helping small businesses succeed because she knows, firsthand, how hard they work to make their communities a better place. 

Still, many people undervalue the strength and ingenuity of small businesses, but not Kelly. She believes they deserve to have a marketing partner and strategy that works as hard as they do.

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