About Balanced Professional's Founder, Michelle Ryan

How I Went From Merely Surviving to Thriving

 

 

Hey there, I’m Michelle,

founder of Balanced Professional.

 

You’re in the right place if you yearn to:
  • Spend your evenings and weekends with your family
  • Make it to wine night with your friends
  • Take care of yourself (sleep, exercise, healthy meals, and more)
  • Go on vacation without bringing work with you
My goal is to help you have it all:
the life you truly want and a successful career.

And that’s why I created Balanced Professional

I’ve always been an overachiever. I never doubted that as long as I worked hard enough, I could have it all. This formula worked through undergrad and law school. Perhaps this is because I went to school in New Orleans, a city that never sleeps. Tulane Law was a perfect place for me: most of the year I could study until eleven at night, head out to listen to live music until the wee hours of the morning, sleep, go to class, and repeat.

As you might imagine, this routine did not work so well once I became a lawyer and had to be in court by 8:30 am. Being a bit stubborn, I kept trying to make it work, adopting the work-hard, play-hard mantra. My physical and mental health suffered. I picked up every virus I came into contact with. At night I woke up thinking about work and my never-ending to-do lists. It never occurred to me that life as a lawyer could be any different.

I made it work by taking files home with me every night, going into work on the weekends, and forever postponing plans with friends and family. However, I was embarrassed that I was overwhelmed by everything at work and home. I thought if I asked for help, I would be seen as weak. I kept thinking that one day I would wake up and I would magically feel better about it all.

And then, one day I tripped on loose carpet at work and wound up with a concussion and post-concussion syndrome. I went from arguing about the constitutionality of a search to being unable to compare prices at the grocery store. I was off work for six weeks and when I returned, I wasn’t the same person.

During my time away from work, I’d found my life again. I wasn’t willing to sacrifice myself for work anymore. I knew what I really wanted, what having it all meant for me.

Soon after the accident, I left the public defender job that I loved to find a new way of working and living. I opened up my own law firm and made my own rules for work and play time. I went from surviving as a public defender to thriving as a solo lawyer. Within a year I was working on cases I’d never even imagined handling: federal conspiracy and state death penalty cases. The cases are intoxicating and I am fortunate to work with some incredibly talented folks (lawyers, experts, paralegals, investigators).

But what I love most is the life I lead. I make it to the gym and teach or practice yoga most days. I eat healthier than I ever have before. My dogs adore me because I take them on walks before I bike to work. I make it to wine night with my girlfriends and movie night with my humane society friends. On the weekends I go hiking and listen to live music. I spend time with my family and go on incredible trips with my husband. And I’m still the fierce advocate my clients need.

I want the same thing for you. I want you to have the time to enjoy your life, time to watch your kid’s soccer games, time for eat lunch, and time to get away from it all and relax. Allow me be your guide to stressing less and being more.

Discover if you’re a balanced professional by taking the quiz!