In 2006, my husband was having gall bladder problems, and an X-ray showed the worst possible news. They found a mass located on his spine that turned out to be a rare tumor called a chordoma. And although I never miss a nail appointment, I lost the strength to keep standing. Fearing the worst, I went home without calling any of my clients. My entire salon stood strong, and took over my responsibilities.

My husband received treatment at Loma Linda, one of four hospitals in the country that has Proton Beam Radiation, and kept going to work and classes. He pushed me to get back to work as well. I couldn’t spend time thinking about the fact that we had just broke ground on a new salon, and that every treatment was possibly causing irreversible damage to my best friend’s body. There were days when I didn’t know if I was coming or going.

But writing this, I can’t believe all this happened and things are still OK. My salon has done quite well. The entire staff has been strong and stable, and in April 2007, our salon celebrated six years — and it just keeps getting better.

We finished the new salon within the building permit time, and looking back I can’t believe he did this for me, all while going through his major life crisis.

I learned that it is much better to surround yourself with good, positive people including family, friends, and clients. The little things, including all the unnecessary drama, really don’t matter in the big scheme of life.

Keeping a balance between my professional life and personal life has been easy since I learned how to say one little word — “NO.” When I realized that saying “no” did not make me a bad person, it was such a liberating experience. Now I say it all the time! “Can you stay late to do my nails?” No. “Can you come in early?” No. “Can you do my nails on your weekend?” Heck no! Since I learned how to set boundaries, I rarely have unreasonable requests (unless they are made by a new client who I haven’t trained yet).

But I had to start off slow. When a request was made and I’d get that queasy, uncomfortable feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach, I would say, “Let me think about it.” That allowed me to put some distance between me and the person making the request and it was easier to let them down gently over the phone later. The more you practice, the easier it gets.

In response to balancing work and career, this is the perfect career for having it all — if you’re not too greedy. I have been doing nails for 16years, through being single, married and now with two kids. Early in my career I worked five full days, although I have never worked on Saturdays. My schedule has evolved as my life has. But now I work two shorter days (five appointments on Tuesdays and Fridays) and two full days (seven appointments on Wednesdays and Thursdays), and I’m home by 6 p.m. Now that I have just had my second child, I may even cut that back more. I still make a great income, more than some with a college degree working full time. All that is missing is health benefits, which my husband has. And, I still love doing nails. I enjoy this business.

I think it is possible to achieve a balance if you have a good support system and are willing to compromise. I have two children, a very active 11 1/2-year-old daughter, and a beautiful miracle baby boy born in September 2006. I simply love what I do. Being an Education Ambassador for Creative Nail Design is not a job to me, it is a part of who I enjoy being. Therefore, after having a baby I did not want to give that up. I did have to compromise and retire from being in the salon, but I trained a replacement for the salon and kept my homebound clients. For a support system I have an amazing husband who loves to have the kids to himself and sees it as parenting, not babysitting. And for babysitting, I have two great girls I trust implicitly, which makes it easier to be on the road. So really I feel there is a balance. I chose which aspect of my career was most important to me and continued to pursue it, and I still benefit from and appreciate my support system. I am a happier person doing what I love, so my family benefits from having a happy mom.


I think I balance my work with my personal life very nicely. It seems easy here in a small mountain community. Most of my clients are friends or business associates or members of my church. And even those who aren’t have a common ground in that we all live in this wonderful caring community where we learn about each other and enjoy that time as well.

Achieving balance between my professional and personal life is often a difficult task. I love my work and because I found my “calling” later in life, I often go overboard to fulfill myself and please my clients — who I also love. The best thing I have done is to schedule family time at the beginning of each month for the month ahead. That time is blocked out so I cannot slip anyone in when they are in a bind. My husband has been a big help with keeping family time as family time. He often, very gently I might add, pulls me back from my passion for my work and my clients to my love for him and our boys by letting me know they miss me and we need time to make memories of us. 

I made a promise to myself and to my kids when I started my business; my goal was to be home with them more. No matter what is going on, I leave the business every day at 3:30 p.m., and from then on, I am wife and mom, (and I try to sneak in some me time when I can). I think you can definitely balance work and home if you set time limits of how much you will spend on each, and then stick to it.


The Top 10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Health and Wellness

Jackie Hart, the founder of HealthWealth Inc., in Austin, Texas says, “Your health is the most important thing you take care of every day. It doesn’t have to be complicated or confusing, and it shouldn’t be.” Here’s her list of the top 10 things you can do to get your health and wellness back on track:

1. Set a goal and track it. No matter what your pleasure, keep track of the positive things you do to improve your health. Whether you take the stairs instead of riding the elevator, or walk your dog 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the evening, you are making significant improvements to your health by moving.

2. Do something for yourself each day. Whether a bubble-bath, reading a couple of chapters in a book that is “just for fun,” or taking a 15-minute nap in the middle of the afternoon — remember to spend some self time; it will greatly improve your attitude by putting yourself first.

3. Eat an ounce of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate raises your endorphin level, is a powerful antioxidant, and tastes good, too! The darker the better. It is a yummy way to a healthier you.

4. Smile. It takes more muscles to frown than it does to smile, and when you smile your sense of well-being begins to rise. Try smiling at the grocery checkout person, the ticket taker at the movie theatre, the mailperson. Never miss the opportunity to smile when you see someone, the smile you send will almost always be returned, and you have spread and received some joy that is better than any pill.

5. Day dream. It is a fantastic way to find out what you really want to do with your life. If you dare to dream, you will achieve those dreams, much like a self-fulfilling prophecy, day dreaming about something that makes you happy will subconsciously set you on a path to fulfilling that dream.

6. Don’t diet. If you try to lose something you will always try to find it again. Instead of thinking about what you cannot, or should not eat, concentrate on what you are eating, when you are eating, why you are eating, and how much you are eating. Deprivation will work in the short run, but you will be healthier if you simply eat more natural, less processed food and move 30 minutes each day.

7. Stand up straight. You will look thinner and breathe better by opening your lungs to deepen your breathing as you move. You will actually be strengthening your core muscles too!

8. Don’t compare others’ outsides to your insides. Remember the way you perceive others is not reality. Instead of comparing your body, hair, bank account, marriage, or anything else to someone else’s, begin to analyze what that person you admire so much projects that makes you want to imitate or trade places with her/him.

9. When exercising replicate something you loved to do as a child. Whether you loved jumping rope, dancing in front of the mirror, or swimming in the community pool, it is the place to start. Remember that your childhood exercise was a treat — make your grown-up exercise just as much fun — you will not only enjoy it more, you will look forward to it.

10. Accept yourself just as you are. Find a private place and look at yourself naked in the mirror. Really see your great attributes and learn to love them. Did you inherit a pear shape? That is not only feminine, but puts you at lower risk for heart disease and diabetes. Did you inherit an apple shape? Rejoice in your great legs. When once a week you can look at yourself completely and fully without “cloaking,” you will begin to take better care of that body that you love — you are inside, and the healthiest thing you can do is take care of it by loving yourself to care for yourself, your health will improve with the increased love of you!

Jackie Hart is the founder of HealthWealth, a wellness company dedicated to empowering every individual to live a life of physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness. For more information visit HealthWealth online.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, Click here.