Can I Live a Balanced Life? With Whitney English [Episode 213]

Live Balanced Life Whitney English

GIVEAWAY ALERT: You can win the book A More Beautiful Life by this week’s podcast guest. Keep reading to find out how!

In a world driven by constant productivity, we’re seeing a lot more burnout than balance. But what if you could break free from the constant state of chaos, and instead make your days more manageable and meaningful?

Well, today, you’re going to get five steps to a more beautiful, balanced life from author Whitney English.

She’ll share with you the H.E.A.R.T. method to help you better understand yourself and what you’re capable of—not by tracking and measuring everything to death, but by helping you evaluate your capacity from right where you are. Her advice is so practical, and it will empower you as you manage all your people, your responsibilities, and the talents God has given you.

Meet Whitney

Whitney English is the author of A More Beautiful Life: A Simple Five-Step Approach to Living Balanced Goals with HEART. She’s started two businesses, has a degree in interior design and has had her work featured in O Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and on the Today show. She’s married to David, and they have three children.

[Listen to the podcast using the player above, or read the transcript below. Then check out the links below for more helpful resources.]

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Episode Transcript

4:13 Podcast: Can I Live a Balanced Life? With Whitney English [Episode 213]

Whitney English: So there is a place for that. But when you start with that, when you just start with, like, oh, these are my big goals and my big dreams, like, you're not going to achieve -- you can achieve those goals sometimes. Some people are really good at achieving those goals. But then getting there and realizing that they don't like the way they feel physically, they don't like the way they feel emotionally, they don't like -- they have no relationships.

Jennifer Rothschild: In a world driven by constant productivity, we are seeing a lot more burnout than balance. Right? Well, today you are going to get five steps to a more beautiful and balanced life from author Whitney English. She is going to share with you the HEART system, which starts with helping and empowering yourself so that you can manage well all your people, your responsibilities, and the talents that God is giving you.

All right, 4:13ers, let's explore a more manageable and meaningful life. Here we go.

K.C. Wright: Welcome to the 4:13 Podcast, where practical encouragement and biblical wisdom set you up to live the "I Can" life, because you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

Now, welcome your host, Jennifer Rothschild.

Jennifer Rothschild: Hey there. I am Jennifer, here to help you be and do more than you feel capable of as you live the "I Can" life of Philippians 4:13. I'm sitting next to my seeing eye guy, K.C. Wright. It's two friends here in the closet. We're talking about one topic today, zero stress.

K.C.'s still trying to come down from some stress, because you all know he has a daughter who's in school and he's doing the morning routine and --

K.C. Wright: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, it was a little harder to get Ellie up and around and out of the car this morning, huh?

K.C. Wright: Well, that's the thing. Have you ever had a morning where it's like pulling teeth?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes. I remember those days.

K.C. Wright: Come on. The clock is moving and you're standing still. Come on.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, I remember these days.

K.C. Wright: And old school don't play. I'll tell you what, you will get the letter, you will get the call. You have to be on time. But I remember this past summer, I got her out of the car real quick.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah? What'd you do?

K.C. Wright: Well, her and her bestie, Olivia went to summer camp. And I couldn't tell if they were excited for camp or excited to just get out of my car, because I had (singing), "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah, Greetings from --

Jennifer and K.C.: -- Camp Grenada."

K.C. Wright: You know, I had that song on repeat and full blast.

Jennifer Rothschild: No wonder.

K.C. Wright: It's the eternal D.J. in me.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, but that got them out of the car quickly. Okay, that's your solution, K.C.

K.C. Wright: It is.

Jennifer Rothschild: Play bad music on the way to school and she'll be like, "Bye, Daddy, love you." She'll be out of that car quickly.

K.C. Wright: Tomorrow it's polka. I'm playing polka in the carpool lane.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, listen. Phil and I -- so when we go to the lake -- which we haven't been in a while, of course. But that is such a happy place. So I created my lake playlist on my iPhone.

K.C. Wright: Ooh.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, I'm of the old school, I don't do all the Spotify stuff. I literally like to buy the songs from the artist, to support where I can, and I create my own playlist. So I have this lake playlist, and it's all this music. Okay, I'll give you some of the artists. Kenny Chesney. I am a big Kenny Chesney fan. It just fits on the lake.

K.C. Wright: Right, right.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay. Some country music and -- but most of it is 70s music. Oh, my gosh. And when my family is on the boat with us, I know they're all rolling their eyes. And I have this friend named Angela -- she's a 4:13er, she listens -- and it is like torture to her. When Christopher Cross comes on, (singing) "Sailing takes me away," she's like, "Oh, this is so depressing on the lake." Anyway, she still sticks it out in the boat. But, yeah, she endures Christopher Cross.

Okay, so all that has nothing to do with anything we're talking about today, but --

K.C. Wright: But it was entertaining.

Jennifer Rothschild: It was fun for us. Hope you weren't miserable.

But we are going to talk to Whitney English soon, so, K.C., let's introduce Whitney.

K.C. Wright: Whitney English is the author of "A More Beautiful Life: A Simple Five-Step Approach to Living Balanced Goals with Heart." She started two businesses, has a degree in interior design, and has even had her work featured in "O Magazine," the "Wall Street Journal," and on the Today Show. She's married to David and they have three children.

Now, settle in and join Jennifer and Whitney.

Jennifer Rothschild: All right, Whitney, I'm real excited about this conversation because I have a friend who practically lost her mind and her testimony over creating and dealing with SMART goals at work. It was like a real thing for her. So let's start there, if you don't mind. Why is it that SMART goals fail us?

Whitney English: Yes, that is definitely starting at the root of it. SMART goals debuted -- the term "SMART goals" was coined by a guy named George T. Doran, and it debuted in a 1981 edition of a business publication. I can't remember the exact name of it now. And it was a two-page article that gave employers and managers tips on how to monitor and improve employee performance. It was never intended to be a personal goal setting system.

So there are a lot of little tiny reasons. SMART goals doesn't account for balance, it doesn't account for the quantity of goals, it doesn't account for the quality of goals, it just tells you that you have to track them.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah.

Whitney English: Which some of us are just not trackers. That is not me. Now, I can write down a list, and ignore that list for six months, and pick it up and be like, oh, look at everything I got done. But tracking it actually kind of demotivates me. It makes the goals more of a burden. And so we're all different personality types, and there is a type out there like that --

Jennifer Rothschild: That loves it.

Whitney English: -- the really Type A. Oh, yeah, they love that stuff. And if SMART goals works for them, that's awesome. But the rest of us -- I wrote the book because I felt like it was time for a different system.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and that's what I appreciate about your model. And, in fact, I am a sucker for a great acronym, and you have a great one here. Okay?

Whitney English: Yay.

Jennifer Rothschild: So let's tell our listeners -- and I can't wait to hear you unpack this -- what the HEART method is.

Whitney English: Yes. Okay. There are five letters, the acronym obviously, and each letter has a series of checkpoints underneath it. So I'll talk about the letters and the checkpoint and we can segment it out later if you want to.

Jennifer Rothschild: Sure.

Whitney English: So H is Help Yourself. It's all about your physical well-being. And the four checkpoints of H are sleep, water, nutrition, and movement. And what I mean by checkpoints is -- whenever I need a reset -- I used to go back to my goal list and be like, okay, I've -- you know, like, I don't know what I'm doing. I'm chasing squirrels and rabbits, I don't know what direction, you know, let me just go look at my goal list. But my goal list neglected the fact that I have a physical body. And so on a daily basis if I find myself kind of frustrating or losing it with my kids, I will start at the top of the acronym and say, H, how have I helped myself? And usually I can find a reset, a daily reset, in those first four checkpoints of H, Help Yourself.

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's good. That's super practical. I mean, we are machines. You know, you neglect your car, it's not going to run.

Whitney English: Right.

Jennifer Rothschild: And usually -- I simplify life with my husband and kids. How's your blood sugar? Have you eaten? What time did you get up this morning? Because usually that's where it all begins and ends. That's our victory and that's our defeat basically.

Whitney English: Yeah.

Jennifer Rothschild: So good. I love that you start with that. Okay, Help Yourself.

All right, what's E?

Whitney English: The next letter is E for Empower Yourself. This is all about your mental, spiritual, and emotional well-being. Once we've taken care of our bodies -- which contain our minds and our brain -- we can set ourselves up for success by asking ourselves, how are my emotions? What am I feeling? I mean, it's a simple question. But I grew up in a faith background where I was taught feelings aren't real. And while some people might want to really debate that, it's been a very emotionally healthy practice for me personally. I can only speak from experience to say, okay, what feeling is -- you know, what feeling is going through my body right now? Why am I responding like this? So stopping and checking in with my emotions is important. Growing my mind.

Then the last checkpoint is our spirit. It's not necessarily last, but the third checkpoint in E, Empower Yourself, is how's your soul? And in the book I say we just -- as debated as religion and faith are in our current society, the existence of a soul doesn't seem to be one of those things that's under debate.

Jennifer Rothschild: True.

Whitney English: And when our souls are hungry or thirsty or -- our souls have needs. And just figuring out what it is that nurtures that part of you is really important. For a lot of us, it's quiet time, time in the Word, a meditation. For others, it might be just going for a walk and -- or getting away from people and seeing the beauty of the Lord on a mountainside or a beach or something like that, so....

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's super practical. Well, I think it was C.S. Lewis who wrote something like, "If I find in myself this ache, this feeling that nothing else on earth can satisfy, it's proof that I was made for another world." And that's what you're saying, that checkpoint spiritually. We are made for eternity, and there has to be that eternal nourishment through God's Word or his presence. Okay, super good. This is really practical. I'm loving it.

All right, let's head to the letter A.

Whitney English: A is All Your People. And I grew up -- I learned growing up the JOY acronym, Jesus, Others, You.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, me too.

Whitney English: Yeah. Love it. I mean, I definitely see the point of that. But trying to practice that actually was leaving me really depleted. And I learned that taking care of my physical well-being and my emotional well-being is actually going to set me up to take care of my people even better. And so A stands for All Your People, and it really is just -- one of the questions I asked myself on this is what meaningful conversation -- who needs a meaningful conversation today?

Jennifer Rothschild: Okay, that's super practical.

R, what does R stand for?

Whitney English: R is your Resources and Responsibilities. R is all about keeping the wheels on your car and the roof from caving in on your house. And we bought a -- that's great when you can get it under control. It's what Stephen Covey would call quadrant 2 activities. It's doing the things that are important but not urgent.

And the reason why I don't like it very much right now is we bought a 50-year-old home during the pandemic, during lockdown, and we redid it. We redid the floor, painted everything. We knew we were going to gut the kitchen later. But we moved in and we have already had to replace -- my husband is currently chiseling up wood floor, that has been installed for less than 18 months, because there is some type of water damage. That's just not the -- that's ours. You have to take -- you can't let the water damage get worse. You have to find the root of the problem and take care of it. So it's just adulting.

Jennifer Rothschild: It is adulting. And it's funny, we were over at our adult son and his family's home last night, and he said the same thing. He said, "There are so many things in my house that need to be dealt with." He said, "I'm looking at the ones that if I neglect them, how will this be so much worse." And he said, "I'm tackling those first because it's overwhelming." So, yeah, that's exactly what you're describing. But, yeah, it's not the most fun part of the HEART acronym.

So what is the T then? What does T stand for?

Whitney English: T is Trade and Talent. This is just where you can share your gifts with the world. You've set yourself up for success. You've taken care of your physical well-being, you've taken care of your emotional well-being, you've taken care of your people. You've taken care of your stuff so that you're not putting out fires when you go out into the world and try to serve people and love people using your gifts, you know, just like sharing with the world who God designed you to be.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, and you are illustrating what you're teaching because you wouldn't be able to pull off the T if you hadn't been pulling off the H, E, A, R, you know? You'd be a cluttered mess.

So as someone's listening to this, I know in your book you suggest there are five questions that you need to ask yourself to begin the HEART method. And because I'm a psych major -- okay, I was really excited because it relates to the Maslow hierarchy of needs. Okay. So as someone is listening and they're thinking, okay, I want to start this, what are the five questions they need to ask themselves?

Whitney English: What do you need to do for your physical person? What do you need to do for your mind? What do you need to do for your people? What do you need to take care of so that nothing explodes?

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, yeah.

Whitney English: And -- you know, go get your oil changed, whatever.

And then last but not least, you know, if you really feel like you have that -- the secret to balance is in those first four questions.

Jennifer Rothschild: Interesting. Interesting.

Whitney English: And when you've found -- I feel like when you've found that balance and you're practicing, just some -- I feel like it's a matter of discipline and choices. I can come back and touch on that in a second too. Then you can ask yourself the last question, which is how can -- you know, what gifts do I have and how can I share those with the world?

Jennifer Rothschild: Interesting, Whitney, because a lot of times we start with the T and we burn out, wear out, whatever and so we can't figure out why. So my question would be, do you need to follow the HEART method in order?

Whitney English: Yes. The order matters big time. It really is -- and that's one thing -- I mean, with SMART, when we set -- if you're going to put SMART goals anywhere in the acronym, they fit in T. A lot of times you get into a job or you own your own company or -- you know, you do need to set some goals, and maybe you need to track them because you're part of a group or something like that. So there is a place for that.

But when you start with that, when you just start with, like, oh, these are my big goals and my big dreams, you're not going to achieve -- you can achieve those goals sometimes. Some people are really good at achieving those goals. But then getting there and realizing that they don't like the way they feel physically, they don't like the way they feel emotionally, they don't like -- they have no relationships.

But when you get there and you've got all this stuff, or the cars or the house or whatever it is that you wanted in the first place, if you don't have people to enjoy it with, if you can't enjoy it, you know, if God isn't -- for me personally speaking as a believer, if God isn't receiving the glory, what was the point --

Jennifer Rothschild: Right, right.

Whitney English: -- white-knuckling it?

Jennifer Rothschild: well, and I think of the Maslow's hierarchy. You're kind of saying you're flipping it upside down. The tiniest part of that triangle, the hierarchy, is that self-actualization, the expressing the talent and the -- and you suppose that -- that literally cannot be on the bottom or it will be crushed under the weight of everything that should have come before it. It really -- which is the physical needs and the relationships and everything else. So, yeah, for those listening who aren't familiar with that, it'd be fun for you just to look it up and just see exactly what Whitney described and compare it to that hierarchy of needs.

All right. So something else you share in the book that I want you to talk about, please. July 12, 2012. Okay? Tell us about that day, what happened, and what it revealed to you.

Whitney English: I got this letter in the mail -- I talk about this in the book -- and it basically -- it was sort of a straw that broke the camel's back on a list of -- long list of things that just hadn't been going right for my company for a while. And what I don't talk about in the book -- you can read more of that story in the book, but I'll tell your listeners -- I'll give you guys this little inside story.

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, good. We love scoop.

Whitney English: Yeah, scoop. I came home -- and I was eight and a half months pregnant with my daughter, unexpectedly, about to be a mom to three children under the age of three. And I told my husband, I'm like, "We don't have any money in my company anymore at all. It is gone. Like, there is no -- there is not a check. We have -- like, the company can no longer fund our lifestyle. You have been working" -- we didn't live -- we don't drive fancy cars, we didn't have a big house, like, we -- you know, it wasn't like our lifestyle was extravagant. But he had been working on building an insurance agency for a couple of years, and I was like, "So good thing you've been working on that for a couple of years, because you can take over the bread and butter right now, the -- you can be the breadwinner now."

And he said, "Well, so, like, that whole insurance company is not going quite like I thought it was going to." We -- it was just really, really hard. We sat down that night after I put the kids -- the boys to bed, and I said, "Is there anything you're not telling me?" And just -- the floodgates opened. And we were in such a precarious situation with our personal finances as well at that time, in addition to my business finances, and it was rock bottom. J.K. Rowling has a quote I mention in the book that -- it's, "And so rock bottom became the foundation on which I rebuilt my life." So he met me there at rock bottom.

There's a book by Elizabeth Elliott called "Passion and Purity."

Jennifer Rothschild: Oh, yeah.

Whitney English: My mom gave it to me when I was a teenager. The tagline is, "How to Bring Your Love Life Under Christ's Control." But for me it was more about, okay, this is a book about how to bring my life under Christ's control. And there's a line in there about giving him the pieces of a broken heart. So for anybody who feels like their heart is broken right now, I would just say don't fear rock bottom. Like, God will meet you -- Jesus will be there. Just give him the pieces that you're -- all the stuff that you're trying to glue back together, you're trying to fix it, you're trying to make it right. You're probably trying on your end string. Just hand it to him. Pretend it's like one of those Easy Button -- you know, that Staples did for a while?

Jennifer Rothschild: At Staples? Yes, yes.

Whitney English: Yeah. And just daily hit that button, say, like, Okay, Lord, I am worrying about this. I'm going to give it to you.

Jennifer Rothschild: I would love it if you would just give us three very practical tips that we can apply today that can help us start this journey to a more beautiful life.

Whitney English: Okay. I mean, I -- really practical.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yes, really practical. That's what we do.

Whitney English: Really practical. Go get a water bottle and fill it up and drink it before you drink anything else today. That would be my first tip. My mom always says a glass of water changes thing.

Jennifer Rothschild: Well, it does, actually. It does. It reduces anxiety. Just 4 ounces of water can reduce your anxiety. So brilliant. I love how practical that is.

Okay, another one.

Whitney English: Go for a walk, unless it's raining where you are. I don't know if you can hear that. My husband is drilling up the floor.

Jennifer Rothschild: No, I can't hear it, but I'm glad to know he's doing that. That keeps it real with me. I love it.

Whitney English: Yeah. Just get up and go for a walk. Walk around the block. If it's raining, walk a loop in your house. If you don't have a loop -- like, if you can't walk around your kitchen island, walk up and down a hallway. Just try to get some movement. And the lateral movement of the right side and the left side of your body moving backwards and forwards kind of helps process -- helps your brain process things.

Jennifer Rothschild: Ooh. Okay.

Whitney English: And then my last tip would be maybe a little bit of a harder tip. Let me see if I can simplify this. I was going to say journal, but actually what I would say is brain dump. Because when I talk about getting rid of worries and concerns and the problems that we're mulling over trying to fix, one of the best ways to do that is just a practice, what I call brain dump. And we have notepads in our shop that we sell that say, "Brain Dump" on the top of them, but you can pick any old notepad up and just write down everything that's running through your brain. Pretend your brain is a stream and your thoughts are these sticks floating down, and we have to let the sticks float on by. And the best way to, like, get the sticks to let them go is to put them on a piece of paper. So I guess in a way, a brain dump is almost like picking that stick up, putting it on that piece of paper, and then walking away from it later. It is an amazing practice that I've used throughout my life.

K.C. Wright: I am hitting the Easy Button. (Bell rings) Easy.

Jennifer Rothschild: Easy.

K.C. Wright: Fill up a water bottle and drink it. We can all do that, right?

Jennifer Rothschild: We sure can. And go for a walk, right? That's easy. And if you can't get out, remember what Whitney said, just walk in a loop inside your house. You can do this. I have a kitchen island, and I literally will walk around my kitchen island just to be moving.

And remember her last tip, journal. Do a brain dump. She was talking about her brain dump journal or pad, whatever she said it was. I have a trust box. I don't know if I've told you all about this before --

K.C. Wright: No.

Jennifer Rothschild: -- but it's like a recipe box and I have blank index cards. And literally -- I started doing this when I was writing my Amos Bible study. Anything that was worrying me or that I was concerned about, I wanted to give to God. But I wanted it to be more of an action, so I literally would write on these cards, "Lord, I trust you with my mom's health." "Lord, I trust you with finishing this project." "Lord, I trust you with" -- and I would -- and so I have a trust box full and it became a brain dump for me. But where did I lay all my burdens? Right there at the feet of Jesus as an act of trust.

K.C. Wright: Wow. You were casting all your care upon him --

Jennifer Rothschild: Yeah, exactly.

K.C. Wright: -- truly in the box.

Jennifer Rothschild: Yep.

K.C. Wright: Well, we will have all this on the show notes at You'll find a transcript of this conversation, plus links to her book, and the brain dump pad she mentioned is there as well.

And you can win the book right now -- winner winner chicken dinner -- at Jennifer's Instagram. She's @jennrothschild. So go to Instagram and leave a comment there to win Whitney's book.

Jennifer Rothschild: Why do I think we need to get rid of this Easy Button out of the studio?

It was some good stuff today 4:13ers. And so if you thought so too, please leave us a rating or a review and share this with your friends. We love you, we appreciate you, and we are so grateful that we get to live this beautiful life along with you. So trust God to help you live a more balanced and beautiful life. You can because you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. I can.

K.C. Wright: I can.

Jennifer and K.C.: And you can.

Jennifer Rothschild: Now give me that bell.

K.C. Wright: Okay, here.


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