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Q&A with Eva Medilek

Updated: Jul 20, 2023

Exclusive Trusted Magazine Q&A with Eva Medilek, Leadership, Diversity & Inclusion Executive Coach - Fidelity

How could you describe your career path in few words?

Twelve years ago, I had a good job as a dental hygienist in San Francisco and I was newly married. I was preparing for my 50th birthday trip when my boss called me into her office to tell me that I was being downsized to part-time and my salary was being reduced. Well, that knocked me for a loop.

I realized that I had become dependent on a job that wouldn’t allow me to live my dream life and it made me miserable. But sometimes the universe gives you a reason and the opportunity to dream bigger and take action towards your dreams. That’s when I decided to become an entrepreneur and start a real estate investing business.

While I was working hard to have it all, I was doing it all. I was burnt out, stressed out, overwhelmed, and exhausted all the time. It was affecting my health and my relationship with my husband was breaking down.

When I accidentally discovered that my husband was having an affair, I realized that I had to own the responsibility for what was happening in my marriage. I’m sharing this with you because I wasn’t prioritizing what mattered most to me. I was prioritizing working my job and building my business and putting my health and relationships on the back burner.

My husband and I worked hard to build a new relationship out of the ashes of the old one. And we worked on our marriage and our own individual personal development. How you do one thing is how you do everything.

I moved from underperforming in my life and committed to living a high-performance life and became certified as a high-performance coach. High-performance habits resonated with me because I realized that my current habits were contributing to my stress and the breakdown in my relationship. I didn’t know how to achieve success in one area of my life, without sacrificing in another important area of my life.

I knew other busy, successful people were experiencing similar problems. A lot of successful people are miserable in their lives. Climbing the ladder to success is lonely. And you are often working alone and in isolation from your life and from your families.

I’ve dedicated my coaching to helping people advance their careers without sacrificing their personal lives. 

What was your most challenging experience and it has changed your mindset?

My most challenging experience has been learning that my husband was falling in love with another woman. It felt like a punch in the gut. I would have never, in a million years, believed that he would be capable of cheating on me. It forced me to look long and hard at myself and who I was BEING, as I was busy working and building a business.

I was working alone and in isolation from my family a lot. The stress was causing my health to be impacted. I was always tired and in pain and that didn’t make me much fun to be around. I knew that I contributed to the breakdown and I was afraid that I would lose everything that I was working so hard to have along with the person I was looking forward to having it with.

My mindset changed to one of radical responsibility. I’m responsible for my health, my mood, and my happiness. We were both responsible adults and we had to share the responsibility for the breakdown and do the work to build a new relationship.

I had to focus on taking it one day at a time and not focus on the pain of the past and the fear of pain in my future. I worked hard to stay present so that I could heal, forgive and do the work necessary to show up as the best version of myself while he was working to do the same. I had to be patient and focus on the relationship I desired and deserved without dwelling on my husband’s flaws.

It was the only way that we could build anew without the resentment that could have destroyed our efforts. 

When you get surprised by unusual or uncertain context, what do you think?

When I’m surprised by unusual or uncertain context, my first thought is ‘what is the lesson here?’ Most of the time when we are surprised, we have created certain expectations in our minds. When our expectations are not met, we can feel disappointed, sad, or angry. Our emotions have the capacity to direct our actions and that can be damaging.

It’s important to sit with the emotion and experience it and to ask the question, what will be my next action of integrity? What can I do to create a win/win? What possible solutions are there? That’s coming from a place of being responsible for my thoughts, expectations, and actions.

I also go immediately to wanting to develop a deeper understanding of the situation. That’s when I begin to ask questions that will deepen my understanding to get a better insight. In my experience, asking open-ended questions that begin with ‘what’ or ‘how’, is vital to gaining understanding, and insight, and will move the situation forward with a greater chance of collaboration. Asking closed-ended questions that could be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ could shut down the conversation without any forward movement.

I’m also careful in my asking of questions to never begin with ‘why’. Asking why has the potential to put people on the defensive which lessens the chance of collaborative efforts to move to a solution that benefits all.

Another thought or emotion I experience when I’m surprised is excitement. I’m a natural creative and the thought of creating something new and different or having a different experience is exciting to me. I view it as an opportunity to learn and grow. 

Based on your experience, what’s the key success factor for a female leader / manager?

In my experience, the key success factor for a female leader is delegation. As women, we tend to try to have it all by doing it all. There is so much pressure in society today for us to perform at a certain level. We are expected to be so many things at once: a spouse, a parent, a partner, fun, hardworking, organized, and ambitious. We see messages all the time that suggests if we are not all of those things, we have somehow failed or not ‘met our potential.’

Messages like that have set us up to think that in order to have it all, we have to be it all and do it all too. We are feeling stressed out, burnt out, and overwhelmed and it’s affecting our mood, our health, and our interactions with other people. We are doing so much to keep up with the demands of our work life and our personal life that it’s taking its toll on both.

As female leaders, we must prioritize what matters most to us and stop putting our health and relationships on the back burner. We need to move from high achieving to becoming high-performers on our journey to success. We need to implement habits that have us succeeding consistently, over the long term, while maintaining health, well-being, and happy relationships.

Success is about being willing to give things up! Here’s my CPRformula to jumpstart your high-performance.

Clarity – Be clear on what you want and what makes you happy. Where are you unhappy in your life or business? Do you feel clear about who you are and what’s important? Are you living in alignment to that? Many of you will say that your family or your health is the most important thing in your life, yet you are living as if your job or career is.

Priorities - Establish clear priorities. When you don’t have clear priorities, studies show that you are actually up to 30 times more likely to miss out on success. How you spend your time, money and energy is a direct reflection of your values. When your base your decision-making on your values and your priorities, you are willing to sacrifice or give up what doesn’t move forward or support your priorities.

Responsibility – Own the responsibility of creating and setting boundaries. You make poor choices by saying yes to everything to please everyone and you end up overcommitted because of it. Part of the structure and process is creating clear boundaries. Without boundaries, we don’t know safety. Your job is to support the structure. Set it. Communicate it. Don’t run from it.

This will help you create the balance you need for your priorities, goals, and values. This will give you the power to stop spending time you don’t have on things you don’t really want to do.

Your performance and your success come down to the ability to be clear, prioritize and take responsibility for creating and setting boundaries that support your goals and values. 

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