Hope for living, loving and caring with no regrets!

Jammie Johnson

Episode 84

This week, Rayna Neises, your host, talks with Nicole Kalil.  Nicole is a keynote speaker, coach, and podcaster.  She spent most of her professional life with a large company where she became the first woman ever promoted to Chief Development Officer.  Nicole has a passion for eliminating gender expectations and provides her insight into developing productive women within organizations.  She speaks about how to win at work, at home, and as a team.  Maintaining harmony and her different roles of mother, wife, and business owner is an ongoing challenge and time management, or what Nicole prefers to call choice management, is an increasingly important skill.  She shares the following insights:

  • Time is fixed and neutral, and therefore we are not really managing time.  Instead, we are managing the choices that we make with the time that we have.
  • You may not always have control in a situation, but you do have a choice of how you respond, what you do, and how you invest your time.
  • Think about the three E – F- F words related to getting things done:
    • Effort
    • Effectiveness
    • Efficiency
  • Multitasking costs us time.
  • Instead of trying to achieve work/life balance, think about finding harmony.
  • Be fully present, engaged, and guilt-free, right where your feet are.
  • Remember that it is never as good as it looks from the outside looking in.


*Transcript is an actual recount of the live conversation
Rayna Nieses: 

And that creates a lot of guilt. It creates a situation where I ended up having more work and more things on my plate because I feel guilty. No matter where I’m at, I’m supposed to be somewhere else or supposed to be doing something else. So it’s really about when I choose to be somewhere how do I be there? How do I be effective? How do I walk away feeling good and proud and guilt-free before I go into whatever the next choice is.” This is a quote from my guest, Nicole Kalil. And as we continue to honor self care awareness month, we’re going to explore how you can live a harmonized life. Welcome to A Season of Caring Podcast where there’s hope for living, loving, and caring with no regrets. This is Rayna Neises, your host. And today I have special guest Nicole Kalil. Nicole’s passion for eliminating gender expectations and redefining what doing women’s work actually means has fueled her as a keynote speaker, coach and host of the, This Is Women’s Work Podcast. Nicole spent most of her professional life with a fortune 100 company where her passion for leadership led her to become the first ever women promoted to Chief Development Officer in the company’s 160 year history. Working in this male dominated industry of financial services has given her both experience and insight into what’s working, what may not be working, and what’s different in developing productive women within an organization. She’s coached hundreds of women in business, consults with fortune 500 companies, and speaks to women and leaders about how to win at work, at home, and as a team. Both of Nicole’s immigrated to the United States, her father from Mexico and her mother from Germany. Making her the first-generation American. She credits her father in teaching her strong work ethic, confidence, and willingness to take risks. Her mother taught her the organizational skills and effective time management that allows her to excel in complex and challenging roles. Maintaining harmony and her different roles of mother, wife and business owner is an ongoing challenge and time, or what she prefers to call choice management is a much more important skill today than it ever has been. She is a self-admitted foodie and enjoys wine tasting and reading and whatever free time she creates. Thank you, Nicole, for being here with us today.

Nicole Kalil: 

Thank you so much, Rayna for having me, I’m excited to be.

Rayna Nieses: 

This concept, this important skill of learning, how to juggle life with all of the things that are on us. I love when you say it’s choice management, not time management. So I’m excited to talk to you about that today. So tell us what you believe about time management and why that’s a misnomer.

Nicole Kalil: 

Yeah. So I actually heard this many, many years ago and it was one of those moments, you know, where the light bulb goes off. And you realize that, or I realized the way I’ve been seeing it up to that point was the problem. That’s what wasn’t working for me. I was trying to manage time as if, there was a possibility that I could manage extra minutes in an hour or extra hours in a day. It was understanding that time is fixed and neutral. We all have the same amount of it. We all have the same 24 hours a day, seven days a week. And there is not a human among us. Who’s been able to manage more time. And so that is what makes it a misnomer. It’s not time that we’re managing. So if it’s not time ,what is it? fundamentally it’s the choices that we make with the time that we have. And so just flipping it in my brain to see it as choice management, it accomplished a few things. Number one, it made it clearer about what I’m managing, right. That opened up possibilities and opportunities, but it also put me back in the decider seat, the driver’s seat, the ownership seat of my time and my days. It helped me to feel less of a victim or reactive to what was going on. Allowed for me to be mindful that I had a choice, even sometimes when I didn’t feel like.

Rayna Nieses: 

So important as caregivers, as we think about that in our lives. I think one of the biggest struggles about caregiving season is you do find yourself living in a reactive state day in and day out and day in and day out. Because when you’re caregiving, you’re trying to manage someone’s health and their household and all of the things that really aren’t yours. And I think that’s one of the juggles of being a child, especially an adult child, who’s trying to help a parent is that we want to just come in and take over. So we really do feel like we have all the choices And we really can manage it the way we think we need to. When they’re still an adult. They still should have a voice and they should still be able to manage what they’re capable of managing. So it is that reaction because you, feel like you’re in somebody else’s world, can be really overwhelming.

Nicole Kalil: 

You make an important point here that I learned the hard way about the distinction. It’s not control management, it’s choice management. And I know we can all think of situations in our life where we didn’t have a choice. You don’t have a choice that you have a parent who all of a sudden might need care and you don’t have a choice that your sibling is turning into a jerk about it. You don’t have a choice so I know and have experienced the feeling of, but I don’t feel like I have a choice. I think the distinction is no, you don’t have control. You can’t control what happens or how somebody responds or what somebody’s choices are, but you always have a choice. It’s the version of responsibility that’s not burden, it’s literally able to respond, response ability. Like I am capable of making choices of how I respond, what I do, how I invest my time. Given my current reality and the people I’m interacting with. So, I know in some cases choices is also a privilege. And so I’m mindful that some of us have more options and choices available to us than others. It’s really just an opportunity to again, put yourself back in the decider and owner seat when it comes to your current set of reality.

Rayna Nieses: 

Yeah, it’s that shift in realizing that you can choose to be pulled. You can choose to go invest your time there versus just being pulled without even realizing that there are options. And like you said, I think our financial situation, our family support, our outside team provides us more choices when we get those things in place. But that’s why I say over and over again, that all of those things are so important because when we have the right support structure, we realize that we can live day in and day out in choice, versus in reactive state. And that’s the ultimate place to get to, but it’s not easy. So help us out, help us figure out what some I see you have three F words. We’re getting things done, but what are those?

Nicole Kalil: 

Yeah. So F words, E F F, not probably what you were thinking though. Sometimes that word needs to be used. That’s my opinion, but three F words, E F F for getting things done, it’s the three F words are effort, effectiveness and efficiency. If you’ve been living in the United States, you have been exposed probably over exposed to a culture that values effort above all things. There is not a problem we don’t try to fix by doing more. You can’t go anywhere anymore without hearing about hard work or grit or grind it out. Especially, in professional cultures, but the reality is we are bringing this effort, belief and concept to all aspects of our life. So when something changes in our life, we have a tendency to go, okay, well, now I need to do more. Right? I need to take on more. I need to increase my capacity. We almost instinctually respond by leaning into effort. I’m going to work harder. The three EFF words are just reminds us there are other available options. Yes. We can increase our effort and we might need to, and hopefully for a temporary period of time, because if you do that longterm burnout, resentment, regret, those are what’s waiting for you eventually on the other side. But asking yourself, how do I create efficiencies? How can I be effective in this space? So efficiencies to me are leveraging other people, delegating. How do I maybe accomplish two things at once or so silly example, but I often try to do my phone calls during drive time. It’s like, if, if I have to be in the car heading somewhere, I might as well make that a little bit more efficient by returning phone calls or calling family or friends that I haven’t talked to in a while. Or how do I get more done in less time? So asking those questions in the efficiency bucket, and then the effectiveness. It’s how do I show up, perform, create the best version of whatever it is that I’m going to be doing. So, if I’m spending time with my parents, how do I be present? Would I be engaged? How do I maximize the value of that time versus, trying to be in a bazillion different places mentally. The do more thing often has us do. I’ve had experiences like in the last couple of days, Where I’ve noticed that I’ve physically been with my daughter, but I’ve not mentally been there or even emotionally been there. And that creates a lot of guilt and it creates a situation where I end up having more work or more things on my plate because I feel guilty no matter where I’m at that I’m supposed to be somewhere else or supposed to be doing something else. So it’s really about when I choose to be somewhere, how do I be there? How do I be effective? How do I walk away feeling good and proud. And guilt-free before I go onto whatever the next choice is.

Rayna Nieses: 

There’s so much wisdom in that. I love how you brought all three of them in, because effort is part of it. We have to, like you said, invest, if we aren’t even investing, then none of the other things matter. So paying attention to the needs and investing in those things, but that considering what’s the efficiency and how effective am I being? And I do think it kind of comes from that place of being, versus doing. And bringing them together that we can be and do. And so many times we’re thinking either or versus both and. So if I’m with the person that I’m caring for, I can be both present with them and meet their needs. I think getting my dad ready for bed, when I’m thinking of the task and it’s not going the way that I want it to go, which is him saying, no, I don’t want to do that. Then my frustration level rises because I’m about getting it done. I’m about the task. But when I stop and I reach out in love and I say, Daddy, I love you. We’re okay. I’m just, I’m here to help you. And I give him the space to have a choice and to interact with him personally and not let the doing overweigh the being. Then I can be able to accomplish both at the same time, which is really the epitome of efficiency. Right?

Nicole Kalil: 

Yeah. And how often we walk into situations without asking ourselves, who do I want to be in this moment? Or how do I want to serve in this moment? Or will, when I’m done with this opportunity, how will I feel proud about how I showed up? Even just 30 seconds, one minute, prior to doing anything, asking ourselves that question, being grounded in. Has a show up in the most effective way, which is actually going to save us time. Multitasking costs us time, every time. There’s neuroscience. Like I’m not making that up. So, you’re dead on Rayna. It’s this concept of be, do, have, right. My coach, Lisa Kalman taught me that. Who do you want to be? And then what does that cause you to do? And then what will that create for yourself? Whereas we, again, grow up into a culture of do, have, be, it sort of, if I do this, then I’ll have that, then I’ll be happy or whatever it is. Right. And so just reorganizing our mind s into these three EFF words and knowing that those three are always an option for us and knowing our default most likely is going to be effort. I think just practicing that let me be clear. It’s a practice. It makes a big difference..

Rayna Nieses: 

Yeah. you don’t get to master it because we’re going to default right back again, where we typically are and taking that deep breath and moving back into it really with intention is really important. So I love that. So that kind of makes me think of all the, all the things all the time, because in this season of caring, there’s just so many things. So when you think of trying to balance them, being able to both have our career, care for our parents, take care of our kids and have a life. I mean, do something we love that brings us joy. How in the world do we do all of those things? And that I think is one of the most challenging parts of life in general. So tell us about, what do you believe about work-life balance?

Nicole Kalil: 

Yeah. So my real belief is that the concept is crap.

Rayna Nieses: 


Nicole Kalil: 

and as maybe no podcast guests should ever do, or, you know, somebody who is an expert, which I’m not, I’m on the journey right along with you choice management and time management. I don’t have an answer, but I do know what isn’t working or what doesn’t seem to resonate with myself and the vast majority of women that I work with. First is this concept of balance. There is this sort of equal thing you think of the scales and it being balanced. And that, we’re supposed to spend equal amount of time and energy with our family, equal amount of time and energy with our work, equal amount of time and energy taking care of ourselves or whatever, like all these things. And it’s like, there’s not enough time, nor is it possible to balance it out evenly. just don’t know anybody who feels balanced. I don’t think that’s the right word. Also this concept of like work life balance, it sort of implies that when I show up to work, I’m not in my life anymore. Like work and life are separate and I’m like, no, for me, my life encompasses my work. I don’t leave my life when I do whatever profession or charitable work or whatever is important to you. Right? And so I’ve heard the term work-life blend. I don’t particularly love that. Again, it sort of triggers this multitasking thing where like I’m working with my family and some people that resonates. Doesn’t for me. I think ultimately what I’m trying to accomplish is something that looks closer to harmony and I’m not even sure that that’s the right word, but the vision is when I show up fully present and engaged, guilt-free and that I can be where my feet are. Like, if I’m on a podcast with you, this is the only place I am. I’m not mentally with my daughter at summer camp. I’m not mentally rehashing a conversation with my husband last night. I’m not worried about my next task for work. I actually am where my feet are and engaged an honored, but also grateful to be where I am. And I’m not that feeling of like being all the place, the feeling of being stretched. So I don’t know that I’ve figured out a word, but that’s sort of the vision or the feeling I’m trying to get to. I’m curious. I know we talked about this before, how does that resonate with you?

Rayna Nieses: 

I see where harmony is a good word in that it is that peacefulness that I think we’re looking for. And even when I think of the word balance, I do think of the balanced scale, but I think what comes with that as the lack of being torn in all these different directions. And so I see where harmony really does give us a little bit more of that picture, that it’s a possibility to not feel torn. And like you said, guilty, because I’m not doing this when I should be doing that, or all of those shoulds that get us in trouble all the time. So really being able to find that peace that harmony within ourselves, because we are a hundred percent present choosing to be present, not being jerked somewhere and then resenting it and all of those things that can happen when we’re living reactive lives. I do think that that is a good word to be thinking of because it builds a feeling of what we’re looking for. Again, what makes up your harmony, even if you bring it to music, some people like drums and their music. Some people don’t, some people like electric guitar, some people like acoustic guitar, you know? So you can think of the different pieces that come in to the music that make it harmony for you will be different than for other people. And that’s part of what we have to allow is other people find their own the equation to make their harmony and we don’t need to be comparing or resenting or any of those things. And again, I think as a caregiver, sometimes we look at a sibling and resent the fact that they don’t invest the same amount of time that we do. Where if we can really embrace this mentality of our own harmony and let them have their harmony, then we’ll be happier overall for sure.

Nicole Kalil: 

I mean so many good things in there, the thing that I know for sure is I am not the decider of what is right for you or anybody else? mean, I have a big enough challenge figuring out how to create harmony in my own life as we all do. Right? So, not comparing trying to release judgment of ourselves and others, easier said than done, of course, but I think is an important part of what I mean when I say harmony and just a loving reminder that I give myself is resentment and anger usually are result of unmet expectations. And so then I often ask myself was my expectation appropriate? Do we agree upon this expectation? Do we have a conversation or did I just put that on somebody or am I applying my version of how things should be onto somebody else and then holding them to that? And that’s just not fair. I don’t appreciate it when somebody does it to me. So I get to be better about, again, easier said than done, but about not doing that with someone else.

Rayna Nieses: 

That’s such a good point because in caregiving seasons, it’s easy to do that. It’s easy to just expect other people expect the person we’re caring for to behave in a certain way or to be appreciative or, there’s so many things in that. I think that’s so true. Why does it seem like though some people have more capacity than others when it comes to managing their life?

Nicole Kalil: 

Yeah. So a few things. Number one, I do think there are some tips or some hacks, if you will, that help make choice management a little bit easier or a stronger practice, and then ultimately create this feeling or presence of capacity. So creating and communicating boundaries is definitely one of them. I think when you see somebody who has a ton of capacity, we sometimes outside looking in, think they can handle more and they must say yes to more. And it’s like, no, they’re doing that because they say no to more. And they’re much clearer about the choices that they make. Delegation, leveraging other people to me, delegation is like, I’m going to get something off my plate forever. I’m going to have it be somebody else’s responsibility. Leveraging is I’m going to borrow somebody for a period of time, so a little bit of a distinction there. They ask for support. They get help. They’re not afraid to delegate. And lastly, just it’s never as good as it looks from the outside, looking in. We do have a tendency to compare our everyday lives to somebody’s best moments. I mean, social media is perfect for that, right? We see somebody’s biggest accomplishments or, their biggest success stories or their biggest victories. And then we look at our everyday lives and go, what’s wrong with us? And it’s not fair. It is completely, it’s like comparing apples to airplanes. It literally doesn’t match up. And we do that. I think in our lives a lot. When we look at other people who quote unquote, have it all together. Nobody does, I’ve now had the pleasure of coaching some women at the highest levels of Fortune 500 Companies, women entrepreneurs, business owners. Not a one feels like they have it all together and they have fears and doubts and all the same stuff. So there are some tips and some hacks that I think helped increase capacity, but also let’s be careful that we’re not comparing apples to airplanes.

Rayna Nieses: 

Well, and the truth is where we started in this conversation nobody has more time. We all have the same amount of time. And so what you just said was it’s not really increasing our time. Right? It’s using our time more efficiently, which allows us to feel and experience and be present in the moment and be more thankful for it. I love your list because I think that’s something we talk about all the time caregivers, asking for help, looking for support. You keep hearing us say that. But I hope this podcast with Nicole is really helped you see why not just because this is what we’re telling you to do, but it really does allow you to be present in where you are, wherever that is. If it’s at work, you’re present and you’re able to do your best and give your best in each individual situation, because you’re right there where you are and you have what you need to do, what you need to get done in that moment. And whether that be put your parents to bed, or it be, close the deal, you’re still able to have what you need because you’ve allowed others to support you. You’ve asked for that support and you, like she said, you know, there’s a difference between, delegating we’re permanently, someone’s mowing the lawn. I’m never going behind the lawnmower again. Or asking somebody to say, Hey, I have a meeting. Can you come sit with mom? That’s a short thing that you’re just allowing someone to come in and support you in that time. So many great nuggets of wisdom. Thank you so much for being here today, Nicole, our time has gone really quickly. I’d love to, to hang on longer, but so many great things to really think about. Thanks for being here.

Nicole Kalil: 

Oh, my gosh. Thank you for having me for inviting me, it was a true pleasure. Thanks Rayna.

Rayna Nieses: 

So listeners, you can find out more about Nicole at www.nicolekalil.com, as well as social media. Find some more great information about that ability to manage your time or make choices with your time and find yourself experiencing the reward of being present and efficient and effective within all of the pieces that are demanding your time and attention right now. Thank you again for being here today. And just to reminder, A Season of Caring Podcast is created for the encouragement of family caregivers. If you have financial medical or legal questions, please consult a local professional and take heart in your season of caring.

Nicole Kalil

Nicole Kalil

Speaker and Coach

Nicole Kalil is more than slightly obsessed with confidence and what it takes to both build and keep it. She spent the bulk of her professional life with a Fortune 500 company, where her passion for leadership and her commitment to building her own confidence led her to become the first female Chief Development Officer in 160-year company history.

Since starting her own company, Nicole has coached hundreds of executives and entrepreneurs, consults with Fortune 500 companies, hosts the “This Is Woman’s Work” Podcast, and speaks to leaders across the country about the
“not-so-secret” secrets of Confidence.

Both of Nicole’s parents immigrated to the United States, her father from Mexico and her mother from Germany, making her a first-generation American. She credits her father in teaching her strong work ethic, confidence, and willingness to take risks. Her mother taught her the organizational skills and effective time management that allows for her to excel in complex and challenging roles.

Her values are Commitment, Courage, Authenticity, and (you guessed it) Confidence, and she is focused on demonstrating these on a daily basis. Maintaining harmony in her different roles of mother, wife, and business owner successfully is an ongoing challenge, and choice management is a much more important skill today than it ever was.

She is a self-admitted “foodie” and enjoys wine tasting and reading in whatever free time she has!



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Meet Your Host

Rayna Neises, ACC

Author of No Regrets: Hope for Your Caregiving Season, ICF Certified Coach, Podcast Host & Speaker, offering encouragement, support, and resources to those who are in a Season of Caring for Aging Parents.

Her passion is for those caring and their parents, that they might be seen, not forgotten & cared for, not neglected

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4 Things you need to know as you begin your season of caring

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