“Business people want to be logical all the time,” says Elisa Perez-Arellano, Founder, CEO and Psychotherapist at Inclusive Empowerment Services. “They don’t realize that once you learn how to use your heart, it can give you a completely new perspective.”
Perhaps nothing has blurred the lines more between our personal and professional lives than the COVID-19 pandemic. Seeing the inside of coworkers’ homes on video meetings, being tracked on productivity software, and being spread thin with limited capacity has changed workplace norms drastically and contributed to the burnout of many.
During quarantine shutdowns, workplaces started new initiatives such as virtual coffee chats, wellness breaks, and company-wide support groups. However, Perez-Arellano believes that prioritizing our personal lives and wellness should not be just a pandemic-era trend.
Putting it into Practice
In fall of 2020, just after the start of the pandemic, Perez-Arellano opened her new mental health, therapy, coaching and consulting business to lead the effort and encourage more leaders to ‘put their hearts first’.
Located in Wyoming, Michigan, Inclusive Empowerment Services is a one-of-a-kind business that seeks to encourage wellness for highly-involved and passionate leaders in the Grand Rapids area. Her business provides mental therapy and coaching for individuals in addition to consulting services for organizations and trainings for groups. Her services are geared towards business executives and leaders who are prone to putting others or their work before themselves.
“We need to prioritize the emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual parts of ourselves in order to perform well,” says Perez-Arellano. “Everything that happens in your personal life, on a mental and psychological level, it impacts your professional life.”
She continues to explain that prioritizing wellness is even more imperative for business owners.
“When you have a business, you do many things solo. You don’t have much interaction with other people. It’s easy to get overwhelmed, and you set such high expectations for yourself. It starts to influence your personal and social life, relationships, and health, which in turn starts to influence your ability to perform your job well.”
Lifting Up Unique Voices
As an immigrant herself, Perez-Arellano is particularly passionate about working with members of underserved groups in Grand Rapids, such as women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA+ community. She wants to use her experiences and wisdom to help individuals who face the same difficulties that she did.
“As a woman of color, sometimes people don’t trust me because I don’t look like them, talk like them, or have an accent. I spent years knocking on doors looking for leadership opportunities and was never given one. I decided it was time to give myself the opportunity I deserve.”
She encourages others to step outside of their comfort zone and learn from the diversity of life.
“Don’t ignore people because they think they don’t have the capacity, ability, or intelligence to help people who don’t look like you. Give yourself the opportunity to meet someone new and learn from those experiences.”
Words of Wisdom
When asked what advice she has for business leaders in Grand Rapids, Perez-Arellano answered, “Be kind to yourself. Practice self-compassion. Listen to your body – the body has a very special technology that the mind doesn’t have. Take care of yourself first.”
“Many leaders hide their issues and overwork themselves. I’m here for you if you allow me.”
Learn more about Elisa Perez-Arellano and her business, Inclusive Empowerment Services, here.