Originally published in the Summer 2019 issue of SPOKE+BLOSSOM.

We asked these Western Slope locals to weigh in on this topic.


Marcus Straub

I have a phrase that I use: “life-work balance.” I don’t believe in work-life balance; I believe in life-work balance, because I believe life is first, and work is second. A truly balanced perspective takes that into consideration. I constantly strive to excel in both areas of my life, always paying attention to whether I feel imbalanced. I intentionally seek to bring more balance to those areas of my life. I’m a business owner, I’m very busy, and I make conscious efforts every day to bring time for myself into my life and to use that time wisely to refresh, recharge, reboot, to take care of me, just like I work to take care of people and businesses, so that I actually feel better, happier and more capable of living a more full and rich life. 

Marcus Straub is a life coach and founder of Life Is Great Coaching in Grand Junction, Colorado. He loves the Grand Valley for its plethora of outdoor recreational activities.


Anna Stout

Balance is not some magical calculation of time spent doing “have-to-do” tasks versus “want-to-do” activities. Balance is a mentality that starts with appreciating having meaningful work to do and ends with honoring the thoughts and needs you have from moment to moment. I try to look at everything on my plate as something I “get to do,” even when it’s not fun stuff, because a “get-to-do” mentality removes the weight of obligations and converts them to privileges. I find balance in small things during the day, like breathing consciously, acknowledging grateful thoughts or noticing small smells and sensations. But the most important part of feeling balanced is practicing self-compassion, which allows you to work passionately toward your goals while simultaneously being kind to yourself when you are tired, unmotivated or less productive than you’d like to be.

Anna Stout is the executive director of Roice-Hurst Humane Society, a Grand Junction City Council member and local business owner.

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Andy Bowen

When I was kid, I never had to think about a sense of balance. I believe this was because I was outside every day, healthy, creative and always experiencing new things. As an adult, I have to make a conscious effort to make this stuff happen. Plus, you know, capitalism. Thanks to where I live on the Western Slope, getting outside, staying fit and enjoying new things comes pretty easily, but how I make a living can take a little more effort. I constantly check in with myself and make sure the work I do for my businesses provides me with the opportunity to be creative, expressive and excited, and it allows me to feel like I am going somewhere. My mind craves progression and achievements. If I can get outside, eat well, be creative and make progress towards my goals, I find balance comes naturally. 

Andy Bowen is an artist, media director, adventurer and local business owner in Grand Junction, Colorado.