We had the good fortune of connecting with Darra McClendon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Darra, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Balance is so important to me. Honestly, it’s everything. I was raised in a working family that was very involved in our local church. On the side, my parents ran their own business and were still somehow present for all the extra-curricular things my sisters and I did. I learned at a young age, the need for work (or a job), the value of quality time with those you love but also the importance of making time for your dreams and passions. That’s what balance has meant to me for a long time.
As I grew into an adult, I struggled at first to juggle all those things but I began to find my groove as I came to understand balance in a new way. Now I believe balance is checking in and paying attention to every dimension of your personal wellness. I have a Balance Framework I like to share with clients that helps them prioritize their 1. Habits (Physical & Emotional well-being), 2. Connections (Social & Intellectual well-being), 3. Faith (Spiritual well-being), 4. Space (Environmental well-being) and 5. Freedom (Financial & Occupational well-being).
To me, when you’re balanced, you’re well, healthy and content. You’re living.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Many know the letters “S-O-S” as the internationally used signal code for distress. My company, Simply Ordered Solutions, commonly referred to as SOS, creates order through professional organizing, business consulting and wellness coaching for busy professionals worldwide.
Simply Ordered Solutions was started due to a growing need to help people maximize and save resources (i.e., time, energy and money) while making a positive impact on their overall health and wellness. In the American healthcare industry today, companies diagnose and manage illness, disease and injury while millions are still suffering because of what stress and imbalance are doing to their minds and bodies. What sets Simply Ordered Solutions apart from others is that we are more than an organizing firm and more than coaching or consulting services. We put it all together. We look at the whole person. With care, we strategically take the art of organization and infrastructure and put it in order alongside our client’s personal/professional goals to improve their overall health and wellness, so they can continue pursuing and doing what they love. I am most proud that I’m able to provide services and resources to equip, empower and affect behavioral change.
I got to where I am today by studying the organizing industry and just following what I believe I was created to do. I’m here to help people relieve stress by improving their systems, processes and productivity. It hasn’t been easy because sometimes people who need my help most or too embarrassed, ashamed or afraid to admit they need accountability or support. But I just try to be as compassionate and understanding as I can, the way I’d want a doctor to be with me, if I came in their office with symptoms and concerns. There’s an ethical understanding of no-judgement, just care when we visit these providers and I run my company the same way. The details matter in how you treat people, how you communicate and how you respond to their sensitive information. My clients don’t have to open up and share their homes, businesses or lifestyle choices with me, but I believe they know they can trust me. I’ve learned that kind of trust time to build. I want people, especially busy women who have a million and eighty nine things on their plates, to know that it’s okay to step back, declutter your day, your mind, your phone contacts, your commitments, your bathroom cabinet or your kitchen junk drawer. Getting organized does not just apply to physical stuff but the deeper stuff that messes with one’s confidence. I always say “Clutter Kills” because it does.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First off, I’d make sure she’s fully able to get away mentally- meaning if the husband and kids are at home, she needs to know they’ll be all squared away for her to truly enjoy herself. So way before our rendezvous, I’d be checking in with her, guiding her to make sure systems were in place on the homefront, so that when she’s with me, she can be with me.
Once she arrives, I’m driving and we’re grabbing smoothies on our way to get massages, facials, mani and pedi’s. Then we’re eating brunch before we catch a matinee downtown. After the show, we hit up a few of our favorite shops, of course there’s lots of girl catch up time on all of our commutes. Once we’ve shopped, we check into a nice hotel, relax a bit and get all dolled up for dinner. Then we head somewhere, where there’s live music and great desserts and we take lots of selfies.
To wrap up the night, whatever time it is, we make it back to our hotel, for pj’s and a good old fashion slumber party, 90’s style, with lots of old sitcoms, music and movies. And that’s just day one!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I have to dedicate my Shoutout to my parents, Danny & Marilyn Manns. I know people may give praise to a parent or parent figure for their support. But my parents’ story inspires me daily. They came to Georgia from a small city in Indiana, following a dream and a desire for more. They got here to find that dream taken away but our move was not in vain. I was 2 years old at the time, but I’m told they worked, they sacrificed, they prayed and they served. As I grew up, they taught me how to dream and listen to God for instructions on how to follow that dream. They taught me what excellence looked like and helped me discover my worth. They set a standard and an expectation that has shaped me into the woman I am today. My sisters have always been right there too. Supporting me and helping me remember to enjoy the journey are what they do best. Because of this former immediate family and a host of faith-filled extended family members, I’ve been blessed to start a family of my own.
My husband, Shaine McClendon, and our beautiful children, Hayley and Caleb, are the reason I strive, push and do what I do. They are my why.
Bianca Modo Isom