Kimberly Elmore, an Identity Staff Writer has dedicated her time to “Scratch the Surface” and focusing on one woman and her inspirational story. Kimberly’s interviews to highlight any woman who feels that she has achieved in her life. Whether you’re a mother, CEO, nurse, or an entrepreneur, we want to scratch the surface and find out how you got to where you are today and what have you learned and where you found your inspiration.
Two New York-based therapists embarking on motherhood had a similar idea. Go into private practice so that each could maintain a career and be a new mom. For the past six years, Patty DeVost and Diane Lykes have been working together not just as therapists, but also as creative forces behind an online dating website, OppositesConnect.com, which is based on the principle, “opposites attract.”â€¨â€¨
“A couple of years ago, Larry Wilson, asked if I could assist him in developing a dating website with a different slant,” said Lykes. “His belief was that opposites attract, but most dating websites focus on connecting people who are very similar.”
DeVost added, “We jumped on board with this project because not only do we believe in the concept from our clinical experience with relationship counseling, but it was a fun and exciting endeavor as we looked to expand our practice. As the old saying goes, ‘things happen when you least expect them.’ “
Both women cite finding balance as the most challenging aspect of maintaining their own businesses. They both have growing families, private practices, as well as OppositesConnect.com. So, how do they balance it all?
“I create balance by practicing the art of self care. When I take care of myself through bike rides, yoga, and spending time with friends and family, I never feel over whelmed or burned out,” said Lykes.
DeVost says she checks in with herself frequently and plans in order to build balance–she adds that knowing when to ask for help and prioritizing what’s important are the keys to successful balance.
With challenges come rewards. Making a living helping others makes for a very rewarding career for DeVost and Lykes. Together, with Kathleen Ryan, another therapist, they have created a relaxing, private, spa-like atmosphere for their clients at their private practice. And, working on OppositesConnect.com is a bonus to their already fulfilling professional lives.
â€¨â€¨“I love having diversity in my professional life and feel blessed that I am able to own my own business, do what I love,” said DeVost.
Lykes added, “I love being a part of new projects, think tanks, and adventures of all kinds. It’s what makes me feel the most alive.”
DeVost’s and Lykes’ wheels are already turning when it comes to expanding their businesses. Lkyes says she would love to buy a big, old house or unique building that they can move their practice into — they would add more therapists and other professionals (acupuncturists, nutritionists, massage therapists, etc.) so that their clients can have access to a full range of services. And, they will continue to work with Wilson on OppositesConnect.com.
“Diane and I are also writing a book that will offer insight into the world of relationships through a unique perspective. We hope this will enable us to reach many people and create positive results in their dating and relationships.”
â€¨â€¨DeVost and Lykes are multi-tasking entrepreneurs — two businesses, lots of success.
â€¨â€¨“My mother was right when she said there are great benefits to surrounding yourself with smart people…you become who you spend time with.” â€¨
In keeping with Identity’s mission of Accept Appreciate Achieve, below are some more questions that fit in with that theme:
What have you accepted in life that has taken time?â€¨
DeVost: I have accepted the fact that people are inherently good, but sometimes make bad choices. That adversity is inevitable and reactions are unpredictable. Forgiveness allows you to be free from the mistakes of others.
â€¨Lykes: I have learned to let go of things that make me feel unhappy, uncomfortable, or angry. I use mantras like, “Is it more important to be right or to have peace” and I keep better track of how my own thoughts affect my mood. It is easy to ruminate on something that is upsetting, but it leads you nowhere. I think it’s so much better in life to be proactive vs. reactive. It’s hard to do sometimes, but it’s always worth it.
What do you appreciate most in your life?
â€¨DeVost: I appreciate family. I have a wonderful nuclear and extended family that becomes more precious by the day. They are the constant on the roller coaster of life.
â€¨Lykes: I appreciate many things in my life. I have a wonderful husband. My friends say he is the rock and I am the kite. I am a dreamer, but it’s good to have him to also keep me grounded. My two boys are so much fun. They are six and eight now and we have many adventures together. They make me appreciate the value of playing and laughing!
What are your most rewarding achievements in life?â€¨
DeVost: I would have to say that it is being able to ‘do it all.’ I have a good marriage, raising children, managing a full time career and business while finding time to enjoy myself.
â€¨Lykes: My greatest rewards come from doing the things I fear the most. I remember a quote I read from Eleanor Roosevelt many years ago that said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” As women, we can be our own worst critics. We are hard on ourselves (mostly unnecessarily) and compare ourselves to others thinking, ‘they are a better mother, more successful, and thinner.’ In reality, we have to learn to accept ourselves for who we are and stop comparing ourselves to others. It doesn’t serve us in any way and breaks our spirit. I believe that our self-esteem derives from taking risks and doing things that scare us. When we do this, we feel a natural high afterward and our confidence soars.
What is your not-so-perfect way?â€¨
DeVost: I must admit, I can be very head-strong and persistent when I have an idea. This probably equates to my successes, but it can be annoying and challenging for those around me.â€¨
Lykes: I get excited about new ventures and projects, and some will come to fruition and some will fall flat. My husband, friends, and colleagues are supportive and kind and they always humor me when they think, ‘there she goes again!’
Complete the phrase, “I Love My…”â€¨
DeVost: I Love My…life!
â€¨Lykes: I Love My…adventure!