From Overwhelm to Ease, PlanSimple Founder, Mia Moran
Mia Moran is a mom of three and coach who has struck her perfect balance between motherhood, wellness and work. Mia’s second chapter wellness adventure began about 12 years ago during a health crisis when she understood the power food could have on her health, her connection with her kids and her productivity.
She now supports high-achieving female entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed with the “life” and “wellness” pieces find their version of balance. She’s the host of the PlanSimple podcast, bestselling author of PlanSimple Meals and creator of the FLOW Planning Method, the FLOW Planner and FLOW365.
MIA’S LINKS + MENTIONS
FREE OPT-IN (available on the plansimple.com homepage)
FROM OVERWHELM TO EASE
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On The Second Chapter, serial careerist and founder of Slackline Productions, Kristin Duffy, chats with women who started the second (or third… or fifth!) chapter in their careers and lives, after 35. You’ll find inspiring stories, have a few laughs, and maybe even be motivated to turn the page on your own second chapter!
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This week I'm speaking with Mia Moran. Mia is a mom of three and coach who has struck _her_ perfect balance between motherhood, wellness and work. Mia's second chapter wellness adventure began about 12 years ago during a health crisis when she understood the power food could have on her health, her connection with her kids and her productivity.
She now supports high-achieving female entrepreneurs who are overwhelmed with the 'life' and 'wellness' pieces find their version of balance. She's the host of the PlanSimple podcast, bestselling author of PlanSimple Meals and creator of the FLOW Planning Method, the FLOW Planner and FLOW 365.[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:[:
So I did them cuz I was just going with the rules and I was a rule abider and so I ended up at a very traditional high school, which led me to an amazing university in the us. I went to Georgetown first and it was at that point where I just was literally like miserable.
So I left sophomore year. And I took some time off and I ended up applying to art school. And so for some reason at that point I was like like I have to, I still have to be a practical artist, . So that's sort of why I chose graphic to sign.[:
But having the experience that you had with your dad as an artist where everybody had like markers and watercolors and these big desks and it was like this smell of that office alone. If I smelled that smell, I would be right back to being a kid in that office
because of the, and.
And when I, I actually was a fashion designer. But part of that for me was I need a practical artistic career because I wasn't the creative genius that I saw my dad to be. And because I was so concerned about, Oh, I can't be like kooky and not make money.
I was a rule abider too, I guess is my point.[:
And then, When I got to risky, I was like, Oh my God, like I have something to say. Like I don't think I really felt like I had anything valuable to offer the world until I landed there. So that was an amazing feeling.[:[:
I stayed there for. A little over a year because they put me on projects right away that like none of my friends were on because it was a small firm and at the time, this is gonna date me. At the time, like big magazines, like a lot of places didn't have websites, like websites were just becoming a thing.
That people needed. And because I was young, I was really excited to figure that out. So I took that as far as I could, mentoring myself and with a husband who's very techy. We would stay up all night and make these websites. And then I decided to go to a big firm to learn about websites, and I lasted there for about six months.
And then I just really honored the fact that I'm an entrepreneur, , I opened my own design firm. So I tell you that part because really I've always been an entrepreneur and that's an important part of my story and one of the reasons that You know, one of the big changes that doesn't, I don't think gets talked about a lot is when entrepreneurs change their mind about what they're doing.
So I, you hear so many times the story of like corporate to entrepreneur, but I think there's. Entrepreneurs can change what they're doing too. They can change their whole company and what they're doing and how they're making their money. And so I ended up doing that eventually because now I am not a designer, though design is an important part of our company.
But I'm definitely a life coach.[:[:[:
Let's start it. Let's change it. Let's sell it on let's do, am I just talking shit or is that actually something[:[:[:
I had done great, Like I had done great with my company. I had always wanted three kids. I was happily married, I am happily married. We had bought an apartment, I was like, Oh my God, like I've arrived. And yet there was this like quality of, But wait, I'm really exhausted and. If I really ask myself and dig deep, am I really happy? And it all sort of came to head one day when I did notice seven cups of coffee on my desk and I was just kinda like, Wait, what's going on? I thought that cafe was supposed to give you a lot of energy and.
And also how have I been to Starbucks? It was only like 2:30 PM So like, how have I been to Starbucks this many times since I've arrived at work today? What's that say about how I'm spending my time?[:[:
So it didn't quite make sense to me that something was out of alignment. And so it took me a minute to take that in, but I just started to take one step at a time. And it led me to food[:[:
I just understood that where I was wasn't quite it.[:[:
And so I was like maybe that's what's out of alignment. So I was like, Okay, how can I take care of my body? And the first thing I did, up until that moment, my work head thought Okay, I'm at work doing billable time, or I'm at home relieving the babysitter. So like work life balance was about being a mom or being at work.
There wasn't anything for me necessarily in that moment. Is par for course maybe with little kids in the us. Other countries do it a little bit better, but on that day I was like, You know what? The babysitter can stay for two more hours. It's an expensive yoga class, but I'm going. So I went to yoga and I.
I'm an introvert and a people pleaser in all the things that we've already discussed. So it's not necessarily in my nature to go introduce myself to somebody like in a class, but I loved the teacher. So afterwards I went up and I was like, Oh my God, that was amazing. I'm so relaxed. And I think I told her like the whole saga, the coffee cups, and she was like, I know what you need to do.
Like you just need to change the way. Come to my house tomorrow. And also I need a website . So it was like this whole thing, like I, I must have told her my whole life story cuz the next day I was like making her a website and learning about food. So I just, Kept taking one step. So her, what was interesting about her is she had this very firm way of how one should eat, which isn't what I would share with everybody right now, but it made a lot of sense for me then.
but she wasn't a cook She just had these six recipes for me, and I wasn't a cook. I was married to a cook. But because I was the one in charge of the kids' meals, like things had gotten way outta control by this point in terms of what we were eating. And so it was really simple in the fact that I didn't really have to do much, learn much.
I just had to stick to this plan. And so I did it. And because of what I was eliminating and taking out and adding in and infusing nutrients into my system. Within a week, like I was off medicine, I was taking every day. My hormones rebalanced and things hadn't been working in that department either. I was also taking medicine.
I, I haven't taken medicine since, so that was 13 years ago. So it shifted all that though in like a week, I literally had these, would have these like huge puffy eyes every day. And I would take whatever the over-the-counter allergy medicine was so that like I wasn't crying when I had client meetings, and all that just it just melted away and I had so much energy and sometimes I describe, it was like I had gone to 10 years of therapy in a week.
So I, I kept going with that because it was, The only way that I could make it doable was to keep doing the same thing every day. And I think I did it for three or four months. Like I just ate the same things. I did not even look at what my kids reading yet. Like I just really stayed focused. I still had to go to work, like all the different things.
And then I got sick of it.[:[:
On, it was like a Thursday and it was on Saturday and it happens to be the last class she ever taught.
So I was like, Okay, cool. So I went there and that's where I really learned sort. The basics. Like it took away all my stress around what would happen if I opened a recipe book cuz I like, that just wasn't even in my repertoire. So it really ended up being the foundation for what I was able to then create, which then enabled me to bring it into my kids and really focus on what we ate together and all the different things.
So it was just literally one thing after another and me staying focused on that one thing. And really noticing how it only positively affected all the other things. It wasn't, I didn't feel like I was sacrificing anything. I just felt like I kept adding these amazing things in.
And eventually people in my company were like, What are you doing? What are you doing all day? Because then I started to get passionate about the fact that There was nothing good on the internet that, like there, Pinterest didn't exist yet. Instagram didn't exist yet, and I was like, why are there all these gross photos of this kind of food?artha Stewart puts out these [:
And I created a magazine and Just like literally is the most expensive hobby ever. While I had a design company, . Um, And then at some point, like there was just a tipping point where I was like, Okay, I guess I'm changing, I guess I'm doing something different now. What does this look like? And, you know, so it was a little, that was a little awkward, but a few things came together at the same time and I was like, Okay I can do this.[:[:[:
order of all that?[:
And they were all older men. They had families. But they would tell me amazing things about the food and then I would translate them and I would always say Martha Stewart asked them in, for the magazine. And then, I would keep asking 'em questions and everyone kept sharing how their kids didn't eat well.
And I was just like, What? how can you share this information and not have your kids eat well? Meanwhile I hadn't started that yet either. So that got me into like then questioning parenting people and asking them like what's the secret? Like, how do you get your kids to eat good food. how do you get them to listen and wanna do things like that? So that's where I actually started really understanding about coaching was actually through the parenting side instead of the food side. And so the magazine became about both things. It became about family and it became about food.
And I was really at that point really practicing. Feeding my family well and doing all these things. So it was like, it was like a merge of everything before I could share all this on Instagram cause it didn't exist. And then at the same time I had let go of my office. So I decided the first step was I could still be a designer, but I didn't need 10 people.
And that was energetically at the time, managing, like I wasn't designing anymore. I was just managing and writing proposals. So what we did, The tech people stayed and they became their own company. And the designers, I gave them some of the clients just to have, and they started, they all had an entrepreneurial like thing, so they all really wanted to do their own thing.
And then I kept my favorite three clients and just, Started working from home, which at that point had moved away. My office had been genius when we lived two blocks away and I had little kids cuz I could see my kids all day and I could nurse and I could do all the things. But once we had moved away, I was like, I don't need to commute right now.
So I had made that change.[:[:
big deal. Talk about men and women. Here's a story for you. So we became like the firm who could do a lot of websites, cuz still at this time, even though more and more people had websites, like not every old school designer could handle websites. Like now. Now I think they can, but at the time they couldn't.
And so we were partnering with a lot of the bigger. In a design school kind of way, fa, famous firms and. One of the people, one of the guys who I partnered with was written up in the Boston Globe, which is one of the US' major papers. It was like on the front page of the lifestyle section about how he transformed a brownstone into a design studio so he could be with his family.
And meanwhile, like I was like schlepping, making this office I felt if anyone saw that my family was anywhere in sight, which they were because like it was important to me that they came to visit me, but then I would shoe them out for client. Me, like working from home wasn't even part , that was not okay.
I did not feel as a woman. And yet it was cool. For this guy. So I was like, What is happening? And in some level, I guess that got me pissed off enough that it gave me some permission to like just own it. But it was definitely a different[:
You still hear that and[:[:
Before that, I didn't really know what it was. Now at that point, I was like, Ooh, I know what it could be about. And it wasn't at all what I thought. So I, I feel like I knew that there was a book, but I wasn't actively doing it and I didn't understand how to pull it off.
And I hadn't, I wasn't a writer. So in to do this magazine again, it was pre podcast. So what I would do is I would interview people using Google Voice and we would get it transcribed, but like by a transcriber, which was a ridiculous amount of money.[:[:
I was doing stuff more actively. Like I was in both fields. I was both a designer and I was actively seeking out, I was getting certified to be a coach I was taking action over here. I was still doing the expensive hobby of making the magazine, but I was getting clearer about that.
I needed an audience. Like all those things were happening simultaneously. But the bug of the book was getting Stronger and stronger. And then, so probably two or three years passed at that point with this bug of wanting to write a book. And then one Thanksgiving weekend I decided to take my kids skating and I stepped out on the ice skating rink and a another little kid ran into me and I shattered my wrist and my right wrist.
And so I ended up in this huge Cast and like I couldn't move my fingers and I had to get surgery and I was really out and in being out and on the couch, like the bug of the book came in so strong and I was just like, I can't wait for a publisher. Like I, I can't even explain what happened, but I just was like, I need a book like in five months and mean.
I literally couldn't type emails to my list at that point. At that point, my business had gotten a little bit more businessy and I was selling meal plans to people. So like I was making meal plans, I was working with people, I was getting clear about what it is that they, how they were feeding their family.
I was coaching people on that, and all of a sudden this like ad or this email came, I don't even remember how it was, but it was definitely an ad came into my awareness about this guy who. Self-published books and helped you write your book. So that, and you could speak it like you would speak it and he would help you write it.
And I was like, Oh my God, that's perfect.[:[:
So like I really validated that this book was needed was able to pay him, made the book. And that was in November and the book was out by June.[:[:[:[:[:
But what it's turned into is this whole planned simple method about how to just plan life a little bit better, a little bit easier. Can you don't know, just walk me through planned simple a little.[:
All the things. It was fun um, and a lot of work and a little bit crazy, but it was a lot of fun. . But one of the, for some reason in my mind I was like, We're gonna. On the West coast. So like we, we be lined it across, We did some talks in Colorado, but we basically be lined it across to California, which of course anyone who's listening, who's in California it's like green smoothies and like all the things that I do end up talking about in my book, they're not really a big deal in California because they've existed there for far longer than they existed in my world.[:
vegetarian sandwich was
nothing new. It was like called the California
sandwich. Growing up[:
And so then I just started getting really curious and going off of the not exactly following my own script. And what I realized is that yes, they knew where their farmer's markets were. They liked to go to them, they knew what to eat. There was a lot that they knew, maybe even more than I knew. At the time, and yet they weren't doing it.
And so we started just taking out phones and being like why? And it was just like all of a sudden it was so obvious to me that we have these work lives and they end up in our phone and are in our calendars, and then we have kids and they end up like on. Printouts on the refrigerator and the meal plan on the chalkboard in your kitchen.
And then any semblance of taking care of ourselves. Like pretty much that was all in our heads. So it was like these silos that didn't, literally didn't go together in time. And so that really got me thinking, Okay How did I change my food? How did I write this book? How did I take these kids on a road trip for a year?
All which everyone was telling me seemed like impossible things. But in all three of those situations, I was the most at ease I think I had ever been. And so I was like, What is that? Why did that happen? So I really broke that down and got to understand it, and that became, The FLOW planning method, which is really about understanding your food and wellness, and that's the f and your lifestyle, which is, home, family, travel, whatever makes up lifestyle for you.
The O is O, which is spirituality, self care, downtime, and work, and how to really think about all of those things together holistically, because they all influence the other things and. We compartmentalize them. And when we compartmentalize them, it's way harder to find that feeling of balance.[:
Because even though I do a tria, I'm a triathlon coach, for example, I might have a day where I'm like, Oh, the podcast, I got a lot done today. And it was amazing. But I didn't find time to work out[:[:
When can, when you finish your day, how do you make every single part of it feel like it is holistically complete? Good[:
Right? And so in a lot of people's head planning is about putting that, the Jenga puzzle of all of that together into a day. But I. What we're missing in that is that piece of like me knowing that I needed to get healthy, me feeling so strongly that I needed to make this book. Like we all have those things.
We have these knowings that it's like, gosh, this week, even though I'm supposed to do this, I'm supposed to do that. I really need to focus on. This person or this piece of work or whate like we all have that, or, I'm in this, I'm right now in this odd phase of perimenopause and some days I'm like, I'm really fricking tired and I know that I'm doing all the things right.
So sometimes it's just listening. I need more rest. Yes, maybe I have time in my calendar to move my body, but maybe today I'm not supposed to, I don't know, go to CrossFit and I'm supposed to go to yoga you know what I mean? And so really listening to the season that we're in, and that can be of the hour of the week, of the month.
But very often I think we ignore those signals, those inner signals that we're getting that are there to focus us. And when we focus on other things instead what happens is we end up distracted. And so it's really in listening to those things that we can be more focused on all the things in my experience.[:
And because we live in this world that hasn't taught us that's okay. It's really difficult sometimes to say, You know what? Whether it's intuition, whether it's where I am in my cycle, this is what I can accomplish, this is where I should be working. This is the part of me that needs nurturing. So it is interesting to think about that all together.
Which also brings me to your planner because I love a good planner and I was on the website looking at the flow planner and I just wanna read what it says, cuz I think it's amazing. The first planner actually made for women to create balance while focusing on what matters most, including wellness, family, and work.
Ever wonder why regular planners haven't really worked for. That's because they were originally designed in the 17 hundreds for white men returning from war. That is amazing to me. I was like, oh, because I love a to-do list. I love graph paper cause I love like gritting things down and, But I do feel like there's something so interesting about oh yeah, how do we take those silos and here's a planner that actually promotes.[:
That was the first planner because before we were thinking about the future, it was more like we, It's interesting because actually the way before was a little bit more feminine. It was more we were going by the almanac and we were listening to the earth, and the Earth was telling us, what was possible and it was less about what we thought was possible because we were being born into you.
The family that we were gonna be part of, we were born into the career we were gonna take on. There was like a lot less choice before a planner got made, right? So then all of a sudden we started thinking outward or men started thinking outward cuz women got pigeonholed for many hundreds more years after that.
, but literally the planner that got made, like for this a, advertisement for a hardware company, I think it was, it's not that different than the flowery one at Target that we buy. That says it's for women. Like not that much change, it's just, it's a calendar, but it's not very guided in terms of what we might put on the lines.[:[:[:[:
That is not my like natural mo. The planner is it's like. Flow stands for all those topics that I told you about, but it also is about flowing forward and just remembering and just recommitting to what you decided you wanted. And so we don't need to create these like, planning.
It's weird, like I feel like we need, sometimes I'm like, I need a new word because planning comes with so many, preconceptions in people's heads. But it's not about gritting out your life and putting everything in a certain hour, even though actually in the flow planner there is a place every day to put things in hours.
But it's really about making these choices. I'm gonna write a book, or I'm gonna get healthy, or whatever it is for you and. Flowing those forward into your life and recommitting to them on regular increments and really understanding what it means to recommit to them in those regular increments, which as women can change.
So it's about having space to tune into your intuition, tuning into your intuition, and then figuring out how that plays out in time and constantly like circling around that process. You know what goes there. And so it's interesting, like the process is a lot more fluid than I think what a lot of people think of as planning.[:[:
So what I found was in all these different places where I was making changes and noticing this in clients too, it's as a person, we have to decide, right? Like you, you probably couldn't convince me today that I could run a triathlon, but in. Four weeks. If I'm like, Oh my God, I really wanna do that, then I would know to come to you.But we have to make the [:
But in our modern western society. Somehow we decided we needed to take on everything on our own. And I think that's one of the biggest mistakes that's actually fighting our nature. And which I'm sure you notice too because you're coaching people, you know how to do something that probably a lot of people try to do on their own as well,[:
and it was all about, it was all about the social thing. I just happened to be swimming, cycling, and running as part of it, and now I coach.
And what I love about it is the bringing people together. Triathlon is just the byproduct of me liking to get together with[:
We keep people company. So in the planning process. We create the space for people to come in and create their goals. We do that in the way of retreats that help you set 90 day goals. So we help people set 90 day goals and then every week people are showing up to declare what they're doing that week.
We have co-working sessions so that like you're not even alone cleaning out your closet or writing a hard email for work . You come in and you're like, This is what I'm doing for the next 90 minutes, and you don't have to talk to anybody, but you see that everyone's doing their thing and there's just comfort in that.
And then every Friday we acknowledge who we've become. In leaning into all the things. For the past week, we acknowledged like, How we're in a new place and then we plan for the next week from that new place. So it's really all about bringing consciousness to I can listen to my intuition.
I can take action from that place, which I just wanna be clear about action cuz it's not all doing, sometimes it's more about being in a new energy, right? So I, that's a, that's another is whole issue that we deal with as women. And then practicing all week long and then making a plan again.
So it's really about leaning into this. And our programs do run for a year. Every once in a while we open them for 90 days. I think that's the other thing we do as women is and advertising has done to us, is that we think everything should be fast and something's wrong with us if we can't do it fast and nothing is wrong with us.
Nothing is wrong with you, Nothing is wrong with anyone listening like it just. In order to make something really stick, we have to understand how it sticks in all the different times of year and all the different seasons and all the different circumstances. And I just believe that over the course of a year, where like, All right, when a spouse is sick, this is how I eat healthy.
When I'm working hard, this is how I eat healthy. When it's the holiday season, this is how I eat healthy, right? There's all these different circumstances and to really embrace. Eating healthy or being an entrepreneur or learning how to run a triathlon, we need to understand what that looks like in all the different circumstances,[:[:[:[:
I'm like, I really wanna do that thing and that thing. And it's never, I'm never picking the easy things.[:
Maybe I should learned to streamline the silos and then put the silos into[:[:[:[:[:[:[:
I think less is our just own instinctual understanding of what is meant to be in our lives. Whether that's multiple companies, kids in work, if we have kids, they don't have to do all the activities, unless for some reason that's like our calling. But if we have kids, they don't do all the activities.
If we have a business, we don't have to do all the social medias. That's.[:[:[:[:[:[:
and college and but then you become a parent, it's like your child's two, they should go to soccer, your child's four.
And they're flexible. They should go to gymnastics. It's literally insane. And I, both, my husband and I, thank goodness we're on the same page, but we're just like, We don't wanna spend our weekends doing that. That doesn't even sound fun like we wanna be. . At that point I was like, I need to prioritize meals for the week.
I want a meal prep, I want to be with my kids. I wanna have a clean house. There's things that I wanna be flexible enough to take off for the weekend and not worry that I'm missing a soccer game for a two year old. So we pretty much said no for a very long time. And with my oldest, I have three.
So by the third, I think you let in things that maybe wouldn't. But the oldest that. That he really didn't do anything. And so when he was in eighth grade, he got really into fitness, like just, lifting weights and he just wanted to learn as much as he could. He did a whole, his whole eighth grade project on that.
And then he went to high school and he was like looking for what he wanted to do and he'd always loved the water. So he started rowing for crew and he's like an amazing. He spent all of high school, which at that point I didn't have to drive him everywhere. He spent all of high school like really leaning into this sport for four to five hours a day.
He had an amazing coach and now he's at college. He's rowing at college and he didn't have to do it when he was seven. , it all worked out. When he was younger and it definitely at certain moments, I was like, Are we totally messing up our kids chances of Anything of getting into school of life, like all these things.
And so a lot of my energy was focused on like, how can I just trust that what we're doing is right? I would put time into that instead of going to little League. And it I, yeah, who knows? Maybe he would've been a famous soccer player, but I feel really good about that choice and he is an athlete[:
I do use that for my acting sometimes . But I also feel like it became, At one point, a real chore for me and not what I wanted to do anymore. Whereas maybe if it was something that I come to on my own, I would've felt like it was my thing, which I do think is another kind of interesting thing.
But then also, parents should get to have a life, and like you said, spend time with their kids, not just shuttle them[:[:[:[: