We had the good fortune of connecting with Chalon Clark and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chalon, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Early in my career, I constantly prayed for and sought “work life balance” and complained that I did not have enough personal free time. Now that I have three babies under the age of 5, and there is literally no such thing as personal time, I look back and laugh at myself. Being a parent and excelling in your career works muscles you didn’t even know you had and increases your capacity. You become more efficient and get more done in less time simply because you have no other choice. But in addition to that, I received some excellent advice from Judge Tonya Parker that created a paradigm shift for me. She said, “It’s not about work life balance, it is about work life integration.” I realized that I needed to stop trying to balance–choosing one thing over the other, and instead focus on combining. I stopped trying to separate my work as a lawyer from my work as an interior designer. And as a result, some of my legal clients also became my interior design clients. I learned to include my children during my interior design business discussions or invite clients out for play dates that include their children. Once I opened my mind to integration, so many opportunities for efficiency were revealed.
What should our readers know about your business?
I am a lawyer practicing commercial litigation at Husch Blackwell, LLP. My husband and I also own The Island Spot, Jamaican Kitchen & Bar. Lastly, I also am the owner of Design Redefined, an interior design firm I opened in 2021. The biggest challenge has been the mental one. I often have thoughts of– “What the heck are you doing, Chalon? You have a successful thriving law practice, restaurants, a husband, and three babies under the age of 5, why are you starting a new business? But I continue to keep pushing and trying. I have no idea where this will lead, but I am continuing to work hard. And it is definitely hard work. I work 10–13-hour days practicing law, spend time with my kids, and then do design work sometimes until midnight, and all through the weekend.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I am basically a foodie, and I enjoy good food, drinks, and conversation. The brunch spot would be Ellen’s in Deep Ellum.
For lunch we would definitely go to one of our restaurants, The Island Spot, Jamaican Kitchen & Bar– home of Rich Food, Reggae, and Rum! I would urge my friend to try the award-winning jerk chicken.
Dinner would be at Al Biernat’s for either a Cowboy bone-in rib eye steak or Chilean sea bass.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Richard Thomas, Owner and CEO of The Island Spot Restaurants is the most supportive husband and excellent father. Without him, I could not do what I do.