This Local Therapist Wants You to Achieve Work-Life Balance by Prioritizing Intimacy

Naketa Thigpen coaches Philadelphians through tough work and relationship transitions as a Balance and Relationship Advisor.

Naketa Thigpen coaches Philadelphians as a Balance and Relationship Advisor. | Courtesy of Naketa Thigpen

We’re a culture of incredibly productive people — in fact, we barely know what to do when we’re not being productive. And that’s a problem.

While you’ve been putting off that coveted ‘me’ time to get ahead at work, you’re probably neglecting intimacy in your relationship with yourself and others. Little known fact: that could actually be what’s holding you back from being your most fulfilled and productive self. Some much-needed TLC might not have a pressing deadline, but a lack of work-life-balance only leads to one thing: burnout.

Naketa Thigpen (@asknaketa), president and CEO of ThigPro Balance and Relationship Management Institute, coaches people around the world through tough work and relationship transitions as a Balance and Relationship Advisor.

Confused? Thigpen’s background as a licensed clinical social worker and expertise in corporate wellness, relationship counseling, and sex therapy led her to establish Thigpro Balance and Relationship Management Institute back in 2011. Now, she guides budding entrepreneurs and professionals towards establishing a work-life and intimacy balance. That means you’ll be tackling your work woes and intimacy issues all at once. Thigpen took some time to chat with Be Well about how she works with clients to help them maintain intimate relationships while being ambitious in their work lives.

Be Well Philly: How did you get your start as a balance and relationship advisor — and what does that mean, anyway?
Thigpen: The term itself is something I created. Balance and Relationship Advisor holistically encompasses and defines who I am in terms of how I show up in the world. I started my company Thigpro Balance and Relationship Management Institute about nine years ago. When I started, I always saw myself as one day opening up a psychotherapy practice. But I am very much a knowledge connoisseur and I realized that I didn’t want to be limited, and that there was more that I could do.

Coaching, consulting and the clinical world have a lot of overlap, but they’re very, very different. So I really looked at what I could do to embrace all of it. That’s where work-life balance and relationship advisor comes from: I literally help people create their balance and their joy, and it’s through this amplification of intimacy within their relationships.

At the end of the day, the things that people want the most are connected to their inactions, and not turning up the intimacy for themselves first.

It’s easy to separate relationships and work-life, thinking that they’re not interconnected for emotional wellbeing. How do you work with clients to establish a connection and balance between the two?
I can talk about sex all day. If you roll over and look at your partner and you’re not attached to them, or even if you’re over-attached to them, that affects you and it affects your work. Do you go to work that morning skipping and feeling open and creative? Or are you constantly thinking about the frustration with your partner? Even while you’re sitting in the meeting, where you’re supposed to be leading or participating, if you’re not happy at home, then you’re not your creative, innovative, most productive self.

My clients will say, “I’m too busy building my career to balance, even for the things that I know matter most in my life. I love my husband, I love my wife, I love my partner — but I don’t have time for them.” I walk them back by looking at where this incongruence or misalignment is coming from.

The intimacy starts with you. I help them see that more than anything, you need to get a little selfish for the purpose of filling yourself and making yourself feel better. And then when you’ve finished, no apologies! Do what you need to feed yourself first, whether that be laughing or listening to music. So many of us will be so busy taking care of the person next to us that we don’t take care of ourselves. It’s really helping them understand that at the end of the day, the things that people want the most are connected to their inactions and not turning up the intimacy for themselves first.

Any tips for maintaining those important relationships while you’re going through transition and rebalancing periods?
I use the acronym CATCH. The first C is you have to be “consistent with your completion.” The A is to be “aware of your own imperfections.” The T is making “time for you first, and your lover.” The second C is “communicating your needs.” The H in CATCH is simple, but it’s the most important out of all of them. It’s “honor your agreement.”

We can talk about the boardroom, but we still have to bring it back to the bedroom. It’s all connected.

What are your coaching and advising offerings?
If you are an individual who is sponsoring themselves, typically an entrepreneur who is really just in this space where you want to have your success without sacrificing your love life, the Joy Map Method for relationships is the go-to. We offer it twice a year. It’s an eight-week program that’s virtual by group and depending on the kind of level that they go into, they can come to my house for two days. We have a lab day and we work through some challenges individually or as a couple.

For our entrepreneurial leaders who are being sponsored by their companies, we have something called a Thrive Accelerator and Intimacy Amplifier. The Thrive Accelerator is a 90-day personal growth program we offer to organizations that are investing in the development of their emerging leaders. The Intimacy Amplifier is an 11-month leadership development program we offer to organizations that want to retain those leaders.

Courtesy of Naketa Thigpen

Where else can people connect with your content on social media?
I’m very active on Instagram and Twitter. I run a Let’s Talk Intimacy Livestream. It was very organic for us to grow this way. We also started the Intimacy Advantage Clinic on Slack with the original purpose of continuing the conversation.

For companies we work with, we know that people aren’t easily going to talk about the physical side of intimacy and the workplace, but they will talk about brand intimacy, leadership intimacy, like working with your co-workers, and employee retention intimacy, which is a form of love when you honor them. We knew that we can do that in the corporate space, but we still have to talk about sex. We can talk about the boardroom, but we still have to bring it back to the bedroom. It’s all connected.

While working to help others balance themselves, how do you make maintaining balance a priority in your own life?
I do a winter and summer solstice vacation. When you’re constantly pouring out, sometimes you just need to pause all the way to give yourself an opportunity to get that backup battery recharged. My desk is colorful. It’s fun. It’s a reminder that I’m doing what I love and I want to be surrounded by high energetic things that remind me that I’m trying to create a life where my life is the vacation.

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