In 1999 I was a senior in high school and I had a huge opportunity in front of me. I was about to play in the Maryland State tennis championship tournament. I had been playing tennis competitively for the past nine years. I had hit a bunch of forehands bunch of backhands overhead volley serves all the strokes. I had spent years practicing but there was something that happened when I played tournaments. Sometimes I would do really well and I would win matches. And then there were times where I would lose to players that I could have beaten. I couldn't tell the difference in my performance. Why did I win sometimes and lose other times?
There was something crucial that was missing which I wasn't aware of. Up until this tournament. So here I was about to play in this tournament that I was seeded number two which means I was expected to come in second place. But I knew I could win this tournament. I knew I could be the Maryland State tennis champion and my mom found this ad in the newspaper. This was back in the day before the Internet was super popular. She found an ad in the paper that was for a sports psychologist. She called her and I ended up going to her house which was about 20 minutes away from my house and meeting with this woman, C.J. Lockman. I would go to her house weekly for several weeks. I sat on her couch and we would talk about mental strategies to improve my performance. We would do things like visualization where I would picture myself winning the Maryland State tennis tournament and not just picture it. I would feel it.
I would rehearse this vision over and over again even at home before I would go to sleep at night. I really would get into the feeling of it. We also did things like anchoring technique which is a quick way to shift your focus. And for me and what we talked about a shift is fixing my strings so I would look at my racquet and I would fix my strings to trigger a positive emotion and get me back into focus. And we also used techniques such as mantras where I would say positive things about my forehand works perfectly and smoothly and we would talk about how many times I had hit a four forehand how many times I had a backhand so on and so forth just really reminding myself that I had the ability to win and becoming the woman that could win this tournament. So I spent a lot of time mentally preparing for this tournament and then the day arrived where the two where it was time to play in the tournament in Baltimore Maryland. And this was in May. So the weather was beautiful was crisp. The sun was out. We didn't have any rain. The whole tournament. And we got there and I won the first couple matches pretty easily as expected. And then I was in the finals and in the first set I went down three games to one and I went back to my strings. I started to focus. I got into tune and I turned it on and I got into the zone. I was hitting forehands angles coming to the net. I had a whole strategy there and I won the next five games and I won the first set 6-3 and I went on to win the second set 6-2. I easily won this tournament it was the first tournament I had ever won like a breeze and the amazing thing was I was calm throughout the entire tournament. I wasn't nervous. It was I had mentally prepared so much that all I needed to do was show up as if my body already knew what to do and so it became very clear to me the difference in the experience of playing in this tournament in comparison to so many other tournaments's that I had played earlier in my tennis career. I believe the most underutilized resource is within us and it's our mental preparation. Whether it be with your job. Sure you've sent a bunch of emails we've made a bunch of phone calls we know what to do. It's not that I didn't know how to hit forehands right. It's just that I didn't take the time to mentally prepare. Pick any area of your life that is maybe not going as smoothly as you want whether it be your relationships or your health and what's missing a lot of the time is that we haven't actually set ourselves up with a strategy with how to utilize our internal resources focusing techniques you know the thing is is that it sounds so incredibly simple yet it's so difficult to get focused especially in today's world with so many distractions. Focus is the most important element of excellence. What's probably getting in your way right now is that you're not focusing properly. If there is an area that you're stuck in is that you're not focusing properly.
Let's flip this for a moment. Think of an area in your life that you're doing really well in and you're happy about how much attention and focus do you give that area to your life. Now it might not seem like you give a lot of attention and focus to that area of your life becomes because it comes so easily and naturally to you because you naturally focus on what you want and care about in this particular area. So if you're excelling in a certain area you're doing a really good job at focusing and maybe even you've gotten to the point where you don't even have to think so much because it's become so natural to you the other day I was at one of my friend's house and I was there with my son and she has three kids and her daughter who's about eight or nine years old got a splinter in her toe and she was crying and saying, "Mommy my foot hurts. I'm in so much pain." And she was focused on the pain in her toe and she was crying. And my son went to go give her a hug. In a moment she shifted from crying and being upset to oh and her face lit up because she saw my son approach her and hug her now it wasn't that the pain in her foot went away but she shifted her focus and attention and it changed her state.
It was amazing to watch how quickly we can shift our focus and that's where our power is. Today I want to invite you to hone in on an area that you're not giving a lot of attention to. Maybe you're thinking about the problems in that area and start to focus on mentally preparing yourself for success and creating positive images around that area of that you want to focus on and creating a positive mantra and shifting a thought a negative thought to a positive thought we can change our focus at any given moment. Tony Robbins says, "What's wrong is always available and so is what's right." And it depends on where you put your focus on what you focus on you feel. So if you're not feeling so great about something you can change your focus - that's where your true power is.
At this time of year, there are all sorts of emotions that arising and if we can strengthen our inner world, our inner resources, and emotional fitness.. aside from the content or context of our lives -- the things that are going outside of us, if we develop tools to become more conscious and aware we can live a happier, more peaceful and fulfilled life. WHich let’s be honest -- we all want more of this.
In particular today, I want to focus on how you judge yourself and others, and how judgment can be a destroyer of happiness. You might judge yourself for showing up to another Thanksgiving without a romantic partner, or without pursuing your dream/aspiration of having your own business. You could be judging yourself about your weight or health, or whatever you didn’t accomplish this year that you want to be different. You might judge others, your family for your unmet needs or wishing others to be different and judging the way the way they are living their lives. And when you judge yourself or others harshly -- you might also notice some anger there. I think of anger as judgment's best friend. Anger is often a byproduct of judgment.
And then the ultimate judgment -- judging ourselves for judging. I want to be clear that this is not an exercise to make judgment wrong or make ourselves wrong but it’s the very opposite. Can I bring loving presence and mindfulness to whatever is arising WITHOUT judgment? Can I create some space between the feelings, thoughts, and sensations that arise? How to bring in more love to the table?
I want to share a story with you that I heard when I attended the psychotherapy networker event here in WashingtonD.C. I had the opportunity to see one of my favorite spiritual teachers Jack Kornfield. He is the author of one of my favorite books, A Path with Heart. He grew up in very difficult conditions and in his early adulthood, he went to Thailand to study Buddhist meditation. He is known for combining his spiritual teachings with Western Psychology.
At the event I attended several months ago, Jack Kornfield told a story and that stuck with me about mindfulness and during dealing with difficult sensations -- and I want to share with you. He told a story about a young Marine with deeper anger issues who he worked with to feel into his body in such a way that he was able to to be more aware of when his anger was triggered. Through ‘coming back to his senses’, he was able to create a conscious space in which all his reactions could be experienced from enough distance to allow a sort of loving calm in the middle of his storms.
Here's here's this how the story goes:
"The soldier was at the supermarket at the end of a tough evening, the lines were long, and a couple people ahead of him was a woman holding a baby with too many items in her cart. This triggered his anger immediately and his mind raged with angry assessments: “I’m exhausted, these lines are ridiculous, she shouldn’t be in the express lane but of course she doesn’t even think about where she is…” To make matters worse, the woman hands the baby over to the cashier, another woman who cooed and snuggled, and so the line was held up even longer. And the officer suddenly realized, “Oh! This is anger!” and he started to breathe deeply, sense his tense, contracting body, observe his pain and anguish, and become aware of the stories he was telling in his mind. In a few moments, something in him started to relax and open. He looked out again and saw that, oh, he’s actually a cute kid.
When he got up to the cashier, he said, “That was a cute little boy.”
“Oh, did you like him?” she said, “He’s my boy. You see, my husband was killed in Iraq last year, so now I have to work two jobs now. My mom takes care of him and she brings him in so I can say goodnight to him.”"
This story makes me quite emotional because we're so quick to judge -- to come to decisions or conclusions about ourselves or others. Especially at a busy time of year, when we're moving into the holidays and we might have to wait in long lines and we can easily see the judgemental mind rearing its head. And we can just begin to notice the quality of a judgemental mind -- it's agitated. “Why is this person in the express lane when they should have been in the other lane.” Or judging ourselves “I ate too much food. What’s wrong with me?”
There's a little process that this story about the Marine illustrates. Which is first to name the emotion. Whether that be “anger” to name the anger. The second step is to notice the sensation in the body. Notice how the body is contracting or feel into any tight sensations. The third step is just to observe the inner dialogue which is typically negative and to see if you can become aware of your thoughts with some space around it. Can you start to relax and open? Is there an opportunity to say something kind to someone like the Marine did, “Oh that's a cute little boy,” or maybe say something kind to yourself. Can you take a deeper fuller breath?
Born in Chicago, but raised in South Florida, Jennifer Gottlieb worked as child actor and went on to study musical theatre, film, and television at both The Hartt School and The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City. Jen landed her dream role, and received rave reviews playing Linda in the Broadway national tour of the Tony Award-nominated musical comedy “The Wedding Singer". In 2010, Jen joined the cast of VH!’s That Metal Show. While living on the road and doing lots of performing Jennifer learned the importance of personal well-being, which sparked her career as a fitness and nutrition expert. She became a certified personal trainer and weight-loss specialist from The National Academy of Sports Medicine, Jennifer built a successful business training a large roster of celebrities and many of Manhattan's elite. Now Jen is the co-creator of Unfair Advantage Live with her partner Chris Winfield (who was also Interview on the podcast). Unfair advantage is an opportunity to be “in the room” with the media, influencers & gatekeepers that can turn you into a recognized expert and help you get the publicity you want... and deserve.
How do you think your childhood influenced on who you are today?
Jen was raised by parents who always believed in her. They supported her right from her childhood and made her believe she could achieve whatever she wanted to achieve in her life. They wanted her to try everything in her childhood including karate, gymnastics, karate, horse-riding, dancing, and singing. Jen always felt free to do whatever she wanted to do. She believes it was both a good and bad decision from her parents. It was good because it allowed her to be comfortable in picking up something and giving up if she did not like it. It was bad because Jen developed this habit of not being able to commit to anything for a longer period of time. She was not able to become an expert in anything she would pick.
What was your breaking moment for your success as an actor?
When Jen moved to New York, she did not have a lot of connections to start with. She went to see one of her friends, who was on the show called ‘The Wedding Singer’ on Broadway. She watched the show, looked at her friend play a particular role. She had an emotional response to the show and aspired to play the same role that her friend was playing. During this time, Jen got herself a book for personal development that was recommended to her by someone. She started to believe that she could create the life she dreamt for herself. She eventually auditioned for The Wedding Singer show for the role of Linda. When she appeared for the audition, there were a thousand other contestants auditioning for the same role. However, it did not bother much to Jen because she had created that belief in her mind that if we put in all the effort and hard work for things that we want in our lives, we succeed, eventually. This belief helped her get to the last round of audition where she was up against another contestant. It was the other contestant who actually got the part. Jen was not devastated by the results. This is because Jen did not give up and still believed she would play that role at some point later in her life. Jen soon went in for another audition that was not for The Wedding Singer and was certainly not for the role of Linda. However, she wore the same clothes as she wore when she auditioned for Linda’s role and even sang the same songs. The director was very impressed by Jen’s performance, gave her his contact card and told her they would meet very soon for work. Over the next few months, Jen would send him an email every week to which she would never get a response back from the director. This happened for six months until she finally got a reply via email. A contract was also attached in the mail. Jen was selected to play the role of Linda for the second tour of The Wedding Singer.
What has been one of your biggest insecurities?
Jen has faced body image issues in her past. That has been her biggest insecurity in recent past. She has also dealt with an eating disorder in her young adulthood. She had a big insecurity with her singing skills as well. She always doubted her singing skills. Jen thinks the issues she had with her body held her back in trying out many things in her life.
What has your career looked like after you worked in The Wedding Singer?
After the tour, Jen started to audition again for different shows. She eventually landed a role in an MTV Classic show called ‘That Metal Show’. She was perfect for the role because she had played a similar role in her last show. Jen had a great first season with the show. However, for the second season, the show directors and producers told Jen that they were going to shoot in LA but if she wanted to continue her role, she had to pay for her travel and bear accommodation expenses on her own. A lot of close friends advised Jen not to accept this offer because this eventually meant Jen had to spend more money than what she was going to earn from her role in the second season. However, Jen felt that if she managed to reprise her role in the second season, she would become irreplaceable in the show. That is exactly what happened because when Jen appeared for the second season, she got herself a bigger role, got paid a lot more money and went on to perform in that show for the next 14 seasons.
Can you tell us a little bit about Unfair Advantage and your role in the company?
Chris Winfield started this company and Jen partnered up with him. Chris and Jen conduct three-day events in New York City. They have three events per year. These events are for entrepreneurs who are struggling to establish their presence, who are not able to develop connections and who cannot promote their work and services in media. These events are about what you can do for others and not what you expect others do for you. The event is all about helping others build connections. On the second day of their event, they bring in the media to cover the event. This allows entrepreneurs to easily develop authentic connections with the media. They can get themselves featured as well.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice she has ever been given is by one of her friends who said to her that when we stop thinking about what other people think about us.
How can we connect with you?
You can find more about her through her website. Her website’s URL is
As a working mother of two boys, Kristin Mika launched Hampton Paper Designs on a whim on Memorial Day Weekend of 2007. After being unable to find the cards she was looking for that was charming and classic for her son Jackson, she decided to create her own line. Hampton Paper Designs combines her lifelong love of paper & letter writing — Beautiful watercolors inspires the stationery line. Hampton Paper Designs has so many great products. with the opportunity to express all human emotions, joy, thanks, sympathy, humor, and love and more. Whether it be with a calendar, invitation, journal, wrapping paper, notepads or stickers. All of the designs on the finest papers are reflective of the effortless style of a summer in the Hamptons: uncluttered, simply elegant, effortless sophistication.
What inspired you and how did you get started with this business?
It happened after the birth of her son Jackson. She wanted to get some new calling cards for him and so she went to a local shop. She did not love what she bought and it was also a bit expensive. Upon her return to home, she started to wonder what would happen if she started to make her own stationery. Her father’s girlfriend who at that time was a water-color artist had recently made cards for Kristin’s older son Thomas for special occasions like Halloween and Valentine’s day. She decided to take those water-color images and make stationary out of it. She called Lucy (her father’s girlfriend) and asked her to paint a few more water-color images. She made notecards and notepads out of those images and got them printed. This is how this business of paper design started for Kristin.
Did you ever think you would love to have a paper company?
Kristin is not sure if she really wanted to own a paper company. However, she has always been a paper person and she has always loved paper. Her parents got divorced when Kristin was quite young and she would write and send a lot of letters to her father. She would spend hours to pick up the right stationery before writing letters. Kristin used to design her own stationery in her childhood.
Do you think we should still rely on conventional methods of communication?
Kristin agrees and believes when it comes to business or personal relations, sometimes it is better to write messages with your own hands and that too on a paper. She writes thank you notes all the time. She just went to a dinner party a few weeks ago and upon her return from the party, she wrote a note to the woman who had hosted that party. The response she gets from people is always overwhelming. They are appreciative of the fact that even in today’s digital world, Kristin is considerate enough to spare some time and write for them.
Can you share how you got on The Today Show for the first time?
Kristin sent her Hershey kit stickers to Hamptons magazines. They got featured and soon she got a call from Jill Martin from The Today Show. She had seen the stickers in the magazines and wanted to feature Kristin’s products on the show. The whole experience to appear on the show was overwhelming for Kristin. Her orders grew soon afterward she appeared on the show.
What is your best selling product?
Her best selling products are calendars. She makes different types of calendars. One of these includes desk calendars which feature one image and glitter the images by hand. This has been her top-selling product for many years. There is a great community of people who love these calendars and give away these calendars as gifts to other people. She also gave away an option in which clients can pick twelve different images of their choice for their calendar. Kristin believes this is a great and unique idea as you get an opportunity to pick up images that can depict the coming events in your life.
How do you suggest your customers to buy products that are best for their need?
Kristin tries to put herself in the shoes of her customers. She tries to find out their likes/dislikes, what it is they like to shop. She herself prefers to give away gifts that are actually of some use to people. This is why calendars are such a great gift because they can be used on daily basis. One of the easiest ways to make a gift special is by personalizing it with the name or a monogram of the person to whom you are giving the gift. It shows that you have put in an extra level of effort for the gift and that it was just created for the person you are giving to.
What advice do you have for someone who has a business idea but is not sure how to start?
It is really not that hard to start your own business if you have a good idea to start with. Kristin never created a business plan for Hampton Paper design, her business was established out of her passion for the work she does. Once you take the initial steps, you learn every day about the dynamics of running a business.
What is your secret to planning a great party?
Kristin’s secret to plan a party is to be prepared for it. Everything boils down to preparation. She usually starts with the plan with weeks in advance. She mainly focuses on the themes for a party. Kristin believes the key to planning a successful party is to be prepared. You can also find many ideas on the Internet in planning a party or an event.
Can you give some examples of themes you have used in past?
She planned ‘The Back to School’ themed party for her son Jackson when he was in kindergarten. She has also planned parties with movie themes. Over the years, the parties Kristin has arranged for her children were usually a depiction of their current interests. Her son Thomas was interested in pirates and she conducted a party with a treasure hunt theme.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice she has ever been given comes from her great-grandmother. She used to tell her to use her best items every day. They are great words to live by.
How can we connect with you?
You can find more about her work through her website. Her website’s URL is
How did you get featured in The New York Times at the beginning of your coaching career?
It happened after her coach training program. She was very excited after finishing the program as she felt she found her life-purpose through that program. She was the youngest woman in the program. However, she put in all of her passion, energy and time in the program. She was able to grow her coaching practice quickly. The head of the school where Jeannine was undergoing her training was approached for the article and was asked if he wanted to refer somebody to feature in the magazine. He referred Jeannine and she invited the interviewer to receive her coaching rather than opting for a conventional interview. Jeannine feels it is difficult to put in words the art of coaching and that is why she thought it would be better if she invited the interviewer for a coaching session. The interviewer attended several of her coaching sessions and wrote in a very positive manner about Jeannine and her business. He also put her photo as the cover photo of the whole article.
Did you ever have limiting beliefs about becoming a life coach?
Before becoming a life coach, Jeannine tried her luck in acting and become a theatre artist. Her niche as a performer was to play silly characters. She was always playing a blonde with a high-pitched voice. One of the reasons Jeannine left acting was because she did not found her purpose in it. She felt she was not able to put an accurate representation of her personality through acting.
Do you think having a difficult childhood helped you access your inner wisdom?
Jeannine is not sure if having a difficult childhood can always help you access inner wisdom. Jeannine thinks there are a lot of factors that can contribute towards wisdom. Jeannine thinks the fact that contributed to her inner wisdom was her participation in her father’s meetings. From a very early age, she would go on meetings with her father. One of the things all the participants did in the meetings was to share their life stories. They would talk about their feelings, about their challenges and various other things. Jeannine learned a lot through these meetings and believes it gave her an access to the wisdom of self-reflection, self-responsibility, self-healing, and self-potential. She would see people who had gone through the worse circumstances in their lives and were somehow able to recover from their worst times.
What were your parents addicted to?
Jeannine says her parents were almost addicted to all drugs. Her father was one of the most famous drug dealers in Long Beach. He did cocaine, PCP, speed(Amphetamine) and meth.
How did you realize you were not meant to be an actor?
Jeannine felt something was out of order in her life when she got part in her first Broadway show. It did not feel the way she thought it would feel. It started to feel like a job to her. There was this whole part of her that she was not able to showcase in that career. She felt like she put in a lot of her energy, time and passion in her acting career but the results were not always favorable. Luck also played its role and Jeannine was not able to land herself a job for various plays despite performing well in the auditions. A lot of her experiences intrinsically and extrinsically did not line up with what she hoped for herself and she started to realize acting was not something she was meant to do for the rest of her life.
When did coaching come under your radar?
She came across coaching after watching a few videos of Tony Robbins. Someone recommend her to watch a few of Tony Robbins videos to deal with stress and improve her confidence as a performer. Jeannine thinks some of Tony Robbins work and practices do not work for her anymore as they are more aligned with the opposite gender. She has learnt to honor the meaning of being a woman. However, she still recalls how listening to Tony Robbins used to make her feel empowered.
What is your favorite coaching question?
She has a collection of these six specific questions that she asks from clients most of who are women. Most of these women are so driven and passionate of wanting to do more. The questions she asks are to acknowledge the hard work that her clients have put in at some point in their past. One of the questions she asks from her client is how they have changed in the process.
As a coach, how do you help people who are not sure what success means to them?
Jeannine usually asks the opposite of success and what it means to them if they are not able to figure what it means to be successful. Jeannine thinks ultimately it is our own choice to not know about things. When her clients are not able to share their views on a certain topic or what something means to them, it is indicative of the fact that they are not open or searching.
What have you been up to recently?
After that article came out in the New York Times, a lot of women approached Jeannine. They saw her and felt like she was relatable to them. A lot of women thought that if she could do what she was able to do in her life as a coach, they too could do it as well. Jeannine realized she had a gift to help other women achieve the same in their lives. Over the years she has helped a lot of women and men launch their coaching business. She still does this day in and day out. Jeannine has been running this coaching program for women for five years.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Jeannine says she is constantly seeking mentorship from different people and there are a lot of useful advice that she has received from them over the years. The best advice she has ever been given was from her grandmother who once said to her the following words
“Do not live life in the fast lane and do not live life in the slow lane”. Middle lane is the place to be. She did not get it back then, but what it actually meant was that one needs to be there in the middle ground and get to soak up the best of both worlds.
How can we connect with you?
You can find more about her work through her website. She shares coaching tools, techniques and self-care rituals on her website. Her website’s URL is