Ross Everett is an award-winning actor, comedian, Internet personality, and writer. His YouTube videos have been viewed over 45 million times, landing him on the front page of HuffPost, Buzzfeed, and Reddit. His comedy has been featured on NBC, Hulu, Fox, and Sirius XM. He can be seen touring with his critically acclaimed comedy show Stop Stopping The Unstoppable a personal development seminar parody, where he plays a motivational speaker, Dale Thorhammer.
How did you get into comedy?
There wasn't a time when Ross wasn't into comedy. He loved things that made him laugh from a very young age. If people are funny, then everything else was forgivable.
Were your parents funny?
Not intentionally. Ross' Dad has good comedy thoughts but poor delivery. His mum is adorable in her own way. When she runs, she looks like a duck running away from a car. They aren't people who can engage a crowd in a comedic way.
Delivery is key.
Delivery is all of it. The most important thing in comedy is timing. But this can also apply to life. How are you delivering anything you want to be delivered? It is a real shame to say something that is meant to be heard in a way it can not be.
Personal development plus comedy. That's awesome.
Ross wants to create joy and help other people find their joy and go after it. A lot of comedians come from this negative place and then find this desire to make people laugh. A sense of humor is often a defense mechanism. Ross didn't want to be a comedian who was depressed. He loves personal development and wanted to find a way to combine the two. As a comedian, you get to deliver joy and happiness. As a kid, he wanted to be famous so that he could have friends all over the world. He admits that a lot of this comes from feeling uncool and unpopular at school. He wanted people to like him. Sometimes we become good at something because of a trauma or as a defense mechanism. We can heal the underlying wound and still maintain the benefits that that wound gave us.
How did you get started? Comedy is not an easy path.
As a kid, Ross loved watching scrubs and Family Guy. He and his friends would reference those TV shows and make jokes that could've been in the TV shows. It was their joy. He started writing his own scripts and ideas for TV shows. In college, he began making things with a video camera. They started putting their videos on YouTube and gained a following. After graduation Ross worked at the Colbert Report as an intern. He got a joke on the show and it was a lightbulb moment to know that his joke was going out to the country.
Ross learned a lot from Colbert about how to approach comedy. He considers Colbert and Conan to be big inspirations to him. Colbert told him one of his humor philosophies. You never make the victim of a situation the punchline of a joke. People will laugh, but it will sound like they have blood in their mouths. He made a joke about Lindsey Lohan and felt bad about it because she's just a human being going through her own thing. He won't punch down on people.
There's a lot of risks that you take in comedy. Not only in content but in how it's received.
You can't control how something is received. Ross makes sure that he feels good about what he's putting out there. He has his own guidelines for his comedy.
What are they?
Never punch down.
The guidelines shifts as society shifts in the way it perceives people. Ross gives himself permission to elevate his standards with the times while forgiving himself for the stuff in the past before he knew better.
Tell us about your failures.
He took his show to Adelaide, Australia for the Fringe Festival. When he was flyering, he would pitch the show by saying, "Do you want to come see a feel-good comedy show?"
This woman walked by, heard him say this, and went to see the show. She sat in the front row. The show is a parody of a self-development seminar, and he plays a guru. It's a very interactive show with a lot of audience participation. There's a moment where he takes the audience through a funny guided mediation. He tells them to go back to their childhood when everything was okay and feel that now. He noticed that the woman had moved into the fetal position. He though great I can help her. He had a part of the show where he bought someone up on stage and made them dance. So he got her up and she meekly came on stage. He noticed this look of fear in her eyes.
She said, "Please don't make me do this."
He quickly reversed and put her back in her seat and told her to stay after the show because he wanted to make sure she was okay.
The show ends with people saying, "I love myself!" He noticed the woman was not feeling it. At the end of the show, she bolts out of the theatre. He runs after her. She shouts that "she's fine'." He can't get to her and thinks that his show just ruined someone's life. He feels he pushed on someone he shouldn't have pushed on. He goes back to the artist area, devastated. He thinks that he can't do this anymore and that the show is dangerous. He believed that a lot of people call themselves life coaches after reading a book or going to a seminar. If you unearth someone's deep traumatic stuff and can't bring them back up again, you've done damage. Ross's number 1 rule is don't do damage. Even though the show was about doing it in a silly way, he still did damage.
He checks his email, and there was an email from the crying woman apologizing for running out after the show. After crying in the bathroom for 15 minutes, she was fine. She thought the show was brilliant and thanked him for doing it. He met up with her to talk about what happened. She said she was in a down mood anyway and her childhood wasn't great. He asked her what he could say instead, and she said - 'go back to a time when everything was great.' Everybody has a time when everything was great. So he changed that part of the show. He made a new rule that if somebody is resisting him, instead of trying to get them out of their funk, he will play towards the people who are already loving it.
You do some coaching in the show.
There is some real personal development in the show. But the comedy comes first. He takes real personal development concepts and wraps them in idiocy and comedy. He wants to make it fun and palatable. But he realized that he has to be careful with his words. Although that failure was a nightmare, he learned from it, and it made the show better.
Do you go to self-development seminars?
All the time. He used to be resistant to personal development seminars. He would wonder what they were trying to sell him. He wouldn't trust them. That's why he wanted to create this show. Because he doesn't ask his audience to trust him, he asks them to play with him.
Comedy is funny because there is truth in it. Do you think people are more likely to go to a personal development seminar after seeing your show?
Ross hopes that his show arms them to go to a seminar and not have to take it too seriously. He wants people to be able to go to these seminars and have fun with them.
What's your favorite seminar?
Ross loved Tony Robbins, Date With Destiny. That was fun and impactful. Watching Tony Robbins do his stuff is amazing. He is a master and a showman.
I'm a huge Tony Robbins fan, but there's all this stuff in the media right now. I'm curious about your authentic take on him. Do you think he's the real deal?
Ross thinks Tony Robbins show's up as Tony Robbins when that is who he needs to be. And that he's human like the rest of us. Ross thinks Tony Robbins does good work and he provides a tremendous amount of value to people.
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
Never leave the site of a decision without taking massive action that forces you to commit.
How can we learn about you?
JV Bharathan reached darkness and found his way out again. He credits this to his autistic son and his undying optimism. JV is a coach, an author, and an entrepreneur. He wants people to find hope within their suffering. Hear him talk about his story, the power of helping others and what he has learned from his son.
I know that you had a moment in time where you had a couple of events all happening at once. What were those events?
JV grew up in India, moved to the US when he was 21 and found a good corporate job. Following the Indian tradition, JV’s parent arranged for him to marry a woman from Sri Lanka when he was 25. He didn’t like her but married her in order to please his Dad. The marriage didn’t work out so they divorced. There was a custody battle over their son.
How old was your son when you divorced?
He was 4 or 5 years old and it was about 6 years after the marriage.
What happened with the custody battle?
JV felt like he was treated as a 2nd class citizen by the courts and police and automatically seen as guilty. It was a challenge to prove that he was a good dad. They now share custody of their son.
How did you get through it?
JV lost everything. He was homeless, jobless and bankrupt. He only had two things left. His son and his undying optimism.
Where were you living?
He sometimes stayed with friends and sometimes slept on the street. This period didn’t last too long as he found his light pretty quickly.
What was it like sleeping on the street?
It was not easy but JV recognizes that went you go through situations like this, you become stronger. Now he can sleep anywhere.
JV found deep meaning through his son who has autism. He mostly communicates non-verbally. At 13 years old he can speak a few words but is unable to form sentences. JV realized that his life was bigger than him and that he needed to take care of his son. He needed to be a voice for his son. That is when everything changed for him.
You say everything changed, what do you mean?
He had been feeling like a victim and blaming his wife for his circumstances. But that didn’t give him any power. He knew he had to take radical responsibility. So even if something is not your fault, you take responsibility for it. That gives you the power and allows you to take actions you didn’t think were possible.
Were you reading a lot?
He was reading frequently and went on a journey to the Himalayas to stay with monks. They taught him that your life is not about you. It is all about the people in your life. Your family, friends and local community. That’s when he started to take himself less seriously and focus on what others need.
I studied Buddhist psychology. There are two parts to the root of our suffering self-grasping and self-cherishing. Cherishing yourself as the most important person on earth is one of the roots of our sufferings. It sounds like you had that insight. When we ere suffering who are we thinking about? We are thinking about ourselves. That causes a lot of suffering. That shift to thinking about others is huge and with it brings happiness. So you went and hung out with the monks. What else did you learn?
They taught JV about money. Money is a form of energy. Many people tell themselves stories about money – I can’t afford it, I don’t deserve it. JV thinks this is silly. Money is just energy exchanged for services. If you focus on how much value you give to people, the money will come. Money is a tool and doesn’t bring happiness.
So you went to the Himalayas and you meditated?
He meditated and did a lot of yoga. He lived a very simple humble life.
When you came back, how did you integrate?
He did a lot of coaching and leadership classes. He started to focus on other people starting with his son. He wanted to look beyond his sons ‘problems’ and look at how he could add value to his son’s life. He started a non-profit for autistic children.
You created a non-profit. What else?
JV wrote a book despite not learning English until he was in college. When he was in his period of darkness he started writing as a way of venting his frustration. One day a friend of his accidentally found his journal and started reading it. He told JV that he should turn it into a book. Now he is writing a second one.
What is your book about?
Undying Optimism is about JV’s journey into his darkness and how he got out of it. He wants his book to give people hope. We are all suffering in our own ways. He wants people who read his book to ask themselves questions about their own lives and find meaning in it. The book gives people hope in a world which doesn't always seem to have a lot of hope in it.
You do coaching?
JV does coaching for people going through transition and change. He went through a lot of transformation and change and wants to bring that experience to help other people.
Do you want to get married again?
It’s hard to find the right partner especially when you’re entrepreneurial. His son is a massive part of his life. He is open to the possibility of someone but isn’t focused on it.
Do you still talk to your son’s mom?
He used to call her his ex-wife and then realized he needed to give her respect. He now calls her his former wife. They don’t talk a lot and when they do it is focused on their son. But he has forgiven her.
How did you arrive at forgiveness?
It was not easy to forgive her. She put him in jail. Forgiving is one of the most selfish things you can do. When you forgive you allow a space for new things in your life.
How long did it take you? Forgiveness is a process.
It took him 3 years.
I have a question for you about sadness. I’ve had my bouts of depression. The happier I’ve become, the more I focus on others, the more I serve the more sadness I see. But when I’m sad, I don’t notice the sadness. I was curious about your viewpoint.
If you don’t experience sadness you are not going to experience happiness. If you don’t experience darkness you are not going to experience light. If you don’t experience sunset you won’t experience the sunrise. But when you realize you are sad, you need to see how you can shift that. Be with it. Ask yourself why you are sad. Try to change the situation if you can. Help someone else. Be grateful for the things in your life.
What is a question you can ask?
What can I do? Why am I suffering? What is causing me suffering today?
What is a question you ask yourself which keeps you focused?
What can I do today that’s going to make someone else’s life better?
What is next for you?
JV does have a plan but does not put timelines on things anymore. He likes to follow his intuition. He is writing his second book and has just joined a venture firm in Boston that will focus on organizations that want to solve humanitarian issues.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Be in the moment.
So you meditate?
Every day for at least 15 minutes. He does it as soon as he wakes up and has been doing that for the past 5 years. He finds meditation keeps him calm, makes him grounded and allows him to focus on the things he wants to focus on.
How do you feel that having a child with autism has shaped your view of the world?
His son is JV’s biggest teacher. He has taught him patience, to focus on the process and empathy.
How can we get in touch with you?
Elinor Bazar has a B.A. In Psychology and Religious Studies from Georgetown University, an M.A. In Counselling Psychology from the University of Victoria. Before opening NeurAlive Neurofeedback Centre, Elinor worked in private practice specializing in play and expressive arts therapy with children of all ages and was a school teacher early in her career.
Three years ago Elinor was on the lookout for more tools to help my family and my counseling clients. When she found Neurofeedback, I was intrigued. Something that we could simply and painlessly connect our brains into for training self-regulation was showing powerful results for a range of mental, emotional and behavioral issues in people of all ages. She researched the technology for two months and decided that I’d like to try it for herself. She chose NeurOptimal® Dynamical Neurofeedback®, for its ease of use,safe and holistic approach. Many people were reporting excellent results from using this system, relieving symptoms associated with a variety of issues, like ADHD, PTSD, chronic fatigue, anxiety, depression, brain injuries, neurological and developmental disorders and more.
Over the course of 3 years, she used the technology with my clients, primarily children, and my family. She saw fairly consistent results ranging from mild improvement to almost miraculous improvement for a variety of conditions.
What is Neurofeedback?
Neurofeedback involves using an EEG device with sensors on the brain to track electrical activity in the brain. Displaying this information on a monitor allows the brain to self regulate. Elinor uses the NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback system which allows the brain and the nervous system to self-correct by giving it information about itself.
How would you define self-regulation?
The nervous system is constantly processing information and detecting a change in the environment. A self-regulating system is flexible, resilient, and can adapt to change easily. It can bounce back from negative events. A lot of people are suffering from an overburden nervous system, and that can show up as anxiety, depression, fatigue, headaches, poor sleep patterns, and poor digestion. Having better self-regulation in the nervous system can help ease all of those symptoms.
When we go through a trauma or a stressful event, does that interrupt the body’s ability to regulate itself?
Trauma can impact the nervous system, and we can get stuck in a flight or fight state. It always feels on guard; it doesn’t feel safe and can be on high alert.
I first discovered Neurofeedback in 2013. I reached out to a therapist because I was struggling with ADD/ADHD, and she suggested Neurofeedback. It was pretty incredible. I only did it for a couple of months, but I felt calmer and more organized. I could definitely see the difference. It was pretty incredible. I had the sensors on my head, and there was quiet music which dropped in and out due to activity in the brainwaves. I have also done a version where I was playing a game by doing something with my brain. I love that it can provide an alternative to medication and can be a tremendous holistic tool for anxiety, ADHD and depression. And not a lot of people know about it.
It is non-invasive and natural. The NeurOptimal® approach it is to meet the brain where it is in that moment and feedback the to the nervous system. This allows the inherent healing capacity of the nervous system to self regulate.
Why do you think not a lot of people know about it?
Elinor had heard of Neurofeedback but didn’t know what it meant until one day she looked it up. She discovered all the research showing how effective it is. It is only now becoming more accessible to the public due to the cost of equipment becoming more affordable. NeurOptimal® was created by Dr Sue and Val Brown, two clinical psychologists in the biofeedback field. They developed NeurOptimal® when they realized, through their clinical research, that it’s not necessary to push the brain because it will self-correct. Just giving the brain the information is enough. It’s so easy to use that it is possible to rent or own a unit. A big part of Elinor’s practice is renting systems for home use.
How did you get into Neurofeedback?
Elinor was a therapist specializing in working with children through play and nature therapy. At the time, she had just gone through a separation, and life was stressful. She was having all the symptoms of an overburdened nervous system. The word Neurofeedback popped into her brain, so she looked it up and spent hours researching the topic.
So what did you discover? You had these symptoms and used Neurofeedback. What happened?
Elinor bought a NeurOptimal® system and started using it on herself and her daughter. Once she got to 10 sessions she realised that she was no longer experiencing her previous levels of anxiety, she had more energy and was much happier. For two years she had experienced heart palpitations every single day. They went away completely. She used to find that drinking coffee aggravated her nervous system too much, but now she was able to start drinking it again. She used the system with her daughter who experienced stress at school, which was manifesting as ticks in the body. She would repeatedly stretch her neck. After three sessions, the ticks were completely gone.
Elinor has found that Neurofeedback can be incredibly impactful for children. She had a child who was dealing with severe separation anxiety when going to school and after 4 session was able to go to school.
Kids brains can be so receptive and malleable. Adult brains are less so, but they are still malleable. Can you speak a bit about the adult brain and how it is still receptive to this type of intervention?
Due to neuroplasticity, it is possible to change how our brains are wired. Sometimes change happens quickly, and sometimes things happen more slowly. Adults need to take a holistic approach with the Neurofeedback. We still need good sleep and good nutrition. It can give you more motivation to put other things into practice like exercise and meditation.
There are different brainwaves like alpha and beta. Can you explain a bit about brainwaves?
Types of brainwaves is a way of categorizing ranges of brainwave frequencies. In conventional Neurofeedback they look at those categories of brainwaves to see what needs to be altered whereas NeurOptimal® trains all the frequencies simultaneously.
When someone does a neurofeedback session is there a length of time the session should last for?
With NeurOptimal® a session lasts for 33minutes long. It depends on the person for how many sessions will be suitable for them.
How does that 33min session work? Do they have to do anything else?
With the NeurOptimal® system, there isn’t anything you have to do. It works at an unconscious level. Adults will lie back and close their eyes. It can be deeply relaxing. Children can play with lego or color while they have the sensors on and the earbuds in.
What about Muse? Are you familiar with that?
Elinor hasn’t tried it but is aware of it and think it seems great. But it is intended to produce a meditative state. It’s cool to get the real-time feedback. One of the other technologies Elinor likes to use, particularly for meditation is, Heartmath, which is heart rate variability training.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t give up.
What would you recommend to somebody who is listening to this podcast and this is the first time they have heard about Neurofeedback?
Google it and find the research. There are so many different approaches and systems. Do your research and follow your gut instinct about what is right for you.
Do you think that Neurofeedback is going to be something everybody knows about in 10-15 years?
Elinor thinks that we are already reaching the tipping point where it becomes mainstream.
What do you think about prescription drugs? And how do you see that playing out with the ability to also have Neurofeedback?
There is a time and a place for prescription drugs. You can use Neurofeedback while you on prescription medication, but it is worth keeping doctors informed. Sometimes people find they need to reduce their medication as their bodies become more receptive.
If people have questions and want to know more, can they reach out to you?
Elinor can be contacted at NeurAlive:
David Wood is a personal and business coach. David left his cushy Park Avenue job 20 years ago to explore both the outer world and his own inner world.
At the individual level, he helps high performing entrepreneurs, executives, and leaders to Play for Real – in their own growth, in their relationships, and at work. By integrating three main principles of Real Truth, Real Daring, and Real Caring. At the corporate level, he helps companies to improve performance and retention. He has consulted Fortune 100 companies – such as Sony Music, Proctor & Gamble, and Exxon. He was recently voted into the Transformational Leadership Council, along with such thought leaders as Stephen M.R. Covey, Jack Canfield, John Gray, and Marianne Williamson.
In this interview we get real honest, in fact, David reveals something he has never shared on a podcast before — The real question is….what will “Play for Real” mean to you?
I’ve been coaching for over 10 years, and when I first started coaching your website came up a lot. You were owning the life coaching scene.
There was a point where David was the top 3 results on the search engine. He was fully committed to coaching. After becoming burnt out, David retired, but he is now back on the coaching scene with renewed passion.
You have figured out how to do something most people dream about, which is living an abundant life, making a huge contribution, and having a blast every step of the way. What is your secret to success?
David is very self-directed. He creates a vision he can be excited about, and then he uses hacks to create productive days so he can do what needs to be done to fulfill his vision. It can be hard to carry out consistent action in the face of no results. For people who can’t do that, a simple hack is getting yourself a coach.
David considers himself a possibility generating machine. Other people assume that something can’t be done. If David is told that something can’t be done, he will go out there and do it.
What are some of those hacks? How do you get yourself in the right state if you aren’t feeling it?
He has had a lot of depression and anxiety in his life, which can be several weeks of darkness but can also manifest as not wanting to send an email or do anything at all that day. But his job requires that he does stuff to bring in revenue. One hack is caffeine (although he restricts himself to one cup of coffee and one cup of tea a day). Once a week he takes adderall which enables him to get a solid 8 hours to work done. He likes to do morning pages which are supposed to be 3 pages of stream of consciousness writing and never read it. But David likes to use it to uncover the things he wants to do.
Some of those hacks are things that people often try to steer us away from, such as caffeine and other stimulants. Particularly in the self-development field. Thanks for sharing that.
David used to think that all medication was bad. It is worth being wary about medication as humans have a tenuous relationship with addiction. If you like coffee, you’ll probably drink more of it and run into problems because you are abusing it. David went from thinking all medication was bad to taking antidepressants. The turning point came when he was talking to a colleague who took Welbutin and asked her why she took it since she was into personal growth. She told him that she likes herself better when she’s on it. So he got off his high horse. He tries to be careful with how he takes medication by doing research and mixing things up to avoid tolerance.
Is that part of the caring element you were talking about?
David believes in 3 core pillars – Truth, Daring and Caring. He acknowledges that caring isn’t the sexy part. David had a breakdown. He would be unable to sleep because adrenaline was shooting through his boy. A doctor friend told him to go on medication, but he refused because he wanted to heal it naturally. David had reached rock bottom and realized that there is a time and a place for daring, but if you don’t acknowledge your limitations and nurture other areas, things will fall apart. He realised he needed to add the 3rd pillar of Caring.
You had all this success. Then you had these breakdowns. Would you agree that in many ways breakdowns can actually become the catalyst to success?
Recently, David heard someone say - “Your core wounds can become your greatest gifts.” Many of the people in the coaching community have some kind of wound or past trauma they have had to overcome. If David hadn’t had the breakdowns or experienced childhood trauma, he wouldn’t be on this path. When he was 7 he watched his 5year old sister get killed in a traffic accident. He learnt how to shut down his emotions and not feel anything. This is when he started to be solution-focused. In his 20s he went to a psychiatrist who helped him to realize that he hadn’t grieved. He has now spent the last 25 years reconnecting to his emotions and learning how to feel. He now gets to bring that to other people who are system and task-oriented but would like to have deeper connections with themselves, their partner, their kids, and all the other people in their life.
How do you understand yourself so you can find those gifts that allow you to get paid for who you are?
David used to teach people how to be a coach. Then people asked him how he was able to travel and coach all over the world. So he wrote the book Get Paid For Who You Are. Now he’s interested in how do you love your life. He wants people to be able to be on their deathbeds and have no regrets. Part of how you do that is to have fulfilling and gratifying work.
How do you find your gifts?
There isn’t a magic answer. When David started coaching, it happened organically, but then he stopped. Recently a friend suggested that he get back into it and he realized how much he loves it. Then within coaching, he has found the core themes which light him us - Truth, Daring, Caring and Connection. The short answer is to read the book The Passion Test and get yourself a coach.
I like how you say it takes time. Sometimes we don’t respect the process.
You have to take action. Even if you don’t know if it’s the right action.
How do you view the coaching industry at this point in time?
David is fascinated by the state of corporate coaching today. The role of coaches is now accepted in the corporate world.
What are some of your favorite coaching questions?
What question would you most like to be asked right now?
What coaching would you give yourself on this?
You have an app right?
David has an app called Get Real.
I found this question on there. If you had to make one rule which everyone must follow, what would it be?
That you must speak the truth all the time with the exception that if you lie you must preface it by saying I’m going to lie to you right now.
So many people are lying to themselves as well as to others. It’s so toxic because people are afraid to say the truth.
It takes a lot of guts to tell the truth. What if they don’t like who I am because of something I said? What if I don’t get a promotion because of saying that? It can be transformative to share your inner dialogue. It can take a lot of courage.
One of the greatest hacks you can play on yourself is to tell on yourself. Tell someone your inner thoughts and dialogue.
Do you have a question that you repeatedly ask your self?
What did you get done today? David finds it useful to acknowledge what he achieved in order to appreciate himself.
What is one thing you would love to do before you die?
David wants to play drums in a band for one public gig. He has done it as a guitarist and now wants to experience it as a drummer.
How can we get in touch with you?
David has a new podcast – http://playforreal.life/podcast/
David invites people to request a discovery session with him at http://playforreal.life/
Get Paid For Who You Are by David Wood
The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Discovering Your Life Purpose by Janet Attwood and Chris Attwood
The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
I talk to a lot of people who want to find more clarity in their lives. And I want to talk about subtle ways that can have a profound impact on your life. This is a practice that you can continue to do because once you connect with clarity, it doesn't stop there. It's a practice that you want to continue to engage in.
Here are three steps.
In 2005 the National Science Foundation published an article regarding research about human thoughts per day. The average person has about 12K to 60K thoughts per day of those thoughts. 80% are negative and 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before.
If you're finding yourself cycling around negative thoughts you are not alone. What we need to understand is that we have a "negativity bias."
What does that mean?
It means we pick up negative information faster than positive information. And the reason why is because we're wired for survival. We are not wired for happiness.
We've all had the experience of getting feedback and somebody tells us a bunch of positive information - things we're doing really well but then somebody gives us one piece of information that's slightly negative. And what do we seem to harp on? That one piece of information that's negative. And that's because we have a "negativity bias." We need to know that that's operating and it's operating to help us to protect us to look out for danger and to not believe those negative thoughts.
The way that you can start to change the pattern is by actively seeking the good. Dr. Rick Hansen is a neuroscientist and he talks about this concept of taking in the good and really absorbing it. You take in a positive experience for an extra 10, 15, 20 seconds. As you absorb these good moments what happens is they gradually weave good experiences into the fabric of the brain. Instead of good experiences being passing mental states, they become net lasting neural traits.
Here's how I practice this: When it's a moment that I see my son playing - I really take that moment in that moment of joy that I feel when I'm watching him play. If I'm driving in my car and listening to a song that I'm really enjoying -- I really take in that moment. Since the weather has been so nice when the sun is shining and I'm feeling the sun beating down on my face -- I love that really taking that in.
There's a saying in Tibet: If you take care of the minutes the years will take care of themselves.
Alan Stein is a speaker and author, after spending over 15 years as a basketball coach. He has coached some of the top players and now brings what he learned from the world of sports to the world of business. The same skills and strategies that help basketball players be the top of their game can help top performers in the corporate world too. Alan believes in the power of doing sports throughout childhood and the traits and qualities they can instill in young people. He is also the author of Raise Your Game: High-Performance Secrets of the Best of the Best. In this episode Alan talks about finding your passion, letting go of what you can’t control and the power of self-awareness.
You grew up playing sports competitively and reached a high level. And you coached for many years. Are you still coaching?
Alan doesn’t coach anymore. Now he can be found on the sidelines watching his 3 children compete. Many of the traits that have helped him in his life have come from doing sports as a young person.
What are some of those traits that you learned from sports that have helped you in business and life?
Passion. Finding something you love and being able to spend time doing it is really important. That was the first lesson sport taught Alan. Learning to be coach-able. Having the discipline to go in and get reps done. All the little things that can add up and can have a profound impact on your performance. Being a good teammate. That when you sign up to a team sport you are a part of something much bigger than yourself.
You mention passion and when I’ve seen you speak, that passion really comes through. You seem to love teaching people and helping them be better.
Alan wants to be a servant leader who fills other people’s buckets. Sport was always just his vehicle to do that. It wasn’t just the sport that gave him so much enjoyment, it was the ability to be around other people and help to make them better with what they were trying to do.
I grew up playing tennis, which is a very individual sport. In your book, you talk a lot about teamwork and I realized that I’ve been on a very individual path with both participating in an individual sport and working for myself.
It has been Alan’s experience that people, especially in sport, tend to gravitate to one or another. He tried to get his kids to experience both so they could see what they liked. Even if you are a solopreuneuer you still work with other people and teamwork traits are important. A family can also be a team. We ebb and flow from one to the other throughout our lives. Sometimes you’re the player, sometimes the coach and sometimes you’re on a team.
Part of being a good teammate is being a good leader.
There are traits that we all should be working on regardless of our specific scenario. The traits of being an effective leader and being an impactful teammate. They have such high utility and can be applied to any area of life, personal or professional. They are important skills and can be reinforced through sport. Alan encourages his children to play different sports so that they can work on those skills. They will learn things through a sport that they won’t learn at school and that is hard to teach as a parent.
What about emotional intelligence?
That is another skillset which can and should be developed through sport. Emotional intelligence is about the ability to be aware of and manage your emotions and the emotions of others. Be able to read other people, know when and what to say and how to show somebody that you care about them. The best leaders and coaches all have very high emotional intelligence.
How do you think you can develop emotional intelligence?
It is a skillset and like any skillset, can be improved with purposeful practice and repetition. Repetitions is the oldest and most effective method of leaning in existence.
I think one of the biggest things that I learned through sports was losing and dealing with those emotions of loss. And getting back up, looking at what I did right or wrong and then going back out there.
Some of that is grit and resilience. But also have some self-compassion for yourself when you do lose, or make a mistake or don’t perform well. Being able to forgive yourself so you can move on but also learning a lesson from it so that you become better moving forward. No matter what happens in life, it is important to find a way to take from it and use it to inch forward. Rather than it being something that makes you regress and move backward. We hold that power. We can’t control what happens but we can control how we move forward. You choose that. If you want to be a high performer you will consistently choose something which serves you and helps you move forward. Alan recognizes that it isn’t always easy to do, but that is what you have to do if you want to be the best you are capable of.
Managing the emotional part really makes the difference for someone who is going to be a high performer. If you let your emotions get the best of you, they will get the best of you.
If you’re sitting in traffic, which nobody enjoys, what are your options? To let your blood pressure rise, get frustrated and honk your horn? Putting yourself in a negative mood just because there are more cars on the road doesn’t help you move forward or serve you in any way. Why do we consistently make choices that don’t serve us? You have a choice for how you respond to that. Maybe you make some phone calls or listen to a podcast.
This line really struck me from your book - ‘Control the controllables.’ You have a choice to be able to have control over the things you can control. You can’t control the traffic but you can control the thought pathways that you choose to go down and how you choose to respond.
The number of things we have complete control over is actually pretty small. However, there is a significant power in the things we do have control over. These are primarily your effort and your attitude. These are incredibly influential and impactful. Many times it is not easy to make that choice. A lot of stuff happens in life which is challenging to deal with. But we always have that choice.
One quote that gives Alan comfort is - ‘This too shall pass.’ Our moods are important too. When we are in a bad mood we are going to react to things more than if we are in a good mood.
I was talking to a client who hadn’t slept well because she was traveling. And I said to her ‘be gentle with yourself.’ I know that if you haven’t slept the quality of your thoughts are going to be poor. Sometimes you have to ride that wave and be gentle with yourself until that negativity passes.
It takes high self-awareness to be able to recognize that. Many times people identify with their thoughts but really we are separate from our thoughts. We can often see in a friend when they are in a bad mood and give them space. It’s harder to do that with ourselves.
You say something in your books something which I love - ‘self-awareness is one of the highest predictors of performance and the least utilized criteria.’ It is not being taught, it is something we have to seek out on our own, which is something high performers tend to do.
People who are not self-aware, don't know that they are not self-aware. Self-awareness can be looked at different levels. At a surface level, it’s just about knowing who you are, what you stand for and what your goals are. It is also having the courage to look at the darker stuff -what are you scared of, what are your insecurities, what are the things that give you the most shame and guilt. This can be uncomfortable but is crucial to get the full overview of who you are as a human being.
It is important that the way you see yourself is in alignment with the way the rest of the world sees you. This is not about pandering to other people but that you see yourself accurately. An example would be if someone asked you if you were a good listener and you said yes but then they asked 5 friends and they all said no. That would be a lack of self-awareness.
The last level is being able to look at your emotions and understand why you’re feeling that way. When you get frustrated in traffic because someone cut you off, there’s a deeper reason as to why you’re frustrated.
I love how you talk about the unseen hours. With social media, we see so much outward success but we don’t see the unseen hours. What have you seen or observed or practiced yourself in the unseen hours?
Most of what we do is in the unseen hours. When you’re working on your self-awareness, that’s unseen hours. When an athlete is in a gym practicing a move over and over again, that’s unseen hours. The relationship you have with your significant other is heavily predicated on the inside work you do to be the best version of yourself during the unseen hours. Most hours are unseen but they are the ones that dictate how well we do when we are seen.
Sometimes we try to cut corners as we live in a fast-paced world and want everything now. I think it’s actually slowing us down in terms of our performance.
Mastery takes time and it takes a lot of reps. Social media can be great but it encourages us to play the comparison game. We have plenty of opportunities in the unseen hours to get better at anything we put our mind to. We have to be willing to put in the work. If you can find alignment between what you love and what you’re good at then it doesn't always seem like work.
If you don’t have that passion it can be really difficult to put in the work. You are likely to just quit.
Absolutely. That is why you have to find that alignment. Find what you love, find what you’re good at and then find the place where those two things overlap.
I’m curious about your journey. You were in youth sports and coaching for 20 years but you recently made a pivot.
Alan’s passion in the youth sports arena was starting to wane so he decided to make a change. In teaching and coaching, you have to be all in. He decided to make a pivot into the corporate space as a speaker and author. He now has a passion back for what he is doing. The things that you love and what you’re good at will change over time.
Some people might be feeling like they need a change but don’t know what the new thing is. What was your process for going through that? Was it an ‘a ha’ moment or were there lots of little moments which added up to the new direction?
For Alan, it was both. A few years ago he was in Germany speaking at a basketball conference and he realized that it wasn’t exciting him as much as it should. Then a friend asked him to give a keynote at a corporate retreat after somebody had dropped out at the last minute. He was asked to give a speech on leadership and when he stepped offstage he felt alive and invigorated. He knew it was what he wanted to start pursuing. If you don’t know what you want to do, it is worth considering what you would do if you could take a month off from work. What would you do with your time? Whatever it is you would be doing is probably close to what you should be doing.
So I’m curious about the difference between the talk in Germany and the talk at the corporate retreat. Was it the audience? Was it the content?
It was both. He realized that a good portion of his time in the basketball space was filled with 15-18-year-old teenage boys. They are very narrow in what they like to talk about. It’s mostly basketball and girls. In the corporate space, Andy is around peers who are teaching him as much as he is teaching them. This has invigorated him. The content that people want from him has also changed. As a coach, people wanted to know how to run faster and jump higher, but Andy has always been interested in leadership, teamwork and building a winning culture.
So, how do you jump higher?
One. Strengthen the major muscles in your body. It’s not just the legs that are needed for jumping. You need core strength and even the upper body is involved by providing momentum. If you can produce more force against the ground, it will propel you higher.
Two. Practice jumping. Practice the skill. And practice it in the way you want to use it
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Find what you love. Find what you’re good at and find where those two things intersect.
From a coaching standpoint: Every coach should look in the mirror every morning and say ‘it’s not about me, it’s about them’.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you
Christine Egan is a health and wellness expert. Catherine Egan is a breast cancer survivor. Despite her background in health and wellness, breast cancer woke her up to figuring out what being healthy actually means for her. Now she brings this idea to other women. In this episode, she talks about when working in the marketing division at McDonald's was her dream job, how cancer changed her mindset and running a marathon a year after her cancer diagnosis.
Do you feel like you’re a resilient person?
Christine has never really thought of herself that way. She wants to be thought of as someone who beats to her own drum. She wants her actions are aligned to who she is.
Does that come naturally to you, or do you have to work at it?
She works at it. 2 of her 3 children were born at home. Learning how to have a baby at home rather than in a hospital set her on a different path. She learned everything she could so that she could make an informed decision. When she had her first child she decided she wanted a home birth with a midwife. She started exploring what it meant to have a home birth and what she was and wasn’t willing to do.
Were you into health back then?
She used to work for the McDonald’s corporation in their marketing division. She loved that job and at the time it wasn’t out of alignment with who she was. It was a dream job and she loved it. She did it for 5 years. Then there came a point in her life where she needed a change. She moved from the Midwest back to Long Island and that was when she started to move into the health and wellness space. She became a licensed massage therapist, a certified homebirth instructor and a certified health coach. She now has over 25 years of being in the health and wellness field.
Did you eat McDonald’s when you worked there?
Of course, she did. Part of her job was to go through the drive-through and rate the quality of the service and the food. She wasn’t a big fast food eater but it wasn’t a disconnect for her.
How do you see it now, as a health professional?
It makes her sad now, knowing how inexpensive that food can be. For some people, that’s the only food they can afford and it is so easily available. It takes more of an effort to eat a healthy meal when fast food is so easily accessible. For her and her kids, it is just not part of her lives. It makes her sad to think of people drinking soda on a daily basis or having fast food as a regular part of their diet.
What does your personal diet look like now?
As a family, they eat mostly plants and fruits and use meat as a condiment. They don’t eat meat as a meal or as a major part of their meal. If they do eat meat she knows what farm it comes from. They don’t eat anything from a box.
I’m so blown away by this information I’m learning about you about McDonald's. And how big of a contrast it is. I think we can all have those experiences where early on we are doing something and then we completely outgrow it.
She did what she was supposed to be doing. She graduated and got a great job that took her to New York and then the Midwest and she was happy doing it. Until she wasn’t. This gave her an opportunity to change the direction she was in.
Was there a specific point that was a turning point for you?
No. It was just that opportunities allowed her to leave the midwest and move to Long Island and things came out of that. But there wasn’t a lightbulb moment for her.
How old were you when you got breast cancer?
How long were you on health journey prior to that?
And what was that moment like, when you found out you had cancer?
She had a private health coaching business at that point, helping women in her community get healthier for themselves so they could get healthier for their families. She had information about cancer with her in case the women she was working with needed it, but she didn’t ever expect to be the one who needed it. He dog Zoe was what alerted her to the lump in her breast. She was lying down and her dog clawed at her breast. Alarms went off in her head that said pay attention to what she is doing. She found a lump. She didn’t immediately think it was cancer. She got a mammogram and it was clear. She had pushed to get both a mammogram and a sonogram. The sonogram showed the lump and it became clear she had cancer. She interviewed 9 surgeons to decide which she wanted to go with. She decided to go with surgery to take the lump out.
Stress levels. When she was undergoing treatment it she needed to rest to let her body do what it needed to do to get well. This meant saying yes to the things that were really important and no to the things that weren’t. It became really clear to her what was important. Spending time with her family was the most important thing. Which meant watching movies together or making meals together. And not rushing out to karate lessons or dance lessons. Being together as a family, resting and doing simple things together became the priority.
Do you feel you made any decisions about how you would live differently?
She doesn’t stress as much about her kids. Homeschooling her 3 kids was stressful. Were they doing the right thing? Were their kids socializing enough? Christine realized that there comes a moment where you just have to accept the decision that you made and be okay with what happens. And if things change you will figure out what should be done differently. She had this attitude to cancer too.
So you ran a half marathon after 33 radiation treatments. And a full marathon to celebrate your remission. Incredible.
She ran half marathons prior to being diagnosed and kept running during treatment after reading about the importance of exercise during treatment. She wasn’t trying to break PR’s but if she felt good enough, she went for a run.
She had a sign in her house that said: “What would you do if you could not fail?” Her answer to that was always run a marathon. After going through cancer treatment she decided to do a marathon and one year after she was diagnosed she ran the Disney Marathon.
Do you see certain patterns in mental and emotional strength to get through difficult times?
Cancer showed her the urgency to do the things you want to do and stop putting them off. Because there is never going to be a perfect time.
It’s easy to put things off. It’s easy to get caught up in life without pausing to say ‘What is it that I want’ and giving ourselves permission to do what we want right now.
That was the wakeup call of cancer for Christine. She now teaches workshops with people who have finished cancer treatments and she tells them that they can recreate a life for themselves and how do they want that to look. For many people that is so scary. It’s really hard for women to figure out what will bring them joy. Some women will figure out what will make them happy do it for a few weeks and then stop. They will come up with reasons and excuses – my family needed me, I needed to put in more time at work. The whole idea of figuring out the things that bring you joy is that you do those first so that you are a better wife, mother, friend or worker. Those things have to be done first so that you can then do those other things. Sometimes people don’t see the benefits right away and think it’s not working. But it’s like a bank account. We have to give it time to build up and then you get the benefits. When you stop doing those things, you can get a little bit crabbier, you are short with your kids or husband. You start feeling the differences when you let those things go.
I see that with my meditation and yoga practice. I’m much more patient as a mother and a wife. I’m more tuned into my work. People will start doing something that brings them joy, they start to feel good and then they stop. And we need to understand that it’s a cumulative effect
It starts with baby steps. What bite-sized pieces are you willing to do today. When she works with women she gets them to come up with a buffet line of things they know they want to do in the day that makes them feel healthy. If these are the things that make you healthy, what are you willing to do - to do those things? It’s a buffet line because you can pull different things on different days.
My spiritual practice doesn’t look the same every day. Sometimes I need different things. Today I did an at home yoga practice, I don’t always do that.
What made you sign up for this extraordinary event the Everest 29029?
It’s a crazy event that Jesse Itzler puts on where he rents out Stratton Mountain in Vermont. You climb Stratton Mountain 17 times to equal the height of Everest, but you only have 36 hours to do it. She wasn’t expecting it to be as difficult or the terrain so steep. It was gruelingly steep. It was snowing and raining. She was shin deep in mud. She had trained hard with her husband and was using the event to It was a way of celebrating her 50th Birthday and bring cancer free for 8 years.
What was the inner game like for you?
They had trained for it and had a gameplan for how the event would go. They knew how long they had for each ascent and still be able to sleep. The event started at 6 am. Once they had done the 3rd summit and came back down, Christine broke down and cried. She had expected to feel tired by the 10th summit and not the 3rd. She had to make a decision about what it was going to take to get up the mountain. She decided she was going to stop at every aid station and talk to the volunteers. She was going to tell everyone it was her 50th birthday. She was going to make it fun. She decided that for the really steep section she was going to put her headphones in and listen to podcasts. They hiked for 19 hours straight. They wanted 10 summits by midnight and they reached 9 which felt close enough to their goal. In the end, they managed 11 summits which are the height of Kilimanjaro.
What is the lesson that you learned?
That it’s not all or nothing. Even though she hadn’t reached her goal she still achieved. It was something really cool thing that she wanted to do. She now intends to do the event again.
Did you feel high afterward?
She was happy with what she did. She hiked for 18 hours straight and was really proud of that.
Why redefining healthy? Where did that come from?
Redefining healthy was all about helping women post-cancer. She is teaching people how to tap into what is it that makes you feel healthy. Christine was able to feel healthy even though she had cancer. She needed to redefine what healthy meant.
Do you feel like that’s your purpose?
She feels like working with women post-cancer is an important part of her life’s mission.
Do you find that people can go on the way or the other? That after cancer they can either be more confined or more willing?
People run the gamut. She doesn’t take it personally and just shares her knowledge and research. Some women are ready to do the hard work and some aren’t and that’s okay.
What’s an action step or piece of advice you might have for how to take charge of your health?
Drink more water. It’s as simple as that. And eat more fruits and vegetables and less processed foods. There’s no one specific diet that helps cancer. We don’t need to complicate it. We just need to eat more fruit and veg. Do more of the things which light you up and less of the things that don’t.
The stories we tell ourselves are important and we can choose what those stories are. Christine experienced this with both cancer and Everest 29019. She could have told herself negative stories about what was happening, but she chose not to.
Were you always like that or did cancer change your attitude?
It was cancer. Or more specifically it was the blood clot after she survived cancer which she thought was going to kill her.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Do your best and forget the rest
Tell us how we can get in touch with you
Her Website: www.redefining-healthy.com
The Healthy Girl's Guide to Breast Cancer by Christine Egan
Living with the Monks: What Turning Off My Phone Taught Me about Happiness, Gratitude, and Focus by Jesse Itzler
Living with a SEAL: 31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet by Jesse Itzler
Elicia created the Core Emotional Healing® process as the culmination of 10 years of intensive training, personal healing, and empathic intuitive gifts. Based on her personal and professional experience, she developed a guided step-by-step process to address the emotional root cause of symptoms and suffering.
Elicia provides insightful, direct, compassionate guidance to inspire and support others to be responsible for how they feel, ask for what they want, and to set healthy boundaries. She helps others feel safe and supported so they are empowered to freely express their true selves.
She is the author of the ebook Detox 101 and coauthor of the books, One Crazy Broccoli and What’s Left to Eat. Her new book, Your Symptoms Are A Gift, to be released in 2019, is an inspirational guide to help readers realize the emotional connection to their symptoms. The book details the Core Emotional Healing® process to help anyone heal from physical, emotional, and relationship challenges.
Along with her husband, Psychologist Doug Miller, PhD, Elicia offers Core Emotional Experiential Therapy Private Healing Immersion for individuals and couples in Costa Rica.
Tell us about the work that you do and how you started on that journey.
Elicia grew up with a rageaholic father who controlled all of the emotions in the household. Elicia knew what was happening was wrong but when she would try to stand up to him, she would be shamed by her mother for doing so. Elicia coped by numbing herself through drinking, drugs, and sex. She had a lifetime of repression and shaming of her emotions.
When she was 38 she had been healing herself for 8 years using every healing modality she could find. She realized that the pain she had been feeling was connected to her childhood. She knew she needed to take care of her emotional needs from the past and the present. And then everything went away. Her addictions, eating disorders and relationship patterns. She found a deeper connection to herself to take care of herself on an emotional level.
There were several years where you were struggling with addiction. It sounds like there was a point where you shifted from drugs and drinking to detoxing and spirituality. When did that shift happen?
Elicia left an abusive marriage after 3 months when she was 30. That was when she decided to stop living an unconscious life. She asked herself - ‘what made her choose him?’ An experiential therapy course helped wake her up. She realized she could take care of herself and make decisions for herself. She didn’t need somebody else to do that. She started taking lots of courses and connected with helping people in that way. She left her corporate sales job and became a journaling coordinator. She started creating after telling herself she wasn’t creative all her life. She started to feel real happiness. From this deeper connection within herself, she stopped partying and going out. It didn’t stay that way though, things came up which threw her back into her old coping ways.
You mentioned that you had all these symptoms in your life but were then able to get to the root cause. How do people access the root cause in their lives?
It’s not just healing and going back and feeling these repressed emotions. It also working from your experience. What did you believe about yourself? What did you do to protect these wounds and feel love? We live from this false sense of self that formed from the core wounds. Addressing the core wounds can help shift everything but we need to be aware of what we really need and what we do to get our needs met. But some of the ways we get these needs met are preventing us from living life fully.
Let’s use the example of your story. You had a dominant, controlling father and knew this from a young age. Often we can see that somebody mistreated us but what is the actual wound?
There are many wounds. We struggle with the emotional disconnection from our vulnerable self. We don’t process our feelings and take care of them. The disconnect is what causes the problem. We have to reconnect to the vulnerable part of ourselves. Elicia calls this our wounded inner child.
If somebody is listening to this and wondering about their wounded child is, what’s a question they could start with?
The wounded inner child is a part of ourselves that we all carry. It is the wounds we are trying to compensate for. It is the part of ourselves that doesn’t feel good enough or needs to be right or always feels sad. It gets triggered. Or wants to find a way to feel better instead of feeling what it is feeling. The wounded inner child is the part of you that needs you to go into these feelings and take care of them. It is underneath all of the adaptations we form to cope with the world. Things like people pleasing or perfectionism.
Is there a specific question that can help access the hurt or the wound?
Triggers can be a way into the wounded inner child. How do I feel? When did I first feel that way? A trigger is when you feel disproportionately angry or sad or you withdraw from what just happened. Ask yourself - ‘When did I feel that way as a child?’
What’s your relationship with your dad like now?
Elicia has managed to heal her relationship with her father. It took until she was 38 and she had to stop talking to him completely. After her father divorced her mother he went to therapy and did a lot of healing himself. He has become a more loving and supportive person. Elicia has also worked out what she needs and where she can get it from, so she is no longer looking to her father to give her that.
Can you tell me a bit more about experiential therapy?
Experiential therapy is more of an active process than talk therapy. It uses other people to act out roles and situations. Someone might act as a parent and this helps draw the true feelings out of you. It can help bypass our defenses. Elicia and her husband developed a process called Core Emotional Experiential Therapy which uses over 100 objects to work someone through this process. They use the objects to lay out relationships which can bypass defenses and bring out the subconscious.
Sometimes we can get caught up on this never-ending ‘fix-it’ mentality. Do you think this could be another part of the wounded child?
There are a few things that could be going on. Never feeling good enough comes from toxic shame and can drive people to continuously want to improve themselves. Reading self-help books can be a way of bypassing what is really needed which is emotional healing. Books can support the process, but focusing on them can be about bypassing the emotions.
There are a lot of layers to this.
The process is about reconnecting to your emotions and wounds, and then learning how to take care of yourself. Then when you do that you can handle more things. Then more things come up but you know how to work with them on an ongoing basis.
What does it really mean to be self-aware?
You are the observer of yourself. You notice when you are in a pattern. You notice when you don’t feel good. You notice that something keeps happening. To be self-aware is to continue to seek help when you are in some kind of pattern or are triggered by something. The more we heal our emotional wounds the more we integrate our true self. From that place, we are really able to be our true selves.
It’s funny how we think we can know ourselves. We think ‘I am not a creative person’ and then realize that we are that way. It’s a huge shift in identity.
Elicia used to say that she wasn’t a writer. This comes from wounding. Now she writes all the time. But as a child what she had to say was dismissed, especially by her mother. Her true and authentic voice got blocked. And the protection of that was to say - ‘I’m not a good writer.’ Once she healed herself she was able to write and connect to her creative authentic voice.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Just keep writing.
Do you feel that because you have done so much work, the depth of beauty, joy, and peace has expanded?
Absolutely. When she had really connected and healed with her inner child, Elicia started singing and making up songs. That is a part of her natural expression which came out as a joyful playfulness.
Tell me how we can get in touch with you.
Healing The Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families by Charles L. Whitfield M.D.
The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You by Karla McLaren
There is a story about a little boy who was playing outdoors and he found a caterpillar. Then he saw the caterpillar climb up the tree and act strangely and his mother explained that the butterfly was forming a cocoon.
The little boy watched it every day waiting for the butterfly to emerge. And one day it happened a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the Butterfly started to struggle to come out.
At first, the boy was really excited but then he became concerned because the butterfly was struggling so hard to get out and it looked like he couldn't break free. It looked desperate. So the boy was concerned and he wanted to help. So he ran to get scissors and he snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the Butterfly quickly emerged.
But when the butterfly came out the boy was surprised the body was small and the wings were shriveled. And he continued to watch the butterfly expecting that at any moment the wings would dry out enlarge and expand to support the swollen body.
But that didn't happen.
The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings. It was never able to fly.
And the boy tried to figure out what had gone wrong.
He went to a local college to see a scientist and he learned that the butterfly was supposed to struggle. In fact, the butterfly struggled to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings without the struggle. The butterfly would never ever fly.
So as you go through life keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth because it allows you to develop your wings.
In 2009 Tara Newman and her husband declared bankruptcy. The business Tara’s husband had started had failed. In this episode, Tara tells her powerful story.
Tara now has a business of her own. She is a high-performance leadership coach. After years in the corporate world supporting leaders and high performers, she created a thriving business, coaching high-achieving clients. In this episode, she talks about getting through the bankruptcy, starting her own business and how a high achiever becomes a high performer.
I know that you had many experiences, including overcoming bankruptcy and starting your own business. How did that all come about? How did you fall down and pick yourself up?
In 2005, Tara’s husband decided to start a manufacturing business. It came with significant start-up costs to purchase machinery, materials and build out a manufacturing space.
What kind of business?
Her husband manufactured rotationally molded plastic parts which include things like mannequins and rock climbing holds. Initially, he had success but then the 2008 financial crisis happened and people started sending this kind of work to China. They lost two of their biggest customers. Then in 2009, the bank called in their line of credit. They were given 30 days to repay $100000. Tara’s dad was the 3rd partner in the business and he had put up his commercial property as collateral. They were also getting foreclosure notices on their house.
How were you feeling?
Terrified. Shut down. Catatonic. But she was also grateful for what they were going through because she knew it was going to be the greatest lesson of their life if they survived.
Was there an ‘if you survived’?
Tara felt stuck but she didn’t feel hopeless. She knew there was something on the other side of this.
Tell me about the lowest moment.
It was all low. And then there were moments of hope. The book The Secret had just come out and Tara’s mum told her to read it. She read it and it was the right book for her to read at the time. It helped her frame things more positively. It helped her seek solutions from a positive perspective. She started journaling and they had garage sales every weekend to help pay for groceries.
Getting the foreclosure notices was a moment. She didn’t know how to process everything. She had never felt anything so catastrophic in her life.
What was the turning point?
The turning point when the bank called in the note. They were only keeping that business open to meet that financial obligation to the bank. They had the thought that once they had paid back the credit to the bank they could quit the business. After the note was called in Tara’s Dad liquidated some assets to pay it. When Tara and her husband realized that they couldn’t close the business, pay back her Dad and pay the credit card debt they had, they decided to declare bankruptcy.
Tara is a fighter and she decided that this wasn’t going to define her. Even though when they declared bankruptcy, it felt like a death sentence. Tara had been wanted to start her own business and it no longer felt like that could happen.
When did you declare bankruptcy?
In 2010 they declared bankruptcy. So they are in year 9 of an 11-year term.
In 2010 you declared bankruptcy. For the next year, what did that look like?
There is not a lot of information available on how to overcome bankruptcy. Tara’s husband closed the business and was able to liquidate some of the machines and leftover material. He wasn’t in the right state to get a job. So he used some of that money to buy a trailer and do handyman services for a year while he wrapped up the business and figured out what to do next. He felt like a colossal failure and needed a lot of coaching and support to be able to out there and get a job. With Tara’s support, he was able to find a well-paying job.
Over this time they learned so much about money - how to save and leverage their money. They became minimalists and learned that they didn’t need much. Each time they had a garage sale they had to dig a little deeper to find more stuff that they could get rid of
What were you thinking? What was a thought that was going through your mind?
When you go through something so traumatic, the ability to think and feel shuts down. The way you take in information changes. Tara could be in in the line with a cart full of groceries and two babies as her card is being declined.
What’s going through your mind though? Is it ‘I don’t want to be doing this anymore’?
When Tara’s husband was doing the home improvement work, things weren’t much better. And she told him she was done. He needed to go and get a job because she wasn’t losing the house.
And how did you come back?
For the most part, when they were going through this they were terrible communicators. They didn’t want to voice the reality of the situation and talk about being afraid. Once they started talking about it, the stress started to decrease. Having kids helped because they wanted to give them some sense of normalcy. Tara journaled a lot as a way of communicating with herself
What was your first step to working again?
Tara had been working full time throughout this time, even while helping her husband on the business.
What was one of the biggest lessons you learned?
You can live on a lot less than you think you need. They didn’t realize how little they needed to live on and to thrive.
After declaring bankruptcy, her husbands way back to himself was ironman triathlons. He would train 20 hours a week and threw himself into redefining himself and his success. In 2014 he raced Ironman Lake Placid and stood in the finishing circle. Tara looked at him and felt like she was in the shadow of his success. That’s when she decided she was going to start a business. In August 2015 she left her corporate job. She had started her business and it was doing ok. There was enough to indicate that she’d be able to support herself and bring in money.
Were you scared?
She wasn’t scared because she’d spent 9 months building her business while working full-time. She knew that she had started to build something and that the worst that could happen was that she would have to go back to work. She wanted to put away some money because the first year of business was going to have a lot of ups and downs. Her husband declared they were going to go on austerity and spend nothing. Tara knew she couldn’t go back there and that wasn’t going to work for her. She decided they were going to work on what they needed to thrive. She wrote a whole page of things in her journal. And was shocked to realize that none of them cost money.
What was in there?
To have a cozy blanket to sit on the couch with
Intimate time with her husband
Time spent with her kids
Hugging her kids and telling them how important they are to her
Time to read
That list became the basis on how they spent their time, their money and their energy. It allowed them to save a tonne of money. If something wasn’t on their thrive list they didn’t spend money on it and if it was, they did.
I love this idea of what do I need to thrive.
There some things on the list that were silly. Tara knew she wanted a manicure once a week. That made her feel good about herself. It became a touchpoint for herself. She would look at her nails and think where is your mind at if you can’t spend $20 and 45 minutes to get your nails done.
So what happened? Did you start to feel like you were thriving?
Tara really did. She’s been wanting to leave her job for 10 years but the moment when you get the thing you dreamed about, it can be tricky. She had a few moments. She had the thing that she wanted and now she couldn’t lose the thing. In her worst moments, she knew that she just needed to go back to that list of things and she would be alright.
Tara reflects on the failure of her husbands business and realizes that it was not the fault of the economy. They were in survival mode and couldn’t bring themselves to take the actions they should have taken. They could have hired coaches, employed more people or invested in sales training.
Do you think to have a catastrophic failure gave you confidence and showed you how resilient you are?
Absolutely. The worst thing that can happen to her business is that she goes bankrupt. And she’s been there.
Don’t you think that the fear of the worst that can happen stops a lot of people?
But you’ve seen it so nothing can stop you because you got through that.
Sometimes we can’t formulate beliefs because we don’t have proof. Tara has found it useful to borrow someone else’s proof. That’s why she shares her bankruptcy story. So that other people can borrow it.
You work with a lot of high performers and achievers. Do you think they take it harder?
When you are a high performer or achiever you face more fear than the average person because you are leaning into your growth edge. You are taking on challenges that most people won’t.
I told one of my clients that she was a high performer because she was being really hard on herself and she was achieving. It was the first time that she had heard that identification for herself. Often high performers look at where they’re lacking because they want to achieve even more.
When Tara worked for a corporate company she was running the performance management function. She created the way they measured performance and helped people evaluate and improve their performance. Every employer who was labeled as high potential would rate themselves harder than anyone else. People who were low potential had an inflated sense of their own performance.
How do you inspire bold leadership for high performers?
Most high performers who think of themselves as high performers are high achievers.
Can you share the difference between a high performer and a high achiever?
Tara thinks that being a high performer or a high achiever are both great things to be. But if you can turn a high achiever into a high performer it makes them even better. High achievers are really hard on themselves, try to control the outcome, set really big goals for themselves and don’t chunk things together. They achieve a lot of amazing stuff but struggle to find their wins and burn the candle at both ends in their pursuit of achievement. High performers know that you can’t burn the candle at both ends and that there is an equation to growth. Stress + Rest = Growth. They are as serious about their recovery as they are about their work.
Sometimes I dance between a high achiever and a high performer. When I’m a high performer, I perform better. When I’m in high achiever mode, I’m typically stressed and unhappy and I know I need to shift. So you can oscillate between the two?
Having an awareness of where you are on the spectrum can help you achieve with greater ease. High performers close the majority of their tabs. They know how to focus and have an appreciation for deep work. High achievers spin out quickly and get distracted. It doesn’t mean they aren’t achieving things. But do all those little achievements add up to the thing you want the most? High performers are incredibly discerning. They will slow down before they speed up. Society wants you to be a high achiever. That’s how we’ve been conditioned. It takes a lot to go against that conditioning and do the deep work on yourself to be a high performer. You have to be really bold, have strong beliefs, strong boundaries and have some unwavering and unapologetic ways about you. And you’re going to piss people off. Not everybody is going to like you or agree with you and that requires you to be bold.
How do you think people can shift into a high-performance mindset? What’s a really practical way people can get into the mindset of a high performer?
Tara likes looking at results. Everything is a result but it may not be the result you want. Was the result you got worth that time and effort? It’s important to be really intentional around your actions.
I have recently shifted from achiever to performer. I put a hard stop to social media. Deleted Facebook, stopped scrolling and now there are no more comparisons. I felt like I was losing time and the result was I was beating myself up about what I wasn’t doing compared to other people. If you’d have told me this in achiever mode I’d have known I should quit social media but said I’m not going to do that right now.
Another thing you should be monitoring are your ‘yeah, buts’. Because it’s a sure sign of resistance.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
“The secret is I care but not that much.”
Tell us how we can get in touch with you
Bold Leadership Podcast: https://www.taranewmancoaching.com/podcast
The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
Rachel Wright is a marriage counselor and licensed psychotherapist. She is recognized as one of the freshest voices on modern and millennial relationships. Referred to as “bridging the gap between a self-help book and a therapist’s couch, she is one half of Wright Wellness Center, where together with her husband Kyle, they are helping people have better sex, relationships, and mental health. They’ve created a healthy, communicative, and passionate relationship by using the very same techniques they teach — Everything we have developed is research-based. She has been featured widely in the media including Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, PsychologyToday, and dozens of other outlets.
How did you and Kyle meet?
They were both working in restaurants. Rachel had just completed her master's degree and needed a part-time job. She started working at a brand new restaurant as a server and Kyle was part of the training team. Immediately they hated each other. They would frequently argue and she thought he was an arsehole. After the training Ryan would stay in touch by contacting her on Jewish holidays. A year later Rachel joined Kyle and the training team to open the companies 4th restaurant. And they could now stop talking. They connected deeply and realized they had both found their person.
Can you give me a little snapshot of the timeline?
Met and hated each other. A year later reconnected and kissed. 3 weeks later Ryan told her that he loved her. 6 months later they moved in with each other. They were engaged after 2 years and married after 16 months. They have now been married for 2.5 years.
How’s it going?
Phenomenally. People think just have a great relationship that they don’t work on. But after both of them saw their parent’s go for divorce they knew they had to put in the work if they wanted a relationship to last a long time
I had love at first sight with my husband.
What was that like?
We were on a blind date set up by one of his friends. We met at a wine bar and when he walked in there was an energy about him. He was so sweet and I just got that immediately. I hadn’t felt like that before, it was so easy. For me, I felt like I could really be with this person. I kinda just knew. I know that sounds weird but that was my experience.
We all have these judgments around things in our lives, especially when our friends experience things very differently. It strikes us as weird.
And it’s natural to have some uncertainty, right?
A lot of times the uncertainty is about us more so than the other person. For Rachel, she had a lot of uncertainty when she first met Ryan. But what she didn’t consider was the ability for people to change. When she saw him a year later he was not the same person.
So how did you go from training in a restaurant together to having your own relationship company together?
After she completed her Masters, she continued her psychotherapy training by getting her 3000 hours for her license and started her own practice. She had been working towards this for so long and it was amazing. For about 3 months. Her focus was on couples and sex therapy. People would come in with the same issues. Body image, anxiety, their upbringing around sex and communication issues. Couples would come in calling each other names and were not able to decide what they wanted for dinner without arguing. Kyle was still working in restaurants and had worked his way up to a fancy restaurant in San Fransico as the Head Bartender. Rachel found she wasn’t actually doing any therapy and healing people. She was teaching them how to communicate with each other. Although she enjoyed doing that work, it wasn’t what she went to school for. Kyle thought she should create an informational package about how to talk to your partner. As she worked on it Rachel realized that Kyle had an ability to take her technical knowledge and put it into layman's terms.
She sent the packet out to prospective clients and then realized that her clients stopped coming in. They no longer needed to come in for therapy. The law in California was so strict that she wasn’t able to sell the packet. They decided to create something online to provide this information to people. They realized there is nothing between self-help books and going to therapy. Rachel knew that Ryan was an important part of this idea because he could take the complicated things Rachel explained in a way people understood. Rachel wanted to go into business with Ryan but he was reluctant because he had these narratives about how he was in restaurants and hadn’t been good at school. In 2015, they started their business. They weren’t even married yet.
I love how organic it was.
They had the business idea long before they thought about starting a business. Rachel didn’t even see her private practice as a business.
When did you shift into that business mentality? I know that can be difficult for some service practitioners.
She will approach things as a clinician and not as an entrepreneur. She will look at the decision from the point of view as both a clinician and as a business person. She thinks there should be more business training in therapist training.
Does Kyle have a degree or certification?
Rachel jokes that he has an honorary degree because he now has enough knowledge to pass the licensing exam. Fiends and family wonder what Kyle does in the business because he doesn’t have that piece of paper.
We all learn differently and it’s important to respect that.
When Kyle is passionate about something he learns it quickly. But at school, he didn’t want to study things that didn’t mean anything to him. When they started the business, Kyle definitely felt some imposter syndrome.
When did you start therapy? What was the reason?
Rachel started therapy when she was 14 after her mum read her diary. She thought Rachel was hiding things and after reading the diary discovered that Rachel had smoke marijuana and slept with her boyfriend. Rachel was sent to therapy. She was pissed. However, after her first session in therapy, she knew she wanted to be a therapist.
What about it had you feeling that way?
She had never felt more seen, heard and understood. Her therapist matched her cursing and agreed that the way she ended up at therapy was not right. She helped Rachel understand her parent’s motivation and that they cared.
So what happened?
She left and told her parents that she had done nothing wrong but would keep going because she really liked it. She saw her therapist throughout high school and on and off during college. And now they are colleagues.
How long were you in therapy for?
Weekly, for about 3 years.
What was the biggest thing you got out of that experience?
She learned that she was a people pleaser and that if she ever wanted to have a healthy relationship with both herself and a partner, she was going to have to navigate anger and conflict.
It such a big part of the human experience. We’re going to experience conflict if we’re going to express ourselves. How to manage that skilfully is so important and we are often not taught how to do that. We reap so many rewards when we work through conflict.
One of the biggest misconceptions around conflict is that it’s bad. In relationships, whether it’s friends family or lovers, conflict is what helps us grow and get closer. If we don’t have conflict, that means that we don’t care because we’re not speaking our truth. We don’t get taught how to communicate and handle conflict but we also don’t get taught how to identify our feelings.
How would you recommend someone who is experiencing conflict, in any relationship, be it intimate, at work, with family members, navigate the situation?
Conflict is often due to different beliefs, values, opinions, and priorities. We need to listen to understand instead of listening to respond. In our culture, we are trained to listen to respond because if we don’t respond immediately we can be mocked for it.
We’re not taught how to listen.
Listening is half of communication. Relationship researchers John and Julie Gottman have this term ‘share meaning’. Which means do you share the meaning your partner assigns to things. Do you share the same meaning about what a home means, what money means, what communication means? We have to get on the same page about what things mean in our lives.
I heard John Walker speak at his Launch Con, a few years ago. And he said - “All problems boil down to a problem in communication.” What do you think?
She agrees that most problems come down to communication and that we’re all afraid to ask for what we need. When Rachel was a teenager, her people-pleasing came from a fear of asking for what she needed because she didn’t want to be judged and she didn’t want to cause anybody discomfort. We have to ask for what we need because nobody is a mindreader.
What is a practical strategy that you use for communication?
Rachel and Kyle have scripts that they give out for different situations. You pick out a feeling and put it into a script. The scripts all follow the same process which is based on the acronym AEO which stands for Acknowledge, Explain, Offer.
Acknowledge means just acknowledging what’s going on and bringing words to the elephant in the room.
Explain is an I statement. We have to explain how we’re feeling and why. “I get angry when you don’t wash the dishes after you eat.”
Offer is what is your proposed solution to this. “Hey, I know that last time we talked about this it kinda got out of hand. I don’t want that to happen this time. I feel angry when you don’t wash your dishes after you eat lunch. What I would like for you to do is either wash them or just soak them and leave them in the sink. How does that feel to you?”
We’re often not taught these ways of communicating. It really takes mindful attention and practice. Sometimes we might be sloppy and come out with an accusation because we haven’t practiced this.
It’s a muscle. This is where self-compassion comes in. We’re going to make mistakes and you can’t shame yourself for things you don’t know. It’s important to try this when you’re not in a reactive state. You can practice with things that are silly to get used to the flow of the formula.
What is the question that you ask yourself often?
How do I want to feel?
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Follow what makes you feel good.
If you can replace should with want, it’s a game changer.
Where can we get in touch with you:
The Gottman Institute
Amy E. Smith spent years finding her voice — Buried under other people’s thoughts and opinions and notions about who she should and shouldn’t be. She was motivated by two primary things: Guilt and Fear. Can you relate? Fear of not fitting in, of rocking the boat, of speaking her truth and losing relationships. And Guilt around following her intuition.. but not anymore - she learned how to stand up for herself! It’s time to stop caring so much about what everyone else thinks! Now she helps people radically shift people-pleasing behavior and find your voice. She is a confidence coach and self-love expert. She helps people access self-worth so they can live joyful lives. In this episode, we talk about the many facets of people pleasing, how she worked on her relationship with her mother — and went from feeling angry to communicating her needs with kindness.
In this episode, Amy Smith starts by discussing why people pleasing tends to be a female quality. Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, one basic human need is a sense of belonging. Back in the day, that meant belonging to a tribe. Nowadays, subconsciously our instincts are to make people like us. Most people love the people pleasing versions of us because that means they are getting their way. Then, Amy reveals details about her relationship with her parents and why her mother felt she had failed as a parent. She learned that her mom’s truth did not need to be her truth.
Making up catastrophized ideas about what something means is what happens when we experience an uncomfortable emotion. One of the biggest things that hold us back is what other people think. Amy says to allow yourself the understanding that you are allowed to be attached to these people, but you are not responsible for these people. It is irrational to think that you will not care what your partner thinks; however, it is not going to be the final say in our decision-making process.
Amy discusses emotional intelligence and the ability to understand our feelings. Most of the time when we feel uncomfortable, we collapse a story. Instead, we should pay attention to these feelings and dig underneath it. Amy has a seven-step process to follow when engaging in uncomfortable conversations. What you have to determine first is if the conversation is not up for negotiation or if the conversation is up for a collaborative effort. Amy reveals the rest of her conversation tips including how to soften your start-up, being quantifiable, and watching the tone.
Nicho Plowman who is the co-owner of Insight Timer the number one free meditation app. It's the most popular meditation app in the world has the largest network of meditators which is 7 million. There's 3000 teachers and 6000 groups. Nico is also the co-founder of Edmund and Amelia, a retreat company and he is a Vedic meditation teacher. He brings an intimate and inspired approach to working with individuals and small groups who are committed to creating lasting positive change and contributing to the greater good. He has over 20 years of experience in both the corporate and startup sectors.
How did you get started with meditation?
Fifteen years ago Nicho started exploring different things. He was in the midst of building a company and he wasn’t living a very healthy lifestyle. He found some peace by going on meditation retreats but when he returned to his busy life he found it difficult to continue with it. 7 years ago he learned Vedic meditation which is a 20min, twice daily, mantra-based meditation. After 12 months he decided to move out of the industry he was in to teach Vedic meditation.
How did you stumble upon Vedic meditation? There’s so many different types of meditation.
Nicho tried lots of different types of meditation. A friend suggested he try Vedic meditation, so he did. He found that it was the method that resonated with him the most.
A lot of people can resonate with dabbling with meditation but it sounds like you then took a deep dive. Was there a tipping point for you, where it was enough or was it because you were exposed to a type of meditation which really resonated with you?
Nicho wasn’t happy with his life and he feels that the meditation practice was long overdue. Vedic meditation came along at the right time for him. He finds the simplicity and practicality of the practice really attractive. It is doable to find 20mins to practice every day, even if you are busy.
You’re married, you had 2 daughters and you were running a business. To become a meditation teacher is a big change. Where does the money piece fit in?
Nicho sold the business he had been building which gave him a bit of breathing room to transition into teaching. He was able to build up some momentum in teaching quite quickly. He realized that some teachers had difficulty finding students. He realized that there was a place for a platform for meditation teachers and with his brother purchased an app called Insight Timer.
Sometimes we think that when we switch gears, we leave the experience we have had behind, but there can be overlap between our previous experience and who we are now.
When Nicho and his brother bought Insight Timer they had the skills and experience to move very quickly with improving the app and making into what they envisioned. He wanted an easier way for teachers to connect with students and be able to take the step to be a full-time teacher.
When they bought the app they were only 5-10 teacher on there, many of whom were well known. They believed that you didn’t need to have been teaching for a long time to have value in the mediation world. It gives anybody who has something to say, an opportunity to get out there. Then the audience can decide if they get value from it.
Have you ever worried about quality control? Or since there is instant audience feedback, do you not have to worry about that?
They are very mindful of quality. There are over 15000 guided meditations and more waiting to be published. They do quality control over audio quality but the content is rated by their audience.
How do you think you grew so quickly? Was it word of mouth?
They don’t advertise and so it has all been word of mouth. They now have over 7 million mediators. So far it has felt right that all their users have come through word of mouth.
I have a couple of different mediation apps on my phone and Insight Timer is my favorite one because it’s so easy to use.
Nicho does worry that the amount of content and features can complicate the app. They have worked hard to make sure that it is easy to use, despite the amount of features.
What’s your experience with being more deeply involved in meditation as a teacher? How has your experience with your own mind changed? Do you find the quality of your thoughts to be different?
Nicho has noticed how he responds to things change, such as food, friends, family, the content we consume. He notices that when he meditates he releases stress and fatigue. He finds he bounces back from stress easier. As we meditate more our bodies release stress and fatigue which help us deal with stress better.
In a stressful situation, we don’t have to react. We do have some control in that.
Stress is a physical response that can be a survival tool. But sometimes it feels like that fight or flight stress response is there the whole time. Which is an unpleasant place to be. Meditation can allow you to engage in the world in a way which is not overwhelming.
Meditation can be a really useful tool. I know it’s helped me tremendously.
There’s a lot of people experiencing deep pain and it feels like the noise is ramping up in the world. But there is also an increase in meditation apps, meditation spaces and yoga studios. Something to counterbalance all the noise.
There’s a lot of misconception about meditation, especially for beginners. A lot of people will say ‘I tried to meditate and I’m not good at it’ or ‘it’s really hard for me to sit still’. What’s your answer to those types of objections.
Often people may not have come across the tight practice for them. There’s a misconception that when people meditate their minds should be free of thoughts and if you can’t do that then you’re not a good meditator. Meditation is a practice that should be effortless and it may take exploring different styles of meditation to find that. There’s a danger that when people find a practice that works for them, they find after a while they feel better and so stop meditating. Then 6 months later they’ll back to where they were.
What’s your vision with Insight Timer?
They want to continue to provide people with these tools and resources. Nicho recognizes that Insight Timer is its own entity. But they want to have 100 million meditators because that will lead to a more conscious planet.
What’s a question that you continuously ask yourself?
Nicho hopes that in 20 or 30 years time he can see that his efforts went towards positive change.
Tell us how we can download the app and get in touch with you.
Insight Timer: https://insighttimer.com
Nicho Plowman: https://www.nichoplowman.com/
Edmund and Amelia
Andrea Lake has started 14 companies. Without a college degree. She started her first business at 17 called Rhythm Styx. When she was 23 she made her first $1 million dollars with a t-shirt company. Amongst all the success lies the failures. A series of unfortunate events led to her being $1.2 million in debt. Right when the economy crashed.
You have started 14 businesses. That’s incredible and you don’t have a college degree. How did you get started? Did you always know that you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
Andrea found the idea of working for someone else terrifying. She started the Rhythm Styx company when she was 17. When she was making the decision to go to college, she realized that she already knew how to make money. Her company had already made over $75000. She decided to focus on her business. A few years later she met someone making $1 million a year selling t-shirts, so she decided to start a clothing company. She started her first clothing line, Anti-establishment Clothing and made her first $1 million at 23.
So did that person become your mentor? Was there any competition?
That person did become Andreas mentor but t-shirts are what Andrea calls a bottomless market as everybody needs t-shirts, so there wasn’t any competition between them.
What did that mentor do to guide you from $75000 to $1 million? That’s a huge jump. What changed in you?
At the core, it was a change in style of the company from one which manufactured products. With t-shirts she could buy the t-shirts ready made and then just get them printed.
What do you think shifted in your mindset?
Andrea knew she wanted to be rich. That was her sole focus because it would mean she would be free to do whatever she wanted with her life. She didn’t know how she was going to achieve this.
Did you ever feel like you made a mistake by not going to college?
In her 30’s she realized that one of the reasons for going to college is having access to the alumni network. But if she was to do life again she still wouldn’t go to college. Unless you are going to college for a highly specialized education which is monetized afterward, college probably isn’t worth it.
Did your parents put pressure on you to go to college?
They did. Both of her parents had been the first person in their families to go to college. They both went back to college after Andrea was born to pursue masters degrees. There was an expectation that Andrea would go to college. But she sat down with her parents and showed her what her company was making.
So you built your case for why you didn’t need to get to college and it sounds like they supported you?
They did and when Andrea started her clothing line they gave her the money they had saved for college.
One of my passions is dispelling this myth that you need to get a conventional education to achieve what you want. Especially entrepreneurs.
Definitely. Andrea has taught at colleges across the country and thinks that unless you are going to a school like Harvard, it’s not worth it. An MBA is going to teach you how to work in the corporate world and not how to be an entrepreneur.
I know that you’ve had some moments of debt. One where you lost $1.2 million dollars. You paid it all off and came back stronger. Can you tell us that story?
Andrea has lost everything twice. She had a company which was featured on Oprah and was told to expect 40000 sales. But through a long series of events, they only had 70 sales. She had personally financed the company. That same week, a company she owned that had licenses for several gaming brands, had $2 million worth of merchandise returned. The following week the IRS called to say she owed 6 figures due to mistakes on the previous years taxes. And then the economy collapsed. It was the perfect storm of circumstances.
How did you get through that? How did you feel you came back stronger?
It took a long time. Andrea would beat herself up. She would talk to herself worse that she would ever talk to anybody. “How the fuck did you fuck up your entire life? I can’t believe what a fucking idiot you are.” She would talk to herself like that all day every day for 3 or 4 years. None of the things that happened were unwise choices but she couldn’t step back from what happened.
So how did you come back? You had such negative self-talk. What did you do that you felt got you out of that mental negativity?
Andrea had built an amazing community of friends who helped her get out of it. And she realized she was good at business. Slowly she came back to herself. She strengthened her meditation and yoga practice, continued slowly working on her companies and believed that things would come around.
I know you practice the law of attraction. So where did that come into play?
She was actually in a negative space before everything that happened to her businesses. She believes that we vibrationally receive back what we give out. Despite paying herself $750,000 a year, she had negative vibrations around money. She once met a waitress who had 3 kids and had the best money vibration she has come across. It’s an intrinsic thing and doesn’t have to be about how much you earn.
She decided to make happiness and self care her focus which then gave her the space to feel good about her companies.
I think it’s really interesting when you talk about money vibration. So was that something you would do when you were say hiking – get into a better vibration?
The idea is that circumstances and events are going to match the emotional state that you are in. If you’re happy about something good things will come to you.
How important do you think strategy is?
Strategy is important but you should only create a strategy when you are in a truly inspired place. You know the next right step for your business.
You now have a company which teaches people to start t-shirt businesses. I know there’s a formula to that. You’ve mapped out the strategy. If someone wants to start a different business, do you think there is a similar formula?
Andrea actually has another company that advises people on the right strategy for their business. There is a lot of generalized information out there. Andrea wanted to connect people to entrepreneurs in the industry they are creating a business in. If you want to start a restaurant, your mentor should be a restaurateur.
Is there anything you see which are the main through-lines?
There are common success and failure points specifically in product companies. Typically people fail because they misallocate their budget and don’t know how to do a minimum viable product. Testing things online is not enough you have to go somewhere and sell things physically. The information you gain from seeing people interact with your product is invaluable.
What do love about business so much?
She loves having an idea or concept in her mind and having it come into reality. Especially as she mostly makes physical products.
How do you think about time?
She doesn’t. She would think about time more if she had regulation around her time but she doesn’t.
So it’s not this confined thing, it’s more of an expansive thing. A lot of people have the excuse - “Oh I don’t have time”.
You do. If you watch TV, then you have time.
How do you think the internet and social media has changed how people run business?
It’s so much easier. When she started Sticker Junkie she had to use print ads to get people to visit her website.
I want to switch gears a bit and talk about your experience on The Apprentice. How did you get on the show and what was it like?
They had been recruiting Andrea from Season 1 but she was too busy running her companies. A mentor recommended she should do it.
What’s Trump like to be around?
He was very funny and charming. They made each other laugh a lot.
What is a question you continuously ask your self?
She asks herself if she is happy.
What do you unusually discover? That something's not aligned?
Andrea believes that it’s usually directional in our own thoughts. She talks about a process from Ester Hicks called The Focus Wheel. You draw a big circle on a piece of paper and in the center write how you want to feel about something. Then write all of the things that feel good about that thing. It’s easy to focus on all the things that are ugly but you can train yourself to focus on the good things too.
What other books have been helpful for you?
The Four Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Success Principals by Jack Canfield
Do you do visualization?
She does them every single day. She does something called 7, 7 x 3. You do 7 mins 7 sec of meditation, 7 mins 7 sec of appreciation and 7 mins 7 sec of visualization. When you appreciate, you appreciate things that are easy to appreciate. How much you love a painting or a pen or having hot water.
Is there a reason it’s 7, 7 x 3?
Because it looks cool.
One of the things that come to mind often is the experience I had at Sonoma Magic. You hosted your retreat there. Are you still doing it?
Her next retreat will be in 2020. It’s important to create a network of entrepreneurs around you. It helps to have a bond with people who are experiencing the same issues you are.
How do you think you developed that risk tolerance?
Andrea has always had quite a high-risk tolerance but it’s easier when you hear stories from entrepreneurs, who you know are successful, dealing with the same things you are.
How do you think people can become better at taking risks?
Our life is short. It doesn’t matter how long you live for, it is still short. Any amount of time you spend worrying about failure or what other people think of you is a complete waste of you being here right now. Andrea wasted 3 years of life worrying about being a failure.
Are you grateful at all for that experience?
It taught her how to be emotionally resilient. And the second Andrea started feeling better about things she started having new business ideas.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Put a dollar figure on your time.
Do not tell your ideas, in the beginning, to anyone you know does not have your back.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you
T-shirt Course: https://teeacher.com/
Ask and It Is Given: Learning to Manifest Your Desires by Esther Hicks
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be by Jack Canfield
Nicole Moore is a love coach and in this episode, we’re going to talk about what it really means to accept your body just the way it is. She recently posted on Instagram about how her experience of her body changed after having a baby. Our bodies are always changing and yet we all have a tendency to get hung up on why they are not the way we think they should be. In this episode, we talk about how to change our mindset about our bodies, why our self worth doesn’t have anything to do with the way we look and why we need to feel good about ourselves.
I’m curious about the changes you’ve had in your body and how that has affected you?
Nicole has observed people saying how having a baby ruined their body and this got her thinking about this message that is being spread on social media. Nicole saw a lot of posts about people ‘snapping back’ after having a baby but that didn’t happen for her. She decided to embrace where her body is right now.
How did you avoid getting into this dialogue of beating yourself up? Because I think that’s the easy thing to do.
Nicole realized she could choose not to make herself feel miserable. Throughout her 20s she suffered so much from the thoughts in her head and comparing herself to other people. She has made a commitment to herself to keep her mind full of love rather than full of negativity.
How you relate to your body, doesn’t really have anything to do with how it looks, right?
Nicole agrees. It’s all about the thoughts in your head. Which is better - to have a body that weighs more and not be in mental turmoil or to have a body that weighs less but have your mind in turmoil?
Every woman at some time has called themselves fat in their heads. And it’s not nice.
When Nicole first started gaining weight she was upset. She started to look at why her self worth was linked to her body. She had to look at what her other values were. When she was at high school she lost a lot of weight and boys started to pay attention to her. She had to go back and start unravel where this feeling came from and what her true worth was.
Can you share an example of what an internal essence would be?
For Nicole one of her essences is love. If she goes to a dinner party she could put a lot of focus on how she looks or she could focus on how to be really present with people. Your essence is who you are internally when everything that can change is stripped away.
What do you say to somebody who is feeling that their weight is holding them back in love, work or just in being more seen?
It’s not the weight. It’s your thoughts and judgments about the weight. It’s your decision that because the weight is here you shouldn’t feel good about yourself. That’s what is holding you back. When Nicole first started gaining weight, she wondered if she could still do media appearances. She thought about how she would look on camera. Then she realized that she deserved that experience of being on camera.
So often we think we need to look a certain way in order to receive love.
Although there are always people out there who will criticize how you look, that just means they aren’t the right people for you. A romantic relationship is not going to work unless you are accepted for who you are. It’s so much easier to find somebody who accepts who you are than to change who you are in order to find someone.
I love how you talk about how it’s not that you don’t have those negative thoughts, but you deal with them differently.
Nicole watches here mind all the time to see what thoughts she is having. If her mind is telling her something which makes her feel crappy, she will feel the feelings and then choose something different.
When I was put Evan to sleep and I say to him ‘you can do anything’. And he said to me the other day ‘Mummy you can do anything’. I actually found it helpful for me to hear it from him. It reminded me of the power of words.
Kids are the truth. For Nicole one of the biggest benefits of having a child is seeing what she wants her son to have in his life and to see what that means about her perception about things.
People talk a lot about what they lose by becoming a mum but there’s so much that we gain. Focusing on all the bodily changes misses the point about what it means to become a mum.
Don’t you think that helps soften some of the guilt that you may have?
This conversation about women and their bodies just takes away power. We only have so much attention available throughout the day. Nicole used to count calories and it would take up so much attention and so much power. When we’re not focused on what our bodies look like we have so much power to focus elsewhere.
What would you tell your younger self?
You are better than you think you are.
You are already worthy.
You’re always going to be beautiful.
And you are going to meet him and he is going to love you
Nicole has a lot of single clients and they have this thought in their heads that they may not meet the guy. If you look at how much time is in front of you, it’s crazy to think that you won’t meet someone.
Just to play the other side. It doesn’t mean don’t take of yourself. It doesn’t mean don’t buy the eye cream or get hair extensions. It doesn’t mean you don’t take action on things that make you want to look better. It’s more about where that is coming from. Is it coming from a place of ‘I’m enough’ or is it coming from a place of ‘I’m not enough’?
Nicole talks about how she gets eyelash extension regularly but she also has a conversation with herself about how even if she didn’t have them she would still look good. There’s nothing wrong with doing these things but it’s important to do these things from a place of worth.
The way that we look, the way we do our hair, we can let those things hold us back. I know I have.
Nicole did a Facebook live video where somebody commented that she needed to condition her extensions. Those sorts of comments might stop a lot of people from putting themselves out there. Nicole told herself that it was more important that she jumps on and does Facebook live even if she doesn’t look perfect. It’s all about the inner game.
And then it becomes easier if you reinforce that positive relationship with yourself.
One of the things we can do is stop giving attention to this conversation. Nicole often reminds herself that men will just turn on the camera and start recording without thinking about how they look.
We identify with all of these parts of ourselves. Hair is a big deal. How do not we let these perceptions of ourselves and how we look hold us back?
It’s alright to have an idea of how you want to look, but we wouldn't let ourselves feel bad if that’s not how we are right now.
And complimenting ourselves. And other people. I love seeing you without your glasses because you can see your face.
Glasses was something Nicole had to accept about herself.
It’s a habit we have to look at ourselves in the mirror and see everything that is wrong with us. That we want to change and want to fix. I’ve done some mirror work, where I looked at what was beautiful about me. I can see myself start to change.
Our self-perceptions determine our reality. Most people have a more favorable perception of us than we do. Aside from the haters. When we look in the mirror and see flaws that come from someone in the past telling us that we have a flaw.
What is a question people can start asking themselves?
What is the beauty I can see in myself today?
What’s the one thing that I really love about my face?
What idea can I let go off today that’s stopping me from feeling beautiful?
How can I make sure that in my heart, on the inside, I feel good about me?
Anything else you want to say?
You deserve to feel good about yourself.
Brad Sherman is the CEO of Sherman Wealth Management. He is committed to being an advocate for his clients, providing Fiduciary, conflict-free guidance so that they feel comfortable with their investment choices and strategies.
Brad knows – and has experienced – many of the issues that his clients face, whether it’s paying off student debt, saving up to purchase a home, creating a savings safety net, starting a family, or making smart choices about planning and saving for retirement.
He has over 15 years experience in the financial industry - his love for finance began when he then turned a dollar his grandmother had given him into five – and then fifty – dollars, it was clear he had an aptitude for smart saving, investing and wealth preservation!
He has contributed to The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, MarketWatch, Business Insider, and Investopedia.
In this episode, we talk about budgeting, compound interest, investing and building wealth.
If people want to find your financial tools where can they go?
Brad’s website: https://www.shermanwealth.com/
Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
The Importance of Financial Literacy
How parents talk about money differently to their sons and daughters
What words come to mind when you hear the word negotiation? Negotiator? Tough. Competitive. Frustration. Liars. Cheating. Battle. Winning. Losing. (no wonder people avoid negotiation like the plague...)
In this episode, I interview, Devon Smiley. She has15 years of experience with Forbes’ finest and small business alike. She closed $5 billion of commercial contracts as a lead negotiator. She brings this experience to organizations that are focused on securing strong commercial results without sacrificing relationships.
Her insights on negotiation have been featured in the New York Times, Glamour magazine and the Chicago Tribune. If you are fed up with getting in your own way, feeling like you're not quite good enough, and settling for second best. It's time to master the art of confidently, calmly and successfully asking for what you want, need and deserve.
In preparing for this interview I looked up what negotiation means. The definition I found was ‘the aim of reaching an agreement’. Is that your definition as well?
Devon thinks about negotiation as transformation. Taking a situation that doesn't really work for you and turning it into one that does.
When two people have opposing views it can be difficult to reach an agreement. What are some strategies that you teach on how to reach this agreement and get what you want?
When you are preparing to negotiate you need to not just think about what you want and need, but also what the other person wants and needs. It is important to ask the other person what they want. Which can feel very bold but can really help move the conversation forward.
Do you recommend starting with asking what the other person wants?
When you start a negotiation you want to set an agenda for the conversation. It is then beneficial to ask the other person if there is anything else that they want to talk about.
If I ask the other person what they want, how is that helpful to me?
Knowing what the other person is looking for can really help you in being more active and more engaged in the conversation. It helps you start off on the same page.
The person that is asking the question is most in control. Do you believe that to be true?
Devon agrees. It’s a combination of the person who takes the initiative by going first and asking questions because it gives you a lot of information. Information is powerful and will feed all the proposals you will be able to make in the negotiation.
The bigger umbrella in this is asking for what you want. Women, in general, struggle with asking for what they want. For someone who is experiencing fear, there’s an emotional aspect to it. Do you also teach about that emotional piece?
As much as we like to think as professionals, as businesswomen, that we can detach ourselves from the emotion, it is actually feeding everything we are doing. Devon suggests people ask themselves - what would be the worse case if I ask for this thing? In reality, what we fear is unlikely to actually happen.
What’s the worse thing that has happened to you when you have asked for something?
Devon had someone burst out in laughter once because he thought that what she was asking for was absolutely ridiculous. She was able to keep a straight face and keep going because she had prepared herself for a bad reaction.
Do you feel like you can build this ability to handle ‘rejection’ when you practice asking?
Definitely. That’s why it’s great to start with small things. For example, asking for an extra napkin when you buy something. It’s not the end of the world if they say no, you just move on. It makes it easier to build up that comfort with rejection before you build up to the big high-risk things.
We’re often told not to talk about money. How do you suggest people prepare themselves for asking for more money?
To prepare ourselves emotionally we need to separate worth from value. That you as a human being have a worth but that’s not what you’re negotiating. You’re negotiating based on the value you are bringing to the table. The next step is to come up with actual tangible numbers. How many percentage points did you earn your client because of that great marketing campaign? How many new clients did you bring in for your employer? Arm yourself with quantifiable data before entering discussions about money.
I want to hear more about your story. How did you become interested in this topic and start a business around it?
Devon fell into negotiation. After her degree, she started working in procurement and was offered the opportunity to move into a full-time negotiator role for contracts in aerospace. She ended up loving it. After some time she discovered she got more pleasure out of training and mentoring more junior employees in developing their negotiation skills. She is now making it her mission to show more people that negotiation isn’t as scary as they think.
What do you think the message that you’re relaying is?
The big one is reminding people that negotiation isn’t a natural skill. Everyone can become a great negotiator as we build the skills. It involves practice, building up some strategies and becoming more comfortable with negotiating.
What might be something that someone practices?
There are two things she generally has people practice. Asking for the small things, even outside of business. Start asking for the things you want. And getting comfortable with silence. A lot of negotiation is letting the silence sit there and having it as an opportunity for the other person to start talking.
How important do you think it is to stay with the thing that you want? When do you find yourself meeting somebody halfway?
It’s always important to start ambitiously. Women tend to ask for 30% less than a man would ask for in the same situation. This limits the amount of wiggle room we have in a negotiation. So be a little cheeky. It should make you feel a little nervous to ask for that much. That gives you the space to make an adjustment to your proposal without selling yourself short. Then have a few plans for things that you could be comfortable trading to the other person. The worst thing is when the other person is sitting across the table saying no to everything.
So what would you do when somebody is saying no?
Remind the person of what the goal is and ask if that is still what the negotiation is working towards.
How do we establish boundaries?
In the workplace, when you’re setting your boundaries, it’s important to be clear about how it makes you feel when someone does something inappropriate. Sometimes we try to soften what we say when we try to set a boundary.
What are some words to watch out for to avoid softening?
We apologize. ‘I’m sorry taking your time for this.’ Or ‘I know you’re really busy….’ We put all these fillers at the beginning. ‘I’m thinking that maybe….’ We’re trained to not be assertive in our language, so it takes practice.
When it comes to money we tend to ask for a range: $50K-$70K. The other person will hear what they want to hear. Devon suggests that in this example we should be a little cheeky and ask for $75K.
Do you think this comes from some of our conditioning around teacher/ student dynamics in school?
Raise your hand. Get permission. Very gently ask. Being polite goes a long way but we are overly conditioned to seek permission before sharing what we need.
How did you find the courage to take the leap of starting your own business?
One of the last experiences Devon had in the corporate world was a negotiation where she saved $10 million. She walked into the Vice Presidents office and got a ‘Is that all?’, which felt terrible. With her first non-corporate client she helped her earn an extra $500 and she was so grateful because it meant she could get her kids sports lessons. And Devon realized that the type of impact she wanted to make was the type that helped other human beings.
There’s something to be said for the power of small asks. Often there are small things that we find uncomfortable that we overlook. We wait until we’re really uncomfortable to say something.
Devon talks about the analogy of a frog in water. The temperature slowly rises until the frog is dead. We put up with low-level things until it gets too much before we don’t want to rock the boat. We will adjust to a very crappy situation. But the moment comes which is enough to shock us out of it which is the moment to ask for a change.
Anything else you want to talk about?
A lot of people get scared about negotiation because of the image they have of a negotiator and they don’t fit that image. Devon says that negotiation is about relationship and communication. Those are the elements that are important in negotiation and what you look like doesn’t matter.
Is there a fast way to build that connection?
We tend to get very uncomfortable with small talk. Either because we think it’s a waste of time or because it can be awkward. But according to studies you get a better result if you take 5-10 minutes to connect with someone on a non-business topic. This can be as simple as talking about the weather.
For me connecting comes more naturally because I have this world view that we’re all friends and it really helps. If you see somebody already as your ally. When we’re negotiating we tend to put people in a position of being against us rather than as allies.
We go into battle mode and think the other person is going to trick us and screw us over. We put a lot of emotional energy into figuring out how they may try to screw us over rather than focusing on what we want to achieve and ways we can move things forward.
We’re terrified of rejection. That’s why we don’t ask for things.
Devon still remembers being rejected by a boy at her school dance in the 7th grade. When we’re negotiating if we get a yes straight away then we probably haven’t asked for enough. So hearing a no is good because you haven’t sold yourself short. And then you can get a conversation going.
You’ve previously said - Don’t ask for things through email. Is that still true?
For the most part, yes. Especially as email can be terrible at conveying tone. Email, however, is great at recapping meetings but the phone is a much better way of asking for something.
There is real freedom in having the courage to ask for what you want. It changes everything. What is holding us back is that we’re afraid to ask.
We sit there and we accept the status quo because we’re too afraid to ask for something. We rationalize the situation. We don’t ask because we don’t want to be a nuisance.
When people meet Devon and find out that she’s a negotiator, they often say - “Oh you’re going to tell me that I always need to ask. I always need to negotiate my salary, that I always need to ask for more money.” Devon says that it needs to be a choice. That you know the option to ask is there and you choose not to do it consciously and not because you’re scared to do it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Never email when angry.
That following an emotion when making a business decision does not make you weak.
What’s an action step somebody could take right now if they want to ask for what they want?
Devon has a Make The Ask Challenge. Everybody has something that they have wanted in the last 7 days and haven’t asked for. She gets people to figure out what that is and write it down. They then have 7 days to ask for it.
Rebecca Rubin is a trained life coach through the Institute of Professional Excellence in Coaching. Prior to becoming a coach, she spent 7 years as a Digital Marketing Manager at one of DC’s premier interactive agencies, Blue Water Media. She has BA in Psychology and Communications from Vanderbilt University. Her work has been featured in publications like Entrepreneur, Business Insider, The Guardian, EliteDaily, NBC, CBS, and more. In this episode, we talk about how your life IS your content, how marketing has changed and how to feel good marketing.
You have a way of saying things that aren’t being said. Does that just come to you?
We all have the ability to be authentic. A lot of the content Rebecca writes comes from her own personal experience including her fears, hopes, and dreams. She is also inspired by her clients and their experience. She thinks that we can all increase the amount of truth we’re willing to tell.
It’s almost like you take failure and doubt and use it as a positive message.
Our life is our content. There’s the saying -it’s either a good time or a good story. She works with a lot of coaches and consultant whose clients are just an earlier version of them. Our own lives are just a goldmine of content which is untapped. Self-expression can create a very authentic community online.
I’m trying to be more transparent about what my message is. And it’s a pain point for me.
Rebecca suggests an exercise. Imagine the soul that you were contracted to work with before you came into this body. That human being is sitting in front of you and your life depends on inspiring them into action. You have 10 minutes to do that – what do you say? Don’t analyze it. Just trust it.
Let’s talk a little bit about feel-good marketing. What’s your approach? How do you make people feel good about marketing themselves?
The old way’s of marketing, that felt icky is on the way out. People try to use methods of marketing that aren’t true to who they are. Rebecca is a big fan of Human Design. Looking at someone's personality and how to make this all organic and integrated it into their lives.
You don’t have a fancy funnel. You mostly use Facebook.
She does have an email funnel but that’s not the bulk of her income. The bulk of her income is from group programs and 1 on 1 coaching that comes from her organic, personal Facebook profile. For her post, she asks herself – What’s going on in her world? What’s the lesson she is learning and how does this apply to her ideal client?
I identify as someone more private. What’s your viewpoint on people who feel more private in terms of that mass exposure?
She believes that your desires are given to you for a reason. And you have the equipment to find your own answers. Figure out what you went and then what’s required to get there. Some people are private and some people feel a lot of shame over being out there. Don’t do what doesn’t feel right to you. But also examine the why behind what comes up for yourself.
How did you become the content queen?
When she first started her business she was a life and relationship coach who had a background in marketing. She was still working at a marketing company while started her life-coaching business. She gradually shifted to coaching people on their marketing. Rebecca was more conventional and less authentic than she is now. Then she experienced some online bullying and she wrote about it. This was the most authentic thing she’d published online and it was the first post to go viral. She was shocked that something so personal could do so well. That was when she started being more real online.
I want to ask about your personal practices. I’m curious, what has had the biggest impact for you?
Making correct decisions. Human Design has had a really big impact on her. Understanding her energetic make-up and making a decision that is in line with her energy and what’s really best for her has been super helpful. Our lives are a product of decisions.
Can you share a bit more about human design?
Human design is a system which combines astrology, the I-ching, Chakras and diagnoses you into different energy types depending on how your aura is constructed. A big part of human design is how do you make the best decisions for your life.
What kind of meditation do you do?
She does the sit and breathe style of meditation. She just sits and listens to her breath and tries to do it for 5 mins a day.
What’s a failure or rejection that you now see as a gift?
She’s had launches that she thought were going to do well but didn’t. Anytime that expectations aren’t met she always find that it is a sign you need to evolve. Any time you can take something less personally the better. There have definitely been times she has said something that got negative feedback online. Now she only takes feedback from people she knows personally.
How do you handle negative comments?
She builds her infrastructure. She has developed deep friendships with people who love her and that helps her weather it. She also looks at whether there’s any truth to the comments and sometimes there is.
We overcomplicate things and that’s when we find it difficult to maneuver but it’s mostly in our heads.
100%. This is something that coaches who deal with deep complex things can sometimes struggle with. You have to give people real tangible, specific examples of things so it can form a groove in their mind and they get it more. The better you understand something the better you can explain it. If you can’t explain your program to a 7-year-old, then work on that a little.
Do you have favorite marketing books?
Most of what Rebecca has learnt about marketing she’s learned through doing. She worked at a digital marketing company for 6 years and learned on the job from bosses and mentors. She watching what people were doing to see what worked and what didn’t. She feels that for online marketing, once it’s written in a book, it’s old news.
She thinks Gary Vaynerchuk knows his stuff when it comes to online marketing. Although he can be controversial he understands the psychology of marketing and what works and doesn’t on the internet. But she hasn’t read any of his books…
We’re all marketing ourselves all the time. Even if you’re not running a business. Even in the job market, you are marketing yourself
Rebecca loves applying for jobs. When she was at college she loved applying for internships and in fact, her first internship was not advertised. She reached out to a magazine with writing samples and specific ideas of how she could help them and they hired her.
For someone who is exploring their own business, who has a certain skill, maybe it’s writing, maybe it’s coaching or fitness or something. And they want to get their first client. How do you recommend they have this conversation?
You’ve got to normalize your subconscious and conscious mind that what you want is possible. You need to know that this is possible and not just something you see on the internet. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do. She’s not opposed to working for free in the beginning. Positioning yourself in front of other peoples audiences is also a great way to grow when you’re starting out. She recommends getting on the phone with a lot of people. Don’t be afraid of the phone. Your sales come with conversations with people.
We all have an audience already. If we have Facebook, we have followers.
We all have a community. Rebecca's first client was a family friend. Her next few clients came from workshops she did at a local yoga studio. Then she got hired by a guy she went on a blind date with. You can make money before anybody knows who you are on the internet.
What direction do you think online marketing is going?
Brands and people are colliding. Big brands are using influencers more and more. The traditional celebrities are molding into internet celebrities. The human element is becoming more and more important. The old school idea that marketing has to be hard and about hustling is not true. That doesn’t mean you don’t show up and do the work. Working energetically correctly is more and more a thing that she sees people trying to do.
What are your favorite words?
She loves the word bespoke. Humany human is something she uses that means being a human is messy.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Your health is most important. You have to take care of your health first.
Be nice to yourself. She thinks we could all use a little more self-love and self-kindness and she just tries to remember that.
What’s an action that you want to invite listeners to take?
Do a little audit. If you have a business do an audit of your marketing and what you spend your time doing right now. Get curious about why you’re doing what you’re doing and consider if it doesn’t feel good. Marketing should be pleasurable and profitable.
I love this answer but I want to challenge you on it. We have to push ourselves out of our comfort zone if we want to grow and expand. Sometimes that doesn’t feel good.
There’s a difference between doing uncomfortable things and doing draining, depleting activities. If she gets invited to speak on stage in front of a couple of hundred people it’s going to feel scary but it’s also going to feel expansive. That’s an example of feeling good. If She gets an opportunity to work with a new client but they don’t want to pay her rates and it’s not actually aligned with her values but thinks she should do it, that is going to feel bad and not in alignment.
Tell me how we can get in touch with you.
Go to http://thepursuitoffabulous.com/
Follow her on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.i.rubin
Brian Fretwell is a consultant, speaker, and coach. He has traveled the world teaching people how to get the most out of their unique talents, strengths, and opportunities. Brian uses our knowledge about neuroscience and how the brain works to help people understand why they do the things they do. He has written the book Experts Of Our Potential which is a story about a coach and his challenging client.
I recently discover Brian through Facebook. I saw a clip from his book, which really spoke to me. I immediately downloaded the book and read it from cover to cover.
Brian and I talk about why he wrote the book, why we struggle to value ourselves and how to survive in a changing world.
Can you talk a bit about the story behind the book?
This is actually the fourth book Brian has written. Only one other has the potential to see the light of day. Several people suggested he write a how-to and so he tried but found it didn’t click. A friend and editor suggested he write it as a story and that was when everything clicked.
It is fascinating to see both the clients struggle to find his direction and values and your struggle to help him get there.
If you want to change someone else, you can only do that to the level you’ve changed yourself. Brian wanted to show that it’s not just the clients who change as part of the coaching process, the coaches change to. He wanted to dispel the superhero idea we have of coached and leaders. We’re all changing, we’re all fallible and we all have this potential.
As a coach sometimes I feel this pressure to solve a short term problem. But typically it’s a symptom of a much bigger challenge. In the book, Chris has this challenge in his work but he hasn’t yet defined the bigger picture of what’s really important to him. He’s trying to grasp at these quick fixes without understanding the bigger picture.
Brian points out that Chris is trying to solve a non-linear problem in a linear fashion. What I want to do, who I can be, where I can go – it’s a non-linear problem which doesn’t have a direct answer. If a coach tries to give a linear answer, they are actually doing the client a disservice. Brian believes that a coach’s job is not to give a client the answer – they can google that- it’s to help people identify that they have the capacity to find their own answers.
Sometimes we want other people to solve our problems.
Our brains are built on efficiency. It thinks that if we get the answer from someone else then we can be done. But the growth part of our brain, the part we have to push, thinks ‘well how do we do it’. We don’t just need the answer we need to figure out how to reach the answer on our own.
We all have the answers to our problems and we often know what to do but sometimes we just can’t make that link.
When Brian worked in juvenile corrections, he learned that the hard way. Kids would ask him what they should do to turn their life around and he would tell them, only to find that when they left they got back into drugs, or even worse, died. He asked himself if he had given them any more tools than before they had entered the system.
When someone comes to you with a challenge, the real consequence of giving them an answer, is not giving them the capacity to operate on their own.
I like to ask questions and I find it challenging when I come up against defensiveness when I ask a question. You have mentioned that right behind the defense, is the potential. How do you manage defenses craftfully?
Our brains have a 5 to 1 ration of a threat to reward. Your eyes are scanning the environment for threat 5 times a second. We don’t acknowledge that. We’ve been taught to ask questions which are challenging, which are direct. And while those are needed, if you don’t get the brain in the right space they aren't going to be beneficial. Our brains need to be in the right space and to do that we need to change the way we lead into to these questions. Start with asking people what they’ve done well, how they’ve been successful and how they have solved a problem like this before.
So essentially getting into a place of more confidence rather than a place of fear and threat.
About 15 years ago Brian's core business was talking to couples about money. They’d talk about what they wanted at a deeper level. Then individually, Brian would ask them about a time when they felt really good about the way they spent their money. Finances are one of those areas we say ‘I’m screwing this all up, tell me what I’m doing wrong so I can start doing something else.’ From that standpoint, we don’t get any behavioral change. If we really tap into a memory of doing something really well it’s much easier on the brain to consider a change.
So if someone is listening to this and having a challenge in their life, they should first acknowledge the strength they have in that area?
They should honestly acknowledge it. Sometimes when someone has been through something really hard, they have a level of endurance and tolerance that other people don’t have. What do you have that nobody else has? And actually being honest about that is pretty hard work.
And super helpful to take some of those challenges we are having and reframe them into recognizing that we have had some success.
When you find that success when you find that part that you’re good at, throw gasoline on that fire. Put everything you can on it. From a neurobiological standpoint, it’s going you all the neurochemicals to actually follow through. It is impossible to focus too on what someone does well.
Before we started recording I was sharing with you that I’m looking to expand my business and I’ve been doing a lot of work. I mentioned that I haven’t been successful in a lot of things. And you asked me about where I have been successful. I really love this question of where have you been successful and how can you use your strengths to grow rather than trying to fix what’s wrong with you.
Coaches are in the business of trying to make people feel more proud of themselves. What do you do well? What are you proud about? What really engages you? Those are the questions you should ask yourself every day. Brian says that he struggles with this as well. His brain wants to go to ‘well you’ve screwed this up before’. He had a business that went $70000 into debt. So when he started a new business he had that at the back of his mind every day. He has to focus his effort on being clear about where he is going to shine the best. Where am I going to bring my highest potential? This is a question that we spend a lifetime trying to figure out. But it’s a much better question than ‘What’s wrong with me?’
Can you speak a little bit about priming your brain?
Your brain is water and fat. It’s not a muscle but Brian loves the muscle analogy. There are different levels of focusing on our success. We can get really deep, but to begin with, it can be ‘well I didn’t screw that up’. But we build this muscle and we can get stronger in recognizing our strengths.
I want to get into the social contracts we have. Especially with regards to our career. Can you talk about some of the old templates we have and how we change them in the face of changing technology?
Brian’s father was a union miner in the late 70s/ early 80’s. There was this idea that if he shows up to the job, is loyal, puts up with a bunch of crap, it will pay out and he will receive the benefits and be able to retire. We no longer have that safety net. What does still exist is our approach to the economy. We rely on a job to provide us with security but the numbers show that there is no security in jobs anymore. What’s changed is that we have to create that security on our own. We have to create that validation on our own too. We used to rely on I've got this degree; I’ve got this job. We now have to rely on I’ve got his skill, I've got this ability and apply it in 5 or 6 different areas.
One of the reasons I started my own business is because I got fired from a couple of jobs and felt that I didn’t want to put my security in somebody else's hands. I wanted to have ownership over that.
What you have identified is why we should be excited about this. And there will always be a part of you which is scared of hell about this. But imagine how it would feel if you knew you understood your value enough to weather any storm.
If somebody doesn’t know what they like and what they’re good at, then what?
You get to go and fall down a few times. Brian doesn’t have an easier answer than that. When he hears ‘I don’t know’, he also hears ‘I’m really worried about screwing it up.’ That feeling is very real but also short-sighted. You can go screw up really big and be okay. Because we don’t have these jobs that don’t last for 40 years, we also don’t have this inherent obligation to never screw up like we used to. Screwing up is part of the process now.
My experience has been that when I hold myself back, in terms of keeping myself safe, I actually experience more discomfort than taking the risks, trying and ‘failing.’
Brian’s wife is a counselor and her background is in transpersonal psychology, so comes from a Buddhist school. They have this philosophy about pain. You can either wait for pain, in which case it’s out of your control, or you can seek pain, in which case it’s in your control. If you are in a job hoping that the job will provide you safety, you are inviting pain that will be out of your control. If you are doing your own thing, you are inviting pain that is within your control.
I want to get back to this idea of valuing ourselves. So many people have difficulty seeing themselves as the person that can define their own values versus outside validation.
When Brian was in juvenile corrections he was a smoker. A kid challenged him in on it. He had a week where he quit smoking, met his wife and signed up for his first marathon. Over the course of 2 years, he ran 15 races. Every time he did a race, he got a medal. One day his wife laid them all out on the table and said ‘what do these say about you?’ He stared at those medals and started crying. He looked at them wondered if maybe they said that he was worthless. That’s a question that is plaguing people. We spend our time at school and at our job trying to get somebody to tell us we did well at a task. While that is needed and is valuable, when we tell ourselves we have value, it has the most power.
What do you think is the question we need to be asking ourselves?
There are levels to this. The question can be ‘do you believe in yourself?’ But for some people, that’s too big a question. The powerful questions are – ‘where do you believe in yourself?’ and ‘in what instances do you trust yourself?’ For some people who have been through traumatic experiences, they have to start at ‘I trust myself to turn the coffee pot on.’ Then those other questions of ‘where do you feel you add value?’ and ‘Where do you feel you matter?’
Can you explain a little bit about the reticular activating system?
Of all the data coming into your brain, you are only processing about 1 % of it. Your RAS (reticular activating system) is just a little instrument in your brain that filters your inputs. It says we are only going to pay attention to these things. And it’s generally anything that’s going to generate a higher emotional reaction. Because there's this limited ability to focus and because our brains are designed for safety, we generally look for things that are going to make us look stupid or dumb. If we can take control of the RAS, we can change the filters and literally change our reality.
Why do you think we overlook our talents?
Because we’re running away from bears. We feel social pain and physical pain the same way. We’re much more concerned if we’re going to look stupid or be embarrassed. Physical pain we have nerves for. Social pain we have emotions for. We’re so dialed in to not looking dumb that we avoid beauty. Avoiding fear is much more natural than finding beauty.
Do you think our value is in our hardships?
Our value is the whole picture. So our hardships are apart of that. There are things Brian has been through that he would not sign up to go through again, but they’ve allowed him to do things he wouldn’t have done otherwise.
What gives you so much meaning in your work?
When he sees somebody who has read his book, is in a workshop or he is coaching and they have that moment when they realize that they are actually worth something.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
It’s not about you.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you and how we can get your book?
Ted Talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qiN67V5q3C
Love is our superpower. Love can overcome obstacles. Love can heal. Love can inspire. Love is creative.
I’m going to guide you through a meditation to connect with the love that’s already in your heart.
Nadia Finer, a powerhouse business coach, wickedly funny international speaker and author of LITTLE ME BIG BUSINESS is here to help you UNLEASH THE BIGNESS IN YOUR BUSINESS. Don’t be fooled by Nadia’s sweet appearance and adorable voice. Nadia is feisty and fearless. Rather than hide behind her insecurities, she has turned her little voice into her secret weapon and used it to build a unique personal brand. She now helps struggling business owners all over the world to embrace who they really are, work smart and scale up. No more playing small. No more limitations on what you can achieve. It's time to kick fear in the face and turn your tiny profits into big bucks!
I came across your story about your voice. I’d love for you to share your story about how you changed this painful moment into a podcast and your work around being able to speak your voice.
Nadia has a ‘little voice’ and it became apparent as a teenager that as she got older, her voice didn’t. The moment she discovered that she had a little voice, it was a turning point in her life. She was 15 and learning French in her school’s language lab. She’d record herself speaking and then listen to the playback. When she heard her voice it sounded like a tiny child was speaking what she just said. Then it dawned on her that the voice was hers. She decided that she was never going to ring someone on the phone who she didn’t know, speak on a stage or appear in a video.
Did you tell anyone that you had this experience where you thought you were weird?
She didn’t tell anyone. It was just a decision that she made and kept to herself. Now looking back on it, this response feels bizarre.
It sounds like you had an insight. That what your voice sounded like did not match what was around you.
She now realizes that her voice is not something she can possibly hide. On a daily basis, someone makes a comment about it. As you get older, the disconnect between how you sound and you age gets greater and people are more inclined to comment on it.
Did you have friends and family comment on your voice when you were a teenager?
She didn’t really experience this. When people get to know her and get used to her, they don’t really notice the voice anymore. As a professional, she did find it held her back at work. Managers would make comments about gravitas and she would have to do certain things to be taken more seriously. Various employers sent her on elocution lessons which didn’t change the way her voice sounded.
What were you doing for work?
She started off working in an accountancy firm and then worked in marketing and consultancy for various companies. One boss said to a client ‘She sounds really young, she’s got a really little voice but she’s got a really big brain.”
How did that feel?
It was pretty embarrassing for that to be said in front of a client. Later, she quit her job and started a variety of small businesses. The voice held her back. She would create a brand and then hide behind it. On her websites, there would be very little of Nadia. Her about page would have a single sentence to explain who she was. She would undervalue herself and go low price.
I think people have this experience, even if their experience with their voice isn’t like yours. I think people can relate to what you’re saying.
It’s not about the pitch of your voice or the volume, it’s about how you feel speaking freely, the things that you say and how you show up in the world. And when you're an entrepreneur and you are your business, it pushes buttons. People feel exposed in a way they didn’t when they were employed. Having a job you go to work, do some stuff and get paid. At no point do you say ‘Oh I doubt myself, I, therefore, can’t do it.’
For a number of years, she was comparing herself to everyone else and hiding. She was not really showing up and doing work on a tiny scale. Then she started a new business, a PR service and did the ultimate thing to hide - bring someone into her business to hide behind. Which now sounds ridiculous. After a rocky time working with this person, they accused her of ‘playing small’. She hadn’t heard that phrase before and at that moment she found her inner strength and fired her. That moment changed everything.
When did you make the connection that this moment when you were 15 impacted so many of your decisions?
After she closed that business, she was in a state of crisis. She did a lot of soul-searching and thinking. She decided to concentrate on the coaching side of things and was struggling to work out how she would fit into the marketplace. She didn’t know how to exist in amongst people who had a very ‘show-off’ attitude. A friend told her to be herself. And at first, she was averse to the idea. But once she decided to embrace her voice, everything changed.
And how long did that take you?
It was a few weeks of knowing it was the thing to do and then thinking it wasn't possible. Out of nowhere, the idea came into her head of Little Voice Big Business and at the moment decided that was going to become her brand. She considered what the scariest thing she could do with her little voice was, and that was when she came up with the idea of the podcast.
When you are yourself and embrace the thing that is you, that holds the secret to everything, that makes you unforgettable and that makes you stand out from everybody else – good things happen. She likes that she show’s people that you don’t to be flash and ballsy to be successful in business. You just need to be yourself and it’s okay to do it in a quiet way.
I typically thing that that thing which is our treasure, we are afraid of it.
Nadia thinks it’s a fear of standing out, of being judged and a fear of exposing yourself and the things that you struggle with. She also thinks that it has to be authentic. She sees lots of people trying to be themselves but struggling because they are being a sanitized version of themselves, which doesn’t work either.
How do you recommend people discover their treasure?
Unfortunately theirs no magic formula. It involves a bit of thinking. She now works with people to help them discover what it is. She believes it is possible for everybody and hasn’t found somebody who didn’t have something interesting or unique about them.
It’s amazing how challenging it can be to uncover some of those layers that prevent us from seeing our treasure. It really takes getting to know yourself and facing your fear at the same time.
Sometimes the treasure isn’t fear based. She’s currently working with a hypnotherapist who is really into rock music, which isn’t fear based. It doesn’t always have to be about insecurities.
You mentioned before we started recording that you’re a boxer. I said we have to talk about that on the podcast.
For Nadia, it’s the least expected thing she could be doing and pushes her beyond what she ever thought would be possible for her both physically and mentally. She’s a middle-aged mom and has become part of a combat gym, trains every day and has just done her 3rd fight. Which she won. It has become this whole other side to her which she is loving and has discovered a strength and fierceness within her that she didn’t know was there.
Wow! Punching people in the face. I don’t know if I could do that?
Nadia felt like that too. But when your opponent punches you in the face, you hit back. She feels so much stronger now and realizes that it’s important to invest in yourself. As a mom, you end up picking underpants up off the floor and making dinner for everyone. It’s so much easier to do all that when you have an outlet and time for yourself doing something physical.
Even when not boxing, it can feel like people are “punching us in the face” all day long. How can we deal with it?
There are so many lessons from boxing. The concept of ‘embracing impact’ is one of them. When you are in a fight situation and someone is punching you, the idea is you block the shots. It’s all about not panicking when that is happening and embracing the impact. The key is not to panic and wait for your opportunity to strike back. It’s a great analogy for business. There are so many lessons from the ring that you can apply to business.
In boxing, no boxer would ever go into the ring without a team in the corner. No boxer would ever train without a coach. You just can’t do it by yourself. Yet in business, we expect to mange on our own as if we’re superhuman.
How do you prepare your mind for a fight?
Nadia was nervous for about 2 weeks before her latest fight. On the day she had a feeling of nervousness in her chest, hands, and toes. She tries to quiet those negative voices and tells herself that she’s done this before, she’s trained hard and she knows what to do. She was scared that 800 people would be watching the fight. She told herself that most of them are not watching her, they’re chatting and those that are, are supporting her. She tries to surround herself with people who have been there and done it and can give advice and encouragement. Just before a fight she will put her hood up, have headphones on and listen to music.
Is there a song that you listen to that prepares you?
Her walkout song this time was Linkin Park – In The End. She listens to that song a lot during training as in helps her out of being mum Nadia and into the right state to be a fighter. It’s amazing the power of music.
Even if we feel little, or afraid or we doubt ourselves, it’s not a permanent state. It’s not something you have to live with forever.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
When she’s having a moment and doesn’t think she can do something in the ring, her boxing trainer says - “Stop being a knobhead.” And somehow that helps her get a grip and get on with it.
Tell us how we can get in touch with you and learn more about what you do
Denis Estimon is the creator of We Dine Together, a program that aims to combat social isolation within schools to make sure no-one has to eat alone. Denis and his family immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti, when he was in the first grade. He faced the challenge of making friends not in only In a new school but in a new culture. Now he helps students make connections with others. Anna first discovered We Dine Together while watching CBS This Morning and was blown away by what Denis is doing. Denis is also the director of Be Strong, a national non-profit organization focused on preventing bullying using a student-led approach.
Tell us about your story and how you came about creating your mission:
Denis and his family moved to the United States from Haiti. He had the challenges of both being the new student at school and being in a completely new environment. Since he didn’t speak English he struggled to connect to people and form relationships. He spent lunchtimes and recess alone. This experience inspired him to start We Dine Together to create a culture of the community in schools. School is one of the most segregated environments we experience. For a new student or a student who has been experiencing social challenges it can be a safe haven. A student can come into a new school, not knowing anybody and find a We Dine Together Club that they can go to.
We walk around with a smile on our face but it’s really hard when we feel lonely inside:
Denis agrees. The problem we are facing today is that people can show the best of themselves and can act like everything is going well but truly not everything is not always fine. Now, when something is going on in their lives, students do not turn to people, they turn to social media. They don’t learn how to build real relationships with people. Part of the Be Strong State Rep program is to work in 3 key areas every month – advocacy, acts of kindness and awareness. For the acts of kindness they do simple daily acts such as hold the door open for 10 strangers and look them in the face. Because even small acts like that make a difference.
What are some things you teach with how to actually approach someone who is sitting alone?
Often what you say is not as important as just saying something. It is important to step out of our comfort zone. Denis’s family stepped out of their comfort zone to come to a new country. We have to step out of our comfort zone and try to connect with people.
You must hear those stories all the time, about how somebody said hi to someone and how that led to another thing.
When Denis first founded the club, he approached a young man. They didn’t have much conversation as the young man was very shy. Denis felt slightly rejected but he went back the next day and the next day and the next. At the end of the week the young man asked Denis why he was sitting there and he told him they were friends. The kid started crying. Denis was the first person in 3 years to sit with him. The following week 2 other students sat with them. The young man had invited them.
What made you approach the same person, even though you were in some ways getting rejected by them?
Denis thought that if he didn’t do it then who would approach the kid? He didn’t want to wait for somebody else to do it. It took him about a week to approach him.
I saw that people of all different ages are involved in the We Dine Together initiative. What age does it start?
There is really no age limit on it but what they’ve been seeing lately is that the program works best with 4th-12th grade. They have also gone into elementary schools and taught kids about resiliency.
How does someone become a part of We Dine Together?
The first step is nominating a student and then that student goes through an interview process and find out about the program and how it works. As a state rep they then need to find 3 other people to form a club. These 3 people should be from different communities – athletics, academics, creative or disabilities. After the group is formed they do their monthly challenges based around advocacy, awareness and act of kindness.
How many schools are you in and how have you grown?
We Dine Together is now in over 170 schools. They have mostly been growing through word of mouth and students have just been starting clubs. Kids are going into other schools and starting clubs there.
I want to ask you about a story I heard, where a lady took an apple and cut it in half. Can you tell me about that?
This is a story that changed Denis’s life. If you cut an apple, you can count the number of seeds in apple but you can’t count the number of apples in a seed. The seeds you plant today will bring about harvest later on. Denis wants people to plant a seeds of generosity, kindness and compassion.
Do you have mentors that support you?
Denis has had many mentors throughout his life and every mentor has taught him something different. The things they did when he was younger planted the seed for who he is today.
The students that are leaders in your program – what changes are they experiencing?
Overall growth. They are learning about different people and different cultures. They are building relationships with people that they wouldn’t otherwise. By being able to build relationships on a school campus they will be able to do this in their careers in the future.
What happened after you were featured on CBS Good Morning?
Before the CBS episode, he did not see many people with the idea of welcoming people and building relationships over the table. The CBS piece created a snowball effect of welcoming other people and building relationships. Denis saw other clubs being created with a similar mission. It also created interest in We Dine Together and bought more reps to the organization.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
One person can’t help everyone, but everyone can help one person.
Where do you see this in 10-15 years? What impact do you think you can have as a culture?
Denis wants to see the rates of suicide and depression decrease. Not just because of his organization but because of all the organizations that are working to combat this issue. He would like to see a We dine Together club in every school. Then students wouldn’t have the fear of going to a new school and wondering who they will eat lunch with. He’d like to completely eliminate that narrative.
Tell us how we can get involved
Diana House is a lawyer turned serial entrepreneur who is obsessed with empowering entrepreneurs around their business finances. She has been featured as one of the top female entrepreneurs in Canada by the w100 and also recognized as a top 20 under 40 entrepreneur by Business London.
Diana has built a highly profitable 7 figure company, been on Dragon's Den (the Canadian version of Shark Tank), done a successful crowdsourcing campaign and sold two businesses in the e-commerce space. She now works with her fellow entrepreneur husband on Fast Forward Ventures a company focussed on private financing and commercial real estate investing.
Diana currently consults 1-on-1 with entrepreneurs on their business’ finances and is writing "the" book and course on entrepreneur finance "by an entrepreneur."
What do you think has contributed to your success?
Diana would like to say it was talent but admits it was grind. She is not one of those people that think you need to grind your whole life and work 60-80 hours a week. But she got to where she is today through hard work and determination.
When her companies were in start-up mode she worked her butt off. There are certain seasons where you need to have laser focus and, determination and do whatever it takes.
So let’s talk about your first business and the grind there. What did that really look like when you were first starting out?
After applying for creative roles and not getting a single interview Diana was struggling. This was her time to get out there and start adding value to the world, but no-one wanted her. One day she went to a job fair and instead of applying for a job, she ended up applying for a business grant. She received a $3000 to start a new company. The day she launched her e-commerce website she paid for the site in a single day and did over $10K in sales. This company was Tiny Devotions which sold mala beads and yoga inspired jewelry. This was the first company to make a product in this niche in North America.
After you decided not to become a layer you started making mala beads. How did that come about?
After law school, knew she didn’t want to be a lawyer but didn’t have a better plan. So she sold all her belongings and fled to Bali where she signed up for a yoga teacher training. In Bali, she started to look for a business idea. She came up with 3 ideas, import art from Bali, do yoga teaching and retreats or create yoga jewelry. She had followed the rise of Lululemon and could see that yoga was growing in popularity and an industry was springing up around it.
Where did money fit into her mindset?
Diana knew she was going back to Canada from Australia in 2 months and that that was when reality was to set in. She felt going to Bali was her last opportunity to do something crazy before going back to Canada and she even went into debt in order to go. When she went back to Canada she did a legal placement while living with her parents. After a talk from her father, she realized she needed to minimize her discretionary spending and pay off her debt. After that experience, she decided to learn to manage her money and never be in debt again.
How did you find customers when you launched?
What worked 10 years ago would not work now. She used social media and influencer marketer – before influencer marketing was a thing. She did this by sending products to influential yoga teachers.
With her current company, which she started 3 months ago, she is not yet doing paid marketing. Although she has the money for it, at this stage in the company she is leveraging relationships she has built over the years to get access to audiences.
What has been your experience with exits?
The second company she created was actually sold first. This was an e-commerce sock company that was also a social enterprise company. It loaned profits from the socks to entrepreneurs in Cuba.
Tiny Devotions became successful very quickly, but Diana struggled to feel in alignment with the business for many years. It took 2 years to sell the business and she had 20 deals fall apart before she was able to sell the company. Now looking back, she realizes she should have started the process of selling the company as soon as she started to fall out of alignment with it.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a transition because they are out of alignment?
Having awareness is really important and coaches can really help with that. Diana worked with career transition coach Rikke Hansen for a year when she decided to sell Tiny Devotions.
She also points out that it is important to take baby steps and that trial runs can be extremely helpful.
I’d love to hear about your current business. What are you offering?
Diana has a private lending company that gives loans to people who banks won’t finance. She is also a commercial real state developer and investor. These are things she runs concurrently with her entrepreneurial ventures.
Since she had experience in the finance space she decided to start providing financial consulting to entrepreneurs. She is currently started working 1 on 1 with entrepreneurs in her network, taking them through the framework she has developed over the past 10 years. In the spring she will be launching the Profit Accelerator which will be a group-based program for entrepreneurs.
What do you do to maintain your level of ability to perform?
She is finding that being in startup mode, she currently has an unstoppable mindset. As a Christian, she puts her faith first, with a prayer practice and regularly going to church. She finds journaling important to be reflective and self-aware. She also likes to have a community of strong women around her to call her on her bullshit.
Although she loves the grind, it can be crazy and she tries to make sure that she is able to dial it back when she needs to.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
The best advice she’s been given was from her neighbor, who was a very successful entrepreneur. He told her that ‘what is more important than what you do with your life, is who you spend it with’.
What’s an action step that you want to offer someone listening to this podcast?
She has an opt-in on her website www.dianahouse.com that has her framework – 10 profitability essentials for entrepreneurs.
Outside her own stuff, if you’ve never had a coach, hire a coach. Hire a great coach and do the work to enable you to grow as fast and as big as you can.
How can we get in-touch with you?
Early Exits: Exit Strategies for Entrepreneurs and Angel Investors by Basil Peters
Gregg Clunis is an entrepreneur and author obsessed with helping people become better versions of themselves. While we receive lots of negative messages In today's world, some of the positive messages we received are filled with fluff, such as "follow your passion," or "dream big," that are supposed to spark change and accomplishments in our lives. But often these ideas aren’t practical and how do you achieve those lofty goals exactly?
Gregg explores the reality behind big change — that it comes from the small decisions we make daily. Using scientific and psychological research, Gregg, shows you what hidden factors drive our behavior and gives you the tools to form daily habits to accomplish your goals. His core philosophy is “All big changes come from the tiny leaps you take every day.” Gregg hosts a podcast and has just released a book Tiny Leaps, Big Changes: Everyday Strategies to Accomplish More, Crush Your Goals, and Create the Life You Want
Was there a time in your life when you realized that tiny leaps can create big changes?
It happened after Gregg launched his podcast show called Tiny leaps. He has been hosting the show now for almost three years and he started it because he was frustrated with personal development and how it has become fluffier than it needs to be. Gregg thinks personal development is a very practical thing. To move forward and to make progress is a desire that is embedded in every human being. It does not need to be a cultish kind of thing that it is becoming these days. Gregg’s vision behind starting the show was to bring personal development back to practicality.
The idea of just focusing on day-to-day behaviors and taking actions on daily basis towards the right path is something Gregg learned from his parents. Gregg is an immigrant and moved to the United States from Jamaica when he was eight years old. Gregg learned from a very early age that if you want something, you have to be willing to sacrifice for it and you also need to be clear about it. All this built the foundations for tiny leaps.
How do you push through moments of doubts and insecurities in the creative process of self-discovery?
It is really hard at times. Sometimes, Gregg is so frustrated that he has to bail on the idea that he is working on at that moment. One of the things that he had to do with tiny leaps and numerous other projects is to make a commitment to finish something before starting it regardless of how frustrating and annoying it is. He tries to focus exclusively on the behavior of doing something regardless of how frustrated he is. This has been the biggest hack for Gregg to push through in self-discovery process. Gregg credits this to his father who advised Gregg to see through things rather than giving up on something in the initial phases.
What do you think is the downside of personal development?
The biggest downside is that motivation and inspiration disappears. These are the two biggest things that people are actually selling. Unfortunately, these things do not support actual change. They might support a change in behavior in short term but do not have an impact on your behavior in the long run.
How can someone get practical in bringing about a major change in their lives?
Gregg talks about the idea of identity. We act in a certain way because we identify as the type of person who acts that way. Someone who goes to the gym regularly identifies the type of person who goes to the gym regularly. If we really want to bring a change in our lives, we need to back ourselves with an identity. There are a lot of different steps you can take to find yourself an identity.
What is an identity that you did not have before but have managed to gain it now?
Gregg never considered himself a salesperson. For a very long time, he thought he was terrible at sales and could not hold those conversations with potential clients. He has been able to make some very controlled efforts in his life to overturning this limiting belief. One of these efforts consisted of taking up a crappy sales job at a company with less future prospects. The job helped him get over a lot of fear and anxiety that he had related to sales.
What was it like making a transition from a regular job to entrepreneurship?
After Gregg started his first sales job, he worked there for the first six months of 2017 after which he was offered another job. He got a job in a big corporation and worked there for about a year. However, the job was on a contract basis and Gregg was working as a freelancer. He started his business in April of 2018 which at that time was mainly a podcast marketing agency which focused on promoting great shows and helping them get the right audience. It went well for Gregg and he was able to help a lot of different clients.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
The best advice Gregg has been given is something his brother said to him when he was a young kid. He said to him that money does not equal influence and that money does not equal power.
Who is your favorite personal development person?
Gregg is following James Clair these days. He is a blogger and a photographer who writes very good articles on human behavior and its relation to personal development.
How can we connect with you?