Joining us today is the founder of French Kiss Life movement, Tonya Leigh. Tonya Leigh is a Master Certified Life Coach trained by Dr. Martha Beck. She works with highly successful women from around the world who desire to balance ambition with ease to create a fulfilling and meaningful life.
How did you change your life?
She started with a decision to turn her life around. Growing up in deep South in very underprivileged conditions, she wasn’t exposed to ideas like personal development. Learning about personal development radically changed her life. She started to deconstruct this prison that she had built for herself, through becoming mindful and practicing the toolset of personal development on daily basis. She believes that when you have a firm resolve, you can surely figure out success along the way.
When happened once you started listening to yourself and asking yourself different questions?
During this time, she was still struggling with her weight. She went from a size 22 to size 2 by basically starving herself. She says that the way we go about losing weight is going through the process of misery and depression, so when you get to your ideal size, chances are you are still going to be miserable. When she really started applying these tools of personal development and shifted her focus to creating her feelings rather than losing weight, things started to turn around. It’s been over a decade now, and she never struggles with her body anymore.
You help women to live an elegant lifestyle and Joie De Vivre, can you tell us a bit about that?
By elegant she means a life with simplicity and effectiveness. Going deeper, it’s about an elegant mindset, having a clear mind which is very effective.
Joie De Vivre is the joy of living, it’s about being graceful and joyful, even in the face of hardships. That’s what her company, French Kiss Life, support and inspire women to do, injecting style, elegance and Joie De Vivre to their everyday lives.
Do you think women are afraid to live with this Joie De Vivre, elegance and style?
According to her, we are afraid to give ourselves permission. When we start to change and grow, people around us tend to be at disagreement. It’s our choice who we want to be, but the fear of what will people think hold us back. Because of that, we limit our own joy because we are actually afraid of it.
What if somebody feels like they don’t know what they want?
In her opinion, people do know what they want. Maybe they are afraid to admit it, or it’s buried under too much thoughts. As they clear their mind, it becomes obvious to them the purpose of their life. Another practice she recommends is that if you don’t know what you want, write down the list of everything you don’t want and when you try to see the opposite of that, you may find that you do know what you want.
What Parisian women do differently in comparison to American women?
For them, it’s not even an option that pleasure is a part of their life, it is a part of their daily life. She observed that American woman can be very deprived to what she calls true pleasure, which is the pleasure that keeps on giving, feels good and you don’t feel guilty about. It is the pleasure that doesn’t take away from your health but adds to it. For example, a true pleasure would be to sit down and indulge in a beautiful piece of chocolate, going for a massage or sitting by a fire reading a book. False pleasure is sitting and eating three candy bars. It may taste good, but you end up feeling guilty and less energized. That’s one of the things she learned from the Parisian women, which is how to engage in true pleasure that adds to the quality of life.
Can you tell us about the difference in their culture that you have observed?
Most of us are raised with a philosophy of all work and no play, whereas the French culture put pleasure first. They work to live, and not live to work. The other thing she learned is that they really enjoyed their bodies. The French culture embrace sensuality, pleasure and their body. The body is not something to be to hide and to be ashamed of but it’s something to enjoy and to be proud of.
How learning about all of this influenced you as a Mother?
She gave her daughter full permission when she was little to enjoy her body. They had very open conversations around sexuality and sensuality. It was something that she didn’t want her daughter to be ashamed of. She wanted her to feel supported, protected and to be smart. It was very different than the upbringing Tonya herself received, and she thinks that such upbringing is very healthy as her daughter is quite open to her.
What something that you do to cultivate the feelings that you want to embody?
One of her major practices is celebrating everything, all the time, even when it’s challenging. She is a big believer in celebrating life. At any given moment, you can either look at problems, or you can look at possibilities. Through celebrating life, she is living more in a state of possibility than she ever has. It’s like an improv, where someone hands you a story and you have to take it and run with it, without arguing it. That’s for her what celebration is about.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Her mother, a strong and amazing woman, always had this mindset and would say, “Watch me”, and lived up to it.
Tell us how can we get in touch with you?
You can connect with her through her website http://www.tonyaleigh.com. They have a free community called French Kiss Live Club, and a private Facebook group, which is about celebrating being a woman and embracing life. You can join the club by heading to http://www.tonyaleigh.com/anna
Kate Northrup supports ambitious, motivated and successful women to light up the world without burning themselves out in the process. Committed to empowering women entrepreneurs to create their most successful businesses while navigating motherhood, Kate is the founder and CEO of Origin Collective, a monthly membership site where women all over the world gather to achieve more while doing less. She is also the author of Money: A Love Story, Untangle Your Financial Woes and Create The Life You Really Want (Hay House, 2013). Kate and her work have been featured on The Today Show, Yahoo! Finance, The Huffington Post, Refinery29.com, and in Glamour, Red, Prima Magazine, Soul & Spirit, and more.
How becoming a mother changed you and impacted your work?
Becoming a mother has made her humble. It radically changed her perspective about the world and continues to teach her the significance of surrendering and allowing things to happen as they are going to happen as opposed to trying to get them happen the way you want them to happen. After becoming a mother, she was a little lost work wise. Her book, Money: A Love Story, came out in 2013. She loves her book, and it helped a lot of people. But as soon as the book came out she knew that talking about money was not her life’s work. She acknowledges that the first year of motherhood has taught her much about entrepreneurship, about slowing down and following the natural rhythm of nature and our bodies in our creative work. Becoming a mother helped her to discover what she is meant here to do, which for her is working with entrepreneurial moms.
How do you view your first book now?
She speaks more about time now. She used to be obsessed with productivity but has realized in the last few years that the point of life is not to put as much in our day as we possibly can. Many similarities can be seen between the way our culture has poverty mentality around time, and the way so many of us have poverty mentality around money. She used to speak about money, but now she is beginning to explore how that’s true with time as well, like how we can actually expand time and create abundance in our relationships. That is a new frontier for her and what she has been teaching about lately, just as she used to talk about money.
Time and money are the two biggest mental obstacles the people face, and you have touched both of those topics and explored it in terms of abundance perspective as oppose to lack perspective. Can you tell us more about it?
She says that each of our lives has limits, but within those limits, we can expand things through the way we perceive them. The theory of relativity shows that how fast the things go is relative to the observer. Because of that, the same amount of time spent enjoying the things we cherish will appear a lot more different then the time spent worrying over something. Our experience of time can shift based on what we are doing. Perspective changes everything, and just as our perspective around money, our experience of an abundance of time can change profoundly based on our perception. Seeing people that have too little but they are still in content with their lives can change our perspective a lot.
What’s your take on culture, how we are changing as woman entrepreneurs?
We are a part of our culture, and because of that, we can change it. We have been brought up to believe that growth is about addition, it is about adding more knowledge, watching more videos, attending more seminars. In reality, as her friend Danielle LaPorte once said, growth is about deconstruction. It’s about removing the layers and seeing what you truly are when you take it all away. Your experience of life should be based on your internal experiences and not around chasing the external factors. When Danielle LaPorte, after her recent book launch, couldn’t make it to the New York’s Time list, she was devastated and realized how much success is taking up too much space in her life. So, the lesson here is that it’s ok to slow down from time to time. What matters the most is how you feel about yourself at the end of your day.
Why do you think women, in particular, are great entrepreneurs when they become moms?
The entrepreneurial journey is incredibly similar to the motherhood journey because nobody is telling you how to do it. You have to be innovative and think on your feet. Mothers are intuitively good in that, so they tend to be more successful when they step into entrepreneurship.
The other things mothers are good at is that they are wired to be aware of multiple things at the same time, like what’s going on with everyone in the room, how they are all feeling and how can we come up with a solution that could serve every single person, which matters are a lot when you are an entrepreneur.
Let’s start talking about Cycles and what Origin is really about?
Origin is her membership for mom entrepreneurs or nurturers. It’s for women who are innovative and willing to work outside the system. They are associated with nurturers, whether they are caring for the community, their children or other loved ones. She wanted to create a space for women to come together and talk about the ways they can grow their business and thrive as mothers without just working harder. The culture has taught us that the only way to succeed is to work harder, which is not exactly true. Sometimes the harder we work the more we are making it worse. She suggests that we should take inspiration from mother nature instead. Just as there are four distinct seasons, there are four distinct seasons for a woman throughout the month. Women are most productive when they acknowledge all these four different energies, and begin to plan their time and projects accordingly.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Read your baby not a book.
How can we get in touch with you?
You can find her work on katenorthrup.com.
If you are interested learning more about Origin you can go to origincollective.com.
She is also active on Instagram (@katenorthrup)
Racheal Cook is an award-winning business strategist who believes entrepreneurship doesn’t have to be so complicated. Through her signature online mastermind Sweet Spot Strategy, she helps women entrepreneurs to simplify business and amplify results by designing a business around what works best, for you. A sought-after speaker on entrepreneurship, marketing, and productivity, Racheal’s work has been featured on US Chamber of Commerce, Female Entrepreneur Association, Smart Passive Income, and more. She’s also the author of the Amazon Bestseller books Fired Up & Focused and Your Business Sweet Spot.
You talk a lot about designing your business around your lifestyle and about finding your business sweet spot. What is your sweet spot and how did you find your business sweet spot?
There are so many people who are making things too much difficult for themselves. In her view, we don’t need to make it hard on yourself, and that’s where our sweet spot comes in. Your sweet spot is where your strengths and passion meets the people you are here to help and when you tap into that, suddenly things become easier because you are working in your zone of genius. She started to realize that not everybody is a natural planner the way she is because it is her zone of genius. She also worked the hard way for quite a while but once she started listening to people she realized that the biggest roadblock they are having is the one she could easily remove because it was crystal clear to her what needed to happen, and chances are that’s where your sweet spot lies too.
You mentioned that your sweet spot comes naturally to you and can easily be overlooked because you don’t think much of it. Then there is the question of turning that into a business. What do you think about that?
In her opinion, you can turn almost anything into a business. One other thing she points out that something that is your zone of genius might not be the exact thing you are monetizing but it could just be helping you create a business. Over thousands of businesses, she started to see patterns with her students. The way she operated was different the way other people operate. The challenge of being a teacher is figuring out how do you make everything make sense to different people. She started to see her students are all sort of falling into four groups; the Maker, the Maven, the Mentor and the Mastermind. The Maker are the people who get things done. People hire them because they know that that’s the best way to get the end result. You can teach someone how to cook but they’ll never be as good as your personal chef sitting there doing it. Then there is the Maven. These are the people we all look up to. They build bigger platforms and are the spark that gets people excited and fired up. The Mentor work more intimately and closely with their clients and they tend to be like their personal cheerleaders to get them through the finish line. The Mastermind, which is her personal sweet spot, take in all the information and figure out how to break it down into systems and find out ways they can teach others how to achieve their goal.
What happened when you started working in your sweet spot?
She stopped fighting the thought process she had. She is more of a strategist and once she realized that, she stopped regretting her decisions. The best part of leaning into her natural strengths is that it simplified a lot of decision making, quickly realizing if something is a good fit or not.
When you were a little girl, was it apparent that you are a great planner? Does it make sense looking back?
The skills she applies today were apparent from early on. It’s very apparent going back to middle school, when she wanted to be a professional musician, and all the things that she wanted to do are super related to what she is doing now. She’s always able to stay super focused, which goes back to her practice sessions playing French horn, in a four-by-four foot room, three hours at a time. So, a lot of the skills she learned then are very applicable.
Once you got the MBA what did you do?
Like a lot of her peers, she went into financial consulting, specializing in small businesses. These businesses were all kinds of different industries making millions of dollars. The people were great, but they don’t have much passion for what they were doing. She quickly burned out on that. She was thinking of taking a leave of absence, that’s when her yoga teacher approached her and asked if she could help with her year-old yoga studio. She realized that there may be smaller businesses that she could work with and that opened a whole new world for her. That was her journey from traditional consulting with businesses that she wasn’t excited about to talking to all these amazing entrepreneurs who were really on a mission themselves.
I feel like If I didn’t have a strong connection with my purpose of helping others then I am not sure if I would have continued my business once I had a kid. So, what’s your experience with connecting with your purpose?
She knows that she always wanted to have both business and family side by side. What she loves the most is working with women. She loves seeing and creating this new wave of women entrepreneurs who don’t have to sacrifice. They are making a whole new generation of businesses that are going to change the way women are going to work. The fact that she has a team of these amazing women who are also full-time moms behind the scenes just makes her incredibly happy.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Create a life not just living. It’s important to make time for the things that matter you the most. For her, she always knew that she has to put herself first, which means taking care of her health and well-being.
And any action steps that you like to include in the end?
If you are intrigued by the idea of your business sweet spot then head over to rachealcook.com/quiz. There is a free quiz to help you discover your business sweet spot theme and when you complete the quiz there is a little guide that gives some insight into the best marketing and business design strategies for your particular sweet spot.
How can we get in touch with you?
Podcast: Uncomplicate Your Business
Find Your Sweet Spot Quiz: rachealcook.com/quiz
Jess Dart a certified nutrition coach with a Masters degree in nutrition. She is a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified personal trainer and have been working with clients to improve their health for 15 years. She knows how to get you results and she also understands that we are human. Jess believes you need only a few hours of focused exercise per week, no need to workout for hours every day.
How did you get into fitness and nutrition, and become so passionate about it?
She studied Bio behavioral Health in college and had always been curious about why people think and operate the way they do. She loved her bio behavioral health classes because of her interest in biology, psychology, sociology, getting into yoga and going to the gym. After she graduated, she got more immersed with her gym community, started her blog and was doing Ashtanga almost every day. People started to seek her advice and help, which made her realize that she can make a career in fitness and nutrition. She got her certification in 2003. Later she moved to New York to learn from the best, where she landed her first position in Equinox as a personal trainer in 2004.
How do you guide someone to get a Healthy Plan in place for their nutrition and exercise?
She acknowledges that there is so much information about health out there that it can overwhelming. To plan for nutrition, start by asking a lot of questions, such as what you used to eat when you were a kid. Realize that everyone is different, what works for some may not work for others. Some do great by exercising alone, while others will never exercise unless they do it with a group. Obviously, neither one is better than the other, you just need to figure out what works best for you. Learn to listen to your intuition, which takes time and practice. Often, we just eat to eat, not tasting our food or thinking about the experience. Make a habit of intuitive eating, tasting the food and enjoying the experience of eating. In her view, there is no bad food, eat what tastes good, and what feels good.
Can you give us a sample workout for someone who doesn’t have much time?
She suggests 4 exercises. Set your timer for 25 minutes.
Do 10 squats
15 jumping jacks
10 alternating back lunges.
Let your heart rate get back to normal, and then start again. Keep track of how many times you can go through the circuit. Once the timer goes off you are done. You can do this work out three times a week. Try to get one more set in the last workout.
Is it 80% nutrition and 20% exercise? What’s your take on that percentage in terms of getting actual results?
Nutrition plays such a huge role in her view. Whether your goal is to lose weight, train for a marathon or for an intense CrossFit competition, nutrition is always going to be a bigger component. The exercise component can be thought of as a support to nutrition.
What’s the biggest takeaway from your fitness school?
Eat vegetables, a lot of them and of varying colors. Dark leafy greens are the best. Also drink a lot a water, half of your body weight in ounces, or more if you are consuming caffeinated or alcoholic beverages. Tune into what you feel like eating, what will make you happy and satisfied, whether it’s a breakfast food or lunch food or dinner food. So, in her opinion, keep an open mind regarding food and tune into what you are hungry for.
What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Her co-manager used to say that “Don’t worry about the other person, you just worry about you”. Don’t worry about what anybody else is doing, focus on your goal and your strategy to achieve that goal, and put all your energy in that because you are only wasting energy worrying about what everybody else is doing.
The other advice which stayed with her was from her father, who once said, “You will figure it out, Jess, you will figure it out”, by which he meant to have faith in herself.
Tell us how can we get in touch with you?