Leveraging Transferable Skills to Leave Higher Education

Leveraging Transferable Skills to Leave Higher Education

Leveraging Transferable Skills to Leave Higher Education

Leveraging Transferable Skills to Leave Higher Education

This episode is all about how my client Christie left higher education for customer success, and it’s a great listen for folks who are trying to discover their transferable skills, wanting to leave higher ed, or considering a move into customer success.

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They weaponize altruism, and they take advantage of how much you care. It’s a cycle intended to keep you stuck because they need you to stay. Those two things together, plus the constant belittling of your expertise AND they stop you from being able to be successful.

Join your host Cristin Downs and today’s guest Christie Nadratowski as they discuss Christie’s journey from higher education to ed tech, and then into her current career in customer success. They explore the various paths into higher education, the skills needed to move from a manager role into a director role, and how Cristin’s coaching helped Christie realize that her skills are valuable outside of higher education. Learn how to make the most of your transferable skills and get tips on transitioning from higher ed to industry.

In specifics we talk about:

  • How Christie got started in higher education to begin with
  • What drove her departure from the industry
  • Both our thoughts on what drives the toxicity in higher education
  • How and what we identified as Christie’s transferable skills
  • How coaching can help work through some of emotions one experiences related to their own self worth and work
  • What working in customer success involves
  • The difference between customer success manager and director roles
  • Christie’s tips for how to go about pivoting

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Cristin: [00:00:00] Hello. Hello everyone. I’m very excited for this conversation today. I am talking to Christie Nadratowski. Christie is a wonderful, wonderful human. We worked together many moons ago at a higher ed establishment, in New York City that I won’t name just to be on the safe side. And then we both went off in different directions and then Christie came back and she, I’m gonna say single-handedly launched my coaching business. She is amazing. I am absolutely her biggest fan, and she’s been such a gift to my life and I owe her so much. And so I asked her to come and talk to me today about her transition and how she moved. She took a path from higher education to ed [00:01:00] tech higher education we could say before moving into her current career in customer success where she has worked with SAS and tech companies. So I wanted to talk to her today about her journey. How she got started in higher ed, how she decided that it was time to move out of it what she currently does.

So this is a great episode for you to listen to if you too, are thinking about changing careers especially if you’re thinking about pivoting out of higher education, and also if you’re interested in customer success. Christie, thank you so much for joining me today. 

Christie: Hey, Cristin. Thanks for that lovely introduction.

Cristin and I often debate who actually started her business and it’s her and she just offered the exact right thing that I needed at that moment for me to be your first official client. Is that how that happened? 

Cristin: I, I would say I, I have certainly, I had been coaching people to pivot for [00:02:00] probably, I’m gonna say maybe eight to 10 years before I worked with you, but always for.

And for fun, question mark. I dunno if it’s fun, but it was just something that I did because people asked for my help. And I had done coaching sessions before with people, Christie came to me with both the need for coaching and also for the need of the process. I had never worked with someone.

In that capacity, the two together. And so I hadn’t even contemplated they couldn’t be done together until, until Christie, and then of course she had great success and she told people about it, which is very rare. A lot of times people work with me and they have success and they don’t tell anybody about how it happened.

So very, very rare for people to get wonderful brand ambassadors like Christie, who are willing to tell people about the process that they went through. So that’s why I thought she’d be so much fun to talk to today. [00:03:00] Christie, let’s start maybe. at the beginning of the beginning, which is how did you first move into higher ed?

Christie: So I have two degrees. One is an opera and the other is an African-American literature. And what do you do with those things was what I was being asked by everyone, my parents, my family, my friends, and I happened to be doing a local theater show with someone who worked in higher education. and she was just like, everything about you screams higher ed.

So I know that you’re like temping right now, figuring out what you wanna do because I had been in sales cuz that’s typically, I think what happens is people get caught up in sales because sales recruiters target people who are just out of college like extensively. So I had been targeted and I had been in two different sales roles and I wasn’t really thrilled about them.

It’s really. Not my thing to be direct sales. I had been talking [00:04:00] to this woman, her name’s Bridget, and she was working at St. Thomas Aquinas and she was just like, everything about you screams higher ed. And I was like, oh cool. So I was working for a temp agency and I was like, Hey, can I look at temp a, like temporals in higher ed?

And I ended up getting invited to interview for the institution that Cristin and I ended up working at together. And I really liked the area I was put in, which was student success. And I ended up getting a job there about six months later as a student success advisor.

And that was great because I didn’t need to have a master’s degree for that position. For like academic advisor roles. You needed a master’s degree. But I also didn’t have to start in a. cause that’s typically where people start and that is a sales role, admissions. So I got to skip that low entry salary sales gig and jump right to a middle-ish education role that also did not require a master’s degree.

I loved what I was doing. I was [00:05:00] getting students coming to me who had issues with staying at the university. They were struggling financially or academically, and I was helping direct them to resources like an ombudsman would. But we had no official ombudsman at that institution that I knew about or that anyone else knew about.

So students would get sent to me and then I would interview them often. and we would talk about what was going on, what problems they were having, and I was helping them find resources. I was also collecting a lot of data because I do really like data. I’m a data nerd. And over the course of four years, I think in the end I had talked to 600 students and had made two or three pretty substantial policy changes within the institution.

Two of those being in the financial aid realm. And that was something I was like really, really proud. . I did end up eventually getting promoted to an online academic advisor role again without a master’s degree, even though I was enrolled [00:06:00] in a master’s program which was very unusual. But I did not love the structure of how that program was set up.

There were too many cooks in the kitchen at the executive level. and the way that they had wanted me to perform the job was just not practical. So I started looking around. Still wanted to stay in education because, and I still believe this education really is, in my opinion, one of the great equalizers.

As we’ve grown through a pandemic and all of these other, , I don’t think formal education is necessarily the root anymore, but at the time I did wanna stay in education. So I ended up applying to jobs in Europe and I did get hired to work at a company that did education partnerships.

It was called Into University Partnerships. And I was over there for two years as a director of student support. And the reason that was a unique role was. In the UK they have [00:07:00] about 460 institutions and they are no more than 20 miles from like any town center. So they have a ton of of colleges to pick from.

And online ed was like really new. This was 20 15, 20 16. So not that long ago. Online education was still very new for the uk and they did not know what they were doing unless you worked at the Open University. So Intu was trying to expand into this online learning space, and they needed to understand how to manage students remotely.

So that’s where I came in because I had been, my master’s degree was in online learning, was work that I was working on. And then I had also been running an online program at that institution in the US as an academic advisor. So then I came back after Brexit, worked at a for-profit institu. and that is when I needed, I learned I needed to break up with education because I had never worked at a for-profit institution before and [00:08:00] it was not for me.

It was very expensive for the quality of education that those students were receiving. And it’s in the name, it was for-profit. There was a focus on making. Off of them at every turn. And that to me was not what education was about. That remains not what education is about for me. I firmly believe education should be public and free.

We pay taxes, so there you go. But that was the impetus for me changing to ed tech and I did that for a couple of years. . And then that was also a for-profit business though. And so ultimately that the business I had started working for got acquired by a larger ed tech company that is known in the space and that I did not like the way they worked.

They just were not in my opinion and solely my opinion, they were not the education leader that they made themselves out to. and it was still solely [00:09:00] driven by profit. So I couldn’t stay in education because again, I don’t believe that education should be for profit. So I was like I might as well go and look at other options.

And this is where Cristin enters my life again, as the person who literally rescued me from this terrible, awful situation that I had found myself in. I had been promised a promotion three times at this job, and that never came through. That was two times too money. I should have left after the first time.

That didn’t happen. But I needed someone like Cristin to help empower me in my own thought process about it. And I was also just frustrated with the mindset of the majority of the people that I worked with. So I was ready to go and I was complaining and Cristin was like, Hey, let’s talk about it.

And then we did. And I was like, I wanna hire you. and Kristen was like, I need a minute to work up a package. Hang on. Minute . So that’s how, that’s sort of the, the [00:10:00] brief story about how I came to where I, I came to be, to working with Cristin in a very successful and very helpful way. 

Cristin: So for listeners, I just wanna draw on some threads or maybe pull some threads together.

Christie mentioned working at Student Success, and I believe that was with more traditional students, is that. . 

Christie: Yes. I was working in the ed tech space with non-traditional as well. Yeah. But I also did work with traditional students. 

Cristin: So when you started student success, traditional, then you did academic.

And I know advisors often do emotional addition to academic as well as more traditional student success. But that was with non-traditional students also. 


Christie: And then, into in the uk Traditional and non-traditional or actually, yeah, both. It was a lot of e ESL students, so people who [00:11:00] wanted to go and take, get their university degrees in the uk but didn’t have high enough language skills.

That was one population we focused on. And then the other population was master’s degree students, traditional master’s degree students at the University of Newcastle. , the London School of Economics and a few other places. 

Cristin: Got it. And that role was student support. Then you worked at your first for-profit and and the reason I, I’m trying to draw all these together is because I would say the most common, there’s two common paths in higher ed in my experience, which is either one, I have been at the same place for 150 years, right?

So people who. Clearly not, but I definitely talk to people on the regular who have been at their institutions for 23, 25, 27 years and, work their way up. Their graduate degrees are in whatever it is their specialty is, right? That they work on in their institution. Typically they’ve hit the [00:12:00] highest role that they can have with in their field.

So there isn’t a VP of international education or something like that, or student success usually comes under enrollment. And those people, they’ve usually had their positions for a long time and they’re not going anywhere. And if you were gonna get them, usually you have to eventually get a PhD.

And a lot of roles in higher ed that are in the administration side come from faculty. So faculty descend up the ranks to become a higher level administrator rather than administrators becoming administrators, right? Yes. They, they kind reach a point where they can’t get any higher. Or the other side is similar to Christie, which is they’ve done a lot of stuff.

They’ve worked at different types of institutions at different types of programs different types of students. and they, they’ve been, they’ve been doing this for a bit, right? So Christie clearly has a plethora of higher education experience in the [00:13:00] academic and student success avenues, and she talked about support.

she talked about interviewing them and just highlighting these things, right? She interviewed the students to find out what was going on with them so she could help solve their problems so she could make large scale improvements to the institution that would help the customer. The student who is a customer, right?

Although of course

Christie: that’s the c word of higher ed. Yes. Customer. 

Cristin: Customer, and clearly. Both Christie and I are in agreement that education is life changing and that it should not be monetized . That it is highly valuable, but it is not something that people should be building empires through and on the backs of, of people who can.

Move ahead unless they have this education. So I just [00:14:00] wanted to say all that because it, those are the sort of skills that make most people in higher education really pivotable. because you do everything . You do so much, and it’s so hard because higher education, so much of the ability for these institutions to keep their staff is to act like they don’t do anything.

You’re lucky to have a job. You’re lucky we keep you because 

Christie: altruism also. 

Cristin: Yes, absolutely. 

And as a and I, I oh. Yeah. I want, I, we could get to that. We should get to that separat. But cause of that, a lot of times when people come to me, they say, I really wanna leave, but I just have no other skills. No other talents. 

Christie: said that to you. I literally said to you, Cristin, I don’t know what else I can do with my master’s degree in online education. I also did have the benefit of it having the word leadership thrown in there and that title, [00:15:00] but that’s not Leadership degrees are bull. And so my degree was higher education, leadership and administration with a concentration in online learning.

So it was like bullshit on top of bullshit, on top of bullshit . So I was like, Cristin, what do I do with this triplicate of bullshit degrees? And you were like let’s not talk about just the degree, because that’s not the only thing you’ve done was get a degree. You have done all of these other things and you have all of these other skillset. that I think are really pivotable, and I was like, tell me more, please. . 

Cristin: Yes, exactly. This is a conversation I have with so many people. And so for, for Christie, she had worked with the entities client, a k A, the people that pay the entity to continue to exist. So she had worked with those people, she had helped ’em with their problems. The way the higher ed thinks about it is it, it has academic success is how are you doing in your classes? And [00:16:00] then student success is everything else. Financially, emotionally, psychologically. Do you have support systems as a first generation student? , racially and ethnically and religiously.

All of those sort of things can co come into the whole realm of student success. So basically it’s academic and everything else. Student success. So Chrissy had experiences both of those sides of the house, if you will, with the client. She had instituted processes to help these folks. She had. implemented large scaled change management within the organization to better serve the folks that pay to keep the organization afloat.

And all of those skills are highly pivotable to other types of industries. And so those are the things that we focused on to make the switch. , [00:17:00] the first thing we mentioned was that higher education institutions are often, I often describe it as an abusive relationship where you know the abusers like, you’re not pretty, nobody else is gonna like you, not gonna deal with your weird of the laugh or whatever.

Obviously it’s way more horrible than that. But essentially higher education, that’s what they do. They tell their staff. You’re lucky to have a job. You should feel lucky that we let you be here, there’s a, a joke , in higher ed you get a, a staffer teaching award in May and told your possible layoff is coming in June. That’s just like the regular thing that happens. So there’s a lot of feedback that you’re getting from your institution that says you don’t matter.

And then there’s the weaponized altruism, which is the idea the work that you do for these students is so important. [00:18:00] You matter so much. Everything is such a big deal that you can’t take vacation. You have to be in on Saturday. We can’t pay you more because we would be taking money from the children if we did pay you more, right?

And all of those things. And so they, they weaponize altruism and they take advantage of how much you. and it’s it’s a cycle intended to keep you stuck. Yeah. Because they need you to stay. So those two things together, the constant belittling of your expertise and, they stop you from being able to be successful. They’ll say, gosh, we have this great new project we’d like you to take on, but we’re also gonna lay off three of your staff. We’re gonna cut your budget by half and we’re gonna double the goals you have to hit for this project. Good luck. 

Christie: Right. And then when you, it gets to your performance review where you’ve actually accomplished all of those [00:19:00] things, they refuse to give you anything above met expectations because that’s how they belittle the work that you have done and the work, the extra work you’ve put in to make sure that things went well for the people you do care about, who are your students. Yes. 

So everything that you’ve put into that one project that was intended to help students only meets expectations after all of your resources have been taken away from you. Yes. And that is so ultimately damaging. to you as not only like an employee but a person. And when you get, when you end up on top of it, working for a place that only values money like the for-profit institution I ended up at that was just like, oh my God, I can’t emotionally deal with this.

It’s, this violates all my morals, all of my ethics. . I am a person who’s a people pleaser and I can’t please these people. [00:20:00] Mm-hmm. , by the way, if you have a people pleaser personality in higher ed, this is probably you. 

Cristin: Yeah. And I think other types that I tend to attract higher ed is the Type A, mm-hmm. Folks people with poor boundaries. You and I have talked about this before, extensively. Yes. Yeah. I don’t, I don’t know why , we both hide under our desks. But you could see how people who really, really want to please, who can’t say no. and need everything to be right, have a really hard time in higher education, but also why higher education wouldn’t want them so much.

Now of course we’re talking about a system, higher education as a system. We’re not talking about individual schools, we’re not talking about individual people. We’re talking about a system that unfortunately has reached a point where as the norm, it takes advantage of and abuses its employees.

Christie: And I [00:21:00] can say that because I’ve worked at multiple different places so that I can confirm to be correct systemically and in all different kinds of environments and not-for-profit and non-profit, and a few different for-profit entities all behaved the same way to varying degrees of abusiveness, but it was all toxic and abusive and that’s.

I think if you’re thinking about talking to Cristin about pivoting, you should absolutely do it because there’s also a wool over your eyes effect that’s completely intentional, where they are manipulating you into feeling badly about the good work you are, the actually good work that you are doing. And then they are rewarding the sort of shady, crummy things that people are doing retain higher profit margins for their institution. Mm-hmm. . So you might be having [00:22:00] conflicting feelings because you love education and you love the the positive things that you’ve gotten to do for people that you know in your heart are positive, but that have been diminished by your administration or by the system you’re working in.

And you can do those things elsewhere. You don’t have to do them just in higher education. It really is just a perspective change, and I think probably the most effective part of the coaching combo that I got out of Cristin was that we had these real conversations and she was able to reinforce that yes, my feelings are correct.

The gas lighting that higher ed does about the actual positive things you’ve contributed is wrong. The fact that you’ve helped people is not to be diminished because helping people is a skill that’s not just something that anyone can do caring enough to go that extra mile is a skillset, and it’s something that unfortunately [00:23:00] is historically associated with women in educational roles, and I’m talking K through 12. all the way up through, higher ed and executive education, non-traditional ed. All of this is, very historically denigrated as a female skill, but it is still a skill and it’s, the culture is changing around those skill sets. One of the things that Cristin and I talked about was that soft skills are actually something education not education, but business leaders are looking for, because there’s too many people who don’t have the ability to get along with or care about the jobs that they are doing. And so those skills that you get from higher ed, that higher ed inherently diminishes are actually very necessary and profitable skills outside of that sphere.

And she’s turned out to be extremely correct. . That’s something that what , who knew that Cristin would be right about that. But it’s something that, [00:24:00] when I first started talking to her was something I did not feel at all. I did not believe that I had a, a skillset. I kept saying things like I’m just a nice person and yes.

And now I describe myself as a professionally nice person. But there’s a career path there. And it’s not, it’s, it’s not just being a nice person, but it is you. . That’s the inherent role that a lot of people play in higher ed, that they’re doing all these extra things, that they’re caring so much about their students and their institution and they’re not getting rewarded financially or otherwise for, and there is a, there is a skillset there that you can shift into other industries that other industries desperately.

Cristin: And I just wanna say that not only are they not rewarded, but they’re often penalized, right? So if you if you hit your targets with the, they say, oh, if you hit your targets, then we’ll give you a staff person back, or, we’ll, we will give you some budget back, or whatever. We just need [00:25:00] you to hit the targets this year.

And so you hit your targets and they say, that’s great. We’re gonna double ’em, . And then you don’t get that person back and you don’t get the money. , they want you to do twice as much with less people and money. So now what have you, what’s the reward? A k A, the penalty more work, right? Yeah. You haven’t more work, so you, you worked until you didn’t see your family.

They don’t remember who you are. You haven’t been to one of your child’s events, you haven’t gone to some people’s birthday parties or whatever, and you did all that in the hopes that you. do well for your students and hit the goals they set out for you. And then, oh, guess what? You get to do it again next year, but twice as much, right? So you get penalized, more work, less money, less help over and over and over again. 

Now, you talked a little bit about this, but I would love for you to think back on the time when you had made the decision. [00:26:00] that something had to give, that you had to make a different choice. So can you reflect back on that and what, what was going on with you at that point where you said, okay, it’s time.

Christie: So I think what, when, when we first started talking, had the pandemic hit at that point yet? It had, it had hit, okay, so the pandemic hit and then my dog passed away. and then I was like I don’t, nothing about this feels good anymore. Nothing felt good though. So I was like, is this just the grief of, of losing things, like the pandemic, we all lost our social lives.

The only thing we were allowed to do was work. So when your whole focus is work, it’s gonna feel. and then my dog died. So that was a different kind of grief and I was like, okay, maybe, [00:27:00] maybe this is, just grief. But as time wore on and as I was able to, reevaluate those feelings, it wasn’t just those things, it was that those things made the work stress and the work feelings intolerable.

 And there was, while my colleagues were compassionate about those, those two things, the business wasn’t, the business was not compassionate and that felt really bad because I was a top performer at my job. I was the best armchair therapist you could ask for. I protect. My institution and the business that they were partnered with, and I wasn’t being taken seriously at work.

Now, actually, it turns out I was being taken so seriously that they were keeping me in a position where I was in their mind, effortlessly running [00:28:00] everything. So this is over performance locking me in a role that there was no escape from. , but I didn’t realize that until much, much later when I ended up, when I did end up leaving and they had to hire multiple people to cover for me.

So it ended up being a situation where my, the work outside of work was feeling very overwhelming and distressing, and it allowed me to reevaluate what was a tolerable feeling. and work was the top intolerable feeling in my life, unfortunately. It was really depressing. It was really, really depressing because I, I loved higher ed.

I loved what I did for students. I loved all of that altruism that they punish you for. I really loved doing so. This was a really challenging thing for me, and I was very lucky and grateful to have someone who understood it in that very [00:29:00] specific way that Cristin has lived through herself that you don’t often get from people who don’t understand the industry.

So that was a very, very helpful thing. And I am someone who has no boundaries as we’ve mentioned before already. And so it was, it was excellent. I needed that valid. From someone at the time who had lived through similar things at in for, in my case, the same institution. So I was a little, I was ungaslit by Cristin, which was very, very helpful and was necessary for me to make this transition that I ended up making and to clarify the skillset that I bring to the table to help me see my value outside of education. So I came to that point though through some really unfortunate things happening in my life. And I think a lot of people end up wanting to pivot [00:30:00] when it’s not just about work. When it’s about other things and work becomes toler. 

Yeah, I think that that is very true for a lot of folks. 

Cristin: And “I was ungaslit by Cristin” is definitely a t-shirt. I’m gonna design and definitely put in my new online shop, which by the way, everyone listening, I do not have an online shop. I’m just joking. But I think that would be delightful now when Christie and I worked together based on her amazing skillset. I felt like she had many transferrable skills that could work across different role types in different industries. And we did test several ideas before we found that we seem to be having the most success with customer success. So can you tell us a little bit about once someone in customer Success does?

Christie: Sure. So customer. Uh, Is a little [00:31:00] amorphous when you’re just looking at it from the outside. But it has been around as an and as an official industry for probably 10 to 20 years, although it is finally gaining the popularity and recognition it deserves in the business sphere. Someone who is in customer success needs to be a caring just from the get go. You’re not gonna be successful in this role if you don’t care about other people. There are plenty of other things you can do if you don’t care about other people. Customer success is definitely not one of them. You have to be very emotionally intelligent about yourself, about other people.

If you can read a room when you walk in it and you can interact with people in a way that makes them feel. That is definitely a good skillset to have and that’s something that I think almost everyone who has worked in higher ed has had the opportunity to, to work on because you’re de it’s demanded of you that you do that.

So coming from higher ed in general, you’re probably a good fit for those two things. The other thing, is being able to [00:32:00] deescalate situations. That’s an important skillset because no matter what industry you’re in, if you’re working with clients, you will occasionally have be having to deal with angry people.

And in higher ed, that’s all the time. Students are mad about things all the time. You’re probably dealing with them angry a lot. That’s okay. That’s actually a good thing to build upon. Like I said, in in any industry, you’re gonna run into people who are mad about things. And then the hard skills you need are sort of organization follow through, follow up skills, communication skills, that you should be a, a decent writer and you should be a decent communicator using your words verbally or otherwise.

And it helps if you have a background in any way. So if you have done any kind of research, which if you’re coming from higher ed and you have a master’s degree, you’ve had to do synthesization of different sort of seemingly [00:33:00] unrelated ideas is very common in higher ed. That’s another thing that businesses really need out of their customer success manager because you represent the customer in conversations in.

So you need to be able to synthesize what the customer experience is, where the roadblocks are, how frequently something is happening and theoretically, hypothetically have a solution in mind that can be a jumping off point for. The, the institution that you’re working for to build off of. So if that sounds like you, you would make a great customer success manager.

Former teachers are great at this. Former bartenders are great at this. Anyone who’s worked in food service. Is probably going to be a good fit for something like this. And especially I love, especially hiring people who came from that success side of the house or even academic advisor side of the house in a traditional education environment.

But anyone who’s had to manage a student caseload would be an excellent fit because [00:34:00] you are noticing all of those things and working toward making those changes in higher education, all the excellent. 

Cristin: Really well said and described. Now, there are one of the role types that I’ve worked with within customer success is getting people to become customer success managers. But with you, we went to the director side, director of customer success. So what are your thoughts about anyone who’s listening, what would make them a good fit to pivot into a director role instead of a C S M? 

Christie: So the director role requires a little bit more of that research analysis and data categorization skillset. So if you are good at, especially qualitative data and taking qualitative data and turning it into something quantitative, you’re gonna be a good fit for a director. You need management skills. Management skills are always helpful when you’re in a director role because you should. [00:35:00] Directing people that’s in the, inherently in the title.

Being willing to see and take on projects that the institution or the business does not even know that it needs, that is something that will make you an excellent director. So if you’re a customer success manager or a student success manager and you wanna move into a director role, being able to demonst.

That you have done things that were not directed of you for the benefit of the business just because you saw the inherent need, that’s an extremely valuable skill. And then thinking outside of the box I think is one thing that’s really underrated. But coming from a different industry and then moving into business customer success, I think higher ed folks are definitely gonna be adding a different perspective that the industry needs because.

In higher ed, you always have to be thoughtful about how and why you’re doing things. Because of the aforementioned staff and budgeting cuts you have to be very intentional in a way that [00:36:00] businesses with money don’t always have to be. So you’re going to bring that skillset anyway. But I would say definitely the analytical and communication skills and management skills of a director set you apart from a, from a working member of a customer success manager.

Cristin: Awesome. Thank you. You made me think of one thing that I do wanna remember to say before we continue on, which is that for the most part, when business folks are interviewing, My clients who are coming from nonprofits or higher ed and then getting them onboarded. They they do this whole sort of, are you ready for this?

This is so different than what you have ever done, and you are going to be mind blown and you have to be really committed. And the higher ed people are okay, okay. Ready to see what’s gonna happen. And then they get the easiest day of their lives and they say, yes. Is any, is someone else sweating because there’s no sweating? It’s easy, right? Because [00:37:00] the amount of work that is required of you in higher ed is so much work that it will feel like you’ve taken on a part-time job. In comparison.

Christie: Literally, I don’t tell my boss, my current boss this, but I can on a weekly basis manage my client load in about 20 to 25 hours because. The also let me just, the one thing about switching over to business that everyone in higher ed is gonna love is that no one is screaming at you or crying at you. These are business me men generally I’m working with at the director level, but business people understand that even if they’re frustrated, they have to behave professionally.

And when you’re working with students, especially traditional aged students, their prefrontal cortex is absolutely not done growing. They are not good at making choices, and their choices are often emotional. So you’re doing all of this emotional labor on top of the actual work that you are being asked to do in higher ed.[00:38:00] 

And when you get to a business setting, the majority of that emotional labor goes away, and it is great. Have never had a client scream at me. Are they mad? Sure. Do I have to deescalate situations sometimes? Yeah, absolutely. But are they yelling at me while they’re mad? No. Are they crying? Absolutely not.

Are all of those things that are really for an empathetic person, really challenging to manage in a higher education workspace? Gone? Yeah, for the most part. It’s pretty great. And when you are used to emotionally regulating other people, and you don’t have to do that anymore. Your workload goes from 60 hours a week to 25.

So it, it definitely has been much healthier for me to be not in a higher education space from a mental health perspective as well. Oh, that’s wonderful. 

Cristin: So then the [00:39:00] question that kind of ties into both the idea of activity and the idea of the emotional labor is how would you say your life, and it can be your work life and your personal life changed. Like what’s the difference between what it was like before and what it’s like now? 

Christie: During the pandemic and after my dog died, I didn’t really wanna talk to or see pretty much anybody. I was also, far away from my friends because it was closer to my job, and then I got a primarily remote job.

Every once in a while I do have to go in to see clients or to the office. But it’s not that frequent, thankfully. And I was able to move closer to my friends and family, and now I, it’s the holiday season, but for the past three weeks I have been doing something almost every. with my friends and family, that has nothing to do with my job.

Very rarely do I have to get on a late night call. Very rarely do I have to work weekends. So I’ve gotten a significant amount of my [00:40:00] personal time back because I’m not having to chaperone a dance or do an activity late night with my students. 

Cristin: An info session or a class presentation or something like that.

Christie: Yeah. Or a faculty presentation. Mm-hmm. , where you’re presenting on why ADA is important and you can’t violate it because it’s illegal. . Yeah. Just as a, for example, that didn’t happen, right? You’re not having to go to conferences all weekend because conferences are during the week when you’re being asked to go to business Offsites.

That’s a pain. You’re asked to do that in higher education as well. Sometimes you have to go to these things and it takes up your whole weekend. So you’re working for 14 or 21 days straight, and that is not happening in my life anymore. So you get your personal time back you get the ability to [00:41:00] have your emotional labor spent on people who matter to you.

Overall, my life has improved tremendously from switching careers from higher ed to tech, which is what I’m in now. 

Cristin: Amazing. That’s it makes me so warm and fuzzy to hear all of this. So now for folks who are listening and they want, they wanna do it too, they’re pretty excited. Say, all right, Christie, this sounds fun. What tips would you have for folks who want to make a pivot? 

Christie: So this is gonna sound very much like Cristin paid me to say this, but I’m not being paid to say this. I just, as Cristin mentioned, I firmly believe in what she’s doing and how she’s doing it, and I will tout her services anywhere and everywhere I have an opportunity to.

But Cristin has a bunch of different packages, and I encourage you when she has space to book the highest package that she [00:42:00] has, because that’s what I did. Part of what had happened was like we had been working together and Cristin was asking me to do things like write my everything resume. And that took me, I think, what, like four weeks to get to you because it was such an emotional, like I was so burned out emotionally that I couldn’t even do anything positive for myself.

And I knew that this was gonna be positive, but I was like dreading sitting at my computer for any extra time and spending time on myself. , I spent everything I had on other people. So I, when I did finally get that together, then it was time for me to work with Kristen on my resume. So we did that, and then it was time for me to apply to jobs, and I was like, I can’t.

So every other meeting we’d have, Cristin would be like, how many jobs did you apply for? And I’d be like, none. None. I couldn’t do it. So we would sit on a session together and apply [00:43:00] for jobs together. And then one day Cristin was like, what if I did all of that for you? And I said, what is, what is, what does that look like?

Tell me what that looks like. And she was like, you have a resume. And as long as you don’t care what jobs I’m applying to for you, because I, we’ve done personality assessments, we’ve done skill assessments, we’ve done all of these things, and I have this beautiful document for you about you. What if you let me evaluate jobs for you and apply for them?

What if you let me write your cover? And it’s like a pretty generic one that I can give you. So if you see something you wanna apply for, you can. But what if I did all of that and I was like, what are you offering me, ? This is amazing. So I immediately jumped at that and honestly, Cristin carried me to safety on her back as she has done for many other people.

But she took all of that emotional labor for myself off my plate. And so I will say, could I afford? No, because I had bought a dating service that was $10,000. That was by the way, garbage. And when I [00:44:00] got a refund, I gave it all to Cristin . That was the whole thing. I took all of my money that I was supposed to send spend on a dating service that I could not have emotionally participated in any way and spent it on putting myself in a much better situation with Cristin.

It’s worth it. Everyone who has has done that high, highest package that Cristin has who I’ve talked has said it’s 100% worth it. So that’s my actually best advice is let Cristin do it for you. Also, I think it makes her life a little bit easier sometimes when you just let her do the applications for you and she just lets you know when you have an interview.

But if that’s not something you can afford, I would say the things that you need to do. Are, you have to put the work in you. It’s, it is work though, and you have to treat it like work. So if you have the luxury of carving out any time in your, in your actual workday to spend on yourself, even if it’s your lunch break, do it.

Spend that lunch break working on the tasks that Cristin [00:45:00] has set out for you and her very organized programs and her memberships. And just do what she tells you to do. If Cristin tells you to do something, it’s not because she wants to make your life harder, it’s cuz she wants to make your life easier.

So do that. Spending the time is worth it. Even when I had to do it and it was excruciating, it got Cristin and I to a place where she could just take everything off my plate and run with it. When she offers you a session to meet for interview, Also do that. That’s very necessary because sometimes, even if you’re great at interviewing, like I am great at interviewing, I will give myself that credit.

It is different. It’s a different interview than you’re used to in higher ed. It’s, it’s not as touchy-feely. As you’re used to, you do have to adjust some of your language so that it matches the, the industry you’re moving into. Take advantage of all of those services that Kristen does offer. Again, I know I sound [00:46:00] like a paid ad, but this is really what I went through with Cristin.

And at first I was a little resistant to the idea that I needed interview prep. And I did a couple of interviews and they went well, but they were. It’s the right fit for me anyway. And then I got this interview for the job that I ended up taking, which is the one I’m in right now. And I did the interview prep with Kristen because I knew I really wanted it and they were gonna pay me what I was worth.

And I ended up getting a $60,000 raise. So that was awesome. Could I have gotten the job without the interview prep? Maybe did I feel so much more secure going into that interview? Because I had done that with Cristin. Absolutely. So that’s another thing, do interview, prep study your industry that you’re looking to go into.

If you’re interviewing for customer success jobs there’s a Success Hacker customer success certificate. It’s $250. I would say it’s worth it. I don’t recommend random certifications very often, but that is one that I have. [00:47:00] Help people pivot as well. And actually in my industry, in my current job, we are going through that customer success success hacker certification ourselves because my boss sees the value in it as well.

So you can get ahead of that and do that one. But generally speaking, just learning how to talk about the pivoting skillsets that you’re bringing through. Either listening to podcasts or something along those lines, listening to more business related things and adjusting your vocabulary to that.

And then working with Cristin on interview prep and, and your resume and all that fun stuff. That’s, that is what I would say was the most helpful to. 

Cristin: Amazing. Christie, thank you so much for coming today to tell me all about this and for our wonderful listeners to hear more about your journey in and then out of higher [00:48:00] education and what customer success is like.

So maybe if they’re interested in it, they can go and follow up because of all the wonderful information you’ve given. And I just thank you so much and again, you have changed my life and I adore. 

Christie: Aw, you changed mine and I adore you. 


Cristin with one hand on her hip and the other pointing up to the side

Heyo, I'm Cristin!

44. How Freedom to Rest Became Chronic Profit with Alison Tedford

44. How Freedom to Rest Became Chronic Profit with Alison Tedford

We feel like there’s just so much put on productivity and that rest is the opposite of that. When in reality, it’s part of that, right? That is the time where you can innovate. That is a time where you get new ideas. That’s when you’re breaking away from your routine and stepping outside of yourself and letting new things come in.

If you had the freedom to rest, what would you do? What could you do? Could you take the freedom to rest and create Chronic Profit?

That’s just what today’s guest did. She launched a marketing business alongside her 9 to 5, and after 4 months, left for her own business that she worked from her couch. She created a life where she could give her body the rest she needed, and I think you’ll be in awe of where she is now. #nospoilers

This week’s episode interview is with author, marketer, and mom Alison Tedford. Alison is an Indigenous entrepreneur and author from Abbotsford, BC, Canada. Her experiences building a business while managing chronic pain led her to write her first book, Chronic Profit.

Alison and I endeavored to talk about rest from both a disability perspective as well as a mompreneur lens and the revolutionary idea that self-care as a business investment is your most valuable asset.

In specifics, we talk about:

  • how Alison started her own business,
  • how working for herself allows Alison to work when and how and where she works best,
  • the story of Alison’s publishing deal for Chronic Profit,
  • how asking for what she wants and needs leads Alison in launching her creative projects,
  • the ways we hope the pandemic changes the world,
  • how the freedom to rest leads to greater creativity,
  • the communication Alison shares with her would-be clients so they respect her mode of operation,
  • why you need to think of your own rest as an investment in your most valuable business asset, and
  • memes, of course.

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I was a fan before I was a guest. Now I’ve been a guest and I’m an even greater fan! Cristin Downs is an amazing interviewer and host. She is insightful, professional and just a pleasure to work with. What comes across in the stories is as much a product of Cristin’s fierce talent in conceptualizing the episodes and finding the stories as it is the a reflection of her interesting and engaging subjects. Fantastic, Notable Women. Listen and enjoy!

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[00:00:00] Cristin: Hello, Notable Women. Thank you so much for joining me today. I know you will loved today’s guest. This is actually the first time that I’m speaking to her though  I have been reading all of her social media posts for a very, long time. So if it seems like I have an encyclopedic knowledge of Alison Tedford that is why.

She is an indigenous entrepreneur and author from Abbotsford, British Columbia, Canada. Her experiences building a business while managing chronic pain have led her to write her first book, Chronic Profit. Allison. Thank you so much for being here today.

Alison: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited.

Cristin: It’s so, wonderful. So we’re doing a series on rest right now. And so I had mentioned in Julie Neale’s group, who, I’m pretty sure that is how I know you is through Julie. That’s entirely possible.

Alison: We, Julie and I worked together and and I love her. I was a fan of her podcast before I worked with her and yeah, it’s just, [00:01:00] it’s exciting.

Cristin: Yes. I think she’s delightful. And often I feel like oftentimes on this podcast, I’m like, I think Julie introduced us, it just seems like that’s her superpower. So that I’m pretty sure is how I know you and how I’ve started to follow your work and read everything about what you’re doing.

And I had mentioned that I wanted to do a series on rest. And you mentioned that this was totally in your wheelhouse. So I thank you for coming in to talk about this particular topic. And I think it very much connects with your book that you wrote about chronic profit because obviously chronic illness and. working is particularly, I feel like in COVID-19 land, people are starting to get much more clarity around the complexities of, work while you’re dealing with an illness, any kind, let alone a chronic illness. And so do you mind sharing a little bit of your story with us.

Alison: For sure. I started my career working in government. [00:02:00] And but I had chronic health complaints and I wasn’t really sure what was going on that made it a bit harder to get accommodated in the workplace. And I just knew I needed to be living life differently. So I ended up sub-contracting as a social media manager and fell in love with it. And basically ran away and joined the circus.

So within four months I had a full-time business and I waved goodbye to my friends at the Canadian government and started working from my sofa and building a marketing practice. And it was really, cool experience. And after that, I was diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which explained all of the things that were wrong before.

And it’s not necessarily the most treatable, definitely not curable condition. There’s lifestyle changes that you can make that can make it more manageable. So [00:03:00] I have been navigating that journey for a few years now.

Cristin: Thank you so much for sharing that. And I can definitely see that.

Again I do not have chronic illness. I’ve interviewed many people on the podcast and had many people in my group who have talked about the complexities of chronic illness and work, which is in general absolutely not accommodating whatsoever. You have to actually cut yourself open and be like, I bleed for this job.

They had possibly admit that there’s anything else in life you care about. Let alone be sick. Let alone not be able to do certain things. I remember when I first went back to work after having my tiny human and I had been very much taught that you do not eat in meetings that was very inappropriate at the executive level. And I have my tiny human and I was making milk. I was eating everything. I was Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11. I’ll eat that like that under the sun. [00:04:00] And I just could not possibly care. I could not care how you felt about me eating in this meeting. I need to eat this to  not pass out and die.

And I just it, really helped clarify for me, something I had never really understood, which is if there are things that you have to do for your physical well-being and the workplace frowns upon it, whether it’s coming in to work at different times or leaving at certain times, not coming in, in certain conditions certain workplace accommodations.

I really, I’m an empathetic person. So I won’t say I ever said no, you don’t get whatever it is that you need. But I really started to understand how complicated it must be. And in my episode with Julie Morgenlender, we talked a lot about how, so much of what we’ve been taught is a sham, essentially, that you couldn’t work from home, that you couldn’t have these accommodations.

And so COVID-19 is really blowing all of that up. I think in so many ways. So for you about, as [00:05:00] you started to make that transition into working for yourself, how have you incorporated the rest that you need into your personal schedule and found that fit for yourself?

Alison: For me working for myself meant that I could work when I’m like most able to do things.

So I woke up at five o’clock this morning and I was in the zone. So I worked through some things and and then I stopped and had some breakfast. And so I’m able to slot work in where I have the energy to do it as long as they meet the deadlines. The other thing that I did was I significantly invested in Sleep related things like I have an adjustable bed that elevates my head and my feet, so that, and that really good mattress and a C-PAP machine.

And like all of the things so that my rest is optimized because without it, I am not very useful. So those are, [00:06:00] some of the pieces and really looking at my mental capacity and looking at what. Changes I need to make in my business in order to make sure that I’m not mentally exhausted by the end of the day, and finding strategies to stay really organized, to streamline things so that it’s not such a battle to stay awake and to do the things.

Cristin: That’s excellent. It’s so great to hear that you’re. That it’s a combination of things, right? It is investing in yourself and then also responding to your, own needs, your own physical needs. So working when you should be and not working when you shouldn’t be, I’ve often thought in the nine to five life, that the whole idea of you will sit in this office chair, whether you are being productive or not, whether it would be better suited for you to go take a walk in the park or something like that.

But no, you must sit in this chair and be productive.

Alison: Yeah. And even positioning like some, I my [00:07:00] joints do weird things and sometimes I’ll have to sit in awkward positions that might look uncomfortable and maybe not very workplace appropriate, but it’s how I need to feel comfortable.

And just being able to control my environment, like I’m somebody who gets really easily overstimulated. So working in an open concept office, It was really challenging. And I was working in a role that did a lot of statistical analysis and I was working directly beside a really emotionally charged customer service department.

So that was a lot of input to be taking in while also trying to do the things. So having an optimized environment is really important for me in order to be successful.

Cristin: Those are amazing points. I definitely first time. So I’m, a theater person by training and senior people. We do our actual work wherever we want to.

And then we do our shows, obviously in our [00:08:00] rehearsals, in our theater spaces, but actors don’t learn lines three feet away from a customer service rep and stage managers don’t work on complicated queuing sequences next to. I don’t know a finance person, if I’m going to go they’re not like if you talk to yourself one more time, I’m you in the eye.

So we don’t, we get to go in our own places and I can do things at night or in the morning. And so when I switched over to nine to five life, I just was astounded. No one is actually getting any work done here. Is it totally a myth that we’re all just sitting here pretending work when really these are absolutely the most terrible conditions to get anything done whatsoever.

And I just think about, I used to, when I used to share an office with people, I always thought they were so loud. And now that I’ve been home, my husband said. No, you are loud. You are actually the [00:09:00] loud one. You are so obnoxious when you were on the phone. And I said, Oh no, one’s ever told me that, but I bet you’re very right.

A revelation and this new COVID times. So now how had, you’ve had this experience for work working for the government, going into business yourself, and then how did all of this lead to a book?

Alison: So I always wanted to write a book and I just never really knew how to make it happen.

And I thought I was inspired one day and I decided that I was going to pitch the publisher of somebody that I really admire. And I posted on Facebook and I was like, Hey guys, can you please put some good GGR onto the world for me, because I’ve pitched this publisher and they’re probably going to ignore me, but I would, it would be so cool if this, a thing.

And then one of my friends commented and she was like, would you like me to talk about your books? [00:10:00] My editor at the publisher that I.

It published by. And I was like, yes, please. If it’s not okay, please change my life. Or you may be my fairy godmother if you so choose. And she did.

And she can, they were initially interested in the concept.

They invited me to send them an email about it. They asked for more clarification about the scope of the problem. They were like, we’re having trouble visualizing it. Could you maybe give us like a draft book jacket? So I sent them a Google doc of this draft book jacket, and they came back and they’re like, yeah, we shared it with the buyers.

They’re really interested. Let’s send you a contract. And I was like, people traditionally do like these things called book proposals. And they swear about them and they’re long and they cry and sometimes they hire people to write them. They usually don’t get a book deal because you send an email and a Google doc and a couple of statistics, but that’s how it happened.

And yeah, it was very unlikely, but [00:11:00] it worked. And so I’m very delighted because there are really amazing publisher to work with.

Cristin: That’s awesome. That is a phenomenal story that I did not read on your social media because clearly I haven’t stalked to you to the level that I thought that I had done.

So that, that is so amazing. And I really think that’s something I, often tell people, which is, if you want something just saying it out loud, other people will often carry it forward into the world because. The thing that you need, like that contact would have not known that was something that you wanted to do.

Alison: So it’s amazing that, yeah, that’s something, that’s definitely been the case. When I, my sister and I decided that we wanted to launch this clothing line, I shared that. And all of a sudden, one of my friends reached out and was like, Hey, I’ve got a factory. I have a pattern designer. I have a trademark agent.

I have a fabric person. Like I’m going to connect you with all these people. Like everybody we needed was all lined up. So like definitely putting it out [00:12:00] there and asking for support is, has been really one of the best ways because people want to help.

Cristin: They absolutely do. And that makes me want to talk about the other thing that I stopped you about on social media, which is your absolutely wonderful taste in a tire that is both beautiful, lovely, and comfortable.

So I don’t know what other people call them. I call them onesies. But you have often suggested, is that what you call them? What do you call them?

Alison: They call them rompers or jumpsuits, but onesies also, I tend to call like my jammy type ones more like onesies, they’re like, they’re my favorite.

I probably have one for every day of the week. And they just bring me so much joy because I am like, I believe in being aggressively comfortable. Because life is too short to be wearing things that make you hate. No breathing.

Cristin: Yes, absolutely. And that’s what I love about everything that you talk about when you come, when you talk about [00:13:00] fashion, when you talk about clothing, is that it can look good and you can feel great.

And that’s something that I had to really transition out of, particularly being a New York city person, right? New York city, people feel the way they feel about clothes, which is, Oh, they’ve got opinions. And I had decided. I want to say it was like late 20, 19 into the beginning of 2020 that I had decided I was only going to wear shoes.

Now that made me feel grounded, but I was tired of being in shoes that. No squish my toes or felt like they were weapons. I just want it to feel like very grounded in everything that I did and in all the spaces that I move. And I’m glad I made that decision before heading into the pandemic where I think I wear seekers slippers, essentially having more, a real shoe.

And I consider this, those are real shoes, but I did, I do wear snow boots because it’s been snowing [00:14:00] quite a bit. That’s really easy.

Alison: My favorite thing about shoes is that my feet are child sized. Like I can literally wear a size four and children’s shoes. So I have shoes that light up because I believe that shoes should be fun.

And in terms of the comfort, like when you think about the ratty, like sweat pants or like the oversights. T-shirts that like have last Tuesday’s soup stains on them or whatever. Like you talk about why you hang on to them sick, but it’s so comfortable and it’s it can also look amazing and be comfortable.

Like they don’t have comfortable clothes. Don’t have to look terrible and that’s. That’s my fashion perspective.

Cristin: I love it. I think it’s, I think it’s so true. And I think that it’ll be interesting to see. I have no, no clairvoyance on the pandemic and what’s going to happen with it when it’s going to end or whatever, hopefully it does. But [00:15:00] I have a feeling that people are not going to be running back to put on painful clothes. They’re going to say, okay, I do want to go to a bookstore. I do want to go to a bar. I want to see live music, but I’m not going to put that painful, whatever it is on ever again, at least that’s my hope.

Alison: Yeah. Yeah. I hope we don’t go back to uncomfortable clothes.

I hope we don’t go back to a world where admitting you’re lonely is an awkward thing. And I hope. We don’t go back to going to work when sick. Because culturally, that was just something that you like soldiered on. And that was something that was like admired. And now it’s, you did what you were saying, like way to infect the world. It’s become like less cool to just go in there while you’re hacking your face out, stay home. So I hope we, we stick with that because it’s important.

Cristin: Yes, it absolutely is. And I think that [00:16:00] there’s, still much around our societies push for just constantly going and not taking any of these opportunities to stop and pause, which is what rest and the series is all about, which is that when you’re tired, you should sleep.

When you’re sick, you should stay home. When you need to take a break, you should take a break and not do this pushing forward, soldiering on. And it, comes in two waves, which is both the one that you mentioned, which is that please don’t come to work. If you’re sick, please take care of yourself and don’t spread it around the office.

When I made the decision to close my office, which was before New York city closed down, I had multiple emails from staff members that were sick. And so we were in your city. So we’re in the epicenter of the epicenter. And I, told people [00:17:00] okay, I have so many emails from people right now that are sick.

That it’s just, time to close down. We should just not even try to be open anymore. And that was at the time considered incredibly drastic to not to say you have a sniffle I’m concerned, I don’t know enough about this virus. You should stay home. But then also this idea of, taking care of yourself, which is outlandish now for so many people that you would for us when you need to, and that you would stop and that you don’t have to.

No, I it’s probably extreme to say, be a martyr for the cause, but having worked in nine to five corporate America, higher ed nonprofits and theater, that’s the, that’s really the belief system, which is that you get a star for, this kind of thing.

Alison: Yeah. And and the reality is, that we feel like [00:18:00] there’s just so much put on productivity and that rest is the opposite of that. When in reality, it’s part of that, right? That is the time where you can innovate. That is a time where you get new ideas. That’s when you’re breaking away from your routine and stepping outside of yourself and letting new things come in. So that rest is not it’s part of the program. It’s not stepping out of it. If you need to justify it from a productivity perspective, it is key to productivity to take rests, but I don’t think that it needs to be productive in order to be valuable. And I think it’s how we recognize ourselves as valuable even factories with machinery have to like, let them cool down a bit.

Like you can’t be running everything all the time and your body isn’t really any different you wouldn’t like to take it really expensive piece of integral [00:19:00] equipment, your business, tie it to the back of a bumper, go for a joy ride. That would be crazy. Why would you drag your investment around like that?

Like when your, the most important piece, like you, you can’t just be running it into the ground, but not resting either. Cause that’s, the same thing.

Cristin: Absolutely. And I agree with all those points that if, you need to think about it from a productivity standard, then you can do that and know that rest is integral to being productive.

And in fact, it will improve your productivity and that also you don’t need to be productive. You’re amazing and valuable just as you are as a person. And that person deserves care and attention. And that that things that matter to us then have value that they should be treated that way. I think those are all great points.

Now it does make me think, because we’re talking about your, we’re talking about your book and your business, and then of course you mentioned your clothing line. I know that you also have a [00:20:00] coffee company that you’re starting.

Alison: Yeah. So  that’s an exciting process that I’m working with a friend who has a coffee company and we’re launching a really fun line of coffee for International Women’s Day.

And coffee is part of my love language. And I, love a good latte and it just really made sense in terms of a collaboration. So we’re going to be doing that for March and it’s going to be really awesome.

Cristin: I’m stoked. That is amazing. So now we’ve got clothing company, coffee company. I’m going to need that link by the way.

So I just want to be clear about that international women’s day coffee MI perfection. It’s a match made in heaven and then of course your book. And it certainly makes me think that all of these things that you’re doing, they’re very, creative. And so do you feel like by being able to be in control of your own schedule and [00:21:00] to take care of yourself the way you need to has that really helped expand your creativity?

Alison: Definitely. Cause I’m not, I’m able to think about things from different perspectives. And the people that I interact with tend to be people who support that level of balance. I’m very transparent about my health concerns. So people who work with me are aware of. What’s going on and they we work together to make sure that things happen and that I’m able to take care of myself and they can take care of themselves.

So being in that kind of supportive professional relationship means that I have the freedom to, to rest and get creative and that it doesn’t have to be like an in the middle, like quick come up with this brilliant idea. It’s okay to say I need to percolate on this for a minute and take the time and space. Like I get the most brilliant ideas in the bathtub. I spend one to two hours a day in the [00:22:00] bathtub with my bath bombs because one of my besties has a bath bomb company. And yeah, that’s where I get some of my greatest ideas is being able to chill out and just let things simmer.

Cristin: I love that. And now. Is that something you’d like to do at a certain time of the day? Or is it based on how you feel in a certain moment or do you have a routine?

Alison: I tend to like it in the evening, but sometimes if I’m in discomfort, I will take a break or if I’m really overloaded and super stressed out. Then I will just be like, it needs to be in the day bubble bath. And, then obviously like my local post office seems to be aware. Cause that’s the only time the postman comes with a package. So he’s never seen me, like not in a towel, I’m always like scrambling out of the bathtub. But yeah usually it’s evening, but sometimes it’s afternoon if I’m just like at my max and it’s funny cause my my son’s grandmother, her, the running, [00:23:00] whenever she was upset about something. Or like you’re in trouble or whatever. She would be like, go take a bath. It was the solution for everything, like Windex on my Big Fat Greek Wedding. It’s like a bath we’ll fix that.

Cristin: I definitely feel similarly. That’s how my mom feels about baths, almost everything. And so I to really enjoy my bath time and it is I would say a sacred mom activity.

Alison: I have a client who was a midwife and she refers to it as mother nature’s epidural, which I find to be very accurate.

Cristin: Yes. I love that. That is such a good way to describe it. So now I do want to, I think I have three more questions off the top of my head from just what you just said, which is first of all, from a business perspective, how do you start the conversation with folks that, who are new to you about the fact that you [00:24:00] do work in this way and you do take care of yourself?

Alison: Usually people come to me actually through either, they’re either on my Facebook, in my world already, or they know somebody who is and usually I explain this is what I navigating with. As and I am very transparent about it because I’ve published a lot about it.

So if they Google me, they’re gonna find out. So I may as well tell them and just say this is what I deal with. This is what that can look like.

This is how I work in order to accommodate things. And this is, how I need to function and let’s find a way to make sure that I get to do the things I need to do, and then you get the things that you need and that together, we can make some marketing magic.

[00:25:00] Cristin: So then my next question, and it’s gonna be. Follow into the third one, which is that. So your book, his first book is coming out April, 2021, but you already have a second book also. Is that, how did that come about?

Alison: When I ha I handed my book in and then I was like, Super vulnerable. And I was like, a useless puddle for a month laying there. Like maybe they won’t like it. Maybe nothing I’ve written is ever been good.

It’s just like the most useless writer for a whole month. That was like, I wrote them. I was like, how does cause they optioned my next two projects in, the contract. So it was like, how do we go about talking about the next project?

Do you wait to see if the book does well, or do we talk about that now or how do you want to work it? And he said either, or we want to finish off this one before we get too serious [00:26:00] about anything. But if you have an idea and I was like as a matter of fact, like the summer, I ran this course to teach business owners how to talk about social justice.

And I was going to make it into an evergreen course and launch it. But if you want it as a book, I won’t, we can just do the book. And I sent them a testimonial from someone who took the course and my experience in that area and they were, they expressed an interest and then all the more, and then they were like one can get it. And then I had a contract.

Cristin: So that’s one, a phenomenal topic and I, again, I thought I was doing good in my stalking of you and I totally missed that course.

So I’m, sad as myself, but. I’ll I will go find it. And I’m excited that it’ll be a book that I can buy also. So that leads me into my third [00:27:00] question, which is that. So you have a business, a clothing company, coffee company, book one book two. How do you, find a balance to all of that?

Alison: There’s a lot of things that I don’t do. Like I do a lot of things, but like I don’t cook or clean. I have a housekeeper who’s amazing. And she, I give myself permission to do as much or as little housework as I please. And she comes and fixes the aftermath or whatever life choice. I don’t even basis. And then she’d be like fire things, sticky, like good question. She’s actually on my Facebook. So if I like I’m baking, she’s and so she helps me out that way. I order in like pre-made meals that so I don’t have to spend time standing cooking, which is tiring and unpleasant. So I just don’t. And I have a child who’s very independent. He knows how to work the microwave.

He’s good. [00:28:00] Yeah, and just really very being very focused on prioritizing things, time management and making sure things make sense and just ruthlessly editing in terms of like business. Like I shut down two business lines a few months into the pandemic and I’m still going to be shutting down another one or two coming up. So definitely just looking at what fits, what works with my bandwidth or what my projected bandwidth is going to be. And just doing like air traffic control around what can land when and what makes sense and what needs to be pushed and what, still fits and what doesn’t fit me more. And just having time away to look at that and just assess what’s really working what feels good and really listening to me your body in terms of,  I used to do a lot of work supporting film, and I found that really [00:29:00] heavy launch based marketing where I’m like in the launch moment to moment is really hard on my body.

And as much as I love that work and it was really important to me cause I worked on some really important projects. My body was just like, you cannot do this again. And and, everybody worked really hard to accommodate me. But it just the reality, like sometimes some things, some industries need different things that our bodies just are not onboard with.

And that just had to be how it went. Definitely was some interesting opportunities.

Cristin: I love that description about air traffic control and things landing at different times. I could see that with. All of these projects that you’ve got have going on. They’re probably in different phases at different times. And so just working through that.

Alison: Sure. And also I don’t do it all by myself either. Like I actually hired my mom to help [00:30:00] me because that is the first person I go to when I need something. So I could do that professionally also because she’s really good at admin. So she like lovingly transcribed every interview in my book.

And she supports me in so many different ways in my business. So that’s been really helpful. And I also work with a writer out of California who is really aligned with what I do so that I can get some extra support in lining things up for me to be able to do what I need to do.

Cristin: That is awesome. Now, if people are listening to this and they’re saying to themselves, Oh, my gosh. I love Alison. I want to know everything about her and follow her around. Where would we send them?

Alison: So my website is Alisontedford.com and you can find me at Alison Tedford on Facebook for my Facebook page, which is as a warning a lot of memes, a lot of [00:31:00] social justice content. And, but just a lot of memes.

Cristin: I love that you do a meme dump every Friday, right?

Alison: The Friday meme dumps. Now I’m on Instagram. I’m also at Alison Tedford. And on Twitter, I’m at Alliespins because I used to teach pole dance once upon a time. So I did actually literally spin a lot and that I didn’t have any intention on becoming publicly anything when I developed that Twitter account. And then it just like massively grew. And now I have no idea what to do with that.

Cristin: So it just is wonderful. I am a big fan of the Friday meme jump. And I’ll make sure I link to all those wonderful places in the show notes. And as each of your amazing things happen, I will update your show notes so that people who are listening can find the clothing company, the coffee company, the books, all there as well, of course, links to your current social.

So I really thank you for taking the time to talk [00:32:00] to me today. This has been so fun to finally talk to you in person and instead of just internet stalking you, I

appreciate it.

Alison: You’re wonderful. This is amazing. Yeah.

Cristin: Thank you.


43. Why Our Collective Obsession with Productivity Keeps Us from Rest with Valerie Friedlander

43. Why Our Collective Obsession with Productivity Keeps Us from Rest with Valerie Friedlander

Part of taking up space is valuing our own time. Part of valuing our own time is giving ourselves a break and not having to do all the things.

Are you obsessed with productivity? If you’re like most Notable Women I know, you are, but also, you’re not alone. In fact, I’m sure I’ve got at least a dozen pieces of content on this very site designed to help you be more productive (but I have an entire section of the site devoted to self-care so I’m going to forgive myself a smidge), but – WHY? Why do we have this constant need that everything we do be productive, every opportunity to enjoy a book or watch a show plagued with “I should be doing X, Y, Z” – enough!

In last week’s first episode on rest, I spoke with the ever wonderful Sneha Jhanb from Stress Less with Sneha J. on how slowing down to rest actually helps get more done, rather than working ourselves down to slivers of our formal selves. In this episode, I speak with coach Valerie Friedlander about why we have that obsession to begin with. Why, oh why, are we so obsessed with productivity that we do real harm to ourselves? Why is one of the best ways to get people to rest is to let them know that rest actually helps them get more done?

I turned to Valerie to discuss this very topic. Who is Valerie? Valerie Friedlander is a Life/Business Alignment Coach with a background of over 20 years of science and spiritually based personal development. She is passionate about helping high-achieving women with children shift patterns that aren’t serving them and confidently create their life by their own rules. In addition to her coaching and Energy Leadership certifications, Valerie draws on her 10 years in corporate management and studies in sociology, neuroscience, addiction recovery, and spiritual discernment to help her clients get off the emotional roller-coaster, connect their head and their heart, and increase focus, follow-through, and fun in all areas of their life. When she’s not working with clients you’ll find her hanging with her husband and 2 sons, working on an art project and nerding out with a sci-fi, fantasy, or comic book movie. She’s also host of the podcast, Unlimited.

Valerie’s been part of the summits before, but this was her first time on the podcast. And what a joy it was to have her!

In this second episode focused on rest, we talk about:

  • the social dynamics in play around productivity,
  • how the pandemic has affected those dynamics,
  • why our brains like routines,
  • how defining what is “enough” will help us get rest,
  • how allowing ourselves the opportunity to pause and have space will give us an opportunity to rest, and
  • questions to ask ourselves so we can decide how we want to be in this life.

Valerie’s free gifts for you:

Click here to listen on a dozen different platforms!

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I was a fan before I was a guest. Now I’ve been a guest and I’m an even greater fan! Cristin Downs is an amazing interviewer and host. She is insightful, professional and just a pleasure to work with. What comes across in the stories is as much a product of Cristin’s fierce talent in conceptualizing the episodes and finding the stories as it is the a reflection of her interesting and engaging subjects. Fantastic, Notable Women. Listen and enjoy!

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[00:00:00] Cristin: What is up, Notable Women. Thank you so much for joining us for today’s episode of the Notable Woman Podcast. My guest today is Valerie Friedlander. Valerie is a life and business alignment coach with a background of her 20 years of science and spirituality based personal development. She’s passionate about helping high achieving women with children shift patterns that aren’t serving them and confidently create their life by creating their own rules. In addition to her coaching and energy leadership certifications, Valerie draws on her 10 years in corporate management and studies in sociology, neuroscience, addiction, recovery, and spiritual discernment to help her clients get off the emotional roller coaster, connect their head and their heart and increased focus, follow through and fun in all areas of their life.

You know how I feel about alliteration. So I love that. Now when she’s not working with clients, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband, who I had the pleasure of working with in California many years ago, her two sons working on an art [00:01:00] project, or nerding out with a sci-fi fantasy or comic book movie.

She’s also the host of a podcast Unlimited. Valerie, thank you so much for being here today. 

Valerie: Thank you for inviting me. 

Cristin: So why why did I invite Valerie? I decided that I wanted to focus on specific topics on the Notable Woman Podcast, things that I thought that people had an interest in, something that I was interested in.

And so I wanted to talk about rest and I thought that Valerie would be the perfect person. So thank you for joining me. And so do you think that women have such a hard time getting rest? 

Valerie: Besides children which is a thing in and of itself. From my sociology background. I love looking at how the social dynamics influence [00:02:00] our individual dynamics and vice versa.

And there’s a lot of energy around doing and productivity as being tied to our value. Like how much you get done, how productive you are, how busy you are, not even productive, but just how busy you are, how hard you’re working equates to your value and your value to society. But intrinsically we internalize that as our intrinsic value.

And so a lot of us have this push to be busy and do and accomplish partly because we like accomplishing things; that feels good. But also because there’s this subconscious trigger around being valuable and needing to be valuable and valued and work hard. 

Cristin: Now, do you think that the pandemic has shifted this in [00:03:00] any way?

Valerie: That’s a great question. I think in a lot of ways it has both magnified it. And by doing so, made us a lot more aware of it. I think that the pandemic has done that across the board with all the things; naturally, anytime you have stress added on you experience all the other places that you have stress more fully, it just exacerbates things.

The, idea of being hungry or tired, we tend to be a lot more reactive it’s because there’s actual stress on our bodies that trigger all the other things. So something that might, you might have been a little annoyed about, but like you could totally show up to it in an intentional way.

Like your kid saying something or doing something that normally I’d be like, [00:04:00] alright, this is a teaching moment. We’re going to engage this calmly. If you’re hungry or you’re tired, it’s much more likely that it’s going to bypass that frontal cortex, that things creatively and go straight to your limbic system and go, this is a threat.

And then we show up in defensive mode or victim mode. And so I think the pandemic is such an immense amount of stress in so many different ways and areas that it naturally emphasizes all of the other things that are stressed, that aren’t working well in our society and not resting and working hard and being busy is one of them for some, because they’re really they’re, like searching for things to be busy with because they don’t have anything to be busy with.

And others who are burning out with the amount of busy that they have, that they’ve infused their life [00:05:00] with. And now throw in. Also being a co-teacher and having everybody on top of them and all of the things of caring for other people in the house without breaks, you start to see where, Oh, I’ve boundaries take on a whole new meaning and need a whole new exploration, including those self boundaries and boundaries around our time and, our ability to rest.

Cristin: So many things from that made my brain go [whirrrr]. 

Valerie: Where do you want to go? Next? 

Cristin: I know what, I just want to I’ll bring up something I had heard. So, early in the pandemic and it was an interview with Anderson Cooper and NYU professor, Stern professor Galloway. And is his name last name? I don’t know his first name.

Scott Galloway. And he said that [00:06:00] coronavirus was an accelerant. It was not a disruptor that it was an accelerant and all these things that were already happening with just happened so much faster. And I’ve really felt that to be true in so many ways. And that. So many of the disparities that already existed just got fire added to gasoline essentially that was already there.

And so that really stuck out for me. Your comments made me remember that and think that it’s so very true. And then one of the things I wanted to ask you about is that, how do you think that the, amount of executive functioning that has to go into your everyday life in a pandemic as you navigate your workload around your.

Child’s school schedule around your [00:07:00] grocery pickup time around your masks. And do you have them ready? And are they securely fit? How do you feel like the executive functioning of all of that combines or compounds even to affect people’s need for rest? 

Valerie: It, definitely does the. Reason we like routines.

We like habits so much in part, at least is because it’s easier when you have a habit. The part of our brain that is like the executive functioning part, the frontal cortex, the one that does all of the figuring things out and creative thinking and putting pieces together and making decisions is the part that burns the most amount of energy.

Anytime you’re utilizing your frontal cortex. You’re going to burn more energy. Our brain is designed to put as much [00:08:00] as possible into the and I forgetting the word. There’s like a scientific word for this, but like the, those low, slower burning parts the ones that don’t need as much energy.

So those more habitual parts, the autopilot parts. So anything that it can put there, it’s going to put there that is beneficial because it means that we can think faster on our feet. We can do things more quickly. We can get more things done. We can be more productive. And efficient. That’s the word I was looking for efficiency.

That’s one of my words and I totally forgot it, but it means that we can be more efficient energetically, biologically. It has a downside in that so much of what we think is subconscious. We think a lot of stuff, but that’s only about, I think like 5% of what we actually are thinking like what our brain is actually doing.

So [00:09:00] a lot of my work often is helping people bring to consciousness. Some of those automatic patterns in terms of interaction with all areas of their life, in this case, because there are so many decisions to make with situations being so new and. The fact that some of them are life and death, and we’re not even sure exactly which ones for a good part of this cause science is all learning new things and getting new information.

And so we’re waiting for new information that waiting for information and the potential of it being a life or death decision puts a lot more pressure on the energy expended by our bodies. So it certainly impacts how much bandwidth we have. There’s a term within the community that has [00:10:00] chronic illness of spoons.

If you’re familiar with that, but like you only have so many spoons to give. And that I think is something that would be a beneficial thing for most of us to take on is to recognize that we all. Only have so many spoons. We may have more spoons than other people or less spoons than other people, or at different times we may have different amounts of spoons because hormone cycles and things like that.

But. We need to know. Once we run out of spoons, we’ve run out of spoons. 

Cristin: I was actually to the concept of spoons and spoon theory with Julie Morgan lender in episode two of the notable on podcast, she actually was just on episode 41 talking about her book that she just published. And so I think that’s a, great connection.

And something that, that makes me think [00:11:00] about, because obviously there’s a lot here around all of us being at this weird capacity that we’ve never been at before. And I have had long conversations with people, hours long about things like. Do I get my hair cut. Do I go to the dentist? Do I take my kids to the dentist?

Am I a bad parent? If I think that we should hold off on this annual cleaning because of X, Y, Z am I, is that neglect or something like that? Because I don’t want them to die in a pandemic. So many complicated things where normally you just go to the dentist or you get a haircut or. You go see your family member at Christmas or whatever, a holiday or someone’s birthday, or you go to the baby shower or you go to the wedding, whatever.

It’s not this complicated where it’s now it’s obviously very complicated, but these are the sort [00:12:00] of questions that people with chronic illness have been facing for a really long time. Julie herself talked about in her episode and we also have she, and I talked about this one on one about the.

In many ways, the pandemic helped limit the decisions that people in chronic illness used to have to make, where she has to. She used to have to think about, okay I want to, do something tonight. There’s these four options available to me, this one has an elevator, but the parking is really far away.

But this one, the parking is really close, but it’s stairs and she didn’t make decisions like that. Whereas now she had these four. Wonderful options that were all online and she could go to anyone and she got to actually pick the one she wanted to go to instead of the one that was easiest and most accessible to her, which I thought was certainly interesting interesting point and one that I would not have thought of myself.

And that all makes me think back to the very [00:13:00] first thing that you mentioned when we talked about how society tells us that we have to have a certain level of productivity. Which in many ways has not translated to predictive productivity, but it’s translated to busy-ness and that people are just busy for busy-ness busy-ness is sake.

And so what are your thoughts about how societal structures and systems keep us from getting rests? 

Valerie: I think one part that you just said, there’s a certain amount of productivity. Part of the issue there is that there isn’t a defined amount of productivity. So it ties into that idea of what is, perfect, right?

How much is enough anytime you have like that idea of not enough, that lack mindset as it were. There’s. This push to do more or be more, or [00:14:00] this pressure and fear that leads us to do things that are not intentional things. They’re not chosen things they’re not aligned necessarily with our real values.

They’re fear-based of trying to be enough, which is one of the reasons why I always recommend for people to define what enough actually is for them and take a look at well. And if you actually define enough in this context, what does that look like? How do you feel if you’re enough and what are you doing if you’re doing enough and how reasonable is it?

What you set out would you say this to another person like to your friend, to your spouse? What, does enough look like for somebody else in this? Because oftentimes. We’re going to that subconscious not enough, trying to fill a bucket that we haven’t even decided what size it is. So it’s just like pouring [00:15:00] on the floor basically instead of filling a container.

That’s so good metaphor. 

So, we don’t want to just be sprayed. It’s just like with stress, like we don’t want to just spray it everywhere. We want to actually focus it because it can be helpful if it’s focused. Doing things is helpful. We don’t want to not do things, but it needs to be focused and intentional.

Like I have this spoon, I’m going to use it here. I have the spoon. I’m going to use it here where we’re, choosing consciously and giving space for discernment because that, as I mentioned takes energy. I don’t think we give very much recognition too. Discernment as also being part of the productivity process.

So, societaly speaking. One of the things that I love to explore is feminine cycles and [00:16:00] how looking at hormone cycles for women, there are different. Dynamics within productivity at different points in our natural hormone cycles. And this is true for men too, but their hormone cycle is shorter. So I’ve heard anywhere from like 24 hours to three days, something like that.

Theirs it’s a much shorter hormone cycle. Whereas ours is what like 30, 28 to 32 days. So because we’ve devalued the feminine in our society and we’re out of balance with. That though those two dynamics, we value this fast turnaround, masculine energy that has a different experience of productivity for women.

There’s more of a, there are times when we’re planting seeds, when we’re maximized to. Think of [00:17:00] things to have ideas, to generate thoughts and ideas and, all of that. And it’s usually when our estrogen is going up, then we get, to this point where, they could get stuff done. Like we have this power boost probably about three days to a week or so, where we have like this the fertility period where like we can do all the things and that’s comparable to that masculine energy of doing, like doing, going all that.

And then it drops off as our progesterone goes up and our estrogen goes down and progesterone says, slow down, we’re getting ready to grow a human. And we need that energy to grow a human whether or not you’re growing a human, but like it’s tells us to slow down because that energy is going to be used differently.

So that energy is. We’re going to pull in. Now we’re going to start assessing and analyzing. This is when I look at business stuff. [00:18:00] This is like the time where you sit and you look at your analytics and you go, okay, what worked, what didn’t in that burst of energy, where we were super productive and we’re getting all this stuff done.

What it’s like, Charting the course. And I was using this analogy with someone else the other day of a, with a client who was talking about setting a deadline for her. And it’s there’s this time period where it’s good to decide where you want to go. There’s this, creative time of like, all right, I’m going to go here and I’m going to plot this course.

And I’m going to outline the route. And then I can go to Lightspeed. You don’t want to go Lightspeed before you hit the go on. Like until before you plan out the route you go to Lightspeed before you plot out the route, you could end up in a wall, anyone who watches any of those, I find that you don’t want to do that.

You want to, have that plot and then. [00:19:00] You go there, you hit Lightspeed, do all the things and then you stop and you assess, okay, what worked, what didn’t, how did that experience go of actually getting things done? Did that feel good to me? Did it have the impact that I wanted it to make? Did it actually match with where I thought I was going?

Once I got there was that really where I wanted to go to, what about that? What I want to change? And you do that assessing period. And then you go into the creative thinking of okay, now what, how, what do I want to do? How do I want to take that information and feed it into the next thing?

We, as a society only value the Lightspeed part. And that means that we don’t take time to assess where are we going? How are we getting there? Is that a way that actually matches with the life that we want to live? What could we do differently? Like we have choices, we could do things [00:20:00] differently. We don’t have to just survive life.

We could enjoy it. What would make this more enjoyable? What would have an actually engaging that space. If we don’t value that we don’t make space for it. And if we don’t make space for it, we end up just zipping places all the time and not being intentional with where we’re actually going. And it’s less effective because we ended up going places we didn’t actually want to go.

Cristin: Yeah, absolutely. I thought that metaphor around would you go into Lightspeed before you find course is I’m certainly not as, a cooler into all of that stuff as you, but I have watched a little bit of it in the pandemic with my husband and my 10 human. And certainly it would be very silly to that.

So I have a lot of clarity around that in my brain. Now you’ve given us a number of different ways to think about this, about rest as you’ve, answered [00:21:00] my questions, you’ve brought up this other thing that someone could do thinking about what is enough was one example, thinking that if you only have so many spoons, how do you want to spend them another example and then to think about your energy cycles and to think about when are you thinking and idea generation and when are you acting and then what are you testing?

And then I would say probably like, when are you resting is another good place to another thing to add into there, but what would you say if. For the wonderful, Notable woman audience who are listening to this, how can they incorporate some of these ideas into their life right now? 

Valerie: So that’s, that is where the rest part comes in is allowing for pause.

A lot of times we have this urgent need to respond immediately. To do something right [00:22:00] now. And most of the time it’s not actually necessary. So one of the things actually, the very first thing is, anytime you have something, come up to practice the pause. And, just checking in on what’s going on, what is necessary right now?

And this is true in just about every area, whether it’s work, whether it’s interaction with other people, practicing pausing, instead of engaging right away. Because when we engage right away, it tends to be more reactive. It tends to go to the autopilot part of our brain. That’s the part that triggers first.

If we already feel stressed, So most of the time, it doesn’t have to happen right away. So you can take a moment and check [00:23:00] in what do I need right now? I like to encourage people to give yourself a little bit of space to decide how do you want to show up to life? How do you want to experience life? Those are similar, but they’re a little bit different.

And what impact do you want to make? It’s essentially what I would call your vision. It’s not like where you’re going to. Are you being, so how do you want to experience life? How do you want to show up to it? What does it look like when you’re showing up and what impact do you want to make and what are, say three?

I like threes three non-negotiables to support you in doing that. What are those things for you? And maybe they’re daily things, maybe they’re weekly things. Maybe they’re a monthly things. Maybe they’re all of those things. Like you can pick three for your day three for your week three for your [00:24:00] month, that are the things that will help you most align with your vision.

For some people that might be meditating for five minutes in the morning. Or journaling for five minutes before you go to bed. Like it doesn’t have to be a ton of time. But what helps you align with that vision for yourself so that you’re able to engage and allowing space for that is one of the key things that we don’t do.

We don’t allow space for ourselves. We don’t allow ourselves to take up space. Feminist probably heard about that. Taking up space, we deserve to take up space. And part of that is using our voice. But part of that is valuing our own time and valuing our own time also looks like valuing our own [00:25:00] being, which means.

Giving it a break does not have to do all the things. And some of our most powerful connections happen when we’re sleeping. When we are giving ourselves rest. I like to a phrase that I came across in a spiritual community was urgent need is my will calm, certainty is God’s will. And for me, that basically means the urgent need is my, self preservation, my survival mode.

And God’s will means when I’m aligned with my higher self, being present to the moment can’t be present to the moment. If I’m not allowing myself to pause and actually be present to that moment. So what are those three things that need to be non-negotiables for you to honor who you want to be and what your vision is?

Cristin: I like that so much. I love this [00:26:00] idea of who you’re being. It’s a conversation that I have with people often, which is are your actions matching what you say? You believe right? Or we’re not. And very often they’re not right. And it’s because I think of one of your earlier points, which is that something like only 5% of your thoughts are unconscious and everything else.

You’re just pre-programmed. To already be believing something. And so that’s why it’s so important to do this work, particularly around rests because you are programmed to believe that you are not valuable unless you are productive and productivity is undefined in my opinion, purposefully. So you are just constantly striving and always trying to achieve and never succeeding because it doesn’t exist.

There is no actual. Level [00:27:00] that you’ll then get to take a break. 

Valerie: You have to do decide it. That’s the thing. If you don’t choose it, it’s not chosen. It’s like that whole idea of and not making a decision is still making a decision, not deciding what enough is, deciding that there isn’t enough ever, no matter what.

So you have to define what enough is otherwise. You’re always going to be chasing enough. It’s I like the, to think of like a horse that is dangling a carrot. It like somebody is dangling a carrot in front of the horse to try and motivate the horse to move forward. And if the horse never gets the carrot, eventually the horse will die.

Like you can only go so far without feeding the horse. We are taught to believe that we have to always incentivize ourselves in the future. What if you could [00:28:00] munch on the carrot and walk in the direction that you chose, you have to choose the direction and then eat the carrot as you go. You can make the direction and the walking enjoyable.

Cristin: Yeah. Oh man. So much there too. Talk to you all day. It really makes me think a lot about I’ve. I very much feel like our society, trains people to need external motivation for everything so that you don’t ever you, Probably started life, enjoying certain things and having internal motivation for them.

That’s one of the things I always say to my husband, do not provide an external motivator for the child for things that he enjoys. He enjoys it. Just let him enjoy it. You don’t need to cookie or I don’t know, give them a snack [00:29:00] or whatever, or let him play his game after like he enjoys doing this.

Just let him enjoy it. Because we don’t need to provide an external motivator for things that people already enjoy doing. And I think that is it’s just present in parenting guides and styles discipline information that parents receive it’s in schools and all the parts of curriculum.

That we don’t just let people enjoy the things that they enjoy. 

Valerie: It’s to get people to buy into rules that serve other people. 

Cristin: Biggitty bam. That’s a meme if I ever heard one. That’s so true. And so painful. Oh. 

Valerie: There’s a, lot in there and I think that it ties to if, you don’t feel enough, you are going to search for things to make you feel better and you will spend money.

[00:30:00] To get those things and it applies in so many different areas. If you’re not enough, then Oh, I’ve got what will help you feel enough? I think it’s part of what plays into our various epidemics, like the opioid epidemic and the amount of depression that we have. It’s, constantly reinforcing, not being enough.

In and of yourself that doesn’t feel good. And there’s a belief that if it’s what’s necessary to make us motivated to do things and it’s a lie. 

Cristin: I think the first thing that popped into my head when you started to talk about that was the fact that now self care is like an industry, right? And now it’s, a word that even people get, they don’t like it.

Yeah, there you go. You don’t like it. I [00:31:00] think that I certainly don’t mind it. Cause my self-care doesn’t need to be like a pedicure or anything of the sort, but I am always conscious of words that get commandeered.  

Valerie: Yes, my industry does a lot of that. 

Cristin: Yes. Embarrassing experience. When I first went on Instagram, cause I’m a little bit of Instagram, grandma not going to lie about it.

And when I first got an Instagram and I was doing hashtags and I had not done, I didn’t do any hashtag research of any kind, which I do not recommend because of the story. And so I did hashtag something around feminism and then I went to check. And see how I was ranking on that hashtag was I showing up or anything?

And it turns out that whole hashtag had been commandeered by anti-woman white supremacists. It was a whole Instagram feed of some of the most horrible, hateful things I’d ever seen. And I was. Terrified [00:32:00] that I had accidentally used this hashtag, which was a normal phrase that didn’t have anything to do with any of these things.

But in, in the Instagram, it was not used to talk about women empowerment. It was used to talk about anti woman topics that are then also related to many other horrible things. And words can get commandeered self care has definitely gotten commandeered as a topic. And I think that it’s become an industry where you have to spend money, that you can take care of yourself rather than just taking care of yourself.

Valerie: Yeah. I look at money as energy and so it’s an energetic exchange and it’s important again with the assessment part of was that exchange equitable? Did I get the equal amount of energy back from what I spent [00:33:00] and how could I better spend that energy? Whether it’s financial or time back to the spoons?

How much do you have? And it’s one of the reasons why I get, I never liked the we’ll just put it on your credit card or just invest more than you have for some people that’s okay. Some people that does not trigger additional stress for them, because they’re, there’s just a different relationship, but for people who that triggers more stress for.

You’re not going to get an equal exchange for the amount of stress. Like you’re, paying both in money, but also stress. And if you’re not going to get a return on that, which is hard to do, because the more stress you have, the harder it is to do anything then you, have to factor all of those things in.

Cristin: I think there’s a lot there around [00:34:00] you’re going to, let’s just say your self care is Go and get a Manny petty. There’s, you’re spending the time to do it. You’re paying for it. You’re traveling to get there and back and whatever, however, that works wherever you live in the world.

And then there’s all the interactions around that. Which could be very pleasant for you. I’ve taken my mom to get a Manny petty and it’s a lovely experience. We have such a nice time. And then I know people that do it. Particularly when I’ve gone in New York city where it’s just, another chore on the list of activities and that that is what I think it seems to me that people have been taught that this activity will help you achieve a certain level of whatever that mythical thing is that you’re trying to achieve.

But really it’s just a way for you [00:35:00] to spend money. 

Valerie: It gets tied to our, face, our and that’s a sociological term of like how we present and what we want other people to perceive us as something that starts out as caring for ourselves, especially if it’s a visible thing, but especially for people who are influencers in the self-care space, if certain ways of.

Being perceived and actions get tied to what they believe. Other people perceive them as and how they want other people to perceive them. Then the disruption of that becomes problematic for their social face their, interaction with these spaces. And so it becomes a should. Anytime self care is a should.

It’s not self care anymore. The purpose of self care is to show love [00:36:00] for oneself. It’s just support, loving yourself. If it’s playing into an industry or a space that tells you’re not enough, how loving does that sound to you? If it’s a, should you should do the, got it. Don’t should on yourself. 

Cristin: I just love that.

Valerie: Oh, I got to thank my mom for that. She always used to be like, stop shoulding all over yourself. 

Cristin: It’s good. It’s good. One of my Voxer friends says it and I enjoy it. And so I think that it’s a, it’s such a good point, right? It’s such a good point that if, self care becomes a should, and it’s what it’s making me think of is when certainly when the pandemic first started, I know a lot of people were like, but how are we gonna do soccer, karate, ceramics swimming I don’t know, or a gummy, whatever the activities were that they had with their kids.

And so the [00:37:00] idea that. This sort of carefully crafted existence that they had created further they’re small humans or mid-sized humans. Was it going to be different? And I just thought. Or like a Dyna pandemic, you want to do it’s it just is what it is. And I think that you can create fun experiences for your tiny humans in other ways.

And certainly many people have brought these programs online and fabulous ways, not so much, but a lot of people have done really good work. And the nice thing, like Julie mentioned, About things coming online. This is in many ways it can be more equitable 

Valerie: It calls into question, the purpose. What is the purpose of the activity?

What is the purpose of the doing? Because our doings, oftentimes when they go into that [00:38:00] autopilot part of our brain, and this is just what you do, and maybe it’s because this is just what I do, or this is just what you do. And we’re socialized dynamic of this is the, what the people in my community do.

This is what. Americans do you know, if it goes into that space of, this is just that face of this is just what you do. We lose a connection to why, do we do that? What is the purpose of it? Is that a purpose that I agree with? Does that align with the person that I want to be in the world?

And that’s why I was say w going back to what you brought up before of what actions can we take? It’s okay. Tapping into what actually is important. And that is who do you want to be? What impact do you want to make? Because we’re social creatures. So impact is part of that. Like how do you want to impact other people?

How do you want to experience life? And what are the things that you [00:39:00] need to support? That it’s just a basic way of checking in. Does this support that. How does this support that? What do I need to support that? And it may be a lot simpler than it’s been built up to be. And when things get super disrupted and we have to be flexible, it gives us the opportunity to check in and go, okay, how do we discern what the things that we need to do are.

Outside of the sugars that are reactive brain, our survival brain will kick into gear that also takes in all these social dynamics. What actually is important. 

Cristin: Amazing such, good questions. I appreciate them so much. Now, if people listen to this and they just thought, Oh my gosh, I am loving Valerie.

How [00:40:00] could they learn more about you and follow you? 

Valerie: You can find me at my website, which is valierfriedlander.com. I have my podcast, which is Unlimited. And on there, I share things. I actually have an episode called rest. So there’s more about resting on there. And also examples of coaching with me.

And if you want to coach with me, then we can chat. I do individual coaching and group coaching, and I would love to talk about that and see if it’s a fit. 

Cristin: Excellent. So that’s Valeriefriedlander.com. The podcast is Unlimited. You are on all platforms, I believe. Excellent. And so I appreciate you taking the time to talk about this topic. I think it’s always important, but especially important right now. So I really appreciate it, and I hope that you have the most beautiful day. 

Valerie: Thank you. You too. 

[00:41:00] Cristin: Thank you.

42. Why Slowing Down to Rest Helps You Speed Up with Sneha Jhanb

42. Why Slowing Down to Rest Helps You Speed Up with Sneha Jhanb

People like to push themselves these days. We always want to do our best, go, and we feel that if we stop, then we might lose. But the problem is that if we don’t stop, then there is more to lose.

If you’re like most Notable Women I know, you have a problem resting. And for so many women, the pandemic has made that inability to rest so much worse as women have to navigate all the normal workload, plus virtual schooling, securing a grocery delivery time, NOT getting / catching the virus OR navigating getting it and not giving it to your family, and getting family members vaccinated now too. Yikes, it’s just too much.

I decided that because of this, “rest” would be the perfect topic for our first series of 2021 (and our first series ever, actually). To launch us, I reached out to frequent Notable Woman summit speaker Sneha Jhanb.

Sneha Jhanb is a Relaxation and Prosperity Coach who is passionate about helping busy professionals connect with their emotional and financial well-being and relax deeply. Sneha transitioned from her career as an Industrial Engineer and now identifies herself as a multi-passionate entrepreneur and wears many hats under the umbrella of StressLessWithSnehaJ.com, a website she created to help busy professionals find the balance between joy and prosperity.Throughout her life, she has been fascinated in understanding personal growth and prosperity. Other than writing and coaching, she loves serving her clients through meditation and relaxation sessions using mindfulness, crystal bowl sound meditation and yoga nidra. Sneha is an author of Indian origin, now settled in the United States of America where she lives with her husband, two children and a furry pet. Sneha’s written work has appeared in online publications like Raising World Children, Power of Moms, Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Thrive Global, and Deseret News.

How exciting, amirite?

In this first episode focused on rest, we talk about:

  • how Sneha pivoted out of her career as an engineer and into stress and prosperity coaching,
  • what our natural tendency toward rest is,
  • what our bodies need from us,
  • how we can find restful moments for our bodies and brains throughout the day, and
  • what tips Sneha gives her clients who need help resting.

Sneha’s free gift for you:

Download a FREE 25-minute singing bowl meditation! In just 25 minutes: calm your nerves down, connect with your inner self, and relax deeply. Relaxation gets a bad reputation. Relaxation is often mistaken for laziness or quitting, but the truth is far from it. The relaxation response is a necessity for our mind-body-spirit system. It’s a response by our parasympathetic nervous system to help reduce stress hormones and promote relaxing hormones. Download it today right here > https://stresslesswithsound.com.

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I was a fan before I was a guest. Now I’ve been a guest and I’m an even greater fan! Cristin Downs is an amazing interviewer and host. She is insightful, professional and just a pleasure to work with. What comes across in the stories is as much a product of Cristin’s fierce talent in conceptualizing the episodes and finding the stories as it is the a reflection of her interesting and engaging subjects. Fantastic, Notable Women. Listen and enjoy!

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[00:00:00]Cristin:  Hello, hello, Notable Women. Welcome back to another exciting interview today. My guest is Sneha Jhanb. She is a relaxation and prosperity coach. She’s passionate to help busy professionals connect with their emotional and financial wellbeing and to relax deeply. She transitioned from her career as an industrial engineer, and now identifies herself as a multi-passionate entrepreneur wearing many hats under the umbrella of the stresslesswithsnehaj.com Website she created to help busy professionals find the balance between joy and prosperity. 

Throughout her life, she’s been fascinated about understanding personal growth and prosperity through writing and coaching. She loves serving her clients through meditation or relaxation sessions using mindfulness, crystal bowl, sound meditation and yoga nidra.

Sneha is as an author of Indian origin. Now settling in United States of America, where she lives with her husband, two children, [00:01:00] and a very fluffy, pet who’s adorable, by the way. So you should follow Sneha on Instagram so that you can have more of that adorable furry friend in your life. Now Sneha’s written work has appeared in online publications like Raising World Children, Power of Moms, Huffington Post, Elephant Journal, Thrive Global, and Deserert News.  

I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. 

Sneha: Thank you, Cristin. For having me here, I’m really excited.

Cristin:  I think it’s going to be great. So we’ve been in each other’s worlds for probably years now. It feels weird.

Sneha: Doesn’t it? 

Cristin: Yeah, it really has been, and this is our first interview together. So I’m so excited. So now, how did you make this transition from being an industrial engineer to doing what it is that you do today? 

Sneha: It was not an overnight transition. It came from personal stress and finding myself in a [00:02:00] job that was stressful and finding myself at home with two kids under five, or at that time they were under two and a half when my baby was born. And juggling between that and me being very ambitious and wanting to give like my hundred percent at work and at home at some point I found myself being angry in the house and that reminded me of my childhood and my parents when they were stressed. And there was one promise that I had always made to myself that as a, parent I will always take care of my stress first and not let that affect my children. Not that my parents affected us as much, but there was some history that I don’t want to get into of where they handle their stress through alcohol abuse and things like that.

So it was a little harder to [00:03:00] see them in that journey at that time. So I wanted to not be angry at children or not bring that stress at home. So that led me to finding my own mindfulness and my own stress management practices. And then it just changed, my whole life changed after that. 

Cristin: Amazing. And now when you, and I talked about this episode, so this is part of a series that I’m doing on rest, because I feel like it’s something that we’re normally pretty bad at. Both women, Americans, moms not very good about taking the time to stop. And take care of ourselves. And so I really wanted to do a series on it. And then of course, in the pandemic, I feel like it’s even more important. And so when we talked about it, you mentioned that in actuality, [00:04:00] people think that stopping to rest is hurting them, but it actually can really help them. And so how, does that work? Exactly? 

Sneha: So when it comes to rest, there are so many different things that we can think of. One is the rest that we have as we sleep. And then there’s the active rest that we need in moments of daily stress, where we need a moment to think for ourselves, our 10 minutes to nap or just have some breathing exercises.

So it depends on where we are and what we need. And a lot of times what people think about rest is that rest means that you are running away from your life or rest means that you are not strong enough or you’re weak. And people like to push themselves these days. We always want to do our best, go, and we feel that if we stop, then we might lose. [00:05:00] But the problem is that if we, don’t stop, then there is more to lose. And when you know that in the hindsight, it’s harder because then you’re facing things like depression, you’re facing things like higher blood pressure or diabetes or the all these other disorders that you may have because of your stress. So why go there? Why not instead include naps and rest in your daily life? So you don’t get into those situations. 

Cristin: So many wonderful threads to pull apart there. So let’s start with the, what I think be the first thing that someone would experience and they would realize that they would need to take some times. So you mentioned that. Stress can often have an effect on our bodies that it can result in things like high blood pressure. It can obviously impact and increase depression. So if somebody [00:06:00] was coming to terms that the, that their body was telling them that it was time to rest, what would be your recommendations for them?

Sneha: If somebody had Exhaustion. I think exhaustion is one of the good ways of knowing that you are stressed and first would be finding out if they’re sleeping enough for what their body type is. And what their weight is, what they are age is and having that six to eight hours of sleep. Are they having that and finding the reasons of why are they not able to sleep?

So making sure that. To start with that. First thing is looking at their sleep cycle. 

Cristin: That’s great. I was, I did have, I, I have like I’m, I note on my fingers, how many things you said that I want to talk about? And one of them was sleep because I think that in our society, that’s one of the places that rest is often not given a [00:07:00] chance is that people feel like they can’t. First of all, they feel like they can’t take that time to sleep. And then second of all, even when they do set aside a certain amount of time of sleep, that they have a hard time getting to sleep or staying asleep. So do you have any recommendations around stress and sleep?

Sneha: Yeah. I have a lot of recommendations, frankly, but let’s understand first why we need sleep because I think a lot of people think that sleep is all about laziness, so it’s more scientific than that. So if we so our body has a nervous system, right? And a part of it is the autonomic nervous system.

And it has two parts. One is the sympathetic and one parasympathetic and it’s too technical, but I’ll make it easy. I promise. So the sympathetic nervous system is all about your fight and flight, right? It tells you when to fight when to flight. So it’s all about handling those dangers in our body, right?

And the [00:08:00] parasympathetic nervous system is all about rest and digest phase. So it will tell you how to read slowly or it will naturally make your body have the correct blood pressure, have the relaxation hormones in you. So when we sleep, our body get goes into that rest and digest mode.

Or when we relax, that’s when our body gets into rest and digest mode. When we are stressed, when we are facing danger, that is when our body gets into the sympathetic nervous system. So it gets into, okay, I need to fight. I need to do something about this. Now when we were in the caveman stages, it was okay because we needed that.

There was like that imminent danger of being killed by somebody. So we had to have that, but in today’s world, it’s more about all the stresses that we see, the news that we see the deadlines that we have, right. The conversations that we may have that are not so pleasant with other [00:09:00] people. So all of that is seen as a threat.

And if we have series of these conversations or series of news that we keep watching all day long, then imagine the number of threads that our body, our nervous system faces. So it is not able to then go into that sleep cycle. Because it is in this restaurant sorry, in the fight and flight mode.

And it doesn’t know to get back here because it is still facing that danger. So now as humans, we have to actively do something to first relax ourselves and then fall asleep. 

Cristin: That’s all amazing and great and wonderful information. And I think a lot about. When I first became a manager of a large team and then started to work with people individually, I realized how much stress every single person was carrying with them.

[00:10:00] And, some of it was. Workplace specific, like the workplace bully who bullied everyone. And so that anytime they had to interact with that person, they had stress around that. And that was a collective stress where people would say, you talked to her this time. No, I talked to her last time, Kara to and then there’s the individual stressors, in your role, you have to do a certain activity on a monthly or biweekly or quarterly basis or whatever. And that particular task causes you specific stress around X, Y, Z, or maybe it’s talking to certain people certain types of clients or something like that, certain types of vendors. And so as I was managing all these people, I just started to realize that there was just an impossible load of stress on everyone that they really were walking around at, stress max capacity, so that when small things happen, like the train [00:11:00] was late, or I don’t know, the AC broke and it was hot.

People just got.grumpy because they were already at such a high stress level that something small, which just really pushed them over the edge. And so I, really appreciate you saying that it’s that sort of cumulative effect on the stressors and that it’s, this it’s that sleep is restorative. That is that’s amazing.

So what are some of the exercises that you recommend for people? They working professional? They have all these stressors that we just talked about, both can combined the ones you mentioned, the one I mentioned and they know they need to get more sleep and they get to the point where they’re supposed to be going to bed and they are amped up.

So what, sort of relaxation and stress relief activities do you typically recommend to clients who have that sort of situation? 

[00:12:00] Sneha: One of the exercises that I like, and I like to share with people is diaphragmatic breathing. And what that helps us is not. Only before sleeping, but it will also help say if you are at work and you cannot take naps at work, right?

So you have to be present and you might be feeling stressful and you need something to calm yourself down. So you can take those decisions that you want to take at work. So a diaphragmatic breathing is an exercise that can help you. To bring that relaxation response inside of you within 12 minutes.

So how you do, you want to try it? 

Cristin: Oh gosh, no.

If you want to share with us, I think people would really like it. I will perhaps listen. 

Sneha: All you have to do is sit straight and if you have a place to lie down, you can do it by lying down. So it could be something while sleeping. You could do this before that. But if you’re sitting at your desk [00:13:00] make sure that your back is straight, your feet are nicely aligned with the chair and touching the ground and put your right hand on your heart.

And left-hand on the abdomen. And how you breathe. There’s a particular way of how you breathe in this exercise. So you, when you breathe, you make sure that as you breathe in your abdomen rises

And make sure in a way that you notice that your chest is not moving as much. So you have to have that beep breathing. Yeah. So.

you have that. I don’t know if you can see my abdomen, but it can go like up and down. And I don’t like to show it, but it goes inside and outside. And you do that breathing exercise control breathing for 12 minutes okay.

So you breathe in through the nose and read deeply, so you can feel your abdomen to rise. And sometimes you will find [00:14:00] that your reading is inverted, where when you breathe in, your abdomen will go inside. So if you notice that you make sure that you focus on that and make your abdomen go out and then as you breathe out, Take your abdomen muscles inside and that relaxes you like anything in 12 minutes.

Cristin: So I’m sorry. My immediate reaction was terror at it totally was. But what I liked about that was that Yeah. So I’m not, I have a problem being a grounded person. I am not a grounded person. I’m very all up in here all the time in my head. And so I love the, making sure your feet are firmly planted of this sitting part of that, that really helped ground me immediately.

And then. Because I have a hard time with my [00:15:00] breath which is why I was immediately afraid. I was like, I’m gonna mess this. I’m gonna mess your exercise up. But this, tangible action of the, hand on the chest and the hand on the abdomen, that really helps me. Because I don’t, I can’t, naturally do the breath the way I’m supposed to, which I know it’s bad, but it’s its own thing.

And I’ll just I’ll just hire you and work with your separately. But yeah, I liked that because it made it, it may, it gave me a physical, tangible way to experience the breath. And even just this gesture of the hand placement, plus the feet, I felt better. Yeah, because you’re not doing, you’re giving yourself a hug in a way.

So you are bringing that nurturing to yourself in that position. Yeah. I could see that if you just got that in a staff meeting, that if you were doing that to yourself, you would just feel a little bit better. [00:16:00] And certainly I have certainly I’ve had experiences with that. And I think everyone has, and I had.

Former colleagues that had spots at work where they would go to cry and they would try not to be the same spots as someone else’s crying spot. So people are having a hard time and that was even before the pandemic started. So I think having an exercise like that is so great. And I could see that being both wonderful for falling asleep and as well as during the day. And I’m glad you brought that second part up because when you were talking in the beginning, I was thinking that we wanted to talk both about sleep, which is obviously huge. And people have a hard time with it, but also about how we can take that time during the day when maybe your kids are stressing you out work is stressing you out.

Maybe your partner is stressing you out and just to have an opportunity to. Do a [00:17:00] bit of a reset is really, nice. Now, again, when we were talking about scheduling this conversation, you mentioned to me that rest can often help you be more productive. So the natural inclination of a ambitious high achieving professional is that if I stop and take this rest, Then I will automatically be behind and it will be a disaster.

And so I must push, So can you talk a little bit about how does rest actually make you more effective? 

Sneha: Sure. What happens is that when we are going Our mind is collecting, putting so much information in our brain, right? So we’re processing a lot of information. So when we are resting, when we are sleeping, our mind takes this information, puts it, sorts it in the correct places in our brain cells.

So when we are not resting, it doesn’t get that time. When [00:18:00] we are making decisions, we are going to feel more foggy. We are not going to be able to concentrate if you’re not rested. And we are not going to be able to take the decisions because we have so much information overload and we have not taken the time to process it.

Sometimes it is said that if you are not rested sometimes if. If you drink alcohol a little bit more alcohol than usual, you are not able to take the decisions correctly. So not being well, rested can mirror that rest. It’s that important. 

Cristin: So rest allows you to process your thoughts and it allows you to make decisions better. One of the things that I have found is that. Often times if I’m, let’s say I’m working on a problem of some kind that I’m trying to solve, maybe it’s a client problem. Maybe it’s a workflow [00:19:00] issue.

Oftentimes when I step away from the problem and take a walk or do the dishes or clean up a thousand figurines in my son’s room. That I often get the answer to whatever it is. So is that sort of like the same thing that I’m letting my brain go? Boop, And put everything in the right folders.

And that’s how it works. 

Sneha: Yeah, it does. And when you are going, you have so many loops that are open, right? So that causes overwhelm. So when you’re already overwhelmed, you’re again in that fight or flight mode. And when you are in that fight or flight mode, your creative brain does not function.

So you don’t get that help from the brain that you need at that point, when you really need a creative solution to your problem. So in order to have taking a walk or washing dishes breathing exercises, taking a nap, whatever that will help that brain, [00:20:00] that you need to come out and start helping you.

Cristin: So now one of the other things that you do that I have experienced and enjoyed quite a bit is that you’re very into sound baths and sound meditations. How does that help with the rest and less stress? 

Sneha: So some meditations are the work on the frequency of the sounds that the balls ring. Those frequencies help in train our brainwaves to match the frequencies of the balls.

And then slower the waves down and helps to just get directly into a meditation state. So it happens more scientifically then too. So sometimes in meditation, people try to let go of their thoughts or they try to meditate and that sometimes doesn’t work for a lot of people. So for some meditation, you don’t have to try anything.

You just have to sit there and listen to the sound and the [00:21:00] sound will do the work for you. And pulled you into that relaxation state. 

Cristin: That’s amazing. So folks who want to meditate, but are having a hard time with it, because again, they’re trying, and perhaps they have a hard time shutting down their brains sound meditation would be something that might work for them.

Sneha: Yeah. Yeah. 

Cristin: Excellent. So now. If someone is listening to this episode and they say, okay, I know that I’m having a hard time stopping and resting. Would you have maybe three steps that you would walk them through as a, client of yours? 

Sneha: Sure. First of all, I would say, take a pause if you’re having trouble doing whatever first, take a pause.

And as you take a pause, the second step would be just closing your eyes and looking inside the body and noticin g, ust noticing inside what’s [00:22:00] going on. So that could be noticing your heart rate, noticing your breath. Noticing any feelings that are coming up, basically just dropping inside the body. And the third step would be then getting back to whatever that you’re doing. So it’s as simple as pausing and coming to the body again.

Cristin: Excellent. I just did that without closing my eyes. And I was like, Oh, I believe I’m hungry. Didn’t know that before was always talking to us. 

Sneha: It gives us different cues. So if you need that rest, if you need that sleep, if you really listen to it, it’ll tell you what it needs, but we don’t even take that one moment to pause.

We’re just so worried Oh my God, what’s going to happen next. Who’s going to listen to this next. What we’re like, what project are we going to [00:23:00] work on next? How am I going to solve it, where I’m going to get all this money from? So we have all these questions, but we have to really pause to find those answers, right?

Because we have so many questions, but are we really stopping to listen to any of the answers for those questions that we’re asking? 

Cristin: So my son is on a toy story kick right now. Have you seen Toy Story?

Sneha: A long time ago.

Cristin:  So there’s a, in Toy Story four, they introduced the character called Forkey and he at Disney has created a series of shorts where Forkey asks a question, and he asked, what is money? What is cheese, whatever. But he doesn’t listen to any of the answers. Anyone gives him. Now I’m going to think of Forkey when I’m not paying attention to what my body is actually telling me. Oh, I think that’s a, great way for my, brain, my mom, brain of a, kindergartner to understand.

Now, [00:24:00] I also believe that you have a book coming out soon. Is that right? 

Sneha: It is.

Cristin: Tell us all about it. 

Sneha: So my book Stress-Free Prosperity, a mindful path to bringing more joy, abundance, and wealth. In that book, it is more of a practical approach to understanding the relationship between stress and prosperity and seeing it as two sides of the same coin.

Cristin: Excellent. And now is that going to be available? Amazon and places like that? 

Sneha: Yeah, it will be available on Amazon and different places from February 19th around. 

Cristin: It’s great. Yeah. So when this episode airs, it will not be out yet, but as soon as it’s out, I will update the show notes so that people can go ahead and grab their copy, which is exciting.

Yeah. And so now if people listen to this episode and they just said, Oh my [00:25:00] gosh, I am just loving Sneha. I just want to follow her around. Ha how could they do that? Where would they find you? 

Sneha: They can find me on Facebook or Instagram as Stressless, but , it’s like facebook.com/  or instagram.com/stress less with  and my website is the same as stresslesswithsnehaj.com.

Cristin: Perfect. I will link to all of those places. Thank you so much for being with us today. This has been so helpful and useful, and that’s my tiny human. Okay. 

Sneha: Thank you so much for having me. 

Cristin: Thank you so much.


41. From Idea to Published with Julie Morgenlender

41. From Idea to Published with Julie Morgenlender

And we talk about the reality of life with chronic illness, and that’s so different for everybody. The stories all have different tones and different focuses which is what I think makes [the book] so easily applicable to such a wide audience because there isn’t just one chronic illness experience.

Today’s episode brings back one of my all-time favorite people – Julie Morgenlender from episode 2 of The Notable Woman Podcast. In that episode, we talked about living with a chronic illness, and now it’s fitting that we talk about Julie’s new book, The Things We Don’t Say: An Anthology of Chronic Illness Truths.

About Julie

Julie Morgenlender is a friend, daughter, aunt, crocheter (very very good I might add – note from Cristin), reader, creator of this anthology, and so much more despite being unable to work full time. She enjoys walking in the sunshine, petting dogs, and spending time with awesome people. She volunteers for her chronic pain support group and is on the board of directors of the Bisexual Resource Center.

About the book

Spanning different ages, ethnicities, genders, sexual orientations, and diagnoses, forty-two authors from around the world open up in fifty true stories about their chronic illnesses and their search for answers, poor treatment by doctors, strained relationships with loved ones, self-doubt, and more. They share the warmth of support from family and friends, the triumph of learning coping mechanisms, and finding ways to live their dreams. These stories are honest, raw, and real, and if you have chronic illness, you will find comfort and companionship in these pages. For everyone else, if you have ever wanted to know more about your loved one’s experience with chronic illness but didn’t want to ask the wrong questions, this book will have some answers and lead you to a new-found understanding.


In this episode, we talk about:

  • when Julie first had the idea for the anthology,
  • how she selected the writers,
  • what the process of creating the book was like,
  • how it was different due to Julie and her authors’ chronic illnesses, and
  • how COVID-19 is shining a light on issues that people with chronic illness and disability have been dealing with for decades

Ways to connect with the anthology and Julie include:

The book’s website
The book on Amazon
The book on Bookshop
The book on Goodreads

I think this episode is particularly inspiring if you have an idea that you’ve been trying to get into the world. Julie’s been working on this anthology for as long as I’ve known her, and now it’s here!

Click here to listen on a dozen different platforms!

Rate, Review, & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

I was a fan before I was a guest. Now I’ve been a guest and I’m an even greater fan! Cristin Downs is an amazing interviewer and host. She is insightful, professional and just a pleasure to work with. What comes across in the stories is as much a product of Cristin’s fierce talent in conceptualizing the episodes and finding the stories as it is the a reflection of her interesting and engaging subjects. Fantastic, Notable Women. Listen and enjoy!

If you love the show, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast! This helps more people find the show and listen to these amazing conversations. Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate (with five stars, I hope!), and select “Write a Review.” I’d love to hear what you enjoyed about the episode.

Subscribing to the show keeps you up to date when I release a new episode. Or click here to get an email. Whatever works best for you.

Important links from the episode and from The Notable Woman:

Other ways to enjoy this podcast or rock out with me:
Download on iTunes | Listen on Overcast | Join The Society of Notable Women Online Community
40. COVID-19 ‘s Effect on An Increase on Domestic & Intimate Partner Violence

40. COVID-19 ‘s Effect on An Increase on Domestic & Intimate Partner Violence

What I would hate to learn is that someone felt that they could never reach out for help because they would be taking away from people who truly needed help in the situation, and victims always truly need help. So, we’re here to support them.

Have you heard the news that COVID-19 is causing an increase in domestic violence and intimate partner violence instances? Maybe you have from journalism like this NY Times piece or this article from the Washington Post.

In China’s Hubei province, domestic violence calls nearly doubled. In Spain, their state run domestic violence website saw a 270% increase in traffic. Here in the United States, South Carolina saw a 35% increase in March from February, Houston a 20% increase, and North Carolina 18%. And most states didn’t start social distancing or lockdowns until mid March.

I have been reading the above articles so I went to my friend and guest from The Notable Woman Podcast, episode 20, Kelley Rainey, to find out what was going on and how we can help. Kelley is the Director of Domestic Violence Programs for Family and Children’s Services, and she readily agreed to be on the show and provide resources for all of us, whether we be experiencing this or be fearful that someone we know and love is.

In this third episode focused on COVID-19 episode, we talk about:

  • what domestic and intimate partner violence instances look like pre-COVID-19,
  • what’s driving what’s happening now,
  • what resources are available for people who need help,
  • what not to do that might bring harm to those that we love, and
  • what help we can give to our friends and family we’re worried about

Resources Kelley provided include:

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline – 1-800-799-7233
  • RAINN – 1-800-656-4673
  • Family & Children Services 24 hour line (Kelley’s organization) – 443-865-8031 (This is call or text)

Although Kelley’s organization serves Baltimore, Maryland and its surrounding counties, her counselors are trained specifically in COVID-19, and they can help create a safety plan that will work for you no matter where you live. You don’t need to provide your location or any identifying information.

You’re going to find this episode a short, information filled podcast with resources that can help you now or in the future.

The other episodes in this COVID-19 series are COVID-19’s Exponential Growth with Amy Simpkins and COVID-19 and Public Health Communication with Karen Hilyard.

Click here to listen on a dozen different platforms!

Rate, Review, & Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

I was a fan before I was a guest. Now I’ve been a guest and I’m an even greater fan! Cristin Downs is an amazing interviewer and host. She is insightful, professional and just a pleasure to work with. What comes across in the stories is as much a product of Cristin’s fierce talent in conceptualizing the episodes and finding the stories as it is the a reflection of her interesting and engaging subjects. Fantastic, Notable Women. Listen and enjoy!

If you love the show, please consider rating and reviewing the podcast! This helps more people find the show and listen to these amazing conversations. Click here, scroll to the bottom, tap to rate (with five stars, I hope!), and select “Write a Review.” I’d love to hear what you enjoyed about the episode.

Subscribing to the show keeps you up to date when I release a new episode. Or click here to get an email. Whatever works best for you.

Important links from the episode and from The Notable Woman:

Other ways to enjoy this podcast or rock out with me:
Download on iTunes | Listen on Overcast | Join The Society of Notable Women Online Community