Don’t Give Up Before the Miracle Happens with Chani Mehlman
Katerina: Hi, Chani. How are you?
Chani: Hey, Katerina. Thank God, thank you for having me.
Katerina: Thank you for being on the podcast. I guess the first question, everyone wants to know is how we how you became a personal development coach.
Chani: Honestly, I think I was just born to be a personal development coach. It took me a while to say that because I feel like it sounds cliche, but it’s the truest thing that resonates with me.
Katerina: Right. So how long have you been doing this for?
Chani: Six or seven years now.
Katerina: Because this is when you went to Israel right?
Chani: I moved to Israel in the middle of my first year of studying to be a personal development coach, and I moved here because I lived here the year before, and I loved the lifestyle.
Katerina: Right. So that’s been six years and what did you do before that? Did you have a nine to five job or you were always an intrapreneur?
Chani: Yeah, I guess you could say I was more of an entrepreneur. Yeah, I never really had a set nine to five before studying coaching, I had nine to fives during my studies, but not before.
Katerina: So when you just started this personal development coach business. What was the first thing… What was the most difficult thing you experienced when you just started your business?
Chani: The most difficult thing was the mindset blocks, but I didn’t realise they were mindset blocks, until working on it for like a few years and wondering why isn’t this working. The obvious problems at the beginning, were I think just the fundamentals of how to have an online business where to get my clients from, like, the practical, you know. If I wanted to be a full time entrepreneur I have to have a steady flow of clients, and a system to bring them in towards my coaching community, and just figuring that all out.
Katerina: And did you have any help. Did you have any friends or family who were entrepreneurs who would help you.
Chani: That’s a good question. I did not actually, I’ve many friends and family who have helped me and I bug them all the time “Hey, can you check the spelling here.” But I actually hired a business coach for three years. And that really helped a lot — a tremendous amount.
Katerina: Yeah. So when you just started, after which period you… maybe didn’t happen to you….. and that’s I guess another question. Have you ever thought of quitting? When you’re just starting out, you have some difficult time and you thought well maybe it’s not for me?
Chani: So here’s the thing, and I never particularly thought this isn’t for me, it was more like this for me, and it’s not working. Oh my gosh, I’m doomed. Like if I don’t get this to work, then I’m going to hate my life. That’s kind of the thought is like this has to work. But the feeling of maybe I should give up, I definitely felt that. Definitely.
Katerina: You thought that? What stopped you giving up?
Chani: Um, the truth is is you know I would reach out to friends all the times that I just felt like giving up. Giving up for me — I didn’t desire to give up, it just seemed like the only thing. Like I felt that continuing was going to just dig me into a rabbit hole that I don’t want to be in. And then, you know, because if I’m spending all the time on my business, and it’s not bringing in the amount of money that I need. So I need to find a solution to, you know, be able to support myself. So then the only thing that seems logical is, you know, just putting the business on hold and then working like a nine to five or, or not even necessarily nine to five but another job that’s not working for myself. That’s a job working for someone else with a certainty that I’m going to get a pay check every two weeks.
I called… I reached out to friends and they always said to trust in my higher power God, the universe, source energy, and just put the message out into the world that this is what you want, and you’ll get it. That’s what people always said and I said yeah you’re right. And just to stay in the present, and, you know, just live for today. Not that the future doesn’t exist but to be in the present, and go day by day, and keep asking for what you want from the universe keep putting your message out there. And… me going.
Katerina: Right. Because you very very spiritual. And you also mentioned in your profile on your profile that you acquired quite a bit of a perfectionist, weren’t you.
Chani: Year definitely. I wrote recovering perfectionist.
Katerina: Yeah, what does that mean? How were you before?
Chani: Oh my gosh okay what a great question. The mentality I grew up with, is like kind of shame based, we have to be perfect. I’m very corporate and my also…I studied… I didn’t just study like coaching I studied amongst psychologists and post degree programmes. So we had a lot of different people from different backgrounds — different types of coaching and therapy, and stuff like that. And a lot of the people who are psychologists they… I guess the university must have given over a different mentality than what I have learned in coaching.
It’s very, like, the people who have PhDs, you know are very well respected for very good reasons, and then coaches don’t have PhDs, often unless they did coaching after before their PhD. And there was a lot of mismatch I felt like my personal experience was… I felt looked down on for being a coach in those educational sectors. And that kind of fed into I have to be perfect. I have to have a PhD in order to be successful, and to be respected by other people, or else I’m nothing which is very shame-based and not really seeing that I have what to give and it also kind of added to this professional corporate mentality that I had seen a lot of growing up, where it’s like, you can’t have a personality, you have to be perfect and all that, you know, when you’re writing emails, it has to be very official.
And a big part of, you know, my journey as an entrepreneur was learning that if I want to connect to other people I can’t write them emails like I’m a secretary for a corporate business. I have to connect with them and be myself, which was really really really challenging to do.
Katerina: I can imagine because this is I guess a problem for a lot of starting entrepreneurs because they find these templates, you know how to write emails and its just doesn’t work. You have to be you with your personality shining through to attract the right type of people you want to work with.
Chani: Yeah, absolutely.
Katerina: Yeah, but you also mentioned that you kind of try to be perfect and, you know, dressing up nicely but you were attracting wrong people in your life.
Chani: Yes, yes, definitely. So that actually goes back… to could even be 10 years ago now… time passes quickly. I was trying to fit into different groups in order to please other people. So what I would do is I would try to dress a certain way to attract you know whatever it was that I wanted in my life. Today I use the word attract, because that’s what I believe but at the time I never would have said I was trying to attract what I want in my life. I was, I would have just said I wanted to be accepted. And I wanted to fit in. And this is how you have to dress to fit in.
And that was in many different areas of my life. The clothes that I wore I felt were a huge part of fitting in and a part of my value of … If I don’t dress the way the people are dressing who I want to fit in with, I will not be accepted, where I want to be accepted and therefore I will not have love and belonging. That was the belief that I had at the time.
Kataerina: Yeah, so what changed it?
Chani: It didn’t get me anywhere. That’s the truth. It got it you know where was I… it was a very lonely life it’s very painful because you’re not really being true to yourself. And one of the biggest lessons that I learned when I was trying to figure out, Okay, how do I not feel alone, how do I feel more connection in my life, that it’s actually the exact opposite being myself is going to give me the love and belonging that I was looking for being myself is going to give me the connection that I was seeking… By trying to fit in with different groups of people, I was actually disconnecting myself from them, which, it seems, it seems like it wouldn’t be connecting with them if you’re doing the same as them but because I wasn’t being true to myself, or being a genuine version of myself — I wasn’t actually connecting it was all based on outside parameters that are rooted in falsehood.
Katerina: So when you started paying attention to who you are and be true to yourself, did you lose some of the people from your life? As a result of this?
Chani: Yeah, definitely. I… yeah… you know I…. There was like two big waves of that and I’m sure there’s more to come. I don’t want it to come I just expected because I think that’s something that happens through life as we change. And as we change and we grow, and we are now in different alignments than we were before, perhaps, we’re in more alignment with ourselves, than we were.
Or maybe our life just changed, and we need to align with our new circumstances that could happen as well. And like that would be an example of someone getting married somebody moving, or maybe starting a new job, maybe having new goals and wanting to surround yourself with different people to grow in a different direction, any kind of a change, we have to, you know, then align with it.
And the people we were surrounding ourselves with may no longer be supporting us in what we want for ourselves, and by them being in a different place emotionally, or just in life and their lifestyle or their goals in life it may no longer be suitable for us to stay friends with those people. And, yeah, it was very challenging when I decided to lead a more spiritual way of life. I had a lot of friends who didn’t understand it, and we didn’t connect as much any more, like it wasn’t that I actively decided I’m going to cut off these friendships. We just didn’t connect any more.
And what I realised is that, you know, connecting was based on you know going out for drinks was based on which party we’re going to… And I no longer wanted that for myself — I was looking for something different. And it was hard because when there’s a loss — for me, I experienced also a level of grief. It may not be intense grief, but it’s losing a friendship or losing a part of my life that I can no longer keep. If I want to move forward with specific goals, or just a specific way of life, like spirituality, for example. So, yeah, I’ve definitely had to change my friends and, yeah, turn over a new leaf in my life, socially.
Katerina: Are you happy now?
Chani: Absolutely. Thank God I definitely say so.
Katerina: What would you change in your life today?
Chani: What would I change in my life today. Can I say nothing.
Chani: I mean, no… it’s not that I think my life is perfect, but something that I’ve learned… well perfect doesn’t exist. There you go — recovering perfectionist. But it’s that I’ve learned to be grateful for everything I have. And also to be grateful for everything that I don’t have because often times there are things that we want, and what habit at the wrong time it’s not going to be as we imagined it’s going to on a practical level, it’s gonna look a lot worse. So I’ll give an example, somebody who wants to have a lot of money. And then they get a lot of money but they never learned how to manage it, they’re gonna have a lot more problems than they did before. They don’t realise it. But then once the problems end up happening. A lot of people will tell you that they wish they had learned how to manage the money beforehand.
And actually Berkeley, California did research on this, I remember reading about this a while back that people who make over $75,000 per year I’m pretty sure was the number… don’t this, but that they are more prone to depression. Because I guess the money’s getting to their head or whatnot. So that’s uh so you know I’m grateful for where I am today for everything I have and everything that I don’t have, and there’s nothing that I would change.
Katerina: Yeah, because you mentioned this research and the same, you know, people sometimes can’t manage, you know, failing at something, but they at the same time, when they succeed they’re also sometimes can’t manage the success, and they sabotaging themselves. Like you said you know you get money and then you should be enjoying money right but money won’t make you happy, hundred percent of the time, right?
Katerina: Yeah, yeah. So, given your, you know, spirituality today… Are you an anxious person, or you self manage this anxiety now… and I guess anxiety, maybe it was kind of linked back to your perfectionism in the past because it happens right? You anxious because you’re trying to be perfect, then right all the time, right? But what’s happening today… has this all changed and you’re calmer or do you still have to use some kind of strategies and manage your anxiety?
Chani: So I definitely have to use strategies to manage anxiety, and I have not yet met a person who does not need to. If I do — introduce me to them I love to meet them. But this is how I would put it. I am a person who experiences anxiety. I’m not an anxious person but a person who experiences anxiety.
Katerina: Anxiety is normal right it’s normal if it doesn’t interfere with your life it’s a normal thing?
Chani: Yeah, I mean, it’s normal your anxiety is not interfering with your life. Then, I would look into that. But, yeah, so I would say that for me. I’ve learned how to be calm. I put calm as a priority in my life that I will prioritise using the tools that I now have to maintain, you know, a calm way of being. And if I see that I’m anxious, I get that immediate attention, and that could look that look like reaching out to friends and sharing how I am feeling. That could mean going for a walk going for a jog, listening to music, dancing. Anything to self regulate and then kind of, you know, get back on the waggon so called.
Katerina: Yeah, so how do you relax?
Chani: How do I relax… Um, you know it’s different, based on you know what I need, but one of my favourite things to do is I love playing like calm music in the background and enlightening the candle and maybe it’s reading a book, or sometimes even just like writing quotes is a very relaxing thing for me to do I enjoy that a lot. But that’s usually actually the second step as I’m saying this out loud I’m realising there’s a first thing that happens that I didn’t even mention. It’s kind of getting in touch, which can happen through journaling or talking to a friend, it’s usually one or the other, about what what it is that’s causing the anxiety, and then kind of reminding myself that I believe that there is an energy that’s greater than us in this world that’s loving and kind and that if I let go and surrender my anxiety to that higher energy in this world that because it’s loving and kind it’s going to be there for me. And it’s going to show up for me and that really I don’t actually have to worry. And then I just do things that are calm and I focus on slow movement.
Because slow movement I actually, I help a lot of my clients with this as well and I would never suggest something to a client that I’m not practising myself. And it’s a lot of people what they do is when they’re feeling intense anxiety is intensity, they will add intensity to the intensity in order to become. An example would be that’s use entrepreneurs, for example, right. The mentality of, I’m really anxious, so I’m going to go go go, I’m gonna send all these emails, I’m going to market it then I’m going to have the life that I want I’m going to have a successful business, and I’m going to then be Okay. And what my experiences, is that it needs to burn out eventually. Because the anxiety that was there isn’t going to go away. The person needs to slow down. And from that place of slowing down you’re able to access, what’s called higher wisdom, which means it’s kind of meditation like being able to get in touch with yourself having a clear head space.
And then from that place of slowing down and there’s no pressure on yourself to be anywhere to do anything it’s just, where am I, what do I need, and from the slow, just from slowing down and letting go of all the other things that you’re, you know distracted by or holding on to, you’ll naturally in touch with yourself. What you’re feeling and the things that you really want will come to you, and also the next step for you, which might even be just making dinner, like because you’re hungry, because you’re hungry like that, that’s a very practical thing that happens regularly for myself and also other people that I work with. And so that’s how I’m going to do for myself I think that truly is how I get into a state of calm.
Katerina: Yeah. I think you’re so right here because … like you said many entrepreneurs start doing more and they’re sending this you know like you’ve seen emails and they tried to be busy. And then they just they just end up doing… it doesn’t result in what they expected to be resulted so yeah come down and think strategically maybe about your future a little bit, right? Plan it — is a good word, right? Yeah, plan for the future… So what about the situation today. Obviously with COVID-19, there’s a lot of anxiety and uncertainty as well in the world. How do you deal with uncertainty?
Chani: Great question. So, as I talked a lot about spirituality here. I have only found an answer to that, in to, what do we do with uncertainty in spirit based and spirituality. Basically, right now, we’re experiencing something that’s uncertain. And we don’t know what’s going to be and that causes a lot of anxiety for people, they’re very nervous about what’s going to be, and what we do very quickly, almost, you know, naturally, is we’re trying to solve the problem by trying to control the outcome. By knowing what’s going to happen, by having certainty so there’s a part of us that feels his need for certainty. And Tony Robbins actually talks about this too he I think, how many basic needs, I think you said there’s four basic needs — four or five. The two of them are one is certainty the other one’s uncertainty.
So we definitely have a need for certainty, as well as a need for uncertainty because if everything was certain, then there’s no room for growth and things that were, you know, like the good surprises that we enjoy in life so we need both. So instead of trying to control the outcome, we need to stay in the present, and what, how can we stay in the present, without trying to control it? It’s by knowing that the universe or God, whatever higher power, you know the person connects to, and has defined as a loving higher power because it’s a higher power is not a loving one then it’s not going to serve the person a lot of good that that higher power is loving and kind and is going to get them through this time, whatever money that they’re concerned about because maybe they’re unemployed, they’re going to be Okay.
And really what it comes down to is knowing that you’re going to be Okay. And once the person can truly know that they’re going to be Okay, even though this is crazy, and this is unlike anything anyone who’s living today has ever been through. The world has been through things like this, but people living today I’ve never been through this. And I think the certainty can be placed in the universe that we’re going to be Okay. And we’ll make it through. We don’t know yet, but that’s Okay, but the certainty, or need for certainty will come from the power greater than ourselves that our power greater than ourselves will take care of us.
Katerina: Do you think today is a good time to start a new business?
Chani: Absolutely. I believe if you if there’s a will — there is a way. There are… you know I see a lot of entrepreneurs saying that now is because of COVID-19, now there’s more opportunity and you know I think it’s nice that people are sharing that. But the truth is, is I think whatever is meant to be is going to be. So if a person is meant to do well in business now it’s going to happen if they were meant to do well in business before COVID-19 then it would have happened also. I think it’s about believing in yourself and being true to yourself and taking action on what you truly want the time period, you can calculate if it’s better if it’s not, but I also think that every time period is a good time period.
Katerina: So if you were to start your coaching business again today, would you do things differently?
Chani: I have no idea. If I was started today I wouldn’t know what I know today. So I can’t base it on if I knew what I knew today, and also everything I know today comes from all the mistakes that I’ve made. So, I don’t think I would do anything differently. It’s frustrating. It’s a long time to build a business, to build an online community, to start a movement, but I don’t think I would do anything different. I would never be where I am today. If I hadn’t put all the effort in that I did. It takes patience, and that’s I think for me, where the work is so hard.
Katerina: How do you envision to grow in your business? Are you trying to grow? Or are you just trying to cater for a smaller number of private clients, or do you want, and do have plans to grow, and maybe add some additional services to your coaching mastery class?
Chani: So right now, I’m taking it just kind of as it comes. When I see that, actually, I’ll answer this because this podcast is for entrepreneurs. So, I’ve recently, like a couple months ago came across a coach who was talking about that, we first have to find our superpower, and talk about it… and then afterwards, we will get a following — that’s our business. And a lot of other coaches will say first create a product that … if you have nothing to sell, how will you make money — which is also a logical thing to say.
But a lot of times what people do and I did this myself was create products, and then you talk about the product to try to sell it, but it doesn’t get as many sales as you were hoping. And so that was actually a big block I came up with in my business. And what this coach had said that I was listening to is that instead of making a product and talking about the product, find your superpower, and talk about that. People will be drawn to you. And once people are drawn to you, and you see what the need is what they would like to …. that they follow, then create the service or then create a product, and then you can release it to them. So that’s kind of where I’m focusing. I would love for it to become big. However, I think that whatever comes naturally… my, my job, I, the reason that I chose to be a coach is because I really want to be able to be of service to the people in this world.
The same way I have so many dear friends and I’ve gone to coaches myself, and it has helped me absolutely tremendously. I want to be able to give back what is so generously been given to me. And for me it’s not about how big can I get it to be because that would be feeding into my ego and I definitely have that part of me I’m not gonna pretend it’s not there, I would love to have a big movement and all that. But for me, if I can touch another person’s heart and help another person, move from surviving to living. I’ll consider myself successful, and that’s where I’m at now, so we’ll see where it goes.
Katerina: Yeah. That’s great advice from you. So, what would you advise women, or entrepreneurs who are about to give up on their dreams. They’ve reach this sort of wall of challenges and they don’t know the way out and they don’t know, maybe, which you know how to find a solution to solve that problem and they about to give up on their dream. What would you tell them?
Chani: I’ll tell them exactly what I tell myself. When you’re about to give up, that’s when you’re about to have your breakthrough. Don’t give up — this is a sign your breakthrough is right around the corner, keep pushing, do whatever you need to keep going, you’re going to get there and you’re going to have your breakthrough. Don’t give up before the miracle happens.
Katerina: That’s great, thank you so much Chani. That’s a great advice. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Chani: Absolutely, thank you so much for having me Katrina, I enjoyed this.
Katerina: Thank you.