Karen Vincent, Founder of Karen Vincent Solutions
Karen Vincent is the owner and CEO of Karen Vincent Solutions. She is a certified life coach, a certified health coach, a certified integrative nutrition coach, a licensed therapist, and a motivation expert. She works with busy women who have poured all their energy into their careers and others, at the expense of their own health, happiness, relationships, and overall life fulfillment. Karen focuses a lot on mindset and helping women change the way they think so that they get the results they want in their lives, even if they have not been successful in the past. Karen also focuses a lot on creating positive habits that help support the goals her clients are wanting to achieve.
Interview with Karen Vincent (Karen Vincent Solutions)
Katerina: Great to have you on this podcast.
Karen: Thank you so much for having me. Happy to be here.
Katerina: Yeah. Karen, the first question I want to ask you is, how did you become a health coach?
Karen: Well I was, as you mentioned, I started my career as a licenced mental health therapist and then about 12 years ago, I got certified as a life coach. And I was working in the Employee Assistance field and we were doing, we were adding wellness programming to the service offerings that we had. And so I went, it just made good sense to go. I was going to lead the team that was providing the services from a management kind of operational perspective, but it made sense for me to go and really get ingrained in that so I went and I got certified as both a health coach and an integrated nutrition coach.
And it was great and, you know, there’s so much mind-body connection that it’s been really helpful in the work I’m doing. Because so often, you know, somebody comes with stress and we look at their diet or you know, what they’re doing from a physical perspective and it really all ties together, so it made good sense. And it’s helped me personally, too.
Katerina: Yeah, because you’re the founder of Karen Vincent Solutions. How long have you been a founder?
Karen: Just a little under a year.
Karen: My own business. Yeah. I left the corporate world in January. I decided I really just wanted to kind of, the services that I was providing at the corporate level, just kind of do on my own and have them all online. So, I’ve been loving. It’s great.
Katerina: Yeah. I looked at your website and you also mentioned that you were providing some health advice to children to adults. But what is your clientele today? What is the profile of your clients?
Karen: It’s adults and it’s all women. I’m not opposed to working with men but it’s just I market to women and a lot of what I do is because I kind of went on my own journey. And, you know, being in the corporate world, travelling a lot getting really burnt out both emotionally and from a physical health perspective, just not taking care of myself not sleeping and so, so that’s really who I speak to and I can really relate to. So, it’s all women at this point.
Katerina: Yeah. So what is the age group?
Karen: I actually have someone who’s younger right now. I have someone in her late 20s, but usually mid 30s to mid 50s.
Karen: People who, you know, it tends to be I get some moms who are, you know, really busy pouring themselves into their kids and all the activities and things like that but I get a lot of either entrepreneurs or corporate women who, you know, have poured all their time and energy into their careers and then kind of wake up one day, which is what I can relate to and say, oh, boy, that’s great. I’m making good money and I have, you know, I’ve had a lot of success professionally but going on with the rest of my life. Yeah.
Katerina: So, what are the common problems your clients have?
Karen: Weight loss is a big one.
Karen: Stress is a big one. And you know, it all ties together. So, not sleeping enough. And a lot of the work I do is around mindset because all of those things can tie back to mindset. So, anxiety, stress, a lot of it is stress that they’re putting on themselves, not even necessarily stress from outside circumstances, and some low-level depression. I get some people with relationship concerns and it’s because they’ve neglected their relationships. Um, but weight is a big one that you know, is the reason people come in and then we look at kind of the whole picture.
Katerina: Yeah, I actually read on your website that you have to be healthy but sometimes you just can’t find time. Actually three days ago, I just said to myself, enough is enough.I can’t fit in any of my clothes. I have to do something about it. And like you said, you don’t have to wait till Monday to do it. You have to decide right then and there to start making changes to your body.
Karen: Yeah, and I can relate to that too. You know, I was at a point where it was like, anytime I was making plans to go out with friends or something, I go buy new clothes. And the clothes weren’t the problem. It was what was under the clothes that was the problem and so I had to fix that. Yeah.
Katerina: So, if you look at the, you know, problems that generally you know, your clients have, is there a difference between say female entrepreneurs and females who work in the corporate world? Do they have different types of problems or do they all have the same type of problems?
Karen: There’s definitely overlap, you know, in terms of weight is weight, you know, not eating healthy is not eating healthy, but I think the the stress stuff comes from two different places so in the corporate world, it’s feeling the need to keep up to shine to impress others, and in the entrepreneur field, it’s a lot more of fear I think around, you know, feeling like it’s all on me to figure it out. So, what if I don’t get enough clients? What if, you know, my message isn’t resonating with people? I’m not, you know, a lot more comparison to I think happens and then that imposter syndrome sets in. So I think that where the stress and anxiety come from is a little bit different in terms of mindset, but the symptoms kind of play out the same. And the same for busy moms too.
Katerina: Yeah. You know you mentioned mindset. Can you just explain what is mindset and why it matters?
Karen: Yes, it’s so important. So mindset is really what we’re thinking about this, whatever we’re experiencing in our lives. So, for a lot of people, a lot of us, and all of us at some point feel like this is that you know, I’m stressed out because of my job or I’m really anxious because I didn’t hit my revenue goals last month. And so, we attribute the emotion to the circumstance, the situation, when the situation is not responsible for that. It’s what we’re thinking, it’s our mindset about that situation. So I do a lot of work with people around, and a lot of times we don’t even know what we’re thinking. We’re just kind of running on autopilot and so many of our thoughts are running in the subconscious.
So a lot of what we do is really dig in to figure out what are you thinking that’s causing those feelings? And then, is there a different way that you can be thinking about it and truly believe, and that’s where a lot of the coaching comes in, so that you can feel differently. Because what we think turns into what we feel, what we feel impacts how we act. So if I’m fearful about, let’s say my business. I’m fearful about my revenue. Then, I might spin my wheels just in anxiety, worried about that. And then, instead of doing something that could actually generate revenue, so I get stuck in that, oh my gosh, this isn’t gonna work out, is my business gonna fail, you know? And then I kind of get paralysed, and then the result is, you don’t get revenue.
So if you can change the thinking to say, for example, in this case, um, you know, I didn’t hit my revenue goals last month. Let me look at my messaging. Like I can, my clients are out there. I know that for sure so I have to just change how I’m thinking about it which will change how I’m feeling about it which will change the actions I take and change the results. And the results always go back to the thought. So if you’re thinking helpful thoughts, you’ll get the results you want. And it’s so important that people first really tune in to where their mindset is right now, and then they look at, you know, we do the work around how do we get you to a place of a better mindset so that you can get to where you want to be.
Katerina: Yeah. But if you think about how many thoughts, I don’t know, I’ve read somewhere and again, different people provide different information. Some say, it’s what? 40,000…?
Katerina: How do you even, how can you control that? How can you change your thoughts? Because they’re just random, they’re just in your head.
Katerina: How can you pay attention to your thought process? Is there a strategy to it or you need to be more aware?
Karen: Yeah, absolutely. I know, you’re right. And I don’t know how many thoughts go through our heads, but it’s like tens of thousands and you see different numbers. So, and so many of them are unconscious.
So you’re not even thinking about like, oh, I stepped on the floor when I got out of bed, oh I’m going to walk to the bathroom, I’m going to brush my teeth like, all that kind of stuff is just kind of running on autopilot. What I do is I have people look at okay, what’s the feeling that you’re feeling that’s the problem feeling for you? And so let’s say it’s anxiety. So let’s look at that. Tell me all your thoughts that you’re having when you start to feel anxious and really get people to kind of do that brain dump and explore like, usually there’s a theme around the thoughts to really like look at what is causing that anxiety.
What are you thinking specific to that anxiety? And all the other thoughts can be running in the background but we really draw those thoughts out and examine them and say, okay, you’re saying the thought that’s driving that is my business isn’t gonna fail. Is that true? Is your business really going to fail? But is there another way that you could be thinking about it? So, you know, going back to that same example, I didn’t hit my revenue goals last month, that’s causing me to feel anxious. What else can you think about that? So maybe it’s, I better try something different, or I learned what not to do, and then that’s going to propel me forward, so.
And it’s really about, you know, my clients have to come up with their own new thoughts. I don’t give them thoughts because that doesn’t work either, you know? But really it’s the coaching and the questioning and that really examining the thoughts and challenging people around their thoughts. And when people are open to that, they can get some, I mean it’s amazing that the breakthroughs that people can have. And then the results that they get, you know, following those breakthroughs.
Katerina: Yeah. So, you are a licenced mental health professional. What’s your specialty?
Karen: I’ve done all kinds of stuff. So I started out working with kids. I did a lot with adolescents and then I went into adults. I’ve done a lot with trauma, more with children and trauma, adults more the standard, you know, depression, anxiety, grief issues, relationship issues, those types of parenting issues.
Katerina: Yeah. Very often, our anxiety and stress is the result of overwhelm, especially for women. Because women have to multitask and they have to look after kids and make sure the family’s all well. Your clientele is the lady boss, right?
Katerina: First of all, can women have it all?
Karen: I think so, I do.
Karen: I do and I don’t believe in balance, I don’t think there’s any. I don’t think we ever get to a place where like, oh, my personal life is here and my work is here and it’s all perfectly balanced. So, but I think it’s, it’s what you need now. So, you know, someone might say I’ve got to do a little bit more towards work right now because I’m launching something or I’m promoting something. I need some help with the kids, or, you know, I’m not going to see my friends as much this month and then next month you say, okay we’re moving into the holiday season. I’m gonna spend more time with friends and family.
But I think it’s about being intentional, not letting other people drive that for you because what what happens I think, especially for us as women, is we just keep going on the back burner and everything else that’s up here, and then that’s when we find ourselves in that situation when we wake up one day and say, whoa, but you know, what happened? So, yeah. I think it’s being intentional and focusing on what’s the next thing that you want?
Katerina: How is that working from home?
Katerina: He’s just returned from school. Mummy’s talking on the podcast.
Karen: How old is he?
Katerina: Four. He’s just started school, he just finished for a week. But yeah, so I mean, that’s why I’m asking. How do you, because anxiety, a little bit of anxiety is okay, right? It’s a part of life. How can spot that something is really wrong and anxiety can become something more of a concern and leads to the mental health problem? How can we spot this?
Karen: That’s a great question. And I think you’re right. A little anxiety can be good, it can be motivating it can be, you know, energising, to some extent. I think when it starts to impact your normal functioning is when you really have to look at it and when it’s prolonged. So if you know, if there’s a situation, maybe you have a big launch, or something coming up, and you feel a little anxious.
That’s normal. That’s kind of anxiety and excitement, really are the same feeling in many ways. But if it’s prolonged and it’s heightened, and it’s interfering with your ability to take the action that you want to take or, then at that point, I think, you know, you want to start thinking about do I need some help with this or, you know, should I talk to somebody, whatever, you know, whatever that looks like for you. So definitely, prolonged is a sign and it’s, you know, we all know this, it’s not healthy either. It takes a toll on your body when you’re living in that heightened state of stress and anxiety.
Katerina: Yeah. So, you personally, have you had any mental health struggles in the past?
Karen: I have not. I have other than, you know, prolonged stress related to work which ultimately I learned was not related to work. It’s related to my thoughts about work. But yeah, I’ve experienced that, but not any mental health concerns.
Katerina: Yeah, because we had a guest on the podcast. The podcast will be live on Monday and his name is Michael Freeman. He’s published a study where he found through his research the correlation, association between entrepreneurship and mental health problems. But again, it’s still a lot of unknown whether we are likely to develop mental health conditions as a result of our entrepreneurial activities or entrepreneurs who experienced mental health conditions in the past, in childhood, maybe in adolescence, they’re more likely to become entrepreneurs later in life.
But he found some relationship between entrepreneurship and mental health. And I’ve had some guests on the podcast who said that they never experienced anything like, like, you know, anxiety or toxic stress that they’re experiencing until they started their business. You see, so it’s almost like they became founders and they started experiencing all sorts of mental health issues. And I also had some guests who, in the past, suffered from different types of mental health conditions such as eating disorders and anxiety, and they’re kind of now entrepreneurs, founders of businesses. So it would be interesting to find out what’s happening with people, you know, what leads to what. But like I said you know, you are healthy mentally and you are helping people to, you know, with their issues in terms of their mental health. But what was your biggest failure since you started your business? What was your, maybe if not failure, maybe the greatest challenge?
Karen: I think, and I will probably find it forever, is the comparison. Comparing myself to other people. Because for me, that leads to a lot of stress, and then a lot of inaction. So and then I feel like I waste time. So I’m looking at what, you know, somebody who’s been doing this for 15 years, where their business is and I’m comparing my business to that, and thinking I should be, and what happens is one of two things. I either, then I just think and I think and I think and I try to dig into things and then I’m not actually executing.
Or, I think I have to do everything at one time. You know, social media is a good example. There’s something, I mean there’s so many different ways to approach it. There’s so many platforms. And so thinking, I’ve got to go do everything. And then when I do that, I do nothing well. I’m trying to spread way too thin so I’ve had to learn to, you know, and that’s been challenging. That’s been really stressful for me but to dial it back and say okay I’m going to do this one thing and do it really well. And then I can add on the next thing, if appropriate, so. So I think I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to do too much at one time and then with that comes, I’ve got to go learn more so now I’ve got to listen to, you know, go watch a bunch of YouTube videos or take a course and that kind of thing. And in consuming, consuming, consuming and not executing.
Katerina: Yeah. I think it’s referred to as shiny object syndrome or something like that?
Karen: Yeah, I know about that.
Katerina: Yeah, I know. I ran a business a couple of years ago. I closed my old business. But you just think you have to do this course and that course then you have to be good at this and that, and you end up like yourself, spreading too thin, and then you become overwhelmed. Because you can’t just do everything.
Karen: Right. And then for me, at least when I become overwhelmed then I go into that kind of paralysed mode because I don’t even know what to do next. So it’s been a good, I mean I’m glad it happened because I’ve learned that I can’t work like that and I don’t know if anybody can so I’ve just learned, do one thing at a time, do it well, fix things if it’s not going well and then move on to the next thing. And, and that works much better for me.
Katerina: Yeah. So what was your say, biggest surprise since you started your own coaching business?
Karen: That’s a really good question. Um, I can look at it from two perspectives. So, one, I can look at it from just strictly the business side and it’s how much time social media takes up to, you know, to be in there consistently and just how hard it is to have organic reach these days on most platforms. So that was a big surprise for me and I had to come up with some strategies around, you know, just, I take a couple days and I just produce content and I also produce content on the fly, but I don’t produce, I create the content so that then I can deliver it.
But it’s not consuming me on a day to day basis. From a client perspective, I think, I’m maybe going back to kind of what we talked about in an earlier question is that how common so many women, how similar their experiences are in terms of, you know, I can relate to it based on my own experience, in terms of what they’re feeling and and feeling like they’re, they’re just stuck and frustrated because these are successful people who are saying like, I have a great job or I’m building a great business, but I just feel stuck around my weight or my happiness or my relationship and so that, and that we feel like we’re alone and, you know, the only one having that experience and it’s such a common theme that you know, people aren’t alone and they’re having that experience.
Katerina: Yeah. Do you have anyone in your family who is also an entrepreneur?
Karen: My father was. And my husband, he’s a physical therapist. He has his own business.
Katerina: Yeah. So you can provide some support to each other?
Katerina: And what about your general sort of network? Are you active on networking websites, talking to other big female entrepreneurs? Motivation, how do you get motivated?
Karen: One of my goals in, I was gonna, I’m hoping this year, we’ll see how that plays out, I’m gonna watch a digital course. Because of the reason I just said that so many women feel like they’re the only one having this experience and so I want to bring people together and do the coaching but also provide a community where women can support one another. Women, you know, having similar experiences.
So, I’m part of Amy Porterfield community where she teaches how to build a digital course. And then she also has a membership group. And it’s all, it’s all people of all different, you know niches, but kind of doing the same work. A lot of people are still solopreneurs. Some people, you know, have grown teams. So, I’m really active in that community and it’s great, it’s really supportive.
Katerina: Yeah. Also, another question. I guess I’m always, I’ve asked this question several times. Coaching is quite a fragmented sector. There are easy entry barriers, if you wish. You don’t have to have a lot of capital to become a coach, right? You can just create a website. And there are many coaches out there. How do you differentiate? How do you stand out from the crowd? What’s your level of differentiation?
Karen: That’s a great question. And there is a lot of, you know, coaching is a saturated market, you know? So you’re right, there’s tons of coaches. For me, like I said, I speak to a specific woman when I’m when I’m talking and when I’m marketing. And that doesn’t mean that’s the only people I’m going to attract but that’s who I’m speaking to. And then I think my background of being a certified coach for 12 years and having the mental health background, although you know you can’t provide mental health service across state lines, so I’m really clear if I have somebody and I think that they need something more than coaching, I’m very upfront with that and help them, you know, get connected in the health coaching.
So I really try to highlight those, they’re all intertwined. And another thing you mentioned in the beginning, I think, is that I’m a member of the motivational interviewing network of trainers. So, motivational interviewing is a specific, it’s used mostly in therapy, but it’s used in coaching too. It’s a specific way of having a conversation.
Katerina: I was actually about to ask you this. What’s this term?
Karen: So it says it’s a specific way of having a conversation with somebody where you not only, and it’s how you ask the questions, how you respond to their responses. So you not only dial up their motivation, but you also help them sustain their motivation over time. And so, I’ve been doing motivational interviewing for years and years but I’m also, you have to go through a, it’s not officially a certification, but you have to record sessions, have somebody rate them. They have a very scientific way of rating them to make sure that you’re using the skills correctly. And then you have to go, I actually went to Germany the year I did it. And you have to get in front of a group and show that you can actually teach the skills too so I can teach other practitioners the skills. So I use that too. I think that’s unique. That not all coaches have that and a lot of people have some level of it but not to the extent that, I just had the luxury of time.
Katerina: Yeah. Is this similar to Socratic questioning?
Karen: It’s similar, it’s similar. So it’s asking, I’ll give a couple examples of that.
Katerina: Yeah, that would be great.
Karen: So it’s all about, I’ll give a little background. So when we’re talking about making a change, if you say, I’m going to do this, I have no doubt in my mind I’m gonna do this, I’m excited I’m doing it, you probably don’t need coaching for that right? Because you’re right, you’re not ambivalent, you’re just going to do it. But what I see certainly in coaching and I’ve experienced myself we all have is that you want to make a change but you haven’t done it.
And there’s a reason why you haven’t done it. So you’re ambivalent. There’s like a part of you that really wants to make the change but then there’s part of you that says it’s too scary or it’s going to be uncomfortable or I’m going to feel deprived if it’s around eating, whatever it might be. And so, when, when you’re talking to somebody who’s experiencing that ambivalence, they’re going to say, they’re going to give you the reasons why they want to do the thing. And then you’re going to say, okay, well let’s make a plan. And then they’re going to go back to, well, I don’t know if I have time. And so then they’re going to give you the reasons why it’s going to be hard or they can’t do it. And so we call that change talk versus sustain talk.
The sustain talk is what’s holding them in their comfort zone. So, even if they don’t like it, it’s still their comfort zone for the time being. So in motivational interviewing, when you’re asking questions that you’re asking, questions to draw, intentionally draw out more of that change talk, so you’re dialling up their motivation. And there’s specific skills. There’s like reflecting and you ask a lot of open ended questions and you help summarise. But the attention is always on the change talk and not the sustain talk. So a question that’s used in coaching a lot but, you know, on a scale, let’s say somebody’s talking about weight loss, on a scale from 1 to 10, how motivated are you right now to lose 10 pounds?
And if someone says, oh I don’t know, 5. That’s not too good, right? So you could say, Oh, well, why? What do you think is holding you back? And then they’re gonna give you all their sustain talk, all the reasons why it’s gonna be hard and they can’t do it. So I would say, you’re 5, hmm. What do you think it would take to get you to like a 7? But what would need to be different? Or, that’s interesting, you’re not a 3. Why do you think you’re a 5 and not a 3? And then they’re going to give you the positive stuff, the stuff that’s motivating them to want to make the change. So throughout the conversation you’re doing that and you’re, you’re helping people really kind of intensify the reasons why they want to do something and minimise the things that have been holding them back.
Katerina: Yeah, no, no, it’s, I’m actually, well, I am very supportive of finding solutions for the mental health problems proactively because it’s one of those things, unfortunately, what we see today is kind of reactive approach to helping someone with mental health problems. Because a lot of people just don’t pay attention to their mental health, right? If something happens to them, you know like, they feel really down or they have depression. And I guess through these techniques, you can help people to be more, you know, to manage their mental health more proactively. And this again is motivation, low motivation can lead to a lot of things, right?
Katerina: And that will just escalate for people. But thinking about your entrepreneurial journey, since you said you’ve been a founder for around a year?
Karen: Yeah, January.
Katerina: January, yeah. Just just before the COVID. What a time to start a business.
Karen: Yeah. It hasn’t, you know, it hasn’t really affected me too much.
Karen: Based on what I’ve, you know, I work from home anyway.
Katerina: I guess some businesses, they will thrive during COVID and I guess the mental health profession will thrive because there are so many people in need of guidance and need of work and motivation. So yeah. But since the beginning of your, sort of, entrepreneurial journey, obviously you had to learn a lot of things as a founder, how do you continue to stay on top of things? How do you continue to stay on top of what’s current today? What are your strategies to learn about new things?
Karen: That’s a great question. And I will say that I’ve heard other people say this and I took this stance from the beginning, was that I was going to learn how to do everything before I handed anything off. So before I get somebody to help me with my social media, I wanted to make sure I knew it all. I wanted to make sure I knew how to build my website so that if something breaks on a Saturday afternoon, I can go fix it. I don’t have to wait for, you know, a contractor or somebody to come do that. So I follow, and this is where I’ve walked a fine line between consume, consume and, you know, let, at some point you have to let it go so.
So for example, Instagram just came out with the Reels feature where you did a little short videos of like 15 seconds. And in my mind I’m kind of thinking that is not anything I’m gonna do, thank you very much, Instagram. And it doesn’t really apply to my business. And I did some more research over the last couple weeks and if I want to have a presence on Instagram, I’ve got to do it. It’s what they’re promoting right now, it’s how their people are being found. So I did, so that I say to myself, okay, I’m going to spend an hour and see if that’s enough. I’m going to go watch some YouTube videos of some people who I know are Instagram experts, and I’m going to figure out, you know, what does this involve and how do I, you know, start thinking about how do I incorporate it into my business. So I try to do that. But like I said, it’s a fine line. I try to really walk that line between consuming too much, and then not getting anything done. So it was for me, again, social media is the biggest thing that you could…
Katerina: You have quite a few photos on Instagram. It’s impressive.
Karen: Yeah, yeah.
Katerina: In business for a year, it’s a good Instagram account you’ve got.
Karen: Yeah, and I, and I actually didn’t start Instagram until, I want to say May. Um, I was on Facebook and then I said, you know, I’ve got to get on Instagram. And I didn’t really use Instagram personally. I had an account but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had never posted anything and so that was a big learning curve for me. But it’s, you know, glad I did it, but it’s that’s one that takes a lot of my attention. I wish it took less at this point.
Katerina: Yeah. Also you mentioned, you’re quite healthy, mentally, physically, but we’re not immune, right? Entrepreneurs are not immune from developing mental health conditions.
Katerina: There is increasing evidence to suggest that at some point in your entrepreneurial journey, the majority of people will experience some degree of, you know, problematic conditions. So what’s your strategy to safeguard your mental health?
Karen: That’s a great question. And as you were talking, and when you were talking before about the gentleman who did their research. You know I’m thinking, It can be a lonely journey, being an entrepreneur when it’s when you don’t have a team, you know? And you’re working from home and you know, I get a lot of energy from my clients but there are times where you’re just working on the business, not, you know, not working with people. So I think that, you know, I’m just thinking that probably puts us at higher risk, is kind of that loneliness. But for me, I don’t love to exercise, but I love the way I feel mentally when I exercise, and physically so that’s really important to me.
Um, it’s rare that I skip a day of exercise because it just, I just, it sets my brain right. Um, excuse me. I also do practice mindfulness every day. So, even if it’s just five minutes, I’ll do anywhere between five and 15 minutes, and that really helps me. That really helps me be intentional about my thoughts and kind of focus. I do it in the morning. Lots of people choose to do it at night. I just do it in the morning. I also have a life coach, so I have somebody that I’m talking to every week and helping to kind of process through things and keep my brain in check. So, for me that’s important too. I look forward to that meeting every week. And I try to eat healthy most of the time and for me that makes a difference too. I don’t do well with gluten. So if I eat a lot of gluten, I don’t feel well and then when I don’t feel well, I don’t work as well. So I drink a lot of water.
I try to eat healthy most of the time and when I don’t, it’s a treat and I’m okay with that, you know? You feel good about it. And then I think, you know, you got to have positive supportive people in your life. Like my husband’s really supportive of what I’m doing. He gets it, you know? He’s much further along in his entrepreneurial journey but he gets it. And so having somebody I can talk to at the end of the day or debrief with or run ideas by is really helpful too. And then I think, um, you know, being in community with other people who are doing similar things. It doesn’t have to be the same business, but they’re passionate about doing similar things. For me, that’s really energising and that helps.
Katerina: It’s interesting you said, well, you are a life coach. And you said you go to life coaches.
Karen: Yeah. A hairdresser can’t give themselves a good haircut all the time.
Katerina: It’s true.
Karen: I can help myself most of the time but it’s helpful to have somebody else that I can really…
Katerina: Yeah. Yeah, no, it’s, it’s, yeah, I think you’re right. Unfortunately, when people start businesses, they often care too much about cash flow, they think about how to, you know, get sales through, and they kind of forget about their mental health. That’s important because it can really put founders, you know, in a situation where they can just let that business fail because they’re not mentally strong enough to cope with certain situations.
Karen: Yeah, and I think I’ve seen, when you were asking about, you know, engagement and other communities, there are some groups that I belong to that I’m not necessarily highly engaged in but I’ll see the questions coming up over and over about and it’s entrepreneur groups and it’s someone saying, you know, how does anybody have time for self care when you’re trying to run your business, I’m working 16 hours a day.
And I think that is a challenge of being an entrepreneur, especially if you’re working from home it’s in your face all day long. But you have to, I think you have to have that break, and whether that’s, you know, to spend time with your kids or your spouse and really spend time, not spend time with your own phone the whole time. Or to have a hobby or to have something else that you do that is not related to, you know, I mentioned exercise. When I’m exercising, I am not thinking about my business at all. My music is jammed up, you know, cranked up in my ears and I’m listening. Or listening to something on a podcast, not related to business. I have a peloton bike so those rides are really distracting in a good way. I have a garden so when the weather’s nice, I spend a lot of time out gardening and it’s just, you know, it’s that nice mental break and I think that’s really important.
And I think a lot of entrepreneurs, they feel like, well, I could use that hour to to work more and, therefore, move my business forward faster and it just doesn’t work like that. It sounds logical. But in the meantime, you’re drowning and your mental health is drowning, your physical health is drowning and it backfires completely, in my opinion.
Katerina: Yeah, I agree with you, totally. Like I said, I’ve recently started exercising and, you know, during the exercise now, I sometimes have this guilt thought that I should be doing something else. And it’s not like I’m spending an hour, two hours at the gym. I’m just doing just a little bit of cardio for the half an hour here and there. And still I catch myself thinking, oh, I should have done this, I should have created some kind of a post on Instagram or something. And then I stop myself thinking, hang on, hang on, hang on. You need to do this because it’s again, it’s your health. It’s important because this, you know, it’s like, you have to go to the gym to keep your body, well, gym, okay, in your home you can also have a gym, to keep your body. And it can help you to have, you know, the right mental gym in your head, in a way, because again, there is a connection between body and mind. Yeah?
Karen: Yeah. When I was getting really burnt out in the corporate world, I was, you know, I was in this heightened state of overwhelm. And it was like one project after the next, after the next and lack of resources and, you know, this is what I’m telling myself. And I wasn’t exercising at all for that same reason. It was like I need to be working, I need to be executing, and I don’t have time. And one day I was just like I can’t do this, my mind cannot take this for one more second. And that’s when I made the decision. This week, I’m going to exercise every day.
And I started out, I told myself, I’m just going to do five minutes a day, I have five minutes. And then, you know, I got down on my treadmill and five minutes, it’s 10 minutes, that’s easy enough. I could do it. I didn’t feel overwhelmed and then quickly you get up to, you know, 20 minutes to half an hour. But what I noticed, how I felt mentally once I got to the point where I was breaking a sweat and I was, you know, getting my heart rate up. I felt so much better that I did not want to do it anymore because it really changed, it just changed me. I wasn’t, you know, I wasn’t wanting to shut down at the end of the night and go watch stupid TV for hours just to kind of get that break. I was able to say, we’re done, and I’m gonna go do something I actually enjoy. So, yeah, so, but it’s hard. It’s hard when you’re in the grind.
Katerina: I was actually interviewing someone this week. This female entrepreneur, she created this device, right? It’s like a wearable device that you can put on your head. And it can actually fine tune to certain areas of your brain and help you with motivation as well.
Katerina: Yeah, she’s in Germany and she’s launching and she’s taken some pre-sales. But the full launch of the product will be in January. But she tried to explain this concept of neurofeedback and also neuroplasticity and she basically said that even, you know, it’s all in your mind and there is little we know about our mind and how to get motivated. And now they’ve created this and it actually motivates you and she’s wearing it to do the exercises.
Katerina: When she has some negative thoughts, she’s like… kind of activates certain areas of the brain. I mean it’s fascinating. Yeah. And so, solutions are out there and, and again, people like you said, you know, they will choose different solutions. Our listeners will get so much from this discussion because it’s important you keep it healthy, you pay attention to your thoughts and you, yeah, your mental health starts in your body, right?
Katerina: And through nutrition as well. It’s also important. But, Karen, just just to wrap up, what would be your final, you know, advice to female entrepreneurs? So maybe entrepreneurs in general.
Karen: Yeah, I think it could apply to entrepreneurs in general. It’s kind of twofold. So one, don’t neglect your physical and mental health to build a business because you will, if you’re bankrupt physically and mentally, you’re not going to have a thriving business. I don’t, I don’t think that’s possible, from my perspective. And I think one of the best ways to do that is, is the mindset work Is to make sure that when you feel those tough feelings, you notice what you’re thinking about, and really challenging yourself like, is this thought serving me?
If not, and likely not if it’s causing those emotions, is there a better thought I could have about this situation. It’s not the situation that’s causing you to feel that way, it’s what you’re thinking about it and how do you reframe it. And I think a really good example for me has been around this whole virus. And there are people who are thriving, who said I’m going to take advantage of the time at home. Like I mean it hit us all. We didn’t know what we thought was two weeks, right, initially, and here we are. And so there are people who took advantage to say, I’m going to spend more time with my kids, my family gets to eat dinner together, I’m organising my home, I’m starting a business, I’m going to get in shape. And there are other people who pulled the covers over their head, and they were just thinking, okay, I’ll start when this is over and now it’s, you know, six, eight months depending where you live.
Karen: There are people who have gained 30, 40 pounds, there are people whose relationships are falling apart, they are, you know, who really are struggling and it all goes back to how we perceive the situation. And as challenging as it is, you know, I chose from the beginning when I said this world is not a world I ever thought I’d be living in. I chose to say, I’m going to be grateful for the things I have and the things I can do, and I’m going to use this time to grow. And so, it just speaks to the power of mindset that two people are experiencing the same situation. I have a friend and she said if we have to go back into full quarantine like, I don’t know what I’m going to do. I don’t think I can survive it.
Katerina: Talking about the second wave, actually yesterday, they reported the largest number of infections since the beginning of the school, in the UK anyway. We might be heading into the second wave now.
Karen: Yeah. And I think, you know, so that’s an example of how your mindset can, and I’m not, you know, happy go lucky about this whole situation, you know? I wish we weren’t going through it. I hate seeing everybody walking around wearing masks. You can’t smile at somebody. I mean, I think there’s a lot of loss that we’ve all experienced, but I will not let myself drown in that loss. I will make sure that I’m balancing that with the good stuff and taking advantage of what we can do now. So that’s, you know, that’s just a good example of mindset and how powerful it can be.
Katerina: Yeah. Thank you, Karen. This is a great motivational message to all our listeners, definitely. Look after your house, think about the mindset, change your negative, you know, thoughts and feelings and emotions and try to be more in control of what you do, because, again, try to control things you can control, because again we couldn’t control pandemic. I mean, they said on the news that, just like you said, people gain so much weight and they actually mentioned something about the consumption of alcohol. I mean, I’ll probably consume half of that. But definitely pay attention to your mental health and stay safe and be healthy. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Karen: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.