Your business is here as a result of you. Your brain, your creativity, your passions and yet, when stress builds from the day-to-day tasks of entrepreneurship, taking care of yourself is this first thing that starts to become neglected. Comparisons, paying the bills, securing clients, and a never ending arms race with time all take a toll on us mentally, physically, and emotionally. The concern is, how can our businesses thrive if their health is always more important than our own?
Together, social workers turned coaches, Reina Pomeroy and Abby Howard, are helping entrepreneurs establish skills for becoming emotionally healthy… That way our businesses can stay healthy and flourish, too (details below on their upcoming webinar that you will not want to miss)!
Last week, Abby shared her journey from social worker to entrepreneurship, why it’s important to pay attention to your head space, and how she has cultivated her own mental strength. In this next interview, Reina, life and biz success coach (and a light of positivity within the interweb community for entrepreneurs), talks mental health and how shifting your mental space can improve your business:
Give us a bit of background on your business journey, especially the transition you’ve taken from social work to coaching:
Like Abby, I started out as a social worker. I was also a side-huslter that did a lot of events. I was living a two tracked life of service and wanting something pretty. I didn’t know how to make those two things come together. My social work career made me realize early on that I needed to have a creative outlet or else I’d burn out pretty quickly. I started a wedding planning business and that’s where I fell in love with creative entrepreneurship. I found the perfect match of being able to help, using my skills as an empathetic listener, and to be able to work with the clients who needed what I have to offer!
How does your experience in social work give you a unique perspective on building a business?
Oh that’s an interesting question! I think EVERYTHING I’ve done has given me a unique perspective on building a business. Specifically, social work has given me the ways to take care of myself in a meaningful way. But my experiences as a program manager and doing operations as part of a Presidential Campaign, that gave me the tools and *ahem* balls to be able to take risks that result in major impact.
Owning a business is hard work! What do you struggle with the most internally?
What isn’t hard about entrepreneuship!? I think for me, it always comes back to, “Will people like what I’m doing? Will anybody buy this? What if It doesn’t work?” All of these fears are SO normal to me and I’ve dubbed it the “mean girl” voice. I try to just TURN her down!
Why is it so important to combat, or at least manage, negative thinking?
Self-comparison is “fixed” by noticing that it exists and then making a conscious decision to turn down the dial of the mean girl voice.
Why do you think entrepreneurs neglect their mental health and overall wellbeing, yet are so willing to do whatever it takes for their business?
Yeah, I think it’s a HUGE topic that we’re trying to tackle here. Many people who aren’t mental health experts throw around this concept of “self care” and while I think that’s important, it’s NOT about going to yoga more, or just doing meditation once a week. It’s the daily structures in our lives that help us to get healthy and stay healthy. I call myself a life + biz success coach because while my clients often come to me for business and strategy (and that’s super important), what they’re actually craving is to feel loved at home, to feel less overwhelmed, to feel like what they’re doing makes an impact, to feel like they have emotional energy to dedicate to their kids.
How do you structure your day in a way that promotes good mental health?
I do my grateful heart exercise to pour out my worries and reflect on the gratitude I do have for my life. And you know what? Some days, it POURS out. Some days, it’s just a trickle. Another thing I do is to talk to people who can even me out. I get so lonely sometimes if I go all day with no human contact, working on this or that. I try to have people “on call” to help me crawl out of my cave of darkness (haha). The online world can wreak havoc on a person’s mental health. If you’re having trouble with comparison and what somebody else is doing, give yourself permission to stay off of social media for a designated period of time.
What kind of pitfalls can result if we don’t pay attention to what’s going on in our mental space?
I think it is really important to articulate what’s going on inside of you when you’re having feelings. Often, we are so wrapped up in what’s happening that we disregard physical sensations that are giving us clues about what’s going on. For example, you might be anxious about something that’s happening and you keep spinning, trying to get stuff done. If you can create space to examine what’s actually going on, and see, “oh that’s interesting, my stomach is in knots, I’m having some intense digestive issues, I wonder if that’s connected to how anxious I’m feeling.” The body has so much knowledge and it’s all connected. If we can SLOW THE HECK DOWN, create space to check in with our mental/physical/emotional selves on a regular basis, we’d all be happier, healthier, kinder humans. But that takes dedication and practice. Anxiety is one that facilitates speeding life up, trying to go to the next thing; without managing it, you actually are at risk of shutting down completely.
What makes a business owner mentally strong?
I want to reiterate Abby’s points (read her interview here). Self Kindness and Mindfulness (and awareness) are so key to staying mentally fit. Having people around you to be those things to you when you can’t is also important. Sometimes, it takes others to reflect back to you validation, acknowledgement, and the recognition that you’re worthy, that you’re exactly enough.
What do you wish someone would have told you about owning a business before you started?
That fear exists for everybody and it’s normal not to know all the answers. I feel like, at every point of growth, I get unsure. Every decision can be difficult but I’ve adopted the mentality that even if I fail, I will learn something. As long as I have my family, my home, then the mistakes I make are things I can learn and grow from.
Being entrepreneurs, I think we all have a bit of “shiny object syndrome” where we’re easily distracted by new and exciting ideas. How do you manage which thoughts to act on when you want to do #AllTheThings?
YESSSS. So, this manifests also in the form of a) having too many tabs open – on your computer, or in your brain, b) you info hoarding with all the FOMO in the world. If you’re looking to all the “experts” out there, and you’re trying to take in all kinds of information, but you’re not actually USING that information, you’re going to make yourself sick with anxiety, like you’re not keeping up with the Kardashians. Please, give yourself grace to stop the info hoarding.
I see you have a webinar coming up on developing healthy habits for emotionally happy entrepreneurs. Tell us about this and where to sign up!
Abby and I are hosting a webinar called “Healthy Habits for Emotionally Healthy Entrepreneurs” on May 26th at 3pm Eastern // 12pm Pacific. In this webinar, Abby will be talking about the major emotional health pitfalls entrepreneurs face and walk you through simple and yet highly effective steps for managing your negative self-talk.
What inspired you to team up and host this webinar?
I see this as a really global conversation in entrepreneurship, not only for people with a diagnosis but with all entrepreneurs. “Normal 9-5 people” don’t always get the plight of the entrepreneur. Abby and I have such a unique perspective of having worked in mental health and have that training as well as our Co-Active Coaching Training to be able to help us deliver information in a way that will serve the audience.
Why is this webinar going to beneficial to all business owners, not just those who are struggling mentally at the moment?
We can ALL learn new ways to be more mentally and emotionally fit. If we aren’t physically and mentally well, we can’t continue to be the leader of sustainable businesses. Everybody can benefit from how to manage negative emotions and our own inner critic voices.
What have been some of your own failures, and what have you learned from them?
So many failures. But my mentality is a failure is a way to make a different choice. I failed by creating offerings that didn’t sell, or didn’t go as well as I expected. Instead of worrying about it too much, I tried to reverse engineer what people actually did want. I try to fail fast and learn from them. When I fail is when I feel like I let people down. That is what makes me really bummed! My relationships are important to me so I feel really hurt when I fail people who are important to me.
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
Thanks so much! We can’t wait to see y’all at the webinar on 5/26! Sign up now!