Brittany Bouffard: How To Develop Mindfulness During Stressful Or Uncertain Times

Take time each day to return to yourself. Intense world and national events, especially that impact you personally due to your marginalized identities, require a return to self. So often your senses will be outward and stressed while reading the news that remembering where we place our attention greatly impacts what we feel. Bring some attention back to yourself, back to your breathing, to noticing and caring for your emotions. You might notice that reaching out to someone helps lessen the separateness. Inquire with yourself about what might help and how you are doing.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Brittany Bouffard, LCSW, CYT.

Brittany Bouffard is a psychotherapist, speaker, and trainer in private practice helping professionals and millennials realize their enoughness. Brittany has worked and consulted clinically on three continents at universities, and in community mental health and nonprofits, providing expertise on mental health, mindfulness in psychotherapy, suicide prevention, and wellness in the workplace. As an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker), Certified Yoga Teacher and meditation teacher, and Somatic Experiencing Practitioner, Brittany supports authentic professional clients healing from trauma, loss, childhood pains, and anxiety to live as their most whole, authentic selves. www.BrittanyBouffard.com

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

My pleasure! I started with a journalism degree hearing people’s stories. Therein I realized my empathetic nature pointed me to change the way I heard stories from reporting to psychology, which meant missing out on beloved writing and editing, but allowed me to shape my career by what I found most fulfilling: healing people’s hurt and discovering our resilience. Also, I luckily found extensive hatha yoga practice in college, which then led me to Buddhist studies and mindfulness practice. During graduate school I also became a yoga teacher, which both expanded my own yoga practice and opened up to me the world of how body-based our mental health and well-being are linked. There was a lot of listening to my early life passions and gut to steer my work toward what felt like the truest me.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

More than a decade ago when I arrived at my university post-graduate fellowship, my supervisor told me part of his interest in my application had been the mindfulness and yoga I incorporate into clinical psychotherapy work. He thought this was the next wave in the field. And he was right! That’s not just due to popularity but from the vast amounts of research in psychology and other fields the ten years prior that showed the immense effectiveness of mindfulness for everything from chronic pain to emotional wellbeing. So I suppose one of the most interesting aspects of my career has been exploring integration of mindfulness with psychotherapy and seeing the incredible outcomes my clients experience. I created a therapy group that even melds yoga with a traditional talk therapy group for various clinical concerns. Clients love it as do I! And it proves very useful in clients better understanding how their body as well as cognitive brain benefit from new coping strategies for anxiety, depression, body image, enoughness, etc.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

While yes work is about the product, the design, the collaboration, or whatever the goal, in order to create a productive and healthy work environment, people must that the health and happiness of the workplace determines your final product, retention and bottom line. Happy employees make better product faster and with less days missed and fewer complaints. Get to know what your employees need: truly offer them appreciation in forms of promotions or raises or that air hockey table they want; bring in someone to teach them how to be a happier employee, to deal with the pressures and stressors. And when employees feel empowered to look at their needs at work and understand how to meet them effectively, there is more natural motivation and dedication to the outcome.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Thich Nhat Hanh’s “Peace is Every Step” is my most beloved book of all time. It is a beautiful introduction to the big and small ways of practicing mindfulness and wisdom about coping with hard things. I always recommend it to clients. The digestible tiny chapters also offer a perfect morning ritual of reading an entry each morning while you sit and drink your tea. The key to mindfulness is often in the simplicity, and the beloved Vietnamese Zen teacher Nhat Hanh demonstrates that.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

Mindfulness is being present and aware, with non-judging curiosity, to whatever is happening right now. It is the opposite of running on autopilot, where you are less keenly aware of yourself and your surroundings, your needs and others’. You could say the state of being mindful is noticing your state of being! Generally you might zoom through your day unaware of underlying emotions, hunger, stress, joy, etc, so becoming more mindful in a moment is tuning into what state you are in, as well as noticing outside of you. Being mindful is where you find choice and freedom, true self-care and attunement to self and others.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

Countless volumes of research have proven the extensive benefits of being more mindful in life, in all these categories. Studies have found improvements in sleep quality, immune system response, stress hormones, eating habits, stress coping, substance use, some stress-realted disease outcomes, and many other physical benefits with mindfulness practices. Also mindfulness is proven to strengthen compassion, attention and focus, awareness, acceptance, emotional intelligence and emotional coping, among other psychological benefits.

Many clients of mine over the years have also reported improvements in close relationship dynamics; anxiety symptoms; negative self talk or negative sense of self; unhelpful internal beliefs around pressures and expectations; coping through grief or loss; workplace interactions; etc.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

1- Take time each day to return to yourself. Intense world and national events, especially that impact you personally due to your marginalized identities, require a return to self. So often your senses will be outward and stressed while reading the news that remembering where we place our attention greatly impacts what we feel. Bring some attention back to yourself, back to your breathing, to noticing and caring for your emotions. You might notice that reaching out to someone helps lessen the separateness. Inquire with yourself about what might help and how you are doing.

2- Make time for pausing. Whether you sit on a cushion each morning, or you pause while your coffee brews and just stand breathing & noticing, these are practices in mindfulness. Wait in line without pulling out your phone. Journal to check in with your emotions or stressors. All of these are opportunities to tune into yourself in the present moment, without running for a distraction or bouncing to something else out of habit. You can create real & poignant self-care when you are present enough to realize what you need and not, then to offer it to yourself. Without pauses through the day to bring attention, the benefits rarely become reality.

3- Slow down every day to take a break. Take time to feel time move, slowly. Lay on your floor between meetings, or do chores slowly and with present awareness. Carve out time especially between events or tasks to stop and sit in your chair without doing so instead be there, notice if the hours have flown by so far today and just try feeling the rise and fall of your torso from breathing. Taking a real break helps break the cycle of autopilot that can feel like living a robotic yet frenzied life.

4- Tune into your senses more. Enjoy a meal or snack and try to notice the textures, flavors, temperatures, and movements of your jaw, without the distraction of work or TV. Listen to sounds outdoors as you walk the dog. Notice physical sensation of the shower or warm socks. Most peoples’ thinking mind stays so busy during these basic moments that you miss the experiences in front of you, which, at the end of life, made up so much of your life. During pauses and slow down breaks, ask yourself what your senses take in, and really try to be present to them.

5- Get present with the pleasant. There is already much difficulty in the world. Sometimes extra dissatifaction or unhappiness comes from not being fully present to the times of pleasantness. When you aren’t aware of the good, how can you soak it in? Let your system integrate joy and pleasure and smiling by paying new attention to when things are good. Even a basic self-narration moment noting to yourself when you’re enjoying your friends or a nice walk can bring you back to the wonders of that fleeting experience and have you not miss the goodness by being in your head or planning what is next.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

1- Validate that times are anxious. You might feel similar anxiety yourself or can understand at least that when the world feels in upheaval, anyone could feel anxious. Share this with your anxious other. It may or may not be helpful for them to know you also feel some worry. Be sure to keep it about them and not toss the spotlight to yourself.

2- Understand how identities affect anxiety experience. Someone you care about might hold certain intersecting identities that are under attack at any time, whether on a national scale and/or in a daily way. If a friend is speaking about anxiety from their marginalized perspective, listen and validate how particularly scary this time is. Especially if you do not share the particular identity(ies), listen without judgement or offering solutions. Explore ways to be a dependable ally.

3- Don’t minimize. Sometimes we feel uncomfortable when someone close to us is anxious. We want to fix it, make it go away for them. This can sound though to the person like their anxiety is not real if something is said like, “it will be fine,” “don’t worry about it so much,” or “you’re just anxious.” Even if the anxious thoughts are irrational or unhelpful, which they often are, be sure to show someone you are listening and apprecaite it is tough.

4- Ask what they need. The person might not know what would be helpful and just feel stuck in an anxious place. And it is not your job to fix this. Yet, some people have ideas of what would be most or least helpful. Provide the space for that person to share, letting you be a trustworthy person who will hear them and try to follow through.

5- Encourage professional support. In these times it is especially wise to seek professional help, particularly if you see your loved one’s anxiety staying very impactful for them in a daily or weekly way. Try to normalize the idea of professional help from a therapist if the person doesn’t already have one. Therapists can share wonderful coping tools for helping times be less overwhelming.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

Undertaking a mindfulness practice from scratch can feel confusing of exactly what to do or try. There exist countless fantastic resources if you would like guidance on how to start meditating or how to bring mindfulness into your daily life. Books, podcasts, retreats, and some apps can be wonderful teachers. Respected teachers like Tara Brach, Thich Nhat Hanh, and Jack Kornfield are my favorite recommendations and can all be found through a mix of books, podcasts, YouTube guided meditations and talks, and retreats.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote, “Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.” This highlights the simple, accessible beauty of mindfulness, which can be noticing a breath, a moment in time, or your smile.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Mindfulness as a personal practice, both for the simple profound experience of being present and also for increased awareness to improve way of living. This could mean increased attention to emotions, to self-talk, to substances, to food, etc. Practicing in such a way you not only notice what is but kindly invite new ways of experiencing yourself that could increase your wellbing.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

Visit me at: https://www.BrittanyBouffard.com and sign up to follow my posts tailor-written for authentic professionals and millennials.

Instagram: @AuthenticProfessionalsTherapy

Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/therapists/brittany-bouffard-denver-co/365853

(this is like therapist social media!)

Facebook: Brittany Bouffard Psychotherapy

LinkedIn: Brittany Bouffard (psychotherapist)

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Brittany Bouffard: How To Develop Mindfulness During Stressful Or Uncertain Times was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Donna Giraud of Donna Giraud Art: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or…

Donna Giraud of Donna Giraud Art: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”

Listen. Sometimes people just need to vent. It’s hard enough to be vulnerable, so try not to throw your opinions out just to hear your own voice. Offering a space to listen, without response, can have an enormous impact. It almost always allows you to gain more insight and form deeper connections.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Donna Giraud.

Born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, Donna Giraud specializes in large-scale, textural abstract paintings inspired by her love of travel and the surrounding west coast water and mountains. Formally trained as a nurse, Donna discovered art as a vehicle to express messages of optimism & hope through her unique style combining texture and composition. Over the last 20 years, Donna’s work has graced the walls of residential and corporate spaces across North America, and she has collaborated with galleries in New York City and Palm Springs. Currently, Donna works out of her hometown of Vancouver, and she helps run The Space: An Art Gallery in Vancouver’s Yaletown neighborhood as part-owner.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

My name is Donna Giraud and I was born, raised and currently live in Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. My first career was a collegiate level soccer player, and after graduation, I worked 14 years as a head nurse at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver. In 2017, I gave up my nursing license and retired to follow my passion as an abstract painter. At my core, I am a healer and a connector, and when I figured out that I could do both of those through my abstract paintings, I had to make the transition. I have now created a thriving business where I paint my soul on canvas and transform people’s hearts and spaces. I have been given a gift of communication via a creative process, and I am so grateful that I get to live my life doing what I love most.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

One of the most interesting things that has happened to me was finding out that people were traveling to Vancouver from Australia, Los Angeles and Yellowknife (Northwest Territories, Canada) to participate in my paint classes. During each of those moments, I was overwhelmed with so much gratitude and awe. After all, I thought I was just an artist, creating paintings to make spaces and rooms more beautiful. But what I learned from those people traveling such large distances, was that my art provides so much more than a pretty aesthetic. I realized that I have the ability to create beautiful art that also has the power to move, inspire, motivate and influence people.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Creating a fantastic work culture has never been more important. Finally, people are beginning to realize that — when people feel safe and inspired — their potential is unimaginable. I feel the best way to create a culture like that starts with modeling the behaviors and attitudes you expect to see in your working environment. Why would someone feel inspired to do their best for someone or a company that doesn’t walk the walk? Secondly, have fun. I try and create a space with laughter and positivity wherever I go. Life is serious enough as it is, and we spend a lot of time at work. If you can create an environment where people feel their opinions and thoughts matter, while having a laugh at the same time, I think you will get the best out of your team.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

I am in love with the book, How to Be an Artist by Jerry Saltz. It’s a rather simple book, but he just tells it like it is. Artists typically find a lot to complain about and can get caught up in their own heads when it comes to their work. Jerry’s book provides these perfect little truths that, if listened to, can make life a whole lot easier. We can’t dwell on the past, and we shouldn’t stress about the future. According to Jerry, just do the work, and the rest will follow.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

Mindfulness is being intentional with your thoughts and living in a place of acceptance. It’s a moment-to-moment awareness of one’s experience without judgment, and it’s about not focusing on the things we cannot change or worrying about the future. It’s not being overly reactive, but rather compassionate with yourself. Ultimately, it’s an ongoing endeavor that takes an enormous amount of practice.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

The greatest reward of becoming mindful is that it can directly affect your physical, mental and emotional well-being. When you take the time to be intentional with your thoughts or actions, the results can be quite calming. Stress no longer sits as heavily. When you find yourself aware that you only have this exact moment in time, your head becomes less full of past or future worries and nothing seems so insurmountable. When you take the time to be less reactive, your heart opens up and you are able to connect on a deeper level. All of this is only intuitive to me now because I have been practicing mindfulness for a long time. I am not perfect. It takes a lot of work, and I make mistakes all the time. All that matters is that you try. It becomes easier the more you practice, and the benefits are amazing.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

  1. Stop watching all the poorly sourced social media and news. It is so easy to get caught up in the social media & news circus. It’s essential to remain informed, but we can’t believe everything we hear just because someone shared a link on Facebook. I tend not to watch the news because it hurts my heart so much to see all the negativity in the world. When the pandemic happened, I was glued to the TV just like anyone else. I cried every day. I worried every day. I felt hopeless every day. Until I made a conscious decision and stopped watching all the news. I kept myself up to date with the important details, but as soon as I decided not to fill my head with all the opinions, my anxiety and fears dramatically decreased.
  2. Practice kindness. I have witnessed so many beautiful moments over the last six months, moments where communities and families came together with simple, kind gestures. On March 18th, one of our neighbors and I started banging pots at 7pm. 72 days later, we had the entire block participating, and it became my favorite part of the day. Not only were we saluting my husband (who is a doctor) and all the incredible healthcare workers that were sacrificing their safety, but we were creating a sense of community and togetherness that I will remember for the rest of my life.
  3. Be hopeful. If you are constantly thinking about the worst, the emotions that come with that are not going to be happy and uplifting. If you practice an optimistic mindset that things will work out and that you have a part in that process, your road through that period of anxiety will appear much more surmountable. Recently, I created a solo art exhibition titled “Together is Always Better.” I created eight new pieces of art representing all the beautiful moments I witnessed around the world during quarantine, with the intention of emphasizing this hope. We are so much better when we do things together, and we can accomplish so much more if we combine our areas of expertise. I wanted this art show to inspire and instill hope — hope that we will get through this unprecedented time and that we are capable of so much more if we do it together.
  4. Surround yourself with people that uplift you and make you a better person. When you have a team of people that believe in you and support you, you are much less likely to focus on fear or anxiety. The fact that we were forced to stay home and quarantine from all of our people seemed like the worst thing that could ever happen. As it turns out, absence does make the heart grow fonder. I witnessed overwhelming efforts of families, friends and communities, and I think I felt more connected than I ever have. A lot of us take the people in our lives for granted, but quarantine helped us refocus on what’s truly important.
  5. Breathe. Just breathe. The simple act of breathing can have an enormous impact. When we pay attention to our breath, it has the power to bring us back into the present moment, where we can then refocus and find calm.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. Listen. Sometimes people just need to vent. It’s hard enough to be vulnerable, so try not to throw your opinions out just to hear your own voice. Offering a space to listen, without response, can have an enormous impact. It almost always allows you to gain more insight and form deeper connections.
  2. Don’t judge. Everyone deals with anxiety differently. Try to understand their side and take a curious approach. You never know, you actually might learn something new.
  3. Share. Oftentimes we think we are alone, but when we share, we find others who are feeling the same way. There is a power in numbers and commonality, so don’t be afraid to share your story.
  4. Ask the person how they prefer to have you involved. What helps you feel less anxious might not work for them. Be clear that you are there for them and that you respect their process.
  5. Be patient.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

There are so many apps, blogs, websites, books, etc. that teach the practice of mindfulness. Not everything is going to resonate the same way for everyone, but I really like these:

  1. Spotify’s “Meditative State of Mind” playlist. It’s hours of beautiful calming music that I listen to before going to sleep every night.
  2. The book Personality Types. Using the Enneagram for Self-Discovery by Don Richards Riso with Russ Hudson. Only once I started learning about myself and the psychology behind my behaviors, did I have the capacity to be more open and less judgmental of others.
  3. Anything yoga. Do it! It’s seriously magic.
  4. Walking in nature. Trees, mountains, water, etc. know exactly how to put you in a state of awe. When you are in awe, you can’t help but be present and mindful.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Sometimes people come into our lives and go quickly. Other move our soul to dance. They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom and make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. Some people stay in our lives for a while, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.” Flavia Weedn

If you are mindful about being open to people and avoiding quick judgments, you are often rewarded with the right people coming into your life. It’s about truly seeing a person for all that they have to offer. Sometimes when you remain open, the perfect person shows up. A perfect example of this is my husband. He walked into my life, and I have never been the same. He has provided unwavering support as I’ve discovered my passion through art, transitioning from a career as a nurse. I can honestly say if it weren’t for him, I may have never made the terrifying choice to leave my previous career in pursuit of building my art empire.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

If I could start a movement, it would be a movement of kindness. There is no greater power than kindness. A smile, an unsolicited compliment, holding a door open — the ripple effect is intoxicating, and it can influence the trajectory of our collective energy in enormous ways. My daily life is a mini movement focused around kindness, and I hope that my efforts will rub off on anyone who comes in contact with me, encouraging them to live the same way.


Donna Giraud of Donna Giraud Art: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dr Olivia Audrey: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”

I think it’s easy to become overwhelmed when we think we have to solve everything all at once or we have to understand the full depth of a situation immediately. The greatest strength can come from understanding that this is just a moment and there will be a next moment after that after that and after that and all we need to focus on is this one.

Asa part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr Olivia Audrey.

Author, Speaker, & Celebrity Dr; Dr Olivia Audrey ND,BCND. Olivia has been featured on Parade, Vogue, Ladders, Good Morning La La Land, Celebrity Parents Mag, and more. She currently has co-authored a book with the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson. Dr. Liv is a board-certified Naturopathic Medical Doctor who has an exquisite and current clientele database from British Royals, Celebrities, Sports Stars, and Fortune 500 business owners/executives seeking her intuitive health & spirit guidance. She also teaches wellness seminars & strategic advising to such prominent companies such as: Alexander McQueen, Neiman Marcus, La Mer, Jo Malone, Nordstrom, and more. Dr. Liv’s podcast, “Liv Better Now” is on LA Talk Radio which has a listenership of over 3mill. The show is about empowering modern women to identify and uncover their own personal spark of creativity and inspiration to reinvent themselves at any age and stage of life. The show airs Wednesdays 12pm PT/ 3pm ET Live, and accepts callers. . Dr. Liv is an Expert In: Holistic Health, Immune System, Gut Health, Cancers, Lyme, Diabetes, EV, and other Auto-Immune & Inflammatory Diseases, Nutrition/Wellness, Natural Supplements / Diet Meditation, Holistic Beauty, Female Empowerment ,Spirituality, Fitness, Healthy Eating, Joy based living, Mental wellness.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

My story is anything but typical! Since as long as I can remember, I have had this ability to understand and perceive information about an individual and their energy that has led me on a path that I never could have scripted!

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I’ve had many over the years, but when I reflect back on my early days starting I had no idea that things would evolve into what it is now. I remember when I first met Oprah, at a charity event! I wanted to see her so badly, but I didn’t have access to the VIP section. Even though I was disappointed I was so happy to be there, in the moment. I got in line for dinner because hey, a girls gotta eat, and after a few moments I realized that I was in the reception line to meet her! We exchanged a few moments and just being in her presence was incredible! For me it was such a strong example of how when you have a wish, the universe really listens to it!

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

Always keep reassessing. That’s true for boundaries, relationships, work load, anything. Listen to the cues your body gives you about what feels right, or too much or what feels aligned.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

Perception really is key, especially when it comes to your work. Whether you work alone or in a group of people, it’s not necessarily what you’re doing but how you feel about what you’re doing. Make sure you invite passion into anything you can and invite others to do the same.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo was utterly transformative in my life because it really outlines the power of a dream, and following where you are led by your heart. Years after reading that book I was on holiday in Spain and realized I was standing in the exact spot that the book began. It was one of the most moving moments of my life seeing everything come full

Circle.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

Be present-

I think it’s easy to become overwhelmed when we think we have to solve everything all at once or we have to understand the full depth of a situation immediately. The greatest strength can come from understanding that this is just a moment and there will be a next moment after that after that and after that and all we need to focus on is this one.

Be grateful-

As hard as it may be to understand in the moment every experience that comes into our life is ultimately leading us towards a higher and better evolution of self and experience. It may be difficult to discern that in the moment but it’s also really important to remember that gratitude begets more things to be grateful for meaning when you practice the vibration of gratitude it emits a frequency that attracts things that you want to experience.

Take alone time-

Often times we don’t allow ourselves enough space to fully decompress we are constantly plugged into the news the media social situations and so forth. When we concentrate on ourselves and our own energy it allows everything unnecessary to filter out and gives us an opportunity to reconnect to our own thoughts and energy without the white noise of the outside world.

Immerse yourself in nature-

The healing benefits of nature are far more than just aesthetic or energetic. There is extensive research that breathing fresh air absorbing vitamin D from sunlight and experiencing the calm of the natural world have massive effects on our subconscious as well as are sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system‘s. There’s an amazing biological relationship between time spent in nature and the regulation of our bodies sleep cycles as well.

Reassess your diet-

Usually we don’t give enough credit to the fact that the things we consume can consume us. If there are certain elements of your diet that contain highly processed chemical additives you may want to consider eliminating them as these things are not only ill-equipped to provide the body with the nutrition that it needs but also maybe creating anxiety and stress from an adrenal perspective as well. Consider adding in Whole Foods and vegetables in place of processed foods and prepackaged materials.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

The most important step that anyone can take is to validate that it is a real fear for that individual or for yourself and once it has been named spoken about and validated allow yourself or the person you are trying to support to find ways to bring themselves back to the present moment in order to work themselves out of that fear lots of times discussing what the fear actually is and boiling it down to bass emotions such as fear of rejection, loss of control, can help alleviate and identify where that fear is originating from.

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

Meditation is an excellent tool for not only managing anxiousness but also to incorporate into your life as a whole. Starting your day with meditation or mindfulness is an incredibly transformative tool that I would encourage anyone to implement into their daily routine.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

My favorite quote is“ If it’s good it’s great, if it’s bad it’s experience.” This has helped me put so many things in perspective that have occurred in my life as well as continuously keeps me wide open to the beauty authenticity and gratitude that I have for the things that are working in the way I want them to in my life.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would encourage anyone and everyone to begin an honest and open conversation with themselves with their body and with her soul. I think often in our world we are so overstimulated that we are reaching for external distractions instead of turning our intention in word and getting first acquainted with who we are and how we change as an identity as a result of the events that have unfolded in our life continuously spending even a small amount of time with yourself and learning about your likes dislikes and what stirs passion in you as a person is completely in valuable and it’s also the first step in the self-worth process

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

I have an upcoming book that will be released in spring of 2021 as well as an ongoing life podcast called LivBetter on LA talk radio every Wednesday @12 pst.

My Instagram often features inspirational quotes diet tips and real life adventures is: @theoliviaaudrey

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Dr Olivia Audrey: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Dr. Rafi Hofstein of Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners: “They Told Me It Was Impossible And…

Dr. Rafi Hofstein of Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners: “They Told Me It Was Impossible And I Did It Anyway”

Make sure that the underlying hypothesis is evidence based. Many years ago I assisted in the development of a blood test for psychiatric disorders. The preclinical data were not powerful enough and yet we went ahead with human trials. We failed!

As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Rafi Hofstein.

Dr. Hofstein came to Toronto from Israel in 2009 to assume the position of President & CEO of a newly formed organization called MaRS Innovation, recently renamed Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP). At this position, Dr. Hofstein led the creation of more than fifty start-up companies primarily in the healthcare space. Among the companies of primary note are Triphase, Fibrocor and Notch Therapeutics in which Dr. Hofstein has been a co-founder and a director. In addition, Dr. Hofstein is a member of the Board of Directors of several not-for-profit organizations in Quebec and Ontario.

Prior to coming to Canada, Dr. Hofstein served as the President & CEO of Hadasit (the technology transfer company of Hadassah Medical Center, Jerusalem) and the chairman of Hadasit Bio-Holdings Ltd, a holding company listed on the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange. One of the companies Dr. Hofstein co-founded and serves as a board director is BiolineRx, an Israeli biotech company listed on NASDAQ.

Dr. Hofstein received his Ph.D. from the Weizmann Institute of Science (Rehovot, Israel) and his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Hofstein also had a long tenure in the IDF and retired as a colonel after serving in the reserve troops for more than twenty years.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?

It was 2008 when our 26-year old daughter was diagnosed with stage 4, Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Doctors tried everything but failed and she rapidly deteriorated and passed away. It was during the eight months of sitting at her bedside, feeling useless and frustrated, that I decided to redirect my career and focus on developing medical treatments that would rescue the lives of other young people.

I accepted a job to create and lead the efforts at Hadasit, the technology transfer center at Hadassah Medical Center, the leading research hospital in Israel.

For ten years, I helped to transform lab discoveries into companies. It was also during this time that we broke ground and opened a new building to house all of these budding young companies as well as list Hadasit on the Tel Aviv Stock exchange. Then, out of the blue one day, I received a call from Toronto asking me to come and duplicate what I had successfully achieved at Hadassah, for a consortium of universities and hospitals in Toronto, Canada.

I accepted the challenge, moved to Toronto and enjoyed a wonderful decade assisting the Canadian community heading up MaRS Innovation, aka TIAP.

Among the various things I was involved in and am proud of is being able to share my decades of experience in technology transfer to benefit organizations around the world. For example, from 2016–2020, my team in Canada trained teams in Seoul, South Korea on best practices of advancing the outcome of healthcare related research into promising medical treatment. The model established in South Korea, is currently being emulated by The University of West Indies, Jamaica. I find it very exciting and fulfilling that our technology transfer model is not only catching on and but also, and more importantly, helping scientists worldwide to more methodically and efficiently advance their medical discoveries into practice.

Allow me to elaborate: our model of operation stands out from the rest by virtue of our unique approach to vetting and advancing technologies and products from an infancy stage, even before the prototype, when it’s still simply an idea. Moving an idea at such an early stage up the value chain, requires a tremendous amount of creativity and courage. These are the qualities inherent in my various teams, from Jerusalem to Toronto to Seoul, and it has been a privilege to work with them.

This brings us to today. After a successful tenure, I recently passed the baton at TIAP and am now pursuing other initiatives.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

I am working on three types of exciting, medical-oriented projects, all with the goal of helping scientists to ultimately find cures for previously untreatable diseases and help patients to survive and gain a better quality of life.

I am currently working on a new initiative that connects Israeli innovation with partners in North America.

I am also an active director on the board of several biotech companies. These include BiolineRx, Notch Therapeutics and Fibrocor Therapeutics.

Thirdly, I am a volunteer board member of several not-for-profit, healthcare-oriented, Canadian organizations. In this capacity, there is an opportunity to share my decades of experience to benefit the next generation of scientists and decision makers. Each generation furthers the next. It is a joy to share my learnings to give the next generation a bit of a head start.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?

It’s more about having created a working model than about any particular company or organization. We asked ourselves: how can we accelerate the process of mobilizing great ideas from academic research (aka “ideation”) to a more advanced stage of technology and product development? The key driving impetus is, that in healthcare research, time is of the essence. The faster we get innovative solutions in the hands of clinicians, the faster it is offered to patients whose lives are dependent on it.

The classical approach for technology transfer, which essentially relies on the out licensing of intellectual property, is a broken, anachronistic paradigm. Conversely, creating companies as a business platform for accelerated advancement of technologies has proven to be a much more effective alternative. This is the school of thought in which I am a pioneer. I have created over fifty startup companies. Some made it, others didn’t, which is a natural. Those that have made it are growing nicely and eventually will show return on investment.

Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?

All along I have encountered naysayers and skeptics. Twenty years ago, it was quite revolutionary to build a portfolio of startups under the umbrella of a technology transfer office. I did it first at Hadasit starting in 2000 and at TIAP during the last decade. I heard everything from “why do you think an academic institute should be actively involved in something like this?” to statements about capability to identify the right talent to come and manage these infant companies, as well as strong skepticism that we would ever be able to raise even seed funds.

The way I overcame the massive layer of skepticism was by focusing on getting things done. Then, after several demonstrable successes, accompanied by proof that we knew how to mitigate potential risks, the support from the stakeholders finally came.

An example: together with one of the member institutions we created a partnership focusing on innovative approaches in oncology. That partnership led to the foundation of a company called Triphase. Soon thereafter, we started the search for a transformational new treatment for cancer and for significant funding. Both came along by virtue of a very unique partnership with Celgene (now part of Bristol Myers Squibb). With very significant financial support from Celgene we started the development of a new drug for the treatment of glioblastoma (brain tumors). The development process has since transferred to Celgene, which is now conducting the phase III clinical trial. This was declared by our stakeholders as a major success and dropped all walls of skepticism.

In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong?

Well, after twenty years of demonstrable success, not only were the naysayers silent, many of them became proponents and have adopted a similar approach to the acceleration process. Namely, it has become common practice for many academic institutions to be actively involved in company creation.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Mary Jo Hadad clearly stands out. At the time, she was President and CEO of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto and the inaugural chairman of the Board of Directors at MaRS Innovation. I came from Israel in 2009 and needed to quickly adjust my temperament to the Canadian style. Mary Jo coached me in a very gentle and elegant way how to captain the ship without threatening my peers and clients.

It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers.

While I was getting ready to take Hadasit public on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange as Hadasit BioHolding, an individual, who was prominent in Israel’s economy and involved in the commercialization affairs of a leading Israeli academic institute, shared his skepticism with me about the move. This person argued that an academic institute had no place on a stock exchange and predicted that it would fail. A year later, this person did something similar.

Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?

While growing up, at the age of 6, I got sick and was diagnosed with rheumatic fever. As imaging technologies evolved, it became clear that the disease left me with a damaged heart valve. Everybody, including physicians, family and friends recommended, as a safety precaution, to adopt a lifestyle of total protection, almost like being surrounded by cotton wool. My response: not happening! From then on I ran a normal life including Israel Defense Force military service in a combat unit. I kept reminding myself that I had a murmuring heart. But from this, evolved a great sense of resiliency.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible?

1. Make sure that the underlying hypothesis is evidence based. Many years ago I assisted in the development of a blood test for psychiatric disorders. The preclinical data were not powerful enough and yet we went ahead with human trials. We failed!

2. Spend enough time to ensure that there is a need for the resulting product (in pharma jargon: UMN). In Triphase we developed a druggable molecule called Merizumib and assumed that it should target multiple myeloma. Celgene, our partner at the time, felt that this particular molecule should be developed for glioblastoma. It is now in a phase III trial for glioblastoma being managed by Bristol Myers Squibb.

3. Make sure that there is a solid coalition of key opinion leaders (KOLs) ready to confirm the legitimacy and probability of success. One of our companies, Encycle, focused on GI tract disorders and relied on a leading Canadian scientist as an advisor. The company was successfully acquired recently and the first thing the acquirer did was to contact the scientist to get his opinion. With his blessing the transaction was successful.

4. Make sure that there is sufficient capital to support the development; assume that troubleshooting is required along the journey which adds to the cost. I can share many stories of great ideas that went nowhere due to the lack of sufficient capital at the seed-stage, which prevented the safe crossing of the infamous “valley of death” (aka chasm) of drug development.

5. Make sure to recruit highly skilled and well-trained teams to ensure professionalism throughout the process. Founding scientists are very protective of their ‘baby’ and it has been an everlasting struggle to explain to them that, although that ‘baby’ and the full credit remains theirs, the upbringing requires another skillset. I can state with full conviction that in all cases where we ‘were allowed’ to recruit well-trained teams and management, the ‘baby’ reached maturity and the idea turned into a useful product.

And a concluding thought here: Be passionate about reaching your goals, remain humble, and always strive for total equality.

What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?

“Today is only one day in all the days that will ever be. But what will happen in all the other days that ever come can depend on what you do today.” (Ernest Hemingway- For Whom the Bell Tolls)

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’d love to inspire Speedy Road from Bench to Bedside (SRBB). As you know from the first question, this is personal.

Can our readers follow you on social media? Of course. You can find me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/rafi-hofstein-8195b521

Everybody is invited to reach me on LinkedIn.


Dr. Rafi Hofstein of Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners: “They Told Me It Was Impossible And… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jennifer Grace: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”

Do Random Acts of Kindness. A new study from the University of Hong Kong shows random acts of kindness can help boost your mood. Send an Instagram or Facebook message, a genuine compliment, to three people right now. Cook a meal or do a load of laundry for a friend who is going through a difficult time. Give someone something personal of yours that you think they’d like that you are not using anymore.

As a part of my series about the things we can do to develop serenity and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Mindset Coach and Happiness Expert, Jennifer Grace.

Jennifer Grace is a Mindset Coach and Happiness Expert, who teaches her clients how to use mindfulness and emotional intelligence to overcome obstacles, cultivate their vision and transform their lives. She uses the “CIJ Clarity Catalyst” based on the famed Stanford University Master’s Degree Course “Creativity in Business” to empower people with practical and proven techniques to take their personal and professional lives to the next level.

As a world-renowned coach, Ted X Speaker and Hay House Published Author (Directing Your Destiny) Jennifer works with corporations including Prada, Facebook, Turner, HCI, Whycode, and Entrepreneur Organization.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I was at a crossroads in my life after leaving my work as a SAG actress and my marriage of 7 years. For two years I desperately tried to “find my purpose.” I started 6 companies, made 6 logos, 6 websites, and ultimately had 6 failures. I was trying to please everyone around me and do too many things at once. When the alimony settlement ran out and the start-up companies never reached their finish, I reached out to my mom who suggested I take a coaching course. This 8-week life changing course was first taught at Stanford University by Dr. Michael Ray and taken out of the classroom and into the world in 2002. Jim Collins, one of the world’s leading authorities on personal development, called it “the most profoundly life changing course taught at the Stanford Graduate School.”

During my own Journey as a student taking the 8-week curriculum I realized that this was my purpose, to get certified to teach this course, and bring it to students in South Florida.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I am always a firm believer that failure is not an option. That if you do not reach your goal on the first, third, or tenth try, you brush yourself off and try again. When I first submitted my book to Hay House to become published by them, they rejected me. Most would give up and go home. I was committed and clear that I wanted Hay House to be my publisher. I went back and asked lots of people in the literary world to look at my book proposal to see where I could improve it…they all told me the same thing: The proposal was great, but I needed a bigger platform. So, I hit my FB and Twitter, got my numbers up, and I even got myself booked on a National Television show talking about the book I had written. I re submitted my book proposal to Hay House and they said YES! Next thing I knew, they gave me a Radio Show and my time slot was in between Ester Hicks and Wayne Dyer…my career skyrocketed. Moral of the story..dare to suck, fail, and fall on your face…eventually it will lead you to greatness.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

To have a daily practice of mindfulness, meditation, and reflective writing…or at least 30 minutes a day of quiet “me time”.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

To communicate compassionately with one another. To not blame, shame, and criticize. To “take it to the source”. If you have an issue with someone, let them know how you feel…not everyone else at work.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

The Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer — in one of the last chapters he speaks about the quickest path to enlightenment is that no matter what your circumstance is…that you could still be happy. I remember a really hard time that I had with my son when he turned 15, with hormones raging he began to take all of his anger and frustration about being a teenager out on me. It got so bad that we had him go live with his dad. When he left, I thought I would die without my kid. Reading Michael’s book had me realize that even in the worst of times…we could still choose to be happy. Although I felt tremendous sadness and I missed my son, I would still focus on the things that I did have in my life that brought me joy. Within six months he came back home and we have never been closer. This book was lifesaving for me during this time.

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

Step #1 Create a Joy Jar. Write out 10–20 things that bring you joy on small pieces of paper, fold them up and put them in a mason jar. Decorate it with fun stickers. Anytime you are feeling sad or lonely, pick out one from the joy jar, and just do it. Some ideas could be: Create a playlist of uplifting songs to rock out to, call up a friend who always makes you smile, snuggle with your pet, watch a funny movie with someone you love, and many more activities that are simple, and best of all, FREE. Studies have shown activities like these activate dopamine and endorphins in the brain, which make you happier.

More on the science behind this Happiness Hack:

How and Why Positive Activities Can Make You Happier – Behavioral Scientist

Step #2 Set Your Alarm for “Worry Time” If you want to keep worrying at bay, you can schedule “Worry Time” as an appointment on your phone for 8pm every night. All day long, when a worry arises, you simply say to yourself, “I’ll set that aside for worry time.” Then, replace the worry with one thing that you are grateful for in the here and now. At 8pm, when the “Worry TIme” alarm goes off, you have 30 minutes to worry. What usually happens is, you begin to laugh at the absurdity of sitting down to specifically worry. Eventually, you will have saved yourself an entire day of anxiety! Research shows shifting your thoughts from worry to gratitude boosts serotonin levels in the brain, which can make you happier.

More on the science behind this Happiness Hack:

How Gratitude Shapes Your Brain – Dr. Alex Korb

Step #3 Do Random Acts of Kindness. A new study from the University of Hong Kong shows random acts of kindness can help boost your mood. Send an Instagram or Facebook message, a genuine compliment, to three people right now. Cook a meal or do a load of laundry for a friend who is going through a difficult time. Give someone something personal of yours that you think they’d like that you are not using anymore.

More on the science behind this Happiness Hack:

https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2020/09/doing-good-boosts-health

Step #4 Get Out Into Nature: Nature has an amazing way of balancing us and helping us appreciating the simple things in life… like sunsets. Studies have shown that people who live near larger areas of green space reported less stress and showed greater declines in cortisol levels over the course of the day. A great practice is to go on a 15-minute mindfulness walk either in your neighborhood, the park, or by a body of water…but before you leave… pick one color, like yellow, orange, or purple. Do not bring your phone! And for 15 minutes during your “Mindful Color Walk” simply look for that color! Anytime thoughts of future or past come in, let them go and come back to looking for your color! The present moment is where peace and happiness live!

More on the science behind this Happiness Hack:

NCBI – WWW Error Blocked Diagnostic

Step # 5 Do Something Creative: As we grow older many adults no longer identify with being “creative” and declare that their finger-painting days are over! Yet, creativity can help lower stress and anxiety and give you a sense of purpose, researchers say. … According to a recent study out of New Zealand, engaging in creative activities contributes to an “upward spiral” of positive emotions, psychological well-being and feelings of “flourishing” in life. So, grab that iPhone and go take some black and white photos, or write a poem to your partner, or go to the beach with your kids and make an epic sandcastle!

More on the science behind this Happiness Hack:

Creative activities promote day-to-day wellbeing

What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?

Meditation has been shown to lower cortisol levels and raise serotonin the happy hormone. Talk to a friend, not so much for advice but to work out your anxiety out loud. Get a coach or a therapist.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“If you decide that you’re going to be happy from now on for the rest of your life, you will not only be happy, you will become enlightened. Unconditional happiness is the highest technique there is. This is truly a spiritual path, and it is as direct and sure a path to Awakening as could possibly exist.” — Michael A. Singer

*** The story above about me and my son relates to this.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

That Mindfulness is considered just as important as Math in our school systems. Which is why I did a Ted X talk about this very topic.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

www.jennifergrace.com on Instagram @theJenniferGrace

GIFT For the Readers: How to Overcome Anxiety Toolkit and a Meditation for Insomnia: www.jennifergrace.com/mygift

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Jennifer Grace: “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Chetna Mehta of Mosaic Eye: “How To Develop Mindfulness During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”

Share more loving content — share humorous videos, inspiring stories and positive news more than you share the fear-inducing, anxiety-provoking news. Whether it’s on your social media or group texts, what you put out there matters and impacts people.

As a part of my series about “How To Develop Mindfulness And Serenity During Stressful Or Uncertain Times”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Chetna Mehta of Mosaic Eye.

Chetna Mehta is a mixed-media artist, wellness consultant, and the creator of Mosaic Eye, a platform that cultivates creative self-realization and embodied interconnection. Chetna harnesses the power of art and advocacy to foster compassion, intentional living, and radical self-reflection. Her work is centered at the intersection of healing arts, spirituality by way of ancient mysticism and mindfulness, and psychological education.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I started my career in corporate human resources. My first role was to schedule 100+ interviews a week, which required a great amount of focus, detail-orientation and organization.

After three months on the job, I inherited the responsibilities of helping our executives and engineers relocate from around the country, and to be the liaison between our immigration attorneys and the company so as to get our foreign national employees’ visas set for their employment. This was a delight for me; to get to learn more about our employees and their families, to work closely with folks from India, China, Spain, Canada and many other places as the company grew. I had to be incredibly informed on policy and to educate managers regularly. I also had to fine-tune my compassionate and reassuring nature as I worked with new hires while they were in the midst of big life transitions.

I eventually grew into a manager role and took on training, mentorship and new hire orientation at headquarters. All of these responsibilities invoked in me a strong desire to expand my wisdom and skills in leadership, education and transformation.

After a life-altering experience which I can share more of later, I decided to leave my corporate job to travel and teach English in India and Colombia. This, as all of my travels have, opened my mind and heart dramatically to making peace with difference, to finding comfort with the unknown, and to thrive even in a new culture or context.

I eventually returned to school to get a Master’s in Counseling Psychology. Grad school was incredibly difficult for me as it nebulized my reasons for wanting to be a therapist to begin with: to apply my leadership, compassion, creativity, spirituality and desire for deep transformation in improving holistic wellness among my South Asian and BIPOC communities. The white supremist nature of the mental health field (culturally-inconsiderate diagnoses, largely de-humanizing to diverse and non-white populations, a lack of emphasis on creativity and spirituality in holistic mental/emotional health counseling) ultimately deterred me from pursuing licensure within the system.

Instead, I started my private practice as a mixed media artist, facilitator of healing and creative entrepreneur; offering therapeutic work one on one with clients and in community group workshops. Three years later, I’m blessed and humbled by the symbiotically-nourishing work that I do daily, informed by all my prior experiences and ready for all those to come.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

While my career started in the corporate context, it took a deep pivot after I fell asleep, literally and metaphorically, on the 280 freeway between San Francisco and San Jose at 1am on a cool September night 9 years ago. I landed in a wheelchair to spend a few forced months witnessing and deep-cleaning my body and mind from the inside out.

On paper at the time, I was an ambitious, busy and beautiful social butterfly living the dream: earning a six-figure salary, collecting stock options, saving for retirement, and dating eligible bachelors with city dwellings. My life was fast-paced, voracious and insatiable.

The day leading up to me crashing my emerald ’95 civic into the center divide, I had a fully booked agenda of hot yoga at 5am, a full day at the office, then an hour-long drive to an evening celebration for my part-time job. That night, after receiving and celebrating a promotion to a senior position on my part-time team, I began my drive home around midnight.

The blinding sterility of the hospital emergency room at 2am was cutting- cutting of the green chiffon dress i had just celebrated some success in; torn straight up the middle. The call to my parents at 6am that morning about my crash and forthcoming emergency surgery was the hardest one I’ve ever had to make.

In the months following, I was in a wheelchair, non-weight bearing on both legs, and unable to independently bathe, go to the toilet, or prepare food myself. Forced to slow down, reflect, and tune in with an ailing body and spirit, I began to see more of the support, love, and presence of my family who rallied to take care of me.

This is when I first began to meditate and study my thoughts and emotions and what it was producing in my life. I began to question our culture’s propensity for compulsive doing over being, and noticed the values that I had internalized which were not true to my heart.

Prior to this crash, I was so busy living on autopilot and acting like I was in the passenger seat of my own life. Little did I realize that I was in the driver’s seat, literally and metaphorically, holding the power to destruct my life in the blink of an eye.

After recovering and gaining my capacities to live independently again, as well as run and dance and skip — privileges I remember to not take for granted — I left my corporate job to see more of the world and pursue a service-oriented career in mental health.

I’ve continued to study my body with psychological training, intuitive movement, and somatic therapy. I remember too that this precious body is telling me something with every step taken, and that it’s up to me to listen and take care of it with attentiveness and devotion.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?

As there’s always more work to do, making the space regularly for celebration is incredibly important. Whether it be adding someone new to the team, learning a tough lesson that sets us on a better path forward, collaborating with a new long-term client, the beginning of Autumn, shoot, even the full moon; there should be room to celebrate various big and small things, in big and small ways. Sometimes, celebration could look like taking 10 minutes at the end of the day to acknowledge the wins of the day over some chocolate, bringing in someone to facilitate a workshop for play and team connection, or having a white board with the title “things worth celebrating” for team members to add to weekly. When we celebrate small and big things often, we acknowledge the value of the work we’re doing, and we deter from being on autopilot going from thing to thing to thing without the joy and gratitude we need to sustain us.

In my corporate job at an organization with a stellar culture, I learned the power of candid feedback; making time and space regularly to clearly communicate what’s working exceptionally well, and what needs improvement, without personalizing any of it. I’ve carried this with me and have embedded it in my personal work ethic as well as the business I run. It’s important for us to continually be learning how to share feedback in a tactful and compassionate way, clear and concise nonetheless, and to stay humble and discerning to receive constructive feedback. This can be incredibly rewarding in our efficiency, innovation and evolution personally and organizationally.

Lastly, ritual in the workplace is significant to infuse day-to-day activity with purpose and meaning. It’s easy to get stuck in the rut of deadlines, meetings, emails, etc. Ritual helps us ground into something, however routine, with intention. Leveraging ritual personally at work is pivotal in grounding oneself in conscious awareness so as to not just be moving from one thing to another without honoring what is happening. When we practice ritual with others, we facilitate connection and shared purpose. Ritual could look like starting each team meeting with a guided meditation, sharing gratitudes, someone volunteering a joke, or a playful round of charades. Ritual, in the times we’re in where Zoom fatigue is REAL, could start with playing a song and giving folks in the meeting time to stretch, sway or move their bodies, or asking folks to light a candle or incense, get some tea, or whatever they’d like to intentionally transition into the present gathering from wherever they’re coming from.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estés, hands down. This book uses symbolic storytelling, mythology from various parts of the world, and archetypal wisdom to illuminate a part of us, especially us femmes and women: the wild woman archetype .

I revisit this text over and over again, especially during this time of pandemic and unrest, to remember my primal intuition, my power and interconnection with nature, all which are often forgotten in a colonized and developed society. It inspires me to get on all fours and roar like a lioness to let out all the pent up energy; I often feel rather light and settled whenever I do.

I learn so many lessons each time that inform my personal and professional life, particularly from two chapters in the book: “Joyous Body: The Wild Flesh” and “Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life.” The chapter titles give a good sense of the poetic and natural delight of Dr. Estés’s writing!

Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. From your experience or research, how would you define and describe the state of being mindful?

The state of being mindful is holding within my attention both my breath and body, as well as what’s going on around me, while releasing my judgments of it all. I’m grateful for the various teachers I’ve been exposed to regarding mindfulness; one teacher, Jon Kabat-Zinn, defines mindfulness in a way that I appreciate and want to highlight here, “paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment and non-judgmentally.”

Mindfulness is an active, not passive, process. It’s listening to someone’s words and emotive expressions while also keeping in mind the dignity of my breath and posture; it’s noticing my judgments of what’s happening in front of me or even within me and letting them pass like clouds in the sky. Mindfulness is, in and of itself, a meditation as we walk through life- not holding on to any one thought or opinion too tightly as we flow through the river of the day.

This might be intuitive to you, but it will be instructive to spell this out. Can you share with our readers a few of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits of becoming mindful?

Given how active the process of mindfulness is (paying attention to our breath and body, what’s happening around us AND noticing and releasing judgments of all of it), a mindfulness practice hones our focus. It slows our heart rate down as we ground in the moment at hand, it requires us to forgo any superfluous stimulation like looking at our phones while in a conversation or multitasking in a way that leaves us feeling like we still haven’t really done anything (know that feeling?).

In honing our focus, mindfulness allows us to juice out all that we can from the present moment, with our own attention in the moment. The best way I can explain this is with the creative process. In making a piece of art in any medium (cooking, drawing, painting, writing, dancing, etc.), mindfulness helps us honor the mystical unfolding of creative energy, without us being overwhelmingly-preoccupied with the final “product” or how it may be received. With mindfulness, we may likely witness those fears or doubts throughout the process, though we can practice releasing our judgments of ourselves and what we’re making without taking our thoughts too seriously.

Mindfulness brings us back to the present and what’s in front of us, i.e. the juxtaposition of colors, ingredients, textures, sounds, etc., and what the smallest next step might be. Rather than allowing our worries and assumptions of the elusive future take us away, we can stay with where we are in the moment at hand, slowly but surely, manifesting a fuller creative process.

Ok. Here is the main question of our discussion. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, anxiety, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to develop mindfulness during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.

  1. Selective sensory stimulation — we are constantly taking in stimulation through our 5 physical senses and even our vast energetic senses. We feed our serenity and our anxiety through our various senses with stimulation that nourishes or depletes it. What we listen to, see, taste, even smell and touch (and the “vibes” we pick up from around us) affect our level and capacity for peace, creativity, compassion and emotional-regulation. Being selective and mindful with what we take in impacts our ability to be here now, in loving support of ourselves and others.
  2. Compassionate self-touch — affectionate touch holds the power of soothing and healing. When we’re in a time of isolation, unable to hug and touch and be with the people we care about regularly, our bodies feel it. We can bring compassion and kindness to ourselves at any time, day or night, with a mindful caress, hold or stroke. Mindful touch, even with ourselves, releases oxytocin in our bodies, washing us biochemically with more propensity to trust, relax, connect and rest. When my thoughts are racing, stress is overwhelming or I’m trying to fall asleep, I gently stroke my hair. When period cramps wake me up at night or I want to feel more connected to the spirit of my breath, I bring my palms to my belly and feel it rise with each inhale. When my inner child is scared or lonely, I cup my face with love. When I’m bored or cold or just sitting on the train, I caress my arms slowly and notice the soft sensations. And when I feel tension in my chest or want to cultivate deeper gratitude, I bring two hands to my heart and hold it with attention.
  3. Sight of how the good shows up — cultivating connection, ease and peace is about recognizing how it all already shows up in our lives. We can expand our perspective daily by taking the time to recognize the small things that are connecting, easeful and peaceful all around us: in the way we do take care of ourselves, in the people closest to us, in the color of the leaves outside, in the crispness of the wind, in the humor of dark situations, in the meal we ate recently, in the way our neighbor’s children play. The more we see it, the more it grows.
  4. Breath is bae — we all already have a lover that is life-giving, soothing, strengthening, clarifying, grounding, with us when we come into the world and with us when we leave it. Breath is #1 Bae for as long as we live, to have and to hold from this day and every day, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part. Recognizing and remembering this, honors the love of our lives.
  5. Craft and create often — Brené Brown said, “”unused creativity is not benign. It metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgment, sorrow, shame.” In the time that we’re in now, we need to be outlet ting the excess energy in us as we’re potentially more cooped up and stimulated than ever. In whatever medium we are drawn to: moving our bodies, spoken word, doodling, singing, etc. we have to let it out and express ourselves. Keeping it all pent up inside only exacerbates our pain.

From your experience or research what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

  1. Come back to your breath — your settled body will physically and energetically help others settle in their bodies
  2. Feel your feet on the ground — your grounded body will physically and energetically help others to ground in theirs
  3. Let them have their feelings — don’t try to fix their feelings, they are entitled to their experience. Invite them (and yourself) to use the feelings wheel to name the present feelings. Psychologist, Daniel Siegal, said, “name it to tame it”; when we acknowledge and recognize the nuances of our emotional experiences, we may likely feel more understood and soothed
  4. Give advice only when it’s explicitly asked — otherwise, practice active listening. Sometimes, what we need most in times of stress is just a kind and present body. If it wouldn’t be a burden to them, ask genuinely and curiously, “how may I support you?”
  5. Share more loving content — share humorous videos, inspiring stories and positive news more than you share the fear-inducing, anxiety-provoking news. Whether it’s on your social media or group texts, what you put out there matters and impacts people.

What are the best resources you would suggest for someone to learn how to be more mindful and serene in their everyday life?

Firstly, we can learn a great deal from our own breath; bringing our attention to our breath in any moment can reveal a lot about what our bodies are wanting to tell us. Spend more time with your breath and how it’s flowing in various times of the day. This is an embodied approach to learning more about how to be more mindful in our everyday lives.

Additionally, the work of Kristin Neff and Chris Germer in Mindful Self-Compassion and the work of Tara Brach in Radical Compassion and her R.A.I.N practice are incredibly helpful.I also offer a 3-month Abundant Creativity program, which shares thoughtful space and decolonizing education regarding art-making, while inviting us to creatively release excess energy that might add to our anxiety or scarcity mentality.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Without inner revolution, outer action is repetitive.” — J. Krishnamurti. My experiences in my life thus far have taught me, time and again, that if my inner landscape is not tended to, anything outside of me like a stable and wealthy job, beautiful friendships, rewarding promotions, or actions for cultural and societal change, will not land in a way that is sustained and transformational through time.

The world we live in reflects our collective inner landscape; the violence and chaos that surround us correlate strongly with the violence and chaos we try to numb, deny or project from within us. If we lead with rage and resentment in our actions, it’s very hard to not produce more rage and resentment. While these feelings are so valid and necessary, we have to continually tend to them within ourselves and even in community, as opposed to relying on these feelings to fire us up in a movement for change toward very different feelings like love, peace and justice.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The movement has already begun to imbue, in each of us and our society, a deeply embodied belief that we are inherently creative. This requires approaches and curriculums in learning environments that honor young people’s natural gifts of curiosity, movement and creativity. It requires us to create, make and manifest in ways that feel cathartic and healing to us, without allowing the narrow values of capitalism and colonial mentality to inhibit or silence us; meaning, we have to personally and culturally burn the notions and practices of hyper-capitalization of the arts, perfectionism and “the right way”. It also requires us to intentionally cultivate space for play, even as grown folks with jobs and bills and responsibilities; play can be liberating of the anxieties and fears that keep us from being present, grateful and serene in our lives.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

www.mosaiceyeunfolding.com and instagram @mosaiceye

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!


Chetna Mehta of Mosaic Eye: “How To Develop Mindfulness During Stressful Or Uncertain Times” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Nicole Rodrigues of NRPR Group: “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents”

Self control and setting boundaries. If you constantly say that no matter what happens in the day, Monday through Friday, 7pm to 8:30pm is my time to be with my children, that one and a half hours of concentrated time can go a long way. If everyone commits to this time together, you use self control and commitment to show the people you love, no matter what, this is our time. This also shows your co-workers and clients that no matter what, this time is for family

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Nicole Rodrigues.

Nicole Rodrigues is a powerhouse founder of two companies, NRPR Group and the Young Dreamers

Foundation, as well as the host of the YouTube show, Beverly Hills Boss, and Author of Beverly Hills Boss the book. She has more than 19+ years of experience in PR, social media and digital marketing. She’s the creator and personality behind PRactical Guide to Publicity, an award-winning video series aimed at helping CEOs, CMOs and others understand the true benefits of utilizing PR and digital marketing.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I’m a California girl, born and raised. My hometown, Fremont, was where I grew up as the oldest of nine children. I was the first in the family to graduate college and worked hard in high school to earn scholarships and attended San Jose State University. I held three jobs during college to pay for my education. My friends trusted me to be a leader, so I became part of the student council in school. I used to say if my intuition leads me in the right direction for getting through the ups and downs of growing through childhood and succeeding against all odds, I’m going to ultimately create a guide for others to learn from. And this is exactly what I did! When my friends had a bad day, they’d do things that weren’t the best for them, which translated into bad behavior and sometimes drugs and alcohol. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to pay attention and dedicate my story to the betterment of others. This was always my vision.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

I do believe I was meant to be in this career because of one course I took in high school. One day I was

thinking about my future, I decided I wanted to find a career that involved public perception

development, writing, event planning, and more. Then, one of my college journalism professors saw

something in me and encouraged me to check out Public Relations courses. He saw this spark in me

before I knew it was even there. And he helped lead me to where I am now. The minute I took that PR

class I was hooked and knew I wanted to own my own agency one day.

Fast-forward to today, I fulfilled my dream. Starting my own agency seemed like a far reach, but I got

there through hard work. NRPR Group is short for Nicole Rodrigues Public Relations. I am proud to have

my name on the door and it reminds me that my hard work paid off and has led me to where I am now.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day to day schedule looks like?

My day to day looks like putting out necessary fires, a lot of emails, phone calls, strategy, writing, research, mentoring, guiding both clients and team members, crossing t’s and dotting i’s because our work is seen in the public. All of this is mixed up in one day and it’s as crazy as it sounds.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

This pandemic has made it very clear that we need person to person contact and sometimes go stir crazy when we can’t get that. The parent-child time relationship is the same. Not spending time with each other does something to your mind, body and soul. You’re connected physically as a mother because you carry your child and spiritually connected as well. Without this time and care, it causes psychological damage. Mental illness can stem from lack of relationships with a parent. This is why I made sure that even in a busy week or when I was travelling, that there was one way, shape or form that I was showing my daughter that I cared about her, so mentally, she’d grow up to be confident that her parents loved and cared about her as a human. I’ve seen kids who felt the opposite and those are people who find other areas of life to show them love and validate them, which is really uncomfortable. That’s how I feel children can get lost.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

It’s important to make time to spend with your children because if you don’t, it can lead to health and mental issues when you feel a feeling of loss. You can feel down and it’ll impact your overall state of motivation and well being. People think they need a psych drug to make them feel better, when really some attention or a hug can help. Even tough love, setting boundaries is healthy. People rush to give kids chemicals to help them feel better when dopamine is a natural release in the brain through contact and attention. It’s science. If you want to have teenagers that listen to you and will respect you as an adult, you better start when they’re little kids. If they don’t respect you as a 5 year old, they won’t at 15 when it really matters. That’s when they make decisions for themselves. Having a testy teenager is not fun. Make sure at a young age they know who is boss, but also provide an open line of communication to talk about things.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

  1. My daughter is a huge movie buff. She follows in her father’s footsteps in liking prepared meals. As a teenager, she’ll make dinner and I’ll do dishes. It’s an act of love and we’ll sit and watch a movie together and laugh and comment. Each night we try to spend time doing this because it’s something she loves and that it’s been a fun way for us to connect through something she enjoys.
  2. We joke around a lot, which is how we build our bond. The humor is always very open, we have funny accents we pretend to have and understand each other in that way. We can be anywhere in the house and make these jokes
  3. We go grocery shopping together and it gives her a sense of authority through having a voice in what food we have in the house. Between farmers markets and the store, we plan out meals together and bond and get excited about what we’ll do in the house together

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each, if you can.

  1. Self control and setting boundaries. If you constantly say that no matter what happens in the day, Monday through Friday, 7pm to 8:30pm is my time to be with my children, that one and a half hours of concentrated time can go a long way. If everyone commits to this time together, you use self control and commitment to show the people you love, no matter what, this is our time. This also shows your co-workers and clients that no matter what, this time is for family
  2. Digital tools — You can be in the middle of something or a meeting, and use your digital tools to show your children that you’re thinking of them. Me and my daughter use Snapchat. I can send her a funny picture and that shows her that I’m thinking of her. Even when you live together, it shows you care and can be fun.
  3. It’s the little things — I stopped drinking coffee in the morning, but my daughter still does. So, in the morning before my daughter wakes up, I’ll prepare a cup of coffee for her, so she can have a warm cup when she wakes up. Something like this goes a long way to show you care.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

A really good parent, parents with love and tough love. There’s a certain amount of structure and boundaries that need to be set in order to protect your children from themselves. If you give free reign to a 5 year old to make all their own decisions, you’re teaching them that people who have seniority or are older than them, don’t carry as much weight in terms of respect. This creates a problem child in school and it can spiral from there. A really good parent definitely makes sure that their kid knows they love them and they see it, and they give them just enough structure and boundaries to protect them enough so they feel they have wiggle room to make decisions, but not all the decisions. You also don’t reward bad behavior.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

I show my daughter by example. Every dream I went after or attempted, I’ve done. A big dream of mine was to go to UCLA. I couldn’t do it for undergrad, and I wanted to show her that no dream is too big. This was a dream of mine for 20 years and I did it now. I wanted my own company and I did. Now my daughter knows there’s no fear in going after your dreams. I encourage her to dream and be who she is. It’s a huge psychological need, especially in teens and tweens. It gives them hope for the rest of their lives. If they don’t feel they have a choice in their careers, they’ll be upset and feel bad about the future.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Success is when you’re getting paid to do what you enjoy and love and are still finding ways to enjoy the little things in life. It’s also doing other activities that make you happy other than work. Being recognized for your work and doing it at the best of your abilities is part of this. Being successful is hard, and I commend anyone who goes after it. It comes from a lot of hard work that turns into doing that you love and passing that knowledge down. Then managing and making time for yourself for the hard work you put in to get to where you’re at is equally as important too.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

One of my favorite books that inspired me was “Purpose Driven Life.” Identifying and finding my own purpose motivated me to make sure my child did the same. That she knew that she’s here for a reason and on a mission and only she will know what that mission is.

Another one is “The Alchemist”, for a spiritual journey. Lastly, “The Amazing Development of Men.” Although I have a daughter, that book helped me understand that there are certain phases that men naturally go through in life. As women, it’s important we understand and respect that and not try to overthink a man’s journey. A lot of women and girls should know this to help them understand men more and show appreciation to see what they go through. This has not only helped me with relationships and explain to her the work life and her dad, it’s just a great book of knowledge that I’ve seen play out well in the work world.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!


Nicole Rodrigues of NRPR Group: “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jillian Coburn of MOMMY GO-BAG: “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents”

Invest in a magnet calendar and a planner. Write your schedule three months out so you are aware what you have each month. Being the manager of the house, I must make sure everyone is where they need to be and it’s vital to be available for the boys for important dates such as flag football or football games.

As a part of my series about “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” I had the pleasure to interview Jillian Coburn.

Coburn is an entrepreneur, inventor, writer, outdoorswoman, and mother of three who is passionately committed to supporting and elevating women who have nowhere to turn and living under the shadows of domestic violence. As a survivor, she assists women living with abuse by empowering and teaching them how to get out, heal and build a life they’ve always imagined.

She is also the co-owner of NOLA Prestige Electric, a women/minority based contracting company. She founded the apparel line, Reel Housewives of the Deep South, in 2014, producing one-of-a-kind American-made designs for Southern women who love the outdoors and choose “catfishing over catfighting!”

Jillian lives and works in Lago Vista, Texas with her and her husbands three children.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us your “childhood backstory”?

I was born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, the youngest in a family of three girls. Growing up, I was always on the family farm or playing a sport. You would never catch me inside and I could always be found in the fields until the streetlights came on to cue me to get home. I was a very bright student and may be described as a daddy’s girl. My father became disabled at a young age and he took on the role of “mom” as my mother worked diligently to become highly educated in order to support the family. My upbringing included a Catholic school education, and I received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and become a schoolteacher.

Can you share the story about what brought you to this specific point in your career?

My husband, who recently retired after 30 years in the U.S. Army, felt it was best that I stay at home with our last child, Lonnie Coburn IV. While serving in the military, my husband was constantly working with both the Army and our company, NOLA Prestige Electric, LLC. The idea of me returning to the workforce as an executive concerned him and he felt that I needed to be available for the three kids, including our new baby, a fourth grader, and an eighth grader. For my part, I knew I had to create things of my own while staying at home to be the house manager, counselor, and chauffeur for the family. Playing tennis and being classroom mom was not enough for the entrepreneur at heart that I was. I began writing my first book after the birth of our last child and created an apparel line for women who fished and hunted. I created my newest invention as a mom on the go and wanted to produce a solution for moms like me.

Can you tell us a bit more about what your day-to-day schedule looks like?

I wake up at 6:00 am every morning to check emails and get my two boys ready for school, including cooking breakfast and prepping lunches for the day. After dropping off the youngest, which is a 64-minute roundtrip commute, I start diligently returning calls and scheduling guys in the field for our company. Once home, I begin the house manager job, taking out food to prepare for dinner, washing clothes, putting away dishes, and cleaning house. Afterward, I blog and work on my current company, Mommy Go Bag. At 2:00 pm, I race to retrieve the youngest from school and then back again to our town to drop off my elder son at football. I arrive home to assist my youngest with schoolwork and playing one-on-one with him. At 5:45, I’m back in the car to pick up my son from football before getting back home to begin dinner. After dinner, you will find our family bike riding, swimming, or playing board games together.

Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the core of our discussion. This is probably intuitive to many, but it would be beneficial to spell it out. Based on your experience or research, can you flesh out why not spending time with your children can be detrimental to their development?

I remember as a kid my mother not being able to be the room mom or being available to see me play tennis or basketball. That relationship was not like my friends, whose moms were always available. I made a conscious effort to make myself available for my children so that I didn’t repeat the same mistake my mom did with me. With my eldest, who is a girl, I made every effort to be there for quality time and those important memories you cherish as a child, from making myself available for plays, manicures, and sleepovers to just showing up when I knew she needed me. This helped her become a successful young lady and she is currently in her junior year at Tulane University. Throughout middle and high school, she was a cheerleader and was nominated first maid at her high school. Gabby and I talk every day and she plans to travel to Texas to get her doctrine in law.

Those moments when Gabby needed me, whether it was for petty girl stuff or just being that ear that all children need to rely on, modeled the remarkable young woman she is now. I am the same way with my two sons. Boys are so different than girls, but boys need their mommas as much as they need their dads. Showing up and being available for those small moments steers your children in the right direction. I like to say that as a mom, showing that love and being supportive creates a successful and confident child.

I raised my oldest and middle children as a single mom for five years. Juggling an executive job and extracurricular activities for the kids was a main priority. You cannot forget that from the ages of 1 to 7, your child will develop what they see in their environment. The two eldest tell me that I am way more lax with their little brother than I was with them. I can say this: being a young mom and not knowing the best practices as a parent was so stressful. I can remember thinking, “Am I doing this right and I am doing that right?” but keeping in mind that these small, impressionable human beings need a cheerleader to be on their team. I was that star cheerleader. As an older mom with the baby, I realized how important it was to keep the same philosophy in mind. Loving and showing up for your child is so important for their developmental process. You don’t wake up one day and realize you need to learn how to love; it is shown by your parents. The kids may think I am too much at times but, in my eyes, I think they are perfect even if they make a mistake. I will show them the teachable moment and the consequences associated with any mistake, but still love them. I guess my upbringing with a father and mother who would love me no matter what and showed up when I needed them the most molded me into the person I am now.

On the flip side, can you give a few reasons or examples about why it is so important to make time to spend with your children?

If you are not spending time with your child, you will never understand what is going on in their world. It is so important to make the time and check in with each one of your kids. Social media has flooded our youth and they are constantly on their phones. They are influenced on what their lives should look like and for a young child, that can be challenging. Giving them space and doing check-ins, or just planning one-on-one time if you have multiple kids, shows your children that they can reach out if they are struggling. I firmly believe some kids need that extra nudge to ask what is going on in their world.

According to this study cited in the Washington Post, the quality of time spent with children is more important than the quantity of time. Can you give a 3–5 stories or examples from your own life about what you do to spend quality time with your children?

As a parent, I make an effort to check phones and social media outlets to see what is going on. Best practices will show you that something may be happening that you are not even aware of. At one time, my daughter was being stalked by a young coach who wanted her Snapchat. Since I did the check-ins, I asked her about it and stopped something from happening before it was too late. Same thing with the boys. If I see something that I may not believe is fitting for them by being aware and making that one-on-one time, I can fix something that I notice is becoming broken. Because of the environment of the internet and social media, our kids need us more than they ever have. I can’t stress this enough! Educate your children! Make them aware or they will steer in the wrong direction!

We all live in a world with many deadlines and incessant demands for our time and attention. That inevitably makes us feel rushed and we may feel that we can’t spare the time to be “fully present” with our children. Can you share with our readers 5 strategies about how we can create more space in our lives in order to give our children more quality attention? Please include examples or stories for each if you can.

Gabby is my only daughter and although she is the eldest and many miles away, I still make time to fly in and spend a weekend with her. For instance, last year I flew there for a moms’ weekend for her sorority. I took the time to square away a weekend with just the two of us so she could feel special and appreciated. I can’t imagine my parents being miles away and not seeing them on a daily basis. In the summer, she works in Houston, which is two hours away from us. I always surprise her by just showing up unannounced and crashing at her flat. It’s funny because she has to wake up at 8:00 am and I am in her bed while she works! Yes, we FaceTime once a day and talk multiple times. But showing up for important moments or unexpected drop-ins means so much to her because I made the time to spend with her. Same thing when a boy broke up with her and she was devasted. I had to fly down and be there for her so she wouldn’t go into a downward spiral. Quality time is so important. Even as a young adult, she still needs to feel her momma is making time for her.

Matthew is my middle one and every Thursday in the fall is football night. I make sure I square away plans for the youngest so Matt has my undivided attention. By showing up and having those twenty minutes in the car to talk about girls or the team shows that I value him and that he is important to me. I also make time once a week for us to head to Dick’s or grab sushi with his pals to let him know I am always available and will stop whatever I am doing just to be with him. I want him to remember when he is in his thirties that his momma always showed up for his games, our drives home, and the excitement and smiles I gave him because of how proud I was to be cheering him on as my son! We may not like the same music but jamming out to his rap and laughing at silly YouTube videos is quality time we spend together. We enjoy hikes on the trails and boat rides on the lake, too. He knows I am always within arm’s reach and the security of knowing momma is there is valued so much. During COVID, we were all isolated and Matt shared with me that he was depressed. Do you know any child that would share their feelings if they didn’t feel safe or valued? I spent a lot of time speaking to him about changes, how hard it is for everyone, and that it was okay to feel the way he was feeling.

Lonnie is the baby, and I must admit that I spend a lot of quality time with this little guy. He is a ham, to say the least, and is so funny! We have a lot of time to spend together, especially in the mornings on our commute to school. He talks to me about the most interesting things and this quality time in the mornings and afternoon is vital to him. Recently, I have been making time in the afternoon to teach him to ride a bike. His dad is very tough, and Lonnie needed the confidence I provided him on the bike rides. Yes, we may be going super slow, but me cheering him on has built the confidence he needed to make sure he can do anything he puts his mind to. I make every effort to volunteer for lunch duty at his school and this means so much to him. He doesn’t want me to leave when I show up and I know he loves me just being on campus and that I value him.

Small things like I described above is only a small slice of the quality time I create as a busy mom and these would be the strategies I suggest:

#1 Invest in a magnet calendar and a planner. Write your schedule three months out so you are aware what you have each month. Being the manager of the house, I must make sure everyone is where they need to be and it’s vital to be available for the boys for important dates such as flag football or football games.

#2 Have your child pick a day out of the week when they can choose what the two of you can do together so you can plan the time they need for you to be engaged with them.

#3 Red, Green, Yellow. I have a magnet board and every day, everyone in the house picks a color. I found that sometimes I was having a crappy day and wasn’t showing up the way I needed to for the family. If I pick red, it means I’m having a horrible day and that I might lash out at them if they risk overstepping things with me. Yellow means I am on edge, but just tread lightly. Green means everything is great. Same thing goes for them. By cueing and viewing this board, we all know where we are emotionally. This is super important when we are running a mile a second. As a parent, this also creates the awareness needed if our kids do not want to share their true thoughts and feelings and alerts you to actively found out what is going on.

#4 Try to sit together at the dinner table 1–3 times a week. This quality time in our world today is not utilized enough. The time we spend eating and talking around the table about our days could be a make-or-break difference and, as a family, you are uniting as one.

#5 Sundays have always been a family day for us, so we are usually on the boat or going on an adventure. Again, uniting is a great strategy to use as a large family or even as a single parent family. Creating time and recognizing when your child needs you is critical.

How do you define a “good parent”? Can you give an example or story?

Is there even a definition of a good parent? At the age of 18, I had my first child. When I was 19, she began day care at the neighborhood Catholic church. I thought I was a bad mom for going to college, being so young as a parent, and not being like the other older moms. I laugh at myself now because I was a good parent. I could have chosen not to raise Gabby and give her to my parents, but I stepped up and showed up as a mom. Now that I am almost 40, I giggle because my perception of a good mother was so skewed! The reality is, we must work for our children to have a roof over our heads and food on the table. I don’t think it really matters what your job is. If your moral compass is off, maybe that is what makes you a bad parent. But if your heart and value system are set correctly, I think parents are doing the best they can and often the best they can is what they have been taught by their own parents. If they choose to do things differently, then maybe that is their choice. But I think that as parents, we are so hard on ourselves and we need to stop that stinking thinking because all negative talk and energy is invited into our world. If we are positive and are conscious of what we are doing, then I think that is what makes a successful and amazing parent. Showing love and being human is a good parent in my eyes. If I were the best parent in the world, life would be perfect, but that isn’t reality. Life is challenging and it’s how we deal with it and show up as human beings. Showing kindness and self-worth for ourselves and others models a good parent, in my opinion.

How do you inspire your child to “dream big”? Can you give an example or story?

All my kids have infinite dreams! At the age of 30, I began a journey of exploring the Law of Attraction and learning what other successful people were taught. At the ages of 12, 7, and 1, all three of my kids began to manifest their lives. I constantly tell them that if you write it, speak it, and read it daily, you will become whatever you desire. As an infinite being, you are time and space! Gabby was super shy, and I had to tell her to dream big and she did! By showing her the positive and the possibilities, she created her own space at an amazing college and will leave the ground fertile to create whatever large dream she has. The middle child is the same. At a young age, I taught him the same language of the Law of Attraction and his dream is to be a successful attorney and have a mansion. I know if I continue to provide the space for him to dream big, he will be sitting in the same spot as his sister, ready to make his dreams come true. Last but not least is Baby Lonnie. He has some very large dreams, too, and I align with those dreams so he can believe anything and everything is possible. His aspiration as a seven-year-old is to be the next pope, drive a Lamborghini, and donate all his father’s money to the poor. He plans on me moving in with him in Rome and taking care of me. These are all realistic dreams and our lives are only energy! I feel the energy of each one of my kids and it’s my job as a parent to keep this positive and infinite energy on track. Being is having the infinite choice and possibility of everything you desire.

How do you, a person who masterfully straddles the worlds of career and family, define “success”?

Growing up, I was taught success was in the eye of the person who believed and was happy with themselves and their life. Success, to me, is being happy and my children being the joyful beings they choose to be. Success is knowing that all my children are safe and are creating the life they desire. My legacy of success will ask the question, “If there were no force against me, who would I be?” Truly receiving opportunities for success means being able to accept all the information that there is. It doesn’t have to do with money. It has to do with everything. It has to do with the awareness of everything that is possible. When you are truly successful, you are able to receive and be in the realm of anything. This is what creates the possibilities the universe can give to you. If you choose to have a business or a life or a relationship, you need have generative energy (the start), creative energy (the change), and institutive energy (the maintain). If you don’t keep maintaining those things, what you seek will fall apart and you must lose. Every choice gives me an awareness, which gives me multiple other choices.

What are your favorite books, podcasts, or resources that inspire you to be a better parent? Can you explain why you like them?

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy

Rich Dad Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money The Poor and Middle Class Do Not by Robert T. Kiyosaki

Conscious Parents, Conscious Kids: Inspiration for joyful parenting and happy kids by Steven Bowman

All of these books provided insight on the law of attraction and that we are all just energy. It helped me become a better parent and to show my kids to think big and act upon what they desire in life, even if it seems a little weird. There are so many great speakers and writers who show us the key elements to become successful and to never give up on life. Life and breathing are a privilege and every day we should thank our higher power to be alive.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“You get what you pay for!”

As an inventor, writer, and entrepreneur, paying for services and having assistance is key when running your business. The saying, “you get what you pay for!’, is so true! If you are not putting money where you think it should appear you may find yourself in a downward spiral of missing details or important parts that are important when running a successful business. For instance, I may be on a budget but, I will make sure the person I am hiring is worth what I am paying for. There have been many life lessons for cutting a corner and using a cheaper person who does not do the job right!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Not judging or expecting anything from our kids. Kids should be kids. It’s a choice to just be a kid. My husband comes from a poor family and his entire life he has worked and never really was a kid. I see how challenging and what was expected by him as a young boy. I think as parents if we model for our kids to just be kids and enjoy riding bikes, reading a book and exploring, that we would have so many more amazing cool inventions and happy kids.

Thank you so much for these insights! This was so inspiring!


Jillian Coburn of MOMMY GO-BAG: “How extremely busy executives make time to be great parents” was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Bailey Dawson of Fullscreen: Five Ways For Influencers To Monetize Their Brand

Be consistent with your content, your schedule and your voice. Whether it’s weekly vlogs on YouTube, ‘Makeup Monday’ product roundups on IG Stories or daily smoothie recipes on TikTok — choose your own adventure — but be consistent and intentional with your content and posting cadence. Training your audience to regularly consume and engage with your content will pave the way for effectively monetizing your brand.

As part of my series about “How Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Bailey Dawson.

Bailey currently leads the lifestyle creator team at Fullscreen where she focuses on driving strategy across the vertical through helping creators optimize, maximize and monetize their social video business. She has 9+ years of experience working with talent and brands in the content marketing space across custom content activations, strategic partnerships and full-service talent management at DBA, Laurel & Wolf, StyleHaul, Edelman and now Fullscreen.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to get to know you a bit more. What is your “backstory”? What brought you to this point in your career?

Thanks so much for having me! Ooh my origin story…well I was born and raised in Southern California (I’m a Taurus — very determined, loyal and of course, stubborn!), turned 18 in Berlin (thanks to a high school foreign exchange program!), and studied communication in college. I started interning for a large PR agency just after graduation and I have worked with talent in the digital marketing space ever since — no turning back now! As a seasoned content strategist and talent manager, I’ve had a front row seat as the industry has evolved, working with top brands, A-list celebrities and digitally native creators of all sizes to develop cutting edge social programs and engaging content strategies that deliver valuable results and resonate with audiences. I’ve been very fortunate to work alongside some incredibly talented colleagues and I’m continually blown away by the inspiring and passionate clients we get to work with every day.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you in the course of your career?

Very early on in my career I had the opportunity to manage an advertorial shoot for an Olympics partnership that required some last-minute travel to a stunning mountaintop in Alaska — still one of the coolest projects I’ve worked on! The timely nature of the shoot did not allow for any bumps in the road so naturally lots of bumps ensued. After taking planes, trains and automobiles to our picturesque shoot location in a tiny Alaskan town, I received the news no one wants: my luggage was delayed and would not arrive until the following evening (after the first day of our shoot!). Oh and by the time we landed, all shops in town were closed. Cut to the following morning, there I was bright and early on an Alaskan mountain top in 7 degree weather with a lightweight jacket & leggings (thankfully I DID wear snow boots on the flight!). I spent the day clutching a cup full of hot water and packing heat warmers in my pockets/sleeves/boots in between shots. Needless to say that was the last time I ever packed rationally for any travel. 10/10 would recommend always keeping the essentials on your person at all times. Honestly though, things are usually not as big of a deal as we make them out to be and the world spins madly on (the shoot went perfectly as far as the Talent and the Brand were concerned), but it certainly makes for a funny story. Alaska will always hold a special place in my heart…or maybe I’m just still chilled to my core. Tomato, tomato!

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

I am passionate about empowering my clients and colleagues to be the best versions of themselves, reach and exceed their goals, and build something they are proud of — whether that is a career in the digital marketing space, or as a full-time content creator. That passion is why I have continued on this career path and strive to ensure the work I’m doing is making a difference, no matter how big or small the scale, and helping those around me. I have been really lucky throughout my career to have worked under a few incredible managers and mentors who not only shared their breadth of knowledge, but also empowered me to grow into the manager I am today. Now I have the opportunity to continue that trend and make a lasting impact on my little sliver of the world!

You have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

Know your why and understand what motivates you. Once you can identify what makes you tick and the types of incentives that will keep you going, finding a company that aligns with those values will make your day job a little less “have to” and a little more “get to”. Easier said than done, but it really makes a world of difference!

None of us can achieve success without a bit of help along the way. Is there a particular person who made a profound difference in your life to whom you are grateful? Can you share a story?

When I was growing up, my older cousin worked in PR in Chicago and I absolutely adored her. I remember when she was in town for a work event and we went to visit her; she was working a product booth for a CPG brand client and while I now know this was a very routine event — no red carpets here — her passion for her job was infectious. I wanted to be just like her when I grew up! I had no idea what that actually meant at the time, but I went on to study communication in college and after graduating, that same cousin, now much further along in her career, helped get my resume in front of the right people at a prestigious PR firm — and the rest is history! Ahh, if only it were that easy! In all seriousness, I secured an internship and proceeded to grow with the company as a full-time employee for several years, where I formed what have become some of the most influential professional relationships of my career. My cousin’s willingness to help get my foot in the door at a reputable company at such an early point in my career laid the foundation for what has become an incredibly fulfilling journey for me in the digital marketing space. Now much older and somewhat wiser, I recognize how tricky it can be to endorse the right people and while I try to pay it forward, I will be eternally grateful for whatever favor my cousin may have cashed in to get me that interview!

So what are the most exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

One of the most exciting projects I’m working on right now at Fullscreen is the continued iteration of services we’re providing for our creators, resulting in measurable value and making a positive impact on their businesses (it’s really more of an evergreen-continuous-never-ending-lifetime-achievement type project). “MCN” can have such a negative connotation, but we’re starting to see a shift in the landscape and the work our team is doing is really resonating with partners. I’m excited to continue scaling our offering to help even more creators expand their digital businesses.

What are your “Top Five Ways That Influencers Can Monetize Their Brand” . (Please share a story or example for each.)

Share What You Love (even if you’re not getting paid)!

Share what you love with your followers — products, inspirational quotes, recipes, all of it. Sharing what you’re passionate about builds trust with your audience and fosters a strong sense of community. Don’t be afraid to share specific products you love even if you’re not getting paid by a brand just yet. Sometimes an organic mention is what will actually get you on the brand’s radar in the first place!

Develop A Cross-Platform Content Strategy

Gone are the days of posting the same image + caption to multiple social platforms. In order to incentivize your audience to follow you across platforms, you need to offer something new and exclusive while also considering the platform-specific content audiences want to consume. For example, if my client is a mom who typically shares family content on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok, a snapshot of our content strategy might look like this: After a weekend getaway at the beach with family, she would post 1) a funny clip of the kids playing in the sand on TikTok, 2) a cute shot of the whole family and their epic sandcastle on Instagram, 3) the making-of their sand castle (& bloopers!) on IG Stories, and finally 4) the full weekend vlog chronicling the family’s beach vacation on her YouTube channel. It can be a LOT to keep up with, but it will positively impact your growth and ability to monetize more effectively.

Diversify Revenue Streams

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. If you’re serious about monetizing your brand and pursuing a career in content creation, diversifying where your revenue comes from is imperative. Brand partnerships are typically the first thing that comes to mind when people think of ‘Influencers’, but sponsorships aren’t always as accessible or as lucrative as many assume. Diversifying your revenue streams is a great way to create additive dollars and power your business. Incorporating affiliate marketing (via RewardStyle or Amazon Affiliates), leveraging professional skills (photography skills can translate into custom Lightroom presets) and exploring product + licensing opportunities (exclusive merch or capsule collections) are all potential revenue streams available to creators of any size.

Be Consistent

Be consistent with your content, your schedule and your voice. Whether it’s weekly vlogs on YouTube, ‘Makeup Monday’ product roundups on IG Stories or daily smoothie recipes on TikTok — choose your own adventure — but be consistent and intentional with your content and posting cadence. Training your audience to regularly consume and engage with your content will pave the way for effectively monetizing your brand.

Build Your Dream Team

You have to stop pretending that you can do everything on your own! When you’re ready to turn your passion into a full-time career, it makes sense to invest in a team. Yes, building your ‘dream team’ will require you to invest financially, but the opportunities you will be able to access with the right team and strategic support system will be well worth the investment. Building a team can look different for everyone, but I always recommend taking inventory of what you love and what you may be consistently procrastinating time and time again when it comes to your business. If editing videos is your downfall, it’s time to find an editor. If you struggle to respond to brands that reach out or aren’t confident in negotiating on behalf of yourself, it’s time to find a manager or agent. If you are creating content on YouTube, you should have a partner like Fullscreen selling your reserve inventory (shameless plug, passive incremental revenue stream where we can add value to a creator’s existing business). Building a team of experts is an investment in your future.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

What is the best way our readers can follow your work online?


Bailey Dawson of Fullscreen: Five Ways For Influencers To Monetize Their Brand was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jeremy Ethier of ‘Built With Science’: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your…

Jeremy Ethier of ‘Built With Science’: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your Wellbeing

Mind to muscle connection. During your workouts, don’t just aimlessly go through the motions. During each rep of each exercise, visualize and feel your target muscles working. This helps you get more out of your workouts and can significantly boost both the activation and growth that your muscles experience.

As a part of my series about “5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeremy Ethier.

Jeremy Ethier is the founder of Built With Science, and a fitness expert who has mastered the art of combining science with training and nutrition to help you build lean muscle and burn off fat in the most efficient way possible. Follow Jeremy Ethier on YouTube and Instagram (@jeremyethier) and visit Builtwithscience.com for workout tips and training courses.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the story about how you first got involved in fitness and wellness?

Like many others in the industry, I’ve been obsessed with everything “fitness” ever since I was a kid. My first step into a gym was with my father when I was around 14 years old. I was instantly hooked. As soon as I turned 18, I got my personal training certification to further educate myself and start training others. I then proceeded to get my Kinesiology degree at University, and started Built With Science shortly after graduating.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

I started my YouTube channel during my last year of University and managed to grow it to about 50,000 subscribers before graduating. I remember as I was entering one of the last lectures of the year, someone in the hallway had recognized me from my YouTube videos and mentioned how big of a fan he was. This was the first time someone had ever recognized me in public from my videos, and I couldn’t believe it. It was such a crazy experience to me. Now I’m almost at 3 million subscribers and I get recognized quite often in public. It definitely still is a weird feeling (in a good way!), but nothing compares to that surreal feeling of the very first encounter.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

When I first launched my very first paid product (online training programs) to the public), I was doing everything by myself. The research, script writing, filming, editing, website building, customer service, social media, etc. I was extremely busy, but I could manage. After I launched the programs however, the work load easily doubled because of the sheer amount of emails I was getting. I got my girlfriend to start helping out with the emails, but everything was still pretty much done by myself. I remember shortly after that launch I thought it would be a great idea to send an email out to those who purchased my programs what I could do to help them out further and what they enjoyed about the program. The result was several hundreds of emails sent back within a matter of a couple days. It took me a few days to personally respond to every single email. Don’t get me wrong, I learned a lot from reading and replying to those emails (e.g. what I could do to further improve the program), but I soon realized that there’s better ways to gather customer feedback and that I needed to start delegating.

Can you share with our readers a bit about why you are an authority in the fitness and wellness field? In your opinion, what is your unique contribution to the world of wellness?

I believe if I were to pick one unique contribution, it would be my my passion for using science to guide everything that I promote and create. People value a science-based approach because it’s an approach that they know is proven, and one that they can trust.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Definitely my father. When I first started to experience massive success with my company Built With Science, it was quite overwhelming. There were so many different things I needed to focus on that I didn’t know where to start. My father was key in diverting a lot of my attention to building a strong foundation for my business (accounting, financing, corporate structure, legal documents, etc.) and connecting me with experts that could help me out with this and be there for me as we continued to grow. His guidance that he provided me at that time (and still does to this day!) was essential.

Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, exercise more, and get better sleep etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the 3 main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

One would be focusing too much on perfection. Many of us know what we have to do, but we get overwhelmed on trying to do it all at once. Instead, take it one step at a time and focus on nailing that down before moving onto the next step. For example, focusing on simply getting adequate sleep first before you dive into other areas like nutrition and working out consistently, can help you avoid trying to do too much at once then quitting altogether out of frustration.

Two would be failing to set short term goals, and celebrating when you achieve them. Most of us focus too much on the long term result (e.g. “achieve the body of my dreams!”) but fail to acknowledge the short term goals we must hit to get there (e.g. “lose 2lbs this month”). So set short term goals (weekly, monthly), focus your efforts on hitting those goals, and celebrate when you do hit them!

Three would be letting self-limiting beliefs prevent you from taking action. We all have self limiting beliefs that have been instilled in us by others. Whether it’s a perceived lack of time, dedication, or some “genetic curse”, take a step back to realize that these limiting beliefs are not indicative of your true capabilities.

Can you please share your “5 Non-Intuitive Lifestyle Tweaks That Will Dramatically Improve One’s Wellbeing”? (Please share a story or an example for each, and feel free to share ideas for mental, emotional and physical health.)

1 — Mind to muscle connection. During your workouts, don’t just aimlessly go through the motions. During each rep of each exercise, visualize and feel your target muscles working. This helps you get more out of your workouts and can significantly boost both the activation and growth that your muscles experience.

2 — Hydrate! Even very minor levels of dehydration can negatively impact your energy levels, mood, cravings, and performance during your workouts. Make it a point to hydrate as soon as you wake up, and throughout the day. You’d be surprised at the world of difference this can make.

3 — Mindful eating. Every time you sit down to have a meal, avoid having distractions (e.g. TV, phone) present as you’re eating. Instead, be mindful and present as you’re eating. This can go a long way in terms of increasing the fullness and satisfaction that you get from each meal — which can help prevent overeating if that’s a problem for you.

4 — Meditation. Regularly meditating and improving your self-awareness has a major impact on reducing your overall stress levels. In addition, by being more present and in the moment, you’ll be better able to distinguish feelings of “true hunger” from “boredom” for instance.

5 — Track your steps. Most of us focus on the effort we exert and the calories we burn during our workouts, but fail to realize the importance of simply moving more throughout the day. We actually burn a significant amount of calories outside of the gym just through the subconscious movements and bouts of walking that we do. Staying active outside of our workouts can help not only aid with our fat loss efforts (and keeping additional fat off) by burning additional calories, but also helps boost our productivity and energy levels throughout the day. I’d suggest making an effort to keep track of your daily step count, and aim for a goal of 8,000+ steps a day for example,

As an expert, this might be obvious to you, but I think it would be instructive to articulate this for the public. Aside from weight loss, what are 3 benefits of daily exercise? Can you explain?

Keeps your bones strong. Unfortunately, one of the things that happens as we age is a decrease in our bone density. This is what makes us frail and more prone to injury as we age. Daily exercise helps counteract this by slowing down the loss of bone density that comes with age.

2 — Improved sleep. Regular exercise, regardless of the mode and intensity of the activity you choose to do, has been shown to increase sleep efficiency and duration. Given the importance that adequate sleep has on several other factors, it would be in your best interest to get in some form of daily activity!

3 — Reduced anxiety and stress. Another benefit of daily exercise is a reduction in anxiety and depression, and overall stress levels. This can help with long-term mental health and can indirectly benefit your weight loss efforts as well, given the negative relationship we see with stress levels and weight loss.

For someone who is looking to add exercise to their daily routine, which 3 exercises would you recommend that are absolutely critical?

It will vary for everyone, but I would suggest that these 3 exercises consist of one upper body pushing movement, one upper body pulling movement, and one lower body movement. This helps ensure that you’re hitting most of the major muscle groups and functions.

For the upper body pushing movement, any form of push-up will do. This can be done on the ground, on your knees, or even against the wall. This will challenge your upper body muscles as well as your core.

For the upper body pulling movement, this will depend on what you have handy. Pull-ups or any form or row are great options. If you’re lacking equipment, simply using a weighted backpack and performing a bent over single arm row with it can work.

For the lower body movement, a squat would be your best bet. You can add weight by holding a dumbbell or weighted backpack at your chest as you perform the squat. This is an essential movement pattern that we need to continue practicing and strengthening especially as we age.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story?

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle. This book instantly helped me realize just how much time I spent in my “head” instead of being present. I remember looking around my living room as I first got into this book, and really appreciating the beauty around me that I had never acknowledged previously. This is also what initially got me into meditation, and has significantly impacted my life since.

You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger!

I think it would be just spreading more positivity. There’s enough negativity in the world that we’re exposed to constantly, especially on social media. You’d be surprised the difference you can make in someone’s day just by simply sharing a little bit of positivity with them — a little compliment goes a long way.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards.” This is something that has stuck with me ever since I first read it. Often times I’d get caught up in the past and re-visit scenarios or decisions that I wish I could change or “do better”, rather than focusing instead on learning from that and applying that to the present moment and future.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them!

Elon Musk! He has been someone I’ve looked up to ever since I was a kid. He’s innovative, gutsy, yet humble and extremely dedicated to his vision. I would love to have a chat with him just to learn more about how he thinks and his vision of the future.

What is the best way our readers can follow you online?

You can check out my content at BuiltWithScience.com , as well as my YouTube channel and Instagram page.


Jeremy Ethier of ‘Built With Science’: 5 Lifestyle Tweaks That Can Dramatically Improve Your… was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.