If you wrote a love letter to yourself, what would it say? Joie Cheng is a healer and coach whose determination to heal herself from depression put her on a course to heal others. Author of the best-selling The Naked Truth: A Woman’s Journey to Self-Love, Joie shares her inspiration for 2018 and provides practical tips to manifest inner peace and outer success.
Melinda Wittstock: Joie, welcome to Wings.
Joie Cheng: Thank you Melinda. It's such an honor to be here with you.
Melinda Wittstock: What's exciting for you in 2018?
Joie Cheng: I am really excited about helping women birth themselves through the process of writing their book. That's something that I know a lot of people want to do and if that's a goal that you have, I would be so happy to support you in that.
Melinda Wittstock: That's wonderful. What sort of books are most of your clients writing? When a woman comes to you and says, “Hey, I really want to write a book,” are these business books, are they autobiographies, are they fiction? What are they?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, thanks for asking that question. My focus and specialty is really helping women birth their own story, so their non-fiction personal story books about their journey and whatever they've been through that's really shaped who they are today.
Melinda Wittstock: That is wonderful. I mean it's something so akin to what we do this podcast. I mean somewhere along the line on my entrepreneurial journey I realized that women were succeeding in silence and they were often failing in silence too and that silence was isolating and crippling and often we, our society doesn't really understand that women are doing amazing things and can do amazing things as entrepreneurs. But sometimes I think, don't you, that we let ourselves down and not really being able to tell our story.
Joie Cheng: Well you know it's a scary thing, especially when we can share not only our high points but really the low points. In my own experience writing my book what I had to go through was I felt like I was re-experiencing a lot of pain in my life. I think that a lot of times we can avoid it because we don't want to go into that or we may be afraid like, “Oh my god, am I going to get stuck there?” But I think that's where it really helps to have someone that can support you on that journey and help you realize that you're not going to get stuck there. You can go into it and you can also come out on the other side stronger than you were.
Melinda Wittstock: That's so important because I think in any entrepreneur's life, male or female, there has most certainly been adversity and to succeed as an entrepreneur you have to have somehow by definition found a way or made one around that adversity and have grown as a person. You obviously need a good product, a good addressable market, a good team; all these things, all these prerequisites. But the one that often people don't talk about is, the prerequisite is yourself being able to grow and being resilient and being to almost leverage the adversity that invariably hits you. How do you coach women around getting past those things? We all have those things in our lives and yet we can so often attach shame to them so we don't want to talk about it because we feel that it's saying something about us.
Joie Cheng: Right, and you know that's why it's so, that's the thing. That's why we have to share those things because that's how, shame lives in the closet so the only way for us to heal from those experiences is to expose them. To allow ourselves to bring them into the light and the truth is, when we share those stories we will find so many other people that can relate to us even more because we've been willing to share them.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh my goodness. Well, that's been true of 2017 and the Me Too Movement. I mean to see friends and people you don't know but sharing so authentically and so personally their stories of sexual harassment or sexual abuse or worse or just discrimination. All year how this has become such a crescendo and it's given everyone permission to talk about it in a way that can really change the game. What I've noticed about all this too is it hasn't necessarily been a complaining; it hasn't necessarily come from a victim place. It's come from much more of a let's change this, enough place. Don't you think?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, and I love that it isn't just women but it's been men and women sharing really in the dialogue of it.
Melinda Wittstock: That's true because it does require a dialogue and it's interesting now … Do you sense that women just as a group, as a whole are really stepping into their feminine power like never before? I just have this sense, it's just everywhere around. Whether it's like female super-sheros or the fact that we're talking about this on a podcast or the fact that there are so many women writing books, starting companies, doing things, not taking any crap anymore. Not being willing to be victims but really stepping into their power.
I think it’s us rising and then it’s really the men rising with us. I think it’s a collective calling for all of us to rise together. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @SelfLoveHealerClick to tweet
Joie Cheng: Yeah, I mean it's long overdue. Look at the Wonder Woman movie as an example. Look at what the movies are that are coming out. It's just so amazing and beautiful to see that. I think that, but now I think it's us rising and then it's really the men rising with us. I think it's a collective calling for all of us to rise together.
Melinda Wittstock: Often you know when we're talking about women stepping into their authentic feminine power, in many conversations I've had we talk a lot about masculine energy versus feminine energy, women who are in business certainly in pervious generations felt the need to be more masculine because those were the only role models and that's what you did. It worked for us to a point but not really. It was inauthentic on some level. Explain to me a little bit when people say masculine and feminine energies and getting these things balanced, what does that actually mean in practice to you?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, so for me what that means is, the masculine, that's our doing. That's the more external. And then the feminine is the way that we are, like our being energy. That's the more receptive and still place. To me that means, being balanced means not just constantly pushing but giving ourselves time to rest and to receive and to really get the fruits of our labor. It's kind of like you look at the cycles of nature too. This is the time right now where we would be going into hibernation and going into a more resting reflective state of mind. And then we start going into more of that masculine energy in the spring, in the summer. Really honoring our natural rhythms. Especially as women, we have our cycles. That's the reason that we have that is so that we have that time to really be still.
Melinda Wittstock: I find that often this time of year I do feel like I need more sleep or I want to sit around by a fireplace with a book or maybe a glass of red wine. Just take it a little bit more easily. But when you're running a company and you have kids and you have this and this and that and everything it's really difficult sometimes to listen to your body because you feel like you can't. How do you balance those competing demands with that need just to be quiet and slow down or hibernate when you have a business that you got to go run?
Joie Cheng: Right. Well, I think that's where you can build it into your business. I will do a few calls a month with my clients and have a week off so they can integrate and really, it's building those things into your business as well as having self care practices because the thing is we are part of nature and this is, we live in a universe of balance and so if we don't create that space for ourselves then the universe will create it for us. That will happen.
It could be not having money in our bank account or it could mean that we get sick. I know whenever I get sick it's definitely like a sign that my body's telling me I need to slow down and that's usually the point where it's already been trying to talk to me about it. That's why I think it's so important for us is to realize that if we don't take that time to slow down then it's going to happen but it'd be better for us to create it than have the universe create it for us.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. It's interesting. When you mentioned a moment like you get sick or you get injured or you have no money in your bank account. What is no money in your bank account mean?
Joie Cheng: I think that can mean, okay so now what, I mean obviously you can go into a state of fear or you can trust that that money is going to show up again. Sometimes that's a sign of, okay, I need to stop and reflect on where I'm going right now because maybe I've been going so hard in a direction and not really connecting to my higher self, to my intuition and my path and my highest path.
Melinda Wittstock: That's really interesting because I'm a serial entrepreneur so I've had the sort of businesses where they're just in flow and they're easy and there's a providence or a serendipity about them and you know, the right people show up at the right time, everything manifests. Yeah. They feel easy. They feel in flow. And I've had other ones that, Oh My God, pushing a boulder up a mountain. A couple steps forward and then biffed on the head, couple steps back, and they've been really hard. Those ones that are hard, I mean I've come to the conclusion that maybe they're just out of alignment. Maybe the universe is telling you, “No, that's not the right direction to go in.”
Joie Cheng: Yeah. Yeah, I mean there's definitely some truth to that. It could be that, like I would say this or something better, if it doesn't work out, there's something better that is meant to happen.
Melinda Wittstock: I think that is very true. It's hard because we get a lot of contradictory advice as entrepreneurs. On one hand it's like just keep going. Nevertheless, she persisted. Just keep going. But I think with that keep going advice you need to be listening. You need to be listening to the signals. Whether it's when you're talking to your customers what are they actually saying to you? How can you improve your product? Your team members or your body, any of these things, and so you have to be able to listen and learn and walk in a, keep walking, yeah, keep going but perhaps go in a slightly different direction.
I think the metaphor I like for this is really about sailing. It is, for anyone who has ever gone sailing its impossible to sail in a straight line because the wind changes. You have to change your, you zig zag. You have to tack or jive or whatever to find the wind. You'll still get to where you're going but it might be a slightly zig zaggy path. I think that's really true of life and start-ups.
Joie Cheng: Yeah, definitely. I think, like you said it's really important to check in because if it feels like it's aligned but it's not working then I would stay on that path and see if there's something else you can do or just keep going. But if it feels like this doesn't feel like I'm aligned, maybe this just sounded like a good idea but it's not something that's really true to your heart then that's something I would look at.
Melinda Wittstock: What was the ‘aha’ moment Joie that put you on this course?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, well I, ever since I was a kid I actually knew that I wanted to have my own business. My parents went through a divorce when I was kid and so we went to see several family therapists and that opened me up to the field of therapy and private practice. I knew that that's, I thought that's what I wanted to do was become a therapist and do family and marriage counseling. And then I went to school and got my undergrad degree in psychology, my masters in social work and I started working for a non profit called Big Brothers Big Sisters and while I was there that's when I was introduced to a life coach and that's when I first heard about coaching. And it really felt more in alignment for me then therapy because it's a lot more positive and strength based and really focusing more on what do you want to create rather than let's look at the past even though the past is important. But I think that coaching can really help people to move forward and so that's how I got on this path.
Melinda Wittstock: Beautiful. When you're working with female entrepreneur clients what are the main things that we have to overcome to manifest the success of our dreams? Really the confidence, the capital, the connections, all that we need?
The people that have been the most successful, it’s not that they haven’t fallen down or that they haven’t “failed” several times. It’s just that they’ve gotten back up. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @SelfLoveHealerClick to tweet
Joie Cheng: I think that it's the mindset. The biggest piece is that voice inside our head that says that we can't do it. I would say that's definitely the biggest thing is to constantly be talking to that inner critic and keep moving forward and despite … The people that have been the most successful, it's not that they haven't fallen down or that they haven't “failed” several times. It's just that they've gotten back up. I think that's the biggest thing is just to keep going and keep moving forward.
Melinda Wittstock: Mindset is an interesting one because the most vexing issue to me are that unknown unknowns. The subconscious drivers that we have… Usually formed in childhood, that trigger us or just make us unable to receive or we don't value ourselves enough or we get fearful about things. And we don't even necessarily know that we're even doing that. How do we become more conscious of these things? Do we have to actually understand and unearth what that limiting belief is? How do you work with people on that level?
Joie Cheng: Well like you said I think the first step is awareness. It's first realizing that there's a voice inside your head that is talking to you all the time that's negative. Most of the time it's saying negative things about what you can't do. And so I think that's the first step is really being aware of it so that we can change it because you can't change it if you're not aware that it's even there.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, so how do you change it?
Joie Cheng: Once you're aware of it then you can say, “Okay, I hear that there's this voice inside my head that's saying this thing and now I'm going to replace it with something else. Instead of believing I can't do it, I'm going to believe yes, I am capable, I am worthy, I am,” whatever it is you are wanting to believe about yourself. It's funny because I used to think, “Okay, it's a fake it until you make it thing.” Then I had a mentor of mine say, “I don't believe in that because the truth is, the truth is you are worthy, the truth is you are deserving. You've been faking it the whole time, believing that you're not.” I'm like, “Wow, that's so true.”
What we're actually doing is when we say we fake it til we make it we're actually, it's not faking it until we make it, we've been faking it. When you say that you're actually telling yourself the truth. You just haven't believed it until you decide to believe it.
Melinda Wittstock: That's interesting. The fact that you feel, the fact that you even feel you need to fake it means that you're not even accepting your value.
Joie Cheng: Right. It's actually you're not; you've been lying to yourself the whole time thinking you're not worthy or you're not good enough. The truth is you are.
Melinda Wittstock: Interesting, something you said a little bit earlier about say in a sales situation where for anyone feeling unconfident in some way we can, our feminine energy to receive, attract, enroll, can turn into pursuit and can look desperate. And I think that's really interesting because when we try and be dudes it's kind of inauthentic. If we try to get out there and slay the wildebeest and bring it back. It somehow doesn't work.
In a sales situation for instance or a woman doing an investor pitch, is there a different way that we have to articulate? We're trying to close a financial, a big VC round or we're trying to close a big sale or a big strategic partnership or something like that. Is there a different approach really for women that's more in alignment with that feminine energy? How do you counsel your clients around that?
Joie Cheng: Well you know I think that for women, connection is what we thrive on. And we really have the ability to speak from our heart, to come from that space and be authentic and be vulnerable. I think that that's where we have the most power is when we can come from that space and really like, “How do I connect with this person on a heart level?” And even changing that dialogue around closing the sale. That's such a masculine phrase.
Melinda Wittstock: I'm busted.
Joie Cheng: Yeah, we're not trying to close the sale, we're, I don't know, it's a different way of saying that.
Melinda Wittstock: That's interesting. Yeah, I hadn't even really even thought of that. We probably use terminology all the time that doesn't make sense. How would you talk about, now I'm even afraid to say ‘close’ the sale!
Joie Cheng: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: What language would you use?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, the words aren't even, they're not coming to me right now but you know it's really, not that language, more of a feminine language around inviting them into, just the conversation to see if it's a fit. It's really being, “How can I support you and is this really a good fit for both of us?”
Melinda Wittstock: I've had lots of male mentors in my career, in a sales situation or a marketing situation or even with copy for a landing page or an auto responder or something like that, if I have followed specifically masculine advice, it doesn't work. I could do the exact same thing as a bunch of guys and it really works for them because it's authentic for them but a woman does the same thing and it kind of doesn't work. You really do have to adapt it and make it your own.
This is an interesting kind of generational question. In my career, especially as a tech entrepreneur, I was often the only woman in the room and it was very, very difficult to find female mentors.
There was nobody, very few females that were willing or even able to mentor. How do you think that's changing now? Do you think women are really showing up for each other to support and help each other?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, I definitely do. I mean one of the things I do is I lead women circles and it's really so powerful to see the women come together and support each other. It's like this old paradigm of competition. We just, nobody thrives in that environment so when we can really come together and support one another, it's really no limit to what's possible.
Melinda Wittstock: That's wonderful. What's your advice to somebody sitting say today or tomorrow or the next couple of days reflecting on their 2017 and there were probably great things that happened, there were probably some pretty bad things that happened. There may be a lot of things that people are self critical about say in the year like oh my god, “shoulda, coulda, woulda's.” Everybody's got those. How to honor that year and step into 2018 in your best mindset and your best self. How would you advise someone to reflect on that right now, this time of the year?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, that's a great question. I would write down what are your greatest, what are the greatest things that happened so you celebrate those and then what are the things that were challenges for you? The things that didn't quite work out the way you wanted to and write those down too. And then think of what's the lesson that I got? What did I learn from that experience? Because I don't believe that failure is actually real. I think that when we can learn from our “mistakes” then that's when we really get wisdom and get the gold from that experience.
Then after that then you can write down what do you want to accomplish, achieve in 2018 and whatever, while you're going through that process, feel whatever your feeling too. If you're feeling some sadness or anger or whatever it is around some situations that maybe weren't the way you wanted them to, allow yourself to feel those before you move onto what you want to create for 2018.
Melinda Wittstock: That's beautiful. Joie, how can people find you if they want to work with you, connect with you?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, so the best way to find me is on my website at joiecheng.com. Spelled J-O-I-E-C-H-E-N-G.com.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. And I know that you have a generous offer for our listeners today. Can you explain what it is?
Joie Cheng: Yeah, so for everyone that's listening if there is something that you are feeling stuck in in your life and you'd like to get some clarity around it I would love to offer you a complimentary clarity breakthrough call. You can just go to my website at joiecheng.com and schedule the call from there.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Joie, thank you so much for putting on your super shero wings and flying with us today.
Joie Cheng: Yeah, thank you so much for inviting me Melinda. It's been so fun.