510 Cordelia Gaffar:
Do you feel truly free … to be 100% you? To live fully into your true heart’s desires? Accept all that is you and find and live your true purpose without compromise? The sad fact is most people live the life they think they “should” live rather than the one they truly deep down ‘want’ to live.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur who is an Emotions Opener Transformation Strategist guiding woman leaders to use their darkest and most difficult emotions to show up powerfully and authentically.
Cordelia Gaffar is the host of the Free to Be Podcast – honored as the Powerhouse Global Best Podcast Host of 2019 in the UK and also the best-selling co-author of America’s Leading Ladies.
Today we dig deep into how to live into your purpose and why it often means confronting, releasing and overcoming deep subconscious emotions AND focusing on our own self-care no matter how busy we are entrepreneuring.
Cordelia Gaffar hit the best seller list again this year with the 1 Habit for Success SmartFem Edition and own book related to her Replenish Me Process will be released later in 2020.
After leaving her corporate career as a controller for an IT start-up, Cordelia homeschooled her six children which involved coordinating activities in the homeschooling community, running girl scout and boy scout troops and much more. Having already had two miscarriages and postpartum depression while juggling a family and high pressure career, Cordelia emerged as an author sharing how to self-nurture in The Guide How to Get Started with Workout Around My Day. She began coaching women in her community, deepened her craft with continuing research and study in nutrition, fitness, spiritual practices and overall emotional wellness.
Today we’re going to talk about how to replenish your body, heart and soul, how to embrace and live compassionately and why sleep will always be your best healing tactic for all that ails you.
Melinda Wittstock: Cordelia, welcome to Wings.
Cordelia Gaffar: Thank you, Melinda. I’m happy to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m really happy to have you too. I am intrigued by what it means to be an Emotions Opener Transformation Strategist. I want you to break that down a little bit for us.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. I wanted to come up with the most descriptive and attractive title that concisely explains what I do, so what I found, I started out as a wellness coach, okay, like five years ago. What I discovered in my first three years was basically that women, they avoid, ignore, and numb from feeling their emotions, and that’s how they end up with the behaviors that lead them to believe that they need to be on a diet or that they need to lose weight, so it’s not really about the physical weight, it’s actually all the emotional weight, which weighs so much more, that is causing the behaviors. The last two years, I’ve been more focused on helping women specifically identify the beginning of this numbing of their emotions and open that up.
Melinda Wittstock: Somewhere along the line, we all got brought up to believe that crying was weak, you know? Do you think that’s one of the reasons why to be strong or to be successful in business, somehow we have to hide our emotions or we think we have to, so then over time, we just forget to feel them.?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. It’s a learned behavior for sure. I would totally agree with that.
Melinda Wittstock: I find it fascinating though, the link between what’s going on in our mental state or the subconscious, all the kind of negative feelings and things like that that we have a direct impact on our physical health, so to heal someone, if you heal all those internal things, the external suddenly all falls into line.
Cordelia Gaffar: 100%. I mean, the main source of chronic pain and inflammation and most disease, a lot of we know now, that disease comes from your stomach. That’s the birthplace of all of our immunity, and a lot of those problems, if you look at it energetically, the stomach is also the place of fear, and anger, and passion. Our joints are also a place of inspiration and frustration and resentment, and so once you have inflammation in those parts, it just opens the door for all kinds of diseases.
Melinda Wittstock: That is so interesting, and so in the context of Coronavirus, where we’re seeing that some people can get it and not even have the symptoms, other people, it’s obviously devastating. What’s your perspective on that, in the context of the work you do?
Cordelia Gaffar: Well, for the group of people that get it and they don’t have any symptoms, it’s not that they’re asymptomatic, but again, if you look at their, they may not just be aware of their body and what’s going on. For example, you may not feel that you have heart palpitations, but then, you’ll go and they’ll take your blood pressure, and it’ll be like extremely high. I mean, is it that there’s something wrong with the equipment, or is that person so numbed out that they just don’t feel the most obvious things going on with their body, you know?
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, so, but when we think about immunity to this, it’s a novel virus, right? Some people are exposed, don’t get it, other people do, and there’s all kinds of indications of comorbidity say, so if we have any of the diseases that are related to inflammation, probably all of them are in some way or another, we’re more likely to really suffer very negative consequences of it. What are some of the things that people can do to boost their immunity right now?
Cordelia Gaffar: For the most part, you can eat foods that are less inflammatory, like instead of sugar, refined sugar, eat actual fruits and vegetables, vegetables more so than fruits. If you’re going to have fruits, you want to have the ones that are high in vitamin C, and also, you want to have vegetables like beets, carrots, sweet potatoes. The reason why are these have carotenoids, which generally have higher levels of the vitamin B’s, which stabilize our hormone system and also can increase our immunity because of the level of B’s in there, and it stabilizes the sugar levels and the chromium in your body. Also, the great thing about beets in particular is, I don’t know if you guys know this, but swimmers, eat beets because it increases the oxygen in your blood system, and so one of the things that they notice with the Coronavirus is that people, they have problems with breathing, so just having more oxygen and better circulation and more flow will help. Then, there’s the obvious stuff like getting a good night’s sleep.
This is not the time to binge-watch TV and stay up all night and do the things that would actually increase your stress levels. This is the time to have more sunlight. One of the things that people don’t really think about and take for granted, but just going outside or walking on a trail, having more exposure to actual sunlight can help to stabilize your circadian rhythms, and so you will go to sleep on time and have a more peaceful sleep and restful sleep. Sleep is the number one detoxifier and metabolic stabilizer, so it’s the best way to boost your immune system, and actually, this is the top thing. This is the top thing that I recommend, is working on a calm-down routine so that you can sleep better.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, so calm-down routine at night, being something like meditating, or gratitude practice, or having a nice bath, or something like that.
Cordelia Gaffar: Well, actually, fun fact about sleep is it begins at the start of your day, right? The calm-down routine is more of a lifestyle change, so how often do we start our day, get on the phone, scrolling, seeing what’s the latest news, or maybe our phone is our alarm? What if you don’t have your phone as your alarm and your phone’s in a completely different room, and you just wake up? You can start with a gratitude practice and call in, like make a choice. “What is it I desire to create today?”, and at meal times, actually sit and be present with your food.
This is, a lot of time, a lot of people are home with their families. Sit and be present with your family. Look in each other’s eyes. Don’t allow phones at the table or any sort of device to be on during meal times. Throughout the day, essentially integrating calming activities is the calm-down routine, and definitely making a hard stop two hours before you’re planning to go to sleep.
Let’s say the sun is setting these days around 8:30, so if you have dinner at 7:00, that’s the time that, go for the family walk before dinner, turn off all the devices, and get your body, your eyes, and your mind acclimated to just natural lighting and calming down all the body systems.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, that’s so smart. I mean, most people wake up in the morning and go straight into the rush of the day. Obviously, Coronavirus has disrupted that with all the lockdowns and whatnot, so there’s no school run or things like that, that we often wake up in the morning and, “Oh my God, there’s all these things to do.”
Cordelia Gaffar: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: What revolutionized my life was waking up, meditating, having a nice glass of lemon water, being calm, being in gratitude, and not looking at email or social media. I mean, that is someone else’s agenda.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yes, it is.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s not mine, right, and really getting focused on, “What is the day going to be? What are my intentions for the day?”, and seeking and asking essentially for inspiration, and then acting on those.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: The more that I do that, the easier it is to run, grow, and scale a business. In my case, I’m on my fifth. It’s a very scalable company, and we’re right in that launch mode right now, so there’s a tremendous amount of work, and in a context like that, you could easily just fall into these old patterns of just like burnout, and crunching, and I haven’t been doing that, and I find that I’m more productive probably than I’ve ever been. It’s kind of counterintuitive in a weird way.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. I really call this the great stillness. Absolutely to your point, a lot of people … Again, it could be personality types. A lot of people are moving towards, “Well, wait a minute.”
“Now, I don’t have that two and a half hour commute and school run in the morning, so I have choices.” The first couple of weeks I was hearing a lot was, “Gosh, I have no self-discipline. It’s like I have all this time, but I’m really bad at managing it,” you know, so after two or three weeks, it’s like, “Oh, okay, so now that I don’t have to commute and do all this running around and don’t have to run the kids to activities, I’ve got five hours extra in my day,” so you can either sleep more or you can wake up and exercise, or do all the things that you wanted to do, like spend time being strategic with your launch of your new business, and congratulations on that, Melinda.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, well, thank you so much. Yeah. It’s really, really exciting, kind of completely revolutionizing podcasting. Just a small thing to go do, right?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. Not a big deal.
Melinda Wittstock: Not a big deal at all.
Cordelia Gaffar: Everyone does that.
Melinda Wittstock: Not a big deal at all. It’s funny, my mentor teases me that previously, I’ve always picked hard businesses to go do, and the difference about this one though is that the timing’s right and it’s in alignment. I think when we really focus in on what is our true soul’s purpose, what’s the thing, the one thing that we’re uniquely here in our earth suit right now to bring to the world, we can do amazing things. I think often, people live sort of a life of should’s, like ticking off some list that’s of someone else’s making, and so I’ve found actually an interesting thing with all the entrepreneurs that I know. Folks who are already really into an alignment when Coronavirus struck have gone into massive action during this time and have produced amazing things in really short periods of time, because they were already there.
They were already in that alignment to go do that. For people who weren’t, that extra time, as you were saying, like the extra five hours in a day is really an opportunity to reflect and, “What is it about my life that I don’t like? What are some of the things that I’ve always put on that someday list?”, and really finding that kind of inspiration. It’s such an opportunity, I think.
Cordelia Gaffar: 100%. That’s the other thing, if you’re not someone who is always looking for the opportunity in the situation, that’s the immediate grief that will strike you. It’s funny to me because I see clearly the people in my inner circle, they start emails to me like, “Hey, what fun thing did you do this weekend?”, and then the people who are not really in my inner circle or they’re just meeting me, they’ll start an email like, “I hope you’re holding it together in these crazy times,” and close it with, “Stay safe out there,” you know? It’s a complete different energy and vibration, and just you can tell that some people are still going through the stages of grief, and that’s what it is. It’s really like they feel that they’re losing something, they’re missing something.
I don’t know. Have you heard … I don’t hear it so much anymore, but there’s language around the new normal, or we can’t wait until we go back to the way things were-
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, right.
Cordelia Gaffar: Right?
Melinda Wittstock: Yes, a lot of that, where some people just want to go backwards, and we can’t. It would be wrong, I think, to go backwards. I think there are a lot of lessons in this experience, and I always like to say that when the lesson is learned, the experience is no longer necessary.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: I look at the Coronavirus and I think, “Okay. What’s it showing us?” I mean, it’s actually showing us a lot of things that are broken about our own lives. It’s showing us the institutions that are broken, whether it’s systems of government dysfunction certainly here in the U.S., or just people’s, being in fear, or a healthcare system not working so well here, or ways in which the education system has all these different opportunities, which is actually an awesome time for entrepreneurs.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I know it can be hard if you had like a brick and mortar business, and suddenly you’re closed, and suddenly you have no, your revenue dries up and you can’t meet payroll. I mean, that is extremely difficult. I mean, there’s no question about it, and yet, it’s showing opportunities where we can use business to actually improve our world, and that’s really exciting. I think this is a time of tremendous innovation actually.
Cordelia Gaffar: I really find that to be true. I was listening to a interesting interview with Simon Sinek the other day, and he was saying how there was a pizza company, that most of their revenue came from selling slices, and clearly there’s … Nobody’s going to buy just a slice now. They kind of want a whole pie, so they changed it to something else completely, where since they already had the staff, they just had them instead … I can’t even remember what it was, but they had them to do something else instead.
That way, they could keep the staff and shift the complete business model instead of making pieces for the purpose of selling slices, more like just delivering directly to old people, or doing some service in the community. It’s still kind of the same, “We’ll serve you one slice of pizza at the time,” so people, if things go back to it, you can sit in the restaurant, they will recognize them as kind of hand-holding them with the customer service, you know?
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Well, the best businesses are really responsive to customer needs and changing customer needs, so just wishing it could go back. I think so many attitudes and habits have changed, and here, as the country sort of opening up, right?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: We can open up and impose all that, but a lot of people aren’t choosing to go to restaurants or whatever. Their behavior has changed. Then, it’s kind of like, “Well, wait a minute. Do I have to do all that business travel? Do I actually have to do that? Do I need to actually work in an office?” I mean, so many things like that that have changed.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. That’s going to change the face of commercial real estate for sure, because like who needs buildings now?
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Cordelia Gaffar: Like what would you use the buildings for?
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly. I mean, and also, we’ll be driving less so less carbon footprint. I mean, there’s a whole series of things. I actually really believe that entrepreneurs are uniquely suited and called actually right now to think of businesses that actually improve the world and improve lives. I think the whole structure of, “Oh, it’s just about the bottom line,” I don’t think so anymore.
I think it’s really about serving community and the businesses that do that, and do that well are going to prosper tremendously, and you even see it in studies about valuation growth. Companies that have a real social impact mission tend to have higher revenue, higher profits, higher valuations, all of it.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yes. Yeah, definitely our humanity and our business mindset is really shifting, and our business models are really shifting. One of the things I like to see is some of these people, like what you were saying with the brick and mortar that had these purely offline businesses, they’re really open to learning how to get online, and just seeing … Like I had a conversation with someone this morning, and they were like, “I’m really new to the online space, but I’m willing to learn whatever it takes to still serve my clients in a bigger and better way. I just need a little bit of a ramp up on the tech,” and just being open to that and not afraid of the little bit of a learning curve.
Then, we see some of the universities offering courses for free to help in that respect. Like, I think Yale and Harvard were two of the first to get onboard, maybe even Stanford, and then of course, Coursera had originally a free educational model, and now, they’ve returned to that, so …
Melinda Wittstock: Right. I mean, it was a trend that was happening anyway. This just accelerated it.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: How are your clients responding to this? I mean, is it patchy or are most of them using the, I guess you could say any triggers that they have from Coronavirus? Coronavirus triggered a lot of fear in people, a lot of anxiety, a lot of that kind of stuff, which I always regard as an opportunity, because there’s obviously something there to clear if you’re having those triggers. How did it kind of manifest for you and the clients that you work with?
Cordelia Gaffar: My model has always been mostly online. I have traditionally done very few in-person events, so what I’ve noticed is that the … Well, shall I call it like the … From the time they meet me and interact with my material and to them showing up at one of my online events, that time has lessened. As far as impacting them financially, they, like you were saying, they don’t travel anymore.
They don’t have to pay for gas. They’re now cooking instead of eating out, so they have more disposable income, and what they want to do with that is to pour into themselves, so the women that I’ve been working with, it’s like whereas before, it’s like, “Oh, I don’t really have time for personal development now.” It’s like, “I really need the personal development because like my teenagers are in my face all day and they’re just not the same person they were like last year, and I can’t deal with this,” or my spouse, or my, if they have elderly parents living with them.
Melinda Wittstock: Right.
Cordelia Gaffar: Now, all of a sudden, it’s just like for them, pouring into themselves is super important, and managing their emotions now that they’re actually a full-on professional work-at-home mom and caregiver. Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. Well, you’ve had a tremendous experience, speaking of caregiving. You’ve homeschooled six kids, is it?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: Okay, and you were doing this before Coronavirus. You’re an expert.
Cordelia Gaffar: Absolutely, I’m an expert. I embrace that. It’s funny because I chose to leave corporate when I fell pregnant with my third, so I was in, 16 years ago, homeschooling one child essentially because she was four, and then I had a two-year old and a newborn, so over the years, as one kept adding, it was not a big deal, I guess you can say, but interestingly enough, because you say that I’m an expert, one of the first summits that I was asked to speak at was like on the 20th, I think of March, and my friend was just like, “You’ve been homeschooling for 16 years. Can you be a speaker in my How to Homeschool Summit?” I’m like, “Is that a summit?” “Sure.”
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it sure is. Yeah, absolutely.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: What have been the biggest lessons for you during Coronavirus? Has anything shifted in the way you run your business?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah, actually it has. I have offered more online events actually. I didn’t even realize it, right? Although my model is to work online, it was, that’s how I delivered my program and that’s how I interacted with my clients, but the thought to actually have my own consistent online events never occurred to me, which is so weird. When I look at my calendar from last year, only quarterly was I doing like an online event, and back then, we were calling them masterclasses, right? Then, one of the first things I did after I was in my fifth summit was I wanted all these new people that were just being introduced to me to get to know me, so I did a series of free meetups end of March all throughout April, and so that was a bit of market research for me too.
What I found out was that people really were at a loss for community, especially our extroverts, and so knowing that they have somewhere that they can go twice a week or once a week to meet people and to express themselves emotionally was really nice because it’s like a safe space, but that gets exhausting, and that gets old after a while, so then when, after my eighth session, I said, “So what would you like to do and what would be sustainable for you?” They said, “You know, maybe we could do this monthly,” so now, I have a five-day experience at the end of every month, the 25th for five days, and then the third Saturday of every month, I have like a two-hour online event. It’s just a really safe space, so like the theme for June, that two-hour event is Release Your Past Forever and Embrace Your Higher Self, and the 25th of every month, it’s Replenish and Boost Your Immune System.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah. That’s terrific. You’re also a big podcaster. You’ve won all kinds of awards for podcasting. What has podcasting meant to you and your business?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. I started my podcast in 2016, and you know how it is with podcasting, getting a listener. A listing following is kind of a ramp up, so like the first, I have to say probably eight months, I had 50 listeners, but I kept doing it because of the conversations. Yeah. I really enjoyed the conversations and I thought, “Well, if I can affect one heart even if it’s my own, I know that I’m doing good in the world.”
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. I felt that way about Wings too, because it took a while to really crack the downloads. I mean, it’s so hard to be discovered, and not everybody that goes into podcasting is like a brilliant internet marketer or even a business person, right?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s launching a podcast, almost like launching a business, because there’s so many different aspects of it.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: I find a lot of people that I counsel and coach on launching their podcast come into it, thinking that all they have to stress about is like what microphone to get. It’s like, “No, no, no.” Like you really need to know who your audience is and the really laser focused on the avatar, but also how it’s going to fit around your lifestyle and how it’s going to monetize, otherwise you’ll podfade, right?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yes. Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: I think you mentioned a really important point of it though, is the conversations, and Wings, every … Like this conversation, I find that I always learn something from my guests. It’s always just enjoyable. It’s just a wonderful way to spend the time, I mean, you know?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yes, it is.
Melinda Wittstock: Also, it just opens up so many, many doors as well. Like I can’t think of how many great friendships and relationships, business partnerships, all sorts of things that have come as a result of Wings.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. I have to agree with that too, but to your point, once I started fine-tuning who my audience was and who they wanted to listen to and what information they wanted to, the latter part, the collaborations and the friendships came from my podcast guests, right? Like in the beginning, it was kind of like the wild, wild West for me. I was like, “Oh, you know, this should be about wellness, so let me get all those kind of people on here,” but once I started getting feedback from my 50 listeners, and they were like, “I want to hear from people that specifically talk about relationships. I want people that specifically talk about how I can grow my business.”
“I want people to help me with my marketing woes and stuff like that.” Then, it was like, “Oh, okay. I know somebody that can do that,” because although from the beginning, I was targeting female entrepreneurs, I wasn’t sure if they were really listening or not. I just thought it was maybe moms that were just listening, right? One of my early, I guess, Facebook groups and slogans was getting moms from chaos to calm, right?
I’m the stressless mom of six, and I didn’t really focus so much on … I’ve published three books right now, and so that I’m an author, I’m a coach and those kinds of things. I was more focused on the fact that I’m a mom, which brings me to another really interesting point that I’ve noticed, Melinda, is that when I switched my language from saying mom to leaders, all of a sudden, like women are listening. I found that striking because I’m like, “Well …” For me, my mind goes for default.
If you’re a mom, you’re leading your kids, right? To some extent, you could be leading your husband, but you are a community leader because you’re leading the community in your home, and sometimes other places outside the home, so what do you think about that?
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I think so. I think words have tremendous power and how we react to them, so I think a lot of women don’t necessarily think of themselves as leaders. They tend to think of themselves as more like servers in a way, that we come into things wanting to help everybody, but we are leaders in many ways. We lead in all sorts of ways, but if there’s some sort of underlying belief that we’re not enough or everybody else comes before us, then that can get confusing. One of the things that I learned last year that was fascinating, I was hosting a retreat for women who run seven, eight, nine-figure businesses, okay, so really successful female entrepreneurs, and I was saying something like, “Let’s talk about how we can all play bigger.”
Okay? That just for a split second, in many of the women’s eyes, there was this just look of pure dread, like, “Play bigger? What do you mean? I’m already doing everything.” It’s like, “I’m already doing. I can’t do anymore,” and it’s like no, the point of playing bigger is not to do more.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right?
Cordelia Gaffar: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: You can manifest amazing things by actually doing less, like if you’re really focused on the things that have the most leverage, but it was fascinating that there was a direct correlation between things like playing bigger, being a leader, really stepping up, really being in our full potential and stepping into the light with some sort of fear that it was going to mean extra work, extra burnout, being pulled too thin, right?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Those things don’t correlate, but there’s a belief that they do.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. I often … What I say to my clients is it’s in the being, not in the doing.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. Yeah, yeah. It’s good to be a human being and not a human doing. Yeah.
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah, and it’s you can make more of an impact by the way you don’t than by the way you do, because everyone’s doing so you should be the one that is just still in your, who’s very present and understand that being present can be powerful without you being loud. You don’t have to talk. A lot of people say, when they think about me, they’re like, “Well, no. You’re very calm, but you are still very powerful.” It’s almost like in their brain, you can see that, “That’s not even possible. Only loud people are powerful.”
Melinda Wittstock: No, actually it’s usually quite the reverse in a way, but being … I mean, you said it. I mean, it’s really, the power is always in the present moment, and who we’re being is kind of what we manifest, so just by being, we can affect a lot of change, and inspire, and lead a lot of people. A mentor of mine once said, and this sticks with me so much, she said, “You don’t need to be in the spotlight, be the lighthouse.”
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? That resonates so much. Cordelia, I could talk to you for a lot longer. I want to make sure that people know how to find you and work with you, and attend any of your virtual events, and certainly listen to your podcast. What’s the best way?
Cordelia Gaffar: Yeah. Thank you. This has been really quite an enjoyable conversation, Melinda. The best way to find me is on my website, which is my name, Cordeliagaffar.com. I also like to hang out in my Replenish Me Facebook group. It’s just a free group, a safe space where women can get some tips on how to pour back into themselves, and also some inspiration to hang in there and lean into their emotions. Then, of course, I’ve got my podcast, but you can find all those things on my website.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Cordelia Gaffar: Thank you.