496 Jamie Shapiro:
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ve felt the shame of failure and if you’ve succeeded as an entrepreneur, it’s because along the way you’ve learned to leverage failure as valuable learning along the inevitable ups and downs to propel forward on your path on the roller coaster that is entrepreneurship.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring coach and entrepreneur who helps executives and entrepreneurs develop a keen awareness of how both their health and mindset impact their capacity to reliably tap into their true talents and capabilities.
Jamie Shapiro is founder and CEO of Connected EC, a leading authority on connecting wellbeing with leadership performance. Today we talk about selfcare, boundaries and the necessity of a “morning manifest” to start your day right.
Jamie Shapiro is a leading authority on connecting wellness with performance. Having experienced burnout in the corporate world, she understands the incredible pressure we face in our lives and the difficulty in staying connected to professional and personal goals in demanding environments. Through her corporate career, she realized the toll that high pressure, stressful and demanding roles can take.
She left the corporate world with a mission to make changes for people and organizations. Jamie’s vision is to bring a new form of holistic coaching to people in the business world. Her company, ConnectedEC, brings executive coaching and wellness together to give people a new approach to leadership, health and outstanding personal, professional and organizational performance.
And you’ll want to take out your phone and download the Podopolo app too as you listen to this episode, so you can join the conversation with me and Jamie – as she shares her valuable tips to priming your performance to assure success along the ups and downs of the entrepreneurial roller coaster.
Let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Jamie Shapiro.
Melinda Wittstock: Jamie, welcome to Wings.
Jamie Shapiro: Oh, thanks Melinda. I’m so happy to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: Me too, because one of the things that I want to talk with you about is the entrepreneurial journey, which isn’t just about the ups. It’s also the downs. And we can all get into this comparison-itis, for comparing ourselves to what’s happening, people posting their highlights, their triumphs on social media.
Jamie Shapiro: Yes, yes.
Melinda Wittstock: How do you navigate that or help the folks you work with to really be at ease with those inevitable downs?
Jamie Shapiro: Yeah. I always talk about the rollercoaster in the first couple years. The ups are so high. The downs are so low. And while that ride starts to get easier the longer you do this and it starts to level out a little bit, those ups and downs, especially in the beginning, are painful because you just go on that emotional rollercoaster. And one of the hard things is I think whether it’s social media or we get in a room with entrepreneurs, and everybody’s talking about the highs. Everybody’s talking about how awesome it is and how they won this or they did this, and it’s really hard if you’re in one of those down moments to not get into the comparison game.
And I think as entrepreneurs, if we can be more transparent with one another about the ups and the downs and say hey, when you’re in the down, just remember you’re in a down, and it’s going to go back up. It might even go back up tomorrow. Just know that this entrepreneurial world, nothing stays constant, and the only thing that is constant is changed. So just recognizing in those moments that it’s not permanent and also trying to find a support system of people who can be really transparent with you about both the ups and the downs, because unfortunately social media and some of these events that are put on for entrepreneurs, everybody’s killing it, and that’s just not true. So I think we just have to be careful there.
Melinda Wittstock: The whole process of entrepreneurship is iteration because when we’re innovating and we’re creating something out of whole cloth, it’s impossible to know everything, and it’s impossible to be succeeding all the time because we’re iterating. And so those fail moments are actually feedback. They are the moments where you’re actually learning-
Jamie Shapiro: [crosstalk 00:02:41] feedback, yes.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. And so rather than taking it personally or making it a story about something within ourselves that we lack, I’ve come to learn that those are amazing moments. Those are those moments where it’s oh, man, this is great. This is me how I can make my company better and how I can be a better leader and all of that. But it does take a mindset shift.
Jamie Shapiro: It does. It does. And when you’re first starting out, that’s really hard. I think for those of us who have been doing this for a long time, you start to get better at those moments, and you fail forward more effectively without creating a story. We’re story-making machines. That’s what we are as human beings. So it’s really easy in those down moments to make a story versus say, this is an opportunity for me to fail forward and to create an even better business. It’s hard unless you have a lot of practice at that. So I know you, Melinda, have a ton of practice at that.
Melinda Wittstock: I do. [crosstalk 00:03:44]. And I have lots of scraped knees and lots of fail moments and some businesses that really flew and took off and other ones that didn’t. And it’s interesting because you get old enough I guess like me where I can look back on all those businesses and each one. The successes and the failures were my lab for the next business and then the next business.
Jamie Shapiro: Absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: And on and on. I think it’s easier, though, to share the down moments once you’ve kind of walked through them. You know what I mean?
Jamie Shapiro: I know it.
Melinda Wittstock: Because you can look back from a position of strength and say, “Oh yeah, I remember when I had $4 in the bank,” which I did actually-
Jamie Shapiro: Right.
Melinda Wittstock: At one point have just $4 in the bank right after a business just wasn’t working and I ran out of cash, right?
Jamie Shapiro: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, right? And felt all the sting of the shame and humiliation of that. How could I have done this? Oh my God. How could I have been so… All that kind of inner self-talk.
Jamie Shapiro: And that’s why I say find a support system as you’re going through this, people who can be honest even in those down moments. And you don’t have to wait till you get to the other side of it. That was something that was so helpful for me. And my husband has been just unbelievable in helping me through all those down moments. And I just remember so many times sitting on the couch and talking to him and saying, “I’m not going to make it. This isn’t going to work.” And he was such a champion for me to say, “Yes, it is. Keep going. This is going to work. This is what you’re meant to do.” And so can you find someone in your life that you can reach out to in that moment? And you don’t have to wait until you’re feeling strong again to look back and say that was really hard.
Melinda Wittstock: So this was game-changing for me as well because once you are in an entrepreneurial group and a group of people who are willing to share openly about what’s actually going on in their businesses, you start to see that you’re not alone, that this is more common than not. And it provides you great confidence because you see other people in those down moments, but then other people overcoming them. You learn how they’re doing that. So it’s vital. I really don’t think any entrepreneur can succeed as a lone wolf.
Jamie Shapiro: I agree.
Melinda Wittstock: You need those coaches and mentors and mastermind groups, and you need to invest in those things. It’s not an expense. It’s a necessary investment.
Jamie Shapiro: Yes, absolutely, absolutely.
Melinda Wittstock: Jamie, what was one of the most painful down moments that you found yourself in that you had to walk through that refiner’s fire? And what was kind of going on in your head? And how did you get through it?
Jamie Shapiro: So I almost took my business completely down, and I’ll tell you why. I came from the corporate world. So I spent 16 plus years as an information technology executive and then started my company. I left the executive world to become an executive coach and also a nutritionist. And my company integrates wellbeing into leadership development. That’s what we do. And when I started this almost a decade ago, it was a very unique concept to put things like food and all the different aspects of mindful leadership and embodied leadership into the mix when talking about leadership development. They had typically been separate worlds. And so it was a lot of pushing a boulder uphill and getting people to understand how do we connect the dots between leadership and wellbeing? And what I didn’t realize as I started my business is that, even though I had left the corporate world, I was still measuring myself and my success against external factors and others’ perceptions of success. So I started my business, and I had revenue goals, and I had investment goals, and I had all these goals that weren’t actually mine. And I thought they were mine, but they weren’t.
So I was building this large coaching practice. I was trying to build this national company that had all of these coaches employed. And all of a sudden, I was becoming the CEO of a coaching firm, not actually the coach and facilitator. And my passion, my gift, my heart is the coaching and the facilitation and working with teams. And I wasn’t doing that. And so not only was I not doing that, but my company was not successful. And here I was running payroll every two weeks, watching money go out of the company, not watching enough money coming into the company, and pretty much on that trajectory just to fail. And I really had to pause. And I’m so grateful I’ve had an amazing executive coach in my life. And he asked me, “Jamie, what is fulfillment? What is internal success? Not what are you measuring yourself against externally, but what does internal success look like for you?”
And I realized, I just want to be a coach. I want to be a facilitator. I want to do the work. I don’t want to manage the work. And so I had to completely transform my business model. I had to really rethink everything because my company was literally bleeding money. And that was really hard for me, Melinda. It was really hard for me to ask that question because I had measured myself for so long against other people’s standards of success versus my own. And it was completely game-changing for me. And I just paused. I changed the business. I changed what I was doing. And from that moment on, my business started thriving because I was doing the work I was meant to do, not the work that I thought I was supposed to do.
Melinda Wittstock: It reminds me of the story in the book E-Myth of the baker who loves to bake and creates a whole baking company, and suddenly she’s doing everything but baking and is desperately unhappy. So it presupposes on this entrepreneurial journey that you become increasingly self-aware and very, very honest with yourself. That’s why on this podcast, we talk about you can’t really have business growth without personal growth. And if you want therapy, just become an entrepreneur because it’s going to bring up all the stuff you’re going to have to deal with and walk through to be able to get into that kind of alignment to double down on what you’re really good at, what you really love, and hire the rest. But that takes tremendous self-awareness. And it’s hard to know when you’re launching your first business what that really is because, to stay with a baking metaphor, you’re not fully baked yet.
Jamie Shapiro: No. That’s so true, so true.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? So for anyone listening right now who’s in the early stages or it’s your first business or first time you’ve done this, there’s a lot of lessons, just personal lessons, that are important to learn along the way. And your business is going to help you understand what you love and what you don’t.
Jamie Shapiro: Yes, very much so.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, I don’t know. I’ve been to a lot of masterminds where literally you could group into a four square things that you love to do that only you can do, there’s nobody else in the business who can do what you do, and then things you love to do that maybe someone else could do, things you hate, right?
Jamie Shapiro: Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: You hate to do, but you can do, and then stuff you just don’t know how to do. And really looking at it in that way. And then it becomes clear, but you just have to be very honest with yourself. So on the coaching, you, I imagine, have taken all these learnings from your own experience. And tell me how you help entrepreneurs, and particularly entrepreneurial women?
Jamie Shapiro: Well, my whole foundation and my book Brilliant is all about connecting the dots between leadership and wellbeing. And what happens with many entrepreneurs because it is our passion, it is our heart, it is our business, we give it everything. And people get what’s left of us. We just give everything, and we get incredibly depleted. It’s very easy to get burnt out in this process. And so what my work is all about is creating vital leaders, leaders that understand that in order to be at your best, in order to build a business successfully, you need to invest in you. You need to take care of you. And when you create that foundation of wellbeing, it elevates everything you do, every interaction you have, and it really elevates your organization so that it can perform at its best. We often think about self-care as selfish, and it is not. It is truly, truly essential for building a business. And if you want your business to thrive, you have to recognize that you need yourself to thrive first. And so just like you said, personal growth is a part of this process. I really believe personal investment is essential to build a business. And we’ve got to get better at that and stop burning the candle at both ends because eventually we burn out.
Melinda Wittstock: I learned this kind of the hard way, and I think a lot of women do. You get on this task treadmill and long to do lists and just grinding through doing the hustle, doing all that stuff, and you get into your 40s, and your body just starts burning out. And you see it in hormone depletion. That’s a common one for women or immune issues or just exhaustion. We operate differently than men. That hustle and grind is not a good look on us. We’re better when we’re in flow, and when we have a sales process, it’s more about attraction and engagement, and when we’re actually able to take pauses and just really listen to our bodies and without guilt take that kind of self-care.
Jamie Shapiro: Yeah, and our health is everything, everything.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. And so what are some of the things you do in your own personal self-care routine?
Jamie Shapiro: Well, I have found that because the nature of my business is all about holding space for others, all about giving, honestly, and giving of my energy, that I need to be religious in my self-care practices. So I am an early bird. Just that’s how I’m wired. So I get up every morning at 5:00 AM, and I have a meditation practice when I first get up. And then I go into my gym. I love, love the community that I’m a part of. And I do a little yoga, and then I do CrossFit. And then I come home. I have a nourishing breakfast. And by that point, my kids are waking up. I’m a mom of two, nine and 10. And so I have really given to myself for two hours before they even wake up, and it’s time for me to serve and help them. And yeah, so that’s really the practice that has created the foundation for me to give throughout the day. And then I do cut work off in the evenings so that I can be present and engage with my family and, now that it’s summer, go for walks with my dog and bike rides and just I really, really try and create those boundaries so that I can create quality time in my life.
Melinda Wittstock: We need the contrast because when you’re building a business, it’s really difficult to turn it off.
Jamie Shapiro: It is.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s always there. How do you deal with that? How do you find that you can turn it off? Because I find even in my meditation, I will be getting inspirations and divine downloads in my meditation-
Jamie Shapiro: Oh, for sure.
Melinda Wittstock: To actually help me run my business.
Jamie Shapiro: I wouldn’t say that I turn it off in the sense of… I agree, in my meditation, sometimes there’s something that comes to me, and it’s an incredible thought. And I’m so grateful for those moments. I don’t know that I ever turn it off because this is my passion and my heart. And I love what I do. What I think I try and pay attention to is presence and gratitude. And so I really, especially with the kids, just try and be present and enjoy these moments. I’m in this sweet spot with my kids because they’re nine and 10. And I always joke around that I’m not wiping their tush anymore, and they still want to hang out with me. This feels like a really sweet moment. And so I just try and create a lot of physical reminders of presence.
So I have a rock on my desk that says joy that I painted that just reminds me to enjoy this precious time that I have. And so I try and pause regularly and just enjoy and find just complete gratitude for the moment that I’m in, and that helps ground me and keep me present. And we definitely have practices that help with that, whether it’s all sitting down for dinner together or taking that walk, like I mentioned, as a family. And those are the moments where I do just try and be present. It doesn’t mean that work doesn’t creep into my brain, but again, it’s just trying to get back to that present moment and enjoy what’s here now.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. Being in the present is where the power is because of what you’re doing in this present moment and the gratitude you’re feeling for what you have, for what you envision as if it’s already happened. That’s creating your future.
Jamie Shapiro: And I will tell you, dog is the best teacher of that.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, I know. Well, I have a dog as well. And my dogs over the years have always been my muse. So the current one is an English cream Golden Retriever who’s about 15 months now.
Jamie Shapiro: Aww.
Melinda Wittstock: And so sweet. But here’s what I love about dogs, is yeah, they’re in the present. When something goes wrong or someone doesn’t like them or something happens, they literally just shake it off. They literally shake it off, and they’re just so full of love and gratitude. If we could be more like dogs, I think-
Jamie Shapiro: I know.
Melinda Wittstock: Everything would be great. Seriously, I kind of wonder whether they’re the higher light form, in fact. But yes, [crosstalk 00:20:54] there’s lots of learning from dogs for sure. I know a lot of entrepreneurs who have dogs. I wonder if there’s a correlation there.
Jamie Shapiro: There might be a correlation there. And honestly, looking at my dog just grounds me in the present a lot. Just watching his joy brings me joy. And so I think they’re just incredible teachers.
Melinda Wittstock: They are. And so tell me a little bit about that moment… when you just sort of discovered oh my God, I’m not doing the thing that I actually want to be doing and you made that pivot and change. Was that difficult to do? Or did it just like lightning strike, aha, I’m just going to change it up? Or was it a little more gradual?
Jamie Shapiro: Oh no. I was burned out. I was exhausted. The money was running out. I was just fried. And I remember it was at the beginning of a summer, and I love summer. I love winter too, but summer is just so full of goodness. So it was the beginning of the summer. And I said out loud to my husband and the people closest to me, “I’m done. I can’t do this.” There had been months coming of changing the business around. And I said, “Only thing I am going to do is I’m going to serve my current clients and coach them. I’m not going to sell. I’m not going to try and build. I am going to do nothing, except for the thing I love to do, which is coach.” And I declared that on a Monday. And it was like in that moment, when I finally got clear on who I was and what I wanted to do, from that moment on my business grew and prospered. And it was a dramatic shift. I mean, it was a really dramatic shift to say no more. I am not doing the thing that is just destroying me. I’m going to do the thing that nourishes me. And once I made that shift, the whole business transformed.
So there were so many years of what I call just pushing the boulder uphill. And that was a moment where the boulder was crushing me, and I had to figure out a different path. So it was kind of dramatic in the sense that I literally made a declaration to whoever was going to listen, “I’m done. This is the only thing I’m focusing on.” And I can tell you, there was so much validation from… And I’m a very spiritual person. So there was just so much validation from powers that were greater than me that said, “Now you get it. Yes, stop trying to be someone… It’s not working.” And during that time, there was a saying that just helped me more than anything, which is I’m not the pilot. I’m just the plane. And once I kind of surrendered to okay, show me the path that I’m supposed to be on, it just opened up. And it took that surrender for me to really find my true, true path.
Melinda Wittstock: You’re not the pilot. You’re the plane. You’re the vessel, not the pilot. I mean, that is such an interesting counter-intuitive way. I think most entrepreneurs see themselves as pilots when in actual fact… And you mentioned your spirituality. I have a very similar experience of really almost becoming a channel because my morning meditations now go something like, “You know that I know that I can’t do this without you. Send me inspiration. I mean, what is the thing…” So my to do list changed from a to do list to an intentions list, and now it’s an inspiration list. And it helps me do the things in my business on that day that are going to have maximum leverage. What’s the thing that’s going to move the business more? And it stops me from working in my business and keeps me working on it.
It’s such a profound shift. And the other one that really spoke to me, Jamie, was you talking about when you’re out of alignment, things don’t work. It’s like the thing of business is like pushing a boulder up a mountain. But the second you’re in alignment, there’s this ease and this flow about it where things manifest. The right people show up with ease. Now with Podopolo, my podcasting network, I’m like I really need to think about hiring a CRO. And I swear to God, that day someone just reached out to me who looks like the perfect candidate. Wow.
Jamie Shapiro: Amazing, yes.
Melinda Wittstock: Right?
Jamie Shapiro: That’s flow.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? And I find that things like that are happening, these synchronicities and serendipities, that I can’t really explain.
Jamie Shapiro: Yes, yes. It’s so true. And that’s what I found, is once surrendered, I found flow and I started paying attention. I was driving so hard towards something that I thought was success. And it wasn’t. It wasn’t the success I was after. It was someone else’s definition of success.
Melinda Wittstock: Right. And the life of should starts very, very early. And before long, we’re living a life of shoulds that is completely separate from who we actually are. And so peeling that, just letting go of all that stuff-
Jamie Shapiro: Mm-hmm (affirmative) [crosstalk 00:27:35].
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, I think it’s the biggest single predictor of entrepreneurial success, actually, that spiritual connection and mindset that comes with it.
Jamie Shapiro: Yes, mindset-
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, because you can be doing all the things, but if they’re out of alignment or not… Yeah, you’ll just run faster and faster and faster in place on that task treadmill.
Jamie Shapiro: Yes. Agreed 100%.
Melinda Wittstock: So, tell me more about your business and who you serve and your ideal client and all of that.
Jamie Shapiro: So I specialize in coaching CEOs. That is my specialization, and I do a lot of teams as well and team development. But my one-on-one practice is for the CEO community. And my whole practice is about what we call full-body leadership, understanding how the entire body is essential for you to be at your peak performance as a leader. So that’s really what my book’s about, what my practice is about, what the company is about. It’s really trying to transform our ideas around leadership being an intellectual experience to truly leadership being a full-body experience and all the elements that go into that and recognizing, as you talked about, hormones and all of these different things that impact our physical body, they all impact our leadership as well. And so understanding those connections is essential for leadership, but it’s not something we’ve talked about in the past.
However, I really think that this whole idea of work-life balance and us talking about it so much has failed our leaders because I know when I was in leadership, I had no idea what work-life balance was, and I just heard that I should get it, had no idea where to get it until I really started to understand two things, number one, time is a limited resource. So we need to stop talking about balance in respect to time. We need to recognize that energy is a renewable resource. And we need to understand in leadership how we continually renew that resource so that we can be at our best and take care of our companies. So for me, my whole vision in life is about creating brilliant, and I mean energetically brilliant, leaders and recognizing how we do that with the whole entire body, not just our minds.
Melinda Wittstock: I love that. So your book is called Brilliant, and they can get it on Amazon, of course. So everybody, definitely pick up a copy of Jamie’s book. I know I want to read it.
Jamie Shapiro: Thank you.
Melinda Wittstock: And how can people find you and work with you, Jamie?
Jamie Shapiro: So you can reach out through our website. It’s connectedec.com. And I am very much in an abundant mindset person. So what I did in releasing this book is I released all the tools I use with all of my clients and companies on the website. So you can go… You don’t even need to purchase the book. You can just go and download all the resources that are in the book, so that I hope you go and get some resources because I really think if we want to create communities of wellbeing, it starts at the top and it starts with our leaders.
Melinda Wittstock: And so they can just go to connectedec.com to get that?
Jamie Shapiro: They can, yes.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful. That’s very generous. I love abundance mindset. It’s actually one of the missions of this podcast, to encourage that among women, because when we’re coming at it that way and really in a community helping each other, promoting each other, mentoring each other, investing in each other, buying from each other, that’s when miracles happen. I think that’s how women are actually wired.
Jamie Shapiro: I agree totally.
Melinda Wittstock: We’re not supposed to be-
Jamie Shapiro: I cannot agree more.
Melinda Wittstock: Isolated in scarcity. It just doesn’t work. And I am actually [crosstalk 00:31:47] really about this time in our history because I think we’re starting to really find our voice in that way and change the game of business. And I love… It’s music to my ears when I hear someone say, “I’m an abundance thinker.” I’m like yes, this is so good. We need more of this. Well, I want to thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us today.
Jamie Shapiro: Thank you, Melinda. So appreciate you having me today.