Always have a growth mindset. If every experience is created for you, not to you, then how can you use that experience for growth.
In this interview series, we are exploring the subject of resilience among successful business leaders. Resilience is one characteristic that many successful leaders share in common, and in many cases it is the most important trait necessary to survive and thrive in today’s complex market.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lori Kennedy, founder of The Wellness Business Hub
Lori Kennedy is first and foremost a mom to her two kids. She’s the CEO of The Wellness Business Hub, the host of the Business Of Becoming podcast and the leader of the Take Your Health Practice Online Facebook Group and has been featured in Huffington Post, Fast Company and Inc.com.
Using her personal experience of growing a multimillion-dollar company from her dining room table, Lori has a unique ability to empower, teach and motivate alternative practitioners and coaches to step outside of their comfort zones and build the business of their dreams. Lori’s tell-it-like-it-is style is a refreshing approach that allows her to connect with her professional colleagues.
Her company, The Wellness Business Hub, exists to provide industry-specific business training and professional development to support health practitioners and coaches to start and grow their business online. They do this by creating high-value practical and applicable digital content like blogs, videos, the podcast and host live events with the intention of supporting their global community to reach for more and create an impactful business that changes lives.
Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’?
The more and more I look back, I’ve come to realize that I am where I am because of my health. I spent my childhood on and off antibiotics for ear infections. I spent my teens years suffering from the effects of dozens of rounds of antibiotics. By 17 I had horrible acid reflux, would sporadically throw-up, was 25 pounds overweight, couldn’t concentrate and felt horrible. At 19 while travelling through Europe with my girlfriends, my body, rather my digestive system decided that was going to stop working and I ended up in a hospital in Santorini Greece.
To make a very long story short, I spent years going from Doctor to Doctor. They were not able to help me over and above handing me a prescription. I was resolute that feeling sick and tired and having to rely on prescription pills was not going to be my life so I sought out alternative health care and worked with a Naturopathic Doctor to reverse the damage that was done and to heal my body.
At the time, becoming a Registered Holistic Nutritionist was not on my radar but after I witnessed the healing power of food and went through my own transformation, at 24 and having just finished University, I decided to go back to school to get my R.H.N. designation. It was in trying to start-up and grow my nutrition practice that I learned the true meaning of resilience.
I struggled for almost 2 years to get my nutrition practice off the ground. Business, sales, marketing as it applies to real-world success aren’t taught in any alternative health care profession so when you graduate, it feels like you’re flying blind. I spent years investing in myself and my business. I got really good at the business side.
13 years later, I now run a multi-million dollar global online business that supports alternative health practitioners and coaches with the business training and personal development tools needed to grow successful businesses online.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘take aways’ you learned from that?
6 weeksafter my marriage ended I had to host a live event with hundreds of attendees. I had to stand on stage, teach, be energetic and hold space for all of the attendees who were looking to me for leadership, empowerment, training and inspiration. My now ex-husband was a big part of the business brand. Of course, I wanted to cancel the event, get into my bed and stay there for months but I couldn’t. We had vendors, attendees, tens of thousands of dollars poured into this and I didn’t want to disappoint the attendees who were coming from all over the world.
The show must go on. And it did. The event was very successful.
The big takeaway and what enabled me to show up without having to ‘fake it’ was allowing the mission of my company to drive me. I am so incredibly bought into the mission of my company that the deep-rooted feeling of purpose carried me. I wasn’t there for me, for the accolades or even the big payday. I was there to give my community an experience that would transform their business and lives. Focusing on that intention helped me to reframe how I was feeling and allowed me to compartmentalize my feelings so I could show up in a way that I was proud of.
What do you think makes your company/brand stand out? Can you share a story?
I am not afraid to show my imperfections. In the alternative health niche and by extension the fitness industry, there is a feeling of immense pressure to show up as perfect. That until you’re a perfect weight, have achieved perfect health, eat only organic, non-GMO whole foods, mediate, juice and live this perfect lifestyle you can not be a true professional or help anyone.
I hear from thousands of highly qualified, smart and purpose-driven health practitioners, coaches and fitness professionals that they are playing small and hiding because they don’t feel good enough yet to really put themselves out there which is a huge disservice to the world because they can transform health in a way that allopathic medicine can’t.
What sets my brand apart and has helped me grow a multi-million dollar business without having a massive social media following is my authenticity and demonstrating that there is no such thing as perfect.
The first time I shared with my community of practitioners and coaches that I drank Diet Coke and used Splenda in my coffee when I went to Starbucks, I thought I was going to be struck down by lightning. Instead, I was flooded with emails, texts and DM’s thanking me for being ‘real’. I got hundreds of notes from my colleagues sharing their dirty little secrets with me, just as I had shared mine with them.
I realized that to set myself apart, I had to tell the truth while all of the other influencers went on portraying ‘perfection’. That’s what sets my brand apart, I’m not perfect and I’m not afraid to show it.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
First, I operate with a beginner’s mind always so there have been many incredible people along my journey that have greatly impacted me. The two that I feel the most grateful to are the two men who mentored me for years when I decided to take my business online.
Bedros Keulian, CEO of Fit Body Bootcamp and Craig Ballantyne, co-owner of Early To Rise. Aside from teaching me how to run a business online, they taught me how to do business with integrity. They modelled through their own businesses and life how to think, behave and take action, even when you don’t want to. I used to complain that I had no time. My kids were 3 and 1, I was separated and felt completely overwhelmed. Craig said, “wake up at 5 am daily, even on the weekends. You want more time to get your work done. Wake up at 5 am.” He was right. I’ve been waking up at 5 am since 2012 and I know that it has been one of the most pivotal keys to my success.
Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of this interview. We would like to explore and flesh out the trait of resilience. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
To me, resilience is more than the ability to just overcome something difficult. Resilience to me is being able to overcome something difficult, learn from it and use that experience to be a better human being.
Just because you’ve gone through something doesn’t mean you’re resilient.
Some characteristics of resilient people would include personal responsibility, positivity, boundaries, healthy habits and behaviours, having a growth mindset and compassion.
When you think of resilience, which person comes to mind? Can you explain why you chose that person?
My mother. My sister was born with severe brain damage and cerebral palsy. She almost died giving birth to her. I never saw my mother be a victim or question why this happened to her and to us. Instead of going down a road most would have gone down, she chose to rise up. She focused on her health, her mindset and along with my father and 4 other families, founded a non-profit organization called Safehaven, a project for community living that now has 5 group homes across the greater Toronto area.
I’m sure she struggled, because how could she not but she took a very hard situation and turned into something life-changing for hundreds of families, including our own.
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?
Yes. Many times. The story that comes to mind was when I wanted to run my first live event in 2013. I was just starting online and didn’t have a following, email list or anything like that yet. My mentor, who I credited above, Craig, told me in front of my entire mastermind to under no circumstances run that event. He told me that selling tickets to an event was hard, that I needed a bigger following and that it wasn’t worth my time yet. Wait a couple of years he said, then run an event.
I decided to listen to my intuition and I ran the event. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew that having an industry-specific event was important. It was successful. I had about 120 people there and actually made some money which doesn’t happen often when running a first-time event.
Did you have a time in your life where you had one of your greatest setbacks, but you bounced back from it stronger than ever? Can you share that story with us?
My divorce was the greatest setback and the most impactful and life-changing experience. The first time we separated my daughter was 2 and I was pregnant with my son. My kids are now 11 and 8 for reference. When we divorced my kids were 6 and 4. Divorce is traumatic. I am the CEO of a global online company and at that point, I didn’t really have a big team. Our revenue at the time was hovering at around $500,000.
I like to say that I productively had breakdowns. I allowed myself to sit with the pain and emotions. I chose to use the years post-separation to heal instead of mute the pain with all of the things most people use — alcohol, food, sex. I didn’t do that. I chose to heal. I used therapy, movement, meditation, journaling and self-compassion. I chose to use that time as a way to fortify my boundaries, behaviours and mindset.
I know that my business wouldn’t be where it is today had I stayed married, not because he would have held me back but because the growth that I’ve had as a result of the divorce has allowed me as an entrepreneur to take bigger risks and show up as a leader.
Resilience is like a muscle that can be strengthened. In your opinion, what are 5 steps that someone can take to become more resilient? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Always have a growth mindset. If every experience is created for you, not to you, then how can you use that experience for growth.
- Acknowledge the experience for what it is instead of bypassing it. You are allowed to be sad, to feel pain, to be hurt. It’s important to feel your feelings. The key is to not let them overtake your life.
- Find a healthy and productive way to manage your feelings, stress and impulses to mute the experience.
- Tell people what’s going on. It’s not weak or a bother to ask for support.
- Focus on the person you want to become. You have a choice to claim victimhood or to use the experience to become a person you are proud of.
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. 🙂
To ask for what you want and need. Women are not taught to ask for what they want and need. Women are not taught to stand in their power which makes it really hard to build resiliency. I can only imagine how different daily life would be if all women were taught HOW to stand in their own power and ask for what they want and need.
We are blessed that some very prominent leaders read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them 🙂
Sara Blakely. Since I started this journey in 2007, I’ve looked for a mentor who is successful in business and also has the kind of family life I desire.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!