Don’t let emotions cloud your judgment. No matter how difficult this is sometimes, you need to proceed logically rather than emotionally, especially when money is involved.
As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Athena Oanessian.
Athena is a young, purpose-driven entrepreneur and change maker. She strives to impact the lives of more than 1 million people, and inspire them to reach their greatest potential! She does this through the motivational goal planners she’s created, as well as all the motivational content she writes. You can get your success bundle, as well as her Roadmap to Meaningful Goals by visiting her website, yousquared.co/.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I’ve always been and done the unconventional! When everyone else was doing x, I was busy doing y. I’ve done this ever since I was a little kid. I suppose it could be the passionate leader inside me, that doesn’t want to follow the pack but rather carve my own path. I can’t stand being lazy, stagnant, and not pushing boundaries of my own human potential.
After I graduated from university with Magna Cum Laude honors mid pandemic, I decided to self-reflect and determine exactly what mattered to me.
I was tired of the regular 9–5, only weekends off, 2 weeks vacation, a job where I wasn’t using my full brainpower and was underpaid and undervalued.
I decided I couldn’t compromise my freedom. I wanted the freedom to work when I wanted, to take long vacations wherever I wanted, to not be tied to a physical location, and to push myself and use all of my potentials to do something great and impact the world. I knew I could impact millions of lives and I knew it would be a disservice to humanity if I didn’t take the leap.
Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
I create products that empower people to achieve their greatest potential! Everything I do is intentionally catered to making a difference in people’s lives, rather than just a quick buck.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I don’t find this funny at all but I suppose the most “comical” mistake I’ve made was hiring a marketing agency and counting on the ROI’s they promised. I learned that no matter how good a company seems, doesn’t mean you should put all your faith in them. Have a backup plan and do your own marketing apart from them as well.
We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?
I’ve had multiple mentors throughout the years. My first official mentors started from a mentorship program at my university. I applied for this program twice and got mentors both times. My mentors were successful leaders in the hospitality of some of America’s largest companies in hospitality. The first mentor taught me interview skills and negotiation, and the second mentor taught me about inspirational leadership. She also introduced me to another mentor who taught me about the hospitality career.
Since I’ve started my business, my unofficial mentors come from people like Marie Forleo and Daymond John whose courses I’ve taken. My official mentors come from two coaches I have which help me with strategy.
One morning I was in my coach’s office and I told him I wanted to order extra material for my packaging. I really thought I needed it, but after we went over the situation, I realized I didn’t need it much at the time. That saved me over 2,000 dollars!
In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?
If it being disruptive, it’s a cause for good, if it can help people, and if it provides value, it could be positive disruption. For example, began burgers as a meat alternative for people who don’t want to eat meat.
If it’s something that projects hatred or it’s something that will harm people, then that’s not good. For example, if it’s something that involves bullying people or being mean to others, or bringing them down, that’s a negative disruption.
It’s about the purpose: uplifting or tearing down.
Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.
1. Talk with everybody. You never know when something needs what you’re offering, and vice versa. Always have a business card handy.
I learned this advice from a reception I went to tie to my university and I noticed it applied to me a year later. One early morning, I went to my Crossfit workout. Normally early in the mornings, there aren’t many people, so it’s usually just me and 1–2 other people that I consistently see. This particular day, there was a gentleman I had only seen once before but hadn’t talked to. That morning we had a brief chit-chat during the workout and breaks. He asked me what I did for a living, and after I told him I own my own planner company, he said he’d buy from me. Unfortunately, I hadn’t brought my purse, so I didn’t have a business card to present him, and I never saw him again. I lost that opportunity because I was unprepared. You never know who you’re going to meet and where.
2. Have your elevator pitch ready. Somewhat tied to the above, know how you’re going to introduce yourself and briefly talk about who you are and what you do when asked. Andrew LaCivita has awesome YouTube videos on how to craft a great elevator pitch. And remember, your pitch will change over time. The pitch I used to use in school was different after I graduated, and is different now as a business owner. Stay on top of your pitch as you change and progress paths.
3. Don’t let emotions cloud your judgment. No matter how difficult this is sometimes, you need to proceed logically rather than emotionally, especially when money is involved.
We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?
By creating an awesome motivational journal! 😉
Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?
Without a doubt, Simon Sinek’s book, “Start With Why.” I listened to the audiobook version after I graduated last year and it helped me find my purpose! All the actions I’ve taken and all the big things I’ve done and become have been because that book helped me find my purpose!
I’ve gifted this book to several friends who’ve felt stuck or who are trying to figure out what they want in life. To figure out what you want, you need to reach deep and figure out who you are, and take action to become the person you need to be.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Chris Winfield said it best, “The extra mile is never crowded.” This resonated with me so much and it finally put into a quote how I’d been feeling the last few years. It solidified that the reason why I was the only one going the extra mile is that almost no one else is. It’s a lonely road up there, but so worth it. It just made sense.
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. 🙂
Do one act of kindness each day! Acts of kindness don’t have to be huge. They can be small too. The smaller the act, the more often you could do it. You never know whose lives you’ll impact, because even an act that seems so small to you, could mean the world to another person! We all want to feel heard, understood, and cared for in some way. Now go and spread kindness!
How can our readers follow you online?
By visiting my website, https://yousquared.co!
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!