MINDSET. Learn how to surf. Understand how to ride the waves and not let the waves ride you. Personally, I go into everything in business with this surfing and riding the waves mindset. I understand that all challenges are temporary and that if I can ride that emotional wave, I will quickly find my way to solutions and my center.
Being a founder, entrepreneur, or business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Bridget Aileen Sicsko.
Bridget Aileen Sicsko is the founder of Exalted Publishing House, a podcast host, and an entrepreneurship coach. She helps successful entrepreneurs stand out and be featured as a leader in their industry by sharing powerful stories. Her mission is to amplify the voices of change-makers, way-showers, and leaders who are here to make a massive impact on humanity.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Lymes disease at age 15 was the start of this entire journey. I felt extremely frustrated after going to doctor after doctor with no answer. I felt as if my voice wasn’t being heard by the medical professionals I had entrusted to help me heal. My purpose was first born in the office of a gastroenterologist, although the dots didn’t connect until many years later. I went on to graduate with honors from Rutgers University and landed my first big girl job in New York City as a sales associate for the beloved review company, Yelp. I felt my passion and purpose flying away from me with each passing sales call made. I quit my job, traveled to Europe, and studied to become a yoga teacher at the Lilypod School for Yoga & Ayurveda in Ibiza, Spain. Upon returning home at age 22, my entrepreneurial journey truly began. I began teaching yoga full time, mostly working with the veteran community, autistic young adults, and recovering addicts. Around that time, I also became a certified holistic health coach because I knew I was meant to help people in all aspects of their life, not just yoga. I started hosting women’s circles, leading group coaching programs, hosting workshops, speaking at schools, and slowly but surely my career took off. I knew I wanted to ultimately work with entrepreneurs, so I began to transition my business. As I did that, I started to remember the seeds that had been planted at age 15 in the doctor’s office. I was here to make sure the voices are heard. Now, I help entrepreneurs in a variety of ways — through my publishing company (helping them share their story and increase credibility), through my podcast, and through my coaching programs (which focus on messaging, sales, and speaking skills).
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
The “Aha moment” was in the middle of meditation when I realized something I had always loved doing. The idea for the podcast and live interview show was born. It was to be called, “The Gathering MVMT” to emphasize the importance of all humans coming together, sharing stories, and elevating the planet. In that meditative moment, I remembered that I had always loved HOSTING — Hosting people at my house, cooking for them, hosting workshops and women’s circles, and now, hosting conversations. I was reminded of my purpose which was to amplify powerful stories and make sure that they are being heard. This moment changed the entire trajectory of my business.
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
I was a natural-born entrepreneur. My dad has been a very successful entrepreneur for my entire life. He always inspired me to be a visionary and reminded me that no dream is too big. I remember at an early age, being very clever with ideas and money as in your classic kid lemonade stand. At age 16, I began working for Lia Sophia which was a home party jewelry company. I was essentially in network marketing before I even knew what it was. My mindset has always been that of an entrepreneur — dreamy and willing to do whatever it takes.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
My parents have been huge influences on my entrepreneurial journey. No idea was too crazy for them. They have supported me in quitting my job, going to study yoga, opening a publishing company, and launching a podcast. My parents have always taught me that anything is possible and to dream big & start small.
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
Something special about my company is that we aren’t promoting your average joes. We are sharing the stories (through the books, podcast, and coaching) that aren’t being shared. Many of the women I work with are spiritual entrepreneurs — healers, yogis, womb healers, holistic health coaches, etc and boy do they have powerful stories to share. These are the types of businesses that are here to change the world and empower us all to be leaders.
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
My 3 most instrumental character traits are determination, perception, and relationship-centered leadership.
Determination — I have the mentality of an athlete — dream big, start small and keep going, every single day.
Perception — I am a huge believer in the power of the mind and how our perception shapes our reality. If something is feeling really off business-wise (sales aren’t happening, conversations don’t feel aligned, no traction on the podcast), I know there is internal work to do. I head to my yoga mat or take a walk outside to shift my perception and realign with my center.
Relationship-centered leadership — Everything I do in business is centered on building, maintaining, and sustaining relationships.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
Ha! Great question. The advice I can think of is not from one person but from a societal construct taught in our modern public education/school systems. These constructs do not always promote individualized, creative thinking. I wish I never listened to educators (and not all are bad, so don’t take it that way) telling me there was only ONE way to do something.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
Get rid of 40 hour work weeks. Let women take time off around their menstrual cycle. Have open communication about emotions, challenges, wants, desires, home life.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Use their voice. Using live video and promoting it on my social channels (FB & Instagram) were game-changers for my business. The audio and visual components of being on camera build immediate trust, credibility, and authority.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
We live in changing business times. A leader must be able to convey who they are to their potential consumer. We purchase based on trust. Showing your face and using your voice helps create trust.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
They do not have a clear-cut potential customer. The founder must know the ins and outs of their ideal customer and although this is likely to change over time, you do need to be clear on this right away.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
This is one of my favorite things to talk about. Entrepreneurship is a wild ride, filled with so many ups and downs. If an entrepreneur hasn’t experienced this wild rollercoaster ride, they probably do not have an actual business. One of the most helpful things I’ve learned in my spiritual studies is the idea of contraction and expansion. This is a useful concept to understand for even the most successful of entrepreneurs. Think of it like this — right before a big breakthrough (your highest sales month, a book launch, program launch), you tend to feel like the skies are opening up on you (this is the contraction). You have to keep holding on for the biggest expansion yet, it’s just on the other side of the contraction!
I see this differently for someone who holds a regular job because of the emotional, monetary, and mental investment in an entrepreneur’s work. Typically if you work a regular job, you are helping share someone else’s idea, where you do not have nearly the same amount of emotional tie to the work.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Oh, YES! One of the biggest business highs I have experienced was my first business sale. When the PayPal notification came through, I said to myself, “Oh my gosh, I did it!!!”, because I knew that one sale was going to build the momentum needed to make 2, then 4, then 8 sales, etc.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Absolutely. One of my most vulnerable moments was when I was in the midst of my spiritual coaching program launch. I wanted to sell 8 spots, and none had sold. Inside, I had been feeling this nudge that something wasn’t aligned, something wasn’t right. I had to set aside my pride and be very vulnerable with my community. I canceled the launch and completely pivoted my business. (Again contraction leads to expansion)
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
Understanding the way energy works always helps me. This idea of contraction and expansion helped me realize that any challenge is only temporary and that every single “no” leads to a greater “YES!”
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- BIG VISION — Keep your eye on your big vision/goal. Write it down. Post it in your office. Don’t lose sight of the big vision. For any new business idea or program launch, I always write the BIG goal, the intention behind it, and how I want to feel once it’s accomplished. I leave that goal where I will always see it so that during the lows, I am reminded of my big vision.
- COMMUNITY — Surround yourself with people who are also on the rollercoaster. Know you are not alone. Personally, when I invest in mentors, coaches, and programs, I am always doing so with the intention of having a community to support me. They are there to support me in my wins and my struggles.
- MINDSET — Learn how to surf. Understand how to ride the waves and not let the waves ride you. Personally, I go into everything in business with this surfing and riding the waves mindset. I understand that all challenges are temporary and that if I can ride that emotional wave, I will quickly find my way to solutions and my center.
- PERSONAL PRACTICES — As an entrepreneur, you need to be able to disconnect from work and realign with you, your spirit, your breath, your body, or whatever else you want to call it. Personally, I practice kundalini yoga, I go to the gym, take many walks in nature and spend time with my husband. All of these practices remind me that challenges do not define me. Instead, I choose how I define myself.
- FEEL IT ALL — I am a big believer in embracing our emotions as they are typically clues and teach us many things on the journey. There have been many times when I am feeling it all — anger, frustration, sadness, joy, happiness. I let myself feel my feelings and I even ask them questions. Here’s a tip for the fellow entrepreneurs out there. Take out a journal and brain dump everything you are feeling. Then ask yourself, “what is this here to teach me/show me?” You will be pleasantly surprised with the answer and chances are your challenges will become obsolete when you shift your perspective.
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
Resilience is the ability to get back on the horse or change horses if you need to aka pivot, but keep going. I believe the characteristics of resilient people are optimism, open-mindedness, purpose, determination, and perseverance.
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
Absolutely — my healing journey from Lyme disease taught me resiliency. It showed me how strong our bodies actually are beyond what we’ve been told to believe. I learned that our bodies are natural healing mechanisms when given the proper things. In addition, I have always been an athlete — playing soccer, running track, playing tennis, and golf. In my late teens, I began running Spartan races — which are obstacle course races typically up mountains. Think mud, sweat, and tears. Each race has been a lifetime of teachings in resiliency all in one, especially the 12-miles race where I was injured at mile 1.
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
YES! My life philosophy of contractions and expansion always helps me in challenging situations — I know that every single challenge is here to teach me something and that something beautiful is usually brewing on the other side.
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
We might need to do another interview on this question alone, ha! This is the crux of my business — a positive and opportunistic attitude. My clients feel this when I facilitate calls — this might look like a dance party at the beginning of a zoom call or a simple breath practice, but shifting our perspective is life & business changing! When I first began my business a few years ago, I was making the least amount of money I had ever made, yet I felt so grateful and so rich. My attitude of gratitude and my opportunistic mindset allowed me to see that I was not defined by the money I made but by the people I helped throughout the day. Synchronistically enough, money followed.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
I AM. Not really a famous quote, but this is the mantra of creation. Anything that comes after those two very important words becomes. This mantra has become ingrained in my mind — during a workout, a meditation, a challenging business conversation — “I AM”.
How can our readers further follow you online?
You can find me on Instagram @blissfulbridget or listen to the podcast, The Gathering MVMT — https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-gathering-mvmt/id1546684870
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!