I am starting a movement where leaders begin to tap into their pain and their problems to discover the hidden messages waiting to be redeemed and transformed so that they can enhance/expand their influence and impact. We are companioning our clients as they move through the intersections of their strengths and suffering, pain and passions and through the process of teasing these things out, we shed the layers of the false self and come in greater contact with our true self moving closer to wholeness which we equate with wellness. I believe the closer we come to that convergence and then in our crossing over our impact continues to spread proportionately.
Cristin Smith is the CEO/Founder and Spiritual Director at Saffron & Sage. Smith founded Saffron & Sage in 2013, as a result of her personal healing journey and the search for holistic health care practitioners, non-toxic products, therapeutic practices and healing places to achieve wellness of the mind, body and spirit. Prior to Saffron & Sage, Smith spent many years as a community leader and entrepreneur, leveraging her passion for growth and transformation to make an impact in community development and the non-profit sector. Smith worked with other entrepreneurs, connecting them to their community and target customers, and assisting companies in defining and designing their brand, vision, values, mission and ethos. Smith also offered mentorship for local entrepreneurs and leaders in areas of personal development and spiritual formation, as well as branding, marketing, and spatial design. Smith started her career in the financial and insurance services industry, holding various management roles. Following that, Smith and her partner started their own agency, where she assisted clients in underwriting their future through strategic planning. While building Saffron & Sage, Smith studied to become a Spiritual Director through Loyola Marymount University.
Thank you for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Back in 2012, I rented out my house and sold everything and moved to Mexico for a six-month sabbatical. Just a few months in, doctors found four rapidly growing tumors in my neck and thyroid. After a second, third and fourth opinion the consensus was the same — no one knew the root cause of the tumors but the recommendation was that I get them surgically removed, which included removing a part of my thyroid as well, which meant that I would be dependent on pharmaceutical drugs for the rest of my life.
At that point I started reading and researching and stumbled upon Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda and learned about the mind-body-spirit connection. These discoveries lead me to seek out the best western and complementary medicine practitioners from LA to TJ and everywhere in between. It took about a year for me to assemble this multi-disciplinary team but at the end of that year, I started an integrative treatment regimen and the tumors have stopped growing and my body began to heal. Little did I know, that my personal journey to healing was the beginning of Saffron & Sage, an urban oasis for executives and entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders looking to regain or maintain their well-being through a preventative and integrative approach.
What is it about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?
The work that we do at Saffron & Sage is about redesigning a new way forward. In the West/United States, when people experience a chronic condition and are attempting to navigate through the realm of what I call “holistic healthcare,” it can feel like trying to traverse through the jungle with a machete (in stilettos) with a tiger chasing you. It can be an exhausting, confusing and disorienting experience and there are no guarantees you are going to make it out alive.
Now let me be clear, I am not trying to alter our existing healthcare system. When it comes to acute situations, we have access to the best medicine in the world, and if I get hit by a car, please don’t sprinkle essential oils on me and start performing reiki, call the paramedics, and let them give me whatever they need and take me to the hospital. That said, when it comes to chronic conditions, we need to take a preventative and integrative approach that takes into account our body, mind and spirit. Saffron & Sage is a model that can be replicated across the country and across the globe by customizing a wellness plan that incorporates services and classes backed by evidence-based research and personally pairs a team of practitioners to companion the individual’s healing journey towards a therapeutic and sustainable lifestyle. The member-based approach at Saffron & Sage provides affordable access to concierge holistic healthcare — a model for the future.
We all need a little help along the journey — who have been some of your mentors? Can you share how they made an impact for you?
Since I was in high school, maybe earlier, I have always had mentors and advisors in my corner to encourage and correct me, provide counsel and hold space for difficult discussions about me or my business. For Saffron & Sage I have surrounded myself with incredible mentors. The one that comes to mind initially is Larry Kessler, retired entrepreneur and Saffron & Sage member. He has picked up the phone during every crisis and cash flow dilemma, listened, asked the hard questions, challenged me and had many difficult conversations. Every time I thought I certainly can’t push through being short on funds or a breach of contract or whatever the dilemma of the day was, he was there not to fill me with false hope but to instill in me the confidence to keep going regardless of the hardship reminding me of my vision and reminding me that I contain a vision that needs to come to fruition that I need to give to the world. His guidance and support is one of the most valuable resources I have had since launching our flagship location in Little Italy in 2017. His wisdom and guidance, along with the rest of my mentors and advisors are the secret sauce to my survival through our start-up phase and woven into the fabric of every large and small success.
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. Today, you need to ask yourself: Have I done everything in order to try to keep the doors open and survive? Words spoken by my mentor when I was out of cash and bills were due. That afternoon, I sent an email to a handful of individuals whom I knew deeply understood the mission of Saffron & Sage and within 24 hours, I raised $30,000.
2. You know what you need to do: get rid of them. It sounds harsh but it’s true and it has been spoken to me on many occasions by many mentors when people who I hired made decisions that did not align with our values or our policies and procedures. It’s hard to have difficult conversations with employees, contractors, providers, etc. but they are necessary. I’ve learned that these experiences are going to happen and it’s important to have them and learn from them. They also open up the doors to it part ways with those who are not a fit and then find people who are a good fit.
3. You have to be the Steve Jobs of your company. This has been said to me in many different forms the main lesson is that playing small doesn’t serve anyone. It’s important to take responsibility for your work.
Do you have a book/podcast/talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us?
Oh boy…so many! Off the top of my head:
· The war of Art
· The Biology of Belief — shaped part of our philosophy that drives our care model healing with whole foods
· The Ultimate Question — got us focused on NPS from the very beginning
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.
Through Saffron & Sage I am starting a movement where leaders begin to tap into their pain and their problems to discover the hidden messages waiting to be redeemed and transformed so that they can enhance/expand their influence and impact. At the core of what we do at Saffron & Sage is leadership development, our team of Practitioners are companioning our clients as they move through the intersections of their strengths and suffering, pain and passions and through the process of teasing these things out, we shed the layers of the false self and come in greater contact with our true self moving closer to wholeness which we equate with wellness. I believe the closer we come to that convergence and then in our crossing over our impact continues to spread proportionately.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The one that comes to mind first is Marianne Williamson’s words:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
As a leader and as an entrepreneur, it is one thing to show up and to do the work. It is another to step out in the “arena” as Brene Brown reminds us with Teddy Roosevelt’s words and to “stand tall and to speak clearly.”
I like being in the “war room” behind the scenes strategically planning and working alongside my team but with this business I have used it as a place to hide for fear of my light, my power, my brilliance. Even writing these words makes me wonder if the world will misinterpret my confession for conceit. My challenge from my staff and mentors, advisors and clients has continued to be this continual beckoning to the stage and if I’m honest — that scares me greatly. These words ring true at the deepest parts of my soul and every day I am consciously battling my fear and leaning into my power.
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Thank you for all of these great insights!
About the author:
Chaya Weiner is the Director of branding and photography at Authority Magazine’s Thought Leader Incubator. TLI is a thought leadership program that helps leaders establish a brand as a trusted authority in their field. Please click HERE to learn more about Thought Leader Incubator.