“Drink less coffee.” with Camrin Agin

Drink less coffee. Eat less sugar. Sip less wine. But still drink coffee, eat sugar, and sip wine. Exercise. Call family. Call friends. Hug your spouse and your kids. Tell the people you love that you love them and also tell them when they are annoying you. They’ll still love you and you’ll feel like […]

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Drink less coffee. Eat less sugar. Sip less wine. But still drink coffee, eat sugar, and sip wine. Exercise. Call family. Call friends. Hug your spouse and your kids. Tell the people you love that you love them and also tell them when they are annoying you. They’ll still love you and you’ll feel like a more honest version of yourself. Squeeze your dog close and let him lick your face. Make lists, but keep them in one journal. Write things down by hand sometimes — you’ll remember those things more simply from the tactile experience.

As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments”, I had the pleasure of interviewingCamrin Agin.

ALTYR Founder Camrin Agin launched the wellness hub after her own transformation from an Energy Healing Session. For years, her body was trying to tell her to rest in the form of chronic migraines, but she wouldn’t listen. These debilitating headaches finally forced her to make a change. Through her own experience, she realized that her migraines were the result of years of balancing a career in law, a family, and a sense of self, sprinkled with anxiety and stress. The migraines impacted her work and home life and after being a skeptic, she had an Energy Healing Session and it changed her life.

After struggling to find a practitioner who would come to her home that she could trust; she realized there was an opportunity. Something was missing in the market for a concierge service of healers, so she sought them out for over a year to create ALTYR. Camrin felt it was important to make these wellness experiences both approachable and private, while providing a platform that made curating an experience easy to do in the Los Angeles market and virtually.

Meet ALTYR — a new online concierge booking platform transforming the holistic wellness world. By providing personalized virtual or in-home access to bespoke healing services, ALTYR is the ultimate tool for modern-day seekers looking to clear what’s blocked, heal what’s broken, and recover what’s missing.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up in Albertson, Long Island. My Dad was a therapist, my mother was a reading teacher and the TV was a surrogate babysitter. I guess you could say that words, feelings and media framed my development. I have a younger brother and an even younger sister. I went to a public school that I later learned functioned like a private one. I’d spend equal time at our local bagel spot and taking the LIRR into Manhattan. I took my love of words, feelings and media to the University of Pennsylvania where I was an English major. Now I talk to my parents almost every day, which is more than I did when I was a somewhat rebellious teenager.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career as an entrepreneur or business leader? We’d love to hear the story.

I never really thought of myself as an entrepreneur until I started ALTYR, though I was always a hustler. When I was in college, I knew I wanted to get into the entertainment industry. Depending on who you ask, I have either myself or my father to blame for going to law school rather than just coming out to Los Angeles upon graduating from Penn. For some time throughout my career as an entertainment lawyer, I wanted to be a movie producer, which I guess necessitates having an entrepreneurial soul, despite the fact that most people think of producers as soulless. I guess a lot of people think that about lawyers, too. So, you could make the argument that I became a wellness entrepreneur to prove I do in fact have a soul.

The reality is, I was never a very spiritual person. I generally considered myself more of an overall skeptic than overall believer. That started to change once I had a family. I always aspired to be good at what I did. And I found it harder to be a good career woman once I also had to be a good wife, and then a good mother to one child, and then a good mother to two children. I was so concerned with giving everything in my life ample focus that I instead focused on nothing. I started to feel scattered. I started getting worse and worse migraines on a more consistent basis. I grew a literal pain in my neck. The stress of life was compounded by the stress of feeling I was inadequately managing my stress. About three years ago, I knew I needed to change something, even though I wasn’t sure what. I was turned onto a practitioner who performed energy work and my world opened up. I ended up having regular sessions with her. She introduced me to the concept of healing ceremonies. I soon became intrigued by crystals. I started having tarot readings. The more I dug into the practices of wellness, the better I felt at managing my stress. I started to feel myself slowly coming back together, a process, for lack of a better term, of self-integration. And I would talk about this stuff. With friends, family, coworkers, acquaintances. And I realized that almost everyone I knew would not only benefit from these wellness techniques, but were open to them as a lifestyle as well. That, combined with the aforementioned hustler in me, led me to start ALTYR, a concierge booking service.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

Wow, that’s tricky. I think success is actually predicated on small acts of encouragement that would feel ephemeral in and of themselves but take on a life of their own once aggregated.

And I’ve always liked the quote “You would care a lot less about what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do”. Does that count?

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

ALTYR didn’t start as a bespoke, concierge wellness service. My original intent was to start a brick and mortar business that focused solely on acupuncture and tinctures. It was niche by design, with the idea that people who were always on the go could, on a whim, carve out 30 minutes for themselves during the gaps in their otherwise overly-scheduled day. I had a partner who was a practitioner, and we were raising funding when we had a falling out. I was crushed. I almost gave up on starting a business entirely. But I felt that there was a business in the wellness sector waiting to be explored. Then COVID hit. And I realized that the brick and mortar business I was so determined to start would have probably just shut down completely. The more time I spent at home, the more I realized how invaluable in-home and remote services were. Safety, comfort, accessibility, and control were critical to customers like never before. Which also meant less overhead and quicker scalability for me as an entrepreneur.

So even though at this point it sounds like a banal platitude, what I learned was that every heartbreaking setback is really a setup for an inspired opportunity.

The road to success is hard and requires tremendous dedication. This question is obviously a big one, but what advice would you give to a young person who aspires to follow in your footsteps and emulate your success?

Believe in what you are doing. In your heart, you should believe that you are your most important customer. And then quickly realize that if you only follow your heart, you may be playing to a market of one. Talk to people who have your values. Talk to people who have opposite values. Talk to people who are supportive of you and your ideas, but listen even more to those who offer the most meaningful criticism. Take in everything. Make lists. Quantify and qualify your goals, and break them into easy-to-execute causal steps. Be prepared to feel invigorated and be prepared to feel disheartened. Be motivated to get your idea out into the market before anyone else does, and realize that someone else most likely will but probably won’t do it as good as you. Then again, maybe they’ll do it better. But they won’t do it like you. So, find the weakness in their idea and maybe pivot your own. Remember that everything is fluid — a good day will lead to a bad one, but that will lead to another good one. Remind yourself why your idea matters. Be just as ready to feel strong as you are to feel weak. Find ways to consciously hit the “off” button in your brain. Love your family. Enjoy your friends. Take walks. Engage in moderate guilty pleasures. If you work through the night, go to bed early the next day.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

It’s a book, but it’s also a commencement speech that David Foster Wallace gave at Kenyon College. It’s called THIS IS WATER. It resonated so much because every single thing he said in it is, to quote DFW, “capital T-true”.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” Focusing on regrets will only paralyze you from moving forward, but focusing on opportunities will inspire you to do so.

It’s not always easy advice to follow, but it is completely sound, practical, logical, and actionable advice.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” It is a nice reminder from The Alchemist to stay on the right path.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

Everything about ALTYR is exciting — it just launched. It will help people feel a sense of balance, comfort, and tranquility. That I’m sure of.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As a business leader, you likely often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to cope with the burden of stress?

Well, this is something I learned from being a studio lawyer, where tensions rise exponentially and the assumption is that you are required to respond to any form of communication immediately:

Don’t. If you need to draft an email, draft it, but don’t send it. Adrenaline has a shelf life of about a half hour, so give yourself that half hour to think about the best way to respond to a situation rather than just reacting to it. Sometimes what someone says they need now can wait until morning. Move at the pace that YOU feel is required and appropriate.

If you receive bad news, write down the past 3 or 4 times you also received bad news. Professionally or personally. I guarantee at least ONE of those times was worse, and you managed to live through it. You’ll live through whatever news you just received as well.

If you’re overwhelmed by the amount of work you’re required to do, ask yourself what the FIRST thing is that needs to be done, and just focus on that. Doing one big project can be daunting, but realizing that one project amounts to 10 steps makes it more manageable to execute.

If you feel like you’re at the end of your rope and ready to snap, put the PHONE DOWN. WALK AWAY from the COMPUTER. Take a bath. Watch a crappy TV show. Go outside. Prepare yourself an easy meal. Then you can pick up afterwards.

Aside from being able to deal with the burden of stress, can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?

It’s easiest to be focused when the world is asleep. Work that extra hour at night instead of doing chores or going to bed. Work that extra hour in the morning instead of sleeping in or scrolling.

Quickly review your accomplishments from the past week. Then think about what it will be like to review your accomplishments next week. Then get to work.

Music can set a tone for your mindset. Need to be pumped up? Put on some 90s hip-hop. Need to be calmed down? Put on some spa music. Need to tap into your more vulnerable, emotional side? Put on anything that features Chris Cornell singing with just an acoustic guitar in his hands.

Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques, meditations or visualizations to help optimize yourself? If you do, we’d love to hear about it.

I have the benefit of working with ALTYR healers who focus on guided breathwork and meditation. That helps, clearly. But even focusing on your breath for just one minute — in through the nose, out through the nose; noticing the temperature of each breath; noticing the length of each breath; noticing the sounds that are occurring around you while you take each breath — has the benefit of reducing your heart rate and mitigating your anxiety.

Remember meditating doesn’t need to be done sitting still. If you can get away from your thoughts (or simply notice them and let them pass by) while cooking, journaling, coloring, or walking, do that!

Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?

My husband AND my kids play drums, which forced me to get a pair of noise-canceling headphones. I find myself using these often, even if no one is in the house. Conversely, sometimes I’ll open all the windows just to hear the wind blowing through the trees — but this only works if there aren’t gardeners working nearby and planes crisscrossing the sky.

We all know the importance of good habits. How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

One habit is to READ. Not only books, journals, or articles about your own business, but EVERYTHING. Fiction, non-fiction, motivational, self-help — the more you can keep the totality of different worldviews on your nightstand, the more aware you’ll feel about the world and your place in it.

Other habits? Floss. For real. Not only because it’s good for your gums, but because it’s so easy NOT to floss. You have to make a conscious commitment to flossing. You’ll be aware every second of flossing that you could, in fact, not be flossing and that your day literally wouldn’t be any different. But over the course of time, it will matter. And if you don’t floss, you’ll have gum surgery like my husband did and then you’ll constantly ask, “why didn’t I just floss”. And then your children will ask if you didn’t floss, why do they have to, and then things will really get out of control.

In other words, don’t avoid small annoyances to make life easier in the short run if doing so will make it significantly harder in the long run.

What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?

Drink less coffee. Eat less sugar. Sip less wine. But still drink coffee, eat sugar, and sip wine. Exercise. Call family. Call friends. Hug your spouse and your kids. Tell the people you love that you love them and also tell them when they are annoying you. They’ll still love you and you’ll feel like a more honest version of yourself. Squeeze your dog close and let him lick your face. Make lists, but keep them in one journal. Write things down by hand sometimes — you’ll remember those things more simply from the tactile experience.

As a business leader, you likely experience times when you are in a state of Flow. Flow has been described as a pleasurable mental state that occurs when you do something that you are skilled at, that is challenging, and that is meaningful. Can you share some ideas from your experience about how we can achieve a state of Flow more often in our lives?

Find what makes you passionate. If it can’t be your career, make it your hobby. And allow yourself uninterrupted time to FLOW. Turn off your phone. Log off of email. Tell your family you need them to leave the house for an hour…or three. Remember that you are important and the people around you will benefit when you take care of yourself.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

At ALTYR we say, “reconnect with yourself to reconnect with the world”. We believe that spending a little time on the inside exponentially effects how you show up on the outside. Let’s spread the healing movement. When I take 10 minutes for myself, I am a better, more calm, and centered version of myself and I show up better for my kids, the person who is next to me in traffic, the person in front of me at the check-out line at the grocery store, my colleagues, my family, everyone I interact with that day. And those people can take our positive interaction into their days, hopefully spreading positivity. Good energy is contagious.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

That’s easy. Gwyneth Paltrow. I want ALTYR to become a brand, lifestyle, and worldview and who could be a better mentor. Gwyneth, we both live in Los Angeles, just tell me where and when to meet you and I’ll be there!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Simple, go to www.thealtyr.com or follow us on Instagram @thealtyr.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

Thank you — I sincerely hope some of what I’ve shared today will help the next generation of entrepreneurs bring their ideas to life!

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