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“Gain Clarity.” With Nicole Starbuck

Gain Clarity. Know who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Then identify your target audience or ideal clients, including who they are, what they struggle with, and how you can help them. The “sweet spot” for your online business and social media is where what you offer meets what your audience […]

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Gain Clarity. Know who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Then identify your target audience or ideal clients, including who they are, what they struggle with, and how you can help them. The “sweet spot” for your online business and social media is where what you offer meets what your audience needs. That’s where the magic happens.

At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s well being, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep and preoccupation that result from a high-achievement life seem to directly inhibit wellness. And yet, in order to sustain the creativity, flexibility, mental acuity and resilience that are necessary for high performance, wellness and wellbeing of the mind, body and soul are also mandatory. So how do we achieve both? This is the question I’m hoping to answer through conversations with high-achieving leaders and influencers who are practicing their own philosophies about how to maintain their wellbeing.

As a part of our series about “Social Media Influencers Share Their Top Self Care, Wellness, and Beauty Tips, I had the pleasure of interviewing Nicole Starbuck.

Nicole Starbuck is a spiritual mentor and life coach empowering entrepreneurs to become the best version of themselves. She’s also the host of the Chronically Conscious podcast and author of Stress Size: How My Hunger for Control Almost Killed Me. Having overcome anxiety, depression, and chronic illness, Nicole is passionate about showing people how to shift from anxious to aligned so they too can stress less and achieve more.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory of how you came upon this career path and to where you are today?

I found out the hard way the “American Dream” is a lie. I thought, “Go to school, get good grades, have a job with great pay and excellent benefits, and everything will be fine,” but I was wrong. When I graduated from university and immediately secured a prestigious position as an assistant store manager at a retail store, I thought I was on my way to the top of the corporate ladder. Instead, I quickly hit rock bottom. Anxious, stressed out, and overworked, I started controlling every aspect of my life, from each calorie I consumed to every penny I spent. I didn’t realize the more tightly I tried to hold onto control, the more it spiraled away from me. After ending up in the emergency room with a massive panic attack, I realized I’d allowed my desire for control to consume me. I made it my mission to become the best version of myself, so I could help others do the same. Now, I’m a spiritual mentor and life coach, showing people how to achieve their dreams without sacrificing their sanity.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I don’t think I’d be where I am today without the guidance, love, and support of Jasmine Ivy, the creator of Women of Woo. After I quit my job as an assistant store manager, I started working as a virtual assistant for Silicon Valley startups. That’s how I met Jasmine. She briefly worked for the same company, but she left to create what eventually became Women of Woo. I also wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn’t know how to get started. A few years passed, and I still felt stuck. Then seemingly out of nowhere, Jasmine reached out, offering me a position as her assistant. I learned a lot working for her, including all about the Law of Attraction, manifestation, spiritual growth and development, and how to run a spiritually-based business. Her success inspired me and gave me the confidence I needed to obtain my life coaching certification and start my own coaching business.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

When I started my business, the thought of going live on video terrified me. I made a New Year’s resolution to start doing live videos on social media to overcome my fear. I’m a recovering perfectionist, so one of the first Facebook lives I did was about overcoming perfectionism. Ironically, I streamed the entire video in the wrong direction, so I appeared sideways the whole time! I didn’t realize my mistake until after the livestream. At first, I was mortified, but then I laughed about it. It was funny the video about being perfect was imperfect. The experience taught me it’s okay to make mistakes and laugh at myself. After all, I’m only human.

As an influencer, you have been blessed with great success in a career path that many have attempted, but eventually gave up on. In fact perhaps most people who tried to follow a career path like yours did not succeed. Do you have any words of advice for others who may want to embark on this career path but know that their dreams might be dashed?

My advice for others who want to embark on this career path would be to feel the fear and do it anyway. Action cures fear. I used to be afraid of making mistakes. To me, mistakes were synonymous with failure. This fear paralyzed me to the point where I wouldn’t even try anything new. My crippling perfectionism held me back from taking on more responsibility at work and later delayed me from starting my own business. Once I realized there’s no “perfect” time and fear never really goes away, I went for it. I lept, and the net appeared. But I had to take that first step in the direction of my dreams to make any of them happen. As the famous Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” And remember, progress is progress, no matter how slow you go.

Can you share with our readers some of your strategies you’ve used to build an engaged, loyal, and large online community?

I used to be a social media manager, so I love talking about building an engaged, loyal, and large online community. I’ve even created an online course called Soulful Social Media and Heart-Centered Sales, available on Udemy. Some of my favorite strategies include:

  1. Gain Clarity. Know who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Then identify your target audience or ideal clients, including who they are, what they struggle with, and how you can help them. The “sweet spot” for your online business and social media is where what you offer meets what your audience needs. That’s where the magic happens.
  2. Pick your platforms. Every social media channel is different. Depending on your niche, not every avenue will make sense for your business. You don’t have to use every social media platform out there. In fact, you can’t do this, or at least not very well across all channels. Concentrate on one or two methods you enjoy the most and have the highest return on investment (ROI). You can measure your ROI in terms of engagement, traffic, or sales.
  3. Be consistent. The best way to look professional on social media and continue to serve your audience is to be consistent. Be consistent with your branding, content, messaging, and when and how often you post. Being consistent doesn’t necessarily mean posting several times a day, or even every day. You get to decide what consistency means to you. And yes, you can sport a messy bun without any makeup on. As long as you’re consistently showing up and being yourself, you’ll create a lasting impression.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview. In my work, I focus on how one can thrive and care for oneself in three areas: body, mind, and heart. You are a busy person with a demanding schedule, can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that help your body thrive? (Kindly share a story or an example for each.)

It took a panic attack for me to realize self-care comes first. I was anxious, stressed out, and seriously questioning my life’s purpose. As it turned out, all I needed to do was take better care of myself to get back on track. Letting go of control, listening to my body, and putting myself first empowered me to shift from anxious to aligned. While I once ran the rat-race of the 9-to-5 daily grind, now I’m an online entrepreneur empowering people around the world to stress less and achieve more. Over the years, I’ve compiled some of the most effective stress management and anxiety relief strategies. My self-care solutions are simple and don’t take a lot of time or energy. Two of my favorite self-care tips include:

  1. Breathe deeply. Sometimes I forget to breathe. I realize I’m holding my breath, or I’m taking shallow breaths. Deep breathing restores my energy and gives my body the oxygen it needs to function correctly. Take a moment from your busy schedule to breathe deeply. Stop what you’re doing and take three deep breaths. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. This breathing exercise will instantly reduce your stress levels, clear your mind, and relax your body. To enhance this exercise, as you inhale, visualize positivity coming into your mind and body. As you exhale, imagine negativity leaving your mind and body. In with the good, out with the bad. Repeat this exercise as often as needed. Stop if you feel dizzy or lightheaded.
  2. Eat mindfully. Don’t scarf down your food. I used to have a bad habit of eating at my desk or working through lunch altogether. Rushing through my meal only exacerbated my stress and anxiety. To eat mindfully, step away from your work, sit down, chew your food, and enjoy what you’re eating. Focus on the tastes and textures. Mindfully eating will increase your joy and gratitude. You’ll also gain clarity and energy to go about your day by bringing awareness to your body. Plus, staying nourished and hydrated is one of the simplest ways to keep stress and anxiety at bay. You can also maximize your meals by eating healthy foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts.

Can you share with us two routines that you use to help your mind or heart to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

While I was recovering from anxiety and depression, sometimes doubts and fears crept in. I was making progress, but these negative thoughts felt like a setback. At first, I was afraid of these negative thoughts, but I learned to understand them instead. After all, it takes time to retrain the brain. Shifting my perspective helped a lot in helping me regain control of my mental health. The most effective techniques I’ve found for reprogramming negative self-talk include:

  1. Reframe (“flip the script”). One of the beautiful things about the human brain is it doesn’t know if you’re lying or telling the truth. You can use this to your advantage by telling yourself what you want to hear to make it a reality. Reframing, or “flipping the script,” as I like to call it, involves telling yourself the opposite of what you’re thinking or feeling to create a new reality for yourself. For example, “I’m stressed” becomes “I’m relaxed.” “I’m anxious” becomes “I’m calm,” and “I can’t do this” becomes “I can do this.” Repeat the new statement(s) out loud, as many times and as often as needed, until you wholeheartedly believe them to be true. This exercise can be used for recurring thoughts, limiting beliefs, and any other ideas, blocks, or hangups that are keeping you stuck.
  2. Think positive. I’ve personally had great success using positive affirmations to alleviate anxiety and depression, cope with stress and chronic illness, and maintain a positive attitude and outlook on life. There’s no one-size-fits-all mantra, and there’s no right or wrong way to use affirmations. It’s not about “doing it right” or “doing it enough,” but about developing a useful and meaningful tool for you. Find positive affirmations that resonate with you, post them where you’ll see them each day, or write them down or say them out loud when you need a boost of confidence. Some of my favorite affirmations include:
  • I am happy, healthy, and whole.
  • I am energized and full of life.
  • I am achieving greatness.

Can you share 3 ideas that anyone can use “to feel beautiful”? (Please share a story or example for each.)

Growing up, I hated my appearance because I didn’t look like my classmates or celebrities on TV and magazine covers. When I got older, I realized true beauty comes from within. Confidence is key. I developed a few ways to boost my self-confidence, so I could feel beautiful whether I was having a good or bad hair day, wearing makeup, or going “au naturel.” Here are three ideas anyone can use to feel beautiful:

  1. Love your selfie. One day, a self-love coach challenged me to share a selfie in her Facebook group. I was nervous about posting a picture of myself because I didn’t feel comfortable taking photos. It took several hours and hundreds of attempts, but I eventually took a photo I felt comfortable sharing. After I posted the picture, I realized my fear had nothing to do with the camera but my lack of self-confidence. I committed to taking at least one selfie every day until I overcame my fear. At first, it wasn’t easy because I didn’t always look my best. There was even one pic of me with bedhead and bags under my eyes. But the more photos I took, the more comfortable I became behind the camera and in my skin. I ended up sharing that unflattering picture in my group because I wanted to show people everyday life isn’t always glamorous, but it’s still beautiful. For anyone who’s struggling with self-confidence, learn to “love your selfie.” Take a picture of yourself every day and find something to love about it instead of tearing it apart. The more comfortable you become, the more confidence you’ll have, and the more you’ll love yourself, inside and out.
  2. Play favorites. When I was an art student at university, I did a drawing project on different parts of my body, complete with commentary. As I drew and journaled, I realized there was a lot I didn’t like about myself. I wanted to cultivate more self-love, so I picked a favorite body part I could be proud of and accentuate each day. My favorite physical feature is my hair. Every day, I do my hair, even if I’m not going anywhere. It only takes a few minutes, but it’s a simple reminder it’s okay to spend time on myself. I deserve to feel beautiful, even if I’m the only one who sees it. If you’re struggling with body positivity, focus on what you like about your body, not what you don’t. Pick a favorite body part and play it up. It doesn’t matter which one. I know someone whose favorite part of her body is her feet, so she gets pedicures and goes barefoot.
  3. Dress up. As an entrepreneur and influencer, I work from home. Most days, I don’t even leave the house except to take my dogs for a walk. However, I always get dressed in the morning. I change out of my PJs and put on real clothes (and yes, yoga pants count as real clothes). It’s a small shift, but it makes a difference in my mood and mindset. I take myself and my work more seriously when I’m dressed. If I need an extra boost, I’ll wear something pretty or put on some jewelry. If you work from home like I do, resist the urge to lounge around in your PJs all day. Get dressed in the morning to boost your productivity. If you commute, you can achieve the same effect by wearing something dressier than you’d usually wear to work. Or you can wear some nice underwear beneath your clothes. No one else may care or even notice your wardrobe change, but you’ll feel better and be more confident.

Is there a particular resource, a practitioner, expert, book, or podcast that made a significant impact on you and helped you to thrive? Can you share a story about that with us?

The book that inspired me to become an entrepreneur was The Business of the 21st Century by Robert Kiyosaki. One day, while I was still working as a virtual assistant, my friend emailed me a PDF copy of the book and challenged me to read it before the end of the day. It was only 115 pages, so maybe two to three hours of reading at the most, but it seemed like too much work tacked onto my already hectic schedule. My friend then asked me if my unwillingness to invest a few hours would be why I failed financially. His words hit me hard, so I gave the book a chance.

The more I read, the angrier I became. I don’t think I’ve ever been so mad in my life. I was upset because I’d done all of the “right” things — I’d gone to school, gotten good grades, had a decent job with good pay and excellent benefits — and yet, I was still struggling with my finances. And now, I finally knew why. ​The book explained everything that’s wrong with today’s society: the corporate world, big banks, Wall Street, government, economy, etc. Kiyosaki explains why we can work so hard and still barely make ends meet. We’re not doing the “right” thing by having a “safe, secure job.” In fact, by being lulled into the supposed security of standard employment, we’re falling into a trap. It’s no wonder I felt stuck.

I knew about the problem, as well as the cause. And after reading The Business of the 21st Century, I knew the solution. If I wanted to thrive, not just survive, I needed to be in business for myself. As I learned from the book, it wasn’t enough to be an independent contractor, solopreneur, or small business owner. I had to start thinking beyond just myself and start looking at the big picture of business ownership: how to leverage my skill set to build an asset that would produce ongoing (passive) income. That’s when I started thinking about being an influencer and creating a global impact. Since reading Kiyosaki’s book, I’ve developed products and services I can share and sell to people who want to grow their businesses and improve themselves.​

Do you have a story about the strangest, most bizarre or funniest wellness treatment that you’ve ever experienced?

I wouldn’t say I’ve tried anything strange or bizarre since I’m relatively open-minded when it comes to holistic health and wellness. Some of the wellness treatments I’ve used include acupressure, aromatherapy, aura cleansing, breathwork, chakra clearing, chiropractic, crystal healing, emotional freedom technique (EFT), massage therapy, meditation, reflexology, and reiki. Each method has helped me in some way or another. I’ve even learned how to practice some of these modalities myself.

The most unusual aspect of my experiences with wellness treatments is I have a knack for manifesting the right treatment at the right time. Whenever I desire to try something new, a practitioner in that field will appear in my life later that week, the next day, or sometimes even the same day. For example, one time, I wanted to get a massage. That day, I received a coupon for a massage. It was practically free! Another time, I wanted to try CBD oil for stress and anxiety, and the next day, I met someone who sells CBD. Amazing things happen when you’re open to trying new things!

As an influencer, 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.

If I could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, it would be raising the consciousness of the world. I believe the more people learn how to tap into and trust their intuition, the more they align with their higher self (the best version of themselves), and the more peace, joy, and happiness they will experience. When you fill up your cup, you can pour into others.

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 with whom you’d like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this. 🙂

I’d love to pick Brené Brown’s brain over breakfast or lunch. Her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, was monumental in helping me overcome my perfectionism. I also learned a lot about self-confidence and self-worth from her work. I’d welcome the opportunity to discuss these concepts in more detail.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

Website: https://www.nicolestarbuck.com

Facebook: https://facebook.com/souloving

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nicole.starbuck

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/souloving

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!

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