I think that this challenging time and social isolation is a convenient moment for self-improvement, for upgrading your businesses and boosting positivity. A positive state of mind is always looking for an opportunity to overcome stumbling blocks, while a negative mindset expects the worst. A negative attitude won’t push your business forward, but instead, it will produce setbacks.
As a part of my series about the things we can do to develop serenity and support each other during anxious times, I had the pleasure of interviewing Lena Yudina.
Elena is a business innovator, marketing strategist, and author of eBooks and Courses on Content Marketing, and Persuasive Writing. She holds her BBA in Enterprise Business Management, M.Ed in Education, as well as her training in Web Design, Systematic Reviews, Medical Writing, and Yoga Therapy. Elena is known for her thought-provoking articles, Executive interviews, medical research, and she runs the Business Consulting Firm Kaleidoscope English, www.KaleidoscopeNYC.org, and her boutique Marketing Agency, www.Coffee-District.com.
Various clients, media, and book writers, including Dr. Synthia Li, M.D., NYParenting Magazine, New York Family Magazine, Elephant Journal, and others, have published or supported her work for education, business, healthcare, and wellness fields.
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 about what brought you to your specific career path?
Sure, it’s my pleasure. Long story short, after moving to New York City from Washington, D.C., where I worked for the World Bank and Deloitte & Touché, I started looking for a job that could be similarly engaging and meaningful. I had always dreamed of a career that could allow my creativity, analytical skills, and professional knowledge of various subjects to be respected and rewarded. I also looked for a job that could give me some flexibility with my schedule, so that I could spend more time with my family. Soon after my relocation, I got employed by a private school in Manhattan, and I expected the best.
However, working as a school teacher in New York City brought me very little satisfaction after my ten years of working in the field. I felt burnt-out and overwhelmed with the demands of the bureaucratic orders, rules, and regulations affiliated with the job. In addition to that, I noticed that the number of students with learning disorders, behavioral problems, and obesity in my classroom exceeded expectations and reasonable limits. Despite my deep-rooted respect for the teaching profession, I nurtured my decision to become an entrepreneur. I finally decided to break through and find my authentic voice and calling.
Working in the field of education gave me an in- depth knowledge of problems that families and that adult Business English Language learners are facing. To this day, I offer digital classes in EFL (English as a Foreign Language) for homeschool students, and ‘English for Business’ courses. Being an independent consultant allowed me to combine the New York City, states, and global curriculum to provide a customized approach for each student. During my courses with ten lessons in each, my students can follow my eBooks, prepare their homework, exchange emails, and adjust the topic they are learning..
In addition to that, I lead my Marketing Agency and a lifestyle Magazine, where I write my Executive interviews, cover natural product brands and discuss Education, Entrepreneurship, Public Health, and Ecotourism. I help my clients build their digital businesses, design and develop their websites, and manage their Social Media accounts using scheduling or video production tools. I often include Facebook Ads, customised graphics and Infographics for marketing, advertising, and content upgrades.
After additional professional training in Medical Writing and Teaching Yoga, I started writing articles for Medical Publications while working on my Systematic Reviews.
QiGong, Yoga, Tibetian Meditation and Diet have become my long-term obsession and the goal of my ongoing research. I am learning and publicizing their health benefits and practicing them, one step at a time. We often explore the above issues through my Media or Membership options that will be available on my websites.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?
After I decided to become an independent businesswoman, I remember the feeling of fear, anxiety, and frustration affiliated with my career-leap into the unknown. I could not picture my new independent business life that would be without a steady income, the comfort of my classroom, and the support of my colleagues at school. I realized that from now on, I might spend most of my days at home, business office, or at the local coffee shops in total solitude or social isolation until I could get my business off the ground. It was 2016–2017, and like a majority of beginners, I did not have much guidance from other business consultants, neither did I find an affordable business office space, or funds to cover the rent of such office space. I had more questions than answers and more frustration than happiness.
On the first day of my entrepreneurship, I anxiously stepped into the overcrowded local coffee shop for a boosting cup of Joe. Suddenly, I accidentally bumped into a person who happened to be one of the producers of the American comedy-drama web television series ‘Mozart In The Jungle.”He looked busy working on his movie clips, but he seemed friendly enough to engage in the casual ‘coffee chat.’ We spoke about the world of T.V. show production, the struggles of an independent press and media, and trending topics in the news. I felt grateful for such an uplifting, inspirational and encouraging conversation and the insights that my companion shared. Sipping some coffee and processing our dialogue, I opened my laptop, checked my inbox, and happily realized that I had been included in WeWork’s “Talent Incubator Program.”
I applied for the We Work’s “Talent Incubator Program” a couple of months prior, sending my application package that included various forms, a proposal and a 2 min business-related video. I could not believe my eyes when I saw their acceptance message and welcome. I learned that I received a grant from WeWork and an invitation to join their multinational business community. Their grant allowed me to occupy the WeWork’s office spaces, conference rooms, and other business facilities locally and globally for one year with no charge. It was a piece of the fantastic news that boosted my self-esteem, saved me an impressive amount of money and struggles, and eliminated many of my fears and doubts. Thrilled by the news, I ran home to share my happiness.
Later in the evening, I logged into WeWork’s Intranet portal, created my business profile, and advertised my business to my global partners. The next day, I received an email from my first client, a lady who needed my help with copywriting, editing, and translating her complex documents. She also took one of the digital language courses that I offered at the time. The events of these two memorable days served as a sign that assured me of my choice to become an entrepreneur, and that validated my courage for change.
Being an independent entrepreneur opened a whole different world to me. However, my career path was not effortless, comfortable, or more profitable compared to my previous jobs. I worked hard, and I still work hard every day, sometimes ten hours per day, or even on the weekends. My demanding professional schedule includes traveling, managing my business, and balancing copywriting, researching, and working on in-house marketing and media projects. But when I do what I am genuinely passionate about and have the freedom to follow my calling, while helping others, Life changes its trajectory for the better.
What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?
Having a hobby, and working on it always stimulates our brain, gives us extra energy and generates positivity. People tend to separate jobs from hobbies, but despite the belittling connotations that hobbies might have, hobbies can significantly improve our performance at work and overall holistic health. It is evident that working long hours without mindful breaks increases the level of stress, and stress-related diseases, which costs the U.S. economy alone an estimated 300 billion a year.
It seems natural to believe that hobbies are optional and that they do not contribute to our income or productivity at work.
We have heard it so many times that working longer hours is the only way to success and higher achievements. However, many disapprove of the strategy of working long hours, and I agree that this approach can be harmful. There are many examples of professionals who balance their highly successful careers by spending time on hobbies. The ‘Apple’ CEO Tim Cook hits the gym at 5:00 am, and he believes that exercise helps him sustain his busy day and stay on top of it. The CEO of ‘American Electric Power’ Nick Akins plays the drums at charity events, and he has said that this hobby helps him reconnect with himself and the community at large.
Busy solo-entrepreneurs can also benefit from hobbies by developing life-saving habits that balance their schedules and contribute to stress management. My personal experience has shown me that extending my work hours is not always an effective strategy, and it can even be counterproductive. Working smarter, taking breaks, short vacations, and enjoying some healthy hobbies may produce better results in the long run. I noticed that surfing, practicing tennis, music, Yoga, QiGong, or Meditation helps me to balance my life-work schedule, improve sleep, and have a fresh flow of energy throughout the day.
Tim Kreider once describes the value of hobbies and breaks. “Idleness is not just a vacation, an indulgence or a vice; it is as indispensable to the brain as vitamin D is to the body, and deprived of it we suffer a mental affliction as disfiguring as rickets…It is, paradoxically, necessary to getting any work done.”
What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture?
Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue Magazine, once mentioned that managing and micromanaging people at work are two different things. As a female entrepreneur, she has an interesting perspective on how to build a thriving work culture and communicate with employees. Similarly to Anna, I believe that company Executives should stop micromanaging their employees so that everyone can fearlessly unleash their creativity. However, there is a fine line between expressing creativity while following some rules, and total insubordination or anarchy. To create a fantastic work culture, everyone on the team should understand where this fine linebegins and how to navigate the rules.
In my boutique Media and Marketing Agency, for instance, I always encourage my teammates to be creative, but punctual at the same time. It is essential for me that everyone on my small team is accountable for their work, and that we deliver all parts of our projects in full and on time. Spending some casual time together with colleagues for a cup of joe or tea and seeing what their struggles are might also benefit the work culture. During the Coronavirus and social distancing it can be done digitally through zoom, skype, or other web-based tools.
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?
I have recently reviewed the book “ Brave New Medicine,” by Dr. Cynthia Li. It was one of the most informative books that I have ever read. Although there are many reasons for picking Dr. Li’s book, I mostly love the book’s intellectual complexity, storytelling style, educational value, and an easy-to-read language. It is a rare feeling when you read a new book and find yourself nodding along to almost every concept it describes. I also found myself reading and re-reading it on multiple occasions.
Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I have read multiple writers from Russian classical authors and French romantic novelists to Japanese Haiku poets, Jewish Philosophers, Buddhist meditators, and American marketers, journalists, and sociologists. The book of Dr. Li reminds me of some of my favorite authors. Besides, her writing serves as an encyclopedia of unique insights in the fields of Functional Medicine, Alternative Therapies, Public Health, and Wellness. Since I often write my articles and Systematic Reviews on similar topics, I keep the book on my coffee table for weekly browsing, references, and advice. I wrote an article and a book review about Dr. Cynthia Li, M.D., and posted them in my media. I might also encourage anyone interested to visit Dr. Li’s website or to listen to her on the “Doctor’s Pharmacy Podcast,” by Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our Interview. The past 5 years have been filled with upheaval and political uncertainty. Many people have become anxious just from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have only heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to develop serenity during such uncertain times? Can you please share a story or example for each.
1. Turn Negative Into Positive
I think that this challenging time and social isolation is a convenient moment for self-improvement, for upgrading your businesses and boosting positivity. In Buddhism, some teachings focus on turning negative consequences into positive outcomes. Positivity can lead to the overall growth of our personal and professional skills, improve our health and business enterprise. A positive state of mind is always looking for an opportunity to overcome stumbling blocks, while a negative mindset expects the worst. A negative attitude won’t push your business forward, but instead, it will produce setbacks.
Applying these principles, you can start working on your new projects or retrieve some forgotten projects from the past. To stay positive and thrive, you can learn to redefine your success or shortcomings to find challenging unique solutions in your life.
2. Communicate, Laugh, Be Creative, and Learn New Things
Connecting to a broader community during the time of a crisis is as important as eating, exercising, and taking care of our daily needs. During the time of social distancing, more of us will depend on digital collaboration while reaching out to others, studying, or working from home. Such leaning on digital media and the Internet is unprecedented, and everyone should find a way to work around such a challenge. Whether it is work-related and health-related communication, social engagement, self-education, or a family event, the Internet is becoming our home for an unspecified amount of time.
There are plenty of ways to combat isolation and connect to a broader community through learning new and uplifting things. You just need to focus on what makes more sense to you, brings more joy, and what feeds your soul or curiously. For instance, I chose to learn about the benefits of the Medicinal Herbs and Tibetan Spices that have healing effects during the season of cold, flu, and pandemics. You might use a simple hydroponic system and natural light to grow such herbs at home.
3. Burn Stress With Meditation
Chronic stress, malnutrition, disrupted sleep, and loneliness are significant factors that can seriously compromise aspects of the immune system. Fearful thoughts are little more than chemical and electrical signals. Triggered through a complex network of the body’s cells, fear itself can cause disease. Meditation helps to calm our agitated mind and nervous system, so focus on the positive, smile more often, and meditate your fear away. Meditation helps to reduce stress, and this process helps to mitigate inflammation in the body. Then the reduced inflammation in the body helps to release more tension, bringing your body to an improved stage of wellness. It is one of the essential formulas of the value of Meditation.
According to research, visualizing invigorating environments in nature like a forest or an ocean, and focusing on our breath can have a positive effect on our health. I often practice Guided and Sound Meditation in my spare time. A few of my favorite books on Yoga, Meditation, Neuroscience, and Qi Flow include the following. “Light on Life: The Yoga Journey to Wholeness,” by B.K. S. Lyengar; “The Brain That Changes Itself” by Dr. Norman Doigde; The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Week practice, and “On Zen Practice: Body, Breath, & Mind,” by Taizan Maezumi & Bernie Glassman.
4. Include Natural Products, Natural Beauty Rituals, and Natural Healing in Your Life.
It might be helpful to exercise and drink some calming herbal teas that aim to control seasonal weakness, stress, throat infections, and hormonal balance. Cooking homemade soups or checking your daily vitamin intake might also be helpful. You don’t have to be a Ph.D. in nutrition to put together an essential list of foods and herbs that work for you and your loved ones.
I might also advise consulting a medical specialist who can elaborate on the topics of Functional Medicine or Ayurveda.
Here is my favorite choice of the herbs and teas that are good for boosting immunity and relieving some stress and tension during the cold and flu season: Matcha Green Tea, Rose Hips tea, Echinacea, Mint, and Valerian Root. Trying organic brands, as they are often more trustworthy. Some doctors recommend creating a mix of herbs, drinks, and vitamins for better absorption and effect. Consult with your naturopath or a doctor about your particular intake and doses.
One of the books that I can recommend is “Herbal Healing For Women,’” by Rosemary Gladstar.”
5. Have Fun, Get Outside, and Make a Choice in how you keep yourself healthy.
We can not control what is happening in our society due to the recent pandemic. But we can control our behavior within it.
So, choose one thing that makes you feel happy. Spend some time outside while playing with your kids, or walk with your pets, or start gardening. You can re-examine your health and negative symptoms, and decide what to do next to eliminate them.
It might be rewarding to reach out to advocates for natural healing, minimally invasive surgeries, functional medicine, and complementary therapy doctors. If the mainstream Healthcare System does not always allow much flexibility with such choices, you might need to take responsibility for your health.
From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to effectively offer support to those around us who are feeling anxious? Can you explain it?
I can quote Dr. Cynthia Li, M.D., that I have mentioned in this Interview previously. In her book, she has underlined seven essential ingredients of optimal health, including the following five:
1. Adequate Sleep
2. Exercise and Movement
3. Connection to the Community
4. Love and Purpose
1. Sleep Well. Based on the above five pillars, I will suggest some of my ideas for combating anxiety. In addition to staying home, washing your hands, and protecting your loved ones, make sure that there are no traits of the infection in your place, that your area is clean and quiet, so that you can have adequate sleep or nap time.
2. Dance, Hike, or Learn some Yoga poses, one pose at a time. Choose the easy-to-make beginner-level poses like the Mountain Pose or a Tree Pose that aim to open the body’s energy channels. Dwell in them for some time. Remember that Yoga and QiGong poses should not bring pain, but they strive for relaxation and joy. So, adjust your body to each pose naturally, until you feel grounded, balanced, energized, and empowered.
3. Connect to the Larger Community. Call Your Friends, a colleague, student, or client to find out if they need your help. You might be surprised to hear their stories and concerns.
4. Spread love, Find your purpose, Eliminate blockages in your relationships, learn about your ancestors. Popular tools for learning about your cultural and genealogical heritage may give you stimulus, purpose, and means for new love. You probably never knew who was your Great -Grand mother’s cousin, once removed. It may surprise you what you find out!
5. Enjoy Things. Is it Sunday, 5 pm? Get ready to take your facial mask on, listen to relaxing or energizing music, burn some sage in your living room, or play the piano before some candlelight to brighten up your dinner.
What are the best resources you would suggest to a person who is feeling anxious?
There are plenty of professional medical centers and services that offer medical help distantly. But I believe that the best resource in stressful situations is our own body. Our body has ALL the tools to help us recover. If you understand where the feeling of anxiousness or fear is coming from, it might give you a clue about how to heal it. I would also advise practicing Guided Meditation and Tibetan Sound Healing methods (if your family approves of them). Both strategies are foreign to the Western mindset, but they are unique and incredibly beneficial if you are practicing them consistently for at least two-three months.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your Life?
“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.” ~ Seth W. Godin, Stanford Graduate, an American author, marketer, and former dot com business executive.
I am interested in learning from Mr. Seth.W.Godin, especially now after my work in media and marketing. In the 2018–2019 I was invited to cover numerous events at the various business conferences and trade shows. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet a tremendous amount of idea-makers, influencers and business owners. I covered these events, and I advertised brands through my media. Soon after that, I started receiving a ton of emails and direct marketing messages from unknown PR firms and brands. They sent their clients my way, without my consent or any business agreement. I believe that such an aggressive form of marketing is less effective and counterproductive. I like the concept of non-interactive “permission marketing” that was developed by Mr.Seth W. Godin. I am currently reading his book “Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers into Friends and Friends into Customers,” and I am dreaming of interviewing the author in person.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start 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. 🙂
I would build a “Wellness and Preventive Care Medical Center for Women of All Ages.” Most of my business clients are women, and I wish everyone had a choice to find doctors, minimally invasive surgeons, wellness consultants, and nutritionists whose treatments are as humane and honest, as they are professional and affordable. The Wellness and Preventive Care Center can be a place of ‘medical justice’, public health education, and wellness for all.
The current Coronavirus epidemic puts at risk many, including those with chronic illnesses, diabetes, heart and lung problems, postoperative complications, and weakened immune systems. According to the Harvard Health Publishing at Harvard Medical School, and Mr.Patric, J. Skerrett, more than 30% of all deaths associated with heart diseases in the U.S may be prevented. Research shows that other conditions and death could be avoided if treated with the means of preventive medicine and minimally invasive medical procedures performed by a doctor, not a robot.
Women’s health and wellness are a prerequisite for all our endeavors, whether they are work-related or private. However, statistics and research show that women in the United States have long lagged behind their counterparts in other high-income countries. Women’s Healthcare in the U.S. is a multibillion-dollar industry; however, according to the press, “The U.S. women report the least positive experiences among the 11 high-income countries studied. They have the enormous burden of chronic illness, a higher rate of cardiac readmission in the first year after surgery, the highest rate of maternal mortality because of complications from pregnancy or childbirth, as well as among the highest rates of cesarean sections.” According to Nina Martin, Renee Montagne, NPR news, and Barbara Levy, vice president for health policy at ACOG, “maternal mortality is rapidly rising in the U.S., as it drastically declined elsewhere.” (as published in May, 2017).
According to Dr. Chen R, and various papers found on PubMed, the majority of robotic and open surgeries performed on women of different ages caused postoperative complications, damage of healthy organs, and the higher number of surgical site infections (SSI), compared to the less damaging doctor-led minimally invasive or laparoscopic procedures.
As I read in the article” The Dangers of Robotic Surgery”, by The Lawrence Firm, PSC, the robotic (Da Vinci) surgeries prompted unique risks, such as the risk of mechanical failure and the risk of human error. As a result, these mistakes led to a higher number of patients’ mortality, more extended hospital stay, hospital readmissions, and additional surgeries.
A California based company, The Intuitive Surgical Inc, who is responsible for marketing its da Vinci Surgical System claimed their method as the safest and most effective method for operating on women. However, according to the Drugwatch, Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis, this procedure can be described as a high-risk medical procedure in comparison to less invasive methods of treatments.
Following the data found by the Cochrane Library, the doctor-led laparoscopic and minimally invasive procedures reported less postoperative pain. The data confirmed a shorter hospital stay, and quicker recovery time, compared with all types of open myomectomy. Although more studies and Meta-Analysis are needed to assess rates and results, the current statistics show that laparotomy, robotic, and open surgeries performed on women with benign or malignant conditions are among the most expensive and the most dangerous medical procedures. They often increase the risk of postoperative health complications and mortality among women of all ages. Regardless of the coverage of Medical Insurances, in many cases, these procedures are ineffective or bear no evidence of medical necessity.
I wish there could be an escape and a parallel Wellness World where women can have more choices and more chances for long-term survival, preventive care, and true healing. I am positive that policymakers and philanthropic figures, who have the power to make the U.S. Healthcare system accountable, can prompt a significant difference in women’s and families’ lives.
What is the best way our readers can follow you online?
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We wish you only continued success in your great work!
Thank you for your comprehensive interview and your time! ( L. Y)