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“How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus” with Katie Webb

Meditation has been a huge factor in keeping me focused. I reserve 15 minutes or so before I start my work day and put on a guided meditation to settle my mind. It’s been a great way to ground myself before diving head first into tasks. It reminds me that I’m capable to do what […]

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Meditation has been a huge factor in keeping me focused. I reserve 15 minutes or so before I start my work day and put on a guided meditation to settle my mind. It’s been a great way to ground myself before diving head first into tasks. It reminds me that I’m capable to do what I need to that day, and to be grateful that I have the opportunity to do so.

As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Katie Webb.

Ex-advertising executive turned wellness founder and fitness trainer, Katie Webb, stumbled upon the idea of the product when she became frustrated with the lack of fitness products tailored to her. So she started with mixing a better energy formula of her own in her kitchen in Chelsea, Manhattan. Don’t worry, it’s no longer made in her kitchen.

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?

Great to be here! I grew up in Rhode Island in a small town, playing soccer (and making lists) at a young age. Fitness has always been a huge staple in my life. Once I headed to college and was no longer playing organized sports, I began a daily workout regimen. Since then, I’ve been grateful for the opportunity to test out almost all of the boutique fitness studios in NY and LA during my time living there. My wellness routine started to manifest in the early morning hours before my full time job in advertising, which is what spawned my idea for Aila, a better energy option for before my workouts.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I would say my boyfriend and my female peers in the fitness community inspired me to pursue entrepreneurship after leaving my advertising career. Having been surrounded by a lot of self-starters in my career in New York, I adopted the “why not me” mentality and went for it.

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?

Probably my boyfriend Chip! He’s an ecommerce wiz and an entrepreneur at heart. I myself have always veered on the side of imposter syndrome, where as he as always had the mentality that anything is possible. He’s been mostly self taught in his craft, and I’ve always admired that in him and have been able to learn from it.

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?

Probably messing up our trademark really early. I originally picked a name that another food/beverage brand already had the trademark for after getting pretty heavy into the brand design. You live, learn, and redesign stuff.

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?

I would say one of the biggest things is checking in with yourself, and moving toward something new from a place of curiosity and confidence. Having an understanding of your strengths and really leaning into them. For me, changing careers and starting a business in a completely new industry is humbling daily. It’s much less about what you don’t know, and more so about your willingness to learn and unwavering confidence to fail before you get it right.

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?

At the risk of sounding cliché, I will always love How To Win Friends and Influence People. Pitch Anything is also a great one. Both touch on the art of business and relationships, rather than the science, so to speak. Being able to connect with people, help shape conversations with confidence, and build important relationships has arguably had a bigger impact on my career than the skill-based stuff.

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

“Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” If you’re not uncomfortable, you’re not growing and learning.

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

As of late I’ve mostly been focused on our new product launch. I’m getting to know the supply chain space a lot better (once I finally hired someone to help me!), so it’s been exciting to expand my knowledge of the food & beverage space. I’m also talking to a lot of potential retailers ☺

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. This will be intuitive to you but it will be helpful to spell this out directly. Can you help explain a few reasons why it is so important to create good habits? Can you share a story or give some examples?

My entire company was created out of a good habit I’ve adopted, which is just fitness and physical activity. I’ve found a lot of confidence in the time I’ve spent being active, whether it be in a fitness studio in NYC, or just going for a run out in the mountains (where I’m at now in Park City!) I think it’s helped me realize if I can push myself physically, I can certainly do it professionally. It’s important to create any good habit that brings you joy and makes you feel good about yourself. That energy will spill over into other areas of your life — professional, romantic, emotional — whatever it may be. Anything that builds up self love pays off everywhere else.

How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?

I somehow became an early morning workout person, which I find completely transforms my day. Back when I was still going to studios in NYC, if I could get a class in before 8AM, it always made me feel like the hardest part of my day was over, and that I could take on anything the day threw at me — and as we know, your mindset is everything!

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits?

Conversely, how can one stop bad habits? I’ve always believed that being disciplined is more important than being motivated. I would be lying if I said I woke up everyday motivated — motivation is sort of a fleeting emotion. I’ve tried to lean into discipline whether it’s in fitness or with my company. It’s normal to wake up not feeling super motivated, but I still push myself to be my best. In terms of stopping bad habits, for me it was staying on my phone past 10PM. I’ve taken steps to kick that habit (like making my phone automatically go into sleep mode at 9:30P) but I’m certainly not perfect. I would say taking gradual steps to replace those bad habits with good ones, and don’t be too hard on yourself if it doesn’t work cold turkey!

Let’s talk about creating good habits in three areas, Wellness, Performance, and Focus. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum wellness. Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Eat as best as I can throughout the week. For me this doesn’t mean salads everyday, but making sure I’m getting a reasonable amount of protein, greens, and yes, carbs. I try to not hold too strictly to any sort of diet or deny myself of anything. I find the less pressure I put on myself to eat healthy, the more it comes naturally. My energy levels thank me too!
  2. Integrate movement into the day: I try to be active in some capacity daily, whether it’s doing a Peloton class, or just going for a walk. It clears my mind and sets the tone for my day.
  3. Drink LOTS of water. It helps tremendously with my energy level.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

The biggest piece is carving out time. Wellness can often take a back seat unless you schedule time for it. Now more than ever, it’s a non-negotiable. I block off time on my calendar for meditation, workouts, and lunch. I also bought one of those water bottles that shows you how much you drink throughout the day ☺

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Plan my week ahead with areas of focus for each day and try my hardest to stick to it.
  2. I have an hour or so a day that I devote to my inbox (depending on the task), and then block off hours of time to complete other tasks without disruption.
  3. If I finish my day early, I allow myself to do just that — finish early. I noticed in the past that I would try to pack other tasks into my night to get ahead for the next day, which just ended up leaving me burnt out.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

I set time aside on Sunday evenings to take a look at my calendar through the week and organize tasks/focuses by day. I would recommend this so you don’t fall victim to trying to do everything at once!

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. Meditation has been a huge factor in keeping me focused. I reserve 15 minutes or so before I start my work day and put on a guided meditation to settle my mind. It’s been a great way to ground myself before diving head first into tasks. It reminds me that I’m capable to do what I need to that day, and to be grateful that I have the opportunity to do so.
  2. Setting up my workspace in natural light, sitting upright. I’ve found sitting on the couch makes me tired and less focused, and getting natural light helps with my energy levels as well as better sleep at night.
  3. Which leads me to my third, getting a good night sleep! I try to be in bed by 9:45P each night to allow some wind down time, and I get up at the same time every morning.

Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?

Routines are key. Waking up and going to bed at the same time, and creating good habits throughout my day help me to keep optimal focus.

As a 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? Love flow state! I strive for it everyday. I would say the more I work on inner self talk, and believe that I am capable, the more that state comes naturally. You are the voice you hear most often during your day, and you are in complete control of it. Think of how great you would feel if someone told you how awesome you were 5 times a day? We need to say those things to ourselves more often!

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.

I would love to empower as many people as possible into an active lifestyle — it’s actually the mission of my business. I’m forever grateful what a healthy lifestyle has brought to me, and I hope to share it with as many people as I can.

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 🙂

Oh wow. I would probably have to say Megan Rapinoe or Serena Williams. Any hybrid of sports and business ☺

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Visit us at meetaila.com or @meetaila on Instagram!

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

About The Author: Parveen Panwar a.k.a Mr Activated is an entrepreneur, angel investor and syndicated columnist, as well as a yoga, holistic health, breathwork and meditation enthusiast. Mr Activated’s life story is one of addiction, stress, depression, anxiety, failures, confusion, negativity, lack of purpose, resilience, and finally connecting with his true self. Mr Activated took a long journey of reflection and self-discovery and reinvented himself. He is now dedicated to helping others activate their own hidden inner powers and live the lives that they want. Mr Activated wants to use his knowledge, experience and inner voice to help awaken others to live happier, healthier, and more meaningful lives; To teach people how to reshape their mindset, uncover their inner strength and motivation, to create a life of higher purpose.

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