How I Thrive: “Read something inspiring today” With Maryna Shkvorets

Read something inspiring today. Give yourself the intention to feel inspired and pick up something to read. Ask yourself what could you take away to feel more alive and self-accepting. Even if you’ve read it before, you’ll see it with a new pair of eyes. At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is […]

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Read something inspiring today. Give yourself the intention to feel inspired and pick up something to read. Ask yourself what could you take away to feel more alive and self-accepting. Even if you’ve read it before, you’ll see it with a new pair of eyes.

At times it feels like wellness or elevating one’s wellbeing, is diametrically opposed to high achievement and high performance in one’s career. The stress, mental energy, long hours, lack of restful sleep, 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 women who have gleaned and are practicing their own philosophies on maintaining their wellbeing.

As a part of this series about what successful women leaders do to thrive, both personally and professionally, I had the pleasure of interviewing Maryna Shkvorets. Maryna is a public speaking coach focusing on helping professionals show up as confident, engaging, and persuasive leaders. She offers counterintuitive advice (none of this, “don’t use bullet points” crap) and teaches through a three-part framework: Detach from fear to be the speaker you truly want; Attention — grab it and keep it; and get in the zone to nail it! Aside from public speaking coaching, she’s also offering a brand new How to be assertive without losing yourself program to help you kick off the new year with a bang!

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 and to where you are today?

When do I feel most alive? I asked myself this question as I was contemplating a career change. I feel most alive when I am learning something completely new, when I am taking risks, and when I am completely afraid. It was time for a change and that was scary. I have worked so hard to achieve a level of stability and mastery, was I really going to throw it all away? In a word, yes. Once I knew the why, I could focus on the how, and the best way to jump into a world of learning, risks and fear was to start a small business.

The rest is a story of “one thing led to another.” There was a lot of learning and a lot of mistakes. And of course, there were a lot of triumphs as well. Now I can truly say that I feel fulfilled by my career. I am living my life with intention and purpose. Not only am I growing and stretching myself, I feel exhilarated to serve and inspire the people who would rather bathe their cat than speak in front of a crowd.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

A huge focus of my work is addressing fear. I help people reframe it in a way that makes it energizing rather than paralyzing. But one thing I didn’t expect was how much I have to use my own tactics on myself.

I remember being invited to a networking event for startups. As I got there, I realized that I’ve never actually been to a networking event — I didn’t quite understand how to navigate myself. Truth is, I was pretty nervous and uncomfortable. Couple that with the fact that I’m supposed to coach confidence and communication, I actually felt like a bit of a fraud.

Then I thought, wait a minute, I do this all the time for other people. I did a few quick exercises on myself and instantly felt totally at ease. Who knew networking was so much fun?

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?

Boundaries. That’s something I still struggle with and it’s a work in progress. I had a client who had to take a call from a friend. When she mentioned that she was working on an important presentation her friend tried to “coach her” by telling her “What are you so afraid of? You think they’re going to fire you or something? You’ll be fine, don’t worry so much!”

While some people resonate with this “tough love” approach, mine is totally different. I acknowledge my client’s inner pains and the ways they manifest themselves. This is a huge part of actual coaching.

Needless to say, I have a new rule that you can’t answer your phone while we’re working together.

What advice would you give to other leaders about how to create a fantastic work culture and work life?

Great question! I think just by being mindful of the fact that you want to truly thrive in your work life AND your home life is a great first step. Aside from that, I recommend being fully present. When you’re at home, forget about work. When you’re at work, forget about the home. Again, it’s about boundaries!

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 in three areas, body, mind, and heart. I’d like to flesh this out with you. You are a very busy leader with a demanding schedule. Can you share with our readers two self care routines, practices or treatments that you do to help your body to thrive? Kindly share a story or an example for each.

The first thing I’d recommend is starting your day with a luxurious stretch. Some days boosting your mood can be a little hard, so give yourself a head-start with a two-minute stretch while still in bed. It’s amazing how much your body can affect your brain. Stretch out your arms and legs to make you feel victorious and alive and allow your mood to follow.

My second piece of advice is to hit the gym. Personally, I’m a fan of powerlifting. (I know… you can’t quite tell by my physique.) But I find that going to the gym for a workout — no matter what you’re into — creates that separation when you can truly be present with your body. Besides, paying for the membership is a huge testament to commitment!

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

Read something inspiring today. Give yourself the intention to feel inspired and pick up something to read. Ask yourself what could you take away to feel more alive and self-accepting. Even if you’ve read it before, you’ll see it with a new pair of eyes.

Schedule your priorities. When I truly need to get down to business, keeping an hourly schedule really keeps me on track. I set out my goals for the week, and then put them onto a weekly schedule. It’s amazing how much you can achieve when you treat yourself like an employee!

Finally, can you share with us two routines that use to help your heart, your emotional or spiritual life to thrive? (Kindly share a story or example for each.)

Gratitude journal. Taking a moment to be grateful is a great habit. I do this both in the morning and at night. And I write two-pages worth on those days when I feel like nothing’s going right. It’s a total mood-booster, and it shifts your self-talk from negative to positive.

I also use every morning to journal. I believe the term is Morning Pages. Being able to dump your thoughts out first thing in the morning really clears your head for the rest of the day. By the way, if you try morning pages and feel like you get nothing out of it — don’t give up. It takes time to be able to lay your life on the page. Maybe just start with a few prompts you find on the internet.

When life is very busy, and you cannot stick with your ideal routine, are there any wellness practices, rituals, products or services for your mind, body, or soul that you absolutely cannot live without?

I can relate to that right now, as I’m home with a newborn! When things aren’t going according to plan, I make sure I do the bare necessities. I make sure that I shower and make myself look presentable. Sound frivolous? It’s not when you have a baby! It makes a huge difference for my mental health, and makes everything else feel like a bonus!

All of us have great days and days that are not as great. On days when you feel like a rockstar what do you do? What does that day look like, and what did you do to get there?

On days that I feel like a rockstar, you can be sure that I woke up around 5am, I went to the gym, and I stuck to my hourly schedule. Nothing’s better than those days!

In contrast, on days when you feel down, what do you do?

I have to admit, I do have days that feel like nothing’s going right. When that happens, I make sure to grab my journal and write out two full pages of things I’m grateful for.

I also practice a little self-acceptance. I remind myself that it’s okay to feel down when things aren’t going how you want. I let myself feel it through and process it before I let myself move on.

Do you have a story about the weirdest, most bizarre or most humorous wellness experience, treatment, practice, or practitioner that you’ve ever partaken in? If you do, we’d love to hear it.

I haven’t mentioned this yet, but I really rely on meditation to keep things in perspective. I’ve been practicing meditation on and off for more than half of my life.

In the early years, I’ve attended some “free courses” that seemed a little… culty. It was definitely an awkward balance between keeping an open mind, being respectful of others’ practice and trying to keep a safe distance.

You’re a high achieving business leader, and you also have family and loved ones that may require a different side of you at home. How do you leave the executive at the door, and be the most loving caretaker at home?

This is a great question! It’s actually super hard for someone who works at home to create a boundary between work-life and family-life. It’s also super weird for me now, as I have a newborn at home — so the way I allocate my time is new to me.

At this point, I have made a recommitment to presence. I commit to being fully present with my business when I have the time to work on it, and fully present with my family when I’m with them. I think that’s the simplest way to break it down.

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

At the moment, I find a lot of inspiration from Marie Forleo and James Wedmore. (Who each have a podcast.) They each have built a successful business, and are very generous in sharing tips for the inspired. I feel like whenever I listen to their podcasts I get exactly what I need for my business. It’s like it catches me at the right time.

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. 🙂

Fail once a day. I love the expression “failure is not an option,” but I dare you to flip the script. Do something scary with the expectation to fail. Offer to give a talk at a conference, or ask for a discount at Neiman Marcus. Go for something you’ve never dared, and instead of thinking “it won’t work, what’s the point,” say “I wonder what I can get away with.” You will see that failure is not a definition of who you are, quite the opposite in fact, and you will have a greater appreciation for yourself for stepping out of your comfort zone.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

“Failure is a stepping stone to success”

Sometimes I wish that everything I did was an instant success. But that would only mean that I am not trying anything challenging. I do have mentors and it does help to stand on their shoulders, but there is no rulebook for anything that’s truly important. I learned that I have to go for it, I have to give it my all, and I have to be okay with what happens next.

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

I’m most active on Linkedin, but I occasionally tweet or post to Facebook.

However, my best content on public speaking, confidence, and communication is in my free newsletter. Visit to join the thousands of other subscribers!

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

About the Author:

Ming Zhao is an entrepreneur, business strategist, investor and podcast host. She is co-founder and CEO of PROVEN Skincare, a technology-powered personalized skincare company that won MIT’s AI Technology of the Year award and is backed by Y-Combinator and Stanford StartX. She is an immigrant, a third-generation entrepreneur, and a mother whose daughter is the same age as her startup. Prior to founding PROVEN, Ming was a private equity investor where she frequently worked 80-hour weeks, wreaking havoc on her skin and soul, leading her to pursue personalized skincare. She has an MBA from Harvard University and lives with her family in San Francisco, CA. Checkout PROVEN’s Skin Genome Quiz at

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