“I have started a movement to Stop, Breathe & Think” With Julie Campistron

“ I really try to focus on what I can control and not dwell on external circumstances. I was an expat kid, and the first 10 years of my…

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I really try to focus on what I can control and not dwell on external circumstances. I was an expat kid, and the first 10 years of my life I traveled a lot and had to adapt to many situations I had not chosen. I feel like that has given me as sense that complaining was a waste of time and that my energy was better spent figuring out how to make the best out of the situation.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Julie Campistron, Co-Founder & President of Stop, Breathe & Think. The app features a personalized experience with an emotional check-in that allows you to be aware of your mental state and track your mental wellness over time. SB&T is the biggest source of live, emotional data out there. To date, over 2.2M emotional check-ins have happened through Stop, Breathe & Think. The app won the 2017 Webby People’s Voice Award for Health and is paving the way for kids and parents alike to raise the way to everyday emotional wellness, anxiety, and depression.

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

Jamie, my co-founder and I participated in “Planet of the Apps”, a reality show produced by Apple. We submitted for the casting thinking we would never make it, but were selected after all! It was both exciting and nerve wracking, especially when we had to do the “escalator pitch”, a 60 second pitch we gave to the 4 celebrity mentors (Jessica Alba, Gary V, Gwyneth Paltrow and Will.I.Am) while going down an escalator. We made it as a finalist and it was really fun to see first hand how a show like this gets made. Jessica Alba mentored us and her advice was one of the inspirations for us to launch our younger kids app, Stop, Breathe & Think Kids.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

A few weeks into our first fund raise; we were offered $100K by an angel. As a first time fund raiser, I was a little naive, and since we were looking to raise a couple million, and we were so early into our process, I never followed up, thinking we should go after way bigger checks. I obviously regretted that decision pretty quickly as I realized how hard fund-raising was going to be. I learned that as long as the investor is the right investor, there is no “small check”, and you should take the support when it is offered. Some of our smaller seed checks have come with a tremendous amount of support beyond the actual dollar investment and today I have a way better sense of how valuable that is.

What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

On the brand side, our authenticity and integrity. Jamie started developing mindfulness and meditation curriculum 18 years ago, way before it was trendy and popular like it is now. She started Stop, Breathe & Think as a non-profit with the core motivation to “do good”. That DNA is an integral part of our, now for profit, company, and remains why our team is so passionate about our mission. On the experience side, our emotional checkin. We start each session by asking our users how they feel emotionally, and give them a personalized recommendation. This has resulted in over 13M emotional checkins collected to date, and allowed us to prove the efficacy of SBT on anxiety reduction, across a very large body of population.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

I will be a little self-serving and tell them to “Stop, Breathe & Think” 😉 Seriously, the ability to take a few minutes each day to checkin with yourself and practice a little mindfulness, or breathing, or simply pay a little closer attention to what’s around you really helps put things in perspective and navigate the craziness of entrepreneurial life. I also always remind myself of what’s truly important in my life: my family, my close friends, the good fortune I have to be healthy and presented with great opportunities. Those things anchor me when the rest becomes chaotic. Finally, I try to avoid my phone when I do things with my kids or my husband. I try to be fully present and soak it in, to counterbalance the constant solicitation that is the rest of my day.

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?

I have been blessed with many supporters along my journey, and there are so many people I would like to thank, but the one who always comes first when I think about this topic is Dave Goldberg, former founder of Launch Music and CEO of Survey Monkey. I worked for Dave at Yahoo! Music, he supported me to head the marketing team when the opportunity came, and long after I left Yahoo!, he continued to be a mentor, connecting me with people and opportunities he thought would help me. But beyond his ongoing support and mentorship, he was an amazing human being, smart and firm in business, but also caring, present, generous. His passing left a huge void for so many others, and me but his legacy has lived on as he’s inspired us to be better people, in work and in life.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

When I left my job at Demand Media, it was really important for me to focus my next career move on having a positive impact on the world. Joining Jamie to build Stop, Breathe & Think perfectly fit that agenda. We recently had a team offsite, and we agreed that our vision was to help make the world kind, compassionate and peaceful. That’s what motivates us all every day.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

“I mean, you don’t expect much — not from the ref, not from the opposition. If you’re playing into the wind in both halves, that’s just how it is. We just don’t expect to get a break. That makes you tougher in a way. We don’t spend a lot of time worrying about what happened to us and why did it happen to us and woe is us. We just get on with what’s the next most important thing, which is our definition, by the way, for mental toughness.” Jack Clark — Rugby Coach I really try to focus on what I can control and not dwell on external circumstances. I was an expat kid, and the first 10 years of my life I traveled a lot and had to adapt to many situations I had not chosen. I feel like that has given me as sense that complaining was a waste of time and that my energy was better spent figuring out how to make the best out of the situation.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. You will become the #1 sales person for your company — I don’t think I realized beforehand how much the role of the CEO is to be the constant outward facing promoter of the business. My background is more that of an operator, and I quickly realized that whether it’s for fund raising, hiring or partnerships, I have had to become way more outward facing than I expected. It’s been a great learning experience!

2. Money comes in many colors and flavors — being new to fund raising, that is probably the area I have learned the most through this adventure. The tip of the iceberg are the best known VC firms that everyone has heard about, but once I started the process, I realized how many different sources of capital I could have access to, from angels, to category focused funds, family offices and everything in between. And each investor will have different hot buttons, so meet many and you will find the right fit for your business.

3. The buck stops at you (and your co-founders) — again, I feel this is obvious, and I thought I knew what that meant, but living it has been a completely different experience. I understood conceptually what this entailed, but how it translates in the day to day is a whole other story. It is a weight that you carry around constantly. It means the implications of every decision can sometimes haunt you. You have to be ready for it.

4. You’ll do so many things “for the first time” — I have 18 years of professional experience behind me, yet, as an entrepreneur, I have had so many instances where nothing had prepared me for the scenario I was facing, and I had to just go for it, learn on the spot, do my best. It’s been humbling, formative, exciting, and terrifying all at the same time.

5. It takes a village. Building and cultivating your network is key — sounds obvious, but there is so much help you will need from so many different people. And you never know where the opportunities and the connections will come from, so it’s crucial to dedicate a significant chunk of your time to meeting people, checking in with the folks you have worked with in the past, your advisors, other entrepreneurs etc. You don’t need an agenda. It sometimes feels like you are spending a lot of time grabbing coffees and lunches, but trust me, it will pay off.

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. 🙂

We believe that we’re building a movement with Stop, Breathe & Think. By making these 3 simple words habitual and accessible for all, especially new generations, our goal is to bring perspective and calm to the world.

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