“Identify what you DO want” With Beau Henderson & Carla Reeves

When you find yourself focused on what you DON’T want — let it be a contrast to identify what you DO want and then put all of your focus, attention and action on what you DO want. I had the pleasure of interviewing Carla Reeves. Science has proven that simple shifts in mindset and focus […]

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When you find yourself focused on what you DON’T want — let it be a contrast to identify what you DO want and then put all of your focus, attention and action on what you DO want.

I had the pleasure of interviewing Carla Reeves.

Science has proven that simple shifts in mindset and focus can improve confidence and fulfillment, both of which affect well-being. In turbulent times, these mindset tools are not just helpful strategies, but can be lifesaving. Since stress is the #1 cause of most chronic conditions, learning how to manage competing priorities while maintaining balance is essential. Carla Reeves has been coaching ambitious leaders for over a decade to elevate the quality and experience of everyday living. Her tips are actionable and impactful and perfect for leaders who need to restore well-being.

Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I never set out to be a coach, coaching found me.

I spent years of my life checking the boxes of what I thought made up a happy, successful life. I was a master at making everything look good on the outside. It wasn’t until I hit bottom in the middle of a divorce that I finally admitted to myself that while things looked good on the outside, I was empty inside.

I knew something had to change. I knew there had to be another way and it became my mission to figure it out.

This was the start of finding a more fulfilling way of living life. I was introduced to some incredible tools that allowed me to make the huge shift from feeling at the mercy of my circumstances to taking the reins of my happiness and future.

I later married again and left my corporate job to have our first son. I had dreamed of being a mom and had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom and took it. When my son was 8 months old, I felt myself slipping into some old habits and was missing having something of my own. At the same time, I felt a strong calling to start writing. My mission was to figure out how to be a happy mom — a gift I wanted to give to my children. I began writing daily.

Months later, I was reading through my journals and was floored by what had transpired as I put pen to paper. Not only had I figured out how to be a happy, engaged mom, I had a new level of self-acceptance, tapped into creativity, had grown spiritually and more, AND these changes were having a positive impact on every part of my life. I knew in this moment I was here to share the tool of journaling with others.

I started my first business, Sanity Journals, with a mission to inspire people to journal as a tool for navigating everyday life. This led to speaking, retreats, self-publishing guided journals and eventually a coaching company reaching out to me because of a shared passion for journaling.

I began licensing their journaling software and built a great relationship with the founder. I eventually went through their coaching program. They incorporated journaling with their clients and the coaches were trained to use the journaling to help their clients identify their blind spots to make positive change. I fell in love with the idea of marrying a journal with a coach to REALLY help people transform their lives.

I was eventually certified as a Frame of Mind Coach and coached on their team for over six years. Then, four and a half years ago, I left to lead my own coaching brand and pay forward what I have learned — tools for creating radical, positive change in their everyday lives.

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

Six years into coaching on a team of coaches — I felt an inner nudge to leave. I didn’t know why because it wasn’t my dream to create my own brand again and I had a pretty good gig where I was, but I had discounted, questioned and ignored my inner voice too many times before and made a choice this time to listen sooner and act faster. I left the coaching company I was with and started my own brand. At the time, I didn’t understand why this was so important but knew from past experience that listening to this nudge was the most important thing I could do — even if it meant falling on my face.

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting?

I was hosting a live conference call where people dialed in and the first 15 minutes, I was presenting a topic and the last 15 minutes was a Q+A. I talked for 15 minutes and never took myself off mute!

What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Double and triple check your technology and confirm by connecting with your audience before you go live.

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?

Yes! There are many, but one stands out. Kim Ades. She is the Founder of Frame of Mind Coaching where I received my certification and spent years coaching on her team. If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be doing the work I love today. Her mentorship, wisdom, courage to say things others might not have said and her belief in me, all propelled me to doing what I love today.

Can you share a story about that?

Yes. For years, before having children, I had told my husband that I wanted to sky dive. I guess you could say it was on my bucket list. The opportunity came about to go when my boys were six and eight. I had convinced myself that this would be the most irresponsible thing I could do as a mother. My husband mentioned this to Kim who I worked with at the time. She called me and mentioned that she’d heard I wasn’t going forward with my bucket list item. I told her my reasoning and she said one thing I will never forget. “What if your greatest responsibility as a mother is to show your children what it means to live fully.” In that moment, she reminded me of who I am and what I am up to in my life. I went sky diving. My boys watched. It was an amazing experience we will never forget.

What advice would you suggest to your colleagues in your industry to thrive and avoid burnout?

While there are many things within our circumstances that we can’t change, our mindset is one thing in which we always have control. Take responsibility and deep care of your mindset and it will serve you for all of your days. Our thinking has a huge impact on the quality and experience of our everyday life. There is a great quote by Mark Twain — “I lived a long and arduous life and 90% of it never happened.” This captures the negative power of our thinking and imagination, however when shifted we can pivot our thinking to propel our goals and dreams. Choose thoughts that empower you and lift you up and you will find your environment, experience and results will follow.

Journaling is an incredible tool for tending your thinking. I suggest regular journaling to my clients to “take out the mental trash daily” as a routine for taking better care of their well-being. It’s a simple, yet powerful practice for keeping tabs on your mental and emotional well-being and a way to identify signs of burnout early so that you can course correct.

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

Lead by example.

Have a clear, consistent mission and set of values.

Commit to straight, ongoing, transparent communication.

Provide candid, constructive, consistent feedback.

Provide coaching for your leaders to ensure they are equipped to lead.

Care about the people who work for you.

Let your people know how their contribution ties to the larger purpose.

Value, trust, and empower your people.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. Mental health is often looked at in binary terms; those who are healthy and those who have mental illness. The truth, however, is that mental wellness is a huge spectrum. Even those who are “mentally healthy” can still improve their mental wellness. From your experience or research, what are five steps that each of us can take to improve or optimize our mental wellness. Can you please share a story or example for each.

Do the inner work to make peace with your past so that you can lead from a whole and complete version of yourself today.

Tend and take consistent care of your mindset. Examine your thinking. Take responsibility for your thinking. Take the mental trash out daily. Turn negative thoughts into powerful questions.

When you find yourself focused on what you DON’T want — let it be a contrast to identify what you DO want and then put all of your focus, attention and action on what you DO want.

Create a habits and routines that fuel your well-being (i.e. morning routine, exercise, journaling, meditation, etc.).

Much of my expertise focuses on helping people to plan for after retirement. Retirement is a dramatic ‘life course transition’ that can impact one’s health. In addition to the ideas you mentioned earlier, are there things that one should do to optimize mental wellness after retirement?

Resist the urge to think that “retirement” is a destination where life gets better, you finally get to relax and do the things you want to do. Instead, learn to cultivate well-being and fulfillment before you reach retirement. If you don’t know how to cultivate happiness, well-being, fulfillment before retirement, you likely won’t know how to do it once you reach it. Learn to cultivate these things beginning now, and then when retirement comes you will be well equipped to make it the time of your life.

The habits and practices mentioned earlier are all great tools for after retirement too. Keep a strong and healthy mindset. Integrate routines and habits that elevate your energy and help you to thrive. Build strong and healthy relationships that will grow with you into retirement.

How about teens and pre teens. Are there any specific new ideas you would suggest for teens and pre teens to optimize their mental wellness?

I believe our influence as parents is demonstrated most powerfully by the way we live and lead our own everyday lives. Our teens will pay far more attention to what we do than what we say they should do. Model for them what you want them to embody in their own lives. Communicate. Be interested in them and their ideas. Spend time with them. Have regular traditions that you do together. Teach and model emotional resiliency. This, they can take into every corner of their lives now and always.

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 start a movement to spread the desire, courage and willingness to do the important inner work; to love and heal ourselves. To then equip people with tools to minimize self-induced drama and amplify purpose and meaning. To remind people of who they truly are and instill in them the confidence and tools to maximize the gift of living.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”?

“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most just exist.” — Oscar Wilde

Do you have a story about how that was relevant in your life?

Yes, my own story of going through the motions and checking the boxes hoping to arrive at a happy, successful life. I felt powerless and was merely existing. It became my mission to figure out how to truly live. Now, I make a choice every day to live fully. It is my purpose to ignite this possibility for others.

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

@carlasreeves (Instagram) (LinkedIn) (website)

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

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