Limit distractions from social media: Our focus can so easily be broken by scrolling on Instagram. Recently, I tried an experiment and took Instagram off my phone between the hours of 10 am and 7 pm. I had so much extra mental and emotional energy to stay focused. To set myself up for success, I decided to practice this 3 days a week. This practice gives me so much more focus on what needs my energy in the moment.
As a part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik of Almost 30.
With 350+ episodes and more than 15 million downloads, the Almost 30 Podcast has been hailed as “The Best Wellness Podcast to Listen To Right Now” by Covetuer and nominated for “Best Wellness Podcast” and “Best Spirituality Podcast” by iHeart Radio. Hosts Krista Williams and Lindsey Simcik are your virtual best friends, impactful female founders and seasoned event speakers as seen on the stages of Create & Cultivate, BlogHer and POPSUGAR Play/Ground to name a few. Almost 30 is the go-to place for heart-centered, hilarious conversations and real, raw, impactful interviews with brilliant guests. In each episode, Krista and Lindsey dive deep into everything from modern spirituality to health and wellness, aliens to entrepreneurship, and social justice to self development. Almost 30 also hosts life changing events and retreats, as well as provides courses, workbooks and programs to assist in your spiritual and emotional evolution.
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?
Krista: I grew up in a small town in Ohio, and I always had big dreams of making an impact! For most of my life my dreams would cause me anxiety because I didn’t know how to achieve or express them. I worked in digital marketing, consulting, and events for eight years in Chicago and New York before moving to Los Angeles to *try* to pursue blogging full time. I ended up serving, nannying, and just trying to make my way for a long time until I went back to the corporate world. Through that process, I struggled to find my purpose and the best way to share my message with the world. I fatefully met Lindsey when I decided that my calling was to be a SoulCycle instructor!
Lindsey: I grew up in a town just north of Philadelphia, and since a young age, wanted to be a performer. Movement, singing, you name it, I was committed to expressing myself freely — that’s when I felt most like myself. Fast forward to my early twenties and I’m focused on becoming a professional performer, Broadway specifically. I moved to New York after college in Boston, where I auditioned by day and bartended by night. Eventually I became a SoulCycle Instructor, which was my way of leaving the bar industry and it became an unexpected ticket out to LA. In LA, I began to understand my higher expression of my creativity and voice. My creative journey has been so intertwined with my spiritual journey…anyone else? Krista and I soon met through SoulCycle….and we felt immediately connected.
Krista: When Lindsey and I met we were both going through the tough transition between our 20s and 30s, and we started having deep conversations about rejection, fear, relationships, and finding purpose. I had just been rejected from SoulCycle, confused about my career and feeling all the feels about getting older. We decided to record these really intimate and raw conversations on our closet floors so we could help others navigate their own transitions in life. After 7 months of recording, we finally got the courage to launch the Almost 30 Podcast! Now we’re so proud that Almost 30 has evolved into a top 50 podcast, global brand, and community of hundreds of thousands of women all over the world (who are super badass and special). We seek to help women in their evolution and to remember who they are.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.
Lindsey: One of the things we’re most proud of in creating Almost 30 is that we inspired and trusted ourselves. So many people told us it was “crazy” to start a podcast, but we trusted in our own intuition. We had a deep knowing that we weren’t the only ones struggling with these questions of purpose, fear, relationships, and spirituality. We were inspired by the idea that we could add our voices to the conversation and help other people navigate these same uncertainties. As Almost 30 grew and we built a community, they inspired us to keep evolving and creating new inspiring content.
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?
Lindsey: I’ve had so many people encourage and support me professionally and personally, I feel so, so rich in that way. In the last year, we met and hired our coach Aaron Rose. He is a friend, spiritual mentor and a hollow bone that has re-activated the part of me that I abandoned a long time ago…it’s that part that just knows, that is so present to the moment that subconscious programming doesn’t even have a chance, that part of me that’s so free and expressive. I really love being in process with him. He has supported us in our mission as leaders as well as in my relationship with Krista, and in my personal relationship with God. But the truth is, in all of these relationships and experiences, I’m the common denominator. One of my life’s biggest lessons is to trust myself and remember that I’m the one who creates my moment to moment. So right now, I’m turning to me for the answers.
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?
Krista: There were so many! We did an episode recently on our 4-year anniversary where we listened to our first episode back again…and WOW! Firstly, we used copyrighted music (illegally), we didn’t even say anything (we kept going in circles), and we talked about crude things that make me cringe thinking about them…it was hilarious to reminisce. But what mattered is that we showed up anyway, right? There were also multiple times in the beginning that we forgot to hit record or lost all our audio — when you do that with guests it can be really embarrassing. We quickly learned to double and triple check all the technical aspects as well as to be more mindful of our words!
Importantly, we learned that we needed to get really clear with our intention for our brand from the start — that it wasn’t enough to just have an idea in our heads, we needed to define our intention out loud, write it down, and share it with our audience. Now, we’re grateful for all our “mistakes” and learnings because we can share them with other podcasters. We have an entire program, PodcastPro, devoted to teaching podcasters all the lessons we learned along the way!
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?
Lindsey: Our advice would be to not follow in anyone’s footsteps or try too hard to emulate anyone else. Everyone’s purpose and path is different. The most important thing you can do is discover what you are truly passionate about and what you can uniquely offer. This is easier said than done, we know! Try taking some time to yourself, off social media and everything else, to get dreamy and creative. Block out distractions that will invite comparison or cause you to make decisions based on someone else’s success. Almost 30 worked because we didn’t follow anyone else’s rules or playbook. We listened to our intuition and it paid off in a big way!
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?
Krista: Each year I feel like a new book changes my life! I have always loved The Alchemist when I was growing up. Then when I wanted to heal the relationship with my body and food, Women Food and God by Geneen Roth helped me heal in a big way. Now, the book that’s changing me is The Law of One. I had wanted to read it for a while after hearing so much about it on Gaia. I finally got around to it this year! Since then, I’ve read it multiple times and it resonated with me so deeply that I knew I’d never be the same. (I even did a full podcast episode on it on Almost 30!) It’s a beautiful metaphysical text that has helped me understand history, consciousness, quantum physics, healing, and so much more. I have to warn people though, it can be really weird to read because the vocabulary is so advanced (it’s spoken from a higher dimensional consciousness), but it’s worth it!
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
Lindsey: “The reason you have a hard time trusting your intuition is because you are still convinced that some outside authority knows better than you.” ~Maryam Hasnaa
As I mentioned above, one of my greatest life lessons is learning to trust myself. I’ve realized it’s a muscle and that if you aren’t taught to use it early on in life, it takes a lot of practice, focus, and effort to build it as an adult. But I’m doing it! One way I love to practice this is to tell people who I have a close relationship with that I’m working on trusting myself and I would appreciate that they hold me accountable! Pretty intense, I know. But it is a powerful in the moment mirror that could be super effective in rewiring that part of your brain. When I was given the opportunity to move to LA back in 2014, I was not “ready.” I didn’t necessarily have the full-on support of everyone around me (they were too consumed in how my move would affect them). But I KNEW that this move was happening for me and in divine timing. I trusted myself, I didn’t hesitate, and I said YES. Three weeks later, I was living in LA. That move changed my life for the better for so many reasons…..all because I trusted my own feelings.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
Krista: One of the most exciting things we’re working on for 2021 is a brand new membership platform for our community. It will be a safe space for women to connect, learn, laugh, and go deep — all in one convenient place. Right now we’re talking to our community to learn what they want to see and working with our team to build something amazing!
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?
How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
Lindsey: I’ve found that small daily habits lead to the most impactful transformation. For example, setting aside time in the morning just for myself to meditate, journal, and go for a walk or move my body in a way that feels good to me. These small habits help me awaken my creativity and connect to my intuition.
Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?
Krista: The best way to create new habits is to start small and build on from there. It can be overwhelming thinking you have to change everything at once. Choose one small daily habit you’d like to start with — write it down and commit to it for at least two weeks. Once you have that down, you can choose another habit to tackle next. These things will slowly and surely become integrated into your daily life. Have patience and compassion for yourself. You’re doing amazing!
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.
- Move your body intuitively: Start your day with some type of movement, whether that’s a workout class, yoga routine, walk around your neighborhood, or dance party in your bedroom! Let your body tell you what it needs that day. Some days, I wake up with a lot of energy or stress to release and I love to jump on a mini trampoline. Other days, I’m feeling something slower and more relaxing so I’ll do yoga or stretching.
- Stay hydrated: This is so important for your energy levels, skin, digestion, metabolism, immune system — everything! I keep a gigantic water glass or bottle with me at all times and sip all day.
- Meditate: Meditation has been shown to reduce anxiety and depression, boost mood, strengthen your immune system, and improve memory. It’s been life changing for my mental and physical health.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
- Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and feel into your body. Ask it, “what do I need today?” And listen to what it tells you!
- Fill up a big water glass or bottle before bed and keep it on your nightstand. That way, you can start hydrating even before you get out of bed. This sets the tone for your entire day!
- Start small with your meditation practice. You can begin with just two minutes a day and work your way up. Guided meditations are also an amazing way to ease into the practice. We have free guided meditations for you in the Almost 30 Shop here.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal performance at work or sport? Please share a story or example for each.
- Time block your work schedule: Try to schedule all your calls and meetings on the same days or in a cluster so you’re not interrupted while you’re doing deep creative work. I schedule time in the morning — before I answer emails or have calls — to dedicate to brainstorming and big-picture planning.
- Set up an inspiring work space: Protect sacred spaces like your bed and instead set up a little work area at a table or in the corner of your living room. Make it cozy and inviting with candles, plants, and pictures you love. Definitely avoid bed working! Experts say that it makes it harder to go to sleep when you’ve been working in your bed. Plus, it’s actually not good for your posture or your wrists to have no support when typing.
- Connect with your coworkers: Or if you don’t have any, your animals 🙂 (I take breaks to snuggle my kitties during the day!) Schedule Google Hangouts or Zoom calls and start a special channel on Slack or a group chat to share motivation and support. It’s nice to know you’re not alone. At Almost 30, we have weekly team calls to check in and share wins and a special Slack channel dedicated to sharing appreciation for the team.
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
- Set up your schedule in your phone calendar or day planner the night before (or even a few days ahead on Sundays). That way, you can clearly see where you’re devoting your time and energy throughout the day.
- This is a fun one! Do a little online shopping to make your work area cozy, inviting, and inspiring.
- Make it a point each day (again, put it on your calendar!) to check in with your team members. If you’re a team leader, schedule daily check-ins or weekly calls.
Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus? Please share a story or example for each.
- Visualize yourself completing the task: Our coach Aaron Rose taught me a mantra that I adopted: “I see it done.” This has helped train my nervous system to calm down when facing big projects and tasks. I usually take a couple minutes with my eyes closed to breathe into feeling and seeing it done. It works wonders.
- Limit distractions from social media: Our focus can so easily be broken by scrolling on Instagram. Recently, I tried an experiment and took Instagram off my phone between the hours of 10 am and 7 pm. I had so much extra mental and emotional energy to stay focused. To set myself up for success, I decided to practice this 3 days a week. This practice gives me so much more focus on what needs my energy in the moment.
- Schedule in breaks: Breaks are key to success. Set an alarm on your phone for every hour or two to go for a walk, stretch, or do breathwork. This will energize you and spark your creativity. I love to get outside or jump on the rebounder for a few minutes to break up any stagnant energy in my body (Tony Robbins does this, too!).
Can you help explain some practices that can be used to develop those habits?
- Write this mantra on a sticky note on your computer so you can always be reminded of it. Take a deep breath and repeat it to yourself before starting any big project.
- Choose 2–3 days a week where you can commit to taking Instagram off your phone during certain predetermined hours. Block these days off on your calendar so they are part of your schedule. And tell a friend you’re doing this so he or she can hold you accountable!
- Like I mentioned, set an alarm on your phone and put these breaks in your calendar so they’re a part of your natural workflow. Make them as important as a meeting. They are just as essential for your 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?
Krista: I feel most in flow when I trust myself to do the hard thing — when I have a tough conversation or tackle a project that challenges me. My advice would be to not run away from things that feel “hard.” This is when you’re going to learn and evolve the most. Instead, think about why this task feels particularly challenging, where is that resistance coming from? Once you work through it and come out the other side, you will feel so accomplished, inspired, and in flow.
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.
Lindsey: I love this question! I would love to start a movement that inspired people to do the one thing they’ve always wanted to do or start. In making it known, they can crowd source support, resources, and accountability. The hope would be that people would get just as much joy and inspiration from making their dream a reality in helping others do the same! I also envision that this type of community movement would help to extinguish the scarcity mindset that people have around their dreams.
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 🙂
Krista: I’ve always said, Russell Brand or Donald Glover. Two visionaries and change makers who always stay authentically true to themselves.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
For super fun memes, inspirational quotes, and helpful content follow: Almost 30: @almost30podcast
For future podcasters and podcasters, you can follow @yourpodcastpro
Krista can be found at @itskrista
Lindsey can be found at @lindseysimcik