Community//

Rachel Braun Scherl of SPARK: “Sleep, eat healthy and exercise”

Sleep, eat healthy and exercise. I am one of the lucky ones that never has trouble sleeping, but absolutely do feel a difference when I watch too much media (big fan of the 1 hour character-driven dramas). During COVID, eating many meals out hasn’t been an issue. In general, I like to minimize the number […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Sleep, eat healthy and exercise. I am one of the lucky ones that never has trouble sleeping, but absolutely do feel a difference when I watch too much media (big fan of the 1 hour character-driven dramas). During COVID, eating many meals out hasn’t been an issue. In general, I like to minimize the number of days that I eat either 1 or 2 meals out at meetings. A colleague once gave me a very great piece of advice when thinking about managing schedules which I have taken to heart. She recommended that I should divide the items on my calendar/time commitments into 3 categories: must do, nice to do, no longer even up for consideration. It helps to streamline the number of choices one needs to make.


As part of our series about “How Anyone Can Build Habits For Optimal Wellness, Performance, & Focus”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Braun Scherl, growth strategy consultant, marketing expert and sought-after public speaker. She is a trusted authority on leadership and entrepreneurship. She has passionately focused on driving the conversation on the business of women’s sexual and reproductive health. She works on femtech and sextech businesses from women “from the tops of their heads to the tips of their toes. Since co-founding SPARK, she has built an international client base that includes multiple divisions of Johnson & Johnson, Allergan, Pfizer, Merck, and Bayer among others. With her passion and commitment, Rachel has successfully launched, built and revitalized companies around the globe and has been doing so for over twenty years.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

I have always been committed to driving important conversations around sexual and reproductive health — to remove the stigma, to share a common vocabulary and to collaborate. During the pandemic, it became clear that business as usual — conferences, client meetings, in-person discussions would not be happening. So I decided to reach out to people in femtech, sextech and women’s health to have conversations to fill the void left by the new world, to be inspired (and maybe even inspire) by others and to ask some of the smartest people I know how they were surviving and in some cases thriving during COVID. I originally planned to speak to a dozen people, and today I am rounding 120 conversations with the movers, shakers, investors, entrepreneurs and HCPs. And the conversations exceeded my expectations. That is resulting in the launch of a unique podcast — Business of the V. My co-host will be Dr. Alyssa Dweck, renowned OB and business advisor. We will focus on the realities of patient care, unmet needs and the companies creating better solutions to the broad range of concerns that women express.

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?

I have a couple of habits that are non-negotiable that help to keep me on track and hopefully as productive as I can be. I work out every day. I make “to do” lists and categorize them in very specific categories (clients, new business, administrative work, activities related to my speaking and writing and personal) I make my bed and I get dressed for every meeting (pre-COVID for sure and every day that I have even 1 zoom call). And I make sure all of my devices are charged.

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

The combination of those activities gives me a sense of preparation, organization and control. I truly rely on the endorphins I get from exercise. In addition, I need some time during the day when my mind isn’t “on” and overrun with thoughts of all of the things I need to accomplish. In those moments, I often get creative and helpful ideas.

Speaking in general, what is the best way to develop good habits? Conversely, how can one stop bad habits?

Any good skill, talent or habit requires practice. I would start with 2 or 3 habits that you think might make a difference and try them. Seriously evaluate whether or not you actually exhibited the behavior and importantly if they had an impact. It is much more of trial and error approach, not 1 size fits all. On the negative side, I try to encourage myself.

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.

In the world I spend my time in — sexual health– devices in the bedroom and in bed are the biggest distractions. Not only does it provide no separation from the rest of one’s life, it has been shown to interrupt with sleep. One of the interesting outcomes of COVID is that we are having more holistic conversations about health — and the awareness that mental health cannot be evaluated separately from physical health. We have lots of research that demonstrates a fulfilling and satisfying sex life has significant health benefits. The discussion around sleep only continues to gather steam in terms of its importance in overall health. In terms of focus and performance, in addition to the benefit of sleep, there is tremendous value in turning off for some period of time every day — whether that is meditating, exercising, reading, laughing or whatever relaxes you.

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

There is no magic here. You just have to decide to start. Often the biggest motivation to add new habits is if your current ones are not working. If you are feeling lethargic, or low energy and unable to focus — those are all signals that you need to make a change. Stress, complex scheduling, multiple responsibilities and roles are part of each and every day, so in my mind, the objective is to have an objective of minimizing stress/distraction and improving outlook and productivity.

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

Sleep, eat healthy and exercise. I am one of the lucky ones that never has trouble sleeping, but absolutely do feel a difference when I watch too much media (big fan of the 1 hour character-driven dramas). During COVID, eating many meals out hasn’t been an issue. In general, I like to minimize the number of days that I eat either 1 or 2 meals out at meetings. A colleague once gave me a very great piece of advice when thinking about managing schedules which I have taken to heart. She recommended that I should divide the items on my calendar/time commitments into 3 categories: must do, nice to do, no longer even up for consideration. It helps to streamline the number of choices one needs to make.

9. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimal focus?

For optimal focus I suggest meditation, exercise, and keeping a schedule. We need to clear our heads to be able to focus which means we must be free of distractions when it comes to our work.

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?

When I finish a speaking engagement or have a great workout or deliver a great presentation, I feel happy. I literally feel lighter. My ultimate goal (not one that I achieve every day) is to maintain a sense of calm — which means that I have a combination of things I enjoy, people I love and physical activities that make me feel energized. I also try, again not always successfully, to focus on what went well and what didn’t.

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 feel that I made an important contribution if I played a role in eliminating the stigma around women’s sexual and reproductive health, providing the necessary education so that children around the world knew about their bodies and what they are capable of accomplishing.

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

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Community//

Female Entrepreneur Says No Is Not In My Vocabulary

by Susan Swendon
Community//

How Rachel Braun Scherl is Breaking Barriers for Entrepreneurs in Women’s Reproductive Health and Wellness

by Susan Swendon
Community//

Women In Wellness: “Carve out “me time” with Rachel Shackleton and Dr. William Seeds

by Dr. William Seeds
We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.