First and foremost, drink more water. The mind and body cannot function well without hydration and people are chronically dehydrated and are unaware of it.
Set aside a certain amount of time per day to reflect on your accomplishments and things that you are appreciative for. Moments that you feel grateful for can act like a barrier to bad news.
Check in on friends and family more often. Creating a strong social network will act as a safety net and a launch point in life.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Emily O’Brien. Emily is the CEO and owner of MONDO, a cannabis company founded in 2013. MONDO is dedicated to providing healthy daily cannabis & hemp supplements to those who are suffering from debilitating anxiety. With deliciously dissolving CBD and THC powders, Emily is hoping to replace harmful pharmaceuticals with safe plant based medicine.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
Sure thing! Three days after my 21st birthday I suffered a traumatic back injury. I lost feeling in both of my legs and could not walk for two weeks. The doctors had scheduled me for emergency back surgery, but I opted not to do it for I was scared of the lifelong potential consequences. My doctors decided to prescribe me a cocktail of pain medications which included morphine. I needed cannabis edibles to contradict the side effects of the prescribed pharmaceuticals. However, there were only pot brownies and cookies available at this time, and although they were delicious, they were not helpful in terms of sugar intake and nutrition. Several months later, I was able to ween myself off the opiates but ended up gaining a lot of weight in the process.
With my injury healed up I was able to return to school in Washington State where recreational cannabis laws had just passed. My healing experience led me to the conclusion that there is a great need for a healthy daily cannabis edible. And thus, MONDO was born.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
When I first started out there were a few up’s and down’s in running the business by myself. I was getting overtired from creating the product and then jumping in my car to run around and try to sell it. There was one day where I was at the end of my rope, my legs felt like iron weights, head was pounding and I just wanted to get home into my bed, but I had one last delivery to go. I walked up to the store, dropped the last case off on the counter and as I was waiting to receive my payment I heard a small voice ask me, “are you with MONDO?”. I turned and replied with a weak smile and said, “Why yes, I am actually the creator.” The small voice belonged to a middle-aged man who then started to tear up and ask me if he could hug me as a thank you for making my product. He then proceeded to tell me about his brain cancer diagnosis and how my whole plant product was the only thing that provided him with relief over the past 18 months. His story gave me the confidence and the energy boost I needed to carry out the difficult tasks that laid ahead. What I took from this experience is that you can have profound effects on people, and that showing and expressing gratitude to others can make a whole world of difference.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
My biggest mistake was letting my internal monologue get the best of me at times. I am constantly striving to create the best experiences and sometimes you can fall short of your preset goals.
Over time I’ve learned to be more patient with myself, and be more kind by acting like I was talking to a friend. Always Interacting in a gentle and supporting manner to create a positive platform for introspection and growth. And this has changed my overall view of myself while making me a better friend to others. I’ve found this has the potentional to bring out the best in people.
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 about that?
First and foremost my family, as they were my sounding board and biggest supporters of my entrepreneurial endeavors. Second would be Jessica Assaf of Cannabis Feminist. Jessica created a safe space where women gathered weekly while discussing social issues, health, and culture while passing around joints and healthy snacks. There was more than one occasion where tears were shed based on how free we were to share our life experiences. Jessica and I worked on many cannabis projects together and I am forever grateful.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
My life’s goal is to make it easy for people to do the right thing. And what exactly is the right thing? Well I see it as: making healthy eating decisions, environmental sustainability, beneficial community impact and internal wellbeing. Now with the scope of MONDO, how can I make it easy for people to enhance their lives? Everyone can benefit from utilizing plant cannabinoids, but not everyone benefits from high doses of THC, nor does everyone have positive association with cannabis. Thus, I wanted to create a medicine that is not seen as a cannabis product but more similar to a supplement, something that could easily be dosed, and could be injested every day. I did not want to take any shortcuts on creating this product and wanted the full medicinal benefits from the plant rather than using premade extracts and distillates. And if I could get people to be more patient with themselves and others, I believe this world could be a happier and healthy place. When people operate in a scarcity mindset, bad decisions are made that affect not only themselves but the communities in which they live in. If I could make people feel 1% better than over time that goodness compounds on itself and the overall effect is a much greater one.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
- First and foremost, drink more water. The mind and body cannot function well without hydration and people are chronically dehydrated and are unaware of it.
- Set aside a certain amount of time per day to reflect on your accomplishments and things that you are appreciative for. Moments that you feel grateful for can act like a barrier to bad news.
- Check in on friends and family more often. Creating a strong social network will act as a safety net and a launch point in life.
- Do 15 minutes of cardio every day, even if it is just walking around your home.
- Lastly my grandmother’s advice. “When things get bad go outside, when things get really bad go to the mountains”. Nature is a perfect mental regulator and sometimes sitting in a quiet space outside can be the best form of medicine.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would enact a nationwide policy that all commercial and industrial buildings need to turn into green roofs, or become solar powered. Green spaces have been statistically shown to reduce crime rate, create microclimates, clean air pollution, act as noise barriers, and overall improve mental fitness. Having your environment reflect the natural world around it, is much more conducive for a happier healthier life.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
The five things I wish someone told me before I started was –
- Stop trying to be a perfectionist, be happy with iterations and keep moving forward.
- There will be inventory challenges due to the ever-changing legal landscape.
- Take more time off, the business will be there when you get back.
- Ask for help instead of constantly striving to be the one woman show.
- Understand the difference between a marathon and a sprint.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Although I support each of those causes, I believe that mental health is the root of all of them. If people operated in a growth mindset they would make much better decisions that impact each and every one of those causes. If a person felt terrible about themselves, why would they take the extra effort to take care of the world around them? It all starts with yourself, and I like to refer to the airline safety card “Please asses your own mask before assisting others”.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Follow us @mondomeds on Instagram and Facebook.
Thank you for these fantastic insights!
Thank you so much for having me!