Download a breath pacer on your cell phone and set the pacer to either a five and a half or six breaths per minute setting with forty percent of breath for inhalation and sixty percent of breath for exhalation. Identify which breathing rate feels most natural to you and requires the least amount of effort. Then, turn off the sound and establish a quiet place to practice your breathing in the morning and evening.
As a part of our series about “Optimal Performance Before High Pressure Moments”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Heidi Krupp of Krupp Kommunications.
A thirty-year veteran in branding, media, marketing, promotion and production in the entertainment industry, Heidi has a proven track record of creating and executing innovative branding and marketing initiatives that build her clients’ businesses. Heidi Krupp launched Krupp Kommunications (K2), in 1996 from her studio apartment in Hoboken, New Jersey. Sixteen years later, she is the CEO & Founder of a New York City-based award-winning public relations, marketing and branding agency. Heidi has built K2 into an industry leader with a proven track record of creating and executing innovative branding and marketing initiatives that build her clients’ businesses.
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?
I grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I later learned that I was very special — I was adopted. I didn’t understand what that meant or how it would shape my life, identity, or my personal backstory, but I have come to realize it was one of the most impactful moments of my life. I was very lucky to have grown up in a loving, supportive home and surrounded by the best friends a girl could ask for — many of which are still my closest friends to this day. I’ve lived in New York City for most of my adult life, but I will forever and always be a hometown girl. You could never take Pittsburgh out of me.
What or who inspired you to pursue your career as an entrepreneur or business leader? We’d love to hear the story.
I had been circling many areas in my career that connected me to PR — Marketing, Branding, Project Managing and creating and developing celebrity endorsed products. Each time I was producing a story at ABC News 20/20 or working on a project, I was always thinking about how and where to promote it: Who can we call/tell? How could we position the story best to the media? In some ways I was a natural publicist without knowing that it was a career category. When I began to work with my mentor Jan Miller, she inspired me to start my own company with just 5,000 dollars. That’s how Krupp Kommunications began!
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?
There have been so many incredible people who I have been honored to meet throughout my career, but the person who really gave me the most encouragement is Jan Miller. Jan has been my mentor throughout my entire career, and without her I would not be where I am today.
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?
I had a client who did an interview with a national media outlet who didn’t remember his media training. In the interview he suggested that a few particular talk show hosts should go on his program. Within days I had a cease and desist letter at my door. I was mortified and thought my career was over — there was no way that I was going to be able to book a client on this particular show ever again. Seven months later, this client’s program became a phenomenon, and I was able to book not one, but six segments on this talk show. I learned that lemonade could happen from lemons and that problems can become gifts. In my case, it catapulted my business and gave me a case study to cherish for life.
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?
I would tell them to be persistent and to never stop trying. Some of the most rewarding parts of my career were things that people told me weren’t possible. If I had listened to them, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I tell all of the young people that I mentor to think outside the box and never take no for an answer.
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?
I have helped make roughly 100 books bestsellers, but one book that is near and dear to my heart is Chicken Soup for the Soul. For the 20th anniversary of the book, I was lucky enough to work with author Jack Canfield and write the foreword for the book. As I think about how many people Chicken Soup for the Soul has helped over the past 27 years, I can’t help but feel gratitude for getting to be a small part of the journey.
Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?
My favorite quote is from Maya Angelou and it goes “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
At Krupp Kommunications we focus on purposeful PR, meaning all of our clients help the world in some unique way. This includes working with bestselling authors such as Marc Randolph, Vishen Lakhiani, Dr. Jennifer Ashton, Dr. Shefali, Michael Brody-Waite and more. All of these authors have books that are focused on helping people grow, achieve goals, and live a happy, healthy life.
In addition to authors, we have some amazing clients who are making their own impacts on the world such as premium pet food brand Canidae, virtual workplace, VirBELA, Ideal Image MedSpa, and the first ever-cordless, AI hairdryer called AER.
We are really selective about the projects we take on, and I enjoy getting to work on every single one of them.
OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. As a business leader, you likely often face high stakes situations that involve a lot of pressure. Most of us tend to wither in the face of such pressure and stress. Can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to cope with the burden of stress?
There are a few tried and true things that I have learned over the years to reduce my stress, and I’d be more than happy to share them with your readers!
First, I highly recommend EFT Tapping, which is a revolutionary stress relief technique that combines ancient Chinese Acupressure and Modern Psychology to release stress and find balance. With the Tapping Solution app it’s easy to find tapping techniques designed for your particular stress.
I also recommend monitoring your Heart Rate Variability (HRV). HRV is a fantastic way to achieve peak performance and relieve stress. All you need is an app and the book Heart Breath Mindand you will quickly learn to self-regulate during stressful moments.
In addition to Tapping and HRV, I also really enjoy taking long walks when I am feeling stressed. There are few things better for the soul than taking a long walk when things become overwhelming. If you don’t think you have the time, then I challenge you to take your next conference call from a walk. I bet you will be thinking clearer and less distracted as you move around throughout the day.
Aside from being able to deal with the burden of stress, can you share with our readers 3 or 4 strategies that you use to optimize your mind for peak performance before high pressure, high stress situations?
As I mentioned before, Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback is a phenomenal way to optimize your peak performance and reduce stress. 4 ways that you can optimize your performance through HRV are:
- Download a breath pacer on your cell phone and set the pacer to either a five and a half or six breaths per minute setting with forty percent of breath for inhalation and sixty percent of breath for exhalation. Identify which breathing rate feels most natural to you and requires the least amount of effort. Then, turn off the sound and establish a quiet place to practice your breathing in the morning and evening.
- Build Cardiovascular Resilience. Resilience is a cardiovascular trait and the faster your heart rate can return to baseline and restore its natural rhythm, the more resilient you’ll feel and more clearly you are likely to think. You can strengthen how quickly your heart rate recovers through systematic practice. For optimal benefits, practice for twenty minutes, twice per day, for ten weeks.
- Learn to belly breathe. When life gets stressful and your mind starts racing, center your heart and your mind by gently directing your mental focus towards the feeling of the abdomen, expanding on the inhale, and the feeling of the abdomen contracting on the exhale.
- Purchase Dr. Lagos’s book Heart Breath Mind. This book gives in depth instructions to becoming your optimal self. I highly recommend purchasing this book if you are looking to find ways to be your optimal self.
Do you use any special or particular breathing techniques, meditations or visualizations to help optimize yourself? If you do, we’d love to hear about it.
As mentioned above, I really enjoy belly breathing. By focusing on the feeling of the abdomen expanding and contracting, I can regulate my body’s natural response to stressors. It allows me to block out all the chattering in my mind and really focus on the task in front of me.
Do you have a special technique to develop a strong focus, and clear away distractions?
When I am having a busy day and am trying to focus, I center myself and use HRV to calm my busy brain. By utilizing HRV I can bring my heartbeat back to its baseline which will relieve that feeling of fight or flight you get when overwhelmed. Once that feeling dissipates, it’s quite easy to refocus my energy and clear away distractions.
We all know the importance of good habits. How have habits played a role in your success? Can you share some success habits that have helped you in your journey?
I am a very habitual person, and like many others, the shift from working in an office to working from home changed my usual habits. In New York City, I was able to get some alone time when I walked from my home to my office. This was the one part of the day when I could focus on my day ahead of me and re-center. Now that life has shifted due to COVID, I had to create new habits. One of those habits is a daily walk on the beach. During these walks I’m able to step away from being a business owner, wife and mother, and can focus on my needs and stressors.
I’ve always enjoyed my daily walks, COVID just made me recognize how important they are to help my life run smoothly.
What is the best way to develop great habits for optimal performance? How can one stop bad habits?
A client of mine, Michael Brody-Waite, always says that in order to stop your bad habits, you have to replace them with something new. He says that you can’t tell someone how to stop, you have to tell them how to start. Taking a page from his book, quite literally, I suggest you replace your bad habits with a good one. For example, if you have a habit of checking work emails before bed that cause you stress, instead of picking up your phone, pick up a book. I’ve implemented this in my own life, and it’s worked wonders.
As a business 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?
I believe achieving a state of Flow has everything to do with where your head’s at. On days where I have to homeschool my son, be on 4 different conference calls, and run my household, I likely will not be in a state of Flow. But if I wake up and by some miracle my son is still asleep, I have time to deep breathe and tap, and I get to spend a little bit of time refocusing my energy, then on that day everything will Flow. The more often we can refocus ourselves, our goals, and our energy, the more often we will find that 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.
I would inspire people to be present and enjoy the journey. Too often people are focused on the end goal and forget to enjoy the journey. They forget to enjoy the time with their children, to stop and have coffee with their parents, or to enjoy a walk alone at sunset. I’d want to start a movement that inspires people to look from their phones and to stop and smell the roses.
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 🙂
In all honesty, I’d just really love to have lunch with my entire family again. My parents have been isolated in a nursing home since the start of COVID, and my husband and son are quarating in Maui while I’m back in Pittsburgh checking in on my parents. I’d love to just get to have my loved ones in one place again without the fear of someone getting sick.
How can our readers further follow your work online?