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“Why you should ask yourself four questions before every text you send” With Motivational Speaker, Petra Kolber

In the fast-paced world of online interaction, these four questions can help us make sure we are keeping our best self and intentions at the forefront of our online communications.


Before every call, text, or e-mail, ask yourself these four questions, which are taken from the Sufi tradition of the Four Gates of Right Speech:

• Are these words true?

• Are these words necessary?

• Are these words kind?

• Is this the right time?

In the fast-paced world of online interaction, these four questions can help us make sure we are keeping our best self and intentions at the forefront of our online communications.


I had the pleasure of interviewing Petra Kolber, Motivational Speaker, host of The Perfection Detox podcast, author of THE PERFECTION DETOX: Tame Your Inner Critic, Live Bravely, and Unleash Your Joy (available now)


Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your backstory?

I came to the US as a dancer on a cruise ship and then, upon moving to NYC, fast tracked out of my dance shoes and into fitness sneakers. I spent the next three decades as a fitness expert, working with companies such as Reebok, Gatorade and California Walnuts. I was blessed to be able to travel around the world presenting and speaking to instructors, coaches and fitness enthusiasts, on ways to stay inspired and motivated while working out.

As I traveled around the globe I began to notice a common theme, both within myself and with the thousands of women that I taught and trained — no matter what they looked like on the outside (however perfect), on the inside the focus and inner chatter was always on the gap between who they were and who they thought they needed to be.

After going back to school to study positive psychology and combining my decades experience as a fitness expert along with my seven-year personal struggle with perfectionism I wrote my first book The Perfection Detox.

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

Oh, so many cool things! I think one of the most unusual things to happen in my career was being on the back of a Special K box — that was so cool but at the time I didn’t fully appreciate it.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now?

With my book out now for less than a month, I am busy working on all the ways I am going to share this work in 2019. From keynote speaking and online courses to live events, I am now building out the ways that I can reach as many people as possible with this methodology and message. It really is a gift and a privilege to be able to do work that I feel so passionate about.

Between work and personal life, the average adult spends nearly 11 hours looking at a screen per day. How does our increasing screen time affect our mental, physical, and emotional health?

Technology has no opinion on how we use it. Yet, unless we manage our technology it will manage us.

A metric I like to use is the wellness scale of joy. Every time you pop on and off the screen (especially with social media), ask yourself, “Is this bringing more joy to my life or is it sucking the joy out of me?”

The economy of the future will be focus and attention and I believe if we can be focused and giving our full attention (with intention) during the time we are behind our screens, we will be better able to manage our happiness, health and productivity.

I would invite everyone to ask themselves how engaged are they in their life, relationships and work? Give more focused attention on what is in front of you and you will be able to spend less time in front of the computer. I think we will be taking a good step forward when we always make sure that how we use our technology is in alignment with our values, passion, and purpose.

Can you share your top five ways people can improve mental wellness and create a healthy relationship with technology?

1. When having a conversation of any sort, be it with your children, spouse, work colleague or friend, have your phone tucked away and out of sight. This way, the person in front of you will feel seen, heard, and valued.

2. Before every call, text, or e-mail, ask yourself these four questions, which are taken from the Sufi tradition of the Four Gates of Right Speech:

• Are these words true?

• Are these words necessary?

• Are these words kind?

• Is this the right time?

In the fast-paced world of online interaction, these four questions can help us make sure we are keeping our best self and intentions at the forefront of our online communications.

3. Every hour on the hour, stand up and take a walk. Spend at least five minutes focusing on your senses, listening to your breath, and reconnecting to your physical body. Move your body, move your breath, and move your thoughts.

4. Do NOT use your phone as your alarm clock. Buy a real alarm clock and charge your phone outside of the bedroom. Do not go onto the Internet whether it is email or social media for at least an hour after waking. Manage your morning to manage your mind.

5. Do not scroll when feeling out of control. Social media especially feeds into the worst part of ourselves when we are going online to pass the time, because we are bored or hungry or angry. When we use social media and technology to avoid our feelings or as a distraction, our negative mindset will be ripe to move into a compare and contrast mode. And as we know comparison is the thief of joy — especially when it comes to being online.

Between social media distractions, messaging apps, and the fact that Americans receive 45.9 push notifications each day, Americans check their phones 80 times per day. How can people, especially younger generations, create a healthier relationship with social media?

I think this number is actually conservative! Out of sight out of mind — well not really, but as much of a physical gap we can place between us and our phones (when not in use) the better. I always have my sound off as every ding, text alert etc., triggers our sympathetic nervous system, creating low grade anxiety and releasing cortisol and adrenaline through our body.

Be deliberate with your screen time. Get an app that lets you know how much time you are spending on your phone and wherever possible put it in a drawer and not on top of your desk.

Small sustainable habits — but these will need practice and discipline as we are not even aware of when our phone is even in our hands. I know am not the only one that has been holding their phone while looking for their phone!

80% of smartphone users check their phones before they brush their teeth in the morning. What effect does starting the day this way have on people? Is there a better morning routine you suggest?

I invite everyone to take one morning task and turn it into a mindfulness ritual. Wherever you are — be all there.

Choose one morning task, from making the bed or taking a shower to making your cup of coffee.

For those 5–10 minutes keep your full attention on the task at hand and be present, off your phone and no multi-tasking (which itself an impossibility). Simply notice, without judgment, how challenging it can be to be fully focused on one task.

Then after this morning mindfulness ritual, ask yourself the following question, “What is one thing I am looking forward to today?” This simple question will trigger your brain to seek out and focus on something positive. And this mindset will help you step into your day being a benefit seeker and allow you to find the extraordinary in the seemingly ordinary of days. Appreciate the good and the good will appreciate.

Can you please give us your favorite life lesson quote?

“Watch your thoughts, they become words;

watch your words, they become actions;

watch your actions, they become habits;

watch your habits, they become character;

watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.” Frank Outlaw

If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?

To fall in love with, admire and cherish the person we see in the mirror and then share that love with those around us.

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

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter: @PetraKolber

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