For many business owners, mental health unfortunately takes a back seat as they prioritize more day-to-day concerns, like keeping their businesses healthy and growing. But mental health is one of the most important factors that can either fuel or deter success, even more so in times of a tightening economy. Learn from mental health experts on how to make mental health and self-care a priority, like how to take a break even when you don’t have time to.
Nana: This panel is going to be so impactful because, for business owners, mental health, unfortunately, always takes a backseat, as we prioritize our day-to-day concerns, keeping our business healthy. And growing. But mental health is one of the most important factors that can fuel or deter success. So Chantay, how are we feeling? Are we ready to just invite the speakers onto our virtual stage and get into this self-care session today?
Chantay: We’re absolutely ready.
Nana: Yes. Awesome. I’m going to leave y’all to it. Can’t wait. Bye.
Chantay: All right. Welcome. We want to welcome the audience to the Yelp’s Black in Business Summit 2022: Self-Care for You and Your Business. I’m your host, Chantay Golson, LPC, executive coach, author, speaker, and therapist. And so, I want to welcome my distinguished guest panelists to the platform. We have Misty Gaither, Senior Director and Global Head of Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging with Indeed. That’s indeed.com. We have Brian Batch, Founder and Co-owner of Bird Bird Biscuit. And that biscuit did look delicious. And we also have Miara Shaw, Life and Business Strategies with Maven. Miara. And so, welcome ladies and gent to Self-Care For You and Your Business.
Brian: Thanks for having us.
Misty: Thank you.
Miara: Thank you.
Chantay: I want you to take the time to also thank Yelp Business for having me. And this particular session is all about business owners, mental health, and the disadvantage of not realizing how effective the mental fitness component or mental health is for their lives, personally and professionally. We take a backseat to the priority of self-care. But what do we think self-care is all about? It’s not about going to the every three months. It’s not just about taking a dip in the pool. It’s not just about sitting on the beach. But self-care is an intricate part of our mental fitness that we must set in place on a daily basis for our routine. And we’re going to talk about that a little bit more. So, I want to ask our panelists to give me just a brief description of what you believe self-care is all about. Let’s jump in with Brian.
Brian: Well, when you say self-care, one of the things that comes to my mind is the big S self-care, which I think is a package of spiritual, mental, and physical. And I think that if any one of those things is off-balance, you’ll see that imbalance throughout the other ones. So for me, if I were to think about self-care, I would say that it’s balancing those components of life to where the fruits are good. And I think it starts with… In my opinion, the spiritual side, it trickles down. But if that part is healthy, if that part’s good, I think the other part’s manifest healthy fruit.
Chantay: Thank you for that. Miara, give us your insight on self-care.
Miara: For me, that really is wrapped around what I call “a rhythm,” because life is always in motion. And so, when we can look at this balance we’re trying to achieve as a rhythm, because Monday won’t look like Tuesday, Tuesday won’t look like Wednesday. And really, what does that rhythm look like for you as the individual? I think sometimes we feel it’s unattainable because we’re doing the comparison game to say, “My journey doesn’t look like Chantay’s and so I’m out of balance.” But often, when coaching women, they come to tears when I get them to sit in that question: what does balance look like for you? We oftentimes don’t know because we’ve been so busy living life and trying to do all the things we need to do that that exhaustion sets in, oftentimes sits us down, and then we have to face that question of, what does this balance, this rhythm look like for me? And once you can define that for yourself, then I think that’s the beginning of the journey for you.
Chantay: Awareness is what I hear you say.
Chantay: Awareness is the key. And so, Misty, share with us your concept of self-care.
Misty: Plus one to what my fellow panelists have shared. I agree that self-care is holistic. And I know we have seen infographics talking about soft life, especially for Black people and Black women. And so. When I think about self-care, two quotes come to mind. And it’s really giving yourself what you need, because you can only give from your overflow. And the second one is what my therapist says to me. And it is that “Give yourself what you need in the moment, so you can play the long game.” And so, if you have those two guiding principles, it is helping you to understand when things are out of balance, whether it is at home, whether it is at work, and just the impact that the events happening around the world have on our ability to really fully function at our best capacity.
Chantay: Okay. Misty, share a little bit about yourself, in terms of working with Indeed, and your experience on how you help the employees to better align themselves with what you’re talking about: the holistic concept of self-care.
Misty: Obviously I have a different perspective working not as an entrepreneur and working for a company. And so, what we’re finding is that employees are prioritizing the fact that mental health and wellbeing needs to be a part of benefits and things that companies offer. And so, we have done some studies. We’ve actually partnered with Born This Way Foundation to really understand the impact that this has on the Black community and then within the Black community, LGBTQ plus specifically.
Misty: My role is to really integrate that into diversity, inclusion, and belonging. What I tell my leaders is that people will actually do what you give them permission to do. We have an open PTO policy. But if they never see their leaders taking PTO, then they may feel like it’s actually truly not a part of it. The other thing is, it’s not enough to just say, “We have these benefits and these offerings.” But how do you socialize that and really give people the tools that they need to fully take advantage of it?
Misty: And lastly, a big part of this is de-stigmatizing the conversations that have historically not belonged in workplaces, for those of us who might be a bit more mature in our working in our careers, but making sure that, as we bring this conversation into companies, that it’s culturally relevant. Because we know that there are not as many service providers, or benefits companies are not looking at that with the granular lens. So, it’s partnering with organizations like Therafy, where they really focus on the Black, indigenous, people of color, particularly when we are underrepresented in companies, and we really need to be tapping into this resource.
Chantay: And so, as a provider of that benefit, I also recognize and understand the very intricates of being that medical provider for those that need assistance in their leadership component or just their average role. It’s very important to have balance, awareness, and acknowledgement, to be able to strategize, in order to have resilience. And so, we thank you for what you do. Miara, let’s jump in here. First, I want you to share a little bit about yourself with us. Help us to understand who we’re speaking with.
Miara: Yeah, I am a life business strategist, predominantly for Black and brown women, executives and CEOs as entrepreneurs. And really, anything that I’m working with a female on is really undergirded by creating success without sacrificing your relationships, your health, or your mental sanity. Listen, we can be great, but if we accomplish that greatness and now we’re laid in the hospital bed and everybody else gets the fruit of our labor, we haven’t really benefited anything. Whether it’s executive coaching, leadership development, we can do all of those things. But my focus is really bringing women back to that centering moment of, why are you doing this? What’s the purpose of it? And again, being trusting the journey.
Miara: I think we can get so sped up on we’ve got to be at a certain spot at a certain time in our life. And really trusting your journey for your development, your career path, your development of your business, so that you’re doing it true to your core, whatever that looks like for you.
Chantay: Okay. Well, thank you for that insight. Brian, tell us a little bit about yourself. We already know what your brand is because I saw that delicious brown, crunching biscuit with all the gooch coming out of it. Tell me a little bit about yourself. Help us to know who we are talking to.
Brian: Well, they told me to choose a different photo, but I said, “I think all the people, they’re going to like… They want to see the biscuit. They don’t want to see my face. They want to see [inaudible 00:09:57] I worked, for about a decade of my life, in a coffee shop. I started off as a barista and over the course of about 10 years, built a really strong relationship with my now business partner. And he was going through some really heavy life stuff. And so he, at a certain point, didn’t have much of a choice but to leave for a while; hand his business over to me to run, because he had to go. And through that process of us building that trust, I’ve recognized, one, just the value of relationships in that way.
Brian: Some people say that, “You don’t want to blend friendship and work.” And I think I would only ever blend friendship and work on a personal level, just because of what it’s meant to me personally. But over the course of those 10 years, we built a relationship, and we decided that we wanted to build a business that we had a vision for growing, so that when we had a lot of these awesome people come in and work with us, we could share that vision with them. Because at the coffee shop, one of the things we noticed is people would burn out just because they didn’t see growth for themselves.
Brian: And we wanted to build something that we saw growth for, so that we could share that with them. And hopefully, these amazing individuals, grow with them as the business grows. And so, that’s really a big part of where my journey is and where I’m at now. And now I’m doing Bird Bird Biscuit with one of my best friends.
Chantay: And so, as a result of taking on all the responsibility, which I imagine you never thought you would have to handle everything, tell me about how do you keep balance? And how do you manage the perspective of that balance, especially when it all falls on you?
Brian: Can I ask you a question? When you say, “Manage the perspective of that balance,” can you describe what you mean a little bit more in detail?
Brian: Because I want to answer your question, but I want to really answer your question. I want to [inaudible 00:11:49]
Chantay: Sure. Sure. Perspective is a viewpoint. And it’s all about how we see things. So, the importance of balance or self-care is relevant to how we see things. Because how we see it is how we either choose to make it of urgency or importance in our life or not. So, in keeping balance, tell us your viewpoint about, when it all falls on you, when the business, the hat, whatever responsibilities fall on you, how do you keep that perspective in making sure that you’re a balance? Your life personally and professionally?
Brian: Well, there’s a comment made earlier that I think is a really important one for me to start with, which is, I think it was something about, “You can only give out of your overflow.” And I think that’s really important because that recognition puts back, on the individual, the purpose of making sure that they’re investing in themselves in a rhythmic way. Somebody mentioned rhythms. I think one of the biggest things for me has been not allowing the excuses of life to prevent me from creating the rhythms that are actually the ones that will feed the things that not necessarily I want, but the things that I actually need in my life. And distinguishing those two things is really important because sometimes it’s hard to distinguish wants and needs. But they’re certainly not the same, and they certainly do not benefit us in the same way.
Brian: And so, I think that, for me, is a big part. Is the rhythm of putting things in their proper place. And again, I am a very spiritual person, so I think it starts there. I think finding a rhythm of recognizing something greater than yourself is really important. And then out of that, how do you go through your day and share that in a way that’s sincere without knocking people over the head with what you think they should do? How do you love on people in a sincere… Really, that’s what it comes down to. It comes down to experiencing love, so you can share that love, if I could distill it.
Chantay: Okay. All right, thank you for that. Misty, let’s go to [inaudible 00:14:02]. Can you share with us how Indeed determines if an employee has the work-life balance that the employees need? You made mention of EAP services or benefits. So, what is the determinant? How do you evolve or assess the continuation of what your leadership, your staff needs?
Misty: I like to consider this an art and not a science because every person is really different. And I have to recognize where our leadership is, our senior leaders, our mid-level managers, and where our ICs are on this continuum of being comfortable talking about a topic that has been taboo for so long. And so, sometimes it is what I like to say, “As simple as exchanging pleasantries before jumping right into business and really getting to understand who the people are at your organization.” And I say, “Treat people like it’s optional to work here” because we are in a compressed labor market. We have fewer people to work the available jobs that are actually open right now. And I say, “Treat people like humans, not like machines.” And so, we talk a lot about destigmatizing the conversations; we talk a lot about psychological safety. And then asking the right questions are really important.
Misty: And I think part of it starts with the vulnerability and this new type of leadership model that we need to see. And this convergence of really showing up as a human-centric leader. And for us, it really starts with our CEO. I might lead this function, but I do not have the burden of driving all of this work and integrating it into the business. And so ultimately, we have some things that we’ve put in place as process. So, after every traumatic event, we have people who are on staff to actually facilitate what we call “brave spaces, listening circles.” We equip our leadership teams and our entire employee population with leading through difficult times. And I have people that say, “Well, am I going to trigger someone by asking them how they’re doing post-whatever the event is?”
Misty: And I said, “Well, you trigger people by being silent because they don’t know what your position is on what’s happening in the world and things that might affect them.” So I’m, “I’m not asking you to be Doctor Phil or Iyanla, but you do need to let people know. And giving managers the tools, so they can say, “Just remember, these benefits exist. And I encourage you to use them.”
Misty: And lastly, I’ll say recognizing that; taking a moment to step back from driving business outcomes or trying to make a goal. You can actually really increase the productivity by checking in and showing people that you care. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Chantay: Right. Creating a culture of care is very important in the workplace. I absolutely agree with that. And so Miara, when you have clients come to you, you have a different perspective as a business owner. When you teach your clients about creating a healthy work environment, what are the benefits that they gain from that? What resources or what steps do you help them in their process?
Miara: Yeah. I use a tool that I created called a Life Strategy Map. And that truly starts with the individual first. Really just having a conversation about, what are their career goals? What are your life goals? What do you want your life to look like? And that sounds like such a simple question, but it’s often overwhelming to tears when we start these conversations because people don’t know. They’ve been busy working, doing school, and raising families and all of the things we do. And so, for me, it really starts with getting them still enough to hear their answers.
Miara: I tell people all the time, “I don’t have all your answers. I can help you navigate, but I am not your God.” I don’t even want that responsibility. But what we need, it’s in us. It’s within us. I often say, “We’re busy asking questions, but we’re too busy to sit to hear the answer.”
Miara: And so really, that first part is: getting still to know what you want. I think as Black female business owners, there’s frequently this comparison journey going on of, “If theirs is purple, mine needs to be purple. If theirs is sparkly, mine needs to be sparkly.” That might not be your juice. What is your thing? And really just pursuing, pushing, coaching, encouraging, and really holding a good accountability line to executives and entrepreneurs on, what do you want your life to look like? What does that mean for you? It’s so different from everyone.
Miara: Misty talked about that, even in EAP benefits, what is it that you need for you to get where you’re trying to go? So really, first of all, getting people still enough to find out what they want their journey to even look like.
Chantay: Okay. And Miara, also, what are the signs that you see from your clients? Just from a individual point of view, what are some signs that know that they’re suffering as a result of the lack of [inaudible 00:19:34]
Miara: I think the biggest thing is feeling like it’s a requirement, it’s supposed to be normal; that you are exhausted. And I tell women all the time, “We are going to create a new narrative that there are no badges for exhaustion, burnout, and burning the candle at both ends.”
Chantay: You’re right about it.
Miara: That is a thing. And often women, we don’t even recognize, especially as entrepreneurs. Because there’s always stuff to do in your business, right? The list is always there; it’s always growing. But you must take time to really manage that. I often see entrepreneurs and executives who don’t recognize how exhausted, mentally, physically, and even spiritually, they are until oftentimes something traumatic happens. They’ve had a huge medical setback: a risk, a heart attack, a stroke; something that we can have a bit more control over if we would just start to listen to what our bodies, our spirits, our hearts are telling us when we’re going just too hard at times and be okay to take that. As Missy said, “Living life in a softer way.” We do not have to be on the grind every single day, every moment we are awake.
Chantay: Correct. I agree. Brian, there’s a lot of conversation around what you started, in terms of synergy or spirituality. In reference to the holistic person, as a business owner, what signs have you learned yourself that, if you don’t take action, then you’re going to be suffering from this mental exhaustion or this burnout or just the lack of motivation? What cues do you identify and what self-care strategies do you take?
Brian: Sure. One of the big ones for me is I try to just take account of the cues that are the closest to me. For example, I have three kids. So, I tend to recognize when I start to lose my patience more so with my children. Or when I start to find that things agitate me in a way that it didn’t before, I know, pretty much, I’m falling off of balance.
Brian: And when that starts to happen, it’s a good cue to me to make sure that I check in with myself and just look and ask myself, am I off of my routine? And I think one of the things that’s really valuable is just keeping a diary, an introspection log, just to make sure that you can track your own progress and the goals that you set for yourself, to where you can see if you’re actually accomplishing the things that you want to accomplish for yourself; you can see if you’re actually changing in the ways that you think you might be changing.
Brian: And so, I found that really helpful too, is to just keep a little diary of what do I…? Earlier, it’s a great question. A lot of times, that question of, “What do we want out of life?” is not really thought about or put into practice in a way to where we can really make notable progress towards the goals that we’re searching for. So, that would be my answer is: having some sort of a journal or a diary to reference and then seeing when I feel off-balance. Going back to that and asking myself, where might I be off of my routine? Where might I be off of my goals? And using that to triangulate where I want to go and then make corrections.
Chantay: So, constant evaluation is one of your coping strategies to maintain your balance. Misty, kind of the same question. Tell us how you know you’re coming off tilter. And what are some of the things that you do to self-correct utilizing self-care?
Misty: Very similar to what was just shared is, I can recognize my patience getting shorter with, not children because I am team Auntie, but with my employees, 30 of them globally. I recognize a gap in mental clarity. Simple tasks take me a longer time to process, and I find myself overthinking or having difficulty concentrating. And so, I think, while I can recognize all of those things on my own, it’s important to actually have some trusted advisors, both personally and professionally, that can also recognize those signs.
Misty: When I worked at the bank, my assistant, she said, “If I call you by your middle name and I say, ‘Raquel,’ it’s because something is off, and I need for you to take a break.” And now, my current group, I really advise that all of my team takes PTO at least quarterly and not just bookends for holidays, but take a week of time off.
Misty: And so, they check me. And they say, “You haven’t taken any time off. And we can tell.” And so, it’s this constant check of self-regulation and then also having people that are comfortable to have difficult conversations with me. And so, I think that is a healthy dynamic, no matter what the environment is. And then, it’s also this opportunity to, again, see people for humans. When you start to put together pieces of a person’s personal story, and you have the permission to actually inquire appropriately, it also helps to regulate this and evaluate when you are off-balance and need to take a step back.
Chantay: And so, guys, we have zoomed, no pun intended, this particular conversation. And we have about four and a half more minutes. What I want to learn from you is: where can we see more of you, talk to you, engage in your brand? Let’s start with Brian. Share with us where we can find you and see that delicious biscuit again.
Brian: Most of the time, it’s at Bird Bird Biscuit. I spend a lot of my time there because it’s one of babies, and I love it to death. There are two locations in Austin. I’m usually there quite a bit. Sometimes my kids are there with me. So, I would say, at Bird Bird Biscuit, if you come, you’re likely to see me. And I’d love to see you there.
Chantay: Okay. All right, Misty?
Misty: Good to know you are in Austin. I will drop in the next time I’m there because I’m there often. You can find me LinkedIn, first and last name, as you can see it here. Social media handle’s mistysmix everywhere: Twitter, Instagram. I don’t really use Facebook. And from a resource perspective, if you want to shamelessly steal all of this content, indeed.com/lead. Or whatever your favorite search engine is, you can type in “Indeed” or “Misty Gaither,” and a bunch of stuff will come up specific to the topics that we’re talking about today.
Chantay: Okay, thank you. Miara, where can we see you?
Miara: Yeah. My website is really my home for everything, a good starting place. I’m also active on LinkedIn and Instagram. Instagram, it’s mavenmiara, but if you typed in “miarashaw,” you’d still find me. So website, miarashaw.com, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Chantay: Okay. I appreciate it. And you can find me at chantaygolson.com and on any platform everywhere. Just reach out. DM me, PM me, send me an email; I’ll be glad to assist as well. And so, as we leave, I have an interesting question. If you were a superhero, and you had one power, what power would you have? Let’s take less than a minute. Myra, let’s start with you. What power would you have as a superhero?
Miara: Oh, wow. I would have the power of compassion at all times. I don’t always have it. When we get low on patience, when we get low on balance; listen, I always say, “I don’t think I’m the most patient person at times.” So, I would really have that compassion because, as we have learned going through COVID, everyone has a story. Everyone is often trying to do their very best. And if we can insert and layer that compassion on top of so many things in our world, I think, just in general, our world would be a better place, just by leading with just a bit more compassion for others. So, I would like to see that more in myself.
Chantay: Okay. Brian?
Brian: Like that. Like the mom in Encanto, she can heal anything with an arepa, with some food. That’d be my thing. I wish I could just heal stuff with some food. So, I might be doing that. That’s a good question.
Chantay: All right, Misty?
Misty: I’m going to keep this really simple. I would be able to teleport because I have to be in a lot of places. And traveling is zero out of 10 stars right now, with all of the things happening in the world. So, definitely teleporting and being able to pop in and have conversations and not be behind the screen as much. That would be really, really helpful these days.
Chantay: Okay. My superpower would be vision. I want to see as far as I can see, because if I can see, then I can know what to put in place, and I can link that with my purpose and have provision. I want to thank you to all the panelists for such an engaging conversation. And now I’m going to hand it back to our host before the next session. Make it a great day, guys. Bye for now.
Nana: Thank you. Thank you, Chantay. And thank you so much to our phenomenal panelists. Once again, something I took away is: stop normalizing. And ladies, I’m going to point this out to y’all because I am a Black woman. I’m a small, Black-owned business owner, and I’m a woman. And so, I already know oftentimes, and this is something we got to work on because they just taught us that: stop normalizing burnout. It is not normal to be, “I’m exhausted, I’m stressed. I’m doing all the things I should be doing. This is how I should feel as a business owner.” No. And I think that was mentioned on the panel as well, is take time to manage it. Whether you want to keep a log or a diary or a journal, just checking in on yourself and saying, “What do we want out of life? And are we accomplishing that?” So, thank you so much to our amazing panelists for that.