Lee Kantor: Tell us what it's like as a conscious business coach. Who do you serve and how do you do it?
Carol Benson: Well, I work with entrepreneurs, a lot of them are cultures, I, I do it with one of the ones I also do group programs, I do some mentoring and of course, speaking speaking to groups. I love that. And of course, way back when we used to do retreats. Right. So maybe one day soon we'll have them again, pretty high level intimate groups where it's all about transformation.
Lee Kantor:] So now in your work, what is the challenge that your clients are having before they spend time with you?
Carol Benson: Well, what I find is that oftentimes people are staying doing what they're doing just because it's comfortable, although they know they're stuck and many are in that survival, you know, scramble, hustle and grind of making ends meet, constantly promoting to get clients what your cash cashflow survival mode, if you will. And I find that there's a lot of anxiety about how you change and make it easy to get unstuck and to be in. I'm all about joy. So how do you elevate your life with joy and all these hidden places that you might not pay attention to, which just puts you in the flow and the ease? And that's where the magic happens. It's not we but it's really having clear intentions, getting on your purpose and allowing it to unfold with ease.
Lee Kantor: So now when you say kind of getting into this flow state or finding your purpose and letting it kind of flow with ease, is it something that these people are doing kind of subconsciously they're self sabotaging, or is it just something they're not aware of they didn't even know could be possible? And then you're kind of unlocking that for them?
Carol Benson: Oh, completely. Completely. I mean, so much has to do with mindset that's first place. And of course, if you are a coach, what do we all work with? Mindset and I, I know so many coaches who are personal friends, colleagues, and I hear them sometimes. And I just have to if I know, I always ask for permission. Can I reflect back to what I just heard you say? And they're shocked because it is such a natural tendency to go into the negative based on your past experience. That's why our brain goes if you understand brain science. So it's really becoming more aware of how you can focus your perceptions in a whole new direction? And that's what creates more of a flow and need.
Lee Kantor: Just now, you said that people tend to go negative almost instinctively or maybe evolutionarily to keep us safe. Is it possible to eliminate that? Because part of that is for our own good, right. Is to keep us safe.
Carol Benson: That's right. Well, you know, we as humans, we reference from past experience, right. Whatever it is, career, relationships, financial, your origins, who your mentors were. And we all have those experiences that didn't feel that it was negative. If you look at it. But there's a gift hidden. So if I always say use the past to inform where you are right now and where you want to be, because I, I actually do. I do a process with people called edit your life for joy and really look at your entire life, even the pumps and those yucky things that created a lot of suffering and pain. And how do you look at it and find it? Well, if this didn't happen, I wouldn't be who I am today. So to see the gift and that really shifts at all. So that becomes where your mind goes as opposed to being tugged into the past negative experience that you had.
Lee Kantor:] Now you use the word joy, and I'm sure that was on purpose. How do you kind of discern between joy and happiness? A lot of people are trying to maybe sell happiness pretty hard, but you seem to kind of gravitate to the word joy. So how do you separate the two?
Carol Benson: Well, I think oftentimes happiness is a destination. I'll be happy when I get X, when I achieve X, then I'll be happy. Joy is something that is just an internal sense of how you view the world. I say it's kind of like putting on your lenses of joy, those rose glasses. And it doesn't mean that you're going to be Pollyanna, pouty and naive about what's going on. But if you look at something in a different way, you can access that joy. I didn't know I had this favorite aunt that I absolutely adored. And whenever I knew I was going to see her, my whole body just felt like, oh, this is bliss. And the reason was because of how not only how I felt around her, but how she was so unconditional and. Loving and supportive, and it gave me joy, so I used her as a reference for me. Oh, how do I feel with this connection or this relationship in business, or do I really want to take on this client? If I'm feeling all stressed out and tense, that's not going to give me joy. So to go around what your question was. I know I'm taking a while to get to what it's an internal sense that you can access. And there's joy everywhere. There's joy everywhere that we don't always see. It could be in your environment. What does your office look like right now? Is it chaotic or messy? So when you walk in, your whole body, your whole nervous system just goes to stress and contraction. Or when you walk into it, do you feel relaxed, like, oh, this is my place, this is my haven, this is my little cave that I'm working in right now. And it feels good. I feel energized to access joy, there's just different ways. But it's a sense inside that you can access any time. It's not always a destination or goal like happiness can be attached to.
Lee Kantor: Now, let's give our listeners some, maybe some counsel when it comes to dealing with the chaos of the pandemic that hopefully is on the way out and there can be some sense of getting back to the way things were. Is there any advice you would give somebody who is feeling overwhelmed that it's trying to put up a good front and and and be positive and to focus on all the good stuff? But there just seems like it's a kind of a never ending train of chaos around them that even matters to their best efforts. They're trying to live this purposeful life that's fulfilling, but their resilience is being tested.
Carol Benson: One thing that I learned long ago when my resilience was really being challenged is that and that's when I lost everything. So when this pandemic happened, I thought, OK, I have the economic financial history of losing multimillion dollar businesses and everything, so this is now just the health issue. So I thought, OK, I can do this, I can get through it, even though it was not an easy time for anybody, but I found more than ever. That daily morning foundation that I give myself, call it morning practice, call it a daily ritual, whatever you want to call it, but it encompasses several parts. One is I do not look at my phone for a good hour and a half to two hours in the morning, and I get up earlier, so I don't have to I give myself a digital break. I don't jump into the social media that's really part of the foundation I give myself. I meditate, I exercise and I mix up the exercise. So it's not always the same thing. It doesn't get boring and tedious and no one's been going to the gym. So go outside. Even if it's raining. Go walk outside and look at your surroundings. Stay present with nature. Let nature reset your nervous system so you have the nature of movement, walking, exercise, new learning, activate your brain if there's something you want to learn.
Carol Benson: Do you want to learn a new language? Spend 20 minutes during that time. That's yours in the morning to practice a new language or read a book, to learn new tools or strategies. Listen to a podcast, something to activate your brain and of course, hydrate. Hydrate yourself and. Put good food and nutrition in your body and then. What happens is you are so well-equipped for whatever the day brings you, I find if I skip my morning time that foundation. My day changes, it's not as smooth as if conflicts happen, if, you know, there's always uncertainty, people may schedule. You think your day is going to look like one way and it turns into something else. But I find that the more calm I am inside of myself, it's like, no, no problem. That's my mantra. Whatever shows up, no problem. And that that is my one piece of this is like the golden gem for everyone. If you are a coach and entrepreneur, take care of yourself first. Then you can best serve the people that you are working with.
Lee Kantor: And when you're working with, you don't know. When you're working with your clients, do you help them form this daily practice, this daily routine that can be that foundational element that gets their day off to a productive start.
Carol Benson: I do, I do, and it's amazing the feedback I get from clients who come back to me and they say I usually, you know, they'll say things like, I'm always put everyone first. I didn't put myself first. And now that I've started doing that, even their relationships with their partners are much easier because they're nourished from the inside out. Then they have more to give and they're not getting depleted and working as a coach. I'll give you a mindfulness tool that I realized about myself. Many of you out there may be highly intuitive and empathic. We feel the pain of others. And when we are working with clients, it can be draining. And I've had moments in my coaching life where I was so tired at the end of the day and I realized it was because I was allowing my energy, that empathy to deplete me. So I shifted it to compassion. And so it has that using compassion for their experience and trying to understand why they respond the way they do it, it neutralizes me, losing my energy and I'm much more present and available. So that's a quick little mindfulness tool that helps as well.
Lee Kantor: Now, do you find that there's entrepreneurs out there that kind of lean into the chaos and almost kind of habitually create chaos so that instead of scheduling their day or instead of having positive habits, they're kind of just winging everything every day and every day's a new adventure. And then because of that, they're really not moving forward. They're moving, but it may not be moving forward towards their goals.
Carol Benson: Oh, I think that's probably the biggest roadblock for many coaches. They seek the problems. They look at it, but they're the ones scheduling themselves to be that way. I think that healthy habits, there's a really good book. It's called Atomic Habits by James Clear. I highly recommend this book because it gives you very specific ideas of how to add new habits to your day in terms of your schedule. If you want to add something new you've had a challenge with and it makes a difference. And when you can see that there's very few things we can control in our life, but we can control our schedule, we can control our sleep schedule, what we put in our bodies, our exercise, who we want to hang out with and the schedule of our day. So what I find is when you control your schedule and you include time, downtime for yourself, where you might take a 10 minute break and you go walk, don't get sucked into the social media, schedule your social media check time. I usually do it in the afternoon. I might glance at it in the morning, but I try not to. And it's amazing how much more time I have at the end of the day. So when you can feed yourself and really care for your energy, you. You'll find that the chaos just brushes off of you. It just floats off. OK, chaos, uncertainty. Cool. What's an X? What's possible in this chaos as opposed to, oh, my day is ruined. Look at what has happened. It's a very different approach.
Lee Kantor: Now, can you share a story, maybe a before and after working with a client, obviously don't name their names, but maybe share the challenge that they had and how you were able to help them overcome it and get to a new level?
Carol Benson: Well, I'm going to think of the first client, but just came in. I was working with a medical doctor who felt as if she was the only woman on our whole team and she felt that there. And that's only significant because there seemed to be that old fashioned good old boys club. Even in her profession. She was top of her game speaking at conferences, the whole thing. But she felt contracted and stressed like there she wasn't satisfied anymore, even though she loved her profession and she had a lot of blame towards one of her parents for they couldn't have done this when I was growing up, they could have, they should have done that, you know, that that blame mom and dad kind of mindset. And I asked her questions to really understand what was going on with her. And it turned out that she had a whole list of things where she was not enough. Now, keep in mind, this is a highly educated person on top of her game, speaks at all the international conferences and her specialty area, and she still felt she was not enough. So I gave her exercise to do or just write down a whole list of I'm not enough and just list at all whatever it is. And the next time she checked in with me, she sent it to me, I shared it with me. And our next session we looked at it and I said, OK, what? I want you to decide what's really true.
Carol Benson: And out of a list of about 20 things, maybe there was three things that were true. The rest was all the stories she was telling herself. And what was uncovered for her is that her heart was really impacted by all the blame and becoming defensive and having to be the best at everything. She was a perfectionist and had to be top of the game, highly competitive. So when she identified that about herself, a very interesting thing happened because we were on a Zoom call. I could see her shoulders drop, her whole body shifted her. She had this huge smile on her face and she just looked at me and she said, Oh, I got it. And I took her through forgiveness processes about her one parent that she was really having a hard time forgiving. And so the change in her was immediate. And from that moment, I helped her identify more of her purpose, which was keeping her specialty area as a physician and putting it into a coaching or teaching model for parents with children. I've been watching her for the last year. What she is doing is phenomenal. I'm so proud of her. And she's still working as a physician, but she's delighted and enjoys it because she's doing her purpose. She discovered what was in her way through us working together. So it's really like this flower just blossoming.
Lee Kantor: So, wow, that's a really amazing story, a powerful story. And it shows that a lot of the time the answer is within you. And it kind of stares you in the face a lot of times and you just have to kind of see it, that's all.
Carol Benson: Yes. Well, everybody has blind spots. And when you're really working with someone who is not they don't have their own agenda for you, but they allow what is inside of you to naturally unfold and you elicit it so that they can elevate their life and into more aligned, purposeful existence where they do have that joy and happiness and meaning in all areas of their life. So, yes. Well, that's great.
Lee Kantor: Yeah, well, it's amazing work, Carol. It was an amazing story. And your expertise and your knowledge in this space is just phenomenal. And if somebody wants to learn more, have a conversation with you or somebody on your team and get unstuck, is there a website they can go to?
Carol Benson: Yeah, my website should be up there. It's https://www.carolbensonma.com/. And if you're on LinkedIn, feel free to connect with me. I actually do look at my LinkedIn messages. So it's been a pleasure.
Lee Kantor: Well, thank you for that generous offer. Again, Carol Benson, https://www.carolbensonma.com/ is the website. Connect with her on LinkedIn at Carol Benson. And thank you for sharing your story today. You're doing important work and we appreciate you.