Living With A “Ravenous Thirst For Life”: “Don’t look at the phone until at least an hour after you wake up!” With Veronica Kirin and Dr. Marina Kostina
Don’t look at the phone until at least an hour after you wake up! Again, your brain isn’t totally awake, yet, first thing in the morning. Looking at a smartphone is like turning a firehose on. Your mind gets overwhelmed, and all of a sudden you’re in fight or flight mode, which may last the rest of your day.
Do you ever wake up in the morning feeling unhappy, unfulfilled, unchallenged, and have nothing to look forward to? It doesn’t have to be that way. One idea that I always advice my clients is to “Detox yourself”.
It is interesting how our relationships with our bodies dictate our relationships with the partners and with the world. When we feel fit and sexy we are on top of the world and one with the world; but when our bodies feel unattractive to us we often create discord alienation and push partners, jobs, and opportunities away.
When we start cutting of all toxic things from our lives- foods, drinks, habits, people, places — everything changes- our body, our psyche and mind. Our life becomes ravenous and fulfilling. Any disciplined action (such as getting in shape, or healing yourself from a disease, quitting drugs and alcohol) is a spiritual journey that is also transformational in many ways- and affects not only your body but your life in general.
As a part of our series interviewing experts on how to live a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic, I had the pleasure of interviewing Veronica Kirin, a serial entrepreneur, coach to LGBTQ entrepreneurs, and author of “Stories of Elders: What the Greatest Generation Knows about Technology that You Don’t”. She teaches workshops nation-wide about self care and staying motivated as an entrepreneur, citing her experience with Post Traumatic Injury / Disorder and chronic pain for her development of these skills. She combines this work with her book to support her clients in managing tech, anxiety, and work / life balance in order to maintain their “Joie De Vivre”.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It has been quite the journey! I started as an Entrepreneur in 2010 with a nonprofit organization. I had just returned from my second year-long enlistment with the National Civilian Community Corps conducting disaster relief nation-wide and was suffering from PTSI (aka PTSD). I wanted to continue the work I loved but my brain wasn’t letting me, so I thought by starting my own nonprofit I could exert control where needed and do the work. Sadly, PTSI doesn’t work that way.
Regarding that nonprofit, I really didn’t know what I was doing, but still managed to successfully submit the 40-page application and gain tax-exemption without the help of a lawyer, build a board of directors, hold two successful fundraising galas, and lead four relief missions to the Gulf Coast. From there I was addicted to Entrepreneurship. I began my tech company in 2012 as a result of being laid off from another job. That job had exposed me to some online marketing and web development, but I had to learn on my own, and fast. Thank goodness for Google!
What I really love doing is helping others, and while I’ve loved every business I’ve started since the nonprofit, I realized after a dark night of the soul that I needed to sell my tech company so I could thrive as a Coach. The sale was finalized in May of 2018, and it’s been off to the races ever since. I speak nation-wide about work / life balance, which has been critical to my own mental health. My trademark coaching program is Self Care Through Scaling™, through which I help my clients scale their businesses so they have more freedom to live the life they intended by starting a business in the first place!
What does it mean for you to live “on purpose”? Can you explain? How can one achieve that?
Intentionality appears in everything that I do. I’ve had to learn to become intentional in life because I developed PTSI during my disaster relief days. Sadly, we’re not taught to live ‘on purpose’ or intentionally in our culture, yet every single thing in our lives can be a choice.
That’s what it’s boiled down to for me. I choose how my morning will go, my attitude during the day (even on the hardest days), how I want to appear in the world, who I let in, and how much screen time I get. My book, “Stories of Elders”, in which I present 100 interviews with our oldest living citizens about how technology has changed everything, highlighted for me just how important intentionality with technology is, and has changed my tech usage forever.
Do you have an example or story in your own life of how your pain helped to guide you to finding your life’s purpose?
Absolutely. That “dark night of the soul” I mentioned above was it. I had just completed the nation-wide interviews of our elders for my book. I had been alone on the road for six weeks, covering 12,000 miles. I was either interviewing, eating, sleeping, or driving (sometimes eating and driving at the same time). There was no time for ME. Self care was completely out of the picture. I knew I was suffering, but in the same way I conducted disaster relief, the mission felt bigger than myself, and so I pressed on.
When I got home I crashed. Hard. I was down for a week. I had triggered my PTSI and simply couldn’t function. My business (the tech company) had also suffered while I was away. I just couldn’t do it all and it was time to admit it to myself.
I had to get real with the direction of my life. This was when I got honest with myself that, while I loved my tech company, it wasn’t what I was put on this earth to do. I was put on this earth to make lives better, and while I couldn’t do that through disaster relief any more due to PTSI, I could still do that through my passion for entrepreneurship and through my burgeoning book. I began scaling my tech company for sale, learning about coaching, and started writing that book.
The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?
We value independence greatly in this country, and while I think that being a whole individual is important, we sometimes push ourselves too far on our own. We forget how important community is. If I’ve learned anything from interviewing our elders and writing my book, it is that our communities have thinned. Technology makes it so easy to talk to someone without actually using your voice or seeing a person. As a result, minds are confused by online interactions as to how much socializing we’re actually doing, and we’re not getting the same physical benefits of community.
We also worship ‘busy-ness’. If we’re busy, we must be important. Isn’t that the saying? “Excuse me, I can’t talk right now, I’m very busy and important.” That’s from a movie, I think… Being busy in entrepreneurship isn’t equal to being important or successful, it actually means the opposite. I went from a 60-hour week at my tech company to a 10-hour week through systemizing and scaling it. My pricing model, programs and packages, and team were all screwed up and it meant long hours for me. As I scaled, I had the same company, but larger profit margins and less time at work.
All that to say, we’re wearing ourselves out while living with reduced access to loved ones.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
As I mentioned, I teach my Self Care workshop across the country. I adore the shift I see in attendees during our time together. They walk away feeling validated and harboring new ideas for managing their lives and putting themselves first so they can continue the work they love.
I also do that through my coaching, especially in the LGBTQ community, and it’s incredible. I get such a high from my clients — they are all creating wonderful businesses that make the world better.
I hope my book does the same. It’s meant to be a guidepost during a major shift in human history due to technology. Without our history, how do we know where we’re going?
What are your 6 strategies to help you face your day with exuberance, “Joie De Vivre” and a “ravenous thirst for life”? Can you please give a story or example for each?
1. Wake up with self-compassion. When I used to judge myself each morning by the level of energy I woke with, I had a lot of bad mornings. We can’t predict how we will sleep or if our mind and body will go through a shift in the night. If I wake up in the morning feeling ready to conquer the world, then I see it as a gift. But if I wake and just feel like I’m slogging through the day, that’s okay, too. I know that my days balance out and I am only human.
2. Wake up slow. Your mind and body take more than a minute to wake up fully, but if you haven’t been providing them that space, you could be throwing yourself into fight or flight mode every morning. I particularly enjoy watching the sunrise from my window.
3. Don’t look at the phone until at least an hour after you wake up! Again, your brain isn’t totally awake, yet, first thing in the morning. Looking at a smartphone is like turning a firehose on. Your mind gets overwhelmed, and all of a sudden you’re in fight or flight mode, which may last the rest of your day.
4. Work out. It doesn’t matter how or where or when. Just move your body. Our bodies are designed for movement, not for sitting. As someone with chronic pain, I can affirm that sitting all day does very bad things for the body, especially for the hip flexors and heart. Do yoga, go for a run, go to the gym. You can use it to start your day, pause for lunch, or end your day, but get that blood flowing. The more oxygen in your blood, the better you’ll feel, and the better work you’ll produce.
5. Eat well. Food is one of the largest expenses for any household — and it should be! Good food is critical to a healthy mind, healthy body, and good work. If you want to wake up feeling ready to conquer the world, feed your body well, and you’ll have the energy of a rock star (by the way, rock stars eat really really well!).
6. Protect your schedule. I watch many entrepreneurs allow their schedule to control them. Don’t let this happen to you. I personally don’t work before 9am, past a certain time on weeknights, and refuse to work on weekends (except speaking at conferences and book events, which invigorate me). You choose how much time you allow people and events. I also use A/B days to manage my calendar — no meetings on certain days so I actually get work done. I also love my colleague’s method for managing her life with her family. She is a highly-recognized entrepreneur in the community and is invited to many events. She and her partner decided their kids mattered most, so they chose to alternate nights of the week for their outings. If she is invited to an event but it’s her night to stay in, she doesn’t go. Period. She stays in control of her schedule, and everyone benefits.
Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?
I utterly love “The Success Principles” by Jack Canfield. I recommend it to everyone, and also gift it to my clients. It helps wrap the mind around the idea that one truly can control one’s destiny, and then shows you how. I fervently believe in living your one life your way, and this book does the trick. Just be prepared — it’s long and dense. Take it slow so you internalize all it has to offer.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
The quote I have lived by since I was a teenager is “She’s going to dream up the world she wants to live in / she’s going to dream out loud.” It’s from a U2 song, my favorite band, and it totally encapsulates my approach to life. I have found it to be true. If I put my mind to something, it will happen. I’m that stubborn!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
My book. It was just released on September 30, so it’s not even two months old! Already it’s a best-seller on Amazon. I adore the stories in it, the elders who spent time with myself, a complete stranger, in order to give something to younger generations, and the lessons to be gleaned about how technology effects every facet of our lives.
2019 is already getting packed with signings, keynotes, and events, and I am so excited to share both my book and its lessons with the world. My new keynote shows other entrepreneurs and change makers how I took every experience I had up to the point of the project inception and used that entire tool-kit to create this work. If I can do it, anyone can, and I want to lead the charge on that.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Freeing people to be exactly who they are.
About The Author:
Dr. Marina Kostina is a life and business fulfillment coach. She uses research and energy work to help professional women find their purpose and turn it into a profitable business. Dr. Kostina incorporates innovative marketing strategies and the creation of engaging, lucrative online courses to scale their businesses. As a result they enjoy what she describes as a “ravenous life” — a life filled with the passion, pleasure, playfulness and abundance that come naturally to those who dare to be authentic. Her book “Find the G-Spot of Your Soul” is available January 2018. Download a free gift from Dr. Kostina- an MP3 Meditation Album “Find The G –Spot Of Your Soul” and get unstuck.