Self-Care & Mental Wellness: Rahti Gorfien Of Creative Calling Coaching On The Top Five Selfcare Practices That Improve Mental Wellness

An Interview With Maria Angelova


Having an inner circle Solitude is great for mental wellness, but isolation can literally be a killer. You got to have your crew of 3–5 people whom you can call anytime, day or night, when the chips are down. They need to be people that get you, not enable you. People who love you but aren’t attached to you being who they expect you to be, the way family can sometimes hold outdated expectations of who we are.

Let’s face it. It seems that everyone is under a great deal of stress these days. This takes a toll on our mental wellness. What are some of the best self-care practices that we can use to help improve our mental wellness and mental well-being? In this interview series, we are talking to medical doctors, mental health professionals, health and wellness professionals, and experts about self-care or mental health who can share insights from their experience about How Each Of Us Can Use Self Care To Improve Our Mental Wellness. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Rahti Gorfien.

For almost thirty years, Rahti Gorfien, PCC, ACCG has been coaching creative professionals who are scattered and overwhelmed. She helps her clients focus so they can grab the focus of others, get seen and make money doing what they love. Rahti has been recognized three times by as one of the 15 Best Life Coaches in NYC as a professionally certified career and ADHD coach.

Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. It is a great honor. Our readers would love to learn more about you and your personal background. Can you please share your personal story? What has brought you to this point in your life?

As a struggling actor and standup comic, I used to start support groups for myself around writing, getting to auditions, etc. I really liked Julia Cameron’s ‘The Artists Way’ and worked through that book 3 times…once solo and twice in groups I formed with friends. Speaking of groups, I also started a Wishcraft Team inspired by Barbara Sher that collectively resulted in a yoga business, a bookstore, and a DJ. I seemed to have a gift for facilitating change.

Finally, I knew coaching was the right business for me to pursue because one day my husband said “You’re good at this stuff. Start charging.” And since I was burning out on cooking, temping and a myriad of other serial day jobs, I took his advice.

In retrospect, the diversity of my background is clearly a key element in the evolution of my coaching style. As an actor, playwright, standup comic, private cook, company manager, restaurant hostess and adoptive parent, I can accurately say that I’ve experienced life from many enriching perspectives. I even spent several years as a full-time yogini living at an ashram in Pennsylvania. In addition to having become a professionally certified coach, I have been helping individuals realize their creative, vocational, and personal potential since 1990. My current spiel at cocktail parties is ‘I work with scattered creatives by helping them focus so that they can grab the focus of others.’

What is your “WHY” behind what you do? What fuels you?

My ‘why’ is to help others frame their own human experience as a cumulative success. Eventually, everything that happens to us can be viewed as a gift or opportunity. What makes us who we are individually is grist for creating the unique meaning in the world that only we can deliver. My mission is to help people identify and make that unique contribution by leaning into their strengths instead of fixating on what they consider their weaknesses.

Sometimes our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about a mistake or failure which you now appreciate has taught you a valuable lesson?

I once gave a letter to someone that should never have been delivered. The fallout of that act, though well intentioned, was highly traumatic. It tore me down to ground zero, complete with suicidal ideation. Because I had a son to raise, I undertook the hard work of understanding how and why I self-sabotaged through fifteen years of psychoanalysis. I don’t know if I would have ever gotten to address my key issues if I hadn’t delivered that letter. It also gave me the gift of deep empathy through an understanding of despair, which is central to who I am as a coach.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

Tenacity. It’s one thing to pivot, but quitting is not an option. Being a theater artist was a step along the path to realizing my professional potential, not the final destination. I knew I wanted to make a living wage doing something I loved that allowed me to work from my gifts of creativity and verbal communication. I just didn’t know it was called coaching.

Curiosity. As a playwright and actor, I’ve always been intrigued by what makes people tick so that I could capture it on the page or embody it. Now that same curiosity serves me by allowing me to listen deeply, empathize, and empower others to embody what makes them tick in a way that allows them to be happy.

The ability to delegate. Delegating is a skill. You’ve got to learn it from somebody. I was a personal assistant to an actress for 32 years and she taught me how to be how to be a great boss. She was clear about what she wanted, and she recognized my strengths. She used to like to say she ‘had a staff’, which was true. There were three of us, three young women with very different skill sets. She would never ask me to balance her checkbook, but she knew I made a mean salad dressing. I’ve used her methods in cultivating my team, down to the ‘Other People’s Business’ three ring binder she maintained so she knew who was on vacation, whose birthday it was, etc. Mine is just a designated google calendar so I know when people are off the grid.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting new projects you are working on now? How do you think that will help people?

I am currently working on promoting and launching my Mental Fitness Bootcamp which is centered around developing and training creatives to regulate their emotions so that what they feel doesn’t stop them from getting and doing what they want. It’s a group program with an initial six-week intensive training followed by regular meetings and a private coaching element as well. I am also writing a book for Routledge which should be out in 2023 called The Five Emotions that Stop Success.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview, about the interface between self-care and mental health. From where you stand personally or professionally, why are you so passionate about mental well-being?

In my experience, 95% of success is mindset. You can have all the strategy in the world, but if you can’t execute a plan because you don’t feel like it, or you’re too depressed, you’re dead in the water.

Based on your research or experience, how exactly does self-care impact our mental wellness?

It’s everything. Fundamentally, self-care is self-acceptance. I don’t mean complacency; I mean self-compassion. Treating yourself the way you would if you were your own child. If a kid is learning to walk and falls down, you wouldn’t yell at and berate them. But people who do that to themselves all the time don’t see how self-defeating that is. If you are unconditionally self-accepting and you know you need nine hours of sleep, you give yourself nine hours of sleep, and if you don’t, you don’t expect yourself to perform as though you have; you modify something. You take a nap at some point. You don’t beat yourself up for being ‘lazy’ which is truly a meaningless word.

Here is our primary question. Can you please share your “Top Five Selfcare Practices That Each Of Us Can Use To Improve Our Mental Wellness”?

Resting when you’re tired Shakespeare wrote: “Sleep that knits up the ravell’d sleeve of care, The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” No kidding. We mess up when we’re tired. We have less patience and impulse control. It’s easy to destroy a relationship or lose a job when fatigue has shortened your fuse and clouded your thinking. I’ve heard it said that resting when you’re tired is a radical thing to do. I agree because it isn’t really recognized as a necessity. Whether you can lie down for twenty minutes or have to hole up in a bathroom stall with your eyes closed for five, whatever the option, a few minutes rest could change the course of your day, or your life.

Engaging in some form of mental fitness. “Mental Fitness” is the ability to regulate your emotions so that how you feel doesn’t stop you from getting and doing what you want. Just like with body building, there are exercise that help us get into good mental shape. I don’t mean like Sudoku which may be great as we age, but exercises that grows the grey matter in our prefrontal cortex so that we have more command over our reactions and behavior. Meditation is one of those practices. I teach my clients a technique called Positive Intelligence developed by Shirzad Chamine that is terrific, especially for people who have a hard time sitting for meditation.

Having an inner circle Solitude is great for mental wellness, but isolation can literally be a killer. You got to have your crew of 3–5 people whom you can call anytime, day or night, when the chips are down. They need to be people that get you, not enable you. People who love you but aren’t attached to you being who they expect you to be, the way family can sometimes hold outdated expectations of who we are.

Movement I am careful not to label that exercise because for many people, including me, the very word ‘exercise’ is daunting. This is a highly personal thing. Weather permitting, my husband literally walks me (without a leash, thank you.) If it weren’t for him, I might not leave the apartment for days at a time. When the weather is bad, I might throw on some music and move to it or do one of those 7-minute workouts on YouTube. Play around, the operative word being PLAY.

Practice Gratitude At the ashram I lived at, there were little sayings taped inside the bathroom stalls. One said, ‘Gratitude is a prayer in action’. It took me years to realize what that meant. When you intentionally find something to be grateful for, you momentarily spark a sense of well-being, or happiness. When you find a bunch of things to be grateful for, you can short-circuit a downward spiral of rumination. What do we usually pray for? Happiness. So, when you practice gratitude, you’re making happiness…. happen.

Can you please share a few of the main roadblocks that prevent people from making better self-care choices? What would you suggest can be done to overcome those roadblocks?

They think they are what they feel. And if you feel like crap, why take care of yourself? When you first start out, self-care can feel absolutely counterintuitive. People stay stuck when they are not willing to do what doesn’t necessarily feel natural at first. Then, once they get a taste of feeling good, they do more…and if they stop, they miss it…which hopefully leads to a return to the good habits. If not, another roadblock people put up is believing they’ve got to go it alone. Hie thee to a shrink or a coach!

In one sentence, what would you say to someone who doesn’t prioritize their mental well-being?

It would depend on why that was. But okay, I might say ‘You may think you’re being selfless, but actually, you’re being selfish, because if you’re unhappy and burnt out, you’re part of the problem.’

Thank you for all that great insight! Let’s start wrapping up. Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does this quote resonate with you so much?

Rushing slows you down. I’m very proud to have coined that one. It comes out of my direct experience. In life, you just can’t skip over things…. not difficult feelings, not obstacles. Also, when you rush to get out the door, you forget your phone or your glasses and have to go back and get them…so you miss the bus. Wouldn’t it have been better to just proceed moment to moment until you have everything you need?

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? They might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)

Matthew McConaughey. I just get the impression he’d be a delight to hang out with, the kind of guy whose so happy he makes anyone he talks to feel great about themselves. If that’s true, what a gift!

I truly appreciate your time and valuable contribution. One last question. How can our readers best reach or follow you?

I can be reached directly on my website and can be found on all of the following social platforms:

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.

About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at To schedule a free consultation, click here.



Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.