Happy Career Formula with Jette Stubbs

31. The Six Factors of Entrepreneurial Vulnerability (with Shulamit Ber LevTov)

May 11, 2022 Jette Stubbs, Shulamit Ber LevTov Season 1 Episode 31
31. The Six Factors of Entrepreneurial Vulnerability (with Shulamit Ber LevTov)
Happy Career Formula with Jette Stubbs
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Happy Career Formula with Jette Stubbs
31. The Six Factors of Entrepreneurial Vulnerability (with Shulamit Ber LevTov)
May 11, 2022 Season 1 Episode 31
Jette Stubbs, Shulamit Ber LevTov

If you have ever had like cold or hot sweats, trying to think about how am I going to make money off of this idea? How is this going to work? As an entrepreneur, you have to wear so many hats. Imagine you know how to manage the stress and channel it into success. Shulamit shares Six Factors of Entrepreneurial Vulnerability: What are each of these factors and how do they affect our ability to create a thriving business?

Stress relief mini-series and free stress relief audio recording here: shula.consulting/newsletter 

Shulamit is the entrepreneur's therapist, helping entrepreneurial and self-employed women stay sane as they ride the emotional rollercoaster of running a business. Shulamit has been an entrepreneur for over 27 years, and is a licensed therapist, retired Yoga teacher and trauma survivor. She has over 20 years of professional experience supporting mental health and personal growth and has logged thousands of hours helping hundreds of women (and men) rebound from stress and trauma. An award-winning entrepreneur and experienced speaker, Shula brings a unique perspective and approach to supporting women in business, has spoken locally, nationally and internationally, and has been a guest on podcasts including What Works, Small Business Boss, Fearless, The Biz Podcast, and many others.

Show Notes Transcript

If you have ever had like cold or hot sweats, trying to think about how am I going to make money off of this idea? How is this going to work? As an entrepreneur, you have to wear so many hats. Imagine you know how to manage the stress and channel it into success. Shulamit shares Six Factors of Entrepreneurial Vulnerability: What are each of these factors and how do they affect our ability to create a thriving business?

Stress relief mini-series and free stress relief audio recording here: shula.consulting/newsletter 

Shulamit is the entrepreneur's therapist, helping entrepreneurial and self-employed women stay sane as they ride the emotional rollercoaster of running a business. Shulamit has been an entrepreneur for over 27 years, and is a licensed therapist, retired Yoga teacher and trauma survivor. She has over 20 years of professional experience supporting mental health and personal growth and has logged thousands of hours helping hundreds of women (and men) rebound from stress and trauma. An award-winning entrepreneur and experienced speaker, Shula brings a unique perspective and approach to supporting women in business, has spoken locally, nationally and internationally, and has been a guest on podcasts including What Works, Small Business Boss, Fearless, The Biz Podcast, and many others.

[00:00:00] Jette Stubbs: If you have ever had like cold or hot sweats, trying to think about how am I going to make money off of this idea?

[00:00:08] Jette Stubbs: How is this going to work? As an entrepreneur, you have to wear so many hats. If you're running a brick and mortar, like a physical store, you have to clean the toilet while you're thinking of your marketing strategy. While you're thinking of how you are going to serve your clients, your existing clients, and grow your business and do all the things at once.

[00:00:26] Jette Stubbs: And then all of a sudden the stress starts to rack up. And you're just thinking maybe, should I have done this? Is this, am I a failure? Because I'm stressed out right now. And that's not how you should feel. 

[00:00:38] Jette Stubbs: I, hate, I hated feeling that way. Those nights of like stress, sweat thinking, how am I going to make my next dollar I did?

[00:00:46] Jette Stubbs: Was this a good idea? Who am I going to talk to? Is anybody going to support me on this? How is this going to work, calling your friends in these nine to five jobs and trying to talk to them or vent and just not getting any really supportive feedback, just being like, oh, have you considered just going back to job?

[00:01:02] Jette Stubbs: Because of the false sense of security that has anyways, I'm not going to get too deep into it because Shula dives deep into these entrepreneurial vulnerability factors and how we can start to take control of them and take control of how we feel as we go on our entrepreneurship journey.

[00:01:20] Jette Stubbs: We're going to talk about how you can mitigate the stress factor is that you can feel along the way, how can you start to manage them and reduce them?

[00:01:29] Jette Stubbs: One of the biggest things I took away from this conversation is that we think

[00:01:35] Jette Stubbs: entrepreneurship and pursuing your own journey as a success or failure. You either succeed or you fail. And we think of the stress and the anxiety that we can feel along the way as part of our own failure. Like I felt that way. I don't know about you. 

[00:01:52] Jette Stubbs: It's about mitigating the risk factors for stress as you go and grow as an entrepreneur, that's powerful. 

[00:02:01] Jette Stubbs: Shulamit is the entrepreneurs therapist helping entrepreneurial and self-employed women stay sane as they ride the emotional rollercoaster of running a business. Shulamit has been an entrepreneur for over 27 years and is a licensed. Therapists retired, yoga teacher and trauma survivor.

[00:02:21] Jette Stubbs: She has over 20 years of professional experience supporting mental health and personal growth and has logged thousands of hours helping hundreds of women and men rebound from stress. To me, this all sounds amazing so far. And award winning entrepreneur and experienced speaker Shula brings a unique perspective and approach to supporting women in business has spoken locally, nationally, and internationally, and has been a guest on podcasts, including what works, small business box.

[00:02:54] Jette Stubbs: Fearless the biz podcast and many others. So I'm so excited to have Sheila meet on the call today. You and I are going to learn so much about how to think about mitigating the stress factors that come along with entrepreneurship. 

[00:03:15] Jette Stubbs: Stay tuned and listen, if you want to learn how you can. Yeah. Mitigate stress as you take more control of how you make money. 

[00:03:26] Jette Stubbs: You're listening to the happy career formula with Jette Stubbs where we talk about how to find what you love to do and turn it into ways to make money, whether that's a job, freelance service or a business, so you can live life on your own terms. 

[00:03:41] Jette Stubbs: Today we are speaking with Shulamit Ber LevTov. And we're talking about the six factors of entrepreneurial vulnerability. What are each of these factors and how they affect our ability to create a thriving business. And I'm really excited to speak to Shulamit. Shulamit taken over and introduce yourself?

[00:04:03] Jette Stubbs: Tell us more about. 

[00:04:04] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Thank you. I'm the entrepreneur's therapist. And I work with women identifying entrepreneurs to uplift their mindset and pilot their emotions so that they can overcome the isolation and anxiety of entrepreneurship. And so they have some company on the emotional roller coaster cause it's such a shit show sometimes. 

[00:04:26] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Yes. It's important to have somebody in your corner, right? Do you know what I'm talking about? 

[00:04:31] Jette Stubbs: I absolutely know what you're talking about. Some days within the same day, I'll feel like, oh my gosh, I'm doing all the most amazing things. And I have hit all of these success factors and I was on this huge podcast and this person invited me there.

[00:04:46] Jette Stubbs: And then two hours later, I'm like, oh my gosh, what am I doing? How am I. Going to make this. I don't have any like real stability. I have to make everything happen to myself. Was it? What was I thinking? But I don't want to go back to the past and go back to a nine to five. So how do I, make this work?

[00:05:01] Jette Stubbs: So I am totally with you. I'm there. 

[00:05:05] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So if you have just articulated in every detail, my life and the life of so many other women entrepreneurs. Oh my goodness. Yeah. 

[00:05:15] Shulamit Ber LevTov: This is this points first right away to the first element or the first factor that. Where's on our mental health as entrepreneurs is this volatility, I call it the rollercoaster, but it's up and down, and like you pointed out with such quick turnaround, like within a couple of hours. And that just is if you think of like a car and how, if you go really fast and then really slow and then really fast and then really slow in a car, like the engine is really not, it's not, it's a lot of wear and tear.

[00:05:48] Jette Stubbs: Yes. Yes. 

[00:05:50] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So the first factor I call VUCA, which is, or I use the term VUCA to describe it. And this is an acronym I didn't make up. It stands for volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. 

[00:06:06] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. 

[00:06:10] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And so like you mentioned the up and downs, right? The uncertainty, like we just, it's always a crap shoot in business. We can have a certain, we can have a degree of certainty, but there's never nothing ever guaranteed because there are so many moving parts. And also so many, we could do everything right inside our business and still the world something could happen.

[00:06:30] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Hello, 20 20, and right. We can't predict. Predict the complex nature of what we do as entrepreneurs. We wear every hat in the book. As we clean the toilets. If we have a bricks and mortar we cleaned the toilets, but we also serve the clients, but we also do the vision and the strategic planning.

[00:06:53] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And we also pay the bills and do the books right. So much there. And then ambiguity, the lack of clarity.

[00:07:01] Jette Stubbs: Clarity on next steps?

[00:07:04] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Clarity all across the board. Like it's never clear cut. It's a little bit like the uncertainty uncertainty has to do with we can't predict things, but ambiguity has to do with a lack of clarity. So for example if you're.

[00:07:20] Shulamit Ber LevTov: It's never certain it's no ambiguity is like

[00:07:25] Shulamit Ber LevTov: the information you get is not clear. Cut. And so for example, you could know that you're trending upwards, but it's what does that even mean? And your socials, like you could, but does that translate into sales? Know, and you probably know, and people listening probably know marketing is very ambiguous because it doesn't like, how do we make the sales come in?

[00:07:45] Shulamit Ber LevTov: There is no magic formula. So you're in this very ambiguous environment of okay, I know I have to be consistent. I know I have to do the right things, but will it pay off? I don't know. And to, and when will it pay. 

[00:07:57] Jette Stubbs: Yes, it's so true. It's so ambiguous around marketing. Most people hate marketing to begin with, and then you go into it and they're like you said, there's this lack of clarity.

[00:08:07] Jette Stubbs: You don't know what to do. You're not sure what to say. And it's ambiguous whether or not you'll get results from it. You're not sure whether you should put money into it. Whether you shouldn't put money into it and you're making all of these decisions on the same day, like you said, if you're owning a brick and mortar, you may be cleaning the toilet.

[00:08:21] Jette Stubbs: I like trying to make these decisions at the same time and that can be extremely overwhelming. So yeah, please keep on going, tell me, are there, are you going to go to the next factor or can you give us some insight into how you help us with this? 

[00:08:38] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Ambiguity has to do with the lack of clarity. So for example, in marketing, It's such an ambiguous enterprise, because we know for example, that we have to niche, we know that we have to have a clear message. We know that we have to be consistent. We know we have to choose the platform where our people are and be consistent on that platform.

[00:09:00] Shulamit Ber LevTov: It used to be in the old days and in the 1950 style where you knew that you had to make 200 cold calls in order to make five sales, and you knew as a sales person, that if you made those 200 cold calls consistently, you would make five sales. But it's not like that for us to ambiguous.

[00:09:19] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Now we could put I don't know we could post five days a week and get X number of shares and X number of comments. And we still don't really know what does that mean for our business? The lack of clarity around all the information coming in and the decisions we have to. Is the cognitive load of functioning, like trying to make decisions and make plans and take action in that ambiguous environment is very demanding.

[00:09:47] Jette Stubbs: Okay. And this is just the first factor. How do you usually do it? Do you help people address each factor or do you help them move on to the next factor? Help them understand all six factors and then start to break down how you can support them. 

[00:10:01] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So the support the, short answer to the support part is that all of these things evoke emotions.

[00:10:11] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Difficult emotions, that are we get upset, we get frustrated. We get afraid. Cause it's our bread and butter like for entrepreneurs, right? The fear is very visceral because it's a survival fear. If we can't make our businesses go, we're like out of work, we've got no money coming in and we can't pay the bills.

[00:10:30] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So it's a very visceral it's not just oh, anyway, it's a very visceral, very profound fear. And this kind of emotional dysregulation separates us from our wiser, warmer, more compassionate, decisive, creative CEO, self, the very aspect of our brain that we need to be. The entrepreneur we want to be and to keep our businesses safe, it literally goes offline when we are emotional, when we're emotionally overwhelmed.

[00:11:07] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Okay. And so the work, there are two steps in the work. The first step is emotional regulation. So as an entrepreneur, you would come to me and say, oh my God, can you believe what happened to me today? This I lost Mike, Nick, the bank closed my line of credit. I don't know what the hell I'm going to do.

[00:11:26] Shulamit Ber LevTov: You're freaking out like you're losing. Crap, right? Yes. And it's frightening. 

[00:11:32] Jette Stubbs: It is. That's the type of stuff will get your heart pounding, staying up at night. You're like clinging to your sheets, night sweats coming, 

[00:11:40] Shulamit Ber LevTov: the whole thing. And to say to someone who doesn't understand and you tell them about this, they say if it's that stressful why don't you just get a job?

[00:11:52] Jette Stubbs: Oh, yeah. I've heard that I've had that message. And even when your business is doing well, business expenses can increase. As you become more profitable. As you're working on growing your business, you'd put more money into marketing. So the truth is you could be making more money than you did when you were having, when you had that job or even in the job that they had, but they're like, oh go for the security.

[00:12:16] Jette Stubbs: It's hard because you're having this moment of an otherwise successful project and somebody is telling you go back to the safe job. 

[00:12:24] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Yeah, then let's just take another little parenthesis and say that security of a job is an illusion. We could lose our job, just like anything else could just happen.

[00:12:35] Shulamit Ber LevTov: We tell ourselves the story that our job and our paycheck is secure, but it's a story. 

[00:12:40] Jette Stubbs: 100%. I think the pandemic has shown that to so many people. Yeah. 

[00:12:46] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And conversely, when you have a big victory in your 

[00:12:50] Shulamit Ber LevTov: business and you tell somebody and my beloved has been is a hundred percent behind me. And when I tell him about a victory, like you meant.

[00:12:58] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I got a call out of nowhere from somebody important to ask me to cooperate with them, or I had a really big win today. I was on this YouTube live or he's oh he pets metaphorically pads. That's nice, honey. And I'm like, no, but you don't understand the blood, sweat and tears.

[00:13:17] Shulamit Ber LevTov: It took to get here and he's oh, that's nice. Good for you. And I'm like, no, you don't fit it. So it's both sides of the coin to be able to really fully celebrate your successes and really fully be heard and understood. What's not working and the pain you're feeling around that. That's the first aspect of the work that I do with people is the emotional regulation side.

[00:13:41] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And then the second part is identifying what are the challenges that you're facing and what are the skills you have to bring to these challenges speaking emotionally? And what are the skills? Where are the gaps? And what are the emotional skills you need to develop in order to be more resilient and do better at your own emotional self-care so that you can have a stronger, safer.

[00:14:07] Jette Stubbs: See that piece I think is really powerful. What are the skills that you can gain? So I know this is our first, like we made real conversation. So for my business coaching and my career coaching, usually people were coming to me are in this place. Not just in the messy, middle of career growth or professional girls, but they're in this messy middle of life.

[00:14:28] Jette Stubbs: I started from sharing my story of having one more than one trauma happened after the other in my life situation. And then trying to build that out, to create. Something that worked for me and my situation. So when you're talking about building out the support piece, I think that's huge because you can feel so alone on this journey and it's so hard to like your husband loves you, but does he really understand?

[00:14:54] Jette Stubbs: Does he, when you are saying, Hey, I got this opportunity. I'm going to be in front of this massive audience and this person that I admire that you may have never heard of. Does he see it? It's so frustrating. So how do you make that shift and yeah. What do you recommend to people usually to start to build?

[00:15:13] Jette Stubbs: For me it was building community, but how I had no idea where to start. 

[00:15:17] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I think community is a really good way to start for a number of reasons. A company of others has a regulating of. When we are in distress when we can so I'm showing with my hand, the gesture of if you make a fist with the thumb tucked in, and then you lift the fingers up, this is like the metaphor of flipping your lid, right?

[00:15:41] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So you've got somebody who comes in with their fingers all up in the air and they're all, they flip their lid and they come into the company of someone whose lid is on. So now my fingers are closed in a gentle fist, this person. Who's flipped their lead. When they sit with someone who is calm, they are able to also it's a co-regulating effect.

[00:16:02] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And when you calm, your lid comes back on, this is your prefrontal cortex, where all your executive functions reside, and suddenly you regain access to your wisdom and your knowledge and your skills and your strength. And so community. Safe community, a community where you feel like you're accepted and you belong, has a powerful, emotional regulating effect.

[00:16:26] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And that, again, you can't take in new information. If you're not emotionally regulated, if your lid isn't on you, can't problem solve. You can't make decisions. You can't ask for help. It's very difficult, right. But when you're sitting in circle with people in a community, you have. The regulating impact, you have your own wisdom, but then you also have the power of the group that can validate your experience so that you're not crazy that it isn't, individual problem.

[00:16:55] Shulamit Ber LevTov: It's a systemic or a structural problem that also you have the other people's wisdom and experience that they can share with you as well. So I think community is really powerful.

[00:17:05] Jette Stubbs: I loved the way you described that with the flipping of the lid, because it's so powerful. And it also makes me think, I feel like for so many people, I helped them close their lid even, if I don't want to they just find, can find me calming.

[00:17:19] Jette Stubbs: So now we are on you've talked about these first two factors, right? First, there's still, we're still in factor one. Okay. Wow. This is a, lot of powerful information I'm excited to see. See, more. Please keep going to explain, tell me more about these factors. 

[00:17:39] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So the second factor is the hustle or more succinctly the cost of the hustle.

[00:17:46] Shulamit Ber LevTov: We can work. Smart and not hard. We don't have to hustle. I want to, right away challenge the need for that, because I think that falls within a model of consumption and production at all, costs that if we are entrepreneurs, Especially women entrepreneurs and many black indigenous and people of color who go to entrepreneurs, go into entrepreneurship are doing so because they want to create for themselves something different than the oppressive structures and the hustle and capitalism and all that stuff.

[00:18:22] Shulamit Ber LevTov: But, and all those, it's hard. What we do. And we often had end up working. There are times when we work long hours. There are times when we do skip meals. There are times where we put off going to the bathroom. I just got to get one more thing done. One more thing, done, one more thing done. And when we work hard like that, and our time is at a premium, it takes a toll and we aren't able to recover.

[00:18:49] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So the second factor is the hustle and the cost of the hustle. However we define it.

[00:18:56] Jette Stubbs: I think that's amazing because I think the hustle, I hate hustle culture. I feel like it's just sending people down this path to burnout and a path of exhaustion, and you're not actually taking time to step back and say, okay, what about, what are we I'm doing is working what isn't working?

[00:19:15] Jette Stubbs: What am I actually ended up being paid per hour? After I've done all of this work and is that amount increasing? Because even like people hustle in nine to five too, they're working, people will take like a nine to five at a big four consulting firm and they'll work like 80 a hundred hours a week and then talk about, oh, I'm making six figures.

[00:19:36] Jette Stubbs: And I'm like, yeah, but you're actually being paid like 20 something dollars an hour by then. It's just, you work more hours. It's if you worked a basic job and you just decided to work 16 hours a day instead of eight, right. I, find it's so toxic, but that's what people think they need to do.

[00:19:54] Jette Stubbs: They think it's the only option, they think it's the only option. And it's, even tough sometimes to get somebody to calm down. It's like their adrenaline system is constantly on overdrive and it's go, I need to get this done. And they can't even hear or see or take in what's happening around them to make a change.

[00:20:13] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Yes, their lid is flipped. 

[00:20:15] Jette Stubbs: Exactly, 

[00:20:16] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And I come back to what I said early in the podcast about the visceral nature. I think that, especially in early entrepreneurship and I've, just in the past couple of years, understood how this was playing out for me that because this is the way trauma works.

[00:20:32] Shulamit Ber LevTov: We, we end up in a shock. We have a shock, we get dysregulated where usually in a very anxious state, because we have it's danger and we have to respond to the danger. And the leap into business is a bit like that. Where we take a leap into quote-unquote danger, we take a risk, it's a calculated risk, and I'm not risk averse.

[00:20:50] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I'm here behind anybody who wants to take a risk to support them in taking that risk. And at the same time, it's very activating to the nervous system, especially when it's a bread and butter issue, like making a business. So it makes sense that you would be in fear, but there's a certain point in your business at which you should no longer be operating from fear because you're not in the nailbiting phase of things, but the brain just like with trauma, the brain doesn't always catch.

[00:21:21] Shulamit Ber LevTov: To the fact that it's safe now. And so in order to make that switch from the hustle that you have decided you're going to choose for yourself initially in your startup phase, that you need to engage in behaviors. And this is where, like the kind of work that I do can help people see, oh yeah, wait a minute.

[00:21:42] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I don't have to be in fear anymore. And the work is to provide, to learn skills and ways of experientially sending yourself the message that you're safe now. So it's not for example, have you ever been afraid and tried to tell yourself not to be afraid? 

[00:22:02] Jette Stubbs: Oh, so many times I feel like that was like half of my life for the last 10 years.

[00:22:05] Shulamit Ber LevTov: How effective was that ?

[00:22:08] Jette Stubbs: It was not effective at all. 

[00:22:10] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So when it's no longer necessary to be in fear, we need to do, we need to do an experience things that engage all of us so that we know that we're safe. And, okay. So that's part of the work that we might do one-on-one is, learning to reorient.

[00:22:27] Shulamit Ber LevTov: This is where my trauma background, my trauma training comes in to reorient and to ground and to remind yourself, oh yeah, this isn't the startup phase anymore. I don't have to be in fear anymore. They're the stakes are not as high as they used to be. I have some security. Now this is now. That was then right.

[00:22:44] Shulamit Ber LevTov: That's and that's why you find it. I would say from a brain point of view, why you find it so difficult when you, can't even get them to stop and take in new information because they're in that fear state. 

[00:22:55] Jette Stubbs: This is so powerful because even yesterday I was having a conversation with one of my close friends and we were talking about my business growth and some of the things that I was stressing him out, some of the things that were going well.

[00:23:07] Jette Stubbs: She said, Like about eight months ago, you told me you're always afraid the next she was going to drop your all. You've had a lot of success. Your business has been growing. You've been making good money, but it's, you're at this. You're so used to bad things happening in personal life and things going up and down that you're just waiting for the next thing to happen.

[00:23:28] Jette Stubbs: And this is what I had told her. And then it's now been. Eight months. And there's just, I've now accepted that life can have stability. And she just reminded me that she's are you still feeling that way? And I was like, oh my gosh, no, this is changed. I now know it's a real possibility, but it's tough to see as a possibility if you haven't seen it, or if you haven't experienced it or you're coming from a difficult personal life or different like difficult life situation.

[00:23:56] Jette Stubbs: Getting rid of that piece of this, like hustling. Mentality and actually letting yourself calm down because a part of hustle, like you said, especially if you're coming from BIPOC backgrounds, it can be like you just trying to escape a situation and it's a part of that escape.

[00:24:12] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Yeah. And it's life and death for you in so many ways. 

[00:24:16] Jette Stubbs: Yeah, it can really be like that. So how this is so much useful information. I can't believe we're only on factor number two factor. Cause I'm keeping track.. I honestly thought we were halfway through when you did VUCA but this is amazing, please. What are the top things you recommend for somebody in that high visceral state, should they find somebody who has their lid closed and sit next to them or what were, what are some things you'd recommend?

[00:24:44] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I say, I would say find somebody who gets you. That's one thing that be in community, like you mentioned, that was your first thing. You can also go to your you might have a biz bestie, like a best friend. Who's also an entrepreneur who would get you. They might be your partner. If your partner is a person who gets what you're going through, so you don't have to actually explain everything, they just really get it.

[00:25:06] Shulamit Ber LevTov: A coach like you or a therapist like me who understands entrepreneurship. Like your role as a, as in supporting business owners is in like being there for them. You're, there, you're in their corner, you're their cheerleader. And that's a regulating thing as well. And in terms of the fear so I'm going to put a little parenthesis because you've referred to this, and this is really important before I give this tip, because it's going to sound really simple, but.

[00:25:35] Shulamit Ber LevTov: But I'm a trauma survivor. You've said that you've experienced a great deal of adversity in your life when you've experienced adverse events in your life that can make it difficult to do. Even the simple things. You may find that the stuff that works for everybody else doesn't work for you.

[00:25:58] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And your friend will just say, oh, just take a deep breath. Just breathe. Deeply. Deep breathing is great for anxiety. I'm here to tell you that for some people who are trauma survivors who have had life or death experiences previously, Th you need that sense of alert in order to have feel safe. And so if you take a deep breath that then your body starts to relax and your body goes, wait a minute.

[00:26:23] Shulamit Ber LevTov: If I'm relaxed, though, then somebody might hurt me. In order to be safe, I need to be anxious. And so the very fact of your body relaxing triggers, anxiety, and that's why deep breathing doesn't work for some people. It's important to contextualize that I'm going to give this handy little tip and I want to give it with that caveat that it might not be an easy thing for you to do.

[00:26:47] Jette Stubbs: I love the perspective. Cause I think that's so true. It's so true. Like I've experienced that people would say, oh, you need to relax or you need to de-stress. And then I explained my situation, then they're like, oh, I don't know how you would stress from that. And it's just it's hard to figure out how to calm down, how to relax, how to make that a reality.

[00:27:11] Jette Stubbs: I love the fact that you acknowledged that because not everybody's in the same situation where they could do yoga for half an hour and then feel better. 

[00:27:18] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Yeah. And I used to I was one of those people who, before I came into, I was in therapy most of my life. And a lot of it didn't work until I got to a trauma therapist.

[00:27:28] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And, but I was way into the. Long before I came to therapy with the trauma therapist who helped me recover. And a lot of it didn't work for me. And then I would shit on myself. What's the matter with you? Why can't everybody says you're supposed to feel better. Like it was all this self-blame.

[00:27:43] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And that's the reason I say that before I talk about tips, because the last thing I would want is for someone to hear this and think it's easy, try it, not have the results that they want and then shit on themselves. ' cause I was shocked. 

[00:27:59] Jette Stubbs: It would. And I think so many people could potentially feel that way and get so frustrated.

[00:28:05] Jette Stubbs: I've also went through my slew of therapists before I found a good one. And it's just why is nobody connecting with me? Is there something wrong with me? Why am I not getting good advice or good tips? Why am I struggling to find somebody? Okay, please continue. 

[00:28:21] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Here's what you might like to try.

[00:28:22] Shulamit Ber LevTov: The very first thing is to recognize that you're in distress. It's like an, it's like a weather report. It's like, when you're trying to figure out what you're going to do for the day and you open the door and you look out and you see it's raining and you go, oh, it's raining. So it's very much like that just, oh, I'm upset.

[00:28:39] Shulamit Ber LevTov: You don't need to go into it. You don't need to define it. You don't need to go there because when you're on your own and you're having intense emotions, it's tough to go there. So a simple acknowledgement, oh, And then the next thing, if you could place a gentle hand with your Palm down on your upper chest and the heart area, and you could try saying to yourself, no wonder I'm upset.

[00:29:03] Shulamit Ber LevTov: This is really tough.

[00:29:05] Jette Stubbs: That's a really powerful action because you're giving yourself permission to accept that the situation is difficult. You're not trying to deny the situation and sugarcoat it with positivity. And I will I will get through this, it's it. You're allowing yourself the permission to, I don't know, what's the right word.

[00:29:25] Jette Stubbs: It's not, probably not the right word, but to almost grieve the situation you're in and be. Sad about it beside about it. And so you can find some peace and process it and then actually be able to address it. I think that's a really powerful action. 

[00:29:43] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Thank you. Because our natural inclination is to push away.

[00:29:47] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And if you can imagine what it's like to keep, to hold a weight at a distance for a L a long amount of time, right? It generates all this kind of tension in your body. And so w the simple inclination marks act of acknowledging, oh, I'm upset is just taking your hands down from that weight. You just put your hands down.

[00:30:09] Jette Stubbs: Okay. Shulamit this is amazing because I think one of the most powerful things that I have learned along my journey, and this, may apply to you too, is when you have anxiety or when you're feeling that tension, you. You want to fight it, you want to fight it. You want it to stop.

[00:30:27] Jette Stubbs: And so you try and make it stop. It's like you feel in your body. It's you're trying to cut it off before it gets to your heart or it gets to your head. Or it's you're trying to stop it in its tracks. And the biggest lesson that I've learned is that instead of fighting it, you need to let yourself feel it so you can process it.

[00:30:43] Jette Stubbs: And then it will go away more quickly and return less often. 

[00:30:47] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I know. It's true. And I agree a hundred percent. I've lived the experience that you're describing too. And I remember the me before who said what? No, feel it. What are you talking about? I'm not going there. That's in the past.

[00:31:01] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I don't want to talk. I don't want to so I'm, gonna use an illustration that might resonate if you've ever seen what toddlers are like when you ignore them. 

[00:31:11] Jette Stubbs: I have recently today, 

[00:31:13] Shulamit Ber LevTov: the what happens, let's say you get on the phone or you get, everything's fine and you get on the phone and you get busy and they want your attention.

[00:31:21] Shulamit Ber LevTov: What do they do? 

[00:31:22] Jette Stubbs: Holler, scream, mommy, daddy, whatever your name is 

[00:31:26] Shulamit Ber LevTov: and what happens if you ignore them,

[00:31:29] Jette Stubbs: it gets louder. It gets louder. You get start getting. Depending on their height at your knee. 

[00:31:36] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And, sometimes they start causing shit. Like they stuff gets thrown around and broken and all that kind of stuff.

[00:31:43] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And what happens if you just take a moment, put the phone down and turn toward the little person and say, Hey, what's up. 

[00:31:50] Jette Stubbs: They, say what they need to say. And they usually go quiet. Even if you say, I just need a minute. If you acknowledge. It eases things for sure. 

[00:31:58] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And our insides are just like that.

[00:32:01] Jette Stubbs: That's really powerful. So you're saying I need to acknowledge myself the way I'd acknowledge a toddler. 

[00:32:08] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Yeah. And in the moment on the fly, as an entrepreneur in business, let's say that you just had a a client just took, a strip off. And you've just hung up the phone and your heart is pounding and your palms are sweating and the self-criticism is starting.

[00:32:24] Shulamit Ber LevTov: it's not the email just came in and you got to answer that five minutes ago. You can't like take half an hour to go and do all the emotional processing, but you can take 30 seconds to go. Holy crap. I'm upset. That was tough. No wonder, right? Yes, the breath or two and the gentle touch. And then you turn your awareness back to what you have to do now.

[00:32:45] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I just wanted to point out that resilience skills are, it's a complex mix of six different skills and each skill has three kind of aspects to it. And this is just one example of the kind of thing that you could do.

[00:33:02] Shulamit Ber LevTov: In the same way that entrepreneurship is complex, caring for yourself emotionally is complex, it's complex and nuanced. And I would hate to convey the impression that it's just one little thing and then you're all good. Cause it's not. And we both know that, right? Yes, absolutely. Yeah. So the third factor isolated.

[00:33:25] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And we've alluded to this a little bit earlier like about how people just don't get it. That's one aspect of isolation, but also leadership isolates because if you're leading an organization or if you're leading a business where you are, the one who's holding the project and you work with others, you can't, it's harmful to your relationships with them.

[00:33:49] Shulamit Ber LevTov: If you. Confide in them about the emotional reactions that you're having, or the judgy thoughts or any of the stuff that comes up to confide in your team members about what's going on for you as a leader. It's not, it doesn't serve your organization. But so then who do you talk to. Leaders are isolated.

[00:34:11] Shulamit Ber LevTov: It's hard to find another leader because entrepreneurship is not, it's more common than it used to be, but it's much if you have a salary job and you want to complain about the boss, it's for sure next door, somebody has got a boss and they can get what you're talking about. But as a leader of an organizer of an enterprise as a small business you're isolated in that.

[00:34:33] Shulamit Ber LevTov: It's hard to find other leaders who are going through what you're going through and then. There's the whole idea around being transparent about what's happening with you. If you quote unquote show you're a wreck, nobody will want to do business with you.

[00:34:49] Shulamit Ber LevTov: but that whole need for impression management contributes to isolation. So see how isolation, isn't just a loneliness. There are so many components to isolation and sadly. The work that we put in to run our business and the impact of that work, the stress and the demands and the isolation potentiate each other, because isolation makes everything worse.

[00:35:15] Jette Stubbs: Wow. So this isolation is a huge one because I found for me, as I decided to become an entrepreneur, there weren't a lot of people in my circle who were pursuing entrepreneurship. So I had to find a new new circle, a new community of people. But then as a young black woman pursuing entrepreneurship, when I was finding people, I was finding a lot of older white men pursuing, and sometimes those communities can be great and welcoming, and sometimes there's going to be layers of like sexism and racism and misogyny. Just underhanded comments and not necessarily poorly intentioned, but poor execution because of underlying biases. 

[00:35:58] Jette Stubbs: That creates a situation where you still feel isolated, you still feel like singled out and it's really hard to then create that community and to go and talk to people. Then when you're trying to complain about your entrepreneurs, your community to, I don't know, your friends they, don't. They, and it just, like you said, it potentially becomes a cycle.

[00:36:21] Jette Stubbs: It becomes a vicious cycle. That one feeds into the other feeds into the other until you're really questioning, like, when am I going to find this community of people who are like me? When can I find this support person who I can talk to and make this happen with?

[00:36:36] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Yes. And that question, where can I find someone?

[00:36:39] Shulamit Ber LevTov: That's the fourth factor? Barriers to professional support. So entrepreneurial poverty is a thing I don't know about you, but there were times in my business where I didn't get a salary. And when after tax money is scarce, you're not going to be having the massage. You're not going to be having the therapist.

[00:36:56] Shulamit Ber LevTov: You're not going to be doing that kind of stuff because you just don't have the money. In addition, finding somebody who understands entrepreneurship and is qualified and then Like just the, lack of mental health support in general, the practitioners, like there's far more demand than there is supply.

[00:37:14] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So there, and then depending on who you are and where you're located, like rurally where my business like I live in a rural area. There's just far less, there are far fewer resources available for entrepreneurs who are rural entrepreneurs. I would imagine the more that a person has a marginalized identity, the more difficult the more barriers there are to accessing support as well.

[00:37:37] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Right? 

[00:37:37] Jette Stubbs: 100%. 

[00:37:39] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Yeah. Barriers is the fourth often entrepreneurs link their self-worth to their success in business. Yeah. So if your business fails, you think you're a failure. Yeah. And this is true. Many people identify with their roles. So many people, a mother who is their children are having difficulties.

[00:37:58] Shulamit Ber LevTov: She might tell herself she's a bad mother because her children are struggling or a person who's got a career, but then the career tanks, they might tell themselves that they are a poor. Manager because their career's not their poor person because they're a poor manager. So this is not unique to entrepreneurs.

[00:38:18] Shulamit Ber LevTov: However, it's more the case because it's our dream and our vision that we're trying to manifest. And it's more of a problem because it occurs in the context with all these other factors. And so the last factor. Is that as entrepreneurs, we come from a pool of people in the general population who are predisposed to mental health challenges.

[00:38:41] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So some of the research on mental health and entrepreneurship has found that people who are on the energetic, motivated creative side are both more likely to be entrepreneurial and more likely to experience strong, emotional state. And that's just one excerpt from one piece of research that sends the message that the pool we come from is already predisposed.

[00:39:04] Shulamit Ber LevTov: So we've got this predisposition and we come into this and then we experienced these five other factors.

[00:39:09] Jette Stubbs: Sounds like a recipe for, I don't want to say disaster, but something that definitely needs to be managed and you need to be aware of every step of the. 

[00:39:16] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I love that you used the word manage because here's the crux of the matter business being an entrepreneur is full of risk. That's what we do. We take risks and in business, the name of the game is you make a business plan.

[00:39:31] Shulamit Ber LevTov: You identify what the risks are and your business plan helps you mitigate the risks. Exactly the same with mental health. We know there are risks. We know that as entrepreneurs, we are going to have struggles with our mental health. It's not that there's something wrong with us. It's a function of the work that we're doing.

[00:39:50] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And so we accept that we are going to have these challenges. This is a risk and we mitigate the risk, just like we mitigate any other risk in business. 

[00:40:00] Jette Stubbs: I think that's one of the most powerful ways of thinking about it. I've ever come across. Like just looking at thinking about it as a function of what we do.

[00:40:06] Jette Stubbs: And I think there's a part of me that sees it that way, but not fully. And I think it's hard to manage. Like you said for entrepreneurship for a lot of people, entrepreneurship is a way of. You're escaping a situation. So when you see yourself as failing or struggling with it, you see yourself as failing your cause.

[00:40:23] Jette Stubbs: You have to go back to that. You see yourself as having to go back to that box situation as the only option. That's the only option that you see. It's like this tunnel vision. You either come out the light or you go back to the darkness and you don't know if there's any other option to turn to. So seeing it as a risk that you can mitigate.

[00:40:42] Jette Stubbs: Part of the process of entrepreneurship and getting better and better at mitigating that risk over time. I think it shifts it because now it's something that you can start to take power over, rather than something that turning you into perceived failure. 

[00:41:00] Shulamit Ber LevTov: 100%. Yes. And for those of us who are trauma survivors, like I'm imagining you have experienced diversity, like you said, I'm guessing it's traumatic.

[00:41:09] Shulamit Ber LevTov: It was traumatic. I certainly am common survivor. One of the definitions of trauma is being powerless. And I don't know about you, but I'm taking my power back. 

[00:41:18] Jette Stubbs: That's the goal it's hard to do in practice, but it's the goal. 

[00:41:22] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I can tell myself that this is the difference. Maybe it might not be. There are moments when it's difficult, but I'm still, nobody's fucking with me and that's done.

[00:41:33] Shulamit Ber LevTov: That's not happening. I'm the boss. I run the show. I set the term. And, I'm still setting the terms, even in the midst of the turmoil. Two years ago, I shut down my group practice. I had a a holistic clinic with associates and unrelated to COVID.

[00:41:51] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I shut that down. And then COVID came, which also threw a wrench into everything. And even though those were adverse circumstances, I still was the pilot of my choices in those circumstances. And so because of that, I could tell myself the story that there are things over which I have control.

[00:42:10] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And so I'm going to do something about those things instead of having the global story.

[00:42:15] Jette Stubbs: Right now. And this comes from my own experiences, my experiences dealing with trauma, but yeah. I know the things that I can have control over. Sometimes I know the things that I can change and sometimes I have this underlying trauma response. That's like a visceral, like you said, we're using the big words.

[00:42:38] Jette Stubbs: The were my handshake. And it's I don't want to do I want to do this thing because I know it will help me take more control of my, this my situation. But for a reason I haven't fully processed yet. I can't make it happen. Do you like, how have you experienced that? How do you start to process that

[00:42:57] Shulamit Ber LevTov: it's hard to do on the fly? Because the very fact that you flipped your lid means that you're less in touch with your fully resourced self and more than anything, it's a question of practice so that anytime you just get a little bit flipped, That you right away, start with the things that you do to calm and soothe yourself and reorient yourself to time and place.

[00:43:18] Shulamit Ber LevTov: And to remember that you're safe and okay. And when those are the things you do, every time you feel a certain way, even only just a little bit, then when you feel like that a lot, it's the thing you always do. So it just happens like for me for just one small example, that moment of acknowledgement is the thing I do now, because I've had.

[00:43:40] Shulamit Ber LevTov: practice since 2008 of practice. In my training and then in my certification and then over and over again that using it in my life and teaching it to others. It's what I do. I do. It's involuntary people remark on it. Now that I say that I just, I T I say, I need a moment. I take a moment.

[00:44:00] Shulamit Ber LevTov: I put my hand on my chest. I close my eyes and I just read for a moment. And it's a little weird, cause it's not socially. Social norm to do that kind of thing, but people know that's what I do. And in any case, I have almost no control over it now because it's the thing I do. So resilience lies, there are two aspects to resilience.

[00:44:20] Shulamit Ber LevTov: One is what am I doing on a day-to-day basis? What are the day-to-day practices that I'm doing to increase my capacity and grow my skills so that then when the shit hits the fan, those things are there for me. And that's the other half of resilience. It's the day-to-day. And in the most. But the day-to-day foundation is so important

[00:44:40] Shulamit Ber LevTov: because it feeds the, in the moment. I don't know how that responds to what you're thinking of. I'd like to hear. 

[00:44:46] Jette Stubbs: I think everything you've said so far has hit the nail on the head for everything that I've experienced. I feel like during this conversation, I feel like you were reading into my soul. I feel like you had access to my life and my life story.

[00:44:58] Jette Stubbs: So you're right on point. That was the right answer.

[00:45:01] Jette Stubbs: Okay, so you, these are the six factors. Can you re, can you tell the audience them again? 

[00:45:07] Shulamit Ber LevTov: The first one is VUCA volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity. Two is the cost of the hustle. The impact of the nature of the work that we do. Three is isolation. Four is the barriers that are exist to professional support.

[00:45:25] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Which are like, there are burials and barriers to mental health support for everybody and all the more so for entrepreneurs, five is linking your self worth to your business success. And six is the fact that entrepreneurs in general come from a proportion of the population who are already predisposed to mental health.

[00:45:47] Jette Stubbs: This has been so powerful. So if people want to learn more about this, you'll meet. If they want to connect with you, where can they go to, to find more about this and 

[00:45:58] Shulamit Ber LevTov: thank you for asking, I would love it the best way to get this kind of information is to sign up for my newsletter. And the link is shula.consulting/newsletter

[00:46:13] Shulamit Ber LevTov: and I'm trusting that the link will be in the show notes. Absolutely. And just in general, my website is shula.consulting and I'm Shula consulting on all the things. Instagram, Facebook. 

[00:46:25] Jette Stubbs: Amazing. Thank you so much for sharing all of this advice. Like you've given a wealth of information in such a short period of time.

[00:46:35] Jette Stubbs: If you're thinking about entrepreneurship, if you're in the messy journey of entrepreneurship and you're trying to figure it out, please connect with Shulamit. Cause I don't know about you, but this spoke to my soul on a very deep level today.

[00:46:48] Shulamit Ber LevTov: Thank you so much, Jette. I appreciate it. Okay.

[00:46:51] Jette Stubbs: if you know somebody who you think may find this useful, please feel free to share it, with a friend.

[00:46:57] Jette Stubbs: You're listening to the happy career formula with Jette Stubbs where we talk about how to find what you love to do and turn it into ways to make money, whether that's a job, freelance service or a business, so you can live life on your own terms. 

[00:47:11] Jette Stubbs: this is a career and business podcast, but my two main goals for what I want to offer you are: one the tools to build a career that aligns with who you are.

[00:47:23] Jette Stubbs: So you can make money in a way that funds your life goals and the lifestyle that you want to build for yourself. Two, to have healthier relationships with yourself and others. 

[00:47:33] Jette Stubbs: Because I think that if you have your financial resources together and you have good people around you, you can live a happier life.

[00:47:42] Jette Stubbs: Subscribe and leave a review if you are enjoying the podcast. 

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