Starting Over, with Stacey Flowers
Episode 164: Starting Over, with Stacey Flowers
If you've ever felt burnt out, you are not alone. On this episode, Stacey Flowers, speaker, entrepreneur, and eternal optimist, joins us this week to talk about how she got her start, making a living while staying sane, and the importance of transparency. She also shares her experiences around building a personal brand, raising kids as a single mother, as well as using technology to help her business. Stacey will take the stage as a keynote speaker at Mobilize Women on June 21st to continue to inspire, activate, and share her story as she shares what excites her the most about Mobilize Women.
00:14 Kristy Wallace: Hello and welcome to the Ellevate network podcast. This is your host Kristy Wallace with my co-host Maricella Herrera. Maricella, are you so excited for the Ellevate Mobilize Women Summit?
00:26 Maricella Herrera: Excited, freaked out.
00:29 KW: You don't sound excited.
00:30 MH: I'm really excited, I'm just... It's getting to that point where it's close enough that excitement and overwhelmed are kind of combined.
00:42 KW: Well, I have the best job leading up to the summit, which is I get to spend time talking with some of our speakers. We last week talked to Emily Ladau, who's just phenomenal. And this week, Stacey Flowers joined me on the podcast.
01:00 MH: Oh, Stacey Flowers. I love Stacey Flowers. She does not know this yet, but I am a fan-girl. I think she's great, I am very excited to meet her at the summit.
01:07 KW: Yeah, she's phenomenal. She just has such a wealth of knowledge to share but I appreciate it because it comes just from this place of vulnerability, transparency where she's really exploring the issues she's dealing with in her life through a public lens, and I know that that's not easy. We like to think celebrity and all that is easy, it's not. But she talks about how she bounces back or rebuilds herself from just hitting this mental, emotional, physical wall that came from just working really hard and trying to do things in a way that wasn't authentic to her. She talks about financial well-being and the steps she's taking to get out from debt and to really take ownership of her financial well-being. And she talks about tools, and technology, and community and all these other things in a power-packed, insight-packed interview. So we're really excited about it.
02:08 MH: Now, that's a lot.
02:09 KW: It is a lot but it was great, it's great. She just has tons to share and I really enjoyed our conversation.
02:15 MH: That's awesome. Yeah, she did our very first Instagram take over for Ellevate a while ago, a few weeks ago and she starts her day... This was to me, something I would like to do but I can't start my day at 5:00 AM 'cause it's not physically possible for me. But she starts her day, every day with a five-minute gratitude walk and I think that that's just powerful to start your day off like that. So I'm gonna try and... I've been trying to implement it. [chuckle]
02:47 KW: Yeah.
02:47 MH: Not at 5:00 AM.
02:49 KW: It is powerful, it's incredibly powerful. I've been trying to do it... As our podcast listeners know, I have a lot of intent and I struggle with the follow-through on that intent. And so we have heard from a few of our guests, Nataly Kogan was one, just this concept of gratitude and changing your mindset and I really believe that. And I'm not great at following through and making that a reality. So maybe that'll be my leading up to Summit, self-reflection or self-investment, is I'm gonna do that and take some inspiration from Stacey.
03:32 MH: Yeah.
03:32 KW: Alright, well, here we go to my interview with Stacey Flowers and we'll see you back here next week for the Ellevate podcast.
03:53 KW: Stacey, thank you so much for joining us today on the Ellevate podcast. I'm really excited to have you here.
04:00 Stacey Flowers: I'm so excited to be here, thank you so much for inviting me, this is so exciting. [chuckle]
04:04 KW: And for our listeners, you're gonna be hearing more from Stacey on June 21st in New York City as she's one of our speakers for the Ellevate Mobilize Women Summit. If you aren't in New York City on the 21st, you can join via live stream, so you'll find that information on our social media accounts, ellevatentwk.com or on Ellevate Network's website. But Stacey, why don't we start and get the audience a little bit up-to-speed on you and just the powerful work you've been doing. Would you mind just sharing a little bit about yourself?
04:38 SF: Yes, absolutely. One of the things that I like to tell people on my morning show is that my name is Stacey Flowers. A lot of people don't think that's my real name, but I tell them that I make a living through talking and I get to travel around the world inspiring people to create real authentic fulfilled happy lives. And it's been a fascinating journey sort of figuring out how to build a business around that particular talent and being able to have done this for so many years, and it's really really exciting because there's a portion of my work that's focused on speaking where I get to show up to conferences and I get to show up to events and I get to plant a seed in the minds and the hearts of people and give them the strategies and the insights to be able to foster that over time so it can grow and produce radical results in their life.
05:23 SF: And then there's a coaching aspect to the work that I do, where I get to work more intimately with people and really support them in getting consistent and finding the courage to be themselves. And then there's an influencing part, and that part is probably the newest part to this career that I've created. [chuckle] And the influencing part which sort of comes from building these different online communities around me, being very transparent about what I'm currently conquering in my life. And so, for example, I have a massive YouTube community that's been following my journey where I've been documenting my personal finance journey of repaying 100% of my debt. I started the journey earning about $800 a month, working part-time in a cafe after I needed to restart from a professional failure.
06:11 SF: And now, here I am about a year and a couple of months later and I'm averaging about $5000 a month working part-time in my company and I'm just very transparent about what that journey is like, but it's been really interesting building communities and influencing men and women alike to take a look at their finances from an emotional perspective and from a perspective of being able to conquer it. And that's something that happens on YouTube, on Instagram, being able to influence people in terms of mental health and well-being, and just really seeing the power of my voice on all of these different platforms. It's been a really, really fascinating journey but that's sort of me professionally in a nutshell.
06:49 KW: And I love the work that you do and particularly that use of the word "transparent" because we live in a world, particularly with social media where everyone's lives can look perfect. And you're like, "How do they afford that vacation?" Or, "How do they do this? Their life is so great." And even that creates just this anxiety or a sense of failure in some way. And so your transparency around it is, is important. So we need to talk about this and we need to learn from each other. But you, as you mentioned, came out of this moment where you felt like you hit that wall. And what was that like and how did you even identify that, that was... You were at this critical moment where you needed to pivot and you needed to do something different?
07:44 SF: Yeah, well, I had started a speaking company. And in the beginning, it was sort of a slow start and then it started to pick up steam and then I was invited to do a TED Talk. And then post doing a TED Talk, things sort of accelerated quickly. And I was doing sort of all of the things that I've ever dreamt of doing but the way that I was doing it was showing up in a very taxing way, like I was working the 12 to 15-hour days to try to stay in front and be on all the time and prepared and here and there and it was sort of like this sort of dream inside of a nightmare, if that makes sense. And I didn't... At the time, I wouldn't have called it that, I would have just been like, "Oh well, this is just the price that you pay for the dream that you're trying to live." But essentially, I was living the dream, but it was in the context of this format and this way that it just didn't really, it really didn't make sense to me. And my solution at the time was, "Well, you just need to do more of what you really wanna do and like don't pay attention to the fact that you're feeling burned out and you're exhausted, and all of these other things." Because everyone was just like, "No, you have to push, you have to push, that's the price that you pay." And so I just kept pushing.
08:53 SF: And then at the top of 2017, I couldn't push anymore because I experienced something called nervous exhaustion. And following that, I got really, really depressed, really, really anxious and I couldn't work and I literally, I couldn't work for a year. And when I tell people that, they always think, "Oh, but in the background, did you have a savings, did you... " And I'm like, "No, I didn't work, I didn't earn." And for all intents and purposes, wherever money was connected to my life, that particular area of my life just crumbled which then made me healing mentally and emotionally from everything that I was going through, that much more challenging. And when you're in a space like that and everything in your world stops and how much money you made before doesn't matter because you're not making it now, the success you had before doesn't matter because you can't reproduce it. You get really, really familiar with who you are at the core and what you wanna stand for in life and what you want your life to be about. And I'm doing this and I have a child that I'm... There was just a lot going on.
10:00 SF: And so when I got sick and I was in sort of this state, I was just like, "Okay, one or two things can come out of this. I can rest up, get back together, and then go back out there or I can try to glean what I can from this situation and get back up in a way that is supportive of the woman that I wanna be in the world and the contribution that I wanna make." And so what I say now when I look back on that year, is that that was a forced rest season. I was forced to rest through illness, which I would never recommend for anyone but I was forced to rest and I was just like... Having rested for a year and realized that the things that I thought were important, the things that I thought had to happen, they didn't have to happen that way, they didn't have to do it. I gave myself a lot more room and a lot more flexibility to build what I had always actually been dreaming of in the way that I was dreaming of it. 'Cause people kept saying, "Well, you can't do it that way. This is the way that it's done."
10:51 SF: And I just was like, "Well, the way that my body is set up [chuckle] and the way that my mental and emotional health is set up, I can't do it that way. So because I can't do it that way, but I still wanna do it, I'm gonna have to figure out how to do it my way." And so I was just like, "Okay, I'm gonna get back up and I'm going to build a company that I can make this worldwide global contribution, but I'm gonna be able to do it in a way that doesn't sacrifice my mental and emotional health. I'm going to be able to build a company that frees me financially from the financial choices that I made in my past but again, doesn't stress me emotionally and financially." And I got back up with that intention and slowly but surely built it back up over time. And I think what I sort of had going for me is that yes, I had had success with my company but I think the thing that I really had going for me is that rather than me looking at that success and then looking at the preceding failure and looking at the circumstances and saying, "Well, one is evidence that I shouldn't try again."
11:47 SF: I looked at them both and I said, "Both are evidence that I should try again, I have something that I can build upon. But I also, I also have this, the wisdom of this experience that I went to." It's just like you can mind that and say, "Okay well, these are the mistakes I'm not gonna make this next time I get back up." And so, as I've been getting back up, I've been taking the wisdom that I gained from that massive failure professionally and personally, and all of the insight that I gathered from my successes and it's turned into a company that I completely just love and adore. I'm so grateful that I get to get up every single morning and do this work and I get to do it in a way that's actually sustainable, in a way that inspires other people to do the same. So it was sort of a push/pool thing, there was great success and then there was failure and then there was the process of getting back up.
12:36 KW: I have so many... I'm like, "Please share, share all those insights."
12:40 KW: No, because I think I... I'm similar in the respect that I keep moving, moving, moving. You mentioned you have a son, I have children at home. And the crossover between your professional responsibilities, particularly when you're incredibly passionate and you're incredibly driven and particularly when you're in a role that involves travel or public speaking. And then your other responsibilities or passions including yourself, 'cause we're responsible for ourselves and our own health and our bodies. It becomes overwhelming and we live in this world where I think there's so many drivers and you just feel like you're constantly chasing after that ideal and you do hit a wall. It gets exhausting and... And I was just reading an article which I loved, around... It was on Fox and it was for the 2020 presidential nominees. And so, they asked all the men with children who are running for office, who... What do they do for child care? Because it's the first question that is asked to the women candidates running but it's not asked to men, and it's a real question. If you're out there traveling and speaking and whatever your work is, who's taking care of the kids, what does that look like, how do you support that and how does lack of support lead to that burnout? So and what have you learned and how have you turned this around? Please share.
14:11 SF: Well, one of the things that I learned is that there was a part of the way that I built my business the first time that wasn't built around just who I am and what I'm actually gifted at. What I'm gifted at inherently because I'm just me, unique, my person, but then also what I'm gifted at because I'm a woman and I think that... One of the things I was talking to my friend about this, and I was just like, "You know, a lot of our predecessors, they were getting guidance from men on how to build companies and they may be women teaching us, but it's just like you're just sort of teaching us the philosophy of men who came before us whom we didn't necessarily particularly love the way that they were doing it." I literally, you know how... A few decades ago, the man would go out and he would very rarely spend time with his family, he would very rarely be involved in the day-to-day sort of activities. What I noticed when I was looking to the right and to the left is that a lot of me and my female peers, we were doing the same thing and we were doing it in the name of chasing our dreams. But it's just like there's something else that we get to bring to the table.
15:16 SF: What if we can take the wisdom that we learn from the failure of men saying, "Work above everything else." What if we can look at that and we can look at all the things that we didn't like about that and we can say, "Okay listen, I didn't like the fact that this is what men used to do back in the day." So I'm not gonna build a company that sort of positions me to have to do that thing as well. What if we looked at that and said that, we're gonna say, "Okay, I'm not gonna fall into that folly." During my rest season, when I was journaling and I was writing, I was just like, "How can I do what I was doing before that filled me up? Because you're right, it's not just that I have to work because I have to hustle, I'm working 'cause I'm so passionate about this." I love doing this so much that I would do it all the time, if there was no reason to clock out. But I was just like, "How can I do this thing that I love doing, but don't do it to the end of me having to sacrifice the other aspects of my life that are also incredibly important to me?"
16:11 SF: And so I was just like, you know... The first thing I did, I was like, "What are my top three values?" And making sure that my values were something that I was able to operate in my company in every single day. And so for me, my top three values are integrity, personal growth and development, and family. And so I make sure that I'm able to operate the way that I'm operating my business, honors these values. So one of the reasons why I work part-time is so that that way I have time to engage my family, my immediate and also my son, who's a teenager now, he's 16 which totally blows my mind. But you know, I have time to be present and whatnot for him. So that was the first thing that I did but then when I was gleaning from the folly of what men had done in the past and the folly of what I had done when I just replicated what they did, I was like, "Okay, what is available to me now that I can bring into my company that I wasn't really using properly before, so that that way I don't experience this burnout?"
17:03 SF: And the first thing that came to me was technology. And I was just like, the level of technology that is available to us now with respect to us being in our professional careers, even if you're on the corporate track or being in our entrepreneurial careers is absolutely amazing, and there are not enough of us harnessing the power of technology to our advantage. We're looking at technology and we're like, "There's so much going on and I just gotta get... And I wanna be a part of the conversation and I wanna be everywhere all the time." Rather than saying, "Well what is a way for me to leverage this tool?" And I think hands down one of the secret sauces to how I'm able to do as much as I'm able to do now is because I look at technology now as kind of like my first employee. Kinda like the first employee that I'm gonna put to task to say, "Okay, this is how technology can serve me here, this is how technology... I can use it to leverage this amount of time that I'm doing this particular thing in my business for marketing or for promotion." And then rather than me taking my actual hours and doing the 12 to the 15 hours, I'm like, "You know, no. How can I cut that in half and then outsource a sixth of it to technology because it is available to me?"
18:15 SF: And I think a lot of people when they're looking at their career now, they're not saying, "Okay, how can I use it to my advantage?" We're just saying, "Oh, it's here and it's overwhelming me." But it's like, it's overwhelming you because you're not looking at it as an opportunity to say, "How can this serve me?" So lining it up with my values, then bringing technology on board in a way where it served to me rather than it being my task master. And then I think I would say the last thing that I probably also did is I just, I made mental and emotional health my number one priority. And I just was like, "This is more important than anything that I do, any success that I have financially, any success that I have sort of in terms of impact or influence, my mental and emotional health is the number one priority because I actually wanna be able to enjoy what I'm doing and who I'm doing it with." So I think those three things really supported me in sort of rebuilding and establishing the company that I have now.
19:09 KW: What are the technology tools that have been most helpful for you?
19:15 SF: Automation is probably the number one. So automating things in my... In the different systems that I have. So as I mentioned earlier, I make a living talking. And so there's speaking, there's coaching and there's influencing which are essentially three legs of my business. And so on the influencing side, there's some automation that I have set up with respect to when I'm putting out content. So, I'm on Instagram, I'm on YouTube, I have a podcast and is there another plat... Those are the three platforms that I'm on. But in terms of me automating the content, I will batch the content that I produce for my podcast, I'll batch the content that I produce for my YouTube channel, and then I will schedule all that so that it automatically gets published. And while that's going on in real time, I'm doing a morning show, Monday through Friday, at 7:00 AM. And so a lot of people are like, "Oh my gosh, how are you able to be in all these places?"
20:06 SF: But it's just like, I'm batching and I'm leveraging the fact that scheduling is literally built into nearly every platform that we have but a lot of people shy away from that. But in me leaning into it, I'm able to give the appearance of three pieces of valuable content going out in a single day. When truthfully, I'm active in that day in terms of sharing that content maybe about 90 minutes, the hour to do the show and then 30 minutes just to make sure that the publication on other platforms showed up properly. So use it the way that naturally elevates the talent that comes up for you and it will then work for your company.
20:44 KW: Yeah, which is great advice. And it goes back to what you're saying before around we don't have to follow others models for what's... How to build a successful company. Do what's real to you, what works for you and that... Yeah, I love that advice. So I wanted to end just talking about something really important to me and to you, money.
21:09 KW: Let's talk about money, let's get real. Could you just share some quick insights? I know you've gone through this journey, you've been working really hard to gain control of your finances and pay down your debt. I think it's something that our community cares so much about. And also, if you have insights on how, like Robert Smith, we can pay it forward to others as well?
21:33 SF: Right. Okay, so yeah, money, that's sort of the heart of so much of my work right now is money. I think one of the most profound things that I've learned in the last year and a half of documenting my journey is that the reason that we have the money problems that we have is because of our feelings about money. That was super transformative to me to realize that my feelings about money is affecting my ability to be able to earn, save and spend money. If I think money is bad, I'm not gonna allow myself to earn it. If I think debt is good, I'm gonna hold on to it. I didn't realize that my general thoughts and feelings and the mindset that I have around money was literally dictating every single thing that happened in... Within and around my money. And so in the journey that I'm documenting, it's like I talk so much about my emotions around money and the emotional decisions that I was making to spend versus save versus get it... I talk so much about that and I do so much work on clearing that because one of the things... In the program that I'm in, Dave Ramsey, he talks about how managing your money is 80% behavior, 20% head knowledge. And I 1000% agree with him.
22:50 SF: And inside of that 80% behavior, 50% of it is the emotions because your emotions dictate what behaviors you're gonna do. How you feel determines how you act. And so, so much of my work has been focused on managing the emotions that I have around money so that that way I can earn it, save it, spend it and put it in the right place. In terms of just insights in supporting you in getting on top of your financial journey, this is something that when I tell people this, they don't like it. But I'm like, "Listen, money does not solve your problems. [chuckle] I thought for the longest that having money would solve my problems, and it doesn't do that. Money solves money problems and there's only four types of money problems that you can have. And when you solve four... One of those four money problems, then it gives you the confidence to be able to solve all the other problems that you have.
23:42 SF: Sometimes people will have problems in their relationships or they'll be having mental health problems or they'll be having problems in some other area of their life and they're like, "Oh my gosh, if I had the money, it would be able to solve for this problem." And it's just like, I wish that was the case. And because I've actually made a crap ton of money before and then ended up not having it, it's just like... And I've studied the success stories of people with money, it's like it doesn't solve the problems that you think it's gonna solve. It solves your money problems, which gives you the confidence to then solve all the other problems that you have. And so because of that and because I was able to realize that just through my experience, but also through my research, one of the things that I tell people is that money management is the greatest act of self-love. The money problems that you have is rooted in the feelings that you have about money. So if you can clean up those emotions, you can clean up the issues that you have around money as well.
24:35 KW: Well, thank you.
24:35 SF: [chuckle] You're welcome.
24:36 KW: Stacey, what are you most excited about for the Ellevate Summit?
24:40 SF: I think I'm most excited really about meeting all the people. My favorite... I'm a self-development junkie, I love conferences in general so I've totally picked the right profession. But I love it because from the stage, I love seeing the light bulb moment. But in the audience, I love talking to everyone in the audience because you all are absorbing all of this information in warp speed. And I just love being able to just, over in the corner or whenever there's a break out, just to talk to you about your experiences and what you're actually facing. Because it's like, it's one thing for me to inspire you from the stage, but it's another thing for me to step off the stage and then get the experience of watering you a little bit more through conversation. So I'm just excited to meet all of these amazing women who are deciding to show up for themselves. I tell people all the time, showing up is 50% of the journey towards success and I like being in a room with women who've chosen success. And so, I'm most most most excited to meet the community that you guys have created.
25:39 KW: Yes, it is a great community and I'm honored to be a part of it. So Stacey, I cannot wait to meet you in person, June 21st in New York City at the Ellevate Mobilize Women Summit. And I can't wait to meet our community members that'll be joining us in person. Keep in mind for anyone who's not in New York City, you can also follow along and engage in the conversation via live stream and we hope that you will do so. So looking forward to seeing all of you in just a few weeks. And Stacey, we're gonna have fun at the summit and I'm really excited to meet you in real life.
26:17 SF: Yes, me too. I'm super excited to meet you too. [chuckle]
26:23 KW: Thanks so much for listening to Ellevate. If you like what you hear, help a girl out, subscribe to the Ellevate Podcast on iTunes, give us five stars and share your review. Also, don't forget to follow us on Twitter at Ellevate N-T-W-K, that's Ellevate Network, and become a member. You can learn all about membership and all the great things that Ellevate Network is doing at our website, www.ellevatenetwork.com. That's E-L-L-E-V-A-T-E network.com. And special thanks to our producer, Catherine Heller, she rocks. And to our voice-over artist, Rachel Griesinger, thanks so much. And join us next week.
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