by Maya Chendke | Featured Contributor
I admit it. I’m a Spirit Junkie.
For the past few years, I have been hell-bent on a quest that involved reading well over 50 books on topics like happiness, confidence, entrepreneurship, spirituality, and productivity. A voracious reader with an appetite for finding the happiness holy grail results in one heck of a long Amazon bill!
Particularly as I became an entrepreneur, I was endlessly seeking answers. What’s the right way to do this? Is this the best tool/program/method? How do others do it? Why do I feel stuck? Why can’t I manage growth smoothly?
It’s daunting to step out on your own, and looking to others that have gone before you is, naturally, a good place to start.
One such person is Gabrielle Bernstein. I remember browsing the aisles on my weekly book store trips and coming across her various books…and recoiling. It was this weird knee-jerk reaction – like when something is too much and you have to flee. Oddly enough, I was reading other contemporaries of hers, but something about good ol’ Gabby was making me flinch.
As I continued along my knowledge quest, her name kept popping back up in my life. Friends would mention they were reading her books, I would catch a glimpse of her online, something would get shared on social media. And then finally, I got an email this summer telling me about her Spirit Junkies Digital Masterclass and promoting her new book The Universe Has Your Back. It was the worst month of my life with three major back-to-back stresses. So much so that I literally found myself whipping out my credit card in my sister’s hospital room, enrolling, and surrendering to Gabby B.
This was a time to sit through the flinch. It was the only way to figure out how to move past the discomfort.
I was infinitely curious about Gabby’s business model. How did a PR chick turn her life and career around to become one of today’s most prolific self-help gurus? I, too, have gone through my own reinventions and wanted to leverage her teachings for my next chapter. This was either going to be an expensive flop…or a big stepping stone for me.
I found myself attending one of her live events in NYC this summer – a church filled with a couple hundred Gabby practitioners. While I do yoga, meditate, and my Indian father knows Sanskrit, it was a completely different experience to be live with the energy of her fervent crowd and vibrating mantras. At one point, when everyone’s eyes were supposed to be closed, I gazed around the room stunned at the devotion with which her audience was following her every word. Gabby was on stage projecting a thoroughly grounded energy on to her audience, a reward for showing up to do the work. It was awe-inspiring to see people closing their eyes and soaking in the experience of her talk. There was something potent happening within these walls and I knew I wanted to make my own version of it come to life (but with less chanting and more marketing content).
What Are You Really Saying?
One of the key things that I learned from Gabby was in seeing her interact with her fans in real time. During the open floor Q&A in New York, fans would often start rambling or crying, overcome with emotion and desperation for change.
What I loved was seeing Gabby’s ability to nail them down to simple thoughts. Am I truly committed to change? Why do I accept pain? And my personal favourite: Would you want to date you? (This was in response to a gal sharing a story about unleashing her inner crazy lady with a guy she liked, thereby sabotaging the relationship). It is hard to reflect back the ugly to someone going through a low period, but Gabby’s approach to clear and consistent communication inspired me to investigate why sometimes I feel my communication goes sideways.
While I was working through the various modules of the course to help crystallize the next evolution of my writing and entrepreneurship path, I started to notice a lot of things start to shift around me. Clients that I had been frustrated with left my calendar, my business offerings started changing, and I developed the courage to know what projects were a good fit (and what I should say no to). It all came down to getting clearer with what I was asking for – of myself, of my clients, of my work.
So next time you find yourself in a situation where it feels like things are imploding or everyone is hacking you apart, take a step back and observe what it is that is actually making you flinch. For me, it wasn’t actually “Gabby” as a person. I’m sure she’s lovely and maybe one day we’ll have a coffee chat. Instead, what was making me flinch was the resistance to doing the work that she ultimately inspired. Remember – The Universe Has Your Back.
Marketing consultant, entrepreneur, writer and horse mom Maya Chendke is going through a powerful start-up year. Her company, mPath Creative Consulting, works on website, marketing, content and social media projects that flex her signature hybrid style of creative/analytical. She is also part of a virtual anti-agency, Horsefly Group, where she leads clients with clever ideas and her color-coded iCal.
Her entrepreneurship track record includes a couple of start-ups and a self-published novel (Awake but Dreaming). A rogue introvert, you’ll spot her at start-up meetings sporting riding breeches and a messy bun as the Woz to her Jobs-like partners (or the Sandberg to their Zuckerbergs).
Maya has an MBA from the Rotman School of Management where she was a standout presence in the male-dominated business school environment. She has a certificate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business Summer Institute for General Management and a Bachelor of Journalism from Ryerson University.
She loves to help people make the most of their marketing budget and has an addiction to analytics. She is always on the lookout for great talent and great projects and loves to facilitate introductions.
In her downtime, she’s diligently rehabilitating her rescue horse and reads ~20 books a year. Tweet her @mayachendke