Business Coaching

Sharing Your Spiritual Side Can Be Good For Business

The Hartford

The business world has long been perceived as a “no nonsense” place that relies on logic and reason to promote growth. However, over the past few years, many entrepreneurs have started to depart from this analytically-driven approach in favor of a more open-minded one through intuitive business coaching. In this episode, Jon Aidukonis and Gene Marks, along with Intuitive Business Coach and Content Magic Creator, Su Guillory, discuss how integrating spirituality into your current business practices can help you get to the next level.

Podcast Key Highlights

  • How Does Intuitive Business Coaching Differ From Its Traditional Counterpart?
    • An intuitive business coach will help you address the underlying issues that are blocking you, through a spiritual lens.
    • When working with an intuitive business coach, the work tends to be more introspective, focusing on your inner values, beliefs, passions and even your vibrational alignment to find a solution.
    • In addition to more tangible actions, you may also be required to perform symbolic rituals or connect with a higher power to help
      manifest your goals.
  • What Rituals Might an Intuitive Business Coach Use During
    Your Sessions?
    • Oracle or Tarot Card Readings
    • Chakra Work
    • Burning Ceremonies
    • Crystal Healing
  • Why Are More Small Business Owners Gravitating towards
    Intuitive Business Coaching?
    • For business owners who are already spiritually inclined,
      intuitive business coaching is an ideal way for them to integrate their existing practices into their professional lives.
    • Since the pandemic has forced the business world to shed
      some of its professional veneer, many entrepreneurs want to maintain this same level of authenticity in their work as they move forward.
    • If you are a professional wellness practitioner and solopreneur, working with an intuitive business coach challenges the belief that a spiritual business can’t be lucrative.
  • What Are the Drawbacks of Intuitive Coaching?
    • Depending on their own religious practices, some clients
      might feel like these coaching strategies are in conflict with their personal belief system.
    • If a business owner’s problems are more technical or operational based, then taking a spiritual approach may not be the most practical course of action.

Links

Transcript

The views and opinions expressed on this podcast are for informational purposes only, and solely those of the podcast participants, contributors, and guests, and do not constitute an endorsement by or necessarily represent the views of The Hartford or its affiliates.

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Jon: Hey everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Small Biz Ahead. This is Jon Aidukonis, and today I am joined by Su Guillory. Sue is an intuitive business coach and content magic creator. And she’s here today to talk a little bit about her journey as a business owner, things she’s learned around the way. Maybe give us some tips and advice on how to make a little bit of our own magic and our businesses. So Su, thank you so much for joining us.

Su: Hey Jon, thanks so much for having me.

Jon: Awesome. Well, I guess just quickly to help us understand who you are and what you do. I don’t think the term intuitive business coach is probably something people encounter a whole bunch. So maybe tell us about what that means to you.

Su: Sure. So in a nutshell as a business coach, my focus is helping women who want to start a business, but maybe don’t know where to begin. I help them on that journey, as well as women who have a business, but maybe aren’t feeling passionate about it anymore and are trying to realign with their own values, their own passions. So the intuitive side comes in, I do like every other business coach, you’re going to have homework. We’re going to talk about things that are blocking you. But we also go into more the spiritual side.

Su: So that may look like me intuitively pulling into my own wisdom and saying, “What I’m really hearing is you’re afraid to step into this next phase of your business, because something that’s happened in your past or maybe some money scarcity issues.” It also involves using tools. I use a lot of, I’m showing you, but you’re on a podcast, Oracle cards. I don’t really pull Tarot cards very much, but tools like that, spiritual tools. And my audience is also tends to be spiritually savvy women, is what I call them. So they are a little more tuned to maybe crystals and these spiritual practices and maybe looking for a way to pull those into their own business.

Jon: Awesome. So it’s really about finding that inner voice and figuring out how to trust that?

Su: Absolutely.

Jon: Cool. So you mentioned female entrepreneurs, so that seems to be your target market. So is that something you work with exclusively women owned businesses?

Su: It is rather my focus. Yeah. I think just because I have been through my own journey, that I very much pull into the coaching. So just because I understand kind of the female perspective that’s been what’s drawn to me and also what I’m looking to work with.

Jon: Awesome. Now, how did you kind of get to where you are? So I’m assuming you started off in maybe a different field or something a little less personal to you. So tell me a little bit about kind of your business owner journey. How did you kind of become an entrepreneur and what kind of led you to where you are today? That’s a simple question, right?

Su: Sure. Two seconds. Yeah. And I say I’m kind of my ideal client, because my story is I started, I wouldn’t have called it a content marketing firm in 2006, because we weren’t yet blogging, but we were doing article writing. So I built my entire career, I think it’s 16 years now, writing content for businesses. I’m great at it, but I started feeling very disconnected. So it was like, I’m writing about business loans and after work, I’m playing with crystals and Tarot and all the things that I’m really enjoying.

Su: Like many people during COVID, I started looking at my life and thinking, “I don’t like having these two sides. I don’t like feeling like one person who’s this kick ass entrepreneur and this other person who’s kind of this woo spiritual person.” I really wanted to combine those two. And so I launched a business that’s kind of a part of this that I do goddess Oracle readings. And so I draw an a goddess Oracle card. So you ask a question, I might draw Kali who’s the Hindu goddess of destruction. And I go in the meditation and I get some answers for you for your question.

Su: So I launched that as sort of a side business, but I’m still, and during COVID like, how do I pull these two together? And so I realized with all this experience of writing about small business, of helping business owners get the word out, I had that experience. But I also had the spiritual side. And so I was in a program to teach people how to be coaches, not specific to business.

Su: And I realized I had those two sides of me that I really could join together. And so that’s the kind of person I want to help, is somebody who’s like, “I’ve been doing this, I’m great at it, but I don’t love it. Or I don’t get to play as much as I do outside of my work.” So that’s why I’m so passionate about helping women, because I understand that journey. I understand making good money, not loving what you do, and then having to find a way to realign with the things that do bring you passion.

Jon: Yeah. I think it’s a great one, because I think we talk a lot about finding something that you’re passionate about and finding something that’s profitable. And how do you kind of make those things happen together? And it’s one of those universal mysteries for most people, where it feels like a trade off. And it’s really interesting that you were able to merge those, but with such intention and kind of a little bit of wherewithal, it sounds like. Like I’m going to make this work.

Su: Absolutely. And I think for a long time, I really thought that if you were in, what I call a spiritual business, you couldn’t make money. I’ve seen so many wellness practitioners struggling. Yoga teachers are notorious for not getting paid well and they’re having to work at 10 different studios to make anything. So I think for a long time, I thought, “Well, that’s going to be when I retire, because I will never make good money.”

Su: But I stumbled down this rabbit hole, of spiritually savvy business owners who are making great money. And I kind of lifted that rock up and I just keep finding more and more. And so that validates the idea that I, and anybody else, can make good money being spiritually aware and bringing those practices into whatever business they have.

Jon: And when you’re kind of talking to clients and you’re thinking about things, so generally, right, we talk about keeping ahead of your competitors or understanding industry trends or what are kind of the new tools and prospects. And there’s probably some of that for you that’s the same for everyone else. If it’s an accounting system or, booking system, there’s some tools that you use that are probably ubiquitous to service businesses.

Jon: But your earlier comment is, there’s some things that aren’t right. So if we’re talking about things like Oracle cards or I guess, spiritual assistance, if I’m kind of bucketing them, how much time does that require you to research? Do you find that people are really interested, because they hear about a thing? How does that interaction go, where you kind of decide on the right tools and how do you kind of learn them?

Su: So I’ve kind of been on the spiritual journey for about 13 years. So the tools I use are innate, but what’s interesting is how do I use them for business? So like today I picked up a crystal and it’s an Aqua aura. It’s good for your third chakra. So it helps with speaking, communication. These are things just that I have kind of innate. So, but I remember, I’m not wonderful at Tarot, even though I studied it for years. So you can go so deep in anything.

Su: But what I’m finding really interesting is, I was really nervous about bringing this into this very analytical, logical world that I’ve been in for 16 years. And I published content on Forbes, which I believe is maybe where you guys found me. I was so nervous, but people start emailing me and they’re just like, “I love this.”

Su: So there are people who are CEOs of companies that see that and they say, “It’s okay to kind of have this side to me.” So I really want to open that door to let more people understand that it’s okay. And make it less taboo. And I think COVID helped with that, because we were in a place where we were maybe metaphorically wearing our panty hose, and ties, and business suits, but then you’re working out of your closet.

Su: And suddenly you’re having a Zoom call with a client who’s in their closet or their dogs barking, or their kids crying and we became more human. And so I think we’re in a really good place right now to allow spirituality to be a part of that, without it being so verboten as it would’ve been maybe a few years ago, because we’re taking off the masks in business. And I think that’s really kind of the selling point, is this is me, this is who I am. And I have to know that my clients are not going to run if they see that I’m into the spiritual stuff, that they may or may not understand or be interested in.

Jon: And do you find that there’s any conflict between, I guess, how people think about spirituality, how they think about business, and how they think about maybe their personal faith, right? Because I’d imagine there’s some intersection of separating that, at least in your world, to kind of overcome any perceptions or hurdles or help understand the value or intend the value of what you do. Or is it maybe to your point, because you have such a defying target market, that you don’t encounter that a ton.

Su: I definitely draw the women who get it or who are open. I had my first, I won’t call it hate mail, but I did have somebody reach out to me who was very Christian and felt very offended by me writing about goddesses. And I’m not here to defend my beliefs nor should anyone else be. I just, and I fully believe you can be Christian and spiritual. And if that is someone who’s saying, “I’m not really sure what you’re doing is for me.” Great.

Su: But there are a lot of other people who are curious and it’s not to forsake any belief you have. It’s just to add more tools, because it’s all for connecting to your higher self, it’s all for having a better vibration that helps you live a better life and manifest what you want, and who doesn’t want that? It’s not about any religion or any one set of beliefs. So, I’m here to answer questions of people who are completely like, “I don’t understand what you’re doing,” if they’re curious. But I do find that I am drawing the people who are ready for that sort of journey.

Jon: Gotcha. So maybe if we’re kind of role playing, if I was a new client and I’m like, “Hey, I’m feeling like I need … I’m having a hurdle. I want to take the next step. I’m not feeling.” What does an initial kind of process look like with you?

Su: So let’s say your hurdle is … what do you want to say? “I don’t think I’m ready to start a business.” Okay. Why? So we would kind of have a conversation where you’re like, “Well, I’ve got this and this and this in my life.” And I would keep asking kind of the why, why, why to get to you saying, “I’m afraid I’ll fail.” Okay. Let’s deal with that. So, and I’m not a therapist in any way, but a business coaching often bleeds into life coaching, right?

Su: So it’s like, “Well, what has happened?” And you’re like, “Well, I had a business 10 years ago that failed and I ended up in bankruptcy.” Okay. So let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about your relationship with money. I would probably give you some journaling exercises, just what do I fear, what’s the worst that can happen?

Su: And so then we come back to it and you say, “The worst that could happen is my business building burns down and I lose everything and I’m homeless on the street.” Okay. What is the likelihood this is going to happen? And then that kind of shows you, okay. Probably not. Maybe what the worst that would happen is, this doesn’t bring in enough money. Okay. Well, what is something we could do to ensure you have the money? Maybe don’t quit your day job yet, start this business slowly until it starts generating revenue. And then you can pull back part-time to your job or even quit.

Su: And the spiritual side, I might pull in the goddess reading. “What question do you have? Are you not really sure how to overcome this block?” Okay. So you say, “My question is, what obstacle is keeping me from doing this?” So then I would go into the meditation and bring in the goddess energy and then have guidance from her, which is really it’s guidance from yourself. And so that’s what’s interesting, is higher self is really, you can look at goddesses or animal guides, ancestors, any of these things. And it’s all really, you already have this wisdom and I can kind of tap into that for people.

Su: Yeah. So I can do the spiritual side, but you still have to do the work. You have to deal with that fear, let it go. We could do some burning ceremonies, where you write on a piece of paper, “I fear failure.” And you burn it and you just symbolically let that go. And then the homework of next steps, build your website, come up with your business name. So I try to balance between the two, the spiritual and the logistical.

Jon: Got it. So what’s interesting, when you talk a little bit about the tactics that you might use or kind of those tools, maybe just for the benefit of the audience, some of it feels more like representations. But I think about your analogy of the wisdoms inside you. So when I think about maybe a goddess card or a burning ceremony, it feels like that’s more of an exercise to tap into yourself, than necessarily what I’ll call a higher or supernatural force. Right? It feels like more of a conduit to yourself, which is kind of interesting, because I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of it that way.

Su: Yeah. Yeah. Well, not to dive into theology, but religion tends to look at, like Christianity is this is God, this is an entity who dictates divine will. Whereas, my philosophy is more, you can call it universe, you can call it God, you can call it spirit, but it all comes from within. So if you’re like, “Okay, I’m going to try to have an intuitive experience.” And then you’re going “Well, was that my thought or was that my divine, my higher self?” It’s all the same.

Su: But if the thought brings you fear, if you say, “Hey, I’m going to start a business. Oh, I shouldn’t start a business because I’ll fail.” That’s not your higher self, that is your ego, that is your fear. So that’s a kind of a good gut check, is what is the message behind this?

Su: Absolutely. It’s all ritual. It’s all just a way, you can pick up a pebble on the street and assign it value and say, “This is going to bring me good luck.” And then it may, because it’s more about what’s going on in your brain. And if you are connected to your higher self, then it doesn’t really matter the tool, the ritual, the guidance, the higher self guidance. It’s all about just letting that wisdom in.

Jon: Gotcha. And I find that really empowering, because it really is about trusting yourself and knowing that you probably have the answer, you just kind of have to cut through the noise. I’ve referenced advice, unsolicited public advice before from Kelly Cutrone, but she wrote a book years ago, where it was kind of about isolating your fear and figuring out what the worst could happen. That was a part of it. It was a much bigger book.

Jon: But I remember when I first decided to move to New York City, I kind of had to go through that exercise, because I’m like, “I don’t know if I’m making the right decision. Can I make it, can I afford it?” And I figured out worst case scenario is I lose everything, someone breaks into my apartment, whatever. As long as I have 50 bucks, I can get back to the New Haven Train Station. And I have friends who live on the shoreline. Someone will pick me up. So for a couple weeks, and it was a security blanket. I walked around with a $50 bill in my shoe. I’m like, “If the worst happens, I can still figure it out.”

Su: I love that.

Jon: Yeah. And it was kind of a nice exercise and all the things that we tend to fear, I think be nervous about or worry about, I guess is the best way to articulate it, are the things that are the most unlikely to happen. And when the worst happens, it’s usually when you least expect it. It’s like the phone call in the middle of a Monday morning or something that happens when you’re not even on the same radar as it.

Jon: So, I think there’s something to be said about having a daily exercise, where you can kind of isolate worry from fear, to other people’s expectations, to what it is that you want. And trying to find that boldness of just taking the risk. Right? And I think, especially for those listening, so many of your business owners, the biggest risk you ever took was, “I have an idea and I think I can commoditize it.” Right? And yet to believe in yourself to do that. And I think we can lose that after some time.

Su: Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. I love rituals. So I’m looking at an Oracle card and it says, “Willing release.” And so it’s about letting go of how you expect things to happen. And so just, it’s a little guidance every day and it’s a nice thing to ground my day and keep that spiritual side connected to the business.

Jon: Awesome. So let’s talk a little bit about the mechanics of your business. So when you’re in something like this is, it feels like you need to have a lot of capacity for empathy and mental one on one attention, because to your point it might not be therapy, but you probably tap into a lot of things that people want to talk about, where they can feel heavy. What does an average client load look like for you and what does a relationship from a client if they’re thinking about a coach, how close and how often do you really meet and what time and emotional commitment do you find that to be, for those who are successful?

Su: People tend to come to me, lately it’s been, “I’m doing so much. I’m overwhelmed.” And I actually just wrote an article for all business in Forbes called Find Your Drishti, which is a yoga term of finding your focus. So they just don’t know how to let go of anything. So we have an initial intake call that’s free and I’m just, “Tell me what’s going on. And then here’s a little bit about how I see how we could work together.” So once we agree, it’s usually eight to 12 weeks, so it’s ideally weekly. I find that weekly is enough, where I give homework. You’ve had time to work on it and come back. But we’re all entrepreneurs, so sometimes it ends up being a little further out. But in that call, it’s a 45 minute call.

Su: I do ground in before and tune into that person like, “Okay, last week they were talking about kind of the money scarcity feeling they have. So let’s address that. And here’s some questions I want to ask her.” They can contact me in between with email questions and I may send articles or anything else that I think is kind of relevant. Once a month, I like to do debt goddess reading.

Su: So, I’ll give them a heads up to, “Bring the question next time and then I’ll get back to you with the answer that I get from that, that Oracle, the meditation.” So yeah, and it varies. That’s the structure, but some clients are far outside of the buckets that I have, as far as starting a business, or are learning to let go of things, or rekindling that passion. So yeah. It also kind of ends up being highly variable.

Jon: No, I can imagine, because it is such a personal thing, right? That there’s probably not so much of a standard. When you think about tapping into your past, a lot of what it sounds like you did before, this was in that communications realm and it seems like that probably helps you, because a lot of what you’re doing is either restating, or articulating, or communicating with people about what you’re hearing. Do you find you tap into those skills often?

Su: Yes. And what I have to kind of balance is, I can tell how to hire a website designer or how to design your own website and how to … I can get really in the weeds with the details on how to start a business. And so I’m still trying to figure out how much do I need to provide, versus pull back? And I’m doing the coaching, which is just a lot of reflecting of what they’re telling me and bringing in the intuitive side. But I have so much experience with all the business stuff. So if someone is like, “Do I need a business bank account then?” I’m like, “Yes.” And I’ve written hundreds of articles about this, so I have the resources. So it’s sort of, I want to tap into that without making that the focus of the coaching.

Jon: Gotcha. Now I guess just kind of really going back to the start, did you always feel like you would work for yourself? Was there a life experience you go back to, even before your professional career or a theme? Did you grow up around entrepreneurs or was this really to your point, a transformation that happened because of everything in the world the past couple years? Where do you feel that entrepreneurialism came from and did it just take you a while to accept it, or was it something that evolved over time in your mind?

Su: It definitely took me a while to accept. In 2006, I had worked for a couple of companies as a marketing director and just wasn’t aligned with what the company was doing. And so found myself without a job. And I knew how to write a press release and this is dating me, but my space used to have classifieds. And I found a guy who needed a press release for $250. And I was like, “Wow, that’s a lot of money. It’ll take me 10 minutes.” And meanwhile, I was still looking for a job. But I kept that client and I got other clients and I kind of looked around after a few months and was like, “Oh, this is a business.” And so, I struggled for years and it still wasn’t clear whether that was going to work or not, but it fit so well.

Su: It’s been years since I’ve had to work in an office or for someone and I couldn’t have predicted this. In college I wanted to move to New York City and work right for a magazine. Well, that industry is not super stable these days, because we’ve gotten away from print in a lot of ways. So technology really changed that and blogs changed my career path. So, but even still having done that for at the time 15 years, it was like, “What’s next?” I don’t know many people who’ve been at a company for 15 years, so it’s very different when you’re an entrepreneur. Should I keep doing this until I retire? And so now it’s really exciting to bring in fresh energy and a different approach to the experience that I’ve gained over the years.

Jon: And when you think about that personal side now too, I’m assuming that it’s important for you to kind of take some time to disconnect from everything you do at work and kind of unwind. So what kind of things do you do to balance life, especially when your work and life are so intertwined?

Su: I don’t work on Fridays and I haven’t for years. And I’m very proud of that. I’m very good at … like I use Asana, which is kind of a project management tool, just to keep track of what’s important. So I’m very organized and it’s like, “Okay, this is what I need to get done today and then I’m done.” And when I need a break, because writing while it may not be in time intensive, it’s very mentally intensive and I’m still doing a lot of the content writing I’ve done for years. So I will get up and take a break. I will go for a walk. I will have lunch with a friend and then come back, because I don’t have to be at my desk from nine to five. And that’s really a blessing.

Jon: Awesome. And I guess, as you kind of think about people who are maybe, I think struggling probably isn’t the right word, but thinking about ways to maybe do what you did and merge their persona and their person, whether it’s in work for someone else, or if it’s in a way where they want to use that as a fuel to do their own thing. Is there a key theme or a singular piece of advice that you feel would be generally helpful?

Su: It’s simple, but very difficult. Be authentic. I really struggled with that. I’ve shared having that feeling like two sides. And so, are you being authentic in your business? Are you showing up every day how you want or do you feel like you’re hiding behind what you think you should be? And as I’ve said, I think this is a really great time to do yourself. I think more than ever we’re very open to who people are in the business world. And in fact, it enriches everyone you work with, if you are being yourself.

Jon: I agree. I think that, I find in corporate too, when we talk to a lot of folks there’s kind of this new focus or appreciation for what I’ll call bringing your whole self to work or really, I think folks starting to understand that life experiences can actually add value in ways that probably don’t translate from a resume. Right? So I think that’s some great advice and I think some of the most interesting people that I’ve ever met still don’t really know what they want to be when they grow up. So I think if you’re still figuring out, that’s okay.

Su: Yeah, absolutely. And it can change.

Jon: It can. Yeah. I feel like I … you can live many lives in one life.

Su: Yes, you can.

Jon: Awesome. Well, Sue, is there anything else you would like our listeners to know?

Su: Wow. Nah, I just, I think ending that on that note, just be yourself. Don’t be afraid of that. I hid behind a wall for a long time and now I’m so much happier just being who I am and in all aspects.

Jon: Awesome. I think that’s great advice. So we’ll close that out with, be brave, be bold, be you, someone who has a great rest of your day. And thank you so much for joining us on this podcast. That was Su Guillory. Sue, where can they find you online, if people are interested in advice on how to operationalize things at their business or maybe tap into you for some coaching?

Su: Sure. So my website is Susan Guillory, so it’s S-U-S-A-N G-U-I-L-L-O-R-Y.com and there I’ve got a blog called the Entrepreneurs Blog and I talk about spirituality in business. And there’s also about 12 years of content on all the logistical side, the content marketing and SEO and all the other stuff.

Jon: Awesome. Well, I encourage you to check out Sue. There’s some good advice on the blog. If you’re looking for other like minded advice, you can feel free to check out SBA.thehartford.com, where there are tips and tricks from everything to marketing, to management, to finance and more. Thank you everyone for joining us wherever you are. And we will catch you on the next one.

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