Tina Wells: The Elevation Approach, How to Achieve Work-Life Harmony While Still Crushing Your Goals | E239
Tina Wells: The Elevation Approach, How to Achieve Work-Life Harmony While Still Crushing Your Goals | E239
Tina Wells is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, brand builder, and creator of the Elevation Tribe community. Tina has been creating opportunities to help others launch, grow, and lead companies for decades. She is the author of best-selling tween fiction series Mackenzie Blue, and its new spinoff series, The Zee Files. Her most recent book,The Elevation Approach: Harness the Power of Work-Life Harmony to Unlock Your Creativity, Cultivate Joy, and Reach Your Biggest Goals, was released earlier this year.
In this episode, Hala and Tina will discuss:
– Her start as an “accidental entrepreneur”
– How she fell out of love with her marketing career
– The challenges of being a Black female entrepreneur
– Work-life balance vs. work-life harmony.
– How to maintain a work-life harmony
– How decluttering can transform your efficiency
– Ways to create rituals for yourself
– Recreational activities to recharge you
– Choosing joy over happiness
– And other topics…
Tina Wells is the founder of RLVNT Media, a multimedia content venture serving entrepreneurs, tweens, and culturists with authentic representation. Tina has been recognized by Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business, Essence’s 40 Under 40, and more. For over two decades, she led Buzz Marketing Group, an agency she founded at age 16 with clients like Dell, The Oprah Winfrey Network, Kroger, Apple, P+G, Johnson & Johnson, and American Eagle that Tina connected with her network of 30,000 buzzSpotters® and 7,000 “momSpotters”, all influential millennials and passionate end-consumers. Tina is also the author of several books, including the best-selling tween fiction series Mackenzie Blue, its new spinoff series, The Zee Files, and the marketing handbook, Chasing Youth Culture and Getting It Right.
Tina’s Website: https://tinawells.com/
Tina’s LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tinawells/
Tina’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/tinacwells
Tina’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tinawells/
Tina’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/twells17
Tina’s latest book, The Elevation Approach: Harness the Power of Work-Life Harmony to Unlock Your Creativity, Cultivate Joy, and Reach Your Biggest Goals: https://www.amazon.com/Elevation-Approach-Work-Life-Creativity-Cultivate/dp/0593580249
The Elevation Approach Course: https://tinawells.com/the-elevation-approach/
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[00:00:00] Hala Taha: What is going on? My beautiful, young, and profiting family. Today we're talking to Tina Wells, an entrepreneur, bestselling author, and creator of the Elevation Tribe Community. Tina has been creating opportunities to help others launch, grow, and lead companies for decades now. In today's episode, Tina and I are talking about how to achieve work-life harmony instead of a work-life balance using tactics from her latest book, the Elevation Approach.
She'll break down how decluttering your space. Creating rituals for yourself, nurturing your relationships, and prioritizing recreation can help you become more productive and live a harmonious life. Without further ado, let's dive right into my interview with the brilliant Tina Wells.
[00:00:57] Hala Taha: Tina, welcome to Young and Profiting Podcast.
[00:01:00] Tina Wells: Hello. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:02] Hala Taha: J and Profits Today, I'm joined by Tina Wells. Tina Wells is an entrepreneur, bestselling author, brand builder, and creator of the Elevation Tribe Community. She's the author of the bestselling tween fiction series, Mackenzie Blue, and its new spinoff series.
The Z Files the most recent book, the Elevation Approach harnessed the power of work-Life harmony to unlock your creativity, cultivate joy, and reach your biggest goals was released earlier this year.
And so I wanna talk about how you initially became an entrepreneur. You call yourself an accidental entrepreneur. You actually started your first company at just 16 years old. It was called The Buzz. Can you give us that story? Talk to us about how you ended up being a business owner at such a young age and the success you had with it for two decades.
[00:01:46] Tina Wells: Oh goodness. I mean, you've already hit that. I was an accidental entrepreneur, but I was a really curious kid and curious teenager, and I decided as a teenager that I wanted to be a fashion writer. And back in the mid nineties, that was the dreamiest job you could have, and probably like every girl, a teenage girl.
During that time, I was reading Teen Magazine and 17, and one day I was reading 17. I stumbled on this tiny little ad. A newspaper for girls called The New Girl Times was looking for editors and writers. And so I applied and I got a call that I was gonna get hired as a product review editor. And I was just like, amazing.
And I hung up the phone and I'm like, I don't know what that means, but I'm gonna figure this out. And of course, it meant that I got to try really cool products and give my opinion, and once I started sending clips back to companies, thanking them for the product, They'd always say the same thing. If I send you more stuff, will you keep telling me what you think?
And that's when I realized, okay, I'm onto something. Hadn't yet put the connection that I could get paid for it. That came a bit later. I was just enjoying being a teenager, getting tons of free product every week. And when I got to college about two years later, I had really grown a more sophisticated operation, use air quotes.
You know, I had friends helping me. I was doing big surveys. I was like giving reports based on what everybody thought about things. And I had someone give me a call and say, I wanna tell you something really important. I just got your report and I wanna tell you that what you and your friends did was better than market research.
I paid $25,000 for, you have a business, it's called Market Research. So I'm gonna tell you, go figure it out. And of course, as luck would have it, I was taking intro to business. Of the business department at my university. I went to see her during office hours and she said, why don't you take an independent study with me and let's see if we can make this a business and.
It was a lot of hard work over many months to figure out just how to structure and build this into a research agency and, and really, as they say, the rest is history. But I was really grateful and lucky to run that company for over 20 years and like you said, work with some of the biggest names and really expand beyond research into influencer marketing.
And it was, The best time learning about product and launching product, and now I'm talking to you and I'm launching product. And still doing product.
[00:04:14] Hala Taha: It's so cool. It's so cool how you took a little idea that you had when you were 16 years old and it sort of just like evolved into a real business and ended up being your career for decades.
But on your website, you know, I was doing research, of course, read your book, looked at your website, all your stuff. You actually said that you were living the dream, growing a seven-figure business, but you were on an express train to burnout. You actually started to dread your work and you dedicated so many years of your life to this idea that you had when you were a little girl.
So I'm just curious, what made you fall out of love with what you were doing? How did you lose the passion and, and why do you feel that you were experiencing burnout?
[00:04:53] Tina Wells: I remember during the summer for many years, I ran a program at Wharton, at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania called Leadership in the Business World.
And so I would take rising high school seniors through. A month long process of, of building a business and launching that business and then doing competition. And I had a friend come in as a, we had many guest speakers and a friend came in and he said something that was so game changing for me where he talked about his decision to leave his career and said, I'd realized I just was really good at it and I didn't even love what I was doing anymore.
And, and I started to question myself, You know? And at that point, 20 years in, right, it was. Very easy for me to run that company. It was very easy for me, even with that job at Wharton, you know, which had been so challenging five years before, right? I'd never done that. And I had another friend say, if you don't wake up every day as an entrepreneur feeling a little bit scared, you may not be doing the thing right?
Even in your business now, if you don't wake up feeling like I'm being challenged, you're probably not moving forward. And I realized I got to a place where I wasn't challenged anymore. But more importantly, I. I think I had just decided, well, I'm good at this and so I'm just gonna keep doing it. And that was not, you know, in my late thirties, really how I wanted to live my life.
And so it was a lot more deep work, deep questions, a lot of which show up in the book to get to the place I am now to say, what do I want my life to look like? How do I wanna live? And then how do I start to design that life?
[00:06:24] Hala Taha: Do you feel that you being a young, black entrepreneur woman, which at the time 20 years ago, really not common, do you think that also applied more pressure to you and led to more burnout?
[00:06:39] Tina Wells: You know what's interesting? I could say yes, I could answer yes to that question. Now, given I'm in a completely different field, but I think. I was really lucky to grow up in marketing and I was also in youth marketing. That is a place where it is all about culture, what's emerging and what's changing, and so I think I was just really fortunate, like think back to the mid nineties and a 16 year old calling you and telling you about this thing she was doing.
Like there aren't many industries where that would be accepted at all marketing and especially youth marketing at that time. Was an incredibly inclusive community. And so I think I was really fortunate. Now, if you asked me that today, I would say, whoa, manufacturing is completely different. Do I think my life is harder because I'm a black woman?
In many ways I do. You know, and it's a little unfortunate to say that, but I can't speak to working within an agency, right? I was running one. I was doing something so unique at the time, and also so needed. So I think a lot of that natural stuff that you're talking about that might've come along, I was in a really unique position to not experience that.
You know, when I came into the room, I was solving a problem. I was helping, you know, marketing team, understand a customer more, and so I came in and also commanded a lot of respect in that room. It's a very different situation. Then I saw with some friends at the time, you know, we'd get together as girlfriends and talk about work challenges and I would hear them just describe their experiences.
And I was just floored, floored by, you know, if I were in banking it might be a little bit different, right? And so, or different industries, but I was in a area that wasn't conservative, that was always looking for what's next. That was about trends about driving culture. And so I feel incredibly lucky that I was able to be in that really creative field.
[00:08:36] Hala Taha: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So when you ended up leaving your company, you shut it down. What did you feel like when you shut down? I couldn't imagine. Like I, I'm running my company now, I have 40 employees. It's doing well. I can't imagine shutting down my company. And, and what that feel, because you must have had to let go of clients and it was a big risk.
So what did you feel like when you were actually shutting your company down?
[00:08:59] Tina Wells: Yeah, so it's interesting that year, that was 2019. I remember. Opening the year and just being, and what I now can probably recognize is like a very depressed state. And I just was like crying every day. I just, there was a lot going on that I didn't quite understand and then I kinda just got through it, you know, and I'm like, oh, it's just the winter.
I am just unhappy because it's winter and I like the sun and I need to see the sun. And then spring came and I started really like high velocity going into client campaigns again. Then in the summer my dad got sick and then he was very sick to the point of terminally ill through the summer, you know, had this amazing lifesaving surgery.
And I remember during that time, like spending so much time with my dad and just understanding how happy he was with his life that, you know, no matter what happened, he was very content. And I remember thinking I'm not, and if I were in this position, I would have so many regrets and I'm not one to have regrets.
And I'm like, I would actually at this. Stage feel like, I wish I had done this. I wish I had done that. And I really, I decided that I was gonna take a sabbatical. I'd sold one of my book series to Audible and I thought, okay, I can take some time off. And I ended up, you know, again, huge ordeal with my dad's health.
Finally got a little bit of time off, went to Yellowstone. I was like finally in a place to relax and I thought, I never wanna go back to my agency. And I couldn't believe that was the thought, right? It was not, I don't wanna work with the people I'm working with. I loved my team. It wasn't that it was, I don't wanna do what we're doing, and if I could do the thing I love it would be more of content.
And content was always on the back burner for me. I had been very successful with my books. I realized when I took a pause that work was actually way more profitable for me than my agency. And so, you know, I talk about a lot of these principles in my book, right? Knowing your numbers. And when I started to get curious and know my numbers, I said, okay.
I love my team. I love when we get to make content that tends to be really successful. We tend to do really well financially from that. Okay? So what we need to do is stop working for other people and solely work for ourselves. And that was to your point, the scary moment. Because then it becomes, how am I gonna support this team?
What's that gonna look like? And you start asking all, all of those questions.
[00:11:19] Hala Taha: Yeah. It's so interesting what you're saying. Because you could build a company really big. You could have a lot of employees and make a lot of revenue, but if you're not making profit, yes, you could be just spinning your wheels and doing all this.
I mean, I'm experiencing very similar things in certain parts of my business. It's like we're just spinning our wheels, managing all this stuff, not in certain areas of our business, not making a big profit. And then other parts are really profitable, like you said, the content part of your business. So then your business actually didn't shut down.
It transformed into supporting you writing books. Is that what happened?
[00:11:50] Tina Wells: It really transitioned into this interesting content machine. So it was like you said, sometimes as entrepreneurs we're so busy and we're closing business and doing the thing and servicing business, that we're not actually taking that reflection to say, did this do what we wanted it to do?
And so I was, for example, really well known in the industry for my influencer business, but. What happens in influencer, oh, we're gonna delay launching the campaign. Oh, we wanna redo. And then things that should have like a fixed price tag all of a sudden start expanding. And you're like, what happened to the profit?
Whereas when you sell a book, you sell a book, right? And so that's a sale, and you sell the book whether you're awake, sleeping at the office, not at the office, right? You can move that product. And so it was finding that time to really reflect, not on. What I love, what I didn't love, but really by the numbers, what was working and what wasn't working.
And at that time I was serving on a few boards and I was able to, as I was in the process of looking at this for other companies and being really good at it, I took a moment to say, wait, I have to do this for my own businesses and look at where I can do better. And it was a hard decision to come to, but I had to take.
Leap and say, you know, and plus the sabbatical helped, right? So knowing I was gonna get some time off, which I really need, and I think all entrepreneurs need to really challenge themselves to remove themselves. I had a friend years ago challenged me to take summers off and I thought he was crazy. And I started off dipping my toe in that pool and.
I'll take two weeks in August and then I'll take all of August. That felt really good, and then I moved to the place of like from 4th of July to Labor Day. I'm not in the office, and what I realized was I was able to be really strategic, come back, well rested, but during that time I did a lot of the strategy that really helped me look at what was working and what wasn't working.
And so by the time I'd gotten to the place of saying, this business needs to transition, I am done with agency. That was a very easy thing to do because I understood the numbers and really understood what was working and what I wouldn't do again.
[00:14:03] Hala Taha: Yeah, and I'd love to stick on this concept of an agency business because when you're first an entrepreneur, the easy thing in my opinion is to start with an agency business, right?
You start with your own skills, then you teach other people how to do those skills, and you basically sell talent. It's really expensive to run.from my own experience is like when you add new clients, you're adding more talent. And it's like constantly you have to basically build a bigger team in order to satisfy more and more clients.
Where the book approach to your point is scalable. You don't necessarily need to add employee, employee, employee as you sell more and more books. So talk to us about the importance of sort of moving to a scalable model for you.
[00:14:43] Tina Wells: I wanna be clear to the listeners and say, I could not, would not be in the position I'm in right now.
I would not be selling, you know, shipping half a million units of product to target had I not mastered my agency business the skills that I learned, the skill of marketing, the skill of building a target market, understanding product, market fit, all of those things that I learned as a marketer has really helped me almost supercharge my ability to be in manufacturing.
And to do in a year or two years time, what might have taken other people 5, 6, 7 years because they came in with a skillset. So just know if you are in an agency business, it is not for nothing. You are learning really important skills that will help you. And the goal, right, is to take those skills and say, how do I create something scalable?
I've gone from books right to doing 14 books in partnership with Target. To now moving into Elevation by Tina Wells at Target, which is a home office line of products. And that I was like, wow. I design it once and then I can ship 30,000 of them, and that's awesome, you know?
And so it was a different way of using the skills that I loved and also really looking at what I was good at. One of the things I decided upfront was I wanted to keep a smaller internal team. I really was able to study manufacturing, like where do many people make mistakes? What's the difference between selling to a traditional retailer versus doing a D two C business?
I decided early on I wasn't gonna go D two C because in my mind I was almost doing the agency thing again, right? Like staffing the business. And then we know that a lot of times that is where you lose some profit. And I remember looking at financials of a D two C and, and I noticed something really interesting.
Moving from, I wanna say like 30 million in revenue to like 40. They did like 30 with 12 people and they did 40 with 72. You know, you're like, okay, is the juice worth the squeeze? So I was able to bring a lot of that life experience into this business to say what is the very best way I wanna run it? And then also back to your, our earlier comment about burnout.
I'm not gonna compromise my work-life harmony, so how do I really have those two things coexist? And I feel like I figured it out. Obviously the book, the Elevation Approach has been what allowed me to do it. But I think for all business owners listening, we sometimes have a tendency to look at everything with rose colored glasses.
And I think when you're really charting the future and where you wanna go, it's incredibly critical to say, okay, what is my bottom line? Where am I? What is working, what is not? And just be really honest about that.
[00:17:16] Hala Taha: And it's okay to start something and then eventually pivot it. Into something else. It's okay to evolve as you have.
My business is constantly evolving because I'm trying to always figure out how can I be the most profitable, work the smartest, and just be smart about doing business and being an entrepreneur. 'cause sometimes the easiest thing to do is not necessarily the best thing to do for yourself.
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[00:17:47] Hala Taha: So let's talk about you writing books for tweens,
How did you decide that this was your niche, this was your thing, and why did you start writing books for tweens?
[00:17:56] Tina Wells: It's funny, like my most things at that time in my life, I didn't decide. People just showed up with opportunities, which is really great. You know? I mean, in my early twenties, back when magazines were where you found out about any and everything, I was really fortunate to be in a lot of them, and so I was getting a lot of calls and I gotten a call to do some marketing.
For a publishing company, and this was back in the day when marketing companies were building brands like Sisterhood in the Traveling Pants and Gossip Girl. And I was in a similar business. And the publisher said to me at the time, you know, you do this thing, why aren't you writing books? And I said at the time, because I'm really busy with my marketing company, I don't have time for a side gig.
Eventually made time for it and realized just how delightful the age was. And as a researcher, I had just started talking. About the tween customer getting to know that tween girl and I really fell in love with her and fell in love with that life stage of you're not a kid anymore, but you're not a teen.
And all the uniqueness that really happens. And I have now written goodness, maybe 17 books for that customer. And so I love that girl. I'm working on something new right now that I'm really excited about and it was just one of those creative things I decided I was doing for me. Now, on the flip side, I'm still a marketer, so I will tell you, it's great to know that every day someone is aging into my books, right?
Where you write an adult book, you've gotta be timely, you wanna write something. And I hope the elevation approach is something people will come back to and revisit for many, many decades. But with kids books, I know you could stumble into McKenzie Blue, which is now 14 years old, and kids are still starting to read that series every day, you know?
And so, It was very different than I think my marketing career, which was focused on new. Now what's in how to sell immediately. The books are more about how do I create just great little grade fiction that will last for a very long time, and adult books are really different too. And then product, you know, it's about selling, selling, selling now, but about building brands that will also stand the test of time.
[00:20:06] Hala Taha: That's so interesting. I love the fact that you're saying that it was, it's like this evergreen product and people are always aging into being sort of eligible to read your book. So that's a really good point. Let's talk about the elevation approach in your new book. So in your new book you distinguish between work-life balance and work-life harmony.
What's the difference between the two?
[00:20:25] Tina Wells: I think what I experienced and for any of, or your listeners who are like young and in that moment where you're like, I wanna crush my work. It's all about work. Balance says if you are working your butt off and you're grinding, you gotta add all the play to equal out the work so that you're fully balanced.
And I realized I was just in an exhausting cycle of trying to make sure I had just as much play as work. And I don't think that's realistic. Harmony is more of like creating your favorite meal and deciding what goes on the plate. It's not about filling that plate up, right? It's like, no, you're just gonna have the appropriate amount of stuff on there for you, but you're deciding what those things are.
And so I felt like that was a better approach. I think sometimes we talk about, well, you work too much, you work too much, and we forget. About the idea that like younger generations are actually doing the work that they love, right? Like younger people, which I love about younger generations is they're not willing to compromise on their work.
They'll work hard, they want it to be profitable, they, they're gonna make money, but they're not willing to compromise. And I think that's great, but what that means then is that you need to find harmony and that. Is really how you define it. I don't think it's how anyone else defines it. You know, when you're heading towards burnout.
And I also think it's unrealistic to think that there aren't going to be seasons where you are feeling more of a grind than others, right? There are some days when you're working out and you know, some workouts are a little bit harder than the rest recovery days, and that is okay. And I think that Harmony says if you know, let's say you're about to graduate from college or you're.
Going through an exam period. I remember those exam periods and they were grueling. But if I could schedule a couple hours to have dinner with my friends, right, it would always make you feel a little bit better. And that is what I'm kind of offering you in the elevation approach is say, here's a guide to getting through things and to actually completing them.
Because what I was doing was getting burnout in the middle, right? So there are four phases in the elevation approach. Preparation, inspiration, recreation, and transformation. And what I was doing was, I was great at research. Obviously that was my skillset, right? So I was great at researching an idea, great with building my network and socializing it.
And then instead of taking a break, right, and just letting everything settle, what I would do is then go right back into the hustle. And that's why I could never finish anything. And when I incorporated recreation, what I started to notice was it was easier to get to the end, right? I was actually giving myself a little more stamina to get to the finish line.
I was just doing it and things were becoming easier, and that has really been the big breakthrough for me.
[00:23:05] Hala Taha: So you mentioned just now that there's four phases to your elevation approach. It's preparation, inspiration, recreation, and transformation. Before we get into those steps, I know it's important to actually set a goal or goals, right?
So talk to us about your guidance for goal setting.
[00:23:22] Tina Wells: That's a big part of how we set up the book too. My writing partner and I is just really like, What you wanna accomplish. What I often say is, obviously I'm a business owner. I've built businesses, so I'm writing for, you know, entrepreneurs, what I call them.
I'm obviously writing for that group, but I'm also writing for people who are just saying, I'm trying to do something big for my family. I remember a couple years ago, I have a brother who lives in Italy. My, my dad had met my youngest nephew and my mom like, had a vision that our entire family was going to go to Italy the spring, and it was a huge undertaking, you know, where it was a lot of planning, a lot of people and families to organize.
She just kept, you know, it was like, she was like, here's what's happening in nine months and here's everything that has to happen up till. And so I find that even if you have an idea of I need to do a renovation, I need to do this, you still have to go through this approach and through these steps, even if you are like, I wanna learn to play a new sport.
I wanna take up a hobby. It is literally the prescription to get you to the other side of realizing whatever that dream or goal is that you've set for yourself.
[00:24:24] Hala Taha: So the purpose of the elevation approach is basically to help you complete any goal. Is that right?
[00:24:29] Tina Wells: Exactly.
[00:24:30] Hala Taha: Cool. So in terms of the goals, to your point right now, you're talking about a trip to Italy.
It's not just career related. You're talking about any sort of goals, right?
[00:24:40] Tina Wells: Any sort of goal. And what I hope I'm giving you is the toolkit and you decide what tools you need from the kit, right? So you might say, I don't need all the exercises. I don't need all the stuff, but. If you come to a place where you're like, I can't seem to get to the next step, what I hope is that you can go back and say, okay, what is broken here that is prohibiting me from realizing this?
I think we also have to give ourselves just a little bit of grace to say, maybe you had a goal before and that's changed, but sometimes you think, oh my goodness, if I could have only opened that bakery, my life would be different. What I hope to also give you is a playbook to go through that and maybe you run the numbers and you're like, oh my goodness.
If I had done that, it would've been the worst thing ever. I'm so glad I didn't do that. And now you can free up that head space to focus on the thing you really wanna do in this current season.
[00:25:31] Hala Taha: And then why is it important that we need to pick a goal that doesn't feel like work?
[00:25:36] Tina Wells: I want it to be. Fun for you to do it right.
And I think that that goes back to the harmony piece, right? I want you to feel good. And I often say there would be nothing worse to me than having a goal finally getting to this great achievement and being too tired and too burnout to enjoy what I've built. And I think for so many entrepreneurs, you don't wanna burn out before you get to realize all that you've worked for.
If we're going through entrepreneurship, We're willing to take all the hard things that come with it because we know at the end there's gonna be this awesome reward. Hopefully that's really paid off, and there's nothing worse than being unhealthy or too sick or all the things that can happen, you know, issues with mental health because you didn't take care of yourself along the way.
[00:26:23] Hala Taha: That makes a lot of sense. Okay, so let's move on to the first phase of the elevation approach. It's called preparation. It's about the art of getting ready. And you mentioned that decluttering is one of the principles that we follow in this phase. So talk to us about the different clutter we can find in our lives.
[00:26:38] Tina Wells: Oh goodness. There's not just the clutter that we all might see in our homes, right? There's digital clutter, which is a big one for me. Calendar clutter. I even have like desktop clutter with my computer. Clutter can hide in all these different places.
a couple weeks ago I was starting to get this feeling of overwhelm.
I'm going into manufacturing a new line and we're just starting to ship the line out to retail partners. And I'm like, oh, like the panic is already building up. 'cause now, now I know how hard it is to be in manufacturing. And the first thing I did holla was I went and decluttered a space. It was like second, I didn't even know what was going on until I like.
Figured it out later. I'm like, what's going on with me? I just feel the need to get rid of stuff. And I realized, oh, I'm processing what's going on? And then once I did that, the next principles get curious. It automatically seemed to open up space to start asking questions. And then the know your numbers piece.
I just kind of rolled through my steps very easily. But I was at a place where I was like, oh, you know, my summer is looking a little light. What do we entrepreneurs like to do, add stuff to our account? Like, oh, I can do this, I can do that. And then I'm like, I need to stop right now because my fall is about transformation and how am I gonna get to completing things if I don't take a pause right now?
So I even have to like coach myself through the breaks, which I will tell you will probably be the hardest piece for a lot of entrepreneurs to listen to, right? Because we don't really see ourselves taking a pause at certain times, but. It's the most important part I think, of everything, because that's when all you know, you can get the downloads and you can really sit with all the information you've gathered.
And so decluttering though really signals that you're ready to kind of take it to the next level. So that's why it's important.
[00:28:29] Hala Taha: Yeah. And when it comes to decluttering, I know myself that when I am in a bad head space, that's when like my apartment will get the messiest right. Then I'll realize, I'm like, what's wrong with me?
Why is everything so messy? How can our clutter tell us that there's actually something unaligned in our lives?
[00:28:46] Tina Wells: The clutter is always the first signal for me, and one thing I wanna say is you will sometimes identify that there is a problem and it may not be a problem you can solve at that moment, and that's okay.
Sometimes just the awareness and being able to self-soothe and say, I know this doesn't look the way I want it to look, but I am traveling like crazy for the next two weeks, and as soon as I'm done, I'm going to do A, B, and C. Sometimes just like telling yourself that strange, as it might sound, will start to alleviate some of the stress and how you're showing up, right?
To give yourself a little grace and say, I know why. The worst thing is to have a bunch of clutter and have no clue why that's happening. Then you need to like do a deep dive and say, why is this going on? Or you know, if you're a parent and you're like, oh my goodness, it's the last two weeks before the school year is over and it's chaotic, but I understand why that's happening, then I think we can help ourselves cope to get to a little more downtime.
[00:29:42] Hala Taha: My last couple questions about decluttering is why do you feel like decluttering actually helps us be more effective? What does it actually do for us when we declutter our physical spaces, our mental spaces?
[00:29:53] Tina Wells: I think it opens up, literally opens up space that you can fill with something that's gonna serve you better.
That's why I go from the decluttering into the next part, which is getting curious, right? How do you make space for a new idea? To learn something new? To do something new? If you can't even physically or mentally focus, 'cause you're like, there's that there, there's this there. Meeting invites are popping up and you're trying to watch a video, read an article like.
Those two things are competing versus where you're like, I've got a little bit of a white canvas. What I'm saying is get yourself to a white canvas where you can then start to add the colors. Hmm,
[00:30:28] Hala Taha: I understand. So it's like basically removing the distraction so you can think, be curious, have big thoughts and aha moments like you were talking about before.
So talk to us about quantifying our goals. What are the questions that we need to ask ourselves about quantifying our
[00:30:41] Tina Wells: goals? So when I talk about, know, know your numbers, I think especially as entrepreneurs, we immediately pivot to the idea of finances, right? And I, I think that's absolutely should almost go without saying that as entrepreneurs, we need to be tracking those numbers.
But I found that the numbers I really needed to understand were related to my health. And that was really at the heart of my burnout in some ways, was I thought I was like working out and doing things that. For helping me with stress and it wasn't, I needed to find other practices to help with stress, but I also wasn't really committed to sleeping and I need to sleep like seven and a half hours.
Like I will be so efficient all the other hours of my day if I can get my seven and a half. But you know, if I don't have that, it's, I don't function well, right? So I wear my aura ring every day and I think it's important to not lie and cheat, right? So, I was definitely the one to be like, I feel like I slept well, so I think I got enough sleep versus every morning looking at a sleep score and saying, oh, I really didn't sleep as well as I thought, or I really shouldn't have been watching Law and order for an extra hour.
Right? Like that accountability really I noticed, helped me show up even if I had the busiest of days, I was ready for that. What I'm eating, how I'm eating, all of those things like having accountability around that for many of us. Right? How many steps we're walking. Then I like to gamify and make it fun.
But one of my doctors, she says all the time, oh my goodness, you love data. I do like, I love understanding all the numbers I can to see how I function best and show up to do the work that I love to do. And that is really the goal of knowing your numbers. How do you show up best for your team? How do you show up best for your family, for yourself?
And the way to do that is to understand that unique mix of numbers that are really important to helping you do that.
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[00:32:37] Hala Taha: Okay, so let's move on to the second phase of the elevation approach. It's called inspiration. How does inspiration play into work-life harmony?
[00:32:45] Tina Wells: Yeah. So I mean, listen, our relationships are the most important thing we have, right?
I think especially as entrepreneurs, they always talk about your network worth coming from your network, right? So cultivating an incredible network is important, but. I really believe in doing it in a very authentic way. You know, I don't believe in like collecting people and business cards and relationships.
I think whatever relationship you decide to engage in, you have to be committed to nurturing it. But in this part of the book, I really help you start to kind of categorize your relationships so you know exactly how much energy those relationships should have. Right. And I think. One mistake we make is calling everybody our best friend, right?
Oh, they're my best friend. My, well, if someone is truly your best friend, there's a specific set of things you've probably committed to each other, and you cannot have that commitment with every single person you encounter, right? So understanding how to manage those relationships, understanding what it means to have a personal board of directors.
I talk about why you need friend more than mentors, especially at this life stage, I think. All of my elevation, my biggest life changes have come through a group of peers who understood where I was and kind of held me accountable. And so that section is really focused on managing your relationships, taking everything you've learned in in the preparation phase, making sure you go then and socialize the idea with the right people.
And I talk to you about who those right people are. I think there are certain moments in my life if I had gone to people who I call cheerleaders, they might've said, You're amazing, do this thing versus going to my peers and my friend tours who held me accountable and said, you're not doing the thing only you can do, or you're not showing up the best you can.
Right. That's really, really critical. And so that phase is all about figuring out how to properly manage your relationships.
[00:34:33] Hala Taha: So the inspiration phase is actually about managing relationships. Did I get that right?
[00:34:37] Tina Wells: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:34:38] Hala Taha: Okay. Got it. And then you also say, we need to create rituals in this phase. So what's the importance of creating rituals and what's your guidance around that?
[00:34:47] Tina Wells: Think about those times where you naturally might be out of harmony. So really busy season for me or for anyone, like a book tour, or you're launching a new product and you're on the road. How do you bring those things with you that are really important? And I found creating rituals for me, even around like my packing, my unpacking.
If I like listening to a certain morning show, making sure when I'm traveling that I have access to that. I love listening to audiobooks. I can do that anywhere in the world, right? So things that really ground me. If I am traveling a lot, you know, now I'm going into a season where I'll be traveling a bit more in the fall, but getting those important dates on the calendar for with my supper club, making sure we've got our once a month appointments.
So those things become rituals. And for people listening who are like, I don't really know what my rituals are, I give you a guide to helping you figure out how to create some. It's funny, I had realized, looking at my numbers with my health, I was getting concerned about how travel was starting to weigh on me.
And I like quickly started a new ritual for when I land, what that needs to look like, right? And what, how I need to get myself acclimated to a new place. And now I'm like, okay, I have a travel ritual of things that have to happen when I. I'm just landing. And so you'll create new ones, but again, you're gonna go through some exercises that help you figure out what rituals make the most sense for you.
[00:36:08] Hala Taha: And so you have a part of your book that's called Make Deposits Before Withdrawals. And what do you mean by that?
[00:36:14] Tina Wells: Yeah, so that is in the inspiration phase. And so I know it's funny, like you said, oh, inspiration is about relationships. So after you have a big idea, the goal in the next phase is socializing.
That is when you are engaging the most with people, and I talked to you about exactly how to engage this, is to bring an idea to fruition, right? So let's say you wanna plan the ultimate trip to Disney for your family. You probably should go talk to someone who's planned a trip to Disney for their family, right?
And sometimes we make the mistake of going to a cheerleader who's like, you absolutely should do that thing. Versus talking to the person who's like Disney in August with three kids. Oh my gosh, here's what you need to know, right? So, I want you to understand exactly who you need to engage with. And then when we talk about the deposits and withdrawals, that's really focused on the how, right?
And you wanna make sure that you're engaging in relationships where both people really feel valued and feel like they're getting something out of it. And you don't want one-sided relationships, so you don't wanna constantly. Call someone for help and you're not offering or be in the other position where you feel like, why am I feeling energetically drained from a certain relationship?
It could be that you think you're getting more out of it than you actually are. Right? And as entrepreneurs, we really have to manage our time and our energy. That has honestly been very hard for me because I would love to talk to everyone, give advice to everyone, and do and see people. And you know, I was researcher, so I love getting to know people, learning about people, but that also sometimes takes a toll on me, on my health and even my creativity, right?
Like if I need to make sure I'm in a space to dream up. I'm working now on this kind of interesting but complicated fantasy middle grade fiction book. I need a lot of energy for that. And so I have to look at, I. How am I spending my time and am I reserving the energy I need to get this type of work done, which is a little bit different than when I, you know, have an executive hat on and I'm making decisions and reviewing data and looking at that.
It's very different when I'm trying to like dream something up for kids or dream up a new product line. And that's why I ask you to look at deposits and withdraws because it's about measuring what you have truly bring your big ideas to life.
[00:38:27] Hala Taha: That makes sense. recreation is the third phase, and I'm curious to understand why recreation is an important part of elevating our lives and how we can actually design this recreation
[00:38:38] Tina Wells: effectively.
Goodness. I mean, when we started the conversation talking about burnout, my burnout happened because I didn't have this in place. I think this is always going to be the hardest part for entrepreneurs to embrace. If I'm very honest, it was the hardest thing for me to embrace, and what I started to realize, of course I do what I do.
I test it and when I started to see how much better I was reacting to situations, how much faster, honestly, how fast I work now, I realized it was absolutely the most important thing. And there are just some days where you probably start to feel, I feel it like I. This is going in a very bad direction, and then that 15 minutes, that hour, whatever your form of recreation is somehow just kind of gets me back on track and it allows me to do what I need to do to finish the thing I started.
And so it is so critical. You know, I live my day, like the elevation approach, and so my mornings of preparation, my afternoons or inspiration, I always find time in my afternoon for recreation. And then I have to work, you know, I do a lot of development. In Asia and so I have to work into the evening and I really need that recreation because it helps me drive for the rest of the day for transformation.
[00:39:49] Hala Taha: Yeah. I know that whenever I take time to like work out, I feel more energized to like get more done after I give myself that time. Even just doing like a stretching for 15 minutes or something that doesn't even feel like work, but feels relaxing for myself. Why does recreation. Not necessarily need to be scheduled.
Why does it need to be unstructured, is how you describe it in the book.
[00:40:13] Tina Wells: My personal experience was I thought I was like nailing my workouts. I was so into like SoulCycle all the things. And I had been at a retreat of all places in Utah and you know, after I had this massage, the feedback I got was like, I can tell you workout, um, that's not helping your stress.
And I think for a lot of us we feel like, oh, we're doing the workout. It's helping our stress. I realized workout was what I needed to do in the preparation phase, right? Part of knowing my numbers. Same as making sure you're drinking water, making sure you know you're sleeping a certain amount of time.
That is just what I needed to do to make sure I was prepared for my day. Where recreation is, if you've gotta think about it a little more as play, right? So think about if like you were starting something new. Maybe there's fitness benefits, but it's more about. Decompressing and taking a little bit of time away from what you're doing so you can go back and be fully ready to crush it, right, because you need that energy.
What I kept missing was I needed a little more energy to transform and I didn't have it after I had been so inspired and I couldn't figure out how to get to the other side.
[00:41:19] Hala Taha: You also say that it's important to get out of your safe zone when it comes to recreation. Why
[00:41:24] Tina Wells: is that? I think what I've learned is when I get out of my safe zone and open and go through that exercise of allowing my mind to open up to something new.
When you allow your mind to open up to something new, it's not like you're opening up in a controlled way, right? You're allowing yourself, you're flexing that muscle. And as entrepreneurs, we need those new ideas to come. We need those fresh concepts. Like you said, you've gotta always be evolving. And so part of what's great about recreation is just the natural way to make sure you're always evolving and always just open to something new or interesting.
And, you know, taking time to read for 15 minutes about something you're. Just curious about Right. And, and not closing yourself off to anything new. Right. You don't wanna become that type of person who's like, I don't care about ai, I don't care about, I don't want this, I don't wanna know about that. It's like, just learn, even if it doesn't apply to your business, because you're flexing that muscle of being open to newness.
And that's what's great about recreation. Recreation could be playing a game with a child for 10, 15 minutes. Right. And I always encourage, definitely encourage in the book to watch how kids play and watch how there's like, No outcome, right? They're not playing for a specific outcome. They're playing.
'cause it's fun. I'm just out here walking because it's fun, you know? And that's where you really wanna get, where you're just taking a little bit of time to have a different experience.
[00:42:47] Hala Taha: Another point in this section of the book is this idea of choosing joy over happiness and the fact that joy and happiness is actually not the same thing.
Can you help us understand why we need to prioritize joy over happiness and what your distinction is with that?
[00:43:00] Tina Wells: I think joy is a state. I can tell you there are times like I'm going into a time right now where I'm gonna be dealing with a lot of customs agents, dealing, shipping, a lot of stuff, and. It is just not what I wake up to do, but I find so much joy in it.
And joy is about saying I am engaged in something right now. That is not my favorite thing to do, but I still am showing up. Happiness is like, I'm eating ice cream. Ice cream makes me happy, so I'm happy. What happens when the ice cream goes away? Are you now unhappy? You know, so you don't want an outside force to be able to control it, and I think especially as entrepreneurs when there are so many people who are taking their cues from us about how good the day is going to be.
You wanna make sure that you have as much control as possible over if you're showing up feeling good or not. Happiness means on your way to work. You get a ticket, you're unhappy. You know, joy is like, that wasn't great, but I still have a smile on my face. And I, I have figured out how to still keep it moving.
And I think especially for people where how you show up can affect so many other people, it's really, really important to figure out how you create joy.
[00:44:06] Hala Taha: So talk to us about transformation and the last step of your elevation approach.
[00:44:11] Tina Wells: Transformation is really about everything coming together, and I think one of the things I really focus on in the book is this idea that you could change what you desire and that you could get to this place and say, oh, I thought I wanted this thing and maybe I don't want the thing I thought I wanted, and that's okay.
You know, it's okay to get to the place of saying, I decided to pivot. Then I can go through the process again based on what I've pivoted to. And so, you know, transformation also asks you to make even more time for reflection to really talk about what's serving you, what's not, which is really hard. You know, I think I went through that process of, I.
Really pivoting my business and how I work. And it was that honest conversation about what is actually working and what's actually not working. And I know if anybody else finds it hard, sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to something you really love, but is also not serving you in this current place in your life.
[00:45:06] Hala Taha: So I think what would be helpful for my listeners, so they can really just tie this all together, would be for you to walk through an example of somebody having a goal and using the elevation approach to tackle that goal.
[00:45:17] Tina Wells: Yeah. So let's say, um, you are opening up your first agency, right? Because we talk about agency businesses being easy to start in preparation.
You're doing all the research, right? So one, you're decluttering your space, could be your calendar, could be your computer. Like I'm ready to go full on into diving into this. And then you get curious, right? So you start researching different businesses, how they work, what industry are you gonna go into?
Are you gonna be in person virtual only, right? You're just doing all the things. And then you get to knowing your numbers, right? You might go on to the I R S website, figure out what tax returns or profitability looks like for agencies like yours, and start to figure out how you're gonna get there. And then you decide it's feasible.
You go into inspiration, right? And that's all the things around meeting people, getting to know them, finding resources. Then you get to recreation and you're gonna take a little break and you're gonna do something. I don't care if you go away for two days, do an overnight go to a theme park, you're gonna do something that gets your mind off of it.
Then you're gonna come back to transformation and say, I'm ready to pull it all together. I am gonna launch that business. I feel excited and ready to go. And then you kind of make it happen, right? And then the good news is you can always, let's say you're three months in, you have transformed, you're in the business and you're like, something feels off.
What's great about Instant Elevation is you can look at those 12 principles and say, what do I need? Do I need a new ritual? Am I not making time for recreation like I was supposed to? You're tracking your numbers, right? So you can go to your numbers and say, does anything feel weird here? Maybe you look at your calendar and you're like, oh, I see it.
I'm really overscheduled and I'm not making any time for A, B, and C. I gotta get that on my schedule or, Everything is so cluttered here. I gotta figure out what to do. My wardrobe, I need this. Right? So that's the goal is after you've transformed, is to then go back because it's a constantly evolving thing.
You're never going to just be in a place where you are in complete work-life harmony. We're always going to be figuring out how to maintain that meal that we love so much, right? And realize, oh, this is missing. Or I forgot to add this, this time. And so what's great is after you've read the book, now you can go back and pinpoint.
Then once you know what's up, you can grab that tool from your toolkit and kind of get yourself back to where you need to be.
[00:47:34] Hala Taha: I love it. I loved learning today about your elevation approach and how we can live more of a work-life harmony instead of a work-life balance. So really appreciate that. We end our interview with two questions.
The first one is, what is one actionable thing our young and profits can do today to become more profitable tomorrow?
[00:47:53] Tina Wells: I would say hands down, get curious. Look at emerging technologies. Always be aware of where trends are going and things are headed. And don't be scared because the more you know, the more you can decide how you're gonna use those technologies.
So especially if you feel scared about something, move in that direction and get yourself into a practice of really not approaching anything with fear. I think to be a great entrepreneur, you've gotta be fearless. And the best way to show up and be fearless is to have knowledge, right? The whole idea of knowledge is power.
Definitely means more today than it ever did. And so I would say hands down, get curious.
[00:48:28] Hala Taha: I think that is absolutely fantastic advice. And my second question for you is, what is your secret to profiting in life? And this could go beyond business and finance.
[00:48:38] Tina Wells: I think my secret to profiting in life is again, not being scared of being in a state of knowing my numbers and looking and being really honest about what's working and not working.
And the only way you can do that, Is to have data that you're accountable to, not this idea. I think we were kind of profitable this quarter. No, you need to look at your numbers and know exactly what you spent, how you spent it, and be accountable to that. And so whatever that is, you know, know your numbers and be accountable to those numbers.
[00:49:08] Hala Taha: Mm-hmm. And I have to say, like as an entrepreneur for three years now, when you know your numbers, sometimes it leads to really tough decisions. So you might have to let people go, let clients go. It's hard. It's hard to make decisions that are gonna benefit you positively in the moment, but it's good for the long term.
So I definitely agree that knowing your numbers is very important.
[00:49:28] Tina Wells: That's great. And you know, you know this. Once you do it and you see what happens on the other side, and that you're creating goodness and allowing other people to thrive at places that might be better for them too. It feels hard, but once you do it and realize that it is the thing to do, to continue to grow again, it becomes just like any other muscle and it gets a little bit easier over time.
[00:49:48] Hala Taha: Totally agree. Where can our listeners learn more about you and everything that you do Tina?
[00:49:53] Tina Wells: The first place is of course, where you went to get this great interview, which is tina wells.com. I have a weekly newsletter you can subscribe to. I often post on my Instagram, which is at Tina Wells, and of course you can find my books, my products at target stores and target.com.
[00:50:09] Hala Taha: Amazing. Well, thank you so much, Tina. Thanks for joining us on Young and Profiting podcast.
[00:50:14] Tina Wells: Thanks, Holly. It's been great.
[00:50:15] Hala Taha: It can be exhausting trying to balance your life with work, especially as an entrepreneur. Things can get out of hand quickly, and burnout can sometimes feel like it's just around the corner. That's why I loved hearing from Tina Wells about what she has learned about taking a step back and reorganizing her life and career in order to find a more sustainable approach.
According to Tina, it's not enough to pursue a work-life balance. You need work-life harmony. Harmony is not just about making sure that your plate is full and has a balance of things. It's about crafting your favorite meal and deciding what goes on that plate and in what amount. And that's also why we have to pick goals that map onto that vision of harmony that we've established.
There's nothing worse says Tina, than achieving a difficult goal only to be too tired or too burned out to appreciate what you've achieved. You wanna be able to enjoy the fruits of everything you've worked so hard for. Tina devised what she calls the elevation approach to help others pick and complete the right goals and achieve that work-life harmony.
To recap, there were four main phases to that approach. First preparation, the art of getting ready, and also the act of decluttering our lives. We can all get swamped in email clutter, desktop clutter, calendar, clutter, cluttered homes. If we take the time to declutter both our mental and physical spaces, it can create the space we need to learn something new or have a big new idea or launch a new course of action.
The second phase of the elevation approach is inspiration, and a key part of this is learning to manage our relationships better, whether that's finding our own personal board of directors and mentors, or ensuring that we're making more deposits than withdrawals in our interactions with others so that we're not forming one-sided relationships.
Tina calls phase three recreation. Just taking 15 minutes away from work to do something recreational can also open us up to something new or better, or just recharge our batteries. Finally, the last phase is transformation. That's where everything comes together. Maybe you accomplish your goal or maybe it just dawns on you that you need to pivot to something else.
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We never charge, we never have any sort of subscriptions. We do this all for you, our listeners. And if you like watching your podcast, you can find us on YouTube. I've got all of our episodes up on there. You can also find me on Instagram at YAP with Hala or LinkedIn by searching my name. It's Hala Taha. I wanna shout out my amazing production team, my executive producer, Jason Amelia, our assistant producer Han and his Sham, helping us with guest outreach.
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