Today I’m speaking with Shulamit Ber Levtov, AKA Shula – or you may know her as The Entrepreneur’s Therapist or the cofounder of The Business Therapy Center.

Shulamit is also an entrepreneur herself and works with her clients to help manage and overcome the anxieties and stresses of running a business. She also has over 20 years of experience supporting women’s mental health, as she is a licensed trauma therapist.

In today’s episode, we’re talking about how we can change our mindset and the way we show up for ourselves and our businesses. 

Shula gives us insight into:

Read the full transcript

Meg Casebolt 0:00
Hello hello as I shared in our last episode, we are going to be spending the next few episodes talking about the mental health ramifications of running an online business of feeling like you need to be on the internet all the time and dealing with the stress and overwhelm of feeling like you need to do all the things. And so the first person that I wanted to have on in this little mini series is my friend Shula. Shulamit Berlevtov is known around the internet of the entrepreneurs therapist, and she’s the co founder of the business therapy center. So she’s really well grounded and understanding about the unique stresses that come along with running a business. And she helps her clients who are women, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs, to manage their mindset to build more resilience in the way that they approach things to overcome anxiety and isolation of running a business. She’s also has 27 years as an entrepreneur and 20 years of supporting women’s mental health. She’s a licensed trauma therapist, she’s been a yoga teacher, and she really brings a really unique approach to this. And so I absolutely when I thought about who I wanted to have on for this series, Sheila was the first person came to mind. She’s really great at explaining fairly complex ideas in ways that feel actionable, and can help us understand what are the steps that we need to be taking in order to not just feel overwhelmed all the time or, you know, guilt trip ourselves about the ways that we’re behaving. But what are some ways that we can start to change that behavior and feel better about the ways that we’re showing up for our businesses, for our clients, for our families, and building lives that are meaningful and valuable and important to us? You’re listening to social slowdown a podcast for entrepreneurs and micro businesses looking for sustainable marketing strategies without being dependent on social media. Social media is a double edged sword. It’s a wonderful way to stay connected. But it also can feel like an addictive obligation. And it’s even more complex for businesses, your audience might be right there, but you’ve got to fight with algorithms to maybe be seen by them. So whether you want to abandon social media altogether, or you just want to take a month off, it’s possible to have a thriving business without being dependent on social media. This podcast is all about finding creative, sustainable ways to engage with your audience without needing to lip sync, send cold DMS, run ads or be available 24/7. Let’s get started. Hello, Shula, I am so excited to have you here today. Thank you so much for being on the social slowdown podcast.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 2:42
Thanks for asking me I love I love our freewheeling conversations, I just can’t wait to get started.

Meg Casebolt 2:47
I know, I feel like I’ve learned so much from you over our years of working together. And I’m thrilled to be able to share you with the audience. So if you don’t mind, just tell us a little bit about yourself and how we’ll start with us. How do you make money? How do people work with you? Let’s start there.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 3:04
Thank you for asking. So I’m the entrepreneurs therapist. And the majority of my work right now is one to one with women entrepreneurs who want to uplift their mindset and pilot their emotions, like be in charge of their emotions, so that they can overcome the anxiety and isolation of running a business. Because the emotions as you know, it’s like it’s a roller coaster up and down. And that emotional dysregulation really has an impact on our CEO self on our capacity to do the things we want to do in our businesses. So I’m here to be your emotional support Canadian, your support therapist, as you’re running your business, because it’s tough.

Meg Casebolt 3:47
Yeah, let’s talk you said specifically the anxiety and the isolation of running a business and how that leads to both emotional dysregulation. And then also like, it makes it hard for you to have that executive functioning skill. So tell me a little bit about the the experience that you’re hearing from people about the anxiety and isolation.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 4:08
So in my work, I’ve identified seven factors, or six factors rather of risk to mental health for entrepreneurs. So we’ll have the link to that blog in the show notes. And the one when I share this information, the one that people respond to the most is the isolation factor. Yes. And like the isolation that we experienced as entrepreneurs is really there are so many dimensions to it. And before I unpack that, I just I want to say why isolation is a threat to mental health. On a very visceral level, we are mammals, right? Like I shouldn’t say visceral, it’s actually in the brain. But we have this memory of ourselves as communal as connected with our fellows and at time when if we weren’t within the safety of our community. We were at risk of dying. Mm hmm. Right. So right away isolation brings up this primordial feeling of vulnerability, and therefore fear and risk, right. So that’s how isolation has an impact on our mental health. That’s kind of like the direct link. But the facets of our isolation are so complex, because first of all, as entrepreneurs, there aren’t a lot of us. So it’s hard to find fellows, right? As women entrepreneurs, even though the online world Prolift, there’s a proliferation of women entrepreneurs in the online world, it’s still significantly less than men, and in person in real life to find peers is also very difficult because the women, women entrepreneurs are not, not, they’re not great numbers of us. But then the fact that we have to work, the way we work that we are the sole person responsible means that we have less time available to socialize and or less capacity to socialize. So not only do we have a small pool, our the amount of time and energy we have to devote to connecting with that small pool or finding somebody even is limited. And then on top of that, we are surrounded by people, but these are people clients and our contractors or employees for whom we are holding space. And so we are there for them, they are not there for us. Yeah, right. So we find ourselves surrounded by people. And yet with an experience of aloneness,

Meg Casebolt 6:33
yeah, even when I have a crappy day, and the but if I have a whole, you know, lineup of client calls, I’m not going to just sit and cry to my clients, when I’m supposed to show up and be professional, or I’m not going to say to my team, like Sorry, I can’t get you that things. So that way, you can’t do your work, because I have a headache, I will, I will set that boundary. But you know, like, it’s hard to the people that we’re interacting and engaging with the most we have transactional relationships with. That’s not to say they’re entirely transactional, but they’re giving me money, or, you know, my clients are giving me money, or I’m giving money to my my team. So I don’t want to be seen as weak or unprofessional, or not put together in some ways you kind of have to show up and perform in those relationships, even with your best clients, even with your most supportive teammates, there’s still a level of professionalism that happens in those conversations that isn’t, you know, what you bring to your therapist.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 7:26
Yeah, and I would, I would, I would kind of tweak the language a little bit. Because in the way that I see it, there is a level of transparency, of like, being explicit about what’s going on with me, and inviting my clients or my contractors or employees that we check in with one another at the beginning of an interaction. But it’s a check in, it’s not a space holding, right. And so I’m not performing, I will be transparent with someone, I’m not I’m not my best today, or, you know, it’s been a difficult week, it world events have had an impact on me, and we sort of state it and acknowledge it so that it’s out here in front of us instead of between us. So it’s not per se a performance but it but at the same time, again, it’s a quality of professional space holding that we called either as consultants for our clients, or as leaders for our employees or contractors, that requires a kind of like parking of these things. Hmm. It’s not, it’s just not the place for them to be there in their wholeness, right. So we were transparent about them, we state them, we laid them out, and then we go on to the business at hand, which is still it’s still like you’re still have that weight. And it needs to find a place where it can be fully held. And this is not the spot for that.

Meg Casebolt 8:49
Right. And so that isolation can definitely be pressing down on us, even when we’re on you know, Zoom fatigue is real. Even when we’re on calls all day or checking in with people or emailing people and having those touch points all the time, it can still be exhausting to feel like you have to show up in a certain way. And you’re even though even when I have a day of client meetings, I’m still alone in my office with my dog. Yes, yes. I’m not able to hug that person. And yeah,

Shulamit Ber Levtov 9:20
yeah, yeah, we’re alone with our emotional management. And that’s very heavy.

Meg Casebolt 9:24
Yeah. And so what are some some suggestions that you have for people who are feeling that isolation and maybe also some of the anxiety around the decision making process of being a leader or being in a client facing relationship where you have to be making those decisions? What are some ways that you help your clients to cope with that emotional dysregulation?

Shulamit Ber Levtov 9:46
So I’m gonna pause.

Meg Casebolt 9:49
Breathing is a good choice. I think I think you’ve demonstrating the answer here.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 9:53
Just pausing and taking a moment. So there Like I teach a two pronged approach one is on the fly like you’ve seen me do here. And then what’s what you do on the fly is supported by what you do as a regular formal structured practice. So outside of when stuff comes up, there are ways in which we can support our nervous systems and our and just our general resilience. In particular, I teach three principles of stress, resilience, soothe, discharge, and nourish. And these are experiences that you can offer your nervous system. And again, I have a blog post about this. So we’ll put the link in the show notes, so that people can go in depth on that. But the general principle is that as you know, talking to yourself, when you’re stressed out, Oh, stop, don’t worry, don’t be anxious, it’ll be alright. Doesn’t work, right. So outside of when the crap is hitting the fan to offer ourselves experiences of soothing experiences that nourish us, and experiences that enable us to discharge both physiologically and emotionally, what has built up in us as a result of the stress that we experience that lays the groundwork, it lowers the baseline activation of the nervous system and puts us within our window of tolerance so that when shit hits the fan, instead of freaking out and, and going out of our window of tolerance. And then like flipping our lid and blowing our stack, right yelling at somebody or something that we we feel the activation, but we stay within our window of tolerance so that it’s manageable. So the day to day practices kind of keep us in floating in that middle area. And then so that when the crap hits the fan, because you don’t pop out of your window of tolerance and lose your cool, you can just like I did now, because I mean, I’m a little activated. This is where we’re doing a podcast interview, it’s a it’s a demanding experience, right? But I’m not outside of my window of tolerance. When you asked me that question, I didn’t freak out and cry, pause for a moment, and sort things out inside. And the capacity to do that is supported by the fact that my nervous system is, is within my window of tolerance. It’s up a little right, but it’s still within what I can handle. And that’s because of what I do outside of this situation of being on right.

Meg Casebolt 12:22
So it’s kind of like, you know, when you’re working on something long term, you need to have that daily plan. If you’re thinking like, I want to get really good at clean eating, I want to have like a really good diet, so that way, I feel better. And so every day, you’re doing the green smoothies, and you’re, you know, cutting out gluten, if it doesn’t feel good in your body, and you have that baseline of health. And then there are going to be those times where you go to the party and you’re like, Man, I just want to eat all the chocolate cake. Right, and you’re gonna have that time where you step outside of that window. And the rest of the time when you’re feeling good. It kind of makes up for it a little bit. It’s not like you’re always gonna feel like crap by eating crappy food. And a good metaphor here, do you have a different metaphor that would be a better fit for this?

Shulamit Ber Levtov 13:06
Well, I like the idea that your implicit in what you said is this idea of balance of like trusting that our organism knows what it’s doing, and offering what it needs to be supported in order to self manage. And so like to tie it into the way that I teach about this, I teach about create that, you know, we as entrepreneurs we have, we all have business plans, right. And part of our business plan is a financial plan and a marketing plan, among others. And I would propose that we need a mental health plan is an inherent part of our business plan as well. And so in the mental health aspect of our business plan, we have to identify our key performance indicators for our mental health. These are the leg and lead indicators. And so a lead indicator is what you do the action you take. And the lag indicator is the impact of that action. So our lead indicators are things like you’ve said, myself care practices like meditation, movement, social connection, having a therapist who, where I can do my emotional processing, making sure that I eat, what works for my body, making sure that I have sleep, those are all our lead indicators. And so it helps to identify and know what those are so that just like you check in on your leg and leading indicators in your business on a regular basis. You check in with them your mental health ones on a regular basis, so that when your lag indicators, which we might call symptoms, for example, I’m not sleeping well. I’m snapping at others. My digestion is not working well. You know, you have a chance to check in with yourself and you see that these lag indicators are how they’re performing or not. Right. And then You can go okay, well, where are my lead indicators these days? And you look back and you see, oh, well, I noticed that I’ve really been not moving away from my desk at all this week, because it was a very demanding week. And I noticed that I’ve been skipping lunch to work through, and you look at the lag indicators, and you’re like, Well done, I wonder, because look at what I’ve been doing with my lead indicators. And it’s no wonder then that these are the results I’m getting. So how can I tweak my lead indicators? Where do I need to kind of recommit to myself, I’m a lead indicators for my mental health, so that I can get a better outcome on my leg indicators. And it’s that identifying what they both are. And so soothe, discharge and nourish, play, those are kind of lead indicators, what am I doing to soothe my organism? What am I doing to nourish my organism? And what am I doing to discharge emotionally and physiologically, if you itemize what those are, those are your lead indicators. And then your symptoms, everybody knows what’s going on, when they’re feeling crappy, that’s easy to identify, and you check in with those on a regular basis.

Meg Casebolt 16:03
Yeah, and I think also as entrepreneurs to a great extent, especially if we are selling something that is based on our knowledge, which is true for both you and I, it’s like, our brains are our biggest assets in our businesses, both as leaders and creators and communicators. And if we’re not creating a routine or ritual or some sort of daily structure around whatever works, you know, I’m, I’m grimacing, as I hear you say that’s going like, yeah, you’re right, I haven’t been to the gym, you know, and I feel it in my body, I feel it when I lay down at night that I have this restlessness. And recognizing that, even though sometimes the gym takes me out of my desk time, it will make the rest of my desk time more productive if I build it into the plan for the week. And it has to be proactive in nature. And in the same way, when I’ve noticed that for myself, one of my leg indicators. One of one of the things that I do when I get stressed out is I go to the Doom scroll. It’s like let me sit down on the couch with a glass of wine, and just like scroll through Instagram and see what’s up, you know, and it’s not an intentional choice. It’s like a, okay, the kids are finally asleep, I don’t have the mental capacity to even watch TV, I just need the like, it’s not even like the dopamine, I just need like the the mindlessness of this, you know, I’m not looking for input. At that point, I just want to sit and watch some funny tick tock videos and shut it down. And I’ve definitely seen that as that’s an indicator to me that I’m not doing enough for myself, but I see it regularly. Like after a launch when I’m in that like launch hangover period, and I need more recovery time, I definitely feel myself picking up my phone more and leaning into those mindless practices. So tell me about kind of what to do when you find yourself in those moments of this is not a behavior that feels good, but it feels good.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 18:13
So first of all, I want to appreciate the wisdom of our organisms that lead us to do these kinds of things. We relate to them as relaxing, but I would invite you to consider that. It’s more numbing than relaxing. It’s a kind of a disconnect or dissociative or numbing kind of thing that things are just too overwhelming. And so our organism reaches for what it knows to do in order to just numb out from the overwhelm. Right? And like we do need some times out from these things because like overwhelmed, just leads to collapse. And that’s okay. Like that’s our organism trying to do its very best for us. And so if you find yourself in that kind of numbing out, you know, drinking, eating more than you would like watching Netflix more than you would like Doom scrolling more than you would like. And you kind of realize, oh, that’s what’s happening, I would invite you to say to yourself, oh, I noticed that my organism is trying to help me manage this. Like I’m noticing I’m numbing out. And that means that things are too much for me and and wow, I’m just appreciating how, like, my organism is just leading me to this place trying to keep me safe and Okay, trying to help me modulate something that feels like too much. Because what our first impulse is to criticize Oh, geez, look at me. I’ve been doing scrolling with that. What’s the matter with me? I know better than this. Put your phone down, right like and that kind of self talk actually makes things worse. So the first thing is to just really validate Wow, my organism is just so wise look at it trying to help me. And then the next thing is to appreciate that you Yes, things are actually overwhelming. And no wonder I’m having a hard time. And these two gestures of self kindness can really go a long way to kind of giving you this little like, ah, like this little exhalation. Yeah,

Meg Casebolt 20:13
yeah. And self compassion of like, this is this is my body. This is my brain protecting me.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 20:20
Yes, 100%. And then that self kindness is emotionally regulating. And so at that point, when we’ve had some kind of emotional regulation, where we’ve we’ve kind of like, oh, yeah, we sort of wake up a little bit, and we’ve sort of exhaled a little bit, then we can consider, right? So I’m overwhelmed. What could I do to support myself? What’s hard is that if you don’t already have a plan and a repertoire of lead indicators, then you’ve got a problem solve in the moment. And that’s really hard. But if you know already, what are the things that helped me? You can just go to your list and pick one.

Meg Casebolt 20:53
Yeah, you don’t have to brainstorm in the moment. They’re actually teaching this to my first grader at school. There’s so much social emotional learning going on right now that they’re like, Okay, what zone of regulation? Are you in? If you’re at yellow, how do you get back to green and knowing what works for you. So there are things that I used to prompt him to do, or I’m like, Hey, bud, take some deep breaths. And he would struggle with that. And I realized that when he’s in that state, he needs to move. So I’ll say, but like, go do three laps around the house, and then to chair push ups, because his body is so tight when he’s in those moments. Whereas for me breathing is like, I need to come back into my body. He needs to like explode his body, knowing that those are those different ways that people behave, or react to the same approximate feelings of I’m feeling anxious. I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’m feeling concerned. Our reaction needs to be based on what works to bring ourselves back to, you know, the Green Zone, if we’re talking zones of regulation.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 21:54
Yes, yes. Well, it’s it’s very idiosyncratic. And this is why I teach the three principles of stress resilience, as opposed to saying, as opposed to specific strategies, because only you know, what is soothing to you. Only you know, what is nourishing to your body, mind and soul only, you know, what gives you that emotional release or that physiological release? And only you know, which of those three principles apply at any given moment. And

Meg Casebolt 22:21
that’s why it’s like a unique the general idea of like, just go take a bubble bath, just go get a pedicure.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 22:27
Like if you hate a bubble bath, why would you do that?

Meg Casebolt 22:31
But that’s, you know, like, I don’t like people touching my feet pedicures make me very uncomfortable. So whenever that’s the advice, I’m like, Oh, gross, like that. It gives me more anxiety to take some of that.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 22:44
Yeah, it’s really important to respect your body. And that’s where the the kind of like, what’s the word? Popular understanding that yoga and meditation and deep breathing and bubble baths are good for you? Well, it’s, it just so depends on the person.

Meg Casebolt 23:00
So knowing that there’s going to be tension in our lives, knowing that there are going to be things that come up that don’t feel good. What are some protective mechanisms we can put into place from the beginning of this, and I’m thinking specifically about, you know, all of us that are probably all of us, many of us who are listening to this podcast, we’re running our own businesses. We’re living in this kind of online marketing community. And I started this podcast because I kept hearing people say, like, oh, social media is so draining, it’s so overwhelming, it is one of those actions that we feel obligated to take, but then it can take over and it can kind of steamroll us. So do you have any suggestions, having worked with entrepreneurs who are feeling this marketing overwhelm for how to establish, I don’t want to say rules, maybe boundaries, maybe protective mechanisms, what are some ways that we can prevent ourselves from falling into the downfalls of this and instead build up some of that resilience that we need in order to conquer the tasks?

Shulamit Ber Levtov 24:05
I think critical thinking is really kind of like the precursor to it all. I’ll tie this to my I’ll share a little bit about my own journey around social media and marketing over the past two years. You know, because the predominant advice, you know, is market market market market. And they might say find out where your people are and then market market market where your people are, like, be more strategic in that way. However, I really it was a revelation to me when I learned in the fall that there are two different kinds of marketing I feel silly saying this because it’s so obvious, now that I see it but is that there’s traffic based and there’s relationship based and traffic that social media is traffic based marketing. And so the funnel model, you’ve got to have many, many, many people at the top of your funnel because it works percentage wise all the way down. And so like if 3% or 4% buy from your newsletter, that means you’ve got to have hundreds of 1000s on your newsletter, which means you got to have millions at social media level. And like, in order to be able to have that level, you either yourself have to do more time marketing your business than you do serving your clients, or you have to have it significant funds, and a significant structure to carry that mechanism, that huge mechanism for you. And once I realized, hey, wait a minute, I’m not a traffic, traffic based marketing is not even the right thing for my business. And I understood what relationship based marketing was and started working on that instead. First of all, it’s much more connecting, it’s much more interpersonal. It’s a reciprocal kind of relationship where it’s kind of collaborative and helping one another out. So it’s very connecting. Whereas social media, even though as a mental health therapist, and Anna Anna, and a client of therapy all my life, still, I look at social media and go Well, deep look at them, oh my god, eat, I’m doing terrible eat, I should be doing like keeping the F word. You know, like, comparison, itis just really gets to me, even though I know that it’s not true. There’s a part of me that still runs that script. And so letting go of that entirely and looking at media, social media for me as kind of like a ground cover so that when people encounter me, you know, there is like, if you don’t have a website these days, or if you don’t have social media these days, it can elicit doubt for people. So I have I have social media there, in order to show that yes, my store is open, so to speak, that yes, I’m still alive, that this is not some, something somebody threw up five years ago, and it’s not really active. But the bulk of my work is, as you know, SEO through working with you and doing relationship based marketing. And I find that those reduce the noise. And I think that that’s really, so yeah, first of all critical thinking. And then second of all, reducing the noise, reducing the inputs around that are likely to stimulate my thinking around comparison, and not good enough, really make a big difference to my mental health.

Meg Casebolt 27:24
I can’t tell you what a relief it is to hear that even therapists are dealing with that inner critic and imposter syndrome and all the things but those of us who do not have years of mental health training and working other people through it, like it’s still is triggering in so many ways for you.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 27:40
It’s a human, it’s a human experience. Yeah. And I love that recognition that you made. It’s just so important to say that it’s human. Yeah, it really

Meg Casebolt 27:49
is, you know, all of us are going through it. This isn’t specific to entrepreneurs, this isn’t specific to women, this isn’t specific to just those of us that are feeling insecure today. Every single person on this planet feels that imposter complex, every single person feels the comparison, I guess. And, and social media just amplifies that. Because when you’re in a conversation with somebody, one to one, you’re talking and I just read the stat yesterday, you’re talking about yourself 30% of the time, but when you’re on social media, you’re talking about yourself, typically 80% of the time and so you’re getting these intimate details about what’s happening in people’s lives, or what’s happening in their businesses, because we’re told that that’s how you sell, but really like your oversharing and making other people wonder what’s it compare it against what they have, but you you don’t share everything about your life on social media, you’re creating a very performative front of what you want people to know, but not the whole picture. And that can be dis regulating as you’re going through it, especially if you’re not feeling like you’re in a resilient and safe mindset when you’re going into that if you’re going into it feeling insecure. And then other people are going, Oh, look at this business I created. I got to seven figures in seven days, and you’re like, damn it. I can’t do that. Every one of us feels that man.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 29:07
Yeah. And it’s um, we’re comparing our real life experience warts and all to a very curated, and I’m not like I’m not slamming it, because I do. I think we as professionals and leaders, we are committing ourselves to showing up in a way that is supportive and holding space for others. And like if I’m actively bleeding all over the place, that’s not helpful to anybody. So right, it’s not that I’m performing by not actively bleeding all over the place. It’s having good boundaries, to say, Okay, I have a place to bleed that’s with my therapist. I’m going to barf and bleed, you know, with my therapist, but when I’m holding space for others, I can talk about how I barked and bled with my therapist, but I don’t I’m not actually barfing and bleeding in the moment when I’m, you know,

Meg Casebolt 29:54
after you hammered from it. Once the bleeding has been staunched, then you can talk about how you bled but going through it and like is sharing in the moment how you’re feeling can actually trigger more trauma, right? Like it can be even more difficult for other people to watch, it can take longer for you to process the emotions, who?

Shulamit Ber Levtov 30:13
Yeah, and so I as a barfing, bleeding human, come to social media, and see the careful space holding of others. And I compare my barfing bleeding self to these carefully contained people who are, like, let’s say, in this particular respect further ahead from me. And that’s appropriate for them. But but it just so I compare my beginnings to their ends, and then I tell I talk shit to myself about myself. And that just doesn’t help, right?

Meg Casebolt 30:44
No, absolutely not. And I loved your recognition that like, I work with people one to one, I don’t need to have 100,000 people coming to my website every month to get one client, that would be a terrible conversion rate, it would be easier for me to do relational outreach to ask my existing clients who they know to ask the people that I work with, if they know anybody in this situation, to you know, get onto other people’s podcasts and share what you know, you know, just tapping into who you know, and getting that kind of seal of approval from your existing network, as opposed to feeling like you have to go prove yourself to people who are just stumbling onto your accounts.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 31:28
Yeah. And again, it’s a sense of connectedness, of reciprocal support. That is a an entirely to feel held by people who care for you, not necessarily clients. But in networking in its larger sense of relationship building with other professionals. You I have, in fact, one of the practices that I’ve been working on for the past five, six months, is called a field of care meditation, where we first come into our breath and body, and then call to mind all the individuals we know who care for us who are actively out there seeking our good friends, it could be friends, it could be family, but it could also be the person who referred somebody to you. And calling to mind this sense of like, there is actually a field a great field of care present in this world. I’m getting choked up. Today’s kind of a rough day. Emotionally, I’m feeling kind of like worried because of the invasion in Ukraine, you know, and it’s been difficult because of the, the alt, right and fascistic uprise. That has been happening in Canada recently. So that helps that when I feel scared, then I feel alone, right? So it really helps. And I’m making this wide, open gesture with my arms as I talk about this, because it’s kind of like a heart opening feeling in my body, to call to mind this network of care, this network of people who are holding me in one way or another. And taking time to connect with that and feel that in my body now is the opposite of what happens when I go on social media, right? Where I shut down get small, feel scared, comparing. So this and networking as a strategy for building our business actually opens this field of care, right? And opens us into this sense of like, oh, maybe there’s reciprocity out there for me, oh, maybe there’s something that I can contribute. Maybe there’s someone who cares about me Who can we can hold one another up, and it’s just a completely different experience.

Meg Casebolt 33:42
Yeah, I feel like this is very complementary in a lot of ways to like a loving kindness meditation, where is but instead of feeling like you’re sending positive energy and feeling out into the world, and to those specific people, instead, you’re feeling that complimentary feeling of getting that positive energy coming in from them. And you know, the, the like, yoga teacher woowoo in me is like, yeah, that’s got to feel good, it can fill you up. But then there’s also the marketer in me who’s like, this is a really good exercise to do to get into this space of receiving support before you go and pitch yourself somewhere before you go and do some shoulder tapping out to your network before you are going out and making asks, make sure to get that feeling of being open to receiving from other people and not feeling like you’re a burden on them for asking for help or not feeling like oh, it’s just gonna be another affiliate request that I’m making. But it’s like thinking of this as a reciprocal. And thinking of it as a network of they’re helping me I’m helping them all of us are growing together. I am not alone. I can tap into these relationships. I can feel supported. I can give support and in doing So we are all helping each other to grow more whether that’s you know, me saying to you, do you know anybody who needs more leads for their business? And then using to me do you want anybody who’s struggling with anxiety? Like these don’t always have to be complimentary services that we’re using for these partnerships and referral relationships. But tapping into what are the strengths? Who are these people serving? What are the problems they solve, and when you’re having those relationships and conversations with your colleagues, with your clients, with your team, being able to make those referrals and to feel like those people can help you when they’re making referrals to you. That’s such a powerful visual for me of of all of the people holding you up in your business, in your personal life, in all of the ways that you need support to be willing and open to receiving it’s so powerful.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 35:51
Yes, it is powerful. And it is exactly complimentary to the to the I forget what I’m having brain fart, but once loving kindness, eating, yes, the loving kindness, once we’re full, we can then breathe it out, like we breathe in the care for us and breathe out our care for them. It’s it’s reciprocal, right? It’s not one or the other, the two practices complement each other very powerfully. And when we’re in this space, like woo woo wise, when we’re in the heart space, but neuro physiologically, when we’re in the parasympathetic nervous system response, the rest and digest phase, we then our CEO self, we can access our capacity for creativity, and problem solving. So when we’re in this expansive place, we have we can have all kinds of creative ideas about how we can network what we can offer, how I can mark it, it just it opens so much possibility.

Meg Casebolt 36:46
I love that. I feel like that’s maybe my takeaway from this whole conversation, even though I I’ve learned so much is like having some visualizations and some meditations around, not just who can I tap into for my network, but who is in my network that is supporting me, and creating those relations? Oh, man, I’m getting choked up.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 37:09
It’s powerful to feel it. Yes. Or maybe I just need

Meg Casebolt 37:13
some more coffee. I don’t know it might be. Well, that was so incredibly helpful. Any final thoughts or things that you want to share with this group of people who are trying to market themselves in ways that feel good and sustainable and supported and not necessarily on social unless that’s part of their plans?

Shulamit Ber Levtov 37:34
Well, my big thing, the thing that is transformative for so many of my clients, and so many of the people I talk to, is this idea that there’s nothing wrong with you. That if you’re struggling, if you’re having a hard time, that it’s human, and that it’s in quotation marks normal. And that the fact that it’s difficult, and the fact that you’re struggling does not by implication mean there’s something that matter with you, that what we as entrepreneurs are trying to do is big. Yeah, this is big work. And big work is hard.

Meg Casebolt 38:10
Yeah. And as a population, we are more risk tolerance, and therefore putting ourselves out there more. And as such, to an extent we need to take better care of ourselves, because we are making those big decisions and big choices.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 38:23
Yeah, yeah. And so when you’re having a hard time to be able to say to yourself, wow, of course I’m having a hard time this is big work. Yeah. There’s nothing the matter with me. This is what we all this is this is hard work, because it’s meaningful work.

Meg Casebolt 38:38
And the recognition that some days are going to be better than others. Yeah, some days are going to be easy and some are not. And productivity is not an ever upwards. trajectory. It is some days are going to be super productive. And some days, you’re going to have to step away and that’s okay, too. That’s part of the recovery cycle that we all are going through all

Shulamit Ber Levtov 38:59
the time. Stepping through stepping back is a win.

Meg Casebolt 39:03
Yeah. It’s soothing. Nurturing, what, what were the three, soothe,

Shulamit Ber Levtov 39:07
soothe, nourish and discharge?

Meg Casebolt 39:09
Yes. Okay. Thank you. And how can people find you if they want to get on your email list and learn more about what you do or work with you? What’s the best way for people to connect with you?

Shulamit Ber Levtov 39:19
They can start with my website. Cuz I’m Canadian. We will go Canada.

Meg Casebolt 39:26
I know. I heard your process. They know. La Yeah. All right. Thank you so so much for being here today. I really appreciate it.

Shulamit Ber Levtov 39:35
Thanks, Meg.

Meg Casebolt 39:39
Thank you so much for listening to the social slowdown podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please subscribe or come on over to social and sign up for our email list so you never miss an episode. We’d also love if you could write a review to help other small business owners find the show you can head over to social slowdown comm slash review or grab that link in our show notes for easy access. We’ll be back soon with more tips. tips to help you market your business without being beholden to social media Talk to you then

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mental health as kpi with shulamit berlevtov