Do you know Rachel? She is a Mental Fitness Coach, Professional Co-Active Coach, Positive Intelligence Coach, Mother of Three who lives in Berkeley, California. Rachel worked in restaurant management (loves cooking and eating out), went to graduate school for psychology (always wanted to understand people), dabbled in corporate human resources consulting (paid off the student loans for said degree), flipped properties (supporting hubby), started an interior design business (can’t stop decorating), and ran her own eco-friendly food storage bag company (needed a reusable alternative for Ziplock), and have been a stay at home mom to 3 kids (family). Through working in all these industries and arenas, she came to learn a lot about different life experiences, different personalities and how people get where they are literally and figuratively. As someone who says she isn’t afraid of change and has the changes to back that up, she landed on coaching, which she has a passion for and now helps people get unstuck, find their voice, build their confidence, and live their lives as who they want to be. Sounds great, right? Rachel and I met and worked together for years when she created/made/marketed/sold/educated people about reusable zipper bags that I love and still use to this day! I feel very grateful for our continued connection … and her sharing such “straight-talk” in this interview. Enjoy!
If you’d like to meet Rachel and be in community with her and other good humans, join us in The Wellness Intelligence Collective. Find all of our interviews, including this one, and so much more Wellness Intelligence.
What is a “Positive Intelligence Coach” and did you make that up? (we love the title!)
I didn’t make it up. It means I am certified by Positive Intelligence to facilitate and coach people through the Positive Intelligence program. Positive Intelligence is a book, company and program started by Shirzad Chamine. This is my quick explanation of Positive Intelligence: it is a way to understand our thinking and why we get caught in the same traps over and over again. It gives us a method to recognize our negative patterns, take a moment to pause, and find a positive mindset that comes from a grounded and stronger position to move forward. It’s rewiring your brain to create new habits to replace old ones that don’t serve us anymore. If you are curious you can take the saboteur assessment test.
Are you afraid of change?
Hardly, I’m much more afraid of stagnation. I welcome and like change.
Why did you start a reusable bag company?
When we moved from Berkeley to LA in 2010, I took my then 1st and 2nd graders (and toddler) to their new school to help them navigate the “lunch room.” In Berkeley when you start kindergarten they teach you how to dispose of your lunch – which bin to use for compost, recycling and trash. At the new school I had read it was a “green” school but there was no disposal program. The school didn’t even have recycle bins at the time. The lunch trash cans were filled with trash and LOTS of Ziploc bags. Something seemed amiss. Either people didn’t know what it was to be environmentally conscious, there weren’t any good options of reusable replacement products or people didn’t care. It was probably a bit of all of the above, but I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. So I went online and ordered all the reusable snack and sandwich bags I could find, and they all sucked. Not knowing anything about manufacturing, sewing or product packaging– being completely ignorant, I figured I could do better and that’s where I started.
Which “job” did you stick with longest in life so far, and was it too long?
If you mean a job where one of the intentions is to make money, it was Neat-os. It wasn’t too long, because I started phasing out when I got bored, like I said, I’m afraid of stagnation. If I am continuing to learn and be challenged I’m not bored. As soon as I can see the end of something, I start planning my exit strategy. With Neat-os there was a lot to learn and be challenged by, a result of being an entrepreneur and doing everything by oneself for the first time. It took awhile until there wasn’t anything new to learn that I wanted to learn.
What do you like better, the city or country?
The city. I like architecture, walking and people watching. A day in NYC walking all over town is very energizing for me. There is so much to see and observe. I love hiking too, so…
Does social media help or hinder us?
I can’t speak for anyone else. It hinders me. It distracts me from how I want to spend my time by focusing too much on comparison. What is everyone else doing? Why aren’t I doing that? Should I be doing that? Should I be sharing that? How can I get more followers? Feeling like there is so much more to show doesn’t help me do the work I want to do or connect with people the way I want to connect. I have pretty much eliminated social media from my life. I recognize it means I will be out of touch with certain people, but I have decided it’s a casualty I’m willing to make to save myself from lots of self-doubt and massive time lost time that could be spent feeling productive and connected.
Why do you think so many of us struggle with self-promotion? Do you?
Our inner critic comes out and we have so many judgments about people who promote themselves and what their intentions are. We make assumptions all over the place, not taking things at face value. We assume everyone will make those same judgements about us.
I struggle with self-promotion and even hosted a conversation about the topic. What’s hard for me are those deep lessons from parents and grandparents, many of which weren’t actively voiced but were modeled. Voices that say things like, don’t take up too much space, don’t call too much attention to yourself, don’t brag, who are you to think…etc. etc.
Since then, I have learned to separate the idea of being in service to other people and promoting myself. There is a fine line, but if I am telling people about something that could potentially be beneficial to them, I’m not self-promoting, I’m being in service. When I had Neat-os, of course I wanted people to buy Neat-os, but I also wanted people to know there were alternatives to Ziploc they could use.
Would you say that you are an activist?
I don’t think of myself as an activist. I am someone who lives strongly aligned with their values. It guides my own decisions. I don’t tell other people what to decide, but I’m certainly not afraid to take a stand and speak out for what I believe in.
Does movement or stillness fuel you more?
I need a balance of both. I am attracted to movement, love dancing and walking places. Getting out of my head and into my body is a great reset when I am feeling anxious or worried. I also do my best thinking when I am still. When I am still or relatively still, like driving, I create theories that help make sense of the world around me which is one of my favorite things to do.
Do you mother or life coach your kids? What’s the difference?
Mostly, I mother. Occasionally, I coach but I ask them if that’s okay first and only when I think it’s appropriate. The difference is internal, I know when I’m coaching I become laser focused on what the other person is saying. Different questions come up when I’m coaching. When I’m talking to my kids, I have learned to stop consulting, aka problem solving, and learned to just be there for them in whatever form they need which is usually for comfort, compassion, empathy, cheerleading and occasionally some pushing.
Does what you learned as a restaurant manager help you feed your family now?
Not really since I wasn’t a cook and the home model is very different, at least in my house. And as I like to tell my kids, “This isn’t a restaurant where you get to order what you want and have someone else clean-up after you.” Hosting a large dinner party is where the restaurant skills have been helpful.
Favourite family meal?
There are only a handful of things my whole family will eat so I’d have to go with one of those which usually involves pasta (both gluten full and gluten free for those in the family sensitive to it) and a yummy salad. The most often requested is basic; it’s spaghetti and meatballs with a tomato sauce, Caesar salad and garlic bread.
Do you have a good luck charm?
What does Wellness Intelligence mean to you?
To me it means knowing what makes you feel well. I had a coach who was all about vitality. All her clients had to come up with their vitality equation, what makes them feel vital. For example it could be to do yoga three times a week + get an average of 8 hours of sleep a night + go on a date with my husband every week + get out of the house everyday + keep in regular touch with old friends = my vitality. Wellness Intelligence is knowing all the parts of your vitality equation, what makes you feel well.