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Intro: Welcome to Becoming a Sleep Consultant! I’m your host Jayne Havens, a certified sleep consultant and founder of both Snooze Fest by Jayne Havens and Center for Pediatric Sleep Management. On this podcast, I’ll be discussing the business side of sleep consulting. You’ll have an insider’s view on launching, growing, and even scaling a sleep consulting business. This is not a podcast about sleep training. This is a podcast about business building and entrepreneurship.
Jayne Havens: Sindy Warren is a Stanford Law School lawyer turned life coach and business coach. She’s been a side hustler for as long as she can remember – as a yoga teacher, published author, and now having turned two of her side hustles into successful businesses. She’s done this while raising a family and having plenty of time for life outside of work.
As a coach, Sindy works with people one on one and also in her group coaching program, Side Gig School. She’s passionate about helping women start and grow their own service-based side hustles so they too can experience the freedom that comes from being their own boss. Cindy, welcome to the show. I’m so thrilled to be chatting with you today.
Sindy Warren: Thank you, Jayne. I’m so happy to be here.
Jayne Havens: Before we get started, tell us a little bit about you. I think most of our listeners probably don’t know who you are, because you and I only met fairly recently. So take a few minutes, and tell us your story and what you do. Tell us what you do.
Sindy Warren: Awesome. As you mentioned, I’m a life and business coach. I’ve been doing this work for only about three years. My background is, I’m a lawyer. I went to law school in the mid 90s, so a very long time ago. I practice law for about a decade. Then I started my own HR consulting business when my daughter, who’s now 19, was a baby. I did that for a long time. Also, yoga has been a passion and a side gig for the last couple of decades. I live outside of Cleveland, Ohio with my husband and our daughter, when she’s not away at school, and our two dogs.
Jayne Havens: Awesome. Why did you get into like side hustling or side gigging as you like to say?
Sindy Warren: I’ll just sort of explain. I usually use the term side gig because I am all about combating hustle culture. Not that it’s not a lot of work to grow a business; of course, it is. But I really think it can be done without the hustle and burnout factor. So I’ve kind of always had a side gig. When I stopped to reflect on what’s something I really know how to do that I would love to teach other people how to do, other than practicing yoga, it’s starting and growing side hustles. I think it’s so fun to just have different passions at different stages of life. When I think back to when I was in college in law school, my side gig was teaching step aerobics. There’s always been something on the side I’m doing, and I love it. It’s freedom. It’s financial resources, and it’s a pursuit of passion. It’s just something I’ve always done. I don’t think I even realized it till I really sat down and asked myself, what’s something I really know how to do?
Jayne Havens: I love that. My business started as a side hustle when I first start it. I still consider it to be a side hustle even though it’s a very real, legitimate, big business at this point. I still consider it to be a side hustle or a side gig because I don’t work full time. I have the flexibility and the freedom to work when I want, and play when I want, and travel when I want, and do all the things. So I really appreciate your perspective. I love that you’re coaching others to get their side gigs off the ground. It’s amazing.
Sindy Warren: Thank you. It’s so much fun.
Jayne Havens: When I invited you to come on this podcast, you and I connected offline and had great conversations. I loved everything that you’re doing, and I was trying to figure out like, what are we going to talk about on this podcast? What am I going to bring you on to share with my audience? I was bingeing your podcast when trying to figure this out. One of the topics that I came across that I absolutely loved was this idea of “discomfort tolerance.” What is discomfort tolerance? Break that down for us, and let’s talk it out.
Sindy Warren: Discomfort tolerance, in a nutshell, is getting more and more comfortable and less afraid of the discomfort and growing pains that arise on the entrepreneurial journey. They arise everywhere in life, like life is made up of good and bad. There’s winter and summer. Everywhere in nature and all around us, there are complimentary opposites. And the latest science on what we do with emotional opposites is just so fascinating to me. So many of us are raised to just try and live in comfort. I don’t think we should shame or blame ourselves for that because I think we are, from an evolutionary standpoint, wired for comfort. The more comfortable you were, back in our cave men and women ancestry days, the better chance you had of survival. So understanding that here we are, modern-day people looking for comfort. Discomfort is inevitably part of life and for sure—which I’m sure you and I will talk about more today, Jayne—part of business. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is really the idea behind the phrase “discomfort tolerance.” If you can’t tolerate uncomfortable emotions, you are going to get stuck in your business journey very quickly and very often.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, that’s exactly right. When I was listening to your podcast, one thing you said—I wrote it down because I didn’t want to forget to talk about this. You said, when we buffer our negative feelings, we blunt our positive feelings as well. Explain that. Because I just felt that was so awesome.
Sindy Warren: It’s awesome and also kind of scary for those of us that are like, “Wait, I don’t want to feel the negative emotions,” which, again, is all of us. I think we all have different ways of buffering or numbing or avoiding things that feel hard. For me, as sort of like a recovering perfectionist, Type A, go, go, go productivity junkie, I noticed I’m using busyness to avoid certain feelings—fear of failure, fear of rejection, feeling like I don’t know what to do next to grow my business. So I’m running around like a chicken with my head cut off, not being very effective. The science is that when we buffer negative emotions—whether it’s with Netflix, or food, or wine, or busyness, or whatever—we necessarily hinder our ability to fully feel positive emotions as well. That’s really research brought to us by Brené Brown in the last 10 years or so. So if you aren’t willing to sit and feel fear and terror, you are less capable of feeling elation and joy.
Jayne Havens: That is wild, and it’s definitely true. I experienced that. When you were talking about how sometimes you are avoiding tasks by running around, keeping busy, I really identified with that. I think, actually, a lot of the women in my sleep consultant certification program have expressed that they do that as well. Sometimes it feels better to be busy even if that’s not leading to productivity, because you are—what is it? It’s almost like you’re buffering the guilt around, not doing what you need to do to get it done. Getting it done is scary. Doing whatever you actually need to do to take a step forward feels harder than just keeping busy.
Sindy Warren: I think busyness can almost be like full productivity. Like, you’re checking things off a to-do list so you get to let yourself feel good about that. But really, you’re not moving the ball forward.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I get that. I live that a lot. So let’s go through some of the sources of discomfort for sleep consultants, if we’re talking about discomfort and how to tackle that. I sort of made a shortlist that either things that make me uncomfortable or I know those in my program or those in my field definitely these are sources of discomfort. One thing that came to my mind is a lot of the times we, as a sleep consultant, we don’t feel like we have all the answers. A family comes to us and their child is waking up at 5 AM, let’s say. They are expecting us to have the answer to why that is happening and how to fix it. Sometimes it seems obvious and other times it’s just not. How are we supposed to manage that discomfort when you feel like you don’t have all of the answers?
Sindy Warren: It is such a great question. I think that comes up for everyone who’s ever owned or started a side gig or any other kind of business as well. I can be coaching someone, and they’d bring something up. I’m like, “I don’t know how to help.” It’s that feeling in the moment, which, like you said, feels very uncomfortable. I think a really good way to tackle that is to bring curiosity to the discomfort and to whatever the client is expressing, and just see if you can get creative. Because when we let the discomfort of “uh-oh, I don’t know what to do or what to say or how to help” take over our brains, the learning centers of our brains actually shut down which makes us less able to think creatively and problem solve and analytically, et cetera. So I think it really is a matter of managing our minds to like, okay, acknowledge the discomfort and then move on. Get curious. What are some ideas I can brainstorm? I also think it can be really helpful for people in your field to have something like a canned phrase in their back pocket, just a little preparation to pull out of. “I’m going to look into this and get back to you in the next 24 hours.” It’s okay if you don’t have every answer to every question all the time. You need to get comfortable with articulating that and knowing how to troubleshoot it.
Jayne Havens: I love that you brought up asking more questions. Because I think that that is a brilliant way to handle the situation when you don’t feel like you have the answer instead of just shutting down and retreating and feeling like, “Oh, I can’t do this. I don’t know. I don’t want to do this anymore.” Getting more information—information is power, right? So when we have more information and we keep ourselves from shutting down, then we’re in the position, as you said, to get creative, think on our toes, and really see if we can figure this out. Because sometimes we can’t figure it out. We’re just nervous that we can’t. You think you don’t have the answer. Maybe you do have an answer. You’re just doubting yourself, and you’re just nervous and insecure that the advice you’re going to give is not the golden advice that they’re looking for.
Sindy Warren: Yeah, so turn your discomfort into curiosity. Just ask questions. I love that.
Jayne Havens: What about when prospective clients ghost you, or maybe they don’t even ghost you but they just say no? I know that this is really hard for people. This is a major source of discomfort—when people just hear no. Rejection is really uncomfortable.
Sindy Warren: Yeah, it is.
Jayne Havens: What do you say to your clients about that?
Sindy Warren: I love this question so much because, again, it arises for all of us. Rejection is part of the human experience, not one that feels good. For entrepreneurs, it is inevitable. So I’ll tell you something that one of my very first coaches said to me, that is just this beautiful phrase, I think, of all the time I shared with my clients. Yes lives in the land of No. So go get a lot of noes. Noes are not a problem. If you want to be a sleep consultant, you probably don’t have time to serve all the people. So when you’re collecting noes, you’re just getting closer to the person that you are going to be able to help.
Jayne Havens: That is really beautiful. I love that. I am going to put that in my back pocket and keep that for myself. I was actually just talking to a friend, a fellow entrepreneur, she’s just getting her business up and running. She’s not a sleep consultant. She’s doing some health and nutrition coaching. She’s, literally, just getting started. She sent me a message the other day all down in the dumps. Because she had a great call with somebody and she thought it went—it was a slam dunk. The woman was just going to talk to her husband and get back to her and sign on. Then it was ghosting from there. It was a great call that just went to zero. After a few follow ups, my friend found out that this person decided to hire another coach because they were less expensive and more local to her. Those were the two reasons. My friend was so down in the dumps about it. She was so like, sort of she was destroyed. I had to sort of coach her off that ledge and to remind her that everybody hears a no. The difference between entrepreneurs that make it and the entrepreneurs that don’t—the ones that make it take the noes and move on and go and find a yes, and the ones that don’t get destroyed by the no. That’s the end of the game. Also, I encouraged her to realize that there’s a learning opportunity in the no. What could she have done differently on that call? How could she have positioned her offer in a better light so that this prospective client would understand why she shouldn’t just be compared to other coaches. Like, we’re not comparing apples to apples here. How could she have tailored her pitch, for lack of a better way of saying it, to really separate herself from her competitors? So we sort of dug deep into that. I know it’s easier said than done. It’s hard to hear that no.
Sindy Warren: I think you just hit two pieces of it perfectly. One is really understanding. This is 100% what I see in the Side Gig world. What separates the people who succeed from those who don’t is whether they give up on themselves too quickly—that’s really it—and the learning opportunity, which again, brings in that powerful emotion we just identified of curiosity. What can she do better? Because I think entrepreneurship, even when you’ve got the plan, the path laid in front of you by a business coach or someone who’s done your business or whatever it is, it is full of trial and error. That’s inevitable. So we’ve got to be, as entrepreneurs or wannabe entrepreneurs, resilient so that we can learn and grow as we get the noes. Because that’s always going to be part of the deal.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, absolutely. What about just putting yourself out there? This is actually before you get the no. Let’s backtrack a little bit. Before you get the no, you actually have to put yourself out there and tell people what you have to offer. It can be really uncomfortable for people who are not used to doing that, right?
Sindy Warren: It can. I think the emotional discomfort we’re talking about with respect to both putting yourself out there and dealing with the noes or the ghosting or whatever is happening, is really the same. It’s fear. It’s fear of failure, fear of rejection. As social beings, we’re wired for that to really feel pretty bad. Pretty bad, badly. So it does. I think the mental shifting we have to do is like putting yourself out there. You might spend all this time on a beautiful social media post, and one person likes it. Okay, what are you going to do with that? Are you going to make it mean, it’s time to give up and go home? Some people do. Those are not the people who succeed. Are you just going to make it mean, “I’m just getting started. This is not a problem. I’m figuring it out?” I also really think it can be so helpful for people who are just starting out to orient and reorient back to, what’s their why? Why are they even trying to do the thing they’re trying to do, launching a sleep consulting business or any other kind of side gig? When we can come back and tap into our vision, or our dreams, or our hopes, or our desires, that can be a really powerful way to provide a little bit of insulation against the discomfort that is coming our way no matter what.
Jayne Havens: You sort of hit my next question perfectly. That’s exactly what I was going to ask you. What does it take from a mental perspective to get over this discomfort? You’re saying that it is mindset work. Really, I love that you say getting back to your why. That’s something that I talk about a lot inside of my program. We talk about it on the podcast, that you really have to get back to like, why did you want to do this in the first place? Usually, it’s not to make X amount of dollars. Usually, it’s to have something that you’re passionate about, or it’s something that lights you up. It’s usually something bigger than whatever the income is. I think that when you attach your drive to your why, that’s when you really like—you don’t feel defeated, because you’re working towards something that’s sort of bigger than any sort of metric that you could put on paper.
Sindy Warren: Exactly. So I think that is probably like one of my most favorite mindset hacks. It’s like go back to your why. If you didn’t know what it was, let’s spend a little time there and like really flesh it out. I love even having my clients—and I do this for myself—put it in writing. But I think so much, like if we’re talking about discomfort tolerance, there are really two ways to navigate it. Both of them are in the realm of mindset work. So one is learning how to sit with our feelings, which takes us back to don’t buffer your feelings, don’t avoid, or numb, or blunt. Because if you do, uh-oh, you’ve also accidentally, inadvertently, numbed, blunted the really positive emotions that we all want to experience. So that’s one piece, which I’m happy that I just talk through how do you actually do that, like sit with a negative feeling. Then the other is almost like what I think of as a brain hack of how can I reframe this in my mind so that it’s not a problem, or that if it is a problem, it’s a problem I cannot let stop me in my tracks.
Jayne Havens: I love that. I feel like if you’re going to do that, though, you have to do it every single day.
Sindy Warren: Oh, yeah. I think of mindset work as like exercise. Maybe you take a day off here or there, but you’re not going to like get really fit without being consistent.
Jayne Havens: I’m thinking about this. I’m sort of like relating it back to my own brain. This is work that you have to do day in and day out, all day long. All day long, right?
Sindy Warren: Yeah.
Jayne Havens: Every single time you hear that no, or you’re trying to get something set up from a tech perspective and you can’t figure it out, or it could be any number of things that could totally stop you in your tracks. That tiny little thing that happens could be what ends your efforts. It could set you over the edge.
Sindy Warren: Totally, and especially the cumulative effect of many little things if you’re not taking the pause. It doesn’t have to be a long time but intentional with managing your mind.
Jayne Havens: I can think of so many little things over the years in my business, that if this tiny little thing had been successful in stopping me in my tracks, like that would have been the end. Something as simple as like getting a website up, let’s just use that example. A lot of people feel overwhelmed with the idea of creating a website, because they’re not tech-savvy themselves. They are nervous to invest money in their business. They don’t want to hire someone to create a website because they haven’t made any money yet, or maybe they’re not in the position to pay somebody because of their financial circumstances, whatever it is. That is just a roadblock that literally could stop you before you’re even started. It doesn’t have to.
Sindy Warren: Exactly.
Jayne Havens: Because you don’t need a website to have a successful business, or you can be resourceful and learn how to make a website so that you can have your successful business. But in the mind of a brand-new entrepreneur—I’m just using that as an example—it’s something that I think stops people before they even get started.
Sindy Warren: And then that’s a great example and one I see all the time. I think all things are true. You can just go out and tell people, “I’m a sleep consultant now. I can help you. Who do you know who I can help?” There doesn’t need to be a website or any tech to get started. And if it’s something you really want to do, there are so many resources available online to DIY it.
Jayne Havens: Absolutely. But a lot of people can’t get there, and then they’re done before they even start it.
Sindy Warren: It makes me sad.
Jayne Havens: Totally. I used to get it all the time. That happens at every step along the way. I can think of 45 more things that could just be the nail in the coffin if you let it. But you have to push through, either by saying, “I don’t need that. I’m going to work around without it. I’m going to figure out another way to succeed,” or you need to be resourceful and figure out how to make it happen for yourself.
Sindy Warren: Exactly. That’s why I think it’s so important that we’re even talking about this idea of discomfort tolerance. You’ve got to be able to acknowledge it, sit with it, move through it, because it is going to be there at every stage and size of the business journey. It’s just inevitable.
Jayne Havens: Yeah. What else? What else needs to happen in our brains so that we can get over this discomfort?
Sindy Warren: So the first thing I would say is, we need to learn how to actually allow our negative emotions. I don’t think, Jayne, this is something like I know I wasn’t any way. I wasn’t taught how to do this. I’m a middle-aged woman learning how to do it in my 40s. I’m now 50. All it really means is like sitting and noticing, observing, like witnessing what’s happening in your body as you’re feeling the thing that feels bad. The irony of this work—and it doesn’t need to take a long time—is that the more practice we get feeling negative emotions, the less negative they feel. It’s like, oh, there’s fear again. Okay. We know what that is, and we know it doesn’t kill us. So let’s just sit with it for 30 seconds, 60 seconds, whatever. So I think that’s a skill we can work on developing in really small time increments.
Then the other piece of managing your mind is really exploring the thoughts that are creating the negative emotions, and then questioning them and reframing them. So for example, if we post something on social media and nobody likes it, it’s really up to us what we’re going to make that mean. It can mean, “I’m a failure already. I should quit now.” Then that’s what we’ll go out and do. Or we can think, “No. I know my why. This is important. This matters to me. I’m not giving up. I’m going to keep going. I’ll figure it out.” Those are really just I think of like thought reframes. Really easy. We can all look at a negative thought and think, how can I turn it around? It’s so easy for us to do for other people, namely our children. We sort of need to turn around and like mom our own brains, I think, sometimes.
Jayne Havens: Yeah, I think that’s exactly right. I’m feeling the need to say it again, that this is something that you have to do every day, all day long. I just keep thinking, as you’re saying these things, that this has to be a constant effort on your mind when you are a brand-new entrepreneur or even when you’re a seasoned entrepreneur. I mean, I still work on this stuff.
Sindy Warren: Yeah. Me, too.
Jayne Havens: Everybody thinks that business is easy for me. Everybody thinks that, oh, I just have it down and it just works for me. But every single day in my business, I am coming up against new challenges—either that are presented to me or I’m challenging myself in new ways. All of that always feels hard. It never ever gets easier, I think. When you’re really committed to growth and constantly challenging yourself, it’s not like a cakewalk by any means.
Sindy Warren: Yeah. And it’s sort of like, remember that saying, “Little kid, little problem; big kid, big problem?”
Jayne Havens: Yes.
Sindy Warren: It’s the same with our businesses. There’s always going to be a challenge. There just always is. But what I love about doing this kind of mindset work that we’re talking about in the entrepreneurial journey, 100% will translate into your personal life so you will show up differently. You will be growing your own personal resilience and ability to deal with negative emotions and feel more positive emotions and navigate just the human experience more.
Jayne Havens: Just like problem solving, right?
Sindy Warren: Yeah, totally.
Jayne Havens: I feel like it helps with problem solving. I see that in my day-to-day. I’m not as paralyzed by decisions and problems, “problems in my life,” because I feel like I have the tools to navigate them and tackle them as they come.
Sindy Warren: And you have them because you practiced having them, like you said, daily. I do think for some people listening, they might be like, “Yeah, but this comes easier to you.” Now might it be true that this work comes easier to you than some others? Sure. Just like it might be true that for someone, it’s easier to run a mile than for someone else. But we can all train. We can all train our minds.
Jayne Havens: Right. I love that. Before we wrap up, I wanted to share a quote that’s just sort of ringing in my mind. I cannot say it out loud. It feels so relevant in this moment. One of my favorite quotes that I share all the time is that, “You can’t be committed to both your dreams and your comfort zone.” I think that that is exactly what we’re talking about today. You can either be comfortable or you can go after your dreams, but you kind of can’t do both at the same time.
Sindy Warren: Exactly. I love that quote so much. That’s why we have all got to sort of practice our discomfort tolerance.
Jayne Havens: Yeah. So before we wrap up, tell everybody where they can find you.
Jayne Havens: Tell us about your program. You have a program launching in September. Is that right? Tell us about it.
Sindy Warren: I do. It’s another round of my group coaching program called Side Gig School. It is a 12-week group coaching program where we teach you and coach you on all the things you need to know to get your side gig up and running and growing.
Jayne Havens: Perfect. For people who are interested in Side Gig School, are people coming to you with an already fleshed out idea and they just need help, sort of bringing it to fruition? Do some people come to you and they don’t even have their idea for a side gig yet? What does that look like?
Sindy Warren: Yeah, it’s really interesting. I would say it’s, mostly, people with some kind of idea. Many of whom are like, “Is this even a business?” Like, “I don’t even know if this could be a thing.” Then I do, every round, get a few people interested who are like, “I want to do something but I don’t know what.” So we help them figure it out before we get started.
Jayne Havens: Okay. Perfect. Awesome. Well, I hope everybody will go look you up and connect with you on social media. Thank you so much for joining the podcast today. It was great chatting with you, and we will keep in touch. I always love chatting with you.
Sindy Warren: Likewise, Jayne. Thanks.
Outro: Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the Becoming a Sleep Consultant Podcast. If you enjoyed today’s episode, it would mean so much to me if you would rate, review, and subscribe. When you rate, review, and subscribe, this helps the podcast reach a greater audience. I am so grateful for your support. If you would like to learn more about how you can become a certified sleep consultant, head over to my Facebook Group, Becoming a Sleep Consultant or to my website thecpsm.com. Thanks so much, and I hope you will tune in for the next episode.