In this empowering episode of the Living Richly Podcast, hosts Eric and Rob sit down with inspiring teen mom turned CEO Anastasia Valentine. Anastasia shares her extraordinary journey, overcoming life’s toughest challenges, breaking the glass ceiling and achieving success and significance. Tune in to uncover the priceless lessons she learned along the way, her personal and professional growth secrets, and how you can apply them to live your best life. Don’t miss this riveting conversation about resilience, determination, and thriving in the midst of challenging circumstances.
Key Concepts from Episode 29 – Defying the Odds – From Teen Mom to CEO Featuring Anastasia Valentine
In this episode of the Living Richly podcast, hosts Rob and Eric interview Anastasia Valentine, a highly accomplished and award-winning technology leader, about her journey to success and the importance of self-care, believing in oneself and reflecting on priorities. The conversation touches on a range of topics, from staying active during COVID to overcoming fear and self-doubt.
The episode begins with Rob recounting a personal story about meeting his neighbour while dressed up in 80s workout gear on a Saturday night. He highlights the importance of timing when it comes to making connections and emphasizes the role of hobbies in connecting with people. Anastasia agrees, adding that finding ways to clear the head, whether through walking, yoga, music, or dancing, is crucial for self-care.
Anastasia also stresses the importance of being kind to yourself and avoiding negative self-talk. She shares a personal experience of feeling hurt by negative comments about her successful agency but advises using moments of hurt or challenge as an opportunity for reflection and growth.
Anastasia then turns to the challenges of overcoming fear and self-doubt, particularly in a male-dominated industry. Anastasia recounts her early experiences in tech support and selling software upgrades, where she faced challenges and doubts as a woman in the industry. She encourages listeners to analyze their fears and determine whether they are productive motivators or protective barriers.
Ultimately, Anastasia emphasizes the importance of doing what matters most. True success is about more than just achieving superficial goals like awards and bonuses; it’s about pursuing meaningful work that aligns with your values and priorities.
Throughout the episode, Anastasia provides a wealth of practical advice and tips for listeners looking to make positive changes in their lives, from taking regular breaks to avoid burnout to surrounding themselves with supportive, like-minded people.
In addition to offering coaching sessions and promoting their guest’s social media, the Living Richly podcast offers valuable insights and inspiration for anyone looking to prioritize self-care, believe in oneself, and pursue meaningful work. The conversation is a reminder that success is not just about achieving material trappings or accolades but about cultivating a mindset that reflects one’s values and priorities.
Episode 29 Transcript
Defying the Odds – From Teen Mom to CEO Featuring Anastasia Valentine
Eric Deschamps [00:00:01]:
Get ready to be inspired today by an amazing story of a teenage mom turned CEO. That’s up next on today’s show.
Rob Dale [00:00:15]:
Hi there and welcome to the Living Richly podcast. My name is Rob Dale and I’m here with my great friend, Eric Deschamps and man, we’re excited today. Really excited today. We have a guest with us again today and I know we’ve had a couple of guests. We’re doing a bit of a theme over the summer. Many of our shows are going to be with different guests. Like a summer guest series. A summer guest series. We’re going to have some individuals who we’ve known for some time and for others like Kelly Flanagan who was on the show a few weeks ago that is really the first time we got a chance to meet him, but others that have been listening to the show and those that have influenced us, and we’re really excited about that. And today, as Eric mentioned in the teaser at the beginning, is that we have somebody who has an incredible story and a journey really from teenage mom to a CEO and really going to be looking forward to hearing from her. Anastasia Valentine is a highly accomplished and award-winning technology leader recognized across the nation and in her industry for the expertise that she brings. Right now, she is doing a lot of work with founders and business leaders, helping them grow and scale their business. I mean, she’s doing all kinds of amazing things, but probably at the top of the list, she has the coolest name. Coolest name ever. Like, can we just say that? Of any guest we will ever have. No 1 can beat that, Anastasia Valentine, like seriously. Like if I was writing a movie script for an action movie with a female lead, It would be Anastasia Valentine kicks ass.
Anastasia Valentine [00:01:51]:
I would totally sign up for that action movie. Every day, all the time. It would be like the story of my life.
Rob Dale [00:01:58]:
I think that would be absolutely incredible. It would be amazing. So good to have you with us. Thank you so much for taking the time to be a part of our show today and welcome to this side of the EarPods.
Eric Deschamps [00:02:12]:
Anastasia Valentine [00:02:14]:
Yeah, thank you guys. It’s great to be here.
Rob Dale [00:02:16]:
So maybe let’s start out with just talking a little bit of your story and the journey. I mean, we’ve known you now for a number of years. We had the honour of working with you during COVID. We initiated an event or an activity, a movement, I’m not sure what the word would be. Supporting leaders in crisis. Supporting leaders in crisis that we were bringing together different business leaders from all kinds of different industries. And Anastasia, you were part of that with us and certainly brought a lot of leadership to that. So we’ve known you for a bunch of years, but haven’t really ever spent time hearing your story. So maybe let’s start out with, tell us a little bit about who Anastasia
Anastasia Valentine [00:02:58]:
Valentine is. Oh gosh, like where do we start? You know, I lived in Ottawa, born and raised. So I’ve been here all my life, but I’ve really had, you know, some the luxury of having some amazing, you know, circles of friends and peers such as yourselves, and especially my career, you know, with the tech industry here in Ottawa, that really kind of took my life by storm and traveled the world. And in that kind of journey, I proved everybody wrong, which was the best thing I ever could have done. Nice.
Eric Deschamps [00:03:30]:
Anastasia Valentine [00:03:31]:
So starting out, you know, as a young person, a teenager, you know, I came from a very middle-class family, nothing fancy. We’re very religious family. We went to church like more than once a week. We’re not just the holiday people. We went to church all the time.
Eric Deschamps [00:03:50]:
I did not know that about you. I had no idea.
Anastasia Valentine [00:03:53]:
Yeah. Well, you know, and I wouldn’t say that I’m very religious. I’m very, very spiritual. I just believe that people should be good. And if we are, then it’ll all work out. Yeah. So great. But you know, with, with religion comes a lot of expectations and you know, do you have, um, expectations that you are going to be, you know, adhere to the rules. And I was kind of, you know, I wouldn’t say I was prominent in the church, but my father was on parish council. You know, I was the first female altar server at the church. And my world was really that bubble. That’s what it was. That was my community. And everything’s going great, I think, in all situations until it goes wrong. And, you know, that was my kind of, oh, shit moment when, you know, I think a lot of women had this experience where you look at that test and you’re like, oh, well then. And that’s kind of where my journey, my life’s journey began.
Eric Deschamps [00:04:56]:
Wow. And what would you say were your most powerful? I mean, again, I had no idea that we shared this in common with you in terms of the religious background, because of course we’ve talked about that a lot on the show. But what would you say when you talk about the oh shit moment, what were the most significant revelations or aha moments that led to you perhaps making some different choices than you had been making?
Anastasia Valentine [00:05:21]:
Yeah, I think my biggest worry was how am I going to tell my dad? And what about our community? What’s going to happen? And you know, that was my my biggest, my biggest fear. And there’s there’s good parts and there’s bad parts. So the part that I’m worried about most my dad, I mean, every girl wants to kind of please her parents. And my dad was kind of my idol and my rock right so I couldn’t tell him my mom actually told him and then I was waiting for things to slam I was waiting for him to go peeling out of the driveway after that boy, I was waiting for all those things. And what I got was a very gentle knock on my door. And he asked if he could come. And he looked at me held my hands and said, everything’s going to be okay. And I had expected the worst. And then from that moment on, I knew it was going to be okay. Like, you know, when you had that feeling in your gut, it’s gonna be fine. It’s just going to be okay.
Eric Deschamps [00:06:32]:
What an incredible I mean, to think of so many folks, we talked about, you know, you can leave home but home never really leaves you and we carry I think into our adult lives a mixed bag of good, bad and ugly you know from our childhood experiences, our first formation, to have your father in that moment offer love, support, understanding. Wow. Just powerful, powerful, powerful. And from there, how does the story progress?
Anastasia Valentine [00:07:04]:
Well, it doesn’t stay that it’s going to be okay. So, I mean, obviously my community was very much against that. I mean, that’s not what you do as a young lady and certainly not as a young lady in the church. So I kind of lost all of that. Friends, all friends, I lost community. I felt very much alone, which is something that I think everybody feels at different times in your life. Even as a leader, you sometimes feel very alone. And I remember those feelings, you know, as I progressed in my career, that this is just 1 of those times that you’ve got to see yourself through or seek out support. So at that moment, you know, and during the course, you know, of my pregnancy, I sought the support of my family because they’re the ones that were there for me. And despite, you know, what the community may have thought, I mean, they’re obviously under judgment as well, like, oh, my goodness, really? And it was hurtful. I’ve got to say, like, it was hurtful to kind of have this bubble and then not have this bubble. But anyways, it was really up to me to create my own, my new bubble. And again, that started with family, surrounding myself with people that believed in me, seeking help when you know, it’s you’ve got to, you can’t do this alone. And really being able to believe in yourself when no 1 else does. And I think that’s the thing that has actually carried me through everything. And, you know, we’re young, we’re taught that you start off at this end of the trajectory at the bottom left-hand corner, and your goal is to go straight up to the right hand and no 1 tells you that that’s bullshit because there are ups and downs and roundabouts and back tracks and front tracks and there’s love and there’s loss and there’s grief and there’s All of these things that that I think we just we need to be real with You know all the children that we’re raising now is that, you know what, be prepared for this. And it’s okay if that happens. Everything from that trajectory that you’re, you’re, you’re told to follow academically from a relations standpoint, career-wise, everything. It’s okay if it’s a little kind of curvy.
Rob Dale [00:09:26]:
You’re right, it is. And I love, as I was listening to you sharing that piece, what I heard over and over again was you taking control, that you making the decision. 1 of the things that we often will say, leadership is about taking charge of your life, leading your life, right? We talk drifting or deciding your way into whatever and living richly, that’s what living richly is. Living richly is making the choice that I am going to be in control, that I am going to be the 1 who decides what comes next, how I respond, how I react. And I heard you talk about, I decided to seek help. I decided to do this. I decided to believe in myself. This notion of really kind of owning every step along this way, no matter how curvy or uncertain the path is. Yeah, absolutely. And this whole notion of
Eric Deschamps [00:10:25]:
choosing to believe in yourself, I mean, that is not the norm. A lot of folks already possess so much self-doubt, right? So much self-criticism. And here you are, you’re your teenage mom, your faith community has pretty much abandoned you or rejected you, whatever term best fits there, and you choose to find support where you need it. And out of that comes I’m believing in myself. I’ve got to hear more about that. And I know our listeners are probably going, please tell us how you got there.
Anastasia Valentine [00:11:01]:
Oh, wow. So like, I think the biggest thing for me was, and I say this a lot, is we’re always have this fear of failure. But at that during that part of the early years, and certainly into my career, fear actually was not even on my radar or failure wasn’t on my radar. It was just like, I’m doing this. It’s just not up for debate. It’s happening. You know, I’m putting myself through school, you know, I am going to get a job. And my exciting news was that I was going to be a legal secretary. And everyone laughs at me now thinking about that. And I remember interviewing for that that role in a couple of firms. This was a long time ago. Let’s not date myself. But it was a long time ago. We’re not going to date any of ourselves here on this show. Yeah. Sounds fabulous. But I was asked, you know, you know, can you pick up my dry cleaning? Can you, you know, get my coffee? And I realized, no, that’s not the role. I do that all day when I deal with my child, my son, you know, I take care of him. I don’t need to take care of a grown ass man. So.
Rob Dale [00:12:11]:
And every legal secretary or admin assistant is thinking right now, you just nailed my role. I take care of a giant, of a grown up man who’s a really a child.
Anastasia Valentine [00:12:25]:
I’m hoping that the roles have evolved. I’m really, really hoping. Let’s go with that. Let’s go with that. Let’s go with that. Um, and then, you know, I started in in very kind of humble, humble part of the the tech industry. And I had I went into the tech industry by accident. It was just happened to be That’s where I got my first job. I actually graduated community college at the age of 18, which is weird, and I know that. But that was kind of my first thing, it’s like, yeah, I can do this. This is my first hurdle. Now I’ve got to get a job. And then I was selling upgrades for some software for about 2 years and did some tech support. Tech support, the most thankless job that will give you the thickest skin on the planet. Right. Did that And that just got me in the industry. And from there, just evolved. But at each stage, there were definitely challenging parts, learning parts. Like, can a girl really do tech support? That was a thing then, honestly. Like, it just was really, really odd. And then throughout my career, there’s there’s always been those those people questioning, you know, can you do this? You know, are you sure? And, And always in my heart, I’m like, I would not have started this if I can’t do it. If I can’t pull this off, it wouldn’t be happening. And it goes back to, I’m not who other people say I am. I’m who I say I am.
Rob Dale [00:14:01]:
Anastasia Valentine [00:14:02]:
And that really takes a lot of chutzpah, first of all. But it also makes you sometimes to have to put on your blinders and say, No, no, no, no, no, I’m not listening to you, you, you, you, and you, especially with social media. I mean, people always have an opinion on absolutely everything. So how do you not take that to heart? Well, the truth is you do and you know, you’ll see that 1 comment or get that 1 phone call or or get that that 1 person. I remember when I had my my social media or my marketing agency. I had someone who I really admired. And he says, you know, it’s a very nice lifestyle business you have there. That crushed me because like, here I am, I’m employing multiple people across the world. And it’s a lifestyle business that just just didn’t make sense to me but it’s it’s those moments when you use the hurt as that signal of maybe they’re not correct you know maybe I need to protect that you know and it gets you to kind of think where is that coming from exactly. And once you just give it a little bit of thought, don’t pay it a lot of mind because you’ll be overthinking and that goes into a different rabbit hole. But when you’re hurt or challenged, it’s important to understand why. And does that mean shields up for you? Does that mean protecting? Does that mean going doubling down? It depends on the situation.
Rob Dale [00:15:31]:
You know, again, at the risk of dating any of us, you’ve been doing this for 32 years and have had incredible success. To be fair, she started really, really young. Yeah, when she was 4. You know, 32 year career. And as you said, you’ve led organizations, you’ve had highly influential roles in so many different organizations. I’m hearing it already in how you’re sharing this. We talk often about the importance of scripts, of recognizing the negative scripts, and then turning them into those positive life-giving scripts that really set the stage for what we do. Maybe talk to us a little bit about some of the scripts that you had at different stages of this. I’ve heard some of them already. Can a woman do this? There were a bunch of scripts that were either external scripts being put on you or internal scripts. And then how, what was the process for you to rewrite a script to basically say, I’m not listening to that. Instead, I’m listening to this.
Anastasia Valentine [00:16:33]:
Maybe fill in a few of the blanks there. For sure. I would say that early on when it was just my son and myself, the script was like, oh my gosh, I have to do this out of necessity. So it really doesn’t matter what anyone thinks it’s happening. So that was early on. And then, you know, as you go into your career, you get back to that trajectory. That’s what I have to do. I have to get up there. I have to get that office. I have to, you know, get that bonus. I have to get that increase. You know, I have to get that award. All of that, you know, I have to say is all very superficial. Now I can look back at it and say, you know, that award. Okay, that sounded felt really good at the time. But you know, that doesn’t make sense. So it’s really focusing on the things that matter. And people only it’s not not just me, but you only realize what matters sometimes after the fact. And then you’re like, oh, that really didn’t matter at all. Or you just get to have just a different lens to look back on things. And maybe with a little bit of clarity. And what I always do is, is kind of look at it as what if that was another person? How would you react or judge or behave? And then I look at them like, okay, that adds clarity to the situation. You know, what is real, what is in my head. And once you have that clarity, it’s so much easy to continue moving forward, because you can’t go backwards. You can’t, you know, get into that cycle. It’s so easy to go in a spiral of, oh my gosh, I could have done it differently. I could have, would have, should have. You didn’t. So just keep going.
Eric Deschamps [00:18:13]:
Right. Keep moving forward. You know, what I, what I hear so clearly in your story, again, is this notion of being very deliberate. And not having the whole journey mapped out for you from start to finish, but using and learning from failure, learning from pain, learning from difficulties, it sounds like very much from an early age, you decided to unplug from the matrix and live your own life. I mean, I can so relate. We’ve talked about this, so many people live according to the shoulds, the musts, and the have-tos that family imposes on them, that friends, social media, culture, you name it, and the vast majority of people that live their lives that way. But you have been following, You know, it sounds like you’ve been living life according to a different drum beat, right? How in those moments have you known this is the right thing to do? This is the right path to pursue, especially when it goes against the grain of people’s expectations?
Anastasia Valentine [00:19:19]:
I think it’s first you feel fear. You’re like, oh my gosh, I can’t. No, no, I couldn’t. What if I what if I did that? What would happen? And then I challenged myself, what would happen? What could happen? And, you know, I’ll use an example that was even very recent. So this still happens to this very day. The first instinct is fear. So fight or flight, do we want this or not? And then I think about, okay, This is cool. So I recently acquired a little company and a little AI company. I’m really like pumped about it. But you know, running a technology company is a ridiculously hard job. It’s awesome. So for someone who said they retired last year, now doing this, retired for the fourth time. I’m not capable of it.
Eric Deschamps [00:20:07]:
You’re trying to, you’re practicing.
Anastasia Valentine [00:20:09]:
I’m practicing, yeah. I’m practicing for when it actually might not ever happen. But I did this thing and I’m like, okay, now where do I take it? So that’s the stage I’m at right now is like, I can either like go all in on this and do what I do, which is building and scale companies for whatever comes next for that company, that technology, or what have you. So that’s where I am. So I’m past the beer part, which is a bonus, but it’s a really important part of the journey where you have to say, okay, well, now what is next? What do I need to do to get there? And it’s just believing and not trying to do it all because you can’t do it all. Do it in measurable bits that will take you closer and closer and closer to what you want. And that’s kind of the next step for me is helping amazing companies that are doing very cool things in the industry and helping their leadership to scale. And then, you know, possibly even like scaling this little company that I acquired.
Eric Deschamps [00:21:12]:
So exciting. And I love that, that it’s, you talk about the first instinct being fight or flight or fear, my favorite definition of courage is fear walking, right? It’s just being scared shitless perhaps, but continuing to move forward anyway. And it sounds like you’ve done that and you listen to the signals and you listen to the signs and you adapt. And your work, obviously, I mean, exciting to hear you’re in the AI space. I didn’t know that. So much of learning about you on the show. We may have to have you back, so I don’t think we’ll be able to do this justice on the time that we have dedicated to this today. But there’s a lot of folks, when we talk about overcoming that fear response, I don’t think people fall short of living up to their full potential for lack of ideas or desire. I think for the vast majority of people, fear is what holds them back. What would you say to that?
Anastasia Valentine [00:22:09]:
I think fear can be paralyzing, you know, and then you have to kind of analyze it. Well, is it the fear that I won’t be able to pull it off? Is it fear of what other people think? Because then screw that, because who cares, you have no control over what people think anyway. So only be fearful of the things that you could control and then work it out. Because the only thing to to and what is fear like there’s the the good fear that makes you really think things through and That’s the what the kind that I absolutely love Then there’s the like don’t go down that dark alley fear Which is a legit fear response telling you that would be a really stupid thing to do. So really understanding which is the good fear that motivates you and which is the kind that’s trying to protect you. And sometimes it’s a little fuzzy, but if you just think logically and don’t worry about taking a chance and who cares what people will think. Because they won’t think that, Oh, you know, I told her that she was going to fail and look, she did. Um, or look, I told her she was going to fail and Oh my gosh, was I ever wrong?
Rob Dale [00:23:15]:
They don’t do that. They don’t. It’s interesting. When I think of fear, when I am making a decision and there’s fear involved, it’s a practice that I don’t remember if it’s, if Eric, if it was you that first introduced this to me or if it was Dr. Sherry, but to be able to ask that question, what’s the worst thing that could happen? What’s the best thing that could happen? And what’s the most likely scenario? What’s the most likely that’s going to happen? And just using that, those 3 questions, will often, it takes away the emotion of the fear and allows us to be able to move forward a little quicker. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.
Eric Deschamps [00:24:04]:
I’m curious, you’ve been tracking with the show. I remember you were featured in an article recently where you even quoted us at the show, The Living Richly Show as a podcast, as a resource you use. I’m curious, obviously, about what part of the message that the show focuses on that’s really resonated for you personally.
Anastasia Valentine [00:24:24]:
I think what I really enjoy is seeing authentic journeys of people who, like yourselves, I had no idea, And now I feel like maybe I know you a little bit better. That’s kind of cool. But actually seeing that, you know, not everybody’s life is as polished and beautiful and perfect. And, you know, maybe I was the only 1 who had a hard time. Well, that’s, that’s, it’s really nice to see that people come out of their experiences better, stronger, and sometimes a totally different person for the better. And it’s nice to see those very authentic experiences. And I think for a lot of your listeners that they’re not alone. This is not abnormal.
Rob Dale [00:25:10]:
Yeah. Yeah. Well, and more importantly to that, I mean, Really, like which 1 of us shows up more authentically? Oh no. No.
Eric Deschamps [00:25:20]:
You just have to sometimes ignore him, Anastasia. That’s what I do. I am curious though, the article in question, and forgive me, and I’m sure you can remember it, but I’m forgetting the actual magazine that was in or the source it was in, but you were talking about the hustle culture. And I’d like, again, here you are, you’ve been an incredible journey, you continue to do incredible things. And a lot of folks would say how do you keep it all in balance? How do you stay sane in the midst of all this insanity? How do you stay grounded in a culture that pushes us to focus purely on performance often at our own expense? So talk to us about that if you might.
Anastasia Valentine [00:26:03]:
Well, I think it’s it’s it wouldn’t be right for me to talk about the hustle culture without talking about the effects of hustle culture on humans. And the effects is that it wears them down. It burns them out and it makes it so that they feel incapable of doing anything and that’s what the worst-case scenario and I’ve got to tell you that I’ve been burnt out twice in my career and Where I was just like I just can’t do this anymore All right it’s not that I can’t I could But I didn’t want to because the effects it was having on my my health my relationships my everything You know, it’s they they don’t they tell it talk a lot about mental health, which is important But they don’t talk about how far reaching burnout can actually have on someone’s life. So I think that that’s the biggest thing that got me talking about the hustle culture. No I will never work 24 7 for someone again. No I will never compromise my family time for a job again. But why did it take me 2 burnouts to get there?
Eric Deschamps [00:27:10]:
It’s like, come on. It’s okay, Anastasia. It took me 3.
Rob Dale [00:27:16]:
But who’s counting? But who’s counting?
Anastasia Valentine [00:27:19]:
But that’s the thing is that, you know, we just keep going. And a friend told me recently, it’s like, you just keep running this race that you’ve already won multiple times. So so what are you doing? Why are you doing that exactly? And I just really had to take a look at like, if I do this company again, how am I going to do it differently? How am I going to make it so that anyone who is working with me doesn’t feel that they have to compromise anything about their, their personal private life to get this piece of software to work. You know, cause it’s software. I mean, come on, let’s be honest. Yeah.
Rob Dale [00:27:56]:
We talk a lot about rituals on, and I think it’s true. It’s important for everyone thinking specifically here with business leaders. Here you are incredibly successful, you continue to un-retire, you know, launch new business. I think she’s making un-retire a word. Yes, I think she has just created a verb. A verb, un-retire. Un-retiring. You do this and now you’re launching these businesses, you’re incredibly successful, as we mentioned, award-winning, all of this stuff. What are some of the rituals that you practice in your life to keep you grounded, to keep you centered on what truly matters for you? Maybe talk about that. Sure, and it’s really simple stuff. It’s staying as active as possible,
Anastasia Valentine [00:28:53]:
because if you’re active, I mean, I think all of us during COVID put on a little bit of pounds, and we’re all trying to work that off right now, but staying active, walking, taking that walk, clearing your head, listen to music, dance, yoga. Those are the things that I do when I’m feeling like I’m getting here again. Yoga every morning is something that that I’ve started on this journey and actually in yoga teacher training still in training I don’t know if I’ll ever actually teach but it made such a big difference in in my life in Terms of starting my day or winding down. It’s something that I wanted to do. But I think another thing that I would actually offer to anyone who’s listening is be kinder to yourself. That’s a good ritual. Be really kind to yourself because that will actually, once you start doing it in practice, you’re you’re don’t don’t treat someone you wouldn’t treat someone the way you treat yourself sometimes. Right. And I would always do that to myself all the time. And I think that’s why I keep running that race that that I’ve won, trying to prove something over and over again. Well, I don’t have to do that anymore. So being kind to yourself, being active, sing, dance, garden, do things that don’t involve the internet. Do things that don’t involve social media. Get out there, reconnect with your community.
Eric Deschamps [00:30:17]:
It’s time. Oh, it’s so good. It’s so good. I love the part about, again, doing things that you love. We’ve talked about this so much on the show, that part of living your best life is, 1, getting clear. What are the things that fill my cup and that make me happy and how do I turn the volume up on that stuff? And it sounds like that’s what you’re doing. But you just made a comment about not having anything to prove. And that’s a big statement to make because I think the vast majority of human beings on this planet live most of their lives trying to prove something to themselves, trying to prove something to other people. You know, there’s the proverbial saying they spent their whole life climbing the ladder only to find out it’s been leaning on the wrong wall the whole time, right? What is it that led to you being able to say, I’m not living my life anymore, like I’ve got something to prove?
Anastasia Valentine [00:31:09]:
I think, I mean, the burnouts were definitely the last 1 was was tough, right? And really having someone else tell me that. I didn’t come to that conclusion. I always thought I had to keep going and do it again and do it again. You know, oh, you’ve done 5 exits. Well, maybe you need to do another 1. Well, maybe, you know, maybe you need to do this. And the fact is, is that I really don’t have anything to prove anymore. And when they told me that, and I was just like, that, I don’t, who am I doing this for? Who am I waiting for likes and, and shares and accolades? I, no, I don’t need that. And, and I would quite, I would much rather have like a really great dinner with my family than another business trip, for example. So I think that just knowing that I don’t have to prove myself, I don’t have to break myself or others to achieve a goal is really where I’m at. And I would love to see every leader kind of achieve that. You don’t have to break yourself or others to be a success.
Eric Deschamps [00:32:17]:
I just had 1 of my leaders, just this was about 3 weeks ago, we were checking in after a recent coaching conversation where he really got present to how hard he’s been pushing himself for so long. And he said to me, and I never forgot it, He said, I’m gonna try on good enough for a little while and see how that feels. And I thought, talk about a powerful statement to make when you’ve been pushing, he’s been pushing himself his whole life and I can certainly relate to that, you can relate to that. Sounds like You can relate to it, Anastasia. But this notion of even being kind to yourself, like that is not something that is natural. It’s something that most of us have to work at. Again, talk to us a little bit about what that’s been like for you, learning to be kind to yourself, learning to show yourself more compassion. I’m sure there’s many people that are listening. I would love to know and figure out how to do that because when it comes to the way I talk to myself, it’s not pretty most of the time.
Anastasia Valentine [00:33:17]:
Well, I think the first thing is, is kind of listen to the words you’re saying to yourself. And would you ever say that to a loved 1? Would you ever say that to another human being? And that’s where I was coming from. So when I was telling myself, oh, okay, you didn’t do, I’m a list maker. I make lists all the time. I’ve got lists and books and journals. So if I don’t get everything done on that list, I’m a failure. Like I immediately feel like I didn’t do well that day, that hour, that sprint, whatever it is. And just knowing that lists are just lists, you know, they’re, they’re just your little notes and great. It feels good to check things off. And sometimes you put things on just so you could check it off because I did that today and it wasn’t planned. But like, that’s something that I’ve just stopped doing. Like I can accomplish 3 major things a day. You know, this being 1 of them, for example, I can do 3 major things a day. Hey, we made the list.
Eric Deschamps [00:34:15]:
We made your list. That makes us pretty, I think we’re famous now. Anastasia’s list. We made Anastasia’s list. You know, it’s actually when I hear you say- I just totally interrupted her by the way. You did.
Anastasia Valentine [00:34:31]:
That’s all good.
Rob Dale [00:34:34]:
I’m used to that. Yeah, it’s on my list every day. Get interrupted by air. Check. At least once. No, it’s interesting when you say that. I immediately went back to 1 of those aha moments that happened during 1 of the episodes. It was actually the episode about rituals. And the idea is, are the rituals, are they serving you or are you serving your rituals? And I love what you just said there about the list. The list is just the list. And so when you take the tool, whatever that tool is, whatever you’re doing, that’s not you. You’re bigger than that. You’re more important than whatever the list, the tool, the 5K, whatever your task is, whatever you’re trying to accomplish, that’s not you. That’s just that. And the sooner we understand that, I think that’s 1 of the most important lessons we can learn on this journey is all of this stuff are just there to help us achieve what we want to achieve, but they’re not us. But the vast majority of leaders and people in general believe that their worth is tied to their productivity.
Eric Deschamps [00:35:49]:
What they do. That my value is based on what I produce on a day-to-day basis. And that’s why I think part of why we’re so hard on ourselves and our entire culture from the time we’re little, right, and start going to school and we get praised for good grades and even preschool we get praised for doing good things and so we think the more we do the more we’re worth the more people will love us. Anastasia if you’re there’s no doubt there are people listening right now leaders non-leaders that are listening to this show leaders and followers are like who are saying you know I just can’t make the shift I’m struggling to make the shift like if you were counseling them if you were sitting there and you had just a couple of minutes with them to say, here’s how you begin to make that change, what advice, what wisdom would you share? How would you help them?
Anastasia Valentine [00:36:36]:
I would say it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a practice. It’s a very mindful practice. And I think 1 thing is scheduling breaks. Don’t sit at your computer for like 8 hours a day. You will actually feel better and you will have much more mind space if you walk away. Get a snack, hydrate. It’s that simple. Like that’s sometimes the level of granularity that we have to go down to because we’re not taking care of ourselves when we are just focusing on just being at our computer and doing all the things. And then when I say step away go and have lunch elsewhere. You know don’t Do sign off at a reasonable hour. Turn off the computer. Even if you’re going to watch a show with your kids, take them for ice cream, go play mini golf. I’m just making shit up at this point, but do something else. Do something else. Leave your phone at home. I know, craziness, right? But don’t be disconnected and just allow yourself. It’s gonna be so uncomfortable for the first while to disconnect because you know even you know the next generation that’s coming up that’s all they’ve known is connectivity so actually disconnecting is very very difficult so and I’m still struggling with that when I’m at the cottage should I really be on my phone, doom scrolling and looking at the next, you know, the recipes and oh my God, this happened and all those videos. No, it happens. And then I realized and I look and I’m like, there’s a bird over there. Cool. And I put it down. It’s really simple stuff, but it’s you just have to keep on doing it in practice.
Eric Deschamps [00:38:26]:
I love that this whole notion of disconnecting from the wrong things or the things that they may not even be wrong. They’re just, we use them to numb, we use them to distract, we use them to avoid, and we often get wrapped up in other people’s lives without really engaging with our own. And it’s about then, when we learn to start disconnecting more and more from that stuff and to your point it’s a journey it doesn’t happen overnight there’s more bandwidth in our lives freed up to connect with what really matters and to me that’s what we’re most passionate about I would love to hear what really sets your heart on fire.
Anastasia Valentine [00:39:05]:
Oh, right now it’s actually having hobbies. I’ve never had hobbies. Love that. How stupid is that, right? That is the best answer ever. Get a hobby, you hear it, let’s do it. So I make stuff, like I’m just trying. I’m taking lessons on how to sew. Like, really? Like, I just want to give it a try. And then gardening, just being outdoors, you know, we’ve and connecting with humans. We’ve been disconnected from humans for years. And now we’ve got to we don’t we don’t have to. But you know what? It’s really nice to see my neighbors outside. It’s really nice to give someone a hug. It’s really nice to hear from an old friend. And likewise, people should go text an old friend and just say, I’m thinking about you and make that connection. So those are the things that are really, really lighting my fire right now is now that the weather is nice, get out there, do something, even if you’re just getting some vitamin D, that’s okay too.
Eric Deschamps [00:40:09]:
Rob Dale [00:40:10]:
So good. Timing is important on a Saturday night. You’ll appreciate this story, Anastasia. Saturday night, Wendy and I are heading to the gym where it’s an 80s themed night workout. That mullet was over the top, my friend. I’ve got a mullet on, I’ve got the bandana on, I’ve got the wristbands on, I’ve got the fluorescent shirt on. She’s dressed up like Cindy Lauper almost, right? Like all this kind of stuff. And we met our neighbor for the first time. As we walked out the front door, the neighbor across the street was outside. He was actually doing a workout in his gym. And so we were kind of like, hi, we’re your new neighbors. So timing is important if you’re going to meet your new neighbors and meet people for the first time. But these are so good. And again, I can’t help but think about the 4 elements, what you described, a lot of the different activities that you’re doing the hobbies tie into some of those getting out there in nature taking those walks and the gardening the sewing all of this stuff like connecting with people there’s so good and they’re so important I so appreciate this really has been great Maybe if there was now just for the general just our listeners, and a lot of what you just said, and when it came to kind of some of your what you would recommend or the suggestions would apply to everyone, not just business leaders. But if you had kind of 1 takeaway that you just want people to hear today, as you look back over your experience in business, your experience as a mother, in your family, all of that, what would be 1 takeaway, piece of advice or hope that you would provide for people listening today?
Anastasia Valentine [00:41:51]:
It’s something that I did very late, very late in life. Meaning last week. No kidding.
Eric Deschamps [00:41:58]:
A couple hours ago, I started this new practice.
Anastasia Valentine [00:42:02]:
It’s looking at, you know, take a step back. Life hack. Write down what matters. What matters to you? Period. Like what matters to you? And then focus your life around that. It’s it’s actually sounds very simple and very easy to do. It’s again a practice but if you really think about the people that matter with your life, the the activities that matter in your life, you know taking care of your body, making sure that is happening. Those are the things that matter. And then everything else is secondary. And I know people have been saying this for eons, but it’s until you actually do it and you protect those things. I think that’s the key thing is protect them because they can get so easily shoved aside when the next shiny thing happens or the hustle culture kicks in or whatever. Make your list, protect it and just make your life around that.
Eric Deschamps [00:43:00]:
Absolutely love that. Figure out what matters most and turn the volume up on that shit, right? Just do more of that and protect it. Anastasia is so amazing to have you on the show today. We’re so glad you were able to take this time. For Those of you that are listening, we’re going to be putting in show notes how you can follow Anastasia online. Instagram and LinkedIn, we’ll put all that up there and anything else she can provide us that she’d like to draw some attention to, we’re happy to do that. As always, we ask you to consider subscribing to the show so you don’t miss any episodes there’s lots of exciting guests gonna be with us. Anastasia I don’t know if you knew this but you’re actually our first female guest so it’s so great to get a female’s perspective on the show it’s just been a couple of white guys for a long time here. So it’s nice to have your perspective. And if the shows are, the episodes are speaking to you and helping you, share them out on social media. Let’s get more people listening in. 1 of the things that we are doing more and more now is we are offering coaching
Rob Dale [00:44:02]:
for those who are looking to really connect with someone on this journey and to be able to help them and support them as they figure out Living Richly. If that’s something that’s of interest to you, you can find out more information about that as well as all kinds of other tools and resources at our website livingrichly.me.act will get you to the page that will provide you all of that information and we want to encourage you to do that as well.
Eric Deschamps [00:44:34]:
Anastasia, once again, thank you so much for joining us. You’ve been an absolute delight to have on the show. I just feel actually like a kindred spirit. It seems like although we didn’t know each other that well before today, I feel that that has and we definitely want to have you back we’re gonna have you back if you’ll have if you’ll consider it so consider this we’re begging ahead of time folks thank you so much for joining us and until next time on our next show Get out there and live your best life.