Kristin Rulon is the founder of the Mind Star App and the self-care community and programs that led to its creation.  Kristin joins us and shares heartfelt lessons in the challenges of postpartum depression, PTSD, life as a busy family, and how she turned her situation into a startup.

This show teaches us both how health and wellness are challenging and absolutely necessary, plus Kristin gives some incredible lessons in how she is building Mind Star and how you can take these lessons to create your own app.  One thing I loved about this conversation is that Kristin reminds us all that challenges and limits are everywhere and it’s all about how we choose to deal with them.

Resources from the show
Kristin Rulon Twitter
Mind Star on Twitter
Mind Star App


My name is Kristin Rulon. I am the founder and CEO of Mind Star Health, and you’re listening to the DiscoPosse Podcast.

Hey everyone, this is Eric Wright, I’m the host here of the DiscoPosse Podcast. As we head into this amazing episode, you’re going to hear from Kristin Rulon. She’s a founder of Mind Star and describes the world’s first self-care app that pays you back. This is not just about an app, this is not just about self-care, it’s a really incredible story.

Kristin talks a lot about her journey through postpartum depression, through anxiety, her husband dealing with PTSD, and the way that she attacked this problem personally, and how she chose to actually build an app and start a business wrapped around it. So this an incredible story, one that everyone should listen to, it’s inspiring. We went long because there was no reason to stop. I would’ve gone for hours if I could with Kristin’s amazing conversation with that. Enjoy the show.

All right. We’re live or alive. We’re together, we’re here. Kristin Rulon. Kristin, thank you very much. This is something that I’ve been extremely excited about. I looked over what you are doing, what you’re building. I want to introduce my audience to, to what you’re building with Mind Star and why you’re doing it because this is really cool. Was really great for folks that are listening and I definitely recommend you can go to mindstarapp.com, check it out.

I will talk a lot about it today, more than that we’ll talk about how it got started, what it’s been like for you through this journey. But I’d love to actually, if you would quickly say where people can find you if they want to contact you online and talk about your journey to building Mind Star, just your personal journey is so compelling, and I’d love to actually hear it in your own voice.

Well, thank you so much Eric for this opportunity. I’m excited. I’ve haven’t done too many of these yet, but there’s more coming and I actually have a goal of doing 12 podcasts this year, so I’ve already got one off my list, so we’re good.

Nice.

All right. I am Kristin Rulon, I’m the founder and CEO of Mind Star Health. As you mentioned, you can go to mindstarapp.com to learn more about our website. It is a one pager at this point. Hopefully soon we’ll have a little sticker that says you can download the app. In fact I have a version I need to test out after this conversation actually, so it goes.

My story, let’s go back… I’m going to try to keep this as concise as possible because I do, I light up about my story because it’s essentially something that is really terrible that I turned into something incredible, and I think in life that’s how it works. And we hate… I hate to say that and hate to admit it, but sometimes the worst possible things that could happen to us if we can find the silver lining, whatever that may be, it can actually become a turning point for us and turn into something absolutely incredible.

If you were to tell me a couple of years ago that I was going to be in technology and develop an app, I would have asked you to go get your head checked. Maybe you need 

Exactly.

My background is journalism, I’m a writer through and through. I’m currently working on two novels because I’m just that crazy, I won’t say ambitious, although they go hand in hand.

A couple of years ago, that’s actually about four and a half, I was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression and anxiety from the birth control shot. Now, quick little backstory, this is my third child and my husband and I just wanted to make sure things were covered because we were done having children, and so they asked me, they said, “Okay, well, if you get the shot, if you have a little bit of the baby blues, this could exacerbate it and give you severe postpartum depression.”

And my husband had actually just come home from Afghanistan because he’s in the military getting ready to retire soon at 20 years, I’m so excited.

Wow.

I’m counting down. I know, he signed at 17 and we’ve had one overseas deployment and several state side, so I’m pretty excited. Any major hurricane, my husband’s pretty much went to for cleanup.

Wow. Your family’s just surrounded by craziness.

It is.

I love it.

Yeah, it is coordinated chaos, everyone will call it. It is something else. So essentially he had come home and then we were playing with our daughter, we had our daughter, and then they asked me this and I just thought, I raised two small children by myself when my husband was at war. I essentially was at war trying to keep things with a full time job and two small children at the time. At the time, three and four months old when he left.

I was like, “I’ve got this. This is just me adjusting to having a third child.” And a week later everything changed. I like to tell people that essentially I was just this mere, this person that was just very much okay with just, I’ve got a good job, I’ve got a husband who loves me. I’ve got my kids, I’ve got my friends, I’ve got a house, I don’t want to make any waves in my life.

Yes, I’m an author, I’d love to have something published as far as a book, go to the bookstore and there’s my book. But other than that, I didn’t really have any bigger aspirations than that and I was okay with that. A week after that shot was the turning point and sent me into this whole journey I’m into now, and that is not easy to say like I mentioned, going through something absolutely terrible.

I tell people, “Essentially, I’ve been to hell and back internally.” Because what happened was I’m a naturally optimistic person, a lot of people tell me they can feel my energy over the phone. This is how I was before, but my purpose has changed slightly since then. What happened was that I was looking for my daughter’s social security card. I couldn’t find it, have to get updated on the insurance.

I’m panicking, anxiety, sweats, everything, thinking, where the heck is this? And forgive me if my cuss, I don’t know ig

I just realized I forgot to give you a heads up. We’re cool. I strapped the old XL signature on here just in case we’ve had a couple that have gone over, so I don’t mind. It’s fine.

Okay. I don’t cuss a whole lot, but essentially there will be a few h-bombs here and there. Okay, good. But essentially I was just like, “Where the hell is this?” And my self talk just changed and I don’t know who was talking up there, what was going on, but she was… as I laugh about now, she was very angsty, very emo, very much like just hateful, and I was calling myself certain words that I wouldn’t even say out loud. I don’t even use in my vernacular now. Some of them, I don’t even think I’ve actually said out loud except to my therapist.

It was like, whoa. And thank goodness I had enough emotional intelligence then because a lot of times our self talk can sneak up on us and we don’t realize what we’re saying to ourselves, and so we start really listening to what we’re saying to ourselves and we’re thinking, oh my gosh, I’m just a total rip to myself. I’m supposed to be my best friend and here I am saying all these terrible things. I wouldn’t say this to anybody, even when someone that I loathed.

I went to the doctor and they just said, “Oh sorry, we warned you. Here’s some pills and best of luck. Your body could take up to two years for the hormones and the chemicals that were just injected in you from the shot to regulate.” And then that’s what started my essentially two years of hell, and that essentially taught me how strong I am, how much the human spirit is strong and how much of a fighter we are. And we don’t talk about our resiliency, but my goodness, we are resilient creatures.

And so I just started researching the mind from various aspects. I have a journalism degree. I’ve worked in the publishing and still in publishing now for more than 12 years, and so I thought, Kristin, you have this researcher part of your brain because essentially if you’re in the media, if you’re a journalist, you’re essentially taking… you have to take information, you have to regurgitate it at a sixth grade reading level. It used to be eighth grade, now sixth grade.

Yeah, that’s correct. And to have a critical eye and a critical thought process on as you’re doing it, it’s that like, “Hey, while I’m delivering the sixth grade level, do I stand behind the words that I’m saying too?” And it really makes you… that critical thought process is interesting that sometimes people forget versus they’re just like, “Read it and say it.” Like, oh, I can repeat it back, but you’re responsible for the words because you’re a journalist.

It’s a different overhead that you’ve got when you’re actually writing it down versus other folks that that may just be like, “Oh yeah, I read this thing on the internet and that’s what I believe now.”

Absolutely. And then especially with TV and radio, they talk about overall… the way we receive information is more than just words. It’s the tone, it’s how the words are annunciated, and so there’s a whole thing behind that that’s intriguing, but the point is I just started using this. I’m like, “You have this researcher brain that’s really interested and likes to know things, use it.”

So I started researching the mind from various aspects. I’ve read probably more than 100 different books at least now. At least I read about two or three a month. Most of them are audio books now and I usually do it while I’m working because I’m not proud of it, but I am a multitasker, and so I try to condense things and chunk things into time. Did more to be proficient in order to get things done.

So I just started researching the mind from various aspects, and every time I was in a bit of a funk, which back then was very often because they go through the process of this is happening to me and I have no control. There are so many things that happen to us, especially when it happens medically. I’m not going to say that it’s the same as someone that goes through a traumatic injury that’s a physical injury, but there are similarities in the fact that when you’re in recovery, your body, your mind, for me, my mind betrayed me.

And so you’re going through this process of just like, “What the hell is this? This is not going to happen because for me,” and I’m not going to say a whole lot about all the experience because I know it can be a trigger for some, but what I will say is that it was a lot of anxiety and I basically lost trust in myself.

I could not watch the news because I didn’t trust myself because I became a hypochondriac of what if I go outside and get the Zika virus? Or what if I do this? But essentially, I knew I was a good person, I knew I was a mother and I wasn’t going to… Speaking of the media, a lot of times it irritates me now when they talk about these tragedies, and they talk about someone’s mental health, they’re like, “Well, she did this terrible act, but years ago she had postpartum depression.”

And so it really irks me when they try to correlate the two. And because everyone’s case is different, but there’s so many of us. Now they say that it’s one in four of us will experience depression in our lifetime. I like to say everybody does and I like to just call it bouts of sadness, the clinical depression, I think it’s two weeks basically of feeling not yourself and out of it and this fog or however you want to describe it.

But I just call it bouts of sadness because I’m a human being and damn it, if it’s not hard sometimes to be a human and allowed to be sad. So I really started exploring the mind, and every time I would get in a funk, which back then was often, I had a 40 minute commute to work and I would just listen to audio books.

Something I could listen to and I could think about, but I would still pay attention while I was driving and not get too enamored into the story. But I would just essentially journaling and writing, I started a blog. We have three children and one of our children is autistic, he’s on the spectrum.

And so talking about that and how to navigate that and then making me so aware of how people respond to him and how he honestly doesn’t give a shit, which is incredible. I love that about my son, that he does not care at all. And so he’s actually taught me a lot. So what happened was, is I’m researching, I’m getting better, I’m going to therapy. I am on medication.

I’m thinking… At first, I tried to fight it naturally and then I realized where my daughter’s first birthday that if I refuse to let this take over, and then this just this thing where my daughter’s early years are fog. So I got on medication, I said, “I need bigger guns,” found the right med, start talking to an incredible therapist.

She’s never allowed to retire. She’s 70 years old 

She’s locked in now.

She’s locked in. Trust me, she wants to invest in Mind Star, but ethically she can’t. So she’s always like, “I really wish I could, but I ethically can’t.” I’m like, “Well, I’m sorry you are locked in forever. When I’m a millionaire and,” because my insurance does not cover talk through the form, I’m like, “I’ll be able to afford your rates to actually talk to you over the phone and I’ll just be talking to you in airports or wherever I’m going and we’ll still do sessions, but I’ll have the money to cover it instead of relying on my insurance.”

So essentially about 18 months ago is when all… I’m doing all this work, I’m starting blogging more, I started putting some of my personal work as writing out there, so now I can see how I was recovering in different ways and how putting myself out there and doing more brave things, these little steps.

Everyone talks about taking this big move and big moves can do big things, but it’s those little things that we do that can actually make the most impact. And if I hadn’t have made the choice to step up and say, “I deserve better than this, this is crap. I can’t help this has happening to me, but what I’m going to do is I’m just basically going to flood my brain with all the science about the mind, and the spiritual aspects, and psychological aspects about the brain and how it works and just really start annoying my friends with all these random facts now I have bout the brain.”

It’s so funny that that’s… it’s so true that we… As you learn this stuff, one of the best things is like proselytizing as some would call it or there’s evangelizing this idea like, “Oh my God, I’ve got this amazing thing and I’ve learned.” And part of it is just you have to do that as… as you share that information, it helps you to cement, you’re like, “Am I thinking about this right?

And it is neat to bounce it off, but it’s funny. I’ve got a lot of friends who are like, “Yeah, that’s interesting.” Like, “No, aren’t you excited by this?”

Great. They’re like, “So where do you want to go for dinner?” “Well hang on, I’m not finished.” And they’re like, “Yeah, that’s great.” And my husband is great for that. He is different. He’s not… Well, we’re all creative in some way. He’s creative more in the kitchen and gardening, all those things and I’m creative in various aspects. I paint, I write, I do all kinds of things and stuff, excerpts.

So yeah, he was the brunt of that and he’s used to me being so creative kind of like, “Okay, I have this idea.” And he’s like, “Okay, let’s hear it.” And then he talks me down, so to speak. I like to tell people that he is my rock essentially and I’m this balloon up in the sky with this string and I need my rock, otherwise this balloon’s going to go everywhere.

So 18 months ago, I remember it like it was just, gosh, it was yesterday. I came home from working out, I was working on some dinner and my husband has gone for his work often, so it was just me and my children. And my oldest handed me this worksheet that he had done for summer school and it had a star on it. And he’s like, “Look.” And it was something to do with not just about his academics, it was also by his behavior. Like, “Oh, I did this and this, and then I got this for good behavior.”

And I looked at it and said, “Where the hell is my star for being an adult?”

Yes.

And that question changed everything because from then my brain just went and I saw… I used to get makeup, like a monthly subscription in the mail and I saw this pink packaging, it just stuck out to me on my dining room table. And then that’s when it hit me of, “Couldn’t businesses do more to celebrate us in our personal development journey?”

And so I just got my… I do, I have a journal, I call it the million dollar idea journal. It should more like billion dollar now, but I’m still happy with a million. So I’ll just write down random things, and now that I see that I’ve been doing this since I was teenager, I’ve essentially been in an entrepreneurial mindset my entire life, I just didn’t know it.

And so I just thought I was just solving problems like how to keep your socks together, or-

That’s It just seemed like… That’s the most hilarious thing is that I talk to so many folks and that’s the thing, and they’re like, “You do realize that you’ve effectively started like 19 small businesses. They didn’t seem that way when you were doing it.”

No.

They’re like, “Oh yeah, I guess.”

Right. Yeah, I know, before that it was this whole thing, it was this magnetic carrier that carried your makeup and so it kept it altogether in your pass, so then you could just roll out this negative strip and it had all your makeup there. But if you needed to go do your… And I tried making that and that was interesting, that’s a whole different thing, but… And that failed horribly because I have no idea about the science, about how magnets work, but I know that they work.

Anyways, the point is, yes. So yeah, I had this and so I just started going with it, thinking about our personal development journey and looking at different apps that were out there. And what I did, this is the Cinderella part that I’m going to turn it into a children’s book, instead of getting a man, she got a company instead. I put it on Instagram, so those things, as a writer, as a creative, I feel like you automatically get this badge like you’re afraid to share, like you’re very hesitant to expose yourself to the world, and that was social media.

It’s like we all want to digest everyone’s creativity, and it’s like you need to keep some of it for yourself. Not all of it’s meant to be out there for everyone to enjoy-

Everybody is living their best timeline. Right?

Right. So I did, I took that risk. I was like, “Okay, you know what? I really liked this idea of some sort of reward incentive app.” I had this limiting belief that I was like, “I’m a writer, a creative, I’m not an app developer, so I’m going to put this on Instagram, I’m going to put it out into the universe and somebody will tell me it already exists. I’ll download the app, I’ll use it, I’ll get free stuff. It’ll be amazing.”

I did and nothing. I reached out to a couple of other people. At this point I had been doing this personal development so I had formed a community, or had Facebook groups, or a lot of my friends are therapists now. And so I was just like, “Okay, what about this?” And they had never heard of it. They had heard of similar apps but nothing specifically from what I was doing.

And it had been a couple months and then this company in Silicon Valley found me through the hashtag app idea, and now I can picture everyone else to taking their app ideas and using that hashtag.

I’s going to be littered all over the place now.

The hashtag app idea is going to blow up now. But I really honestly thought that it existed, and there are similarities out there, but I think that people need to understand is a lot of people won’t do something because it already exists. They think that they have to be the first and they don’t realize how many billions of people are on this earth and we can’t just have one app.

A lot of people tell me now, “Well I found an app just like yours, but is not quite a bit similar.” They’re like, “I hope that’s okay?” I’m like, “That’s great. Who are they? I want to know what they’re doing. I want to talk to them.” Because especially with like a lot of things, we can’t do this all on our own. And I’d say a lot of times to people and people get really tired of me hearing it.

I tell people, “It’s not your mental health, it’s not mine, it’s ours. And whenever you approach with our mental health, you realize that we all have to do our part if that’s what you want to advocate for.” I tell a lot of my friends who are very passionate about the environment and this and that. I’m like, “That’s great, but pick one to focus on or you going to .

And so I chose this from my own experience. So had this idea, this company finds it on the hashtag. They DM me, they go into my DMs. This is the best DMs was actual business deals and not something else. I think it was even on a Sunday, my oldest had bronchitis so I was at this clinic and I was just… I ignored it. I was like, “I don’t know, this is a scam. This is the next taken-

Yeah. You’re just thinking like, my dearest friend, I have some money from gold from a Prince in LA. No, no, no.

Totally. Exactly. Give me $200 or whatever, what it is and I will set you up with this thing. Or I’m thinking it’s just like taken for where they like… they promise you something and then you meet them and they take… I don’t know, my brain just kind of like whatever. I think it was about a day or two later they messaged again and they were just like, “We’re serious.” I’m like, “All right. I’ve got time now, let’s just see what this is about.”

So I look them up and what it was is that, this particular person that works there, this was her job was to look for different pp ideas, and so she really loved mine and kind of love… she read my blog and loved my vibe on… excuse me, on Instagram. And so I agreed to the phone call. I’m thinking, again, I’m giving my number to a complete stranger and now I give my number all the time, it’s like whatever.

But at the time I was just like, no idea about entrepreneurship, had no idea really. I essentially had the entrepreneurial mindset already instilled in me and we all do, it was just untapped. And so I decided to just talk to him. And it was the longest pitch of my life. I did not know, pitches were like 30 seconds.

No one had told you what an elevator pitch is, but-

No, no. I knew nothing. I knew nothing about elevator pitches, I knew nothing. And so we talked for 45 minutes, and God bless him for giving me 45 minutes of his time. Even now when we talk, I think he knows that he has to carve out about an hour for me. But we talked and I was like, “Oh my gosh, we could actually do this.”

And so kind of became this, “Holy shit. Am I really doing this? If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this.” Then that came into talking to my husband and… To show that we were serious, we flew to Silicon Valley, we flew to California to meet them, to sign a contract.

Wow. Looked at that.

I wanted to meet them face to face. Again, I was like, “Make sure you’re legitimate and I want you to know that I’m legitimate too.” So my first time to California, this Midwest girl from North of Casey. Grew up in a tiny town of 200 people is now flying to Silicon Valley to meet developers to talk about an app idea. It still blows my mind.

We did it in like 24 hours. We came in, we went and did Halloween with my family and we all dress up for Halloween themes. Last year my family of five, we were the Incredibles.

Nice.

One of my children, he’s always the villain, so he actually was the underminer, but it worked out because Jack-Jack, I think his power is invisible so it worked out, so we just said, “Jack-Jack, you couldn’t see him.” Anyway, so we’re all dressed up, get up, do that, go to bed. Get up early the next morning, get on a flight, go from there to Vegas, Vegas to San Francisco.

And then check into our Airbnb, go see stuff, have dinner with them, do a little sightseeing and then turn around the next morning by 7:00 AM we’re back in the airport on our way back home because with three kids and we were just like, “We would love to explore, but we can’t.” That was my first official business trip.

We did that, signed it and then we began the creative process. If you look on the website, you can also follow us on Facebook and Instagram at some at Mind Star App. You can see with the name Mind Star, we use a lot of space photos, sometimes I’ll do space facts and turn them into life questions or personal development stuff essentially. And it comes to things as far as planets and things of this nature and pull out a little bit of fun science facts just from my oldest actually. He’s kind of a science nerd and I love it because he’s been great.

You had me at space. My wife and I are fanatics of space.

Oh, pretty good.

We’ve been to rocket launches and we recently actually did a trip to Orlando first for business and swung around and went to add the actual by the space X build site and got to see the big rocket they’re building, which was pretty well known.

That sounds incredible. It’s on my list.

I’ve got high confidence you’re going to get to your list. Even to this point, the story that you tell is something that a lot of people are already nodding their head with and it’s a really, really difficult thing that a lot of people don’t even know that they’re facing. And I find that the hardest part is introducing people to themselves. And that’s really like you. You talked about… I’ll pick the one thing that you said that was really… I love and I feel it’s profound.

People don’t realize when they say these things, it’s like, well I wanted to reach out to this person but I wasn’t sure. And just that moment, you’re like, “Am I going to give my phone number to this person who’s a venture capitalist, or an investor, or whatever it is? You’re like you have a natural set of distrust, which is normal. That’s what you should have. That’s what keeps us from getting kidnapped regularly.

Very good.

But what you have to have with yourself when you hear that thought, that voice in your mind that says something, you have to have a natural, healthy distrust of what your mind tells you because that’s what protects you from some of the darkest parts of your own mind, which you don’t even… But you’re always there but they generally don’t come out or you don’t have access to It, or you have a greater access to the positive thing that says like, “Oh yeah, I’m good.”

But there are moments when you stub your toe and you’re just like, “Of course you did that.” And it’s like, “Oh.” 

We all have an inner critic and to think that we’re going to get rid of that critic is a fallacy. That’s never going to happen. Because in a way the inner critic can say this. And actually, historically through the evolution of man, there’s a reason why the inner critic was there because for a very long time, if you think about as far as technology and industry and how much we’ve evolved, a lot has happened in the last 100 years. If you think about the evolution of man.

Before that it was all like, think about it, they could get a common cold and die. Just a common cold, or whatever it may be. And then even 100 years before that, they were being chased by wild creatures. And so we have instinctive, have this kind of spidey sense as I like to say of we have our fight and our flights, and we have our freeze. And so it’s now we’re having to deal with that, but we don’t have anyone chasing us most of the time.

And so it’s like… And we can just… If we’re sick or allergies, we just pop a pill, or do some home remedies, whatever we want to do to take care of ourselves. And so our brain sometimes does… It’s almost like you have to show your inner critic compassion and it takes a lot of work. I will say I’m a big meditator. Now, I know that there’s a lot of people probably thinking I’m trying to levitate. 3I have not levitated yet, but when I do, I’ll let you know.

The good point it is that it’s quieting the mind and spending time with that inner critic. And there’s a lot of things and techniques that I’ve learned through therapy, and I’ve read, and I’ve watched, and then I’ve taken it into my own, but yeah. People ask me about fear, I’m like “Fear is supposed to be there. 

It’s a good thing.

It’s a good thing. And you can do it, you just have to make that choice. And again, I think a lot of people think that it’s just, oh, she just woke up like this. No, this is years of progress and I’m still progressing. This is just how it works with life and this is what my company’s about, is about self-care for all minds.

That’s our mission statement because I’ve seen through the work that I’ve done, people I’ve talked to that so many people have such misconceptions about self-care and mental health. And when you go down to the low-hanging fruit of mental health in general, it all comes down to self-care and how we take care of ourselves. No one’s going to take care of you for you.

So if you want to get rid of this limiting belief like I had that I could not develop an app, I knew I had to work on that. That means it’s not going to happen overnight, even a week or two weeks. There’s where times everyone like, “What the hell am I doing?” We’re getting really close to launching, I’m just like, “Okay. Oh my gosh, it’s go time.” But it’s one of those things where you just have to make a choice and it’s just choosing yourself a little bit every day.

Again, a lot of people that I talked to, I do a little self-care coaching on the side, and so if anybody wanted to reach out to me about self-care coaching, you can find me at Mind Star App on Facebook or Instagram and message, and then my team will send that to me. But when I work with people, we walk about the misconceptions of self-care and one of them is trust and how you trust in yourself.

Because essentially I lost trust in myself because I didn’t know who the heck I was, and whatever these dark thoughts were swirling and all this fear and stuff. I would write myself letters, I still have the very first other to myself. I did it, I wrote myself love letters and it was, “I trust you.” And just saying that to yourself is so… it’s loaded. Like, “I trust you. I trust the intuition, I trust what’s going on and you either win or you learn and you never fail.”

So it’s getting into that mindset of this is going to be a win or is this is going to be a learning experience because again, unfortunately, we learn through the things that don’t work. Then this past year has just been developing the app, beta testing through different groups. So essentially what our app is and what has turned out to be we would like to tell people essentially our app is hope.

Mind Star is the app that I needed in my darkest moments, and what it is, is that you track your self-care over time, so you essentially build a self-care plan in the app. And we have about 16 curated suggestions to put in your self-care routine from a team of mental health advisers. I’ve been very, very fortunate that I’ve been able to keep my team small and affordable, because 

Not an insignificant problem. The people just think like, oh you just do this like, oh, all I got to do is put out hashtag app idea and I’m going to start my own company there’s a couple of steps in between.

Right, yeah. I’m thinking because this is all self funded and it’s ours, and I should say essentially it’s mine, I don’t have my husband on the… he doesn’t own any of the company yet, which I didn’t think about that when I set it all up, but he was my first investor because we took out a business loan and thinking three kids, do we have the money to do this? And I even went to… I started doing my research.

I took the contract and I took it to… and I talked to parts of it that we were allowed to disclose to other IT people in Kansas city and was just like, “Okay, I have this idea. I don’t want to get scammed.” And so I just basically came to a mentor and you’ll be amazed if people who will give you your thought… They might give you… And this person gave me an hour. He didn’t have to give me an hour. He was nice to give me an hour of his time.

He said it was his way of giving back for the month, for the week or whatever, but he gave me his insight about it and made sure it was legitimate, and I had friends of mine who were journalists. I’m like, “Look up, this company.” Well, the company is inventive by the way, I will give them that. They’ve been great, and so I’m like, “Look, find all the dirt you can on them and do all this back…” Well-

Your journalist’s mind kicked in right away on that.

Well, it did. But I’m thinking, and this is what’s interesting is a lot of people think that, okay, you’re doing less now you’re developing an app, and you’re a mental health advocate, and you’re a writer and you’re a speaker and all these things. And I’m like, “But you don’t realize some of the life skills that have come in handy that actually…” The puzzle starts fitting in like, oh, this is why I learned this skill.

I didn’t think skill was going to be that useful at the time, but now it’s actually quite useful, which is being able to do interviews, or knowing the other side of the media, or knowing what the media wants to see or hear and what makes my story interesting and be able to tell my story. Because a lot of people I’ve talked to have a great business, they have no idea how to market it, they have no idea how to present themselves.

It’s a rare talent surprisingly because the problem is that the people we hear the most, or we read the most are the ones that are already there.

Right.

 There because they’ve already built their thing and you realize there’s however many percentage of people that can’t do that. There’s a reason why we all know Larry King and these names as far as how important is the app. They get these funny, we’d sort of joke about these standard ways to ask a question. They’re actually founded in incredible history of behavioral psychology the way that you approach questions and discussing things with people.

And then you realize like, yeah, people can have an amazing ideas and that’s amazing, but they don’t have all the rest of the stuff wrapped around it. So you-

No.

… I can tell you, Kristin are a rare treat in the world because of your ability to glue it all together.

Right. And it’s just been so interesting, people are, okay, well, you’re… And I get it, a lot of people have this mindset of you must’ve went to business school or you must be a coder and all these things, and it’s like, “No, I’m not. I’m somebody who has made the choice to believe in herself a little bit more every day.” Not every day, I would like to note that.

Just because I’ve cracked this code and had been through recovery, I still have bad days, we all have bad days and moments or even weeks where you’re just like, “Nothing is working, nothing is going my way. What am I doing? I should just sell the app now, what I have.” And it’s like, “Okay I see you, I see you inner critic. You need to go to the back seat of the car and quit trying to drive.” And in giving yourself that self-care.

So essentially that’s what you know Mind Star is, is giving people this hope of they can set up their own self-care routine because everyone’s routine is different and then they get rewarded for it. They check in every day double-tap, boom, they earn 500 points or 100 points per task that they check off that they’ve done for themselves. And when they reach so many points, they’re like a milestone.

And what sets us apart is that we partner with small businesses. We’re allowing small businesses, I have  companies, I have life coaches, I have a couple of gyms that I’ve already signed up, and then the user is emailed a reward from that business. So what it’s doing, it’s also helping small businesses get their name out there and get their amazing products because there’s amazing Kindles and shirts and things of this nature that are out there that people don’t know about because it’s incredibly hard to put yourself out there in marketing.

And I know that SEO is a big thing right now, but even with knowing that knowledge of getting your website to the top of the list of the Google search, it’s hard because we have so many options, which is great. And I do believe that again, we can’t have just one T-shirt company, can’t have one self-care app out there. And there are apps out there that are similar as far as goal tracking apps, insurance apps are very similar, which is fine.

Differentiating is an interesting thing in that it’s another challenge that people don’t necessarily realize that you face and that that folks would face. And the joke about SEOs is that an SEO expert walks into a bar, tavern, restaurant, restaurant for families, restaurant with great children’s meals.

Yeah.

But when you’re building a page or an app, getting discovered and moving to the top of those lists is incredibly helpful especially for those early days and that kind of, not necessarily viral but just to get you out and separating the wheat from the chaff so to speak, versus like as a blogger, you… People always ask me like, “Were you a blogger? How do you deal with SEO?”

I’m like, “I am SEO. That’s it. Every word I write is SEO. I don’t care about… I’m not going to change the way that I write.” But that’s different versus standing of a page, or putting an app in an app store. When you look up self like motivation, or whatever it is, or mindfulness, you’re going to be number 78. How do you make sure that you can get found amongst all of those things that are out there?

I know. It is difficult. In fact, we’re talking about that with our website now. I do a weekly self-care newsletter that I send out self-care tips and insights and that’s a great way for people to see. They get some advice from me and then the see what it’s like to… I am a transparent person.

I have found that one of my greatest superpowers is my vulnerability, and I wish that more people realize that when you’re putting your business out there, I’m not saying you need to tell us what you ate for breakfast and you need to be that much candor, but you do need to decide that you need to put some vulnerability in your business because people are going to notice that, and that’s authentic.

Because how many times do we get messages now as, “Hey, love what you’re doing.” And then automatically you get pitched, they want you to buy something. I know some [inaudible 00:41:09] now with a small business, I get pitched probably at least three times a day from someone, whether it’s LinkedIn or Instagram. My favorite is, “Hey girl, love what you’re posted.” Like, “Who are you? What do you do?”

That’s my favorite, “Hey girl.” Heys are hilarious almost like… And I just politely tell them, “No.” And that comes down to… And I tell people, “If you want to work on your personal, if you will work on your limiting beliefs, think of the biggest dream you have, whether that’s starting a business, sign up for that class, going for that promotion, start working towards it and every limiting belief about yourself will come to the forefront, I guarantee it.”

Because it seems like every single one I’ve heard of, “I can’t develop an app. I’m not good at this. I’m not a coder.” Well, it turns out you can’t be good at everything. For me, it was just finding… I was fortunate to find a team to work with that honestly that I could afford to build it. I’m like, “I have the idea, I designed it in InDesign, now, here, you build it. I made it look pretty, now you bring it to life.”

For me, I tell people too is don’t always think you have to pay people. Think about your skillset. Really there’s a lot of… And I think with owning a business, you have to look at yourself and really be honest like, “Okay, I’m not so great. I won’t say suck, but I’m not so great at this.”

Because there are some things you are going to suck at. I used to think I would suck at being on camera. In fact, in college they wanted me to be on camera, they wanted me to be a news anchor. And I had to go on there and report, I was the managing editor the college newspaper and I had to go on there every week and put a little microphone on and I had to read the prompter about what’s coming in the Northwest Missouri and make sure you pick it up, but the common’s on Thursday, yada, yada. And I thought I was terrible.

Now I’m all like, “Put me on TV. Give me five minutes.” And so think about the evolution of that, of give me the opportunity to share my message or inspire people in some way that if I can do it, anyone can do it. And there’s people that have way more trauma and issues, and I encourage people to listen to… Pay attention to what you’re listening to.

I listened to a lot of books of just whether they’re autobiographical, or whether they’re just overall just self-help books. And some people I know I’m sure rolling their eyes at that. I’m not saying everyone, but find an author that you like. Gary Bishop is great if you just want a straight shooter.

Yeah.

He’s no bullshit, he’s great. But if you want a little more fluff, or you want something a little bit different about creativity, you can go to… there’s a bunch of them. But-

I was laughing because I was actually thinking as we were talking at the start, I’m like, “I got to remember to find…” I couldn’t remember Gary’s last name and I was like, “He is the mode…” First of all, his audio books are incredibly hilarious because-

Yes.

… he’s just classically Scottish-

Yes.

… ladies and gentlemen. And you’re like, “Here we go, here’s the XL tag, unfuck yourself, whatever. He’s an F-star or whatever yourself, and his way of just like, “You think if you’ve got a problem? Yeah, you do. Get over that.” And it’s like, oh.

It’s so funny that you were thinking that and then I brought that up, but this is how the universe works, but… I tell people all the time that this isn’t something that it’s like, “Oh, I’m going to start a business and everything’s going to fall into place and it’s going to be fine.” The truth is that things are going to fall in place where they’re supposed to, but sometimes things are not going to be fine, but they have their ways of always working out, but not the way you always anticipated.

We were supposed to be launched in like November, but then this thing, this links networking, and then Apple changed… As I found out with my first app, Apple changed some of their compliance things that they’re required when you… You just think, okay, I have an app. It’s all ready to go, I’m upload it to Apple and they’re going to put it on their store. Well, no, they have a process. They have a screening that’s pretty expensive.

And so we’ve had to work through that and then last minute changes and add ups, and so. I tell people all the time too, “When you start a business and you’re working on your limiting beliefs or let’s say you’re keeping your current job and you just want to become more aware and really explore yourself.” Because I’ve had people come to me and say, “How did you know that you wanted to do this?”

I’m like, “I didn’t want to do this. I tried to talk out myself out of this several times and it was all like, ‘whatever you believe in, God, universe, something was telling me like…” Because I had the idea and then this company coming to me was basically like a smack in the face like you are supposed to do this, you’re supposed to go down this road, whatever it may lead to where…

I left my desk job in March to pursue… just putting together a small magazine, just basically doing freelance work just so I could focus more on Mind Star, which I actually enjoyed it because that was a job I was doing. I was doing conversations with people on the way to work, doing them all my lunch hour. I come home, to bed-

Releasing it in amongst everything else.

Releasing it in, yes. And then in the evenings I would lay there with my kids and my music, my biggest inspiration, and I like to joke is because they’re all cuddling with me so the love hormone is very eminent it’s very big because I’ve got three little heaters keeping me warm. I’ve got my laptop sitting above them on the stand and they’re just all around me.

After they go to bed and I would work, and that’s how I came up with Mind Star was my son has a solar system in his room and I was thinking of something that is universal because a lot of apps out there which are perfectly fine, I’m not putting them down, but they’re geared towards women because women are more open to talking about things, especially comes to self-care, which I have to admit it really irks me when I see a commercial about treating yourself and it’s like some $50 moisturizer. It really me.

Oh God, yeah.

Because I see the commercialism, how they’ve tapped into self-care already. And so now my company, we say that we’re more than just an app. Right now I’ve actually got a course, it’s called self-care one-on-one, and it’s basically a self-care wheel. And you-

Just as you say that, I’m imagining the woman putting some cream on her-

Right.

… upper cheekbone.

Because that’s

Self-care is about taking care of you, and you’re like, “No, that’s not self-care, that’s skincare.

Exactly. Yes, exactly. I’m like, “And lady, that’s great your wrinkles are going to go away and your skin’s going to look very luminous, but the issue that you need to work on or whatever, that’s not going to go away. The issue in your relationship, issue with your mom, or your dad, or your best friend, or fighting, that’s not going to go away because you put some skincare, but you’ve slapped on some stuff.”

And trust me, I love the good face mask, I do, but yeah, it-

What you’ve talked about in the what people should listen to very strongly in approaching this and why I’ll encourage them to get involved, and I’m excited for when the launch hits and when we can get people in here. And we’ll catch up again too is as we keep rolling because I definitely want to follow you and the whole story as it evolves.

It’s small daily affirmations, and it’s what can we do to give ourselves ways to reward ourselves. And also when we slip, which is normal and we have to accept and survive. And I say survive, it sounds like, “What do you mean survive? It’s not like you’re laying on a landmine.” You’re like, “No, it could be the difference…” Like I said, I joked at the beginning, you stub your toe and you just say to yourself, “Of course you did that you…”

That’s kind of a Gary Bishop thing too, is like the words that you say to yourself define how you feel, and you’re going to have those moments again. And what you’ve got to do is to sort of step back away from it and say, “Okay, all right, bad moment, bad day. All right, what can we do to just like level it off, take off the edges and now let’s get back on it.” Whether it’s some journaling and morning pages and stuff you can do through the app and using those rewards.

And it’s funny that gamification becomes the way we… and this is what’s sad, this will will drive you nuts. I’m involved in apps, and technology, and VCs and stuff, so I’m like, “All right, what’s the gamification aspect of it?” Well-

Yes.

There’s a reason it’s there because it’s a behavioral psychology. In fact, if you go back and you study BJ Fogg and this idea of persuasive computing, and it’s who… I might have read enough BJ Fogg, it’s like, “No, stop. Seriously, people stop doing what you’re doing. I taught you how to do a thing and now you’re using it for the most awful purposes.” Zuckerberg and such.

And so he in fact is talking about ethical persuasive computing now, and there’s Tristan Harris and other great authors and writers and speakers who are tackling that. So you are doing the right thing of how can I do a thing where I can do gentle continuous steps on a daily basis that if I slip, I got another day ahead and we’re good instead of like, “All right, I’m going to start a business that’s going to grow to $1 million in revenue.” And you set this monstrous giant goal and even worse, even worse.

And you know this one, Kristin, you probably step on your back in day. On new year’s eve, you say, “That’s it. All right, from now on, I’m going to the gym every day.” Or whatever it is, and day three, the wheels come off the bus and then you say to yourself, as you look in the mirror, “Of course you failed and no one’s going anyways.” And we try to convince ourselves that it’s okay to be bad and just forget it.

And that’s it, you’re off your track and you don’t have a way to get back on because you didn’t set a daily goal. You didn’t understand that you could have a bad day and you can get back on the bus thing.

How did you approach the idea… Obviously, you discovered some it yourself. When did you know that you had like a program that you were building internally that would be able to be put into a program that you could help other people with?

It’s funny that you say that because I’ve been thinking about essentially Mind Star is the app that I needed in my darkest moments because in my darkest moments, I actually wrote down my routine, so I was kind of actually developing this app before I knew I was developing an app. And one of the things was that got me excited… Again, I have a supportive husband, I have great friends, at the time I had a stable job that I knew it was going to be there for me.

I had all these things and unfortunately, depression does not discriminate and only thing I could think of was, well, tomorrow I get my gummy vitamins, that’s something to look forward to. And I thought, that’s what you’re hanging onto is gummy vitamins? Of all the things, but that’s what God knows. I was all like, “Well, tomorrow I’m going to wake…” I went down to the basics of the basics of, well, I get up in the morning, I’ll get my gummy vitamins, I’m going to give my kids at kiss goodbye, get them dressed for school.

Get them all prepped for the day because I’m not also trying to get myself in the right mindset so I can go out and be about the day, but also my children and helping them realizing things and being aware of their emotions and stuff like this. But when I knew I kind of had something, it was probably… I think it was the night that I actually came up with Mind Star because before I think we were just calling it gold star.

I didn’t have Mind star, I just like, “I have this idea for this app.” I have no idea what I’m going to call it, but I really think that… And again, using behavioral psychology, knowing that we’re addicted to our phones, why not be addicted to something that actually rewards you a little bit and makes you feel good about yourself instead of the opposite. And so I was laying there, I think it was cuddling with my oldest, he’s a big cuddler.

He’s 10 so the cuddle days are almost gone, so I’m stopping 

Yeah, they’re winding down, enjoy them 

They’re winding down when and I am just soaking them up. We were cuddling, he was asleep. Okay, he’s asleep, cue, pull out the laptop. I get the laptop out, I’m thinking about this and that’s… I was looking up at his solar system and his favorite planet is Saturn. And so I was particularly… I remember staring at Saturn and then I got thinking about just what’s universally intriguing? What is something… Could we pull gender out of the equation completely and build something that’s inclusive essentially for minds?

And this is the time I hadn’t done as much research… excuse me, about app development and gamification and things of this nature. I was like, “I have this idea.” And then I start mapping it out of what it would look like and how we would do it and I was very fortunate. I haven’t really read any books about app development.

I have a great team and so I would say probably… that was the point where I was just like, “Okay, I think I really have something and I think I can really help people.” And I didn’t sleep that night. That night I was just like… It was just a breakthrough. I had my idea for the name of my company with Mind Star Health, with the Mind Star App.

And then I’m thinking overall, how we’re going to do this? How you’re going to build a routine and how that works with the milestones? And you have the dashboard so you can actually… it’s actually a line chart, you can actually see yourself go over time, which is great because actually we’re working with healthcare professionals to get them to use the app as a tool with their patients.

So essentially the idea is that there will be able to suggest, so obviously they cannot force, suggest the app to their patients to use to track their self-care. And then when they come in to do their regular checkups and they’re talking about they’ve got their cars on fire, their dog died, and like all these things that happened in life. And I’m like, “Well, how has your self-care been?

And we can look to see, have they been using the app because we literally made it simple as can be. The curious suggestions you pick, you add your own things, you double tap green check mark, boom, there’s points in a little bank account. You’ve done that for yourself there is your little star for the day knowing that you’ve done something for yourself.

The day might have been complete crap, but you know what? You drank your water, you wore your favorite color, you listen to your book. You watched your favorite show and maybe you took some time and if maybe you couldn’t go to the gym, maybe you went and just did some pushups or whatever it may be, like 10 of them or something like that.

Because the research shows, and there’s different. It depends on who you talk to as far as when a habit actually sinks in. Some say 21, some say 30, some say 60. I think it depends on the person, but I just know that it’s that consistency, and it’s not honestly how many times you fall down, it’s how many times you get back up.

And so it’s like people think, oh, I fell down again. And so there’s one thing about with my personal accounts and with Mind Star stuff, we’d like to put that encouragement and remind people that we all fall, we all make mistakes. I made a ton of mistakes my first year thinking people would do.

People come in making promises and we’re going to help you do this. You just pay us this much money and you’re just like, “Oh my gosh, I only have a lot of this much, but do I really take that risk?” And we took some risk and didn’t work out, took some risk and it worked. And so I’m sorry. As you can tell I get going about this and I can just go away.

Good. I was just about to ask-

Do you have any other questions about it because I will just keep going?

If we can keep going a bit, I got a couple of questions. I do want to keep going.

Sure. That’s right.

There’s reason why I’m listening and everybody else’s too because this is something that… it resonates, and this is why these kind of stories are important and it helps to understand where the stuff comes from. And it’s funny, you do more research than most people. I am also a weird sort of research nerd.

Sorry, I said that and I immediately attached you to being a weird researcher. I am a weird research nerd-

That’s okay.

… but-

I am, I own that title. That’s fine.

The idea of why is this thing working? Why me? And people always like, “Oh, it must be so great. You have such a great outlook and you’ve always got a pause.” I’m like, “No. No, it’s terrifying. Most of the time I’m actually filled with self-hatred.” It’s tough to get yourself out of that mode sometimes.

My wife will… She’ll check me or wants a smile, she’ll be like, “Hey, you’re not really good lately. You’re really down on yourself, you really seem like something’s up.” And it’s good because you have to have that nice wife, an app, a thing, a habit, those things are good to have.

And what we really forget to do as people is just recognize the tough moments that we get through. And it could be that that gummy vitamin can be enough to get somebody to step back off the edge of a bridge.

Right. And it’s just crazy but that’s… I remember thinking about that, was laying in bed and it was all like, okay, what am excited about tomorrow? Well, there’s my kids, but I thought that was obvious. There was just like… because it was, it was just like in those… I’m thinking, that’s what I’m excited about is a gummy vitamin? I still love my gummy vitamin, but it was all like-

As you should, they’re amazing.

They are.

Best things ever.

Best thing, I’m like, “Thank goodness I don’t have to take those big ass because I can be gummy, I can be a kid.” There’s some of the there.” I tell you, that’s what it came down to was just like, “Oh, gummy vitamins, check, I drink my water, check.”

And I tell people too, and unfortunately, the recent news has proven this that exercising and eating healthy is not enough when it comes to self-care. And what I talk about in my self-care one-on-one course is the self-care wheel and I break this down to it’s spiritual, emotional, mental, practical and physical.

And we always saying the physical part, especially this time of year because everyone’s all of a sudden in this mindset of they’re going to lose weight, which is great, but I always tell people, “Who are you losing the weight for?” And to question… this is what it comes down I think too is you have to question everything.

Now, I will say I have a terrible habit of questioning too much. I think about my thinking too much I’m like, “Why did I have that thought? Oh my gosh, does that thought have some weird significance and now I need to go look up this book on Freud to figure out what the hell it meant.” And then I agree with everything before. Like with dreams for instance or whatever weird thing.

I’m interested with when it comes to the ego, but everything else is kind of woo. Anyways. The point is that when you start to become aware of your thoughts… I tell people all the time, “When you start becoming aware, you’ve got to figure out how much crap you tell yourself.” And I have friends that messaged me that start meditation and that’s a great way to get started as a writer, I always tell people to journal.

And I actually have a technique I’ll share with you if you have a minute that’s a good I have found to whatever the current situation, whatever you’re stressing out about to get, within five minutes you can get to the limiting belief that that’s the trigger, you can get all the way down to the root.

And so what I do is that I… Okay. So let’s say like right now, I’m in my office, I’ve got all these stickers and these notes of things that have to do well, pretty much the rest of the month. And so I’m looking at it, obviously looking at it and look at all of them, step back as a whole, it can be overwhelming because I have this interview, and this interview, and I have to write this story and yada, yada, yada.

The feeling of overwhelmed, okay, I am overwhelmed. I can literally ask myself, and I love to do it with a pen and paper because I feel like there’s people don’t understand the power of the written word, and writing out, and getting things out of your mind onto paper, but asking yourself why? Why am I overwhelmed? And then no censoring, no one’s going to see this.

I tell people to always… And I do self-care coaching, I say, “Have a journal and label it something super boring so no one’s going to read it.” They think it’s like cooking recipe-

That’s right.

… or something. Or I tell people, “Take a piece of paper, journal for the day and then rip it up and throw it away.” And then basically you’re saying you’re brain dumping. I love that phrase of dumping stuff out on because you can get such clarity when you write it all out and you realize, this is bullshit, I don’t believe this. 

So essentially you asked yourself why. Okay, so I’ll do the example, why am I overwhelmed? I’m overwhelmed because I have too much to do. Why? Because there’s so much I have to get done, because I have a business and I want it to be successful. Why? Because I want my work to matter. Why? Because I want to matter.

And automatically I went in just a couple of why from overwhelmed to this limiting belief that I have to do something grand, I have to do some big thing. But we don’t realize those overnight successes are really 10 years of work.

That’s right. It takes a long time to become an overnight success.

Yes. But our society has told us that, right? So there’s that limiting belief of I have to matter and I have to do something significant in society. That means that I have to do something huge and all of a sudden have five million followers, and I have to make $1 million or $1 billion. That’s what success is tied to in society, but I tell people, “Everyone’s definition of success is different.”

That you can make an impact and have a profitable business and it can just be in your state, just in your city, just your region. No one says you have to go global, no one says you have to go national.

It can be a farm stand at the end of the driveway. If that’s your definition of success, then bloody good, you’ve done it.

Exactly. You’ve done it, you’ve got… And people have good produce and things of this nature, and if you want to take a step further, that’s fine, but everyone’s success, they think of the big celebrity status and whatever. But I’ve gone to asking myself why. There’s so much power of asking yourself why you feel something, and then just trusting yourself to explore it and just write it out, excuse me, whatever it may be and just no judgment.

And then just keep asking yourself why and you will get to limiting belief within four or five whys. I’ve told people… I was in a business accelerator here recently and we were talking about self-care and I actually suggested this actually in the course, and the next week, three people out of 10 were all like, “Hey, we did it and holy crap, it made me realize I have this limiting belief.”

And then I tell people, “Okay, so now you’ve found this living belief out.” So mine is that I feel, let’s just say this one for example is that I have to do something big and grander to matter. Okay, so I’m aware of it now. Well, guess what? My to do list is still there. I don’t have time to solely do the personal work. Everyone thinks that when you become aware… When you become aware of your shit, people think they have to attack it all at once, “Well, now I must lay this, like it’s a dragon.’

Give yourself some freaking self-compassion. I’m 33 years old, if I just now realized this at 33, this is 33 years in the making.

So you’ve been planting 33 years of really unfortunately unknown habits. You can’t just rip them down in a day.

No, rip them down in a day or even 33 days, you have to… Okay. Sometimes I tell people, “Basically put a pin in it.” Like, “Okay.” You know what? Later tonight I’m going to journal about this or I’m going to wait till tomorrow and process of it. Yes, I obviously got this belief, now I’m aware of my belief, now what action can I take now?

I can take action and say, “I’m going to deal with it later.” I’m going to take action and I’m going to set a timer and I’m going to let myself write about how that makes me feel for five minutes. Or I can take some action with it and get up and move because movement is incredible. A lot of people think… I love to kickbox, that’s a great thing when you’re frustrated, and if I don’t go to the gym, I literally I can feel myself like wanting to get a punching bag or something

You start to tighten up.

I do, I’m all like… One of my kids is really annoying, like toys, I want to like punch it right now and just tell him that it just fell down the stairs and broke or whatever. But it’s like just putting some action and some accountability and trust in yourself like okay, all right, I’ve got this belief, but you know what? I’ve got all this crap I got to do and this is what I’m going to do. Or taking the time to meditate on it five minutes, two minutes, a minute.

I tell people when they’re doing tasks and stuff and they get overwhelmed to just take a little one minute break and do several deep breaths and see how those feel. And there’s so much power in that. There’s so much power in ourselves but we give our power away to everything else instead of trusting ourselves to know what we need to nurture ourselves, and that’s essentially what self-care is.

Essentially self-care is the act that we take to express self-love, and you are nurturing in loving yourself. And that’s what I tell my kids when they do something for themselves and they… whether they create art or. My son’s just got Nintendo Switch for Christmas and so he’s onto all these new games or whatever and he needs to get all his other work done before he can do that, but sometimes I’ll see him with a pen and paper and he’s actually drawing out some of the characters, and then he’ll play.

And he’s all like, “Is it okay if I draw?” “Yeah, you’re using your imagination, yeah, you’re playing a video game, but also you’re drawing, you’re reading, you’re doing things, you’re learning and you’re nurturing a part of yourself.” There’s so much of ourselves that we don’t nurture because we just think that we have to… Everything has to be about making money.

And I always tell people that there’s some things, especially as a creative, you have to keep for yourself like painting. I grew up in a very small town so I don’t want people to think that I definitely did not come from money. My family was well off where they were at, but definitely we were through a few just like everyone else.

You were comfortable enough that it wasn’t concerning that the mortgage was going to be able to get paid-

Right.

… but not that you were like vacationing in… had a summer home or whatever. It’s just sort of natural middle-class level of comfort, which-

Absolutely, which I think a lot of people don’t appreciate. And unless you’ve been… My husband and I had definitely been at the lowest of low. We’re like, “Okay, how are we going to pay the mortgage next month? Okay, that means what’s a priority, what’s not? Cut this, cut that.” I’ve cut my own hair to cut costs. And so yeah, I’ve experienced it all over the place. But-

It’s funny that one of the things that I used to always love and ask people at the end of a good discussion, and the funny thing I think we opened with it was what’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you that you’re the most thankful for? And it’s funny, it feels like we’ve just talked about so much of being on the other side of the darkest moments that you’ve turned into a successful understanding of.

That in itself is I think incredible because most people don’t have that. There’s a lot of people you can read and talk about, psychology and managing yourself. You don’t have to be reading like Plato and Aristotle and all this crazy stuff. You don’t have to go buy that that deep but to understand the dark moments and to recognize when they’re happening and to be able to get on the other side of it and learn compensating factors.

An interesting fellow to read and listen to, well, maybe controversial for some is Dr. Jordan Peterson who’s made the news for an unfortunate set of reasons, but he’s a clinical psychologist in Toronto and really rencing… and my favorite thing, he has this thing called 12 rules of life is his book. A very simple, I forget which rule it is, but it says like, “Aim lower.” That’s it.

You’re having a rough day? Aim lower. You set a goal and he’s so like profoundly Canadian. It’s classic to hear his East Coast accent or mid Midwest accent in Canada. He’s like, “Make your damn. That’s it. If that’s the thing you do and you succeed at, good you’ve done it. Make your damn bed every day. Just start with a completed goal.”

I agree. We get so big into these like big things, like I said, I did the whole why thing and I have to be significant, and I’m thinking some days it is just, “Hey, I got out of bed, I made my bed, I got dressed and I got out the door, and that’s enough for today and I should celebrate that in itself.

And the thing of like why meditation and why a lot of these like mindfulness exercises are good, mindfulness with the purpose of like, oh boy, I’m going to meditate 12 minutes a day or whatever, it’s going to be like, “No, no, no, no.” The goal is not to do 12 minutes a day, or 20 minutes a day, or hit transcendental, this level of calm.

There’s all these things, obviously there are states and mind states and you can study it and go deep into when it works and why it works, how it works. But in the end, you just have to get to a point where your mind just pauses for a second. Like you said, it’s that when you’re stuck on something and you’re overwhelmed, you stop, take a few deep breaths, walk away. Get up, walk around, go out, take the garbage out.

Garbage is half full. It doesn’t matter, take it out anyways, take it out. And as you’re on the way back, you’re like, “Oh I got it, I got it.” Then you’re sprinting back to your desk going like, “That was it.” Because it’s why we go in the shower and we suddenly get inspired by things in the shower because you’re physically doing something that’s separating you from any other activity.

Right. I could go into the depths of the research behind brainwaves like for instance, in the shower, you’re calming, so usually when relaxed state, which is theta, which theta waves typically is when we get the most creative, which is why we have those ideas in the shower is because we’ve actually calmed ourselves down for the most part, not every shower.

Some showers you are just like, “Okay, hurry up, got to get out, got to go.”

That’s right, rather purposeful, but-

Right. But when we take the time to like… and I tell a lot of people to do a little aroma therapy in the shower to add a little whether eucalyptus, or lavender may be, and just taking some time in there many times. Then that’s essentially why is because we’re slowing things down a little bit.

And I tell people too dealing with mindfulness and stuff, a lot of times they think that it’s just… like there’s mindful eating. If you don’t have time to meditate, maybe slow down on your eating and pay attention to what you’re eating. Maybe try mindful eating for the day, or I tell a lot of people because I work from home, so I have to do this myself is… So I’m actually talking to an adult, but today I’m supposed to get to talk to someone about this, but go talk to your neighbor.

Just find a way… Well, that’s why we used to have like church and community, and regardless of what it is, it was really just a way to as a group with a collective goal of just celebrating something together on a weekly basis or a monthly basis where you meet up with people, whether it’s a book group or whatever.

If it’s an online group, if there’s any kind of way to have an interaction which is separated from your day-to-day and it becomes that thing that you look forward to and it gets you to separate your mind from all the stuff that’s overwhelming you, which I always laugh. We chat about overwhelm and underwhelm, I’m like, “What is whelm? I want to get to a state of whelm.” I’m going to call that my next book is like the state of whelm? How to achieve normalcy.

Make it a bumper sticker, do it. I love it. Do it, do it for sure.

And I tell you, if you study some of this stuff too, it’s wild, it’s a harsh topic, but like people with drug addictions and stuff and this. They’re not chasing high, they’re chasing normal. And once you go off the edge, finding normal is one of the most difficult things to do and it’s this balance and imbalance problem that they’ve gotten. And ultimately, it leads to continuously chasing a state of where you’re swinging so hard and you can’t find it.

It’s surprising that the more and more people you read about and talk to on that subject is like, “Did you like getting high?” Is like, “No, I hated it. I just wanted to find normal and it was somewhere in between when I woke up and when I was off, really out of my head. I’m like somewhere in the middle was where I needed to be, but you can’t stop there.” And that’s where there’s a very interesting chasing of a state, which is difficult to recognize and calming apps and mindfulness as a practice is…

You’ll kill me too, but one of the most stressful things I find is trying to meditate. I’m like the worst person because me like, “Oh, just sit here for seven minutes. It’s going to…” But what it does, it at least it… so I don’t meditate, but I’m a distance cyclist and I do running just because it’s hard to bike everywhere you go.

And so the moment that I’m running, I’m immediately just like my mind just goes in a beautiful state like, ah, okay. And I start to think about things and I get very introspective and is very, very helpful. That’s my calm. I can’t sit with my legs crossed and try and levitate, but-

The thing is that you took the time to find what works for you. A lot of people think that yes, I should be here with my incense. And my kids, I shot video of my kids, they make this weird cow sound that they think that I make and they go [inaudible 01:16:38]. I don’t even make that sound, but they walk around, “Oh, that’s mum meditating again.”

There’s a lot of times though I’m literally just laying in bed, and I will just lay on top of sheets and I will just lay there. And there’s different types of meditation and I will tell you YouTube is great for that. You have lots of meditation music or just calming music. My kids listen to ocean music every night, my husband hates it, he wants a quiet, but I want my kids to listen to ocean music.

The thing is that you’ve found what works for you… Aa lot of people think, yeah, meditation. That’s why I say to do maybe just slow down and just become aware of what you’re doing. Walking’s great, you can on your lunch break go for a walk. And don’t take your phone, figure out a path, know how you’re going to get back to your house or your office, and then just pay attention to the wind, the leaves around you, your steps and you’ll be surprised how much of going back into our bodies and out of our heads, how much it clears our mind.

It really is all beautiful how it’s all connected in that way, and I will say with my anxiety and mindfulness has helped. And meditation has helped a ton to the point now I can meditate with my kids screaming in the other room because I know that my kids are okay because no one’s bleeding or whatever. And I’m not saying I’m sitting for like 20 minutes and ignoring them, but I could take a couple minutes and breathe in.

I do, I have a playlist, music therapy. Music is huge to me, so as far as getting me pumped up. So I have a morning playlist and I will put my ear buds in and it’ll get me going to go help this or then. Obviously, if my kids say something I’ll be like, “Okay, what is it?” But usually that’s after they leave to get me in this mindset. A lot of it I’ll admit it’s epic rock. It’s very much like very big and loud-

Nice.

… but it just makes so pumped up. Oh, my kids love queen and so we built our queen like no other in the car, so a lot of it’s that, and so we’re just in that moment. But then other thing too is that there’s so much positivity and well, I’m all for that. I feel like there’s forced positivity and that we have to identify all our emotions, know what they are, and to come to them without judgment.

This is where the self-compassion works, and really if you’re ever familiar with that, Dr. Kristin Neff is phenomenal and the center of self-compassion. I even have her workbook, but you can get it at the library, you can listen to her and it’s phenomenal about how much compassion we give to everyone else but ourselves.

And we have this like weird thought, well, I shouldn’t have that? Well, your brain is going to think weird shit.

That’s right, I got bad news. It just going to happen.

It’s just going to happen because of all the information that goes to our brain and our brain has to sort it out, and our brains are naturally the type that just like, “Oh this puzzle goes here,” and immediately wants to paint a picture, which is why we judge people right away because we want to figure things out. We’re essentially these little computers in a way in some aspects that just have a ball of complexity, of emotions on top of it.

We’re always trying to like, “Okay, well, this is why they did this and we’re always trying to solve something. And there’s such beauty in just being, just be and not trying to solve anything from it. Like for a minute, I’m not going to be a solver for the solution, but I’m just going to be here in my body and go for a run, I’m going to be in my body, I’m going to go kickbox, I’m going to be in my body, I’m just going to sit here and enjoy my burger and not think about anything else but enjoying this burger or whatever it may be.

Or it can be, I’m going to go talk to my neighbor, or I’m going to go talk to my coworker. And yes, it might be about some show that we have no interest in and they do, but I’m going to have the intention to just be there in that moment. And it’s interesting when we make those intentions and just take those little leaps, some really incredible things can happen. We figured out that solution or we just overall feel better.

There’ve been many times where I’ve been up in my head and then I will go up to get the mail and talk to my neighbor for about 10, 20 minutes, whatever it may be, and then come back and it’s like I feel better. One of the things I is because we’re made for connection as humans.

When I talk about in my self-care one-on-one course, I talk about spiritual self-care, and I actually put social underneath that because some people can be religious and then be spiritual. Some people are both, some people are spiritual and are religious, or they’re not religious, whatever it may be, but essentially we’re all here for connection.

And so talking about addiction, for me, addiction, I think it all comes down to the lack of connection. There’s a limiting belief there, whether it’s needing this need to feel loved or… because all comes back down to love and loving ourselves and being loved. And so they’re seeking that in some way. Their addiction is a coping mechanism for a limiting belief they have that they’re not good enough, or they don’t deserve love, or they don’t deserve connection because unfortunately a lot of our limiting beliefs were set, not set in stone, but they were pretty much set in our brains by the time were seven.

Zero to seven, most of those are already instilled, so you’re like, “Well crap, I’ve got all these limiting beliefs I’ve had since I was like five.” You can rewire it and do it, but just know it’s not going to happen in a day and it’s not going to… And here’s the thing, I feel like in a way, we’re all kind of addicts, we all have something, whether we are emotional eaters.

I was one of those that did the retail therapy, every time my husband pissed me off, I’d go to my Amazon wishlist and I buy a shirt. I totally did. And then when I became aware of that and I do it too now. We’ll get in a fight and I’m all like, “You know what? I’m going to go to my wishlist, but what I’m going to do is actually I have a separate list that’s actually… this is how I’m manifesting my book to be written that I’m working on about spiritual self-care is I will go look at outfits I want to wear on my book tour.

I will like, “Okay, well, I’m going to look on my vision board and other stuff and try to channel that. Earlier today I actually found myself relying on some old coping mechanisms. I posted a photo and all of a sudden I could feel myself getting excited of all the likes and follows on it. I’m like, “Ooh, I’ve got more followers and I got some more likes.” I’m like, Okay. There’s that limiting belief of looking to others for validation,” which I won’t get into, but which is instilled in my mother growing up because she’s that way.

She’s a people pleaser and a seeker, and so she instilled that in me, so that’s something I’m constantly working on is getting rid of the people pleaser in me, learning to say no and being respectful of boundaries and time and respecting myself in that way. But yeah, I was like, “Oh my gosh, I totally…” When my husband takes me out, I totally buy something under 10 bucks, so it flies under the radar and then it comes in when he’s not here usually, so he doesn’t even know I bought this new shirt or this new face mask I want to try or whatever it may be.

Because we all have some sort of coping mechanism that is unhealthy, and unfortunately those that are really, really relying on that addiction, whatever it may be, alcohol, food, drugs, I do, it’s like they’re all wanting to be loved. They’re all wanting… They don’t want to do what they’re doing-

It’s a validation regardless of what it is and-

Right.

Can be. And the interesting thing, especially when we talked about Gary Bishop, his discussions on these ones, he’s very frank on the approach to it, which is… Sometimes it’s kind of good as a bit of a punch in the face of like, yeah, you want more love from your parents? Well, No. No you know you’re not going to get it, but what do you actually want? Finding yourself.

And that’s why I’m a fan of stoicism as a practice of like… I call it shaving off the edges. Like let’s get closer to a center line, so if you get rid of the lows and you understand how to escape. Some stuff is out of your control, so therefore I shouldn’t get angered about the inability to… When something happens, it’s out of your control. You have to recognize and accept that it’s out of your control.

And then what do you do as a result of it? And that’s why it’s how you deal with it.

Right.

But at the same time, I also hate when somebody heaps praise because I’m like, “Ah, no, no, no, no, no.” Because I don’t want that. I’m like, “No, no, no, I…” Because that up means that I’ve got way farther to fall just to go to normal. Now I’ve got this plummet from this incredibly high feeling, so I do my best to actually stop people from saying good things because I don’t want this incredibly heaped on praise for stuff that…

I just want to be like, “Is it good? All right. Are you happy with that? Excellent. Thank you. I’m glad. That’s good. That’s all I need to hear. Thank you.” That is just cool, don’t go over and above that because-

That’s interesting.

… that means that I’ve now got this big thing. But then what’s funny, and I love this, Kristin, you probably have all these people and you tell them and you’re like, “This is how I deal with it.” And they must be like, “Oh, you’re like one of those people that like…” And like, “No.” When I talk about stoicism as a practice and why it’s good, people are like, “It’s so scientific and unemotional.” I’m like, “No. No, no, no. In fact, it’s the most emotionally rewarding thing you can do because you’re really recognizing when you’re on a swing and that you can pull yourself back to center.”

And it’s one of the most beautiful things, and that’s why when I cycle… When I run, I listen to music because it’s relatively safe, I have one earphone in. When I cycle, I have no headphones or no nothing. And people always ask me like, “What do you listen to when you ride?” I’m like, “The sound of my pedals turning and the rubber on the road. They’re like, “Well, don’t you get bored?”

I’m like, “Oh kid, if you could be in my head for six hours, trust me, boredom is not an issue.”

No, it’s not. Feel you on that. Absolutely. Yeah, I get it. People, they don’t understand how I can like, okay, so you’re working on this novel and you write 1,500 words a day, that’s your goal. And then you do this for whatever this time and this night, and they are just amazed.

I’m all like, “But if you just became aware of how much time you waste on social media or you waste in a phone call, or a conversation that’s going nowhere like if you’re in an argument or whatever and you just keep repeating yourself and you’re like, ‘okay,’ you know you need to take a break from that.” When you start to become aware of that stuff or you become aware of what clears your mind, it’s like you do become an addict to it.

I admit I’m addicted to when it comes to the mind, like when I found out that when they’re doing scans of people, the same part of the brain lights up and scans, whether it’s emotional pain or physical pain. Your brain does not know the difference pain is pain, which is why depression hurts, which is why anxiety the way where you feel like, oh my God, I’m dying, it’s because your brain doesn’t know the difference.

And so when I found that out, yeah I was the annoying person and I still preach about that. When people talk about their pain and it hurts, and I say, “Oh, it’s all in your mind.” And they get upset, I’m like, “No, there is science that says it really is all in your mind.” That is not to shame people, that’s to enlighten them and realize that how much power and how much they need to trust themselves and know what they know.

Like the idea of me cycling, that sounds terrible. That just sounds like-

Exactly.

But kickboxing to you, I love to kickbox and I’m smashing things and flipping tires. You’re probably thinking like, okay. Whatever you may think I’m a gym rat or whatever that may be.

But whatever it is, it’s finding that thing, and [inaudible 01:28:24] also my favorite one that people always asking me is like, “Oh, you’re like one of those fitness people.” I’m like, “You mean those people that don’t want to die in their 40s? Yeah, one of those ones.” I’m genetically destined for like serious bodily issues. I’m like living on borrowed time.

My dad had a near fatal heart attack in his early 40s. Thankfully he’s still alive today thanks to good medicine. However, I had to suddenly adjust my lifestyle early in life to be ready so that I didn’t let that occur, and it was both psychological and physical stuff.

And it’s wild the hard part, and I see this all the time too with especially weight management and health stuff, and mindfulness is you just, when you’re surrounding yourself with people, especially with social media because I’ve got a lot of friends who are like… my Twitter friends are my friends. I’ve got all these people that I meet at events and we’re in the same community all the time.

And you watch them in the throws of a really negative moment and you want to like sort of pull them out. And I’ve tried sometimes and there’s this weird an unfortunate acceptance of the fact that I can’t, and having to like, “Hey look, I’ve offered myself to be able to like, ‘Hey, man, that thread is getting a little crazy. You good? Is there anything I can help with or are you recommending?'”

And at some point sometimes you just like, “The best I can do is put myself in front of that person and say, ‘Hey, if you need help with something?'” Or can I distract them into something else that’s more positive? We all need a Mind Star, and so I’m excited by what we’ve got. I unfortunately have to get ready to catch a flight. Otherwise, I would literally spend the rest of the day talking with you, Kristin. This has been phenomenal.

Oh, well, good. I’m glad. I know I get on tangents and I talk fast, but I hope that that just lets people know that if I’m passionate about this that you can find something you’re just as passionate about that you’re going to ramble on about and you will take risk for and do things for. People hate when you say the power of mindset, but when you start doing work on yourself, you’ll be amazed. I almost surprise myself like every day like wow, I literally just did that.

Put this way, Deepak Chopra came here and I was actually able at random actually for the university able to go hear him speak, front row.

Wow. Very good.

My friend had an extra ticket. Mind Star, so we have got some national attention. We went to the Forbes Under 30 Summit and we were invited to come as an exhibitor, which you have to apply for then they interview you, so I was pretty excited that we got to go. I was getting ready for that, I just came home from another conference in Nebraska, I got three days to prep for my think in Detroit. My friend calls me and says, “I have an extra ticket to Deepak Chopra tonight.” I’m like, “I didn’t know who was in town. He’s on my bucket list to meet.”

And so front row, I got to do that, and I got to be… he was right there in front of me and he led a meditation at the end, so I crossed that off my bucket list.

Nice.

And then I had the tenacity to give him my business card. I went and had the book because he gave his book, Metahuman and you could do a signing. And I thought, oh my God, I mean I was. I thought I was dying. The anxiety was there, I could feel it all in my body like okay, this is clearly anxiety because I’m about to give somebody who has a lot of connections and maybe he’ll look at my card and maybe he’ll throw it away.

But here’s this opportunity and I have to take this risk even though I feel the fear and I can definitely feel my breath and taking that risk. So I hope people listen to this and realize that they can take some risks, they need to start taking more risks. Life is not meant to be mediocre, you only have one, we’re meant to take risk.

Responsible risk obviously, and we need to take that into consideration. But I did, I gave him my business card, my friend took a photo and after I was like, “I just surprised the hell out of myself. I cannot believe I had the tenacity to have him sign it.” I had like 10 second pitch, and he took my business card and put it in his pocket like-

Nice.

Does that happen? And I’m thinking, Kristin, if you can do that, if you can basically pitch to Deepak Chopra, which he was not I’m sure anticipating. He’s like, “Who is this crazy lady?” I’m sure. I look at her like, who does she think she is? Little does he know. And so, I hope people take out of this that they’re not alone, that there are people out there trying to do good things.

Yes, there’s the money aspect of this, but I won’t get into that. The app essentially going to be free, and then how we make this profitable is our healthcare marketplace. We’re having healthcare professionals essentially advertise their services on the list so people can find healthcare professionals easier. So they want to take their self-care to the next level, there’s actually a healthcare marketplace there for them.

We want to keep this free and we want this for people to know that they deserve to be celebrated and that all minds deserve that no matter whatever state. And we’re all essentially one mind and it’s our mental health, and when we come at that, that’s when we can really make some change and we can start saving lives because self-care is how you save life. Because at the end of the day, we want it or not, it’s how we take care of ourselves.

We need have full responsibility of how we treat ourselves and how we treat others. And so I hope people get that out of this conversation that we’ve had, that they realize that they can take some risk and that they deserve to take risks for their dreams. They deserve it, they’re worthy of it.

They are. And thank you for sharing this, and thank you for all your you’re doing. And one day when you’re on stage and Deepak Chopra is the second keynote, he’s going to say, “Wait a minute, I remember you. You gave me your business card.”

Lady that gave… You’re the crazy lady. Yeah, that is me. That is that-

The moment will come for you, I can assure you that, Kristin, and it’s earned and deserved. How do folks get ahold of you if they want to reach out? Obviously, we talked about the website. I’ll put the links in the show notes as well, so if they want to make sure they go, they can go to mindstarapp.com. We’ve got lots of good stuff that’s to coming up.

If they want to reach out on social or contact, what’s the best way for folks to get ahold of you?

Okay. I am an open book. I’m actually going to give one of my emails. I have several emails, but this is an email that’s actually great if people have questions, if they want to talk a little bit more, if they’re interested and they’re crazy enough to make me their coach in self-care and they want to work on their limiting beliefs, or even they want a suggestion for a good book.

I’m always about doing what I can to give back, because when you give back I believe it comes back to you tenfold. On social media, Facebook and Instagram. It’s at Mind Star App. Of course, the website is mindstarapp.com. You can sign up for a weekly newsletter there and that can go right into your inbox.

If you want to shoot me a little more personal question, which I understand, mindstarhealth@gmail is actually a good email that you can actually reach me directly and you won’t have to really go through a whole lot of people to get to me with that email. That’s another one of my business cards put that way. So that’s a good one.

If you feel inclined to reach out, if I’ve inspired you, if you want just an idea of a good book, or you want to get started on this and you don’t know where to start, I can surely help guide people in the right direction. I don’t know it all. I’m not saying that at all. I really hate the word I’m saying that I’m an expert in a thing of this nature. I just know I have enough knowledge that I can help people to make themselves start feeling better because we all deserve to feel good.

Well, thank you. You are an inspiration and I wish you all the best. We will be getting in touch, we will stay in touch as we go through this and we watch the next part of the journey, and most importantly tell people, “Take your damn vitamins. Go get that going.” If there’s not a gummy vitamin somewhere in this app, I’m going to be angry, Kristin.

I’m coming for this, somewhere in there, that top lower word, it better be a gummy vitamin because-

Maybe I need to get a vitamin company to sponsor or [inaudible 01:37:07] an offer like a coupon or something like that essentially on the incentive side and get that-

We should.

I should get a gummy company now to be on the pp.

Next on the to do list. Excellent. Well, thank you very much for taking the time and of course for folks that want to keep in touch, you can go to discopossepodcast.com. We’re actually ramping up the site. I’ve just moved stuff over, of course, it’s on my blog. But please do go into iTunes and give us a rating and a review. Every star rating is a bonus. If you like it, five glorious stars is great, if you don’t, be honest and please do reach out.

You can always find me, I’m on Twitter, I’m @discoposse. DMS are open, so if you want to slide up into DMS, I welcome all feedback. Kristin, thank you very much for spending the time and looking forward to seeing what’s coming up next for you and the team.

Thank you so much, Eric. I really appreciate this time. Thank you.

Photo by Med Badr Chemmaoui on Unsplash

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