Being Different is Your Strength

Krista Mollion is a life coach, content creator, marketing strategist, founder of multiple projects to help women lead better businesses, a mom of 4 and an inspirational woman to follow.

MM: Tell us a little bit about yourself and what matters to you right now. 

I have a background in product marketing and I worked in tech in Silicon Valley for 18 years. I am very passionate about building strong brands. I’ve always loved working in tech and that made me very analytical and vision-driven, but I struggled a lot with executive burnout, perfectionism, and a lot of guilt.

In your 20s, you are still kind of going with the flow and you have the luxury of time. If you mess up something and if it doesn’t work out, you’ll be fine. Whereas in your 30s, you are making major life decisions, such as getting married, having children, relocating for work, or giving up your career to relocate for your partner’s career. Financial issues become more serious like talking about signing off on mortgages. It’s just mind blowing that there are so many major life decisions that happen in your 30s.

I found that my 30s were the toughest time. I ended up really burned out and kind of lost my way. I was the person who other people always looked towards for answers, the one who was very outwardly extroverted — I’m a natural leader. I’ll come in and try to help out and take charge. I really enjoy working with people so it was hard for me to say, “Hey! I need some help, who do I go to?” I went to a shrink, I went to a shaman, I went on a silent retreat, I traveled a lot. I did all of these things to try to deal with that void of being burned out and of wondering why am I doing all of this anymore. I was just so tired of it.

So I wrote a book about my experiences, and I turned that into a method that I call the SASSY Method. SASSY stands for “Seriously Authentic Smart Self-Confident You.” I mapped out what I really want in my life, my mission statement if you will, what I refer to as my North Star, I revisited the values that I had grown up with, and decided some of them weren’t really my values. Some of them had been imposed on me from an early age by my family, by society and by the media. I had just assumed that these were the keys to my happiness.  

When I was a kid, I was told, “stop your sass,”  and “be quiet, and do what you’re told, and “we don’t need your ideas here.” But I believe you can flip your flaws, so I think my sassiness is exactly what makes me, me. When I looked it up in the dictionary, it said “sassy” was someone who was bold, and a little bit cheeky and I thought that sounded a lot like me. I’m very direct and outspoken, and a no-BS type of person. I have a huge heart, but if you want me to sugarcoat things, that probably won’t happen because I don’t want to waste your time. 

Right now I am doing one-on-one coaching, but have delayed publishing my book to build momentum and to build my brand. I am already working with people on my program which is a 12 to 27 week modular program called The SASSY Method. You can graduate from that and go on to SASSY Method 2.0. I want to encourage support and accountability and I plan to do annual retreats and workshops about my method in different cities. But I won’t do that until my book is released. That is the big picture.

MM: What do you think about work culture in California and specifically in Bay Area? Is there a work-life balance?

I don’t believe in separating career from personal and I don’t believe in work/life balance; I think it’s a myth. I think that we should try to integrate our work into our life. I like to call it work/life layering. I’ve been the one having a major conference call with toddlers playing at my feet and a crying baby in the other room, trying to keep the door closed so no one knows. I built a method that is a 360 degree solution for women that covers different areas. 

We need to integrate our jobs into our lives, not the other way around. I recently read an article called “The Future of Work” where it said the 9 to 5 job is going to die. I honestly believe the 9 to 5 job is overrated. Work is becoming more and more global, which means different time zones, different team members. I want to hire where the talent is, so I don’t care where you are based. If you want to relocate, that’s cool, but if you don’t, let’s figure out if we can work something out. I like to teach time blocking techniques. For instance, I try to do all of my podcast interviews on Fridays. I’ve got a 5 hour period blocked out in my schedule called “Podcast,” where I deal with my editor, and I deal with soundbites and promo videos. It’s when I schedule and do interviews, and respond to people I’m talking about doing interviews with.

I also want to say that the health and wellness industry is not only not regulated, but there are so many people selling snake-oil in that industry, and a lot of them are playing on your emotions and self-worth. I don’t think you can disconnect mind and body. I want to take the stress out of your life. I want to help build your time management skills and productivity. Most importantly, I want to help you carve out time for self-care. I advocate for self-care all of the time, at every stage of my program. If women aren’t willing to put in the work, I might take them out of the program. That’s how strongly I feel about wellness. I don’t think you can be your best in your relationships, in your career, in your personal life, or in your parenting if you are not taking care of your own wellness.

MM: What are your goals in business for the next year or two? 

Right now, I would love to have a TED Talk so I can get my words out there about women. I want the Age of the Misfits to be celebrated. My mission is to be out there saying, “you’re okay just how you are.” In fact, in a sea of conformity, being different is actually your strength. Don’t hide it! Embrace it and be proud of yourself. Own your individuality and don’t try to conform to other people.

Going international is another goal of mine. I speak 5 languages. My dad is a nomad so we lived in a lot of countries when I was growing up and that made me very open-minded. I feel strongly about not staying in my “bubble.” I want to go out and travel and build awareness and be that voice.

I want my book to replace some of the popular self help books currently found on the best sellers lists. I think they are unhealthy and focus on too much on perfectionism and on telling women to do things a certain way.  Perfectionism fuels the guilt which fuels low self esteem. I want to focus on and build on what works for you, not someone else’s idea of what they think you should do. And I want women to know that it’s okay not to be perfect.  My philosophy in life is “Done is better than perfect.”

One of the healing steps in my program is to write a letter of apology to yourself. This letter is overdue. It’s about apologizing for being mean to yourself and for talking crap from people you shouldn’t have. I think we all need to apologize to ourselves. 

Another thing I’m working right now is using my podcast to reach out and build relationships with influential women who could actually sponsor me, like Mel Robbins. I don’t think I’m going to get to Oprah, I’m too intimidated! Oprah’s like a goddess —how do I reach out to Oprah?

I’m trying to get to people who are powerful women to be reckoned with. I want to share my message with them and hopefully get more traffic towards my book. And I hope to have my book mentioned in some publications online. That would be my dream.

MM: You talk about self-care. What self care means for you?

First and foremost, I want to figure out my natural flow in my life. What I mean is my energy flow. I ask all of my clients to start out by keeping a little time journal to figure out when they feel their peak energy. Some people are very aware of it, and they already know if they are a morning person or a night owl. Other people need to keep a few days of observation to see when they feel really energetic and when they feel lethargic. Few people feel energetic in the mid-afternoon. That’s the dip for most people.  Besides that, most of us have an individual inner clock. It’s either active in the morning or at night. Once you identify your inner clock, it’s very important as self care to adjust your sleep schedule and work schedule according to your inner clock. If you are best at night, then you are going to be able to stay up later and sleep in. I give you permission to do so! Once you’ve identified which are your best hours where you get the most work done, you are going to be really productive because your energy is so high. 

I keep the other hours for what I call housekeeping: answering emails or dealing with billing, stuff that doesn’t involve a lot of mental capacity and definitely not a lot of creative juice. So I have creative hours and housekeeping hours. Once you’ve got those two things sorted out, then you have all of this extra time for self care. You can build in your workouts, nature walks, gratitude prayers, whatever you need that works for you. I tell people to create a ”Happy List,” which is a list of people, places and things that make you happy. For me, nature is a big healer. I think animals help, too. There is something very therapeutic about animals. A dog or a cat can be so soothing. That’s all self care to me. 

You can put your Happy List on a Pinterest board and you can look at whenever you are struggling. It can change your mood just like that.  

MM: How would you describe a routine day in your life?

Morning are really important to me because I am a morning person. Since my teens, I’ve always woken up earlier than everyone else. I just love the stillness before the dawn. The energy level is very low, because most people are asleep. You feel nature, you don’t feel all of the voices and people and spirits out there. They are all dormant. 

My day always starts as early as possible. I never use an alarm clock. I don’t believe in it. I tell myself when I need to wake up. I have been training myself that way for a long time so it works. I like to get up naturally, do my gratitude prayer, and do a little bit of mat work on my yoga mat. Then I read, journal, and drink my coffee and just enjoy it. Sometimes I go on an early morning walk around my neighborhood. My creativity is so high in the morning that I try to get to my desk by 6:00 to start writing. I block 6:00 to 9:00 as my creative time. 

From 9:00 to11:00, I have meetings, and talk to people. I have a beach nearby that is an 8-mile walk, so I’ll go there with my airpods and walk while I talk to people. I don’t usually go the whole way. I sit mainly only for podcasts and conferences, but if it’s a coaching call, I walk. I encourage others to as well. I encourage people to go to a beautiful spot. If you can get to that place, and if there is enough privacy, then let’s talk there. Movement creates endorphins. I also have a Peloton spinning bike, a fancy tech bike. Sometimes I’ll do a workout while talking to people.

Then I have my lunch, which I have almost every day at home. I usually just have a huge salad and some protein. I don’t follow any sort of diet except the whole foods diet. Mostly I try to shop at my local farmers market and I have a really good butcher that has sustainable products. More plants than protein is my rule of thumb.

In the afternoon, I am usually done working by 3:00. I like to spend a lot of time with my kids. My older 3 kids are very independent. The baby is in pre-school, and her dad brings her there in the morning so I can keep working. By 3:00 everyone starts trickling back in the house, so I like to hang out with the kids and catch up with them. Maybe in the afternoon, I’ll do a yoga class or meet up with people for coffee or wine. 

Between 5:00 and 6:00 I am usually making dinner with the kids. We usually eat between 6:00 and 7:00 at home, and then I like to go for a walk after dinner, before dark, especially during sunset. 

Then I like to read a lot. I try to read in the morning, especially because I interview a lot of authors on my podcast. At night I usually read stuff that’s more mellow, no business books at night. I also use this amazing app called Calm. It tells little stories, and it’s got soothing music.  It’s like storytime for adults. Sometimes I’ll listen to that, or a podcast. I try to go to bed by 10:00 but I don’t always sleep right away. I usually naturally sleep about 4-5 hours. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve tried to sleep more because my health coach says it’s bad, and it will catch up with me. 

MM: Tell us one fact that very few people know about you, but you think is fun and highlights your personality.

I think for me, it’s my fearlessness. Throughout my life there have been a lot of humorous situations where I’ve faked my way into things. I just did that at Disneyland. Someone told me that selfie sticks weren’t allowed. And I thought “oh shoot, my hotel is far away, and actually this is a tripod that just kind of looks like a selfie stick, what am I going to do with this?” I just looked very authoritative and said, “It has been pre-approved!” 

My teenage son was shocked and said “How did you get away with that? They just told you that it was forbidden and you have to go back to the hotel!” And I told him that sometimes it’s all in the attitude. I’ve gone to negotiations where I have a stern look on my face, and have a clipboard and people assumed that I was a lawyer. I’m not going to correct that! It’s really fun!  

MM: Any final thoughts to wrap up?

In health, we tend to follow cookie cutter programs, and I don’t want to be up there preaching that this one way is the right way to live. My program is about self-coaching. I’m trying to teach you how to be more self aware, more mindful. I’ll give you practical tips, like time management, but I don’t want to be the ultimate voice dictating how to live. I want to take away that guilt and help you design your life for you, not for me.

I want to create a long lasting movement where people feel better about who they really are, and don’t go around trying to be someone they are not.  It’s all about owning yourself, your real self.

Krista can be reached through her website, her projects, SASSY Method FB page, her Linkedin, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube accounts.

Image Credit: Eli Zaturanski

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