Athleta x She Rocked It: How to Balance Career & Self-Care

She Rocked It is proud to present the first podcast ever recorded in an Athleta store location! Athleta is known for versatile, premium apparel designed by women for women, as well as their empowering, inclusive #PowerofShe platform that supports women and girls in realizing their limitless potential. Recorded at Athleta in Jenkintown, PA, this moving and illuminating conversation explores the balance between career and self-care – with lots of real talk, insights, and tips from rockstar entrepreneurs based in the Philadelphia area. Hosted by She Rocked It founder Karen Gross, the panel includes Dr. Robin Smith, #1 bestselling author, licensed psychologist, and host of The Dr. Robin Show on SiriusXM; Christa Barfield, founder of FarmerJawn and Viva Leaf Tea Company; Gabrielle Sellei, attorney for creative entrepreneurs and founder of Sellei Law; Jean Brillman, founder of White Horse Coffee; and Rachel Rainbow, somatic therapist and co-founder/co-CEO of Rise Gatherings. Plus, you’ll hear from special guest Grace Duong of Mystic Mondays, who shares a collective tarot card celebrating the power of community. No doubt you’ll be inspired by this electrifying episode filled with wisdom and woman-power energy!

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In this episode you’ll hear:

  • [5:23] How five women entrepreneurs boldly followed their callings – including some major career pivots
  • [24:21] How to find the courage to launch a heart-centered career, and why it’s key to trust your inner voice 
  • [34:11] Real talk from women business owners on how to bake self-care into your daily life, and why it’s important to raise your voice for the self-care that fills your cup
  • [49:20] Audience members share what self-care looks like for them
  • [52:15] Special guest Grace Duong of Mystic Mondays shares a collective tarot card reading
  • [54:59] One top tip to rock it from each panelist

Links from this episode:

She Rocked It is a media and mentorship platform where creative, courageous women rock it together. We are eager to learn from, listen to, and lift one another up — driven by the belief that women’s voices are essential. On our podcast and Instagram Live interview series, She Rocked It host/founder and creative entrepreneur Karen Gross gets trailblazing women leaders, creatives, and entrepreneurs to reveal how they rock it – and their insights may surprise you. Their behind-the-scenes stories, best-kept secrets to success, and actionable tips are sure to inspire the rockstar in all of us! 

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Transcript

INTRO: Hey, Rockstar. Thanks for tuning into the She Rocked It podcast. I’m your host, Karen Gross, and I am so excited to introduce this episode, which is presented by She Rocked It in partnership with Athleta. Yes, the awesome clothing store that is focused on the power of she. #powerofshe 

And if you’re familiar with Athleta, you know that their clothing rocks. And you also hopefully know that they are genuinely committed to community, to empowerment, to body positivity, and to elevating women and girls to reach their limitless potential. They’re also, by the way, a certified B Corporation, meaning that they use business as a force for good for people and the planet. So for all these reasons, She Rocked It could not be more proud to partner with Athleta. 

And we decided to focus on a really important topic in this conversation. We’re focusing on the balance between career and self-care. Not always an easy thing to balance right? And here’s something super, super exciting. This conversation that you are about to hear is the first podcast ever to be recorded in an Athleta store location. Yes, so excited. And we recorded this in the Jenkintown store, which is about 30 minutes outside of Philadelphia. You’ll hear from some of the amazing women entrepreneurs in this community. You’ll hear from Dr. Robin Smith, who is a number one New York Times bestselling author. She’s a licensed psychologist. She’s the host of the Dr. Robin show on Sirius XM and you may remember her from her many years on The Oprah Winfrey Show. Jean Brillman is the founder of White Horse Coffee, which is really focused on sustainability. Gabrielle Sellei is an attorney and the founder of her own law firm Sellei Law. Christa Barfield is the founder of Farmer Jawn and Viva Leaf Tea Company. And last but not least, Rachel Rainbow is a somatic therapist and the co-founder and co-CEO of Rise Gatherings. 

So before we dive in, two other quick things: yes, if you’re watching this on YouTube, I am rocking an Athleta outfit. Number two, I want you to ponder this question: on a scale of one to ten, how would you rate yourself in terms of incorporating self-care into your daily life, with 10 being the best. And don’t be too hard on yourself. We’re gonna think about this a little more. And I just want you to be ready. So without further ado, let’s dive into this meaningful conversation. 

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT: Give it up if you’re excited to get started tonight. Wow, I can’t quite believe this night is here. It feels like it’s been a long time coming. And I am so, so honored to welcome you all here to Athleta in Jenkintown with this incredible panel. And I’m Karen Gross. I am the host and founder of She Rocked It, it is so amazing to have you all here in the house. You’re ready for some self love energy tonight? 

We’re so excited to have a live event here, here in Athleta, in partnership with  Athleta Jenkintown. And before I go any further, I have to thank the team from Athleta Jenkintown for having us tonight. Give it up for Alison Roberts and Erin Drain and the team. We could not have asked for better partners on this event. I also want to thank Martha and Ana, from the corporate office of Athleta for really being so supportive of this event. And everyone from Athleta has been amazing to work with. And I actually was already a fan of Athleta before this. Also, I’m a fan of other parts of the Gap brand family like Banana Republic and Old Navy, so couldn’t be more excited. Athleta is a really special brand because they’re focused on the Power of She, so She Rocked It and the Power of She feels like a beautiful match. 

We are making history tonight, because this is the first podcast that has ever been recorded inside of an Athleta location. So give it up for all of you for being part of this. And I want to say a big thanks to the PhillyCam team for making that possible. So without further ado, let me introduce Allisson so she can say a few words about Athleta. give it up for Alison Roberts.

ALISON ROBERTS // ATHLETA JENKINTOWN:  Hello. On behalf of everyone from Athleta Jenkintown, I just want to welcome you into our store. You know, like Karen said, it’s the very first podcast done inside an Athleta, and we’re so excited. I know Karen from my days in theater. I’m also a costume designer and she did marketing. So we have known each other for years. We’ve been talking about this event for about six months now. And we couldn’t be more excited about the women we have for our panel, and I can’t wait to hear about the conversation. And when it’s all over, please stay and shop our new holiday collection featuring another lady who rocks.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT: Alicia Keys is in the house! That just happened. We didn’t plan for the chickies to be here but literally her face is everywhere. She is She Rocked It incarnate. So with that said, I’m going to look at these Rock Stars over here to my left and ask them to spend about three minutes each describing a little bit about what they do. And if you all wouldn’t mind, maybe you could share where on that spectrum of one to ten you fall, and how successful you are at incorporating self-care. So we’ll start with Jean.

JEAN BRILLMAN // WHITE HORSE COFFEE & SUSTAINABLE MARKETPLACE: I’m Jean Brillman, and I own White Horse Coffee Roasters and Sustainable Marketplace, and the White Horse Coffee and Creamery in Jenkintown. I have a very eclectic past, I actually was a teacher originally. And before that, I was a full-time horse trainer. And that’s where the piece of the White Horse comes from, I was a competitive horseback rider and a full-time professional trainer. And then I became a teacher. And then after being a teacher for a while, I decided that I had always had that kind of entrepreneurial spirit. And being a teacher. I mean, you work. They are incredible human beings because you work nonstop. But I just wanted to see more of- I wanted more control over what I did. I wanted to be able to create things, because I have a creative side. So yeah, I decided that I wanted to become an entrepreneur and do something. So while I was still doing some horse training on the side, I came up with the idea for White Horse, and we started with a truck in 2017. It was a coffee and ice cream truck that we would take to horse shows while I was training, and my husband would bring the truck. We did events, we did all different sorts of things. And then we opened our roastery and sustainable marketplace because during the pandemic I was interested in roasting and started that, but I was also really, really got into sustainability and learning about climate change, and organic, and what we can do to have healthier bodies and a healthier planet. So that led me to open the roastery with the combo of the sustainable marketplace in it. So that’s kind of where we’re at now.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Give Jean a round of applause, what an amazing journey!

RACHEL RAINBOW // RISE GATHERINGS: Does she want to share where she is on the scale?

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT: We gotta get your number.

JEAN BRILLMAN // WHITE HORSE COFFEE & SUSTAINABLE MARKETPLACE: My scale of one to ten. It was kind of funny, because when I heard the topic for this panel, I was like, why do they want me? Like I am bad at this. I am like a workaholic, crazy lady, you know. So, I would say I’m probably like a three. It’s a hard journey for me, but I love this conversation because it really kinda makes even me focus more on “What am I doing? What should I be doing?” You know?

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Totally, I think we’re all kind of selfishly looking for the answers, even if we’re on the panel. Yeah. What’s everyone gonna say, including the audience? We are going to have time for questions and comments at the end. So I hope you all will share as well. So Rachel, take it away.

RACHEL RAINBOW // RISE GATHERINGS: All right. Hi, y’all. I’m so happy to be here with you this evening. My name is Rachel Rainbow, I’m one of the co-founders of Rise Gatherings. We create retreat experiences for women to take a break from their everyday routines, and to reconnect with themselves, with a diverse community of women, and with nature. And we are really built on and continue to build on the foundation of- that coming together with women is essential for our health and well-being. And when we’re able to gather in that way and pause from the daily demands, and to share our voices and our stories with one another and deeply listen to each other, we can learn all the ways in which we are the same. And also celebrate that and celebrate the ways in which we’re different and unique.

And so that’s half my work. And the other half, although they coexist and intersect, is that I’m a somatic therapist. So I help people heal chronic conditions in their bodies by cultivating relationships and maybe reestablishing a relationship with your body as your source of wisdom. Because it has lived your whole life. So it is really the thing that knows most what you need in order to establish a sense of harmony within. And it’s always working hard for you in that way anyway. 

So I love doing that. I love doing the work that I do. It’s my pleasure to share more about it with you tonight. And myself. And I love nothing more than to just be in spaces with women and to connect. So I’m just happy to be here. My self-care scale is sliding all the time.

Yeah. I feel like that about many things that you know, we are on a sliding spectrum of many things. So I’ll put my self-care there too. And, yeah, right now I’m at about a five. It’s about a five right now. Yeah, and actually, I think it might be a little more than a five because right now I’m all about rest. And that’s been like the main thing for self-care for me, has been the more I rest, the more I can like, regenerate. So alright, so I’m gonna give myself a six.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  I love it, I want to come back to that. Give her a round of applause. Come back to that rest idea. Great. All right, Christa.

CHRISTA BARFIELD // FARMER JAWN AGRICULTURE: All right. Yeah. Christa Barfield, founder of Farmer Jawn Agriculture. I worked in health care for 10 years. My degree is in healthcare administration. I’m a Philadelphian. Uptown, Germantown if we’re in the house, okay, I knew it. I knew it. And yeah, I had an amazing career. I worked my way up from being a unit clerk on a maternity ward in a major hospital in Philly, all the way up to running one of the top ophthalmologic practices in the world. And was really burnt out when I got into that position. And now realize after working in it for some time, and having staff under me and having doctors expectations over me that, that middle management wasn’t for me. And I didn’t have any intention on being an entrepreneur. But I knew that I needed some rest in that moment. So I actually walked into work on January 2nd of 2018 and read an email from my boss, and I resigned in that moment. Just like that.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT: I feel like people wanted to clap.

CHRISTA BARFIELD // FARMER JAWN AGRICULTURE: Everyone thought I was nuts, everyone thought I was crazy. It was just like, I’m not spending any time with my children. I’m mad all the time when I’m at home. I’m not doing the activities that I used to do. I have no energy for self, or for my family and people that depend on me. So I just decided to quit, and didn’t know what my next steps were going to be. 

Also hadn’t touched soil ever in my life. And so the story is- the quick story is that I literally finally took my very first vacation on the 22nd of January of that same year. It’s the first time I went out of the country, my very first passport stamp. And I decided to take this trip alone. So people really thought I was nuts. I went to Martinique, because it’s a Francophone country, and I grew up speaking French. And I went and saw Black farmers, and I realized that I could create something that- take something that was such a tragedy in America, as far as farming history goes, and make it something beautiful here in my own region. So that’s what I’ve created. Thank you.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT: Thank you for sharing that journey. I feel like there were so many bold moments of self-care in your story. We’re gonna come back to that.

CHRISTA BARFIELD // FARMER JAWN AGRICULTURE: Yeah, I’m on level six right now. So I’ll just leave it there.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  You and Rachel are tied. Dr. Robin, so happy to have you. These two women at the end, I have to say that I have the honor of working with these two women. So it’s great to actually be able to share this with them. We’ll talk more about our connection. But it’s just so great to have you.

DR. ROBIN SMITH: It’s so good to be here and be next to Gabrielle, who is my attorney. So I’m well prepared right now.

GABRIELLE SELLEI / SELLEI LAW: I’m not here in that capacity right now.

DR. ROBIN SMITH:  You’re always in that capacity when I’m next to you. But my friend, Karen as well. And I’m so grateful for the panel. And Alison, where are you? There she is. I have to tell this, and then I’ll quickly tell about me.

I was here in the store for the first time, and I looked on the board back there. Hopefully you guys have been to see- all kinds of cards and rich places that women are sharing their gifts. And I see this card back there, and it says She Rocked It. I didn’t have my phone on me. It was my first time- my second time in an Athleta store, but within the same day. I had been in Center City and then I came here because they had something that I wanted. And this is an Athleta top. So I came, I met Alison but I said, I have to go to my car and get my phone. I need to take a picture of something. And I said I know someone whose card is there. Then she says, Well who is that? I said, Karen Gross. I mean she said, Karen and I have been talking. So I go to my car, I get the phone, I take a picture and I said, Hey, you Rock It! I mean, you’re everywhere! But I say that because Athleta is a very special place. It is a special store. It’s a special brand. And so is She Rocked It. So I’m really grateful to be here with you tonight, and with the women who are here. 

I am a psychologist by training. I’m also an ordained minister. A lot of people don’t know that about me, as well. What I do for a living- I’m not really in private practice anymore. I had a private practice in Center City for a long time, for many years. But what I really do- I mean, people know I’ve been on television. I was a doctor on Oprah, I was on radio five days a week on Sirius XM, I’m back on Sirius XM now. The Dr. Robin Show is back. It’s on Sundays, at 11am on the east [coast], on Channel 126. And there’s a lot of good stuff that’s happening, but let me tell you what I do and why I do it. 

I really help people take the stuff that is messed up in our hearts, and our lives, and our relationships. The places that we are broken, where our dreams are broken, our hearts are broken, our aspirations are broken. And I help people take that which is broken and convert it, what I say, into usable currency. Which means that the things that we think are discardable actually are often our flotation devices back to the life that we want to live, the life that we are worthy of living. And so I have a prescription: wake up, show up, grow up, rise up. That came out of my own adversity and learning how to transform hardship and adversity into purpose and power. And the reason that’s so important for all of us, but in particular for women, is we are the ones who carry. We don’t just carry ourselves, but we carry so many other people, and so many other situations. And we can feel as if somehow, the things that have not worked out have been wasted. And so it’s really great news to realize that the things that didn’t work out can go into what I call a meat grinder and become again usable currency for something magnificent in your life, and in your heart, and in your relationships. 

In terms of self-care, I’ve been working on a book for years. And I always say that I have several books that have done well, and that I have to always live something before I can write about it. I wonder like- other people don’t necessarily have that. I mean, they can write about kindness and still be living with a lot of rage. I kind of have to work stuff out first. Which means that if I’m writing about self-care, I had to figure out how to do it myself first. And I was a caregiver for my mother for a long time. I’m a native of Philadelphia as well. So self-care was, and it is a sliding- you know, we talk about a sliding scale. But yeah, I do too. I mean, I think it’s dangerous to say like, I’m this. I’m this in this moment. So in this moment, I’m a seven or an eight. That’s not always the case. But in this moment, I am making really good decisions that are not necessarily pleasing other people. But I’m making really good choices about rest, and joy, how to use my time and energy. So anyway, I’m really happy to be here with you.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Give it up for Dr. Robin.

DR. ROBIN SMITH: Absolutely. Absolutely. 

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  And Gabrielle Sillei.

GABRIELLE SELLEI / SELLEI LAW:  Hi, everyone. I’m Gabrielle Sellei. I am the founder of Sellei Law. I like to describe it as the smallest law firm in the world with the happiest clients in the world. I work with entrepreneurs and creative people. And my favorite, favorite kind of client is both an entrepreneur and a creative person. And that is where I sort of focus on my practice. It’s amazing, in part because I think that anything done at its highest level is a creative enterprise in and of itself. I mean, there’s a million people who can draft an agreement and there’s a million people who can like, you know, do an Excel spreadsheet but when you’ve got a client in front of you presenting a problem or a situation or an issue like the real, the good lawyers figure out, you know, a way to solve the problem, and it’s a very creative endeavor. So I feel like I mirror my clients in that regard and it’s- it’s amazing. What else am I supposed to be talking about?

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  I actually just want to say that I met Gabrielle, when we went to the same, well, eventually I went to the same college. She did my college admission when she was still working at, like, a big Philadelphia law firm. Getting very buttoned up, dressed up, every day on Market Street, right? But you went out and started your own firm?

GABRIELLE SELLEI / SELLEI LAW: Yeah, I did. I did. So I don’t know. I mean, I think we’re gonna be talking about that a little later. But, yes, so I launched my own practice about a little over seven years ago. It was very clear to me, even back way back then, when I first met Karen, in that giant-sized skyscraper on Market Street that, you know, I loved the learning. And I loved working with all the brilliant lawyers downtown who were doing this 24/7. But I knew almost from day one that, you know, my journey was going to be more to the kind of practice I have right now. And that involves, of course, a lot of flexibility, which is why I think I have something to add to this conversation, after all.

On the sliding scale, I would say, theoretically, I’m like a 10+. Because- I will talk about this, I bake a lot of self-care into my day. And that’s one of the great things about being an entrepreneur, truly, is that you can, you know? I had this little epiphany. Last week, I was on vacation. True vacation, like, barely- no work. And I was running around, like, running, running, running, running from museum to event to show to yadadadada. And I had this sort of, like, moment where I thought, you know, I have this life, this work life, this regular day-to-day life that I don’t need to run away from and collapse on a beach. Because the self-care is baked into my day to day to day living. So it didn’t feel like Oh, I’m like, killing myself here. It was just like, vacation to me is not like, I need to go lie on a beach for a week. It’s like, I get to just go do something else. And this idea that we need to, and I know we’re talking about rest, but the idea that we need to rest so that we can be more productive for like, our corporate overlords is like a really bad, bad concept. Right? We should rest or do whatever it is that rejuvenates us, just because it’s a good in and of itself. So that was my big, my big takeaway from my vacation.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  That’s amazing. Thank you all. I just want to point out really quick. It always sort of stuns me the power of the women’s network, the network of women and how we connect with one another. So as Alison mentioned, this all happened because we worked together 20 years ago, almost, at the Arden Theatre Company. I was the publicist, she was costume designer. And then you know, I met Robin, Dr. Robin, through Gabrielle. And Christa was connected through Rockstar Maria from the She Rocked It team. And then Jean and Rachel from Alison’s network. So I just want to take a moment to acknowledge this is what women do, we connect with one another. 

And also in the house, my whole physical therapy team from NovaCare, I’m getting my shoulder rehabbed, is in the house. Julia, my physical therapist, is here. So it’s just so beautiful [indecipherable]. So I just- I just have to take a moment to acknowledge that, because that’s how it works. And that we all get to connect with one another and hope there’s so many great connections, new connections made tonight among all of you when we’re finished. Please do shop, and talk with one another, and make new connections. So that’s great, thank you all for being honest about where you all are all on the scale. 

And I want to talk a little more about courage, because She Rocked It is where creative and courageous women Rock It together. Emphasis on together, because we’re doing it all here together. But it takes courage to do some of the things that you all described. Christa, I love what you said, you know, there was that breakpoint when you just said, I need to go this direction, right? So we all can learn about that courage and about that moment, and what gave you that courage to do these bold things. To take a big leap, new pivot in your business, so forth. Tell us a little more and whoever feels like responding to this feel free, all of you, a few of you, or whatever you like. What gave you that courage to do these bold things in your career, or to launch the business in the first place?

DR. ROBIN SMITH:  I want to say two things about courage. One is paying attention to what made me miserable. And I’ve worked for myself all of my life, which was not very exciting for my mother. My father was a physician, also went to seminary before he went to medical school, but he trusted me. He trusted that what I wanted to do and what I was happy doing would somehow create and generate a meaningful life for me. And so for me, having my father in one ear and my mother and the other, really made an interesting journey for me. To decide very early on that I was going to work for myself. And, you know, where was my health insurance going to come from? I just paid that before I came here today. I mean, where were all of these things going to happen? 

And I didn’t know where they were going to happen, I just knew that I was not suited to work in a setting that didn’t allow me to be free. So courage for me, came from prioritizing, not betraying, myself. And that was and remains. I mean, it’s been hard. But I will tell you, it has been the most meaningful decision. I always say that it’s the marriage, it’s the first marriage vow that I made. Which, it’s the one that worked. So for me, courage really has to do with not betraying the self, and honoring. And not allowing misery to become a comfortable place to abide. Learn from it, let it lead you, let it inform you. But don’t befriend it too long.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Thank you so much for sharing. Actually, Christa, may I call on you and ask you a little more about that, that moment when you just said, I’m going to do something totally different?

CHRISTA BARFIELD // FARMER JAWN AGRICULTURE: Yeah. So you know, quitting my job and deciding that I was going to be a farmer were two different instances. So like, when I decided to take- that I was- enough was enough, really, that I had no peace. And that’s what it was, I realized that I had no peace. And I needed that. And I deserve that. And it was this moment of, This can’t be my life, like this can’t be. I still have student loans, like what is happening here. I’m still paying on student loans, I’m coming to the shop, I’m miserable. You know, I make good money, I guess. And it’s like, but- but I’m completely unhappy. My family, I just- it was just a lot, a lot. And I know this story is that life is very much relatable to so many, because it’s the American life. It really is. It’s how we are taught: you go to school, you get a degree in something, you have a career in that thing, if you can. And so I always felt like I was blessed because I actually had a job in my field. And it was like, Oh, this is great. But I was completely unhappy in the way that it was moving. And so taking that journey to Martinique, to find peace there? And then it was like, Okay, now I know what peace is, or what it could be. So let’s explore that, and let me bring that back to where I reside. 

So, I saw black people farming, but I also had another experience with tea. In my very first Airbnb that I stayed at in that country was owned by a Thai chef and their partner was from Leone. And they had settled in Martinique and- which many French people holiday and Martinique as well. And, you know, he was making me cups of tea every morning with herbs from his backyard. And that’s the first time I saw the integration of, you know, horticulture mixed with health in the same moment. Which is crazy because I work in healthcare.! So it was like, you know, there was no plants. You know, a lot of the plants in a lot of hospitals are fake, so, anyway. Easy to take care of, whatever. but not touching

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  You’re not touching any soil.

CHRISTA BARFIELD // FARMER JAWN AGRICULTURE: No. And you know, just never having- I don’t know anything about plants at that moment. So I don’t, I’ve never touched soil, I’ve never had a garden. I’ve never done any of that. And so to have that- to feel peace, and drinking a cup of tea, where I see the actual leaves steeping in hot water, and then taking a sip and feeling like wow. Like this is what health really is. Wow, how is this so different than you know, everything that we’re taught? 

In every aspect of health, it’s that way on the administrative side and even as clinicians. You know, physicians specifically, when they go through clinicals, they’re nutrition piece is little to none. So and that’s ironic. So I knew that I wanted to think about nutrition security, like what does that mean to really be nourished in my mind, body and soul? And how can I be of service, because that’s who I am. I’m a person that is of service. So when you ask like, who has a job I raise my hand still, because I feel like that is what I’m called to be. I’m called to be a servant of people and the planet. Now, a planet. And I recognize that those two are in sync. 

So really what I do now is a reincarnation of my healthcare career. And to me, it’s just a more sustainable way. So making that decision to become a farmer, having no knowledge of how to do that, it was- Christy, you don’t have a job at this moment. So you have some savings. How about you try to take what you saw in Martinique, and you know, make something meaningful of it. And so that’s what I did.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Give it up! I don’t know if she got to brag a little bit, but Christa, you have really made an amazing mark, to be doing what you’re doing, with lots of press. And yeah, fan. So it was worth the leap. 

CHRISTA BARFIELD // FARMER JAWN AGRICULTURE: Yeah, it was worth it, really. Yeah, for sure. 

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Anyone else want to share about the leap?

RACHEL RAINBOW // RISE GATHERINGS: I mean, I’d be happy to. I’m always happy to share this story. Well, for me, it came- my courage was ignited inside me, actually, when I was pregnant with my daughter, who’s here. And as I said, I’m a somatic therapist, so I’m very body-oriented. And I believe, and it’s my belief, but I also feel like I know, at least within me, that when- during that time, I was creating something. And it was igniting my potential to create as a human being. And she really turned that on inside me. And I realized in that moment that I’d actually done really not much with myself up to that point, to be honest with you. I had kind of fallen into, and been born into, some kind of picture-perfect life. But I was really suffering inside strongly, because I wasn’t using my innate gifts and talents and my potential. And so that was the moment when I decided, I knew that I had to become who I was meant to become because my daughter was not going to learn from what I was going to teach her and tell her, she was going to learn from who I am. And that was made very clear to me while I was, you know, pregnant with her, and I had declared at that time, like, who am I? I need to use my talents, my gifts, my skills, and I need to not just make something of myself, but also be of service to others in the process. And that was that. She just sparked the courage within me. But I also think we all… each one of us has that courage, we just have to tap it. And like you said, let the fear, you know- the fear is actually a bit of a guide, you know. Let it guide you to befriend it, because it wants you to move toward this place, certain place. And that is the place of Living Courageously.

INTERSTITIAL: Hey Rockstar, if you’re inspired by this conversation, and you’re ready to rock your most creative, courageous life, we have a program for you. Head over to our website, sherockedit.com To learn about our Rock-It Launcher group mentorship program, which is designed to help you transform your creativity into a career that rocks. Head over there and apply today.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  I do want to dive a little bit into this question of self-care, and what it looks like to each of us, and I have to hear about Gabrielle’s 10++ rating for self-care. Gabrielle, if you could tell us a little bit more about your self-care practices and how you’re baking it in, what does self-care look like to you? How do you incorporate it? Then I’d love to hear from the others. And also down here, I’m about a three, two. So I think we’re going to end up talking about what we are struggling with. But Gabrielle, why don’t you start by giving us some inspiration?

GABRIELLE SELLEI / SELLEI LAW: For me, self-employment is self-care. It’s- they’re really, they’re really hand-in-hand. And at my last, you know, real law firm corporate job that I had before I launched my practice in 2015, I was a medium-sized fish in a small pond. You and I had met by then, Karen, and you saw, I had plenty of autonomy, great relationships with- and still maintain those relationships today. And I just had a great thing going on. Which was one of the reasons I didn’t launch my practice until I was looking down the barrel of turning 50. And I’ve been practicing for 20 years. Because everything was kind of fine. And I finally just realized I had to rip the band-aid off and kind of do this. 

It was impossible to imagine. And it is now, on this side of it, impossible to articulate how that- it just still changed everything. I mean, even though I thought I had it pretty good, and I did have it pretty good, there is nothing like working for yourself. There is nothing like being able to control at least- and I have this enormous privilege and I acknowledge that, to be able to control when I work, how I work, the kind of work I do and most importantly, the people that I work with. And so what that all means is that like, just waking up and shuffling into my office in my sweatpants, I’m already kind of at ease. I used to sit in these big law firm towers downtown and think to myself like, where are the people who are really good, really ambitious, love what they do, but just don’t want to do it 24/7? Like, they also like to read books, and garden, and maybe get to know their families and, you know, like and see other parts of the world, like, where are all those lawyers, you know? and I am one of them. And maybe they were all just off in their own little corners of the lawyering world like I am now. So to me, like I said, it really is just integrated into my day-to-day.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  I love that it’s so funny. I think that’s a counterintuitive concept that you’re raising which people think you’re an entrepreneur, you’re going to be like, neglecting your self-care work. But I love the idea of like, you equate self-care with entrepreneurship, that’s a great, like, flip the script and really kind of reflect on that. Thank you for that. I also just want to call out I love that you were 50 when you decided to do this. I think as women, sometimes we think there’s like some kind of expiration on- oh, well, if I didn’t make a big career change at 25 or 30, whatever, that you made this leap, and you’re soaring in a whole new chapter. I just wanted- that caught my ear, and I want to acknowledge that that rocks. 

RACHEL RAINBOW // RISE GATHERINGS: Thank you. I do remember actually sitting at my desk at my last law firm thinking, when am I going to do this? Like I’m when I’m 60? When I’m 70? Like, I’ve got to kind of pull the band-aid off at some point.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  I love it. That’s amazing. Jean, can we talk about our struggles for a second?

JEAN BRILLMAN // WHITE HORSE COFFEE & SUSTAINABLE MARKETPLACE: Yeah, struggles. It’s for real, it’s a real thing. I definitely struggle with that self-care. I think, you know, when you think about how busy we are, as you know, I have two children, and I have two locations, and I’m a horse show judge, and I am on the parent’s council at the school, and I do all these things. You know, I think when we think about self-care, I think one of the mindsets that gets me into trouble is the word balance. And thinking of- balance is kind of a myth, actually. Because, especially as entrepreneurs, you’re never going to be able to give the same amount of attention to every single piece of your life. So I think that for a long time, I kind of thought, I’m not really doing self-care, giving myself anything, because I can’t balance it all equally. But I’ve sort of realized now that the way that I can fit it in is by kind of living in a different mindset of like, in real-time just figuring out priorities, and how to fit these little things in when they can. Like these next two weeks are going to be crazy for me, I just have a lot going on. But then it’s going to slow down a little bit. And so I said, Okay, I’m gonna, you know, do some stuff with my girls and make some time with my husband, we’re gonna go to a holiday party. So I’m fitting it in, but it’s just very kind of sporadic and it kind of fits in with the other priorities. So I feel like- yeah, I mean, I- I say three, and I’m like, I guess I’m a little better than the three. But that’s the- that’s another piece of like, women being hard on themselves and saying, you know, you’re- you’re not as good as you think you are. But yeah, I still manage to be with my girls, I take them to all of their, you know, their lessons. And that’s another thing too, is that making things that you have to do in your life also double as self-care has been huge for me. So when I’m able to go- like I’m still taking my kids to their golf lesson, but for me sitting and watching my girls do something amazing that they’re good at and that they love is self-care for me too. So that doubling up of like, finding little things, like even with entrepreneurship, as you were saying, I do love being an entrepreneur. So there is a little piece of that that is self-care right there.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Love it. So interesting. Is there anyone else that would want to comment a little bit about where you all fall on that spectrum and the successes or the struggles that you’re having?

CHRISTA BARFIELD // FARMER JAWN:  Sure, I’ll mention just especially from a motherhood perspective, and from being a business owner where you’re responsible for so much money that goes out, as well as- It’s nice seeing things come in, but there’s also a lot of dollars that’s going out. So being able to lay in bed while I reconcile my bank account makes it hurt a lot less. It really does. And then also, with my children, especially my- with my daughter being here, I made the decision last year to- for them, my children not to live with me, so that I could focus on entrepreneurship. And that was a big adjustment for- for all of us. It’s my daughter’s first year of high school. But that was something that I needed to do because I gave everything to my job and to my family before, right? And so I just felt so depleted and burnt out and so to be able to hand my children to their dad and be like, Okay, I’m done, I did my part, felt really good. And it’s not like you know, I don’t- we still get to do things like this and we get to have conversations and talk, and so that’s so important. And where I can still be a parent and be impactful, but I have to make sure that we get this life right. I have to do that, because that’s going to have a long-term impact. So that was key for me. And so that is a point of rest, because I know as mothers, we think we have to do everything all the time. And yeah, I had to take myself- take a step back for myself, but also better for them as well. Because we know being a mother, it can get tough, especially when you have teenagers. And when you find yourself moving with their shifts, and then they try to shift you, and then you’re like, not responding the way that you would like to. So I just felt myself being full of tension. And now I’m much more at peace and much more of a peaceful parent. Whatcha say? 

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Thank you so much. You know, I am struck by something we think about a lot, at She Rocked It is the power of raising your voice for what you want, and what you need. And I think also with self-care, it’s- there’s that moment where you have to kind of speak up for yourself, right? You have to speak up and maybe leave the job, or figure out an arrangement with your family, or find time with your girls and do things, you know, make a career change, do all these things that we’ve talked about. So I think that part of what I want to just ask, maybe we can all briefly think about this, and also, I would invite anyone to chime in from the audience: How can we as women collectively support one another in raising our voices for our own self-care? How can we do this? So it’s not just on each of us to like, you know, raise our hand and say, I need this. Is there a way that we can kind of support one another in this endeavor? That’s just a question for reflection, does anyone want to respond to that? How can we support one another in improving our capacity for self-care?

DR. ROBIN SMITH: You know, one thing that- and Karen, I talked about this on your podcast, is how critical we can be of ourselves and of other women who make different choices than we may be making. I mean, sometimes we’re afraid that if you make that choice, well, what does that mean about me? I mean, should I make it? Should I not make it? And so there is, for me, the foundation of having good self-care. And what I mean by that is not being mean to yourself. Because women can be really- I mean, not only can we be unkind to each other, but we can be really, really unkind to ourselves. And so the balance of how can I make room for my- for me to be me, and not be the me that someone else wanted me to be? Or that society wants me to be? Or that my, you know, faith or synagogue, or mosque or temple- I mean, how can I walk in the skin that is mine? 

And so I, as you’re talking about this, and I’m listening to myself, and to all of us, the courage of being tender with ourselves is- you know, people will say, if you- you know, what is the one thing- and I probably shouldn’t say this, because you’re going to ask at the end, but I’m going to say it, this is my one thing. It is that you are kind to yourself. It is the one thing that can help you change everything. If you are kind to yourself, because then you can learn things about yourself that maybe you want to change. But if you have to beat yourself up, it doesn’t work. So being kind, I mean, tender to the parts of you that are maybe rough around the edges, and making room to be curious about the parts of ourselves that are rough around the edges, is so- it’s essential, really for sustainable transformation. And sustainable doesn’t mean we reach a point and we never move from that. But it means that I have momentum, and integrity and honesty, and that really requires being kind to yourself.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT: I love that so much. That voice starts with our own voice to ourselves doesn’t it? How we’re talking to ourselves?

GABRIELLE SELLEI // SELLEI LAW: Yeah, I would just add, I know, this isn’t like a legal workshop now, but I do want to say that we are socialized to be like, nice all the time, right? Like we care about each other’s feelings. We have a lot of emotional intelligence. It’s just innate because you know, our whole life depends on our relationships with other people. And all of that stuff that we bring to bear, including in our business relationships. And for those of us who are entrepreneurs, we learned pretty quickly you know, don’t like that, that only gets you so far. And, and- but there’s this- there’s always this tension. And I feel like when I’m working with my clients who are women, there’s- and men too, to some extent, especially on the creative side of my business, because there’s just a different sensitivity around a lot of creative people. One of the things I try to do so much is to convince people that in a business context, you can be nice, but you can also ask for what you need. And you can also ask for what you want. But in order to get there, you have to kind of push aside the like, thinking for the other person. Like, let them say their thing, you know? Let them tell you what you- you don’t need to anticipate that for them, they’ll tell you. And so to answer your original question like, that is how I feel like I support women, is just doing a lot of education around like, what we’re talking about here, when we’re talking about negotiation or a business transaction of any kind. And that carries off- over into our non-business lives, too, hopefully.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT: I love that so much. And I should say that, by the way, Gabrielle has also been my attorney for the past- almost 10 years. I started my business in 2013. I consider myself a creative entrepreneur. In addition to founding She Rocked It about a year and a half ago, I’m a singer and I have had a communications business, where I’ve worked with leaders and executives and entrepreneurs on speeches and copy and different kinds of writing endeavors. And I would just say, you know, I’m also kind of a- who said they were a workaholic, right? I love my work. I’m definitely invested in it deeply. And I love it. And I do believe that entrepreneurship is self-care of the highest form, for sure. I think for me, there was a book I read, which I recommend, it’s by an author named Marley Grace, it’s called How to Not Always Be Working. And I think what she did, which I’m going to credit her, was she wrote down- like, write down some things that are definitely not work. And for me, like my partner and I, yesterday, we went on a little road trip, and we sat in a park and listened to the water lapping against the rocks. And it was like a revelation, you know, we just sat there and listened. And to carve out time like that when you’re clearly not working- and I think also the phone can be a total ball and chain, like, we’re always on the phone. For me, I’m realizing that like I consciously, though, have to do the things but also not feel guilty about doing the things. Not like, I’m not being productive right now. I’m not, you know, answering all the emails right now, I’m actually going to take a step away and nourish myself. And I feel so much better today than if I hadn’t stepped away, and we hadn’t stepped away. 

I also just want to quickly also call out the power of solitude. I have to say, for me, having solitude time is incredibly nourishing, deep self-care. I took myself on a dinner by myself for my birthday. I was like- some of you were here. I had an amazing birthday celebration the weekend before, it was amazing. But on the actual day, I was like, you know what, I just want to be solitary. So I would just say, do the thing, whatever it looks like to you. Whether it’s going on a beautiful road trip with someone you want to be around, or whether you just need a little time by yourself, if you can carve it out. As Gabrielle said, negotiate for it, raise your voice for it. There’s so much more that we can all learn from each other. 

And I want to open up the floor to the amazing audience that we have here in the house, you have such a wonderful audience. Who would love to raise their voice and ask a question about self-care or share a self-care practice that’s rocking your world? Yes, Karina, thank you for driving two hours to be here.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 1:  I was an attendee at a podcast that Karen had hosted in Asbury Park at the Danny Clinch Gallery. And Dr. Robin had also spoken on that one as well and blew my mind. And at that point, I had actually just completed a contract and I had had an epiphany within that moment- at that point, that I’m approaching 30, I need to figure out what I want to do. And I can relate to the statements that you guys had made saying that there has to be a way for me to be able to approach my creative endeavors and work freely. I need that freedom. It’s just- it’s a non-negotiable at this point. And obviously we need to make money, we need to survive. There’s those things as well. But I was like there’s- there’s got to be more to this world than just working, working, working and needing to take a break from my life. So this has all been so inspiring to hear. And as I’m navigating all of these next steps, I’m excited to dive into this next part of my life. I’m happy I haven’t figured anything out yet. Because I know I will be a completely different person two, three, five years from now, and it’s just gonna constantly evolve.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 2: Here we are at Athleta. And we’re women here. One of the best ways that I find to self-care is to bicycle, hike, meditate, and most importantly, knit. Knit and crochet.

AUDIENCE MEMBER 3: I’m here tonight because of Alison, she invited me, whom I met at the art-in years ago. And it was like my first opportunity in the production where- I’m very emotional with this panel today, because I decided recently to take a step back from my full-time job to make future endeavors into the production world more full-time. Coincidentally today’s the first day that I stepped back from my full-time job to do that. It’s like the universe is giving me some information

INTERSTITIAL: Hey, Rockstar, thanks again for tuning into the She Rocked It podcast, and I hope you’re enjoying this very special conversation presented in partnership with Athleta. If you are, please don’t forget to subscribe to the She Rocked It podcast, and feel free to leave us a rating or a review because we really love hearing what you think. Before we end this conversation, we’re going to leave you with each guest’s tip to Rock It. And there’s one final surprise. We have a special guest who joined us, Grace Duong, who’s the founder of the Mystic Mondays tarot deck that has sold over 200,000 copies. Yes, Grace is going to pull a collective tarot card for all of us. So here we go.

GRACE DUONG // MYSTIC MONDAYS:  I’m so happy and excited to be here. And this is such a wonderful topic of self-care and mixing intuition with your gut and going with your instincts. So I believe tarot is a form of self-care, because it can give us daily guidance into what we’re seeking. And it’s a form of connection not only to yourself and your inner voice, but also a way to tune into your Higher Self, your ancestors, your spiritual team, because oftentimes, we think that we’re alone on this journey. And I think it’s important for us to remember that, you know, every cell in our body comes from those that have come before us. And we hold wisdom inside of our bodies. As well as what our actions- where we’re guided towards, we also influence the future of our descendants. So the present moment, and where you are is very important. And a way to tune into that is using tools like tarot, oracle cards, meditation, journaling. It doesn’t necessarily matter what the modality is, but it’s most important for you to find the modality that works the best for you to connect with yourself and your inner voice. So with that, I will pull a card, a collective card. I will pull a collective card to see- this one really wants to come out. Two of Cups. So the Two of Cups represents partnership, that could be in business or friendship or otherwise. But this puts a highlight on your relationships. And I actually think that’s a perfect card for tonight, because we’re all here together. And the purpose of this is to really connect with other people. And so take that opportunity to find that connection with the person sitting next to you, or you know, the person wearing the cool hat. This is a really great opportunity to find a like-minded group or individual that you can really connect with and build a bond with. So this is a great omen for tonight, of connection and relationship.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT: Thank you, Grace! Thank you so much for that. That was like almost the perfect card, it feels like. We’re talking about the network of women and the connection. So let’s do one more lightning round of your one tip to Rock It. If you all could share with us one tip, and it could have something to do with self-care, if you like. Gabrielle, go ahead.

GABRIELLE SELLEI / SELLEI LAW: Oh, sure. My one tip to Rock It is: bring your authentic self wherever you go. In my world of being a service provider there is a self-selective thing that goes on, but that can’t happen if you don’t bring your real self, right? If you’re bringing someone else that self-selective thing is going to miss, and so my one tip is bring yourself wherever you go. 

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Love it. Dr. Robin?

DR. ROBIN SMITH: My one tip to Rock It is: don’t cheat on yourself. We focus on, you know, being cheated on by other people. But don’t cheat on yourself.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Nice. I love that. Did y’all just get goosebumps, by the way? Yeah, that was really good.

CHRISTA BARFIELD // FARMER JAWN AGRICULTURE: And I would say it all connects, but do not decrease yourself, as well. I think about all of the triumphs that I have, and how I get into my own head about how it’s not enough, like, I’m still not enough. And you shrink. It’s easy to shrink. And so figuring, you know, just really embracing all your accomplishments and all that you have done, and holding yourself up, even when other people don’t.

RACHEL RAINBOW // RISE GATHERINGS: I’d say my tip to Rock It is: to trust the voice that you hear within, all the time. It knows you best and it knows what you need. And let it follow you and surprise you and guide you.

JEAN BRILLMAN // WHITE HORSE COFFEE & SUSTAINABLE MARKETPLACE: My one tip is: don’t try to force it for like, an entrepreneurial endeavor. Like, take the time to really know you know what your passion is. And to really kind of navigate that and figure out, you know, maybe- taking the time to figure out how you can turn that into a career, or a living, or doing that. Because I think, for years, I always wanted to be an entrepreneur and I would think of the craziest ideas, all these ideas. And it was because I could make money doing them, possibly. Which is what we’re all trying to- we’re all desperate, we have to make a living. But the minute that I stopped trying, and I just kind of said, oh, there’s a need for this, noo, I should do this is when my whole thing came to me. So yeah, don’t try so hard, actually.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Yes, I love that. Kind of springboarding on that. I feel like sometimes entrepreneurs get stuck when they think they have to bite everything all off at once. So I guess my tip to Rock It, and I’m constantly relearning this myself, is that little, tiny baby steps really do add up. Like this event tonight, I’m looking at Team Athleta, took a lot of little baby steps to get to this fabulous moment. Building She Rocked It took a lot of little steps and patience. And sometimes it takes longer than you think. But I think part of self-care is allowing yourself the pacing of that journey. Because sometimes I think we get paralyzed if we feel like we have to do everything at once. I got to start my LLC, I got to hire people- I was 10 years in business almost when I really hired a team, you know what I’m saying? So just give yourself the grace of a pace that feels good for you. Don’t feel like you have to bite everything off in one fell swoop. 

Wow, thank you all so much for the gift of all of this collective self-care. And I really hope that this is the beginning of the conversation. Let’s continue this conversation about self-care.

GABRIELLE SELLEI / SELLEI LAW: And also, can we give Karen Gross and She Rocked It a huge round of applause? Karen, that was amazing.

KAREN GROSS // SHE ROCKED IT:  Thank you. I appreciate that. I’m going to receive it. I’m trying to! Thank you so much. Well, now self-care is all about the shopping. Go ahead and browse, do some shopping, do some networking. Meet someone that you haven’t met yet. Thank you all so much for coming out. This has been amazing. Thank you one more time to our panel!

OUTRO: Thanks so much for tuning in to the She Rocked It podcast. I’m your host Karen Gross. This episode has been produced by Tori Marchiony with audio engineering by Teng Chen. The She Rocked It theme song is by Karen Gross and Tim Motzer. Visit our Instagram page @sherockedit, join the conversation and visit our website sherockedit.com To learn about how you can join our community, support our work and attend our live events. Also, you can apply on our website for our Rock-It Launcher group mentorship program. See you there!

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