Transcript: #52 Don’t Let Burnout Be Your New Normal with Ahuva Hershkop
Juli Baranik [00:00:00]:
Welcome to the Seven Figure Builder show. My name is Julie Baranik, founder of Seven Figure Builder, where we help high achieving CEOs work smarter, not harder, with gorgeous insights to scale to seven figures and beyond. And I’m here today with my friend Ahuva. Hey, Ahuva.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:00:12]:
Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Juli Baranik [00:00:15]:
Yeah, absolutely. I’m thrilled to have you on. So first and foremost, where in the world are you?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:00:20]:
I’m in Toronto, Canada.
Juli Baranik [00:00:22]:
Nice. Very cool. So is it warm up a little bit there?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:00:26]:
You know what, we had like a week of summer and then all of a sudden it went back to winter. Like there was no spring, it just went back to winter. And so we’re not all entirely sure what’s happening.
Juli Baranik [00:00:35]:
Nice. That does happen for the people that haven’t had the pleasure to meet you yet. Can you tell us just a little bit about what you do with your business?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:00:43]:
Absolutely. So I am an intuitive eating registered dietitian and I am a burnout coach for professional women and specifically professional mothers. And I coach women on how to have it all and do it all without burning out.
Juli Baranik [00:00:58]:
I love it. And that’s a topic that I think everybody has experienced at least at some point in their lives. Or if they haven’t, they will at some point. So let’s just dig right in. But what do you see is the driver for that burnout?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:01:12]:
How do people get there specifically? And I know burnout is something that is a massive topic nowadays. Right. I think that it’s great that we’re talking about it more. I think when it comes specifically to women, there is a lot of what I call the working mom hustle culture, which is really this idea that we’re supposed to show up and give 1000% in our whether you’re a business owner or you’re an employee, like in the thing that you’re doing outside of your home. And give 1000% to the people who rely on you. And I call it the working mom hustle culture, but it really is. Women are often socialized into a caregiving role in lots of places in their lives. And then really women internalize this blame when they’re burning out.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:01:54]:
Right. We’re expected to give 100% everywhere without the time or support or even really the systems to do that. And then when we burn out, we’re like, I must have just done something wrong.
Juli Baranik [00:02:04]:
Yeah. And then we feel guilty taking care of ourselves because we’re so used to taking care of everybody else that it’s so easy to just give, give, give and then you run out. Exactly. So what do you recommend for these women? I mean, I’ll put myself in that group. So what do you recommend?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:02:22]:
There’s tons that I recommend. I run a twelve week coaching program that we really work through this. But one of the best things that I can always tell women to start doing is getting really curious about why. Right. I think that we take so many things we just sort of do on Rote and there’s a lot of programming and there’s a lot of definitions that we hold that we don’t even necessarily know that we hold. Right. If I say the words like good mother, let’s say good business owner, you could probably, as you’re just hearing those words, subconsciously conjure up a picture of what that looks like, right. What’s a good mother? It’s like someone who hasn’t slept in three days, probably hasn’t washed her hair in three months, but her kids are eating all organic food, of course.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:03:02]:
So we conjure up these pictures. And what we don’t always recognize is sometimes when we’re trying to make any changes, if you want to change anything that you’re doing, the strongest thing that we hold as humans is our identity. Right? So if we have the picture of a good mother who is killing herself for her children or a business owner who is burning themselves out for their clients, anything we try to do to change ourselves, our own brains are going to fight against. Right. Because they’re like, we can’t take a rest. We’re supposed to be a good mother. We can’t wait an hour to reply to a client email. We’re supposed to be a good business owner.
Juli Baranik [00:03:37]:
Ahuva Hershkop [00:03:37]:
We can’t not launch something every 30 seconds. That’s not what businesses don’t do. And so what we really need to start doing is getting super curious about why we do the things that we do. And this is something that I lead my clients through. But even on your own, when we’re doing something, like you come home late after work and you’re trying to cook dinner for your kids, right, and everybody’s starving, but you’re trying to cook something, quote unquote, like healthy or homemade or whatever, why are you doing that? Right. What are you getting out of doing that? What is that allowing you to feel? Because it would be a heck of a lot easier and everybody probably would have been fed quicker if we just threw some chicken nuggets on a plate. I’m not saying to do that every single night, but I am saying to start questioning all of the motivations that we think that we understand because we often don’t know why we’re doing the things that we’re doing.
Juli Baranik [00:04:27]:
Yeah. And I think you hit on something huge there that so much of it comes from our subconscious. Like, 95% of what we do stems from our subconscious, not our conscious brain. And we’re trying to fulfill whatever it is, that image that we have in our mind that we’ve been taught through generations. Whatever our drivers are, that’s what points us to running like crazy and ultimately doing the things that we do, right?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:04:50]:
Juli Baranik [00:04:52]:
Yeah. And the other thing, too, is with your health. I know personally, in the midst of COVID I ended up really sick and hospitalized and we didn’t think I was coming home type of deal. And it all comes back to your health in you has to be a priority. And that’s so hard. I know. For myself, it was very hard for me before that. And afterwards, it was like, okay, if I don’t have my health, I’ve got nothing.
Juli Baranik [00:05:15]:
I can’t help anybody if my health is at stake.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:05:18]:
And I love the way that you just phrased that because you have to be a priority. Right. I think even that is such a stretch for so many women. We see so many pieces of advice that are totally well meaning that are like, women need to start putting themselves first. And I’m like, I can see my clients having heart palpitations just seeing the word first. Right. I’m like, forget first. Can we give you a seat at the table? Right.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:05:42]:
Everybody else is still a priority. It doesn’t you know, I say this all the time, that I teach women how to not burn out without booking a one way ticket to Aruba and not giving anyone your forwarding address. Right. That’s not what you have to do. Listen, you ought to do it. I hear you. But even if you’re going to continue showing up for clients or I work with entrepreneurs and I work with people who are employees, but at work or for your business and for your family, it’s not about pulling back on all of them or suddenly pushing them even second. But can you pull a chair up for yourself at the table also?
Juli Baranik [00:06:17]:
Right? And what do you recommend for people in maintaining healthy boundaries? I mean, so much of what we’re talking about is establishing them, figuring out what they need to be, and then there’s an ongoing process that you have to maintain them every single day.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:06:30]:
Absolutely. I think that there’s two things, and I’m going to keep on repeating this, probably as an answer to every single one of your questions, but really understanding why is step number one. Because, again, in my nutrition practice, I come from a picky eating background. Like, I coach parents on how to address picky eating. And one of the things that I say is, if you’re going to pick a battle, you better really care about that. Right. If you’re someone who really doesn’t care if, again, your kids eat chicken nuggets today or they eat whatever you made. Right.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:07:03]:
And I’m not giving nutrition advice, but if you don’t care and they say, mommy, I don’t want this, and you’re like, no, you have to eat what’s on the table. Right. You might have the wherewithal to push back once to defend that boundary once, but if you actually don’t care and they ask a second time, what do you think is going to happen? Right? And sometimes we’re setting boundaries just because we think that we should, and we don’t even know where they’re coming from.
Juli Baranik [00:07:30]:
Ahuva Hershkop [00:07:31]:
It’s like setting a boundary. And again, I come from a diet culture space, so like I’m going to stop eating after 07:00 p.m., there’s no food after seven. Why are you doing that? Right. Based on what? Why is that a boundary that you’re trying to set with yourself? Right. And so really understanding are these boundaries that you can stand by 100%? Because if yes, then let’s work on building the confidence and the skills to maintain them. And if not, then let’s ask the question of why are we setting them in the first place? Right? And so there’s two different problems that we have to be able to solve and when they are boundaries that you want to maintain, a lot of times that involves saying the word no, which is a dangerous one for a lot of women. Right. We’re not really comfortable saying that word.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:08:14]:
And what I always encourage my clients to start practicing is every time that you want to say the word no or that you feel like you need to, to set a boundary, offer yourself three yeses that are coming from that no. Right. Because it’s often really hard to try and disappoint someone in the moment or stand your ground when somebody is asking you for something. Especially for those of us who are recovering people, pleasers. Which like hello. But if we can think about three places we’re saying yes. And the example that I often give is if somebody asked me to stay out till four in the morning when normally I’m in bed until ten, go to bed at ten. If I say yes to that, I’m saying no to myself tomorrow because I’m obviously not going to feel well on 2 hours of sleep before my three kids wake up.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:09:03]:
I’d be saying no to showing up as the mother that I want to be the next day because I’d probably be exhausted and I’d be saying no to showing up for my clients the way that I want to. Right. Those are three really important no’s that I’m saying. And so if I say yes here, that’s going to be the outcome and we need to start sort of bridging and seeing those future implications of some of the boundaries that we’re not setting. And when you can see three no’s, you’re going to have to say if you say no right now, it becomes a hell of a lot easier to just say no right now.
Juli Baranik [00:09:36]:
Yeah, absolutely. And with the boundaries that we do establish, I think the key, and you mentioned it, is consistency, both from the parenting side and from the work side is whatever those boundaries are, you need to be able to stick with them and be consistent with them to have that peace of mind and stability for yourself. And then I love that point that you mentioned of like there are repercussions for every positive and negative thing that you do. So both a yes has those consequences and a no has those consequences, and there’s definitely that correlation there. So I think that’s really awesome.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:10:11]:
Juli Baranik [00:10:12]:
Cool. What would you say looking for the year ahead is the most life changing goal for you in this coming year?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:10:18]:
Oh, my goodness. I opened up a group coaching program this year, so running that and continuing to grow, that is the biggest life changing goal that I have for the year ahead because it opens up so many more opportunities for me to work with women who are changing their own lives.
Juli Baranik [00:10:37]:
Awesome. And you have multiple portions to your practice, right? You’ve got the diet side and the professional side, but how have you learned to work smarter, not harder? Like, how have you improved your processes and everything for yourself?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:10:52]:
Clarifying all the things that didn’t matter so much was really one of the big ones, right? And so much of that again now, that was my own journey through completely burning out. Running my nutrition practice during 2020. I had a baby during 2020 and went back to work six days after having him so that I wouldn’t lose momentum in my nutrition business. I know how I got to burnout. Coaching is really a mystery to all of us, right? It’s totally unclear. And a lot of it was spent in instead of actually doing the things that I wanted to, the things that would help me, the things that would help my clients, things that would help my family was spent in comparing to what everybody else was doing and stressing about the things that I should be doing and then feeling bad at all of those things that don’t help anyone. And so really, first of all, clarifying what do I actually want to do? What’s the most important to me? And making sure that I’m checking in with myself every single day on am I still working on that thing? Am I still focused on what I want to be doing, not just how much of I am I doing. Number one.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:11:58]:
And number two is recognizing that women, and often women in business especially, hold being busy as a really strong value. We’re like, this means I’m doing really well. If I’m really busy, then that I.
Juli Baranik [00:12:09]:
Have no time for myself.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:12:10]:
Exactly. If I am a pedal on the floor at 1159 every, you know, dragging myself to bed by midnight, then I’m successful. And really starting to recognize all those ways where I was really just using being busy as a measure of my worth made it so much easier to just stop doing those. Really stepping back into, I don’t need to find my worth from this made it a lot easier to then step into, okay, what do I need to do for work? What do I need to do for my kids, what do I need to do for myself? All of those pieces and then anything else. I don’t just need to be busy throughout the day.
Juli Baranik [00:12:46]:
Yeah. And it’s okay to have quiet time.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:12:48]:
Yes, it is necessary to have quiet time.
Juli Baranik [00:12:52]:
The reality is we can’t do everything no matter how hard we want to and how hard we try. Rather, we can’t do everything well, when you’re spread too thin, so many things are going to fall through the cracks. Like you’re just not going to feel accomplished and satisfied and happy with what you’re doing. Because like you said, we find so much self worth so often and just being busy, which is silly, quite honestly. And I do it too. We all do it totally. So how in all of those things and you kind of started to touch on it, but how do you define success? What does that look like for you?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:13:26]:
I define success in living within your values, living in integrity for being the person. Again, whether it’s being the business owner, being the mother, being the human that you say that you want to be, and being able to really go to sleep every night saying that you’re living in integrity with your values. That’s the most successful thing that I always aspire to be. And part of that and part of my values is being able to show up and help other people. Right? That’s a big value that I have. And so being able to do that every day is also a part of my success.
Juli Baranik [00:14:04]:
That’s awesome. I love it. And how would you encourage business owners to have fun in their business? Again, like you mentioned, it’s so easy to get burnt out in what we’re doing and not truly find enjoyment in that. But it’s so important.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:14:17]:
I think that’s so real, especially in the age of social media, especially. I always joke about all the marketing that we see nowadays. That’s like 30 days to six maseratis. Right? But it is. But it comes back to, again, how we all fall into so much of this hustle culture and this burnout is there’s so much of the idea that you’re doing it wrong, right? Whether it’s a business owner or just being a human, like whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it wrong, right? And there’s a secret formula that you don’t know. And remembering that the number one prioritizing fun in your business, right? Because there’s a saying that we talk about in nutrition, the way that you act to lose weight is the way you actually have to act to keep it off, right? If you’re going to pick a crash diet, you better be pretty happy doing that for the rest of your life. And I think sometimes we forget that in business and in life also, right? That the way that we build it is the way that we’re going to have to sustain it. And so if we build it prioritizing fun, and sometimes for me, even fun looks like doing a really ridiculous dance that I would never share with anybody else anytime that my clients have a win, right? Because it’s so fun for me to be able to see that, but we have to consciously build that into our businesses, number one.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:15:39]:
And number two is thinking about how business fits into the puzzle that is your life. Because, again, as someone who has three kids under six, it’s easy for motherhood to take over my life as a business owner, it’s easy for business to take over my life. And it’s only ever meant to be one puzzle piece, right, that we get to bring and have fun with and enjoy, not take over all the other puzzle pieces.
Juli Baranik [00:16:05]:
And you get to pick the puzzle pieces.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:16:07]:
Juli Baranik [00:16:08]:
And pick which ones aren’t the puzzle pieces. So you’ve touched on a couple of these too, but tell us a little bit more about your journey and how you got to where you are and what did that look like?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:16:19]:
So I started my pediatric nutrition practice shortly before COVID was a thing. So in September of 2019, I think, and I was like, this is fantastic. I’m going to eventually think about getting pregnant. I’ll have like, a couple of years to build up my practice. It’s going to be great. And I decided that we were going to try for a year starting in January 2020 to get pregnant. I found out that I was pregnant two days after the world shut down.
Juli Baranik [00:16:46]:
Oh, my goodness.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:16:47]:
They canceled school on Friday and I found out that I was pregnant on Sunday. And so my two years that I was going to have to build up this practice very quickly became nine months in a global pandemic with three year old twins at home. So I spent a lot of time hustling, trying to build up practice, not having very much fun doing it. Went back to work six days after having my son literally, like, holding him in client sessions so that I wouldn’t lose momentum in my business, and at a certain point was like, is this really how I want to be operating? Right? Having sort of what I just said in the back of my mind of how you build it is how it’s going to exist. They always say the journey is like there’s a destination. All those things that I knew. But I wasn’t really living and had to really take a hard look at how I ended up so burnt out while building a business that I actually enjoyed, while at the same time working with a lot of women and mothers as clients who were like, we really wish that we could care what you’re talking about. And also we’re so up to our foreheads with everything else.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:17:54]:
Like, if my kid wants to just eat sugar out of the sugar bowl, we’re going to call that a win. That’s going to be dinner, right? I was hearing it so much from all of these people, and so my ability to say, like, hey, it’s not just me, was there. And I was recognizing that it wasn’t there for any of them. They were all like, I’m clearly messing up somehow. Can you please tell me how I’m doing that? Right? And food and feeding their kids was just one way that I could see that these women were holding this belief so strongly. And so I really took a step back, started doing a ton of research, a ton of coaching, a ton of all of the things that I do to understand how women are uniquely really socialized into burnout and where it comes from. And really then started on this journey of like, once I found something that was working for me, I was like, I can’t not shout this from the rooftops. And so here I am shouting it from the rooftops.
Juli Baranik [00:18:50]:
I love it. And how did you make that shift in your own life to go from a six day old baby as you’re doing your work and feeling burnout to having more of a balance, I’m assuming? What does that look like for you now?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:19:05]:
On the other side of that, you know what’s funny? The practical things that I do are not very different. I always say I am still the default parent or the primary parent, let’s say, to three kids who are six and under. I still run a business. I still have two prongs of my business now. Right. A lot of the day to day stuff in my life is not very different. I think that’s the biggest surprise to a lot of the clients that I coach is before working together, they’re like, am I going to have to 180 everything?
Juli Baranik [00:19:35]:
Ahuva Hershkop [00:19:36]:
And it’s not but the amount of time that I sat in judgment or comparison or, oh my God, am I doing this wrong? Or I posted something on Instagram today that was like making a decision five years ago was like, ask a friend, ask ten other friends, ask my mom. Because I didn’t believe those ten friends, right? Like crowdsourcing being like, I can’t possibly know. So I should ask everybody else and I should verify and I should people please and put everybody first. But really having a connection to the things that I do is the biggest difference, right? The things that I’m doing are the things that I want to be doing. I do want to be the primary parent to three children under six. That’s not the same for everybody. Being able to say, these are the things that I don’t want to be doing, right? Being able to take rest when I need to go to sleep early, not stay up because I feel like there’s a to do list that is a mile long that still needs to be done. Because recognizing that, again, as a parent, as a business owner, there’s often a to do list that is going to be there forever.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:20:38]:
And we’re not going to get away from it. Right. But it’s really a lot of those mindset shifts and being able to connect back to why am I doing the things that I do and do. I actually want to live like that. Right. So I have some clients who are working with me and they’ve quit their jobs and started businesses or changed jobs or made bigger shifts. And in my life, a lot of what I was actually doing were the things I wanted to be doing. I just was so burnt out I couldn’t even connect to them anymore.
Juli Baranik [00:21:05]:
Yeah, it sounds like a lot of it was the shift from survival mode to being intentional because exactly. Underlying what you’re doing is not necessarily different, but the way you’re approaching it is completely different. And your peace of mind is completely different.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:21:20]:
Completely different. And I think that’s the biggest thing. Right. I think that a lot of people stay stuck in. If my situation is going to be the same, if I don’t want to shut down a business, or if I don’t want to quit my job, or if I don’t want to run away from my family, I can’t possibly feel different. And I think that’s such a great point that you’re bringing up is you can your experience of exactly the things that you’re doing, even if you feel like you’re sort of caught between a rock and a hard place. Of I don’t want to give up my job, or I don’t want to stop showing up for my family, which is really the women that I’m working with a lot, is people who want to show up powerfully in a lot of different places, and they feel like they keep on getting the message. Okay, well, you can only choose one.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:22:00]:
Right. If you don’t want to be burnt out, either leave your job or either shut down your business or find a 24/7 full time nanny or caregiver to take care of your kids and never see them. Right. And I think that doesn’t have to be the only option that women are given.
Juli Baranik [00:22:13]:
Yeah, for sure. And for the women that are hearing this and think, I need this help, I need this change, where can they find you? How can they reach out to you?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:22:21]:
Absolutely. So I hang out lots on Instagram. My handle is Ahuba Hirschkop, and I run a free Facebook community called Beyond Burnout with Ahuba Hirschcop, and you can find out more there about my twelve week program as well called the Unapologetic Living Code, where we really take women from completely burnt out to actually building a life that they get to enjoy now without compromising on their professional goals.
Juli Baranik [00:22:42]:
Nice. And it sounds like there’s a lot of community there, not just like the one on one, is that yes, exactly.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:22:48]:
That is definitely a community base because I think that one of the most important things that we can all see is that it’s not just us, right?
Juli Baranik [00:22:56]:
That’s that sanity check.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:22:58]:
Juli Baranik [00:22:59]:
So if you had the attention of the whole world for five minutes, what would you tell them?
Ahuva Hershkop [00:23:03]:
There’s no right way to do things, and we all need to get a little bit more comfortable finding the way that’s right for us, because I think that there’s so much pressure in so many different realms of just, am I doing this right? I think we all sort of walk around with a question mark over our heads, being like, am I doing this whole life thing right? And doing things right, having it all, doing it all. All of those things that we set as goals look different for every person. And I think we need to spend less time, sort know, going towards these arbitrary goals and really more time looking at what that actually means for us.
Juli Baranik [00:23:40]:
I love it. That’s amazing. Well, thank you. Ahuva, I really appreciate you being on all the links for everybody will be down below so they can come check you out and see all the fabulous work that you’re doing.
Ahuva Hershkop [00:23:51]:
Thank you so much for having me. It was so fun.
Juli Baranik [00:23:53]:
Absolutely. And if you found value in this episode, please do share it. That’s how people find us. And make sure to subscribe and follow along, and you can find firstname.lastname@example.org. And I look forward to seeing you in the next episode. Bye.