Today I am honoured to feature my friend and mentor Cassie Mendoza-Jones on the blog as part of my new Expert Spotlight segment where I interview experts and mentors on business + entrepreneurship, self care and personal development, and social change and social justice.
Cassie is the bestselling author of You Are Enough and It’s All Good (Hay House), and a kinesiologist, business alignment coach, naturopath, writer and speaker. I have been blessed to have been touched by Cassie’s brilliance as a client of her kinesiology, naturopathy and coaching services.
She works with women, and with entrepreneurs, healers, coaches and creatives who are driven, devoted and honouring their dreams, and who want to become more powerfully aligned to their bigger vision, clear away perfectionism, procrastination and overwhelm, and create their own version of a beautiful and aligned business and life.
Through her writing, bestselling books, online courses, workshops, meditations, private sessions and social media presence, she supports women in getting clear on their next steps, working with their feminine energies, tuning into ease and flow, and increasing their clarity, confidence and energy.
Okay, let’s jump into the questions…
One of my favourite blog posts of yours is an oldie but a goodie that asked the question ‘are you addicted to being busy?’ and then outlined some steps that can help readers get busy with getting unbusy. I’m sure that given the number of projects you have in your business, that you sometimes go through stages where you find yourself feeling super busy and overwhelmed again. If this assumption is true (HA!), what are some of the signs or warning signals for you that you’re too busy and how do you go about making the changes you need and finding your flow again?
I find my first warning sign is a general sense of discontent or flatness, which can turn to intense overwhelm and resentment quite quickly, if not remedied! I start to feel resentful of things I would usually love to do, or as if I’m constantly being pressed for time.
I find the antidote is to strip back my commitments, and make sure that before anything else, I get in some alone time. I’ll go to one of my favourite cafes early in the morning, and sit and drink my coffee slowly. I’ll head to a yoga class, and/or go for a long walk. I’ll scratch things off the day’s to do list, and move them to another day (or month!). I’ll sit and meditate for even just a few minutes, to clear and reset. And, importantly, I’ll ask for help wherever I can.
I also always make sure I’m taking my herbs (adaptogens and adrenal herbs, to support my energy) and I’ll up the dose or tweak the formula—perhaps adding some herbs to calm my nervous settle—if I need a little extra boost.
I find for me, it’s usually a mental thing first though—I have to first give myself permission to be okay with doing less, to stay in a space of trust of flow even when (or because!) I’m going slower, and then I find that everything else falls into place.
I know that many folk think that it’s not possible to build a successful business without hustling, working long hours and experiencing some form of pain (“no pain, no gain, right!?”) – that ‘successful business’ and ‘self-care’ or ‘gentleness’ is an oxymoron. What do you have to say about this?
I think the only way to build a ‘successful’ business in this space is to be gentle with yourself! Gentle in the way you talk to yourself, treat yourself, and restore yourself. I know so many entrepreneurs who at some point, burn out, or become resentful or disillusioned, and this is all part of the journey; however there’ll also be a point where you decide to do things differently.
We know better now; so let’s do things differently now. We now know we don’t need to hustle to burn out to create our beautiful businesses. This doesn’t mean we don’t do the work—it means we do the work in a way that serves and supports our dreams and goals, in order to serve and support our clients and customers too. This way of working lights us up, and lights the path for the people we can serve most.
As you may have heard, I will be a gentle guide in the Gentle Business Mastermind this year and am therefore having lots of conversations around how people can do business gently and sustainably. I would love to know – what does doing business gently look and feel like for you (as you are someone who I feel is an excellent role model of this)?
For me, doing business gently means doing business in a way that works for you. It means staying on your own path, building your business in alignment with your own values and with your own goals and dreams in sight, as opposed to comparing yourself to others, stressing that your work isn’t enough, trying to rush the process, depleting yourself along the way.
As I always say, it’s your business, and your choice—you get to decide how you build, run, grow, expand and sustain your beautiful business. You get to decide where and how you invest your energy, how you show up for yourself in your business, and how to course-correct and pivot to help you stay aligned, and in flow.
For me, this looks like choosing which days I work with clients, and which days I leave open for writing. It looks like exercising before I begin my day, and sometimes finishing work at 3:30pm to head to a yoga class. It looks like listening to my body and my intuition when it comes to making decisions and growing my business. It looks like me staying on my own path, and trusting it. It looks like me doing the work in a way that energises me, drawing things towards me, and staying open to opportunities coming my way.
You mention in your new book It’s All Good that we humans often focus on searching for and being in the ‘light’. I find this often on social media with people extensively focusing on ‘love and light’, ‘good vibes only’, and similar sentiments. In your book, you say “but what is light without a few shadows?” Can you talk us through this a little, perhaps with an example of how this has shown up in your life or business?
Yes as I say in It’s All Good, ‘Don’t break the shadow out of you; bend with it.’ I truly believe we must use our light and our shadow; honouring all parts of ourselves, and not trying to hide from the challenging times.
The light is what we lean towards, but it’s often through our most challenging times that we learn and grow the most; this is often how we work out what our ‘light’ even means to us. There is no such thing as ‘light’ without ‘dark’; there is no such thing as perfection.
If you’re feeling stuck in your life and business, what you can learn about yourself during this period will help you step back into your flow and momentum… helping to carry you forward.
I understand that people feel fear around being seen to be anything but perfect, especially on social media, and when you run your own business. You can worry that if people see the ‘real’ you, they might not want to work with you, but I’ve found the opposite to be true. If I’ve felt something, you probably have too (in some capacity), and vice versa.
The best example I can think of (when this has come up for me) is actually It’s All Good; the book was born from a business ‘failure’ that really, wasn’t a failure at all. It took me months to see this from a different perspective, and to realise that this experience was an absolute gift (and not just because I could write my second book about it!). I learned so much from having to release my expectations, reset and realign my energy, dream new dreams (without attachments), and find my flow and confidence again, so I could step up in my business and life.
One of the questions that comes up frequently in our line of work, is how to deal with the spiral of comparing ourselves to others. I am very strange, as this has not been something I’ve struggled with personally (instead, I compare myself to my own high expectations, which can be equally troublesome sometimes haha). But for those reading this interview who might struggle with comparisonitis, what would you have to say about this (as I know it’s something you are passionate about and write about in your first book especially, You Are Enough)?
I’ve found that the more we feel trapped by our comparisonitis (even if, as you say, it’s about comparing yourself to your ‘ideal’ future version of you, which I also talk about in my book), the more we see examples of this; the more we trap ourselves in our sense of ‘lack’ or stuckness.
When we can call our power back to ourselves, and use that comparison energy as fuel to help us take action towards our dreams, we can lose the victimhood that is holding us back, and begin to feel more comfortable on our own path.
The more you allow yourself to know your worth, and to trust yourself and your own path, the less you will look outside of yourself. Of course, you might still be inspired by someone, but you’ll also trust there’s space for you too.
Look to your comparison as a kind of map, guiding you towards what you’re also wanting to create in your own life and business; and then let yourself be guided to create your own version of this. You are worthy of it, and so very capable of it.
Finally, another issue that I see come up often for folk that you mention in It’s All Good is our tendency to entangle our self-worth with money. This is something that I’ve been working on personally, through focusing on the role that patriarchy and capitalism has had on the formation of some of my internalised oppressive beliefs around money and my relationship with it. Would you please share with our readers your thoughts around how we can untangle our concept of self-worth with money?
I think this is incredibly important to understand for yourself, particularly if you work for yourself, as it can become all too ‘easy’ to allow your self-worth to fluctuate alongside any fluctuations in your bank account.
I noticed this coming up for me a lot about several years ago, long before I sat down to write It’s All Good, when I was still living through the experience I’d later write about. I found that if my business seemed to be doing well externally, then I felt ‘successful’ internally. Whereas, on the flip side, if there was low cash flow or it felt like things weren’t going so well, I constantly felt like it was my fault; like if I was just a better person, or if I did more, things would be better.
It took me a while to disentangle myself from this; to see myself as separate from my business, even though I created it, and even though it makes up such a huge part of my life. When I did this (through conscious intention, and funnelling my energy into other areas of my life too), I actually found my business had space to breathe, grow, and expand.
In letting go of my attachment to my self-worth and business, I gave myself, and my business, the space we both needed to grow.
You can do this for yourself by seeing yourself as separate to your work… even though you love it, and it makes up a part of who you are.
Allow yourself to see your energy as separate to that of your business—to give you both space to breathe and expand. Hold your self-worth in the vessel of yourself, and not in anything external to you.
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