Do you want to grow your business without working harder or burning out? Well, I can guarantee that when you find alignment with your business and step into your soul’s purpose, you’re better able to show up as a successful leader and handle the overwhelm that comes with running a business.
In today’s episode, I’m talking to Priscilla Stephan, Intuitive Business Strategist, author, and creator of the Soulfluent® Leadership Archetypes. Priscilla’s holistic and pragmatic approach to business and leadership has helped her clients live their dream lifestyle while confidently sharing their soul’s work to make a big impact and increase their profit and growth.
Priscilla and I are talking about all things leadership, including how to see yourself as a leader, what aligned leadership means, and how to leverage your tablets and skillset so you can show up as the successful leader you were always meant to be.
Connect with Priscilla:
Discover Your Soulfluent® Leadership Archetype Quiz
Soulfluent® Leadership Archetype Business Guide Book
Rachel: Hey there, guys, I’m with my good friend Priscilla and we were just chatting about why health coaches need to know that they are so fucking brilliant. So that’s how we decided to start this episode. Priscilla, without me doing a disservice to your introduction. Can you tell everyone a little about yourself? And then what we’re going to dive into in this episode?
Priscilla: Absolutely. Hi, everyone. I went to IGN in 2011 and started my coaching business about 10 years ago as a health coach helping women with emotional eating issues that really turned out to be career coaching. Many of my clients were eating because they were misaligned in their work and in their careers.
Then I stumbled upon this thing called the Akashic Records in 2013-14, which is a way to connect to your soul guides and I realized I had an innate ability to channel people’s businesses and business content. I then started providing practical business and soul guidance for people growing purpose-driven businesses, which have been primarily coaches, but now what I call conscious leaders, the people who have established businesses for the greater good.
But I always will have a very strong place in my heart for health coaches. I think so many of us, even if we start off as health coaches and branch out into other things, I think our training as health coaches is so important. First, it teaches us to take care of ourselves as we go through business. Second, it also reminds us of our incredible ability to hold space for people to come into their own and find their truth and be at peace with their bodies and find a sense of harmony. It’s also a reminder that we have so much power to create our realities. And that starts with our mind-body spirit connection.
Rachel: I love that. I would say for anybody who just listened to that, and was like, Hell, yes, that is me. But also, if you’re the coach who listens to that, and even though they are coaching and they want to be a coach, that feels scary, because you have to actually be that leader and stand in your truth and stand up for what you believe. So what do you say to that leader? Because everyone’s a leader in their own way. What do you say that leader that’s afraid to show up?
What To Say To The Leader That’s Afraid To Show Up
Priscilla: Well, it starts with baby steps, right? Because when I got this body of work on so Flint leadership in September of 2016, the last thing I wanted to talk about was leadership. I did not see myself as a leader, I did not want to be a leader. But as you said in the work described that everyone is a leader, because we all contribute, we all add value. So it comes down to knowing ourselves, when you know yourself better, you lead better. And that starts with, what do you have to bring to the table that is so brilliant that so deeply healing and transformative? We start with the positive, we start with what’s already here.
It’s so easy when we are looking at leadership and starting or growing a business to look at what we don’t have, what’s wrong, what’s broken. But there is also the other flip side of the coin, which is we come in with some significantly good assets as well. So let’s acknowledge what those are and what the things are, that we’re not good at. We either work on within ourselves, but also then get support from people like you and others that fill in the holes and fill in the gaps of things that we don’t want to do or don’t do well.
Why Your Sense Of Purpose Gets Overshadowed
Rachel: I think anybody going to school for health coaching, or let’s say life coaching already feel like they have a purpose in this world. You’re driven to go to school to be of service. Do you think that once somebody walks into this world of building a business that some of that feeling and that that purpose goes away because of the massive overwhelm?
Priscilla: It can get overshadowed by the overwhelm. You and I have had these discussions about how business can be soul-crushing, soul-a lot of things. I had so many dark nights of the soul. My nervous system got so messed up. This is a third iteration of my business and coaching. It started with health coaching and then business coaching and now it’s really business and leadership.
But there’s still always health involved in it. Because if you’re not well, I’m always like eagle eyes on where you’re not taking care of yourself because if you’re burning out or going to burn out we have a problem, right? It’s so easy for leaders to do because when you’re building a business, each of those components can feel exhausting for a lot of people because they’re going right into that self-worth. And if that isn’t there, it’s hard to then show up and shine in your purpose.
That is ultimately, where so much of the inner work happens. Being in business, they say it’s a spiritual journey. It’s a journey back to ourselves, it’s a journey back to a sense of innate wholeness, which is our true soul’s essence and state. But when you start looking at all the ways people tell you to mark it, that feels so off, or when you try it so hard and inject money and resources, and it just flops or it leaves you deflated. You start to wonder, Am I cut out for this? Is this ever gonna work? Why does it seem to work for other people and not for me? I’m so devoted, I care so much, I over give, I’m doing all the things.
Finding Fluent Leadership
That’s where we need to take a pause and say, Okay, what am I really good at? Who are the people that I can truly help the best? What are the resources I need to help me really focus so I can do what I do best?
Then there is the inner work of self-worth and self-confidence. It’s been such a kryptonite for me: self-doubt, crippling, soul-crushing hard, every fucking step of the way. I got an entire body of work on leadership, and I had no idea what to do with it. I didn’t want it. So what do you do that?
It’s that question of going back to the mission and the vision. Who do I want to be? Am I going to quit? I could have no shame. What do I want to do in the world? How can I grow from this experience?
I will tell you this: if you are in the health coaching world and profession, and it is important, and we were talking about this, and then this goes to any purpose-driven business, the purpose needs to be balanced with the element of profit, and the monetization and the simple but important business structures that need to be in place for you to make money from what you’re doing.
Even Mother Teresa, to remind you, needed money to do what she does. Especially for us, mystics and healers, we can have issues around money and making money and however little or as much as we want.
The first thing I did, once I got out of health coaching school, was hire a business coach for six months. She taught me the business of coaching. Because I knew if I was going to make money from this, I needed to understand what I was doing. That’s why I think your work is so valuable because you give us so many tools to just go and implement and then shine in our brilliance in however many niches we want to focus on.
But it’s important to know that what we offer matters and to live in the joy of the fulfillment of helping people –and that does mean we also fulfill our bank accounts in the process. So fluent leadership is creating win-wins and that starts with you, your bank account, and your health.
Because if you are not making money, that will affect your well-being on all different kinds of levels, and it will affect your marketing and it’ll affect your leadership. And then the ripple effect continues.
How To Step Towards Leadership When You Feel Overwhelmed
Rachel: I love that you shared about those dark nights. Tell me, in your work, when somebody is in that place, what were the steps that you took to come into that leadership role? Because I when we feel that overwhelmed, like I failed, I’m trying everything –is that where we take a pause and step back into alignment? Is that where the archetypes come in? Tell me a little about how you would give your heartfelt suggestion to anyone in that place.
Priscilla: First thing is –your perfect just as you are, you’re not broken. There’s nothing wrong with you. If you want to be an entrepreneur, there are tools to help you do that. So I think when it comes to being in that state of oh my god, they’re a couple of things.
If you’ve been in it for a while, and things are feeling off, which it did for me in 2016. I mean it was bad. I had to take a pause. I also got hypothyroidism, panic attacks, anxiety attacks. I was having head problems. I thought I had a brain tumor, seriously. I didn’t thankfully, but it was bad. I had to step back entirely for about six months for the first burnout and then 18 months for the second. I was just a pool of nothing. Mush.
So in my case, I had to pause and I had to ask the really difficult questions of myself: why am I doing this? Why do I want to do this? Do I even really, if I’m really being honest, want to do it? And if I’m gonna do it, how is it going to work for me? I had to look at the real fear that I had around doing it and what was that block inside of me?
In most cases, I was afraid of being ridiculed. I was afraid of failing. I was afraid that I was going to be shamed for not knowing what I was talking about. I also had this desperate need to prove myself through my work. I was working seven days a week, 12 hour days when I was doing health coaching because I desperately needed to prove that I was worthy and good enough to have a six-figure business. Because if I had a six-figure business, nobody in the coaching world would be able to shame me for having a fucking hobby. What is it about the hobby thing?
I wasn’t being a slacker or lazy, I just wasn’t finding my way.
The other piece is that when we don’t feel like we know what we’re doing and marketing our business, we look to other people outside of ourselves to give us the best practices to help us. The problem is that most often than not, and that’s where the archetypes come in. Those best practices are not coupled with our knowledge of what makes us unique and brilliant, our zones of genius and how to show up in that area.
Priscilla: For me knowing that I’m a mystic. I know, it took me this long. But once I realized the power of people coming into my space and my holding space for them, and being a catalyst for them to suck out the best within themselves. I don’t have to do tons of content. I don’t have to do a ton of shit that I hate to do. They come, magic happens. Of course, there’s some more that goes into it. But my business is simple. I like to work boutique, high-level, high touch. I don’t have courses, I don’t have a ton of things. I don’t have a big team. I don’t want any of that shit. That’s not for me.
But that’s where you have to be honest. Do you want to do it? And how do you want to do it? I think what you’re diving into is really sitting down and getting to know yourself. I love when I get on the phone with a coach because groups always scared me. I remember coming out and everyone’s like, groups groups, I can’t wait to do groups. I thought, I can’t wait to just do one on one. I love that I hear coaches saying, I want to speak to tons of people. I want to do one-on-one. I want to do group coaching.
Really get to know what style of coaching you want to do. How do you need to show up in marketing? What really makes sense for your level of I would say not commitment. But what does that really look like in your perfect day, so that you don’t feel drained or exhausted, because that Negative Nelly stuff can come in so easily when we’re tired.
Rachel: It does. And it goes back to the simple things that we learned in health coaching school, right? I am a morning person. I don’t do evenings. My client hours are from 10 to two, maybe 10 to four if I’m pushing it. I walk my dog and make coffee for my husband. I need some time to regroup. I dispatch all my emails and stuff for my team to do in the morning. By 10am I’m at my desk and ready to go for my client work but I designed that.
I actually hired somebody to help me color code my Google Calendar, believe it or not, and to understand my own cycles and rhythms. I need a month off in December, December to January I need August mostly off.
I had to understand what I needed as a human and build the business around that. I don’t need to teach millions I don’t need to teach 1000s. I want to coach those that coach the 1000s and the millions and have it small and tight. When you were having your 12 hour days, because this is not uncommon, for a lot of us in the business and especially for those of us like you and I talked about, we gain that self-worth through our work. So we tend to work 12 hours. And you felt like you were trying a lot of different things that weren’t working for you. What coming out of that did what did you realize there?
How To Find What Works For You As You Build Your Business
Priscilla: Well, those are the special the first three years in health coaching where it was a lot of foundational building. I was creating a lot of content so I needed to do the website, I needed to hire a copywriter to get my copy, I needed to do the freebie. All this stuff that you give to people to do. I was creating it from scratch. The thing is, I like to create my own content. It’s just my style, but I want to do it well and pretty. So it took a long time.
I also would hide behind all that creation because I had to distinguish between project activity and money-making activity. Be honest about that because if I’m spending hours doing website and freebie stuff, I’m not going to get money because it was hard. And the key thing, the confidence and what was so important for me was I had to hire, and I did hire, a good copywriter in the beginning. I needed to understand my message. I needed to be able to confidently explain what I did, and for whom, because otherwise, I felt utterly crippled in my ability to communicate in any way, shape, or form.
It’s funny because I talked about emotional eating. I thought that I had to be skinnier. I was 30 pounds up until maybe five years ago. So it was also hard for me. I always thought that I had to put on this persona of what a good health coach is. I don’t mind a green juice or two, I know you’re on a whole other level, I’m never gonna be like you. I’ll have a green juice but I might have a chocolate brownie with it. I’m not going to do like the whole 30, it’s just not me.
I had to get to the point of whatworks for me. How am I working with myself versus against myself? I did try different things. I was on different webinars, I was like, do we do funnels? Do we do this? I have a knack for business. I’m not stupid. I’m certainly devoted and committed. But part of it was that I was hiding behind all of this because I was afraid of being disappointed that all of this wasn’t gonna work out. It feels like you put your greatest hopes and dreams on the line, and if it doesn’t work, I don’t know if we’re all ready for that level of disappointment.
Rachel: In the beginning, when you’re starting a business is the deepest therapy that you can go through. I know for myself, every fear, every inadequacy, every thought, and the burnout that I felt –a lot of it was just the fear. If I could go back and tell my younger self in business, let go of the fear. Get a little more support. Stop pretending that you’ve got it all together. Hire that person that you need. But I was so scared that I was going to fail that person, fail myself, invest in something that wasn’t going to work out.
I just powered through it. Thank God I did. One thing that I always look back on is I had my back against the wall because we had lost all our savings. So I had to make it work. I think that was a blessing in disguise. But I also look back and think how much time was wasted on all those feelings that maybe I wasn’t enough.
Priscilla: Oh, it was all-consuming night and day. For me, it was very bad. I made a conscious decision. I remember clearly the moment. I was even going through one of your revitalize programs in my Dropbox and I remember thinking, Okay, I will put my life on hold until I hit six figures. It was a conscious decision to put everything –dating, fun, anything that was not business did not matter. That was a high price to pay and that’s putting a lot of eggs in one basket. Not to mention that having a life feeds the business. You can’t put everything in the business. It’s like asking a lover or partner to be all the things for you. Nobody and no one thing can do that. So the amount of pressure on me in the business was massive, and not healthy.
Rachel: You have very exciting news. You put a book together and it’s now officially launched. Tell me what really inspired you to put this book together because I think more help the audience really understand your work.
The Inspiration Behind The Book
Priscilla: So in 2016 I opened the Akashic records and my guides asked me to write a 30 page little PDF. That little fucker turned out to be 165-page book, that’s a body of work on how people can lead from their soul and lead from their strengths. So I had a nervous breakdown from that because I didn’t know what to do with it.
For three or four years I was kind of getting a handle on the work and I thought wouldn’t it be nice I was having a conversation with someone and I was like, there are five social leadership archetypes. Wouldn’t it be nice if somebody can just get a book and say, Okay, this is how to write my copy, this is how to brand myself, this is how to market myself. This is the business model and team members that I need based on my innate design, on how I’m naturally designed to lead in business.
So I opened the Akashic records. I told my guys, okay, I’ll start typing. I thought a 10 page PDF, that was it. No more because I didn’t want my ego to get all entangled. 10 turned 30 to 50, 100, 150. Now, 222 pages later, we have the reference guide right here. All color. 8 ½ by 11 book with 15 business in here that shows you, with your archetype, how to apply it directly in six areas of business: team building, leadership and money mindset, business model, marketing, branding, manifesting.
It has very detailed information. It’s really an igniter and a catalyst to show you how you’re brilliant, going back to the beginning of our conversation, and how to apply that brilliance into your business so you show up fully expressed. And then any other practices that you get along the way that supplement you in your essence. Your essence isn’t otherwise hidden in your business and in your message. It talks about the three business leverages: your message, which is the heart of or the resonance of your work; your business model, which is the engine, the driver, your offers your pricing, how you structure your business; and your money structures, how are you designing your business so you receive the reward, the money for what you’re putting out into the world.
Rachel: When I think about all the tools that every business owner or health coach has, I think how overwhelming it is to actually then decide what’s right for you. To be able to have that tool book, I didn’t even know it went in all those areas, I think it’s amazing because I see so many coaches that say, I should be doing this, I should be doing that, instead of the opposite way. It’s like, based on my soul based on what drives me, and based on how, as you said, I want to be a leader in this world. What’s the best way for me to show up? What’s the best way for me to market myself and sometimes it is a shift in mindset. But I think it’s also in finding what are your strengths, and being able to let go of the fears.
How To Leverage Your Talents & Skillset To Show Up As A Successful Leader
The book is called Leveraging Archetype: a supplement leadership business guide to amplify your message, visibility and profits, by leveraging your archetype. How do you leverage your innate talents and skills and ways of being as a leader to show up in business in such a way that you make money, and also help the collective good and avoid burn out or give up on what you believe to be true for you?
Priscilla: We have a true in the essence within us. It takes courage to look at ourselves and to see what makes me great and to really stand in that because it’s a vulnerable thing.
Look, here’s the thing, if you’re going to lead, it’s going to be vulnerable because it’s not going to require more work, it might actually require less work. It’s going to require a lot more courage because you’re going to actually be saying what you really believe you’re going to put your heart on the line, you’re going to be creating a business that you really want to create. You put failure and disappointment on the line and you’re going to be making money that you really want to make. And that will tick some people off and then their fears and triggers of that to blossom.
We have to be willing to ask the hard questions if we’re going to lead. Period. That is a constant day-by-day choice to make. Fluent Leadership isn’t about shitting on anything, it’s about knowing yourself and then making a conscious decision about how you want to add value to your life, to your business, and to the world.
You don’t have to, but also coming and telling me or anyone, Oh, I don’t have anything to give bullshit. You do. Are you brave enough to understand what makes you brilliant? Because here’s the thing, you can’t hide behind the not knowing.
Rachel: Back in 2016, when you were in that burnout place, do you feel that this was something that you knew, but you weren’t applying it to your own life?
Priscilla: Yeah, I didn’t have any concept of leadership. I was in total denial that I could, that I had much to offer. I was doubting so much I felt like such a failure that it was hard even for me to get out the door, go to a networking event because I’m like, people are going to see the wrongness of what’s inside my soul here. I feel awful, ashamed, embarrassed, like an idiot. I felt like a fool.
So it was very hard. I had to pull back so I could deal with the tenderness and the wrongness of my inner workings. So that I have when I came back to say, Okay, I’m going to do this, and I’m going to do it without all of that tenderness. I had to work through it and heal it on my own. I had to do trauma therapy, which I still do. EMDR theta, I still have my stuff that I do. I don’t do a ton, but I still do healing, energetic work, and including in the records it’s an ongoing process because there’s always that tension that comes when you’re on the edge, right? There’s always more that you’re having to face, more truth-telling with yourself. If you want to lead you got to be fucking brilliantly honest, you can’t lie.
Rachel: Yeah, I think that’s such an important part that we don’t talk about. I think that so often, we only hear the pretty stories, but we don’t hear behind the scenes of what actually happens and what it requires to actually show up and live your purpose. Because it’s not just manifesting, it’s all the other parts that you say. It’s that deep inner work.
Pushing Through Towards Acceptance & Finding Value In Yourself
I know that putting myself in therapy, going into trauma therapy was one of the best things I’ve done in a long time, because I’ve been in other therapies, but to be able to focus on the things that kept holding me back. Those memories that would feel like they were yesterday, they were the ones pulling me and pushing me always into this state of exhaustion. Instead of being able to say, You know what? I accept myself, love myself, and I’m going to really commit to not pushing myself in a place where I may not be meant to serve.
Priscilla: I agree. And I think that’s a really important point is where do we keep butting up against ourselves? Where can’t we seem to get through on our own? It was the software’s piece, the proving piece. I feel like there’s still an element of that, but less of it.
For me, it’s like, what if people can see that I have no value? When you take out the shell of a business, or the shell of any sense of identity of success, if I’m not successful in someone’s eyes, including my own, then what is there left for someone to see? Is there anything left of value? That was a hard pill to swallow.
Now I’m like, Yeah, I know. The other piece, too, is when I made the decision to pursue this work, I also had to be willing to be okay with the understanding that I have value to add. There are multiple avenues and ways in which that contribution can manifest itself. It can be in a company, it can be for a startup, it can be for myself, it can be working part-time somewhere else.
I had to also let go of the idea that if I don’t just contribute in the business, and it doesn’t look a certain way, I’m nothing. I had to expand that out and I had to be flexible. I had to reconfigure my notion of success, contribution and my value in the process. Again, tough pill to swallow.
Rachel: What would be your advice to that new coach who’s starting out in that foundational place? How do you step into your purpose and your desire with aligning with your archetype? One is by your book of cards. But what is your advice for that coach?
How To Step Into An Archetype-Aligned Purpose
Priscilla: I would say that you definitely need to have support from someone that understands the coaching world. You need to know what you do and who you do it for, even if you’re not sure what you bring to the table. I think it’s important for me, I needed to be able to communicate that people say, I don’t know how to put in words, but I do. It’s not a 10-foot page list of, I do Reiki. What does that mean?
What’s the transformation you’re going to create for people? I hired a business coach and I hired a copywriter who was really good at putting words to things I didn’t know how to do. I would say also it’s practice, practice, practice, practice, practice. I learned as I went.
For stuff that’s just overwhelming, like creating content, even though I sort of liked it, it was a tough one to hire out. But get it done for you. Get somebody else that can do it for you. For the love of God, keep it simple. Pick two to three ways that you market yourself. For me, I started a newsletter list. I would do networking, and I would get referrals. That was and remains the primary way I get business.
Now I’m on social media and that was a whole like, how did they do that? Because that’s so many channels. So then I always work at 123. What are my 123 ways to market myself? Or 123 social media channels. If you really can’t do it –I can’t get on Tik Tok, I never went to Clubhouse. Just don’t do it. You don’t need to do it. But what you do do, you need to do it well. So simplify and tighten it. Don’t widen it too much and spread yourself too thin.
Rachel: I love that. What would you say is the biggest takeaway you hope every coach heard?
Priscilla: You matter, your work matters. If you’re going to run a business, you are a business owner and an entrepreneur and you need to know how to run a business. You cannot be blind to how much money you’re making and just live on the happy smoke of oh, I’m helping people. No. If you want to make this a real business, you need to learn the business side of it. You need to know why you do it. You need to know what makes you so brilliant at what you do.
Rachel: I love it. So can you tell everyone where to find you?
Priscilla: Priscillastephan.com. There’s the free archetype quiz. Three minutes, it’s free. So you understand what your supplement leadership archetype is. If you want a copy of the book, Priscillastephan.com/book. If I can help in any way, I’m always just a DM or an email away.
Rachel: This was such a great episode. It was chock full of information behind the scenes that people don’t really talk about, and also how to really align with your business in a way that doesn’t exhaust you, because I think that’s the key of what we really talked about today. So, Priscilla, thanks so much for being here.
Priscilla: Thank you for having me. I’m so honored.