Episode #57: Eyes on Your Own Business

DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. DRIVEN: A podcast for modern entrepreneurs. Eyes on Your Own Business.

In today’s episode, we’re having a conversation about the power of keeping your head down. We’ll wrap up the episode with an actionable tip!

Cassy Joy: You see what other folks are doing, and you have a desire to veer one direction or the other because of something that’s not actually contributing. Whether that’s imposter syndrome, or should I be doing this instead, or should I be doing more of that, causes you to stall one way or another, you’re not going to produce the quality unique product or service or brand that you are made to make.

Welcome to Driven; a show about business, life, and wellness from two confident, curious women who are pulling back the curtain on what it’s like being an entrepreneur. Each week, join hosts Diane Sanfilippo and Cassy Joy Garcia talk about being your best, showing up for your dreams, and kicking self-doubt to the curb.

Diane is a business whisperer, best-selling author, and plant-hobbyist based in San Francisco. Cassy Joy is the founder of www.FedandFit.com, best-selling author, and casserole enthusiast. She calls San Antonio, Texas, home.

Cassy Joy: In today’s episode, we’re having a conversation about the power of keeping your head down.


  1. What’s on my plate [1:04]
  2. Shop Talk: Not caring about how other people run their business [25:45]
  3. Keeping your head down, and staying true to you [40:43]
  4. Tip of The Week: Find out where you’re stalled [54:34]

1.  What’s on my plate [1:04]

Diane Sanfilippo: What’s on My Plate. In this segment, we talk about what’s happening in our businesses, and in our lives for the week. Cassy, what’s happening in your business and your life this week?

Cassy Joy: {laughs} My business and my life this week? Well this one collides business and life. As I’ve mentioned here on the show before, I’ve brought on; really, since maybe a month or two into quarantine, I brought on a business/life coach. And his name is Mikael Gray. And Mikael has been a friend of mine for 20 years now. We met each other in college, and he’s a very gifted coach. And at one point, I was texting with him, and I was like; I need to just hire you! {laughs} Because I really want to do a deep dive.

So Mikael just did a Human Design reading for me. And we’ve talked about this before on the show, we both plugged our information in and if you’re not familiar with Human Design, I will just reiterate what Mikael told me in this reading. He was like; Human Design is essentially some astrology stuff mixed with some kabbala stuff, and a whole bunch of other stuff. And it gives you this very cut and dry formula for your design as a person. And to get that information, you enter really just when you were born. To the minute, I believe. And I think where?

Diane Sanfilippo: And where, yep.

Cassy Joy: Ok. So you enter the information, and then when you get it, if you pull this website up, Human Design, and you plug all your information in, you get what looks like the bust outline of a person with, what I think are the chakras identified. The 7 different areas in your body. And there are channels and all this other stuff in between them. And I’ve always ignored that, because it looked confusing. {laughs} So I was like; but it says I’m a; it gives you one of five main titles. And mine was a Manifesting Generator. And I know you, Diane, are a Manifestor. There are also Generators, Reflectors, and Projectors.

So I’ve always known I was a Manifesting Generator. I did some searching on that. And I thought I knew all the things there were to know about Human Design {laughs}. And boy, was I wrong. So Mikael did this reading for me, and he filmed it, and he sent me the link to the video so I could pause and restart, and I just took notes. It took me almost 2 hours to go through this 30-minute reading, taking all the notes.

Diane; creepy. Super-duper creepy accurate. So what he did is he went through; every single channel has its own information about how I move through the world. And it was just fascinating. And it also; to be honest, it was extremely, I don’t know if liberating is the right word. But it was a relief, because I’ve always felt a little bit like I must be missing a piece of the puzzle. Because I feel like I move through the world, I make decisions differently than the majority of my peers. You know? And you and I, you’re one of my best friends. We agree on just about everything. But how you and I arrive at the same decision is different.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: And I would say that that’s true for every close relationship I have in my life. How I arrive at decisions and how I arrive at something is different from everybody in my life. And honestly, Diane, I always thought that I just hadn’t learned something yet. Maybe I’m getting there the wrong way. It’s the feeling of, if you’re alone, you must be wrong. I’ve always carried that with me.

And it was just so interesting, because in hearing this reading, it was just very affirming that I’m doing life exactly how I’m supposed to do life. It just gave me a confidence; because I hold two truths at once. One of the truths is I’m very coachable; I always want to be coachable to the people I trust and invite to coach me; like, Diane being one of them. My parents, other peers. And at the same time, I am very stubborn and have Rebel tendencies and know deep down that what I’m doing is right. So it was really neat to hear that even though my approach sometimes seems a little squishy and soft and swirly, maybe, from the outside, there’s a lot of method and reasoning behind it.

So that was really neat. One of the things, though, that he said that I thought was so interesting is; he said, in my reading, I took a ton of notes. He said that I am meant to be part of my life’s work and what makes me tick on earth is in sharing my lessons learned so that others don’t make the same mistakes I did. And he read this very dryly. And granted, Mikael knows me really well. Diane and I talked about this beforehand; like, I wonder what would happen if I had a cold reading from somebody who had no idea who I was. But I was like; that’s so freaky creepy. Because that is the whole reason I started Fed and Fit. Was to say; here are my lessons learned. Don’t make the mistakes I did. Get there much faster and smarter than me.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that.

Cassy Joy: That was the premise of my first book.

Diane Sanfilippo: 100%. And what I love about Human Design, too, is that you can get a totally cold reading and someone will tell you things that are affirming, as you’re saying. Like; this person who has known you 20 years, we were just discussing maybe we flip flop the people that we know who have done readings, because even though I don’t know either of them for any length of time, it is so much fun to get a reading from someone who doesn’t know anything about you. Doesn’t even look at your Instagram first. Doesn’t know what kind of work you do. But they’re just reading what’s in the chart. It’s just whatever is in the stars; it’s written.

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: It is written.

Cassy Joy: It’s amazing. It’s amazing.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s really fascinating.

Cassy Joy: I was blown away. And something that he was really good about saying; he was like, maybe none of this resonates with you, and you’re like; meh, that doesn’t apply.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yes! I feel like they teach them that in Human Design reading school. They’re like; this might resonate with you, it might not. And I remember one of the things in the reading that I got, where she said something to the effect of; time blocking is not a thing for me. Or something along those lines. Literally something I have actually said. And she’s like; but if you do that, and this doesn’t resonate for you, that’s ok. And I wanted to be like; she has no idea that she literally just read me right there. Where I’m like; don’t schedule me! Nobody put me on your schedule!

Cassy Joy: {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: So it is so interesting. Well I love that.

Cassy Joy: It was so cool. Can I tell you this one thing that I thought was super creepy? One of the things about my personality type in particular is that I have to be invited to share something, like a teaching or something like that. And if it’s not invited, then there’s a high likelihood that the person I’m sharing to will reject or be insulted by me. And I have seen this play out in my life and in my business a lot.

So let’s say, for example; if I want to pivot Fed and Fit. And I’m like; ok you guys, listen. This is what I’m going to do now. And I’m going to tell you this thing you didn’t ask for, but we’re doing it. I’m the captain of this ship and I’m turning it around. When I do something like that, I definitely get this feeling of rejection and that I’ve insulted.

However, when I respond; which is how I’ve always done business, where I’ve felt like I’m doing it the best is when I’m responding to the invitation. So somebody says; I need help with meal planning. And I say; I can help you with your meal planning, here’s the answer to your question. It blossoms, and it does really well. So that was interesting to me to see trends like that in my business, and how that’s so important.

Diane Sanfilippo: Very interesting.

Cassy Joy: But the part that I found even more interesting is that I have what they called the throat channel or something like that. And what this means is that, although I have to be invited; look how excited I am. I am so excited.

Diane Sanfilippo: I know!

Cassy Joy: I have to be invited to share advice and things like that. When it comes to me speaking to somebody, it’s almost like a loophole. Because although I have to be invited to share, maybe in written format or things like that. When I speak, it’s a way for me not to be rejected. Which explains why so much early on I felt this desire to do a podcast, and I was so excited to get in front of video. Because I feel like I can relay my message better if I’m able to speak with somebody.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that.

Cassy Joy: It’s so cool.

Diane Sanfilippo: I’m curious where that comes from in the chart, as well. Because what’s interesting, often Projectors are told they need to wait for an invitation for a lot of different things. So that’s a really interesting little note, despite that not being your design type.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: But that’s really interesting. Conversely, one of the things they always tell us as Manifestors is that, in order to not have that rejection, our way that we’re supposed to operate; and I have found it really resonates and it’s important. Is that I have to constantly be informing everyone around me of what I’m doing and what’s happening next and where I’m going. Because I’m just like a freight train all the time. And I’m like; I will rip the Band-Aid off and say; this is what we’re doing now. Right?

But if I do that; I can do that, but I have to also give; here’s all the context. Here’s why. Here’s what’s happening. And I noticed this happened recently. Even with team Balanced Bites and most of the women on the team; it is all women at this point. Well, no, there is one guy. {laughs} Have been through big thing with me before, and now at this point, there’s no real fear or apprehension when something big comes up. Because it usually comes after a little bit of a quiet. Or if we are in what I would call just kind of a hamster wheel turn where it’s like; we’re producing, we’re doing the same thing week after week, just kind of iterating, getting better. Nothing has changed, there hasn’t been anything that I find interesting or exciting going on {laughs}. Something is about to happen. everybody better brace themselves. Like, I go on vacation and I come back and I start a new business.

After this whole thing; we’re opening a store. So everyone is like; they don’t really have a choice whether they’re on board or not. But, there is a choice in how I explain it and share about it so that I have everyone’s buy-in. And that’s the responsibility of the Manifestor, is to do what I’m going to do. But be informing along the way. And I think that’s an interesting conversation, as well. Because with social media, there are so many people who say; don’t tell people what you’re doing. Just let them know when it’s launching or when it’s done. And I’m like; that’s not actually how I do best. I do better if I bring you along for the journey. And I think that’s common with a lot of social media, but especially for me as a Manifestor. I know that if I inform people along the way; I’m not going to show all my cards. Right? I mean, there’s always going to be something. but it’s so fascinating. I love that.

Well, more readings to come. And if you’re into this stuff, or not into it, I think either way there’s always something… I think it makes us feel seen. It makes us feel; I don’t know. We can all very often feel alone in the way that we view the world. As you said, make decisions, as we’re going to talk about today. Run our business, make decisions for our businesses. And I have definitely found a lot of comfort in some of the reading I got and information.

Did you get to dig into your cross? I don’t know, what does it say on yours? What’s your angle, cross thing? {laughs} I don’t know what it’s called!

Cassy Joy: Yes, he did. Oh man, let me see. The gray arrows point…

Diane Sanfilippo: It has a name. Like, your chart will have your type…

Cassy Joy: Yes, life purpose incarnation cross? This is what I wrote down because he was trying to explain.

Diane Sanfilippo: Oh em gee. What does it say?

Cassy Joy: So he gave me the official word, but I didn’t write the official word down. I wrote down; I got, Mother Teresa-ness. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Cassy. Oh em gee. Ok, we’ll find out what it’s called. Because there’s a website where you can look up the written description. And if you’re listening and you want to see, or listen to our episodes where we talk about personality tests and all of that. It’s a series we did, episodes 23, 24, and 25, and we included some conversation about this, as well. So you can go back to those.

I want to know what that one is for you. Because that was where I was like; ok, I’m sold on this whole thing. Besides just the Manifestor thing, my cross is like; {laughs} alright, I’m in.

Cassy Joy: That’s it. I will definitely look that up. This is so fun. I could talk endlessly about it.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’ll bring it next time.

Cassy Joy: I’ll give one more quick update, business related. And this kind of goes with that, in terms of being invited to share something that my community, Fed and Fit community. It seems when I ask; I personally ask a question. “Hey you guys; do y’all have any recommendations on nursing-friendly sports bras?” Something very specific to this season of life that I’m in. And I got a bunch of replies, but overwhelming number of people who said; please share the results.

So, I’m really excited because this has actually helped us open up a new thing that we’re going to start doing on Fed and Fit; our community product reviews. So what we’re going to do; I got all of these recommendations of sports bras. There must have been 40 different recommendations. We took the top four or five, and then also asked the audience; who wants to help us test these? Because I’m built differently than the next lady, and I have different nursing needs and different workout needs. So we wanted to give a really good, thorough review.

So we’re going to start doing this on Fed and Fit; rolling them out. And I’m so stinking excited for it. so each of these ladies who are nursing, and working out, of varying size ranges, ages of babies, nursing styles and workout styles. We’re all going; I’m sending them all the same bras, and we’re all going to test them, and then we’re all going to write a collective review.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that!

Cassy Joy: Isn’t that fun?

Diane Sanfilippo: That seems totally in line with what you were saying, where you were just kind of invited to do that.

Cassy Joy: Exactly.

Diane Sanfilippo: That process that you just explained; which you have done this many times over, where you’re like; oh, here’s this idea. And now we’re going to start doing this on Fed and Fit. I’m like; that quick process right there; exnay. I would never. I could do it!

Cassy Joy: Really?

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah, because if I don’t feel it bubble up from me, I’m not anchored to make it happen.

Cassy Joy: That makes sense.

Diane Sanfilippo: And that doesn’t mean that’s not valuable either way. I just have to be so convicted. And you are convicted, right? And it is important and it is a thing to do. And that ah-ha moment comes from that conversation with the community in that moment, and that’s totally right. Right? It’s 100% right. It’s just like; I won’t be able to keep the momentum with it if it didn’t bubble up from me, even if it was from conversations like that over time that then I’m like; ok, here’s the way I’m going to do it. you know what I mean?

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, you just have a really fast, and maybe that’s the Generator part with the Manifesting part?

Cassy Joy: It’s might be. It’s interesting.

Diane Sanfilippo: Where it’s like; I’m not a Generator. I don’t have that; quick, make it, here’s how it’s going to be, and now it’s going to be part of what we do all the time.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Like, I don’t have that {laughs} design.

Cassy Joy: Something he said was; it’s interesting about the Manifesting and the Generator. He says; even though the word Manifestor comes first, he says I’m actually a Generator who Manifests.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right.

Cassy Joy: Versus a Manifestor who then can Generate. Which makes sense, because that’s why I’m so prone to being; how can we put this thing into action right now.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm.

Cassy Joy: It’s interesting.

Diane Sanfilippo: It is really interesting. I love it.

Cassy Joy: What do you have going on? I’ve just jabbered for lots of minutes. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs} Well, we were chit-chatting. I think it’s so fascinating and I want to come back to those topics so people can continue to learn about, as our Human Designs unfold. Because it’s kind of like a huge thing to unpack and learn about.

So a couple of updates; some shop updates. I got the painting estimate. Little did I know that repainting this location would essentially be the most expensive endeavor I would take on. It’s a hefty project. I don’t even think I want to breathe it out.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: How much it’s going to cost. But you know; I did take on a space. The bones are there; I don’t really need to build anything or do anything substantial. I had a conversation with a peer/colleague/friend of mine who actually has a shop down the street. And she was telling me how much it was to do the build out at her place, and how they vastly underestimated it. It was just really interesting. I’m like; I’m not even building anything, we’re literally just painting! And it’s just crazy.

So, interestingly, if I had thought about all these things, I don’t know that I would have done this. But in another conversation I had with a friend, it was like; well, that’s why we don’t sometimes think them all the way through. Otherwise we would never do them. {laughs} Because if I were in my right mind, I would not actually do some things. Right? We just kind of talked about this before, talking about working on your; is this your third book?

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm. Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Where you’re like; if I had actually been in my right mind and fully considered the depth of how challenging this would be, I probably would say no. But for whatever reason, as humans, we somehow block certain things out in order to move forward with life. I mean, I happen to be convinced that moms do that every time we have more humans born.

Cassy Joy: Absolutely.

Diane Sanfilippo: We’re like; wow, that’s really hard! {laughs} I forgot how hard this was. But the reward is there, and we can all do hard things, right? Anyway. I am very fortunate to be able to take this on and be able to pay for the work to be done. I feel really good. I won’t say the name of the company that I’m having paint until after it’s done and it’s hopefully done well and smoothly. But if it goes well, I will share. It’s a national company that has local franchises. And I’m feeling really confident about it so far, because the process has been smooth. The customer service has been great. The estimate process has been very smooth. And I think those are all things that; you know, people talk about getting hosed by contractors and all of that. All types of different things.

Cassy Joy: The story of this studio office.

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. So we’ll see what happens and I’ll report back on that. But, just a heads up to anyone. If you are painting a large space; it is not a joke.

Cassy Joy: Round up. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: Yeah. Like, I just; you know, when you’ve painted one room and you just spent money on paint for your 15 by 15 room, it’s just not the same as these giant walls.

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So that will be interesting. And I’ve been talking with the woman who is going to paint the mural, and we’re just kind of developing ideas back and forth. She’s actually pretty new at painting murals. So as somebody who has been an art director for a good part of my life, as well, it’s a good collaboration, because I can respect her artistic vision, but also make sure I’m getting what I need from the process. And I’m not afraid to tell her; hey, can you move this, or do this, or whatever. And she can still kind of be the one who is executing and making it look a certain way. But I’m not having my ideas not actually get onto the wall, literally.

Just a couple of updates otherwise; so as of the airing of this episode, we are in our last week with our summer menu for Balanced Bites meals. So we have a new menu launching and what I think is really exciting about that is we have two recipe collaborators; two friends of mine who have come in. They’ve been people who have for many, many months been customers of, lovers of, promoters of Balanced Bites meals. And I kind of tapped them both on the shoulder and I was like; hey, do you have recipes that you think would work well in this format?

So we have three meals; two from one collaborator and one from another. And I’m just really excited about that. Because we were chatting right before we hit record that one of the things that is so important to me, and the intention that I set with my business; it’s not just about growing a business that’s big and has whatever profits or trying to just make it big and sell it, or any of those things. None of those are the intention behind what I do with my businesses. I legit just want to freaking have fun. I just want to do things that sound really fun, even if they’re hard or challenging.

Like, opening a store is fun. It’s challenging, it’s costly. But this is the adventure of my life. This is a minimum of the next two years. We’re not traveling anywhere. What am I living? What am I doing with my life? I don’t have kids. {laughs} So it’s like; these are the adventures I want to have. And in doing this and building this thing along with friends. You know; we have this podcast. This is what makes the journey of building businesses fun, doing it with friends and I don’t want to be on an island by myself, even if it is my company. I want to bring people into that.

Because I kind of wish people had done that with me.  You know, years ago when they were building what they built. I’m like; well, I would like to be a part of that. Even if I’m not the owner; can we collaborate? Can this be my flavor? So I just think it’s going to be so much fun. I’m definitely looking at doing that in other areas. I know you and I had talked about it on something else in the past, and we will talk about it again.

But I’m just excited. Because for me, that’s kind of what it’s all about. Doing business, paying the bills, everyone is getting paid their salaries and whatever else. But we’re just having fun. What’s the point if we’re not having fun.

Cassy Joy: Totally.

Diane Sanfilippo: Right? The granola collaboration has gone really, really well. So we have actually had a meeting with the owner recently of Nana Joe’s, and we’re going to keep talking about what’s the come in the future, so stay tuned for more on that. But she’s just an awesome person, and more to come, we’ll just say. But you all are loving the granola. It’s almost like I’ve made people angry, because they love it so much.

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: They’re kind of shaking their fist at me.

Cassy Joy: Yes. Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: Darn you!

Cassy Joy: Yes. Because I had one bag, and it’s here at the office. And I go home, and I want granola. And I’m mad at myself that I don’t have more bags. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: We’ll fix that.

2.  Shop Talk: Not caring about how other people run their business [24:45]

Cassy Joy: Shop Talk. In this segment, we discuss topics that are related to business and entrepreneurship that are on both our minds and yours. This week, we’re talking about the power of keeping your head down.

So the topic for today’s conversation came from Diane and I’s talking for 45 minutes before we pressed record. {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing}

Cassy Joy: And towards the end of that 45 minutes, I said; what do you want to talk about today? And she said; oh, I have this thing, this idea. And I just think it’s great. A good conversation.

Diane Sanfilippo: Ok. So, every now and then, I have a few things that I’ll just kind of throw into a note in my phone. And sometimes I’ll make what I call a quote card; a little sharable thing for Instagram. And usually they’re sitting there before I share them out. I don’t always make them the morning that I share them. So this one has not been shared yet, but maybe by the time this airs it will be.

Let’s see, I need to replace one word because I did curse in this sharable, and I don’t want to curse on the show. Ok, so here’s what it says. “Not giving a darn about how other people build their businesses is a superpower.” That’s our thesis statement for the day. {laughs}

Cassy Joy: Mike drop. Let’s walk away. Good time. It was great talking to you today. Everyone have a good one. {laughing} Just kidding.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughs}

Cassy Joy: That’s all you need to know! {laughing} I’m just kidding.

Diane Sanfilippo: Well, we were say what’s interesting is; we have this business podcast. We talk about how we build our businesses. We share advice. And then there is also, I think a great superpower in saying; good for you, I’m going to do it this way.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: I think there are best practices; to your point about being someone who learns what not to do and shares that with other people. We do that almost every single week, right? We talk about systems that we’ve used that we were like; eh that one wasn’t so great. Or maybe they’re all fine. You have to find which one works for you. And I’m sure we will continue to uncover in our Human Design where this comes from in me.

But since the beginning of building businesses in a public way, there has always been somebody who has said; here’s what you should do. And I’m like; thanks but no thanks. Because I always have a list of things that I know I need to cross off and get done. And I’m like; yep. I have a plan for that. But I need to take care of this other stuff, first. So I hear that you think that’s the most important thing. But I’m telling you now it’s not.

This is a very specific thing that happened, before I released what was called then the Practical Paleo Nutrition Guidebook or eBook, whatever it was called. {laughs} I don’t remember what I called it. I think I released that back in 2009 or 10 as an eBook. But before I even released that, literally on my list of things to do was sell off two old computers that I wasn’t using. Finish this school project. I had somebody that was like; you need to get that eBook out. Blah, blah, blah. And it’s like; I know. I will get to it. but first I want to do this, because I’m paying rent and this will bring in this money.

Just all these things about knowing the way that is feeling right for me to do the thing that I’m going to do. And I know that not everyone innately always feels so secure in their own path and their own choices, but that’s kind of why I’m saying; seeing how other people build something but having your own vision and kind of creating a bubble around yourself in a way. Where it’s like; yes. I will, of course, file the paperwork. I will of course hire this accountant if I need this help, right? But there’s something about the way that we actually all build our business. There’s a huge percentage in that process that is totally up for debate.

Cassy Joy: Mm-hmm.

Diane Sanfilippo: So here’s another example. And I certainly have hindsight on some of the way that I’ve done things that I’m like; eh, I wish I had done that differently. Right?

Cassy Joy: Yep.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s not to say that just because we don’t pay attention that the way that we did it was maybe the optimal way {laughs}. But for a lot of us, I do think that finding our own way is what ultimately creates the confidence to continue doing that. But way long ago when I launched the 21-Day Sugar Detox, it was an eBook that I sold. And in hindsight, if I had given it away for free. Look; social media wasn’t what it is now. So we didn’t have the kind of, for lack of a better word, virality. Like; things didn’t go viral as quickly back in 2009 or 2010 as they do now. Or did even let’s say 5 years ago, when that was actually even more possible with a lot of things like that. Ebooks are thing, but not a thing in the same way now as they were 10 years ago.

So if I had given it away for free, perhaps it would have spread further and wider to more people, and I would have built a larger base, a larger audience of people to then potentially, for business purposes, sell something to. So let’s just say, for example, taking 10,000 followers instead of 100,000 or a million or whatever the number could have been because it was a paid item.

But at the time, I had to do what was right for me, and for me it was paying the rent. I had to charge for it. Because that was a thing that, for me, if I didn’t charge for it, I don’t know how I was going to keep doing business. Right? And then hindsight, would that have been a better choice? Maybe. But that was a choice I made and it helped me to keep going and keep building things in a certain way.

So, fast forward to now. Here’s a moment of what happened to me, I don’t know, however many months ago now where I’m doing my thing, building my businesses. And people are trying to tell me; here’s what other people are doing. Oh, did you see this? This thing launched. And I’m like, ok I just have to keep moving forward with what I’m doing and the way that I’m doing it.

So, as many of you know, I have a frozen meals business. It is a very different type of business than what people do who launch meals to retail. And if any of you have bought Balanced Bites meals, and you compare it to what you’re getting at a grocery store, it’s a totally different thing. Our meals are much more like you cooked it, you freeze it. when you reheat it, it’s just a different kind of thing.

But at some point; I don’t know, this year. I don’t remember when it was. People were all telling me; oh hey, did you see Primal Kitchen is launching frozen meals? Which I hadn’t seen it, because I’m not generally paying attention to everything everyone else is doing. And for an hour, a day, whatever. I was like; oh-kay. This is annoying. Whatever. It’s a brand that’s in our periphery. To me it’s a very large brand. Kind of a David and Goliath situation for me. I’m really not competing with them. I don’t see myself doing that. They’re doing what they’re doing, I’m doing what I’m doing. But for that moment, it presented with this; am I going to care about the way that they’re building their business, or not?

And I think that what happens for a lot of people who are newly building a business is that every time one of those things gets in front of your face, we care more and more about what other people are doing and how they’re doing things, and are they ahead, and did they do this? And all it does is just continue to distract you from whatever it was that you were excited and passionate about that you decided you were going to build in the first place.

So when I wrote this, not caring about how other people build their businesses being a superpower. Listen, that doesn’t mean you ignore the marketplace. It doesn’t mean you ignore a best practice, or a thing to learn. I especially don’t think it’s wise to ignore something that somebody launches that fails. I think that’s really interesting. If something launches and just kind of flops, and then it goes away, I think that’s really interesting. You know? Did they not market it well? Were they too early? Was it not good? Was the quality bad? I think all of that is really interesting.

But ultimately, and this is kind of a self; {laughs} what’s the word. I’m just giving myself the encouraging language, or the Stuart Smalley moment, {laughs} whatever. I don’t know; I’m losing words. The positive self-talk of; I’m doing my thing, and my path is going to be my path. And yeah, there’s going to be lots of people who are doing similar things in the periphery, but I just can’t concern myself with that. And I have to have my superpower be; I’m going to build my business how I’m going to build it at the pace that feels right and comfortable and safe for me.

And this goes along with that idea I was talking about; I don’t know, however long ago we were recording this show where; am I going to take investors, and create this whole other line that goes to retail and do all of that? And ultimately, in my gut, I’m never going to take investors. I don’t want anybody’s money, and I don’t want their opinions. My customers only. Right?

And people think all the time that I don’t want to hear what people have to say. I’m like, if you are paying for it, I am listening. Right? That’s the truth.

Cassy Joy: {laughing} Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: It’s not rude. It’s like; I do value…

Cassy Joy: No, I don’t think that’s rude at all.

Diane Sanfilippo: I do value that if you bought a thing, then you have something to say about that thing. I will listen. If you have something to say about me as a person, this is not part of the exchange, right? Like, you buy the granola, you don’t get to tell me what to talk about on my platform. We can talk about the granola, though. Right?

Cassy Joy: Yes.

Diane Sanfilippo: So when people give feedback who have bought meals, and they say; I liked this, I didn’t like this. This texture was good, this wasn’t. Cool, I’m listening. Because I really value that. I need to hear that. But when I look at what other people are doing, I’m like; I just cannot focus on that. I have to create my bubble. Ok, I see that it’s out there, outside of the bubble. It’s there. And I’m still concerned mostly with what’s in my bubble.

Cassy Joy: Oh, I love that so much. I love it so much. And you know what; I have this picture in my head. This practice is so important of keeping your head down. Is, if you’re honest with yourself, you have the things you need to do what you need to do. And if you look up, and you see what someone else is doing, it might cause you to veer off of your course. And how are you going to be; like a very crucial element of success in business is you are offering up something unique. And when you look up, and you see what other folks are doing, and you have a desire to veer one direction or the other, because of something that’s not actually contributing to your project. Whether that’s imposter syndrome, or should I be doing this instead, or should I be doing more of that? It just causes you to stall one way or the other. You’re not going to produce the quality, unique product or service or brand that you are made to make.

It’s like a fingerprint. Everybody has such a; we all have our own unique fingerprints, and your business is your fingerprint in some way or form. Right? If Diane and I were in an alternate reality, and she was placed; her, her being, her design as a human, she was placed in my family with my upbringing and all of these things. Her expression of these circumstances would be totally different. And vice versa; mine would be totally different if I were in her world. And that’s because of who we are.

What comes to mind is to respect who you are as a unique individual. The things that make up your background. The reasons why you move through the world. How you move through the world. And honor that your product, your business, your service is going to be unique to you and you don’t need to mold or conform to anything else that’s out there. Or feel less than, because of anything else that is out there.

When I’ve done my best work is when I’ve kept my head down. I think; if I had started researching meal plan books back in the day, when I was conceptualizing Cook Once, Eat All Week, which totally broke the mold on meal planning. But did I sit down and say; I’m going to break the mold on meal planning? I did not. I did not say that. Because if that had been my goal, I would have had to sit down and buy all the meal planning books. I would have had to research everything that’s out there, and figure out; how do I wedge myself into this thing?

But then what’s going to happen is you’re going to be encumbered by the facts. It’s going to weigh heavy on you, and probably keep you from seeing how I can actually contribute and break that mold. So by just focusing on how I’m solving a unique problem, I accidentally broke the mold on meal planning. Because I kept my head down in the perspective.

And I was talking with my sister, Kimberly. She’s the country music singer. She’s doing this really cool series where she has a new single coming out, and she’s going to start sort of a podcast interview series around the topic of that song. And this one is called Stumbling Through. And I was talking with her about the Cook Once, Eat All Week book, and how many people rejected that idea. Especially press early on. And how many people didn’t believe in that idea, and I thought it was going to totally flop. Because I was showing them how to repurpose shredded chicken and ground beef. You know?

Diane Sanfilippo: I remember being like; Cassy, this is what we do. You’ve just verbalized this thing that those of us who find cooking easy and make it easy for ourselves. We constantly repurpose our leftovers to taste different and better and in something else. I was like; oh my gosh, you literally just named it and put it into a thing that other people can learn from. I was like; this is genius!

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: I was with you! I was like; that’s it!

Cassy Joy: You were one of the early adopters. And {laughs} bless her heart, Diane goes with me to New York City for release day so we can stand in the crowd at the Today show. And there’s my dear friend; a multiple time New York Times’ bestselling author herself, and she’s holding up a copy of Cook Once, Eat All Week, and waving it as vigorously as she can in front of the camera! {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} I’m like; Al Roker, look at us!

Cassy Joy: {laughs} Yes! She’s like, there you go. You were on the Today show on release. But there wasn’t a whole lot of belief back then. and if I hadn’t kept my head down, and if I hadn’t said; I’m still going to do the thing. Even though industry doesn’t get it, it doesn’t mean I’m not going to pursue this thing.

So I would say to give you a compass in your hand, if you’re trying to figure out how to make sense of some of what we’re talking about; if the advice and the examples in the world are encouraging you, and feel them bubble up something positive in you, and you feel like it allows your idea to blossom, then pay attention. Learn what you can, and then go back and keep your head down.

And if the examples in the world and the advice of the world and all of the things that you could be following discourage you on your idea, because it feels weird or it doesn’t have a place. It causes you to stall, or wilt, or it brings up feelings of imposter syndrome; turn it off and get back to work.

3. Keeping your head down, and staying true to you [40:43]

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. Ok, I took a few notes. {laughs} While you were talking. There are a couple of things here. One; I’m picturing, when I talk about this bubble, I’m literally picturing almost a soap bubble. Like, you blow a bubble, and I’m in the bubble. And I can still see what’s out there. These other bubbles floating by. And that’s interesting, and it’s there. I’m not not seeing it. but I’m just not necessarily going to change things just because it’s there.

I think one important thing is that we don’t know the whole story of anything that’s happening. So for me, that involves; we don’t know how expensive it was to create. We don’t know how long it took. Maybe we don’t know that they did it very quickly. Maybe we don’t know the kind of quality control that’s happening with different things. We all have different standards. We all have different levels of; what is what I will compromise on versus not. So maybe you’re in an industry and you’re like; wow, somebody else’s, this was a peer of mine and suddenly this is launching, and this is happening. And the reality is, you have no idea. You don’t know that person’s life. You don’t know whose money they’re spending. You don’t know what kind of risk situation they’re either putting themselves in or not. And we have to consider our actual life alongside the business and the business decisions. Right?

And that’s actually why I said, early on in the show, talking about the shop. I don’t have kids. I think it’s important to talk about that. Because the huge financial investment and stability that people need to raise children; it’s a thing. it’s a real thing. and I don’t have that responsibility. So it’s important to know; I’m not going to do this and spend this money opening up a store and then also have this, and also have this. People have to remember; we all have our responsibilities. And I take financial responsibility very, very seriously. I’m not a risky person when it comes to spending money. So I just want to be clear about that.

So my first note was, you just don’t know the whole story. You don’t know what’s going into it. you don’t know how backbreaking it’s been. You don’t know who all is involved. You don’t know who is investing, and building it, and doing it. you just don’t know. Unless you know. But there are a lot of businesses in our world and our periphery that are being funded by people that the public doesn’t know about what’s happening. Which, I don’t like that. It bothers me. I’m like; I just feel like that stuff should be transparent.

But when you’re like; wow, why am I seeing this everywhere? You just have no idea the machines behind it. so it can be really easy for someone starting something small to feel really out of their league, or put down, or like; oh my gosh, I’ll never be able to do that. And it’s like; well, maybe not. Because that’s not the path you want to take. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t.

And then going back to this idea of intention. I think that, unfortunately a lot of people who are starting their business, and understandably in the beginning, the intention is to make money. Because it’s a job, right? {laughs} We’re building a business to pay the bills and all of that. But hopefully we can move through that at some point, and transcend that place where it’s just for the money and hopefully we can actually have that vision early on that we don’t just create a business or start a business or run a business because that’s what will pay the bills, and we’re at least somewhat interested in it.

I feel really called to make sure that the intention behind the decisions and the things that I’m doing; and this is definitely an Oprah thing. Where she talked about starting her show early on in the years. I think she may have been 30 when she started the show; which, oh my gosh. Can you even imagine being such; we’re like babies at 30. {laughs} Who we are, developmentally as adults, it’s like there’s so much we’re going through every one of those years.

But she talked about the show topics veering off in a certain direction. And then pulling everyone on the team back at some point and saying; with every idea that you pitch me, I need to know what is the intention of this show. What are we trying to teach our audience? What are we imparting on them? What is the intention here? So that’s really my north star these days. Because I know so much about my personality type; unfortunately, being the type that can become just too power-hungry, status hungry, guru status. A lot of the gurus gone wrong. I’m sure some of them are maybe also type 3; like Enneagram 8s, I’m sure. Bikram. If he is not an Enneagram 8, maybe a 3. Where all the leaders who high rise and hard fall.

And I’m really sensitive and aware of that. And I think that I have to know that I’m building something that has an intention that is not about that. It’s not about power and dominance and position and clout and money. It’s just not about those things. And I really think that’s important for people to know. I understand the privilege in saying that. That doesn’t mean that financially, it’s not important to sell things to make the money to pay the bills and pay all the people and support all of that. But it also means that along the way, the decisions that I make are not solely about money.

Here’s an example; I’m going to have to raise prices on meals coming up. Because, unless we were able to scale the business larger at the size we’re at, we have to have a price; I’m going to have to pay more for them to be made. Because we’re not making enough for them to cost less. This is just like the economy of scale is so weird.

But, either I can balk at that, or I can pull the plug and walk away, or I can realize that there are real humans on the other side of that who are working. And they will not have a job if I pull the plug. So as a business owner, I can rise to the challenge and say; ok, well I can justify it and I can raise my prices and do all that. Because one of my intentions; sure, one of them is to have fun. But one of them is to create jobs. That is really an intention that I have. That I find ways to do things and create things that give other people a job.

And this has nothing to do with what other people are doing out there in the world. So that superpower of just coming back to; here’s how I build, here’s what I do. It’s recognizing what really connects me to the work that I’m doing. I think it’s important for us to all identify with that. Because to your point, when we’re faced with decisions, we all make decisions differently. And this is the thing that grounds me all the time, is that intention.

So anyway. I know this is a little bit deep, or a little bit heavy, but I think it’s so important for us to connect to this, and to remind all of you that even in what we’re teaching on this show. Even in all the advice that we give, you might listen to an episode and be like; wow, that was great. I should do that; whatever they said, I should do it. But also, we’re not all knowing. To Cassy’s point; we’re making mistakes and teaching you, hopefully along the way how not to make all of our mistakes. But there really is so much power in also saying; I’m going to pay attention to what’s important to me. I’m going to build this thing. I’m going to stay focused and remember that my business is my business.

Cassy Joy: I love that. And I think what you’ve described; the conduit to figuring out how to keep your head down. Because sometimes when you’re lost in the vortex of comparison, and seeing what other people are doing, and trying to figure out how you want to align yourself, it’s hard. It’s hard to pull that plug. And I think what Diane just so eloquently described for us was; how we can tap back into that root. That intention. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Focus on that.

For us at Fed and Fit, the thing that always grounds us is, how can we better serve our readers? How can we best serve our readers? And when we do that, and we do that really well, then the business takes care of itself.

Diane Sanfilippo: Mm-hmm. You’re in alignment. You’re in that flow. And that’s what does it. It’s so great to find that moment. I think, wherever you are in developing your business, you’ve probably had a moment where you’ve felt a spark of that flow, where you’re like; this is the thing I want. This is the thing I want to feel.

What does it for me is watching 5-star product reviews come in. And I told; did I tell you this before we were recording? Maybe. Where people are almost angry about how much they love something?

Cassy Joy: Oh yes. That was after.

Diane Sanfilippo: I was like; did I just say that? Ok. So when someone writes in and they’re like; “I hate Diane because I love this so much. And now I need 5 more bags of this granola.” But to me, that tells me; I created this thing that I felt pretty strongly about. I was like; I’m pretty sure people will love this. And that is the most fun to me.

Cassy Joy: Yes!

Diane Sanfilippo: To create something and then someone else is like; yep. I do love it. Thank you, and I didn’t even know that this was missing from my life, and now I can’t live without it. And I just think that’s so much fun.

Cassy Joy: I love that. I think that; something my dad always says, who is an entrepreneur himself, very successful one. He always says the mission behind their company; and I think this man says it every single meeting. Every single meeting I’ve ever sat in on. He’s like; what do we do? We take care of the client first. We take care of the people taking care of the client next. And the company takes care of itself. And that’s how he operates. His operation, as the owner, is to always take care of the client. And then like you were saying, take care of the people who are doing that. Which is probably the part of my business I maybe enjoy the most; is taking care of my team. And the company happens.

And it doesn’t just happen as in; oh, look at this fun thing that fell in my lap! But it does. When you’re in flow, and you’re really tapped into your intention, and your purpose, and you’re working well within a framework that you’re really designed for, it feels easier. And it feels more fun.

Diane Sanfilippo: I love that. That’s exactly the conversation I just had the other day with Niki on team Balanced Bites. She runs our Balanced Bites social media, and she also runs our emails for Balanced Bites. And she lives in Northern California, near where there have been a lot of fires lately. So, we’ve been through a lot. This whole COVID thing; she has a young child. And just checking in; how are you doing, the other day. And going through our checklist of stuff that we’re working on. And here’s what’s coming up and all of that.

Also, just kind of being aware that adding things to her plate; I can’t just keep adding things to the plate. I have to look out for my team members, and be like; let’s talk about, what’s on your plate? And balancing that out. And even just saying to her the other day; I want to make sure that there’s space for you to have fun. I want you to be having fun. Because I know that when you get to be creative and have fun with what we’re doing on social, that’s when the best work comes out. And I can just tell that she lights up when she gets to do more creative work.

So it’s always important to find ways to connect with that. Anyway; every single week I wish were in Cassy’s family and could come to Sunday dinner. And then I was actually going to come to a Sunday dinner, and then this whole thing happened where we don’t go anywhere anymore. One day.

Cassy Joy: One day.

Diane Sanfilippo: But then I’m going to want to stay for a couple of days and be like; can your parents just keep talking to me about things?

Cassy Joy: {laughing}

Diane Sanfilippo: Can they impart their wisdom on me?

Cassy Joy: It’s a great one-two punch. Because my dad likes to impart wisdom, and my mom is like; the bulldog in your corner. She’s like; I’ll go get him. {laughs}

Diane Sanfilippo: I love it. I’ve definitely had time with your mom, and she’s a spitfire. I like her a lot.

Cassy Joy: She is.

Diane Sanfilippo: {laughing} So, ok. Hopefully we have landed somewhere for everyone with this concept of really keeping your head down. Again, that doesn’t mean you don’t have awareness about what’s going on. But we really want to encourage you to allow your own voice, your own intuition, your own intention. And the reason why you decided to start a business or be in business, or whatever it is that you’re doing that you listen to the show to support, to start to trust yourself and your own process. Because your context is yours. And I think that’s the really important part that we just can’t get distracted by everything around us.

Cassy Joy: Yeah. That’s it.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s it. We just can’t. We have to do; I’ll quote, is it a Tina Fey or an Amy Poehler? I think it’s a Tina Fey. “Do your thing, and don’t care if they like it.” Just do your thing.

4. Tip of The Week: Find out where you’re stalled [54:34]

Diane Sanfilippo: Tip of The Week! In this segment, we give you one tip that you can take action on this week to move your business or life forward. Cassy; I’ve talked enough today. Why don’t you give us a tip?

Cassy Joy: Ok, so today’s tip. I bet you saw it coming. I want you to assess; where are you in business, or in your life, or in something that you’re wanting to move forward on. Whether it’s a product, a service, something that you’re conceptualizing. And where are you stalled? And I want you to be really honest with yourself about why you are stalled there. Is it because of your jumping into some comparisons, and maybe there is some overanalyzing that’s going on? Figure out what that is. Get objective. Put it down on paper so you can maybe get it out of your head. Because often in our head are the excuses and the things; the reasons why to stay in that stalled state, start to pile on.

So get it out. Put it on paper. And then I want you to write down; what is your intention behind that product, that service, that business. Why? Did you set out to do it from the very beginning? And just start to focus on that. And then figure out how can you better serve that why? How can you better serve that intention? And then keep revisiting that and see if that’s going to help you move this project past this stalled state into real production.

Diane Sanfilippo: That’s it for Driven this week. If you liked this episode, be sure to subscribe in Apple podcast, on Stitcher, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Follow us on Instagram @TheDrivenPodcast. Cassy is @CassyJoyGarcia as well as @FedandFit and I am @DianeSanfilippo as well as @BalancedBites.

Tune in next week for another brand new episode. We’ll see you then.