On this episode we sat down with Crystal Carnahan who is the owner of Zenfully Aware, a coaching business to help you build a roadmap to address all of your goals. Crystal is passionate about helping others change their life and find their path to live a more meaningful life. Her story is a special one and she had to overcome her own challenges to get where she is today. It was those challenges that led her to starting this career and wanting to help others with their own challenges. We talk about this and Crystal’s approach to her personal coaching in this episode. I hope you enjoy this talk with Crystal!
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- Website – http://zenfullyaware.com/
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Crystal Carnahan | Zenfully Aware
In this episode, we have a fantastic guest. Before we get into that, I wanted to share a little bit about why I started this show. I am extremely passionate about inspiring people and communities to fulfill the life of their dreams, reach their full potential, and be the best they can be. I also love everything that the Palm Harbor area has to offer from the food, outdoors, lifestyle, people and community.
Through this show and my real estate business, I’m able to connect people with their dream homes and their local communities. To learn more about why the Palm Harbor area is so special and why we call it home, head on over to my Instagram account @Donnie.Hathaway. Say hello, introduce yourself and give me a follow. I love engaging and interacting with the community on Instagram. I would love to hear from you. Follow me to learn more about what makes Palm Harbor so special. With that being said, let’s jump right into this episode of Palm Harbor Local.
Our next guest is a good friend of mine, Crystal Carnahan. We’ve known each other for a few years and we got introduced through a fitness program that we were doing at the time. Crystal has a business called Zenfully Aware. It’s a mental wellness business that she’s been doing for the last couple of years that she’s been in this business.
She got into it because of a personal challenge that she had to go through herself. She wants to be able to inspire and help others navigate that path as well. I’m super excited that Crystal is choosing and willing to sit down with us and share her story, conversation and what she’s all about. You’ll enjoy it, so let’s jump right into it.
Welcome, Crystal. Thank you for joining us on Pearl Harbor Local. I appreciate you taking the time to jump on here and chat with us.
Thank you for the opportunity.
We’ve known each other for a couple of years now. You have your own business, Zenfully Aware, which is a one-on-one coaching. Why don’t we start there? Let’s tell everybody a little bit about what Zenfully Aware is and what you do.
Zenfully Aware coaching is a one-on-one coaching program. I like the intimacy and personalization of being one-to-one. You can dig and dive deep down into the crux of matters versus the surface level. I am moving into the potential of working with corporations, doing some workshops and things of that nature because of 2020. Also because of what employees, as well as upper management, had to go through pivoting not only the business but the furloughs and layoffs, and looking at what was important and what was not. As well as how people could work from home and provide the internet or the equipment necessary for their company to survive. I focus on emotional resilience, connecting mind and body, and looking at how that affects each and other dimensions of wellness.
2020 was a challenging time for a lot of people and it made us rethink what’s important in life and work. It’s like, “Is the work that I’m doing something I truly want to do?”
Companies themselves saw that the productivity of working from home was a valid point. It’s not that employees wanted to work in their pajamas, but you take out the commute time and all the extraneous nonsense. You get, “Is it eight hours that I need to spend on these things or can I get them done in four?” Also the overhead of whatever buildings and things of that nature. On both sides, not only did the people who were working figured that out and have added stress of, “Now I got to homeschool the kids.” It’s a full navigation year.
What led you to be a coach?
Before that, I was in the restaurant business. When I graduated college a long time ago, my mom decided that she no longer wanted me on her payroll. I was like, “What are you talking about?” That was fun and experiential. I immediately went into the restaurant business, which I lived in Atlanta at the time. It was amazing. Atlanta was cultural and had everything from sports, museums, parks to anything that you wanted. It’s a large city but still hometown feel. This was many years ago.
I got caught in that lifestyle. The restaurant business is tough. It’s hospitality and you’re always on. When you’re not on, you don’t know necessarily what to do with yourself because you’ve been entertaining people, having conversations, and being interested in their life like, “What do you do?”
It’s high energy all the time. When you’re working, your energy is high.
You never get a chance to reflect on things that you want like, “Is this a viable business? Where does this take me?” You have a lot of cash in your pocket and that cash could do a lot of things if you were smart. Unfortunately, I was not financially savvy at the time. It was in one pocket and out the other. It was great and fun, and I can do it anywhere.
You can travel the country and work where you want to work.
Everyone needs coaching. No one can do everything alone, and it’s not about feeling weak or unaccomplished. Everyone needs support.
We did Florida in the winter, Maryland in the summer. It’s a perfect combination but you are never settled and you’re never with yourself. What I found in my experience was there was a big disconnect. Drinking allowed that not to be at the forefront. I’m also one of excess. If I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it big. If I’m going to drink, I’m going to take the whole bottle. It works for a while until it doesn’t. Your life implodes and you have to take a look if you can change what you want to change and how it can happen. When I was mandated by the court to take a look at myself, it was scary and it sucks. It’s like that deep dark, “What am I doing with my life?”
“What’s the next step? Where do I go from here?” You have this moment, and then what triggers you? Did you have coaching to help you through that transition? What led you from being in the restaurant industry to coaching?
I had been on a sports medicine path in my undergrad. I was looking for more of a physical aspect of how can I help people physically because movement changes you. When I was getting sober, I went back to my running routes. I was doing 5 to 10 miles a day. I didn’t have a license so I had to ride my bike everywhere. I’m getting into that aspect. I was looking at different programs and I found one that was coaching.
Coaching is different from therapy. It is more client-centric. Therapy is more where the therapist or counselor diagnoses and tells you what to do and offers suggestions from their point of view and what they’re seeing. Coaching works as a co-creative entity where you’re the expert on yourself. In general, you know what you want, what you’re feeling, and things of that nature. I ask the important questions or the curious questions to pull that out.
You’re more attracted to that than going through therapy or something like that. That resonated with you more.
Therapy has its place. It’s more for me in my personal experience. There are different certifications. I chose to do a Master’s route and then move into board certification. For me, that was important as well. I wanted a firm foundation in coaching versus a certification. There are different paths and different directions but I wanted a little bit more stability and foundation.
For future clients and yourself, building your business is like, “What’s going to be the best for me moving forward is getting that Master’s.” Why do you think coaching is important? Do you think everybody needs it? Does somebody need it for a certain time in their life? What are your thoughts on that?
It’s funny that you asked that because when I started the business, there is a romanticized notion that everyone needs it. We just don’t know we need it yet. Once I opened this business, the line is going to be out the door, wrapped around the corner, and things of that nature. I honestly do think everybody needs coaching because we need some support. We can’t do it ourselves in anything. It’s not that we are weak or that we aren’t accomplished. It’s more of where we are in our lives, and we can’t see the forest for the trees. I can’t. I have resources, tools and everything available and I still need someone to be like, “Cut the BS.”
I do think everybody needs it. It is a matter of getting to that point of what is worse with the life that you’re living. If you can accept and handle it, then it’s great. It’s the disconnection or moving into your potential, what you want, and looking at that as something possible, and not settling for mediocre.
This is something I’ve thought a lot about. It’s that scenario of being self-aware and saying, “Here’s where I’m at. Here’s where I want to be. Here’s where I’ve been trying to get to and I haven’t gotten there on my own, so maybe I do need some help.” I wonder if everybody has that ability to reflect and be self-aware of their current situation and say, “I need some assistance. I need some help with this.” Do you think everybody has that ability or that self-awareness?
People have a feeling and they know that they don’t like where they are, yet there’s still the blind spot of, “Where I’m at is not bad enough to do anything that will move me where I want to go.” There are steps. Awareness is pre-contemplation and contemplation. In pre-contemplation, you don’t think there’s a problem even if people are telling you there’s a problem. For instance, people are like, “Crystal, you might not want to imbibe as much as you do because we’re afraid.” “I didn’t want to hear that. It’s not a problem. I’m not hurting anybody. I’m just hurting myself.” When you’re in that stage, you know but you’re not willing to do anything. There is self-awareness but it’s not strong enough for you yet.
Do you think it’s going to be strong enough at some point, or sometimes you get stuck like, “I’m not going to do anything about it. I’m not aware enough to do anything about it.”
The mind has to break before people will take notice. Even then, sometimes I’ll lose a limb because I don’t want to change.
That breaking point is different for everybody. That’s interesting. I like the way that you put that. I haven’t heard that before. Let’s talk more about the business side of it. Being in the restaurant business and now you started this coaching business, what was that process like? You didn’t have experience before running a business. It’s the same thing with me getting into real estate. I didn’t know how to run a business and didn’t know much about business, to begin with. What was that journey like? What were some of the challenges that you had to overcome?
It is hard and I’m still falling down, skin on my knees every single day. When they teach you, “I have a Master’s,” it’s great and awesome. Don’t get me wrong, but they don’t give you the foundational parts. They simply give you what you can do to be an employee. If you have that entrepreneurial spirit and you want to move into that realm, the basics are starting your LLC and figuring that out.
You go into, “Do I want to do courses? Do I want to do group sessions? How do I scale from a one-to-one business into a corporation? How do I speak to the people that I want to speak to? Who is it even that I’m speaking to?” With real estate, I’m assuming that it’s the same. You’re not selling or doing the same sorts of things or the problems are different for maybe a $250,000 house versus a $1 million house.
People who don’t know what they like or where they are will eventually become stuck unless they actively do something.
The process is the same for buying and selling a home but each customer that you’re dealing with has a different personality. You have to work with them. That’s where some of the changes occur in the business and how you approach each situation.
That is from where you host your website, your email marketing, and then to your lead pages. It’s all of this stuff that I don’t find interesting at all. I don’t want to know the API key and integrate it.
You probably didn’t know about any of this stuff before or didn’t even think about any of it.
I’m like, “I got my LLC and that’s it. Here I am. It’s great.” It’s that evolution and then you find what you thought you originally wanted to do has changed and evolved into something completely different. A few years ago, I was in a different mindset versus now. I got my yoga certification, which was nice integration between coaching and the physical body, the mind and the emotions. I boxed myself into teaching yoga. I was all over the place teaching and I learned a lot. I saw different bodies. I saw people from 8 to 82 and learned so much. I needed that for me to move into more of the coaching realm and what that means.
It sounds like you’ve tried a few different things and learned, “I don’t like this,” or “This doesn’t work for me and my plans.”
I have tried everything and now I get to tell different people, “I did try this. This is how it worked. This is how it didn’t work.” It’s also coming back to you like, “How did I want to run my business? What did I want my business to look like?” It’s not the next coach who might be making however much money or not this yoga instructor or not someone else that we see all over social media and things of that nature. It’s not getting caught in, “They’re doing so well.”
That’s the hard part of having a coaching business, a service business or any business. It’s figuring out what is your niche and how do you want your business to look. Maybe it’s something like you went through. You keep trying things until something sticks and you’re like, “This is what I like doing.”
They have different mentors to accelerate that process. For me, I feel like I have to figure it out first for me to accelerate because if I’m getting mentors to simply accelerate, what am I accelerating? I don’t even know yet. I’m fascinated by so many things.
It’s easy to get pulled into a million different directions. I’m the same way, I want to know what the plan is before I start something or have a direction before I start something. One of my mentors would always tell me, “You just got to do it.” Paralysis by analysis, if you get stuck planning, you’re going to be planning all your life and you’re never going to get to where you want to go. Get out there, do it, fail, learn from it, and figure out what you want from there. It’s tough to start a business especially with COVID and stuff. I know a lot of people struggle and small businesses too.
It’s funny that while I did lose some accounts, I kept the local ones. What I mean by locals is within 5 miles from my house. That was nice because I thought that I had to travel across the bridge into Tampa or down to St. Pete and put a lot of time, energy, mileage, and things of that nature to get to people or help people. It was nice to be central. I’ve never wanted necessarily a location like a brick and mortar, but it was so nice to be central where I would look at everything and everyone that’s around me versus where are they 20 or 40 miles away.
If someone is reading this and they’re thinking about becoming a coach or they’ve had some experience where coaching has helped them and they’re like, “This is something I want to do,” what would you suggest for them to do or to start looking into to go down that path?
I would first start with some certification. The coaching industry is not regulated. You don’t necessarily have to have anything to call yourself a coach, but simply with the things that you learn. It’s not necessarily that you have to have a Master’s but a deep dive program into what coaching is and the steps that have to be taken. Also, interacting with people who are going through things and aren’t necessarily able to express themselves in such a way that they are open.
That’s where I would start first. Your name, logo, and things of that nature aren’t necessarily that important. It’s nice for people to recognize, but people will understand if it changes or evolves through time. We’ve all seen logos change. It’s more of what your brand represents if you are your brand, and how you’re conveying that to people.
Is there a certain place where they can have like, “Here are all the different certifications you can get?” You got a Master’s degree. Are there any schools that specialize in that stuff?
There are a ton of schools now. My school was the Maryland University of Integrative Health. Duke has an integrative health coaching program. Emory has an integrative health coaching program.
It’s becoming more available and popular.
Unfortunately, most people will change only after breaking their bodies and mind.
The National Board Certification is working towards being insurable because it’s a self-pay industry. It’s a tough thing for people so they are working towards accepting insurance and things of that nature for coaching. Coaches work with therapists and some therapists are coach-trained. It’s not that one or the other is better or worse. It’s more of in conjunction. The therapist has a different type of approach. Sometimes I’ve worked with people who have a therapist and I’m a different container for what they need.
You said everybody needs a coach at some point, but how does somebody know? Do they just get to that point where they’re like, “I need some help to get because I’m not getting where I want to go.” How do they know that they need a coach and need some help?
It is that inner knowledge and knowing that coaching is available. Unfortunately, therapy still has a stigma around it, which is beginning to wane and shift. Coaching moves more into the future of where you do want to go. Therapy is also seeing where the behaviors have come from, so therapy can be more trauma-based. I refer out to therapists. We check out your background and we move through some beliefs. When it comes to more severe trauma, it doesn’t have to be what most people think of trauma. It can be that emotional affective that you’re carrying with you throughout your life.
It’s not just some big event that occurred or something that happened but circumstances building up over time, and then you get to that point where it’s like, “I need some assistance to help me through this.”
It is simply like how you would try on a pair of shoes. You talk to the therapist or the coach and see how you resonate with them. Everybody has a different energy. Some coaches are a little more structured, some are more flowy, some are more spiritual, and some are more reality-based.
It’s finding someone who matches your personality that you’re going to get some value. You’re spending some of your money on that, you want to make sure that you’re going to be getting the most out of that time. One thing I like to wrap up every episode with is, what is your favorite local business? It could be anything. It could be a coffee shop.
I love Restoration Cafe. It’s on North Fort Harrison. This is in Clearwater right down from Cleveland, almost in the district. I don’t know if it’s considered the new district. They closed Cleveland off, all the restaurants and businesses around there. I don’t know if you know that. It’s a little bit out of that. It’s about a block away from Cleveland, but they have the best beans. It’s a little hole in the wall and a little dive. It’s not anything super shiny but it’s amazing people and amazing owners.
It’s a little coffee shop. Do they sell coffee, pastries or something like that?
They do. They have someone on staff who creates breakfast biscuits and pastries. It’s homemade. They have coffee, tea and bagels. They’re not like a full-service breakfast but you can go in. It’s better than McDonald’s.
I have to check them out. Do they roast their beans and stuff there too?
They don’t roast them. They get them from a roaster in Ohio. He knows the people who grow his beans. He goes down and makes sure they’re okay like a fair trade. I don’t know what it is. It’s just a good bean.
How can people get ahold of you if they are interested in coaching or interested in what you do?
My website is ZenfullyAware.com. I’m on every social media. CrystalCoach1 is my IG handle, which is where I mostly hang out. Crystal Carnahan is my name through Facebook and LinkedIn, but Zenfully Aware if you will come up as me.
Thank you for joining us. I appreciate you sharing a little bit about yourself and everything you do.