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#14 - Women In Real Estate w/ Isabel Affinito

In this episode, I talk to Isabel Affinito. She's the founder of WIRE (Women In Real Estate) Austin Team. We discuss essentialism, hitting the curve balls in business, the change that comes with having children, and so much more. Connect with Isabel:


Spyglass Realty:

WIRE Austin:


Isabel (00:00):

Entrepreneurs and people who start businesses, one thing that they tend to have in common with one another is an unreasonable level of optimism. Like everybody else's, just not gonna work. It's never gonna work for all these reasons, it's really gonna suck. You know, in all the entrepreneurs out there, like, it'll be fine. And it's kind of like they're both right? Because people who are saying this is gonna be harder than you think it is. They're right. But the people started the business who were like, it'll be fine. They're also right. It just kind of depends on when you win. And if you quit.

Athan (00:33):

Welcome to doing the work. If you're okay with living a boring life, with below average results, this is not your podcast, go ahead and tune out now. But if you want to live an amazing life full of purpose, love, joy, abundance, and elite health and fitness, you've come to the right place. This podcast is for people who are ready to stop making excuses and start doing the work that creates a life that they love. I'm your host, Athan Schindler, and Airborne Ranger turned social worker, turn strength coach turned entrepreneur. I've spent my entire life learning how to be uncommon among the uncommon, I found my purpose and empowering people to reach their full potential. And this podcast takes a deep dive in how to prioritize what matters, do the work, own your life, maintain compassion and kindness, and risk failure while enjoying every moment along the way. I talk to people who inspire me and share their gifts with you. This is my way of helping you find what sets you on fire and keeps the fire burning. That doing the work podcast is brought to you by strive human optimization, training hard, recovering harder, check them out at www.S H. When I knew I was going to be starting a podcast, I knew you are one of the people who are going to be on this show for a lot of reasons.

Athan (01:54):

One, you do a lot, you put a lot of content out there through video and through with your ideas and concepts. And so you're really a natural with this kind of thing. So I of course wanted to get you on the show. But beyond that you've really been events on that I look up to you, someone that I see the things that you're doing in the world, I see what you're doing through your business, I see how you've now taken you've without taking too much adding too much of the show earlier, you've taken obstacles in your life. And you've still continued to figure out how to make everything work. Even if it wasn't, it's not perfect or whatever else. And so you, I know you have so much to offer. And I'm just just pumped to have you on the show. So thank you for being here.

Isabel (02:40):

Absolutely. I'm so excited to be here. And thank you Athan and not to get into too much of a hug fast. But you know that I look up to you, too. And it's moving for me to hear you say that because I have so much admiration for you. And it gives me all the warmth and fuzzies. So thank you, but you touched on a lot of like, buzzwords for me just in like the intro. So where do you want to start because there's so much that we could talk about

Athan (03:03):

I know and that's the thing is I feel like this is going to be one where we're just gonna cut ourselves off at some point cuz it's gonna be so much to talk about. But first, before we get into it, not everyone in the audience knows about you. So how would you like to describe yourself?

Isabel (03:17):

Sure. So I think maybe the best way to get into it is how we met and that will kind of tie into our journey into Austin. So my husband and I, my husband, Chris, who obviously very well moved to Austin. It's been almost eight years now. And one of the first things that we did when we moved to Austin was go find a CrossFit gym because we had been in CrossFit for many years before that. So we found you very early on when you were still at the airport.

Athan (03:43):

Yeah, you guys were like, right, before we moved to the bigger location, right? Yeah,

Isabel (03:49):

We just spent a couple of months with you guys at the airport and then moved over to Florida to the 42 location on tech news center. And Chris and I moved here to be in real estate. So we both had some background in real estate from the northeast. We lived in New Jersey for a couple years. And we were young enough and crazy enough to think well, let's just move to Austin and sell residential real estate, like how hard can it be? And many years later, I can say that it was very difficult, but we also survived it. And in one capacity or another, we're still both in real estate. And I run a small team of all women in residential real estate in Austin.

Athan (04:25):

It's funny about the timing that you mentioned, because I wonder, do you fly like I from the outside world of real estate? I thought I think now like you probably came at the perfect time. But how do you feel about the timing of when you moved here in real estate?

Real Estate

Isabel (04:41):

Yeah, I think timing is kind of a tricky question. It certainly worked out for us. But I remember at the time, a lot of people telling us that it was the wrong time and it was too hard to get into real estate in Austin and it's a city where people know each other and you guys don't know anybody and how are you going to survive? I mean, there were plenty of Reasons why we weren't going to succeed, right. And I think that somebody could tell someone getting into it today, the exact same things. The other thing that I heard, which is now laughable seven or eight years ago, was Austin's in a bubble and the bubble is over. You're at the tail end of it. It's about to burst. It's a terrible time to get into it. Right. I mean, I have been having conversations with people for seven years, where they're like, well, Austin's overinflated. It's a bubble. It's about to burst. They've been saying that for seven years. Right? And they were saying and forever many years before that. So like, is there a good time? I don't know. Like, it was our time. I don't know if it was the best time or if I don't know, it's hard to say.

Athan (05:34):

And I think that's a big fruit. Because there's a lot of what you said that I would love people to learn from on this show. One, you took a big risk coming here. This he was a roll of the dice, it was knowing you I'm sure there was calculation to it. And it was strategic. But nonetheless, you didn't know how this was all gonna turn out. And like, what was that process like for you? Like, how did you make that decision? What did you have to overcome in order to make that happen? I'm super curious about it.

Isabel (06:06):

Yeah. So I think this goes even a little bit further back in time to what caused us to move here. So I feel like I'm talking about so much of this with Chris involved with my husband. But so much of our journey as adults is so intertwined. And our businesses are still divided in many ways so it's really hard to talk about my story without talking about his story, too. So we had met in college, we were like 19 years old, we met and we started dating shortly after that. So really 20 When we started dating. So we've been together for 13 years now, which is wild to say out loud, but we got together when we were in college, we were about 20 and decided that whatever happened after that we were going to stay together. So if that meant that he got the first job, then we were going to move wherever his job was, or mine or vice versa. And he was in business school, and I was in liberal arts. And so you can imagine who got the first job. The Business major got the first job, not the history theology major, as you might imagine, you never know. But yeah, so he got a job in New York City. And so we moved there together, we moved to Hoboken, which is right outside New York City, on the Jersey side, and I got a job in commercial real estate, simply because I started showing up to like networking things that he was doing in college, because I didn't know where my job was going to come from.

Isabel (07:27):

Right. I didn't know what I wanted to do. But he basically said, there's an event that we need help with, you want to come volunteer. And as it turns out, Villanova, our college has a ton of commercial real estate alumni. And so I ended up, at a dinner table with a whole bunch of older guys who are all in commercial real estate, and there was the whole, like, we'll help you get a job, kind of, they all gave me their business cards. And that is how I got my first job. We moved to New Jersey, Chris worked in the city, I worked out in New Jersey. And we did that for a couple years. Eventually, I transitioned from commercial into residential. And we were planning our wedding. So at this point, we're about 24-25. And I remember Chris saying to me, at one point, do you want to move to Austin, he had been down here to see like, my aunt and uncle live here. And so we would come down and see my uncle and cousins, and he just liked the city. And my family's all like Texas, and Oklahoma. And he was from New Jersey. And so I started to think to myself, like I'm really going to turn down an opportunity to go closer to my family, when that's what he wants. Like, there's a lot of couples where I would be in a situation of begging him to move out of his home state where we live and like to move closer to my family. But he wanted that. So it's like, Well, I hate to pass up this opportunity. So we basically just decided to pick up and move to Austin for that reason.

Athan (08:42):

So some of it was like the town but you had some security there. You knew that you'd be close to family. And so it felt a little more. A little more comfortable.

Isabel (08:53):

Yeah, absolutely. And we lived with my uncle for a couple of months. When we first got here. We probably lived with them for like three or four months before we found a place. So that was a nice soft landing too. For sure.

Athan (09:04):

Yeah. So in that process, I know that well, actually. So did you start working for someone else right off the bat, or did you kind of start your own? Your own? You guys call it a cutter? It's not a practice you? What do you call it? You start your own business.

Isabel (09:22):

Sometimes people call it a practice. Yeah, real estate practice. But real estate's funky in the sense of you do work for somebody because you work for a broker, but you're also self employed like you're 1099 you're an independent contractor under that broker. So the way that Chris and I went was that we joined a brokerage, but we were very independent. So it wasn't like we went on to a team where somebody told us what to do and when to show up and those kinds of things like we really did just hang our license with a brokerage and it's like Welcome to the brokerage go start your own business now and go find your own clients. And so that's what we did.

Athan (09:56):

So in that process, what are some So and again, I know, because I used you as a real estate agent and I know other people who have, what did it take to like, basically start from nothing and build it up to a six. You know what was it? I mean, in those early stages? Like, what were some of the things that were priorities to you? How did you build it? What was your structure? Did you have a blueprint? You know, like, how did all that work?

Isabel (10:21):

It's such a funny question. Because looking back, sometimes I'm like, I don't know how we did that. You know, I coach women now on my team, how to get started. And so I do revisit a lot of those lessons. But honestly, I think a lot of it had to do with being really young and not knowing what we're getting ourselves into. Like I've since then read this idea that entrepreneurs and people start businesses, one thing that they tend to have in common with one another is an unreasonable level of optimism. Like everybody else's, like, that's not gonna work, it's never gonna work. For all these reasons, it's really gonna suck, in all the entrepreneurs out there, like, it'll be fine. And it's kind of like they're both right. Right? Because people are saying, This is gonna be harder than you think it is. They're right. But the people starting the business who are like, it'll be fine. They're also right. It just kind of depends on when you win. And if you quit.

Athan (11:17):

right, which one is going to motivate you to actually see it through? You said something a minute ago about like, and I remember your exact words, but it was like, I don't, I don't remember exactly how all this happened. Or like, I don't know how we got here. Like looking back now. What do you think was like the I mean, other than the optimism, what do you like? What is it that was critical to keeping you moving forward? And do you think about any of that now?

Isabel (11:51):

Yeah, absolutely. Do you think about it in this gonna be really weird answer, but I think I'm unemployable. So like,

Athan (11:59):

I need to hear that. Yeah.

Isabel (12:01):

I honestly think that's what kept me going. Because any time that I started to think this is so hard, or that rejection was so painful, or, this money situation we're in so scary, like anytime any of those thoughts started to occur to me. And if I ever and occasionally I would think that Well, I mean, should I just go get a real job. And I would think about what it would be like to show up somewhere to have somebody tell me how many vacation days I have, and to have somebody tell me how I'm supposed to do things. That idea scared me so much. It was scarier than all of the scary things about being self-employed. It was scarier than being in massive amounts of animating to me. Yeah, it was scarier than picking up the phone and cold calling and getting hung up on it was scarier than making all those my own decisions and owning them and owning the consequences of them. But the idea of being tied to like a mean boss, it scared the living daylights out of me.

Athan (12:55):

That's so fascinating. I've been thinking a lot about fear lately. In fact, I listened to a book recently from a guy named Anthony de Mello called awareness was recommended to me by a friend. And he brought about these points about how the opposite of love is fear. And I've spent a lot of time in contemplation about what fear and then I do think about, like, I think about all the decisions that I've made in my life, good or bad, or indifferent, and about how a lot of them were were based in fear, I'm being afraid of some sort of consequence. And hearing you say that, it's interesting, because in my mind, a lot of people listening or some people studying even if they studied your path, they would think, Oh, no, like, she did this because she had a vision, and she was a go-getter. And you're not that, but I love hearing you say, and I was afraid. I was afraid of the consequences of not being able to do that. I think it's powerful to be able to say and to share with people, anybody who's you're mentoring or telling about your story.

Isabel (14:04):

Yeah. And it's important to me to share stuff like that, because I think they're, and I've thought to myself, why do I care? Like, why do I care about sharing these things? Is it just that I like to be on film and I like to be seen, what is it? Or do I care about it? What is it that I believe other people will get from this? Or why do I want this out there in the world, this kind of thing, this kind of honesty, I guess I would call it and like the real version of the story. And I think part of it for me comes down to who are some of the people that I look around at and I hear their stories, and I'm inspired by the honesty. And it's not the stories of love, I just worked really hard and I gave it my all like, Okay, that's great, but that like that doesn't inspire me that much. Because I kind of don't believe them, because it's like there's more to that story than just Like, you were just more committed than everyone else. Like there's a realer version of that story. So I think it's important for people to hear if anyone looks at me and thinks that they see success, what does that even mean? Right? But if anyone ever thinks that, I want to be able to tell them, Look, I was scared, I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't have a perfect vision. I had no idea I was going to be here in 21 years in 2021. Almost 2022. Like, I didn't know that I would have this team and it would look this way.

Isabel (15:31):

You know, people asked me that sometimes. What was your vision when you started to build a team? Like, I didn't have one, I was tired working so hard. I needed help. Like, that's it right. And so I do think that there's something powerful, especially for other women, I think a lot of other women, women tend to feel very afraid of taking risks in a lot of ways, right? We've in some ways, we're conditioned in a different way than men are to worry about well, but what if it's not perfect? And what if it doesn't work out? What will people think? And I think it's important for women to hear from other women, I wasn't sure I didn't know how it was going to work. And there were definitely failures along the way, for sure.

Athan (16:09):

Yeah. What? What I'm not? I don't mean, I guess I'm when you say that women are conditioned to be afraid of failure and things like that. My first thought is, I'm wondering like, Oh, is that true? And what when then why? Well, you know, what? Do you have any insight on that? Or have you studied that at all? Or what even makes you say it?

Isabel (16:31):

Well, I mean, there's some raw data out there, that makes me believe it. And just one, one thing that's very well documented would be women, on average, get paid less than men. And one of the very simple reasons for that is that women are less likely to ask for raises, and they're less likely to negotiate when they're starting a job. So a woman right out of college is less likely when someone says we'll give you $40,000 a year, she's less likely to counter them, she'll accept it, whereas her male counterpart is much more likely to negotiate and start at 50. Right, and so then that reverberates throughout your entire life. So just a couple of simple things like that I've observed. And then I've wondered to myself, why is that? Yeah, I was gonna say, how do you explain that? I don't know. I mean, maybe the simple explanation is that parents tend to treat male children differently than female children. I mean, we're rewarded for different things. I don't know what the answer is. Yeah.

Athan (17:28):

Because having being a father of two daughters, I think about like, what can I do as a parent, as a father, as a mentor, anyway if I'm in charge of an In fact, my entire staff is almost all women, I have one other, no two other males that I that I work with. So if I'm leading, guiding, you know, women who of course, my desire, my deepest desire for all people is to become their most powerful self, their highest level of self, whatever that means for them, not for what I want them to be. But I guess I'm just trying to contemplate that concept. And think like, well, how can I contribute to helping someone not to feel that way? And I guess truly, it's, it's a feeling, right? It's like a self. It's something you impose on yourself. Like, maybe we're culturally brought up that way. But ultimately, it's almost like a choice, almost like a feeling that you that people have about themselves.

Isabel (18:23):

Yeah, I'm always hesitant to think of it as like, well, this is the way that things are. And we have this data that says that and therefore, now we're all victims of it, right? That's not the way that I tend to think about things, I do tend to believe that we all have our things to work on. And every individual is different. And we do to a certain extent, have the ability to shape our own lives. I don't know if I believe that we have 100% ability to shape our own lives, like we don't get to control who we were born to, and where and what kind of traumas we had whatever, like, we don't have complete control. But we always have you talked about this, we always have. Or maybe it wasn't you that talked about this responsibility being the ability to respond,

Athan (19:02):

right? Yeah, I've talked about it on this show, in past episodes, and it's something that I've talked about all the time, really is like there's reaction and response. And we get to choose a lot of that. And then when the level of awareness that's in, because I do think this is a piece of what we're talking about is like what if as a woman, you as a woman are aware of this being a thing and issue. And so now with that awareness, you have the ability to sit to choose, like, Oh, I'm going to do something different than that. Because when I think about you, and in fact, why you're on this show, and everything else is I find nothing unique about you, I don't find anything. I find you to be a really powerful person, like someone like you mentioned, like asking for a raise and being negotiating and stuff like that. And that's a part of your normal, everyday work, being a real estate agent. But I also remember when you were on the speaking tour, and I remember having a conversation with us, like I'm going to ask for this amount of money to do speaking and it was like And I was like, I was blown away by that cuz I was like I don't even have, like, I don't have that kind of balls to like to I take to say, this is what I'm worth, and I'm not gonna take anything less than that. And I thought and I was just inspired by it, I thought it was powerful. I wanted to emulate that in my life. And so I guess I'm saying all that to say is like, Well, what do you do differently? Like, what do you know, knowing those things? How do you choose differently?

Isabel (20:26):

Yeah, and on the whole speaking, eating, getting paid to speak, that is something that I was very close to starting, negotiating some of those. And then COVID happened. So I will report. Yeah, I will report back after I've had a chance to actually get myself into a couple of those negotiations. But it was a learning experience, it was absolutely a learned skill for me. You know, I know that I, at my, at my core, I struggle with perfectionism, I struggle with pleasing people, right? Those are all things that I struggle with, which then translates into your sense of worth, and well, am I really worth being paid if I'm not perfect? And what are people gonna say if I asked for, and those were all things that I had to overcome by doing. I mean, it's it was went back to that whole, like, what was I struggling through, and I was afraid to fail, I was struggling through getting hung up on picking the phone back up and making a phone call, or dealing with a client or a potential client who was super upset about something and maybe thought it was my fault, or I was afraid they thought it was my fault. And can I deal with other people's big emotions without taking it on myself? And what if I messed it up and didn't do it perfectly. If I wasn't afraid of the alternative, I would have run from that stuff. So fast.

Athan (21:39):

Well, so having been one of your clients multiple times, one of the things I'm thinking about this is all kind of coming together for me a little bit is like one of the reasons why I recommend you to whomever is looking for a real estate agent, all their stuff is because of the level of detail that that you you've taken your work. And I'm now listening to you. And because I'm like this too, and all and I'll talk about that in a second. But I'm wondering if you feel like you're so detailed. And you're almost there because it's like an insecurity thing, like the perfectionism that you just talked about, and your work ethic and all that other stuff? Is it Do you feel like it comes from a place of lacking more as much as it does a place of like,

Isabel (22:22):

competence. 100% and I also, this is something that I've thought about a lot recently, because I've had all kinds of struggles as a new mom, like the way that some of this stuff that I've worked through emotionally with work has now come up in motherhood, right? And so you go, Oh, I'm learning. I already learned these things over here. But now I have to learn them over here. It feels brand new until you realize, oh, I've been here before. It's just that I'm in a new environment, right. But I think that all of our greatest weaknesses, and our biggest demons are usually also our greatest strengths.

Athan (22:55):

Right? Yeah, I went to a, and I've, I've talked about this on this show. But I went to a forum, where they talked about how we put on these things called strong suits. And the strong suits are born really out of something that happened to us, that was kind of a negative experience generally, like when you were younger than 13, or something like that. And so if I got made fun of, for example, on the playground, I might then take on, like being the class clown, because I just went along with it. And then all of a sudden, my humor became a strong suit, but it really came from a place of fear. You know, and so I think I have this, um, people, I'm a people pleaser, like you. I tend to have perfectionism tendencies and things like that. And so, but those were all born out of a place of not strength, not they. That's me trying to overcome something that I'm not happy about. What about myself? And it sounds like you can relate to that. Oh,

Isabel (23:56):

I can 100% relate to that. Yeah. Okay,

Athan (23:59):

So taking all of that. So going back to the, so you had you lead a team of women. So, you mentioned that and I think it's called the wire is that? Yeah, so the wire and I didn't realize you were all women. But now that I realize I've seen all your marketing, it's all

Isabel (24:14):

Women in the wire is actually short for women in real estate.

Athan (24:18):

Oh, awesome. Okay, so it was by choice, clearly. And

Isabel (24:22):

So actually, that's interesting, because not really, okay, tell me that. So, hi. My first hire was a woman. And maybe I shouldn't say hire, maybe just say partnership, because they're all technically independent contractors. But, I added a woman to the team and I had been working with Emma for years and years. So Emma was the first woman I worked with, and then we added Morgan. And so then, along the way, women kept joining me. And that wasn't necessarily by design, but I found that I liked working with women. And then we had this culture of all women. And so then it was like, Okay, well, I guess I could hire a man. But do we really want to? I mean, maybe there'll be a good fit someday, but right now we've got this all female thing going on. It's working for us. And I remember, it was probably, like, April or May, probably May of 2020. So this was COVID, early COVID. This was the tiger King days of COVID. Right? Yeah.

Athan (25:15):

The awesome description of it.

Isabel (25:18):

Yes. And I was newly pregnant, and I was having some, like early pregnancy, insomnia, which I'm prior to having a baby. I never suffered from insomnia, I would hit the pillow and I'd be out. But that's a whole other story. So I'm laying there, and I'm not sleeping, which is a weird experience for me. And I'm staring at the ceiling. And I'm thinking to myself, if I were to ever start my own brokerage, like, if I wanted to really start a brand, what would it be like? And what would I name it? Like, I don't want to be the alpha neato team, you know, I've never wanted to do that whole thing. Like, there's plenty of real estate teams that do that. And that's great. But it never really did it for me. And at the time, I had like a placeholder name that I'd used for a few years that I was on, and really like that didn't do that much for me. And so I started thinking about it, I started having this crazy, like vision that just turned into a whole like, wacky business plan. And I was thinking to myself, What if you had this really cool office space that was like a coworking space, but also a cafe. And it's like allowing people in real estate to mingle with the public. Because one of the things I don't understand is that in real estate, the thing that you want, is you want to talk to people, like you want to mingle with the public as much as possible. And then in real estate, we build these offices that the public would never walk into. Unless they have an appointment, right? So why doesn't every real estate brokerage run like coffee shop offices?

Athan (26:39):

Brilliant, honestly, and because you and I also a big part of real estate is networking. You know, you don't know, getting yourself out there is many, so it seems to be like, a perfect idea.

Isabel (26:51):

Yeah. So I'm sitting there thinking about a meme and envisioning this cool office, because this is the kind of thing I do when I'm lying awake at night, right? Like, imagining this super cool office space. And I'm starting to imagine that for some reason, in my head, it's like all women, and then I'm like, like a female entrepreneur incubator for like women in small business. But it's also a real estate office. And it's also a coffee shop. And it's so cool. And the interior has all these beautiful flowers, and it's a cool and inviting place to hang out. And as I'm imagining all this, and then I'm like, we would have events once a month, and we would do like, there'd be like an aerial yoga that one month, and then another month, it would be like, build your own terrarium with like, succulents, and so I'm like imagining all these crazy events. And in my head, like, this idea comes to me, women in real estate wire, it just comes to me as I'm sitting here thinking about this.

Athan (27:42):

Amazing how things like that happen. Yeah.

Isabel (27:45):

So that's my crazy vision for an office someday, maybe it'll play out, maybe it won't. I have no idea. But that's my I don't know. That's my thing.

Athan (27:53):

Yeah. So I have so many questions about that. But, um, so now that you have this, this office, this team that you work with, knowing the things that you know about the challenges of being a woman in business or woman in life, and which obviously goes into business? You know, is there a part like your development? Or is there a part of your leadership of them? That really works to these tribes to counter some of that, like, does it play in at all? Is it even something you guys talk about?

Isabel (28:25):

Yeah, it definitely plays in and this actually circles back around to your question about, as you're leading a lot of women, what can you be doing? What can you be doing with this information? Cool. So I was actually thinking about that, after you said that, I think something that I do for my own team that I think is very important is that a big part of my value proposition of my women is mentorship, so that if they join this team, they will get a lot of one on one time working through their issues. So basically, I am here to help them achieve their own visions of success. So similar to what you said, I'm not here to tell them what their goal should be. I want to create an environment where they feel safe, dreaming big, and where they feel safe, really figuring out what they want. And then I will help them go get it. And so what I have found is that the more specific we can get, the better. So it's easy to kind of go up here and be thinking broadly about like, how do we fix this huge systemic issue? When really the question is what happened this week that we can work on together?

Athan (29:28):

Where can you find power in your day to day life? Right?

Isabel (29:31):

So we do a lot of things like weekly mentoring and weekly calls where we're diving into, okay, here's the thing that you said you want. Here's how you tried to get it this week. Here's what got in your way. And then we dive super deep into that specific situation, right. And there's usually a lot of growth that comes out of that because we are able to then find that place where there's a limiting belief where there's a fear and unexpressed fear or something going on. And the reason that I'm so passionate about that is because As I know, my own experience of receiving coaching and mentoring, that really sort of dismantled a lot of that stuff for me, was so powerful. And so now I'm excited to get to help other women do that for themselves.

Athan (30:12):

Yeah, I'm glad you mentioned mentorship, it's actually been coming up in a lot of my conversations lately. Number one successful people. You know, they directly attribute a lot of their success to some mentor, someone who taught them the way and and it's also been coming up a lot in conversations where it seems like maybe there aren't a lot of mental it's like, I don't know, it feels like there's not a lot of mentors out there. Or it's not as commonplace, as and now I'm keeping in mind, I'm talking to mostly entrepreneurs and people who work for themselves. And so like, maybe in an organization, there's a little bit more mentorship, but I can say from the military side of things, while I'm still in the military, it used to be a big part of our culture, like counseling and, and leadership. And I'm feeling like it's kind of like, dying or fading away or something. Do you feel that way? I mean, obviously, you're just said you incorporate it in your work. But I know you've received coaching and mentoring from other people. Is that something you still feel prevalent? Is that something you still seek out? You know, how is all that?

Isabel (31:17):

Yeah, so I still do a good amount of coaching with the person who I refer to as my mentor. And so I mean, I will say, for the beginning, I paid for it, I paid for it formally as coaching. So there's a huge coaching industry. So there are people out there who are willing, I mean, if somebody is looking for a mentor who's gonna teach them how to be successful, and give them their all for nothing in return, not gonna find it. Right. Right. But where, but yeah, it's rare. Exactly. But at least if you're in a money making industry, like real estate, you're going to be paying for good mentorship, probably.

Athan (31:53):

And I think you should, I think, I'm big on like having skin in the game. Sure, are you going to be as likely to follow through on some of this input and advice, if it's something that's kind of just come

Isabel (32:04):

Right, cheap, even a good mentor is going to push you to do things that make you feel like you're going to die? Scary, they're going to push you to do very scary things. And so there has to be a level of trust, there has to be a level of buy-in, because you can get advice from people all day long. But are you really going to do that thing that makes you feel terrified? You don't have somebody behind you?

Athan (32:27):

Yeah, it goes back to that fear thing. And as because you've done scary things in life and career, often it's never it was it, you suffer more, there's even a quote by someone famous, I'm going to paraphrase it, I don't remember who said it, but we suffer more in our minds than we do in actuality. And, I think it's so powerful to have people in your life, who are kind of pushing you to face those fears to do that thing that you're afraid of, to realize that like, this shit isn't that hard? You know, it's really not that hard. We make it hard up here. But in actuality, we really can and are far more powerful than we give ourselves credit for.

Isabel (33:10):

Yeah, I absolutely think that's true. And also, one more thing on the mentor point that I would throw out there is that I think a mentor is not always going to show up with a mentor tattooed across their forehead. Right? And a lot of times, if you're a business owner, particularly, I would think about your investors and some of the people you're already partnered with. Because if you have anybody in your life, particularly if they are older than you, they've had several decades more in the industry than you have, especially people like him, once people start to hit their 50s and 60s, they're less interested in my experience, they're less interested in making a better buck. And they're more interested in impact. So if you've got somebody in your investor pool or something who you feel okay with, they've put money in and I'm kind of mostly delivering what I told them, I would, but something feels a little off. Maybe what you're not giving them is an opportunity to mentor you. Because that might be what they want. Maybe they don't just want to exchange money with you.

Athan (34:09):

Yeah, and there's a high that's why I mentioned when you said you are likely going to have to pay some of these people, which I do think is true. And I do think there's value in that. I also think that it's likely that you would find somebody who has this level of wisdom, this level of experience and knowledge, who literally just wants to contribute to you know, who, who it's a gift to them. Like I can say for myself, when someone asks me for help. When someone asked me for advice. I'm so grateful for it. I mean, it gives me an opportunity. It gives me a gift to do what I love doing and I've spent all this time doing this shit. Like I want to give it and I know there's other people out there who are like that.

Isabel (34:49):

Yeah, I absolutely think that's true. And I think that you're more likely to find that if you look close, right? So if you start thinking to yourself, for example, like Oh, I love Brene Brown or Mel Robbins. I wonder if They'll mentor me. The answer is probably no. crowd of people who are afraid there, that person is famous, they have in a lot of senses arrived, they're up on this pedestal. But if you stop thinking that way, like, can I get Tim Ferriss or somebody to mentor me and start thinking instead? Who do I like, Let me think about 25 people I know who are successful, who I know, either they own my gym, or I have partnered with them in the small business thing, or they whatever, like, if you can think of that close to home, then you probably will find somebody who's willing to work with you for free or less, or because it brings them joy.

Athan (35:36):

You know, it's funny, you say that, because now I'm thinking about why did I start this podcast, and I literally, I have all these interesting conversations with people who I know and love in my life. And I've had these great conversations, like not being recorded before. And I thought, well, that was I gained so much from that, I got some wisdom from that. It was like a little gift was a little nugget there, like, move me forward. And I really think that's Why not. I think I know I sought out to have these conversations to one help myself grow because I'm learning from you right now at this moment, I'm being educated by you. And then also to be able to share that with other people. And so like, and all I did to get guests on this show was I write down 25 Successful people who I feel like out there doing something awesome, or they have something to say. So I think that's exactly what people will want to talk to you about those 25 people on your list or whatever. So that's, I think that's a great tip, for anyone who maybe doesn't wanna have a podcast, but they just want to have the conversation 100%.

Isabel (36:34):

And I actually know a woman who has done a lot of mentoring, she's in her, probably late 40s. Now, I'm not sure exactly how old she is. But she's been very successful in business, and has risen through, you know, into kind of sea level type of positions. And she does a lot of mentoring and does not get paid for it. So back to your point, it's not true that you're always gonna have to pay for it. But what she has said to me is that the best thing you can ever do to repay your mentor is do what they told you to do. So if you, if you come to them for advice, you say I have a problem, and I want to know how to fix it. And you tell them exactly what they need to do to fix it. And they don't act on that. And then they call you back in a week or two, she's like, There's nothing more frustrating, so frustrated. So yeah, back to the title of your podcast do the work

Athan (37:19):

You guys get and there's no other secret. The reason why I named the podcast that and why it's one of my values, my personal values, and that I've extended to the gym, is there is no replacement for just getting out there and muddling your way through it. However ugly, however imperfect, you know, having a work ethic, being out, being willing to work hard, and then having a great attitude about it, because you know that that work is going to serve you. There's no replacement. You can't learn it in a book, no one can. And again, the mentor can only tell it to you, but if you don't do the shit, then it doesn't. Doesn't matter. It doesn't work, right? Absolutely. So this show is mostly about optimal health, deep human connection. And self actualization is what I really like I'm trying to and we've already talked a lot about that. But what of those three things is something that maybe you're working on or a place where you have some strength or like, optimal health, deep human connection? self actualization, did any of those resonate with you?

Isabel (38:26):

They all sound great, and I don't? Yeah, please. Yeah, exactly. Um, gosh, do I have anything to offer any of those?

Athan (38:37):

What does a deep human connection look like for you right now? And, where are you doing that work? Or where are you struggling? I'd love to just kind of hear about that.

Isabel (38:49):

Yeah. So I mean, I think the places where I'm really seeing it are with my baby. So he's 11 months old now. Yeah, he's gonna be he's gonna be a year soon. And so, just growing into that relationship with him and watching him change so rapidly, has been one of the most amazing, most vulnerable, most difficult, most beautiful things I've ever done. And I feel like I mean, not to get all wild on y'all, but it feels like having a baby broke my heart open.

Athan (39:23):

Wow. That's so it's beautiful. And, you were talking earlier, which was something I meant to ask about. And it perfectly came full circle, because now the level of vulnerability and, like, almost literal shit that you have to deal with. And like to be honest about one. All parents have to deal with that. But I've witnessed you deal with it somewhat publicly, with silt with tons of grace, and one, I think there's a level of brilliance to that. But it's just something I really deeply appreciate because not enough People are willing to, there's so many people out there who your quote unquote, influencers who try to make them there, but how perfect their life is and how amazing of a mother they are. And you are an amazing mother, but you have the strategy of honesty and transparency and vulnerability with that, which has just been just beautiful to watch.

Isabel (40:20):

And I thank you. That means a lot to me. And I think that kind of circling back to what I was saying earlier, I think that the reason that I feel comfortable doing that is because I'm putting out what I wish I had seen more of, yeah, you know, motherhood really took me by surprise in a lot of ways, which I know it does for a lot of people. But it was harder, in so many ways than I expected. I've wanted to be a mother my whole life, I always knew that I wanted children. So it was never there was never a doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a mother. And so then when it was so hard, and when it took me by surprise in so many ways, and when frankly, when there were moments where I was like, I thought this was supposed to be beautiful and wonderful. And I kind of don't like it right now. Yeah, I wish that I didn't feel so much shame about this. And as I spoke to other new moms, I would reach out and be like, what's going on with this? And they're like, oh, yeah, that's a thing. And I'm like, Well, then why are we talking about this? Like, what is the deal? Right?

Athan (41:20):

Yeah, well, that word shame that you just said, is powerful for a lot of people. Because, again, because they all said that's a thing. And they probably all had a similar reaction. It's like, we hide the dark parts of ourselves, we cover it, we mask it, we try to do anything to not let people see that part of us. And I think that's where we become chained. You know, there's a level of slavery that we put ourselves in, that no one else has to do to us. No, we enslave ourselves, we chain ourselves through hiding that, it goes back to Adam and Eve. It's as old as that. And so I love that you're breaking those chains. And again, that's one of the things that I'm not as Curt I want to be more courageous about like, exposing some of the cluttered pneus of my life, the dirtiness of my life. I'm curious, did you do it? Or have you and for the audience who maybe you should follow Isabel, for sure. And maybe we'll get to the end about like, where they can follow you and all this other stuff, but on your social media, your Instagram, your Facebook and stuff like that, you do these like little clips, and you'll do videos and like, talk openly about the challenges that you're going with and, or you'll be doing like, some of my favorite ones, like you'll be doing a serious, you'll be talking about business, like just talking about work, and Tony will crawl in or something will happen in the background or whatever. And it's just like, this is an end, it's like, unfazed, you're just doing your work. And so those are some of the most inspiring moments for me. And I'm just curious about the thinking that goes behind that.

Isabel (42:58):

Yeah, I wish I had a strategy. But I mean, I would say some of the really vulnerable stuff that I've put out, which was particularly like early postpartum, would frankly, I was just a little, little off my rocker,

Athan (43:12):

Would you admit it?

Isabel (43:15):

But the hormones and sleep deprivation, everything else, like it's a thing, right. But I do think that like, part of it, for me is selfish, in a sense of like, I think for me, it's kind of a way to exercise some of my own demons healing, it's healing, it's like some people talk about, they take whatever it is, and they put it into art, they paint something or they're, they make music and then then they release it. And for me, sharing, it kind of releases it for me.

Athan (43:43):

That's your art. Yeah, I can say that. I'm sure that anyone who sees it, who has seen it, you've helped them to move forward with doing something similar, or at least given them that level of awareness. Like even if they're still afraid to do something like that, I think it like has shown a model of it, which we need more, people out there being good role models for the rest of us so

Isabel (44:04):

Well, thank you, that feels really amazing, because I don't know that I had anything as wonderful as that intention for it, but sometimes, things like that. I don't know how to put the words on it about the way that that makes me feel right.

Athan (44:21):

Yeah, no, I get that. And you mentioned it being somewhat selfish on your on your part, but I think that's how a lot of like beautiful like, I think I tried to encourage more people to do more things that are purely selfish for them like to be your best self like, stop giving a fuck about what I want you to do. I had a coaching conversation with one of my coaches. We're doing our evaluations right now. And I was like, No, don't try to do it like this other coach, like don't try to do it how you think I would do it? Like I'm the most proud of you, when you're on fire being your best self, so be a little selfish, be a little self centered, I put yourself on the stage and so I do think a lot of beautiful things and a lot of lessons are taught when people are just really unchained like that.

Isabel (45:14):

So yeah, I think so too. And I think selfishness is an interesting concept because we have such a negative stigma around it. Yeah, right. Like we almost always use it when someone has done something that hurts other people, and we seem to benefit them. Right. And I think that that's starting to change, you hear more and more people talking about the positive side of selfishness and, you know, self care and doing something for yourself, we're seeing more kind of healthy conversation around that. But I'm, I'm not personally somebody who believes that if everybody just did what they wanted, that would be a bad thing, or that people fundamentally want to do harm and that they only don't because of the punishments and incentives that we've put in place. Sure. I actually do think that people Yeah, people do do bad things sometimes. But I think that fundamentally, people do want connection, they do want love, they do want to make an impact, they do want to make a difference. So yeah, I absolutely think that people should do more of what they want. Because what I've noticed with coaching people, is that very often, when that impulse to take care of yourself is repressed. It comes out in weird other ways that you don't enjoy it.

Athan (46:24):

Yeah, I mean, just any level of filtering ourselves Demming ourselves down, or something like that absolutely is going to go back to that fear thing I said earlier, when you just mentioned it a second ago, like Yeah, people do. People do bad and horrible things, somewhat intentionally. But if you really, if you get to the fact the horrible things that I've done, if I really drill down to the base of it, it was almost always born in fear. I was, I did that thing because I was afraid of something else. And which is the opposite of love. Like I wasn't loving myself, I wasn't being accepting and loving of another person or whatever. And, I did this perfect thing. So I think that we see that a lot. I think that when we were talking about selfishness, a couple things that it's important to say is like you said something like, You did something selfish, and it hurt somebody or something like that. But most of the time, it's when you said hurt, it's we're talking about probably emotionally or psychologically or something. But we hurt ourselves through what other people do. Like I can't say a word to you, I can't make an action, and an act really hurts you most of the time, I hurt myself by what you said or what you did. And I think that a lot of people give other people too much credit around that selfishness and then also around selfishness, it's like, as if I don't have like to do something for myself as if I don't have the right to be tried to be like, add value to be my best self. Like it's like you think other people have this insecurity. I could see a lot of people around you having a lot of insecurity. Because you might make them feel a little intimidated. Like they might feel like man, I'm not doing enough or I don't have I'm not successful or I'm not.

Isabel (48:18):

For summary. I've always found that larious because I'm a very small person.

Athan (48:24):

Well in stature yeah. But I was small, I don't make you small in my mind, like, a powerful person.

Isabel (48:30):

But it's, I mean, I've heard it for so many years that I've just accepted that it must be true. But it's still hard for me to process because I'm like, I am a woman, I am five three, I think of myself also as being a people pleaser, being very worried about what other people think. And so the fact that anybody ever is afraid of me or intimidated of me or anything like that. I'm just like, Okay.

Athan (48:54):

I get the same thing, because I'm always trying to be nice so that if anyone ever says I'm intimidating to them, I'm like, Whoa, like, it's never what I'm going for. But yeah, so we kind of got off on that. By talking we were talking about deep human connection and like your connection with your son. And how do you do so then thinking about leveraging you were talking about parenthood earlier? And like how it's been challenging with your, with your career and like, how have you made all that work? And like, how does that now being a new parent, you know, things look very different day to day for you. So like, how does that work

Isabel (49:35):

for you need work in progress, but I do feel like I've hit, I'm in a nice little equilibrium right now. Which, who knows what's gonna change, right? But you have to celebrate those moments when you find them. A couple of things that were just very, I guess a few things that I've learned over the last couple of months. Number one is I like certainty, and I like control. And I've had to release some of that before cuz I realized now that those things are small. Either they're in smaller quantities when you have a child or it was always a delusion, and now it's just shattered. I'm not sure which one of those two it is, but probably the latter. But with a baby, babies change so much, it's starting to slow down now as he gets older, but in those early weeks, it'd be like, okay, cool. I figured it out. This is what we got to do now. And the next week, it's different, right? And so you just have to, like, let go of that. So one thing that I had to really accept, is that what I need in terms of help from Chris, my husband, what I need in terms of childcare, how many hours childcare I want, like all that stuff, I had to be okay with it being one way this week and a different way next week. And just being really getting really honest with myself about like, what do I need? What do I want? And what are my hang ups. So I had to realize for myself that I had this bizarre idea in my head, that I could be running a full time business at this really high level and also be a supermom. And I was trying to do it all. And at a certain point, I had to be like, okay, if I'm going to run a full time business, I need full time childcare, and I should not feel guilty or I have to get over whatever crap I have about feeling inadequate, because I need 50 hours of childcare a week. Right? And that was really a hurdle for me.

Athan (51:24):

Yeah. And that's huge. And what you said reminds me of Have you read the book essentialism?

Isabel (51:34):

I think I started once. I love that book.

Athan (51:37):

There's only a few books out there that have really fundamentally changed, like how I do it most the time you read a book and you'd like, forget it and don't change, or you least don't change anything who wrote essentialism, I can't remember now. Okay, I remember to white cover. And it's got a little scribble on it. But I've been doing it by the way. And this for anybody out there, I'm doing a bibliography. So anytime we talk about a book, or we talk about anything, I'll kind of share posts, they all share for everybody. But anyway, one of the things he says in there is that you can do anything, but you can't do everything. And that has really stuck with me a lot about choices. Like I can be a dad, I can be a business owner. I can but I can't do like three other things and be really high level at them on top of that. And then I think I listened to a guy on a podcast and I can't remember right now. But he also said, it's like, really, you gotta pick two or three things in your life that you're going to do at a really high level. And it's just all about choices. There you don't have enough time or energy to be good at anything else. So it sounds like you've kind of had to make some of those choices for yourself and make some decisions.

Isabel (52:44):

Yeah, absolutely. The other thing that I did that I think went really well actually was I set up a maternity leave for myself very consciously. So I spent from the time that I got pregnant through really mid December. So sometime in mid December of 2020, I was completely off. And I spent a good portion of that year. So from the time I got pregnant in April, through when I delivered him in January, I was really focused on how to set my team up so that if I disappear for two months, my team will be fine. No phone calls, no emails, no, nothing brilliant. And that was one of the biggest challenges that I've ever taken on nothing like having a baby. But it was certainly a challenge. And I was really proud of the result because we did it. I was able to hand my business over to the women on my team who completely disappeared for six full weeks. And everything was fine.

Athan (53:45):

Yeah, there's no replacement for, again, like you we practice worst case scenarios, there's no, like throw, we have fire drills, and we have things like that in the military. We do rehearsals before every single training operation for every mission, you do tons of rehearsals so that you've practiced what you kind of think through contingencies. And like, Oh, I thought on paper, this would sound good, but in actuality, it didn't. And it's and I'm and I credit to you for having the wherewithal to kind of do some of that as a part of becoming a mother. Not knowing what becoming a mother would be like,

Isabel (54:19):

I'm so glad that I did because then, the sleep deprivation was very real after he was born. And I not only struggled with him being awake, like because he's an infant. But I also had this sort of anxiety reaction after he was born. That led to a lot of insomnia. So even when he would sleep for four or five hours, I couldn't sleep sometimes. And so I wasn't in any shape to be helping people make real estate decisions or to be emotionally even keeled and be on the phone with people like I've spoken to real estate agents, women who were like, oh, yeah, I was answering emails from the delivery room. insane and I get it because I can see myself doing that, but I made a very conscious choice not to. And I'm glad that I did. Because it would not have been good for my clients, and it was good for the growth of the women on my team to pick all that stuff up, too. They learned a ton.

Athan (55:11):

Well, it's a gift to them. A lot of times we feel like we're dumping things we're burdening where, when you're asking for help, or when you're trying to, take on a situation like yours, but a lot of times most people feel like, Oh, this is an opportunity, they feel good. They're, it feels good to ask someone, someone to say like, oh, you can handle this, you're competent, you're right, you're able.

Isabel (55:33):

And it's also amazing how much more capable people are, when as a leader, you say, I'm handing you the ball, and I'm stepping out, and you mean it? Right? If they think that you're going to hop back in on that text chain, or whatever, with the client in 20 minutes, then they're going to behave very differently than if they believe you, when you say that you're out.

Athan (55:51):

Right now, that's huge. And I've also, I've always thought about leadership in that way. For me, what leadership means is that I give you all the resources, I give you all the support, I give you all the education I give you, whatever you need, for you to do it on your own, and like me, just get out of the way. You know, if I'm successful when you have taken the ball and run with it, if I'm constantly having to get in the middle of it, then it's really a lack. I don't look as lacking as the others. It's lacking in me that I haven't done a good enough job for you to let you do the work without me.

Isabel (56:31):

Yeah, have you? Have you read Turn? Turn the ship around is what it's called? No. So it was written by a Navy? I don't know. Commander, what do they call the guy Admiral runs the ship? Yeah, I think they're usually an ad. Okay, I guess an admiral. So it was written by one of those guys. And he talks about taking one of the lowest performing ships in the Navy and turning it into one of the best performing ships in the Navy. And he tells that whole story of how he did that. And I appreciate it. Because it's not one of those I did it because I'm great. Here's exactly how I did it. And here's the challenges we had. And here's what drove me to do it and all those kinds of things. But one of the things that he talks about in that book that has really resonated with me as a leader is that, he talks about how in the Navy, sometimes people have this ego about, oh, well this ship ran so well. And then the day I left everything fell apart. And that just shows how great I am. Yeah, versus versus the idea of, I got this ship to a point where I walked away, and everything kept running smoothly. That's awesome. And that was his goal.

Athan (57:35):

He reminds me of the book called clockwork by Michael, have you read that Michael McCalla wits, Bruce and his name. But the same thing was like the whole goal that he tries to teach you in those lessons that you could walk away from your business for four weeks, and it runs exactly as how you did when you were there? And I think that's real, that's the real test. And that's a real testament to your leadership and your legacy. And that is you, you can step in and out as needed. And it runs the same either way.

Isabel (58:04):

Yeah. And one thing I will say too, about getting ready for that maternity leave is that I really started getting ready years before if I think about it, because where I started getting ready was when I started taking one day off a week. Yeah, I remember that. So that was probably five years ago that I claimed Friday as my day and Friday is still my day off. And it's really interesting to me, like the number of small business owners. It's not interesting, because I know I did it right. But the number of small business owners who don't take a day off, and that was me for years.

Athan (58:35):

Yeah. I remember when you did that. I don't, I just remember being aware that you did that. I don't know. Remember when you started it, but and I thought

Isabel (58:45):

I probably told you in our first client consultation. Yeah. Like, by the way, I'm off on Friday.

Athan (58:49):

I don't Yeah, if you contact me on Fridays, Emma will reach it'll be someone else who may be. But I'm off on Fridays, which I thought, good for you right off the bat. You're setting boundaries, you're setting constraints, you're setting expectations. And I think I think that's huge. Because the other side of that is what I live a lot of time is like, always being on, always being available, setting the expectation is that, if someone texts you're gonna respond back no matter when or what time or what day. And that's why a lot of Well, I think that's why most businesses don't last more than five years. And there's a lot of, there's more stories of failure in small business ownership than there are success.

Isabel (59:30):

Sure. And that comes back around to that whole thing we were talking about about selfishness and self care. And, that's something that I coach women on a lot and I've done it both inside and outside my business coaching women about and people in general about how to take a day off. And they go through all the fears and everything that I did myself. Well, what if I lose business? What if an emergency happens and someone needs me and I'm not there, except your thing. It's the whole fear thing, right? And yeah, I think what I've said to people, they're like, Oh, I'm just going to Take a big vacation at the end of the year. I'm just going to work really hard until I take my big vacation at the end of the year. I'm like, listen, I know this isn't what you want to hear. But if you can't take one day off, you can't take 10 days off. You gotta start

Athan (1:00:12):

Are you going to enjoy that vacation? Like, maybe we'll take those 10 days off? But are you gonna be freaking out? Right.

Isabel (1:00:19):

And I did that to myself what? So I know exactly what that feels like. And the analogy that I use is it's like trying to catch up on weeks worth of no sleep by sleeping all day for like four days straight. Yeah, your body can't do it. Right? It doesn't work that way. Right? You need that cycle of stress and rest.

Athan (1:00:36):

Yeah. And when you need consistency. I mean, whatever we do consistently is what stays what sticks with us, it's like, the spurts and going hard, going hard on your rest or going hard on your work isn't going to be sustainable in the long run.

Isabel (1:00:52):

Right? You know, and it's like, if you have set up this, and this is something that small business owners do to themselves, because we work so hard, a lot of times, right? And then we're like, we want this big reward. When that deal closes, I'm going to go to Mexico for two weeks, I'm going to do nothing, or whatever the vision is, right? But the problem is anyone who's considering this can take it for me. The problem with that is that now you've been placed so you've given that trip to Mexico, such a huge job that it can never possibly live up to it. If it's supposed to make up for the last two years of you grinding, you're going to wake up every morning and be like, What am I going to do today to have so much fun that it's going to be worth it right? Anything gonna, nothing's gonna do that for you.

Athan (1:01:35):

And we do that in so many aspects of our life. Honestly, it's like that next hire is going to be what changes my life or this next relationship or when I have kids or

Isabel (1:01:46):

or for me, right now when I lose the weight, I hear myself saying this all the time, right?

Athan (1:01:51):

We do this when you gain weight, we put these concepts and ideas on a pedestal as if that was what was to blame for us, our lives not being good and great and amazing like it is right now in the moment. And it's kind of like a powerless position in a lot of ways, you giving way more power to a concept or idea than your actual habits or actions or way of being? Well, since you mentioned your health. I like shows about optimal health. It's something that I am constantly what I deeply desire for all people in my life. It's what I want to contribute to and what I want for myself, which I'm also struggling with right now, but what's health look like? As a business owner? What does it look like as a new mother? What is it looking like for you these days? I have, I've had the wonderful opportunity to be your coach for many years. And I'm sad that I'm not anymore. But I am curious about what it's like for you now.

Isabel (1:02:48):

Yeah, I'm on a pretty good kick recently. So I'm excited about that. Postpartum is its very own thing. And so for me, it's been especially when it comes to health and fitness. It's been trying to find this balance between giving myself grace, being like I am recovering from something major, I'm in a very different place in my life, giving myself that grace and at the same time not making excuses. Oh, well, I can't do this because I'm postpartum. Like, I also don't want to put that Antoni, right. I don't want to saddle him with all these. Oh, well, I mean, how many moms do you hurt? Well, I lost my body after my babies. I never got it back. Like, I don't want to do that to my children. Right. It's possible that my body will never be the same. That's possible. It's not their fault. It's not the kids fault. Yeah. Right. It's not their fault. And so I've been trying to find that balance. And it's, it looked different at two weeks postpartum, and then three months postpartum, and then now I'm on a pretty good kick now, and I feel like I'm finally at this place. Where I'm not likely to hurt myself. So okay, there for a while. I mean, physically. Okay. Because there for a while, like, I remember getting on pretty. I just posted a video about this the other day, actually, I don't think I saw it.

Isabel (1:04:02):

Yeah, it was on it was like yesterday, the day before, I don't remember what it might have been yesterday. But for a couple of months, like I would say around maybe three months. I was like, That's it, I'm gonna go lift and and I go out there. I do a bunch of lifts. And it was a lot of like, lower back stuff because it was weighted good mornings, and like, Romanian deadlifts, and deadlifts. And I remember at one point, my lower back just spasms. Yeah. And at that point, it wasn't terrible, but I probably should put this weight down, not going to push anymore. But then within a couple of hours, I couldn't walk. Yeah. And it was probably a solid 36 hours of like, just severe pain, like standing up sitting down. I would just like to get stuck with a spasm. And I'll just be stuck there for and of course, I've got a three month old, right.

Athan (1:04:53):

There's a lot of picking up and holding. Yeah. So it's like.

Isabel (1:04:57):

What have I done to myself like serious Right. So I had that. And that wasn't the last. I mean, that was the worst one. But there were probably two or three other times where I was like, Ooh, like, I could feel like if I'm not careful, I'm going to be back there. And that combined with like, I've got this chronic wrist pain thing going on. That's pretty common for new moms. Sure. So all of that has been frustrating for me, because I'm somebody who's like, that's it, we're getting back to the gym, I'm getting back in shape. And my body is like, not so fast. And it's like, I want to fix it. Like I want to be in control of it and be like, Nope, we're doing this today. My body's like, got other plans.

Athan (1:05:32):

Right? Well, and I think that goes to where a lot of people again, going back to you already admitted. So I'm not calling you out or anything but perfectionist tendencies, where a lot of us had an idea in my head, I'm going to go to the gym at this time, and I'm going to do these things. And it's going to be amazing. And anything less than that is like I might as well have not shown up right. Might as well not show up. But I've ended. I'm not, we coaches teach people about this all the time. It's like, yeah, if you have an upper extremity injury, yeah, there's some things you can't do. But there's like 10,000 things you can do. And I think a lot and I'm guilty. So again, me being guilty of this, I'm the same exact way. If I don't like to do my workout exactly how I planned it. Exactly. I wanted it well, then I don't even want it anyway, like nothing else would even work. So I like hearing you say like, Okay, let me I'm working through this, especially I think even if you hadn't had a child yet, as a business owner and things like that there's plenty of other obstacles in life that a lot of people might be dealing with, and then adding the extra layer of one just being out because you had a major medical incident. And then having to deal with the effects of that afterwards. So there's a lot to deal with. So tell me, you said you're on a good kick now. So what does a good kick look like for you?

Isabel (1:06:53):

I started several months ago, working with a nutrition coach. I think you probably know Bree, at train, adapt, evolve. Yeah. Do you know her? Yeah. So I've been working with her. And she put together a meal plan for me. And she started me on a reverse diet, which was the first time that I've ever done that where she wanted to. So that's where you're eating a lot. Okay, right. So, which is not a ton, it was like 1900 calories, right? But she wanted to make sure that my metabolism got up. And I think that that was the first time I've ever had no, it was the first time I've never done that. And that was interesting for me to be like, Okay, I've spent most of my life either being on or off a nutrition plan. And off means eat all the fun stuff and be full. Right, right. Eat the case or the margaritas and get full. Yeah. And on means hungry. sickly. As you probably share with me, I'm kind of a person of extremes. Yeah, I can relate. So this is my first time being like, Oh, I'm completely full, but I only ate mostly healthy food. So that was interesting.

Athan (1:07:55):

Yeah. It's like, it's kind of almost like, I can see there being almost frustrating in some ways.

Isabel (1:08:04):

Like right, it's almost like, it's not hard enough. And like, when I'm supposed to be punishing myself all the time. Right, so it was a weird experience. That was an interesting sort of reframe for me. And I also told her from the beginning, like, I'm in a very different place than I have been in the past when I did these strict nutrition plans where I lost, I don't know, got down to, like, lost 10 pounds over 14 weeks, or whatever. And it was like, very lean. And I was hungry and had no alcohol and no, this I was like, I'm just in a different spot right now. I want to get back on track, but I'm not I'm not that committed. And so I've done that for probably like two or three months with her. And then more recently, I was like, Okay, I've been plateaued for weeks, like I've been hanging out around 152 for, like, I don't know, six weeks, eight weeks. And I'm like that, is it like I'm ready. I'm ready to see the scale move. And so more recently been like, okay, fine, I'm going to start logging my food, I'm going to cut some of those extra drinks where I'm like, no big deal.

Isabel (1:09:04):

I'm just having a glass or two, like, I'm gonna start cutting those. I'm going to get into the gym three or four times a week. And then recently, because some of my body issues have started to get a little bit better. I've started seeing myself go, oh, I don't need to modify that workout. And being able to do the workout as prescribed again, which I couldn't for months. Yeah. And so that's been kind of a nice little flip for me where I'm like, Oh, I'm doing the workout as prescribed again, oh, I'm lifting about 80% of what I used to live good feeling like it's a good feeling. And I wasn't ready for it for a while. But like now I'm ready for it.

Athan (1:09:33):

Yeah. So in that case. So again, this is actually kind of good. I think a good study, I'll say, is that you've come from a place where it sounds like you would probably describe as less than optimal. Yeah. So if you had to define optimal as a destination now, like if you were just going to choose it as something you are working towards, what would optimal health look like for you now in the context of all this stuff you're dealing with?

Isabel (1:09:59):

Yeah, that's it. question, I think it's so tempting for me as such a perfectionist to be like optimal is no sugar and no alcohol and like, I would be back down to 130 something with a ton a ton of muscle mass. But like, that's not really what I want right now. You know, I want to be able to have a glass of wine with my husband and enjoy it. Yes. And so I think for me optimal would be really embodying that thing that I've tried to for years, but it's never really clicked for me that there are no good or bad foods, and really, actually being honest with myself about do I want this right now? Like, I think I've had a lot of times when I have eaten chips and queso and had margaritas and stuff until I felt like crap. And I'm not sure if I was really honest with myself about whether I truly wanted that. Was I listening to my body? Or did I decide? This is a binge night? Yeah. Right.

Athan (1:10:50):

So maybe paraphrasing, what you're saying is, would you say, your version of optimal health would be being in a place of of choosing No, choosing whatever choice that you made, knowing that you are choosing it, and that you are and knowing the reason why you're choosing it, and then having the ability to choose Otherwise, when you felt empowered to do so or when you felt like it was needed.

Isabel (1:11:19):

And I think just to sort of put some structure around it, it's like, for me optimal would look like eating good quality Whole Foods most of the time, because I know that that makes me feel good, right? And getting to the gym several times a week, three or four times a week, because I want to feel good. My body, I don't want to feel winded when I climb a set of stairs, you know, I want to feel strong and capable in my body. And so it's nice for me to start feeling like I'm getting back there instead of feeling gross. Right?

Athan (1:11:48):

Yeah. How do you feel about your health, your physical abilities? We can even think about health broadly, how does it apply to everything else you do? I mean, how is it in service of?

Isabel (1:12:03):

Yeah, for me, it's very integrated. Because I do believe that the mind-body connection is very strong. And so when we're at work, right, there's so much that's going on, we think it's all in our head, that we're making these decisions, and we're managing our people, and we're putting together a business plan and all those kinds of things. But we're so driven by emotion, and we're so driven by whatever chemical reactions are going on in our body. And so I know myself well enough to know that like, if I haven't slept, if I haven't eaten, well, if I haven't gotten to the gym in a couple of days, I'm not as sharp. Like, I'm not as cheerful. I'm not as resilient. I'm not as perceptive. So it's all very connected for me.

Athan (1:12:44):

Yeah, I feel the same way. And I hope everyone I mean, I'm, again, I don't think I’m saying anything, though, that anyone else wouldn't say. But I think that it's like, you're not going to be able to contribute to the world in the best possible way in all the ways that you desire, and that you feel like that you've always dreamed of, if you're this instrument, this vessel of yours is in bad shape. It's not firing on all cylinders. And I think about my health in that way. And then that's what I think of as optimal. I don't think I used to, if you'd asked me probably not even that long ago, five years ago, or something like that, I might have said, six pack abs, lifting this much way, Bill to run this that fast or whatever. And now I think about it as being in the perfect zone in which I can live a life that I love and contribute to the world in the way that I feel powerful in that I deeply desire. And that means I am going to have a little more fat around my waist. And on prem means I am going to eat a couple things that maybe don't fully support my waistline or whatever. But choosing love chooses a loving, joyful perspective on health rather than because you mentioned a little while back about how we oftentimes look at our fitness and our nutrition as a way to punish ourselves for not being healthy enough or whatever it is.

Isabel (1:14:15):

Well, I'm getting back to what you just said about that optimal piece of it being having had like a certain amount of rest, and I don't remember exactly what you said, but it was getting to the point that these things are necessary for me to perform. Right. And I don't disagree with that. I do think it's true. Like I mean, I said that this is all connected. But the flip side of that is also something that I had to deal with over the last several months. So one thing that I learned about myself was that leading up to having Tony I had really bought into this idea that like if I log my food and I'm eating whole foods and I'm not having alcohol, I'm not having sugar and I'm getting to the gym five times a week and I'm getting enough sleep. Then I'm doing all the right things, and I can feel good. And so then when a lot of those things just suddenly weren't possible anymore, I found that I had to deal with the flip side of that of actually, I was making myself feel worse, because I had bought this notion so thoroughly that then I believed, well, now since I don't have those things, I don't have the sleep. And I can't get to the gym and the way that I used to, well, now I just feel like crap. And at a certain point, I was like, do I actually feel that bad? Or am I just in my head? Have I set a standard? Exactly. And it's weird for me to pass a huge,

Athan (1:15:36):

I mean, that's huge, though, because we really do our mind and our perspectives and our views of things. Massively drive, how we feel about and how we ended up performing. And I think it's really wise of you. And, I hope more people will do that. So like, really question your own beliefs about what's going on right now. You know, and it's always a work in progress. And it's always evolving.

Isabel (1:16:06):

And because I remember just to give an example of this, of like, this is why, zero alcohol and everything perfect is not necessarily my optimal health anymore. Because I remember a couple of times, in those first few months, when I was really anxious about how little sleep I'd had, because even after the acute insomnia was over, there were still times where, maybe we didn't have a great night of sleep the night before. And now Tony's taking a nap. And I'm like, or we've gotten a babysitter, or nanny or whatever. So it doesn't even matter when he wakes up, like I can go and take a nap now. And there would be some, and sometimes I would lay down for that nap and not be able to go to sleep. And I would get up afterwards feeling worse, because then I was like, I couldn't sleep and like what's wrong with me? And why couldn't I sleep in? Yeah, and I would get into this cycle, right? And there were a couple of times when Chris would just be like, Are you sure you need a nap? Like, why don't we just go to the brewery, right. And if he could talk me into getting out of the house, a lot of times, I would feel a lot better after I went had a beer, than if I just tried to take a nap that I was convinced I needed, but maybe my body didn't really need or it just wasn't gonna happen today or whatever. So it's like, there's a lot of people who tell you that going and having a beer at the brewery when you're suffering from postpartum anxiety is not a good idea. Like, there were times when that was what I needed,

Athan (1:17:20):

Well, and that's the difference is, it looks different for all of us. And, it looks different for each of us, at different times of our life. And the most important thing that you can be doing is exploring new things, understanding your we all have kind of like a band of excellence, and kind of understand where the, the top and bottom limits of that are, at least in some sort of, like, over time, and then and then also, trying, knowing that things, she's like, for example,again, like, after another stage of life, like motherhood, it's gonna be a little different. Now, you're gonna have to explore it again, for yourself. And, I think it's if you look at your health, like a science project over time, and you create new hypotheses, and you test them, and you kind of see what works, then it kind of makes it a little more fun. And then I think the big thing about what you talked about, and what I think everyone listening needs to understand is like, Well, why even be healthy? Like, if you can understand and attach all of this to well, what's the point anyway? And, a lot of times, we're not clear on that, we think we want health for one reason, or we think what we have our version of health looks a certain way, because again, going back to our fears, and our insecurities and our vulnerabilities, but if we can just work wade through much of that bullshit, we'll get to the real way.

Isabel (1:18:54):

And I think that questions are so important, like, you're starting to get at this, like, why do you want that? And then the answer might be well, because I'm supposed to or because it's good for me. Well, what is good for you? How, like, good in what ways, right? Those questions and that comes to like mentoring and coaching people and everything else. Like those questions can be really powerful.

Athan (1:19:16):

Isabel (1:20:24):

The only thing I feel like we covered a lot of stuff, the only thing that was on my mind that I thought we might talk about was the question of purpose. Yeah, okay. And huge for me, I think that we have kind of danced around it this whole time, right. Like, at the very beginning, we were talking about you asking me about how my business started. And we were talking about the fact that like, I didn't really have a plan, right? So there's a lot of people who start a business, they're like, this was my vision, and I executed on the vision that was never, that was never me. So I have struggled a lot in my life wondering, what is my purpose? And do I have a purpose? And am I supposed to have a purpose? And what if I don't have a purpose? Does that bother me? And, like, that is just I'm, this is one thing that I've learned about myself. If I give myself free time, I get neurotic and start thinking about things like that.

Athan (1:21:09):

Yeah. Well, I'm glad you mentioned the purpose, because I find it to be the most important and most massive part of just a good life, I should say. And, I think that a lot of people, like you just mentioned, struggle with finding their purpose, or identifying their purpose, or kind of really putting their thumb on it, or whatever. And I think one there's, I mean, that means they're just maybe there's more introspection, there's more investigation, they do. But too, I think a lot of people get too caught up on the right answer.

Isabel (1:21:45):

That's me, I think, yeah. Cuz I would look around at other successful people and listen to podcasts and things like that, it seems like everybody has done anything important like a mission statement and a purpose. And so I've had so much doubt over the years, why don't I have one? Does that mean, I'm not allowed to join the successful club, because for?

Athan (1:22:01):

Well, I would say that that's you actually, it would be just that you may be able to articulate it clearly right now, but there is a purpose, like, I'm sure that you do have one, it's there, you've been serving it, you've been in service of it. And just because you don't actually have the words or like you don't have it written on your letterhead or whatever, it doesn't mean it's not there. And so what I tell a lot of people just tried a few different ones on, like, pick one. And a lot of times we get to choose our purpose. I mean, it's all about choices. And so you kind of pick something that you find that like, set your heart on fire, that you would do for free if money weren't a thing. And, and that is based in love, and not fear. And, really, then you get to choose it. And it'll evolve over time. You know, I think that ultimately, there's not like, I don't know that we all just have one purpose in life. I don't think these are my personal private perspectives, I don't think you're born with a purpose of one, I don't think one is assigned to you by a higher power. I think you get to choose it. And you might have a few over time, but I will say that having purpose right up there with like, a strong work ethic and a great attitude. overcomes everything like it's your baseline, it's what stabilizes you and, and I personally have a morning practice every single day that I remind myself of why I'm here and what I'm doing. And what's really important to me. So don't get lost in the weeds and all the messiness and all the other shit. You can be distracted by.

Isabel (1:23:35):

Yeah, I seem to be okay, if I've got a very specific assignment, right? If it's like, okay, good morning journaling, like, I can pick my top five things. This is my purpose. I'm gonna get these five things done for that day. But it's like, the purpose of my life is hard. And I think you're right, that there's not just one and it can change.

Athan (1:23:53):

Yeah, but do you think there's like a thin there? What's the thin red thread that kind of goes? You know, I've led several workshops over time. And one of the things that I've tried to do to get help, because I think it's so important to try to help people find it. Okay, I think I need this workshop. Yeah, well, I'm doing one for Bastrop in the special education department in Bastrop school districts, but one of them is, kind of like, look back at every job you've ever had. Look back at every hobby you've ever had. Like the things that you chose to spend your time on just like massive, like maybe it's sports, and maybe it's some other things and then and then try to find the commonality, like where can you connect the dots across because sometimes we subconsciously choose, we're guided by our hearts and our spirits in our in our mind state to to choose things that even when we've chose them subconsciously. And if you can connect the dots between all of those different things you spent most of your time on, there somewhere, is your purpose. You can find some sort you can say, oh, it's serviceable. other people, or it's fitness, or it's, there's something there, and I think so that's what I try to help people to try to find when they asked me about it.

Isabel (1:25:10):

That's definitely helpful. I'm glad to hear your next journal. Yeah.

Athan (1:25:14):

So, when you're journaling, you maybe do a couple connected activities, and yeah. And sometimes other people can help you with it. Yeah, we sometimes people see us more clearly than we see ourselves, and so then it's just acceptable on the pitch on the spot,

Isabel (1:25:30):

Do you think I have a purpose?

Athan (1:25:31):

You certainly have a purpose. when I see you on fire, when I see you like being, like I mentioned earlier, I'm the most unchained and the most free. It's, you are, you're sharing with other people, you're kind of like, you're giving, you're educating you're mentoring. And there is a piece of that, that level of transparency and vulnerability. And so I do think that there's something around that mentorship, that leadership piece, that that really has to be a part of your purpose, because that's when I see you just like, figuratively, on fire, and so, I think it's something like that. I wouldn't say that I think real estate is your canvas for that. I would say, I would agree with that. Yeah, that's your platform. But I wouldn't say that your purpose is directly tied to it. I mean, I think about the joy and love and people in their homes, that they get from that. And I think that's really the core of why you do what you do.

Isabel (1:26:36):

I think you're right about that. I'm gonna think about that.

Athan (1:26:38):

Well, I'd love to bounce, give me a call. Bounce it off of me.

Isabel (1:26:41):

And one thing that I read recently that was helpful for me on this topic of purpose was Man's Search for Meaning. Have you read Man's Search? Yes. Remember when he talks about the monkey undergoing medical experiments? You remember that? Yeah. Yeah. So kind of a morbid example. But what he talks about, is that just for the audience, and what I'm talking about, but what if a monkey is being experimented on for, let's say, cancer research or something, does that monkey know what the purpose of its suffering is? Right. No. But does that mean that it doesn't have a purpose? Right? Yeah. And for me, that was very, like it kind of a sigh of relief. I was like, Okay, I don't mean not knowing doesn't mean that I'm not doing it.

Athan (1:27:29):

Yes. And that's kind of I was going back to earlier, which I 100% agree is like, we subconsciously fulfill our purpose, whether we know it or not, which is a good thing. We can rest easy in that. And I think if you don't know your purpose, like if it's not clear for you right now, having some sort of daily practice in which you're centering yourself, you're finding love, you're sourcing, you're creating your best self, and sometimes that's your fitness and that's through your relationships and all that other stuff. You again, you can kind of hang your hat on the fact that I'm fulfilling my purpose somehow, even if I'm not clear on it. If you're doing the work to be your best self, you take care of checking some of those boxes. Yeah, absolutely. Beautiful. Yeah, it was B and I love the directions that the conversation took. Before we let you go, tell everybody where they can find you what you've got going if there's anything you want to promote, that you've got going on, or all that good stuff, because they're gonna want to know.

Isabel (1:28:35):

Okay, great. Well, the best place to find me is on Instagram. That's where I'm most active Isabelle.Appetito. And I'm assuming we'll put that in the show notes. Yes, we will. Cuz people struggle with the spelling of my last name. And my first name, I just have a hard name to spell. In terms of what we have going on right now. Biggest thing that I'm focused on is the women on my team. And so I have a team of amazing women and we love helping people with real estate in Austin. So residential real estate in Austin, anybody who needs help. We particularly love educating and empowering people. That's our gig.

Athan (1:29:05):

That's awesome. So is there a website for that for wire and all that stuff that people might use?

Isabel (1:29:11):

Yeah, we have an Instagram account, which is probably the best place to follow us as well. So we can link that in the show notes. But I also share a lot of stuff across my personal page and the business page. So if somebody follows me personally, they'll be able to find us there too.

Athan (1:29:24):

Perfect. Well, I am just full of gratitude and appreciation for you. I grew today, I learned a ton. I learned more about you, I deepened my connection with you. But I feel like I'm wiser and smarter for having the conversation. And I know everyone who listened all the way through it will also have gained from it and so just thank you so much. I appreciate it.

Isabel (1:29:48):

Yeah, thank you and you know that I grow every time that I talk to you too. So thank you for saying that.

Athan (1:29:52):

Well, alright, well that's a wrap. Thanks for being here and till the next one. I'm so grateful that you joined us for this episode of doing the work podcast. Providing you with value is why I do this and I hope you got something out of this episode that you can put into action into your life. If you enjoyed listening to this episode, please share this episode with your friends and family who are looking to level up in life. Sign up for our email list at To receive special offers and discounts from our sponsors. subscribe to the podcast on Spotify, YouTube, Amazon and anywhere podcasts are hosted. Thanks again for joining the doing the work podcast and we'll see you on the next episode.