The Importance of Mental Health for Small Business Owners with Kelly Ruta

The Importance of Mental Health for Small Business Owners with Kelly Ruta

Tara Newman: Hey, hey, bold leaders. Welcome to The Bold Money Revolution Podcast. I’m so excited to be here today with Kelly Ruta, a friend and colleague of mine. Today we are going to be the purveyor of hard and uncomfortable truths, which is actually one of my favorite things to be doing these days on this podcast, because as I was just telling Kelly, 91% of my Instagram audience was polled, when they were polled, 91% said that social media is over glamorizing small business ownership. This is something that is really important to me that we don’t do. It’s really important to me that we have honest and transparent conversations, and what is actually honest and transparent versus what people want you to think is honest and transparent. I’m a big proponent of if someone is showing you their income report, that doesn’t necessarily mean that’s honest and transparent. If they’re posting screenshots of their Stripe, PayPal, or whatever, that’s not necessarily the honest and transparent conversation that we need to be having. We need to be talking about the things that we’re leaving unsaid, the things that we are scared to talk about, and the things that, to be honest, I don’t really want to talk about.

Kelly Ruta: This is why I’m so glad I’m here today because this is my favorite thing to do is talk about the uncomfortable things which is why people don’t invite me to parties. I get it.

Tara Newman: Listen, Kelly and I are going to take a crack at this, but we’re going to do it in a way that is brave, passionate, from a place of service, and from a place where we really are going to ask you to engage in this conversation and come find us later and share your takeaways with us. Please realize that this conversation that Kelly and I are having is not an easy conversation. It’s not easy for either one of us and it’s taken years for me, I’ll speak for me first, Kelly, of mental and emotional work, the deep inner work, to be able to hold space for these conversations without fear of retaliation, of bullying, of being cancelled, of people talking about me behind my back, and all those things. Kelly, welcome. Introduce yourself. Share your take on this.

Kelly Ruta: I’m going to keep it short because I just can’t wait to dive in and talk about all of this. I’m Kelly Ruta. I was a clinical psychotherapist in practice and in a public school-based setting for 20 years. Between six and seven years ago, I really felt a very strong calling to step in and serve women in a different way. I was seeing a lot of women in my private practice get their mental wellness really stabilized and grounded and they were all wanting to fulfill business dreams. They were asking me, “Can you continue to help me?” I couldn’t because it was unethical for me to act as a therapist and do that, run it through insurance, all of those things, and it really gave me a significant pause.

I hired a business coach thinking, “Oh, I’m just going to do therapy a different way. I’m going to grow my practice in a different way,” and what I realized was, “Oh, there’s a whole gap in this industry. This industry is doing some beautiful amazing things and there’s some scary missing pieces and some scary things going on, especially in the online space, and I think I could be of service,” so I jumped in. Now I’m a CEO Development Strategist and I work on those inner things that you were just referring to, so that women build businesses that they don’t have to squeeze their lives into, they build businesses that are of service but also really help them live lives that feel good, are fun, and are financially stable, and all the things that matter. I’m dying to get into this conversation. Enough about me.

Tara Newman: Yeah. It’s really important to Kelly and I that as business owners, in your pursuit for financial freedom, personal freedom, impact, whatever that you don’t sacrifice your mental health along the way. We all have mental health and it’s something that we all need to, in my opinion, put at the forefront of our business strategy. What I also want to say is Kelly, coming from a therapy perspective and having a background in clinical psychology, and me having a psychology background, I think we tend to naturally stand out, people perceive us as high trust leaders, which I’m grateful for, so I know that I get people reaching out to me and telling me things that they wouldn’t normally tell somebody else.

This is even not necessarily clients of mine but this is just, in general, people who need a place to share something and to put something. I always welcome them. I always tell everybody on this podcast I’m @thetaranewman on Instagram, please come over, and have that conversation. It’s very courageous. I welcome that. I know Kelly is the same way. I want to talk about a little bit what are some of these things that people are saying to us that they’re not saying in masterminds, that they’re not saying on social media, that they’re not saying in programs that they’re in, what are some of people really struggling with underneath but aren’t languaging because we’ve told them that the internet marketing world has told them struggle is not okay?

Kelly Ruta: There are lots of things. There are deep traumas that are sometimes individual in nature, but there are also collective traumas and subconscious or unconscious programs that a lot of us have been exposed to along the way. I’m hearing a lot about—and I have to say, it’s the first time for a lot of them articulating these things—it feels clunky, it feels scary to say and to acknowledge. One of the things that I hope to provide my clients all the time is what we refer to in psychology as an emotionally corrective experience. One of the things that they’re coming forward and saying is, “I’ve gone to the masterminds. I’ve gone through these courses. I’ve gone through the retreats, and I’m actually feeling more traumatized by them; but because they are internet-famous people that are running these programs, I feel too ashamed to say it publicly because maybe it was just me. Maybe there was something wrong with me that I didn’t get those results. Why am I not taking a bath in a bathtub full of cash? Why am I not in front of the Eiffel Tower? Why am I not at a perfect weight with perfectly quaffed hair, wardrobe, and all these other things?”

Basically, what it boils down to is this consistent asking “What is wrong with me?” Because as your astute Instagram followers have seen and noted, these intentionally-curated feeds leave you with this sense of—which is total BS—that small business is supposed to be XYZ, fill in the blank, there’s a bunch of things. The other thing I’m also hearing is about what I refer to as the universal struggle. In 26 or 27 years of working with people’s minds, I have never met a human being that did not have some struggle with “I am not enough”. If you think that your business growth efforts are not going to push that button and push it a thousand times in any 24-hour period, somebody misled you. A lot of this exploration of the question: Am I adequate to ask for what I want to create, what I desire to receive, what I desire in the way I desire to do it? Meaning, in alignment with my ethics, my values, my truth. Because a lot of what people are telling me, both online and off, goes against how I want to do this. I hear a lot of that, which feels very scary for people to talk about, in my group program, let alone go on a Facebook live or something and talk about it.

Tara Newman: I have a couple of things to add to this if I might. What I hear a lot of is unmet expectations, disappointment over unmet expectations. I want to preface this by saying half my clients have online businesses, half my clients don’t. Half my clients don’t even have websites or social media. By the way, they’re the ones running the million-dollar businesses just to flip a script for everybody. They don’t see their competition, they don’t see what other people are doing, they don’t have this perspective at all. Then I have the people who I work with. I actually love social media because I get to meet these people—and again I’m going to dive more into that—but there’s a lot of unmet expectations, there is depression, there is anxiety. People are coming to me, “I took so-and-so’s program and it made me anxious. I experienced anxiety in the way they’ve created this container. I’ve experienced anxiety in the way they run their program. I’ve experienced anxiety in the way they talk to other people.”

I’ve had people come to me and tell me that they have been traumatized. One of the biggest objections I get in my programs, “I don’t know who to trust. I had this bad experience.” Some of them have gone on to say they’ve been traumatized, they’ve spoken up, and they have been retaliated against the program owner in a number of different ways, including legal threats. They feel very pressured. You brought up before while we were talking about it being a popularity contest. We are seeing The Wall Street Journal just at its most comprehensive study on Facebook, and I don’t even know what to call it, the grave harm, the deleterious effects of Facebook, specifically Instagram on young girls, and we are not immune to this.

Kelly Ruta: Not at all. I speak very openly about this all the time because I think it’s difficult to be something you can’t see and I think it’s difficult to see something as possible if you don’t have an example, so I’m very honest about the fact that I have complex PTSD, I’ve had it my entire life, and this idea that so many people involved, either in the online business industry or in social media directly, do not understand that you can cause an initial trauma or you can re-traumatize people with your practices, with your lack of knowledge, with a lack of ethics, with a lack of guiding principles, with a lack of boundaries, with so many things, it’s absolutely mind-blowing to me. As a person who has PTSD who is navigating this space, it’s so obvious to me—and I have very, very strong non-negotiable boundaries for that reason to keep myself in a good, healthy, stable place—but there are so many people who don’t understand how this can have a massive impact on a grown adult, but on kids whose brains are not developed, whose psyches and personalities are not fully cooked, as I like to say, they’re extra vulnerable and yet we just keep plugging along like this is not a thing.

Tara Newman: Yeah. One of the reasons why I have diminished or changed dramatically, changed the way that my company does and uses social media is because I can’t handle the responsibility of the outcomes that could be possibly created by my posts. Whereas on the podcast, there’s more opportunity for me to dive into nuance. I beg people to please, if you have a question about something I’ve said, ask me to clarify it. I do this in my programs as well. Question me, it helps me think better, it helps me think again, it helps me evolve my systems and how I’m doing things. But on social media, it’s a sound bite. What’s likable and shareable is often hyperbolic. This is another thing from The Wall Street Journal, I haven’t dug into that report but you bet your bippy I will be, but one of the things that came out of it is that the most popular posts on social media are popular because of the outrage and anger that’s rising. It’s the comments, it’s the outrage marketing, it’s the people that have commented the most because they’ve been angry or outraged.

This is why Ben Shapiro is always at the top of whose posts are getting seen the most and he’s over there crying about censorship. But it’s because he generates this level of anger and outrage among his followers. I’ve contextualized a little bit who my ideal client is, and I think that Kelly, you’re going to resonate with what I’m about to say, and I’m sharing this because I want you to decide what group of these three people you’re in so you know how to access the conversation Kelly and I are having. I think it’s incredibly important for us to give our biases and who we’re here for and be really clear in our message. What really caused me to re-evaluate my business, I should probably do a podcast episode on this, was this deep dive that I did into cult documentaries last year. Have you seen the NXIVM one?

Kelly Ruta: Of course. I go way down the rabbit hole when it comes to cult.

Tara Newman: I always preface, don’t watch anything on death cults before bed, it doesn’t leave you with a good night’s sleep. But the NXIVM cult was nightmare fuel for me because it was the personal development space. If you haven’t watched the NXIVM documentaries, I think you should, especially if you’re in this space. They’re a landmark type of stuff. What I realized from watching these cult documentaries is there are three types of people. They get to the NXIVM introductory meeting and they have to dance and they have to do things that are silly and weird. They’re being told that there’s this rank system that they get these different sashes. The guy who’s in charge, you have to call him Vanguard. There are people that are listening to this going, “F*ck no. I’m out. My spidey senses are up. Something is weird. These are the skeptics. Peace out.”

Then you have the middle group who’s like, “I’m going to go along to get along. I’m curious. I’m going to see. I’m going to explore. Don’t be so close-minded. Let’s see what happens.” They get into it and then something happens and they’re like, “Oh sh*t, I’m in a cult.” Then they wake up, they have their awakening, they have their awareness and their awakening, and then they’re on a mission to make sure that nobody falls for this again. Then the third group of people unfortunately have some, in my opinion, brain chemistry or something that is happening for them mentally and emotionally that has allowed them to be manipulated to the point that their brain is now mush and they don’t have the ability to think independently. We have to go in and de-program these folks.

My clients are actually the ones who go into the introductory meeting and go, “This doesn’t feel good. Peace out.” They are the square peg and everything is a round hole. The way this translates into the online space is they open their app and they’re like, “No, I don’t know. That doesn’t really feel good to me. I don’t think I’m going to take that program. The way they’re doing that is actually disgusting. No, thank you. The way that they’re doing this over here doesn’t feel good to my values. I have trauma. There’s something that’s making me not feel good about doing a Facebook live, so the fact that you’re telling me I have to do Facebook lives, nope, that brings up a lot of fear and anxiety. The more you push me, the more I really am feeling really uncomfortable about this.” What happens to these folks is they actually get shut down because they don’t see a path for them to get to the place they want to be in a way that is in alignment with their values. I’m here to help people make more money in a more leveraged way with the caveat that it’s in alignment with values and strengths and personality. I’m not here for leverage for leverage’s sake.

Also another great fit client for me, and maybe you find this as well, is the people who are like, “Oh sh*t, I’m in a cult. I’m done,” and they don’t need to be deprogrammed but they need to be given back their intuition, they need to be given back in their power. Some of my clients say something to me and I’ll be like, “I know who your mentor was before me, and that is not your voice. You literally sound, you are mimicking the voice of the person who you were learning from, so I know you’re not in your power right now.” Now the people that I cannot absolutely work with, and probably neither you, are the people that need to be deprogrammed. That’s actually why I’ve closed down my one-on-one work right now because I was finding I was getting people who needed too much deprogramming for me to do the business strategy and to get them moving forward, which is something that I want to talk to you about because you went after Dave Hollis.

Kelly Ruta: Oh, I’ll go after him every day all day, any opportunity I have. If you want to throw Rachel Hollis in with him, I’m here for it.

Tara Newman: Oh, she’s a waste of space. She’s just ridiculous. But listen, I’ve had that conversation. I’m going to do something about my psychological background and say it’s not about the person, it’s about the archetype.

Kelly Ruta: You read my mind. Get out of my head, woman. You read my mind.

Tara Newman: Kelly did go and put Dave Hollis in his place around something that I want to talk about. Kelly and I are just having this conversation and we’re both trying to stay away from the word mindset in our work. It’s actually in my model. I have a model EMS because it is important, but in terms of forward-facing and things that I talk about, I try not to talk about mindset, and I actually have other approaches before I even talk to you about your mindset, because it has been so dangerously misappropriated.

Kelly Ruta: Oh, yes. I said to you before we started recording, my word for it is it’s been absolutely bastardized, that word. Where I used to call myself a mindset coach, I refuse to call myself that. When people refer to me as such, I correct them because that word is triggering and also the number of unbelievably unethical practices and businesses being built off from people who call themselves mindset experts is frightening to me.

Tara Newman: I want to have this conversation with you and I want people to listen to this. I know some people are going to be triggered by it. I’m sure I have some mindset coaches who are listening. I want you to hang with us because you don’t have to believe what we believe to shift your perspective. I want you to be open and I want you to acknowledge that Kelly is an expert in this field, I consider myself an expert in this field. I want to do a couple of things. My big shift actually came out of the NXIVM cult documentary. They were running what they called EMs. Do you remember what EM stood for?

Kelly Ruta: I don’t. I remember the context but I don’t remember what the letters stand for.

Tara Newman: This was very much what we’re seeing in the personal development space. You believe something that the program owner doesn’t believe or doesn’t think you should believe, and then they get you to shift your mindset to believe the other thing. Until you can believe the other thing, you’re not going to succeed.

Kelly Ruta: Correct. We see this not only in personal development cults, but in religious cults as well. There’s a lot of crossover there and that’s important to make note of.

Tara Newman: Tell me what is mindset and how do you actually address your mindset?

Kelly Ruta: For me, the way that I approach this is extremely comprehensive. The way I teach it is you start with clarity of desire, you move into any resistance you have around your desire, we take a look at how your ego impacts that; the voice basically, of your ego. We take a look at the quality of your conscious thoughts that inform your decisions and then we do a really deep dive into unconscious programming. Because what causes the majority of our trip ups, hang ups, blocks, whatever words you want to use, resistance, has a lot to do with unconscious programming, limiting beliefs. If you’re familiar with The Big Leap which was written by Gay Hendricks, he talks about upper limits, a lot of this comes from the unconscious mind. Then we dive into “what does your brain have to do with it?” Because your brain has a lot to do with your mind. Because in the end, how you choose to show up or not show up, the decisions you make to grow, change, pivot, scale, leverage your business and the habits you have around those things, that’s really what’s going to drive your results. It’s not as much about your strategy and tactics as it is everything behind that.

Unfortunately, what I’m seeing is a lot of this pitching that mindset is—and as entertaining as I thought the secret was—I think unfortunately, it spurred a lot of this very reductionist thinking around energy and around your thoughts, this whole idea of thinking positive thoughts, positive things will materialize. It’s very way grossly oversimplified. It does not take into account any of the other things going on. As a result, we’re seeing a lot of gaslighting in the coaching industry for people who have had real, true challenging obstacles because of gender, race, how they identify in terms of their sexuality. You’re not going to just think happier, more positive thoughts and create generational wealth, there are things to be worked through. But this whole idea of “get to your journal and make a vision board and walk around saying positive thoughts all day,” now, that is not to completely dismiss or discount positive thinking or using visualization techniques, there’s actual research that shows that these things are helpful. What I say is, however, there is not enough of a nuanced discussion around that being one piece of a much more thorough approach to personal transformation. It cannot be about my way, my technique, I am anti-guru, and good god, please could we just stop using that word? If for one second, you think Tony Robbins didn’t call his Netflix special I Am Not Your Guru–

Tara Newman: Oh my god, that was totally for a reason.

Kelly Ruta: Yeah. Hello, wake up call. Knock-knock.

Tara Newman: His Netflix documentary was called I Am Not Your Guru.

Kelly Ruta: NLP at its finest.

Tara Newman: What we know from NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) is that the brain does not hear the word not. I’ll tell you how I’ve seen this work in a second. If he is saying “I am not your guru,” and your brain does not hear or recognize “not”, what is being said is “I am your guru.”

Kelly Ruta: Correct. This is what all of his training is, everybody, by the way, and he came up with his own type of NLP that you can get certified in. This is why we as consumers have to be so much savvier and vet so much better than we’re doing right now, and it’s a shame because that burden shouldn’t be on vulnerable people, it should be us, it should be our responsibility, but Tony Robbins is a whole other podcast episode.

Tara Newman: So back to the brain not hearing the word “not” just for a second. My husband and I were traveling and we were going through security, and the security guard said, “Do not drop your phone. Do not put your phone here.” My husband put his phone exactly where he wasn’t supposed to put it three times. It was the first time I actually saw that really working in reality that his brain was hearing “do put your phone here”, not “do not”. I’m the one with ADHD, I’m the one with the brain that’s all over the place, so you would expect me to have done something like that, not my husband. It was really interesting because that was the first time I actually saw that really working and playing out tangibly in action.

Kelly Ruta: Can I just say one thing? I’m not saying that there aren’t takeaways from NLP that are not both accurate and useful. My problem is in the predatory use of any particular technique. That is where I have trouble with people who get weekend certifications. “I’m now a master NLP whatever because I did 48 hours of I don’t even know what,” and then turn around and use NLP in marketing to persuade people to buy from them. That is really my issue. It’s not saying that there aren’t some valid things that come from that. It’s that the way it’s being used is predatory.

Tara Newman: Correct. I think I know and trust maybe on one hand how many people I know that do NLP. It’s not “NLP” or “not NLP”, it’s more how it’s being used. For example, I think you and I’ve had this conversation. I’m not going to mention names, but there’s somebody who is giving people in her program scripts for emails and marketing and social, and she uses NLP but she is not telling people that she is giving them scripts with NLP. If you’re using her scripts or copying what she does, there is a good chance that you too are using that in your marketing and in your scripts.

Kelly Ruta: Unknowingly.

Tara Newman: Unknowingly.

Kelly Ruta: Goodness, that’s problematic for a million reasons. But again, I’m seeing this everywhere. One of the most common questions I get asked when no one else is around is “Are you trained in NLP and do you use NLP in your program?” My answer is always “Absolutely not.”

Tara Newman: That’s a question you’re getting?

Kelly Ruta: Oh yeah.

Tara Newman: Oh, that’s interesting.

Kelly Ruta: Because people find out that this has been used on them in the past or they work with a coach who says, “Oh, I’m NLP certified,” and then they walk away feeling like they got ghostbusters slimed with the green gunk.

Tara Newman: Mindset for me is a set of beliefs, attitudes, stories that you tell yourself. What happens is because these have come from somewhere, they just didn’t pop out of nowhere, a lot of times these beliefs, these attitudes, these stories that we tell ourselves are coming from our family, our TV programs, or our government, or society, and they are said, so many times, these beliefs have gone over and over and over again or they’ve become stories that we tell ourselves over and over and over again that they have burned neural pathways in our brain that are not supportive of where we want to go next.

Kelly Ruta: Correct. That’s exactly what I teach.

Tara Newman: Yeah, so I just wanted to share that. I think the important thing to know is that these come from somewhere.

Kelly Ruta: Lots of places.

Tara Newman: They’re coming from our lived experiences, they’re coming from our prejudices. I’ll give you an example. My husband and I have decided that we’re going to buy some real estate as an investment. It’s taken me a very long time to make that decision because I grew up in a family where my father did not believe in real estate as an investment. It was always too much to upkeep, to maintain, the tenants, concerns about tenants, and all these things, so it was always something I didn’t want to touch. However, when you look at my husband and I and our skill sets, it makes total sense. He’s very handy, we have a lot of process and procedure and organization that would help with maintaining the property, or good communication skills to communicate with tenants, and a desire to provide people with actually a great rental experience. I had to really change that mindset, that belief that I had that was conditioned into me from childhood.

That’s just something super simple. I’m picking something that’s just obvious and simple. But these things happen all over the place, and that has held me back and it’s stopped me from getting to where I want to go. But I do not believe in blocks because that is something that feels immovable.

Kelly Ruta: Fixed, yeah.

Tara Newman: It’s fixed, and that’s not true, our brains are very pliable. We always have agency when we haven’t given it to a guru. We have the ability to, over time—this is not a quick fix—over time, retrench out new neural pathways in our brains. There are lots of different ways that you can do that and we want to always make sure that we’re doing that from a place of choice. I’ve even stopped talking about change because everyone’s like, “Change, and change is hard. You have to change. There’s something wrong with you. You’re not enough,” back to what you’re saying, “There’s something wrong with you and you need to change.” No. You get to decide and make a choice.

Kelly Ruta: Yes. I hope that it’s always based on not someone else saying to you “Here’s what you have to do”, but you identifying for yourself “This does not serve me well.” Just like in the example you just gave. You know that story I had about real estate that I picked up from my upbringing, it’s not really serving me very well and where my husband and I would like to go in building financial stability and growth. That doesn’t serve me well. That’s very different than someone else coming along and saying to you, “You really need to change this.” You identified that that wasn’t supporting where you wanted to go.

Tara Newman: Right. I like to also go back to Carol Dweck around growth mindset and fixed mindset. I really try and stand on her work because it’s credible. We always want to be moving people toward a growth mindset when they can. Sometimes, you can’t. Sometimes there are things that are happening in your life that put you into a place of self-protection, and your mindset becomes fixed at that time, and that’s okay.

Kelly Ruta: It is okay. I think the thing that we have to be mindful of is that you can tell a lot of stories when you’re in a place of feeling stuck, blocked, or fixed. It can create despair and hopelessness, and an idea that this is how it’s going to be. One of the reasons why it’s so important to be incredibly self-aware and always be working on your EQ—I know we have a big push about IQ in this part of the world—but really on your EQ is that the awareness of “This is a space I’m in right now and there are things I can do when I choose to move myself out of that space”, it’s really important for just your own well-being but also because it makes you incredibly vulnerable to predatory marketing if you don’t realize that.

Tara Newman: I want to go back to our friend for a second.

Kelly Ruta: Which friend is this?

Tara Newman: The archetype of Dave Hollis. What concerned you about what he was saying?

Kelly Ruta: Oh my gosh. The list, the list. Just for those of you who don’t have context, Dave Hollis put up a series of marketing posts where he was selling tickets to an advanced mindset workshop. I immediately thought, “Full stop. This is an absolute no. You have no training in psychology, neuroscience, psychiatry, behavioral science, no relevant field, whatsoever.”

Tara Newman: If we don’t know who Dave Hollis is, first of all, he’s the ex-husband of Rachel Hollis. He was an executive at Disney. Then he left his job to support his wife, Rachel, in taking care of the family and running her business. He is quite a popular influencer in the social media space around, I guess, lifestyle, not 100% sure. I think he’s written a book. He’s one of these lifestyle influencers who has built up his credibility through his charisma. I say this because what I want people to understand is that the things that Dave has, unless he can give you the strategy, what he has achieved is through his connections, his charisma, his access to certain people and certain experiences, which is fine but that doesn’t necessarily make him an expert in something specific. He’s had this life experience and he’s now teaching you based on this life experience. I know he hangs out with Brendon Burchard. I don’t know if he’s certified through Brendon’s program. I don’t really know anything about what his credentials actually are here, which is common. You saw that he was offering something that was an advanced mindset workshop that looked like something that he should have some expertise in and some actual credentials.

Kelly Ruta: Right. I called him out on it. Also, this was coming right off of the heels of the announcement that the divorce was happening after one of the last things that they sold and made hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars on was marriage coaching. That was the last thing they sold prior to their announcement of getting divorced. They duped a lot of people. I already had my eye on the two of them. When I saw this, I called him out and I said basically, “This is a huge problem in this industry. Number one, just because you’ve experienced something does not make you an expert in teaching, coaching, or consulting. And number two, making money off of something you have no education or formal training or formalized experience in is predatory. Who told you that you were qualified to teach, coach, consult advanced mindset?” He told me his creator. That was his answer to me. His creator qualified him. I about went through the roof.

I pointed out to him that pastors, rabbis, and leaders in every major faith on the planet are required to go through training before they can even participate in that way in their house of faith. But his creator qualified him to teach advanced mindset. He told me that he was trained by being a Disney executive, by being Destiny’s Child’s—if you all remember them, where Beyonce came from—tour manager, and that what I really needed to do was enroll in his advanced mindset workshop, that clearly, that was what I was missing. I was like, “And here you have it, folks.” Just such a deep dive in the analysis of this behavior, again, it is a really dangerous and highly magnetic combination of narcissistic personality tendencies with entitlement, with patriarchy, and with really predatory practice. When you combine those things together, you have a very, very dangerous individual in front of you.

Tara Newman: I want to start to wrap this up but I want to take what we’ve been talking about and I’m going to sum it up because we covered a lot of territory. If you are someone who is naturally skeptical and you are in some of these spaces and you’re like, “This is not for me”, that’s okay. First and foremost, use your skepticism. The interesting thing is these people are being told it’s their mindset, that’s why they’re not participating in these programs or getting further along, or any of these. But that’s actually a good thing in you. I want you to all be skeptical, question things, and ask questions.

Kelly Ruta: Be insanely curious even if skeptical doesn’t feel a word you can embrace, be curious, always be curious. Don’t abandon that ever.

Tara Newman: And listen to your intuition. Listen, if you fell into one of these groups and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh. I’m so embarrassed” or “I really had a bad experience and I felt like that might have been a waste of my money,” I want to assure you that it’s actually not. I think that you’ve learned something really great from that experience. I think you’ve gotten an understanding of what you don’t want, who you don’t want to be like. I think that that’s an important part of being in growth and being growth oriented. I want you to forgive yourself if you’re feeling any shame around that, about maybe trusting the wrong person. Betrayal is a hard emotion to navigate and I want you to be really compassionate with yourselves.

Kelly Ruta: Yeah, please give yourself some grace. Everybody’s been duped somewhere in life by someone. That is less about what is inadequate in you and more about that person’s tendency, ability, and skill in fooling other people, so give yourself a little bit of grace around that, please.

Tara Newman: Yeah. This is really important to me, it’s really important to me that I help train people to be better consumers. Here’s the thing about business owners, when you as a business owner are a better consumer, you get higher quality buyers. This is a part of your sales process, so when you can be discerning, that is really important. The thing is that the online space is full of amazing people who have great services, who are experts, who are qualified to help you. But what winds up happening is we’ve created a system—Kelly and I were just talking about this—of crony capitalism, of cronyism, where the rich get richer. It’s the same thing with the more followers you have, the more followers you get. How can we be a part of dismantling some of this if we can be smarter or more informed around things like mindset and things like our mental and emotional health? How can we do this?

Kelly Ruta: A couple of things, and you touched on one of them already. I say this probably every day, if not multiple times a day, because I think it’s so important, for your female listeners especially. That is to go back to building a practice of listening to your gut/intuition/whatever you want to call that. Your inner wisdom, learning to trust that and having a habit and practice around consulting your inner wisdom in making any decision is incredibly important. I think about a time when somebody invited me into a very, as she put it, elite mastermind, it was a very high ticket and it was by invitation only. It was run by a very well-known internet celebrity. The moment she invited me, I actually physically felt like I was going to vomit. For me, that listening really to what my insides were trying to tell me was incredibly important because six months later, she said “I asked for a full refund from that experience because it was all marketing sales, no delivery.”

I’ve had a practice for a very long time of listening to my intuition even, and especially when the decision I’m going to make flies in the face of what other people think. I often make very unpopular decisions that look crazy to other people and they’re always good for me. That’s number one. The only way I know how to do that—I’m certainly not an expert in how you do this—but the only way I’ve found to do this is with quiet and stillness on a regular basis, and just turning inward and asking myself and waiting for an answer. That’s number one. The second thing is to do your due diligence. Right now at the time we’re recording this, it’s a really challenging time in history. We’re going through a global pandemic, people are vulnerable on so many different fronts. I think—not in a reactive way but in a wise and discerning way—it’s very important that we do due diligence. Go read about people. Go talk to other people about their experience. Go see what somebody’s education, CV, resume is. If it’s not readily available, don’t be afraid to ask for it.

I still say this about choosing a therapist, interview. Go check out three of them. If they won’t give you a consult call, move on. Start to vet people and be willing on your end to be vetted just as hard. Because if I go to hire somebody and I find out the thing that you are selling, that your expertise is just that you did it yourself, I’m not going to hire you. I’m just not. The final thing is be willing to become the person that you think is at that high level that you would want to hire. If you’re a little triggered by anything that I’ve said, go invest in more education, expertise, skill training, knowledge, demonstrable practice, growth in your own self, and then expect that of other people as well. That’s how we start to dismantle this practice in the coaching, consulting, influencer, mentor, I don’t even know what we call it anymore space, of popularity being what drives business, where we want best practices to drive business.

Tara Newman: Yeah. I think a couple of things that you said are really important. First of all, my add is be aware that everybody wants to sell to female entrepreneurs right now, female business owners, because it’s a very quickly growing market segment, so please just realize that you are a hot commodity. Very savvy marketers understand the shifts that are happening in the entrepreneur space, in the small business space. That makes you attractive to people for, unfortunately, the wrong reasons. I think, Kelly, when you’re like, “Who do you want to be?” I think it’s really important because I want to work with somebody as a business growth strategist—call me a coach, call me a consultant, call me whatever you want—I want to work with people who are in their power. I don’t want your power. I just said this on a sales call before we started this call, “I don’t want your power. Do not give it to me. I will hand it right back to you. I don’t want that responsibility. No, thank you.”

Find a way to be clear about what’s in your power and be empowered. I know that’s hard when you’re struggling, your confidence is low, and you are feeling like there’s something wrong with you and that it’s not happening fast enough. Those things are really easily manipulated, so pause, go have a chat with a friend, a partner, somebody. Get yourself into a place where you don’t need support, but you want to explore this from the point of the person who you want to become. I think you’ll enter into a conversation in a much better place.

Kelly Ruta: I agree, and I think you’ll get better results with whoever you work with. Because I say to people all the time, “Don’t show up and collapse. I’m not here to pick you up, put you back together. You’re not broken. I know somebody along the way probably convinced you that you are, and you might even feel like you are. But you’re not. You’re not broken.” When somebody shows up to be helped, served, supported, and they collapse, it’s a very different experience than showing up and saying, “I’m having significant challenges or whatever, and I see what’s possible for me.” What I say all the time is remember what Joseph Campbell taught about the hero and the guide, you are the hero of your own story, you don’t need to hire heroes. You need to, or get to, or choose to hire a guide. Anyone who is a coach, consultant, mentor, whatever, if they think they’re the hero or if you’re sniffing out that they’re stepping in the role of hero, that’s a huge red flag because all we should ever want, hope, and strive to be is a guide on the path to you becoming a more fulfilled hero of your own story.

Tara Newman: That is a really good piece of advice, Kelly.

Kelly Ruta: Thank you.

Tara Newman: Thank you. Because I think that that’s part of some of the issue is that a lot of people who have built up these platforms, they did it because they have a desire to be famous or they have a desire to be popular.

Kelly Ruta: Yes. Talk about middle school wounds coming out in business.

Tara Newman: Right. Or they have a desire to be seen in a big way, which is a bit of ego going on there.

Kelly Ruta: It is. Inherently, I don’t know if it’s a problem as long as you are an extremely emotionally mature and aware person and you know that part of this is just about self-fulfillment. But where is the service part? That’s the part that you’ve gotta keep in check; really, really in check.

Tara Newman: I would talk to people because people are actually having these conversations, yes, behind the scenes, they’re not having them forward facing. I would ask questions. I would be discerning. I would take your time. I would not allow yourself to be pressured into making a decision. I very intentionally do not sell with any kind of FOMO because I don’t want that in my program, because if you come in with FOMO, your energy of FOMO is going to pervade my program, and I don’t want that. I also don’t sell with scarcity and I don’t sell with fake urgency because again, I do not want those things in my program. I don’t want that energy in my program. It’s my goal just to help you all find the support that you need. I’m going to end with, if you DM me or email me your issue, your concern, your challenge, I am more than happy to make a referral, if I can’t help you, a referral to somebody in my network who I trust, who I believe is credible, who I know has the expertise. I know that everybody here wants to work with experts because you’re all experts in your own right.

This was another poll that I did on Instagram, and we had a whole conversation. My Instagram community defined, very clearly, what an expert is. They’re all very aware of that. They’re here because they want to do things differently than what they’re seeing. Remember that experts pay experts for their expertise. That’s how we lift more experts up, is we make sure that the experts are getting paid, so they can invest in marketing, so they can invest in sales, so they can invest in their business building, so that they can become more visible and get their true expertise out there. Because when we pay people who have manufactured their authority through pay-to-play strategies, through excessive Facebook ads, through whatever kind of internet marketing tricks there are, then we’re taking away resources from the experts who can actually help. That’s going to be my final thought. Kelly, give us your final thought and give us where they can find you.

Kelly Ruta: Thank you. I first want to just echo what you said. It is a company policy for us that if we are not the people to help you, we will not just send you on your way and say, “Hey, good luck with that.” I really do take, as Tara does, a lot of time to cultivate relationships with other people in the space because I do not refer if I do not trust. Same thing. Message me anytime, send an email to If we cannot help you, we are happy to get you connected to someone that we trust and know.

Tara Newman: Do you have a lot of therapists in your network?

Kelly Ruta: I do. I also strongly recommend, if you’re in the United States, to use the Psychology Today therapist directory, because their search capacity is amazing. You can search based on location, what kind of insurance you have, what kind of certification and training the person should have, a million things. I often send people who are not in my area (I’m in North Carolina) to that particular website because you can do such a thorough search.

Tara Newman: Okay, awesome, because I am getting requests for therapists.

Kelly Ruta: Yes, oh yes. I strongly recommend that you use that. That was the only marketing I ever did in my 20 years of practice, was I was listed on that directory because it’s excellent. The thought that I want to leave people with is this: There has never been more of a need in recent history for people to have really, really brave conversations. I want to remind you that bravery is more an action than a feeling. We can’t wait until we feel brave, wait until we feel fearless, or wait until we feel courageous to say and do things that are meaningful, that are aligned with our ethics. I’ve gotten the threats. I’ve gotten publicly, openly bashed on Instagram lives with thousands of people watching. It’s unbelievable. But that can’t be the reason you don’t speak the truth. You’ve got to speak your truth. If you’re super, super triggered by it, please get support.

If being public and visible isn’t your thing, no problem, then have private conversations, have conversations with your inner circle, with your trusted friends, colleagues, advisors, because the only way we’re going to drown out this damaging noise and predatory practice and marketing is by having more of these conversations and connecting to more people who are having these conversations. Because if not, you’re going to think, “Oh, I’m just over here thinking this myself,” or “There’s just two of us,” when really there’s a whole lot of us and we just need to get connected. Then the people who feel comfortable being more visible about it can do so. Those of you who are more “I’m fine being adjacent or I feel safer being just behind that conversation,” you can assume that we all have our roles that we can step into. You have to step into the one that’s most aligned for you, but please, don’t skip the conversation. Have the conversation. Then, again, if you don’t feel safe being public facing about it, hand it off to somebody who does. But it’s time for us to be disruptive, and we only do that by being brave.

Tara Newman: You just sparked, crystallized something that I have been struggling with, that I’ve been feeling that I haven’t been able to language around I’m watching people become less engaged and not have conversations. I’m not talking about public conversations, I’m talking about smaller conversations, one-on-one conversations. That silence, I’m realizing that it’s not the lack of engagement that’s bothering me, it’s the silence because when we’re silent, they win.

Kelly Ruta: Also, I believe, when we’re silent, we’re complicit. That is problematic for me, that’s something that just hits me so deep at my core to know that in silence, I actually made something worse. I can’t sleep at night over that. You have to find what’s meaningful for you and where this touches the edges of your value system. For me it’s that, for you it might be something else. You have to discover that for yourself because we all have those core values that are like, “Oh, if I go against that, I literally can’t put my head on the pillow at night.” That’s what it is for me. Find yours. But silence is really dangerous. In some situations, it’s life-saving, but in many, many situations, it is insanely problematic.

Tara Newman: Yeah. Here’s what I hope it inspired as we roll out of here; I hope it inspired you to think differently. I hope it inspired you to realize that if you feel any of the ways that Kelly and I were talking about, that you’re not alone. I’ve been hearing from a lot of people about how lonely they feel. I hope this encourages you to start conversations even if they’re private, even if they’re small, even if they’re just one-on-one, but to engage in this dialogue in some way. I hope if you found this helpful, you will follow Kelly, you will share this episode, you will reach out and start a conversation with me or Kelly. Thank you all for being here. Thank you for allowing Kelly and I to be the purveyors of hard and uncomfortable truths and being willing to stay in this conversation.

Kelly Ruta: Thank you.

Tara Newman: Thanks for being here, Kelly.

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