Rachel Braun Scherl: The Vagipreneur™

Melinda Wittstock:         My guest today on Wings of Inspired Business is Rachel Braun Scherl. A true SuperShero! She’s an entrepreneur, co-founder of SPARK Solutions for Growth, where she advises female health companies working in spaces from fertility to menstruation to arousal and beyond. She’s writing a book called Orgasmic Leadership profiting from the coming surge in female health and wellness. She also calls herself a Vagipreneur. Welcome to Wings Rachel.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Thanks so much for having me.
Melinda Wittstock:         Now vagipreneur: that is an awesome term. So awesome in fact you’ve trademarked it.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Yes I did.
Melinda Wittstock:         What is a vagipreneur?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      A vagipreneur is a person in the business of female sexual health. The distinction there is I don’t deliver care, although people think that I have a lot of information and I do have a lot of information but I would still go to your doctor instead of me. It really is to focus on the business of building companies in female sexual health, female reproductive health and female wellness. So purely from don’t ask me where your aches and pains are, I might be able to tell you why your arousal has been declining but I won’t be able to treat it.
Melinda Wittstock:         This is a massive growing space in the start up community.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Yes.
Melinda Wittstock:         And a lot of women are running these businesses.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Absolutely. There’s a explosion in what they call fem tech or sex tech and there are just dozen of companies that have been created in the last couple of years with more springing up every day as primarily women but not only often with male partners create companies that resolve particular problems that they themselves experienced and did not see a sufficient solution out there.
One of the interesting things that I’ve learned is that often you speak to people in this business and you talk about passion. Sometimes that falsely gets translated into emotion. My experience working in this field, I ran a company that improved arousal, desire and satisfaction for women and now working with companies in this field is that the passion is really required because this is really hard work, building a business is hard work in any space. Building a business where you’re saying words like vagina or satisfaction or incontinence or bladder leakage or menstrual flow, there are some specific challenges that seem to just be increasingly hard on this space. You need the passion to push through the challenges.
Melinda Wittstock:         It’s so difficult for woman, whatever industry they’re in as entrepreneurs to get the funding that they need but how does it go in a VC meeting when women are talking about an addressable market that frankly most of the men who are VC’s are not going to understand?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Well it’s very interesting. My experience and we raised money in 2008 when the bottom was falling out of the financial markets and we go, when I say we, my business partner of 20 years and I go into meetings. Now we’ve successfully run our own businesses together for decades. So we’re unfortunately seen as first time entrepreneurs because we’ve never raised capital before even though we have a track record and we’re woman, and we’re talking about vaginas. That’s probably the hardest-
Melinda Wittstock:         Does the male brain just shut down the minute they hear vagina and then they can’t think?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      I don’t know. I think the male brain immediately reverts to being in a seventh grade locker room has really been more my experience. No insult intended to the actual seventh graders who find that they’re probably more mature then this. But in our particular case we were going in, talking about arousal, desire, and satisfaction and this in all the categories I’ve worked in and I’ve worked with woman on businesses and products that affected them from the tops of their heads to the tips of their toes. The benign hair care, skin care, the more serious psoriasis, infertility, mensuration, the ones that are not so exciting like foot fungus and hemorrhoids.
What’s interesting is in, at least in the world of arousal this is the one category I’ve ever found where woman don’t really talk to their friends about this. I’m not talking about college age woman because every time I have this conversation they say well we’re talking about it. Our target was women 35-plus in committed relationships who had noticed that something had changed, in their response, in their feeling, in their desire.
So this is one of the few categories where they’re not talking to their cousins. They’re not talking to their sisters. They’re not talking to their friends. Only three to five percent of obstetricians and gynecologists would bring this up. They’ll talk about sexual health, they’ll talk about disease, they’ll talk about infertility, they’ll talk about birth control but they rarely start conversations where how are you enjoying your sex life? Is it satisfying?
Melinda Wittstock:         So part of what you’re doing is making it okay for woman to talk about this but also for the market to … It’s a massive addressable market but you don’t know it’s a massive addressable market if people aren’t talking about it.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Well thankfully there are a number of brilliant entrepreneurs who are starting businesses in various parts of female health and trying as I say to make the world safe: To talk about menstruation; To talk about infertility: To talk about arousal. So there are a lot of people now on this team but it is an uphill battle to make people comfortable. When you think about being a person going into this somewhat daunting environment where you’re the entrepreneur facing what looks like a sea of venture capitalists, you don’t need another hurdle that they’re uncomfortable with the category or that they don’t know the language. We had some amazing experiences doing this.
So we had over a period of two days 13 meetings with different venture capital funds in Silicone Valley. For those people who have never been there, my first experience of raising money although I have-
Melinda Wittstock:         So you were going up and down the sand hill road?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Not even. You don’t even have to get back in your car. There are 13 offices, one next to the other that look relatively identical…
Melinda Wittstock:         And they all talk to each other too.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      They all believe they have very distinct investment thesis but after two or three they start to blend. So we walk into our first meeting and the first question we get, which was relatively predictable was how is this product different than Viagra? And the product for our company was a patented blend of botanical oils and extracts that is clinically proven to increase arousal, desire, and satisfaction for woman of all ages and life stages. It’s a mouthful but it’s topically applied so it’s not systemic. That’s the first difference. You can use it on demand as you can some of the erectile dysfunction drugs.
So taking ourselves very seriously as business people we answered the question and we said well Viagra basically works as evasive dilator, which means it increases blood flow and given that the male sexual response system is like a hydraulic pump when you pump blood in the system works everybody’s good. We heard crickets basically and we saw their eyes start to glaze over. We knew we had answered the question accurately but that didn’t mean that we got their attention. Okay strike one.
We go into the next meeting and the question is we saw that your clinical research said that it increased satisfaction, what does it do for the man? To which we said well the clinical research the 13 site peer reviewed placebo controlled double blind setting was really focused on her satisfaction and anecdotally we believe that when his satisfaction was reported to be higher it was likely a result of two things. It was either his enjoyment of her increased satisfaction or perhaps increasing confidence that he was a more skilled partner but it wasn’t specifically focused on his satisfaction. Again, you could hear yourself; you could hear your neurons firing it was so quiet.
So after the second meeting we now have 11 more and I turned to Mary and I said, “We’re not going to raise any money with this approach. Will you just sort of unleash me, which is always a scary thing to do and let me try something different?” She said, “Okay.” And I said, “If it doesn’t work we’ll go back. We’ll come up with a third strategy.” So I go into the third meeting and I’m a person … I think you’ll see why this is relevant, who only carries credit cards. I don’t even have cash. I track everything. My spreadsheets have spreadsheets and I just find that it’s easier but on this particular day I call it divine intervention, I looked in my wallet and I happened to have a hundred dollar bill.
So I walk into the meeting with my $100 bill and I slam in on the table for dramatic effect. And I say, “Here’s a hundred dollar bill.” So I figured these folks are gamblers at heart and I say, “If anyone asks me a question that I can’t answer or makes a sexual innuendo that I haven’t heard before or a double entendre that makes me blush or makes me uncomfortable in any way, this hundred dollars is yours.” And then I paused, which also isn’t my best thing and I say, “She likes it more. She wants to have it more. Let’s talk about the business model.”
In that moment it wasn’t as if they didn’t take me seriously or thought I was less or more intelligent then they had in the first two meetings but I had sort of laid down the gauntlet and said we’re not ‘embarassable’. We’re here to talk about a business.
Melinda Wittstock:         You go about all out of the way and straight to the thing that they were comfortable talking about was the size of your market, what’s your competition, how am I going to as a VC going to make money?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Right.
Melinda Wittstock:         Which is all they care about. That’s all they care about.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      But I never got to that and I’m sure a lot of women, I know a lot of women especially the ones that I’ve worked with and I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing have an experience where they never get to what are the market challenges, who are the competitors, tell me about your background as a team, [inaudible 00:09:58] founder as we get so wrapped up in our own products and here how it works.
I was doing some advising for a bunch of start ups associated with Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos and his Downtown Project in Las Vegas and folks would come on the phone and we’d have a half an hour and they’d say, “Hey, so my product does this and it does that and it does this it does that.” And I’d say, “Hey that’s great. So how can I help you?” And they’d say, “My product it does this, it does that, it does this, it does that.” And I’d be like, “That’s awesome. How can I help you?”
And we’d get towards the end and its like do you have any customers? Who are your customers? That’s where I could help and so often I think we just get wrapped up in that and going back to what you were saying about passion, we’re passionate about what we’re creating but in a funding meeting, it’s how is everybody going to make money? How’s everybody going to get 10x? What have you done for me lately kind of thing and given that a lot of my experience I started at J & J, at Johnson and Johnson, building businesses and I’ve worked for 20 plus years building brands and businesses in consumer products, pharmaceuticals, health and wellness.
I start with two things, what is the problem that you’re solving? So that’s number one and we can talk about that in a little bit more detail and what insight are you going to catalyze or connect with that’s going to have the consumer, doctor, patient, whoever is the buyer, whoever is going to engage in the financial transaction to say this is something that I need. This is going to replace something I’m already doing or I’m going to solve a problem that I don’t currently solve.
When I’m speaking to student undergrads and business students I often use an example let’s say like Warby Parker. So it wasn’t as if before Warby Parker people could not get glasses. People got glasses. They were expensive. It was time consuming. There were a number of steps in the process that were challenging but it wasn’t as if there was this empty vast wasteland where people could not get glasses. What Warby Parker did from my perspective is they said let’s figure out what’s not working about this and how to get people things that they want, which we have never before offered in this space, which is convenience, which is selection, which is ease, which is personalization.
Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah and tying it to this wonderful forward admission as well.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      And also tying to an entirely different business model and distribution model. So often times we get so excited about the product and service and I think it’s entrepreneurs. I don’t think this is specific to men and women and you have to put yourselves in the shoes of the buyer. So in the case of funding, it’s an investor, a venture capitalist, an angel, what is this going to do for them? How are you going to help make them money and you better be offering something that you can demonstrate that there’s a commercial, financial model and business upon which they’ll get a return.
The other piece in funding that you hear about so much, even more so now. I mean we’ve had this tidal wave of stories about the incongruity and they disparity in terms of access to fundraising, in terms of the number of female investors follow closely on the heels of an explosion of all these things that are happening with the Harvey Weinstein stories of the world. So everybody’s clear that it’s not equal and it’s probably not even fair. From a business perspective and a fundraising perspective you still have to find a way to make your story meaningful. I’m not suggesting for one minute that the current playing field is fair or right but what I am saying when you’re going in to raise money and you have all these things stacked against you, you still do have to figure out a way to tell your story. To tell your story about your product, your solution, and how you’re going to make money of the person who’s sitting across the table from you.
Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah and it comes down to that empathy of just understanding that how men and VC’s in particular are going to be hearing you is different and so taking the time to actually make it relevant to the other person is a critical skill. What do you think has to change for woman to get more funding? I mean I think there’s some areas where it is external, we don’t fit the pattern cause they invest in their pattern recognition so they’re looking for a dude in a hoodie who’s dropped out of MIT, Stanford or Harvard, has a garage, you know all of that Ramen noodle thing right? There are too many carbs in Ramen. We don’t fit that pattern so there are some things that we can’t control but of the things that we can control, where the power truly is, what advice do you give woman that apart from yeah like understanding, talking about the numbers, talking about the business, what are some of the ways that we women ourselves get in our own way and what’s some advice about how not to get into our own way and get access to that capital we need to really execute on our moon shots?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Often it’s easier said then done and obviously some of the big solutions that are not controllable by one person is to have more female investors. It’s to have more female entrepreneurs to control more of the money.
Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah we need more exits among us and then we can write checks to each other right?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      So that’s a whole big movement and trend that will take a village to move. But as an individual entrepreneur going into an individual investment meeting, you had referred to you have to know your numbers: that is not insignificant. That is paramount. You should know your business better than anybody else. You should be prepared. You should plan and identify what are the 10 questions they’re likely to ask and what are my answers and if I don’t like the way they sound, I’m practicing them in front of a mirror. I’m practicing them on video. I’m playing them back. There’s no but let’s just wing it and see how it goes.
In my experience, preparation is a big help in terms of being relaxed. I don’t need to say that it’s simple. There are plenty of people who as I say would rather die than speak publicly but if you go in as a professional and ultimately your job in that meeting is as a sales person. How can I sell them on the market place? How can I sell them on the story? How can I sell them on the solution? And how can I sell them on myself, and the rest of the leadership team?
Melinda Wittstock:         Oh yeah because they invest in people.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      And if they’re already uncomfortable. So if you come in with female health and you happen to be a woman, you know from the statistics, you’re already starting from a deficit. So it’s up to you as the entrepreneur to figure out a way, how do I get the conversation around to the actual topic I want to talk about? How do I remove the elephants from the room and say let’s just talk about this? Which is why I think I retrospect that the idea of saying she likes it more she wants to talk about it more, worked, because there is obviously this heightened sense of are we going to be talking about sex, are we going to be talking about individuals and I also in my case find that humor is a very effective tool.
So one of the examples that I would give to change the energy in the room was I would say one of the reasons people don’t talk about this is because if you and I are talking about this, it’s likely that we’re friends. We don’t talk about this often to strangers. So I could say to you, listen my husband used to do this trick where he’d hang from the chandelier and do this crazy great thing and I loved it but he doesn’t do it anymore and the next night we’re at the dinner, I’ve now put my partner in an uncomfortable situation either knowingly or unknowingly. So I often would tell off color stories. Not personal ones but hypotheticals.
Or I would go into meetings and say just a show of hands, whether I’m speaking to students or investors, for everybody in the room raise your hand and raise it high, how many of you are looking for partners with four hour erections? It goes right to the heart of this is language they’ve been hearing on everywhere during the Super Bowl on every network on every radio station for years and it’s something that they’ve sort of absorbed and one of the things that I find in working in this space is that the language around erectile dysfunction and the solutions, bigger, longer, stronger, four hours. That doesn’t translate for the majority of woman who do not think of intimacy as a performance activity.
So even calling attention to that and shining a light on that and even saying the language we’re going to talk about is different because the problem we’re trying to solve is different and the consumer we’re trying to sell to ‘is’ different. I’m a big believer of going right to the heart of the thing that is on everyone’s mind that no one wants to say and I found that that helps you get to the actual business.
Melinda Wittstock:         So as co-founder of Semprae, am I pronouncing this right? You guys did Zestra and then you had an exit you sold it?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock:         And Zestra for folks out there you may know it as the central arousal oils and it’s the only patented topically applied product and you were referring to it earlier. What was it like going through an exit? There is so many … I know a lot of woman who have had exits or like why they’re like an exit, a very profitable one or one where it’s a massive pivot or one where it’s the worst, it’s where you just have to say okay this isn’t working, I’m going to go on to my next one. There are a lot of different ways to have an exit. What was it like emotionally going through that process?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      It’s interesting. I had started my career working on brands. So I found this incredible sense of ownership and then I had a long career in consulting, which I’m back to now and you learned that you could provide what you thought were great solutions, great strategies, great marketing plans, but you had no control over whether they were actually executed and how well they were executed. So I started learning to make it a little less personal and for some reason, probably because I had a lot of conversations with VC’s prior to doing this. Is that I was very clear that this business was mine to get to a point where someone could make money from it or people could make money from it. That being said, that’s all very philosophical.
Melinda Wittstock:         Well some people really are the start up people and other people are more the engine take it to scale or beyond, you know actually knowing who you are is vital in this. Not everybody is going to run the whole journey.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Well I didn’t know I was an entrepreneur certainly when I started my career. The one common fact is I kept going to smaller and smaller organizations. So I started at J & J and then I went to a consultancy that serviced J and J and then I started my own business and then I raised venture capital. So I don’t know that I … I certainly didn’t come out of college or business school thinking that I was an entrepreneur. What I think of myself as is a problem solver and the harder it is, the more motivating it is to me. So going back to your original question:  You become so passionate, you become so invested: you become so knowledgeable.
I would say I got someone said something in a meeting that made it possible for me to separate and we were making a decision about the business and one of our board members said this is so hard, this is like deciding between one of your children and all of a sudden I realized that’s a really hard decision. I have two kids. That I could never do. This I could do. So it sort of put it in perspective. I’m not saying it’s not hard and it’s not painful and you don’t have second thoughts and sellers’ remorse and buyers remorse and everything else but I think you focus on what you did and what you learned and what you could have done better.
So in our case when we were … when the board was orchestrating the exit, it was very clear how difficult it was to build this category in the US with our moral approach or cultural values, however you’re going to describe it that makes it difficult for people to talk about this: Culture and religion and politics and everything else. The company that Zestra was sold to had a specialty in creating international distribution relationships and in many parts of the world that is a lot, this product in this category and this topic is a lot easier. So that was the strategic intent, and they have since opened distribution in 30 plus markets in places that I think there’s less push back.
Melinda Wittstock:         It’s interesting what you mentioned thought about where we get caught up personally and not taking things personally. I think sometimes woman, we’re so focused on the relationship that when things go wrong, even things that we can’t control or just the attachment that we have for things. Women sometimes take longer to fire someone that has to be fired. How can we get out of our own way that way? I’ve had in my career I’ve had to learn that and I think in many cases you can be attached to something without even being a ware consciously that that’s what’s going on. So to actually literally like I don’t know whether it’s through acting mindfulness or meditation or counseling or what but trying to separate ourselves from out business our baby in a way.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      I think there are a couple of specific things. I do think it depends how old you are. You know often I say trust your gut but I would say that to a person who’s been working 10 years, not to someone who’s ink on their diploma from college is barely dry. So I think you have to…
Melinda Wittstock:         There’s not enough life experience to even contextualize at that stage.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Right exactly. Very well said. I’ve always found that when my gut is saying this isn’t a good fit or that’s not the right direction or this partner’s not going to be the way to go, that I’m usually right. I’ve been trying to teach myself over the course of my career how to get better at that. The other thing that I do is I constantly speak to other entrepreneurs. I constantly listen to podcasts and read books and read articles and I actually capture things that other people have done that I think are interesting and I try to store them in my entrepreneurial library so that I can call upon them. I don’t think it’s easy and I don’t think it’s natural necessarily always. Not just for woman but for men as well. I think you have to really be able to be introspective and critical without cutting yourself to shreds. So often times when I’m talking to female entrepreneurs, they’re very good at telling me what they’re not good at.
Melinda Wittstock:         Right.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      I think it’s appropriate to know what your weaknesses are but you shouldn’t do it in place of identifying your strengths and what you’re good at. I have a particular skill, I shouldn’t say skill, a particular feeling that my business partner has pointed out, if I find something easy to do and I’m naturally good at it, I say it’s easy. So instead of characterizing it as an asset or a skill or a point of leverage, I say well this is easy so it must not be that important or that hard.
Melinda Wittstock:         Oh my goodness. I do that too and I recently am conscious of that cause actually what it is undervaluing. So something that’s easy to you oh must not be valuable but it’s actually hugely valuable like other people would struggle to have that same superpower. Right?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      I love that, the same superpower.
Melinda Wittstock:         But it’s true and it’s taken we awhile to understand this. I think a lot of woman think, especially in the start up stage where you’re doing all parts of the process and you think you have to be good at everything or you think you have to learn the thing but you’re naturally not very good at or you naturally just hate doing. You know what? “Hire your weakness”, like admit your weaknesses say, “okay so like I suck at that. I’m actually really bad at that.” In my case I’m not an operational person. I’m a vision person that’s who I am so I need my … you know in the book Rocket Fuel?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock:         You know where you got your integrator? I need that person. That’s vital for me so that actually understand that so you can double down on your strength.
Rachel Braun:                    Which is why it’s important to know what you’re not good at. Not to berate yourself but to find a person or a team that can fill that void that you can’t fill. I do think it’s very hard as an entrepreneur to let go and I’ve learned from other folks that I’ve worked with who I consider better at delegating and you can see how much more mental space you have when you’re working on things that you’re good at and then you would that you enjoy and often those are the same.
Melinda Wittstock:         Why is delegating so hard for so many woman though?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      I think it’s a sense of I want it done my way or no way.
Melinda Wittstock:         The root of that is intriguing to me.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Well I think certainly for me when I was raising money I had such a feeling of personal responsibility that they were investing in me and they were investing in my business partner that I had to make sure it got done right. But I think as a culture, we’re so busy often being busy that we can’t take the stuff that you just said you know maybe for you know you’re not a good operational person and finding that person. I think it takes a couple of experiences to have the … It really is confidence. It really takes confidence to say you’re not good at something or you don’t know something.
Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah what’s dangerous is when you’re just good enough, you know what I mean? If you’re just an overall confident person at anything you do. So like you’re really smart and you’ll figure it out you’re curious and you can do and you’re just good enough to be dangerous but like it’s not the best use of your time.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      But it is dangerous.
Melinda Wittstock:         It’s actually dangerous because it deflects you from the thing if you’re building a business you’re about creating value so you’re going to create more value or more leverage. It’s really about leverage right? Leveraging your strengths and understanding that: I think a lot of guys just get that.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Well you’ve heard the adage that when men apply for a promotion they may be up 10% of the skills and when woman apply they’re already doing the job and they have 90% of the skills, which says a couple of things. Means we evaluate ourselves differently as woman and it means we throw out hat in the right much later than our competitors are. A lot of the opportunities are not necessarily available to us.
I also think that how you approach things … My father who passed away about a year and a half ago.
Melinda Wittstock:         I’m sorry.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Thank you, who was just an extraordinary man. Whenever you have an essay who influenced you the most or who do you model yourselves after, for me there’s so much about what he did that I often go back and say WWGD, we called him Grampy, what would Grampy do, in terms of our we would deal with the situation because he had such a strict unbendable moral code and one of the things that I learned in business, big surprise, is that I can’t work with people who lie. I found myself in business with people who lie. I can’t work with people who cheat. I found myself in business with people who cheat. So my mantra has been I do work I like with people I like and if one of them has to fail, I’d rather it be the work I don’t like with people I do like because otherwise there’s no hope.
Particular example of how when you realize that you’re working with people who don’t look at things the same way. We had made this bid investment to work with this partner and we had worked on a contract and we had hammered out every detail and put in every control that we had to conduct ourselves and I launched the partnership and spent a couple of days with this person, came back to my board and I said, “This isn’t going to work. I know what we put on paper describes the partnership. This person doesn’t understand what that means and I think we should get out as quickly was we can.” The answer to me was, “Well Rachel you supported this. You thought it was a good idea.” Meaning if you’re so smart or we should trust you how come you’re changing your mind? I said, “I have new information now. So now I’m making a different decision.”
But even in that moment, my instincts and my experience interacting with this partner were to a certain extend invalidated but I said I’m a big believer that an intelligent person says what they don’t know and declares when they learn something. I think that’s a very different perspective not for all women but for a lot of woman. I spend time figuring out where I went wrong and what I did right. If you’re not doing the first part, you probably save a lot of time and emotional energy.
Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah that’s so evolved. I mean learning actually just accept ourselves and accept our faults, just value ourselves, love ourselves. That kind of radical acceptance! Think of Brene Brown, her TED Talk and how revolutionary that was. Actually a book I read recently, Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach, that’s an amazing book. I think when we do that we start to understand our own value. What’s funny to me about entrepreneurship is it’s probably the best therapy that you could ever go through or the greatest [inaudible 00:31:17] therapy.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Well yeah but I mean yes there’s that too but it challenges you in so many different ways. It causes you to look very honestly all the protections are revealed-
Melinda Wittstock:         If you want to succeed.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      … And people are very quick to tell you when you’re doing something wrong.
Melinda Wittstock:         Absolutely. But it forces you to really and I think the most conscious leaders that I’ve experienced, people doing really amazing things in business whether I’ve had the privilege to hang around with Richard Branson on Necker island and folks like that or meet Sara Blakely from Spanx. They all have this much more enlightened kind of like almost a jokey self acceptance but they also have interesting routines whether it’s just business as fun like it should be fun or meditation or mindfulness or all these sorts of things. What’s your routine? What’s your place of sanity that you go in all the maelstrom of this?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      So I always tell entrepreneurs you need to have this place, the place where you want down and I should be doing meditation and practicing mindfulness and anybody who meets me says that I should be doing that and I probably should but for me there are a couple of rituals that I really love and they’re not so crazy and interesting. I work out a lot. I have a couple of rituals with my family that I like to do every day and when I really need to shut off my mind, which is how I regroup, I watch any one hour drama that’s on any channel under the sun and any comedy. So if I’m really feeling stretched to the wall, a good 20 minutes of Wedding Crashers will sort of get me back into the groove. I find that I use these quotes from things and books and movies all the time.
One of the people who work with me and when we were working with Zestra said, “You know your style of leadership is movie quoting.” So that works. There’s this scene from Airplane, which is a classic movie, which I maybe watched 10,000 times with my dad where every time something goes wrong they said I guess I picked the wrong day to give up whatever it was. Some days and I don’t mean any disrespect for people who are actually struggling with this kind of behavior. Some days I pick up the wrong day to give up [inaudible 00:33:33] you know when you really need a sense of humor, you really need patient and for me laughter and however I get at that is really important.
Much more recently over the past seven or eight years it’s been writing. I find that very cathartic. I find it very relaxing. I could be writing, typing on my computer and crying or laughing to myself by myself and as my kids would say, “Mom enough. You shouldn’t crack yourself up that much or make yourself laugh that much.” But I find those are just a couple of things that I do regularly. So mine isn’t get up meditate for six hours, have a green drink, all of which is great. Those don’t happen to be part of my rituals but if I don’t work out, if I don’t laugh, if I don’t turn my mind off at some point either through exercise or being in someone else fictitious life in Gray’s Anatomy, I find that I struggle a lot more to manage the stress.
Melinda Wittstock:         It’s important to just be authentic to yourself and there’s no one routine. It’s just like that you have one is so important. I can’t wait to read your book. When is that going to be out?
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Our goal is January 2018.
Melinda Wittstock:         Oh fantastic. So that’s coming up soon. So I will keep all listeners apprised of when Rachel’s book comes out. I want to thank you for joining us on Wings of Inspired Business today.
Rachel Braun Scherl:      Well thank you it’s delightful to be with you and I really enjoyed speaking with you and I obviously love speaking about sexual health. So thanks for the opportunity.
Melinda Wittstock:         This show is recorded in the Mouth Media Network Studios in New York City – powered Sennheiser the future of audio. Visit www.sennheiser.com.

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