532 Kathy Gruver:

I often say on this podcast that if you want therapy, just become an entrepreneur … because …the inevitable ups and downs will trigger you test your confidence, and unearth any and all subconscious limiting beliefs that hold you back from success.


I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur and bestselling author who is helping other entrepreneurs tackle their inner demons with hypnotherapy.

Kathy Gruver is a 12-time award-winning author of seven books including Conquer Your Stress, Workplace Wellness, and Journey of Healing. She’s graced stages on 4 continents, with two TedX talks under her belt, and she also co-hosts the podcast Fire and Earth. And to conquer her own stress, she flies the trapeze.

Kathy Gruver will be here in a moment to share how she helps entrepreneurs in this challenging time. First…

Kathy Gruver is a PhD, a hypnotherapist, and a 12-time author with a successful coaching practice helping busy entrepreneurs and executives tackle stress, anxiety, fear of success, fear of failure – all the things that can disconnect us from living our purpose and realizing an abundance of success.

Kathy studied mind/body medicine at the famed Benson-Henry Institute for Mind-Body Medicine at Harvard University, and has been featured as an expert in numerous publications including Glamour, Fitness, Time, WebMD, Prevention, Huffington Post and Dr. Oz’s The Good Life, and has appeared on over 250 radio & TV shows including Lifetime, NPR, CBS Radio and SkyNews London. She hosted the TV show based on her first book, The Alternative Medicine Cabinet.

In 2015 she had the privilege of creating a stress reduction program for the US Military and has been studying psychology and human behavior her entire life. Gruver is a coach, hypnotherapist and massage therapist and is also the co-host of the new Fire and Earth Podcast.

Today we talk about about Kathy’s journey from actor to PhD, health and wellness expert, hypnotherapist and 12-time award-winning author.

Please take out your phone and download the free Podopolo app as you listen to this episode, so you can join the conversation with me and Kathy.  What are you experiencing right now in our stressful times? What are some of your practices you use to deal with anxiety, fear or imposter syndrome?

Today you’ll get some powerful tips and insights from Kathy – so let’s put on our wings with the inspiring Kathy Gruver.

Melinda Wittstock:       Kathy, welcome to Wings.

Kathy Gruver:               Oh, thanks so much for having me. I appreciate it.

Melinda Wittstock:       I am interested in how hypnotherapy helps entrepreneurs. You have a number of entrepreneurial clients as a hypnotherapist. How are you helping them right now?

Kathy Gruver:               Sure, absolutely. Well, it taps into your biggest potential. It gets rid of fears, gets rid of phobias. Great for public speaking, and anytime you’re out of your house, you’re public speaking. So whether it’s a sales meeting or whether it’s asking for that promotion or trying to get that big contract, it really helps break down those walls and get into your… just tapping into your true potential, allowing you to get those things that you want to get to.

Melinda Wittstock:       Absolutely. So what are some of the specific things that entrepreneurs come to you with to resolve?

Kathy Gruver:               Self-confidence is a huge one that seems to be lacking in so many people. They don’t want to ask for that big contract. They’re not sure they actually deserve the success that they’re on the road to. So, I have a lot of people that want to get a little more self-confident, little more competent in that type of communication. I have people coming for, of all things, fear of flying. They realize they built this business, and now they’ve got to jet around the world and it terrifies them. So that’s a really common thing that we can use hypnosis for.

Sleep, stress, anxiety, all those sorts of things. So we’ve got a lot of high power people reaching out to hypnotherapists to help them reach those goals.

Melinda Wittstock:       Absolutely. No, I totally get that. And when it comes to female entrepreneurs, sometimes we have different issues. Sometimes we have fear of success more than fear of failure. If we really, really step out into the limelight, really go big, we’re kind of deep down afraid of what… maybe other women won’t like us or maybe we’ll overshadow our man, or that kind of stuff. Do you work with people on that issue? I know this comes up quite a lot on this podcast.

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah. It’s that imposter syndrome. I’m actually working with a couple people right now that are dealing with that, who either they heard the message from their parents that they weren’t good enough, you’ll never amount to anything or kind of the flip side of that where they had a parent who was sort of anti-success. They resented anybody that made a lot of money. They resented people who were in corporations. And so now they’re that person, and they’re trying to manage that very unconscious, subconscious issue of what are my parents going to say, or I don’t think I’m good enough for this. So that’s actually incredibly common.

Melinda Wittstock:       So when people come to you, they could be conscious of the limitations or things that are holding them back. But what about the subconscious drivers? How does hypnotherapy help with that?

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah, that is such a great question. So often, we don’t know what’s holding us back. We get to a certain level in our career and then we stall, and we say we want more, but it isn’t coming. So, yeah. So much is at that subconscious, unconscious conversation we’re having with ourselves. So the first thing I’ll do is we sit down and we have sort of a discovery session. We end up talking for anywhere from a half hour to 45 minutes before I ever put anybody in the chair to do hypnosis. And it’s so funny because I’ve had people stop me and go, “Oh, I’m just sitting here doing all the talking. We should probably get to the hypnosis.” And it’s like, “Well, but I don’t know what I’m doing yet with you.”

So we really have to figure out… I ask a lot of questions. This is where the coaching background comes in handy. I ask a lot of questions to try to figure out exactly what I want to work with them with, and then we head into the chair and do the hypnosis. And it can take anywhere from two to six sessions to really help get to the root of that and then reinforce it. One session can do a lot, but once you reiterate that, it deepens that connection and it just becomes a more long-lasting change if we really get in there and do something repetitively.

Melinda Wittstock:       Absolutely. So what got you into hypnotherapy to begin with?

Kathy Gruver:               I’ve been playing with that since I was a kid, and I had a very successful massage practice and I could hear my dad’s voice in the back of my mind going “Have something to fall back on,” which didn’t work when I was a theater major but really helped when I was doing so much massage. And I’ve always thought hypnotherapy was fabulous. I have always an interest in psychology, but I didn’t want to go through that whole… it’s such a process now to become a psychologist. And so I started doing some investigating and discovered there was a hypnotherapy school near me, and I thought let me just explore this. And it really fit in with what I was doing.

It was a great addition, and now substitution, for what I was doing with the massage, saving my body, definitely. Something that I can do, especially during these times where we’re all online with each other, something I could do over Zoom or Skype or on the phone. So it was really a great addition, and I could see the long lasting benefits. So often you’ll go to a therapist… and I’ve done therapy. It can be really great. But you talk about that thing, and then you go home. And then you come in the next week, and you talk about that thing, and then you go home. I don’t see often a lot of resolution, and the great thing about hypnosis is it goes straight into the subconscious and helps us solve those problems. It helps make long-lasting changes. You’re not just talking around something. You’re actually diving in there and making shifts.

Melinda Wittstock:       Absolutely. Gosh. You also do a lot of speaking, and presumably coronavirus has had an impact on your speaking. What kind of impact has it had on your business as well? Can you do virtual hypnotherapy?

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah. It works well. I had a session actually last night that was really successful. So it’s something that we can do online. The speaking business, yeah, the events have stopped and the associations have kind of shut down. So I’m on hold for that, which is actually in one way kind of nice. It’s giving me a chance to really evaluate what I want to do. I had been wanting to make the shift to more hypnosis and coaching, anyway. And this gave me that opportunity to sit in that stillness and say, “What do I really want? How do I want to structure my business? How big do I want to grow? How do I want to scale this?” So it’s, in some ways, been a hidden gift to have that stillness for a while and really decide what I want to do. So yeah, the hypnosis has been growing actually. I’ve been doing more now that no one can come to my office.

Melinda Wittstock:       I’m curious what you think the message from the coronavirus has been. Because it forced everybody to, obviously, slow down. Maybe, hopefully, use the time to look within and figure out how to get into better alignment or how to use the opportunity for good. I know that a lot of entrepreneurs, depending on their level of consciousness, this has actually been a really productive time and a really a time of innovation and whatnot. Have the concerns of people really changed? The types of things that people come to you for relative to coronavirus?

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah, I think they have. And I think in a way it’s actually sort of shined a bigger light on some of the things. I mean, I don’t know any entrepreneur that’s not worried about money in some way. No matter how much you have, you kind of go, “What if this goes away?” Well, now for a lot of people it’s going away. No matter how well we planned, we did not plan for a global pandemic. So a lot of people are having to pivot. And I know a lot of people who were just launching a business that was maybe a brick and mortar type company that had to shut down right away. So it’s allowing us, or causing us, to all sit and really think about what we want and how we can pivot that.

If you were teaching acting students, well that’s not happening right now. So what can you do? Can you do something online? It’s forcing people to think outside the box and really figure out how they can reach those goals and still maybe be at home. And that comes down to the first question I ask people, which is what do you want? And I don’t think a lot of people really sit with that question. They think, “I want to run a company,” but why? Asking yourself those whys of why do you want to run a company? How do you want to impact people? How do you want your footprint to be with that business? And when you really think about that, I think often you come up with a different answer as to what you want to do.

So I think it’s given a lot of people time to sit and think. I know I have. I went back to school. I did a lot more studying, a lot more reading. Things that I said I wanted to do, and the universe kind of went, “All right, here. Go, you have time now.” And I went, “Oh geez, okay.”

I’m seeing a lot of different kind of stress. People come to me with stress all the time. That’s what I speak about. That’s what I write about. That’s what a lot of people come to me for hypnosis. Of course, that’s the basis of massage. And it’s different now. Stress is normally in our head. It’s those what ifs. Well, coronavirus is sort of different because it’s not only a what if, it’s also a real thing that is very threatening to us that can hurt us. And so I think that the stress has really gone through the roof in that regard because it’s affecting our finances, it’s affecting our family.

You know, I had a client recently sit there and cry in my office because her mother was just diagnosed, and she’s not doing well. And she’s really afraid she’s going to lose a parent from this. So I think that the stress and the fear is all too real. And like any stress or fear, it’s either causing us to move forward in ways or it’s causing us to sit there sort of… it’s the fight or flight. Are we moving forward and innovating or are we sitting at home really afraid of this? And I think it’s kind of split down the middle at this point.

Melinda Wittstock:       It really is. I guess because I’m an entrepreneur, I always look for the opportunity. To me, it’s shining a light on a lot of things that are broken in our society: healthcare system, institutionalized racism, you name it. It’s a long list, right?

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:       And I think it’s an opportunity that calls many entrepreneurs to figure out different ways to solve a lot of those problems using their entrepreneurship. For people who are not entrepreneurs right now, it’s showing them that, oh maybe I didn’t actually like what I was doing. Maybe that life of should’s, maybe all those should’s are not good should’s, right?

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:       And so, an opportunity to really look within and figure out what is it that actually… What is it that you want to do? And daring to dream. Do you have anybody that comes to you with like, “I really want to… I want something else. I just don’t know what” or “I don’t know how to start” or that kind of thing?

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah, absolutely. And I agree with you. I think so many people finally found themselves off of work for however many weeks and went, “I don’t like my job. I really don’t like my job” or “I don’t like my spouse because I’m sitting at home with him or her.” I think we’re going to see a lot of relationships break up after this. Or a lot of babies be born. Either way. I think it really… Because it made us sit still, and we don’t do that. There’s no reason for us to sit still. We’ve got a phone, we’ve got a computer, we’ve got… We can’t stand in line somewhere and just talk to your neighbor anymore. You immediately turn to the phone to see what’s on Twitter, ooh a funny cat video. We have all this stuff that we can occupy our minds with.

And where is that stillness? Where is that mindfulness? Unless you’re one of those people that really look for that silence to go within and be self-aware and self-actualized, there’s not much opportunity for it anymore. You have to force yourself to do that. This is why I meditate every day or I do my best to meditate every day or just sit in… When we rent a car, we walk around that car and we look for every ding and every scratch because we’re not going to pay for that. That’s not what we did. But we don’t look at ourselves. We know our rental car more than we know ourselves. And whether it’s a physical thing or a spiritual thing or an emotional thing or a relationship or finance… Health just isn’t not having a diagnosis, it’s really thriving in your environment. And that goes with business, too. And that has to do with sitting and asking yourself, “What do I want and am I okay with what’s happening?” And I think it’s given us an opportunity to do that.

Melinda Wittstock:       Absolutely. So you’ve written seven books.

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:       Congratulations on that. Speaking of things that people want to do and never quite get around to doing, a book is really high on that list. Because everybody says, especially entrepreneurs, we all have at least a book in us. And so what was it that enabled you to really get going and get that first book written? What was your process?

Kathy Gruver:               It was someone telling me, “Oh, you want to be a speaker. So you have a book, right?” and I looked at them very confused and I said, “Well, no, no, no. I said I wanted to be a speaker.” And he said, “No, I heard you. You have to have a book.” And I went, “Oh crap. I guess I have to have a book.” So I realized that I guess I was going to be thrust into authorhood, and I realized I wanted to share my message with more people. At that point I was not doing tons of speaking. I was only in my office one-on-one or the occasional very small workshop, and I wanted to reach more people. I was already doing so much radio and TV and podcasts and that sort of thing. And I had a lot of stuff to say, so I wrote Alternative Medicine Cabinet, which ended up being turned into a TV series, which was completely unexpected.

And it was just, to me, an opportunity to take what I already knew and put it all in one thing. If you’re doing a lecture to people, you’re not telling them everything you know. You’re telling them that thing they paid you to talk about. So the opportunity to have the book was an opportunity to take so much at that point that I had learned, put it in one package, and go “Here’s everything I know right now.” Now, of course, that was years ago. So it’s grown. I know more now and I’d love to redo that book, but it was an opportunity to reach more people and give them something tangible that they could hold on to that if they needed something in that moment, they could flip to a chapter and go, “Oh, I just learned something.” So it was, to me, an incredible opportunity to share.

Melinda Wittstock:       Yeah. That’s wonderful. And how long did it take you? Did you self-publish? Did you get a publisher? How did that all work?

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah. I weighed those options, and I realized looking for a traditional publisher just was not going to work my first time out. I knew it was going to take forever. I had a colleague of mine that started her book the same time I did, and I think I had three books out by the time she had hers published. She went the traditional route. It was going to take forever. I had a really specific idea of how I wanted to do it, what I wanted it to look like, and I had some friends who were authors talk to me about, “Oh, they change your cover and they don’t let you do this. And can’t do that. And they change everything.” And I went, “No, no, no.” And my Capricorn, type A, very controlling, time-sensitive self went, “I’m doing this myself.” And I did. And it was fine. It was a great experience. I’ve since gotten a publisher. And so I’ve done a few of my books with a traditional publisher, which has been also an amazing experience.

It really depends on what your book is for. I talked to a lot of people who want to write books, and I help them navigate that process as to whether they want to go traditional or self. It really depends on your ultimate purpose with the book. If it’s going to be a business card, if it’s a vanity project, if you want to hand it to friends and family, if you just want to say you have a book, please don’t go to a publisher. They’re not going to… You’re going to waste a lot of time. And there’s so many great self-publishing options now. And there are some really phenomenal self-published books.

Melinda Wittstock:       Yeah. A lot of it with a book though, too, like with a podcast it comes down to knowing who your audience is, knowing how to market it. All those other things. The book is probably the least of the work.

Kathy Gruver:               Exactly. Yeah. I remember back in like ninth grade, they had you fill out this little quiz, sort of personality test that helped you figure out what you’re supposed to do in life. We did those all the time. And the question was, do you want to read a book, write a book, or sell a book. And I remember agonizing over that question, thinking, “But I want to do all three. Why can’t I select all three?” And now I realized I don’t want to sell a book. It’s not fun. That’s the hardest process.

Melinda Wittstock:       Right. No, it is really tricky because even if you go the traditional route, there’s a limit to what that traditional publisher is going to do for you in a marketing sense. So you’re still really on the hook for the marketing.

Kathy Gruver:               You still have to sell your book. And it’s amazing… When I did my first one and I was like, “Oh my God, okay. All my friends are going to buy this and all my family’s going to… “. Yeah, no. Nobody bought them. And I’m like, “But guys, it’s 10 bucks. Why are you not buying my book?” I expected this sort of unquestioning support of, well of course they’re going to buy a $10 book. Yeah, no. Not so much.

It was actually really disappointing. And when I did my first PR campaign with my first book, I got really great response. I had like 60 people who wanted to either review the book or have me on their show. And so my PR guy says, “Okay, so here are the addresses to send the books, and please send this piece of paper along with it.” And I went, “I’m sorry, what? I need to send them a book?” And he said, “Well, yeah.” I don’t know what I was thinking. And I said, “Well, I can’t just give away 60 books.” And he goes, “Well, let me guess. This is your first book.” And I said, “Yeah.” And he goes, “Okay, you’re going to find that that’s eventually a giveaway and a business card, and you’re not going to care about giving away your book.” But to me, it was my baby. I had put so much time and money into that. And sure enough, now I’m like, “Hey, you want a book?”

Melinda Wittstock:       Yeah. So it’s kind of like a podcast, right? Where there’s lots of money to be made, but not necessarily directly, like with the direct transactional if we’re talking about the business model for like a podcast or a book. It’s all the other ways. And so how have you monetized your books?

Kathy Gruver:               Interestingly, when I speak… The guy who originally told me, have a book to speak, he was right on. I do a lot of back of the room sales. So I’ve been really privileged that people hear me speak, and then they walk past my pile of books and they buy one of everything. Because they’re like… they just… I’ve had people say, “I’m never going to read these, but you’re great. And I just want one of these.” I’m like, “Okay, cool.” So I’ve done that a lot.

I think having the book has led to speaking engagements, which of course can be very well paid. And I think it’s also helped my coaching and my personal practice as well. It lends a certain amount of credibility. There’s before the book and after the book, and I don’t know that I’m any smarter after the book, but there’s that perception that you are. That you’ve taken the time, that you had a publisher, that you’ve done this thing that is impressive to so many people ups your credibility and it makes it seem like you’re an expert in that thing you wrote about.

Melinda Wittstock:       Absolutely. I think it’s very, very important. So what advice would you give to somebody, an entrepreneur, who knows… like the book is on their to do list, but there’s just always something in front of it or whatever, but it would really help them grow their business. What are the first things they should do?

Kathy Gruver:               I think the first thing to do is ask why you want to write the book because that’s going to help determine which route you take. Because if you want to take the traditional route, it’s a very different route. You need to do a pitch, you need to have marketing in place. They want to see your social media. It takes a lot of prep to get to a publisher. If you want to do it yourself, if you decide, yeah I’m just going to self-publish. You just have to sit down and write it. At some point you just have to do it. And I think to a certain extent, people get so intimidated because I say, “Oh my God, I want to write a book. Oh, it’s whole book and it’s got to be this number of pages” and they brain trick themselves out of actually writing a book because they make it so daunting.

No one sits down and writes a book. You sit down and you write a sentence, which turns into a paragraph, which turns into a chapter, which turns into more, which turns into a book. So I think it’s breaking that down into doable steps. Okay, book. What does that mean? Well, you have to figure out what you want to write about, and try not to reinvent the wheel. I think a lot of people think it has to be this original idea. Well, maybe you do write on what you’ve learned from your podcast or the blog posts you’ve been doing or articles you’ve written or business advice that you’ve gathered over the years. Maybe you turn to other people and have them contribute chapters, which are things that I’ve done a couple times. It doesn’t have to be this overwhelming task, but at some point it just takes you with the butt in the chair doing it.

And make it easy for yourself. I’ve dictated a lot of my books. My brain and mouth work faster than my fingers on the keyboard. And so I’ve dictated it and had it transcribed. Do whatever you’re going to do to make it easy for you to get it out. And just have it be your voice. There’s really no rules with writing books anymore, unless you’re going traditional, and then they probably have some rules. But just make it yours and just sit down and do it. And it’s never going to be perfect. You can fuss with it for years. I have people that are like, “Oh, I started a book seven ago. Still editing it.” Just do it. Just get it out there. Or they write forever, and it’s suddenly a 700 page book. And it’s like maybe three books, maybe [crosstalk 00:23:55].

Melinda Wittstock:       Well, you have to know who you’re writing for as well. You can be writing for yourself, but ultimately if you want people to read it or you want to have some sort of impact, like any good marketing effort you have to know who your avatar is, who is the person that you’re writing this thing for? And what’s the transformation? Or what’s the result you want from them having read your book.

Kathy Gruver:               Right. And we also have to remember, this is not going to be… probably, with a few exceptions…. it’s not going to be a huge moneymaker. Most self-published books sell less than 200 copies. And yeah, you get it on Amazon. Maybe you get it into a traditional bookstore. We don’t even have a traditional bookstore where I live. We have one small locally owned bookstore. We don’t have a Barnes & Noble. We don’t have Borders. That stuff doesn’t really exist anymore except in major big box cities.

So don’t expect that this is going to make you rich. And it’s interesting. I have friends who I know they think my life is laying around the house, writing books, doing shows like this, and just making money. I don’t know what they think I do, but they think I just sort of like do media stuff and make money. And it’s like, that’s not how this works. These things help lead to your goal. Like you said, you can monetize this stuff in a different way, but don’t expect to be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King. That’s rarely, rarely happens.

Melinda Wittstock:       So true. Oh my goodness. So Kathy, how can people find you and work with you? For anybody stressed out there or have any kind of limiting beliefs they want to clear or anything like that, who can come to you, maybe do a virtual session with you as hypnotherapy or perhaps, obviously, read your books and all that good stuff, what’s the best way to find you?

Kathy Gruver:               Yeah, absolutely. So the site is KathyGruver.com. It’s Kathy with a K, Gruver with a U-V-E-R. KathyGruver.com and then also KathyGruver.coach. If you want to work on from writing a book to that stress to pivoting and figuring out who you are. We combine the hypnosis and the coaching, and it’s a beautiful program. I love working in that way. So those are the two best ways, and I’m all over social media like everybody else.

Melinda Wittstock:       Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with us.

Kathy Gruver:               Thank you for having me.


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Listen to learn the secrets, strategies, practical tips and epiphanies of women entrepreneurs who’ve “been there, built that” so you too can manifest the confidence, capital and connections to soar to success!
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Review on iTunes and win the chance for a VIP Day with Melinda