102 Intrapreneur to Entrepreneur: Meditation Maven Patricia Karpas on Transforming What You Love Into a Growing Business

Patricia Karpas on WINGSPatricia Karpas spent many years innovating by building brands and new businesses within larger companies – CNBC, AOL, Time Warner, NBC and Gaiam – before taking the leap into building a business around her love of meditation. The co-founder of the app Meditation Studio, named by Apple as one of its Top 10 of the year.

Melinda Wittstock:         Welcome to Wings, Patricia.

Patricia Karpas:                 Thank you, Melinda. I’m so happy to be here. I love your podcast.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, thank you so much.

Melinda Wittstock:         I’m really excited to have you too because I think anyone who turns a practice that’s transformed their lives into a business is inspiring. Tell me, what was the aha moment that led you to Meditation Studios?

Patricia Karpas:                 Well, I’m not sure there was one aha moment. My background was in entertainment and media. I worked at CNBC, and NBC, and AOL for many, many years and there came a time, I think I had worked in corporate media for something like 22 years and I just started feeling like I wanted to transition from entertainment into areas related to health and wellness. I didn’t know exactly what I was going to do but I started doing yoga teacher training and studying nutrition, and studying meditation more deeply. I had already been meditating, sort of been a closet meditator for many years and loved practice. It had transformed my life in many, many ways.

I didn’t really know exactly what I would do but I started doing this deep dive into learning, all of these different tools and practices. Then I started consulting around them and I started working then for a company called Gaiam. Inside of Gaiam, I had done their buy versus build analysis for an app, a digital app either with meditation or yoga, and throughout that process, we decided to create an app which we called Meditation Studio.

We built it within Gaiam and my business partner who was the COO of Gaiam at the time decided when Gaiam was acquired by a private equity firm that we should try to acquire Meditation Studio. Even inside of Gaiam, it was such a mission and passion driven business. My role was to really find all of the teachers and produce the content and create the strategy around which we decided would be how can we help people with their everyday lives and how can we help them solve problems that we all share, that are universal for all of us?

It was more of a process than an aha moment but there was so much I really have to say because I never would have used this word in my corporate life but there was so much love and passion around the development of this product. My business partner, [Sid Kraus 00:03:40] and I were so thrilled to be able to take it out from under Gaiam and then really continued to build it as a brand, so that was really exciting thing for us.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s wonderful. It’s interesting what you say about there being the sense of love around the creation of it. How did that manifest?

Patricia Karpas:                 It’s funny because Sid, my business partner and I both feel the same way. I mean, we definitely want to scale this as a business but our real goal is if we can get 10 million more people meditating over the next three or four years will be thrilled because we deeply believe in the benefits of a meditation practice and we’re not purest in the sense that you have to meditate in a certain way. A lot of what we do is meditations that are inspirational. Some of our meditations are more like short talk. Some of them are visualizations. They are from teachers with all different lineages and all different voices.

You have people from New Zealand and Australia so we really … I mean I think that the love part comes from this deep, deep commitment that what we’re doing has a huge impact and we see it in reviews that we get which is so rewarding really. People will write in and say, “I had the worst anxiety before public speaking or haven’t been able to sleep in months.” I was having so much trouble getting my four-year-old to sleep and I started playing your kid’s visualizations and she loves them and she won’t go to sleep without them now.

You just keep hearing these stories and you know that you’re connecting with people. It’s really rewarding and I love the work that I did in entertainment media but I didn’t have that deep connected feeling to the work that I was doing. I had a great job and great salaries and great recognition, and lots and lots of good things but this idea of being deeply connected to the work that you do, I think it could be a stage of life thing for me but I do think that having that deep alignment with what’s really true and authentic and real for you can be such a positive thing.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh my goodness. That is where the magic happens when you’re really truly aligned, why you’re here. It’s interesting you talk about it being a life stage perhaps. Maybe it takes a little while to really understand what that truth is and when you look back on your life and you see all these little points, little dots that maybe seemed that they didn’t connect before but then suddenly now they do in retrospect.

Patricia Karpas:                 Yeah. It’s love Steven Jobs says, “You connect the dots backwards and then you see how your story evolved.” I think part of it is, I think when you’re younger, I feel like in your 20’s, it’s still good to really think about what you want to do and what you care deeply about but I also see that as a time of exploring an adventure and trying different things and really learning about what’s real for you. I think everybody maybe comes to that in a different time in their life. Some come early, some come later and I think it changes too. People now have, what, what is the number, seven or eight different jobs or careers in their lifetime now. Maybe there’s many things that we’ll do that we care deeply about.

Melinda Wittstock:         I think that’s a wonderful thing though to think it’s liberating in a way. I think some people see it as scary but actually it’s liberating because we all have so many facets.

Patricia Karpas:                 Exactly. I mean I feel like it’s so easy to get stuck in a routine and there’s a lot of comfort there but the minute you stretch yourself out of your comfort zone, to your point, there’s a lot of magic there. I think that is a really important thing to be able to do. To your other point, and someone I interviewed on our podcast said this that if you aren’t bringing all of who you are into your work, then you’re missing something and it’s so true. I think the multitudes of gifts and contributions that we bring maybe change even overtime. I think it’s really good to keep an open mind and to explore what’s true for you at each stage of your life.

Melinda Wittstock:         The fascinating thing though about being in alignment, and do you find this, that as you do get into alignment, the universe aligns with you. You start to get synchronicities or the right people show up at the right time or you seem to attract the right circumstances or maybe it’s just that we’re more open to them. Is that happening in your life?

Patricia Karpas:                 Absolutely. I do feel like that happens. There’s a meditation on our app called Manifest Your Ideal Life and a lot of it is exactly what you’re saying. It’s opening up to what’s real for you and then you had to use Michelle Samberg’s term but you lean into it and everything that you do starts connecting more. I truly believe that that happens.

Melinda Wittstock:         I’m fascinated with your path for another reason too that you were in essence an entrepreneur and there are a lot of women who work in corporate, in big companies and innovate until they can’t. There’s this thing called the glass ceiling. They start to pump up against that and sometimes it’s very difficult to innovate within a larger company. What was that like? Was it difficult or challenging? Describe that experience because I’m interested in what kind of lessons women listening here now can learn who are in that same situation potentially?

Patricia Karpas:                 It’s a really, really good question. I mean I think in a lot of ways, I had always been an entrepreneur because I was on the startup team for CNBC so we were not a startup company but we were fully funded by NBC and then we started up NBC Digital and again that was startup within NBC and almost all of my corporate experiences had some element of creating something inside the company and there’s a sense of safety and security that is different from being out and doing something completely on your own.

I think that’s the balance that you always have. When we created the business inside of Gaiam, when we began creating Meditation Studio, the complications with being an entrepreneur are that you’re balancing different people’s goals and expectations and so you and I were talking about this a little but before the interview, before we started the interview with an experience that you’ve had but you had a lot of different people that come to the business from a lot of different perspectives and so you’re constantly working to find common ground to move the ball forward and that is very difficult.

I think some of the tools that we learned in mindfulness meditation really helped, that deep listening and trying to understand where other people are coming from and trying to be more focused but it is much more complicated to move forward sometimes. It can take much longer versus when we acquired the company a little over two years ago and the decisions that we make now are so much quicker. I think this is really important when you choose a business partner or you fall in to a business partnership. We are so complimentary in our skill set so we have the same mission and goals for the business but we’re complete opposites in terms of what our skill sets are.

We can move together and make decisions very quickly and it’s so dreamy to be able to make decisions quickly outside of a corporate environment so I think being an entrepreneur inside a corporate environment, great because everything us funded and you’re not worried about where the money is coming from and that’s always a big challenge.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, yeah. It is because so many of my startups have been bootstrapped from nothing and that’s hard. I mean sure you can be nimble and scrappy and all that kind of stuff. You can certainly do it your way. You don’t have to change manage anybody but on the other hand, it’s so difficult for entrepreneurs to get funded at the early stage especially women.

Patricia Karpas:                 Yes. We have had a hard time with that but not for the reasons that I thought we would have on our time. I think we’re so busy running the business and doing all of the things that we need to do to keep the business coming day to day and keep our meditation teachers happy and keep our customers happy that we don’t spend as much time going out trying to raise money or even find strategic partnerships as we probably should. We are at a stage where big strategic partner would be dreamy and a lot of the businesses that are in our competitive cohort are driven by men like head space and calm, and they’re very connected in Silicon Valley. We’re very strong and mighty but we’re smaller and we’re different from them but we haven’t spent as much time or energy raising money as I think we should. I think that’s probably the next big thing that we need to focus on.

Melinda Wittstock:         It’s so interesting because when you’re out raising money, it’s very difficult to be growing your business. It’s like raising money is a full-time job.

Patricia Karpas:                 Right. Especially if you’re a relatively small business. I mean, we have six or seven freelancers at any given time working with us but we’re relatively small business so to take that time out and go on a road show or road trip is a hard thing to do. What’s your experience having interviewed so many different women entrepreneurs? Are you seeing any common ways that people are doing that?

Melinda Wittstock:         I don’t know. It’s all over the map. It really depends on where you are, what stage your business is at and what’s so interesting about meditation where your head is at because I think so many women and this is an interesting debate because there are these external factors that are proven. The Harvard Business Review did a study of countless meetings of both men and women pitching VC’s and they found this persistent question bias that the male VC’s over and over again ask the men about how they were going to maximize gains and they asked the women how they were going to minimize loses almost consistently and so that the women were automatically in a defensive posture whether they were conscious of it or not.

I’ve been a pitch judge many times too and I’ve seen a lot of women make this mistake and I know that I have in the past too which is just not being confident enough or not asking for enough money or being realistic in the numbers that you’re presenting [crosstalk 00:16:28] VC automatically discount.

Patricia Karpas:                 It’s so funny that you say that because we spent so much time trying to be authentic and real so that we can tap into universal, human nature of all human beings when we deliver our content to them. I mean it sounds heavy but it’s just that we do. We spend a lot of time being real. To get into that mode of selling, selling, selling. We do tend to default to being really honest about things and I know what you’re saying. I mean I think men have the stability to go in and create a big, big picture of what might happen and women are a little more this is what is happening.

Melinda Wittstock:         I think that’s true and also though I think it’s tricky. I don’t know how you feel about this too but authenticity is really important. If there’s some sort of dissonance, it’s hard to get funded because funding is really relationship and it’s based on trust. You’ve got to qualify your investors very carefully too just as they are you because it’s a long-term relationship and when things go wrong, you really want to know what your investor is going to be like when the proverbial hits the fan, right?

Patricia Karpas:                 Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:         You’ve got to do your research on them as well. Being authentic is really important but I think because so many women particularly in the tech space are only role models, were dudes who are getting the money. It was really certainly in my years, going out there and trying to raise venture capital is to be kind of like a dude. It doesn’t work because it’s dissonant.

Patricia Karpas:                 It’s so true. I think that’s really where finding your voice and being able to express yourself in a way that is confident but is your own. I mean I was thinking back before we started. I was thinking back to this guy that I worked for when I was at AOL and I remember I was having a really hard time with him and I didn’t know exactly why so I spoke to another friend and he said, “Well, if you’re going to be working for this person, you need to read this book called the Marine Guide to Military Management.” I was like, “Okay.” It was all about commands and control and how to respond and how to respond quickly.

I’m more of like I’m a thoughtful person. I don’t want to alert something out. I need time to think and then I’ll get nervous if somebody pushes me too hard. I was like this was the wrong person for me to be working for but I really tried and I think that’s what we do as women or maybe did because this was 15 or so years ago but you try so hard to adapt because you think this is some kind of a norm and it’s not. I mean this is what I love about all of the new tools and practices and just women connecting more and sharing more about how we can be out in the world and in business because I think all of the qualities that we bring are amazing. It’s so great. It is liberating to be able to be who you are and to still be super productive and super effective.

Melinda Wittstock:         I think that’s right but I like your approach though too of really growing the business as organically as possible because you’re creating something that’s truly, truly meaningful. It’s interesting. The other day, I was talking to Tina Sharkey who created My Village and now Brandless.

Patricia Karpas:                 I love her. They’re one of our partners actually.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yeah. What’s so inspiring about Tina and the way she’s building Brandless, so she’s really building a movement, we were talking about scaling values and when you’re really in alignment with your values and your why and your purpose, thinking about ways to scale that because Brandless, I mean, it’s consumer goods. Everything is three bucks. It’s a really cool idea.

Patricia Karpas:                 Really cool.

[tweet_box design=”default” float=”none”]I love the idea of creating businesses that can become movements and that are based on a human need. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @meditationsapp[/tweet_box]

Melinda Wittstock:         It’s really accessible to everybody but the value is some other kind of intangible were she’s got all these people who are really word of mouth evangelist for her as a result of the way they built that company and I think it’s a really inspiring way to go and you get to the point where the funding is chasing you which is intriguing to me. There’s a question in here somewhere.

Patricia Karpas:                 I love that. That is an inspiration truly and I love the idea of creating businesses that can become movements and that are based on a human need and I think Brandless is that. I think that’s a really good example. I think another great example is, and I know you interviewed Fran Hauser with her upcoming book called the Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love.

Melinda Wittstock:         I love her book.

Patricia Karpas:                 You hate, right?

Melinda Wittstock:         I love it. It’s wonderful.

Patricia Karpas:                 We created a companion collection of meditations to accompany the book, so if you go into our app right now, you’re a subscriber, and you look there’s a leadership collection. There are 13 meditations. Each meditation goes with a chapter so what is great so they were all done by Chrissy Carter who’s a good friend of Fran’s and mine. The meditations are called things like being kind and strong, sharing success with others, finding your voice, getting unstuck, finding empathy at work, how to invest in yourself. I mean aligning your values, things that we’re talking about here.

I mean, she’s an amazing partner and I’m so happy that we did this but these meditations are so powerful in terms of helping really to help people become more self-aware and to gain new insights and to really solidify a lot of the teachings that are in the book but I bring up the book because I think in a way, that is also a movement because we are asking people to really embody all of these skills and characteristics, and tools that can be so helpful in really having a job that you love whether you’re an entrepreneur or in a corporate situation.

Melinda Wittstock:         Yes. If you can catalyze and galvanize your customers to be avid ambassadors for you because you’re making very real change, the money will follow you. I think the point that I was getting to is that it’s almost like a masculine feminine energy thing on an archetypal level where we can manifest and attract. In fact, that works really well for women generally as an organizing principle when we try and go out with the spear to go and slay the wildebeest or whatever and drag it back where you can burnout. I don’t know. It’s a very interesting thing and of course I’m speaking in a real generality there because we all have different balances of the kind of archetypal masculine and feminine in our personalities or in our makeup.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, getting … When you’re up against … You’re competing with head space on these kind of Silicon Valley in crowd in a way that have loads of money being thrown at them but you’re competing for market share. You got to differentiate somehow so there’s a different way of going about it that won’t occur to those guys. They may have the money, but you can do it differently.

Patricia Karpas:                 Yes. That’s what we are doing and that’s what we hope to continue to do. A lot of that is mobilizing around all the things that we’ve already created but continuing to scale that. That’s always a big question. I mean I like that you brought up this idea of a movement because in a way I think a lot of businesses that start with a mission like Tina’s business, like Fran’s book become movements and so does this happen naturally or do we do something to make into a movement? I mean, what’s your thought on that?

Melinda Wittstock:         I don’t know. I think sometimes you just declare it.

Patricia Karpas:                 It’s a confidence thing.

Melinda Wittstock:         Right. You just declare it, you hang your shingle because say, with Wings, I realized that so many women were succeeding in silence. I saw that we didn’t fit the stereotype of the dude in the hoodie, in a garage, eating ramen who dropped out of Stanford or MIT. We weren’t that. We weren’t 20 something. We tended to have had experience in corporate or whatever. We’d hired and fired very, very different. We had domain expertise so the profile of female entrepreneurs is very different. Wait a minute, who’s acclaiming and affirming that story?

I began with that. Look, I just want to really affirm and acclaim but very soon I thought, “You know what, no. I want to do more than that. I want to be the catalyst that brings women together so women can mentor each other, women throw business to each other, create collaborative win, win, wins and invest in each other. If I want to do that, I’ve got to be the change that I want to see. We’re talking about being the change that we want to see. You’re doing that with Meditation Studios so be the change that you want to be and put it out there. I just put out this bold thing at the universe that I was going to invest $10 million in female run startups in the next 10 years, right?

Patricia Karpas:                 Yeah.

Melinda Wittstock:         Just put it out there and then that’s all good. I’m like, “Okay.”

Patricia Karpas:                 Exciting.

Melinda Wittstock:         It’s this kind of bold move.

Patricia Karpas:                 Declare it.

Melinda Wittstock:         You just declare it but then what’s really weird as things start to happen to coalesce around that. I think that’s really what Tina did. I think that’s what Kara Golden with water. I mean, that’s an amazing story. She is going to be at a billion dollars I think this year. I think she’s going to hit it…

Patricia Karpas:                 Wow. That’s amazing.

Melinda Wittstock:         … by the end of the year. This is from being in her kitchen thinking why do I feel so bad? Why am I … Have all these extra weights and why do I have acne as an adult? Is it something to do with drinking diet Coke? From that epiphany, it’s like, “Okay. I’m going to make everyone healthy or give people healthy alternatives.” Those are missions when you declare them. I think they attract where they become movements as they attract  like-minded people.

Patricia Karpas:                 I think it’s so amazing that you’re doing what you’re doing with Wings because I do see this opening. 15, 20 years ago, there was such a scarcity mentality so you’d be in an organization and there were three women and you would be competing with the other women.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh my god.

Patricia Karpas:                 There were only a few spots.

Melinda Wittstock:         Sharp nails too. I mean, you and I were both in media.

Patricia Karpas:                 Right.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh my goodness. I remember on the Times of London…I show up there, against some odds at age 22 and the only … I mean there are only a handful of women on the paper at that time and so a couple things happened. I shared a work station with three other dudes because I was a specialist correspondent as were they and we had one secretary for five or four of us and she would with regularity bring coffee and water and the newspapers in the mail to all the guys.

Patricia Karpas:                 Oh my god.

Melinda Wittstock:         But not me. I mean I was expecting you’re a woman, you go do it. It was hard to even ask because to ask would mean that you were the B word. That context, oh man, but then the features editor was female but she was not a mentor if anything, just totally paranoid. I think that sense of scarcity was only so much oxygen to go around. Also the pioneers, the women ahead of us probably didn’t have a huge amount of time to really be thinking about or they didn’t perceive they had time to be thinking about mentoring other women. I just wanted to change that and I think it’s a lot different now, thank god than it was.

Patricia Karpas:                 I think women are helping women a lot more and I think women are investing in women, thanks to people like you a lot more. The communities that we’re building all over the country and in the world are pretty amazing. There’s definitely momentum. We’re still way behind in terms of investment and women in businesses and et cetera but there is some traction.

Melinda Wittstock:         It’s really happening though. I just think over the past year when you see … There’s Aileen Lee with Cowboy Ventures and there was Lauren Flanagan with Belle Capital. Some of the earlier funds specifically for women and now so many more, Built by Girls, quite a few of these funds and I mean I think that is really a great way for to just go out as more women have exits, the more density of exits there are if that money is really pulled back into things like funds. The things that I’m curious about though. I wonder what you think of this.

Is there a lot of women with tremendous net worth say they’ve come up through private equity or law or they’ve just inherited money or whatever they have money. They tend to easily write checks for philanthropies, for nonprofits but don’t tend to support female entrepreneurs. I’m curious how to change that.

Patricia Karpas:                 I mean it’s a really point. I mean it could be that they just don’t have the experience to do it and don’t feel the comfort of doing it. Philanthropy seems easier because it’s so focused on clear things that you want to change whether it’s domestic violence or poverty or racism. You pick your issues. I think there needs to be more programs that, I don’t know, teach , give them opportunities to invest or invite them into the investment community so they can experience that because they may be heads down. My sister-in-law started a company called Jack Black which is men’s skin care grooming prestige business. They were just acquired by Edgewell. She had built that company for 18 years, she and her business partner.

Melinda Wittstock:         Wow.

Patricia Karpas:                 I mean, it’s an amazing fabulous story, you should actually talk to her.

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh, yes.

Patricia Karpas:                 She’s amazing. What she’s going to do next, I don’t know and I don’t think she knows yet but she’d be somebody that would be such a great mentor for young women in business and women entrepreneurs and just having had that experience. I mean I know very few people who have stayed with an entrepreneurial company that they started and built up and scaled for 18 years. I mean I think there’s just a great story there. It seems like companies turn a lot quicker today but I think she’s got a great story. I don’t know. I think they maybe need to be invited in more.

Melinda Wittstock:         Patricia, can you share what your personal practice is?

Patricia Karpas:                 Yeah. I learned meditation from a Sri Lankan monk about 20 or so years ago and for a long time I continued with one practice that was the one that he had taught. I have since shifted more to a mindfulness meditation practice where I focus more on my breath and I meditate every morning for 20 minutes or so I try to meditate more than that in a day. Dan Harris, so I just interviewed was saying that he meditates 90 minutes a day but he does it at different times throughout the day so it’s not all on one sitting which is one of my goals.

I do a lot of breathe meditation but I also do gratitude and loving, kindness and just intersperse some intention, base meditation as well. It’s an amalgamation but I also because I curate and produce all of our meditations, I tend to listen to some of the guided meditations on our app when I’m feeling like I need an extra boost because that can be so helpful and it helps to shift your thinking sometimes when you’re ruminating in thoughts and you might rather not be. It helps to listen to a guided meditation and we have some amazing ones with some great teachers but that’s how I like to practice. We also have the app, we have an unguided timer with music so sometimes I’ll just set the unguided timer for 20 minutes and then put a music track behind it which is dreamy as well.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s lovely. I think it takes a while. Sorry. I’m going to pick up there again, sorry. Thank you. Again, thank you so much for sharing what you do because I think a lot of people who are starting to meditate, everybody now is suddenly conscious of it like, “Oh, I should meditate,” and there’s a lot of people who walk around saying, “Oh god. I’m really bad at it so they stop.” When you are starting, what kind of advice do you give to people so they can just be a little nicer to themselves, who are kinder to themselves [crosstalk 00:36:01], right?

Patricia Karpas:                 That’s such a great question because it is hard when you first start sitting down and just becoming still and when you become still, there’s lots of things coming out, your emotions, your thoughts, your feelings and you just have to keep practicing sitting and just focusing your breath or a mantra depending on the type of meditation that you choose to do.

I think a lot of it requires patience and a little bit of grit and a little bit of believing that the practice works. There’s enough science now that tells us that meditation does help us with stress and anxiety and sleep, and it does have an impact in some ways on our brain plasticity. Then we keep getting more and more research and science to support the positive effects of meditation. I think we also hear anecdotally on our podcast, on Tango where I interview thought leaders and authors and experts in the field of meditation of mindfulness and it blows my mind how many people’s lives have really been transformed by their meditation practices and it’s not a panacea, it’s not a quick fix for everything that’s wrong in your life but it really helps you to be more thoughtful about your actions.

It really helps you when they say when your hair is on fire, when you’re working, it helps you to learn to stand still while your hair is on fire and to respond from a calmer state versus a no filter reactive state which so many people tend to default to. I think it helps us … When you look at how you meditate and the goal isn’t really to become a great meditator. You want to take meditation practice off the cushion so that you have these skills of being able to focus and being able to listen more skillfully to other people and being able to focus and concentrate more effectively and just accepting and to your point being more compassionate when you make mistakes and when you do something that you wish you hadn’t done.

There’s so many tools. I look at my meditation practice but I look at meditation in general as a really rich set of tools for how we live our lives better and how we can be more resilient as human beings and more connected. I just think there’s so much richness there for people. I’ll tell you something that I really … There’s a teacher that teaches a course at Yale. I don’t know if you’ve heard of Lauren Santos. She’s teaching a course on science of well-being and she talks a lot about mindfulness too and she’s quite amazing and when you hear all of the tools that she’s teaching about emotional well-being to this waiting list of students at Yale, you realize that those are the same set of tools that should be taught in kindergarten and first grade that we learn math and science, and even music and performing arts but we don’t really learn how to be relational with other people.

We don’t learn how to take care of our own emotions and there’s so many things that we learn through our mindfulness and meditation practices that really, really helped us to be more present in our own lives and with other people. Sorry, that did sound a little but like a sales pitch for meditation but I really, really believe and it’s ability to help with emotional well-being.

Melinda Wittstock:         All the science backs you up and I found my pathway into it. It started with yoga. I mean, I started yoga in the early ’90s like way before a lot of people even know what yoga was but the activity helped me quiet my mind and then I got to the point where my practice is really changed and evolved and depending on what’s going on now in my life but now, I find that there’s such a discipline around it. I have also my miracle morning routine really around meditation.

Patricia Karpas:                 What is it?

Melinda Wittstock:         Oh my goodness. It involves some changes but I tend to do a lot of gratitude. I set intentions for the day of the week. I do a whole bunch of different things. I really start out with just trying to quiet my mind. The thing that I do now though where I’ve really evolved, I think to a different place with it, is literally asking the universe for inspiration. I mean I’ve gotten to the point where I just say something to the universe like, you know that I know that I don’t know.

Patricia Karpas:                 I’m doing the best I can.

Melinda Wittstock:         Can you show me and can you just make sure that I notice, you keep me in the moment, can you keep me open to inspiration? I literally ask for that.

Patricia Karpas:                 I love that.

Melinda Wittstock:         The more that I do that, the more that happens, I’m getting into a better discipline though of like you were saying about doing it through the day, but I do … 10 to 20 minutes when I first wake up and then I try and do some of the afternoon I do some before I go to bed, but I didn’t start out that way.

Patricia Karpas:                 Right. Do you feel like you need it at different points or you just feel like just getting that quick stillness really?

Melinda Wittstock:         It really helps me. It keeps me present like in the present moment. It quiets that inner voice. Also I use it too whenever I get triggered by some thing as an opportunity to clear out any old lending belief or whatever that I may have like we all do. We all have these millions, that inner voice that goes talky, talk, talk, talk. It’s usually critical. It’s like, “Oh my god. I can’t believe that, Melinda. Oh my god. What an idiot,” all that. We all have that, all of us. It helps to quiet that or when you get triggered or a person triggers you for some reason or some sort of situation and you find yourself getting tense or angry or whatever, that’s when I sit down and meditate increasingly because it’s those moments where you say, “Oh, let’s see. What’s this showing me about me?” What old beliefs or old things or old memories can I now retire because I don’t really need them anymore, and literally say goodbye to those, right?

Patricia Karpas:                 Yeah. That’s awesome that you do that.

Melinda Wittstock:         It is a real challenge sometimes. What can happen is we get really busy so we’ve been doing all these meditation so we manifest all these wonderful things and then in manifesting the wonderful things, we get really, really super busy with all the wonderful things we’re doing and then we forget to up that routine. There’s a great quote, I forget who said it but it’s like if you don’t have time to meditate, add half an hour.

Patricia Karpas:                 You start feeling it when you don’t meditate. Once you’ve started a meditation practice when you don’t meditate, you feel it but what you were saying about you’ll have the negative voices and start ruminating. When I go through that experience, that’s my inspiration for creating meditations from Meditation Studio. We have guided meditations called Vanish the Inner Critic, untangle negative thoughts, release self-doubt and it’s so interesting to hear you say that because I do think sometimes when you’re just feeling you’ve moving so fast sometimes it’s great to just pick up and app and just listen to it, force yourself to listen to it at two minutes.

Melinda Wittstock:         I’m going to get your app because [crosstalk 00:44:33] sometimes where you don’t have the discipline to do it yourself, having something there.

Patricia Karpas:                 Which is fine.

Melinda Wittstock:         Just do it.

Patricia Karpas:                 It’s a life hack. Even if you’re just having a morning cup of coffee, it doesn’t have to be pure, you can just listen to something that just helps to ground you into the present moment or whatever it is. We have another meditation called Vanish a Clunky Mood. You wake up and you’re in a really bad mood and you go back into bed and you do a little meditation and maybe you start your day a little bit like maybe 5% better off than you might have without that meditation. I think there’s a lot of little hacks to get meditation into your life and to get some of the benefits from it.

Melinda Wittstock:         Absolutely. What’s next for you, Patricia? Where do you see Meditation Studio going? Where do you want it to be? What’s the big business vision around it?

Patricia Karpas:                 It’s such a great question. We just transitioned from a download app to a subscription service in late December, early January. That was a big transition. That had been our vision for a while because you realize that in order to keep growing and providing new meditations and new features every month that we needed to have a recurring source of revenue. Now, that we got that behind us, we need to really grow our subscription and building the business, scaling the business, finding corporate partners, strategic partners that can help us. We have a free layer.

In our vision, we want everyone in the world to download the app for free and then if they feel compelled to subscribe we’d be thrilled but we love for everyone to have access to the meditations that are free on our app as well. We need to keep scaling, we need to raise money, we need to find strategic partners and we need to continue to ideate on ways to make our business. One of the things that we’ve done or one of our big strategies is around voice activation and so we have a very great relationship with Alexa. We’ve got eight meditations right now for free on Alexa and we’ve got a number of different strategies. We just continued to try to come up with innovative ways to get the meditations out through the app but also through partner platforms as well.

Melinda Wittstock:         That’s wonderful. People can go to meditationstudioapp.com. That’s your website but obviously you can get it on the app store.

Patricia Karpas:                 The iTunes app store.

Melinda Wittstock:         Okay. That was awesome. Congratulations on being named one of the top 10. That’s neat.

Patricia Karpas:                 Thank you. We needed it at the moment that, that came so that was good. Exciting.

Melinda Wittstock:         Patricia, thank you so much for taking the time today, to put your Wings on and fly.

Patricia Karpas:                 Thank you. I love talking with you, Melinda. You’re awesome.

Melinda Wittstock:         You too. Thank you so much.


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