451 Steffani LeFevour: Six Pillars of Success
Are you building a solid and stable foundation for success? Many entrepreneurs simply take the leap, and start building the plane as they’re flying it, which is 100% right … unless you don’t have the right mindset and personal routines that will serve you in the ups and downs to come.
I’m Melinda Wittstock and today on Wings of Inspired Business we meet an inspiring entrepreneur and self-proclaimed personal growth junkie who helps entrepreneurs build that personal foundation.
Steffani LeFevour is an international speaker and bestselling author who has coached thousands of people to master their mindset and transform their relationships in business and life so they can live happier on a daily basis.
She says there are 6 pillars in our personal lives that enable us to build that solid foundation needed for business growth and success.
We’re going to dig deep into all six pillars in a moment – plus how to get out of hustle mode and into flow and the secrets of what she calls “the vortex”.
First I have a question for you…
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Steffani says she wants to live in a world surrounded by ambitious, driven women who take their power back, step into their greatness, and who never say no to a dirty martini.
Through her passion as a happiness coach Steffani has she’s helped hundreds of women shift their mindset, transform their relationships, and live more extraordinary lives then they ever dreamed possible.
She’s been in the business of self-improvement for over 25 years, and after becoming a mom to Jack and Zoe she had a major life shift. Steffani says realized she needed to massively transform what happiness looked like through this new lens of being a parent and create a new custom-designed road map to success.
This new journey has lead her to work on projects with many transformational leaders like, Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Shefali Tsabury, and Neale Donald Walsh all while never missing one of her sons hockey games.
When she’s not chasing after her 2 kids, you can find her coaching, traveling, eating dark chocolate and working by the pool at Soho House in Chicago. What light her up most lately is running high end Next Level Life Mastermind groups for women worldwide and posting real raw mom moments in her Badass Mom Society Facebook group.
So are you ready for Steffani LeFevour? I am. Let’s fly!
Melinda Wittstock: Steffani, welcome to Wings.
Steffani LeFevour: Thank you, so happy to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m excited to talk to you because one of the things that you do in your work with entrepreneurs is helping them get, I guess, the foundational elements in place so they can succeed. I think a lot of entrepreneurs probably forget that part.
Steffani LeFevour: I think what we see and I know you see this so much, as well, is that we focus on building our business, building our business, creating more financial freedom, creating more influence, growing our platform. There’s so much of that, but we don’t peel it back and look at the foundation first.
Steffani LeFevour: I see the foundation as these six pillars in our personal life. Those pillars that I see are very weak sometimes for women entrepreneurs, are number one, our health and fitness, because if we don’t have our health and fitness, what do we have?
Melinda Wittstock: Nothing else matters. Even if we’re making huge amounts of money, we’re adding zeros and zeros and zeros to the bank account, if we’re not healthy we can’t enjoy it.
Steffani LeFevour: Exactly, we can’t enjoy this life and it might not be a long one. Putting your health and fitness first as a really important piece of your solid foundation is crucial, crucial. I think that we think, “Later, when I have more money or when I get this. I don’t have the time now,” you won’t have the time when you don’t have your health. It’ll only get worse.
Steffani LeFevour: Health and fitness is the first pillar in the foundational life, for sure.
Melinda Wittstock: I love that, just on that first pillar. We’re going to hit all six, but on that first one, I have seen so many female entrepreneurs who are very much in the masculine energy get into their 40s and 50s with nothing left in the tank. Like, no hormones left, the adrenal burn out, all that, and I’ll include myself in that category, where you spend your health building your wealth and then end up spending your wealth …
Steffani LeFevour: To get your health back.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, right, and it’s a real thing. Do you think women are a little bit more conscious of this now? Are they more open to being willing to really take self care seriously?
Steffani LeFevour: I think wellness is a more [inaudible 00:14:50] spread awareness, but I don’t see more women. I speak at a lot of retreats and conferences and women can be really successful in some areas of their life. Especially, they can be really successful at having seven and eight figure businesses and most often their health is not where they want it to be, and they’re suffering in that area.
Steffani LeFevour: I’m talking, your health needs to be optimal for you. You don’t have to have a perfect body. You don’t have to have everything perfect, but it needs to be optimal for you to operate your best and feel your best.
Steffani LeFevour: Your body set, your physical health, should be a major priority and needs to be a strong pillar in your foundation. If that’s weak, you’re on shakier ground.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely true. Okay, we’ve got six pillars. What is the second?
Steffani LeFevour: The second pillar is your thoughts, your mindset. It’s not about … Sometimes I call it your intellectual life. It’s not where your smarts live. It’s where your thinking lives. It’s, are you worrying? Are you stressed? Where are your thoughts and are they aligned with what you do want? Are they aligned with the happiest, healthiest, highest sense of who you want to be, or are they stressed and in the hustle? Are they only focused on business and not on your foundation?
Steffani LeFevour: We create from our thoughts and our beliefs, and that’s a really important category and a really strong pillar in our foundation, unless we’re just not considering it, but mindset is everything.
Melinda Wittstock: Mindset is, and I think one of the even more challenging or vexing part of mindset is the iceberg kind of stuff, the stuff that we …
Steffani LeFevour: Yes, the 97% that’s underwater that is the unconscious mind.
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly. I’ve found that the only way I can really recognize that or actually understand what is subconsciously driving me is by paying attention very closely to things that trigger me. If something’s triggering me, if I’m feeling an emotion of some kind, then that’s a clue to, okay, so what’s the belief there that I have that’s attracting that into my life?
Melinda Wittstock: I’ve found more and more, the more I do that and it’s now just a regular discipline and it happens intuitively now. It didn’t [inaudible 00:17:16] but now it does, and my response is to go, “How interesting. That’s funny. Okay, I can investigate but I don’t actually need to. I can just let it go right now.” Just let it go. I can just choose.
Steffani LeFevour: The awareness around our triggers is one major step in mindset mastery, 100%, so that’s awesome.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, just being aware. That’s the biggest thing and that brings us … A big part of the mindset is being in the here and now.
Steffani LeFevour: Mm-hmm (affirmative), 100%, yeah, and awareness is the master discipline. If there was something that wrapped all of this six pillars of our personal life in a blanket, it’d be awareness, because when we’re aware of our health and fitness and where we want it to be and where it needs to be and how important it is, if we’re aware of our mindset and how it’s offtrack and how it needs to be [inaudible 00:18:10] on track, awareness is the master, for sure.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes, absolutely true. Here we are, we’re fit, we’re healthy, we’ve got a kickass mindset, right?
Steffani LeFevour: We control our thoughts, and the next that’s really the identical twin to that is our emotions, because they’re different. Our thoughts and emotions are different. Our emotions is also where I think our heart set is. We have our mindset and we have our heart set, because I can’t just will away by my mind some forgiveness that needs to happen or some feelings that need to be felt.
Steffani LeFevour: Our emotions are really the light switch to our thoughts, so our emotions need to be where we want them to be, too. I love that you said, “If I’m feeling off.” It’s about feeling.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, God, yeah.
Steffani LeFevour: Feeling first, and we create from our thoughts and feelings. Our thoughts and our feelings, we need to give a lot of attention to our thoughts and feelings. Like we mentioned at the beginning, we often are building a business without thinking about our thoughts and our feelings. Our mindset and heart set is so important.
Steffani LeFevour: The next one is our spiritual [inaudible 00:19:29], or some people would call it your religion. Anything that you want to call it, whatever makes you feel connected to yourself, to a higher power, whatever that is. It could just be stopping and going within and connecting to your breath and your blood pumping, but a sense of connection, something bigger than yourself, is another strong pillar that if we don’t put enough attention into, we will be building on top of a weaker foundation.
Steffani LeFevour: The next one that I don’t think women give as much thought to but I think men do, is our character traits and values. Like, what are our core values, what are those character traits that we need to build and grow in order to show up in the world as who we really want to be, which is the sixth pillar, is who are we showing up as in the world.
Steffani LeFevour: The character traits and values and who we’re showing up as in the world, those are things that we can change. A lot of people think, “Oh, well, my character traits … I have a short temper and I am a worrier.” Those aren’t embedded in you. When we do an autopsy of your body, we’re not going to find the worrying thing and the … It’s not in there. We create it in our minds.
Steffani LeFevour: We can [inaudible 00:20:50] choose the character traits and values that we want to grow and enhance, we can choose our core values and live by them, and we can also show up in the world as who we really want to be. Am I showing up in the world as who I really want to be is a powerful question, especially for women entrepreneurs and for moms, because sometimes we’re putting all our energy [inaudible 00:21:09] into our business and we’re not showing up in our family as who we want to be or showing up in the world as who we want to be.
Steffani LeFevour: Those six pillars, when I put energy, attention and focus into those six pillars and build that strong foundation, then I can build my business and my financial life and my relationships and my social life and my quality of life and my life vision on top of that, but when I try and build a business and financial and a life vision on a weak foundation, you can see what happens.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, gosh, it’s true. I think a lot of these principles, though, too, these pillars and brilliant, by the way, they really help us get more into our authentic feminine energy.
Steffani LeFevour: Yes, into our higher self.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, like, I think for women it’s very difficult to figure out how to create space and time for ourselves. At the root of that, and I’m curious your thoughts on this. I have come to believe that the root of that is if we don’t really value ourselves very much, we run around doing all kinds of things for other people, which is great and nice and wonderful, but if it’s at the expense of ourselves, we’re really not serving anyone, right?
Steffani LeFevour: No, no, because a word that I hear a lot of women entrepreneurs say is, “I’m exhausted.”
Melinda Wittstock: Yes, exactly.
Steffani LeFevour: Exhausted and overwhelmed. I can tell you right then they’ve not been focusing on those six pillars. That’s where the exhaustion comes from, is building on top of a weak foundation. If they’ve been putting energy, attention and focus on those six pillars, you feel rejuvenated, you feel strong, you feel resilient.
Steffani LeFevour: You’re state in the right place and you’re more prepared for anything that’s going to come your way.
Melinda Wittstock: The thing that’s really revolutionary for me, though, that I wish I had learned much, much earlier in my life is blocking out my calendar in such a way that allows me to actually live by those six pillars, but here’s the thing that happens. You put in all your self care, you put in all your domestic stuff. You put in things like eating lunch or meditation or walking the dog.
Melinda Wittstock: You put in all those things, being with your kids, being with your partner or your husband or whatever, your lover, your date, whatever. You put in all that stuff and you realize, at that point, there’s not that many hours in the day, and so you start to think, okay, maybe I have, in any given day, it’s not an eight hour work day. It’s like a four hour work day, maybe six.
Melinda Wittstock: Then you start to think, wow, okay, what’s the highest leverage, what are the things that I could do today that advance my business more, because I really don’t have, necessarily, a lot of time, so the time I do have, it’s really critical to use on the highest leverage activities.
Melinda Wittstock: Do you find that women sometimes fall into the trap of trying to do it all, to have it all? Like, getting stuck in the busy work and the trivia, in a way, of business, like the fixing the links or running, I don’t know, writing an invoice, when really, we can hire people to do those things, kind of outsource those out.
Steffani LeFevour: I think what we end up doing is spinning our wheels so much because we are trying to do it all, and one formula that I share with my clients that I found myself, because many years ago I was trying to … This is before I got married, so 13 years ago. I was trying to lose weight, and I was in this place where I was trying to lose weight for my wedding and I was trying these different strategies and I was eating a certain diet at the time and I was taking this VO2 Max Test and I was working out really hard.
Steffani LeFevour: It was so interesting because the harder I worked at it, the more fat I was gaining, the more muscle I was losing. It was like, this strategy, that strategy, this strategy, that strategy, and I was spinning my wheels. I felt so frustrated and I was in the hustle and I was just, like, give me the newest book. Give me the newest thing. Tell me the newest … What do I need to do, do, do, instead of, who do I need to be, where does my state need to be, where do my thoughts need to be?
Steffani LeFevour: I was running around telling every person that will listen that I’m gaining fat, that I’m gaining fat, that I’m gaining fat, so I’m placing this order to the universe of gaining fat and the universe is responding, and I’m gaining fat.
Steffani LeFevour: That’s when I created this formula to create a new reality, which is, your state plus your story plus your strategy equals your reality. S plus S plus S equals R for short. What I mean by your state is, I was so stressed out, I wasn’t drinking enough water, I wasn’t sleeping enough. I didn’t have any sort of a solid morning routine, so I wasn’t priming myself so that I felt good every day and so that I was ready.
Steffani LeFevour: If you are rushing and stressed and going to a workout and someone cuts you off, you’re going to flare up and be angry and be mad. If you’re in a perfect, peaceful state and someone cuts … You’re going to go, no problem. I’ll let you in. Here you go. That’s what I mean by your state. Are you primed and ready for the challenges that may come your way, and not just in the morning. How can you prime yourself in the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening?
Steffani LeFevour: I learned to prime myself before putting my kids to bed when they were young, because I was always flaring up. Who am I showing up as in the world when I’m flaring up and yelling at my toddlers? It’s my job, not theirs, not to be triggered. It’s not the world’s job not to trigger me.
Steffani LeFevour: Is my state in the right place so that I won’t get triggered? Is my story, my thoughts and words, everything I think and say, is that aligned with what I want? My story, when I was trying to lose weight for my wedding was, nothing’s working, nothing’s working, I’m gaining fat, I’m gaining fat, and we create from our thoughts and our words. That’s all I was saying and thinking.
Steffani LeFevour: When this hit me, it literally, I put my hand on my forehead and was like, what am I doing? My new mantra became, I’m burning fat and building muscle, I’m burning fat and burning muscle, and anyone I talked to, I was like, “My metabolism is so high, it’s like fat drops off me. I keep having sizing for my wedding dress because I keep losing weight and I’m feeling so good.”
Steffani LeFevour: I changed my story and my strategies, any strategies I was trying started working once I got my state and my story aligned. I know exactly what you’re saying and I think until we focus on our state and our story, we’re spinning our wheels and going nowhere.
Steffani LeFevour: We can increase our business and enhance our business astronomically and 10X it when we just slow down and focus on our state and story first. Everything else will be more aligned, and then we can take downstream action that feels good, because we know what feels good and what’s not because we’re slowing down and we’re actually in our present body and in the now and feeling it.
Steffani, what was wonderful … I got to meet you and got to know you a little bit at the Wings of the Empowered Woman retreat, which was really an offshoot, I think, of this podcast.
Melinda Wittstock: I thought, wow, wouldn’t it be amazing to bring women together who had successful businesses but wanted to play a bigger game, and I think what was fascinating to me is in marketing the retreat, saying things to women like, “Let’s all play a bigger game,” there’d be this moment of sheer terror for a split second in the eyes.
Melinda Wittstock: Like, “What do you mean play a bigger game? I’m already doing. I’m doing this, I’m doing that, doing, doing, doing, doing, doing.” The idea of doing something bigger or having a bigger business or a bigger impact in the world was terrifying because they could not see that there was a way to have this really big impact without doing more, in fact, often by doing less.
Steffani LeFevour: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: When I saw your bio come through for our podcast interview today, and I love it because if I quote from it, you want to live in a world surrounded by ambitious, driven women who take their power back, step into their greatness, but also never say no to a dirty martini.
Melinda Wittstock: What stops us from stepping into that greatness, like, playing a bigger game?
Steffani LeFevour: Yeah. I think you hit the nail on the head because it’s about being first, not doing first. Be and do and have, not do and have and be. When we can be our highest self, and I agree that when you say playing a bigger game, I think women normally go to, “Oh, no, I need to 10X my business. Oh, no, I need to do more. Oh, no, I’m already overwhelmed, I’m already exhausted,” and sometimes they can think, “Uh oh, now I really have to be the light of who I am. Now I really have to be my highest self.” Both of those things can be really scary.
Steffani LeFevour: It’s our light and our darkness that we’re most frightened of. Play a bigger game, to me, says a lot, and I love it because it pushes me to step up into my highest self. Always, there’s different variations of what my higher self is. Right now, my higher self is not increasing my business. Of course, I always want to do that, but it’s working on my love relationship. Right now, my higher self is really working on my mindset even more and slowing down in order to do more and speed up.
Steffani LeFevour: My higher self is a different ball game all the time. Sometimes it’s my health and fitness that I need to do. Sometimes it’s working on having a more peaceful family and working on showing up as the mom that my kids need me to be. Playing a bigger game can be so multifaceted and I love that you called women in in that way because it’s a really powerful calling.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, it is, and I think if we figure out where the leverage points are in our lives … Like, a lot of your best practices and the best practices in business is being able to outsource things that you don’t love, that you’re not that good at, like, hire your weaknesses. You don’t have to be good at everything, you don’t have to do everything. When we’re following the six pillars, for instance, and we have our mindset right and we have the space to really live in the now, feel our feelings, all these things, we get these inspirations, if we’re connected, kind of the source or God or the divine.
Melinda Wittstock: We get these inspirations and I find, when you actually act on those and use that as a guide, it’s almost like, it starts to get into the realm of channeling, but you start to do that and then all of a sudden, the business, the busy work just goes away because you’re doing the highest leverage activity. By doing this one thing, it’s to accomplish 10.
Steffani LeFevour: What I love that you’re saying is talking about getting into the vortex.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, yeah.
Steffani LeFevour: When we’re in the vortex of focusing on the end result of who we want to be and how we want to show up in the world and what experiences we want to have, and then we ask for the inspiration that will most get us there.
Steffani LeFevour: What is the inspiration? Show me how I can serve. Show me how I can have the best experience possible. Then we take downstream action on that, and the last step is we find joy in all of it. We find joy in the journey. We find gratitude in the present moment. We find bliss in the here and now, that’s in the vortex. That, for me, is the divine in human [inaudible 00:35:30] action and those four pieces to that vortex. I love that talk, and you’re so there. You speak the vortex language without even knowing it.
Melinda Wittstock: I’m totally in it. I think that … My theory, I guess, of entrepreneurship is that if you want therapy, just became an entrepreneur because you’re going to be challenged by your own crap. It’s going to confront you and if you don’t face it head on and if you don’t, I don’t know, head towards the vortex, you won’t succeed. You’ll find yourself years later burning out, doing the same busy work, having the same problems, doing the same things that you were 10 years ago.
Melinda Wittstock: I see a lot of people get stuck in that way.
Steffani LeFevour: Yeah, I think what I see is that we’re trying to take off this plane down this runway and we have all these tools and we have the right navigation and we have the right vision and we’re so ready, and there are these huge boulders in the runway that we’re not removing first. We’re trying to go down this runway and we’re hitting these boulders and we’re swerving around them.
Steffani LeFevour: Let’s just pull back and do the work of removing our limiting beliefs, of not getting triggered, of facing our fears, of [inaudible 00:36:50] our forgiveness and our heart set and our mindset so that those are the boulders that are gone. Once those are gone, then our plane can take off, the runway is cleared and we are soaring, but those boulders get in the way.
Steffani LeFevour: I think we don’t see the boulders. Awareness, again, is the master discipline. When we look at our limiting beliefs, our triggers, our excuses, our unreasonable expectations, our judgments, all of these things that we use to hold ourselves back. When we look at those things, then we can get rid of them.
Melinda Wittstock: How did you come to really get these insights, Steffani, because I think it’s the kind of thing that we all kind of intuitively know as babies, and then we lose it. We kind of lose our connection. We spend a lot of time fitting into societal structures, what’s come before, what we should do, who we should be, all that kind of stuff. What was the moment or catalyst, I guess, that awakened you to this more conscious path?
Steffani LeFevour: I think there was a pivotal time for me in college when I was kind of … I had a plan B which I think a lot of people have which is just to kind of drink a lot and have a lot of sex and have a crazy, throwaway life. My sister died when she was 18 and I was 11 years old and I sort of just gave up after that because my family was really broken, as it should be. It was rattled. It rattled all of us. We had no idea what to do, and this was in the early 80s.
Steffani LeFevour: We didn’t have therapists and grief counselors and all those things. We just came together as a community. I did feel very loved and supported but I do know, subconsciously, and my only tools was give up. I don’t know how to do this while in pain. In college, I started to recognize that I have two options here, and plan B looks like a lot of fun but really destructive, so what about a plan A, what about healing? What about really consciously creating?
Steffani LeFevour: What about looking into who I am and who I’m showing up as in the world? I had this random pinnacle moment where I took a rock that I’d found at a party in the woods, a keg party when I was a teenager, and I’d savored this rock as, like, that was the best keg party ever. I was down at Eastern Illinois University in my senior year, and I went down to a river with a book of Maya Angelou poems that an old roommate of mine had left in the room, and I put all my fears into this rock and I put all of the things that weren’t really serving me back forth in my hands into this rock, and read a poem and threw the rock in the river.
Steffani LeFevour: I thought, I’m done, then. I’m not going that route anymore. I am going to pour myself into personal growth. Back then, I don’t even think I called it personal growth, but I did. I absorbed everything from Oprah and Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra and Byron Katie and Neal Donald Walsch and Abraham Hicks. I just became a junkie, in a better world of junkies than in the actual world of junkies.
Steffani LeFevour: I know that really that was my calling, to absorb all of this. I quickly started teaching it. Even in my early 20s I was teaching law of attraction and live your best life workshops and how to consciously create because I have always taught what I want to learn, so I learn something and teach it, and learn and teach and learn and teach so that I know it better, because when I teach something I have to be in integrity with applying it.
Steffani LeFevour: That’s what started me on the journey, and all of these amazing teachers along the way have enhanced it in so many ways. As you know, once you learn it and you apply it, you become your own master in the sense that now you teach it from a different perspective with your own experiences.
Steffani LeFevour: I created my own courses and challenges and my mastermind and retreats because it’s combined over my 30 years of learning this that has really helped me consciously create a life that I love, that I am blissed out about and that I am really wildly obsessed with.
Melinda Wittstock: How wonderful. I want to make sure everybody can find your book, great book by the way, love it, and find you and work with you.
Steffani LeFevour: Yeah. I loved writing this book. It’s called You Are A Badass Mom. It’s not just for moms but it was definitely written with that tone, but a lot of non-moms do read it. It’s badassmombook.com and it’s free, you just pay shipping. It has a lot of experience of homework in the book. I don’t love books that you just read and you just learn information and then close the book. I’d like you to experience a lot of different practices and processes. I love that book. I also have a Facebook group called the Badass Mom Society where I have thousands of women and I engage with them on a daily basis in that group.
Steffani LeFevour: I really love my quiz. It’s called bestlifequiz.com. I put a lot of time into denying this quiz so that it’s a self diagnostic so that this quiz is designed to help you find those obstacles that are standing in your runway so that you know what’s holding you back and what you need to work on first, so bestlifequiz.com and it’s a free quiz.
Melinda Wittstock: Wonderful, that’s so generous. Thank you so much, Steffani, for putting on your wings and flying with us.
Steffani LeFevour: Thank you. You’re so good at what you do and you light us all up by doing it, thank you.