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Kris Carr is a New York Times and #1 Amazon best-selling author, speaker and wellness activist. She is the subject and director of the documentary, Crazy Sexy Cancer, which aired on TLC and The Oprah Winfrey Network. Kris is also the author of the award-winning Crazy Sexy book series. Her latest books, Crazy Sexy Diet and Crazy Sexy Kitchen, will change the way you live, love and eat!
Kris regularly lectures at hospitals, wellness centers, corporations such as Whole Foods, and Harvard University. Media appearances include: Good Morning America, Today, The Early Show, CBS Evening News, Access Hollywood, The Doctors, The Gayle King Show, Super Soul Sunday and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
As an irreverent foot soldier in the fight against disease, Kris inspires countless people to take charge of their health and happiness by adopting a plant-passionate diet, improving lifestyle practices and learning to live and love like you really mean it. In Oprah’s words, “Kris Carr’s riveting journey started a revolution …” Her motto: Make juice not war! Enjoy her exclusive Business Heroine interview…
BH: This Valentine’s Day marks exactly eleven years from the day you were diagnosed with a rare and incurable stage IV cancer. As you look back over the last decade, what is present for you (surprises, personal aha’s, insights & wisdom)?
Kris: I’m a lot more chillaxed these days. I used to white knuckle everything – my cancer research, dietary protocol, business growth, you name it. I was very impatient and I wanted serious progress yesterday. Basically, I didn’t trust in the order of the universe and the natural flow and rhythm of life.
When you align your intention with your internal tempo (the pace by which you are uniquely wired) and you work hard (but don’t kill yourself) you will absolutely succeed. It’s guaranteed. But when we push the river and demand stuff on our time frames it’s easy to burn out and be disappointed.
It’s also important to stay open to the form your goal presents. Sometimes we try to control the exact outcome of our desires. When we do this we get very rigid. As a result, we can overlook a better dream delivered directly to our doorstep.
Today I don’t have to do a lot of pitching or pushing. What’s meant to come my way finds me. My personal and business goals are aligned with the overall energetic quality I want in my life. And guess what? My company is more successful than ever. It’s possible to work in a sane way that honors your physical and mental well-being. Do your best. And surrender the specific outcomes. That’s my test driven recipe for dream actualizing.
BH: Many women are finding they need to re-learn taking care of themselves. For those who are feeling a bit stuck, yet there is no acute pain (extreme unhappiness, health scares, total burnout, etc), how can someone generate her own wake up call and jumpstart a healthy self-care routine?
Kris: While dramatic wake-up calls can be very holy-shizzle-motivating, it’s better to live consciously (long before a problem arises). And by living consciously I mean listening to your body and being mindful of what you consume, put on your skin and the chemicals used in your immediate environment (toxic household cleaners etc).
Think of your body like a mini-ecosystem. The terrain of your eco-system is what determines the overall health of the organism (namely, you!). When we’re eating process food and dumping sugar, caffeine and too much alcohol into our systems it’s very easy to create health challenges.
From a genetic perspective, we now know that genes aren’t the only thing that determines our destiny. In fact, for most people, genes play a very small role in our health. The soup (environment) we bathe our cells in strongly affects whether we’re sick, fat and tired.
And lastly, let’s not forget sleep. Are you getting enough sleep? Eight hours is still optimum. During uninterrupted sleep our body repairs at the cellular level. So blow off that last text, turn off your iPhone and get cozy.
Here’s a simple jumpstart plan for anyone who wants to have more energy, mental clarity and strong immunity: drink your vegetables daily (green juice rocks!), choose green tea over coffee or cut the caffeine altogether, move your body daily (even ten minute will do!), choose targeted supplementation for your specific needs (a functional medicine MD can help you with this – go to functionalmedicine.org), find fun outlets to reduce your stress (a 5 minute dance party works for me, so does a brisk walk).
Last but not least, don’t overcommit yourself. Nothing burns us out more than being overscheduled and thus inevitably undernourished in body, mind and spirit. Who has the time for self-care when we’re booked back to back?
BH: We love entrepreneurs who invent their own careers based on their own unique journeys and passions. How did you turn your own quest for wellness into your thriving business and brand, Crazy Sexy?
Kris: Well, it all started with my film Crazy Sexy Cancer. And the Crazy Sexy title came from mass email updates I would send to friends and family about my condition. My unique definition of those words was soon to follow.
Crazy = Out-of-the-box, forward thinking. Trailblazing.
Sexy = empowering, whole.
Cancer = teacher.
I began shooting my film a few weeks after I was diagnosed. I needed a creative focus to pull me out of extreme fear and depression. Since I grew up performing and story telling—documenting my journey was seemed like a natural fit.
Plus, as a young woman diagnosed with a so-called terminal illness, I couldn’t find the media or books that I really needed to read. I was still pretty sassy, irreverent and wild. I loved martinis, didn’t have the great career or guy yet, no savings etc. Basically, I couldn’t relate to the cancer books that were referring to older women with years of life experience behind them. I was just getting started!
Once my first book came out and my film was bought by the TLC network, it was off to the races. A month long media tour started with The Today Show and ended with The Oprah Winfrey Show. That’s when my career was launched.
Now that doesn’t mean that I knew how to run a business or that I even had a business! But overtime (about ten years) I figured out what worked for me. Also, my brand shifted from focusing on cancer to teaching people about prevention, compassion and self-care.
Always leave room for your own growth and transformation. It’s essential. My business is a living, breathing, beautiful being. She shifts, changes, gets cranky (from time to time—and that’s ok), needs regular maintenance and lots of space to evolve. I love her.
BH: What was the tipping point in your career (when you felt it really taking off!), and what do you see now that you didn’t see then?
Kris: A couple of things come to mind but what stands out is how I was tied to the traditional publishing model. I didn’t know anything else and I didn’t believe in myself enough to allow for the possibility of creating my own products. Once I turned that around I quadrupled my business.
Today I still write books and tour around giving lectures, but I also create and publish my own content and programs as well. The balance between old school and a new school way of delivering value has inspired me to keep transforming as technology and different digital platforms change and grow.
BH: There are all sorts of statistics out there linking healthy habits to financial and career success (i.e. morning routines, nutrient-dense diets, regular exercise). In your experience, what is the connection between self-care and success, and how did taking good care of yourself affect your own career?
Kris: I think it’s hard to bring your best self to the world or to your job, if you feel like run down garbage. The stronger, happier and healthier I am, the more I thrive as a woman and as a business owner.
Also, when we’re overstressed our bodies are flooded with stress hormones that deplete our energy, mess with our blood sugar levels, and make it very difficult to maintain a healthy weight—especially around our middles. When we’re hauling around too much belly fat we’re literally opening the door to chronic disease.
There’s an inevitable domino effect of goodness that takes place when we value ourselves enough to make self-care a priority. Everyone benefits. The economy benefits (we’re more productive, take less sick days, contribute more creative genius), our families benefit and so do our communities.
In fact, I’ve noticed that when I’m at peak condition, the women on team Crazy Sexy tend to up their games as well. Why? Because I’m setting a positive example and subconsciously they feel like they’re getting permission or encouragement to do the same. If the boss thinks it’s important to take daily juice breaks then they should too! The women I work with are incredibly healthy and conscious and it’s amazing how productive, excited and happy we all are. I can honestly say, we love coming to work!
BH: Any last words of advice for the Business Heroines out there on how to be your own Crazy Sexy Valentine leader?
Kris: Trust your gut. Create, create, create. Listen to what others think, but listen to yourself more. Leave room. You can’t start a revolution if you’re too tired. And lastly, you can’t fail. Every side step is a teaching point.