Episode cover_Tanessa Shears_Elevate Your Health for Game-Changing Business Growth

Elevate Your Health for Game-Changing Business Growth with Biohacking Expert Tanessa Shears

April 10, 2024

Most entrepreneurs aim to increase productivity. Yet, we often fall for unsustainable practices that promise quick results but falter in the long run. To help you overcome it, the biohacking expert Tanessa Shears, introduces a game-changing approach. As a productivity coach and health consultant, she’s mastered the art of sustainable self-improvement. In this episode, she and A.J. dive deep into the secrets to making small, impactful changes that will help you boost your daily output and significantly enhance your quality of life for the long haul.

About Tanessa Shears

Tanessa Shears is a visionary in the field of health optimization for increased productivity. With a background in biohacking and health science, she has dedicated her career to helping entrepreneurs and busy professionals fine-tune their health so they can unlock their true potential. 

Through her “Becoming Limitless” podcast and comprehensive coaching programs, Tanessa demystifies the biohacking process and provides practical, actionable guidance for those looking to elevate their productivity without sacrificing their well-being.

Five biohacks to increase productivity as an entrepreneur

Entrepreneurs often face the challenge of maintaining high energy levels and sharp focus while juggling multiple tasks. This is where biohacking can help. It’s a go-to solution to boost productivity through smart lifestyle adjustments. Here’s how you can leverage these “hacks” to maximize your performance as an entrepreneur:

  • Sleep optimization: Prioritize sleep quality to improve creativity and problem-solving, establish a regular sleep schedule, and create a conducive environment for rest.
  • Mindful eating: Adopt a balanced diet, focusing on nutrients that support sustained energy and mental clarity. Consider the practice of intermittent fasting to sharpen your cognitive function.
  • Movement breaks: Introduce regular movement to your day, whether it’s a brisk walk or simple stretching exercises, to increase blood flow and reduce stress.
  • Mindfulness practices: Incorporate mindfulness techniques, such as meditation or deep breathing, to improve concentration and mental clarity.

Remember that what works for one person might not work for another. The idea is to experiment, note the changes, and then fine-tune your routine based on the results. With the right approach, these biohacks can increase productivity and lead to a healthier, more successful entrepreneurial journey.

Key Insights:
  • Prioritize your health for optimal performance. Your physical and mental health are the foundations of your productivity. Make time for regular exercise, adequate sleep, and nutritional foods to ensure your performance is peak. When you’re in good health, you’re more focused, energized, and ready to tackle any challenge your business may face. Healthy entrepreneurs foster healthy businesses. (03:51)
  • Create sustainable practices that work for you. Avoid the allure of quick fixes because they’re not sustainable; instead, focus on practices you can maintain over the long term. As an entrepreneur, maintaining sustainable practices means you will be better equipped to manage the constant change and challenges that come with running a business, leading to improved personal resilience and long-term business success. (10:49)
  • Find the root cause of your productivity blocks. Identify underlying issues—whether they’re emotional, environmental, or related to your health—and tackle them head-on. For instance, this might mean decluttering your workspace or addressing time management problems. This is how you can significantly enhance your efficiency and effectiveness, creating a smoother path toward achieving your goals and supporting sustainable growth. (18:35)
  • Be consistent. Consistency breeds habit. Choose your productivity strategies and stick with them. It’s consistency, not intensity, that leads to enduring changes and improvements in your work output and quality. (20:26)
  • Take care of your brain. Invest in activities that sharpen your cognitive abilities because, as an entrepreneur, you rely heavily on your mental acuity for decision-making, problem-solving, and vision-setting. You can do this by taking breaks to avoid burnout or learning new skills to stimulate the brain. (26:54)
  • Learn to recognize your limits. Pushing beyond your limits can lead to burnout because it exhausts your mental and physical stamina, which are critical for maintaining the consistent and high-level performance required in entrepreneurship. Learn to set boundaries for your work and respect your need for rest and recreation. It’s crucial to understand that taking a break or saying no can actually increase productivity in the long run. (30:38)
Tanessa’s best advice for entrepreneurs:

“I want to know that when I look back on this entrepreneurial journey, that I felt great the whole time, and I wasn’t putting off my life, my energy, and my health for some arbitrary goal that I kept pushing into the future.” (04:28)

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So Tanessa, thank you so much for coming on the show. I really appreciate it.

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, no, it’s been an adventure last couple months, but thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to have this conversation with you.

A.J. Lawrence:
Besides having a one year old and a three year old, my three kids are all teenagers, so I just get grumpy looks or just no one ever responds to me anymore. Can you kind of talk to us about like a little bit about your entrepreneurial journey? Because looking at your background, there is in hindsight, remote looking at it, like, oh, that’s a logical progression. Obviously the direction, but it looks very logical of how you are doing this. And then how do you see yourself at where are you on your own entrepreneurial journey?

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, we are 10 years in business this week on the 10th of February.

A.J. Lawrence:

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, it feels like a big milestone, but you’re right. Looking back, it felt very just like, oh, of course we would do that. But in the moment it was always like re-evaluating, how is this working with my life and my family? Because I opened a business in 2014, and it was full time personal training at the time. My clients at the gym I was working at were like, Tanessa, go to this gym, train us out there. We want to support you. We want you to do your own thing.

And at the time I was like 25, and I was like, there’s no way. I don’t know how, business my age? No, that’s for people who know what they’re doing. And so it was really just kind of like a stumble trip into the whole thing, figuring it out as I went. But it was within about the 15-month mark of being into the business that I started having like, it was about $100,000 in the first year. It was really fast that it went and it was exciting.

But coming 2017, I’ve been in business about three years, I was looking forward to my future and I’m like, okay, I want kids. And right now I’m doing 33 hours a week, feet on the floor, nevermind the marketing, the backend, the admin, all of that kind of stuff, and I would do like 8 hour stretches of clients. Where do you eat in that? Right? And it just became this point where it was like the lifestyle, I wasn’t able to properly lead. I’m like, well, if I’m not taking care of my energy and my health and I’m not prioritizing my sleep because I’m here helping you guys prioritize your energy and your sleep, this doesn’t make sense.

So I started venturing online and I decided it was going to be a very slow process. So for every year from 2017, I swapped out one day of in-person clients with one day of online clients. We fast forward five years, I’m fully online and I work with six and seven figure entrepreneurs to help them figure out their health while running a business. Because that’s the hard part, right? We have kids, we have life, businesses, and it really just feels like health is one of those things where like, yeah, yeah. When I hit this revenue mark, when I bring someone on, when things get quiet after this launch and we keep putting all these conditions on, then I will focus on me.

But we’re entrepreneurs. That day never comes because we hit a milestone, we celebrate, and then we move the goalpost. And so we’re forever in this like, next, what’s next, what’s next, growth, growth. And while that is fun, I also want to enjoy the journey. I want to wake up feeling well rested. I want to have energy. I want to have clarity of thought. And I want to know that when I look back on this entrepreneurial journey, that I felt great the whole time and I wasn’t putting off my life, my energy, and my health for some arbitrary goal that I kept pushing into the future.

A.J. Lawrence:
No, that is really kind of cool how much you’ve brought into it. And more than anything, your energy level. As I’m sitting here going a little bit into my mid-afternoon doldrums, I’m like, Oh my God, I feel like I’m drinking a shot of espresso. I mean this.

Tanessa Shears:
I love it.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah, okay. As you were talking, there are two things. One, I love the phrase feet on the ground. I’ve heard it from the restaurant, back of the restaurant, you know, front office, back office. But like that feet on the ground for what you do, from where you came from to where you are now, that is true. Because it’s like being in the business versus working on the business when you’re feet on the ground.

You’re a consultant, you’re trading time for money versus building something that can allow you to live in Panama for a couple of months and then maybe Spain or maybe somewhere else before, obviously going back to Canada. We’re saying, Oh, I went from one day virtual, one day in-person, and then a few years later, I was working with six and seven figure entrepreneurs. Where did that kind of focus for the entrepreneurs come? Because I know as an entrepreneur, it is so hard. I mean, everyone, no matter what, it’s hard to kind of create the right balance and the right sleep and the right exercise and nutrition. But entrepreneurs have that little bit of extra complexity to our lives. So just like, it changes in a moment. So creating consistency to provide that is a really important thing. But why did that transition come and how did that happen for you?

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah. So when I was transitioning out of the personal training role and more into the consulting position, I noticed that actually a lot of my clients were entrepreneurs. And I don’t know if this was a coincidence, but I was like, okay, I have all these clients that are entrepreneurs and they’re telling me, Wait, yeah, I’m fitting better in my clothes, which you know, as a personal trainer, that’s what most people come to you for. They want to lose a little weight, hang up. And they were like, but I’m also way more productive in my business. And at the end of my day, I’m not so drained that I still can take my kids for a walk down the end of the block. I don’t feel like I can collapse out of the couch and that’s all I have the energy for.

There was this systematic upgrade. They’re like, I could do my workouts in the morning so I get more done. There was this intermingling, and I had known the entrepreneurial community so well being part of it for so long. And then my clients were running at the time, six, seven, and I even had a couple eight figure client businesses where I was like, I’m starting to see patterns in the same issues that entrepreneurs come up with again and again. It was a community that I was so familiar with that I was like, I can help here. I know exactly what it takes because I was doing 33 client hours per week plus the backend and how I have shifted that so that I can run a business and take care of myself. It’s a skill, right? And I knew how to teach it, so that’s kind of why I started transitioning.

A.J. Lawrence:
Well, let’s get into this because one things I like to kind of move into is how do you deal with the transition points that happen as you grow on your entrepreneurial journey? And one of the things I know from hindsight, besides the gazillion of other strategic and tactical mistakes I made in the growth of my last company that I did get lucky in the sale, but, like, didn’t bring the best outcome that I could have. The thing that I do look back as one of the major was as we grew, I just kept putting more of myself into it. So from what was always a very consistent 50 hours moved to 60 to 70 to even longer as we kept growing. Drinking regularly, my workouts were one of the first things that kind of, you know. I put kettlebells all over the office and I put stuff, but like no consistency.

I was getting heavier and stronger. But the wrong heavy and probably the wrong type of strong at the same time. And my sleep disappeared. I did start tracking near the end and it was like I was under 5 hours of sleep. I mean, this is kind of maybe a little more extreme because this is at the end before I sold and kind of rebuilt my health or tried to rebuild my health. But, how do you kind of come to helping entrepreneurs create a more consistent approach towards their health? Let’s kind of just talk about that and then the benefits of doing so.

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, well, I think entrepreneurs love data. And I was like, how can I get buy in from people that value data? They value being able to see results and feel like actually this matters to me because we go on the Internet, we look at the health landscape out there, and there’s this influencer in this YouTube, and this person says do this, and my friend is doing this routine. And we’re just like, Oh my gosh, there’s so much to do. So what I did was I developed a very specialized skill in teaching clients how to use data from a ring that I’m wearing. I supply all my clients with these rings and I analyze their data. I teach them how to understand it so we know we’re getting the best return on investment for the things we’re doing. So I had a client come in and he was really struggling with getting out of bed in the morning. He’s like, but I’m getting 8 hours of sleep. What’s going on? I was able to look directly at the data and say, well, you’re only getting 40 minutes of deep sleep.

You’re supposed to be getting minimum 60. Here are the three things that affect deep sleep the most, let’s start at the top. And so we would start with one and we were able to find the one thing for him. So we tried the first thing, didn’t make a difference, tried the second thing, that hit it. So we know for him, it was a number of minutes of intense exercise per week had a significant impact on his deep sleep. And he could forget about spending time on the first hack, which was we were playing with the timing of coffee.

So this is the thing is when I can say to you like, hey, I can tell you exactly the habits that make the difference and you can let go of everything else and you are going to see an improvement and return on investment, we can get buy in on that, right? And it’s exciting, it’s a layer of accountability, it’s fun, it’s how our brains work, right? And so I like to pair this data-driven approach with what I call the experimenter’s mindset.

The other trap that most entrepreneurs get stuck in is this, okay, this is the season I’m going to get healthy, I’m going to do five workouts a week, I’m not eating sugar anymore, I’m going to go on a walk every morning, all of it. We’re like, yeah, this is exciting. We do it, five, six weeks go by and then all of a sudden, holy, the business blew up, something happened, I got a client problem. You drop everything because it was never sustainable during a busy season and you don’t know how to maintain it. So what I like to do is, I call it the experimenter’s mindset. And so I’m a really big fan of sustainability with health protocols, so doing the things you know work for you sustainably. And how we do that is we layer in one thing at a time.

So for most entrepreneurs, I’m happy if you can get out for three 15 minutes walks per week to start. And our brains are like, that’s not enough. So we don’t ever do it. But I’ll ask you this. If we fast forward three months from now and you’ve been going on three 15 minutes walks per week, would you be better off than if you’d have done a week of the all or nothing plan and then quit? And so I really like this idea of, okay, we’re going to do something for a week. At the end of the week, we’re like, hey, what is working? What’s not? And what are we doing differently going forward? If it worked, we keep it. If we didn’t, we modify it or let it go. So we’re constantly in this process of adding one small thing at a time.

And I’m a really big fan of doing it when we are in our busiest seasons because we know that any protocol we develop in a busiest season, we can maintain in a future busy season.Because if we wait until everything comes down to get to it, then a busy season comes and you’re just like, I don’t know how to maintain this. Right? And so we pair those together using data and wearable tech to get return on investment and then we pair that with this experimentered layers approach, and this is how we create personalized, sustainable protocols, long term, that fit with your demanding business, your life, all of that kind of stuff.

A.J. Lawrence:
No, that is good because I do think a lot of us are like, oh, yeah, we need to do x, we need to do y. And yes, kind of the stacking of approach. Like my first approach was, it was caffeine at noon and there was an improvement, but it wasn’t huge. And it really did take me a while to go, Oh, okay, was increasing the amount of time I spent in HRV or heart rate zone two. And then, well, that was nice but not much.

But if I had made sure I had two to three times of high spikes into five, not just like one off, but like, oh, if I spend at least 30 minutes in a five spread out throughout the week, all of a sudden, wow, I get that deep sleep. So when you work with a client, the first thing you do is, is it just Oura or do you look at WHOOP, or is it just you just work off of the Oura when you work with your clients?

Tanessa Shears:
I use Oura just because I send my clients Oura. Like all of my spreadsheets and everything are formatted to it, right? So I’m able to track trends a lot easier. So I just kind of like unify it by saying, hey, it’s just included so that you don’t have to worry about, is it this one? Is it this one? Is it this one? Because a lot of Oura’s data is validated against heart rate and ECG data to be quite accurate. And so I just like to deliver the best service. Let’s go with the best experience. So that’s why I ended up choosing Oura.

A.J. Lawrence:
Yeah. And I like Oura because, they talk about it less but definitely in their early days, they partnered a lot with research hospitals and during COVID where they were doing the 10,000 people, this, they did the partnership with the NBA, having the players track their sleep on different activities, all that. They really have a research focus and bringing like when they tell about things compared to sometimes it’s like, well, yeah, this influencer says you should be paying attention to this. It’s like, no. Oura is thousands and thousands of people actually having done it. But I know there’s so much more data you can bring out of that.All right, so when people come in, is it normally people who just are looking to improve or are they people who need to get back in shape or to work with more towards that idea like alright, I’m already doing stuff but I want to take it to the next level.

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, I get both clients actually. So half of the clients I say I would get, actually probably more closer to two thirds, are like, I just need to get something. I’ve not taken care of myself in so long. I don’t feel the way I want to feel. This wasn’t how I thought this was going to be. Just help, I can’t stay consistent. I’m falling off the wagon all the time. What’s wrong with me? Is it something to do with me? So that’s about two thirds. And then about the other third of the clients that I get are ready for a level up, meaning they are already in shape. They are eating relatively well. They are somewhat taking care of their sleep, but they want that extra 5%, that extra 1% level up because they know what a difference that it makes because they’re already invested in their health. And so that’s kind of where data plays another role, right? Is if you have been invested in your health for so long, you’re gonna start needing some evidence, an evidence based approach to get that extra 1%. Because when you’re already healthy, it’s very hard to find that next level.

Like for me, I have found in Panama that I have constantly been seeking out that extra 1% because I’ve had exposure to new environment. A lot of time on the beach, a lot of time in the sand, and I’ve been getting regular scores like across the board high nineties. And so seeing like, okay, what is it about this experience and how can I use this to help my clients level up?
The sun is an amazing thing. It is.

A.J. Lawrence:
I miss living in Southern Spain. My numbers have dropped living in- I live in Northern Virginia and I do not have that. But sorry, I took you off. But yes, okay.

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, no, it’s a lot of just looking at what is that next thing that could help and always asking like, how can I bring this home? How can I bring this to my clients? What have I learned from being here in changing my environment, right? Because you’re right, at home, I live in Vancouver, Pacific Northwest, gray and rainy a lot of the year, right? So if I’m really recognizing well, light really impacts me and I wake up when it’s dark, how can I start bringing in maybe those morning light boxes in the morning strategically? Also finding I’m exercising more here, like the tweaks to the routine. And that’s kind of what I do with my clients as well, is it’s looking at when they’re looking for that next 1%, I’m looking at what are the habits that we can implement that I know have created that extra 1% not only for myself, but other clients in the past.

A.J. Lawrence:
And when someone comes, let’s use a little bit more on the I need help category because I have a bad tendency of falling in and out of that group regularly. What do you tell them for like, okay, it takes some time before you see some positive. I would assume within some like if they follow what they, you know, just getting a good couple of nights of sleep a lot of times makes my whole world change completely. I joke, here, I have to get up at like 5, 5:30 in the morning because the middle school buses, all things are so, so early in the morning. But like what’s the kind of the expectation setting for someone looking to work on their thing? Like first, is it just paying attention to their sleep? What’s that kind of thing? And then how long before they see some positive movement here?

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, I think part of it depends on how far we have to go until end goal, right? If someone right now is sleeping 4 hours a night and they’re eating mostly processed food, like little changes are going to make a huge difference. But what I always like to set off the expectation as the bad is it’s a conversation like, okay, where do you feel would make the biggest impact in your life? And then I always like to lend a hand because it’s not just consulting that I do, it’s a blend of consulting and coaching. Right? It’s like, I also want the input of the entrepreneur because they know their life best. But if I’m always asked for my recommendation, I always recommend to start with sleep because it impacts everything else.

Like if we’re getting short, fragmented sleep and the quality is not great, it makes us hungrier during the day and it ramps up our cravings. Our blood sugar is not as stable. All of this makes eating healthy very difficult. Then think about waking up tired and trying to get to a workout or feeling exhausted in the afternoon, you’re going to skip your workout much more. So if we can fix the thing that’s at the root, I often think of sleep as not just another pillar of health, but like the foundation on which everything else is built. So I like to start with sleep.

And in that I do like to give fast start habits which I find if you can implement these this week, you will be feeling better by next week. And those habits, I can share them with you. And they are pick a bedtime and stick to it at least six nights a week. And I’m not saying like 10:00 p.m. on the dot. I’m saying give yourself an hour window and start getting consistent with your body’s clock. It’s going to affect your brain in ways that you can’t even imagine until you’re consistent. Number two is if you can stop eating at least 3 hours before bed. Because if we’re eating within that three hour stretch before bed, it’s amazing what that does. It affects the quality of your sleep, your restlessness. If you struggle with waking up with a busy brain in the middle of the night, which many entrepreneurs do struggle, get back to sleep, fall asleep, this is something that definitely helps with that.

The third habit I usually recommend is screens off. Sometimes asking an hour before bed feels like a big stretch at the beginning. So I recommend, hey, what about 15 minutes to start? What about 30 minutes? And we’re looking at that layering approach again. And then the last habit that I will recommend is if you can get outside for five to ten minutes every single morning within 1 to 3 hours of waking up, because this sets your clock so you have the appropriate amount of fatigue when you get ready for bed that night.

So we’re looking at bed on time, if you can stop eating 3 hours before sleep, if you can watch your screen time before bed, and if we can get outside in the morning. If you just do those four things consistently, you will feel wildly different in a week. If those things are not in your realm of what you’re doing right now, because they affect our brain and the body clock within us that regulates fatigue and energy and clarity and focus and all of that kind of stuff.

A.J. Lawrence:
And I like those are some very good approaches that kind of get you moving in a direction. And I think maybe even coming as important as something like this, because I think a lot of us put our own physical health, our own mental health, Oh, I’ll be able to handle it. We do degrade it or we do give it less importance than a lot of the other priorities we try and deal with in our lives. And sometimes it is like, oh, half hour that or half hour doing something that’s going to make me a little bit healthier or half hour in answering this really important email for a big client. How do you frame the time commitment? And obviously everyone’s going to be different, the needs, etc, but just trying to set the expectation of what is the time commitment someone should be putting into their own physical approach for more energy and focus.

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, great question. So I always, that’s another reason I start with sleep, it’s free and you’re doing it anyways. So if you can just improve the quality of sleep you’re getting, that’s already a really great place to start. But I’ll give you an example with a client. So when he came to me, he was doing the work 8 to 4:30, hang out with the kids, jump back on the computer at 8:30, work until midnight, go to sleep, repeat over and over again. And this was something he did quite regularly.

But the reason he had to jump back in when I started probing was because the hours of 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, he’s like, I’m so drained, my brain’s not working, it takes me longer, I’m just distracted all the time. I have this brain fog and it’s just like, I feel like I’m not doing enough. And I’m always behind and so I have to jump back in at night. And that’s affecting the sleep we get in this kind of weird cycle. Right? So one of the things I had him do is really start prioritizing sleep. And that looked like getting enough sleep and getting quality sleep.

And there’s obviously a ton of stuff that you can do for that. But what ended up happening is when your brain is well rested, it works faster, you are less distracted, and you are more easily focused. You don’t get the afternoon energy crash, and so you get back that time and productivity. Because we think that that 8:30 to 11:30 at night is getting us some extra productivity hours, but really it’s just causing us to lose that afternoon the next day. So what I always love to invite is, okay, what if we get your brain working, and what normally took you 8 hours takes you seven to start or six and a half to start? Because you can really, you can get the efficient, you can move through things, you’re emotionally stable, you’re responding effectively, and then you have, let’s even just say, an hour free. You could choose to do some more work with that or you could start to buy back some of your time to give to your health.

So I always like to think of like, our brain is the best asset we have in our business. If you think about your team, your products, whatever it is like that, if you are the CEO that is making decisions, you need to be making them effectively and you need to be able to show up in a way that is representative of who you want to be in your business. And for me, I always love to know that my brain is the most important thing and I treat it that way.

And so when you start to kind of shift this mindset, I’m now able to prioritize my health, which I know makes me work a lot faster. And that is why I only work 25 hours a week now, because I found a way to consistently condense and get the most out of it. Because my brain, I’m problem solving differently, I’m more creative. I’m able to come up with new ways to think about things. And so I always like to think of it as like first of all, can we get some of that time back so that we’re not so drained in the afternoon? And then what would we do with that time? So that’s kind of what I start to look at. So I don’t think of it as something that’s taking all of this time. It’s giving you time back. It’s just time back in a different way than what you’re experienced before.

A.J. Lawrence:
And it’s also being smarter about your time. Because I do think one of the things that happens repeatedly for a lot, you get caught up in the reactionary response to running your business. It is put out the fire. It’s working in your business, feet in the ground approach. But to be able to take your business to a higher level, you need to actually figure out the trade offs, your resource allocation from this. And like you said, and as I’ve learned to my own detriment, without having your A game mentally, you can pay a price for it. So I do like that approach because I do think that helps a lot of entrepreneurs because we all know the burnout feeling and the Oh my God. And it’s that like showing the value of being able to do it I think helps a lot because then all of a sudden it’s like, okay, I’m not trading off the solving of this fire or some undefined thing.

It’s like, okay, this is actually going to help me bring more. I’ll be more focused. I’m going to have a more condensed point of contact focus when I come, so therefore I’ll be able to handle it better. So that is really cool. And it’s a great way of helping entrepreneurs look at it.

Let’s talk about the other side. I’ve done athletic competition. I ran track in university and ran and caught a football and basically got beaten up so I could see some of the people who are at a very, very high level. I was like right below there. But what does this look like when you say you have people who come in because they are really, really focused in taking to- what does an elite higher level approach look like? Is it an outcome basis? Is it just more of a focus? Is it a personal structure? What does it kind of look like at a high level when someone’s really trying to bring it to the next level?

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, I think it’s actually quite multifaceted. I think one, there is literally the data. We’re looking at, can we get our scores consistently into the nineties with our Oura ring? Meaning, like your readiness, how to start the day, your activity levels and your sleep, can we get those up? So that’s very much more of an objective database. We have also a subjective base of how you’re feeling. Because I think it’s fascinating as entrepreneurs, we build these businesses for freedom, for time with our family, for all of these things to feel presence and peace and joy or whatever like that. And then we put this off until the future.

And so when I have clients come in, they’re often like, yeah, okay, I’m taking care of all the things but this doesn’t feel how I want it to feel. Like, I want to feel like I have some semblance of balance. I want to feel like I can be present with my kids and not like checking my email under the dinner table, scrolling Instagram while I’m also watching Netflix. Like, there’s a sense of like living my life that I feel like I’m missing because I can’t stop thinking about my business. So I teach them how to get their brain back, essentially, gain control over their brain again. Right? And how to access higher thinking, how to learn how to set their state in their body so that they’re no longer feeling rushed, stressed out, overwhelmed, anxious.

I have deeply suffered with anxiety. This is back before I started moving my business online about 2015. And so I know what that does to your energy. And I just knew going into the life I wanted, like this is not the experience I want. And so part of that, like we said, we have the data approach, and we also have the approach of, does your life feel the way you want it to feel? And if it does not, here is how we’re going to fix this. And so we go about it on that approach as well. And then the third pillar in that is we look at how you’re spending your time.

When I often will start digging in, because it’s not just always the health, right? How we spend time in our business also reflects how we spend time with our health, if we have time. Because if we’re constantly taking too long to do things, getting distracted, ineffective, we’re doing work that should be outsourced. That’s something we need to get off our plate. So I have a very specific planning and structure process that I will integrate into the businesses of my clients. Now they are finishing work on time. And I think one of the biggest benefits to understanding how to use your time properly is you get to the end of your day and you feel like you have done enough, because that’s a huge roadblock for entrepreneurs. I have not done enough and that’s why I can’t go to bed or I have to work after dinner. Like, I haven’t got enough done yet.

A.J. Lawrence:
The infinite list.

Tanessa Shears:
Right? But that’s the fascinating thing is the first question I just asked is like, well, what’s enough? Can you tell me, like when you’re saying to yourself every day I didn’t get enough done, how much was enough? And nine out of ten times the clients that I work with, they’ll be like, I didn’t even. I don’t know, I just have this, you know, 40,000 thing list and projects into the infinite future. Of course you feel behind. So a lot of that is just defining what is enough and getting to the end of the day with a feeling of like, you’ve done what you intended to do, you had room for the things that came up unexpected, and you have a feeling of satisfaction at the end of your day. That is how you were able to have a life outside of your business and not have your business be your life. Like, bringing the two together, it’s very well rounded. So that’s like getting to that elite level.

It’s like, does the data line up? Do you feel the way you want to feel? And are you using your time in a way that supports your life?

A.J. Lawrence:
Well, this brings up a really good question because that is such a great goal. I’m sitting here going, okay, I need to work on some of this. But how are you defining what success is going to be for you as an entrepreneur? You’re helping all these other people bring so much more value into themselves, more focused, being able to be there more, being able to feel fulfilled with what they’re doing, feeling like they’ve done enough. How do you go about defining what it means for you? I mean, you got to be with your kids on the beach. To me, that was always like the top thing ever. But what’s success for you as an entrepreneur?

Tanessa Shears:
I get to decide what my life looks like and feels like. And I think life feeling the way I want to feel while having a successful business is key because it was actually not this January that just passed, but 2023 January. I was out on a very cold Canada morning walk in January. I was listening to this podcast and it was a podcast with an entrepreneur, his name’s Rob Murgatroyd . And he said, when is enough enough? And he defined it as, enough is enough is when something affects the bandwidth for a great quality life, when it affects the bandwidth you have for a great quality life. Like, when’s enough enough in business?

And at that time, I was seeing a lot of clients in long 1 hour sessions and my business was, it had always just been this way, right from personal training. I just switched it to online. But it was at this point, my husband was working full time and he was also running an Amazon business and we had all this stuff going on and we were like, well, what is enough? Like, what’s the end goal here? Because at the time I’d been in so many masterminds and communities that were like, okay, 50k months, let’s go. Oh, million dollar year, let’s go. Like, those were the goals that were almost given to me. And we had this moment of like, do I want this? Okay, and if I do, that’s cool. But like, are these actually my goals? And what does a great life look like for me? And we were like, it’s traveling four months a year. My husband is now retired from his job as a mechanic and just runs his own videography business. Like, what do those days look like? What does this life look like? And really beginning to understand that that only requires us to earn x amount of dollars per year.

So everything over that is a bonus. And it’s wonderful. However, if it erodes the bandwidth I have for my life, it’s not worth it anymore. And so we were able to kind of create this dream. Like right now we’re on a two month trip to Panama and we’re always looking at, okay, what do we need to make this life possible? And our goals are now set on what we want. And so that in itself took a lot of business restructuring over the last year. Even looking at, okay, if we want to live and see the world with our kids and we want to raise them spending two months here learning Spanish and then going to Spain, if we want that for our family, what does that need to look like for time in my business? Client facing hours? What do I need to outsource? What do we need to get for child care? What do we need for income? And it starts looking at, if I want to feel the way I want to feel, I need to make sure that’s reflected. And always my decisions are pressed through that filter.

And so everything has been pressed through that filter at that point where we have now taken a step back from only ever having money as the goal. It is still a very prominent goal, but now looking at like, if I’m not enjoying my life in the process of creating the money, it’s not worth it. So it’s a balance, it’s a balance. It’s not to say you can just not make the money and feel happy and life’s great. It’s finding that yin and yang of balance. And I think most entrepreneurs, we just put off living until some undetermined endpoint, and then we just all of a sudden wake up. It’s ten years later, our kids are grown. I just didn’t want that to be my life. Right?

A.J. Lawrence:
I mean, it happens very, very quickly. My children may grumble a bit about taking them from middle school in Brooklyn to living in Spain and going to British private school. But my son just started university, my next child is going next year to university. It’s like, it happens quick. I mean, I laugh, yours are young so it just feel I remember that like constant focus having to be in.

I was dropping my son off at university and I couldn’t get the memory of just holding him the day he was born. Sort of in that lovely football, I always call that, just sitting there in my nook of my arm. And now he’s six foot three and this big thing. And it’s like, it happens so quickly. And taking that time now, I mean, it will be the memories, definitely the memories in Spain or especially the travel we did while there, it will resonate through the rest of your life. So that is so amazing and using entrepreneurism as a means of enhancing and focusing on that, I think is pretty powerful. So now I’m really impressed with what you’ve done, and a lot I need to pay attention to just on my own.

What’s the best way the audience can learn more about what you’re doing? Thinking about their own health, their own focus, their own sleep, what’s the best approach for them to learn more and to kind of then talk or decide to talk with you or not?

Tanessa Shears:
Yeah, so if this has been resonating and you’re wanting more like in the weeds, like okay, what can I start doing to feel a bit better? I’ve put together a playbook. I call it my Entrepreneur’s Playbook: 12 Ways to Biohack Your Energy. And in this playbook are what I feel are 12 very effective steps that you can take and think about that layering approach. Think of it like a buffet. You go take one, you try it, you come back, finish it, and then go back for another.

But it’s a full spectrum of things that you can do with your health. And the beautiful thing is every hack is linked to a podcast episode on my podcast, Becoming Limitless, that takes that idea and shares here’s how it applies to you and your business, here’s how it will affect you, here’s how to apply it. So my principle in my business has always been I don’t gatekeep information. If you want to know it, I guarantee you I put it on my podcast. And what I do with clients is the implementation, the coaching and the consulting, right? So you are fully able to find all of those in detail there that will give you a fantastic start. So that’s on my website at tanessashears.com, there’s a freebies tab on the top, it’s just the biohacking playbook, you can grab that. Yeah, it’s a good one. But otherwise than that, social media wise, I’m on Instagram most often, just tanessashears really simple.

A.J. Lawrence:
We will make sure we have that in the show notes and also the direct link to the program so you can see that. We’ll put it in our socials linking out and of course in the email when this episode comes out. Thank you so much Tanessa. You’ve given me a lot to think about. Like, okay, a little bit more attention, a little bit more effort, a little more focus on the things that are going to help bring A game. And just, I think so much just by hearing other entrepreneurs talk about the way they face things or the way they do things for other people, helps us reframe. Because I think a lot of us have heard everything you have said now, not to degrade it, but we haven’t put it in the framework that that’s something that can kind of be valuable to me instead of just a long list of them. I call it my daily dump list. But it is very that infinite list.

That’s one thing. Versus this is something to help me become more effective of what I want to do because of its alignment with my entrepreneurial goals. I can better bring focus to that because that brings value versus taking things away. So thank you so much for putting all this effort. The journey you’ve taken has helped you be able to do that, and I think that will help those like me improve ours. So thank you so much.

Tanessa Shears:
Thank you so much for having me.

A.J. Lawrence:
Hey everyone, thank you so much for listening today. Please go check out Tanessa’s site. We’ll have the links as I said and everything. And I think there’s a lot to learn. All of us can have a little bit more sleep, a little more incremental is going to bring so much more value. But I think as a geek, and I know I can geek out on various subjects, going that extra bit to really dedicate yourself to being more present and having the skills of a full night, all this to bring to bear, I think is pretty powerful. So look, go check it out and thank you again for listening.

Please, if you think what Tanessa is sharing is something that a friend of yours or another entrepreneur can learn from, please share with them this episode and make sure they subscribe. All right everyone, talk with you soon. Bye-bye.

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