Fabienne talks with us about managing a busy life and staying focused on The One Thing that matters most. She weaves humor, energy, intuition, and love into a life filled with the essentials. Fabienne Raphael is an author, speaker, and CEO of Marketing To Crush Your Competitors. Learn more at Marketing To Crush Your Competitors.
ERH: Today I’m speaking with Fabienne Raphael. She is an inspiring speaker and author and CEO of Marketing to Crush Your Competitors. I met her at the Agents of Change conference here in Portland, Maine this year. Fabienne, a warm welcome to you.
Fabienne Raphael: I’m so happy to be here today.
ERH: Thank you. One of the things that I noticed. I was in the work field. [ I have worked for just over 20 years in health care] watching people work really hard, but not look all that happy while they were working. When I looked at myself, I saw that same thing going on. That’s what inspired me to make some changes. I noticed as I have learned more about you through Agents of Change and hear you speak and then to really dive in and look at all of the things that you are really doing; You are an author. You are crushing it obviously with Marketing to Crush Your Competitors. You’re doing all these things. It seems like you wouldn’t have a minute of time to yourself. I would love to know how you find time for your friends and family, which you talk about as being very important.
Fabienne Raphael: I have to say that it had been a struggle for me for a long time because I’m the type of person that gets excited with a lot of projects. When I started with my first business, I was kind of like an opportunity seeker. I could dive in and do something for, I don’t know, a few hours, sometimes a few days or a few weeks and then find out about something else and just drop that last project and start another one. What it would lead to was just having a couple of things started but never anything finished. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed at that time. I would say that what really helped me was of course my business and life partner, Reggie, who is very good at helping me grow with the readings that I’ve done, the books I’ve read, or the videos I’ve listened to, or the conferences I attended. Listening a lot about personal development and trying to apply it myself. Then I’m at a point right now that I could say that it has nothing to do with discipline or motivation. It has to do with habits.
Fabienne Raphael: I’m reading right now The One Thing, the book The One Thing. I just finished reading for like the second time the book Essentialism because I felt that in a period of time, I mean it’s good you remember what you read. Then at a certain point it says if you slip and you forget about those very simple things but that could really help you live a happy life. I’m in a period where I read a lot about how to create good habits and how to follow them. It has nothing to do with discipline because discipline is something that seems to be … When you say the word it’s like strict, so it’s as if you are obligated to do it, right? But habit is something that comes on itself, right? On itself.
ERH: I like that.
Fabienne Raphael: A couple of weeks ago, me and my life partner decided to go to the gym every morning. The thing was, let’s start by waking up every morning by 5:30 and just get to the gym. That’s what we started doing. Now for me, waking up at 5:30 is not a pain anymore because it’s a habit. It’s what I do every day. When we come back from the gym, I make coffee. While the coffee is being made, then I write in my journal. It’s something that I do every day at the same period of time. So for me, it’s not something that I have to put effort in. It’s just a habit.
ERH: Did you get that through The One Thing or Essential? What was the book that inspired that thinking?
Fabienne Raphael: I have to say that these two books are kind of like at the same level. I would say it’s both of them that inspired me to do that. Yeah, and I think it’s the same thing with spending time with my loved one or with my son. It’s exactly the same thing. I have to say, well let’s say this evening, usually on Tuesday evenings I have more time in the evening so we spend family time and we play a game or we watch a movie or we do something together because for me it’s very important.
ERH: Do you have to schedule that do you find, like you do when you are working out? Do you find that you say, “This is the beginning of the week.?” How do you make sure that you are getting that quality time?
Fabienne Raphael: I would say that since it’s a priority for me, it’s not as if I do an effort in order to make it happen or realize it.
ERH: In terms of all this work that you’re doing, it would seem to me that you are putting in 80 hours or 100 hours a week. To me, I’m thinking that you’ve found ways not to have it be 60 or 80 hours a week. Can you talk about some of those secrets?
Fabienne Raphael: Let’s say for example, running my podcast. It’s once a week that I have a new episode. I usually record my interviews on Tuesday afternoons. I put all these interviews in the same afternoons, so I know that I don’t have to put them in my schedule several days a week because I have other things to do on those other days. Basically just fitting them all in at the same period, same thing, every week. Then again, it becomes a habit for me, so I know that Tuesday afternoon I have interviews to run.
ERH: That’s a great idea. I love that.
Fabienne Raphael: Just like making it, I think the more you make it regular always at the same period, always same time, always same kind of like process, then at a certain point for you it becomes what you have to do. It doesn’t become what you don’t want to do and that you do anyways. That’s a big difference.
ERH: That makes sense. Yes, exactly. Now, do you still find time for your art and for music?
Fabienne Raphael: Ohhh. Not enough though!
ERH: I’m like, I want to hear you play piano now.
Fabienne Raphael: No, I played the piano for about maybe 15 years very regularly. When I started, I was in elementary school. I loved it. I continued until I got in college. Then studying as a physical therapist, I joined the national team. I was on the Canadian team for team Handball. I did that for a couple of years. Training was kind of like my life at that time and studying. It was like both of these things, so I had to put away the music a little bit. Then it came back in my life for I think a year or two, but then I guess my focus just shifted into achieving my goals with my business. It’s funny because with reading The One Thing and they are talking about how balance is a lie. In some periods of your life, you have to focus on something and of course something that you really love is not going to be able to fit in what you want to accomplish at that period.
I’m not saying that I will never play the piano anymore. I also want to learn cello, and I want to be a part of a chorus. I want to do stuff surrounding the music thing, but right now, it’s not my focus. It doesn’t mean that I don’t love music anymore and I won’t touch it, but it just means that it’s not for now.
ERH: I love the story that you shared in a recent podcast about being reminded by your life partner about the chorus that, I can’t remember… I think it was your friend that was given an opportunity to sing in that large chorus. You said, “I love those things.” And you wanted to make time for it, and at that same moment in my life, I was doing the same thing. I was figuring out how I could play in a band because I kind of have let that fall by the wayside. Hearing you say those words, is playing in a band going to get my podcast launched right now? No, it is not. I can play in a band later on. I want to thank you for that.
Fabienne Raphael: No problem, no problem, but it could have helped you launch your podcast if like the band music was part of your intro music or something like that.
ERH: You nailed it. I actually went to one of my favorite songs and that’s what I’m using for my intro songs.
Fabienne Raphael: Really? How exciting!
ERH: Yes, that’s so fun. The other thing that I wanted to ask you…Mindfulness seems to be a term that a lot of people use and has come up a lot in the work that I’ve been doing with employers and customers in terms of helping people think about creating a time in their day for habits. Is that a term that you have thought about or that you identify with?
Fabienne Raphael: Mindfulness, no not necessarily, I wouldn’t say. My word nowadays, my big word is love.
ERH: That’s a good one.
Fabienne Raphael: Everything I embrace or who I decide to work with, either like it could be a partner or it could be a client, it could be a project that I’m interested in. Do I love it? Do I love the mission? Do I feel comfortable with the people I work with? Do I feel accomplished when I’m doing that project? If not, well I just don’t do it. I’m someone who really, really follows her intuition a lot. What I feel when I see someone. If the person has a very nice aura for me, then it means something. It means there’s a reason why this person is on my road and maybe we have something to learn from each other, and we have to keep going and keep in touch and let’s say I don’t know what it could lead to. I have to admit it’s same thing with what happened with when I met you. You can came to me at Agents of Change. We spoke. I really felt that you are very dynamic. You had a mission. You seemed like someone who wanted to help. Your aura was great.
ERH: Thank you!
Fabienne Raphael: I was like, I need to keep in touch with Elizabeth. See, after that you were like, “Well, I would love for you to participate in my podcast.” Reading about your mission for your podcast, this is something I can relate to. Why would I say no to that?
ERH: I love this part of this journey. This has been a real journey this past year. You know, leaving a job and really exploring and learning about what this next job will be. I love finding words, so love is a perfect one because there is a lot of different buzz words out there I think that people use. It’s really nice to add to that language because when I heard you say the word love, I’m like “Yes! That is it.” That cuts through everything. It’s not a buzzword, right?
Fabienne Raphael: It’s not, no. It’s not a buzzword.
ERH: Not that mindfulness is a buzzword. I mean it’s been a round for millennia, but I do hear it a lot. It’s nice to bring forth other things.
Fabienne Raphael: Same thing you just explained when you were in the health care domain and then you would see that people are not happy doing their jobs and that you didn’t feel happy. Well I guess there’s something that you didn’t love about it. I mean, you didn’t feel that this was your place, so you had to find something or something else that you could help people with because I’m sure that this is who you are because you were in the health care domain. It means that you love to help people, but this was not necessarily the right way for you to do it.
ERH: Right, spending time helping people when I’m actually connecting with people is where I want to spend my time, and I just learned that from me, you know managing a big budget. You know, that’s a different type of work, right? Reporting to a board of directors, so it’s really fun to be in my community again and broadening that community. To have you and I love, love Montreal and Canada. It’s really exciting to have you represent the world, the globe to me.
Fabienne Raphael: Happy to hear that!
ERH: Thank you so much. I feel like we’ve got some words of wisdom here, hopefully, at least for me, and I hope that for you listening I know you can just hear the joy in Fabienne’s voice. Do you have anything that you would say on this topic that I have not asked you?
Fabienne Raphael: Let me think about that. I would say not to put pressure on yourself. For anybody listening that feels overwhelmed or that feels that they haven’t found what’s their thing or what’s their passion or how to organize their days to be available for everybody at the same time. I would say it’s a trial and error. It doesn’t mean because you have listened to those 15 minutes and you had great strategies or tips that you are going to implement them right away and succeed at them in the next few weeks. I think it’s something that takes time, like everything else. I also think that just reminding you stuff by reading a little bit more about it or hearing other people’s stories about it or just listening to your podcast, Elizabeth, because basically it’s about that subject. You might find the right thing to do for you, and it doesn’t mean because I expressed what’s working for me that it’s going to work exactly for you the same way.
ERH: That is beautifully said, my friend.
Fabienne Raphael: Thank you.
ERH: Thank you so much for joining The Art of the Break.
Fabienne Raphael: I was so glad to have this conversation. It was so much fun.
ERH: You can learn more about Fabienne Raphael at Marketing to Crush Your Competitors. For today, thank you for joining Art of the Break. I hope you learned even one thing to make your day better or something to inspire you to help your team or employees. We can create much better ways of working together.
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