I think today’s topic is a fun one and an unexpected twist on physical fitness and well-being. This episode is going to be all about foam rolling and why it should be part of our daily self-care. I’m here with Addie Conner, the co-founder of a company called 42 Birds. Rather than foam, her company makes sustainable cork rollers, yoga mats, and more, and Addie is here to talk about the benefits of all of the above today.
If you wonder why the 42 in the name, well, it stands for the 42 bird species that the cork forest uniquely supports. Find out why Addie chose this particular mission and how cork products are not only fun to use but protect biodiversity.
Episode Highlights With Addie Conner
- How Addie started a yoga company all based on cork
- The health benefits of rolling and trigger point for increased mobility and muscle recovery
- Why cork is the most sustainable choice for “foam” rolling (and yoga mats, flooring, etc.)
- Simple, safe ways to give yourself the benefits of a massage
- Why our muscles need release
- Why cork is naturally antimicrobial and self-cleaning
- Reasons cork forestry is so sustainable
- The Cork Forest ecosystem and how it offsets 20 million tons of carbon dioxide each year
- Addie’s healthy morning routine as well as fitness and diet tips
- And more!
Resources We Mention
- 42Birds.com (use the code WELLNESSMAMA15 to save 15%)
- Hunter Fitness
- Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind
More From Wellness Mama
- 488: Laila Ali on Mindset From World Championship Boxing to Health and Wellness
- 93: How to Avoid the Most Common Fitness Mistakes Women Make
- 106: Why to Stop Doing Kegels & Squat Instead with Katy Bowman
- 221: Natural Movement, Sustainable Fitness, and Lifelong Health With Dr. Mark Cucuzzella
- How to Make a Foam Roller for About $10
- 6 Ways to Get the Benefits of Massage Therapy (at Home)
Is rolling part of your workout? Will you switch to cork after hearing all of the benefits? Please drop a comment below or leave a review on iTunes to let us know. We value knowing what you think and this helps other moms find the podcast as well.
Child: Welcome to my Mommy’s podcast.
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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama Podcast.” I’m Katie, from wellnessmama.com. And I am here today with my friend Addie, who is the co-founder and CEO of a company called 42 Birds, where she combines her passion for yoga, the environment, and marketing. And her focus is to make 42 Birds the first true lifestyle brand and sustainable choice for yoga and rolling products. And we’re gonna talk about the benefits of those today. And we’re also gonna deep dive on sustainability and things like integrating self-care into daily life. So Addie, welcome, and thanks for being here.
Addie: Thanks Katie, for having me.
Katie: So I know firsthand that behind every entrepreneur is a story. And I would love to hear yours of how did this company come about, and especially the name, where did the name come from?
Addie: I’ll start with the name. So the name is named after the 42 Bird species that the Cork Forest uniquely supports. We’ll get into Cork later. But Cork Forest are the second or third highest, depending on the source, biodiversity of any forest in the world behind the rainforests. So we really wanted to have a nod to not only, you know, what our company mission is, as well as the just surface one of the species that we’re trying to protect and donating to as part of the company. And then how the company began. So, my background has always been in online digital marketing. I had started a couple digital agencies. And I think, while I loved digital marketing, and I’ve had a skill set and a passion there, I’ve never felt like working with clients has aligned with my values and a lot of my personal passions. So one of the things that I really wanted to do was figure out how to intersect those things. And I was in Talum last year, last January, and I was taking what I thought was a yoga class. And instead, it ended up being a rolling class. And it was an hour long and I could have been there for two hours.
And I’m a big skier. And I’ve always used foam rollers, and I’ve used lacrosse balls, and I’ve used tennis balls. And going into this class was the first time that I had rolled in a super deliberate way, that I had properly timed it with breath, that I had worked through each muscle group in a proper sequence. And I came out of this class, saying, rolling is really, I think the next big trend in fitness. It’s at the stage that stationary bikes were at where everybody’s got these ugly things scattered around their house. And then with stationary bikes, you started having spin class and they’re starting to be some rolling classes a little bit, but they’re sort of either geriatric or very medical or physical therapy oriented. And then SoulCycle came along and then Peloton came along, and I just saw this trend and I was like, I think rolling could be next, but there isn’t anything that I wanna roll with. You know, lacrosse balls pick up tons of dirt and hair on the floor, and the idea of a foam roller, putting foam on your skin just seems contrary to what I believe in.
So I set out to find a better material and I had always used cork with yoga blocks, and my yoga studio used cork floors. So I started looking into it and just became absolutely mesmerized with the properties of cork. Not only, you know, was it grippier and performed better but it was also antimicrobial, antistatic, antiallergenic. Then the sustainability aspect, I never really even knew, which is that it’s the most sustainable harvesting method in the world. So it hit every single spot. And honestly, like, I was just gonna do it as a side business, and a project. And then I started working with the cork factory, and they sent me a yoga mat. And as a hot yogi, I had this pain point of using a towel. It was just another thing to wash and it bunched, it was terrible. And then I tried a mat with the towel built in and it just smelled so horribly. So once I got this Cork mat, not only did I not need a towel, it so grippy during hot yoga class, but then also it didn’t smell and it just sort of self-cleaned itself. And that’s when I was like, we’ve got something. And so just started sort of building the brand and was still at my agency, was still doing this as a side project with my co-founder Robin, who had been starting her own cricket protein company and was super dialed in on the sustainability side, and had a passion for that. So we were collaborating there.
And after we launched in November, the reception was just so incredible from the yoga community. And from an online marketing perspective, the numbers were just so great that within 10 days, both of us made the decision to move over to the business in a full-time capacity and start giving the business what it really needed to thrive.
Katie: I love that. And I love female-founded companies that are doing good in the world. And I love that you mentioned rolling, because I think you’re right, this is something there’s certainly a lot of research to support. And I think it’s just about to hit its explosion in the fitness world, because not only does it have many benefits, it also feels great and most people can do it to some degree. So can you walk us through for people who are not familiar what that is, and then what some of the benefits are?
Addie: Sure. So when I talk about rolling, what I’m talking about is the use of either a ball that’s sort of, you know, a smaller tennis size or lacrosse ball, or one of the longer sort of tubular foam rollers. We have Cork versions of both now. Our roller is actually going out on Kickstarter next week and the balls are available right now. But essentially, instead of just doing static stretching, you’re incorporating these props into your stretching routine. So you’re actually sort of working the muscles back and forth, rolling and just sort of on top of either the tubular roller or the smaller balls. The smaller balls are great for, like, getting into trigger points and distinct muscles that you’re trying to hit, whereas sort of the more tubular roller is really great for hamstrings and those bigger muscles that you’re trying to roll out. The reason that rolling has become so big is almost the same reason why people go and get a massage versus just stretch. What rolling does is it gets into your fascia. So your fascia being that soft, connected tissue that’s connecting all of your different muscle groups.
And so what you’re wanting to do is you’re wanting to break down that fascia, and then allow it to then…and then you’re gonna stretch afterward to retrain it to get back into the right spots. But you’re almost giving yourself a self-massage. So I actually have…my masseuse won’t let anybody else massage him. He only uses balls and rollers in order to give himself a self-massage. Because he knows how to use them so well, it’s actually more effective than a stranger coming in and trying to guess how he’s feeling and what needs to be addressed. I was just in Japan skiing, and after two days of a not so great masseuse, I switched solely over to just using our balls. There’s a bunch of research out there that by incorporating in rolling, which is a more dynamic stretch versus, you know, just that static stretch, you’re gonna make a lot more gains in terms of your mobility and your flexibility. I read one study that said that if you’re just static stretching, like if every day you’re just trying to gain on touching your toes, that it’s gonna take 28 days of doing the same movement of just statically trying to touch your toes, versus if you’re adding in that sort of…that rolling aspect in the myofascial release is more of the technical term for it, you’re going to make gains a lot faster. In fact, after just 30 seconds of rolling out my calf, I’m able to feel gains in terms of my flexibility on how far I’m able to reach and touch my toes.
Katie: That’s super fascinating. And it lines up with what a friend of mine, Hunter Fitness, what he says is, like, he’s skeptical of a lot of these kind of like, modern practices to like, “release muscles,” especially, like, these high powered vibration devices and different things, because he’s like, “They’re not bad in and of themselves. But if that’s what you’re using for the muscle release, and you’re not adding the stretching and that really important movement component after, then you’re actually just masking the problem versus fixing it.” And that seems like foam rolling is great for that because you’re getting the myofascial release, but then you’re also combining it in a class with something like stretching or movement, to make sure that you’re then getting the proper movement of the muscle afterward. Is that kind of the right idea?
Addie: Exactly. And I think that’s why, you know, for us education’s a huge component of what we’re trying to do, and just eventually having an everyday relationship with our customers through content. Actually, today, we’re filming our first on-demand video that we’re going to offer as part of our Kickstarter campaign, which is going to include, how to use props, rolling props, balls and the roller within a yoga flow class as well as a 15-minute section on just rolling. Because, yeah, if you just go in, and you see these rollers all around gyms, you see them around people’s houses just sort of scattered, you can’t really do it wrong, but there’s certainly ways to do it better. And one of the things that we have learned as we’re talking to medical professionals and people in the health and wellness space, chiropractors, masseuses is yes, like, you want to break down that fascia as Hunter Fitness said, but then the retraining of it, that stretching afterward is critical.
So we’re seeing, even in yoga classes, bringing in rollers as a new form of prop. So you’ve got blocks right now and straps. We’re starting to bring balls into yoga classes. And instead of, you know, just having a block to support yourself, say in pigeon, people are actually putting balls underneath their hips in pigeon to not only support but also hit the trigger points. So you’re breaking down the fascia, and then you’re retraining with the right stretch.
Katie: That’s a great idea. And I know I just recently got the Cork balls and I love them so much because they’re firm, but they’re not, like, painful hard, like I used to use baseballs. And they have stitches in them. But one trick I found too, like, just for moms, we spend a lot of time in the car driving kids places. So I keep them in the car now too, and then when I’m driving, I can put them against my back between the seat and then hit trigger points and move even while I’m driving. Or I love the idea, like you said, of incorporating it with an exercise you’re already gonna be doing. But I’d love to, like, talk a little bit of some more ideas along those lines, because a lot of people listening are moms, and I get that it can be so hard to actually get to an actual class or to go somewhere. And I love that about rolling and about these different ways to do myofascial release at home because it’s so relaxing and it’s so calming, and it’s something we can all work in, even if it’s on the floor of the living room. So can you kind of, like, walk through any other ways that you implement this in daily life where people can kind of just, like, dip their toes in the water and start trying this at home?
Addie: Totally. I kind of bring my balls everywhere now. I travel with them like you, when I’m in the car, when I’m on a plane. In our ball set, so we’ve got two sort of larger balls, the size of a lacrosse ball, but then what we also have is this mini ball. And the mini ball might be my favorite thing in the world. So the mini ball I designed based off of my obsession with Chinese reflexology. I literally had a massage addiction, and we go three to five times a week to get Chinese massage. So the mini ball basically does self-reflexology. So I sit with the mini ball most of the day. I actually have one in my hand right now as I’m talking to you, and I roll my hands. I roll my face, I roll my IT band out, I put them underneath my feet, and all those things you’re hitting, all of the different reflexology points which interact with all the different organs in your body. I personally just think it enhances my day.
So that’s just something super simple. Like no matter where you’re sitting, you can always have the mini ball. And even just that act of rubbing it between your hands, you don’t even realize how much sensation and tension you build up in these different places. Your jaw is the most powerful muscle in your body and gets so, so tight. And that act of rolling the ball on it can be transformative, you can, you know, no longer have teeth grinding at night and just sort of dealing with all of that mom stress. The other thing that I’m finding with moms and cork, is moms love it because of all the different sort of hypoallergenic, antimicrobial natural properties of it. I have moms being like, “Can I get a cork changing pad?” Like it’s the stuff that, you know, if your kids lick the ball, it’s not going to be a big deal. So it’s also just really nice, in terms of is the cleanliness aspect with kids. Cork holds up really, really well.
Katie: For sure. And I know it’s even a popular flooring choice, like we’ve used it in a couple of the kids rooms, because of that, and because it’s a little softer than like tile or wood, if they fall out of bed, but it’s beautiful and a little bit like that’s got that sustainable aspects plus the antimicrobial. And I love that you talked about face rolling, because this is another thing, I think is gaining popularity and there’s everything from, like, all these crazy devices that you even keep in the freezer, and roll your face to cool it down. But I think the fascia release and actually targeting those muscles in the fascia in the face can have a really big effect. In fact, I’ve seen pictures online of people who did that, and actually had changes in how their face looks, and, like, their jaw structure. So talk about that a little bit more, because I think you’re so right that this is about to become a huge trend.
Addie: Totally. I mean, I’m not gonna make any claims, like you’re gonna look younger or anything like that, though people say that. But I don’t have medical evidence behind that. Where I got really, really into it actually was, I had this aerobatic masseuse who just started massaging my jaw, and I realized how tight my jaw was. And so I started doing two things. One, I just started using my finger, and every day on each side 100 times, just kind of pushing my finger around my jaw. And that started to work really, really, really well. And the other thing was is, I started biting on a Cork, so I actually trimmed down a wine cork, and started biting on that for 10 to 15 minutes a day while making these, like, weird noises, alone. Sometimes driving in the car, sometimes in the shower, but I just found that my whole face was able to release in a way that it never had before, and just eliminated the tension and any sort of teeth grinding or anything that was going on. So, as we were developing this mini ball, that was top of mind, as well as just I’m always sort of rubbing that pressure point on my thumb or getting my feet rubbed. And so as we’ve been doing this, the mini ball has really taken off and the face part is big, Well+Good did a big write up on that.
So we’re actually gonna take this a step further, and I’m designing a specialized face kit. So it’ll just contain the mini ball, as well as I think we’ll be the first ones to develop our own biting cork, because the wine cork is not perfect for actually what you need in terms of the biting cork. So I’m just kind of obsessed with this idea of, how do we release this jaw tension, and cork is sort of the ultimate material for it.
Katie: Yeah, that seems amazing. And I think so many people store tension in their face, and in their jaw and don’t even realize it. Like, I think back a couple of times when I’ve had a massage, and they, especially towards the end, just like kind of barely started working on my jaw. And I remember thinking like, “Oh, I wish they had just done that the entire time, because I didn’t even realize how tight my jaw was until it wasn’t that tight.” And if I have a headache or something, I’ll find myself, like, pushing on my jaw, and trying to kind of, like, release that. And so I think that’s something really beneficial, we could just add it as an easy, like, regular practice to keep that from happening, keep it from getting that bad in the first place. I love that you have a whole kit just for that. Back to cork, though for a minute. So talk a little bit more about the sustainability, because I’ve written a lot on the blog about the problems with plastic and single-use plastic both from a health perspective and for the environment. And in, like, kitchen situations usually, there’s alternatives like stainless steel or glass. But obviously, those things don’t translate well into the fitness world.
And I don’t think people realize just how not sustainable a lot of fitness products are. From the clothing, a lot of the fitness clothing that’s essentially plastic, to the yoga mats, to everything. So talk about the contrast of that to cork, because I know people are somewhat familiar with cork, as in wine corks, or maybe cork flooring, but I don’t think people realize just how amazing it is.
Addie: Yeah, I don’t think so either. And I certainly didn’t until I started digging into it. So what a lot of people don’t realize is that cork comes from trees, and it comes from a special oak tree. Most of them are grown in Portugal and Spain. And these trees are really amazing. So in Portugal, they are 100% protected, they’re never allowed to be cut down. They live on average about 300 years, and what happens is, is after the trees are about 25 years old, they can be harvested. Meaning that once every nine years, workers come in and it’s almost like shearing a sheep, they actually peel the bark off of the tree. And then take that bark, and the wine bottle stoppers get stamped out of the bark. The rest of it is ground up for flooring and yoga mats and Birkenstock soles and fly fishing handles. And then you have the dust from that being vacuumed up and actually powering up to 90% of cork factories. So nothing is zero waste in this world. There’s always something, but cork is one of the closest to zero waste process that you can get, and it’s considered the most sustainable harvesting method in the world.
And then there’s just…so that’s sort of just the harvesting and the sustainability aspect of it. And then I also mentioned just the performance aspect of it, and how it’s naturally antimicrobial. So after 90 minutes, 98.6% of all bacteria is naturally killed, it’s antiallergenic. It’s antistatic, so it doesn’t collect all of, you know, the dirt and hair that you find around the house. And then the other thing that I love about the cork trees is just that they’re anti-flammable. So within these cork forests, they’re all in arid environments. So you know, I’m sitting here in L.A. right now, we’ve just been having massive fires here. In Portugal, it’s a similar arid environment. The cork trees are anti-flammable up to 1000 degrees. So it prevents a lot of those fires. They’re also home, like, to thousands and thousands of different species, including our 42 Birds where we get our name from.
Within that set of 42 birds, there is the endangered Iberian eagle. And then it’s also home to the most endangered large cat in the world, the Iberian lynx. So Cork Forest is super important to support from that aspect. The wine industry did start moving away from cork, you know, several years ago which 70% of the cork demand is from the wine industry. What that did by lowering the demand of cork is people stopped planting new cork trees and instead started planting non-native trees like eucalyptus which are super, super flammable and then they started having problems with fires.
So for us, it’s super important to keep demand high on cork because that allows them to plant these cork trees as well as continue to harvest the trees. I think cork is one of the only materials in the world that the more you use it, the better it actually is. Stripping the cork oak of its bark enhances its ability to absorb carbon dioxide. So the seven million acres of the Cork Forest around the Mediterranean offsets 20 million tons of CO2 each year. So, the more you use, the better it is and the ecosystem is able to sustain itself and thrive.
So we love cork and then like you mentioned, it’s also super beautiful. I just think, like, we’re all collecting all these, you know, mats and fitness things around the house and home fitness has become much more popular, taking digital classes at home. And having something that you can just kind of leave out and is beautiful and goes along with your site design is an added bonus.
Katie: Yeah, for sure. Cork is so beautiful. And that’s my kind of, I don’t really have a design theme per se because it’s not my strength, but in my house, everything is, like, lights and neutrals and natural elements. And so the cork is beautiful and it fits right in. I keep that in, and I keep my mat and roller and everything in a basket in the corner and it looks beautiful. And so that’s definitely an added benefit.
And I know that, obviously not just with yoga and rolling, but that this is part of a lifestyle for you and that you do a lot of things related to mindfulness. So if you don’t mind sharing, I’d love to hear some other ways that you incorporate mindfulness into your daily life and what your practice looks like.
Addie: Sure. So one of the things that I’ve sort of discovered, I guess it’s one of my favorite modalities over the last, I don’t know, maybe five years is breath work. I love breath workshops. I love all different types of breath. More recently, I’ve actually started doing a lot of holotropic breathing. So starting my morning with more of a Wim Hof routine, if you will. So doing sort of deep holotropic breathing with breath holds and just finding that that is just sort of an incredible way to get my body going first thing in the day, followed by, you know, a bunch of yoga stretching and just getting moving. So, starting to move first thing in the morning has been really instrumental to my daily practice.
And then sort of coupling that with what I put into my body first thing. So I’ve started doing celery juice every single morning which I just love. So before eating anything else or drinking my green tea, I make celery juice. And for me, that has just made me feel incredible every single day. And then I’ll do a smoothie or sometimes I’ll practice intermittent fasting, which is putting my body into hunter mode tends to leave me a lot more energized as I sort of go out through my day.
Then other mindfulness things, I do love to meditate. I’ve substituted that a bit lately for the breath work in the morning because unfortunately, I don’t have unlimited time. I like to keep to about a 20-minute movement routine when I first wake up. And then for me, I love to do hot yoga at night to wind myself down and I just take, you know, an extra long 10 to 15 minutes Shavasana afterward, sort of a lying down meditation if you will, to really end my day.
Throughout the day, try and bike and walk everywhere versus drive if possible. Eat as much of a plant-based diet as possible. I grew up on a farm knowing the names of the animals if I was going to eat them, so, you know, sticking to grass-fed organic fruits and vegetables and meats and just trying to live my best life and have as little impact as possible.
Katie: I love that. And you mentioned celery juice which is all the rage right now on social media. So if you…can you speak a little bit to why that’s become part of your practice or what you’ve noticed personally?
Addie: Yeah, I mean for me it’s like, listen to your body. So there’s tons and tons of literature out there and people telling you to do different things. Celery juice was, I think, you know, starting to be advocated by Medical Medium, who I think is awesome but, you know, my opinion. And so for me, it just started…my digestion improved, my skin improved and just daily energy. So there’s tons of medical research on it. I don’t ever claim to be a medical expert but what I can say is for me, after doing it for about a week, I started to notice real differences. And that’s sort of how I tell things. Like I, you know, a couple months ago, spent three months going gluten-free and noticed nothing. So now I am not gluten-free, but celery juice, like digestion, just sort of lightness. Everything just feels better.
Katie: Yeah, as you know I do lemon water a lot of mornings and also celery juice some mornings. But I think what you just said is so key, which is finding our own personalized answers that work. Because for so long, I’ve looked at the health industry and you have all of these people with such great ideas and research and they have definitely found what works for them. And I’m a big believer that in life, we can truly learn something from every person, every situation. But I also think we have to step back and realize, and I say this about myself as well, like those people who do this research, we have found the things that work for us. And that’s really important and it’s wonderful to share our story.
But for each of us, we also have to find our own specific answers. And so I think that’s so key, what you just said is test it on yourself. It’s great to read the research and to make sure what you’re doing is backed by science, but then also test it on your body because some things may be objectively great and still not be great for you. Or something like being gluten-free might be the most important thing for some people and make no difference at all to you. So I think that is, like, what I see as one of the really big future trends in health and wellness is that personalization and finding your own path and trying things on your own body and figuring out what works and not just listening to any expert, including me at face value, testing it on yourself. So any other fun wellness things that you do as part of your own routine?
Addie: So, I mean, my biggest wellness thing I guess is that I’m a skier. So, you know, one of the things that has been critical in my life is the ability to find and tap into flow states. So medically speaking, flow being, you know, hypofrontality, so your frontal lobe turning off, which was accurately described to me as your inner Woody Allen. So where all of those, like, self-doubt takes place and those thoughts that are really counterproductive.
So for me, if I go out and I can ski for two hours in the morning or in the afternoon, my productivity goes way up. Earlier in my career, I was doing that 100 hours per week work thing, and not necessarily leaving time for skiing. And it wasn’t until I got back into that…So I did that for about a year and was just burning out and said, “I need to go ski.” And that is when I just sort of hit an inflection point in my career and things started really taking off is when I was able to realize that that was something I needed. That’s my medicine, being able to shut my brain off like that is a gift. And everybody has different ways that they’re able to tap into flow and I feel so, so lucky to have skiing. But for me, that’s probably been one of the most important aspects of my life. And then I just need recovery, so that’s hence the rolling and the balls.
Katie: Yes, that makes perfect sense. No, I think that’s so key and for a lot of people listening who are moms, I can understand that that’s a difficult thing to do. Like I’ve very much loved that as well. And I remember, I used to hear things like people would talk about self-care or those things that, like, help you mentally. And I would be like, “Well, that’s great but they’re not a mom.” And then I realized, it wasn’t until I started doing it, just like you, it wasn’t until I actually made the time for, whether it be lifting weights for me or whether it be just being outside or drawing, like something that reignites my creativity and kind of that flow state, until I actually did it I didn’t really materially, like I didn’t tangibly understand how much more productive it made me and how much better of a mom it made me.
Because I think especially for women, there’s kind of this, we have trouble, like sometimes with self-care or with doing those things that we know are good for us because we’re just constantly in go mode and we’re taking care of other people. And realizing that that’s not selfish, especially for moms, it’s not selfish to incorporate self-care. It’s actually vital for the people that you’re taking care of and for your family, that you can show up good every day and that you have good mental health because you’re giving yourself that space. So I love that you found your thing that works for you in that. That’s awesome.
Addie: Totally, and you know, you can hack it too. So I totally get moms don’t have two hours to go skiing and that’s a super luxury. You know, I’m sitting in California right now where I can’t ski and there are certain things that I’ll do just to trigger that right away. Like, I will go find a hill and just run down a hill. Or if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, I’ll do it on the skateboard. I have balance boards and will just jump on to a balance board to get that feeling. I do think once you find what the types of things are that trigger you into flow, you can then figure out sort of the hacky version of getting to that when you don’t have a lot of time.
Katie: Yeah, absolutely.
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Katie: So another thing I’d love to ask your advice on, because I know both you have the business owner hat and also the wellness hat, I’d love to know if you have any books that have really had a major influence on your life? I’m an avid reader, so I’m always looking for book recommendations.
Addie: Sure, I’m an avid reader as well. And I’m embarrassed to say I just, over the last three months discovered audio books which has been very exciting. So one of the books, I guess I probably read it about 10 years ago, that just sort of had a profound effect on how I think is “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” by Suzuki. And there’s two aspects to the book that really hit me. One is just sort of the title, that aspect of a beginner’s mind. So in the book, it explains that with a beginner’s mind, possibilities are endless but with an expert mind, possibilities are few. And I think I was always trying to go in, you know, starting on third base and with this expert mind and that’s not how true innovation happens. It’s allowing yourself to be open to every single possibility.
And then the other thing within “Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind” that just hit me so much is he talks about this idea of four types of horses. There’s the excellent ones, the good ones, the poor ones, and the bad ones. And the good horse, it’ll run exactly how you want it to. You know, slow, fast left, right, you know, never need to whip it, whereas the bad horse in order to get it to what you wanna do, you have to whip this horse till it feels everything in its mind.
And, you know, every single person when they hear this story they’re like, “Well, I wanna be the good horse.” And I think I spent my whole life only doing things where I was the good horse. However, if you only choose the things where you’re the good horse, it never forces you to really understand how to work at something and eventually you plateau out. So when I heard this, I was like, “Wow, that hits me. That that’s me. And what he says is that, “In life, you’re the good horse, you know, and the bad horse in all different things. But when you are that good horse, you have to figure out how to work as hard, how to feel it in your loins as though you were the bad horse.”
So I think about that often, you know, because certain things come very naturally and certain things don’t. And how do I apply the same mentality and the same effort no matter where I sit on that spectrum? And so, I don’t know why but that story was able to sort of kick me into a different gear and create a different level of self-awareness when I approach any sort of new activity or something that I’m trying to learn or change.
Katie: I love that and I’m definitely going to check it out, because I’ve noticed that that’s kind of been part of my journey, the last five years, being very type A. Kind of this duality, going back and forth, between that exact thing of not wanting to do something unless I’m already good at it and having to work past that. And then also, I found like, I had to consciously make an effort and a practice to, like, incorporate mindfulness and incorporate movement in a way that calmed me down because for so many years, I kind of subconsciously resisted that. Because in my head, I was thinking, “Oh, well, I’ve gotten to where I am today, because I’m so type A, because I work so hard, because I’m so driven and I never relax.” And I was too afraid if I took time to relax and I calmed my mind, I would lose my edge.
And I found out the reverse was actually true, I was able to get just as much done just without the stress. And so that’s very much been a part of my own journey over the last couple of years is getting to a place of that mental calmness, which I think is one of maybe the tougher things that we have to conquer in life especially for those of us that are type A or that love to get stuff done. Because there’s always more mountains to conquer, more things to do. And so I love that. This sounds like that’s a great resource for both calming the mind and for showing up in those times when it’s not just natural and easy.
Another question I love to ask for the end of interviews, do you have any advice that you wish that you could spread far and wide, especially to those people listening? It doesn’t have to be related to what we’ve talked about today, but just life advice.
Addie: I mean, so much life advice, but I’ll start with one. One of the things that’s been critical to me in my life is figuring out how to add in multipliers. Like people talk about multitasking but multitasking is actually, you know, not possible according to brain science but the idea of multipliers is, so when I talk about a multiplier, I mean, combining multiple things at a time that bring you joy or passion or happiness. So, you know, in the context of a job, right? Like you can just have a job, or you can have a job working with people you love or you can have a job working with people you love, in a place that you love. And then so on and so forth, and then doing something you love.
And so, when I’m doing something, I’m like, “How many multipliers am I hitting right now?” You know, I’m having a business conversation with someone I like on a hike in a beautiful place, you know. So I’m at a multiplier of four. And I’m just always trying to maximize that because people talk about balance and they talk about compromise. And yes, all those things are applicable but I’m also someone who always believes like, you can have it all. And so if you just set your life up in the way that makes sense for you.
So with 42 Birds, it’s been sort of a perfect culmination of that. I feel like, you know, you can’t just expect to have everything tomorrow. So for me, it’s always just been this, like, stair step up of getting to where I wanna be, adding that one more thing in it that adds to my multiples. But now I’ve sort of achieved this, you know, it hits my values, it’s in line with my personal passions, it’s in line with my skill set. I get to do it in places that are beautiful and I love. And then, you know, I’m working with my co-founder, who is one of my best friends and someone who I respect so much in business.
So that’s kind of like my ultimate and advice to other people is, where can you find those multipliers in your life and combine all those things? So if you’re, you know, when you’re having limited time, and you need to go work out, how you do it with your friend or how do you do it with your child? And just start to add and combine all those things together.
Katie: I love that, and it makes me think of some examples from my own life that might help for moms listening of just, for instance, we have to eat dinner every day. And it’s something we’ve made a priority in our house to always do as a family. So I involve the kids in the cooking, they help me cook and so we’re getting that time together. We’re also making food and I’m teaching them an important skill of cooking and about health, which is important for me to pass on to them. But then we also incorporate our family gratitude practice at dinnertime.
So at the dinner table, we talk about the things that we’re grateful for and we also have questions like, “What hard things did you do today? What did you fail at today?” And those are great family conversation starters. And so I feel like that’s, like, one of my favorite parts of the day and a favorite touchpoint is those conversations with the kids and we have to eat dinner anyway. So it’s just about being intentional and making that time. Or when, like you said, it’s good to work out anyway. So doing that outside with my kids. So I’m spending time with my kids or my husband, getting sunshine, getting fresh air, spending time barefoot. Whatever it may be. Like, I think that’s such a great point that we can incorporate literally in so many ways in life. And so that’s a great tip. Thank you for that.
Addie: No problem.
Katie: And I can’t believe we’ve flown through our time already. I know that you’re also a busy entrepreneur and you’ve got a lot on your plate and I appreciate so much you taking the time. For anybody listening, of course, the links will be in the show notes and I know people can find you at your website and social media online. But any parting words that you wanna pass on to the audience?
Addie: Parting words? Well, just thank you so much for having me for one. I’m loving what you’re doing and just everything you’re spreading to all these different moms and families, I think is incredible. So thank you for that. And yeah, we’re just super stoked on what we’re launching. We hope that we’re creating products that people will love and sort of the first yoga equipment products and rolling products that you’re proud to own and to bring to class and to put in your homes. And we just love to, you know, talk with the community. So if anybody wants to reach out, and if you have ideas or suggestions or want to just talk more about cork, I’m always available and just super passionate about what we’re trying to build and wanna make it amazing. So just appreciate, you know, having access to your community and being able to tell our story.
Katie: Awesome. Addie, thank you so much and thanks to all of you for listening and sharing your valuable asset of your time with us today. We’re so grateful for you and I hope that you will join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama Podcast.”
If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.
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