[convertkit form=3500216]

Ending Horse Slaughter in the United States Transcript – Gentle Giants (Christine Hajek)


Christine Hajek

Horses and Non-Profits – Christine Hajek (Gentle Giants)

Gentle Giants-Christine Hejak

Miriam: [00:00:00] All right, friends. Today I am super excited to have Christine hijack with us today. She is the owner and founder of Gentle Giants, and this is a charity that rescues draft horses from slaughter, abuse and neglect. They are located in Maryland. They have over 300 acres and rescue, to date over 1500 horses.

So part of the reason that I want to have this conversation, as we know my podcast, is about ending self sabotage and developing yourself in your business so that you can make a difference in the world. And Christine has certainly done that and is doing that. I’m just so excited for this conversation.

So welcome, Christine.

Christine: Thank you, Miriam. It’s such an honor and pleasure to be here.

It’s so great.

[00:00:47] Christine’s Journey to Horses

Miriam: So I don’t even know how I got exposed to your charity. I probably saw something on Instagram. That’s my best guess. And I started saying, what is this? And started sniffing around and have [00:01:00] kind of not only

donated but been following your, your nonprofit work for at least three or four years. We had the privilege of talking, I had the privilege of talking with you last year and did a little bit of coaching and that was fun. So your motto, rescue, rehabilitate, retrain, rehome. It’s the whole package. Why don’t you tell me a little bit how you got started with this venture?

Christine: So There’s a long story and a short story, so to try to compress them both together. I did grow up in a home with horses and it was a relatively small breeding farm. But like most commercial equine ventures, all the horses at the farm had to earn an income in order to be there. So that meant that at the end of each horse’s service,

If one of the mayors became unable to get pregnant, if she had more than one complicated delivery, if she had a FO that was born, you know, less than [00:02:00] satisfactory conditions or had crooked legs then those horses were liquidated and they were liquidated at the auction. And at the time when I was a kid, I really didn’t understand exactly what that meant.

But as an adult, when I was into horses on my own, I purchased a draft horse at an auction very, very impulsively. Having been grown up and being told the horses at the sale are trash, they’re the throwaway horses. They all are there for a reason.

The Reason

I ended up purchasing this horse, and when I went to the stall to collect him, the Mennonite fellow who was selling him was stroking him and talking to him, and he was crying, and so I said, I’m really, really sorry that you have to sell your horse, but I’m really glad that I was able to buy him and I promise I’ll give him a great home.

And the gentleman was really relieved and he was like, I had no idea it was a private buyer. I thought he sold to the meat men. And I said, the, the meat men. and I promptly got a very, very thorough education of exactly [00:03:00] what was happening to all of these horses who were no longer wanted and weren’t working out for their homes.

I was a little appalled. I was 28 years old when I learned about horse slaughter despite having had horses since I was six. But it really is truly a dirty little secret of the equine industry that nobody speaks about openly. Because nobody likes to admit, number one, that they know that it’s happening, and two, they don’t like to admit that they’re contributing to it because this is a financial benefit for these farms to have a way to dispose of their horses, rather disreputably, but then also to still earn an income with that disposal.

So that was kind of the start of Gentle Giants. I met that first horse who was named Elijah, and he was indeed not trash. He was not a throwaway horse. He was absolutely amazing. So I knew that if there was one Elijah out there, there were bound to be many, many more.

So that started my quest to go out and find them all.

[00:03:58] Starting Gentle Giants

Miriam: Wow. Well, [00:04:00] 1500 horses is nothing to sneeze at, and I’ll be honest with you. I, I’m gonna take a tiny digression. I’m a therapist by trade and current coach, and I know how to control my emotions, but when you tell that story, I got choked up and I had to just pull, pull that back, and I cry every single time I read one of your newsletters.

Horses are expensive, huge animals. Draft horses are three times the size and the expense of the regular ones.

Almost all of people in general are divorced now from the land and the animals, and they don’t understand the suffering that is caused by simple choices.

Now, I don’t know what it costs to euthanize a horse these days, but I’m gonna guess somewhere between a hundred and $200 to euthanize them and have the body disposed of.

So it’s not a huge amount of money that these animals could not have their [00:05:00] last days be full of terror and fear and pain and suffering.

And I’ve seen the pictures of these animals you’ve rescued the before and after where they’re skeletons. Mm-hmm. and then they’ve put on five or 600 pounds and

So anyway, I’m not gonna get all like emotional on you, but I appreciate what you’re doing and it’s no small thing.

So let’s, let’s get into how did you go from one to many? Because there’s a story there.

One to Many

Christine: So in the very early days of general Giants, it really was truly just a hobby. And it kind of, it was in my backyard, just a couple horses at a time. When it got to the point that we had four or five rescued horses, my at the time, boyfriend, now husband kind of came to me and said, this is, this is getting to be a lot of work, and I really think that we need help.

What we really needed [00:06:00] at that point in time was volunteer help more than funding. And so we kind of had a short discussion and had to decide are we either gonna scale back and go back to one to two horses at a time, or do we wanna incorporate a nonprofit so that we can get some people to come out and help us?

And we quickly decided we did not wanna scale back. It was time to incorporate and become a nonprofit. And we both went into this with absolutely zero knowledge or education about the nonprofit industry?

At the time I was a paramedic firefighter. My husband is still an active duty firefighter. But I will say one, one of the things that definitely helped me was one, I’m a very, very nosy person by nature, so I immediately started following and investigating other equine charities that I looked up to and reading their financial reports, looking through every single page of their website, just getting any information I could.

And I also looked at some of the charities that I did not admire and looked at what [00:07:00] they were doing and how they were doing it differently.


but then I reached out to some of the charities that I did admire and I was really, really surprised that a couple of them really welcomed me with open arms. They gave me some great advice.

They helped me out with practical things like writing my bylaws and forming my articles of incorporation and coming up with succession plans and things like that.

And that’s part of why I pay that forward now with doing mentoring with smaller startup organizations also, because if I hadn’t have had that support and assistance in the early days, I don’t know that we would be here.

Miriam: Yeah, that is an important point to, to just mention that wherever it is that you are right now- you were somewhere else five to 10 years ago. Mm-hmm. . And who were the people in your life that made it possible for you to get to where you are right now and how can you help that happen for the next person?

So I appreciate just that you’re [00:08:00] talking about that when,

when you look at the maybe difference in mindset from you rescuing one animal to turning it into a nonprofit, and a nonprofit is a business, every bit as much as a for-profit is a business, it just has a really different kind of focus on what you do with the funding and you know, the laws and everything.

Explain to me the mindset shift that had to happen in you to go from one to many.

[00:08:31] Clean Slate

Christine: I think one benefit that I had is because I was coming into this not having previously been in the for-profit world. I mean, my. Career had been as a paramedic and a firefighter, which is very structured and kind of paramilitary.

So I didn’t have things I had to unlearn, so I was kind of starting off as a clean slate and able to learn this whole new thing from the beginning. I think the biggest mindset I had to battle with in the beginning [00:09:00] was I was personally afflicted with a very common thing that that seems pervasive in the nonprofit community as a whole, which is the idea that because nonprofit work tends to normally passion centric jobs, that there’s an expectation that the people that work in the nonprofit industry should be willing to sacrifice financial security or even a competitive salary just because it’s the nonprofit industry.

And, you know, that’s something that I certainly now no longer believe and General Giants pushes back against that. It’s, it’s a very, very strange. Psychological Psychological conundrum that people seem to have this really, really visceral reaction that people should not be paid for doing very good things in the world.

However, people do not have the same reaction and they actually seem to expect people to be paid quite highly for going out and doing absolutely horrible [00:10:00] things in the world.

Scaling the Business

You know, if you wanna, yeah, if you wanna create violent video games or horrible, you know, music that talks about violence and drugs, people are like, oh yeah, you’re gonna make billions and billions.

In our, our early days, I very strongly felt that we should not have employees, that no one should be paid to do this. And then we hit a point that I, I actually realized, you you can’t provide adequate care and work unless the people who are doing that work are being fairly compensated for it.

Miriam: Absolutely. There’s no way to scale without that. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Volunteerism gets you from one to many, but then at a certain point in time you have to hire a team of people that you can count on and that when they’re terrible, you can fire. And when you know you can, like, you have to have that structure.

There’s no way to scale without it.

So one thing I find with maybe [00:11:00] newer business, Is that depending on the business owner there is more or less structure depending on the person. And then over time they learn and iterate and that whichever direction on the spectrum they were, if they were less structure, they’re like now I have to make a policy about that.

Mm-hmm. . And maybe they get more structure and then if they’re the other way around, then it becomes less.

[00:11:23] Business Structure

What have you learned? Like let’s just go with the animals, their care, et cetera, et cetera. Where did you have to start putting in what you would call business structure? You mentioned you have bylaws and you have these other things. It’s not a free for all, and it’s not just what any ever anybody wants to do. . Mm-hmm. .

Christine: Well, I mean, starting out the gate, we were certainly well aware of the, the, the business structure that we would have in order to have to meet our obligations to the IRS as a a 5 0 1 So that, that’s the simple stuff.

The bookkeeping, the accounting so on, so forth.

As we [00:12:00] have grown, I’ve actually kind of been surprised at the amount of policy that we’ve had to create and, and put into place that I really, never expected. So I definitely would’ve fallen on the spectrum very, very, very far to the super loosey goosey, no policy person.

And now have kind of developed along that line into, okay, now we have structure and policy.

So that can be anything from, you know, we certainly format our goals and plans for All the goals we want to meet with stewarding donors or volunteers. But it can even be down to the minutia of having to create policies about social media use with our staff.

One common thing that happens is, you know, if we have a sudden loss at the farm, we don’t necessarily want our staff sharing that on social media until we’ve had an opportunity to announce it. Because, if either a volunteer who was very close to that horse, saw that social media [00:13:00] post before we were able to call them, that would be really hurtful.


Mm-hmm. , same thing. Mm-hmm. I mean, if we have a donor who sponsors that horse and they were to learn about it through this, you know, odd third party or whatever, that would also be very hurtful. So I’ve been surprised sometimes that some of the policies we have to put into.

Miriam: Yeah, that makes sense to me.

I, I was talking with someone literally earlier today, and we were talking about how these challenges that come up within the business become the impetus for the new policy. Mm-hmm. , it’s like, oh, I didn’t, I didn’t know I needed that. Now I know I needed that.

And I’m sure you run into it from everything from – not everybody and their dog can give our horses snacks, you know, or treats or whatever. Like we have, we have rule, here’s where you put the manure fork. Mm-hmm. , here’s how you handle when you have a grievance. Here’s how you handle when someone wants to do x. I mean, you just don’t know until you know, and then out comes the policy.

[00:14:00] Can you give a little, like, give us an idea of the size, like how many volunteers do you have? How many employees, kind of what’s your annual budget? Help us understand how many horses are you currently working with?

Christine: Sure. So our current herd sits at 157 cuz we actually just had a new horse arrive about 20 minutes before we got online.

[00:14:21] Fostering Goodness

Wow. So we have 157 horses and in order to care for them, That takes a staff of 34 full-time people, two part-time people, and we have a army of about 220 volunteers. And of those volunteers, we have a core group of about 50 volunteers that are giving at least one, if not two full days a week. They take their volunteering very, very seriously.

They will call out sick. They will let us know when they’re planning to take vacation. They literally treat their volunteering time as if it were a job with the same responsibilities. And those volunteers are [00:15:00] bread and butter because we actually can rely on them to the same level as a staff member.

Christine: Yeah. That’s fantastic. What do you think it is that you’re doing that is creating that kind of loyalty? Because that’s unusual? I’m not sure. We do ask our volunteers that all the time. Most of them have said, you know, they’ve certainly appreciated that the, the more time they’re willing to invest in us, the more time we invest in them the more training and expansion opportunities we give them, the more responsibility we’re willing to hand over to them.

People who can commit more than 20 hours a month are extended riding privileges and some extra hands-on horsey time. but that’s not the reason for everybody. I mean, we have out of that really core group of volunteers, I would say more than half, aren’t interested in writing or those other opportunities.

Good Experiences

I really do think they just enjoy the hands-on care and they come to a point where they have a personal [00:16:00] ownership over the horses and the rescue, and they feel a responsibility to it. And that’s always what I wanted to create. I wanted to create a situation where our volunteers felt more like they were coming to their very own boarding barn where their own horse might be, rather than feeling like they were reporting to the factory and like punching a clock.

Yeah, and that comes from my own personal experience as a volunteer at some different rescues, some, some horse rescues, some wildlife rehab centers, and I’ve had some good experiences and some not so good experiences, so I’ve certainly cataloged how those experiences made me feel as a volunteer so that we could better structure a program that would meet people’s needs and be enjoyable.

Miriam: Sure. I have to think at some level, part of their motivation has to do with you are giving them an opportunity to be a part of not only something larger than [00:17:00] themselves, but something that is clearly doing good. If you look at the before and after pictures in your newsletter, there’s no doubt that you’re doing good.


Even if you have rescued an animal only to put it down 12 hours later because it is not saveable. You have spared that animal fear and pain and suffering and I’m, I don’t know, you’d have to tell me, but I’m gonna guess 90% of the animals you bring there are rehabilitate-able. Maybe not to full potential, but they seem to really do pretty well.

Christine: Mm-hmm. , they do. They really. And I mean there, there’s certainly in, in this line of work, there are a lot of losses and those losses can be very, very painful. But I, you know, we also, we bear that as a group. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And so that, that’s very bonding as well.

Can you tell a couple stories of some of the horses that you felt like made a difference, either in your [00:18:00] life, in someone else’s life?

[00:18:02] Making a Difference

Yeah. Tell us a couple stories. So the, the horse that comes to mind first who’s probably made the biggest difference for general giants as a whole would be Manhattan. And so we found Manhattan at the biggest slaughter auction at the east, on the East coast. That would be New Holland, which is in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.

And I purchased new Manhattan. I was bidding against a kill buyer and managed to win his bid. It was relatively low, I think it was like $460. So he was a relatively inexpensive horse. And as I was gathering him up, I didn’t notice it before I purchased him, but I noticed after I did that he had a four digit number engraved in his hoof.

And I asked, did the state veterinarian who is on site there, he inspects the horses for them to get their U S D A meat stickers and everything. Asked him what it was and he told me, oh, that’s a New York City carriage horse. And I was [00:19:00] appalled. We did reach out to New York City and we were able to track down his previous owner.

And I do want to say full disclosure, his previous owner was not the person responsible for him ending up at the sale. His carriage owner had sold him to another horse trader that deals in carriage horses because he wasn’t handling the really big trucks and trailers well in the city. They thought he would do better someplace else.

He was supposed to be going to Mackinaw Island where he’d be pulling a carriage and there wouldn’t be any vehicles. But instead they ended up taking him to the auction where we found him.

Carriage Horses

So in the beginning This was a bad thing because a lot of media got released about general Giants finding this horse, and a lot of information from that kind of got spun to really frame the carriage industry in a negative light.

But through that we were slowly able to meet with those folks and kind of develop a relationship and explain to them that [00:20:00] we are not their enemy, We don’t wanna see carriages go away.

People only care about what they see. And many people, the only horse that they ever interact with in their life might be a carriage horse.

We wanna see carriage horses cared for better than they currently are. We wanna make sure that carriage horses have permanent retirements when they’re no longer working or able to work so that they don’t end up at an auction like Manhattan Did. But Manhattan solidified that relationship and since then we’ve had over 50 carriage horses from across the country retired with us.

Wow. So that really made a big difference. And a lot of people are very, very surprised to hear that we are pro carriage. A lot of people expect that our answer’s gonna be, that we’re anti. In no way do I feel that the current carriage industry is perfect or even great. But I don’t think that the answer should be abolitionism.

Getting Better

I don’t think that we should [00:21:00] completely take it away. I do think there’s still a place for horses in our world, and the less that we have the public interacting with horses, the less we can expect public to care about what happens to them. So yes, that makes sense. Carriages continue, but better. Sure that makes sense.

Miriam: You know, I think actually it would be worth our while to take a couple minutes and have you explain this meat industry thing, because I am certain, I mean, I understand it. I know what it’s about, but. I think most people would say, well, I don’t understand. People don’t eat horses, so what, what is this about?

Why don’t you give a little bit of a tutorial on that?

[00:21:42] Horse Slaughter

Christine: Sure. I would love to, cuz there’s so much misconception about horse slaughter, especially in the United States. So most people believe that there is a ban on horse slaughter in the united. There actually is not. What there [00:22:00] is is there’s a tiny little half of a sentence in the agricultural spending bill, and that little half of a sentence says that tax dollars will not be used to pay for U S D A meat inspectors to inspect the carcasses of equines.

And that means that if a horse is slaughtered in the United States, that it can’t be sold for human consumption. So that originally was put in place in around 2007, and that was what closed the three slaughter houses that existed in the United States. There isn’t actually a ban, so it is legal to slaughter a horse in the United States.

It’s just not legal to slaughter it and then sell it for human consumption. There are still a couple very small slaughter houses that do process horses to be fed to large predators in zoos and other private sanctuaries. . I might not like that, but right now, that’s not my hill to die [00:23:00] on. I’m gonna fight against horse slaughter for human consumption, and then we’ll deal with that issue later once we fix the bigger problem.

So at its height back in probably the mid to late 1980s, almost half a million horses were being slaughtered in the US. Every year, most of that meats being exported into Europe. So the biggest consumers of horse meat are typically Belgium, France, and Japan- italy a little bit too.

Consumer Interest

So what has happened now is horses are shipped over borders into Canada and into Mexico, where our US horses are then slaughtered there, and then ex exported for sale for human consumption in other European countries where horse meets literally on the table.

Demand for horse meat is greatly, greatly slowing. One thing that has happened over in European countries is consumers have become aware of the fact that our US horses are [00:24:00] actually privately owned horses that they’re eating. There’s a lot of the promotions are very much billboards of horses out in expansive big fields.

So it, it’s kind of this presumption that these are like wild horses and or horses that are raised specifically for slaughter because most of the countries that do consume horses have two classes of horses. They have the horses that they eat, and then the horses that they ride and enjoy the companionship of.

So now that they’ve become aware of the fact that. No, these are actually, these are lesson ponies. These are race horses. These are show horses, these are workhorses. A lot of consumers have become less interested in horse meat that’s originating from the United States, so consumer interest is definitely declining.

The other big thing that I hear in relation to horse slaughter is people who are for horse slaughter, like to use the argument that if we did not have horse slaughter, there would be no way to dispose of all of these [00:25:00] unwanted horses, and then there would be starving horses running loose all across the United States.

And to that, I say that’s just unreasonable and it’s not true.

[00:25:11] Understanding the Issue

Starving horses and abuse and neglect exists now, even though horse slaughter isn’t an option. Those people could have chosen to sell their horses to slaughter if they didn’t want those horses, but they didn’t make that choice. They made the choice to starve the horses.

My experience working, you know, for 20 years. In conjunction in supporting animal control and humane law enforcement is that the starvation in abuse of horses is a mental illness. It’s not a financial illness. And a lot of the people that have been involved in those cases actually could afford to care for their horses. They just did not because they were mentally ill.

The second thing is to look at the sheer numbers. There’s approximately 9 million horses in the United States. . In 2020, only about 140,000 horses got shipped to slaughter. So at that [00:26:00] point, we’re dealing with less than 1% of the equine population.

Every year, almost a million horses are euthanized because of illness, injury, end of life decline, and that’s obviously a much larger number than a hundred thousand. So, The equine industry doesn’t really have to adapt very much to absorb these quote unquote unwanted horses that I would argue are not actually unwanted at all.

I do believe that our, our equine industry could absorb those numbers.

We might have to ask our breeders to be 1% more selective when deciding to breed horses. We might have to ask our private owners to rather than sending your very, very old, sick, lame, blind horse to the auction, please just euthanize it and put it down.

Do the responsible thing. Don’t make your problematic horse somebody else’s problem. But it’s, it’s a very solvable issue.

You know, I look at other [00:27:00] issues like the overpopulation of dogs and cats, and that truly is an issue. That’s an overwhelming issue. I look at the issue of course, slaughter and I’m like, we can fix this.

Horses Have Feelings Too

Like in a year or two, it’s all we need is the equine community to come together and we could absolutely fix this and it wouldn’t be necessary anymore.

Miriam: Yeah. I love that you’ve taken it on. I mean, I was thinking about our interview earlier today and I was thinking somehow somewhere you landed into your calling.

this has become your calling and you know, I don’t know if you’ll single-handedly end it, but you’re gonna be a huge, you know, voice in the ending of this thing that is just kind of a besmirch on the United States. It’s just not anything to be proud of. Something I’m always after people, you would never, you know, send your 14 year old dog to to auction, you know, [00:28:00] you just, you would never do that.

And why people think just because the animal is bigger, that it doesn’t have, you know, muscles that feel pain and sentience, that feels confusion and whatever. And I don’t know, I, I’m like, I a person who is probably different than most people out there, but if I have an animal, it comes to my house and it stays there until it is no longer with us.

Mm-hmm. , and you take that into con, into account before you get the animal, how, what is its lifespan, what is this likely to cost? And if I can’t do right by it, and I then I, I have to do right by it, whatever that means.


[00:28:41] Responsibility

Christine: and there’s lots of ways to do, right? Like, I’m not saying that every person who ever purchases a horse has to keep that horse until the day that horse dies. They may not be able to do that. Right? But there are responsible outlets. I mean, I am the same way. When an animal joins my family, they are here for life.

But I did [00:29:00] once have a dog that I raised from a puppy who did not work out in my household, and no amount of changing the way the house operated or hiring behaviorists and trainers. Nothing was going to work. I had multiple dogs and this dog needed to be in an only dog home. We connected with a really reputable rescue.

The dog stayed in our home. They helped us network her. They helped us interview families. They helped us place her. They put her under their contract, and it was absolutely smooth and flawless, and we were able to stay in touch with the new home. Yeah, and it worked out great.

Miriam: So it was a win for everybody.

Yeah, it was well earlier. Before we got online or before we started recording, you had showed me a book that you said was hugely influential in the development of your thought process about nonprofits. Do you mind sharing what that is?

Christine: Yeah, so that is [00:30:00] Charity Case by Dan Palatta and I love Dan Palatta. Maybe one day he’ll hear this.

Hi Dan. Love you .

Dan Palatta

I got hooked on Dan through his very, very famous Ted Talk and he did a TED Talk called how we Think about or. What we think about charitable giving is dead wrong. But my favorite book from him is Charity Case, and it’s how the nonprofit community can stand up for itself and really change the world.

He’s an incredibly innovative nonprofit guru. He was the driving force between the AIDS Ride for Life and the Susan G. Coleman three day walks, I mean, just really, really impressive, super out of the box thinker, and he’s really pushing people to kind of take down a lot of the psychological walls and barriers that prevent the nonprofit sector from being able to best do its own work.

Miriam: Can, can you list any of those offhand?

[00:30:54] The Non-profit Sector

Christine: Well, sure. One of the first things he talks about is kind of branches back to that, that earlier topic of the, the [00:31:00] psychological trap of believing that just because it’s nonprofit sector work that you’re going to be expected to accept, very unfair and disproportionate Compensation for that work.

Mm-hmm. that if you were doing the same work in the for-profit sector, you’d be paid sometimes four or five, 10 times. Yeah. What you would be expecting to earn in the nonprofit sector. The other area is we’re really limited on advertisement and the ability to invest in advertisement. Whereas in the for-profit sector, you know, everyone’s going to tell.

You know, spend, spend, spend until your last dollar’s not returning any amount of income. But in the nonprofit sector, people don’t want you to advertise. I mean, they want you to get it donated. And then it’s gonna be on TV at three o’clock in the morning. Yeah. Or it’s gonna be on, you know, one of the very, very back pages of a magazine.

And the third area where the nonprofit sector is really, really limited is its inability to take financial risk. and you know, [00:32:00] that kind of goes back to. Donors are expecting that every single fundraiser that a nonprofit is going to do is, is going to return at least threefold its investment. And anything less than that is basically a crime.

And you know, no one in the for-profit sector has to meet that kind of demand, right? And oftentimes that’s really, really unreasonable thinking. We can’t always return a threefold investment on an event. I mean, what if we schedule an event that’s an in-person event and a snowstorm happens, or, you know, something else major happens that day?

Challenging Culture

I mean, all of that is funding lost and not, not every fundraiser goes exactly as planned. So I think a part of that too is, is kind of changing culturally our expectation of what nonprofits are supposed to be able to accomplish and, and kind of lightening up on them.

And that’s something that there have been times in the very, very early days of general [00:33:00] Giants we were building our donor base and our fundraising wasn’t as effective as it is today.

And there were a couple years where, you know, our fundraising expenses took up 30 or 31% of our annual budget. And sometimes I would get very irate phone calls and letters from donors who were absolutely agast about it until we really got on the phone and talked about how it is as a small startup nonprofit trying to build that donor base and trying to fundraise.

And then as that donor base gets bigger and bigger and bigger and more reliable, , you know, now we’re in our 18th year and we’re super excited that our fundraising expenses are less than 15% of our annual budget. So we’ve gotten to our point where our fundraising is really effective and it is really streamlined.

Starting Small

But you don’t start there. Yeah. Like, and, and people, supporters and donors have to give you an opportunity to grow there. Mm-hmm. , it’s not something that’s gonna happen. Right out of the bat, and you’re not going to [00:34:00] change the world with money that comes from a bake sale.

Miriam: Yeah, that is true.

Christine: So we had talked about, we have 157 horses and we talked about the size of our staff. Our annual budget runs from. Five to 6 million a year. And that’s what it takes to keep this whole machine running and operating. A lot of people don’t really realize how big General Giants is.

We span almost 350 acres, so it’s a very, very large operation. We’re having 12 to 18 horses adopted a month, so there’s always horses going out, new horses coming in. It’s a lot. Yeah, it really is a lot. It’s a lot.

Miriam: You haven’t even mentioned that many of the horses coming in have severe medical problems that many times can be fixed.

So that’s part of the rehabilitate space. And what would you say. Changed in you? How did your thinking have [00:35:00] to change to manage a five or six or 7 million operation versus a hundred thousand or 500,000? Like as this thing gets bigger, your skillset has to adjust and grow.

[00:35:14] Relationship With Money

Christine: I think that is an area where I came into this with a little bit of a

gift that, I don’t know where it came from. I, and it’s something that I see in a lot of the smaller groups that I mentor. I’m very, very fortunate that I’ve never been a person who bought into poverty mentality and I didn’t buy into it even when I actually was poor , you know, as a single starting off firefighter, that I look back at that now and I’m like, how did I even survive?

I’m like, I don’t know, but I never felt poor. Yeah. I think one of the most important things has been and when I mentor smaller startup groups, one of the first questions I always ask the founder or director, whoever I’m dealing with is, [00:36:00] what is their personal, emotional relationship with money?

And if their emotional relationship with money is ideas, like money is the root of all evil, or rich people are stingy or that there aren’t many wealthy people or people don’t wanna give, or there isn’t going to be enough money, then I immediately tell them un, until they can get to the core root of that belief and change it, they’re not gonna be successful because everything they’re doing is coming from a scarcity mindset.

but if you look at money as an idea of it’s neither good nor evil, it’s just a tool for getting things done. No different than any other tool you might pick up, like a hammer or a pocket knife. It just is what it is. My personal belief about people is that most people are incredibly generous and they’re happy to help.

Part of Something Larger

They’re, they’re just waiting to be asked and that everybody has something that they want to share. It might not be a check for $20,000. It might just be a check for $20, but they [00:37:00] still wanna be invited to share. And that I think has been, for me, the, the biggest benefit. And it’s where I see the biggest weakness in startup groups.

Miriam: Yeah. Yeah, I can really see that. Again, I see you giving people the opportunity to be part of something larger than themselves where they get to participate in doing good. So what would you tell the you of 18 years ago?

Christine: I’m not sure, I probably would’ve told myself to lighten up. Not worry so much. You know, and just as always, and with anything, you know, we, whenever we’re, really presented with a problem, our first thing is as a group, our board goes back.

We read our mission statement and our core value statements, and then we’re like, okay, now that we’ve refreshed that, how do we wanna answer this problem? You know, what? What do we want to do? Yeah.

Miriam: Oh, I love that you do that. reviewing regularly your mission [00:38:00] statement and your core value system just keeps it front and center and it allows all decisions to be made through that grid, which is brilliant.

Very. Well worked.

[00:38:12] Horse Story

So we’re gonna end in just a minute, but I do have my own curiosity. You said somebody arrived, a horse arrived just like 20 minutes before we started. What is that animal story and what are you projecting for its future?

Christine: Oh, so this animal is a great indication of how things are changing in the horse world and things with horse slaughter.

So this is actually a horse that we were contacted by the horse’s owner who happens to be an Amish farmer. So I will say, and, and it’s a little stereotypical, I hate to stereotype, but most. Amish and Old Order Mennonite people that I have interacted with around the idea of horse slaughter have been [00:39:00] incredibly detached and pragmatic about it.

They understand exactly what is happening to their horse when they take it to the auction. They know what the outcome is going to be. They have no moral or emotional objection to it. To them, it is strictly financial. That horse is no longer able to do its job on the farm. Every horse on the farm has to earn

its keep or it can’t be here. Therefore, that horse needs to go and it’s going to go in the way that earns the money rather than the way that costs them money.

Caring for the Horse

But this farmer. Picked up the phone and said, which, I mean, that takes effort. , he had to find our number and he had to go find a phone. And he called and said that this had been his father’s horse.

And then when his father retired from farming, it went to him and he’s worked this horse for two years now. This horse is having a health problem. That means it can’t plow anymore.

And even though he’d be going forego. Probably a thousand dollars is what he’d get for this horse at auction [00:40:00] right now. He was more than happy to actually give us this horse just to know that this horse would receive the medical care that he’s not willing or able to provide, and that the horse will be safe for the rest of its life.

So the tides really are changing. It’s a little slow. Yeah. But we’re starting to see that more and more.

So whenever we’re contacted from somebody who’s in a direct like horse farming community, we’re never, ever, ever going to say no to them. Yeah. Because this is such a new change. Yes. Or their culture to look at this a different way and to start seeing the horses as sentient beings and companions who have a right to retire just like we do when the end of our working days come.

Miriam: Wow. Wow. Christine, this has been so great. Thank you so much for just your time. Can you please tell people how they can find you, how they can help? Yeah,

[00:40:56] Where To Find Christine

Christine: absolutely. So you can certainly learn all about [00:41:00] us@www.gentlegiants.org. We’re also on Facebook. We have an absolutely hilarious and very, very active TikTok.

If you enjoy watching funny videos about horses and you can also find us on Instagram.

Miriam: Awesome. So my listeners know that I always give as a thank you, a gift in your name to one of four charities. And what I mentioned to you before we started is this time I would like to do something different instead of giving a gift in your name to a different charity in addition to giving a gift to General Giants, what I would like to do is just profile your.

Your nonprofit, your organization in the year of 2023 with, with my podcast. So that’s something that we’re gonna do, and those of you who are hearing this will hear more and more about general giants. And whether you have horses or not, here is an awesome way to do some good. So thank you again, Christine.

Christine: Thank you so much. It’s really been a pleasure.

End Credits

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

Full audio episode found here.

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.

Music by Tom Sherlock.

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.

Work-Life Balance and Self Sabotage – Cary Prejean

Noah Koff

Work-Life Balance and

Self Sabotage 

7.26.22 Cary Prejean


Welcome to another episode of The LeaveBetter Podcast  where I interview high performers and business owners to glean from their wisdom and practical routines, habits, and mindsets— that you can apply to your own life.

Sometimes, rather than an interview, I riff on a particular self-sabotaging habit and it’s remedies.

In this episode, we are pleased to have Cary Prejean—a native of Louisiana and the founder of CFO Consulting, LLC. He works with business owners to help them turn their business into what he’s labeled “the well-oiled machine” process.

*Before you go—Sign up for my newsletter at Leavebetter.com.  Once a week, wisdom and practicality in your inbox.

Remember: the actions you take today set you up for six months from now. So do something today that pushes you toward that next level of you. So go be INTENTIONAL.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

In this episode, Cary and I talk about creating a balance between your personal life and business. Cary shares his experience between making that shift and focusing on what’s most imoprtant. Enjoy!

The transcript of this episode can be found here.

[00:15] Introduction

[01:32] Scan the Horizons for Opportunities

[04:19] Create a Positive Business Environment

[08:45] Work-Life Balance

[11:07] Ontological Design

[16:56] Teenage Discourse to Adult Discourse

[22:41] Avoid the Financial Pitfalls

[28:57] The Herd Mentality

[30:48] What Are You Chasing?

Music by Tom Sherlock
Strategic Business Advisors
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Self-Sabotage and Your Business Mindset (Noah Koff)

Noah Koff

Self-Sabotage and Your Business Mindset

6.14.22 Noah Koff


Welcome to another episode of The LeaveBetter Podcast  where I interview high performers and business owners to glean from their wisdom and practical routines, habits, and mindsets— that you can apply to your own life.

Sometimes, rather than an interview, I riff on a particular self-sabotaging habit and it’s remedies.

In this episode, we are pleased to have Noah Koff—a business and leadership coach for product creators who want to better their business and life ahead of schedule. His business is global, but located in Portland, OR in the United States.

Sign up to my weekly email newsletter at Leavebetter.com.  Please let me know if you enjoy this series on Instagram at @leavebetter. Whether we continue this series or not depends on you!

Please enjoy!Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

In this episode, Noah and I talk about his businesses in London, self-sabotaging mindsets, things to pay attention to when you are raising funds for a business, and some routines that he regularly employs.  I know you will find both wisdom and practicality here.

Watch an excerpt of this episode here!

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

Resources listed:

[00:00:56] Intro Noah

[00:03:06] Avoid Self-Sabotage with Other Cultures in Business

[00:06:59] Mindsets of Self-Sabotage 

[00:08:04] Perfectionism

[00:09:42] Self-Doubt

[00:10:46] Comparison – Unleash Your Genius

[00:13:30] When it’s Time for a Change

[00:19:49] Overcoming Self-Sabotage Raising Funding

[00:22:46] Take Action, Celebrate Small Wins, Work Out

[00:25:48] Breath Work

[00:28:25] Morning Routine

[00:33:53] The Four Agreements 

[00:37:27] How to Find Noah Koff

Music by Tom Sherlock


The Podcast Trailer

The LeaveBetter Podcast Trailer Transcript

LeaveBetter logo

Hi, I’m Miriam Gunn, CEO of Leave Better. A coaching and therapy company dedicated to helping you win in business and in life.

We are a world trying to open up. An economy that is gasping, and we all have questions about how to bring more positivity in the midst of it all.

At LeaveBetter, we feel called to walk alongside you listening, asking, leading.

We’re going to be bringing an array of voices, addressing the topics of self- sabotage in life and in business. Looking for wisdom and practicality tools and ideas to take you toward that next level of growth and revenue.

We want to see each person end 2022 better than they started it. With more, hope, more acumen, and better poised to serve others in their businesses and their lives.

July one, follow us on apple podcast, Spotify, Google podcast, or wherever you listen.

We’re looking forward to meeting you there.

Podcast Episodes found Here

Podcast Transcripts found Here

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.


Music by Tom Sherlock

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.

Self-Sabotage and Your Business Mindset Transcript-Noah Koff

Noah Koff


Self-Sabotage and Your Business Mindset

Noah Koff  [Recorded 6_20_22]

[00:00:00] Miriam: Okay. I am so excited to have with us Noah cough. He is a business and leadership coach for product creators who wanna better their business and life ahead of schedule, which is what we all want is to do things ahead of schedule. So welcome Noah. Thank you, Miriam. It’s lovely to be here and to have the opportunity to tell my story.

[00:00:22] I’m excited. All right. As you know, leave better is about bringing wisdom and practical steps to help people shed the behaviors and the attitudes that sabotage their next level of growth or success in business or life. So I’m super happy to hear where our conversation goes. I know it’s gonna be rich and full of wisdom and practical tips for our listeners.

Let’s Start

[00:00:45] why don’t you just start and give us a brief description of who you are currently. And then who you have been previous roles and kind of how you got from a to B. 

[00:00:56] Noah: Great. Yeah. So today I’m a solo [00:01:00] entrepreneur and I’m five years into building my own business that started out in, as an agency business.

[00:01:09] And, and today it’s focused on, business and leadership development for product creators and startup entrepreneurs. And before doing this, I was. An operator of. Consumer fitness business, which I had built to 5 million. And, and I was accountable for a, you know, a multidiscipline team. So I was able to learn, quite a bit about how to double business and how to make profits as well as, run a purpose.

[00:01:50] Business. The business was all about fitness and wellness and, and helping busy women, high performing women, get a workout. [00:02:00] And, and that’s, , that was the business that I did before. What I’m doing now, in addition to, to those roles. I was also a startup executive and, and it had built, , as an entrepreneur, I had also built two of my own businesses in London before, moving to Portland almost 10 years ago in Oregon, where, where I lived today.

My Journey as an Entrepreneur

[00:02:24] So my. Adventure. My, my journey as a, as a entrepreneur has had multiple chapters, lots of, lots of ups and downs, lots of learning, lots of fun. I’ve been able to build a great network, with all the different experiences. I’ve. It sounds like it. I love that you have something across the pond. So explain to me, because I have never talked with someone who has done business, both in London or, you know, England, and then also here, I’m certain, there are some things that are similar and I’m certain [00:03:00] that there’s some things that are pretty different.

[00:03:01] Miriam: Do you mind just like throwing out a couple. Similarities and a couple differences. 

Working in England

[00:03:06] Noah: Absolutely. Well, so the funny thing about working in England is that although we do share the same language, the culture is quite different. Words mean different things. You know, if you were to say boot. You know, to, to an American, they would, they would think you’re talking about a shoe and in England, it’s, you know, the, you know, the, the back of your car, it’s your trunk.

[00:03:30] You know, so yeah, words are different and their meaning is different, but also the way that, and the culture in which people do business is quite different. Americans tend to be right to the point and much more. Get right into the business and there’s no, entree, or appetizer, and Brits love to have chit chat in advance.

[00:03:52] They love to talk about, you know, sports. They love to complain about the weather. Cuz it’s [00:04:00] always raining. They love to talk about traffic and you know, stuff like that. And so. That’s a real part of, part of it and, and Brits love drinking tea and having biscuits. And so that’s, that’s all part of doing business.

[00:04:14] You know, you’re either having tea or you’re at the pub and that’s, that’s where Brits like to do business and to make deals happen. And so, yeah, if you wanna have success doing business over there, you, you definitely want to, Yeah, warm people up and have the right setting in which people will, 

[00:04:33] feel comfortable. And, and, and that’s quite important if you go right into business with a Brit you’re probably not gonna have a great connection or, get very far. 

The First Practical Tip

[00:04:45] Miriam: Interesting. You know that right there feels like the first practical tip for our listeners and for myself after every podcast, I always write down a list of the things I’ve learned from my guests.

[00:04:56] And mm-hmm, one of the things I hear you saying is take into account the culture [00:05:00] of the person you’re working with. I feel like many of us. Want to and have global, businesses. And, just because they speak English doesn’t necessarily mean they think the same way. It is a little bit, confusing because I understand what you’re saying.

[00:05:15] Noah: Americans kind of wanna get right to it. 

[00:05:17] Miriam: Mm-hmm and, I think sometimes, and maybe this is conjecture on my part, but Americans get, get, can get kind of anxious either in a, come on, chop, chop, let’s get this going. Or, oh my gosh, they’re gonna think I’m wasting their time. If I schmooze with them. 

[00:05:35] Mm-hmm and depending on the culture and probably just about any other culture would like us to use more words.

Demonstrate You Care—With Time

[00:05:41] More time demonstrate that you actually care about me as a human being before, you know, just jumping into the bottom line and Americans are like, oh my gosh, don’t waste my time. I’ve only got 30 minutes. Can we stop talking about this? What is it you need or want. [00:06:00] Yes. Yes. And humor. Right? This is a huge thing that the, the Brits do so well.

[00:06:07] Noah: Not only cracking jokes, but making fun of themselves and being self depreciating is a great sign of intelligence. And, and. And bonding and connection and kind of, and affection. So that, that is, can be very disarming or, or even painful for Americans to get have jokes kind of thrown at you you know, from strangers, but in England, that is a sign of affection.

[00:06:35] If someone is making fun of you. So tho those are some pitfalls. Those can definitely. Those can definitely trip you up. And I, I think that humor is so underrated in business and I love bringing that in playfulness and color and fun. And that’s that’s really what makes, what can make business and, and communication and interaction more enjoyable.

[00:06:59] Self-Sabotage Mindsets

[00:06:59] Miriam: I [00:07:00] love it. That’s so good. Let’s transition into this topic of self sabotage and we’re, we’re gonna bounce around a little bit, but one of the things that I have just become so aware of is that all of us want a good life. All of us want a better life than maybe our parents had, or then we previously had.

[00:07:24] And we get in our own way. And I’ve seen this with the entrepreneurs I’ve worked with. I do a lot of coaching with business owners. I’ve seen this with the, you know, the non entrepreneurs because I also am a therapist. So I spend a lot of times in the office working with just regular people. We get in our own way.

[00:07:42] So what are some of the self sabotaging mindset? I’m if, if you’re willing to go there for you mm-hmm I would like to know kind of what you saw in your past mindsets, thoughts, behaviors that you felt sabotaged your forward movement. And then [00:08:00] how did you overcome them? Absolutely. No, I’d love to talk about this area.

[00:08:04] Self-Sabotage with Perfectionism

[00:08:04] Noah: This has been huge for me, for me personally perfectionism and overthinking things has been a big. Obstacle. And because I have overcome a lot of this, you know, and, and definitely still work at it. I, I catch myself triple thinking and it’s something that I’m able to help or, you know, my clients with I’m able to see it because I’ve been through it myself and this can be such a obstacle for people.

[00:08:38] You know, wanting to go over things endlessly and, and get you know, over analysis or, or analysis paralysis. It, it really does completely stop you from making progress with, with whatever that is and the way that I’ve overcome this is I’ve. [00:09:00] Coach I have, I work with coaches today and and I have accountability partners that, that help me take messy action.

[00:09:08] And that is that that’s really, really powerful when you’re able to move from. You know, wanting to get things perfect to just getting it out there. Get, you know, 80, you know, to 20% effort is often good enough to get 80% results. And so this is a whole era that I, that I love to help people recognize, investigate, and then move through.

[00:09:33] Miriam: Yeah. What do they say done is better than perfect. 

[00:09:36] Noah: Yes. So that’s a big one is you know, overthinking and perfectionism. 

[00:09:42] Self-Sabotage with Self-Doubt

[00:09:42] Noah: Another one for me is self doubt. Am I good enough to be doing this, selling this thing offering this, this area of expertise you know, we are all comparing ourselves constantly to, to other [00:10:00] people.

[00:10:00] That we see because social media is our dominant way of consuming content today. So, so, you know, social comparison and competition really leads to self-doubt. And I see this a lot with, with clients as a obstacle and, and something that can be very yeah, it can very much stop people and self sabotage.

[00:10:26] So, yeah, those are, those are the top ones that I see that are very common with all different personality types. 

[00:10:35] Miriam: I would agree with you. So when you’re talking about the self doubt and the comparison space, how would you coach someone through that? 

[00:10:46] Self-Sabotage with Comparison–Unleash Your Genius

[00:10:46] Noah: Mm-hmm mm-hmm well with.

[00:10:48] Comparison. You know, when you’re comparing yourself to what someone else has achieved or an award that they’ve got, or a promotion or a raise, or a, you [00:11:00] know, a, any of those things, what what I like to bring people back to is. Is is you and, and being yourself because you are the only person like you in terms of where you’ve grown up, you know, your area of genius and, your skills and experience.

[00:11:23] So there’s no one like you, no one that has had that unique ex life experience and area of genius. And so rather than. Comparing and feeling unsatisfied that you are not, that that person really lean into your area of genius and your uniqueness and double down on that because. That is your gift to the world is, is really those things and, and learn.

[00:11:57] So learning to, to [00:12:00] recognize those, those things lean into them and really go for it. Can move people move people out of that and, and into a, a better place. 

Hire for Your Weakness

[00:12:10] Miriam: That is a fantastic idea. I I’m forgetting this specific entrepreneur coach who was talking about. Instead of trying to beef up your weaknesses, hire for your weaknesses and beef up on your strengths or your genius.

[00:12:28] And I love this notion that we each have something that is so uniquely us, that nobody else can bring in quite that way. 

[00:12:39] And one of the things I chat with my adult children about is why don’t you compare you to you? Is this version of you better? Then last year’s version of you or yesterday’s version of you, what’s your, your hopes and desires for next year’s version of you?

[00:12:58] Noah: Yes, [00:13:00] exactly, exactly. And what I like to help my clients with is unleashing that yeah. Best version. Yeah, that genius. I, I run a mastermind called unleashing your genius and, and that so good. That is about removing the obstacles, the self sabotage, the behaviors that get people exactly, as you said it to, to their best version of themselves and to the, you know, the life and future that they imagine.

[00:13:30] When it’s Time for a Change

[00:13:30] Miriam: It’s so good. This is gonna jump back into your history just a little bit, but I find that after people have lived a certain amount of time and done a certain amount of things, they start to see this common thread that runs through, even though the jobs might be different. Mm-hmm the skill set might be similar.

[00:13:49] How do you see that flow and what made you wanna create this company?

[00:13:53] Because I think that they’re all. interrelated at some level mm-hmm mm-hmm 

Why I Built My Company

[00:13:58] Noah: I’ll start with your, the [00:14:00] last part, which is, you know, what made me and, and, or inspired me to create the company. I had worked for other people and I became. Really unsatisfied, building other people’s dreams.

[00:14:14] I reached this point where I was in my, in my mid forties and I thought to myself now, or never, you know, it’s time for me to build my own dreams and, and, and live the life that I’ve imagined. 

[00:14:30] I had already built a couple successful businesses, so I had the, the confidence that I could do it again.

[00:14:37] And. And I had seen a, an opening in the market to help people, you know, double their business specifically in e-commerce.

The Market Need

So there was, there was a market need that aligned with my my own genius area and, and and success. And, and then I had this self-belief and confidence that I could do it. So those were the [00:15:00] right ingredients and, and this trajectory for my career.

[00:15:05] Has really come, come from being great at, at working with people to you know, to, to improve performance, to and to have. To, to help people you know, move through this learning process of making something, learning a skill set and, and realizing a dream you know, a dream or a vision. And that that’s very much what a product entrepreneur has.

[00:15:32] They, they have a vision. And they have this great product, but they might not know how to get the right eyeballs to learn about this. And, and they may not have the right skillsets to have their product flying off the shelves. So instead it’s collecting dust and, and no one wants that. That’s really crushing for a, for a product entrepreneur to, to have this vision and, and to not have any traction in the [00:16:00] market.

I Love Building Teams

[00:16:00] I, I also love building teams and helping Helping figure out, you know, and prioritize the right the right people to hire and, and how to go about you know, financing the the expansion of a team or, or a company. So I I’ve learned these different areas of building blocks to, to building a startup.

[00:16:20] And so that’s, that’s all in demand knowledge. Yeah, that that’s been my own path. I, I think the common thread for me is, is really helping people reach their potential PE individuals and teams and, and helping visionary people make things happen. Making the, the dream a reality. Yeah, this is an aside, but the conversation is making me think about this.


[00:16:50] Miriam: When you look at an entrepreneur who has an idea and who is fairly independent, as most entrepreneurial types are, and mm-hmm many of them [00:17:00] have I can do it myself. I can figure it out myself. I mean, I think that’s part of that spirit mm-hmm and that basic mindset mm-hmm How, how long do they have to maybe the, maybe this is unanswerable, but how long do they have to try something out before, try and fail and try and fail and try and struggle and try and succeed a little bit and try and try without inviting other people in before they get discouraged enough that they abandon the idea or, you know, just stop and go back and get a regular job.

[00:17:34] I. My coaching can be expensive. And you and I both believe in it. We’ve both been on the receiving ends of it. And we both offer that as a product. How do we help our prospective clients understand,” yeah, it’s expensive, but it’s worth it because it expedites the process and gives you hope.” 

Hiring a Coach

[00:17:55] Noah: So in my business, I’m all about helping my clients with results. Right? [00:18:00] Right. Hiring a coach and working with me is all about getting to your intended goal and result and, and high value outcome as, as fast as possible. And so the benefit of working with me or with another coach is always gonna be better than staying stuck in your pain and problems.

[00:18:20] That you’re in today. So either you can delay getting out of that pain and problem getting unstuck, or you can, you know, continue to be in that place. And, and, you know, the, the, the, the pains and problems get worse, you get more isolated, you damage your relationships, you know, you know, there’s all kinds of Things that can crush you about life when you’re, when you’re stuck.

The Benefits

[00:18:46] And so I, I think that the benefits are always gonna be better than the investment and, and ultimately, I, I work to give my clients tons of value so that there’s [00:19:00] like a clear return on their investment that we can measure and quantify. And, and that’s, that’s important. Not, not all coaching programs can do that.

[00:19:11] With business coaching. I can, because I can anchor things to you know, revenue and profit and things like that. 

[00:19:19] Miriam: Yeah. Makes sense to me. It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re out on your own and it makes all the difference in the world to have someone walk alongside you to create some accountability, some encouragement.

[00:19:31] Noah: Yeah. 

[00:19:31] Miriam: Some Sometimes a little bit of like chop, chop, we’re having a meeting, you said, you’d have this done. And you haven’t had, you know, sometimes a little bit of that. Right. All of it. And yeah, I find with my clients that I just become very fond of them as human beings. They’re good. Good people. So, absolutely.

[00:19:49] Overcoming Self-Sabotage Raising Funding

[00:19:49] Noah: All right. Let me ask this question. I always think it’s interesting. As entrepreneurs, we have our businesses and we are working on these [00:20:00] various things, but always in the background of our mind, there’s some concept you’re thinking about and chewing on and rumbling around, and maybe it’s a product or maybe it’s not, or maybe it’s about life, or I don’t know, but what concept are you currently chewing on?

Current Concepts

[00:20:16] mm-hmm right now, we’re in this unique bubble in the world with what’s going on in with, you know, in the markets and a lot of my clients and, and a lot of people that I talk to, I talk to, you know, five, 10 people every week. And a lot of people are struggling raising money for their business and they’re, you know, running out of runway.

[00:20:44] So. I’m working on solving that problem and helping entrepreneurs with a really quick training that helps them to solve the three big problems that, that they face [00:21:00] raising money.

Problems Raising Money

You know, one is not having the, the language to speak to the entrepreneur in their own language. So not having, not being able to speak to an investor in their own language.

[00:21:13] Mm-hmm, a second one is not having way too much detail and just overwhelming your in, you know, Audience and, and investors with way too much detail. And the third is the energy you bring to to the pitch. And these are the, the deadly curses for raising money. And so right now I’m working on a mastermind that will be next week, that will help.

[00:21:38] I hope I’m only, only only have space for, to work with 10 people, but I want to help Help as many people as I can solve this problem so that they can keep their runway open to the finish line. And I know that that’s, that’s a problem. That’s impacting a lot of, lot of entrepreneurs out there.

[00:21:59] [00:22:00] Yeah, I would agree with you. And I think it’s gonna get infinitely worse before it gets better. Mm-hmm unfortunately, I mean, at the time of this recording, we are in June, 2022, and I think we haven’t seen the worst of the economic stuff yet.

A Commercial

Hey, this is Miriam jumping back in. Are you looking to go to the next level in your life or business right now?

[00:22:23] That’s what Leavebetter is about my friend. We give you the coaching to level up, have those breakthroughs so you can stop the self sabotage that keeps you where you are currently. Let’s make self-improvement a way of life. Go to leavebetter.com and download the free resource that’s there today. We change them regularly.

[00:22:41] Go and see what’s new at leavebetter.com. Now back to our interview, 

[00:22:46] Take Action, Celebrate Small Wins, Work Out

[00:22:46] Miriam: let’s transition into what beliefs or actions have made the biggest impact on you as a, as a leader, as an entrepreneur. 

[00:22:56] Noah: Mm-hmm mm-hmm well, [00:23:00] Actions wise, the big thing for me is taking consistent massive action. That, that mindset of not waiting, not sitting on action, but, but taking action every day and.

Celebrating Small Wins

[00:23:17] And also with that celebrating small wins every day, as opposed to expecting some monumental wins. I think big monumental wins are overrated. And I think the small everyday wins are really underrated. And that’s why. For me personally, taking massive action every day is what I practice and what I also teach my clients.

[00:23:45] That’s what moves you forward in life and in business. So that’s one. And another is, is really having a daily workout of some sort having some way to refuel the tank with [00:24:00] energy and optimism and feeling good. Energy wise, don’t wait for this vacation or this, or, you know, holiday period don’t delay that it, it, wellness and fitness is, is really.

A Daily Practice

[00:24:16] A daily practice and a daily ritual. And I really embrace that myself and, and I encourage my clients to do that as well. And relating to that is also mindset and meditation and you know, breath work and that’s, that is really transformational for, for myself and, and for my clients that I work with it, it helps us remove.

[00:24:42] The roadblocks that get in the way all the time is a lot of it is in our head. You know, most of it, most of the problems, most of it, most of the problems are in our head. And so, so we have to have. Healthy habits and rituals that become part of our, our whole [00:25:00] lifestyle. And and, and you don’t need a home gym.

[00:25:03] You don’t even need to have a gym membership. You, you can do these things with no equipment at home and, and they make all the difference. 

Brendan Burchard

[00:25:12] Miriam: Yeah, I would agree. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Brendan Burchard, but he he talks about high performance habits and mm-hmm, one of the things he says is that nobody ever says to a power plant.

[00:25:26] Boy, I hope they find some more energy. Mm-hmm he? You say to a power plant. Best power plant generates energy for us. And he said, our bodies are the same. We don’t need to wait around till we find energy. We need to make energy by movement. Yes. And all the things you just described. I’m very intrigued with B breath work.

The Literature on Breath Work

[00:25:48] I know from the literature I know from listening to zillions of podcasts, it makes a huge difference. Mm-hmm do you have Trouble getting your clients [00:26:00] to. Except or like be willing to try it. It’s, it’s a little bit out, further on the edge of what’s known among people. And I, I do think entrepreneurs happen to be more on the cutting edge of mm-hmm body optimization and that sort of thing.

[00:26:16] Mm-hmm high performers as well, but I’m curious what your experience has been with breath work with your people. 

[00:26:21] Breath Work

[00:26:21] Noah: I’ve had no resistance from any of my clients doing this. And, and we often not all the time, but we often start a session with breathwork mm-hmm and this doesn’t need to be long thing, but it can really shift the energy and just kind of bring back to the here and now from.

[00:26:43] What has been and where things are going. So, yeah, I, I love that. It, it it’s the thing that happens before a good session. It is really some breath. Nice. So you’ve basically trained your people. This is how we start, you know, how, what [00:27:00] is it that you have them do at the beginning of a session that you guys do together?

[00:27:04] Yeah, we do this together. It’s, you know, we close our eyes. We settle down our breath to you know, just natural breathing and with our eyes closed, then we do. You know, between five and 10 deep inhales and exhales with, you know, let inhale, let exhale go. Inhale. Let exhale go. Simple. I am a, a practitioner of yoga and have been for decades.


[00:27:34] So I’ve learned some of these things with yoga and I, and I’ve incorporated them into my coaching because it works for me. So I, I wanna help my clients with the same tools that I practice and, and, you know, yes. 17 seconds of breath work, you can completely change your outlook and energy. So it doesn’t need to be 10 minutes.

[00:27:59] [00:28:00] You know, it can be one minute. 

[00:28:03] Miriam: yeah, I love this. I’m writing it down in my, what I learned from this podcast, just to remind myself. Just because I know that this is a thing doesn’t mean that everybody knows this is a thing and I can model it for people. 

[00:28:18] Do you have a. Morning, routine or an afternoon routine. Do you wanna share that? Do you wanna walk through some of that for our 

[00:28:25] Morning Routine

[00:28:25] Noah: yes, I would love to. So my morning ritual is this. I wake up and I do a headstand for five minutes. Whoa. Yes, that’s awesome. And I’ve been doing this for close to 15 years. 15 years probably six days a week, some, some weeks, seven days a week, five minutes.

The Science Behind the Headstand

[00:28:47] Can you tell the science behind it? Or why? Why are you doing a, a headstand? Yeah. So the science behind it it’s really to change your blood flow. You are the inversion. It changes the [00:29:00] flow of blood and it’s, it’s very detoxifying. So it’s, it’s not only good for your body, for your physiology, your You’re cleaning out your system and making that system more efficient.

[00:29:14] But it also is great for your head you’re you, you’re getting all that blood flow to your head, which is great for fighting fear and anxiety. And so just amazing benefits. I’ll be honest. It took me probably two years of practicing to get into a headstand. I worked with a couple different yoga teachers in London, and it was a big deal for me personally, when I, when I got up there for the first time I had a fear of falling.

[00:29:47] That was my, that was my fear is falling over, which was completely irrational. Right. Cuz it wasn’t gonna hurt myself, but, but that was a fear. And. So I was able to overcome that [00:30:00] and learn this ritual. And so I do that. I, I do that every day. That’s part of my ritual and then I do some stretching. And some breath work.


[00:30:11] And I do a seated meditation. And as part of that, I do a, like a gratefulness practice and those are the things that’s my sandwich in the morning just before going running. And then I, I go running with my dog and that really sets me up. That gets me up to a plane. And so, yeah, so this is, this is my morning ritual and.

[00:30:36] You know, six days a week, something like that. That’s how I start my day. Wow. I love this.

The Headstand

Okay. So I gotta ask you a couple more questions about the handstand or headstand, cuz I’m genuinely interested. Did it take you a while to work up to five minutes as far as just your you’re not used to that kind of pressure in your head, right.

[00:30:56] And whatever, I mean. Were you like 15 [00:31:00] seconds and then 30 and then a minute. And then yeah. Yeah, it does take time to build up to it for certain, with the core strength mm-hmm . And, and this was so long ago now that I’ve been doing you know, 50 breaths or, or 40 or 50 breaths. So it does take some time to build up, but once you get there, It’s like riding a bike.

[00:31:22] You, you know, if you continue to practice it, you don’t forget it. And you have the muscle memory and yeah.

Feet Up

And there’s also a, a great product called feet up, which is it’s a, a. Thing that you can buy that just makes it easier to get up into your headstand, which takes a lot of the pressure off of your neck and your shoulders.

[00:31:46] So that’s good for us. Middle-aged people who, you know, don’t wanna have all that pressure on your neck, ultimately over time that leads to back problems and pain. And so I started [00:32:00] using that. Over time and it it’s, my back is a lot happier. Very very cool. I love it. How about an evening routine or end of work routine either one mm-hmm

[00:32:12] Yeah. So evening routine for me is also yoga and breath work. And I do this thing called an inverted child’s pose, which is. Just a way to stretch my stretch myself out and prepare myself for sleep. And so it’s again, it’s maybe five minutes of breathing, not a big deal. You know, you can roll out a towel or a yoga mat if you have one.

Preparing for Sleep

[00:32:40] And that really prepares me for sleep and getting better quality, deep sleep. I’ve noticed that since I started that in integrating that into my routine, I’ve just gotten better sleep and, you know, we really can’t get Enough good sleep. You know, particularly as a dad, an entrepreneur, [00:33:00] that sleep is the best workout that you need because it’s, you know, storing away all the information from, from the day and, and it’s healing.

[00:33:09] You know, your body and your mind. So, so I, I take these things really seriously and and it’s, I believe that tomorrow starts today. So you really need to invest in the day that you want to have by, by doing these things and, and embracing these types of rituals. Yeah, what I love about this is you don’t just know it up here, but you’re taking action on it.

[00:33:32] Miriam: I have had many of my clients say, “yeah, yeah, yeah. I know sleep, sleep. I know!” Yeah. But are you doing the things that help you get good sleep? It’s one thing to know it, it’s another thing to do the actions necessary to get there. So this is tremendous. Okay. Two more quick questions.

[00:33:53] The Four Agreements 

[00:33:53] Miriam: What is a book that has helped you or that you highly recommend or that you buy a lot [00:34:00] for people 

[00:34:01] Noah: One of. Books that I really love is The Four Agreements. Yes. And that is, it’s just ancient wisdom and it’s so relevant. And timeless and I think it’s a great foundation for, you know, how to be a good person, a B good human being simple things like, honoring your word and following through with your word and things like that.

[00:34:29] So, yeah, I love that one and it’s, it’s also a pretty quick read as well. So it’s You know, easy for people to, you know, sit down over a weekend and, and get it. 

[00:34:39] Miriam: Yeah, I would agree. That is a really good book. Okay. If you could turn back time and talk to yourself when you were younger or just starting your business,

[00:34:50] what advice would you give yourself?

Find a Mentor

[00:34:52] Noah: Hmm. For me, it’s work with a mentor regularly. That for [00:35:00] me is huge at, you know, as advice for young people because. You know today, a lot of people, they get their wisdom from YouTube. They get free advice from different influencers and, and it’s cobbled together stuff.

[00:35:17] That’s not relevant even to them. It’s yeah. For such a general audience. So my advice is. Find someone who has a path in life that you really looked up to that aligns with your own sense of purpose and values and try to seek out regular check-ins with them to get wisdom and guidance on how, how you can, how you can develop into the, your best self and, and how to unleash your genius.

[00:35:51] And seek out that, that consistent advice that’s going to be a life changer, maybe even a life saver for [00:36:00] you. 

People for Different Seasons

[00:36:00] Miriam: Those are wise words. I know in my own life, I have almost through every season of my life had someone. Like that obviously different people for different seasons. And they did make all the difference in terms of catapulting my life forward.

[00:36:16] From where it would’ve been to something, you know, further and better. Mm-hmm, definitely in my own life. I look for people to invest in as well. I always think you should have someone. you know, 10 steps ahead of you and someone, 10 steps behind you that you’re helping. Yes. Then someone who’s walking alongside you at the same level where you’re encouraging each other.

[00:36:38] This has been just such a fun interview 

Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary

[00:36:41] before I ask how people can find you. At the end of each interview, we like to gift our, Guests with a donation in their name.

[00:36:50] Noah: And so I was talking with Noah and asking him what, what would he appreciate and he chose best friend’s animal sanctuary because he’s got dogs, [00:37:00] a, a dog or dogs. Just biscuit. Just one, just biscuit. What kind of dog is it? She’s a golden doodle. Oh, so good. Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary is really working to reduce, the amount of animals that are killed in shelters. Instead, they’re getting them in foster homes and they’re getting them adopted. And they’re goal by 2025 is to, End this. So we’ll send a donation in your name and, thank you so so much for being with us.

How to Find Noah

[00:37:27] Tell us, tell our listeners how people can find you. You can find me  at noahcoff.com, which is N O a H K O F f.com. Perfect. Well, I hope that they look you up and ask you for some input. This has been a joy to have you on the podcast and just look forward to more interactions over time. Thank you. You Miriam.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

Music by Tom Sherlock

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.