Heather Vickery is an award-winning business owner, and coach with over 20 years as an entrepreneur. She leverages her entrepreneurial skills and expertise to coach individuals towards greater personal and professional fulfillment. A celebrated public speaker, Heather inspires audiences and empowers attendees with the tools they need to live bold and successful lives through creating balance, time management, as well as countless systems, strategies and boundaries. Heather is a single mom of four (all girls!) who left a decade long marriage and came out personally and professionally (yes, of the closet). Her specialty is in helping people push through fear and embrace bravery. She’s written a book and journal on the life changing powers of Gratitude and she’s a fierce social justice warrior. Heather is also the host and executive producer of The Brave Files Podcast.
Where did the idea for The Brave Files come from?
I’ve been an entrepreneur for the majority of my adult life. After owning one of Chicago’s premier event and wedding planning firms for over 17 years, I started to realize there was something else out there for me that was so my soul more and allow me to touch the lives of others dramatically. It was at this time that I was going through a major personal life transformation that included coming out of the closet, and getting a divorce. I started paying attention to what the universe was presenting me and I realized I was already coaching. Others had seen this in me before I saw it in myself. Several times a week I was being approached by somebody who wanted to make big changes in their lives and believed I could help them do so.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m one of those entrepreneurs that have the privilege of working from home. I’m also the primary care providing parent for all four of my children. I get my children to and from school each day which means my work hours are from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. That requires being incredibly focused and working as efficiently and effectively as possible. I’ve built incredible systems to help me be as successful as I am. And I love sharing those systems with clients and audience members when I speak.
How do you bring ideas to life?
The one thing I’ve come to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that the difference between an unrealistic dream and dreams come true … is taking the time to truly understand what you want, why you want it and how to get it. Once you have that figured out, it’s time to step into action. Without a plan and taking action your ideas never come to life.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I find it incredibly exciting the corporate culture has shifted and a very dramatic way. Recognizing that “business as usual” is no longer the way successful businesses work. Honoring the “whole employee,” respecting employees on a 360 level, encouraging them to create work-life Harmony, and honoring how they themselves are most successful, create a company culture that motivates, inspires and includes everyone. When a company takes the time to do this, their employee retention is higher, employees are happier in general, clients are happier, and everyone makes more money.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I live and work by intuition. I listen to what the universe presents to me and I take action on it. This includes anything from creating strong and empowered boundaries two communicating clearly and asking for what I want. It also means recognizing when self-care is needed.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell that wide-eyed little girl to trust herself earlier and more often. I would remind her that her instincts are strong and she is capable. And I would give her a hug and remind her never to lose herself as she navigates life.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Sometimes you have to throw a tantrum! Expressing emotions is a normal, natural human behavior. Sometimes that behavior May look out of control. throwing a tantrum reminds us that we make mistakes and we can correct them, learn from them and teach from them.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I express gratitude over and over again. I share my gratitude in the moment with others and with myself. When we focus on what we have to be grateful for, even within moments that are difficult or painful, we train our mind and our energy to look for and surround yourself with beauty and Grace.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The number one strategy that has helped me grow my business is stepping authentically and vulnerably onto the stage (trusting myself) and collaborating with others. Progress is never linear but we all grow faster when we grow together and include others.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I make mistakes all the time. I typically on them and speak publicly about them despite feeling slightly humiliated. There’s so much to learn from failure. One of the most difficult failures I’ve had is the launching of my audio course “Chaos to Clarity.” It’s a really fantastic program and I put a ton of money into developing it however oh, I was simply never able to sell it. Last year I decided to put it to bed and disassemble it and use the different pieces in new ways. It was both sad and empowering.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
As a mother of four, I’ve always thought it would be great to have a drive-thru system throughout town where I could collect everything I needed without having to wake my sleeping children or drag them out of the car. If somebody builds that, they will be rich!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I’ve been having a lot of pain in my right rotator cuff and arm. Spending money with a therapeutic masseuse was the smartest thing I could have done. Well worth the money!
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
There are several that I really love here but my current favorite is my online scheduler, Acuity. There are so many different types of meetings, as well as interviews for the podcast, Acuity really helps me stay on top of my schedule. Here’s a link if you want to try it:
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The number one book I recommend to clients is called “Leadership and self-deception: Getting out of the box.” This book had a dramatic impact on my life and my business.
What is your favorite quote?
If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude. – Maya Angelou
– There’s always something you can do to put yourself in the driver’s seat of your life. Don’t sit back and be passive.
– Fear either owns you or empowers you. The choice is yours. Listen to Heather’s Podcast, The Brave Files, for inspiration, motivation, and connection related to living courageously. Listen now on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or anywhere you enjoy podcasts.
– Setting strong boundaries and then clearly communicating them is the key to guilt-free freedom.
– Our minds cannot hold negative and positive thoughts at the same time. This is a scientific fact. Therefore, practicing and sharing gratitude leads to a happier and healthier life. Get a copy of Heather’s book “Gratitude Journal: Shift Your Focus” today and start living a more grateful life.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.