Implement a calming and grounding morning routine to set the tone for your day and increase productivity.
Jennifer Sembler is the founder of Yemanya Travel, the inception of which combines her two biggest passions: healthy living and travel. Jennifer is a holistic wellness coach certified through the International Association of Wellness Professionals and holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies through eCornell. She is also a tantra yoga teacher and regular practitioner of meditation, having received mindfulness training from UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and Awareness Training Institute. When it comes to all things healthy living, Jennifer has been her own guinea pig during her years-long path to wellness, trying out different modalities, diets and exercises to find what really works and is sustainable in everyday life. Her own journey of trial and error is what sparked the idea for the Lifestyle Reboot Retreat. She is exceptionally passionate about helping others lead a holistically healthy and fulfilling life that they truly love.
Also a seasoned traveler, Jennifer’s wanderlust began early when family vacations inspired a European backpacking trip with a friend at 19, followed by a solo around-the-world adventure when she was 24. Former careers as an editor at a travel magazine and a freelance travel writer afforded her the opportunity to visit 55-plus countries and kept her on the road for 11 years, the last four of which have been nomadic.
Where did the idea for Yemanya Travel come from?
The initial iteration of the idea came to me nearly two years ago. I wanted to combine my travel background with my passion for healthy living to offer wellness travel tours. However, after some soul searching and no sign-ups for the two initial tours I posted, I put the business on hold and decided to go to an ashram in India and give myself time to reflect on what I really wanted. I ended up staying in India for six months and traveling. During my yoga teacher training in Goa, I started to think again about running wellness tours, but more retreat-style and with a healthy living mind-body-spirit approach.
When my six-month visa was nearly up, I had to figure out where to go next. I was watching the sunset on this clifftop point I visited nearly every night while I lived in Goa and asked aloud, “What should I do? Where should I go?” A voice said to me, “Go to Bali and source a retreat.” That night, I found a place to rent in Bali and I booked my ticket a day or two later. I found a retreat space, Desa Seni, during my first week.
When I first launched my company, my life coach, Angie Robertson of Handel Group, said she would be interested in partnering in the future and I thought this time around might be the perfect opportunity to bring her on board. So I sent her an email asking if she was still interested in partnerning, and her response was, “Yes yes yes.” We started to collaborate and the Lifestyle Reboot Retreat we’re now holding in September in Bali was born. It offers a 360-degree approach to mind-body-spirit that will uplevel participants’ overall well-being so they can truly live the life of their dreams. The retreat includes everything from life coaching to a nutrition workshop on the benefits of a whole food, plant-based diet to yoga and meditation to journaling.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I recently started time blocking so I schedule out my day on my Google calendar with specific time frames to complete everything. It keeps me on track and productive. I not only write out business-related tasks, but also the time to prep and eat lunch, to exercise and any errands I need to do. Typically, my day includes updating social media, writing newsletters and blog posts for my website, working on marketing efforts, liasing with my business partner, and many other odds and ends. It’s a little different every day.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Many of my ideas come to me while journaling, and once I have them down on paper, I let them settle and simmer on the backburner until I receive a sign that it’s time to implement them. Then to bring them to life, it’s all about taking action. As Marie Forleo (I absolutely love her) says, “Insight without action is pointless.” My first step toward taking action is putting it on my Google calendar.
What’s one trend that excites you?
The movement toward higher consciousness thrills me. I live in Bali now and there are endless modalities for opening up consciousness and awareness, and I love being part of this community. Recognizing that we are all connected and share one consciousness is such a beautiful realization. And I’ve found that connecting to something beyond myself but also part of myself has skyrocketed my growth and opened up the path toward vibrational harmony. Facets of spirituality are included in the retreat I’m hosting and I’m so excited to share them with those that are joining.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Hands down my morning routine. It grounds me and sets the tone for my day. I’m up at 6 a.m. and my morning routine includes everything from health-oriented practices, such as tongue scraping and the neti pot, to spiritually oriented ones, such as chanting, meditation, pranayama , conscious connected breathwork and journaling. I also include affirmations and visualizations every morning. My whole routine takes about two hours but I love each and every piece of it.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Get on the spirit train as soon as possible. I’ve always been interested in spirituality, but I only started meditating three years ago and delving into spiritual practices around the same time. I’m meeting many people now who are in their 20s and early 30s doing the same, and I so admire them for starting early. The sooner you tap into your inner self, higher power, the universe, whatever you want to call it, the more you will start to grow. Also, I’d advise my younger self to start practicing gratitude on an everyday, all day basis. Try saying thank you more and you’ll have more and more to be thankful for.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
You can easily cook without using oil. A whole food, plant-based diet eliminates added oils, which is sort of a conundrum for many people when it comes to cooking. I admit I do use oil sometimes if I’m frying spices at the start of a recipe, but more often than not, I’ll sprinkle some water in a pan to saute, and it works just as well as oil. I meet a lot of resistance on this point, but I promise it can easily be done.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Meditate. I’ve been recommending it to people for years. It’s so important for centering and grounding, which as an entrepreneur, you need to be both. It also gives you the space and silence to tune in, which will leave you calmer and more ready to weather any storm. I’ve also received many business ideas while meditating.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Partnership. As the saying goes, “Two heads are better than one.” Partnering with my former life coach helped me to reach a larger audience to grow the business. Also our combined talents afforded us the ability to offer more value and therefore to be of more service to our customers.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
The initial iteration of my business failed for a few reasons, but namely I think because I didn’t give it my all and gave up too soon. Also the idea was too broad. So this time around, I’m giving it all I have and not giving up. Yes, some people skyrocket to success, but more often than not, success comes at a slow and steady pace, so I try to keep that in mind. And when it came to the idea, I really narrowed the concept to appeal to a targeted audience. The more specific the better because people want to feel like you’re speaking directly to them, not to anyone and everyone.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I really wanted to create a wellness center that combined all different therapeutic modalities under one roof, such as yoga therapy, reiki, acupuncture, chakra balancing, Ayurveda and more. It would offer spa facilities, such as a sauna, steam room and whirlpool, as well as relaxation areas, but it would be different than a traditional spa. If anyone wants to steal the idea and go for it, please do. I think wellness centers should be available everywhere!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
Yesterday, I bought an online entrepreneur bundle for $99.50 that includes 31 courses for entrepreneurs from entrepreneurs, ranging from how to have an abundance mindset to how to hire interns. I think it’s important as an entrepreneur to constantly be growing and honing your skills, and I wanted to freshen up my arsenal.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Honestly, as simple as it is, my Google calendar keeps me on target for the day with my tasks. I write out everything I have to do with specific time frames to get them done. Of course, I move things around if something urgent comes up, but I stick to the plan and the plan keeps me productive.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and his son, Thomas Campbell. This is the book that literally turned me vegan (technically whole food, plant-based, but I say vegan for the sake of recognition and ease). It is the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever done and offers up fascinating evidence in favor of eschewing all animal protein (including meat, fish, dairy and eggs)as well as excluding processed foods and oils to achieve optimal health.
What is your favorite quote?
I really love “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself,” by George Bernard Shaw.
- Implement a calming and grounding morning routine to set the tone for your day and increase productivity.
- Open up to a more spiritually oriented path. Your inner world will grow richer and change, which will ultimately change your outer world and your business for the better.
- Go whole food, plant-based. Better health equals better quality of life and productivity. If you want to be top of your game, you want your health in order.