Don’t push yourself past the breaking point; give yourself some grace.
Stacy Wood, founder of Through the Woods Consulting, is a self-described naturist, individual development consultant, and impactful communicator. As a mother, wife, and entrepreneur she knows firsthand the value of time; using it wisely and living each day with purpose. Her mission is to impact individual lives of others by helping them live intentionally, embrace or create opportunities, and find their individual success.
Influential communication with a special focus on Women’s Leadership Development is the backbone of Through the Woods Consulting. Stacy believes that women have an equal opportunity to participate at all levels of corporate America, they just need focused support to find their confidence and sharpen specific skills which keep them competitive. She helps individuals define and achieve their goals through executive coaching, corporate workshops, nature-based retreats, and motivational speaking gigs.
A professional with a degree in equine science and pre-entrepreneur background centered on communicating impactfully with physicians /hospitals, Stacy is also a certified Life Coach, a former Adjunct Professor with the University of Richmond, and a former training manager in a top pharmaceutical company. She is known for her interpersonal relationships, ability to connect with a crowd, and compassionate but productive coaching style. Her life-long passion for science and nature combine with her coaching skills to offer unique opportunities for individual development. You can learn more about her at www.ttwoods.com.
Where did the idea for Through the Woods come from?
I have known for years that I wanted to be an entrepreneur; I just wasn’t sure how to make that happen. I knew that I wanted to live my life on my terms, work on my own schedule, and not play by the old rule book. I am self motivated and so I don’t like being told exactly when and how to work … even in college I would negotiate for special projects to count as class credits. For years I had a geeky hobby of writing business plans (mostly daydreaming ideas, not a lot of financial planning). I would work through an idea until I found a reason it didn’t resonate with me and then move on.
In 2014 a friend listened as I pitched what I pursing as my business at the time (a company for professional development training). She then suggested that being a Life Coach was potentially my calling. I honestly didn’t know what that was, but after doing my research I knew this was indeed my calling and signed up for a certification program!
From then on, TTW has evolved slowly to infuse my passion for women’s leadership development and the lesson’s nature teaches us; and now my delivery comes in many forms: executive coaching, corporate workshops for skills training, speaking gigs, retreats, and consulting on women’s leadership development.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My husband and I wake early (truthfully, he’s usually up at least 30min before me!). My day starts at 5:30am, that’s my time to workout and shower in peace and quiet. From there I wake the kids and prep them for school, dropping them off by 7:30am. I am not a morning person but have learned to love this early start to my workday.
I work either from home or in a small private office where I see clients. Once settled, the first thing I do is to create my Daily Sheet, a Pomodoro inspired list of what I will accomplish that day broken out by category. This is key for me to stay productive and focused! I try to have my anchor appointments in the morning and all before lunch; my goal is to have a client or networking meeting 4 mornings per week (a long-standing habit from being in medical sales for years). Having a metric keeps me accountable. My Friday mornings are reserved as met time to go ride a horse or be at the school as a classroom volunteer.
After meetings I focus on business development … researching, studying, planning content, following up with clients/network contacts, etc. I intentionally wrap up my day in time to get my kids off the bus and focus on them (homework, outside time, sports practice, etc). This is one of the huge motivators for me as an entrepreneur: creating a schedule that allows me to work AND be a mother. I usually return to my work later in the evening to wrap up loose ends.
And a mandatory piece of each day for me is to be in nature in some capacity: walking the dog, playing with the kids, barefoot in the yard, exercising outdoors, evening time on the porch, etc.
Oh, and summer? Let’s just say summer is giant curve ball that feels like I’m playing Tetris every day with my schedule.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have a busy brain, and so my most helpful tool to sort through the ideas is to utilize mind-mapping. When I have an idea its usually sporadically, and so I first record them on the notes app in my phone. Later if I still like the idea I will mind-map it to determine its value. Once I have committed to it I tend to just jump in feet first and start executing, hoping that the idea gets traction. If I hesitate I tend to lose confidence and go down the road of “what if”.
Many ideas fail, but I try to subscribe to the idea of fail fast and keep moving. It hurts, but its better than not trying and seeing someone else execute it!
What’s one trend that excites you?
Women’s Leadership Development! We tend to be our own worst enemy, and I want to play a role in unlocking individual potential within women.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Most days I do a good job of being extremely productive during my work hours. I have always worked from home or in my private office, and so the notion of going to work and spending unproductive time there “hanging out” blows my mind. I believe in focusing, getting the work done, and moving on to the rest of my life.
That is why I created my “Daily Sheet”. It allows me to purge all of my “to do’s” onto the paper and organize them; I know longer have to take up mental space trying to remember them. It also keeps me from getting distracted with non-essential tasks.
I am also known to send non-urgent calls directly to voicemail when I am in the middle of a task. I return calls on my break between tasks.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t push yourself past the breaking point; give yourself some grace.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
An 8+hour workday on a regular basis is wasteful. Our brains cannot hyper focus for that long. The data shows 6 hours is the most productive time for work, the rest is just “showing face” in the office.
Allowing employees to work in the most productive capacity (6 hours) reduces fatigue and wasted time. It also gives them the freedom to crank out long days AS NEEDED to accomplish a big task or deadline.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Meet new people and ask how you can be helpful to one another.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I am selling my brand, and my brand is ME. When people buy my services, they are buying my interaction with them.
I am not perfect and not always spit-shined-polished, but by letting down my guard and being myself clients can connect with me more authentically. They can see and feel the passion that I have for helping to solve their unique problem. People are more engaged in a conversation or transaction when they connect to another human on a deeper level.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Yikes- I created yearlong subscription program for Women’s Leadership Development. I invested in marketing pieces and plastered it everywhere. No one signed up. Not one person.
It felt like I was a HUGE failure, that no one valued my expertise or my content.
I had to step back and realize that it was the wrong program at the wrong time. It was a big learning curve and certainly made me gun-shy. But as I now prepare to launch a new Women’s Leadership Program I am happy that I can learn from those mistakes to be more strategic. I also know that while I may have lost some money and bruised my ego, I am still OK and this one program cannot define my success.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
It seems basic, but for a woman on the go its mandatory: A better clutch! I want a clutch that is perfectly sized with a fold-out wallet AND room for my giant iphone, lip balm, and my car key. One that I can carry on my wrist or drop into my big purse. Seriously, this is a lifestyle opportunity that some designer can fix!
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
An afternoon date with my husband for sushi and wine to celebrate our 18th anniversary! Our sitter for the evening fell through, but we were able to salvage an hour and half back that afternoon while the kids were at a party.
Between raising 2 children and our careers, we don’t get enough of that valuable 1:1 time together. Investing in our relationship with each other is a huge priority for our marriage, so we steal a moment when we can.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I am admittedly low-tech… but I am trying to become savvier. I am currently liking Calendly for client scheduling to avoid the back-and-forth emails of picking a date. I am getting deeper into it and learning more of how to integrate it on a regular basis.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Without question everyone should read “Essentialism” by Greg McKeown
It’s an easy read and helps to put life in perspective. Why are you making the choices you make each day? What really matters in your life? Are you getting through or living intentionally each day?
What is your favorite quote?
I’m cheating a bit and giving two answers, one I heard and one I created to live by:
1- “You can have it all in life, you just can’t have it ALL all at once” -Oprah
2- My personal mantra: “Life is crazy; find your balance and enjoy the journey” -Stacy Wood
- Be authentic to your true self.
- Have a plan to be productive each day.
- If an idea speaks to you follow it as it changes and develops; pursue it until it no longer serves you.
- Invest in what is essential to your happiness.