066 - Pursue Passions. Be Fit. The Rest Will Follow. With Reena Vokoun

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Josh Tapp 0:00
What's up everybody? Josh Tapp here again, and welcome back to the lucky Titan podcast. So today we have Rena Vokoun on the mic, and Rena is here today to share with us a topic that we haven't really covered in this podcast yet. So we're going to be talking about pursuing your passions being fit, and the rest will follow. So Reena, let's hop right in. Alright Rena. So tell us one thing about yourself that most people don't know.
Reena Vokoun 0:23
Well, Josh, I would say that not everybody knows that I'm actually under five feet tall. I'm actually for 11 and a half. Wow. So I look like I'm about five, one or five to, but yeah, I'm pretty petite. My kids are quickly catching up to me and height. But I always have said to myself, you know what? You can be small and still be mighty and accomplish great things regardless of your size. And so I've really taken that to heart throughout my life and good things come in small packages.
Josh Tapp 0:56
Yeah. When it's couldn't slow you down. I'll tell you that. So you, are you. This is just a random question. But are you married to a really tall guy?
Reena Vokoun 1:05
My husband is pretty tall. He's over six feet tall.
That gives our kids a little hope for height.
Josh Tapp 1:12
Yeah, they're like, please get the right genes.
Reena Vokoun 1:15
We play basketball and soccer. So especially for basketball, they need all the hype they can get,
Josh Tapp 1:20
right. Yeah, for 11. That'd be, that'd be tough. That is so awesome. Well, it doesn't seem to slow you down. Well, Reena, let's get a little bit of background on you and kind of how you've gotten to where you're at with passion fit and just kind of walk us through that journey. how you got there.
Reena Vokoun 1:35
Yeah, so I spent most of my career actually working in digital media and advertising sales for high tech and media companies. A lot of big fortune 500 companies like Google, Yahoo, CNET, Reebok, GE and then I did work for a startup called Crocker as well and so focused on marketing sales and business development and really loved my career and enjoyed that industry. But I've also had this lifelong passion for health and wellness. I started teaching fitness classes when I was a freshman in college and taught three times a week for all four years of my college career while I will Business School, I've been dancing my whole life, starting with ballet training when I was seven, and then moved into hip hop, modern jazz, bollywood, Latin, you know, all types of dances, I was cheerleading and dance team in high school. So these are kind of some things that I've always been passionate about on the side. Throughout my life, even while working in my corporate career, I was pursuing certifications in fitness and nutrition. I recently completed a certification and behavior change coaching. And I just have always been fascinated with wellness and how that can impact people, how it can help you to be at your peak performance, both personally and professionally. And that's kind of what led me to start my company passion fit. It actually came out of a time where I was really burnt out, to be honest, working really hard at Google myself. Husband I had our two kids we had our second one was a baby at the time our older one was a toddler. My husband himself was working for Google also, because he comes from a tech background. And just, you know, two of us in Silicon Valley, kind of in that fast paced world, raising two young children, we hit a wall and we hit a point where we really burnt out. And all of the wonderful things about wellness that I cherished and loved and valued so much throughout my life kind of for a period of time went out the window, and I experienced health issues as did my husband. And it was just a really tough time and I felt like you know, something needs to change and I've always had this passion I've always wanted to do something with wellness and inspiring and motivating people. And so maybe this is a time to take a leap and go do this.
Josh Tapp 3:46
Yeah, one it puts you into this huge Yeah, into a business where you would like to talk about being its fitness and passion kind of merged together. Right. What, what what I really liked about your story, you know, that development of it is it's Almost something that's just been in you from the beginning, right? And you're able to take what you what you're passionate about, and then take a business background to it. I mean, that's pretty incredible. So for you, you know, taking that step out of Google, for example, you know, which is a very secure, great job, pretty much everybody's dream job, right? If they're in the business sector, and deciding to step out and do it on your own, what was that transition like for you?
Reena Vokoun 4:23
It was hard. It was honestly, in my career, the hardest thing I've ever done, because I love Google as a company, I had a fantastic boss and management team and team of peers that I work with all of whom are still, you know, dear friends of mine today, I still keep in touch with most of the people. Not all the people that I work with over there. So wasn't easy. It took me two years to really get the courage and, you know, I am first generation born Indian American. So I have immigrant parents who worked very hard to provide a good life for us in the United States and really value education and having a solid and secure career. So you can have When I told them that I was interested in walking away from my job at Google, in my career that I had built over the last 18 years to go off on my own and start something completely from scratch, they were, you know, concerned at first, to be honest, they were shocked. And of course, now, you know, it's been five and a half years since I started the company, and I have their full support. But you know, they were especially my dad, I will say he jokingly said, I need you to put together a three to five year business plan. And he decisions and I really want to know what you want to do with this. What is your vision? And, you know, how can you leverage all your skills that you've worked so hard to obtain into this business? And that was good for me. I'm glad that he pushed me and it's really helped along the way, but it wasn't easy at all. I have to say it was one of the hardest days but my last day of Google.
Josh Tapp 5:48
I bet. One of the cool part though, is you didn't just go because I hated my job. I hate this and everything. And I was you were transitioning to something else write something better. And I think I mean, I don't know if it's better. than Google equivalent, right, better for you.
Reena Vokoun 6:04
I'm different. And you know, I missed I missed the camaraderie and miss the team building and the collaboration with such talented people who come from all over the world of work at a company like Google. But at the same time, I find that I'm building new networks, and I'm working with people that are every bit as talented just in different industries and in different ways. So I'm very grateful for that.
Josh Tapp 6:26
Yeah, one that's kind of cool. Because you've been able to take that communication skill, that team building ability and create new networks for yourself, which in reality, I mean, for most of us, especially, you know, in the entrepreneurial realm, that's where a lot of us get hung up, you know, we don't know where to start to make that network and everything and I think that's really cool. You've been able to go out and build those those different types of networks. By deftly I'm going to transition the conversation a little bit here. Okay, because I'm going clear back in the conversation, what you had talked about, you know, while at college, you were, you know, becoming certified training, doing all this stuff. Wasn't Even your degree. And then you just explained your life, you know, you. First off working at Google means you've already you know, you've got a pretty heavy workload on your back, right being being involved such an awesome company. But then you've been involved in all these different things become certified. How do you still be a good mom?
Reena Vokoun 7:15
Yeah, that's very important to me. And that was also one of the big reasons why I stepped out of the corporate world, simply because I wanted more flexibility. I wouldn't say that I'm working any less per se than I was at Google or any other company that I worked for, but I'm working in ways that still take my children's needs into consideration. So being a working mom, I still it was very important to me to be able to pick up my kids from school and take them to their sports practices and you know, be there to help them with their homework and cook dinner at night and pack their lunches and all that mom stuff that my mom who was a stay at home mom always did for us growing up. My dad had a corporate career. My mom was a stay at home mom and I know for myself when I became an adult, I realized but I want to have both Be the awesome mom that my mom has always been but also be this, you know, successful person to my career like my dad. So it wasn't easy. I mean, it's something I definitely struggled with that balance, obviously through a lot of my career when I my husband and I started having kids. And that was a really big reason why I decided to become an entrepreneur because I thought the only way that I'm going to be able to control my schedule control my destiny and kind of decide how I want to design and live my life is if I do it on my terms. And you know, you end up as an entrepreneur, you can probably relate to this, you end up working kind of odd hours, like I might, you know, start checking email before my kids wake up at six in the morning or you know, work on a presentation or something at night after they go to bed or even when they come home from school. If they're sitting at the kitchen table doing their homework, I might have my laptop open also and be you know, cranking out a couple things and I'll take calls when I need you but they understand it and I think for them, having me there and knowing that I They're for them no matter what that gives them a sense of security and they're very supportive of what I'm doing in my career. And I love that I'm showing them what it looks like as is my husband because he also has to pitch in and, you know, split responsibilities with the kids with drop offs and pickups as well. But we're showing the kids what it means to be a dual working couple and how to still prioritize your family. Because, for me, family comes first no matter what, that's how I was raised. That's how my husband was raised. And I want to teach that to
Josh Tapp 9:28
my kids, which is awesome. first started, thank you and my wife, we get along really well. Just because she's that same way. I'm very much so like, I want to do both, you know, I don't wanna have to limit myself to to one or the other. And what's really cool about that is you've been able to still be a great mom, but you've been able to, like you said, you know, really find that balance and I like how you describe that because it's it's not about constantly having to be like these are my work hours. These are my family hours, you know, it's if they're doing homework, sit down and work with them. You know, and I think a lot of people Don't take that into consideration. Sometimes you can be doing it with them at the same time. And I know I we don't have any kids yet, but just me and my wife. Yeah, part of being a good husband is being there for my veto. And we've had to learn, okay, sometimes we need to just be working together because that allows us to get some time may not be quality time all the time. But then we find those gaps of time that really, you know, we can just make time for each other 100%. And I think that's absolutely crucial. So you really with passion fit? That's one of your core pillars is, you know, that work life balance. So, let's talk a little bit about how passion fit fits in with that for you.
Reena Vokoun 10:36
Yeah, I mean, and I want to say balance, balance. You're never gonna find this perfect balance right? Life is not ever like that. Is my life chaotic a lot of the time. Absolutely. You know, trying to do 20 things at once and the kids are throwing the basketball inside the house dribble, give me a hug. Wipe them down so I can take a conference call on me. Things like that happen. It doesn't always go smoothly. But I think when you look at that sort of 8020 rule, like for the most part, excuse me, are you able to, you know, do the things that you need to for your family, and the things that you need to do for your career in ways that you feel good about, and you feel comfortable with. I mean, it comes down to your own values, your own core beliefs and kind of how you want to run your life. And that's going to look different for everybody. And that's when you know what I focus on with work life balance, just for the term sake. When I work with clients, when I talk to people, within organizations, it's having them figure out what that looks like for them and helping them to customize it in a way that feels right.
Josh Tapp 11:40
Yeah, one. I had an example explained to me once a work life balance and it totally changed my thoughts on on bounce because like you're saying, There's, you're never going to have this it's not a 5050 it's never going to be or 8020 or I have explained to me in a way I thought was really cool. So if you've ever seen those dancers who like they spin the white plane on like a stick you're seeing that, like, bounced four or five at the same time and they keep them spinning. So it's not about it. He's the person who's explaining the missus, it's pretty much you've got four or five of those going, you know, one of the plates is your your family life, one of them's your work life or owns your school life or whatever. And you just have to take time and realize, okay, is one wobbling? Okay, I need to go back to that one and keep it spinning. And I really liked that because it allows you to evaluate and say, is that is that section wobbling? Do I need to come and put higher emphasis in that, and it doesn't mean it's a forever lifestyle change. Sometimes you just need to spend a little bit more time on one of those areas.
Reena Vokoun 12:36
Exactly. And it's true, you have to kind of sometimes give more attention to certain parts of your life than others. And then that's going to shift and change and evolve, especially with things like you know, your children, their ages are going to change, their needs are going to change and you have to kind of, you know, be flexible in that. And that's kind of what I try to focus on is how can you create that flexibility. How can you go Create that self awareness of not only yourself, but also your family, your employer if you work for somebody else, or your own business, and what are the things that you need to do to flourish and take care of things if they're maybe not going in the right direction, and kind of take a step back and make that time for self care or self assessment?
Josh Tapp 13:18
Yeah, absolutely. That's awesome. And so really, I mean, passion fit, like we talked about kind of fits around that. So let's, I'd like to just let our audience know, you know, what, what is passion fit? And how does that kind of fit into their lifestyle?
Reena Vokoun 13:30
Yeah, so my mission with passion fit is to empower people to flourish, both personally and professionally through wellness. And in my opinion, wellness is at the helm of it all, because if we don't have our physical health, our mental health and our emotional health, we can't be out there in the world making an impact and being successful not just from a career standpoint, but even with our families. And so, that's my focus is to sort of take it back to the basics and just remember and remind my clients and edges Keep them on, you know what it means to, you know, get, you know, sufficient sleep every night and to make sure that you're very conscious of what you're eating and what you're putting into your body because that affects how you feel and how you function, getting movement and exercise every day and not for the purposes of looking a certain way or being thin but more about building strength and empowering yourself and impacting your brain chemistry through exercise and, and movement and how that can help you in so many ways beyond just the physical side of it. Right? Well, this is another big one that I focus on. And a lot of that for me being first generation born Indian Americans stems from my upbringing in the Indian culture. So teaching people to not be intimidated by meditation and mindfulness because it can be whatever people want it to be. It could be something as simple as you know, going for a run outside or a hike or cycling or whatever it is that you need to be able to quiet your mind and kind of get away from the daily grind to reassess and kind of take care of yourself. So it's teaching people these skills. But beyond just the the fitness and the nutrition and the mindfulness, it's also like taking a look at their work life and figuring out, you know, how can we, you know, help you to be more productive during the day, in ways that you can produce your best work, but not do it at a point of burnout? And how can we shift your mindset to think positively and to play to your strengths and empower you rather than have you be driven by fear, especially fear of failure. And so it's kind of a lot of, you know, it's a multi faceted approach. I kind of have a seven step holistic approach to wellness. And you'll see that reflected in my online course. In my fitness and dance classes that I teach. I've created a signature line of fitness and dance classes. My YouTube videos focus on holistic wellness, I have a whole channel of videos, I blog and write about the topic. Build on my website and for other publications. I do wellness retreats, speaking engagements and workshops for different organizations. And then I have activewear line as well, which is kind of fun. It's just a fun way for people to, you know, get themselves excited to exercise and move and you know, I have a lot of different activewear that people can wear when they exercise. So there's a lot of different products, services and content that all center around holistic wellness and personal and professional development.
Josh Tapp 16:20
Well, everybody can find pretty much everything that you do on passion fit calm, right?
Reena Vokoun 16:25
That's right. Yep, that's the hub of it all the all the different services that I offer, including the wellness, consulting and coaching as well, but I do one on one as well as for groups and organizations. So yeah, there's just there's a lot of different things and I my focus is to meet people where they are people are at different stages of life, different levels. I tend to work a lot with women, especially those that are professionals, many of which are moms, that often are, you know, the subjects of burnout and they're struggling to try to keep it all together. So I would say that's the majority of my client base but I really Try to focus on that whole person, including their spouses, their kids, and who they are as a professional and trying to kind of help the whole family, if you will.
Josh Tapp 17:09
Well, and what I love about AI and really just the beauty of your the way you've approached this business is you're coming at it from a corporate background and you understand the burnout, you understand, nobody has time to work out, right? It's all about making the time to work out or what have you, or to, you know, do your meditation or whatever. So, I am really curious because you've worked with quite a few different people at this point. And our ideal listener here, and pretty much everybody listens is an entrepreneur. So for them, what were some of the biggest pitfalls you see that an entrepreneur runs into when it comes to wellness and fitness?
Reena Vokoun 17:41
Yeah, I would say as a fellow entrepreneur, your work life and your personal life really can bleed into one another. And that's not a bad thing. I mean, to be honest, I feel like that's probably why a lot of us become entrepreneurs in the first place. Because we want to be able to do what we love and you know, have that source. Have integrate with what we're already doing personally. But I think the risk in that is that you can be a prime candidate for burnout, because you might be working so much, and you might be so excited about what you're doing, which is great. But if you're, you know, up working on something until 3am every night and not getting sufficient sleep or skipping meals, or kind of overdoing it on the coffee, and, you know, just not really taking a step back to kind of find balance in the way that it works for you. And that could be dangerous for your health. You know, as we know, a lot of people that are stressed out stress can actually cause almost 60% of all human illness and disease. So when you're stressed that could lead to things like heart disease and diabetes and cancer and anxiety, depression and so many other things. And so, I would just encourage entrepreneurs to know that you know, you do have to create some boundaries and some semblance of balance in your life.
Josh Tapp 18:56
Yeah, when I know one of my problems as an entrepreneur is my mind Prime Time is from the second I wake up for about two or three hours. And my problem is, I want to get into routine in the morning, but like the second I wake up, my brain is just like, gone ready. And I'm so excited about the next thing. So I just like really excited to get on start doing content or whatever for the day. And sometimes I just skip over the things that I'm like, Wow, I didn't even take time to meditate or do whatever in the morning. So I knew. I think that's kind of, it's probably the entrepreneurial curse, right? We're all so excited to get toward that day. But
Reena Vokoun 19:30
Exactly. And I think it's just reminding ourselves that if we take the time for those, you know, things for ourselves, whether it's that morning meditation, or that morning run or getting in a workout during lunch, or whatever it is, or really, you know, making sure that you're conscious of what you're eating. It's going to make you that much better of an entrepreneur and a leader and impact that you want to have can be that much greater if you're at your best. And I know that's not always easy to remember. But if you can create it as just something that's part of your daily life, You don't even have to think about and you program it into your day. And it doesn't have to necessarily be in the morning because some of us are night owls, some of us are morning birds. You know, I definitely tend to be one that can stay up later. And my husband is, you know, goes to bed early and rises. So we're a little different in that, but I think it's figuring out what works for you. And like you said, your morning hours are when you were the most productive. So how can you maybe split that time where you get a couple really good things done for yourself, which might actually make you productive even longer into the day? Yeah, just being conscious of that. And that's something that I work with my clients on is just understanding your natural rhythms, understanding your productivity cycles, and even your need for sleep. Some people need nine to 10 hours of sleep, other people need seven to eight. In my experience, from everything I've been trained in and study, you need at least seven, I would say as an adult to function at your best. So yeah, I think if that's something that entrepreneurs just really have to, you know, be very good mindful of no pun intended, and just be very careful.
Josh Tapp 21:04
Yeah, that's super awesome. And so I do want to recommend to everybody to go over to passion fit because I really think that that's going to allow you to, you know, get into what Rena is talking about helping you organize, really your life so that you can start being a little bit better about, you know, your fitness and your wellness in general, because I do believe what you're saying about even me, you know, it's, if I could learn to organize my life a little bit better, I might be able to extend that productivity time, you know, because for me, I've always told myself, Mike, well, when about one or two o'clock hits, I'm like, I should be done with my workday, because I'm not, I'm not as productive. I still work but my productivity is cut in half and I may if I could find ways to leverage wellness in the mornings to extend that till you know, five 6pm I would be ecstatic, right?
Reena Vokoun 21:48
Some of that is even taking some breaks in the middle of your day when you know you're starting to get into that low. That might be a really good time to you know, go out for a walk or get some fresh air and clear your head so that you can Come back in the afternoon, ready to, you know, fire off some more emails or finish a project before five or 6pm hits. So there are ways to kind of again, find that flow in that rhythm and shake it up a little bit if you know because I think a lot of us I get that when, you know, after eating lunch at one o'clock low. You know, when I've done meetings and things like that, it's that can be a time where I'm feeling most tired. And so it's recognizing that figuring out Alright, what can I do to re energize myself and take a break from what I'm doing because if I keep just trying to slug it out, I'm probably not going to produce my best work anyway. So take it, take a step back and then come back to it when I'm feeling really, you know, refreshed.
Josh Tapp 22:41
And I'd love to learn your tactics on that because like, I think getting yourself refresh because my problem for example, I'll go and try and like watch an episode of something right? Like strike an hour and I'm like, okay, that'll help but now I just can't even get off my butt after that. I'm trying to get myself back up and work you know?
Reena Vokoun 23:00
No tech in screens can be, you know, to our detriment as well as to our advantage depending on how we use them. And that's a whole other topic, we might have to do another that because I've definitely myself have played with, you know, different things, especially at nighttime to try to go no screens to be able to positively impact my sleep.
Josh Tapp 23:21
Yeah, that's awesome. Well, I'm gonna give one last shout out for you, everybody, go check out passion fit, calm. And then I do I had one other reason for bringing you on today. Reena and this is something that is very near and dear to my heart. I think it's going to be really cool to have you even just announced this here on the lucky Titan. But something cool as you've now been nominated as the 2020. Woman of the Year for silicon Silicon Valley. Excuse me. So tell us a little bit about that and tell us what you're doing along those lines.
Reena Vokoun 23:48
Yeah, so I was nominated to be a candidate for this 10 week fundraising competition, and it's called Women and Man of the Year, and it's through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and you know, it's actually in Because my husband and I did team in training many years ago, and we ran the Portland marathon and we fundraise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, you know, many years ago, and it's a phenomenal organization, it is focused on children, for sure. I mean, they're going to be spending about 100 million dollars over the next five years to look for, you know, research for cures for cancer for children, but it also impacts all forms of blood cancer, and so many of us have had family or friends that have been affected, I'm sure. So I just felt like this is something that's really worthwhile, and it found its way to me, and I felt like you know, this is a sign that I need to do this. You know, I want to make an impact. My company passion fit focuses, as you know, on health and wellness, and a lot of that focuses on Disease Prevention and disease management. I'm a mom as well and so I have a soft spot in my heart for children. And so this is just something that I'm really excited about. The competition starts on February 20. And it goes until next May 1 and I will be seeking donations, corporate sponsorships auction item donations from various businesses. So yeah, check out passion fit calm, you can follow me on social media as well The handle is at passion fit LLC. And I'll be sharing more information across my Facebook Instagram pages Twitter, LinkedIn about the campaign but if any of you out there have been touched by cancer impacted in some way, I hope you'll consider this campaign and you know, helping through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Josh Tapp 25:34
Well, thank you so much for coming and sharing that we will also post that on the tribe of Titans as well, just to make sure everybody knows they can they can go and promote this and really get back to an awesome society. So I'm really though before we sign off Renae, can you give us one last parting piece of guidance and then we'll say goodbye?
Reena Vokoun 25:53
And yeah, so my motto which is the tagline for passion fit is pursue your passions be fit. And the rest will follow. And I completely wholeheartedly believe in that. And I live by that, I think when we work on things or invite things into our life that we truly love and are passionate about, you know, and we're able to be fit. And I don't just mean fit physically, but fit mentally, spiritually and emotionally in our lives. If you put those two things together, the rest will follow. And it can really be that simple. If you find your purpose, you find your voice. You take care of yourself and those around you. And you can make a huge impact in your community through those things. And that's what I'm, you know, here to try to get that message out as much as I can to the world. So I share that with you guys. And I appreciate you taking the time to have me as a guest, Josh, it's
Josh Tapp 26:45
just Yeah, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you
Reena Vokoun 26:48
Take care and happy to be here.
Josh Tapp 26:52
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