Balancing Grind and Gratitude

Hosted By Lauren Conaway

InnovateHER KC

See All Episodes With Lauren Conaway

Kristin Summers

Today's Guest: Kristin Summers

CEO & Founder - Back to Self-Care

Kansas City, MO

Ep. #1208 - Balancing Grind and Gratitude

Today’s episode of Startup Hustle features Lauren Conaway and Kristin Summers, Founder & CEO of Back to Self-Care. Listen to Lauren and Kristin discuss balancing grind and gratitude and the journey to building a tech product as a non-tech founder. They also discuss the benefits of being mindful and self-aware to entrepreneurs.

Covered In This Episode

People need self-care, which means taking the time to improve both physical health and mental health. That isn’t always a priority for startup founders in the daily business grind. Back to Self Care empowers anyone to do self-care without taking too much time. 

Lauren and Kristin talk about Kristin’s journey and checklist, the five pillars of self-care, and enhancing the market. They also discuss how gratitude, mindfulness, and self-awareness fit into self-care. Lauren and Kristin wind down the conversation with the benefits of gratitude and self-care for entrepreneurs.

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Doing self-care should be a priority. Find out how Back to Self-Care products can help in this Startup Hustle episode now.

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  • Kristin’s journey (1:21)
  • Kristin’s checklist (4:43)
  • Creating a tech product as a non-tech founder (7:03)
  • The five pillars of self-care (16:47)
  • Back to Self-Care products and QR code (21:16)
  • Enhancing the market (23:54)
  • How gratitude fits into self-care (25:31)
  • Mindfulness and self-awareness (29:13)
  • The benefits of gratitude and self-care for entrepreneurs (32:32)
  • Kristin with a time machine (37:24)

Key Quotes

One of the reasons that I love entrepreneurship so much is because so many founders are of that mindset. Like, I see a challenge, I see an obstacle, and I’m going to find a way to jump over it or crash right through it even if it means, you know, the grind, the struggle. So, I love that.

– Lauren Conaway

People align with the mission. They’re not buying the products. They’re buying your story and what you’re bringing to it, and I think having this authenticity of like, Hey, I have this great idea. I don’t know what I’m doing. Can you help? I know I did this, but can you help, and let’s help each other? It has been hugely beneficial.

– Kristin Summers

I kind of have an accountability check. So if I’m grinding, working on a new product, or a photoshoot or something with my business, I can start to feel myself getting agitated at myself. When I start doing that, I will stop mid-project then I ask myself, What do I need from myself right now? So it’s the awareness of asking myself, it’s a signal, hey, you need to do a little more self-care for yourself.

– Kristin Summers

I know that failure is subjective. And so if I do something, and it doesn’t work out, I know that, most likely, it will lead to something else that will be great. No one gets it right on the first try. And if they do, then they’re not trying hard enough. And I just know that I have to start somewhere. So yeah, I have this confidence of getting back up again. I think, as entrepreneurs, it’s important to know that.

– Kristin Summers

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Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Lauren Conaway  0:01

And we are back. Thank you for joining us for yet another episode of the Startup Hustle podcast. I’m your host Lauren Conaway, founder and CEO of InnovateHer KC. And friends, I gotta tell you today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by Hiring software developers is difficult, but Full Scale can help you build a software team quickly and affordably. And they have the platform to help you manage that team. Visit or check the show notes for the link to learn more. All right, so I don’t think it’s any great secret that I love hosting innovators on this show. I love talking to women who have joined InnovateHer KC. And today, we have with us a founder that I have actually known for quite some time. But it’s been a little bit since we’ve had a moment to connect. So I’m very, very excited to welcome Kristin Summers to the show. Kristin is the founder of Back to Self-Care and creator of the Mind Star Health app. Welcome to the show. Kristen, thanks so much for being here.


Kristin Summers  1:01

Thank you for having me. I’m excited to catch up. It’s way overdue.


Lauren Conaway  1:05

I know it’s like, let’s just have a coffee and catch up. But, like, let’s happen to hit the record button. That’s great. So I’m going to ask you the perennial question, and here it comes. Tell us about your journey, Kristin.


Kristin Summers  1:21

Okay. Um, I will start with what, honestly, as a public speaker. I’m not going to go into my pitch, but I’ll do I’ll take a couple sentences that I know. So usually when people ask me, because my background is journalism and magazine editor, and they’re like, oh, wait a minute, now you’re an entrepreneur and you created an app, and you did all these things. So they always ask how they always ask the why. And the truth is that I was following. I’m 37. So my 20s, I was following the checklist. It’s not good or bad. It’s just I was following the checklist of growing up in the Midwest, in the middle of nowhere, two hours from here, small town. To under Pete, it was a mile, you know what I mean? Like, so I grew up, my mom was fantastic. And she’s a great supporter, even though she has no idea what I do. And that’s okay. She just she still supports me, but it was very much like following the checklist of college, boom, marriage, kids, house trips, dogs, and all this stuff. And when I was 29, what really started all of this? I did. I went to hell and back internally. So I developed severe postpartum depression anxiety, which I know a lot of people are gonna talk about. Yeah, a little bit from the birth control shot. So I think I already had it, and the shot exacerbated it. But what ended up doing it was this catalyst of completely changing my life, because I literally felt like my foundation burned to the ground. And I had, I didn’t have a foundation, which is crack. So I was just a mess. Because I had no experience with anxiety, or at least I wasn’t aware of it. I’m pretty sure I had it just wasn’t aware wasn’t talked about. This is 2015. My daughter was born my third child. And then I started I just said, Screw it, honestly, because Doctor said, take some pills, and best of luck. It’s gonna take a while for your body to regulate. And I said, No, I’m not just going to wait. And I was more like, concerned about what kind of person I was going to be after the fact. After I mastered this, and I felt better, who was I going to be I didn’t even know who I was. So I started to do research, which led to the creation of my app where it all started. So I started doing this research on the mind from various aspects. So psychology is the anatomy of the brain where anxiety lives in the brain. You have no, it’s not. We didn’t invite it. It’s there. And so I became obsessed, honestly, which was a great way to actually pull me out of my depression. Anytime I felt super sad, I just grabbed a book and just started reading about something about the mind or something I found interesting. It could have been, I don’t crochet, but I want to learn crochet at one point. So I was reading about that. No, I never took it up. It was just anything to direct my mind. And so with that, I decided, Okay, I’m coming out of this and feeling better. And guess what, it’s more than just eating healthy and working out. It’s so much more than that. Because of that, I realized I was following this checklist. I said, screw the checklist. I’m going to create my own checklist. I know society has expectations of me as a mom and a woman. Screw it. I’m going to create my own checklist of what I want.


Lauren Conaway  4:40

So what is that checklist? I want a little bit more.


Kristin Summers  4:43

Let’s talk about my checklist. Now. What the checklist now Yeah, yeah. So my checklist, now honestly, is really simple. And it is. Does it bring me joy? Does it bring me income? Ah, does it bring me O’s? You know what I mean? And does it fit? Yeah. And and Or does it feed me? Does it bring me tacos? And it’s pretty much how I started follow things like, if I’m interested in something Okay, does it bring me joy? Does it something that I want to do? So obviously awareness of what brings me joy. So that’s the question is what brings me joy. And it could just be standing outside, enjoying the sun brings me joy. It doesn’t have to be this complex thing of it just really simple thing. So, as I say, grindy with gratitude. So what does that look like? How can I grind with gratitude? How can I hustle with gratitude? So my list is really just asking myself those questions. And a lot of it has to do with just number one, does it bring me joy? And what does that joy looked like for me? And so what brings me joy? What makes me laugh every day, I tried to make sure I laugh every day. And I’m not talking like a chuckle. I mean, like a whole hearted like belly laugh every day. And that’s kind of became my checklist. And yeah, it’s


Lauren Conaway  6:13

No, I love the self-awareness that it takes to, to kind of craft this new direction for yourself. And it’s really interesting, because I, I often find that founders, most founders, they’re speaking to a need that they experienced in their own life, or at least a lot of the ones that I know. And so I love the fact that your story’s genesis is actually rooted in your own experience, even though you weren’t a psychology, like you weren’t a psych major, you weren’t involved in tech, one of the things and I in we’re going to talk a little bit more about I really liked what you said about grinding with grace. So we’re gonna talk about that in just a little bit. But one of the first things that kind of came to my mind, as you were talking is, you know, you’re, you’re not a tech person. And you’re building a tech product. And I find that I always find that so interesting. Can you talk to us a little bit about that experience?


Kristin Summers  7:03

Sure. So as I was kind of coming to and realize that I wanted to do more, right have as information. And I thought, okay, what can I do to reach people? And I remember, I was in the kitchen, and my oldest handed me a worksheet from school with a star on it for a year. And I thought, why aren’t we rewarding ourselves for good behavior? Like, why where’s my gold stars in adult-like, where’s my sticker? Because I pay my bills. I did all these things. And then that’s what literally sparked the app. Like literally, that was it. It was like for the first it was actually called Gold Star because I could think of okay, what is this? I mean, I had to like, finish cooking, feed the kids. And I was like, I’m gonna go outside took my journal, and I just flooded and I just started writing out. And I thought that not a tech person. In fact, I even messaged a couple different people in tech. And I was like, take this idea, take this idea, like, and they were like, Oh, that’s great. And then nothing, nothing. Okay, all right. If I really want to do this, then I need to choose me start doing research about it, and then realizing that, hey, guess what, I don’t have to actually code it. Though. I did teach myself code in college, for the newspaper because I had some ideas on the college newspaper that said, here’s a book teach yourself HTML, my awesome. Okay, there we go. I just do


Lauren Conaway  8:29

that I have, I know just enough code to get myself in trouble. Like I got I’m a developer’s worst nightmare, because they come upon this stuff. That’s just so shoddily put together, and they’re like, ah, not only do I have to work to do the work to like, create the thing, but I also have to do the work to fix what you did asshole. Just


Kristin Summers  8:48

did a drop down like navigation, we did a drop down. I was so proud of myself, because it didn’t crash the website, like it looked really good. And then when I left college, they actually said, a hire someone that’s going to degree for that. Oh, my God, it well, you know what? Yeah. I tried. Thanks. Yes, I will hire someone for you, that actually knows what the hell they’re doing. So what it was, is that I told myself, I was going to start exploring this, but at least had to do this. And I didn’t know where to go. And I think it’s one thing when you don’t know what you’re doing, I have found what is interesting is that everything I wanted to the other side of fear. And when I asked myself, I don’t know how to do this, I take that as actually a good thing. Because I know that my mind is going to start looking for ways it’s going to start researching. It’s not how am I going to do this? Oh my gosh, it’s like how am I going to do this? This is exciting,


Lauren Conaway  9:42

how that’s the entrepreneurs journey like


Kristin Summers  9:46

problem solvers.


Lauren Conaway  9:47

And we’re really excited about attacking challenges. I, one of the reasons that I love entrepreneurship so much is because so many founders are of that mindset, like I see a challenge, I see an obstacle, and I’m gonna find a way to jump over it, or crash right through it. Even if it means, you know, the grind the struggle, so I love that.


Kristin Summers  10:11

a little way. Yeah. So yeah, I started to just might use my design background. Okay, so I’m thinking all right with InDesign, I didn’t even know it was called wireframes. I just started designing what I wanted the app to look like. And I would do this at night, I had a nine to five job, then the kids would be asleep. They’d be around me and I sat there cuddling with them, soaking up that oxytocin that Kony cuddle hormone hormone, and just started designing what do I want this app to look like? So when I met developers, they were all like you did these wireframes? I’m like, oh, that’s what it’s called. Okay, well, yeah. Yeah, that’s exactly what I did. Yep. I didn’t even I didn’t even know what it was called. I didn’t know the language of tech, I just knew I had something that could help a lot of people. And so what ended up happening is that we actually launched an Android. Also funded, by the way. Sure,


Lauren Conaway  11:06

love those bootstrappers.


Kristin Summers  11:07

And then COVID happened. And I actually found out that the developer, so I learned this lesson, I thought that the developers, while they were cheaper than will admit this, they were cheaper to work with them. The code they gave me would be non existent, like would not be working in about 18 months. Because I, yeah, I hired a CTO locally, the people were not local. Again, because I’m just being bougie on a budget trying to make this happen. At least get it off the ground, hopefully find an investor, you know what I mean, just like get it out there and see what happens. And then I ended up kind of pausing it because I decided to go through a divorce for fun at the same time, and COVID happen. So I took that as a sign to pause the app. I will say currently, I’m actually looking at, I’m talking to a couple different people interested in buying the app. And what I have, because really, it’s about 90% done, because when I paused it, like I said, from Google, so I had to learn all of that, like on my own. As far as like Apple takes longer. Google takes three days to approve an app and Apple takes up to 30 days. So and then they’ll come back and say, Oh, this code is incorrect and correct. So I’m actually have a couple buyers interested in that. But what I started to do is then apply that aspects of that app, which essentially was a self-care Rewards App and incentivize gamifying self-care, apply that to QR codes, on products that I make now and in different services. So I took parts of that app and developed a course that I speak and teach about called the Mindful Self Care, Five Pillars of Self Care. And I started to just take that idea. So it all started with this app, and then literally just kind of morphed into these other beautiful avenues and channels. To where now when people will scan the QR code on one of our products, it takes them to a self care experience. It takes them to a video that teaches them meditation, it takes them to a video, maybe with affirmations, maybe it takes them to a playlist. Maybe it takes them to some different yoga techniques they can do, or breathwork. So the idea is that different parts of the app are now have been applied. Is there potential for the app to come in and be web-based to where you log in and you track your points of what your self care is? And then you get rewarded? Absolutely. I don’t think the people that are interested in buying the app, I don’t think I’m going to be out of it completely. Which is great. Yeah. Oh, great. But it’s kind of been my thing. I’ve just kind of quietly shopping it like realizing that this is fantastic, though I don’t expect all the feedback to be positive. In fact, I think there was a couple of times I did 1 Million Cups, and I got some hard hitting questions. And I really appreciate that. Yeah. Knowing that it was just the beginning. And then being able to open my mind to that has been incredible. And sometimes I forget people like you created an app on my go. Yeah, I didn’t do that. Didn’t I? Like I do. Yeah, I do. So um, it also reminds me to that going through that postpartum depression and coming out of that, if I can overcome that. And if I can develop an app and go into the tech space, I can do pretty much friggin anything. And I think mentality has helped me break into different industries that I never thought I would be in. Then I’m actually doing pretty decent. And I mean, I know there’s some people that launch products and never get a sale. They never get a sale. And I’ve been very few but I think it’s honestly because people align with the mission. They’re not buying the products. They’re buying your story. They’re buying you and so and what you’re bringing to it and I think having this authenticity of like, Hey, I have this great idea. I don’t know what I’m doing. Can you help? I know I did this but can you help at this and let’s help each other out has been hugely beneficial. Yeah.


Lauren Conaway  15:04

So one of the things that I find really, really interesting about your story, Kristin is that you talk about, I think we all know that COVID through all of us for a loop. And I love the fact that you’re so transparent about the fact that you’re not you’re not a tech founder, and you had to reach out to other people. That is, it’s really cool that you are surrounding yourselves with experts. And I do just really, really quickly want to break in and say that, Hey, friends, if you are also having some pain points around finding a software development team, Full Scale can help. Finding expert software developers is difficult, but it doesn’t have to be, especially when you visit where you can build a software team quickly and affordably. You’ll use the Full Scale platform to define your technical needs, and then see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit to learn more. Now friends, just a reminder, we are here today with Kristin Summers, the founder of Back to Self Care and creator of the Mind Star Health app. And we’re just kind of talking through, we’re talking through a lot of things, you know, being a non technical founder, trying to work through those issues. You know, what happened when Kristen tried to found start nap during the middle of the pandemic, and then the pivot that you did, and one of the things that you said that I found just absolutely fascinating. And and friends, listeners, please know that I am highly encouraging you to check out Kristen and check out Back to Self Care and the products that they sell. But one of the things I’m going to ask you to give a little bit of your wisdom away for free. If you don’t mind, Kristin. Can you tell us about the five pillars of self care? Sure, what are the five pillars of self care? I need to know?


Kristin Summers  16:47

No. Essentially, like I said, these, there are five pillars and all I’ve done essentially, is taking different aspects of self care. So different types of self care into what I call the five pillars, because that’s just easy to digest five fingers, five pillars, right? So what it is, is that there are like I said, five different areas of your life when it comes to self care. Now there’s obviously subcategories, and it depends on how technical you want to get. If you look up self care, there can be eight types, 12 types, that’s why I broke it down into five. So number one is practical self care, okay, that is adulting one on one, those are the things like taking out your trash doing your dishes, things of this nature that you don’t really want to do. But you know, again, you need to as an adult. And for instance, when it comes to cleaning, you don’t know there’s a lot of benefits to your mental health by keeping that space clean or at least tidy. So that’s practical, physical self care, is the easiest for people to understand. Because that’s the one that were pitched and sold the most. taking your pills, drinking your water, working out, eating healthy, all that stuff physical, that’s easy. Yeah. Um, then there is emotional self care. So that’s that inner work. Okay, so that’s how you talk to yourself. Yeah. So that’s your inner dialogue that’s connected with your inner child. That’s meditation, journaling, processing your emotions. And that is learning to just kind of work through things, whether that’s on your own with a therapist, whatever that looks like to you. Then there is connection, self care. That’s how you connect with yourself. Others are things so that could be if you’re spiritual, how you connect with the universe, you connect with God. objects could be nostalgia, I love SpaghettiOs. With meatballs I do when I’m having a bad day i Innokin of that, because it reminds me as a teenager, it kind of just brings me back to like, lives of watching a rom com in SpaghettiOs. at my parents house.


Lauren Conaway  19:08

It could it also be late. So when I think of connection, the thing that sprung to my mind was, hey, you know when I’m feeling down or sick or sad, like one of the things that I want to do is I want to talk to my people. So like that’s when I arrange for the coffee to hang out with a friend I haven’t seen for a while or that’s when I make sure that we I have a movie night with the husband. Just to kind of like have the people that I love pulled in more closely around me. Is that part of it too?


Kristin Summers  19:35

Yeah. Relationships. So connect Yes, and often others and how you show up in those relationships. That’s absolutely. So then so we have practical, we have physical, we have emotional, we have the connection. And then we have mental self care, which gets mixed up a lot with emotional mental, is the fact that your mind is a muscle. It needs to be flexed. So that So that’s where your hobbies and your interest fall right in there. So that’s where you’re picking up the book. And you’re learning how to build an app. And you’re learning. Yeah, nature. So it’s nurturing those things. I recommend it for mental self care that those are some things that you do that are not for profit. Those are some, not that everything that you do. So if you love to make jewelry, if you want to sell it, that’s great. But you don’t have to sell every creative aspect of yourself. Yeah, some of that to yourself. So I love to repurpose, refurbish kind of jazz up furniture tables. I do that for myself.


Lauren Conaway  20:40

Yeah. So Oh, my gosh, you and I, someday, we’re going to have a chat about that. Because I really, really want to redo this dresser that I have in my house. But that is neither here nor there. But you and I are going to engage in that kind of self care together, just watch. No, I love that so much. Well, so So you have these five pillars of self care. And you have this this app, you have this app. But now you say that you have you’ve pivoted a little bit, and you have QR codes that are on your products and talk to us about those products, and how your work shows up in the QR codes. I want to hear a little bit more about that connection.


Kristin Summers  21:16

Sure. So I was looking for a way to reach more people getting people to admit that maybe they need help with self care is hard. People feel like I have myself all figured out. I don’t need you know, to do this or that which I understand. Which is why I like helping people shift their mindset about what self care really is. Yeah. So what I started to do, like I said, these these QR codes is because I wanted to reach more people. So I was thinking of channels, everything I do is is a channel, right? So how can I apply this framework parts of this app to reach more people? So that’s where the idea of what do people like bath soaps, shower scrubs? There are tons of them, millions of them. But do they have a self care experience on them, they just tell you how to use them the ingredients. And that’s it. So I decided to create different experiences, different videos, a connect to playlist. And just, again, apply different aspects of the app and my framework, things that I teach in, because I developed a three hour course about it. And I teach that sometimes it’s hard just apply it just in little increments onto these apps. Are we on to this QR code? So you you scan it, so and then it it’s right there on your phone? I know people take the phone with them to the shower to the bath they do. Right? So I’m thinking, Okay, let’s just magnify those theta waves. Those theta brainwaves are already turned on when you’re relaxing in the shower, which is why you have that great idea in the shower. Yeah, theta waves are great for creativity and relaxation. So enhance it. Let’s give people more tools and resources to love themselves, which essentially is the mission of everything that I do is just providing tools to help people expand their self love toolkit. So I just


Lauren Conaway  23:16

knew I can be if you pick up like a bath bomb, and you say, hey, engage in self care by taking a bubble bath, but like that your the QR code is going to take you somewhere that says, hey, while you’re in the bath, you may want to try this meditation exercise. Or you may want to take a few deep breaths and inhale the fragrance as a way to relax the mind like is that kind of what we’re, we’re talking about. So not only are you teaching people how to use these items, but you’re teaching people how to really use these items beyond the put three drops in your bathwater and call it a day. Yep. So much more intentional. The


Kristin Summers  23:54

product purchase? Yes. Because again, I was wanting to teach real self care and teach people these resources. But knowing that the market for self care, the face mask and face creams is huge, right? Like, I’m not going to go against the market. I’m going to go with it. And I’m going to enhance it. So let’s enhance it. So that’s the way I looked at it. So when I tell people this, oh, you just sell bath soaks and shower scrubs. I’m like, No, I have a self care experience. And that’s what sets us apart. And then of course that intrigues people. And they’re like, What do you mean by that? So? Yeah, I just decided that I wasn’t going to go against the market, screw it. I’m gonna go with it. And I’m going to enhance it and make it better. And I started putting the products on different sites where Wholesale is an option. And we’re now in seven states in four countries.


Lauren Conaway  24:50

Wow. Well, congratulations. That’s huge. I just want to take a moment to honor and acknowledge what you just said. That’s incredible growth. Well, yeah, you see One of my journeys is making sure that like, people need to be appreciated. So we’re going to do it, congratulations. Well, so let me ask you this, because I know that another one of the things and if I remember correctly, I think we’ve actually had a conversation about this. But I’m really, really curious as to your feelings on the subject of gratitude. You know, you’ve mentioned it a couple of times here. And I’m really curious how gratitude fits into self care for you and how it kind of manifests for you.


Kristin Summers  25:31

So it starts with awareness and mindfulness. So that is, if I’m going to do a gratitude exercise, I’m going to ground my feet on the floor or outside, I’m going to slow my breath down, because there’s power in the breath. And I’m going to just essentially, really just, and I’ve done this so much, so I can do this quickly. But in the beginning, it was a little unnerving. Put the phone away the electronics away. And you know


Lauren Conaway  26:04

that you just said something that like there are people listening right now who were just like, Excuse me? No,


Kristin Summers  26:10

I know. Everyone says that I understand. Everyone says that I understand. They’re like, I have once again, put the phone down. I get it. We hear all the time. But yeah, I’m not. I’m even saying just for a minute, and I’ll be transparent. If you can’t put your phone down for a minute, then you’re addicted to your phone heavily and there needs to be conversation. But to put electronics down and then to take a couple deep breaths, focus on the senses. So what do you hear? What do you smell? What do you feel? And try to quiet your mind? I’m not saying you have to go to this complete Zen space where there’s just nothing but clouds in your mind. I understand that that’s hard for people. But can you do it for five seconds, where you just clear your mind and focus on how your body’s feeling? A lot of times, we might even have an ache, like our hips bother us. And we have no idea because we haven’t checked in with our body. Yeah, you know, and then once you check in, you’re like, oh, my gosh, actually, my hips bother me because I took the time to check in with my body to slow down, and to breathe. And I know that I am a fast talker, and I get going. So for me, it’s a genuine practice I do every day. Yeah, I also I just get excited at what I like, to signal for me that I’m passionate when I talk about but so gratitude starts there. It’s the mindfulness is the awareness. And it’s paying attention, like, Hey, I am safe. There’s no one chasing me, there’s no one hurting me. I’m in a safe space. You know, if you do it outside, you know, even if it’s busy around, you know, and it’s such a cool feeling when you can shut off pretty much your mind and just pay attention to your surroundings and be an observer, you can see, hey, I’m actually safe, and I’m healthy. And I have a roof over my head and I have food in my belly. And not that I’m comparing. But I know that that makes me wealthier than a lot of people. Yeah. And so when I go when I say back to the basics, which that’s the basics, those hierarchy of needs. Okay, so let’s go with that aspect of safe food, a roof over my head. And then I expand


Lauren Conaway  28:24

really quickly for those of you who haven’t heard of it, Maslow’s hierarchy of need. It’s a psychological structure based on what human beings need in order to feel psychologically safe and to thrive. And so at the base, there’s things like food, shelter, air, those comforts that we absolutely need in order to survive. And then it kind of builds up from there. And I can’t remember the order of all of them, but there’s like food safety and shelter. There’s psychological safety, care and concern from others around you. And it goes all the way up to like the, the more material things like fancy cars and stuff like that. And like there is a gradation to what human beings need in order to be happy and fulfilled individuals. So so you’re basing off of that you’re talking about the things that are most crucial for human beings to thrive?


Kristin Summers  29:13

Yeah, like I say, going back to basics, because sometimes we do need to go back because we’re so in our heads. I need to have this I need to have that I need to get this down. It’s like okay, wait a minute, just check in for five seconds. 30 seconds. Like, is it really, really that bad going on? Is your life really that chaotic? Or taking and making a molehill into a mountain? Because your brights on up and it’s ruminating? Okay, so, like when I know I’m doing that, like alright, I need to go back to the basics. So then I go back to just that of just what are my needs are being met and guess what they’re being met and then I expand on that. Sometimes it is a breathing technique, like I mentioned, of just kind of quick mindfulness and awareness. Sometimes it’s also journaling, you know, it really depends on I do both. So it could be for I’m grateful for this and then kind of just let my mind just expand on that whatever that looks like. I’m a big believer of just brain dumping essentially, where you just take a pen and paper, no intentions, and you just start reading. And you can prompt I’m grateful for and then just let it go. Whatever you write down, you let it go, that can be used for anything that can be I am stressed about and then just writing all that bullshit on there. Yeah, crinkle it up, throw it away, when you do that technique. So you’re visually you know, like, leaving your, your mind and you’re throwing it in the trash or burning or whatever. So yeah, I think when it comes to gratitude, I think when you start with a solid foundation of appreciating the basics, it puts you in reality check gets you out of your mind. And then it allows you think I feel like it’s easier to expand on what that looks like. Um, and then next thing for me, I find myself getting excited over the littlest things. And that’s okay. Like, people are like, you get excited over this, like thrift store, find? And like, hell yes, look at this gorgeous jumper I got for like $5. So when you start, I really would start from the basics. And then you kind of build from there, and you just practice for every little thing. I mean, it could be like, I have water to drink I’m drinking, it could be. You can make it as as, as detailed as you want when it comes to your gratitude. But when you start from the foundation, I believe that’s what makes it that’s where it comes to our mental health. That’s a good way to start getting yourself out of a rut. Yeah, it starts.


Lauren Conaway  31:49

So let me ask you this. We’ve got entrepreneurs out there listening, who I firmly believe, in fact, I know because I talked to them, but I just know that they do not prioritize self care. So I’m going to ask you for some more tips in the second question. But the first question that I’m going to ask you, is tell us how that joy, that gratitude and that kind of self care focus? How has it helped you as an entrepreneur? Like, we all know that being an entrepreneur is supremely successful, but I want to give them like, What’s the case study? What’s the use case? Like? What? What does? How has it manifested in your life? How does it How does it show up in your life? And how does it help you as an entrepreneur?


Kristin Summers  32:32

Oh, my gosh, yes, um, I get asked this question a lot. Sure. I do, what I preach. So I’m not one of those people that says, try this technique. And I have not done it myself. I’ve no. And everything I do. When they asked me where I found it from, I give them the resources. I’m like, this isn’t. This is neuroscience guys, essentially, this is stuff that there’s been tons of research on. So this is nothing new. Anything that I’m suggesting, you can look it up, you’ll you’ll find it and if you you reach out to even give you the references and links of where all this comes from. So for me, I kind of have an accountability, check or mentally. So if I’m grinding, which I’m grinding with gratitude, but when I’m grinding at, let’s say, it’s 2am. And I’ve been working on a new product, or a photoshoot or something with my business, and I can start to feel myself getting agitated at myself. And I started thinking, why didn’t you start this earlier? Why didn’t you start this project? He thought was gonna take two hours to build this and it’s taking six. Yeah, and I start questioning my time management, I start questioning, you know, where could I cut out the time and I start wanting to just kind of like, throw away my phone, get off social media, and just like go run away into the woods. When I start doing that, I have trained my mind to that, that point that I need to fill my cup, my cup is empty. I’m not being very kind of myself. And I will stop, I will stop mid project, I will hit save, and I will then put my ass to bed, for starters. So for me, the fact that I’ve been able to be aware to where I can tell when I’m starting to get frustrated with myself and start questioning myself that I need to do some form of self care. So then I asked myself, What do I need from myself right now? What do I need? What makes me feel good? What can I give myself right now? And some people are going to laugh and say, I need a drink or I need a smoke or whatever. It needs to be an actual honest question of what do I need? Hey, it’s 2am Kristen, maybe you need some sleep because you have to get up at six. You know, maybe I just need to just put everything away. Go for a walk. So it’s the awareness of asking myself, What do I need. And I have just developed, like I mentioned for the example, different cue points have certain thoughts when they come up, because they do come up, I do not care how much mental work you do, they’re going to come up. And it’s just having the tools and resources to know how to deal with them. First of all, not let them get to you, but take them as a signal. Our emotions are essentially a signal that something’s going on. And sometimes they’re the right response to something. So it’s, it’s no good or bad emotions don’t exist, we label them good or bad. So it’s a signal, hey, you need to do a little more self care for yourself. What do you need from yourself right now? And so asking yourself that question. And Jen, given it to yourself in a very loving way,


Lauren Conaway  35:52

let’s say you do a lot of work. And like, those are some really good tips and tricks. But what I want to know is, how has it affected you like I you know, or do you feel like you’re better able to handle challenges, like being able to redirect your thoughts has made it easier for you to show up as an entrepreneur? Like, what are some of the Long Range benefits that you see?


Kristin Summers  36:15

I take a lot more risk now. Yeah, I take risk as an investor, as an investor, I take more risk. I’m just in general with I have an idea. Oh, it’s a crazy idea. Could I really do that? Yeah, I can do that. And so as you’re


Lauren Conaway  36:34

more, you’re more confident in yourself like that way you feel you can take more risks.


Kristin Summers  36:38

Yeah. So I feel more confident. I know that also that that failing, failing something, I define what failure is that subjective. And so if I do something, and it doesn’t work out, I know that most likely, it’s going to lead to something else. That’s going to be great. And no one no one gets it right on the first try. And if they do, then they’re not trying hard enough to be honest. And so I just know that I have to start somewhere. I’ll start somewhere. And so yeah, I have this confidence of getting back up again. And I think as entrepreneurs, it’s important to know that, Oh, for sure you go out, we get our egos get our egos.


Lauren Conaway  37:24

And this is something that we talk about all the time. The fact is, you’re gonna get you’re gonna get knocked down, you have to be confident in your ability to get back up. Well, absolutely. I tell you. So Kristen, I have loved hearing more about your story. And I mean, there were components of it that I hadn’t heard before. But I we have come up to the human question. And I’m going to ask you, I actually went back and forth on this one, because there were two that I kind of thought were interesting, but I’m gonna, I’m gonna go with time travel. I’m going in on time travel. So what period would you travel to if you were given a time machine and it can be past or future?


Kristin Summers  38:01

Okay, so I’m gonna go I’m gonna go in the past. And I’m actually going to, I would love to meet my ancestors. To be honest. I’ll be Yeah, because my family is German and Dutch. And they left Germany, right, whenever Hitler was starting to take those popularity, so to speak, and all that stuff that was happening then and they left to come here. So when I think about risk, right, and think about things that I do. I think about my ancestors and the risk that they took to come here of leaving Germany. Um, and so I would love to spend some time with them and just talked to him like okay, you like gruesome balls and just like moved to the States? You ended up in Missouri? Why? Not knocking it but also why? And, you know, like, there


Lauren Conaway  39:03

are a lot of people here in Missouri who were like, look, it’s fine, but also why much misery is really cool. If you haven’t been here give it a shot.


Kristin Summers  39:14

Looking good city, but um, so I would like to go back and that because I think about that, probably more than I maybe should have. But the fact that they just anyone getting up and go from a different country and moving to somewhere they don’t know anyone not familiar whatsoever. And that seems like the riskiest thing of all. And so especially back then, the resources were very different than now. So I don’t have the I go back and pass and I would talk to a blink and that type of thing. Mine is more personal. And I would


Lauren Conaway  39:45

I love that and it definitely speaks to the kind of like that self-actuated, self-aware thing. Like you want to get back to your roots and you want to figure out like, alright, where did I come from? Well, I love that and I gotta tell you, Kristen, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us today. As always, I love kind of being a tangential person in your orbit and like watching your journey and watching you grow from strength.


Kristin Summers  40:10



Lauren Conaway  40:11

Yeah, you know is there, you’re just kind of one of those people were like I see across the room and I’m like, Hey, I’ve loved getting to delve into that a little bit more deeply with you. So thank you for taking the time.


Kristin Summers  40:23

Oh, thank you for giving me the time. I appreciate it.


Lauren Conaway  40:25

Absolutely. And friends, one more time, I’m just going to remind you that if you need to hire software engineers, testers, or leaders, Full Scale can help. They have the people in the platform to help you build and manage a team of experts. When you visit, all you need to do is answer a few questions and then let the platform match you up with fully vetted, highly experienced software engineers, testers, and leaders. At Full Scale, they specialize in building long-term teams that work only for you. Learn more when you visit And friends, I’m going to go ahead and point your I’ve done this a couple of times now. But I do want to point you back to our founders with, wait, Founder’s Fridays with Frank Series. That’s what it was called. I just think it’s super cool. You know, Kristen is talking about a lot of things that speak to culture, like creating culture and creating psychologically safe environments for ourselves and others. Like they’re they all kind of feed into each other. Well, at the Founder’s Fridays with Frank Series, we got to hear from Startup Hustle hosts like me, like Matt DeCoursey, Watson, and Andrew. We all shared kind of our ideas and thoughts about culture, building, and creating psychological safety with our teams. So definitely, if you are on Apple, or if you are on a platform where you listen to podcast doubles and consume them, search for Founder’s Fridays with Frank, and then we should have a few episodes pop right up. I invite you to listen to them. I also invite you to keep on listening to Startup Hustle. Friends, we do this all for you. We are very grateful that you come back to us week after week after week with your downloads, listeners’ questions, and suggestions. Keep them coming, and we’ll catch you next time.