Tell us a little about yourself and the road that led you to starting Gwen Dittmar Consulting, Inc. What inspired you to be a coach and a healer?
As a child, I experienced intense dreams, would hear and see visions of events that would come true. The older I got the more odd I felt and wanted to be a regular kid, so I pushed them down. As a teenager I became very sick and spent several years seeing a myriad of doctors and specialists. After a near-death experience, they finally diagnosed me with Meniere’s disease. Despite the doctors telling me I would be on medication and need to live a sedentary lifestyle, I knew that I would heal naturally and help others heal themselves. My parents and I delved into consciousness, spirituality, and alternative methods of healing and my health slowly improved.
Upon graduating college, I spent the next 10 years climbing the corporate ladder in a pharmaceutical research. I had the professional success and financial wealth that I thought I needed to be happy but felt unhappy, unfulfilled and wondered on a daily basis who am I, what is my purpose and how to fulfill my purpose on a daily basis.
I called off an engagement, moved to California and discovered a Masters Degree in Spiritual Psychology. It was during my time in that program that I answered those questions and discovered who I was, what my purpose was and how to fulfill it on a daily basis. And I remembered my childhood passions of helping others and psychic gifts and started merging them into my consulting business and coaching on the side.
For the next seven years I consulted with companies, built a coaching business, and turned a lot of my impossibilities into reality: I became a single mother, manifested a loving partner and husband, created a home, and had a second child, good health, spiritual practices and deep friendships.
Last year, I found myself at a fork in the road again. The deeper I delved into new areas of spiritual growth, training and offerings to clients, the more my consulting firm did not align. Although it was lucrative and comfortable, I felt uninspired and depleted, and I had to be away from my family more than I wanted. So I phased out what no longer served me, rebranded and went full throttle into coaching and healing.
I am so grateful for all of those years I spent in pharmaceutical research and conventional Western Medicine, even if at times it felt like I was going against my grain. I am grateful because I didn’t betray that deep desire I had to learn and practice health, consciousness and healing. From those years in a conventional corporate world, I learned how to love myself as I held two extremes: the sacred masculine that is driven, focused and provided for her family from a corporate structure, as well as the sacred feminine that is compassionate, flowing and nurturing from the spiritual world. Now I get to use everything as I support my clients as they take risks, build businesses, and show more of their truth self to the world.
What fuels your creative fire? When you’re in a creative rut, how do you pull yourself out of it?
Creativity and inspiration is always available. The key is that sometimes it doesn’t look the way we want it to. When I am truly present with my clients and their learning, my own stretching and growth by being coached, engaging in spiritual and healing practices, loving my family and connecting with nature, my creative fuel is constant.
As a coach, I get to observe and witness my client’s challenges and triumphs. I get to hold a broad view of their goals, the steps and processes, obstacles and successes and share it with a larger audience through blog posts, social media feeds and an upcoming book. I also have my own coach, who allows me to be accountable, asking myself the deeper questions and taking the bigger actions.
My spiritual practices of meditation, breathing and exercising are another part of my creative fuel because they challenge me. If I am not challenged, I am not learning, and I am not growing. When I am fully present and engaged in my spiritual practices then the rest of my life flows with grace and ease.
My family is another huge source of creative fire, which includes my husband, my children and my girlfriends. My husband and marriage teach me on a daily basis how to be patient, accepting, kind and unconditionally loving. My children are creativity in human form! We play, laugh, imagine and create every day. When I take care of myself first thing in the morning, then I have space and presence for my work and my family.
My circle of girlfriends provides creative fuel because of the connection that cannot be found anywhere else in my life. As humans, we were meant to connect on a daily basis. Our ancestors, right down to our mammalian evolution, survived because of their tribe. Connection and unconditionally loving from our tribe is vital to creativity and survival of the spirit. I support my clients in joining a tribe that loves and supports them unconditionally whether it is a spiritual practice, a conscious community, a religion, a self-help group, an exercise group, or a networking community like Bossladies.
Last and most importantly, nature is the infinite source of creativity. The plants, flowers, trees, animals, insects, elements, Sun, Moon and Earth—they are my source of remembrance, connection and energy. Nature accepts itself just as it is. Nature is rhythmic. Nature is giving and receiving. No matter how I am feeling or what I perceive, as soon as I connect with nature everything is right-sized and refueled. I encourage my clients to connect with nature each day, especially if they feel overwhelmed, stressed, anxious or depressed.
What was the biggest obstacle to starting your own business? What challenges have you faced, and how did you conquer them?
The biggest obstacle in building a business was my worthiness to receive, believing that there was enough for everyone including me, and having enough to provide for my family.
Overall, I don’t perceive challenges or obstacles as bad or wrong or something to conquer. I see them simply as friction for coal to become the diamond, for us to return to our inherent brilliant self. I welcome obstacles and challenges in my own life and my clients’ lives with love because I know on the other side of them are clarity and truth of the joy and beauty of who we truly are.
As a coach, I encourage my clients not to push past challenges or push through their bad days, but to look them in the eye and ask for the message they have to share with us. All of our emotions are simply energy-in-motion (e-motion). There is a message that our emotions are giving to us. Our job is to 1. slow down and be patient to hear it, and 2. be courageous to take action. Our feelings, especially the uncomfortable ones, come from thoughts. So if we use our emotions to help us identify what our thoughts are telling us, then we can update the thoughts and beliefs.
For instance, as a single woman, it felt easier to take big risks because I only had to care for myself. When I first started my consulting business I simplified my life and expenses until I built up my reserves and rates. Each time I took a risk I asked whatever emotion was present what it was trying to teach me and said yes with love to the next indicated step or action.
But when I discovered I was going to be a single mom, I felt a lot of fear. Instead of pushing down the fear, or running away from it, or allowing it to take over me, I immediately wrote to the fear in my journal. I asked it, what was I afraid of, why was it there, what did it want to tell me? The fear told me that it wanted me to create hard line projections and budgets for finances during my pregnancy and post partum. I worked with my coach and by the time I had my daughter I had created enough reserves, as a self-employed woman, without help from the father or my family, to go on maternity leave comfortably for six months. I spent all of five minutes in fear and used the remainder of my energy for creation and expansion.
I see a lot of people waste a lot of energy pushing and denying their emotions that in the end will have to find a bigger way to get their attention (dis-ease, job loss, breakups, even death). Clients usually come to me because they are experiencing some type of challenge or obstacle. I love supporting clients on using all of their experience, even the so-called “bad stuff” for creation and evolution!
What advice would you offer to keep other creatives from feeling overwhelmed by all the aspects of starting a business?
I like to encourage, welcome and accept all feelings and look at the wisdom they are attempting to share with us for our growth and expansion. I would encourage other creatives, as I do my clients, to ask the overwhelm, “What is it trying to tell you?” Overwhelm is usually telling us to slow down, simplify, and be mindful of our core values, time and priority.
What have you loved most about this adventure in being an entrepreneur?
Most importantly, what I love about the adventure of being an entrepreneur is that I am able to incorporate all of my work, life experiences and gifts that I used to hide, now into one purpose. There’s so much joy in watching clients break through old beliefs and create new stories about money, health and love. It is so rewarding to see clients that were once unhappy, uncertain and unfulfilled reclaim the love, beauty, abundance and truth of whom they are and what they are here to do. I learn so much from my clients every single day. My work challenges, excites and inspires me. I feel so joyful to work with my clients. I also love the spontaneity and creativity of coaching—every day there is something new.
I have time for self-care, to honor my monthly cycle, to live sustainably and reduce our family’s carbon footprint. I love being able to walk my children to school and pick them up most days. The creativity, inspiration, collaboration and freedom of being an entrepreneur are exciting and fun.
What are some of the major successful moments that have made you jump for joy?
My most joyful moments have been what I call the “paradoxical pause.” These are times in my life when I have crystal clear vision down to the details of what I deeply desire, how it smells, how it tastes, how it looks, how it sounds and how it feels, and I paradoxically surrender that it ever has to happen. It is an experiential feeling inside that I know I will be okay if that vision never happens. I trust that either way I will be okay. I have found that when I can get to that place miracles happen and I simply watch magic unfold and flow through my life.
This paradox happened when I moved to California, when I found my first home, when I discovered the Spiritual Psychology masters program, when I discovered Buddhism and Kundalini Yoga, when I signed my first coaching client, when I got pregnant with my daughter, when I met my husband, when I got pregnant with my son, and many of the other clients that I am honored to have served. All of those events, I had a crystal clear vision and surrendered them to ever needing to happen.
The other moments that make me jump for joy are watching my clients break through. I feel so much joy for them when they get to see their life, worth, value, and beauty from the most pure perspective of love.
What do you see in the future for your business, and how will you get there?
I am in the process of writing a book. My intention for completing the book has from what other authors have shared with me—discipline—to make a commitment of when and how long I will write and then stick to it. I draw a lot of my inspiration for work projects and creativity from exercise and spiritual practices. I’ve seen exercise and spiritual practices (meditation, chanting, yoga, detoxing) teach us to observe ego, impulse, distraction and stay the course. If I want to feel more peaceful, I need to stick to a commitment to meditate. If I want to feel healthy, I commit to and follow an exercise and eating intention.
Eventually I see my book, moon circles, Breathwork classes and coaching morphing into larger workshops and community for women to delve into honoring the sacred feminine. The intention is for the modern woman—a successful and driven entrepreneur or professional, often times also a wife and/or mother, to reconnect and incorporate the sacred feminine back into her daily life without having to make radical changes, unless she chooses so. I see this happening is through taking one small step at a time, collaborating and honoring my own sacred feminine.
What the best piece of advice for women who are interested in starting a business? What do you wish you had known when you started?
The best pieces of advice that I could give a woman who is starting a business is to have a vision of what it feels like and looks like three years from starting. When you have that vision at the start, you can work backwards to creating it. I would also suggest taking action versus holding back. For instance, I see potential clients, and myself, feel fear or resistance, or both, and allow that to stop them. I have an agreement that I make with all of my clients that they are allowed to have the fear, resistance, but they agree that they do not stop because of it, that we work through it to the other side together.
I would also suggest taking equal parts internal and external action. I’ve seen potential client come to me because they get stuck in a cycle of doing all internal work, or all external action, versus both at the same time. For instance, some people are comfortable reading spiritual books, taking lots of workshops and doing self-discovery (looking at the limiting beliefs, the old money stories, the worthiness and confidence blocks) but they aren’t creating numbers and/or income. And vice versa, I have clients that come to me because they are powerful with external actions, projects, and income, but they have fallen so far from their emotional and spiritual selves that those parts of their lives fall apart in order to wake them up (anxiety, depression, issues with coworkers and business partners, identity solely from work and success, addicted to doing and controlling, become sick, relationships suffer, infidelity, divorce, death of a loved one).
I would also suggest being due diligentmeet with a lawyer, an accountant, even a bookkeeper, to make sure you have all of the necessary documentation, insurance, trade marks, etc. I would be humble and to ask for help in the areas where you are not strong. Last, I would also suggest hiring a coach, someone to help you stay accountable, to help you break through any blocks, to ask questions and provide feedback. I have found having a coach to be one of the best investments in my business because a coach, unlike a friend, a partner, a family member or mentor, is not there to be your friend. They are there to help you see the blind spots that you might miss otherwise and to call you out on your nonsense. They are a neutral party who holds you and your visions as the top priority.