December 9, 2020
Most high-functioning people have the "always-on-the-go" mindset - and don't realize that slowing down can be highly beneficial!
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My guest for this episode is the incredible Dr. Nikki Starr, a medical doctor who later entered into meditation and yoga coaching, amongst other amazing things! The opposite of my own journey from a yoga instructor turned psychologist!
In this episode we talk in-depth about what to do when your first experience with yoga wasn’t great, how “slowing down” has helped her immensely with her accomplishing so much as a high-functioning person, a bit about her upcoming book, and so much more!
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:00:09] So my guest today is Dr. Nikki Starr. Nikki has such an interesting and high-functioning person to me because we actually have a little bit of overlap in our paths. So I'm a clinical psychologist and previously I was a yoga teacher. Dr. Starr was a physician who became a yoga teacher. So there's some really interesting overlap there.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:00:35] And I was super excited just to have the chance to talk to her. And I'm not going to say too much more about it because I feel like our talk unfolds in a really interesting way. And I just want to let people follow the conversation, but I'm very excited to share the conversation with you. And I hope that you enjoy it as much as I do.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:00:53] So, thanks for taking the time to chat with me. I know that you are a medical doctor and then also like me super into yoga. I'm obviously not a medical doctor. I have a PhD in Clinical Psychology but you have a very unique background. And as a psychologist, I was just really interested to learn more about you.
Nikki Starr[00:01:17] Yeah, so it's so nice to see how, a clinician also found the path to yoga, and I think that's happening more and more all the time. And I stumbled upon I was in medical school. I was at NYU. I was living the city life and I was very much into health. So I said, okay, I'm going to go to the gym and going to work out and I was like, let me do a yoga class for like stretching. I like the body of yogis. I feel like it's toned, it's fit. You have to be able to really move the body in a certain way and I did gymnastics growing up and I always liked to be, to move. And then in my medical school, they also decided to have yoga clubs.
Nikki Starr[00:01:59] So they hired this incredible teacher. I feel like Ariel's the reason I really fell in love with yoga because I tried it a few times before and I was like, this is boring. There's no point. But it was because the teacher and the style didn't really match. And it wasn't maybe they weren't very seasoned teachers.
Nikki Starr[00:02:19] So I share that because if anyone is looking to try yoga or get into it, I always say, try it at three different places with three different teachers before you really want to say that you don't like it. And that's what happened to me. He was the third person and the third more of a Vinyasa kind of style.
And I just became hooked and I would get so high I'm like altered consciousness. And I always feel like I was a better person after yoga. I would be more relaxed. I very much have had, especially even more in the past before meditation yoga came into my life, like more, very type a tendencies, bossy tendencies, and a lot of that started to melt away the more I did yoga.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:03:10] Yeah. That's interesting. Wow.
Nikki Starr[00:03:13] So yeah, it kind of found its way into my life, more from a space of exercise and routine, and then gradually it was like, I would go to classes and people would ask me where I teach yoga and I'm like, I don't teach. I kind of would chuckle about that. And then little did I know that after medical school, I would find myself in the yoga teacher training, which happened by accident because I was just traveling around the world and I was like, I want to go to a yoga retreat that's a month long. And that doesn't exist. It's usually teacher trainings that are a month long. So it was like, okay,I'll deepen my practice and have the training. And who knows, maybe someday they'll guide yoga, but I really went back to New York instead of going back to Western medicine. I started working with private clients and hosting retreats around the world, and that was the start of it.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:04:03] That's awesome. Yeah. So just to clarify, I am actually a yoga teacher who found my way to becoming a clinician. So, I started doing yoga when I was 17 and was doing all kinds of other stuff. And then, I didn't even become a clinical psychologist until I was in my thirties. And so it was really exciting to see the way that everything I had been doing for a long time with mindfulness and the body mind connection was also finally like actually really being embraced and researched with like mindfulness-based stress reduction and all of that other stuff that the clinical world is really into now. So I wanted to just also check with you.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:04:46] You mentioned something I wanted to ask you about that you felt like yoga helped you to not be, as you said, like such a type A person and one of the things that we have a lot of type A listeners, I think on this show, because you know, a lot of the high functioning people tend to be a little bit, kind of high on the conscientiousness and all of that type of stuff.
And I think sometimes they're almost afraid that yoga or meditation is going to like make them soft. And I'm trying to kind of help them understand that in a way it can actually sometimes even make you sharper. While it's true, that yoga can certainly help you to just relax and chill out sometimes.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:05:30] Do you also feel like sometimes it brings you some fire and drive?
Nikki Starr[00:05:36] So when I found yoga it was able to slow me down because I am, and with slowing down, you actually gain more quote unquote superpowers. So what I mean by that is, I find that a lot of people who are type a go, go, go have long checklists.
There's a high adrenaline charge. And this sympathetic nervous system is our fight or flight nervous system that gets activated. And it's kind of what gives us that adrenaline. And in the rush to like, make things happen and go, go, go. And with that, there can be like mistakes or you do have like a high level of conscientiousness, but there may be like an anxiety there or, like a very Curt kind of energy, like short and quick and to the point. And what I found was with yoga, it's like, I was able to slow down.
Nikki Starr[00:06:30] So I was able to see like the path that would be the least amount of energy and the most aligned. And work from a place of more of a knowing and an alignment versus like trying to do everything. Because over time, what I've learned is it's about working smarter, not harder. And I'm more about working less hours to get the same results versus having to have such a, because it's kind of this energy of like, I'm so busy and it becomes like cool to be busy or something, but the truth is we're here to enjoy life as well. So yoga helped me to really see that.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:07:09] Definitely. So you kind of touched on something there, which I think is also really interesting about you just with my interest in high functioning people.
So you're obviously a medical doctor, you're a Yogi-nee and you're also a business woman really. I mean, you've parlayed all of this into a really successful company and brand and I was on your website and it looked like I was clicking links that were taking me to like, Clothing for sale just all kinds of, really interesting stuff.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:07:42] So I'm just curious do you use it like a business advisor or is this kind of just like some additional, super talent that you had?
Nikki Starr[00:07:54] I think from the business sense started when I realized that I was not going to follow the traditional medical path. Because the idea of being like in a building all day long, seeing people in a small office felt really limiting. And I realized that the world is infinite in the sense that there's infinite opportunities. So I realized that to help people, I didn't have to do it in like a cookie cutter kind of way. So, what I did is even now, still too, I really like to follow inspiration. So I'm always creating new courses and new programs.
Nikki Starr[00:08:35] And sometimes I get bored of the old stuff. So it's really exciting for me and my kind of personality type to keep creating. So I do feel, I identify more as like an entrepreneur than I do of like, even though I got my medical degree, I don't practice any sort of Western medicine anymore. Because I feel that a lot of our issues that are in the tissues first really begin in the mind and in the belief system and in the lifestyle. So if I am an embodiment and an example of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, for me I think that's the greatest teaching or sharing to any kind of patient or a client that could be offered to show like, Hey, you know, you actually don't have to do it that way. Suffering is a choice. There's another way. And you can create life on your terms then it's like, I can create anything and it's in alignment with that mission.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:09:38] That's really profound. I just want to think about that last part again. So you were saying, then you can create anything. That's amazing. That feels pretty limitless. When your business is growing though, on the other hand with this kind of excitement and like kind of like catching fire in a good way. But at the same time, as you said, not wanting to become frantically busy. I know for me, like my business just kind of mushroom and grew faster than I ever imagined. I never imagined any of those things would be happening for me. It was kind of like drinking from a fire hose and I don't want to live my life either in a hectic frenzied way, but on the other hand, I'm sure you've had this too.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:10:25] Sometimes it just feels like it's raining opportunities and you just feel like you want to take them all and do them all when you have a zest and a passion for life, like you do. How do you handle that part?
Nikki Starr[00:10:38] So that is true. And it's funny how you mentioned the clothing line and stuff. So there was a time that I was doing a lot and maybe a little bit too much. And so like, for example, that is something I kind of put on the back burner and I told my business partner, like, listen, I am focusing on the coaching aspect at the moment in time. When there's more of like, just wanting hobbies or to invest in things and I feel like I'll revisit that. So it doesn't mean that we still don't have sales and people don't call us and all that stuff, but I'm not giving it that much energy and I'm choosing to focus the energy and where I want to go.
Nikki Starr[00:11:17] So it is true that as an entrepreneur or someone who wants to start anything, to focus the energy on that one thing and kind of do that well until it kind of gets its momentum and then you can start the next thing. So that's kind of what I did even when I like made the shift and I moved to Malibu and I really grew my business over a little bit more than a year ago to a new level.
I chose to focus on one program and it was like my women's program and it was a higher ticket offer that required more of an effort. Energy investment with consults and things like this but then I had a bigger return. And I found that that worked really well. And then over quarantine, I decided, okay, I'm going to just work with clients that are in contract.
Nikki Starr[00:12:07] I'm not taking any new clients and I'm going to write a book. And I wrote a book. So it's like shifting my focus at different times, but then over a year that can add up to several accomplishments and achievements.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:12:20] Yeah, definitely. Definitely. Can you talk a little bit about your book?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:12:23] Yeah, sure. So I, it's funny though, the new it's called the New Paradigm and it came in February when I was like meditating in a cave on the beach. And it was like, you really need to share about like, people don't realize that it's a pretty easy formula to live a happy life. And that's available to us right now and in the book was meant to be as a hope and an offering for humanity, because we weren't even coming into the changing times yet.
Like I feel like quarantine and the riots and black lives matter and all the things that are happening in the climate change like the fires in California and all these things. And even like the elections and how everyone's feeling about that. So there's like all this chaos happening and I didn't really know that was all coming, but it was like saying like, you have to share just, just your wisdom and what you feel.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:13:20] And, and so the book is broken. It's kind of like a lifebook and it's broken up into chapters that are some are just about relationships. Like very simply, there's a chapter on love. There's a chapter on communication. There's a chapter on conscious living. There's a chapter on new systems such as community and et cetera, et cetera.
And it shares just possibilities and invitations for how we can live in a different way that brings more harmony, more joy, more peace, more happiness. And it's really about how we choose to see the world and how we choose to show up in the world.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:13:51] And that's available I imagine in Amazon or?
Nikki Starr[00:13:56] Well, you know, it's funny. With this one, I didn't decide to self publish because I feel like it's a really good one. So I am in talks with several book agents but I do feel within the next few months, I'm going to decide if I'm going to pitch it to like a publisher or if I'm going to self publish. But it's written it's just I'm deciding the avenue at which I want to share it.
So it's coming. I also have an eBook that's available now. It's called Rodney Get Truth. It's more of like a poetic version of offering that hope and feel good read. And it's, it's super short. It's like 33 pages, but it definitely gives you like a little zest and inspiration and also touches upon some of these topics.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:14:44] I did my first book, Dr. Chloe's 10 Commandments of Dating as a self-published book. And then my next book, Nervous Energy: Harnessed the Power of your Anxiety is coming out in March with McMillan. And I'm really excited for that. So anytime you want to talk book stuff or whatever, let me know. I just wanted to also think about you mentioned like coaching clients and the expenditure of energy that you have to do.
And I have the same thing, obviously when I'm working with clients. It's like in Psychology, we call it lending the client you're observing ego. Sometimes, it's almost like you're kind of riding sidesaddle with them through some of that stuff that we're working on together.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:15:33] And so yes it's an expenditure of your energy. At the same time, of course, it's something that gives me energy that I love to do. But I'm just curious for you, how many years have you been doing private coaching and how many clients are you seeing per week right now? As far as like, what feels like the right number for you energetically.
Nikki Starr[00:15:59] So I started seeing clients back in 2013 and it started very organically. When I came back and I was doing the yoga kind of was evolving where the sessions would include coaching and it's been different at different times in my life. It depends if I'm running a program, how many private clients. I don't really have a perfect formula for that because it depends on the time in my life. Like sometimes too, if I'm in a move phase. Like I'm actually about to move to Hawaii. I'm like taking less clients. So, you know what I mean? So it only depends what's happening in my life. And I always feel that the perfect number comes that I can handle. And I actually have a mentorship with people that I coach who wants to be coaches and, and things like that.
Nikki Starr[00:16:49]And a lot of what we talk about is if they feel they have the spaciousness in their schedule for whatever number they're wanting to take on. Because I believe the universe only gives you what you can. So if you are busy, busy, busy with all these things, but say, Oh, I'm available for 10 clients a week because I'm going to different programs.
Like when I see clients in person, I see them for three hours at a time because I do ritual. I do other things. I do energy healing too. So that's going to depend on how many sessions am I doing in person? If it's like an online session, that's also, you know, so it all always depends. And I feel that we're only given the number that we have the space for.
Nikki Starr[00:17:39] And that can also mean even like emotional space. Like if you're going through a challenging time in your life and your energy is not at its optimal, you're not going to get as many clients because then you won't be able to handle it.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:17:56] Right. Right. I actually run, it's some video download course for therapists that are in private practice that want to have their own successful practice and, in the therapy industry there's a lot of burnout because a lot of therapists feel like it's almost mutually exclusive to want to help people and to charge handsomely for your time. And so then they end up feeling like they have to like, see some inordinate amount of clients just in order to pay their bills.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:18:24] And I'm always trying to explain to them, you'll actually do better work if you give yourself a raise and then you can carve out one or two or however many just pro bono hours that you want to do, but you know, don't be afraid to charge. And I've actually gotten a lot of heat, a lot of pushback, like within the psychology community. As I started to find all this success, I was like, Oh, like, I'm going to be so welcomed in my community. And I found like I almost get like hostility, like sometimes for that approach and, and the idea that the, of prosperity and that's not a bad thing.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:19:03] I see you nodding your head and I was just going to ask you for yourself, like with your interesting medical doctor background, how have your colleagues in your cohort and everybody kind of responded to this, or what other thoughts do you have about that topic?
Nikki Starr[00:19:21] I love this topic because I had to go through it the hard way myself, where as becoming a medical doctor, because within me, there was this innate aspect of me is a healer. And sometimes there's a healer complex and I think therapists are also innately healers and there's this innate need and want and desire to help everyone but we're not meant to help everyone. And that was always what I found limiting because if people come with their money stories and you want to give them a discount, it's actually a disservice to them because it's enabling them to stay in these kinds of patterns where they are not living to their fullest potential, or they're not making the change.
Nikki Starr[00:20:09] And also it's a form of commitment. Payment is a form of commitment. So, what I found is I just had a moment of like, I want to live the good life. Like I want to live Malibu beach front. I know that's what I need to do my best work. And I'm, and then I ended up hiring a coach for myself that was more business and money related.
And she was like, Like I remember one of the coaches is like several coaches in this program. It being like, it is weird that you're a doctor and you're charging so little and it was like this wake up call, like, Oh my God, it's true. I've invested over $200,000 to be a medical doctor, then all the investment in the holistic training and all the healers and medicine men that I've traveled around the world to work with to expand that part of my repertoire of healing. The investment, who knows if it's up to like hundreds of thousands of dollars, half a million who knows that I've invested to be who I am, and then take charge is a small amount.
Nikki Starr[00:21:09] And so one day that flipped, you know, that totally flipped inside of me. And now the women's program is a higher ticket program. If someone wants to work with me for the year, I charge $50,000 and that made all the difference. And I flourished in such a way, because I could take time for self care.
You know, if I'm working with leaders, it's a ripple effect. I don't need to help the whole planet. I do have free content on social media, on my website with my blogs and newsletter. So people want free resources. There's plenty of them. And of course, if you really want that one to one time, like you said, there's that energy expenditure as a coach where you're riding side by side.
Nikki Starr[00:21:53] If you want that level of handholding. Then there is the energy exchange. And as we know, we live in a society where money is the form of energy exchange.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:22:02] Yeah, that is so well said. I just, I have to say that it's so well said. I may even ask you for a referral to that coach that you're working with. I feel like I could, probably even grow myself even further in that department. That's an area of interest for me, so that's great. I just wanted to also, See, I really appreciate what you said about how, if somebody feels like they didn't like yoga that you say that they need to try it a few times. because when I was teaching yoga, people would say like, well, what kind of yoga do you teach?
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:22:37] And I would say, well, I don't really specialize in a particular kind. What I do is I learn a little bit about all of them, because some days your body needs Ashtanga and some days you just want to be in Yin yoga. And that doesn't mean I'm, you know, some big expert in each one, but it's more like on a mindfulness level for me.
And what I was trying to teach to my private clients at the time was that the important thing was to be able to learn and study and observe themselves in that moment and then not understand what kind of practice they needed to do in that particular moment rather than necessarily becoming an expert on one particular school. Although I'm sure that there are situations, different walks of life, where that is the right move.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:23:23] Like somebody just really needs to do Iyengar all the time. So I guess it's just going to vary. Well, I can't believe how time has flown by. I really appreciate that you took the time to speak with me. Is there anything I didn't ask you about or anything that you want to say or any questions for me?
Nikki Starr[00:23:42] I guess I invite everyone who's listening to invite them to follow me on Instagram @drnikkistarr, D R N I K K I S T A R R. I always share all about my offerings and the things that I'm working with. And my women's program often has ways for, especially if your audience is women for, to really activate people into that new level.
Like so many of the women I work with are women who are having their own businesses and it's like helping them to, like, I know I had a client come and she had a program and we ended up tripling the price of her program because she just needed to make, seem to make sense, to make so many summons.
Nikki Starr[00:24:22] Women, of course, men, especially, and especially in the coaching world, in the healing world to remember that like your time is very worthy of massive compensation and that remembering is so, so important. So any kind of instance. Operational tips I share on my social media. And then my website is drnikkistarr.com.
And it's just been such a pleasure to share this information. And I'm so happy that you're talking about some of these topics that I think can be challenging for people.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:24:51] Yes, I'm right back at you. Well, it was so great to connect with you, Nikki. Have a good rest of the day.
Nikki Starr[00:24:59] Thank you, you too. Bye bye.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:25:03] Wow, that was an amazing interview with Dr. Nikki Starr I can't believe like she actually really brought me out as well, in some interesting ways too. I can see that she has a real gift for calling people out and for getting deeper than what's just in our mind or what just in our body that there's so much overlap between those things.
And I just have to say for me too, it felt very nice. To be able to talk to somebody else that had kind of the same path that I did, not that we had exactly the same path, but I just haven't talked to a lot of people that have a license in the medical world and who also have a certification as a yoga teacher.
Dr. Chloe Carmichael[00:25:47] So the chance to just talk about some of those concepts with her. I thought it was really awesome. And I hope that you enjoyed the conversation as much as I do. If you want to keep the conversation going, you can always connect with me on social media. I'd love to hear your thoughts about the episode, any questions or comments, or if you just want to hang out more on social media. I'm always available through my video log and all kinds of other things than my YouTube channel and Instagram and stuff like that. So, anyway, I hope to see you at the next High Functioning Hotspot. Take care.
- The High Functioning Podcast Homepage - www.TheHighFunctioningHotspot.com
- Dr. Chloe’s Homepage - http://drchloe.com/
- Dr. Nikki Starr’s Website - https://drnikkistarr.com/
- Dr. Nikki Starr’s LinkedIn - https://www.linkedin.com/in/drnikkistarrnoce/
- Dr. Nikki Starr’s Facebook Page - https://www.facebook.com/drnikkistarr/
- Dr. Nikki Starr’s Twitter - https://twitter.com/drnikkistarr?lang=en
- Dr. Nikki Starr’s Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/drnikkistarr/?hl=en