Hometown: Saint Louis, Missouri
Occupation: Life Coach & Healer
The first thing you notice about Julie is her energy. A petite woman of around 5’2” stature, she commands the room’s attention and radiates positivity and love. I first met Julie when I attended her session at General Assembly at the New York campus on Broadway. She is a former corporate professional turned life & spiritual coach and helps people live better lives by navigating through their mental roadblocks.
In her live session she walked us through a short, but immensely helpful mediation and coached us through some of the common challenges that her clients face, such as their ability to halt our own happiness by feeling that they aren’t deserving. In this interview, we discuss her beginnings in New York and the affirmation that she uses to guide her life today.
Our interview was 2 hours and 39 pages long, so I condensed it to the parts I felt would be most applicable to all. I hope you enjoy her snippets of wisdom as much as I enjoyed learning them.
ON NEW YORK
“My first memory of New York was Grand Central Station. I went to Wesleyan University and took the Metro-North to get into NYC. [Editor note: The Metro-North connects Connecticut to Manhattan.] It was one of the most overwhelming experiences that I've ever had in my life.
I was twenty years old at the time and got dropped off into a sea of people because Grand Central during the times of rush hour is insane. People walk in every direction. My first thought was, I don't even know where to walk. I was traveling solo and dating a musician at the time. We had a long-distance relationship and ended up dating for 8 to 9 years.
Honestly, being from the Midwest, I didn’t like NYC at first. It took me three years to really love it.”
“College is where they put you through this funnel and say, “Okay, decide your life now” and that's so overwhelming at that age. I was always good at numbers and decided to get a degree in mathematics. Following graduation, I did Financial Planning Analysis at a subsidiary of Time, Inc.
In that job, I was self-sabotaging myself the whole time. I was taking an hour and a half breaks. Later, I was on the third round of interviews with J.P. Morgan and I remember them asking me, “So where do you see yourself in five years?” and I straight up said, “Not here.” That was self-sabotaging at its finest in the way where I knew on a soul and heart level that I wasn't meant to work in financial services.
I would ask myself “why am I not getting jobs?” and it was obviously because I was saying things like “I don't want to be here in five years.” So then I did the complete opposite and went into hospitality, which is an entirely different experience. I worked my way up from waitressing to bartending to managing a Michelin star restaurant. I liked it because it gave me a lot of freedom, but as I climbed higher and higher, I realized yet again that I didn’t want my manager’s role. At that point, I went back to the drawing table and went full time into my business. I really started cultivating my business because I wanted to invest in what I loved at the time and what I called my “Zone of Genius” which is my intuition. I had started my business earlier in 2012, but then went into it much more seriously in 2015. My journey since 2015 to now has been going full-time with my own business.”
“When I first started being an entrepreneur, I was just dabbling in it on the side every once in a while. If you were to ask if I took it seriously, it would have been no, because I never saw it truly as a business. I didn’t have the right mindset. If you want your business to succeed or you want your business to be a multi-million-dollar business, you have to treat it like a multi-million-dollar business.
One of the scariest things any entrepreneur can do is to give up their full-time job and go head on into their business. Honestly, I wasn’t surviving enough at first. I had to go back into part-time work and what made the decision for to me to switch was when I started getting one-on-one clients. My first milestone was when I made $5,000 one month, but a lot of your salary as an entrepreneur fluctuates, especially at the beginning. As a result, my mindset was always to invest and reinvest in myself and my work. There were some months where I only made $100. But you must go to this place within yourself where you trust and envision your best life. Ask yourself, “What is the worse-case scenario?” and you’ll often realize that even that situation is not that terrible.”
ON BUILDING HER BRAND
“I do a few things under the Julie Pham brand. With my one-on-ones, I do personal development coaching and I have online courses which allow me to work remotely. One of my first courses that still exists today is called Empath Revolution.
I'm an empath, which stems from the word “empathy” and an empath is an individual that's highly sensitive and has a lot of empathy. So much, in fact, that they can feel other people's emotions without even communicating it to them verbally. Let’s say you're in an office space and you have a neighbor having a super terrible day. You can just feel it without you and him communicating. That’s being an empath. Everyone has these traits of sensitivity to varying degrees, but empaths are extra sensitive to environments and people. So the Empath Revolution is where I believe the next wave of human consciousness needs more empathy to survive. It’s helping empaths who are highly sensitive not feel bogged down by their sensitive traits, but see it as a superpower.
I think about empathy being a superpower like in the movies. Let's say King Arthur holds Excalibur. It's a powerful weapon, but yet he doesn't know how to use it, so it feels very heavy for him. It’s the same thing with our emotions.”
ON HONING OUR EMOTIONS
“We have this container that can only hold so much emotion and that container is our body. Let’s say you have a really hard day and you're just trying to be easy-going. You don't pay attention to the fact that you're angry or sad while these things are happening and you don't address it. It keeps piling up in your container. Each time you don't address it, it piles up until you finally boil over and snap at somebody. Because you snap and have this burst of emotion, you might have this association that to feel is negative. Feeling means being not in control. You develop this association because when you actually feel a surge of emotion, that's what it looks like. In order to be in control of your emotions, you have to address it every single step of the week. I feel fully and then let it go. If you feel angry, feel that anger and then let it go. If you feel sad, allow yourself to feel sad and then let it go.
As much as people practice positivity, you can't pass positivity onto all your emotions. These negative feelings are there as indicators for things in your life that need you to pay attention to. So if you’re sad, ask yourself “why is it significant to you?” If you're angry, look at why.
Hiding from your emotions is also why people look for distractions, because they don't want to feel. It could be going out with friends, smoking, drinking, eating - whatever distraction you want to name.”
ON LETTING GO OF NEW YORK
“I recently let go of my New York City apartment. I plan on coming back in the summer, but I just needed to get away for a little bit. I'm living out of a suitcase right now in Costa Rica. I had a huge fear of letting go of my apartment because that was “safety”. That was my home base.
An allusion to that came up in my yoga practice. My instructor said to do handstands against a wall. Fine, no problem. Then she said “go do a handstand in the middle of the room”. I couldn't do it. The reason why I couldn't do it is because I was afraid from not having walls. With the walls I had this perceived illusion of safety. I realized, holy sh*t, that's my apartment right now in this handstand.
Every time I come back to New York City, I love it. I miss it, but then I get on the subway and get pissed off again. There's a love/hate relationship with this city. I noticed I'm actually much more productive in Costa Rica, because there is less noise.”
ON GROWING UP
“I'm quite settled internally now. The twenties are where you don't really know what's going on and the 30’s are your best years. I call it being unshakable. In my 30’s, I feel a lot more, but I also feel a lot more stable. I might get upset from time to time, but I don't get stuck like before. It's interesting because, you know, a lot of my clients are much older than I am. They ask me, “have you just been through a hell of a lot?” I'm like, “Yes, I have. My life has not been easy.
The biggest challenge I had to overcome that helped me grow stronger was probably my nine-year relationship. That was such a narcissistic relationship and oh-so-very difficult, but it molded me immensely. I needed to learn from and cut the relationship out of my life. Afterwards, my life became exponentially better. I always believe that everything happens for a reason and is meant to shape you. I'm quite grateful for that relationship because it's taught me a lot.
I would say that the biggest mental shift anyone can do is taking true ownership of their life. This is not easy for people to do. That means if you're in an abusive relationship, you have to own the fact that you also engage in and stay in that relationship. As soon as you take responsibility for your life and your reaction to its events, you take your power back. I’ve learned to be unshakable because I know my power is within me and not in an external place. I'm not looking for a relationship to make me feel better. I'm not looking for me anything outside of me to make me feel better. That's my control.”
INVESTING IN YOURSELF
“The most worthwhile investment you can ever make in your life is always an investment in yourself. One example was when I was in my 20’s, pretty broke in New York City and invested in a yoga membership, which I couldn't afford at the time. But I knew that I needed to begin investing in myself for my life to get better.
I also always believe that once you start trusting in the universe, you find that it works in magical ways.”
THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT HER WORK
“Creating transformation. I see all my clients’ lives improve drastically and it makes me so happy because they're beginning to own their power and when you own your power, your life changes. My work has ranged from something in the material world such as tripling someone's income to getting someone over their phobia of leaving the house.”
I'll give you tips for different stages when you're a beginner. First, don't be so hard on yourself if it feels boring at first. All that matters is consistency. If you can only do two minutes a day, that's cool. If you're a beginner and you have a lot of resistance to even doing two minutes, then guided meditations are really helpful because it guides your mind in a structured way. No matter what, consistency is more important than length of time.
Set aside small amounts of time, then build from there. If you start with a minute at first, then increase to two minutes, three minutes...just do it every day until you build up to half an hour and so forth. If you're more advanced in meditation and can meditate, I then ask you to begin exploring yourself and getting answers. Once you get to the meditation state, you can ask yourself certain questions, like “is this move best for me?” and you'll get the answer and it'll be clear and there will be no anxiety and there will be no fear.”
Julie Pham can be found online here. Please reach out to her via Facebook if you’d like to learn more about her classes, coaching, or just to chat.