Wellbeing, personality archetypes and seasonality for resetting and recharging to create balance in business. These are just some of the topics my guest Jo Hafey talks about in this latest episode of the Leveraged Business Podcast Rising Resilient series…

Welcome to the eighth instalment of our “Rising Resilient” series on the Leveraged Business Podcast, where we delve into the resilience journeys of women entrepreneurs. This episode features Jo Hafey, an expert in traditional Chinese medicine, who shares her profound insights on cultivating resilience, balance in business, and vitality in life.



My guest today is Jo Hafey, is a holistic health practitioner and mentor who helps her clients master clarity, focus and motivation for peak performance in business and life.

Jo introduces the concept of resilience, not just as recovery, but as an active dynamic process of finding the balance. It’s a fresh take on resilience. Stay tuned for this wonderful interview that delivers a deeper exploration in this wonderful interview.  This is my guest today, Jo Hafey, who talks about the concept of upright chi and vitality.

Presenting a positive framework for facing challenges by leveraging personal strengths. It’s engaging and offers a practical approach that will resonate with entrepreneurs and professionals interested in personal growth.

Just to get you in the mood and the vibe of what we’re talking about today, tackling challenges and changes in your life and business with confidence, compassion and courage. And Linda, who I just had on earlier [see the transcript article] she was talking about grace and grit, which I thought was also a nice expression or sort of like duality.

So, obviously it’s about how you survive and thrive in work, life, careers, you know, whatever things get thrown at us. And I think for me, the premise is like as entrepreneurs, we’re looking after ourselves and it’s also how we look after our clients and how we work with our clients.

Most of the time we’re very highly driven, we’re committed. And we work long, hard hours. We go up and we go down and we, you know, we park things and we kind of, we do our best to kind of overcome things. You know, that you kind of get this build up. And I think we’ve talked about this in the past as well called dis – ease. So like disease comes from dis “ease” and when you get that anxiety and stress.

Tune in to Harnessing Your Inner Strength with Jo Hafey for a treasure trove of strategies that empower listeners to thrive amidst adversity. Whether you’re dealing with business obstacles or personal setbacks, this episode will inspire you to transform challenges into opportunities with grace, grit, and a deep sense of self-awareness. Prepare to be inspired to implement changes that lead to profound personal satisfaction and business achievement.


JAY: So, today I have Jo Hafey with me. Welcome to the Leveraged Business Podcast.

Jo, it’s so great to have you here. So wonderful to be here, Jay. I, I just love what you do and I love the way that you’re able to encapsulate so many different concepts and then provide that overview of what can benefit people. And that’s really what we’re talking about here. You know, your topic of rising resilience.

In a way, it is about how do we lift ourselves to face those challenges. It’s not just about being resilient and just being knocked down and getting up again, but how we find the bounce. And that’s what I love. The bounce. I love that.

So a lot of it’s about like juggling lots of things inside and outside the business and particularly as women. So all of my guests. In this series are going to be women and women in business and women in careers. I’m going to say I’ve got a lovely group of people and they’re all coming at it from different perspectives.

So, yeah, that’s a little prelude.

JO: Yeah, that’s cool. And that’s the cool part is that you do get to come across all these different personality types, you know, that’s really rewarding, isn’t it? Yeah, it is.

JAY: So tell me, you know, on the back of that, what part of the theme, like when I invited you to do this, what part of the theme sort of spoke to you the most and why?

Well, I think it is that, that concept of rising up in Chinese medicine -I have a background in Chinese medicine- we talk about upright chi and that is how do we get up in the day and feel vital? How do we feel that sense of momentum and vitality? And that’s what actually gets us down when we’re facing challenge after challenge is that we can feel like it’s hard work, but if we can lean into what our strengths are, then we’re not.

Focusing on the challenge as much as how do we actually work with what we do have.

JAY: Very good. Yeah. So, I mean, for context, obviously, tell us a little bit about the work that you do. You mentioned Traditional Chinese Medicine, but there’s a lot more to what you do and who you help and how you help them.

JO: Yeah. So I’ve been working for about just over 30 years with quite a varied clientele. Basically, I really love the work of stepping in and helping people find their best version of themselves. So that could be a sports person that’s actually looking for recovery from rehabilitation and needs the mindset as well as the physical skills and attributes to perform their best again.

Could be business people at high level, but I’ve also worked a lot with children and children with disability. So it sounds like such a broad range, but really we’re coming back to the same concepts, the same way of tapping in and using those resources.

And I’ve really found that one feeds the other. The skills that I’ve learned with some of those more challenging types of conditions, say with a child with a disability, when you actually can work with somebody that really you have to hone in on those skills, it’s been so beneficial to my other business.

Working with entrepreneurs, which I love and working with other health practitioners, which I love I’ve been able to utilize those tools and take them to the next level.

JAY: The word that I popped on there is challenging conditions because obviously, when you have a disability that’s that’s one way when you’ve got a sports injury you’re recovering from one from from and that’s a another sort of challenging condition it’s not the normal day to day.

So that’s a layer on top of the stresses and strains and stuff that life throws at us. Do you find there’s a continuum? Is it like a big difference between like the day to day stresses and like those particular challenges, physical challenges?

JO: Yeah, it’s, it’s really interesting that you bring this point up because I think it’s very easy to think my stress is worse than your stress. But when it comes down to it, it’s what is impacting my everyday functioning. I’m really big on creating a foundation for people so that they actually know themselves.

How often do I hear people saying, I don’t get what I want, or this person doesn’t give me what I want. And it’s like, what do you want? What are your basic needs? And most people can’t answer that. Most people don’t know the types of activities that reset them. They don’t know what the skills are that they love pursuing in sport or art or creative pursuits. And if we don’t know that about ourselves, how can we return back to our centre?

So that’s a big part of the work that I do is finding out about our foundation, because then you can lean into your strengths and you know what your challenges are likely to produce within you, and then you can be prepared.

JAY: Yeah, tell me a little bit more about that kind of returning to your center, that reset and returning to your center. What does that mean? What does that look like for people? What would you expect to, if you were trying to get there?

JO: Well, when people are looking at their foundation, we can start with really basic things like how many hours sleep do you need? And it just sounds So familiar to most people to hear that concept, but if you know that you thrive on eight hours, but you’re constantly getting six, you’re undermining your wellbeing.

So, you can thrive for a couple of days and cope with maybe six hours sleep, but you need to be able to have an opportunity to catch up. So that would be one really, really major landmark that we’re looking at, but it might also be sleep, food, hydration- they’re the rhythms of our life that we actually want to lean into.

On top of that, I like to look at how much exercise somebody might do in a given week. So if it, for example, is that they like to go for a walk, are they actually getting an opportunity to go for a walk? That’s a really important thing if that is how they return to their centre. Now that walk doesn’t need to be an hour all the time. It might be five minutes when they’re pinched for time, but it’s the thing that actually makes them come back to themselves.

Other clients might be people that, say, play the piano. And if you’re not getting to the piano within the week, then you know that you’ve compromised on something that matters to you.

And it’s really looking at what matters to you that you’re not willing to give up. Family time, something that comes up quite a lot as well. So, you often find people will say, well, I’m going to make sure that I go and see my child’s sport, for example. And if they’re not turning up to those things, you’ve got a question whether you’ll come back to your centre, whether you’ve got time to do the things that are important.

JAY: Are you talking also a little bit about balance? Yeah. Work life balance, work family, you know, wheel of life stuff really.

JO: Yeah. Well, that is our foundation for sure. That’s our bigger perspective. And if we’re looking at how do we return to our centre in the short term, then we certainly can have lots of different mini activities. I like to call them mini resets and I like to lean into the concept of whether somebody needs to do that frequently as little resets or little activities, or whether they actually need half an hour of yoga to reset. So if you’re somebody that’s more of an introvert, you may need to schedule a half hour or an hour yoga class.

If you’re a really quick sort of person and you love to just achieve things all of the times and you have lots and lots of things on your list, and you work under deadlines and that’s how you produce your best work, you don’t need to try and find an hour class. You need five second reset.

And so for an example of that it might be just place your hand in the centre of your chest for a moment and just do this with me while you listen and just breathe into the centre of your chest and feel the expansion, feel your hand moving, feel the way the body feels, and then let the breath go. And now off you run again.

Another mini reset might be congratulating yourself every time you finish something. So I often say this to people, if they’re bed makers in the morning, to look at the bed and go after they’ve made it, that looks awesome, out the door, done. So you’ve actually acknowledged that you’ve done something.

Too often we just stack up the list and we don’t congratulate ourselves. til we get to the end of the list. But if we actually congratulate ourselves, awesome, well done, what’s next? Brilliant. Little words. And we don’t have to say it out loud, but little words actually resets our bodies and reduces our cortisol and adrenaline and increases our feel-good hormones like serotonin, which is then going to allow us to sleep better.

JAY: Sometimes it’s that consciousness, that mindfulness. That’s what I’m kind of hearing in in some of those examples of balancing, you know, the gratitude and the, you know, take a moment with the sort of frenetic, like, let’s get back on the treadmill part of our day.

So, yeah, I’m to me, it comes back to balance again.

JO: Absolutely.

JAY: You talk about the chemistry of our bodies as well in terms of it’s not just what we’re doing, it’s what’s going on internally with us physiologically and like, I know your background, my background is actually in biophysiology. So it’s kind of interesting to think consciously about all of this. Part of what you bring to this conversation Jo is that roundedness of looking at it physically, mentally, biochemically.

In terms of your own life experiences and resilience. And you obviously know how to help and coach others, what are the things that you personally find really help you stay resilient, you know, and keep your energy up and keep your mood up.

Or maybe a different way into the answer is when you’re low, how do you kind of get yourself out of it?

JO: I think that understanding yourself is the biggest key. So for me, I know that I work much better when I pay attention to that foundation. If I’m letting that go, then I don’t last that long at creating good work. So in my work, when you’re working one on one with somebody, you can’t hide. You know, there’s some jobs where you can sit there and you’ve had a big night out and you can just go, I’m going to lay low today.

But in this work, you can’t lay low. You have to be present. And so it’s really important to get that quality of sleep. Okay. I’ve just been on an international online workshop that happened to be all night in Australia. The time difference didn’t work. So I’m going to schedule a couple of days where I actually can rest and relax and recharge, and not try and think I can step up and work the next day and do my best work. I’m going to make sure that I go for a walk. I’m going to eat healthy food.

I’ll also want to make sure that I connect with my friends. So it’s really easy to actually let those things go. And it’s like, you know, that cup of tea or that walk with somebody just to have a conversation that’s about everyday things is sometimes important to remember that that’s how you recharge. And we can give away our time in those sorts of things really, really easily.

So, that’s one aspect that I like to really lean into is that foundation. But the other thing I really like to do is remember: I am not my stresses. So this is something that I think is important for everybody. People start to say, I’m stressed, I’m angry, I’m frustrated. I’m anxious. These words indicate that that’s who we are. And sometimes I’ll say these words and I have to remind myself, no, I’m aware that that’s how I am feeling.

Cause then I can work with that. Okay. If I’m feeling anxious, what does that really mean to me? What am I bringing forward in this situation? I’m feeling too rushed. I’ve got too many deadlines. I feel like I’m overwhelmed with work. I feel fearful about what might come about. Because as soon as I recognize I’m not my stress, then I actually have tooled really with some, some things to go forward with. And that’s really important to realize you aren’t your stress. But you are feeling stressed.

JAY: Totally, totally. It’s a really great way to look at it. And I know the other area that we’ve talked about in the past- and in fact, I mentioned you when I did an impromptu episode a little while ago- because, in the change of the season from summer into what felt like it went straight into winter from my point of view, that I had this really big low and I didn’t feel resilient at all and I was just going into, I was sort of in the middle of quite a peak of work and, and yet my mood was, I mean the work fires me up it’s energising but like outside of that I could feel like pulled down. And I just thought gosh this feels, this feels different than the normal change of seasons and I know that you do a lot to do with seasonal living so I mentioned it there.

But everything you’ve just said in that context of resilience and balance and self-care and things that you lean into, how much do you have to change those techniques and habits with the different seasons? Because we all fall into those particular elements and types that you talk about. So tell me a little bit about that.

JO: Oh, it’s so important. So many people suffer in different seasons and you’re spot on. People just can easily lose track of what’s important to them in those moments, and they’re trying to constantly be at a pace. But the thing about life is we really love the vibrancy and then the passivity of different moments, you know, the joy that you get when you’re in summer and you’re actually able to maybe be at the beach or be out and socialize, and you feel that shift. You want to go out, you want to be outside.

And so you lean into that and say, well, this is summertime. This is got all these beautiful fruits, abundant food, and socialize and actually do that really, really lean into that, but winter doesn’t have that. The nights come along much, much quicker. And so, we have less daylight. So immediately we’re not feeling like being out and about, but if we actually think, well, what is it that I love about winter? And it might be, Oh, the cosy fire. This gives me an opportunity to read a good book, or this gives me an opportunity to just come inward and just feel within myself all of the brilliance that’s within me rather than. giving that out in a social sort of setting.

So it’s really important, I think, in different seasons to actually have different things you like to do and not try and be the same person for the entire year, but feel into the different vibrancy of what’s around you, because that’ll feed your soul.

JAY: I’ve never thought of it that way. You know, you kind of think you are the way you are, and you like what you like. But yeah, I like that leaning into the vibrancy, and like each season has its own thing that you need to find. You’re almost creating yourself an activity calendar of some kind, and again, it’s about consciousness of doing that.

I would much rather do preventative-like activities before I dip into a low, changing a season, then trying to get out of the low, it feels easier somehow to be thinking, ooh, looking forward to winter, because you recognise that a change is going to be coming and it’s going to impact you.

So yeah, I think, for me, that tells me to be more proactive than reactive.

JO: Absolutely. And I think you also brought up a good point there, in that it can be the transition of seasons that actually can be a problem sometimes more than the season itself. So if the transition of season is a time that you do feel a dip in your energy, or if you do find that you have more allergies or different issues that are coming up between seasons, then that gives you an indication that you need to go inward a little bit more and say, okay, I’ve got to pull on that foundation. It’s coming. I’m going to move out of this season soon. So therefore I’ve got to do a couple of things that actually regenerate me.

And I find that when you return to your centre, then you can step forward into the next season, with much more enthusiasm for what it might have to offer.

JAY: Yeah, I’m actually going inward always felt to me like a negative thing. So it’s really interesting to hear you talk about it as a sort of regeneration – a bit like Dr Who – I don’t know. Do you have Dr Who over in Australia? Yeah, like the doctor regenerates.

I think that’s really great advice and you know a reminder as well to be proactive about it, to be conscious of the transitions and to really as you say lean into the things that in that season are what give you that positive lift and things that you really enjoy and find fulfilling. Because no matter what stress and anxiety is coming along, that’s your go to place then to kind of, again, balance those things.

JO: You brought up something just then Jay about sometimes it’s tricky to go inwards. And I think that it’s such a good point again, because what happens is that people feel intimidated by viewing their emotions or their feelings at different times. So they’re looking for an external thing to actually say, well, I like that shiny new car. I like that bunch of flowers.

So what we try and do instead is actually go, well, what makes me tick might be going out for a beautiful meal of something that fits with the season. So that’s really what we’re looking at here is to actually say, what is it that makes me feel good? It might be certain foods, but it might be buying yourself a bunch of flowers because you’ve gifted it to yourself.

Gratitude practice is one of those things that people do, but it will be about doing things that serve you rather than looking for somebody else to serve you.

JAY: That’s the going inwards bit, in a sense, isn’t it? Of being comfortable with those emotions. When I was chatting with Linda [episode 104], she was saying that people will plop themselves in front of the TV, and comfort eating, and things like that, and this feels more positively empowering than kind of giving in to indulgences that you think are going to make you feel better.

JO: The indulgence of watching TV is that it gives you a pause on life. And pause is sometimes exactly what you need, but it doesn’t refuel your being. And so that’s why it doesn’t actually replenish us. But certainly sometimes we actually do need numbing out. But there’s different ways to do that. And how long are you doing that?

Compulsive eating will do the same thing. And you think, well, that’s giving myself something, but it’s actually the guilt that follows with that means that it isn’t fuelling your wellbeing.

JAY: Such a good point. And it’s a bit about again about balancing those things and noticing the trend -noticing the things that you’re going to and having more different things to lean into. So that isn’t one thing especially if it’s not a healthy thing necessarily.

And I love that refuelling, you know, pause is okay, but you need things that are going to refuel you, recharge you. Yeah. I love that.

I mean, generally it takes quite a while to make some of these changes. How do you help clients to accelerate their success in this sense and, you know, healthy habits that stick is something that we are all looking for. We know what to do. And even if we mapped out on the seasons, all the things that we know we could lean into we don’t always do them.

So how would you advise clients and how do you get them into those habits that stick?

JO: I think a lot of reflective work. And this is where the foundation of something where we say, well, okay, what activity do you like to do? It might be, I like gardening. So, okay, gardening is a high energy activity. It restores them. It gives them a peace of mind, and it’s physically fit. B

ut what about if they’ve got no energy? Well, what about sitting in the garden and having a cup of tea? Well, now you get to look around, you look at the work that you love to do, you get to look at nature that’s happening around you, and it’s still about being in your garden.

So we try and match our energy output with how much energy we’ve got within. This is a thing that sounds just super basic, but often we’re looking outside at ourselves and we’re saying, I need to get to the gym. I need to put this into my life. And we’re always searching for something that’s high energy.

But if you don’t have any energy, then you’re just bound to failure or you’re going to do it for a week and then give it up. But if you actually recognise, I like the garden, I, I’ve got different ways that I can enjoy the garden. And so therefore sitting in the garden, I’m just going to enjoy that. And I’m going to make sure that I do it for five minutes.

You know, one of the things that I find, especially with business people is that they frequently don’t even eat lunch without being on their phone or at their desk or at their computer. And so one of the things that I’ll often do with people, especially when they’re feeling the impact of some of these challenges is to say, can you eat your lunch for five minutes, or give yourself five minutes where you’re not disturbed. And if you’ve never done that before, it’s quite challenging.

So you don’t start with an hour. And this is talking about a highly successful business person that meets huge challenges. But the challenge that they actually have never addressed is the mini challenge.

So, when we’re looking at how do we make something stick? We’re first of all, got to start with the baby steps and say, can you do this one simple activity? Now, can we build on it. Now you’ve got something to go back to, because it’s something you’ve never done before. It’s not about giving you more. It’s about how can you do less? And that’s pretty challenging. Once you succeed with that, then you actually can feel the nuance of how to work with this.

JAY: Yeah, that’s great. And I think it’s just building them up, isn’t it? Building up those habits as well.

JO: Yeah. Having success and then reminding yourself. I’ll get people to journal this as well, and so then they’ve got it in their own words. It’s like, you’re not going to remember this list that we created, but if we put it in a journal, and you’ve got like a recipe book, so to speak. It’s like, can we come back to the recipe that worked for you in the past? So it’s not going back to somebody else to get a new list. It’s let’s go to your recipe book.

And if you need to, you’ve always got the support of somebody else. Do you have a coach? Do you have somebody that gives you a massage? Do you have something a go-to that indicates that you need some support?

JAY: So recipe, formula, and a seasonal formula for yourself, and then a mix of high energy, low energy, so you’ve got a choice, depending on how you’re feeling.

I’ve experienced that myself when you’re just like, I know I should be going out for a walk or I should do this. And you’re just like, but I’m too tired, right? And so you choose something else. But what you’re saying is join the two together. Like sit in the garden. But wouldn’t you sit in the garden and then be thinking: Oh, I’ve got all that gardening work to do. And it actually makes you feel down.

Certainly, you can go there for sure. That can be a rabbit hole that you can go down. But if you’ve actually practised sitting in the garden and just looking around and saying, I’m not going to focus on the weeds, for example, but I’m going to focus on the layout, or I’m going to focus on the fact that I just got the opportunity to sit in nature.

I’ll have people that can’t go for a walk. I live near the beach. So in this sort of community, I’ll say to people, get in the car and drive to the beach and just look at the horizon. Just don’t look at the four walls, look at the horizon, get a different perspective.

As close to it as possible. Yeah.

This has been great and you know it’s always never enough time. Thank you so much for joining us and doing this like really quick injection of insights and experience. I’m sure that we could come back to this.

Because I think some of these things fall into different categories, you’re kind of like, right, I’ve got my recipe, I’ve got all the different ways. I think sometimes people resonate with some certain angles, and more with some than others

I know that we could talk for hours on some of this stuff. I just love what you do. So thank you so much for joining me. Jo Hafey everybody.

JO: Thanks so much for the opportunity to do this Jay. It just feels so empowering to let people be their best version of themselves.

JAY: Yeah, and that’s where you started so absolutely you are, you inspire me every time we speak. Thank you very much.