Alpha Female Friday – Cassandra Bodzak

Every Friday I am going to feature a woman that I adore. They exude all the qualities of an Alpha Female and I want to dig into their lives to get some nuggets of knowledge to help us all live happier, healthier lives balancing life & work.

Definition of an Alpha Female

An Alpha Female is a powerful and assertive woman. Her confidence is due to being an intelligent and intellectual problem-solver. Being an Alpha Female is a State of Mind based on choosing ambition and being proud of it. She strives for a happy and healthy work/life harmony.

She is the brightest star in her constellation.  When an Alpha Female stays true to their authentic selves and their missions they shine.  An Alpha Female puts herself first because she deserves self-care and love. She knows that work/life harmony is found by staying true to your priorities and what makes you happy. She is never complacent about striving for better and nurtures relationships with all the people in her life.

Meet Cassandra Bodzak!

Cassandra Bodzak is the best selling author of “Eat with Intention: Recipes and Meditations for a Life the Lights You Up” and the founder of the online mind-body-soul support community, Aprecity.comCassandra is a global meditation and wellness teacher who instructs people on how to utilize the technologies of food, meditation, and self-care to create their ‘next level’ life. She has been dubbed a “spiritual leader” by Well and Good and is the mindful cooking show host of Eat with Intention TV or you may know her as the happy, healthy living guru from ABC’s The Taste. Cassandra speaks all over the country, works with a select group of clients one on one and enjoys spending her free time on the beach in Santa Monica enjoying life.

What do you think of the definition and how are you an Alpha Female?

It’s funny because before I read the definition when I just saw the name ‘Alpha Female’. I had a different connotation I guess, of what I thought an Alpha Female was. I didn’t even consider myself an Alpha Female, but then when I saw your definition, I really love it. I really believe that it comes from being in alignment with your authentic selves and when you’re really true to yourself, that’s how we shine our brightest, putting yourself first in a way so that you can feel yourself. I really believe that when you put yourself first and you take care of yourself, and you put what matters in your heart first, then you do have more energy to do the things that you love, to be with the people that you love being with and you can show up and shine your brightest in your life. So, I love it and I definitely relate to that, where when I am listening and I am doing all those things, I definitely feel like a powerful woman.

What does work/life harmony look like for you?

So, first of all, I live in Santa Monica, I moved from New York City to Santa Monica two years ago and that was a major move for work/life harmony for me. I love being by the beach, that is something that really helps me stay balanced and restored. I have a very natural New York energy – for anybody that has been in New York or knows what that means. I’m naturally very go, go, go, go, go, I’ll stay up 12 hours doing work. Growing up around New York city, I feel like you just have a level of work ethic I would say, that is not always as natural in every other part of the country. It definitely exists, but it’s just like a baseline in New York City.

I can’t, not, hustle. It’s just engrained in me from living in NYC. But it wasn’t feeling good for me and I would do things to ensure I had harmony, even when in NYC I would go to yoga classes, I would go to the park, I would really take the time to try and balance it out but I think moving to Santa Monica was a big choice for me in work life balance and saying, hey life is about living and I absolutely love everything I do, and I feel very blessed that I’ve created a life and a career that lights me up genuinely, but even if you love every molecule of what you’re doing we still need a beach walk sometimes. We also need to hang out with our girlfriends.  I’m also really into Soul Cycle because it is an hour where I don’t think about anything. I love going to like an old school hip hop Soul Cycle class and I listen to my old school hip hop and I’m doing my Soul Cycle and I’m not thinking about a thing, and I think that’s so healthy. So that’s what it looks like for me on a day to day basis, finding those pockets, and honouring what I feel called to do in that moment.

Share with us a time when work/life balance was out of whack? 

There have been so many times, when I was writing my book, for example, I pretty much locked myself in my house and was like ok, you have this deadline, you have to get this stuff done, we’re focusing on this we’re getting x amount of things done every day and I remember I went through this period for like three days straight where I was fantasizing about the ocean, it was probably like how people think about chocolate ice cream at certain times of the month. Right? So I was thinking about the ocean, and I remember talking to a couple of my girlfriends about it being like this is ridiculous I have to get this book done and can’t stop thinking about just going to the ocean and one of my friends was like. “just go to the ocean, just go”. It was so funny because I was so tapped into ‘this has to be work mode’ that when I finally listened to it and finally shut the computer off, went to the ocean for an afternoon I got the most beautiful insights, the most epic insights for the book and a renewed sense of creativity. I feel like the ocean for me is a great re-calibrator, it feels very much like my therapist. So, for me, finding harmony has a lot to do with the ocean and nature and honouring those little urges and listening to them.

What was your aha moment that taught you it was ok to take care of yourself first?

I had this moment where the curtain was removed from someone I had looked up to and you see someone for what they are and I really saw how her being the “ultimate hustler” had really kind of sucked the juice out of her. I looked at her life and I looked at her choices and where she was and stuff like that, and early on in my career I really looked up to her but as I got a little bit older and a little bit more seasoned in what I was doing and a bit more versed in the options you have, let’s say, I was disgusted to a certain level with her and a couple of other people that I saw in the industry, but mostly her, she was the biggest impact because I had loved her so much, of really how the hustle had taken over her life and that was her life. Right? And it was really this big ‘aha!’ moment of that’s not me and more importantly, that is not the example I want to set for women. I really believe in the work life balance. I really believe that we are here to enjoy our life, I really believe that if you want a family, you can absolutely have a family whilst killing it at your job you can absolutely have all the things. And I saw a lot of that I didn’t want, so I went almost off the other deep end and took a big step back from a lot of it.

Is it important to have role models?

I think when you’re doing something it is important to have role models and have people you look up to. I have kind of realized a lot in the past couple years just because I haven’t found too many that really genuinely inspire me anymore. I tell people that all the time that if you’re hiring a coach and you don’t like their life then don’t hire them. Because if someone is literally spending all their day setting up 100 funnels to try to capture your emails and get you into a 3 video program so they can sell you a thousand dollar course and then really push you when you are on your intro call, “you can’t hang up the phone without giving me your credit card”, this is how that person believes in running business! If you like that and you’re down with that and that is your style then power to you! It’s not necessarily bad or good its just what resonates with you and so if that’s not resonating with you and you don’t want to be the ‘funnel queen of the year’ then don’t go to that person.

I would say in the past 6 months I have come back into the relationship with being able to have periods where I am “hustling” – I don’t really like that word but where I am working more intensely, and accepting that because I do believe that it is a lie to say there is not hard work involved in this stuff, writing a book is hard work. Producing content on a consistent basis that is valuable is hard work, really doing all the things that you need to, to fully show up for your community and what you want to do in the world, there are times where it is hard work. But I think it is really important to honour, at least the way I see it, is to honour our cycles, I think especially for women, which is why I think women can love Gary V, but maybe like you were saying I couldn’t necessarily be as intense as Gary V is and I don’t necessarily think we were built to be.

How do you factor your period into your work?

It’s so important, I won’t schedule interviews or anything like that when I have my period, that time is like your crone time, when you are so in connection with your intuition. And it’s so amazing because if you think about it, we’re kind of trained from when we are little that when we’re on our period we get a little crazy, but the funny thing is that the ‘crazy’ that is coming to the surface is actually really truth, we’re actually more connected to our intuition than EVER during our cycle, during those few days. So the things that are coming up, those feelings you are having are really actually connected to a truthful place that’s trying to tell you something. So during your period is a great time to be brainstorming, to be really connecting and from a business perspective being like, ‘little check in, am I on the right track? Am I still inspired by this?’ what kind of topics do I need to bring forth? What kind of things do I need to talk about? and it’s also definitely a time for you to consider your days. Don’t set up a ton of meetings during your period, I like to think about it as how women used to go in the red tent during their period. This should be the time when you are going to a day spa, or maybe just having more leisurely days, it’s when you should allow yourself to sleep in. I really try to keep my schedule to a minimum if possible and just focus on tapping in, and doing some upkeep, I like writing during my period cause I am really connected but it’s so important I think for us as women, to really honour the fact that we are cyclical beings.

For me, when I am really inspired, about an idea or project or something comes up, it’s like a pregnancy, it’s a gestation right? You have the conception, it’s super exciting, ‘Omgosh yay I have this amazing idea’ and then you have your 9 month period and it’s growing, and maybe depending on the project it’s shorter, but during that period it’s the highs and the lows that’s like the morning sickness, right? That’s like the periods of glowing but also the periods of needing to just take a rest and not being on your feet, and you go through all these stages of gestation and I think that is when that hustle comes in maybe that is when those late nights come in at some point when you’re like, ‘ I’m birthing this, I’m birthing this, I’m birthing this’ and there is that time when you need it to be out of you, and you’re like I’m done with this I need this to be out of me! And then after you birth it, there are still some elements of having to take care of it, when it’s an ‘infant’ project and you’re still having to breastfeed it and still having to be there, and you’re really like, I need to get you going on your own. I think when you think about it like that, you’re going through these cycles you’re not always in conception, not always in gestation, you’re not always in birth, you’re not always in the breastfeeding stage or whatever you want to call them in your business, and it’s ok to honour that. Hey when your business becomes a 2 year old that can kind of walk and self-sustain and your mom can watch it, amazing! Go on vacation! Chill out a little bit, because don’t worry if you’re like us, if you’re connected, if you’re doing a lot of things in the world the conception is going to come back before you know it and you’re going to be right back there.

Robyn mentions the MyFlo App

Absolutely, and I really think that the start of it, for anybody who is listening, and is like, ‘omg that sounds like a such a project, how do I even begin?’ It totally doesn’t have to be, I truly believe that, some of what I talk about is; loving your body and connecting to your body’s wisdom, and just you making the decision to show up and pay a little bit more attention. Even if you’ve just started and I think that app is a great idea and is a great way to learn about it, but even if you weren’t ready for the app and you just start knowing when you have your period and being conscientious of your schedule around those days, and just really honouring it and giving it a little bit more reverence than we tend to do because we grew up in a world where it was like, ‘ just stick a tampon in it, get on with your life!’

What are you daily/weekly habits that keep you well nourished?

Anybody that follows me knows that food is really important but I think the way that I nourish myself the most is honouring my alone time. I am someone who really recharges by myself and I nourish myself and fill myself up by taking baths almost every night. I love taking Epsom salt baths with lavender essential oil and that’s really nourishing to me, I just need a little bit of quiet time, I need to unwind before I go to bed, and I think that’s probably the most nourishing thing I do.

I don’t believe in labelling how I eat, I think labelling disconnects us from listening, and I’m a big listener. So I really advocate just tuning into your body and asking your body how do I want to eat, what am I craving? And trusting that our bodies are brilliant, and so your body generally knows what you need. Eat With Intention is all about that, its really all about loving your body so you can communicate with it, and I really advocate for becoming a food detective and putting in that time. You know the food you put in your body affects how your body runs, how your mind runs affects how connected you are to your intuition, to your instincts, affects how focused you are for your work, affects everything. So I think it’s something that everybody should do at some point in their life, is become a food detective and really take the time to investigate what works for their body. For me, what that looks like is no dairy, no meat, lots and lots of vegetables, not a lot of grains, I will do some gluten free stuff. We are constantly evolving with the environment around us and with the different factors in our lives, if you go through a period of intense stress your body’s nutritional needs are going to change. So paying attention to that and saying, right now I have been going through different phases, right now I have been on a salad kick – which is not normal for me. I have never been a big salad person I am more of a roasted vegetable person, especially coming from New York I like lots of cooked food, and grounding food. But just honouring where you’re at right now, it’s super hot in California, my body’s getting a lot more energy from crunchy salads and I am just listening to it, and that’s a super simple way to do it. It doesn’t have to be brain surgery I think it’s just about honouring that, so much of it is just disregarding all the trendy BS out there, and really saying, ‘ok maybe you’re reading this awesome blog about Paleo life or whatever’ and its not to say any of these things are bad but if you’re reading this Paleo thing and maybe it’s telling you that you should have cauliflower rice with bacon and eggs or whatever, if you’re eating that and not feeling great after, or energized after, or you find yourself not even super into eating it, that’s a sign! And if you’re eating it and you feel like a million bucks then rock on!

You probably easily describe the way I eat as vegan, I don’t identify with that label. Mostly just because I feel like we put ourselves in these boxes and then what happens is one day you put yourself in the box and you feel like you’re constricted by the box.

There’s all this pressure to answer to others if you choose to change what box you’re in. I think that’s important in general for us being happy in our body. It’s kind of like if you were dating someone and being like, ‘ I love you, I love you with blonde hair’ and one day you wake up and want to dye your hair purple or brunette then you’re like, ‘oo I don’t know if that’s ok though, I probably can’t do that because blonde hair is where it’s at’ so that’s why I don’t like putting yourself in these groups. Get recipes from people, read blogs you find connected to but at the end of the day you get to be your own authority, no one knows your body like you so you get to pick and choose from everything! Maybe you like to have whole days where you’re vegan and other days where you’re drinking bulletproof coffee and having whatever, and that’s awesome! Maybe three days this way two days this way or whatever works for your body, and honour that and that’s cool and just because it doesn’t have a name yet doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it. In fact, if it doesn’t have a name yet, it’s probably better.

Ok so what are you really passionate about?

I’m really passionate about giving people their power back and reminding people that they are their own authority. That is what I aim to do with everything; whether I am business coaching someone, or helping them with their food choices, or helping them on their spiritual path and distinguish what truths and beliefs are for them. It is about taking our sovereignty back, taking our power back and remembering that we are the guru, we know what is best for our unique situation and I love Danielle LaPorte. I’m going to butcher it but she said something like, ‘everyone has their own darma, you don’t know what someones past life karma is, what their darma is or what their specific magical mystery course is for this lifetime. We all have our own different path and different journeys we are supposed to take and it is not one size fits all’. In order for you to live your juiciest life, juiciest is my word of the year, you have to be willing to listen to that voice, and be willing for it to not look like what’s always in popular culture and not always fit into a box all the time and not be so neatly labelled.

What is a pain point as an Alpha Female that you’re currently problem solving for?

I would say I am currently in that process of problem-solving, of finding, what does my new level of hustle look like? With the perception stuff it really is for me, I think, one of the things I am working through right now, is really more than ever, not looking at what everyone else is doing. It’s so funny because I have advocated that to my clients for years, ‘put the blinders on’. I was lucky that when I started everything I did, I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t know about this world, I didn’t know you could have a business. I was in a completely different world and then this world just happened to me and then I started making friends in it after the fact. So, it was really beautiful because I created my business from a place where I felt like I was alone in the game, then once I found other people I didn’t have a lot of comparison issues as I am quite strong on what my core tenants are, and what my beliefs are and what’s right or wrong and what feels good to me.

I think recently in the past year, there has been a surge in online entrepreneurs, that really have disheartened me. I wish there was a whole army of people doing what I do, but I feel like there are a lot of people who are online entrepreneurs, but not teachers if that makes sense. So I see that and that’s been something that has been a massive pain point, where I feel like a lot of people are spending so much money and focusing on their funnels and doing all these online entrepreneurial hacks. But the value is not there. Their content is not there. The integrity is not there, they actually don’t know how to teach people the things they are selling, they only know how to sell them, and that breaks my heart on a daily basis.

I started making money doing my business, organically, I had a blog, people wanted me to coach them, again, I didn’t go into it trying to start a business, I didn’t even know you could make a living doing what I do. I had no idea, so it has been super organic. I work with a lot of women one on one that want to start heart-centred businesses, and they come to me because they can energetically feel that I have done everything really in integrity and really in alignment with what’s good for me, and that’s what I teach, do what works for you. It’s not a one size fits all and this is your life so you have to ask yourself, what lights you up and what works for you and I think there is a lot of that going around. You have a message, you have a mission, hell, honey if you have message, you have a mission and you wanna do it absolutely do it, but it doesn’t mean you have to. It doesn’t mean that.

There are ways to be a light worker, there are ways to be a positive influence, there are ways to be inspiration without you needing to quit your day job and start an online business. If that is something that is calling you and that you feel really deeply about, absolutely. Power to you, do it. But I think what happens and I’ve seen this in some of my one to one clients is that for example, what you’re doing is beautiful I am assuming that you enjoy your 9 to 5 and you’re also passionate about this. That is what I call living the juicy life so you do all the things you like, and I truly believe that there are a lot of people that thrive in a consistent stable work environment, coming from someone that has worked for myself, almost exclusively, there are some things that can be really alluring about having an office that you get to go to, having a boss or deadlines or people that you have to be accountable to, a consistent pay check. There is absolutely nothing wrong with liking any of that. So it gets under my skin a little bit, where you see people making that bad. Or being like, ‘the online entrepreneur life is the way to go and that is like this amazing thing’ and I think, for me, it is an amazing thing, I love having my life, each of the things comes with its own bag of amazing and crap. They both come with that, you just have to decide what fits you better! A lot of people I work with I help them develop their businesses and decide what works for them, and I have had that conversation, where I am like, ‘Can I give you permission to enjoy having a 9 to 5, can I let you know that’s amazing if you go to work every day and you enjoy that steady pay check and you enjoy that consistency, that is absolutely fine and wonderful and great and just as cool as having your own business if that’s what lights you up’. Another tangent but I felt called to say it.

What is your definition of happiness?

Happiness is waking up and being present with how beautiful life is in all of its aspects… Yeah, I think happiness is being present.

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