Bronwen Sciortino is an International Author and Simplicity Expert who spent almost two decades as an award-winning executive before experiencing a life changing event that forced her to stop and ask the question ‘What if there’s a better way to live?’
Embarking on a journey to answer this question, Bronwen developed a whole new way of living – one that teaches you to challenge the status quo and include the power of questions in everyday life. Gaining international critical acclaim and 5-star awards for her books, Bronwen spends every day teaching people that there is an easy, practical and simple pathway to creating a healthy, happy AND highly successful life.
Sourced globally for media comment as an expert and working with corporate programs, conference platforms, retreats, professional mentoring and in the online environment, Bronwen teaches people how easy it is to live life very differently.
Q: What inspired you to found sheIQ Life and what were the main challenges you faced?
I was what you would call a classic over-achiever. I spent almost two decades in the corporate world, and most of that time in senior management and executive positions. I pushed myself way too hard for way too long and achieved way too much, all at a very young age.
Then one day, I pushed too far, and I broke – spectacularly. I went from being an award-winning executive to on the floor, unable to cope in even the basics in life, and unable to stop crying. And that happened in less than 60 seconds.
It took less than a minute for me to be thrown, with force, into my own Armageddon. It took three years of the most intensive, overwhelming and invasive work to get myself back to being able to live within ‘normal’ life again.
In short, I gave everything I had, to everyone around me. I looked after their needs and made sure they were all OK. I gave nothing to myself. And then, when I had nothing left to give, I found a way to give more. I knew I wasn’t well. I knew something had to change. I put it off till later, but later never came.
During my recovery, I discovered that I had a massive fear of writing anything personal down. I had created a complex belief pattern that said that if I wrote down something personal then it could be used as evidence against me, proving that I wasn’t perfect.
So, I began the process of stepping into journaling to overcome this fear. Along the way the journaling became more structured writing, and that saw my first book – ‘Keep It Super Simple’ – come alive and be published about half-way through my recovery.
As ‘Keep It Super Simple’ went out into the world, it gained 5-star awards and international critical acclaim. People wanted other ways to work with me and suddenly, I had a global business delivering keynotes and workshops, personal, team and group mentoring and leadership development programs.
One of the greatest challenges I faced in founding sheIQ Life was in creating a structure that would support my health and wellbeing moving forwards. I had broken once, and I never wanted to go back there again. So, I needed a solid platform that would allow me to work across time zones, in person and via online formats, across different mediums and in a way that would keep my stress levels low and my health at the forefront of everything.
Q: Did you start the venture alone?
The business was founded on a combination of my journey and the research and revelations I had along my way back to full health and wellbeing.
I am a solo-preneur, and I work alone in the creation of the content I share with the world. However, I am not alone in what I’m doing. I am backed in every way, and at every turn, by my husband – Jon Sciortino. He is a professional himself, and works a full time job in a completely different industry (where he is an absolute Rock Star at what he does), but most people don’t know that he also reviews every article, piece of writing, book and platform content (and the list goes on!) that goes out into the world.
He questions me. He pushes me. He helps me to give the best of myself at every turn. His contribution is significant, yet not visible to those looking in from the outside.
Q: What's your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
The other day I was given the hashtag of #rebelwithaclue by someone who was commenting on one of my social media posts. It’s probably the best description of the way that I do things.
My business is structured within a for-profit shell, however I run it as a ‘not-only-for-profit’ model. There is a portion of my time and revenue that is donated to not-for-profit and community organisations.
I don’t believe that individuals or organisations should miss out on accessing information and services that are vital for them to move forwards. Sure, most people and organisations fall within certain guidelines, but for the ones who don’t, I’m always finding ways where we can work out what we can do together.
I only work with individuals and organisations who have a values match with me – that way, I know that the things that are important to me are the very same things that are also important to them.
My products and services all evolve from the core principle of teaching people that there’s a very different way to live.
I have three published works: ‘Keep It Super Simple’, ‘The Economy of Enough’, and ‘Beyond Ah-Ha’. I have also recently released an online program to help busy, professional women beat burnout and reduce stress forever (‘Keep It Super Simple for Busy Professional Women’).
I also deliver keynotes, workshops, mentoring and leadership development programs focused around helping people to understand the true impact of stress, identify where their stress is coming from and creating simple steps to turn their life in a different direction.
My revenue has grown through having multiple sources of income generated from different mediums (some automatically and some through personal effort), and through being sourced globally by media as an expert in simplicity.
Q: Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
There are so many women, from so many walks of life, that have impacted my life that I couldn’t name just one of them.
I can, however, name the qualities that all of those women carry.
They are all graceful. No matter what happens in their lives, they continue to step into the world with compassion and empathy, and they never let their challenges colour the way they communicate in the world.
They are generous. If they can help you, they will. Even when there has been a formal contract of services in place, they give over and above what they were required to do. But not to their own detriment – they give in a way that is selfless, but not self-destructive.
They are kind. While the world points the finger and moves to a place where keyboard warriors are common, these women find a way to gently turn the world back to a place where everyone can be themselves, and everyone can be OK.
These are all characteristics that are a big part of who I AM. I am grateful that I have had others provide me with a living example of how these qualities can be infused into the everyday way of life.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
Businesses are founded by entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs occur because there is a gap in the marketplace and there is no one else willing, or able, to create a solution. When you make the decision to found your own company, you do so because what you have to offer isn’t currently available in the world.
The second you found your company, you become a front runner. That means you step out and create products and services that help move the world in a brand new way. You have to believe in what you’re doing. Most importantly, you have to know, without a doubt, WHY it is you’re doing it.
It will be your ‘why’ that you can come back to when people around you question what you’re doing. Or, when others try to tell you that you’re wrong, or that it would be better for you if you did things in a different way. It is your ‘why’ that gives you a point that you can turn to, to keep you motivated and your inspiration strong.
Make sure that a massive part of your ‘why’ is the way in which it supports you to maintain your own health and wellbeing. Whatever you do, do it in a way that fuels you as much as, or more than, it provides something to everyone else, and you’ll always have the energy you need to achieve what you want.
Q: ‘I’m so stressed!’ is one of the most commonly used expressions today. Stress seems to be normal, but what’s it really doing to us?
If you don’t understand where stress comes from then it’s really easy to dismiss the significant levels of stress that we’re now seeing lots more individuals experiencing. Nowadays, people are generally resilient.
The reality is that the way that we respond to stress on a physiological level hasn’t changed, but the number of stressors in our lives has significantly changed.
Stress used to be caused by a limited number of places and/or people in our lives – mainly work and personal relationships.
But today this list is much, much longer. Here’s just a few of the main culprits that are now causing stress on a regular basis every day:
- Processed and packaged food that is full of preservatives and additives.
- Cleaning products that have changed significantly and are full of chemicals and toxins.
- Makeup that is full of chemicals and toxins and is absorbed into the body directly through the skin.
- Personal products (like deodorant, moisturisers, toothpaste, sunscreen, etc.) that are full of chemicals and absorbed directly into the body through the skin.
- Electronic devices: anything with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity interferes with the natural rhythm of the body.
- Increased traffic: there’s now a greater number of vehicles on the roads almost everywhere, which creates larger amounts of fumes, emissions and toxic load in the air.
- Longer commute and travel: people are finding themselves having to endure longer and longer commutes to and from the office, which means they’re exposed to fumes and toxins carried in the air for longer periods of time.
- Greater workloads: we’re all expected to do more with far fewer resources.
- Lack of quality sleep: all of the above combine together to create an environment that makes it difficult to achieve quality sleep. Without REM sleep you can’t effectively rest and your cells can’t replicate efficiently.
All of the above combine to ensure that you’re constantly in fight or flight mode.
Traditionally, we’ve been taught that stress is caused by work, but when you look at just the few things I mentioned, it’s a lot easier to see that life is so much more stressful than it ever used to be.
If we don’t start to reduce the stress in our lives then we place ourselves on the fast-track to ill health and diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, cardiovascular issues (like heart attacks and angina) and auto-immune diseases.
Q: We’ve heard a lot lately about the rise of burnout and the issues relating to it. These seem to have appeared overnight – why are we hearing so much about them now?
Stress, burnout and exhaustion have been massive issues for a long time, but they’ve largely flown under the radar. There was a big reluctance to talk about them, and there was significant stigma attached to experiencing any form of mental health.
In recent times, the increase in the number of people experiencing stress related issues has grown so significantly that it is now costing over US$1 trillion a year globally. That’s a big number for global industry to carry – big enough that it’s now starting to get the attention it so desperately needs.
Put simply, we’re hearing more about it because it’s really starting to hurt – both individuals and businesses. People are more willing to acknowledge that they’re suffering, and there are more organisations who are willing to assist in creating pathways to recovery.
Q: You teach people how to simplify their lives, but can we really make our lives simpler and still have everything we want?
I’m a Simplicity Expert. That means that I spend my days helping people work out how they can cut out the noise and complexity in their life, so they can reconnect with what’s important to them. The ultimate result of this process is being able to reduce stress, beat burnout and overcome overwhelm.
Generally, people hear the word ‘simple’ and they equate it to deprivation. Often, people say to me that as a Simplicity Expert, it must mean that I am a minimalist, or that I have to minimise everything in my life.
The reality is that a simple life is all about aligning your life to your values. When you know what your values are, you know what is most important to you. When you make it your number one priority to make sure that what you do is fuelling the things that are important to you, you can very easily assess any opportunity that comes your way, and know really quickly whether it’s something you want to do – or not.
There’s less confusion, the general noise in life is significantly reduced, and it becomes so much simpler to find your next step.
Adopting simplicity makes it easier to define what success is, easier to find the steps that take you towards it, and even easier to achieve it.
Q: You develop products and services that help people to live their lives differently. Why is this the focus of what you do?
I want everyone to know that there is a way to tailor-make the life that is perfect for them. You don’t have to choose between being healthy and happy or being successful. You can live a simple life AND have the things you want.
To have it all, you have to know what’s important to you, use that information to create your values and then use your values to turn your life in a different direction.
All of my books, online programs, articles, keynotes, workshops, mentoring sessions – everything I create – is designed to help every individual find the life that is perfect for them. I make this my focus because I’ve been to the bottom of the pit that comes with a breakdown. Having experienced it, I don’t ever want to see anyone else go there. So, I spend every day creating solutions that help people simply and easily take steps in a different way.
One size does NOT fit all – it never has.
I have no interest in telling people all the things they’re doing wrong, in pointing out how they got themselves into the ‘mess’ they’re in, or in selling anyone my life. None of that is useful, or helpful.
There’s only one pathway forwards for each of us. You’re the only one who knows what that is for you. Everything I put into the world is there to help you access your answers so you can find the next perfect step for you.
Stepping into the life that was always meant to be yours will be as difficult as you choose to make it. It can be simple – if you let it. My products and services give you the tools and activities you need to create the steps that are exactly right for you.
Q: What can people do every day to help them reduce stress and start to live their lives in a different way?
There are a number of highly underrated, yet highly effective, things that people can implement straight away to help them reduce stress. Here’s three of them that don’t take much time and cost you nothing:
- Deep abdominal breathing: it sounds ridiculously easy, but it’s the only scientifically proven way to IMMEDIATELY move your body from ‘fight or flight’ mode back into a relaxed state of being.
- Get outside: scientific research shows that if you can spend 15-20 minutes a day outside, preferably around green trees and/or grass, then this can help to reduce your stress by up to 20%. This is especially true if you do your deep breathing at the same time.
- Get your bare feet into the earth: grounding can be highly effective in changing the energy charge within your body. The more you can ground yourself, the more you send a signal to your energy system that you can relax because you’re OK.
Other things you can do to start your journey include:
- Create your values – there’s a free resource on my website that shows you how to do this. You can access it by clicking here.
- Sign up for the free ‘7 Steps to Reduce Stress Forever’ email series’. This email series covers a range of areas where stress affects our lives. It’s full of information, articles and activities you can try to start to move your life in a different direction.
- Check out my range of books that can help you to identify where your stress is coming from and implement easy and practical steps every day to start moving your life in a different way.
Sign up for the online program to help busy, professional women beat burnout and reduce stress forever.