Normal is overrated
Oct. 28, 2022

"Anti-Perfect and Death" - Ankit Sherke Interviews Helen

Ankit Sherke interviews Helen for his podcast. In this episode, they talk about:

  • Helen's journey from first-generation college student to a therapist
  • Anti-perfect path, therapy, and being honest
  • Realizing that the "cost" of saying yes is beyond money 
  • Being interesting starts with the desire to understand 


  1. Ankit's Podcast 
  2. Helen's Instagram 
  3. Helen's Daily Newsletter: Bad Email Nation 
  4. Think Weird on YouTube 



[00:00:00] Helen: Hi, my name is Helen Garcia and you're listening to the think weird podcast. Now, this is actually the very first time I'm posting a podcast episode that's been recorded by somebody else and my friend Ankit is a graphic designer. He's extremely talented and he has a podcast that I'm going to link to in the show notes.

[00:00:21] I really love this interview because I don't think I've really sat down. And talked about why. I created this podcast. And what my message is. And I think sometimes talking to your friends helps you realize. Why you're doing it and what you're doing it for. And so I'm posting it on my YouTube channel and.

[00:00:42] I'm posting it. In this podcast. I get extremely vulnerable in this show. And I talk about the reason why I became a therapist and my path towards creative entrepreneurship. So pull up a chair. Sit down, relax, sip a cup of tea or coffee. And listen to my conversation with Ankit. Welcome to the think grid podcast.

[00:01:06] Ankit: Okay, cool. Awesome. So Helen, welcome to a podcast. And you Hello, everyone was listening. I have with me Helen. It's getting us free. I have done, I haven't done this in, I think over one month. So what, Yeah, please introduce yourself and what do you do to our audience?

[00:01:26] Helen: Yeah. My name's Helen Garcia. I'm from Los Angeles, California.

[00:01:31] I'm a therapist who helps creative entrepreneurs. I also have a podcast and I consult for different businesses and brands, but I think my greatest passion is helping creatives unlearn perfectionism because it's a journey that I've been through before.

[00:01:47] Interesting.

[00:01:47] Ankit: Yeah. And how was your journey being a therapist? Where did you start?

[00:01:55] Helen: Yeah, so when I was growing up, I struggled a lot with depression, anxiety, and self-harm. So I battled a lot with that. My parents and I immigrated here. I'm the oldest in my family of two. We immigrated here when I was about five or six years old.

[00:02:10] And then something happened when I was in high school where I started to realize that I just looked and acted differently from a lot of my peers. I had higher energy than the average human. I'm very type A but I felt really alone in my struggle as a first generation immigrant. I was the first in my family to ever go to college in America.

[00:02:33] I had to go through the college system on my own. And along that line, I think I started dating a guy who recommended therapy to me because he noticed that I would push people away. And then it started this journey of just. Asking those questions. And then when I was in college, I, we didn't have a lot of money, so my parents and I both had to take out loans for, to pay me through college.

[00:03:01] So I worked at a coffee shop and people would come to the coffee shop every day just to talk to me. And those customers would stay for five, six hours just telling me about their life. And they became regulars. I got a lot of tips and one person said to me, You know, Helen, you're really easy to talk to. I think you should become a therapist.

[00:03:23] And then halfway through grad school, Covid happened and I realized that I had a lot of trauma that I needed to process. And I don't know, I think part of it is just wanting to help people and wanting to be there for people in the same way, cuz I struggled alone for so long that I wanna help people understand that they don't have to do it alone.

[00:03:46] That there's someone there that can help them. Yeah, very

[00:03:50] Ankit: interesting. And how, how, how were your college used? I'm not very aware about the American college culture. Sure. So how was that?

[00:04:00] Helen: So, American College is very different from, I think a lot of different colleges because you have so many options.

[00:04:06] You can go to an elite college where the main focus is not partying. It's mainly academics. I went to what's called a liberal arts school, which is you get to choose the type of education that you want. So I went in as a molecular biology biochemistry major cuz my dad's a doctor. My mom's a nurse, and I thought that I wanted to follow in their path, but I would fail all of my college classes.

[00:04:34] I failed biology, I failed chemistry, I felt organic chemistry, and I was put on academic probation and I was about to lose my scholarship. In that moment, I had a teacher in my biochemistry class pull me aside because I would always stop by her class. I didn't understand, I couldn't connect the dots. And at the time I was student body president of my freshman class.

[00:04:57] I was doing social justice work, I was volunteering, I was doing a lot of graphic design stuff on the side. Mm-hmm. that ate up most of my time. Biochemistry was, I hated it. And when you hate something, you don't really wanna invest your time and energy into it. And so college for me was a place of discovery because I had teachers and professors that were willing to say to me, Your talents are more relational than they are scientific and research oriented.

[00:05:26] I think you should consider going into sociology, the study of society, psychology, the study of the human brain, and start to understand that. So halfway through my freshman year, I switched majors probably five or six times. I took English classes, philosophy classes, science classes. I just ate up information and I wanted to discover who I was.

[00:05:49] And I think as humans we're constantly searching for the meaning of life. Why are we here? What were we created to do? How am I supposed to do it? So all of these questions would pop up in my head in college. And I was ridiculed by my parents actually throughout college because there were immigrant parents.

[00:06:10] And so the, the main proclivity is to make enough money to survive. And so I was chasing my interests when my culture and my upbringing told me to cha what makes sense? Yeah. So a lot of my life was battling this argument internally cuz it wasn't my parents' fault, It makes sense. I understand where they're coming from.

[00:06:36] You have to make enough money to make a living. But I also knew that if I stayed in a career that didn't bring me happiness, I would eventually lose my job because my brain doesn't work that way. I'm extremely creative. I'm extremely relational. And so college was such a blessing for me because it gave me the opportunity to really battle with those questions.

[00:07:00] And I think that if I didn't have that, I wouldn't be sitting here talking with you right now.

[00:07:07] Ankit: Yeah. And that's very interesting answer because I think that phase where you question everything about your life, why I'm here and mm-hmm. , what's my purpose? It mostly comes in these formative years.

[00:07:22] When you're in college and you are going through a certain change, you can see, you now start to realize there's a whole new world out there, which is different from the school and schooling I have done so far. It hits you

[00:07:36] Helen: So different. It's so different from, because in high school, elementary school, you spend eight hours in school and then you go home college, you're, you're there, you're getting an education all the time.

[00:07:48] You're learning from your peers, you're learning from your teachers. You actually have space away from your family if you chose to go to college outside of your hometown. Did it? Isn't that what happened to you? Yeah. Didn't you move? Yeah. Can you tell me your story too?

[00:08:03] Ankit: Yeah. It was very same for me. In my college years, I was having this the same doubts because essentially I got competitively more freedom than I had in school.

[00:08:14] So there were freedom of choices and freedom of part, what should I pick now? Where should I go on? [00:08:20] Mm. And I felt the goals I'm currently studying, it's not gonna help me in career any anyway. Mm-hmm. . So there was now append of option and thanks to the internet, I can learn anything, which I want.

[00:08:33] If I put in a enough time in it. So I was very curious about different things, should I try this? Should I try that? And always in my back of my head, there was this thought I have to make enough money to sustain myself at least. Cause I know I, my parents can take care of themselves, but for me, I have to take care of myself.

[00:08:50] Mm-hmm. So, so true. There's an interesting shift. Now you start to see, well, differently. You can see what activities are wasting your time and what friends you should hang out with. And even your communicate, your conversations change because in the she of college, it was all about dating . We wanna be, we wanna hang out with, with this part you are going to.

[00:09:15] Mm-hmm. . Suddenly, after first semester, it was everything changed and I realized, mm-hmm the, I'm struck now here. If I keep doing this, it's gonna be very helpful and I'll waste my time, whatever time I have heavy. So I started finding different things. And then I didn't, There's, there's this questions of, of what's his life?

[00:09:36] And so Uhhuh dwell more into it, where can I find answers? So from religion to philosophy to science, everything. I tried everything. Yes. So I have question for you here. I was talking with someone and they said, Why you should worry about these questions when you have limited time or not. Why not just enjoy the hetero stick kind of thing?

[00:09:57] So what's your take on this ?

[00:09:59] Helen: That's, Well, how can you know what a good life is if you've never battled with these questions, you know? Yeah. I also think too, I've been, I posted a real on Instagram the other day called Why Dreaming Big doesn't really help people. And we start hearing the statement dream big when we're younger.

[00:10:19] The problem with that is you don't know who you are when you're 15 or 16. Mm-hmm. where dreaming big is important. You should aspire for more. But how do you know what more of, if you don't know the answers to your own questions about why am I here? And I think I, I'm, my faith is Christianity. So I really believe that God has inserted dreams into the human heart, and it's our job to search for it and to find it.

[00:10:47] And so growing up, you, you would hear these big statements, dream big dream, believe, achieve. Mm-hmm. , but no one ever taught you how to dream, what to dream of, how to tackle those questions. And so I would say to your friend, to each their own, but I also understand that embedded within humanity and the fabric of humanity is a desire to matter.

[00:11:14] And at the end of your life, you want to matter. And how can you understand what matters to you and how to matter if you've never understood your own purpose in life. Mm-hmm. . Because you can chase money, you can chase the millions of dollars, but we've, you already, you can probably think of countless people in this life who have had cash and cars and all of these material possessions, but people are glad that they're alive.

[00:11:43] There's a quote by John Steinbeck that says, you know, that a person has lived a worthy life when they die and the world mourns, you know, when someone has lived an unworthy life when they die and the world cheers. Yeah.

[00:12:05] Ankit: And I think both of these aspects are very interesting. People mourning for you when you try and people cheering for you when you die, I think.

[00:12:14] Mm-hmm. , there are people who want to be on these extreme, but I think the people struggle most, they'll be forgotten after they die. So there's the wide space in between, between morning and between cheering. People won't remember me even after I die. So that's a really weird place to

[00:12:31] Helen: be in.

[00:12:32] It is a weird place to be in. You know, I used to rock climb and I was at the rock climbing gym, and there was this guy hitting on me at the rock climbing gym . He's What do you do? And I said, Oh, I'm a therapist. And usually when I tell people that, they go, Oh, because they think that I'm psychoanalyzing them.

[00:12:52] And he later asked me, he said, What's your approach to the way that you work with clients and the way that you work with people? And I told him, I said, I, I to remind them that they're gonna die soon. And he looked at me, he's That's so morbid. Why would you do that? And I looked at him and I said, You have to think about that.

[00:13:13] You have to because you never know when you're gonna die. And so what do you wanna create with your life? What do you wanna do with your life? And he looked at me almost dumbfounded. And I don't think we think about that enough. Yeah. You know, I remember when I was five, my grandpa died suddenly.

[00:13:34] And I remember being faced with death at such an early age. But I'm thankful for that because it gave me the courage to walk in creativity and the courage to really live my life and to ask those questions. Because people who have never tasted death or have never felt death, they think that they have forever.

[00:13:54] And then one day they don't, You know? Yeah.

[00:13:59] Ankit: And very similar incident happened with me. My and grandmother died at, around, I was six years old when I was five or six old. Mm-hmm. . And I still haven't processed that feeling, which I, which I have felt in that moment. Cause it was very strange to me. And I was just because everything suddenly changed around me.

[00:14:20] My father, what I used to perceive him as that, up to that point was a strong man who's I knew up to that point that if he's here, everything's gonna be all right. Mm. And it was nighttime. I distinctly remember, and he pass away. And I could see in my father's side that he's broken, he's feeling all the emotion and everything.

[00:14:47] Wow.

[00:14:47] Helen: How did you know as a child, what did he do? What did

[00:14:51] Ankit: he I could see him cry and I was, It was first time seeing him, him cry. Wow. And I was What is, what is happening? Arran?

[00:15:00] Helen: What is that? That does something to a child, doesn't it? Yeah. Yeah. I remember my, my grandpa died when I was about eight.

[00:15:09] I had two grandpas at the time when I was still young. And I saw my dad cry. And to this day, the only thing that makes him cry is his parents. Yeah. But I think that there's, something says something about that. You know, we, we are who we, we grow up with and our parents are very first loves.

[00:15:32] Ankit: Definitely. And I have this question for you. So what, what is the education of being therapist is what do they teach

[00:15:42] Helen: you? Yeah, so you can become a therapist in California at least in three ways. You can get a master's in family therapy marriage and family therapy. You can get a master's in social work, which is a lot more broad and holistic, which is a degree that I got.

[00:15:59] I have a bias towards my degree, obviously, and you can get a PhD, which is a doctorate degree, specializing in psychology and things that. But essentially what they taught me in my two year program, Is how to think about the world, how to understand the world. My education taught me that we're part of a larger system, that the American system largely dictates who a human becomes.

[00:16:26] And so we become our environment. And so to conduct therapy then is to understand the environment, the family, the systems that an individual is a part of, and what systems are serving them and not [00:16:40] serving them. So for example, I come from a first generation immigrant family. I grew up in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

[00:16:49] I am a part of the city of Los Angeles. And so the rhythm of this city largely dictates the person I'm becoming, mm-hmm. . And so oftentimes someone who's not aware of the system that they're a part of, cannot. Change their lifestyle if they're not aware that they're in water. There's a, there's a saying in sociology that says, A fish doesn't know that they're in water.

[00:17:15] Mm-hmm. . And so if you don't understand the chemical compounds that dictate the life that you're breathing in your ecosystem, you can't become aware, You can't reach self-awareness or nirvana, what have you, because you're not taking ownership of how those things affect you.

[00:17:37] Ankit: Mm-hmm. , and I was having the discussion with someone and I still glance over this point of free will, how much your surrounding affects you.

[00:17:48] And this was interesting documentary I was watching on lead poisoning, how they used to use a lead in everything, from your fuel in your vehicles to your oil paints and stuff that. So how it dramatically affected. Young brains and in case it's the crime rate in certain cities where there was a lot of pollution and cars and everything mm-hmm.

[00:18:12] And once the stop, including light in the fuel, it dramatically declined. So there was a straight correlation between that. So I think that wow, if simple elements this can change your way of living, it can fundamentally change your psychograph. A person who's on the edge of committing crime, maybe that chemical makes their brain much more susceptible to committing a crime.

[00:18:39] So where's the FRA here?

[00:18:43] Helen: Mm. Where is the fable in the story?

[00:18:46] Ankit: No, I'm just asking where's a free will? Is, are we free to do anything? Or everything is bound by our sounding, our whatever chemical imbalance goes

[00:18:54] Helen: through. Oh. Where's our self will? Yeah. In our ecosystem, I think that it's, it's the age old argument of nature versus nurture, right?

[00:19:03] Mm-hmm. Are we what we surround ourselves with? Or are we what we're born with? And I think that everyone has an answer to that question. Everyone thinks that they're right in that answer. Yeah. And it's interesting how when a serial killer kills all these people, it becomes biology. And when someone becomes successful, it becomes who they surround themselves with.

[00:19:26] You know, . It's just what narrative are you believing? And I think that for me, based on my own experience, I, it was both. I come from a family of entrepreneurs on my dad's side, my mom comes from a large family of government employees and teachers and nurses. And so how did I become a therapist?

[00:19:55] No one in my family is a therapist. Mm-hmm. . But there was inside of me, based on my experiences coming to this country, seeing that there was more than one shade of color, seeing that there was more than one faith, there created a curiosity inside of me from an early age. And so I think part of it is my parents are extremely kind people and I had a really, really great childhood.

[00:20:23] It wasn't easy, but they raised me. Right. But another part of it is I wouldn't shut up and I wouldn't stop asking questions based on my experiences. I was also the first in my family to ever go to college in America. So there was a level of fear and anxiety. But I had no choice but to be courageous. So I think I lean more on the side of nurture than I do nature, because I think that humans have the ability to decide, Yeah.

[00:20:52] What they wanna do with their lives. We all inherently have a decision. If we hate our job, we can choose to stay or we can choose to leave, but we can't control our coworkers. Mm-hmm. , we, we have a decision when we're aware of that system, Oh, I'm aware that these group of friends are not good for me, therefore I can choose to stay and become them, or I can leave.

[00:21:19] So I think ultimately the need, the decision for nurturing for me, I choose to believe that because it's worked out for. I am happier because of the decisions I feel I've made. I don't think that I was forced to become a therapist, or I was forced to become a creative entrepreneur. I believe that I chose that path based on my own interests.

[00:21:43] Mm-hmm. ,

[00:21:44] Ankit: and I'm thinking of this analogy and let me know if it fits you. It's you're navigating your life is a ship and you're just never getting through waters. Mm-hmm. and whatever impact my winds have, my parents have, these are external factors, but in the, in the end, you have control over your ship.

[00:22:04] Mm-hmm. , it's on you. Where you want to steer toward.

[00:22:08] Helen: Yeah, exactly. It's the, the captain has the ability to embody bravery into their sailors based on experience and their decision to go valiantly into the ocean. You know, you can blame the ocean tides, but who is manning the ship? You know?

[00:22:28] Yeah. There's so many forces going on around us, but I think that there's something magnetic about humanity. If you think about it, you realize have no decision over what land they choose to stay in. Mm-hmm. , they just kind of migrate humans do. I can choose to live in Los Angeles. I can l choose to live in Austin.

[00:22:53] I can choose to move to Hawaii if I want to. And so there's something beautiful about humans and our ability to interact with our ecosystem. You know, we can change it.

[00:23:05] Ankit: It's a very weird shift, when we, from moving from James to becoming a human and the agency of action we had over the time, it's very weird.

[00:23:15] And the way we have changed our ecosystem, it's very weird. If you look in the worst scale of time we had, that life has been on. It's been very minute section slides back to time and we have changed the world, literally. Mm. It's

[00:23:31] Helen: very strange. We have no other animals have done that, you know?

[00:23:37] Yeah. It's to our benefit and our curse. We've changed our roads, we've changed the way that we transport. We can go anywhere we want in less than a day, but we've also polluted and the CO2 emissions and the gas and the cars and the fashion industry has led to this massive pollution in our country.

[00:24:01] And so we have the power. Yeah.

[00:24:05] Ankit: Yeah. It's very strange. And sometimes I think who was much happier and had better, inner peace, the the key man who was living from day to day, just going hunting here and there. Or a modern person who has to worry about their job, their mortgage, their, Sorry about the background.

[00:24:27] It's the Deval. It's okay, I can

[00:24:29] Helen: hear it.

[00:24:30] Ankit: Yeah. So who's much happier? A modern day person who has to worry about all this responsibilities and everything, which he, he has created around himself a person who was just living in the cave cave and had to worry about next to me, only nothing else.

[00:24:46] Helen: Mm. I'm gonna challenge that question cuz there's the Plato's cave.

[00:24:52] Have you heard of it? Yeah. Yeah. I think that the cave man who was living in the cave is the same person [00:25:00] that was, that becomes a cog in a, in a factory wheel, you know? Mm-hmm. At some point you wanna break off of it. I think that throughout history, we can't understand the future if we don't understand history.

[00:25:14] Yeah. Throughout history there have been world shakers and world changers who have understood that they were in water and that they were part of a system and decided to change it. And I think that we, we don't become happy until we realize what's making us unhappy, you know? Mm-hmm. that we have control over that.

[00:25:40] Cuz I think when we watch, how can I say this in a way that will, will prove my point in a very specific way. I started a new job this month working in a private practice in Los Angeles, and before that I had very unhealthy work habits. I would go into work at 8:00 AM and I wouldn't leave until 8:00 PM 12 hours a day, five days a week.

[00:26:06] And then weekends I would spend sleeping. And then by the time I was done with that job, I had anxiety constantly for about two weeks. Mm-hmm. Unstoppable anxiety. I would get panic attacks. I would start to shut down because I was then feeling the aftershock of my overworking patterns. But I didn't know how unhappy I was until I got out, until I actually walked down the street without any anything to do.

[00:26:38] And I saw people's cars whizzing by and I started thinking to myself, I wonder how many of those people are just thinking of something else other than driving their car. Yeah. You know, we live in the city of Los Angeles, a city that is full of dreamers, filmmakers, writers, people who have dreams and ambitions.

[00:27:00] But how many minutes of our lives do we spend just wishing we were somewhere else or doing something else, or being something else? And I think for a year and a half I was exhausted and tired because I, I thought that I was happy, you know, but I wasn't. And there's an internal wisdom inside of us, I feel when you wake up in the morning and you're exhausted and you're tired.

[00:27:26] I think there's a difference between someone who says, I have to do this, and someone who says, I have to do this. Mm-hmm. , you know, there's a difference in tone there where you do it out of the passion of your heart and you do something because you feel obligated to. And at some point I think that Some people sadly never realize that.

[00:27:51] Yeah.

[00:27:53] Ankit: I think even thinking about this is a luxury for some people, just questioning this question.

[00:27:59] Helen: Yes. Because most people are in survival and I think it's a privilege. I live in the United States, a place where I don't have to think about going to the toilet or the clothes I'm gonna wear, or the food I'm going to eat.

[00:28:16] It's readily available to me. Mm-hmm. , I work in an office building. Not many people have that privilege. Some people have to find free spaces to work, and I think we can get embedded the, the human without resources can get embedded in survival, so they have no time. It's Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

[00:28:38] You need your basic needs met. And for me, I can only really talk about myself, but I didn't feel safe enough to even create until I did the work in therapy. You know, I had to do all of that work to realize how unhappy I was to get to where I am now. It takes years. Yeah.

[00:29:01] Ankit: And yeah, I would to ask as a therapist how your view has changed of the world.

[00:29:08] Have you given a chart before I was therapist, I used to think in certain way, but after I know and I have this training and everything in tools. So what has changed in your world view? Such a good

[00:29:20] Helen: question. I used to think I was right all the time. . I, ever since I was little, I've always been the first person in class to raise my hand or to volunteer in class.

[00:29:36] And I would argue constantly. I would make my argument and I would criticize the person for not thinking that I was right. But being a therapist has taught me to sit and listen and really understand someone's story, where life is not about me at all. It's about being of service to others. And I'm, I've realized that I'm very small in this world of 8 billion people, very, very small.

[00:30:08] And I can spend my life drumming my own beat in my drum and saying that I'm important or I can choose to serve the next human who's struggling. And you don't know. You don't know who's struggling. Someone can look happy and live a beautiful life, and they get therapy too. And I've learned not to judge people ever.

[00:30:38] Just because I practice a certain faith or I embody a certain culture does not mean that I'm, I'm superior. You know? And I think that, I feel as if I've lived 10 lifetimes mm-hmm. in this one lifetime because I've sat and heard people's stories and there's, in therapy, there's no one else but you and the client, the client is so vulnerable with you, They trust you.

[00:31:12] They sit, look into your eyes and they, they give you their heart and you can see that. And there's something beautiful about that relationship that you build with them. There's nothing else it. And it's made me come alive in a way that I've never come alive before. Yeah. Now I have no tolerance for bullshit

[00:31:39] I'm Okay, stop bragging to me about how happy you are. I've learned that no one is truly a hundred percent happy all the time. We all have shades of emotion and it's helped me let go of my own perceptions of what I think I should be.

[00:31:59] Ankit: Yeah. And I think that's much more important, when you realize I'm not perfect.

[00:32:07] Yes. And as you were saying about being judgmental, I think it requires a conscious effort to not be judgmental, because that just meant comes very quickly. If you see person, see a person, instinctly or biologically, you will quickly make assumptions about them. That perception and everything.

[00:32:27] Is it moving toward me? Is it hostile? Is gonna, is he gonna help me? Or whatever it might be. But it takes a conscious effort, you have to think about it. Okay, so I'm making assumptions here. So this is very it require a lot of effort from your part. You have to be conscious about everything.

[00:32:49] Am I making judgment here and am I being judgmental here?

[00:32:53] Helen: That's right. That's very true. Even when I'm driving, on kid, if you ever go to Los Angeles, the traffic here is awful, awful, awful. People crash their cars all the time. And even driving my car, I've had more compassion on people, reckless drivers, people who are driving too slow, too fast.

[00:33:17] I've, I've sat in the therapy [00:33:20] chair so often that I'm Oh, they're probably thinking about something. But also I think to become an effective therapist, you have to be honest with yourself and you have to be honest about your struggle. To become fully licensed as a therapist, you have to go through supervision and even licensed therapists go through supervision.

[00:33:40] And I love the therapeutic model of that because what happens is a therapist sits with another therapist and they're honest about what they're struggling with. I'm having a hard time understanding this client, or I don't think I'm good, or I don't think I'm competent. And you're honest about that. You just kind of let it go.

[00:34:00] And the beautiful thing about the therapeutic model is that you're supposed to never reach perfection. You're always learning. You're always growing. And I think that's one of the reasons I attribute that to my love of writing now and my love of podcasting and media creation. I'm a therapist who writes, I'm a therapist who podcasts because I think it's important for people to understand that you're never.

[00:34:28] Going to reach it. You're never going to get to the top of the mountain. The mountain is never ending. And once you reach the top, the top becomes the bottom. Mm-hmm. Cause you have another mountain to climb, you know? And I think that's beautiful because I don't think we should ever be finished.

[00:34:44] I feel we're almost in parallel directions. We're not the same, but we're kind of going towards the same ambitions and so I'm wondering how you're doing and what you're learning.

[00:34:55] Ankit: Yeah. It's a very interesting question and sometimes I don't give too much your thought. I'm just enjoying my journey because if I think too much about it, then I'll have a lot more expectations from certain person.

[00:35:12] And I think when you're doing business, expectations can be really helpful, but you at certain time, it can hamper you down. Because you're expecting too much from, let's say a lead comes to you and you're expecting, you're already making, having dreams about, if I close this lead, this will be the project and you will have this much income and stuff that, and you'll create wonderful stuff and it'll look perfect.

[00:35:37] So but if you don't close the lead, you'll feel you have lots of opportunity. But the opportunity wasn't there, Never there, there was just a flying wind. It came and gone. Yeah. So it took me a long time to be able, and it's still, it's a work in progress to not expect anything from someone.

[00:35:56] Helen: How do you do that?

[00:35:58] Ankit: It's a very, it's concern better. You have to be do

[00:36:01] Helen: you have any practices? Do you, do you do anything? Do you meditate before a meeting? Do you journal, do you sit with yourself and conversate? What do you.

[00:36:11] Ankit: I expect No, it's my first expectation. So even if I say there's no expectation, but my first expectation, which I go with it, it's not, not gonna work and anything about that, it's a bit a plus point.

[00:36:26] So I already made my mind I'm not gonna close this client, and I don't, don't even wanna work with them. So that's my problem. Oh,

[00:36:32] GMT20221027-153717_Recording_gallery_1280x720: so

[00:36:32] Helen: you psych yourself out. Yeah. You're this is, this door is already closed. Mm-hmm. . And because you don't care, you then become yourself and you develop relationship before you, it becomes a business transaction.

[00:36:45] Yep.

[00:36:46] Ankit: And I'm very conscious about, I've al always tell them if you at any point feel this, we are not gonna be a good fit. I will gladly recommend you to someone, which I think could help you. That's so beautiful. That helped me a lot. It's so easy to talk, talk about, but when you practice it, it really helps.

[00:37:06] You go into a meeting, you have no, a agenda. We're just there to help. And if that's so beautiful. Yeah. It takes some time and you have to be slightly financially secure to be able to make the, make the

[00:37:23] Helen: recommendation, have the savings, and then do what I'm saying to you . Definitely. Yeah. That's, that's so good on ki because you know what I'm noticing about our interview, I'm noticing that this is the first time I've actually learned how to have a conversation with someone online or in a podcast format.

[00:37:46] My conversation with you right now, , that's cuz I think we're, we're all learning, we're always growing, right? And when I was first starting out, I thought I had to be perfect. I had to have a business plan. I remember closing my first branding deal. With Riverside and calling all of my friends saying, How do I come up with a proposal?

[00:38:09] Mm-hmm. , how do I say that? I want a thousand dollars. And my friend Larry, his name's Larry Roberts, he does podcasting as a business. He said to me, You just have to be honest and tell them that this is your very first brand deal and you need help. And if they don't understand or if they think that you're unprofessional, let it go because you don't wanna work with someone that doesn't welcome honesty.

[00:38:34] And I remember going to that meeting and saying, I have no idea what I'm doing, . And she helped me and I now I'm so grateful for Riverside because I don't think I would, I would've had that permission. But even then, it took me time to get used to. Getting to where you are as well. Just being able to say, Hey, if we're not a good fit, you have every reason to not take me on as, as your brand designer or brand person.

[00:39:08] I, we can not, we don't have to work together. But I think what that does for the client is you are not attached to them. You're not needy. You don't have that needy energy. And then it creates relationship where they're Oh, I can be honest with that kid. Yeah. On kid, I don't this. Can we do something different?

[00:39:30] It looks bad, but I think that's such a good point. You know? But it takes practice, doesn't it? To Yeah, definitely get

[00:39:37] Ankit: there. I said, it's a conscious effort. You have to be this. Okay. So just you have to psych yourself up before meeting mm-hmm. This is not gonna work. And they'll find something which they, which might not be a good fit.

[00:39:52] So you have to be ready to walk away. Mm. At any point, if the, if they feel certain thing's not working, if you can handle that objection, and if you have genuine answers, then be honest about it. But if you ever feel it can, because sometimes what happens, and I have had this experience you are too eager to close and you close the date, but you later realize we were not a good fit at all.

[00:40:16] Mm. They had very different expectations and it's gonna turn very toxic very soon. You'll have to do long hours just to make them happy. Mm-hmm. So to avoid that, be very conscious of who are onboarding.

[00:40:32] Helen: That should be n o l nation assignment. Prompt answer. That's a really, really good, cuz the myth is say yes to every opportunity, right?

[00:40:43] Mm-hmm. You should work with everyone. You should be a good person to work with all the time. But the truth is, you should be honest about your expectations and whether or not it's a good fit, because it will lead to farther longevity in your career. And that's what a lot of people don't realize.

[00:41:01] You end up hating your job or hating the creative journey because you never communicated in the first place about your expectations and your needs.

[00:41:11] Ankit: And I think hear what matters that you, how much freedom you have, your, or your choices, Let's say if you don't have any runway, and sometimes there will be things you don't know how's how we're gonna pay next month's.

[00:41:27] Mm. So you have to now work, take on any opportunity you get. And it happens sometimes I have to work on something which I don't but I know these are gonna pay my bills. [00:41:40] So you to develop that freedom, you have to be either, and there's always this choice, how much you wanna save and how much you wanna spend.

[00:41:50] If you are building done way, then can you live within your means and know how to survive on bare minimum. Mm. So that practice, then it gives you freedom. I know with the savings I have, I can survive for six months, eight months, 10 months, even one a year if I live brutally. Mm. So for that freedom, you have to have that control.

[00:42:15] So then you are more open to opportunities and you can then objectively look at upon opportunity and be Ah, we a good fit, or, Or sometimes what happens, you'll take on an opportunity and it'll take you whole time. Then something better comes in and you are I have no time for this opportunity and I've already made my commitment.

[00:42:33] Mm.

[00:42:35] Helen: That's so good. That's so good. I'm struggling with that actually. Just knowing that you have to prepare for the worst. Mm-hmm. . And I think you have that in innately, your ability to say, Okay. If things go to shit or if things go bad, I can always just, I have a savings, I have money left over.

[00:43:02] And I started, I don't know if you started your, did you start your business this year?

[00:43:07] Ankit: It should be around one and a half year.

[00:43:10] Helen: Okay. One and a half years. Yeah. I started my business in May. My consulting business. I am still learning . Yeah. And I think there's a balance you need to have of, okay, I, I can spend this money for so long.

[00:43:26] I was afraid to spend the money that I was earning in consulting. And then one day my mic stopped working or my XLR cable stopped working and I went to a music store and I asked for a microphone and I paid for it. And I was I don't have to use my credit card for this . I actually have a savings

[00:43:46] Yeah. Yeah. It's a balance. Cuz I think you should, no one is gonna be harder on you than yourself. No one is gonna take care of you more than you take care of yourself. So it's you have to have that conversation with yourself. And I don't think people teach you that in business, do they?

[00:44:03] Ankit: Maybe not to this exchange.

[00:44:05] Cause everyone is gonna be very specific for every person, where they're coming from. And I think for me, my first dollar was a, a confidence booster to me. Yes. And I got my first job. I was Yeah,

[00:44:20] Helen: I'm on . This is such a good feeling. Yeah. The, I remember making $60 for an email newsletter.

[00:44:27] Someone subscribed for a year, my private email newsletter. And I remember I had this biggest smile on my face and it was only 60 bucks. Yeah. , I can make more of that in an hour in my full-time job, . But I was so happy because it was my money. Yeah. I was, I wasn't working for anyone. I was working for myself.

[00:44:51] And there's nothing that. It's and I think that's how you know you're a true entrepreneur when you wanna make your own money, when you're proud of making your own living, It's there's nothing that feeling. I always go back to that moment. Yeah. How much money did you make your first deal

[00:45:10] Ankit: question?

[00:45:12] My first deal, it was $50. That's

[00:45:15] Helen: so cool. You and me are the same. I was only 10 bucks above you with inflation, I guess. But yeah, sorry to interrupt you. Even it was a, it was a gift.

[00:45:25] Ankit: It's, it was, I was just doing for the free and they enjoyed my work and they were You deserve this. And I was Yeah, okay.

[00:45:33] And I think I should make a career in this because this is the first time I'm getting paid for something .

[00:45:39] Helen: I did this for free and I got paid and that's when I knew I wanted to get paid for it. . Yeah. That's such a good point. Do you do, okay, so some people don't subscribe to this, but there are people who say, do it for free until you can't anymore.

[00:45:57] Do you, would you say that that's true for creatives who are working full time?

[00:46:03] Ankit: It depends. There's always gonna be some transaction. If it's not money's something else and you have to quantify that, even the dollar amount, how much is this transition gonna help me in terms of experience, in terms of portfolio piece, in terms of maybe getting new connections.

[00:46:23] So let's say some I was talking with someone in this age, if, if you think big companies Spotify or even bigger brands, if you think they're gonna pay a lot, it's very rare. Mm. They will try to undercharge an artist and take advantage of their brand name. They say it'll look good on your portfolio.

[00:46:44] You, so you should reduce your price. And people do that because they want that brand affiliation.

[00:46:51] Helen: Wow. Yeah. There's always a cost to everything. Yep. That's so true. I think I wrote an episode about that, but I think I wanna create another one with that amount of detail. Mm-hmm. so good.

[00:47:06] Ankit: Yeah. Opportunities are never free.

[00:47:08] You have to give it a cost. Some, it can be, it can take your time, it can cost you money, but it'll always there, there will always be a cost. Mm.

[00:47:19] Helen: That's the my quote of the week. There will always be a cost, always, whether it's financial, but we, my mind when I think of cost, cuz I don't wanna generalize, is money.

[00:47:31] Mm-hmm. . But I think you made such an amazing, amazing point where it's not about, it's not always about cost. It can also be emotional cost, physical cost, relational cost. What is your gain and what is your benefit or what is your loss? You know, is it a net positive or is it a net negative? I remember Sonya told this story, I think, was it, I think I was listening to the podcast you did with him.

[00:48:05] Where he was talking about doing Gabby Bernstein's website. Yeah. Was it your episode? Yep. For nothing. Mm-hmm. , It was, it gave him his life back cuz he realized Oh, I wanna work with personal brands more than big brands. And he had worked with Spotify at that point and Pelican Cases, but working with Gabby made him realize that he wanted to promote other people's message.

[00:48:36] Yeah. You know, and I think at some point, you have to think about all the costs. Is this going to benefit me or is this gonna hurt me? Such a good point.

[00:48:48] Ankit: And definitely I think it, and I've realized this slowly, as I'm growing in my career, it'll never be perfect. If you're think after this client, I will scale up and I will go for a bigger client.

[00:49:01] And if I follow this part, it was gonna be everything. We wanna be perfect. And if I have everything arranged perfectly, my business in line, my website is looking fantastic, I have perfect case studies. It is never gonna be perfect. There will gonna be some cases where you have to do take work just to pay bills, or there's gonna be cases where clients go, We should think thought as a good client, they're gonna be complete a holds.

[00:49:25] So it's never gonna be perfect. And you have to be ready for that. I think. Yeah. That's where managing expectations come. How do you manage your expectations and the expectations clients have with you? Mm

[00:49:38] Helen: mm Well, for you, what's your approach? Do you talk about it in the beginning? What are your expectations for this project?

[00:49:47] These are my expectations. Do you just say it that?

[00:49:50] Ankit: I just say I have this I follow this always under promise and over deliver. Mm. Promise [00:50:00] less, Promise, the bare minimum, the, the judging based on the time and budget we have, I'm gonna be able to do this. If you could do hundred promise them 80 at least.

[00:50:10] Wow. Because you now know how circumstances might change. Mm-hmm. , you might get sick, something weird might happen. So you have to account for that also. And I think that's the cost of business. Yeah.

[00:50:24] Helen: Yeah. You have to, you have to think about all aspects. Mm-hmm. . And that's the thing about, I read, have you read Rich Dad, Poor Dad?

[00:50:35] Ankit: I have read up to the point to where he was about investing money and mm-hmm. , I was reading that I had no money so I would I don't pay when I ask what I read about investing, ,

[00:50:47] Helen: I love the very beginning chapters cuz they're the ones I remember the most because I come from an immigrant family.

[00:50:54] A lot of it. I'm also Asian, and so the Asian, there's something in America called the model minority myth where you keep your head down, you just do a good job. And so that was my perspective in reading that book. In the beginning. I'm just gonna be the best employee this company has ever seen. But there's something in the chapter that said, you can make 30 cents, or you can wait three years and learn all of the tools necessary to make 10, maybe 30 times more than what you'd be making as my employee.

[00:51:30] You have a decision. And I remember thinking That's me. Yeah. I am satisfied with the 30 cents an hour because it's gonna give me immediate benefits. And most people are trained to become an employee. Not many people are trained to think an entrepreneur. Yeah. Where you have to think about. What are the long term costs and benefits?

[00:51:55] Is this going to help me make more money even if I don't make any right now? And I think you make such a good point where there's always a cost to everything, but there's always a price to everything too. Yep. There's a price that we have to pay to get that education, whether or not it's not making any money for a couple years.

[00:52:17] And that's business, isn't it? Your first year in business, you're probably gonna make nothing. Mm-hmm. . But you're gonna learn everything to build the foundation to make more. And I think that's such a beautiful journey cuz you have to be able to think 30 years into the future

[00:52:33] Ankit: and in the mental health space and even in coaching and self health space, I find this disconnect.

[00:52:40] Let's say there's a person who talks about How you should be selflessly giving to everyone and be, do not have any expectations and stuff that. Mm-hmm. , and in the end, they charge $5,000 for that cost. So I'm where's the selfless giving part here, ? And it, it might be my, my relationship with money, it might be different for someone else, but when I think do you really have to charge $20,000 for just a group coaching or, So I find the, the separation between the message and the way of operating.

[00:53:18] Mm-hmm. . And on the bigger extent, I have noticed you in religious leaders and it's a very interesting story. I will just listen to someone here and they're giving lecture on how money sin, a sinful, the follow money is doing some kind of sin uhhuh. It's not a good practice to seek interest and stuff that.

[00:53:39] And. I'm Then why do you charge five, five rupees for this single session? Yeah. It's so interesting. If you are into carelessly giving and you are the person of God and you're just here to communicate this message, it's why are you charging money? If you say that money's root of all the able, why do you want this part of it?

[00:54:03] And they will go all around the, oops, answering this question, but I want to understand from you, have you found this and have you found this disconnect?

[00:54:12] Helen: Oh yeah. I've had my own journey with trying to understand money because I grew up, well, I am Christian, but I, I'm starting to read the Bible for myself and part of it is some people can be, there's a difference between making money and having greed where you're driven by money.

[00:54:34] Mm-hmm. . Where whereas there is a difference between people that are driven by money. And people that serve and then get money. Understand. Yeah. So I think there's a verse in the Bible that says people love a generous giver, someone who is wa and then there's more about how to, how to manage your money because there's the belief that everything you have comes from God and God is generous in giving.

[00:55:04] But I think that there's also a moral compass as to how much you do charge for people, you know? Yeah. For me, yes, I need to make money to live period I do. I'm not gonna lie about that, but I don't think I would ever charge someone who has very little means three times what they would need to make in a month to live.

[00:55:31] Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And so that's one of the reasons why I really admire Sonny. Because the education I feel we're getting from him is the education. Most people charge $50,000 a year for in a regular four year college system, but he understands that most people don't have those means. But the power of storytelling can help anyone in any career.

[00:55:56] And so for me, I, I do charge money to businesses that have the means. Mm-hmm. . But if I really do believe in their message, it, the pro, the cost for me is just being able to serve someone who was in my position. Cause I'm passionate about serving first generation immigrants and I'm also passionate about serving creatives.

[00:56:24] And most creatives don't have. You know, they're learning to make money, but they don't have the means yet. And so I actually serve at a company called TBH Mental Health that serves college students for free, but I get paid by them because the schools pay them. Mm-hmm. . And so for me, I'd rather get funded by the institutions and work a full-time job if that, if I could do that with the rest of my time.

[00:56:54] So I think that you ultimately, what I'm saying is the individual has to look within themselves and understand where their moral compass is and what they're there to do and to serve. Because you can get so caught up in making money that you forget the reason why you started doing it in the first place.

[00:57:13] And Austin Cleon says this too, he's When you start making money from, from what you love doing, Inevitably there's a cost to that. Because, because you're making money, you have to think about how else you're gonna make money if that becomes your full-time gig. Mm-hmm. . And so for him, I don't think a lot of people know this.

[00:57:36] He was a librarian when he was starting steel, an artist and keep going. And he didn't wanna make money from his books. He just wanted to write. And I think that that's the perspective I go with. If I make money with this, okay, cool. But my first ever goal, and the desire of my heart is to serve people first.

[00:57:57] And if someone decides out of the generosity of their heart that they wanna pay me for my services, cool. You know, that's sort of my approach to it, because the population I'm serving, I acknowledge that they don't always have the means. Yeah.

[00:58:12] Ankit: And think money is just, money is for me is just basic commodity, food, water.[00:58:20]

[00:58:21] If you look for what you need and if you're content with it, let's say if you don't over it and if you'd do, don't over earn and don't always charge someone, as you said. So it, it's a perfect thing. And I think the relationship with money is the most important thing when you're running a business.

[00:58:43] How's your relationship with your money? And it really affects how you charge and mm-hmm. how we spend.

[00:58:50] Helen: That's right. I, I've heard people say this and I think this is very true. Making more money doesn't create greed. Making more money reveals more of who you are. Yeah. And so there's a difference between Warren Buffet and I don't wanna name any other millionaires cuz I don't wanna call anyone out, but they are who they already were.

[00:59:15] It's just money made them more of who they are. Know. Yeah. Sarah Blakely, she founded Spanx at 27. She's one of my all time favorite people because she started a non-profit with her money helping female entrepreneurs and coaching them and helping them grow. And she has four kids and she doesn't take them to first class.

[00:59:37] She takes them economy class. Mm-hmm. . And so she, it just made her more of who she was as a person, a giving generous individual. But there are people who make more money and they corrupt and they tear down and they use their means to get revenge or to be the best. But I think that, that, that was already who they were.

[01:00:02] Yeah. You know? Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Yeah. Oops.

[01:00:10] Ankit: The money is just multiply. Yeah. Yeah. And wow, what's an awesome conversation. I really this conversation. And me

[01:00:19] Helen: too. I recorded an audio recorder. I'm gonna publish it .

[01:00:23] Ankit: Awesome. Yeah. So please me, let us know. Yeah, I'll send you the video, but you please let us know where we can find you and how to reach out to you.

[01:00:33] Helen: Yeah, so you can follow me on Instagram at the Helen Garcia. My podcast is called Think Weird. It's helping creative entrepreneurs become more of who they were and unlock authenticity for themselves. So you can go to think and I also write a daily newsletter, but you can find that on my website.

[01:00:54] So. Awesome. That's who I am.

[01:00:57] Ankit: Yeah. And thanks everyone for joining.