Uli Beutter Cohen is the founder of a popular and steadily growing blog that invites strangers on the New York subway to share reviews of the books they're reading in transit (you may recall her first interview on Clementine); the COO of everbliss, a mobile app that makes mental counseling easily available in just a few taps; and the first icon to be featured twice in this space. We are thrilled to have her sitting in as Guest Wellness Editor for March!
She and her colleagues at everbliss will be popping in all month to offer their professional insights on numerous topics as they relate to mental health and wellbeing - we know you will love all they have in store! Today she starts by telling us more about her fascinating background and how the value of human connection informs each of her inspiring pursuits.
We know you as the inspiring woman behind Subway Book Review, but you obviously have many talents and interests. Tells us about the aspects of your career we are not yet familiar with...
My background is in brand building and entrepreneurship. I tend to go into promising, unchartered territory, and my career reflects that. Before moving to New York, I co-founded a creative agency that I ran for six years. I got into digital content production in 2005 when no brand really knew how to use it for their benefit yet. I joined everbliss because there is so much opportunity to make a real impact with new digital health solutions. That's my above-ground business life. Subway Book Review keeps me balanced. It's my art--my yoga. If I have a challenging day, there's nothing that makes me happier than going underground. For me, that's where I get to connect with myself and others--and where New York gives me amazing surprises.
What was the impetus for creating everbliss, and what do you hope to provide users?
All of the everbliss co-founders have a strong personal interest in mental health. We all have experienced what kind of chaos the lack of mental health solutions can create in people's lives, either ourselves or through family members. We wanted to create a digital tool that honors the human connection in mental health care. Thanks to amazing research professors like Brené Brown we are starting to understand how invaluable human connection is for our health. In terms of the everbliss app, we already have and will add more functions that make it easier to overcome the hurdle of talking to a trained professional. Our goal is to normalize and de-stigmatize mental health care, so that more people can get help sooner. We have some great articles coming up on Clementine Daily about mental health stigmas, which is the first thing we have to address to start making change.
There has been a consistent theme of women in this series who are wearing many hats and not being defined by one career or role (a trend we love and embrace). Was fostering many different areas of interests a conscious decision, or one that evolved over time? What would you say to other women curious about pursing a similar path?
There is a clear common denominator in everything I do: I encourage human connection and provide platforms for it. Thanks to having spent time being introspective with my coach, I saw that's what I'm naturally great at and enjoy doing the most. Once I found that as a basis, my life and career choices made a whole lot more sense. It's my filter that I can apply to all my projects. My career might not be defined by a particular title or role, but I will always do what allows me to encourage human connections. I'd say finding this common denominator is an important step because you can always check back against it and stay on course. Others might not clearly understand you and what you do, since people like checking a box. That's something to take into consideration. But then again, no one else gets to live your life. And the common denominator will help and bring credibility, which you have to build toward no matter what approach you take.
What would you say to someone who has been wanting to look into therapy, but is intimidated by the process or stigmas that, unfortunately, can still surround it?
Stigma is a huge problem because it leads us to say "I'll deal with it on my own" or "I'll wait." We all need to work toward living stigma-free in a society where taking care of your mental health is as encouraged as taking care of a broken arm. You would't just wait and let that arm grown back together in whatever way it wants. We're also pretty well trained to strive for perfection which makes starting to work on yourself and your issues can feel like a huge task. That's a misconception we have to correct. We're not meant to go through therapy or coaching to come out as a shiny, perfect human being without any flaws. That's not the point. Living means learning. I am coming out of therapy or coaching with new skills, a new understanding of others and new ways to think--that's the coolest thing ever! Where else in life do you get that opportunity?
Mental health and wellness and self help (be it through therapy, coaching, etc.) are things we are big proponents of at Clementine. What are three simple things we can all be doing to calm, protect and support ourselves in our crazy, sometimes frenzied lives?
You have to find and personalize your three things, they're different for everyone. Generally I would say this:
1) Build a solid personal foundation for yourself--that can be through therapy or coaching. In my case I worked with a coach to get solid with myself.
2) Find out what you need to stay happily on course--that can be yoga, meditation, or it can be something like Subway Book Review.
3) Learn new things from new people--that helps you to avoid spinning in circles and making your world a small, confined one. Right now, I am fascinated by learning about living on Mars.
You have many different talents, skills, and really, careers. Do you have any mantras that keep you grounded and get you through the day?
I naturally tend to strive for "the best." I'm working on that right now with this mantra: done is better than perfect. It helps me to not get stuck in details and let things grow as they will.
p.s. To add more wellness to your week, try this simple tip.