Chrissy Mellinger, an Authentic Business Coach specializing in guiding women entrepreneurs, is passionate about unlocking their individual magic by quieting external influences and leading them towards authenticity. With over 12 years deeply involved in business strategies, finance, and analytics, Chrissy transitioned to coaching in 2021, driven by a desire for personal growth and authenticity. Her mission is to make the entrepreneurial journey enjoyable, supportive, and true to each individual’s unique identity. MysticMag has the pleasure.
Can you tell us about your journey from hotel revenue management and hedge fund administration to becoming an Authentic Business Coach? What inspired this transition?
Since I was 8 years old, I knew I wanted to work for myself. More specifically, I wanted to build and run a spa resort center. I had the name, the 10-year old drawn blueprints, everything picked out! I took that dream and ran with it and ended up getting a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Finance and Economics. My first job out of college was with a hedge fund administration firm. I quickly became a leader on my team and had a growing reputation for excellence, but I didn’t love the environment and I knew that’s not where I wanted to grow. So I went back to school and decided to take my business knowledge and enter into the industry I had pined for since I was eight; hospitality.
I worked in hotel revenue management for six years and was responsible for budgets in the $100+ Million range for several hotels across the country and in Mexico. I loved it – it was challenging and fun plus I had the opportunity to work on many special projects including planning and launching an in-hotel employee coffee shop called ‘Wired.’ But after a while, that wasn’t where my heart was anymore. I knew I wanted to do something more; to not only make a ton of money for a company, but to really help individuals grow their lives.
I’ve always been a leader and a coach regardless of my job title; from my time as a barista at Barnes & Noble in college throughout my career I have always loved teaching people and helping them boost their confidence and follow their dreams. The tricky part was having golden handcuffs, the great salary and benefits, as well as a strong reputation at a very young age in an industry that I loved. It was hard to say good-bye even when I knew that the 24/7 industry wasn’t for me anymore.
But the Universe had other plans for me and when I was presented with an opportunity to leave the company during the 2020 pandemic (when the hotel industry was shuttered), I took it and ran! I knew that was my ticket to finally pursue my real dream of working for myself and making the world a better place!
Since beginning my company in 2020, I have continued to pivot and explore the coaching space. I started as a life coach because I just wanted to help people, but as time went on I realized that yes, I do want to support women in their lives, but my real zone of genius is business. But not just any old business coaching where we follow trends and listen to everyone else, absolutely not!
I work with clients now to build sustainably profitable soul-led businesses that support their vision for their lives by focusing on a human-first approach to business. An approach where we make every decision through the lens of what the client desires to build and what aligns best with their vision, goals, and self.
You emphasize the importance of silencing external influences and tapping into one’s intuition to be an authentic self. How do you guide women entrepreneurs in achieving this transformation in their businesses and lives?
This can be so hard for most people because we’re not taught to listen to, let alone trust, ourselves. Our society is structured around hierarchical structures; listen to the teacher and don’t question what you’re taught, the experts know better than you, shut down your body and listen to logic. The first thing I do is help normalize how difficult it can be to shut down those external influences. Then we start to look at the underlying beliefs here; the behaviors of scrolling social media, ignoring your gut feelings, and berating yourself internally because you aren’t where you thought you’d be by now are all deeply rooted in our subconscious and our bodies. So we need to understand why that is and start to change those core beliefs.
Simultaneously, we work on changing external habits to support the new goal of connecting with yourself. This looks like really powerful conversations of dialing in on their vision and goals for their life and business with a particular focus on how that will feel for them, not just how it looks on the outside. Then it’s taking action; everything I do with my clients has an anchoring in taking action because the thought experiments are handy, but without taking actual real life action on them, it doesn’t go anywhere. So we work through how they can build trust in themselves more and more so it becomes easier to see themselves as the expert on their business and not the external influences.
Entrepreneurship can often feel isolating, especially when one decides to “buck the norm.” How do you help your clients build a support system for long-term success?
Oh goodness can it!! Especially in this age of virtual businesses where many entrepreneurs never have to leave their house to meet with clients or partners!
I work with my clients on creating relational businesses and lives. As human beings, we are neurobiologically created to need and desire community. It is literally written into our DNA by millenia of survival needs. When you understand that, it again begins to normalize how lonely it can be when you’re going against the norm, taking a stand that doesn’t match the status quo, and doing all of that mostly behind screens. So I encourage my clients to build real relationships with their clients, their communities, and their referral partners. I work with many of my clients on expanding their businesses off of social media and into their physical communities or other networks. This helps to integrate the business into their lives so it doesn’t feel so demarcated.
There is nothing transactional in business and the more you’re able to truly understand that and integrate it into your business practices, the more community you will actually build and the more you’ll realize you aren’t alone in being different.
You mention that growth gets to be fun and not just heavy personal development. Could you share an example of how personal or business growth can be enjoyable and light, even when facing challenges?
Love this question! So often when we think of personal development, we think of boring corporate trainings around Myers-Briggs types or having to journal every single day for an hour at a time. We complicate things as humans and that extends to our personal growth. But those are just some examples of development that don’t have to be your reality.
As entrepreneurs, we have chosen to intentionally grow and evolve and share some of that publicly. You will learn so much more about who you are and what you stand for as a business owner than you’ll ever expect! This journey breaks you open and forces change. A lot of what you’ll see on social media and online is that you have to go ‘all-in’ on this to really uncover your truth. There’s a lot of fear-based marketing out there around becoming yourself and being a ‘successful’ entrepreneur.
But we often miss out on the lighthearted ways to grow. We forget often that we are humans who are also running businesses and often think all our focus has to be on our business growth or that anything we do has to have an ROI for our business. I’m here to let you know that is absolutely not true! You get to, you deserve to, be yourself and spend time on the non-business piece of you.
Let’s say you’re feeling really stuck in your business and you don’t know where to go from here. Maybe your offer suite feels stagnant or your content ideas are dried up and you don’t know what to share about next. That’s a really uncomfortable space to be in and your brain may tell you that you have to sit down and just force it out. Stare at the blank Canva slide or Google doc until something pops up. Or, start journaling and meditating for hours a day until you’ve cleared all your deeply rooted fears around rejection.
Those can all be helpful for certain people and certain situations, but wouldn’t it be more fun, more appealing to put on some music and just move your body? Move through that resistance in your body and actually, literally shift that. That’s one of my personal favorites; there is a lot of science behind the benefits of moving your body intentionally and intuitively. So just get up, go somewhere you can move freely without fear of judgement or knocking into things, put on some music, and move. If that inner critic voice comes up that says you look ridiculous or this is stupid or how is this personal development, just tell them it’s not their time, that this is for you.
It may not sound like personal development because it’s not the traditional expectation. But anytime you connect with yourself intentionally, any time you set aside a resource whether it be time, money, energy, etc and connect with your body or your subconscious, that is personal development. You are literally creating more of a relationship with yourself, what could be more personally developmental?!
Another simple tool is to draw. Take a blank piece of paper and some colored utensils (crayons, markers, etc) and just draw how you’re feeling or how you want to feel around something. Listen to your intuition, listen to what images or colors you see or feel drawn toward. Again, silencing your inner critic as needed. These two tools, movement and drawing, are the two I use most often for myself and for my clients. I hold Intuitive Arts sessions to help people connect with themselves and begin to really build that trusting relationship with themselves.
Your belief that embracing change is inevitable. How do you encourage women to embrace change and use it to their advantage in their businesses and personal lives?
First, I normalize how scary change can be. My whole business is run from a human-first perspective so with everything I like to normalize it when possible. As humans, we are evolutionarily scared of change. So we need to first acknowledge that our biology is what it is. AND that we have the ability to overcome that.
Change is inevitable and something that we do actually want; we want to grow, we want to evolve. That’s all changed. We want to do things differently, to show up more authentically… that’s all change. It’s a matter of normalizing then reframing what change is. Change doesn’t have to be scary; we’re no longer living in caves where change means death. Change can be growth, can be coming home to ourselves more.
Then we start titrating in safe changes so our nervous systems understand change is OK. Can you start tweaking your content or how you show up online just the tiniest bit to see how it goes? Start with small changes that the client initiates to provide themselves with evidence that change is OK.
If you would like to find out more about Chrissy Mellinger, visit https://chrissymellinger.com/