Hatch Tribe Hero | Megan Bruneau
"There’s a myth out there that failure is career-ending and that success is achieved without any bumps in the road. But in reality, it’s surviving rock bottom that gives entrepreneurs the experience, confidence and edge that ultimately causes them to thrive."
That's the premise of Megan Bruneau's The Failure Factor from Forbes Podcasts.
Meet Megan, our Hatch Tribe Hero of the month. When not interviewing people like Deepak Chopra for her podcast, she works as a therapist and coaches clients around the world. Known as the “Millennials’ therapist,” Megan talks a lot about the weirdness of being a young entrepreneur in NYC and her own mental health struggles.
Oh, and she's kind of awesome at yoga, too.
What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
The excitement I feel every morning wondering what my day will bring (and on the less comfortable side of that gift, the continual opportunity for practice in sitting with uncertainty). Also, only setting an alarm when I need to catch an early flight.
What keeps you up at night?
Death anxiety and dating in New York. Also the actual dating part, not just the overthinking about it.
What ignited the spark in you to start your business?
I half-joke it was equal parts narcissism and idealism, with a splash of necessity and aversion to authority. I remember my soccer coach saying, "Megan, this is a dictatorship, not a democracy!" because I thought my coaching advice—at eight-years-old—was more valuable than his! I also refused to take piano lessons unless I could compose my own piece for recitals. Fifteen or so years later, I started a private practice and a blog when I couldn't get a full-time job after my masters; then four years after that, I started my business in New York after I realized that the well-paying marketing job I had wasn't creating the impact I'd moved here to make.
"I realized that the well-paying marketing job I had wasn't creating the impact I'd moved here to make."
What personality trait are you most proud of?
I think probably my compassion. There are times when it's inconvenient or keeps me in shitty "situationships," but ultimately it's been my greatest gift and has allowed me to experience the world in a way I wish all humans could.
In one word characterize your life as an entrepreneur. #TallOrder
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
It's a tie between:
1. We live our lives according to socially constructed narratives - ones that are reinforced in stories and media: we think we have to go to school, get married, have kids, own property, work 9-5, etc. etc. And when we don't meet these societal expectations, we experience shame and believe we've failed in some way. When we become aware that none of these expectations are "truths," we can beat our own drums and make decisions out of desire rather than fear, creating a life we want to have instead of a life we think we should have.
2. We will never reach a point in life where we are free of pain; where we don't experience frustration, disappointment, rejection, hurt, anxiety, loneliness, guilt, shame, envy, and so on. To be alive and human is to have all that – yet materialism wants you to believe otherwise: that if you just buy X, you can reach a point where you experience eternal happiness. Understanding that emotions are an inevitable part of the human experience not only changed my relationship to my emotions, it changed my relationship to (desire for) change.
"We can beat our own
make decisions out of desire rather than fear..."
What sacrifices have you made to be a successful entrepreneur?
Aside from health insurance, paid vacation, a comfortable salary, weekends, and the illusion of certainty? I honestly don't feel like I've made too many other sacrifices. Maybe I blacked out the rest or was high enough on inspiration that I didn't notice them, but at risk of sounding white yoga girl, I've felt pretty grateful .
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I'd just lock eyes with my younger self, put a finger to my lips, and crank The Sunscreen Song.
Where do you find inspiration?
Pain. And my clients.
How do you handle fear?
Great question. On a good day, I go into it. I try to listen to what it's saying and assess whether or not its warnings are legit. If they're not founded in truth, I make space for it the fear, and notice it in my body. I say something self-compassionate, remind myself it's (probably) ego, and keep going. On a day when I'm not such a warrior, I avoid, distract, numb, suppress, or judge the fear.
What would you say are the top 3 skills needed to be a successful business owner?
1. Mindfulness (which leads to creativity, courage, curiosity, resilience, discipline, perseverance, self-and-other compassion, empathy, intuition, and acquisition of new skills)
2. Communication (which includes assertiveness, clarifying, mediating, leading/managing, facilitating, networking, presenting, fundraising, supporting, and iterating)
3. A mission greater than money or "success." Because neither comes right away, and when shit gets hard, it's your mission that will keep you perseverant. Also, with a powerful mission, you can't "fail," because impact is your goal and you hit that long before a goal of moola or prestige.
About Megan Bruneau
Quoted by NYT bestselling author Melissa Hartwig as “The most authentic voice in the self-love world,” Megan Bruneau, M.A. RCC is known as the “millennials’ therapist.” Her no bullshit, relatable voice has garnered 30m views and landed her appearances on The T.D. Jakes Show and New York 1 Morning News. Transparent about her own mental health struggles, frequent heartaches, and uncertain entrepreneurial life in New York City, Megan’s vulnerable and humorous writing style has inspired dozens of viral articles, making her a HuffPost homepage regular, MindBodyGreen Expert, and Forbes favorite.
Megan hosts the formerly iTunes New and Noteworthy podcast The Failure Factor: Stories of Career Perseverance, interviewing notable guests such as Deepak Chopra, Joe Cross, Whitney Wolfe, Danielle LaPorte, Mark Sisson, Melissa Hartwig, and Jessie Andrews. A Chopra Center faculty member and speaker at press-worthy events such as STRONG New York and Entrepreneur Organization’s Nerve, Megan is a sought after summit speaker and podcast guest. She’s been featured on Forbes, MindBodyGreen, Huffington Post, Gaia, ThoughtCatalog, ElephantJournal, Entrepreneur, Quartz, Thrillist, Verily Mag, Lola, and The Aloha Way.
Megan has a master of arts in counseling psychology (Simon Fraser University), and a bachelor of arts in family studies (University of British Columbia). With 12+ years experience providing crisis support, mental health counseling and coaching, she’s a Registered Clinical Counselor (RCC #6420) in the province of British Columbia, and sees clients globally as a coach. Using her unique combination of personal and professional experience and powerful written and spoken voice, Megan seeks to change the way people relate to their inner and outer worlds.
Connect with Megan and The Failure Factor Podcast: