“I know at the end of my life, I will look back and even think the ‘bad’ times were perfect.” That is the mantra of entrepreneur Suzy Baitz. She is on a journey of liberation. Over the course of her life she has experienced poverty, sexual and domestic abuse, depression and two bankruptcies—all of which led to what she calls “the luxury of losing everything.” Realizing that something had to change, she prioritized self-care, let go of the past and turned an idea into a $500 million empire. “I realized that if I could lose everything anyway, I only wanted to do things that made me happy and excited,” she shares.
The founder of Poo~Pourri & Supernatural opens up to Thrive about what brings her energy, how she keeps the negativity at bay and how she leads with radical communication.
Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?
Suzy Batiz: My alarm goes off every weekday at 5am, and the first thing I do is make a cup of tea. I make a custom blend that’s pretty elaborate (and delicious!): wild blueberry leaves, oat straw, nettles and jasmine dragon pearls. To that I add various Host Defense mushroom powders (Stamets 7, Turkey Tail, Cordyceps — I’m so into Paul Stamets’ mushrooms), maca, marine collagen peptides and Laird Hamilton’s Superfood creamer.
TG: What gives you energy?
SB: I work out with a trainer six days a week — 2 days of yoga, 2 days of isometric exercise and the 2 days of Crossfit-style HIIT workout. A few years ago I got a brain scan and the director for the Amen Clinics told me they’ve seen the biggest changes in the brain from HIIT training because it raises your metabolism for 24 to 36 hours after working out (AKA a lot more oxygen is getting to your brain). So I work out not just to keep my body in shape, but to keep my brain healthy and energized as well; all the personal development work I do needs to be moved through the body, too. We live such sedentary lives — the body needs to move! What daily habit or practice helps you thrive? After I have my tea, I do transcendental meditation every single morning. It’s my time to get centered and tune out the rest of the world. For me, meditation is non-negotiable; if I skip it (which is super rare), the rest of my day is thrown off. Depending on how packed my schedule is, I’ve occasionally been known to meditate in the back of a car!
TG: Tell us about your relationship with your phone. Does it sleep with you?
SB: Absolutely not; I put it in another room at least an hour before bed. I have to wind down because I’m sensitive — it’s like putting a baby to sleep! As a matter of fact, even the wifi in my house is on a timer; it turns off at 9:30 every night and stays off until 6am. I don’t want the wifi signals disturbing my sleep. Houseguests don’t always love it.
TG: How do you deal with email?
SB: At some point I realized I was spending entirely too much of my time and energy reading and writing emails — so I stopped. My email now has an auto-response encouraging the sender to reach out to another member of my team if they need a response. (It reads in part: “Realizing that I prefer living in my genius 100% of the time and checking email is NOT in my genius, I have given it up! #freedom”) Internal communication in my companies is now done via a workplace messaging tool, Slack, that has liberated us all from an endless sea of emails. I communicate best in person so I’ve asked my team to pop in face-to-face if they have quick questions, which saves emails and improves communication.
TG: Can you share a time you went from surviving to thriving?
SB: For the first few decades of my life I was doing anything I could that I thought would make money just to survive. I refer to the experience of my second (yes, SECOND) bankruptcy as “the luxury of losing everything” because it gave me a clean slate to reassess what I was doing, why I was doing it and how I was living my life. I realized that if I could lose everything anyway, I only wanted to do things that made me happy and excited. I removed all the energetically sleazy things from my life, like doing a favor for someone so I could get something back from them, having dinner with that friend that drags me down, etc. When the idea for Poo~Pourri came to me, I wasn’t even thinking about it as a business — it just felt ALIVE and exciting and it lit me up, so I went toward it. 65 million-plus bottles later, here we are!
TG: You’ve spoken about radical communication. Can you share how that is effective in the workplace?
SB: To me, open communication in the workplace means being able to freely express feelings. I’ve cried a lot around my team members, especially during my divorce and the death of my parents. People — especially women — have long been taught to conceal their emotions in the workplace, but suppressing our feelings creates anxiety and tension so I’m an advocate of simply letting those emotions run through our bodies. When we’re able to share what we’re really feeling, we are more connected and we free up our energy so it can be used for the things we truly want to create. I simply state what’s happening for me, like “I feel angry,” or “I feel scared.” You get some wide-eyed looks at first, but once they realize it’s just a feeling and not about them, the human-to-human connection strengthens.
TG: How can we be more compassionate in the office to coworkers?
SB: Traditional corporate culture has long encouraged people to leave their personal lives at the door, but I don’t believe that’s possible (or healthy!). I say go ahead and bring it here — it helps us to relate to people as individuals, not just someone who’s here to do a job. We also have all job candidates complete the Kolbe assessment, which measures your natural instincts. When we can understand someone’s instinctual mode of operating, we can match them with a job that best utilizes that so they have more freedom, less stress and more joy in their jobs. I believe aligning someone with their genius is one of the most compassionate things you can do.
TG: How do you prioritize when you have an overwhelming amount to do?
SB: Instead of going into manic action, I slow down and go inside. By tuning into what turns me on, I’m able to prioritize the things that really matter. I am clear on what’s in my genius and worthy of my time; things that aren’t in my genius, I delegate as much as possible to someone that possesses that unique skill. That way I can be 100% in my genius all the time and play with others who are in their genius!
TG: When was the last time you felt burned out and why?
SB: I’m an introvert but I love people so I will often overextend myself because I want to be social and be involved. If I deprive myself of the alone time I need, it starts adding up and I feel burned out. Once I get that solo time to recoup and replenish over a long weekend with no stimulation then I’m good for a while. I do need regular long vacations. A personality expert told me not to call them vacations; since they’re required for my creativity, I should refer to them as off-site work! In fact, I need to book one right now.
TG: What are some of the best, most effective ways you practice self-care?
SB: After many years of practice, I can say I’m a master at self-care! I get regular massages,I take two salt baths a day (Dead Sea and psom salt bath soaks with essential oils are my favorite!) and I have an infrared sauna in my home. My highest form of self-care, though, is taking time and space for myself and saying no to people or things when necessary; we often override this one and that leads to burnout.
TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it?
Last year we acted out of fear and rushed development of a product. I overrode, compromised and launched a product that didn’t feel right to me because I felt scared that competition was going to come in and beat us. It ultimately cost the company a few million dollars and a lot of time and energy that we can’t recoup. (My spiritual mentor, Gay Hendricks, says, “Sometimes the biggest lessons have cost me a lot of money.”) But I believe that what we typically think of as “failures” are actually amazing opportunities for learning and growth. The question is: Will I learn the lesson fully this time or will I create it again until I really get it? My experience is the universe will keep serving these things up, so I try to learn quickly.
TG: What advice would you give to someone in their career that may be scared to start something new or take a chance?
First, realize that if you’re unsatisfied with your career and you feel like your job is killing you, it is! When we’re dissonant with something (meaning we’re operating on different wavelengths), we have less life force energy than being alone. When we are resonant, we have more life force energy than we have alone. So the trick is to align with more and more resonant things to increase your life force energy. Also remember that it’s never too late to make a change and follow your dreams. I created Poo~Pourri when I was 42, after countless failed businesses. The later in life you start down your true path, the more wisdom you’ll have developed so that can be a major advantage. It’s time to tune in and turn on!
TG:Top tips to stay organized?
Get help from someone who’s great at it. I’m a creative, so being super organized isn’t in my nature and I avoided it for many years, thinking it held me back. Now I know that an organizestructure gives me a base from which to be more creative. I recently realized all my personal files and paperwork were scattered in a gazillion different places, so I hired a friend to organize my life to the point anything I want is at my fingertips and my assistants all have access to the same files. It’s freed up so much of my energy to create.
TG: How can scents motivate us? What are your favorites and for what purpose?
I’ve worked with essential oils for 20 years, long before I invented Poo~Pourri or Supernatural! And YES, scents can motivate us: smell is the strongest of our senses. It’s the only one that’s directly connected to the brain. The smell receptors in the nose communicate with the same parts of the brain where memories are stored, where emotions are governed. It also impacts certain reactions in the body. This is why the smelling an aroma can instantly stimulate appetite, evoke a strong feeling, or remind us of a person or a place. A few groups are even using scent for memory recall in patients that have difficulty with memory due to disease or injury. And it doesn’t have to be difficult, trust yourself and go with what you love knowing it’s perfect for what you need at the time. And then be carried away with it.
TG: Are you a good sleeper? What are your tips to unwind at the end of the day / evening routine?
No, I’m naturally pretty high strung so i have a process to wind down. First, I do a quick scan to see what’s incomplete (things lingering from my to-do list, things left unsaid, etc.) and I do whatever’s necessary to remove all that from my psyche. Then I take an epsom and dead sea salt bath with grounding essential oils, candlelight and soft music to get rid of all the static energy of the day, so I can rest peacefully without any debris floating in my energetic field. This also helps signal the parasympathetic nervous system to calm down (most of us live off of adrenaline all day and that is a weaker response in us, i recently learned we have to train it, yikes!). Then i do deep breathing when i lay my head down into the pillow, that tells my body to relax, this is the adult version of counting sheep.
TG: Share a quote that you love and that gives you strength or peace.
“This dance is the joy of existence.” It’s by Rumi, a masterful 13th century Persian poet and I love it so much I have it tattooed on my left arm. I put it there because it reminds me of the fact that life is ALL our experiences combined — I know at the end of my life, I will look back and even think the “bad” times were perfect. it really is about the entire journey, isn’t it?