Episode 326: Rebekah ("Bex") Borucki on Going From Food Stamps to Author and CoachSep 02, 2020
Rebekah “Bex” Borucki, founder of BEXLIFE® and the BLISSED IN® wellness movement, is a mother of five, meditation guide, birth doula, mentor for creative healers and author of books for big and little readers. She has taught meditation and is a mentor to creative healers who have gone on to receive publishing contracts with major houses like Simon & Schuster and Hay House. Rebekah is published by Hay House, the Quarto Publishing Group, and her own imprint, Wheat Penny Press, which she founded in 2019.
In this episode, we talked about how we met (sitting next to each other on a bus in Israel—for reals), how she went from single mom on welfare to powerhouse author, mentor and a million other things and how and why writing a book changed her entire career.
We also talked about her coaching program for writers and I promised in the show that I would give you guys the link. I DIDN'T LIE!!
CLICK ON ANY OF THE LINKS BELOW TO HEAR IT!!
Anna David: 00:00 So Bex. It's so good to see you.
Bex: 00:04 Isn't it. I'm adorable.
Anna David: 00:07 You are. You really, really are.
Bex: 00:10 Don't let anyone hear that
Anna David: 00:14 They all did, and they're all judging you for it, but you guys she's of telling the truth, so she's just owning it, right. Which we should all be doing. And so Bex and I know each other from like, I would say, I've not had another guest on this podcast that I know from this. So how do we know each other? Let's talk about that.
Bex: 00:37 We were bus mates in Israel, which was the best trip ever.
Anna David: 00:44 Yes. Who can say that about anybody bus mate. And so the way it worked, it was, was it two years ago? Three years ago? I don't know. It was not last year.
Bex: 00:55 It was 17 years ago. That's what it feels like.
Anna David: 00:59 No, it really does. So we were on this trip to Israel for people who worked in wellness. And I was just totally drawn to you from the beginning. At first, when I was like, Oh, this chick's got five kids, what am I going to have to say to her? And then I was wrong. I had so much to say to you, that I had to sit next to you every day.
Bex: 01:22 I tell you, I don't hang out with women who have five kids because they are mostly miserable. I don't, I don't want to know those women. I mean, some of them are okay. No, I don't hang out with anybody that has five kids.
Anna David: 01:36 Since then I've met other women with five children, which is weird. And they're pretty cool too. So maybe I've met the only ones. Yeah, it's possible. So I see how you may not have time for friends when I look at what you have been up to since we last spoke. So you are not merely an author. In fact, you didn't start off as an author at all. So tell, tell listeners about the trajectory of your career.
Bex: 02:07 Well, career-wise, I started off as a personal trainer and I was doing fitness to help with my mental illness because I didn't want to go on medication. That was a personal thing of mine. I needed a community because of that. I went on YouTube back in the dark ages, I think I was one of maybe 10 people on all of YouTube in the world doing fitness. It was super, it was like me, Cassie Ho from blogger lady, Sarah Styles, the Tone It Up Girls, Sarah Duso, so we're doing fitness. Did that for awhile. Integrated my yoga practice, integrated my meditation practice, did a TV show, got a book deal. Started an indie publishing company. Yeah, had two more babies. The trajectory has been all over the place. Definitely not linear. I'm just having lots and lots and lots of fun. It's all about though sharing my story. It's all about that.
Anna David: 03:05 I mean, preaching to the choir here. So, but what was interesting, I remember on the bus, you telling me this story about, you had read Chris Carr's book and you went to a Hay House Seminar?
Bex: 03:20 I went to the I Can Do It. I was talking about this today on my Live. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I was camping out. I didn't go to an, I Can Do It. I went to an I Can Do It to stalk authors coming out of the green room, and interviewed them for my YouTube channel. That's what I did.
Anna David: 03:40 For people who don't know what is an, I Can Do It?
Bex: 03:44 I Can Do It, it was a gathering of you know, their like top authors. It would go, they would have a tour. They talk about whatever their area of expertise was. It was kind of a showcase. It was super great. Wayne Dyer was usually the headliner. So after he passed it kind of sputtered out. So they don't have those anymore. They have more focused workshops and events where just features like one or two authors. I do the writing workshops where my proposal is given out to, my proposal for my first book, You Have Four Minutes to Change Your Life was given out to the attendees and then I speak there.
Anna David: 04:21 But it's just for Hay House authors, right?
Bex: 04:24 That's just for Hay House author. Yeah.
Anna David: 04:26 Yeah. So it's so for anyone who doesn't know Hay House, is it it's mostly self-help and spiritual Publishing company.
Bex: 04:34 Everything from wellness to angel card readers and people.
Anna David: 04:41 And so, but it was Chris Carr in particular who opened your eyes to Hay Houses existence and got you to do that. Yeah?
Bex: 04:49 Yeah. Chris Carr and Wayne Dyer, two different tracks and kind of converged. And I was like, Oh, wait a minute. They're with the same publisher. And I didn't know anything about publishing. I certainly didn't have any understanding of what Hay House was specifically like a publisher that actually has a fan base where like the customers will follow one author and then start following all the rest. But I had no understanding of how that works. It felt kind of like a cult, which is always appealing to me. I watch a lot of cult documentaries. I'm like, I can do this, but do it better. But it felt really, it felt like the community, which it actually is. So, but Chris Carr, she was one that I loved. I found her on Oprah when I was in the midst of a really, really terrible, painful divorce. And she was talking about, you know, living with cancer and I was like, I'm not even dying so I can probably do something about this. So she was my inspiration to start. I went out and got a real estate license. I went, I left my husband. I don't think I've ever told her that, I should probably. I will I'll tell my ex husband, so he can be mad at her instead of me.
Anna David: 06:02 I literally thought you just said my next husband and I'm like, there's.
Bex: 06:05 No, no, this one is here to stay.
Anna David: 06:08 Yeah. He's a keeper. So, so you met her that day that you showed up?
Bex: 06:16 I met her that day that I showed up. I did a four minute. My whole, my shtick was along with four minute meditations. I do these four minute interviews. So I did that with her. And then later I think the next year I attended a writer's workshop where she was one of the keynote speakers. And I stood up to ask a question and she said to everybody in the room, which is super awesome. Cause there's like 500 people there. This girl right here, she sparkles, you need to follow her, when I stood up. And I was like, and then it really, you know, that little bit of, I'll say it's luck. It's opportunity. It's me like showing up and ask me for it and all that. But that was really something that gave me such instant credibility in terms of being seen that from then on having that seal of approval from Chris Carr, people wanted to work with me. So that was cool. That was really cool.
Anna David: 07:13 Yeah. And I think that people should remember once we've gotten to a certain place, the power that can have, when you just, I mean, it was easy. It's so generous. It says so much about her that she would just do that. And, and so just because you know, many of the listeners are aspiring authors, so what happens from there? So you're at a writing workshop. She says you sparkle, people should follow you. What happened next?
Bex: 07:43 So what happened next was I continued to develop the book that I went there to write. It was called Accidental White Girl. It was about me being biracial. My mother white, my father, black being the product of an extramarital affair, and writing from this place of deep hurt, deep self exploration. And I just started, you know, doing more workshops and, networking and doing it in a really organic way. And just trying to like follow the flow of this is the next right step. This is the next right person to talk to. And my mother passed away in November of that year. So my father died in April. I went to the workshop in May. And then my mother died in November, lost both parents in the same year. I'll say my dad who raised me, not my biological father. And when that happened, there's so many things. But when that happened, she had a stroke and I had to go down to North Carolina to be with her in the hospital. And it just so happened that I had a call with an agent, a literary agent while she was in the hospital. And I'm telling her about the book and just something felt really not, it just wasn't resonating. Like I had them before. I wasn't excited about it. Like I was before. I mean, a lot of things were going on. My mother was dying. And then that moment that she passed, it was like this revelation.
09:05 Not that I'm thinking about my career when my mother's like leaving earth, but the anger kind of just went away and it was revealed to me very shortly after that. That just wasn't the story I wanted to tell anymore. Or just wasn't the right time to tell it kept working with an agent and we developed my meditation book instead. So, you know, it's like, it's hard when I'm talking to aspiring authors. And I do that a lot in my own work because people say like, how did you get here? How did it happen? How did you get inspired? What was this next step? And look, I got coaches. I surrounded myself with awesome people. I showed up everywhere. I put myself in really like scary situations where I just felt like, not enough, I don't belong here. Like I did that a lot. I developed really amazing friendships. I kept telling my story to everybody. Right. And like telling people, like, I want to write a book one day, I want to do this one day and people will get excited with me. I've built community and I just kept sharing. And it was like, it was almost as if I've been developing my books since I was a little kid, or developing all my books. Because I would see what people resonated with what people wanted to hear more about what people were excited to hear about. And that's, what's gone in, I have three books for adults and two books for kids now, one on the way. And it's all that, it's all of that. It's all of that. I don't have any of that made sense or was helpful.
Anna David: 10:32 Because I think that, you know, the New York Times says 81% of people want to write a book. And I think I.
Bex: 10:39 What?! I should have more clients, what's going on.
Anna David: 10:41 I know, it's how my company stays so busy. It's but it's getting the message that I think people think it's harder and easier than it is because they think well, everyone says I'm a good writer. I can just write this and they don't really know what goes into it. And then they think that the platform part is insurmountable and you and I are both proof that that's just not true.
Bex: 11:13 No.
Anna David: 11:14 Would you say anybody could build a platform?
Bex: 11:19 I don't think that anybody could do like anything, you know, it takes commitment, it takes consistency. It takes desire. But if you have those things and of course, like you're a cool person. Like, I mean, actually a lot of assholes have platforms too, but if you have those things, then yeah. Anybody can build a platform. I think that it's tenacity, it's showing up, it's being consistent. That's I mean, I've been doing this for 12 years. I do not have a gigantic platform. I make really good money and I have a lot of success, and it's because I'm dependable, I'm consistent. I'm there for people, I'm there. I'm showing up. So yeah. Anyone, if you have those things, if you're willing to do the work, anyone can have a platform just like if you're willing to do the work, you could write a book.
Anna David: 12:06 How much writing experience did you have when you wrote your book? Your first book?
Bex: 12:11 No professional writing experience outside of my blogs and really, I didn't love to write, I have a learning disability, so it wasn't until last year. And I got a proper [inaudible], a proper medication plan that I was even able to read books. So yeah, I had only listened to audio books my whole life. It was a very painful experience for me to read. I was a great student, but I was just like working. I was just working so hard. So I would write blogs. I didn't love it. Video was really the way that I love to communicate. A lot of my books are my videos. I had them transcribed and I would, and then I'd go back in and edit and look, I drew from all types of content to write my book. In fact, the first book is really a 21 day email newsletter mantra challenge. It's much more than that, but that was the basic outline for it. So yeah, I didn't have professional writing experience and I really wasn't someone because my learning disability that felt that I was capable of writing a book. I felt stupid and not qualified.
Anna David: 13:18 And I think that's such a good lesson too, because people can have. I'm stupid. I don't have the degree. I'm too young. I'm too old. You know, I'm too. I have ADD. Well, guess what I have ADD too. So there are so many reasons and I'm glad you mentioned, you know, one of our offerings, This is actually a current content book where we'll create a book out of emails out of your podcast, out of your videos, out of your courses. Cause people are content machines, all entrepreneurs are content machines. Now they've got the material it's just sitting there and it could be a book that could change their career.
Bex: 13:50 I tell people that all the time you have the book, you have the book, you might not have the skill to put it together in an outline. You might not know the stories that are going to hit the reader the most, you might not have. That's what a great editor was for. And I'll tell you the process of working with an editor and working with someone to develop the outline for my first book, I treated it like school. I was like, I'm here to get an education. And I became a writer through that process. So my second book I wrote the book, of course gave it to an editor at the end because I mean, everybody needs an editor. Everybody needs an editor, but I learned to be a writer. And now I have a ton of confidence when it comes to writing. Still hate to read. I hate reading. I love writing.
Anna David: 14:32 Well, I only listen now, but it's listening to a book cause the same goddamn thing as reading it okay. Yeah.
Bex: 14:39 What are you listening to right now? Can I ask you?
Anna David: 14:42 Okay, well, I listened to I, well, I did, You Need to Talk to Someone, Lori Gottlieb, previous podcast guest. Amazing. And then, Oh my God. I went into not, I don't normally read novels, but I read the, My Dark Vanessa. These are two books you would love personally. I don't know about the listeners, but you would. And then I kind of went into like a little trashy gossipy one and I read, My Friend Anna, about the heiress, the fake heiress and the best friend she screwed over. It was good. Not particularly well written, but real juicy. And you know what? I just, this is embarrassing just today I downloaded my first Glennon Doyle book. The reason I did that is, I have nothing but judgment that comes from insecurity about ridiculously successful authors who were like not writers. So I have judged her for a year and been like, Oh no, no, no, no, I don't read books like that. Most of my clients come to me and say, I want to be like Glennon Doyle. And last night I was at my friend's house. And she said, no, you would actually really like her. And I decided that for my client's sake, I will listen to this book. But is it a mistake? I haven't started it.
Bex: 16:01 Well which one are you listening to?
Anna David: 16:02 The recent one.
Bex: 16:03 Oh Untamed?
Anna David: 16:04 Yeah.
Bex: 16:05 I'm reserving judgment, even though you can see my face right now, my face never lies. I did like Love Warrior. I think that's what it was. I did find that it was a good listen. I like listening to it, but I'm like, that's just not my deal. I'm not like self-help, I'm not like women empowerment in terms of like what I listened to, in real life I am obviously, but I listened to a lot of like historical fiction and social justice, racial justice stuff. I'm listening to [inaudible] right now, I didn't know how sexually explicit those books can get.
Anna David: 16:39 Didn't you grow up reading Judy Bloom?
Bex: 16:41 Yeah, but that was, I'm actually taking a Judy Bloom course right now, not with her, like a masterclass or whatever. And then she speaks for the society for book writers and illustrators. And you know, I want to say this though. So people listening, it's another part of, you know, being a good writer, but then also just getting inspired to write new material. Like I just started the children's book saying a couple of years ago and I'm loving it so much. I feel like I'm home. I'm constantly learning like education every day, every day, I'm listening to something, watching something. And Judy Bloom is, Oh my gosh, she's 85 million books, 85 million books. She's amazing.
Anna David: 17:21 Well, and I think that's a really good point. This, you know, I didn't go to graduate school and I treat my business as graduate school.
Bex: 17:29 I dropped out my senior year of high school.
Anna David: 17:30 Okay. So you had four years to educate yourself, look at that. But my parents were desperate for me to go to graduate school and I, you know, I personally believe that I know a lot of MFAs who are very much out of work and I know college graduates who are out of work, and your daughter. So your kids, I don't want to get off track, but your kids range in age, from what to what?
Bex: 17:56 22 to five.
Anna David: 17:57 Look at that. That's a busy, busy womb.
Bex: 18:04 I don't learn. I don't learn my lesson.
Anna David: 18:07 Except with writing. That's where you learn. And so I want to talk about all the things that you offer. Well, first of all, you don't illustrate your own children's book.
Bex: 18:16 I do not. No.
Anna David: 18:18 But you do have offerings that are illustrations. Did you do those?
Bex: 18:23 Do I have offerings that are illustrations? Oh, like my bliss notes?
Anna David: 18:28 Yeah, And coloring things. You draw them?
Bex: 18:30 Yes. I do everything. I do everything. I do website design, graphic designs, design my own PDFs. I do everything. And that's not because it's a smart thing to do. It's because when I started this business, I was a single mother of three on food stamps and it was learned. And I've actually been developing websites since 1998 when my first daughter was born and I had a blog on, which wasn't called a blog then it was like an online journal on Girl Pages. That was sponsored by Sassy Magazine. So I was a teen mom. So I had this online blog and yeah. Yeah. So I've been doing it forever. But I learned to do everything myself because I had to so out of necessity, so a lot of my creative process and the things that I offer are either talents and interests of mine that I've monetized. But for the, certainly I'm not illustrating my children's book. That would just be maybe next year.
Anna David: 19:29 That would be more insane than you actually are.
Bex: 19:32 Just check in with me.
Anna David: 19:37 Who knows? Yeah. And so I thought you were going to say the reason you do it all yourself is that it's like you like having control over it.
Bex: 19:44 Yeah. That too.
Anna David: 19:46 Since you've both self published, and done traditional publishing, do you want to talk about the different experiences you had with each?
Bex: 19:54 Well, I'll tell you. Okay. So I love being published. I love my publisher. I love not having to deal with printing, and you know, all the logistics of it and through self publishing, I also love dealing with the printing and all the logistics of it, but the reason that I self publish, well, first of all, I love to learn. I love learning that part of the business. I actually really love being behind the scenes, even though people see me speaking live and like always out there performing, I love the behind the scenes stuff. And with the books that I was creating my series is called the Big Messy Book Series. It's Zahra's Big Messy Day. Zahra's Big Messy Bedtime, and the next ones are Zahra's Big Messy Play Date. It was really important to me to present this little girl. That's very autobiographical. She is seven years old, she's biracial. She has anxiety. She deals with big, messy emotions. I needed the characters. I needed the black characters to look black. I needed the story to be presented in a way that wouldn't be censored by a mainstream publisher. There's even though children's publishing is very progressive, maybe the most progressive part of the industry, there is still so far to go. And so I knew that I wanted to create something very true to the kids that would be reading. It really represent the different cultures, Ooh, thunderstorm happening over here. But so I wanted to go to self publishing route. I didn't want to wait and I've loved that experience and I'm actually having, I don't believe in jinxing, it I'm a master manifestor, I'm having a meeting right after we get off this call, immediately after this call about possibly being acquired partnering.
Anna David: 21:45 Oh, the whole series?
Bex: 21:47 The whole publishing house, my Wheat Penny Press Publishing? So there's yeah. It's been an interesting journey, but I do like having control. I do like having control about the things that are important.
Anna David: 22:07 And so let's talk about what you teach. I saw something that I know I could refer a ton of people to, that you basically have a three tier offering to get people started with their books. So let's talk about what that is.
Bex: 22:20 So I had, I used to have a life coaching group coaching program called Blocked to Bliss, and now I have Blocked to Book. So it's really, get into how to write a book, how to create an outline, how to pitch, how to find an agent or how to self publish. But the meat of it really is about pulling the story out of you telling it in a way that not only that feels true and right to you and easy for you to talk about, but also marketable to other people, right. And something that you can build a platform upon. So I it's, it's the whole thing. It's platform. It's getting the story out. It's getting it down on paper. It's really fun in a group atmosphere. I attract mostly people who are interested in either children's book or self-help what I do. But it's a beautiful soulful experience because I do integrate a lot of my experience as a spiritual wellness teacher, as a meditation teacher is someone who practices mindfulness every single day of her life and personal development. So yeah, Blocked to Book is awesome. There's a group element. And then there's two tiers of one-on-one coaching, almost full. I don't know when this is coming out, but catch me next time.
Anna David: 23:32 Is there a direct link if people want to or should they just go to your website?
Bex: 23:36 They can go to my website and it's right at the top Blocked to Book, or you can just go blockedtobook.com.
Anna David: 23:41 And her website is Bexlike.com B E X, because that's what she goes by, which I didn't know the whole time on the bus. I thought you were, you were Rebecca.
Bex: 23:53 I am Rebecca.
Anna David: 23:56 What's also great. I think is that trip. We didn't know what anybody really did for a living. So I remember it was the day six or something. We're sitting on the bus and you start telling me you're an author too. And I'm like, you are?
Bex: 24:09 Yeah, thank God. We didn't know. Cause I'll tell you. I actually had a very tearful moment. It was like the third or fourth day when I got the book with all of our bio's in it. I guess we had it, but I hadn't looked at it. And I'm just seeing all of these super impressive illustrious resumes. I'm like, why am I here? So I, and I broke down a little bit. I was still dealing. I mean, still like I am today dealing with some imposter syndrome that I have to work through. So that was rough.
Anna David: 24:38 I remember you telling me about it and I'm like, what are you talking about? You are so, you so belong here and.
Bex: 24:47 You know, you know the deal.
Anna David: 24:49 I have plenty of issues. I do not have imposter syndrome.
Bex: 24:53 Really. Can you coach me?
Anna David: 24:57 But I think it comes from, I've worked so hard to get where I am. I would say I've gotten little breaks along the way, but nobody could accuse me of like getting there in an easy way. And I know that.
Bex: 25:13 Yeah, yeah. I think what happened with me is that I came into this work, and I always say this too. I compare it to motherhood. I'm so glad that I had children before social media existed because I didn't have that comparison. I could kind of like, just mess up and try new things. And there was just, no, there was nothing to compare it to at all. Except my other teen mom girlfriends who were having kids and, you know, hanging out with me behind Toys R Us, smoking cigarettes and stealing Desitin diaper ointment. Like, that's what we did. Like we didn't know. So now it's now, you know, even having my fourth kid on social media, I felt like inadequate. I had been raising successfully these three beautiful children and I felt inadequate. And like I was doing the wrong thing and I, and I didn't know anything about motherhood, but you know, with career, I came in with all the audacity of like a fresh, young, excited person, eager to like share her story with the world and change the world. And then I started walking into a lot of rooms where nobody looked like me, nobody talked like me. Nobody definitely didn't have the education background that I did. Didn't have a bunch of kids. And like, you know, I had three kids by the time I was 28 or sorry 25. But when I entered this business, I was 28. So I didn't, it wasn't that I felt like I belonged at first, but then I realized what was successful or what was being propped up and centered.
26:34 And I think this happens for a lot of people of color in this industry, especially black women in this industry. It's it just doesn't feel like it's for you. So then you feel like you can't provide something. That has changed, I've been affirmed the opposite over the years, but I still get that little Pang of like, am I supposed to be here? I mean, I went into a Hay House, writer's workshop, a mastermind a couple of years ago. And it really spawned this big rift between me and my publisher and a whole series of things. But it's all good now because they have a whole program that I'm mentoring in for it's called Diverse Wisdom. And it's really exciting bringing black and Brown authors. But I walked into a room with 75 people and I was the brownest person in the room and people can't see me. I'm what you would call sometimes white presenting. I'm very, very light. I don't, I'm not obviously black, I'm ambiguous, you know, in my ethnicity. So that's a problem. If I'm the brownest person in the room, it's like, what is happening?
Anna David: 27:31 Was it a room of albinos?
Bex: 27:34 Practically. It was like Gabby Bernstein and everyone who looks like Gabby Bernstein.
Anna David: 27:39 Right, right. Yeah. I mean, I think also there's a thing about when. Oh, you're frozen. Can you hear me now? Oh, no.
Anna David: 00:01 So this has been a delight and a half. Is there anything else you want to tell aspiring authors or current authors about launching their books and what a book can do for your career?
Bex: 00:16 Oh my gosh. Okay. Well, I'll tell you this, this will wrap it up. I had five children. I passed five people through my vaginal canal. Like that's legit. And people were not hiring me or asking me to speak on motherhood until I had a book about it. I call, my book is called Managing the Motherhood. It was my second book with Hay House. And all of a sudden, after 21 years and five children, I was suddenly an expert, and it created a whole new layer to it already really successful career that I could not have anticipated. And has also increased my credibility in all areas, because the opportunities that I got from that put me on bigger stages. And yeah, so a book really makes whatever you're doing legit.
Anna David: 01:10 What a note to end on, Bex, thanks so, so, much.
Bex: 01:14 I said vagina, sorry.
Anna David: 01:20 Oh, I wish you'd said it a few more times that I was, as, as you were saying the sentence, I'm like, I hope she says vagina and not birth canal. And if anyone is offended, I'm so, so sorry. Thank you, guys, for listening. Thank you Bex. I'll see you next week.