Barbara Anne Cookson is a professional speaker and she's known as the Superhero Speaker. She actually dresses up like a superhero! She keynotes conferences nationally, leads workshops and retreats, and she's a certified health coach helping people to get healthy. She's a fitness instructor and still maintains a massage therapy practice two days a week. Her passion is helping people to unleash their own inner superhero.
NOTE: Complete transcript available at the bottom of the page.
Screw The Commute Podcast Show Notes Episode 014
Internet Marketing Training Center – https://imtcva.org/
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars[01:29] Tom's introduction to Barbara Cookson [02:25] Barbara is the Superhero Speaker [04:38] Her main job was dental assistant for 23 years [05:20] The turning point [08:00] Tips on being a Superhero [09:57] Barbara's identical twin sister [11:22] Screwed by a previous boss [12:38] Always verify the clock time! [15:19] Best and worst thing is my schedule [18:25] What's Barbara working on now [19:52] Sponsor message [20:31] A typical day for Barbara [22:18] Superhero motivation [24:46] You must take care of yourself [27:41] You have to plan, but DO IT
Higher Education Webinar – It's the second webinar on the page: https://screwthecommute.com/webinars
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Barbara's website – https://www.barbaracookson.com/
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Episode 014 - Barbara Cookson
[00:00:08] Welcome to Screw the Commute. The entrepreneurial podcast dedicated to getting you out of the car and into the money, with your host, lifelong entrepreneur and multimillionaire, Tom Antion.
[00:00:27] Hey everybody. It's Episode 14 of screw the commute podcast. Hey make sure you check out episode 19 where I did an entire training episode called How to make quality products out of nothing and I am talking about quality. I don't put out any shoddy products. All right. Quick message from our sponsor the Internet Marketing Training Center of Virginia distance learning school. You know what colleges and universities are doing according to gradeinflation.com, they are raising grade point averages to make it look like they are doing a better job of teaching when there is a mountain of evidence that they aren't. Watch the eye opening higher education webinar at Screwthecommute.com to potentially save yourself and possibly your loved ones friends and neighbors, hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt when they go for higher education.
[00:01:29] All right. Let's get to the main event Barbara Ann Cookson is a professional speaker and she's known as the superhero speaker. She actually dresses up like a superhero. She keynotes conferences nationally leads workshops and retreats. She's a certified health coach helping people to get healthy. She's a fitness instructor and still maintains the massage therapy practice two days a week. Her passion is helping people to unleash their own inner superhero. Barbara are you ready to screw? The commute that is.
[00:02:05] Yes sir! I can only imagine a superhero screw the commute at 400 miles an hour with your cape flapping in the wind.
[00:02:19] And leaping tall buildings. Exactly. So tell everybody what you do Barbara.
[00:02:26] I am the superhero speaker. And you're right I do wear a suit and I speak at conferences and corporations and associations and I teach people principles and practices to help them unleash their inner superhero.
[00:02:42] And I've seen some of the people go crazy at these events you get them up there flying around the room and stuff, don't you?
[00:02:49] Yeah I do I get him up and moving. As a health coach and a fitness trainer. A big thing with me is fitness and people being healthy and getting healthy. So when I speak it's not a sit down kind of a talk. People get up and move and it's interactive. And by the end of that talk they can feel their muscles.
[00:03:08] Well I've got to ask you something.
[00:03:12] Don't they feel bad because you're up in this skin tight suit. You look like a supermodel and they're out there just eating drinking their 500 calories starbucks thing. Don't they feel bad when you're up there.
[00:03:29] You know what. I don't think they do. I will say that I have spoken at some conferences right after lunchtime and they do have some guilty looks when they see me come out or when I start talking about being healthy but most people I don't think they really do feel bad. I have a lot of people come up to me afterwards and say it's inspiring someone my age to be able to wear the suit.
[00:03:55] You're really only like 12 years old, aren't you?
[00:03:58] Yeah actually 14.
[00:04:00] I'm going to put you on the spot a little bit. OK you've got a big thing coming up. A really major event. You're going to have your superhero suit on. You're going to drink a lot of water between now and then.
[00:04:18] I guess the suits aren't forgiving.
[00:04:18] All water and no wine. Yeah this suit is not forgiving at all. So I have to be really careful. I'm pretty good about my diet anyway. But with an event coming up I'm especially careful.
[00:04:33] You're a Superhero on your diet.
[00:04:34] Yeah yeah I try to be.
[00:04:36] Now did you ever have a job. The dreaded J O B.
[00:04:41] I did. I was a dental assistant for twenty three years.
[00:04:48] You looked at my mouths? How many mouths do you think you looked in in all that time?
[00:04:50] You know I tried to count one time and it's tens of thousands. Tens of thousands of mouths have been open and aghast at you.
[00:04:57] It's the same thing when they see in your superhero costume. Their mouths drop open and you think you're in the dental office again.
[00:05:07] Actually, yeah their mouths do drop open a little bit.
[00:05:07] But yeah I did. I worked in an office for many years.
[00:05:13] And what was the turning point or was there a specific turning point when you said you know I've had enough of this and I'm going to go out on my own.
[00:05:20] Yeah. There was actually the last dentist that I worked for he was the best boss that I ever had working for someone else. He was very supportive and he was great to me. But he was 80 years old. And he was still practicing full time. But I knew that the end was in sight. And I did not want to keep working for someone else.
[00:05:45] And watch him die in front of a crown.
[00:05:48] Well funny thing is he always told us that he was never going to retire they would have to take him out on a stretcher and you know what they did.
[00:05:57] That patient still sitting in the chair waiting for a replacement.
[00:06:01] There was. It's a true story. He literally had a stroke in the office with the drill in his hand.
[00:06:06] I don't want to laugh about that.
[00:06:10] He told us all that that's what would happen.
[00:06:12] No wonder he liked you because you've always been a superhero so you probably flew around that office so fast he got eight more patients a day to charge.
[00:06:25] He said I was the best assistant he ever had.
[00:06:29] That's the way Superheroes are. So you preempted his demise. Maybe that's why he kicked the bucket because you left.
[00:06:42] I knew he would not be working a lot longer he was 80 years old. And so I decided I did not want to work in an office anymore. I wanted to work for myself and I didn't go to college I was trained on the job for dental assisting. Way back when.
[00:06:58] So I decided I wanted to do something still sort of in the healthcare field. So I did go back to school for massage therapy that was about 15 years ago. And so I started a practice of my own and worked on my own doing that. And I still do that two days a week. So that was my first foray into entrepreneurship having my own business.
[00:07:21] What was that like that transition? How long was school for that?
[00:07:24] School was a little less than two years for me because I did it while I was working in the dental office.
[00:07:31] So you prepared prior to leaving. That's smart. So you kept the bills paid and all that.
[00:07:37] And I actually kept dental assisting for the first year that I had my practice doing massage therapy so I transitioned from one into the other slowly. I didn't just jump out of my job and start from scratch I built up a clientele first and then I quit my job.
[00:07:54] Makes Sense. Give us three tips or some tips on being a superhero in your business or in your life.
[00:08:01] Oh my gosh. Find what you love to do. That's the number one thing.
[00:08:07] Yeah but I don't know if I could get paid for that.
[00:08:10] Well there's always a way to get paid for it.
[00:08:13] No I don't think they would hire me in the porn industry. I mean come on. You know what I look like.
[00:08:21] Well you lost a hundred pounds in the last year and a half.
[00:08:26] I don't think that's enough to qualify.
[00:08:31] No I would say definitely find your passion for what you want to do. You have to be able to work hard. I never thought in a million years I would work harder at working for myself than I did for someone else. But I work ten times longer days and lot more hours and every day of the week.
[00:08:54] They say an entrepreneur will work 16 hours a day to get out of working for somebody else eight hours a day.
[00:09:00] Isn't that the truth. I've never heard it put that way but it's totally true. You have to be willing to work because you know we work everyday.
[00:09:09] There's nowhere to turn. You turn around to get somebody to get you a cup of coffee and there's nobody there.
[00:09:17] So you get one in a few hours when you can finally get up. And the other tip the last tip I would give you is no matter what you have to take care of your body you have to take care of yourself a lot of people I know that go into business and work for themselves especially they work so hard and work so many hours that they don't remember to take care of themselves. And if you're not healthy you're not going to make it. So there's got to be some time squeezed into your day for self care.
[00:09:47] Well you're a poster child for that. Were you telling me you had a competition with your sister about that.
[00:09:55] Well I have an identical twin. She is very fit and very healthy and ripped up and muscles everywhere. And 15 years ago when I started massage therapy school I was overweight and completely sedentary and I didn't exercise. And I was of course a little jealous of how she looked. So I got a trainer and started exercising and it was kind of because of her pushing me a little bit too. And she still is ripped up and trains people and teaches fitness classes and all that stuff.
[00:10:33] So that was a turning point too for you right.
[00:10:36] Oh definitely definitely my dad wasn't very healthy. He was very sick for most of his adult life. And my sister also had a kidney disease that was inherited from him and she's since had a kidney transplant. So with kidney disease in my family and a lot of medical history issues there I knew it was really important that I exercise and eat right and try to stay healthy. So that's been my motivation.
[00:11:02] Well nothing like a good tight superhero costume to keep you going if you're gonna stand in front of six hundred people.
[00:11:08] I'll tell you what that suit keeps me honest and I question it all the time what was I thinking.
[00:11:16] All right so have you ever gotten screwed I mean business. Of course I'm talking about business.
[00:11:23] Yes. Actually not working for myself I haven't. I've been really fortunate that way. But I did work for a boss once that kind of screwed us all over. He was not paying his taxes. And so it came the end of the year and we all realized we didn't get W2s because he was never paying our taxes even though he was handwriting us paychecks showing that our taxes were taken out. It was a mess.
[00:11:55] Did they ever get to Collect on that? That's a federal offense.
[00:11:58] Well you know I never did. It's kind of a funny story I wrote to the government. I wrote to the IRS and yeah I never got anywhere they said it was small potatoes because it was a small office with only seven employees. And even though it was over tens of thousands of dollars they didn't want to go after him they said he was small potatoes.
[00:12:17] That's where you got to get Cousin Vinny.
[00:12:21] I wish I'd had a cousin Vinny at the time.
[00:12:24] Or swoop by in your superhero costume and say look Bud!
[00:12:26] If I only had the suit then.
[00:12:32] So anything funny happened to you in your business speaking or while your a superhero
[00:12:41] Just recently I was speaking in Massachusetts at a conference down there. And I usually have an assistant with me. This time I actually took my brother my brother's in the media here and he's really good at camera work and photography and in technical stuff so he went with me to Massachusetts and it was a first thing in the morning keynote to open this three day conference. And so everything was going great. And I started speaking I think I had 90 minutes that time so I started talking and a few minutes into my speech I started to realize wow the time is going slow. I didn't have a timer like sometimes they give you.
[00:13:21] There was a clock on the wall and so I looked at the clock and I thought Jeez time is moving slow and I got to throw in a few more stories here and slow this down. So I just kept talking and talking and talking. And at one point I looked way in the back of the auditorium and my brother was back at the table and slowly swinging his arm in big circles really big circles and he wasn't looking at me. He was just swinging his arm and I remember thinking Gosh he must have hurt his shoulder. I thought Is he's stretching to stiffen up sitting there what's going on. So and like I always do I go down into the audience off the stage and I get people up and we're moving and kind of dancing. And I headed towards my brother and he leaned in really close and he said watch your time you're running out of time. And I looked at the clock. Well it was daylight saving. And no one had set the clock so the clock was an hour behind.
[00:14:28] I was thinking that the clock had stopped or anything but that's even worse because it is moving.
[00:14:32] It was moving but it was a hour behind so he tells me this and I had literally like ten minutes left. So I had to wrap it up really quick and nobody knew. I mean I was able to come off on time and finish everything I needed to say but it was a little harrowing for a few minutes. And we laughed. We drove home from Boston about five hours. And we laughed half the way. Oh my Gosh. You said what were you thinking. Well I thought your shoulder hurt. He said that's the universal sign for wrap it up.
[00:15:09] Not In my universe. I'm a superhero. Don't tell me to wrap it up.
[00:15:16] So what do you think the bes`t and worst thing about working for yourself?
[00:15:20] The very best thing about working for myself is the schedule and very worst thing is the schedule.
[00:15:29] You're a night person or morning person.
[00:15:31] I am a morning person. I am a total morning person I'm up at 4:30 every day and I still teach fitness classes three mornings a week at 6:00 a.m. and so I'm up at about 4:30 every day and I get a lot done in the morning. I go to the gym and teach those classes. But the mornings that I don't I get up and I just start working.
[00:15:52] So you're doing that in part for yourself too, to keep in shape.
[00:15:55] Oh yeah. Yeah. And frankly that was my motivation to start teaching. Might as well get paid and frankly to keep the willpower of going and exercising for me to stay motivated if I'm teaching it and I have to show up then I can't not show up.
[00:16:13] You got to look good you can't walk in there all dumpy.
[00:16:17] Right. That's right. And sometimes I wear a superhero suit to teach. Not that one but one that breathes.
[00:16:26] Yeah that one seems like it's kinda hot. We're going to have a picture in the show notes or maybe even a video of you but we'll put something in the show notes so people can see what we're talking about.
[00:16:38] But yeah the schedule works great for me working for myself and it's nice to be able to take a little time if I want to in the middle of the day if I get a break I can go outside I can take an afternoon off if I want to. I have three dogs. One of my dogs is with me 24 hours a day he goes to my office with me every day and the other two I leave at home.
[00:17:04] So you travel to your office. Are you technically commuting and we have to scrap this whole interview?
[00:17:09] Well I commute about 15 minutes it's to my own office. I have my office at home for about seven years and I loved that commute. Boy oh boy walk through kitchen into the back office and it was great. The only thing is that being home and having an office at home and all the animals at home and the dishes and the laundry waiting in the other room I got distracted. So it was easy for me to not be as productive as I could have been because I would be constantly going out and catching up on housework or taking the dogs out or all those things. Now I get up and I go to the office 15 minutes away and then I'm in the office and I can work.
[00:17:57] And traffic's not bad where you live.
[00:17:59] No no no no we're in a very rural area. That takes me about 10 minutes to get there. I thought about getting my bicycle. And I could fly.
[00:18:17] So what are you promoting now what are some things people could take advantage of. We're going to put all your links and stuff in the show notes. What are you promoting now.
[00:18:26] I'm really working on doing more speaking and at more conferences and associations I'm also putting together starting to work with a friend of mine who is a speaker and we're talking about doing some women's retreats because a lot of my audiences are women my age or women 40 and over who are trying to find themselves and get healthy and decide what they want to do with the rest of their lives. So we're thinking about putting together some retreats and things like that. I have a new audio book that's available on my Web site. It's being formatted now for print. And I also do coaching. It's called Your Eight Superpowers. All you need to Succeed. And yeah it's really good. I've had good feedback on the audio and I have a workbook that goes with that and kind of a study guide companion guide kind of a coach in a box kind of thing. And I also do one on one coaching with people locally here and also over the Internet with Skype or FaceTime these kinds of things. And that works out really well too.
[00:19:34] That's great. So we'll have all your details for all this stuff in the show notes and remember folks this is Episode 14 and we need to take a brief second for our sponsor and we'll be right back in thirty six point seven four seven seconds.
[00:19:52] Today, almost two billion of you will go online retrieving over 100 billion searches for information, goods and services, and 6 million of you will view a page on the internet before this commercial is over. The world has changed and so is the way we do business. At the Internet Marketing Training Center, you can study online at your pace to fit your schedule, and you can graduate with the skills and knowledge to compete in the global marketplace or start your own home based business. Call us today or go online at IMTCVA.org. Because, it's about time. Yours.
[00:20:24] All right. We're back with superhero Barbara Cookson. And Barbara what's a typical day look like for you.
[00:20:31] A typical day for me like I said I get up at about 430 and I have my hot water with lemon in it. And then I go to the gym which is probably about another 15 minute drive. And I teach a class in the morning that's an hour long starts at 6 o'clock and by the time I get home it's about seven thirty. I then have breakfast. I have bacon and eggs just about every day. Then I take the dogs out for a little bit and head off to the office and I see clients there two days a week doing massage therapy and I start at ten and I typically work until about 7:00 on those days. And then when I come home I get back on the computer and I start working on web site things managing my Web site managing social media returning e-mails following up clients those kinds of things so my days are pretty long. 430 to probably 730 or eight o'clock and then I go to bed.
[00:21:32] I just almost went to bed listening to that right there. So the thing in the morning when you're teaching the class you actually do the stuff in the class. Oh yeah yeah. So you're getting a workout. How many days a week is that?
[00:21:46] I do that Monday Wednesday and Friday.
[00:21:48] So three days a week you're getting an hour workout. You workout on the other days too. No. So it's now three days a week.
[00:21:57] Yeah I do walk everyday with the dog. I walk about a couple of miles a day in the middle of the day. So I do three hours of good exercise at the gym and then I walk a couple of miles every day.
[00:22:10] All right. So you got a power packed day a superhero day even Superheroes need to stay motivated. What do you do to keep yourself motivated.
[00:22:19] Gosh that's a good question. I've never had a problem with motivation really. The only time I ever had a problem with motivation was probably 20 years ago and I really like I said I was sedentary. I didn't do anything. I had no motivation. And what motivated me more than anything was my health. So not business wise or anything like that it was just more about I want to be here for the long haul and I want to be able to do things and stay healthy and seeing my dad be so sick for so long. That was the biggest motivation for me. And it kept me going. And the people in my classes are a motivation to me. I had a woman in my class one time a couple of years ago she still comes every day and she's older than I am.
[00:23:08] I'm 53 so she's probably close to 60 and she broke her arm. And I teach a heavy duty barbell weight lifting class and she never missed a class. She came with a cast on her arm. And did one arm dips. And it was insane. And those kinds of things motivate me to keep going and stay at it for the long haul because it's choices we make for life and we've got to be healthy.
[00:23:41] Sounds good. Do you think all your efforts to be healthy turned into motivation in your business life.
[00:23:50] I mean you had more probably had way more energy.
[00:23:53] Oh my gosh yeah. And that's key for me is having the energy to work for myself and to stay with that kind of a schedule.
[00:24:01] That's a serious schedule.
[00:24:04] Yeah I work those hours every day and then on the weekends I work a lot of weekends too. Not all day like that I sleep in till 7 on the weekend.
[00:24:14] Oh till 7. You slacker.
[00:24:18] But you're right staying healthy and keeping your body healthy gives you so much more energy to devote to business things and entrepreneurial things and all those other activities that need our attention and our energy. If you're not taking care of your body and staying healthy you won't have the energy to continue in your business.
[00:24:39] People think that taking time out to do the exercise is going to take away from their business. It's actually opposite.
[00:24:46] It's totally opposite. You've got to take care of yourself to have the energy to put in and so many people don't even move. Especially people who work for themselves they sit at a desk or sit in their office and they work a million hours a week but they don't have energy and they're dragging and they're not getting anywhere and it's because they're not taking time to move a little and to eat right.
[00:25:13] I saw somewhere that they said sitting was the new smoking.
[00:25:17] Yeah yeah sitting. And also the other part of that is a lot of people are talking about standing desks and standing up while standing up is just as bad. If you sit and you're stationary, that's bad. If you stand and you're stationary, that's just as bad. It's the moving in between the two. So you need to get up and move every hour.
[00:25:42] Well you know I got the solution for that a long time ago. Where you've been to my house for the video day. I don't know if you noticed my ipod or not.
[00:25:54] I don't think so.
[00:25:57] Yeah I saw these guys at a big university they took a treadmill and put a desk across the top of it and you do the treadmill while they're on the computer. So that's what I do. It kind of looks like I'm not doing it because it's stacked full of books. But if you put the computer too low as tall as I am it kills my wrists like carpal tunnel. So I had to raise the computer up and I can put my laptop watch TV and everything and even if I'm only going one or two miles an hour it's way different than just sitting.
[00:26:32] Oh yeah. That's great. They call it an iPlod.
[00:26:39] I teach everybody that they should stand up and sit down at least once an hour and do it slowly.
[00:26:48] Because standing up and sitting down because they'll pass out or what.
[00:26:53] No but you will feel the big muscles in your legs. And it starts to target those big muscles so that you can build a little bit of metabolism. You're doing a squat. Exactly. You doing a slow squat. Yeah and if you're in my audience you will do a dozen of those in an hour and yeah they're feeling it at the end.
[00:27:16] You have to give a disclaimer or have an ambulance standing by?
[00:27:17] I always give a disclaimer that they don't have to do them but I'm going to strongly suggest things for them.
[00:27:28] All right so if somebody's out that cubicle right now thinking you know oh god I want to have the life that Barbara has I want to do the things that you know I'm stuck in this job. What kind of advice would you give them.
[00:27:42] Do it do it. I did it smart I did it smart. And you do have to plan. You have to plan ahead and you have to be realistic. That being said I listen to podcasts all the time Tom and I listen to one oh a little while back and I can't even remember the name of this podcast but it was someone talking about you know speaking in entrepreneurs and those kinds of things. And her advice was that unless you're in a job making over a hundred thousand dollars a year you can't leave it to start a business. And I immediately shut her off. Because I don't think that's true.
[00:28:26] I just don't I wasn't making a hundred thousand dollars as a dental assistant by a long shot but I was able to plan and I was able to look ahead and do it on my own without making that kind of money so I guess my message would be for people not to be discouraged and always to remember that somebody else has done it before you. And no matter what it is and find those people and do what they did and study what they did and find a mentor find a coach. Study what someone else has done and do it follow their steps and don't make their mistakes.
[00:29:10] Those are great parting thoughts for all our screwballs that listen to this. So how do people reach if they want more information. Maybe book you to speaker or get your stuff. We're going to have it in the show notes for them.
[00:29:22] Oh awesome. The easiest way to find me is thesuperherospeaker.com is my Web site and you can e-mail me at Barbara@thesuperherospeaker.com.
[00:29:38] That is great. You are a superstar superhero and we really love you to death around here. So thanks for coming on Barbara. We really appreciate it.
[00:29:50] Thank you Tom I really really appreciate you too.
[00:29:53] And all you screwballs out there, subscribe at Screwthecommute.com. Leave us a review. Check out all of Barbara's links in the show notes. Plus check out IMTCVA.org and learn how you can have a lifestyle business like Barbara's, like mine, in as little as 6 months. This was episode 14 and we'll catch you on the next episode.
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