Sep 19, 2023 | Podcast, Your Business

Marketing Like We’re Human with Sarah Santacroce

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About the episode:

If you’re an ambitious empath, you probably feel the misalignment of hustle culture marketing almost daily. I know this was a huge problem for me early on in my business before I really gave myself permission to do things my way. With that being said, I’m so excited to have Sarah Santacrose on the show today. Sarah is the author of Marketing Like We’re Human, and it’s her mission to show how we, as prosperous empaths, can revolutionize the marketing industry. 

Topics discussed:

  • How Sarah found her calling to bring a new way to marketing that focuses on kindness and empathy
  • How the idea of the American Dream has influenced our traditional definition of success and how this impacts our marketing
  • Bucking the hype and fear based marketing approach and doing it differently as empaths to create long lasting client relationship
  • The reminder that it’s not a failure if you need to take a break from your business or get a second job
  • What self-care and avoiding or overcoming burnout can look like in marketing, especially for those who are natural givers
  • How Sarah sees the path to recovering trust when it comes to marketing
  • The parts of Sarah’s business that have evolved as she has shifted into the new way of doing marketing
  • The power of language in marketing, how we coach our clients, and how we make sales


About Sarah:

Over a decade of running a successful LinkedIn Consulting business inspired a yearning in Sarah to create a global movement that encourages people to bring more empathy and kindness to business & marketing.

As a ‘Hippie turned Business Coach’, Sarah has written two books, hosts the Humane Marketing podcast and works with heart-centered entrepreneurs to question their assumptions when it comes to marketing & give them permission to market their business their way, the gentle way!

Sarah shares a fresh perspective and doesn’t shy away from calling things out that no longer work for many of us when it comes to the current marketing model. Her clients sometimes refer to her as ‘the female Seth Godin’.


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode

Catherine A. Wood  00:03

Sarah, welcome to the podcast.


Sarah Santacroce  00:05

I’m Catherine, I’m so glad to be here. Thank you for having me.


Catherine A. Wood  00:08

I am feeling a little antsy because I rushed so quickly to hit record because I didn’t want to say too much, because I have so much I want to say to you. So I’m just gonna take a breath and get grounded. But I’d love to maybe just jump in by inviting you to share your pronouns, and a little bit of your story, anything that you’d like to share by way of giving my audience a false sense of who you are.


Sarah Santacroce  00:35

Yeah, thank you. Pronouns, you know, I’ve recently changed my pronouns on the LinkedIn profile, besides a friend of mine, you just put, you know, in the bracket, where you’re supposed to use your pronouns, he just put human in there. And I love this so much. And it’s so obviously related to everything I do. But I copied it. And I was like, Yeah, you know, in the end, it doesn’t matter. We’re all human. And so human is my new pronoun, for now. Um, and then in terms of the story, you Yeah, I’ve gone through a transformation, a journey, where now instead of, instead of kind of sharing this professional story, I start with my growing up story, which since you’ve read the book marketing, like we’re human, you know, already that I’m going to tell it to the audience here, I grew up in a hippie commune. So I grew up in a small community, where my parents and some of their friends, they bought an apartment building together. And then we lived with the six families, we all have their separate departments. But we spent a lot of time with these other people, of course, us kids with the other kids and the parents, mainly with the parents. But it was like this immunity where all the decisions were made in common, you know, parties were created in common, chores had to be decided in common. And so it really shaped who I am today and shaped my values. All people, including my parents were politically involved, and you know, kind of like for human rights, more left wing, etc. But it really is, is does, grounded upbringing that gave me the values that I have today. And what’s funny is that for the longest time, I thought, Well, none of this can be shared in the business world. This I had to hide that away. It’s like, well, that, you know, this is embarrassing, I’m not going to share that, in my LinkedIn work back. My first business was a LinkedIn consulting business. And so I’m like, Well, no, LinkedIn is very professional. So I can’t share any of that. And then through me going through my own journey, and coming back to full circle in my story, I’m like, well, actually, this is who I am. And this is what made me who I am. And when I’m talking about humane marketing, and the kind of marketing that my clients want to do, it is coming from that place of who are you? What are your values? What are your world? What is your worldview? And so sharing that story became just very, very important. And so that’s why I now usually start with that story.


Catherine A. Wood  03:39

Well, I love that you shared that story by way of introduction. And I wanted to share this with you because I really resonated with that story of ours in the book about growing up in a hippie commune, because my parents owned a bed and breakfast for 29 years, which was my entire childhood. So I grew up in a bed and breakfast, having people as many as 30 to 40 people in my home year round for my entire childhood. I have so many memories of sharing holidays with guests and holidays coming every year and becoming family, you know, some of my closest friends and so I really, I resonated with that. And i i and i It also left me with the questions like How has this informed my business and and I think there’s a little bit more unpacking to do there for me, but something that resonated from your book, and from our shared stories, is just this emphasis on community. How important it is to our businesses and and also it sounds like it’s become a big, more a part of your offerings is a community element and mine too and I’m wondering I kind of what, what motivated that shift?


Sarah Santacroce  05:04

Yeah. I think again, it’s just really understanding what I’m here to do. And, and yes, that way, you know, first pivoted from like, away from LinkedIn from the LinkedIn business into kind of zooming out again and saying, well actually, I think what my calling is, is to bring a new way to market coming from kindness and empathy. It’s when I realized, well, actually, we can’t do this alone. We can’t do this in a silo. It was you know, I’ve, as an introvert, I kind of done everything along Norway’s to wait too long. And so this, this coming full circle and realizing, Wait a minute, I grew up in a community. That’s exactly what I need to surround myself with. And that’s what we need, in order to create this humane marketing revolution. It’s not about me, just in a corner yelling revolution. It’s about you know, bringing people together and saying, Hey, we need to change the status quo. It’s just no longer working for us. And so we’re really tapping into, yeah, like how I grew up, and what I always knew was true. And yet over the last 20 years, that’s not what we’ve seen in business. It’s just seems to be a bit in the zeitgeist right now that yes, okay, community as the new best thing. But to me, it was like, Well, I own always knew that this this is, this is what we need in order to create change. So yeah, really just kind of feeling like, I’ve always like, when I grew up, we were a group of kids, right? So in this in this apartment building, and I was the eldest. And so I was always kind of the leader of this group, the gentle leader, if you want. And so it comes natural to me to be that host. I call myself the mama bear of the Humane marketing circle, because I feel like, Yeah, I’m, as a Capricorn, I’m responsible, right? I’m like, Yeah, this is, this is my group. These are, these are my, you know, baby bears, I need to take care of them. And yet, it’s not about me, it’s about them. It’s about us creating this change together. And so yeah, I just, I just love being finding my way back to being in community. And it’s,


Catherine A. Wood  07:38

and I love the piece about, you know, humane non marketing is not necessarily what we see. And I think one of the values of being in these values aligned communities is that we are seeing more of the ways of being that we are interested in approaching in our own businesses. And so not only are we modeling and normalizing and celebrating the successes of peers, who are perhaps doing the very thing that we’re wanting, wanting to see others succeeding in having a successful experience with, which actually brings me to where, where I want to shift to, which is about So in the beginning of your book, you talk about this idea that so I’m based in Massachusetts, you’re based in Switzerland, and you talk about how there’s no European dream there’s the the American Dream, which you know, clearly influences the way we do so much of how we’ve done business right with our this hustle mentality and this grind culture that so many of us empathic entrepreneurs are trying to break free of and break free from but but you know, you point so lovely to this idea that there really is no, your pan dream. And so I guess I’m curious, what your experience of marketing with empathy and humanity looks like differently with perhaps in in, in your own European perspective, versus what you notice working with with Americans, because I know you have a big influence here as well. So I guess I was just curious if you could speak to what you perceive and observe differently.


Sarah Santacroce  09:27

I think once a human being realizes no matter where this human being comes from realizes I want to do marketing or business with more empathy and kindness. At this point, it doesn’t matter where they are, right? Whether they are in Massachusetts, or Zurich, in Switzerland. I think the values we can all agree, these are the values we want to do, the place we wanted to work from, however, I do see cultural differences and like you said, there’s dem American dream, there’s, you know, capitalism is very much how success is defined in America. The further you go south in Europe, the less you have that kind of definition. And I sometimes point to my experience in Sicily, where my husband is originally from Ghana, we have a place there, where it’s the opposite of Capitalism, it’s all about being in the moment. And, you know, also maybe being less ambitious. And all of that, right. So the differences are what I point to, in this idea of, well, there’s no European dream is really how we define success, then, in my opinion, has been influenced by this American dream. In the States, we’re over here, depending again, where in Europe, the farther up north you go, the more the work ethic is more like in the States, it’s like all about work, even though that’s not true for the Nordic countries. Strange. If you look at Germany, or Switzerland, it’s very much you know, this work ethic, and definition of success. But again, it goes south of Italy or south of Spain, it’s the opposite. And, and so, yeah, I really think it’s, it’s that definition of success that needs to, that we need to look at no matter where we are. And, and what I always also understand is difference of systems. Like, you know, even if you compare Canada and the States, Canada has a social system, it has a net, where human beings are supported by the system that doesn’t exist in the US. And so that’s why the marketing is kind of create, or the marketing you see from the US is aligned with the system, which is lacking that social net, which is really, really important. Because if you don’t have a net, you don’t have support, well, you’re very quickly operating in scarcity rather than abundance. And so in fact, it’s very, you know, we can I just understand much better why there’s so much scarcity, operating without a safety net, basically. Yeah.


Catherine A. Wood  12:34

I mean, I think that’s beautifully said. And, as you’re thinking, as you’re sharing that I was thinking, so I have family in Canada, that’s where I was last month, and one of my very distant cousins, was given a year of paid maternity leave when she had her first child. And that’s just wild. To me, from my American perspective, that’s so different. But I love I love what you said about, about scarcity mindset. And it actually. So I wanted to read this quote from your book, because I think this, I would love for this to inform our conversation. So this is from your section that says goodbye to fear and manipulation, which feels similar to what you were just saying. So you say that when people buy out of fear, they feel disempowered. They buy because they feel pressure into buying, and they grasp, but every solution presented to them. Unfortunately, they’re also often paralyzed by their fear, and therefore don’t actually get the results, you promise that’s frustrating to you and doesn’t help your business grow. Since only happy clients make for good referrals. Without referrals, you have to keep hustling, and using the same fear based short term marketing methods. So using manipulation and marketing will get you cash in the door in the short run, but it will never help you create a sustainable business. Sarah, I love that, quote. I think it is so beautifully said and I think that that’s that scarcity mindset, which you were just speaking to is one of the the examples about how we sell from this kind of fearful place. So I’d love for you to paint us a picture of how, how can we do this differently? How can we defy the norms of what we see so often around us with this hype marketing approach and do it humanely?


Sarah Santacroce  14:34

Yeah. I think there’s two things that that kind of start to transformation. First of all, it’s the awareness, realizing how much of this fear based marketing really is out there. And really unpacking. Every time you see something that kind of gives you this tension in your heart or you’re in your belly and you’re like some Things just not right. And as empaths and highly sensitive people we know it, we’re just, we have been so brainwashed to not pay attention to this feeling. So the awareness is really the first thing and, and then saying, That’s not okay, I don’t want to be marketed to in this way, or I don’t want to learn in this way anymore. Because unfortunately, and I say that in the book, I’m not pointing fingers, because I raised my hand, I’ve been teaching some of these strategies as well, because that’s all we’ve seen out there for the last 20 years, right. And so even the people who call themselves heart centered or whatever, they will show you the the marketing techniques that they have learned from some bigger guru, or from even from the textbooks that we can find about marketing, where that’s how it’s taught, right? So, again, awareness, and then saying, it’s not okay, if I don’t want to learn this way, or if I don’t want to be on the receiving end anymore, and giving yourself permission to do it differently, even though it takes courage. And then the second thing is really kind of does inner work, you know, gonna be coming from within and and because we just said, if there’s no safety net, well, then we go into scarcity. So how can you ground yourself, you just came back from a yoga retreat that gives you this grounding? You know, that’s, it’s so much when I looked at the successful people, those who were already doing, or applying humane marketing strategies, it was always the people who, first of all, didn’t yell the loudest, you know, they just happily went on in their business, they were not the ones yelling, how I made a million dollars overnight. And they were the people who worked on themselves who changed and, you know, continuously did personal development. So I think that is just as important as, as all the marketing tactics that we see out there. So yeah, really, that’s why I say human marketing is marketing that comes from within, because it takes that inner work also to, to be able to change how we, yeah, how we define success for us. And that is probably not like the mainstream definition of success with the six and seven and eight figure promises, right? And not always compare ourselves to everybody. But that takes time to look at and say, Okay, I want to do it differently.


Catherine A. Wood  17:51

I really appreciate the reminder that the inner work often looks like embracing our own humanity. And I think entrepreneurship is one of the greatest, the greatest mindset, hacks, mindset journeys that we we all experience and we don’t knowingly sign up for. Right. And, and I think just reminding ourselves that, you know, we, we all have fearful experiences, we all have fearful moments in our business when programs end, and we have these dips in recurring income, where we have highs and lows in our business and seasonal ebbs and flows and just kind of the very normal, it’s a periods of expansion and contraction. And I think sometimes we we forget to embrace that. That very human response. I remember one of my early coaching mentors, when I had, I was still finding my coaching feet, you know, and I had a big gap, a big contraction in my business one month and I had just increased my rates and I felt really fearful around you know, I’m feeling so much scarcity, no one’s gonna pay my full rate, like, what do I do and she’s like, cat, just go handle your scandal and then get back to your, you know, your high rates. And I just, I so appreciated that reminder that when we’re operating from a place of fear, we’re not going to generate those embodied powerful same results as when we’re operating from a grounded stable place. So you know, for me in that moment that looked like sharing, sharing some discounted rates to clients, getting my my finances back in order, and then like getting back to playing a bigger game, but from this place of feeling safe and stay Bull. And not not fear provoked.


Sarah Santacroce  20:04

Yeah, that reminds me of a bit of a topic that we discussed in the circle recently, which is, you know, especially right now this year, I hear it everywhere, things are uncertain, people are maybe not spending as much money as they used to on coaching and things like that. And so, yeah, like I heard it several times, just in the last few weeks, that people were like, well, I needed to take on a job, a part time job. And like, that’s the best thing you did. Because that gives you that safety, right? Because otherwise, you first of all, you’re not busy. And so you have too much time on your hands to be in this scarcity, energy and constantly be in fear, and think, and hustle and think, oh, what else can I sell? And it’s sometimes not a good place to be in. But if you take, you know that time that you have your hands, right, and you know, you get a part time job, and it’s not like, Oh, you’re giving up, it’s just like, well, I need to be safe, I need to be able to pay my bills, so that I even have that mental energy to, you know, still work on my business part time. So I think that permission slip for entrepreneurs to hear no, it’s not a failure to go back to a job. Just even for a couple of months, or half a year or even a year. It’s it’s not, it’s not a bad thing.


Catherine A. Wood  21:33

Absolutely, I completely agree. And that makes me think of another section of the book, which feels related and you talk about that is you share about how for many of us who identify as empaths, that a lot of our work is around receiving more. And you said maybe the old saying give before you get needs to update to receive to keep giving. And I host a monthly circle for my community called a non networking Power Hour. And it’s essentially just a free community ask and give circle where I bring together ambitious empaths. And I invite them to ask for support, share what they’re up to what they’re creating, where they’re struggling, and ask for support and to make specific requests of my community. And then we go around and people share whatever it is they have to give advice, referral, collusion, empathy, a resource, a book, whatever. But I’m really, I’m really wanting to model this, this point that you talk about, that we as empaths, so much of our work is around opening our arms and hands to receive better to receive more in order to be able to keep giving from a filled cup, without the burnout. And so I’d love for you to share. What does this look like in marketing?


Sarah Santacroce  23:02

Yeah, it’s interesting, because again, one of the kind of mainstream things we hear is, you know, give everything for free, and so that people realize how good you are, and then they hire you. However, I think for empaths, that is a risk that we really give everything for free. And then, you know, there’s nothing to be paid for anymore. And so I think for givers who are naturally givers like Empath, it’s finding that balance and understanding. No, I need to also take up space, and I need to be able to open to receive as well. So yes, I’m naturally giving information and you know, blog posts and podcasts. But I’m doing it in a way that is a friend of mine, Adam, he uses the term that I love, he calls it the smallest viable content plan. So instead of because all we hear in the mainstream world is no more content, create lots of content and all of that. And so when he says the smallest viable content mine, it’s like, well, yes, you want to be giving, but you can’t give until you burn out because that’s what happened to me. It needs to be a smart kind of giving, where you look at your resources and you say, Okay, here’s what I can give, but then, you know, this is where it stops. And that’s where I’m open to receive as well. So I think it’s really understood, important for empaths to understand until where they go in their in their giving in. And then yeah, work on their risk receiving as well and putting offers out there where they take up space and are open to receive.


Catherine A. Wood  25:04

I listened to a lot of podcasts. And I think that’s something I always notice with the empaths is when they make direct invitations, or offers, and I’m always grateful to see it modeled. I’m always grateful to see other entrepreneurs liking, like me inviting people to join their programs or sign up for this or, or whatever. Because there’s a reason we’re in business. Right. And so I I really appreciate that. Have you noticed? Oh, go ahead.


Sarah Santacroce  25:37

I just thought of a term that I’m kind of borrowing from Jonathan fields. He says he uses the term, the maximum sustainable generosity. And I just love this term. And I use it often on my workshops, when I say, you know, kind of like, it’s a reframe from a webinar, or a webinar to me was this thing back, you know, 10 years ago, where you sign up, and then there’s this long intro, and then there’s 10 minutes of content, and then there’s this long pitch, and it’s like, oh, this is terrible. So I call them, you know, I call them workshops for that reason. And then at the beginning, I say, Look, we operate from this place of maximum sustainable generosity, meaning, we’re gonna give you a lot of content in this 90 minutes. But and I host these with collaboration partners, but we both run businesses, you know, we are in business. And so that’s why we’re going to take two minutes at the beginning and present some next steps that, you know, you can look at when we invite you to take a next step. And so when you do those things up front, rather than, you know, everybody’s waiting for it, oh, at the end, there’s going to be a pitch. And you’re presented in this way of maximum sustainable generosity. It just feels much better. It feels better to me. And I think it feels also better to to the audience who’s like, yeah, that makes sense. You know, it’s like, I think, on the web, we’ve really trained everybody to think everything is free all the time. And I disagree. It’s like, that’s why so many people give up and burnout because they’re spending hours and hours creating content, creating podcasts creating. And they have nothing to show for at the end of their month. And so that’s why I’m like, Well, that is not the way I want to run the business. And, and I’m actually also a bit upset that some of these big gurus who have been there for a long time who have now huge audiences, and can sell their services or programs for like, very little price at very low prices, they’re still kind of, you know, using that module and saying, Oh, you have to create and create and given gifts. And for empaths, that just means burnout. And it really does.


Catherine A. Wood  28:11

I mean, I completely agree, I think I think so often for empaths, burnout looks like following someone else’s script, or doing business someone else’s way. I think, for empaths, being in business often looks like finding your own values aligned approach, which I mean, I love in your book, you talk about how you need to start with your definition of success. And I think that that’s so very true, and really getting clear about what it looks like for you. I I really, I loved the piece about taking a couple minutes at the beginning of your events to just share what’s coming and and just being super transparent about it. And I I noticed that for empaths, who are really trying to get more comfortable with sales, giving themselves permission to just be transparent to be feel like authentic is so overused but transparent, right? Like just be real flat. That it makes it so much easier to make an invitation or share what you have to what you’d like to offer people because you’re doing it from a consensual place.


Sarah Santacroce  29:36

And what I’ve learned, it’s, it’s not it’s also for neurodivergent people, where, you know, we now know there’s a lot more than we thought just 20 years ago. And so, for that community, it’s the same thing they they and I know that with my clients as well, I called them you know, I tell them no, always you’re so much smarter than you know. People used to be 20 years ago. And with neurodivergent people, especially they see through everything. So if you’re not transparent with and pass or or your other version people then, you know, they’re like, Oh, this is false. So I can’t trust that person. And especially with marketing, we’ve done so much damage with the way we have been marketing, you know, with the manipulation and all of that, that we need to recover that trust. And that, that’s, it takes transparency, that’s what it takes. Yeah,


Catherine A. Wood  30:35

we do need to recover that trust. In your book, you you share a quote from Brene. Brown oversharing is not a vulnerability. In fact, it often results in disconnection, distrust, and diskaid disengagement. And we have learned so deeply that we need to be vulnerable, and we use it as a tactic and a strategy, and a ploy. It’s not real, it’s not authentic, it’s not human. And so I, I’d love for you to share, like, what is the humane approach? How do we, how do we, how do we be real and raw, in a in an embodied way, in a real essence based way, versus a marketing tactic.


Sarah Santacroce  31:21

And I really think it has to do with explaining a lot of how this marketing thing actually works. And so what I mean by that is, for example, if you’re offering an early bird, to your subscribers, right, you’re launching a program and you’re offering other early bird. But the early bird offer per se is not a bad thing. It’s not, it hasn’t been invented to manipulate people, it has been invented, at least if it comes from a good inventor, intention is because you want to know in advance who’s interested in this program, and you’re giving them you know, a better price for that reason. And so that needs to be explained. You don’t have to say, Oh, this early bird runs out tomorrow. And if you don’t get it, well, you have missed out and


Catherine A. Wood  32:16

10 emails later.


Sarah Santacroce  32:19

That’s doesn’t how we’re taught how to use these early birds, right. But it’s with that with every tactic in marketing, it’s like, if you explain it, and if it comes from this good intention, then people, you know, understand, Oh, yes, she’s just running a business. And that’s what is included, or that’s what it takes. But it doesn’t mean that every marketing tactic we see out there is is necessarily bad, it’s just the way we have been taught to use them that is often bad, or is often based in psychology. So whenever you see on a website, you know, marketing strategies that are based in psychology, you know, it’s bad, because it comes from this. Thinking that we can tap into the psychology of people to trick them, it’s always the idea of tricking them, right. And so that’s what the conscious client doesn’t want anymore. He she, they don’t want to be tricked, they still want to buy, but they don’t want to be tricked, they want to be empowered to make a conscious decision. And that’s, that’s the how we need to adapt to our conscious clients with our marketing. I don’t


Catherine A. Wood  33:42

think I had ever thought about it in that way. Like the idea that as conscious entrepreneurs, if we share our reasons for offering, you know, whatever marketing practice we’re employing, if we’re just honest, and we’re willing to share our intentions or the reasons behind why we’re doing it. Others will understand and also it, it gains trust.


Sarah Santacroce  34:12

Yeah, it does. It really does. Because then, because then then yeah, they just know and, and it also helps to educate them about others, where they did feel manipulated, or you know, kind of tricked. And so they’re like, well, with Catherine, I felt like I could trust her, even though it’s the same kind of marketing strategies, but it felt like oh, we’re, she’s talking to me like I’m a smart human that I know these things. But in in the other case, I feel like there’s all this behind the scenes that I’m not supposed to know and I’m just just supposed to take out my wallet and buy.


Catherine A. Wood  34:59

Yeah, and makes me think of integrity, you know, and the idea that we really need to be in integrity with how we’re operating our businesses, I, I, so I’ve been coaching for a decade, and the coaching industry has evolved so much over the past decade. And I noticed that I will often get on to calls with people who have either worked with coaches before or have had been sold to by other coaches, and then I’m apologizing. I’m apologizing on behalf on the behalf of my coaching colleagues who perhaps weren’t trained, you know, maybe did a weekend program or got trained in a in a month. And they don’t necessarily follow the standards of the international coaching Federation, and they don’t embody the values and the integrity of a coach. And I think, yeah, I just I feel a lot of sadness for the coaching industry. I mean, I think there’s so much potential, but I also feel a lot of sadness for so much of what you’re speaking about, of ways in which business owners are not being taught to market and to sell with empathy and integrity and their values.


Sarah Santacroce  36:22

Yeah, yeah. And it comes back to what we started this conversation with, with which is, you know, capitalism, which is the American dream of always going bigger and making more money. So if, if that is the intention behind all the marketing that we do, and just sell to whomever is there to buy them, then you can be humane it can, it can be a human conversation with an ideal client, because you come from an intention to just make money, no matter where this client is, you’re not checking in with the client, into their reality, where they’re currently are. And that’s probably some of these people that come to you and have been frustrated with other coaches before because, yeah, I think there needs to be this integrity to also say no, you know, to say, like, actually, I don’t think we’re a good fit. And so, or maybe you’re just not ready yet for that step, or, or maybe this other thing would serve you better. So, so having these human conversations, it’s not what you know, the online marketing world has trained us to do at all, it was all about creating giant kingdoms of online sold programs, and in group coaching, and all of that, and even even coaching packages one on one, it’s like, well, we have to, you know, you do your numbers, and if you want to make 100k, while you need 10 10k clients, and so just sell 10 10k programs. And it’s like, Well, okay, but is the value there for these 10k. A 10k program might be valuable for somebody who’s already making 100 or 200k. But somebody who’s just starting out making 10k per year, or, or, you know, maybe 20k? Well, investing 10k, in a coach is probably not the right thing to do. And so, if you have integrity, then you know that because you’re a smart, conscious human being and you just, you have to come up with a different definition of success and probably say, well, it’s I’m probably not supposed to be selling these 10k programs to beginners who are just starting out.


Catherine A. Wood  38:56

Makes me think of a question. The coaching question that I asked many clients is like, what’s enough? Like, what is your enough answer? And, and I’m just like, sensing how passionately we both feel about this topic. And I’m wondering, what are some of the the switches or the shifts in your own business and how you do business that have evolved as a result of wanting to be human wanting to be in integrity, wanting to be aligned with your own definition of success? Like what’s changed?


Sarah Santacroce  39:29

Yeah, yeah, I think that that question what’s your net enough is like a really important starting point. And, and, and this idea also of like, I think I wrote in the books, journaling exercise I did and I said, I never want my remember exactly, but my worth or happiness or feeling worthy, be attached to how much money I’m making, because that’s what I can I’m feeling in the LinkedIn business, I kept feeling well, if I am not making 100k yet, then I must not be, you know, smart enough, important enough, business savvy enough, etc, etc. And so even when I reached 100k, I still didn’t feel like I felt like oh, now I have to go higher and higher and higher, right? And so really, yeah, that definition of success and going back to being just human and realizing, well, who are you, if you are not doing what you’re doing anymore, who are you, if you’re just, Catherine would a human being right? And really feeling grounded in that and feeling enough in just being that human being without your ambitions without your calling in terms of work. And I think that’s what’s really shifted. For me, it’s like, I’m spending much more time outside, because that is important to me, I’m, I started to walk a dog, I didn’t want to own a dog, but I wanted to be in touch with animals. So I’m like, Okay, I’m gonna go, you know, and sit to somebody else’s, or walk somebody else’s dog, and things like that, that have shifted for me where I’m like, I need actually more spaciousness than probably other beings who are not empaths, who are not highly sensitive, and really understanding and that kind of comes in the, this seven piece of the Humane marketing mandala, right, where I do start with this personal power of finding out who you truly are, how you’re wired, I mentioned, I’m a Capricorn, I mentioned, I’m an HSP, all these things that give us information about who we are, help us then also create the business that is aligned with who we are, help us tap into our strengths and, you know, things that we can use in our marketing. And so yeah, understanding all of that has totally shifted my idea of how I want to run my business, I only work with three, one on one clients at a time. Because that’s just I, I spend so much cognitive energy, even outside of working with these clients, that that’s just how I want to work. And that, of course, means well, redefining my definition of success, because I’m not gonna, you know, be just increasing my rates endlessly and endlessly, because I still want to make the same amount of money. So it’s just like this whole rethinking of, well, what does it mean for me to wanting to be in business wanting to make a difference, but not burning out at the same time? I think there’s so much out there about, you know, wanting to create a legacy or wanting to create change and helping other people. I’ve done that for so long that I came back to saying, Well, who are the most important people in my life? They’re my husband, and my kids and my parents and my sister, right? Well, I want to spend time with them just as much or probably more than I want to spend time with clients, who I love, whom I love dearly, but they’re not my most important people. And so my business had to shift and say, Okay, I need to prioritize that. And then I not just those people, but myself. And so hence the walking in the woods and the dog and all of that.


Catherine A. Wood  43:48

I mean, I really, I really hear that. And I also hear that sometimes that looks like taking really uncomfortable decisions on some levels in service of Your most important values and commitments. This This summer I, I, I pulled back from business a lot. And I also shrunk my I had some clients complete in the spring, and I decided not to replace those spots all summer and some levels. It was uncomfortable for me having a smaller paycheck. And then I had to reevaluate, like, why is this actually uncomfortable for me? Why do I really care about this? And it was just totally that egoic part of me that cared. That part of me that is still struggling with my own internal capitalism still struggling with not continually increasing continually earning more and more and higher and higher. But in reality at the end of the day, like I was most committed to spend doing time with my family and my friends and my dogs and being in nature and by the ocean. And so when I could just recenter in what am I most committed to hear? The quiet all the noise?


Sarah Santacroce  45:19

Yeah, yeah. And you’re so right. It’s it always comes back to the ego. Or very often, right? Well, first time safety, like we said, sometimes we depends where we are in our journey, right? So obviously, if you’re, you can’t cover basic needs, then then then it sounds like very snobby to say, Well, I’m only working with three clients. And so it’s always important to first cover basic needs. But then once you’re at that stage, where you’re like, Well, I have enough. I know, I cover my basic needs. Is it you know, is it really the needs? Or is it my ego? Or is it capitalism that just pushes me constantly to, to do more? And it’s actually also society that, you know, is kind of still frowning upon? Well, why are you not working? Sara? Why are you walking, you know, in the forest during the day when everybody else is working? So all these kind of like thoughts in our head and like, Well, yeah, you should be working eight hours per day. But wait a minute, I went into business so I could have more freedom. And it’s like, yeah, but you still should be working like this.


Catherine A. Wood  46:36

Totally, I mean, it is such a mindset shift, right? Like the nine to five mindset to the CEO mindset, realizing that the permission, the freedom you went into business to gain is the same freedom that you need to learn how to protect and sustain? Well, I am mindful of the time and as we wrap up here, I guess, I wanted to end on the power of language. Because something I think I sense about you is how important the words that you choose to use are, and how you name things. And one of the questions that that you sent over which I’m dying to hear more about what this means is the term the gentle sales conversation in our serene garden. And also you rename a sales funnel to a sales path. And I just love I’d love for you to perhaps end us today like talking about, first of all, what those what those terms are? But also why the languaging why the renaming of them is so important to you.


Sarah Santacroce  47:46

Yeah. Okay, I’ll actually start with the, the language and why it’s so important to you. To me, to you should be to. It is. So language really well, maybe. I never thought of that, actually. But I speak five languages, fluently. And so maybe that’s one of the reasons why language to me is important. I can you know, I turn into different characters when I speak different languages. Here we are. I live in in Lausanne Switzerland, I speak French with my friends, with my parents, I speak Swiss German, with, you know, when I’m in Sicily, I speak Italian and, you know, with clients, and so I speak English. And so I think, yeah, language is important to me. But then also, what really resonated with me when I was doing my research, for the marketing, like a human book is this book by Jeffrey sharp called lingo. It’s a really, really good read, because he writes about the importance of language for your ideal clients. And so I was like, yeah, that really makes sense how you speak. And of course, also in the written language, it really either resonates with your ideal clients, or it doesn’t. And, and so that really made sense to me. And then I started to look at the marketing language and all the terms that we just take for granted and think, Well, this is just how marketing is supposed to sound. And if you think of Target and Target Audience and leads, and we know the trip wire, all these terms are, first of all, very madly, you know, very yang energy. Some of them come from the military language, some of them from the sports language, but they’re very aggressive. And so people like us, like empaths highly sensitive people will we sense that like, I’m feel aggressed when I read that kind of language, and so I really do feel like Well, if we change marketing, we also need to change our language. And that’s why instead of the funnel, where if you just visualize this funnel, while it’s it means like, we’re squishing everybody through the same funnel, and so we’re not empowering them at all, we’re disempowering them, we’re treating them like cattle go through the same funnel, right? So I’m like, well, that doesn’t resonate with my people. And it doesn’t resonate with all the heart centered entrepreneurs, I would say. So changing that to a gentle sales path, where it feels like Oh, I’m, I’m empowered, I can be on this path, I can exit this path I can cause on this path, and, you know, it’s like, I’m the one who’s in power. And it’s, it’s the same with the, with the gentle sales conversation in the serene garden where it feels like I’m sitting down with my ideal client, I’m having tea, and I’m just having this human conversation where we can be transparent, and say, Look, Sarah, I don’t actually have the money right now. Can we talk about this? Is there a way that you know, yeah, what people usually know, is the payment plan. So they usually say, is there a payment plan, and then they expect, you know, this payment plan to come with like this interest? And it’s going to be much more, so they’re already afraid about that? And I’m like, No, let’s just have a human conversation I hear you on and I really want to work with you as well. And let’s, let’s find a way you know, it, I really think it’s this idea of, if we come from integrity, and we both want the best for each other, then there will be a way. And it’s based on trust. Recently, what I started doing is when when I have these payment plans that are kind of longer than the usual payment plan, I’ll just say, Would you Would you be okay to sign a trust agreement, where I just kind of create a little word document and say, you know, we both want to sleep well at night, and we both have our best interest at heart, let’s sign this trust agreement. And it works beautifully, because they know that they’re now a responsible, conscious human being who who owes me that money in exchange for that trust that we have established.


Catherine A. Wood  52:27

Right? I’m so glad I asked that question. And I love that language, like a gentle sales conversation in our serene garden. Like it’s so visual, and even just embodying yourself, being in a serene garden, while you have a sales conversation with a cup of tea, like it changes the whole energy of the call. Yeah. Well, Sara, this has been so wonderful. I’m so glad that we, I mean, not only rescheduled from last week when I was at the yoga retreat, but we’ve been in you’ve been in my world for many years now. So I’ve been knowing I would connect with you at some point. So it’s really lovely. Having you and I ask all of my guests is the closing question. What has supported you in becoming a prosperous empath?


Sarah Santacroce  53:19

Huh, yeah, thank you. So many different things, I would say. And I, I think I kind of list them at the, at the end of the marketing like we’re human book, because again, it’s, it’s this transformation that we need to go through, right. And so one thing that comes up for me right now is yoga. Nidra. I can go through my days anymore without having my half hour yoga nidra pause and at lunch, and just kind of like, totally relax, and be silent. And yeah, meditation is kind of challenging for me. So I I’m like, Well, you know, who says I have to do meditation, I can find a different thing for that works for me and, and yoga. Nidra is that thing, it’s not so much about the concentrated, emptying our mind, but it’s just about the deep relative relaxation of the body. And yeah, I find that very supportive right now.


Catherine A. Wood  54:22

Well, I love that. I love that. Sarah, thank you so much. It’s been so lovely to have you and I know that my audience is going to just love our conversation.


Sarah Santacroce  54:32

Thanks so much cut. Yeah, it was a delight to talk to you


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Exploring Sensitive Leadership with Nina Khoo

On this week’s episode of the Prosperous Empath®, we’ll explore how to effectively lead as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), mitigate challenges, and work with your strengths. I’m thrilled to sit down with Nina Khoo, a Sensitive Leadership Coach and a Master NLP Coach who helps HSPs understand and embrace their unique wiring so they can become confident and empathetic leaders. It’s common for Highly Sensitive People to believe that they’re not capable of effective leadership and struggle with overwhelm, perfectionism, and second-guessing. Nina and I uncover how our greatest strengths can sometimes be the traits we feel most self-conscious about and pose a central question: How does a Highly Sensitive Person protect their gifts as a leader? As an empath and an HSP, your brain is physiologically wired to take more information in and process it more deeply, which can be an incredibly powerful leadership skill. Yet, it can also lead to overwhelm and self-criticism. Through our conversation, you’ll learn how to approach leadership in a more sensitive, empathetic, and compassionate way so you can own your gifts and make a bigger difference in the world  

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