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Shifting Out of Overwhelm with Antoinette Mendez

In this episode of BOSS™ Talk, I'm chatting with Antoinette Mendez about the importance of self-care in dealing with stress and overwhelm. Antoinette, a certified Arizona school counselor and CEO of Mission 2 Transition, will be sharing practical tips on how she includes self-care in her entrepreneurial journey. She'll also talk about how La’Vista Jones' book, The BOSS™ Shift, helped her embrace self-awareness and appreciate strengths for achieving work-life balance. If you're looking to lead a more fulfilling and harmonious life, tune in now!

Go to Show Notes here.

Here is the transcript:


Welcome to another episode of BOSS™ Talk. I am your host, La'Vista Jones, and today I am joined by my guest, Antoinette Mendez. Welcome to the show. Thank you for having me. Of course, of course.        


So before we get started, let me share with the listeners a little bit more about Antoinette. Antoinette Mendez is a certified Arizona school counselor passionate about helping young students succeed in postsecondary planning. She has a strong youth development and education background, having worked for ten years in the school system as a school counselor and intervention specialist. She is the CEO of Mission 2 Transition, delivering tailored college and career planning solutions to families, schools and organizations challenged with helping all students across higher education opportunities. So, wow.        


Right? I can think about my transition from high school into college and I definitely didn't have anybody doing this helping me to make decisions. In fact, I think I've shared this story on the show before, but when I was in that season of life, really the only thing I really was passionate about doing was being a housewife and a mom. But with my SAT and ACT scores and things like that, I had an advisor that was just like, yeah, no, that's not going to be your plan. And I'm just like, okay, that's really what I want to do.        


But she's like, yeah, no. And so I was like, that kid looking at all these flyers, I had gotten the mail and she's like, you need to pick someplace we're going to go for a visit, I'm taking you. And I'm just like, okay. And so I just pick a place like kind of random, not really even looking at what are the majors that are there, how does this fit into the life that I'm trying to build for myself? Because I'm like, I'm not really sure how school is going to teach me how to be a wife or a mother because I'm still on that, right?        


And so it's just interesting now that I've gotten older, I've gotten through school, I have a family and stuff now and thinking about my son and the trajectory that he's on. And it's just like, oh, there's actually some planning that needs to be part of this and some strategy around the school or whatever decision that you decide to make, path you decide to go on once you leave school. And so it's just like the work that you do feels just so important and it's very different than the path that I took. So talk to us, share with us the passion behind why it is that you do the work that you do. My story is a little similar.        


So in high school, I didn't know what I wanted to be. I had a lot of people telling me, oh, you'd be good at this, I see you as a teacher. But me, I wanted to travel and I was like, I'm going to be a wife, I'm going to have a set of twins and get two for one because I don't like pain. And that's what I was going to do, but I got put in these honors classes, and people continued to pour into me like, these great things about you. I didn't have the best experience with my high school counselor.        


I one time ended up with a friend of mine visiting her counselor, and she's like, what are you going to do? I was like, Well, I'm going to be a chef. I'm going to go to NAU, and I'll be in their hospitality program. But then I'm also going to be a flight attendant because I want to travel the world, you know. She was like, Girl, you are all over the place and doesn't make sense to go and incur student loan debt when you're unsure.        


So try the local community college. With your grades, you'll be able to possibly go for free. You have honors classes. They have an honors scholarship. You'll probably get money back.        


I was like, Wait, money back to go to school? They're going to pay me. She was like, and give yourself two years to really figure out what it is that you want to do. And so that's what I decided. I went ahead.        


I went to South Mountain Community College. I started there first, but I also did not like school. So I was trying to figure out how could I get in and out of here as quick as possible? So I would take classes at the different Maricopa Community College of Campuses just to make sure I finished pretty quick. So I ended up finishing at Scottsdale Community College.        


Then I knew, like, okay, I want to give this education thing a try. So I did take a couple of courses for becoming a classroom teacher, and then I worked as a kindergarten classroom assistant. And God bless kindergarten teachers that early elementary. Listen, I became a kindergarten teacher during COVID because everything was shut down, and it was just like, this is not for me. Yes, the singing, the positivity all day.        


I'm like, just give them their flowers. They're awesome humans. But that's where I learned nope, the classroom isn't for me. I still want to work with youth, but I want to have fun. I want to be able to connect with them and put them in places where I can educate them and help them grow, but just not in the classroom repeating myself every day.        


I wanted something different every day. And so I was working as a financial aid advisor in higher education, and I was hearing more people come into school making bad decisions to take out these loans. And I was like, this has to stop. And so I kind of thought back to that experience of my friend's school counselor telling me, go the community college route. And I was like, I want to be like her.


I want to help them identify and know that it's okay if you don't know, but here's a path that you can start to start to discover. And so I earned my Master's in school counseling in 2012 from Ottawa University. And I went back to begin as a school counselor in the same district I graduated from. With that energy, like, no, I don't want anybody else to experience what I experienced. And then also I didn't want to see students going in making those bad decisions with finances.        


That got me there. Got it. Yeah. Awesome. I love that. So we both joked around about it is very clear that we are not the kindergarten teacher variety.        


Right. But I mean, you are still very much connected into the educational system, right. And so one of the things that you said, give the teachers their flowers, right? They go through so much and they deal with so much and they pour so much into our kids on a day to day basis. And I love every teacher that my son has had so far.        


Right. It's been a great experience. Some have been better than others. Right. But he's had great teachers so far.        


With that, I also see, I feel like, the stress and the overwhelm that they are also dealing with, like the class sizes that they have. You've got students that are neurodivergent and you have to make modifications and make sure that you're doing all these different things in your classroom to make sure that your kids get all of the support and stuff that they need. And so it's such a hefty job that these teachers do. Right. So with you still being connected into the education system, I'm sure that you deal with your own unique set of overwhelms and things that kind of stress you out.        


Talk to us, if you will, about what your self care looks like and how that has evolved over the years as you have gone through transitioning from having a career to actually being the CEO of your own company. So I'm still a work in progress because part of the reason I left the school district is because of the feeling of being overwhelmed and not choosing the best outlets to have self care. And having a toddler, I wanted to have a schedule that was flexible for her. So now being the CEO of Mission 2 Transition and working through the Journal, I have been able to be more intentional with my scheduling. So when I have client intakes, I've scheduled or made that just two times a week.        


Right. I make sure that when I pick my daughter up from school that I block out at least 3 hours of time for just she and I. Because I do still want to keep a flexible schedule for my clients because I know students are getting out of school and need support, but I have to pour into my family first. Then Fridays, I try to keep it fun so I have my what is that? My wellness plan or membership to one of the massage spas.        


So I'm going every month I get my massage. I had to go beyond just the pedicure manicure. It's more than that. My quiet time in the morning. So I'm up before my husband and my daughter, and now that it's cooler outside, I'm outside in the morning journaling, reflecting on my day before celebrating myself.        


Whatever wins, I did have for the week or for the prior day, because I have to continue to encourage and affirm that I am on the right path. This is what I'm supposed to do, even in the challenging and the time that it's overwhelming. So that calendaring out has really helped me to embed the self care that I need to keep moving forward. So my quiet time, my exercise time, and then my time at the spa.        


I love that because I have similar boundaries around my time too, right? As a mom, my client work primarily happens when he's away at school, and then when he's here, it's just like that boss hat comes off, and it's like, I'm in mom mode, right? And I can remember even seeing him kind of learn those lessons right before he went to school. I had to do some work while he was here before he was, like, school age. And so we had a thing that was just like, if he came upstairs to my office and my door was shut, mommy's working, right?        


And so you've got to give me the time in here so that I can focus on whatever I needed to focus on in here. But then when the door is open, you can come in, you can bring your toys, you can play in here, you can bring the dog in here, whatever. It's a much more flexible work environment for me. But he also got accustomed to that like, hey, you're not in your office. You're not in work mode.        


So that also means your phone. He'll be like, So can you put your phone down? And I'm like, oh, my bad, right? Because he's like, this is my time. They have your time.        


Now, this is my time. And so just building that with him and those understandings with him, it's just like, I am very unapologetic around the time that if I have to work, like, I'm working, and I'm giving everything that I can during that time. But when I'm with my son and I'm in mom mode, I'm very unapologetic about that too. This is his time. Because it's like, I had this thought this summer because he turned eight, and it was just like, I only have ten more summers with him.        


That's it, right? And it's just like, right? Yeah. It's not worth me taking a call at 06:00 in the afternoon, and that causes me to miss baseball practice, right? I want to go to baseball practice because there's only so much more of those that are going to happen while he's like a little boy.        


So I love that you shared the calendar scheduling and the boundaries around your time that you have. And one of the things also that you mentioned, and I picked up on it because I know what you're talking about. You talked about journal, right? And so we were sharing before we started recording the episode that as an author, it's great when somebody is like, hey, I bought your book. And it's like, thank you, I appreciate the support.        


But often when I see someone out and about, it's like, hey, I bought the book. And I'm like, great, but did you read it? Have you done anything with it? Right? Buying the book is one thing, but actually reading what an author has written and put their time into crafting and knowing that somebody is actually resonating with those words, I know for myself, as an artist that uses writing as my medium, I don't even know.        


Gratifying is not the word, but I feel like it feeds into the why that I did it. If there's one person that can be like, hey, I read the thing that you wrote and this is how it helped me. I'm just like, oh my God. All of the developmental editing and tears and everything, it was worth it because one person got something from it. So with that, I want to talk about a conversation that we had.        


Not text message, but we were DMing each other back and forth because you and I are now part of this grant program. Both of our companies have been funded through the SEE ME Grant, which is amazing. And so I'm so excited to be in this cohort with you. But when we reconnected into the cohort, you had sent a message that, hey, you know what? By the way, I'm using your journal as part of my CEO time, right?        


And I was like, what? Tell me more. Tell us more about what does that look like? How are you using it? And why has this been like a resource that you've been able to incorporate into your rituals?        


So the manifesto on the cover right? Yeah, that first I had to just start every time. No more glorifying busy. When I became a CEO, I thought my calendar had to be full. I have to prove to people that I'm doing something right.        


I have to prove to my husband that I didn't just quit my job and I'm hanging out at home. I'm doing something. But I was also overwhelming myself, I think actually, just today we were cautioned, be careful not to chase just too many things. Don't be that squirrel.        


Just chasing too many things and they're not connecting or in alignment with the goals that we have, the short term and long term goals. And so when I think it was probably about maybe this time last year, I think I got the book and I read that, I'm like, I got to stop. I'm like, yes, I'll go to this networking event. Yes, I'll go to this. But then it was like, now what do I do with my time?        


How do I make sure I am being intentional? And so starting to go through it was a lot of revelation and conviction in the beginning. I was like, I don't know if I really like her anymore, but I'm going to push through this because it's something that's needed, right? How do we heal if we don't know root causes of what's going on? And so being able to have that actualization with myself, like, no, you're going to go through this because this is new for you.        


I didn't come from parents who are entrepreneurs. It was go to school, get a job, and pretty much you work until you retire. So now that I'm in this new space, it was like, no, go get in this program and learn this. Get in this program, go to school and learn this. And so I was engulfing myself with all this learning, learning.        


But then it was like, what are you putting into practice? I'll be honest. What is it in here? The cost. Oh, the cost of being the boss, the calculator.        


I did one or two and I was like, no, she's not going to make me feel bad about myself. No, but again, it was good because I had to look at, am I spending too much time here? And I'm really losing money, right? Or do I spend the time and learn how to update my website right now? And I save money?        


So now it's like, all right, if it's taking me more than 4 hours to figure this thing out, it's probably time for me to outsource and be strategic, right? Know what my budget is and know what I can afford. So just recently, I tried to update my own CRM, and I was like, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to automate. And I was like, all right, here goes.        


Day two and I still haven't got this. And I was like, all right, I'm going to fiver. And I had to negotiate. I was like, nope. Calculating costs.        


So I negotiated and I found a woman, and she was like, well, if you extend my deadline, I can meet your budget. Boom. Sounds great to me, right? And so now I'm able to have peace of mind that I'm getting systems in place so that my customers or my clients do have a professional experience with me. And it's allowing me to now go take these other meetings to bring clients in so I don't have to worry about my intake forms and proposals because I got somebody putting that in place.        


So now I can continue to get out and market and build my brand awareness. So it was a little rough when I got to that section of the book. And I was like, no, but it was very eye opening and allowed me to put some strategies and practices in place that's been good. So Manifesto. And then each section has been eye opening.        


Again, a lot of conviction, but also education and informative too. So I don't feel like you just rip open things, rip it open and not have some tips and support in place to help me go through it. Right? So even though we're not here physically together, as I'm going through the journal, even though these things were open up and I have this revelation, like, oh, I need to make some change, the continuing fill in the blanks and prompts allow me to now put some stuff in place so I don't walk away feeling bad about myself. All right, I've identified the problem.        


I worked through it with these prompts, and now here are some solutions and practical things I can walk away and begin implementing in the day. Oh, my gosh. You just made my heart, like, flutter. Seriously. Oh, thank you so much for saying that.        


And you know what's funny is that when I do get feedback about the book and about the journal, it usually is around the same kind of a thing. Like, yeah, I read that part and I was just like, yeah, I don't like her very much right now. And I'm like what I do. What did I do? What did I say?        


And I remember I would get messages during the launch from the launch team that got to read everything first, and it was just like, so why are you stepping on our toes this way? And I'm like my bad, but sorry. Not sorry. I'm not sorry for saying anything that I said in the book or sharing any of the stories. Because when I talk about having this passion around not allowing entrepreneurs, women especially, like, one of the things you said burn themselves out and feel overwhelmed proving to other people that they're worthy of being this entrepreneur, they're worthy of having this business.        


Because somehow we have bought into this hustle culture, right? If I'm not moving, shaking, doing something, like, every waking moment of the day, I'm not doing it right. So, no, I can't not take a meeting at, like, 10:00 p.m.. Yeah, you can. You don't have to run your business that way.        


So thank you so much for sharing that. And so I'd love to hear from your perspective, why do you feel that self care is so important to incorporate into your role as a CEO? It's your overall physical health. When we are working nonstop and we burn ourselves out, it impacts our physical health, especially, like, being at the desk sitting all day. Right?        


A lot of us women hate our midsection. It's like, well, we're overworking ourselves. We're stressed out trying to meet these deadlines or trying to prove to somebody about our worth or our value of our companies, and it takes that toll on our bodies. And so I've been more intentional about meeting with a nutritionist. She understands my work and she's like, okay, well, we need to have snacks.        


So if you are time blocking when you transition, build in some time to go and have that snack. So if I'm an hour and a half, I'm working on something, 15 minutes is my transition time. Go get you a healthy snack. Nothing. I thought I'd take that 15 minutes, I go outside, I do a couple of breathing, and then I come back in and I'm snacking on chips.        


Not realizing how this is having a toll on my body and the weight goals that I have for myself. So that I found has been one of the biggest things, is that self care and becoming in the wellness, it's for your overall health. And a lot of it, like I said, is I did, like, stress. Like, my hair is getting more gray hair. And I'm like, no, we're not going to do that.        


We're going to build it this time. And in that time, finding again ways to celebrate myself, congratulating myself on the wins, and then knowing that it's okay not to have everything to be perfect, but I will get there, because I didn't choose this. Right? This is my purpose. And like I said, I wanted to just go have twins, be at home, and let's make snack lunches now.        


COVID even opened my mind like, no, I don't want to do that stay at home mom thing. Even though I'm working from home. It's a totally different ball game. These little people. Yeah, I think that me and my son liked each other so much more once he was able to go back to school, it was just like, oh, I love you and I miss you, and everything is back to where it needed to be.        


But like, us literally being in the house. Twenty four seven, and I'm your teacher, and we're having freakouts about writing the number three. And I'm just like, I can't do this. I can't do this with you. Teacher, the principal, the lunch lady.        


All of the above. All of the above.        


And not just one teacher, PE Teacher, Art teacher. Yes. God bless the teachers of the world, because they are a special breed, for sure. Yeah. But that also contributes to it, that attitude, being able to have that positive relationship now with your family when you have yourself taken care of.        


So I know that I have to find ways to pour into me in order to have something good to pour back out into my family and to those that I serve. So I don't want them getting the bad stuff. I love that. And I love all of the examples that you have shared about how you just build in the time to take care of you and to pour into yourself really in a very holistic kind of way. Right.        


You've talked about exercise, your food, like quiet time, doing more of the luxe kind of stuff, going to the spa and having massages and things like that. And those things like your family and your clients, that's not the reason that you do it. You do it because you just need to be okay. But the benefit is that they get the byproduct of that when you're all right, you get to show up as a better spouse and a better mom and a better boss and a better coworker and a better network partner and all that other stuff. And so I love just hearing how you've been able to make those adjustments for yourself, especially knowing that you came from a vocational situation where you were feeling that route to burnout in your body.        


And it's like, I need to do something different. I need to do something different. Because that is truly the theme of the book and the journal itself is that you are able to do what you love without sacrificing yourself to do it. And when I say that, I mean you don't have to sacrifice your body. You can sleep and you can rest.        


You don't have to sacrifice your mental health. You can take the break and you can sit in quiet and you can do nothing. It is fine to do nothing and not feel guilty about it. Right. Again, I just love the examples that you were able to share.        


So as we get ready to close, I'd love to know any advice that you would want to share with another entrepreneur that's wanting to infuse more self care into the way that they actually do their work. Well, definitely, if they haven't got the journal or your book. Right. Because sometimes we need a place, a starting place, right? Yeah.        


And so that, again, is what helped me, because I thought I need to just always be booked and busy. Right. And so going through that helped me to diagnose, so to speak, to come up with some diagnosis of here are some places that I need to make improvement. But then it also gave me some tools in there that allowed me to come up with solutions to put that improvement into practice. So it wasn't that you said here to do this, but it challenged me to think about what could I do that's approaching me.        


Right. And so that would lead me to an accountability partner as well, somebody to remind you, make sure you are taking care of yourself. So I have a business bestie, and she and I check in on Tuesdays and it's some of that. Okay, so what were the things that you accomplished? And she's also a great cheerleader for me.        


She's always ready to celebrate me and so that her positive energy is like, no, I want to be like her. So what do I need to do to make sure I'm not frowning today?        


For me, I had to have a tool and that's just the way I learned. So I needed to have a tool to help me begin to start to dig in and figure out where am I overworking myself, where do I need to begin to make those improvements and then what do I now have at my disposal that I can implement solutions? So it cost me nothing to go take a 15 minutes or 30 minutes walk, right? And we need vitamin D. So I'll get out of this house, especially working from home, I even will go and work at the public library from time to time just because I want to separate work and home.        


So I'll book two or 3 hours in a meeting room at one of the local libraries and I'll do business there so I have that space as well. Because at home I want to do laundry, I got to do know and I'm like no, you're supposed to be too and that was a part of my accountability partners like hey, two days a week I want you to work not at the house. And so if it's Starbucks, if it's the park, get out of the house. Because that also played a factor into my mental health, finding the things that are inexpensive at first, because starting out a business is when we don't always have all the money, all the insurance perks. And so finding those inexpensive ways to begin to pour into self, even if it's like YouTube.        


YouTube has ten minute motivationals. And that's what I would sometimes play in the morning here in Denzel Washington or Oprah. Some of those ten minute motivationals to pour into me or get me thinking about taking care of myself. So I don't know. Did I answer all the questions?        


Yeah, absolutely right. You talked about finding a tool and for you it sounds like you were able to use the book and the journal kind of like as a catalyst, right? Being accountable to yourself and to somebody else like hey, what are you doing? Because I think one of the worst things is having that unchecked overwhelm that you're just dealing with that nobody else knows about and it's just like eating you up from the inside out and then starting to incorporate solutions of things that can pour into yourself. And one of the misconceptions, I think, that's out there around self care is that it's like self care has got to be expensive or it's got to be elaborate.        


But most of the things that you have talked about are very simplistic and free. But they are things that resonate with you and fill you up so that you're able to do the things that you need to do in your business and in your life. And that in my opinion, is the key to successful self care. It's not about taking eight week vacations or going to the spa and spending hundreds of dollars to do whatever. Especially if you're.        


Not a physical touch person. Right. And that's one of the things, like, I touch on the book. Are you doing self care based on what they told you to do? Because they don't know you.        


Right. Because what's going to work for you is not going to work for me. What's going to work for me might not work for my son. So you've got to get in touch with who you are and define these things on your own and what do they mean to you, and then find those things for yourself. Yeah.        


And when you say that, it makes me think I also did a few self assessments to understand my leadership style so that I wouldn't continue to beat myself up and I'm trying to do too many things right. No, this is your strength and stay in that lane. So I did like, some enneagrams and strength finders and even my spiritual gifts, and I found a lot of synergy in each one of those different assessments, and then I take ownership of that. And now I know, okay, this is what I need to refuel me. I know my love language now so I can make sure I'm speaking my love language to me so that others can learn how to speak it to me as well as me speaking back to them.        


Yes. And I think that that is another key. Right. Is that far too often we look at love languages as this thing that we do with another person, especially like a romantic partner, but we forget to be fluent in it for ourselves. Right.        


And it's just like, oh, I love flowers. I can think earlier in my marriage being upset that my husband doesn't send me flowers, and it's just like, what's stopping me from buying my own flowers?        


Right? And so now in my office, right, I don't think you can really see it on camera, but this whole side of my desk is filled with nothing but plants, and I've got plants hanging up in the window behind me. And on a very regular basis, I'll go to the store and actually get flowers for myself. And it's like if I waited for him to fill that part of my cup up, I'd be thirsty. Right.        


I'm filling it up for myself, and it makes me happy. So it's like you have to be fluent in these things for yourself, especially as a business owner. And one of the things that you've read through is that how do you incorporate that just into the day to day of running your business? So it's like if you are a words of affirmation person, making sure you've got a really great testimonial system set up in your business, because that way your clients are writing you little love letters all the time, and that makes you feel amazing. Right.        


And so it's just like, that's how your business starts to speak your love language, too. And nurture you. So, yeah, you’ve got to be fluent. You've got to know for yourself the things that fill you up and make you happy. Yeah, for sure.        


So true. Yes. I love that and I love this conversation. So thank you so much for being here. And for those that are listening, I found this out today that this is Antoinette's very first podcast.        


I am glad that we were able to have this first experience with you, and hopefully it was a painless one on your end. So thank you for being our guest today and sharing so openly. Before we go, share with the audience how they can connect with you. You can connect with me through my website, the Mission 2 Transition to Numerical Two or on social media. At the Mission 2 Transition.        


We are on Facebook and Instagram. And then I have a personal LinkedIn page, which is just my first name, Antoinette Mendez. Awesome. First and last name. First and last.        


Awesome. And so we'll have those things linked in our show notes for our listeners. And then also there is a way to schedule a free consultation with Antoinette as well on her website. So if you go out to on that Contact Us page is a link there to get on her calendar, especially if you have a kid that is in this age range that she works with. This is a great resource for you to tap into.        


And so for those of you that are listening, please make sure to check the show notes at for the tips and resources that were mentioned in today's show. I am confident that something about Antoinette's story resonated with you and is challenging you to cultivate your own culture of work life balance and prevent burnout. Allow me to leave you with this reminder that you can love what you do in the marketplace without sacrificing yourself to do it. And until next time, be sure to subscribe to the show and download your favorite episodes while you continue to battle overwhelm with systems and self care and walk out your BOSS™ Talk. Bye.


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