Courtney Boyd Myers is a Curator at Summit, a company that creates places and spaces to foster for a community of worldwide innovators and creatives, all working to make our world a better place. Courtney is also an adviser to Greenwave, a nonprofit that's pioneering ocean farming, and Tech Open Air, a Berlin and L.A. based cultural tech conference. Prior to working for Summit, Courtney (known as "CBM") helped open up General Assembly London, founded a digital marketing agency called audience.io, and was an editor and reporter for outlets like The Next Web, Forbes, and The Huffington Post. We chatted with Courtney to learn more about the role mindfulness plays in entrepreneurship, health and balancing technology.
What is the best piece of self-care advice you have ever received?
You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.
You’ve lived in London and New York. Are there differences in the ways that both cultures approach the idea of mindfulness?
Yes. I would say overall, generally speaking, New York is a much cooler city when it comes to mainstream acceptance of meditation as a personal practice. There are more events like MediClub and Big Quiet, studios like MNDFL, classes, teachers, clubs, etc. that support meditation in NYC. London is just slower out of the gate on health and wellness trends versus NYC or LA. In fact, both Calm and Headspace actually have London founders but both companies are now West Coast based for business reasons.
As an avid traveler, can you offer any tips for managing stress on-the-move?
One of my meditation teachers, Emily Fletcher at Ziva Mind, told me that your body gets really stressed out whenever it travels faster than it is biologically capable of (so cars, planes, buses, etc. versus running). Therefore, when on the move, I get a few extra sessions of meditation in - particularly in cab rides, and during takeoff and landing. I also travel with a pretty intense coffee drink mix chock full of mushrooms from Four Sigmatic, superfoods like cacao nibs, maca, and turmeric, and adaptogens like he shou wu and rhodiola. So for breakfast, I will blend (or stir if without a blender) this mix with hot water to feel like Superwoman to start the day.
In addition to the audience.io and summit.io, you also run Hustle and Kale - an account dedicated to healthy living inspiration. When it comes to your approach to nutrition and fitness, what role does mindfulness play?
So, I actually stopped running Hustle and Kale on January 1st, 2016 because it was one of my New Year's resolutions to FOCUS, particularly on things that were bringing a lot of value to my life (financial, emotional, etc.) and Hustle and Kale didn't make the cut, as much fun as it was to run an Instagram of smoothie recipes (which you can now find on my personal IG!). The reason I am telling you this, is because the decision was all about being mindful of where I am focusing my time and energy -- one of the most important keys to managing stress and general well-being.
To answer your question though, mindfulness plays a massive role in nutrition and fitness. For nutrition, I spend a lot of time thinking about the food I eat, where it's from, and how it impacts my body. I love How to Eat (Mindful Essentials) by Thich Nhat Hanh for lessons on how to eat more mindfully, and I just picked up his other book Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life, which I'm excited to read soon!
When it comes to being mindful about fitness, I make sure to program at least one physical activity per day, usually alternating between cardio, weight-training, and yoga, and I usually do this at the start of the week or first thing in the morning, and block it off in my calendar. I trained for a 4-day triathlon this summer, which was intense but an amazing way to understand how to push past my physical limits! And on a day-to-day, I love my Garmin watch, which yells at me to MOVE! every few hours if I am not getting in my daily steps (10,000).
As a global entrepreneur juggling multiple clients and projects, do you find it challenging to disconnect from technology? Do you have to set boundaries for yourself?
Yes! Because being always on means also being free for me. If you're always connected online, you feel like you can work from anywhere, which I love. But yeah, burnout is real and overdosing on screens is real! Daily, I make sure to turn everything on airplane mode before I go to bed and to go through a quick morning routine (oil pulling, bathroom, face wash, teeth brushed, meditation) before I turn my phone back on. And every year, I always try to take a proper holiday from my phone. In the past, that week has been for Burning Man. This year, I skipped Burning Man and in two weeks, after producing the biggest event in Summit's history (Summit at Sea), I'm heading to Brazil for two weeks of kiteboarding with my French lover... so, I think I'll have to make time to put my phone away when I'm there. :)
You’re passionate about the relationship between technology and wellness. How has technology reframed your own approach to own health and wellness?
For me, technology impacts health in three main ways: data + democratized information + social support. For example, apps that help us track our steps lead to better personal choices around health and wellness (e.g. having your Garmin yell at you so you decide to walk home from dinner vs. take an Uber); apps and websites (like Chalkboard Eats) that help us connect with nutritionists and doctors (like Dr. Mark Hyman) to learn more about health trends like supplements; and apps (like Foodstand or WhatsApp) that help us stay in touch with our friends and family and their personal health choices on a daily basis.
Has life as an entrepreneur changed your approach to stress management?
It's all on YOU. No one else is going to take care of numero uno. So make the time for self-care, self-love, and this will in turn create a healthier mind, body, and company.