Rise From The Ashes

Unveiling Authenticity: Jackie Ruka's Journey from Burnout to Happyologist

January 08, 2024 Baz Porter® Season 3 Episode 2
Rise From The Ashes
Unveiling Authenticity: Jackie Ruka's Journey from Burnout to Happyologist
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Have you ever been stuck in a cycle of burnout, wishing for an escape route that leads to happiness and fulfillment? That's exactly the journey our guest, Jackie Ruka - a professional happyologist, took. Jackie recounts her transformation from a high-flying corporate professional to a creative entrepreneur who now preaches the gospel of self-care, resilience, and the universe's divine intervention. Her story is a testament that breakdowns do not define us but can be the catalyst for impressive breakthroughs.

We all strive for success and happiness, but our thoughts, attitudes, habits, and environmental factors could often be roadblocks. Jackie shares her transformational journey, which is marked by internal and external decluttering of her life and a firm commitment to uncompromising self-authenticity. She helps us comprehend that embracing our true essence and maintaining authenticity can have a positive ripple effect, influencing those around us. 

Are you aware of the power that lies in tapping into your inner light? Can obstacles like fear, guilt, and exhaustion truly hinder personal authenticity? This episode answers these questions and more as we explore the significance of positive morning rituals, role models' role in leadership, and the art of convergent and divergent thinking. Jackie also brings us lessons from her leadership journey, the value learned through failures, and the grace of surrendering control. If you're seeking to become a better leader and tap into your true potential, this episode is your guide.

Support the show

Friends, our time together is coming to a close. Before we part ways, I sincerely thank you for joining me on this thought-provoking journey. I aim to provide perspectives and insights that spark self-reflection and positive change.

If any concepts we explored resonated with you, I kindly request that you share this episode with someone who may benefit from its message. And please, reach out anytime - I’m always eager to hear your biggest aspirations, pressing struggles, and lessons learned.

My door is open at my Denver office and digitally via my website. If you want to go deeper and transform confusion into clarity on your quest for purpose, visit http://www.ramsbybaz.com and schedule a coaching session.

This is Baz Porter signing off with immense gratitude. Stay bold, stay faithful, and know that you always have an empathetic ear and wise mind in your corner. Until next time!

Baz:

Good day to everybody here. Welcome back to another episode of Roy's from the ashes. I'm so excited today to have my next guest. She is an entrepreneur and a person of intrigue for me. Her name is Jackie and I met her through LinkedIn. Jackie, please say hello to the world and is it honor and a privilege to spend some time with you today.

Jackie Ruka:

Likewise, thanks for inviting me. For those who don't follow me or know me, my name is Jackie Ruga. I am known as a professional happyologist, certified harbour train, success coach, therapist, best selling author, speaker, and I work with high achieving CEOs and executives so that they can propel themselves toward a success mindset, 10 extra potential in business and in their life and eliminate those limiting beliefs and stress.

Baz:

So you went through a long list. Is there anything you don't do?

Jackie Ruka:

I'm Jackie of all.

Baz:

So, before we go any further, you said that you were best selling. Author. What's the book, please?

Jackie Ruka:

The book is called Get Happy. I have it right here. It's called Get Happy and create a kick butt life. It is an actual creative toolbox. It is something that opens up your third eye and helps you to connect from head to heart as you traverse the transformation journey to get to that next level of yourself.

Baz:

I love that. When you said open up your third eye, that made me smile because I know what that means, but many people don't understand that, so thank you. Many listeners are fascinated with stories of adversity and overcoming issues, challenges. Is there anything significant in your life or career that you've had to overcome to ascend to that next level but has turned out to be an opportunity in that challenge?

Jackie Ruka:

Oh, absolutely. I would say the biggest huge I call it a rude awakening in my life was when I went through a complete identity change from being a very high achieving corporate professional to completely creative author speaker, what I am today. It took a completely different type of person to move beyond where I was to where I wanted to be. So the rude awakening that happened was almost literally a crash into Buddha, which I'll tell you really quickly. I was traveling like basically I was never home. I was constantly driving, flying. I had huge goals. When you're responsible for P&L, you are going from 100 million to 1 billion. You've got other people to be concerned about, with their families and a team of people that you're working with. I had been doing that for many, many years. I had lost myself along the way and my addiction was to my career until I realized it was so toxic and not only I was kind of beyond burnout, I was. I burned out all my adrenals. My body, basically, was shutting down on me and my entire nervous system was as the doctor said. I had nerve bundling throughout my body. So if I didn't stop, I literally would have been operating as a 70 or 80 year old on the path that I was on. So the interesting and kind of serendipitous issues that I was happening all at this same time was my body was breaking down and my car kept breaking down on the freeway in the middle of Southern California, which is kind of scary if you drive in LA and you're in stop and go traffic or you're going really fast and then you come to a screeching halt because of traffic. So my car was literally stalling out on me on the 405, freeway five, all the, all the fun places that you hear on the news. So, to avoid getting into an actual no-transcript, I kept getting the car repaired and it just wouldn't, it wasn't solving anything. So one fateful day on my way to LAX airport, like seven in the morning, I lost complete power, lost the power steering, lost the brakes, lost everything, while I'm traveling down, you know, the 101 freeway, and so this is kind of one of those moments that you might have when you are at a kind of a life and death situation. Your life kind of flashes before you, and so that's what was happening. I was white knuckling it and then I just, you know, just went into high powerful this is not gonna happen mode of what I needed to do next and I knew I needed to go down a hill somewhere, exit, hope for a green light and the car would slowly stop, which is exactly what I envisioned and exactly what happened, thank God, except for the fact that I literally the car slowly stopped in front of a furniture store, in front of two huge 10 foot Buddha statues, and I just looked up and thanked God in Buddha and at that very moment I knew I needed to make a complete 180 in my career, in my life, in my wellbeing. And that's exactly what I did. I gave the car back, I took care of myself for a year, I wrote a book, became a best seller, it blossomed into a business and it just, you know, it literally took. If you don't take care of you, the universe is gonna do something to wake you up, and so that's exactly what happened with me. I wouldn't say there were any missed opportunities as far as that goes. You know I could continue in corporate which I'm not bashing corporate, because I had a very good and very successful career but at some point or another, when you are a high achiever or overachiever and you are not taking care of you along the way, there is gonna be some kind of inevitable breakdown and I hope it's not something that I experienced, but it will manifest and happen at some point or another, and sometimes that's what it has to take in order to get to this new level of yourself. Sometimes, when things break down, it's only because they're gonna come back together in a different way or form, and that's when you might feel tested the most and that's when you start really building resilience to who you really really are and what you're truly capable of from deep down inside. So that's kind of the long version, I guess, to answer your question.

Baz:

No, I love that journey and I can relate to some of them aspects. I lived in LA when I first met my wife, so I don't call it the 405 freeway, I call it the 405 parking lot.

Jackie Ruka:

Yes.

Baz:

And the Buddha was fun. I completely understand the Buddha. It was what was your feeling when you stopped at the bottom of that stent statue and you looked up and went Buddha. What was going through you other than, oh my God, I'm still alive? What was the feeling and what was the emotion that you were feeling in that moment? When you looked up and you saw too big Buddha as an antique or a furniture shop? How do you even describe that?

Jackie Ruka:

The best way I could describe it is when all these red flags keep popping up in your life or in your mind. Like I know I'm meant to be doing more. I know that I have a bigger calling inside of me. I know that I'm not at the potential that I am created for. All of these red flags kept going through my mind for like a year and I kept ignoring the red flags, and the notion of my car breaking down was truly me, recognizing that I was probably going through a tower moment in my career and in my life. And so at that time, when the car finally stopped and I kind of had a big sigh of relief, I really have this feeling of I'm done. I am just done. I made a very strong decision because, you know, as humans, the greatest power that we have is making decisions, right Decisions, choices. We have all of that because the power really is from within. In order to make that happen and decide which way you wanna go. I made a very strong commitment to myself I am done, I am moving on, I'm committing to myself, and that's really when everything changed, and so I would say that feeling was a combination of relief and exhilaration at the same time.

Baz:

This is an. I can relate so closely to this and what you're explaining. My next question for you is out of just what happened and the year that you took out for yourself, what habits did you start to use or implement in your life? The morning ritual stuff, if you can and if you'd like to go beyond that. I find the morning ritual stuff just a bit superficial sometimes. With the kind of a person that I'm speaking to now, I know that's just top of the, literally just a scrape of the iceberg. Yeah, what have you learned out of that experience? Only for yourself and the rituals and the practices that you adhere to religiously today? Yes, on that incident, how would you describe that and how do they show up in your life?

Jackie Ruka:

Yeah, I think that's an excellent question. You know, everybody reads so much about what successful, like really high-end successful, like the Oprah's and Tony Robbins of the world do in their morning ritual to because they don't wake up and they reach their potential and they're ready to go. That's a false belief.

Baz:

Yes.

Jackie Ruka:

I really had to take inventory. It was really just not just what was going on in my mind it was, you know, in my thoughts, in my attitude but how it was affecting my body and what I needed to do. That was the opposite of what I was doing. So, yes, I completely changed out my eating habits and went to an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan which helped with my hormones and lowering my stress, which also helped for my sleep, because I was not sleeping well, which truly affects your level of stress during the day, because when you're not sleeping well, you're not thinking well. Right. I completely changed what I was taking in and soaking up, because what you take in stays right. How you release it is up to you. So I really cut out a lot of watching TV, things that I felt was negative, intake of things, people, whatever was toxic. Really, I completely decluttered my internal self and my external world and environment. Luckily, I lived in a really amazing environment which I was able to take advantage of, because then I could walk every day, I could go to Pilates, I could do all the movements. That was really helping me get back down to my true essence, because your true essence is what we often lose along the way when we are so committed, or over committed, to a job title, to how much money we make, to where we're giving our energy, because when you are a high performer you're giving a lot, a lot of your energy, but not a whole lot of people are checking in with well, how are you doing today and how are you managing everything, and what can I do to help or support you? That's kind of a rare occurrence I'm not saying it doesn't happen, but it's not as often as you might realize and then you end up kind of feeling like this lone wolf who is blazing trails and exceeding your goals and doing all this great stuff. But until you get back down to your essence and start to center yourself, back to down to who you are, are you really going to be able to better lead your life and lead a business? So, from what I was taking in including supplements, food, people, how I expended my energy or not, all of that completely shifted to what I was doing and it's easy to say, oh well, I changed habits or I changed the way I was doing things and formed new habits. You know, to me it really wasn't about a change, it really was about an internal transformation that then created actions for change. So I think many people think, oh, I'll just change this habit and reposition it over to doing this. Okay, well, that's easy to say, but until you do that from an internal point within yourself and you make the commitment to do it, will it truly happen. It's a decision and you and I have talked about this that is aligned in the sand of I will no longer. I will no longer, whatever it might be. And I even tell my clients if you want to start forgiving yourself and feeling guilt or shame or embarrassment or feeling sorry for yourself or overextending yourself to the point of resentment, then you need to change out your commitments and you need to write yourself a new commitment letter and you need to let go of where you are compromising yourself. So every place that I was compromising myself, I wrote it down. There's over 100 different ways I was compromising myself and I basically knocked off everything off of my list and including things like leftover anger I had toward a relationship with my mom and how I might have been treated in the past by an old manager all of that stuff I was hanging onto. So I had to take inventory, as they say and tick off all the places and areas inside and externally that I was compromising myself, that was taking up room in my head and in my heart and in my body.

Baz:

Yeah, I love that distinction and you mentioned something key there what is your true essence? And it is a very powerful question. It's nearly as powerful, I would say, as when you're asking a friend to describe how or what they do for you. Because the question, it's not a feeling, and at first they'll try and describe a feeling of something that you do or have, but it's not the question, it's what do I do for you?

Jackie Ruka:

Well, I think it's kind of funny that you bring this up, because one of my dear clients and it's kind of sad news, but he died suddenly just 10 days ago.

Baz:

I'm sorry to hear that.

Jackie Ruka:

And he was such a bright light and everybody remembers him based on how he made others feel, not what he did for them. I mean, yes, he did a lot of acts of kindness, but it was how he made other people feel when you spent time in his presence and that has such a remarkable staying power and that's just being him, his authentic self.

Baz:

Right Living who he is. Yes, at a very core level.

Jackie Ruka:

Yeah.

Baz:

And as a frequency, I mean I'm sure you're aware of this all this concept, frequency is the strongest frequency out there and it over. It's underestimated and not overused these days, and it's done so many ways I totally agree because I think frequency is what.

Jackie Ruka:

You know people have a misperception of what that actually is and means, and you know we each have this bright light within us. Right, that's part of who, your purpose, part of your authentic self. However, that light gets dimmed by these primal states that we can find ourselves in, whether it's fear or guilt, or unfulfillment, or fatigue, or burnout, or being completely exhausted, or, you know, it could even be comparing yourself to others. You know that's a big killer of self-esteem, and so in. We all ebb and flow. Some people stay in a primal state. However, you know you can switch yourself out of that primal state to a more powerful state, which is why I truly believe it is your happiness that leads to your success and not the other way around. You know, when I have this, or when I reach that, or when I acquire this, then I'll be happy. But equally you're never going to be yeah, exactly and equally.

Baz:

You're never going to be enough. While you're chasing something To your point which I love when you're chasing that or wanting to be something, it's not fake it to you. Make it, but you'll never. You'll never living from that authenticity, authentic light, that you truly are Correct and with that point you shine. With that, jackie, you truly do, and that's why I'm stood here with this little stupid grin in my face listening to you speaking, because everything you're saying is true and it resonates with me at a very, very core level. So thank you for that. Oh, people don't have the courage to say it.

Jackie Ruka:

And they want to be you know, I mean, I have to give credit to you know, and this is one thing in this. I'm not bashing Lincoln or anything like that, but I do see how you know there are toxic leaders out there or there's managers who are more acting like bosses instead of like they just need educating. Right, and and you know, but why not put light on what's what's working and the managers and leaders who are doing amazing things that nobody's sharing? And those are the things that we really learn from, because we can bash, you know all we want. That's the easy thing.

Baz:

Yeah, but that's just it. Yeah, and people bash, we'll do. I was bashing something earlier, but it doesn't mean we could. We have an opportunity not to stay there, say our piece.

Jackie Ruka:

Exactly, exactly.

Baz:

Look at a higher vibration but, however, this is going on as well, yes, and going into sort of like the frequency and role modeling people Be in your career life that you've not copied but aspired to be, and use them as a role model, and they show up in different ways in your organization today.

Jackie Ruka:

Oh gosh, you know, I think that my perpetual role model is my father.

Baz:

Okay.

Jackie Ruka:

He's no longer with us, but really he was a very powerful person within himself because he was such a true, honest, loving and successful businessman, which is why so many people really loved working with him, because he told you what you needed to hear, not what you wanted to hear, and he was a person who helped build the New York skyline and refused to do business with people who were not in integrity, which nowadays, you know, some people will just work with whomever because they want the money, but it's not really within integrity. And to me, when you to me, part of my core values are integrity. My second core value is positivity, and so I think some of the female leaders that are out there who I think are very powerful Gloria Steinem and Jane Fonda and people are holding ground to their mission and their passion and who are making a positive influence and ripple effect within the world to me are very empowering, and those are women that I think I always keep in mind when I'm checking back in with my own self, in my own you know true essence, because I know everyone has the potential to be who they want to be deep within themselves, and people often get stuck in the how, and it's not about the how. The how is primal. What's powerful is the frequency. So go to the frequency, don't go to the how, because the how is what I call. Convergent is convergent. We're going to kind of get into some neuroscience stuff that I work with my clients on. The convergent is the problem solver. I have to get this done. I have to reach this outcome. I have to follow these steps in order to get it. Get there and they're in front of their computer or they're in front of you know, doing these intense meetings and their on convergent wavelength. And I will tell you that there is a place for that and it's important. But if you do not add in divergent thinking. Divergent thinking is when you're in the shower, you're driving your car, you're in a relaxed state and you're getting those aha moments or those bright ideas and you are tapped in and tuned out from all the other stuff. That's where the magic happens. So when you add the convergent and the divergent together, which is called lateral thinking, you're adding the creativity with the strategy right, and so this is where the innovation and the change that you are seeking start to create momentum. So I always ask clients, especially high performers, high achievers, how much time are you spending doing convergent thinking? Is it 80%, is it 100%, is it 90%? And every single time I would say it's a very high level of convergent thinking and a very small level of divergent thinking. And that's why I truly believe when we talked about morning rituals I am a big proponent of meditation, I'm a big proponent of visualization, I'm a big proponent of positive words that you need to tell your brain, because your brain only focuses truly on two things the words you tell it and images. And so the words you are telling yourself is way more powerful and stick to creating the action and the momentum and the change that you would like to see happen. However, if you do not take out the time and the practice to do that, then you're going to meet up with resistance, and resistance, as we know, happens with change. We all experience some sort of resistance. The goal is to lower the level of resistance and be more of the champion thinker and do the champion thinking practices and rituals.

Baz:

I love that. That was quite compelling because yet again I stood here with a little grin in my face going, wow, this is gold. Everybody in the world needs to listen to this, and I generally mean that.

Jackie Ruka:

I appreciate it.

Baz:

Many of our listeners are curious to know what was the most important lesson in your leadership journey that you learned and how many times was it presented before you before you actually embodied it?

Jackie Ruka:

That's a very good question and, okay, I think the distinction happens when you decide am I a manager or am I a leader? There's a big difference there, because when you're a manager and you're working with others and you're educating or coaching and maybe putting out fires or trying to get the wheels back on track I did a lot of management but then when you are called in to do something way larger and bigger than you, you may work for a large company, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about here you go, jackie. This is what we are asking of you to get from A to B and these super high, achievable, hopefully goals. Nobody gives you a roadmap. There is no roadmap. You need to go out and make friends and connect and just when you think, okay, I did this, this and this and I'm going to celebrate that, but I also could one up it by doing this, this and this, there's a whole lot of gold in the follow up. There's a whole lot of gold into asking the right questions and really taking advantage of the time you have in front of other people to give them as much value as possible, because it's how you made them feel right. And so leadership is about being in the context of the situation and not the content. Where you're in the manager role, the leader has to have the ability to the adoptability of the ebb and the flow of okay, we just dropped two market shares, which is like a million and a half dollars or whatever it might be. So what are we doing? What's happening? But really what's happening behind the scenes? Right, and really going to a much higher level of understanding within the context, because there are so many other layers that you may not see, that are moving parts, that the adoptability and not the reaction, but the way in which you perceive things is so much different. And I would say I've been put in a lot of leadership positions, from running huge sales forces and launching huge consumer brands and reaching the $2 billion mark. And I will tell you, when you are at the top, when you're Coke and you're not Pepsi, I will tell you, being Coke is not easy, because it's much more difficult to stay at number one than when you are at number two, and so that does take a much higher level of yourself than it goes way beyond just what's happening on the front lines.

Baz:

It's looking through that deep, into that deeper level, not just with a business, but within the core structure and also yourself.

Jackie Ruka:

Yeah, because you have to be willing to ask the hard questions and maybe even have some uncomfortable conversations, not just with clients, but with yourself. I don't want to do that either.

Baz:

People are like, oh, I can't, I will know, we'll just bury that for a little while and I don't want to go to that level, but that's a lot of time, and I'm sure you've found this. That's what's holding the back Correct. That's what's preventing them to go to that next level in their business not just in their personal life, but in their business and outside organizations. It affects everything.

Jackie Ruka:

Yeah, it's the bound energy. I mean, if that's energy that's bounding you, then you need to lean into it, as opposed to the fight or freeze mode, because that just creates more stress. It's still happening, it's going on behind and back of your head but you're avoiding it or resisting it, when really you need to lean into it.

Baz:

Yeah, I love that. It's great With our. When you're providing lessons to people, we often forget to involve our own failures or perceived failures. Is there anything that you could share? That was a failure, perceived as a failure once for you, but then you were like actually, this is a part of who I am and I'm going to use it to empower myself to rise above what that perceived failure was or is.

Jackie Ruka:

You know, yeah, I mean I think you know I've failed in relationships, not, you know, not being there, not being present, not, you know, had a fiance. Well, that didn't happen. I had lots of opportunities that I overlooked or just passed by me or completely blew up in my face because I wasn't 100% present and and or ready, and I realized, you know, I mean one dwelling is not going to help the situation, but in order for you to move forward, you have to take away the lesson or, you know, the blessing. I mean I've, I've lost probably lots of great opportunities because I wasn't 100% present at the interview or, like I said, in a relationship, and so my avoidance of running from my own self and my own personal power is where I failed the most. And so most of us I think Mary and Williamson has a quote for that and most of us are afraid of our own personal power, and so don't be afraid of it, because that is really probably going to be, you know, you probably already know it's going to catapult you to where you want to go and, yes, do we self sabotage or do other things along the way? Well, probably. And then you take the lesson and or the blessing from that and it betters you. You know failure actually makes you a better individual. If you've learned the lesson or the blessing from that, you know. If you're just going to dwell on it like I failed, I failed, I failed or I didn't do well in college or whatever it might be, just know that we all make mistakes, we're all human. You know the perfectionary person in me. I divorced her a long time ago. I was super type A, I was a perfectionist and you know that kind of overachiever, high performer was actually a hindrance.

Baz:

But equally I like the way you divorced her, because it doesn't mean you you disassociated from her. You just recognize that it wasn't serving you, so you put it to one side.

Jackie Ruka:

Right.

Baz:

And tell me if I'm wrong. Do you ever go back and have a little conversation with that person to see if they're checking with them, to see if they're okay?

Jackie Ruka:

You know I mean not nearly as much anymore. I mean that's not to say I don't have my little trigger moments of wanting things to work out how I perceived I wanted them to be. You know I have trigger moments like that. But I've also recognized that if I just relax and let it go, that it actually comes out better or the way it's meant to be, and it's kind of like a having a friendly way of compromising with and trust with, you know the universe, and letting go of control, because at some point or another you have to surrender right, you have to surrender to. Okay, this is how it's going to go and this is going to be the outcome and this is just how it's going to be. Sometimes it actually comes out even better.

Baz:

There's always another level, as I say.

Jackie Ruka:

There's always another level and sometimes, when there's hiccups or things don't work out or you know there's a breakdown situation, that might just be the very thing that leads to it working out just in a different way than you had thought. There's more than one way to reach an outcome or a goal.

Baz:

Yes, certainly In the next few years. Obviously, we're always growing. Where do you see yourself and where do you want to be in two or three years time? If you've planned that far, if you've even looked that far, what do you want to be doing when it comes to your future?

Jackie Ruka:

Well, I definitely know I want to be traveling more, writing more books, probably painting a lot more I'm a painter and an artist tapping more into my creative side, definitely focusing more on passive income but still having the connections and business of working with others get to where they want to be. But I kind of feel like we are limitless and we can actually do whatever it is that we want to do. We are our own economy, so my goal is really to be doing what I love doing from anywhere.

Baz:

I like that.

Jackie Ruka:

It's pretty simple.

Baz:

No, simple is good. Geoffrey, thank you for joining me today. It's been an absolute privilege and an honor to be sat here in front of you. Is there anything that you'd like to share with the audience that you're promoting or you want to drive people towards? Please, the floor is yours.

Jackie Ruka:

Well, for any of those people out there who are interested in getting in touch with me or want to know more about the new neuroscience to reaching your potential, just go to my website, jackierugacom, or you can go to jackierugacom slash one, two, one and I'll share more with you personally. It's very high touch, private, confidential, customized way that I work with individuals and that would be the easiest way to get to me. You know, get to contact me. I always, if you're interested, are interested in a VIP experience. I welcome you to the resort islands here that I live Hilton Head Islands for that well being VIP experience.

Baz:

I love it. Thank you very much, Jackie.

Jackie Ruka:

You're welcome, thank you.

Baz:

As I said, it's been an honor to be with you today. It's a refreshing change to spend time with elevated people, entrepreneurs like yourself. Thank you, my pleasure From myself. Ladies and gentlemen, please share this message. Please get it out to the people who may be benefiting from this. Please look up Jackie and have a conversation with her. See what she's all about From myself. Lead with purpose and inspire with legacy. My friends have a really amazing, blessed day. Until next time, be safe.

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