Who's That Gal: Aileen Axtmayer, founder of Aspire with Aileen
Name: Aileen (pronounced A- lean) Axtmayer
Occupation: Founder of Aspire with Aileen: Career Counselor. Health Coach. Yoga Instructor.
Hometown: Wallingford, CT
Currently Reading: You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life: Simple 4-Minute Meditations for Inspiration, Transformation and True Bliss by Rebekah Borucki
Fav summer activity: Soaking up some Vitamin D (safely, of course!) on the Cape or while out walking my puppy Buster
You recently founded Aspire with Aileen. Congrats! What does your brand provide for your clients?
Thank you! My business is a holistic wellness platform with three main offerings: career counseling, health coaching, and yoga workshops that combine the two. I believe that happiness in our careers can make us healthier and being healthier can enable us to thrive at our jobs.
I’ve been a career coach in Boston for over 10 years now. One main component of this work is helping clients find fulfilling career paths, based on their values, interests, and skills. My clients are also people who feel overwhelmed by the process of looking for a new job. I provide the support, strategies, and tools for them to confidently move forward and land a position (while taking care of themselves at the same time!).
I also help exhausted professionals restore their energy, empowering them to feel like themselves and do what they love. After working with thousands of people, I noticed two consistent themes: some experience such stress from their work that their health suffers (even when they love what they do!), and some have health issues that interfere with their performance on the job. I help them incorporate healing foods, movement, and stress relieving activities to improve their well-being in a way that’s sustainable for their lives.
An overlapping theme in each area is that clients often arrive to a session or class feeling tense and leave feeling more centered, calm, and equipped for what’s ahead.
We imagine that there are lots of different elements to running Aspire with Aileen. What is a typical day like for you?
Every day is fairly different, but most include a mix of free consultations with prospective clients, a few career or health coaching sessions, and writing content for resources or blog posts. What’s consistent is making sure I make time to do two things: get up and move, even if that just means raising my standing desk so I’m not literally sitting all day, and 10 minutes of simple meditation (love the Headspace app!).
What are some of the biggest challenges your clients face?
One challenge in both coaching areas is “analysis paralysis” because of a tendency of many people to rely on external sources for making decisions without turning inward.
In career coaching, people often ask everyone (including Google) to tell them what to do with their lives and are left with a million opinions all based on the values of the people giving the advice. This leads to lots of conflicting information and overwhelm.
In health coaching, this shows up when my clients try to follow all of the latest diet and fitness trends. The recommendations from one source are typically the opposite from another and can lead to instant confusion and frustration. While there's a lot of good information out there, most of it assumes that what worked for one person will work identically for another and ignores the important fact that we all have unique needs.
In both cases, clients also struggle with staying motivated, so helping them set goals and be held accountable to them is a big part of our work.
What about you, what have been some of the challenges of running your own business?
I’m definitely a Type A person who loves plans, lists, and organization. Running my own business has taught me to be more comfortable with chaos, as so often I’m learning a new skill (such as building a website) and it takes way longer than expected.
Working from home a lot has also been challenging because, cliché as it sounds, I love what I do so much that it doesn’t feel like work most of the time, so I end up being “on” the majority of the time. I have to remind myself to check in with myself, take time to slow down, and create boundaries to keep things in balance.
We love that Aspire helps women with both personal and professional goals - why was it important to you to intertwine these?
To me, there's no option not to! When we talk about wellness, we rarely talk about its relationship to our work lives, but everything is really so connected. As I mentioned before, when we’re happier in our careers, we’re healthier overall and when we’re healthier, we’re better able to thrive at work.
In working with my clients, I noticed this connection over and over. For instance, a lot of my people come to me because they just feel stuck in their careers and they don't know how to figure out how to move forward. So many of us at some point or another may struggle to really unpack what kind of role, company, or career path is the right one. And I uncovered that to really answer this question, it helps to be able to take a comprehensive whole-person approach. Being "stuck" in your career can be so related to being stuck in other places in your life, and vice versa.
If we’re in a state of chronic dissatisfaction in one area, it will inevitably have an impact on the other areas of our lives. What we seek and value in our personal and professional lives is also constantly evolving. As we redefine what matters to us in one area, it often means we may want, or need, to adjust our approach in the other.
How do you stay inspired?
The more I work with people and see the positive outcomes of our time together, the more inspired I am to continue on this path. There’s no better feeling for me than making a difference in someone’s life.
I also know I’ll never stop having room to continue to learn and grow myself, so I work with coaches on my personal and professional development. I crave sharing what I learn in my own lessons in hopes to make things that much easier for others.
"When we’re happier in our careers, we’re healthier overall and when we’re healthier, we’re able to thrive at work."
What’s next for Aspire with Aileen?
I’m working on doing more workshops, events, and webinars since they’re such a fun way to engage with people in this space. I have a few coming up soon and will keep them coming so stay tuned!