FEW WOULD DISAGREE that 2020 was a year of introspection and transformation. But if you’re an up-and-coming podcaster with a platform dedicated to helping people live their best lives, you may have seen 2020 as kismet.
“If you asked me last March if my podcast would be in the top 100 for self-improvement, I probably wouldn’t have believed you,” says Lake Forest’s Kristel Bauer, host of the podcast Live Greatly. “But with so many people having to pivot from the norm, take a step back to reassess, and focus on well-being—I feel lucky that I was there and ready to help.”
Few might understand the need to change direction better than Bauer herself, who was challenged to re-evaluate her life when her mother faced a health crisis.
“Four years ago, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer,” she says. “Even though we had all that Western medicine could offer working to make my mom better, I was very interested in alternative ways to help her heal.”
After years of practicing traditional medicine as a physician assistant, Bauer began to explore meditation, Reiki, and what was really behind the mind-body connection that keeps the body healthy. Today, she has added Integrative Medicine Fellow and Reiki Master to her list of credentials.
“I learned so much and really wanted to share this information in a doable and approachable way,” she says. “One of my colleagues said there are three main ways to get your message out there: write a book, start a blog, or record a podcast. Knowing that my ultimate goal was to be in front of a crowd leading lectures and workshops, a podcast seemed like the right place to begin.”
Well, at least it did until Bauer began to work through the logistics of putting a podcast together. She had all the content at her fingertips, but the mechanics of putting a podcast out into the universe, at times, seemed overwhelming.
“I wasn’t quite sure where to look for help so I posted on the ‘Moms of Lake Forest’ Facebook page to see if anyone had experience with this,” Bauer says. “Someone connected me with the media lab at Lake Forest Library and they were great. Actually, our community overall has been incredibly supportive.”
Bauer named her wellness company and ultimately her podcast “Live Greatly.” “It’s the mind, body, and spirit that have to be in balance for us to break through our fears,” she explains. “That’s where the power is. Mindset is everything. We have to push pass the boundaries of fear to live life fully from a place of love and joy.”
Bauer draws from personal experience when leading workshops or talking on her podcast.
“I’ve gone through the anxiety of leaving my position as a stay-at-home mom (Bauer has two young children with her husband, Brian) and starting a business—and now I’m sharing what I have learned,” she says. “In launching my podcast, something totally new for me, I realized that the anxiety and fear that I was feeling was actually discomfort … I was uncomfortable doing this new thing. It’s not that I’m bad at it, just uncomfortable. But I know in these times when I’m uncomfortable that I am growing the most. It has helped me to label these feelings so that I can move forward. And now it’s my mission to help others do the same.”
Bauer releases a new “Live Greatly” podcast at least twice each month and has had an incredible lineup of guests, including Kelly Noonan—the writer/director/ producer of the Heal documentary, Colleen Wachob— the co-CEO of Mindbodygreen, and Keith Michell—former NFL player who is now a celebrity yogi and mindfulness coach.
“I feel like I’ve found my rhythm,” Bauer says. “Consistency has really been key to me growing my podcast.”
When Bauer isn’t at home in her recording studio, she continues to be a university lecturer as an Adjunct PBL Facilitator for Feinberg School of Medicine Northwestern University Physician Assistant Program. Bauer has also packaged her expertise into online courses, including an eight-week online course to support optimal well-being and a course to learn to eat to support optimal mental health.
“Companies have been looking to me for help with empowering their employees as they work from home,” Bauer explains. “This new working environment has messed with people’s boundaries. Before COVID-19, if you were commuting to and from work, that drive time would be a transition into and out of your work day. But without that, the boundaries have blurred. Something as small as taking a walk in the morning or at the end of your day can help people create some separation between work and home lives. My goal is to help people find these things that will make them more successful.”
When asked how she would counsel people working on their vision boards for 2021, Bauer says it comes down to one work—intention.
“Setting intentions for yourself is so important,” she explains. “When you do this, your vision becomes clear. You begin to notice opportunities that can get you to that place and you won’t see the things that could stand in your way. You’ll feel confident leaning into any discomfort and keep pushing forward. This is how you’ll achieve optimal health in mind, body, and spirit. This is how you’ll live greatly.”
To learn more about Live Greatly, visit livegreatly.co.