meet dianna cohen
The founder and CEO of Crown Affair who believes if you are an entrepreneur, then your mental health would not be good if you were not entrepreneur-ing.
How do you reset and recharge?
I recently read The Overstory by Richard Powers. It’s probably the best book I’ve read in a decade. It’s very dense. It is multiple stories about people and their relationship to trees. I’m very passionate about trees. and I love spending time in gardens. That is one of the ways that I recharge.
Reading is one thing that genuinely gets me to stop thinking about whatever is happening in my life. It could be fiction or nonfiction. I’m currently reading Jim Henson’s biography right now and it’s so good. Most Saturdays, since moving to Miami, my husband and I go to the beach in the morning. I always bring a book and that has been the biggest reset and something that is such a new welcome part of my life.
How do you maintain your relationship with yourself?
I’m secretly a non-formal ambassador for The Artist’s Way. The first time I was introduced to The Artist’s Way was a little over a year ago. The first year of COVID, my friend would send out a monthly email and she said that she was going to be starting The Artist’s Way. And 10 of us all said, I’ve had this book sitting in my office, but I haven’t actually done it. So she started a cohort of 10 of us all around the world, Tokyo, Mexico, LA, New York, all over. We did 12 weeks together, every Tuesday for 90 minutes. I recommend doing it in a group since vulnerability is a huge part of the experience.
“Now, I’m doing it for a second time.”
I have a separate Artist’s Way journal and I have a separate morning pages journal and I do morning pages four out of seven mornings a week, which is just a stream of consciousness. Then when I don’t do that, I’ll do my Five Minute Journal.
There are two tools that are a part of The Artist’s Way. The first is morning pages. Then the artist date is the other commitment. You read the chapter and each week is about something different that you have to unlock. It is a program that helps you unlock your potential as an artist and rewrites a lot of your thinking around narratives of yourself. People have different ways of doing it. I found that when I get to the page and a half mark is when I usually see the real stuff come up.
What is meditative for you?
I read a while ago, it’s common knowledge and has been scientifically proven that if you stand outside in the sun and close your eyes for 30 seconds to a minute, it helps sink your natural internal circadian rhythms. You’re supposed to do it at dusk as well. When the sun is going down and now that I don’t live in a high-rise building in New York with a water tower across from me, I can actually see the sun and be outside. So if I don’t have time to go downstairs in the morning, I’ll stand outside for five minutes and soak up the sun and my mood instantly changes.
I wish I was someone who meditated regularly. It’s something that I’ve tried and it doesn’t stick when I do it. But stretching, journaling, those things are a more active form of meditation for me.
How do you relieve stress and anxiety?
I try to go every two to three weeks to acupuncture. I go to a place in Miami called Aura Puncture and she’s really intuitive and very focused on energy. She does acupuncture, cupping, and lymph drainage all in one and my body hums after and it feels so good.
“It helps me so much with stress management and feeling balanced physically and emotionally.”
I remember the first time I went. I was a little dizzy and stressed and the way that the acupuncture needle pinpoints and calms the muscle has such a powerful effect on my body. I try to focus a lot on my neck pain points. I also don’t have great circulation in my legs or appendages. So I go very tactically to circulate the energy in my body and get that going.
How has your mental health been lately?
Most of my well-being is reflected by what’s happening with work. I’m very fortunate in my relationship, my husband and I have been together for eight years and I’m close with my family. I’ve had the same best friends since kindergarten. So my personal life is very steady, which is super helpful when growing a business.
“As an entrepreneur, especially when you’re working from home, you can see your team all the time on Zoom or we’ll safely fly people to see others offsite.”
But you feel like you’re in a bit of an echo chamber. A really good analogy is when you’re on social media and you’re lying in bed, so you don’t move any physical energy. But that’s a massive energy exchange. Then you put your phone down for 30 minutes and you think, wow, I just went through a lot. So much happens in a day and five days of the week can feel like a month. It’s hard to anchor things because I don’t have the visual cues. So that’s been a little disorienting. But moving out of New York after 12 years, I truly feel so grateful every day. It’s a lot more balanced.
You’re an entrepreneur, so how does that impact your mental health?
If you are an entrepreneur, then your mental health would not be good if you were not entrepreneuring. This is all I know. I was always a little bit of a rebel in places where I worked. I was always trying to move things faster, push things forward, take risks. So now, running my own company, I get to make those decisions and fully be in what it is that I feel.
Being my own boss is amazing. It’s also really challenging. People who are entrepreneurs, you’ve got to be able to go through the high highs and the low lows. It’s a lot more personal. I’m obviously not my brand, but it is my identity in a sense based on the brand’s visual literacy, the product, the amount of heart and soul our team puts into the design, the product development, the packaging. Even when other brands and founders copy you, it feels so much more personal.
Self-worth doesn’t get in the way. I’ve gotten such a thick skin over the last two or three years that if something doesn’t work, you say, okay, cool. Onto the next. It isn’t to say that it doesn’t mentally impact me, but I’ve figured out strategies now to be like, this isn’t about me. But it really takes time. All people, not just entrepreneurs, have imposter thoughts. Adam Grant calls them imposter thoughts instead of imposter syndrome because syndrome feels like this daunting thing. Where thoughts come and go.
Is there anything that you hold in shame or feel stigma around?
Being a woman in this society is one of the toughest things. As much as I like sharing on social, which is nominal, that’s not my job. So I share when things are positive. I’m not really a vulnerable person except for with very few people in my life, which is okay. Those are my people and I have that space with them. But I, as a woman, am constantly told that you are not enough.
I definitely feel shame around not enoughness. I’m started working with a new coach a little less than a year ago, who has been incredible. She’s a spiritual coach who really focuses on visualization. And when I do my sessions with her, I close my eyes and we imagine and look at what the ego looks like and what shame looks like, and creating a visual universe around these feelings has been very helpful. I have a very long way to go. But they’ve been great tools to identify when I feel shame. And it’s mostly around not-enoughness, which I think all of us feel.
How does intimacy and relationships impact your mental health?
Intimacy is huge for me and similar to vulnerability; there are very few people that I am that way with. I have maybe five people in my life, including my husband, my sister, and then a handful of best friends who I can be that way with.
Part of the magic of my husband Alex and I, being together for eight years, it always felt really open. We’re partners in the truest sense, professionally, personally, sexually, emotionally, and he’s one of the very few people that I feel fully myself with.
Is there anything that is an ongoing stressor or makes you anxious?
Everyone says I need to get over my inbox and inbox zero. It’s so silly. My inbox legitimately causes me stress. But by the way, I’m so not unique in this. And it’s entirely because I make it my to-do list, which is 101 of de-stressing your life. If there’s an addiction I have, it is around working. I’m very lucky that all other areas of my life are very balanced. But when it comes to work, I have had to put so much work into rewiring around productivity. For the last four months, I’ve been really focused on resting. Part of why Alex is such a good partner for me is because on weekends he’ll say stop moving, stop doing, just be.
When do you feel most at peace?
Doing nothing at the ocean and just chilling.
When do you feel your body tense up?
Before a really important meeting, which is why I try to breathe through everything.
What gives you serotonin?
Honestly, just being and chilling. That energy through my body feels so good. I need to do it more.
What does your body language say about you?
I’ve been watching Succession and I feel like sometimes I take on similar manners to Shiv, which is overly masculine energy compensating. I’m trying to lean more into feminine energy. I hate using masculine and feminine, but I do feel like I could lean in a little bit to my traditional feminine side.
When do you speak your mind?
All the time.
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