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The pandemic changed everything for her

Deena Baikowitz
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Fireball Deena Baikowitz has been evolving. Always been evolving. The pandemic has forced her to leave New York. She expanded her career into comedy, and she’s always finding opportunity even though these are hard times. Because Deena is a fireball and she’s hella resilient.

TAMAR: Hey, everybody, today I have a neighbor, almost really, I have Deena Baikowitz, aka Fireball. Deena used to live really very close to me in Westchester County, New York. Now, tell me where are you now. And thank you so much for joining.

00:37

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Oh, I’m so excited to be here. As I said, to I love the stage. I’ve never met a camera, an audience, a microphone or a spotlight that I didn’t love. I am a speaker. I’m a comic. I am a coach. And I have lived in New York City. I moved to New York City, December 1, 1999. And during that time, I did live in Westchester for a couple of years. In Mamaroneck, which is where I launched my business Fireball Network, and eventually moved my way back to the city. And sadly, now I am forced to move back to Canada and leaving next week. But I still consider New York my home; my heart my soul here. And I’ve written some articles about it. I’m going to keep talking about it.

01:28

TAMAR: Yeah, yeah. So, tell me a little bit, you had talked that you launched your brands when we’re   like two miles away from each other. And you’ve kind of made your own pivots in the last couple of months. So, tell me a little bit about that.

01:48

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Well, and interesting that you called us neighbors because I think everyone’s connected. New York is a big city, but it’s also a village. And when we first connected, I think was through Facebook, and I looked up on LinkedIn. And I did that again. Yesterday, just for refresher, we have a lot of people in common. And a lot of people from very different worlds and communities in common, which is what I find really interesting. So, when I’m going to have to back it up a little, I’ve had a really diverse career. Some would say eclectic, I would say interesting, broad, deep. I’ve been in theater, I’ve been in healthcare, I was a social worker. I’ve been in marketing, and for the past 11 years, I ran my own business. And then in the past four or five months during the pandemic, I made a shift. And I said, I run a business, but I am not a business. I am a human being. And I am going to focus on my personal brand, which is fireballdeena, instead of focusing on the infrastructure and exterior surface of a company. I’m not a company, I don’t have 50 people working for me. I collaborate with others, I partner up. I work with clients all over the world. So, my brand is fireballdeena, that’s how I’m known. And that’s what I am really focusing on and promoting now going forward, to open up all kinds of different opportunities, and not just narrowly coaching, consulting and speaking. Now I still do coaching and consulting and speaking but I’ve also launched my corporate comedy services and my own services and performance as a comedian and an actor. So, wanted to open things up and look forward instead of backwards.

03:48

TAMAR: Yeah, I love it. I think that’s the right thing right now. It’s very difficult. I mean, I start seeing a lot of people. I mean, it’s the worst time to be but there’s also an abundance of opportunity for other people to realize that you were hired because you have some sort of talent. And yeah, maybe you won’t be able to get a job in midtown Manhattan and a restaurant today because, well, I’ve been to them and they’re completely empty. You could get a lot of parking in the city these days.

04:27

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: I’m in New York on a car like bus, subway cab.

04:32

TAMAR: Yeah. Just Westchester now.

04:34

TAMAR : Yeah, actually we drove in and we got in this weekend. And I got parking twice. And I’m almost glad that I don’t have like a huge podcast following because I don’t have that many people to take my time to take my idea. But there’s an opportunity that I think a lot of people see as immediate rejection. They can’t, like they don’t have a job. They can’t figure out how to like, I don’t know if it’s the right phrase, but maybe it is because you’re doing it to repurpose themselves to find out how to pivot themselves in a way that might benefit them. And then they won’t, people feel very low and mentally unable to perform. But there are things you could potentially do.

05:27

DEENA  BAIKOWITZ: Right.

05:28

TAMAR: And obviously it’s not a solution for everybody. But it is solution for a lot of people that I don’t think haven’t seen it yet.

05:36-08:14

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Well, I can tell you from my own experience, and the experience of my clients, because I do career coaching. And I love working with people who are in transition or considering changes, or even rebranding, because I’ve had so many different careers in my life. I joke, I get bored easily, but it’s also my personality and my brain. I’m very creative. And I like to try different things. And I learned by doing and to me doing the same old thing, would get boring pretty quickly. That would be scarier to me than trying something new. And with my clients, it’s the same thing. Yes, trying something new is scary, especially when you’re forced to as I am now. I don’t want to leave New York, especially after 20 years, I have to. And so, I’m going to make the best of it and find new opportunities and tie my Toronto and Montreal communities to my New York and US communities. But the biggest change is looking at what you love to do, what you’re good at, what is feasible, what is realistic. It may be starting as a side hustle; it may be starting as a hobby. I started comedy for fun. I’ve always been funny. And I’ve always been comfortable on stage. It’s part of my origin story, I have a theater degree. I love performing, but I never, ever considered doing standup comedy. And it happened completely by accident as I walked out of a singles party, across through the bar and cross the stage. And the guy who was at the microphones said something to me and I said something back, and probably forgot about the guys who were on my arm and just turned around and saw the microphone. I was like what’s going on here. And the next thing I know I’m doing standup comedy and really transitioned. The first was just okay, it’s just for fun. It’s just a hobby. And I talk about it to my friends and post it on Facebook. And then eventually I put it on LinkedIn amateur comedian. And then about four or five months ago, I took the word amateur out and I put it front and center. I did corporate comedy, I produced my first comedy fundraiser during the pandemic, to raise funds for three COVID related charities and brought together comics that I’ve never even met and found a co producer that we’ve only ever met online during the pandemic. And then, was hired to produce a corporate comedy video for a healthcare institution. And so, I hired professional comics to do that. So, it’s really take what you love, start one step at a time and find ways to incorporate it into your life. And you will be amazed what can happen when you bring that joy and you bring that passion into everything else that you do.

08:15

TAMAR: Yeah, 100%. I mean, I never imagined that I was going to be launching a fragrance brand, coming from the tech world. And things happened by accident. But you need to pursue them. You need to show like everybody has. I would like to think all humans have some sort of thing that they love. I won’t let me deviate from the video gamers of the world because I’m not sure you might be able to start a twitch channel or something like that. My son has like 9000 followers on Tiktok.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Wow.

TAMAR: Yeah, because of his videos on Fortnite. He does that but all these people could potentially find an opportunity there. Whether or not it’s going to be your main gig  remains to be seen, but you need to pursue it and approach it with a lot of love and passion.

09:13

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: And make a commitment. And I’ll give you an example. So, as a business owner, it seems like your business takes over your life. I used to joke I have no boundaries between my personal and my professional life. My friends are my clients, my clients become my friends. When my mother would come into town, I would organize a networking event slash cocktail party. And she would meet my friends. And so even to this day, she’s like, “I’m really glad I got to meet your friends because now I know you have real friends in New York.” Like Mom, it’s a village; like I’ve got a massive network here. But what happened was, I thought I got to a point where that lack of boundaries was not a good thing. Anyway, I used to think it was positive but I need some separation and so it was a Friday afternoon, March, was either 2013 or 2015. It’s still in my calendar. And I said, it’s a Friday afternoon, things are a little quiet. I gonna take an Improv class. Just do me time as if I worked for someone else. And I said, I’m taking Friday off. I told myself, “Boss, you’re taking the afternoon off.” And I took this Improv class. And it was amazing. And there was a guy in the class who was incredible. And it turns out, he’s one of the top Improv performers, actors, teachers in North America. So fast forward five or seven years later, I followed him on Facebook, reached out to him and said, “Hey, I’m moving to Toronto, and I’d love to talk to you about the entertainment scene, if you have any advice, or just get some insights, quick 15 20-minute call.  Want to respect your time. We ended up on a zoom call for three hours.  And what’s come of that, it turns out, he has a background in career counseling and social work. I have a background in career coaching and social work. We both are in the arts as well. I’m more on the business side, he’s more on the arts  and performance side. So, we’re going to run a series of workshops. And I’m bringing this point around to what you’re saying to artists and performers and comedians, and health and wellness professionals and yoginis and therapists on branding and marketing yourself, whether that’s a side hustle, where that making money from your art and what you do, and teaching those business skills and career skills and branding skills.

TAMAR:  Right?

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Right now, that’s relevant to today. And that came about because I decided to commit to doing something I love, just for the fun of it, because I needed more art and comedy in my life. And seven years later, it’s turning into a business opportunity in the middle of a pandemic as I’m moving to a new city.

11:53

TAMAR: Right. That’s amazing. That’s amazing. You’re moving to a new country.

11:57- 11:59

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: It’s my old job. I was born and raised in Montreal that also people have asked me, how are you allowed to go into Canada? Well, I’m a Canadian citizen. I’m not a dual citizen. I actually always worked in the US on a work visa, which is partly why I’m leaving now. So, you talk about adversity, the biggest issue I had staying in the US. The challenge and the obstacle are ironically, or prophetically the very thing that’s allowing me to go back to Canada and start a new life there. It’s not what I’d ever envisioned. I’ve always just assumed I would stay in New York, the rest of my life. It’s my home, my heart and soul are in this city. I love the energy. I love the people. Even now, I still love it. I don’t want to feel like I’m abandoning it. But we will bridge the gaps between communities and countries. And now more than ever, we can collaborate online in ways we never thought we would do before. There are no boundaries, there are actually no boundaries in a lot of ways.

12:57

TAMAR: Yeah. Last week, I attended this virtual conference. And I think most of us are zoomed out. I mean, literally, our fourth month, fifth month now of doing conferences, but this was like the most fascinating conference I’ve ever been to. I never participated in Second Life. But it was basically like, Second Life meets professional stuff. You walk  when you log into the system, you’re like dropped in as an avatar, which you get to customize into this virtual world. Then you literally walk your avatar to a conference hall, you can see that you can interact with the exhibitors, you can literally talk to them. It was amazing though, if you’re closer to an avatar, you can hear them speaking, the farther away you obviously can’t. And then when you can, at these conferences, you can engage with the screen. So, like you’ll see it in the back end, you’ll see some details in the screen, like you can fill out forms, you can check out the websites, you can do all these things. And that’s the exhibit hall. And then you go into a conference. And it’s amazing. You’d see people who were literally still have the avatar, but this time you can see their faces, and you can see them. It’s like a zoom call, but it’s really not. And I mean, it was crazy. There was like fireworks and you could ride boats, like it was a conference experience.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: It’s all VR.

TAMAR: It was like a I guess you would call it really VR. Yeah. It was insane. It was crazy. It’s pretty cool.

14:33

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: I absolutely love that. And there’s so many things you said there that if you could see me now, I’m beaming. I’m smiling. I’m getting excited. Because one of the things that I based my career on was, I call myself a networking coach. I mean, I’m a business coach. I’m a career coach. Networking is my focus. I am all about people building relationships, as you can tell from these stories, seven years later. I’m a three hour zoom call. Now we’re collaborating like all it takes is one conversation. I meet someone in class. I go up to talk to them afterwards. I meet someone at a conference, they become my new partner. But conferences were my happy place. Truly, any network. I’m a complete extrovert, like raging raving extrovert. I love people, I get my energy from people. I love to work with people. I don’t even like being on stage alone. Like, I would rather be part of a cast and crew and have other speakers with me than just take the stage by myself. It’s not as much fun alone. And so, what you described sounds like a true virtual reality and reincarnation, if you will, of conferences. And I teach people how to work around. So, when the pandemic started, and we all went into lockdown, I thought, “Oh, my God, my business is over. My career is over.” No one’s getting together in person. I talk about handshakes and conversations and making eye contact and working in the room. But of course, first of all, we’re New Yorkers. We are New York,  strong and we adapt. And people started calling me for advice on networking virtually. And so, I thought, well, this is what I do. This is what I know. I’m going to figure it out. And started giving workshops on virtual networking, and online branding and digital marketing. So, but I had not heard about this, and I think it’s fantastic. And I want to know more. And I want to go to those conferences.

16:21

TAMAR: Yeah, I’ll let you know because  I was speaking to the guy who coordinated the conference where I was last week. And I told him, this is the coolest thing ever. We need to launch this and   run this in so many different capacities. I like it. I’m not like you. I actually took an introvert extrovert slash ambivert quiz yesterday. And I thought it was pretty introverted. But I guess I’m more ambiverted, which is sort of a hybrid of the two. And that being said, I want to do this again. It was fun. It was really fun. So, I will definitely, have to sync up with you on that.

16:59

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: I mean, I want to work for him. I want to go there. I want to speak there. I want to coach people on it. I think because we have the technology. Yes, we’re forced to use it now. Because we already have it. Yeah, let’s use it and leverage it. No, things are not the way they’ve always been. They’re not the way we want them to be. That’s not the way we’ve always done it. But we also say like one of the worst phrases in the whole world is  “We’ve always done it that way.” We have to be innovative; we have to look forward and we have to adapt and push through. I’ve been through I would say probably the worst experiences in the past couple months. I had crisis after a crisis like it just compounded and compounded and compounded. I had actually had a job that fell through, I don’t know 10 hours before I was supposed to fly out to process paperwork in the middle of a pandemic it fell through at 4:30 in the afternoon. And that was just like crisis number four out of 10. But we are resilient. And the thing that helped me get through everything was partly “Okay, I’m lucky in that I have a positive attitude. It’s in my DNA, it’s part of my strengths. Positivity is just my personality.” But more than that, my network, my friends, people I barely knew, people I’ve met once or twice, people I’ve known for 20 years, every single person I know, was just “What can we do to help? What do you need?” And it’s been that way nonstop. And I’m the kind of person that other people are like, “Can you help me” and I’m always there, what can I do to help. People come to me for advice. That’s one of the reasons why I’m a coach. I like to tell people what to do, I like to give advice. And it’s usually   pretty good.

18:47

So being on the other side on the receiving end of all that help and support and needing it was not comfortable at first.  I was like “I’m strong, I’m independent, I can take care of myself,” as I’m having a complete meltdown. So, that really showed and I wrote an article about it. The power of a caring network in the middle of a crisis, in the middle of pandemic, and I put it on LinkedIn, because there’s still very few boundaries in my life. Like the things we learn in life are the things we apply to business and the things we learn in business we apply to life.

19:23

TAMAR: Right,100%. Yeah, yeah. Cool. Well, I guess let’s move into the I don’t want to say the crisis mode. But, you know, a big part of the Common Scents podcast is how you have risen above adversity. So, I don’t know if you were specifically talking about that experience, but I assume you have some sort of more of the defining moment that was like your turning point in life. So, tell me a little bit about that.

19:53

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Oh, wow, I guess we all have more than one turning point.

TAMAR: Yeah, always.

19:57

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: You know, there are various ones. The most recent one, of course, was when I had to come to the realization that I could no longer stay in New York. The adversity that led up to it, realizing financially, legally, business wise, practically speaking, if I stayed in New York, I wouldn’t  be able to go back and see my family. And it’s been like, nine or 10 months, since, and I usually travel every six weeks or so to see my mother, my nieces and friends. So, I had said, I will do whatever it takes to stay in New York, whatever it takes, and when I came to the realization that I couldn’t, I had tried everything I possibly could, and that wasn’t going to work. So that was a crisis. But then okay, what’s the next option? And the next option was, okay, we’re going to have to move, or, whatever it takes was the next step. And I’ve used that whatever it takes, if it’s something that really matters to you. Also, letting go. Like realizing that what I always wanted, or what I wanted, was not an option. I had to let go of that. And once I let go, I could move forward. I mean, there’s still a grieving process and emotions. But looking at not what you can’t do, but what you can do. So, you can’t see me and your audience can’t see me. But all you have to do is look at any picture of me or read anything about me. I’m really, really short. I’m four-foot-six and three quarters. I’m tiny, and stand out in a crowd. And if you can’t see me if there’s a big group of people in the room, and there’s a big circle in the middle, and it’s not social distancing, it’s me holding cork. People can’t see me, but you can hear  me. So even growing up, my whole life being short and being different. I was bullied and teased and picked on just for my size, for the most part my parents. But also, I was just different in that I was maybe a weird kid. Wise beyond my years, I was creative. We’re all kind of freaks and geeks and nerds and misfits, and awkward in our own way. So, for me, I felt very left out, felt very self-conscious. I was shy, I was insecure. Forget talking to strangers. I had a hard time just making friends with people I went to school with as a kid. And then I realized that being miserable was not fun. I wasn’t happy being miserable, I had to do something about it. So that, for me was the biggest. I think, the most pivotal challenge and a turning point in my life as like, “Okay, I can’t live the rest of my life being bullied and teased and being upset about it, I got to take ownership of this”. And so, I decided that I was going to not let people get to me. And also, more importantly, it wasn’t about me. I never wanted anyone else to go through what I went through. I didn’t want other people to feel alone or excluded. I mean, I’m still always, probably going to be picked last for sports, because bad strike zone can’t play volleyball. Not really somebody you want on your basketball team. But you would want me as your head cheerleader. So, know your strengths is another really important thing that I live by first of all, like helping others. So, this is one of the reasons I became a networking coach. If anyone’s having trouble, if anyone’s having trouble connecting, if they don’t feel included, I will do whatever it takes to make them feel included. And I’m always introducing people to each other, even my most introverted friends will come to some of my events because they know they’re going to meet somebody interesting to talk to and they’re not going to feel like they have to work the entire room and they’ll be comfortable and they won’t be judged. And they’ll get something out of it. But yeah, know your strengths and know your weaknesses and ask for help with the stuff you’re not good at.

23:53

TAMAR: Yeah, I love it. I love how you turned the struggle into something where you’re obviously a winner.  You’ve completely come out of this a winner and I love it. And  honestly for me, it’s just thinking about potentially moving out of New York, New York.  It would be like something I have to say I applaud you for as you said, like letting go. I don’t know how I could do that. And yet, there’s definitely the grieving process. But you also have to look at it in the way that right now you’re doing something that’s the right move for now. You never know what the future is going to bring.

24:36

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Yeah, exactly. Like saying open mind. I’m focused right now. This is going to be one, two, three years. I’m going to make a life. As I said, I’m collaborating on workshops, and I met another woman from Toronto at a Toronto networking event. Because I  don’t mess around, when I do something, I go all in too soon as I made the decision to move to Toronto. I said, “Well, I’m going to start going to Toronto networking events. Another benefit of the pandemic, right? It’s a benefit, but you take advantage where you can find it. So, like three or four weeks ago, I went on this Toronto network group. I said I’m moving, and I wasn’t sure at that point when it would be. And I want to start building relationships and building my network. And I was welcomed with open arms and one woman there  goes, “I lived in New York for 10 years.” And it was the happiest time of my life. She said, I steal any song about New York, any movie, any TV show. And so, I said, “Well, I’m starting a support groups slash networking groups, slash social groups, slash drinking group for New Yorkers in Toronto, or people who are former New Yorkers, people who love New York.”

25:46

She’s like, Can I join? I’m like, “You’re officially the first member.” (laughter) So, where there is a problem, there’s also an opportunity. So, there’s going to be a bunch of expats. I reached out to another guy who’s in the comedy world. It’s like “Are you in Toronto?” He goes, “Yeah, I went during the pandemic”. He’s also Canadian. And he goes, “There’s a bunch of us here. So as soon as you arrive, let me know, we’re all gonna get together and go for drinks”. I’m like, great, and then the other thing I did, so yeah, workshopped. And one of the women in that group is brilliant, successful businesswoman, serial entrepreneur.

26:24

And her focus is on the financial and logistics and operations. That’s not my strong suit. my strong suit is the networking and the marketing and the branding and the creative parts of it. So, after two phone calls, we decided we’re collaborating. And we’re going to run a series of workshops and programs and courses and services for business owners, on managing the financial health of their business, and also the personal interpersonal relationship, relationships and networks, to bring in the sales and manage the money and be successful. And then should I take a break? Because there’s more.

26:56

TAMAR: Yeah, go ahead, keep going.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Meanwhile, I’m doing comedy classes online for fun open mics and shows. I met someone on one of the open mics, ended up taking this class in that class. I met someone else, he and I started talking, we decided to help each other like a writing buddy because again, I don’t like those stuff alone. I find that when you play off other people, it’s much richer and diverse opinions. And you can have conflict and arguments and also agree on things. And it’s just much more interesting. So, what started out as “Hey, do you want to write together and give each other feedback on our jokes,” is now a full-fledged online talk show. We’ve had two episodes already. Three episodes, actually. It’s called All of Them, a conversation about everything. And my co-host, Frantz Cayo and I, have never met in person. We met a couple of months ago online. We were going to try to meet in person this weekend in Central Park to do an open mic. And we’ve launched our own talk show.

28:03

TAMAR: That’s amazing.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Yeah.

28:05

TAMAR: So, you’re making it work. And that’s the thing. It’s amazing that there’s no shortage of opportunity. But you have to have a mindset, an open mind, to seek that. No matter where you physically are on the planet, there’s going to be somewhere you can help, especially now, because we don’t have the geography. Forget geography for a moment. It’s all online. And as long as you basically are connected to the internet, you can make most of  anything happen.

28:37

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: That internet connection, because you lost it for a few days, metaphorically, figuratively, literally, connection is what it’s about. And there’s an expression we use in social work, which I think applies to anything in life. Those who are the most isolated are the most at risk.

TAMAR: Right.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ:   And so, when I was working in social work, and I was working in hospitals, and I was dealing with patients and their families who always wanted to assess somebody’s support structure, their support system.

29:10

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: And I brought that into the business world as well. People who are the most isolated are the most at risk, but the more you bring people around you, the more opportunities, the more help. And we all want to help. We don’t just give and receive, ask and offer. So, one of the articles I wrote recently was  Favor to Offer, Favor to Ask, which was the exact title of the email I sent out when I was living in Westchester, February 2009, for the very first workshop I ever gave. And it came about because of a lunch with a bunch of women who are all out of work. And we were all kind of coming together to commiserate and give each other advice about looking for work and I started talking about networking and the woman sitting across from me, Susan, one of my closest friends we met that day. She looked me straight in the eye. And she said, that’s what you should do for a living, you should teach people how to network. And I sent an email after that lunch favor to offer favor to ask. I’d like to give a workshop on networking for job search skills. And  what I’m asking you to do is come with an open mind and invite your friends. It will be free, give me honest feedback. That was the very first official workshop I gave as Fireball Deena and launched my business because of that.

30:32

TAMAR: That’s awesome.

30:33

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Yeah, so and I’m still doing it. So even though the structure may change  the advice I would give people, is that things may look different, you may be in a different location. It may be a different job, you may be self-employed, you may not be, but just go back to what you’d like to do what you’re good at how you can serve others and be a value.

30:52

TAMAR: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a testament to the mindset, but I like I’m hoping if people are listening to this, they can take away the fact that it all comes down to mindset. You need to believe it, and you need to know that you can and that you can bounce back. I mean, this is a really difficult time for everybody. I think it’s really important to see everybody has strengths, and maybe some of those are potentially being, taken from under you that they sweep the rug from under your feet. But there’s something there and there’s an opportunity, that abounds.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Yeah, a good point. So, my mindset of course, it starts there. But along with the mindset, you have to have resources, and you have to be willing to ask for help. And that’s hard. You have to have the mindset that it’s okay to ask for help. I mean, every day that I had to ask for help, I felt like “Oh, I can’t take care of myself. What’s wrong with me?” But I also felt this is a learning experience. This is giving my friends chance to help me and they want to, the same way I helped them. And I have a red frame. It’s like a greeting card. Basically, it says ”Live life believing anything is possible.” And I’m packing that in my suitcase with me so I can take it wherever I’m staying at an Airbnb or in quarantine, or at my mother’s until I find an apartment. I want that in front of me every single day now. Live life believing anything is possible. Okay, anything is not possible. We know that. Like, I’m never gonna be a basketball player. I’m never gonna be a rock high.

32:32

TAMAR: At this point, 2020 though. So, anything’s possible.

32:35

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Yeah, right. But believing your life, believing that it’s possible and working towards it with that joy and commitment and positivity. To me, that’s how I choose to live my life.

TAMAR: Right.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ:  I know that not everything will work out. Not everything is possible. But if it’s meaningful, and it helps others and it serves a greater good, 32:59 then I will do whatever it takes, and I will fight for my friends and for myself and for my clients. And we are really in this together in different circumstances. Certainly, I know even with what I’ve gone through I’m still very privileged, and I want to use the opportunities and the resources I have to make a bigger difference in the world. That’s really, really important.

33:26

TAMAR: Absolutely. All right. Let’s jump into your self-care routine. Hopefully you have time to do some of that in the context of packing and trying to relocate to a different country.

33:41

DEENA BAIKOWITZ:  So funny you should ask that because right before I got on to this, I needed some music to get me into the headspace for this conversation. Not that it’s really hard. I like conversation. As soon as I start talking to somebody, I’m happy. I’m not happy when I’m by myself because I’m an extrovert. But I put on all that jazz with Bebe Neuwirth from Chicago. I love musical theater. I’m a Broadway baby. Like, my favorite dance class, theater dance. I also take tap, jazz, ballet and ballroom dancing. And I accidentally or I packed my ballroom dance shoes and wrote it on the box in big letters that they were in there. And I’m like crazy. I just ripped open the box and pulled the mountains and these are coming with me. So, dancing for me, does a lot that just puts me in my positive frame of mind. I’ve danced since I was a little girl. Also, comedy of course is a self-care for me, making time to write comedy and to take comedy class and to do open mics. That’s self-care. I also like yoga. Yeah, breathing and stretching, moving around. And I’d say anything with chocolate in it is self-care for me.

34:54

TAMAR: Yeah, yeah. But for me, I can’t I draw the line on white or dark. So, it’s all in the middle baby.

35:01

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Oh, expand your horizons tomorrow.

(laughter)

35:06

TAMAR: Trust me, I’ve tried. Well, I used to love white chocolate when I was younger. My palate has been since simply more refined. I know some of the foodies out there might disagree with me.

35:22

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: I don’t disagree. You’re fine because now we just put a value judgment on what kinds to like and I’m not sure we should. I mean, there’s enough reasons but like not good reasons. But we’re labeling people enough too much as it is, once not quite a value judgment on your chocolate. I have a  friend who’s also my lawyer, who I adore, and she’s taking such great care of me. She only likes chocolate with nuts in it. And pretty much the only chocolate I don’t like. I don’t like nuts in my chocolate. It’s not that I don’t like the chocolate I’ll pick the nuts out but yeah, I  love all chocolates equally.

35:57

TAMAR: Good for you. I kind of wish I was you because I would love to. Obviously, milk chocolate is not as healthy as dark chocolate and I would love dark chocolate. I’ve tried but it is an acquired taste and I don’t know if I have the patience for that.

36:12

DEENA BAIKOWITZ:  It’s really good one and it’s in a liqueur. I don’t remember which brand it is. And I know we’re not getting sponsorship from them. So, we don’t need to name them.

(laughter)

TAMAR: Exactly. Maybe next time.

36:21

DEENA BAIKOWITZ:   Mix all. Make dark chocolate white chocolate and milk chocolate liquors. And they are delicious.

36:30

TAMAR: Yeah, I will tell you I have had dark chocolate of course that have been good. But I don’t know if I can have a bar of dark, like Hershey’s special dark.

36:41

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: I will tell you actually thinking of self-care the first three weeks of the pandemic. And everyone’s like, oh, we’re baking and we’re eating healthy and I had coffee and chocolate chips for breakfast every morning for like two weeks. That was it. Like that was all I could deal with.

TAMAR: That’s good.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: I’m not saying it’s healthy.

TAMAR: No one needs to know.

37:04

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: But that was my self-care. I’m admitting it to the world. Coffee with cream and sugar, milk and sugar and or maple syrup. Excuse me. I put maple syrup in my coffee because I’m Canadian. I love maple syrup. Maple Syrup on anything. But that was at lunch and big baking milk chocolate, baking chips or chocolate chips. That was my breakfast for like six weeks.

37:24

TAMAR: Yeah, well, that’s a good breakfast. I can’t fault you for that one.

37:30

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Got me through hard times. I have to write about adversity.

37:39

TAMAR: Yeah. Cool. Well, all right. Let me ask you one final question. And that is I guess your Common Scent question. The question that I have for you is, if you can give an earlier version of Fireball Deena a piece of advice. What would you tell her?

38:00

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Wow, what a great question. What would I tell me, undersell?

38:08

TAMAR: I love that question. I love the pause.

38:11

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Oh, there’s so much to ask the coach for advice. Like an hour later, she’s still talking. And there’s three bullet points.

38:23

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: I’ve got a 10-point plan going already for my younger self. No, I think it would be trust in yourself and trust in people; like stop being so worried about being judged and about other people because we’re all self-conscious in our own ways. But opening up more, and letting people see the mess. I mean I’m a fireball and I’m also a hotness. We all are. So, letting people see and appreciate that hot messes sooner rather than later, would have been helpful. But if I had that advice early on, I might not be where I am today. So, I still look at that pain and that suffering as a blessing because it compelled me to do what I do now. I think if I had had a happy childhood,  I wouldn’t be the kind of coach I am now and I wouldn’t be the kind of comic I am now.

39:18

TAMAR: Yeah. Love it. Love it. Awesome. Well, okay, let me ask you the final question. Where can our listeners find you?

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Everywhere. I love to connect. I’m an extrovert. I mentioned that three times already?

TAMAR: Not three times. Maybe two.

 

39:37

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: Yeah. My handle is fireballdeena. spelled d e e n a. So, fireballdeena on Instagram, on Twitter. I am on LinkedIn. I’m on Facebook. My website is in progress. So, I’d say just give that a few weeks. I have a really old website up right now, my old Fireball Network websites. But   you couldn’t find me anywhere. I mean call, text, email. Soon, WhatsApp, Skype. I really love talking to people. And I’m also a member of a lot of different organizations. I think that’s something important for people to join groups or try different ones out and take an active role in them.

40:19

TAMAR:  Awesome. All right, and I just want to make sure when people follow you on LinkedIn, that bandwidth is b, a, i, k, o, w, i, t, z.

40:29

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: That’s right, and YouTube, of course. So, the new show, I would love for people to watch the show. It’s called All of Them. A conference conversation about everything.

40:40

TAMAR: All right, I’m getting on that show. We’re going to talk about that.

40:42

DEENA BAIKOWITZ:

Yeah. We would love to have you as a guest. Cool.

40:45

TAMAR: Cool. All right. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Deena. This has been so amazing. I wish you the best on your move. And yeah, we’re connected now. So, moving to Canada, even though we were kind of neighbors for a while. I know with you for sure that this is not going to change anything.

41:06

DEENA BAIKOWITZ: No, I’m going global. I’m expanding my network.

41:09

TAMAR: Awesome. Cool.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ:  Thank you for the opportunity. I really enjoy the interview.

41:12

TAMAR: I really enjoyed getting to know you.

DEENA BAIKOWITZ:  Yeah. Likewise.

 

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TAMAR.