Ask the Expert with Krista Franks - How to Live an Intentional Life

Redefine success.

Unlock your inner wisdom.

Define your life with intention.

Get clear on what's most important to you.

Hi, everyone. I'm really happy today to have on our Ask the Expert series, Krista Franks. Krista is an introspective Explorer and the co-founder of Owl and Key, and it's a lifestyle design company.

Elaine: You help people to redefine success, unlock their inner wisdom and define a life with intention. You help them get clear on what's most important to them so that they can live the life. They desire with unshakeable confidence and peace of mind. Sign me up. You offer a program called strategic planning for life. This is the holistic intention setting system that takes you from where you are to where you wanna be, even if you aren't quite sure where that is just yet. And I love that you and your husband, your life partner started this company when you were starting your family so that you could more freely design your days and your lives around what mattered most your time. The Elaine Wellness audience tends to be women who are 40 plus. And that seems to be a time of life. Maybe you've had a baby later in life. I have girlfriends. Who've had babies in their forties. Maybe you're going through a divorce. Maybe you have lost parents. I'm in a position of caregiving to a 92 year old mom. So lots happening in midlife. So tell us, give us some ideas as women who are taking care of everyone else, where can we start

Krista: Bang the nail on the head with that, that group and being in a position where you're giving so much of yourself to anyone and everyone, right? You're taking care of your career. You're taking care of your family, both your children, but also your parents you're giving to your community. You're just, there's so many things that you're juggling. And so, you know, I think what we find the most is that our program is, is built around intentionality. So we wanna live with more intention. We wanna design with intention and we believe that first part of that in order to do that, we have to have this deep sense of self-awareness. But when we're just like pouring our energy out everywhere else, it takes a hard stop. To look and say like, okay, what do I need? Right. We think about it, Phil and I always talk about it as a cup.

We think about our energy as a cup we keep, and this is something that not just we think, but you know, we've heard many other people think, I'm sure your audience feels and thinks the same way. We just keep same cup but we're, we're not filling it back up, but what fills you up might not fill my cup up. Right. And so, and so we have to get very clear about, okay, if I do a hard stop, what are the things that if I'm constantly giving my energy out of that cup, what are the things that are gonna put that energy back in my cup? And so we spend a lot of time early on doing that deep sense of self-awareness to understand what is it that gives me energy, what lights me up, what makes me feel really good. And one of the first questions we ask, and this is something that anyone listening can ask yourself right now is how have I been treating myself lately?

And there, once you answer that question, if it's like, you know, I could do a, a little bit better of a job. We have a tool that we use later on in the program. It's an eight week experience, an eight week course that we take people through. But once we do that deep dive into self-awareness like, one of those questions is how have I been treating myself lately? Then we take people through this activity, and this is something that anyone listening can also do a drives and drains analysis of your energy. So make a little T chart. And on one side of the T chart, you put drives, like what's driving me, what's lighting me up? What's giving me energy. What's boosting me and be very specific about how you're spending your time. And on the other side, you put drains, what's draining my energy?

What's when I'm pouring out of my cup, what's really bringing me down and then deciding from there and to take some things out, to really let go of some things so that you can do more of what you wanna do to fill up your cup. Because when you are taken care of, you can take care of everything else outside of you. And I think we often forget that part. We think, well, I just need to keep going. And I, I need to keep taking care of everyone and keep pouring it out. But if we're not taking care of, we can't take care of everyone else. And let's we ask this group listening. I mean, we keep the world spinning. So we we need to be taken care of. Right. So that we can fully take care of and love the people that we wanna, you know, really fully invest in and do all the things that we want to do.

Elaine: Right. So I think, and I speak from experience. I think a lot of women, we often work on obligation and I should, and I don't want to disappoint people. Right. We're wired as women to never wanna disappoint anyone hurt someone's feelings. You know, can you speak to that a little bit when we're making this, this list of the drives and the drains.

Krista: This gives you the ability to consciously choose yes or no. So I can say, you know what? I know that I should sign up for that committee, but I know that the position on that committee, what the committee serves, it's very draining for me. And if I say yes to that, should I'm gonna say no to something else. That's very fulfilling to me. Maybe that's gardening and being outside with family or doing something like that, I'm gonna say no to that thing. And so we're, if we constantly just choose these shoulds, then we're saying no to so many other things. And I, and I think what we find with our work is to more consciously say yes to the things that are, that are true for me and no to the things that are not right, and that's different for everyone.

And so when we have that deep sense of self awareness, we go heavily into what are, what are your values? Like, what do you actually value? What do you actually deem to be most important in your life? The top five to seven things. And then we talk about life intentions. What are those things that you define as what you truly want in life? And then let those things plus personality, who you are, let those things drive those yeses and those nos. So you can be at peace. You can have peace of mind with saying no to someone, even if you think, even if you think that they're gonna be upset about it or that it, you should do it. And you're kind of scared not to do it. And here's what I, here's what we found. And I think that this is probably the best feedback for anybody who's considering like, oh, should I, should I say no to that?

If you're tiptoeing on that, do it, because what we've found so many times is that when you stand in your truth and you say yes to the right things that are good for you. And no, what you do is like, we've seen so many positive outcomes from that. Here’s an example. I've said no to an event with friends that was upcoming, it got to that day. And I was like, you know what, friends, I am so drained. I'm so sorry, but I'm gonna go ahead and say no to this. I need the, the pause because I need to take time for myself. And that group responded and said, thank you. I feel the exact same way today.

Elaine: Oh, wow.

Krista: Nobody did it. And we just rescheduled it. And that happens all the time.

Elaine: So anyone who's listening, are you coming up with your list of what drives you and what drains you, and if you are drop it in the chat, tell us is, is, is this sparking any ideas for you? So I loved you sent me over some questions. One of them was, what are you most proud of about yourself and why? I love this. I think, especially for women, right? Again, we're often very hard on ourselves. We haven't done enough, whatever enough is. So talk to us about that

Krista: Constantly. And so I, you know, one of the parts of our program is that we're trying to build up that encouraging voice inside our heads. Right. You know, of course there are areas that if there are a lot of things that drain us and we want to resolve those things and fix those, but we also need to ask ourselves, what am I most proud of? What am I excited about? What am I inspired by? But oftentimes when we have, when you answer their question of what am I most proud of, we go back in history, right? We look at these what we call case studies. They're like positive case studies of when we've done something. That's either taught us a lot about who we are or made us feel like we're strong and confident. And we use those moments to really help build that voice or build our decision making process or to build that deep sense of self-awareness so that when we're making decisions now in the future, we can feel really good about them.

But I just think for women, we, so we do get into that. We get into that narrative of not enoughness. And so we just like come back to like, okay, but let's talk about your superpowers. Let's talk about like what you do so uniquely well, and let's lean into that and use that to your advantage, to design, you know, this, this whole process is about designing your life with intention, right? So if you're coming at design with this like very critical eye, all the time of yourself, there's, you don't get the outcome that you desire, right. It's not, you're not believing in possibility, but if we come from a place of like, you know what, like be good at this thing, this is my superpower. I can really lean into that. It really yields such better results that you feel really good about.

Elaine: Right. And I think something I'm trying to learn too, is things I'm not good at, or I don't really like to do. Can I, can I hand them off to someone else?

Krista: Well, yes, 100%. Like I, as much as I try and I've seen some friends in here and they know this about me, I don't cook. Like I, my sister, she always has always been a wonderful cook. She has a food business. When I'm in the kitchen with her she only allows me to cut and butter, the bread. That is my job. And for a while, I shamed myself about it. And I thought, you know, in order to be a good mom, in order to take care of my friends who are having, I need to learn how to cook. I need to be able to cook, but I keep trying. And it's not a place where I find peace of mind. It stresses me out. And so, and my husband, Phil, he also doesn't enjoy the cooking process or the cleaning dishes. So we've optimized our, our lifestyle and we use sun basket and my sister's business food by, and the majority of our meals are frozen that we just pull out of the, the freezer, but they're family meal. So we still get to sit down and have a family meal they're nutritious.
Okay. And then we don't have to clean the dishes. I mean, we clean the, the plates because we still dish it out and really make it feel like a family meal. But you know, three nights a week, we're doing frozen meals that we don't have to put together. And that really works for us and alleviates a lot of my shouldness

Elaine: Right. And beating yourself up that you should know how to cook or like to cook or whatever the, the should is. Right.

Krista: Really wonderful team session the other day. And so it's really cool to go through this with businesses and teams, right. Because we're having personal conversations that don't often happen in the workplace. But one of the top things that came up was this idea of like wasted time. And so people were feeling like I waste time when I do something that I'm not really that great at or that I really drains my energy, but it's like a little thing, you know, someone said, I keep mowing the yard, but I know there are people who could help me mow the yard. <Laugh> and they're just little things. And I think that's the part about this work is it's just little incremental changes that we make that make our life so much fuller. We always think it's like, quit your job and travel the world and do all this crazy stuff. But it's really not. Right. It's like these incremental changes that we call it like compound, you know, how money compounds over time. Yeah. All of these little things compound over time and makes such a difference.

Elaine: Huge difference. Huge difference. So talk to us about how can we figure out what we truly want in life, right? Cause we can come on Instagram and we can see what everyone else is doing and we should have what they have, how do we get into what we truly want?

Krista: Right. And we're when we're raised so many of us. So I think we can almost, we kind of put on these layers of what you should strive for, what you should achieve, what you should do. And I'm guessing that your audience very, you know, high achievers, high performers in life in terms of, we, you go out, you do the things in life and you, you, you throughout your life. Right. And we kind of like put these layers on of, oh yeah, I should get my, I should graduate college. I should or go to, I should graduate high school. I should graduate college. I should get a job. I'm putting, I should make this amount of money. I should get some kind of house. And we just keep putting all these things on. And a lot of times those are, you know, from our family, from society, from our culture, from our religions, from like any external source.


Redefine success is because we believe it should come from the inside out that inner wisdom that, you know, like, Elaine, do you have that little whisper that ever
Whole voice, that little voice, that little voice is like telling you what you want. It's like in there, but we, how often do you ignore it or just brush it off because you're like, no, that's like, that doesn't make any sense.
Elaine: I think it's a superpower for women. You know, we are wired with the gift of intuition and how often yeah. Do we dismiss it? Because again, do we wanna people please someone, do we want to care, take someone.

Krista: Put that little whisper and that inner wisdom and that intuition, we kind of put it in the closet. Right? We just like suppress it. We just push it down because we're like, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. But if we let that out and we let that start to let the inner wisdom come out, let that intuition come out, write it down on paper. We have a process in the book and activity that we do called the death bed activity. And instead death, bed, exercise, I will use the older woman self. So like Elaine, imagine your older woman's self. Can you envision her?  Connect with what she looks like, what she feels like to you, who she is.

Elaine: Right. Okay. Will she go gray? Hmm. <Laugh>

Krista: Mine is I, my older self is totally gray as I have so many grays now, but I just like, it's like a cool gray, like a, like a, you know, it feels good. Gray. Do you have a sense of who that is? Like, can you kind of get a vibe for what she's like?
Elaine: Yeah, I think so.

Krista: And you know, a couple seconds, the majority of listeners will be able to tap into that, that older woman's self too. And so the reason we do that is because so often we think about goals or we think about what we want. We start from where we are and we look ahead. Right. But, but that's very limiting because then we're only looking at who we are in this moment, right. We're not looking at life holistically and what's most important to us. So we go to that older woman's self or in the book, we have the death bed activity. When you look back on your life from that older woman that you just envisioned, what has she done? What was most important to her? Why did she spend her time? Who did she spend her time with? Who is still around? And that perspective changes everything because that's where intention is born.

That's the direction you wanna go. And you know, what happens is that all these societal cultural layers that we bring into this work, those start to fall away immediately, right? Someone might come in saying, I need to make a certain amount of money. Then they go through that, the process of connecting with their older person, self and developing what we call life intentions. And they're like, I didn't write anything about money. And the truth is that the reason why this whole work was born was because of the research that shows when people are on their deathbed, looking back, they never say, I wish I worked more. I wish I made more money. I wish I stressed more. I wish I had more anxiety. I wish I worried about every detail. Nobody, nobody has ever said that. They say, you know, I intend to spend time with these people. To be of service in this specific way, I intend to travel or have no experiences. And that doesn't always mean like just mean across the street. Right. But to have new experiences or learning and growing. So, you know, we create meaningful to everyone.
We do see trends across the board with people, but everyone has very unique life intentions. Yes. And so then we really start designing around those and what's important to each individual person and that's where those layers really come off.
Elaine: Right. Right. I love it. So tell us about your program and what you offer people.

Krista: So our program, it's actually built out of a book it's called Strategic Planning for Life. And it's a book that Phil and I wrote together. It's a two phase process. Like I said, we believe that designing a life with intention is founded and grounded, deeply rooted and self-awareness, and then it is actually implemented and actualized through the habitual process of reflection and integration. So you can have all the self-awareness in the world. Right. You don't action it, then it doesn't matter. And that's it.

Phil and I really spent a ton of time thinking about, okay, is this just a one hour thing? Is it like, could it just be a speaking engagement? Could it be you know, just a three session and we realize that we need nine weeks at minimum to go through and actually start to re rewire thinking and thoughts in our brain. Yeah. To be able to say, okay, I'm gonna make new decisions. I'm going to design my life around what matters most. And so it's an, it's a nine week experience that takes you from like really big picture, high level. Like, how am I treating myself lately? What am I most proud of these big questions, right. To at the very end, we have very actionable small steps. Like I said, those compounding interests, those compounding steps.

Yeah. That make all the difference. So it's really been well thought out to bring that awareness, you know, we all do professional development, but bring that out into the actual world. So come take that inner voice, that little intuition at whisper. Yes. Map it out. And we do, you know, really the strategic plan is meant for like a 12 week cycle, because change doesn't happen overnight. Yes. Incremental changes happen immediately and people see changes immediately. But for us to really measure on if it's successful or not, we want some time, you know, at least a couple months. So we do a 12 month period of strategic planning and then people can cycle through it. So it's built for individuals, couples, and then teams can take their people through it. Right.
And they do the work and then they it's built so that they can come back and do it again and come back and do it again. So my husband and I have been doing it for years and that's really where all of it was born is we were going out into our own lives and wanting to be more intentional with our time. We, right. We just started doing it. We just started refining the process and seeing what worked and then started sharing it with people in really small ways. And then they started giving us feedback and we were like, oh wow. This is actually very valuable. Let's keep refining it.

Elaine: Wow. And so I guess as your children get older, as your business grows, you're constantly then revisiting

Krista: We have the book, but the, the course is a one-on-one guided experience with us or a group experience. Okay. So we have virtual sessions, we go through it, we are also going to launch a virtual option where someone can DIY it. So that will be up. And then eventually we'll have a kid's version. So we're, we're currently working with Dr. Melanie McNally, another fellow Renegade. Yes. And she has been reviewing our work and helping us to start thinking about how to share it with a younger and younger audience, because we wanna be able to bring our own kids into it and give them an opportunity to do it in a fun way. Not in our like adult way. Yeah. But yeah. So we're, we are, we do it every year as a family. And then our oldest son is four. And so in, you know, within the next year he'll be integrated into it and asked, so we already do some intention setting with them, but just very like high level, we'll write it on a, one of those Chinese lanterns and then release them into there. So it's fun and engaging, but yeah.

Elaine: Yeah. I love that. I love that. So where can people find you?

Krista: They can connect with us@owlandkey.co. So anyone who's interested can sign up to learn more about an individual experience or group experience also for couples or for teams. So you can do all of that on our website. Okay. And then the virtual DIY option will also be available on the website here soon in the next couple months.
Thank you. And we also have similar, we have podcasts. So the Unlocked podcast we definitely are, was just trying to get similar to you, Elaine, just like content out there for anyone who's interested. They don't have to go through the course. They can, we just wanna make this mindset and this philosophy available to anybody who would like, so we have the Unlocked podcast, which can also be found at the website and then on Instagram, they can find us there at owl underscore and underscore key.

Elaine: Okay. Awesome. So give us, give us our, our little bit of homework. If people wanna open up a journal page and just you know, go over some of these amazing tips you shared with us today. So tell us again, what, what can we think about what can we take away?

Krista: So I would, I would say with our work it's so based on reflection. Yeah. So the first homework item is to actually get out a notebook and actually sit down to pause. And that's the first homework item is to actually pause, even if it's only five minutes.

  1. How have I been treating myself lately?
  2. Where is my energy going? What's driving me? What's draining me?
  3. What am I most proud of? Maybe write down some other really positive things about yourself that feel uplifting and empowering and like superpowers. What's your unique superpower?
  4. Connect with that older woman's self love. And what would she tell you to do in any instance, if, if there's ever a moment and if anyone listening to this is in a, like, what do I do about this certain situation, go to your older woman's and say, what would she tell me to do? What would she tell me to do right now? And then do that. Don't doesn't matter what anybody else would tell you, because most of the time they're gonna tell you to do something logical or different, or like, that feels like, that feels like a should. Yeah. But that older woman self, I tell you, she's got she's already there. She already exists. She already has so much wisdom to share. And when we let that out and we follow that intuition, you know, this Elaine, when we follow that as especially as women, yes. It makes such a world of difference in our lives.

Elaine: Oh, all the time. I mean, as an entrepreneur, I, the biggest mistakes I've made are when I have not listened to my intuition and I've let somebody talk me out of it.


Krista: Yes. Oh my gosh. I'm so glad you said that. I feel like everyone listening, it feels the exact same way about anything, other aspect in life. You know, if you make that decision based on what somebody else tells you, you should do. It goes, I mean, it, it might be fine, but some of the worst decisions I've ever made in the same boat as you like that, they didn't come from that intuition.


Elaine: Krista, this has been fantastic. I know. I'm gonna open my journal tomorrow morning. I'm gonna work on some of those questions. I also like to think about stuff as I walk. I find when I'm outside in nature, moving, I think that's another way that that sort of your intuition can kick in when you're unplugged from everything.


Krista: I completely agree. Walking, driving, showering, you know, like that, that conscious mind gets out of the way. Yes. And when these little whispers pop up, I so agree or gardening, you know, be just being outside, it makes such a difference.


Elaine: I hope everyone will go over and follow Krista over on Instagram and certainly DM her or me, or send us an email, tell us any pearls of wisdom that came up for you. We would love to hear about it and certainly go check out their website and their program. It's I just think these are fantastic questions for people to ask themselves and to keep revisiting it. I think that's so important.

Krista: Elaine, thank you for all of that. And you know, how big of a fan I am of you and your products.

Elaine: Oh, thank so. Thank you.
Krista: You, you are in my life every single day. So if anyone is listening, go get you some Elaine Wellness, especially the collagen I highly recommend. Yes. So thank you for having me be a part of this has been such a joy. I have really enjoyed the time together.

Elaine: Yes. Well, thank you so much and thank you everybody for listening and be sure to contact us if you have any questions. So absolutely. Thank you, Krista. Enjoy your evening. No cooking.