Happy Monday, y’all! I’m thrilled to be back introducing another installment of our beloved series, Working Women We Adore. Today we introduce you to Misha Granado, MPH, MS of local Houston-business Love Grows: The Relationship Consultants.
We’ve said this before, but the Working Women We Adore series has become near and dear to our hearts here at ABA. If you missed the last few installments of the series, read them here, here and here. We love providing an outlet for women to share their stories, advice and the hard work they’ve put in as female business owners and entrepreneurs. Plus, now more than ever, highlighting local businesses and how you can support them is of utmost importance!
But we also want to note, that we’re also making an effort to offer diversity in all women featured. This is something we’ve been wanting to do for sometime, but recent events have been the catalyst for making sure women of all backgrounds and ethnicities are featured here within this space.
Today we introduce you to Misha Granado of Love Grows: The Relationship Consultants. She is the owner of the Houston-based boutique firm focusing on healthy relationships. With 15 years of experience, Misha offers relationship therapy for a variety of circumstances or reasons.
As certified relationship therapist and behavioral scientist, Misha focuses on helping her clients realize that their emotional health and relationships are a huge priority to being happy. Because the relationship you have with yourself, is the determining factor for ALL relationships in your life. Misha likes to remind people that therapy isn’t just for ‘crazy’ people, and it’s not to be feared. Simply put, it’s a health and wellness tool for our lives!
In her spare time, Misha loves to travel and spend time by the ocean. She gardens, dabbles in interior design and of course loves spending time with friends and loved ones. She also enjoys exploring different parts of our great city, Houston. Read on to learn more about this amazing Black female Houston small business owner, Misha Granado of Love Grows.
I always find it so interesting to learn how careers evolve. Yours is no exception. A Relationship Consultant at an alternative school for girls, psychology professor, published author and keynote speaker. How did each of these contribute to the entrepreneurial path of Love Grows?
Misha Granado: Life is an adventure filled with diverse experiences. Oftentimes, we may view these experiences as existing in a silo; instead of viewing life as a lush garden where each experience is a seed in the garden that is our life. At the time of each of these experiences listed above, I had no idea that becoming an entrepreneur would be a part of my life journey.
My academic training is in psychology and behavioral health. At the beginning of my academic career I was interested in becoming a clinical psychologist. As I matriculated through my undergraduate program, I became interested in industrial and organizational psychology (I/O) and upon graduation, had an opportunity to enter into a program for a year. Within that year, I discovered I/O was not my passion and I did not want to pursue a graduate degree or career in the field. I then had an opportunity to join AmeriCorps for a year, where I had an afterschool program at an elementary school. It was here in Acres Homes where I discovered my passion for the community, health and wellness. It is important to change how we define failure. I do not view changing interests from clinical to I/O psychology to AmeriCorps as a failure; instead, I view each of these as experiences which led me to my passion, which would ultimately become my life work.
Being a group facilitator at an all-girls alternative school with 6th -12th graders, along with later teaching Introduction to Psychology to undergraduate students were both major seeds planted in the soil that became Love Grows. It is here with these two different populations where my love for wellness on all levels sprouted. It was in these spaces where my students and I co-created a very sacred space where they felt emotionally safe to be vulnerable and transparent. It was here where I discovered many people do not have access to such safe spaces and I wanted to create spaces for them to do so. Spaces where they could heal their emotional wounds to become emotionally healthy and emotionally mature. It was actually my undergraduate students who recommended and requested that I write a book for all the students who did not have an opportunity to take my class.
My book led to speaking engagements and invites to facilitate workshops. Life is indeed an adventure, because I never thought I would have written a book (currently working on books two and three).
Is there anything you miss about your past careers?
MG: I intentionally live my life in such a way that I do not spend a great amount of time or energy focused on the past. However, I do miss working daily with students, therefore I absolutely adore when I have opportunities to engage with this population via workshops, interactive discussions, etc.
What do you find most challenging and most rewarding about being an entrepreneur?
MG: One of the challenges I had early on as an entrepreneur was establishing my rate. As women, we are sometimes intimidated to ask for/demand what we want. However, once I realized my rate was not in reference to the time period in which I am with a client, but actually for the years of content experience that enables me to deliver in said time period, that is when it was no longer a challenge.
One of the most rewarding aspects of what I do is (1) being invited to accompany someone on their healing/wellness journey, an invite that is extremely sacred and (2) to witness as they heal, become emotionally stronger and healthy. It is absolutely beautiful.
As a fellow small business owner, who is married to another small business owner, we know all too well, and appreciate each of unique the challenges that come with entrepreneurship. What advice do you have when one or both people in a relationship are small business owners?
MG: I am such an advocate for tailoring our relationships. What one couple needs/wants varies considerably from the next couple. This is applicable whether someone in the partnership is an entrepreneur or works within corporate, academia, or as a stay at home parent. Oftentimes, people say communication is key; I agree but would put trust first.
Unfortunately, there are some people who are in relationships, but do not feel emotionally safe to be vulnerable with their partner. Therefore, if one does not feel emotionally safe, the manner in which they communicate is also impacted. People begin to alter their communication style as a result of their experience. For example, if you are constantly multi-tasking (half listening) when your partner is speaking with you, then your partner may feel (1) that he/she is not important, (2) ignored and/or that you (3) are not interested. As a result, your partner may begin to decrease what he/she shares with you. If when your partner shares something with you and if you consistently (1) invalidate their feelings, (2) make fun of him/her, (3) minimize what they are feeling/experiencing; your partner may not feel emotionally safe to be vulnerable and honest with you.
My advice is to cultivate trust, which will allow you to co-create and co-nurture an emotionally safe space where both parties feel safe to be vulnerable and transparent. This includes maintaining confidentiality (not gossiping to others about your partner), not using something your partner shared with you in a vulnerable moment against him/her. Once a couple has established a sacred space, then they are equipped to handle the various challenges that may present.
Where do you see yourself and Love Grows in 5 years?
MG: In five years, Love Grows will have expanded our brand and services to international populations and locations. More books under our Writing Love into Existence arm, along with hosting our retreats for all relationship dynamics (singles, romantic, parenting, friendships) under our Bringing Love into Existence component. We are also preparing to launch a podcast.
You share some great tips on dating, communication and relationship building, just to name a few. What are some top tips you can share with us to deal with the variety of challenges (pandemic, Black injustice) that 2020 has put forth thus far?
MG: For my fellow Black people:
- Oppression, inequality and the other components of white supremacy are extremely taxing on all of our bodies (mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial); therefore taking care of our wellness on all levels is priority. Do whatever you need to do to maintain your wellness, which will look different for each of us. For some it is therapy, meditation, yoga, exercise, disconnecting from media, unfollowing/muting pages, immersing in loving Black spaces, etc.
- It is not our responsibility to teach 400+ years of oppression to others. It is not our responsibility to ‘perform our pain’ on demand when others ask you how you feel about X, Y, Z. What we are feeling at the genocide of our people is a very vulnerable space and you are not required to share it with anyone or in any space where you do not feel emotionally safe to do so.
- Immerse yourself in joy, happiness, rest, peace and love. We have always been multi-dimensional and occupy many spaces at the same time. Our entire existence and energy does not only need to be focused on our liberation. We are full humans and have access to the full spectrum of emotions and experiences. It is our birthright as well.
- If you want to know more about the oppression of Black, Indigenous, Trans people or any other group in which you do not identify/belong, do your research to become more informed and identify ways in which you can ensure you are not participating in it.
- Listen – this is not about centering you, your feelings, discomfort, etc. it is about connecting with another human being who is sharing their pain with you. You are the novice here, not the expert.
- If you allow others to engage in comments, conversations, behavior around you that are not aligned with how you feel and what you believe as it pertains to others, USE YOUR VOICE and call it out. Establish a boundary where this is unacceptable.
- Take assessment to identify if you are holding any -isms towards another group and begin to explore if you are willing to take the action to remove them from within.
2020 has been quite the year. Obviously it’s been an emotional rollercoaster, to say the least. What do you say to those of us who are scared, angry, emotionally hurt or simply ready to do the work to enact and initiate change needed in today’s society?
MG: 2020 has been extremely emotional (i.e. Black oppression, pandemic, unemployment, quarantine, etc). All of these on their own are heavy, but together, whoa! Emotions are simply feelings in motion, so allow them to flow through you in a healthy manner. For example, to move anger through your body, engage in some sort of physical activity (i.e. boxing, running, racquetball, etc.).
Next, ask yourself, ‘what do I have the power to do? What do I have control over in this moment?’ Changing the world is a huge undertaking, one none of us can or are required /expected to do on our own. Begin locally, with self, family, friends, community, city, etc. what can you do in these spaces to make the world a better place. Items 1-4 listed above are a few examples. Sustainable change begins within and then radiates out to other people and spaces.
You offer sessions for individuals, mother/daughter relationships and romantic partnerships – including premarital counseling. Is there one piece of advice that is consistent across the board during these counseling sessions?
MG: Regardless of the relationship dynamic, one piece of advice that is consistent across the board is, “It is not someone else’s responsibility to save, heal or fix you; sustainable change comes from within. The role of a therapist is to serve as a guide as your B.L.O.O.M. – Becoming Love to Overcome Obstacles within Me [You]. You have so much wisdom and power and together we will discover/rediscover it. You are so much more than you currently believe.”
Between therapy sessions, speaking at events and writing, how do you find time for yourself? How do you balance your work life and personal life? Do you have any hobbies, guilty pleasures or other interests that help you relax after a long day or week?
MG: My wellness includes prioritizing myself on a daily basis because I know a healthy me allows me to show up fully in all of the other spaces in my life (i.e. relationships, work, etc). I have boundaries between work and my personal life, which means, I have specific times when I close the work day, disconnect from technology and enjoy the present moment oftentimes outside on my balcony or some other beautiful green space. However, because life happens, if I need to, I take a ‘mental wellness’ day where I disconnect from everything and just focus on me, and do whatever is needed for the situation to restore balance in my life.
A few of my hobbies include: gardening, interior design, reading, spending quality time with friends and loved ones, traveling, spending time near the sea, exercising, writing, and exploring beautiful spaces in the city. Of course one of my favorite is spending time with my BIG love Langston, who expands my heart exponentially.
The question we always ask is what is your favorite go to career gal outfit?
MG: I absolutely adore Ankara fabric, the bold beautiful jewel tones of the material. Here is an example of a dress that captures one aspect of my style.
What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs starting down the path of their own business?
MG: Do not be afraid to trust yourself. Yes, it is advantageous to obtain wisdom, expertise from others who are successful entrepreneurs, but remember everyone has their own unique path. If there is something you feel strongly about in your gut to do, do not be afraid to try it. Life is an adventure, filled with experiences. There is no such thing as failure, simply opportunities to gain wisdom, experience, and to grow.