April 13, 2021

Can You REALLY Be Successful Without Working Hard? with Fabiola Hesslien

Can You REALLY Be Successful Without Working Hard? with Fabiola Hesslien

Can you really achieve success by working smarter not harder? This week we sit down with business coach Fabiola Hesslein who reveals how to work hard while beating the work burnout epidemic.

Can you really be successful without working hard? 

That depends. If you’re spending the vast majority of time in your zone of genius, is it really hard work?

Our guest this week, Fabiola Hesslein, is here to help you reinvent the hustle and build an intentional life and business.


  • The difference between working hard vs. intentionally 

  • What it means to be “in alignment” and how it can help you work smarter

  • The easiest way to avoid work burnout as an online business owner 

  • The power of your thoughts and how they can help you work smarter

If this episode inspires you, leave a review and share your biggest takeaway with me. And while you've got your phone out, make sure to follow me on Instagram @thecourtneyelmer for more quick tips on how to streamline your business systems and spend more time in your zone of genius.





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© Copyright 2022 | The EffortLESS Life®


Courtney Elmer 0:00  

You're listening to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast, Episode 65. Today's guest has performed alongside people like Michael Jackson Usher, Mary J. Blige, Jimmy Fallon, and she's appeared on HBO, MTV, SNL, and The View. And now, she coaches creative entrepreneurs and visionary leaders on how to redefine and use their inner brilliance to make more money by working smarter. But what the heck does that mean? And is it possible to be successful without working hard? Our guest today has the answers. That's all coming up next, right here on The EffortLESS Life®️.


On today's episode, we are asking the question: Can you really be successful without working hard? It could be argued that my guest today, the lovely Fabiola Hesslein, has worked hard to achieve the industry recognition that she's achieved. But when you're spending the majority of your time in your zone of genius doing what you love, are you really working hard? Before doing what she does today, coaching entrepreneurs how to get into alignment and learn to work smarter, Fabi led her career as a high-profile entertainer. She then transitioned into a full-fledged entertainment business, serving the likes of Oprah Winfrey and other luxury brands. Most recently, she's launched a business empowerment brand to help entrepreneurs like you champion your well-being, and put your inner brilliance to work smarter to make a bigger impact in the world. 

If you've been a longtime listener, you know that you have to take care of the human behind the business in order for your business to thrive. If you're not, then you open yourself up to the huge risk of work burnout and cause you to leave money on the table.

Well-being is one of those things that few entrepreneurs talk about or even pay attention to in the world of marketing, and it's causing a pandemic of work burnout. What you need to know is that your well-being directly impacts the degree of success that you are able to achieve. Because if you are not taking care of the human behind the business in order to thrive, how can you expect your business to thrive?

Fabi is here to help you learn what it means to work smarter. Let's dive into that interview right now. Fabiola, welcome to the Systems Made Simple™ podcast. I am so excited that you are here today to help our listeners learn to avoid work burnout.

Fabiola Hesslein 5:12  
Thank you for having me, Courtney, I appreciate it!

Courtney Elmer 5:16  
You have such a fascinating background. Before we dive into that, tell us more about the business empowerment brand that you've created called Rockstar Spirit®️. What is a Rockstart Spirit®️, and how does having one help entrepreneurs work smarter and avoid work burnout?

Fabiola Hesslein 5:36 
Sure. Rockstar Spirit®️ is a business empowerment brand that I created out of my own past experiences with work burnout as an entrepreneur. It's a multi-dimensional platform for your personal development and self-mastery journey that helps you shift the definition of working hard and understand what working smarter really means. It's a lifestyle program that helps you transform your belief systems and learn how to integrate your personal power to achieve a life experience with more freedom by working smarter.

Courtney Elmer 6:18 
Yes! One of the things we help entrepreneurs do is reverse the conditioning and the belief systems that have been ingrained from an early age so they can tap into that personal power and work smarter and intentionally, which is so essential for running a successful business. Preventing work burnout is something that so few people know how to do. So what would you say the gap in the marketplace was that this brand fills specifically?

Fabiola Hesslein 6:54  
Well, it started out with this work burnout epidemic we were experiencing before our current pandemic. Working hard is based on survival mode. Working smarter means tapping into the inner brilliance that allows you to achieve success in the easiest way possible. This stems from my experience of being an entrepreneur too. The concept of this brand is to inspire people that they have this inner brilliance within and that they can achieve a life that's seamless, and boundless, and rewarding.

Courtney Elmer 8:10  
 'Alignment' is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot, just like work burnout, or "work smarter, not harder." Many people don't understand what that means to be in alignment, or what working smarter truly means. Can you dig into that more? What does that mean specifically, to be "in alignment"?

Fabiola Hesslein 8:28  
My motto is “mastering your outer world is an inside job”. When you're in alignment there's that feeling of "everything's falling into place." This was the year that unfortunately, we've experienced work burnout in a much more painful way due to all the stressors with the pandemic. In those seasons you have to look within yourself and remember the true essence of what we are and what we're capable of. Sometimes, that's all it takes to get in alignment and work smarter. To wake us up and say, “Hey there's so much you can create from within”, and that's what enlightened me to start working smarter and teaching others to do the same.

Courtney Elmer 10:39  
It has been a collective awakening, hasn't it? Our listeners know that when I was 25, I battled cancer, which I believe was a result of the stress I had in my life prior to that. It was a personal awakening. Prior to that, I thought working hard was the only way to achieve success.

Those big moments define who we are, and where we go from here. I used to say I wish more people could have that wake-up call. Not cancer, per se, but something in life that is the catalyst for change.

You've mentioned this work burnout epidemic, and we have this culture of working hard to achieve success. I'd love to dig in more and hear your journey to creating this brand to help people work smarter and avoid work burnout. What led you there on a personal level? What was your catalyst for change?

Fabiola Hesslein 12:29  
Absolutely, yes. Personally, I got out of alignment through my own entrepreneurial journey, which led to work burnout. I've always worked hard. But as an entrepreneur, that takes on a whole new meaning. Survival mode kicks in and you develop bad habits that lead to work burnout. You want to work hard and succeed, which is all fine and good, but then you find yourself in a "disease to please" where you've forgotten to set boundaries.

I remember taking advice from a colleague saying the key to success is to work harder than the rest and over-deliver.

That backfired because I wasn't setting enough boundaries and I was on the brink of work burnout. Although I tried to work hard to please all the people around me, doing so also means not sacrificing your self-care and self-alignment — and that was a wake-up call for me. 

Self-care equals self-love. I wasn't loving myself enough to put up those boundaries (which is one way to work smarter). That's why created something that can help everybody else set those boundaries, learn how to stop working hard and work smarter, and stay away from work burnout. Because ultimately, I got back into alignment through certain methods that I created and started working smarter. I'm excited to share that through the Rockstar Spirit®️ brand.

Courtney Elmer 15:27  
I want to highlight something you mentioned: self-care equals self-love. Self-care has taken off as another one of these trends and it bothers me when I see these posts on social media that say "go take a walk, go get a massage”. Because those things don't actually get to the root of the issue that's causing those symptoms like work burnout, which is being out of alignment. 

Fabiola Hesslein 16:10  
Exactly. It's about getting to the root of work burnout and exploring the deeper reasons why you're working hard. The mission with Rockstar Spirit®️ is to expand our consciousness on alignment and on source connection because that is what kicks our human potential into full gear and that is what gets us back into vibrating on a frequency where there's no fears and anxieties and stress and doubts and limiting beliefs. Once we become aware of that inner connection to source connection, then we begin to get back into alignment and start working smarter. Working hard is no longer necessary.

Courtney Elmer 16:53  
Yes. So what specific steps did you take then to stop working hard and instead work smarter? 

Fabiola Hesslein 17:00  
First, you have to explore: "What is causing my work burnout?" Most people think burnout is a physical problem, when really it's more of an emotional and alignment problem. I had to get back to loving myself first. Next, you have to address any triggers, or traumas, around setting boundaries. Releasing limiting beliefs, practicing forgiveness toward others and yourself, releasing old coping mechanisms, — all of these are steps in this process. It's a recalibration. You begin to regain your personal power. Suddenly, you've activated your frequency to receive what you need to receive to not just survive but to thrive — peacefully, harmoniously. That's why I created the Rockstar Spirit®️ 3 Step Process - awareness, alignment, and activation. It's a method that I applied and there's a lot more that goes into that process, but if I'm to give you a basic three-step renewal roadmap of what that was for me, this is it.

Courtney Elmer 19:39  
Starting with awareness is so key, and recognizing that your work burnout is merely a symptom of a deeper issue. Because if you're not aware of what needs to be changed, then nothing will change. It's a return to self. It's breaking the old habits and coping mechanisms, the ones that we think are serving us, the ones we think are protecting us from pain, but really are stunting our growth. This three-step process that you described that you take those students through promotes change at an identity level, which is where lasting change happens.

Fabiola Hesslein 20:51  
Yes, absolutely. Working smarter is about learning to thrive by less doing and more being. Working smarter means letting go of what doesn't serve your highest good, as opposed to working hard to keep pushing more toward inevitable work burnout. Once you realign, you'll find those things that make life easier for you and tap back into your passions, your life goals, tasks you enjoy, etc.

Courtney Elmer 22:02  
Yes. It sounds like what you've created reverse engineers the process for overcoming work burnout. Most people go about this the wrong way. They want that freedom, that impact, that success, that financial legacy, and they're working hard to get that. They think that the secret is to work hard when really they need to focus on getting into alignment. Would you say that being in alignment and working smarter actually gives you more energy to do the things you want to do (whereas working hard merely drains that energy)? 

Fabiola Hesslein 22:59  
Absolutely. It's about going with the flow, not against it. It's about allowing it to happen, not pushing to make it so. It becomes a life of ease, grace, power, effectiveness, and alignment that will allow you to work smarter to avoid work burnout. That's what having a Rockstar Spirit is all about. Where you are operating from your highest self and doing things that serve your highest good and the good of those around you. Frequency is currency, it raises your vibration, and you're in alignment to receive those rewards when you work smarter. So that's what we have to remember is to let go and allow.

Courtney Elmer 23:53  
Yes. So where are some of the areas that you see people giving their personal power away? 

Fabiola Hesslein 24:07  
People-pleasing is one major contributor to work burnout. It's okay to say no. There's a feeling of wanting to be there all the time and that can be very, very exhausting. There's only so much you can give and you can't operate on an empty battery. You have to learn how to protect your energy because empty battery = work burnout.

You can take some time to look at everything in your life and see "what do I align with? what do I truly enjoy?" and "what is draining me? What don't I enjoy?" Self-care isn't about pampering. It's about reassessing everything in your life and doing more of what lights you up and less of what doesn't. At the end of the day, it boils down to self-love, because when you take care of yourself, it's not selfish, it's self-love.

Courtney Elmer 26:07  
Great perspective shift too. I can relate on a personal level here, being a mom and running a business is challenging. I have to work smarter to avoid work burnout. So on those days where my son needs more of me than I feel I have to give, that's my gut check to ask "Where else am I giving too much?" When you're living in alignment with your priorities, core values, the things in your life that you do feel aligned with, then it's an easy choice to be able to say no to new incoming things for a while. So that as a battery, you can recharge and be all that others want and need you to be.

Fabiola Hesslein 27:07  
What you're doing when you say no is you're saying yes to something else that's better for you. You have to believe that it is possible to say, “No, there's got to be a better way.”

Courtney Elmer 28:15  
Yes, it's like the moment you release your grip a little on how you're telling yourself it needs to be, THAT is when those opportunities you want will find you. Some people listening might be like, "Well, that sounds silly and woo-woo and weird," but if you deny it, guess what's going to continue in your life? Working hard with nothing to show for it.

Fabiola Hesslein 28:47 
I know that people find it hard to believe it's possible to work smarter and experience true inner freedom. We tend to want to see it to believe it, but we actually need to believe it to see it. What do you have to lose to believe that working smarter is a possibility for you?

Courtney Elmer 29:33  
That's what faith is. It's about having faith in yourself, having faith in the process, and having faith that everything will work out in your favor. The belief precedes the behavior change. It's counterintuitive, and it's very countercultural. But it's the path to freedom, as you said.

Fabi, it's been awesome talking with you about how being in alignment will help you avoid work burnout. We've got a little tradition here on the show where I ask our guests, What does it mean to you to live an EffortLESS Life®️?

Fabiola Hesslein 30:49  
It means alignment, believing in very transcendent energy. When you truly believe and embody it, then the truth shall set you free. 

Courtney Elmer 31:40  
Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show today to chat about working hard vs. working smarter and some counterintuitive ways to avoid work burnout. I appreciate you. This has been great.

Fabiola Hesslein 31:44  
Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate it too! I had a great time!

Courtney Elmer 31:48  
So you tell me, is it possible to achieve massive success without working hard?

Can we agree that sure, you might be putting your time and your energy working hard into whatever it is you're creating, but when you're doing what you love, does it really feel like you're working hard?

Now if you're an entrepreneur or online business owner who is hovering close to that six-figure mark and are beginning to realize that you can't scale beyond that because you can't work harder than you already are, listen closely to what I'm about to say next. We have a brand new, insider mastermind program here called the Visionary Leader Incubator™️.

This is an in-depth 12-month coaching experience where you learn how to get the right systems, structure, and support in place in your business so that you can run your business like true visionary leaders do, and spend more time in your zone of genius. If you are intrigued and want to learn more, applications are currently open. There are a few criteria that you have to meet to be eligible, so head to courtneyelmer.com/visionaryleader to apply right now.

Next week's episode is for you if you aren't hitting consistent 10k months or above in your business right now. I'm going to reveal the four reasons why that's happening and what you can do about it. So stay tuned and until then, go live your EffortLESS Life®️.

Fabiola Hesslein Profile Photo

Fabiola Hesslein

Founder | Rockstar Spirit®️

Born and raised in New York City (with roots in Miami and Houston), Fabiola Hesslein led a career as a multidimensional entertainer in every sense of the word. As a dancer, singer, actress, and choreographer, she garnered countless credits spanning the spectrum of show business that surround network television, commercials, the music industry, theatre, concerts, and more. She has performed alongside Michael Jackson, Usher, Ricky Martin, Mary J. Blige, Pink, Missy Elliot, Jimmy Fallon; ...appeared on HBO, MTV, SNL, and ABC's The View; ...and landed international recording contracts and music features on various television soundtracks. She also worked with concert producer David Gest and fashion designer Reem Acra which helped further her career as an independent creative director for a wide range of special events, stage shows, artist development projects, product launches and live concerts providing everything from choreography, casting, to fashion production and costume design. It was her featured role in Michael Jackson’s 30th Anniversary Televised Special viewed by 49 million viewers that continued to generate a wide range of opportunities including master teaching, speaking, and mentoring internationally.

In 2008, Fabiola and her husband, music producer Simon Hesslein began to morph their work into a full-service live entertainment production house called Tryon Entertainment -- offering high-end custom show productions and theatrical/experiential concepts for corporate events, marketing campaigns, and special events for VIPs from Ian Schrager to Oprah Winfrey.

Fabiola has recently launched an empowerment brand offering teachings and multimedia experiences to help champion our well-being and inner brilliance as a way to our creative greatness more harmoniously. Learn more about her mission at ww.RockstarSpirit.com. Fabiola is also an active supporter of various charity organizations including Women in Need, Food Bank New York City, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, and The Felix Organization.