The Subtle Truth. 017 - The Unicorn Mothership
In case you missed it, I was recently part of an Instagram Live series about mental health awareness in the music industry. This series was hosted by Eline Van Audenaerde who is a holistic life coach, speaker, entrepreneur, and the founder of The Unicorn Mothership. Her mission is to help shape the dance music community into a healthy, inclusive and more positive environment for everyone who’s looking to build a life around their passion for electronic music. Every conversation I’ve had with Eline has been insightful and helpful whether it be on a personal or professional level.
Eline has been active in the music scene since she was 15 years old. She always enjoyed singing, dancing, and going to live events. One day, her mental health got the best of her and she had to take a step back from all the fun. Therapy is what saved her, and life coaching healed her. This journey through her struggles is a big part of what motivated her to start helping and guiding those in the EDM community. In 2015, she started helping DJs and music producers feel confident about their next steps in their careers by cultivating personal wellness and mental well-being through her coaching practice. She has now helped thousands of people in the music industry through wellness and holistic coaching and continuously raises awareness for mental health in the EDM scene and to anyone she connects with.
I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to get to know Eline even better and to share her work with the World, so I figured featuring her on this blog series was the perfect way to do so.
Q. Eline, prior to working as a life coach, did you work any other roles in the music industry?
A. I worked in a variety of roles for about 10 - 15 years prior to my work as a holistic (night)life coach. I helped start up and run an independent Dubstep label back in the early 2000’s. I mostly supported on the PR and communication side of things as well as help out with our label events.
I worked as a writer and senior editor for an Urban blog. I supported the Community & Biz Dev department at Mixcloud, and I managed and consulted up to 5 DJs & producers at some point.
I was even a singer in a rock band and later on in a hip hop collective in my late teens and early twenties.
Q. What made you want to focus on the EDM scene in particular? Is it because it’s the type of music you enjoy or is it where you felt there was the most need for your services?
A. Dance music saved my life. I lived in an abusive home as a child. Going into my teens I started going to clubs and parties from the age of 14. This helped me escape my abusive home and go to places where I could feel safe and had the time and space to figure out who I wanted to be. Looking at the roots of dance music and what is at the core of this community: the queer and Black culture origins which offered a place for people to experiment and express themselves - that’s what I felt drawn to.
Q. Do you run The Unicorn Mothership alone or do you have a team working with you?
A. Ever since I founded The Unicorn Mothership, I’ve always worked with my team of accountants and different types of coaches along the way, guiding me and supporting me in building a most soul-led business in a way that feels good to me. I recently hired an amazing digital content consultant who is helping me with executing my marketing strategy and creates digital content. And overall, both in business and in life, I am always being guided by what I call my Spirit Team and my Higher Council - a collective of beings who I feel have been with me all my life, and who help me stay connected to my soul desires in every area of my life.
Q. Of the clients you have worked with, what would you say is one of the most common challenges that DJs and music producers face and struggle to work through on their own?
A. Something I call the 3 Ps in Dance Music: Procrastination, Pressure & Perfectionism, because procrastination is the pressure to be perfect.
What this looks like is debilitating self-doubt, comparing yourself to others, feeling like an imposter and beating yourself up for not being good enough. In this sector, there’s this code of conduct that has been created - something I stand against - that you always have to be ‘on’, and you have to hustle and grind and push through until you ‘make it’. People who enter this industry automatically tap into these false, collective beliefs. They consequently sacrifice their dreams and desires for building a life around their passion for electronic music on their own terms and instead chase watered down, half-assed goals because they’ve been told that “this is how things are done in this industry”.
I get it, I am still on a mission to decondition from all of that. It can be very hard to believe in what you feel is possible for you if everyone else is telling you to get “real” or asks you if there is money in that.
Q. You must often work with individuals who are going through a hard time mentally. In what ways do you protect yourself and separate yourself from their emotions and thoughts? Do you have days where this affects you more than other days?
A. I have yet to meet a client or student who isn’t going through a hard time mentally. Most people reach out to me when they feel they have reached a point of no return. As an empath and highly intuitive person, I feel it all. As a trained coach, I know exactly how to separate my own world view from that of my students and clients and I have mastered that skill to the T. My genius zone is in holding a judgment-free space for anyone I work with. That also applies to not judging myself.
So, I practice acceptance and surrender. And I do energy clearings before and after I work with my people. And my Spirit Team is always by my side helping me through anything. The key is also in knowing that nothing is personal. I see my people in their power. I can hold them accountable and responsible for managing their own thoughts, feelings, and results. And I do the same for myself.
Working with me is like entering a partnership where we are all equal. It’s just that I know how to do some things better than you which is why you came to me in the first place.
And also, sometimes I say fuck, and sometimes I cry and sometimes I say fuck and cry at the same time ;-)
Q. In what ways do you think other industry professionals and fans can help artists who are struggling with their mental health?
A. First of all, let’s continue to work on normalizing the conversation. Prioritizing your mental health should be as normal as brushing your teeth every day.
Secondly, don’t be an asshole. I know this may sound blunt, and people need to hear this. Don’t think anything is about you. Don’t take anything personally. You’re not that special that other people’s whole worlds revolve around you.
If something is being said or done in a way that seems to trigger you or upset you, get curious. What’s going on here?
If an artist you’re working with seems off, get curious. First ask yourself: Why am I thinking that? Perhaps I’m projecting my own mind state onto them? And then ask them! Can I help you? Feel free to tell me what you can do for them. And check in after a day or two. How are you feeling today? It literally takes 2 seconds to type or ask.
As a fan, practice compassion and understanding. If your favorite artist doesn’t show up in the way you expected them to, or didn’t react the way you would have wanted, get curious. What’s yours? What’s theirs? And is there anything you can do for them in a way that can be of the highest good for both you and everyone else involved.
Thirdly, keep your own personal boundaries in mind. Sometimes you might not feel equipped to handle something and that’s ok. Protect your own energy. In those cases, it can be good to ask someone to step in and help you. Doing that is a huge sign of courage.
Q. What is one piece of advice that you have given, or received, that you think more people need to take into consideration when it comes to working in the music industry?
A. Always surround yourself with people who are better than you, in the sense that they have a skillset or experience level that you don’t have yet or that you need in order to grow and evolve. Be it a peer, a mentor, a coach, a team member - just someone you can learn from or who can take over certain aspects of your work so that you can pour that time, energy and focus into the things that matter to you the most.
And always surround yourself with people who make you feel like sunshine!
Q. I absolutely love the name of your company ‘The Unicorn Mothership’ and I remember that both of us having “unicorn” in our names was one of the reasons we began talking. I’m curious as to whether or not there’s a story behind the company name and what it means to you?
A. I suffered a psychotic break at the age of 19. I almost called the police to come pick me up and admit me to the psych ward. After that came months of therapy and then years of life coaching and soul searching. That journey led me all the way to Italy, where I lived for nearly 3 years and then back home to Belgium.
As I started to rebuild my life, blogging helped me to make sense of it all. That’s where The Unicorn Mothership was born, in my mind, while finding a way to heal it.
It started out as a blog on Facebook, an outlet for my daily shenanigans, using the character of the captain of a spaceship as an alias - traveling around in different galaxies to different worlds. The blog was a safe space to develop ideas. By creating a made-up character and describing my struggles in a humoristic way, I slowly started to heal myself. When I decided to go it alone and start a company, I didn’t know what to call it. A friend at the time suggested I call it The Unicorn Mothership.
And now, the company has become an energetic container for me to hold space for others to safely develop their ideas, heal and learn how to move the needle in dance music on their own terms.
Q. I always include a more random question in my Q&A’s to allow our readers to know you a bit more on a personal level. My question to you is, what would you consider to be the ultimate comfort food?
A. PASTA! Preferably from that one place I like in Tuscany - where I used to live.
Q. Lastly, self-promo time! Please share any past, present or future projects with our readers and let us know what you have going on at The Unicorn Mothership!!!
A. The best way of immersing yourself into my work and understanding how I help you to move the needle is to join Move The Needle, my 21-day Challenge for DJ/producers where you learn to cultivate personal wellness step by step so that you can overcome procrastination, finish your tracks & get it in the ears of the right people in JUST 21 days. https://www.theunicornmothership.com/movetheneedle
From there on, you are primed to take it a step further and create work-life balance in dance music should you choose to by joining my mastermind group Beat The Hustle.
For people who are still in the process of exploring what wellness can do for them, I suggest you join my mailing list. I email weekly tips and resources for you to dive into. When you sign up, you receive instant access to my free Electronic Music Resources Library which contains over 15 resources - meditations, trainings, guides, journal prompts and more - to help you uncover what prioritizing wellness can do for you and your success in dance music.
And, truly, my DMs on Instagram are always open for you. So, if you want to pop in and say hi, or talk to me 1:1, then come on over @theunicornmothership.
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