This episode is with Ania Wysocka. She is the founder of Rootd, an app focused on preventing and finding relief from anxiety and panic attacks, that has won numerous awards and has been downloaded more than 3 million times. Ania started Rootd after she herself experienced panic attacks and could not find sufficient support. Rootd app is a culmination of everything Ania has learned about both overcoming and living with the symptoms of anxiety and panic attacks.
Ania talks about her work ethic and how that contributed to her experience with anxiety and panic attacks. We also discuss the concept of growth and transformation being multi dimensional.
“You also lose a lot of friendships when you go through a big change… often when you go through these periods, you leave behind friendships that were associated with whatever contributed to making you sick. And that can lead to a lot of loneliness.” - Ania Wysocka
“You've survived every panic attack to date and these do end. "This isn't going to last forever." Things like that are extremely comforting to hear when you're in those moments.” - Ania Wysocka
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[00:00:00] [00:01:00] Ania is the founder of Rootd, an anxiety and panic attack app that has been downloaded more than 3 million times. Ania started Rootd after she experienced her first panic attack while in university and did not find sufficient support. Everything Ania has learned about how to overcome anxiety and panic attacks has been packaged into this award-winning app.
[00:01:28] You can find Rootd, spelled R O O T D, in all app stores. During our conversation, we talk about Ania's upbringing in Canada, Poland, and South Korea. We chatted about her work ethic and how that contributed to her experience with anxiety and panic. We also discuss the concept of growth and transformation being multi-dimensional.
[00:01:50] We touch on being a solo founder and what it's like running a business from scratch. I hope you enjoy this episode with Ania Vysocka.
[00:01:59] Rob Pintwala: [00:02:00] Ania, thank you so much for joining me today.
[00:02:01] Ania Wysocka: Thanks for inviting me.
[00:03:37] Rob Pintwala: I came across you and your app probably in the last year as we're kind of crossing paths here on the west coast of Canada and before I learned about it, I had some friends particularly share their experiences with panic attacks with me as they know I'm the therapy guy, in the friend group.
[00:04:01] Rob Pintwala: And yeah I can't say I don't think I've ever had an acute attack. I've definitely had some panic but I just found it so fascinating to hear like the first time it happened for them and when it came up I think one of them was driving on the highway. Another one was actually meditating and was already kind of on this kind of journey of mindfulness and like it happened later, which I found kind of very surprising.
[00:04:28] Rob Pintwala: And another one I think was definitely around just work stress and like literally just burnout and distaste for work. So that's just three examples, but you must know dozens and dozens of examples of when it might come up, right? I mean, when was your uh, first experience with a panic attack?
[00:04:47] Ania Wysocka: Yeah, so mine was in my last year of university and all throughout university I had had a job. I had been studying, taking multiple courses, and this was actually the first time [00:05:00] that I had a break. And so rather than go into it and be able to relax, I actually had a panic attack. Like near day one and it just messed with the rest of me, not only. Year, but like following years after that. So the theory there is that I had been so busy and constantly just distracted because I was working hard, trying to get good grades and, you know, afford living in Canada. And yeah, I guess I had pushed back and not dealt with stuff that I could have earlier. But mind you, I was also a teenager, so it's like that's, you know, I didn't grow up learning about emotions and how to deal with them. So it was all new to me. And yeah, so the theory is that as soon as I had that moment of silence, then it all came up. So maybe kind of similar to your friend with the meditation, although sounds like they were much more self-aware then.
[00:05:52] Ania Wysocka: I was definitely not meditating. At that age I was yeah, just trying to like, keep going. So that's how [00:06:00] it popped up for me. And yes, I've now worked on Rootd and heard thousands of different stories of how it's popped up for others.
[00:06:07] Rob Pintwala: Yeah, that's, that must be incredible. And that was, so that was, so in your final year in university,
[00:06:13] Ania Wysocka: .Yeah.
[00:06:14] Rob Pintwala: I can resonate with the busyness part. In particular, I think, you know, in particular, like in my high school years actually, because I was just like constantly doing something work or sports or whatever, socializing and never having a break.
[00:06:28] Rob Pintwala: And then actually I think I had the sort of fortunate privilege to be receiving some help to go to university. So I didn't like it. I was working in the summer and then I got to school and I wasn't working and then all of a sudden 15 hours of class per week. At a 40-hour week and didn't make the sports team that I tried out for.
[00:06:49] Rob Pintwala: And then I think my, sort of, my reaction to it was more depression rather than anxiety and panic. Like I kind of shut down which was [00:07:00] my pronunciation, you know, mental health kind of. Period of my life for two years. And I was stuck there for a while. But I know that like everyone's different and I think that it could have easily just been a little bit more anxiety-driven for me.
[00:07:13] Rob Pintwala: What was it like, did you have a busy sort of, you know, pre-university years? What did that, you know, period of time look like for you and that, you know, even all three universities are, you're working so you're just kind of nonstop on the go.
[00:07:27] Ania Wysocka: Yeah. I had an event that caused post-traumatic stress disorder to happen in high school, and that's what I didn't really deal with or address. S in university, and so I think that this was like a delayed reaction to that.
[00:07:43] Rob Pintwala: Wow. It, and you didn't necessarily realize that it was traumatic and sort of manifested in PTSD until later.
[00:07:52] Ania Wysocka: I knew it was dramatic and I saw a few counselors just like whatever the university provides, but you see them [00:08:00] for a few sessions and then you're on your own.
[00:08:02] Ania Wysocka: And that's just as, you know, like with the structure of offering support to students or low income, it's like very. Unfortunately, you don't get to create a connection with that therapist for a long time. Right. You only get so many sessions. And so I personally don't think that was very effective. Now looking back as an adult, right? And at the time I was like a teenager dealing with this stuff. So, not only did I not have that prolonged support, I also just didn't even know how to talk about it.
[00:08:31] Ania Wysocka: And yeah, it was all new.
[00:08:33] Rob Pintwala: Wow. And it's the language that you're using before is like, sort of the theory is, you know, maybe like kind of the explanation for sort of why that might have come up for you, like the panic attack. It's so interesting that it sounds like the busyness almost could have been sort of like a coping mechanism, right?
[00:08:52] Rob Pintwala: And or it could have been in the place like that is kinda what you're saying.
[00:09:34] Ania Wysocka: Definitely. Yeah. I mean, it gave me a sense of control in a time where I didn't feel a ton of control and the things I could control were like school and work. And yeah, that's quite consistent for me. And the reason why I say theory is because this is like, after talking to counselors now, after being able to look back, you know, hindsight is 2020, you get to analyze things that happened to you and make theories as to why they happen.
[00:09:58] Ania Wysocka: And that's just something that multiple [00:10:00] counselors have supported that theory of, you know, there was finally some quiet after all these years of being busy. And so all of that stuff came up that I hadn't dealt with.
[00:10:09] Rob Pintwala: Yeah. I don't need to dive too much into your past, but I'd love to just give listeners a little bit more context of yeah, where you came from and like kind of maybe where this kind of like, you know, need like work ethic kind of came from, like were you were, did you go to high school in Canada?
[00:10:25] Rob Pintwala: Did you just come to university?
[00:10:28] Ania Wysocka: I just came for university, but I was born here. But then I moved. To Poland when I was little and that's where my grandparents were. So I was sent to go live with them for a little bit. Not sent in a bad way. It's just for practical reasons at the time. And then I did middle school there in Poland and I did high school in South Korea. And then I came to BC from South Korea and I'd never been here before, so I just showed up with two suitcases.
[00:10:56] Rob Pintwala: Wow.
[00:10:57] Ania Wysocka: So that in itself is probably, [00:11:00] you know, quite traumatic and that's definitely not something I had acknowledged at the time. I just had to get busy with school.
[00:11:05] Rob Pintwala: Yeah.
[00:11:05] Ania Wysocka: and adapt to a new culture.
[00:11:08] Rob Pintwala: And by, so by yourself, you showed up.
[00:11:12] Rob Pintwala: And what, just for a little bit more context, how would you describe the sort of culture in Poland and South Korea and in Canada? Like, I mean, this could be a huge bias, but I have, you know, some awareness that South Korea is like a hardworking culture, like very hardworking.
[00:11:32] Rob Pintwala: And Poland definitely as well. Like, would you say any differently, or how would, like, do you think that kind of shaped your upbringing?
[00:11:40] Ania Wysocka: Yeah, definitely. So I'd say in Poland, the education system is just like quite a few years, I think ahead. So when I first got there, I was like in shock in sixth grade, just like, wow, these guys are doing, like algebra and geometry stuff that I wasn't gonna do until like eighth grade in my, or ninth grade in my American [00:12:00] school that I went to in Korea. But I went to a Polish, Polish school and yeah, that was incredibly challenging. At first, it was like a shock to the system and I had to catch up so I would like to stay up late as a kid, like. Studying. And I remember my grandpa used to say like, if you don't turn off the lights and go to bed, I won't wake you up for school.
[00:12:18] Ania Wysocka: Like that was the one threat that worked for me 'cause I was like, I can't get any further behind. So I think that was distilled into me.
[00:12:25] Ania Wysocka: I think my mom, just observing her from an early age, she's always had, I. Multiple jobs as well. She, you know, graduated from one of the top schools in Poland, but then went to Canada where her degree wasn't recognized.
[00:12:39] Ania Wysocka: And so she had to have a lot of likes, kind of odd jobs and from coffee shops to retail and she liked to stack them on. And so as a kid, I thought maybe she didn't wanna spend time with me or whatever, but then as I grew up I was like, oh no. She was like working the whole time. That I think probably contributed to my work ethic.
[00:12:58] Ania Wysocka: Just seeing her do that, [00:13:00] living with my grandparents, they had really high standards for, I mean, I was in middle school, so it's not like they were like pushing me like wild, but they definitely had high standards for just me in general and how I was to behave and kinda learn and go to school and everything. And then in Korea, you're right as well, like I went to an American school, so I wasn't in that Korean system. Maybe thankfully in a way because I didn't have all of that extra pressure on top of what I obviously already put on myself. But I did, I was surrounded by that culture and it's very common to see kids leave school very late.
[00:13:37] Ania Wysocka: 'cause after school they go to another school. I even taught English at schools where, you know, the kids I was teaching were like nine to 11 and they were there at like seven to 9:00 PM at night. So yeah, a lot of likes. A lot of hard work. I'd say a lot of like the idea that you can get so much done in a day, so like why not do it?
[00:13:57] Ania Wysocka: I think that's the type of mentality I grew up with. [00:14:00] Yeah.
[00:14:00] Rob Pintwala: Wow. That's impressive. And. So you know, I've heard a little bit about your story of how you started Rootd and it sounds like, you know, it's sort of just outta filling your own need. Right. And I'd love to just hear your perspective on that around how you just like started, I mean, it sounds like so resourceful in terms of getting you know, the right kind of structure in place to like support yourself and maybe
[00:14:26] Rob Pintwala: As part of that story, like how long 'cause I've also heard you, you say on an, on another podcast actually that sort of uh, things have changed or anything that like, sort of your anxiety is in sort of a better place now. Right. I was just curious about how long you were kind of battling those types of panic attacks and that heightened anxiety and like, was that like, were you kind of like building at the same time?
[00:14:48] Rob Pintwala: Or how did that look?
[00:14:50] Ania Wysocka: Yeah. So I'll just say on the, on the other thing though, like as great as it was, having that modeled, that work ethic modeled, I do I don't [00:15:00] know like what the answer is for that because it obviously led to burnout and I wish like there was an external event that I mentioned as well that contributed to it. But like I think that there's so much good and also just letting kids have fun and, and not stress, right? So I don't actually know what it was, this is just my story. This is what I experienced, but who knows what the answer is and how to find that balance out there?
[00:15:25] Ania Wysocka: I'll just put that out there. Yeah. In terms of Rootd though, yeah, so when I first had that panic attack, I just had no idea what was going on. I had heard of panic attacks but thought it was just people too stressed out and didn't realize how debilitating they could be. And so I took to my phone to see if there was something there that could help. And there wasn't. There was just like a medical app and a hypnosis app, and neither of those really. Vibed with me and after talking to my doctor, I was super disappointed 'cause he gave me no information. [00:16:00] And it was a struggle. I was really feeling like nobody was giving me answers. And I guess going back to that sense of control that I love to have, like, I just felt like I didn't have it. And so I found a lot of comfort in reading Books on anxiety and panic attacks. And the one that really resonated the most was like a cognitive behavioral point of view. So that's largely like Dr. Claire Weeks back in the day. She's one of the first doctors to be like, Hey, this is treatable and it's not something that's permanent.
[00:16:32] Ania Wysocka: It's like a behavioral condition. And that gave me so much hope at the time, like day and night. When I read those words, I was like, Probably crying or something. I don't know. I don't remember but I remember that it was like a transformation for my life. 'cause I went from like, just feeling desperate and like things will never be okay again to then having hope. And unfortunately, it took me many years though, so I was not you know, An example of someone who liked to get over it. 'cause that [00:17:00] by the time I even found that stuff that was starting to help, it had already been a couple of years. So yeah, it took a really long time and it wasn't until I was finally integrating some of those practices and then some didn't work for me, some did. So Rootd as a culmination of what worked for me personally. It is quite a personal app in that sense.
[00:17:19] Ania Wysocka: It's definitely expanded over the years, but when it first started it was extremely personal. It was written exactly how It made sense to me, and I'm not a psychologist or a therapist, so I had it all reviewed by clinicians before I published it, but it's still very, yeah, just a very personal app in that way.
[00:17:37] Rob Pintwala: That's incredible. When you launched the app, was it like where, is it something that you'd actually like, be able to test? 'cause I know it has like a feature that actually, you call it the, is it still called the SOS feature?
[00:17:53] Ania Wysocka: It's called the Rootd.
[00:17:55] Ania Wysocka: 'cause the idea is like Rootd is about getting grounded in the ground, like a tree.
[00:17:58] Ania Wysocka: Right? So then when there's [00:18:00] a storm you don't topple over. And the router, yeah. I would just like every tool to be a play on words. And so the Rootd is just like what roots you in that
[00:18:08] Rob Pintwala: moment?
[00:18:09] Rob Pintwala: And that's something that, that is intended on the user um, engaging with during a panic attack.
[00:18:17] Rob Pintwala: Yeah.
[00:18:18] Rob Pintwala: And were you able to build that feature, like, and test it with your own panic attacks?
[00:18:25] Rob Pintwala: It was more so like having a notebook where I had all those prompts written down. So, for listeners, the ROOTd it shows you different prompts to sort of guide you through a panic attack and activate the parasympathetic nervous system, get you out of that heightened state again, and it shows a number of different prompts that you can forget when you're in that heightened state. Right, like really, you know, rational thoughts that, you know, you've survived every panic attack to date and these do end, this isn't gonna last forever. Things like that are extremely comforting to hear when you're in those moments. So I would have them written down in my [00:19:00] notebook. and Physically carry around my notebook, challenging myself.
[00:19:04] Rob Pintwala: I mean, my panic attacks were so bad that I struggled to leave the house. And so upon leaving the house, would need to like to read these things. Trying to get on a bus. I would need to read them. Like I couldn't travel, I couldn't speak in public speak. I didn't do anything that I used to love to do during this period of my life.
[00:19:20] Ania Wysocka: So yeah, I did it in notebook form and then also all the original wireframes were Rootd. Were also drawn in those notebooks. I still have them somewhere. I should pull them out. Some people were asking for photos of that and I should probably find it and do that.
[00:19:35] Rob Pintwala: That is so cool. Yeah, I mean I've interviewed a lot of therapists now and uh, I was thinking about when you were speaking there, one therapist just like was speaking about anxiety in general and how it sort of just like builds upon itself and like kind of, you know, I guess like accumulates and compounds and it sounds like, yeah.
[00:19:57] Rob Pintwala: It sounds like you're in this kind of trap of [00:20:00] like. Panic, you know, panic and anxiety, that it can easily just turn into this like a wheel that just probably just feels like it just keeps on spinning, right? And like, you just, you're just, it's like you're stuck in it, which must be so difficult. So that's amazing that you created that.
[00:20:17] Rob Pintwala: I'm also curious to kind of like, step out of this a little bit or come to another perspective. I know there's kind of like that kind of CBT like tools. Um, Sounds like a lot of, like the thought that you've put into Rootd, and I understand there's like a lot of like education in there too to like, and awareness for folks.
[00:20:36] Rob Pintwala: So You kinda have this like, you know, people use the word like cope or treat you know, this kind of like step-by-step process, which sounds like is quite necessary to kind of, especially if you're like experiencing those acute events to like kind of settle your nervous system down. But then I'm curious.
[00:20:55] Rob Pintwala: Personally where besides kind of like knowing the steps and [00:21:00] knowing the tools, if there was any kind of like, you know, lifestyle changes you know, kind of, even if it's like diet or exercise or, you know, mindfulness movement or community. And then if there's been any like kind of. I don't know, like my deeper work, I guess you could say.
[00:21:20] Rob Pintwala: I mean, even just the way you were speaking about your story you know, kind of like, so that kind of like maybe deeper work or maybe there's a different word for it. Plus kind of like lifestyle plus kind of like having all the tools, like how do you view, and maybe I'm missing some parts, like how do you view all of that as kind of the, as the path to you know, overcoming some of these more acute.
[00:21:41] Rob Pintwala: Challenges in getting to another level of I guess wellness maybe is a word, like how do you see the combination of those things?
[00:21:49] Ania Wysocka: Totally. So Rootd is really a combination of pretty much all the above except maybe community because, at the time, it is really hard to reintegrate with friendship. You also lose [00:22:00] a lot of friendships when you go through a big change like that. I don't know if you experienced that during your depression, often when you go through these periods, you leave behind. Friendships that were associated with whatever kind of contributed to making you sick. And that can lead to a lot of loneliness. And I say sick loosely, like, you know, lead to this change where you need to. Yeah. When Lead to this place where you want to make this change and yeah, I'd say all the above.
[00:22:25] Ania Wysocka: You know, we talk a lot about diet and exercise. Movement was pretty key for me. I've done the same workout routine for like eight years now. Zero variation, but I still love it. It just worked for me and I started doing it when I was experiencing panic attacks probably you know, for running.
[00:22:41] Ania Wysocka: I've always ran on and off like I used to in cross country, so my distances have gotten much longer. But in terms of like schedule same schedule.
[00:22:50] Rob Pintwala: and that's primarily running. Sorry, I'd love to hear a little bit more about the routine.
[00:22:55] Ania Wysocka: Well, it's just that on Monday I do like, hit [00:23:00] workout for legs on Tuesday I do a run on Wednesday, I do hiit workout for arms On Thursday I do a run Friday full body or just uh, that's my rest day depending on how much I want to hike and run on the weekend. And that is just What I've been doing. And that was actually, it's 2023.
[00:23:18] Ania Wysocka: So it would actually be closer, like more like nine years that I've just been doing the same thing.
[00:23:24] Ania Wysocka: But yeah, so that's a huge part as well. I think in general, self-care. So a few of those things you mentioned, I think we can group those into the category of self-care. When you are anxious, experiencing panic disorder, depressed, or experiencing other similar things, you. Stop caring about yourself as much. Your whole world sort of revolves around this issue you're experiencing, and so there's a lot that you miss out on, and like the UN calls these like activities of daily living, or it's the World Health Organization that calls it activities of daily living. So [00:24:00] that's as simple as making yourself a meal showering. Cleaning up the space around you grooming, you know, getting a haircut, etcetera Like these are things that we tend to stop doing when we're in these Difficult places, and they actually contribute to our self-esteem in many ways. You know, the care that we put in the space around us, that does reflect on us.
[00:24:24] Ania Wysocka: And so, little things like that we're all about, yeah, building back that self-esteem. So that, those Those are the external things that you could do. So we mentioned diet, movement, caring about your space and yourself, and then. Obviously, there's so much internal work, so like you said, that deep work that, you know, entrenched, there's a few chapters on changing the way you talk about yourself to yourself.
[00:24:45] Ania Wysocka: So self labeling, you know, rather than saying I'm an anxious person, which is like this all or nothing thinking, I say, Hey, I'm a sensitive person that's like, you know, pretty artistic and I'm going through a really rough time right now and it's just such a different way of speaking about[00:25:00]
[00:25:00] Ania Wysocka: yourself. Right.
[00:25:01] Ania Wysocka: It's just showing yourself so much more respect. So all of those, all the above were part of my journey and are talked about and Rootd. Also, some like values work, like figuring out who I really am as a person too. I struggled with all the stuff when I was pretty young, so I didn't really get to have a chill, my twenties were pretty awful, to be honest. So I didn't have that, like self discovery, expiration time that maybe my peers would've had in
[00:25:27] Ania Wysocka: a different way. So I sat down and sort of wrote it out like, you know, what are my values? Who's super important to me? What do I want out of life? And that's something that can change every year. So it's almost encouraged to keep doing it every year, but that was a part of the deep work as well.
[00:27:03] Rob Pintwala: I'm curious a little bit more about how you've learned and what you've learned about the users and maybe just to give folks some context, like how many people use your app? It is an incredible number.
[00:27:19] Ania Wysocka: So we hit the 3 million download mark recently.
[00:27:22] Rob Pintwala: That's, that is massive. Wow. It's larger than some countries.
[00:27:27] Ania Wysocka: Yeah. Super cool. Because when I was launching it, I just didn't even know if like one other person would download it. You know, I didn't launch into it with a business plan or like with an MBA background. It was more like this needs to exist and I really wish it did because panic attacks don't have to take as long to heal as they did for me.
[00:27:46] Rob Pintwala: Yeah. Yeah, that's just incredible. Well, I'm curious about the kind of users. When I hear you speak about all this, I just think of someone who's so resourceful and determined and doesn't, you know, never give up. [00:28:00] and also don't take insufficient advice. Maybe like, you know, like the counselors or whoever, your doctor who wasn't very helpful, you know what I mean?
[00:28:11] Rob Pintwala: It's like I think of and maybe this is just I'm biased and I was born in Canada and you know, with our healthcare system here, but like, I just get the sense that like younger people and I'm in my thirties now, but even our generation is much more sort of resourceful when it comes to sort of.
[00:28:30] Rob Pintwala: Maybe that's the internet, but just not listening to your doctor necessarily. I shouldn't say like not listening to your doctor, but just also making sure you're doing your own research. Right. And you strike me as someone who's just gone down that path, like big time. And I'm curious
[00:28:45] Rob Pintwala: If you've noticed a difference between sort of the older users of Rootd and folks that are maybe, you know, older than forties, fifties, sixties, maybe older, having anxiety and panic attacks, like when you were speaking about the whole [00:29:00] myriad of things to work on, to bring your life maybe to another level that maybe less severe anxiety and panic.
[00:29:08] Rob Pintwala: Do you notice a shift at all between younger and older peoples and their willingness to kind of do all the things versus oh, I just gotta follow these steps or listen to my doctor, or take this medication, or something like that. And maybe I'm just loading this question too much with my own opinion, but yeah.
[00:29:26] Ania Wysocka: Yeah, not. It's hard for me to notice the difference. Like the feedback I get is the user reviews and then I see some analytics, right? And that's like more anonymized aggregate data. And it's not that there's a big difference in the way folks use the app but I think a lot of older people will leave a message or a comment and say, I really wish I had this 10 years ago.
[00:29:52] Ania Wysocka: I wish I had this eight years ago, et cetera. Whereas the younger people, they're just grateful. They're like, Hey, I love this. Like, this character's so cute. I'm finally going back to school again, or whatnot. So I think, yeah, it's just maybe the time they're finding it in their lives. Like for people now, they're just googling it really quick.
[00:30:10] Ania Wysocka: Right. And they find it instantly. And um, for older folks that have gone through the system and now they're looking for maybe more supporting tools and supplemental tools, they're just like, oh. Why didn't I have this before? And yeah, I kind of felt the same when I read about cognitive behavioral therapy for the first time.
[00:30:27] Ania Wysocka: I'm like, what the heck? Why did nobody tell me about this before? Why did I have to find this in the library?
[00:30:32] Rob Pintwala: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:30:34] Rob Pintwala: I'm cur I'm curious if you've um, you know, if you felt any I. On the business side, you know, so I have been running my business for about five years now, and I definitely go through waves of motivation, . And I think like, the idea actually came from my partner and her challenge of finding a therapist.
[00:30:54] Rob Pintwala: And I've always been a big kind of mental health advocate. And I mentioned a little bit [00:31:00] about my struggles at university , but I find that sometimes like. I'm focusing on a problem that's just, I'm trying to keep it focused on finding a therapist. Right. And I think that, you know, I recently got out of like another kind of two years of therapy in my life.
[00:31:14] Rob Pintwala: But now I'm, I'm not in therapy, but I'm thinking about the next steps, right? Of kind of like personal growth and that sort of thing. So I guess what I'm trying to say is like, sometimes I have a harder time resonating with my, like, product as like at first I was like a user and . You know, like in therapy all the time, and I think I'll be in therapy for the rest of my life, but.
[00:31:33] Rob Pintwala: I'M curious if you've had that experience now that you've sung kind of, you're experiencing, you know, this panic and you're like such an expert. 'cause you've obviously built this whole program, right? If you ever have that kind of trouble or maybe like being, it almost becomes less personal and maybe like your personal goals are kind of moved on from this, or how, or like how do you stay motivated?
[00:31:55] Rob Pintwala: How do you stay with it?
[00:31:58] Ania Wysocka: That's a good [00:32:00] question. I'd say that I've been beginning to feel parts of what you're describing just because I no longer am experiencing the anxiety and panic attacks. I still go through waves of, you know, just like everybody dealing with stuff. But you know, I'm now able to travel and do all these things that I wasn't able to do.
[00:32:19] Ania Wysocka: So that may have Felt a bit less personal, but I think at the court, this is just recently though, right? Like so the past, well, a couple of years have been awesome. But now this whole past year has just been so different from the year before that. And so, I hear what you're saying, but I do still feel very inspired by it being like my baby, which I know is kind of lame that entrepreneurs call our startups that.
[00:32:46] Ania Wysocka: But it does feel like that because everything Rootd was like You know, really handcrafted and I have yet to really get a bunch of outside content. Like everything there is really stuff that I'm familiar with. I think if we were [00:33:00] to start expanding then it might feel less. I. Something that's a hundred percent mine, like the way you're saying, and maybe if we expand to other problem areas that I'm not as familiar with, then that would also contribute to that feeling. But for right now, it's still all the content that I'm so familiar with and um, a big motivator for the user reviews. That's huge. I mentioned that I'm traveling at this last conference I went to. Somebody came up to me in person, and was just gushing about the Rootd app that they couldn't have their job if it wasn't for Rootd because they're required to fly a lot.
[00:33:32] Ania Wysocka: They have a fear of flying, so they use Rootd. Finally they're able to get in planes and she was saying all that stuff before she knew I was the founder. And so that was really sweet to like, hear. And every now and then, obviously the majority, 99.9% of the feedback I get is online. But I do meet people that use Rootd in person and they share their stories or they'll tell me how their dad is using it or their kids are using it and they just wanna say thanks.
[00:33:56] Ania Wysocka: And I find that super motivating.
[00:33:58] Rob Pintwala: That is awesome.
[00:33:58] Ania Wysocka: So when, and [00:34:00] no, actually this thing my partner made for me, it's all Rootd user testimonials. It's just obviously a small sample of them, but the idea was to like turn back and just read these when I'm having a crappy day just to remember why I'm doing it.
[00:34:13] Rob Pintwala: That's such a good idea. I need to do that too. Yeah. It's when you're I just find when you're working, you know, in the pixel world, you know, in the app or in the website right. You're just, especially you. When you're working, you know, as a solo founder, single founder, without any sort of teammates that are invested as much as you are in it I just find that, yeah, it's really easy to get removed from why the why, and also like the impact.
[00:34:42] Rob Pintwala: Right. And I think that I'm a lot of, you know, a lot of folks are okay going through or have different motivations, but I think if you start something because it's solving a problem and you want to like to stay connected to that, and I think it's a phenomenal idea to have those user testimonials.
[00:34:57] Rob Pintwala: Tell me a little bit more about starting the company by [00:35:00] yourself and growing it initially by yourself and how you've, like what have you learned about community and, you know, maybe just to drag on the question a little bit more. Like, I know myself, I've had like pretty much four different times when I like, almost had a co-founder and like gone down the path.
[00:35:17] Rob Pintwala: But like, I'm here, I am still just me. Have you experienced anything similar? I like, have you been looking, or how do you fill that gap of that loneliness?
[00:35:28] Ania Wysocka: Yeah, I guess, feeling pretty alone while I was growing up. like I just, it's like almost a constant and that has maybe In a weird way helped. I've definitely had moments where I've just been up.
[00:35:45] Ania Wysocka: Again, like a big problem in the business and been pulling my hair out and being like, wow, what do I do?
[00:35:50] Ania Wysocka: Like, were people, right? Like, 'cause when I was starting, everybody said you needed a co-founder. It was almost non-negotiable. In fact, at the time, people weren't even interested [00:36:00] in investing in companies unless they had two co-founders. It was like some sort of trend or something. Maybe it came from the valley. You know, those ideas of you know, what makes a company a real company? And yeah, I came up to those, or up against those types of situations quite a few times over the past five years, but I am not sure exactly what is it that makes me like, get through it, except now at this time that we're speaking, I'm back to thinking like, yeah, there's absolutely no need for a co-founder at the moment. So yeah, just sort of keep getting through it. But I'd say the internet is your best friend. Obviously there's so much awful stuff on the internet, but like it has taught me almost everything I know. About business, about apps, about marketing, about B2B growth, all of that. Like literally everything is online.
[00:36:51] Ania Wysocka: Like you can find it if you look for it.
[00:37:23] Rob Pintwala: How are you? I mean, it sounds like in your upbringing and just, you know, you've someone, and you referenced this before, that's put a lot of pressure on themselves and how does that look today? Like how do you stay accountable to your goals?
[00:37:42] Rob Pintwala: Or do you? You know, hard goals and rigid targets, or are you know, just kind of like wanna continue to grow? How do you like, to look at your business now and your growth there?
[00:37:54] Ania Wysocka: I did for like the first four years. And yeah, it was like I needed to [00:38:00] do them. Like I would think about it all the time, like before I went to bed. Like it drove me, it motivated me. I. And now I'm much more chill. I think maybe 'cause I hit those goals And so now I'm like, oh, like what's next? It's kind of a fun time to be able to take time, like a step back and be like, okay, what are the next goals? But I am certainly thankful to Ruta, thanks to all that progress, like I don't have that desperate need for it right now. Whereas I think at first it was, it came from like quite a place of desperation, needing to heal, needing to get this message out, needing like the, quite a few people were like, this isn't gonna work.
[00:38:35] Ania Wysocka: Maybe I had a chip on my shoulder. About that. I needed to, you know, show them that it would, that type of thing. Like I don't have that right now. Currently I'm feeling quite content with what, where root's at and what it's achieved. There's always more growth to be had. Obviously 3 million is just scratching the surface, even though it's so many, it's still just scratching the surface.
[00:38:56] Ania Wysocka: But I guess because I'm not venture backed as well, I [00:39:00] don't have that external pressure. On anything. And it's yeah, I just really wanna get this out to people who can benefit from it the most, which may sound corny, but like there's just like, that's the underlying core of Rootd. And now working with larger organizations, that's been really cool and really like values aligned and it's just made me feel like the early days have Rootd again, where it's just all about getting it out to people, making sure the content's awesome and making sure people are enjoying it. Versus worrying about growth in a specific number.
[00:39:33] Rob Pintwala: Yeah, that is, it sounds like, I mean, it sounds incredible, like almost like a gift just to. Be able to feel that contentedness, right? I mean, it sounds like the beginning of this story stemmed from not being able to sit with any sort of contentedness, right? So now you've kind of achieved that and that's incredible.
[00:39:57] Rob Pintwala: To wrap things up, I heard you say, I think [00:40:00] the word heal a few times, and I know for me personally, that word has grown on me a lot since I kind of entered into this mental health space. And at first I was like, well, heal like what's, you know, like that sounds like there's gotta be something wrong in order to heal.
[00:40:17] Rob Pintwala: So that's kind of like you know, that's a bigger, that's a bigger step to even accept that. I'm curious what that word means to you, heal, and your use of it over time. Has that changed?
[00:40:31] Ania Wysocka: Yeah, that's a good question. Probably I haven't sat down to think about the word in particular, but I guess you're right, healing implies at first a self-awareness that not everything's okay. And then for me, healing has largely been about reversing the cycle that we talked about. Reversing that cycle of fear and even starting like more of a cycle of like chill And that has been a big part of healing. I lost my mom at a young age and [00:41:00] so that is still like a very, feels like an open wound at times. And that as a lot of people say that grief comes in waves, I'd say that's probably quite accurate for me. And the goal is for that to always look and feel a bit different when the waves come crashing again. And it's not like a goal that I like. It's more like a common goal. Like, that's something that I talk about with a therapist versus setting a goal. So maybe I didn't use that word
[00:41:27] Ania Wysocka: Correct, but yeah, that is a part of healing, a part of being able to find contentedness. You know, I mentioned that I'm pretty chill about my goals with Rootd right now, but people around me are like, what?
[00:41:40] Ania Wysocka: Like this. You've gotta like, take it off now or like, you know, do set this 10 times higher, set the bartender times higher. So I think healing is also a part of it is just listening to my own goals and inner voice versus feeling peer pressure from those around me. All of those are part of healing.
[00:41:58] Ania Wysocka: So I don't know if I answered that question correctly, but
[00:42:01] Rob Pintwala: I think that's like so much wisdom in that response. So, and after now knowing some of the folks that I can picture, you know, giving you ,, giving you some of that encouragement or kind of pressure yeah, like that it is hard to still trust yourself and to.
[00:42:18] Rob Pintwala: Listen to yourself and yeah, thanks for sharing that part about the grief. I think yeah that's really deep and special. So, this conversation has been really nice. So thank you for sharing your story and your passion and yeah. How do you spell Rootd and where can people get it?
[00:42:36] Ania Wysocka: So you spell Rootd, R-O-O-T-D, so no e and you can get it on the app stores both on Apple and Google Play. And yeah. You can also find us online on social media, on Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You name it. We are there,
[00:42:53] Rob Pintwala: Amazing. We're gonna link all that too in the notes here. So aa, thank you so much and I hope to see you around soon.[00:43:00]
[00:43:00] Ania Wysocka: Awesome. Sounds good. Thanks, Rob.
[00:43:03] Rob Pintwala: Take care.
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