When I started The Overwhelmed Brain, I had no clue how I would be able to sustain it. But, fearlessly, I purchased audio equipment and set my sights on the target of creating a weekly radio show that would spread my message. About 6 months into it, I realized that a show likes this takes an income to support it. So, once again fearlessly, I quit my job and started doing the show full time.
But soon after that, I realized something big… I could not sustain this without making money. So I dug into savings to live off of for a while, and soon I was exploring my options to make this show and everything associated with it more than just a hobby… I had to make it into a living.
Pursuing a passion does involve creating a way to sustain that passion. In this episode, I am interviewed by Mike Sutton about the emotional aspects of running a business, and what it takes to get beyond the fears and doubts that almost everyone in business, whether their own or working for someone else, goes through.
(The following is a transcript from episode 0074)
Today’s Quick Quote is from Stephen Covey: “When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.”
If you listen to this show a lot, you’ve never heard this segment before. So, I’m trying it out. Sometimes all it takes is one quote to change your life, or at least your day. Hope you like it.
I like it because it’s exactly how I help other people with the challenges they face in life. At least, it’s one of the skills I’ve learned over the years. When you are truly able to listen to someone’s point of view, and step into their shoes to feel and understand what it’s like to be that person in that particular situation, you are enlightened. And not only that, the other person gets to experience what it’s like to communicate with someone who is willing to give them a safe place to express themselves.
Imagine if no matter what you had to say to anyone, ever, you could do it safely without the fear of repercussion? This is something I first practiced when I was married. I learned that when someone is upset with me, that emotional energy can decrease simply by letting them let me have it. In other words, by letting my wife yell or scream or call me names, without me reacting or getting triggered, it allowed her to feel safe to let it all out.
What typically happens when we are upset with someone else is that we either unleash and attack or withdraw and swallow the fear or anger. And sometimes when we are in attack mode, we still aren’t expressing what we really want to express. Sometimes our pain and fears are much deeper, and we don’t want to feel that vulnerable. So even after we unleash and yell and scream at someone else, we could still have a lot left over inside of us.
So we’re fine until the next blowup, when all this stuff comes back out at those we love. If you ever wonder why your friend or spouse keeps bringing up the same thing over and over again throughout the years, it’s because he or she still hasn’t expressed what’s really bothering them at the deepest level.
There’s usually something that started the process of pain or fear, and if you can’t get to the heart of it during those arguments, or even better, the quiet times when you can communicate at a more comfortable level, then the cycle continues. If you can’t figure out why someone is so angry about the same things over and over again, they’ll repeat that anger throughout your friendship or relationship.
But how do you do it? Well, that’s certainly what I cover in these episodes. I try to help you uncover the repressed emotions at your emotional core. The emotional core is where all your fears and pain reside, where you feel most vulnerable to the world. However, in that same place is where your power and strength reside as well.
That’s kind of disheartening because in order to feel empowered, you draw from the same place where you can also feel hurt and afraid. That’s why I choose to be vulnerable. When you choose to be vulnerable, you show the world what you’re made of. You show it your fears and your truths. You honor and expose yourself at the same time.
It takes a leap of faith to put that vulnerable part of you out there into the world, that’s for sure. But what it also does is release you from your own perceived limitations. In other words, what you fear the world finding out about you is exactly what is holding you back from becoming more empowered than you’ve ever been.
What you lock away in your emotional bank vault, that emotional core I talk about, gets released when you find a safe place to express yourself. But what is a safe place?
There are two safe places that I know of. One is the one that someone else opens up for you, and the other is the one you open for yourself.
When you can trust someone to allow you to say anything you want and need to say without them getting emotionally triggered in any way, that is a safe place. It’s an unconditional love and respect that gives you the freedom to be where you need to be.
This is what I learned in my marriage. I learned that in order for my wife to get out some of the pain and anger from the past, she needed to express herself, even if that meant that what came out of her mouth were hurtful things about me.
I opened my heart, and chose to view her through the eyes of love, not judgment. Now, that’s not to say I wasn’t judgmental the rest of the time, because I definitely had my own issues that needed healing back then, but when I became conscious of creating that safe place for her and coming from a place of unconditional love, she felt safe to express whatever she needed to express.
Do you have someone like that in your life? It’s powerful when you are given the opportunity to speak your fears, your shame, your guilt, your embarrassments, everything. It helps release you from an emotional prison that was created a long time ago.
Of course, not everyone has that safe person to express to. Some people have written to me just to have an outlet that they don’t have in their life. Which brings me to the second safe place, when you don’t have the first. And that’s the one you create.
Create a safe place for you to express yourself. There are several ways to do this, but the first is writing. When you write, whether with a pen or a computer, you slow down your thoughts and express more succinctly what’s going on inside of you. You can write to someone or no one, you can write in a journal, or on a piece of paper that you burn. You can write a letter to someone and never send it, or sit on it for a few days then send it if you still feel that way.
Writing is an outlet, and a safe zone that you can create for yourself. For me, I created an entirely different safe zone: This show. I created this show for a multitude of reasons, one of which was expressing myself in ways I never felt confident enough to express before. I mean, I do have safe people in my life to express to, which has changed my life immensely, but what about the rest of the time? I can’t just call up my friends or family every day and express for hours at a time, so I decided to start expressing myself on this show.
It didn’t happen overnight, that’s for sure. It took a few months to get into the groove. I started expressing some really honest things on the earlier episodes, and I was able to break through some emotional stuff by leaps and bounds.
But it wasn’t just the fact that I was expressing myself through talking, it was the audience that was listening that really made all the difference. It’s the kitten in the lion’s den analogy. When you feel like a small, defenseless creature in a world full of judgment and harsh opinions, it’s truly challenging to honor yourself and speak the truths because you know in your heart that someone is going to speak up and say something to you.
“You’re wrong” or “you’re stupid” or “I am ashamed of you” or who knows what else!
But that’s what I decided to face. I chose to face the probability that when I express myself and be vulnerable to not just one other person, but to the world on an international radio show, I would have faced the lions. And by doing so, if I survive that moment, then every other moment after that would be a piece of cake.
And that’s exactly what happened. Every other moment after facing the lions got easier and easier. It has changed my life enormously.
I laid my vulnerabilities on the table and waited for the attack.
And what happened? No one ever attacked… not once. In fact, I’ve got nothing but support since I started. Not only that, an even larger picture was forming, and that was that people would hear my struggles in life and could actually relate to almost everything I’ve gone through.
This really opened my heart and my eyes to the amount of emotional turmoil that almost all of us have experienced, or are still experiencing, many times throughout life. And it made me realize something even bigger that I’d not considered before:
By being vulnerable, it didn’t bring out the judgments in people, it brought out the compassion, sympathy, and most of all, the empathy, because so many people related.
In fact, we have all gone through many similar scary or painful experiences, just at different levels. But so many of us hide these experiences, and our thoughts and emotions about these experiences from others, because we think we are alone and that nobody has gone through what we’ve gone through.
And that just isn’t true. You are not alone in what you’ve experienced. But, you may be choosing to be alone in those experiences because you don’t want to be any more vulnerable than you’ve already felt in life. Because when you had some of those experiences, you felt vulnerable, and maybe powerless, so you associated vulnerability with powerlessness, and it caused you to close up a little or even a lot.
But when you’ve gotten away from bad situations and are no longer in the same environment that caused you to feel fear or pain, you might not have ever let yourself be vulnerable again. This can cause you to lock up a little and not trust people and live life with some fears. Some fears you may not even know you have!
I don’t want that for you… I want you to be free and feel open to express who you are to the world without fear.
Today I am going to play an interview by Mike Sutton of the Be Build Have podcast. His show centers on the emotional challenges of building your career, whether in the entrepreneurial space or in the normal 9 to 5 rat race.
Mike reached out to me because of the topics I cover on my show. Not only did I create this show from the ground up, but I’ve also turned it into my full-time passion. I went from the 9 to 5 daily grind to the ‘wake up, work all day until I pass out’ entrepreneurial journey, and it has been a journey that’s for sure.
Mike helps me dive into some of the emotional aspects of becoming an entrepreneur, and what I did to get through some of the challenges that came with the journey. We don’t talk too many specifics of the business side of the show, but more about my personal history and how I learned to overcome some of my past.
It’s all about being vulnerable for me, like I said. And this episode is no different. If you listen to this show regularly, then you know I don’t talk about the business side of The Overwhelmed Brain, but every passion has to have a framework of sustainability. Everything you seek to occupy your time must produce resources to allow you to continue along that path, unless you already have resources to sustain it.
If you want to crochet for the rest of your life, then it might be helpful to be able to sell your creations so that you can continue crocheting. If you want to ride and be around horses more than anything, then you’ll need to find a way to sustain that desire so that you can be around them as much as possible.
Thinking like this is thinking like an entrepreneur.
However, this is a personal development show. Believe me, if I had unlimited funds, that’s all I’d keep it as. I do it because I have knowledge that I know helps other people. But if I never helped the business side of this show turn a profit or make any money, the show would disappear, along with my passion.
One of the hardest decisions I made on this show was to ask for any sort of money from the audience. I remember struggling with it for months because I didn’t want to be seen as exploiting those who put their trust in me.
So I simply decided to just keep drawing from my own savings account hoping something else would happen to keep the show running.
But eventually, I got the courage to put an Amazon button on my site, which helps offset some of the costs. But because I want to make this not only my passion, but also my living, I have to find other ways to create a paycheck from it.
So in this episode, I am once again vulnerable to the world. I never talk about the business side of The Overwhelmed Brain so I do feel a little exposed talking about it. But business is part of life, it’s part of the growing we all need to do to be productive.
And Mike approaches the subject from a human, emotional point of view which is why I went on his show in the first place. After all, there are those of you out there who want to do something more with your life. Maybe you’ve tried to be an entrepreneur in the past, but it didn’t work out. Or maybe you’re happy in the 9 to 5 world, but know you could have so much more, whether that’s getting a promotion or a new position in another department or even another company.
Regardless of your status in whatever business you’re in, you’re sure to get something from this episode. I decided to follow a passion and create a business, and therefore people will call me an entrepreneur. There were roadblocks along the path to where I got today, just like there were for you where you are now.
Let’s get with Mike Sutton of the Be Build Have podcast, and talk about the emotional challenges that come along with creating a business and reaching your potential in whatever you do.
Hope you enjoy.
(interview not transcribed – listen by clicking the Play button at the top of this post)
Probably one of the most important lessons from today’s episode is the fact that the more personable and authentic you are, the more people enjoy being around you, both in business and in life in general.
Just like that job interview I had. I was under-qualified for that job, and I was up against someone that had a lot more skills than I had, but just because I was down to earth and honest, they chose me.
Sure, they wanted someone that was nice, that’s a plus. And, of course, I was trainable, as we all are, so that’s another plus. But really, what’s the overall reason they chose me?
The reason was because it was more important to like the person they worked with than tolerate them. How many times have you worked with or for someone who could absolutely do the job, but was a true pain in the butt to be around?
I worked with a project manager once who knew he was superior to anyone who didn’t have the word, “manager” in his or her title. He didn’t mind putting you down or getting angry with you. He was extremely difficult to work with.
I’ll take an honest, authentic person over a highly skilled jerk co-worker any day. Of course, highly skilled jerks have their place. I mean, sometimes those people work in the back room of a company and never interact with people. Some of them work on machines and don’t have to work in the public eye. So there’s a place for everyone.
Sometimes you rather not be with people, so you get a job that takes you away from them. My point is, what stops you from growing and succeeding in business is usually related to emotional challenges today that originated in the past.
If you get can get beyond those emotional challenges, your business results will soar, on top of your personal growth. I remember when I started honoring my boundaries at work. It was the best decision both professionally and personally.
On a professional level, I gained respect from my superiors, and admiration from my co-workers (not that I was looking for admiration). And on a personal level, I felt more confident in almost everything I set out to do.
So if you find personal fears holding you back from business decisions, then it’s time to be a bit vulnerable, create that safe zone so that you can express yourself, and break down some of the barriers that are stopping you from being as successful, both in business and in life, as you deserve to be.
Well, I gotta tell you, Mike really stretched my brain in this episode. I never thought about tying some of the events in my life together, and viewing them from that perspective. I gained some insights because of his questions. That’s what I love about talking to people. I love when people challenge me and force me to think in ways I don’t typically do so that I can really explore the truths inside me.
When you are challenged, be grateful you are given an opportunity to learn a bit more about yourself. After all, with no challenges, you are done. You don’t want to be done, you want to live and thrive. You thrive by continually learning and developing yourself.
Done is, well, done. You don’t want to be done. Sure, you may want more peace in your life, and for the challenges to be easier, but you also want enough adversity to remind you that you are unique and powerful. Challenges are reminders of just how resilient and brilliant you are, because you’re still here! You’ve made it this far, even after all you’ve been through. That’s a pretty darn good accomplishment if you ask me.
So now I want you to step into your power and be firm in your decisions and actions, so that you can create the life you want. When you do this, you’ll discover what I already know to be true about you, that you are amazing.