Why I Still Talk to My Therapist – 18 Years Later (and the Impact on My Business) FTH: 088

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I’ve mentioned on many episodes that I have a therapist and still talk to her regularly (even though technically she’s “retired”).

I’m hoping this episode will be helpful in hearing how this relationship has evolved and why I still talk to my therapist – 18 years later (almost 19).

For those of you who have been listening to the show for a while (i.e, the days of “The WordPress Chick” podcast), some of this might be a repeat, but I encourage you to listen anyway.

The perspective I have today is completely different than the perspective I had when I first started podcasting.

The Backstory

Why I started therapy

I started therapy in 2003, a couple of months after I lost my husband in a car accident (he was 32, our kids were 6 & 2). Prior to this, I didn’t think I was someone who “needed therapy” (now I think everyone does 😉 – if you’re lucky enough to find the right therapist).

I initially went to therapy for grief counseling and more or less considered that to be why I was going for the first couple of years.

Then my therapist told me she was moving out of the area and closing her practice, but me being me, asked if I could stay in touch.

I’d email now and then and then asked if we could do some phone sessions. Fast forward a few more years and I told her I wanted to see her in person (she had moved 3 hours north of me). Fortunately, she said sure and since I was making the trek we could keep the sessions open-ended (in terms of time). Most of these sessions were 3 hours long.

I looked at these days as a gift to myself and most people knew not to try and get in touch with me. There was something soothing about the solitude and time in the car before and after my session.

In between seeing her in person, I’d have phone sessions but it was more of an ‘as-needed’ basis. I’d have an in-person session usually every two months (unless I was going through something).

Fast- forward to 2020

Right after I moved to Boise the pandemic struck and everyone went into lockdown. I was stuck in Boise, she was stuck in Costa Rica (and yes, her love of Costa Rica is what put it on my radar).

A few months into the pandemic I was struck with inspiration and asked her if we could do weekly calls because I “wanted to raise my vibration.”

I had no idea what that looked like or meant, but she was game (we have similar spiritual beliefs so I knew she’d get it).

Now two years later, unless something comes up, I’m still doing weekly calls with her (or seeing her in person when she’s in Costa Rica).

Sharing this in my business

When I started my business in 2008 I had a completely different vision for what it was going to be than what it turned into (ignorance truly was bliss).

I first started sharing it on my podcast.

My intention when I started podcasting was simply to have more fun in my business.

At the time I was still doing WP websites, had an outsourcing company, and was just starting to coach clients (with similar businesses).

Because I wasn’t stuck on how things had to be I let it grow and evolve (I’ve done this with every iteration of my business).

I started podcasting in 2013 and structured the show on two things: what I wanted to do and the types of shows I enjoyed listening to. I needed to get out from “behind the computer” at the time and I’ve always been a huge fan of audio content.

I set the show up so I would do a solo show one week and an interview the next (this varies nowadays). When I did the solo shows I started sharing little snippets here and there of things I had talked to my therapist about or a nugget of wisdom from her.

Let me be super clear: even though I did this, I was plenty nervous about what people would think when I mentioned my therapist. That being said, the desire to share was stronger than my fear of judgment from anyone else.

The more honest I was about my own experiences the stronger connection I created to my audience.

I try not to share when I’m in the middle of whatever I’m going through for two reasons:
1. It’s a higher level of commitment and love for myself to keep that space sacred
2. There’s more value for you when I’m on the other side of things and can be more objective

Over the last 18 years my therapist has guided me through:

  • Losing my husband
  • Realizing I was playing the role of the victim (ouch!)
  • Navigating raising my kids on my own
  • Financial challenges
  • Starting & running my business
  • Challenges with my son
  • Losing my Mom (all the work up to this point is how I was able to handle this loss)
  • Moving out of California
  • Moving to Costa Rica
  • Leveling up my business

Those are simply the “issues” (for lack of a better word).

The intangible things that I’ve worked through (and still work through)are:

  • feelings of not being enough
  • self-judgment
  • where resistance shows up in my life
  • complete and total self-responsibility
  • how to live my life from a spiritual place/a place of love
  • allowing myself to want what I want
  • how to “go all in”
  • learning that I don’t need to “fix” myself
  • how to feel my feelings without telling stories about anything

Obviously, I go into much more detail in the podcast (be sure to listen).

All of these pieces work cohesively together, so there isn’t really a hierarchy to the impact it’s had (and has) on my life, but if I were to choose ONE thing that has supported the growth and the ability to navigate everything else?

Learning to take complete and total responsibility for everything in my life.

After I got over myself and let this really sink in I realized that THIS… THIS is the key to the freedom I desire.

Obviously, there are things in life that we can’t control. However, we can always, always, always choose how we respond.

Here’s the thing: complete and total self-responsibility always means CHOICE. I’ve learned that even if I don’t want to do something, and I make a conscious decision NOT to do it, it’s hard to berate myself or make judgments.

Here’s another great way to look at this, from His Holiness the Dalai Lama:

It’s so simple yet we make it so hard.

Also, I want to go a little off-script here with one thing:

I know how very lucky I am that I found my therapist. Not only because of our relationship (and that she’s continued to work with me) but because of how good she is. I know a lot of people who have tried to find a good therapist have struggled. After a few “tries” it’s easy to give up. I hope that this encourages you to keep going until you find the right therapist for you.

How This Impacts My Business

When I started my business I never had any intention of being a service-based business and doing websites.

What drew me to start my business was the freedom that I could create. I had already “owned a business” (a physical retail scrapbook store) and felt like I had only created a very low-paying job for myself (there isn’t enough money in the world that would get me to open a brick & mortar retail store today… but that’s another rant for another day).

I wanted to create something, not just work in something I created.

I think this is a piece of what differentiates an “entrepreneur” from a “business owner.”

*Side note*
This is simply my own interpretation. Don’t personalize this if you see yourself as one, the other, or both (most entrepreneurs are business owners but I don’t think all business owners are entrepreneurs).

For as long as I could remember I’ve felt like there was something else I was supposed to do with my life. I knew that the way there was through entrepreneurship, I simply didn’t know what that looked like (also, if you had told me it would have taken me this long to get to my “sweet spot” I would have thought you had lost your marbles).

The first time my therapist told me I was coming from a place of victimhood I was stunned (she’s always been direct with me, I don’t get away with much).

Victim is the last word I ever would have used to describe myself, yet it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was at that point that I knew I wanted to move through my life differently.

As an entrepreneur, it’s very easy to get caught up in the “blame game.”

Here are a few blame game examples:

  • The clients fault
  • A contractors fault
  • Another creators fault (you bought the course, coaching, mastermind but didn’t know “X”)
  • Software/tools (remember, they’re just tools)
  • You’re not good at “X” therefore you can’t do “Y”
  • You don’t have the money
  • You don’t have the time

The worst part about the “blame game” is that when we’re in it we have a tendency to attract other people who support that attitude (and worse – who FEED that belief system).

Complete and Total Self-Responsibility

Now let’s reframe the examples above from a place of complete and total self-responsibility:

  • The clients fault becomes: Next time I’ll be more clear/set boundaries/say no
  • A contractors fault becomes: I hired the contractor, what could I have done differently? Let’s fix it
  • Another creators fault becomes: Did I do everything I said would? Finish the course, implement, pay attention to what I was buying? (Was I ready for this level of commitment?)
  • Software/tools: Did you learn to use it properly before you “needed” it? Watch tutorials? Read the documentation?
  • You’re not good at “X” therefore you can’t do “Y” becomes: I’m going to commit to understanding the fundamentals and PRACTICE what I’m not good at (or hire someone who IS good to)
  • You don’t have the money becomes: Since I don’t have the money I’ll make the time to learn or, what can I do to generate the revenue in order to do “X”
  • You don’t have the time becomes: I need to find a way to buy back my time. Who can I hire or barter with to get this done so I can create more time.

The thing with all of these examples is that they require a level of “entrepreneurial adulting.”

In other words, patience.

Rome wasn’t built in a day.

How to Live from a Spiritual Place/ A Place of Love

Confession: I’m a little nervous about this part, but here we go. Time to #JustShowUP.

My spirituality is a huge part of my life.

I was raised in traditional religion and someone in the last 15+ years that it wasn’t in alignment with my values and beliefs. I appreciate all religions from a theological perspective and absolutely trust that each person should do what feels most right to them.

My friend, Karen Michaels, often talks about curating your life, just like you can curate your social feeds (hide, block, mute, unfollow, eliminate things that don’t feel good) and I think it’s brilliant.

I make very conscious decisions about what I consume (read, watch, listen), who I spend time with, and the energy in my space (I’m putting a lot of money into a place I rent because it FEELS good).

Living from a spiritual place and a place of love (to yourself and others) requires practice (and when I get off track my therapist helps me get back to that place).

I want to FEEL GOOD. As often as I possibly can.

We are living through some crazy ass times, my friends.

Like everything else in the world, the digital marketing space is going through some massive changes. The bullshit and sleazy marketing of the early days of the internet aren’t working.

Big tech is being called out for their own shady practices and creators are tired of being the product.

I love understanding the psychology of consumer behavior and why people buy but I don’t think you need to be a dick when you use persuasion in copy and marketing.

The allure of the “lifestyle” has shifted to people wanting peace and a business that supports a quality of life, not a quantity of “stuff.”

There are tried and true principles of direct response marketing.

Use them, but be clear about who you serve, how you help, and your intentions.

That alone will make all the difference in the world in how you market.

Choosing to live from this place helps me get back on track any time I go into worry, panic, or stress about something. Those have become indicators that I need to take a few deep breaths and refocus my energy (or take a nap, get off the computer, be easy about it).

Allowing Myself to Want What I Want

Having spent so many years in the WordPress space did a bit of a number on my head with this one. Initially, the WP space touted community as the driving force (which at one point it was). The general feeling in this space was one of entitlement (everything should be free and you were the devil’s spawn if you wanted to SELL anything).

However, most of this is on me. I had too many fears and hangups being in that space (also had a few trolls and a-holes): I wasn’t a programmer, doubted myself, didn’t charge enough, etc.

The more I got into content and marketing the more I realized the WP space wasn’t for me.

We serve NO ONE by playing small (not charging enough, doubting ourselves, etc). And no one is going to give you permission.

Want what you want and DO NOT apologize for it.

Here’s the thing…

I don’t care if you want to live in a shack in the hills or a mega-mansion in Beverly Hills. Be a decent human being, O.K.?

If you think you’re being altruistic by living by your own values while judging someone for their values you’re not doing anyone any favors.

Wrapping it Up

This feels like it’s been a little all over the place so I’m going to try to wrap this up.

As long as my therapist is up for it I’m going to continue working with her. I know her well enough now to know that she’ll let me know if that time comes and that she wouldn’t do this if it didn’t work for her.

I’m a big believer in coaches, mentors, and obviously, therapists.

Finding someone who supports who you are, where you want to go, and helps guide you there is priceless.

Learning to live my own truth and stay in alignment is the best thing I can do for my business.

And it doesn’t hurt that she’s truly one of my favorite people on the planet.

As Brene’ Brown always says, “we’re hard-wired for connection.”

And I’m forever grateful for this connection.

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