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Reach Your Potential – Miriam Gunn

Miriam on Reimagine Success

[00:00:00] Welcome to Reimagine Success. We’re a husband and wife team that want the most out of life. We share knowledge that encourages, motivates and inspires you to live your best life. To find out more about podcasting, make sure you go to reimagine success pod.com where you can get every episode.

 So today we’ve got Miriam Gunn,

 For over 35 years, Miriam Gunn has fostered growth in others as a mentor, a licensed therapist, and a certified coach. Currently, she’s passionate about helping businesses and high performers reach their next level so they can add their influence to this amazing world we share. Her company Leave better.com is dedicated to stopping your self sabotage so you can win in business and life.

Miriam, so, so, so happy to have you on the podcast today.

[00:00:46] How I Got Here

 You’re doing such great things that leave better and really trying to make a real difference with that. Why don’t you go ahead and tell our guests a little bit about yourself, where you come from, a little bit about your story and who you are.

Sure. Thanks so [00:01:00] much. Yeah, I would say that probably my entire life I have been involved in listening to people and then helping them sort of overcome their roadblocks. So I’m a little on the quieter side. Mm-hmm. , I’m the kind of person who, uh, at a party would be in the thick of things, but on the outside of the crowd.

So I might not be the one just chiming in. I would probably be listening, but generally over time, someone grabs me and pulls me aside and says, Can we talk about? And I’d be like, yeah, totally.

So initially, in high school, the people who were just like, oh, my boyfriend this and my boyfriend that, and you know, stuff like that.


And then in college I got involved in a mentoring program with university students. And I did that for about 25 years after I graduated. I just loved it. I loved building into people’s lives, um, but often they needed maybe more help than I was trained to give them. And so I helped them get into therapy.

And after I took so many people to therapy and they were like, Hey, will you [00:02:00] sit on the session with me? And I said, yeah, yeah. I was like, you know what? I should just get this degree. So I got the degree. . Um, and loved it. Loved being a marriage and family therapist.

At one point I was on the receiving end of some really good coaching and it just changed my life. Now, I had done a bunch of therapy that had also changed my life. Mm-hmm. . Um, but I was in this space where I was ready to look forward instead of back. And this coaching changed my stars, really, honestly. And I was like, I gotta learn how to do that.

So at that point, I went and got certified in two different places. And that’s currently what I do- I work with mostly business owners, founders, high performers, and I, I’m still doing the same thing, listening, where are they stuck? How can I help them get to their next level of health or revenue? And, um, it’s great.

You know, a lot of people would be very scared to venture out and kind of do something a little bit different that’s outside of their comfort [00:03:00] zone, and they have to go back to school. Were you a little intimidated by going and doing anything else, or you just went for it?

Lifelong Learner

Well, I would say my whole life I’ve been a lifelong learner. I, when I was younger, I would have like the year of, and it would be the year of like the bonsai tree, and I would read every book in the library- this was before the internet, guys . I would read every book in the library on boni trees, or I had the year of dog and dog training, and I would read every book in the library on that. And then I started teaching dog training classes

 I would say when I went back to school, I had a 20 year gap and that was hard. You know, you go back and everybody’s the age of your kids and you feel stupid for a second, and then I was like, oh my gosh, what a privilege. I have the opportunity to do this.

Yeah. And really after one or two days, I was just me. I’ve always been me and yeah, I have more wrinkles as I get older, but I’m still just me.

So, yeah. It was good.

[00:03:57] Take The Opportunities

Well, I love what you said. You had the [00:04:00] opportunity. A lot of people don’t take the time to realize the opportunities that are in front of them,

 So what are some of the ways that you find that people really self-sabotage themselves?

I would say that it primarily stems from mindset that then trickles down into habits.

And the the fascinating thing is that, you know, at one point in my life I was working with people who were young enough, they didn’t even have jobs.

Now I’m working with millionaires and people who have larger companies and it is still the same problem. It just plays out at a different scale. Mm-hmm.

people have issues in their. mindset about how they think about how a problem can be addressed. Mm-hmm. . And then, That mindset plays out in behaviors that are done or not done.

Mm-hmm. , so self-sabotage? I think probably the number one mindset I would talk about is the victim mindset where people think that life [00:05:00] happens to them instead of them happening to life. And so there’s, I mean, there’s another way to call this, it’s a little more technical, but where’s your locus of control?

And certain people have an internal locus of control. They believe that they have the ability to affect change. Life. Mm-hmm. . And then there’s these other people who have an external locus of control where they believe life happens to them as a result of things that other people do.


Now, of course, There are, you know, things like hurricanes and there are things like political weirdness and laws changing and this, that and the other. There are some things that are out of our control. I’m not gonna be all “you can do it, it’s just you, blah, blah.”

No, it’s, it’s not that. But we have control over so much more than we think we do.

 When you are working with a client, what kind of progression do you typically see? [00:06:00]

I would say typically I’m working with the owner or the founder. Mm-hmm. . So initially, I mean, sometimes the C-Suite, it depends on the structure and the company. Initially. Everybody is a little bit tense.

Yes. You know? I have worked with some people like this where they know they’re good and they know they can be better, and they aren’t nearly as tense because they don’t feel like there’s something wrong. They just feel like they’re on a path and they wanna accelerate it.

Mm-hmm. , those are just amazing entrepreneurs to work with because they already have the mindset of “I can do this, I just wanna do it better and faster.”

Mm-hmm. . Other times there are folks who you know, are amazing people and they find themselves in the midst of a problem, and I think on their end there’s some shame because they feel like they can’t punch through this problem.

[00:06:54] Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurs as a whole they, they’re pretty much of the mindset, I can do [00:07:00] this, I can figure this out. Mm-hmm. . And when they get into a space where they can’t figure it out, and they just get stuck, then their whole sense of being comes into the question

So by the time you invite someone into that space, there’s a little bit of a lack of trust, in themselves. Mm-hmm. maybe in me. And I would say that initial six months is, it’s good and it’s getting to know the person and getting to address the problem. But it isn’t the same as a year later.

Yes. When we have fond affection for one another and they trust me you know, there’s it, there’s a mistrust on both sides because, you know, coaching isn’t cheap and everybody wants results, and sometimes results take a little bit of time.

I remember this is a company I’ve been going into for quite a while and they totally made fun of my height. I am not a very tall person, , and I thought to myself, this is awesome. Finally, finally, there [00:08:00] is enough trust and fond affection that I can be teased and they know that it won’t go badly.

Why do you think it is that people will just abandon dreams

So much of it depends on how you were raised.


[00:08:14] How You Were Raised

You were talking about the way that you were raised and this space of feedback is given in real time and you learn how to deal with it and move forward.

There are some. Kids, people who grow up where parents honor a dream and they say, chase after that space and they teach children how to be maybe putting some actions to those, those ideas. Mm-hmm. ? Mm-hmm. . There’s a lot of families where that is not the case and where kids have to fight for even their own thoughts.

They’re told what to think and they’re told how to behave

you know, that goes back to that locus of control. If you are not raised with an internal locus of control. It’s gonna take you a while to sort of dismantle those [00:09:00] ideas and to be able to move forward in a way that allows you to hold onto a dream.

Also, in terms of brain science, certain people are definitely more visionary and other people are more like nuts and bolts, let’s get this done. Yeah. And you need both of them.

 A dream is a multistep process you know, it’s not it’s not an annual plant, it’s a tree. Mm-hmm. , the seed has to be there and germinate and grow.

And then every year it gets a little bit bigger.

Focus on Your Skills

And, um, so many people’s ideas are, well, hey, I planted it. Why didn’t it grow? Why isn’t it producing anything? Okay, I’m done. Right. , right.

You just said so many amazing things in that one little small section there’s visionaries and then there’s the nuts and bolts.

 I’m the more visionary, I’m the more one that’s kind of coming up with ideas and Jesse’s like, okay, let’s execute it.

But I feel like a lot of people, they feel like they should, especially entrepreneurs, they feel like they should have all of the skills.

They need to be the [00:10:00] cpa, they need to know this, and they need to know everything.

, why is it so important for entrepreneurs to focus on the skills they’re good at instead of the skills they’re not good at, and maybe hiring from the outside to get those skills in place.

Yeah. This is also a complex question because. Initially, if you’re a solopreneur, you don’t have the money to hire all these people, and you’re like, I have to learn how to wear all these hats. Yeah. Mm-hmm. . But then as you make more money and you can hire people, now we run into the problem of finding someone like-minded enough that it works, but different minded enough that your skill set is covered.

Nut and Bolts

I think that you guys have managed to navigate your differences so that it works in a way that feels like a strength to the whole mm-hmm. . And you don’t rub against each other wrong, but in general. Visionary people find nuts- and- bolt people [00:11:00] super frustrating.

It’s like, oh my gosh, just get your head a little bit bigger. Why are you stuck on the,

“how are we gonna do this”? Just believe .

And then while the nuts and bolts people are going, if you change what we’re doing one more time, right apart. Can you just let us finish one thing first? .

Yeah. You guys have the privilege of being married and you love each other.

Yeah. However, when you have hired someone, what I find a lot of CEOs do is they’re like, ah, I can’t work with this person. And then they fire them. Mm-hmm. , and then they hire someone similar to themselves and they have not staffed their liabilities.

So this business of finding both of those things is much more, uh, it takes a little bit of magic, I think maybe.

Mm-hmm. . Yeah.

So with leave better, what are some ways that you’re trying to make things better in the business realm for across the board.

[00:11:55] Leave Better

My hope would be that as people [00:12:00] become more successful, whatever that means to them, that that creates freedom. That creates a space of abundance that then trickles down into doing good in whatever way that they can.

 My opinion of business as a younger person or maybe wealthy people is just that they were super selfish or. Stuck up or you know, just buying the 12th BMW and the yacht and the whatever. And yeah, there are for sure people like that, but there are also are other people who understand that those resources can create good in this world.

And we need, we need injections of capital to, to create change and movement.  I personally really care about environmental things. I know other people that really care about social justice things.

They’re all important and they all take a grassroots, effort from people, but they also take injections of capital. So [00:13:00] my ultimate goal is to help people become mentally healthy enough that they care about stuff like that and fiscally wealthy enough that they can do something about that.

So in the short term then, you know, as I’m working with these companies, my goal is that their revenue doubles and triples and quadruples and mm-hmm. , that doesn’t always happen, but it happens more often than not. Yeah. And then I work on their mindset on thinking beyond just themselves and, you know, everybody is on a spectrum, so everybody wants to think that they are doing good and they are, but they’re, they could be doing more good.

Change Your Mindset

Yeah. Mm-hmm. , you know, and they think that their mindset is, you know, healthy or whatever, and then you ask the right question and it stops them in their tracks and they go, oh, I never thought about that before.

You’ve talked a lot about taking control and, and how people think that they have no [00:14:00] control over their lives, the average workers in a lot of organizations, they feel like they’re sometimes just a number, sometimes just a, a random person that nobody cares about.

They have no control over anything. How can somebody in that situation, start to change their mindset and have a bigger part in the role that they play in their organization.

 I feel like there are a tremendous amount of resources – You know, if you’re older than 30, you can read books. I think people under 30 can read books too, but I’ve been under the impression they don’t -so , but there’s a ton of podcasts and things on YouTube- I follow a whole bunch of influencers who put out great content. It doesn’t cost anything.

Get some ideas other than your own in your head and start trying stuff. You have to at some point believe that you can change. And then you have to start getting some inputs that are different than what you currently have. [00:15:00] So if you always watch the same channels and always listen to the same people, whether that’s the people in your family or the people in your workplace, or. You’re never gonna get any new input. And it takes new input to give new ideas, to then take new action.

It Requires Courage

And all of this requires at a, at different levels, some courage. You know, if you’re discouraged in the workplace, it might take some courage to say, I can ask for a different level of compensation. Or I can say, I don’t think that this policy is fair.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that the other person is gonna listen to you. They may or may not, depending on the corporate structure. But the thing that you can do is work on yourself, work on your confidence, work on your ability to think clearly, work on your ability to communicate clearly and with respect and with intent.

 Yeah, those are the places I would say people need to start

[00:15:59] Roadblocks to Confidence

 [00:16:00] What stops people from figuring out their passion or walking in confidence

 I keep thinking about an experiment that was done in the sixties that was terrible and would be illegal now. Mm-hmm. , but involved animals and it involves, um, having them be shocked and the animal could jump off the plate where it was being shocked.

Mm-hmm. then they tied it up so that it couldn’t jump off and it was shocked, but couldn’t do anything. Oh, wow. Eventually, what the animal does, It cries and it curls up and it does nothing. Mm. Then they unhook the animal and they, it’s, it’s basically free, you know, it’s free. Mm-hmm. But they, you know, continue to administer the shock and the animal still lays there and it won’t move because in its brain it doesn’t believe that it has freedom and it actually has to be led off of the platform. And [00:17:00] what’s terrible is it has to be led, like, I don’t know, 273 times or some huge number. Wow. And the whole thing is entitled Learned Helplessness.

And the thing that they learned from that is that people are the same.

And so when you are raised where you aren’t treated with respect, where you don’t feel safe, where you don’t feel like you have regard, You learn in your brain, I’m not worth it.

I’m not worth anything.

And it’s one thing for people who have been raised in safe environments to say, oh my gosh, just change your mindset. You can, you know, you’re better than this. You’re bigger than this. Mm-hmm. , that is true, but it is not as easy as “just switch your mindset”.

Change the Programming

I think it takes many, many repetitions and this is where therapy’s awesome because you can bounce those spaces mm-hmm. around with your therapist. Or you can do something like EMDR, which is a trauma- based, protocol that actually really speeds up this process. Hmm. [00:18:00] You have to reprogram your brain at a neurophysiological level.

You have a whole bunch of tracks in your brain that say, I can’t do this. I can’t dream bigger. I can’t change who I am.

You have to change that programming.

And it’s very difficult like that. Requires will. Mm-hmm. . And sometimes people don’t even have will. Yeah. And you know, like if you’re taking it down to the very most basic level, maybe there needs to be an act of God where somebody, you know, who is kind, comes into that person’s life and begins coaching them and telling them, “you can change, you can do this.”

But again, like I said, there are podcasts and there are YouTubes, and so many people just sit in front of Netflix waste huge amounts of time. Yes. Yes. Where you could be developing your mindset instead. Yeah. Mm-hmm. ,

 There are books, there’s literature, there’s so many ways that you can learn and you can grow and you can accomplish what you would like to accomplish and [00:19:00] get a mentor.

Have a Mentor

It’s really important, especially now, to have a mentor. I would also add to that, get rid of people in your life that are holding you back from reaching your potential,

 Tell our listeners what, what kind of stuff you talk about on your podcast where they can find it and, uh, a little bit about it so that they can check that out as well.

I interview entrepreneurs, generally we’re talking about what have they learned in the context of, the pitfalls, the joys, you know, what have they learned? And it, the, it’s entitled Wisdom and Practicality for Business and Life.

People really try to get me to pigeonhole this in business or self-development. Mm-hmm. . And I’m like, you know, I don’t wanna do that because there’s crossover like if you are failing in your business, you’re failing in your life. Yeah.

And if your life is going great, but your business isn’t earning any revenue, Then it still is not a success.

[00:19:52] About Miriam

 They’re welcome to contact me at miriam@leavebetter.com, if they’re interested in coaching or just have a question.

[00:20:00] Do you work with, with business owners all around the world or are you just here in the United States? Yeah, I would say I work with anyone in the range of zoom. So, okay. I definitely have international clients, but you have to have a stable internet connection.

Is there anything, uh, final, any kind of final advice that you would like to leave our listeners with before we wrap this?

I , I was in Seattle not that long ago and I bought this at a store. I don’t know what you call it, but it’s a little glass, like a little plaque. Yeah, it’s a little plaque and it says:

you have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do- act accordingly.

Mm. I love that. That’s so great. Miriam, you are making a difference in the world. Yes, every single day. Not only with entrepreneurs, but also, you know, with your podcast, you’re making differences all over the world.


End Credits

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Music by Tom Sherlock.

head shot Miriam Gunn

If you are curious to know more, please contact me!

As someone who has been a therapist for over a decade and has been coaching people for over three decades, I am uniquely qualified to address your concerns.