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Self-Improvement: Succeed at Being You Transcript

elisabeth galperin

Envision Your Future – Elisabeth Galperin

[00:00:00] Hey, friends, today it is my pleasure to interview Elizabeth Galperin. She is the owner of Peak Production Coaching. Not only is she a speaker and a coach, but she’s a sought after trainer. She’s passionate about helping professionals perform at their peak and reach their potential. She sounds like someone like me.

[00:00:18] That’s what I do too. And so we’re already friends. We spent time talking beforehand and it’s like we have some things in common.

[00:00:25] So Elizabeth, something you said, ~ we often get stuck in our own stories and limiting beliefs, especially those around disorganization and overwhelm.

[00:00:35] So welcome and let’s start there.

[00:00:38] Elisabeth: Okay. Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to have this conversation with you.

[00:00:43] Miriam: Great. Why don’t you give me a little bit of an idea of what you mean by limiting belief, and then let’s talk about some ways to counteract those, or at least address them.

[00:00:56] Limiting Belief

[00:00:56] Elisabeth: Okay, fantastic. So when I meet with brand new people that I’m telling, you know what I do, or in my very first couple of sessions with a client, the I, you know, it very quickly turns to, what’s not been working right, and why am I feeling overwhelmed, or why am I feeling disorganized? Why am I, you know, worried about growing my business?

[00:01:20] And what I hear from clients, and I mean, It’s varied, but quite often, uh, it has the, the preface of I’ve always been, or I’ve never been, so, you know, I’ve always been so terrible managing my time or I’ve always been, you know, in my family I was always the kid who could never pay attention.  I hear very early on in the relationship with, with individuals part of that identity.

[00:01:52] And you and I know, and, and even they know we can all change. Doesn’t matter how old we are, right? But oftentimes we sit in that old identity and it creates a limitation that we may or may not be aware of.

[00:02:07] And so in my work with clients, you know, one of the very first things that we talk about is, well, that’s maybe who you.


[00:02:16] Have been or who you identified with, but who is it that you want to be and want to become and to, to kind of dispel the belief that, um, that’s unachievable. I think the. Not everyone is familiar with that term of limiting belief, right? But it’s old identity, new identity, and part of my role is to help bridge that gap and also give my clients the confidence that they can bridge that gap, whether they’ve been, you know, we’ve been around for 20 years, or 40 years, or 60 years, right?

[00:02:52] We can always change.

[00:02:54] Miriam: Sure. I, I agree with you on just how this plays out in people’s lives, and I think that, one of the things. I don’t hear talked about much with limiting beliefs is as you’re going through that identity transformation, the other person struggles to accept that new identity.

[00:03:14] Before we had gotten on, and we’re talking about this, I asked you about your name and did you wanna be called Liz or Beth or Elizabeth? And you said, I used to be called Beth, but I want to be called Elizabeth. And that is such a small little way of saying, but. Big in its ramifications. This is who I was.

Identity Shift

[00:03:33] This is who I am now, and I bet you anything, you had a ton of people who struggled to make that switch and they called you the old thing until they switched to the new thing.

[00:03:44] Yes. Yes. Can you talk a little bit about how you see that for your clients as they’re trying to make this identity shift and change and the other people are kind of trying to put them back in that other space?

[00:03:57] Not, not in a mean way it’s just habit.

[00:04:00] Communication

[00:04:00] Elisabeth: Yeah. Right. And it’s comfortable, right? Yes. I mean, you know, most humans do like things to stay the same, and particularly the way we view a loved one, a family member, a partner, a business partner. So you’re right. You know. I, I talk a lot with my clients about the importance of communication.

[00:04:21] Clearly as a coach and and a client, we have to be doing a lot of communication. But I also make sure that we figure out who, who is in your sphere that we need to talk to about the changes you’re making and how those individuals can support you, um, and how can you support them. So my background is actually, The field of communication.

[00:04:44] I was a speech language therapist in my first career, and you know, the, the more I get into, I mean, I’ve been, I’ve been in my, my own business now for 15 years. But I continue to see how communication with others is such an important factor when it comes to changing our own habits, adopting new strategies, trying to, you know, run your business differently.

Communication Systems

[00:05:06] Putting systems in place. There’s always some element of who are we communicating to about it? How are we communicating with them, and how does our change impact those around us? So I mean, it’s you’re, you’re hitting the nail on the head in terms of any time that we’re changing something small or big , we have to not just think about how do we want to respond?

[00:05:33] And behave differently, but how are we going to need to support the people around us or ask for the support of people around us so that we can make that change and, and have the support and the acceptance of it.

[00:05:46] Miriam: Sure. Can you give an example, or I should say, are you willing to give an example from your own life where you had a limiting belief?

[00:05:55] I assume there was this process of, you didn’t know it was there then you knew it was there, but you didn’t do anything about it. Then you started to do something about it, but it probably went poorly and then you accomplished it. Give me an idea, like with a practical, you know, boots on the ground example.

[00:06:14] Public Speaking

[00:06:14] Elisabeth: Okay, so I’ve got a great one for you. So I used to be, I won’t quite say deathly afraid, but the idea of public speaking. Was something that sounded miserable to me. I was the student in college that avoided taking a public speaking class. It’s interesting as I. You know, as I went through and started my first profession, I was, I was an educator and a teacher, but it was more about being with kids.

[00:06:44] And it was in a smaller, it was in a smaller setting and smaller role, but the idea of getting up in front of a group of peers or professionals, was something that terrified me. So in the first five years or so of my career, my identity and limiting belief was, I’m afraid of public speaking and I’m terrible at.

[00:07:04] So that was anytime someone would ask, Hey, do you want to be our spokesperson? Hey, do you wanna get up and, you know, lead this discussion? My limiting belief was, oh no, I’m terrible at that. Oh no, I’m afraid of that. Well, when I, when I was in, I. Used to work in the public schools and I took a position at a private practice being a speech language therapist, and part of my role there was representing the practice and helping to build our clientele.

People Pleasing

[00:07:34] So I had to start wearing a sales hat and that required me to start talking to groups of educators and parents. I was extremely uncomfortable doing so, but I also didn’t wanna tell my boss no. Cause I’m a people pleaser by nature. So even though I had this belief that I’m terrible at speaking in front of an audience and you know, I, my face would get all red and I’d get sweaty and, you know, all the terrible things that you experience.

[00:08:05] But I, I had to get comfortable being uncomfortable and. You know, after, I don’t know, let’s say five or six times, I started getting feedback that you did a great job up there. We loved your presentation, and so it took other people’s perspective for me to start to think, well, maybe I’m actually not a terrible speaker, public speaker.

[00:08:27] I still am not comfortable, but I’m at least getting feedback from other people that maybe I’m not terrible, maybe I am somewhat good at this. And just through the practice of. Being uncomfortable and pushing through it anyways, helped me turn the, the, the tide. And now if you ask me what’s one of my favorite things that I do in my business, it’s when I get to speak in front of a room full of people and do a workshop or a training.

Energized by People

[00:08:52] So complete 180. But you know, that’s over a span of, of several years and it really re it. Being willing to step into it and know that I could get to the other side of it if I practiced and if I, took the feedback from other people and, and allowed that to be the message versus my own internal message of, you’re not good at this

[00:09:16] Yeah. So that, that’s a significant one.

[00:09:18] Miriam: Yeah, no, I can totally tell, and I can tell by the way you’re talking about it, that when you get to be in front of people now, it energizes you and it does. I wonder how many of our listeners have these hidden genius spaces within them that they are. Unaware of, or they are like on the other side of the coin thinking I’m no good at that, or I can’t do that.

[00:09:42] I was talking about limiting beliefs on a podcast earlier today that where I was being interviewed and we were, we were just discussing about how the space in your brain is feeding you- it’s almost like a ticker tape just feeding you this, these messages constantly and so many people do not know.

[00:10:03] Just because it goes through your brain doesn’t mean it’s true.

Tips on Changing Mindset

[00:10:07] Elisabeth: Right, right. You may have a choice to believe to, to have the thought and choose to continue with that thought or to change the thought.

[00:10:18] I certainly learned that, you know, through throughout, particularly becoming a, a business owner.

[00:10:24] An entrepreneur. But you’re right. Just because the thought exists doesn’t mean that we have to believe it or allow it to, to hang around.

[00:10:32] Miriam: Right. What would you say if you were giving some practical tips on people changing their thoughts because everybody says, oh, you know, you need to change your thinking or your mindset.

[00:10:44] Feels sometimes a little abstract.

[00:10:47] What would you say are some concrete ways to stop that thinking in your head?.

[00:10:54] Journaling Your Thoughts

[00:10:54] Elisabeth: I do firmly believe in just the act of journaling and writing and taking a thought and making it concrete on paper.

[00:11:02] I really love I am statements so. In, in my previous example, I am a competent and, um, I’m a competent speaker, you know, and just writing it and, and feeling into it and thinking about what does it feel like to be a competent speaker? So kind of putting yourself into the new identity and, and thinking about what would it feel like and where would that lead me to and who.

[00:11:27] Speak to and just kind of letting the, letting the vision play out.

[00:11:31] But getting it from just the thought that’s floating in your head and this non-tangible, to an actual statement that you’ve written on paper, that you’ve turned into something a little bit more solid.

[00:11:42] Spending just time with your thoughts and, and doing the journaling and imagining what it feels like to be that version of yourself.

[00:11:50] I also think that asking other people for feedback and getting, you know, like I was saying earlier, we have a perception of ourselves that is very different than, or at least somewhat different than what other people perceive of us. So being willing to say to a friend or a colleague, um, Hey, how would you describe, if you had to use three words to describe my speaking skills, what would they be?

Future You

[00:12:14] And just allow yourself to see how other people are viewing you and, and receiving you.

[00:12:20] I think that’s a very powerful, it’s vulnerable, right? But it’s very powerful.

[00:12:26] And then it’s taking little small steps that, you know, how can you put into action.

[00:12:33] Ben Hardy, Dr. Ben Hardy is an expert that I follow, and he, he wrote a whole book about, it’s called Be Your Future Self Now, I believe. What I’ve learned from him is, you know, go ahead and make a decision today. Assuming you are that future vision of yourself or, you know, having that different belief about yourself.

[00:12:53] And the more you act as your, that future version of you, the, the sooner you become that version. So it’s like, are there some small steps you could take that, that will encourage you to act upon? That new belief or that new identity, and then it starts to get a lot more comfortable, much more quickly.

[00:13:14] Miriam: Yeah. I really appreciate those thoughts. I often say, you know, where you look is where you go and I don’t know. I definitely see that when I drive, I have to be careful not to look too, too far. Look at the scenery. Oh, all of a sudden I’m across the line, you know? But where, where you look is where you’re gonna go.

[00:13:33] Internal Confidence

[00:13:33] Miriam: And if you are constantly looking at, I suck at this, I’m terrible, I’m this, I’m that. I’m not as good as them, you know? It’s amazing. Me this, this goes across a, um, spectrum from, you know, I mean, both you and I address people who are trying to reach their next level, who are trying to be successful.

[00:13:53] It’s amazing to me that these principles hold true whether you are below the poverty line or a multi-millionaire. Where you look is where you’re gonna go and what you tell yourself super, super matters.

[00:14:07] When you are trying to improve and reach that next level of you, there’s all sorts of spaces of pushback, whether it’s from the internal spaces in you or the people outside of you. And one of the things that I hear people express, they all, whether you’re, you know, regardless of any gender, it kind of comes out a little bit differently depending on where you stand.

[00:14:33] But the, the similar motif is, Uh, I, I don’t do well with criticism. You know, they’re, they’re going along and then someone says something critical and then it kind of sucks the wind out of their sail. And so, how would you work on this idea? I mean, that is a form of limiting beliefs when someone else is critical and then you somehow take that in.

[00:14:58] Receiving Criticism

[00:14:58] Miriam: What kind of input would you say to people who are on the receiving end of criticism?

[00:15:04] Elisabeth: A couple of things come to mind for me. One is, we don’t know what’s going on inside someone else’s, you know, world and mind. Oftentimes if there is criticism, uh, we only see it on the surface.

[00:15:18] We see what words they’ve used. We don’t know, you know, if they’ve had a terrible day, if they just, you know, receive terrible news. We have to remember that their words carry, some weight and meaning that we can’t see. Having a little bit of thick skin and recognizing that the words that someone uses has, I would venture to say more to do with them than it does to you, especially when it is a criticism.

[00:15:44] Right.

[00:15:45] I think also allow yourself to be curious and instead of if we do receive criticism instead of shutting down or, wanting to kind of hide away.

[00:15:57] Step towards it and be curious and maybe ask some, ask a follow up question or, um, explore, you know, where that, where that comment is coming from instead of shrinking away from it. Again, that’s not easy to do. It takes courage and it’s uncomfortable, but I also think that when we take. An extra minute or when we ask an extra question, that is when we can often uncover, oh, this is what’s going on.

Be Curious

[00:16:27] That comment really did not have to do with me and, and my performance today. It really had to do with what happened at home for that individual, or, you know, what? They’re going through. So be curious. Allow yourself to explore someone’s comment versus internalize and project what it could mean.

[00:16:47] And then I think that, you know, at the end of the day, If you can lay your head on the pillow and you can feel good. I gave my best effort. I did what I did the best I could for my boss or, , I gave my client the best, of me today and, and maybe they didn’t feel fulfilled by it, but if you can check with yourself and say, despite the criticism or the feedback,

[00:17:14] the best I could. I know I gave, you know, my whole self. That’s, that’s all we can do. What more can you ask of yourself and what more can other people ask of you?

[00:17:25] Measure of Success

[00:17:25] Miriam: I used to tell people, well, I still tell people this when we’re talking about boundaries, the, the measure of success is not whether or not the other person is happy. Like nobody’s ever happy when you give them a boundary. And so many people will try and set a boundary and then the other person gets upset and then they’ll say, oh, well I failed.

[00:17:45] And it’s like, no, the, the measure of whether or not that was a successful activity, were you clear? Did you speak with respect to the other person, and did you make it about you, not them? And so then regardless of the other person’s response, they can say, okay, I did my best. I did those three things.

[00:18:07] And what I hear you saying is, when you’re in the face of criticism, the question is not, is everyone happy with me all the time? The question is, did I do my best? Yeah. And that’s powerful. Yeah.

[00:18:23] Elisabeth: Yeah. A hundred percent. A hundred percent. We, we are, we have the most command over our own thoughts, our own actions, our own beliefs.

[00:18:33] We don’t have the control as much as we want over other people’s thoughts and beliefs.

[00:18:39] Check in with yourself, um, and if you’re, if you’re content with what you contributed and, and how you showed up, that is a great way to, to measure, yourself.

[00:18:50] Miriam: Yeah. I wanted to ask you, you said earlier you have to kind of develop a thick skin and I’m kind of curious. I think some people are naturally more sensitive than others, like neurologically, neuro, physically. But I also think some people are acculturated, like they kind of, I don’t know.

[00:19:08] Be Proactive

[00:19:08] Miriam: It, it’s, it served them to be more sensitive in a younger space in life. If someone wanted to go about developing a thicker skin, how would you counsel them or coach them?

[00:19:23] Elisabeth: Wow. That is a great question. Well, I, I mean, I really think it, it is a, it leans in a little bit more to what we were just talking about, um, what are the measures? And, and so I talk a lot in my work and with my clients about being proactive.

[00:19:43] And so if I’m going into a meeting, Where I, let’s say we’re discussing a project and we’re gonna make some decisions. It’s important to go into those conversations in our meetings, knowing what’s the objective.

[00:19:59] So if the objective is I wanna be right, and I go into that meeting and there are people there that don’t agree with me, then I’m gonna come out feeling disappointed and hurt. Like I wasn’t productive or didn’t accomplish something.

[00:20:12] But if I go into a meeting or conversation, knowing the objective is for us to be able to move forward or to be able to compromise, or to figure out what’s best for this individual, then. Whether it’s my idea that gets chosen or my idea get. You know, some holes poked in it, and we, we end up going a different direction than I thought was correct.


[00:20:36] Then I get to leave that meeting saying, Hey, we hit, we reached the objective. And so there’s no reason for me to feel like I wasn’t listened to or that my idea wasn’t best, because that wasn’t the, that wasn’t the purpose. So I think as long as you, if you can enter. A meeting, a conversation, a project, and you know, what is that?

[00:20:58] What is that ultimate goal I’m trying to reach or that we’re trying to reach? Then it helps us to, it’s not that it’s gonna completely take away emotions and feelings. But I think it helps us to manage emotions and feelings because we can see the bigger picture, we can see the, the actual goal. And if we met it or we got close to it, then I can, I can take it less personally.

[00:21:25] There are going to be some circumstances where you just feel bad, right? But I do think that that helps in a lot of ways, knowing and thinking ahead of time, what is it that we’re trying to achieve? And really, Is there an opportunity for me to learn here?

Failure vs. Success

[00:21:42] Right. That’s another, you know, I don’t know if we’ll talk about this, but the idea of failure versus success. And I fully believe in, in the fact that there is no such thing as failure as long as we learned something . And so if you can, maybe you got feedback that you didn’t want, or maybe you were, you know, again, your idea was turned down.

[00:22:03] But if I learned something, Then I don’t need to feel bad. I actually can now see how that was a growth opportunity.

[00:22:11] Again, it’s largely just it’s mindset, right? And it’s, it’s, it’s thinking a couple of steps ahead. But I think those are some ways to not take things so personally and, and see the opportunities even in the moments where there could be some conflict or there could be some disagreement.

[00:22:31] Don’t Take Things Personally

[00:22:31] Miriam: I appreciate that. That feels like emotional chess, in a good way. Like not in a manipulative way, but you’re thinking three or four moves ahead. What is it that I am wanting to accomplish in this meeting or this action ? And in what ways am I trying to grow and. Stretch, all of this makes sense with constructive criticism.

[00:22:49] It doesn’t make as much sense with like the trollish kind of criticism. And I do think when people get a certain level of success, their heads are above the crowd. And I think people can be extraordinarily mean. And that’s where your earlier advice about. , don’t take this personally. This isn’t about you.

[00:23:10] This is about them. I,

[00:23:12] I heard one, um, podcaster say, this isn’t evidence that I am big enough that I’m getting noticed. Woo-hoo. Yes. Which I thought was an amazing reframe. I’m like, okay. There you go. Yes.

[00:23:26] Elisabeth: Yes, I, I have a, a friend who said something similar. She said, uh, if you ever find that you have haters, it means you have arrived

[00:23:35] Yeah. And it’s that same idea that, you know, we’re never going to please everyone, then we’re never gonna have everyone that agrees with us. And, if your voice is being heard, that’s an accomplishment and it’s going to come. What comes along with that? Some of the folks that are gonna disagree and they’re gonna be loud and, you know, they, they may try to shine a negative light, but it means that you’re, you’re being heard.

[00:24:00] And that’s, again, that’s the ultimate goal, right?

[00:24:04] Think Big

[00:24:04] Miriam: Absolutely. Okay. there are lots of concepts that are integral to your practice, but. Always, if someone is growing, they’re chewing on something new too. So what concept or idea are you currently chewing on that might be a little bit on your growth edge?

[00:24:22] Elisabeth: Oh wow. let’s see. Well I am definitely, as I referred earlier, I’m definitely working on the strengthening that belief behind, Spending more time thinking about my future self. As, as a business owner, you can, I should use I statements here. It’s very easy for me to. Have blinders on in terms of what do I need to do today, tomorrow, this week.

[00:24:55] And, to not always carve out time to allow myself to think big. And I’m, I’m a very realistic thinker and kind of conservative when I set goals for myself. so something that I’m really working on now is allowing myself to think big and envision my future, beyond what. You know, might, even beyond what I might think I desire and, and to play with that.

The Big Picture

[00:25:24] And to the hardest part for me with that is just giving myself time to, to sit with those thoughts. I’m, I love to be in action. I love to be checking things off the list. And so I will frequently shortchange myself on having. Think time, creative time, and so that’s something that I’m learning that I need to give myself time.

[00:25:50] Create the big picture and to have the vision so that I can get there quicker and, and really get clear on who my, who my future self is. I’m very happy with who I am right now. And it’s easy to say, well, I’m good. I’m in a good spot. But I also know that in order for me to impact more people and to leave a legacy and to, you know, build this business to a level that, can really, Have, have immeasurable impact that I have to think big.

[00:26:20] I have to think bigger. And so that’s something that I would say is a, is a personal expansion right now that I’m working on.

[00:26:28] Envision the Future

[00:26:28] Miriam: Yeah. I appreciate you sharing that. That wasn’t necessarily something we talked about beforehand, so I appreciate you just being willing to go there. I think that so many people look at their life today, and if you said, look back 10 years at how much you’ve grown, they would say, oh my gosh.

[00:26:47] And if you ask them to envision 10 years from now, They kind of see themselves, but just a little older or more wrinkly. But it’s like, yeah, well the growth you had in the last 10 years could be the growth that you have in the future 10 years. Right? And I do think that that is a mind blowing concept for most people.

[00:27:07] Um, yeah. Throughout, like the early parts of our life we’re given this roadmap. You know, you go through K through 12 and then you might go to the university and then you might go to a graduate program. Or you might develop, you know, and there’s a certain point where the plan ends. It reminds me on, Like the, the Lord of the Rings movies where they had that map and certain parts of the map were all detailed out.

[00:27:31] Like, here’s the Shire and here’s the mountains and here’s whatever. And then there’s these big sections in between that is like the unknown, you know?

[00:27:39] Right, right. And that’s what we’re talking about is the, is the unknown.

[00:27:45] Elisabeth: Yes. And I think, you know, I do also think that, I’m not sure where this messaging comes from.

Be intentional

[00:27:53] I haven’t really thought about this, but we do kind of have that messaging of, well, it’s the unknown. Nobody knows you can’t write your future. I mean, I think there are a lot of ways where we are told, we’ll just have to see what the future holds. But I’m a firm believer.

[00:28:10] Again, this is definitely a, a shift in my mindset over, you know, the last several years, but we actually have a lot more control over who our future self is, if we become intentional about it, if we spend time creating it and envisioning it. So I, I do think that we can. Easily get by, by saying, well, I don’t know.

[00:28:31] It’s unchartered territory. We’ll just have to see. I’m just gonna keep working hard. I’m just gonna keep, you know, doing my best. But we can do more than that.

[00:28:39]  We can be more specific and we can fill in the map for ourselves. It, it may not go exactly as planned, right? Most likely it’s not gonna go as planned, but better to have a plan and, and experience some detours than just have a map of the unknown and see where, where life leads you.

Mindset shift

[00:28:59] Miriam: Yeah. I was thinking as you were talking how I wish that we had been taught these sort of things in school. You know, nobody knew when you and I were in school, nobody knew that Google was gonna come out and that we didn’t need to memorize all those facts cuz we’d have Wikipedia. I really wish that we had been taught how to shift our mindset. Because the vast majority of people, and I I find this to actually be tragic, is they reach the edge of the unknown territory on the map of their life and they stop.

[00:29:28] They stop and they say, well, I guess this is what life is. I guess this is, you know, and it does not have to be that way. But I understand why they stop, because it’s scary to venture out into something that you don’t know where it’s gonna lead. And, uh, this is where I think having mentors, having coaches is really helpful because sometimes they’ve been there before, or at the very least they can say, Hey, I’m in this with you.

[00:29:55] Reward Yourself

[00:29:55] Miriam: What, what, if any, have you made a purchase of a hundred dollars or less that you felt like, um, whoa, I’m so glad I made that purchase, and why?

[00:30:06] Elisabeth: I am getting into the mindset of gifts for the season when I think about purchasing something for myself, um, that has made an impact, I would have to say, Spending, spending money on myself is actually something that I have struggled with. I often try to, you know, make, make the penny stretch the penny, and if I don’t need it, I could use that money for my kids or, you know, for the house.

[00:30:37] Just a couple of days ago, um, I allowed myself to buy a pair of earrings and a necklace. Just because , and again, as insignificant as that may sound on the surface, I talked my clients a lot about it. How, I mean it really, if, if you study the brain, having reward is actually a really significant, part of learning and, and change, behavior change.

[00:31:04] Learning that it’s okay to reward myself and to buy something that I like simply because, I’m worthy of it. I think buying a necklace and, and a pair of earrings the other day, just because I could, um, and I was thinking of, of me and not someone else. That’s a, that’s a shift for me.

[00:31:28] It’s representative of the fact that I’m worthy. I can buy myself things and not have to feel guilty or feel like I’m taking away from someone else.

[00:31:37] And not even just how it made me feel, but, the, the purpose of it or the reason behind it was I don’t have to have a reason. Right. .

[00:31:46] You Are Worth It

[00:31:46] Miriam: Right. Uh, I appreciate you sharing that. Yeah. What I hear you saying is that it was symbolic of “you are worth it” and therefore, , it didn’t matter if they were expensive or not, or it was the act of doing it and saying, I am worth it.

[00:32:01] And I, I love that. That’s such a nice way to end this, conversation with just really everybody realizing they’re worth it. Maybe they could come up with a small, something that they could do to represent that. Whether you feel it or not is immaterial. Take an action that says I’m worth it. And sometimes the feelings follow the action.

[00:32:24] Where to Find Elisabeth

[00:32:24] Miriam: So, Elizabeth, how about if you share how people can find you and then we’ll wrap this up.

[00:32:31] Elisabeth: Okay, thank you. The best place to find me is my website, it’s peakproductivitycoaching.com. And I’m also very active on LinkedIn. I really find that to be a valuable platform, my name is Elizabeth.

[00:32:48] Spelled with an S Galperin and I try to share lots of valuable information, inspirational and motivational information, so that’s a great place to find me over on LinkedIn.

[00:32:59] Miriam: Awesome, thank you. Elizabeth and I had mentioned earlier that we would like to make a donation in your name. You chose The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust, they rescue orphaned elephants after their moms have been somehow killed, whether by poaching or drought or human animal conflict.

[00:33:17] And you’re, you chose a little boy elephant. So we will, adopt him in your name and you’ll get, you’ll get updates on him through the year. Thank you so much. Just for your time. We’ll put all of this in the show notes. What a pleasure. What a great conversation.

[00:33:33] Elisabeth: Yeah. I appreciate it and thanks for having me and I hope, I hope our message today, reaches some people in the way, in the way that it needs to.

[00:33:42] Miriam: me too.

End Credits

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Full audio episode found here.

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

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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.

How to Be a Productive Leader Transcript – Scott Fulton

scott fulton on how to leader

Be a Productive Leader – Scott Fulton

miriam: [00:00:00] Hey friends, today we have a special guest, was it last week that we met? I did your podcast the Rebel Diaries podcast. And then now we’re switching we’re gonna get to hear about your digital business, and we’re going to get to hear about the works you do with teams. Anyway, I just am really happy to have you from the uk. Welcome, Scott.

scott: Hi, Miriam. It’s great to be here.

Thanks for.

Absolutely. Okay, so why don’t you talk a little bit about, just in brief and then we’ll get more into it, but the two sides to your business.

[00:00:34] Digital Programs for the Police Force

Okay. So the first side is the digital aspect, so that’s. That came from my background. I spent 20 years in a police force in the UK called Dave and Somerset Police, and I headed up the digital team there and we built loads of great products, I would say great, of course.

But you know, lots of innovative products and solutions for the public. Things like reporting crime online some operational systems, covid solutions, all that kind of stuff. And it was. A real [00:01:00] eye-opener for me in terms of how I can offer value to people. And I left the police force and decided I wanted to go alone and help other police forces and other organizations.

So with a couple of my Ex members, I’ve set that up and the company’s called digital Rebels. And yeah, we’re focusing on building websites, bespoke solutions, so unique products and, and services for solving problems for people’s customers fundamentally. So that’s one. And then the other side is more around team high performance and coaching and teaching leadership skills.

That really helped me during my time in the police dealing with demand overload. Cuz you know, it’s an operational organization. There’s always a crisis, there’s always more work that you could ever do. And I found a way. To be able to manage that in a really effective way. And we’ll probably get onto that later about how, how we kind of did that.

Diminish the Chaos

But, but something I’m really passionate about is helping people who are struggling in what I call corporate chaos, where they’re overloaded, they’re going to [00:02:00] wasted time in pointless meetings. They can’t say no to people cuz they don’t want to, you know, let them down and they just perpetuate this problem of, of frankly chaos and they get stressed out.

So yeah, those are the, those are the two aspects

excellent. Well, and you cleared up something for me even as you were talking about your businesses because I knew that you had worked for the police force, but I wasn’t sure in what capacity.

So why don’t we start with, I’m very interested in this notion of teams and the reason I think that teams are so important, if you’re a business owner and you have a team of people, if they’re not getting along, your revenue is just in the toilet.

Or if, if they’re not getting along, somebody’s quitting because they can’t stand this other person and blah, blah. And you know, your company culture really struggles.

The Problem You Face

If you’re part of a team, like if you work in a corporate situation and you have a terrible person on your team, or you just know that life, life could be better That it’s, it’s [00:03:00] a real problem.

And I feel like honestly, every parent who has children, they, you have a team right there. And I think that any of the things that you’re gonna talk about would apply to every single one of those scenarios. So talk to me a little bit about teams and where you feel like you can help them.

scott: So, yeah, and, and if it probably help if I just start by saying a bit about where I went wrong in my career and how I how I was doing it wrong, so, so when I started, I won’t give you the full life history cuz we haven’t got time and your listeners will be very bored.

[00:03:33] Management vs Leadership

scott: But, but essentially when I, I got my first management job and I specifically say management rather than leadership. I made so many mistakes, and this feels like a confession, a cringe, but you know, I felt I had to have all the answers.

I felt that I needed to make sure my team were working hard and like pace the room and all this stuff that is just awful to think about now. But I was young and foolish and in my defense, , and, and that, that looking back, that [00:04:00] drove the wrong behavior in the team. You know, there was a lack of trust. They didn’t feel safe.

And they worked, but they clearly didn’t enjoy. And thankfully I, I learned hopefully quite rapidly to become more of a. And actually for me that’s more about creating a safe environment for the team. So safe for them to say, Scott, that’s a really stupid idea. and me as a leader, being humble to say I don’t have all the answers.

And I found myself in the latter part of my career in the police actually openly saying my team are much smarter than me. I’ve employed smart people with skills I don’t have, my job is not to tell them how to do their job. My job is. Given the environment to be safe and high performing, give them the problems that need solving, but then frankly get outta their way until they need me.

Safe To Challenge

And that for me is, has proved really, really powerful in terms of creating high performing teams. There’s lots of other factors, but for me that main one is safety for them to, you know, challenge me. To ask [00:05:00] for clarity but also to make mistakes and learn. And certainly in the space we were working in, in digital, it’s very easy to fall into a trap of making assumptions.

Oh yeah, if we build this product and we put this on the website, then the customers will love it. And you make those decisions in the boardroom or the office, but. The reality is, until you get something in people’s hands, you don’t really know what they’re gonna do with it.

So you have to be willing to learn from your mistakes.

And I always cite the example of, of Elon Musk, who obviously is quite controversial character, but he was doing all the work, you know, trying to land the SpaceX rockets so they could be reused. , every time they blew up, he didn’t sack the team. They used that data to say, right, what went wrong? How can we do better next time?

And for me, that’s really important as a mindset to say, you know, we need to test and learn, test or fail. And it’s safe for the team to do that. Does that make sense?

[00:05:51] Leading and Teaching

miriam: Oh, yes. I appreciate what you’re saying. Tremendously. I, I think I wanna bounce in and say, You know, okay. The [00:06:00] space where you did it wrong, you know that was a failure of someone above you who didn’t teach you.

And I think that we can graciously say, okay, you did it wrong, but also nobody led the way. And you’re taking that space and saying, well, I’m not gonna let that happen with anybody, from now on, and I’m sure that you are teaching, what does it mean to manage well?

So when you talk about creating safety, this is something that’s super important in our workplaces right now and in our homes.

How do you create a place, a space where someone can disagree with you and it doesn’t feel disrespectful on either end?

Yeah, I mean, I, I don’t know if it, I mean, it’s something that just organically happened over time with me. If I look back, I don’t think there was a sudden switch where I think it takes the leader.

I mean, it is, it’s gotta be start with the leader to, to be able to say, I don’t have all the answers. And to openly admit [00:07:00] that to their team. So that takes, I think, courage on the leader’s behalf and you know, the leader needs to feel safe doing that. But I think some people are hired wired to see that as a weakness.

Golden Rule

And I think it’s, it’s about. Setting that example up front with the team, so they go, oh, actually I feel safe to ask or to challenge or to question, and it’s gotta be in a respectful way. But I think, you know, there’s a phrase I, I learned on a training course a few years ago that really stuck with me. You, you’ve probably heard the phrase treat people how you want to be treated.

Actually there’s a better way and it’s treat people how they want to be treated. Yes. Because different people want to be treated in different ways. They have different needs, they have different levels of confidence, they have different things going on at home. You know, there’s all those dynamics at play in the work environment.

And quite often it’s the quiet ones that might have the best ideas. So I think a good leader also makes space for those quieter individuals and makes sure that everybody has a [00:08:00] say. And you know, so I could ramble on. But yeah, those are, those are my key. Kind of thoughts around that.

miriam: Yeah. I really appreciate that.

When you were talking about this, this space of humility and having courage, it makes me think that the leader has to have a, a good sense of self-esteem. Like they have to be okay in their own skin and their worth isn’t going to be based on the other person’s performance or the other person’s, you know, perfection or whatever.

How would a leader get there?

[00:08:34] Don’t Control, Lead

scott: So I think a lot of the problem is still, there’s quite a lot of what I’d call industrial aged thinking in, in some organizations and management. Because you know, if you go back to the industrial age, and I’m not a great history, so I may get some this wrong, but essentially, you know, the whole factory mindset where work was predictable, you had production lines, everyone knew what their role was.

They knew that they had a performance target if I deliver five widgets every hour or whatever it is, and the [00:09:00] management structure was clear and the boss called the shots and said, work harder, work faster. We live in a very different world now in the corporate world where work is is quite untangible, it’s quite difficult to put your finger on it.

People have very specialist skills, rolls, overlap. You get those kind of tensions and politics and things like that, and. If you’ve got a manager who’s still stuck in that industrial age mindset, they’re trying to control people in a way that’s just not realistic and it drives the wrong behavior, and that’s when you know people, I always say focus on outcomes rather than outputs, but you know, the traditional way of thinking is about volume of work and.

Less Talk, More Action

You just say, my developers, you know they, they come in and they type on keyboards a lot. Now, some development leaders will think if their developers aren’t working all day at the keyboard, they’re not achieving. But actually, I would say to my team, if you spend most of the day talking about the [00:10:00] problem, And a tiny part of the day doing the actual coding.

That’s fine with me cuz that’s just, the conversations are important. It’s the problem solving, it’s the teamwork. It’s not about volume of things. You type on your computer.

And I think the same applies to, you know, people in other jobs. You know, there’s this whole present presenteeism that I know people are struggling with in remote work.

You know, if I’m not, and I’ve felt this, when we started remote work during Covid, it was like, oh, the green dot, I need to be at my screen if I, you know, go for a, go to the toilet or go to get a. Someone, Scott’s not online. You know, we weren’t like that in the corporate when we were in the office. You’d go for a walk to between meetings. You’d get some fresh air and have a chat with someone, you know. But yeah, I might be going off a tangent here, but ,

[00:10:43] Nature of Work

miriam: no, I, I don’t think it’s a tangent. I think it actually is a really important question about the nature of work, which really matters whether you have a business or you’re, you know, part of an employment space, which is pretty much everybody who listens to my podcast.[00:11:00]

I, it, this, this notion of the industrialized work. I don’t know if you know of or follow Seth Godin, but he would talk about that. Yeah. He had his manifesto on education, and I think I probably read that five or six years ago. And it had never occurred to me that at least in the, , the education system is very much toward, you’ve got that main leader, here are all the rules.

Everybody make your widgets the same way, and it is.

It is not developing people for what our current work situation is, and all of those kind of jobs are being done by robots now, or mostly, or, you know, transitioning toward that space.

And so the question becomes, You know,

You have an inherent risk when you trust a team the way you are because there are the slackers who aren’t doing work and who are distracted and who are just. Taking advantage of the company. And there are the people who, if you [00:12:00] just gave them kind of the direction you wanna go, they would work their hearts out for you.

How do you talk to leaders about that kind of dichotomy between their team members?

scott: So one of the things that I learned, and again, a lesson I learned kind of midway through my career was, We, I did have one of those team members and I’ve obviously, you gotta be very careful, . But yeah, we had a team.

Individuals Impact the Team

So, so, so the, the nature of a lot of, again, I’m talking about developers, but the, there’s this kind right

here and we’re just gonna say for the sake of this, hypothetically speaking, yes,

of course. This Hypothe example developers, a lot of them like to just put headphones on and just do their. Whereas we know that to be more effective, you’ve get multiple brains solving a problem.

So we’d encourage people to sit together at the computer to work together on things. Now, we had one individual that, hypothetically, one individual might decide that they don’t wanna be part of, that they just wanna work on their own. And that caused tension. [00:13:00] The quality of their work wasn’t great. It created bugs in the software.

It was, you know, and I, I let it go too long.. Unaddressed because I wanted to be liked and you know, still quite early on as a leader and I thought, oh, I don’t wanna have this difficult conversation with this person. In the end I did cuz it got really bad and but I let, my regret is I let that fester too long and it actually, they then decided to leave the organization, thankfully, the day they left.

The, the atmosphere in the room changed and I hadn’t realized that. To me it was a massive lesson about how much one individual could impact a an entire team. Yeah. And yeah, so there’s a big regret. I didn’t address that sooner. So, so I encourage, and it’s hard in some organizations to get rid of those bad eggs.

[00:13:44] Be Brave and Act

scott: I don’t wanna sound harsh, but you know, some people just are lazy and or don’t want to work and just want to coast and hide behind others. So I think that’s, again, I’d encourage leaders to be brave and, and actually have those tough conversations. But I get that they are [00:14:00] very much dependent on how much the organization can support them.

So certainly the police, my experience. In the police. Being a public sector organization, sometimes it’s quite hard to get rid of, you know, difficult people. It’s, you can’t just, in the private sector, you just go, right, don’t come in tomorrow. , . But it’s not, it’s, it’s not so easy in the public sector. You’ve gotta go through rules and regulations and they can sue you for, you know, unfair dismissal.

And it’s just a minefield that I think sometimes organizations are afraid to even go into. So what happens is, I’m gonna be really harsh, but this, it’s like a cancer in the organization then that just sits there, spreads and is not dealt with. So I think it’s really serious. If you’ve got some really bad behavior, it just needs to be dealt with because more people suffer as a result.

So, yeah, long answer I think encourage the leaders to actually just be brave and, and try and deal with those problems.

Learn from Mistakes

miriam: Right. How do leaders learn that kind of brave? because you’re right, it is difficult and [00:15:00] honestly, even in the private sector, depending on which state you’re in here, you have to document things up the wazoo so that you know it’s, you know, all taken care of so you can’t be sued and all of that.

Mm-hmm. , how do leaders learn how to be brave?

scott: Good question. I think, well, certainly the life experience for me helped. I. Being open and reflecting and learning from your mistakes, I think is a good way. Obviously you can do lots of reading and listen to great podcasts like this and, you know, get inspiration from others.

So, you know, try and find what good leadership looks like. There’s loads of things out there, you know, YouTube, it is, et cetera. But, but I think nothing beats life experience, but you have to have the self-awareness to, to say where you went wrong and what you would do differently next time. Take that time out.

To just do a bit of a personal retrospective and say, you know, what did I learn? Could I have handled that any differently? What would I do differently next time? I [00:16:00] think that that self-reflection is gonna be key.

[00:16:02] Coaching to Grow

miriam: Yeah, I would agree. I also think, I mean, you and I are both in forms of coaching. It really helps to have somebody outside of you saying, okay, what is it you need to do?

I am here standing next to you. I’m cheering you on. I know you can do it for these reasons.

Okay. Now that you’ve done it, let’s talk about it. Where did you, you know, Excel, what would you have done differently if you had a do-over you? It’s, you just can’t under. The power of having someone in your corner like that.

miriam: Mm-hmm. . Okay. You have a motto on your website, do less but deliver more. What does that mean?

So there’s extra bits to that, but yeah. So it’s do less of what doesn’t matter and do more of what does. So for me, this is, this is kind of key and it’s become, that’s why I came up with that. I think everything revolves around this.

So it’s all about accepting that there’s always more work that you can never [00:17:00] do. There will always be more work that you can never do. So all you can do is prioritize and. Unfortunately, in some organizations, the bosses say, well, everything’s a priority. And if you look up the definition of priority in the dictionary, that’s not possible.

If you can only have one priority by definition, but you know everything’s a priority or can you just squeeze this in as well? And that’s when you know, people get overloaded and stressed out, and it’s not good for the organization or the customer.

So what I help people focus on is, is. We can’t do everything.

[00:17:31] Prioritizing

miriam: Okay? We need to get visibility of work to be able to understand how to prioritize. So don’t leave work stuck in your inbox or on post-it notes, or leave your desk or on whiteboards. It has to be in a, in a single place where you can then look at it and make judgements on what’s the most important thing you should be working on next, but also keeping on top of that and continually reviewing.

And there’s loads of other aspects to that, but the, but the key thing is do less of time wasting. Do more [00:18:00] of value.

Two Types of Work

miriam: There’s a guy called Cal Newport. He’s got a couple of books. One is called A World Without Email, and he talks about two different types of work in there, which I blatantly stole from my training because I, it was really powerful.

And there’s basically two types of work. One is work execution. So that’s doing the actual work that delivers the value. So that’s what you’re employed to. And then this workflow, which is everything else. So that’s talking about work, that’s having meetings, it’s having email conversations, it’s having project plan.

And unfortunately for a lot of organizations, they spend most of and staff, they spend most of the time in workflow mode talking about work rather than actually doing it. And he says meetings and emails are talking about work, not doing it. So what I do is help teams say, actually we’re gonna do less, is do less of the workflow stuff.

You wanna optimize that and do more of the work execution time. And that’s where I managed to get my team within the police. I’ve managed to protect them so much. Probably 90% of their time was work [00:19:00] execution, and that was pretty rare in the organization.

Most of the other old parts of the organization were stuck in emails and meetings and and so on.

Determine the Key Activity

So yeah, those two things are really fundamental for me is actually do less of. Wasting stuff and do more of what matters. And there’s all sorts of benefits. One, it’s good for the customer and the organization.

It’s a no-brainer, but it’s also good for the individual. Mm-hmm. . So they come into work and feel that they did something of value that day, rather than go in with great intentions, get totally lost in the inbox, and meetings the day finishes and they go, I didn’t actually achieve anything I intended to do.

It’s just been a waste of my time. And over time, that wears people out. So, yeah, I think it’s, you know, give people the space and the ability to do what they’re employed to do. Yeah, it sounds so obvious, but it’s quite rare from, in my experience, ,

it is extraordinarily rare. I have practiced maybe the last year or two writing down.

What is the key activity I need to do today that will move my business forward? Because I recognize exactly what you’re talking about. [00:20:00] You can spend all day in your email inbox, and I have seen even in myself, you know, you get rid of this one, get rid of this one. Oh, I don’t actually know what to do with this one.

Hmm. I’ll skip it and I’ll come back and you do that with four or five, 15 or 20, and pretty soon you just have done nothing but really shuffle stuff around and meetings are just the bane of all of that. I, I really wish that in school. Instead of some of the stuff that we all had to memorize that we can now Google.

[00:20:32] Facilitating Meetings Well

miriam: I wish they had taught, people, taught all of us how to facilitate a meeting elegantly, you know, where you, I mean, meetings can actually get some stuff done, but so much of the time they’re just a huge time suck.

I appreciate what you’re saying about a person coming into work and in effect, just for lack of a better word, shoveling crap from this pile to this pile and then from [00:21:00] this pile to this pile, and they, they don’t end up feeling like, Was the oxygen I breathed today worth the activity I did, you know?

Yeah. That’s a very hopeless space. Yeah. And if you’re an employer, it feels crazy- making because you have people there and you’re paying salaries and you’re like, where is the product?

scott: There’s so much inefficiency and then, oh, we, we need more staff. So then you end up hiring more staff. So I think the stat in Cal’s book is, Three.

I think the average worker, kind of corporate worker spends three days a month in pointless meetings. Yeah, that’s crazy. Just thinking of how much time, how much more productive the organization would be. And again, and then we just pick up on, I always catch myself when I say productive because you can be productive and deliver no value.

Doing the Right Thing

So actually it’s don’t just obsess about productivity. You need to know if you’re doing the right thing. And that’s, again, thinking about outcome. [00:22:00] Is this what the customer needs? Can I get evidence? This is what the customer needs, rather than just, I’m doing it because the bosses said to do it in a board meeting.

They thought that would be a good idea. Let’s just do that. And then you waste hours, months, and hundreds of thousands of dollars for something that was an ego driven project rather than something based on what customers actually need. I’ll get off on a tangent there. That really annoys me, so I don’t wanna get good.

Don’t get me started on that.

[00:22:27] Have Other Passions

miriam: We could get each other off on tangents. I am sure. Okay. On your website too, you had something that it sounded like you did in your spare time. I was totally un unaware of this, and it looks like it involves cars.

scott: So to it’s, yeah, so it’s a hobby. It has been for a long time. It’s a little bit sad, but there’s a, so that’s two, especially a Spanish car manufacturer or two companies cuz they split into two separate brands and they make quite sporty cars. And I got into them when I got my first ever [00:23:00] car.

I had one I’m probably on. 14th Seat, well, copra now. And yeah, there’s basically an online community that I joined a long time ago. It’s been running for 20 years now. And probably about 15 years ago I took over running it and yeah, we got about 50,000 members and online forum, social media, people discuss it, their cars, it’s really geeky.

There are women as well as men. It’s not just men. And The best bit is I get to go on car launches in Spain, all expenses paid, and write reviews and drive cars around racetracks. So it’s a, it’s a fun hobby to have. Yeah.

That’s pretty awesome. What have you learned as you have been kind of navigating, like running this forum?

How much time and effort it takes is one . So. Mm-hmm. , luckily we’ve got, I’ve got quite a few volunteers who help me, who are just passionate again as a hobby. So they’ll, one of, one of them takes care of the Instagram and we’re quite good on that.

Engage People

Sometimes I can’t go to car launches, so [00:24:00] one of them’s gotta take one for the team and fly out to a nice hotel.

And unfortunately you don’t get to see much of Spain. You’re literally whiting in a hotel into a car and then back up, which I’ve done it in one day before. Sometimes it’s like, you know, you go to Spain and then you’re coming in over again. I was like, I was in Spain at lunchtime today, even though, you know, dunno how good people’s geography are from UK to Spain, but it’s a bit of a.

miriam: It’s probably about a three hour flight, I think. Yeah. And what I’ve learned is just, you know, how to build communities, how to engage people a bit more. And, and the key thing is, if you know this, the community kind of looks after itself because it’s something people are passionate about or they put time into, they help each other, you know, someone’s got a problem.

There’s always someone up there to say, oh, I solve this in this way. People have put like online guides and videos together to help each other out. So I’ve just learned about, you know, how if people are passionate about something, Willing to put in the effort and not get paid for it, which is, you know, Doesn’t have, it’s pretty, doesn’t be

scott: about money.

It’s pretty cool. Yeah. It doesn’t have to all be about money. And so it really brings up an important point [00:25:00] about I mean I, we haven’t really talked about the digital part of your income stream, which I know is significant. And I think for the sake of time we’re just gonna say you also have this other income stream.

[00:25:12] Why Just One Thing?

miriam: And I think that a lot of times people are caught in. Set of, I have to do one thing. What is the one thing I’m gonna do that’s gonna support my lifestyle? And whether they’re an entrepreneur and they’re building their business or they are working for someone else, either way, I think it takes a little bit of stretching your brain to.

Say, well, why does it have to be one thing? Why can’t it be more things? And after you have one or two things, then I just love that you have this hobby that also probably takes a fair amount of time and energy, but it brings you joy. I mean, like you had a big smile on your face when you’re talking about it, and it sounds like you meet people maybe that are different than in your other, you know, work activities.

[00:26:00] So what would you say to people. Pursuing a hobby and or the, the time management of you know, everything that work and family takes and then this other thing.

scott: Yeah. So it is a bit of a juggling act to be honest. I didn’t, I kind of fell into the, splitting my business into two kind of came about by accident.

I, I was just gonna focus on the digital, but I gave a presentation at a police conference about my journey. Three police force representatives came up and said, you have to come and help us if you did this in your police force. So then I, my training was born from that, but yeah, again, it’s back to that priority question and, and, and trying to say actually, where’s, where’s the best place of, for me to put my effort?

Get Help From Others

But it’s also being open to getting help from others. So I’m, I’m in that kind of entrepreneur trap where I’ve gotta do it all. But then I haven’t really, cuz there’s online ways you can get help. So I’ve just hired a virtual assistant to help me out. Nice. I’ve got some ex team members who are helping me cuz they’re, you know, they want to help and they [00:27:00] can see the benefit in the business and if it grows then they’ll be part of that.

So, yeah, don’t, just, don’t try and do it alone, but also make sure you take space for downtime cuz there’s a danger to just keep working and burn yourself out. So as, as long as you’re in a place where you can just do enough each day and move the needle a bit. You’ll be all right. But yeah, the danger is I’m a terrible procrastinator, so, you know, I, I’ve fall into that trap.

Sometimes it’s easier to do the, oh look, a shiny distraction I can go and deal with and not do the hard thing. So it’s, it is having discipline as well.

Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Can I ask you a coachy question since I’m a coach? You can. Okay. What. What was the space that kept you from getting the va, the virtual assistant.

And how do you imagine this pushing your, your business forward?

[00:27:55] Delegation and Perfectionism

scott: So why did I only do it recently? Is that what I asking? Yes, yes. I [00:28:00] felt I didn’t have enough work, I think was part of it. But there was also probably a bit of perfectionism going on, if I’m being honest. Saying like, oh, you know what, if they do it differently to me.

But then I reminded myself that’s how I was for 20 years in the police. I, I, you know, I gave the team, I put myself at the bottom of the org chart and said, you know, you are the skilled people, so, I needed to remember what I did and say, why don’t I outsource this stuff to somebody who can do it better than me?

And is actually excited by the stuff that I’m not excited about . So I think that’s how I just came to that realization rapidly.

miriam: We’re about a month in and she’s like, you haven’t done this. I’m chasing you on this. So actually it’s quite good that she’s holding me to account, so I’m quite enjoying that cuz Yeah. Otherwise I’d probably just meander, I’ll put it off, I’ll do it tomorrow.

So yeah, she’s helping giving me some of that discipline.

Sense of  Relief

I just love that you did this. If I understand right, most advice for businesses is that your number two hire is either a salesperson [00:29:00] or an assistant, depending on what your business is.

And it seems like most of the time, Entrepreneurs, like you said, just feel like they can do it all themselves and this moment when they hire an assistant, and sometimes it takes a couple to find the right one, but when you find the right person, oh, this thing like lifts off your shoulders and it’s like, why didn’t I do this? Sooner.

What do you feel like your next level of business or personal development is?

So the business side, so the digital stuff has taken a lot longer than I would’ve liked but I’m very close to getting the first product out with.

[00:29:37] Where to Next?

miriam: So I think the next phase is Get that off the ground for, for the digital for the for the training side. I’m, I need to move the upper level. I need to get more awareness of my training, and hopefully this podcast will help. I’ve been speaking at conferences, but again, not enough. I need to get out there more.

And I probably need to do a bit more, setting myself online, do some more videos and, and sharing and that kind of stuff on LinkedIn and YouTube. So I, I need to just do a [00:30:00] bit more of business development is, is where my, my weakness is, and I need to get better at that.

It might not be weaknesses, it might be just like there’s only so much of you and only 24 hours in a day. You know? Yeah. There’s just a limit to when it can all be done and yeah. . Some people have, you know, large budgets and they hire a bunch of people and they get stuff cranked out pretty quickly. Other people do it a little bit more organically and that’s all good.

Sheldrick Wildlife Fund

Well, Scott, this has been just a blast. I’ve really enjoyed the conversation and I just enjoy you as a human being.

And I’m hoping that we’ll have an opportunity maybe in six months or a year to do round two. I think it would be fun to kind of catch up and see, see where you’re go, what you’re doing, and how your business is progressing.

I had mentioned before we started that we like to gift you with a donation in your name and you had chosen the Sheldrick Wildlife Fund.

We’re going to be adopting a little baby girl elephant [00:31:00] in your name , this is an elephant whose mom has been poached and they will take care of it for 15 years or so and reintegrate it into the wild.

We’re looking for ways on this podcast to do good.

Every possible direction by exposing you to that charity, by helping out the charity, by exposing our listeners to your good information.

Anyway, so why don’t we end with you just sharing how people can find you and find your podcast, and then we’ll be done.

[00:31:29] Where to Find Scott

miriam: Cool. So yeah, you can, my website is scott fulton.co.uk.

My company is Digital Rebels, so search for that and it should come up.

And the podcast is called Rebel Diaries and I interview guests like Miriam and others focused on how to do better and achieve more at work. I’m also on LinkedIn and yeah, various social media sites. But yeah, if you search for me, I’d generally come up.

Thanks, Miriam.

scott: I will, I’ll put the links in and it’ll all be good and we’ll look forward to another conversation in the near distant [00:32:00] future.

Thanks again, Scott.

End Credits

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

Full audio episode found here.

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.

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.

Ending Horse Slaughter in the United States Transcript – Gentle Giants (Christine Hajek)


Christine Hajek

Horses and Non-Profits – Christine Hajek (Gentle Giants)

Gentle Giants-Christine Hejak

Miriam: [00:00:00] All right, friends. Today I am super excited to have Christine hijack with us today. She is the owner and founder of Gentle Giants, and this is a charity that rescues draft horses from slaughter, abuse and neglect. They are located in Maryland. They have over 300 acres and rescue, to date over 1500 horses.

So part of the reason that I want to have this conversation, as we know my podcast, is about ending self sabotage and developing yourself in your business so that you can make a difference in the world. And Christine has certainly done that and is doing that. I’m just so excited for this conversation.

So welcome, Christine.

Christine: Thank you, Miriam. It’s such an honor and pleasure to be here.

It’s so great.

[00:00:47] Christine’s Journey to Horses

Miriam: So I don’t even know how I got exposed to your charity. I probably saw something on Instagram. That’s my best guess. And I started saying, what is this? And started sniffing around and have [00:01:00] kind of not only

donated but been following your, your nonprofit work for at least three or four years. We had the privilege of talking, I had the privilege of talking with you last year and did a little bit of coaching and that was fun. So your motto, rescue, rehabilitate, retrain, rehome. It’s the whole package. Why don’t you tell me a little bit how you got started with this venture?

Christine: So There’s a long story and a short story, so to try to compress them both together. I did grow up in a home with horses and it was a relatively small breeding farm. But like most commercial equine ventures, all the horses at the farm had to earn an income in order to be there. So that meant that at the end of each horse’s service,

If one of the mayors became unable to get pregnant, if she had more than one complicated delivery, if she had a FO that was born, you know, less than [00:02:00] satisfactory conditions or had crooked legs then those horses were liquidated and they were liquidated at the auction. And at the time when I was a kid, I really didn’t understand exactly what that meant.

But as an adult, when I was into horses on my own, I purchased a draft horse at an auction very, very impulsively. Having been grown up and being told the horses at the sale are trash, they’re the throwaway horses. They all are there for a reason.

The Reason

I ended up purchasing this horse, and when I went to the stall to collect him, the Mennonite fellow who was selling him was stroking him and talking to him, and he was crying, and so I said, I’m really, really sorry that you have to sell your horse, but I’m really glad that I was able to buy him and I promise I’ll give him a great home.

And the gentleman was really relieved and he was like, I had no idea it was a private buyer. I thought he sold to the meat men. And I said, the, the meat men. and I promptly got a very, very thorough education of exactly [00:03:00] what was happening to all of these horses who were no longer wanted and weren’t working out for their homes.

I was a little appalled. I was 28 years old when I learned about horse slaughter despite having had horses since I was six. But it really is truly a dirty little secret of the equine industry that nobody speaks about openly. Because nobody likes to admit, number one, that they know that it’s happening, and two, they don’t like to admit that they’re contributing to it because this is a financial benefit for these farms to have a way to dispose of their horses, rather disreputably, but then also to still earn an income with that disposal.

So that was kind of the start of Gentle Giants. I met that first horse who was named Elijah, and he was indeed not trash. He was not a throwaway horse. He was absolutely amazing. So I knew that if there was one Elijah out there, there were bound to be many, many more.

So that started my quest to go out and find them all.

[00:03:58] Starting Gentle Giants

Miriam: Wow. Well, [00:04:00] 1500 horses is nothing to sneeze at, and I’ll be honest with you. I, I’m gonna take a tiny digression. I’m a therapist by trade and current coach, and I know how to control my emotions, but when you tell that story, I got choked up and I had to just pull, pull that back, and I cry every single time I read one of your newsletters.

Horses are expensive, huge animals. Draft horses are three times the size and the expense of the regular ones.

Almost all of people in general are divorced now from the land and the animals, and they don’t understand the suffering that is caused by simple choices.

Now, I don’t know what it costs to euthanize a horse these days, but I’m gonna guess somewhere between a hundred and $200 to euthanize them and have the body disposed of.

So it’s not a huge amount of money that these animals could not have their [00:05:00] last days be full of terror and fear and pain and suffering.

And I’ve seen the pictures of these animals you’ve rescued the before and after where they’re skeletons. Mm-hmm. and then they’ve put on five or 600 pounds and

So anyway, I’m not gonna get all like emotional on you, but I appreciate what you’re doing and it’s no small thing.

So let’s, let’s get into how did you go from one to many? Because there’s a story there.

One to Many

Christine: So in the very early days of general Giants, it really was truly just a hobby. And it kind of, it was in my backyard, just a couple horses at a time. When it got to the point that we had four or five rescued horses, my at the time, boyfriend, now husband kind of came to me and said, this is, this is getting to be a lot of work, and I really think that we need help.

What we really needed [00:06:00] at that point in time was volunteer help more than funding. And so we kind of had a short discussion and had to decide are we either gonna scale back and go back to one to two horses at a time, or do we wanna incorporate a nonprofit so that we can get some people to come out and help us?

And we quickly decided we did not wanna scale back. It was time to incorporate and become a nonprofit. And we both went into this with absolutely zero knowledge or education about the nonprofit industry?

At the time I was a paramedic firefighter. My husband is still an active duty firefighter. But I will say one, one of the things that definitely helped me was one, I’m a very, very nosy person by nature, so I immediately started following and investigating other equine charities that I looked up to and reading their financial reports, looking through every single page of their website, just getting any information I could.

And I also looked at some of the charities that I did not admire and looked at what [00:07:00] they were doing and how they were doing it differently.


but then I reached out to some of the charities that I did admire and I was really, really surprised that a couple of them really welcomed me with open arms. They gave me some great advice.

They helped me out with practical things like writing my bylaws and forming my articles of incorporation and coming up with succession plans and things like that.

And that’s part of why I pay that forward now with doing mentoring with smaller startup organizations also, because if I hadn’t have had that support and assistance in the early days, I don’t know that we would be here.

Miriam: Yeah, that is an important point to, to just mention that wherever it is that you are right now- you were somewhere else five to 10 years ago. Mm-hmm. . And who were the people in your life that made it possible for you to get to where you are right now and how can you help that happen for the next person?

So I appreciate just that you’re [00:08:00] talking about that when,

when you look at the maybe difference in mindset from you rescuing one animal to turning it into a nonprofit, and a nonprofit is a business, every bit as much as a for-profit is a business, it just has a really different kind of focus on what you do with the funding and you know, the laws and everything.

Explain to me the mindset shift that had to happen in you to go from one to many.

[00:08:31] Clean Slate

Christine: I think one benefit that I had is because I was coming into this not having previously been in the for-profit world. I mean, my. Career had been as a paramedic and a firefighter, which is very structured and kind of paramilitary.

So I didn’t have things I had to unlearn, so I was kind of starting off as a clean slate and able to learn this whole new thing from the beginning. I think the biggest mindset I had to battle with in the beginning [00:09:00] was I was personally afflicted with a very common thing that that seems pervasive in the nonprofit community as a whole, which is the idea that because nonprofit work tends to normally passion centric jobs, that there’s an expectation that the people that work in the nonprofit industry should be willing to sacrifice financial security or even a competitive salary just because it’s the nonprofit industry.

And, you know, that’s something that I certainly now no longer believe and General Giants pushes back against that. It’s, it’s a very, very strange. Psychological Psychological conundrum that people seem to have this really, really visceral reaction that people should not be paid for doing very good things in the world.

However, people do not have the same reaction and they actually seem to expect people to be paid quite highly for going out and doing absolutely horrible [00:10:00] things in the world.

Scaling the Business

You know, if you wanna, yeah, if you wanna create violent video games or horrible, you know, music that talks about violence and drugs, people are like, oh yeah, you’re gonna make billions and billions.

In our, our early days, I very strongly felt that we should not have employees, that no one should be paid to do this. And then we hit a point that I, I actually realized, you you can’t provide adequate care and work unless the people who are doing that work are being fairly compensated for it.

Miriam: Absolutely. There’s no way to scale without that. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. Volunteerism gets you from one to many, but then at a certain point in time you have to hire a team of people that you can count on and that when they’re terrible, you can fire. And when you know you can, like, you have to have that structure.

There’s no way to scale without it.

So one thing I find with maybe [00:11:00] newer business, Is that depending on the business owner there is more or less structure depending on the person. And then over time they learn and iterate and that whichever direction on the spectrum they were, if they were less structure, they’re like now I have to make a policy about that.

Mm-hmm. . And maybe they get more structure and then if they’re the other way around, then it becomes less.

[00:11:23] Business Structure

What have you learned? Like let’s just go with the animals, their care, et cetera, et cetera. Where did you have to start putting in what you would call business structure? You mentioned you have bylaws and you have these other things. It’s not a free for all, and it’s not just what any ever anybody wants to do. . Mm-hmm. .

Christine: Well, I mean, starting out the gate, we were certainly well aware of the, the, the business structure that we would have in order to have to meet our obligations to the IRS as a a 5 0 1 So that, that’s the simple stuff.

The bookkeeping, the accounting so on, so forth.

As we [00:12:00] have grown, I’ve actually kind of been surprised at the amount of policy that we’ve had to create and, and put into place that I really, never expected. So I definitely would’ve fallen on the spectrum very, very, very far to the super loosey goosey, no policy person.

And now have kind of developed along that line into, okay, now we have structure and policy.

So that can be anything from, you know, we certainly format our goals and plans for All the goals we want to meet with stewarding donors or volunteers. But it can even be down to the minutia of having to create policies about social media use with our staff.

One common thing that happens is, you know, if we have a sudden loss at the farm, we don’t necessarily want our staff sharing that on social media until we’ve had an opportunity to announce it. Because, if either a volunteer who was very close to that horse, saw that social media [00:13:00] post before we were able to call them, that would be really hurtful.


Mm-hmm. , same thing. Mm-hmm. I mean, if we have a donor who sponsors that horse and they were to learn about it through this, you know, odd third party or whatever, that would also be very hurtful. So I’ve been surprised sometimes that some of the policies we have to put into.

Miriam: Yeah, that makes sense to me.

I, I was talking with someone literally earlier today, and we were talking about how these challenges that come up within the business become the impetus for the new policy. Mm-hmm. , it’s like, oh, I didn’t, I didn’t know I needed that. Now I know I needed that.

And I’m sure you run into it from everything from – not everybody and their dog can give our horses snacks, you know, or treats or whatever. Like we have, we have rule, here’s where you put the manure fork. Mm-hmm. , here’s how you handle when you have a grievance. Here’s how you handle when someone wants to do x. I mean, you just don’t know until you know, and then out comes the policy.

[00:14:00] Can you give a little, like, give us an idea of the size, like how many volunteers do you have? How many employees, kind of what’s your annual budget? Help us understand how many horses are you currently working with?

Christine: Sure. So our current herd sits at 157 cuz we actually just had a new horse arrive about 20 minutes before we got online.

[00:14:21] Fostering Goodness

Wow. So we have 157 horses and in order to care for them, That takes a staff of 34 full-time people, two part-time people, and we have a army of about 220 volunteers. And of those volunteers, we have a core group of about 50 volunteers that are giving at least one, if not two full days a week. They take their volunteering very, very seriously.

They will call out sick. They will let us know when they’re planning to take vacation. They literally treat their volunteering time as if it were a job with the same responsibilities. And those volunteers are [00:15:00] bread and butter because we actually can rely on them to the same level as a staff member.

Christine: Yeah. That’s fantastic. What do you think it is that you’re doing that is creating that kind of loyalty? Because that’s unusual? I’m not sure. We do ask our volunteers that all the time. Most of them have said, you know, they’ve certainly appreciated that the, the more time they’re willing to invest in us, the more time we invest in them the more training and expansion opportunities we give them, the more responsibility we’re willing to hand over to them.

People who can commit more than 20 hours a month are extended riding privileges and some extra hands-on horsey time. but that’s not the reason for everybody. I mean, we have out of that really core group of volunteers, I would say more than half, aren’t interested in writing or those other opportunities.

Good Experiences

I really do think they just enjoy the hands-on care and they come to a point where they have a personal [00:16:00] ownership over the horses and the rescue, and they feel a responsibility to it. And that’s always what I wanted to create. I wanted to create a situation where our volunteers felt more like they were coming to their very own boarding barn where their own horse might be, rather than feeling like they were reporting to the factory and like punching a clock.

Yeah, and that comes from my own personal experience as a volunteer at some different rescues, some, some horse rescues, some wildlife rehab centers, and I’ve had some good experiences and some not so good experiences, so I’ve certainly cataloged how those experiences made me feel as a volunteer so that we could better structure a program that would meet people’s needs and be enjoyable.

Miriam: Sure. I have to think at some level, part of their motivation has to do with you are giving them an opportunity to be a part of not only something larger than [00:17:00] themselves, but something that is clearly doing good. If you look at the before and after pictures in your newsletter, there’s no doubt that you’re doing good.


Even if you have rescued an animal only to put it down 12 hours later because it is not saveable. You have spared that animal fear and pain and suffering and I’m, I don’t know, you’d have to tell me, but I’m gonna guess 90% of the animals you bring there are rehabilitate-able. Maybe not to full potential, but they seem to really do pretty well.

Christine: Mm-hmm. , they do. They really. And I mean there, there’s certainly in, in this line of work, there are a lot of losses and those losses can be very, very painful. But I, you know, we also, we bear that as a group. Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And so that, that’s very bonding as well.

Can you tell a couple stories of some of the horses that you felt like made a difference, either in your [00:18:00] life, in someone else’s life?

[00:18:02] Making a Difference

Yeah. Tell us a couple stories. So the, the horse that comes to mind first who’s probably made the biggest difference for general giants as a whole would be Manhattan. And so we found Manhattan at the biggest slaughter auction at the east, on the East coast. That would be New Holland, which is in Lancaster County in Pennsylvania.

And I purchased new Manhattan. I was bidding against a kill buyer and managed to win his bid. It was relatively low, I think it was like $460. So he was a relatively inexpensive horse. And as I was gathering him up, I didn’t notice it before I purchased him, but I noticed after I did that he had a four digit number engraved in his hoof.

And I asked, did the state veterinarian who is on site there, he inspects the horses for them to get their U S D A meat stickers and everything. Asked him what it was and he told me, oh, that’s a New York City carriage horse. And I was [00:19:00] appalled. We did reach out to New York City and we were able to track down his previous owner.

And I do want to say full disclosure, his previous owner was not the person responsible for him ending up at the sale. His carriage owner had sold him to another horse trader that deals in carriage horses because he wasn’t handling the really big trucks and trailers well in the city. They thought he would do better someplace else.

He was supposed to be going to Mackinaw Island where he’d be pulling a carriage and there wouldn’t be any vehicles. But instead they ended up taking him to the auction where we found him.

Carriage Horses

So in the beginning This was a bad thing because a lot of media got released about general Giants finding this horse, and a lot of information from that kind of got spun to really frame the carriage industry in a negative light.

But through that we were slowly able to meet with those folks and kind of develop a relationship and explain to them that [00:20:00] we are not their enemy, We don’t wanna see carriages go away.

People only care about what they see. And many people, the only horse that they ever interact with in their life might be a carriage horse.

We wanna see carriage horses cared for better than they currently are. We wanna make sure that carriage horses have permanent retirements when they’re no longer working or able to work so that they don’t end up at an auction like Manhattan Did. But Manhattan solidified that relationship and since then we’ve had over 50 carriage horses from across the country retired with us.

Wow. So that really made a big difference. And a lot of people are very, very surprised to hear that we are pro carriage. A lot of people expect that our answer’s gonna be, that we’re anti. In no way do I feel that the current carriage industry is perfect or even great. But I don’t think that the answer should be abolitionism.

Getting Better

I don’t think that we should [00:21:00] completely take it away. I do think there’s still a place for horses in our world, and the less that we have the public interacting with horses, the less we can expect public to care about what happens to them. So yes, that makes sense. Carriages continue, but better. Sure that makes sense.

Miriam: You know, I think actually it would be worth our while to take a couple minutes and have you explain this meat industry thing, because I am certain, I mean, I understand it. I know what it’s about, but. I think most people would say, well, I don’t understand. People don’t eat horses, so what, what is this about?

Why don’t you give a little bit of a tutorial on that?

[00:21:42] Horse Slaughter

Christine: Sure. I would love to, cuz there’s so much misconception about horse slaughter, especially in the United States. So most people believe that there is a ban on horse slaughter in the united. There actually is not. What there [00:22:00] is is there’s a tiny little half of a sentence in the agricultural spending bill, and that little half of a sentence says that tax dollars will not be used to pay for U S D A meat inspectors to inspect the carcasses of equines.

And that means that if a horse is slaughtered in the United States, that it can’t be sold for human consumption. So that originally was put in place in around 2007, and that was what closed the three slaughter houses that existed in the United States. There isn’t actually a ban, so it is legal to slaughter a horse in the United States.

It’s just not legal to slaughter it and then sell it for human consumption. There are still a couple very small slaughter houses that do process horses to be fed to large predators in zoos and other private sanctuaries. . I might not like that, but right now, that’s not my hill to die [00:23:00] on. I’m gonna fight against horse slaughter for human consumption, and then we’ll deal with that issue later once we fix the bigger problem.

So at its height back in probably the mid to late 1980s, almost half a million horses were being slaughtered in the US. Every year, most of that meats being exported into Europe. So the biggest consumers of horse meat are typically Belgium, France, and Japan- italy a little bit too.

Consumer Interest

So what has happened now is horses are shipped over borders into Canada and into Mexico, where our US horses are then slaughtered there, and then ex exported for sale for human consumption in other European countries where horse meets literally on the table.

Demand for horse meat is greatly, greatly slowing. One thing that has happened over in European countries is consumers have become aware of the fact that our US horses are [00:24:00] actually privately owned horses that they’re eating. There’s a lot of the promotions are very much billboards of horses out in expansive big fields.

So it, it’s kind of this presumption that these are like wild horses and or horses that are raised specifically for slaughter because most of the countries that do consume horses have two classes of horses. They have the horses that they eat, and then the horses that they ride and enjoy the companionship of.

So now that they’ve become aware of the fact that. No, these are actually, these are lesson ponies. These are race horses. These are show horses, these are workhorses. A lot of consumers have become less interested in horse meat that’s originating from the United States, so consumer interest is definitely declining.

The other big thing that I hear in relation to horse slaughter is people who are for horse slaughter, like to use the argument that if we did not have horse slaughter, there would be no way to dispose of all of these [00:25:00] unwanted horses, and then there would be starving horses running loose all across the United States.

And to that, I say that’s just unreasonable and it’s not true.

[00:25:11] Understanding the Issue

Starving horses and abuse and neglect exists now, even though horse slaughter isn’t an option. Those people could have chosen to sell their horses to slaughter if they didn’t want those horses, but they didn’t make that choice. They made the choice to starve the horses.

My experience working, you know, for 20 years. In conjunction in supporting animal control and humane law enforcement is that the starvation in abuse of horses is a mental illness. It’s not a financial illness. And a lot of the people that have been involved in those cases actually could afford to care for their horses. They just did not because they were mentally ill.

The second thing is to look at the sheer numbers. There’s approximately 9 million horses in the United States. . In 2020, only about 140,000 horses got shipped to slaughter. So at that [00:26:00] point, we’re dealing with less than 1% of the equine population.

Every year, almost a million horses are euthanized because of illness, injury, end of life decline, and that’s obviously a much larger number than a hundred thousand. So, The equine industry doesn’t really have to adapt very much to absorb these quote unquote unwanted horses that I would argue are not actually unwanted at all.

I do believe that our, our equine industry could absorb those numbers.

We might have to ask our breeders to be 1% more selective when deciding to breed horses. We might have to ask our private owners to rather than sending your very, very old, sick, lame, blind horse to the auction, please just euthanize it and put it down.

Do the responsible thing. Don’t make your problematic horse somebody else’s problem. But it’s, it’s a very solvable issue.

You know, I look at other [00:27:00] issues like the overpopulation of dogs and cats, and that truly is an issue. That’s an overwhelming issue. I look at the issue of course, slaughter and I’m like, we can fix this.

Horses Have Feelings Too

Like in a year or two, it’s all we need is the equine community to come together and we could absolutely fix this and it wouldn’t be necessary anymore.

Miriam: Yeah. I love that you’ve taken it on. I mean, I was thinking about our interview earlier today and I was thinking somehow somewhere you landed into your calling.

this has become your calling and you know, I don’t know if you’ll single-handedly end it, but you’re gonna be a huge, you know, voice in the ending of this thing that is just kind of a besmirch on the United States. It’s just not anything to be proud of. Something I’m always after people, you would never, you know, send your 14 year old dog to to auction, you know, [00:28:00] you just, you would never do that.

And why people think just because the animal is bigger, that it doesn’t have, you know, muscles that feel pain and sentience, that feels confusion and whatever. And I don’t know, I, I’m like, I a person who is probably different than most people out there, but if I have an animal, it comes to my house and it stays there until it is no longer with us.

Mm-hmm. , and you take that into con, into account before you get the animal, how, what is its lifespan, what is this likely to cost? And if I can’t do right by it, and I then I, I have to do right by it, whatever that means.


[00:28:41] Responsibility

Christine: and there’s lots of ways to do, right? Like, I’m not saying that every person who ever purchases a horse has to keep that horse until the day that horse dies. They may not be able to do that. Right? But there are responsible outlets. I mean, I am the same way. When an animal joins my family, they are here for life.

But I did [00:29:00] once have a dog that I raised from a puppy who did not work out in my household, and no amount of changing the way the house operated or hiring behaviorists and trainers. Nothing was going to work. I had multiple dogs and this dog needed to be in an only dog home. We connected with a really reputable rescue.

The dog stayed in our home. They helped us network her. They helped us interview families. They helped us place her. They put her under their contract, and it was absolutely smooth and flawless, and we were able to stay in touch with the new home. Yeah, and it worked out great.

Miriam: So it was a win for everybody.

Yeah, it was well earlier. Before we got online or before we started recording, you had showed me a book that you said was hugely influential in the development of your thought process about nonprofits. Do you mind sharing what that is?

Christine: Yeah, so that is [00:30:00] Charity Case by Dan Palatta and I love Dan Palatta. Maybe one day he’ll hear this.

Hi Dan. Love you .

Dan Palatta

I got hooked on Dan through his very, very famous Ted Talk and he did a TED Talk called how we Think about or. What we think about charitable giving is dead wrong. But my favorite book from him is Charity Case, and it’s how the nonprofit community can stand up for itself and really change the world.

He’s an incredibly innovative nonprofit guru. He was the driving force between the AIDS Ride for Life and the Susan G. Coleman three day walks, I mean, just really, really impressive, super out of the box thinker, and he’s really pushing people to kind of take down a lot of the psychological walls and barriers that prevent the nonprofit sector from being able to best do its own work.

Miriam: Can, can you list any of those offhand?

[00:30:54] The Non-profit Sector

Christine: Well, sure. One of the first things he talks about is kind of branches back to that, that earlier topic of the, the [00:31:00] psychological trap of believing that just because it’s nonprofit sector work that you’re going to be expected to accept, very unfair and disproportionate Compensation for that work.

Mm-hmm. that if you were doing the same work in the for-profit sector, you’d be paid sometimes four or five, 10 times. Yeah. What you would be expecting to earn in the nonprofit sector. The other area is we’re really limited on advertisement and the ability to invest in advertisement. Whereas in the for-profit sector, you know, everyone’s going to tell.

You know, spend, spend, spend until your last dollar’s not returning any amount of income. But in the nonprofit sector, people don’t want you to advertise. I mean, they want you to get it donated. And then it’s gonna be on TV at three o’clock in the morning. Yeah. Or it’s gonna be on, you know, one of the very, very back pages of a magazine.

And the third area where the nonprofit sector is really, really limited is its inability to take financial risk. and you know, [00:32:00] that kind of goes back to. Donors are expecting that every single fundraiser that a nonprofit is going to do is, is going to return at least threefold its investment. And anything less than that is basically a crime.

And you know, no one in the for-profit sector has to meet that kind of demand, right? And oftentimes that’s really, really unreasonable thinking. We can’t always return a threefold investment on an event. I mean, what if we schedule an event that’s an in-person event and a snowstorm happens, or, you know, something else major happens that day?

Challenging Culture

I mean, all of that is funding lost and not, not every fundraiser goes exactly as planned. So I think a part of that too is, is kind of changing culturally our expectation of what nonprofits are supposed to be able to accomplish and, and kind of lightening up on them.

And that’s something that there have been times in the very, very early days of general [00:33:00] Giants we were building our donor base and our fundraising wasn’t as effective as it is today.

And there were a couple years where, you know, our fundraising expenses took up 30 or 31% of our annual budget. And sometimes I would get very irate phone calls and letters from donors who were absolutely agast about it until we really got on the phone and talked about how it is as a small startup nonprofit trying to build that donor base and trying to fundraise.

And then as that donor base gets bigger and bigger and bigger and more reliable, , you know, now we’re in our 18th year and we’re super excited that our fundraising expenses are less than 15% of our annual budget. So we’ve gotten to our point where our fundraising is really effective and it is really streamlined.

Starting Small

But you don’t start there. Yeah. Like, and, and people, supporters and donors have to give you an opportunity to grow there. Mm-hmm. , it’s not something that’s gonna happen. Right out of the bat, and you’re not going to [00:34:00] change the world with money that comes from a bake sale.

Miriam: Yeah, that is true.

Christine: So we had talked about, we have 157 horses and we talked about the size of our staff. Our annual budget runs from. Five to 6 million a year. And that’s what it takes to keep this whole machine running and operating. A lot of people don’t really realize how big General Giants is.

We span almost 350 acres, so it’s a very, very large operation. We’re having 12 to 18 horses adopted a month, so there’s always horses going out, new horses coming in. It’s a lot. Yeah, it really is a lot. It’s a lot.

Miriam: You haven’t even mentioned that many of the horses coming in have severe medical problems that many times can be fixed.

So that’s part of the rehabilitate space. And what would you say. Changed in you? How did your thinking have [00:35:00] to change to manage a five or six or 7 million operation versus a hundred thousand or 500,000? Like as this thing gets bigger, your skillset has to adjust and grow.

[00:35:14] Relationship With Money

Christine: I think that is an area where I came into this with a little bit of a

gift that, I don’t know where it came from. I, and it’s something that I see in a lot of the smaller groups that I mentor. I’m very, very fortunate that I’ve never been a person who bought into poverty mentality and I didn’t buy into it even when I actually was poor , you know, as a single starting off firefighter, that I look back at that now and I’m like, how did I even survive?

I’m like, I don’t know, but I never felt poor. Yeah. I think one of the most important things has been and when I mentor smaller startup groups, one of the first questions I always ask the founder or director, whoever I’m dealing with is, [00:36:00] what is their personal, emotional relationship with money?

And if their emotional relationship with money is ideas, like money is the root of all evil, or rich people are stingy or that there aren’t many wealthy people or people don’t wanna give, or there isn’t going to be enough money, then I immediately tell them un, until they can get to the core root of that belief and change it, they’re not gonna be successful because everything they’re doing is coming from a scarcity mindset.

but if you look at money as an idea of it’s neither good nor evil, it’s just a tool for getting things done. No different than any other tool you might pick up, like a hammer or a pocket knife. It just is what it is. My personal belief about people is that most people are incredibly generous and they’re happy to help.

Part of Something Larger

They’re, they’re just waiting to be asked and that everybody has something that they want to share. It might not be a check for $20,000. It might just be a check for $20, but they [00:37:00] still wanna be invited to share. And that I think has been, for me, the, the biggest benefit. And it’s where I see the biggest weakness in startup groups.

Miriam: Yeah. Yeah, I can really see that. Again, I see you giving people the opportunity to be part of something larger than themselves where they get to participate in doing good. So what would you tell the you of 18 years ago?

Christine: I’m not sure, I probably would’ve told myself to lighten up. Not worry so much. You know, and just as always, and with anything, you know, we, whenever we’re, really presented with a problem, our first thing is as a group, our board goes back.

We read our mission statement and our core value statements, and then we’re like, okay, now that we’ve refreshed that, how do we wanna answer this problem? You know, what? What do we want to do? Yeah.

Miriam: Oh, I love that you do that. reviewing regularly your mission [00:38:00] statement and your core value system just keeps it front and center and it allows all decisions to be made through that grid, which is brilliant.

Very. Well worked.

[00:38:12] Horse Story

So we’re gonna end in just a minute, but I do have my own curiosity. You said somebody arrived, a horse arrived just like 20 minutes before we started. What is that animal story and what are you projecting for its future?

Christine: Oh, so this animal is a great indication of how things are changing in the horse world and things with horse slaughter.

So this is actually a horse that we were contacted by the horse’s owner who happens to be an Amish farmer. So I will say, and, and it’s a little stereotypical, I hate to stereotype, but most. Amish and Old Order Mennonite people that I have interacted with around the idea of horse slaughter have been [00:39:00] incredibly detached and pragmatic about it.

They understand exactly what is happening to their horse when they take it to the auction. They know what the outcome is going to be. They have no moral or emotional objection to it. To them, it is strictly financial. That horse is no longer able to do its job on the farm. Every horse on the farm has to earn

its keep or it can’t be here. Therefore, that horse needs to go and it’s going to go in the way that earns the money rather than the way that costs them money.

Caring for the Horse

But this farmer. Picked up the phone and said, which, I mean, that takes effort. , he had to find our number and he had to go find a phone. And he called and said that this had been his father’s horse.

And then when his father retired from farming, it went to him and he’s worked this horse for two years now. This horse is having a health problem. That means it can’t plow anymore.

And even though he’d be going forego. Probably a thousand dollars is what he’d get for this horse at auction [00:40:00] right now. He was more than happy to actually give us this horse just to know that this horse would receive the medical care that he’s not willing or able to provide, and that the horse will be safe for the rest of its life.

So the tides really are changing. It’s a little slow. Yeah. But we’re starting to see that more and more.

So whenever we’re contacted from somebody who’s in a direct like horse farming community, we’re never, ever, ever going to say no to them. Yeah. Because this is such a new change. Yes. Or their culture to look at this a different way and to start seeing the horses as sentient beings and companions who have a right to retire just like we do when the end of our working days come.

Miriam: Wow. Wow. Christine, this has been so great. Thank you so much for just your time. Can you please tell people how they can find you, how they can help? Yeah,

[00:40:56] Where To Find Christine

Christine: absolutely. So you can certainly learn all about [00:41:00] us@www.gentlegiants.org. We’re also on Facebook. We have an absolutely hilarious and very, very active TikTok.

If you enjoy watching funny videos about horses and you can also find us on Instagram.

Miriam: Awesome. So my listeners know that I always give as a thank you, a gift in your name to one of four charities. And what I mentioned to you before we started is this time I would like to do something different instead of giving a gift in your name to a different charity in addition to giving a gift to General Giants, what I would like to do is just profile your.

Your nonprofit, your organization in the year of 2023 with, with my podcast. So that’s something that we’re gonna do, and those of you who are hearing this will hear more and more about general giants. And whether you have horses or not, here is an awesome way to do some good. So thank you again, Christine.

Christine: Thank you so much. It’s really been a pleasure.

End Credits

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head shot Miriam Gunn

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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.

Three Steps to a Healthier You Transcript – Dr. Mike Van Thielen


Dr. Mike Van Theilen

Three Steps to a Healthier You – Dr. Mike Van Thielen

Mike van

Miriam: [00:00:00] All right guys, I am excited to have with us Dr. Mike Van Theen. He’s from Belgium and he is a treating physician for the Boston Neuro Pain and Psych Centers. We’re just gonna talk through some of the interesting things you’re doing in terms of optimizing health and anti-aging, regenerative medicine. All of its super fascinating. So thank you for giving your time to us today.

You’re welcome. Thank you for having me.

[00:00:26] Journey To Medicine

Miriam: My first question what got you interested in medicine initially? And then what got you interested in optimization of health?

I’m obviously not necessarily for conventional medicine. I do quite the opposite. I get people off medications. I, I help people regain control of their health, optimize their health. And then, you know, today I’m basically known as a biohacking, mentor

so I speak at a lot of biohacking conferences and the aging conferences, those types of things. And I mentor people. , to get there because most people are obviously in ill health.

But it [00:01:00] all started in Belgium. I was a competitive swimmer. I’m still swimming today. Um, and so got exposed to supplements and those types of things.

, but I went to school, physical education at University of Brussels, which was fun because I went to sports. But what are you gonna do with, , the green physical education? Not much. So I decided to do physical therapy afterwards, and that’s how I got to the United States because they were short of therapists.

And that happened after I traveled with the Belgian Olympic swim team in preparation for the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996.

Holistic Nutrition

So I came in as a physical therapist and then, gradually I saw the benefits of what they call alternative medicine, which is the original medicine, of course. But I saw the benefits of, you know, combining conventional medicine with food therapy and acupuncture and chiropractic, et cetera.

So I decided to go back to school, to the College of Integrative Medicine. I got my, acupuncture license. Doctor of Oriental medicine, port certified in Chinese, herps, homeopathy, and all that stuff.

After another thousand patients, I realized that these procedures are less harmful and [00:02:00] less invasive than conventional medicine, meaning drugs and surgeries.

But I really didn’t feel I was getting the long lasting results either. So I had to go back to basics and I got my PhD in holistic nutrition

[00:02:11] Regain Control

Miriam: and then fast forward to today, I mentor people. Basically in three steps regain control of their health.

Balance their body and make sure there’s no pain or no medical conditions in other words, get back to normal.

The next step is optimize their health. , now we wanna be strong and vital and energetic and and being optimal health.

And then the last step, which is very interesting, is once you’re in optimal health, we can help you basically maximize the benefits of what we call biohacking, which is objectively reverse your biological age. And that’s my field of expertise.

So that’s what I do.

Wow, that’s a mouthful. What I have seen with certain health conditions is that, sometimes it’s a bit of a mystery and, you know, people will have a lot of [00:03:00] non-descript symptoms, , often fatigue, huge amounts of fatigue.

And the question is what’s going on?

And when you go to, say, a traditional m. , I have not found them to be particularly helpful with the nondescript symptoms.

A lot of times they’ll say, you know, reduce your stress, get better sleep. Why don’t you go see a therapist? Yeah. . And, I appreciate the, the space of integrative health.

Can you just describe a little bit about what is happening with medicine in America today?

Big Pharma

Well, it’s, it’s never been great, right? Because again, I mean it’s the big pharma that decides what the curriculum is for our doctors.

It’s the big pharma, pharma that lobbies.

It is a big business. They want you to be on drugs. They want you to get injections and surgeries, but they don’t want you to be cured because then, , you’re not a customer anymore and they don’t want you to die either, because then you’re not a customer either.

So it’s being in, in the system, and I, I see it every day. People are in the [00:04:00] system, they’re on the list of medications. It’s just a vicious cycle of more and more problems.

That’s why I’m an advocate of the Health Freedom Movement is people need to take control of their own health and make their own decisions.

[00:04:12] Find The Solution

Miriam: You mentioned that you know, conventional doctors usually don’t have a solution.

They don’t because they have a very, very small toolbox, and if medicines or injections on surgeries can help, they say, you know, there’s nothing out there. They’re not aware of the. Hundreds of thousands of other things that are out there that could help somebody. Cuz as long as you’re alive, , Miriam, , your body will try to heal itself.

It’s the law of self-preservation. Your body’s gonna do whatever, but it’s up to us to put that body in the correct or in the right condition so that it can heal itself. So we need to figure out, What tools does it need? Right?

And, , usually no matter what clients come to me with or what condition or diagnosis, it doesn’t really matter because to me, there’s only one cause of disease and therefore there’s only one solution.

And that solution always works. And so we need to look at the much [00:05:00] bigger picture when we are trying to resolve an issue of fatigue, as you said, and, and, and not gonna chase the symptoms

so what is your philosophy of the one, the one issue and the one solution?

Toxemia is the cause of all the, all disease, and toxemia literally means toxins in the blood, but in a little bit more detail, what it means is as part of our daily life and metabolism, we obviously create toxins and waste products in our body, but our body eliminates those, so no harm is done.


However, today in our society with all the pollutants and even electromagnetic frequencies, radiations the manmade foods and drinks, we ingest and are exposed to far more toxins than the body possibly can eliminate.

So now there’s an accumulation of toxins in the body, and that’s really what toxemia means.

And toxemia does two things. Number one, it causes free radicals to spawn, it causes free radical damage. And we all heard about free radical damage, right? , causes damage on A [00:06:00] D N A level. And the reason why it does that, because those toxins that are now not eliminated, but flowing around, they’re stealing an electron from a healthy atom.

And that healthy atom then becomes unstable, which we call a free radical.

So that’s number, number one.

Number two, when those toxins are floating around, our body is in a constant state of emergency. And in conventional medicine, they label that as systemic inflammation.

And even according to conventional medicine, now systemic inflammation is responsible for over 90% of all disease.

It’s actually a hundred percent right? So systemic inflammation is a, you know, an emergency situation. And so when that happens, You know, we get diseased, right? Because the body cannot take care of what needs to be taken care of. It always has to put out fires. So this toxemia causes free radical damage, systemic inflammation, the cause of all disease.

Keep It in Check

So if we don’t wanna get disease, we need to control or check toxemia. And so theoretically it’s, it’s pretty simple because what we need to do is we need to reduce [00:07:00] the intake and exposure to toxins while increasing the nutrients that fight theoretical damage.

Repair DNA and fight systemic inflammation, and if we can keep the toxemia in check, we will be disease free.

All right. So I agree with you in theory about everything except the, um, well, you said in theory it’s

pretty simple. I’m gonna go with, it’s simple, but it’s not easy. I have read quite a few books on all of these sorts of things.

And I’m like, yes, yes. This makes sense. You know? It’s so hard.

[00:07:36] Our Freedom

Dr Mike: The reason it’s not easy because we have become slaves of making the wrong choices. See, that’s what separates us from animals. , animals have an instinct and they act according to the laws of mother.

They in their best interest and in the best interest of their species.

But we, we humans, we have the freedom to choose our response and we have become slaves of using, of choosing the wrong response over and over again, which just [00:08:00] has put us in ill health, right?

Yeah. Um, so. We are addicted to food and drink and sugar and, and you know, , now even social media, which gives us a dopamine overload and those types of things.

But, luckily we have that same freedom to choose our response, to turn it all around and stop all that nonsense and regain control of our health and become superhuman.

And that’s, Possible today. So I agree with you, it’s, it is easy because I know exactly what would need to be done. It’s not easy because we are addicted. , you know, to so many foods and things out there,

the, the thing that people need to realize is we can turn those bad habits around into good habits in just a few weeks, because once you’re healthy, you get addicted to feeling not fatigued, feeling full of energy and vitality.

And not no brain fog and focusing and getting things done and getting the project done and, and crushing a sales [00:09:00] presentation or whatever it may be. And that becomes the addiction.

So I’m with you, but at the same time, it doesn’t take that much effort and time to turn things around.

[00:09:10] Accountability

Miriam: Yeah. Where, where I think that people get stuck, is that some people do not have maybe accountability – you almost need to like sign up for a detox bootcamp to get you through the withdrawals of the sugar or whatever.

I, as you listen to people talk about health, longevity, it always seems to come down to sleep, exercise, nutrition, and then, you know, perhaps supplementation and stuff like that.

And they seem to feed each other in recidivistic positive way or negative way. You know, when you don’t get enough sleep, you’re super cranky and so much more willing to eat, you know, the sugar for the boost and it’s like, ah, I don’t feel like going out.

Dr Mike: That Or a vicious cycle up. Yeah. . I wanna talk through Like the beginning person who doesn’t do anything for their [00:10:00] health, where do they need to start? The person in the middle who really does a lot of healthy habits, but you know they can optimize toward the next thing.

Miriam: And then the person who is at the top of their game. What is it that they need to be paying attention to?

So start, with the people who are doing nothing.

Well, those are the three phases

we’ll figure out where they are, which phase they are. And unfortunately the majority is in the first phase, right? Because they’re overweight or they’re in pain. Or they have some diagnosis and we gotta get rid of that first. , but for those people, there’s some basics.  I wrote a book in 2014 called Help for Life User Manual because all your appliances and your cars, everything comes with a user manual.

But when you were born, you don’t have a user manual.

[00:10:40] User Manual

Miriam: So I decided to write a user manual with all the. Basics on, you know, on the basics of eating, but not just eating. Um, you know, I got clean living principles and clean stands for C stands for control emotions and Feelings

All those negative emojis have a detrimental impact on our health. So that’s something that, , that we teach. ,

l stands for listening [00:11:00] to the warning signs of our body, but most of our warning signs, they’re out of sync because we have been, you know, tampering with this system.

You know, our biological clock is off, , and we have diseases, so it’s not working right, but we gotta get back to balancing that so we can listen to the body, because the body will tell you what it needs. At any given time,

E stands for enough rest, sleep, and sunshine. You know, it’s, it’s light and rest. We, you just talked about that A stands for active lifestyle, but no over indulgences or No over stimulation.

And N stands for natural and clean air, water, and food. So those are the basics, right?

And so, Everybody goes at their own pace. Basically in my book, my last chapters are always action plans and they have checkoff boxes and so you don’t have to do everything at once. It doesn’t work as you know.

That’s like too much of a change, too much of a transformation.

Continue Working

Yeah. But you’d start with one thing and you check it off when you did it, and then you go to the next thing.

And some people make that transformation in 60 days. Another take a [00:12:00] whole year. It doesn’t really matter. As long as you’ll continue to work on implementing and making those transformations, you will be successful.

Yeah, as someone who works with, behavioral health you definitely need a roadmap and you have to just do the stuff, take action.

I think where sometimes people get discouraged is, for many people, it’s not a linear just straighten up to the right.

It’s more of like a w you know, where Sure. Three steps forward and two back.

What have you seen as being the difference in men and women as they approach this health journey?

[00:12:38] Changing Habits

Dr Mike: Well, , I see many, , changes, , differences in individuals.

, not necessarily women and men, but if I have to say something, I think when women put their mind some to something, , they usually are more committed. , I see men are usually pushed towards doing something like they are pushed going to the doctor. Guys in general don’t want to go to the [00:13:00] doctor, right?

So it’s their wife or their girlfriend, or significant other. It’s time that you go, I don’t want to hear it anymore. Right? ? but usually it’s more of an individual thing.

You talked about behavior and behavior modification, right? So in order, there’s three components to be, I mean, to change a habit.

, number one, there needs to be knowledge. You know, you gotta know you have a problem, and then you gotta know what to do about it.

Number two is skill. You gotta acquire the skills.

. But the third component is willingness, right?

Yeah. The willingness has to come from the client, has to come from you. And so in the past, for example, I, I did, I had a good stop smoking protocol. It was 95% successful because I did not accept the people that I interviewed that I know wouldn’t succeed. That’s why the high success rate, you know, why do you wanna stop smoking?

Your Why

Oh, my wife’s tired of me. Well, I can’t help you. Mm-hmm. , why do you wanna stop smoking? Well, I’m getting a day older and, , I just got two grandkids and I want to see them grow up and I’m, I want them, I wanna be there when they [00:14:00] get married. Okay. I can help you, right? Yes. So what is, what is the reason behind you wanting to be helped?

And if it’s a sincere personal reason, we can help you. Um, and so that’s usually where the individual, , differences lies. Why do you want to change? And, and, and, and how committed are you? Because I can help you. I can coach you, I can give you the knowledge and the skills, but ultimately I can’t do your pushups.

Miriam: That’s right. I, I say to my kids all the time, ah, I wish I could hire someone to work out for me. .

Dr Mike: Yeah.

What you are learning about. Um, The psychology of pain, the neurophysiology of pain, and then how all of these optimizations impact that.

Because sometimes we run across folks that have chronic pain that isn’t, you know, , as straightforward as, you know, some other things, I guess.

Yeah. Acute

pain usually goes away, right? Sprained the ankle. You do something about it, you rest and, and [00:15:00] things go away. Chronic pain, obviously, you know, the, the acute, the acute inflammation is no longer there.

But your pain receptors have changed, so your brain perceives still that there is something going on, even though we really don’t see anything but degeneration or maybe some scar tissue, which shouldn’t cause that high level pain, but the brain perceives it that way, so the patient perceives it that way.


Right? So that’s kind of a reprogramming. So that brain needs to be reprogrammed, which there’s many things that we can do to actually do that.

On the other hand, much of the chronic pain is that systemic inflammation that we talked about, right? Because it’s the inflammation. Causes the pain is the inflammation that causes a low immunity.

It’s the inflammation that causes, , you know, , obesity, right? , so that’s a vicious cycle too. When the body is inflamed, you know, your fat cells are gonna. Um, excrete more cytokines, which are pro-inflammatory. So it’s a vicious cycle. So when I, when I have a client that needs to lose weight, I’m not [00:16:00] focusing on weight loss, I’m focusing on reducing that systemic inflammation, which we can objectively measure with a blood test.

We just send them for some C r p creactive protein, see what the levels are. We implement, , dietary changes or modifications, and six weeks, six months later, we do that blood test again. And if. If the C R p or the inflammation in the body drastically reduced, we not only know, , that , that person now is far less prone to getting any disease, so weight loss to me, again, it’s, it’s, I, I don’t approach it at losing weight. I approaches it. Let’s get the information in your body down, let’s get you healthier. And as a side effect or adverse reaction, you will lose that weight and it stays off unlike any other diet because we address the cause of the excess weights and , not the symptoms.

Organic Food

Makes sense. How would you, speak to or address maybe people who do not have access to what you would call clean foods or for example, [00:17:00] the smaller the town you go into, the less options you have about organic food or varieties and different things.

Some of these inner city places or people who don’t maybe have the resources, how would you say, you know, if money is an issue, where do people start with this?

[00:17:19] Hunger Vs. Appetites

Dr Mike: Yeah. There’s two things I wanna

address here because, you know, I, I always get organic food. I can’t afford it, okay? Mm-hmm. , there’s a few things that I usually explain. Number one, we’re only supposed to eat one good meal a day. That’s just, , biological and physiological factor. Romans, the Greek, Jesus, Moses, all animals in the wild only eat once a day or digestive system, biologically and physiologically.

It’s only designed to have one meal a day.

But we confuse hunger with appetites. And again, there’s, there’s our propaganda.

We need to have breakfast because we need milk and milk mix our bone groves and we need to have food and we need to eat to stay strong. And then we have the gym rats that says, oh, we need, we have a high metabolism. We need to eat five or six [00:18:00] small meals per day, which is all bogus. Right. So, so we only really need one need to eat one meal a day.

And when we put that in our current society, that should be early evening because our digestion takes several hours. And we don’t wanna be digesting when we’re sleeping because when we sleeping, we need to repair, regenerate, renew, right?

Um, so if we eat a meal early evening, we digest it, then go to sleep in the morning, we should have all the energy in the world. Because we have all the nutrients from that, , meal and we are repaired, renewed, and ready to take on the day.

One Meal

So ideally we only eat one meal a day. And you won’t be hungry unless you confuse appetite for hungry because you’re gonna give your body all the nutrients that it needs. And if it, if you give your body all the nutrients that it needs, then it’s not gonna send the hunger signal. It’s only when you eat empty calories.

If you only eat that burger it digests, then you’re gonna be hungry again because your body didn’t get the vitamin, see it, didn’t get the [00:19:00] omega3, and therefore it’s gonna say, dang. I need, I need more food. And so it’s gonna continue. The, the, the worse you eat, the more you’re going to eat because you’re gonna continue to have those hunger signals.

So when it comes back to the money, you know, one, one more expensive meal versus three or four cheap meals is gonna end up being the same amount of money. Okay. Yeah, so that’s the first thing to consider. It’s redirecting your spending, number two, when you are in those areas where you can get to get organic food.

Yeah, I would say, you know, I mean, if you have a yard, I mean, there’s aquaponics, hydroponics. You can grow a lot of things inside your home now too, right? It doesn’t even have to be. Um, out there. So there’s, there’s different options you can consider for sure. So those are cheap options, but now you gotta put in time, right?

Learning Curve

You gotta make sure you, you care for your herbs and your plants and your vegetables, whether it’s aquaponics, hydroponics, or just in your yards. , but in those remote areas, there’s less [00:20:00] pollution. So your ground, , may be much better, , to produce healthy vegetables than, than closer to the cities where all the pollution.

Miriam: Yeah, I would say that that is, um, , the easier said than done. And it takes some practice. As one who tried to grow some things several years in a row and the dog ate it or you know, whatever. I do have a hydroponic thing going now, and it’s going better than anything yet, but it takes, there’s a learning curve to all of this, you know?

It is, and I think that’s part of the adventure. I. Pooing people are talking about their health. They get so overwhelmed or discouraged by their apparent failures. And I like to say to people, yeah, but look back this year versus last year, and if this year was healthier than last year, than you’ve won. And next year can be healthier even still.

[00:20:52] Success

Dr Mike: So any success is in incremental steps. . Every success is little step by little step. And if you set [00:21:00] those little steps, you can attain them and then you get much faster to your big goal. You don’t wanna take big steps because you’re not gonna be able to. Yeah.

Miriam: Yeah, absolutely. There’s been so many developments that are pretty exciting in the biohacking sphere. Mm-hmm. from then till now, I mean, it’s. Going crazy. Talk about a couple things that you’re excited about in the biohacking world. Well,

Dr Mike: yeah, I, I, first, I always was what I call on the edge of medicine. So, you know, in the early two thousands it was the alternative medicine, the bioidentical hormones.

You know, the lasers, the acupuncture, the Chinese herbs, and then it came into, then the A four M, the,, American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine started doing a lot of conferences. So, I went there and learned everything, and then regenerative medicine came. So, from 2015 till Covid started, I was a c e O of a stem cell clinic where we did regenerative procedures.

So that was. You know, stem cells are the future of medicine, and it still is. [00:22:00], but now we’re in the biohacking era. And biohacking, you know, basically means we, we, we, me and you, the, the average person has access to technologies, compounds,, that are objectively or can objectively reverse your biological age.


So, the hundreds can be the new 30. And I believe that to be true. But, but first you gotta regain control of your health. Then you gotta be in optimal. And only then can we take advantage of these biohacking techniques? Right. And, and some of these techniques go back to those foundational things that you talked about.

You know, water. All right. So for example, at home I have a,, hydrogen gas infused water system. So, it, it, it cleans my water because I don’t want all the toxins from the tap water, right? But it also infuses it with hydrogen gas. It has an outlet so the oxygen can go out so it doesn’t bind back to water.

But if you go to hydrogen studies.com. There’s so many benefits to hydrogen for the [00:23:00] brain, for the gut. I mean, a lot of my clients have,, gluten intolerances, dairy intolerances, celiac disease, which supposedly is genetic, which it is. But again, if you know about epigenetics, which means is we can change that, right?

It doesn’t mean that we can’t do anything about it.

I have a hyperbaric oxygen chamber at my home. I do far infra-red sauna. I do cryotherapy cold baths, which doesn’t have to cost anything. You just cost standing on a cold shower, or I got a chest freezer that I bought secondhand so it doesn’t have to cost thousands and thousands of dollars.

Next Phase

Um, you know, and I take. I take biohacking compounds, right? And so when I have my clients, I just see where they are and I, I don’t have my own products, I don’t have my own technologies, but I know what’s out there, so I advise each and every individual client or how they would benefit in that particular phase to move to the next phase.

I talk to a lot of patients and so it’s, you learn a lot talking to people. [00:24:00] There’s such an excess amount of people with anxiety, depression, a D H D, right?

And so, , in my next upcoming book, I talk about a dopamine overload because that’s plaguing us, right? And about purpose of life. I’ve been thinking why are these people and, and even young people amongst us so depressed and anxious and worry and fear, because they don’t have any purpose in life. You know, everything’s thrown at them. They know they don’t know where they’re going.

They know, know what they’re doing.


I would be depressed too. So I’m really helping anybody first find their purpose in life because society pushes us one direction, meaning you gotta go to. You gotta go to college, you gotta get a job and work for somebody till you’re 65. Then you gotta buy an rv.

Hopefully you didn’t have a stroke yet so you can enjoy the last few years. They called the golden years that society. But then we have our parents and our teachers, our parents. If dad’s a lawyer wants you to go to law school. If mom failed medical school, she wants to leave [00:25:00] vicariously to you and send you to medical school.

And so nobody asks you what do you want to do? And so we need to really sit down and ask, am I doing. What I like to do, what I’m passionate about, and unfortunately, most people don’t know or say, no, I’m not doing what I’m passionate about.

So we need to change that.

[00:25:19] Purpose of Life

Dr Mike: Once we know what their purpose in life is. It sets the stage, it’s their goals and dreams. And when you wake up every morning with a plan and a strategy and you know that the finish line is there, it doesn’t matter if there’s a hurdle because we are gonna attack it instead of throwing up our arms and saying I can’t do this.

It’s not meant to be. Why is the world against me and get depressed and anxious and not knowing what’s going on?

number one, purpose of life.

Number two, a plan and a strategy, and then we can attack those obstacles and worry, fear, anxiety, all of that stuff goes away.

Having somebody like myself that, knows the pitfalls and can help you with your plan and [00:26:00] strategy, and also has an inner circle and knows which people that you may need to reach your highest potential.

Because I came here without a mentor and, got knocked down so many times.

Miriam, you have no idea. But that’s why I came strong and my motto, became, I never lose -I win or a learn. Yes.

And so every time I got knocked down, I learned something and I did it again and again, but it took me quite some time. So I wanna help people not taking a shortcut, but say, oh, don’t do this.

There’s a pitfall.

And the last decade I had like-minded people around me. I have people around me that are mentors for me in certain areas, because I know my weaknesses. And so

We can talk about medicine and we talk about therapy and we talk about supplements, but most of the anxieties, stress and all that is simply we don’t have a purpose in life.



You know, one thing that I think that is very difficult about what you are saying, I coach a bunch of therapists who [00:27:00] see kids like this all the time, and part of the problem is they don’t even have the will to figure out what their purpose is. I mean, I really appreciate your passion and your energy as you’re talking about that.

And I’m thinking, man, I wish I could put him in a room with some of these kids. These kids are there because their parents make them come there and they’re on their phones twenty four seven. Mm-hmm. .

Every time I am around. Someone with a little person, like a really little person in a stroller, I’ll pass them wherever that kid is on a phone and they’re under two, they’re not even verbal yet, Stacey.

Right. And they’re on a phone and I’m like, what is that doing to their brain? With this dopamine overload, yes. It feels a little like, which comes first in terms of the chicken or the egg? It seems to me. That you have to address that. At the same time as you’re addressing someone’s purpose, at some point you have to say, Hey, will you get off this device and actually get into the world that you [00:28:00] live in?

Yes. And most of ’em say, meh. And what do you do with that?

[00:28:05] Don’t Settle For Ordinary

Dr Mike: We we’re back to that willingness, but sometimes it’s not their, but sometimes it’s not their fault. So we gotta, we gotta show them the alternative. Right. Because they don’t have an alternative. They don’t see it.

High school students, they listen. , it’s like, look, what was your, what was your super. Or what superpower did you want it when you were a kid? What were the dreams about who you wanted to be? Because at that time, you knew without a doubt in your mind that you could be that person, or you could have those superpowers until somebody told you, most likely your parents, that’s impossible.

And that’s when we settled for ordinary, right? Yeah. So, so we need to kind of go back and say, what were your dreams? Who did you want to be? And kind of make ’em remember those things. That would be my first step. The second step would be just ask ’em, who’s your idols? Who are your idols on this world?

of course it’s probably gonna be some kind of rapper that is really not talented, or [00:29:00] it’s gonna be some N b A player that’s, that’s entitled. , but anyways, there are idols, right? So, so then it’s like, okay, would you wanna be that person? Right? They’re probably gonna say yes because you let them tell ’em who you, who their idol was.

Well, you’re not gonna get that by doing what you’re doing now.

Make a Choice

This is how you get there. Let me show you. You don’t have to do anything, but let me show you on how those people get there. Right? And so that’s the way, probably how would kind of go from step by step again, is, is let ’em see another option.

And eventually they still have to make a choice.

But once they make the choice to go this way, we can guide ’em that way. Um, but yeah, you gotta educate ’em on what dopamine overload is, right? Where, you know dopamine is the reward hormone, right? So when your brain squirts a little dopamine, it feels good like having a pet on your back.

That’s why people reach for sugar. That’s why people reach for energy drinks and coffee. But that’s also why we are now on social media because if somebody likes your posts, if somebody hearts your [00:30:00] Instagram picture or somebody likes your comments, it’s that squirt of dopamine and we like it, so we are gonna seek more of it.

And that’s the addiction to social media. But what does dopamine overload mean? We have five intelligence hormones, dopamine. Serotonin, epinephrine nor epinephrine and acetylcholine. And when we wanna focus and produce at maximum potential, those five hormones need to be balanced and at, and an optimal range.

Dopamine Overload

But when there’s a dopamine overload, it means like, it means that those five intelligent hormones are out of balance because there’s an overload of dopamine. And, and that results in what? In brain fog. Fatigue. Lethargy. Lack of focus easily distract. Can do your homework, procrastinating, fidgeting, and you keep naming it.

And so it becomes a vicious cycle because then they’re gonna reach out to more sugar and more energy drinks and more of it, right? So the first thing is, again, is for them being aware and having the knowledge that that’s what’s causing the [00:31:00] fatigue and the brain fog.

We can put things in place that don’t cost money. , You know, , eliminate those distractions. If you gotta do your homework or work on a project, you gotta designate a certain area in your office or your house. You tell people not to disturb you, you put your phone on airplane mode, put it in a different room.

There’s several techniques that work for some people don’t work for others.

[00:31:21] Techniques

Dr Mike: An example, a known example, is the Pomodoro technique where you, you know, have no distractions. Your phone is another room, but you have a timer. You work 20 minutes focused, the timer goes off. You have a five minute break. You can go out, you can check your phone, you can walk the dog, whatever.

But at five minutes, not 4 59, not 5 0 1, you go back in 20 minutes again and you can do four or five cycles of that. So there’s many tips and strategies that we can implement to avoid those distractions and actually get some work done. On the other hand, there are some nootropics, which means natural supplements that really help with balancing, those five intelligence hormones, optimizing [00:32:00] them and getting you, you know, helping you getting into the zone.

And so, That’s one of the things that I take, when I need to perform. You know, unlike smart drugs like Adderall, because A, all of kids are reaching out to Adderall too. Adderall seems to work, for what it’s designed for. I never took it. I just hear it works, but I cannot recommend anything that increases your blood pressure.

Increases your risk for heart disease, causes,

psychosis and maybe personality disorders in the long run, right? So that’s why a person like me looks for natural alternatives that can really help you focus on getting things done. And so I’m taking a supplement called Focus Plus, which is all natural, that has four neuro agents.

Mike’s Passion

That work in 30 seconds is very safe, no jittery effects, no adverse reactions, and get you in the zone for about six hours. So many golfers top athletes, CEOs, business people, and people with anxiety, depression, A D H D, that can concentrate, benefit from these types of things. [00:33:00] Yeah.

Okay. Where do you come by your passion and enthusiasm?

Well, I always like to help people, but I’m one of those, People that tries things themselves and many things that are advertised out there, as you know, they don’t work, right. So I gotta test things for myself, give things to my friends, see what they think, and when it’s something that can help humanity or people.

Again, usually there are tools that your regular doctor doesn’t have. Then it’s something that I will promote or, recommend to other people.

Like if you go to my website, I don’t, I don’t sell anything myself except my mentorship programs. But, but I’ll recommend many things.

I have a shop on my website, but those are links to, certain technologies or devices that I personally use. I won’t recommend anything else.

Where to Find Mike

Mike, thanks so much just for this time, why don’t you share it with our listeners where they can find. Course it’ll all be in the show notes too.

Yes. The best thing is my website. It’s mvt mike van [00:34:00] mvt online.com or even easier to biohacking unlimited.com.

Same website. My seven eight books are there. My speaker bio is there. You can get now until it’s full, you can get a 20 minute free zoom call with me. We just talk about where you are, what your goals are, and see if there’s a mentorship program that you may be interested in. Reach out anytime. I’m always here to help.

Awesome. This was great.

You’re welcome. Thank you. Anytime.

End Credits

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

Full audio episode found here.

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

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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.

Reach Your Potential Transcript – Miriam Gunn


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

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

Full audio episode found here.

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.

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.

Reflect On Your Year Transcript



Reflect On Your Year- Miriam Gunn

December 26th Mini Episode

Miriam: [00:00:00] it has been so much fun making these podcasts. I wanted you just to hear from me directly a little bit. We’re gonna be making some changes, and I thought this would be a good time to just sort of roll some of that out.

[00:00:13] Holidays

Miriam: As this episode drops we’re in between holiday. Often this is a time of family gatherings of overeating, and usually there’s some downtime from.

This gives one the opportunity to do some reflection over the previous year and also do some planning toward the coming year. I myself have spent the last two weeks here and there creating a document that captures all of the new activities I tried this year, an evaluation of the goals for the current year we’re ending, and then some intense planning for the upcoming year.

Can I encourage you to do something similar?

I’m continually amazed at how the small incremental steps toward improvement really add up.

Yes, you may not have accomplished that specific goal, but I’ll bet you made more [00:01:00] progress on it than you would’ve if you hadn’t had that on your conscious horizon. I definitely didn’t accomplish all my ambitions.

However, I gotta tell you, I’m beyond happy with what I did accomplish, and it’s motivating to see what’s coming next. I loved looking over the positive changes I made this year. It was totally energizing and an opportunity to celebrate my own self-development and growth, and I want that same thing for you.

[00:01:28] Reflect

Miriam: So I’m just gonna encourage you to spend some time kind of reflecting over your previous year and projecting toward your coming.

Let me just share a tiny example. The Lead Better Podcast came up this year and through this I have met so many great people with interesting stories. Some of the things that have been suggested or profiled I’ve enacted in my own life, and I really think that some of that is going to change the course of my future.

[00:02:00] Anyway as we move into this next season.

In year Leave better is going to shift our focus, just a tiny. I really wanna spotlight not only people who are successful, but people who are doing something for the benefit of others With that success, from my perspective, if you’re hitting all your targets, but none of that goodness spills out onto others, then you have missed a primary ambition of being a good human.

I also want you to hear from me more directly and more often, so there will be some interviews with me in the upcoming. And as always, there will be practical information that you can apply to your own life and business to push it toward that next level. Also, can I say, I would love to hear from you. If you know individuals that I should be interviewing on my podcast, reach out to me.

It’s always miriam@leafbetter.com.

Now, as we welcome in this next year, let’s go be intentional.

End Credits

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

Full audio episode found here.

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.

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.