[convertkit form=3500216]

How to Improve Family Dynamics Transcript

family dynamics

How to Improve Family Dynamics – Todd Williams

Miriam: [00:00:00] All right, friends. This is so much fun for me because I have someone that I knew, like I’m embarrassed to say, almost four decades ago. We got reconnected about a month ago. So Todd Williams and I went to high school. We were in a choir together. We just had such a fun working relationship. He was an officer. I was an officer. So many hours spent together there. And then we reconnected. I found out you’re a business owner and you’re working on a new venture and a podcast, and I was like, oh my word. I wanna interview you.

So welcome Todd. Why don’t we start with that And then you and I were talking before I hit record on just the miracles of what has changed in the last three and a half decades.

No cell phones, no internet, no podcasts. Remember when it was only radio and there was like nothing you wanted to listen to? [00:01:00] Yeah.

Todd: All of that radio. And here we are, radio and about three. Three or four TV channels that you had to get up off the couch to, to turn to. That’s right. Cuz your dad said, Hey, turn it to Channel five.

[00:01:15] Intro to Todd

Miriam: Exactly right. That’s exactly, exactly. Anyway, welcome Todd. This is just so much fun. Tell me a little bit, I wanna hear what you’re doing now, but if you don’t mind, for my own curiosity, you graduated with me in 1985. What happened with you professionally? From from here to there? There to here.

Todd: Well, first of all, Miriam, it is just a pleasure to, to be here.

I, I I’ve, over the years, I’ve, we obviously lost track. We didn’t have social media. We couldn’t, we couldn’t just keep track of everybody like like everybody does now. And it’s just a, just a pleasure to be on with you and talk with you and get to get to re reacquaint. So and the fact that you, you have the same passions of podcasts and business is even more exciting.

Todd’s Background

So so I gradu Yeah, we graduated. I I, [00:02:00] I, I left, I went to B Y U had a, had a girlfriend I served an l LDS mission in, in Pennsylvania, we got married shortly after I returned home. We spent spent a couple of years in, in Salt Lake.

But then most of our, most of my professional career has actually been in Phoenix, I started my love of technology. I worked at I B M and was a director of sales in selling system X servers, really kind of before the software boom.

This was all hardware and love my time with I B M, but I was more fascinated with technology and where technology was taking us.

 Early on in our marriage, I bought a computer. And, and and it was, this was, you know, this was, this was late eighties, and so it was, you know, it was the I b m, you know, the I B m computers that were, that were just starting to take off.

Apple or Macintosh was kind of starting, but love the idea of where technology was gonna take the world. 2008 [00:03:00] we moved back to Utah and live in Utah County, and I started working in a company called Omniture. They’re a web analytics company that eventually sold to a, to Adobe in a, in a two, almost nearly 2 billion acquisition.

And I was part of that, part of that acquisition with Adobe and worked with Adobe for a couple of years. Most of my, most of my roles, Miriam, have been post sales. It was all around client acquisition, client growth client expansion product expansion.

Trustworthy Avenues

And I’ve, I’ve, I led teams over the last 10 years in. Six different continents managed 350 million in revenue and just, just loving the technology space. And now we’re, now we’re seeing a very tectonic shift into podcasts. And that’s really where the world is turning. It’s in, in this, in this, what I call credibility marketing space.

And people are becoming, are needing [00:04:00] an avenue to, to trust, to trust news. They don’t, they don’t trust news anymore. They don’t trust what businesses say about themselves. They, they they, they want to hear from the subject- matter- expert themselves. So I applaud you for what you’re doing here on this podcast.

Miriam: Oh, well, thank you. I can’t think of anybody better in sales than you because you’ve always been just such a people person. You’ve always been just really warm and approachable, and I, I can see you would be very good at that.

[00:04:27] What is Family Paramount?

Miriam: Okay, so let’s talk a little bit about. Your new venture, and then I’m gonna ask a whole bunch of questions.

That’s what you were doing on the outside of you, but a whole bunch of things were happening on the inside of you that allowed you to develop into that next step. Nobody has a 350 million venture that they’re navigating. , you know, without having some skillsets being developed along the way. So tell me what you’re doing now.

Okay. we’ll just go from there.

Todd: You bet. So let me, let me kind of tell you what we’re doing with [00:05:00] Family Paramount. I’m, I’m really excited about about what that is. It’s, it’s, it’s pre-revenue, but it’s a way to give back. And to help really what’s happening in family dynamics across the globe.

So I’ve, I’ve got two daughter, well I’ve got six children, Cheryl and I have six children. The two oldest are twins. They’re are identical twin girls. The first, the first one kind of went into marriage and family therapy Right from the beginning. She started working in, in, in boys’ homes. And and, and kind of rehabilitation centers or, or halfway, you know, halfway houses that get kids out of the jails, but into a, a setting where they can really thrive.

Meanwhile, her twin sister, identical twin sister went into specifically in elementary education. And so that, that she was teaching fourth grade and what was happening, Miriam was that her name was Britney, so it’s Tiffany is the, is the first one that I mentioned. Britney is the second one. [00:06:00] And she was noticing that as she taught these children, there was, there was gaps as the foundation of the family really was struggling.

Family Dynamics

 The struggles of the fa family dynamics that were unfortunately be set in upon so many of our, our children these days. And when I, when I say family dynamics, I’m gonna, I’m gonna include all of the distractions, you know, the social media.

The, the news, the world events, the, the, the separation of families and, and divorce and all of those things, that all of us, all of us are, are, are are recipients of, in some fashion.

So my twin daughters got together and started talking about how do we solve this, right?

How do we, how do we solve this? So Britney decided to go back, get her, go back, get her master’s degree in marriage and family therapy as well, but specializing in play therapy and specifically in adolescent and child therapy. So we have the [00:07:00] dynamics of these twin girls who are master. Master therapists really in, in, and that’s master is my, is my definition, I think, but in a way that can help children and families become better.

Growing Together

Because what was happening is, as Britney would, Britney would, would have therapy sessions. She noticed that most of the time the parents needed the therapy sessions as well.

Yeah, yeah. You’re probably, you’ve probably seen that in your therapy, se your therapy practice. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. for. . And so my, my wife got her master’s degree in, in family living and family life from B Y U and and ultimately in chi, early childhood education.

And so the three of them got together and said, Hey, we, we, we want to. Have this psychoeducational site where we can give podcasts and video blogs and information to, to help the masses on [00:08:00] learning, building, and really understanding fa, what is family dynamics and what are, what are the right family dynamics that we should be creating from children and as they grow to adolescent. To teenagers and even within a couple and couple couple couple relationship strategies.

So we’re in the process of building that out. We’ve got a fa we’ve got a website that’ll go on go live probably by the first of the year called family paramount.com, where we, we literally are lit trying to help families learn and understand and better their family dynamic.

[00:08:36] Monetization

Miriam: Wow. I love it. And it’s super needed. I mean, we just are seeing for more reasons than we can even discuss here, the. , the families are struggling. It is a hard time to have young children and how fun that your entire family can engage on this as a, you know, as a unit. It’s something that you can, you know, work on at [00:09:00] the same time as, you know, do normal family things.

So, yeah. You said it’s pre-revenue. Let me ask kind of your long-term goals with this, because sometimes people create pet projects. That never, they never intend to monetize them. They just, that’s their act of service to the world. Other times, their act of service to the world is monetized, and there’s no right or wrong in that, but you do have to have a little bit of a clear vision, what your intention is as you go into that.

Todd: Yeah. So right now, I, I kind of look at it as the create, grow. Monetize, right? Yeah. So right now we’re gonna create, and we’re going to, we’ve, we’ve written, well, I, I’m, I’m kind of the backend technology brains behind it. But they’ve written quite a few articles and blogs that we will be post at launch.

We’ve got some, we’ve got a, a pre-launch trailer that we’re, that we’re, we’ve recorded, we’ve recorded one episode of a fa of a family Paramount blog podcast. [00:10:00] And our long-term strategy really is to just help families. So that’s, that’s what we’re going into it for. We’re not, we’re not, we’re understanding that, that this is not a, a multimillion dollar venture.

Goal of Monetization

But what was, what was heartbreaking to me is when I heard that Britney and Tiffany had a six month waiting list, and it takes six months to get into them and there’s simple basic practices that they should be learning. The people should be learning now about how to love, how to, how to trust, in a, in a normal, healthy family relationship.

So we’re gonna create and we’re gonna create all of the necessary articles around all of the dynamics of child adolescent play therapy of a of, of, of, of teenage, teenage reactions, appropriate child play, appropriate teenage, teenage practices. And then ultimately family. So, we’ll, it’ll, it’ll grow. I’m, it’ll grow [00:11:00] into a monetization events seminars, courses obviously podcasts and, and video blogs.

but we want to help. We want to help families. Yeah. Create a better family dynamic.

Miriam: I mean, that is pretty evident. Just hearing your enthusiasm for it. Your face is lit up when you talk about it. It’s really an important thing and I appreciate kind of your long horizon on that. Something that I find interesting, many people I don’t know, as someone who is a therapist and also a coach, I have this predilection toward one-on-one type things, and to think that that is maybe the best or the most efficient. But also as I’ve continued in my own development, I’ve done quite a few kinds of business classes and self-development classes that have a video component and then a group component.

And honestly, you can grow equally as well through that, and it’s much more [00:12:00] scalable.

Having Someone There

Part of the reason that your daughters have a six week wait or a six, I couldn’t remember if you said six week or six month, but many therapists are just booked out the wazo and part of that is insurances and you know, this, that, or the other, but it really boils down to a lot of people are struggling and there are more, there’s more demand than there are therapists to be able to do that.

It’s just, it’s common where you are. It’s common where I am and what I hear you creating is a space where people can come and you don’t have to like, rely on Google and go here for one article and there for one article and whatever. You can go to a centralized space that over time you’re going to develop, you know authority, material authority and people will trust you.

And then you have, you know, this landing place where people can come and grow and hopefully there’ll be some community aspects [00:13:00] to it where they can meet each other and help each other.

Something that I think is also just a problem that you’re solving when you have difficulty in families, they’re habits that are, I’m gonna use the word maladaptive habits and generally, The people you know have the same habits you have.

And so, you know, if you listen to self-development gurus and influencers, they’ll say that, you know, you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with for good or bad. And it’s very difficult if someone wants to change the five that they’re around. They don’t know anybody like that.

And so what I hear you doing is you’re providing an opportunity for people to hear from people who have different habits, maybe.

[00:13:51] Generation to Generation

Todd: It’s a great way of saying it. I I, I, I hadn’t thought about that, but you’re right. It’s, that’s absolutely the case, especially, especially when you have dynamics in a [00:14:00] dysfunctional family that goes from generation to generation.

They don’t necessarily know what they don’t know. And Of course, and so, you know, the basic, the basic fundamental things that, that I think you and I grew, grew up with in, in, in a, in a, in a way that is, Love and, and devotion and trust and, and all of those things that, that I think I, I, I took for granted growing up is, is a way that is a way that we can, we can teach people, right?

Which is ultimately what a therapist does is, is give another approach. You know, have you thought about this?

And I remember. My my daughter telling me a story about she, she came home a couple of days ago and or home, she just came to our house a couple of days ago and she said, you know, I, I really feel like I helped this couple come up with some, some different ways to, to function within their, within their family.

And I said, well, what, what was it? And she kind of laughed and she said, well, I told them that they should use paper plates. [00:15:00] and and there was this big family argument, dynamic problem that was all around dishes in the sink and, and scattered dishes around the couch and all of these things. And, and my daughter, my daughter who’s the therapist, said, you know, Jane and John Doe- just use paper plates.

The Simple Solution

And and the, the couple came back the next day and they said, you know, that was such a simple solution, but we hadn’t thought about it, and we needed you to tell us about that.

And so, you know, it, it’s so simple. It’s such an easy thing. But if you’re stuck in the hole, you, you just can’t see outside the hole for so many reason.

Miriam: Often the simple solution is the most elegant solution and sometimes it takes someone on the outside of you to just ask a question, right? That makes you think, oh, well yeah, why didn’t I think of that?

For sure. [00:16:00] So I’m gonna bounce out of the therapy space and more into the coaching space because I wanna hear as you went through, you know, you’re in midlife probably at the apex of professional career. And as you went from this to that and the various steps, what skillsets did you learn that are helping you architect this new project?

Todd: You know, I’ve, I’ve looked at my life over the last 20 years in, in retrospect often, right, because I I’ve gone into technology and then I went into customer success, and then maybe I went into, I went into marketing I went into sales. I, I, I started growing different aspects of my career, working with difficult executives, working with good executives, working with difficult employees, working with good employees trying to figure out ad campaigns and ad insertion campaigns and, and, and different types of, of podcast solutions and [00:17:00] how that all works.

Culmination of Success and Failures

And, The things that I’m doing now, I’ve kind of come, come to the conclusion that the things that I’m doing now would’ve been virtually impossible to do 10 years ago. Not because the technology’s different, not be because the world is different, but because I’m different and my knowledge set is different.

And so all of the failures, and yes, I’ve had many, all of the failures and all of the successes have culminated and continue to culminate into a, a, an avenue of success where I can thrive. And if I wouldn’t have had those difficult, difficult situations terrible successes future fail, you know of past failures, all of those things.

I, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish things that I’m trying to accomplish now.

So it’s, it’s interesting your perspective as you get older because [00:18:00] you, you see the, you see the failures that you’ve, you’ve done, you’ve done, you see the, the successes that you seen in others or even in yourself. You see the, the failures potentially.

In your children or the, maybe not failures, let’s say, let’s call them learning experiences. You know, the, the learning experiences that your children are, are having and it just, it’s good, you know, the, the, the, the fact that, that I’ve got a, a, a, a, this, a son at, at, at the school. That is maybe, maybe frustrated.

He’s in a senior year at B Y U and he’s, he’s frustrated with everything that’s coming at him, and, and I just kind of smile and say, keep going. You’re doing it’s okay. You’re, it’s okay. You’re, you’re doing good. You know, over the years, I’ve this is maybe a good thing to add. ‘

[00:18:53] Todd’s Mission

Todd: Over the years I’ve I’ve written a personal mission.

and, and that that mission statement has, has [00:19:00] kind of adapted and moved and changed and, and but for the most part it stayed. It has stayed pretty, pretty consistent. And it’s a simple statement. It’s, it’s four kind of four for tactics.

It’s, it’s, be happy, be better, find good. and move forward.

I try to be better every day. I try to be a better person, better, a better, better husband, a better father, a better son. I don’t always succeed, but I try every day find good. I want to, I want to look for the good in life. Look for the good in things. Look for the good in people.

Trust that that they. Have the best intentions at at heart, and then also just get up every morning and put your pants on and move forward.

You know, I think for me that is, that’s been how I’ve tried. To [00:20:00] live my life and, and learn, keep learning every single day and, and hopefully when, when this mortality ends, thinking, okay, I’m, I’ve, I’ve accomplished what I’ve wanted to accomplish in my life.

Miriam: Yeah, you’ve lived a good life. Todd. What I appreciate about what you just shared is that two of those things were mindsets and two of those things were actions or behaviors, and where I think so many people get stuck.

Either they’re, they’re doing activities that aren’t maybe evaluated. They’re habitual, they’re not really thought through, and a lot of people, I think, have prisons in their mind and their mind circle on negativity, or they get caught up in outrage, or they just aren’t really pushing into that space of the best version of themselves.

Mindset and Behavior

Yeah, and you really have to have both. I mean, you can’t have a productive mindset without it turning into behavior that’s, [00:21:00] that’s really just impossible. And you’re kind of deluding yourself if you’re like, oh yeah, my, everything in my head is just going great. Well, it, it has to show up in your actions because that’s just how we’re wired as people.

And I appreciate the thoughtfulness that you have taken throughout your I’m gonna use the word adult life

cause you, yeah. Cause you, you, you knew me in my, in my adolescent life. , . Well, even in your adolescent life, you were fun. Everybody loved you, and you got stuff done and you were very networky and connecting even then.

But it, it was in a young way, you know?

And how cool I was talking to somebody the other day. They were asking me about my career, and I said, I’ve always done the same thing. I have always listened and helped people with their roadblock, whatever it is, and helped them reach their next level of themselves.

And in high school it was listening to [00:22:00] people talk about their boyfriends. And in college it was something different. And then in my first career, it was mentorship, and my next career it was therapy. In my current career, it’s professional coaching. It’s the same skillset set, right? Yeah. Listen, Be present, ask a question that will move a person.

Time Stands Still

I love, I love that. I told my husband when I came home from this reunion where I saw you met reacquainted with you. Yep. And I took my hands, you know, a foot apart and I said, here was high school. Here is now. And in some weird way, we pulled those two spaces together as though 35 years. Hadn’t happened, and yet it clearly has happened in our, our depth and our, well, in my case, my breath.

We won’t talk about that, but , I said, yes, Cheryl and I felt the same way. It’s interesting how you can reacquaint with someone after so many years [00:23:00] and. , it’s like nothing ever happened. It’s like time stood still, right?

Sure. For sure. It’s one of the mysteries of the universe, the both, and where we all clearly have changed and also our inner core. Soulish, humanity is still the same.

[00:23:19] Skill Sets and Failures

Miriam: So I wanna bounce back to the, when you were talking about these skill sets and the, the successes and the failures over the last three and a half decades, can you get specific, because I think specificity really helps people.

Here’s where I thought X or I did x. Big mistake. And this is what I learned in the context of that.

Because we’re all on this path to you know, reach our next version of ourselves. And what is obvious to one person is a revelation to the other.

Todd: So two experiences that have really changed my, [00:24:00] my look on people, my look on businesses.

 I was talking to my mom this was quite a few years ago, probably, probably 20 years ago, and she said, Todd, remember that people look out a window.

And see a different view. So what that did, Miriam, is it allowed me to take in people’s views and understand people’s view. Very, very differently over the years because their view out, their picture out of their kitchen window is just different than mine.

It’s not wrong, it’s just different.

So there was a quote by, by Zig Ziegler, who’s, he said, you don’t build a business, you build people. And then the people build the business. And as I’ve, as I’ve built, let’s see, I’ve started 1, 2, 3, 3 different businesses. I’ve tried to, and then been an executive member of the leadership team [00:25:00] of, you know, three or four others.

People First, Then Customers

But as I’ve tried to go into that, I’ve tried to focus on the people.

People first, then customers, then the business, and, and, and there’s, you know, there’s a lot of people that will say, no, no, no, you gotta focus on the customers. No, no, no. You gotta focus on the revenue. No, no. You gotta my view, my picture Window , right?

My, my, my view. Is focus on the people first, focus on the employees. Give back to the employees. Let the employees know that they are the most important people and customers come second, in my view, if, if I always do that and have employees that trust me

they will ultimately follow you into building a successful business.

There’s another, there’s another quote by Muhammad Gandhi that I, I try to follow. It’s be the change in the world that you want to see. You probably are familiar with that. And and I’ve tried [00:26:00] to be the change, right?

Be the positive influence, be the good, be the positive, be the, be the one that, that, that stands out.

Miriam: Yeah, I appreciate that. I have que two questions that are taking me in opposite directions and I’m not sure which one to ask first, but I think I’m going to ask when when you have failed, as someone who is a basically positive person, what’s the message you hear inside yourself and how did you approach that failure?

[00:26:34] Approaching Failure

Todd: So this is a great question. I don’t fail well. You know, I, I don’t, I don’t fail well and I have, I have failed countless times. I go back to the mantra of be better, move forward, be happy. You know, life, life is hard and life is hard for all of us. And the only way really to get through this life is to lock arms. Connect with people who love you, connect people. [00:27:00] Connect with people you don’t know and that you need to know and move forward.

Miriam: Yeah. Boy, that is really well said. I know that something that has helped me when I’m in a quote unquote failure space, and I don’t know who said this, I never lose. I only win or learn. Yeah. And I think, ugh, if I can just internalize that, and I do most of the time, but something that you’ve mentioned that I think is profound and really important.

You said link arms and connect. When you’re in that space that you feel like you failed, you need someone else. N not necessarily a book or a you know, pla a, a phrase. You need a human, a live human to look in your eyes and say, I love you anyway. Mm-hmm. , and it doesn’t matter to me. I’m, it matters to me in that this has made you sad, but it doesn’t make me think any less of you this “failure”. You know, we need real [00:28:00] humans to give us hugs and to say, I love you anyway, and you’re worth so much more to me than this activity. Whatever it, whatever it is.


 As people are losing their employment, their sense of self just takes such a hit does and a lot of times it isn’t actually about them. Nope. It’s about all these other factors yeah. . So I love that.

Todd: There was, there was an experience that I had actually when I was in Phoenix, I, I had lost my job. It was a layoff. We had, we had merged with another company and duplication of efforts and it’s ultimately what brought me, brought me to Utah, right?

So, Which was actually a really good thing, right? But at the time, I didn’t think it was a good thing, thought it was either my fault or what could I have done different or what could I have. And I remember I got a phone call. It’s back when we called each other instead of texted each other, I got a phone call.

I got a phone call from a, from a friend that said, Hey, I, I want to, I want to. I want to, are you available [00:29:00] for lunch on Tuesday? Let’s go to lunch and let’s talk about who I can connect you with. And and I’ve, I’ve since thought about that over the years, and I’ve tried to emulate that in my own life now.

Whenever I hear of someone that’s, you know, needs some connecting, I, I really try to reach out and say, Hey, I’ve got a lot of connections on LinkedIn. Who do I know? Who do you need to know? And how do we connect? But for me personally, that was such a, a wake up moment because he, number one, he didn’t have to do that.

The Human Response

He was busy, but he took the time to call me and say, Todd, you’re important to me. Your future’s important to me. How can I help? It’s the. It’s the, the, the human response that I needed to get myself, you know, off the couch or out of the bed or whatever and move forward. Yeah. You know? Yeah. The human response, what I appreciate about what

Miriam: you just shared is that there is the [00:30:00] aspect of actual help.

Did connect you with people via LinkedIn or whatever. Yeah. But what probably helped you even more, at least initially, is he asked, how can I help? And I’m always talking with my kids and saying, just ask me how you can help. Nine times out of 10 I’ll say, I’ve got this. I don’t. I we’re good. I just wanna know you’re in this with me.

And that’s what this gentleman did for you is he got in it with you. That’s wonderful. I love that. , what a beautiful what a beautiful story. You’ve had some good people in your life, for sure. Yeah.

[00:30:36] Habits, Actions, and Thoughts

Miriam: Okay, so can I ask you a coachy question? Sure. You bet. All right, so you’re starting this new venture. You have been involved in several, like very large.

Successful ventures, you’ve done two or three companies of your own. If you are standing in this point and you can see two directions, there are certain things [00:31:00] that you could do that would expedite this new venture, and there are other things that you could do that would just slow it down. Just habits, actions, thoughts.

Paint me a picture of if you were standing in that point and you were like, okay, if I do this, this, and this it’s gonna speed this sucker up, and if I do this, this, and this, whether it’s between your ears or actual, you know, things, you’ve, you’ve been around the block a couple times with these business ventures and you know, what will, you know, light the rocket underneath it and what will pour water on it?

Mm-hmm. . Tell me, tell me what those things are.

Todd: Let me, let me start with the success, the, the things that I, I know drive success. Okay. And this is, these are Miriam. These, these are some things that, that I’ve thought about.

Recipe for Success

Success to me is, is so personal because what I believe [00:32:00] is success or what you believe is success could be totally different things.

Most of the time it’s not financial. Or maybe shouldn’t even be financial. Right? Right. But but the, the kind of, the kind of the recipe is, is great marketing, great product. I have a list here. Great product, great marketing, engaging sales. Equals success. Mm-hmm. . So if you have a great product and you have great marketing and you have engaging sales, those three things together is is successful.

What’s interesting about that and what I want to kind of talk about is. It’s not just a good product, it’s a stellar product. You have to have a stellar product. You have to have, you know, great marketing, not just, not just mediocre marketing. You have to have great marketing. You have to have engaging sales, not just salespeople, but you [00:33:00] have to have engaging sales.

If when you have all three of those, you have a recipe of success.


I’ve always hired Miriam. I’ve always hired for personality. I can, I can teach, I can teach people. Right. Yeah. But always it’s tough. It’s tough to teach personality. Yeah. So when I interview, if you ever interview with me in the future, anyone out there, I’m looking for personality because I can teach them how to sell or how to market, or how to produce, or how to engage.

But I can’t, I can’t change their personality.

Miriam: So then you asked, then you asked what are the things that just roadblock Yeah. Hang on a second. Cause I wanna go ahead, comment on this. Yep. I heard you say food, water, oxygen, . If you’re missing any one of those three, this thing is gonna die. And it’s, it’s, and it’s good food.

It’s good luck, good for good air. Right? It’s, yes, exactly. It has to be evaluated and lack of [00:34:00] evaluation, whether it’s in your business or your personal life, it’s choosing mediocrity. Yeah. So I, I love that. I love that you have this written down. It’s like right in front of you.

Todd: I’m going, oh my gosh. That’s, this is what’s, what’s interesting and, and is it’s, it’s at the top of my Evernote. Huh And whenever I open up Evernote, which is my daily, it’s, you know, that’s, that’s where it is, you know?

Miriam: Yeah, yeah. Well, you’re just getting your brain thinking and thinking and thinking always on that.

That’s part of your D N A now.

So, yeah, let’s move on to the roadblocks.

[00:34:34] Roadblocks

Todd: So there is, there really is Miriam only one roadblock. Mm. And that is, that is between your ears. Yeah. It’s, it’s your, your ability to believe, you know, it’s your, it’s your ability to hope.

It’s your ability to believe, it’s your belief. It’s your ability to move. It’s your, your ability to, to, to put past the negative thoughts and create.

My grandmother, many, many, many years ago, while [00:35:00] I was, you know, in my early teens told, told her family a statement that said, in periods of calmness in your life, there is no growth.

Mm-hmm. . And, and so sometimes those periods of calmness are. Oh, time to breathe, right? Yeah. Yeah. They’re, it’s, it’s, they’re good. Catch your breath, . Okay. It’s good. And, and we, and we, and we look at those times and we say, we say, okay, I can, I’m, I’m finally out of trial, or I’m, I’m finally out of struggle. But you have to realize that in those periods of time, there is no growth.

 In high school, which we thought was so hard that, that we now realize were not hard. You know, college where, where we thought that was so hard, which it wasn’t very hard. Right. totally. You know, all of those things have helped us become who we are, but it was through the trials and struggles.[00:36:00]

that we did that.

Anyone can be Anything

So, you know, going back to the, the, the things that will stop a business or stop thriving is when we, we, we have an opportunity and we say we can’t do it.

Yeah. Right. So that’s, for me, it’s, anybody can be anything, you know, anybody can be anything. We just have to have enough willpower and determination and, and and enough days.

Sometimes it takes a lot of days.

Miriam: Enough days. And I would also say enough support, enough support, enough flow to mm-hmm. , all of that to, you know, to be able to get there.

[00:36:37] Shedrick Wildlife Fund

Todd: Oh Todd, this has been so fun. I appreciate you just immensely. So we had mentioned, I had mentioned to you before we started that as a thank you, we do a donation to a charity of your choosing in your name, and you had chosen the Sheldrick Wildlife Fund.

We’re going to adopt a baby girl Elephant in your name, and you’ll get monthly [00:37:00] updates and you can see how she’s being taken care of and will eventually be released in the wild.

We’re all about leaving things better here in conversation and in action, and this has been a great, just a great interview.

Thank you so much. Oh, Miriam, it’s absolutely been my pleasure. It’s been, it’s great to talk, it’s been great to reminisce about the old days and about some of the things that that’s gone wrong and, and good things in, in your life and my life. So it’s been my pleasure to be with you. Good. Very good.

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.

How to Improve Family Dynamics – Todd Williams


How to Improve Family Dynamics

Todd Williams

Welcome to another episode of The LeaveBetter Podcast  where I interview high performers and business owners, gleaning from their wisdom, practical routines, habits, and mindsets.

In season 2 episode 33, we are pleased to have Todd Williams, a business owner who works with his wife to help families better understand each other and their family dynamics.

In this episode, we talk about success, failures, and different dynamics, in business and family.  Learn how to overcome roadblocks and grow together. Enjoy!

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

*Before you go—Sign up for my newsletter at Leavebetter.com.  Once a week, wisdom and practicality in your inbox.

Remember: The actions you take (or do not take) today set you up for six months from now. Make sure you do something today that pushes you toward that next level of you.


The transcript of this episode.

[00:01:15] Intro to Todd
[00:04:27] What is Family Paramount?
[00:08:36] Monetization
[00:13:51] Generation to Generation
[00:18:53] Todd’s Mission
[00:23:19] Skill Sets and Failures
[00:26:34] Approaching Failure
[00:30:36] Habits, Actions, and Failures
[00:34:34] Roadblocks
[00:36:37] Shedrick Wildlife Fund

Music by Tom Sherlock  

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.


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

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- Scott Fulton

scott fulton on how to lead

Be a Productive Leader

Scott Fulton

Welcome to another episode of The LeaveBetter Podcast  where I interview high performers and business owners, gleaning from their wisdom, practical routines, habits, and mindsets.

In season 2 episode 31, we are pleased to have Scott Fulton, founder of Digital Rebels, a program designed to improve employee and customer’s experience in the digital world.

In this episode, we talk about how to be a productive leader, how to successfully work in teams, and how to deliver more, and talk less. Enjoy!

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

*Before you go—Sign up for my newsletter at Leavebetter.com.  Once a week, wisdom and practicality in your inbox.

Remember: The actions you take (or do not take) today set you up for six months from now. Make sure you do something today that pushes you toward that next level of you.


The transcript of this episode.

[00:00:34] Digital Programs for the Police Force
[00:03:33] Management vs. Leadership
[00:05:51] Public Speaking
[00:08:34] Don’t Control Lead
[00:10:43] Nature of Work
[00:13:44] Be Brave and Act
[00:16:02] Coaching to Grow
[00:17:31]  Prioritizing
[00:20:32] Facilitating Meetings Well
[00:22:27] Have Other Passions
[00:25:12] Why Just One Thing?
[00:27:55] Delegation and Perfectionism
[00:29:37] Where to Next?
[00:31:29]  Where to Find Scott


Where to find Scott:

Scott Fulton

Digital Rebels

Rebel Diaries

The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Music by Tom Sherlock  

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.


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

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

Reflect On Your Year

Miriam Gunn

Welcome to another episode of The LeaveBetter Podcast  where I interview high performers and business owners, gleaning from their wisdom, practical routines, habits, and mindsets.

In episode 27, it is short and sweet. We are in between holidays, and I wanted to give you a quick message. 

In this episode, we talk about reflecting on your year and setting targets for the new one.

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

*Before you go—Sign up for my newsletter at Leavebetter.com.  Once a week, wisdom and practicality in your inbox.

Remember: The actions you take (or do not take) today set you up for six months from now. Make sure you do something today that pushes you toward that next level of you.


The transcript of this episode.

[00:00:13] Holidays
[00:01:28] Reflect

Music by Tom Sherlock  

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.


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

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.

Align Your Purpose – Dr. Kimbi Marenakos

Align Your Purpose

Dr. Kimbi Marenakos

Kimbi Marenakos

Welcome to another episode of The LeaveBetter Podcast  where I interview high performers and business owners, gleaning from their wisdom, practical routines, habits, and mindsets.

In episode 25, we are pleased to have Dr. Kimbi Marenakos – a Family Nurse Practitioner and Behavioral Health Specialist.

In this episode, we talk about recognizing and managing burnout in our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives. Dr. Kimbi is passionate about caring for the individual and taking the time to make sure all of her patients are fully taken care of. Enjoy!

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

*Before you go—Sign up for my newsletter at Leavebetter.com.  Once a week, wisdom and practicality in your inbox.

Remember: The actions you take (or do not take) today set you up for six months from now. Make sure you do something today that pushes you toward that next level of you.


The transcript of this episode.

[00:00:52] Interest in Medicine
[00:02:19] Behavioral Health
[00:04:11] Clinical Rotations
[00:07:20] Burnout
[00:11:32] Take Your Time
[00:16:46] Shortage of Service Providers
[00:20:11] Learning about Burnout
[00:28:20] Be Well

Where to find Dr. Kimbi:

Dr. Kimbi’s website

Music by Tom Sherlock

Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

All LeaveBetter Podcast episodes can be found here.


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

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.

From Shame to Forgiveness to CEO-transcript – Neena Perez


Neena Perez

From Shame to Forgiveness with Neena Perez


[00:01:08] Intro Neena

[00:01:08] Miriam – All right guys. I’m so, so happy to have Neena Perez here with me today. I met her, I don’t know, maybe it was like a month and a half ago when you invited me to be on your podcast. I loved it, and I have not said this to anyone before since, but I was like, Oh my gosh, we would be friends in real life. We we’re almost like sisters.

[00:01:29] Neena –  We’re similar. Yeah, I agree. So many ways.

[00:01:31] Miriam – So I am gonna let you talk about your business, but I loved your podcast, Straight Talk, No Sugar added, and I was doing a little sniffing around on Amazon regarding your book, and it just seems to me that Not only do you care so much about like speaking authentically, but you’ve had some hard bumps in your life too that your book title- Hit Me With Your Best Shot :How I overcame a hard hitting life.

[00:01:58] You’ve had some hard spaces and you have like risen above that to a wonderful life. So let’s bounce in. Tell me a little bit about your business and then we’re just gonna talk where the conversation takes us.

[00:02:12] Neena –  Oh man. Miriam, thank you so much for having me. And you’re right, I do feel like you’re my sister from another mister, you know and you know, my business. So what I do is I really have finally aligned my business and you know, I started businesses, I’ve stopped businesses, I’ve gotten my degrees, all of that great stuff. But what I do now is I help women master their game.


[00:02:32] And what I mean by game, it’s an acronym for goals, their accountability, mind flow and energy. I do this by building or helping them build successful businesses and impact their lives the way they envision. So we create basically their step by step. And I have a whole team that I have built out that helps them create their funneling system, their software, their marketing, their automation, all of that stuff, because I realized that those were the things that were impacting me as I was trying to grow my coaching business.

[00:03:01] Miriam – I wanna see people rise. That’s really what I. I love it.

[00:03:05] Well, my audience is also comprised of men, so I’m gonna tell them, Hey, hang with us because we’re talking about self development and it doesn’t actually matter which gender you are when it comes to self development.

[00:03:16] Like, wow, these growth principles are the same, and the technical principles for growing your business are the same. Mm-hmm. .

[00:03:24] I think that the longer the, the longer we are alive, we find out which kind of problems we like to solve that don’t like rob us of our energy, and this is anybody and everybody. The longer that you’re in your job and you’re finding out. I can’t stand this.

[00:03:42] It’s so draining. You’re not in the right job or the right position.

[00:03:45] That’s right. And I think what I heard you saying is, you know, you niche down into the place that brings you the most joy. Mm-hmm. ,

[00:03:54] can we start with your book and can you just like give us a little bit, however vulnerable you want to be.

[00:04:00] Feeling Stuck in Abuse

[00:04:00] Miriam – Can you talk about some of the hard hitting spaces that may be motivated

[00:04:04] this book. .

[00:04:06] Neena –. You know what happened is I was tired of being stuck, to be honest. Yeah. I kept feeling around, like I was at this hamster on a wheel constantly. I’ve worked really hard all my life and I just felt like, what is, what is this for?

[00:04:19] Right? So what happened, I, I about 2018 I think is when I wrote the book about my life, because I finally said, I need to face these demons. I gotta face this. I have to go. And I’m gonna have to, you know, start walking the walk, right? So I started getting to the self development space maybe about 15, 20 years ago.

[00:04:40] I’m 50 now, so in my thirties and I went through a lot of my life.

[00:04:44] So, you know, it started young. My father, you know, and my mother were not married. They had an affair. My father was married, but they were married to other people. I was the product of that affair. And I think that, Already started me on the wrong foot, if you will.

[00:04:59] so then, My mother, I, I think she tried her best. She was young herself. She was in her, she was 20. But you know, I was abused. So when I, when she did remarry, her husband, you know, would physically abuse me, but then started to molest me. And that happened for, you know, a lot of my youth from my five, five or six years old to maybe nine or 10 years old, something like that.

Trauma at a Young Age

[00:05:22]. You know, it was just, it was just a very traumatic time because he was also very abusive physically as well. when he left, I was very happy. , I was very, very happy. But you know what, It left me damaged. So at like 13 years old, I met a, a man or a boyfriend. I was 13, he was gonna be 18. Very quickly got into a, a relationship that I didn’t know anything about at 13.

[00:05:47] Yeah, I was physically abused there as well, but that’s love, right? I mean, that’s what I knew growing up, so, mm-hmm. . But I had a child pregnant at 14 years old and eighth grade. I know I look at my kids now, I’m like, how did that even happen? 14 years old, pregnant. I had my child at 15. But you know what, Miriam, There was always something in me that just would not let this girl die.

[00:06:13] You know I tried to commit suicide when I was 13, so before I got pregnant because I couldn’t take it anymore. my boyfriend at the time, my son’s father, you know, was throwing me downstairs, was like beating me constantly. It was just an awful experience. I still have damage from that, like, One of my ears has a hole in it from when he punched me and the ear drum blew out and all that kind of stuff.


[00:06:34] the reason I finally left, I left that around, I think I was like 18. So I was with him five years of a seriously abusive relationship. And he put a gun to my head. Wow. he said, He’s gonna kill me. He’s gonna kill him. He’s gonna kill the baby, and then he’s gonna kill himself. when he, he put the gun to my head and he pulled the trigger.

[00:06:55] And when he pulled the trigger, the safety on the gun got jammed. I immediately went into what do I do? What do I do? So I started sweet talking him the only thing I knew to do while he was trying to unjam the gun, you know, Oh my, wow. So I was finally able to convince him that I loved him more than anything in the world, blah, blah, blah.

[00:07:16] And then, you know, right after that I left, I ran away. So I lived in a, a batter women’s shelter. I tried to get some therapy because therapy’s super important when you’ve had that much trauma. And you know, but life is, life still was hard. I had, I was a single mother now working a job, going to school, got remarried that, that with a narcissist, which was extremely hard to deal with that had a second child divorced.

[00:07:39] But now I’ve been married. I have to, 20. Wow. I think we’re going on 22, 23 years of With an amazing man. Yeah. We’ve gone through our tri our trials too, so there was a lot of stuff written in this book that he, he won’t even read it till this day. He’s like, I, I can’t do it. I can’t read it. Yeah.


[00:07:56] But self development and really looking at myself so I could stop self sabotaging behaviors mm-hmm. and realize that I am worth something. Is work. That took a lot of work. Yeah. But it also has been the best experience of my life. So, yeah, that’s it a nutshell.

[00:08:20] Miriam –  Mike drop .

[00:08:22] Neena – It’s a lot. A lot. I know. It’s a lot.

[00:08:24] Cut Yourself Some Slack

[00:08:24] Miriam – What

[00:08:24] do you say to a story like that? I mean, you are such a strong and vibrant woman. And the thing that I love about that story, that’s a story of redemption, of a space of second chances. It’s a story of Maybe natural consequences. Like, you know, you grew up in a space that taught you a warped version of love.

[00:08:47] So that’s what you followed until you knew better. I love this phrase, when I knew better, I did better. it gives us so much grace for those spaces in our life where we’re like, Why did I do that? Why did I choose that? it’s like, well, you know, we gotta cut ourselves some slack Sometimes you don’t have the best starting point. And I love, I love when you see someone coming from behind and they just blaze past, like you had to be someone who was so determined that this was not gonna be your life. You were not gonna do a repeat of what the first couple decades had been. So this space where he puts a gun up to your head and it misfires is the biggest aha.

[00:09:33] Of your life. Mm-hmm.  you do something about it. And then I’m gonna guess you had dozens of smaller aha moments. Can you talk about some other places where something in you clicked and you were like, I used to think this, or I used to do this, but no more. That is not

[00:09:53] in my future.

Writing a Book

[00:09:55] Neena –  You know, there’s, I don’t know if there’s like, there’s a few of them.

[00:09:58] So here, when I wrote the book especially, I started to relive a lot of those experiences because Sure. I didn’t wanna cheat myself. Writing the book, the book was written for me and then I realized the book was not even for me anymore. Yeah. It’s for someone else, right. And it’s impacted people in a very powerful way.

[00:10:16] So I realized that the book was for others. there’s five things I took away from writing this book that has really helped me, and I call it the fight back series, right? So mm-hmm.

[00:10:25] Shame

[00:10:25] Neena: One of them was shame. I had to realize. That there is shame that I was carrying for so long that didn’t belong to me.

[00:10:34] Mm-hmm. . So I, I learned how to navigate that within me to heal from that.

[00:10:40] The other one was forgiveness, because I can, can

[00:10:43] we slow down a little bit? Yeah. Because shame is like a buzzword these days. Mm. How would you describe what shame feels like to people? People sort of know they’re experiencing something, but it’s like, ugh, what

[00:10:57] is this?

[00:10:58] Yeah. You know, shame is, it needs a few things to operate and a couple things that it needs is for you to be silent for you to be secluded. Right. And for you not to, not to like speak up for yourself. Right? So shame is a very powerful feeling. I think. You co you get cowardice, you, you will coward back from things.

[00:11:23] You think that when others say and do something, you are extremely sensitive. So you get defensive. , Right? Because there’s something that is, that you think everybody’s against you because you know, they see you, they see something, and it’s not, you know, a lot of it’s not real. A lot of it is what we have been traumatized with and have made it that thing in our brain, right?

Shame Categories

[00:11:47] So when I had to go through shame, I had to. Put it into, And for me anyway, I had to put it in two categories. To me there was two different types of shame. There’s, there’s a, I call it a healthy shame. I know that’s a contradiction, but I’ll explain. And then the other one is a shame that is not, not for me, right?

[00:12:05] when my stepfather, for instance, was molesting me as a child, I felt extremely ashamed. And when I told my mother and she said, Shut up and stop lying. I immediately felt stupid and ashamed, so I carried that with me for a very long time. So all of the times that he was molesting me, I never said anything because I was ashamed.

[00:12:29] Yeah. And as I grew up, I realized, No, no, no, no, no. The shame is his and I’m make sure he gets it right back. He, he could take it with him, you know what I’m saying? So yeah, there you go. And so I went in and I actually confronted him. I called him my monster cuz he was my monster for a very long time.

[00:12:46] Yeah, he left my mother when I was about, when my mother left him when I was about 10 years old. So I didn’t see him again or even really wanna speak to him again until I was maybe 30 something and I went and I put my nose to his nose, my eyes to his. And I told him, I said, You know what? You did this and this and this.

Guilt and Shame

[00:13:03] He goes, I know what I did to you. I said, Do you cuz you were drunk half the time. He goes, Oh, I remember. And I, I know what I did. I said, Good. I said, You know what? I choose to forgive you. I choose it. Because I don’t feel like it, you know? I said, Cause if it was up to me, this would not be happening right now.

[00:13:21] I said, But I have a faith that I follow. I have a, I have my faith in God and I feel like the only way to release myself from this prison is to choose to forgive you. So I chose it. And then there’s that shame. If I do something to you, Miriam, and I know that it’s I moral and it’s wrong, I should be ashamed of myself.

[00:13:39] Yeah. So that I can change my behavior. Yeah. And do something different. Right? Yes. So that’s what I mean by the two types of shame.

[00:13:47] Yeah. I li I love that dis. Extinction. I’ve heard some people separated out like guilt and shame. Guilt is what you do, but shame is who you are. Right. And that you have to confront that.

[00:13:59] I cannot imagine the courage it took to face your monster

[00:14:05] in person. It was hard. It was hard. Yeah. You got guts, lady. Oh my gosh. I felt like I had no choice. Like I, That was like something I had to do, especially because he’s the father of my brothers. So he’s still alive. And I, I called my brother one day and I said, Okay, I’m ready.

Turn the Page

[00:14:22] He’s like, Ready for Wes, I’m ready to go see your father. He goes, For what? ? I think I was afraid of what I was gonna do, but you know, I was like, Yes, I’m a tough girl. Yes, yes, yes. But I’m not there to hurt him. I just, and you know what’s so funny, Miriam, the guy is like five feet, maybe four 11. Yeah. Right.

[00:14:40] But when you’re five years old and a man is beating you with a steel toe boot or beating your, Beating you to the point of cutting your back open, you know, stuff like that. Right. And you’re a child. That is a monster. And he is huge. They’re ginormous. They’re ginormous, right? Yeah. And so I, yeah, I chose to forgive them.

[00:14:58] And when I did that, he hugged me. I immediately felt that weight completely off of me. I was like, I am. I could literally walk away. And I am done. This chapter

[00:15:10] Miriam – is closed. Yes. Yeah, turn the page. That’s it. Yeah, that’s it. Okay.

[00:15:16] Forgiveness

[00:15:16] Miriam – So your number two thing was forgiveness, and I feel like you’ve already talked a bunch on that, but if you, you wanna add anything more to forgiveness?

[00:15:24] Neena: No, I mean, I think the only thing I wanna add to that is I just want you guys to know that it’s not gonna be a feeling. Yeah. I, I don’t feel like, I mean, I guess it could be a feeling, but for me it starts with a choice. It’s an action. It really starts with an action. It’s a choice. It’s a, you, Some people have gone through horrific, more horrific things than I, and some people hold on to unforgiveness for silly things too, right?

[00:15:49] We do. It depends on, on your metric, on, you know, But at the end of the day, you have to be with. And if you are struggling and you’re going through self sabotaging behaviors or you’re an all or nothing person, or you’re a perfectionist, or you’re going through these things that are stopping you from growing, you may wanna look into that.

[00:16:09] Yeah. And just choose. If Miriam had done something to me and I just choose to forgive Miriam, that doesn’t mean I got a ho. Go have coffee with Miriam. It doesn’t even mean that you have to do what I did. Right. That was just something I felt like I had to do. But that does not mean you have to do that.

[00:16:24] You can forgive them and move on. Yeah, choose it and sometimes choose it every day. Yeah. Must be real. It doesn’t just happen because you chose it. Yeah. No,

Control Fear

[00:16:35] Miriam – no. Those patterns in your brain of fear, and I’m gonna, I’m not saying you felt this, but people often feel fear or hatred or resentment or you know, terror, anxiety, all, you know, we mull over them and mull over them and they dig a path in our brain and I think the forgiveness process.

[00:16:55] And you would have to correct me if I’m wrong, is I choose to no longer mu over this anymore. Yeah. I release this, I release you. You know, whoever, you know, if you’re one of, if you are a believer in God, I have a strong faith as well. It’s like, God can deal with you. A my, my holding onto this isn’t punishing you anyway, whoever the you is, but B, it’s holding me hostage.

[00:17:24] Like when I talk to people, whether it is, it doesn’t matter your socioeconomic status, it doesn’t matter your gender, everybody wants to be happy. That’s what they say. You know, it’s like, and, and they go through different things trying to find happiness or joy. Yeah. Pretty much everybody. If you get like, Why?

[00:17:43] Why do you want this? Why do you want this? Why do you want, And you get it down to like the seventh, why? They’re like, Look, I just

[00:17:48] Neena – wanna be happy. Right? It’s like,

[00:17:50] Miriam –  okay, right. You’re not gonna be happy holding onto this thing that’s just around you. No matter what they did. You know, they may have stolen your past.

[00:18:01] Don’t let them steal your future.


[00:18:03] Neena – That’s it. Let it go. That’s it. I, I agree with that a thousand percent. And you know, I think. You also have to remember that you are in control of you. You’re in control of what you’re feeling. They might have done what they did. You have no control of that. You have no control of that.

[00:18:19] Yeah. But you do have control of you. Yes. And you also have to remember that there’s another strong piece to this, and it’s self forgiveness. Right. Because I think sometimes the most the, the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. Right. It’s, I, to me, it’s one of the most difficult things I had to do is to forgive myself for some choices that I had made that did not serve me well.

[00:18:42] Right? Yeah. Yeah. But the most important aspect of self-forgiveness is honoring yourself and knowing that you are, you are flawed, that you make mistakes and that it’s okay, you know, you don’t have to. You know, keep beating yourself up over the same mistake, but you can say, I made this mistake. And I’m gonna choose to forgive myself because I’m going to learn to change the tide here, love myself more, know I have one life, impact my life so I can impact others’ lives.

[00:19:11] It’s just as important as forgiving someone else. Oh my gosh.

High Performers

[00:19:15] Miriam –  I’m so glad you brought that up. That’s just so true. You know, my audience is primarily entrepreneurs and high performers, and so many times their drive. Comes from these spaces of whatever, abuse or hardship or neglect or whatever, and they said, You know, I grew up that way, but never again.

[00:19:37] And they don’t realize that that lack of self forgiveness, they think that that’s what makes them successful, right? And it’s like, no, you would be successful 10 x if you learned how to love yourself. And the people around you, whether it’s your team or your family, or you know, whoever, they would appreciate that too, because when you don’t love yourself, you don’t treat

[00:19:58] Neena: the people around you well.

 [00:20:37] Having Empathy

[00:20:37] Neena – Yeah. Well, you don’t have empathy, right? Yeah. And so and you, you miss a lot. You miss a lot, especially when you don’t forgive yourself. But one of the things happened when I, when I did this book, is I really had to forgive myself for, I, I had, I had abortions. I wrote, I wrote about it in the book. And and it hurt me for a very long time, but I just kind of suppress, suppress, suppress.

[00:20:58] And when I wrote the book, I had to confront it. And I remember talking to my husband at, at the dinner table. He’s like, What’s wrong? And I just broke like a dam. I was crying. It was bad. It was really bad. . He just sat there and held my aunt. But I realized that I needed that. I needed that. And I needed to say, You, my friends did the best you could with what you knew.

[00:21:20] Yes. And you got this. Yes, You got. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And so I’m learning. I’m still learning. I’m still learning. But it’s a beautiful, beautiful journey. Yeah. I’m

[00:21:30] Miriam – pretty sure Michael Angelo said at the age of like, somewhere in his mid eighties co impor. I am still learning. And I love that. I love that, that, you know, I mean, unless we’re dead, I hope we’re always learning right day after day after day, you know?

[00:21:49] So take us down your list. What’s number three?

[00:21:53] Standing in Truth

[00:21:53] Neena – standing in truth. I believe that there is you know, when you are going through shame, then going through the forgiveness piece, it’s important that you stand in truth of those things as well. Like I said, distinguishing shame. With what’s yours and what’s not yours, Taking personal responsibility, right?

[00:22:14] Mm-hmm. Having forgiveness for the truth of what happened. Not, not sugarcoating it, not saying it didn’t happen, not trying to avoid it, but actually looking at it. So standing in truth. In truth is a real big thing for me. I don’t deny things. I don’t lie. Things I don’t sugarcoat. My show is called Straight Talk, No Sugar Added

[00:22:34] It, it, this, it’s just not gonna serve you well, right? And it’s not going to help you. It’s not going to help you push forward. In fact, it impedes you, it stops you from being able to. See and feel and experience what’s really happening around you. So when I wrote this book, you know, standing in truth was really important cuz remember my mom and stuff, they’re still alive.

[00:22:55] You know, so I had to write this book, but standing in which what was true, regardless of other people’s feelings of what was going to be exposed, you know? Wow. That was tough.

[00:23:07] Miriam –  That, that’s tough. That takes, again, so much courage. I know so many authors who wait until their parents die before they write the truth.

Owning It

[00:23:16] Neena –  I considered it, she read about a chapter. Called me a complete liar and threw the book and didn’t speak to me for like six months. Yeah, yeah. Wow. And that’s okay. I expected it. I expected that we’re okay now we’ve healed. But yeah, it was, it was a tough one cuz I, you know, it was something that, you know, I, I grew up, you respect your mom, you just respect your mom, right.

[00:23:39] And that’s just what you do. But writing the book, I think felt to her like a bit of a smack in the. Because I exposed it and saw, I went to go visit her. It was about six months after the book was written or so, and she was done with me. And so she said, You lied. You lied. I said, Why mom? Why, why did I lie?

[00:23:57] Well, you said this. I said, this happened, this happened, this happened. You know what happened? I said, Okay, so now that we’re actually gonna talk about it, or at least I am, We’re just gonna go ahead. I said, we’re just gonna go ahead and just, I’m just gonna lay it out. And I did. And she did not like it, and I didn’t wanna hurt her.

[00:24:12] That wasn’t the intention. No. The intention was we can’t keep denying and lying. When I grew up, Miriam, it was in our household. What happens stays in the house. It doesn’t matter if the, because she was also abused. So domestic violence, all of that was something I grew up around. Alcoholism, all of that stayed in the.


[00:24:33] It didn’t matter. It didn’t matter how many people he did it to. It didn’t matter who he touched. It didn’t matter what happened. He stayed, it stayed in the house, and that’s where it stayed. So when I did this, Woo, it was like she opened up our door. What’s going here? It was bad. I had a, Yeah, I had some pushback, for sure.

[00:24:52] Yeah.

[00:24:53] Miriam – Well, you broke. You broke a family rule. Keep keep it silent and I’m impressed. That you were able to work it out with her, Because sometimes people can’t, Sometimes people just need the other person to acknowledge that it all happened and whatever, and it just goes south. It’s a testimony to just your vibrant, loving spirit that you were able to work it out with her. So well done.

Part of Forgiveness

[00:25:17] Neena: I had to. I had to thank you. Yeah. It’s a part of the forgiveness piece. Mm-hmm. , right? It’s a part of the, Yeah, and when I also owned my. I didn’t apologize for that because I didn’t have anything to do with that. But I did apologize for the hard time I gave her as I grew up. I gave her a hard time, but I gave her a hard time cuz I was angry with her.

[00:25:36] Yeah. You know? Cause she didn’t protect me and so but I said to her, I said, You know, mom, I’m sorry I gave you, I gave you a run for your money. She goes, You know what? I’m sorry too. That was the first time I’m 50 that she has ever apologized. Wow. I know. I took it. I didn’t even, I didn’t ask for an explanation.

[00:25:56] I took the, I’m sorry. I held it in my heart and that’s it. Yeah. Oh my gosh. So

[00:26:05] good. That is so good.

[00:26:07] Let Go 

[00:27:39] Give Yourself Space

[00:27:39] Miriam –  I love it. It reminds I was talking to my admin yesterday and she, I was asking if she’d had a good weekend and she said, Oh yeah, we went through our closets and we got rid of all of these things we don’t need anymore.

[00:27:52] And I said, Isn’t it. Awesome. Now you have this space and this openness and it feels like you lost weight. And she’s like, I love it. That’s what you’re talking about in an emotional, spiritual, psychological, all of that. You just get rid of that garbage. You don’t, It’s not that you’re pushing it down under, cuz when you ignore it, it always comes back to bite you.

[00:28:15] In the end. It, you have to deal with it. .

[00:28:19] Neena –  That’s the hard part, being self-aware. Woo, This is fun. Talk .

[00:28:25] Miriam –  All right, number five.

[00:28:26] Dream Big

[00:28:26] Neena –  Dreaming big. Yes. I realized that I was a very small thinker. And a lazy thinker. And what I mean by that is, is I’ve allowed many, many things circumstances, situations, media, whatever it is, influence my thinking and we follow along with the crowd.

[00:28:49] I’ve gone against a lot of things in my life. That’s why I’ve always been known as a straight talker. But there were things that I was accepting as my thoughts and belief systems that weren’t. So I’ve had to discover that for myself.

I decided that I’m going to stop being a small thinker and a lazy thinker. and that I’m gonna be somebody who actually does the research myself, checks things out for myself, does the reading for myself. and then open up my mind to dream big It has been that.

This whole process has all gone together, overcoming the shame learning to forgive standing in my truth. All of this is, is culminated to dreaming big, right? So that I can open up my space to all the different things that I need and want in my life, right? Yeah. So I, I think that all of this, at least for me, writing this, writing, just my autobiography alone, And I’ve written a couple of other little books here and there, but that one really helped me to dream Big Miriam and.

[00:29:52] Letting all those things go, like I, like I talked about, has, has really gotten me from a mindset of poverty, which I always had. I was always struggling and lacking and struggling and lacking. Even though I work really hard, it has nothing to do with that, right? Mm-hmm. . It’s just that I never thought I deserved more.

Open Your Mind

[00:30:11] Yeah. I just never thought that, and so now, Opening up your mind and dreaming like, Oh wow, I can actually, Why can’t I attain things in my life? Why can’t I serve others? Yes. You know, why can’t I have the things that others have? I never thought I could. And it was because I was just focused on working. I had to work, pay the bills, take care of my kids, work, pay the bills, take care of my kids, works.

[00:30:36] And I never looked up, you know, to take a deep breath. Yeah. And then when I did, All hell broke loose because Nina was like, All right, let’s go. So my goodness, year now, every year I dream big. Every year I get up, I say, Okay, this year, what am I going to do differently than I did last year? And that happened Miriam, because I used to journal.

[00:31:01] And when I opened up my journals, I realized that all I had to do was erase the number and put the new date in for the new year because it was a. every year. And I said,

[00:31:13] That’s a little shocking. That’s a wake up call. It was

[00:31:16] a wake up call. Yeah. And I realized every year I now dream a little bit bigger.

[00:31:21] Every year. A little bit

[00:31:22] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: bigger. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:31:24] Boundaries

[00:31:24] Miriam –  Can you give an example of thinking small versus thinking a little bit bigger that isn’t necessarily. Monetary. I wanna give, you know, I, I feel like I’m tracking with you. I know what you’re talking about. You’re speaking my language, , but I want some concrete examples.

[00:31:43] You know, I used to think this way and it was a series of steps, but now I think this way,

[00:31:52] Neena –  you know I think that one of the things that I’ve learned is boundaries. Boundaries was a big one for me. I didn’t have. Right. Because my boundaries were crossed since I was a child, right? And so I didn’t really have boundaries.

[00:32:09] I was either very angry or very submissive, you know what I’m saying? So it was, it was like really opposite spectrums. And I realized that I was always the yes person, the people pleaser, the, you know, going there, you know? And yeah, I fought some people, but most of the time if I really wanted you to like me, or if I wouldn’t really wanted to be accepted, Then I would be over the top serving all the time, doing all the, to the point of my exhaustion.

[00:32:37] Yeah. Right.

[00:32:37] Miriam –  What did you, you learn that you could say no to? Boundaries are like my pet project. I love Boundaries. Boundaries. Is


[00:32:44] Neena – it? Oh, I love that. I love that. You know, I learned that I don’t ha, I didn’t have to be everybody. This is just small, but I didn’t have to be everybody’s taxi. Right, because my family didn’t have a car.

[00:32:56] I was the one with the car. It was like, Oh, can you pick me up here? Can you drop me off there? Can you pick me up? And then one day I was like, No. What, what? What did you say? ? Right? The answer was no. And I, and I, and let me tell you, it’s not easy, Miriam. I hung up the phone and I felt this overwhelming guilt.

[00:33:18] Yeah. You know, like, Oh my gosh, that was not nice, you know? Yeah. And then I said, No, you sit your behind right here. What does this feeling feel like? And this is before I knew about self development. This is just me talking to myself. What does this feel like? Why does you feel this way? Is this really the truth?

[00:33:36] This is me talking to me like, before I even knew what self development was, but I realized that every time you, you put a boundary, Not only are they gonna be uncomfortable, you are going to be uncomfortable. Yes. Yeah. You have to learn to be uncomfortable, you know? Yes. Because your life gets a hell of a lot easier, Miriam, Let me tell you.

[00:33:59] Nobody calls me today, .

[00:34:03] Be OK with Discomfort

[00:34:03] Miriam – I don’t. Know why in our era, our country, our society, you know, if you’re in PE or you have an athletic trainer, they tell you if you work out this muscle, you’re gonna be sore, drink a lot of water, it’s gonna be sore. It’s not a big deal, it’s just normal.

[00:34:24] But nobody tells you when you stretch yourself emotionally. Yeah, it’s gonna be uncomfortable. And what you described, you did such a good job of describing how it feels. When you give someone a legitimate no, it’s legitimate. You aren’t everyone’s taxi driver. And I remember the first time I told somebody I was no longer going to be attending all these meetings and they looked at me like I was crazy.

[00:34:51] I said, I still wanna be involved. Send me the minutes. I’m not gonna attend these meetings anymore. And my gosh, Yeah. My life, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Right? You know, . But for a while there was that feeling of, Oh, are they gonna be mad at me? And how is this gonna look to people and blah, blah.

[00:35:12] And you have to get over that space and say, Now I’m not talking about being a selfish jerk. The people who need boundaries are like, Oh, I can’t. I can’t, I can’t. The people who don’t need boundaries are already selfish saying no to everything. If you say no constantly. You do a little evaluation and find out if you can be a little more giving.

[00:35:33] But in general, most people don’t understand actual boundaries where I end and where you begin. Where you end. Yeah, where I begin.

[00:35:46] You Can Say No

[00:35:46] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Well, now I just say no is a complete sentence. Because what, what used to happen, and I think, I don’t know if this is more women, but it it because I work more with women.

[00:35:55] I think it is, and you know, from what I’ve observed is that we tend to say no with an explanation. And and I’ve given the women that I’ve been working with permission to just say, no. Without the explanation unless it’s needed. Right, Right. Cause you don’t have to be rude. No. But but if you’re saying no and the person’s like all offended and all over the place, cuz you’re saying no, you don’t have to explain.

[00:36:17] That’s their emotion. And they need to deal with that emotion. Yes, Yes. And you need to be okay. And I think that’s the hardest thing, at least for the women I’ve worked with and myself, was to say no. Pause, like, just literally just stop my mouth from speaking, right? Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. , but boundaries has been a beautiful, beautiful thing to learn.

[00:36:39] I’m sure I still have some to do, but the, the great part was, is that I started it in my life, but it has transitioned to my work as well. I’ve of course put boundaries up. I have to. Absolutely.

[00:36:50] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: You have to. Otherwise it takes over your whole life. It does, yeah. And there are so many ways. I love your sentence that you don’t have to give a reason.

Make and Keep Commitments with Yourself

[00:36:59] I echo that a thousand times. There are other ways you can say, You can also say no. You can say no, but thank you for asking. Yeah. Or you can say can I get back with you in 24 hours? And then you can say no when you’re not with them. Some like the straight up no is a hard one for people to learn. They have to work up to that.

[00:37:22] Yeah. So there’s some, there’s some no steps that are, you can be gracious and not let the other person run your life. I can remember teaching people. , you can say, No, I’m sorry. I have a commitment already. That commitment doesn’t have to be to someone else. Sometimes that commitment was to myself. Mm-hmm.

[00:37:45] I had already said, I’m gonna spend X amount of time doing whatever. It wasn’t open space for someone else to run in and just, you know, run all over it. I’m a big fan of, of being truthful. And that was the truest thing. I actually had a commitment to myself, and when you keep commitments to yourself, then your shoulders go back and you walk a little taller and you value yourself differently.

[00:38:12] So I love, love, love. It’s so true that you’re a boundary person.

[00:38:17] Neena –  Yeah, I am . I’ve grown to be right. I wasn’t always, but you know, I think anybody, even in business, you know, you don’t have to, I always say that everything that glitters isn’t gold, right? Mm-hmm. . And so you know, one of the things that’s I think more difficult for entrepreneurs and, and leaders and stuff is to say no to another, yet another opportunity.


[00:38:38] Yeah, another opportunity, right? Yes. Because there’s thousands of them. You know, sometimes, especially if you’re on the online space, you’re gonna get bombarded with emails and texts and messages about go join this group and that group and join here and go this. And if you don’t learn to say no. Or this is not for me right now, you know?

[00:38:58] You are going to run yourself ragged and you’re gonna get very frustrated. I know. I was, yeah. I was trying to join everybody’s group that I liked them as people, so I joined everything. But then I realized that I felt bad at the end because I couldn’t commit to it all. Yes. Right, right. So it’s a boundary to you too, like you said, maybe committing to.

[00:39:18] And just saying no, because you need to, because you can’t say yes to

[00:39:21] everything

[00:39:22] Miriam – because we’re finite. We’re human beings. We are not, you know, digital bits that can be just, you know, shaved into smaller and smaller pieces. Right. It’s like we’re, we’re living and we need open space and we need time to reflect.

[00:39:38] We need time to connect with the people we love. We need the time to do our. own Jobs

[00:39:44] and it’s so easy to, at different junctures in your life, to be the yes man or woman where it’s like whatever the other person you wanna be liked and you wanna help and you want you, and then you lose your way. Mm-hmm. , so.

[00:39:59] Mm-hmm. , this has been really, really good.

[00:40:01] Noisy World

[00:40:01] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Tell me about some of the things that you are, maybe the concepts you’re chewing on right now, like in, at present day.

[00:40:09] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Yeah, I’m thinking about a lot of things, right?

[00:40:11] So it’s getting busier and so now I have to start making some choices. Yes. You know, of how I will manage that calendar and, and schedule. Because you know what, Miriam, I also discovered that it’s very noisy in this world.

[00:40:24] It’s getting very noisy in my calendar. Yeah. So I, so that’s what I’m chewing on right now. How do I want to also be good to self, good to myself, good to my spouse, right? My children are all adults now, thank God. But my husband still needs time too. And when I’m coming home every day, like, sorry, got a coaching call.

[00:40:44] Sorry, babe, about dinner, you know, is in the pot. I’m gonna go downstairs. That’s not good either, right? No. So that’s what I’m chewing on my, my boundaries in life, you know, what I’m going to bring to the table, to this world, and what’s the best way for me to show up. I also try to now put everything in perspective of is it serving me or not serving me?

[00:41:04] And so I’m really just expanding who I am as a human being. Yeah.

Shed Your Shell

[00:41:09] Miriam –  Yeah. I appreciate you sharing that. The it, I mean, some people don’t like these analogies, but in order for a crab to get bigger, it has to shed its shell, you know, it breaks that shell and then it comes out and it’s all pink and soft and then it gets a new shell that’s bigger.

[00:41:27] I love that a snail has to like come out and go into a new one, or, I mean, not to get gross, but bugs have to do it too. And snakes like we have. Crack open pieces of us and get rid of it in order to move into that next phase, that next space, that next level. And part of moving into that next level is saying that used to serve me that idea that habits, that behavior, that relationship.

[00:41:56] And I’m grateful for it, but it isn’t taking me into this next space in life that’s, right You know, and that’s right. If we believe that we’re here for a purpose, each of us is looking for that space, How do I maximize why I’m here? How do I, not in a bad way, but how do I earn the oxygen that I breathe? What, what makes it worth me?

[00:42:20] You know, taking up this space. It’s this giving to the other people. It’s giving to the people in your, you know, your immediate area, your spouse. I, I really appreciate that you talked about

[00:42:32] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: that.

[00:42:33] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: If you’re serving all of them and you lose this close to you mm-hmm. , that’s no good,

Find Order in Your Life

[00:42:38] Neena –  right? Mm-hmm. , Well, I was always like that.

[00:42:41] I was always like driven to work really hard, you know, like give my blood, sweat and tears to everything I put myself into. If my marriage is falling apart, that doesn’t make any sense because at the end of the day, he’s the one that takes care of me when I’m not. Not my job, not my company, not my business, none of that.

[00:42:58] My husband does. Yeah. Yeah. And so he comes first. It’s God, then my family, then it’s business work, all that stuff. Right? So that’s, that’s the order in my life. And and you know, I think I do a, a practice where I think things in my life, so like the old thinking, like you just said, you know, You know.

[00:43:16] Thank you for having, I actually do. I thank it. Yeah. I. The abuse in my life because it’s made me the strong woman that I am today, and I learned a lot from it. I learned not to be abused. It showed me how to see abuse in others to see if I can help in some way. Mm-hmm. , you know? Mm-hmm. , I’ve learned to pour into nonprofits that work with domestic violence.

Invest in You

[00:43:36] Right. So, So I think that issue, I think that experience, I don’t wanna go back to it, but I thank it. Right? Yeah. Same thing with the old ways of thinking. You know what, I used to think before that I, I thought you could squirrel away nickels and dimes to try to save some money to be, you know, wealthy. One day was actually making me impoverished until I realized that I needed to invest in me.

[00:44:00] Mm-hmm. and. You know, and so when I took my investment and I put it in my education and I put it in me, and I put it in my business, now I’m thrive. , right? Because I got out of the squirrly. Small thinking. Yes. And I think we all have to do it one step, one, one degree at a time. One step at a time. It’s taking 15 years.

[00:44:19] It’s not like I just got up as like you, I got this. No, . Not how that happens. No,

[00:44:25] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: But I would bet that there was an aspect of I got this. For that time, that age of you, that version of you Oh yeah. Got that nugget and you ran with it, and now this age of you and this version of you is getting the nugget and running with it.

[00:44:43] Do It Afraid

[00:44:43] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Before we end, what, what would you tell your younger self? If you could just say something straight to her, what would you say?

[00:44:51] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Do it afraid. Do it anyway. Just do it anyway. Cuz I used to live a lot in fear. Of getting in trouble, fear of getting hurt, fear of what will happen to me.

[00:45:03] I always say to myself, Listen girl, you’ve got this. Do it afraid. Do it. You got this. Oh, I love that,

[00:45:11] Miriam – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: Nina, thank you so, so much. My audience knows that we do a donation in your name to one of four charities you chose Best Friend’s Animal Sanctuary because you said that you had rescued quite a few dogs and cats.

[00:45:26] So we’re gonna do that in your name. Thank you for this time and just your wisdom and your enthusiasm. What a joy. And you better believe I’m gonna be. You know, knocking on your door, you know, six months or a year from now and saying, Hey, let’s do this again.

[00:45:42] Neena – LeaveBetter Podcast Ep. 19: This was good. This was so fun. Thank you for having me, Miriam.

[00:45:46] Thank you. You’re welcome.

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.