Can you have grace for a wide range of views or do your heels dig in causing stress and misery. This is an unfiltered riff on Both/And – expansion and range in our thinking and being.
Hey, Hey. Allison Crow, Better Life Better Work podcast, episode number 69, which always makes me think of my high school boyfriend because he thought it was so fucking funny to have that as his football number. This is an unfiltered riff on both/and. Here’s what we’re doing today, I am recording this live on Facebook. It is noon on Friday, and I like to have my podcast recorded by Wednesday. I have had this wonky week. I’m coming off of Soulie Weekend away, and in my brain, I was thinking that this episode was about Soulie Weekend away. I’ve got some of my own thoughts processing, and I’ve got some of my clients’ thoughts processing to share with you, and we will do that in a later episode.
I didn’t get it done Wednesday. I thought I would do it yesterday. So this morning I had it planned to do it, and still, I’m coming up against all this resistance. Part of the resistance that I am experiencing in my mind is a lot of conversations I’ve been seeing and paying a little bit too much attention to is rubbing up against my self-trust, and then also this obligation I put on myself to create the next week’s podcast for you guys. I’ve made a commitment to show up every single week. I will tell you it is working. I am meeting new people. I am getting new clients.
Today’s podcast episode recorded live on Facebook … Hi, Facebook watchers. Thank you. I’m not going to be as interactive as normal since I am recording for the podcast. But, I am modeling imperfect commitment and imperfect leadership. The reason I went live is that as I calmed my fucking brain down and got into my body, I heard “connect with your people.” Sometimes recording the podcast here in my office and studio with my dogs, I feel like I’m just talking to the microphone. And as your names and faces, whether you stay or not … I mean, I’d love for you to stay, but I get that you have a life. As your names and faces come on the screen, I feel the connection – that is the reason I do this.
Today I have not … Let me just forewarn you. I am in the process of thinking through some experiences I’ve had. I have done an episode before of both/and. The theme of Camp Star Heart next year is “Both/And.” Clearly Spirit and life are teaching me this concept of range and both/and. And sometimes it’s wildly liberating and sometimes it’s so frustrating. This is another both/and episode because this conversation keeps coming up, and it’s dynamic. It’s always changing.
The first thing that happened was … So I have a marketing team, you guys. I have a marketing team, and there is somebody on my marketing team that watches and listens to everything I do and say. She listens to my formal stuff. She listens to my podcast. She watches my live videos. What I love that she does is she takes things that I say and turns them into content in places that I don’t normally run around. So my Twitter feed, if you’re following me on Twitter, is a combination of my far left Trump frustration, watching too much news, and life coaching shit, and awesome stuff.
I have a few people that I interact with, some of my clients and some of my colleagues that I interact with there on Twitter. And last week, one of the tweets that came up with something that has come out of myself and it said, “What if you didn’t take things personally?” This is coming from this concept from Don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements. What if you didn’t take things personally? Someone I don’t know responded as if she was curious, but I realized later she was pushing back on it, which she has the right to push back. She’s a therapist that works with traumatized people. I’m a life coach and a business coach, and sometimes trauma comes up and some of my clients have experienced trauma. But generally, when someone comes to me with trauma, I refer them to somebody who’s trained as a trauma specialist.
It was interesting because at first, I thought this one was actually really curious about that concept. I didn’t know if she’d heard it or not. And it turns out she was telling me that I was wrong for saying people shouldn’t take things personally, which I never said. I just asked the question, “What if you didn’t take it personally?”
But it had me think right. When somebody tells me I’m wrong, obviously, part of me wants to say that I’m right, and part of me is … I’ve learned to be open-minded and go, “Okay, help me understand what you’re thinking.” It’s not really worth getting in a Twitter argument.
At the end of the day, it was funny because there’s the agreement to take nothing personally, then there’s also the agreement on “Make no assumptions.” I got kind of smart-ass and I was … I can’t remember what she said, but she said something back, and I was like, “Oh well … ” Then we go to the next agreement, which is don’t make any assumptions. I don’t know what she’s doing in her therapy work, and she doesn’t know what I’m doing in my coaching work. I do not believe that the question “What if you take nothing personally?” has to apply to everything. So that was one area that it came up.
The other one is a much-beloved mentor of mine has had a series of posts lately, one rumbling about the life coaching world and our obsession with money. I didn’t take it personally from her, but it hit something in me because I am in the life coaching world, and one of my journeys is money, and one of my vehicles is money. So I felt the rumble inside. (I might have been rubmling with taking it personally, haha!).
Then, I had another colleague share something about self-care. Meanwhile, this week, one of the big insights we had in one of my classes was the term “self-care.” When I think of self-care, I’m not thinking of yoga, and massages, and nails. When I think of self-care, I’m thinking of my own mental care, and all these things are true. One of my colleagues said something about self-care that was true for her… Again, I experienced this other confronting thing about personal development, about self-care, about spiritual teachings that I teach and use.
My mentor also put out something last night, and I’ve always known that she is very anti this one very popular teacher, which is fine. Some of that teacher’s tools have actually liberated me from pain and suffering. I am sure that there are people who have experienced all kinds of modalities that don’t work for them. There was another little layer in me that was like, “Well, if she’s right, then I’m wrong,” right? And then I start getting into doubt. Am I using tools that are causing trauma in my clients? My experience is … I can only know if I’m hurting my clients only as much as they tell me I’m causing trauma, but my experience with my clients is I’m using a variety of modalities and constantly reinforcing “trust what works for you.”
This also happened in a tactical way this week. We had the first class of Share Your Heart Show Your Work 2.0, and one of the things I encouraged my clients to do was take their personal profile public. It’s not an absolute. I’m not a dictator of your business. Naturally, some people are … They’re not using their personal profile to share the heart and show your work. They’re doing their private stuff on it. So it brought up some visibility stuff. It brought up like, “What do I want the world to see?” And that’s part of the intention.
One of my clients came back and very beautifully said, “For right now I am going to keep my personal profile locked down, and I will do a few public posts intentionally.” And then she’s going to continue on our business page. I was like, “that is perfect.” What I loved … And that’s what I explained. I had a couple of other clients that are in this program and part of what we’re doing is actively sharing our heart, showing our work. We’re not just consuming the content. And one of my clients came and asked, “Is it okay that I’m not selling anything right now? I actually just wanted to be in this class and learn the concepts.” My response, the heart of my response, is that it is so okay to be you.
I get that in the personal development world we have these tools. And there’s the key point. These are all tools. They’re not the end-all-be-all. And it’s one of the reasons I realized that I’m really proud to have a renaissance business, and a renaissance brain, and a Mary Poppins bag full of modalities. I am not a master of one modality. What I am a master of, is a master of self-trust, possibility, and options.
I think that I’m tender today because I’m just emotionally tired. I’ve worked most of the last two weeks. I took a little bit of time off in the week, but I didn’t really give myself integration time after the retreat. But it’s interesting, these spiritual platitudes, this …
… Let me see if I can put this into words. I’m going to take a sip of my drink. The other thing I’ve noticed … So I do have … I did listen to The Way of Mastery this morning and it was so funny. The topic of mastery this morning was self-care, which is funny. I so get where people who are working with people in trauma are. And I am not an expert in anybody’s trauma other than my own and what has helped me heal from my own. I have a little bit of intimate knowledge of the people in my family’s trauma and some of my clients.
This woman on Twitter was saying things like the four agreements and people like Byron Katie do nothing but harm. I can see where sometimes those modalities don’t fit the service that a client might need. I can see where sometimes mindset coaching can be spiritual or emotional bypassing, but I can also see where mindset coaching has been liberating. I see the both/and of it. I have seen trauma held onto as a badge. I have held on to trauma as a badge, and what healed it was a combination of actually feeling the feelings and releasing it in my mindset. It wasn’t an either/or. I don’t know what it will be like for other people.
But, it was so frustrating to have this woman pushing back at me. And it’s my own thing when I see this mentor that I love saying these things. She has the right to say them. She has the right to believe them. She has a right to think it’s not right, and it triggers my need to be right. Then I remember, what if I trusted myself? What I have found is that when I don’t attach to an all-or-nothing mindset in religion, in politics, which is kind of hard for me, I’m working on that too, another great teacher for me, in trauma healing, in psychology, in mindset, in spirituality, things move in a beautiful way. My body opens up. My clients’ bodies open up.
I had an experience once. And like I said, this is just a riff, so I’m unfiltered. I’m not structured. I’m just sharing what’s on my heart to share with you guys, the conversation that I’m in. It’s so interesting how our brain wants to go for the security of being right, of knowing the thing, of having an agreement.
My coach this morning pointed out a question somebody asked to her. She’s like, “What they’re really wanting is surety in the answer.” I notice when I want my old mentor to agree with me, at least partly, or I want some stranger who doesn’t know me on Twitter to agree with me, what I’m wanting is to trust myself.
When I can pause and think, “If I trusted myself, what works for me in this moment?” And sometimes what works for me in this moment is a spiritual platitude. And sometimes what works for me in the moment is, as we talked at Soulie Retreat, is sensating, is … I’m using the verb “sensate” to feel instead of feeling. Because usually when I’m saying the words to feel, I feel something, I’m usually thinking it.
What it was this morning was I just allowed myself to feel the sensations of the anxiety and the frustration I was feeling. I allowed myself to feel, to sense the tightness in my back, and the flutter in my chest, and the dryness in my throat, and the tingly in my brain, and the sweat under my armpits.
Another one that comes up is this idea of being self-centered and a few things I’ve seen. I notice this in the conversation of diversity and inclusion. I have actually … I’m listening. I’m learning. I’m filtering. And a lot of times in diversity inclusion, there’s this when you do it this way, it’s selfish. It took me 45 years to learn to be selfish. Being self-centered is the greatest gift of my life, not just to me but to anybody in my orbit. So it goes against what I feel, what I know, what I think is true for me.
So same thing that topic and that topic from one of my colleagues, beloved colleagues came up that like this idea and this concept that society has put on all of us in self-care, and I get what she’s saying. I totally get what she’s saying. Not everybody can run or do yoga. I think that life coaching is a privileged field. I posted something the other day and my sweet not real sister, but a lifetime family friend sister pushed back on a question I asked. I can’t remember the question. But she was like, “That’s kind of a privileged statement,” and I work in a privileged world. Who has fucking money for life coaching, right? I mean, and I also realize, I don’t know, is it a luxury? That it’s a luxury to be able to do mindset work. I don’t know.
All this stuff, when I over-consume information, is bombarding me. What I am come coming to that brings me peace is, A), I’m willing to feel my discomfort. Feeling my discomfort helps me feel peace, that there’s nothing wrong with me wanting to feel peace, giving my mind peace and that … I don’t have to be miserable, and I can also … I can feel uncomfortable and peaceful at the same time.
This concept of being selfish and giving, and I have found that the more I am self-centered, the more pure my giving is. In the past, I was so giving to everybody and accommodating. It was subconscious manipulation. It was manipulation so that you’d fucking like me. When I began to honor, and trust, and do my own work, and take my own responsibility, even … Not that trauma happened to me, but what use was blaming the trauma giver? I could see it, but when I owned my experience, when I own my experience of life, when I own my mindset about life, when I own my … When I own Allison …
[Dog whining sounds] Clementine, we are recording a podcast right now. It is not a good time to do that. Come here, babe. Come. Clemmie, come.
When I own it, I have a whole different experience of life, and I become strong and confident, and able to do hard things, able to experience discomfort, able to embody and feel my emotions. And then the work that I put out in the world it’s because I am full instead of trying to get something from you. I feel like my help is more in integrity than in manipulation for needing to be liked. I still have some needing to be liked, for sure.
One of the things that came aware in this concept of both/and, right? So the concept of taking nothing personally can be both a platitude that might cause harm, and it can also be liberating, both/and. It can be helpful, and it can be harmful. Well, how do we know what’s different? Hello! Discernment and self-trust. One of the things I’m teaching my clients is not only this buffet of options for growth, and help, and enoughness.
[Dog whining sounds] Clemmie, come here. Clemmie, come. Come here. Sorry, podcast listeners, not sorry. Whatever. This is my life. My dog wants some attention. She wants it outside, so she’s going to get it inside.
What I’ve come up with is … And this is the tool I want you to share. It’s discernment in the moment. When you begin to listen to your intuition combined with your brain, when you know how to be curious about your brain, when you know how to question your thinking in a loving way, not in a shame, blame, and guilt way, but when you begin to learn to discern, when you begin to learn to discern, you can make adjustments in the moment.
For example, there was a woman… She’s not actually my client, but we were in a small group together at an event, and she brought an issue to the table. I listened, and I could hear in my own discernment this woman doesn’t need coaching. She needs to be held. She’s a grown-ass woman who holds everybody else, and we happen to be … And this has happened a couple times. I have this discernment flag that goes off where I can smell it, and I can see it, and I’m projecting it because sometimes I need to be held.
I asked for permission. I said, “May I offer some support in this?” And she said yes. Everybody else was trying to mindset coach her, and I could see that it wasn’t hitting. I said, “Can I come and sit next to you,” or, “Could you come over here and sit on my lap?” And I said, “I would like to just hold you, the little girl in you. I’d like to hold the little girl in you.” Then we’ve got the whole Me Too issue. Is this creepy? But you know, I would like to hold you. Can I just hug you? She sat on my lap, and I just hugged her, and rocked her, and she started sobbing. In that group, she later … It was very vulnerable. It’s vulnerable for her to do it in that group. She said it was so helpful. My discernment was what helped me give her something that helped her heal. She needed just physical touch, a somatic experience, and to be witnessed.
Then other times, my discernment, and my knowledge of my clients, and my ability to tap into that inner wisdom and discernment tells me that my client needs a mindset adjustment, that they need a new thought pattern, right? So it’s not all or nothing. What I have found, the answer to everything isn’t meditation. The answer to a lot of things for me is meditation. Sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes the answer is running and doing hardcore calisthenics. Is that even a word these days? Does that date me?
The systems and the models in coaching and sales. I saw a post today about momming. There are so many different ways to mom, and I shared … There are so many different ways to be a helper and a healer in this world, right? Some people are helped by Western medicine and some people aren’t. Some people are oppressed by the notion of self-care and some people are liberated by it.
I am not here … This is the hardest part for me, my ego. I’m not here to serve everybody. I’m first here to reconcile my truth with myself, and then I have chosen a position to share the things that have helped me and helped my colleagues and friends. I share those with clients who resonate with me, and I share that with my audience who are not all clients. And you do not have to agree with everything I said. In fact, when I push your buttons, check-in, discern and trust yourself.
Releasing the absolute. Releasing the absolute in religion has freed me. Releasing the absolute in politics is something I’m working on, and I don’t … Releasing the absolute does not make you a non-decider. I think that was one of my ego’s ways of trying to protect me. Well, if everything is perfect, and if there is no judgment, and if this is all supposed to be happening, does it take away from my activism? Does it take away my passion? Does it take away my sense of justice? At first, I thought that’s what would happen. And in fact, the opposite happens. I get more clear, more clear by giving myself a choice from the range. I actually get more clarity than when I have to have an absolute narrow definition of something.
Through this process of giving myself both/and, permission to be wildly confident, wildly insecure, permission to be eloquent and impactful, and permission to be a blabbering blunder, I am liberating myself and my clients. Apparently it’s having an impact on my clients. This weekend, one of my clients said to me … So this is a client that she’s been working with me for … Her second payment hasn’t even gone through, so she’s been working with me for less than a month. She’s written a whole bunch of contracts at way higher than she’s ever written before within the first two weeks of working with me.
She was able to come to the Soulie Weekend away, and one of the things she said to me in her Caribbean/Cuban accent was, “Allison, all that coachy stuff you do is okay, but you’re fucked up extra, extra is what I really like.” What she was telling me was these places between cracks that the rest of the world would say is not leadership, is not perfection, is not right are the places where she’s been liberated. If I followed all the narrow definitions of what is right, and what is acceptable, and what is tolerable, A, I would not know who the fuck I am, B, I wouldn’t know how to help my clients know who the fuck they are, and I would not have developed my sense of self-trust.
Yesterday, I asked on my Facebook wall, “What would you do if you were confident?” Not what are your dreams, but what would you do if you were confident, which is a different question because we make up in our minds that we’re not confident. But the more I trust myself and I be me in the way that I want to be me, the more confident I get. And the more I realize both in my personal life, and in my professional life, and in my life of service beyond that, beyond my own little bubble, I make an impact. And the more I trust myself and care for myself, the more I’m able to love and support other people. It is an oxymoron. Maybe that’s the word. I don’t know. I can’t remember my literary thingamajigger bobbers. Both/and, giving ourselves range, being professional as professional and unprofessional as professional. Redefining what success looks like, redefining what leadership looks like, redefining everything. But that’s what’s so funny. The word define doesn’t even work because defining it squeezes it in.
Back to the lady on Twitter, I so get what you’re saying and I can imagine. She works with clients of rape and marital infidelity, and I can imagine that right now those clients have a need and it is in service to take that personally because a lot of times as victims we end up not feeling it. We literally leave our bodies. Sometimes we are tender with our victimizers instead of tender with ourselves. So for her purposes, I can see where take nothing personally is offensive. I just know that for me being offended caused so much fucking and misery. There is enough pain.
And for my clients who those are not our predominant conversations, occasionally something like that comes up. But I am a life and business coach. Often, while things come up, we are not here just for the sole purpose of healing trauma and infidelity. I can see that it’s the theory of relativity, right? So I am still committed to both/and range. I am committed to giving myself permission to disagree with even my mentors and my beloved colleagues, which triggers something deep inside of me. But you know what heals that? Is not taking it personally. That’s what works for me.
And if it doesn’t work for you, if my modalities or another coach’s modalities don’t work for you or … It’s no different than dressing. Do you know what works for me? Jeans, and a cute t-shirt, and a flannel shirt, and these darling earrings from one of my neighbors, and my little blue cat eyeglasses. These things work for me, and I have experimented with a range.
I want to remind myself and you guys, if at the end of the day nobody else’s opinion mattered, what works for you? And when it works for you, how will you treat the people around you, right? Because we don’t all live in a bubble. We live in a community. We live in context. I can’t rescue everybody on the fucking planet, but I can be kind to those around me. I can vote kind. I can use my time, my money to give back in the communities, both online, off, personally, professionally, and community-wise to make a difference. But I can’t rescue everybody. And needing to rescue or serve everybody, it’s not possible.
Okay. Thank you for letting me blab my way to brilliance. Thank you for letting me have an unfiltered riff. Perhaps I’m just building my confidence and giving you permission to have confidence. I don’t want to put my heels in the ground. I want to take a stand and be a decider. And today what I’m being a decider is of having an open heart and an open mind of me not taking things personally, and when I offer up any tool to my clients it is never the rule.
In fact, in my coaching group, we were discussing this the other day. Someone sent me a message once and were like, “Can you remind so-and-so of the rules of the group?” And I said, “I don’t have rules in the group.” I don’t have rules in my Facebook group. I do not have community guidelines in my coaching membership. I do something different. I want my clients to not be bound by rules. I want them to choose themselves in integrity how they show up in the world. I don’t want to have to be the one that says, “You can’t be an asshole in this group.” Don’t you think they might know that for themselves? I don’t tell my clients they can’t sell. And it’s interesting because so many other people have these, and they have the right to do it. They have the right to structure their groups.
I have found that the glorious discomfort of giving range … I both have a container and I give permission. What I am finding, maybe that’s what I do. At one point I had a coaching conversation with my coach when I was working with Rich Litvin, and that’s what came up. I’m just giving you permission to not do it the way the world tells you because … And why can I do that? Because I’m giving myself permission to do both/and.
Self-trust and resilience are my security. My modalities are not my security. They’re helpful. As I look at my desk, I see … It’s so funny I see this on my desk. I have the books behind me, which are my favorites. Then I have the books that are hand reach that you can’t see. I guess nobody on the podcast can see. It is a combination of logistic books, and mindset books, and spiritual books, and journals. I have some modalities. I have some things that some of my favorite people in the world think are utter bullshit. I have some things that some of the most logistical proud business people in the world think are utter bullshit. And you know what? My little buffet, my little chili mix here, my little gumbo mix works for me. And I do share my heart and show my work with my clients. I share my tools. I use my tools. And at the end of the day, my primary message is, what feels good and true to you? What is your takeaway? What will work for you?
I want all of us to quit. It’s interesting because as a leader and as somebody who’s a teacher, people are looking at me. They want to know. They want to know my advice. I’m happy to give my damn advice, but my advice always comes with a couple of caveats, and one is my advice is probably based on my paradigm. Number two, my advice is if it resonates, take it. And if it doesn’t resonate, toss it in the trash. What works for you? So my advice is only an experiment for anybody who wants to take my advice. See how it works. It’s just another alternative.
So I’m going to go back to my original question that was on Twitter that started this Twitter argument with somebody. It wasn’t even about politics, Jesus. That was what was so weird. It’s like I expect to fight. I don’t fight on Twitter about politics, but I expected the pushback to be about that, and I’ve just gotten a lot of pushback about these various modalities or things that have been really nurturing to me, and I get it.
What’s possible if we don’t take things personally? What’s possible if we give ourselves permission to create a range of possibilities and use discernment in any given moment for the right tool, or the right healing modality, or the right thought, or the right way to mom, or the right way to self-care? What if there is no right way? There’s only the way that is right for you in this moment.
With that, thank you for those of you who are here live. Thank you for my podcast replay viewers. Yeah, podcast or not replay. Video replay. Podcast listeners, I so appreciate you. You guys are starting to come out of the woodwork and introduce yourselves to me. I always love that.
Right now, I have no call to action to sell you anything. At some point, either at the end of the year or at the beginning next year, we’ll be opening up the membership again. So if you want to get on the waitlist for the membership, I’d love to have you. My one-on-one roster is full right now. We have just closed the doors to Share Your Heart Show Your Work.
I want to thank you for being here with me and for listening. And I would love to hear your thoughts. What are you taking personally? What really drives you nuts? My mentor is really bombed out about how life coaches want to help people make money and Byron Katie. And my wonderful colleague is really wrestling with her new version of what she thinks self-care is. She used to be this self-care guru, and she’s really … She’s got some new thoughts on how that’s been corrupted. I am finding all or nothing limits everything for me. When I first started experimenting with it, I thought my brain would explode and I would become nothing, but it’s actually created more peace, self-confidence, actually more strength of belief.
So that’s what I got today. Thanks for spending time with me, and I will see you or hear you … Actually, I won’t hear you. You’ll hear me next week on episode number 70.