059. Surrendering to the Facts to Realize Opportunity with Madeleine Black

By on July 30, 2019


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The sharing of her story of sexual assault publicly On The Forgiveness Project’s website in September 2014, opened many doors for Madeleine in ways she never imagined and the invitations started to pour in.

Many women and men got in contact and explained how reading her story gave them strength, hope, and a different perspective of what’s possible in their lives.

The founder of The Forgiveness Project, Marina, often refers to the various people on her website as  “story healers” rather than “storytellers” and now she completely understood why.

She has taken part in both TV and radio interviews and has been invited to share her story of being gang raped as a teenager at conferences, events and schools.

She recognises that she was a victim of a crime that left her silent for many years, but has now found her voice and intends to use it.  Not just for her, but for so many who can’t find theirs yet. Her memoir, Unbroken, was published on April 4th2017.

As a note, Madeleine story of her is very real, very powerful and may be difficult for some to hear. It also may not be appropriate for children to hear, so please use your discretion when listening.

Key Points from the Episode with Madeleine Black:

  • Madeleine started sharing her story a few years ago to help end the shame and stigma around sexual violence. Her message intends to inspire people to realize it isn’t what we experience that matters, it’s what we do.
  • Madeleine was raised by parents who had survived great ordeals themselves, which she says may be part of why she’s so resilient. Her father was a Holocaust survivor, and her mother survived and ultimately recovered from a traumatic neck injury that put her life on hold for years.
  • When Madeleine was 13, she and a friend got drunk for the first time and met two boys who they took back to her mother’s flat (apartment) in London. These boys ended up raping Madeleine and committing other violences against her, which was the focus of our conversation.
  • The boys were sons of US diplomats who Madeleine knew. This is quite common where the perpetrators are known to their victim.
  • Years after, a friend had pushed her to write her story down. That friend, a man, felt that her words were so important for men to see what a woman goes through in a rape.
  • Putting the whole story out there and standing in her truth helped Madeleine shatter the shame of the incident.
  • In the midst of the rape, Madeleine went through the mental shifts that took place to help her survive. She described it as if she had floated out of her body, became aware of things going on outside the flat rather than in it, focusing on things like the wall paper, etc. Ultimately, she felt that she had floated out of her body and was sitting on a wardrobe watching what was happening to her rather than experiencing it first hand in her body.
  • The memories ultimately did come back years later when she realized she was ready to face it.
  • We become very clever at wearing a mask. What we don’t speak about leaks out of us. For Madeleine, that meant using anorexia, alcohol, drugs, promiscuity and ultimately suicide attempts as ways it was trying to come out. Because of her mother’s health situation and being a teenage girl, some blew it all off as being an angsty teen.
  • As her parents became aware of all of the behaviors, they felt she should go away, and sent her to Israel for a year, where she worked on a kibbutz and met the man who would become her husband, Stephen.
  • She had issues understanding why Stephen would want to be with her or love her. Given how she felt about herself, she had such trouble accepting and comprehending him feeling the way he did.
  • As their relationship progressed, and even after they married, she felt so strongly that she did not want to be a mother given what she had experienced. She didn’t want that for her children, and also didn’t want to go through the process of birth, which felt too exposed.
  • What she came to realize over time is that these two boys were continuing to define and control her life. When that became clear to her, she realized how much she did not want them to control anything about her life, and she resolved to live the best life she could from her choices rather than the restrictions of others.
  • As her kids grew up and her oldest approached the age she was when she was raped, she realized how restrictive she was due to her fears. She also realized that this would impact her kids’ minds and development, and keep them from developing the tools they would need to make smart choices and protect themselves, so she decided she needed to step back and let them live more.
  • Madeleine was scared to be around men, but realized she could not keep trying to either keep men from interacting with her or constantly be looking for the exit in case they were to try something. She worked to force the issue – if she tried to keep avoiding her fears, they will keep controlling her. As she made herself work with men as clients and counselors, she started to see situations where she found these men to be just like women. She had a patient who was a male victim of rape, and was able to see him in exactly the same light as herself, which woke her up to gender not being the defining difference between someone who is safe and who isn’t.
  • She surrendered to the facts and let it go.
  • We touched on a sentiment I find with a lot of people who have survived great trauma – the notion that she would not wish her experience on anyone, but would never undo it for herself given how she is grateful for and enjoys her life today.
  • I asked if it was ultimately about control, but she believes control is never real. We are never really in control, so we can’t latch onto that idea. It’s about knowing your strength and resilience regardless of what you face since you can’t control it all.
  • Rape is interesting in how victims are shamed. If your home is broken into, people don’t say it brought it on or did it to yourself. But with rape, the victim is often looked at as having blame, or the rapists are looked at with understanding or perhaps doubt that they could do what they did.
  • Forgiveness was the last piece in her journey. She doesn’t insist anyone has to do it, but for her, it was critical in her ultimate ability to move forward. She didn’t seek them out to apologize, but rather let go of it for herself. She deserved forgiveness for what that could bring to her. Holding onto it wasn’t harming them at all, and only impacting her life. It really has nothing to do with them.
  • Anger had been Madeleine’s best friend, and when she let go of it, she lived so much better. Her life became defined by possibility, gratitude and happiness rather than anger and shame.
  • You don’t have to forgive in order to heal, but for her, it was the right thing.
  • She wanted to make clear that she did not get where she is overnight. She has spent several decades working on it, and it is a process of progress.
  • For anyone who is going through the aftermath of rape or violence like Madeleine did, if you imagine wanting to get to a healed place, it is never ever too late.

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058. The Gift of No Regret to Design Your Life with Kirsty Salisbury

By on July 24, 2019


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Kirsty Salisbury is a speaker, podcaster and coach who speaks straight from the heart.  Her talks explore the topics of resilience, regrets, and how we can create opportunity through effective habits. She is engaging, inspiring and filled with passion in a way that connects at a personal level.

Throughher own story of overcoming death and paralysis, Kirstyis inspiring many people to make meaningful change in their lives.

Today, Kirsty blends her experience as an established wellness professional, her private coaching business, and her research in the areas of resilience, habits, and long term happiness to help empower others with practical tools and strategies to embrace living at their best. 

Based in Auckland, New Zealand, Kirsty loves being active, traveling and spending time with her family.

Kirsty’s powerful personal story of overcoming trauma has become an inspiration to many, and I’m so excited to share this with you in this episode.

Key Points from the Episode with Kirsty Salisbury:

  • Kirsty is a speaker, has three podcasts and has written two books. All of it comes from her personal adventure and helping people live with no regrets and dying well. That last part catches people off guard as they typically think about living well, not dying well.
  • Kirsty had a first hand experience that gave her that perspective.
  • We live with so many regrets, and tend only to face them at the time of death. But throughout our lives, we hold onto it, and it guides so much of what we do and think, and we give up opportunity.
  • We don’t tend to face the things we end up regretting because it’s uncomfortable to do so. We bury it under the carpet and go about our daily lives. But those things we regret interfere with how good our lives can be.
  • Life design is a critical idea, and how choosing our present moments shapes our future moments.
  • As a child, Kirsty had a brain illness where her blood vessels hadn’t formed right in the womb. As a top gymnast, she was about to compete, and she had a brain hemorrhage at age 12, had a tremendous headache, and then couldn’t wake up.
  • She was rushed to the hospital, where she was brought right into surgery. They ended up having to abort the surgery as she died on the table twice during the process.
  • In those moments where she was clinically dead, she saw a white light, felt the brightness, and woke up with a sense of calm, peace and knowledge.
  • This was despite waking up with the realities of what had happened, including paralysis on the left side of her body.
  • She came back feeling that life is so incredible and it deserves us living it without regrets. As she looked around, she saw people at all ages living with regrets and not pursuing lives. Kirsty felt a mission to help others see their power to change things and live their lives without negativity.
  • She described the feeling and knowledge when she woke up like she had gotten a download, and her entire being was hyper alert. She had this knowledge where she just understood things.
  • Kirsty had awareness of things that were going on that weren’t even around her, like her parents getting into their car to come to the hospital as they had just gotten a call that Kirsty had woken up.
  • She describes it like a gift of going back. Like, if you’re going back, you’ll need all these things, and it was all just given to her.
  • Kirsty went through her recovery process, which was extremely slow, painful and limited given she had happened to her body, but also the remaining risks because of the fragility of the situation in her brain. She missed a lot of school, and had many restrictions when she did go back to school. She talked specifically about the seemingly minor issue of not being able to tie her own shoe laces due to the effects of her paralysis, and needing to get help with that from other kids as a teenager.
  • Someone asked her when she was laughing and happy, “Where do you get your happiness from?” Her immediate thought was, “Well, where did you lose it?” That’s her focus – what is it we are doing and thinking that robs us of our happiness, and what can we do and think differently to keep that from happening.
  • We need to look for ways to bring more satisfying things into our lives, more joy, more happiness rather than more numbing things. If we can bring more of the positive in, we won’t use as much of the numbing things.
  • These influences come from everywhere – what shows we watch, the friends we associate with, etc. So many things make up our present moments, and that is what creates our future moments, so sit down and do a bit of design on the present so you can enjoy what you have and build even more enjoyment in the future.
  • We need to find a way to let go of things and just be – with ourselves, what we have and what we think. That gives us an ability to understand ourselves and what we need to do so we can design our lives. Giving ourselves even a few moments a day allows us to start this process of living more consciously.
  • The smallest changes can create the biggest overall changes in our lives. She shares the analogy of a pilot making a 1 degree change in the plane’s course.
  • In the short term, it’s insignificant, but over the long term, that can take the plane to a totally different place.

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057. Accept Where You Are to Move Forward with Natalie Janji

By on July 16, 2019


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Natalie Janji saw that she was headed down a path that wasn’t what she wanted. Despite the odds being stacked against her, she pushed for her dreams, and learned so much along the way about how anxiety and social pressure can hold us back, but more importantly, how we can keep them from doing so.

Natalie began her career in personal development at 22, when she became the bestselling author of her first book, The Miracle Morning for College StudentsShe is the coauthor of three books in The Miracle Morning book seriesHer books have been read from students all around the world, and have been translated into multiple languages, including Mongolian, Russian, and Kazakh.

She is a speaker and coach, teaching others how reciting powerful mantras, like Do, Not Worry(tm), can help them overcome their anxiety and take clear, focused action forward. She has spoken on stages for non-profit organizations, companies, and universities around the country. Her mission is to help others stop overthinking and start taking action so that they may design and live a life of purpose, filled with joy, success, and fulfillment.

More than any of that, she is just an inspired and inspiring woman who I got so much out of talking to, and I know you will, too. The way she went after dream, the way she sees through what binds us up in life, and just her general attitude and clarity – love it!

Key Points from the Episode with Natalie Janji:

  • At 16, Natalie heard Hal Elrod speak at her high school, which was a time she was feeling depressed by things going on in her life. He was saying things like, “Positivity is a choice,” that really stuck with her. She didn’t know you actually get to do that, and it really stuck with her.
  • As she went forward, she was on a path in school (studying chemistry) wasn’t resonating with her, and she kept coming back to the feelings and thoughts she got from Hal, and picked up his book, The Miracle Morning. She kept reading it over and over again, practicing it every day for over a year and a half.
  • She decided it was ok not to continue with her path on chemistry and becoming a doctor despite the investment she had made it throughout her college career. She wanted to help people, and thought being a doctor would be a good way to do that. She did love science, and loved how she was learning something new every day. But she never felt a natural inclination for it, and yet was struggling with this feeling that it wasn’t who she was. She described it as pushing against a wall.
  • She wanted to discover something she loved to do as much as her friends who were clearly loving what they were studying. She just had to figure out what that was.
  • So she looked back on what in college she seemed to take the most from and have the most love for. She found it centered around her work helping other students. She paired that with her studying of The Miracle Morning, and decided she needed to reach out to Hal to create a version of it focused on the life of students.
  • Hal asked for a proposal, and then invited her to an event where he turned down her proposal. Despite hearing, “No,” 24-hour laters, he decided to move forward with her on the book, which was a great reminder not to just abandon your dreams just because you hit a roadblock. She started moving forward with writing The Miracle Morning for Students and went on to write a planner tied to it that is now being adopted as the planner for all Miracle Morning books. And now her books are very successful, being translated into different languages and sold all over the world.
  • The thing that made her persistent was the feeling that people needed this book. She wrote for the love of helping people and making a new friend with the audience rather than because of any pressure or anxiety around due dates she had to complete the book.
  • She found a lot of power in ideas like those in Do a Day around taking action and not getting caught in the anxiety traps we face in any given moment.
  • For people with anxiety, you judge yourself before anyone else has a chance to. We are so quick to self-judge. She’s worked on not feeding that noise and reminding herself that they’re just false.
  • We got into the crux of what she’s working on now. Natalie asks if anyone has ever said, “Hey, don’t worry.” It is the worst advice she’s ever gotten! Things don’t just work out, or work themselves out. It’s like a passive interpretation of how to live your life (it lives itself and works itself out so you don’t need to).
  • Instead, Natalie has embraced another phrasing of that advice that turns it more action-oriented.  Instead of, “Don’t worry,” she says, “Do not worry.” “Do,” is a verb here, with the action you do is that which keeps you from worrying.
  • “Don’t worry,” suppresses and avoids problems.  That is not helpful. “Do not worry,” is about facing your fear or anxiety. It’s about reading the signal your body or mind is giving you so you can learn what to do to move forward.
  • She breaths with it, inhaling on the “Do” and exhaling on the “Not Worry.” It calms her mind, and the actions become clear. And as a result, the anxiety diminishes.
  • No matter the case, there’s always something you can Do about your worries.
  • This is so important and valuable, especially with how young anxiety is emerging today, with studies showing kids as young as 12 being overwhelmed with daily anxiety.
  • We talked about social media fueling this as it creates a lot of opportunities to compare ourselves to others and pass judgment that we aren’t good enough, and therefore won’t be loved.
  • And if we are posting on social media boastful things about us, we are still perpetuating the problem by giving a basis for someone else to feel less of themselves.
  • To go through your day without huge spikes in anxiety, you have to start by loving yourself. Living in the present moment and approving of yourself in that moment is so important.
  • We should be taking deliberate steps to move forward in our lives every day, and be grateful for where we are in this moment. If you’re not where you want to be, you can be grateful for being where you are as it is a step toward that place – even if it is the first step. Be grateful that you have begun your journey.
  • She talked about starting from the ‘motherboard’. It’s what controls everything. It is our mindset around everything – our self-love mindset, financial mindset, health mindset.
  • When you focus on that, you can work on rewriting it to support you moving forward. If you set a big goal, but don’t have the underlying thoughts around that goal in the right place, you will self-sabotage.
  • We aren’t all born where we want or need to be. Growth is a part of the human experience. We should be thankful for this, and accepting of it.

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056. Transporting from Darkness to Your Future Vision with Sarah Centrella

By on July 9, 2019


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Best-Selling Author, Master Coach and  Vision Board & Manifesting Expert, Sarah Centrella is the author of the #1 best-selling self-help book Hustle Believe Receive An 8 Step Plan to Changing Your Life and Living Your Dream. Centrella is known as the premier vision board expert and her follow up book: #FutureBoards How to Make a Vision Board to Manifest Exactly What You Want,  was released the same day at this episode.

As a master life coach, she’s worked with professional athletes in the NBA and NFL, WAGS and thousands of people from around the world, helping them manifest their dreams. She regularly leads workshops for clients such as: Pinterest, Nike, BMW, Xerox, Quaker Oats, Thrive Global, NBA Wives Association and many others.

Sarah has shared the stage as a keynote speaker with; Ed Mylett, Andy Frisella, Alex Rodriguez, Sheri Salata, Joan Lunden, the cast of WAGS on E! Dianne Valentine and many others. Sarah has been featured by The Wall Street Journal, ABC NEWS, The Steve Harvey Show, The New York Times, OK! Magazine, The Oregonian, Yahoo News, Good Morning America and many others.

Key Points from the Episode with Sarah Centrella:

  • Sarah trains life coaches on her personal method, which was created out of her backstory
  • Sarah has been a full-time coach and speaker for two and a half years
  • 10 years ago, she went through a traumatic experience that sparked everything
  • In 2008, Sarah was married to her high school sweetheart, with whom she had 3-year-old twins and a 5-year-old
  • On day that September, Sarah found a text message from her husband’s mistress. Within 40 minutes, he was out of the house for good.
  • This happened on the back of them having filed bankruptcy and losing their home, so she was literally left with nothing.
  • Since no one was really on social media yet, she didn’t know anyone else going through anything like she was, and had to figure things out on her own.
  • She realized quickly that you end up in this place where you either disintegrate and turn into nothing, or pick yourself up and create something. When she realized that, she also realized she didn’t really have a choice and would figure out how to move forward.
  • This realization is actually incredibly freeing since it forces all ego to vanish so you can rebuild.
  • She she invented – out of thin air – the woman she would become.
  • Having her kids helped force the right path for her, and she recognizes the importance of an anchor like them to help her go in the right direction without any room for a plan B in case her path failed. She had to be successful.
  • She also realized it isn’t about “rebuilding”, but rather creating a new life. She did not want to rebuild the life she had before since obviously it wasn’t right. That was also clarifying and empowering around the power of her choices and decisions.
  • The more she thought about what she wanted to achieve, she found herself transported out of the darkness she was facing, and that was even more empowering.
  • If you can take the focus from the things you don’t want (the pain of the past, the things you lost) and channel it into what you do want, that becomes freeing and driving to achieve those things.
  • Future Boards is about very specific goals, visually documented. They aren’t around general ideas, but rather very clearly illustrated situations. Rather than “a house” you should find a picture of the specific house you wanted. If you wanted to be on a beach in Hawaii, get a picture of a beach in Hawaii rather than just any beach.
  • Future Boards are also holistic, covering every aspect of your life, not just about one component of it. You should be able to see the full picture.
  • We did get into the difference between just putting a picture of something cool you want on a board and those things being clear measures of achieving what you really want.
  • We also talked about not just having material things be the focus of your board. It isn’t about the things you show so much as what they represent in terms of where your life is. The focus needs to be on the life you’re building, not the things you just have. In that vein, she does not allow people to put money on the board at all.
  • The insistence not to have money on the board is how she found that having money is not connected to having the life you want. It forces the picture of your life to devolve into one of numbers and what bills you can pay, which is not as empowering and life changing as what the idea of abundance can be.
  • Don’t ask yourself how much you need to make, but what you have in your life from an experience standpoint, and then think about how you support those experiences.
  • If you set your sights on a specific number, you may miss the opportunities that would allow for so much more due to the tunnel vision you had on the lower goal.
  • One of the biggest challenges she puts to people, that she gives you the tools to work through in #FutureBoards, is to envision where you ultimately want your life to be across the board, which few people can really do.

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