As we continue our “We Need To Talk About” series AND celebrate Women’s History Month, I feel pulled to discuss two important topics…that are closely connected and yet rarely talked about, success and mental health.
There are hundreds…even thousands… of successful women on this planet that can give you advice about building a business. They may talk about things like: dedication, struggle, education, and taking risks. Strength is what we come to expect when we see an image of a thriving, powerful, woman, right? Strength and hustle. But, I believe, being a successful entrepreneur (or really successful at ANYTHING) takes much more than hustle, determination and sacrifice. To enjoy real success and perhaps more importantly…freedom, I think you need a strong, stable, support system as well as self-love and acceptance. In other words, in addition to your support, you need to be mentally healthy.
In business, you make so many decisions, you lead people, and you have to deal with problems EVERY SINGLE DAY. Our ability to make decisions, solve the problems and handle the anxiety is KEY. Our mental health directly impacts our ability to do all of those things elegantly, and yet it is often ignored.
Making The Connection
When I talk about style, I often reference that, “like your house, your wardrobe needs a solid foundation.” When it comes to style, that foundation is your wardrobe basics. In business, your foundation is your strong and healthy mind.
Earlier this month, I was invited to participate in 2 podcasts, Mastering Modern Midlife with Catherine Grace O’Connell and The Sacred Roots Podcast with Ele’ de Posson. In both of these podcasts we touched on the important and close connection between mental wellness and being a successful entrepreneur.
So what does a strong mental health foundation look like? What areas should you examine and think about?? I believe it comes down to three key components: 1) Release, 2) Reset and 3) Replenish
You want to be successful and abundant in life? You MUST clear out old feelings, patterns and trauma. This is NOT EASY, but once you are on the other side, it’s so incredibly powerful and beautiful. Over the years, I have suffered from crippling anxiety and deep depression, both of which are difficult to see from the outside looking in. When quarantine started in March 2020, my anxiety got SO horrible, I could barely function. I knew something needed to change, and change fast, because as Gabby Bernstein says, “There has to be a better way.” And, it turns out, there IS. Once I started healing my trauma, the anxiety slipped away. I’ve literally never felt calmer or more free. This is such an integral part of success in anything, but most certainly it ties into your business. Movement Eye Desensitization and Reprocessing or EMDR has been the most powerful tool for me in terms of regaining my mental freedom and strength. EMDR essentially enables you to reprocess and take the emotion out of traumatic memories. It’s used mostly for PTSD and trauma. I started EMDR therapy a year and a half ago. It has been one of the most difficult processes I’ve ever been through and also one of the most transformative. Releasing all of the traumatic experiences and memories has shifted so many things in my life. For example, I can give more freely. I can really hold space for the people I love, whereas before, I would want to be there for others, but often felt like I couldn’t. In hindsight, I realize, I was carrying so much around that I simply didn’t have the space. I’ve also noticed that I’m much more playful and childlike. Last year, I skied in my bikini, felt a strong urge to sky dive, and just generally feel freer to be my weird-o self! The freedom that has come with trauma release is nothing short of amazing.
In addition to releasing trauma, you also need to work on resetting your mind. In fact, studies show up to 90% of the decisions we make are unconscious. Isn’t that powerful? So if you are walking around saying mantras and doing all the things, but your subconscious mind is somewhere else, you’ll stay stuck and locked into old patterns and behaviors. One of the most powerful tools that can reprogram your subconscious mind is hypnosis. In addition to EMDR, I listen to hypnosis sessions regularly.
*Please note that this section below contains disturbing information about sexual abuse.*
I just found the most amazing hypnotherapist from Australia named Sarah Griffiths. Please allow me to share the story of my recent, transformative session with Sarah.
A few months ago while I was staying at an Airbnb before moving into our new home, I noticed a cross by the bed. It wasn’t just any cross, this was exactly like the cross I used to pray to when I was a little girl. It was a really unique piece, so rare that this is the first time I’ve seen one in 40+ years. When I was little, I frequently looked up at this cross hanging on the wall and begged God to help me and my family. My dad was an alcoholic and I now believe had undiagnosed PTSD. He would physically and verbally abuse my mom in front of us and I never slept until I knew my mom was safe. I noticed the cross next to my side of the bed, and thought, “That is SO strange!” Just seeing it, made me feel uncomfortable. A day later, I had a hypnosis session with Sarah. She asked me about my goal for the session, and I told her that I want to be able to feel more joy in my life. I shared that I have a wonderful life, but still struggle to really feel it…to feel happy. During our session, a traumatic memory came up. One that I literally couldn’t even talk about until I was 40-years old. When I was 16-years old, a Catholic priest sexually abused me. At the time, I was in shock and said nothing. Later, I felt so ashamed of the fact that I never said anything, and I didn’t do anything to protect other girls, that I buried this memory deeply.
During the session, this was the memory that came up when she asked me about why I was struggling to feel joy. Sarah and I talked about how awful that experience was. I expressed my anger at how he preyed on someone who was already so vulnerable and damaged. I shared that I was simply looking for safety, and instead was met with the unthinkable. Sarah and I talked about how he robbed me of my faith for so many years. I hurt and hurt. It was powerful. I understood by the end of that session that I have nothing to be ashamed of. I know now that I didn’t have the tools or the support system to speak up.
Fast forward several months after that session, and I can feel shifts in ways I never anticipated. Namely, how I think about religion and the people who support religion. I think there was a part of me that resented the church. I think a part of me judged those that were deeply religious because somehow they supported these acts. Now, when I think about what happened all those years ago, I don’t feel angry, resentful or mad at myself for not speaking up. Instead, I see one sick man and several others that decided to hide the sickness. Now, I can see the beauty in religion and how it can provide love and support for so many people.
This was ONE session with Sarah.
I now listen to hypnosis sessions that reinforce what an independent, strong and wonderful woman I am. They reinforce self-love and build confidence. I’m no longer a slave to old patterns, and beliefs. I feel much more in control of my mind and much calmer day to day. It’s such a beautiful and profound shift.
I just touched on it briefly, but it’s not enough to clear out the trauma and reset old subconscious limiting beliefs, you need to also create new, more powerful ones. You need to replenish your mind, letting your subconscious know that you are ready to step into your power and become the absolute best, most abundant version of YOU.
My go-to way to replenish my mind… is hypnosis, but I also love meditation, particularly Gabby Bernstein’s meditations. I also find breathwork to be very powerful. Breathwork is often compared to plant medicine in its ability to help you see things clearly, but you are not taking anything, you are simply using your breath. I love Denise and Cesar’s breathwork sessions. You can look them up here. During meditation and breathwork sessions I’ve visualized things like I am literally crowdsurfing with our BUSBEE community, each one of you holding me up with your hands. I’ve felt the sun’s rays enter my body and beam from every cell out into the world. I’ve experienced healing and cathartic hugs from people that have wronged me. The visualizations in these sessions can be amazing and powerful.
It’s also important to have tools in your mental wellness toolbox to continually replenish your mind because let’s face it, life can throw you some doozies. I still turn to EMDR, hypnosis, breathwork, meditation and EFT or tapping to help me during moments of anxiety or when I am starting to feel overwhelmed. I don’t want to live my life on that very masculine “do, do, do… go, go, go” hustle wheel anymore. It’s a road that always leads to overwhelm. Now, whenever I start to feel even a little bit anxious, I use my tools.
You might be thinking, this is all really interesting, but please explain how this leads to success.
I can give you a perfect example. The shifts from this work produced my most abundant year EVER. We have a brand new home that has gone up tremendously in value since we started the project. My business was up 30% in 2021 (from 2020). All of this while I had one of the most ‘fun’ and exciting years of my life, spending 2 months in the car on a cross-country family adventure and 6 months in Spain.
I promise you, IF you do the work, you will see results. You will live more abundantly and feel more free.
What therapies or healing modalities have been most effective for you? Please share in the comments! Remember that by sharing you are potentially impacting other women in a profound way.
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