Learn the role of the past, present and future in finding joy and meaning in your life. Sherry Walling talks about how we deal with grief, vulnerability and expectations impacts our emotional safety and why that is critical to humans. She also shares techniques that helped her change careers after years of success in something that wasn’t fulfilling.
Stephen Christopher 0:00
Hey there, Stephen Christopher, and my awesome co host, Laura Sanchez for today's episode of the exciting, unknown podcast with, as always another absolutely amazing guest today. This one is going to blow your minds. I promise. It's so timely and there's just so much good stuff that we're going to pull out of this today. So today, and don't be scared because I know years ago I used to be scared by this word. We have someone who is a clinical psychologist, also an entrepreneur, also a speaker, but she didn't stop there. She continued on to start a podcast has grown a business with her husband, but her podcast is not just a small little podcast.
Forbes called it one of the top 12 podcasts for entrepreneurs. She has over a million downloads on podcast episodes. And again, didn't stop there also best selling author and wrote a book and I love this title. The entrepreneurs guide to keep Your ship together. And I think one of the really big takeaways for this person is not only has she done all of these things in life and on the entrepreneurial journey, but she's also a yoga teacher.
And one of the coolest things about her I think, is that she is a practicing. I don't know if it's for real or not, but she loves practicing being a circus performer, hanging from the trapeze and the I don't remember what we call the big cloth, cool things, but she'll tell us in a second, and a mom of three. So we're gonna get some really, really cool stuff from somebody today that's been on this amazing journey and knows how to help us keep it all together. So without further ado, Sherry walling, welcome to the show.
Unknown Speaker 1:46
I'm so glad to be with you. Thanks for having me.
Stephen Christopher 1:49
Yeah, absolutely. So, talk to me a little bit about this journey, clinical psychologist. Did you start a practice there? First. And then did it kind of lead into the entrepreneur and helping entrepreneurs keep their shit together?
Unknown Speaker 2:06
Yeah, you know, it's it's as I reflect on this I am, I one time heard someone say that all of the most interesting people have very nonlinear circuitous journeys. And I can solidly call myself interesting at this point in my life. I'm turning 42 in a couple of weeks. And as I look back on the journey that I've taken, both personally and professionally, like, it's really kind of out of left field. So I became a clinical psychologist, largely as a researcher. So I pursued a very academic track. I did fellowships at Yale at the National Center for PTSD in Boston.
So I have this pedigree of someone who would like work for the National Institute of Health, researching, you know, one genome and how it is affected by trauma like really specific, really scientific kind of route. is what I pursued as an early professional. And, you know, I think as we go on in life and get to know ourselves, I just really learned about myself that although I have the ability to be a scientist, I'm just a lot more of an artist like I was really drawn to different parts of the work than I expected. So I did all of this work to be a researcher and wrote all of these papers and got an academic job as a professor.
And I did it for three years, and I am probably the world's youngest retired professor, because after three years, I was like, I don't actually love this, and I have to tell the truth about that. And so I kind of flopped around for a bit, doing some different things within the world of psychology and then eventually found a way to sort of join my creative artistic passion with my husband who is a technology entrepreneur and has been for the last 20 years. In psychology and smash it all together and make a living. So that's the short version.
Stephen Christopher 4:06
I love it. And I mean, it seems to me, like your ability to, to, to look at the situation and say I'm not. I'll use the word fulfilled where you were, and make the decision to make a change. That's not extremely common. I think so many of us especially not especially entrepreneurs, we get into some sort of a job, we create a company before you know it, we blink it's 15 years, and we're still doing the same thing and we're absolutely miserable. What kind of what sparked that for you? or How did you get that, I guess, confidence to make that step. So early on.
Unknown Speaker 4:48
I think there were two things. One is that um, I collected data, so like a good scientist. Um, I had been using this ancient ignition spiritual Practice of recording my high and low every day. And I started that I actually went to seminary as well which we can get into that or not. But I started that in my mid 20s. And so by the time I got to my early 30s, where I was needing to make some of these choices, I have this history of collecting the data, what's the high point of my day, what's the low point of my day, and I went on a retreat once or twice a year, just a personal retreat by myself. So after the third year of being in this university job, and after the third year of going on retreats and reviewing this data that I collected on my own inner world, the data was pretty clear.
Like when I looked at it, it was like all of my low points were about faculty meetings, they were about grading they were I loved teaching, but I just didn't like all the rigor of the job. And so if I'm, you know, if I'm honest, I just I was paying enough attention to those internal patterns that was pretty clear to me that I wasn't thriving. So that was that was probably that was the one that I can control.
That was the inner piece. The other piece was my community, right? I married an entrepreneur, I had entrepreneurs in my living room all of the time. These are people who had left very good sort of technical jobs, you know, VP of technology at big firms, and they went out to start their own thing. So I had a community around me that was already coloring outside the lines. And I had a map of what it could potentially look like to start my own thing to write a book to build. I wouldn't say I've built a brand, but, you know, to continue to sort of build a life that I wanted. I had those folks in my living room already. So I knew what that looked like and it was pretty enticing.
Stephen Christopher 6:52
I love that. And you know, I would say that you have built a pretty, a pretty big brand, based on just what I've seen You do and in some of the conversations that we've had in the past and the people that I've seen you help, and what they say about it. So I would give you a little bit more credit maybe than then you did.
That's, that's awesome. I think that there's a lot of people, including myself that at different points in life, we feel, you know, we start to feel that gap, right, we start to feel like lack of fulfillment, we start to feel that there's something else. But we don't have that data, or we don't necessarily have I know, at least 510 years ago, I certainly didn't have the skills to start to analyze it in that way to make a conscious decision. It was more just like, I feel frustrated, I feel angry, I feel uncomfortable, I feel lost.
I feel scarcity, you know, all of those types of things. So when we start to look at that for people that are just starting to feel or maybe they're feeling that frustration, and they're feeling Feeling that that gap is getting created, right? Like, for somebody that doesn't have any tools, or have any understanding of like, where to start doing something different? What do you start with? Like with that? I mean, if you've been running a business for, I don't know, however many years or you just know you're unhappy, but you don't know what to do next, or even where to start, like, how do you start that journey?
Unknown Speaker 8:27
I love the way yours you're setting me up for this because I feel like so much of what I want to talk about in that scenario, is the ability to redeem your own relationship with your own emotions. Because when we are frustrated, unhappy, depressed, out of sorts, irritable, I think most of us, number one want to alleviate that shit as quickly as possible. We don't want to linger in it, we want to get rid of it. And number two, we don't we don't trust it. We don't teach it as data. We treat You did something wrong with us. You know, I, again, this is a problem I need to fix. I don't want to feel this way. But I think that there's so much wisdom in that unsettled feeling. There's so much wisdom in, hey, I've been successful, but I'm not happy. What's the problem there?
And when we can really listen in to those emotions, I think we do begin to Creek open the door to the inner world enough to say, what my life be like for me if the situation was changed. What might life be like for me if I really listened to my inner longings and inner inner activation enough to let that be a decider? Let that be data in my scientific language that helps to drive my choices?
Stephen Christopher 9:49
Yeah, so I know for me, as you're saying that I look back at myself, I don't know. call it 10 years ago when I first started to feel those ways and if I looked at it, if I heard you say Say what you just said. I'd be like, okay, I agree with that. But I feel guilty. I feel like based on my past programming the way I was raised and the way I was taught to be an entrepreneur, who am I to actually get what I want it well, who am I to actually get what I want?
And it's more of this like, okay, owning a business or being an entrepreneur, you must work really hard, you must work 100 hours a week, you must drive and grind and hustle, and you know, all of that stuff that was kind of idolized. That's what I would think I would think, who am I to deserve that? And I can't actually be successful and have fulfillment.
Unknown Speaker 10:44
Unknown Speaker 10:46
I think the way that you're describing your early scripting really resonates with my early scripting, which was, I grew up in a very, very conservative evangelical household, that really, really emphasized service, and discipline, and lots of great things. So I don't um, you know, there are lots to be grateful for about the way that I grew up.
But there were lots of ways in which it really diminished my own capacity to listen to myself, and overcome overrode any ability that I had to follow my own joy or my own desire or my own longing, or all of these, like mushy things that make us a little bit uncomfortable. That was really, really not acceptable in my early life. It was a much about doing the right thing, and pursuing excellence at all costs. And I think what I would say to the younger version of me or maybe the younger version of you is a little bit of like existential real talk that like, that's all you have.
It's all you have is your ability to find joy and meaning In the days that you have available to you, and all of this bullshit around, climbing the ladder, checking off the boxes, doing the things that we believe we are supposed to do, it will not bring you satisfaction, you know, at the end of the day or certainly at the end of the, of your life. And I again, I know that sounds kind of hard to, like anchor to. But I think for me, in the last couple of years, I've lost both my dad and my brother and so there's this really deep sense of urgency for me about all we have is joy meaning connection, the things that we most one and bring us most satisfaction. And the rest of it really is sort of just distraction.
Stephen Christopher 12:52
hmm yeah, for for a long time and I still struggle with this. Maybe not every day, but often enough. is around thinking, Okay, when I get there, then I can feel this way and I'm doing a lot better now about saying Okay, wait. fulfillment is not about being fulfilled at some future time or based on some future goal. Now I've reframed it is finding fulfillment as it is learning how to find fulfillment in this now moment or in the thing that I'm doing now, on my way to some exciting unknown. I mean, hence kind of the name of this podcast is that the coolest and the most amazing things happen in the unknown.
We generally can't plan what amazing thing is going to happen to us, but we have to be able to kind of allow it to unfold. And I think it's so important that we find we learn how to find fulfilment and feel certain ways. Today, maybe despite, again, I go back to I think about the gap a lot as you can tell, like, I was like, Okay, wait, am I am I in the gap? Where am I in the gap? What is the gap? But yeah, that like it's finding fulfillment now. And it sounds, it's really cool that I think we're starting to be able to have these conversations at what I would consider to be like a higher level of entrepreneurship. Because 20 years ago, the higher level of entrepreneurship, even the people that were doing it, they weren't talking about it. They weren't talking about fulfillment and emotional anyone
Unknown Speaker 14:24
Stephen Christopher 14:25
Yeah, I know. Right. And so I think it's really cool that this is starting to happen. And I think it's starting to crack people open just enough to where they're like, Okay, wait, I kind of feel that I can share like an emotion that at work, you know, then we have the millennial generation which wants to feel and wants to feel a purpose and all that stuff. And I don't know, it just feels really good that a shift is finally starting to happen. Way more,
Unknown Speaker 14:52
and many entrepreneurs, one of our superpowers is the ability to think forward into the future, right. We're anticipating opportunities, we're anticipating trends, we're anticipating problems, and we're organizing our businesses around that. So I don't want to diminish that skill, that deep future orientation because I do think that's what helps us to be successful. But it's really about finding that balance between the it's both and right. It's the now how do I feel now?
What's working for me now? And what kind of future do I want to create for myself, for my family, for my employees for my team? So go doing I sometimes call it this time traveling, like a big part of mental health is being able to time travel while go into the future, come back to the present sometimes look back into the past. What's the wisdom there? What can I draw from bring it back to the future go into the present, like it's a lot of moving around?
Stephen Christopher 15:46
Mm hmm. Let's, I want to I want to find a way to talk about this a little bit more. We've had some discussions about this very issue of where do you best sit is it in the past is it in the now Or is it in the future? And what happens when you're not balanced in all of those? Yep, that so it's like, yeah, where, you know, we, we know, we hear, we need to live more in the now we need to be more present, right?
Because that's the only time we have learned from the past and we need to build the future. And the second piece of that, that I've found, as a challenge for myself, and most is having awareness around where am I? Because, you know, a lot of times until I really started having a deep meditation practice and honing that I would go, I mean, I might go months, living in the past and not even knowing it or living in this false future that doesn't even exist that I'm just making up. And all of a sudden, one day I would wake up be like, Wait, where have I been the last couple months?
And so I've deepen that ability to be aware of where am I am I here am I in the future? I'm in the past. But it's taken, I mean years of meditation to do that. So I don't know what what comes up for you around like, in your work around this whole past present future awareness. It's a big topic. Yeah.
Unknown Speaker 17:18
You one of the questions that I ask.
Unknown Speaker 17:23
Often, that always makes people a little buggy. But it's, it's when we're reviewing a moment where something went well or something went badly. Maybe it's a conversation that you have with someone on your team. And it went a little funky. I might ask the entrepreneur that I'm working with, like, how old Did you feel in that moment? And people are like, what? Like, how old Did you feel like were you 13? Was it did you get Junior High awkward, or were you kind of wide eyed and confused? Were you like, going to kindergarten for the first time like, I don't I really know what to expect. I don't know how to operate.
Were you? Were you 17? Were you on your high school football team and you're sort of testosterone and adrenaline fueled and you weren't thinking you were just forcing. So I think when we can, like notice that we're acting in a way that really calls back in earlier age, it's one way to sort of identify, okay, I was it's an old script. I was calling from an old script I was living in the past in that moment. It's kind of nuanced. And it's a funny question. But when we do allow ourselves to ask it, like, hey, how old Did I really feel in that moment? It's a good indicator that maybe an old script is at play like that. It's interesting technique.
Stephen Christopher 18:43
Yeah, the power of questions. Right. And you know, so Sherry, one of the questions she asked me, we were chatting over Facebook or something this was months ago. And one of the she said something about one of the videos I had done and then The question she asked was, I hope the word statement was, I hope the inner world matches the outer world. And I thought about it for a couple days. And I was gonna write her back. I was like, you know, actually, it's pretty close. It's much closer than it has been in the past. But I started pondering it. And then like, days turned into weeks. And then it was probably a couple months share before I wrote you back. But I was thinking about this question almost every day, before I actually gave her a response because I wanted to go deeper and deeper.
But just that little statement was really helpful for me about I hope the inner world matches the outer world. And it made me actually tone things up and down a little bit in each world. It made me tone up my inner world and give myself a little bit more credit, give myself a little more gentleness. And then it made me turn down my outer world a little bit so that they were more much more aligned. So that I was just being way more of my true authentic self. Yeah. Great. So let's talk a little bit about the big topic of 2020.
Let's talk about some COVID stuff, but I want to talk about it from a maybe from a slightly different standpoint. You know, things are so, so shaken up in the world right now. And I think people's lives are shaken up a lot. And I know at least for me, that's allowed me to drop some old limiting beliefs, and be a little bit more curious about what's possible than if everything was going perfect. So how do we, how do we start to use all of this change that's going on to move into what's next? Maybe a more authentic version of ourselves, like, how do we use all of this shake up in a positive way?
Unknown Speaker 20:57
I think this is a
Unknown Speaker 21:00
An invitation to be good atsome things that we've lost the ability to do. And this is a kick back to the earlier part of our conversation is how do we learn to listen to the wisdom of hard things? So I know a lot of people are experiencing a lot of grief right now. Right? They've lost businesses, they've lost plans, they've lost the structure of their lives. Sometimes they've lost family members, they've lost people that they love. So grief is one of the lessons of 2020 and it might sound odd to say, Hey, we have to get good at that in order to move on in a positive way.
But I think we do. I think as as a culture, certainly in sort of Western American culture, we are so aversive to negative effect that we just start marching on through to how do I alleviate this pain? What medicine Do I need what you know, what guru Do I need to see so that I don't feel the misery of that happening inside of me and I, I hope that we can actually get better at learning how to listen to grief and learning to get better at grief because it shows us a lot about what we value about what's important to us. And I think it helps to deepen us as humans, so that we are better able to face challenges without distraction or aversion or avoidance.
Stephen Christopher 22:23
Hmm, yeah, I struggled for a long time to go deep on things that didn't feel good. Mm hmm. You know, I was always put, where's the silver lining, put the positive on it. Go down that path. And I've just recently more started learning about that those all emotions are powerful. And they all they all can progress us to something some form of learning, right?
So I mean, when you're dealing with people that are not choosing Don't know how to look at some of those emotions. What do you tell somebody like that? Like, how do you get somebody that is just been pushing hard for 20 years and just not having not having looked at any of this stuff not having looked at grief and trauma and loss and pain and frustration, like, what's the benefit of it? And how do you help somebody start looking at it?
Unknown Speaker 23:24
Yeah, usually it's not a direct path into the, the heart of the soul. Usually, it's, it's the outskirts, usually, it's, um, Hey, have you noticed you drink like for cocktails before you go to bed at night? Like what's that about? Like, what are you trying to numb? I usually it's the, you know, how irritable Have you been with your kids like what's going on inside of you that you are struggling to stay present.
So I think I almost don't ever have that direct line and But you look at the fringes, you look at the places in someone's life, where they're expressing distress, where they're acting in ways that are in congruent with who they wish to be. And then we look at why those behaviors are there. And usually they're supporting some kind of avoidance. And that invites the question of, well, what are you avoiding what hurts that you're trying to get around? And that's where the conversation can sort of open.
Stephen Christopher 24:28
So for you somebody that is much more experienced in this, I mean, what do you run up against? Like, do you? Are you much more aware of these things when they come up in the moments now? Or do you even catch yourself going days or weeks or sometimes being like, wait, why am I now all of a sudden drinking a bottle of wine every two days? Like Yep.
Unknown Speaker 24:55
I get to play in this space with everybody else. Um, You know, I'd love I think I am more adept at, at self reflection than I used to be. So there's a positive growth curve, which is good. But I certainly have my own things. And what's been interesting about COVID is that, you know, there are some ways in which my family life is pretty challenging for me, and has been for the last few years.
And in the last few years, I have traveled a ton, like two to three times a month, I was given a talk somewhere doing something or off with these friends or, you know, and my, my husband has supported that and afforded me the flexibility and freedom to do that, which is great. But, you know, I think now that COVID said, I'm realizing, oh, there was some like things that I was avoiding in my parenting life and my relationship life that now I can't avoid anymore, and I got to face it and work through it and deal with it and make it make it whole and healthy again. So I think we all have our things and our As we grow and develop, we just grow and develop new avoidance strategies and just hope that we catch it faster and sooner. But it's always there.
And I I think it's really important to tell the truth about that as a mental health professional as somebody who does a lot of this work because no one is exempt. And even if we get to this sort of higher levels of meditation practices and enlightenment and self knowledge, our capacity for self deception will just grow too. So we never get to kind of hang up our hats and say, Okay, I'm done with self development, I'm done with growth. It's just not it's just not going to happen.
Stephen Christopher 26:41
We are we moving into a world where it is going to be much more commonplace to, to be acceptance, accept, to accept other people's vulnerability more and actually learn how to work with it and have more of these open conversations. Like in the workplace, like, Are we on that tipping point? Right now?
Unknown Speaker 27:05
I hope so. You know, I live in a lot of communities where I see that and it brings me great joy and hope. I also live in a community that, you know, I live in Minneapolis, I live three miles from where George Floyd was murdered.
And I've seen how the part of the community that's uprising and saying like we must be better as humans, it is amazing, but also being met with such staunch return to control and repression and suppression. So I think that's happening just in sort of on the national global level and not to get political with it. But like, I think that's in the psyche that is around us and probably within us is as there's more freedom, more vulnerability, more openness.
The defenses will come up, they'll come up inside of us and they'll come up in our in our Collective spaces too. So, you know, the battles not over. And I think we're still deciding as individual humans and then as a community of humans, how much vulnerability we're going to allow. And I think, you know, how I would lean as a, as a human as a mental health professional. But I don't think we're at a place where we can just say, okay, it's all good now, because I think there's still not a lot of emotional safety in the world. And that's still a battle that needs to be fought.
Stephen Christopher 28:30
Yeah, yeah, I keep thinking about, like, one of my personal core values is give without expectation. And that's what I'm, I'm personally finding is important that I'm trying to bring in to this situation because I don't know. You know, I know very little about a lot of the issues on on all these other sides that are going on just based on my experiences, right. You know, there's a lot of things that I've never experienced, that I just don't fully understand.
And what I've tried to lean into is Just being the best version of my self without any expectation of anything else in return. So if I can be a little bit nicer to somebody randomly on the street someday without any expectation of them being nicer to me or doing anything in return, I feel like that's the biggest thing that I can do personally, you know, unless I really choose to take on one of these causes and go headfirst into it. It's like, just show up a little bit different without any expectation of of anything back from the other person. Like
Unknown Speaker 29:37
cuz that kills entitlement, right? So much suffering is is about this, like you owe me this. I deserve this. I'm entitled to this level of, you know, in treatment or whatever. And I think it's a slippery slope because some of us maybe traditionally people of color, maybe traditionally women have come to be social realized in a way that says that what I need and what I feel doesn't matter, I exist to serve someone else.
That was a little bit of my upbringing that I've had to work through and sort of learn how to say, Hey, I will love and serve and and care for you. But also here are my needs that can't be ignored and denied. And this is a little bit of a deviation from what you're saying, Steven, but I think there's a sense in which we can walk through the world and offer what we have to offer, and not necessarily expect anything in return or have demands or be entitled to certain treatment based on that.
But part of our work is also protecting what's precious and beautiful inside of us, which means that we walk in the world in a way that we refuse to allow others to treat us in in demeaning or abusive ways. So, again, that's a little bit of a shift from the point you were making, but I think it's again that both end of Yes, I'm open hearted and vulnerable and want to walk in a way that's service oriented and loving, but also there are limits to what I can pour out without self protection or without filling myself so that I have lot, you know, I have value to give.
Unknown Speaker 31:12
How do you think Sherry that you use the word emotional safety?
Stephen Christopher 31:18
Where does that come from? I mean, are is that a external or an internal creation of feeling emotionally safe?
Unknown Speaker 31:28
Oh, man, I'm gonna say it again. It's both and I think if you think about even like the physical body, like my body is, is is safe to, you know, operate in the world when my wounds are cared for. So some of the emotional safety that's on us that we control is being a good tender of our own wounds and our own skin and not having such sort of open, bleeding vulnerability that anything that comes at us hurts or causes us injury. But I do think that it's also a communal responsibility about taking care of others and taking responsibility for the ways that our choices that are words that our language that our assumptions do affect other people. So it both happens internally and it happens interpersonally or between people.
Stephen Christopher 32:25
Okay, this came up just a second ago when you were talking. How do we, how do we start the journey of finding out who we really are and what we actually want, without, without all these filters of how we were raised and what we feel like is expected of us because as I've watched, like the thread of this, you know, just this interview start to kind of come out like, it's, there's this big underlying piece about us really starting to understand as individuals, what do we actually want What do I actually need? And then and then we can start allowing ourselves to know that we deserve to have or deserve to create that in the world. Like, how do you start to figure that out? What do you actually want?
Unknown Speaker 33:14
Right? One of the questions that I like to ask getting back to that time traveler theme is, is to invite people to look into the past. I think there's a lot of good self knowledge, it's contained in our childhood stories. And this is going to assume that you lived in an environment that was not so intrusive or abusive that you at least had the space to be a kid to some extent. And so for example, when I think about myself as a child, I spent long days in trees running around reading, like, I had a whole inner world but I also had a very physical world as a child. And then I reached my late 20s, early 30s, and realized that I'd spent all of this time cultivating My brain, right to become a doctor to get this research degree and training and go to jail and blah, blah, blah. And my brain was so freaking big, but I completely ignored my body.
And it wasn't until I did some good childhood reflection that I realized, oh man, so much of what brought me joy was sitting in the yard and climbing trees and riding bikes, and I need that equivalent back in my life. And so that's led me to this journey of of yoga and yoga, teaching and now aerial and circus and all of this stuff, which is tremendously meaningful to my life. And so, and I wish I'd known that better as I was making my professional decisions, because I think I would have seen, you're an adventurer, you're an explorer, you're somebody who loves play. You're not gonna live well in a rigid, strict research environment. But I had to kind of go through it to figure it out. Which is fine, too.
Stephen Christopher 34:59
Yeah. Well, and I think you, you're, you had so much knowledge and the scientists and you to figure this out way earlier than most I mean, I'm sure you've seen I know, I've seen people in their 80s that are closer to the end of life. And they're just now starting to think like, wait, you know, I actually didn't like any of that stuff that I did. And I wish I had spent more time in trees or spent more time around the water. And I know, I'm just, I'm just starting to learn that, like, it's important to understand, what do I actually want? And it's okay to have desires and have goals that are in alignment with those.
Unknown Speaker 35:40
Usually they unlock your superpowers. Hmm. your desires are the are the doorway into where you're really going to come alive.
Stephen Christopher 35:50
Yeah, I mean, how do you how do you start to encourage people to do that right? Because I think about you know, myself years ago, and Busy entrepreneurs, right? All the entrepreneurs that we that we know, that work 80 or 100 hours a week, and it's kind of that, Oh, well, once I get here, then I'll have somebody else do all my work, and then I'll go do what's fun. But I hear it over and over. And this is what I'm hearing from you is that it's, it's so important that we pay attention to that stuff now, because it will actually make us even better, even more successful and more fulfilled.
Unknown Speaker 36:28
I don't know, how do you how do you say?
Unknown Speaker 36:31
Yeah, what's the fantasy? So you make you have your $50 million exit, you have a huge pile of money. You can do whatever you want. What are you going to do? What's the fun you're going to have? You're going to buy a cabin in the woods. Are you going to become a surfer like, what is it and making people really think through their their fantasy about what they're going to do, and see if we can bring it a little closer to this point in time.
Stephen Christopher 36:59
Did Did you Sherry, when you were making your transition from the professorship and purely research and recognizing, wait a minute, I need to have more joy in my life? What was there that ego that came up of like, Okay, well, gosh, you know, what are people gonna think of me? I'm going to walk away from all of this prestige and pedigree and success.
And I'm going to do something entirely different because I think many of us, you know, I sold a law firm, after many, many years about all I wanted to do is being an attorney. And then I was like, Okay, well, now what? I know I gave that up, but it was part of my identity. It was part of how I saw myself in the world. And so there was some guilt associated with that there was some trying to redefine, okay, how do I show up and have value?
Unknown Speaker 37:56
Yeah. All right. I love that. I mean, that is the hard work. Right, I became a researcher because I was good at it. And a lot of people in my life said, You're good at this, you should do this. And I said, Absolutely, yes, sir. Where do I sign up? Right? I'm a good girl and I have really high achievement orientation.
Um, and then what it meant to let that all go. And, you know, just be a psychologist or just be a mom, or run a business that doesn't make very much money, you know, like, all of those iterations and what it feels like and that's where the grief becomes the superpower. Because there's real loss. And if I tell you Oh, it's all it's all fun and dandy when you just pursue your passion like it's not it's there's real loss involved. loss of identity, loss of income, loss of certainty, loss of a really nice through line through your life that makes sense to people.
People are like, you did What you left that job to do that what? And, and I have to find the inner strength to say, absolutely I did. And now the story turned out for me and that's all okay, but there's been years of like, holy shit, what did I do? And you know, I think that's where, again, the ability to work through and listen to and tolerate those negative feelings not as something that we have to run from but it's something that says this is real loss and it's really scary. Is it really worth doing? Yes, it is. Okay, here we go.
Stephen Christopher 39:36
What's the through those years that you mentioned where it wasn't maybe as easy right? Because you've kind of you've come out the other side and you've seen now looking back at it makes it way easier. Yeah. For for you, as a psychologist and a researcher and stuff, what was your self talk during those times when it just never quite seemed to get better. Or the end was, you know, the next milestone seems so far away, like, how did you make it through those days? or How did you talk to yourself for, you know, for people that are in kind of that same place right now maybe.
Unknown Speaker 40:17
I think I used a lot of really
Unknown Speaker 40:21
conditional like, let's try it. Like just try it for a while. If you have to go get another academic job like you can. I think I did a lot of saying all the things you've done up to this point, they don't go away just because you've stepped off of this path.
So I think I wanted I wanted the parachute like I wanted the road back to safety. I just wanted to like leave my breadcrumbs so I could follow them back if I needed to. provided me a sense of I think emotional security and a sense of courage to feel like okay, I can go back and do this. If I want That for what it's worth, I think. Just try it for a little while see how it goes.
Stephen Christopher 41:05
I think that resonates right. Because we all you know, I think there's something in the entrepreneurs brain sometime, which is that it's all or nothing right? I mean, you could even see by some of the questions we've asked in keep saying it's, it's both it's and or, or it's yes and no. And it's like having what we really want is that safety of Okay, you know what you can go back.
And that gives us them permission to fully try whatever it's we're going to do. But somehow we've been taught that, well, you're not really fully committed. If you don't burn the ship, and jump overboard and start swimming, you're not really committed, so you're never really going to find what you want. And I think maybe that's the fallacy that we have been led to believe.
Unknown Speaker 41:51
I'm a big fan of the experimental method at the end of the day, right? You have a hypothesis, you give it a try, you test it out. You see if it works, you draw your question. illusions.
Stephen Christopher 42:01
I mean, ultimately, isn't that kind of what life is like is it is the experiment and life is expression? It's us being able to express and choose differently and, and have fun along the way as we learn.
Unknown Speaker 42:16
Yeah, I'm really grateful for that deep sense. At this point in my life, it's not going to be just one thing, you know. So no moment, no matter how big or traumatic or scary or hard is going to be permanent. And there's, I think, a sense of motion in life that I'm grateful to understand more now than I did at previous times in my life.
Stephen Christopher 42:42
I love that. That's awesome. Yeah. Okay, well, you've given us a lot of amazing stuff to think about and I know everybody listening as well. So Laura, if you kind of prepare any other questions you have and then some big takeaways and why she's kind of doing that cherry. If you want I'd tell people where they can go to find out more about you if they're interested, even maybe talk a little bit about the things that you do offer and how they can connect with you. And then any last words that might come up for you? Yeah,
Unknown Speaker 43:14
um, I do lots of things, which is really fun. So I have the podcast, which is called Zen founder, which is at anywhere the podcasts are available and then lives on the internet is on founder calm. And then I also work with people so I work one on one with entrepreneurs and leaders. I do some group stuff and sometimes I work with businesses at large around challenges that they're having. So more information about that is both at Zen bounder calm and then my personal website, which is Sherry, walling calm, and I also play in the circus and do lots of other things that I usually post about on Instagram, which is not very professional, but it's all about circus and puppies. So that's fun, too.
Stephen Christopher 43:56
I love it. Yeah, definitely, definitely follow Sherry on so Media it's it's highly entertaining, it makes me smile. It makes me realize how important it is to follow passions and not just be all about work. And it always makes me think of that statement of, I hope the inside matches the outside. So awesome, Sherry Well, thank you so much. We really, really appreciate it. And I'm just I'm very grateful that we get to know each other and, and all of the great things that you're doing in the world, especially right now you're helping so many.
Unknown Speaker 44:29
My pleasure was great to have a really thoughtful conversation with two enlightened, interesting curious people. So I'm grateful for it. Thank you.
Stephen Christopher 44:38
We try. Awesome. Okay, Laura, what do you got? Well, let's see. Um, things that really resonated with me both in terms of just little tidbits or areas of much more deeper contemplation. I think the first thing is really early on cherry talked about The fact that she used to record her daily highs and lows. And that seems so easy to me. Right? Like, okay, I can do that, you know, I'm not a big journaler. Unlike Stephen, Stephen has pages and pages and pages. I'll do it at times, but that technique alone, and then being able to use that in retrospection and some inner work of Okay, what are the patterns here?
I think that could be really, really powerful. The other kind of powerful tool was her question about how old do you feel in a particular moment where you didn't like how it was going or you didn't like how you showed up? I think there's a lot of again, insight that can be achieved by asking yourself those questions. So I loved both of those. And I think the other real big one for me was surrounding the discussion about grief. Because you know, I think most of us think oh grief when terms of someone died. Right?
And we don't always expand it to other areas of loss, particularly in light of covid. But but just your career changes all of those things. You know, she said, grief can be your superpower. That's pretty amazing to think of that type of an emotion as a superpower. But really learning how to feel that grief and show what it have it show us what we value and what's important to us, I think can be a real good tool for particularly a lot of our listeners who are on the cusp of Okay, what's next for me? And where do I want to go? Thinking about those concepts? I think it'd be very powerful. So amazing, amazing. input, Sherry. So thank you so much. Awesome.
Cool. Well, thank you so much for listening to today's episode of the exciting unknown podcast. Tune in in a couple days and Laura when I Laura, and We'll release the connect the dots episode where we'll go back and we'll chat about what Sherry told us what things we implemented what we learned from it after it's simmering for a couple days, so you don't want to miss out on that one. And until next time, embrace the exciting unknown.