So this week, I have the perfect guest to talk us through grieving while running a business. Krista St-Germain is a grief expert and Master Certified Life Coach. She came to this work after her own loss, and I’ve personally watched her transformation as a colleague and see all the time how inspiring and impactful her work is.
If, like me, the last year has been extremely challenging for you in any way, if you’ve experienced the loss of someone you love, or even if you want to learn more about grief to be a pillar of support for someone else in your life, listen in this week. Krista and I are talking through what the processing of grief actually entails, how to reframe your goals post-grief, and why there is never a moral obligation to make your experience a teachable moment.
Welcome to the Make Money as a Life Coach™ podcast where sales expert and life coach Stacey Boehman teaches you how to make your first 2K, 20K, and 200K using her proven formula.
Stacey: Hey coaches, welcome to episode 126. I have been waiting very impatiently for weeks to do this podcast because – and our guest today doesn’t know all of the reasons why, but because my students need this podcast so badly.
So we’re going to be talking about grieving while running a business, and I want to encourage you if you’re not in a state where you’re having some strong feelings that you have to process, whether it’s grief or other things, if you’re not there right now, I really want to encourage you to listen anyway.
Because what I have found working with my students is it’s so much harder if you don’t have the tools and the knowledge and the awareness to deal with it once you’re in it when it actually applies to you. So I really want to encourage you to listen because we never know what can pop up in life that will throw us into a place emotionally where we feel like we’re not available or able to run our business and handle our emotions at the same time.
And so I really just want you to listen, keep an open mind, hear the message so that when you need it, you already have what we’re going to talk about today as your base awareness, and then you can always go back to this episode over and over when you need it. So that’s what I wanted to do just a little caveat at the beginning of this episode.
We’re going to talk about something heavy, but I think we’re going to have some fun doing it. I don’t think that’s quite the way to describe it but we’re going to make it interesting, so please welcome Krista St-Germain. She is an expert at grief, and she coaches widowed moms. She has a really incredible story.
So Krista, do you want to just start maybe telling a little bit about your story so everyone understands how you came to coaching on grief and then we can kind of dive into some questions that I think my audience will have for you.
Krista: Yeah, absolutely. And while you were talking, I’m just nodding my head over here because so much of what I find is that as a culture, we just suck at grief, and we’re so uninformed or misinformed. And so it’s just really a privilege to be here and be a little proactive in the way that we think about grief.
So anyway, Krista St-Germain, master certified life coach. I came to this work really after my own loss. So I had been on a road trip with my husband, and I had a flat tire, and I pulled over to the side of the road, he pulled out behind me, he went to change the tire.
I knew, there was a part of me that knew it was so dangerous. He didn’t want to call AAA, “Baby, just let me change the tire, we’ll be home faster,” and a driver that we later found out had meth and alcohol in his system didn’t stop, didn’t brake, just hit the back of Hugo’s car, and trapped him in between his car and mine. And within 24 hours he was gone.
And with him, all my dreams of the future. Everything I thought life was going to be was just completely upended. So therapy helped me get back to functioning, get me back to work, get me back to that place where I was able to feed my kids and do the things.
And people were telling me, “Oh, you’re so strong and you’re doing so great,” and on the inside I just wasn’t feeling strong or great, and I was thinking this cannot be what the rest of my life is. There has to be more. And I need tools, I need strategies, I need a way to figure this out and it was kismet that Brooke launched Self-Coaching Scholars at that exact same time.
I had been following her podcast, joined Scholars, discovered coaching, and found it to be, considering where I was, exactly what I needed. Which then combined with my own research into grief and post-traumatic growth and marrying that with life coaching helped me transform my life and figure out how to love it again, and then inspired within me this desire to help other widows do the same. Because you know, there’s really not a lot of grief resources out there that are very practical when people need them the most.
Stacey: Yeah. That’s so inspiring to hear, to see your transformation as a colleague, to watch you come up and just really build a new life for yourself and one that’s so impactful has really been like, very inspiring for me and such a – just can’t say it enough, so impactful to watch. So I just want to acknowledge you for that and for helping everyone go through something that is really unimaginable.
You think like, that just can’t be true, and I know that we have had a lot of loss this year in the world. So let’s maybe start there. Let’s start with – you can also guide the conversation as well but actually maybe I’ll start with telling you a little bit about what my students have experienced this year and the people around me.
Just in our 200K mastermind, we’ve had so many students who have lost their fathers, who have had miscarriages, who have lost loved ones to coronavirus, who have experienced racism in our country, so much pain has come up in the world. And the one thing I see time and time again, whether it’s in my 2K group or my 200K mastermind is – let me just say this.
Their thought is, “I have to keep running my business and do all of the things, and I’m also experiencing so much emotions inside of me that I don’t know how to do any of those things.” So I always tell them like, and I think this is something you and I can talk about but it’s always fascinating to me that we – and maybe this is just aside, we feel like we can’t stop the world and grieve.
We can’t do that. We have to keep going. We have to be productive, we have to get the things done. So I’m curious just like, let’s start there, what are your thoughts when something awful and terrible happens and you’re in grief, what advice would you have for them when they’re in that place of ‘but I can’t just take care of myself’?
Krista: Yeah, I think self-care needs to be your number one priority. Because if you don’t care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of your clients or the people who love you and that you love. So my clients do this with their children of course. They tell themselves, “I can’t take care of myself because I have to take care of my children.”
And what I always offer is that, no, they go together, you don’t take care of your children unless you take care of yourself. So we have to figure that out. It’s cliche but put the oxygen mask on yourself first because this is a marathon. This is not a sprint.
Stacey: Yeah, that’s so good. I love the idea that we think we can continue to take care of other people and put ourselves on hold. I love the idea of if you’re listening and you have something like this going on is you cannot take care of your clients if you are not taking care of yourself.
And I want to say it in a broad perspective, if you have unprocessed feelings of any kind, if you’re not taking care of your mind and your emotions health, you cannot take care of your clients. Even if you think that you are, it’s not going to be the same level of care for them if you take care of yourself first and you’ve processed emotions, you’ve given yourself time and then you’re actually truly ready to serve them.
Krista: Totally. And we don’t want to go to the far extreme because then what sometimes happens is we say okay, well then I have to feel all the feelings and do all the work and can’t take a break and take it to another extreme, which is also not where we want to be. We want to find that spot in the middle.
In fact, grief theory evolves over time and the dual process theory of grief, which these things interest me. I realize that not everyone, it floats their boat. But it interests me, and dual process model of grief says really what we want to do is find this balance and we want to oscillate back and forth between kind of the work of grief and restorative activities or respite. Intentional rest.
So we feel feelings and we think about things and we do the “work” and then we avoid intentionally. We rest, we get away, we find hobbies, activities, other things, and we go back and forth from doing the work to respite. And that’s the balance we need to strive for.
Stacey: That’s so good. So I just recently went through some grief myself and I found myself going through that kind of mode. There would be times where I would just cry for hours and then I would recognize I need a break from this, I just need a break.
And whether that was taking a walk with my dogs or us watching TV or reading a book or whatever it was, there was a period of seven straight days where I just needed to grieve. And what I found for me that I think will be interesting to talk about too, I had a friend at the same time, and she also had lost – so I had lost a pet and she had lost a parent.
And we were both experiencing the exact – it felt like very similar things, very similar emotions in our body. The circumstance was not the same. But we were talking about it and it was so fascinating the way we were handling it. It was so interesting.
And both of us – because she wasn’t super close with her dad and she thought she had grieved that relationship in the past, and what’s so fascinating is one of the things that we were both talking about was that we felt like – almost like it was not appropriate to have the level of grief we were having. Like does this count as grief? Are these feelings appropriate? Do you want to speak on that?
Krista: Yes. I’m again, nodding. If we could just stop judging our feelings, if we could just stop putting timelines on things, if we could just put the feeling in the C line and think about it intentionally, this is part of grief. Because it’s so unique.
What’s going to be – one person’s experience will not reflect another person’s experience. And this whole comparison game that we play with grief about are we doing it right, is it normal, are there stages, where am I, am I supposed to be further along, am I crying too much, all the questions that we’re asking ourselves are so disempowering and unhelpful.
Stacey: They take us out of allowing the emotion too. That’s one of the things I noticed.
Krista: Yes. And it’s not just the negative emotion we need to allow and not judge. It’s the positive ones too. I coach my clients on this all the time where they will notice a moment of happiness and then judge themselves and they will feel guilty because they feel happy. And they will tell themselves that means they didn’t love the person enough, or they’re stuck, or there’s something wrong, or they’re in denial.
They have all this negative soundtrack about even positive emotions. So all the emotions are common and normal. The “positive” ones and the “negative” ones, and I use that in air quotes because there really is no such thing.
Stages are so irrelevant, and we get so caught up in that because as a culture we’ve all kind of bought into the five stages idea because it’s the most popular one. But just like weight loss theories, there’s a bunch of grief theories too. Five stages is only one of them.
Stacey: What are the five stages that people say is the thing?
Krista: So what’s important to understand before we even talk about that is that again, lots of grief theories, but Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, when they developed that theory, they were really studying people who were dying. They were studying the process of death.
And then later kind of took from that and applied it to the process of grief. And so their work has been so misinterpreted. People tend to think okay, so I must deny it first, that’s the first stage, I’m supposed to be in denial. Then I’m supposed to get angry, and then I’m supposed to bargain, and then I’m supposed to get depressed, and then I will get to acceptance.
Well, some yes, some no, but really what we want to take from that is all of it can happen. Nothing’s gone wrong if it doesn’t. It’s definitely not linear. Sometimes I think people think it’s going to be this point A to point Z and we draw a straight line or some sort of stair steps. But what it really looks like is a giant scribble on a piece of paper. We’re all over the place. And that’s normal. And we want to hold space to feel like a hot mess.
Stacey: Yeah, and I want to offer to anyone that is going through something really hard right now, this is one of the things that I kept telling myself is that it will pass. There will be a time where it gets less and less and less, and there was a several day period where my fiancé was asking me how I was feeling, and I was like, you know, I’ve thought about it every single day, but I haven’t felt like the extreme grief in several days.
So I notice that it’s leaving my body, and I was really allowing for that to be okay. At the beginning, I think I was like, it’s not okay if I let it go, and then it was really like, it’s okay to let it go. And I think that that’s really important too is just knowing – when I think about my students who are running a business, I think their biggest fear if they’re never going to get out of it, and then they go to the extreme of I’m never going to start marketing again, I’m going to lose all my momentum, no one will reach out again, I’m never going to be happy, positive, holding enough space to help other people, like I’m going to be in this phase so long that I won’t ever recuperate in my business.
And I think that that fear of loss of money, of loss of momentum, of loss of visibility, like I have to be online, my people are waiting for me to show up, all of that, I think it’s unuseful as you’ve said for the grief process, but I also think it brings up all of our attachment to those things too.
I was just talking to some of my millionaire students yesterday. We did a podcast, and we were talking about how we get into life coaching with this kind of fundamental, I think most of us, the fundamental belief that emotional health is the most important thing and that’s what we want.
And then we became entrepreneurs and business owners and money gets involved, and all of a sudden we forget that and we’re like no, money is the most important thing, the next client, the current clients I have, the status, the visibility, the momentum, all of those things, those are now the most important thing, those are everything, and we forget to really allow ourselves to take however long we need to and know that it will pass and we’ll just pick back up when we get back and going.
Krista: Yeah. I kind of like to think of it too, can we hold the duality of everything’s okay and everything’s not okay. Thinking about we’re not okay but that’s part of the human experience. That doesn’t mean that everything’s not okay. It’s okay for us to not be okay and still, that’s part of being human, everything is okay, even when we’re not.
Stacey: Yeah. So what I’m hearing you say is – and maybe you can speak on it a little bit is your advice to them would be work if you want to work, if that’s the place you’re in and how you feel, and if you don’t, you don’t, and be okay to let that be – I don’t know what the word I’m looking for is but not set in stone.
You’re not scheduling time. It’s whatever, if you can do some calls, great, if you need to move some, that’s okay too. And just go with where you are in that time. Is that what you would say?
Krista: Yeah, support yourself. What feels the most loving to you? And don’t expect it to be easy, don’t expect it to be linear, don’t expect – understand that physically, the impacts of grief. So you’re probably not going to be sleeping as well. Your hormones are a mess. Everything in your chemistry is off.
You’re cognitively not going to be able to process typically as well as you normally would. Grief fog is a very real thing. Your ability to use your prefrontal cortex, it’s like its bandwidth just shrinks. So all of a sudden you can’t remember things like you thought you could. The little details that were not a problem before become a problem.
And you start thinking and questioning, am I crazy? Is there something wrong with me? That’s not universal. Not everyone has that experience but it’s a very, very common thing that can happen. So for some people, there’s something called broken heart syndrome. Your heart can actually hurt, and it can feel like you’re having a heart attack.
So we need to know that yes, if you are having a significant loss, which is different for everyone. For some people that’s a pet, for some people that’s a job or a divorce or a death. Grief is lots of things. It’s not just death. But everything you should expect in your physical body and your brain, it’s just going to be off for a while and you have to show yourself compassion and meet yourself where you are.
And know, I like to think of them as grief grenades. Sometimes the grief grenades come when you are not expecting it. A song comes on the radio or, oh my goodness, who knows what it can be. That doesn’t mean you’ve done anything wrong, that doesn’t mean you’re stuck, that doesn’t mean you need “help” necessarily.
Of course if you want – I’m using “help” in air quotes, for sure, get it. But that’s just a normal part of grief and it is up and down, it is a rollercoaster. Compassion, compassion, compassion.
Stacey: Yeah, that’s so good. I love that so much. I had a lot of grief – what did you call them? Grief grenades? I had a lot of those. I was telling Kara, I was like, I don’t know what it is, my whole life I grieve pets so much harder than humans. And this was a pet that I had with an ex and we had gotten two kittens as babies and raised them for five years and then she got cancer and when you have a separation – I went through this separate grief of grieving losing them when we broke up and they were – they loved me, but they were very bonded with him.
You could tell I was Bear’s person, and we called her Maomao, but Maomao was my ex’s person. And you could just tell, she had – I would always say she let him – she had boundaries with everyone else including me that she didn’t have with him. So it was the most loving thing to let her go.
But then I had so much – it was not even just the grief of loss of her, but it was all of these thoughts about how I abandoned her. I mean, just so much came up like grief of the relationship that I didn’t even realize was there came up. It was a really unexpected event.
And then of course we broke up for a reason, he tends to be a very manipulative person and didn’t let me see her before she died. So I didn’t get closure as well and it was this whole experience and it’s just really been so interesting to go through this at the level I’m at in my business, where I actually am able to really walk away.
We were getting ready to go into the 200K launch and I remember messaging my team – they usually send me the test emails like, I won’t be on today, just use your best judgment, move forward, send everything out. And I remember thinking like, what a big step that was for me.
And I had also talked to my friend and I said I think you should take the whole week off, take everything off. And she was like, well, I’m going to be off for several weeks after that too, and I’m like, yeah, that’s okay. Me too. I’m getting married. We’re just going to be gone for a while.
And here’s what I want to say to everybody listening. I don’t think you have to be at the million-dollar level for this to happen for you but literally it didn’t affect our bottom line at all. And so whether it’s this – and I want to talk about prolonged grief as well if you’re willing, and I’ll tell you the way I’m kind of thinking about that.
But if you’re in a condensed period of grief, like you’ve lost someone, you’ve lost something, I just want to offer that if you think about the entire year, say your goal is 100K or 200K and you go through an entire quarter of grief, it’s still possible for you to hit your goal and make the exact same amount of money.
And I would say more likely if you’re willing to fully allow the experience. And again, I love Krista that you said it doesn’t mean you check out for three months either. It’s not like I have to do all this work and be completely complete before I show back up to the world. It’s you listening to you. And going back and forth but allowing that process to play out.
And the way I even think about it is if you were sick, if you had a diagnosis and there were some days where you feel good and there were some days that you weren’t and you physically couldn’t keep up, you would have to make adjustments. Like I had a client who had a stroke, and she literally could not work at the same level anymore.
And I worked with her for an entire year on you can still make the same amount of money that you want. That doesn’t have to change, and you can take care of yourself. And it was such a beautiful thing that she was able to do that after really working on her thought that she couldn’t.
And so I think it’s something to consider is no matter how long it takes, it’s not going to be at the sacrifice of money but also, I want my people to be willing to sacrifice the money. We’re more important than that.
Krista: Yeah. And I think we also want to reframe the goal. At least consider the possibility of thinking about what we think is possible. Because I think most people are thinking how do I get back to normal, how do I get back to the same level of functioning and the same life that I had before.
And for sure, that’s a beautiful first step. But then in comes the idea of post-traumatic growth, which is that if we want, we can use our loss experience to up-level our life satisfaction. So it can be an opportunity to figure out how can I take this life experience and apply it to even my business or how I show up as a coach and what I create and become more aligned in the way that I do business, with my values, how can I be the example of humanness that I really want to be with my clients, how can I really embrace – am I teaching feelings aren’t problems but I’m really not…
Stacey: That’s so good.
Krista: So we can bounce forward. We don’t just have to bounce back. We can bounce forward. It’s not a moral obligation. We don’t have to. But I want everybody to consider that it could be possible, and it is possible if you want it.
Stacey: Yeah, that’s so good. Can we touch on that for a second? I don’t know if this is what you meant, but you said something that triggered a thought for me about – you said the moral obligation. And I think that what triggered in my mind was a lot of my students also think because they’re coaches and because they’re teachers and they’re out and they’re used to sharing their story with the world, that their grief story is something that they need to be able to get to a point to share.
I had one student in 2K who sent me this beautiful testimonial and she had sent our team and said I decided I really don’t want that to be shown, I really wanted it to be just for you because it was such a personal story. And then she had messaged back and said maybe I am okay with sharing it, or I will be.
And I told her, what if you just never shared it? It’s okay to not use this and monetize this or put this out in the world. It’s not always for monetization. But for a testimonial or this for, I told her, this is such a beautiful story for you, and I think it’s okay to hold that for as long as you want or forever, and you don’t need to make it part of your hero’s journey of teaching – it’s not your moral obligation to make it a teachable moment I think is the short way to say what I wanted to say. What are your thoughts about that?
Krista: I couldn’t agree more. You get to be the boss. You get to decide how much of this you want to share, how much of it you want to apply. And I think as coaches, we just have to be wary of that because sometimes we put those shoulds on ourselves. I should turn this into a lesson for people, I should use this to make myself more relatable, I should, I should, I should. No, what do you want? What would feel like love to you in this?
Stacey: That’s so good. That really ties into what I wanted to talk about next, which is long-term – I think in the world, and maybe this is just my experience, but what I experienced over the last year was a massive amount of grief of what I considered loss of agency and loss of almost innocence of the way that I thought the world was.
I didn’t even know that pandemics were a thing, that that could happen, and I love to travel, I love to be in front of people, and just so many things I couldn’t do that I loved to do. And I never thought, like in my mind, I never thought that that could possibly happen. And then the idea that I couldn’t even decide for myself whether I wanted to do certain measures or not, and I really struggled over the last year.
I’m coming out of it now, like really truly coming out of it, but I really struggled. And I didn’t share any of it really ever with my audience. It didn’t feel like at the time like something I was ready to share. And also, I was so – I’m like, I’m still so in it I can’t articulate it. I don’t have a lot of stuff to offer you.
So I just want to offer that I still worked but there were times where I told Neil I’m not doing well and I would get on the phone with my coach and be like, I’m really, really struggling. It’s not – an abnormal level of not okay. And so I’m curious what – it’s two parts really. That was a personal journey I chose not to share with my audience in a really deep way, but I’m curious – so that’s one thing is just not having to share it with your audience.
But then I’m also curious your thoughts about people who might be like me where they’re really long-term struggling with everything that’s happening in the world. Grief of – the way I describe it loss of innocence of the world, but do you know what I mean? Anyone that might be kind of struggling with long-term mental health with the pandemic.
Krista: Yeah. I think we’re in kind of a nebulous area when we start talking about long-term mental health problems. And so as a coach, I’m always very clear in that I don’t diagnose. And so everyone needs to be their own mental health advocate and whatever help you need and whatever works best for you, you need to advocate for yourself and get – and that is different for different people.
And judging it is not helpful, labeling it is not helpful. Even in the world of grief, these terms keep evolving. These definitions of terms like prolonged grief keep changing. Nobody can really – there’s a lot of disagreement about what that means and what to do about it.
So my thought is grief is kind of the umbrella term for thoughts and feelings about a loss. That’s really what it is. And how we address that, in my mind, if we’re below that level of functioning, where there is significant impairment to our daily life, in our ability to keep our own needs, then that’s probably where we want to consider some therapy.
But that’s not where we want to stop either. We don’t want to just stop at well, I’m back to functioning. Because we can be living a life but not really living it. You know what I mean? And to me, that’s where coaching and self-coaching can make such a difference.
Stacey: Yes. I feel like what I experienced felt like – I’ve been thinking about this podcast and how I want to describe it because I have a feeling a lot of my students have gone through it is like, just a prolonged period of having to constantly process a lot of emotions that are heavier than the normal or the standard.
There’s the processing the emotions that comes with if you fail and you have a disappointment and things like that. But a prolonged stressor of – literally, I feel like our brains are interacting in the world being like, something has gone wrong, this is not right, something has happened. No matter what your views are.
Just like we’re in an abnormal time. Our whole circumstance of the world has shifted. And that’s why I’ve noticed my brain is over-reactionary to all of it so there’s so much more emotions that I’m constantly processing, and then it’s shown up as physical pain in my body, and so I’ve been working on a lot of coaching around that.
And it just feels like life used to be a lot easier. It feels like now there’s a normal, but it feels like the normal of life just went down five notches for me. And has been – I don’t know, has felt a little bit like you’re walking in mud sometimes. Just everything is a little bit harder.
Krista: Yeah, I think that’s an accurate description. And I think in terms of coaching, this is where we want to be careful because yes, that’s a thought, but how do we want to think if it’s harder? Can we just agree that it’s harder and that’s a C? And we can just decide how we want to think about this experience that we’re having where it’s harder.
I also think there are things we can do – I’m a big fan of tapping, emotional freedom technique. And so I incorporate that in my work with my clients, anybody can do it. But if we can do things that support our nervous system, that tell that part of our brain that’s fight or flight that everything’s okay and really get our nervous system back online, well, the part of it that we need to rest and recuperate and everything.
Stacey: That’s so good. I have definitely done some tapping this year as well. And it’s been really powerful. But I want everyone to know, if you have struggled this year, you’re not alone for sure. And I do think – I coached a lot with Bev, my one-on-one coach. I coached a lot on my thoughts that as a coach I should be able to just get on board and be happy and be fine and I should be coached up by now.
And there was so much of our coaching that we did of like, just because you can change your thought doesn’t mean necessarily that you want to. And just because the thought that you’re having about the circumstance doesn’t feel good also doesn’t mean – and it may be creating an experience for you that is not good, but it also doesn’t mean you have to change it either. I’m really willing to be in a space where my thoughts are going to cause me pain and I don’t necessarily want to change them.
Krista: Right, and it’s the difference between allowing pain, which is the normal part of the human experience consciously. Not trying to change your thoughts to get away from it. But also, not heaping suffering on top of the pain with your thoughts.
Not judging your pain, not telling yourself that shouldn’t be painful, not telling yourself I’m a coach, this shouldn’t be so hard for me, or I should know better already, or maybe you’ve had a loss before and so you’re telling yourself, well, you’ve been through this once before and it shouldn’t be as hard the second time around or whatever. But just know this is hard and I’m willing to allow it over and over and over.
Stacey: So good. This is hard and I’m willing to allow it. So amazing. What else do you think would be really important for them that I haven’t asked? Because I feel like you have probably a better finger on it than I do.
Krista: I think sometimes it’s other people and their reaction to what we’re going through that we struggle with more than we expect. So just knowing as a culture we are not good at grief, we tend to avoid it, we don’t talk about it, especially death. We’re not really good at that.
People are very uncomfortable, it’s awkward, so sometimes what happens is that the people you expect to rally are the ones that ghost. And then that can be really painful if we have a lot of thoughts about that means they don’t love me, that means they don’t care. Sometimes people, they’re in their own model and they’re very uncomfortable with our feelings.
They don’t know that feelings aren’t problems. They don’t know how to fix us, they want to fix us, and so just letting people suck at supporting us, and not making it mean that anything’s gone wrong with that. But also then sometimes the people who you never expect are the ones that show up for you the most.
And so that can be an interesting thing too. Just letting people be who they are. And knowing that people do suck at grief typically, sometimes we need to tell them if we know what we need, we need to tell them what we want. They’ll say things like, “If you need anything, I’m here,” but then where do they go? But if you know you could use some help, ask. Ask for help.
Stacey: Even if it’s like your spouse, there were several times where I had to say, Neil, I need you to just come hold me and I need you to know how serious this is for me and I need you to know I’m not doing okay. Just I need you to know this is happening for me and this is how you can serve me the most and be here.
And he was so willing to do it. I had to notice when I expected him to do something or be a certain way and then just kind of bring it back to this is what’s happening for me, let me bring you in. Because I think sometimes when we’re in a lot of pain, I notice for me, I really – it feels like all of my insides just constrict. And go in this protective mode where I just want to escape into my body and not be seen by anyone.
So it’s really hard to invite people in and to say like, this is what’s happening for me and this is what I need, and this is how you can be here for me, and I want you to be here for me, and to say those things.
Krista: Yeah, and it’s also okay to say I don’t know what I need. I’m figuring it out, but I really don’t know. That’s okay too. And we don’t need to fake it around people. But that’s also okay if we want to. It’s never really anyone’s favorite conversation when somebody says, “So how are you doing?” And you’re like, you don’t owe them an answer, but you also can be honest. You get to decide how you want to interact.
Stacey: So interesting. As a coach, can you be okay with saying I’m not okay and not make it mean you’re a bad coach?
Krista: Yes please. There’s a lovely book my Megan Devine called It’s OK That You’re Not OK. That’s the whole idea is who said we’re supposed to be okay all the time? What even is that? Are we supposed to be robots? I don’t think that’s what we want. We’re humans and just because we’re coaches doesn’t mean all of a sudden, we have no negative emotion or somehow, we rebound faster. No.
Stacey: Yeah, I love that. That’s so good. We have to let – it’s like there’s a – just no. I think there’s just such a strong – it might be helpful for everyone listening to write out – we call it The Life Coach School, the manual. But it’s literally our operating manual for the way that we – our expectations, what we think should be happening, and it might be really beneficial for everyone to sit down and write out what they think their manual is for being a good life coach.
And is it missing feeling your emotions and not being okay and all of those things? Like having thoughts that are negative that aren’t rainbows and daisies and butterflies.
Krista: And think about how that benefits your clients when you shift that. Because the last thing we need is for our clients to be putting us on pedestals and thinking that we are superhuman and therefore they should be superhuman. Not helpful at all.
Stacey: Yes. So again, it’s such a line of like, you don’t need to necessarily tell your audience what’s happening for you all of the time, but it’s like, what thought is it coming from? But you also don’t want to hide it from a space of believing that you need to be a certain way to be respected or whatever your thought is. They can’t know that I’m not okay.
Krista: There’s something wrong with me, right.
Stacey: That you’re doing a bad job, or you’re out of integrity. I see a lot of people use that against themselves. Like if they’re not feeling great or managing their mind at the highest level and they never have – if they’re not having little drama, then they’re out of integrity with what they’re teaching.
And I think what’s interesting is because I coach so many coaches from so many different coaching philosophies, there’s a conversation about what is the role of coaching. I think I have always gravitated towards The Life Coach School’s teachings on life is 50/50 and we’re supposed to have negative emotions and not layering judgment on top of them.
But there are coaching programs that I’ve even been a part of where it’s like, no, I get out of it in three seconds, I never let myself experience that, it’s all about power and momentum and I never sit there in suffering and that’s a choice and all of these things. And so I think you and I know very deeply that this is part of it, but I really don’t know that the whole industry is on board with that.
Krista: Yeah. I just can’t imagine thinking about my dead husband and like, not having been sad about that, not having let myself miss him, or even missing him now. Why would I want that? Just for me, it’s not what I want. For me, it feels appropriate that this person who I loved so much and wanted to live the rest of my life with that I would grieve and have all of those feelings. And I don’t think that is anything to try to rebound out of quickly. I think that’s just something we allow, and we just try not to dirty it up and make it harder on ourselves.
Stacey: Yeah, so good. Anything else that you think that they need to hear on this episode? I’ve been thinking about it so much I’m like, I just want to tell them all of the things and I want them to be willing to feel it.
Krista: Yeah. You know, one of the things that helps me too is just this idea that grief is not golf, there’s not 18 holes and you’re done. If the loss is always there, which it is, unless somehow you can go back and change time, you’re always going to have thoughts and feelings about it.
And so there’s no finish line, there’s no pot of gold, we don’t move on, we move forward, we incorporate that loss into the fabric of our life. And so we’re not trying to get anywhere, we just keep living and bring it into our life experience.
And so if people are thinking, well, there’s a finish line, I’m going to hit the one-year mark, or something magical is going to happen, or there’s just going to be this place where I get to where I never feel a negative emotion again about this, that’s not accurate and that’s not useful.
Stacey: That’s so good. I remember when I started my coaching business it was right after I had announced that I had gotten certified, I went through a pretty humiliating public breakup that I had been cheated on. I still remember it like it happened yesterday. There was a moment where I literally thought I was having a heart attack.
I could feel my heart, my actual body responding and freaking out. And I remember coaching with my coach and saying, she would ask me on a scale of one to 10, where’s the pain at, and I remember thinking it’ll never go below a 10. It’s never going to be lower.
And then I remember a couple of months later she asked me again and I was at a six. And I remember how profound that shift was for me. It wasn’t a lot, a six was still me thinking about it every single day, thinking I would never love someone as much as him, I would never feel those feelings again. That was it.
But it was like, that little shift, I thought okay, if I can go from a 10 to a six, I know it’s in my future somewhere to go from a six to a four, and a four to a two. And it would, there would still be times where it would shoot right back up to a 10, and sometimes that didn’t last as long as time went on.
I remember she told me so many times like, time and space are really going to make a difference. It really is going to make a difference in your mind. And I used to think it was so cliche, that’s never going to happen, but it really would happen for me like that. So that’s another way to think about it is to just ask yourself where your emotions are if you put them on a scale.
And you’re not trying to change the scale, you’re just seeing. You’re just seeing where you’re at today so that you know and you can be really compassionate, and then you can kind of track it if it’s especially something that lingers for a while and see that things are getting better because sometimes it feels like nothing has shifted or changed and really, a lot has.
Krista: Yes. And we do that with the positive and the negative, but I think that’s a lovely – that’s often a recommended grief practice if you want to journal is to do that every day. Where your level of sadness is, or intensity of emotion is and track it over time because you do get a little myopic about it.
Stacey: That’s so good. So I thought of one more that I want to ask you, and this may be a weird, ambiguous question, but I can give you some examples if it doesn’t make sense. But can we talk about are there ways that you really can retraumatize yourself in a way that isn’t useful? Things that the brain often wants to do because it’s trying to seek safety, but it’s really unuseful.
So I’ll give you an example. For me especially after my wedding got canceled, I went into – I think Brig Johnson talked about this on one of Brooke’s podcasts where I went into ‘I’m going to be the coronavirus expert, I’m going to get all of the information, I’m going to watch all of the news and read all of the articles and all of the books, and I’m going to know all of the things.’
Really trying to control and manage all of it, I mean, if they would just make me president, I had so many thoughts, and it really felt – it’s almost like the scratch getting itched. Where it really in the moment felt so good and useful and it was just retraumatizing myself over and over and over and over again.
And I’ve seen that with my students who have gone through things this year and where they’re attached to the news, they’re following people on social media that get them riled up, and it feels very useful. But really, I feel like it can be very retraumatizing and I had to really take a step back and be like, okay, went down the path.
Krista: I’m wondering, what’s the motivation? What do you think your motivation was behind that? Why did you want to do that?
Stacey: I think it was like safety. I was like, information equals safety. The more I know, the better I’ll be equipped to handle this is kind of where the line of thinking was.
Krista: And then really what happens is maybe the exact opposite of that, where you become less equipped to handle that because of where you’re spending your time and energy and what your brain space is now preoccupied with.
Stacey: And I always say like, I think the more information we have, the worse – the smarter we are, the harder it can be for us to manage our minds because it’s the more thoughts we have. Every time we add more thoughts and more information, we just have more to manage. And so it’s fascinating that I ended up in that place. It’s not normally a place I go but that was my particular flavor of fight or flight in that moment.
Krista: And I think that’s going to be another one of those things that’s so individual. For instance, if you throw yourself – because I’ve seen a lot of people respond in different ways, if you throw yourself into some fundraising effort, or preventative effort, or meaning making kind of effort, that can be very healing for some people.
It can also be a total way to hide from your feelings and distract yourself by keeping busy, and so it’s really just an individual thing that I think we want to bring our attention to and ask ourselves why we’re doing this. Are we doing this because doing it makes us feel empowered and helpful and helps us add meaning to life? Is it because it’s aligned with our values? Or are we doing this out of fear, we don’t want to feel a feeling.
Stacey: Yeah, that’s so good. This is another example that came up for me is – and I want to be sensitive to like – I know this is a pretty loaded topic for people. But with the coronavirus, I had a stance of – and statistically, my stance measures up, I think. I wasn’t afraid for me that I’m going to get it and be really terribly ill. And I didn’t spend time with people who might be.
So I was always saying I’m just never going to subscribe to fear about coronavirus. So I just would not for a long time read any articles that really were like, very – headlines that make it really catastrophic, I’m not subscribing to that. And then I noticed when the vaccine came around, I’m surrounded by people that would be talking about all these thoughts about it.
A lot of them were very limiting, I did a lot of research about it, but just rumors about has it been properly studied, or it hasn’t been this, and there’s these side effects, or people are getting really sick when they take the shot. And I was like, I’m not subscribing to that either.
And then I would be scrolling Instagram, every once in a while, and I would see things pop up that would be like, I mean, I don’t even remember what they were but just like, the scariest worst-case scenarios about the vaccine that could possibly be available. And I was just like, okay, unfollow. On either side, I don’t want to know any of the most extreme things.
And I even had to tell people who were saying, did you hear the vaccine is making people sterile and things like that, and I’m like, none of that BS around me. I’m getting the vaccine, I’m going to be fine, I’m not having any side effects, which I didn’t.
So I think that’s another one that I’m thinking of is like, there’s been times where I’ve really used it against myself and then times where I’ve noticed that act being very supportive of, I’m going to unfollow things that might trigger my mind either way in a really dramatic fashion.
And then also I’m going to advocate for myself, I’m not going to let people say really overdramatized worst-case scenario things in front of me if I think – because I don’t inherently believe that that’s going to happen, but my brain is also subject to having subconscious reactions to things that I’m not even aware of. So I’m like, that’s a no, nobody say those things around me.
So I think that’s an example because I know that that’s floating in the world of people’s reactions to seeing things in the news or on social media, and I think that that can be true with any type of experience you’re having as like, is the activity something you said proactive, useful, and it feels healing and it feels like it’s solving a problem, or is it retraumatizing you, even if it feels like it’s scratching and itch, is it actually keeping you in an unhealthy place of retraumatization.
Krista: Is it in service of the result that you want to create?
Stacey: So good. Any final things? Have we covered it all?
Krista: I think we did a good job Stacey. That’s what I think. It’s not easy but I’m really excited that people might be considering just learning a little bit more and thinking about these things in advance. Not only so that they can better support themselves but so they can better support others.
Stacey: Yeah. It has been a – at least in our community, we have a Facebook community in 2K and 200K, so I know that’s different with different coaching programs, but we talk about it a lot. It’s been a conversation that’s come up in a bunch of different ways, and I’ve always told my students you just have to take care of yourself first.
Whether it’s if you’re in 200K and we did a 25K in 30 days challenge and someone lost her father and I’m like, she was like, I’m not doing the challenge, and I’m like 100%, that’s a great decision. So we talk about it a lot, we hold a lot of space for each other, but the common thing that comes up is really the things we’ve discussed on this call is having judgment about what we’re going through, making it mean we’re not a good coach, not knowing how to even deal with it, having a preconceived notion of what that looks like, and having a lot of fear around loss of financial success or stability if you step away and take a break to take care of yourself.
Krista: Yeah, I think we covered the main ones.
Stacey: We did it. I’m so grateful to have you on. I’ve really been looking forward to this because I know how beneficial it’s going to be. So I’m eternally grateful for you sharing your time.
Krista: Totally my pleasure.
Stacey: How can people connect with you if they want to follow you and just learn a little bit more about your work?
Krista: They can follow me on Facebook at Coaching with Krista or Instagram @lifecoachkrista, and even though my podcast, it’s called The Widowed Mom Podcast is super niched, it’s also really good for people who just want to learn about grief. So there are episodes of that podcast that I think you just disregard the widowed mom part, and you’ll get a lot out of it if you want to learn more.
Stacey: Definitely go scroll through her podcast, especially if this really hit home for you. Whether it’s new grief, residual grief, whatever it is, go scroll through and see if there’s any that are on a very specific topic that feels really relevant and useful to you. I highly, highly recommend it. And we will also include all of that in the show notes. Thank you so much for coming on. Alright I’ll talk to you soon.
Hey, if you are ready to make money as a life coach, I want to invite you to join my 2K for 2K program where you’re going to make your first $2000, the hardest part, and then $200,000 using my proven formula. It’s risk-free. You either make your 2K or I give you your 2K back. Just head over to www.staceyboehman.com/2kfor2k. We’ll see you inside.