We all have a past that is an amalgamation of our upbringing and the experiences we have had growing up. What if those childhood influences were still shaping your identity, beliefs, and choices?
That’s the exact question I tackle in this episode - the profound impact of childhood messaging on your self-identity. I call it “The Continuum.”
Breaking away from the paradigms in which you were raised takes courage and determination. Knowing when it’s time or even necessary, however, is key.
Your choices and actions are always driven (in one way or another) by your Core Values, and it's understanding these values that have guided my transformation into The Intentional Optimist. In the spirit of evolving together, I invite you to reflect on how your childhood experiences have shaped you, allowing you to step out of your own childhood continuum and chart your unique course.
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What Is Intentional Optimism?
Core Values Exercise
Core Values Course
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You're listening to Stand Tall and Own it, the podcast for high performing female leaders who are ready to make an impact by discovering the safety that comes from understanding their own value and exercising their own authority. I'm your host, andrea Johnson, and I'm here to tell you it is time to just truly be you, my strong friend. It's time to Stand Tall and Own it. Hey, welcome back. I'm Andrea Johnson and I just hopped off one of my kind of bi-weekly calls with a fellow coach and she's amazing and we coach each other. Sometimes I need it, sometimes she needs it. But one of the things we talked about today is something I'd like to share with you and kind of get your feedback on and let you kind of examine where this shows up for you in your life. So we talked about or she specifically talked about her childhood messaging and how one parent was one way and one parent was other, kind of on this continuum where and this is kind of money mindset for her where one was like always running with the in-crowd and having all the stuff and always putting on the show to make it look like they had more money and the other was being very involved in society. So it's like you have to have the pecking order, all that kind of thing. And she said in her mind she still has that kind of going on. Oh Lord, it looks a little bit like if you're not watching the video on this, it's a little bit like I'm flossing through my ears, right, but it's real. So she said at some point she realized she has no desire to be in the pecking order, but she's always aware of where she falls in the pecking order and on the other hand, she has no desire to be running with the rich people, but she doesn't want to look poor, right. So those are always present in her. But she has, what I would say, stepped out of the continuum. She has stepped off that line. And for those of us who haven't done that, it's like she did that at age 24, which I'm super jealous. But for those of us who didn't do that young, it's a little bit more of a long and winding road journey and it really got me thinking because I was like all right, so let's talk about my continuum, because it really isn't a money mindset thing. For me it goes back to being raised in a family, that's. You know, my dad was a preacher before I was born a pastor's kid, a missionary kid. Then I went to seminary, met my husband, my preacher's youth minister's wife, a pastor's wife, a Bible study teacher. I mean, I nearly have a master's of divinity. So for me, a lot of it was that continuum of my mom was all about what you looked like, right. So I show up here, I still got lipstick on, you know, it's like I got lip gloss on, I have a little bit of makeup on and then my dad is super duper rule follower. If you're in any grand person, my mom could have been a three, I don't know. We lost her in 2017, so I'm really not sure I could go back and examine my dad. I'm pretty sure is a one Me. I'm six Wing, seven right. So somewhere in the middle, which I think this is just a great analogy. But for me, being on that continuum, I was always worried about what I looked like. I fell more. I can't say I fell on one side or the other. I fell right in the middle, right. So it's like I followed all the rules, I did everything I was supposed to do, and I'm not saying that my dad gave me all these rules. It's like this is kind of the two thought process as I grew up thinking in and I think it's just really important to recognize. So I grew up with all the rules. I followed all the rules. I did the things I was supposed to do. I doubled down on the rules when it became like questionable. It was like where do I want to be in the rules? And some of that was theological, some of it was political, some of it was making sure I did, like all the college thing. But then there was this other piece over here where it had to do with how I appeared to other people. So my first foray into therapy and weight loss and personal growth and development was I put myself in the hospital for bulimia and depression in a 12 week program when I was I turned 20 in the hospital and so it was a deal. It was a big deal. And in that program one of the things they said to me was because you know I was raised with, you don't wear white before Easter and you don't leave the house without makeup on, especially lipstick, and you wear things that flatter you. But you know, here I am this Person who I developed bulimia when I was in elementary and it was really. It wasn't a purging, it was just a binging. And so I was constantly like up and down in my weight, up and down, and it was just Always on my mind. To this day. I'm 18 years out from gastric bypass surgery and it's still on my mind, right, it's who I'm, me and I just have to live with that. It's who I made as as this is part of the nurture of growing up. But my friend who stepped out of her continuum at 24. I just told her, I said so you need to understand I have. I didn't fully step out of my continuum of between the rules and the looking well, until I was probably 50. And I said so, knowing you gave me the courage to do that. And so back to my Inpatient program. They said, and my parents would come in for group therapy, that kind of thing, and my mother was upset one day and said you know, we don't air our dirty laundry in front of other people because as a pastor's wife She'd been brutally not physically but Emotionally and mentally battered as a pastor's wife, it happens, been there, done that, still, still there. But I have, we're in a lovely church and the people treat us really, really well, but it's, it's a hard life, um, and she came from a family where appearances were everything and I mean so there's just all this stuff, so we don't air our dirty laundry. But then the other piece was the whole what I look like. And so my counselor said to me Andrea, you wear a mask and like no. I was like and it's not just your makeup. And I said no, I don't, it's okay, you do. She's like okay, I want you to go for a week or two I don't remember how much it was. I want you to go without any makeup at all. And I'm like but my parents are coming in to group therapy, like Later at sweet, or you know, she's like, I know, like my mom will freak. So here's. A beautiful thing is that my mother walked in. She said I'm, you know, now stitch a makeup on my face. She said you look a little different. I'm like, you know, 20 years old, 19 years old. Well, duh, I'm not wearing any makeup. She said, yeah, I know you're not wearing any makeup. I can see that You're different. You seem more settled, you seem more at peace. And I've shared that story many, many times. Um, and I told my friend on this call this morning. I said I don't know that it really hit me Because I was like, let's say I was 20, right, so it may not have really hit me until 30, 35 years later what was really happening there, but that was also the beginning of my mother's personal growth. That was the beginning of my mother seeing hmm, my daughter isn't just like me and, granted, we had conversations up until like literally days before she died about. Did I apologize to you enough or not, you know? But that was the beginning of her journey as well. And my friend said to me how beautiful your mother saw you and not what you looked like. So this is part of my journey into becoming an intentional optimist. It is not just to be optimistic and a good leader and to be all those things. Part of being an intentional optimist is playing out and Honoring my core values, which are freedom, authenticity and belonging. Used to be community, but I think I've kind of landed like deeper than community. It's belonging. And so what happened there was I was free to like be myself. I Was authentic. It's like you don't get any more authentic than no makeup, right? Maybe if I hadn't showered, but you know I'm gonna shower and I still belonged to my mother right. So, looking all the way back at like age 20, in the middle of a group 12 week program for bulimia and depression, my mother saw me and honored every single one of my core values in that one moment. Now, the reason I'm telling you this is because you have core values. You have a continuum on which you were raised. What is yours, that's your takeaway today. What is the continuum on which you were raised and how does it show up for you today? And if you haven't done your core values work, do your core values work? I got a little course. It's easy, just do it right. It's like five or six modules total four modules, I don't know. Anyway, do your core values work, because when you do that, you'll be able to see oh, that continuum, those were boundaries that I didn't set for myself, that somebody else set for me, and it's just like floss going through your head. It's going to be there forever, but this is an important concept. So where do you fall in the continuum? Have you stepped out of the continuum? Do you need to step out of the continuum? And what are your core values and how are they being honored? If they're not being honored, you're probably still on it and you need to get off it. If they are being honored, how are they? This is what it means to become an intentional optimist. It's a daily process, it is a lifestyle, and I'm right here for it, with you 沒.