The Identity Factor Podcast

Vulnerability, Trust & True Acceptance with Laura Jurgens

June 18, 2023 Robin Keesler
Vulnerability, Trust & True Acceptance with Laura Jurgens
The Identity Factor Podcast
More Info
The Identity Factor Podcast
Vulnerability, Trust & True Acceptance with Laura Jurgens
Jun 18, 2023
Robin Keesler

Dr. Laura Jurgens is about to bring you a powerful and honest conversation about leadership and her journey with truly learning how to embrace and engage with mental fitness, boundaries, vulnerability, and the safety required to build trust and lead a team with empathy and effectiveness.

If you love this episode, share it on your favorite social media platform so your friends can hear it too.

Register for the grand finale, live event happening virtually May 19th-21st at ShadowSideLeadershipSummit.com where you are going to get an entire weekend of value packed, heart felt love and support from this amazing team of leaders that are walking this path right along side you. 

See you inside!

Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Laura Jurgens is about to bring you a powerful and honest conversation about leadership and her journey with truly learning how to embrace and engage with mental fitness, boundaries, vulnerability, and the safety required to build trust and lead a team with empathy and effectiveness.

If you love this episode, share it on your favorite social media platform so your friends can hear it too.

Register for the grand finale, live event happening virtually May 19th-21st at ShadowSideLeadershipSummit.com where you are going to get an entire weekend of value packed, heart felt love and support from this amazing team of leaders that are walking this path right along side you. 

See you inside!

 Hello, my friends. Welcome to the Identity Factor Podcast. My name is Robin Kesler, and I will be your host. Let's go. We are gonna be talking with Dr. Laura Jergens, who I am so excited to speak with today. Dr. Laura Jergens is a sexologist and she's one of the most vibrant relationship and sex coaches that I know.

You have to go check out her website, which she will give you later, but so much fun stuff on there. Laura specializes in embodiment and she teaches somatic body-based tools to help her clients gain joyful confidence again and mastery with relating to their erotic selves. Their bodies, their pleasure, their emotions, their partners, all the fun stuff.

So, Laura, I'm gonna give you a moment just to introduce yourself a little further. Tell everyone a little bit about you, and then today we're gonna jo jump into talking about leadership, um, and as it relates to mental health and some of the journeys that we've gone through, um, in becoming who we are today.

So welcome, welcome, Laura. Thanks so much, Robin. It's great to be here. I really am. I know I'm gonna have so much fun with you. I always do. So this is wonderful opportunity and I just wanna say hello to everybody out there. I am Laura Jerkins, and I am. Have experience in leadership in various different ways because I've had a pretty windy path to entrepreneurship.

So I came out of a sort of, you know, an effort to reach to access higher education that took me quite a while and then got my PhD and was in academia academic leadership, running a research lab at a major university. So I have that leadership experience as well, and then moving into entrepreneurship.

And so there's similarities and real differences. All of them have come with their own challenges that have brought up a lot of places where I needed to grow. So I think we're gonna dive into some of that today, and that'll be fun. Yeah. And actually it's a perfect segue, uh, Laura cuz one of the things that kind of created this whole, um, project in the first place was I really started thinking about, um, this idea of leadership a little bit as I started noticing myself.

Having kind of doors open and opportunities and growth start to happen. One of the things that really surprised me was that as I started experiencing greater levels of success in my life, um, quote unquote, and what I mean by success is just things that I had been wanting to do and accomplish in, in my, in my life and my business and my career and dreams that I had had for a long time started coming true.

And Laura, it freaked me out. Like I started binge eating again, which I haven't done in like six years. I was like super triggered and I was like, what is happening? Like, and so I really started thinking about this, this idea of mental health as in leadership and so, and kind of wanting to marry this conversation a little bit because first of all, it felt like an identity crisis.

Like how can I be a leader? Like in this industry and my wor like, right. And people started referring to me like, well, it's, you're such a leader and blah, blah, blah, and we really need leaders like this. And I was like, whoa, what are you talking about? Right. Have, isn't that interesting? And it was like, but even being talked about that way felt really triggering.

Yeah. And so I'm curious what you think and it, it really started leading me down this path of curiosity to define what does leadership mean? And then the follow up question that we can, that I'd love to talk about is what does it mean, like when we talk about mental health and, and, and what that looks like in those roles of leadership.

So what do you think, how would you define what a leader is? Oh, wow. How would I define what a leader is? So there's so many ways to look at this when we're thinking about leading in terms of the context of other people following. So we can define a leader by. Sort of these external cues of whether they are actually having people follow their agenda or their their plan.

Right. But I think when we are really in leadership, what we realize is so much of leadership is internal, and it is really about, for me, it's about is are we a person who has a vision? And are we able to implement that vision? Are we able to persist? Long enough in holding the vision to actually see it implemented.

Mm. And to me, you can do that without anybody else following you. Or you can be sort of the magnet leader where there might be other people following you, or maybe you're a leader just defined by your assigned role, the role that either you've created or the role that somebody's given you. But that doesn't mean you have a vision, and that doesn't mean you're capable of implementing it.

So to me, those people are in nominal leadership positions, but not true leadership positions. Hmm. So true leadership is really authentically generating a vision and creating the path to get there, and then implementing the path to get there. Hmm. Interesting. Yeah, like, so it's, so, so it's talking about like having a, I love, I love that idea of like having a vision because I think, you know, even like as a parent, as a pastor, as a teacher, like, like there's so many people that are, in my opinion, like that's a leadership role.

A hundred percent. And like you can change the world in places like that, but like, I think so many people discount that. Because they're like, well, I don't have this huge following, like you said, or they don't. Yeah, you don't need the following. Right. And you can be in these nominal leadership positions and be incredibly ineffective because you don't have the vision and you don't have the plan to get there and the chutzpah to make it happen, or the persistence to hold onto the vision and to.

To test and, and refine and, you know, trial and error your way to get there. So it's those people who are doing that, whether they're doing that within a family Yeah. Or within a social group. Or within a, you know, multinational corporation or within a, you know, social change, nonprofit, whatever it is. If you're somebody with a, you can be a leader if you're somebody with a vision and the will and persistence to implement it.

And I think part of implementing that vision too, has to do with really being willing and having the courage to use your voice. And to Oh, absolutely. And to ask for help and to get other, like, there's so much that goes into that. And so I think that's where, so what a beautiful definition, right. Of leadership as it applies to vision.

And then now I'd love to dive in a little bit, Laura, to talking about, okay, so I have this vision and I wanna implement it, and I wanna start like allowing myself to step into that identity, right? As a person that's creating this vision in my life and in the world. And now it's like, What happens when you do that?

Yes. What are the things that we need to be prepared for? Because in my experience totally, it's not rainbows and daisies. No, it's often not. It really depends on where you're at in your personal journey and how authentic you're willing to be. I think there's a lot of people out there who would call themselves leaders, but ultimately what's happening is they're sort of shoving all of their insecurities under the rug and trying to sort of force themselves on to, to run or to like sort of outrun.

Their challenges, their personal challenges and insecurities. This is a common way that people who are socialized as men show up in leadership is, well, I'm just gonna suppress all my emotions and I'm gonna actually try to sort of outrun everything by being in this, like I. You know, goal orient, like externalized, goal oriented, like goalpost, kind of like, let's just push it through as fast as possible so that nobody has to sort of notice all of the insecurity challenges that we have.

Right. And people. So there's a lot. So in my work, because I work with sexuality and relationships, a lot of gender socialization comes up. And so it's a thing that is very, also in my academic work, Obviously being a woman in science, a lot of gen, you run into a lot of problems with gender socialization, so.

It comes up a lot and I think it comes up a lot in leadership too. So sometimes today I'll probably refer to gender socialization. And it's not to say that these are, these are not blanket statements that apply to every single person, but we are living in a world where, where these role plays are essentially forced on us very early on, and it really does affect.

The way that we show up in leadership and the way that we interact with our insecurities and our challenges in leadership. So I do think it's valuable. Yeah. Um, but back, so your question about, you know, how, how, um, these, how these challenges come up for us when we embark on implementing our vision. Um, you know, I think that's a, it's.

Just like it really, it really is a, a beautiful place to learn about yourself. Mm-hmm. Because if you're willing to be authentic and actually notice what's happening for you, you will notice all of the insecurities that come up. Yeah. All of the opportunities to figure out, okay, what, what am I thinking here?

What am I feeling here, and why is this hard? Yeah. And what do I need and why do I need it? What do I feel like I really want from people? How do I feel when they don't or can't give me what I want? How do I feel about asking for help? How do I feel about delegating? Yeah. How do I resource myself through?

The process. How do I manage my emotional self while I'm managing my time, while I'm implementing all this vision stuff? How do I have confidence in my vision as I move forward? Maybe it was a great idea. I wanted to create this thing I thought was gonna be amazing for the world, but two months in, I haven't made any money and, and I've decided that maybe.

Maybe this wasn't such a good idea. Right? So there's all these sort of crises along the way that I think are beautiful opportunities to learn more about ourselves and help ourselves be better leaders for other people who face the same challenges. Hmm. So let's, let's dive into that a little bit. What would you say have been some of your most significant, like mental or emotional health challenges?

Right? Like when you talk about mental health or emotional health, like what have been the challenges that you have noticed the most along your journey? Yeah, so I had a lot of, um, early trauma in my life and I was severely depressed. So going into an academic role and leadership, really intellectual type of work, really allowed one, it allowed me to escape.

In some ways. So I u I used it to sort of, kind of try to outrun some of my mental health challenges to try to outrun the depression and to try to force myself into massive amounts of productivity so that I could earn some level of self-esteem and approval from myself. And, you know, eventually that sort of ran out.

You know, you get, you keep changing the goalpost on yourself. Well, if I get this degree, I'll feel good about myself and secure. Well, if I get this job, then, then I'll feel good about myself and secure. And well, if I get this, you know, level of income or this, you know, whatever it is, you know, this grant or this, this investment, then I'll feel good about myself and you.

We just keep moving the goalpost. So what I found was that, I really needed to slow my role and address the issues that were underlying the, the real lack of self-esteem and worthiness that I felt like I needed to overcome With productivity. Yeah, with accomplishment. So that was a big part of it. I felt like.

You mentioned that you felt. You know, I felt insecure with people looking at me as a leader. I didn't feel very, I didn't feel very confident that I was gonna be able to get the type of position that I wanted. And at that time in my life, I was dealing with a lot of depression and I had, I. Um, medication for it, but not a lot of solutions for it.

And I was just sort of like hanging on by my teeth. And every few weeks I would've worked myself into a place where I just dropped and just had to like, sit home on the couch for a few days and like dive into a bottle of wine in the middle of the day. Like it was not pretty and I didn't know how to recover and I didn't know how to soothe myself out of that.

So. There was a process for me of really deciding to learn the emotional skills of addressing my emotion, processing my emotions. Coaching was exactly what I needed because years of therapy had done literally nothing. I just kept going and talking to somebody who basically acted like a brick wall.

Mm-hmm. And didn't gimme any tools back. I would go in with a shitty story about myself, and I would leave with the same story about myself. Mm-hmm. And it didn't actually help. So coaching and actually having active engagement and tools to learn how to regulate my emotions was what really made a huge difference for me.

Yeah. And allowed me to like find my own self-worth so that I could build myself around that instead of around my accomplishments. Right. And now I have, accomplishments are like a fun bonus. Spicing on the cake kind of thing, but I, but just taking care of myself and existing in the world is plenty for me.

Yeah, totally. That's it. Like, and that really has, I think, comes back to that statement you made earlier about, right, like that leadership really is kind of an inside job. Like we so often measure it based on these external things, but it really all like starts and ends on the inside, right. Because it's like self leadership is gonna make everybody a million times more effective with other people too.

Right. Exactly. And two, as that ties into like the mental fitness piece, like I love what you said about, again, like having the tools because it's like, I think so many people think about mental health as something that happens, like when things are going wrong. Mm-hmm. Like it's right. It's like, well, if I'm having a mental health, You know, challenge, that means something's going wrong or something's not going right.

And it's like, which I think is what was so interesting about me experiencing all these triggers in, in the face of growth and success, because I was like, oh, this is not just something that happens when life isn't going well. It actually can totally come up when life is going really well because it's an identity change.

Right. And that yes. Triggering. I absolutely agree with you. Right. Yeah. So, and I think it sometimes comes up more often when life's going really well because we finally have the space to deal with because it gives us an opportunity, like when life is, when we get a little bit of security, a lot of times, all of a sudden, all of the.

Desires that we have kind of buried. All of the challenges that we've, we've kind of run away from are repressed for most of our life. Have an opportunity to say, oh, now's a good time. Now's a good time to confront. Plus, was that her? Cause this at us, right? Yeah. It's like, oh, you have enough security to deal with this.

Here you go. Here's a big mountain of of stuff to handle. So it'll like our personal challenges with attachment, our challenges in relationship, our challenges. With approval of others. Our challenges with all kinds of aspects of our relationship with ourselves will absolutely come up when we're doing well.

Totally interesting. Have you noticed that with coaching in your like relationship and intimacy coaching as well? A hundred percent. Okay. So for everyone out there that's like my relationship has been going great, like why is all of a sudden this happening? Like is that something you hear a lot? Or often like, yes.

I think people, when we have enough security, we often have a chance to realize the, the challenges that we've been suppressing will kind of percolate to the surface. So when we are in real, like external crisis mode, it's. You know, we're in survival mode and we oftentimes don't have the bandwidth. We may have mental health challenges there.

Yeah. But we don't have the bandwidth to really deal with some of the more deep, deeper issues that are longer standing. And we're just trying to get through the immediate crisis. So when we have some stability, oftentimes for, here's a great example, empty nesters. The kids leave home and all of a sudden, You're looking at each other like, who the heck are you and am I supposed to want to be with you?

Because I don't really right now, like I don't know you. I'm kind of tired of you. I don't really know myself. What have I been putting up with for the past 20 years? Like there's just all this stuff comes up and it's not necessarily because there's some really like fundamental problem in. These two human beings being together.

But there's all this. You know, it's, it's like a closet that you've just stored a bunch of stuff in for many, many years and you haven't opened for a long time and all of a sudden you have time to be like, oh, look in here. And it's like, oh god damn. That was a lot. Um, there's a big avalanche of resentments and not getting what we want, not knowing what we want, ways that we've capitulated and put ourselves in boxes, all kinds of stuff.

Yeah. Well, what, what do you think about, so when we talk about the, the closet and all the stuff that's in there, like. What, what would you say about the idea then of, so when we look at these, these, these challenges, mental health or emotional health challenges or triggers that start coming up, whatever the area of our life, um, how would you say that?

The things that you have gone through, how would you say that that has impacted your ability to show up and actually be successful in your life? The, the fact that you had the, the courage and the willingness to embrace those things. Was there a benefit to that, even though it might have felt really scary and uncomfortable?

Absolutely. I think I am in complete belief that the ways that I have. Been most challenged are the places that have allowed me the most growth in my life and my business. I am a feel of, I feel very capable now of dealing with the P, all the parts of myself that I used to feel like I had to shun or shut down.

I feel very capable now of being vulnerable with people, and I understand the power of being vulnerable with people. The courage that it takes to have boundaries, to have real conversations about what somebody wants and doesn't want. And, you know, while I work with people on intimacy and relationships so that, you know, maybe a conversation about sex in a, in a workplace.

It's it really incredibly important to have conversa consent conversations and boundary conversations. What is it that you want to be doing here? What is it that you don't wanna be doing and why? And what level of discomfort with with your roles or. Or the communication style or the culture of the organization is okay, and what level of discomfort do we need to address?

You know, if people are constantly suppressing their own needs and their. Their own desires for what they, the ways that they want to contribute. They're, we're gonna see limited returns from them over time, right? Or they're gonna leave and we're not gonna be making the most of these people's gifts and the contributions that they can have.

So I absolutely think doing the work, doing the emotional work. And doing it proactively, like you say, not waiting until you're having a mental health crisis, but really seeing emotional wellness as a proactive. Benefit. That's part of mental health too, right? Joy is part of mental health. Health. It's like physical fitness, right?

Yeah. We want to, we, we go and, you know, we go move and we move our bodies and we exercise our bodies so that we can have capacity. Yeah. In our lives to accomplish, you know, we can lift our groceries or we can, um, you know, play with our kids in the way we want, or we can go on the type of vacation, active vacation that we want.

We don't just sit around and then wait until we can't do it and try to fix it then. Yeah. That's not, I mean, you can do it that way and it doesn't work. Right. Yeah. We need to actually proactively be working on our emotional wellness. Yeah. Really curious about ourselves. Yeah. And once we start allowing ourselves to be human and to be curious about ourselves and define our capacity for emotional regulation, then we can really explore ourselves in a way that lets us relate to so many people so much better and be so much better.

So much such stronger leaders. Yeah.

Hey, if you're enjoying this episode, I wanna invite you to come join us on May 19th through the 21st for the Shadow Side Leadership Summit. It's gonna be an entire weekend where we're gonna dive into these conversations around identity and leadership, around mental and emotional health, around how to support ourselves so that we can truly lead others in a more impactful way, that we also get to experience connection, and joy along the journey.

Shadow side leadership summit.com. Go sign up and we'll see you inside. How can you as a leader, create a space that feels safe in order for people to do that, whether, again, whether that's as a parent, a partner, uh, an entrepreneur, a business owner, like how can you as a leader create a space? Because this work is scary and it is uncomfortable, and it can be really, feel very vulnerable.

And people can be, one of the things that I hear from people the most is they're like, if I open that closet, I'll never get out of it. Yeah. Like if I go, so the leader, yeah. Has to be leading in vulnerability. If you want to know what's actually going on in your family or your business with your employees or with.

Anybody that you're with, anybody that you're working with, any sort of leadership roles that you're taking. If you wanna ask for other people to be vulnerable and honest with you, you have to be way more vulnerable and honest with them. And that's really bad news for some people. Sorry. That's the way it is.

Totally, totally hard. It's just the way it is. Humans really need for psychological safety in the workplace or in a family. We need the leaders to be vulnerable. And that takes incredible courage. Yeah. And we have to learn how to speak vulnerably so we can communicate vulnerably with people. We have to learn how to speak, like actually what our feelings are and not, not at people and not expecting them to.

Fix them. And we don't want to try to fix other people's feelings. We wanna, we wanna really learn how to speak empathetically and vulnerably, so we're empathizing with feelings rather than trying to change them. We're not giving people the message that it's not okay for them to have their feelings, and we're not giving ourselves the message that it's not okay for us to have our feelings.

I'll tell you when, when I have experienced people in leadership roles who are able to say, Hey, this is really hard for me. And here's why, and this is how I feel about it, and this is how I feel about this conversation. I don't, that doesn't diminish them at all. To me. It actually builds trust and it allows me to see them more as a leader because they're leading vulnerably.

And it can't be bs. IT people have an amazing BS radar radar, so if you're trying to be fake vulnerable, it just won't work and it will usually backfire. So there's work that has to be done so that the leader themselves can learn how to do it, how to be vulnerable at a much higher level than the people they're trying to lead.

Yeah, totally. Yeah, it's like that idea, it's again, it's like leading by example and it's like, and I think again, that circles back to that internal versus external conversation, right? It's like so often we, we look at leaders and we measure them by the external results that we're seeing, but the only that those external results that you're seeing are.

100% a byproduct of the internal work that that person has done, almost ex. I mean, there are leaders I think that can manipulate the system, right? And that can pay like a lot of them, actually. A lot of them, right? So we do, we do see that. We do see leadership that's done in this way where it's just like it's corrupt and it's manipulative and it's based on lying.

And so you can do it that way, but I don't think that's the kind of leadership we're talking about, right? That's not the, we're talking about like heart-centered leadership that. When you, and you know the difference, you can feel the energetic difference, right? The leaders who are leading with love and vulnerability and power and vision, right?

And when we look at, you know, Martin Luther King or any of these people that we remember as great leaders, you know, whoever that might be for, for other people, right? Um, and it didn't mean that they were perfect or that they didn't have, you know, biases or weaknesses or any of that stuff, but there's something about a leader I think, that you can sense and feel.

Right when, when it's coming from that place of a, a true vision for something beautiful that we truly do want, and I absolutely think that comes back again. It's that internal work. This person has done that internal work and they're sharing that, that heart that they have with the world. And so I think that is a really interesting kind of circle back to that same idea.

That's what I was thinking when you said that. Yeah, absolutely. And I think what the difference is is that when we lead that way, We get all this fulfillment from it. The leader themselves is if you lead from heart, if you're a heart-centered leader, you get an enormous amount of fulfillment and connection from it.

And if you don't, if you're trying to. Gonna either pretend to those things or kind of pull the wool over people's eyes or, or sort of speed past them without being authentic and vulnerable. Then what happens is you miss out on, not only do does your. Your business have, I think a lot more vulnerabilities.

Um, but you really miss out on feeling the fulfillment and the connection because there's always gonna be a part of you that knows that you're not really present, that your authentic self is hidden and scared. Mm-hmm. So there isn't a deep sense of safety and. Satisfaction for those people and you see them trying to get more and more in a way that feels.

Puzzling and sort of like graspy. Yeah. Right. Whereas from leaders who are really heart-centered, they feel you can feel that they don't need more. They will. They will be creating something that is more for the world from a place of care and love and at a pace that feels good to the people who are involved.

What was the hardest part? About doing that work for you? Like, so the first hurdle, the first really big hurdle after I sort of discovered my process of finding self-esteem, which was its own hurdle, the first big hurdle with other people was boundaries. And I needed to learn the whole process of loving boundaries and kind boundaries and being able to say what was true for me.

And being able to disappoint someone and allow them to be disappointed, and I still have to practice that. I have to practice all the time. Mm-hmm. Knowing that I'm gonna disappoint someone, knowing that they're gonna feel disappointment with whatever I say or whatever my boundary is, and allowing that to be part of their process and allowing it to be something that I know for me.

Preserves my feelings in the relationship and keeps me from being resentful, and I offer that to somebody. And if they can process this, if they are one of those people who can be disappointed and move through it, we often wind up in a place of greater trust if they're not one of those people. And they have a hard time with disappointment, then maybe they're not my people.

And so really learning to be okay with that has been a challenge. And I would say I'm not a hundred percent there. Yeah, it's still very hard for me to have people be fundamentally disappointed. What was the feeling that you got in your body when you would like encounter? That challenge? Like what was the, like, was it, was it a fear?

Was it like a shame? Oh yeah. It's pure panic. Uhhuh. It's absolute panic. Yeah. It's, I can feel, and it feels so, I feel my, my inner child, like actually yeah, having a, like, I can't, I can't, I can't, I can't kind of moment. Like there's no breath. There's a lot of panic, so it doesn't come up as aggressively now.

And I know, and I know when it comes, I know how to soothe that part of me when it comes up now. So it's sort of a little dance that we have. Yeah. But that is, you know, that part that would be in sort of some. Other lineages or terminology that would be sort of a shadow side or an exiled part. Right, right.

Or some aspect of an inner child, depending on how you're kind of looking at that from mental, what is it that she's afraid of? When you talk about the exiled part or that inner child part, like when, and you said you can just feel it, it's just like dying. Dying. She's literally in fear of her life. Yeah.

So it just relates to some early wounds that I have from violence at home. Yeah. And. Not being allowed to disappoint people, having like really feeling as a child that I had to manage everybody's feelings or I was going to be physically not hurt and isolated and Yeah. You know, um, abandoned and, and that it was an existential threat.

So I can just feel it come up and I have to soothe that part of me and like, this is, it is actually gonna be okay. Mm-hmm. If I'm rejected in this situation, if this person is disappointed, I'm not. Going to be encountering violence, but my, there's a part of me that feels like it's responding in a way that it would be as if there was gonna be somebody was going to murder me.

Yeah. Yeah. And that's just mine. But everybody has some sort of wounds. Everybody. Nobody gets through life without having some intense developmental wounds. So you have one. Totally. Everybody does, probably whether it's emotional or physical in those emotional rooms. Like what I hear you saying is in your case, there was actual physical violence, so it was like true physical fear, like fear of physical harm or not being physically safe, but a lot of, for a lot of us, it's emotional and it feels like you're gonna die.

Yeah. Like it's, it's, yeah. Well, and as a child, if you experience that you don't know the difference and you don't necessarily know, you are so dependent on parents that even an emotional, an emotional abandonment, for example, can feel like an existential threat. And so our, our memory in our body, this is the somatic body, the.

Which just somatic just means body, but this is the body work is recognizing how that feels, that cascade of chemicals that comes through from our emotional brain when we have that, recognizing what our activation state or our trigger feels like. Mm-hmm. And learning how to deescalate it. So that's a lot of what I do with people in relationship because we have to actually be in relationship to have those relational wounds come up.

Yeah. And. You'll often notice them in a leadership position. Somebody, it, it, it's usually from a person, right. That we get. Those types of triggers. So there's all kinds of versions of wounds. They're not necessarily, you know, around disappointment and boundaries. They can be around all kinds of things. A lot of abandonment wounds out there.

A lot of sort of freedom wounds, not being able to make your own choices. There's all kinds of things, but really knowing what yours are. Is incredibly important for all your relationships, including your leadership relationships. Like, and I think this is something important to say that, you know, Tommy said the other day when I interviewed him, and it was like that you don't have to do this work, right?

Mm-hmm. Like, super important to just recognize that, that like none of this, like you're okay the way you are. Like, you don't have to do this. Like, it's not, you're not gonna be a better person if you go and like do your inner child healing work or Right. And it doesn't mean that you can't have an impact in the world.

But I think just to noti, because I think for a lot of people, um, I think that even comes around to this idea of consent and permission. Like you have permission to be whoever you wanna be in the world. You have permission to go through this life, however you wanna go through it and Right. To have, to create whatever experience you want.

But I think it's just so empowering to know that. It's available to you if you want it. Yes, and it's exactly, you don't have to do it. It's a beautiful point. Thank you so much for raising that. You don't have to do it if you choose to do it. You are capable and there's every human being is capable if you want.

Yeah. To. Have more facility with your own emotions and have a better sense and of your own triggers and be able to communicate them to other people better in a way that respects everybody in the interaction. Yeah, you can do that. Yeah. So it's more that there's an invi, there's an invitation, and I wanted to make sure that everybody realizes you don't have to, but it's not a magical capacity.

It's. Innate, you have this capacity, it may take you a while. You may need support. If you don't need support, I, I am in awe, like almost everybody needs support. Yeah. And to be honest, I'm in awe of everybody who does this work regardless, but everybody pretty much needs support at some point in that journey.

And. Well, it's just such a, it's a, for me, in my experience, like it was, it was such a loving way to go through it. Like it felt like I did, cuz I spent a lot of years just like, I'm just gonna do it on my own. And I spent a lot of time in isolation. And even as a, like, doing this work, like as a leader, as a business owner, as an entrepreneur, as you, it's like I still feel that draw to isolate.

To do it on my own. I still feel that that trigger, like, for me, one of my, my biggest obstacles is allowing myself to feel safe in community. Like allowing myself to trust and know that it's gonna be okay. Right? Like that people are safe, like huge. For me, I got that one too terrified to like reach out to ask for help.

I'm like, I have so many stories in my brain, right? I'm gonna overwhelm them. They're gonna think this, they're gonna, it's not gonna be safe. And it's just, there's so much like, I was the kid that was like up in a tree, you know, like begging to not go to recess. And I would like rather empty the trash and help the janitor, which I did.

Right. I did chores instead of recess because I was like, the playground's not safe. Yeah. And that has translated into so many other things. And so as I started to do this work, that was something I noticed was that I was like, I'm gonna do it on my own. All right, I'll do the work, but I'm not, and so to open up and reach out and what I have found is that, When you are met with like such loving support, it is such a healing experience.

It was to feel supported in the, to like to get naked. Mm-hmm. I mean, speaking of sex and intimacy, it's like such a scary thing, right? To show your body to someone. But when you do and when you are able to like finally have that experience of it being okay. And being in a loving space, it's like something that you can't even, yeah.

Imagine exactly how amazing that feels. Yeah. So it's just a beautiful, like you said, a beautiful invitation and a beautiful opportunity. It's here for you. We're all capable of, we all, we do have the capacity to heal. Yeah. Um, and there's a reward. There's this reward that you're speaking of, which is Yes.

On the other side of vulnerability, there's the opportunity for acceptance and. When you share your vulnerable underbelly. Yep. Right? And somebody accepts you and appreciates you for it and celebrates you for your courage. Yeah. It's incredibly healing and it's really profound and it's beautiful. You know, looking at you like just in this moment you created.

This invitation for all these people to come play in your playground with you. And that must have been really horrible for you still because they, we don't lose our triggers. Right. Just, oh, I still feel it. Get a little more used to them. A hundred percent. I still feel it. Yeah. And it's like, you've done this beautiful thing and it will help people in the world, and I just wanna celebrate you for that.

Right. And it feels great. To also be a person who can give that to somebody, and we can do that for each other. We have this capacity and relationship to do that. Yeah, and a lot of leadership is also about relationship. Yeah. So that's why so many, so many people are so surprised at how the work I do translates to their leadership because it's all about relational work.

And it's, it's very, it's all the same thing, like you said about, about vulnerability being naked, we're emotionally naked Yeah. With other people, whether we wanna admit it or not. Yeah. And I think, you know, talking about like how, you know, when I asked you that question earlier, like, so how has stepping into that work and that vulnerability, how has it truly.

Allowed you to be a more effective leader, a be, you know, a better leader, really for the world. And I think really that circles back again to this idea of it'll it, when you know how to do the work for yourself, you know how to create that space for someone else. Mm-hmm. And when you can do that and create that space for someone else, you will become such a light in such a magnet.

Because people are longing for connection. They're longing to be known and seen and understood, and to feel safe. We all want to be known in that way, but we just sometimes need someone to be willing to take the first step to say, you know what? Me too. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And that is a hard thing to do as a leader because it feels really risky.

Like you might lose the respect of people or you might lose some level of authority or something. And to be able to do that is really a challenge. But I will say also, the other benefit is not only is it an invitation to people, To be honest and open with you, but it also really allows you, when you do do that work and you are able to be vulnerable and authentic with yourself, you can.

It helps you identify who's ready for what. So not everybody's ready for every type of. Challenge. Right? And we know that as leaders, right? We, you know, maybe we did ask for help or we did delegate and it didn't go very well. Well, instead of saying, you know, throw in the towel, never delegate or ask for help again, what we wanna do is learn more about how to be discerning and how to choose who's ready for what.

Yeah. And we can do that when we have a lot of emotional awareness. We can tell. And we have good boundaries, we can tell, okay, this person is. Not quite ready for the tasks or the challenges that I'm gonna give them or what I'm gonna ask for them. And we can do that in a loving way where we say, okay, but they might be great at this.

So let me inquire about this other thing. Yeah. And then let's find the right fit. Because what we don't wanna do is be trying to be leaders that are like shoving people into the, you know, who are. Who are cylinders into the square hole and trying to get, trying to force those things to work. It just, the system breaks.

Totally. And I think that also translates again to the internal versus external. When you've done that work for yourself, like there have been times in my life where I remember, I'll never forget the day that my sister called me and I was sitting at the Taco King at like nine o'clock at night with a giant king burrito, like smothered and sour, all the things.

I wasn't even hungry, but I was like, I'm about to. Stuffed my face with this giant burrito because like I was like still binge eating and using food. It was, it was like I needed it and I was terrified to let go of it. But I'll never forget when she's like, what do you, she called, what are you doing? And I was like, this is what I'm doing.

And I told her, I was like, this isn't gonna be forever. But I just, right now I need it. But I knew in my head I'm like, this isn't gonna be forever. There will come a day when I'm ready to let go of this and to, and to do this work. But it's just, it's not right now. And it comes back to, like you said, knowing when you are having that compassion right, to be like, you don't have to do this work, but it's here for you if you want it.

And you don't have to do it all at once. And you can take pauses and you can recognize your own capacity in the moment. And that's part of it is really can you yourself, where you're at. And when you do that, you just, like you said, then as a leader, you'll be able to recognize that more in other people as well.

And you'll be able to have that compassion to be like, it's okay. Not only are you not ready for this, it's okay that you're not ready for this. Yeah. And we can find something that works for you right now. Hundred percent. Absolutely. I think that's totally true. Know, understanding our, our own capacities helps us to understand and have compassion for other people's capacities too.

Yeah. And to develop them. Cuz that's what also I think another part of a, as a leader, it's like we, you, you, you are inevitably gonna end up developing that beauty and that growth in other people. Like that's cuz you're just gonna be mirroring it and you're gonna be creating that space and being an example and like that's just gonna happen.

And so I think that all of that is such a beautiful, um, Beautiful invitation, beautiful opportunity, and thank you so much for sharing your story. And I just wanna ask you quickly before we hop off, Laura. Yes. What was your moment of greatest joy along this whole journey? Oh, my moment of greatest joy was when I finally realized that I didn't have P T S D anymore and I could look people in the eye.

I had a really hard time with eye contact for a long time, and I didn't know what it was, and I just thought there was something wrong with me. Yeah, I finally figured out I had a lot of trauma and doing the work that I did. I finally released it in relational work with someone and was able to start looking people in the eye and really enjoying deep connection with other people when I had been very terrified of others before.

So not feeling like people are threat anymore and being able to do that was a really big joy. Thanks for asking. A hundred percent, that sounds like, and how did that feel in your body? It felt screaming and alive, so I just got access to a big pile of aliveness that I didn't know that I had been missing before.

I love that. That's so beautiful. Laura. How can people find you? So you can find me on my website. It's laura jergens.com and it's L A U R a J U R G E N s.com. And I have some fun free stuff there on, you know, keys to giving and getting better touch and all kinds of events and learning and posts and fun things like that for people who are interested in having more pleasure and connection in their lives.

Beautiful. I love it. Well, thank you so much for joining us today, Laura. This has been amazing and such a fun conversation. Thanks, Robin, you, I loved being here.

If you enjoyed this episode, take a screenshot of it for me and share it on your favorite social media platform so that your friends can find out about it too. And in the meantime, I just wanna invite you to remember that you are beautiful, that you are worthy, that you belong. And that you are powerful beyond measure.

See you next time.