The Identity Factor Podcast

You Are Not Broken (With Krista St-Germain)

September 03, 2023 Robin Keesler
You Are Not Broken (With Krista St-Germain)
The Identity Factor Podcast
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The Identity Factor Podcast
You Are Not Broken (With Krista St-Germain)
Sep 03, 2023
Robin Keesler

It is so easy to believe that we are the broken one. That everyone else seems to have the secret or the special ingredient that we were somehow born without and that the only way forward to being okay in the world is to either hide our ugly or change it.

Krista St-Germain is one of the most powerful, grounded and inspiring coaches and leaders that I know for widowed mom's and her story is not only empowering but her wisdom is palpable.

In this episode she shares her insights and offerings around a new way to approach leadership, identity, mental health and the journey we are all still on.

Her mastery is felt in this episode around how she learned to navigate not only her own human brain and her emotional experiences but as she invites us into remembering (or perhaps realizing for the first time) that you can create your own safety, that you can let yourself shine, that you can learn how to support yourself exactly where you are and that you are not doing it in order to "change yourself" into order to be acceptable but so that you can learn to accept yourself as you are.

This is powerful stuff, my friends. Take a listen.

If you enjoy this episode, share it with someone you love and then go sign up to join us inside our free FB group where we continue to dive deeper into this work.

You can do that at and you can find more about Kristen and her work at

See you soon. 

Show Notes Transcript

It is so easy to believe that we are the broken one. That everyone else seems to have the secret or the special ingredient that we were somehow born without and that the only way forward to being okay in the world is to either hide our ugly or change it.

Krista St-Germain is one of the most powerful, grounded and inspiring coaches and leaders that I know for widowed mom's and her story is not only empowering but her wisdom is palpable.

In this episode she shares her insights and offerings around a new way to approach leadership, identity, mental health and the journey we are all still on.

Her mastery is felt in this episode around how she learned to navigate not only her own human brain and her emotional experiences but as she invites us into remembering (or perhaps realizing for the first time) that you can create your own safety, that you can let yourself shine, that you can learn how to support yourself exactly where you are and that you are not doing it in order to "change yourself" into order to be acceptable but so that you can learn to accept yourself as you are.

This is powerful stuff, my friends. Take a listen.

If you enjoy this episode, share it with someone you love and then go sign up to join us inside our free FB group where we continue to dive deeper into this work.

You can do that at and you can find more about Kristen and her work at

See you soon. 

 Hello my friends, and welcome in to the Identity Factor Podcast. This is a place where we open up the doorway to help you discover the truth of who you really are so that you can step into the life that you most want to live. My name is Robin Keesler. I will be your host. Let's go. 

Hey, today we are talking with Krista St-Germain. We are gonna be, continuing on with this Shadow Side Leadership series, talking about identity leadership, some of the different mental and emotional health challenges that we all go through as leaders and kind of on our journey. And as many of you know, part of the reason that I wanted to do this was because I had some experiences recently where I started winning in my life and things started going well, and I was like, fuck shit.

What's happening? Like, nobody told me that I was gonna start binge eating again because things started going well. I did not expect that. Yeah. And it's one of those, right? Do you like, it was one of those things where it's like, yeah, I've heard people talk about, you know, that change is hard or like, you know, like imposter syndrome or things like that.

Mm-hmm. But this felt like way more deeper. So it's probably not proper grammar, but you know, it like, it felt like this visceral fear, like this identity crisis, like this identity shifting that was happening, that there was a little part of me, like a little kid inside that was like, what are you doing?

Where are you going? We don't belong there. Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. And I was like, yeah, I think it's totally relatable. I'm so glad you're willing to talk about it, because I don't think people are prepared for it when it happens. Yeah. I was not prepared and I do think it happens. Yeah. Yeah. Like, and again, like I had heard people talk about it, like hinting at it maybe, but like, not truthfully, like they didn't, like, I had never had anyone just like lay it out there like mm-hmm.

In that way. Like again, I'm like, it felt, it didn't feel like just imposter syndrome. Mm-hmm. Like, even though that might be what it refers to. Does that make sense to you or mm-hmm. Can you help me? I haven't quite articulated the difference, but it felt different to me. Yeah. I don't know. It's like, what do you, how do you define imposter syndrome?

Maybe start there. Okay. What do you think? Well, so for, I guess for me, I kind of always assumed imposter syndrome was this belief that I don't belong where I am. Like I'm gonna be found out. Okay, somebody's gonna figure out that I shouldn't have what I have. Yep. That's kind of what I experienced it as.

And maybe the difference was like, At least for me, I didn't really anticipate the amount of fear I would experience was kind of what you said of that like, Oh God, could this be taken away? Like, what if I can't keep this up? Um, you know, are people gonna still love me? Am I still gonna be accepted? You know, if I create this level of success, or, or even if I position myself as an expert, like I was, that was really hard for me to do, is to position myself as an expert of like, who do you think you are?

What you know? Does that, does that mean I'm trying to say that I'm better than other people? Cuz that's not what I feel. Right, right. Yeah. I think you just nailed it. I think with this particular experience around success and the triggering that happens, I think it goes deeper than imposter syndrome because I think imposter syndrome is the thought or the belief that like, I'm not good enough, or I don't belong, or like I'm a fraud.

It's, it's those types of things. Yeah. But I think when you start experiencing the success, success and things like that, what happened for me was that it wasn't just that I don't belong or I'm a fraud, it was the fear of what if I'm not, and then I have to let go. Mm-hmm. Of these protective personalities, these protective mechanisms that have kept me in the cage.

Mm-hmm. Yeah, that makes total sense. As also as you were talking about it, realizing that part of it for me was, you know, I got into this work because my husband died and you know, I was trying to figure out how do you, how do you navigate life as a widow and a mom and like not believe your best days are behind you?

And it took me a while to realize that, you know, the body really does remember, and at a certain point in my success, I remember figuring out, oh, actually the last time I felt this good was right before he died. He was killed in a car accident by a drunk driver. Right. So, and it was just, it felt like when that happened, it was just ripped out from under me.

Like I was at a high in my life. Cause I'd been through, you know, my first marriage like crashed and burned at the end. And then finally this was like the redemption story of, okay, you really can be happy. And I felt like I. My life is on a high. I have everything I, I want, quote unquote, and then boom ripped out from under me.

And I think part of it for me was like, my body was remembering, Hey, last time we felt this good, it got taken away. So don't let it get too good. Cuz if it gets too good, it's gonna be taken away again. And I had to do a lot of, I did a lot of tapping on that. Yeah. That's interesting. Exactly. I think that's, yep.

I think it comes back to that same idea where it's like, okay. Differentiating imposter syndrome is like, I don't think this is who I am. And then the, the fear of that, like success intolerance or however you wanna call it mm-hmm. Is I don't think that's who I want to be. Mm. Yeah. Like is it safe to be that?

Exactly. Is it safe to be that? Like I'm scared to, to be that. Mm-hmm. Yeah. Totally. Yeah. And can I keep it up? Is it who I am, right? Yeah. Like yeah. All those things. Yeah. Is it, so like as you started then experiencing that success, you said you noticed like, so the body remembering, right? Mm-hmm. And having that kind of, those unconscious triggers.

Yeah. Which I think is really powerful. That's work. I've been really. Creating a lot of to like bring into my work with my clients is we've done so much work on coaching with the conscious mind, but I feel like that sometimes is a part that gets left out is like the unconscious mind. Yeah, yeah, totally.

And all of that stuff. And so that has been really fun work to do with people, is really helping them to rewire that portion of their, of their identity and their belief systems and all of that. But what do you think it was? So what was your experience with that? So you started experiencing success and then you had that deeper, kind of more visceral trigger.

Mm-hmm. You know, when I started, well, I won't say this is the first time I noticed it, but probably the most significant point at which I noticed it was when, so I, you know, created the business, worked my ass off to, to make it profitable, right? And like hit that first, you know, a hundred K mark that everybody talks about.

And then, Transitioned into groups, and then like right within the same period I went through, uh, I, I got started dating again and got into a, a serious long-term relationship. And then we bought a house. And this house is like, I used to drive through the neighborhood that I live in now when I was like a, a young adult and like this was the neighborhood I wanted to look at Christmas lights in, right?

This was like the neighborhood that I was never gonna live in, but. Always admired and loved. And so to buy, to be able to buy a house in the neighborhood with my money that I created for my bus, you know, for my business and then be in this house, felt simultaneously magical and terrifying. And that's when I started noticing it is just like, ooh, do, do, do, do we belong here?

Like, you know, and people at the neighborhood gatherings would be like, well, what do you do for a living? And oh, well, I'm, I'm a life coach and they're, you know, doctors and lawyers and own all these businesses and it. What my brain was just offering me is like, you know, yeah, I don't, I don't know that you can keep this up.

What if you lose it? Are you sure you belong here? And then, can it be this good? Is it safe for it to be this good? Can I trust myself to be able to, to keep it good? Can I handle it if it's not good anymore? All of that came up and it was like, I, I joke about like the house was an excellent opportunity to bring up all of the stuff that was my next yeah, level of work.

You know? Yeah. So what do you think that those, those voices, those those parts of you that were kind of creating that fear? Mm-hmm. Like what do you think their strategy was like? What are they trying to protect you from? Yeah. I mean, I think there's just always that part of our brain that assumes that, you know, it, it, it just biases the negative, right?

It, it, it, for our survival wants to be on the lookout for all things that could be scary. And then I think you throw in like trauma you've experienced in your lifetime, which is, you know, you're your nervous system res responding to something that's not actually a threat as though it is. And it makes sense when you investigate it.

I think for me some of it was, Like intergenerational stuff where I, you know, stuff was coming up for me that didn't feel like a part of my lived experience where I'm like, where did I get that stuff? I don't even think, I think it was like my grandpa's, yeah. You know, like depression era. Yeah. Stuff that just literally didn't feel like it came from my lived experience.

So who knows? I think it, I think it's so much, for me, it's been so much less relevant to worry about. Where it all came from and just kind of start navigating, okay, how do I wanna relate to it? How do I wanna support myself through it? What do I want my relationship with it to be? Because what I've found is that every time, every time I get to an the next level in something, in some way, it's resurfaces again.

Mm-hmm. And I've pretty much made peace with that's just gonna keep happening. And you know, it's so much easier. When it happens, if I, if I am prepared for it and if I decide in advance that it's not a problem, it doesn't mean anything has gone wrong, it's just a part of the next growth edge for me. Yeah.

Who knows where the hell all that stuff came from, but I do believe it's protective in nature. Totally. I think so too. Um, and I think there are some times where I don't know what it is that some, this thing is protecting me from, right? Mm-hmm. Like I know that there's something, and sometimes I, sometimes I do know, like, okay, it's protecting me from disappointment or from rejection or, you know, there like, but then there are times when I'm like, I don't know.

Mm-hmm. But like, I believe that it has some sort of a purpose like that. It's not just, you know, didn't just like fall outta the sky and end up in my life. Yeah. Like that, you know, there's, there is something there. Um, but. I think too, the more that we, like you said, go through that and learn how to decide what, like what do I want my relationship with this thing to be?

Yeah. Um, and like you said, to expect it and to learn like, okay, like this is, this is a part of that journey. Mm-hmm. Um, that can be really helpful. So what have been, like, tell me about that for you. How did, how did you change your relationship with those things to make it, I don't know if I wanna say easier, but like, Yeah, I mean, I've tr tried different things, you know, coaching, obviously I'm always getting coached.

Um, tapping is a, is a huge tool for me. I just can't say enough about that tool. And, and I've used it, I use it almost daily. Um, there for a while, I actually created myself a worksheet about fear and like my relationship with fear, and I would write a letter. As though I were fear to myself, like what my fear is trying to tell me.

And then I would write back a letter to my fear of like what I wanted to hear from me and kind of having a relationship Yeah. With it. Um, so just kind of like get, and I mean, I don't know. There's, there's so many things that I have done, but it's, it's also. Kind of embracing the both and like getting, because I tend to be, or at least for most of my life, as identified as a pretty black or white thinker, uh, as it comes to myself.

Not so much with other people, but just kind of more with myself. And so it's kind of like, okay, the fear is bad. We have to get rid of it. And then kind of switching gradually to like a, a, a both and, which is like, no, it's totally okay for the fear to be here. I don't have to feel completely safe to create my own safety.

Mm. And like just really letting that be in my body. Like, how is it okay that I do feel fear and I don't feel safe, and yet I am safe with myself. So a lot of those kinds of, yeah. Investigations. Yeah. Yeah. I like that idea. When you think about these, like experiences that we're talking about that you notice yourself having and going through on a regular basis, um, as, or at least as you grow mm-hmm.

How do, how do those experiences, how do you think it makes you a better leader? Well, I think, you know, going through it yourself and normalizing it for yourself, I is what allows you to normalize it for other people. So I used to think this is how I used to envision, you know, people that I looked up to. I used to envision them as having worked through something and being on the other side of it so that it no longer happens to them anymore.

Right, and I think now I see it as no, actually there's no, there is no greener grass that they get to it. Is that they are good at supporting themselves as their humanness comes up, right. And so to like, that feels completely different than it used to feel when I got into coaching. I no longer think that I'm supposed to be somewhere else or have a different experience.

I just noticed that the better I get at supporting myself as I feel fear and as I feel scared or, you know, whatever it is, then that's what lets me help normalize that same experience for other people, you know, in a way that is relatable and tangible and not fairyland. Yeah. I like that cuz I think it's one of the things that I noticed too for myself is I was like, oh, I think part of the reason that it felt like such an identity crisis, truly for me, part of it I think was that I was really putting these people on a pedestal.

Yes. And so when I, when we talk about defining, you know, what does it even mean to be a leader? Mm-hmm. And, and I realized as I started getting into this work as I was like, oh my gosh, Robin, of course, that felt really triggering to you. You've totally been putting these people on a pedestal Yeah. And thinking they're so amazing and that they have it all together and they have it all figured out and, and nobody knows your dirty little secret that you don't Yeah.

Yeah. Yeah. I, I, I had a very similar experience in that it felt, I did not understand the concept of hierarchical coaching for quite a while. Right. And that's how I had placed whether my coaches wanted to be placed in that way or not, I don't know that they did. I definitely put, put them up there and then kind of had to like dismantle that for myself.

It was really honestly such a gift for me to work with Car Lowen th for the years that I did, um, working in her business and then, you know, working with her, her certification, just kind of seeing the world through that lens of, oh, actually, of course, of course it's scary when, when you think you have to be on a pedestal, but I don't actually wanna be on a pedestal, and I don't actually think that's how we lead effectively or coach effectively.

Yeah. Tell me about maybe, maybe that's not a big revelation for other people, but it kind of felt like to me it did to me, and that's part of why I was like, well, maybe everybody knows all this stuff. But I was like, but maybe they don't, so maybe it's worth having this conversation. Right? Mm-hmm. And that's kind of was the impetus for this whole project Yeah.

That we're doing is I was like, Why, you know, I, I learned this going through school. When I was in college. I was a history major and when I was writing my thesis, they're like, here's the thing. They're like, when you're really studying something and you're kind of becoming an expert on this topic, they're like, it's easy to start to assume that everybody else knows.

Mm-hmm. So when you're writing right, they're like, I want you to really be conscientious of that and think about not writing from a place of assumption. Right? Like assuming that everyone knows, because what feels like common knowledge to you is not common knowledge to the world. Mm-hmm. And I think that happens in our coaching practices as well, and as in our businesses and as leaders, it's like we start to do this work in our own life.

We do it with our clients, we join these masterminds in these groups, and we're so in the work that it can start to feel like, isn't this just common knowledge, like you said? Mm-hmm. But to me it wasn't. And so mm-hmm. I think that was where I was like, whoa. And it was kind of like a light bulb moment. I'm like, what if other people don't know?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I think there's also this, like, this beautiful balance that, that I think I have finally found it and I'm, it's still a work in progress, but it feels better than it ever has before of, of believing that I'm an expert in what I do. While also holding the belief that my clients are the experts on them, on their lives.

Right. And being able to, to not position it hierarchically in a way that that doesn't serve them right. Always defaulting to what they want and they know and their wisdom and their vision for their lives, and never trying to get them to outsource that to me. And also knowing that because of the amount of, you know, life experience that I've had and the amount of coaching that I've done, I've done, of course I'm gonna be able to see things for their benefit that maybe they can't see for themselves.

Mm-hmm. And so again, it feels like a both and. Yeah. And that feels really, really good. Yeah. Yeah. I think that the, when we talk about like that expertise, it's like the, the beautiful thing about expertise is like that. Whatever you're an expert in. Like there's, so there's always, whether it's coaching or again, you know, going back to, you know, when I was, when I was writing my thesis and it's like there was all these people that were experts in the field, but in their own specific way.

Mm-hmm. And I think that can apply too, where it's like, yeah, I do have all this expertise, but it's like when we talk about the hierarchical coaching and like not wanting to do that, it's like, I can be an expert in this. And like, that's part of the beauty of it, is that we're coming together as a team.

Yeah, right. Like that. It's not me putting anything on you or you putting anything on me like this is, I can offer my own experience. I can offer some ideas, and sometimes that stuff lands for our clients and sometimes it doesn't, and that's okay. Yeah. It's really more of just that, just like with this summit, right.

That's what's so amazing about these interviews is like I can ask the same questions to 10 different people and it feels like a totally different interview. I love it. Yeah. Right. And I think, I don't know if that feel, does that feel like that applies to, to what you were saying? Yeah, because it's like I recognize that I have.

I have a, a certain amount of life experience. I have a certain amount of knowledge. I have a, I have a different perspective and also I can never possibly know what is best for someone else. I can never possibly know the unique lens through which they see the world based on the different, you know, intersectionality of like all of their identities and experiences and, you know, all of that.

So, so it, and it takes so much pressure off of you when you get there. And I think that's why it used to be so scary is because I. Because I assumed that my teachers and mentors, and I put them on a pedestal, I thought they knew more than I did. So then I thought that I had to know more than my clients, or know better than.

Right. Which is really scary when you wanna do the right thing for people. Yeah. Who, who wants to, you know, put that kind of pressure on themselves. And I know that I did that really early in coaching. Yeah. And so to be able to be like, no, actually I know what I know. And also everything they need is already within them.

And so my job is, is. Way less stressful. Yeah. Than it used to. It feels really good and cooperative and yes, like an unfolding and I love it. Yeah.

Hey, if you're enjoying this episode, I wanna invite you to come join us for the Shadow Side Leadership Summit. This is a free community space where we host opportunities every month to dive into these conversations around identity and leadership, around mental and emotional health, and around how to support ourselves more effectively so that we can truly lead others in a more impactful way, both in our personal lives.

But also in our businesses, this allows us to experience deeper connection and more joy along the journey. Shadow side leadership Go sign up and we'll see you inside. Do you have your own definition of what you think it means to be a leader? Hmm. I've never really gone as far as to like write that down.

Mm-hmm. But what comes up for me when you ask the question is, you know, What I think of as leadership for other people, and what inspires me when I see someone else who I, who is a leader in my mind, is when they're clear on what they value and they're living from that place. Right? Which doesn't make them perfect.

It doesn't mean they don't make mistakes, it doesn't mean, um, they're better than it. It's, but that's what I aspire to is, is to always be, you know, checking in with myself and figuring out, okay. I can't control this world that we live in, but I do get to decide what I value and how I wanna show up in this world and lead myself.

And then, you know, by extension, inspire other people to do the same. Right. Like that, that to me is, that's what I want and what I like in other people. Yeah. And so then as a part of this conversation we're having today, how, how do, would you also then define. What mental health or mental fitness really mean?

I like to think about it as like agility. So for me it's, it's a few different things. It's like, can we, can we separate ourselves from our own thinking? Right? Can we realize that we are in our own cognitions? Like, so cognitive diffusion, can we pull away from what. Pops up in our minds so that we can decide what we wanna think about it and, and pivot our mind accordingly.

You know, some things we think move us away from what we want. Some things move us toward what we want. And it took me a long time to realize that I wasn't just at the effect of my own thinking. Right. Yeah. Or emotions. It's both, right? Yeah. Um, the ideas of like, you know, coping self-efficacy of, can I separate myself from.

What I can't control and can I lean into what I can without needing to be powerful all the time and without needing to run from powerlessness. But can I, can I spend as much energy as possible in areas that move the needle in my life, in the way that I want? Um, um, because if I look back over the years, like there's a lot of time spent.

Trying to change other people and trying to change the past and trying to change my body and trying to change, like, you know, things that, that I really thought needed to be changed mm-hmm. In order for me to have the life experience that I wanted. Yeah. Um, you know, so, so those are the, the things that come immediately to mind.

Also, just figuring out how to. Stop believing that life is better somewhere else and actually be able to let to be where I am, even when that's not, you know, happy all the time because that is where I live. Yeah, right. Is where I am. And for a long time it was like, like kind of what we were talking about before we started recording of like, it's gonna be better when, yeah.

Well, okay. But then how much of your life have you just missed? And what if, what if when doesn't come? What if your brain does keep moving the line? So, yeah, I'm not my thoughts. I, I figure out what I can control and what I can't. You know, can I be present in my life? I can tell you too, one of the most, um, one of the worst depressions I ever experienced was when I was like living in Hawaii.

Right and be, because I just thought like, well, if I get out of Alaska where it's dark and cold, and if I could just, I'll be in Hawaii and I'll be on the beach, whatever. And I just, I remember being there and being like, wow, I would way rather to be depressed, like in a dark hole somewhere like, this sucks to be depressed in paradise because it's like, it's just so, it becomes so obvious that like, that's not the problem.

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Had a client that, when you say that had a client that her husband, uh, died by suicide and she lived in Hawaii and she joked about it for a long time. She's actually a coach now, but. That like, you know, lo and behold, you actually can be sad in Hawaii. Like, you know, maybe it's not the ocean that causes your, you know, life experience.

Yeah. But maybe it's not your circumstances or where you live. Mm-hmm. Or how much money you have or, yeah. Like what maybe it really is an inside job, right? As they Yeah, totally. Which sounds so cliche, but it, it. The more I live on the planet, the more I realize it really is true. It really is true. Right? So, okay, so when we look at that definition of leadership and then that definition of mental fitness and agility and what that kind of means, why is it so critical for someone to be in an effective leadership role?

Why is it so critical for them to have that mental fitness as a daily, regular practice? Well, it'll be a whole lot more fun if you do. Right. It's a whole lot less miserable, and I think you're just generally more effective in terms of creating what it is that you wanna create. And if you're trying to manage a team helping you know them, um, I mean, I suppose you could, you could do it without those ways of being, but I don't think it would be nearly as effective and I, and I don't think it would be nearly as enjoyable.

Right. I mean, who wants to be, who wants to be trying to create something and completely at the effect of all of their unconscious thinking and, you know, yeah. Unclear on what they can control and can't, and, you know, always wishing they were somewhere that they're not, like, that's not a party that I wanna go to.

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Have, did you, have you noticed in your leadership role and in your business, and have you, as you've begun growing your business, have you noticed the, the need for. Your like mental and emotional awareness and kind of building in those practices. Was there a shift or was there a change? Did you notice that becoming like more important or, or maybe not.

Did it just sort of seem like it was sort of the same? I think it would be easy to believe it's more important, but I think really it's, it's like a. A baseline I hope we would all aspire to, regardless of whether we're trying to lead people or grow businesses or mm-hmm. Or whatever. Right. It, it just becomes more apparent about where your personal gaps might be, I think Yeah.

When you start taking on things that are bigger or teams that are larger or, you know, complexities grow. Yeah. But I, but I think it should, should always be the baseline goal. And maybe we just didn't see the importance until we tried to get bigger or do something. More challenging. Yeah. I think the way you said that is really beautiful.

I think you ex you said that better than I did. Like that was, and I was just curious. Right. No, right or wrong there. Just curious, like as you, as you found your business growing and as you found yourself kind of stepping into bigger roles and moving into the bigger house, like I was just curious if you noticed yourself Yeah.

If, if you noticed those things becoming more apparent. And Yeah. You know, having those moments where you're like, oh, okay. Like maybe, maybe this is a space where I build, build a practice around this or something. Yeah. You know, like, yeah. Yeah. And I think you, you kind of start the illusion that the grass is greener.

Yeah. Starts to fall away when you begin to, to create and bring forth more of what you, you want and realize, oh, I'm actually still human. I actually still have all of these crazy thoughts in my head. I actually still have, you know, all of these emotions like it. None of this is going away. If I make more money or build a bigger team, or coach more people or live in a bigger house like or have a relationship like.

You know, and so you can kind of live under the illusion for a while that that's possible until you create it and you realize, oh, actually it's not, there's no getting off. You know, the, the no exit ramp. Yeah, no exit ramp to the human experience. Right. Have you noticed themes in yours? Like, you know, when we talk about, you know, like whether we, we, whether we talk about this as like the shadow side of our humanity, right?

The things that we'd rather hide or, or just the, the challenges that seem to come up for us in my life. I've noticed there tend to be like themes. Like there's kind of the, and, and I don't know if this is true for you or not, but for me, like mine are tend to be like depression, anxiety, and unworthiness.

Those are like kind of my, my shadows or my, my deepest, um, Beliefs mm-hmm. That I notice myself feeling like when I'm gr you know, in, in moments of growth or, um, I don't remember which coach it was at, uh, with life Coach school that I heard talk about this with me when I was coaching one time, but she referred to it as, you know, getting to know your growth emotions.

Mm. I like that. And I love that she's like, you know, she's like in, in. Hers was, uh, something different. I don't remember what it was, but it was interesting. And she's like, so I just know that this is my growth emotion now and, and when it comes up. And so I'm just curious for you if you've noticed in your life that, that you have any, um, kind of go to emotions that try to keep you in the cave or that try to, that tend to flare up mm-hmm.

When you're, you know, when you're growing. Yeah. I mean, fear for sure. Which I think has sometimes shows up as anxiety. Um, and I have noticed that more and more insecurity, it's like the, the things that I would describe as themes are probably less about emotions and more about like, you know, ways that I was socialized.

So things that come up around, you know, when I, where I might be feeling insecure and then, It tends to lead to this other flavor of how my value comes from how I look, or my value comes from what I produce. Right. Um, and, and that shows me, oh yeah, hello patriarchy. Like, yeah. You know, there you are. Um, and, and for a little bit, not, not so much, but I, gosh, see this so much in my clients too, is of, you know, the value of being, of being a good mother, right?

Like what. Right. Yeah. Yeah. Um, or being partnered. Um, so all of those things, but yeah, fear and insecurity is probably how I am first aware that there is something lurking worth looking at. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. So when you, when you look at the, are there parts of yourselves that you notice yourself, like wanting to hide or like wanting the world or your clients to not see about you?

Mm-hmm. In the past, it has actually been money. Um, I really have had to do work on letting it be okay to make money so common. Right. Uh, so common and also I. Yeah. I guess just something I didn't, I expected it was common for other people. I didn't, I didn't realize how it would be common for me, for me, somehow.

I think I thought maybe I'd be the special snowflake there. Yeah. Um, for sure. Body image stuff. Mm-hmm. But it's like the more. The more peace I make with, you know, what we talked about before is like, I am not my thoughts. And it makes total sense why all of these thoughts that I have, all of these judgments that show up in my mind, given the way I was socialized, it makes sense why they're there.

It's not something to be afraid of or ashamed of, or embarrassed about. It's actually something I wanna tell people about because I know that they're having, you know, their own version of that experience. And if I can normalize that for them, then it, then it's helpful. But it didn't come immediately. It's taken me a while to kind of get to that place first.

Yeah. Right. Where I go, oh shit, we all have these totally ideas that were not enough and that we have to change or we need to be different or whatever. And that's part of being human. And I don't, I don't wanna pretend that that's not happening for me because that Janet just sets the next person up, right.

For failure. Totally. Yeah, and it's like, and I think there will always be that version of like, you can hear these things until you experience it for yourself. It's like that is the moment where you're like, oh, this is what they were talking about. Mm-hmm. Yes. Like I get it, right? Yeah. I'm so grateful for all the people who told me that that was their experience, but you're totally right.

I 100% get it intellectually, but don't fully believe it in my body until I go through it. Yep. And then I'm like, oh, yeah, okay. That's what we meant. Okay, here we are. Here we go. Yeah. What are the, what are the, um, the emotions, the, the amazing feelings and beliefs, right? When we talk about like the 50 50, right?

We, we know that, that life is 50 50. There's the day and the night, the joy and the pain, right? We, there's the whole spectrum of human emotion, and so I think it's fun to talk about and useful to talk about, even like the. The sides that we sometimes wish weren't there or that we didn't have to experience.

But what about to give a little bit of airtime to this other side, Krista? Like what are the, what are the emotions, the experiences, the beliefs that you get to have now after really gone going through all of that for yourself? Mm-hmm. And doing that work of, like you said after, after your husband Hugo died and you, and you really had to like, that was probably not an easy.

Experience at all and probably brought up a lot of things even I would guess not related even to the death of your husband. Does that feel true? Oh yeah. That it brought up all of that. And so after going through that, cuz I think there are a lot of people, I like to just tell people that like, To be honest, that it sucks, right?

That it's not easy to do this work. Like let's just be real. There are a lot of people who don't wanna do it cuz they're like, if I go there, I'm gonna get stuck. I'm not gonna get out it. If I open that closet of grief, I will never get out of it. Sucked into the black hole. Yep. And so, I just wanted to offer a moment to say like, what is the hope that people can look forward to on the other side of doing that work?

Like what are the feelings, the experiences that you now get to have because of having gone through that? Yeah. I think it's just this very embodied knowledge. That used to feel intellectual and now just feels true that I am safe no matter how I'm feeling, right? Like, it's okay for me to feel whatever it is because it, it's not a problem for me to solve.

I, it's just an experience for me to allow, and I've done that enough times and I've, I've proven to myself that I can handle and it's not gonna kill me. And nothing has gone wrong. I've done nothing wrong when it's happening. So it's just like a more. Open feeling that I have to being a human right. And it makes it easier to take risks and it makes it easier to try things.

And it, it makes it easier to parent and watch my kids go out in the world knowing like, you know, all the things that, that the, the world can, can offer and, yeah. Yeah, it's just, it's, how do I even wanna say it? It's like, I wouldn't say that it's still the 50 50. But it's peace with the 50 50. Right? Like the, one of the reasons I even got into coaching in the first place, or started like started listening to Brooke, like back in the early days, Brooke Castillo, was because I was in a place where I was like, I think I'm supposed to be happier than I am.

Something is wrong because I'm not happy all the time. Like my external circumstances point toward should be happier. That's what I thought. Right? And so it's not that I'm actually happier, it's that I. I welcome the totality of the experience now, and I don't tell myself that wherever I am is not where I'm supposed to be.

And so it's more about like, you know, Byron Katie loving what is it's like, yeah. It's just okay to be where I am and it's okay to be human, and I'm not under this illusion that I'm supposed to be somewhere else, or I need to be somehow different. Yeah. And it just feels more relaxed and more peaceful.

Yeah. That acceptance piece is huge cuz it's like when we're fighting with reality, when we're fighting with the negative experiences of the hard things that we're going through, now we're adding suffering onto it, right? Yeah. So it's like if I'm going through a divorce or a breakup or my kid's on drugs or something happened, it's like that's painful by itself.

But it's like that idea of clean pain versus dirty pain, right? Mm-hmm. It's like there's that clean pain. And it's not that I don't still do that. I do. Yeah. It's just that I'm faster at like pivoting myself back. Yeah, exactly. Right. I'm faster at realizing, oh, this is the part where you're judging the shit out of yourself.

Yeah. You know, for something, it's, it's okay to let the clean pain wash through, come back, and you just know how to navigate that more easily. Yeah. I know. I, I know how to have my own back a little bit better. Yeah. And, and, and it feels good. Oh my gosh, so much better. Good. Yeah. Yeah. But still human and still lots of pain and still, you know, still human.

Yep. Yeah. So what advice would you give to, you know, the leaders, the entrepreneurs that are out there that are secretly kind of hiding a part of themselves mm-hmm. That maybe they feel ashamed of or that they are afraid of, or don't want the world to see? Yeah, I think first it's just like recognizing that it's totally natural to believe that you're the only one, that you're the broken one, and there's like, Millions of us walking around thinking that about ourselves, thinking that we have something to be ashamed of and thinking that we have something to hide.

So if we could just acknowledge that it's happening to all of us, but the reason it feels like it's only happening to us is because we're not all talking about it. Mm-hmm. It's a lot easier. Right. And it's like when you go first and you, you figure out how to support yourself and you kind of liberate yourself from your own shame, that's when you can help other people do the same thing.

It, it's not like we need to change ourselves. It's, we need to make peace with ourselves and be okay that we are humans who have shame. Yes. Yes. Which I, I really, that is not what I used to think. I really used to think, okay, now I have the tools, and if I, if I think differently, then I'll feel differently.

And if I feel differently, then I'll do differently. And if I do differently, then I'll be differently and then I won't feel shame. Yeah. Then I, then it will all be roses. Because I'll change myself as opposed to, that's some absolute bullshit. What I really need to do is recognize that who I am is not shameful.

Yes. And when you do that, your ability to lead others down, that path of acceptance and peace will be powerful. Yeah. And when you become a powerful leader that can do that for others, because you've done it for yourself. I truly believe that we could light the world on fire with Totally. And we are. I think we are.

I think we will. We're headed in that direction and then it really is, it really is an unlearning and uns shaming and, you know, a process. It is not about, I. Changing yourself. It, it is about changing the way you think of yourself. Yeah, totally. Yeah. And I think that's the perfect, like, that's the perfect summary of this whole conversation, Krista, around what it means, like when we talk about leadership and mental health and the things that we go through and how we talk to ourselves and allowing ourselves to step into that place of joy and acceptance.

Like not only does it feel better, but truly like it. I, I believe that that is your most powerful, grounding place to do what you came into this world to do, and so I am with you. I love it. All right, Krista. Well, before we close out, I just wanna invite you to tap into your experiences here as. As the, the entrepreneur that you are, as the coach, that you are, the mother, um, everything that you've gone through.

When you look at your journey and your life and everything you've created, what has been, do you think, your moments moment of greatest joy in all of this or

one of them? Wow, I, that is such a good question. I think for me, what I've. Come to realize is that the greatest moments of joy are actually the little small moments. Mm. Like I'll cry. My youngest, you know, called me last night and

knowing what he is willing to share with me, sh shows me how much he trusts me. And so it seems like a small thing from the outside. But just a little 15 minute conversation about what's going on in his heart, like really showing me who he is. Yeah. Huge. Right? And it's not something I would put on a goal sheet, but it's something that, as it's happening, just makes me fall so, so deeply in love with the moment.

Yeah. That's amazing. Yeah. And I hope fall so deeply in love with yourself too, because that is a byproduct of the person that you have become coming back again to that safety word that you have thrown out so many times. Right. That safety. That safety, that safety. Yeah. Like I love it. Thank you for pointing that up.

Yeah. Krista, how can people find out more about you? Yeah, so I have a podcast called the Widowed Mom Podcast, and I'm just always wanting to help people learn more about grief and be ready for grief when it happens in their lives. So they can definitely listen to the podcast. It's a little niched, but you know, anybody who's interested in grief or post-traumatic growth can check me out there.

And then coaching with is my website and all my social and everything is there. So beautiful. I love it. Thank you so much for coming and spending this time with us today. Thanks for being willing to coordinate all of this. It's, it's a great offering. I'm glad to be a part of it.

If you enjoyed this episode, take a screenshot of it for me and share it on your favorite social media platform. And in the meantime, I just wanna invite you to remember that you are beautiful, that you are worthy, that you belong. See you next time.