Having Drive, But No Purpose with Lindsay Alive
When you first finish high school, it’s common to feel the need to go and make something of your life right away. University is the obvious and most logical choice, so you go ahead and start a degree without really thinking about what it is you want to do, or what your true passion is.You finish the degree, get the job and start climbing the corporate ladder. Before you know it, years have passed and you’ve landed a cushy job, you’re on a great income, but you feel desperately lost inside. You realise that if you don’t do something now, you’ll get too comfortable and might never take the time to figure out what you’re truly called to do.
Our guest today Lindsay Alive, had this very realisation. She had the high paying job, corporate office, meeting KPI’s and kicking career goals. But one day she realised that this job, this office, and this lifestyle wasn’t for her. She needed to get out, get back to her roots and explore the inner wild and free child that she knew was within.
Lindsay left her predictable, stable job to travel around the world. She discovered transformational leadership coaching when it was still in its infancy in North America and, after several years of intensive training, she launched one of the first coaching companies in Canada which is known today as Alive and Awake.
SOME TOPICS WE COVER:
How serial over-achieving can lead to burn out pretty quickly
Steps to take if you’re not happy in your job, but you have no idea what you’re passion is
The difference between drive and purpose
Discussing your career goals with your boss
You don’t need to throw your background skillset away when you’re starting something new
Finding a niche that can work with your already existing skillset
Understanding that your needs are just as important as others. Stop all the people-pleasing.
Coming from a place of love, not judgement
Everyone is on their own journey
Dealing with feelings of anger in a productive way
Your physical body and how it affects your mental health
Nobody is broken and we don’t need to fix anyone
Leading by example to show others strength and vulnerability
Advice will fall on deaf ears, unless they want to change within themselves
Lindsay: When people feel deeply seen, heard, understood and loved, you don't have to do anything. That is when they themselves will start to make the positive changes that they already know that they could make.
Vitina: Namaste and welcome, I'm Vitina Blumenthal and you're listening to the Soul Compass podcast. I'm here to help you find your inner calm and deepen your self-discovery journey. Take this moment and focus on yourself. For your mental health, your ability to find ease in your everyday life and your emotional well-being. It is so important that you nourish yourself not only physically but also emotionally and mentally. Here at Soul Compass, you'll learn practical tips from experts who will leave you with a sharper focus and a renewed commitment to yourself.
Hello. Welcome to another Soul Compass episode. I’m super excited to dive into today’s topic, but before doing so I’d like to invite you to take a moment to check-in. We often don’t do this for ourselves, so let’s do it together. If it’s safe for you, you’re not driving, taking this opportunity maybe closing your eyes. Just relaxing your shoulders and drawing them away from your ears, and relaxing the muscles in your face. Maybe giving your jaw a little wiggle left and right if you feel like you’ve been clenching.
We’ll take three breaths together. Taking a deep inhale in through the nose, expanding through the heart, all the way down to your belly, and exhaling out through the mouth. Inhale in through the nose, through the heart, to the belly, exhale to release. Last time, inhale and as you inhale drawing the shoulders down away from your ears, and exhale and let it go.
Beautiful. Now that I have you present here in the now, let’s dive in.
Today’s topic, we’re discussing living a life of drive, so maybe you have a lot of ambition but maybe you’re sensing that you don’t have a purpose, or you don’t know what your purpose is. Often when you first finish high school it’s common to feel the need to go and make something of your life right away.
In our template, in our society, it’s often going to University or going to college and that seems like the most logical choice. So you go ahead and you start your degree without really thinking about what it is you want to do or what your true passion really is. So you finish this degree, you may get a job and start climbing the corporate ladder. That seems like the logical thing to do. But before you know it, years have passed and you’ve landed a cushy job and at this point maybe you’re making a great income, but you feel desperately lost inside. You realize that if you don’t do something now, you’ll get too comfortable, whether it’s with the security and your income, or just your place of work and you might never take the time to figure out what you’re truly called to do.
Our guest today Lindsay Alive had this very realization. She had the high paying job, she was in a corporate office, meeting KPIs and kicking her career goals, but one day she realized that this job, this office and this lifestyle really wasn’t for her. She needed to get out, get back to her roots and explore the inner wild and free child that she knew was within. If you know Lindsay, which you’ll get to know very shortly she expresses her inner wild child so beautifully. It’s something I really admire about her.
So Lindsay left her predictable, stable job to travel around the world. During that time she discovered transformational leadership coaching. At that time it was still really in its infancy in North America, so after several years of intensive training, she launched one of the first coaching companies in Canada which is known today as Alive + Awake.
Today we cover so many juicy topics. I’m looking at the list of topics that we covered and I’m having a hard time choosing.
First, we’ll go over how serial over-achieving can lead to burnout pretty quickly.
Steps to take if you’re not happy in your job, but you have no idea what your passion is.
And if you’re currently in a transition or making your way through a transition, or trying to take that leap, just knowing you don’t need to throw your background skillset away when you’re starting something new.
A big topic that we’ll cover is understanding that your needs are just as important as others, so stop all the people-pleasing. We’ll dive into that for sure. That is something that I am guilty of.
Beyond all of the other topics we’ll cover, we had a guest question come in a few weeks ago and the reason why I brought Lindsay in was to really cover this question. The question was, “How do I motivate others?” Whether you are in a leadership position, a naturopathic doctor, a coach, a trainer or maybe you are leading your children, there are often areas in our personal and professional life that motivation and leadership skills come into play. Lindsay does a beautiful job today unpacking that really, really big question. That’s a little bit more towards the end if you stick around. She’s done a beautiful and graceful job of explaining how to motivate others.
So I’ll stop putting it off, we’re going to just dive into today’s episode.
One of the biggest reasons why I wanted to bring you on to this episode and I know I've already shared this, was really your passion and your expertise around being a transformational leadership expert. I know you do a lot of speaking on this topic and being a master coach to global change-makers.
I know you've touched everyone in between. We did have a guest question that came in this week, revolving around motivation, and how to motivate others, which we'll dive into. Before we get into that, I wanted to reel in a little bit, because I know you have such a beautiful story and such an awesome journey that people can really be inspired by.
For those of you who don't know Lindsay, she lives part-time in Costa Rica in the jungle, living the life with her four amazing kids, and spending time up north in Ontario for the summer. She's living the life that I think a lot of us dream of doing. Lindsay, before we dive into the guest question, I really wanted you to share about your journey and a lot of our catalysts that spike us into this process and into this journey, are not always the most pleasant, but I know it makes you into the beautiful human that you are today. I know our audience loves hearing the vulnerable pieces of people. It really helps them connect. You have an audience here that is very open-minded.
Lindsay: Well, thank you so much Vitina. Before we start, I also want to thank you for having me on this incredible platform that you're creating. We met many years ago now it seems like, and I've just always felt so connected with you and your purpose and your mission and most importantly, your energy and your highest vibes. I really know that you come from such a place of divine love and vulnerability.
It's really such an honour to be co-creating today with you, and I have so much love for you personally and so much respect and inspiration professionally for what you're creating in the world. I'm always watching what you're up to. I'm like, "Someday I'm going to be organized like Vitina."
Thank you. It's going to happen one of these days.
Vitina: I’m glad it looks that way. [laughs]
Lindsay: For now, I'm just going to stay in my beautiful chaos as it is, work on acceptance and patience and all the other pieces that are also good to work on.
Vitina: I love it. I just got chills. I'm not as organized that it may appear, but I try to be.
Lindsay: Well, you're still my inspiration. Well, just go with that. I get it. I know we're all humans. I get it. My specific catalyst, I would say, that got me on the path was, you and I have already spoken about this, but I grew up with chronic anxiety. The way that I felt I managed it in addition to some self-soothing things I found, long-distance swimming and running and a few tools that helped me to manage it, but the main tool I used was trying to control everything, perfectionism, and overachieving to the max.
Vitina: You’re speaking to my soul.
Lindsay: Trying to please everybody was also another tool I used. Because if I could just keep everything controlled, and follow all the rules and check off all the boxes and never rock the boat and never offend anybody, then I could just keep everything under control because the inner turmoil I was going through was massive. I didn't know any different but I know now looking back, I was in a chronic state of anxiety, my mind never stopped. I had knots in my stomach most of the time, sweaty palms, the whole thing. I would go to a party and spend the next two days ruminating over how I had potentially offended everyone at the party like crazy.
Vitina: I can relate to that.
Lindsay: It was just my normal at the time, though. What I did was I tried to control everything. For me that looked like overachieving, as I said, and so for me, it was academics. Then it became going into the right career path. I just never even considered what my needs were, what my desires were, what my passions were, it never crossed my mind. If you would have asked me, I would have looked at you like you were crazy to even ask me that question. "What do you mean what are my needs? It's irrelevant. I don't even know what that word means." I ended up going to this, the business school and I went along with this whole recruiting game, and it really feeds your ego, and they threw money at you. You're so important and you're so smart. That felt good.
It's nice to when you're feeling a little empty and in turmoil inside, have a little external validation. I found myself having "won" the game of that chapter of my life, and I found myself with a super elite job in management consulting, and I had the suits and I was working, I was like 23 or 24, making loads of money, advising people that were in their 40s and 50s, I had no idea what I was doing, but I was positioned as this expert.
I remember I was sitting in a bank tower, as a management consultant, advising the bank on how to do a better job with certain areas. I just would go in every day, and it was one of these face-time cultures where the longer you work, the more impressive it was. You're working 14 hours a day to try to keep up with the rat race. Ultimately, the hourly rate that I was making was like probably I could have worked at McDonald's and made more because I worked such long hours.
Vitina: That's the worst.
Lindsay: I know. I was sitting in a bank tower in the middle of July, and as you mentioned, I am a die-hard cottage girl. Grew up on the lake all summer, every summer and there I was sitting in this bank tower freezing cold from all the air conditioning, sitting at a desk, hunched over, doing all this data crunching. I was like, "Oh my God, is this it? Is this winning the game?" I was like, "I hate this, this is the worst." I remember looking at people who were 10 years ahead of me, or 15 or 20 years, and I could see my path because it was so controlled that if I just basically didn't screw up massively, I could have just kept making more and more money, probably join some private clubs, maybe ultimately had some kids that went to the right schools and all those things.
I looked at the people who were 10 years, 15, 20 years ahead of me, and basically everybody all around me in that environment, it looked like The Walking Dead. I didn't see joy. I didn't see excitement, or passion, or even a sense of purpose. People were like robots, just getting up every day and maybe riding the train into work and putting in the hours.
I was blessed because I didn't grow up in that environment. It was not my normal. I grew up in Northern Ontario, I come from a very service-focused family. My dad was a physician. My mom was a trained social worker who was basically everybody's mother in town. I was blessed with having clarity about the importance of service and community and love as my foundation. I now know that again, looking back, that's why I got into this environment. I was like, “This is crazy, people live like this.”
I just felt always like I'm in this place, but not of this place. I just truly felt like an alien on an alien planet. I was starting to feel numb, depleted, and I'd always had anxiety, but this was the first time I was starting to feel lost. I wouldn't say profound sadness, but definitely a sense of being lost and numb and disengaged, I would say also. That's when I decided to take the first, which I actually believe is the hardest. For anybody who's newer to the path, I do believe that the first time that you step off of your regular path into the unknown, I do believe is the most terrifying.
If anybody listening is in that place of that threshold of "I know this isn't right for me, but I don't know what else is out there," and you feel so terrified, just know that that is normal.
For me what that looked like was, I went to quit that job, but I had no backup plan. I wasn't like, "I'm going to do my MBA at Harvard." Some impressive thing to tell them. I was like, "I got to get out of here. I thank you so much for this amazing job, but I've got to just go and I'm just going to go traveling. I actually have no backup plan. I have no backup job. I'm going off with my boyfriend at the time, we may break up in Thailand. I have no idea." There was no security. There was no guarantee. It was basically taking my entirely perfect little life that I had crafted with great control and tenacity and basically throwing it into the wind and saying, "Thanks, but no thanks."
Ultimately, they were incredible. I want to say this because it was an important life lesson to me. I was so terrified to be seen for my shadow part of being this wild gypsy soul. I had this crazy dichotomy of a life where I was like hardcore Taipei academic working three jobs all week. Then I was just like a wild gypsy soul at Lollapalooza and concerts and crowd surfing not just at them, but I was in the mosh pits crowd surfing.
Vitina: Oh my gosh, I could only imagine. That's amazing.
Lindsay: Dancing on speakers and that was like-- I've had this wild spirit in me always. I grew up in Northern Ontario, it was like in boats and skiing and all this wildness, but it was so separated and so segregated. I boxed myself ultimately too much into this driven Taipei kind of overachiever side of myself, which I have all of it. We talked a little bit earlier about really reclaiming all of who we are in all that we do.
That was a time in my life where I was very segregated. It was a very either-or situation. That's one of the things on this journey that I've really learned to embrace is living in the unknown, living in the gray zone, in the fluidity of like, "Sometimes I'm this and sometimes I'm that," and breaking down those walls internally, but also managing the external judgments or questioning of people around you.
The surprise I had was that when I went into the Managing Directors office with my shame and my guilt and my whole suitcase of toxic emotions and judgments, and I said, "I've got to go do this thing, I have no backup plan, but I'm just going to go traveling and hope for the best. Fingers crossed." He looked at me and his face burst into this huge smile and he said, "I think that's amazing. We totally value you. We value who you are as a human, and we as a firm belief that this experience is only going to make you better as a leader and as a contributor, so take a leave of absence, we'll welcome you back when you come back."
They were so honouring and so supportive. It feels like a long time ago now, this was like at least 18 years ago, so there was no nomadic workforce. It was not cool. It was very much a face-time era. This was way ahead of the creative class and digital nomads and all this stuff. It was really a risk at the time, and that organization 100% rose to the occasion. They were such a leader. That was actually why I ended up working there in the first place was because they truly valued their people and that is to me the ultimate transformational leadership, which is what I'm obsessed with in my entire life.
Which is seeing individuals and investing in their trajectory, in their growth, regardless of whether it's within your organization, your container, your life or not, and that even applies to romantic situations, your kids, your family. It's like, "Can I love this person and support them in their journey even if it means them going away from me?" That is not easy. I can't tell you the amount of terror and fear I had about that.
The worst-case scenario I had ruminated over thousands and thousands of times, and it ultimately ended up being the absolute best-case scenario. Prepare for the worst but hope for the best. Definitely get your backup plan, prepare for everything to go to hell, but also then deal with it and get your strategies in place. Then spend a whole lot more time imagining the best-case scenario or how great it could be or what if it's even better than you think it's going to be.
That's what I'm really obsessed with now, which is opening the space for abundance and synchronicity and flow state and all these buzzwords we hear, but it's actually really profound inner work that comes from a place of trust and surrender. Then the rest of the story I'll shorten to be that I ended up going to traveling around the world. I had a profound awakening about what brings people joy, specifically going to countries like Thailand, where people had almost nothing financially, but seeing the joy on people's faces, the little kids swinging on rope swings into the river with little, can't even afford a bathing suit.
They're wearing their little tidy whitey underwear with their faces full of joy versus, contrasting back to going to Bay Street in Toronto or Wall Street or any place where there's so much wealth but almost no joy. It really for me, brought into the question of, what is success? Money is one form of currency, but what are the other forms of currency that we trade in time, freedom, joy, nature love, laughter. There are a million different forms of currency that have valued space, nothingness, all of it, quiet, solitude, there are a million different forms of currency.
That inspired me to basically get into the coaching space about almost 18 years ago again, it was weird and freakish, and it was not a thing at the time. I did this whole coaching industry, but my intuition was guiding me that this was something for me, and I over time learned to trust my intuition always and my mind and ego almost never, it becomes in service of intuition now as opposed to driving the show.
I got into coaching and ultimately got invited back into the same environments. I started out at Accenture and AT Kearney, Proctor & Gamble, and Rogers, and actually was able to leverage my background and my ability to speak that language and to relate to people, to become this love warrior within, like the revolution from within.
Vitina: I love it.
Lindsay: One of the other takeaways I want to share with people that they are in the midst of some major transition, you don't need to throw your whole background away. It basically becomes a building block and you get to take all those skills and networks and experiences and wisdom and use them. If it feels like I'm throwing out all this whole career as a whatever or this whole background or identity as a so-and-so, it's not true. It's just you actually get to add to it and expand on it.
That's a lesson I only learned in hindsight. At the time, I also thought I was flushing everything away. That's my journey and then ultimately because I live life on the edge of truth and exploration and what human potential and transformation, and so I am my own social experiment and where that has led me is to question absolutely everything that's socially constructed and put onto me, beliefs, for better or worse, it is a blessing and a curse.
It has gotten me down to Costa Rica, which is amazing and not without a lot of fear and trepidation and like at every single juncture, and that's why I mean it doesn't get easier, I don't think, you just become more comfortable with the process. Now, so blessed to be living in Costa Rica and still being able to get on a plane and go fly somewhere and speaks to beautiful leaders at different places around the world.
Sometimes I feel like when you look at my Instagram life, you're like, "Wow, that's so amazing." I just don't post all the darkest stuff going on in my life. It's just--
Vitina: I know that well.
Lindsay: I heard an interview with Elizabeth Gilbert and Brené Brown, and they said that they have a rule, which I've actually followed, which is they don't share anything publicly, that they're still processing in a raw way internally, and that's been my approach to things. I think Glennon Doyle says, "She shares from her scars, not her wounds."
Vitina: Yes. That's the best piece of advice, especially as a leader and also someone sharing on social media. That has been the best piece of advice that I've ever read and also been given by one of my writer friends. [laughs]
Lindsay: That's why I want to be clear when I'm like, "I live in Costa Rica and then I go here and I go there." The inner work that has gone along with that has been really humbling and that's what I'm most proud of. The outer stuff is great and it's amazing, but I really am most proud of myself for is having the courage consistently to go into my fear, to go into the unknown and to keep getting back up again and again and again and falling more in love with life every single day, and choosing love and choosing love even when it's hard and for me that's the most impressive and exciting thing about the human experience.
Vitina: How do you choose love? Especially if it's a person or a situation that is really triggering for you?
Lindsay: One is I have this core belief that every single person on the planet is a Buddha in disguise. I have this perspective that we're all these characters in a play of life, and so these evil characters that come in after I initially get upset, hurt, pissed, triggered, whatever. I'm like, "Wait a minute. I created them. What is it in my vibrational field that brought them in? What is it in my soul contract that had us connect in this way at this time?" Instead of like, "Why is this happening to me, or why are they doing this?"
I'm really asking myself, what am I meant to learn from this? What's the blessing in this? The ultimate thing, I heard this thing from Michael Beckwith years and years ago when he was on Oprah, he described-- I think it was him or somebody else saying, "Forgiveness is, thank you for giving me this experience." Now I'm like, "I'm upset. I'm hurt. I'm pissed. What is this actually about?" I go in, "This is my seven-year-old little girl who feels abandoned," or, "This is my teenage, somebody who got rejected."
I go back in and I do my inner child work, which probably sounds crazy and woo-woo to people who haven't done it, but I am obsessed with it, it's almost all I want to do anymore with clients.
Vitina: It's so helpful.
Lindsay: I'm like, "That's great. Now let's go into the actual cause of why you're feeling this way." Every person that upsets us or triggers us is a mirror to let us know we still got a little more work to do or a lot more work to do on whatever the inner pain, the inner triggers, the inner wound, which every person on this planet has. That's one of the ways that I can go back to love.
Then the other thing I'm really working on, and I think that you and I relate in this, one of my areas of development is really speaking my truth and asking to have my needs be met as a lifelong people-pleaser, with a lot of anxiety specifically around upsetting people in conflict. This is really ninja to me and I actually get like a little bit of butterflies in my stomach as I'm talking about, "Oh, God."
I heard this the other day as well, that anytime we have a feeling of anger, it's because we've had a boundary be violated. It really stuck with me and so now when I get angry or hurt, the question I also am asking myself is like, "Where is it my responsibility to speak up and either tell somebody how something made me feel ideally in a responsive way as opposed to reactive?" That's like the holy grail.
Vitina: Yes, the ideal outcome.
Lindsay: Sometimes it does not always present itself in that perfect way, but that's always my intention. I'm erring a little bit on the side of missingness, but speaking my truth, even if it's not perfect at this moment, because at least then it gives me clay to work with and to mold with the other person as opposed to just selling out on myself, resenting them, or ultimately cutting them out of my life. What I'm observing in my process right now is that if I stay in the discomfort of that fire of transformation with another, this is really where I'm playing right now, it can actually lead to even more intimacy if you hang in there and, again, invite in that sense of curiosity, openness, and sharing versus name-calling, judgment, blame, resentment.
I'm talking about doing it, these are the tools I'm practicing, staying curious and I know Brene Brown does great work. One of the phrases I've borrowed from here is, "Help me to understand." Here's how I'm feeling. Help me to understand what was going on your end in this because here's how I received it. Again, this can be awkward because sometimes you just want to like not talk about it, or just hate the person, or cry, or whatever. It goes into that softening place of vulnerability and openness as opposed to judgment and closing.
I'm actually noticing that I get invited now, even more, into people's souls. These are usually the people that are closest to me because I don't really care what most people think about me. It's only the ones that are close to me that I'm usually triggered by. To choose love and to get into that state of love, if we can get past our initial-- I know you're as obsessed as I am with the yoga, and the breathing, and the meditation. That's where that whole framework comes into play in places like, "Take a deep breath". Sometimes I have to go to a yoga class, go to my mat, get my journal out. It depends on how big the trigger is. Sometimes it's just a deep breath. Other times, it's two days of journaling and talking to the sisters and like-- Then I go back in.
That's where those tools come into play. Then, on the other side of it, goes to the assumption that they're a Buddha here to teach me something. At that final end of it is this idea of compassion and developing compassion for self. This is really my obsession in life at this point. It's to get to that place of like "What would Jesus do or Buddha do?" or insert any kind of iconic person. This way of being in the world is like, "Can I get to a state of love and compassion with every single person I've ever encountered or through history?"
That doesn't mean tolerance of bad behaviour. It doesn't mean acceptance, necessarily, of things that are hurtful to you. That's where that gray zone is. It's like how do we set healthy boundaries, articulate our needs, potentially even release people from our lives if it's become clear that they are not willing to kind of--
Lindsay: Co-create with you or respect. That's also a very loving thing to do, I believe, is to release somebody with love, to be on their journey and to get to a place of acceptance. Byron Cady talks about the dog that bites. This is something that's really been powerful. It's like stop staring at the dog that bites and being mad at it for biting you. There comes a point in time where you just have to acknowledge that that's just a dog that bites.
That's the idea of loving people for who they are and where they are at this moment in their journey. I really know that when we know better, we do better. I do have that absolute knowing that if people had better tools, had better-- I don't really want to say better. Let's just say different, they would respond differently.
That divine trust that everybody is exactly, this is perfect for your question as well, which is trusting that every person is exactly where they should be at this moment in time on their journey, including me, including them, and getting to that place of deepest love and compassion of like, "Well, this is just exactly where they are in their journey and it's my job to self-regulate, clear my wounding, so I'm not available to be triggered. Speak my truth if there is a boundary that's been violated, and I need to articulate that."
Ultimately, it's my job to get to a place of forgiveness because I don't really want to walk around with a piece of resentment towards anyone on the planet because that's just going to hurt my life and my energetic fields. It really has very little to do with them other than the initial offering of that trigger point, which is ultimately such a gift and a blessing for all of the reasons that I just said.
Vitina: Absolutely. I love it. I actually have a question for you. You've been on this spiritual journey. You're a coach. Oftentimes, I find people that are on this path, they end up wearing this serenity mask. The reason why I ask this is because anger is such a natural emotion that flows through us. Do you ever feel guilty for being mad or find it hard to get mad at someone because, maybe your identity is with like being a little more calm, being a coach, being a leader? The only reason I ask this is because I've struggled with this for a really long time.
Lindsay: Anger was not an emotion that I felt safe with, growing up. I have had to really work at cultivating my ability to feel anger. This might sound crazy to some people who have full access to this. I've had to actually learn how to feel anger, how to identify it. I actually, in the last six months, have gone through a super deep dive, which was awful and horrible, of clearing unexpressed anger and rage.
I had a couple of body worker friends who are super gifted spiritually, two separate people, tell me they felt a lot of energy around anger and rage in my solar plexus. I was like, "What do you mean?" I'm like, "I don't feel angry. I feel super happy all the time" because I'm really good at the transmutation, instantaneously, into gratitude, finding the blessings. All the things I just said to you, I'm now going to say the opposite and say, "There is, I believe, a place where we can depend too heavily on using the tricks that we know as people that have done a lot of this work to get back to gratitude, to get back to-- Do meditation, do a breath work, do this," and all of a sudden, you can flip your biochemical state, flip your mindset.
That can actually become a crutch. I actually think a distraction and a numbing out of the truth of where you're at if you overly depend on those tools. I actually think it's a valid and important thing to talk to you. Anybody who is in coaching or healing, or teaching, or guiding in this space, is to be really conscious of where you're becoming addicted to positive states of being. It's no different to me than being addicted to alcohol or drugs. It's a different form of addiction. Numbing out of hiding from the truth of where you're at.
I actually really subscribe to this kind of tantric philosophy of it's all divine and that we can just use every single emotion. It's just they call it spanda, that source energy, or string theory is what they talk about in quantum physics. It's all just energy in motion. In my case, I suppressed, repressed anger my entire life. From about, I would say, like February till about May, I took it on as like removing any guards in myself.
I literally made a contract with myself to allow all those feelings to come out. It was awful. I allowed myself to be messy and express in a very unpolished way. I have to say, the liberation, on the other side of it, the outcome of that is that I'm now much more comfortable. I actually can identify the anger in me in the moment. Now I can think about, "Okay, what's the boundary that's been violated or what's the thing that wants to be said?" and use it. This is where I think the word transmutation is so beautiful.
I take the anger now as information and even fuel to propel me forward. I use it as fuel to speak up and have my truth be heard. That's one way I use the anger. Sometimes I use it for impact and effect. There's a time and a place to express anger when done in a responsive versus a reactive way. I'm not talking about raging and projecting all your meanness onto people. I am talking about speaking with a certain energy tenacity. It's like the warrior pose almost in yoga. It's like there's a time and a place to step in. It has a certain impact and people can sense it. Then, ultimately, I use it as well to fuel my creative projects. Somebody really upset me this week. I processed it. I felt the feelings which is really ninja. If you think you're super spiritual, try just feeling your feelings.
Vitina: Yes. You mean, mostly want to escape those feelings, and like you said, resulting in like gratitude, meditation, doing anything to not feel this weird feeling that's coming out.
Lindsay: Yes. I truly believe the most "spiritual" things we can do is to fall in love with ourselves in every iteration of who we are, including in our rage, in our anger, in our awkwardness, in our depression, in our anxiety. Can you sit with yourself in that state of yin, without trying to flip yourself out of it, or mask it, or numb it and just sit with it? Allow it to flow through you. Notice how it feels physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, come from a place of curiosity and ultimately from a place of deepest self-love, and that witness consciousness of like, "Look at me. I'm in rage right now. Isn't this interesting? Here's anger. What's this all about? Can I love myself when I yell at my kids sometimes because I've lost it or I haven't blah, blah, blah? Can I say I'm sorry to them but still love myself and not go into self-judgment?"
There's like the cleaning up of the mess. Then, there's also that extra layer of shame and guilt that we might place on ourselves. The invitation, from my perspective, is to release the shame and guilt and judgment and just go to the place of self-responsibility and responsibility to others, but not having that sense of shame or shadow about any emotion, anger, rage, sexuality, anxiety, depression, any of it, or even bliss and joy. Some people are not capable of accessing the higher ends of the-- They're super comfortable in sadness. They're super comfortable in anger or rage.
It's just, to me, the game of really giving ourselves permission, developing the capacity to feel. It could just as easily, I see this as often as not joy, or love, or receiving of these "positive states of being" is can be just as shadowy for some people as well, or success or insert anything. Anger, I think, is super potent. I think it's amazing. Then, at the end of this week, I was like at the end of this processing experience, I was like, "Fuck that. I'm using this anger. I'm like using it to get my book out. I'm getting this message out in the world." If there are some people that are vibrating at this low of a level and are like projecting onto me, then my message needs to be out there even more.
If I piss people off, even better because at some level, there's an activation even if it's pissing them off. If we're not pissing somebody off at some point, then we're not doing anything of value in the world. I'm all for peace and love and serenity and all the things, but I'm really much more interested in truth and seeing the beauty in the truth. Yes, obviously developing the capacity to have self-management, to get back to that place of being responsive versus reactive, I think is 100% the way to go. Again, that pendulum swing or the polarity of serenity and peace versus the alchemy and the turmoil of actual truth and growth and transformation, we need to have all of it. I believe it's a constant dance.
Vitina: Absolutely. I love that you suggested even just sitting with the emotion. I think you already know that my obsession is with the Chakra System and working with energy. When you allow yourself just to fully sit in the emotion and allow it to process and flow through you, it actually dissolves quicker than when you try to resist it and hold it in your body. I can definitely resonate with that feeling of holding in anger. I used to think that people were crazy when they were angry. I'm like, "I never want to look like that. That's just not the way I want to be seen in this world." Anger has been like, just shut down.
This is so interesting that you're saying over the last winter and spring, you had been experiencing this letting it go, giving yourself permission to process what was there because I've been doing that for the last six months. I've been working with my therapist who does a lot in bioenergetics. It's been so helpful because talk therapy got me so far but having someone that can help me just like process this energy, move the energy, not having to think about what is blocked but rather just processing this emotion that I've been holding on to. I might not be able to intellectualize it and that's okay.
Lindsay: The body work is the piece that really resonated for me with you because like everything from therapy to coaching to yoga, you name it. I have done the deepest dives on it. I've realized in the last probably like three to four years, the wisdom of our bodies and the remembering of our bodies, the humility of the fact that I don't even know. Sometimes there's an insight into like, "This is linked to that thing," but to get a little bit more out there, I also know there's definitely some ancestral components, there's a collective consciousness. Those of us that make ourselves available to be alchemists or whatever we want to call it in this lifetime, which everybody potentially is.
It's just whether or not you've, I think, answered the calling or if that is one of your soul callings. The physicality and the physical, whether it's big traumas or wounding or whatever that gets trapped in our bodies. Then on the other side of the spectrum is the wisdom available when we use it to access our intuition or highest selves or to understand, guide us through life. Because I think, again, a lot of the spiritual work happens in a very eso-- I'm super guilty of this. Super esoteric, super intellectual. I could hang out in spirit world like all day, every day, but the truth is that we are embodied and we are in the material world. The more we can honor that and use that to me is the only place I'm kind of interested. Not the only place, I don't want to say the only, but I'm really excited about that place right now.
Vitina: That's awesome. You know what? I do believe and this is why I've chosen the Chakra System to be part of my research and what I want to dive into, because it's exactly what you just said. We do have that representation of our higher world, that upper triangle that's really focused on that connectedness and I do love being there. I'm like this emotional being. My mind just wants to go down rabbit holes all the time, but my biggest work is coming home into my body. Actually feeling my toes, actually feeling my fingers, which there are times where I have not been able to feel, and now I can recognize when I'm not in my body.
I can recognize when I've tapped out, when I'm not being present. Using the body as like this tool for you to come back to the moment, and to come really back home because this is your soul's home. I do want to point out, too, that both of these things just help make you such a better coach. Not to say they're good or bad, but just having those tools and I know you were corporate. You've worked with global change makers. You have so much to share to these people. People who are listening who might not be diving into spirituality or find some of these topics a little bit more woo, keep in mind Lindsay has been working in corporate. Just keeping that in mind for the people that are listening because I know people want to tap out right away, but you have so much to offer and say, I'm eating all of it up.
Lindsay: If you were, let's say, like a CEO and I was sitting in an office of a tech company or something, I would be having an entirely different conversation than I am with you right now. It really excites me actually to be able to translate these same ideas into different languages and different points of entry for different people. Specifically around the elite leaders that I've worked with, this body conversation is the most important one I can have with them because they tend to be super brilliant, super creative, super strategic, analytical in their heads 100% of the time.
I also discuss a lot of stuff with research and Harvard Business Review articles and flow state research. I'm a big junkie for research, which we just haven't really gone down that rabbit hole here because it's okay for me, but I'd rather talk about the juicy side. If you are in this work of whether you're a leader or on this kind of a growth path, you do have to be conscious of who your audience is.
I think that's actually one of my superpowers is that I'm like, I consider myself to be a translator or a bridge builder between different worlds, different realms. I do the deepest, deepest dives into the most esoteric, weird spiritual things, but I can also boil it down and like I said, get somebody's attention in 30 seconds, who has only a 30-second attention span because they're leading some massive thing. That just is an empathetic ability to gauge where people are and help to translate and communicate things in ways that are meaningful for where people are on their journeys.
Vitina: I love it. I know even planting these seeds throughout this whole conversation that we do have a guest question. I don't want to keep people hanging on too much longer because we're on leadership, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to fuse this in. If you're listening and you ever have a question that you would like answered by one of the amazing experts that I've come across on my path, or if I can help in any way, please email them in. We love getting emails from you guys and just whatever you're struggling with in this moment. We had an email come in from one of our listeners, Michelle from Edmonton, Alberta in Canada. Repping Canadians over here, love it.
Michelle says, "The thing that I'm struggling the most with right now is how to motivate others. With my career as an ND, which is a naturopathic doctor, a lot of it is getting people to make lifestyle changes for the better, but I find this very hard. I'm realizing that a lot of my job is like being a health or wellness coach in order to inspire others to make those hard changes, but I just don't know how to do that. I want to be more inspirational. Right now I can tell people what to do, but very few of them actually do it. They don't see the full results that they potentially could. Then they are no longer motivated and fall by the wayside. This becomes a very frustrating for me because I have all this passion to live a healthy lifestyle but I feel limited in my abilities to transfer that to others." This is why I called on Lindsay because she is number one cheerleader over here and coach. Lindsay, I would love to hear what you have to say for Michelle.
Lindsay: It's very interesting. I had some friends over for dinner the other night who are physicians. We were talking about this topic because they are frontline with people with massive addictions and opiate addictions. I'm at really probably the opposite end of the spectrum where people only come to me who are self-selecting. They're usually highly motivated to make change. I've consciously chosen the field of transformational leadership and working with the populations that I do and the way in which I work to be a very Socratic approach. I want to talk about that.
Then a deeper level is the philosophical approach that comes in different modalities, healing modalities, teaching modalities, guiding modalities. However, we want to talk about it. The first thing that I learned years and years ago from CTI, the school that I trained in coaching. They have this mantra, this belief, this core tenet, that people are naturally creative, resourceful and whole. What that means is that nobody's broken and we don't need to fix anybody. This extends from all of the different research and experiences I've had in basically most ancient wisdom, traditions, as well as into positive psychology.
All these different realms of leadership is that if you have a core belief that people are innately capable of taking on their own journey and their own path, I actually believe that is the most empowering thing we can do to "help people." The other thing that they really differentiated against in my training was helping versus serving. They differentiate because when we think we need to help people or rescue people and this also goes to this idea of co-dependence, which I know you're also--
I'm obsessed with the work specifically by Melody Beattie about co-dependence, and we feel sometimes that we need to rescue people or become these martyrs or save people from themselves. There's an arrogance to that, that "I know better than you." I really invite people to just question where that's coming from, the motive. It may be, again, childhood stuff, it may be, obviously is truly coming from a place of love and wanting to serve, but there's usually some other potentially ego attachments to that of being somebody who saves or somebody who rescues.
Also, from a very practical perspective, I have found it entirely ineffective to try to tell people what to do who are not yet ready, or engaged in their own process. I thought of a three-step framework that I think might be helpful for people. The three words that really came out for me were motivation, inspiration, and transformation. This question is really talking about is motivation. This is that idea of in her case, she's a naturopathic doctor, she is in an advisory role, she has been contracted to be a consultant, and again, this is depending on your context, and what people are contracting with you, it's going to vary entirely.
Even within that, and that's why I was talking about my friend who works in the ER as a frontline physician dealing with people with major addictions. He even said he's taken this approach. Also, there's a great master class in the Calm app about addiction. Interestingly, the thought leadership and best practices around addiction is very much around mindfulness training. The motivation is that model of imagine the gym trainer in the gym being like, "Come on, go harder or push harder," Or the naturopathic doctor like, "Eat these things, take these supplements. You can do it, you can do it." It's top-down approach.
We're trying to drag people along with us, like they're on this big toboggan, Canadians, we’re pulling them. Were like, "Come on." Really what that is, is you’re doing all the work for them. You're taking responsibility for their process, short of basically being like somebody's about to die, and you're a nurse or a physician that has to operate on somebody, I really believe in this idea of a co-creation with clients or with people that are in our lives. We may be an expert, we may have ability to guide people, but they're the guru. It's up to them to take ownership for their own process, including even if I'm seeing the extreme example of somebody with a major drug addiction or alcohol addiction.
I've dealt with this in my own personal life and professionally as well. If somebody does not want to be helped, they will not do any of the work. That's the motivation model. That we would move towards what I would call inspiration. This would be an example maybe for me when I speak on stages, or if I do a live or even this podcast, is like, you can give people sound bites, you can give them ideas, you can cheer them on, you can inspire them, they're in spirit. It's not coming from this top-down, "You should," judgy. "You’re bad if you don't follow all these practices." It's more of a like, "Here's the lighthouse. Let's try to engage you, give you some tools, give you some practices."
I think that the energetic intention behind that is, to me, more effective than trying to drag somebody along on a journey that they're not prepared or willing or wanting to make. If somebody's not making changes, then I wouldn't see if there’s anything she's doing wrong, I would say it's just that they're not ready yet, or they think they're ready. That trust in everybody is exactly where they should be on their journey at this moment in time. I can't tell you how many clients I've had come to me, they say they're ready to make changes, and I'm like, "Great," and then this idea of non-attachment comes into play, because they often will disappear for six months or a year or six years.
Often, they come back to me and they'll either say, "You know that thing you said to me or that question you asked me? Well, I went and made 15,000 other changes because of that." Or they'll say, "I wasn't ready, then, but I'm ready now." There has to be a trust in us. That's why if you're younger in your career, I think we get this sense of urgency that we have to fix everybody right now. Over time, you can see things unfold in the gestational period of people's transformation is entirely different. You don't know if their father is dying right now or they're in the middle of a divorce, just no idea what people's stories are.
Again, I don't mean to sound mean, but with the arrogance of thinking that we know what's best for people, is something that I really invite humility into the process for all of us to be like, "I know nothing. The more I know, the more I learn, the more I research, the more I know that I know nothing. I have some tools, I have some frameworks, I have some wisdom that's been gifted to me that I'm happy to share, but I know nothing about where anybody else should be," and that's that humility.” That's inspiration.
Then I want to get to transformation, which is what I am obsessed with. This is that idea of show don't tell, leading by example. I saw this amazing sharing the other day about the true masters in any of the lineages or any of the truly, I would say, transformational or alchemical traditions, do nothing. It's their presence. You could think of, I know you've been to India, I have not yet been. The idea of the guru in the ashram is they're not writing books. They're not out hustling and trying to pawn their online programs. Most of the time, and there are many other traditions and many other lineages, it's their presence, it's their being, it's their unconditional love that draws people to them, and that people self-anoint to the path, the work, the transformation.
For any person, whether again, you’re a frontline emergency room physician, a parent, a friend, a lover, a coach, a naturopathic doctor, my greatest tool to share is to be the change. As Gandhi said, lead by example, try as much as you can to come from a place of unconditional love, not like, "I'll love you more if you take this dietary plan." Or, "You'll be a little bit better of a client if you quit that job you've said you wanted to quit for the last six months. I'm going to like you a little bit more." It's the real discipline of true transformation. This is one thing that I feel is my greatest gift to my clients. I can fall deeply in love with them exactly as they are, in their humanity, in their “flood states,” while at the same time seeing what's possible for them.
I think that's the dichotomy that we can all aspire to, which is like, "Can you love them unconditionally as they are, parents, friends, client, anybody, if they're smoking two packs a day, if they're whatevering [sic]?" That's why I circle back to this mindfulness approach of inviting them, instead of saying, "You should do this, you have to do that. If you don't go for a walk every day, you're not going to do this." That's all true, and you're right, but often people that are not making their best choices mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, it's because they have self-hatred, self-loathing, feelings of unworthiness, shame.
To layer judgment on top of that as experts, I actually believe does the opposite of what we want to do, which is to empower them through our example, and through our unconditional love and our tools and expertise as requested to make their own changes. From a transformational perspective, she also said, "I'm telling people-" That was a trigger word that came in my ear. What if we ask versus tell? Even in that clinical environment, I would ask, "What do you want? What are your health goals? What will work for you?" You could give them the whole program, but they're like, "I have two little kids, and I have exactly 15 minutes a day to do something."
My approach, the Socratic approach that I was trained in is, "What would work for you? What are you willing to commit to?" Ask, don't tell. "What is your current level engagement? How can I support you?" Observation, "I noticed you didn't do anything since our last appointment, you haven't done anything. What's going on for you?" Curiosity, exploration, always put it back on them, always put it back on them with no judgment. "I'm here, I'm available." Ultimately, sometimes you might fire clients, you might fire patients and say, "I see that you are really not in a place where this is working for you. It's clear that our alignment is a little bit off." Again, releasing with love.
Sometimes that can be the most loving thing you can do, is say to somebody, "I love you so much. My process is clearly not aligning with you. I release you to go out and find another person who may be a better service." That often can be the thing. Just to recap, motivation, we put all the responsibility on ourselves to heal everybody else, which often causes resistance from others. Inspiration, definitely share your teachings, post, do your things.
Ultimately, I think it's the transformation we want to aim for, which is leading by our own example through our unconditional love, empowering others to take responsibility for their own. If they don't, this is the most important part, love them anyways. It just may not be their time, it may not be their part of their journey. They may intellectually want to, but there may be a million other reasons why they're not, and can you love them anyways, and get into a place of absolute acceptance and reverence for every person that crosses our paths for wherever they are in their journey?
Vitina: I love that. The one thing that really stood out to me and more so the transformational pillar, would be you asking them the questions and the strategy behind that is that to elevate people or empower people to make their own choice. They're the ones saying exactly what.
Lindsay: Yes. That's the thing. I couldn't care less if any of my clients ever do anything that they say that they want to do. I am 100% in it to be on this journey with them. I can tell you I have one client right now. She's a rockstar, super brilliant, corporate, strategic woman. She came to me, she's like, "I need to get a new career." She just finished her startup. She did super well with it. She's like, "I need to do a career transition." I'm like, "Amazing."
We start down this path. As we unravel, unravel, unravel, unravel, it's become clear to her that where she really wants to be right now is spending more time with her two-year-old and her mother who is quite ill and aging. Is she failing at her career transition mandate with me? Maybe, but her soul has completely guided her to a higher truth. I think that's what as leaders and as guides, that is what we could, in my opinion, should be looking for is, "What's their higher truth? What is the cause of where they're at? What is the truth of their pain they may be in? Be less attached to our methodology or our agenda for them, and really get curious about really being, again, just in deepest inquiry and reverence to see them and witness them and understand them exactly as they are.
When people feel deeply seen, heard, understood and loved, you don't have to do anything. That is when they themselves will start to make the positive changes that they already know that they could make.
Vitina: That's so beautiful, thank you so much for summarizing that so eloquently. That was so clear and I hope Michelle can really resonate with that. I know that will be really helpful for her as well. Lindsay, this has been such a treat. Where can people find you if they have any more questions?
Lindsay: Thank you so much, I have just had the most delightful time here with you, and I really would love to hear from any of your listeners. If there are any questions on Instagram @lindsayalive and my website is aliveandawake.com. Either of those places are perfect places to interact, and I would love to hear from anybody that has any questions, and I'm also often posting some little tools and practical tools and principles. If anybody wants to follow along, a lot of the stuff we talked about today, are things that I love to share as well.
Vitina: Lindsay has awesome online programs that she does. Definitely go check out her website. Most November's you'll do your retreat in Costa Rica.
Thank you so much for being authentically you. You're just a shining light in this world for so many people. It's literally just by being who you are as an individual, and thank you for always inspiring me from afar on social media and also when we get to meet up. It's been such a treat. I have to say Lindsay is hardly in Toronto and the last two trips she's been here, we've run into each other. The universe wanted us to connect.
Lindsay: I just love that. I literally spent three days in a year in Toronto and ran into you both times in places I never go to. It was clearly meant to happen today. I adore you, I have always adored you, and who you are as a human on the planet and as well as the work you're doing in the world. You are absolutely such a shining star in my life that I have watched and I follow, and it warms my heart every time I see your beautiful face, or your posts come up on social. Even more, as you said, when I get to feel your incredible presence and beautiful energy in person. Thank you so much for having me and for being with me in this beautiful dance through the human experience and this beautiful crazy wild ride that we're all on.
Vitina: So much love for you.
Okay, that's it for this week's episode. Remember, to stay inspired in between our episodes you can head on over to Instagram and follow us @yoursoulcompass and @wanderfulsoul. For free meditations and mindfulness guides, you can head over to wanderfulsoul.com.
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