Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, episode 200, What I’ve Learned in 200 Episodes.
Welcome to The Widowed Mom Podcast, the only podcast that offers a proven process to help you work through your grief, to grow, evolve, and create a future you can truly look forward to. Here’s your host, Master Certified life coach, grief expert, widow, and mom, Krista St-Germain.
Hey there, welcome to another episode of the podcast. 200 episodes. What? Feels a little crazy to me to think about that, 200 episodes but I’m excited to be at this milestone. And I’m excited to share with you 10 of the lessons that I have learned in doing, in creating 200 podcast episodes. And not just from the actual creation of the podcast but in all of the life that I have lived in the four years that I’ve been doing this podcast, all of the women that I have coached in the four years that I’ve been doing this podcast.
It was hard to limit it to 10 but I’m going to share with you 10 things that I have learned in 200 episodes. And I hope that’s really helpful to you, so let’s jump in.
Number one. I have learned that you don’t have to know exactly how to do something to do it. In fact you don’t have to know much about anything at all to do it. You just have to decide that you’re going to figure it out and choose to believe that you’re capable of figuring that out and start. And if you’re willing to learn by doing and you’re willing to fail as you go and you’re willing to not make failure mean anything other than that you’re learning, you will get there. It really is that simple.
I’m not going to say that it’s easy but it is simple. Decide that there’s something that you want to do like creating a podcast, like starting a life coaching business. Decide that there’s something that you want to do and don’t get caught up in not knowing the how. Let yourself learn as you go. That’s what I did, truly, 200 episodes later I had no idea how to create a podcast, no idea of any of it and here we are. I had no idea what the how was going to be. I just jumped in and I decided I was going to do it and I did it and you can do that too.
Number two. If your vision is big enough you’re going to need help. I have had so many conversations, coaching conversations with widowed moms who don’t want to ask for help, who judge themselves when they ask for help, who tell themselves that asking for help means that they’re weak or that they’re burdening someone. They have lots of thoughts and feelings about asking for help or being told no if they ask for help. And I just want to offer to you that life gets easier when you get good at asking for help. If your vision is big enough you’re not going to be able to do it all on your own.
And why do we do that to ourselves? Why do we have to do that? There’s no possible way that I could do what I do and serve as many people as I serve on my own. When I started this podcast, which is crazy for me to think, I think I was creating the podcast at the same time I was hiring my first virtual assistant, Becky, who is now my Director of Operations. She went from working, I think, five hours a week for me to pretty much full-time. I could have stayed small. I could have not tried to serve more people. I could have tried to do it all on my own but we all have our limits.
I’m only one person. You’re only one person. And I wanted something bigger for myself. And the reason that I was able to create what I was able to create is because I asked for people’s help. And in many cases I paid them to help me which you can do too. You can do that too. I know when you’re listening to the podcast you might have no idea how many people go into the work that I do in the world but there’s a whole team behind me. I have Becky who’s my Operations Director and Jamie who’s my Director of Client Experience and Suzanne as my Client Enrollment Specialist.
I have a business consultant. I have someone who helps me with Facebook Ads. I have a public relations team. I have a graphic designer. I have a website person. I have a videographer, a photographer. I have all these people. I have an accounting team. Who else do I have? Just an army of people who help me. If I tried to do all of that I would probably be able to coach a handful of people and that would be it because I would spend so much time doing things that aren’t in my zone of genius.
And instead I learned to ask for help, not try to become an expert at everything, get okay with people who tell me no, that they can’t help me or don’t want to help me or wanted to help me and then quit. And because of that I get to do the things that I love and I get to create more in the world. So I say that to you because I wonder where you might be holding yourself back because you aren’t willing to ask for help.
I wonder where there is a greater contribution that you want to make or a different experience that you want to have in your life and you aren’t having it because you have thoughts and feelings about what it means to ask for help or to be told no when you ask for help. There’s literally no way if your vision is big enough that you can create it without asking for help, I genuinely believe that. So that’s lesson number two.
Lesson number three is that what you think you need to work on isn’t usually what you actually need to work on. And I have learned this in coaching clients and also in the work that I have done. I remember when I first learned about coaching and the work that I did in the early days of discovering coaching, I think I thought, well, I just remember being very excited about discovering this idea that you could put anything you wanted in the result line. That I could create any result that I wanted with my thoughts.
And some of the results that I wanted to create were because I thought that I needed to create them. I thought that I needed to change myself so that I could feel better. And I see that in clients that come to me too. They go through a very similar experience to what I went through which is I can change something about myself. All I have to do is change my thoughts and then I can change something about myself. And then if I change something about myself then I’ll feel better. So don’t feel bad if this is you. This was me. But what I want to offer you is that it’s not true.
We have been sold a bill of goods. We don’t need to change anything about us. And when we change things about us that’s not what causes us to feel better. You’ve heard me say it 37 million times. Your thoughts cause your feelings, not how much money you make, not if you’re in a relationship or not, not how much you drink or if you’re organized or I don’t know, whatever it is, if you’re patient with your kids. Whatever it is you think needs to change so you can feel better actually won’t make you feel better.
What will make you feel better is when you choose to think differently about yourself and about what’s possible in your life, that’s what makes you feel better. So if you are putting conditions on when you get to believe that you’re lovable or worthy or enough or amazing or beautiful or whatever it is that you want to believe. If you don’t think you get to believe that until you change something about yourself, it’s not going to work. You might change that thing about yourself but if you don’t change how you think about yourself you actually won’t feel any better.
And so when you make that change you still won’t believe what you want to believe and then your brain will move the line. Your brain will say, “Well, now you have to change this.” So right now in this very moment you can remove any conditions you have put on yourself. You can decide that change is not necessary for you to actually believe that you’re amazing or wonderful or beautiful or a good parent or handling your grief well or capable of loving your life again.
I promise you, you do not need to change your life to do that but you do need to change what you think about your life and yourself if you want to feel better. So lesson number three is that what you think you need to work on isn’t usually actually what you need to work on. You don’t need to change anything about yourself to have a completely different experience of yourself and your life.
Number four. You can reinvent yourself and you can do whatever you want and you can have fun doing it whenever you want. It’s a very long lesson. But oh my gosh, how many times have I heard people tell me, “Well, I’m too old. It’s too late.” They have some reason in their brain that they genuinely believe that makes it impossible for them to reinvent themselves and do whatever it is that they want to do next. So if your brain is offering that to you don’t believe that nonsense.
You can create a new career. You can create new relationships. You can go live somewhere else. Whatever you want in your next chapter you can create for yourself. Be whoever it is that you want to be. Do whatever it is you want to do. Start a business, I don’t know what it is, you do. And you can have fun doing it. You can make an amazing contribution, doing it. And the only thing that’s in your way is some thoughts in your brain and your willingness to feel feelings. But if your brain is lying to you about why it’s not possible for you and it’s possible for everyone else. No, it’s not true. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. And I’ve done it myself.
Number five. Grief work doesn’t actually have to be super serious. We can actually laugh and have a good time when we are coaching through grief issues. I don’t think people believe me until they get into Mom Goes On but it really is true. Even my coach friends don’t believe me sometimes. I think they think that my days are sad. And yes, there is intense emotion, that’s part of coaching people who are experiencing grief but that doesn’t have to be sad all day. We can laugh. We can have a good time. And that actually I think helps the coaching.
And doing that same work is something that your human brain will naturally resist but that doesn’t mean anything’s gone wrong. So I think before people come into coaching with me they usually think it’s going to be really serious. Doesn’t have to be, sometimes it is but we laugh a lot. And they also don’t understand that their brain is going to resist a little bit of it. It’s totally fine. We have human brains that would really just rather not change. Nothing’s gone wrong when they resist a little bit of change. It’s totally fine.
Alright, number six. And man I didn’t want this one to be true I think. Number six. There’s no escaping the human experience. So resistance as they say is futile. There’s no escaping the human experience. We don’t get through this without having emotions. We don’t get through this without ups and downs. We don’t get through being a human in some way that takes us away from the messiness. It’s just not possible.
I literally thought this though. I don’t think it was a conscious thought but I know that I thought, if my thoughts cause my feelings then all I have to do is just think positively. That is not the way that it works. But I totally understand at some points that we can believe that. But there really is no escaping the human experience. If that is what you are using what I am teaching, to do, you’re going to be disappointed.
And so the better alternative, the easier alternative is just to learn how to feel feelings and support ourselves, how to create calm in our nervous systems because feelings are always going to be part of life. And we wouldn’t want it any other way. We tell ourselves sometimes that we wouldn’t but it’s really not true. We want to be sad sometimes. We want to be mad sometimes. We want to be humans, that’s what makes life, life, is the texture of it, the emotional quality of it.
Many a widow has come through my program and I think, expected that once it was over that all the negative emotion would be behind them maybe. But getting through the grieving experience of one loss doesn’t mean more won’t come. Of course more will come. We’re humans on the planet. So grief isn’t something to get over. It’s something to get good at. It’s something to make peace with, to relax into. It’s supposed to be part of our human experience, death happens, losses happen and we want to be sad when they do.
And we want to let that sadness flow through us and we want to increase our capacity to feel but not let those feelings define us or limit us, but there is no escaping the human experience. So just because you get good at feelings doesn’t mean you feel good all the time.
Number seven. You can’t always control your initial reaction but you can choose your response to your reaction. I’ll say that again. You can’t always control your initial reaction but you can choose your response to your reaction. And what I mean by that is that very often we have a reaction to something that happens in our lives that is not a conscious thing. It’s not something we choose. It’s just something that happens. It’s where our brain goes. It’s the thought we get offered. It’s the feeling we notice. It’s the way that our nervous system responds.
And we don’t need to control our initial reaction to choose our response to that reaction. So if I notice that I’m feeling fear about something, I don’t need to make that fear go away. I don’t need to change whatever it was that caused the fear in the first place but I do need to choose my response to the fear that I feel. I do need to choose how to support myself so that I can allow the fear to pass through.
If I feel angry, that’s not a problem. I don’t even need to change that that happens but I do need to choose my response to how I’m feeling so that I can show up and I can create what I want to create and I can be who I want to be. And that’s different work for different people depending on what’s going on in your body and in your life and in your past. Some of us need some deep trauma work, I have. Sometimes we just need to think something different at the moment. Sometimes we need to learn to allow a feeling in the moment.
Sometimes we need to really do some down regulating of our nervous system so that we’re not so reactive. That’s choosing our response to a reaction. So don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t choose your response to your initial reaction, you can. I believe that wholeheartedly.
Number eight. Connecting with people is not about being perfect. It’s about being willing to be seen. If you’ll notice, you’ve listened to my podcasts, if you’ve listened for a while anyway you will notice that if you go back to the beginning many of my podcasts were much more polished than they are now. They were more scripted. I spent more time writing out my topics and really thinking about what I was going to say and rewinding if I didn’t say it exactly the way I wanted it to come out.
I really spent a lot of time perfecting and polishing. And in some ways that came from pride but in a lot of other ways it came from fear. It came from being worried about how I would be received and what people would think of me. And in the last four years I have loosened up quite a bit. I’m much more willing to let myself be seen because really the kind of connection that most of us want only happens when we’re willing to be seen.
If you like me but all you see is me trying to be perfect, all you see is me and my best foot forward and me with no errors and me with some sort of filter on, if that’s all you see and you like me then you don’t even really know me. So you don’t really like me. You like the version of me that I have shown you which maybe yeah, it helps us avoid rejection but it also prevents connection.
And that’s something that I’ve learned deeply in the last four years, that when I am willing to be seen, when I am willing to be human, when I open up and I show who I am and what I actually think and I don’t worry so much about being perfect. That’s when I connect with people because I let them see me. And when I let someone see me, that’s when they let me see them and that’s when we really connect. And it’s taken a while for me to learn that.
Number nine. This one, it’s so cliché but it’s so true. Number nine, you really do prove your thoughts true, you really do. If you come into a program and you think that it won’t work for you, you will be right, you will prove that true. If you come in thinking that you always get what you came for you will get what you came for. If you decide that you will get something from everyone’s coaching, you will. If you decide that you can’t relate to these people and only one-on-one coaching works for you, you won’t get anything from other people’s coaching.
If you decide it’s impossible to love your life again without your spouse, that is what you will experience. You will create that and bring it into reality, I mean it. If you decide that you’re still living and that you’re going to love life simply because you can, because that’s a choice you’re empowered to make, that’s what will happen. I just did that episode called Orange In, Oranges Out not too long ago. That’s what I’m talking about. Whatever you think, you really will prove it true.
And the most challenging part of this, and I continue to learn this for myself, as someone who is really good at coaching others and really good at coaching myself the most challenging part of this is that nine times out of 10, maybe even 10 times out of 10, you won’t know that your thought is a thought. You will be too busy living it and believing it to realize that it’s optional which is why I’m so passionate about what I do as a coach, which is why I will always have a coach because I know we prove our thoughts true.
And I know that when I’m in my own thinking I can’t see it. I have to have somebody point it out to me. Now, I do a pretty good job of coaching myself. And this is what I teach my clients. And if you’ve gone through Mom Goes On, you already know this. But you do a thought download, you get it out on paper. You get those thoughts out of your mind so you can look at them, you can objectify them, you can diffuse from them, you can start to see them as optional objects. You can start to see the thoughts as the source of all of your feelings, not you. And then you can get some leverage over it.
But when I’m really stuck I’ve got to have somebody show it to me. I’ve got to have somebody because I won’t even know to coach myself on the thoughts that I’m so busy believing I can’t see. So we really do prove our thoughts true. If you want to change something, if you want to change any experience in life you’ve got to back it up and see what you believe about yourself, what you believe about your life, what you believe is possible, what you believe about that person because we really do prove our thoughts true.
Okay, number 10. It’s another one that’s so cliché but it’s so true. Accomplishments will not make you happy., they just won’t. That’s not where happiness comes from. Money won’t make you happy. Another relationship won’t make you happy. Moving, getting a bigger house, living in a different city, a new career, losing weight, stopping drinking, whatever it is that you think will make you happy, it’s not going to make you happy. And I’m not saying you can’t be happy.
I’m saying, don’t look to the thing to make you happy because whatever it is that you believe about yourself in your life, whatever that is, that’s what creates your emotional experience of it. You can change all the things, you can have all the things you think you need and you can still be completely miserable. If you don’t change what you think about yourself and your life it will not matter what accomplishments you create because wherever you go there you are. You will bring your brain with you.
When I started this podcast I had just made over $100,000 in my business. And I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t start the podcast until I could pay my bills with my business. And so that’s why I waited till I got to 100K, I didn’t want to get distracted. Since then I’ve created a seven figure business and on my way even though all the coaches that I have looked up to, who have mentored me, even though they kept telling me, “Listen, you’re still going to be the same person no matter how much money you make and no matter what you create, you’re still going to be the human.”
I kind of didn’t believe them, I kind of didn’t. And now from where I sit on the other side of having created the business that I set out to create, I am no less human. I have no less fear. Some days I think I have more. And the more I’ve done this work and gotten coached and worked on myself the more I realize that negativity bias in the brain is real, it’s real. It’s always going to be there and that’s okay. I don’t have to change all the patterns in my mind but I do have a completely different experience of them when I hold them lightly.
When I see that those patterns in my mind, those thoughts aren’t the truth of who I am. When I can notice my human brain doing what human brains do and I don’t get so attached to it and I tell myself, yeah, this is just the part where my brain recycles that old thought. This is the part where my brain prioritizes looking for scary things that could hurt me instead of enjoying the moment. This is the part where my brain thinks I need to accomplish something else to be happy. This is the part where my brain gets convinced that if only this one thing would change I could finally feel better. It’s nonsense and it’s the human way.
It is the way human brains work. It’s not a problem. And accomplishments really don’t change our humanness. It will be different when we accomplish that thing that we’ve been working to accomplish but it won’t be better, it’ll just be different. In some ways it might be better. In some ways it might be worse. When you zoom out we’re always going to be human and that’s a beautiful thing.
So whatever it is that you want to accomplish, definitely go accomplish it, definitely create whatever you want to create in the world and leave whatever mark you want to leave and do whatever it is that you want to do. And don’t expect that the thing is the answer, that the thing changes everything, it really, really doesn’t, it really, really doesn’t. So it has been a great honor, a great privilege to create this podcast and to bring it to you.
To all of you listening, those of you who have been my clients, those of you who are my clients, those of you who will be my clients, those of you who will never be my clients and I may never get to meet, thank you for listening truly. I can’t wait to do another 200 episodes and I love you and I see you and you’ve got this. Take care and I’ll see you next time.
If you like what you’ve been hearing on this podcast and want to create a future you can truly get excited about after the loss of your spouse, I invite you to join my Mom Goes On coaching program. It’s small group coaching just for widowed moms like you where I’ll help you figure out what’s holding you back and give you the tools and support you need so you can move forward with confidence.
Please don’t settle for a new normal that’s less than you deserve. Go to coachingwithkrista.com and click work with me for details and the next steps. I can’t wait to meet you.