Do you panic every time your posts don’t immediately blow up with likes? What about when clients decide to stop working with you, or don’t sign up for your webinars?
Many of us have a codependent relationship with our businesses and we don’t even realize it. But to end this kind of relationship, we need to bring awareness to it.
This week, I’m speaking to Nurse Practitioner, Master Certified Life Coach, and Breathwork and Meditation Facilitator, Victoria Albina, who is the go-to expert when it comes to healing codependent, perfectionist, and people-pleasing thought habits.
If you want to stop letting feeling scared or embarrassed stop you in your tracks, and if you want to stop externally sourcing your worth, wellness, and validation, tune in as Victoria gives us the science and how-to’s behind ending your codependency with your business.
You are listening to episode 147 of The Confident Coaches Podcast, the one where you break this codependent relationship that you got going on with your coaching business. All right let’s go.
Welcome to The Confident Coaches Podcast, a place for creating the self-confidence you need to do your best work as a life coach. If you want to bring more boldness, more resilience, and more joy to your work, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Amy Latta. Let’s dive in.
Hey coaches, I’m super excited to talk to you. It is the last Tuesday of August, as always where does the time go, like for real? I recorded this podcast episode just over a week ago with my friend Victoria and I feel like she was searing into my soul. This is so good.
If you want to understand somatic work better, if you want to stop letting feeling scared, or terrified, or humiliated, or embarrassed stop you, if you want to do in the moment when your brain is like, “Nope, nope, not going to do it.” If you want to stop externally sourcing your worth, your wellness, and your validation, this is your episode. It’s good. It’s so good.
And I don’t want to waste any more of your time, get your notebooks out. This is one of those where Victoria teaches us some things that you’re going to want to write down, okay? So listen all the way through and then grab your notebook, okay? And here we go.
Amy: Okay my friends, I could not be more excited to introduce you all to Victoria Albina. Now, I met Victoria in person at the Life Coach School mastermind in April and I feel like it was like long lost sisters connecting.
So Victoria is a somatic master certified coach, and she has a passion for helping humans who were socialized as women realize how they are their own best healers, reconnect with their bodies and minds so they can break free from codependency, perfectionism, people pleasing, all of the things that we work around in here. And I can’t wait to have this conversation because I think she’s going to redefine codependency for us today.
Victoria, how are you?
Victoria: I am so well. How are you?
Amy: I’m fabulous. Okay, so I was kind of telling you before we hit record that I know what I think of when I think of codependency. My listeners know I am the child, I’m an adult child of an alcoholic, I’ve supported many friends through codependency, abusive relationships, et cetera. But we’re talking about codependency in our coaching business. So I think you might be describing this maybe a little bit differently than I’m used to.
Victoria: Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So I do step away from the sort of really classic framing of codependency as enabling and sort of being part and parcel of someone else’s addiction. It’s a really external focus, a really blaming focus, right? The whole conversation about enabling, I think, takes us to a place that’s just not really supportive.
So I define codependent thinking as the chronic habit of sourcing our wellness, worth, and validation from everyone and everything outside of us. We learned this habit, yeah, right? It’s really very different. It’s not about the other person, it’s not about their substance use. It’s not about them. It’s about where we source our worth. And it’s not internal, and that’s the issue.
And it’s really important from jump to throw the patriarchy, white settler colonialism, and late stage capitalism, the full way the fuck under the bus.
Victoria: Right? Because it is our socialization, our conditioning, along with our family blueprint, epigenetics, that leads to our living our lives this way. And if we’re not calling in and thereby calling out these systems of oppression, we stay in this same blame game. Oh it’s me, I’m broken. I’m broken. I grew up in this family. I’m stuck. I’m screwed. I am a codependent.
Which I’m not out here for any of those labels, I’m talking about a chronic pattern of survival skills from childhood that were super adaptive, super amazing, and just aren’t anymore.
Amy: I think this is so important right here. This was a huge part in my own healing, processing, et cetera, was to understand that I didn’t need to shun that part of me that used these skills.
Amy: That that wasn’t wrong, that wasn’t bad.
Amy: Because there was a part where I remember being coached in the early days, and I don’t even know that this coach who coached me to do this would coach the same way. I suspect that she herself has grown. But there was this like write a letter to that version of you and say goodbye to her.
Victoria: Yeah, no.
Amy: Like she’s gone. That version of you is gone, say goodbye. And it didn’t work.
Victoria: No, of course not.
Amy: But why? Tell me why.
Victoria: Yeah. Okay, so we’ll bring in Internal Family Systems, the work of Richard Schwartz, Dick Schwartz, which talks about the different parts of self, right? So as we grow, as we evolve, this is also sort of part of the inner child conversation. There are these parts of us that take on different roles in our lives to protect us, remembering that the nervous system has the one and only goal, which is our survival for the procreation of the species, right?
Because if an Amy dies and a Vic dies, well, then humanity is doomed, right? So it’s like a pretty serious job for our bodies because it carries the weight of the survival of the species.
Amy: I think this is so important because people are like, you know, they’re scrolling on Facebook trying to figure out why nobody’s liked their posts. And they’re not understanding the connection to when our nervous system is like this is our death.
Victoria: Totally. Seriously, I will die cold and alone on a mountaintop if I don’t get 27 likes on this within the first 47 seconds.
Victoria: Yes. Yeah. Yeah, and so the reason why telling a part of us to completely fuck off will never work is because those parts that we don’t like about ourselves are self-love. Which I get breaks people’s brains.
Victoria: But the part of you that’s resentful, irritated, angry, annoyed, shut down, reactive, right? These parts of you that create chaos and chaotic situations, that lead to relationships that aren’t supportive and optimal for your wellness, right? These all love these parts, the part that obsessively checks your likes and your stats and your whatever. The part of you that if a client might not continue, might not sign on again is like, “I’m the worst. I’m terrible. I’m so bad.” Right?
That part that leads you into the doom spiral is doing that because it loves you so much and this is the language it speaks. The language it speaks looks like self-abandonment, and self-betrayal, and self-sabotage. But to that part it is self-love embodied, right? So when you further exile it by writing a letter and telling it to piss off, it’s like, oh, well, I guess she’s extra not listening, so let me scream a little louder and louder, right?
So it’s like I once had the great privilege of being the mother of the world’s bestest dog. I will fight anyone who claims, no, all dogs is the bestest dog, I know it.
Amy: No, the bestest dog is laying on that little bed that you see in the bathroom right there. He blends into his bed right there.
Victoria: Awe, little cutey pie. So I had the great privilege of being Frankie’s mom, her full name was Francis Bacon, she went by Frankie. And she was a good girl, she was brown with a black nose. Such a good baby girl. And she would scream, scream, scream at squirrels.
She would sit inside the house and if I was in the same room, she would bark and bark and bark that big, big bark of doom at squirrels because in her mind they were somehow dangerous. She had probably seen me like scream at one to get it off the bird feeder or something and was like, “That will attack my mama.”
Victoria: Right? And so that part of you that you don’t like is like sweet Frankie from the pound in North Carolina screaming at a squirrel because that squirrel is doom. And you’re like, right?
Amy: I’m laughing so hard because that’s Lou. He is a nine pound Chihuahua. He’s a quarter Doxin. And he will sit at the front door and bark at the leaves.
Victoria: Yes. Danger. Danger.
Amy: We will be like, “Lou, shut up.” Or, “Enough,”
Amy: And all of us in the house are like, “Ah, this dog won’t stop barking at nothing. We’re fine.” So what you’re telling me is we all have our little Lou’s and Frankie’s in our head?
Victoria: Yeah. And so when we yell at them they’re like, oh, yelling. That means my nervous system should get more activated. I should have more fight or flight. There’s something bad, there’s something wrong, there’s something dangerous.
And instead, we can say, “Hey, Lou, come here sweet pea, let me scratch behind your ears the spot you really like. Come here, get on my lap little tenderoni. You are barking at something that I, as an adult, as my own most loving parent, now recognize is not something we need to bark at. If a client doesn’t sign on again, that’s okay, right? We can trust we were an amazing coach, and the next right client is around the corner.
Amy: This shows up frequently of like, you know, I put out what I thought was a really great post and no one liked it, no one commented, I don’t think anybody even saw it. I finally got up the nerve to put out a webinar or a free class or something and nobody signed up. Or 30 people signed up but no one showed up. You know, I am not getting consults or I’m getting consults, and no one has said yes for two months.
Amy: So these are the kinds of things that we’re talking about that feels like danger.
Victoria: Yeah. Yeah, and it really does. And it really will until you learn to map your nervous system to understand what’s going on somatically, where soma, somatically comes from the Greek, soma means body. And it is the study of the body in its wholeness or return to the primacy of the body, centering the body instead of the mind. And we can throw Dick Hart all the way under the bus later, right?
Amy: I think therefore I am is crap these days, right?
Victoria: Right. Yeah, so we return to really privileging the body in a beautiful way and coming back to the wisdom of the body to guide us. Because your brain, again, from your socialization, your conditioning, your survival skills, will say these things failed, I am a failure. Right?
And when your mindset is a codependent one and you’re sourcing your worth externally, you get super codependent on your clients, on your business, on Instagram, on your webinar sign ups. We create a codependent relationship with these things that truly, at their core, are just indicators of whether your strategy works.
Amy: Right. This is resonating so much because rather than question the strategy and go, “Oh, this thing didn’t work, I wonder why. Maybe I’ll try it this way or that way.” We’re just like, “Oh, I as a human being suck.”
Victoria: I’m garbage.
Amy: I’m garbage.
Victoria: Yeah, yeah. Yep, exactly. Yeah. Which gets us nowhere in our business and leads to more dysregulation in the nervous system Where regulation of the nervous system means our capacity to support our nervous system to feel all of our feelings, process them through our body in a real way, and then come back into what we could call neutral.
It’s called ventral vagal, it’s the safe and social part of the nervous system and it’s the part where mind, body, spirit, everything’s working optimally, right? Like you have optimal cognition, you can really think about your strategy. You feel calm in your body. And also your thyroid, your digestion, your reproductive function, your cell turnover, like heart and lungs, these things are also working optimally, which is pretty cute.
Amy: Pretty cute?
Victoria: I think it’s cute.
Amy: Okay, so you’ve talked about Soma, and somatics, and polyvagal. Let’s dive into that part of the conversation. This is where, like everything so far I’m like, I’ve done this work. I’m now going to defer to, like I get a lot of questions, I actually got quite a few questions just even over this past weekend of people who are like, “Oh, I’ve noticed you’ve added a lot more somatic work, what’s your training?”
And I’m like, “Full disclosure, I have had a body practitioner working on me for five years. I am not trained in this. So I know enough to, I don’t know if you want to say be dangerous, if that’s a discredit to what I’m doing. But like I know enough to regulate myself and help people get started. But there’s a whole lot I don’t know.
So where, if we’re understanding bringing awareness to the codependent relationship we have with our business, and that our nervous system is being triggered. And that’s real and like shoving it into a box doesn’t work.
Amy: So then what? Like in this short time here that I have you in this recording, how would you introduce or how would you talk about this to somebody who’s like, where do I start? You just threw out a bunch of words that I’ve only kind of maybe heard, maybe. There was some that kind of sounded like Latin? I don’t know.
Victoria: Yeah. Nerds are going to Latin, it’s just what is. It’s how nerds do, Amy.
Amy: Give me the good stuff, Vic.
Victoria: Yeah, so it really is all about slowing it down.
Amy: Yeah, okay.
Victoria: So that is the first and most important thing to do, is to introduce slowness and stillness, while simultaneously recognizing that for a lot of us who coming from codependent, perfectionist, and people pleasing habits we have used activity, we’ve used that A line as a way to avoid the F line fully.
Amy: Listen, I don’t appreciate you being so rude to me.
Victoria: I read your journal this morning and I’m calling you in with love but also me.
Amy: How dare you?
Victoria: Goodbye, it’s been a delight. I still love you, we’re sisters forever, bye. But also me, like I’m always out here to be the first to be, I guess the second in this case, to be like but also me too. Like the first 30 some odd years of my life were go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, go, right? Take the next course, do the next course, teach the next thing, get the next certification, get another board certification as an NP. Like do the things.
And what I didn’t realize I was doing, was avoiding my body, and avoiding truly feeling my feelings in my body. Because that wasn’t a safe or smart choice growing up, right?
Victoria: I shut down connection with my body very early and performed being lovable, like so many of us. Performed being worthy, performed being the good girl, performed being the good daughter, performed being cool, performed being, right?
Amy: If y’all could see my face right now, performed being loved.
Victoria: I know, it gets you right in the gut. It’s the gut punch of somatics, I know. I know, I know, I know.
Amy: So for people who maybe have experienced this-
Victoria: Casually. Just casual, whatever, NBD. Totally. It really is about. okay, let’s back it up.
Victoria: Before we do any somatic work we need to focus, and I’m going to say the nerd words and then I’m going to break them down, resourcing our nervous system. So a resource for our nervous system is something we can turn to connect with an embodied sense of safety.
So one of the main reasons we’re running around like chickens with our heads cut off is because we don’t feel safe in our bodies or with ourselves. And so we’re looking to cover up that feeling of deep unsafety with action, right? If I just do enough and do enough and do enough, then I’ll feel safe. I’ll earn safety.
But safety is not earned. It is gifted and created, co-created, right? Co-created with loving others and created for ourselves within ourselves. And for those of us who did not have safety in our childhood, first of all, that sucks and I’m sorry. And we have to create it for ourselves now, co-create it with our inner children.
So a nervous system resource is anything that you can bring to mind and body that brings you into that embodied place of safety, of calm, of groundedness. Many of us have some ease with connecting with a resource without even knowing it in moments of stress, right?
So like if you can’t fall asleep at night, your brain might just automatically go to a happy memory or an easeful memory, right? If we’re really scared, we might read the rosary, I don’t know, right? Like automatically go to a thing that helps us to come to calm because we’ve habituated that as our go-to.
And so now we can bring in intentionality. One of the core things of codependent thinking is a lack of intentionality. We’re moving through life from habit, and not from conscious attention because we’re not paying attention because we’re not in presence, because presence is really fucking scary. Right?
So before we work to cultivate presence, we need to cultivate the safety that must belie presence. It’s not safe to be with yourself until it’s safe to be safe.
Amy: Everybody just take a deep breath. Yeah.
Victoria: And remember, it’s a long, slow out breath that brings safety into the nervous system. Right? We get to and have the opportunity to cultivate internal safety. So a resource, and often it’s easiest to start with something in the present that we know calms us.
So Lou, Frankie, right? So we’re talking about pets if you blanked out in the dog moment. Pets of any assortment, their heart rate will literally slow our heart rate. Their blood pressure will lower our blood pressure because of the electromagnetic fields between cardiac systems. This is hardcore science for people that are like, “We’re getting to woo.”
No, it’s physics, y’all. I’ll go as woo as you want. But that part was physics, right? Cardiac systems regulate one another. That’s why you get off the plane in New York and you automatically feel anxious.
So connecting with a pet, connecting with a loved one who has a calming effect on you. That person can be alive or passed over, right? They can be dead, and they can still calm you down in your mind and your body. Connecting with nature, going, and putting your feet on the earth. Or if you live on the 15th floor of a high rise in Manhattan, thinking about nature.
And again, there’s studies using functional MRI scans that show that visualization connected with a felt sensation in your body has the same effect within the nervous system as actually being with the thing. So you can think about nature, visualize nature. Olympic athletes do this, when they’re hurt they do their routine in their brain, and they actually increase their performance.
Amy: They’re both gifted musicians, but my one son is a particularly gifted piano player. And we are at his piano competition, and we were told he would have access to a piano in advance and he didn’t. So he was just literally playing the songs in the air.
Victoria: In the air, yeah, genius. So smart. So smart.
Amy: He’s 13.
Victoria: So intuitive, I love it.
Amy: God, my kids, that’s a whole other conversation, us as adults doing this work and helping our children do this work.
Victoria: Yeah, for sure. For sure. Or them helping us.
Amy: They chill me out a lot. They see me freak out about shit that they would never freak out about. But I love this idea that just imagining being someplace calming can calm us down.
Victoria: And doing it really intentionally, right? And so I use a lot of self-talk, often out loud, but I’ll literally just talk to my nervous system and say like, “Hey, nervous system. I love you.” I always start with I love you. “You’re kind of jangled right now, like you’re a little revved up, and we’re going to connect with abuela Martha.” My dad’s mom, my grandmother. I never met her in real life, but I’ve heard so many stories and seen so many pictures I feel like I know her. And there’s something about her presence that calms me.
Victoria: It helps my nervous system to regulate itself. It helps me feel safe, it helps me feel loved, it helps me feel connected and present in my body. So bringing that, whatever the resource is, to mind and then to body means embodying the felt sensation that arises when you think about that resource.
So when I think about her, I feel like a soft golden warming in my chest that feels, it feels light. And it’s getting a little hotter and it’s radiating into my belly. And my shoulders want to roll back and down. And now there’s a lightness behind my eyes. So really feeling into that felt experience of feeling safe. And if that’s all you do, all you focus on, ooh.
Amy: Absolutely. I got a little bit of a squirrel brain, a little ADD.
Victoria: Yeah, me too.
Amy: But every once in a while, like as you were talking, I noticed my brain started going over here, you all can’t see this, but I’m interviewing Vic via Zoom. I can literally see her. I literally just started staring at the screen.
Victoria: Yeah, good call.
Amy: I just stared into your eyes.
Amy: I just stared right into your eyes. So as you were describing that, I just stared right into your eyes, and I took a breath. I call them one-two breaths where you breathe in and breathe out twice as long as you breathe in for. And I felt my entire calming, centered. I try to help tell people there’s not a wrong way. Like find whichever way.
Victoria: Yeah, whatever works for you.
Amy: Whether it’s looking at the person, I just love this person, thinking about your favorite person. Add the breath in, amazing. You did this, hand on heart.
Victoria: Hand on heart, yeah.
Amy: Hand on heart, hand on gut. If you can put two feet on the ground.
Victoria: Yes, so grounding.
Amy: You don’t need to have it all dialed in. Any number of those things, whichever feels good, I feel like you can do this. If you’re on a crowded subway you can do this.
Victoria: Oh absolutely.
Amy: You can do this if you’re on a crowded subway. You can do this if you’re home alone. You can do this at the dinner table when your mom or your whomever is going on.
Amy: I don’t know, maybe it’s an in-law who doesn’t understand why people got to be so woke these days. And I just kind of go to like a, I love her, and she loves me.
Victoria: Sure, we’ve all had the delight of dealing with that.
Amy: Yes. Yeah, because I think that’s really important there, that you find the way that works for you. I loved what you just described, and really just seeing that you can’t do it wrong because it’s an intimate conversation with your nervous system.
Victoria: Right, and it’s all about developing self-intimacy. So again, from our definition of codependent thinking, externally sourcing our wellness, worth, and validation, everything is about outside. It’s about what does my mother in-law think of me right now? What does he think of me? What does my boss think of me? What does my client think of me? It’s all external, right?
And so what this slowing down does, is allows us to put our focus back internally and to return back into awareness and contact with our nervous system so we can start to map it. We can start to see what state our nervous system is in. And that may be, we can go into that nerditry about what the states are, but I don’t even know it’s necessary at first.
Victoria: What’s really important is to slow it down and to increase internal safety, right? Because instead let’s say my business is doing great and now I’m scared, after I had the best month I’ve ever had last month, that it’s all going to go away. No one’s ever going to sign up for my anything ever again. I’m doomed, right?
Amy: I coach so many people on that right there.
Victoria: Yeah, it’s so common, right?
Victoria: Particularly if you were used to the other shoe always dropping in childhood, right? If you had an insecure attachment with your parents and they weren’t emotionally reliable or dependable, it’s challenging to depend on and have a secure attachment with your business until you do this deeper healing work.
So part of how we build that secure attachment with our business is through slowing things down and creating internal safety. So every single time that you pause, connect with a resource, get into conversation with your nervous system. The biology of what’s happening is our nervous system has something called, the literature calls it a window of tolerance.
How much BS can you tolerate before you lose yourself, right? What will be the straw that will break this camel’s back today? From our codependent thinking we learned to tolerate a lot of crap growing up, particularly humans socialized as women. We are really steeped in tolerating, I’m not into that word, so I call it our window of capacity.
How much capacity do I have to stay with myself in deep presence and in embodiment before my nervous system goes out of the bounds of the calm, safe, and social realm? Which just to drop the nerd word, is called ventral vagal.
Victoria: So every time there’s a stressor and your nervous system starts to head out of that safe and social calm present with yourself, you’re able to name it, honor it, thank it, and then come back into presence, you’re widening that window.
So instead of it taking one stressor to flip your lid and totally freak you out, next time it might take two, and the next time three, and the next time four, right? And then you’re like, you know those like gate agents in an airport who like everyone’s screaming at them and they’re just like calm as a cucumber?
Or I’m a nurse practitioner, right? I remember one day back in my nursing days when I was working hospice and I had six patients die within like five minutes and I’m like going from room to room, right? Like, okay, and she’s dying, and she’s dying, and he’s dying. What’s your capacity to stay present in yourself in those moments and to stay chill, right? Which doesn’t mean, again, we’re negating anything.
We just have more capacity in our nervous system, so it doesn’t have to take us out of ourselves. That’s where things get tricky. And that’s why this work is so important because we leave ourselves. And when we leave ourselves, we lose ourselves.
Amy: One of the most important things that I heard you say in that, you know, we notice it, we name it, we thank it.
Victoria: We thank it, it is a gift.
Amy: You all understand we want to shove doubt, and embarrassment, and humiliation, like we want to shove it out the window and pretend that it was never there. And what we’re talking about here is actually thanking it for its presence.
Victoria: I snuggle it. I like put it on my lap like a tiny baby dog.
Victoria: Francis Bacon was 65 pounds, but I would just put her on my lap like a tiny baby dog.
Amy: Lou actually is a tiny baby dog.
Victoria: Right, exactly. So whether your self-doubt is Lou sized or Francis Bacon sized, it doesn’t matter, right? I’ll invite you to deeply befriend each of these emotions, each of these nervous system experiences, each of these inner children, each of these protector parts. Whatever language is suiting you on that day, use it. But thank it. Snuggle it. Kiss its snout.
And when I say befriend it, I mean gain profound intimacy with it. What do you my feet feel like when I’m in self-rejection? When I’m in self-doubt? What does my heart feel like? Where are my shoulders? Because do you know where your shoulders are when you’re in self-doubt? Probably not. But your nervous system is tracking it.
Amy: So this is really important. So like, I think people are like, we get the name it.
Amy: Well, I mean, I feel like there’s steps to this of like we avoid it completely.
Victoria: Oh yeah.
Amy: And then we go to coaches school, and we find out that there’s this whole thing about feeling.
Victoria: Right, whatever, feeling.
Amy: So then we’re going to name it.
Amy: And then fine, feel it. Okay, fine, I’m feeling doubt and then like get it out of here. But we’re really talking about bringing awareness to it.
Victoria: Oh yeah.
Amy: How do my feet feel when I’m feeling extreme doubt? Where are my shoulders when I’m feeling shame about the fact that nobody showed up to my training that I was so excited about? How does my heart feel? What’s the sensation of my arms and my abdomen right now?
Victoria: Yep. Yeah. And there’s a beautiful exercise I love to use to explore this. And when I teach nervous system mapping, we use this. The sentence goes, I am blank, and the world is blank when I’m in whatever state.
So when I’m in sympathetic activation, which is also called fight or flight, it’s when we’re full of adrenaline, norepinephrine, cortisol, stress hormones, right? Our bodies believe a lion is nigh, right? Murder is upon us.
Amy: The saber toothed tiger is right outside that cave, yeah.
Victoria: Right, exactly. I am, and the world is. So Amy, for you, when you’re in fight or flight what comes up for you? I am…
Amy: What do we mean, like scared?
Victoria: Sure. I am scared, terrified. What else?
Amy: Terrified. I’m devastated. Terrified.
Amy: Guys, I just talked about naming emotions. It’s this combination of the state I am in is scary and terrifying. And also, I’m unsure, uncertain of what’s going to happen next.
Victoria: Yeah, and the world is uncertain.
Amy: Yeah, okay.
Victoria: Yeah. So does it feel safe to stay with this for a second?
Victoria: Also sorry, permission to coach. I just dove in.
Amy: You did, I was like, wait, what? We’re talking about my feelings now.
Victoria: Sorry, consent, consent. We do so much consent in my program. Do I have your consent to continue?
Amy: Do you have my consent to like take me to a terrible emotional place? Sure.
Victoria: I promise I’ll pull you out.
Amy: Let’s go, let’s do it.
Victoria: Okay. So, two feet on the floor.
Amy: Two feet on the floor.
Victoria: Okay. When you start to head into sympathetic fight or flight, I am terrified, and the world is uncertain. What begins to arise? And let’s actually not go to terrified, let’s go to scared, right? That’s a lot easier to come back from.
Victoria: I am scared, and the world is… What is the felt sensation in your body?
Amy: I feel like my shoulders are kind of pulled up. And I can feel this energy kind of coming up off of it. My stomach feels, it’s soured just a little bit. And I feel like it’s come up through my esophagus and into my throat. Like it actually, not ironically, ironically shuts my voice off.
Amy: I can feel it sitting in the bottom of my throat. My shoulders are up. This energy is kind of coming up into my brain. It’s in the bottom of my throat and like my, I can’t think clearly.
Victoria: Yeah. Yeah, well you’re not supposed to by design.
Victoria: So your body’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to. Would it feel safe to ask this energy a few questions?
Victoria: Okay. So let’s start with getting consent from this energy.
Victoria: Yeah? So just asking it, does it consent to be addressed?
Amy: Okay, scared, are you okay if we talk for a moment? I just felt my shoulders drop a little bit.
Victoria: Okay. Yeah, barking dogs like attention. So now, with everyone’s consent, let’s ask scared what it wants you to know in those moments as the acid rises.
Amy: So I’m asking my fear, my scared what it wants me to know?
Amy: Strangely, well, maybe this isn’t strangely, this is where your expertise. You’re going to be okay. And it’s in that kind of energy, like, listen, you’re going to be okay. I’m making sure of it.
Victoria: Yeah, we’re making sure of it.
Victoria: Yeah. It’s taking you to 12 out of 10 to make sure of it.
Victoria: Yeah, scared is driving the bus, aye?
Victoria: Yeah. So let’s ask scared how it would feel to trust calm adult you to make sure you’re okay.
Amy: What if we let calm ensure that we’re okay? It’s like the face one of my teenagers gives me, you sure? Yeah? Is that a thing? Are you sure about that? Okay. It’s like this energy of I’m not opposed to it, but I need more information.
Victoria: Right, yeah.
Amy: That sounds new.
Victoria: Yeah. Well, scared, what if we talked with calm? Could calm give you some support?
Amy: Okay, scared, what if we let calm into this conversation? What if we asked calm? It’s really funny. Is this normal, where I feel like the scared is me, but it has a little bit more of a masculine energy to it, whereas calm is more of a feminine energy?
Victoria: Yeah, I mean, all of these energies take on their own super individual, and they can be different ages, they can be different species. They can be just an energy form, not even really personified.
Amy: Yeah, it’s just feels very wise. My calm feels very wise.
Amy: Whereas scared feels very like, I got this, it’s okay, this is where I shine.
Victoria: Right. Right. Yeah.
Amy: Yeah. And so calm is now entering the conversation. It’s funny, I still feel it in my throat, but my shoulders have completely dropped back.
Victoria: Yeah, I can see they’ve gone down about a solid inch.
Amy: Yeah, she’s got a visual on me. My shoulders have completely dropped back but I still have that sensation in my throat.
Amy: So it’s like this dynamic of both energies at the same time.
Amy: And I know you’re in the midst of coaching me as I pull myself out real quick. I talk about this state right here all the time with my clients. The presence of both at the same time.
Victoria: Yes. Yes, so recognizing the possibility of duality so we can move towards non duality.
Victoria: Right, bring some Buddhism in here.
Amy: Then we’re going to throw out all the modalities here, all of the ideas. Yeah, like right now I can feel my shoulders have dropped away, that energy that was emanating up into my brain has dropped back. It’s still a little in my throat. That scared is still there, but calm has entered the room and it’s like the three of us are all together.
Victoria: Yeah, and remember, we don’t want scared to go all the way away, right? Because what’s going to happen if you’re out for a walk with Lou and a big, unchained dog, unleashed dog comes running at you? You want access to scared.
Victoria: If a launch doesn’t go the way you want, you want enough access to scared to say, “Oh, I feel that scared in my throat. My shoulders are up. I need to drop the story about my worth and value, detach my identity from my business. And I really need to, scared is reminding me to look at strategy.”
Amy: Yes. Everybody rewind, listen to that part over again. That’s the key right there.
Victoria: Right, yeah.
Amy: That we don’t need scared to completely go away. Scared is that reminder of this didn’t go the way that I wanted it to, so let’s go take a look at the strategy, let’s go figure it out. It’s the difference between nothing’s going right, nothing’s working, and there’s something. There’s a little something somewhere and let’s go find out, let’s go see if we know what it is, let’s go explore.
Victoria: Right, get curious.
Amy: Yeah, allow curiosity into the conversation too.
Amy: And it’s so funny, as soon as we said get curious it just dropped out of my throat.
Victoria: Your body loves you.
Amy: My body really does.
Victoria: It really does.
Amy: It really does.
Victoria: It really does.
Amy: Yeah. And I always feel like, you know, when I do this work of like, I’m so much farther ahead than I ever was for 40 some odd years of my life because I didn’t start doing this work. What am I? 48, and I started seeing my energy person five, maybe six years ago, so 42, 43. Here’s the thing, I was already doing elements of this in my past, I just didn’t have words or understanding.
Victoria: Yeah, right on.
Amy: Like she even said the moment I walked in the room, she was like you’re clearly a person who’s tuned in to your body.
Victoria: Love that, yeah.
Amy: And so I think there’s this, I have this desire but it’s that perfectionism to always know how to do this. I want to be perfect at somatics, Vic.
Victoria: Right? Oh my God, you are in such good company. I hear that all day long in my programs from all my clients, I want to do it perfectly.
Amy: Like I’ve learned this, now let’s do it perfectly.
Victoria: I want to be like the most Zen. Right. But if you are not living a monastic life, then you need to drive to target, and you need to like get kids in the car, and you need to like, you need sympathetic activation.
Victoria: Right? Like we need dorsal, which is the disconnected part we haven’t talked about yet. We need all the states of a nervous system, right? And we need to both, know what’s going on inside and how we’re responding to the world outside, and we need to know when we’ve gone too introspective and art being a person in the world, if that makes sense.
Amy: No, it makes total sense. When you’re in such a Zen state and everything is always, I’m not going to use any of the words that you just used because I don’t remember which one goes where.
Amy: Like, oh, you know, my energy this, then are we actually talking to the human being that’s on the other side of the table who has asked the question that maybe stimulated a lot of that. Or, you know, I’m married, I have a 23 year old stepdaughter who’s adulting out in the world. I’ve got two teenage boys, I’ve got mom, sister, and all of us have shit because we’re humans.
Victoria: Sure, of course.
Amy: And so there is this like I want to go be this perfect woo Zen person who can immediately notice when scared is here, immediately have an entire dialogue that we went through like in 2.2 seconds so that I can reenter the conversation, and no one even knows what just happened.
Victoria: Right. Not the most realistic. And yeah, not the most self-loving goal to have, right? Because you’re right, you’re describing a robot and not a human who’s just like, humaning along, right?
Amy: By the way, I just got yelled at by a robotics professional over the weekend because I made a post about robots never feel doubt, robots don’t judge themselves.
Amy: And she sent me three comments and a private message telling me that I was spreading misinformation about robots.
Victoria: Okay, I’m not out here for the robots rights movement. I feel like we’ve got enough to worry about.
Amy: It’s just so funny that you’re like, “You are not a robot.” I was like, yes, but the robotics professionals of the world would like us to know that robots have feelings. To which I’m like, do they though?
Victoria: I mean, I’m still not really down with Citizens United and corporations being people. I feel like taking it to robots having feelings is just, also did no one in robotics watch Terminator? Like where were these people in 1995? Like, this is a terrible and scary idea. So that’s a whole other conversation.
Amy: So on this podcast we’re having a conversation about you are not a metal or AI thing.
Amy: You are a living, breathing, biological human, cellular carbon based form.
Victoria: You are living human. Carbon based life form, correct. Exactly. Yeah, and we don’t want to get so introspective that we get obsessed with our own felt experience. We want that balance.
Victoria: Internal, external self-awareness and interacting with the world, right?
Amy: Yes, absolutely.
Victoria: And that’s one of the many things that somatics is so vital for, nervous system mapping is so vital for, is helping us to understand when we do act in a way that’s outside of presence, right? Like if you snap at somebody, what’s going on in your nervous system?
Where did you get activated? Where did you leave your window of capacity? What’s been going on for the last three days? What’s going on for you physiologically? So that you can be not just an internally aware person, but can also be a loving, kind, caring supportive member of your community and the collective, right?
Because this can turn into that hyper individualistic, I mean, talk about white colonial thinking, right? I need to heal me for me, and just me, and all me and me, all by myself. All alone. I will heal me for me. And it’s like yes, in the sort of pendulum swing from being on the wicked codependent side, which I’ll translate, that’s hella codependent for the west coast. I wanted to be inclusive there, Amy.
Amy: From Boston to LA.
Victoria: From Boston to LA we got you covered. Yep, little Long Island in there.
Amy: Form wicked-
Victoria: Wicked to hella.
Amy: This is a lot of the push back that we get outside of the life coaching community from people who are like, you know, you’re so self-obsessed about your own healing you aren’t paying attention to-
Victoria: Which is legitimate criticism in a lot of times, right? So that’s why I was saying the pendulum swing. So from our codependent thinking we’re not in the equation, we don’t matter, everyone else first, right? You first, you first, whatever you want, I’m fine. No, no, I’m fine. I’m fine. I’m totally fine. Yeah, no, I actually have celiac and a profound allergy, but let’s go have pizza if that’s what you want, right?
Like that’s where we’re at. And so we do swing to the other side to like a momentary self-obsession as we learn intimacy with ourselves and learn who we are and learn to navigate ourselves and learn our nervous systems. But what is vital and what those critics are right about is that we forget to come back to the middle.
Victoria: And it’s co-regulating with others, it’s creating community, co-creating this lived experience because none of us are free until all of us are free, right? And so we need to come back to the collective.
Amy: I don’t know why that statement just gave me chills. It makes me want to cry.
Victoria: It’s a powerful statement, right?
Amy: It is, it’s really powerful.
Amy: Which is probably why I love you and why I love doing this work, because yeah. And I’m a firm believer in that and why, this conversation was not about necessarily social justice or anything along those lines. But this is why this work to me is so important. That when I can learn this and then I’m modeling it for my children, I’m modeling it for my husband, I’m modeling it for my family members.
They’re invited to do the work also, never forced. And it’s cliche, but the butterfly wing, the stone in the pond, let the ripples go out. And this is why I think this work is so important and why for that coach that’s sitting there going, “Uh.” I oftentimes come back to why is this work so important to you? How has it changed your life?
Because when you start to open up how you have become freer than you used to be, the more we can share this work. Whether through the thought analysis. thought work, from the somatic work. We haven’t even scraped, we’ve barely touched to the white colonialism, patriarchy, what we’ve learned from our socialization.
Amy: And I think it’s really important how people who identify as male have been socialized and how people who identify as women have been, or have been socialized as women. We both, and everybody in between, have been socialized in a way. It’s funny, I’m waiting to hear back from Kara Loewentheil because I’m going through her certification for feminism.
Victoria: Oh, fun.
Amy: And one of the things that I did, and it is because I am a mom of two boys, and I’m married to a male. Here’s how it affects how we show up in the world as women, but also for men.
Victoria: Oh absolutely.
Amy: You know, when my husband lost his job during Covid and it like pulled his entire identity out from under him because his entire value and worth, in his mind, was based on his ability to provide for his family. It had nothing to do with me or that I couldn’t provide or that our bills were covered. It didn’t have anything to do with, no, no, no little lady. Like there was none of that.
It was just, yes, that’s amazing, and also I’m a piece of shit human because I can’t. And so clearly we could do three or four podcast episodes, the two of us.
Victoria: Let’s, number one, let’s.
Amy: Let’s possibly do it. But I think that factors in too of, you know, what my brain will do is it’ll take that statement like, “We can’t fully be free until we’re all free” and it will immediately want to go free all the humans.
Amy: And then I have to remember, okay, but it starts here.
Amy: It starts here.
Victoria: Right. Right. And finding more freedom, ease, love within ourselves. More regulation within ourselves. And then also stepping out of the belief that we can free anyone else, right? Because there’s some colonialism in there too, right?
Amy: Oh yeah. I get coached on this all of the time.
Victoria: Oh, do you?
Amy: Oh I do.
Victoria: A little spritz of savior complex. Just a touch. Just a spritz. I was going to order a side, but I’ll just get a spritz, thank you very much.
Amy: No, I have like the whole buffet of savior complex.
Victoria: All the options, yeah.
Amy: I want to save all the humans from all the colonialism, and all of the patriarchy, and all of the damage that was done to them. And let’s go heal your souls.
Amy: And I, Amy, Amy Elizabeth Thames Latta is going to take it all on herself.
Victoria: I love that you got all four names for that.
Amy: I frequently have to be put into check by my peer coaches or my coach being like, is this that thing were you’re the only one who can go save the humans? And I’m like, oh.
Victoria: I love that you have the awareness. It’s so key.
Amy: So aware.
Victoria: Yeah. And if I may give you some homework.
Amy: Okay, again.
Victoria: Again, I love you. God, it’s so annoying to be loved by me, I know.
Amy: I’m grabbing pen and paper as she says I have some homework.
Victoria: Like joking, not joking, I run a six month program and at the beginning I tell all my new coaching clients that you get three fuck you Vic’s per session for exactly this moment. When it’s like damn, cut to the quick. And I know, it’s hard to be loved by me. What are you going to do?
Amy: All right, what’s my fuck you Vic moment here?
Victoria: Oh my god, I love that you’re now calling it that. That is a goddamn delight. So I want to invite you to do some embodiment work and like also just call me and we can do it together. But getting into the felt sensation that arises in that moment where you step into the fixer role, the savior role, right? And really mapping that in your nervous system. And mapping that in your physiology.
Mapping the felt sensation so we can get into conversation with it, right? So you can start to talk to it and ask it what it wants. What it needs, what it needs to feel safe, all right? Because obviously that part, obvious to me because this is what I do all day, doesn’t feel safe or it wouldn’t be so vocal. It wouldn’t be so expressive. It wouldn’t be screaming at you to leave presence, right? Because you have to leave yourself to save someone else.
Amy: Yeah. Yeah, it’s like I’ll be on Twitter, and I’ll want to go to Wyoming and shake that politician who just said that thing and go save the citizens of some town I’ve never heard of before.
Amy: Not normal. Or maybe that is normal.
Victoria: Probably pretty normal. And I think normal doesn’t matter, right? It’s just one thread of the human experience, and it’s your thread to work on in this lifetime so that you can be of greater service to the collective.
Victoria: By focusing your attention, your love, your care where you can actually create positive impact for the good of all humanity by working with your clients so they can feel more self-love, more self-care, can have businesses that are more inclusive, more loving, more successful.
Listen, we all know about the studies that show in humans socialized as women, particularly women of color. When we make money, we rise up the communities around us, right? So the work you’re doing is changing the world.
But when your mind and your body are leaving presence to go to that place of I’m going to save the world, you’re not here, you’re not home. You’re not home in your little body. So how can you call yourself home in a way that your body won’t reject?
So instead of yelling at the dog, how can you pull that teeny, tiny baby dog onto your lap, kiss its snout, thank it, befriend it, and start to have a different conversation around what loving impact looks like?
Amy: So I missed the second word, but I do want to make sure.
Victoria: Because you need to listen to this episode.
Amy: Yeah, I’m going to have to listen to my own shit. You differentiated, because when you’re in embodiment you said mapping my nervous system and then something else my nervous system.
Victoria: I don’t remember.
Victoria: But probably befriending it, understanding it. Yeah.
Amy: I think it was understanding, it was something like that.
Amy: So what is the difference between mapping and then like-
Victoria: Sure, so mapping is like just drawing a map. So to get from here to the corner store you’re going to go down Fifth Ave., you’re going to turn left on Broadway, right? Here’s a map. So my nervous system is in one of three predominant states, six blended total states, right?
Ventral vagal, the safe and social, sympathetic, the fight or flight, or dorsal, which we haven’t talked about at all, which is checked out, acetylcholine state, disconnected. And then there are blended states in the middle that we won’t confuse people with.
So mapping is about saying which state am I in in this moment? And understanding what state you’re in, here’s the thing to know, and I’m going to mess with the model for a second.
Amy: Do it.
Victoria: Our thoughts are dependent on our nervous system state. So in the nervous system world we say story follow state.
Victoria: So you only have access, I like to think of like the card catalog at the library.
Victoria: And there’s one set of thoughts in those card catalog drawers that’s available when you’re in sympathetic, when you’re revved up. There’s another set of cards available, thoughts that are available when you’re in ventral vagal, safe, social, connected. There’s a whole other set of thoughts that’s only available when you’re in shutdown, right?
And so the state of your nervous system creates your thoughts and then the TFAR builds from there.
Amy: So would you also describe because this makes sense to me but maybe I’m totally off. Would you also describe mapping your nervous system as identifying if you’re in fight, flight, freeze, fawn?
Victoria: Exactly, what state. Yeah, so fawn is, the internet lied to you, it’s not a nervous system state.
Amy: Oh, okay.
Victoria: Yeah, folks who don’t know a lot about this will post on Instagram as though it was, so a lot of people think that. It’s a learned behavior. So fawning is, yeah.
Amy: So it’s not a natural nervous state.
Victoria: Nope, it’s a habit.
Amy: A natural normal state is fight, flight, freeze.
Victoria: Right, like codependency isn’t a nervous system state but it sure looks a lot like fawning.
Amy: Gotcha. I learned something new, I love that.
Victoria: Loving science.
Amy: This is what baffles me, so one of my dearest friends who for sure does not listen to my podcast. He’s not a coach or whatever and we engage in a lot of conversation. There’s so much mutual respect between the two of us and yet he will 100% be like, most of what I talk about, he’s like, meh.
Victoria: Not so much on the science.
Amy: We happened to spend a day together, and this was couples, not just the two of us. But a bunch of us were together and we just happened to spend a day in Sedona, and he was like vortex shmortex, and blah, blah, blah.
Victoria: All right, buddy.
Amy: And he’s like, show me the studies. And I’m like, so it’s just really funny because how many people don’t know that there’s so much science backing up all of this information that we’ve shared in this episode.
Victoria: Oh yeah, so much science.
Amy: There’s so science behind this that when people are like, “Oh, you’re just so woo.” I’m like, call me woo.
Victoria: I love being woo.
Amy: It doesn’t negate the fact that woo is a reality, that it exists in the world.
Amy: It’s no different than when you and I met for the first time and there was my electromagnetic heart was clearly like talking.
Victoria: Me too, I was like, “Oh my God, my sister.”
Amy: I’d never met you before in my life and I think we hugged immediately.
Victoria: Immediately. I think we kind of like ran up to each other because we knew each other from the internet, with such a like connection.
Victoria: Like, I know you, you’re my kind. We’re each other’s kind. Yeah, no it was so great.
Amy: Yes, that is real.
Victoria: So real.
Amy: That is real. And I love this, now I understand, okay, fight, flight, freeze, these are real somatic responses that the body has. So the first step is understanding which one I’m in.
Amy: And then talking my way through it and engaging in conversation like what we were doing before.
Victoria: Yeah, through the body, not the mind.
Amy: Through the body, engaging in that conversation, what is it trying to tell us?
Victoria: Yeah, and coming back to the resource, back to the resource, back to the resource.
Amy: What do you mean by back to the resource?
Victoria: So remember, we were talking about the importance of safety as the first step?
Victoria: So whatever that resource is, nature, the pet, the sibling, the loved one, the looking at your baby the first second after they were born, whatever, lying on a beach somewhere, who cares? Whatever your resource is, connecting with that before doing these practices, while doing these practices, after doing these practices. Because the goal is always to create more embodied safety. That is vital and key.
Amy: So good.
Amy: Obviously this conversation could go on forever. This was so, so good.
Victoria: So good. Let’s do it again. It was so fun.
Amy: We’ll absolutely do this again.
Victoria: Okay, great.
Amy: How can people connect with you?
Victoria: You can find me on the gram, I give good gram, @victoriaalbinowellness.
Amy: She gives amazing gram, my friends.
Victoria: Well I thank you, darling. Thank you. Thank you, darling. Serving fierce gram, Victoria Albina Wellness over there on the gram. If you head over to victoriaalbina.com/amy.
Amy: Did you create something for my people?
Victoria: I did a present. So you can grab my nervous system orienting exercise, boundaries meditation, inner child meditation, a whole suite of goddamn delight. Victoriaalbina.com/amy.
Amy: Do you know that I’m going to go run to victoria.com/amy and I’m going to go download all that stuff?
Victoria: Oh my god, it’s so exciting.
Amy: Okay, so make sure that you connect with her on Instagram.
Victoria: Yeah. Oh, and my podcast. What a goose. My podcast is, were we reading each other’s mind right there? Because I loved it. My podcast is called Feminist Wellness and it’s free in all of the places and it’s for humans of all the many genders and it’s also a delight.
Amy: Wonderful. So Feminist Wellness podcast, Instagram, and victoriaalbina, and for those who are letter challenged as I am, V-I-C-T-O-R-I-A-A-L-B-I-N-A.
Amy: Just like it sounds, just like it looks.
Victoria: Yep, easy peasy.
Amy: Victoriaalbina.com/amy, that’s A-M-Y. If you don’t know that by now, then yeah, it’s Amy. No, I should say this, Siri still spells my name. A-M-I-E.
Amy: Very fascinating. That’s not even a normal way to spell Amy.
Victoria: it is if you are French. Does she think you are French?
Amy: I thought Amy was A-I-M-E.
Victoria: Girl, now my brain is, two squirrel brains trying to spell at each other is just like an activity I think we should put down before someone gets hurt.
Amy: We could. Listen, this is how I know I’m a genius, it’s because I can’t spell.
Victoria: Right, no, totally. And we both swear up a storm.
Amy: We swear, can’t spell.
Victoria: Can’t spell for shit.
Amy: And I have squirrel like you would not believe running things in my brain.
Victoria: Yep, it’s true. Oh my God, Amy, do you know what I didn’t tell everybody about? Speaking of squirrels.
Victoria: I’m going to do a somatic advanced certification.
Amy: Stop it.
Victoria: I shan’t.
Amy: Somatic advanced certification?
Victoria: Yep. Yep, for life coaches.
Amy: So do you have to be certified in any particular way or does it not matter?
Victoria: We’re working on that.
Amy: Okay, we don’t have the details.
Victoria: We’re working on the details, we are in the planning stages. And so if you head over to victoriaalbina.com/somatic, keeping it simple with the URLs, you can get on the waitlist. It’s like the simplest web page with very little information, but if you’re at all interested just put your email on there and we will send you information as it becomes available.
Amy: And that’s so good. So if you loved what’s going on here in this episode, the mapping of your nervous system, how to communicate with your nervous system, how to make sure, you know, helping to identify resource, all of those things.
And here’s what I want to share with really anybody listening, is that you learning how to implement these things for yourself, even if you just start with the simplest of steps, like what Victoria has shared with a story, then that’s the best place to start. If you feel overwhelmed, if it feels like this is a whole other language, it can be learned and just start with the simplest and start with the basics.
Victoria: Yep, start with safety.
Amy: Start with safety.
Amy: Start with safety. Start with your resource, start with safety. All right, Victoria, you were amazing.
Victoria: You are, thank you.
Amy: I mean, first of all, how dare she, right? Vic hit it right on the head over and over again. It was like as we talked about in the episode, the very first time I ever met her I knew we were soul sisters. I love that part. And I feel this so much, and I started teaching this in my own programs, particularly on the mastermind level of there’s no more electricity in your entire body than in your heart. And so that heart to heart magnetism, that was me and Vic the first time we met and now you know why.
And that practice that she shared, did you get it? Because it’s so helpful. Like first, going to your source, going to your resource, what makes you happy? What brings comfort to you? Visualizing that or touching it if it’s available to you. Me and my Lou dog, right? And then mapping your nervous system. Am I in fight, or flight, or freeze? And just acknowledging where am I and what’s the emotion that I’m feeling here?
And then talking to that emotion and to that feeling. Asking it questions. Thanking it for being there. Asking it what it has to teach me. This episode, that practice right there will change how you show up in your business. I cannot wait to hear what you take away from this episode.
Make sure that you share this podcast episode and tag me and Victoria on social media. Give us a tag in your stories. What’s the thing that you needed to hear that you’re going to be able to take with you? And share it with your people who need to hear it also, What are the other coaches in your life that they need to hear this work too? And maybe even your clients too.
So make sure that you share the podcast episode right out of your podcast app or find me on Instagram and share it out of Instagram and tag me and Victoria, @IamAmyLatta and @VictoriaAlbinaWellness. Tag us both, let us know what you’re going to take away with it. And make sure that you share this so that other coaches and even your clients can start using this tool today. And until next week, coaches, let’s go get paid.
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