Mind

108: Penney & Jenny Show Returns! On Spirituality and Small Business

108: Penney & Jenny Show Returns! On Spirituality and Small Business

I'm delighted to bring you the seventh (!) episode in a side series of this podcast we affectionately call the Penney & Jenny show :) It's a series of conversations with one of my dear friends and mentors (friendtors), Penney Peirce. We had so much fun during our first interview together that we added a second . . . which became a third . . . and so on, until it was a regular feature on the Pivot Podcast! 

This week we're riffing on the intersection of spirituality and small business—how we apply intuition, transparency, non-physical realms, and personal practices toward business-building, attracting clients, and earning a living in a way that feels easeful and joyful. You can check out all of our interviews here (and check for future episodes)—and for easier listening, tune in on our SoundCloud playlist

107: (Un)Medicating Grief—Recovering Feeling After Decades on Anti-Depressants with Brooke Siem

I'm so grateful to Brooke Siem for opening up and sharing her story with us this week. Not only is she a woman of many talents (ballerina! chef! Chopped champion! bakery owner! crossfitter! writer!), Brooke has spent the last two years sober. Sober from medications that doctors, the assumed authority figures of her life, had been prescribing for the last fifteen years and an estimated 30,000 pills.

It all stemmed from an attempt quell her initial grief at the sudden death of her father when she was just a teenager. Brooke assumed she was broken, that she couldn't function in society without the drugs. It was only recently that she began to question what life would—or could—be without these medications driving modulating her emotions. Listen in to this week's conversation for how Brooke is navigating her newfound life—re-learning what it means and how to be herself, if not truly figuring it out for the very first time.

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/brooke-siem. Enjoying the show? Make my week by donating just $1 an episode at Patreon.com/pivot.

More About Brooke

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Brooke Siem is a speaker, writer, and chef who spent a eight years in the New York City food and wine industry before an opportunity to travel around the world with Remote Year fell into her lap. Despite a career that included honors such as being named one of Zagat's 30 Under 30, becoming a Food Network "Chopped" champion, and co-founding Prohibition Bakery and authoring the book of the same name, Brooke's "successful" Manhattan life also fueled a lifelong battle with depression. Prescribed antidepressant and anti-anxiety drugs at 15 years old after her father's sudden death of pancreatic cancer, the opportunity for a life abroad sparked the realization that she had been heavily medicated for half of her life. She decided to make a massive change.

First, she booked a one-way ticket to Malaysia.

Then, she got off all the prescription drugs.

Two years and 17 countries later, Brooke's primary focus is on advocating for mental health and wellness without the use of antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. Though she believes that these sorts of drugs can have their place on the road to healing, her own experience has taught her that these medications are often poorly monitored by doctors, prescribed without thought of the long term consequences, and prioritize the notion of "existing" versus thriving. Brooke's goal is to show that it is possible to live a joyful, centered life without the use of antidepressants, no matter how far down the rabbit hole we once were.

As of May of 2017, Brooke sold her half of Prohibition Bakery in order to continue working and writing remotely. She is currently working on her second book, a memoir, and is currently based in Vancouver, BC. You can also say hi on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter.

Topics We Cover

  • Deciding to detox after realizing she had been medicated for over half her life

  • Pivot points of her inner landscape: being put on antidepressants to manage her grief "on a timeline that worked for everybody else.”

  • Don’t remember much, "living under the impression I was broken”

  • In her Legacy Show talk she shared, “When they first put you on the drugs, they don’t tell you that you’ll forget how to feel."

  • Taking 4-7 medications at any given time, 30,000+ pills over the course of her life

  • New York Times article: Many People Taking Antidepressants Discover They Cannot Quit (and the ensuing backlash)

  • Detoxing at 30 years old felt much like going through a second puberty; became extremely sensitive to sounds, crowds, pain, tastes, music, clothing, everything - “I have no idea who this person is”

  • Jealous of children who could express their feelings and anger out loud

  • Sleep had always been the antidote

  • What carried her through the down moments of detox when it could’ve been easier to go back to the meds

  • Buying a one-way ticket to Malaysia, aha of starting to feel again - raindrops on her skin - little things to hold onto, started painting - felt creative for the first time in her life

  • Finding a spiritual therapist - working with Edward Mannix; compassion key healing process

  • Growing up in a very spiritual environment - picking angel cards as a child

  • “He didn’t try to teach me how to cope, that my brain was broken or the solution was in a pill - he told me he thought it was possible to heal. We have all these experiences in this life and past lives that converge together and influence all of our decisions.”

  • On clearing past karma, wipe off the lens of our life through self-compassion and feeling some of the things we’re feeling

  • Silver lining doesn’t always work, on wondering about the why of all this

  • All the issues of my life that I believed were permanent

  • Self-compassion process: start with the phrase, “I’m so sorry . . .”

  • Now approaching the two-year anniversary of getting off her last drug

  • Living in Vancouver with her boyfriend, move around every four weeks or so; priorities have really shifted, don’t feel the need to look for validation in external things when it’s so much more important to spend time with the people who are important to her

  • Created a much smaller life - love the idea of a tiny house

  • On winning Chopped with chocolate, crabs and caviar

(Un)Medicating Grief: Recovering Feeling After Decades on Anti-Depressants with Brooke Siem

Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloud, YouTubeOvercastStitcher, or Google Play Music:

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.

106: Music Without Sound—How Mandy Harvey Rebuilt a Thriving Singing Career after Losing Her Hearing

106: Music Without Sound—How Mandy Harvey Rebuilt a Thriving Singing Career after Losing Her Hearing

It was love at first listen when I first heard Mandy Harvey perform at a fundraiser for Erik Weinenmayer's No Barriers summit coming up here in New York City in October. Erik, a previous guest on the Pivot Podcast (Turning Pain Into Purpose: Blind Adventurer Erik Weihenmayer on Kayaking the Grand Canyon, Climbing Everest and Building No Barriers), said Mandy was a must-meet, and he was right. Her performance was exquisite, and I was mesmerized by her signing while singing and sharing her inspiring story with the audience. 

With lifelong dreams of being a musician and music teacher, Mandy was devastated to lose her hearing completely ten years ago during college. You might already know her story if you are one of half a billion (with a B!!) people who have watched her America's Got Talent audition—that's a MUST before you even listen to this episode.

I cried when Simon Cowell asked what motivated her to be there, and she said at “After I lost my hearing I gave up. But I want to do more with my life than just give up.” I assure you, there was not a dry eye in the audience either as they give a standing ovation midway through, including the judges! Even Simon came out of his curmudgeonly shell to say, "I’ve done this a long time and that was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen and heard.” I hope you enjoy this conversation with Mandy as much as I did—which she did with the help of a live captioner while we were on video Skype. 

103: Strong Inside Out—Pivoting from OCD and Depression toward Mind-Body Alignment with Amy Clover

103: Strong Inside Out—Pivoting from OCD and Depression toward Mind-Body Alignment with Amy Clover

Amy Clover has a powerful story to share about pivoting her mindset from one of self-flagellation and control toward acceptance and flexibility in body, mind and spirit. After battling for years with eating disorders, depression and a failed suicide attempt in a fitness industry that grew increasingly oppressive, she now teaches people how to build strength from the inside out. In her own words:

I know what it’s like to look in the mirror and hate who’s looking back, to feel like you have no control whatsoever over your mind or your life, to feel like you’re so broken that you’re beyond healing. I’ve struggled with clinical depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and eating disorders throughout my entire life. In fact, they almost killed me. I hit rock bottom in 2005 when I was hospitalized on suicide watch. 

Having my freedom stripped from me in that hospital shocked me back to life: it hit me that I’d given up. I’d never even tried to take action to feel better because I just assumed that nothing would ever work for me. With this realization fresh in my mind, I committed to working on myself from the inside out as soon as I was released. After all, the worst had already happened. I figured I had nothing else to lose.

Amy's recovery, and the mindset and methods she developed that created a true sense of freedom, are what we'll cover in this week's show, along with some of her recent business pivots. 

101: The Soul of an Octopus—Exploring Consciousness and Animal Communication with Sy Montgomery

101: The Soul of an Octopus—Exploring Consciousness and Animal Communication with Sy Montgomery

When exploring a branch of highly evolved animal consciousness that evolved in parallel (and completely separate) from our own, Sy Montgomery is sure of one thing: “If I have a soul, an octopus does too.” If you want even the tiniest dose of confirmation, try to keep your eyes dry while watching this octopus thank its rescuer in a two-minute video that has garnered 11 million views and counting: releasing a stranded octopus. (If you have more time, Amazing Octopus: Most Intelligent Animal on Earth is a must-watch too!) 

I am over-the-moon to bring you this week's interview with Sy, who became an instant soul-friend the moment we started talking. I'm in awe of her career as a naturalist writing about and befriending pigs, tigers, dolphins, hyenas, and now octopuses (not octopi as many assume for plural form!) around the world. I love her passion for animals, and the heart with which she shares their beautiful stories and spirits. 

Sy has been described by the Boston Globe as "Part Emily Dickinson, part Indiana Jones.” Researching articles, films, and her 26 books for adults and children, she has been chased by an angry silverback gorilla in Rwanda, hunted by a tiger in India, and swum with piranhas, electric eels and pink dolphins in the Amazon. Her work has taken her from the cloud forest of Papua New Guinea (for a book on tree kangaroos) to the Altai Mountains of the Gobi (for another on snow leopards.) 

For her recent book (the one that inspired me to reach out), The Soul of an Octopus, a National Book Award finalist, Sy befriended octopuses at the New England aquarium and scuba dived and snorkeled with wild octopuses in Mexico and French Polynesia. We also talk in detail about The Good, Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood (2006), a memoir about her 14-year relationship with her pig who grew to be 750 pounds, famous within her town of Hancock, and beloved by all who met him. 

At the end, we briefly dive into her routines for such prolific writing while traveling, and her practice of reflecting beyond the details of what happened to "what that day showed me."

99: My Morning Routine—How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired with Benjamin Spall

99: My Morning Routine—How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired with Benjamin Spall

Although many of us aspire to rewarding morning routines (and enjoy geeking out on the best of what others come up with), on some days just getting out of bed is a victory. To this end, one of my favorite quotes from Benjamin Spall and Michael Xander's new book, My Morning Routine: How Successful People Start Every Day Inspired, comes from Ana Marie Cox, a political columnist and culture critic.

Cox says, "When you come up with a morning routine, understand that you’re undertaking it in order to do something good for yourself, not to meet some stranger’s standard of productivity."

With that in mind, I invite you to this week's conversation with Ben where we discuss common themes across morning routines, and how to take some pressure off of trying to meet impossibly high Inner Critic Morning Routine Police expectations. I'm also honored to be featured in My Morning Routine, with a subtitle for my chapter that made me chuckle: "When your evening routine starts at 3:00 in the afternoon." Listen in to find out what I do with all that wind-down time :) 

95: Cultivate a Courage Habit with Kate Swoboda

95: Cultivate a Courage Habit with Kate Swoboda

Kate Swoboda believes that "courage can absolutely be cultivated,” just as we improve other skills with habit-building principles in mind. The problem is that sometimes we apply the cue-routine-reward to our fears instead. We get triggered, fall into familiar patterns, then gloss over it with a reward that's a pale replacement for what our heart really wants.

What's the alternative? Listen to this week's Pivot Podcast conversation to learn Kate's four-step process for avoiding common fear routine traps—perfectionist, saboteur, martyr, or pessimist—and building your courage muscles instead. 

91: Divine Time Management and Putting Faith Forward in Business and Love with Elizabeth Grace Saunders

When my friend Elizabeth pivoted from time management author and coach to divine time management, her faith-based practice of "trusting God's loving plans for you," and with the release of her new book in November, I wanted to have her on the show. But I was nervous at the same time.

Is it okay to put faith forward in business? On the podcast? I'm not Christian—would that adversely affect the interview? Would it be divisive in any way for listeners? Our culture prides a separation of church and state, but what about spirituality and business?

In the months since Elizabeth's book launched, I have been sloooowly finding the courage to talk about these topics more prominently on the Pivot Podcast. And believe me, coming from an atheist-turned-agnostic, this was not an easy or obvious choice. But my soul's curiosity and passion for finding deeper meaning in our work says YES. I am grateful to now be exploring people and philosophies of many ranging faiths on this show.

With that, let's dive into this week's awesome episode! I love Elizabeth's advice on loosening the reigns of control, paying attention to inner stirrings, and her vulnerability in sharing how she has surrendered her timing around finding love. 

Check out full show notes from this episode with links to resources mentioned at PivotMethod.com/podcast/divine-time.

More About Elizabeth Grace Saunders

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Elizabeth Grace Saunders is an internationally recognized expert on effective time management and the founder of Real Life E Time Coaching and Speaking (www.RealLifeE.com). Her company partners with individuals on the journey from feeling guilty, overwhelmed and frustrated to feeling peaceful, confident and accomplished.  Her first two books are The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: How to Achieve More Success with Less Stress and How to Invest Your Time Like Money. Her newest is Divine Time Management: The Joy of Trusting God’s Loving Plans for You

Topics We Cover

  • How the calling for this book came to her, "part desire and part command"

  • Her process of writing the book proposal as she developed the practices

  • Being "patient zero" of needing to relinquish control

  • Finding the courage to put her faith more forward in business

  • How to pay attention to inner stirrings

  • Letting go of forcing your storyline

  • What to do around "sexy shoulds" and how to handle indecision, saying no

  • Finding right relationship with self and others

Podcast: Divine Time Management and Putting Faith Forward in Business with Elizabeth Grace Saunders

Listen below or on iTunesSoundCloud, YouTubeOvercastStitcher, or Google Play Music:

Check out other episodes of the Pivot Podcast here. Be sure to subscribe via iTunesGoogle Play or SoundCloud, and if you enjoy the show I would be very grateful for a rating and/or review! Sign-up for my weekly(ish) #PivotList newsletter to receive curated round-ups of what I'm reading, watching, listening to, and new tools I'm geeking out on.

Want to support the show and become a founding member of the Pivot Podcast community? Join us on Patreon here.

73: What's more important to you than perfection? With Jenny Blake

73: What's more important to you than perfection? With Jenny Blake

What is more important to you than perfection? This episode is coming to you unpolished and unedited . . . to prove a point to myself and my inner perfectionist.

I realized it had been a while since I did a solo show (one where there’s no guest), just me riffing on a topic that’s on my mind. And why not? Because my perfectionism monster started running the show! I worried that if conditions weren’t perfect, if I didn’t have my fancy mic while on the road for speaking gigs, or a perfect content outline, that I’d be better off not doing one. Pfft! So for this 30-minute show I just awkwardly shared from the heart ways I push past perfection when it starts blocking my life and creative work. 

69: Worrier's Guide to the End of the World with Torre DeRoche

69: Worrier's Guide to the End of the World with Torre DeRoche

Contrary to what she'd probably tell you herself, Torre DeRoche is one of the bravest people I know. When we first encountered each other online, she had just finished sailing the world for two years with her boyfriend at the time. Just the two of them . . . on the open seas . . . despite her deathly fear of sharks. I've been captivated by her story and her writing, under the moniker Fearful Adventurer, ever since, and I had the pleasure of meeting her in person for a meal in Chiang Mai when we crossed paths there in 2013. 

Fast forward a few years after that, and Torre found herself in a deep state of grief and loss. Her dad was dying of cancer, and her relationship of ten years was dissolving because of it. Her new book is the story of finding her way back to life — and this time without the worry that had plagued her since she was a child.