Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Hey, this is Dr. Priyanka Venugopal, and you're listening to The Unstoppable Mom Brain Podcast, How to Create Better Results with Less Exhaustion With Heather Chauvin. I am bringing you such a fun episode today. It is a conversation with leadership coach Heather Chauvin. Heather's the host of the podcast, Emotionally Uncomfortable.
She is an author, TEDx speaker, and honestly, she is just such a delight to talk to. Today we are going to be really talking about how women often ignore their own intuitions and their gut, particularly in the way that we have all been raised to really focus on action plans. One of the things that I love about today's conversation that I cannot wait for you to hear is Heather's perspective, her approach and her tangible skills that she's going to be giving us some tips on how to shift away from your to-dos and not to-dos, and really focus more on how you want to feel.
I think that this conversation was so brilliant, particularly for high achieving women because I know I'm just like you. I often focus so much on my to-do list. So this podcast is really for any ambitious human, particularly working moms who really want to start guiding more of what they want, more of the results that they want in their life, but instead of using your planner and your todo list to get there to really guide yourself with how you want to feel.
If you love today's episode, then we want to hear from you. Take the episode and share it over on Instagram and tag us so that we know how much you loved it. Also, if you love today's conversation, I want to make sure you know to get onto my email list. I share specific skills, strategies, tools, and mindset hacks that I think are so valuable for the high achiever.
So if you're enjoying the podcast and the conversations we're having here, make sure you're on my email list. You can get onto my email list over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/magic. Let's get into today's conversation with Heather. If you want to reach your ideal weight and create lightness for your body, you need to have simplicity, joy, and strategic decisions infused into your life.
I'm a physician turned life and weight loss coach for ambitious working moms. I've lost over 60 pounds without counting points, calories or crazy exercise plans. Most importantly, I feel calm and light on the scale and in my life. There's some delicious magic when you learn this work and the skills I'm going to be teaching you.
Ready? Let's get to it.
Hey, Heather, welcome to the podcast. I have already introduced you once, but I'm going to have you introduce yourself. I cannot wait for everyone listening to get to know you. Heather is a leadership coach, and she has a lot of wisdom and a lot to share with us about how high achievers and overwhelmed women can break free of their fears to start courageously and authentically living and working and parenting on their own terms.
So Heather, welcome. Welcome to the podcast and tell us all about you and how you got to do what you're doing.
Heather Chauvin: Thank you, Priyanka. I'm so excited to be here. This is my favorite topic ever. I like to say overwhelm is a symptom and it's also a superpower because as women, our brains are designed to multitask, always not life enhancing when we don't know how to kind of manage our minds and our lives and all the things.
So going back a little nutshell version of who I am. I've been doing this for over a decade and a lot of my personal story has forced me to reevaluate the conditioning of women and the cultural expectations as being a mother, but also like marrying like my desires and then who people want me to be.
So going back, I have three boys, they're currently 18, 13 and 10. I was 18 when I became a mother, and it was, you know, my first kind of moment of feeling like I was failing in the sense of like failing at my core as a human and as a woman. I mean, when you're a teenager, you're like, ah, who cares? Right? Or you know, you have the people pleaser.
I was not the A plus student. I was not the people pleaser. I was more of a rebel, which I think has really supported me in my life up to this point, but was not cheered upon as a teenager. And when I became a mother, I just remember looking at my son feeling like I didn't wanna become a statistic. And what that meant was what people expected me to become as a single teen mom.
And so, Fast forward went, got my social work degree, fell in love with meditation and mindfulness, and seen in understanding other people's behaviors, especially children's behaviors. Cause I was so incredibly frustrated not knowing how to manage his big emotions, his anger, his anxiety, and all the normal children things, or what I thought, are these normal right?
I did not know. And then fast forward having three boys married, all the things. I just kept listening. It was like co-creating with my people call it your gut, your intuition, your desires, whatever it was. But I kept doing the right things, like air quotes, right? I wanted to be good and I found myself thinking like, not this, not this, not this. Like my gut being like there's more like the little whisper. And so I had to step out of conventional wisdom and begin to, to say, this is not working. I don't wanna be overwhelmed. I don't wanna be chronically depleted and anxious and like, All these things.
And so that's when I left my corporate job as a social worker. I started podcasting and then fast forward to, I've been doing this well, like I said, almost a decade, but while I was in startup in my business, after I left my career and I was really focused on parenting like the parent-child relationship, I started to hear things from women like, I don't have time for this.
I don't have time for myself. My marriage is falling apart. I hate my job. Like money stresses me out, like all these things. And I was like, okay, but you hired me for parenting. So like, come back, come back, come back. And 10 years ago, while I was building my business and supporting these like women, mainly women, my body started to deteriorate.
And I was diagnosed with stage four cancer and the interesting part about that is I had like, Nine years of personal development under my belt, like nine years of investing in myself. But I did not look, do I feel like I am worthy of investing in feeling good? And so that was when my relationship changed with my work, my messaging.
That was, you know, we care so much about our children. We care so much about being good for everybody else, and we think that how we [00:07:00] show up doesn't matter. We think that it is selfish to invest in ourselves, time, money, and energy. But what happens when we don't? And the universe was kind of just like, all right, you think you don't have time.
I will show you that you don't have time. And since that day, in that moment, I have completely shifted how I show up, how I work, how I parent, how I lead, and now teaching other women how to do the same.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That's amazing. I'm curious when you had that moment, because it sounded almost like before you got that diagnosis, you had already started hearing your intuitive gut.
Like something, there was a whisper for you saying like, I don't want this, I don't like this overwhelm. What do you think it was that was blocking you even before that diagnosis that was blocking you from listening to your gut. I say this only because I think that there are so many women and high achievers that they do get the whisper.
They get that intuitive hit like, this is not right. I don't like this, I'm working too hard. But then they kind of bulldoze over their own intuition and their own inner desires, and I think that that gets practiced and then eventually blocked. So what do you think it was that was blocking you from listening to that intuitive hit, and then of course I understand that your diagnosis probably propelled it forward. What do you think it was for you?
Heather Chauvin: Giving myself permission to feel good, like get permission? It was just permission. I mean, I scream all the time from the rooftops, like, please do not get a stage four diagnosis or something traumatic happening to you for you to check the box of suffering.
Like I actually remember the moment where I'm like, okay, I'm done. I will never, ever suffer this much again in my life like I am done. But the fact that I could make that choice. It was an intentional thing, like all these life things were happening to me, but I had choice, like everyday choice. Am I going to drink the water or am I going to pour yet another cup of coffee?
Am I going to bulldoze through my to-do list or am I gonna put a boundary and say, whoa, you've been at the computer for four hours. Get up and go get some sunlight for 20 minutes, then reenter. Like, I had to realize that I did have more control over how I felt than I gave myself permission to actually believe.
And a huge part of that was that I had to become the leader and the mentor and the thought leader, and I'm using air quotes that I was seeking out. I couldn't find women at the time that were doing the quote unquote work-life balance, which I don't believe in the term balance, but there was people that were like, you know, business, you can kill it at business, but then you're gonna suffer at home.
Or like, you know, vice versa. And I don't believe in like a perfect alignment, but I didn't wanna give up on my dreams of growing a business or like the desires inside of me. To be a good mother and I also, I knew that I would be resentful at my children. I just knew intuitively. So it was really about permission, but it's very uncomfortable to realize, like, you're leading a new path and you're gonna be judged for that.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I actually think about permission a lot because I think this is a common thread with high achievers, and I've always thought about where does this desire for permission come from because we're not born with it. Right? When we're born, like a baby comes out, they come out crying. They're not asking for permission to cry, to pee, to poop, to be demanding, to ask for all the things they just ask with no permission.
They have this unbridled desire and they just like to let us know exactly how it is. And I think along the way, society and our families of origin and the grownups that we are around train us, right? They're training us and teaching us like, listen, you need permission to have such a big reaction.
You need permission to feel this way. You need permission for all of these things. And, and I kind of wonder, at what point is it for us that women, especially cuz I don't see this as much with men, what point is it for women especially that they internalize it? To the point that it starts driving their whole life.
I mean, I think high achievers especially are looking for permission from work bosses, partners, kids, to listen to their intuitive gut. And I wonder why, what do you think it is about women especially that take this so internally?
Heather Chauvin: I think it's fear. Because when I look at myself before I became a mother, and because I became a mom at such a young age, I didn't identify as a high achiever.
Like no adult. No teacher would've told you that like I was the least likely to succeed. Because in a state of fight or flight, I just, I would shrink, I would sleep. Like sleep was my drug of choice. So I didn't, I wasn't like outwardly anxious in that sense. I just tried to numb my feelings through sleep and avoidance, and so the high achieving actually came from a drive of failing as a mother.
And then having to overcome and being the responsible one for other people. So as I went into adulthood, the permission seeking is interesting though, because I had such a, I'm just gonna say I identify as a rebel. So I never had an issue of being like, but why do you do that? Or just questioning, right.
People tell me what to do, I'm gonna do the opposite. So that was not healthy as well because people are like, you're gonna fail and I'm gonna say, I'm gonna show you right. Like I was trying to prove it to the world. That's not healthy either. So as I'm doing all the things, I'm getting pats on the back as well.
Like, look at you, you're supermom. You're so young. But internally, I'm like, I'm dying. Like this is not good. It's not sustainable. I can't do this forever. I was like, don't let them see like you, you gotta keep going. You're responsible for another human now. And so I do see this in a lot of high achieving women like it's not just your families.
Now you have teams around you, like you're responsible for other people and you don't know, like your identity is wrapped around it. So you're like, I don't know who I am without this drive inside of me. But for me, I actually, at first it was driven from a place of fear. Like I took the action cause I wanted to run away from my fear of failure.
And then I was just like, oh, yay. People are giving me accolades for this. Like, I'm doing good, I'm doing good. Keep going, keep going, keep going. And I knew like, you gotta stop. You gotta slow down. You gotta do this. But I was like, I can't. And I remember being harshly judged by family and friends for the way that I decided to do things, because I was so young.
When I became a mom, I wanted to go away, like what normal people would do in their twenties. Like I wanted to explore the world. I remember being judged for that, like from my own family, and I'm like, but there's a part of me that really needs this and I can tell if I don't do it, I'm gonna be resentful at my child.
And I can't do that either. But I see this all the time with my clients at the top. When they're ambitious, they're like, I can't slow down because everything will crumble. And I'm like, is that true?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yes.
Heather Chauvin: Like they're driven by fear. It's this fear of this false evidence that appears real.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: And once I get them to feel that fear, like the actual feeling, which is why my podcast is called Emotionally Uncomfortable, cuz it's like sit in it, oh my gosh.
Everything didn't crumble, and I was like, no, but when we don't know how to manage the fear, that's why we overachieve in burnout.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I, first of all, love that you call yourself a rebel because I call myself a recovering people pleaser. And so here we are. It's like two ends of the spectrum, right? So for me growing up, if an adult figure was like, go do this, I was like, okay, got it done.
Check. You know? And I think it's so fascinating that on either end of the spectrum, whether you identify as a rebel or you identify as a people pleaser, this is something that will infiltrate into your lived experience. And I wonder, you know, I think a lot of what you were just talking about where when you get to the top, and you're considering challenging some norm, a rule you're worried about all crumbling down.
One of the big themes that I find, I'm curious what your experience is with this, is the idea of always not being enough, either I'm not doing enough or being enough. This has been a theme in my coaching group now for a couple of weeks, where women are really having a hard time uncomfortable. They're feeling emotionally uncomfortable at the idea of challenging this impossible standard that they have set for themself.
At work, as a mom in their relationships, there's a fear. If I say no, if I challenge this role, then there is something that is not enough. So what do you say to those women? That are being driven? There's a fear, right? Kind of what you were saying. That if I challenge the standard, I'm not enough, and they feel like that's what's holding them back.
Heather Chauvin: Okay. I love this conversation, so I love that you call yourself a recovering people pleaser because I ...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh yes.
Heather Chauvin: Although I identify as a rebel, I also call myself a recovering rescuer. So yeah, I went into social work like I wanted to rescue people, like that's the legal respectful way to be a rescuer.
Like, or you go into a healthcare.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: That's right.
Heather Chauvin: A healthcare field. Or you become a coach. Like you're still, there's, I remember seeing a little le, a meme or a reel on Instagram. It was like a comedian talking about his therapist and was like, his therapist is saying you love collecting broken people. And he is like, so do you.
And I was like, this is so true. It's like the legal way, right? So recovering rescuer, you know, I'm like, Trying to rescue people and I have seen, that was me not wanting to like hold a boundary with people or let them rescue themselves again, because who am I if I'm not rescuing people? Like I think the reason why there's [00:17:00] not enoughness is our value is tied to it. Our identity is tied to it.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: So here's where I am currently at in this whole, we love labels, right? So we love to label people as ambitious or whatever. I'm a visionary. I've often thought. Okay, why can't I just be normal? Like if I gave this up all today, what would I do? And I'm like, wow, that would be difficult for me.
Like that would not feel comfortable in the sense of like, that's not how I'm built. I want to create, I wanna do, I wanna, whatever. So my team will say to me like, we hit this milestone, do you wanna celebrate? And I'm like, yes, and you guys can celebrate, but like just please know, it can all crumble at any moment.
Everything is temporary. And they're like, Heather, Can you not feel, can you not feel like celebration? And I'm like I get neutral and numb about it. I have had to come to accept that in the personal development space. We love to, you know, like label people as wrong and bad. Okay. And I'm like, is it bad or wrong that I, I'm not like, yay, yay, yay.
I'm like, and let's go next, next, next. Maybe it's the shadow side of being a big dreamer. A big thinker. But here's my thing, if you're not enjoying the process or you're sitting there being like, Oh my God, this is so hard. I'm burnt out. You are out of alignment. And so if I can feel really good and celebrate the little things, but always have this edge, and I mean celebrate, like have moments of being proud of myself and the work that I've put in, but like, okay, what's next?
Okay, what's next? I just think it's, it's almost like it's a primal instinct, like it's there's always going to be a double-edged sword, but you have to be mindful of like, is this life enhancing or is this me [00:19:00] actually like is it hurting me? I think there's a fine line and not obsessing over, never feeling enough. I think it's part of the human condition as well.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: You know, I think it's so, I love that you said that. I was just telling my clients this past week, some of the work that I've had to personally do in my own coaching journey was to allow myself to celebrate and recognize myself. And I think what's so interesting in what you just said is part of the discomfort, I think this is again for women, is there feels like there's a discomfort with being seen.
And maybe celebrating yourself or recognizing your accomplishments means like you're being more seen, right? Whether it's more seen by your local community or the internet or something, you're, you're being more seen. And there is, I think, something that can feel scary about that. And when we don't feel safety, In that I think we are blocking ourselves from celebrating and recognizing, but that's like part of my goal 2023.
I was like, the goal is to celebrate, to have more [00:20:00] fun and to create personal safety in being seen because especially with the work that you and I are doing, if we don't create safety with being seen and having our voice be heard, I think that fewer women would benefit.
Heather Chauvin: And so, oh my gosh.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, that's my vision, right? Like we have to create safety and then show other women how to create safety for themselves to be recognized and seen, because then they get to go and have a larger voice in their families, in their workplace and in their life, which I think is, it is so important.
Heather Chauvin: I also think that's part of the reason why we don't feel safe is cause you know, historically that hasn't been the case. And so we think like, oh my gosh, I should figure this out by now. Why is this my problem? And like, it's just not acceptable. Like, we're still unlearning, we're still breaking barriers. I think I've come to a place where, again, you do so much work. You read so many books, you get the coaching, and we're all trying to like perfect the human experience and sometimes you don't have answers.
And I think the way that I actually celebrate myself now that we're talking about this, is to give myself permission to feel good. I'm not a very material person. So when people are like, what are you gonna do when this happens? How are you going to celebrate? And I'm like, I will probably celebrate by taking a week off and like saying no to everybody who wants to get on my calendar.
Like that's actually how I'm gonna celebrate myself. I'm not gonna go buy shoes, I'm not gonna go on a vacation. Like, yeah, sure, maybe, but celebrating myself is like, Holding a boundary and like, and doing the inner work when I'm like, you should be doing something. You should be doing something. No. Like having that space and time.
I guess I do celebrate myself that way, but I don't do it externally. So then people are like, you never celebrate yourself. I'm like, I think I do with myself. I just don't have to throw a party about it.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Because I love that. I love that. Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: It's like redefining celebration.
Heather Chauvin: Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: In a way that aligns with you. Right. It's got, you've kind of going back to what you were saying, creating alignment for what you want, your desire for how you wanna celebrate. I love that because I think that we have these ideas of how things are supposed to be, how a marriage is supposed to be, how you're supposed to be a mom, how you're supposed to be a leader at work, how you're supposed to show up in celebration.
And I think that that's the other piece from not enough if we don't meet the standard for what we think it's supposed to be. It keeps driving the not enough, right? It's like, see, not, I'm not celebrating enough because I didn't celebrate with that big party the way that I, I'm supposed to, or like what people think I should do.
I think that that's the other piece for the not enough because we're so used to using external parameters to define enough. That's the problem.
Heather Chauvin: Yeah. And I think that's why I actually have a very difficult time with it, because I teach people, it's not the thing you're after, it's the feeling. So put the feelings on the calendar, and there's a way that I teach people how to do that.
It's called energetic time management, but an example wrote my book...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: ...in 2021. And it was in the middle of Covid, so I didn't have a big launch party, so it went well online. I mean, everything's virtual now, so I'm like, okay, I have to do this in-person launch party. Like I threw myself a party like in September.
I'm like, I gotta do this. And I did it and I was like, all right, that's done. Like, but to me, I celebrated way before, but everyone's like, you need to do a launch party. You need, and I was like, oh, now I'm doing this to please you, because externally that's what celebration looks like.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: But you know, I'm crying tears of joy not posting it on the internet because I was so proud of myself for doing the thing. And this more that we're after, like, yeah, enoughness, like what is it? There's a difference between I don't feel worthy. And then you have to challenge yourself, right? I tell this to women all the time.
If they're in business, I'm like, Well, no wonder why you're at capacity in burning out, like you're undercharging . Well, I could never do that. I could never. And then you get to it and they're like, well, I don't think I'm worthy of that value. And I'm like, why are you making it about you?
And I'm like, that's, there's so much in there. So it's like, Redefine what enoughness is. Is it your not enough because you have so much life left to live inside of you and you have big dreams. So you kind of have this download of the next 50 years of your life, so you're like, okay, we're gonna get there.
We're gonna get there. Or is it like not enoughness because you actually don't feel worthy of receiving anything. You have to be mindful of this, and that's where the journey continues. So, my rule of thumb is if it's a desire inside of me, it was meant for me. If I don't act on it, that desire is either gonna go away and go to somebody else, or it's gonna get bigger and bigger and bigger and bigger until it explodes in my face.
So I need to act on it at some point that not enoughness will always be there, [00:25:00] but also this like, you know, my husband says to me all the time, you're, oh, you're so humble or whatever, and I'm like, I just don't care. Once you've achieved an external goal of hitting a revenue goal, writing a book, doing the things you think something magicals gonna happen, and you get there and you're like, This is it.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh. Every single time I hit all that changes any mile marker. This is the part that that I want. I mean, for anyone listening, you will, you will resonate with this. Anytime you hit a mile marker, you get there. It feels good for a minute, and then you're like, what's the next thing.
Right, like I got through medical school. I thought once I graduate medical school, I'm set and good. And then it was like, oh nope, we have residency. And then after residency it's like the shifting sand. It's like the line keeps moving and moving and moving. And I think that that's why when we use that external standard, To define enoughness, we're going to always feel not enough.
Heather Chauvin: 100%.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And it's like one of my, my core principles, one of the intentions that I have on this podcast and for anyone that ever works with me is how do we really start having an internal validation point for ourselves? We know what our own inner desires are. We know what our own inner ambitions are. What if we could see the outside world, see the standards that are placed around us, but use our own internal validation to define enoughness because otherwise we're going to keep chasing the impossible standard. And rather than challenging the standard, which is what I want high achievers to do, we question ourselves.
And it's, it's like the worst way because you're gonna keep chasing, which doesn't feel good. At all.
Heather Chauvin: Yeah. The last few years I've shifted a lot in my personal and professional life and I think raising a teenager has shifted a lot of that. Cause it's like, oh, I need to become a different version of myself.
Oh, there's grief here. Oh, you know, hitting milestones in my business or career and then going, well, who am I now? Like it's a whole different level. And it's been fascinating to watch where people will like, oh, do you wanna do this? Oh, this person, they've achieved this. And I was like, I don't care. I don't care.
It's all about a feeling, all about a feeling. But there are some mind games where you're like, is this external or is this internal? And I tell people all the time, I'm like, it's not the thing you're after. It's the feeling. So you wanna lose the weight. How do you wanna feel when you lose the weight?
You wanna feel lighter. You wanna feel energized, then you need to create that feeling today, not something.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right. Right. Oh, that's so good. I'm wondering, because one of the things that you mentioned was energetics and then your calendar. Because I'm a big calendar person. I'm like, again, some, I'm a recovering people pleaser.
I'm also a recovering planner. I used to be the person that would like to have every color marker and highlighter, I mean four different kinds of planners and apps. And I loved planning because it just felt like if I planned more, that means I'm going to produce more. It means I'm going to be more productive.
And it's literally not the way it works. So when you said that, my ears perked up. So tell us what is energetics and planning and how does that work?
Heather Chauvin: So let me ask you this, are you the type of planner that you plan, do you actually follow through with the plan or you just love the planning process?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So my old self used to make all the plans and not follow through on the plans. And now when I plan, I follow through. That's been a long journey to get there, but I was someone that would make the plan and then feel like, Ooh, that was really like, I've accomplished a lot, but not actually accomplish anything afterwards.
And then just making a new plan. So every Monday we're making brand new plans and throwing away old plans.
Heather Chauvin: Yeah. It's like a form of perfectionism.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Absolutely.
Heather Chauvin: It's a form of...
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Absolutely.
Heather Chauvin: ..Like the plan without the action. So I tell people, I'm like, great, what's the action that you're taking? They're like, well, I'm not taking any action.
Like, that's why you're not getting the result.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: But the second you start taking the action is where the feeling comes in. Right. The resistance. The not enoughness, all of that. I like planning ish kind of. I go in seasons of loving it, not loving it. I think because now I've conditioned myself that like creating a plan doesn't create transformation.
It's just like 10% of the whole bigger picture. So energetic time management is getting clear on how you wanna feel and then reverse engineering it. So I teach a process. There's like literally a little mini course I teach on my website. It's in my bigger coaching as well. And what we do is, Number one, you get clear on how, like what it is that you want.
So you can say, my favorite journal prompt that I use is, wouldn't it be nice if. And wouldn't it be nice if is not asking you your goals and desires? It can be. You could be like, wouldn't it be nice if my business hit a million dollars, $10 million? I don't know. But you can also say things like, wouldn't it be nice if I could have a day off?
Wouldn't it be nice if I could drink a glass of water right now? Wouldn't it be nice if I felt really good in my pants? Wouldn't it be nice if someone cooked dinner for me tonight? Like all the little and big things. And then step two, as you go next to each kind of thing that you've written down and you write down the feeling that you're after.
Lighter, energized. Like no one's ever gonna say, I feel like crap here. I feel like, like it's all the good stealing words, what you want and desire.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah. Okay.
Heather Chauvin: Then you take the feeling word, right? Free, energized, abundant to live, and you start like brainstorming, huh? This all depends and it's more of a practice.
What are some things that I could do today that can allow me to infuse more of that feeling? So from a business perspective, it could be, I'm not gonna have meetings in the morning. I'm gonna do it in the afternoon, or I'm gonna take Fridays off. Fridays are like, you know, in the summer I'm gonna take Fridays off.
Like whatever it is. Like you have to ask yourself those things. It could be a physical thing or it could be, oh my gosh, I used to love dance as a little girl or something. You're like, I'm gonna, I'm gonna take an adult dance classroom or watch a YouTube video. For me. For the longest time, I had to physically put food on my calendar and have an alarm because I would bust through my day, I wouldn't eat, and then at the end of the day, I would be exhausted and it was causing burnout cuz I was like a Ferrari, trying to make things happen during the day. And then I was exhausted. So I had to learn how to fuel myself.
Right? And so, I had to learn how to live in alignment with how I wanted to feel. So I started putting these things on my calendar. That's where the planning piece comes in. So instead of having this long to-do list, I had more like a to-do list. And then I started putting those things on my calendar first, and then putting the things around it like my to-do list around it.
And now it's the way that I think. So I'm always thinking, how do I wanna feel? How do I wanna feel? How do I wanna feel? And I'm always aligning with that. And so an example of this is not just about the physical calendar, that's the planning piece. But now this translates into [00:32:00] business models. Now this translates into relationships.
Okay? I have to have a conversation with my child. I wanna feel connected to them. What are the words that I can use? What's the energy I can bring instead of, you know, persecuting and blaming and shaming? And if that does happen cuz I yelled and I'm human, can I go back and say, you know what, I'm really sorry, you know, and own my stuff.
So I'm always thinking, how can I feel? Where I think the average person doesn't ask themselves that.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Absolutely.
Heather Chauvin: I think they're like, how much can I get done?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Oh, this is so good. This is so good. I love this. So the example that's coming to my mind is, you know, the example that you said was like, I want Fridays off for the summer.
I can imagine like a working mom is like, that would be just lovely. But really the feeling, if you go to the next step, the feeling that she's probably desiring is she wants to feel relaxed. She wants to feel more relaxed in her working mom life. And so what you're saying is instead of trying to just focus on getting Fridays off, to use that feeling of relaxed as her internal compass. . And then brainstorm, what are all of the things that she could do now today to feel more relaxed?
And put those things on her calendar so that she starts to feel more relaxed now and then whether she gets Fridays off or not. It's like not even really the point, it's, the point is that she's creating feeling relaxed. Is that?
Heather Chauvin: Yes. What we think we need versus what we actually need are two different things. So, you know, when we're coaching people, people come in and be like, I need to do this, or I need to do that. And I'm like, well, if you knew how to solve your problem, you would've solved it by now. So it's not just because you're not following through, you don't actually know what you're doing.
That's why we have professionals. So I often see this when women come in and they're like, my child needs to, my partner needs to, I just need to make this much money. I just need to leave my job. That's a big one. Yeah. I just need to leave my job and most of the time I'm like, first of all, if you leave your job.
What are you gonna do? I'm gonna start a business. Starting a business is not easy. It's not as easy as everyone makes it look online. It's a different identity. You still gotta work. You still have to show up.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: And sometimes it's just implementing boundaries at work. Sometimes it's using your voice.
Sometimes it's like dealing with your crap with a certain person and so, yeah. It's not the thing you're after, it's the feeling. Right.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So, yes. So like when someone comes to you more relaxed and they say like, I need my kid to behave differently. I need my partner to do this. I need to quit my job.
That's the next question that you're asking 'em. Like what is it you're trying to feel?
Heather Chauvin: So the first question I ask them, usually let's be specific.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: I want my children to listen to me.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Love it.
Heather Chauvin: And I will say,
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Love that one.
Heather Chauvin: Well, first you take out children. So I'm a huge fan of Byron Katie. Work like mirror work.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Absolutely.
Heather Chauvin: Turning it back on yourself.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: So, hundred percent.
Heather Chauvin: I want to listen to myself. And [00:35:00] then it's like, oh, wow, that's deep. No, I would just much rather project it onto my kids and blame my children, right? I wanna listen to myself. Like that's a big thing of like, well, how do I listen to myself? I don't know how to listen to myself, right?
Because we're so used to meeting everybody else's needs. So the reason why, I mean, it can get very philosophical and like big, but then I ask them, great. How do you wanna feel when you are communicating with your kids or when you're talking to them? Well, I wanna feel connected and I don't wanna yell.
Okay, cool. Then why are you yelling? Well, I'm yelling because I'm overstimulated and my body is in fight or flight. Why? Because I'm neglecting my needs.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right.
Heather Chauvin: And I'm not paying attention to what I need because I'm living in a chronic state of fight or flight.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right.
Heather Chauvin: So it's like Great. So you have to be proactive instead of reactive.
So these people are in your life showing you where you need to grow. [00:36:00] So this, I learned previous to my diagnosis like 10 years ago. And then after my diagnosis I was like, it's go time. Like I need to become this. I need to master this skill. But some of it was like, I've never experienced that before in my life.
Like when you tell people, like people will say, I wanna feel energized, I wanna feel relaxed. Okay, great. Tell me when you lived a relaxed life. They're like, well, I've always been a little anxious, or, you know, stressed out. You know, or they'll say, previous to children or previous to this, I was relaxed.
Well, you, you're not gonna get rid of your family. You have to learn how to like live in your body now. And so I had to physically put these things on my calendar, but I would ask myself, what would like an alive person do? Well, they're not gonna sit in bed all day crying themselves to sleep. They're gonna get up, feel their emotional discomfort, take a shower.
You know, like even if it's a few things they have to check off. And so I had to push myself to become this type of person. I had to push myself to go on that walk when I didn't wanna go on the walk. I'm never motivated to do things. I'm motivated to make an impact, so I have to become the type of person that does the thing that I know will result in a feeling that I desire after.
But it's all of the excuses and stories that we tell ourselves that is the strongest form of resistance, and that's actually what we're working through on the daily. I look at my kids and I'm like, why won't you listen to me? I'm not listening to myself. And I'm not listening to my kids, you know?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right, right. Just both ways, like we want.
Heather Chauvin: Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I think for me, cuz a lot of my own work was around my son and me wanting him to listen to me, me wanting him to be different than he was. And I think what was the biggest breath of relief for me was this piece.
Heather Chauvin: Yeah.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Like, oh, I want him to listen to me because I want to be heard.
Yeah. I want to feel heard. And I'm like, oh, here. I had no idea that I had not been listening to myself. I had not been hearing myself, and I've been putting it on like this little, he was like three and a half at the time, and I'm like, okay then. We've been putting a lot of pressure on a three and a half year old to listen to me rather than like me doing the heavy lifting.
I love that. Your podcast is called Emotionally Uncomfortable.
Heather Chauvin: Someone asked me that.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I'm not unstable.
Heather Chauvin: They're like, is it say unstable? I'm like, no. Emotionally. Emotionally. Uncomfortable.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Uncomfortable. I love that because what you are saying is, We put in how we want to feel as our compass, right?
As we like, that's the way that I want to feel. But tell me if this is kind of what you're saying, you have to be willing to feel uncomfortable in the moment to be able to create that too. It's like you wanna relax now, but it's uncomfortable. You're gonna be challenging, unfamiliar, like you're familiar patterns to create that.
So how do you, what do you think about that dichotomy of challenging old patterns, doing the uncomfortable thing now to feel the way you wanna feel now?
Heather Chauvin: So the funny thing is, my podcast used to be called Mom Is In Control. And people found me because they're like parenting control. Like they wanted to feel in control.
That is not a feeling. Control is not a feeling. I'll ask people all the time, how do you wanna feel? They're like in control. I'm like, yeah, that is not a feeling. That is a masculine state of being like controlling something else. And as I kept talking over and over and over again, I'm like, Why does everybody keep saying they want joy and abundance and freedom and energy, but they will not feel their fear or their guilt or their shame?
Like not even for 10 seconds they avoid it. Yeah, like it's just like, come on.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: Oh, I can't do that cuz that would make me feel guilty. Oh, I can't do that. That's too scary for me. That's a big risk. Like I just told you to like to do a five second video on Instagram. Like, why do you think you're gonna die?
Like, pay attention to this. Why are we allowing our feelings to control us? So big. It's self-awareness, right?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Absolutely. Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: Yes. There's that moment if I want to. I don't know. There's so many things I could choose from, but like examples, something so silly. I have all these things I need to get done today.
I also need/desire to go to the gym.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, yeah.
Heather Chauvin: Going to the gym. There's resistance around it for me.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: But I feel amazing when I'm done. That is not my comfort zone at all. For some it is.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: So I could sit here in my comfort zone and bust through all these things. So I have to now do the inner coaching to be like, okay, I need to have boundaries and be like, okay, work for an hour and then you're going to the gym.
Just get to the gym and then you can come back to this. I have to have boundaries. I have to feel my feelings in order to do that, to get to where I wanna go, and people are constantly like, Well, Heather, I'm doing the thing and I, I still, I feel resistance. I feel scared. I feel this, and I'm like, yeah. Also, I like to use the mason jar as an example.
I usually have one on my desk. Let's pretend this mason jar is full of like black coffee. It's dark. Okay? Black coffee, representing fear and guilt inside of you. You're full of fear. You're full of guilt. If I want joy and ease and abundance, I have to start pouring that into my cup. Like, let's pretend it's water.
I probably need to pour, I should do this as a scientific experiment, like I'm teaching kindergarteners like 10 times more water to get rid of all of the coffee till eventually this actually becomes fully clear. Right?
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Right.
Heather Chauvin: So I need to pour way more into my cup and then eventually I'm like, Oh, okay.
The relaxation is here. The ease is here. The second you do something that you think is going to relax you, everything you've been avoiding is going to bubble to the surface. So you just have to keep at it, keep at it, keep at it until one day you're like, Oh, I actually feel a little more relaxed, but you will not feel that way at first.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, I love that. And it kind of almost reminds me a little bit of like retraining your nervous system and rewiring your brain. I think, and this is a lot of what I do with my clients, we talk about how do you rewire your brain? How do you change old habits? It's exactly this, right? We have to start taking new action, but it has to come from a new feeling.
Right. That's the key. We can't just bulldoze with another action plan. I know. Ask me how I know because I've tried. I've tried every action plan. Every plan cannot rewire our behaviors or our brain. We have to come from a new feeling, which I just, I love because then you retrain your nervous system and you get to receive more and have more, which is I think what women really want, which.
I love, which is so good. So Heather, there was one thing when your team reached out to me about doing this podcast, I was thinking about what it is that my audience, which again is like high achieving [00:43:00] women, working moms, I think about what they want, what they need, what they really desire. And a lot of it is what we've been talking about today, which is rewiring and energetics, and this whole thing of really retraining our nervous system.
But I think what a lot of my audience loves is practical strategies and practical steps and tools. So I love that you shared your three steps for the energetics around how to change your calendar. The other thing that I thought I loved was the 10 minute habit. I was super intrigued by that. Can you tell us what is a 10 minute habit?
How do we incorporate this into our life?
Heather Chauvin: Yes, so this was inspired by James Clear the Atomic Habits. So I'm, yes, I love surrounding myself with science minded people and the ones that I trust. I'm like, great, you do the research, but I am not a science geek like, I'm not gonna do the science. So I'm like, all right, I trust you.
Let's do that. And I watch how people are like, okay, yes, they're the person, the book Atomic Habits. Go read it. It's like the science of creating transformation and change. And James talks, James Clear talks about this two minute rule. I break everything down to two minutes. Right? You wanna go to the gym?
Just put your shoes on like day one, day two, get in the car, day three shoes on, get in the car. You might drive to the gym and then turn around and go home. Like breaking it down to basics. So I'm like, how can I take this concept and marry it with my energetic time management process, which is like managing the energy, not your time, based on what you desire.
So we went through the process. You've discovered that your feeling is relaxed. You're like, what is the thing I'm gonna do on a daily basis that feels relaxed? I have no idea. Let's pretend you're like, I'm gonna go for a 10 minute walk in the middle of my day. And that actually makes you uncomfortable, okay?
So it needs to be emotionally uncomfortable, so you're like, oh, wow, no, I could never do that. I just need to plow through my day. So if it makes you uncomfortable, you know you're headed in the right direction. You do it for 10 minutes every single day. Like religiously. If you're like, oh, that's my comfort zone, then you have to pick something that is an edge for you.
It depends on how your brain is wired. Some people love to do those things as avoidance strategies. Some people will not do them, so it doesn't have to be 10 minutes of meditation. It could be anything. You're like, oh, I'd love to sit and read a book, but that makes me emotionally uncomfortable. Then whatever it is, you're doing it for 10 minutes a day.
And at the end of the day, you're done. So for me, with the whole workout thing, although it was longer than 10 minutes, my goal at the beginning was just to get to the gym. If I couldn't get to the gym, I had to work out in my garage for 10 minutes and that was it. So even if I was like, oh, I'm working out.
Today's a good day. I'm gonna keep doing it longer, I would do it longer, but I just committed to something consistently for 10 minutes that was in alignment with how I wanted to feel. And that's the 10 minute habit. And it's a lot more difficult than people think it is.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: I mean, I'm just even imagining right now, because as soon as you put those words, it's emotionally uncomfortable.
You depict something at your, I call it like a growth edge, right? Like what's at the edge of your comfort? I think that that's the part that people do, their u-turn, they get to their edge, they start to feel emotionally uncomfortable, and then they reverse back. They're like, let's just stay in the zone of comfort.
But I think that the thing that tips people over, why are they willing to do the 10 minute habit? If it's emotionally uncomfortable, they desire the result more. Than their current status quo. And I want everyone hearing this to really think about whatever result you're desiring, whether it's for your body, for your work, as a mom, as a wife, anything, if you desire that result more than your current status quo, this is the currency to get there.
Going to your growth edge, being willing to sit with discomfort, knowing that you're safe. Like, I really like to go back to safety. Like you're okay. Feeling uncomfortable. I'm safe. Nothing is happening. There's no lion outside the cave that's going to eat me. I'm okay right now. Creating safety and discomfort is such a beautiful step forward, which I just love.
Thank you for sharing that. I love it.
Heather Chauvin: I love that you talk about safety so much cuz it is, right? You're, you're not going to feel safe when you're growing and so you have to co-create with this. I started developing a relationship with my emotions. So whether it was fear or guilt or just resistance in general, because I couldn't label it.
I was like, oh, this is the cause I have three children. I'm like, this is the fourth. Child, I didn't know I had, and I started treating this resistance like a child having a tantrum. So I was like, I'd close my eyes right before I'd send that email and I'd be like, you're okay. You're okay. You're okay.
And so when I started treating that resistance like an actual person, it was like, I got you. I got you. But you gotta move over for a moment. You're safe. You're safe, you're safe. So I do think sometimes, you know, we're doing the breath work, we're doing the mindfulness, we're doing all the things.
We're like, that feeling is still there. It's like it's going to be, you know, how do I get over this? How do I get over that? Yeah. Like we're still looking to perfect our way through our emotions. Yeah. It's like, unfortunately, you're gonna have to feel your feelings, even if it's just for little moments of time.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah, it's the example that's coming to my mind, but I did all the right parenting techniques and strategies and my kid is still acting up. Like I thought this was supposed to fix something. And it actually speaks back to even this idea of people thinking that they need to fix themselves and other people, when in fact, there's nothing ever to fix.
Actually, we just need to recognize who we are as humans. And that there is going to be the good with the uncomfortable. And that's just the real nature of how it is. There's nothing to actually fix when we're uncomfortable which I just love.
Heather Chauvin: I was gonna say that's such a juicy statement.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Yeah.
Heather Chauvin: And I've started to surround myself with people who are like, thank you for sharing. I greatly dislike when I'm in the presence of people and I'm having a human experience. And I'm like, I just need to be heard right now. And they're like, thank you for sharing. Do you need anything from me? I'm like, no, just hear me.
I dislike when I'm expressing or letting something out. And they're like, well, do this. Do this. Take this da da. And I'm like, oh, you're trying to fix me? I don't wanna be fixed right now. So it's such a good reminder that as women, we don't need to know the answer all the time. We just need to be able to hold space as well.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: And it's also just a good reminder that we don't like that feeling of needing to be fixed either. No. Here, I think this happens often. I know because again, I've done it. We think if only the kid, the partner, the job, the boss, the colleague, the friend, were different. Then we would get to feel a certain way.
And I think what we're talking about is nobody wants to try to be fixed. We don't either. Right. And so what would it look like to embark on self-improvement without that as like the lens that we come into it with? It's just, I'm gonna go to my growth edge and I'm gonna bust past it. It's not, I'm not fixing anything.
I'm growing. It's, I think it's such a different perspective, which I just think feels better.
Heather Chauvin: A hundred percent. And people know that when you're in a relationship with them, stop trying to fix me.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: It's like, yes, yes. Yeah. It's like, oh yeah, I needed that reminder. Yeah. So good. Heather, it was so good having you on the podcast today and sharing everything with us.
Tell all of the lovely listeners how they can find you and learn more about you.
Heather Chauvin: Yes, so podcast, Emotionally Uncomfortable. I hang out there a lot. I also have two other private podcasts that branch off of this. One's on parenting and one is on business. I also like the E T M process that we talked about.
I break it, it's a little mini course. I break it down into five steps for you, workbook, all the things. You can check that out at heatherchauvin.com/freegifts with an S and all resources are there to find me all the things.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: If you didn't write all of that down, we'll put the links in the show notes so that people can just directly come and click the link and they will be sent to all of your amazing resources.
Thank you so much, Heather.
Heather Chauvin: God, this has been amazing. Thank you.
Dr. Priyanka Venugopal: Bye. If you're loving the podcast, you're going to want to grab my free email training specifically designed for the high achiever. This email training will cover the three most common obstacles that high achievers face, and exactly how to overcome them.
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It is seriously magic. You can go and grab this email training over at theunstoppablemombrain.com/magic. I hope you guys have an amazing week. I'll see you next time. Thanks for listening to the Unstoppable Mom Podcast. It's been an honor spending this time with you and your brilliant brain. If you want more resources or information from the show, head on over to theunstoppablemombrain.com.