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The Encore Entrepreneur



Our guest, Mary Meduna Gross, through the Energy Leadership Model, shares the seven energy levels we humans have access to and where most of us spend our time. This is key to understanding how our perceptions create our reality. Creating the reality we want begins with awareness, and the concepts that Mary shares will help you see life through a different lens.

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Episode Transcript:

[01:05] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: We're excited to welcome Mary Meduna Gross to the show. Mary focused all of her energy on becoming a leader that brought out the best in others for more than 20 years. As she burned out, her superintendent told her that although she was doing the right things, she wasn't getting the right results. He told her to figure it out or go.

With this nudge, Mary finally accepted the fact that she couldn't compartmentalize the parts of her that hurt from the parts of her she wanted others to see. In order for her to be the leader she wanted to be, she had to stop relying on knowing and doing. She had to get real with herself about who she was being. 

Now, Mary is a mindset coach, helping conscious business leaders be happier, healthier, wiser, and connected to the unlimited possibilities. Her company is Blue Bamboo Leadership. And we are super excited to welcome you, Mary. Welcome to the show. 

[02:06] Mary Meduna Gross: Oh, so great to be here with both of you. Thank you.

[02:07] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: I'm excited because we're going to be talking about how our perceptions create our reality. And I'm sure your story had a lot to do with bringing this topic to the forefront.

[02:17] Mary Meduna Gross: It had everything to do with it because when I decided that I wanted to be this leader, the leader that brought out the best in others, this purpose became clear to me when I was an undergrad. So I was studying special education, and I knew that I wanted to create a classroom where all kids, regardless of abilities or disabilities, felt like they belonged and that they could excel. And I knew that I didn't want to just do that for my classroom; I wanted to be able to do that for our whole building and then, of course, the whole district. And I thought that in order to be that person again, this is my 20-year-old selfish here, that to become that leader, I would need two things. I would need credentials, so I would need the knowledge part. In this time period, I decided I would not stop school until I earned my doctorate in leadership because I wanted to be that good at it. Right? I wanted to know everything there was about it. That's what a doctorate meant to me at the time. 

The other thing that I said that I needed to do was to get as much real-life experience in leadership roles as possible. So even as a teacher, I would take on union leadership roles. I can remember in one school, I just gathered all the teachers who were interested to come together and talk about how we want our classrooms to be and how we create that intentionally. So even though I was doing those things, I got the credentials, I got the knowledge. I learned as much as I could about leadership, and I was practicing leadership from an early age, like my mid-20s. 

So to be pulled into my superintendent's office some 18 years later and told that, gosh, congratulations, you're doing the right things, but it's not getting the right results. Now you have to figure this out. 

When I came back to my desk after that conversation, a couple of things were happening. One was, well, what the hell are you supposed to do, right? If I'm already doing the right things, then what other levers do I change to create the results that I want? And the other thing that went through my mind, and I find this now really interesting, is that I finally asked myself, Mary, how are you contributing to the challenges that this district is facing? Because up until that moment, Carmen, I was the one who was hired to come in and solve the problem. I was the problem solver, which meant that everyone in the district was the problem. Now, I can see that. 

Now, I didn't realize that that was the perception that I was operating from at the time, but I think that perception in and of itself that I'm the problem solver and everyone else is the problem was really at the core of what my biggest challenge was. So for me to finally say, Mary, how are you contributing to this? Was a big step, and I love it. 

Sometimes when I speak to the universe, the universe literally speaks back to me. And in this moment, it was one of those times when the universe spoke back to me. And when I said, how am I contributing to the problem? A framework from my master's in counseling came up, and this was the Jahari window. And basically, what it says is that there's part of you that you know, and everybody else does, too, but there's also part of you that you don't know, and no one else does either. And so when that came to me as an answer to my question of how are you contributing to the problem, I immediately went to that quadrant of there's parts of me that I don't know, and no one else does either. 

Because I believe my superintendent wanted me to be successful, but he didn't know how to help me either. He could see that I was doing what everyone was told, that this is how we're supposed to be doing it. He didn't know why I wasn't getting the right results either. And so that's really where I thought, okay, so my challenge is here in this unknown quadrant, I bet if I could figure out what's going on in there, then I could right the ship. 

And the next thought was, oh, my gosh, I can't be the only one who has followed this path of what we're supposed to be doing and how it's supposed to look, and then still not get to the reward, not to get to the success, because something was blocking us. Now that I know, now I know it's, our perception is what we believe about ourselves, and dictates how we make meaning of what is happening around us. Is that making sense so far?

[06:54] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Totally. Yeah, that makes so much sense.

[06:57] Deirdre Harter: Mary and I think you've really hit on something because when you're an expert in something, just like a lot of us have done that, right? We've gone and gotten the credentials, and the training and the certifications and the this is and the thats, and then we get experience to put on top of it, and it puts us at a place where we don't think we have to question it anymore. Like we think we've arrived, right?

[07:23] Mary Meduna Gross: For sure.

[07:24] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Right.

[07:24] Mary Meduna Gross: And so then I love that because that would also explain why I didn't pivot sooner, right? Because it wasn't like that day was the day that something fell apart. Things were challenging for days, weeks, and even years prior to that, but because I already had this path, this is what I have to do to get to success. I never even stopped to consider that it doesn't really seem like this path is getting me where I want to go.

[07:50] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Well, I think sometimes what happens, too, is just like what Deirdre said. You think you're done, you got the degree, the certification, the whatever. So you're “supposed to” know, so you're just going and doing the thing, and it doesn't occur to you, like you said, to even ask. 

But I love that when you said the universe talks to you when you talk to the universe, it's true. And if you're willing to listen for things, and if you're willing to look at life through the lens of curiosity, I think that's such a powerful tool. Why is it that I'm doing all these things the right way? And even my superintendent says that I am, but this isn't working? And it doesn't have to automatically be because I don't know what I'm doing or I'm wrong or something like that, but it's a real invitation to explore with curiosity what's going on. And I think that also leads to the beauty of looking at life through that lens all the time and knowing that just like a physician, they have a practice, right? They don't arrive. Sure, they get their MD or whatever, but they call it a practice, and they call it a law practice. 

I think life is a practice, and we don't think of it that way, but really it is. And we should always be striving to learn more about ourselves and everything that's going on around us every year. And I think that curiosity helps us to get into that mindset to do that.

[09:22] Mary Meduna Gross: I would agree with that 100%. To be curious, we have to be willing and comfortable with setting aside what we think we already know. Because I think this need to be right, I know that that's been one of my biggest challenges. 

To be right meant that I had credibility. To be right meant that I was right. 

Now I can see that as a defense mechanism. Whereas before, I really thought that's what I was supposed to do. I was supposed to know enough through study and experience to know the right answer. And I think that's probably one of the first beliefs that I would take off the table is that there's probably no right answer. There are better answers than others, of course, but I no longer require myself to find the right answer. I'm so comfortable now with going with curiosity when things don't go the way that I expected them to or wanted them to. 

In the past, my initial reaction would be, Mary, what did you do wrong? What did you not do enough of? What did you do too much of? I would be looking at how wrong I was, which is why we all want to be right, so we don't have to do that questioning of ourselves, but being able to say, I don't have to find the right answer. I just have to find the best answer that I can find right now and go with that and see what happens next.

Because that's another thing that you can tell from my story. As a 20-year-old, I had mapped out my entire career. Well, how silly is that, right? And so I thought that's what I was supposed to do. Set the path, get on the path, and start going there. And then all I wanted to do was just get there. Because the path itself was so exhausting, I just wanted to get there. And so to get there, I had to be right as quickly as possible and as often as possible so I could get to this desired end as quickly as possible. 

Now, all of that, again, is driven by our internal beliefs. And this is something I didn't know, right? You can hear this in my story. There's a lot of I should - this is what should happen. This is the right path. This is the wrong path. And all of that was boxing me into a little corner here that would only allow me to operate from those beliefs and those expectations, which, again, is why I couldn't be curious, why I couldn't be flexible in that version of me as a leader, because I was still wanting to be right. I was still defensive. And that's where that hurt part of me comes in when we have to defend ourselves. Let me talk a little bit about this Energy Leadership Model. So we have a framework, kind of what I'm talking about. Would that be okay if I drop that in here?

[12:25] Deirdre Harter: Oh, yeah, absolutely.

[12:26] Mary Meduna Gross: So one of the things that I learned because, again, as I said, oh, my gosh, I can't be the only one going through this, that's when I decided to become a coach, so that I could support others through these kinds of challenges. And the program that I chose was the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching, known as IPEC. And the reason that I chose that particular coaching school is because they have this Energy Leadership Model, and I loved that they were combining energy and leadership that spoke to me even though I didn't quite understand it at the time. 

But what they have laid out—Bruce Schneider is the founder, and he created this framework, and it's a framework of consciousness or energy. It starts at the lower levels which are considered the victim levels. This is where we feel like life is happening to us. So, of course, level one is I am the victim. The idea that I lose no matter what I do, I'm going to lose. I do not have the capacity to meet my own needs in a satisfactory way. And so people who have those kinds of core beliefs or beliefs in that cluster or that family, then their behaviors are going to be pretty consistent and familiar. This is when we withdraw. This is when we don't make commitments to anybody else because I don't know if I'm going to be able to keep that or I don't want anyone else to be holding me accountable for something that maybe I'm not going to be able to satisfy. 

And so we don't make commitments to one another. We really withdraw. We pull ourselves out, and we feel very alone. And now, that experience is reinforcing what we believe about ourselves. I feel alone, so I do all of these behaviors that keep me alone. And then, on the other side of that, I conclude, like, oh, my gosh, I'm just so alone. 

So level two will add a little bit more energy to that. But the energy that we're adding now is anger. And so level two is the fighter in us. And level two, I think, well, according to this assessment that we use, most people fall into this area of level two. We're fighters. I think we've been conditioned to be fighters. And basically, what that means is, in order for me to win, that means you have to lose. 

So this is where it comes in that I have to be right. I needed to be more right than everybody else on the team, where it has to be that not only am I right, but you're wrong. Because not only can I be right and just be right, and you can deal with your own, but I need to make you wrong so that I now appear even more right than I would just if we were all even. It's that idea that I have to fight for everything that I want and need, and I have to fight to protect myself because if I don't, someone else is going to come around, and they're going to hurt me. 

This is the conditioning that we've all been brought up with. This was who I was being as an educational leader. So, on the one hand, while I was doing the right things, I was delivering all of those activities from this space of fighting. So even though I would never consider myself a fighter, I'm not the kind of person who looks for conflict or enjoys any of that. But really, what I was doing is I was fighting to protect myself. And there was a whole part of me that was hurting that I wasn't even looking at. And so all of these defensive behaviors that I was doing, not even aware that I needed to do it, is around this hurt. And so now that's how I show up as a leader, doing the right things but delivering all of that from this place of defensiveness and hurt. 

So what that means then is even those people on my team who could follow my logic and maybe even believed in what it is, my vision, they couldn't fully trust me because of this energy that I was bringing around defensiveness. So that was my biggest breakdown. 

Level three is what I call the messy middle. At level three, we know we don't want to be the fighter or the victim anymore, but we're really not sure what it would look like to function at a higher level yet. And so, at level three, I love this level because this is really where we start to love ourselves. Again, as a leader, I thought everything I had to do was for everybody else. So I didn't pay attention to my own needs. I would disregard my own desires. I wouldn't even come up with them because I didn't want to have to go out and satisfy my own desires. Because, again, I believed I had to do it by myself. I didn't know that I could ask other people to come along on this journey with me. So at level three, we really learn to give ourselves grace and compassion. So every time we hear that inner chatter that is judging us or criticizing us or just telling us that we're not good—if we can bring our grace and compassion to that part of ourselves, we can heal that part of ourselves. And so there's a lot of rationalization, there's a lot of forgiveness at this level three as we're giving ourselves grace and compassion because that's going to prepare us now for the next levels. Levels four through seven. 

This is where we see life is happening for us, so we're no longer the victim. Life's not happening to us anymore. We are now the captains of our own ship. So then level four, whereas level three was really about us getting straight with ourselves, level four is now I'm putting everybody else first. It's you first, you win. Whatever I'm going to do, I'm going to make sure that you win. 

Now, for me, when I was growing up, this is not what giving was. It was how it was presented. Like the people around me were, the community that I grew up in was always about everybody else, always about everybody else. But I saw the cost from my mom. She would put herself out, always putting everybody else first, but the cost to her, and I thought, well, that's not loving, that's not giving, because if we're not loving ourselves in the process, how could we possibly be loving someone else? 

And so as I was going through this program, I really realized that the kind of loving and giving that I was growing up with was really a level two kind of loving and giving. That conditional “I'm going to do this for you because I expect something back from you in return,” whether that's acknowledgment, love, acceptance, whatever it is, I'm going to give to you because I want something back. That is a level two version of giving codependency. 

When we're talking about this level four, we're giving from a place of abundance. So I'm giving because I have it to give, and I expect nothing in return. I'm giving you a gift, and you can do whatever it is that you want with that gift. You can throw it away, you can ignore it, you can accept it, you can embrace it. It doesn't matter to me. I've given it to you, and it's now your job to decide what you want to do with it. So that's level four. 

Level five is the win-win. Talking about those leaders that we love, the win-win leaders, they're not defending themselves. They take care of themselves; they take care of their team. And they're in this position where they can really see solutions, access to resources that a leader on a lower level wouldn't be able to see. 

And so the six and seven are really, I call them, our aspirational levels. It's where winning and losing is an illusion. It's enlightenment. Those are pieces where we can really step—Here's my belief—I think we can step into and experience a level six or level seven kind of level of consciousness, but we don't live there. I don't know that we really know quite how to live there yet, but we can certainly live at levels five on down very easily. 

So it's fun. I mean, I really like knowing about levels six and seven. Is that level of it's all an illusion, right? There is no winning or losing at all. It's because you are me and I am you kind of oneness may or may not be super practical in a business setting, except that when it comes to really that humanistic side, that ability to see ourselves and others, that empathy, I think, is really important. So that is the outline. 

So I wanted to come back to then how this showed up for me as a leader, and you heard me talk a little bit about myself as the fighter and a little bit in that level three where I was learning to love myself and forgive myself. And what I really found is coming through that space, being able to finally build that relationship with myself, is what allowed me then to show up for other people in this more authentic way without my defensiveness getting in the way.

[21:23] Deirdre Harter: I love how you frame this out, Mary because I think as we gain experience, as we get older and more established in our roles, career, in our businesses, I think that we begin to have an inkling of some of this kind of thing, but we can't put a name to it, right? And we're like, well, I think something is happening here, and I think I'm moving into this new space of awareness. But the way that you frame this out is really helpful because I can also see from looking at my past, I can see those levels that you're talking about. So that is really helpful for us.

[22:04] Mary Meduna Gross: I love that framework for that reason, too, because sometimes we can't even articulate what it is that we're doing now because we're so in it. It's like a fish just trying to describe water, right? But when we see it laid out, regardless of where we are at any one given moment, we can at least imagine what it might look like at one of the other levels. 

And I also just want to say for the record that none of these levels are bad or inappropriate. 

It's just that we don't want to get stuck at these lower levels. There's a time to be withdrawn and pull yourself back, especially when things are getting rough. There's a time to step up and to advocate for yourself and to fight, but also to do that in a way that is still a win-win scenario. So I just wanted to make sure that the listeners know that we're not judging any of these levels, but just having clarity on what it looks like at those levels now gives us the opportunity to make more conscious choices.

[23:06] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yes, I love that. An exercise we love to share with our listeners and our clients is one that I was reminded of when you were talking about the need to be right. And that was just you're in that space, and you don't realize there could be something different. But the other thing is, there almost never—unless we're talking about math—is only one right answer. 

And so the exercise that I'm alluding to is when you can look at a situation and you can identify more than one right way. Right is the wrong word, but more than one solution for it. If you can start looking at things and identifying more than one solution, that really helps us step into the objective analysis part of our brains, and it removes us from that just rote doing things for the sake of doing them. Like if there's something where, let's say, you're feeling down about something, and I am fully about we want to honor what our feelings are and all of that.

[24:12] Mary Meduna Gross: Right.

[24:13] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Sometimes if we get into these moods, though, where maybe we're thinking this isn't going to work because of and you can only come up with right at the moment three reasons why or ten reasons why something's not going to work. Well, I would challenge people to when you're able to, and maybe it's not in that very moment, but go back to whatever it is you're struggling with and see how many reasons you can come up with why it would work. So it's kind of like we train our brains to look at things. The more we do that kind of thing, the more that our brain automatically will look for the opposite of what we're first set landing on.

[24:49] Mary Meduna Gross: Absolutely right. So even think about that piece right now, where are we looking? Think about this continuum that we just described from the victim to the enlightened. The more that we're on that victim end, the more we rely on facts and data because, again, we're trying to find that right answer on the more creative side, we're more open to possibilities, and we're willing to play with possibilities instead of saying, I have to pick the one thing that's going to work here. And so again, being on that creative end, we give ourselves more grace to play and to discover what is going to be best in this scenario. Because the knowing can be helpful to kind of put us in the right direction of what might work for us, but it's probably not going to be prescriptive for us. 

[25:45] Deirdre Harter: Yeah. And one of the things that we're talking about here, and you started to talk about in the very beginning, was that our perception creates our reality. And I think that we hear that everybody's heard it. We pretty much understand it. But it's what Carmen was saying earlier. We have to practice it. We have to practice changing our perspective. I like to always think of it as changing the lens on a camera. You're going to see the picture differently. It's the same picture, but you're going to see it a little differently when you change out the lens and you zoom in or zoom out.

[26:19] Mary Meduna Gross: Right. Can I share a personal story?

[26:23] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Of course.

[26:24] Mary Meduna Gross: A couple of weekends ago, it was a Saturday, and my husband and I were outside. His parents were outside with us, and somebody wanted popcorn—a snack—and I was going to go upstairs and get it. And then my husband stands up and says, well, I'm going to go in and take a shower. And I said, oh, great. When you come back, why don't you bring the popcorn back? Well, he gives me the side eye or the eye roll. And I'm like, what the hell was that about? Come on, you're coming down anyway. What's the deal? So that was my story. That was my perception. And so that is a level two. That is, I'm right, he's wrong. Why is he so wrong? 

And I have to give him credit. Later in the day, he's like, we seem to be a little off base. Are we OK? And I lied. I said, yeah, sure, we're fine now. Part of it was because I wasn't clear yet on what I was upset about. I just knew I was upset, but I didn't have clarity on it. So I lied to him. And I thought, okay, Mary, you'll just sleep on this, and it'll be better in the morning. It was not better in the morning. I was still twisted about this, and I couldn't believe it, really, because it's an eye roll. What the heck, Mary? Why is this such a big deal? 

So I kind of asked him. I more or less just started going into my own space. And again, I love this guy. He's so good. He checked in with me, Mary, are you okay? And I'm like, no, but I'll deal with it. So at least I didn't lie to him this time. And I said, Let me deal with it. So here's what was happening for me that whole Sunday morning. I am going through this cycle of why did he have to roll his eyes at me? That's such a reasonable request to make. Why did he have to be that? Right? So it's all about him being wrong and me understanding why he had to be wrong. And then there was the other part of me that said, Mary, if you have a problem, that means the problem is with you. It's not with Marco. 

So what is the problem with you? And I didn't like that part. So I would go back, now, deciding how wrong Marco was and what I could do to correct and then I would catch myself, no, Mary, we're not doing that this time. What is it that put you in that position where you took such offense to such a small gesture? And it took me several hours to get to, oh, my gosh, I am absolutely exhausted. I am so freaking exhausted right now that his eyeroll just reinforced. I mean, it triggered that part of me that was tired. And here I thought I was asking for help, and I'm getting rejected by this ask for help. That's what my problem was. It wasn't him. He was just doing his thing. He heard something entirely different. 

Come to turn out later, when we finally talked about this, he heard something entirely different, which is why he rolled his eyes. 

So here's perception. He heard something entirely different. He rolled his eyes. I'm taking his eye roll as him rejecting helping me because I'm so tired and I'm not asking for help. This is just one thing I thought I could do. And now, because he rolled his eyes, I come to this conclusion. Well, I can’t ask him for help. That is, all of those conclusions are based on the fact that I was so tired and that my exhaustion colored my perception, and it changed how I made meaning out of his behavior. 

I didn't stop and get curious like, oh, well, why'd you just roll your eyes at me right now? Did I miss something? No, I didn't do that. I just immediately said, he's wrong, I'm right, and then spent the next 24 hours trying to figure out how I could explain to him how right I was and how wrong he was. 

But it has a good ending, right? Because when I was finally able to come back to him and say, hey, thanks for giving me the space on Sunday that I needed to get right with myself, here's what was happening for me and that I finally came to the point, I said, I'm just exhausted. And he said what we would want, I wanted him to say, what can I do to support you? Oh, my gosh, now I don't have to fight him anymore. I don't have to tell him that he's wrong and that I'm right. We're now on the same page together. I hope that makes sense.

[30:49] Deirdre Harter: Oh, yeah, it makes total sense. And I'm already thinking of several scenarios that are quite similar to conversations and my reaction to my husband as well.

I think that it's so important that we realize that this happens. It happens in our personal life, and there's emotions attached there. But I also know that this happens in business too, of course. I think what we do is because of that, we are the leader. We are the expert. Don't ever let them see you sweat. We push that all down, and so we just push it, push it, push it, because we can't let the people who are depending on us or looking up to us see that. And we feel like, oh, well, that will make me look weak or make me look like they can't listen to what I have to say. And then maybe we do release it when we are with the people that are closer to us that we aren't trying to have that persona with.

[31:53] Mary Meduna Gross: Yeah, well, from a cultural perspective, look at what that example is saying. And I just was having this conversation with one of my clients, and she's new to her assignment, and she says, you know, I really believe that culture is a top-down. I have to set the tone for the culture. And so if I am, as the leader, modeling this kind of well, I'll call it defensiveness, but it's the mask, wearing the mask being inauthentic that it's not safe for us to be vulnerable, then that's what our team is going to believe, which is possible for them. And so now we're creating this culture where not only do we defend ourselves against our own internal hurts, but now we're defending ourselves against one another. And so I think this is really why this is so important, this self-leadership. Anyone who not only leads themselves in a business but leads other teams is how are we leading ourselves? Because how we regard ourselves is how we will regard others because we operate from this one core set of beliefs. 

[33:03] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Yeah. And what you just said made me realize, too, that how many people are going through their day either in a leadership role in a corporation or as a business owner, or in any manner doing what they think is right because all the generations before them did that without stopping to think. And when you talk about this gal who is like, she realizes that the culture is top-down, good for her because she's going to change the dynamic, and she's going to change the conversation and the landscape of it all. And not everyone is brave enough to do that. And maybe that's because they're at the different energy level they're at. But it takes that bravery to be able to say, you don't have to go outward and say this isn't right, but looking at something and thinking, this isn't really working. So how can I be the person who makes it work better for everybody? I just love that. 

[34:03] Mary Meduna Gross: Yeah. Who do I need to be for this team right now? I love asking the who questions because I grew up asking all of the what and the how questions, but who do I need to be? Is that energy level? What do I need to believe about myself? What do I need to believe about the people that I'm interacting with?

[34:25] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Well, and how can we do that without overburdening ourselves? Because I also hear—if I picture myself stopping and saying, who do I need to be right now, that can also be something that puts a lot of pressure on me to be the solution.

[34:44] Mary Meduna Gross: Yeah. Right. I love that. I think the easiest way to get to this leader that we want to be is really by building that relationship with ourselves. So much of what we've been taught is all about external what am I doing strategy. If I'm leading others, what am I doing to lead others? What are the actions? And you'll know from my story that even if you're doing the right actions, you still may not be getting the right results. 

So in way to get to the right results is to focus on loving yourself. Because if you are loving yourself, you are going to treat others the way that you would treat yourself. Right now, we're all treating others the way we treat ourselves, and oftentimes that's really horrible. 

When I first started paying attention to the inner chatter that goes on in all of our heads, we all have inner chatter. So I do want to just put that out there. Sometimes people think that that inner chatter makes them crazy or that they shouldn't be listening to it. I think you should make friends with a voice in your head because what that voice is doing for you is it narrates your experience so that you have a little bit of separation from it. You're a little bit separated from it, and you're a little bit more objective. And it also gives you a sense that even if I'm not literally controlling everything, if I'm narrating it, it feels like I have some degree of control over this. 

So when I first started listening to that inner voice, I heard a lot of judgment, I heard a lot of criticism, I heard a lot of name-calling, I heard another person describe it as verbally abusive. And I have to say that that would describe my experience as well. 

So again, going back to my experience as a leader. So I've got this inner voice that is always criticizing me, always judging me. That's what's going to come out of me. I'm going to criticize, I'm going to judge, but I'm going to think that it's absolutely normal because that's normal in my world, my perception. And so when I started to tune into that voice and love that part of me that would call myself a name, I remember I was doing a workshop at a high school and, you know, high school, so there's a long walk from the parking lot to the building. And then, once you get in the building, there's still another long walk to the room that you're going to. And I get there, and I realize I forgot something in the car. And on the way back to the car, I heard myself, and I might have even been out loud calling myself names, and you're so stupid, and why would you do this? And I stopped myself. I said, oh my Lord, why am I beating myself up about this? It's no big deal to leave something in the car. Sure, it's a long walk, but I've got plenty of time. I'm early enough, this is not going to be a problem. So why am I beating myself up? 

And so this whole idea of listening to that inner chatter befriending that part of us that feels like I have to beat myself up. So instead of shutting that part down, I bring that part closer to me. And sometimes, in fact, I just had this conversation with a client, and we're talking about, just imagine how old are you? How old is this version of you that's name-calling you right now? So I can go to that six-year-old version of me that called myself so stupid for forgetting something, and I can just bring that part close to me and give her the love that she didn't have when she was younger. And so this is me now, loving on me. I believe that this is the key to making any of these shifts along this continuum of energy or consciousness is about loving ourselves. So the work isn't about how do I change myself so I can show up the way I want to. The work is how do I love myself because when I do, I will automatically show up the way I want to.

[38:50] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: I love that. That's such a great explanation. This has just been such a great conversation. Mary, can you let our listeners know how they can get in contact with you or connect with you online to learn more about how you work with people?

[39:02] Mary Meduna Gross: Yeah, absolutely. In fact, I have a new program that I'm launching right now, and it is a tech-assisted hypnotherapy. So I won't go into the whole long explanation of it. But what this program does is a three-month program, and it specifically addresses the core beliefs around I Am Lovable. And so, by using sound tones and distance healing kinds of modalities, I've been able to shift incredibly by learning to love myself more. I don't think I shared this with you yet, but when I first started this program earlier this spring, one of my patterns of behavior, the inner chatter, was no matter what I was doing, I needed to hurry up because I had more things to do. And I found that didn't matter how quickly I got done with one thing. As soon as I got to the next thing, the story was still the same hurry up and get this done now. You've got more to do. 

When I started with this I Am Lovable program, I was standing at the dishes middle of the day, which is normally one of those times where I would be telling, you know, get back to work. Instead, what I heard, again, clearly, was, Mary, you're doing exactly what you need to be doing right now. And again, I said, OK, well, tell me more about that. The universe is talking to me again. Tell me more. And it's just like, enjoy the warmth of the water and the slipperiness of the soap and the water and how good it feels when you scrape something off and the surface is now smooth and clean. Just be here now. And so, for me, this I Am Lovable program has really changed that chatter in my voice. Whereas before, it was very critical, now it's my biggest champion, it's my biggest support. It's the voice that says, you know what, Mary? Might be time for a break right now. You're pushing too much. 

So this again comes back to really clearing away all of those core beliefs we have about not being lovable. And when we are able to clear those away, now, we get to see our world more clearly. We don't have to defend ourselves, and we're really able to function in that level three, level four, even higher without effort. And that's, to me, I want to live at these higher levels without having to work at it. 

So to find me, my email address is mary@bluebambooladership.com. My website is the same bluebamboleadership.com.

There's information there about what I do and the work that I do. This new offer is not quite up there yet, but it will be very soon, so I hope people will be willing to check that out. I also have a podcast called Fully Alive and a group that goes with that called Fully Alive on Facebook, where we dig into these topics and really explore applying these ideas to our lives. Because it's one thing to listen to this, it's that knowledge piece. It's in the head. I love it. But what really changes is when we actually start taking these ideas and exploring them and experimenting with them and see how they work for us.

[42:16] Carmen Reed-Gilkison: Beautiful. Thank you so very much for sharing all of your wisdom with us today. It's been fabulous.

[42:21] Mary Meduna Gross: Oh, I love it too. Thank you so much.

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