Betsy Crouch Guadagno
Sizzling Consulting LLC
Check out Betsy's podcast “here we are today."
It a "one take-no edits-almost daily" podcast. A validation of the joys and challenges of the human experience in an ever shifting and transforming world. From coach, student, teacher, Betsy (Crouch) Guadagno.
Compassion. Encouragement. Stories. Lessons. Questions. Let's take it one step at a time."
Find her on the web:
Highlights & Imperfect Transcript
Examining my own life, I'm asking those same questions. I'm questioning what is this default? What is the expectation?
I was invited to go to a personal growth and development workshop with a woman whose name is Faith Spina, who became my first coach.
Louise Hay card: Loving others is easy when I love and accept myself.
Tiny step to start to see a new way of being.
You don't have to come in and paint the walls all these grand colors.
We can only go as fast as the slowest part of us wants to go.
Before I go and take a major action, I need to check in with myself.
I need to just allow things to move on their own.
Addiction is a disease that many people struggle with.
There's a lot of invalidation that goes on around mental health.
Put energy into building that muscle for love and compassion for myself and others.
I've been able to cultivate that love and compassion muscle.
Let's come back to center and go back with those questions.
Part of that resilience message is about celebrating and acknowledging mistakes and failures and learning from those experiences.
Resilience is about the ability to sit with all the hard stuff and then feel it and be with it and see it and be able to move through it to the other side.
Resilience is about wholeness.
I can't give to others what I can't give for myself.
Sometimes accepting the truth even if I don't like it.
We've adapted to function to these default settings as a way of survival.
Make the effort to shift to shift things.
Being in integrity and being whole and loving the wholeness of you.
We understand that when we have those vulnerable moments, we are witnessing and being a part of someone's strength.
Sizzle is that's very specific part of you that when you come into alignment, comes alive and is able to enjoy and be playful and express yourself creatively and serve your purpose.
You're lovable. Every single person is worthy of love.
Follow the sparks of joy. Those are clues in your life.
Every time there's a little bit of playfulness or a little bit of joy or a little bit of laughter, that's a wink to say that's the next step because that is your birthright.
Cheri Honeycutt: Hello, and welcome to the Design Your Life, On Purpose! podcast. Of course, you've probably already heard that in the pre-recording, but welcome again. I get so excited and even a bit nervous sometimes when I'm getting ready to have a phenomenal conversation. We won't analyze the nervousness part. But let's go into the excitement part. My guest today is Betsy Crouch, and you are going to be—I'm already giggling, I'm already laughing about what is about to happen because I don't know, but I'm so excited. You guys, we're looking at each other on the computer screen and we're already kind of laughing. It's very fun. Betsy, how are you and welcome.
Betsy Crouch: Thank you for having me, Cheri. I'm just honored to be here and thrilled for our connection and conversation. Every time we get a chance to connect and chat, it's just the upward spiral. So I'm thrilled.
Cheri Honeycutt: Upward spiral. Yeah, it's fun. So let me give you a thumbnail of Betsy and then I'm gonna mostly let you discover her yourself and then I'll have things in the show notes. Betsy is a Leader. I say that with capital “Leader”. She comes in with groups and teams and helps him get really centered around their values, about what's important with them. She is one of those synthesizers. These are my words, not hers. So synthesizer—she's a master facilitator. You should read some of her testimonials.
She brings to this you, guys, executive coaching, her understanding of psychology and improve—I can't even say it. Help me, Betsy!
Betsy Crouch: Improvising, but yeah. (Laughs)
Cheri Honeycutt: Improvisational theatre.
Betsy Crouch: Improvisational theatre. There you go.
Cheri Honeycutt: And which you can say I should never do. Entrepreneurship, positive psychology, appreciative inquiry, the list goes on. She's put all this on a package. And it is the package of Betsy that is such a phenomenal, phenomenal leader. And you're going to sense that. But of course, I'm having her here, not only as the leader, but as also just the human that she is to talk about life.
So how's that for an introduction?
Betsy Crouch: Oh, wow. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so much. Absolutely. I love talking about life. I'm fascinated by life and the human experience. Absolutely.
Cheri Honeycutt: That is one of the many reasons, Betsy, I've asked you to be on this podcast because here, the listeners who follow on this podcast or folks who are interested and not living by default, what I mean is not necessarily accepting the factory settings that they came into the world with or were told they had. But instead, go, “Wait a minute. What do I really want?” “Hey, where can I garner the stuff, the tools, the energy, the motivation to create that?” What do you think about that?
Betsy Crouch: Oh, my gosh, well, you and I are totally in alignment because anytime I get the opportunity to enter into conversation with people or even examining my own life, I'm asking those same questions. I'm questioning what is this default? What is the expectation? People often come to me and they say, “Oh, I have this problem. I need help solving it.” And so what we always do is we start taking steps backwards. I know you do this with people too. We start going back, back, back because we need to, like Einstein said, “If you have an hour to solve a problem, take 55 minutes to define what the problem is, and then five minutes to solve it.”
It's that questioning of like, “Wait a second, what is the actual goal here? Do we want to follow this path that's been well-grooved before us or do we really want to connect with ourselves holistically and what makes us come alive?” So I am here for it. That conversation, I mean, how much time do we have?
Cheri Honeycutt: Well, it's my contention and I don't really know that this is true, but I feel like it is. That the majority of people have not yet had the opportunity, been reminded, found the courage, whatever, to ask those questions. That if you're a person who is contemplating your own direction in your own way, you're living your life, you are already in the minority. What I mean by that, I guess this is a weird way of giving kudos to anybody who's stopping and doing that kind of assessment that you just mentioned, companies who are willing to say, “Hey, we might not be on the right path.” Or individuals. So it begins with or doesn’t begin with necessarily, but the questions, talk to me about how you approach questioning your yourself, your clients, whatever, go with it. How do you use the question?
Betsy Crouch: I want to start with, you mentioned people in our lives being in a situation where we don't even realize that we can question or we're not even to that point where we have the awareness or the exposure. We haven't had a conversation with somebody to ask us that curveball question that makes our head spin to say, “Wait a second, up isn't up and down isn’t down?”
I think that for me, when we live in that place before somebody asks a question and help us to get out of a certain pattern of thinking. Often, we feel there's something wrong with us. I mean, we think there's something wrong with us that we can't fit into this default programming or that we can't do things the way we think other people are doing them or succeed in the way that they succeed or look the way they look, act the way they act, have the kind of results, right? We could go through all these different ways. We compare it to other people.
And I can say that in my life, that was me for the first 23 years of my life. I was feeling like there's something wrong with me. I don't quite get how to do life. It seems to come more easily to other people. That's what I've experienced as a child. A lot of anxiety, seasons of depression. I mean, we could go into the different challenges that come from living in a place of feeling this sense of invalidation. A feeling like I can't quite do what it seems like everyone else is doing. Or if I am doing it, I've completely lost myself.
And that's where I ended up at 23. I was a (inaudible06:27) where I had played the character. I'd played the role. I had done what everyone said was the way to succeed. And even by that age—and I was in sales—I had a new BMW and I bought a condo, and I'd done the things that were material things that seemed like success. But I was totally unhappy, a shadow of myself and could see that I was going down a path of self-destruction.
What helped me get out of that, and want to come back to what you said about questions, is that I was invited to go to a personal growth and development workshop with a woman whose name is Faith Spina, who became my first coach. She helped to ask many of the questions and helped me to start to see things differently and even get my own information about what was appropriate for me.
And the first card that I picked, it was a Louise Hay card in that workshop. It was “Loving others is easy when I love and accept myself.” We were supposed to read the card and then say what it meant to us. And then when it got to me, my heart was beating faster, faster, faster as it's going around. I couldn't hear what anybody else was saying because everybody knows that feeling. You're like, “What am I going to say?” So it gets to me, I just burst into tears. And that has then—
Cheri Honeycutt: You broke open?
Betsy Crouch: Oh, yeah. And that has been my path since then, which is coming into self-acceptance and giving myself compassion and understanding and curiosity and patience. So when we start talking about questions, I like to start thinking about questions in terms of like, “What is the most gentle thing that we can do for and with ourselves right now?” How might we show ourselves a tiny bit of compassion if we can't feel like we can show ourselves a lot of compassion when we're in those moments? Because it's really hard to go from that place to do like this 180. Now, I have a whole different worldview and I'm gonna ask myself and I'm going to connect with my higher self and all these things.
That's not where I was. It was like can we just get a crack in the door to like what is—and with my client’s question might be like what is something gentle you can do for yourself this week? How might you show yourself some compassion? It might just be tiny, but it's like getting that crack that door open. Some people might think, “Oh, the questions are gonna start and they're gonna be really big.” It's like, no, it's just that tiny step to start to see a new way of being.
Cheri Honeycutt: Gosh. So many things I wanted to just say about what you just shared, but I'm going to start with “back the blessing”, you said right there is I'm so glad you made that distinction that you don't necessarily have to come in with these big swooping. It's like you don't have to come in and paint the walls all these grand colors. You can just like clean one wall, picking a nice, lovely new shade of whatever to create a new movement in your life. Right? And so, just cracking that open at whatever level you're ready or your clients are ready, it's like we can only go as fast as the slowest part of us wants to go.
Betsy Crouch: Let’s put that quote up, Cheri. We got to put that quotable up. I love that. We can only go as fast as the slowest part of us wants to go. Bless you because that is so true.
Cheri Honeycutt: I didn't write that. That is a lyric of a song written by a spiritual artist named Karen Drucker. It was a song I used to listen to years ago about you can only go as fast as the slowest part of you wants to go. But here's the part you're going.
I also want to go back for the listeners, and even for myself. I love that you were telling me that you were not in integrity. Integrity, meaning it wasn't in alignment with who you really were, that you were playing a role. You were doing the things, and to the external world, you look like you had it all together, right? Can you go back a little bit and tell us you were starting to understand that you were out of sync? And you accepted yes to this workshop. What really was the turning point for you? Was it happy accidents? Was it serendipity? Was it anything conscious? Was the pain out of integrity large?
Betsy Crouch: I would put it the same way. That I was out of integrity with myself and out of alignment with myself. Going to that workshop cracked things open for me. What it allowed is just a little bit of love to come in. A little bit of acceptance. A little bit of people seeing me in particular, that coach who's a dear friend of mine, Faith, seeing me and not letting me fool her like I felt like I could fool everyone else with all my humor and my flashy moves that I can do. I've tricked a lot of therapists. I mean I can talk my way through therapy session like you won’t believe. I can talk 49 minutes and get myself right on out of there. (Laughs)
Cheri Honeycutt: Betsy, I've said the same thing to (Mike Clare?). I'm like, you know, I'm really good. You're gonna have to be at the top of your game. If you're gonna get me to budge it all, your work’s cut out for you.
Betsy Crouch: Right? So she had me really dialed in, in the most gentle and loving way. And so I started to let that love start to come in. But what I experienced after that, over the next year was a series of physical, emotional and spiritual breakdown. I blew my knee out playing soccer, but this was also after a night of partying and I slept five hours, and the whole kind of laddering of these things.
I lost my voice. I was training people 50 hours a week. I lost my voice and nodules on my vocal cords. They suggested surgery, but I couldn’t recover because of the knee surgery. I mean, there were so many things. I was in speech therapy. I was seeing a voice pathologist. Knee therapy.
I went from having all this money in my bank accounts to like starting to go into debt like in six to seven months kind of thing. My business was running in the negative. Everything just started to unravel. It was the kind of like that crack opened up. But then I could really start to feel into the pain that I was experiencing in my outside world started to reflect that.
Then a moment within all of this was when a former sales rep of mine came into my office to meet with me and he had started a new sales job. And I thought, “Oh, good for me, I will encourage him in his new job. Come on in. I'll talk to you because I'm so great at encouraging people.” He comes in and he starts selling me what his new product is. And he starts selling me a grave plot for me. I'm listening to his pitch. And in the back of my mind, I'm saying, “What?” You know, I'm trying to keep it cool with this guy because I'm being very good at being encouraging. But I'm thinking, “Who the heck are you trying to sell a grave plot to? I am 23 years old. I'm not dying anytime soon.” So inside, I was angry. And he started saying no, no, it's cheaper to buy it now than later. He left and I encouraged. I said, “No, I'm not gonna buy one Thank you.” But I encouraged him. I kept his business card. I still have his business card.
But when he left, it just as much as the self-destructive behavior that I had done—abusing alcohol and all the things I had done—that I was right on this edge, really on this edge of really hurting myself for other people and having that moment, he basically said to me, “Hey, you're gonna die one day for real.” And that had not occurred to me and we know now, I mean, 23, the brain is not developed. Your inhibitions are low. There's a lot of parts of the brain that are not developed. But it hit me like, oh, okay, so I am actually going to die one day. There's gonna be a grave plot or some kind of cremation or something's going to happen where this thing is going to end and I have a choice. I can go on this path.
And for somehow, either through my coach Faith, who I ended up hiring to coach me one-on-one, whether it's, I think it was a question she asked me, which was, “If you knew you're gonna die in six weeks, would you live the way that you're living now?” But when he came in trying to sell me a grave plot, I could actually feel more of that question. I said no. I mean, I can't. And actually, if I go down this path, I won't live as long or I won't be able to fully serve really any life, let alone purpose.
I could see the crossroads. And since that point in time, I have been able to see the crossroads more and more and more clearly. I'm at the point now, which after I'm 43 now, so now 20 years of practice, I could see the crossroads, and I am sprinting away from that path of self-destruction. Thank goodness. But it's taken a lot of practice. That was one of the first moment, that was the first major moment where I was like, okay, I'm gonna die one day. So this isn't working. I need to make some changes.
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm sitting over here and I'm struck by your story and at the same time, I'm going, my gosh, we get these opportunities to see things. I don't know that just special people get those signs. Do you know what I mean? But you saw these signs and you really got them. They were also pretty obvious. I mean, he's selling grave plots. I mean, that's hilarious.
Betsy Crouch: I know. It is.
Cheri Honeycutt: But that's really kind of funny only because in hindsight. But you know, you didn't have to manipulate that to make that mean something significant, and it did. But also though, Betsy, you listened. I mean, we all know those folks who form our perspective. We would look and go, how many more times do they have to get slammed before they actually see that life is precious or whatever we're wishing they see, but you saw it. And then this combination, it sounds like you were cracked open, this little bit of light and love came in. You had Faith, and I'm sure there might have been others, who saw you without the bullshit. They sort of just saw past your bravado or smoke and mirrors or whatever. We're taught to have this smoke and mirrors. Just see the shiny object…
Betsy Crouch: Yeah, for our survival at a certain point.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. Yeah. So now, let's say you've got where you're at this place where you've been cracked open a bit. You've seen that I don't like the trajectory I'm on. I'm gonna shift. And you've already admitted that doesn't happen overnight. Angels don't sing and you don't just turn it over. But tell me a little bit about what happened next for you.
Betsy Crouch: Well, over the next two years, I did a pretty intensive amount of coaching with my coach, a lot of reading and self-reflection and reconnecting to my spirituality. I would say, by the time that this all happened, I was definitely identified as an atheist. I would totally shut out any possibility of any spirituality. And over two years doing just a lot of work with my coach and reflection, I was able to reconnect with my relationship to God and my own spirituality and take some time. I'd say about a year-and-a-half or two years after that, I said, you know I'm going to cut out—a friend of mine would told me about this thing, 10 days cut out meat, dairy, alcohol, sugar. So I said, “I'll do it for 10 days.” I did it for 10 days, never felt better in my whole life.
So I said, well, “If I feel this good, I ought to keep going.” And that year, the times that I have really sunk into following a very helpful path, I've been able to connect to my own information. And sometimes, that information is coming very clearly. And that year, which was 2005, I did a surfing and yoga retreat in Costa Rica. I'm sitting on this hammock and journaling and listening to music, and Cheri, I feel like this lightning bolt of clarity came down through my crown so clearly that I haven't had an experience like this since that just said “move to San Francisco”.
Now, I had been to San Francisco many times. My sister lived there. I had studied at Berkeley for a semester. And I had recently been there. But it was like, boom! At that point, I had already moved from Michigan to New Jersey, so I had already changed my jobs. But I love my current job. I love my buddy. He's like a brother to me. I walk in that Monday, and I said, “I gotta go to San Francisco. Like, it just felt so clear that I knew it. I could not deny this. So I just started doing that.
So that was the next chapter. I moved to San Francisco without a job or lived in my sister's basement for a couple months, and just took some time to connect with myself. I think since then, it's just been kind of different seasons over the last 16 years. I'm like reconnecting with myself. Okay, wait, before I go and take a major action, I need to check in with myself. And this goes back to what you said about living by default and asking the questions, which I've just been able to practice.
One of the things I feel most proud of about my life is that I have been able to continually come back even when it seems unpopular or inadvisable based on what culture or business or people think for me to say no. A lot of this past two years, after I shut down my previous business, I have been continuing to coach people, but I'm not like putting out a big thing. I'm reconnecting with myself listening and I'm not just saying I need to go take actions. I need to just allow things to move on their own.
Cheri Honeycutt: I remember that from our first conversation that we had as we're getting to know each other, you're talking about, you were clear about one thing needed to close. And I remember, I don't know if I actually spoke it to you, but just this calmness as you were like, you know, the next thing is just not really clear yet, but there was no sense or at least not that I saw of angst. There was a level of trust and calm and equanimity around that. What I'm hearing you is that you have developed over time, this self, this sense of your own self, your healthy self, and that self guided you. You trust it. Is that an accurate reflection of what you just said?
Betsy Crouch: Yeah, it is. And I think that anyone hearing this, what we get to skip over and saying, “Oh, these 20 years” It's like all the times that I kind of fell off the path and came back and I fell off and I came back. It's like a continual practice.
Cheri Honeycutt: Exactly.
Betsy Crouch: I know that a canary in the coal mine is if I'm not flossing my teeth every day. Something's gone off the rail. This past year, I noticed I was like I'm only flossing like three times a week. So it's like noticing those patterns and saying, okay, well, what's really going on?
And I also want to acknowledge that although part of my story involves substance abuse. That's been a significant part of my journey in healing and learning about myself. Addiction is a disease that many people struggle with. I feel that somehow, I have been able to live without a desire to use substances for the last probably six or seven years. Not everybody has that experience. I don't know that I could explain, oh, I did this thing or I did that or it’s not that.
For anyone who's maybe going through that or has a family member, I'm lucky. It's a miracle. I honestly really do think so. I think that if we say, oh, it's because I did ABC and so and so didn't do those things and that's maybe how I get different results. I just wanted to mention that because that has come up because we need to give compassion and understanding to people. I think there's a lot of invalidation that goes on around mental health.
So what we haven't covered is all the mental health things. I've gone through the substance abuse. But it’s the practice of continually coming back. I think that that door that was opened about love and acceptance, that is the muscle that I've been able to cultivate and build for myself, but also with other people. And really put energy into building that muscle for love and compassion for myself and others. That that is what provides for me now, resilience, to be able to hold as much. I feel like now I can hold more pain and more struggle. In the last couple of years, I feel like I'm able to hold that and not run from it. But I really also feel it because I've been able to cultivate that love and compassion muscle.
24:48Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, that makes so much sense. This morning, I did a Facebook Live for my group on Facebook, and basically, was saying to folks, you know, I'm not been around for the last couple of weeks. To speak in flossing terms, I quit flossing. It's like I said life threw me a couple of curveballs and I got off course from what I said I was going to do. But the whole point of the live was to say, but that's what happens. That's not abnormal. That's not a foul on my part necessarily.
I use the phrase that we learned in a community that you and I are learning together, at least the first time I heard it, plan tight and hang loose. I'm calling that's sort of how I want to run my life in a way. I want to plan it. I want to visualize it. I want to have this juicy vision of what it looks like. But then you kind of have to hang loose because you don't know there might be a pandemic. You might have these things that throw you off. And when that happens, you bring in the love and the acceptance all the time. But you double up on that self-compassion. And then you sit down, at least for me, and go, “Okay, look, let's come back to center.”
Let's come back to center and go back with those questions. What do I need right now? What might be happening? What might this be? That that muscle? And you're right. I'm so glad you brought this up. It's gonna be my next question.
So then by-product, if you will, of doing that is you look back and you go, man, I've learned a lot about resilience, which is sort of the buzzword now. I don't know if you feel like it is a buzzword. I do. But it's a powerful concept. Talk to me about resilience. I want to hear your take on it.
Betsy Crouch: I'll tell you, three years ago, I did a TEDx Talk with a former collaborator of mine. The subject was resilience. Part of that experience was blocking off a month of work, hiring a very expensive coach and guide, an amazing coach actually. I spent a lot of money on that. A lot of preparation, a lot of hours, and then we delivered this TEDx Talk with the idea that it was gonna be part of this getting this message out about resilience. I'll say more about resilience itself in this next part because guess what happened? The audio failed on the recording. The video was also somewhat messed up. It was literally a plug was loose. After our talk and the next one, the production team realized and fixed it. And then it was working after that. So after this event, and the live audience, “Oh, it was so great!” The video was total fail. This is why it's hilarious because the whole topic is about resilience. I have an idea for another TEDx Talk.
Cheri Honeycutt: Jiggle the plug, I think it’s off.
Betsy Crouch: We all mess things up sometime. Part of that resilience message is about celebrating and acknowledging mistakes and failures and learning from those experiences. I love what you shared about your Facebook Live this morning and really validating all the parts of our experience because it is the whole. And so many people up until recently, people have been presenting this facade of themselves of “this is the good parts of me, I'm hiding all these parts that are maybe challenging or that I'm ashamed of”. We're moving into a time where people really desire to see the whole of us and share the whole story because when we do that we validate the whole person of each other.
But the thing about resilience that I've been thinking a lot about is what a lot of people call resilience, Cheri, you know this too, is armoring up and just trying to blast through and deny all of the hard stuff in our life that's happening. And guess what, I am not on that train. I am here talking about what I really believe resilience is. I get a little fearful when people start talking about resilience that way. I think I thought of myself as resilient at that time of the beginning of these stories when I was in my little business suit and just on the inside totally shattered and falling apart. I think I would have said oh yeah, I'm resilient. Because I thought armoring, I'm gonna run through that wall to show you that I'm capable, but I'm dying inside. And I hate myself.
The resilience that I connect with and that I really like to talk about, if we look into the research definition of resilience, is really nothing like what people are using the word to mean out there in the world. But to me, resilience is about the ability to sit with all the hard stuff and then feel it and be with it and see it and be able to move through it to the other side. Once you're on the other side, maybe you're not feeling that energized or strong, but you're moving in that direction.
You said this a little bit ago, you can only move as fast as the slowest part of you. To go back to the Karen Drucker quote that you shared. It's like, okay, maybe we're moving slow after that. And that's exactly where we need to be.
Let's use nature as an example. I mean, okay, guess what? Time speed, it's not an illusion. It's going to take whenever it's going to take. Resilience to me is about wholeness. I don't care how fast I go. As long as the armor is there, it could take a while. That's okay because I need all of me to love you, to love people, to connect with my wife and family, to connect with anyone who I want to support and serve. That's what resilience means.
Cheri Honeycutt: Gosh, let's take that in. I'm hoping the listeners really take this in. This idea of wholeness, I think you're spot on that. We have been taught, we have been encouraged to compartmentalize, to break ourselves apart, to only value certain pieces of us, to only put certain parts out there, to deny others. And then I see this spine where we're just this fragmented, crackity, pixeled kind of creatures. That that's not what heals the world. That's not how we live our best life. It's from that place of wholeness.
I'm interested in your definition, that idea, that ability to sit—not just your definition, but the definition of resilience—with that hard stuff. I will tell you, I came into the world with a little bit of a muscle for that. I've not been hard stuff averse. I'll put it that way. And it kind of made me the odd person out. But I would sit and I'd be the one that would sit and talk about the hard stuff with folks.
Part of my work—I've been an HIV counselor and I’ve told hundreds of people that they have HIV and I sit with them and those hard things. What I realized, first of all, that that's a muscle. It's a sacred moment to be and witness someone in their pain or in their challenge and even show up in your own. And when we when we choose not to do those pieces, we're missing out on this glorious, delicious part of the human experience. Does that make sense? You're nodding your head.
Betsy Crouch: Oh, my God. I'm feeling it. I mean, we're missing out on connection.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, because that's where the real connection is, right?
Betsy Crouch: Absolutely. Because if I can't be with my own pain or if I was in my own pain and using that as a reason to sell myself on this idea that there's something wrong with me, I'm broken, I should be ashamed of how I am or who I am, then I'm… You know, my coach used to talk about it like a grapefruit. She said, “Living like that is like holding a grapefruit behind your back, but trying to talk to someone hoping they don't see the grapefruit.”
And if you're doing that, then you're spending all your energy. Like if we're talking right now, and I'm holding a grapefruit behind me, I'm not fully present. I'm not listening. I'm also thinking, “Does Cheri see the grapefruit?” If I l sit like this, can she see the grapefruit? And I leave or we meet for coffee or whatever. And I'm like, I think she saw it. I think she saw my grapefruit. I'm not sure. And if she saw it, she wouldn't love me. She wouldn't accept me. I've been able to hold that myself. I feel blessed to be able to have these moments with other people where I can see and feel and be present with and not run from the pain or the truth or the experience, the grief, the loss. I feel that's because I've been able to do it with myself instead of invalidating myself and say there's something wrong with me. Those moments are sacred. They’re some of the most beautiful moments we could possibly have because in our darkest moments, what do we need? We need each other.
Cheri Honeycutt: Absolutely, absolutely. I believe that if we can't do that for ourselves, we can't do this really for others. That's sort of a universal truth for me. I can't give to others what I can't give for myself. They're at least in tandem to the extent that I can love and accept myself is how much I can give to others. That means sometimes accepting the truth even if I don't like it. You look at your bank account and go that's the number of dollars in there. You look at the scales and that's the number of pounds on there. That's the number of friends I've run off with my bad behavior. That's the number of whatever. It begins by accepting that with love. And some of those darker moments are the ones that break us open.
I want to share a little story. I hope it doesn't run the flow of this. But I don't know if you know this, Betsy. I have a son. He has autism. He is one of the most amazing, young man. My friends and family believe that he is sort of this resilient dude. I'll tell you, and I think you've helped me understand why. He has this ability when something happens he doesn't like, he feels it. He's like, “Oh, that makes me so mad” or “That's so delicious”, or “That's unfair.” And he feels it.
Let's just go with something that's sort of a negative feeling. “Oh, I didn't get to play football! Grrr! And he's so mad and then he feels it and then he makes a decision. Well, I don't want to feel this way anymore. And then he literally asked himself, what do I want to feel now? And then he'll go do that. What's so amazing to me is that he doesn't do what those of us, who maybe don't know about autism, which is pretend that I'm fine. I really didn't want that to begin with. It's okay. That's the way it was meant to be. And inside, you’re seething or broken-hearted or whatever and putting bullshit on it.
He's like, no, whatever it is, he feels that, and he's loud about it. Then he's like, but I don't like feeling this way. And then he goes, well, how do I want to feel now? I mean, this is a kid who got hit by a car, totalled the car. He got hit by a car and he's laid up, and he's like really sad and really hurt. But he's like, oh, but you know what? I get to be the one that decides what we watch on television because I'm sitting up. He’s genuine.
So as I've been sort of unpacking him and his amazing lessons to me in my life, I believe he is showing me resilience and encapsulate. You feel it. You see it. You acknowledge it. And then you make a decision and you don’t drop anchor in it. And he… over and over.
Betsy Crouch: What a teacher he is for all of us.
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh my God. I have these stories. I have real stories.
Betsy Crouch: Oh, my goodness. Yes. And just no resistance to this is what's happening. It's like this is what's happening and this is what I'm feeling, connection with his body and in his emotions running through.
Cheri Honeycutt: There's no part of him that's going to hide a grapefruit. If he's got a grapefruit…
Betsy Crouch: He’s like, “I got a grapefruit!”
Cheri Honeycutt: You’re going to see that grapefruit. (Laughs) And then he moves on. He moves on. Yeah. So I know that you've got the possibility of rescheduling a resilience talk or a new talk about that. And so I'm going to keep tabs on that. And try to let the listeners know about that. Because I can feel, Betsy, you have so much to say about that.
Betsy Crouch: Thank you. Yeah.
Cheri Honeycutt: Gosh, I feel your… wisdom? That word seems inadequate. It's a great word, but I feel your wisdom, I feel your insight. And I'll tell you what else I get from you. It’s your complete passion about being in integrity. That's how I see you.
Betsy Crouch: Thank you. What I appreciate about you is your ability to see and your willingness to reflect back what you see. That's something that from our first conversations, I've always really appreciated what a gift that is that you give. Thank you for sharing it was me. It feels true. I feel like I'm now more than even ever, before I can't even if I wanted to, go down some path that doesn't feel like it's in alignment. I just can't. My foot won't go. In the past, I could like step into it, kind of play with it like well, maybe I could, like, do this work for this company. And it's like no, I can't do it.
Cheri Honeycutt: That's such a beautiful thing you said that I want folks that hear this. If you're maybe over on this other side where life has just been on the factory settings or you're just waking up to how miserable or unhappy you are, and you're listening to Betsy or you've been listening to this podcast and other folks about and they seem to have all their shit together, the reality is we're skipping over the mess ups and we're skipping over the amount of time.
But it is something that builds over time, that integrity, that knowing. You didn't just wake up one day and have it. You taught yourself how to listen to it. It might have been there, but you started to listen and pay attention. And now it's muscle memory. You're like, oh, no, I can already feel. I don't even have to explore why I don't want to work for that company because I just trust my gut.
Betsy Crouch: Yeah, because I think one way of describing it is like I used to be in so much pain that it's almost like I… Let's use an example of drinking. I was in so much pain that I felt like I needed to like drink or numb this pain and even if that made me feel bad, that even felt good because it almost seemed like a relief from the other emotional pain I was feeling. But like getting to the place where I feel good in my like part of my relationship to alcohol now I will have a little bit of tequila. I love Casamigos Reposado tequila. I’ll have this much. You can't see me because were on video, but my fingers about a centimeter apart. I'll have a little bit and if I start feeling, that doesn't feel good to me. It doesn't feel good because I feel better feeling clear that I do feeling intoxicated.
So there's this like recalibration. I like the word calibration. And that's something that I think for me, has happened in a lot of different ways over time. I do want to say something to everybody listening. It feels like they might be on these default settings because I really truly believe, based my experience and working coaching with thousands of people and also I've done hundreds of clairvoyant readings of people and healings, is that our ability to adapt to our environment, to culture, to relationship expectations, there's so many layers of programming.
I'll use programming as just a word or even our schooling. We're so adaptable as human beings. And we've adapted to function to these and I'll use your words default settings as a way of survival that served us at a certain point in time. We sometimes approach our life, we start to see that we're operating this way, we say, oh, why did I do this? And we invalidate it. We say, why can't I be more like so and so? Or why can’t I feel motivated to do my meditation or to do the things that I know are good for me?
And so I just want to start with validating that you've adapted this way brilliantly. This is a brilliant function of seeing a human in a world that so much of what around us is broken and diseased and not based in love. And so the reaction to that to try to survive or to shore up, kind of armor up is a brilliant adaptability strategy. What happens is that we hold on to those strategies longer than we need them. So they served us to help us survive.
I adapted to tell jokes and be entertaining and get attention when I was seven, eight years old. But then, you know, once I got a little bit older, it's like, okay, maybe I need to listen more. Not just put on a show all the time. But to say, okay, thank you for my ability to adapt to these default settings. I appreciate it. And I'm curious, like, what might be ready to like maybe loosen up or to change? What might I be able to see differently? A totally different approach than saying, “Stop this! Let’s throw it all out. Delete. How do I restart? How do I refresh this thing?”
Cheri Honeycutt: Exactly. Or to sit in judgment of why did I spend so many years doing that? Instead, going you know what? There was some really good reasons and that saved my ass or that made total sense back then. There's that love and acceptance of what was and then asking those loving questions going forward. And really understanding that our defaults, I love what you said, are given to us for reasons that others even think are good reasons. It's not something done to us.
Culture has created these things and they don't always serve, but they're not our fault. And so we just want to do an inventory of where we are and then come back to a word you said really early on, which is choice. You realized you had a choice. Something broke open at that retreat that you went to or that workshop that at least that was a word I remember hearing you say. You went, oh, I get to choose if I keep on this trajectory or I make the effort. And you might not even know what that meant at the moment at 23. Make the effort to shift to shift things.
Betsy Crouch: I wanted to add to that part to that story because it just hit me. That is I shared at the beginning of that workshop, I had this Louise Hay card, which is “Loving others is easy when I love and accept myself.” That was the beginning of the workshop. That workshop ended at 5:00 on a Sunday. This was with my colleagues at the time that I was working with 100 hours a week. I had had a girlfriend for a year and then broke up and then had another girlfriend. But anyway, two years, I had had a girlfriend or been dating women, and then totally closeted about it with people that I worked with all the time. Talk about cultivating the ability—
Cheri Honeycutt: Grapefruit.
Betsy Crouch: Yeah. I had a bag of grapefruit. Grapefruits are everywhere. I thought if people knew this, I wouldn't be promoted, I thought they wouldn't love me. They would reject me, etc, etc. And I had told myself at this workshop, I'm going to come out to everybody. After I pulled that first card, “Loving others easy when I love and accept myself,” because I was not accepting myself. I was feeling lots of shame and internalizing that. At one of the breaks on the last day, I told one of my closest co-workers who I had been in her wedding. We were really good friends. I kept this from everybody. Really, really, really, really secretive.
And 15 minutes before the end of the workshop, Faith, who became my coach, and now friend. I kid you not, she looks at me and says, “Betsy, is there something that you want to share with us? I feel like there's something that you want to share with us.” And I could see you, you're getting the chills. I'm getting the chills. “Is there something you want to share?” And I knew in that moment, I could feel it physiologically now. My heart's racing. And I said yeah. I think all I got out was I have a girlfriend. Then I burst into tears.
I just started crying and bless everyone's heart, they all came and hugged me. All funny people, they're all crying with me. They're saying we love you, we accept you. It was a beautiful moment. It’s a great way to come out to a lot of people at once.
I mean, to talk about the bookends of that experience, the beginning of it was loving others is easy when you love and accept myself. And I needed to have the choice to say it. I need to take a risk because I am dying inside if I'm not allowing myself to be whole with who I am. And that cracked things open even more for myself and all those relationships in my life. I can be myself and be whole.
Cheri Honeycutt: And so I would imagine that withholding such an enormous part of who you are is hugely difficult. I wonder also if there are some parallels even if it may not be something that is even quite that large. I mean, you know, you might be a person who has a lot of debt or any kind of grapefruit that you’re hiding. And again, not to minimize your story at all, but for the listeners to realize that this is not necessarily about coming out, but it's about being in integrity and being whole and loving the wholeness of you. Things that are not broken, but they may be things you still have been trained to hold shame around.
Betsy Crouch: Absolutely! This is the invitation. The invitation is and this relates to Brene Brown’s work, I think, because her work on shame and vulnerability is so important for this conversation because as we think about, I was lucky, really, that I came out to the these friends and colleagues and they were very supportive. I have had experiences that did not go well, that were very negative about people's response.
However, when we choose to be vulnerable, we ask ourselves, who might I be able to share this with? Who might be able to hold this with me, to and to be willing to take a risk with someone who is a friend? Maybe it's somebody who's a teacher, maybe it's somebody you work with. But like you said, it could be having debt, it could be having challenges with fertility, it could be health related, it could be something I did in my past that I'm having trouble forgiving myself or reconciling. There's lots of things that we carry shame. And as Brene Brown says it survives when we don't talk about it, and don't share it and grows. That journey is an important one for us to hold and acknowledge our own shame and to find ways that we can talk about it.
Cheri Honeycutt: And I think that's why she has her work on vulnerability, really reframing that as not a sign of weakness, but in fact, it is a superpower. It’s, I think, probably at the root of what you and I've been talking about a little bit right here that we understand when we have those vulnerable moments, we are witnessing and being a part of someone's strength. We are in that delicious juiciness of that it may feel untethered, but in fact, it is really an expression of your superpower. It's where the real growth lies. I just see this real fertile, mossy, yummy, tear-filled. Some of my snottiest, tear-filled moments are the moments that I've changed the most. They often came about by something that I was holding in, that I felt bad about.
Betsy Crouch: Thank goodness for our pets and our animals, you know, long before I could share with human beings, some of my story, I talked to my dogs. I would. I would talk to my dogs. I was a teenager, I would share.
Cheri Honeycutt: They knew all about you.
Betsy Crouch: Oh my goodness! In everything! But, I think, for us to talk about not only the person who's sharing, but also the person who's receiving and how important it is for us to do our own work so that we can hold, and we can just shoo—I mean, that's something that I just love because I am someone who I don't feel judgment towards people. It's very rare. So people will come to me and say have you never told this to anyone or I wanted to share this with you. And it's such an honor to be able to say thank you for sharing this with me. You are lovable and amazing. And this is a part of your experience. It doesn't define you and allowing that to be part of just the experience that you've had doesn't take anything away from your value, your worthiness, your amazingness. So yeah, so for us to really practice being the listener too and to hold that is so, like you said, sacred.
Cheri Honeycutt: It is sacred. It is sacred. You are amazing at that. You're a gift. You model that for others. Again, we don't necessarily come into the life being able to sit in somebody's discomfort. We we've learned some of our judgments, but we can develop that, right? Thank you for modeling that. Thank you.
I have a couple of questions here that I kind of ask everybody at the end. Okay, you just mentioned a minute ago, when I'm not flossing my teeth every day, I noticed that I'm off track a little. What do you do? How do you get back on track? And then whatever on track means to you? What do you do?
Betsy Crouch: Well, sometimes, I feel like I can say, oh, let me just take a quick inventory of the things that I do that helped me feel centered, whole. And I ask myself, am I meditating? Am I doing yoga? When's the last time I wrote in my journal? Those are some of the main things that I will check in with myself on. And recently, maybe it was a few weeks ago, I realized that I hit a point in my self-care kind of regimen or resilience that where I dipped below a layer that I hadn't dipped below in a long time. That was a layer that was I wasn't meditating, I wasn't doing yoga, I wasn’t writing in my journal, and I wasn't feeling like it.
It wasn't like I could say, “Oh, I'm noticing I didn't do these things that are helpful for me. I will do that.” I want to acknowledge that we hit those points too. So what I have I've done and what I did recently was just say, “Oh, you know, I must be really hurting.” Just the simple, saying, “Oh, I must be really hurting.” I must be really struggling to feel like I know these things are helpful for me and I don't feel like I can do them do them.
So what I did was I'm researching to find a specific type of therapist that I feel I need. I want to work with a therapist that does internal family systems therapy, but also works with patients with trauma and see CPTSD. So that's a very specific thing. But for me to say, “I need help.” I need to type out that I haven't gotten before, but now I'm ready for. So those are a couple things that I've done recently.
Cheri Honeycutt: Beautiful. You have some acknowledgement about when you're on shooting on all cylinders, these are the kinds of things I'm doing, then there's the noticing if you're not doing it, and then I love that you even differentiated and you went back to a question. You went back to that loving, compassionate question. I love that.
Betsy, if you put your motto on a bumper sticker that you'd want to advertise, your motto for folks, what would it be?
Betsy Crouch: I'm an improviser. I’ll just put “Sizzle.” I'll give the quick background which is one of my nicknames that I was given 16 years ago by a friend of mine. But what I have, it's also my business, Sizzle Consulting LLC. When I feel sizzle is that's very specific part of you that when you come into alignment, comes alive and is able to enjoy and be playful and express yourself creatively and serve your purpose. I think it would need more than one word to give some of the background, but that's the word that you come.
Cheri Honeycutt: You could put a saying.
Betsy Crouch: Sizzle on a Pride or something like that. It could be something like a slogan on a bumper sticker.”You're lovable.” You're lovable. Every single person is worthy of love.
Cheri Honeycutt: You’re lovable. I love that. I love that. Who are the people you go to when you need a loving, metaphorical kick in the ass?
Betsy Crouch: Abraham Hicks. That’s one of them. Brene Brown. Byron Katie.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, The Work.
Betsy Crouch: Those are (inaudible).
Cheri Honeycutt: Our bookshelves are very similar. But you know, you can't see the picture. But my books, I feel like that I have this wall of wisdom. I don't even have to read the books. I don't know about you, but just the titles.
Betsy Crouch: Oh, with bookshelves like that, you just have to walk up to it and walk along it. I really do think that a great bookshelf like that that you've curated gives a little hug to you when you're just right by there. I have a friend who has an incredibly curated library in her house. It's basically a two-car garage that she's converted to a library. I just walk in there and just stand by the books and I feel better.
Cheri Honeycutt: You just feel it, don’t you? I love it. I do. I do. Okay, my last question is if given a choice, is it dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Betsy Crouch: Oh my gosh! Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?! I can't believe it. I can’t
Cheri Honeycutt: What’s your answer?
Betsy Crouch: I can't. My whole is milk chocolate up until the last maybe 10 years of a dark chocolate. But I guess okay if I have to pick now, I’d say dark chocolate, but now my palms are sweaty. I'm like, I think it's both. You really picked my needle on that one, Cheri.
Cheri Honeycutt: You know what? You do not have to choose. I will never make you choose. You can have both, but dark is the right answer. I'm just saying. You guys, my heart is full. I feel like I've been so blessed, Betsy, from the sharing. I have learned more about your story. You've gone deeper. I have been touched. My notes just for me right here are amazing. I'm trusting that those who are listening to this have been touched.
If you've been pinged in any way by what you've heard from Betsy or our conversation today, please don't ignore that. Pay attention to that. Write it down. Carve out some time to just explore the ping. Okay? Just trust that and know that there was some divine timing involved that you might be listening to Betsy story on for a reason.
Then I want you to take a look in the show notes. I'm going to give you all the ways to reach out to Betsy to follow her, to connect with her on LinkedIn and on the web and all those things. It's a small world. We really can connect. You can pick up the phone and in a matter of days be having a conversation with Betsy or me or whatever. That's the way the world is. And so, I'm gonna encourage you to do that if it's hit you that way. Betsy, thank you.
Betsy Crouch: Oh my goodness, Cheri. Thank you for your leadership and your wisdom and for all the ways that you've listened to your heart and followed your path because these are doors. All the doors that you've opened, it just brings people together. And so with our conversations, I always learned something. I always leave inspired.
And I also really appreciate the laughter. I would be remiss if I didn't say to everyone, follow the sparks of joy. Those are clues in your life. You don't have to figure out the next 100 steps. But every time there's a little bit of playfulness or a little bit of joy or a little bit of laughter, that's a wink to say that's the next step because that is your birthright. Your birthright is to be part of the whole and to be someone that's playful and joyful. Sometimes, we get so far from that, we don't think that's us, I'm here to remind you. It is part of who you are. And remembering that I think is one of the portals to our freedom.
Cheri Honeycutt: Gosh, I love that you ended with that. Thank you. The universe is flirting with us. And let's flirt. Let's go do it. Thank you, Betsy. Thank you so much.