Founder, Speaker & Facilitator at UNMUTED
Rachel is the CEO of Unmuted and is on a mission to humanize the workplace by igniting resilience, connection, energy, engagement and hope in organizations, associations and their leaders and teams.
Find her on the web:
Highlights & Imperfect Transcript
We silence ourselves when we're going through hurt in our families.
We're sitting there and we are deciding what other people think and we're changing our behavior with zero real acknowledgement of what's out there.
We're taking in data we think and then altering ourselves.
Focusing on the tangible distracted me from focusing on what was beneath the surface, which was like dealing with my own insecurities and anxieties and loneliness and sadness and the trauma.
The thing that we reward kids for in school is the very thing that I think contributes to why so many people burn out as adults because the culture of even education is focused on achievement.
The danger of being an expert is that you lose curiosity and humility, a lot of times.
This sense of engagement of exhaustion or low energy. Negativity or cynicism is the second one. The third one is increased errors.
Our body tells us things and we don't pay attention.
When it's not obvious or something you see, we keep putting other people first.
The number one thing in really beginning to live on purpose is to take 100% responsibility
When you get so broken down, you can also become so opened up at the same time.
Your words have power.
Another unmuting of like let people speak into and over you.
Burnout is a state of disconnection from ourselves and our sense of purpose.
When you have those breakdowns, all of a sudden, you realize you can survive them. You develop a muscle.
People are starving for a safe place to talk about things that are hard.
The braver I am, the easier it is to be brave.
The familiar discomfort is more preferable to the unfamiliar discomfort.
The desire to be expressed was greater than the fear of being heard.
The pain of squelching yourself became more unbearable than the pain of the possibility of looking foolish or falling on your face.
I'm going to be someone who stands for unlocking all of these things in people and the way they've been unlocked in me.
Journaling, husband, friends, music, sleep.
Joyfully alive, boldly expressed.
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh my goodness, you guys, I'm so excited. I am going to introduce you here in a moment to Rachel Drunkenmiller. I have to tell you, I say this with a couple of folks that I've interviewed lately, but when I met Rachel, I immediately knew that this bright, shiny star, this person that I just wanted to kind of connect with, if you've met those people who are just like, magnetics, you must be covered in magnets, but that's how I feel about Rachel. Before I just start to go into hall about you. Hi, how are you?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I'm so excited. We're gonna have such a good conversation that anyone listening to is going to be I think transformed by. I'm going to be so bold as to say that.
Cheri Honeycutt: Let's go for it. We're gonna have a transformative conversation. I already know what's going to be transformative for me. I sense you're gonna feel the same thing for you. And of course, that's going to transfer over to the listeners.
I'm just going to give you a thumbnail about Rachel because all of these specifics, which she has a long, amazing vida of things that she's done is going to be in the show notes. Rachel has been a leader, a facilitator, a speaker, a change agent for folks in the workplace. You have to tell me, Rachel, when did you launch your own business? When did you do that?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: September of 2019.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, so not that long ago. And you guys, she has not stopped. During the pandemic, I believe she's done 160 if I've read that correct. There's probably more than that now.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: (inaudible) something like that.
Cheri Honeycutt: Wow! This woman did not sit on her laurels while we were all going wringing our hands and go, “What the hell are we supposed to do?” Rachel's out here, “I know what I'm supposed to do. Talk to people online.”
A little back story, I met Rachel in a community that we're involved in and really have had the opportunity to share space with her, to hear her wisdom, to hear her sing, which I'm winking at her that she's gonna sing for us at some point. Ladies and gentlemen, Rachel Drunkenmiller. Hi.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Aww. Hi. Here we are. Thank you for that. It’s been a wild and crazy year. And we're gonna talk about lots of things today.
Cheri Honeycutt: I think I told you before we turned the recording on us, you know, we're gonna just let this organic conversation happen, but we're going to talk about, hopefully talk about how you have lived your life intentionally. Now, I haven't mentioned to the listeners, the name of your company is called Unmuted. And I know a little bit about this story. But I'd love for us to start here. Tell the listeners and tell me again, because I know I'll get some new little tidbits. Tell me about the birth of that idea, Unmuted.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Well, the funny thing is—I'm a journaler. I have journals that go back like I have one from elementary school. It's a little like black book with pink hearts on it and pink and blue pages.
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh stop it. Stop it already.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I'm like I have a crush on Adam when I was in like fifth grade or something. Like I mean little things and some things were more deeply personal than that. But that's like the thing that I had that goes further back. But then in the past, I'd say six years, I've pretty consistently journal and I have about 35 or something different journals. I’d probably fill about five or so a year. It’s just a place for me to really keep a history of my own thoughts and feelings and fears and worries and events in my life.
Anyway, growing up though, I was a very, I'd say unexpressed, muted, timid, guarded, scared version of who I am today.
Cheri Honeycutt: Wow, those are some powerful words. I want to say those again if I can. Unexpressed, timid, guarded, and scared. I just got this visual of this little tender little girl. Wow. Proceed.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Tender is a really good way. No one's ever used that word before. Tender is a really good way to describe it. I think there was like a softness about me as a little girl that I feel like ended up getting covered up very quickly by this achiever, this hard-nosed achiever that just wanted to get ahead and compete and win. So for me, I think a lot like when I was really little. I was very introspective. My parents were like we’d leave you in your playpen for like two hours, you’ll just amuse yourself. Like I enjoyed my own company. I was very little.
But I didn't always feel like I fit in. And I went to Catholic school and I wasn't Catholic. I was naturally left out of certain things. So instead of speaking up about that or sharing that my feelings were hurt or I wish I was included, I sort of just like kept it all inside. It was just sad, but when you're a good, little girl, you don't really demonstrate sadness or anger. You’re like society sort of tells you, oh, these emotions are not allowed.
So I didn't express those things when I felt hurt by somebody leaving me out of something or my parents were going through a rough patch in their marriage when I was about five or six years old and separated for a period of time. My younger brother and I were just sort of in the middle of that. Fortunately, they were able to come back together. They just celebrated 41 years of marriage next
month, which is great. I saw this redemptive piece, but I also was affected by the fact that there was a rupture.
Cheri Honeycutt: No question, no question.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I handled it well. Meaning like, I didn't get in trouble. I didn't have any outbursts. I was emotionally regulated enough. I did well in school. So no one really gets curious about that kid.
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm sorry to giggle but it's true, right? You're a good kid. She’s not a squeaky wheel.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Right. You're fine. My brother was like the defusing bomb in the corner. He internalized all of that very differently than I did. He's well adjusted. He has a family of his own and is very successful in real estate. He’s turned out fine.
But you know, I think a lot of us, we silence ourselves when we're going through hurt in our families. We silence our emotion. We silence our feelings. We don't express ourselves. We don't speak up. And so I just had a history of doing this in a lot of my relationships.
I also had a history of doing this in terms of my creative expressions. I love writing. I would write stories and have never shared them with anyone. I'd write poems. I have a story I wrote called The Dare. It says Rachel Bryant, which is my maiden name. Rachel Bryant, age nine. I have it in my basement. I loved reading. I loved books. I read all the Nancy Drew books. Words were an escape for me.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. Yeah.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Just not said for my own mouth.
Cheri Honeycutt: But you were creating that with your head. You were being creative. You weren't just partaking of other people's words, but you were also being creative. But it was all inside. Okay.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I just wasn't sharing. And I love singing. I mean, for as long as I can remember, I loved to sing. There was a vulnerable part of that I just didn't really feel comfortable offering to other people.
And so I would literally sit in the pews at church when I was in school, Catholic school. If I thought the person in front of me could hear you singing, even when I was church, somebody turns around and gives you a side eye or like, I'm being too loud. Maybe they were turning because I thought I had a good voice, but I automatically—my interpretation was, “Oh, my gosh. I'm being too loud and annoying.” Cheri, I as much as I love singing, I would lip sync.
Cheri Honeycutt: That is so hard for me to believe. I mean, I believe you, but here you are now, which makes who you are now so astonishing. Where you've come from lip synching in church… But I will say, I can relate and I imagine listeners too where we're sitting there and we are deciding what other people think and we're changing our behavior with zero real acknowledgement of what's out there. We're taking in data we think and then altering ourselves. Does that describe what you were doing? You morphed or hid.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yes. Totally. We mute. I muted. I literally muted myself. We mute these aspects of who we are. Maybe it's painting or maybe it's poetry or maybe it's singing or maybe it's theater or maybe it's dance or whatever. I think everyone has a desire. I think we are naturally like in Big Magic Elizabeth Gilbert's book. We’re all creators. We're born to create and to contribute and to add something to the world. I just didn't let myself do that. I let myself do that in academics. That was basically the only domain that I permitted myself to really show up fully.
Cheri Honeycutt: So let me ask you a question. You'd said all of a sudden, there was this part of you, this achiever that part of the win, that wanted to win, which is a little different than as you were just—not different, but slightly a different side of that timid, guarded, scared person, but you could shine, you sort of asserted yourself a little bit more in the achiever and winner part. You weren't complete, you could shine there. What was it about? What were you afraid of? Let’s psychoanalyze you, Rachel. (Laughs)
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Let’s do it. I've spent hundreds of hours in therapy. This will not be anything new.
Cheri Honeycutt: So the cliff note version.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Well, I mean, here's the thing. What I felt like academic achievement did is it gave me a very tangible bar to demonstrate my value.
Cheri Honeycutt: Measurable, tangible.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: You got an A or like at work, you got a promotion, you got the next job, you got a raise, you got a title change, you got opportunity to work on that project, you finished that project, you got an award—these are all very tangible things. Focusing on the tangible distracted me from focusing on what was beneath the surface, which was like dealing with my own insecurities and anxieties and loneliness and sadness and the trauma.
I mean, I never talked to anyone about what my parents rupture and their relationship did to me. No one ever asked me how I was doing. Everyone just assumed I was fine and it's really not been until my mid to late 30s that I've even opened up these conversations in therapy. Like, wait a second, all that stuff affected me. Like not to point the finger and blame my parents, but like, there was a whole period of my life that just literally did not have a voice or was not heard and internalized all of that.
I was like, well, if I am just good and this is the place I know I can get approval. This is the place I know I can be accepted. Don't feel socially accepted. I will achieve my way into acceptance and it worked. It worked with teachers loved me. I excelled. It sounds like formulaic like I knew how to just own it in school.
Cheri Honeycutt: Inside though, you were inside, there was this wounded little bird.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yes. I was. And she was scared—and the tough, I've got it all together doesn't show. I mean, those were like dichotomous ways of being. It's like, I didn't show that I—people just assumed too that someone who shows up that way, people assume that someone who's achieving is okay. Let's talk about burnout in a little bit later. That actually is not true. But you know, I think a lot of it was just that I felt almost like safe in the space of achievement because I knew where I stood. I knew how to get there. I knew how to work the system. Pretty much every other area of my life, I struggled with feeling competent or confident. I just channelled all of it in school.
Cheri Honeycutt: So socially, maybe, okay, so what other areas?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Artistically.
Cheri Honeycutt: Artistically, yeah, so you put the kibosh on those or didn't even express those, but you put all that attention. I'm thinking as listeners are thinking about this that may identify clearly with your story, but I will say, we said a few minutes ago that you kind of didn't go off the rails. Your brother did a little bit. It was actually the same thing. You were really putting yourself, numbing yourself out in some ways on these are my words, not yours, self-medicating, if you will, with awards and achievements and A+s, right?
You were just lucky enough that it was socially accepted. I think of this sometimes when I see, and any runners listening to this, I'm not talking about you specifically, but when I see these runners who run millions of miles and they're bone thin, and I'm like, you know, we are validating you as an exerciser, but I feel you know, you ever to see somebody and go, I don't think they're running for health anymore. I think there's an addiction, if you will. But we’re like “Yeah, keep going.” Keep going. That's awesome. When in fact, I'm not so sure underneath there's always something healthy.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I don’t think underneath any extreme achievement, I mean, sometimes it can just be someone like my dad is a six time Ironman triathlete. He started doing—
Cheri Honeycutt: Sorry, I talked about that.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: He finds a tremendous amount of his identity in the fact that he's a triathlete and an Iron Man. The idea like him getting hurt is like threatening to his identity. Anything that we tie that closely to our identity is risky or dangerous because what if that goes away? What if you, you know, it's like, fast forward to my early 30s? What happens when you burn out and you lose your voice and you have no energy and you get mono and you can't do the work the same way? You have an identity crisis, because you're like, wait, that was like, the place I felt confident and competent and now that's gone. I have to like now deal with this other stuff, like my relationships and my spirituality and my emotions. Eww! (Laughs)
Cheri Honeycutt: Eww! I have to tell you, I've interviewed so many folks for this for this podcast so far. And at the time that this is playing, I don't know which ones are actually published or not. But oh my god, there's this story, there's this theme that is emerging were folks who create this persona, if you will, or tap into one part of their identity, and then something comes crashing down, when all of a sudden they’re House of Cards, which in your case looked really beautiful, came crashing down, right? So you just mentioned losing your voice, burnout—go for it. Take us up there.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah, I mean, the thing that you get rewarded for with gold stars and Pizza Hut BOOK IT! certificates.
Cheri Honeycutt: I love it. This memoir is writing itself. That's one chapter, pizza, pizza. (Laughter)
Rachel Drunkenmiller: The BOOK IT! Club. I got a lot of those. I read a lot of books. The thing that we reward kids for in school is the very thing that I think contributes to why so many people burn out as adults because the culture of even education is focused on achievement. It's not focused on celebrating progress. It's not focused on, I mean, it's moving this way, but historically, has not been focused on emotional literacy or social skill. It's been so focused on grades and SAT scores and all these metrics. Work can end up the same way.
What happened with me is I had been recognized, you know, I was in 2015, was named the #1 Health Promotion Professional in the United States by a group called The Wellness Council of America. I have been a member of this group since 2007. So for eight years, I've been a member of this group. I've gone to their conferences. I watched their webinars. I did all their stuff. Then the last day this application was due, I applied for this award. Somebody nudged me and I was like, I mean, I work for like, some 50-person company in Baltimore no one's ever heard of. Why would I win this award?
I had some transformational things happen in my health journey. We had done some really innovative things in the program that I brought to our company and with our clients, but I was like, I don't know. Fast forward five, six months later, I win. There's a 230 some people in the pool and I won this award. It was the first time I got on a national stage. I was like, “Oh, my God, I love speaking.” And then that was like the beginning of the end.
Because what started to happen, the pressure I put on myself was like, “Oh, they said you're the best? They said you're number one? Guess what, Rachel? You are going to have to keep being the best and you're going to have to have all the best ideas and all the best answers and you're going to have to know what to do. And you're going to have to not disappoint anybody and you can never say you don't know, because they just said that, like you are the expert. The danger of being an expert is that you lose curiosity.
Cheri Honeycutt: I love that.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: The danger of the expert is that you lose curiosity. And humility, a lot of times. Because saying you don't know something implies that maybe you're not the expert. But I think that's so unfair.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, it is.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Like why is expertise we know, right from the exchange, community. Why expertise is so valued when the benefits of collective wisdom and not just the value of one person knowing everything, right? In any case, I lost my train of thought there of where we're going.
Cheri Honeycutt: So you won this award. (Interposing) bread crumbs.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: What started to happen was I was putting that pressure on myself. As a result of putting the pressure on myself, I did not ask people for help. And I needed help at work. I was trying to do everything for myself. I was dropping the ball. I was letting people down. I wasn't being responsive. They were getting upset with me. They felt like clients were disappointed.
No one at any point ever came to me with genuine curiosity and care and concern like, hey, this doesn't seem like you. Do you want to talk? Do you want to have a conversation? Like how can I support you? Or what help do you need? No. And this isn't to blame, because I've come to learn that most people do not even know the symptoms of burnout.
Like in an occupational setting, this sense of engagement of exhaustion or low energy. Negativity or cynicism is the second one. The third one is increased errors. I was doing all of those things. I'd become more cynical. I was just grinding it schedule wise. It was insane. I was consulting and speaking and I had gotten trained in culinary nutrition and was teaching healthy cooking demos and maintaining a blog and I was doing a lot of things.
Eventually, I had a dream. I had written it in my journal. I look back at these things. In capital letters, “I cannot sustain this pace. Something's got to give.” This was like spring of 2015. I wrote it after I got the award.
I was asked to keynote their conference, be one of the keynotes the following year 2016. That's my first national keynote. I was like, Oh, this is it. This is what I'm gonna do at some point forever. And then that fall September 2016, I had a dream. So this is another area of unmuting yourself is your body. Our body tells us things and we don't pay attention.
For anyone listening, if you ever have a dream that you're drowning, check yourself before you wreck yourself because—
Cheri Honeycutt: That's not even subtle. That's not like, you know, just a little drippy on your head. Like if you're drowning, pay attention, right? Did you pay attention to that dream or did you need a bigger sign?
Well, you know, I wrote it down. I dreamed that I was drowning. Cheri, the scary thing was a month later, I started having trouble with my memory. I'd like be in conversation with people and I couldn't remember words or phrases. I was like 32 years old. I go to the worst case scenario, my great grandmother had dementia. This is surely what is happening.
Cheri Honeycutt: The beginning of the end.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: That just spiralled. And so I went to see my doctor and my integrative medicine doctor. I see all integrative medicine or functional medicine practitioners and I remember I told him what's going on and he said with kindness. It's not with judgment, but he said, “Maybe you're doing too much.” How would you respond, Cheri, if someone said that to you?
Cheri Honeycutt: Well, I have to tell you because I have my own burnout story and my own conversation with the doctor. So I literally had that conversation. I'm thinking what you might have said is, “What? I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.” I don't know. What did you say? I don't want to talk about me. What did you say?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I think I was kind of like, in my head, I was like, “That's the wrong answer.” I basically ignored him.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah, you know, it's so funny. I was talking to my coach this week about something else. And I was like, “You know, I don't think I'm supposed to do it that way.” She goes, “No, you asked the question, but you just didn't like the answer.” You know. I was like, “Okay, if I ask it again, will you give me a different answer?” You know what I mean?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah. Can you answer to be somebody else's fault besides mine?
Cheri Honeycutt: Somebody else's fault. Yeah. Well, I'll tell you real quickly. I was doing counseling, HIV counseling back in the late 80s, early 90s and I was telling lots of people over and over they had HIV. I was in public health. I was in grad school. I was doing all these things. And I decided that I either had a brain tumor or a stomach ulcer. So I went to the doctor and I declared and I've already diagnosed myself. It's either a brain tumor or a stomach ulcer. And he said, “No, it is burnout and depression.” Take these. Go home. I just sobbed for four days, just sobbed for four days. I didn't even really integrate what that meant, but it was told burnout and I had no lexicon, no frame of reference. I just knew that I was crying. I was tired. What did you say the three things were? Cynical?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Low Energy or exhaustion is the first one. Negativity or cynicism about your work. This is an a strictly occupational burnout. Then the third is increased errors, making mistakes, dropping the ball
Cheri Honeycutt: So you know, I know that all of a sudden that the air got led out of my tires because I was having these physical symptoms of headaches and stomach hurting. So back to you, you're told, “Maybe Rachel, you're doing too much.” Did you stick your finger in your ears?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: La-la-la-la-la. Let me tell you how out of touch I was with reality. About six weeks after I saw this doctor, I lost my voice. I had a really bad sore throat, which I've had before. Usually, that's like my weak link. My throat historically has been like growing up I had chronic strep throat and bronchitis and laryngitis and tonsil issues and all sorts of stuff. I've had vocal strain before. I've had vocal nodules before, which are lumps in your vocal cords.
I lost my voice and I like I couldn't talk. I was so nuts. By this time, I had an assistant because I had like, spoken up enough that I was like, I need help. And this was in December of 2016. I had a client that was having me do a cooking demo and I looked at my schedule, and I was like if I bump this out, I'm not gonna be able to do it until like the last week of January. I don't want to disappoint them. I find so often we're so afraid to disappoint somebody else even when our hair's on fire. “Your hair's on fire.” “Yeah, but like what if I let them down?” God forbid. I have to reschedule something.
So yeah, I typed up a script, Cheri. I typed up a script for my assistant. I was basically a mime making these recipes. She would talk through it and I just didn't talk for a cooking demo. I remember leaving there. It didn't hit me until months and months, months later. That, to me, is the extreme degree of denial that I was in. That like you wrote a script for somebody else to do your job, why don't you just reschedule it? You're not like closing on the hole on ozone layer.
Cheri Honeycutt: Right. Or even just let her go do it.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah, like they can learn how to do—and part of the problem is I was the one certified in the nutrition piece and food safety and all of that. I was the one that gonna have to, like, technically do it. But like, Rachel, if they didn't learn How to make avocado chocolate mousse—
Cheri Honeycutt: What is it? Is that what it was? There's no such thing as an avocado chocolate mousse emergency, right? But you just invented a crisis. An avocado chocolate mousse crisis?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I did. I did.
Cheri Honeycutt: Ain’t that funny how we play this mind beep, you know, what we do with our head that we begin to say that we turn things into something way more important. I know that for me, I started to say this took years and years and years when I would say you know, I'm just so tired. I can't do it. I'm like, okay, if I was puking up, if I was just like blowing groceries all over, would I go to work anyway? No. Why do I have to be bleeding or vomiting all over? There's still a level of I shouldn't be out there doing that. I am tired enough or sick or just need a break. But when it's not obvious or something you see, we keep putting other people first.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: You do. It was two months later that I'm back in the same doctor's office who told me I was doing too much. This was on Valentine's Day, Cheri. I was supposed to have dinner my husband.
Cheri Honeycutt: This is about self-love, girl.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: We should be at dinner. I'm like, passed out. Just (inaudible) lymph nodes. I felt exhausted. I'm in like a sweatshirt and glasses like just desperation, tears on my face. I sat across from him again and I told him what was going on. He's very kind. He said this with kindness. “Would you say this was brought on by work or that you brought this on yourself?”
Cheri Honeycutt: I like this guy.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I like him too. He’s still my doctor. So for anyone listening, pause right there. Would you say that this was brought on by work? Pointing finger at somebody else, three fingers pointing back at you? Or that you are somehow part of the reason why this thing is happening and you just have not really been willing to turn the mirror on yourself because it's uncomfortable.
Cheri Honeycutt: Were you in tune enough to know the correct answer?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I was. I just started crying. I was like, “Oh, I brought this on myself.” 100%. I want to blame my job. But I said yes to all this stuff on my calendar. I had more control than I let on. He's like, “I'm going to test you for Epstein Barr Virus.” Which is an acute mono that I never heard of. I got tested for it and all my numbers came up really elevated and positive. It's contagious. Mono is contagious. So I was just down and out. It was one of the lowest points of my life going through. I just had no energy. I'd sleep 11, 12 hours a night for weeks and just not feel rested. I just felt so wah.
Cheri Honeycutt: You were a wrung out dishrag.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I was.
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm trying to think of a metaphor of something that's just absolutely depleted. You've taken every single thing out of it. I feel it. I can't think of the right metaphor for it. That's a good one. But you know, what I love is that, and this is something I talked about in my sort of my idea of about how do you live on purpose is I always say the number one thing in really beginning to live on purpose is to take 100% responsibility. Because when you do, you have 100% of the power.
As long as you're blaming others, as long as we're saying, well, it’s the conditions, it's work, it's in my genetics, it's just what we do in my family, or it's just my personality, or I'm just going to work this hard until we have the merger, or when we hire a new person or fill in the blank. I bet it didn't feel very good as you're laying in bed.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: No. I had this distinct moment, I remember my niece at the time was turning two and her birthday is the week of Valentine's Day. I couldn't go to her party and I'm laying on the couch as my husband is sending me pictures from my niece’s birthday. I just had this moment of sadness. We have these turning points, these pivot points in our lives were like something changed. I remember lying there, looking at this picture thinking like, this is not how I want my life to be. This is the director of well-being. So there's the other kicker. (Laughs)
Cheri Honeycutt: I'm so sorry. See? This book is writing itself. I mean, it's hilarious. Can we just laugh about it for a moment? I'm not laughing at it. It’s just that it's so hilarious. You know what I mean? I'm so glad you can see the humor in that.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: It wasn’t like I was outside salesperson. I was literally the director of well-being. I was showing everybody how to be healthy and in the meantime, I was like, completely burned out and bottomed out.
Cheri Honeycutt: On this podcast, I've talked to a doctor who taught about stress who was stressed out. This happens to us, right? We end up kind of not even remembering the message of what we're doing because we have our own stuff. And yours was about achieving. And all of a sudden, that became the way of life.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: And being impressive. I was like how impressive is somebody sitting on her couch unable to do anything? She can't use her voice, which is her job. Like my voice was my job. And I was like if I can't use my voice, how do I have value? And it was this? For me, this unravelling of so many things and this breakdown, like we often hear, you have to break down for you experience breakthrough, which is 100% what happened for me. I mean, I was broken down emotionally, mentally, physically, spiritually. It was just like sucker punch after sucker punch and I needed every bit of that to get to the point where I open and brave enough.
Cheri Honeycutt: To get your attention. When clients come to me as their coach, and all of a sudden they're almost apologetic about how what a shit show some of their life is. I'm just like, “Yay!” I'm so excited. You know, you’re trying not to be a little flip. But you're like, “Yes!” Because when it all breaks down, baby, do you know what I mean? When the when the rock in your shoe is so big that you have to stop and take it out. You know what I mean? Yes, man, because now you're gonna turn it around.
Now, I don't think it takes all of us to end up in the bed with it. Mono, hopefully, that's why we do these podcasts so we can turn it around before it gets crazy. But that's the way it is sometimes right? You get the big rock in your head. We call it the other day a two by four. God, whatever your spirituality is, something will slap you upside the head. And got slapped upside the head.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I sure did. And the crazy thing is during all this time, I had messages I get from friends. I mean, it's funny when you get so broken down, you can also become so opened up at the same time.
Cheri Honeycutt: I want to write that down.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I was spiritually broken open in the midst of this experience. I suddenly was open to receiving things from people that they probably wouldn't have even said to me prior to this happening because of how unreceptive. I had a friend who texted me. Her name's Kara. And she sent me a text message that started with the words of “Warning, unsolicited observation coming.”
Cheri Honeycutt: I love that about her already that she did that. Yes.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I was like, eww! It was like a full screen. It was like a scroller. It’s one of those messages that wasn't two lines. And I was like, “Am I ready for this?” Because I know that she loves and cares about me, but I knew it was going to be very honest. And she wrote something to the effect of again, knowing my background had been in well-being. I've been in the well-being industry for you know, at that point, 10 years when this was happening. And I would post things on my blog and social media and all this stuff.
She said that I noticed that you post a lot on social media about not worrying so much about achievement and da-da-da and about slowing down, but if I may say so, like you yourself don't really seem to slow down and you don't—this was the kicker. This was like the gut punch—seem contented or fulfilled.
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh bless her. Let’s just love on that friend for being brave to show that to you. That you don't feel content. You don't seem content or fulfilled. Sucker punch. Because golly, imagine living a life with without that? Isn't that the goal?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Oh, that is the goal to have people that in your life that love you so much, that they will say the thing that will just like rattle you because they know it's for your good. They say it in a way that they know you can receive it. I bet she was scared. I have to follow up with her and be like, was there any hesitancy in you about sending, pressing send on that message?
Cheri Honeycutt: Bless her though, man.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: But seriously, so I wrote back. I said “You're right.” That was right in March. I got diagnosed with Epstein Barr in February. She texted me this the second or third week of March. And I said, “You are 100% right. I'm working on it. Thank you for your honesty.” What else could I say?
Cheri Honeycutt: So I have to say I don't know that she could have sent it, but you couldn't have received it chances are because you had your metaphorical fingers in your ears. You had not yet been broken down to have that breakthrough. This is sort of my spiritual woo-woo thing. I think that that all of a sudden, they start lining up in the signs. I often wonder if they're there to begin with, we just can't see them.
I remember seeing Oprah years and years and years ago. I saw Oprah live like in 2000 or 2002 or whatever. She talked about how God would throw a little pebble. It would ping on her head. And then it was a little bit bigger and then all of a sudden, it's a big, frickin frackin boulder. We didn't see the pebble. We didn't see the little irritation. And you already even admitted to that. You didn't really notice or we didn't really pay attention to it because you had this chronic throat infection. So little signs. I like to think the god the goddess or whoever is like “ehem”.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Literally clearing my throat.
Cheri Honeycutt: Lay down because I'm getting ready to wop you upside the head with a two (inaudible). So I want to know how—because this is the part. I mean, I love all the stories, but when I learned about, you know, obviously, the listeners are going “Ah, we kind of see the unmuted part of what you're doing now.” Connect those dots for us.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah, so for me, it's like, I feel like I had to be muted, to not use the thing that was my crutch, which was my voice, so that the voices around me could be unmuted and speak truth into me. And I had to in that situation, unmute myself and ask for help in a way that I had not before. And then vulnerable with people in a way that I had not been before. And admit, when I couldn't handle something in a way that I had never been willing to do that before.
It was this bottoming out that caused me to unmute. I was like, geez, whatever the heck I'm doing isn't working. I guess I just need to figure out how to how to just acknowledge the things I'm struggling with and not worry about whether or not people are gonna judge me for it because it is what it is and when I can't sustain that pace and cadence of life anymore.
And I started taking what I was learning about building relationships and being in community and being consistent with people. I started seeing a therapist for the first time. We were going through a lot even at like church, we were going through this like spiritual gifts series was one of our pastors and they had this thing at the very end of it, it's called an impartation. We're like these people come, they like lay their hands on you, and they speak over, like, whatever your spiritual gift is. People listening there may not think it’s woo-woo. But this was my experience. So I like to share it.
And I've never met these guys in my life and I was super skeptical. I was like I don't know about all this. We’ll see. They walk around. And the first guy comes and lays his hands on me, and he like, on my hands, I think it was and he (inaudible) read a gift. He said the gift of gifts of healing. Here I am like sick as a dog. Like, this is what I'm recovering from mono, by the way. And I'm like, the irony of this. The gift of healing. And he said and not just physical healing, but your words have power. I've never met this man in my entire life.
Cheri Honeycutt: Your words have power.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Your words have power. I was just like, I started to just cry. And then I was like, okay, maybe that was like a fluke. Maybe somebody had a conversation. I don't know. I knew did not have conversations. But then the second guy comes around. And he holds my hands up. And he goes, I guess it's like a Christian church. I've never shared this in a podcast, but we're going there today. He goes, Holy Spirit, send fire to these healing hands. And I was like, did you talk to each other? I asked 10 people afterwards. I was like was your gift healing? (Laughs)
Cheri Honeycutt: Don’t we do that? Wha-what?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: And it's like, no, Rachel. I believe that is what my gifting is on this—
Cheri Honeycutt: No question.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: —is to use my voice – singing, written, spoken to bring about transformation, awakening and healing in people. Thank you for affirming that. It’s so cool how this happened. That was another unmuting of like let people speak into and over you.
Cheri Honeycutt: So I want to go back to that really quickly. This part I just absolutely love. Oh, I found my notes that I was looking for. That’s good. (Laughs) That listen to this, you've heard that phrase, we have two ears and one mouth, you know, but all of a sudden, you had to have your mouth be quiet, so that you could really hear. That's something we could all really benefit from. Places where we need to just be quiet, and really listen to the messages, listen to what's being said to us, listen to our friends who are maybe holding up those little signs. Whether they were saying it or not, before that, you had to actually literally be muted to hear it.
And then I love this part. Then as you were unmuted, you were unmuted, but you came out of that speaking and interacting in a new way. You were asking for help when Rachel didn't ask for help before. Rachel didn't ask to be seen. Rachel wasn't expressed in that same way. You came out of that experience. So when you did turn the volume back on, you’re like, I'm doing it in a different way.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah. And I'm going to talk about what this is really about. I'm going to talk about burnout is a state of disconnection from ourselves and from our sense of purpose. Talking about living with purpose. It’s a disconnection from our values. Burnout is a disconnection from people in our lives. And I was like, “I'm going to talk about this for what it is. And I'm going to be honest.” I put the text message from my friend on the screen in a slide in a room the first session that I did in July of 2017 about beating burnout. I put the text on the screen. I was like—
Cheri Honeycutt: So you're a brave little toaster. I just have to say. I want to say this to the listeners here that Rachel has been chosen or has chosen to do this work in a real public way. That's just your particular path. We don't have to do we don't have to take stages and speak our transformation in the way that you have, right? It can be something that's very private or small. It doesn't mean it's any less muted. I just want to speak to that. But you have been called, in my way of thinking, to do it on a bigger platform.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah. I appreciate you saying that though, too. Because some people think like unmuting yourself means being loud, that it means speaking at an event. I know, I just believe it means looking at the areas of your life where you are silencing yourself, whether in your body, whether it's in your emotions, whether it's spiritually whether it's with creative expression, at work and relationships.
Just be honest with yourself and think about where am I muting myself? Where am I silencing myself? Where am I holding back? And what's like one of those areas that I feel most confident I could make even a little change in to gradually unmute myself? It's a process. It's not like, I'm unmuted and now I'm never insecure and I never hold back. And it's like, no, I'm just aware of what I do.
Cheri Honeycutt: I wrote a little note here that this didn't happen overnight. So as I tight it in like what I do with clients and talking about designing your life on purpose, often, almost 100% of the time, folks have just been operating on default. Following the script that they were given or that society gave them or that they even at one time wanted, and not fully unmuting even to themselves to go, “You know what? I really don't want this.” Or “There's this thing I want and that I keep pushing away.”
And so that sense of really asking yourself that powerful question: What is not being expressed in me? What is itching to be expressed? What is itching to be experienced? And that those aren't necessarily luxuries or for special people or for later. No. It's right now.
I tease. I used to say, you know, there's the phrase life is just too short. You need to go do it. And there's truth to that, but there's also life can be really long. And what if you're miserable? I mean, I kind of say that to be funny. But there's a truth to it. Imagine living this really long life not having the things you wanted. What if Rachel pre-muted? That's not a very fun life. Lots of awards maybe.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah. But it's such an empty, it's like, what I feel like the depth I have right now. And like, the friends that I think—I just had this wall up because I've been so hurt when I was a little girl of just not really feeling a part of community socially. I never really felt—I didn't really let people get to know me as part of it. So part of it, I did not let people get to know me because I was so afraid of being known. I just now I'm the, I'm the friend that like, for my closest friends, you know, when someone's having a challenge, and they like, don't know who to talk to about it, or they're afraid someone else would judge them for it, they'll like, come and talk to me about it because they've seen me be honest and real about my stuff. Yeah. And they're like, “Oh, okay.”
Cheri Honeycutt: So when you have those breakdowns, all of a sudden, you realize you can survive them, first of all. You know what I mean? And you develop this muscle for going into those shadow sides, which are not bad sides. They're just the other side of the sun. You know what I mean? It's not the bad. It's just the other side. When you develop that muscle and capacity, people are starving for that, Rachel. People are starving for a safe place to talk about things that are hard.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Say that again.
Cheri Honeycutt: That people are starving for a safe place to talk about what's hard. And I think there's a fear that they think they're going to drop anchor in that or they're going to open up Pandora's box and not be able to put everything back in there. That's not what happens. It really doesn't. I want to say that to anyone listener. That your fear is valid, but it's a myth. We'll call it an urban legend. It's a myth that really, when you turn around, if you're trying to out chase the shadow that's following you and you just keep chasing it. If you turn around and actually just go headlong into that deep cloud, on the other side is the sun. You know? You just gotta turn around and look at it. It's counterintuitive.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: But it’s true. And it gives us courage, you know, but I discovered and it was unexpected for me. It was like, gosh, the braver I am, the easier it is to be brave.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. It's like you lift 10 pounds, you know, 12 is not that hard. And then 13, you know, and then 15. And so, think about that braveness then, when you become brave, that doesn't mean you don't have fear. It just means, “Oh, I've got the resources to do that thing.”
And I'm glad you brought that up because it is scary to claim that you want something different than what currently exists. There's all kinds of reasons to stay right where you are even if it's “painful”. It's still the devil you know.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: The familiar discomfort is more preferable to the unfamiliar discomfort.
Cheri Honeycutt: Beautifully said. And so we choose, we stay there, until we get wopped upside the head. What was the two words your friend was so lovingly said? You're not fulfilled?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I was not content or fulfilled. And I was like, “Oh, snap, you're right!”
Cheri Honeycutt: So thinking about living a life on purpose and this idea of being fulfilled and content, do those words describe you now?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I'd say that I'm a fulfilled person. I'd say I'm sometimes content. I have a natural, just catalytic energy in me that is always looking toward the future and like, what's next? I'll give you a long answer to that question. I experienced contentment in a profound way recently that really got my attention because it felt so unfamiliar. One leaving my job and being able to be my own boss and do things the way that I want to and work with the clients I want to and do that how I want to gave me a tremendous amount of, I'd say, fulfillment.
And the work that I do, I see the impact that it has, and how people are transformed and how they have hope and they feel seen and they feel understood and they feel validated. I'm very fulfilled by the work that I do and I feel like I'm more fulfilled in my relationships than I've ever been because I've done a lot of the work. I would say definitely more fulfilled.
The contentment piece came in recently when my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary. And we had just come back from 16 days of vacation, which I've never taken a 16-day vacation in my entire life, like, ever. And we took two weeks off, you know, because I was like, we need it. Last year, I know you know, but getting hit by a truck and fractured my back in the midst of COVID. And recovering from that was just brutal.
It was a lot in addition to running a business, the first year of running a business in the midst of a global pandemic. That was 100% live speaking until the pandemic hit and then it was 100% virtual. But like, just going through all of that was really hard. And so taking this time away, and having that extended time, our vacation is always a combination of spontaneous exploration and highly anticipated plans.
So like, we know where we're gonna stay. We knew we were staying at Hotel Vermont, in Burlington. And it looked really nice. And we were going to have this Jacuzzi tub. And we knew certain restaurants we're going to go to. But otherwise, we're just like it’s Saturday, we have dinner at 5:30 tonight, what do we feel like doing today. It’s just like an adventure. Just being able to have the freedom of that space and have two weeks where I wasn't performing, where I wasn't having to impress anybody, where I was like, just off, I wasn't on.
And I came back from that, and then like six days later, we had a vow renewal ceremony with like an intimate group of family and friends. I got my hair and makeup done and got a new dress, he was in a suit. And we wrote our own vows, which we had not done for wedding. And the same pastor married us as a friend of ours, and he did the ceremony. I came away from that. And I woke up the next morning, just feeling so content.
Cheri Honeycutt: Beautiful.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: In the sense of like I was just reminded like this thing that you have, Rachel, this man who loves you and he was willing to put himself on it. If I had said, “Hey, do you wanna write your own vows?” And he could like literally just choose his actual response, he probably would have said, “No, can we just do what Ryan tells us to do?” But he did it for me. He did it for us. And he added wit in there and which I get to see. Not everyone gets to see his wit. He just was himself. And it was so beautiful. We just felt so supported and known and seen by these people who have been with both of us through so many ups and downs. Kara was there—the text message friend. She was there. People that have been there from before we got together, people that have been there from the literally the entire span of our 15-year relationship were there. They were witnessing that and they were supporting us in that. I just had this feeling of like, this is what life is about.
Cheri Honeycutt: Yeah. Yeah, I got chill bumps. Yeah.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: it was so clear. And then the crazy thing, there was a photographer take pictures of us. And there was this picture that he took, and he goes, “Oh, check this out.” We're walking through this like garden, holding hands with each other. And upper left corner of the picture, a butterfly had flown into the frame. I have like butterfly art and stuff in my office. And you know, you know, “Without change, there would be no butterflies.” And “With brave wings, she flies” and just butterfly stuff in my house and peacocks.
It's like the butterfly is ultimate symbol of transformation and literal breakthrough. And to have that happen at that 10-year milestone of life, we have both grown so much. We have both done so much work. We've shared so much pain and we've shared so much joy. We are in community with dozens of people that are just rooting for us and that love us and that belongingness and II felt like the weight of that love just like saturate me in that experience. It was like I had like a love hangover the next day.
Cheri Honeycutt: That's a hangover we'd love to have. A love hang over. You don't take any tomato juice for that one, right? I adore this story. You couldn't have written a fictional rendition of what it means to kind of come through on the other side. But that was your truth right there. Do you know what I mean? The beauty of that, the 10-year mark and that ability for you to feel contentment, I flashed to Anne Lamott talks about how she feels the presence of God. It's just sometimes an eight-second increment.
And I just had this belief, you know, this idea that we don't necessarily have to live in a place of contentment because we are achievers and we're doing these things. But if we're open, and we allow that to come in that light, you know, go, “Ah, I am at the base of me. My foundation is solid and I'm content.” Because I believe you're probably content way more than you think. You just had an opportunity to really connect the dots in that moment. I'm curious about that. I'll just say I'm curious. I wonder. Can you sing something?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah. You want to hear a little bit the how this got into things. This is a part of—
Cheri Honeycutt: Yes. I do. I really want to know the story. Yes. Let's hear this part about the singing then I want you to sing for us.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: So it started in college. I had come back from a semester abroad. I was in gospel choir which I was in it because you didn't have to try out. So no one ever actually heard me sing by myself.
Cheri Honeycutt: You were lip syncing probably.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: There’s 80 people. I'm going to blend in. So I went to tryouts for the spring concert. And I waited till everybody left except for like the people that had to be there, like the director and the assistant director. And I told him I want to try out for the solo. And so he sent me to the microphone and I sang this song, it's called “When I rose this morning” and the lyric is “This morning when I rose, I didn't have no doubt.” It’s the lyric. Do you want me to sing? Okay, hold on. Since we’re talking about it. I can do that. It's not gonna be a familiar song to people, unless they're…
Cheri Honeycutt: It doesn't matter. (inaudible) when you're being led to sing.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Straw test is really good for clearing your voice. Here we go. This is what I did. I went to my phone. And I stood in this empty church. I close my eyes. And I just like, let it go. And this is essentially what I did.
(Singing When I Rose This Morning)
Cheri Honeycutt: You guys! Oh my God! Rachel, did you just—like I mean, mic drop. Did you blow your own mind?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: You know, I was terrified. I was shaking. Like every joint of me was like shaking. I was so nervous. But the desire to be expressed was greater than the fear of being heard.
Cheri Honeycutt: Ah, gotta write that one down. The desire to be expressed was greater than the fear of being heard. Y'all hear it. Listen. Take that in. The pain of squelching yourself became more unbearable than the pain of the possibility of looking foolish or falling on your face.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yes. The crazy thing that happened was like I did that and then I finished and then I just kind of like looked at them. I didn’t think I had a chance since Eric Bird is a jazz musician. He had been playing at the piano. He gets up from the piano. He knocks over a music stand. And he goes, “Where did that come from?” (Laughter) And I was like, it's been in there and it just needed to come out.
So that was the beginning. I had a solo every semester after for that concert. Music is how my husband and I connected. We would move in the chapel and he had this tattered, yellow folder of music with all these printed out song lyrics in it and he would play and I would sing. We'd stay there till Campus Safety kicked us out at 11:00 at night. He asked me to come sing at his church with him and then we were both part of a church where we were—he was also musical, obviously—on the music team.
One of my best friends asked me to sing at her wedding like six years ago and then, most recently, I went through a professional speaking training with a group called Heroic Public Speaking back in 2018. And I was telling the story as part of my speech about getting unmuted. And I wrote to my writing coach Cheri. I wrote, “So when I talk about the story of when I sang at gospel choir, should I like, would it be weird if I sang that part?” And she was like, ah, is this a rhetorical question?
Cheri Honeycutt: It feels like it’d be probably weird if you didn't like.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah. You should sing. And so that was the first time, 2019 was the first time that I connected singing and speaking. I was like, oh, maybe these two things should be friends. And now, in every keynote, I sing something. I started working with a vocal coach in February every Monday. It's like the highlight of the 3:00 on my Monday. We do all kinds of songs. She's like you don't have to think about what you want to sing like on the stage for work like what other songs would you want to work on? Like Make Me Feel Your Love by Adele? Like that one?
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh, yeah. Okay. We have to sing that one off camera.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Okay. I wanna record some stuff. I have some friends that are musicians that like, you know, have studios. I'm like, I want to like record. I want to lay down some tracks and records and stuff aside from just like the little snippets of things I post on LinkedIn, or like, yeah, sing and that talks that I give. But for me, it was like, this is the ultimate. And when I rolled out my business in 2019, I was like, “I am unmuted.” This is what I stand for. I'm going to use my voice. I'm going to boldly express myself. I'm going to sing. I'm going to speak.
I'm going to invite other people into spaces where they feel confident unmuting themselves and asking for help and just sharing their joy and sharing their pain and asking for what they need and listening to their bodies and ask them to opportunities at work. I'm going to be someone who stands for unlocking all of these things in people and the way they've been unlocked in me.
Cheri Honeycutt: Absolutely. And Rachel, I have to tell you, when I met you, before you really even, before I knew all that about you, I knew all that about you. It radiates out of you. It radiates out of you and your work. I mean, you are, from my perspective, one of the most aligned people I've ever met. I think your message, of course, has come out of your miss, which are the most beautiful messages. They're the ones that really ping us and we listen to.
I'm just sending out so much love to anyone who might be listening to this at any point, that if you're getting pinged, pay attention to that. Rachel's been telling her story of literally unmuting her voice, but where are we not fully expressing ourselves? Where are we holding back for some other rules? By that by our own definition, or by society's definition or by oh, it's too late, I’m too whatever, we're gonna throw the bullshit flag on that right? We're gonna throw the flag on the play. That if you're still being pinged to do that thing, it ain't too late. If you're still breathing, if you're still on this side of the Mother Earth, it is not too late. It is not too late.
Rachel, first of all, I have a few last bits of questions. But I just have to tell you this has been the most generative, generous, inspiring conversation I've had in a long time. I personally am touched to the core of your story.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Oh, you made it possible. You created the space for it.
Cheri Honeycutt: Well, I'm just honored that you joined me with here. So I have a couple of questions that I'm asking all my guests. When you find yourself not really in alignment, and I have a feeling I know one of the answers. Let me ask it another way. What do you do to keep yourself centered? What do you do? What are some of your practices that keep you in this sense of alignment? I know journaling is one.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Journaling. I love journaling. One is just being in conversation with friends that know me really well, that I can just be like, “Alright, here's what's really going on.”
Cheri Honeycutt: Okay, good. You have a tribe.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: My husband. I have a tribe. My husband is very centered and grounded naturally. And he consents very quickly. And if I go to him and say… He's just very direct, but in a very just kind of simplified way. And so if I'm noticing them off in some way, my husband and my dad actually. My dad will call me out and my husband if I approach him and say, hey, I'm noticing this. He’ll be like, what if you start doing this or maybe this is the case maybe this is this?
Cheri Honeycutt: Beautiful.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: He helps ground me. Music just brings me back. I feel like my faith like sometimes just watching a sermon on a Sunday. That is the message I needed to hear that day. It's like that grounds and centers me. It's ritualistic. It happens every week. And just sometimes those words of validation and devotional might do it. I wouldn't say I'm like an expert at centering and grounding myself. I think people that know me really well will be like, “Rachel, centered?” Centered in who I am and what I'm after, but not always centered in my spirit. But I do feel like I have a calm excitement.
Cheri Honeycutt: Well, there's this vision sometimes that we think we're supposed to be the Dalai Lama, or maybe this, you know, om, with their legs crossed. No, no, no, no. This may be as good as it gets in this lifetime. It’s that every now and then calm down. But yeah, it sounds like you have these things in place. And they're very intentional. And I hear the gratitude also.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: And sleep. Since burning out, one of the biggest change I made after my burnout was like, I just don't mess with my sleep.
Cheri Honeycutt: Gosh, you’re like the third person who said that to me. And you're talking to a person who was a sucky, sucky sleeper. So I'm just like, oh, I'm getting a message.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I have a WHOOP band. It tracks all your stuff. I've had it for like, years.
Cheri Honeycutt: I don't want to see how bad it is.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: You want to! It's so motivating.
Cheri Honeycutt: The achiever just came out in you.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah. It's my external gauge when about when I'm ignoring myself. It's like, pay attention. Ding, ding, ding.
Cheri Honeycutt: Beautiful. I have a feeling I would know what your motto would be if you were on a bumper sticker. What would your motto be?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: My motto would be… Gosh, I have so many things that I believe in. Joyfully alive, boldly expressed.
Cheri Honeycutt: Joyfully alive, boldly expressed. I love that. And what have I not asked you that you want to share? Is there anything that I haven't asked you that you'd like to share?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I would just say for anyone listening that has felt like you said, pinged today, to one, be gentle with yourself. Sometimes like, as we're sharing in these stories, like sometimes we have these extreme examples of something that happens that just hits us upside the head. And if you are somebody who is an achiever, you're probably also somebody who's kind of hard on yourself. So I would just say, like, be a bit gentle. Give yourself a bit of grace. Like sometimes, we don't realize these things. And so as you start to awaken to yourself, be kind to yourself in that process because the temptation can be to jump all over yourself and then get on yourself for more, which is not motivating.
And I still do this, by the way, sometimes. I'm not going to be like I yeah, I totally got to figure it out. No, gosh, are you kidding me? I'm hard on myself. I sometimes beat myself up. I get in my head too much. Like I still do those things. I just have tools for how to like not stay there.
So I would say like to just really offer yourself some grace and kindness and compassion and to walk away from this experience today thinking to yourself, what is one thing that at some point in my journey has brought me joy. And how can I incorporate even a small element of that into the next 24 hours of my life?
Cheri Honeycutt: Beautiful. I love that. Something small, measurable and joy-focused Not the ridicule. It’s always worth saying over and over and over again, self-compassion. Particularly if you are an achiever, anyone who's an average, say overachiever, but really identifies as an achiever, you've built a big muscle of being critical. So love and compassion.
Last question, if given the choice, is it dark, or milk chocolate?
Rachel Drunkenmiller: 100% dark.
Cheri Honeycutt: Alright, girlfriend, we can stay friends. (Laughs)
Rachel Drunkenmiller: I got a bar in my fridge right now. Dark chocolate hazelnut toffee crunch.
Cheri Honeycutt: Oh, shut up. That's awesome. I may work on taking sugar out of my diet, all those things I'm supposed to do, but there is one bite of dark chocolate before I go to bed every night because that just is. You know what I mean? It just is.
We didn't talk specifically about your work with companies and organizations. This woman is phenomenal in her work on a really large scale, big scope. There’s going to be all those kind of connections in the show notes. But I am so honored and pleased that you've let us get to know you as the person and I know anyone who listens is not doubting the phenomenal impact you're having in the world on everybody who you connect with. So I encourage you to connect with her. Follow her on LinkedIn and other places where she sings and motivates us. And, Rachel, thank you so much.
Rachel Drunkenmiller: Yeah, thank you, Cheri. This was great.
Cheri Honeycutt: Thank you.