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Break Down. Wake Up.

Author: Meg Mateer

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Break Down. Wake Up. is about discovering the world changing wisdom within our distress. I’m Meg Mateer, a psychology nerd turned business consultant and entrepreneur. Join me to hear from leaders about when things in their lives were breaking down and to listen for the wisdom waking up. Along the way, we’ll explore fresh perspectives like (1) how distress is a driver of success, not a barrier to it, (2) how our personal and professional lives are inherently connected and (3) how our individual experiences can help solve broader societal challenges. When things are breaking down, important wisdom is waking up.
33 Episodes
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Season 1 of the Break Down. Wake Up. podcast is officially complete! In this episode, I take a look back on the last 31 episodes and give you a broad overview of what we've covered in this season. You'll also hear my personal story about how this project was born (hint: it has to do with my own breakdowns) and how global disruption actually helped put the project into the world. At the end of the episode, you'll get a perspective-shifting frame that will help you begin to see the wisdom within your own distress. If you haven't done so already, I highly encourage you to go back to episodes you haven't yet heard and tune into ones that may not initially attract your attention. Every episode is an incredibly powerful story that is packed with lessons coming from people who've lived them. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     Please help us out by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or sharing your favorite episode on social media to make sure that these stories reach the people waiting to hear them. Learn how to transform your distress into wisdom for personal growth and social impact in our Breaking Down is Wisdom Waking Up live group online program: www.breakdownwakeup.com/programs
How can our distress inspire activism, career shifts, and new businesses?  In the latest episode, I highlight some of the biggest insights that have been inspired from the last 9 episodes. I also share my perspective on how these themes can help us solve personal, professional, and broader collective challenges.In the last nine episodes I interviewed a world famous thought leader, a serial entrepreneur, a psychology researcher, and a wellness and diversity equity and inclusion advocate who shared a range of break down wake up stories, from pregnancy discrimination to family separation, and from dissociation to feeling disillusioned about institutions and careers. In my reflection, I note some of the broader perspectives that arise from these stories. For example, I touch on the importance of paying attention to our breakdowns in order not only to listen for the wisdom waking up in ourselves, but to find wisdom that can shift organizations and societies. I also highlight some of the frames that I introduce in the four solo episodes - episodes specifically designed to help you discover the wisdom within your own distress. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     Please help us out by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or sharing your favorite episode on social media to make sure that these stories reach the people waiting to hear them. Learn how to transform your distress into wisdom for personal growth and social impact in our Breaking Down is Wisdom Waking Up live group online program: www.breakdownwakeup.com/programs
How involuntary family separation during her international migration awakened a complexity systems thinker to the illusion of safety in institutions and an even deeper need for people to listen to and understand contextNora Bateson has been working in complexity systems thinking for almost her entire career - focused on helping people and organizations contextualize complexity in order to solve challenging problems. So when she experienced the negative limitations of institutions that focused solely on procedure and stripped context from a decision making process, she knew she had to tell her story. In this episode she speaks up, not just for her family, but also for so many immigrant families whose experiences are absent from the polarized public dialogue that no doubt has significant influence over politics, policy and procedure. After moving to Sweden for love, Nora found herself and her family in an incredibly tragic and frustrating institutional process that denied her daughter entry into the country where her family resided because of her age, a number on a checkbox on the form to enter the country. As Nora mentions, this conversation is about much more than just her own experience. It's about identity politics, about who has the right to call a place "home", about empathy that stretches across socio-economic and national identity categories, about losing faith in a system that you thought was designed to support you, about the deep sadness of not being able to have the context of your situation heard in the midst of a life altering decision, In this episode, we explore the negative impact of objectivity and taking things out of context on polarization and reductionist thinking, our deep need to be seen not just as one identity or category but in our whole complex selves, and the importance of not only understanding the broader narratives surrounding an experience but the history of those narratives in shaping the stories we collectively create about that experience. You can find out more about Nora and her work by visiting www.batesoninstitute.org. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     Please help us out by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or sharing your favorite episode on social media to make sure that these stories reach the people waiting to hear them. Check out and apply for our upcoming program designed to help you transform your distress into wisdom for personal growth and social impact: www.breakdownwakeup.com/programs  
How her own professional struggle led an education leader to understand the link between trauma, learning and social injustice in the classroom. Miriam Rachel Freed spent the early part of her career working in education for underserved communities. She had tons of new ideas about how education could be reformed, but felt that none of it was being met with enthusiasm. She became the black sheep of the school system. On a personal journey, she reconnected with her own experience as a student, remembering what effect trauma had on her own life at that time. Even in her socioeconomically privileged position, and despite outward indications of success (good grades, large group of friends, well liked), Miriam remembers a lot of suffering - depression, anxiety and  self harm to get away from internal pain from her past. But she realized that these struggles in her teenage years were waking her up to her own needs for support and a safe space to connect with herself and her own truth. She observed the impact that trauma had on learning and that no amount of teaching tricks, tools, or materials could supplement that deeper call to look within. She could see what her students needed, but had no power to change the structure that was not serving them. Although she worked within a system that conflicted with her own values and vision for education, she knew that coloring too far outside of the lines could risk her students performing poorly on tests that could determine their future. She was conflicted, internally and externally, about what to do and how best she could make an impact. So she took the leap to leave this system and started doing justice work from the outside in. Now, in a time where many are speaking about the need for social justice work in many institutions, Miriam boldly notes that we must address trauma that results from injustice in order to address injustice itself. In this episode, we explore the deeper emotional layer that needs to be addressed if we are going to do social justice work, the importance of bringing ethics into education in our classrooms, and the struggle of working within a system that neither fits your values nor responds to the need for reform. If you would like to learn more about Miriam, check out her website here: https://miriamrachaelfreed.com/ If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     If you would like to help us out, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or share your favorite episode on social media to make sure that these stories reach the people waiting to hear them. Check out and apply for our upcoming program designed to help you transform your distress into wisdom for personal growth and social impact: www.breakdownwakeup.com/programs  
How can we use our distress as a catalyst to personal and professional growth?In this episode, you'll hear about the online group program where you can discover the wisdom within your distress and use it for sustainable insight and lasting transformation.I started this program because- I realized that denying, suppressing and shoving down my pain was not working- I discovered that my distress could be a source of wisdom if I listened to it- I saw that I was not alone - unconventional indeed - but not the only person to feel this way. Many great thinkers, philosophers, spiritual leaders, saw pain and distress as the pathway to wholeness- I want to help you learn the tools and methods that I use with my clients and with myself to find wisdom in pain and use it for personal growth and global impact. This program is for you if: - You are a curious, courageous, slightly rebellious, maverick leader who is ready to transform your distress into wisdom for personal and professional growth- You're in the midst of distress (anxiety, stress, frustration, anger, confusion, stuck, existential questions, self doubt, imposter syndrome etc.!) now and want to find deeper insights and answers within this experience- You, like me, have tried all of the typical approaches to get relief from your distress and nothing seems to work- You're starting a new project, job, or stepping into a new phase of life (trust me, these are critical times for distress to arise and I want you to get the wisdom from these feelings rather than being stuck!)- You have a period of distress in your past that you want to explore the deeper meaning and how it has influenced how you operate todayHere's why this program is unique: - The philosophy and approach to distress is UNconventional and challenges the status quo meaning and significance of distress- We use a discovery based approach to transformation - if you want to learn more about this and how it's different than a control based approach, check out Episode 25 of the podcast.  - The program approaches deep material in a light hearted and humorous way, making it easier for you to explore yourself and connect with othersHere's how it works:At the start of the program, you'll identify one intention in any of these areas - Self & Self Expression- Relationships- Professional- Global / social impactOver the course of the program you will explore the 5 types of wisdom and learn the following practices to work towards your intention.   Ready to join?  Here's how you can1. Apply now by scheduling a 30 min exploration call with me and we'll see if there is a mutual fit!2. Want more info? Head to the program page of the website here: www.breakdownwakeup.com/programs
How shifting his emotional states helped a psychology researcher survive challenging life events that were out of his control. What happens when your own emotions feel overwhelming in a situation you cannot control? And what about if you've learned through your environment that strong emotions are not welcome? In this story, Sam Swidzinski, a researcher focused on innovative therapeutic methods to support mental health, shares a unique experience of how shifting into different emotional modes has helped him manage challenging uncertain life events. For example, when it seemed like his life was up in the air as a teenager, having lost a number of friends and his sister diagnosed with a terminal illness, Sam needed a way to have some control in this challenging and incredibly uncertain environment. So he switched into a mode he calls "Samuel" a calm, monk-like, stoic type, to manage his life and his feelings. He has a more emotional mode, driven by passion and justice called "Adrian" and a more childlike, playful mode called "Sammy". Sam began to learn that each of these modes actually can help him in different situations. He now taps into these different modes consciously. For example, when he needs to get things done, do research or when writing his book, he taps into stoic "Samuel"; when working on passion projects, he taps into "Adrian" whose emotion fuels his energy for social impact work; and when connecting with friends he taps into playful "Sammy". In this episode, we explore how different emotional states can be helpful in different situations, the influence that an environment unaccepting of strong emotions can have on our own tendency to shove down our pain, and the various ways we all respond to life tragedies that we cannot control. You can find out more about Sam by visiting his LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/samuel-swidzinski-078a441b4/. You can also check out his book, "Winning the War with Bipolar" here. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     If you would like to help us out, please leave us a review on Apple Podcasts or share your favorite episode on social media to make sure that these stories reach the people waiting to hear them. Check out and apply for our upcoming program designed to help you transform your distress into wisdom for personal growth and social impact: www.breakdownwakeup.com/programs  
What kind of wisdom can we get from exploring our distress? This episode is for people, teams, and organizations who want to learn why its worth it to explore and share our experiences of distress and how this exploration makes a deep and lasting positive impact.We've been taught that disruption, confusion, anxiety, depression, and loss is not worth listening to, and many institutions who support this idea simply want to hand over a quick fix and help you reduce that pain...fast.But by reaching for a solution to solve our unease, we miss the whole point of the distress in the first place - to help us live more whole, free lives. To help us run more balanced, effective successful and sustainable businesses.If breaking down is indeed wisdom waking up, what kind of wisdom is actually in our distress? Here's the types of things you may discover: Finding balance - Something in your life, or in your organization is out of balance - your distress signals you to move out of a rigid fixed way of being and into more freedom Meeting needs - There is an unmet or unacknowledged need that runs deep and needs attentionProcessing critical events - A critical life or organizational event needs to be processed so that you can incorporate the lessons from this experience but not be Shifting Relationships- Relational tension or conflict is signaling a need to get out of a dynamic that is no longer serving your connection  Making social impact - There is a possibility to shift outdated and hurtful cultural narratives and make an impact in the broader societal change neededIt's not easy, but if together we can be brave enough to dive into our distress,  sustainable conscious change is possible. Are you ready to accept the call to this adventure? If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, its all at our website: www.breakdownwakeup.com. If you want to connect with me directly, please send an email to meg@empatiko.org 
How we can use the experiences we have been trying to control to uncover the answers we have long been searching for - an unique approach to create sustainable change in our personal & professional lives, our organizations and our world. We've spent too long framing our experiences from a narrative of control.We've been taught to manage, contain, push down, jump over, fight, things like our physical pain, our vices, challenging emotions, conflicts, and marginalized stories.And it's not surprising that we have digested this way of operating.After all, a number of religions and other community doctrines disperse the idea that that, deep down inside, if left to our own devices, we would behave and feel in ways that are ultimately not good for us.But by trying to control our experiences, we suppress them. This leads inevitably to more tension, pain, challenging emotions, conflict, and marginalized stories. Even worse, it silences the insights coming from these alarm signals.It's time for us to take a different approach.In this episode, I discuss how the control approach actually plays out in our attempt to create sustainable change, and introduce a alternative, discovery based frame that unlocks deeper understanding and effects lasting transformation. 
There's a new type of activism on the rise....one whose action starts with listening...and why it is fundamental for moving beyond the rising polarization within ourselves, our relationships and our society. In this episode, I share more about how inner work is necessary for outer change, how polarization reduces complexity and keeps us fighting on the surface, the importance of sharing untold stories and how our distress helps us discover new perspectives forgotten under the surface.If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, its all at our website: www.breakdownwakeup.com.  If you want to begin doing the inner work and discover the wisdom within your own distress, check out our latest program www.breakdownwakeup.com/programs
How her own pregnancy and postpartum depression sounded the alarm for Vivian Acquah about workplace discrimination and the need for deep listening in inclusion effortsVivian Acquah was a successful professional working in finance and technology. But when she got pregnant, she started to sense something off about the reactions she was getting. Prior to her pregnancy, she was one of the top employees at her company and afterwards, she felt devalued, experiencing a heightened level of comments and jokes insinuating things about her identity as a mother and a black woman. When she tried to speak up and share her sadness, frustration and embarrassment at these experiences, her intelligent senses were belittled, being told that what she was upset about was simply a joke, or was not meant to be negative. She learned quickly to bottle her feelings inside.  So when she experienced post-partum depression after giving birth, she could no longer ignore the signs: she had to move on from a discriminatory, unsupportive work environment. And when she did, she dedicated herself to humanizing the workplace so that her son and the next generation could enter the workforce feeling safe, supported and included. In this interview we discuss the many complex factors that can lead to experiencing prolonged distress, how the buildup of continuous smaller disruptive events can be just as painful (and sometimes more) than one big tragedy, and the importance of explicitly creating safe spaces that encourage people to share their distress with each other and with the organization so that it can learn and evolve from the wisdom within these experiences. "Dominator culture has tried to keep us all afraid, to make us choose safety instead of risk, sameness instead of diversity. Moving through that fear, finding out what connects us, reveling in our differences; this is the process that brings us closer, that gives us a world of shared values, of meaningful community." - Bell HooksYou can find out more about and connect with Vivian here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vivianacquah/ and more about her business, here: https://vivalavive.com/.If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own distress, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     If you are interested in learning more about the wisdom within your own distress when it arises and using that wisdom as fuel for new projects, deeper relationships, and maverick activism, check out our latest group program: Breaking down is wisdom waking up (www.breakdownwakeup.com/programs) - we are now receiving applications for the 2nd cohort!
How suddenly losing her income in the pandemic inspired a serial entrepreneur to help other people over 50 start their own businesses. Suzanne Noble had a successful 20 year career in public relations - but when she decided to sell her business and start a tech company, she faced blatant skepticism and discrimination for being an older female founder. After years running her own business, it was the first time she felt really excluded. So she wondered whether she was the only one feeling this way, and decided to build a community that celebrated the wisdom and importance of older age. Then, after launching several businesses that focused on serving the over 50s market, in the midst of the pandemic, she lost all of her sources of income. After pivoting her business and her skills several times throughout her career, she was challenged to, once again, find new paths forward. So when she listened to the wisdom waking up within her, she realized that she could take a new business idea online - one that helped other over 50 year olds who had lost their jobs learn the ropes of building their own businesses. In this episode, we explore the importance of lived experience in life and business, how diversity in the startup ecosystem boosts the level of possible innovation, and the value of creating networked intelligence that move beyond typical siloed ways of creating new ideas and products.  You can find out more about and connect with Suzanne here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/suzannenoble/ and more about her businesses, here: https://www.silversharers.com/ . If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own distress, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     
What if professional development actually looked more like a balance beam than a corporate ladder? In the latest episode, I introduce this concept and highlight some of the other biggest insights that have been inspired from the last 10 episodes. I also share my perspective on how these themes can help us solve personal, professional, and broader collective challenges. In the last ten episodes I interviewed business leaders, entrepreneurs, coaches from sectors like wellness, health tech, finance, education, consulting and philosophy who shared a range of break down wake up stories, from altered states to workaholism, and from gender challenges in the workplace losing a parent. In my reflection, I note some of the broader perspectives that arise from these stories. For example, I touch on the importance of paying attention to our breakdowns in order not only to listen for the wisdom waking up in ourselves, but to find wisdom that can shift organizations and societies. I also highlight themes that came up in these stories, like how understanding high performance can act as an escape survival strategy to manage challenging personal experiences,  why balancing our connection to our own emotions and our connection to the values and norms of society can help keep our institutions in check, and how "embracing the suck" - being with difficult emotions in the moment without asking for wisdom can be a counterintuitive first step to finding key insights. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, its all at our website: www.breakdownwakeup.com. 
How his experience hearing voices helped an ambitious rising leader find inner peace and explore a variety of perspectives on how to foster broader harmony.From an early age, Dmitriy Gutkovich had his sights on politics and public service - he dreamed of being a senator and making an impact for the broader world. His ambition took him to an Ivy League school and set him up on the fast track to traditional leadership. But during his studies, he began hearing voices, an experience which opened him up to radically new philosophical phenomena. While he experienced his voices as an interesting and rich aspect to his life, posing insightful challenges and interesting perspectives, he quickly realized that the rest of the world had a limited understanding and view of this experience. So he shifted his social impact focus from the public at large as a politician, to being a public voice for voice hearers and educating the broader collective about this experience. In this episode, we explore the inner diversity that exists within all of us and how acknowledging and engaging with this helps us become more whole, the importance for everyone of holding our beliefs and thoughts lightly and considering different perspectives, and how experiencing personal paradigm shifts builds skills to manage broader, global upheaval. You can reach out to Dmitriy via his email, dmitriy.gutkovich@gmail.com. If you would like to learn more about his book, Life with Voices: A Guide for Harmony, you can check it out on amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Voices-Harmony-Dmitriy-Gutkovich-ebook/dp/B08CS4HBBX. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own distress, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     
How a sudden physical injury helped a former healthcare leader see the impact that a fear-driven management style was having on his wellbeing and performance in a high stakes environment. Marcel Schwantes was set up for an accelerated career leading human resources departments in a hospital group. He was put through a two year leadership rotation program that demanded a lot from him - and he was up for the challenge. But pretty soon he began to sense signals of an unsupportive, critical team that was supervising him. His interest to contribute and share his ideas were met with disdain and rejection - he felt isolated, discouraged, and full of fear. At first, he could not sense how much this toxicity was impacting his health. But then he had a sudden injury that sent him to the hospital, of which the primary cause was stress. It was then that he realized that his stress was not because he was not strong or smart enough to perform in a challenging environment, but about the impact that the attitude and lack of support that his superiors had on his ability to be at his best. He now has transformed this wisdom into helping companies make a transition from restrictive management to servant leadership. In this episode, we explore how early stress warning signs can fall below the radar in high pressure environments, the need to balance responsibility between individuals to take care of their wellbeing and an organization to provide a supportive environment, and how top-down, autocratic management styles can lead to a culture of passivity and disengagement that ultimately impacts the bottom line. You can find out more about Marcel by visiting https://www.marcelschwantes.com/. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own distress, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     
How an educational trip on diversity and inclusion helped a grants consulting partner realize her own complex experiences with gender inequity as a female corporate leader and inspired her to create change in her organization and beyondHelene Geijtenbeek had a successful 20 year career in corporate grants consulting when she attended an educational trip to Silicon Valley to learn about Inclusion and Diversity and learn how the big tech companies address it. During this trip, she had a wake up moment - she not only realized that her own fears and insecurities were also shared by many of the top tech female leaders, but she learned about gender inequity in the workplace. It was then that she realized that throughout her career she had several experiences where her strong female leadership style was challenged simply because of her gender. When she had this realization, she began making a difference both within her organization by serving as a representative standing for diversity and inclusion and as the lead organizer at TEDxAmsterdamWomen. In this episode, we explore the importance of involving both men and women to bring awareness and shift the gendered narrative that shapes the picture of a leader, the power that personal story has on helping organizations support diversity and inclusion, and how the gendered expectation of what it means to be a "good mother" still today impacts the decision for women to pursue leadership roles. You can find out more about Helene by visiting  https://www.linkedin.com/in/helenegeijtenbeek/. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.  
How my leap from corporate consultant to entrepreneur brought me close to some of my biggest wake up calls to understand myself and follow my gut in business. This episode is an interview I did with Agnes Bilik on her podcast, Raw and Real. In this interview I share a bunch of my own break down wake up stories - the big life changing ones and the small daily ones! I dive deeper into my experience with depression and also share the break down wake up experiences I had when I started my own business. You'll also hear how my own discomfort with going to bars alone actually played a key part in my decision to move abroad. In this episode we talk about how to embrace the suck when things in life are hard, the power of community and connection during periods of distress, and how small experiments can lead to big life changes. You can find out more about Agnes and her company, Raw and Real media, by visiting www.linkedin.com/in/agnesbilik/. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com. If you would like to apply for the Break Down. Wake Up. online program, please sign up at www.breakdownwakeup.com/program 
How my own breakdowns, when I finally payed attention to them, inspired and facilitated my transition from corporate consultant to social entrepreneur. I spent the first eight years of my career working in corporate consulting, climbing the corporate ladder, and living a very traditionally successful life. But something was missing - I could feel the subtle dissonance between what I was spending my time with and what I was really called to do. It wasn't until I began to really listen to my wake up signals that I found real alignment and power in my career and life. I now live my life connected to the wisdom within my breakdowns - the big rock bottom moments ones and the small daily discomforts. And I have FINALLY put together all of my tools and resources to share with you in the first ever Break Down. Wake Up. online program!!!! Are you ready to listen to your wake up signals? Get on the list to find out more about the program at www.breakdownwakeup.com/program. 
How experiencing extreme states of consciousness helped a non-profit chief operating officer process childhood challenges, improve his marriage and shift his approach to leadership Oryx Cohen was a leader in an organization training people to better support those in an emotional crisis. He knew about the value of these periods because he experienced several extreme states of consciousness throughout his life. So when he entered an altered state of consciousness suddenly at the end of leading a large conference, he saw this as an opportunity to wake up. In the midst of psychological space travel, he processed the devastating grief of his parents divorce and realized that his wife was indeed his soulmate. In this episode, we explore the value that extreme states of consciousness have in processing unresolved trauma, how we can ground ourselves when we are feeling disconnected through physical touch and present attention, and how feeling connected to people and things influence our care and investment in them. You can find out more about Oryx or his documentary Healing Voices by visiting https://power2u.org/. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     
How the unexpected death of her mother at a young age helped a futurist thinker and philosopher finally pursue her professional dreams and realize her potential. Lene Rachel Andersen almost always felt like she did not fit in. She was brilliant and had a lot to offer, but growing up she felt really different from the other kids. She spent years trying to have the "normal package" - a normal job, a normal family, a normal house. She was working as a secretary after finishing her business degree, on the path to normalcy, when her mom suddenly fell ill. In the 10 months that she was caring for her mother in a coma, Lene had a wake up call. She came so close to the impermanence of life and she realized it was time for her to live up to her potential. Within one year of her mother's passing, she began her dream of writing comedy and studying theology. She now writes and speaks about some of our biggest global challenges and how we can shift the foundation of education and development to further our societies. In this episode, we explore the importance of balancing connection to ourselves with connection to our social groups with collective norms and values, the importance of engaging with aesthetic material like stories, art and music in order to better understand ourselves, and how personal development of a critical mass of people can shift the success of an entire country. You can find out more about Lene by visiting  https://nordicbildung.org/. If you are interested to learn more about the Break Down. Wake Up. program to help transform your distress into a catalyst for personal and professional growth, click here to schedule an intro with me here. If you want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.
How finally paying attention to his physical and emotional pain helped a senior finance director reconnect with himself and support key relationships in work and life. On the outside, Mark Harris had it all: he was a talented athlete, was an incredible student and had a successful career, wonderful girlfriend, and supportive family. He was used to keeping calm and performing in the most challenging situations, taking care of the people around him and carrying the burden of stress. But when his relationships were disrupted, Mark began to experience a variety of things including panic attacks, memory loss, anxiety, depression and migraines. He discovered that he was staying busy with a crazy work schedule and social life to avoid those difficult feelings and realized that avoiding his own pain did not make it go away but instead increased it, manifesting in a variety of ways. When he finally paid attention to this struggle, he began to heal himself and be more deeply connected to his relationships. In this episode, we explore the tendency to take care of others to avoid our own vulnerabilities, the role that high performance plays in aiding this avoidance, and how external success does not indicate inner invulnerability. You can find out more about Mark by visiting https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-harris-cfa-82a18a10/. If you like what you've heard and want to be part of our podcast community, participate in special events, or discover the wisdom waking up in your own breakdown, check out our website at www.breakdownwakeup.com.     
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