I grew a 6-figure business and supported other entrepreneurs in collectively earning hundreds of thousands of dollars without allowing myself to be paid a living wage.
This happened because I was stuck in a trauma response that felt like my integrity was at risk if I were to get paid enough to survive on.
My “integrity” told me, “Don’t take people’s money unless you can help them solve all their problems and the world’s problems, too,” which is literally impossible.
My subconscious mind inaccurately believed that if I got paid and didn’t deliver on this impossible task, I would be canceled, abandoned, ruined, and die, all in the name of integrity!
This wasn’t happening because I wasn’t smart enough or strong enough.
It was because of crossed wires in my subconscious that triggered my nervous system to protect me from what it thought was life threatening by making it very very scary to get paid, while putting my body in shutdown mode.
If your nervous system doesn’t believe that you can survive by fighting, fleeing, freezing, or fawning, it will switch into shutdown mode to conserve energy and reduce pain in a last-ditch effort to survive what it perceives is certain death.
What this looks like is your digestive system nearly turning off, which causes stomach aches and leads to your body not having enough energy to do basic tasks.
Shutdown mode activates dissociation, which can begin as blurred vision and foggy thinking and evolves to feel like you’re living a step (or more) removed from reality. It’s as if you can see what’s happening around you, but you can’t really make any connections because you’re stuck in a blurry glass box, alone.
Emotions can range from terror to hopelessness and despair to numbness and apathy.
It can take weeks to recover, as the effects of your body slowing down to a near halt wreaks havoc and shuts off access to energy you need to heal and feel alive again!
Shutdown mode is a place I’m familiar with since childhood, as I often felt responsible for things that were impossible for me to control, and my nervous system believed that if I wasn’t able to achieve these impossible tasks, I would be abandoned and die.
That’s where these crossed wires of “getting paid means my life is threatened and my integrity is at risk” came from.
As an adult running a 6-figure business, I tried my best to do work I loved and not get paid, in order to at least feel a sense of fulfillment in my life!
But this “solution” wasn’t sustainable, nor was it really a solution.
It was a coping mechanism that “contained” the problem of living in the unbearable state of shutdown mode.
It’s like when there’s an oil spill in the ocean, and the first step is damage control to keep the oil from spreading by containing it. It doesn’t actually get rid of the spill or undo the damage. It just keeps it from getting worse.
I was living my best life inside the oil spill, coping with the slippery slopes of a life-threat response to getting paid.
I am fortunate and privileged that my partner made enough money to support us both, but he was not ok with this.
He was overwhelmed by the pressure of being the only income earner, which put a lot of stress on our relationship.
We had the same conflict over and over again about this. At times it seemed the only solution was to leave, but that never felt like it would actually address the root of the problem.
Meditating, journaling, exercising, eating right, and magical practices weren’t enough to get to the root of the problem.
However, I believe they all guided me to what DID finally work, which I’ll tell you about in next week’s email.
PS – I have a new group offer coming out soon, where I’ll be guiding helping professionals and service providers to identify their niche, create a compelling offer, and feel confident putting themselves out there!
While this offer won’t be for people who are experiencing the same intensity of life-threat and shutdown in their nervous system as I just shared about (I recommend getting a somatic therapist and a trauma-informed business coach like Kat Lee or a trauma-informed money mentor like Nadine Zumot), I will be employing Somatic Experiencing to help people move through what keeps them from feeling confident, clear, and excited about putting themselves and their offers out there.
I’ll be sharing waaaay more about this in the coming weeks. Until then, feel free to take my survey and let me know what you struggle with most in messaging and marketing, so I can better help you!
You can choose which types of messages you receive from me by clicking “Update Your Preferences” at the bottom of this email!
🥁 I’m turning a large landing area in my house into a music room, where I plan to put an electronic drumset and create a semi-permanent plant-music station with my philodendron and monstera. I just bought some crazy “pillows” for my couch (which I’ll reveal when they arrive)! You’re invited to follow along my adventure, starting with some before pics. If you have any hot tips for where to find rugs, besides Craigslist and rugsusa.com, holler at me!
🌀 I’ve been contemplating a lot about how trauma creates drama where the stories and meanings we tell ourselves about what we’re experiencing make things hard and painful when they don’t have to be. This, to me, is the meaning of suffering, but the answer doesn’t come from intellectually understanding this. It comes from helping those fearful parts of our subconscious find safety, so they no longer project out these stories and meanings in futile attempts to protect us from harm.
💧 While fungi can allegedly help with this (there’s been controversy over whether Paul Stamets’ claims are true!), scientists have recently discovered a way to break down harmful “forever chemicals” like the ones found in Teflon pans that end up in our water supplies and lead to health issues.
📺 If you want to watch TV about Christmas that’s not cheesy AF (no shame in that tho!), then I recommend season 1 episode 1 of the Simpsons! What are your favorite holiday shows or movies?
🤠 Playing the game doesn’t guarantee you’ll win, but it doesn’t guarantee you’ll lose either.
Invitation to work with me:
I have one space in January for 1:1 messaging coaching where I’ll help you learn how to talk about what you do and convey the value of what you offer without having to be something you’re not. This is best for folks who already have a proven offer they’re ready to amplify. Apply on my website, and we’ll chat to see if this offer is a good fit for your needs!