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This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Women STaRs

Women STaRs Interview with Angie Ilg

Angie Ilg Coaching
Angieilg.com
angie@angieilg.com

Services:
Life Coaching

Programs:
The Bold and Peaceful Program
Woman Speak
Permission to Pause

Shanti:

I want to thank all of you for listening today. My name is Shanti Harkness and I’m the Media Manager for On Technology Partners, a woman-owned company addressing Cyber Security and Risk.

 

As a woman-owned business for 30 years, we wanted to share the stories of women and the Struggles, Triumphs, and Reflections they face. That is why we started Woman STaRs.

 

Join us as we share the reflections of women just like you that have survived struggles and embraced triumphs in their lives.

 

Today we’ll be talking with Angie Ilg, a life coach based in Cleveland, Ohio.  Angie, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with us today.

 

Angie:

Thank you for having me.

 

Shanti:

Thank you. So, before we begin, tell us something that others may not know about you, or something exciting about yourself, just to kind of break the ice a little.

 

Angie:

So, during quarantine, I purchased a lifetime access to Rosetta Stone and I’ve been working on my French, which I used to speak fluently. I have plans to add in Spanish once I’ve got my legs back with French. And also, a lot of people don’t know, when I was 20, I rode a bicycle across the United States, from Jacksonville, Florida to San Francisco, California, to raise awareness of affordable housing and to work on affordable housing. We actually worked in the area hit by hurricane Katrina.

 

Shanti:

Wow! That is impressive. I thought doing a 30-mile bike ride around the county was a lot, I can’t imagine across country! Oh my goodness!

 

Angie:

30 miles is still impressive! I don’t know how I did that.

 

Shanti:

How long did that take you?

 

Angie:

We were traveling as a group for about 9 weeks, but built-in were some housing days where we’d work on a house. So, we did 2 weeks in Louisiana. Other routes in this organization would do a day or two build and then continue on. It’s usually about that whole summer, like 9 weeks or so.

 

Shanti:

That is amazing.

 

Angie:

It’s so crazy. It’s the type of thing you can do once because you don’t know what you’re getting in to.

 

Shanti:

And now you know.

 

Angie:

Yeah. I know some people that have done it more than once, but you know, I think they’re just a different breed. They just like it. They love cycling.

 

Shanti:

I have a few friends that are like that. It’s mind-boggling how many miles they’ll do in a day or a week. It’s just like – wow!

 

Shanti:

Well, that's great. So, let's go ahead and just dive right in. So, tell us a little bit about what you do for work, what it's like, how long you've been doing it.

 

Angie:

So, I am a life coach and I also run a circle for women who are interested in being able to effectively speak publicly, or just be able to use their voice in a way where they can feel comfortable doing that. So, I'm doing a couple things, but they really interrelate. Primarily I'm doing coaching, and I've been doing it for four years.

 

What is it like? It's amazing! I absolutely love what I do. I feel I'm really doing what I'm meant to do, really able to use the gifts I've been given to help others, and the experiences I've been through to help others not have to go through some of the difficult things I went through. It's amazing getting to work, especially one-on-one with people because it's such an intimate experience. It is really fulfilling for both me and my clients, because they're seeing their lives change; they're seeing themselves transform internally and have their lives externally transformed for the better.

 

And then in a practical sense, what it's like is, I do coaching over Zoom now, but the video element really almost feels like you're together. So, I'm sure anyone listening can relate to how Zoom feels that way now, to a certain degree.

 

Shanti:

Definitely. I think as a whole, we're getting more comfortable with it because

really, we're forced to. But yeah, especially with something like life coaching, I feel like that that video element and being able to see the person is absolutely crucial to establishing that connection and that rapport with the person. So, it's good that you have that ability with your clients.

 

Angie:

Yeah. Really grateful for the technology.

 

Shanti:

Absolutely. So, how did you come to realize that this is what you wanted to do with your life – to be a life coach and helping people?

 

Angie:

It really started much longer ago than I actually began coaching. I had struggled with anxiety disorders that had developed in my teenage years and I had tried to get help in different forms. And I didn't even know what coaching was, I sort of fell into it as a source of support for me. I had tried talking to doctors, therapists, even psychiatrists, and although there were some practitioners that could help me, it was through self-help books that I began to transform and those books happen to be written by coaches.

 

Then I began working more closely with the coaches who wrote the books, and a small circle – like a Mastermind almost, in 2013, and then after that, started working one-on-one with the coach. And when I was in that Mastermind, I thought what they were doing looked amazing. I've always loved psychology, so I minored in it in college and I took it in high school. Everything I was learning about brain science was magical to me because it was all working – it fascinated me, and I thought maybe I could do that, but I doubted myself way too much at that time. And I maybe wasn't at a place where I was ready yet to help others because of the amount of support I was still needing and how much I was still working through for myself.

 

One of the disorders I've struggled with is OCD. Once I discovered it was OCD, I started going to a support group. And within about a year, I had started to really recover, and I was going to the support group now more so to share what was helpful. And I realized since I wasn't a coach or a therapist, that wasn't my place yet to be able to help these people, but I could see so much potential in everyone and I needed some sort of vehicle to really be able to support them at a deep level.

 

I went on a Wednesday night to one of those group meetings and that night, I decided to enroll in my first course for coaching and began that day after. I definitely have not looked back since then!

 

Shanti:

That’s great! Definitely being able to share your experiences and what has helped you,

at least in my experience, is so much more helpful than just telling somebody “Yeah, this is what you need to do,” when you've actually gone through it and have something that works for you, to be able to share that just makes all the difference in the world. That's great that you've had that experience.

 

Angie:

I 100% agree, and I find it just a really beautiful way to be in communion with people, whether or not I’m coaching, is to say, “Hey, this is what worked for me,” not like, “You should do this.” because that's totally different energy. And actually, in one of the groups I'm in as a client, not as a coach, that's one of the guidelines is we really don't give advice to each other, we actually just share what we're inspired by or what works for us. In 2018, I had this clear knowing, this clear intuition, that I'm not here to tell others what to do, I'm here to share – to teach through sharing my experience.

 

Shanti:

That's great. That's definitely needed more in society, because there's so many people that would just love to tell you what to do but have no personal experience from that. So, it's definitely much, much more effective having that experience and it allows you to connect with the other person on a deeper level, which establishes that trust and that understanding that this isn't the end of the world, so to speak. Like, “I can get through this, I can move on and grow and develop and learn and not be so ruled or controlled by all of these different things.

 

Angie:

It's that vulnerability, too, that creates connection. And there's nothing like knowing you're not the only one, you know? It’ll be immediate relief. Yes. I think we always have this thought “it's just me,” you know?

 

Shanti:

Nobody's going through this same thing and nobody has any idea, I'm all alone… Oh, I can relate to that! Absolutely. I think as a whole, people just – across the board, feel like that like that, that they're the only ones going through this and nobody else could possibly understand. And so, by being able to share that personal experience, you're saying, “Look, I've been exactly where you are. It can get better. It will get better. And this is what helped me.”

 

Angie:

Yes, absolutely.

 

Shanti:

Wonderful. So, before we dive into different struggles that you've experienced throughout your life, let's just take a moment and focus on some of your biggest triumphs. If you could share what those triumphs were and what made them such great triumphs for you.

 

Angie:

Yeah. I love questions like this because I feel like we forget to celebrate and it's such an important part of our growth and important part of crystallizing what's happened and realizing what we've accomplished. And for me, some of my biggest triumphs are less tangible things.

 

My biggest triumph is creating true, deep self-love. I could say that hands down, that's the best thing I've ever done in my life because I feel that by truly loving myself, it makes so many things possible. It opens up so many doors for me that, if that weren't there, it would just amount to so much in my life.

 

And with that, not surprisingly, creating really beautiful relationships, including now my marriage, but also friendships, deep friendships where I can be vulnerable with people and get to be my true self. And things that weren't there in the past, probably because the self-love wasn't there, and some understandings about healthy relationships weren't there.

 

And then on a more tangible level, creating – actually having a business doing what I feel I’m meant to do and what I love to do and I'm passionate about, that's a huge triumph to me. I struggled so much for many years because I didn't know what I was supposed to do. I didn't know what I was meant to do. I just judged myself so hard thinking “everyone else does,” like we were just talking about “everyone else knows.”

 

And so, getting to that place where I am actually not only knowing, but able, to do that, it's really such a blessing and it's really a huge part of what’s created a lot of mental and emotional health in my life is doing what I'm passionate about. I think that one thing I heard when I was early on in that first course I was taking, the teacher said “passion over pills.” And he was speaking to we have a culture that, with mental and emotional health, can often over prescribe –  not that it's not helpful for many things, but that when we're doing what we love, it is a big part of our overall health mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, whether that's your purpose in personal or professional life, it don't have to be just in work.

 

Shanti:

I couldn't agree more, and I love that you included as part of your triumphs things that aren't necessarily tangible. I think that self-love is so important and goes an incredibly long way towards health and happiness and just our overall well-being. I know that for me personally, that's something that I struggled with for many, many years. And so, to be able to get to that point where you do love yourself and stop punishing yourself for things that you know aren't in your control or are things that your restless mind has convinced you are real that aren't necessarily real, I think that self-love is just so important.

 

I think, as women, we tend to be very harsh and critical of ourselves, like our “own worst enemies,” so to speak, with feeling like we should be able to do everything under the sun and not be exhausted at the end of the day. It's just having realistic expectations of ourselves and loving ourselves and taking care of ourselves so that we can continue to do what brings us joy and happiness, I think is so important. So, I'm glad that you shared that.

 

Angie:

Yeah, thank you. I love everything you just shared around it because we hear that a lot. We hear the phrase “self-love” a lot, and so it's easy to not really understand it's not an airy-fairy idea. It's not like this nice “I take bubble baths,” – that could be a part of it, but it is such a deep experience and it's a relationship like any other relationship.

 

Shanti:

I agree. Thank you so much for sharing all that. So, we know that that triumphs don't come without struggle. So, tell us a little bit about what some of your biggest struggles have been, either personally or professionally. How are you able to get through them, how they affected you, what kind of impact they had on your life or your career, and what really made it so challenging?

 

Angie:

For me, the struggles – personal and professional, interweave and I've seen the ways that my personal struggles, as I've come through them, then they showed up professionally for me to work through next.

 

It's all internal. It was self-doubt, anxiety, and the stuff you were talking about with that. I forget exactly how you said it about the mind, the chattering mind or the overactive mind. So, limiting beliefs, you know, my mind working against me rather than working for me, and that will never be not a part of my life. I think that would be unrealistic to say these things never come up. But where they are now to where they were is vastly different.

 

When I was struggling, I would say when I was suffering from anxiety and from self-doubt and lack of self-worth, it impacted every single thing. And at its worst, for example, when it was anxiety disorder level anxiety, I would wake up and as soon as my mind could wake up, you know, that first few minutes you're kind of still a little sleepy, as soon as it would start to wake up, it would start to look for what's that thing I need to worry about that I was worrying about yesterday, and then it would be all day until I went to sleep.

 

I even had a panic attack during that time, which is a terrifying experience. I've only ever had that once that I can remember. This went on for years, so there were different impacts at different times, but lack of self-worth was a huge part of me being in unhealthy relationships.

 

And then the self-doubt was a huge part of struggling to figure out what it was I really wanted to do in life and then when I was beginning to do it, just a lot of challenges daily of actually showing up for the work, putting myself out there in certain ways, like in writing or speaking or whatever it was.

 

And I think anxiety can be incredibly draining; it takes a lot of energy. So, the attention that the mind takes to go to the anxiety, whereas it could be focused on your priorities and your values, so, that aspect was a big, big struggle for me.

 

Shanti:

I can relate to that a lot. Many, many years ago I suffered from quite debilitating anxiety and depression. And you'd mentioned having a panic attack. I actually ended up in the emergency room with what I found out was a panic attack, but it felt like I was having a heart attack but I was 20-22 years-old. I was like, there's no way I could be having a heart attack. It was just that overwhelming anxiety and self-doubt and self-criticism that my restless mind just latched on to that just kind of led me down this downward spiral.

 

But what really helped me out of that was a shift in mindset and changing the understandings that I reached for, and it was a struggle. I mean, I had to continuously work on that every single moment of every day. But that doesn't have to be your life sentence, you know? There's a light, there's a way out. So, I think that's important for people to understand when they are going through struggles, that it's just temporary. This will pass. It might feel like it's taking forever, but it will pass, and you will get through this. So, it's a nice reminder.

 

Angie:

That's so well put. I do remember, at the depths of the anxiety disorders, feeling like I was at the bottom of a dark well, and I could see that there was light somewhere, but I had no idea how I would ever climb out of that well. But you just keep, if you're willing to, you just keep trying and finding what works. And it's 100% absolutely possible. I do not suffer from anxiety. I have anxiety experiences, I do not suffer from anxiety or anxiety disorders.

 

Shanti:

The well analogy is spot on. You know, for or those of us that suffer with things like anxiety or depression or any kind of mental challenges, we're fighters; we have to keep going. And I think that's important to remember also, that there's no option to just give up. You have to keep going, you have to keep fighting, it will get better. There is a light in the well, we just have to keep fighting to get there.

 

That's the whole process; that's what makes the triumphs so much more powerful and satisfying is we're not handed everything on a silver platter – we fight for everything that we get. And I think it's really gratifying and just makes you appreciate everything in life so much more when you have to go through that.

 

Angie:

100%. There's actually a lot of wisdom in our suffering as well. You're speaking to that. And there's so much that I know now about anxiety specifically, like if we could talk for a whole extra hour I would share so much on anxiety! Because it's actually – if you're experiencing anxiety, it's a sign that you have an incredibly beautifully imaginative mind that adapts to you that you're able to experience this.

 

And I'm really grateful that I can help people because that's definitely one thing that, across the board, the people I work with, it's strong, high levels of anxiety. So, these new understandings around it are life changing, and like you said, it's just a matter of choosing to not give up and believe even if it doesn't seem possible, to still find a speck of belief that you absolutely can overcome this.

 

With OCD, I would read in the books that I was using to overcome OCD, that it was chronic and I was like, “No. I just choose to not decide that for myself. I choose to not believe that for myself. I'm not going to manage this. ‘To manage’ means I will have it in my life to work with. I am choosing to overcome so that it's not in my life.” So, even if you're told that it's something chronic, it's not necessarily true.

 

Shanti:

Absolutely. I'll share really quickly… So, I had severe depression my entire life. From the time I was probably four years old was the first time I felt what I know now to be depression. And it lasted all the way through teens 20s, early 30s. I was hospitalized numerous times and horribly, at one point in time, I was on 18 different medications, trying to “manage” it. And I was told that this is the way my life is going to be, that I'll be on medication for the rest of my life, that this is just how it's got to be.

 

And I refused to accept that.  I’m like, there's no way, I can't – No, I don't want to live like this, I don't want to suffer every single day like this. So, I chose not to. And I chose to instead, research and read everything that I could on the brain and the mind and what I was going through and experiencing – and researching alternative treatment options, and just trial and error until I found something that worked for me.

 

And so, having that life sentence of “you're going to be on these medications for the rest of your life”… No, no, I'm not. I haven't been on any medications in years. And I'm fine. I've gone through serious traumas and losses in my life that, in the past, would have just sent me down a downward spiral. But I was able to experience peace and this inner stillness and calmness, that I never had experienced before.

 

So, I think, to what you mentioned, it's really important for us to reach for the understanding and belief that we can make changes. You know, nothing has to be a “life sentence.” There's always something that we can do. There is always something that we can do to help better our situation and our circumstances.

 

Angie:

Yes, that's amazing. And it's that decision: we think we're presented something as if we don't have a choice, but you had a choice and you decided and that's that warrior spirit. You mentioned being a fighter. It's a warrior spirit that you just decided it's not going to be this way. And I really believe that we are our top doc. We can have physicians and doctors, but then we're the only one in our body. So, we do have to come back to that place – almost like that CEO of ourselves.

 

Shanti:

Absolutely. So, as women, we juggle a multitude of different things: career, family, household responsibilities, illnesses, caregiving. How do you find the support that you need to address or to manage or juggle all of these different things?

 

Angie:

I set up systems. I like to make things easy if they can be easy, and not repeat things if they could be automized. That's just like a practical – I’m a Capricorn, so I feel like that part of me is like very organized. I did a lot of virtual assisting, so I’m really quick with things like that. So, I've got that going for me, which is really helpful. I also have a support in other coaches that I'm always talking with. And right now, I'm in a small Mastermind with a couple coaches, so they're really supportive for me.

 

And I think it's a lot about the perspective and prioritizing. There's a really awesome author Kate Northrup – are you familiar with her? She wrote a book called “Do Less.” I haven't actually read the whole book, I flipped through. But I've listened to a lot of what she talks about, read her blogs, and she's not the only person talking about this. She's coming to mind and just really helping women, especially women with kids. I actually don't have kids, but for women with kids, she's great.

 

She has some questions: Does need to be done? Does this need to be done right now? Does this need to be done right now by me? Really getting in touch with what's important; prioritizing what are your values.

 

And also, I really value focusing on one thing at a time. I am not a big fan of multitasking. I think there are certain phases of our cycle as women where we can effectively multitask, but then a lot of the time, that's not our optimum energy or skill. And I really like giving myself that gift of doing one thing and getting to be in a creative flow with it and actually finish that or have a solid chunk of time. I think that really helps. Getting to do some deep work and not going over to an app or text messages or whatever as much as possible.

 

Shanti:

I can definitely agree with being focused on one task at a time. I've read a couple of studies over the years about how, when we multitask, how our productivity is drastically reduced. We're more prone to making mistakes. We're more prone to missing things or forgetting things when we're multitasking.

 

I know for me over the past several years, I've really tried to focus on doing one thing at a time so that that has my attention. And I've definitely noticed more inspiration when I do that, more creativity, less mistakes, for sure. And just being able to focus your energy on that one thing is so much more satisfying than just being all scattered and in all of these different directions; I feel like it's much more frantic and hectic when we do that. And it's stressful, and we don't need more stress!

 

Angie:

That's exactly the feeling because I'll catch myself doing it and I'm highly sensitive. So, I notice things, I noticed subtle changes. I will notice when I'm trying to do multiple things. I don't know why I'm going to compare it to this, but it almost feels like, if you've ever read one of those magazines that has all the tabloid stuff in it, and you're entertained for a second and then you're like, “oh, I do not feel good.” It feels like that somehow, like, this is not what my body wants, this is not what my mind wants, it doesn't feel healthy.

 

A good example of that is texting when you're driving. You know, that's a really bad one. And I will be honest, that'll come up for me. And I'm like, “What am I doing?” And it feels so awful.

 

Shanti:

So, for all of our viewers, no texting while driving, please! So, Angie, do you think that a person has to overcome serious setbacks or challenges in order to be truly successful?

 

Angie:

Yeah, I love this question! I was talking to a friend about this a few years ago, a coach, because we were going through hard stuff and we were like “Why is this life? Like, why is it so hard sometimes and so challenging?” And I was saying that I think that we go through these really hard things because that's how we discover a deeper part of ourselves. And that's how we discover a gift that we have or a strength that we have. It's like, we have to go through the challenges in order to peel back the layers that are on top of our true selves.

 

So, I really think that it's through these hard things that we end up becoming more of our true self, free to share ourselves, and strong in who we are and in our gifts. I also think that life is just full of challenges and struggles. Life is just not necessarily this easy thing for anyone. So, if you're not overcoming your challenges, that means you're either stuck in them or you're under them, buried in them. So, I do think that in order to be successful, it goes hand in hand with overcoming our challenges because that's just part of the game.

 

Shanti:

I agree. I know somebody that many, many years ago was training for competing in the Olympic hurdles. And, you know, he thought he was so great and everything until he met his coach who had meddled in the Olympics in hurdling. And he told my friend that every time you jump a hurdle, you should be getting faster, not slower.

 

So, you're actually using the hurdles to make you stronger, to make you faster, rather than slowing you down. And that's always really stuck with me: we're supposed to use these challenges that we go through in life to make us stronger, not to knock us down. So, we should be getting stronger and faster, in this case, but you know, getting stronger with each hurdle that we overcome. I thought that was just a great analogy for life.

 

Angie:

That it really paints a picture for me. I try to remember this, and remind my friends, too, when things are coming up and we're having a hard time. It's like – good! This means something good is close. It means I'm on the edge of a lot of lights – if that challenge or struggle is there. And that perspective itself really helps allow whatever is happening, and that allowance means that I can move through it much more gracefully and probably quicker.

 

Shanti:

I definitely agree. So, we have so many things in this modern age that we have to balance. How do you maintain that work life balance?

 

Angie:

I love this question, and I'm always so curious to hear from different women because we all have such different circumstances and responsibilities, and things like that. I really value holding self-honor really high in my life. So, that could look like honoring where my energy is at, honoring where I'm at in my cycle. I really think that nature is such a powerful resource we have available to us, most of us probably very easily.

 

The earth really is amazing! I probably won't be able to explain it very well, but what I find is when I go out into nature, it's like the energy that needs to go can go, and it takes it off my shoulders. So, using nature, being outside.

 

I also learned this really simple technique: it's called Goddess Hour, and it really only takes a minute, but it's called Goddess Hour, and you can do this at the end of a work day. You ask: What am I feeling? What am I needing? You can ask that internally. And it's helpful because typically a lot of us for work, it can be a lot of masculine energy, it can be a lot of focus on productivity. And for most people, even checking in with your emotions and your needs is not a habit. So that one, if I'm really in overdrive, that question takes 30 seconds, and can help me discover ‘okay, this is what I'm needing,’ and then I have that choice to find a way to take care of that need.

 

I also do, as much as possible, loving discipline when it comes to sleep. In the past, I would stay up too late. And fortunately, this year, I've been able to shift my sleep schedule. I learned a lot in this book called “The Circadian Code.” It was really great if anyone is interested in

understanding circadian rhythm, and it helps me to go to bed earlier. It's in every book that I read about in terms of time and managing your time. It's just that reset for our body. I can only imagine for women with little kids. I'm curious, how do they do it?

 

And then I have a few other things. I also try to have perspective on priorities. I think that we get these ideas in our head of all the things we should do or need to do. And I, hopefully for other people as well, this quarantine time has helped me simplify. Oh my gosh, there is magic in simplicity! And this is this has been coming to me for awhile, but I've really seen it in this isolation time, just taking things off the list. Maybe a check doesn’t need to be done. Do you really care about this “thing?”

 

So, those things, and then also something I've just begun learning about is energetic boundaries. And it's similar to boundaries we set with each with other, but it's just a little bit more about the energetic part of that. And that's been really important for me as a sensitive person. I can easily take on others’ energy or be really affected by the environment and other people’s energies. It’s been a part of me being able to do more of what I need to do and feel good about the times that I speak my needs or say no.

 

Shanti:

Thank you so much for sharing that. And your last statement about speaking your needs, I think is really important, too. I feel like, as women, we have a habit of not speaking up and asking for what we need, or asking for help when we need it, and just feeling like we have to take care of everything ourselves or it's just not going to get done right, or not get done at all. So, I definitely think that speaking up and asking for what you need in the moment is so important and could help in so many different areas of our life: in work, at home, with family, with friends, just in general.

 

And also, like you mentioned, spending time in nature, and really allowing nature to just wash everything, wash the day's worries away. I know that I definitely feel much more recharged and revitalized when I'm in nature more, so thank you for sharing that.

 

Angie:

And that can be easy too, it could be like, if you have a yard, laying in the grass. It doesn't have to be you have to drive to a reservation or something. It’d be nice if you can.

 

Shanti:

Any little bit we can do. So, as a woman, how did you know or when did you feel that you had become successful?

 

Angie:

I love this question, too. I think that there were moments where I felt that way over time, and then it was more recently that I realized I do feel successful, overall, versus moments of feeling it. And a big part of that along the journey was hearing my clients share a testimonial or share about their experience in working with me and what their life is like now and who they are now. So, hearing their words, seeing their words.

 

And then in 2018 when I joined the second Mastermind, that was life changing because in that Mastermind, it was specifically focused on business, the first one wasn’t. I had these women reflecting things to me that I just couldn't see for myself. I just could not see. They could see these gifts that I had, and they could see who I was and who I was becoming. And I still had a lot of self-doubt that I was working with. So, that was really a huge, huge part.

 

And then more recently, realizing that being successful could look all sorts of different ways. And it is a feeling – you can feel successful. Whereas a lot of people put their success into achievements, which can be a part of success, but you can't feel achieve, you know? I feel achieved is not a thing. I feel successful is a feeling and emotion and you can be successful even before you've achieved whatever the thing is that you think you need to achieve. It really is an internal view on yourself. And really recognizing all the positives and recognizing what it is you're doing every single day, that is success, if you choose it to be. And it doesn't have to be some big, glamorous thing, it can be these many small things.

 

Shanti:

I could not agree more. And thank you so much for sharing that perspective of success because I feel like oftentimes, we do get caught up in the achievement aspect of it. Like, I have to achieve X, Y, and Z, and then I'll be successful, or I have to make X amount of dollars and then I'll be successful. Those are things that you can achieve, but that's not what really makes you successful; that it is this internal feeling and, especially in your case with having the feedback from your clients about the impact that that you have made on their lives and how much it's improved their lives, I think is a huge indicator of success in life and being able to help others. So, thank you for sharing that often overlooked aspect of success.

 

Angie:

I think it's such an important question for women to ask, “how do you know you've been successful?” because self-doubt is so rampant, especially for women. And if we don't recognize our success, it inhibits us from doing more of what we're meant to do, and how we can help others in the world, or share whatever it is we're meant to share, and really recognize that?

 

For a couple years, seeing those client testimonials, I still didn't feel successful. So, that's testimony to just how much it is that internal shift. And you can think it's going to be all these things you achieve, but then there are these people like, I think Diane von Furstenberg is one example that's coming to mind, who she's even said, “I wake up every morning and feel like I'm a failure,” you know? I might be misquoting things. I believe it was in a book by Regena Thomashauer.

 

But why not just decide to recognize our success and actually get to enjoy and feel a little bit of relief in our nervous system, rather than constantly, for a whole life, even if we are successful, not seeing it? It just feels like that would be a little bit of a waste.

 

Shanti:

Absolutely. Thank you so much for sharing that. So, along those lines, what is some of the best advice that you've ever received?

 

Angie:

One of my coaches, when I was struggling with really bad anxiety, at the end of a coaching call, she said this sentence that I couldn't even absorb at the time. She had recorded the call, so I was listening for maybe a third time. I was sitting in my car because I had just driven to my parents. I was sitting in my car finishing up listening to the session, and at the very end, she says, “Oh, one more thing. Let it be easy.” And I was like, what? What does that even mean? I had no concept of that idea, how to just let it be easy. But the words rung so loud, and they just stuck. And I knew, it was like the future me was like, yeah, this is so true and so important.

 

And I don't know how impactful that might be for other people, but for me, I had just found ways to make things hard and complicated and get in my own way. And if you start to explore this idea of letting it be easy, especially if you're someone who has had a lot of perfectionism,

a lot of anxiety, this is a huge, huge piece of advice. That question started going in my head, like how do I let it be easy? And over time, I began to see ways that things can be easier. Some things don't have to be so hard.

 

Shanti:

I think we have a tendency to overcomplicate things and overthink things and sometimes think that things can't possibly be this easy, that we have to we have to overthink it and just overcomplicate something that doesn't necessarily have to be that complicated. So, that's a good reminder to just let it be easy.

 

Angie:

What you said there, “overthink,” I think that's probably why it struck so deep with me because I was in so much overthinking. And although our minds are incredibly powerful, we're often misusing them in thinking way more than we need to when we've got some tools that are a lot quicker, like intuition. So, there are a lot of real tools, real ways we can let things be easy, and they generally involve the opposite of overthinking.

 

Shanti:

Absolutely. You've shared some hard times that you've faced. Do you have any tips or tricks that you can share with our viewers that that you use to help get through those difficult times or to push through and get through that?

 

Angie:

Yeah. I really think that first, it's about what you do on the regular. So, when things aren't hard, what are you doing? Are you still doing things that are preventative care, some form of movement? Our bodies are these energetic beings, the energy needs to move. Doing something that helps you separate from the mental chatter and mental restlessness. Something that is meditative for you, whether that is meditation, or time in nature, and having support you need in your life. So, whether that's some form of coaching or therapy on the regular, not just when things are hard but when they are really hard, self-honesty is a huge one.

 

In the past, I suffered from “spiritual bypassing.” Things were hard, but I would be like, “but I'm fine and it's all happening for good reason and it's okay,” and just not really being honest with myself. It's okay if you're not being the most positive person or you're really sad, really angry, especially if you're going through a loss; actually being honest with yourself that you're grieving and that you are human and you get to be human and not trying to not be human.

 

One of my teachers would say, “Don't try to do something that a rock could do better than you. So, a rock could not feel feelings better than you, so don't try to not feel your feeling.” He always had the funniest analogies. So, really being honest with yourself.

 

The other thing is the relationships that I was talking about having: loving, supportive, interdependent relationships where there's a lot of mutual respect. There's a give and receive and knowing that you can show up with certain people in your life really raw, really vulnerable.

You can send them – I don't know if you know Marco Polo – it's like video messaging? You know, how you can FaceTime but it's recorded messages back and forth?

 

So, I have some friends where we'll do that and there'll be some where I'm sending a message just crying. This is what's happening, this is what I'm feeling. So, sometimes the way through is to let it fall apart. Let it be messy. And really being that loving presence with yourself through that, knowing it's okay.

 

I read a really beautiful article recently by Sheryl Paul called, “To Be Human.” And it is about, yeah, I'm going to fall down and I'm going to do that thing that I said I wasn't going to do and, you know, we are the physical embodiment of the energy of love having a very human experience. We are a soul that I believe is unconditional, endless love having a human experience. So, we have to recognize that, and it just makes acceptance and allowance so much easier to weather a storm and to let it be okay, wherever you're at.

 

Shanti:

Absolutely. I definitely think not judging our experiences or how we respond or react to them goes a long way towards that acceptance and by not judging, we're able to go with the flow, instead of fighting against the current. It's just useless. It's just wasted energy to try to fight against that. It's okay, don't judge it, just let go. Then you can get your bearings straight and then pick up and move on from there.

 

I know for me, stopping the habit of judging myself and judging everything that I go through, was huge for me, and opens up so much more to life than just all of these terrible experiences that I had to go through and struggles that I had to face. Judging is not productive. It doesn't do any good. It doesn't help me, so why do it? It's just tearing me down more. So, I think that acceptance and not judging, like you mentioned, is huge.

 

Angie:

Yeah. Like with the beautiful story you shared about overcoming depression… if you had had total judgment on that, you would have hung on and not been able to say, “Okay, this is happening. What can I do about it?”

 

The analogy of the river is great. I always come back to water in nature to understand life. It's like we're on a river in a canoe and, and when we're struggling, we're trying to row upstream and it's choppy. And when we realize, okay, this is happening, we can take the paddles in, let it happen, go with the river and trust that it's carrying us where it needs to go, it’s way easier.

 

Shanti:

Oh, yes! Way less effort, too! We've talked a lot about different struggles and overcoming them, is there anything that keeps you awake at night?

 

Angie:

If there was something keeping me awake at night, it's intimidating to do our real work in the world. For me, my work is vulnerable and it's really sharing. It's like you're baring your soul to a certain degree. And it can be intimidating thinking about being visible and showing up and really, when I have that clear vision of what I’m meant to do, just the vastness of it can feel a little overwhelming at times if I don't practice a lot of faith and trust and break it down and understand everything is just one little step at a time.

 

I think that that visibility piece and I'm sure a lot of women can relate to that, can be stressful and intimidating. I think that it's like the flip side of a coin, you know, like passion, and the flip side could easily be anxiety because you're just caring so deeply about something. So, keeping my orientation on the faith/trust side of that with the passion is helpful.

 

Shanti:

Thank you for sharing that. Going back to what we were talking about earlier as far as feeling successful. Do you have any habits that you embrace to help you feel successful?

 

Angie:

Yeah, I mentioned the Mastermind that I have right now. I notice a huge difference when I'm actively participating in some sort of circle or group of people working towards a similar goal. So, having community – and it doesn't even have to be super extensive. We meet once a week, and that just is awesome! And to know I can reach out to them when I have questions, when I celebrate things or whatever, just having that support built in.

 

I also think self-talk is a habit. So, I've practiced over the years certain thoughts that I want to be habitual, like simple things, like “I can do this” or “I can do hard things” or whatever the thought is. I'm sure people are familiar with positive affirmations. We're always affirming something, so we might as well affirm what we do want to be true, and that's what a positive affirmation is. So, I've practiced a lot of those that have become more habitual self-talk. And it's not 100% across the board, but more of my self-talk is about positive self-talk now.

 

And I mentioned sleep habits. I definitely notice a difference when I'm able to have a good morning. I've heard people say when you own the morning, you own the day. I get that. It makes me feel calmer when I have that extra time so that I don't have to feel like I'm rushing.

 

And then, I think we're talking about this before, about drinking water in the morning. It's just that easy health habit. It feels good first thing when I wake up to drink a nice amount of water and I know some people don't drink a lot of water and I don't know how they do it. But for me, I drink so much water and I can only think that helps.

 

And then movement. So, when I do power yoga, it's pretty rigorous. And that, to me, is clearing mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. It's doing all the things it's not just a workout. I love that because I'm getting so many different things out of it rather than just some physical benefits.

 

Shanti:

Absolutely. I'm glad you mentioned earlier in your response about having that community of like-minded individuals as support. It's so important to have like-minded individuals that you can reach out to so that you don't feel so alone, so you don't feel like you have to bear the burdens of life all by yourself. There's other people that think along the same lines as you do or that are going through similar things that you are that you can reach out to for that support and that encouragement to keep going. I know that's been a huge help for me in a number of different ways as well, so I'm glad you mentioned that.

 

Angie:

Yeah, I think that's a game changer. I haven't read the book “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill, but my sister was telling me that he mentions this in there about a Mastermind essentially, because we don't know our own blind spots. We also have access to more ideas, wisdom, experience, if it's not just us.

 

Shanti:

Absolutely. Do you have any “naughty little habits” that that you indulge in that you know you shouldn't, but you do anyways?

 

Angie:

I like this question. I feel like I'm not going to have a very good answer because I actively try hard to not “should” on myself. So, I don't know if you've ever heard that, but quit “should-ing” on yourself. I just think that because I've had also the past anxiety disorders with eating disorders, I just try not to do anything too rigidly. It just works better for me. It doesn't feel bad or naughty or anything because it just feels like it's a part of life, whatever the thing is.

 

I mean, I'm sure maybe some people would consider having dessert multiple times a day a bad habit, but sometimes I do. I'll have like a little something sweet with coffee, and then dessert after dinner – but it's dark chocolate, so is that really that bad? I don't know. I just let myself do it.

 

Shanti:

I like the comment about not being too rigid about things. I think that's important for women especially to remember to not be so hard on ourselves and to not be so focused on being in this box and you can only do X, Y and Z, and that's not life. You know, life is messy, so just go with it. Don't judge yourself or beat yourself up for indulging in something and just don't do it all day every day. Practice moderation.

 

It's a lot more challenging and a lot less fulfilling, I think, to continually deprive ourselves of things that we enjoy. So yeah, if you want a little treat or something sweet with your coffee, and then something for dinner afterwards, go for it. The only person that's stopping you is you.

So, I like that comment about not being so rigid about it.

 

Angie:

I really learned the difference in therapy about rigidity and flexibility. And it's one thing to have your intentions for an eating plan or whatever, but if it starts to become rigid, then it can be limiting in your life and the limitations out balance the benefits. And I think for some people that more masculine rigidity can work well with certain personalities, but I know myself and there have been studies about this, especially with food, that total restriction is not healthy.

 

And you know, there are other things, we're not just talking about food, but the other thing to remember as women is, we are inconsistent creatures. And we're in a society that tries to make us think we should be consistent, but we are cyclical. We're moved like every two and a half days, our hormones are changing and we're going through multiple phases of a cycle every 27 to 36-ish days, so there's no need.

 

Shanti:

I could not agree more. All right, so take a moment and just reflect on what you wish you would have known sooner in life. Go ahead and share whenever you're ready.

 

Angie:

I wish I would have known that no one has my answers. People can help me and support me, but no one can tell me what's right in my life, those answers are within me. I wish I would have known earlier that I have a strong intuition, that we all have intuition, so that I can learn to trust it. And also, known my self-worth, that I am unconditionally worthy of all the love in the world, no matter what I do, or no matter who I am, I just am because I am.

 

Shanti:

I love that. Thank you. What advice would you give to a young woman beginning her career?

 

Angie:

So that really relates to what I was just sharing that, I think as you're beginning your career, having a way that you can actively work on your self-trust muscles and your self-worth, actively building those muscles and that within yourself will make all the difference between where you go and how far and how fast and what you're willing to try what you're willing to say yes to.

 

It's like I was sharing, you just you have so much strength and power and magic and wisdom within you, so having that level of self-trust – not like shutting out others and other wisdom, but filtering it through “Okay, what does my body tell me? What do I know within myself?” One way to build that is to have that time in your life where you are pausing, where you are tuning in, because we're really in a culture that helps us to tune out and helps us to distract and numb with whatever, whether it's food, alcohol, TV, social media, and just focusing only on productivity; it's all this external stuff.

 

So, as early on as possible before you even start your career, just for life, having those practices where you're coming back to yourself and connecting in with yourself. If you're truly connected with yourself, you will feel your infinite worth and you will have those answers and you will be able to tune into a place of faith and trust because that's our truth, that's our soul. So, that connection to yourself will offer you so much in your career and your path in life.

 

Shanti:

Thank you so much for sharing that. I definitely will agree, the whole self-trust and self-worth is a huge component, and I think for a lot of women, doesn't naturally come until many, many, many, many years later in career and in life. And to have that established earlier on in life can just make all the difference in the world with respect to how we experience everything, so I think that's a really good reminder for women. Thank you.

 

So, Angie, it has been a pleasure speaking with you. Thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. We really appreciate it.

 

Angie:

This has been so nice and I'm so excited for all the interviews you're going to be doing and the wisdom that gets to be shared here.

 

Shanti:

It is very exciting for me. Thank you.

 

That is all for this episode of Women STaRs. If you'd like to nominate a businesswoman to be interviewed for Women STaRs, please email their contact information and your reason for nominating them to stars@ontechpartners.com. My name is Shanti Harkness, until next time, have a great day!

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