“Anxiety taught me that I am a strong, powerful woman who has a lot to offer to the world.” Deide Harris
Deidre Harris is the guest for episode 2; she is from California. She is a dynamic education consultant and trainer with 30 + years of experience as an educator in many professional environments. She has worked as a teacher, instructional coach, curriculum, and program developer as well as director of training, and she is a certified life coach. She is now launching a communication process she developed for workplaces called, Team Agreements; it builds trust allowing teams to work through common disagreements in challenging conflicts.
Deidre shares her personal experience of anxiety, how it has expressed itself throughout her personal and professional life, how childhood sexual abuse fueled her experience of anxiety as well as how she practices thriving anyway!
Deidre starts off by describing that she is proud of having stepped out to follow her entrepreneurial dreams after realizing that she was not enjoying her professional trajectory, even though she enjoyed a comfortable & successful professional life. Stepping into entrepreneurship has allowed Deidre to not only to do what she loves most but also to confront her anxiety in a much more effective way. She recognizes that new is inherently uncomfortable, but the uncomfortable feeling of new waters always subsides. Deidre feels grateful to her anxiety because it made her the person she is today.
The realization of the disconnect between where she was in her life and where she wanted to be was sobering. She went through extensive coaching sessions and therapy to evolve into who she is today. Even after she realized what she really wanted to do professionally, it took over a year for her to resign. She took that time to prepare for the new phase of her professional journey; this was key to her managing her anxiety.
As an adult, she did not know she was anxious. It was only during therapy did she realize she was anxious and that a lot of her teenage behavior was linked to childhood abuse. During the interview, she goes into detail of her risky teenage behavior and why it offered her emotional validation. Nevertheless, she shares how “disassociation” was perhaps the most significant consequence from her abuse, and this symptom showed up throughout her life in different ways.
Acceptance of abuse, for her, was heart-wrenching and healing. There was a lot of grief in acceptance, but confronting it helped her move forward. The impact of her acceptance was profound not only for her but also for her family. It allowed everyone in the family to really open up and realize that the abuse that was took place was quite widespread throughout the family.
Deidre now feels grateful for her abuse because it has given her an opportunity to acquire an incredible skill set that she utilizes today to help others. She goes into detail about her abuse and shares how her discomfort of ‘being at the front of the room’, particularly as a speaker, had its origin in her past trauma.
Being coached changed her life. Through coaching, she realized that we all generally have the same experiences in life. We all feel fear, shame or guilt at some point in our life. Knowing that you are not alone helps share the load though.
Deidre talks about why reaching out is so essential even before knowing the source. She believes that with the help of others and by listening to their stories, we can often come to acknowledge and accept our own traumatic experiences. Deidre calls this the mirror effect. By reaching out to a like-minded community, we are more likely to see and hear our pain others more than in ourselves. Then through this constant feedback, we can come to terms with our anxiety. This is her primary suggestion to anyone struggling with anxiety who might be afraid to reach out for therapy.
In the final part of the podcast, Deidre reveals that anxiety has taught her that, “I am a strong, powerful woman who has a lot to offer to the world.” Her strategy to confront anxiety is to play in her mind what’s the worst that can happen. By being purposeful about it, then going back and asking is it really true, she comes to accept that “the zombie apocalypse is not happening today!” This helps her work through the situation and feel more personal control.
Finally, the current situation of Covid-19 and how it can trigger anxiety is acknowledged.
• [02:23] What about herself Deidre is most proud of today
• [06:44] What made Deidre make the transition from the comfortable to the uncomfortable
• [10:38] When did Deidre realize anxiety was a part of her life
• [14:44] Deidre talks about her risky behavior during the teenage
• [19:35] Who else was aware of her behavior and how was their response
• [23:10] Deidre shares how she came to accept her abuse
• [25:17] How this acceptance came to affect her world
• [29:05] How the difference in new and old Deidre manifested itsel
• [33:27] Deidre discusses how she works through it and continues to evolve
• [35:23] Deidre shares how a childhood traumatic experience manifested itself in her professional life
• [41:36] What Deidre advises people who are in the same space as she were before
• [44:07] Participants discuss the importance of reaching out
• [48:35] Deidre’s advice to people who are afraid of sharing
• [50:26] What has anxiety taught Deidre about herself
• [52:41] How Deidre utilizes her strategies in the midst of the pandemic where everyone is feeling anxiety
Deidre’s Training Program
Deidre Harris Official Website