063 Embracing the Hard

We are now in October of 2020, and today, we’re talking about the reality of when things get hard. Here in the US, we are facing a collective 1.1 million workers who have dropped out of jobs, of which 80% are women. The coaches at Hello Seven are not here to sugarcoat this reality but to tell you that the obstacles you’re facing right now could be the opportunity you need.

This week, Director of Programs, Natalie Miller, talks to Hello Seven's resident coaches, La Tondra Murray and René Washington on the podcast. We’re diving into the reality of the business-building journey, and how we are the generators of resources, and what that entails. As entrepreneurs, and especially for those of us socialized as women, we need to realize that there are peaks and valleys that exist and that you don’t need to personalize the hard or make it an indictment of your potential and capability.

Join us this week to embrace the truth that the notion of hard is cyclical. Instead of fleeing from it, leaning into it could be the opportunity for you to move to the next level and the thing that takes you beyond your wildest imagination of what you can do in your life.

Do you want to make more money? How about increasing your income by 30% minimum in the next year? Inside We Should All Be Millionaires: The Club, October is build your brand month. If you want to build a million-dollar brand that people can’t stop talking about, get yourself in by clicking here because we’re going to help you do exactly that. 

What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • How women tend to react when things get hard.
  • Why there is so much opportunity in embracing the hard.
  • What the concept of the golden staircase means.
  • Why the business-building journey is not always about climbing up.
  • What it means to be a generator of resources.
  • The truth about what success looks like.

Listen to the Full Episode:



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Natalie: Because sometimes it’s not time to go up or down. Sometimes it’s just time to take stock. Sometimes it’s just time to build relationships with a squad of people who believe in you.

René: Absolutely.

Natalie: And who also want to change the paradigm.

Rachel: Welcome to the Hello Seven Podcast. I'm your host, Rachel Rodgers, wife, mother of four children, a lover of Beyoncé, coffee drinker, and afro-wearer, and I just happen to be the CEO of a seven-figure business. I am on a mission to help every woman I meet become a millionaire. If you want to make more money, you are in the right place. Let's get it going.

Natalie: Hello, everybody. This is not Rachel Rodgers. This is Natalie Miller, Director of Programs here at Hello Seven and the coaches are taking over the podcast today because we have something we need to talk about, La Tondra Murray, hello.

La Tondra: Hey, what’s up, everyone?

Natalie: La Tondra is a resident coach here at Hello Seven. René Washington, hello.

René: Hello, hello.

Natalie: René Washington is a community coach here at Hello Seven and this is what we need to talk about, we need to talk about when things get hard because listen, everybody, spoiler alert, I know, shocking news to you, things are hard right now. It is October 2020 as we are recording this. I want to share with you some of the numbers that we’re getting about what we’re facing right now, collectively 1.1 million workers have dropped out of the workforce, have just dropped out.

They’re not even any longer looking for jobs and y’all, 80% of those workers who have dropped out, who are not looking for work are women, 8-0, 80%, 864,000 women are just like, “Okay, I’m just not going to have work.” That’s from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

From the US Chamber of Commerce we know that when we compare how women are thinking about their small businesses versus how men are thinking about their small businesses women are feeling less good, less confident about the health of their small businesses. Women are feeling less likely to be hiring help anytime soon. Women are feeling less good and confident about investing in their businesses, and women are feeling much less confident about their revenues in the coming year.

The way that McKinsey is talking about this, McKinsey is saying that this is a gender regressive shock that our economy is enduring. Suzanne Clark, the President of the US Chamber of Commerce is saying this, this is a quotation from her, “We cannot allow this pandemic to set back a generation of entrepreneurial women.” In other words, what economists around the world and economists around the country are saying is that the impact that we’re seeing of the pandemic and of the recession that’s coming is disproportionately damaging to women’s careers.

We know that in a number of fields women are publishing less, women are being promoted less and less, and also in women-owned businesses. So, here’s the reality, things are hard right now. Your friendly coaches here at Hello Seven are here to say okay things are hard and we’re here to tell you that the obstacle can be the opportunity.

La Tondra: Absolutely. Absolutely, and it’s interesting because we see it in our own community, so within the club We Should All Be Millionaires, our program, when we see people exit as of late, in particular, we’re seeing that people say, “It’s hard. I don’t have enough time. I’m being pulled in too many directions. I’m under so much duress.”

Natalie: “I’m not ready. I need to support my family. I can’t take risks.” Yeah, that’s what we’re seeing. “I need to pause. I need to pause, I’ll be back.”

La Tondra: “I’ll be back,” that’s right.

René: Yeah, “This is all too much. It’s just too much for me to consume right now.”

Natalie: We’re not here to say that that’s not true.

René: Right, absolutely not.

Natalie: It’s hard.

René: It is hard, yes. We are all mindset coaches, but we’re not delusional mindset coaches. There’s a difference. We’re not trying to sell you on a delusion that oh no, just think yourself pretty thoughts and life will be wonderful. No, we are being real. Yes, this shit is hard.

La Tondra: That’s right.

Natalie: We live on planet Earth. We’re not pretending it’s the Good Ship Lollipop and we’re all you know – so La Tondra, when you were talking about this, so everybody, we were having a conversation and we were like, actually it was a good conversation. We need to let the world in on this conversation. We need to eavesdrop on this conversation, so La Tondra, one of the things that you were pointing to is what we tend to do, especially we as women, what we tend to do when things are hard.

La Tondra: Yes.

Natalie: So, talk a little bit about that.

La Tondra: Yes, absolutely. So, when things get hard, we personalize it. We take it as an indictment of our potential, our capacity, our capability. We make it all about what we can’t do, what we’re not ready to do, what we’re not gangster enough to step up to do. By personalizing it we miss the opportunity to lean into the growth edge.

There’s this notion of peaks and valleys and this idea of there being value in the valley. Iyanla Vanzant had a book of that title many years ago and the thought is, to your point, Natalie, you said the opportunity – the obstacle is the opportunity. What can you learn in the valley? In the hard times, what can you lean into to extend yourself? To innovate? To move to the next level? There’s a really big spot of opportunity. There’s an invitation, there’s a call to do things that take us beyond what we think we can do if only we’re attentive, if only we listen.

Instead of fleeing, and look, I know fleeing is really attractive because there’s a lot of things I want to flee from right now. It’s attractive, but it doesn’t get us to where we want to go. So, that readiness, that ability to get to, to create what we want to create it comes in knowing that we are not broken, we are not at fault, we have an opportunity.

René: Yes, absolutely, and one of the things that I know we all have at some point done with clients is to take that future view of six months from now what do you want to look back on? What do you want to be celebrating? So, like La Tondra said, it can be counterintuitive to say embrace the hard when you do want to just curl up in the fetal position and just “Calgon, take me away,” and also to embrace it from the space of this truth. Hard is cyclical. Trouble don’t last always. So, hard is cyclical.

There’s a Joyce Carol Oates quote that says, “Life radically changes if I know I’m a conduit for what wishes to happen as opposed to the one making it all occur.” A conduit as opposed to the one making it all occur and as women we do take on this ownership of we have to carry the whole load. We got to be burdened down with it all which is one of the reasons why I so love the community of the club because the members, we call them Schmillies, they embrace you, snatch you back, hold you up, push you forward. That kind of support is what you want when you’re in the valley of, “I can’t do this anymore.”

We’ve all experienced that, but to connect back to your why, why are you even trying to do this? What is your purpose? What is your reason? Which is a big ass thing to create and as we’ve talked about, the three of us, that we are so being and tried to be pushed back from creating, right? We’re trying to move back to that time where particularly women were seen as commodities. We had roles and lanes to stay in and people of color, “Don’t get too big for your space.” All of those things are in play in the world that we’re living in, we can clearly see that that world order is dying and it is going out with a big old gasp. White males, that patriarchy is trying to cling on to that.

So, yes, those stats that Natalie gave are real. What are we going to do about that?

Natalie: Exactly, what are we going to do about it? So, it is the difference between, “This is really hard so let me shift back into what was. Let me downsize my ambition. Let me step back away from what it is that I want to create.” Oftentimes, what you want to create, dear business owner, is actually a solution for someone else. Oftentimes, what you’re wanting to create is bringing into being the world that you want.

So, when things get hard to say, “I’m not up to this,” and by the way, that’s by design, that you believe you’re not up to it. That is exactly what the holders of the status quo want you to believe. “Yes, please believe this isn’t for you. This isn’t for you. You’re not up for it. Really, the best thing you could do right now is go and make me a sandwich.”

René: Yes.

La Tondra: That’s right.

Natalie: That’s much more comfortable and so to kind of shift back into that versus to meet the obstacle as an opportunity and to just choose to see it differently. René was just choosing to see this chaotic moment as these are the throes of the last gasps of white supremacist patriarchy. We can choose to see it that way and when we see it that way an image I was using a lot earlier in the pandemic is it’s like the Monopoly board when you play a game of Monopoly.

You know how you get to that point in Monopoly where it’s just like, “Okay, I’m just slowly going to lose.” The pandemic has taken that Monopoly board and it has shaken the table. The US President, the leadership, the lack of leadership in the US right now has taken that board and shaken it. We can see that as, “Oh, here’s actually an opportunity to play the game differently,” or, “To not play this game,” right? To have a new game that we’re creating together to play but only if we step toward it and if we step into it.

So, that idea of readiness, kind of circling back around to what you were talking about, La Tondra, readiness, there’s one person who decides if you’re ready, that’s you.

René: Absolutely.

La Tondra: That’s right, and that self-trust I think is key. That investment and trust of yourself, knowing that even in not knowing you know. This idea of leaning in to – and let’s be honest, I was thinking, Natalie, just now, the game we were playing, it wasn’t a great frickin’ game to begin with.

Natalie: Nobody likes that game.

La Tondra: Nobody liked that damn game to begin with so the fact that the board has been shaken up and pieces have been moved around, nobody wants to wait to set that game back up the way it was played before anyway, right? It was raggedy to begin with.

René: Absolutely.

La Tondra: So, to step back into raggediness –

René: No.

La Tondra: No.

René: No, and changing the paradigm, that’s some big ass work. So, yes, we have our individual businesses, our individual focuses, but we cannot change the paradigm alone. We need each other in changing this paradigm that is way overdue to be changed. So, absolutely we all have to make personal decisions about how we show up in that, but are you making that decision from a clean space?

The clean space is, yes, we do need to rest. Yes, we do need to take a break. Yes, we do need to engaged with – I love Natalie’s term, self-sustenance on a daily and ongoing basis and make decisions from that space because if I make decisions from the I’m tired as hell space then, oh yeah, I’m out. I’m out. I’m out.

Natalie: Yeah, and that’s part of it. Gosh, this is so – I wish someone would have told me this five years ago, I’m just going to say that right now. I wish I could’ve listened to this podcast five years ago because here’s the reality, sometimes we imagine that building a business is this golden staircase. You start at the bottom of the golden staircase and you have the idea and you’re good enough, and you’re strong enough and then step by step you just climb that staircase. I was laughing earlier, I was like, your handbag gets fancier and fancier as you climb [inaudible] you got to get more and more swag as you climb. You get more and more power as you climb.

So, there’s two things, right, A) it’s not a staircase. It doesn’t only go up and up and up, better and better and better, bigger and bigger and bigger, it is a journey. It has peaks and valleys, it has scenic overlooks, and it has bogs that fill your boots with mud. All of those pieces are actually part of it. That’s what the business building journey actually looks like. Then, here’s the second piece that René, you just helped me realize, and you’re not always climbing or sinking. Sometimes you are just sitting down and having a sip of water and a snack. Because sometimes it’s not time to go up or down. Sometimes it’s just time to take stock. Sometimes it’s just time to build relationships with a squad of people who believe in you and who also want to change the paradigm, right?

René: Yeah, I don’t know if either of you have taken a long Amtrak train ride, but we did from Birmingham to New York City and the thing about Amtrak is we don’t have high-speed rail in this country for the most part and you stop along the way for no good reason. The train will stop and what we found out is that the trains that carry, and I’m saying packages, but that’s not the right term but those trains get priority over the people trains.

So, the people trains have to stop for the other trains to come by. So, in this journey that we’re on sometimes we get stopped for reasons outside of our control. Sometimes it is something connected to what we’ve done, but not always necessarily. But the train started back up again and we ended up in New York City. So, it takes 20-something hours, it might take a day and a half to get there, but we got there with all these stops along the way.

La Tondra: Yes. I love that so much; I love that and I think that there’s also this notion of community. I think this idea of having other people who are sharing their own journey. Everyone has their own experience, but there is something powerful about being in community with others who are on the journey because sometimes and, Natalie, you made me just think about this, sometimes you might not have enough insight to sit down and to take a sip of water, but someone can tap you on the shoulder and offer you a glass.

René: Yes. “Girl, you look a little parched. You look a little parched, girl.”

Natalie: You know, I just saw a fabulous example of this in the club. There was a conversation where someone was saying, “Looking, I’m immunocompromised, I’ve got these kids, they have special needs. I don’t know what to do. Do I just press pause? It’s too hard. Do I just press pause on my business?” And to have the community come in and to say, “I feel you.” First of all, just like, “I honor you. I’m with you in this,” and then to say, “Here’s something that I’ve tried. Here’s something that works for me.” To ask you the questions that help you – there’s a difference between pausing on the train and getting off the train, right?

René: Yes.

La Tondra: Yes.

Natalie: There’s a difference between sort of saying, “Okay, I’m going to stop in this moment. I’m going to lean up against a tree on my journey, and I’m going to reassess, right? But I’m not tapping out. I’m not leaving the journey. I’m not giving up on myself, right?”

René: Right. Yes, and you know, Natalie, sometimes we on that journey we actually did get off the train but we got back on. It was just a momentary thing. So, the ratchet side of the community can be the brain gremlins that we do see other members in the community who are further along the journey than we may be. So, what do our brain gremlins say? “Oh see, she got this. You don’t.” Our brains will tell us those lies that, “Oh, you’ll never be as good as this Schmillie. You’ll never make it in the way this Schmillie has.” That is such a lie and the Schmillies prove that in the way they reign in to bolster you, to hold you, and like you said, to give you practical ways to get yourself up out of that valley.

Natalie: What a perfect example of where the obstacle is the opportunity. Here I am, I find myself in compare and despair.

René: Yes.

Natalie: I’m not making any money, but I’m looking at all these other people who are making money and I’m going to decide why they are. Oh, it’s because they’re further along than I am. It’s because they’re smarter than I am. It’s because they’re braver than I am. It’s because whatever the reasons are that we come up. Instead of coming to that moment and saying, “Okay, what do I need? What do I need to believe about myself? What do I need to tap into? What’s the Worthy work?”

In our community, the first thing you do when you join the community work is you do Worthy which is this course that could be short-handed as like a money mindset, but really, it’s so much more about self-trust and self-honoring and I was thinking earlier, we have to be resourceful when we’re entrepreneur’s. We need to be resourceful and at the same time we ourselves are not a resource. I think the world treats us as a resource to be tapped into, to be utilized, to be maximized or researched. No, no, no, you are a generator of resources.

René: Yes, that’s why I love that conduit quote. Conduit, it comes through us, don’t carry it all on your own. We don’t have to do that.

Natalie: Yeah, and as such you must be treated as also needing care, also needing encouragement, also needing coaching, also needing community, also needing inspiration, also needing a break. If you are a generator then we expect that you’re not just a resource to be used up, you’re something that can create resources but needs the resources in order to be able to do that. You need to receive in order to be able to give. You need to get fuel or inspo or support from a community in order to give fuel and inspo into your communities.

René: Because the thing about particularly women and those of us who identify as women is that we don’t move alone. We bring others with us. To Natalie’s earlier point, whatever your thing is it’s not just about you. That’s not how we roll. We bring a community with us and so, that is so important when you need to reconnect to your why. Why are you doing this? What is the purpose? Yesterday, my husband who is happily retired always wonders, “Why aren’t you? You can too.”

I say, “I have a gift. I believe that I should show up in that gift as much as possible.” I believe that about this community. The world opens up in this community to see the possibility, oh my gosh. How many members do we have now, Natalie? 1,600, whatever it is.

Natalie: 1,600 and climbing, yeah.

René: Yes, and so when you think about that 1,600 individuals showing up in their gift that is world changing.

Natalie: That’s what builds the new game.

René: Yes.

Natalie: That’s what builds the new game.

La Tondra: Yes.

René: Yes, when you think about getting – yes, we get tired and I want to be a part of that, so what can I do to regenerate? To regenerate more energy? To re-energize, regenerate, all the res to keep myself in this. To me, that’s the choice. Instead of, “How can I get out?” No, “How can I stay in?”

Natalie: Right, yeah. I was talking to Rachel about this yesterday and she was saying, it was part of this like the obstacle is the opportunity. The obstacle is either the thing that turns you back or it’s the impulse to get creative. “Okay, awesome. Here’s the problem, how can I solve it? What do I need? What do I need to create? What do I need to lean on? With whom do I need to work?”

This thing that you’re saying about when we don’t do this alone, when we have colleagues, when we have coaches, when we have advisors, like when we have support when we have the support that we need and we’re not like, “Yeah, I’m not here trying to build a new game by myself. I’m one of the contributors to it. We are co-creating this.” So, when we’re looking at this obstacle and we’re saying, “Okay, here’s the problem, I’m going to create a solution or create a way around it or create a way over it.” It’s never just for me that I’m doing that. I’m doing it for all of us. I’m doing it for everyone.

La Tondra: Yeah, there’s a collective investment and even when it doesn’t feel like it there’s a collective opportunity for growth, for expansion. It’s that rising tide lifting all boats. We inspire and encourage each other, but it’s also – it gets back to making that choice, making that choice about how you see the obstacle, making the choice about what hard means or doesn’t mean about you and about what’s possible.

Natalie: Deciding which version of yourself you’re wanting to identify with the most, right? This is a lot of the work that we do in Worthy is, “Am I going to say I’m good when I feel like I’m on the golden staircase and I’m bad when I don’t? I’m worthy when I’m bringing in money and clients and I’m bad when I’m not.” Or am I going to say, “No, I am worthy through and through. I am growing and evolving and learning and I’m doing it for myself in order to create a better world.” I like that version.

La Tondra: Love that so much. I love it so much.

Natalie: All right, so coaches here’s someone out there listening and they want to be doing their work in the world. We all have a gift, so here you are out in the world and you have your gift, you have your idea, you have your career, you have your line of research, you have your entrepreneurial endeavor and it’s hard. It’s hard and you’re facing an obstacle. Coaches, what do you want to say? What do you want to say to this person? What do you want them to know?

La Tondra: I want them to know that trust in themselves is the foundation and that honoring what they want to create, honoring their gifts and talents, leaning into that unique positioning that only they can add to the world, that’s the spark. That’s the place to start. You’re led to do the things that you want to do in the world for a reason.

René: Absolutely. I so want to tag to the trust yourself because that is the foundation. Trusting yourself, showing up in the day-to-day whatever that looks like for you to continue to showing up and then surrender to outcome and be a part of a community that you can go to for sustenance, for getting your head straight, to give, and receive from.

Natalie: I love that. I think what I would want to say is, this is it. This is what it looks like. Sometimes this is exactly what success looks like. That’s not what they tell you. It’s not what it looks like in the movies. In the movies I always gesture to that moment in the movies when a character in a movie is doing something hard it goes by kind of quickly in these scenes. You know what I’m talking about, right? Where it’s like here you see her, she’s up late with the lamp on her desk and she’s furiously writing, and then she’s walking down the sidewalk and it’s cold and she gathers her coat up around her neck and it’s romanticized. What I want to say to you is that this hard thing right now that you’re facing, this is it. This isn’t proof that you’re not on the journey, this is proof that you are on the journey.

René: Yes.

La Tondra: Yes.

Natalie: As you figure out your way around it or over it or through it as you don’t stop and you don’t get off the train and you don’t turn around and you don’t say, “Cool, I’ll make the sandwiches.” As you’re here and you let yourself, like La Tondra said, bolster self-trust, as you let yourself like René said, lean into community, as you stay with it, as you stay with it this is not the romantic part, this is boots full of mud part. But let me tell you, you are building strength, you are learning truths, you are finding the solutions that we all need. It’s never just for you, it’s for all of us.

La Tondra: Momentum ain’t no montage.

René: Bring your raggedy ass self to the party, we got you.

Natalie: Bring your raggedy self, momentum ain’t no montage, this is what it looks like and we are here for one another. We are here for one another, so have heart out there. Yes, it’s hard. And you know what else? We’re making it better and we’re building it new and we’re burning down what needs to burn down and we’re building up what it is about damn time for. So, let’s do it together.

La Tondra, René, thank you so much for joining me today. Everybody out there we hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as we did. We can see each other and we all have like teary eyes. We’re ready to go shine out in the world and we hope you are, too. Take care.

Rachel: Do you want to make more money? A lot more money? How about increasing your income by 30% minimum in the next year? Sounds pretty good, right? Then you need to join We Should All Be Millionaires the club. Go to helloseven.co/club and join the club now.

Inside the club, October is Build Your Brand month. If you want to build a million-dollar brand that people can’t stop talking about get yourself into the club because we’re going to break it down and help you do exactly that. This October I’m giving a presentation on how to create company values. You will walk away from this presentation feeling crystal clear on your values and how to express these values in everything you do. This presentation is exclusively available to club members, so you’ve got to join if you want to get the gold. Join the club at helloseven.co/club, that is helloseven.co/club. See you up in there.

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