Mid-Week Live Coaching: Brooke
It’s nothing new to see successful people look for what’s next when reaching the top. Brooke Kalan, a successful coach to leaders and executives, takes a seat to get some coaching herself on some professional and personal issues. She talks about what it’s like to lose sight of your passion and mission in the midst of being excellent at what you do. Join in as she looks at her struggle from a different perspective and know what it’s like to put yourself in a box. She also discusses the impacts of dimming yourself and the importance of being able to express yourself completely. In addition, understand how maintaining balance with your mind and heart plays a critical factor in how you develop as an individual.
Listen to podcast here:
Mid-Week Live Coaching: Brooke
We are in a coaching conversation with Brooke Kalan. Brooke has been successful in her business and where she is and where she finds herself is noticing that it’s getting boring. She’s not feeling the drive towards it, the passion that she used to she doesn’t feel called into. She is successful, has not had a hard time creating results and is left wondering, “Why am I letting this fall away?” You may have had an experience like that where you used to be passionate about something and now it seems to be falling away and you’re not totally clear on why that is. What seems to be going wrong? What’s the thing? Where Brooke starts this conversation looking is, what’s the thing that I’m meant to go and do?
Where we end up in the conversation is taking a look at how and where she’s not fully expressing who she is innately. This is so often the case because what we look at as humans is what we’re doing. The thing we can see is the thing that holds our attention. What am I doing now? If I don’t feel lit up by it, the problem must be in the thing that I’m doing and the solution must be to go and do a different thing. It’s all about addressing and doing. You’ll hear in this conversation the idea that it’s not what we’re doing that’s usually the issue but there’s a part of ourselves not being expressed while we do it.
A lack of fullness of our expression, a lack of being fully integrated into our being and expressing all of who we are that gets in the way that leads to us feeling apathetic, bored, resigned or unsure of what’s wrong and trying to figure out what is the thing for me to do. It’s searching for clarity and, “Where’s the thing?” One of the things that are often neat in coaching is people will come to this work wanting to change their jobs or shift something. As we do the work, they start to discover for themselves. This is not something I’m putting in them but they realize for themselves, “As I’m starting to express myself more fully, I don’t think I want a different job. It was that I was using this job as a place to not be anything other than this half of who I am and that was driving me nuts.”
You can have people falling back in love with their work, rediscovering why they chose them in the first place, etc. and the results follow from that place. When you start to show up differently, you start to create different results. If you can relate to any of that, or you’re curious about what that looks like in practice and how we might work with something like that, this is a great call to check out. I hope you enjoy it.
Brooke Kalan is our guest. The way I know Brooke is there was a period of time a few years ago where I was initially attending and leading at the Rich Litvin Intensive, originally the Prosperous Coach Intensives because he and Steve Chandler moved a party and he rebranded them as that Rich Litvin Intensives. I was getting near to the point where it was time for me to move on. What that looked initially was, and this is a great example of a place that wasn’t listening to my truth, I had a lot of resentment for what was happening on stage at these events.
That resentment felt like what was happening was I would call, the performance of coaching authenticity and vulnerability, as opposed to coaching, authenticity and vulnerability. That’s my opinion. It’s not right or anything like that but my resentment was showing up that way. I was outside while stuff was happening. I was doing my own work and planning some stuff out. Brooke came out and said, “Are you Adam?” She had been up against something in the group that she was with, one of the people who were leading her team who was on my leadership team.
That person, Kelly, who’s been on the show, said, “Maybe you should bring this to Adam. He’d be a good person to talk to.” Brooke and I chatted multiple times throughout that event and kept in touch throughout. She’s been on a cool journey and we’ve had some great conversations. We’ve had some conversations where I’ve made a mess, which I will probably get her to share at the start. I’ve been in the work of cleaning that up with her so we can get back into a relationship. Brooke, let’s tell people how I made a mess. Look how radiant you look. It’s a little something.
I feel like I should have a big grand curtain entrance or something.
Your sense of self can feel good and at the same time have an unclear purpose and mission. Click To Tweet
Like music playing or like a harp.
I should have some kind of thing like a top hat and a cane.
Was that a start? That felt like a white, like what the old Star Wars movies used where it would be black.
Like a curtain or something. It should have been like, “There she is.”
Would you be willing to share a little bit about the mess that I created and your experience of us moving through that and cleaning that up?
Everything’s fine now because we’ve since had discussions about it but at the time, it was maybe March or something. What you shared in the beginning, I resonated with in terms of the blind spots because that’s where I was when we had that conversation. I was running up against my own blind spots and I knew that I had them, which is one of the reasons why I was talking to you. I was like, “I know there’s something about myself that I’m not seeing.” The reason I know this about myself is that life keeps giving me the same feedback and it’s like over and over that I’m getting the same feedback. I’m like, “I don’t know what I’m doing to create this but I must be.”
Adam and I were talking about relationships, coaching and purpose. It’s funny because when I recount the story, I don’t have the same charge to it but in a moment, what happened was my spiritual practice came into the conversation and that’s an important part of who I am. Looking back, it was helpful that you made a mess because I didn’t realize how certain I was about that part of myself until it was on the line and I was vigorously defending it.
What happened was I thought that you weren’t taking the fact that I believe that I’m an awake or aware individual seriously or that my commitment to integrity and truth is the thing from which I live my entire life. I know that to be true about myself and I’m certain about it. At the moment, it felt like I was being poked out and not listened to. It pushed and pushed and pushed until I was essentially feeling like I was up against the wall and had nowhere else to go but go limp and be, “Maybe you’re right. I don’t know.”
It did. It was interesting. I remember telling you at the time because you were like, “I feel you have resistance.” I’m a coach too, in case anybody who’s reading and going, “Who is this person?” I was like, “No, Adam. I know what ego resistance feels like.” I’m now aware of what soul resistance feels like. At the moment, I was like, “This isn’t my ego resisting his coaching. This feels like there’s an aspect of my soul that’s like, ‘Stop now. Do not enter. This is not up for argument. Your integrity is not up for debate. Get off this conversation.’” That’s what happened.
My recollection, the way I remember it was me being attached to you seeing the thing I was pointing to. It sounds like the experience that left you in was one, being up against that wall, almost bullied. I remember you even sharing that was the experience you had. First of all, the reason I want to bring this story to light is so people could, one, de-pedestal me if there’s any risk of that but also get that there’s much humanity in our work as coaches. There’s no doing it right every time, no matter how far along we get. We’re going to make messes or so I believe.
You and I talked about this after the fact too but I want people to see and get the benefit from a good place, my desire was to support you in that. It wasn’t that I wanted to make you get somewhere that’s at least not where I was holding it and still cause a mess. Would you be willing to share a little bit about your experience of the conversation we had to clean that up? Anything that you want to share about it is totally fine.
The conversation that we had taken a while. It was six weeks after the original phone call because I remember being upset to the point where I was livid with you. I know enough about myself to know that I could have typed out a novel of, “This is what happened. I’m still mad at you. Why did this happen?” I was like, “Chill out. Give it some time.” I did wait because you did message me and said, “Do we need to hop on another call if there’s anything to clean up?” Which honestly, no one had ever said that to me. I’ve never had a coach say that to me before.
I gave myself a good 1.5 months before I responded to your message. I was like, “There are some things to clean up.” You and I have different views about messes. I’m aware that I can create messes in my social life that have to be cleaned up, but I honestly reflected on that too and I don’t recall ever having created a mess with a client and going back to clean it up. I make a distinction between my client relationships and social relationships, but I do often make messes socially and clean those up. You basically opened up time at the beginning of the call to be like, “What was that experience like for you? Please be honest and vulnerable.”
You shared the experience from your perspective. I know that you apologize for it happening and it didn’t explain why. I’m trying to remember. There wasn’t as much of an emotional charge to that conversation so I don’t remember it as well. What else did you say? It was a positive conversation. I remember feeling heard and I remember having an understanding that you didn’t mean to do it. It wasn’t like you were trying to be a dick or whatever. It was an accident. It was an hour-long conversation and we both shared our perspective and experience about that conversation. That’s what I remember about it.
The parts I remember are, one, you sharing the impact and, two, rather than provide an excuse, a genuine apology for the impact that got created and checking to see, “Is there anything else that you need from me to clean that up?” Thanks for sharing about that.
That’s so valuable because, on these calls, it’s rare that we get the opportunity to create a mess at this moment and clean it up. That’s part of coaching that we rarely see modeled full stop, let alone even by our own coach, for those of us working with a coach. It’s not a common thing because most of us try to keep things tight, clean and we don’t want to have that happen. I remember at one point, my coach called me outside of our call and I was like, “That’s unusual Rachel’s calling.” She called and said, “Do you have a couple of minutes?”
I was like, “Yeah.” She said, “I wanted to call because I realized the other day that I’d lied to you. I’m definitely not committed to doing that and I want to apologize for it.” She shared part of the reason she lied. It wasn’t a significant lie. It was more she’d invited me into this twelve-step work and said that she wasn’t involved in it or didn’t have anything to do with it. She was like, “I do. That was me not wanting to step into your path, Adam, and give you this freedom. I realized I was managing you a bit. I’m sorry for that.” I was like, “We can do that? That’s amazing. Thanks for clearing that up. Cool.” Brooke, with that having been said, let’s create another mess. Hopefully not. What are we going to dive into? What would you like to work on? Another way to phrase it would be, what do you want to leave here with?
I like that last question. I’m open to sharing what I feel like I want to work on and I’m also open to having a different perspective reflected back to me. What I want to leave here with is more clarity. These two things are wrapped together now. I resonated with what you shared at the beginning in terms of being clear about truth but also blind spots. I’ve been doing this dance between being sure about myself, sure about what I do and also wanting to balance feedback from life or feedback from others without allowing the feedback to make me doubt myself.
For me, there’s this mantra that I’ve been doing. If a thought that I have is questioning my own purpose, I remove the thought or thought I have is calling into doubt or calling into question who I believe myself to be, my genius or my mission, I don’t need to pay attention to that thought because I find that it’s disempowering and depleting. There becomes this weird other piece that if I’m hanging out with the wrong people, those wrong people are always going to be calling me into question. That’s what I found to be true. If I don’t have the right audience, I will often feel I’m being called into question.
That’s bled itself out into the market and the audience that I used to have and didn’t have that conflict with. It’s been feeling that I’m speaking to the wrong people because I don’t feel the same sense of empowerment anymore. I feel like no one’s listening to me, no one’s taking me seriously anymore or am I doing this right? Did I get lost somewhere? For me, it’s hard to balance. I’m a human being. I understand my environment cues me. I know who I am and I don’t need an environment to cue me. I don’t know what to call it. I don’t know what that word is. It’s not a conflict. It’s more of a dilemma.
I get that. It sounds like you, on the one hand, have sovereignty, maybe we call it that. It’s knowing who you are, you’re clear on yourself, your path and your mission. On the other hand, in parallel with that, there’s getting feedback that has you doubt yourself so what you’ve learned or have been working on is when you are noticing some feedback. Feedback could be anything verbal or the way the store happened to be closed when you got there or any kind of feedback. When it has to cause you to sit in a lot of doubt, you’re setting that aside. That doesn’t serve me when I get that feedback.
Your mission is your passion for what you’re doing. Click To Tweet
As you’re putting your hand up and said, “Sovereign,” what I noticed was, there’s already part of me that doesn’t doubt my sovereignty. I never doubt it, but there is some part of my mission that I’m not clear on anymore. My sense of self feels good but my purpose and mission used to be clear. If you watch the history of me online, for example, I was going live all the time. I was clear on why I was going live and what I was sharing and the value. Over the past few years, I haven’t been showing up because some part of me is like, “Something is shifting and I don’t know what the shift is geared toward.” It has to do with mission and purpose. It’s weird. It’s not that I’m not unclear. I’m not clear enough to be certain.
What I heard you say was, it’s not that you’re unclear. You’re not clear enough to be certain. Whatever it is that you feel clarity around, what are you clear on?
I feel clear about my values, what I stand for, who I am and how who I am naturally is of service. It feels clear when I get into a conversation with clients or people in general, the impact is much the same. People get clarity, greater insight or have increased wealth or increased relationships. People get better. All things increase around me. I’m clear about me, the effect that I have on the world. I’m not as clear as I was a few years ago on if that’s enough or do I have to have a mission?
As a coach and you know this, I was told at the beginning of my business, “You have to have a tagline and you have to be clear on your mission and your niche. You have to understand who you’re talking to and make your client avatar.” I never resonated with any of that. I didn’t. I was like, “You’re telling me to do this and you have been doing this longer than me so I have to do it.” Mission in terms of, “I help leaders and creatives because blah, blah.” I can’t ever formulate one of those.
Is that what you feel you need?
It’s what I’ve been told that I need, constantly and without it, I do feel a little bit lost sometimes.
I can even hear that the battle may be a bit of a wrong word but the battle between being sovereign and the feedback from the world around you. I’m curious, at this moment, what do you feel that you need that is missing or notwithstanding your told mission or whatever it is?
There’s an emotion behind this.
What’s the emotion?
I feel sad.
What are you sad about, Brooke?
I feel sad because I’m missing a mission. When I say mission, it’s more of passion for what I’m doing which is uncomfortable for me.
What do you feel instead of passion? I get to their sadness around it where it’s almost grieving a loss is how it occurs a little bit.
It’s like I’m forcing. I know where the passion used to be. It’s clear. I was passionate about the things that I was doing and I hit a wall around a few years and now it feels that I’m still certain about what I’m good at, what I’m great at, how that serves people and how that does a good job serving other people. I have repeated client testimonials about the insane results that I get for people. I’m having trouble describing it. There’s an image of a coffin in my head, which I’m not sure what that’s about but there’s a shell of what I do well at, what I do well with my clients at, what I do in life at and there’s this other part. There’s a disconnect. I know what I’m good at and I can keep doing what I’m good at because it works and also, it’s not generated from my heart now. Does that make sense?
Yeah. It sounds like there’s a bunch of actions you could be taking. I’m paraphrasing you but you could do the stuff. You could do whatever it is that you do that you’re good at, that you’ve got testimonials and evidence that you’re good at it, but there would be a part of you not fully expressed in that. Is that right?
Yes, and I don’t need to be fully expressed in that necessarily. I can be fully expressed in eighteen different ways in that. I’m not sold completely on having one mission anymore but yes, that’s pretty much what you said. That’s accurate. It does feel like there’s a thing, there’s me and there’s a gap. It’s like, “Here’s what I’m doing. It’s good and I know what,” and also, there’s this that wants to be connected and it’s not. This is also a general issue that I have too. It’s in my human design chart, astrology or whatever. My head and my heart have a hard time connecting.
I can relate to that 100%. That’s always the feedback I get from people that are like, “I want more of your heart.” I’m like, “Me too. I totally get it. I always want that too and I’m trying, please.” I can relate and I understand. Passion is the word that showed up and sadness for the fact that you don’t feel that. I want to check anyhow to see if that’s the thing that feels it’s missing, the disconnect or it’s something different. What are you present to in that disconnect?
I know that I have an issue with this because I don’t know how to answer it.
What shows up when you try to?
It’s odd for me to not have an answer.
This is good to me, you not having an answer.
I don’t even know. I’m so disconnected that I don’t know how to answer the question. My stomach is growling. It’s not an answer. Can you ask the question one more time?
Yeah, and maybe your stomach growling is an answer. I don’t know. If we honored you as sovereign, maybe. It could be or that’s telling us something else. Who knows? The question was there’s the thing you’re doing that you’re great at and there’s where you were saying that feels like there’s a disconnect between that and, I used the term full expression. There’s some part of you not imbued in that, some disconnect between that and who you fully are on this planet. The question is, what do you experience is missing? What can you pinpoint? Can we go a layer deeper than there is something missing, which is great?
When you say it like that, I’m having a memory where I was in the same position a couple of years ago where I was in experiential therapy. It was at a place called on-site in Tennessee and we were doing an experiential therapy piece. I finished grad school, I had all these things planned, it was black and white but I felt stuck and I felt I was up against the wall.
The same flavor of stuckness as you are now?
Yeah. I have all these things. I had this amazing education. I have a Master’s, I’m fully qualified, I have these amazing on paper aspects of me and also I feel trapped and stuck. The thing that happened at the moment in that session was she was like, “What do you want to do now?” It was one of those sessions where you do props so I sculpted my life and I was like, “Do you want me to do what I want to do?” She was like, “Yeah.”
I took my hand and destroyed everything and built this whole colorful, weird, creative and unplanned thing that had no meaning. I was like, “I want that. I don’t know what that is but I want that. That’s what I feel. When you’re holding your hand up, that helps me. It’s like a spatial thing of, “This is what I’ve been doing. There’s a part of me that’s here and there’s a disconnect. There’s a part of me that wants to be like, not screw this but you need a lot more than this planned out structured thing.
It feels easy to me because I’m so good at it. There’s a part of me that’s like, “Take off. Get in your car, get on a plane, go travel or go to a bunch of waterfalls.” There’s this whole other wildly unexpressed part of me that doesn’t have room to be that in the particular business model that I’ve chosen. I could but the part of me that has all the passion is, I used to love doing photoshoots that have nothing to do with my business. I love being wildly sexually expressed, expressed socially, being wild, off the wall, being uncertain and doing crazy things. Also, I can be structured, focused and present. I’m fine toggling back and forth between all those, but I feel like the world isn’t fine with that so I get a little bit like, “Am I confusing people?”
It sounds like you do toggle back and forth between those two as a result.
I got good at that. I love to dance and dancing doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with my business and that’s fine. I don’t do photoshoots in order to be sexy but they do capture that aspect of me. I love it and it feels good, vibrant and powerful for me at the moment. Also, I tend to get negative feedback about myself for doing that from mostly my family or from people who don’t know me well. It’s like, “Why is this life coach, consultant and high-level person showing up, doing these Guess ad looking photoshoots? What’s up with that?” I have to explain myself, which is boring.
You know you have an issue with something when you don’t know how to answer it. Click To Tweet
Why do you have to explain yourself?
I don’t have to.
I want to honor the sovereignty that’s showing up there. It sounds like there’s a part of you that feels it does have to explain itself.
You’re right. If somebody brings it into question, a couple of my family members have consistently brought that into question and I do find myself when they bring it into question, my knee jerk responses to explain why I do it, instead of being, “Is it your business? Who cares? It’s my life.”
Let’s do a little bit of calibrating in the conversation because we haven’t gotten clear yet necessarily where we want to end up which is totally fine. I’m happy not to. I wanted to check in with you since we don’t have a place that we’ve agreed we’re going towards. I can check in a little bit more than I might otherwise. Is where you want to spend our time looking at this thing that we’re talking about and explore where that leads us to what might be showing up and what’s getting created as a result of that? Is there a more pointed place that you want to get to next?
As you’re asking the question, I feel my heart coming up and wanting attention so I would like to be less heavy next.
When I hear that, I take that to mean less setting a direction and more, “Let’s be in the exploration of this.” What’s there for your heart to express at this moment?
I feel a little shy and it feels quiet in there now. It’s almost like a little girl, an interesting analogy, trying to peer from behind the curtain. We had the curtain at the beginning.
That shyness is market for me, in contrast to the wildness that you’re describing. Also in the way you’re describing your family relates to how you show up when you express yourself in that way that feels good. Do you experience the degree of shyness about that part of yourself?
My head doesn’t.
What about your heart?
When you ask that question, there was a protection that came up and sadness. There’s a fear in there that it will hurt me if I keep doing that.
Being fully expressed.
If you keep getting photoshoots done or it’s not about the photoshoots done, it’s about any of these things but it sounds those are an expression of the wilder part of you that’s less formal or Ivy League.
The education, coaching and the obvious successful part of me feels like that’s not scary, it’s safe. I’m aware of that choice of word. It’s the other parts of me that are less predictable and less reliable. That’s not the right word. Predictable. I feel I’m going to be hurt somehow if I let that out too much.
That makes sense.
People will judge and question me and they don’t question this part of me.
You’re playing by the rules of society. If you play by the rules of society, it’s a proven recipe. Whereas if you throw ingredients into a bowl, who knows what will happen? Maybe more fun but you might also end up with cement or something like that in the cake. I’ve proven that empirically. It sounds like there’s a part of you that is wild and longs to be free and expressed and there’s another part of you that’s reliable and good at being reliable and good. You can fit yourself into the box. You can conform to what is demanded, expected or required and do that well. In doing so, you mute or even kill that wild part of you. That part of you gets the volume turned all the way down.
It’s not that extreme. I still am able to break rules, have some freedom and liberation in the context of my career choice because I created that career. It’s not extreme like, “It’s either this or this.” I’m aware of the positioning of my hands too. It could be this. It needs to go from here to where my head and my heart are instead of this weird, diagonal thing. What came up when you were talking about there’s a part of me that wants to be wilder?
The feedback that I get often, I tend to choose men who have the freedom, wildness and they take off at a moment’s notice whether that’s good for me or not. I tend to attract transient men who, when I meet them, are about to travel for three months. I’m catching them in the moment where they’re about to fly away so I’m aware that I keep getting that feedback from life. When you said that part of me that wants to be free and I know this is true about myself because I keep bringing people into my life that reflect that back to me.
Got it. Does it work for you, for us to call this part of you the wilderness desiring to be expressed and this part of you, the conformist, keeping things safe? Would that be as labels that we can work with?
I don’t like the word conformist because I’m a rebel.
I got that about you.
Choose a different word.
Your rebel is this part, to be clear.
The rebel is on both parts. The rebel is in my coaching for sure and my business. This part feels ironically softer. We can call this the feminine part of me and this is the masculine part of me. Maybe that works.
I’m happy to shift. I definitely have no issues shifting into those more energetic pieces.
You can call that one the coach because that’s what that is.
I’m not surprised you don’t like the notion of the conformist. I’m trying to choose that word intentionally to give you a distinction that forces you out into 1 of 2 poles so you can see it a little more starkly as opposed to seeing shades of gray. Who you are, Brooke, is legion. You are a multitude. You contain multitudes so it all is shades of gray. The magic of the distinction is that it forces us out to 1 of 2 sides and we can see things a little more clearly for the time being. Maybe it’s easier if we look at your family. Would they be more of the people that are like, “We express the wildness in us or we conform because that is a safe, reliable and safe bet?” Which would they be more of?
I would say neither.
If you had to choose one of the two or if I force you into this distinction.
I don’t know how to answer that because I don’t see them as reliable.
Are they wild?
Which side did they express more towards?
I don’t know.
I’m going to talk to everyone reading. What I’m present to for everyone that’s reading is the wildness that is Brooke. We’re in it a little bit with that part of her where she’s like, “I don’t want to fit inside a box,” which is perfect. It’s happening as we’re trying to create a box so we can do some of the work that’s there to do.
I’m resistant to going into the box.
You can be fully qualified and have these amazing on-paper aspects but still feel trapped and stuck. Click To Tweet
Not my take but what I’m hearing you share is that you have been putting yourself in a box and that your family is reacting when you don’t fit inside the box. Your family says, “Brooke, why would you post photos of yourself that way when who you are is a coach?” It occurs that there’s a part of you that can conform and can do it well. If I said, “Brooke, we’re going to need you for the next six months to play this role, to make it look good, shiny and on the level.” I’m not saying you would like to do that or that you would enjoy that. I’m saying that there’s a part of you that could do that quite effectively. Would that be fair?
I’ve been dancing since I was little and I was acting like a kid too so if you give me a role to play, I’m happy to play the role. I know that it’s a role and I can commit fully to the role because I know it’s not me. That’s what it feels like when you said, “You could do something for six months easily and make it look good,” because I can play the role well.
If you drop into your heart and felt into it, what is your heart afraid of being?
Unnoticed, unseen and unimportant. It’s not the right word. There’s some combination of words that’s between invisible, unimportant and doesn’t matter. It’s some version of that word together.
Is it irrelevant?
Maybe. That’s a good one.
That didn’t sound like the word. That didn’t sound like that’s the one there for you.
Irrelevant feels slightly harsh but it works. It’s okay.
Is your fear gentle with you or harsh with you?
The fear in my heart is gentle with me.
What about the fear itself?
It’s so funny. It’s soft in my body and it gets pressurized in my head.
When it’s pressurized, what is that going to be for your being?
It’s defensive and it’s like, “Screw that. I’ll make it work.” It’s harsh.
This can be the part of me that expresses online often because it’s some reaction to how I’m feeling.
I get that. There’s this fear of being unnoticed, unseen and unimportant. I imagined that the part of you that’s a rebel will want to argue with me about this question rather than be in the inquiry of it. I’m not necessarily right about that but I could imagine that might be the case. If that shows up, I’m going to invite you to set it down so we can be in the inquiry that I’m going to ask which is, how do you lead to creating yourself as unnoticed, unseen and unimportant? How do you make that real?
How am I making that real in my life you mean? How do I make myself unseen?
How do you show up that makes you noticeable, unseen and unimportant?
Pandemic hasn’t made this better but I do stay home a lot. I have chosen circles of friends that are not at the level with me to see me. They can physically be present but they don’t see me.
You choose safe people to be around?
This has been a habit of mine ever since I graduated from Vanderbilt. I deliberately chose to renounce that part of me when I graduated. I was a high-level person. I renounced that part of me. I took the Vanderbilt stickers off my car. I didn’t mention it. I didn’t tell anybody. I didn’t want anybody to know, honestly. I started going out to bars. I wanted to be a normal person again. I’ve done that in multiple ways over time in multiple times.
I’ll lay the planks. Your heart is afraid of being unnoticeable, unnoticed, unseen and unimportant. How do you make that true?
I have this habit of being around people from that same vein of renouncing the educated, elite person part of me. I will go unnoticed in crowds like that.
I also hear you reject that part of you.
Yes. In the past. I’ve been isolating, pandemic or not. It could have been a happy coincidence that it happened at this time. I do stay home a lot. I’m not going live often. I’m not letting myself be seen there.
How do you make yourself unnoticeable when you do go live?
It’s not deliberate, necessarily. I do tend to show the professional part of me online. The initial reason I started going live to begin with was because of my business and marketing. I am actively choosing to show that aspect of myself when I go live. There’s the other part, a plural of me, that are not noticed probably.
There’s the right way to be, so to speak.
It’s not even because I’m wanting to show the right way of me. It’s more like this is a tool for marketing. You’re going to show up in this way for it. I could go live for the sake of going live. I don’t know if I’ve ever done that. It’s like, “I’m doing nothing. I have nothing to say. What’s up?”
For what it’s worth, I would watch that 100%. It’s not the point here but I want you to know I would watch you do nothing and be live and having a blast and a laugh. What we’re looking at is not what you do but who you be while you do it. Our being underneath is going to always be determinative and present. What we fear most is often what we end up creating is my assertion. If there’s this fear about being noticed and seen, it’s like, “How does Brooke even keep herself from being truly seen and noticed and remarkable in all of her glory even when she is doing the stuff that would have her be seen otherwise?”
I will also add the other thing that I know that I do is that I will dim myself around people in person. This is one of the blind spots that I became aware of and I’m actively trying to reprogram. I have an old embedded loyalty to females or loyalty to other women embedded in me because of my childhood. I will tend to dim myself around my sisters or girlfriends or women in general because I don’t want to make up stuff. I will do that. It’s subtle. I’m way more animated in a group full of men. In a room full of women, I quietly watch and observe and don’t show much.
Are your clients more men or women?
How do you dim yourself around your clients?
I don’t know if I dim myself on the phone calls, to be honest. If I reflect on it, it feels strong in who I’m being for them and who I’m showing up as with them. I will say that if I do in-person intensives with my clients, that’s when I notice this thing to the point where I was in California doing three intensives back to back and I got sick right before. I was physically dim. I still showed up anyway but I was not feeling well at all. If I remember the memories of my intensives, there’s a part of me that felt like I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to stay in the vein of coach even if we were out in the city.
You’ve been using the word professional. Tell me about what does professional coach looks like?
She doesn’t look much different from me, to be honest. It feels different.
How does she feel different, the professional coach? If we were like, “This coach should be more professional.” What would we be looking for?
Generically or just about me?
I get fuzzy around that question.
What we fear most is often what we end up creating. Click To Tweet
I have an assertion. It’s always risky. There are a couple of things I’ll put on the table. What I’m hearing you say is there’s something you’re exquisite at doing and your experience while you do it is something other than exquisite. You can do it but who you feel and who you get to be as you’re doing it is lackluster, apathetic, bored or whatever the right word would be. That kind of energy where you feel not that lit up by it. That’s the first thing I’ve heard you say. I may not get the perfect words but energetically, are we on the right page?
When that’s there, my experience is that it’s because there is a part of who someone is innately a part of their essence that isn’t expressed in what they’re doing. If who I am is a connection, you could force me to make 28 phone calls to people and talk to them. If I’m following a script, word for word, there’s not going to be much connection. I’m going to feel pretty dead as I’m doing that. Whereas if you’re like, “Adam, your job is to call these people.” I roughly get through this but I connect with them. I’m going to have a much different experience because I’m going to be aligned.
That’s ironically what I went through. I was a success coach for a company for about 6 or 7 months. I had to follow bullet points in the script and I rebelled against that. I was like, “I cannot do this.” They were like, “You’re going to get fired if you can’t do it.” I was like, “You’re going to have to fire me because I can’t do this.”
This is the part where we’re going to start to get to the point where I have a hunch that there’s a part of you that’s going to rebel against me and what I’m going to say. It’s okay if that shows up. I want to speak to it ahead of time so it doesn’t blindside us and then we get knocked off. My experience of you, Brooke, is that there’s a part of you that is committed to excellence and committed to doing exquisite work.
There are some people in the world for which they’re like, “Screw it. I’m good at this and I’m going to go out and do it.” They wouldn’t get any training. They would be a free spirit. This is not a criticism of them. That’s not who you are. You went and got a Master’s degree. You care about how you are received and seen by others and you want to make a difference. There’s another part of you that’s wild and untamed feminine. The expression of love and radiance and all of that energy like your hair, it’s like, “Screw you. Try and contain this. You will fail.”
I’ve noticed a couple of things, one in this conversation. Every time I try to point a little bit to that part of you that in service of doing excellence is able to conform a little bit, the wild and untamed part of you says, “No.” It makes it a little hard for us to shine a light on that side. It’s like trying to bring two poles of a magnet together. As soon as we get close to it, we bounce away. I want to be clear, this is an assertion I’m making. If you’re like, “Absolutely not,” that’s fine. I’m happy to let go of it. My experience is that’s what’s happening.
The reason that you feel this sense of not lit up-ness about what you’re doing, at least to some extent, is because you’re not able to fully express your wildness over here, in this realm where you’ve otherwise learned, “The right thing to do is to be the right way. Dim myself around women and not to eat too much around them.” There’s a party that’s rebelling, it’s like, “Screw you. I’m going to post these great Guess jeans, photo modeling, looking shots.” I can only so much empower that in terms of me being a coach until you push back into the box or your family pushes you back into the box or whatever it is. Tell me about the way your body is postured and what that is conveying.
When I’m considering two poles or something, my eyes will do that thing where I go back and forth. I was curious and wondering if the wildness is wanting to be expressed in the context of the career. If that’s what I have to do or if the wildness wants to get expressed somewhere. Does it have to be through the career choice? As I’m speaking it out loud, I’m noticing that it doesn’t feel good to say that. It does have to be expressed in the vein of and also other places too. I don’t have to be channeled into one.
This is what most people do. Everyone has tensions like this, wildness and conformity. For me, it would be play and excellence. At work, I’m an excellent Adam who is rules-focused and doing things the right way. With friends, I’m fun Adam who gets stoned, drinks, parties and does crazy stuff. We get into this never the twin shall meet because we’ve decided that in this context, it’s not okay to express this part of myself. Freedom and a life where we are lit up, I assert, is where we are fully expressed everywhere as opposed to I’m halfway expressed over here. Maybe in this sliver or even a wide part of my life, I’m fully expressed but these bands here are where only some of me are in the world. There’s a consequence of not being fully expressed. We’re in resistance with ourselves. What are you hearing in this and what is your heart feeling as I share this?
There’s no emotion in my heart. It’s listening. It’s rarely occurred to me that I can have my excellent show up socially. The part of me that’s like, “I’m out. I’m social. I’m fine. I’m wild.” It doesn’t occur to me to allow my excellence to shine through at a dive bar. I tend to put that on the shelf or whatever because it feels like an owl or something. I will notice that the tenser I am with a box of professional Brooke, I will start making or be tempted to make much more sabotaging choices socially.
We create a balance. It feels like a top spinning more and more wildly but it is a balance. The more we push ourselves into the professional realm, the more we also polarize out to the wild realm. There’s some degree of balance kept in the system. Let me ask you this, do you ever go to a dive bar and let whoever you’re talking to know that you went to Vanderbilt and had a Master’s degree?
There’s a part of you that gets to be expressed.
I tell them that I’m a coach. It’s not a relevant thing to talk about it at a bar because most people are like, “Don’t analyze me.”
In the context of this conversation that we’re having, I’m not trying to tell you what to do. I would reflect that a little bit of where there’s a part of who you are that doesn’t get to be fully expressed because of how other people might respond to it.
That’s also a part of how other people might respond to it. I noticed your wildness doesn’t get to be fully out there because what will your family say? I get it.
I’m catering the lack of expression to the audience. At the bar, for example, the thing that would make me not want to be like, “I went to Vanderbilt. I have a Master’s degree. I have boatloads of certifications.” That’s the part of me that’s thinking, “This man doesn’t want to hear about my professional life at a bar.” Its audience catered. I would say that the same thing would hold true for the professional piece. It’s like, “These are potential clients. They don’t want to hear about how I got wasted last night.”
First of all, I want to be clear that I’m not right. I’m reflecting on what I’m hearing you say. There are two parts to this. One, my assertion is that you cater to what you convey to people based on the reaction.
Even potential reaction because I’m wrong sometimes.
The other thing I’ve heard you say is that you also select the places you go that preemptively choose the way you’re going to show up because of how those people will be. For example, your friends. You’ve chosen to hang out around friends for which sharing all of your excellence might not be fully received, which then feeds back into, “I shouldn’t show up fully and here’s the reason why.”
It’s the same thing that I did when I graduated from Vanderbilt. I wrote that down in my journal. I was like, “You’re repeating the same thing you did when you’re 21.” It’s like, “It’s been years, Brooke. You’re still doing it.”
This makes sense. We create an environment that confirms the way we think we have to be and then we get to blame the environment for the way we have to be.
This is what I meant when I said that I know that I’m miscreating somewhere. We had this conversation before and I’m like, “This is a good life that I have but it’s not quite mine.” It doesn’t feel that it’s all the way mine. I was like, “What am I doing that’s miscreating my life? Why would I be doing that?” I’m glad we’re going there.
We’re coming to where we need to start to wind down. I’d love to give you some practice but I’d first love to know what you’re getting from this conversation.
Your professional self should not look different from yourself but should feel different. Click To Tweet
I feel validated. These are all things that I’ve perceived but it’s helpful to have it reflected from somebody that I trust. The physical representation of the disconnect was helpful. It’s been helpful for you and me to both be saying the same thing. This has been ongoing in my head. I know that I’m doing something and I wasn’t completely clear on what I was choosing or why I was choosing it. I feel much more clear now. I’m aware more so of the social choices that I’ve made and how I boxed myself there too. I was aware before this conversation of how I was boxing myself professionally. It hadn’t occurred to me that I’m dimming my excellence socially. I’m dimming my socialness excellently. I wasn’t aware of it but it hadn’t integrated. It’s like, “You’re still dimming down even though you think you’re being wild.”
What do you see in my practice from this?
This is on my list of things to start doing differently. I haven’t done it yet. It’s been days since I put it down on paper. I want to bring myself to different environments. I do love the dive bar but instead of going there, I could maybe upscale it and see what it’s like to play in different worlds. The friend piece is hard for me because I work from home. I don’t have co-workers. Honestly, this has been a dilemma for me for a while. I’m not sure where to meet new people other than bars. Everything’s closed. Where else does one go to meet new people? I’m willing to play in that arena, too, playing with different environments and different types of people.
What I’m hearing you speak to when you’re talking about where you might practice is like, “How do I create a new environment where it wouldn’t be safe to keep doing the patterning that I know to do?” Instead of going to the dive bar where I’m related through the dive bar lens, I’ll go to the more upscale bar. Instead of hanging out with friends where I dim whatever part of me that I dim, I’ll hang out with other people. Something along those lines is where you’re looking?
I’ve also met people that will allow me to express all of that and where my word choice will allow me to, where I feel comfortable expressing all of me. There are maybe five or fewer people that I can sit with and I express my excellence and my wildness at the same time and I feel good. I feel good around those people. I noticed that when I’m around those people, male or female, it feels like love. I’m not saying I’m in love with any of these people but I get to feel like I love myself.
That feels good on you.
Professionally, I’m not quite sure what to do, honestly. This feels more unclear.
I’ve got a few things I would add and/or provide. I love change because the actions we take create a particular environment that is consistent. For example, I’m going to dim my excellent socially and then you’re going to create an environment around you like dive bars where that is the way to be. The environment creates the actions that we take and so on. Changing your environment is great. You could go to a more upscale place. I would invite you in those situations to notice what part of you gets dimmed. The easiest thing would be like, “Instead of going to the dive bar, I’ll go to the classy bar and then I’ll hide my wild side.”
It’s easier for me to bring the excellence into the wildness for some reason than it is for me to bring the wildness into the excellent. I feel confident about not dimming as much if I’m making a social choice differently versus the other way around.
That’s a little bit in the weeds. The place I want to provide is a bit of altitude, which is I’m going to assert that, Brooke, you’re going to find a way and a reason to dim yourself. Have you noticed that at the start of a relationship, you’re like, “I can share all of me with this person?” As time goes on, you’re like, “Except that and not that. Brother, not that either.” I’m asserting at some point, hopefully, if you’re living a full life, you’re going to encounter the reasons that you’ve created for not showing up as all of yourself fully integrated.
I’m applauding changing the environment. I’m inviting you, in addition, to look for like, “Where and when do I start to dim myself?” Practice expressing the part that you’re scared or worried that they won’t accept or whatever it is. See if you can get 1% more of that out. With your clients or friends, you don’t have to change the environment. I would invite you to start expressing more of what you are hiding from them or holding in check or dimming. I’m willing to bet good money that there are some of your clients who are going out and getting wasted and then hiding it because they feel that they can’t share that. For you to be like, “I am hungover now when you get on the call and I’m fully present with you.” They might be like, “Thank you. I’m hungover too.”
When you were talking about that, I had a little light bulb thing where I was like, “I could go live and talk about how to be a coach and be hungover while you’re coaching your clients.”
100%, that’s a human thing.
I can be fully present with a hangover. It’s no big deal.
Do you ever coach people where you’re not fully present?
Write all of it. There’s room for all of this. I guarantee there are times when your clients show up and they’re not fully present. All that I’m pointing to is that there is a gift in your fullest expression. While changing your environment is awesome, you also don’t have to practice. Does that make sense?
Yes. I feel like I have to be in interaction with something or someone to practice.
Sure but you’ve got friends already. You might talk to them on the phone or message them. If you were to choose one thing that I would invite you to take on is noticing the dimming of yourself and noticing, “Is this the excellence that’s getting dimmed? Is this the wild side that’s getting dimmed?” Would it be more fun if you were on calls with your clients and you could share these parts of yourself and building conversations around that?
The idea of you having more fun coaching feels good to me. I can’t tell if it feels good to you.
It does. It feels scary.
I get that. Our fear is the reason we don’t already have this. Our fear is the reason why we dim our light. If I share this with them, what are they going to think? Sometimes, they will think about the thing we’re afraid of.
The excellent part is the piece of me that I feel is the thing that’s worth the money or has the value. There’s a part of me that’s scared if I add in the looser and wild part that people will not perceive my value as an excellent coach as much. It’s like, “Will I go broke?” That’s what comes up.
Thanks for sharing that. That’s such a great reason why not let this part of yourself be expressed. The cost of it is what you’ve been sharing. It’s like, “I feel disconnected and it feels lifeless. There’s a part of my vitality or my lit up-ness or whatever we call it that doesn’t ever get expressed there.” I get that fear. I’ve been there myself. I can tell you what my experience has been, but it’s not going to make a difference because it’s your journey for you to discover and explore. That feels like a good place for us to wind down here but it feels like there might be something left for you to say. I can’t tell.
I was noticing that it feels good. I don’t think there was anything for me to say except I appreciated that you related. A lot of people can relate to what I’m talking about. I was remarking to the decision to use the word add because I was originally going to say dim the excellent for the sake of the wild but then I was like, “No. It’s more of an addition.” That would make me more valuable anyway on adding something. This feels a little bit awkward.
It probably will be. You’re practicing something new. You won’t get it right the first time. Is there anything left for this conversation that felt complete for you?
It feels good.
Surrounding yourself with the right people can make you feel that you love yourself. Click To Tweet
Brooke, first, I do want to acknowledge the excellence that you are. I am well clear of all of the wildness, radiance, playfulness, sheer ridiculousness and audacity that you bring into the space. I want to acknowledge that in a moment. I also acknowledge that there’s a part of you that is fully committed to deep work and making a difference. Impeccable might be too sharp a word but there’s like, “We’re not going to half-ass this. We’re going to do this.” The experience of you feeling like, “I can’t keep doing this,” in the face of what you’re feeling is consistent with that for me. There is something not quite impeccable about what you’re doing because it’s missing this part of yourself. Existentially, there’s a part of you that can’t keep doing that any longer because it’s not all of what you are.
I acknowledge that all as an expression of the impeccability and excellence and magnificence you are. I love that you’re someone who went to Vandy and goes to dive bars, is wild and has hair as you do, gets sexy photoshoots done and stuff like that. We need more people that are integrating all of that so we can be taught by someone modeling it. You can be professional and the life of the party. You can be fun with your friends and a great father or mother. You can be all of that. I acknowledge you for the good place from which you dimming your light is born out. I get it. It’s not malicious. There’s a part of you there that’s like, “I don’t want to make other women feel bad.”
It’s a kind part of yourself where that comes from.
I was realizing that the part of me that is inclined to dim is my excellence. Do you know what I mean?
I do. I’m going to invite you to set that aside and be with the acknowledgments more but I love that you got that.
I had an unawareness.
Like tenderness met with the wildness that you have within you, there’s a fire that burns bright. That part of you is as magnificent as the excellent and impeccable part. I love the courage that you’re willing to start to integrate those. It’s beautiful work.
Thank you. That was nice. I appreciate it. It was good.
Anything surprising or that showed up for you as we were moving through that?
The last piece of awareness made me feel good because I had a lot of shame around dimming. I would know that I would dim and then I would feel shame about it. That little last piece of awareness, I was like, “I dim because I’m trying to be excellent in a way.” I’m dimming for the sake of others, which I know is not codependent. It’s born of my desire to be excellent and helpful. I was like, “That eliminates the shame.” It’s born of me wanting to be a better person.
That comes from a good place.
That was helpful. These are things that I’ve heard but it’s good to hear them from somebody that I trust. I was talking to somebody about this where it’s like, “I can be focused and professional, have an agenda for my business, have clear financial goals, and be savvy and focused.” Three hours later, going crazy with my friends at night. I don’t feel a conflict between that but I’m aware that the world sees it as conflict sometimes. I like the fact that you said we need more people can be like, “I’m a good father and fun with my friends. I’m sharply focused, professionally, and also have weird social desires.” I knew that I was dimming the wildness. That was clear to me before and I didn’t so much understand that I was also dimming my excellence too. I thought I’ve been vacillating between patterns. There’s a clear sector of my life where I know that I dimmed my intelligence, that’s what I called it. I dumbed myself down intentionally to fit in with people.
I see that a lot with people in trades. I’ve met more brilliant electricians than I can count. They’ve learned to dim their intelligence because it reduces the expectations people have on them. They find their way into these businesses that allow them to make a lot of money. Electrician work is quite intricate and interesting but then they’re frustrated because they’re surrounded by a situation where intelligence is not the highest regarded thing. They’re like, “You dummies don’t realize it.” This is a fascinating way it gets created. The thing that I was present to was the balance that we are always in. It feels like a top spinning more and more out of control. Up until the moment the top falls down, it is in a state of balance. That’s how humans can get. The more we silo and double down over here on professional, the more we express our wildness or whatever that happens to be over here. I’m always fascinated with that fact.
I like that too. I like the fact that you brought up that. While you’re still balancing, you’re tempted to sabotage socially because you’re sabotaging your wildness professionally. That was a good point to notice.
When you’re practicing something new, you won’t get it right the first time. Click To Tweet
If people want to know more about you or curious about your coaching or anything like that, where do they go to do that?
Facebook is good. You’ll see all the photographs that we were discussing on Instagram. Instagram is @Brooke_Kalan. My website is BrookeKalan.com. I do have a program coming out soon that’s called Magnetic Woman. Those are the best ways, Instagram, website and stay present for the program.
Do you know when that launches?
I don’t know yet. I tend to work in bursts. I have bursts of inspiration and I’ll sit for a minute and then I’ll have another burst. It’s gone through a few bursts where I have all the content created, I haven’t launched it yet.
Thanks, Brooke. Thanks, everyone.
Thank you, Adam.
- Brooke Kalan
- Rich Litvin Intensive
- Kelly Childress – Past Episode
- Facebook – Brooke Kalan
- @Brooke_Kalan – Instagram
- Magnetic Woman
About Brooke Kalan
A former psychotherapist with a background in Psychology and Neuroscience from Vanderbilt University, bolstered by her Rebel-hearted nature and profound Clairvoyant abilities, Brooke is now a world-renowned Coach, Consultant and Activator for purpose-driven leaders and enterprises.
Her brilliant insights into human nature, business, self-mastery and leadership have been featured in Thrive Global, Elephant Journal, Top 50 Podcasts and the TedX stage.
Her work is referred to as “unparalled and revolutionary.”
She delivers crystal clear clarity, accelerated breakthroughs and unleashes her clients’ full potential.