Mid-Week Live Coaching: Hannah
Even coaches need advice on the very thing they coach about. That is especially true in this episode with Hannah Taylor. Hannah is a love and relationship coach who found herself struggling with her own relationships, propelling her to seek advice from Adam Quiney. She gets into the heart of her fears, weaknesses, and strengths when it comes to relationships. If you’re like Hannah who is at a loss as to what she wants in her relationships, this episode is for you.
Listen to the Episode Here:
Mid-Week Live Coaching: Hannah
We are coaching Hannah Taylor, who is also a coach herself and does a lot of work in love and relationship, which is perfect for where the conversation goes. The first thing that I want to point out in this conversation is you’ll notice that this coach is struggling with the thing that they coach with. The myth, perpetuated by a lot of coaches in the profession, the majority is the coach should already have everything handled, figured out, and resolved. We’re meant to be on this pedestal where we’ve accomplished everything, and we’re done. Our work is finished.
That is so the opposite of what makes for a potent and relatable coach. If we had it all figured out, we’d be of no use to anyone. The beauty here is you’ll get to read a coach in her work. That’s the first thing that is great about this episode. The second thing that I want to point to is, you’ll notice, especially for the first 30 minutes or 45 minutes of this conversation, there’s no clear direction. This coaching is made up of three parts, four but there are three components required.
One, where are they now? Where is someone? Where does the person find themselves in their lives around whatever they’re talking about? Two, where do they want to get to? Three, what’s in the way? What’s the gap between where you are now and where you want to be? Only once we have those four components can we coach. Absent those, we get into trouble. When Bay and I are providing feedback to coaches early on, a lot of it gets clear on where people want to go and what’s in the way.
That’s the science of a good coaching conversation. Those are scientific, if you like, components. Sometimes, the science is great until that’s not what’s called for the moment. If I was to rigidly adhere to the scientific steps of what makes good coaching, it’s antithetical to leadership, which is rooted in the moment. You’ll notice that this conversation with Hannah, especially early on, I’m listening for. I’m looking to see if there’s a place that she wants to go on and I’m asking her questions that might lead us there but then realize that’s not where she’s at in this moment.
The place to be with her is exactly where she is without needing her to get anywhere. As I sit with her in that space, what might be next, where there might be to go, can come forward. This is great modeling of the art and the magic of coaching as opposed to the science of it. The last thing I’ll say before we begin the episode is I’m in the process of certifying for my Master Coach Certification which is the highest level of certification a coach can receive from the International Accrediting body. There are three levels, there’s the ACC, an Associate Credited Coach. There’s the PCC, which is what I hold, which is the Professional Certified Coach, and there’s the MCC.
The person that’s mentoring me through this process was sharing that at the PCC level. What they’re looking for is strong foundational science of the coaching. From there to the master level is all about the field, the flow, the being of the coach, the client, and their ability to work in this seamlessly with each other to be in that dance. If you saw two people dancing ballroom, at the first level, you’re looking if they can have rhythm together. The next level would be, can they execute the moves and this flourish and the spins? Beyond that, it’s all about that feel and the magic that they’re creating together and that’s a lot of what makes powerful, masterful, transformative coaching. I hope you enjoyed this.
I’m in the process of considering a new format. One of the places we’re looking at is to possibly have 30 minutes at the start where we have a guest on to talk a little bit about what they’re up to and we shift into coaching. It’s going to be a little bit longer for these midweek episodes. What would allow me to do is to bring on more of the guests that have been reaching out asking to be on the show. I get requests every now and then from people that are up to something in their lives that have created some result and want to get more exposure, which I’m not opposed to.
Part of what I want is they got to show up and be willing to be vulnerable in the coaching conversation. This new format might provide a way to allow them to come to get some exposure, share what they’re up to, and dive into hopefully the reason why you read these blog which is the real vulnerability, people moving through their work in the moment live. If you have any thoughts on that, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at PR@AdamQuiney.com. I hope you enjoy this episode.
Hannah and I know each other but I can’t remember how we got connected. I’ll bring her on and we can talk about that. What’s up?
How did we get connected in the first place?
I can’t remember. We ended up friends on Facebook. I don’t know if you friended me or if I friended you but we have some mutual friends. I saw your writing and I got on a call with you because I noticed myself not commenting or liking your things. I was like, “That’s confronting. That’s something I need,” so I was hiding from it. I was like, “I have to get on a call with this guy because he’s saying things.” Most people are saying things and you were saying things. I was like, “Thank you for saying that.” You were saying things that I hadn’t already thought of, which was cool. I’m an egomaniac. I think I know everything. Adam knows more than me, so it’s cool.
Except in this conversation, because you get to be the expert. I’m going to set aside everything I know and be with you. It’s scary for me. Where should we start by way of beginning here?
This whole thing has done a transition for me. At the beginning of quarantine, we went to Vermont for 40 days, we went back to California, and we moved from California to Las Vegas. I’m moving from the mansion that we bought in Las Vegas to my own apartment. I’m going non-mansion shopping. I’m like, “Next year, I want to go mansion shopping. What do I need to do in my business to make that happen so I can buy my own mansion sooner?” I’m not going to block the universe from whatever gifts it wants to give. It’s transitioning back out to be all on my own. I’m excited about it and I’m retching. The fear is so much that I’m nauseous or retching about it. I’m like, “You’ve got this. You’ve done this before. You’re fine.” It’s being with that anxiety, fear, and being in the sick feeling. It’s like I’m going to die.
You’re in the transition of doing non-mansion shopping. What is the fear about?
There’s the fact that I’m doing my coaching business now whereas the last time I was on my own, I had real estate income and my coaching business. I’m not interested in going back into real estate at all. It’s funny because the thing that is like what you were talking about, the love and heartbreak. I’m in the heartbreak now. It’s a continuous cycle of heartbreak, expansion, and healing, and then it’s heartbreak again. Here I am in the heartbreak phase and I’m on the floor crying and retching.
I’m like, “This is the cost of living your life on the edge. This is the thing that you said you would pay to make a big leap to move across the country to sell everything you own. Now you own nothing. You have to start all over and you have to buy all the things. You have to furnish your own place.” How exciting is that? It’s super exciting. I get to make a space and buy things that are high quality that are for me. I can create a sanctuary for myself.
I get the way life is now and what you’re up to. If we were to aim ourselves towards something, what would you want to leave with?
It’s a very masculine question.
I can only be what I am.
That’s certainly something that I need. I’m also in a codependency flare now too. I have to see my partner I’m transitioning away from, moving out from him. I have to see him suffering in his own stuff. I have to see him in pain and I can’t control how he’s going to categorize this split. That’s hard. I can’t shape the narrative that he’s going to tell himself and I’m not worried about him telling another narrative to other people. If he wanted to do that, I don’t think he will. Honestly, it’s caring so much for him and knowing that he could be telling himself a narrative of me saying, “I don’t care.” Knowing that he already is in some ways telling that narrative.
What’s your narrative?
It’s hard to be the villain in someone’s story. What’s my narrative in terms of what’s happening in this partnership?
I heard you talking about his narrative. I’m curious what your narrative is.
My narrative is still shaping itself. There’s a huge victimhood narrative that I’m in right now and I’m letting the victimhood narrative be there because the only way to overcome victimhood is to be all the way in it. I’m letting myself journal out all my accusations to him, all the ways that he’s letting me down, and flipping my background on myself. You’re touching a hot stove. It’s not the hot stove’s fault for being caught. You’re touching it and you keep touching it.
At this point, my narrative of where this partnership has gone is I’m not even having an experience of him. I’m having an experience of my own trauma. I get to have the experience of rescuing myself from my own trauma and ending it which is not an experience that I got as a kid to be able to save myself from it. It’s an experience I’ve had a few times as an adult, “Do I need it again?” I guess I do need it again. It’s the humility of that coming and being like, “Here I am, again in this place of having lost myself.”
How’s all that going?
It’s going all the ways. One of the weird things about the work that I’ve done is that I have removed the necessity of a story from things. Sometimes, I’ll be shaking, anxious, and feeling the symptoms of anxiety in my body and there’s no story, which is disorienting in itself. Anxiety is a gift that removes dissonance. Anxious thoughts take the dissonance away. My body is freaking out now and there’s nothing to freak out about. Intrusive thoughts come in to rescue us from that confusion. Now that I’ve accepted being in a state of confusion or the unknown, I’ll have the anxiety symptoms with no intrusive thoughts to tell me what I’m freaking out about and I have to be like, “I’m anxious.” That’s the real truth. The intrusive thoughts wouldn’t be the truth, but it is a strange experience to be in and to see that extreme emotion arise, sit with it, and not try to make up a story about it too.
There’s that piece of certain emotions that are moving through that don’t have stories. There are certain emotions that are moving through with a story and having conversations with that story that’s moving. It’s the destruction of creation so there’s always pain in the destruction. Every time you have to blow your life up, something beautiful comes in but it still hurts to blow your life up. Luckily, the first few times that happened to me, I didn’t have to choose it because choosing it is the hardest thing. Choosing to blow up everything you know is so much harder than someone coming in and dropping a bomb on you. You have to be like, “Did I sign up for this? Why did I sign up for this?” There’s some of that going on too.
What would serve you during our time together, Hannah?
It’s hard to even know, especially with my own ego being like, “You’re the one that can do everything all by yourself. What do you need a coach for? You don’t need that?”
I’m familiar with that voice.
It’s hard for me to say what’s the thing that I need. I’m in the process of remembering who I am and forgiving myself for forgetting again.
Are you alright if I talk to the people so we can also be pulling apart on what’s happening in this conversation with us? I remember a moment where I was leading coach training and the person developing my leadership was leading me. It’s turtles all the way down. One of the people on my team was struggling. He was up against something and the person leading me, Christopher, said, “Adam, it’s like you’re trying to get Brian somewhere. You’re trying to support him to get somewhere which, on the one hand, is the science of coaching. It moves us from where we are to where we want to be by closing the gap. If you boiled it down, you know the first principles in a way. That’s great until it’s not. Where you are with Brian is like your buddy’s lost that baseball game and you’re sitting on the stoop with him. You’re being with them because he’s not yet ready to go, ‘Great, I lost that ballgame but what am I committed to doing?’ It’s going to be on top of all of that stuff that’s there then.” It occurs a little bit like that’s where you are. The conversation for us to be in isn’t so much where you want to get to but being together and what’s showing up for you now. Does that feel like where you’re at or is there a part of you that’s like, “No, I’m committed to going over here?”
There is. All of my excitement is what this is going to require of me. That’s so exciting to me. The commitment to my own service to my clients, future clients, and to creating clients. I love your little workshop thing. I’ll check that out but I started listening to the Prosperous Coach on Brian’s recommendation. It’s exciting the boundary that I’m pushing here because in this partnership that I’ve been in, he’s successful in his company. He got all the stuff that he’s been financially providing a little bit but definitely providing a lifestyle that I wouldn’t have had access to.
I’ve noticed that as I’m not getting any emotional needs met in this relationship, it’s doing harm to my emotional sphere. I’m feeling that I’m losing more and more of myself. I was clinging to a lack of success in my business so there was something that he was providing to me. Whereas if I was super successful in my business, there would be nothing that he was providing to me at all. As long as he’s providing to me this lifestyle and I’m not providing it to myself, there’s something for me in this partnership.
I’ve recognized that there’s nothing for me in this partnership that icing is not a cake. There’s some great icing here and there’s no cake. There’s not even the cake that there is for me when I’m single. Me, as a single person, I have cake for myself but in this partnership, I’m not experiencing any cake and he’s like, “What about the icing?” I’m like, “It’s not cake.” I’m letting go of the icing and committing to having a cake, and icing it myself is an exciting and terrifying thing to me too.
It sounds like you ended up with a partner who financially provided to some extent, but not emotionally. There was a financial provision, but not an emotional one. Is that a common theme?
No, it hasn’t been up until now. There’s a theme for me. It’s fighting for my worthiness, which means I need to call in an arena and an opponent to my worthiness. That’s certainly part of what’s shown up here. It’s proving myself which requires someone challenging like, “Are you worth it?” My addiction to proving myself is definitely in play here.
I could see that you’d have to call in someone that would either question your worthiness or allow you to stay in a state where you are questioning your worthiness. I’m not suggesting your partner, your ex-partner, or whatever. It’s one or the other. If we looked at it through that black and white place, I could imagine someone providing for you financially. They would allow you to stay in a state where you aren’t creating as much as you want to financially, which then keeps you in that state of, “Am I worthy?”
What’s crazy about it is that I am making more money than I’m even feeling or receiving in my business.
Tell me more about that. What does that mean?
I look at the numbers and I’m like, “You are making money. You do have a business.” The emotional tone or the feeling of it is that I’m not. I’m not worthy. I’m not even producing what I am producing. Not the manifestation principle of, “I am always receiving.” There are actual numbers. There are physical true facts that are not landing for me as facts right now or I have to keep reminding myself you are doing this and that’s where the retching is coming in. It’s that feeling of I’m not doing this. I’m not worthy. I’m not going to produce. I’m not going to be able to support myself and the numbers are not in line with that. The numbers say I can support myself. Where is that feeling coming from? It’s not the facts of the world. It’s fascinating to watch.
It sounds like there’s this underlying narrative for you of not being worthy, and money is one way that you find evidence for that or look into the world to track that. What are some other ways you prove or other evidence you gather that’s like, “There’s proof that I’m not worthy. Look over there. Here’s how I’m not worthy?”
It’s not even that I’m looking for proof. That is the standard and I’m seeking proof of something else. I find it and it’s there but it doesn’t affect the standard of not being worthy. I’m not confirming unworthiness in the world even. In a way, I’m a failure in this partnership and this relationship as a relationship coach. That’s confronting for sure. I can’t make my own stuff work.
We teach what we most need to learn. I heard that somewhere. It sounds right.
I’m looking at the real facts of the situation and I am in integrity as a practitioner. It’s the thing I say and believe is not every relationship should last forever. I don’t believe that I don’t teach that. I teach that you’re going to go in and you’re going to accept that your heart will break. It’s going to break if it lasts, and it’s going to break if it doesn’t last.
Can I reflect on something I heard?
It occurred to me you were in that conversation there explaining to yourself why you are in integrity, why you are worthy, or why it’s not bad. Where that led me was this curiosity. I wonder where else you are. Where are you afraid of feeling or secretly worried that you might not be worthy? I’m curious about the stuff below because I could reflect to you all of the ways you’re worthy but our fear doesn’t care about that. You’ve probably noticed that. It’s like, “The spreadsheet shows all the numbers I’ve made.” Your fear is like, “I’m irrational. That rational thing will make a difference for me.” I’m curious where else that fear is making itself known or might exist for you might be live.
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I can go into what feeds that fear. Is that what you’re asking? Are you asking where else the fear shows up?
The conversation about what feeds that fear, my hunch is that we’ll be a little intellectual. You are a pretty sharp woman, and you’ll be able to be like, “I could see that this leads to that and we could have a flowchart and stuff.” The question I’m more asking is, where else are you feeling unworthy? It may occur to you, “Where else am I working to convince myself that I’m not unworthy? Where else am I working to convince myself that I am worthy?” Where’s that dialogue happening?
I’ll be confronted when it shows up and I’ll realize, “I didn’t expect that at all.” In the potentiality of a romantic partnership, I experience a man that I desire. I’m staying in the desire and it occurs to me that he might be making it slow. He might want it to be slow. I didn’t believe that was available even. It was these slow things revealing themselves of not even an explicit fear. It’s my standard of what I believe is true if that makes sense. It’s my standard of what I believe I deserve. It just doesn’t have all the options in it. I’m like, “It’s possible that this exists.”
It’s not that exists and I don’t deserve it. I’m in a space where it doesn’t exist. Once I realized it exists and I could be worthy of that, I’ll start the conversation of how I could be worthy. I’m at a point where I don’t even know that a Lexus exists. Why would I want a Lexus? I couldn’t want it if it doesn’t exist. I couldn’t decide whether I’m worthy or not of that Lexus if I don’t even know that car brand exists. That’s something that I noticed specifically in my own standards for myself in partnership or romantic realms.
What I noticed about that answer was how smart it was. It was brilliant. I’m present to your brilliance, Hannah. What I know for myself is that someone gave me a reflection not too long ago. He was a little clumsy in giving it but I’m pretty committed to finding the gold in what they say. He said, “Adam, I hear you thinking about your words more than I feel you feeling them.” I didn’t feel your unworthiness in that answer. I felt your ability to distinguish, assess and analyze your unworthiness, as opposed to the truth of it, which is fine. I’m not saying we have to go there.
Maybe that’s not the place for us to go, but I noticed that’s an abstracted layer that we were hanging out in because when I feel unworthy, it’s not like that. It’s like, “I suck at this game and I’m letting my friends down.” It’s a stupid thing. It’s a dumb game. We’re all meant to be having fun and I’m sweating, “How do I do this properly and better and stuff like that?” Let me check-in. Where would you like to go from here in our conversation?
I appreciate that reflection because I’m not great at being held. I’m good at holding. The thing that I’m trying to convey is that there’s this black hole of my future that I don’t even think about what I would want. I think about how to avoid what I don’t want.
That makes complete sense. I felt you in that. What do you want, Hannah?
That’s the thing that’s waking up in me. It’s being allowed to desire things that aren’t here now. I talk to people about the paradox of your needs, which is if you are still alive, you don’t need water right now. You need water to be alive in the next moment. If you don’t get water, you’ll die, and you don’t need water once you’re dead. This moment contains everything you need. That’s one end of the paradox. The other end of the paradox is you deserve to have your whims met. Any little whim you have, you’ve got to have it. I exist a lot closer to this end of the spectrum of whatever is here now is the thing that I deserve and I don’t even bother to cultivate a whim.
I noticed that the context you have for it almost supersedes. It transcends even the notion of a want. I didn’t regret it but as soon as I asked that question, I was like, “It’s a bit of a setup.” What I’m hearing is there’s something wrong with the question but to ask you, “What do you want?” after you shared, “I have a black hole. I don’t know what I want. My attention is on what I know I don’t want,” I want to check back in because the conversation we’re in is one where it goes wherever it goes. There’s nowhere we’re aiming towards so you may get something out of this conversation, you may get nothing and that may be fine. It’s okay with me but I want to check-in. Is it that I want to explore this black hole, these needs, no needs, wants, whims, and that thing? Is there anything by the end of our conversation that you’d like to have arrived at, created, gotten from, or are you like, “Let’s go wherever there is for us to go?”
It’s part of the black hole, Adam. I first so long have based what I want on what I believe is available. That’s the real thing that you’re calling me out on being intellectual about it. The missing pieces are all the things that are available that I don’t even know are available. Some of them I learned by holding my clients and they’re like, “I’m getting this.” I’m like, “You deserve that. Also, that’s available? That’s the thing? I could want that.” If I were to want something here, it would be to bring my desires online to bring my wants online and be able to point at something and want that thing. There’s so much of that avoiding the pain or avoiding the thing I fear. It’s not even avoidance of it. It’s more of the standard of achievement. Is that thing not happening? I’m paying my bills. That success.
The other way I sometimes see this show is one, I can relate to it often. What I learned to do, and this is not necessarily what you learn to do, but the flavor of it for me was, “I can have what I want after what needs to happen happens.” Over time, that became great. What do I need to do? I show up in the room, there’s stuff I want but first, what do I need to do? It turns out there’s an infinite amount of stuff that needs to be done. You’re never done with that, it turns out.
Spending enough time doing that, eventually, I’m on this treadmill of getting what needs to get done, done and what Adam wants to have is secondary. The place I end up is I’m either incredibly busy doing all of what needs to be done, packing more and more of it in, or I’m secretly getting my wants met but in a way that feels slimy, I feel guilty about and I have some shame around it even though that doesn’t have to be the way it is. That’s the way it’s set up in that construct.
If there’s an obligation in your life, the only juicy bit is rebellion. If you have obligations, the only fun is to rebel against those obligations even if you’re self-imposing, even if they’re things you want to do, but also feel obligated.
That is one context for it. We could create a new context where obligation and whatever could live in harmony. I’m a little hesitant to put it all in a one-size-all-fits-box because what I want to make clear is my story about it was akin to what you described. It’s not the way it has to be. It’s not a universal truth that if there’s an obligation in your life, it has to be a certain way. Tell me about your desire. Tell me about the story and the way that has existed for you over your life?
There’s so much. The school system of the US puts us in this space of like, “You get through this and there’s that.” There’s that quote that’s like, “Every person lives two lives. The second one is when you realize there’s only one.” I’ve had a few moments where it’s like, “This is my life,” but there’s so much programming that’s like, “This is what I’m getting through,” and there’s something good way out there in the future. I’ll be in that space of, what am I getting through? What am I surviving?
What do you do with your wants?
My programming is that I choose to only want what is and what I believe is available, which is limited. What I’m receiving now, how can I want that which is an incredible skill to have. I feel glad that I have that skill but it’s out of balance if I don’t have the other skill of cultivating a possibility and desire for myself. I’ve been in states where it’s easy to create possibility and desire. This relationship has become one of those holes that you’re talking about running into and I’m in a hole where I can’t feel my desire. I have to get through this and there will be desire.
That’s the contextualization of this as a failure. The part of me that wants to contextualize my relationship right now is a failure is that I was explicit about what I wanted. I was promised that or I thought I was and it turns out our definitions of what that was and what that would take were so different that I didn’t receive the thing I wanted. I went on pretending I was receiving or I would receive it. It got to this point where I lost even the desire at all because it was like, “How do I get back to even the state of believing that that desire is possible?”
When you expressed what you wanted, was that an example of you expressing something beyond what was already available?
I’m curious about it because that sounds to me that would be a step outside of what you’ve described as your default. How did you show up in that? Was it like, “I’m going to express what I want?” I’m curious how that went for you. I get this subsequent stuff, but the act of expressing that desire.
I was in a whole different space then. It’s one of those things where I got out of a hole, and I was sprinting and fell into this hole. There are moments of that sprint that I feel that I’m centered in myself. I’m in my worthiness because I have done the work to experience that. In that space, it felt centered, grounded, for sure scary, and there’s a little like, “I deserve this.”
What was it you wanted if you’re comfortable sharing?
Radical partnership. I wanted to be in a partnership that could not be threatened. For me, the thing about partnership that I want is real freedom. I want a relationship that creates more freedom for me and for the other person. I want a partnership where we’re not shying away from any emotions that come up, but we’re taking ownership of whatever emotions come up. It’s like, “I feel angry with you.” “I’m sorry.” “I’m still mad though. Can you hold me while I rage for a second?” It’s that style of relating that I’m in a state of desire for. It was confronting to realize that I wasn’t ready for it or it would have been the thing I called in.
That’s an interesting context of being ready. Readiness is one of my favorite contexts. What person doesn’t want to be ready? “I’m not ready to work with a coach. I’m not ready for this job. I’m not ready to go and start that consulting practice.” We’re always not ready. My experiences were never ready until we’re ready at which point we’re already doing it and it’s like, “I’ve already been doing this.” You had an idea of how it would be. The reality of the practice of being in that thing was different than your idea of how it would be. I’m like, “I’m going to get jacked. I’m going to work out every single morning.” It turns out that in the morning, I’m like, “Screw working out. I want to eat candy and play video games.” I don’t know why that’s always there but it is.
In the morning?
All the time, Hannah. It never goes away. I don’t know how I work out to sustain my lifestyle. How did it go? I know you’ll agree with this in theory. Intellectually, we are the creator of our experiences. To your credit, you’ve tried to create something new and then it’s gone the way of the old. It’s like, “I got sucked back into that pattern.” Where I’m called to look with you is to see how you create this pattern. Not to make you wrong for it but so that you can create power for yourself in that. I’m also conscious that you’re in it and it’s tender. If you feel or if I catch that you’re like, “It’s not,” I want you to know that’s okay too.
For me, I run into commitment and the idea of pushing through it being hard or solving it too. What transitioned was I was showing up for the way that I wanted to be. I discovered pretty early on that he didn’t have the skills that I thought he had or that he had been representing me. I stayed committed for a lot of reasons rather than saying, “The thing I wanted is not here.” When I had the evidence that it wasn’t there, I was like, “I’ll create it all alone. I will create all of this for us.” That’s where my boundaries, standards, and my wants disappeared. I’m fixing a problem for myself rather than staying seated in my own center. That’s one of the reasons I do that.
There are tons of reasons why. What you expressed is like, “What I want is we’re not shying away from sharing our truth. We’re in a radical relationship, radical partnership.” What weren’t you getting that you wanted?
I got the sense early on that he was crossing his boundaries. I’m like, “Your yes doesn’t feel good to me. You’re saying yes, but I feel like you’re not a yes for this.” You have a few choices there. You can be like, “I’m not going to be with someone who is giving counterfeit yeses.” You can be like, “I am going to respect that you’re saying yes and I’m going to let you fall on your face. I’m going to let you crash and burn when this isn’t what you want.” You can pander and be like, “Are you sure that you want that? I’m not sure you want that.” I’m not feeling like I can trust this thing. I slowly descended into that, trying to find out and fix when I could have exited or I could have let him experience the crap that he was saying yes to. If he says that he wants to eat dirt, you let him eat dirt, and they find out that dirt doesn’t taste good.
You’re like, “I want to be in a relationship where we express our truth with each other and stay with each other through that.” Is that right?
We’re sovereign in ourselves. I can make any request and I trust that you’ll say no if you don’t want to do that. The partnership that I was looking for is where we’re both only doing things we want to do. There is an obligation. You can say that there are different contexts for the obligation. For me, the reality is there’s what you want to do. If you have to do it and you get to a place where you want to do the thing you have to do before you do it, you’d never do it because you have to do it. What I kept seeing was it wasn’t safe for me to want things or to ask for things. He would do it because he had to do it and not because they wanted to. It stops being safe for me to have desires. It stops being safe for me to express those desires because then I’m in the state of non-consensual perpetrating. If people are willing to cross their boundaries to provide for me, then I’m the boundary crosser.
Is your desire to express your desire and let the world show up to that or to express your desire and have the world show up to that a certain way?
It’s one of those things where I’m like a toddler with it. It’s expressing my desires new and hard that if the world doesn’t show up a certain way, I fall over. I’m like, “I can’t do that.” I needed a much more pristine container and need to create a pristine container for me to experience my desires being met a certain way. I need to let the toddler walk on steady, safe ground. Get good at walking and then we can introduce them to some obstacle course. I was in those baby steps and then my ego takes over. It’s like, “You can do anything,” but I couldn’t. I was in that ego place of thinking, “I should be able to express my desire and let the world show up however it shows up.” That wasn’t the reality of what I was ready for.
What’s the point where you let go of your sovereignty in what you’re describing?
It’s not safe for me to be asking for things.
Why wasn’t it safe?
He would say yes.
What about that made it unsafe?
He would say yes when he didn’t want to say yes and then punish me for the fact that he did the thing. He would be in his own little tizzy and be like, “I had to do that thing for you because you asked.” I’m like, “You didn’t have to. Why didn’t you say no?” It gets to that point where I don’t want to be something that he is saying yes to because he has to. I can’t trust him to say yes or no because he’s not saying no to things he doesn’t want to do. I slowly faded out of asking for what I wanted. I also stayed there with someone who wasn’t expressing boundaries that I trusted.
First of all, the danger is that you’re brilliant and you’ve got this figured out. It’s dangerous because then there’s no opportunity to see anything new. I want to present that you can distinguish a lot. I cannot coach my wife. I can see a million things over there. She’s a brilliant coach. She can see the reciprocal of them overhearing me. It’s the nature of this stuff. First of all, I’m present to you having a bit of this figured out. I can relate to it. You were wired similarly. That is a bit of a dangerous place for you. You might have to set that down as I’m speaking or not.
Are you familiar with the concept of Imago? Imago is a brilliant model for couples relationship therapy. The idea is that we meet our partner in the reciprocal of our wound. If I have this wound where I keep myself small, I’m going to be drawn almost magnetically to a partner where their energy is they take up too much space. I’m going to be drawn for a couple of reasons. One, I’m going to admire how they have this ability to take up space. I’m also going to resent them because they don’t let me take up the space I crave. It’s a perfect lock and key.
What I’m present to in your share is that there’s this desire for a pristine way for you to be able to share your truth and then there’s a way your partner should show up with it. It’s like, “He should not say yes unless he wants to.” I get the heartfelt desire there. What I notice is a couple of things. First, it doesn’t leave much room for either of you to be practicing. He’s already got to show up having this handled. I get it because you’re like, “I’m on shaky ground.” That’s the Imago match.
I would love it if I can have my weird sex concerns and anxiety about showing up and being met by a woman who’s got it all handled, but I don’t have the woman who’s the perfect fit for that stuff. We move through it together in partnership. The first thing I noticed is it doesn’t leave a lot of room for either of you. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for you to be in the practice of expressing yourself in the face of a world that’s going to configure itself however it configures rather than trying to meet you. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for him. He’s being a placeholder for whoever you end up with. If I was talking to him, I’d be having a conversation about how he’s showing up. To be clear, I’m not taking sides. I’m working with the person that’s here.
That’s the other thing in a radical partnership. I was looking for someone we couldn’t move through that with. The trap that I fell into was believing that he would be that. When he’s not holding his boundaries, I didn’t leave. I wasn’t like, “You have to be perfect. You have to hold your boundaries.” I was like, “It seems like you had a boundary there that you didn’t hold. Do you want to work on that?” He was like, “I don’t have any bandwidth. Goodbye.”
I heard that you physically stayed with him. You did your best. I want to be clear. This isn’t a criticism of how you showed up. My job is to point to the next place to get to. What I heard didn’t happen is you didn’t stay like, “I want you to be a no to me when you are a no to your things.” This often happens in relationships where people are like, “I always leave a relationship when it gets bad.” They stay in the relationship while it gets bad. That’s not a breakthrough. That’s the other side of the same coin. What I’m reflecting on is you did the other side of the same coin. There’s a point, and only you can distinguish where, where you were like, “I’m going to start reducing my sovereignty in this. I’m going to stop the reason being it’s not safe but your practice won’t be.”
What I’m trying to eliminate here is that one of the things that’s radical for me about a partnership is wanting to be able to screw it up. Wanting there to be room and to stay with him and be like, “I want to feel your no. You didn’t give me a no. I want to feel it.” He wasn’t showing up to that piece. Even that leaves room for error. It’s the piece where he’s not holding his boundary. I’m like, “It seems like you didn’t hold the boundary there.” It’s like, “I didn’t hold my boundary here.” He’s not meeting me in the adjustment, but I’m leaving space for him to not meet me in the adjustment too because I’m not asking him to be perfect there. That’s how it deteriorated into me not ever getting the things.
I imagine there’s a way you would have loved him to show up in the adjustment and meet you. What I would love to reflect on you is that the way he was showing up to you in the adjustment was in getting pissy after the fact. He was expressing that part of himself. What I’m hearing is that you then made him wrong for that part. The guy is learning his art. I want to be clear. I’m pointing that this is the nature of a two-body practice. It’s like, “Why is it tough?” It’s like, “No. Tell me at the moment.” The dude didn’t have the capacity for it like you didn’t have the capacity to go that one step further yourself or to be with him when he was being shitty and like, “Instead of two weeks after you’ve done it, can you let me know 13 or 10 days or better yet at the moment?” This isn’t to make you wrong. From having a way that it was meant to look and the way to practice was, you fell out to the practice yourself. It’s not to defend him but so you can see like, “That’s the place I might practice a little bit more.”
The thing where this isn’t super landing for me is that I did that. I want to know what I should have done beyond that. It was four steps beyond. He’s like, “You’re a bitch.” I’m like, “Tell me more.” I was there for it. I was present with it. How many steps out would I have had to go? When I’m like, “Tell me more about this. She ruins my life all the time. Let’s talk about that.” I show up for that. He is not receiving that I’m showing up for him there. I would need to show up for him not receiving me showing up for him that way. I don’t know where I lost it.
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First of all, if someone is shouting at you and calling you a bitch, that’s not great.
In this context, it was invited. I’m down for that radical practice. I kept attempting to introduce it and attempting to work with what I was met with when I introduced it. That’s the challenge where I would love to hear what was beyond that. Let’s pretend I did it perfectly, which I know I didn’t. If I did that thing perfectly, where did I lose myself?
A place for us to hold things is we’re always practicing with someone imperfect and we are imperfect in our practice. We have this notion of like, “I’m going to show up this way.” This person over here doesn’t show up to meet us that way. That’s how it goes. I don’t know where it fell off but I can tell you who might be able to help you, which would be him. I don’t know if that’s even a conversation available to you, but you could bring it to him and be like, “Maybe we’re done but I would like to know where did I drop the ball there so I can see my place?” He might be able to better explain that.
I don’t want to make any assumptions about the level of ability for you guys to be in a conversation with each other. If that’s not available, I get it. I want to honor and recognize that we’re looking at it a bit after the fact. It’s hard to distinguish for us. The reflection I have for you, Hannah, is from your brilliance, you can see all of this, which then makes it hard to see what you’re not seeing. The practice you might be in is like, “What if it’s not the way I think it is? I did all these things. This is how it went down.” You might be in the practice of noticing when you’ve got it figured out. It’s like, “Can I set that down? Where might I not have honored that or might have fallen out of the practice myself?”
I want to honor and acknowledge you for your commitment to the practice. My wife and I practice a lot and it’s tough. I can often have the same experience you have where I’m like, “Are you kidding me? Five different times I’m sitting there and we’re still in it.” What often my coach provides me and what serves me is setting down what I’m right about and noticing, “I’m right about this stuff.” I can take a fresh look at it. I know that’s probably not a satisfying answer for you.
It’s a perspective that I need. Honestly, it shouldn’t be satisfying. I’m satisfied by being right. I need to step out of the satisfaction of being right and into the dissatisfaction and curiosity. I appreciate that invitation.
I’m curious. Where have we got to? Where do you find yourself in this conversation and this space?
I appreciate that last invitation there. I let it get to a state of emergency where I’m not capable of engaging in the way that I want to show up. That’s why I know I need to leave. I’m not showing up how I want to show up. That’s all I need to know. I don’t need to say it’s your fault that I’m not showing up that way. I don’t need to say that you’re bad or whatever. I’m going to say those things to myself privately. All I need to know is that I am doing my damnedest to show up how I know I want to show up in a relationship and I can’t. I have to change the conditions because my best efforts are failing to show up how I want to show up, which is a good confirmation.
I’m feeling the necessity of the transition. There’s going to be more for me in the post-mortem and more for him and me. That’s part of the thing. I’m a relationship anarchist. I’m not a monogamist. When he and I separate or change the relational format that we’re in, I don’t intend to sever that connection itself. I intend to see what’s salvageable in that connection. I’ve known this man my entire life. He’s a part of my family. I know there’s going to be a post-mortem. What you’re giving me is a real path towards that post-mortem once I’m out of the emergency of it.
Thanks for getting that and honoring that. Thanks for holding that part sovereign. There is always work we could do in a relationship. It can easily become a prescription that we should always stay in a relationship and it’s not the case. The beauty of this work is we’ll go somewhere else and we’ll create the conditions that will allow us to do our work over there. That’s how it goes. I honor your sovereignty at this moment and in that. Hannah, I also honor your willingness to set down what you brilliantly can create and hold in service of possibly seeing something outside of what you may have conceived. I get what that requires. That is not free. That is not like, “I’ll not think about the stuff I’m right about.” It’s like, “Are you kidding me? I’ve got a flowchart. It’s all beautifully laid out. The grand unified theory of everything is right here.” I’m not asking you to do something that’s easy, free, or it’s like, “I’ll do that.” Is there anything left for you to feel complete?
I don’t think so. I’m good.
May I acknowledge you, Hannah?
The thing I want to acknowledge you for is being in this conversation as a coach that supports people with love. If you weren’t struggling with this, you’d be no use to anyone. That’s not entirely true but I like the way it sounds. We’re going to let the absolute stand. If you had love all figured out, that’s not someone that people can relate with. That’s not someone that is a human. That’s ideal. That’s a statue in the park. I honor you for being in the struggle and in the work because that’s how we know that you’re up to work. We know that you’re up to something and that’s where our gifts are. I truly acknowledge your heart, your brilliance, and the beautiful merger of those two. What a gift that must be for the people that you work with. I can imagine you can distinguish stuff at a high level and then also feel them. Through what you’re walking through, there’s tremendous modeling and humanity that then becomes available for your clients. It’s like, “I don’t have this figured out either.”
One of the metaphors I like for coaching clients is two people scrambling across some rocks in the moonlight and the coach is maybe half a step and some are one step ahead of the client and they’re slipping and falling. The coach is like, “Watch out, there’s a rock. I slipped on there.” I honor you for being that model and for being in that metaphor as opposed to the person that’s up in the sky pointing to the rocks and they’re like, “Don’t step on that one.” You’re like, “Screw you.” I know you say that but it’s a beautiful work.
I love that metaphor. It reminds me of Kahlil Gibran on Crime and Punishment.
Please state what that is. I’m not familiar with it.
It’s a poem by Kahlil Gibran. It’s from The Prophet. He talks about how we’re all walking the same thing. When someone stumbles on a stone, he stumbles for those ahead of him who, though faster and surer of the foot, removed not the stumbling stone. He stumbles for those behind him who see that as a caution.
That was beautiful, the way you put it. There’s so much packed into such a little book. It’s remarkable.
Honestly, that one poem is all you need to move through life. In Crime and Punishment, the entire human condition is wrapped up in that one thing. For anyone reading, read that book.
Thanks for modeling and allowing that to be in this space, Hannah. Anything you are aware of or that’s present for you where you’re like, “We went that way?” Anything you want to distinguish now that we’re out of that container and conversation?
I didn’t know how much I was going to talk about the breakup or the relational pattern happening. It felt clean and it felt good. I appreciate the way that you’ve guided this. Thank you for that.
This Friday thing is such a grab bag. I want to honor all of that. There’s also like, “How do I now set that aside completely so that I can be without an agenda?” Is that conversation for us to have to be with each other? Is there a place to go? Who knows? I’m finding my way as we go through this stuff. The other thing I was present to is how much of myself I could see in what you were sharing. My coach’s name is Rachel and I’m like, “This is why Rachel is always pointing out to me how right I am about what I’m right about because I’m right about this stuff. It makes hard and prove how right I am. I’m good at being right.” Where do people find out more about you? This is an example of you doing your work? Where do people go if they want to be supported by someone that’s this deep into their stuff?
You guys can find me on Facebook if you want to. I don’t do friend requests that don’t come with a message. You can send me a message that you saw me here and you’re like, “I would want access.” I took some space from posting my writing on Facebook as much but I have an Instagram. I can drop that in the comments where I’m posting more consistently. I’m going to be putting more writing on my Facebook. You can follow my Facebook or you can send me a friend request if you want to be friends. I’m enrolling for my Women’s Group and my men’s group. We talk a lot about the divine union of the feminine and the masculine and how we can use our masculine to support the feminine. It’s different for men and women. I see being a man or being a woman as a cultural experience more than gender or a biological situation. That’s why it’s divided. We talk about the cultural experience of being women in the women’s group and the cultural experience of being men in the men’s group. We get into some juicy things.
When does that start?
It’s going to start soon. I’m a feminine practitioner. I’m like, “It’s floating in the ether right now. I’ll tell you later when it starts.”
People should connect with you if they want to know about that.
Reach out to me. I would love to hear from anybody.
The Creating Clients course, if that sounded cool to anyone, you can read more about it at AdamQuiney.com/ClientCreation. You can send me a message if you want. I’m always happy to talk at length about any of this stuff. If that’s of interest to you, that’s available. The other thing is I’m looking at changing this format a little bit. What we’ll start to do is live coaching twice a month. The first half-hour will be our guests talking about whatever they’re up to in life, something they want to share, etc. In the last hour and then the debrief will be coaching them. If I want guests, I’m getting requests for guests like someone who made Tylers Coffee, the first acid-free coffee. I had another guy who came through who wrote a book called My Funky Life. I noticed that in the current format, I get no response from people when I make this offer.
I’m taking a look at like, “What would be a way to bring those people in, give them some exposure, but then still create the depth, the leadership, the coaching, and the moment that we want to make happen?” That’s where I’m looking. If you have thoughts on that, drop a comment, send me a message, let me know. Send me an email at Adam@AdamQuiney.com. I don’t like to do stuff unilaterally. It’s more fun when you are coming along with me. That’s where we’re looking. That is everything we’ve got. Thanks for hanging out with me, Hannah. Check out Hannah if you liked any of who showed up here. She is brilliant and heartfelt. I love you guys. Thanks, everyone, for coming and hanging out. It’s way more fun with you guys here.
- Hannah Taylor
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About Hannah Taylor
My personal journey is anchored in death. My father’s death, when I was five years old. My mother took a striking photo of me, smiling wide, perched on my father’s grave.
That joy was real.
My father was loving, silly, obsessed with me. Everyone says so. He took me everywhere he went. When he died, there was a hole in so many lives. I felt ALL the feelings about his death. Sadness, rage, dissonance with reality, unfairness, powerlessness, helplessness.
When he fell out of the sky and died, he became my first god. My family told me that he was always watching me. He was always there for me. He could still see me and speak to me through symbols. All I had to do was pay attention.
I continued to have a relationship with my father after he died. I have a relationship with my father to this day.