In this week’s episode, join host Mary Williams and special guest Eunice Brownlee as they delve deep into the topics of trauma bonding, resilience, and the often-hidden coercive control dynamics present in both personal and business relationships. They explore the impact of non-disparagement clauses on transparency and accountability, shedding light on an important issue in the entrepreneurial landscape.
This episode isn't just about drawing comparisons; it's about finding inspiration and empowerment in the face of adversity. Learn how resilience, collaboration, and the ability to adapt are key ingredients in both surviving a fictional post-apocalyptic world and thriving in the real world with an ever-changing business landscape.
Whether you're a business owner or simply curious about the lessons we can glean from fiction, this episode will help you feel seen, heard, and validated in your experiences.
Links to resources, transcript, show notes, and show information are found on the podcast homepage.
Eunice Brownlee helps women/non-binary folks who have a soul calling to share a message, but need help bringing it to the surface or creating words to help it land. She offers a range of speaking services, from speaking practice to building a thought leadership library to helping craft a talk. You can connect with Eunice through her website, Instagram, LinkedIn, Substack, Threads.
I’m Mary Williams, your host and the founder of Sensible Woo.
You can find this show wherever you listen to podcasts and all of the links to resources, guest information, and anything else we might reference in an episode are in the show notes.
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Until next week, be sensible, be woo, and most of all, be you. 🤗
[00:00:00] Welcome to the School of Moxie podcast brought to you by Sensible Woo. This is the podcast where we break the mold around business podcast conversations. We make it fun around here by using television, movies, and entertainment as a jumping off point for conversations about how we navigate the world as individuals.
I'm your host, Mary Williams, and I've been an online creator since 2010. I've seen a lot of trends come and go over the years, but one thing that has persisted is a struggle among entrepreneurs to connect more authentically with their audiences. As a business systems process and operations coach, I've seen how much my clients and subscribers have benefited from learning how to incorporate their fun sides.
So we're going to demonstrate this for you here on this podcast through analogous thinking. Not only that, but we're using media and entertainment as the lens through which we reflect on our own desires and strengths. Fiction is the vehicle that gives us words to articulate our value systems and tells people who we are.
I find that a lot of my
[00:01:00] audience, and probably yours as well, struggle to find words for their problems until they start thinking about how to use analogies. Analogies help us build bridges between something we can describe into a new area that we are in the process of developing. As humans, we are a languaged species, which means we find context and meaning in our lives through the ability to put our feelings into words.
This podcast is going to help you normalize this process and see how it's done in real time as my guests talk through their own experiences in relation to the episodes they've been assigned for this show. Our first season of this podcast is centered on the first season of the HBO original series, The Last of Us, based on the video game of the same name.
Consider this your official spoiler alert. On this podcast, my guests are going to jump right into the conversation, and we are going to spill all the tea on the story and the plot. So if you enjoy being surprised, I encourage you to watch the episode first before listening to our discussion. Before we get into this week's episode,
[00:02:00] have I told you about the weekly readings that I create for entrepreneurs just like you each and every week?
I am an Akashic Records and Tarot reader, and I've been giving clients intuitive guidance coaching for just about 20 years now. That's a long time. I know that most readers out there don't focus on your business needs. So that's where I come in. Readings with me are only about your business development, and it helps you feel more aligned with your intuitive messages so that you can incorporate those gut feelings and inner knowings into your business data for better results.
Click the link in the show notes and subscribe to my weekly email updates where you can get a free reading sent to your inbox every single week. If you want more, you can subscribe to the weekly extended readings, which are just $9 per month. And help you get focused on your business energy every week.
No more Sunday scaries. You've got this better in hand than, you know, and I'll help you see it. Now let's get watching and talking. This
[00:03:00] episode is titled When We Are in Need. And it's one of those stories that needs a special person to talk about it with. Gamers know this episode for a lot of impactful reasons that are difficult to forget, and for our viewers and listeners, I want to make sure that we acknowledge that this episode deals with a lot of traumatic themes.
Not that the series doesn't touch on trauma, because it definitely takes us on a trauma journey, but this one in particular leaves a mental, emotional mark. Because of this, I needed to have this conversation with the one person in my business friendship circle who is capable of going there and being able to talk about the stuff we don't always want to talk about.
We started these conversations publicly through our social media channels during COVID and got such a response that I always knew I needed to continue talking together. And this television series that inspired this podcast is probably the best way we can give a voice to people who may not have found theirs yet.
Today, I'm welcoming Eunice Brownlee, who has spent her life telling stories across many mediums.
[00:04:00] As a multi-passionate creative, she's used photography, marketing, writing, and public speaking to connect her message to the world. Because the heart of building community begins with sharing stories, Eunice uses her stories to connect, heal, and change the world.
Eunice spends time teaching others the craft of story in her speaking practice. She has coached speakers in telling their stories with Women Speak and TEDxFulsom. Eunice writing has been published in the Kindred Voice, Motherscope, and Spoken Black Girl. When she's not doing any of the above, she can be found seeking her next passport stamp and drinking wine.
And we're already starting to crack up, so it's going to be awesome. Eunice, welcome to the show and thank you for being one of my very first guests who's holding space for better business conversations. And I love that shit's about to get real and we're laughing.
[Eunice] I have learned through my experience with all of this, if you can't laugh, it, yeah, it takes you to a very dark place.
Like my sister and my love language is sending really
[00:05:00] dark humor memes about trauma back and forth.
[Mary] And you kind of have to at a certain point.
[Eunice] Cause it's just like, I mean, some of it is so fucked up that you just can't even like, you're like, If I can't laugh about this, then I'm going to die.
[Mary] Yes, I hope that we help people find the humor out of, I mean the series has a lot of darkness in it, but this episode
has some things.
[Eunice] Oh my gosh, it's so dark. And so like, I remember when you invited me to be part of this. You're like, I know which episode it is. And I was like, all right. And you're like, you're gonna know as soon as you see it, why I picked you for this episode. And I was like, oh, shit. I was like, well, now I know why Mary invited me to do this, this like this episode is so on point and so on topic for the things that I talk about.
[Mary] It really is. I was just always so touched that, you know, we hopped on a couple of lives because we were
[00:06:00] DMing on Instagram and, and we knew enough about each other's background stories and whatnot. And I think the thing that makes my relationship with you unique is that you have words that you can share.
You've done enough processing where you're able to do it in a productive way. And I feel like this episode helps our whole business community really look at difficult things. Like you might not have like trauma as like the thing that has been really hard for you, but we're around people who do, and we're becoming more the catchphrase these days, trauma informed.
But we do need to think about it as entrepreneurs because we interact with people, business is about people, and we also have a lot of things that go on in our own backgrounds, and I would dare say that many people leave them very unspoken in a place where you know, they haven't fully incorporated it and sometimes it
[00:07:00] comes out in really weird ways and that can be detrimental to, you know, your business endeavors.
[Eunice] Well, and the thing is, is that I know a lot of us talk about big T trauma and little T trauma, but my friend Kalita actually has a much better term for it that makes so much more sense. She calls it boom-boom trauma and drip-drip trauma.
[Mary] I like that.
[Eunice] And she talks about it in a way that's just like.
All of us, all of us have drip, drip trauma. I mean, we just survived a fricking pandemic, right? Like that in and of itself is traumatic. And then all of the social justice and everything else that came out as part of that, like, I don't think that 2020, the summer of 2020 would have landed quite the same had we not been in the middle of a pandemic.
[Eunice] And so, we all understand, I think we all understand drip drip trauma. I think we all understand the boom boom trauma too, even if it hasn't happened directly to us. Because we get into that comparative state of like, oh well my
[00:08:00] big thing isn't as big as your big thing. And so mine, mine's not, mine's not like good enough to be qualified as trauma, but it's like, I say this to people all the time, your worst day, regardless of whatever is going on with anybody else is the worst day of your life.
[Mary] It's so true in that, um, comparison piece has come up repeatedly on conversations on this season of the podcast because we read Bittersweet by Susan Cain and it has, I think it's like the favorite point out of most of us where she goes to the therapy group and is comparing her three level thing to somebody else's seven level thing.
[Eunice] She's like, I'm not doing this right.
[Mary] know. But I think like this, the way it's been coming up in the course of the business conversation portion shows me how much we as business owners are doing that in our regular activities, whether we're talking about trauma things or not.
[Eunice] Yeah, well, and it's, it's things like in business.
So I'm a solopreneur. I'm
[00:09:00] a single parent. I have not had a partner in many many years. So like when I look at other people who are doing the things that I'm doing and I get so frustrated that they're not. That I'm not where they are. I have to pause and remind myself. Oh, well, that person has a partner that's paying the bills that they're not worried about making sure that rent, food and electricity are covered right now. That person isn't also single handedly raising a child.
They may, they're affording childcare with the money that they're generating from what they're doing. And so like our journeys aren't the same.
[Mary] Yeah, I did not write privilege as a talking point for us, but we can go there if we want to.
[Eunice] Well, like, and I think about it cause it's, it's from my own experience and my own journey.
Like this is where I get a little chapped because I think about how the trauma that I've been through has kind of held me back in some ways. Just because of having to take time out to deal with the bullshit like…
[Mary] Do you think okay? I think it's so interesting you just said that
[00:10:00] because I think a lot of us often wonder did that thing that happened to me?
Is it slowing me down as a holding me back? Did it create a roadblock that you know forced me to it's kind of like the Amazing Race to like take a detour. You know, you got to go do this task over here. And in the world that we live in, that we all collectively experienced together, do you sometimes wonder, because I wonder this, that the experience you had, which seemed like it was a slowdown or a roadblock, is about to become jet fuel?
[Mary] Because other people have not learned the coping skills and don't know how to process things. And that is going to become a thing because I'm starting to see it in a coaching community has been talking about it now for like the last few months where the tiredness and the exhaustion from the pandemic is really catching up to people.
And we're just noticing like the slowdown in decision making this decision making fatigue for one thing.
[Mary] There's a commitment fatigue and there's a lot of symptoms and signs that are showing up that are very
[00:11:00] much drip drip trauma. And I think those of us who have been through some really fucked up shit and have been doing the work are maybe, we've just been filling up like a really honking huge gas tanks and we didn't realize it.
[Eunice] Well, and I think about the toolbox that we've been collecting, right? Couple of weeks ago, my car died and it was just one of those things where I like, I went, I went down and it was the battery, I needed to take the battery out and I went down. And I grabbed my toolbox and I was like, I totally have the tools that I need to take my battery out of the car.
And then I remembered, no, all the tools I've been using pretty much my whole adult life are my dad's tools. And I don't have access to those today right now. So I am stuck coping with the tool set that I have, which was fine. It was effective and functional, but it wasn't efficient. It wasn't the best way for me to
[00:12:00] achieve the, the outcome at the end of the day, because I didn't have the right tools. And so therapy has been an exploration of what tools work for me and how is it that I can use that to show up? And so I think that that is the jet fuel that I'm getting is just knowing what, right, what tools I have at my disposal that maybe other people don't have.
[Mary] Oh, I love that.
[Eunice] And so
[Mary] like a metaphor
[Eunice] one of the things that I get really frustrated about, especially in, I'm going to use air quotes, traditional coaching, like people who have descended from the Tony Robbins ilk of like, you have to shed your victim mindset. And I just, I have to talk about how like there's a difference between being a victim survivor of trauma or abuse and using that as your narrative.
[Mary] Yes, I love something that came up, um, on an Instagram live you and I did, it's gotta be over a year ago.
[Eunice] The one about
[Mary] the Johnny Depp Amber
[00:13:00] Heard case.
[Eunice] The one about he who shall not be named. Yes, that one.
[Mary] That one, I'll just say it out loud. Um, and, and you said it out loud, which I thought was one of the best takeaways and you're like, nobody wakes up in the morning and says, you know, gee, I think I'll be a victim today.
Like that's not how we operate in life. And it's not how this, not how these real life events happen to any of us. And I think that that is a really important thing because they know, I just know the intuitive reader in me knows that there's somebody listening to this episode in the future from the day we're recording it and, and they're listening and they're like, I think that might be me.
[Eunice] Yeah. You know? Well, and like, there's so much guilt and shame that comes in with like, how could you let that happen to you? And it's like, why do we always blame the victim for what happened to them? And why are we not, how could you do that to another person? You know, none of us asked for this. None of us asked to be
[00:14:00] taken advantage of, abused, harmed.
Physically, emotionally, all of that stuff. What happened to us happened to us because somebody chose violence.
[Mary] They did, and not in the meme worthy way.
[Mary] Not in the way that my cat chooses.
[Eunice] Oh, Mr. Giles.
[Mary] Mr. Giles. He chooses violence every day, and I love him for it. He's just a ball of fluff and murder mittens.
Um, alright, so, so, let's not beat around the bush here. Let's do talk about the way people are abused because it shows up in this episode.
[Mary] Immediately. Like right from the get go and you're like, ah, you're just like nails on a chalkboard from like the opening scene.
[Eunice] That opening scene. I was like, oh, well now I know why Mary wanted me to do this episode.
And also, holy shit. How bad does it get?
[Mary] Oh, it gets worse.
[Eunice] Oh, it gets worse. Yeah.
[Mary] Yeah. Well, it happens in our personal lives. It also happens in
[Eunice] It does.
[Mary] And sometimes we don't realize we're being mistreated until we see examples of it. And then we connect the dots on our own circumstances. So what are all of the different ways people are controlled in this episode?
Let's break it down. And how do those same abusive patterns show up in business communities?
[Eunice] Ooh, I mean, like from the very get go, it opens up in this scene where We are looking at this, like, I'm just going to say it, this cult like church group that has kind of broken off, like at this point in the journey, Joel and Ellie have run across several communities that have kind of banded together and whether or not, like, in some cases, um, they were totally fine with outsiders.
Some, they were like, nope, no outsiders were trying to kill you off. Um, you know, when they got to Wyoming, you're seeing this like whole functional society running.
[00:16:00] Um, Which is just amazing, but then you get to this, this place in Silver Lake, Colorado, which is totally a fake place, but also there's a real Silver Lake, Colorado, just outside of Boulder.
So I was like, Oh, okay. And I was like this old resort town. So I'm thinking it's like maybe Estes Park or, um, Steamboat Springs or even Vail or Breckenridge. Like that's kind of what I'm assuming that this Silver Lake place used to be. But like they've kind of gathered and, um, you know, one of the, one of the families, the dad was killed by Joel in the previous episode.
[Eunice] And so they're just kind of like, like he's using this. David, the leader, like, and I have to assume that he like self appointed himself as the leader, right? Like that they didn't like democratically vote him in and they're like, you're the one with the best leadership qualities, so you should totally be CEO here.
[Mary] Well, I think there's an interesting detail here
[00:17:00] because when he tells his other person to go get the medicine for Ellie and Ellie and him are talking, keeping warm next to a fire. And she's like, what? Like they picked you for this. And he says, well, kind of sorta in the way he says it reminds me so much of these, I met someone at a business conference earlier this year and she calls them false prophets, but that kind of.
You know, guru on the stage type person, and we have built this online entrepreneurship community on the backs of those communities. And that age is definitely going to go through like a really ugly ending and like starting already. But David reminds me of that where it's like, well, I mean, people, they just naturally came to me and they just sort of gravitated towards me
[Eunice] and so fucking magnetic that they just couldn't stay away.
[Mary] His daily actions are the opposite of that.
[Eunice] Well, it's, what it is, is it's textbook coercive control, right? So it's, it's, he is in charge because everybody's afraid of him. He's in charge because he keeps putting people in a place where their option is to either obey or be cast out. And especially when you're like, this is like the dire straits, right?
Of the, the, um, the world that they're living in. They're in this post apocalyptic, like there's just a few humans left on the earth. However, this group of people came together, they were probably really happy to find other people who weren't infected. And so the last thing you want to do is to be cast out of that and be on your own.
Like the, the reason why we form trauma bonds to the people who are abusing us is because as, as humans, we need other people to survive, especially if it's happening as a child, you need to feel accepted.
[00:19:00] And so I see this in the family court system all the time is you're looking at two parents, you have a protective parent and you have an abusive parent.
And the court's like, Oh, well, but they love that abusive parent. They go with them. They're doing all these things. No, they're fawning. They are totally coming at it from a place of being protected and wanting to not be cast out. And so I see that in that first scene is that everybody is fawning over David.
[Mary] Everybody's so scared.
[Eunice] And they're just like, you know, I, I will do whatever it takes to not be. sent away from this because if I get sent away, I could die. But what they don't know is that they're already dying because he sucks at his job.
[Mary] He does. He does. And the thing that I love about this piece of fiction and watching it on our TV screens is that you can see these storybook versions of an example of something happening
[00:20:00] where it's winter.
It's a brutal winter on top of it that they did not expect. They have no food, even though it turns out they are eating people. They don't know it. They they're, they're letting themselves believe that it's venison and they know it's not. And, and to be cast out would literally be, being cast out in the cold.
[Eunice] It would be a death sentence
[Mary] A complete death sentence. And I feel like in regular modern day life with all of our, you know, normal, horrible problems, it feels like a death sentence. And your feelings are not negated simply because it's not freezing cold outside and you're not running out of food and like all those things.
And I think that that's a really important distinction because we see it happen in business too where people are like in a business community or in a coaching program or an even just like job j-o-b job office space with like a really abusive boss. You know, in, in
[00:21:00] there's this feeling of like, Oh no, I'm going to be cast out in the cold, but it's not the cold.
So then you gaslight yourself into like, well, I'll just stick around because nobody's running after me trying to kill me.
[Eunice] It's not, I mean, it's not a true fight or flight, right? It's not, we're not like literally trying to save our lives.
[Mary] And yet.
[Eunice] And yet the stress of that is killing us. Like I woke up in 2021, January, 2021, couldn't breathe.
It was before the vaccine was out. So I'm like, Oh fuck, I have COVID and it's bad. So I call my dad. I'm like, I need you to take me to the doctor. Cause I'm, you know, I can't breathe. I have asthma. So he's like, let's go. So we get down to urgent care. They listen to my lungs. They're like, you sound fine, but we need you to go to the ER right now.
And I was like, what? You just told me my lungs are fine, but I also can't breathe. I don't understand. And she's like, you need to go to the ER. I didn't even finish my admissions paperwork before they
[00:22:00] had me strapped to a gurney and doing all kinds of tests because they thought I was having a heart attack.
[Mary] Oh wow.
[Eunice] I had all the symptoms presenting because in women they present differently. I had that like elephant sitting on my chest. I didn't have the pain shooting up my arm kind of thing going on. Turns out it wasn't that, it was stress. I was, I had aspirated acid reflux in my sleep.
[Eunice] And it was because I was working in a super toxic, super abusive environment at that time.
[Mary] Oh, that was the time period.
[Eunice] Yes. And it was like, and I mean, it was so bad that it was like, you know, here I am in the hospital spent all day Sunday in the ER. They admitted me overnight and Monday morning, the first thing I get is a text from my boss that's like, Hey, congratulations. We made it to page one of Google.
And I'm like, read the room, dude. I don't give a fuck Like all I want to know is that I'm not dying. Because they still haven't told me what's wrong with me and I hope I get to go home today and sleep in my own Bed. Like and there was no like, how are you doing? You know nothing. It was just Like, I was taken, had taken a
[00:23:00] mental health day or something.
I don't even know, but you know, these guys were awful. So it didn't, doesn't put it past me, but I think we don't recognize that all of us that have hit burnout and all of us that are hitting those, like it's the toxic stress that's in our lives from working and surviving in these abusive environments is killing us.
We just don't see it. It's killing us more slowly.
[Mary] It is. I mean, I'm still coming out of complete adrenal burnout. I mean, just literally crashed a year ago and, and I was in an environment where. They weren't like the boss you had. They would say very sweet things like, Oh, well, we have unlimited personal time.
You should take some time off. And I'm like, bitches, where? You have me booked rock solid from like seven in the morning local time until way into the evening because you decide to close your carts
[00:24:00] at midnight Pacific time. And I'm your Pacific time person. Where in there is there time for a break? And this is going on, and I'm working every weekend for you.
And I mean, I probably worked like 80 hours a week for these people. On top of my business and everything. So I, I, I think like we see examples of it in this episode that are so good. Because David, the character, is written so well and performed excellently by the actor who plays him.
[Eunice] Oh, yeah.
[Mary] He grooms Ellie from the beginning and he's like, oh wait I just I just have some questions for you and he seems so kind and so, you know, no wait, like everybody's fine We're not gonna try to you know shoot you or anything and and in that kind of grooming behavior happens in a lot of communities.
[Eunice] Oh, totally. And it's not just Ellie, right? It's all of the people that have followed him. Like the example that you just gave, I really see that dynamic playing out between him and James.
[Eunice] Because he's not telling James that he has to do these things, but he's also like kind of insinuating, like, if you don't do what I'm asking you to do, there's going to be a consequence for you that you're not going to like.
And so James isn't freely making these decisions. He's doing it because he knows that whatever David has in store for him, if he says no is gonna suck a hell of a lot more.
[Eunice] But then the way that he behaves with Ellie, it's like classic abuser, like no abuser comes up and is like, I'm gonna beat the shit out of you someday.
Or even like I, I had a hard time accepting that what I had experienced with the father of my child was abuse because he's never hit me.
[Eunice] And that was one of the questions the police asked me. When, um, he was reported for child abuse was, well, has he ever been like this to you? And I was like, no, he never has, which is a true statement, but thanks to therapy, I've unpacked all the other ways that he's been abusive to
[00:26:00] where, and he still does it to this day to where I comply with what he wants because I either don't have the energy to fight about it.
It's not worth fighting about. So like, it's always a. Heads I win, tails you lose. Always with these people. And so, but like, I noticed David immediately, he's like ingratiating himself to Ellie, right? He's like, oh, well, we have food. You can join us. Even though she says, and I know that he knows she's full of shit, right?
But like, she's like, well, I have people too. Well, the first thing abusers love to do is to separate you from your people. And so he was just like, yeah, well, you can come with us. We have a whole community. And so he's really being the nice guy and then she's like, do you have medicine? And he makes sure that James goes back and gets it because he wants to be a hero to her.
So that she's like, okay, I can trust you because you helped me.
[Mary] Oh, there's just, there's, there are so many
[00:27:00] great examples in this. I'm hoping that somebody who's really been in like a private mental space of like something just doesn't feel right in the situation that I'm in.
[Eunice] Always trust your gut there.
[Mary] Always trust your gut.
[Eunice] You might never be able to explain it ever, but your gut knows, like your instinct is just like something's off. I can't put my finger on it, but something's off. And it never fails that that, that thing becomes very clear once you're out of it. You're like, that's what it was.
[Mary] Yes. Um, I, I hear so many times from entrepreneurs that they just like feel kind of off in a community.
They're like, I just can't explain it, but nothing's wrong. So they sort of stick with it or they're like, well, I paid a year membership, so I guess I should stay.
[Eunice] The sunk cost fallacy is very strong with entrepreneurs, especially in coaching. Like you're spending four figures on this. It's a lot of money.
It's a big investment,
[00:28:00] but if there's not alignment, if there's not, if something doesn't feel right, you got to get out of there.
[Mary] You do. I think it's interesting because we've also been talking about perception and was one of the things we wanted to talk about today. Because I really feel like perception is like a cage, but it's also a container for people who buy into what they've been told, kind of like the situation of the sunk cost.
And David does this masterfully and instantly and has the entire community on the offense because they're like, go get the killers of, you know, our fellow dude, because he wants them all united against Joel and Ellie, but especially Joel.
[Mary] He would love to keep Ellie. Yes. In a really awful way.
[Eunice] Yes. Like literally as a, as a possession.
[Mary] As like a child bride. And the interesting thing is how much the community, like none of them questioned the perception. And my question for you is when have you seen perception cloud the judgment of truly smart entrepreneurs because they believe their leader without questioning it?
[Eunice] Oh my gosh. I,
[00:29:00] I've seen this in the office and I've seen it at like as an employee in the corporate world. And I've seen it as entrepreneurs, which especially if we're solopreneurs, right, we're, we're not questioning ourselves. Um, the, the ways that we gaslight ourselves is amazing.
[Mary] So amazing, right? Yeah.
Cause you're just like, well, no, I mean, this is what I said I was going to do. Like for me, I'm, I'm one of those entrepreneurs that has pivoted many times and I'm even as we're doing this mid pivot, right? Like I'm hanging up my marketing hat and I'm really embracing. Working as a speaker and as a speaker coach, and
[Mary] I love this pivot for you, by the way.
[Eunice] I love it too.
It's so much fun. Oh my gosh, I love it. But it's like, there's been points where I'm like, does this even make sense? Like, why am I like, why am I pivoting again, again, again, because then people always have those like well meaning comments of like, I don't even know what you're doing anymore. I can't keep up with you.
And it's like,
[00:30:00] it just feels like this quiet dig of like, I don't understand what you're doing, therefore I'm going to be super judgy about it because you clearly can't stick with anything. Like that's the subtext of what they're saying. Um, and even that I'm just like that, that puts me into that whole thing of like, well, are they right?
Do I just need to settle down and get a real job? I'm like, you know what? There's no such thing as a real or fake job. If you make money doing it, it is valid work.
[Mary] Yes. I would also say along the lines of that, I feel like that's a very unconscious gaslighting thing. Um, because I also hear it inside of, um, business development programs.
They're like, well, you can't give up on your thing because it takes time to build these things. And you know that the market's changed. It's wrong. You don't feel right in that thing. You know, you need, you personally need to change. It could even just be like, you just don't like it anymore.
[Mary] And that is completely valid to be like, and I want to change it.
And because they want you to re up on a thing or buy the program or
[00:31:00] whatever, they're like, but you really need to buy this thing. You really need to pay another month because. I need you to do this thing.
[Eunice] Or even the programs that are like, well, you haven't really worked the program, so that's why you're failing, right?
Like, there's this message that you're failing, and it's like, no, I'm not failing. This just isn't the right fit. And I've done enough of this program to know that it's not a good fit for me. And it's okay that I walk away. It's okay that you still do your program. It's for somebody. It's just not for me.
But I see as far as leadership goes, like this unfailing worship that we put in coaches in business leaders and influencers, it's like, we're just like worshiping at their feet. Like these people have all the answers and, um. We don't ever think about like, okay, well, um, there's a reason why that worked for them that I don't have all of the things that
[00:32:00] allowed that, that specific plan to be successful for that person.
I can take some of what they've done and modify it and make it work for me. Or I can realize like, there's no way that this plan is aligned with what I am trying to accomplish here.
[Mary] Yes. It's, it goes back to the thing we were talking about at the beginning, which is. Nobody ever is going to be able to match up apples to apples, oranges to oranges.
That person did that and therefore I can do the exact same thing, same way. The timing for one thing is not the same. Even if you have all the ingredients in the kitchen.
[Eunice] The market's not the same.
[Mary] The market's not the same. You just, it's just not possible. And I really feel like perception is maybe the thing that a lot of these bigger people in the space are actually selling because it's like at one time you happen to you know line up the ingredients right and bake the right cake at the right time and serve the right people who are hungry at the right time and it worked. And you know, we can be
[00:33:00] as calculated as possible to try to match what our market needs at any given time. But there is like a bit of rolling up the sleeves and hard work that's involved and also there's that little extra magic of like it just takes off and and I I just feel like that perception is the thing that holds people in a not healthy place. Not even necessarily like a really horrible or abusive situation ship, but there's a lot of like not super healthy not great spaces for people and they're just, you know, still believing the impossible dream and, and like that era is done.
[Eunice] Well, and how many times have we persisted down a path because we thought that that was the right thing because we were deferring to this person who had expertise and knowledge that we maybe didn't have yet, but we were ignoring our own inner guidance. Like I, one of the things that I teach in my speaking practice is how much like you have this inner wisdom that we have been
[00:34:00] conditioned to shut down.
And so learning how to listen to that is like, okay, well, this person might have a lot of things to say. They might know all these, um, these ways of doing business. They might have all this success, but that doesn't feel right for me. And I have to trust that like I'm never going to see success if I keep chasing something that doesn't feel aligned.
And we tend to default into the, what do they know that I don't know they're so much smarter than me.
[Mary] They must know something.
[Eunice] And then we get back to that whole place of like, now we're just like following these leaders and we're just like, Oh yeah, you know, because they're so, so, so, so successful.
And the thing that I learned. In my photography business was all of the other photographers that I looked up to. I thought they were just like, Oh my gosh, they have all this business. They have all this that they have all this blah, blah, blah. Oh, wow. They did this $20,000 wedding. Oh, wow. They did this. And then I find out like, okay, they're not making
They're actually in the red, so they're not running a good business. They might be good at photography, but they're not running a good business. Or that $20,000 wedding wasn't really a $20,000 wedding. Like, they traded. Or whatever, or they were like, well, um, you know, I'm going to submit this to the magazine.
So like they were able to get this gig for super cheap or in trade and like, because of something else, like there wasn't actually money exchanging hands. They're not living the life. Like they're living that polished Instagram, perfect life and making it seem like they're super successful. And here I am.
I'm like struggling. I'm like. Man, you know, I, I, I only had like a $3,500 sales month this month. What the hell? Rather than going, wow, I made $3,500 this month on clients that really appreciate and love the work that I do. And so that comparison thing is coming back up again, right? Like we think that we need to
[00:36:00] have all these things.
Well, what is enough for me is not going to be enough for you. Like, it's not the same. Our, our versions of enough aren't the same.
[Mary] No, that perception thing is such a strong factor in all of this. And I was just having a conversation with old business friends who live here in town while I'm here recording and we were talking about the changes in the market and a really interesting point of conversation came up where one of them pointed out that, you know, once you hit like a seven figure year, you get to say you're a million dollar business.
Even if the next year you don't hit the seven figures.
[Eunice] Even if you never hit it again.
[Mary] Even if you never hit it again, you get to say. I'm a seven figure business owner and there's so much of that going on right now. Now it's like up to nine figures or something like that. I'm just like, you guys just quit it.
And point of perception, it's, it's such a small thing that becomes such this. heavy, space consuming place in your mind, in your mindset, in your
[00:37:00] energy, in your emotions, and then you start having the perception that, Oh, I'm not doing as well, or I'm not doing enough. And it turns out that that person's full of
shit. Because they, like, okay, so you did it one time, you got lucky, you know.
[Eunice] Things aligned well, but also, like, they count the seven figure mark as, I had that in revenue. In revenue, it was not income. So I had a, you know,
6.95 cost that made me that seven figures, right?
[Mary] Exactly. Yeah. I, the systems coaching me is always like, what was your overhead or your numbers? What are you really making? Um, I, I, I love this too because I love listening to celebrities talk about things. And I was listening to podcasts while I was driving around town yesterday and there was one podcast where a bunch of child actors got on the mic together and they were talking about how one of them had actually calculated
[00:38:00] cost or the actual money he was making when he factored in the time it took to drive all over town and go on auditions and get the new headshots and do all the things that had to be done, hire the person to do the right thing, buy the right clothes to show up at the audition to get the job and then get paid.
And he's like, and when I calculated it. He's like, I made less than minimum wage. And so you see this branding persona that gets put out and I feel like this episode, weirdly, so fucking dark and weirdly, it demonstrates it so beautifully.
[Eunice] It does. Well, and that was like, when I had my photography business, that's when, when I decided that I wasn't going to pursue doing weddings was because I'd calculated that.
And it was like, I was making more working as a waitress at Denny's in 1997 than I was in my, in the wedding piece of my business when I broke it down like that, because it was like, I was spending so many hours chasing clients, uh, booking clients,
[00:39:00] having client meetings, all of this stuff that's not paid for.
And then you spend six to eight hours shooting and then you have another 30 hours of post processing if you don't farm that out, which I didn't at the time because I couldn't afford it. And like, you know, I'm away from my daughter. So it's like, you know, I could just do a few portraits a weekend and sell prints and make a hell of a lot more money.
And that's what I did.
[Mary] Yeah. I think it's so important that our business community takes the blinders off and gets smarter for themselves. Maybe not smarter, but everybody's smart enough already, but more honest, willing to look at the truth of things. I feel like the people in this community in this episode, if they were willing to look at the truth of things, they realize that this is like as far over on the opposite side of the spectrum from the Jackson community as you can get.
[Eunice] Yes. Well, and one of the things that I think of is just even the,
[00:40:00] the, in the truth of things of. They were willing to believe that they were eating venison, right? Like we're willing to believe that all of these people we see that are selling success that they are really successful. We're eating the stew thinking it's venison but also knowing that that we're consuming something that isn't what we think it is and we know it isn't what we think it is. And we just consume it anyways because it’s satisfying enough.
[Mary] We go to webinars,
we take online courses, we join networking groups, and we consume, in air quotes, the venison.
[Eunice] But it all goes back to perception, right? Like we think that this thing is going to feed us and give us what we need.
[Mary] I mean, in, in, let's be honest here, the community in this, um, this episode, they are being kept alive. They are eating, uh, a food,
[00:41:00] a fuel source, a protein that is keeping them alive. And um, that does happen in, in our business communities where like that material that you are consuming is keeping you going to a certain extent, but you have to ask yourself, but at what cost.
[Eunice] Yes. How many jobs have we taken? How many clients have we taken? How many projects have we taken on that are completely misaligned because the protein, the money was enough for what we needed to get us through for now.
[Mary] And how good do you feel about what you consume?
[Eunice] Right. Knowing that you know what you just ate.
Yeah, it's, uh, the, just the ways that like, there's so. This is why I think that this whole series is so brilliant is because it's like the ways that the parallels are there aren't totally obvious. But once we started talking, it's like, and there it is, and there it is. And there it is.
[Mary] I always say once you see it, you can't unsee it.
[Eunice] You can't.
[Mary] And when I, because I love drawing analogies to things. When I was watching this show, I was just like, oh my. God, it's a business, I was like, this is so richly nuanced. And by the time we got to this episode, I was just like, I have to do this. I have to do this project. Um, and he knew that this episode would be particularly
difficult for some folks, I think, to get through because it is very traumatic and we see after kind of, I mean, we're sort of like baked in soaking in this post pandemic trauma infused world. So it's just kind of normalized in a weird way, where like, you're just around it all the time. But by the time we get to this community, and Ellie gets separated from Joel, and you're not sure if Joel's gonna make it.
I mean, if you play the game, you know what's gonna happen. But like, you're not sure, and you're like, this doesn't look very good. And, and, um, you know, you really feel for Ellie, and you know, she ends up saving herself, which I thought was a
[00:43:00] very... Smart choice. Um, in the, the official podcast that I had you listen to for your episode, they talk about that where they were like, you're expecting Joel to come in and like be the savior.
And they're like, no, they're like, we want none of it. We want her to save herself. And I thought that was so smart, but I mean, what she has to go through in order to do that, like, geez, Louise, as if she hasn't been through enough already.
[Eunice] Right. Yeah. Her whole life has been one big, long trauma train.
[Mary] Right. I mean, literally from the moment of birth.
[Eunice] Literally. Yes. Yeah. Um, well, and the thing is, is like the way they set up the whole show is at the beginning, you know, David is, is. He's helpful to her and makes her think that she's in control even though she's not which again textbook coercive of control.
But at the end like she's not waiting for Joel to come save her either. And I think that from a business owner's standpoint that's the thing that we need to take away from this is
[00:44:00] that we're we like I look at This idea that we're in control are leaning on the Davids of the world. Buying that other program buying this other thing when you know darn well what you need to do for your business. Like we can save our own businesses.
We need to make the decisions and we need to find our own power. I had a whole conversation with a friend recently about how much we hate the word empower Because it's an external thing that's given to you, which means that also you're empowered Then power can be taken away.
[Mary] Oh, God, that's so good.
[Eunice] Which I, like, I have my sticker on my water bottle that says empowered women empower women, but it's also like, well, but empowered women can also disempower women and we see this all the time.
[Mary] All the time.
[Eunice] Where they're cutting each other down and um, you know, stealing business, backstabbing, all this thing.
It happens a lot with more white women and that's a whole like function of white supremacy and all that stuff, but like, you
[00:45:00] know, It still is. So I, I always talk about like when we're reclaiming our power and I think in our business, we know it's kind of like, I'll even give it the parenting analogy, right?
Like there's so much advice of what you should do when you're raising your children. But at the end of the day, like, you know, what's best for your kid more than anyone else does. And nobody should have a right to question it. And it should be the same with your business. Like we can save ourselves. We can run our own businesses.
We don't need somebody to swoop in and give us this magic plan that's gonna save the day.
[Mary] A lot of people are looking for a savior.
[Eunice] They are and and that's why they get attracted to the Davids of the business world.
[Mary] Well, I think too like we look at other people's stories just like we look at this piece of fiction and we're looking for a savior kind of like, you know, the showrunners talk about how no we're not gonna write it that way and I, I, I feel like something that I do see happen around entrepreneurship
[00:46:00] is trauma bonding.
And something I did want to ask you while we're on the mic is that, um, there's, there's a really famous line at the end when Joel does show up and he calls Ellie baby girl and
[Eunice] I totally balled,
[Mary] I know
[Eunice] it was like, all the tears were right on the edge of my eyelids. And then as soon as that happened, it was just like,
[Mary] it's like the ugly crying.
[Eunice] Oh, it was.
[Mary] Yeah. Yeah. Um, but he does, he calls her baby girl. It's first time he's done it since he lost his daughter. And I think that people are, I really feel like there's a bit of trauma bonding in there that happened. I mean, there's definitely trauma bonding that's happening for Joel and Ellie to develop the relationship that they have for sure how often does trauma bonding with other people in our business space help us find those like unspoken parts of ourselves when we hold space for someone
He's just been through a really awful situation. Like I think if Joel hadn't been through what he'd been through with Sarah's death was just truly ugly he wouldn't have shown up for Ellie in the way that he did right because he's like, I know I know. Like that's the whole vibe is like I know and I think when I meet other people in entrepreneurship I've seen this happen where it's like I bought that shit program for five figures.
Like, Oh, I know. Yeah. Oh, I know. That's trauma bonding.
[Eunice] Yeah. Or I had the bad business partner.
[Mary] Oh, I know.
[Eunice] We talked about this. You and I, um, yeah. Cause it's just, well, and, and I also think that at the point that Joel and Ellie have this moment in this episode, they've already come through so much. Like, you know, they started out the whole journey and he's just an asset to her.
He has a way to get back to, to his brother and she's nothing more. So I think that there's
[00:48:00] something in that as well of like, he really does treat her like that up until, up until they leave Jackson.
[Mary] Yes. Oh yes. Very much.
[Eunice] And, cause she's like, you're not leaving me now, are you fucking kidding me? We have come this far, but it's just, I real, I realized that at that moment, like, because of their trauma bond, he re he finally sees her as more than just an asset.
[Mary] I know that there's a lot of people who are like, Oh, it's like, he feels like she's his daughter. And there is that in there too. But it's different.
[Eunice] It's different.
[Mary] It's different. And, you know, the heartbreaking thing is seeing the roles reverse and this kid who can't shut up is suddenly silent in the next episode and he's all Mr.
Chatterbox and you're just like, whoa, this doesn't look right, you know? And I've seen people go through far less dramatic instances of this, thank God, but far less dramatic, but still coming
[00:49:00] out the other end of something like a year program in there. Like what the hell just happened to me.
[Eunice] Well, then you find that other person that had that same experience Because the that's that's one of the things that I've I've gone through is it's like wait, was that just me?
And then you start talking you're like, well, I don't really want to talk badly about anybody but also like I need to talk about this because this was not what I expected and so the parallel between my personal life and being a survivor of domestic violence and trauma and childhood abuse and all these things, the minute I started openly talking about it, I found my people.
[Eunice] And I was like, oh, oh, oh. And I realized, like, there's power in this. And that's, that's why I'm where I am now today.
[Eunice] Specifically, like literally and figuratively, um, but we can't do that when we don't open up and share, you know, like, yes, this was
[00:50:00] supposed to be a great experience, but for me it wasn't.
And I need to know that that's a true statement and not be gaslit into believing that I'm somehow some kind of weird outlier.
[Mary] Well, it gets into the, you know, protecting the abuser and because we don't want to say bad things because you, you're a good person, you know, but at the same time, when you know that something was wrong, there's survival.
I mean, it's so funny cause we still use phrases like survival numbers and, and in business. So you're not foraging for food, and you're not, you know, surviving a brutal winter during, you know, post apocalyptic world. But you do need to put food on your table, and you do need to find clients, and you do need to find a community that will support you, because without people, you don't have a business.
And, you know, other people do need to buy something from you in order to have a business.
[Eunice] And they need to exchange
[00:51:00] actual money and not always like, yeah, always do the trades because trades, I think trades are great when they're aligned. Um, but at the end of the day, trades, likes, shares, those don't pay the rent.
They don't put food on your table.
[Mary] They don't.
[Eunice] Or visibility. That was my biggest pet peeve when I was in photography.
[Mary] Oh. No, that still happens.
[Eunice] It still happens. I just don't, I, I shut it down. I'm like, no, you're not giving me this spot for visibility.
[Mary] Unless you have like a massive platform. I think these are things that we can encourage our community around us to like actually start thinking about.
I'm sure there's a couple of things that have come up and they're like, Oh yeah. But I think this last one is a really important one. It's like, you have to be able to start talking with somebody else. You don't have to match each other in the worst day ever story, you know.
[Eunice] It's not a competition.
[Mary] It's not a competition.
[00:52:00] the situations don't have to be exactly the same either.
[Eunice] Well, and something that I actually came up... And I guess it was a flag for me because I was listening to Rachel K. Albers recent series on, um, the, like, the lineage of the coaching programs.
[Eunice] So good if you haven't listened to it. I need to listen to that.
But like, you know, so many of these programs have non disparagement clauses in their contracts. And so, like, I was like, I never actually thought about it. And I went back and looked at a few of mine. I'm like, holy shit. So they already know that they're doing something that's not up to snuff. And now they have a legal, they're, they're making you legally obligated to not be able to talk badly about it.
[Mary] There is one community that I lurked in for a while that I know has a very strong non disparagement clause and she makes it very prominent.
[Eunice] That's a super huge red flag. If I can't say bad things about you,
[00:53:00] probably you're doing things that should be talked about.
[Mary] Well, and if you're so afraid of bad press what's going on?
[Eunice] Exactly, exactly.
[Mary] This episode is so rife with
[Eunice] There's so much.
[Mary] All of these parallels you know, it's like David when he's like, well there's only a few of us who know that we're eating people.
I would have told you sooner I guess.
[Eunice] Well, that's that whole like need to know basis like you see it more in corporate where they're just, we can't have this transparency, we can't have this, we can't have you talking about these things, and it's like, the reason that black women make 62 cents on the dollar to a white man is because we can't talk about these things.
[Mary] Well, and the fact that we're baking it into actually, I think I also have like, non disparagement clauses for my contracts working at Disney and all these big companies, and, and I think the reason, I think all of that is is very coercive and it perpetuates a cycle of people
[00:54:00] not being paid correctly, not being treated correctly, not being able to grow.
It is totally, you know, the disparagement in wealth and job security, all the things. Access to customers, access to data.
[Eunice] After my experience with the people that I went to the hospital because of, um, I thought about at will employment and how unless they are directly violating EEOC, there's not a damn thing you can do about it.
[Eunice] They can treat you like shit. And it's like, well, You don't have to work here then, but how many people stay in shitty jobs in bad environments because of their health care, because they're the sole breadwinner and they make a great living and they, or maybe even they like what they do, they just don't like where they do it.
[Mary] Yeah. We call that gold, the golden coffin.
[Eunice] It's all coercive control people.
[Mary] Oh, it's super good food for thought. Okay. I'm going to ask you a question. I've been asking everybody.
[00:55:00] What does the last of us reflect back to you about yourself?
[Eunice] I want to say that for me, it's the resilience, right? Like you think about, we can do hard things and you know, I had a period where like everything was hard, everything was bad.
Everything was super traumatic. I actually like yelled at my therapist when she's like, I think you have PTSD. I'm like, no, I don't. And she's like, you know what happened to you the other day was a panic attack. You shouldn't get a panic attack or have a panic attack from reading an email notification.
[Mary] Yeah. It's a pretty strong reaction.
[Eunice] It wasn't even the email that sent me into a full fledged panic attack. It was like, you have a new message from talking parents. I can't breathe. Get me off this bus. I'm going to die. Yeah. Okay. So she was right. That's fine. Um, but like, I keep getting back up. Like there've definitely been days when it's
[00:56:00] like, man, I don't want to do this anymore.
I'm tired. I'm burnt out. You know, I spent this year, I spent most of June in bed. Because I just couldn't do any more. It's just like so much because we don't have anything built into our systems that allows us the luxury of being able to truly rest and recuperate when we need to rest and recuperate.
And that's a whole other soapbox for a different podcast episode, I suppose. But like, it just gets, it's, it's so hard and everybody's like, Oh, you're so strong. You're so amazing. And I'm like, fuck off. What is my other choice? I either do it and get through it, or I give up. And I don't, I don't like the side, what's on the other side of give up, right?
Like, it's not pretty, whether it's my personal life or my business. You know, it's, yes this is hard, and... I know that it's worth it. So for me, it's been like their whole journey, the fact that they journeyed across the country and these
[00:57:00] dire, like, it was one thing after the other, like they're, when they went through Kansas city specifically, I was like, Oh, they're not going to make it.
They're not going to make it. There's just no way. And I feel like we've all had that moment in our business and then something turns. And then the next thing you know, you're exactly where you were trying to be. It might, you might not have gotten there on the map that you thought you were going to go.
You might not have gotten there in the vehicle you thought you were going to go. But you realize once you're there, you're like, Oh yeah, that was quite the ride. But I'm, Hey, I'm here. And sometimes we realize our destination is changing. And I think that that's exactly what happened in this episode was that they ended up
changing their destination. Like originally it was to get to Jackson, wasn't it? Well, he was trying to find his brother.
[Mary] Well, he found his brother by the time he got through this. So it was after they did fight in the firefly outcamp in the previous episode. And then they got into
[00:58:00] the scuffle because David's people were sent to go forage where they were at.
And. And, you know, God, I could keep talking to you about this for like hours, but I mean, even that's such a great analogous example of people coming in and instead of like, oh, other humans, how can we help each other? And they're like, we're going to raid this party and everyone's fighting and something's getting like half killed and all the way killed.
And why? Why do we do this? That, that type of behavior pattern really does show up in business where people are like, I'm not going to share my list with somebody else. Or I'm not going to invite them to this thing because blah, blah, blah.
[Eunice] Or we're not going to talk about the same things because now we're creating competition.
Like can I just say how much of a patriarchal masculine mindset that is? It's just like, no, there's plenty to go around and we could both be selling the same thing. Like I'll never forget when I first met you and you're like, this is what I do for work. And
[00:59:00] I was like. Oh my gosh. You have the business that I wanted to start in 2017.
[Mary] I remember that.
[Eunice] And it brought me back to the only part of big magic that I actually liked. I hated that book. I'm sorry, Liz Gilbert. I love all your other stuff. But it was when she was talking about the muse and the way the muse hits her and how Ann Patchett ended up writing this book that was, was her idea.
It was almost like verbatim. Yes. And State of Wonder is amazing. You should all read it. But like she realized like, no, this, the muse came and visited and I didn't, I wasn't, I wasn't in a place to receive it because it wasn't mine. And so even recognizing that of like, we can all have good ideas and maybe we're not the right person to execute it.
Maybe there's somebody else out there, but that also means there's room for collaborations.
[Mary] It's totally room for collaborations and there's also room for evolution because I, I actually feel like we're in the season of
[01:00:00] changing directions, changing destination points right now and you're doing it, I'm doing it and the program where you were like, I was going to create that.
Now I'm retiring it and I'm seeing other people come up and they're, they're doing new things and it's like, okay, I, I got you, Baby Ellie, to another location you needed to get to and I'm going to move on and like, you know, do do other things and that doesn't mean that we can't still be friends. It doesn't mean that we can't visit, it doesn't mean that we can't even do work and go on another journey together in the future.
It just means that for now that leg of a journey is done and I don't think that we need to be so cutthroat about survival.
[Eunice] Right. Totally agree. This has been awesome. We could talk all day.
[Mary] We could talk all day, and I would not mind it.
[Eunice] That's why I was like, um, I have so many thoughts that I don't think will fit in the episode.
So I'm going to write about them if that's cool, which I will.
[Mary] And then obviously we'll link everything. I will drop the link in the show
[01:01:00] notes so everyone can go and check it out.
[Eunice] I'm going to write it so that I can schedule it so that they'll be coming out the same time so that people can read that as a follow up, I guess.
[Mary] That's perfect. This has been the official School of Moxie podcast with your host Mary Williams and special guest Eunice Brownlee. The show is written and produced by Mary Williams. The episode was recorded in Denver, Colorado at the Village Workspace. Chris Martin from Chris Martin Studios is our editor and the sound designer.
Additional production and marketing support is provided by the AK Collective, founded by Amber Kinney. I'm Mary Williams, your host and the founder of Sensible Woo. You can watch the HBO original series The Last of Us on Max.com. As a librarian, I will always encourage you to check out the companion book Bittersweet by Susan Cain at your local library.
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