The Hustle Less Profit More Podcast

55. Mastering Emotional Labor: Overcoming Loneliness and Depletion in Entrepreneurship - Shulamit Ber Levtov

Episode Summary

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the constant emotional labor required in entrepreneurship, always putting on a brave face and pretending everything is fine, only to be left feeling exhausted and burnt out at the end of the day, then you are not alone! Despite your best efforts to manage your emotions and maintain a positive outlook, it can be disheartening when your mental well-being suffers and your dreams of sustainable success start to fade. In this episode I'm joined by Shulamit (she/her), the Entrepreneurs' Therapist. She works with women business owners to care for their mental and emotional wellbeing and their money psychology in an era of relentless stressors that can make you want to lose your crap on the daily.

Episode Notes

Have you heard these myths about emotional labor in entrepreneurship? Myth 1: You have to do it all on your own. Myth 2: Showing vulnerability is a sign of weakness. Myth 3: Taking care of your mental well-being is a luxury you can't afford. In this interview, our guest Shulamit Ber Levtov will dispel these myths and share the truth about emotional labor in entrepreneurship, leading to increased mental well-being and sustainable success.

Curate your online life with as much care as you might in your real life. Curate your feed, but also take the time to notice how you're feeling when you're online and what's happening there, and maybe think about what it is you could do to make it different so that it's more supportive for you. - Shulamit Ber Levtov

In this episode, you will be able to:

If you're feeling overwhelmed by the constant emotional labor required in entrepreneurship, always putting on a brave face and pretending everything is fine, only to be left feeling exhausted and burnt out at the end of the day, then you are not alone! Despite your best efforts to manage your emotions and maintain a positive outlook, it can be disheartening when your mental well-being suffers and your dreams of sustainable success start to fade.

My special guest is Shulamit Ber Levtov. 

Shulamit (she/her) is the Entrepreneurs' Therapist. She works with women business owners to care for their mental and emotional wellbeing and their money psychology in an era of relentless stressors that can make you want to lose your crap on the daily.

She is also a certified facilitator of the Trauma of Money method and supports her clients to address their money psychology so that they can have a flourishing relationship with the money in their businesses and lives.

Shulamit has been an entrepreneur for over 27 years and has more than 22 years of professional experience in the field of mental health and personal growth. Shulamit also teaches in private and university business programs and speaks locally, nationally and internationally about mental health, money and entrepreneurship.

As an award-winning entrepreneur, masters-level, licensed trauma therapist and trauma survivor, with certifications in Brené Brown's Dare To Lead™  methodology, Nonviolent Communication and Yoga, Shula brings a unique perspective and approach to supporting women in business.

How to find Shulamit?

Subscribe to her newsletter. This is the way to get not only regular validation for the challenges to your mental and emotional well-being as a business owner but it also provides useful strategies for supporting your mental health. 

The resources mentioned in this episode are:

  1. Visit the Hustle Less Profit More podcast website to listen to the full episode with Shulamit Ber Levtov.
  2. Consider joining a local entrepreneur network or support group to connect with like-minded individuals and combat the isolation often felt in entrepreneurship.
  3. Reflect on the emotional labor required in running your own business and seek strategies to manage it effectively. Consider reaching out to a therapist or coach who specializes in supporting entrepreneurs.
  4. Create your own personal board of directors by identifying trusted individuals who can provide support, guidance, and a safe space to share your challenges as an entrepreneur.
  5. Take advantage of online communities and forums to connect with other entrepreneurs who can relate to your experiences and provide valuable insights and advice.
  6. Explore digital resources and tools that can help you streamline and automate certain aspects of your business to reduce stress and increase productivity.
  7. Consider investing in your mental and emotional well-being by practicing self-care, setting boundaries
  8. The trauma of money:
  9. Reach out to work with Shulamit as a coach or therapist:
  10. How to choose your therapist:
  11. 7 challenges to mental health for entrepreneurs:
  12. Listen to Shula's podcast:

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Episode Transcription



We ourselves, we are not first responders, right? So we don't need to know about the news. During the course of the day, we can set a boundary and say, like, I want to be abreast of current events and I'm going to inform myself between X and X, and I'm going to do it this way, and then that's it.        


Most business owners and entrepreneurs are secretly sick of hustling. And if you are too, you, you're in the right place. Welcome to the Hustle Less profit more podcast with me, Mickey Anderson, where we're revolutionizing success because you should have it all. Business success, lasting wealth, freedom, and fulfillment. Join me on this quest to uncover the keys to defining and achieving success on our terms so we can all hustle less and profit more.        


You know, entrepreneurship is a wild ride. And as much as there's a lot of narrative online about having to be tough and, you know, put in the grunt work and pay your dues, there's also a reality check of the mental toll that entrepreneurship can take on us and our families. And I think it gets, you know, this important conversation and topic is something near and dear to my heart as an entrepreneur who has had many challenges and struggles in my life. And that's one of the reasons why I'm so excited today to have this conversation with Shulamit Ber Levtov. We are going to be discussing, really how we can better prepare ourselves, better deal with, better manage all of the challenges of entrepreneurship, and we're going to talk a little bit about money and how those challenges can impact us as well.        


Shulamit Mitt, thank you so much for joining me, Mickey. I'm so happy to be here and how fun that we're like geographical neighbors, too. I know when we started chatting on. LinkedIn, we discovered that we were actually quite close to each other. And I'm so excited.        


Anytime we can bring in locals on the show, it makes for the online. World to meet like a literal neighbor. Yeah, so true. It's so true. So, Shulamit, me, you have primarily worked with women entrepreneurs in your experiEnce, but I'm sure you've come across lots of people dealing with challenges as they jump into the entrepreneurship realm.        


Are there any specific common trends of challenges that you're seeing across the board with entrepreneurs in particular? There are kind of two factors that play a role. You're talking about people entering entrepreneurship and especially. Yeah, well, I'll talk about entering first because it's kind of like one of the two threads. Many people start working for themselves, and especially since COVID where many people went home and discovered at home that their mental health was so much better than it was in the office.        


And this could be because they had disability needs, because they were members of underestimated groups, because they were experiencing microaggressions, so called microaggressions, and on the basis of their membership in these underestimated groups, and they discovered that their mental health was so much better when they were at home and decided that they were going to create their own safer workplace by starting their own businesses. Some folks also have started business. There's a long tradition of folks starting businesses because traditional employment didn't serve them. And this is, in many cases, folks with mental health challenges to begin with, who wanted to work, but wanted to work on their own terms. So we have, the one thread is what we bring to entrepreneurship, and this is particularly significant for folks who are starting a business to remember that the ups and downs in businesses are their own thing, and they will combine with what you bring.        


And this is not necessarily a bad thing, but it is important to be aware, because what I've noticed is that folks will come to me no matter across the board, whether they are entrepreneurs or not. This has been a common theme in my work as a therapist. People come and pretty much the first thing they say to me is, something's wrong with me. And when we are aware of one, the difficulties inherent in the job of running your own business, and we are aware of what we are bringing to the picture, we can say to ourselves, well, no wonder I'm having a hard time. It's quite natural in quotation marks.        


Natural, normal. Expected anyone going through what I'm going through would be feeling like I'm feeling there's nothing wrong with me. And the main thing is to just be aware that there really is nothing wrong with you, because these two aspects are at play in your life as an entrepreneur, whether you're just coming in or even more so over the longer term because you're exposed to all the stressors of running a business. I can still relate with that. I remember as an entrepreneur, I struggled a ton, and traditional employment really didn't work for my family needs.        


My husband's in the military, he travels a ton. We have a young daughter, and we need a ton of flexibility. And so most traditional workplaces just don't function for us. So I already had a baseline level of stress that I was bringing to entrepreneurship and uncertainty. And I think recognizing that has been really, really important in the challenges that I've faced.        


But I think also recognizing that entrepreneurship in general is just tough. It's not easy for anyone. So having that acceptance, and I think lack of judgment around the struggle to me has been really, really helpful. So I love that you mentioned that. So we've chatted a little bit about those coming into entrepreneurship and the challenges and maybe the personal experiences and needs that they have.        


What about those who are maybe quite a bit into entrepreneurship? They've worked their way up. They're growing their businesses. And what kind of struggles are you seeing there? Well, first, as I said, the number one thing is, regardless of what the issue people are facing, they tend to think that something's wrong with them.        


And that's across the board. Folks who come to me, who are in business new or longer term, but especially longer term, the thing they mention the most is the isolation and the ways in which isolation shows up specifically for entrepreneurs. The first of which is that if you look up and down, I don't know about you, but if I look up and down my street, if I were still getting my daughter at the schoolyard, the parents on my street, they're workers. They're not entrepreneurs. They're not running a business.        


And while I might have a real connection with them about where we live or local politics or our kids in school, they're not going to get what I'm talking about when I'm sharing vulnerably about what it's like to run a business. So that's the very first layer of how we are isolated as entrepreneurs. There just aren't as many of us. And then if we're entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs, again, another level of isolation. And then if we experience any intersections of oppression, systems of oppression, then, of course, it's less and less likely that we are going to find others like ourselves, and more and more likely that there are going to be barriers and difficulties that we experience.        


But then also when it comes to mental and emotional well being and being transparent to a certain degree around the difficulties as entrepreneurs, when we're off in the face of our business, there's a fear among entrepreneurs that if we were to reveal that we were struggling, that that would undermine. It's called impression management. We are concerned about impression management because if we reveal that we were to have difficulties, folks might think, well, she's unreliable or she's going through something. So her business is therefore not reliable, and therefore, I'm not going to do business with them. So we are even more so isolated where perhaps in the general public, you might confide in your bestie that you're having a bad day as an entrepreneur.        


There's that. Jeez, is it okay to say this? Because is it going to undermine my business? Right. So those are just like the isolation.        


There are many more layers, but those are just the first few. And how they affect us as entrepreneurs. I can so relate on many levels there in terms of the isolation. I think growing up, my dad was the CEO of an organization, and so he was in employment, right, in the corporate structures. But he used to have this saying, where lonely at the top, no matter where you are, and if you're at the top of your own business or the top of someone else's, there's typical loneliness.        


And he used to always say and preach, going to find other people who are also at the top in different places and making your kind of, he called it the personal board of directors. So those people who had shared experiences, who you could rely on to be open and vulnerable with and really build your own kind of network or core group of supporters. And I've been trying really hard. It's very challenging, especially, I find in this digital age where getting to a place where you feel comfortable opening up, asking for help, bringing someone in, I feel like there's a bit of a disconnect there. Do you have any maybe tips or takeaways for those of us who are looking for people to bring in and start to kind of fight this isolation in this digital age?        


Sure. Well, I'm going to circle back first before I answer your question, to talk about it's lonely at the top, because I think that's a particular aspect of our isolation that's worth talking about, because when you're at the head of your business, you are in relationship with people. You have contractors, you have clients, you go to networking, things like that. But you as a leader are holding space for these folks. It's not appropriate for you to be vulnerable with the folks for whom you are holding space.        


So the emotional labor that is required of us, that is to say, putting our emotions to the side for care at another time, in the moment when we're having an emotional reaction to someone, a contractor, an employee, a client, right. We have to marshal our resources to be in a leadership position with them and to put our stuff here to be cared for later. And emotional labor is a familiar concept to women who've thought about what it is like to be in heterosexual relationships. And often we hear about the emotional labor that mothers and wives do in relation to children and their male spouses. But we also do that same kind of emotional labor in our businesses.        


And so it is very lonely because we are surrounded by people, but yet there are not people who are there for us. Right. So the distress that people can experience and the depletion that comes from doing that work is worth mentioning because it happens, but we don't name it. So we can't really get a handle on why was this such a hard day. Right?        


And it's because of, in some cases, it might be because of the emotional labor that you've done that day. And I love the idea of having your own board of directors, your own sort of, like, circle of wise people in whom you can confide and consult and where it's safe and okay to be transparent about how you're doing or not doing. But in terms of overcoming isolation, I think the digital. There are blessings and curses about the digital. Know, I was online early and was telecommuting at the time.        


I was an independent translator and lived in a house in a village near the border of New Brunswick and Maine. Very isolated. There was maybe 25 people. And my husband at the time, he took the car to go to work. But the Internet opened up a whole world of folks who were like minded, who shared similar concerns.        


This was in the days of, like, billboard or what do they call them? Bulletin boards or discussion boards, like, way back in the Dos environment in the whole thing. But a whole world opened up to me of friends and colleagues. And I find that it's still the case today that I, in the time of COVID and I still live rurally, not in the same place. Everything shut down.        


But to me, all of a sudden, the world opened up because I didn't have to drive. I'm an hour and a half out of the major city. I don't have to drive to town. Everything was all of a sudden right here for me, and that was really a blessing. And to me, still, as a person who lives rurally and has lived rurally for a significant portion of my life, the Internet is actually an isolation buster for me, but it's how I use it.        


So I'm very careful about what I expose myself to. It's kind of like when I'm careful about what I put into my body for nourishment, that I'm careful about the media I consume, I'm careful about the shows I watch because I want to maintain my capacity, right? And similarly, when I interact online, I want it to be supportive for me. And so I'm very careful to be mindful and in choice around what I do when I'm online and even who I follow because I want it to be things that will be nourishing and supportive. And that's what I would recommend.        


My number one. I mean, it sounds like, I don't know, everybody says this, but I really, really mean it. Curate your online life with as much care as you might in your real life. Although for folks, one of the other big issues for entrepreneurs is boundaries. Being able to say, where does this stop?        


Boundaries is such a wide concept. It applies in so many ways in our businesses, but it also will apply in life. And I have friends and colleagues as well as clients who have people in their lives with whom they have great difficulty. But these are people who've been in their lives for whatever reason, for whatever amount of time. And I would recommend, in a caring and kind way, to set a boundary to either remove yourself entirely or limit your contact with them.        


But this takes work, right? It takes reflection, it takes consideration, it takes care. So, yes, curate your feed, but it's not as easy as all that, right? Take the time to notice how you're feeling when you're online and what's happening there, and maybe think about what it is you could do to make it different so that it's more supportive for you. Like, I've eliminated all news, for example, because I'm exposed enough to what's happening in the world.        


I don't need more constant assault of stress messages that are going to increase the alarm in my body. I've got enough alarms going around in My business, you know what I mean? So I would say that's one of the ways, really use it to its advantage and screen out the crap. I love that advice. It reminds me, back when I was in university, one of my favorite rituals was I would get the Sunday paper.        


Get the Wall Street Journal delivered to. My, I had like a room off campus to my apartment, and I'd get the Wall Street Journal and I would sit there and read the paper in the morning. And it was how I consumed news media. It was timed, it was thoughtful, and it was dedicated to that. I didn't have the constant assault of news and information all day long.        


Time I didn't even have a cell phone. And now, not having that physical ability to control how I consume it and also having it constant, it really does feel like an assault all day long. Not it is email notifications, not just email notifications or social media, but also the news feeds. It's all constant. And it's really, really hard for a lot of us to turn that off.        


Now, there are settings you can use and whatnot. But I think I love that you. Mentioned, the first thing is to notice how you feel, because I think we often, as entrepreneurs, myself, specifically speaking to my experience, you get caught up in the zone. You just get into busy mode and you're doing things, and you almost kind of dial down the emotions to get into that focus. And so it can be hard to notice those moments when, oh, shouldn't have checked that email yet or wish I turned the notification off.        


But as you do, I think that's an empowering experience, because now you can start to look at your day and say, okay, wait, how can I make this better? Yes, I love your description of your Sunday morning ritual. That's an example of a boundaried way to take in information. And people will often say to me as a therapist, like, I don't know how you do the work you do. And these are people who struggle with boundaries and are open to hearing from friends and family all day, every day about how as a listening ear.        


And I say, well, the reason I can do the work I do is that I only do it when I step out of the office. Everybody in this dog is not looking to confide in me. It's done when it's done. And I think this is a really important aspect of both our work, right? That there's a boundary around our work day, whether it's a day or not.        


But when work is done, work is done, the door is closed. When your media consumption time is done, it's done. The door is closed. Because the being caught by surprise also, right? And for the vast majority of us, I think of things like September 11, for example.        


If we had not heard about that until hours later, it would not have affected we ourselves. We are not first responders, right? So we don't need to know about the news during the course of the day. We can set a boundary and say, like, I want to be abreast of current events and I'm going to inform myself between X and X, and I'm going to do it this way. And then that's it.        


Because really we want our capacity for what matters most to us, which is bringing our vision for the world to life through our businesses. That is such great advice. I think a lot of us lack role models in this space. There are so many big shots out there online promoting. You have to be out there doing things available all the time.        


And it's just not true. I feel really fortunate. My dad, who was the CEO of a large organization. He used to leave his phone in the car, in the glove box, and wouldn't bring it in the house. And he used to have this saying, I can only turn on CEO so well, because I can turn it off so well.        


Exactly. And so that's something that I try really hard to practice. But in this day and age of just constant bombardment of information, it's really challenging. So I really appreciate that you mentioned carving out that thoughtful time to consume in the right ways for you and not getting caught up in all of the kind of go, go. I know for myself as well.        


My husband's in the military, and so he deploys overseas frequently. And during that time, I actively turn off all news media in every capacity while he's gone, because it's like I. Already have enough stress. I don't need more. You don't need to know.        


That's right. No, I try and bring that into my work life, but I see how challenging it is for so many who get caught up in that routine of just constantly being available to their friends and family, to their employees, and then just to everything that's coming in at them. And I think for business owners who are socialized as women, in particular, women are trained, socialized to be available. Right. And to say yes to everything.        


And this will come through in our businesses. And while it's a truism that you can't pour from an empty cup, so many people are caught up in, especially women who are social through socialization, are caught up in this constant availability that comes from these socialized messages, and then is amplified by what we see online, which is the hustle. Hustle. Always be available, always be posting, always be responsive. And then we have this biological survival imperative that plays a really important role for business owners, because our business, whether it is or it isn't, logically can feel like a life and death issue.        


If my business doesn't survive, if I'm not making enough money, I can't pay my bills. And if I can't pay my bills, this sounds ridiculous, but this is the image in my head. Then I'm homeless, I'm unhoused under a bridge, an elderly woman, vulnerable, hungry and cold. This has been an image that has played on my mind as a fear most of my life. It's not grounded in, I mean, there was a time when I did live in poverty, and many women are only a paycheck away from really severe circumstances.        


So I'm not making light of this. I'm saying this is a fear that while logically might not make sense to somebody. When you're running your business on an organismic level, it feels like survival. And so when you're not aware of that survival imperative that can feed then into and amplify, like I've got to work because my business has to succeed and anxiety drives me to work more than I should, more than I need to, more than reality says is necessary. And you pile that on top of what's happening in the online world with the imperative to hustle and then our socialization as women, it can be a real crap show, right?        


And it takes a lot of mindfulness and connection with others in communities who value doing things differently, who value self connection and support that so that you can come to your business from this grounded, centered place and make your choices for action from that, from your fully resourced self, instead of from this frantic energy. But it's very hard to resist because it's so powerful. That's so true. And I think in this online age as well, there are so many experts online and I think we take face value very quickly, especially on social media. If someone has a large following and somebody's doing advice or techniques or things that you should do to be successful, be more mindful, do this, do that, do the other thing.        


It's really easy to get caught up in that. And I think I know for myself one of the best things I've ever done is find someone offline in person, who can hold space, who is trained, who is professional. And that has been absolutely. I can't even put into words how much of an impact it's had on myself, my family, on my business. And I think everyone needs that, whether we want to admit it or not.        


And I think it's just an asset that isn't spoken about enough. Well, I would say therapy as a business owner, therapy or therapeutic support is your power move because it really, when you're self led, right? Self connected, grounded, self led, and that takes work and support to get there. But when you're in that place, then that's the foundation for sustainable success in your business. AI has already completely revolutionized how we create content.        


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Yeah, and I think a lot of. People wait or have the assumption that. Something has to be wrong with me or something has to be wrong in order for me to seek help. And unfortunately, it holds a lot of people back, I think, from getting the help they need because it's not true. I mean, anyone in this day and.        


Age should probably get some support, right? Like, it's not necessarily us. The environment is wild. And I love how you worded that. It's a power move.        


I think that's so accurate. And being a human being, having difficulty is inherent in being human, encountering difficulties in life. That's just the nature of being a human. And mental health challenges are inherent in entrepreneurship even more so than inherent in humanity. Right.        


And because they're inherent in entrepreneurship, it's not a question of if, but when they will affect you and to what degree. And the key to resilience is having what you need in place before the crap hits the fan. Because when the crap hits the fan, your capacity for creative problem solving and reaching out for help is diminished when it's in place. Let's say you have a regular relationship with a coach or a therapist, and it's in place and the crap hits the fan. But the appointment is on the books already.        


You just show up and there's the support for you, right? Or you have your regular whatever, you have your regular meetings, you just show up to what's already there and it can hold you in a way that often. What happens? The crap hits the fan. And people have to scramble not only to solve the problem, but also they notice how deeply impacted they are and then have to kind of rally the troops around themselves for support.        


It takes work to put a team in place. It's so true. I think it goes along with the way that I look at it is every good entrepreneur or business owner should have three core team members from the get go. A lawyer, an accountant, and a therapist. Right on.        


You're set. You've got the foundation of what you need to function I know for myself One of the challenges I faced was identifying which kind of support to seek out, whether it was a coach, a therapist, and in my personal experience, and I'm not saying that this is across the board, but what I found was in working with coaches over my career, many different coaches, great experiences, it was different. Yes, they could hold space to a. Point, but it was a function of achieving goals. It was a function of a structured format of working towards or through a process.        


Whereas what I found with therapy is I went in thinking that I was going to need to lead the way, I was going to need to know what we were going to talk about and have a goal in mind. But what I wanted is I don't have to do any of that work, I just have to show up and it naturally flows and serves me and what I need in that moment. But yet it's still with a good therapy, it's still structured and creates progress, I think in your life as well. So for me it's been a really important distinction to make between the two types of support and how they've helped me. And I think, I'm sure you could probably give some guidance or advice on what kind of support someone should choose.        


Sure. So we'll put the links in the show notes. I have two posts. One is coach a therapist, which is best for you and it outlines some of the qualities of both and gives you a checklist that you can use so that if you're not sure, you can just go through the checklist and then I'll help you decide. And then I also have one about how to choose the right therapist for you.        


Because coach or therapist, personal fit, interpersonal fit is primary. Once you've narrowed down the people you are going to work with by your criteria, then it's a question of interviewing them to see for rightness of personal fit because you cannot be vulnerable and coaching and therapy both require vulnerability of different kinds. If you aren't at ease with that person, you're not going to be able to relax into the kind of process that is needed for growth to occur. I really love how you describe the differences between coaching and therapy. Coaching is much more concrete, much more directed, much more focused on specific, measurable outcomes.        


It is much more formatted and structured, or tends to be, than therapy. And you're right, coaches can hold emotional space. A good coach should be able to hold space for the emotions related to the steps you're taking to accomplish the goal. And there's a point at which in coaching, where the emotions become bigger and there's a resonance or a depth of feeling that attending to the emotions that arise in the moment is not sufficient for the care for whatever it is that's in pain or in distress or stirred up, attending to just what comes through the surface like a mushroom in the moment is not sufficient. And mushrooms, I like the analogy because mushrooms as an organism extend for kilometers underground and it's just the one little mushroom that pokes up through the surface, right?        


And so coaching is like mushrooms, and therapy is like caring for the whole organism, all the things that are connected, or any of the things that are connected that are deeper. And in that case, where therapy excels is really having a lot of time and spaciousness around the deeper connections. SO that I'm Just GOing to PauSe nOw, AcTually, BeCause I'm kind of coming into that feeling of, and there's a warmth and a depth that the coaching container does not provide by the very nature of how it's structured. Not that there's anything wrong with coaching, that's what coaching is, right? It's structured and focused and in a container.        


And therapy is wider, warmer, slower, more focused on relational aspects and on inner processes and giving them the time and space to move and shift and reveal their wisdom. So what will happen is like an issue might a really good coach will know when it's a mushroom and be able to say to the client, hey, let me refer you to a really good therapist who understands entrepreneurship and business so that you can care for and spend time with this part of you that needs care so that it can reveal its wisdom. And with that wisdom, then you come back to the execution phase with the coach related to specific goals. And like in therapy, you'll have execution goals as well. But they're more around how, at least in the way that I work, they're more around your relationship with yourself and developing skills for resilience and for like, people talk about emotional regulation, but it's really care for yourself and your emotions so that they can be a resource for you and then you can bring those skills to whatever it is that you need, like your business, for example.        


I love that distinction, and that has absolutely been my experience. I found through coaching in many different coaching containers. And I like how you said a container versus space, because I think that's a really beautiful and accurate way to describe it in many coaching containers. I found that throughout this process of goal achievement or working through frameworks, emotions. Triggers, little pinpoints have been highlighted and.        


It'S like ooh I need more space to tackle and go into this thing outside of here, outside of this container. And I love the way that you put that because that has absolutely been my experience as well. So thank you. Now, one thing I want to make sure we chat about, even if it's just for a brief bit, is money. I know this is something that you.        


Work with, and this is a perfect example of what we were just talking about. Coaching versus therapy, or not versus, but coaching and therapy. And how do they fit together? A lot of money, coaches and money mindset work are very focused on tactics, understanding your books. How do you spend your money?        


Like, very clear and concrete. However, living under capitalism, white supremacist, patriarchal capitalism, is traumatizing in and of itself because, or can be because of the Shulamit and blame associated with having or not having money in this culture. And so Shulamit is a self worth thing. And when your self worth is constantly under attack, that's abuse, right? When somebody's constantly shaming you for who you are and your worth as a human being, that's abuse, right?        


And that can be traumatizing. And again, under capitalism, it's all around having or not having money or wealth, right? So this comes down into our relationship with money.        


It's what we swim in, it's the air we breathe. And until we start to look at it and notice how these systems and ways of thinking are affecting us, we find ourselves with money tasks that we know we should be doing X or we should be doing y, but for some reason, we are not able to execute on what we know. And it's because all these factors are at play in the background with outside of our awareness. And they bring up things in us that need care so that they can shift and relax, so that we can have the clarity and the understanding, so that then when we go to do something and something is happening, that's preventing us from doing it with our money, we can notice. Oh, right, I'm noticing that I'm kind of stuck here and things aren't working.        


And it isn't. There's nothing wrong with me. It's not because I don't know what to do and I'm too stupid to do what I know what to do. It's actually because something's alive in me around this. Let me turn to that and see what's here and listen.        


And once we do this, then we get enough. What happens when emotions get high, in particular, is that we have less access to the functioning of our prefrontal cortex. And these are our executive functioning skills. I call it our CEO self. It's all the things you need to run a business and your life, but especially run a business.        


And when emotions are high, because the brain is a resource management or an energy management organ, if all the energy is going to emotion, then there isn't the energy needed for the CEO self. And when we can attend to the emotions, then we can. Attending to the emotions calls the CEO self into presence and into activity, and the balance shifts so that then we have more capacity and our CEO self takes the four and we can come back to the matter at hand. But if you haven't laid the groundwork for that, then you're not even aware. And what I really hate is how people crap on themselves when that's the case.        


Like, I'm such a dummy. I'm bad with numbers, I'm bad with money, I'm irresponsible, I'm immature, blah, blah, blah. These are all thoughts that are rooted in experiences with money, personal experiences with money and scarcity, but also social experiences with money, and beliefs about money, and common financial advice that we see online about money, right. That comes down in the individual in a harmful way. And we need to attend to that in order to be fully empowered in our relationship with money.        


And that's a perfect example of how money is the mushroom and all these other issues are. The mycelium organism living underground that needs space and care in order for us to be empowered with our money. Yeah, I can still relate. I've had those experiences where, you know, you should do something, but you just can't get yourself to do it, or you keep doing it the wrong way. And then, yes, you start to Shulamit yourself and look for evidence that I am not or I am XYZ.        


And I think my real question is, because I don't know that I've really met anyone in my experience who has a great, thriving, empowered relationship with money. And maybe it's just me, but at some point I questioned with the world the way that it is and the structures the way that they are. Is it really possible to get beyond this and have that kind of a relationship with money? Oh, yes, it absolutely is. I would say so.        


I have dyscalculia, which is like dyslexia, but with numbers, and is greater than that. I'm not formally diagnosed, so I won't use the diagnostic term, but I'm neurodivergent, which leads to all kinds of specific learning disabilities around numbers. And because of that, with money. And I remember the day I figured out that I wasn't bad with numbers, and I wasn't bad with money that I had learning. That was the term at the time, learning disabilities, like, so it wasn't my fault.        


And then the next thing that came was this whole idea of bad with money. This, to this day, still steams my shorts. When I was a kid, I had two brothers, and we were given allowances, and I was expected from my allowance to buy things like deodorant and tampons, and my brothers were not. So I didn't have much money left over from my allowance, so I didn't have disposal. So then I was often wanting things I couldn't have because my allowance wouldn't cover because I was paying for these other things.        


And the family message around that was, you're bad with money. You just spend too much money. You're too spendy. And the other message was, because I could never. To this day, I still can't balance a checkbook.        


And I grew up in the era where there were checkbooks and you had to do. There weren't ATMs and debit cards, and I could never balance a checkbook, but it was because I needed different ways of doing things because I had learning disabilities. But those two messages, and when I saw how deeply they had impacted my beliefs about myself and my capacity with money, my relationship to money completely, well, I should say my relationship to myself around money shifted completely. And what I'm really excited about now is, like. I mean, this is a bit.        


In French, we say Sepati de Beretel, like, bragging on myself. But I have got my shit together around money, both personally and in my business, every bookkeeper I relate to, they're like, oh, you have to. When I go to talk to an accountant and I talk about, I've never been behind with CRA, that's a whole story, how I'm so afraid of CRA. I used to be a translator. We had the big contract at the translation company, and I translated a lot of tax court judgments, and I saw what CRA did to the little people.        


So I'm, like, in fear. So I've always been paid up and, like, my shit is together. But it would not be except for the fact that I have a better relationship with my. I don't have Shulamit anymore, I should say, to the degree that I used to, because Shulamit is paralyzing, right? You just collapse in the face of Shulamit.        


And that certainly was my case. So now when I have Shulamit, like, it's maybe 10% instead of 90 and I can care for myself and care for that Shulamit so that when it comes up, I can do that and then return to my money stuff and my shit is together. And I'm so proud of myself for this because of the work that it took to do it. And because it flies in the face that anyone and everyone has said to me all my life about me and numbers and money. And I do think, and I've witnessed the transformation occurred for me as a result of my training with the trauma of money.        


I'm a certified trauma of money facilitator. But almost more than 1000 people have gone through that program now. And every last one of them will tell you a similar story about the shift in their relationship with money. And their money stuff might not be where they want it to be because there are a lot of social factors that play a role in that, right? Like privilege and access to money and all those kinds of things.        


It's not a question of having money. It's a question of how are you with your money? And these people will tell you that it is possible to go through the growth process that makes it possible for you to have that kind of relationship that you would like with your money stuff. Whether your money stuff is quote unquote good or quote unquote bad, 100% it's possible. I love that.        


And I like the reframe you did there where it was. It's not necessarily always my relationship directly with money. It's my relationship with myself. And money. To me, that was a big aha moment for me.        


It was like, oh, wait a second, I'm turning outwards to money instead of turning inwards to myself and how I care for myself related to it. And I think that just that distinction there was really powerful for me, and I'm sure it will be for the listeners. So as we go through this process of uncovering the Shulamit, the trauma, the challenges that we faced both internally in our experiences in our life, but also societal. Are there key steps, key things, key takeaways or learnings that we have to go through in order to get to that place, aside from acknowledging and caring for the Shulamit? Well, I think actually I'd like to unpack caring for the Shulamit a little bit because I do think that that's, like, the key in the trauma of money.        


The first question we ask is, whose Shulamit is this? And as a therapist who used to work with survivors of domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse and sexual assault, we know that many folks who've been harmed carry the Shulamit of the harm that was done to them when the Shulamit rightly belongs on the person who harmed them. And part of healing from the Shulamit of those things is putting the Shulamit where it belongs and saying this, I might be feeling Shulamit, but it's not mine. There's nothing wrong with me. And similarly with money.        


Shulamit is such a big feature of how, again, capitalism, how we're taught under capitalism, but also how traditional financial advice is given. And it's proliferating online right now, which really kind of, and I find it very shamy because it's not that they're on purpose out to Shulamit, but rather they're giving things that for, like, again, it's like the pop psychology advice, right? But it really has to be applied with a teacher and with nuance. And so I see these people saying these things that just aren't going to work for me. I feel a little every time.        


And to be able to say to myself, whose Shulamit is this? Whose Shulamit is this? Or I was in a class yesterday and somebody was talking about the reason people get in debt is that they spend too much. And I went, because that really hit this old message about you're too spendy. And sometimes when all the cash you have goes to rent, groceries, go on your credit card, and sometimes, like for, during COVID for many folks, I'm imagining, or your line of credit, debt is neutral.        


It's morally neutral. But we are Shulamitd over and over and over again in a culture where many people are underemployed and are under earning not because of their own capacity, but because of systemic barriers and as a result, are in debt because of the way the whole world is set up, that their choices are limited and they're working to survive. And so debt is the way they ensure theirselves their own and their family's survival. Right? But every time I'm vulnerable to that message around debt and you're too spendy.        


And then I hear the financial advice and I go, you know, today I saw. Right. So the very first step is to go, wait a minute, wait a minute. Whose Shulamit is this? And to begin to understand.        


This is where education can really help to begin to understand the systems and structures in place that want you to feel Shulamit around your money because it serves them that you do. And so first question, whose Shulamit is this? And it's not mine. It goes out there. And then to begin to understand, it's one thing to say it, but when you begin to put the pieces together and see that it's really what you're feeling is a result of all this external stuff that's meant on purpose to make you feel this way and that it's not your Shulamit.        


Right. There can begin to be a little bit of breathing space there. Yeah. So that's what I would offer. I love that.        


And I think there's these contradictions, right? People will talk about debt in this negative way. You're in debt as a bad thing. But then when we look at what we would deem the most successful people in the world and how much cash they actually have compared to the debt they carry, it's looked at very, oh, that's smart business, I think. We love to just make things black and white and label.        


Right. That's good business versus that's debt. And everyone has their own experience and their own needs, and we all have to find ways to make things happen. So I love the idea of just, like, taking the weight of that other person or other being or other things Shulamit and putting it away and taking a look at it from a distance. So for those of us who are in the throes of either starting into entrepreneurship or have been for a while and are looking to build that personal board of directors to find someone supportive who can hold space for us, where can we find more from you?        


Well, my website is Shula CA, and I would invite folks in particular to check out my podcast, Shula CA podcast. That's where I share information in depth, like we talked about here. And you can consume it on the fly while you're in your ear, while you're doing dishes or driving the car, because there's so much else going on in your life. And I would love for folks to engage that way. And if you want to find me on Instagram and talk to me in the DMS about what you hear on my love.        


Love. That's the thing I love about social media, is the social aspect. So feel free to DM me. I'm the entrepreneur's therapist on Instagram. Amazing.        


I've learned so much. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders, both in terms of just seeing entrepreneurship for what it is, a really hard challenge that we all have to face. But also in this talk about Shulamit and kind of both from the entrepreneurship side of the struggle and the Shulamit we feel about struggling, but also on the side of money as well, I feel a sense of relief, and I'm sure the listeners do, too. So thank you so much for today's conversation. You're welcome.        


Really, that's my greatest wish, is that folks would feel that sense of relief that there's nothing wrong with them. It matters so much to me because entrepreneurs are my peeps and I want them to flourish. And when we can remember that there's nothing wrong with us, then we can flourish. I love that. Amazing.        


Thank you so much. Thanks, Mickey. You did it. You finished another episode of the Hustle Less Profit, more podcast. Season two has been brought to you by content at Scale.        


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Now join us again next time to uncover more of the keys to defining and achieving success on our terms. Thanks for listening.