This week I have another amazing guest, life coach and nurse anesthetist extraordinaire, Brig Johnson.
Brig is a leader in her work as an anesthetist and as a life coach. In both settings, she uses courage and bravery to put her fears and doubts aside and be there for her patients and clients. She has taken risks that leave her visibly shaking, but continues to show up and stand up for her beliefs.
I think we can all learn a lot from Brig’s courage. As she says, to be a leader you have to get comfortable with other people’s discomfort. It’s about learning to cultivate the willingness to experience all the emotions, get it wrong, and have your own back.
Listen in as Brig and I discuss how her leadership skills in the hospital transfer into her coaching career and how having the discipline for self-care allows her to show up as a strong leader. She pulls back the curtain on some of the risks she’s taken lately and how even though a leader appears brave, they can still be shaking with fear.
Check out the video of our conversation below!
What you will discover
- Why leadership is about putting your own fears and doubts aside.
- How Brig prioritizes self care so she can show up as a leader.
- The skills Brig uses in the hospital that transfer into her work as a coach.
- How Brig reacted to George Floyd’s murder and what it inspired her to do.
- Why the willingness to experience emotions is a sign of true leadership.
- Why learning to love the good, bad, and ugly parts of yourself makes you more compassionate.
Featured on the show
You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode number 330.
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Brooke: Well hello, my friends. Welcome to the podcast today. I have another amazing guest today. Brig Johnson. Welcome, Brig, to the podcast. I’m so happy that you’re here. And we are going to talk about leadership. But mostly, we’re going to talk about leading when you’re afraid.
I have witnessed Brig lead through some pretty scary things recently. We’ve been through some pretty scary things recently, so I’m excited for her to share what her experience was like doing that. But first, welcome to the podcast, and maybe you could just tell us a little bit about you.
Brig: Hi, well first of all, thank you so much. This is one of those surreal moments. I listen to you every Thursday, so yeah. I’m Brig Johnson. No, it’s not short for anything. It is Brig Johnson. I say that all the time because that’s a common thing, “Is it short for something?” No. And I work with high-achieving Black women, helping them become unfuckwithable…
Brooke: Which I love. What does that mean to you? What does unfuckwithable mean?
Brig: In a sense, it just means that I help women take their power back and realize and put their power in a way that serves them, as opposed to being triggered by outside circumstances, whether it be work, kids, family life, all the circumstances that drain our energy.
Brooke: Love it. Okay, so that’s your coaching business, but you have a little other, just a small other career that you’re doing fulltime. Do you want to tell us a little bit about that too?
Brig: Right, yes, I’m a nurse anesthetist. So, I’m the person who decides whether you’re going to go to sleep, not go to sleep. And a lot of people say, you know, you make money to put people to sleep. I tell people all the time, no, anybody can put you to sleep. I make money to wake you up.
Brooke: Oh my god, that just freaked me out when you said that. Okay, so you said anesthetist…
Brig: Or nurse anesthesiologist.
Brooke: Okay, so basically, when people go in for surgery, you put them to sleep and you wake them up. Which I feel like, in and of itself, requires a lot of courage, right? I would think it would, but I’m guessing. Tell me how that job is for you and how maybe you use your leadership in that position as well.
Brig: Yeah, I think the first time that you’re actually, when you get out of training and you’re actually the person at the head, responsible for a patient’s anesthetic, that can kind of be freaky. Like, oh my god, yeah. I think, for me, it is always, when you’re responsible for a patient, there is a lot of courage in that, in the fact that you have self-responsibility of, like, I am diligently thinking about what’s going on with the patient, as opposed to thinking about what’s going on with me. No matter what’s going on with me, I have to put that aside to worry about where I’m at, to be there for my patient.
Brooke: That is so good. Because that is leadership, right? I mean, that is putting aside your own doubt, fears, concern. I mean, I’m speaking for myself so many times, when I’ve been expected to lead or wanted to lead, that has been the secret. So, you’ve had a lot of practice with that. Now, you’re in a – I’m trying to picture you at work. So, you’re in like a surgery room?
Brig: An OR.
Brooke: Oh, an OR, yeah, sorry. You’re in an OR and it’s you can then you have maybe a surgeon in there with you. How many people are in that room?
Brig: If I’m in the OR, like, I do labor epidurals too because I usually work the labor deck. I love working with women. I absolutely love working with women. So, either I’m doing the epidural, or if I’m going for a C-section, if I have to go to sleep. So, in the operating room, there could be, like, five or six people in there.
Brooke: Okay, and then, do you feel like, in that situation, is it like a teamwork situation? Is there someone in charge? Tell me a little bit more about that.
Brig: Definitely a teamwork situation. But in a sense of also everybody knows their lane. Like, if it’s anesthesia-related, I’m in charge of that. If it’s related to the patient or the mother, then the obstetrician is in charge of that. If it’s getting things, then the circulator in the room is in charge of that. But we all work as a team also.
Brooke: I love that. Okay, so you’re in a situation, let’s talk about maybe a situation in the OR that would require you to step into leadership where you might be afraid. Can you give us an example of that and how you handle it?
Brig: Yeah, anytime I have a mother who comes in and it’s an emergency and we’re immediately going back. Like, I’m usually in my call room, and I’m in my call room watching TV or whatever and I get the phone call. We have a stat, yada-yada, you know, they say the words and I’m meeting them in the OR. At that moment, my mind is going, “Okay, what is it did she eat?” Like, I’m going through the list of things.
Brooke: Right, because if she’s eaten – because normally, if you know you’re having surgery, you don’t eat. Okay, that’s interesting, that makes it a little bit more complicated.
Brig: Right, all the things. Is she allergic to – like I know, what are the priority things I need to know in order to put her to sleep in the safest possible way? I need to know what’s allergic to. Has she eaten? And some of the other stuff, it would be nice to know, but those aren’t needed to know so I can do that. So, I think, as far as the leadership, it’s like being able to prioritize what’s needed and what’s, like, nice to know, but I don’t really need that right now. What do I need to make the next step, to take the next action?
Brooke: So, here’s what I love about this. Because I think, a lot of times, when we’re teaching on leadership, or even crisis management, one of the things we say, this isn’t life or death. It’s going to be okay. But really, you are dealing with someone’s life, life or death.
So, I’m trying to imagine you, let’s say, you’re having a problem at home or you’re having an argument with one of your friends or your kid or something and you’re in there and you’re kind of in that moment, maybe feeling bad for yourself, feeling sorry for yourself, whatever. How do you shift out of that to be able to focus on your job as a leader, which I love the way you said this, requires you to focus on the people that you’re leading and the people who have entrusted you with their care? Is it a conscious thing? Have you just lots of practice? Tell us a little bit so maybe we can borrow some of your techniques.
Brig: Right, I think before I found Self Coaching Scholars and the Model, it was an intention, but without a tool. Now I definitely have a tool. But there was always – knowing the responsibility, there was always a commitment for me to getting adequate rest. Like, if I was going out the night before, I was in bed at nine. That’s an intention.
Self-care is intentional for me because it helps me show up for work. Because I can’t go to work sleepy or sick or whatever. The chances of me being able to call in sick isn’t as easy for me as someone else because then they have to get someone else to cover my shift, so just all of the things, the self-care thing is a priority for me.
Brooke: I love that you said that. I think so many times, when I talk about self-care, people think that that’s an indulgence. They think, like, “I don’t have time for that,” or, “That’s not that important.” And I’m trying to imagine, especially the stress that is required for your job and the priority that you are as sharp as you can possibly be and as well-rested as you can possibly be. It’s like, your sleep isn’t negotiable. It’s not like, “Come on, just stay up and watch this movie with us,” or, “Let’s just have a drink,” or whatever. So, I think that discipline of self-care really sets you up to be such a good leader. I love that.
Okay, so now, let’s talk about how you’ve been able to take these leadership qualities that you have at the hospital, and ho you’ve brought them into your coaching practice. One of the things – and I want to talk about your work with your clients as well, but one of the things that you did is you really stepped up as a leader during COVID. So, I’d like you to tell us a little bit about how that experience affected you, finding out the news of COVID and all of that, how your brain reacted, and how you were able to kind of take that opportunity to really become a leader in your own right in that industry. So, can you talk a little bit about that?
Brig: Yeah, I think for me, like everybody else, when COVID first hit, first I was like, “This is no big deal.” I’m a nurse. I’ve been through everything. This is no big deal. And then, I started looking at it and then it became a big deal. And my brain went on overload. I think it hit every lightbulb there was as far as excitement.
And then, I went into – you know how Brené Brown talks about overachieving or underachieving? I totally went into over. I was going to be the leader of the CDC and the WHO and everything. I devoured…
Brooke: You were going to take over.
Brig: Yeah, I was going to take over. I was expecting the president to call me at any moment and ask him – that’s how I was preparing – ask me his – and finally, when you show up that way, you don’t know that that’s the way you are. But when your friends – you can tell by how people react to you. And my friends were, like, giving me the cold shoulder because I was putting out stuff and sending them stuff. And then I realized, “Wait a minute, I am totally circling the toilet bowl.” I’m, like, circling, and had to realize, my thought is this shouldn’t happen, and I just felt totally out of control…
Brooke: And so, you went to try to control everything. I can relate.
Brig: Yeah, I was overcompensating, like I’m going to control everything and everybody. And that wasn’t working either because all I needed was more information and more information, and no one was listening to me. My phone wasn’t ringing.
Brooke: You’re like, “I’m available.”
Brig: No one was asking my opinion. In fact, my friends were like, “We don’t want your opinion.”
Brooke: Oh, that’s interesting. Let’s pause and talk about that for a minute because I have that tendency as well. It’s kind of like, “Here are your two options…” all or nothing thinking, right? It’s either you crawl in a hole and under your covers and turn on Netflix and wait for it all to go away, which many of us are tempted to do. And then the other one is, “Wait, I’m in charge. I’m responsible for everyone and everything and I need to make this all better.”
So, I can relate to that. And I think probably other people listening can too. So, neither one of those worked very effectively, so it sounds like you were able to kind of get – I mean, I know you were able to get back into the middle. So, how did you figure that out?
Brig: I used my skills and my tools that we’ve learned and just totally say, as a reflection from my friends, like, “Oh, this isn’t serving me,” and then just realized how this is feeling. I had the news on 24/7. Now, I went from – I haven’t watched the news since 2016 and I went from not watching the news to having it on 24/7 because I had to be prepared for the phone call that never was going to come.
I can laugh about it now, but that is totally the way I was showing up, and it just wasn’t serving me and it felt horrible. So finally, I just had to decide, like, this isn’t going away and this feels horrible, so how do I want to think about this? And I just said, I’m going to do and control what I can and then the rest of it, I’m going to let go. And that was is.
Brooke: I find that challenging, to let go of what I can’t control, especially if it’s something that needs to be made better, that needs to be fixed. I feel like especially type-A overachievers, we want to solve everything. We feel like we’re not doing enough. This goes back to that whole idea of self-care. It’s like, if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we certainly can’t control the entire universe. And trying to control the entire universe is the opposite of trying to take care of ourselves.
Brig: Exactly, and for me, it was the thought of, who was I to say that we weren’t supposed to be in a pandemic right now? Once I let go of that, “We’re not supposed to be in a pandemic,” like, who said that? Where did that thought come from? This isn’t the first pandemic, and it’s like, “Oh, it’s 2020, we shouldn’t be having pandemics anymore.” And I was like, oh that’s the thought…
Brooke: Yeah, because it’s arguing with what is, right? And so, there’s so much resistance there.
Brig: Right, so once I let go of that, then it was, “Okay, I see what I’m doing.”
Brooke: So, tell me about the group you decided to create during that time.
Brig: I decided to create a group because I saw what I went through and I was like, you know, I haven’t gone on the other side of that. I was like, my mind was a mess. So, I’m a coach. I’m a coach at heart. So if I went through that and I’m a coach, then I know other people are doing it.
So, I just literally got a couple of my friends together who were coaching and said, “We need this. Are you in or are you not? This is my vision. Let’s create a space where people can go to, to just come in and get help and we can just talk.”
Brooke: And do you know what I love so much about this, and I’ve heard so much great feedback from so many of your colleagues saying how important that was and meaningful that was for them. Now, the way that you’re describing it seems like, “Oh, I just asked some friends if they wanted to put a group together.”
But it’s kind of like going from the difference between, “I’m going to talk to the president and tell him how to handle this,” versus, “Wait, maybe I can’t do that. But maybe what I can do is put a group of women together and we can all talk about what we’re all going through collectively, and what an enormous impact that has, even though it seems comparatively small when you come out of your, “I’m going to save the world,” to, “Well maybe I’ll just have some friends talk regularly.”
Brig: Right, exactly, it goes from trying to control everything to figuring out what it is I can control. And then putting all of my energies in that. Like, this is where I can do it. So, it gave me a sense of purpose and direction. So, it’s like, “We can totally do this.”
So, we formed the Coaches of Color collective because we were all Black women, and I knew my community, our community, needed a voice that looked like us. And so, we created it. And then we were going to dissolve it, but it’s like, “No, don’t dissolve it.” So, we’ve continued on and now we talk about different topics. We just talk once a month and it’s been a group that’s steadily growing, but it came from that. It’s kind of like Nightline. Remember Nightline was the, “They, such and such and such of the Iranian…” Most people don’t even remember that, but I’m old enough to remember that.
Brooke: Yeah, I am too. So, here’s what I love about this. and I think this is a really important message of leadership, especially right now when so many of us tend to feel hopeless, is that if you try to do too much and be too much and control everything, your effect as a leader is the exact opposite, right?
What you said was everyone kind of ran away from you. Nobody was calling you. But then, when you decided, “Hey, I can contribute in this smaller way with this group and listening and talking and having a conversation,” that’s when you really emerged as such an amazing leader, even though it may seem at the time, even when you were saying, I don’t think in your mind you were like, “Well I need to lead. I shall be the leader right now.” That wasn’t the approach.
And that’s how most great leadership comes to be, is out of service, right? You weren’t getting paid for this. This was taking your time. You already have two fulltime jobs and this was something that – I thought about this a lot afterwards, how it really created – it’s kind of like you were on everybody’s tongue kind of. And when people were talking to me, they were like, “Oh, talk to Brig. Brig is the one to talk to. She can help with this.”
And then, when we moved into right after George Floyd’s death and all of the protests were happening and there was a lot of need for leadership within our community and I wasn’t stepping up as a leader, I was really unsure about how I was going to lead there, you really emerged again as a leader in that environment. So, it’s kind of like you just can’t help yourself. You’re just amazing.
Brig: I really do believe, if I hadn’t have done it with the COVID first, I wouldn’t have done it with the George Floyd murder.
Brooke: Interesting. So, tell me about that. Tell me what happened for you that you felt compelled to kind of step up and step in for many of our students.
Brig: I think again, the same thing, which was I saw me, I saw how I handled it. I didn’t stay there as long this time because, with COVID, I was, again – with the George Floyd murder, there was probably about three or four days when I was in total, “What the heck is going on?” And then when I figured out what, again, that one thought that was keeping me encircling. Which for me was looking at other people and going, “We’re never going to get out of this because no one else sees this,” and feeling so alone and feeling the need for other people to show me that they feel the same way.
I kind of likened it to – I didn’t think about it until recently, it’s like 9/11 happened, and then everybody just went along with their life and no acknowledgement of it. It wasn’t on that same scale, but to me, that’s the way it felt. Like, something pivotable happened and nobody ever really acknowledged it. So, it felt that way.
And so, for me, again, it was about what do my people need? Like, if I’m like this, what do my people need? What is needed? And for me, it was like, we need all the coaches out there helping the Black community. Like, so that’s why I was like, “Okay, look, Brooke’s not calling the meeting. That’s fine. I know we need to come together, get a clean mind, so we can go out and talk to our community. We’re the answer.” That was my thought.
Brooke: Yeah. The way that I kind of saw it happen – for me, it was very meta, right – is like you kind of looked to me or to other people to lead, and when we weren’t leading, instead of you getting mad or upset, you said, “Well then I’m going to lead. I’m going to do this.”
And that must have been challenging and scary and all of the things. Because I think a lot of us have these moments in our lives where we have an opportunity to – the way that I describe it, and you can tell me what you think – it’s like an opportunity to take that risk of exposure, but also greatness. There’s that moment where it’s like, “Okay, am I going to step into this and risk failing in that opportunity?” So, what was that like for you personally?
Brig: It was like once I got clean on where I wanted to go and what needed to happen – and actually, you weren’t even an issue. I didn’t even think about it. But when I wrote the post and then hit send, my brain is going, “Now, should you? This may not turn out the way you want to.” It was literally saying no.
I was like, ‘Okay, well, we’re going to do it anyway.” Because I felt strongly that this is what needed to be done. So, I hit send and I literally visibly shook for about three hours.
Brooke: I think that actually is the most important thing that we can share for anyone. Because I think when we’ve witnessed – so what we’re talking about if you made a post in our Slack channel to all of our coaches that was really helping them and saying, like, “This is what we need to be doing right now and this is how we need to be using the Model.”
And I think a lot of people would see that as, “Oh my gosh, look at how strong she is. Look at how confident she is. Look at how bold she is to be able to kind of step in, in this leadership role.” And I think people sometimes misunderstand that sometimes, when you’re leading that way, that’s the last thing you’re feeling.
Brig: I was not feeling that way at all.
Brooke: you were feeling very afraid. And so, I think sometimes when we look at leaders, we think, “Oh, it must be so nice to be a leader. It must be so great to be in charge. It must be nice to be the one that everyone’s going to for help.” And I do think, in some ways, it’s amazing. But the shaking part, it’s just a constant companion, isn’t it?
Brig: Yes, and I thought about that. I was like, yeah that happens to me in my other fulltime job, right? In anesthesia, there are times when it’s a scary situation. And I am all hands on deck. But once everything slows down, there’s visible shaking because of the adrenaline, because of whatever. So yeah, that is the normal part of it.
But when I’m in that situation, I don’t say I shouldn’t be shaking. But in the other situation, we think, “Oh no, I shouldn’t be.” But no, whenever you’re doing something that’s uncomfortable, there can be the shakes.
Brooke: And, I mean, I think in this situation for sure, I feel from my perspective that it just really catapulted you into an amazing mentor leadership position among your peers and among all of the coaches. It just established so much leadership.
But there are times when we’ll take risks that won’t turn out so wonderfully and so beautifully. And so, I’m curious what you would say about had the experience not turned out so well, is the shaking worth it? Is the being afraid and taking the risk worth it? Why or why not, do you think?
Brig: Oh, totally worth it. I think the one thing that allows me to stand up is my willingness to have my own back. I create my own soft place to land. I’m like, “Okay, that one didn’t work. You failed on that one. Okay. Human experience, let’s go…”
Brooke: So, tell me about the soft place to land. Because I think it sounds lovely, but that’s a challenging thing to do for yourself, so tell me what that’s like.
Brig: For me, it’s accepting the other 50. Like, we’re okay with the good 50. But it’s really…
Brooke: Yes, that worked out…
Brig: Right, yes. But it’s like, am I going to have my own back when the other 50 hits? Like, when it doesn’t, what am I going to say about myself? What’s allowed? What’s not allowed? How am I going to talk to myself? How am I going to feel about myself? Am I going to – like, humiliation, that’s a feeling most of us don’t want to feel or shame. But I know I’m doing it and feeling it because of a thought. But yet, at the same time, I’m still allowing myself to feel it and not make it mean anything about me.
Brooke: Yes, I think that right there is the true sign of true leadership. When I’m coaching students or working with students or watching and admiring students like you step into those leadership roles, what I can see is the willingness to experience all of the emotions and the willingness to get all of it wrong and experience shame and experience, like you said, humiliation or failure or whatever it is, and know that you have your own back and that you’ll take care of yourself through that.
And because you’re willing to do that, then you have the opportunity to shine, the opportunity to win, the opportunity to kind of catapult yourself into the next version of yourself. But you also are paying for that. The way that I like to describe it is the currency for that is the willingness. And that is not fun, but…
Brig: It wasn’t.
Brooke: So, so worth it, right? So worth it to be able to say – well before we started this podcast, I had said to you, “Are you excited about talking about leadership?” And you said you hadn’t, up until this point, really seen yourself in that light. And I think that’s so fascinating, right? Because what it truly means for you to be a leader and to kind of step into that role for yourself required a lot of risk.
Brig: Yeah, for sure, because it was a group of peers and I was, you know, calling out and directing. And there’s this thought in my mind, like, who are you?
Brooke: Who the heck do you think you are? I say that to myself all the time.
Brig: Right, but when you’re in doing something different like that, that thought comes with it. It doesn’t go away. That thought comes with it.
Brooke: It’s so true. And I don’t know why, but I just feel like our brains are, like, they come preprogrammed to hold us back, which I feel like is kind of a bummer. It’s kind of like, “Are you sure you want to do that? Are you sure that’s… Isn’t it better just to go tuck into the covers? Shouldn’t you just go hide? You don’t need to bring this to yourself.”
But then what I see happen is that people will see you maybe a year from now, three years from now, kind of in a more leadership role and a more senior role, more successful role, because of all these risks that you’ve taken in your own life, and they’ll think, “Oh, that must be nice.”
Brooke: “It must be nice to be able to be extroverted,” or just have a very charismatic personality, when it takes away from all of the work that you’ve done to kind of build that up. So, I love the way you share that experience. So, remember that, everyone, when you take those risks, you’re going to be shaking, like physically, literally shaking.
Brig: For three hours.
Brooke: For three hours, right? So, let’s talk about – you’ve been doing a lot of coaching with women leaders who are also going through what everyone else is going through in the world and they’re all scared. What are some of the things that you’ve been coaching them through and talking to them about and maybe you can just share with us what are some common issues that you’re seeing that prevent people from stepping into their own personal leadership?
Brig: I think that willingness to fail, that is huge, and not having their own back. I think that’s one of the biggest things, is we have a tendency to beat ourselves up, and we think beating ourselves up is the way. And I don’t care how many times you say, “No, that’s not the way,” producing more shame, producing more of those negative emotions never works. It just never works.
Brooke: Yeah, and the other thing that I’ve seen too is this idea that we have to have everybody supporting us and liking us. And what I know personally, and I know you know this too, is when you are going to stay true to yourself, there’s no way that everyone is going to like you because everybody’s different. And so, when you choose your values and your approach and your direction, there will be people that are not going to like it.
Brig: Yeah, I call it being comfortable with other people’s discomfort.
Brooke: That’s good.
Brig: Yeah, like we really have to be comfortable as leaders, to be comfortable with other people’s discomfort. Like, there’s discomfort.
Brooke: That’s interesting. And they want to tell you that you’re doing it wrong. And I always say it like this, “Listen, I’ve been telling myself this for my whole life, and then when you say it, I really, really, really want to believe you. But in order for me to emerge past this level of doubt, I can’t believe you. I can’t believe all the negative things that you’re saying about me.
And that, I think that goes back to what we were talking about, the courage that is required to lead through fear. And that leaders are not, ever, I think, are we not afraid, right? I feel afraid a lot of the time. I also just feel courage as well. Is that your experience as well?
Brig: I think for me, it’s courage, but it really is because there’s a love for the people that I’m serving. That’s the thing that propels me more than anything, if I’m in anesthesia, it’s for the patient. If it’s coaching, it’s for whoever my clients are. Like, I just go all in on what is it they need and just forget about what it is.
But it also is kind of like an identity challenger, you know. It’s like that, who are you? Because if you’re leading, you’re going to another level and it’s like you have to break your current identity to go to the new one.
Brooke: Yeah, it’s like back to what you said, like, who do you think you are? You’re like, “I don’t know. I’m going to find out.”
Brig: Right, yeah. And then, of course, the people who were uncomfortable with you going in another level, you’re kind of like, “Yeah, I kind of agree with you, but yet I’m still going.”
Brooke: Yeah, I mean, that’s a skill, isn’t it? Like what you were saying, if I hadn’t done it with the COVID group, I don’t know that I would have done it with the Life Coach School group. It’s a skill that you can develop. And I think you take a risk for the sake of serving and leading another group, and when you see the benefit of that, it gives you a little bit more courage to do it again.
Brooke: A little bit more courage to do it again. And then the willingness to be afraid, which clearly you were – and not just be afraid in a resistance kind of way, but to allow yourself to shake, to allow yourself to experience that fear. Because if you push it away or you dismiss it, you can’t step up to lead.
Brig: Yeah, for me, it was really, like, do I really go in and do this? Because to me, it was almost like, “These are my peers. I’m getting ready to commit social suicide by saying that.” That’s how fearful it is. But at the same time, it’s like, you know it needs to be said. You know it needs to be done. You compel yourself to do it because of service. But yeah, it takes courage.
Brooke: So, the last question I want to ask you about, and then I want to hear a little bit about your practice and what you offer, but one of the things that I have learned recently, I think, is how important it is to know – I’m such a people-pleaser, so I want everyone to like me and I want everyone to be pleased with all of my choices.
And when you become a leader of a very large community and lots of followers, it’s impossible to be a people-pleaser to everyone, which is, I think, where my true evolvement is. So, how do you decide who to please? And for me, it’s always had to be, I have to find out what I truly believe and what I truly believe and what I truly value and what I can stand beside.
And then, if somebody hates me for what I believe or who I am, then I can live with that. It’s when I’m looking outside of myself to please everyone and I don’t stay true to myself, that’s when I have a really hard time. So, is that something you did consciously, really deciding, like, what is true for me right now? What do I believe?
Brig: Yes, for sure, what is true? What do I believe? I think your, since these are your podcast listeners, I think your Returning Models podcast, I had that on repeat every day for about two weeks. Like, literally, okay, the result line goes back to them. The F-line goes back to them. But they think – I can’t control what they think.
So, that is so ingrained in me. So, when I want to show up and I’m thinking of people-pleasing, then I’m like, “Oh, what I do only goes on their C-line. That’s it.” That’s the best I can do always.
Brooke: I love the way you said that. Everything I do can only go in their C-line. You mean we can’t control their feelings?
Brig: No, right? So, I literally have to, like, when I see myself going down – because I do, I go down, it’s like, “Oh, come on back over. Come on back. Come on back.” The best I can do is it goes on their C-line. After that, I have absolutely no control over it.
Brooke: Yeah, that’s so good. That is something we have to remember is – and one of my favorite things that goes kind of along with that is, I allow people to be wrong about me. And that’s okay. Like, when people have an opinion about me that I think is wrong, that’s okay. They’re entitled to their opinion.
And I can spend my life literally trying to change their opinion about me, but that doesn’t serve them, it doesn’t serve me, it doesn’t serve the world when I could be working with my clients.
Okay, so tell us a little bit about your coaching practice and your programs. So many people, it’s so interesting, I’ll talk to them and I’ll say, “Hey, how are you doing?” And, “Oh yeah, Brig coached me. I’m doing fine now. I got coached from Brig, everything’s good now. I had my session with Brig, now I’m good.” Like, what is she doing in there? What kind of sessions are you having?” So, can you tell us a little bit about what you do in your practice and what your coaching is like?
Brig: I don’t know why, but that word unfuckwithable just resonates with me. And it’s like standing in the storm and you just decide how you’re going to show up regardless. I think that’s our superpower. We just get to decide how we’re going to show up and put our power to that, no matter what’s going on.
And it really is – I don’t know, I love giving people back their power and showing them how they’re taking it away and then understanding, like, you have no control over that. So, I always look at it as they’re in a dark hallway and then there’s a door. And they come to the door with this little light.
And they see the first door and the door is bolted, chained, welded shut. But they’re sitting there going, “Open, open, open,” and using all of their energy to get that door open because that’s the only light that they have and that’s the only door.
Every day, they get up and they try to open up that door with just the tools that they have. And my thing is, let’s just take the flashlight and go down the hallway. There’s another door here that’s open. And it’s in the same direction. All of it opens to the same.
Brooke: Yeah, I love that. I think that that’s what coaching does. I come to a session with you and I just feel dark and afraid. And I’m sure that the world is out to get me and I’m sure that I’m never going to make it out. And it’s just simply, “Oh have you tried this door? Have you looked over here?” And it’s like, what? Oh my gosh, I didn’t even know that that was an opportunity or a possibility for me.
And I think one of the reasons why you’re such an amazing coach is because of all the work that you’ve done on yourself, of course. So, when someone comes to you, you’re like, “Oh no, I understand, I completely get it.”
Brig: That’s the unfuckwithable because I’m like, “Yeah, I’ve done it, all of the work.”
Brooke: Yeah, “I’ve done it so I know where you’re at and I know how to get out of there.”
Brig: And I want them to have the same, to feel the same by doing all of their work. So, they show up – I think our clients are going to change the world. I believe that. My job is just to give them and open up their space and their brain so that they can go change the world…
Brooke: And not sit in that call room, watching that TV and being like, “Oh, don’t call me because I’m too afraid. That’s too scary. That’s too big of a responsibility, to put that person’s life in my hands. When we start saying yes to those challenges, even though we’re scared, that is how we change the world, for sure.
Brig: Right, or sit at that same door because they want to make a difference, but that door is closed and welded. And like, no, it has to come with, “This is my only way. My husband is the only way. My job is the only way. My kids are the only way.” Like, all of those different things, it’s like, “No.”
Brooke: Yeah, there’s many other paths and many other things. And then thing about once you get locked in your own brain and you can’t see that just because someone else isn’t leading, you may see that as an obstacle, but really, that’s your opportunity and your chance for you to step up. When you look out in the world and you see what’s missing and what other people aren’t doing, that may be the opportunity for you to do it too.
Brig: Yeah, I think for me, it was because I’ve done all my work – I tell people, you’ve got to love yourself. You’ve got to love your good, your bad, and your ugly. We love our good. And some of us love our bad…
Brooke: It’s hard to love the ugly.
Brig: Very few of us love our ugly. And that’s the level that I want my clients to have. Because when you love your ugly and you learn to have compassion on yourself, you have compassion on others. So, it was – I didn’t have any judgment against you. I had compassion on where you were. It wasn’t even an issue.
Brooke: Yeah, it’s not about me. It was about you.
Brig: It was compassion, like, there was no judgment or anything. It was like, “Let’s go.”
Brooke: Yeah, and I think that that’s such an important lesson for all of us as we go through our lives, spending time being mad, condemning other people for not doing it, and we miss our opportunity for doing it. which I think you’re a beautiful example of that, for sure. Okay, so if people want to come work with you, what do they do? What’s our opportunity?
Brig: Right, yeah, I do one on one coaching. So, go to my website. There’s a schedule there to schedule a one on one mini-session. We’ll see if we’re a great fit…
Brooke: So, what’s a mini-session? So, if I go to your website and I sign up, what happens?
Brig: You’ll set up a time and we’ll talk. It’s a 60-minute call. I get real nosey. I love telling people that. Because as a nurse anesthetist, I ask all those questions to see if you’re okay to put to sleep. So, I get real nosey. I ask a lot of questions. We giggle. We laugh. And then we decide if we’re a good fit for one another.
Brooke: Okay, awesome. So, I can come sign up. That is free for me to have that session with you?
Brooke: Okay, and then if we decide this is a good fit, then is it a series of coaching sessions that I sign up for, or how does that work?
Brig: I like long-term. I want people wo are all in, who are like – usually they know the way they’ve been doing things is not working for them. They’re clear on that. There’s not, “I’m trying this…” or whatever. They know the way this is working hasn’t been working for them. So, I do six months one on one sessions.
Brooke: I love it. That’s so good. When people come and they’re like, “I just need a little quick session…”
Brooke: You could say yes, but you’re going to be back again next week. Because that brain, it needs constant…
Brig: I literally did that because, what’s the most useful thing I can do for my clients? And I just know that for me, it’s taken me six months to work through something at some times. Like, our brain, it just wants to keep going back. It’s like it needs a wheel alignment. You know when the car needs a wheel alignment and you get in and it just keeps going and you have to keep going…
Brooke: Yeah, just constantly adjusting to it, exactly.
Brooke: I love that. Okay, so tell us what your URL is so someone can go directly to your site if they’re interested in having a mini session with you.
Brig: It’s brigjohnson.com.
Brooke: Nice, and you can always go to the website if you want to see this on video, if you want to see our beautiful faces on video, you can go to the website to see it there. You can also get the link there. And that’s at thelifecoachschool.com/330. Thank you so much, Brig, for coming on. Thank you for being such an example of what is possible, such a leader in our community. I admire you so much. I can’t wait to see where we’re going to go from here too.
Brig: I know. Exciting. Courage, right?
Brig: The willingness to shake.
Brooke: Exactly, the willingness to shake. That’s how we’re going to define leadership. Alright, my friend, thank you very much. Take care.
Brig: Thank you. Bye.
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