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Episode 26: Playing Big: Pushing Back on the Culture That Raised You with Andrea Owen

Do you think BIG or are you like many who stay small not wanting to cause trouble or make noise? I've always thought of myself as someone who isn't afraid to ask for what I want but this interview made me realize how hard it was for me to push through cultural norms and a culture that taught me to just play "nice". I hope you learn as much as I did from this and that it helps you push forward and stand up for what you want and need in life.

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Brief summary of show:

This week on the podcast, I sit down with Andrea Owen, who is a global speaker, professional certified Daring Way™ life coach, and the best-selling author of 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life, How to Stop Feeling Like Shit and the just-released book Make Some Noise (TarcherPerigee, August 31, 2021).

Andrea has taught hundreds of thousands of women tools and strategies to empower themselves with unshakeable confidence to live their most kick-ass life.

Listen in as we talk about:

  • Why we play small

  • How to know if you’re playing small

  • Where’s the balance in playing small and big

  • How listen in and act on your intuition

  • Andrea’s story of hitting rock bottom and transforming her life

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Connect with Andrea

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Podcast Highlights:

[00:01:40] Why we play small

[00:03:57] The balance between playing small and big

[00:06:54] The power of your own intuition

[00:09:49] Hitting rock bottom and choosing to change her life

[00:16:39] Her new book 'Make Some Noise'

Full transcript of episode:

[00:00:00] Natalie: I'm Natalie tysdal a journalist who decided enough is enough. I left a career that looked glamorous to do what I was scared of doing, going out on my own. I'm a married working mom of three on this podcast. We're going to talk about issues that really matter. Why am I not sleeping? What's up with that diet everyone's talking about.

[00:00:19] Are my kids falling behind? How do I leave that job and start over? Welcome to the Natalie pistol podcast. I'm so glad you're here.

[00:00:30] Hi, everyone. I have a question for you. Are you playing small? Do you downplay your achievements and your knowledge because maybe you don't want to appear too confident? Well, it's something that people do and often they don't even realize that they're doing it. My guest today has a book titled make some noise.

[00:00:47] She has a history of hurt and fear that she's learned from, and now she's helping other people. So we're going to talk about. Why people play small, how it can bring you down both personally and professionally. And we're also going to talk about asking for what you want and knowing how to ask for what you want.

[00:01:04] And I want to be sure that you join the newsletter, jump on my website. There's so much that we're talking about that can help you with your family, your health and your mindset, but get ready to be inspired. As I talk now to Andrea Owen.


[00:01:20] Natalie: Andrea is joining me now. And thanks so much for taking the time. This topic, I think, applies to everyone, especially women, where we tend to play small. And I don't know why we play small. Like we should play really big. But what have you found in, in your background and your writing about playing.

[00:01:39] Andrea: Yes.

[00:01:40] Hello, Natalie. I'm so excited to jump into this topic. And I wanted to like, raise my hand when you were asking that question. I'm like, I know, I know why, and it could come from a few different factors. One of them being, perhaps the household that you grew up in, you know, maybe you were told not to be

[00:01:58] you know, don't be too ambitious.

[00:02:01] Don't brag too much. Don't be boastful like in some, in some families those are the virtues that are encouraged. And a lot of it really comes down to the culture that we were raised in. So I've been in the women's empowerment space for 14 years now and wrote two books and came to the conclusion a few years ago.

[00:02:18] And my intuition tapped me on the shoulder and said, like, I can't talk about this anymore. Whether it's in a book or, you know, publicly on stages without. Addressing sort of the elephant in the room. And that is the culture that raised us. Pretty much brings us up to feel fundamentally insecure from the get-go as little girls and also you know, to be as accommodating as possible to make everyone else more comfortable sometimes, you know, at the sake of our own comfort to prioritize everyone else too.

[00:02:50] The polite and kind and not speak up. Definitely don't make a scene. Don't rock the boat. And anytime we're, you know, when we're talking about playing big and I can give examples if that feels a little bit too vague, but a lot of times that requires rocking some boats. It requires speaking up and asking for everything you want and going after things that pushes back up against the culture that we were raised with.

[00:03:13] And it's, it's scary. It's scary. That's that's. So, let me

[00:03:17] Natalie: ask you, because I think I'm totally guilty of that. But in some ways I feel like that's made me a better journalist, like being able to do an interview, make sure the person is comfortable, make sure they know they can trust me at the same time, pushing just hard enough that you get good answers.

[00:03:34] You get real answers. You get to the truth. But I guess my question with this is where's the balance like we do. Ultimately, I try to teach my kids. I have two girls and a little boy, like you do want to, to have that humility and to not be the first to speak to listen before you speak all of those types of lessons that we, we want to teach, but how do you find the balance?

[00:03:57] Andrea: Yeah, it's tricky and it can be complicated. And I totally agree with you. Like I am by no means telling people, you know, flip tables and flip your boss off, you know, making noise is all about shouting from the rooftops and being demanding, like not at all, not at all. And, and I also think. It's it's, it's good to be kind and polite when it's appropriate, but finding that balance is all about looking at where are you stopping short in your life?

[00:04:28] Where are you hesitating? The harder questions because you think it might be a little bit inappropriate for a woman to ask it, where are you not negotiating a raise or bigger projects at work, or if you're a business owner, you know, raising your rates for the services that you provide, because you're worried about what people will think.

[00:04:47] There's, it's very nuanced. It's new, it's a nuanced conversation and there's a lot of gray area. And I just invite like bottom line. I invite people to get curious about where they think they're playing small in their. And why that's really, what I want to find out is. Okay,

[00:05:03] Natalie: so I have a question about that.

[00:05:05] How do you know if you're playing small? let me use myself as an example. I ventured out into this whole new world, right? I left my career in TV, journalism, and I'm thinking now, okay, I want to go big. I want my own platform, my own website, my own podcast, all of these things. Am I thinking big enough, like sometimes I don't, well, why am I doing that?

[00:05:27] What makes me any different than anyone else are those the limiting beliefs that you're talking about? Like how do people know if they're playing small? I

[00:05:34] Andrea: think if you were having those kinds of thoughts, it's definitely something to look into. Like, I can't give you a blanket. Yes or no. Like, I would need to know more about Your upbringing and like your ultimate goals and your why? Like, what is your purpose? Is it in alignment with that? Like what are your values? There's, there's a bunch of other things to think about too. And I think a lot of times our intuition tells us that tapping on the shoulder, It says, you know, this there's a difference between voice that tells you that you're not doing enough and many times that comes in motherhood.

[00:06:05] I think you probably have a lot of listeners who are mothers that were not doing enough as a volunteer at our kids' school. We're not doing enough around the house. If we're a working mom and we only work, part-time like maybe you could work full-time to bring in more of a financial contribution like that.

[00:06:19] Not enough is very different than the sort of gut pull. To do bigger things because they're meaningful to you.

[00:06:28] Natalie: love that. And that intuition boy, I have had to learn to listen to that intuition. If, for example, I know I'm in this job, I'm not happy. And I know people out there are listening and thinking the same thing.

[00:06:42] I'm uncomfortable. I really want to leave, but I'm not sure I can leave. What would that next thing be? If I left and listening to that intuition and acting on it, not being fearful of it.

[00:06:54] Andrea: That's so hard. Yeah. I I've written about intuition in all of my books because I think it's such a, an interesting topic and one that we could all use some practice on honing.

[00:07:06] And I want to just say very quick caveat. Some people have trouble listening to their intuition because of past trauma, which is something I wrote about in this last book. I won't get too far into that, but just, just wanted to acknowledge that. But for many of us, it's also. We don't listen to our intuition because to do so would require us to step massively out of our comfort zone.

[00:07:26] the two circumstances in life where people have the most examples is relationships, whether it's friendships, but mostly romantic relationships and jobs. I think most of the people listening can, can think of an example in their life where they've ignored their intuition. And eventually it catches up.

[00:07:44] Natalie: Any advice then on that you've written about that intuition. And I know it's a deep topic, I think you're right. And that is a future podcast I'm working on is dealing with someone might not even know they have past trauma. That's limiting them. So listening to that intuition, but any other tips on how do I listen to it?

[00:08:02] How do I act?

[00:08:03] Andrea: In order to hone it. Definitely. If I'm going to probably give people advice that they've already heard that maybe they bulk at, or just it's a bit on their, to do list for a really long time. And that is doing things that require you to be still and get quiet. It's mindfulness it's things like meditation, yoga being out in nature, going on, walks, journaling.

[00:08:21] Yeah, all these things that require us to slow down and actually prioritize that time to do. And it doesn't take it. Doesn't take a lot. I have a colleague who wrote a book called you have four minutes to change her life. And she re she encourages people to, to meditate for just four minutes a day. and I also believe that there's really an element of.

[00:08:40] Believing and accepting that you are the magic that you have this sixth sense that is there and learning how to trust it. And so I know that seems a little bit esoteric and woo, but I know for me, for the longest time I doubted my intuition. Ultimately, I didn't trust myself. I didn't trust that I could make the right decision.

[00:09:04] And I also, Natalie didn't trust that if I made the wrong decision, which we do that I would be okay. On the other side, I felt like, you know, it was going to be the disasters of disasters if I made the wrong choice. And it was, so it was building that resilience to have more confidence that I would be okay if things didn't work out because.

[00:09:26] Natalie: Yeah, that is that's powerful. It's so true. We don't make a decision because we're afraid we'll make the wrong decisions and you just have to jump. You just have to do it. And then exactly what you said, deal with it. You'll be okay. You'll learn from it. That's really great advice. when did this happen for you?

[00:09:42] Like what's your story? And writing the books and finding, finding this place to play big. And when did you. Well,

[00:09:49] Andrea: I did not come out of the womb wise. I sort of have joke that, you know, I'm a gen X or that like grew up very emotionally illiterate, but always, always was a seeker.

[00:10:00] And was always that kid who was like, I would definitely point out that the emperor has no clothes, but didn't grow up in a family where it was encouraged, this isn't to blame and shame my parents. They were wonderful. Parented with the tools that they had. And so I was married before and I was in a marriage where we were discussing conceiving.

[00:10:18] Our first child we'd been together for 13 years. At that point, since we were teenagers and my husband at the time had an affair with her neighbor and got her pregnant. And it was sort of his way of telling me he wanted a divorce. Like he had also lied to his girlfriend and told her that we were divorcing, which wasn't true.

[00:10:32] And so it was a disaster. It was, it was dramatic and traumatic. And so he filed for divorce. And then I met someone who was great, who had terminal cancer, unfortunately, and was in a relationship way too soon with him. And it turns out fast forward. Almost a year later, I found out that he had lied about having terminal cancer was not sick, but he was a prescription pill, drug addict, and had lied about having cancer to cover that up.

[00:10:58] And then I found out that. It had lied about everything that he, that I was pregnant with his child, and he went away to rehab and he met another addict and fell in love with her and we broke up. So that was my rock bottom moment. And I know that's a lot to unpack. That's a lot. It was a lot in a short amount of time.

[00:11:17] And so I, it was literally like on the floor, in the fetal position. I know for a lot of people it's like on the bathroom floor for me, I was in my bedroom on the phone with my sister. And just thinking to myself, like I had a quiet moment. It was almost a spiritual experience where I thought, okay, this is it.

[00:11:34] This is where I changed my life. And I. Could no longer blame or count on other people to fulfill my happiness. I knew at that moment I was responsible for my life. And it's not to say the two men that I was with, you know, they did some pretty awful things to me, but ultimately I was responsible for the healing.

[00:11:55] I was responsible for the self-awareness I was responsible for really just radical accountability and responsibility. So that's how I came to this.

[00:12:05] Natalie: Did it happen pretty quickly then did you pick yourself up and say, I'm going to, I'm going to write about this. I'm going to change everything or how, how quickly did it happen?

[00:12:14] Where did you find? I mean, we find motivation sometimes out of our most desperate moments we write, we hope that we do. I know a lot of people wait for that, but how did it ultimately happen then?

[00:12:26] Andrea: I think being pregnant with my first child was also part of the catalyst of like, I need to, I need to get my life together.

[00:12:32] Like one of those moments, I went to therapy and I had been in therapy before, but I had always kind of only given it 50%. I was very much in that like codependent mindset of this is an other people problem. Like if other people would just get their selves together, my life is going to be easier.

[00:12:51] And so it was the first time. 100% open to my I don't want to say flaws, but like my shortcomings, you know, the ways where I was not thinking right where I was not behaving. Right. And w I was very open to looking at ways where I could heal instead of just trying to slap a bandaid on things. Cause that's what I had been doing for so long.

[00:13:15] And it was incredibly humbling. It was. Still, you know, and I'm 15, 16 years out, still so hard to walk through. Sometimes, you know, trauma therapy is no joke, but you have to be able to be willing to do that shadow work as we call it in our, in our field. If you're also going to do the light.

[00:13:36] Natalie: Wow. Do you think that most people find that encouragement through other people or through therapy?

[00:13:44] I mean, I hear that a lot from others is I needed to have therapy and you know, I'm a gen X-er too. And I feel like growing up therapy was like, oh, you have a problem. You go to therapy. I try to tell my kids now and younger people I work with, like, it's like. any other yeah. It's high. Exactly.

[00:14:03] That's a great way to put it. It's like having the established relationship of someone who can help you with your mental health versus I've got a real problem. And now I've got to go have a major surgery to fix it or something like that. No, it's like your general care doctor, like just hygiene.

[00:14:19] Andrea: Exactly.

[00:14:19] And that's why I call it that. And I'm so glad that the attitude towards therapy has changed than it was when we were kids. And I truly believe, you know, millennials and gen Z. It is, it is different for them. And I am here for it. I'm so excited. But to answer your question, I felt like, and I do think that friends can be incredibly helpful for people going through difficult times.

[00:14:42] But I find it so supportive to have someone who's not emotionally attached. You know what I mean? Like, oh my goodness. I was going to point out my blind spots and from a nonjudgmental way, from a non-attached way. and sometimes it takes, take some time to find the right therapist.

[00:14:59] I've had some therapists that were not a great fit for me. I've hung on to therapists for too long where I knew it. Wasn't a great fit. Like you have to have this trusting relationship with the person who's helping you. And that's really when your life can change.

[00:15:13] Natalie: Yeah. Well, I'm glad that that helped you.

[00:15:15] And I encourage other people to do it too. And if you are a gen X-er or older, and you're like, yeah, I never really did that. I don't really know that. I need to just try it. You might be surprised of how it turns your life around. I mean, I think a lot of people in our generation are still a little reluctant and our parents' generation are like, yeah, I don't really need that.

[00:15:35] Just try it. You might

[00:15:38] Andrea: want to ask me one time in an interview. Like, do you think everyone needs therapy or do you think it's just for like a select few? And I said, no, I, I think everyone does you don't get to 25, 30 years old, completely unscaved somebody has hurt you. Something has massively disappointed you that has created these sort of like core wounds that you probably don't even realize are coming out in your relationships and in your.

[00:16:03] Natalie: And since we're talking about playing small or learning to play big, do you realize that might be, what's holding you back? That might be what is keeping you from doing these dreams that that might be in the back of your mind that you're not acting on? Right. So, okay. So let's go back to playing small, playing big, whenever you want to call it.

[00:16:23] W your, your book that you most recently wrote this past summer, it came out, I know is make some noise, right? Yes. Okay. So is that what it's about? Is it because I haven't read it yet. Looking forward to it, is it don't be afraid to do these things or.

[00:16:39] Andrea: Not necessarily. So I, I think we're all afraid. Does that make sense?

[00:16:44] And the, the benefit is that you just get really clear on what you're afraid of. So you can use some tools to, to bypass that unless you're getting chased by a bear or something like that, those are, that's a different fear and those are different tools, but make some noise is again, it's not about yelling or being.

[00:17:00] Overly aggressive or assertive. It's about pushing back on the culture that raised you and get what I want the reader to walk away with truly is that they get very curious about what their conditioning is versus what is their truth. And so that's a question I pose from the introduction of the book and pepper it throughout to ask yourself what is my conditioning versus what is my truth?

[00:17:23] So if you were like, Let's look at that example of you being at a job that you know, was, was not super fulfilling to you, but it probably looked really great on paper and people would think like, how on earth, why would you want to leave a job like that? You've built this career and your conditioning might tell you that your conditioning might say, you've spent all this time.

[00:17:42] You're great at what you do. You know, it's too risky to leave, to leave a job, especially in this economic climate. Your truth is. You want to leave your job to start something else like to fulfill you more. And so that's what I want people to ask themselves. Like when you hesitate to to fulfill a goal, when you hesitate to even write it down, that that's something that you might want to do when you are too afraid to have a hard conversation with your partner about the division of labor at home.

[00:18:12] What is your conditioning versus what is your truth? That's what I want people to slow down and think about even before they take action.

[00:18:19] Natalie: Yeah, And the first step, as you said, a moment ago is just having that stillness to be able to know what those truths are. Right. I mean, I have found myself in such a busy, crazy part of life, or I don't sit down and, and I better about it now, certainly of being still and knowing what my truth is and actually acknowledging what that is instead of just staying so busy that I don't have to think about that.

[00:18:45] Andrea: You know what I really feel like for women. I'll talk to that, to the women here for just a second, many of us, when we sit down and think about it, or we're asked powerful questions, we are afraid of our own power. We are afraid of. All the things that we could be doing half. And a lot of it is because it's been conditioned out of us and you know, like to be very ambitious, to play big, to take up a lot of space that is for boys and men and, and even like the most progressive women I've ever met, who you would never think would believe that it's it's, it's not that they think.

[00:19:25] Sort of conscious logically it's these deep core fears and beliefs that we have that come from childhood. And sometimes we're not even explicitly told, you know, don't speak up, don't be too loud. You're better seen and not heard. No, but it's, it's, it's just kind of the air that we breathe as we grow up.

[00:19:47] Natalie: Boy. That is so true. Well, I've learned a lot. I'm excited to read your book. I appreciate it. I appreciate these ideas of, I need to think big. Why am I limiting myself? Why am I not sitting still to know my truth? Like all of these things so important. So I've got a couple of questions I want to ask you. I ask all of them.

[00:20:07] And I'm, I'm excited to hear what you have to say because I love learning from people. The first one is what is your favorite tool for productivity? I find authors often have really interesting advice because it takes so much discipline to be productive as an author. So it doesn't have to be technology, but what's your favorite tool?

[00:20:24] For productivity. I w

[00:20:25] Andrea: I wish it was more philosophical, but honestly and I'm recently diagnosed with ADHD, which explains so much about how my brain works, but I love and am mildly obsessed with Google tasks, really anything like G suite or Google related I use. And because it, it connects to all of my devices.

[00:20:44] I use it mostly on my Google calendar and it connects with my phone. It's basically a to-do list and it's so. Versatile like you can drag and drop. You can add notes. Like it's, it's simple but robust at the same time. If that makes.

[00:20:58] Natalie: So it keeps you on task, Google tasks. I use everything else in the Google suite.

[00:21:02] So maybe I need to look into Google tasks.

[00:21:05] Andrea: You can also really quick. You can also connect it with your email and then create a task from an email. Oh, that's that in your email as a to-do list. Oh,

[00:21:16] Natalie: that is such a pro. Where the email list just gets longer, longer than you don't delete one. And then you mark

[00:21:21] Andrea: it as unread.

[00:21:22] You know, I can, I can, I can share my screen with you and show you. I'm like, I love telling people about it. I don't, I don't, I'm not an affiliate. I don't get

[00:21:31] Natalie: paid. I just love helping people, but she tasks and then look into your g-mail of how you can add. Okay. Totally going to do that. Thank you, Andrea.

[00:21:39] Okay. Okay. Encourage everybody to Google it. You can learn

[00:21:43] Andrea: how to do it. Shouldn't make a tutorial, put it on YouTube

[00:21:45] Natalie: about absolutely. Should I love it? Okay. And then my second one, you already went into a little bit, but I want to hear when you knew your purpose, was it when you hit rock?

[00:21:56] Andrea: No, you know what, like, I love this question because I feel like people get really hot and bothered with like finding the one thing that is their purpose.

[00:22:05] And I had a really hard time with this when I became a mom. Cause I always thought I would love being a stay at home mom and thought that that was going to be the thing that fulfilled me. And it turns out that it didn't and I had so much guilt and shame about it. So finally, when D I realized me, it's just that I don't love the job of being a stay at home.

[00:22:22] Mom. I love being a. I love my children. Like the next mom doesn't mean that I love the job as a stay at home mother. So what I have decided on is that my purpose is my entire path is in my entire journey of life. Of you know, my philosophy is that we are here to. You know, talk about our pain as much as our joy is we are here to connect with each other and essentially we're here to walk each other home, you know, at the, at the end of our lives or other people's lives.

[00:22:54] And that feels so much better to me than like my purpose is being an author. My purpose is being a mom. My purpose is being wife, which is great if that's your thing, but my purpose is just my path. My. That's a

[00:23:06] Natalie: really good one. It's really good. And I think for a lot of people, we struggle with this of, I don't know what is my purpose?

[00:23:13] Well, of course it's being a mom, it's being close to my family. It's my faith. It's all of these things are part of. Big journey. You're talking

[00:23:20] Andrea: about. It took a lot of pressure off for me when I decided that. So that's really

[00:23:24] Natalie: good. I love that. Thank you. Okay. Where can people find you? Website books, social media?

[00:23:30] I know they're going to want

[00:23:30] Andrea: more. Andrea. I and Andrea is where they can get bonuses around the book. If they're interested in buying the book, there's a lot of bonuses there and I have a podcast. Called make some noise. So it's easy to remember that it's called the same thing as my book and online.

[00:23:46] I hang out a lot on Instagram. Hey, Andrea Owen. Great.

[00:23:51] Natalie: I can't wait to listen to your podcast too. So

[00:23:53] Andrea: thank you for making

[00:23:54] Natalie: some noise. Thank you for, for encouraging us today. And I look forward to talking to you again soon.

[00:24:00] Andrea: All right. Thanks again.

[00:24:01] Natalie: Thank you for joining the Natalie Tysdal podcast, you can follow along on Instagram Subscribe to the show to catch every new episode and leave a review so I can continue to bring you fresh content. See you next week.

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