Deidre Harter’s second marriage was a harrowing journey of lies, fraud, and her husband’s imprisonment, all while she was raising their young son. It took seven years for her to realize she wasn’t satisfied and that she had a choice: either examine what’s going on and make some changes, or bury her head in the sand and keep going. She found the courage to ask the difficult questions: What is really true? What do you want? Where are we going? Deidre emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and embracing one’s self-worth in order to make positive changes in life. Deidre was ultimately able to embrace her self-worth in order to make positive changes in her life.
Deidre Harter is a CPA who worked in public accounting as a small business advisor (basically a coach working for someone else) and tax consultant for 20 years. She moved into entrepreneurship 13 years ago and started her own coaching program shortly thereafter.
A few years later, she met her business partner through divine intervention, combined their “super powers” and founded https://encoreempire.com/ to help ambitious women scale their service-based online business without all the guesswork.
They do this through holistic business coaching where they help build the strategies, systems and support entrepreneurs need to create more consistent revenue while getting back their time. It’s been rewarding to give so many the power of economic freedom. Deidre believes in building relationships with other women who have a similar mission to explore possibilities for collaboration or referral so we can change the lives of others together.
Turning 40 and Becoming Vulnerable
In this episode of the Forty Drinks Podcast, Stephanie welcomes guest Deidre Harter who shares a life-altering experience. Deidre discusses her journey through her first adulthood, where she followed the path that others had set out for her, and her subsequent transition into her second adulthood, where she started making decisions based on her own internal compass. She shares the challenges she faced in her second marriage, including her husband’s arrest and imprisonment for wire fraud, and how she ultimately found the strength to leave the relationship. Deidre also talks about her shift into entrepreneurship and her current work as a coach and consultant for female entrepreneurs over 40. Throughout the conversation, Deidre emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and the power of embracing one’s self-worth and talks about where she found hers.
Highlights from the episode include:
- Deidre’s experience of the pressure to follow societal expectations
- The challenges she faced in her marriage and the turning point that led her to leave
- The impact of her life experiences on her personal growth and self-confidence
- Deidre’s transition into entrepreneurship and her current work as a coach and consultant
- The importance of self-reflection and embracing one’s self-worth
If you enjoyed this episode, please rate, follow, and review the Forty Drinks Podcast.
What causes personal growth?
Personal growth is an individual process, unique to each of us, but there are several elements that are common to many. The first is the impetus for personal growth. That can be triggered by either a major event, usually something painful, or by a feeling of discomfort with the status quo. Sometimes, people find themselves asking uncomfortable questions like, “Is this all there is?” The second thing that’s common to many people about personal growth is the deep practice of self-reflection, looking at past situations and reflecting on behaviors and choices that either led to that outcome, or that could have changed it. Angie Simmons’ personal growth began with coffee with a school friend she hadn’t seen in 20 years who gave her a CD that introduced her to personal development. And Tara McFarland felt like she was conditioned to make things work, even if it didn’t feel good for her. When that led to chronic health issues and a breakdown, she finally started to listen to her body – and her heart.
Do you have the Midlife Ick?
Download Stephanie’s guide to the Ick to diagnose whether you or someone you love is suffering from this insidious midlife malaise. www.fortydrinks.com/ick
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The Forty Drinks Podcast is produced and presented by Savoir Faire Marketing/Communications
Stephanie: Hi, Deidre. Welcome to the podcast.
Deidre: Hi, Stephanie. I'm super excited to be here.
Stephanie: And I'm super excited to have you, yet another one of the myriad of connections from the dynamo down under Ms. Elle Nagy introduced us and told me that you had a life altering experience to share it with me. So I'm very excited to talk about it.
Stephanie: So, on the podcast a lot, I talk about the concept of 1st adulthood and 2nd adulthood and I picked this concept up from a book I read many years ago called Passages by Gail Sheehy and she talks about how during first adulthood we're doing all the things that we should do and that somebody else has told us to do, and we're sort of blindly following the path that somebody else set out or advised us was going to make us happy, healthy, successful, all those great things. And then, at some point, between 35 and 45, we start to trust in our own experience, in our own expertise. We see the sort of befores and afters of the decisions that we've made, the if thens, the consequences. And so then we start stepping into our own authority and start making decisions based on our own internal compass. So I'm curious about your first adulthood.
Deidre: Yes. I love how you frame that, Stephanie, because it feels so true. That first adulthood, it's almost like you're not quite an adult, even though you technically are, but the decisions that you make and the internal wisdom that you have, it's a little fuzzy at that point in time. So, I grew up in a great household with loving parents and they gave me a lot of really great stuff. But, you know, we all grow up with certain stories that we're told and watching our role models with things that don't really serve us well later on. Not that it's their fault, they didn't know, but they were doing the best that they could. My mom was an accountant and she worked in public accounting as an office manager. My dad was an entrepreneur, so I was able to get his entrepreneurial DNA. But again, I didn't know that until the second adulthood.
Stephanie: Mm hmm.
Deidre: And I took the path that we were told to take that if you go to college and you get your degree and you get a really good secure profession and you work really hard, then you're going to be successful and happy. Like that was the formula, so that's exactly what I did. Now I worked really hard because my parents worked really hard. That's all that I ever saw. I worked full time, went to school on the side, eventually got my degree, got my CPA license. And then along the way, there were a couple of failed marriages and a child that came along. And that's kind of when I was hitting that coming up to 40 when I was really taking a look at my life and it's like I did everything they said I was supposed to do and I checked all the boxes and yet I am pretty miserable and so that's when I decided to kind of look inward and say, well, what is it that I really want regardless of what I'm told I should want?
Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. So one of those marriages, you got married at 29 and then at 31 you had a baby and will you talk a little bit about the story of this marriage and kind of your life for this decade?
Deidre: So I thought I had it figured out after the first marriage that didn't work out. I thought, okay, I learned my lessons and now I'm good.
Stephanie: Right, right.
Deidre: And it was all good at first and after several months of being married, I really thought everything was fine and I got pregnant and everything was all rainbows and sunshine. Then one day, I was about 6 months pregnant and I got a knock on the door and it was a police officer. And he came in and he started asking me all these questions, I'm like, what's going on? And he wouldn't tell me what's going on. Finally, I found out that they had arrested my husband for wire fraud. What was happening is he was selling things on eBay, and this was back when eBay was kind of just getting started and he was selling things he didn't have yet. He was selling laptops and I knew he had been selling on eBay, but it was stuff we actually did have like I could see it right there, but I didn't know about the other things. And that was like probably the biggest shock of my life when that happened. So we went through this whole process and he had every reason and, it was all a big misunderstanding according to him. And so we kind of worked our way through that. I had my baby and they deferred his jail time. So they waited until the baby was born and then he had to go off to jail, so I was raising my son by myself for the next year and going up to see him. I moved back near my parents and I thought, okay, this is the bump in the road that we're going to have, and then everything will be fine. He came home and we kind of pieced everything back together. So long story short, he started a business because now he had a record and was not very employable anymore. And he borrowed money from my boss at the time and ended up running that business into the ground. I'm like, okay, here's big bump number two. And then the third. The 3rd strike you're out came when he started doing the same thing he'd done before. He was manufacturing hot dog carts, that was his business, and then he was selling those having not made them. And he was maybe delivering one out of four that he sold. And that's when I really said, you know, I was brought up to believe you have to turn the other cheek, that when you're married, you're in it for better or for worse. And I decided, you know what, I just can't do this. I just cannot live this way regardless of what my upbringing said. So that's when I set off on my own and I decided, you know, I'm not going to do this anymore. And so it was
Stephanie: But wait minute wasn't there also a little piece in there and you said when you're married you're supposed to do for better or for worse, but didn't you find out that you weren't married?
Deidre: That's right. Yes. Yes. It's interesting how we forget these little details. So, so I went to, I had just moved to Virginia. So we had like the six month waiting period to establish residency here. And in the meantime, I decided I would start divorce proceedings and actually have a legal separation only to find out I wasn't technically married because he was married to somebody else back when we got married. It had dissolved since then, but it was like a year later is when he actually got really divorced. So it was a real conundrum because there wasn't really anything to do. I was kind of like tied to him in some ways, but legally not. And so we just went through this interesting journey of having to just change my name and, again, still wait for residency and then get the custody part figured out.
Stephanie: And you needed residency so that you could what was it use the court system to gain custody. Is that what it was?
Deidre: So we were in between states. I had moved from Florida to Virginia. And so when my son came up, he had to be a resident of Virginia in order to use a Virginia court of law, as opposed to having to go back down to Florida to get all of the legal part taken care of.
Stephanie: Yeah, yeah, so that was a whirlwind. Oh my god, and that that lasted how many years? That was that was like almost a decade, right?
Deidre: It was about 7 years that the whole thing last by the time I actually got extricated from him and and in between the FBI was asking me to come in and talk to them. I was in the courts, trying to get custody of my son and, you know, you would think that that would have been a pretty cut and dry situation, and yet it wasn't. He actually had moved to Virginia so that he could see our son. And so we were sharing custody until the final custody hearing came. And in that time I found out from a client of mine, my client at the accounting office was his landlord and I didn't know that until it was time for her to do her taxes. I was talking about my son and she kind of put two and two together. She goes, wait a minute, is your son... and then she gave his name and I said, yes. And she said, Do you have an ex husband named so and so? And I said, yes. And she said, wow. And I said, what?
Stephanie: Yeah Mama bear radar goes up.
Deidre: Yeah, so it turns out that he'd been living there, wasn't paying the rent, had the electricity turned off, was getting water in big bottles for them to flush the toilet and shower and this had been going on for three months and she'd been fighting to evict him and she let him go for a couple of months like this, he was giving the sob story that he was a single dad and I was dead.
Stephanie: Oh god. Oh my goodness. So, Deidre, I'm just so curious. I feel like any one of these things, like you said, might have been forgivable in the course of a marriage, but for you, the hits kept coming. How were you justifying to yourself staying In the marriage. I mean, were there other things that were great? Was he like a big charmer? Was the romance great? What was the balance to these things?
Deidre: Yeah, he was quite the charmer. And I think that's why in retrospect, you know, I'm a pretty good judge of character, I believe. But I also was more naive back then than I am now. And I believe in the good in people, right? I believe everybody's got it. So I really thought he has just made a couple mistakes, right? We all do. And everybody deserves a second chance and sometimes a third because I did believe he had a good heart. He really loved our son. He was great with him. He was a great dad. And as far as being a provider, I'd even conceded that he's never going to be this fabulous financial provider, based on his circumstances, but I was a good provider with my profession. And so I thought, well, you know, that's okay too. I'm all right with that. But when the lying started and the deceit, that is when it all turned around. That's where I thought I can't live with someone that I can't trust. And if you're not trustworthy with everyone, you're not trustworthy with anyone.
Stephanie: Right. Right. So you're in Virginia and now you've got custody of your son and you meet someone else. Is that right?
Deidre: Mm hmm. I did.
Stephanie: And, um, tell me what happened to your ex husband.
Deidre: I had met my husband now during this period of time where we were in the court system and having to share the custody until I got full custody. He was a retired watch commander from the 911 center in Washington, DC. And he was also a paramedic and a fireman. So he was on the law side of life in his career, which I think that was a big part of it, of course, there were a lot of other things I loved about him, but that was just kind of a bonus
Stephanie: Yeah, no kidding.
Deidre: given those circumstances. And it was very helpful. At first I thought, you know, it's a bit soon to be getting into a relationship after what I've been through but at the same time, it was really helpful for me. He really helped me bring out my own strength, having someone there and having known what was going on. And also because court systems and guardians of children, they're still in this old kind of mindset or very conservative and they're like, Oh, well, you know, you really shouldn't live together. The courts don't like that, you really should get married. And so I was really kind of against that advice because I was thought I'm not listening to what other people think. But then in the end we did get married. I thought, I don't really want to mess this up over a piece of paper. Right? So we went ahead and got married and in the meantime,it really poured fuel on the fire with my ex because he had this grandiose idea that somehow we were going to get back together and everything was going to be fine. So he was quite delusional about it. And he was threatening, he would send threats. We actually had to go to the magistrate and get
a restraining order because he left a voicemail threatening to kill my husband. You know, he had just really kind of lost his mind.
Stephanie: And do you think that over the course of the time with your ex husband, do you think things grew with him? Or was that the same guy that five or six or seven years earlier was doing the eBay stuff? I guess what I'm trying to figure out is if we think of it as, I don't know, is it a mental illness?I don't want to throw that around too cavalierly, but did his situation sort of increase over time? Because at the beginning you weren't talking about him being delusional. You were just talking about some bad decisions. Was he always delusional? Was he always a liar? Was that volatility always there?
Deidre: I believe it was always in him and circumstances are what brought it out and I learned a few things too along the way of what his life was like and things he had done prior to us getting married and while we were dating. So it turns out this was a pattern. It wasn't as severe as what it became when we were together, but the whole reason that this whole marriage thing happened or this bigamy thing happened is because he was from Brazil, his parents were from Brazil and he moved here when he was five and he was actually marrying women more than one for their green card and he was being paid to do it. So it was like, there were all these things, and then he had told me when I first met him, he said he was an accountant of sorts, too, and he had his own business. And what it was is he was setting up nonprofit organizations for Brazilian businessmen who came over here and they needed this to establish themselves and to get their citizenship. And, I never like dug down into it, but after knowing him for a while, I can pretty much guarantee those were kind of shady too because it was just like a whole cultural thing, not all Brazilians, of course, but this group that he had aligned himself with and then there were other stories that came up and he had actually been arrested before because he had forged a check and he says, no, that wasn't it, it was because this person he was working for owed him money, you know, it was just always excuses and always reasons. But as I heard these and kind of put it all together I could see that this was just who he had chosen to be and he was just really good at hiding it.
Stephanie: Yeah. Ugh. Speaking of hiding, after the whole thing with your current husband,the threats on his life and stuff, what happened to the ex?
Deidre: After our final custody hearing, he actually didn't show up for it, he had shown up for the couple before and they had to reschedule a couple times because he had some reason why he couldn't be there. And so the courts trying to give him the chance. So on the final reschedule and he didn't show up and they said, okay, he's not here so what would you like to have happen here, Mrs. Harter? And my lawyers like basically she wants all the marbles so I got them all and then I had full custody and visitation was at my discretion. So my son was like seven years old and I was not involving him in any of this stuff, I was trying to keep everything as normal and easy as possible for him. So his father had just all of a sudden packed up and moved back to Florida to live with his mom, because he wasn't financially viable and the feds were after him and, you know, all manner of things. So he was just having phone calls with my son and I guess he was always pushing him or I don't know what he was saying. I would try to listen in as best I could on the phone, but I would watch my son's reaction and after like two phone calls, by the third one, he got off the phone, he says, Mommy, I just don't think I want to talk to daddy anymore. And I'm like, why is that? He's like, well, he goes, I just don't, I just don't want to talk to him. And I said, well, did he say anything? He goes, Well, kind of. It just makes me nervous. I said, okay. So that was the end of it and from that point forward, we've never heard from him. Like, never.
Stephanie: Wow. And your son is how old now?
Deidre: He's going to be 22 in August.
Stephanie: Oh my goodness. So at the time of these last phone calls, you're like 39, Right?
Deidre: Mm hmm. Yeah, I was 40. I turned 40.
Stephanie: Yeah. So right here at the witching hour.
Deidre: That's right. And it was a real shift. I chalked it up at the time to what was going on, but now, looking back, I also believe that it was that switching over into the new decade, I really think, because I've heard so many stories, as I know you have, it's what your podcast is about, but I hear a lot of these kinds of stories where things really shift fundamentally for women at this age. So I think it was for me combination of the two.
Stephanie: Tell me about the new life you stepped into at 40 and I know you'd already been married for a year or two at that point to your your current husband, but tell me about the shift.
Deidre: It was like starting all over again. It was like starting fresh as if we were out of college or something. So it was the right person at the right time, despite all the circumstances, and it was so much fun, even though we were going through an unbelievable situation. Not only did I have my situation, he was divorced, and we were actually using our attorney, we got kind of a two for one deal because he had gotten a really raw deal with the custody of his kids and his ex wife was not playing nicely with several things so we were having to get that straightened out too. So we were kind of fighting a battle on two fronts and when we got through that, we're like, isn't it incredible that we went through something so unbelievable on two sides and all it did was make the relationship that we have stronger. It's like we matured in our relationship like at light speed, and I think that was why.
Stephanie: Yeah. Tell me about how you changed after your ex husband disappeared or even in those last couple of years as things were tapering off, what was different about you?
Deidre: I really became unbelievably strong emotionally and I matured a lot. Not that I was immature before, but there was just a whole new level of maturity and wisdom that came with it. Instead of feeling less than, because I expected to feel something negative after that, I expected to feel broken or something and I did not, I mean, I felt stronger and more confident than I ever had. And it began showing up in all of my relationships and everything that I did. And at that time too, my career, I was really good at what I did and I moved up the ladder a little bit, but I really never stood up for myself. I saw that I had allowed a lot of things to go by that really shouldn't have. So I really began to stand up for myself and not too long after all of this kind of settled down, my husband had a medical condition. He had to go in for surgery and he was going to be out of work for the doctor said weeks to months. Well, that's not a real helpful range. So I really had to consider what are we going to do? Not only were we starting over in the relationship, but it was like, financially, we kind of started over. We were like at zero again based on the cost of all the legal fees we had to pay. So I was making, you know, a very good salary, but it really wasn't enough for everything that we needed. And that's when my entrepreneurial journey began because I really had to do something on the side to earn some extra money just to make sure we were going to be okay. I feel like if I had tried that before this all happened and before I passed that 40 mark and really gained all this new insights about myself, I think I would have really struggled with it because as an entrepreneur, you have to have this unshakable faith in yourself and in what you're doing. And I didn't have that before. I could tell that I just always had a little bit of lack of self worth, which is how I got into those relationships that didn't work to begin with.
Stephanie: Yeah. I remember a couple of years before I started my marketing business, working for somebody else, full time job. And I remember sort of having this fleeting thought of like, well, maybe I would start my own business. Andthe retort in my head was well, what could you do that somebody would pay for? Now, this is 16 years ago. And so, we have to remember that social media wasn't quite where it is now and, all these, online entrepreneurs, and there was nobody screaming into the void that whatever talents you have, somebody out there wants to buy them. Right? Because now there's coaches and online people and entrepreneurs and trainersthat are telling everybody this and so everybody's hanging a shingle and the concept of the gig economy and going out on your own, it wasn't quite the same 16 years ago. And so this would have been a couple of years before that, but I remember thinking what would I even have to sell without realizing that my expertise and my experience and my talents were things that people would pay for. So I don't know if you sort of had that same thing at some point before you started your business.
Deidre: Yeah, there had been moments you know, when it comes to public accounting it's always a lot of work and tax season is always terrible, but some firms are more terrible than others. I was fortunate in the sense that I worked for smaller firms where I did have some degree of flexibility so it really wasn't that difficult to be a mom and wife and have a life and still do my job. But there of course were those moments, you know, where the company comes first and it doesn't really matter what you have going on. And that got worse as I went along, so I had the idea that someday I needed to go out on my own. What I was thinking is like, well, I'm going to just go open my own firm, right, because I'm just going to do what I do, but on my own,
Deidre: but when I would stop to really think about it, it scared me to death. I thought, my goodness, how could I ever manage all this? I didn't question my knowledge and my skill. What I questioned was that whole, you know, who's going to come to me? Right. I knew I had some bit of a network, but I'm like, everybody I know is a client here, you know, or is friends with the boss here. So why would they come? And, I had a couple of fan clients, you know, they loved me to death and I'm like, well, they probably would, but it just didn't seem viable at the time.
Stephanie: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. What finally gave you the oomph to get over the hurdle and start your business?
Deidre: When I needed to do something to make ends meet with my husband out of work, what I started was I started selling products on the Amazon marketplace. This was 14 years ago. Um, and it was kind of like the wild, wild west. They had just opened up third party merchants. And so I was able to just go buy products locally. I would go to Big Lots and I would go to Walmart clearance. And I just was able to buy stuff at the store, send it in and then sell it to people from all over the place that couldn't get the same thing I could get right at the same price. So, you know, there's this nice big profit margin. So that's what really started it. And then I actually grew it to the point because I was so focused on that and it was so much fun. I'm like, Oh, I'm shopping for a living. This is so awesome. So that's when I said, you know, now this, I think I could do, cause I was seeing the numbers, it was really happening. Even once he went back to work, I built it up enough to where I could leave accounting and I'm like, you know what? This is it. This is what I'm gonna do because this is just so much fun. I was having a blast and so I did. And from there I started getting into communities. Facebook Communities were just getting started and so I was in there with other e-commerce sellers, we'd start having conversations and they found out that I'm a CPA and I understand the numbers part of this whole game. They're like, Oh, we have to talk. And so I'd talk to them and they're like, can you like coach me, consult me something? And so my consulting and coaching business just kind of came out of that. There was such a huge need and there wasn't anybody out there doing it, that I had seen, so that's where coaching and consulting came in. And it morphed a little bit over the years. Amazon became more crowded and there were more rules and regulations. They were kind of squeezing out the smaller merchants and it was a go big or go home situation. And I was still doing both things, coaching and selling, because I felt like I have to walk the talk, If I'm going coach people doing this, I really need to know what's happening in that space. And then when COVID hit, I was still doing all that, but I had just expanded to where I now had a team and we had a warehouse and then everything went upside down and around the bend because of supply chain problems and then just COVID in general. So we had to pull it all back to our house. So my husband was helping me and that's when I said, you know what, we can't continue with this. This is crazy. That's when I decided I would need to shift into, I still wanted to coach, I loved coaching and helping other entrepreneurs, but I didn't want to do it for e-commerce sellers anymore.
Deidre: And that's when I was kind of in this limbo state. And this is when I was at 49 to 50. So this was like another like total shift in perspective and being able to really dig down deeper in myself and say, this time let's do what really lights you up.
Stephanie: Which is what?
Deidre: Coaching and helping female entrepreneurs who are over 40 to build a business that is sustainably profitable where they have the clarity and the confidence to really go for it. And they're able to move past the stereotypes and the, oh, I have to accept less than what I'm worth. And so that really became the direction that I wanted to go. That was the thing I wanted to do. I knew I could do it, but my vision was a little bit bigger than I thought I could handle. I was like, I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to do this because I really wanted this to be like an international movement, lots and lots of women. I knew how to do some marketing, but my previous business had all been referrals, so I really didn't know how to do social media. So I was learning it, but wasn't like an expert. And that's when I went to a virtual conference for business owners, and I met my now business partner, Carmen, and that's when the stars aligned, the pieces came together and we just clicked, it was like a business marriage that clicked just as good as my relationship marriage.
Stephanie: Hmm. So, all of this sounds like you are a completely different person than you were in your twenties.
Deidre: Absolutely. I am.
Stephanie: In what ways?
Deidre: Um, well, I can't stay out and party past 11 PM at night. I have go to bed. We don't do the ball drop on New Year's anymore, but you know, I think the biggest difference isit's like I stepped into my self worth. I understand it now and I embrace it. And that gives me a confidence and I always thought confidence had something to do with being egotistical and that ambition was tied in there, and it was kind of a slightly ugly thing and I didn't want to be that person. And I realized that it's not that at all. Actually, when you have true confidence, real confidence, that's genuine that all of that egotism, there's no room for it. You don't need it because you just have this knowing and that's the part that makes me very different. Even in my relationship, like with my parents, I always had this relationship of as soon as I got near my parents they were still trying to parent me, no matter how old I was. And sothey were very opinionated about this, that, and the other thing so if they didn't think that I should be doing something, or that I should be doing something different, they say, oh, well, you need to do this and this and that. And earlier on, I would always acquiesce, even if I didn't think so, I'd be like, Oh, you're right, and I would just kind of like, bow down to it. And now it's like, I'll just stand my ground very kindly and politely, but I'm like, No, actually, no, but I'm good. But thank you anyway. There was like this people pleaser inside of me and that girl's gone now.
Stephanie: Yeah, yeah, that's a big one. That's one I'm hearing more and more. I talked to a man named Martin from Brooklyn a couple of episodes ago, and his interview was all about people pleasing and sort of where it came from, and he knew where it came from as a child and how he'd overcome it. And so there are some people who really are forward about the people pleasing piece of us and then other people like yourself and others I've talked to, it comes out later in the conversation, there's a little like, oh, I might have done some people pleasing. And so I think it's probably a lot more common than we know, or maybe comprehend or understand thatfor a lot of us, we're doing things to please some of those early authorities in our life.
Deidre: I think I was confused as a young adult on a lot of fronts,on the one hand, I knew I was a kind person and I wanted to be a kind person. That was part of who I was and I never wanted that to change. I think I thought that in order to be kind to people and empathetic and all those great things that the people pleasing, that's what did it, right? That's where it was at. But the difference now is I see distinctions now, and I know that I can be the person that I want to be. And I know who I want to be now, as opposed to back then I was really trying to figure it out for a long time. I had this professional identity that I was pretty clear on, but from a personal identity that was really murky for a long time. From 40 to now, that's when the clarity has really come in and I can notice things now. I never had the ability to notice things about myself before,.
Stephanie: Like what?
Deidre: Well, that people pleasing part was one of them. And then the other part was to notice my emotions. My general thing was to just clamp it all down, right? If anything negative came up, because I'm a positive person, I like being that way. And I thought, okay, that just means that any negativity, I just need to shut it out, push it down and ignore the whole thing in order to stay on this positive level, because I was afraid to let it out. If I did, I was afraid that would be who I was. Now I've learned and I can see when I react a certain way and I still do, like someone will say something and it will trigger me and I do have a temper doesn't come out very often, but it's there. But I'm able to see it happening and then be able to stop so I'm much more proactive now about it than I was before. Before I would just react, not that I don't fire off something when the trash hasn't been taken out for the last 48 hours when I've asked three times. You know, that, that can still get me.
Stephanie: Oh, Yeah. Yeah. Wow. Do you know where the people pleasing came from? If you go back to your childhood, do you have any idea how you internalized that?
Deidre: Yeah, it came from what I saw. I grew up in a Christian church and so there was a lot of it from the female side of things, like all the females surrounding me. It was called being a servant for Christ, but really a lot of it was this people pleasing part because we can serve without having to be subservient. And I saw it in my mother, she, really had a severe case and I didn't know that at the time that I was seeing it, but now I can see it. And even to this day, when we're interacting and having conversations, I see it. And it's almost unbelievable how much of it there is and it just kind of like slaps me in the face and I'm like, whoa. I rememberwhen I first started becoming aware, I would try to talk her out of it, right? This is what this is and you should not be doing this and et cetera and so forth. And I'd make my case. But what I realize now is that she'll agree with me, on like an intellectual level, but somehow it's so deeply programmed in her. I believe we all have that deep programming on things, but we have to make a conscious decision to notice it and to reprogram ourselves because you can't get rid of it. You can only reprogram it.
Stephanie: Interesting. Right. Right. One of the things I talk about a lot is the first thing is awareness, is becoming aware that there is a behavior or a pattern or, a something that isn't serving you and that really comes with reflection and being able to dig into your own behaviors without a whole ton of judgment and be able to be thoughtful about it, be honest about it, be accountable to it. There's a lot there. I mean, that's some heavy stuff.
Deidre: It is. And it's scary. I know why people don't do it. Cause it is really scary. Being vulnerable to the outside world is scary, but being vulnerable to yourself, I think is even more scary.
Stephanie: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. It is. It is. There's actually a little something I'm not working on, but I've become aware of and started to sort of think about and it is a place where I'm a little spooked and I actually it's like open the door a little bit, look through, slam the door, open the door, look through a little bit, slam the door. I feel like a little kid, like a four year old, like I'm terrified of what's behind the door. It's interesting being vulnerable to yourself and really going into the dark corners is spooky stuff.
Deidre: It is and I think that in order to be able to do it, you have to really understand the value of doing it and how going to help you. I think that's where the disconnect comes in because we all know it intellectually and we hear it, but until you really understand how it completely changes your life and improves the life experience you're having, you have to really get that because that's the motivation to do it.
Stephanie: Hmm. That's interesting though, because for me. I feel like a lot of the time, if I'm pullingat a thread or patterns or history or any of that stuff I don't actually know how it's going to help me. I'm almost more curious about, I mean, I know there's different places in my life where I'm stuck or I'd love for this to be going better or that to be going better. And so to me, I sort of like go, all right, well, let me go internally and pull at a thread and see, it's going to improve something in my life. I'm just not sure I've ever had the understanding of, if this, then that. It's more like, if this, then, Oh yeah, over there. That's better.
Deidre: That's right. That makes sense. And I think when I think about it, I also don't know like how it will be better. I just know that the exercise in and of itself, like the whole fundamental part of this for me, I now understand how much it's going to impact my life. And I just didn't have this awareness before. I mean at all. I didn't even know any of this soul introspection. I was all about personal development, but that was all more intellectual and things that would help me in business. But none of that personal growth really centered in for me on going in and knowing myself. All I want to do was improve myself, but I did it without knowing myself first.
Stephanie: Interesting. Well, the other thing I was thinking while you were talking was you are 10 ish years into it now, down the road. And I'm extrapolating cause myself as well, I'm wondering if, when you said, Oh, if I go in and do this work, I know it will improve. I wonder if that's just based on the evidence over the last, 10 or 15 years for you and I, that we've been on these paths and we've been excavating internally and getting to know ourselves and trying to understand patterns and hang ups and things like that. But I think we've sort of learned that when we go internal and do some of that work then something will improve. So it's sort of an, if/then, right, if we go internal and do the work, then something will improve in our lives. Not that we necessarily know exactly how it's going to show up in life. But I wonder if you might have said it that same way 10 years ago, when you didn't have as much evidence that the sort of internal work would be so impactful for your external life. I'm just curious. I don't know. I'm playing with that. You said it and I wondered it. So I thought I'd, yeah.
Deidre: I seriously doubt it. I really don't think I had that level of understanding and even though the story I told and what I went through was kind of horrific, at the same time I have a sense of gratitude that I did go through it. Because I believe for me, that's what really forced me internal. I don't know that, I mean, maybe over time I would have heard something or someone would have said something and I would have explored it, but it really forced me to look inside myself and to see things. Because in any situation I can talk all day long about all the terrible things he did and of course, you know, I'm not a perfect person. I'm sure I had a little bit to do with the whole thing, he had the majority of it for sure, but I'm sure that there were things that I didn't handle well you know, I was part of the whole situation. So it really forced me and he would say things to me like, well, it's your fault because like all this happened because of you basically this was his whole premise. And it wasn't at me in a negative way, he'd say, well, I did it all for you. All of this was for you because I needed to make you happy and you had financial issues from your first marriage,and which was true. So I had to ask myself, is that really true? And I had to go in and figure this part of it out because I was thinking, well, maybe it is all my fault. And then having to really weigh that and saying, is that true? And so this is where my journey began of going internal and asking those questions and really finding out about myself. And then there were a lot of the, what do you want? What are we doing now? Where are we going now? Questions that I had to answer, too. And I think that's really where it started. And once I got out of that, and then I started doing the same kind of questioning in a peaceful, calm, and happy life after all the wreckage was out of the way. It was like, wow, you don't have to go through trauma in order for this to work, this can work when things are really good and it just kind of makes things better.
Stephanie: Right. Yes. Yes. The other thing I was reminded as you were talking again was, a mentor said to me many years ago, what is it about you that made that okay? Which I thought was kind of a punch in the gut, right? Because when you are in a situation and you're like, well, it's all him, it's all him, or it's all them, or it's all her, like everybody else is doing you wrong. Whenever you're in that place of whether it's victimhood or just being stuck in an old pattern, it was, what is it about you that makes that okay? That makes him treating you that way or this work situation or this friend situation. And so all of a sudden you have to take your eyes and your attention off of the other, whoever else is part of that situation and really look and see, okay, well, if they're doing this, if that is true, if they are doing this, if he or she is doing this, well, what about me makes that okay? And then you, that led down some dark alleys too. Let me tell ya.
Deidre: That's right. And I don't recall the way you phrase it exactly, but in sense, I was doing that same thing in the very beginning part of looking at the situation and the things that were happening and seeing that I was accepting it and it's like, okay, so why am I accepting it? Do I want to accept this or am I doing this because I feel guilty or, and again, it was it was what is it about me that's making me stay in this?
Stephanie: Right? Exactly. Yeah. There was a relationship I was in many years ago where it was like, if I'm honest with myself, there were red flags pretty early on that I just overlooked or went by, but like, what is it about me why was I okay overlooking the red flags that were clearly nice and bright red. Yeah, those are interesting avenues to explore. One of the things I try to do on the podcast is when we go through these stories and we talk about the first adulthood and then finding ourself in the mess and then the transition out of it is trying to make it practical for other people who might be in similar or relevant situations. When people talk about a spiritual awakening, or they talk about some of these things that just seem so grandiose and so far off. So, I really try to make it practical. Like, if you find yourself in a situation like this, here's how you start. And I think a question like that is a great place to start because it's like Pandora's box, once you open it, it's real hard to shove the lid back on.
Deidre: Yes. Yeah. And I think that is such a excellent point is that is the starting point. Because if you don't start there, what happens is you get through every day and think that I just have to get through this and it's going to change, that it's just going to magically somehow change and we really have to stop and ask that question. And I think the other question is, what makes me think this is going to change?
Stephanie: Yeah. Yes. Right. Right. Because if you look at the evidencein your situation in those seven years with your ex husband, in my situation in relationship upon relationship upon relationship or job upon job upon job, it's like all the evidence that you can see outside of you is exactly the same as it was yesterday and as it will be tomorrow. So, what did my dad used to say? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
Deidre: That's right.
Stephanie: Right. So, yeah, looking at all the evidence that we have outside of us and finding that it's pretty darn consistent
Stephanie: and, reckoning with then how is it going to change?
Deidre: That's right. Yeah. And I think that we tell ourselves that story, or we think it's going to get better. Right. I think it's a survival mechanism, honestly, because when things are bad, we have to have something to hold on to. So that we don't just completely get swallowed up in the big black hole and go into a major depression. And so I think that it's, it's like our lifeline to go, well, I know it's got to get better, but the problem is that then the evidence keeps stacking up and then it negates what we were telling ourselves. And so then we're in almost a limbo state, like you're telling yourself one thing, but you're seeing something else. And so you're
Stephanie: Conflict. There's state of conflict. Yeah. Well, and that's the mess, right? There's that first adulthood where you're just doing all the things you should and then that period of conflict or disillusionment or, dissatisfaction, those are the kinds of words that start to bubble up when you realize that, as I have said it, something in your life doesn't fit. And you don't know how to change it. And you might not even know what doesn't fit. I mean, for you, sure, you knew it was that relationship. For me, I didn't even really know what it was, even though I had a bad track record with romantic relationships and I was not having a fabulous track record with jobs, but still it was like,I didn't exactly know what needed to change to make things better. Some of the guys were nice enough and good enough they just weren't a fit and some of the jobs were pretty darn fantastic, they just didn't fit. And I couldn't figure out why I was flaming out of them. Yeah, yeah, that's when things get messy, when you start feeling like you're wearing clothes, like not clothes when you're wearing a bra that's the wrong size, your whole day you're like, you what's, and, uh,
Deidre: that's right.
Stephanie: yeah, it can affect everything.
Deidre: It did. And I think that was that feeling I got with my career. Cause my career up to this point had been the path I was supposed to take, so then I took it. And then I got it. And then it was just, well, this is the path that I'm on, and this was the choice that I made and so I'm going with it. And then that uncomfortableness comes in and you're like but this is what I'm supposed to be doing and yet I am not satisfied with this and then that conflict, it's a crossroads, either you begin to explore what that is, or you just bury your head in the sand you put your head down and you say, I'm just going to keep going.
Stephanie: That is exactly right. And I think in 50 something interviews, you are the first person that has enunciated that that way. It is a crossroads and you get to choose. You choose whether you accept the discomfort, acknowledge the discomfort andtry something different. Or if you just bury your head in the sand, you play ostrich and you just keep doing what you're doing. Yeah. Wow. That's a really good,metaphor that I don't think we've said before. So thank you for that.
Deidre: You're welcome. I love these kind of conversations because it brings out things that are there in your head, but when you're talking to someone else, it kind of sparks an idea that was always there.
Stephanie: Yes, yes, yes, yes. Yeah. And that is what I love about these conversations too, right? I'm listening to you and to all the other wonderful people I've talked to and getting ideas and seeing things about my own life and some of the self reflection that I'm trying to do. So yeah, it's, fun stuff, it's meaty, it's thick. it's gooey, but it's good. Well, Deidre, I want to thank you so much for joining me today. I've enjoyed our conversation thoroughly and you've given me a couple of a-has that I will be chewing on for weeks to come, so thank you so much.
Deidre: Thank you, Stephanie. It's always therapeutic, right, to talk about things that we've been through in the past, and it really does bring about all the thoughts we have in our head, the things we have inside of us, and then when we're actually having a conversation about it, it's a good reminder of where been. And I think that, even though we don't want to live in the past, I think that there's value in reflecting on the past.
Stephanie: For sure. Absolutely.