Join Eric and Rob for an eye-opening conversation with Susan Blain, founder of the Dare to Be Vulnerable Project. Susan envisions a world where people “dare to be vulnerable” and talk openly about their mental health challenges without fear, judgment, or shame. Learn from her courage, vulnerability, and personal transformation story and be inspired to break the silence and reach your full potential.
Show Notes for Episode 35
Susan Blain has 30+ years of experience in business development, marketing, and sales in B2B marketplace with a distinguished record of achieving outstanding results and building trusted relationships.
She is now leading with heart, as the Founder of the Dare to be Vulnerable Project which is a social impact not-for-profit-driven project focused on sharing our mental health stories – inspiring leaders to step into their authentic leadership through vulnerability.
Our mission is to break the silence, bust the stigma, remove the shame, and save lives. The DTBV Project provides a safe haven for a courageous conversation to hatch and take flight. A place where those that dare to be vulnerable talk openly about their mental health challenges without fear of judgment and without shame. We are on a mission to make talking about mental health cool.
Key Concepts from Episode 35: Dare To Be Vulnerable with Susan Blain
In the latest episode of The Living Richly Podcast, hosts Eric Deschamps and Rob Dale invite guest speaker Susan Blain to delve into the topic of vulnerability. Susan begins by discussing the common advice of not showing vulnerability and the pressure to always appear strong. She shares a recurring dream she had, where she approached a cabin and felt fear and apprehension about facing her problems and pain. In the dream, she was assured by a presence that she must confront her issues to reach the life she desires.
Susan admits that she initially resisted the dream and needed to experience more pain before finally being willing to face her problems. She compares admitting weakness and asking for help to the courage it takes. The importance of asking for help and surrendering to support is a central theme in her journey.
Susan highlights that women, and sometimes leaders and CEOs, tend to prioritize others over themselves. She recounts going through a period of total destruction and having to rebuild her life. During this time, she experienced what is commonly referred to as the “dark night of the soul,” a lonely and challenging period. However, Susan kept faith and believed in a higher power or source.
One significant aspect Susan emphasizes is the importance of accepting help and support from others. Due to COVID, she had to create her own support system as existing programs were stopped. She also discusses the significance of initiating the process of asking for help and being vulnerable.
Susan shares her personal journey, leaving her previous career in 2015 and taking a couple of years to recalibrate. In 2019, she did a series called Sharing with Susan B, where she interviewed 60 guests about struggle and vulnerability. The series was intended as a branding exercise but became a social experiment for Susan.
In September 2019, Susan experienced a traumatic event resulting in losing everything, including her home and savings. She faced mental health challenges and became suicidal, leading to her hospitalization in March 2020. The turning point for Susan was when her best friend encouraged her to seek more help, eventually leading her to the hospital.
Since then, Susan has been on a healing journey, emphasizing the importance of courage and surrender in personal growth and healing. She discusses the power of being open, honest, and authentic, creating a safe space for others to express themselves.
Susan believes witnessing vulnerability and courage in others can shift energy and a sense of human connection and unity. She emphasizes the power of conversation in creating a safe space for sharing stories, and the motto “we go first” comes up frequently.
The discussion also explores the discomfort vulnerability brings, especially for those stuck in a performance mentality. Susan shares her own experience of previously appearing happy on the outside while feeling unhappy on the inside. She believes people resonate with vulnerability because they are tired of pretence and hiding.
Susan concludes by acknowledging the importance of sharing our stories to help others understand and verbalize their experiences. She also shares about her upcoming project, Dare to Be Vulnerable, which involves courageous conversations and capturing stories through byte-sized videos. The goal is to launch these videos into the world through social media and partnerships, believing that sharing these stories can save lives.
Overall, the episode highlights the power of vulnerability in personal growth, building authentic connections, and creating a positive culture in various aspects of life. By opening up and sharing their truth, individuals can pave the way for others to do the same, fostering a community ready to embrace vulnerability and lead authentically.
Episode 35 Transcript
Dare To Be Vulnerable with Susan Blain
Susan Blain [00:00:00]:
Eric Deschamps [00:00:02]:
From seasoned business professional to mental health champion, today’s guest is on a mission to make it cool to talk about mental health. Stay tuned, that’s coming up next.
Susan Blain [00:00:14]:
Rob Dale [00:00:17]:
Hi and welcome to the Living Richley podcast. My name is Rob Dale and I’m here with my incredibly over the top, most amazing, wonderful friend.
Eric Deschamps [00:00:27]:
You must want something.
Rob Dale [00:00:28]:
I do. I want the keys to your Jeep.
Eric Deschamps [00:00:31]:
The keys to IG you’ve got one?
Rob Dale [00:00:32]:
I do, but I have one. But two is always better, right? Eric Deshamp is here with me and we want to welcome all of you who are in listening today. I am so excited with the guests that we have for today as we continue our summer series of guests. And Susan Blaine is with us and she is going to I know you are going to be impacted by her story.
Eric Deschamps [00:00:57]:
It’s so powerful. Of course, Susan, we’re going to get you to tell your own story in a moment here, but I love the mission of your most current project, the Dare to Be Vulnerable Project. I’m going to read this right out loud because I want to do it justice. Our mission is to break the silence, bust the stigma, remove the shame and save lives. The Dare to Be Vulnerable project provides a safe haven for a courageous conversation to hatch and take flight. A place where those that dare to be vulnerable talk openly about their mental health challenges without fear or judgment and without shame. We’re on a mission to make talking about mental health cool. Now there is a powerful mission statement. There is a mouthful. So glad to have you on the show.
Susan Blain [00:01:43]:
Thank you. Thank you so much for the opportunity, guys. I really appreciate it.
Rob Dale [00:01:49]:
I think 22 or 28 years career in business to business development, sales, marketing. You did 15 years as a career at the Ottawa Business Journal and then you founded this Dare to Be Vulnerable Project and have been working and supporting and involved with mental health issues. Maybe tell us a little bit about your story because that’s a radical shift for someone and usually a shift like that comes out of just something in their own life. So maybe share a little of that story.
Susan Blain [00:02:24]:
Absolutely. I left my orphan career, I guess in 2015 and spent a couple of years sort of recalibrating and I did a series in 2019 called Sharing with Susan B, similar to what you guys are doing. And I dipped my toes in the water of vulnerability there a little bit. I had 60 guests I filmed from May to September. They were ten to 15 minutes segments. And we talked about struggle. And it was so ironic to me as I look back, because I did that as a branding exercise to try to rebrand myself, to recreate myself. The years that I spent the last 15 years at Ottawa Business Journal, the thing that I loved, the most about my work was once a year. Not that I didn’t love other things, but once a year, I got to take ten days out of the office and work with the 40 under 40 recipients and create sort of content behind the scenes. I got to ask them questions about what kept them up at night, what really drove them, what was their why. And I really developed a real passion that which is really what you guys are doing too, how to live your best life, right? And that’s my jam. And when I did that series in 2019, at first as a branding exercise, it became a social experiment for me. And then I experienced a trauma in September of 2019, ironically, as I’m ending the filming, I still had, like, nine segments still to go, and it was September 14, 2019, and my world just blew up. I lost everything through betrayal, and it was like, in an instant, and I didn’t see it coming. And I’m mid 50s. That’s not where I expect to be. I lost everything. I lost my home. I lost my savings. I wasn’t working at the time. I had just self funded this series, this sharing with Season B series, and I was homeless. Seven weeks later, I was homeless, and I went to a very, very dark place, right? And it was when I became very conscious of how important our mental health is. I was suicidal. I was homeless. I was finally hospitalized in March, march 11, 2020. Think about that date. It was two days before COVID swept the world, right? I went into the hospital, and I spent a couple of weeks there, and it was a really tough it was the most pivotal time I’ve ever experienced in my life. And people ask me, what was, you know, what kind of what started to turn for you? When was the turning point for you? And it was having a conversation with my best friend. My best friend and her husband took me and my dog in, and I shared with her because I was so, so afraid of these thoughts that I was having. I shared with her what was going on in my mind. And she said to me, Susan, you need more help than I can give you, and you need to be hospitalized. I can’t tell you how difficult that was to hear. Wow, to hear that. But it landed where it needed to land. And the next day, she held my hand, and I walked into the Queensway Carlton Hospital. They assessed me very quickly, and I was admitted. And then I’ve been on my healing journey ever since.
Eric Deschamps [00:06:23]:
Well, it’s powerful. We’ve had so many your stories, similar in some ways to so many of our other guests who talk about how their healing journey, the beginning of their reemergence, their resurrection, so to speak, was precipitated by a very dark time where it seems that all the constructs that they had been spending their lives building could no longer cut it. It just no longer worked for them. And then a series of hardships kind of came at a similar time. And all of a sudden you find yourself, here you are in your mid 50s. This was not part of your business plan. I’m sure this was not part of your goal. Right. But it showed up. And talk to us about the degree that you’re comfortable. What were the steps that you were taking in that healing journey? To emerge out of the darkness into the light that you’re in now?
Susan Blain [00:07:28]:
Yeah, a big part of it was asking for help, surrendering to support, like many people, I think, and women, not always women, but tend to be do for others and put others first, even leaders, CEOs, it’s always about the well being of their team and their people, their families. And that had to change for me. I had to put full focus on myself and to rebuild, reconstruct. So break down, to break free. I think that’s that sort of common path that happens. Right. Total destruction rising from the ashes. So that the Phoenix, right? Absolutely. And that was blowing up some of the support systems or what I thought were support systems and putting boundaries in place in the relationships of my life. The dark night of the soul. I definitely walked through that. It was a very lonely time. But you know what? I kept faith. I’m not a religious person, but I believe I have faith. I don’t subscribe to a certain religion, but I believe in a source. And that was the light that albeit at times flickered very dimly. Right. But that was the light that I kept my eye on in my darkest moments, that there was hope. There was always someone I was willing to accept help. There was somebody there to support me in different ways. And I just embraced that and surrendered to support because I needed it. It took a village, it took many supporting me in different ways emotionally, because COVID happened. All of the programs in the hospital as an inpatient and an outpatient, I would have benefited from some therapy and some support, but all of those were stopped right. Because of COVID So I had to build my own. So it was an interesting exercise for me to initiate that, to ask for help, to reach out, to be vulnerable.
Eric Deschamps [00:09:57]:
Susan Blain [00:09:58]:
Probably for the first time in my life, really vulnerable. So I thought it was really ironic that I did a series about vulnerability and then boom.
Eric Deschamps [00:10:08]:
Susan Blain [00:10:09]:
My life becomes the most vulnerable and I’ve got to walk the path myself.
Rob Dale [00:10:15]:
We often talk about the universe conspires with us right. And yeah, takes you into that journey. I wrote down in my notes here just because this phrase just jumped out at me when you said it was surrender to the support. The imagery of that is absolutely beautiful. And the idea that it really is a choice that we make, a decision we make to finally say, I can’t do this. I need to surrender. So you’ve done that. You begin to do the work. You’re starting to find that healing as we know it’s a journey of doing that. What are some of the lessons that you’ve been learning now and perhaps even in some of the work you’re doing? We’re going to talk a lot about the project that you’re doing, but some of the lessons and when you’re having conversations with people, some of the advice or the encouragement that you’re providing to people from your journey that you’re suggesting, these are some of the salvation moments, the help moments that they might apply to their life.
Susan Blain [00:11:18]:
Yeah. One of the things that comes to mind is resistance is futile.
Eric Deschamps [00:11:24]:
Love it. Are you a Sci-fi fan, Susan?
Susan Blain [00:11:27]:
A little bit.
Rob Dale [00:11:28]:
Susan Blain [00:11:30]:
You’ll fit right in here. Not another obsessed one, but certainly I enjoy so Sci-Fi. But it’s resistance that keeps us trapped, keeps us stuck. Right. Life is about flow. We talk about emotion, and I talk about emotion. I’m really self examining emotion often. I’m my most interesting subject, and I’m my best student. The word motion is in that word, right. So it’s got to keep flowing. And when we resist, it gets stuck. And I’ve been doing a lot of that work, the difficult work, but the most important work in these last three years, and that has been the biggest thing for me is recognizing resistance when it’s there and also just feeling the feels. I think you mentioned it in your intro, Eric, when you said that the implied sort of the flow when we were feeling the feels, like that we escape. We’re escaping. That we’re distracting ourselves. Right. That’s the go to for so many because we don’t want to feel it. It sucks. And I love the analogy of manure. It’s like sitting in manure. Nobody wants to sit in manure.
Eric Deschamps [00:13:04]:
Of course not.
Susan Blain [00:13:05]:
It stinks. It’s awful. It’s the worst place that you want to be. It’s so uncomfortable. The discomfort is intense. But guess what? What’s manure?
Eric Deschamps [00:13:15]:
Susan Blain [00:13:16]:
Eric Deschamps [00:13:17]:
Susan Blain [00:13:19]:
Right. So that for me, is when I’m feeling it, it’s like I got to let it flow. I got to feel it instead of wanting to avoid it, wanting to keep myself busy. I see that in a lot of people. It’s just busyness. And I saw it in myself in my entire career. Vulnerability was not in my vocabulary.
Eric Deschamps [00:13:40]:
Well, we’re taught, right? Like, what’s the saying? Don’t let them see you sweat. Right. The age old advice that we have to have our shit together, and if we don’t, that’s going to be like weakness. And yet, coming to see vulnerability as the ultimate superpower, I tell the story of a recurring dream. You’ll remember this story that I had many years ago, long before I started on my healing journey of me walking through I’ll tell it quickly, I would always be walking through this field towards this beautiful cabin at the edge of the wood. And as I got closer, I could sense a presence with me. Call it God, call it higher power, whatever one wants to call it, inviting me into the cabin. And yet, as I got closer, I sensed tremendous fear and lots of apprehension because I knew what was waiting for me on the other side of that door was, I’d have to face my shit. I’d have to face my pain. I’d have to work my way through it. And the presence that was with me assured me, yes, we’re going to walk through it, but we’re not going to live. There’s another door on the other side of the cabin. We’re not going to go live there, but we have to go through this. And on the other side is a life you’ve always wanted. Well, I’ve said it many times on this show. I’m a slow learner, Susan, so every time I had the dream, I resisted it. I never opened the door, and it would take a lot of pain, a lot more suffering before I was finally willing to do it. But like admitting weakness, throwing up your hand and saying, I need help, you mentioned that. And certainly and we talk about it a lot on this show, but, man, that takes a lot of courage.
Susan Blain [00:15:17]:
It really does. It’s the most courageous thing we can do, and it’s the most transformational work there is. And I work with a coach specifically on this work, and she keeps reminding me, Susan, that’s the most important work your to do list is not the most important work. This is your most important work.
Eric Deschamps [00:15:41]:
Susan Blain [00:15:42]:
I had a session this morning, so I’m in a good space for this, and I have to be constantly reminded because my default is still very much there. The pattern, the thinking pattern, the behavioral pattern, the reaction pattern, that’s still very much there. So it requires a constant effort or a level of consciousness, a constant consciousness of it. And that really is like anything. Repetition is the mother of skill, practicing that over and over again. So that becomes your default. I’m not there yet, but I’m certainly on the right track.
Rob Dale [00:16:23]:
It’s interesting, and you’re right. I’m not sure if we ever get there again. We talk so often. This is a journey, and it gets easier because the habits change, the thinking and the beliefs change. And as a result of those changes, our default reactions change, but there will always be those struggles or those things that come up. Eric, you talked about I remember you sharing how in the midst of when all of this started to happen, it was like, okay, it’s here. And then you said, but it hasn’t been tested, and then it gets tested, right? And then when it gets tested, all of a sudden it’s like, okay, so I’ve still got some work to do in that area. That’s interesting. And we learn along the way. There is a part about, even forgiving ourselves in the moments to say, hey, just you know what, you’ve come a long way. Be gentle with yourself as you continue to figure out this new reality of what you’re learning. You have that experience at all?
Susan Blain [00:17:30]:
Oh, absolutely. I use the analogy often. I’m building my toolbox. I’m constantly building my toolbox and making sure those tools are sharp in that toolbox when I need to pull them out and use them and to navigate through. And you’re right, Rob, it’s always going to come. Life’s always going to throw shit at you.
Eric Deschamps [00:17:55]:
Susan Blain [00:17:55]:
The fireballs are always going to come. We just get better at dealing with it. So therefore we get different results and we get results that preferred, results that we truly want. And we become creators instead of reactors.
Eric Deschamps [00:18:17]:
Yeah. Love that language. Yeah. So powerful. So powerful. We often talk about that in this work for any of us in The Healing Journey, I think one of the things that is very, very common in that process is coming face to face with lies that we’ve been telling ourselves or lies that we have believed about ourselves and how the world works. We refer to scripts and then we talk about the super scripts. These are usually the four or five beliefs that have been the most destructive, the most controlling, the most influential. What has that process been like for you? And if I was to ask you, what are you believing most differently these days? How would you answer that?
Susan Blain [00:19:04]:
Oh, that it’s okay to fly my freaky cape. I fear judgment for so long. Anything to do with self. I love that about the event I had last week. I love that James Sisileski was the last one to come up on stage and we had our five minutes of vulnerability, and I asked them to name their struggle the Mental Health. You know, that was a struggle, but was affecting their mental health. And and James said it, and it just shows that it’s a human thing. He said everything to do with self. Self confidence, self doubt, self esteem, self worth. Yeah, that’s what he struggles with. And I think that’s a human struggle. And I think everyone, if they’re honest with themselves, that’s what they struggle with, being enough worthiness. When you lose everything and you lose everything at this stage of life in your twenty s, you can jump right back. But it literally blew up my world. And so the golden ticket or the silver lining there was I got to rebuild from scratch and choose who I wanted to surround myself, who I wanted to be, how I wanted to be. The masks came off. I think my corporate career, I wore so many masks, I was confused, right?
Eric Deschamps [00:20:52]:
Like, who am I? Right.
Susan Blain [00:20:54]:
Who am I, right? I know who others want me to be. But I was always afraid to be myself. I feared judgment. I feared that wasn’t enough. I had impostor syndrome. I don’t have that anymore. I don’t care. I don’t care what other people think. I really, truly because I’m on purpose.
Rob Dale [00:21:22]:
So let’s talk about that purpose, Susan. Because I can just imagine the energy it takes to play all these different roles and to live all of these different lives. It’s exhausting. And then trying to figure out, okay, who am I here? And keeping them straight and making sure they don’t contradict and all of that to come out of all of that. And I hear it. I see it in your mannerisms. I hear it in your voice. That freedom. And then out of that, you launch this incredible project. And just the notion, dare to be vulnerable. How dare you put that as.
Eric Deschamps [00:22:08]:
Pretty ballsy? Dare to be vulnerable.
Susan Blain [00:22:11]:
I love it. I am the process of trademarking, so I’m a big Brene Brown fan. It just came to me. And again, I look back at the things that I’ve done, it’s kind of groomed me. Not kind of, it has. The things that I’ve done have groomed me. If I reflect back, that groomed me to be exactly where I am right now, including my trauma. Right. Would I do it again? Yeah. Because I know that behind that door right, eric, right behind that door, there was a bounty, a beautiful life and freedom.
Eric Deschamps [00:22:51]:
Rob Dale [00:22:51]:
I love it.
Susan Blain [00:22:53]:
It was really hard. It was like, manure, right? But that had to happen. It had to happen.
Rob Dale [00:23:09]:
Yeah. Words matter. And we often will talk about the idea that the language we use is critical. So maybe let’s start with you’re intentionally using the word vulnerable. What is vulnerability?
Susan Blain [00:23:25]:
Courage, surrender. Being open, being honest, being being you, being fearless. I think about the work that I’ve been doing, how how it continues to help me heal and others, as you guys would know, through the work that you’re doing with this podcast or series, you can feel it. It’s palpable when you provide a safe place for people to express themselves authentically, right. Without fear, without that judgment, even if it’s only for a few minutes, it cracks you open. Right? It lets the light in. It really gives you a feeling of going to use the word euphoria, even if it’s for a few minutes. Once we sort of get a taste of that, we realize, wow, that’s a beautiful space. Maybe I need to be there more often, right? Maybe I need to do it more often. What if I did it more often? What would be the result of that? And that’s the power of vulnerability. When we witness someone being courageous, being vulnerable, which over 100 and 150 people did on June 8, there’s something that happens. I struggle to find the words. I still struggle to find the words. Yeah, I use the word magic. Something magical happens. There’s the shift of energy that just happens when you witness somebody courageously share and even become emotional. There’s something in that human connection with us all that opens us up, allows us gives us permission to do the same, and makes us feel like we’re all one. We’re not alone, we’re just people. And there’s a sense of freedom in that. And that’s what’s so powerful. And that’s what keeps me going. The feedback. It started with sharing my own story and then just witnessing others through conversation, the power of that conversation and creating that safe space. Safe space. And our motto was, we go first.
Eric Deschamps [00:26:13]:
Susan Blain [00:26:14]:
We share first. Right? We go first. And then it allows that space and that magic to happen. And for some people, it’s the first time they’ve ever felt something like that, right?
Eric Deschamps [00:26:32]:
There’s an awkwardness and a discomfort with vulnerability, and yet authenticity is irresistible. Even though people feel uncomfortable, often when another person opens up and shares their truth, especially if they’re not used to that, if they’re stuck in that performance mentality that I know I was in most of my life. Succeeding on the outside, dying on the inside, always smiling, and people would say, oh, Eric, you always look so happy. And yet I was anything but. When you start to talk about your story, when you start to open up, it can make people feel uncomfortable. And yet I think we resonate with it almost at a spiritual level, because I think most human beings are tired of the bullshit, are tired of the games, are tired of the pretense, and are tired, honestly, of hiding, numbing, escaping, distracting and filling their lives with so many distractions that hopefully, if we do that enough, we’ll stop feeling. But the problem with that is Jace, right? It doesn’t work. What it does is it numbs everything. And I think when we begin to share our story, we give language for other people to explain what’s happening to them. They go, there. There it is. That’s it. That’s what I’m feeling. That’s what I’m experiencing. You’ve you’ve referred to it a couple times, and I want to hear about this event that you held recently with local CEOs and business owners. Tell us about what happened on June the 8th.
Susan Blain [00:28:14]:
Well, it was my fifth event this year, so I had some sort of momentum and some practice, and I wanted to do I have a soft spot for dudes when it comes to this work.
Eric Deschamps [00:28:29]:
That’s why you’re on the show?
Susan Blain [00:28:31]:
Yeah, and I said it on stage. I said, my entire career in B to B was around a lot of male energy. And vulnerability is a word that makes men very uncomfortable. Men more than women. I wanted to address I said on stage, I said, I never thought I would stand in front of 150 people and talk about men as a marginalized group.
Rob Dale [00:29:11]:
Susan Blain [00:29:12]:
Eric Deschamps [00:29:13]:
Susan Blain [00:29:13]:
But when it comes to mental health, you are the conditioning that you’ve had has been way more than women have had. Don’t suck it up. Don’t be a sissy. Boys don’t cry. Don’t be a girl. I love that. The Audible Business Journal Art Share when they reposted Caroline Phillips article on the event, that’s how they opened it up, because those are things that you’ve heard all your life, right? You got to be strong. You got to be strong for your community. You got to be strong for your family, for your business as a leader. It’s BS, and it keeps you guys stuck. And that’s why midlife you have challenged, you don’t live as long as we do. The highest rate of suicide in this country, 75% of the suicides are men. That’s the reason right there. And I know what happened to me in the betrayal. What happened in 2019 was mental health, a struggle, and it was something that happened, some years of conditioning. And I’ve come to peace with that. And my father, I lost my stepfather to suicide. And I see it. I can feel it. I can feel it that the more I do this work, the more sensitive I become to it. And I didn’t know how vulnerable these guys would get because I know they were all nervous. Some of them were more practiced than others in sharing their story. Like Robin Boo, he’s written two books, right? So he’s been out there with a story, as well as Jody Burton, who’s CEO of Stoneworks Technologies, and he experiences bipolar one, and he talks very openly about it also with his team. But Kevin Ford stephen Bechta james. James was again, I’ll say to James, and James openly said, I’m new at this. And Kevin said, I suck at this.
Eric Deschamps [00:31:30]:
The whole vulnerability thing, is that what they were referring to?
Susan Blain [00:31:32]:
Yeah. I went first. I shared and I shared a bit about the project. So there was a warm up and there was the courage that they were inspired to pull up and be in front of 150 people that it’s difficult to describe the words because it had an impact, an effect, an emotional impact on everyone that witnessed it. And I say it was historical, was a groundbreak breaking historical event with five leaders in our community daring to be vulnerable and courageous. And I loved at the end when we kind of wrapped up, we had an open mic, and that’s a very powerful part of these events. As I said, it was my fifth event, so I really sort of tweaked the format. And once we have shared, each of them shared, and we had a little round about discussion about some of the tools and things that they do to navigate through things that are helpful and things that are not helpful. We opened it up to the audience and then we have an open mic session and you just never know what you’re going to get there, right?
Eric Deschamps [00:32:53]:
Yeah. You’re taking a risk.
Susan Blain [00:32:55]:
You are taking a risk. Again, the tone has been set because of all of this vulnerability that’s emulating throughout the room and the tone is really set. So some of them, some beautiful things come from that open mic and then our ability from the stage to engage with others, it’s just so powerful. And each one of them I’ve had a chance to debrief with and it opened them up that much more themselves on their journey. So each time we dare to be vulnerable it impacts us and allows us to open up, to surrender, to open up that space for ourselves a little bit more and gives the gift of that to others. That’s what makes it so powerful, right? Saying win win.
Rob Dale [00:33:57]:
Yeah, it is so powerful. It’s interesting the comment we would receive the most when people send in comments and we always encourage it and appreciate when listeners share their thoughts with us. But I think the comment we hear the most is how refreshing it is to have two guys talking about their feelings and talking about their emotions and how needed that is and how important it is. There’s a psychologist that often comments and we’ve even been spurred on with one of our episodes over a letter he wrote. But he taught Matthew and Matthew talks about how he will share the episodes with his teenage sons and encourage them to listen because he wants them to learn at that young age the importance of vulnerability, especially among men, and the need for that. I’m going to put you on the spot and I hope I get because it’s okay.
Eric Deschamps [00:34:55]:
Anything can be fixed in post editing.
Rob Dale [00:34:57]:
Yeah, that’s right. Whether it’s from the event or even outside the event, you hear a lot of stories. Is there a story or two that really stand out for you that either just the story themselves were very powerful for you or that they kind of summarized maybe many of the stories can be summarized in one or two stories, but any stories that kind of specific ones that come to mind that you’d be able to share with us.
Susan Blain [00:35:30]:
You know, it’s interesting, the more content I put out, the more I share, the more others share. How people start to compare my story to your story. Well, my story is not that Susan like I haven’t been through anything that you’ve been through. People feel this need to compare the we’ve all experienced trauma, being trauma, little trauma, trauma is trauma. It’s still felt no matter what the experience is, there’s no two experiences the same. Even though the story could be similar. But the no two stories are the same. It’s like a fingerprint. They’re all unique, but what’s the same? What is similar is the experience, the pain, the fear, the sadness, the. Grief, the loss, those emotions, that vulnerability. We all know what that feels like in our bodies. That’s kind of the work. And I don’t go into a lot of detail with people’s stories. I don’t need to hear their, you know, if it’s because some of them are, you know, really tragic. And I found myself, when I was starting to do this work, when I would talk to people that survived horrible things. Wow. I’ve never been through something like that. I could feel myself doing the same thing. Like, my story didn’t matter because theirs was more extreme.
Eric Deschamps [00:37:17]:
Susan Blain [00:37:18]:
And nothing could be more from the truth. What’s important to take away is that all of our stories matter, that we’ve all struggled, we’ve all felt pain, we’ve been through trauma. Being slapped as a child is traumatic.
Eric Deschamps [00:37:37]:
Susan Blain [00:37:40]:
I don’t know if that’s the answer that you want to hear, but that’s what I found. I’ve had over 221 on one conversations wow. About this project. And each one, I share my story and each one. Not everyone is comfortable in that initial engagement, depending on our relationship or their level of comfort in sharing themselves about their own story, but they may share about somebody else’s. Well, this happened to me. It was funny because Kevin Ford was initially like that because he’s lost his stepdad and his brother in law to suicide and his sister struggles with depression. And so my initial conversation with him was about that. And then on Thursday, he steps up and shares himself about his personally, and he said, okay, it’s time to walk the walk. And so that’s the power of it, right? You just hit it. Maybe not at the first round or the first go, or you’re going to completely let go, but over time. That’s why we’re just getting started with this work, the Pandemic, to what you were sharing just a few minutes ago, Eric, that we’re getting to this place where we’re tired, we’re looking to be free of these constraints, these boxes that we put ourselves in, this resistance that we get stuck in. And the pandemic thank you to the pandemic, right. Is that leveled the playing field. And that’s what I love about this work mental health. We all have a mental health. So it’s not something outside of us. It’s not something that somebody else experiences. We all have a mental health, just like we have a brain health, a heart health, a physical health. That health. We have a mental health. So let’s get that straight. Where are we on the spectrum, is the question. We don’t have to be in crisis to start building our toolbox, right? We don’t have to completely break down or blow up to start to do some work there start to strengthen, to start building a playbook, building a playbook for ourself that helps us build strong mental health within ourselves and within our workplace, within our families. And that’s really what I’m motivated to do with this work is to make people understand it’s a level playing field. We’re all human. It’s not a gender thing, it’s not a sexual orientation thing, it’s not a cultural thing. It doesn’t matter. It’s a human day 100% and we’re all the same. And I think the Pandemic has opened us up to the possibility of that being true.
Eric Deschamps [00:40:52]:
Right. I think a lot to your point, a lot of folks spent a lot of time with themselves by themselves during the Pandemic. It forced a ceasing of all the distractions that we normally lean on or a lot of the distractions that we normally lean on to numb ourselves. And all of a sudden, I think a lot of folks got present to their dissatisfaction, their disillusionment, their unhappiness with the general state of affairs. And I love what you said, that although pain is a powerful motivator and can be an incredible teacher, if we’re paying attention, we don’t have to go through terrible pain in order to begin to build our best life. Our entire message here at Living Richly is figure out what matters most. Figure out what makes you happy and turn the volume up on that shit. Do more of that. Get in touch with who you really are and live more authentically where you’re not drifting and coasting through life living according to the shoulds, the musts, and the have tos that everybody else imposes on you, but get clear about that stuff for you and then live that, lean into it. And we’re not going to do that. Perfectly. Right. It’s little by a little slowly by slowly. But I think as more and more people wake up to this truth, I really feel that this is like Unplugging from The Matrix. When you first unplug from The Matrix, it sucks. It’s horrible. It’s not fun. You come face to face with this notion that this construct I’ve spent my whole life building, I’ve been climbing the ladder all this time and it’s been leaning on the wrong wall the whole time. And now I’ve got to literally go backwards for a bit. Perhaps I got to go inwards for sure, but I may have to go backwards. I may have to tear some stuff down. I may have to make some different choices. But on the other side of that is the life that I’ve always wanted. And that’s why we’re such big fans of what you’re doing. Tell us about how people can support dare to be vulnerable. Where is it going? What can they expect to see? I think you’re sharing such a vital message and we’re so thrilled you’re on the show today.
Susan Blain [00:43:03]:
Thank you so much. Just to finish off that thought, because I loved how you summed that up and you talked about Rob language words, right. That I am building a new the 5.0 version of myself.
Rob Dale [00:43:21]:
I love that.
Susan Blain [00:43:23]:
And I often talk about when I talk about this with my coaches that it’s like I’m developing a brand new operating system. Yeah, so the old operating system got me so far, and then it blew up and I rebuilding a new operating system. And that’s where the support comes in. It’s so important to reach out because how do you do that? A lot of people are in that place, right? How do you do that? So the Dare to Be Vulnerable project, so the front end is awareness, these courageous conversations and having as many of them as possible with as much diversity as possible. So we’re starting with 48 stories here locally. I want to go across the country nationally, go to some of the major cities and do courageous conversations there events and stories. So capturing stories like you’re capturing digitally, transcribing them, audio and video. So capturing these stories, but in shorter bytes. So about using the TEDx model, 15 to 18 minutes and creating as many of those as possible and just kind of launching them into the world through the network, through social media, through our partners, through tagging, through the viral sharing of it. I get really excited at that part because you just never know. Everybody has a story, right? And when you are courageous, you cannot be courageous without vulnerability, right? So just that act in its own and having hundreds and hundreds of these stories out there, you just never know where it’s going to land. And I like to say, because I believe it, I believe it, that our stories have the power to save lives. So that’s the foundation of this work is sharing having those courageous conversations and sharing those stories and capturing them in digital format. Sharing them. And then the back end the back end is about building a support structure, a resources and tools, and using perhaps bot technology on creating the Dare to Be Vulnerable Institute, where you can navigate, you can build that toolbox. And I did that at the event. I had a list and I invited practitioners of different modalities. It’s not always about talk therapy. I didn’t actually have that.
Eric Deschamps [00:46:07]:
Susan Blain [00:46:08]:
I didn’t have that as a support going through my trauma. Not that I haven’t in my life. I have and I love talk therapy. And I also hadn’t been on medication. And all of those things have their place in time. There are so many different modalities that you can explore to build strong mental health, to build optimal mental health. And that’s the other part of this project that we’re developing. And it’s so important. Even then, the workplace looks different now, right?
Eric Deschamps [00:46:44]:
Susan Blain [00:46:45]:
But 50% of our time is engaged, connected in the workplace now. Not as much physically. We’re not sure how that looks over the next couple of years, but we have been disconnected. So we need to reconnect. And what does that look like? And I believe fundamentally, it’s about building a strong mental health culture. So there’s a lot of talk about est, right. Environmental social governance. There’s a lot of environmental governance going on, but there’s not as much social this is a strong social governance movement.
Rob Dale [00:47:28]:
So good and so needed. It’s interesting when you talk about Story, the thought went through my mind that I think the two most popular episodes of The Living richly podcast so far, and here we are in our mid 35, 35 episodes or thereabouts. I think the two most popular ones are the episodes three and four, where you share your story and I share my story. And I remember back when we were doing those and of course, how nervous we were and how awkward and uncomfortable we were, even though we were so used to it, and we had shared our stories in different contexts. But to do it in the context of that vulnerability this is going to.
Eric Deschamps [00:48:17]:
Live on the oh, my God.
Rob Dale [00:48:21]:
And Story is so powerful and it’s so moving, and I can’t wait to hear and to tune in and to listen to these stories and where this goes. I think it’s so absolutely needed. You talk about Susan 5.0. You’re telling the story, you’re writing the story of this next version of you, maybe. What are the most and just as we wrap up, what are the most significant words you would use to describe you now?
Susan Blain [00:48:53]:
Authentic. Authentically me. That I’m unabashedly me. I said earlier, I’m flying my freaky Kate. I was always in fear of that. Now I’m not. And there’s flow now. There’s less restriction, less resistance, and there is a lot more beautiful, bliss joy happening in my life because I am practicing to remain open, and this new operating system is creating more joy. And being on purpose, I feel like I am truly on purpose for the first time in my life that I found that I’m being pulled. So much of my life, I felt like I was pushing here I feel like I’m being pulled. And Lisa McLeod said this. Lisa is on the advisory board for the Care to Be Vulnerable Project, and Lisa McLeod is a politician, and she lives with bipolar or she’s experiencing bipolar, and she’s sort of kind of fresh on her journey. I admire her a lot because she’s sharing out loud. She said to me, and we sat down and created our story, where she shared it’s hard sometimes for a politician not to be a politician. Talk about programming, right. She talks about being a trailblazer, as she was referring to me in this conversation. She said, there’s trailblazers, Susan, and then there’s trailblazers that bring other people along and then widen the path. And that’s what’s happening with this. So it’s like this whole community that is ripe and ready for this work. As you guys know, too, in your 35 episodes, you know that the soil is fertile. Yeah. I listened to something recently, and somebody said in order to change the mindset of a community. It need to change the soil, the culture, the soil. It needs to be rich, it needs to be nutritious in order for things to grow. And I think that that’s what’s happening globally. I’m excited to be part of this movement along with you guys in celebrating and in nurturing this work. Because when it comes to leadership, and I’ve said it, I use the hashtag tag, this is authentic leadership. And this is the shift that we’re seeing in the workplace, in our communities. That the power of vulnerability. And Simon Sinnick, I cited a quote because I love Simon Sinnick and he talks so much about that. He got us on the whole Y path, right? And he talks about vulnerability being the toughest leadership lesson that we will ever learn. But it is the most important because when you are vulnerable, when you dare to be vulnerable, you allow other people to do the same and that you allow them to be human too. And when you allow that to happen and foster that in a culture, in a family, in in a workplace, you will gain so much more. Your bottom line will explode. Rather than being driven by profit, be driven by people. Right? And people matter.
Eric Deschamps [00:53:07]:
Yeah. So powerful. So powerful. As we prepare to wrap up Susan and thank you so much for being here today. I’m sure we’re going to be having you back in the near future. To get updates on what’s happening with Dare to Be Vulnerable. We’ll be posting in the show notes how people can reach you, how they can find out more about this powerful movement that you’re championing. What a powerful story. Your own personal pain turned into powerful purpose. And it’s quite something. I can sense your energy. I sensed it in your energy when we spoke about coming on the show just a few days ago. I can sense it from you today in 30 seconds or less. For those that are listening in right now, they’re listening to the show. What is your word of wisdom or encouragement to them?
Susan Blain [00:53:54]:
Dare to be Vulnerable and watch your life transform. Yeah. And if I could do a quick plug, the ASPA Force support. So jump on the Daretobeulnerable.com website. We’re creating these 48 stories in the background and we need support. We need support from the community, we need support from brand partners, we need support with funding. We need more people to step up and share their story. So I encourage people to reach out that have interest with volunteers that want to volunteer their time and talent to helping to build this project and get this work out there. So this is very much a collaborative we’re collaborating right now, right?
Eric Deschamps [00:54:44]:
Rob Dale [00:54:45]:
Yeah. This is what I love about this movement is it’s not one person speaking up, saying, it’s my way and it’s what I need to do. It is a collaboration. It’s recognizing that we need a lot of different voices to be able to make this okay, for people to begin to step out and to be vulnerable, to dare to be vulnerable. So deeply appreciate you, Susan. So appreciate what you’re doing, how you’ve taken your own story and you have turned it from all of the challenges and you’ve said, no, I’m going to be able to be a difference and make a difference in others. We want to encourage people to check out the website, to look and see how they can get involved. And of course, we also want to encourage you to continue to follow the Living Richly podcast. You can do that by liking and subscribing to the channel, sharing out the episode to others who might be listening that you think, boy, this would be a perfect episode to share with someone to help them be connected to this movement as well.
Eric Deschamps [00:55:44]:
And of course, you can go to our website, Livingrichley MEACT Act, where you can find all kinds of resources, including show notes to the episodes. Coaching programs are available for those of you that are looking for some help on your Living Richly journey and other tools and resources we make available for free. You can avail yourself of those right there at that website.
Rob Dale [00:56:05]:
Thank you so much for tuning in, and until next time, we encourage you to live your best life. Ram.