Kristoffer Carter is "The Transformer"

addiction meditation parents permission purpose spirituality stress transformation yoga Feb 07, 2022
Kristoffer Carter is The Transformer

February 15th, 2022
Episode 06: Kristoffer Carter, The Transformer


Kristoffer Carter - better known as KC - is an Executive Coach, meditation teacher, author, podcaster, husband and dad. He’s the ultimate hype man for purpose and transformation. His recent book “Permission to Glow” is a beacon on the pathway to meaning, fulfillment, and peace. He coaches people through their own personal transformation after he transformed all those years ago.


This episode is for you if:
-You feel unsure of where to start on your journey to transformation.
-You feel disconnected from purpose
-You need to reconnect with inspiration
-You love life advice in easy to digest, hilarious soundbites


What's in this episode?
In this episode, he walks you through his personal transformation from being a professional musician, to nearly passing away from stress-related illness at 26 years old. The 20 years that followed led him to become a Kriyaban Yogi who meditates for one hour every day. He now coaches executives for major companies across the country. 

KC walks us through the framework of his book, Permission to Glow, which gives us four permissions on the path to meaning and fulfillment. He really digs into the meat of meditation and how it strengthens every area of our life. Meditation also helps us to see ourselves more objectively.

This episode culminates with a live meditation at the end of the episode!


📝 Show Notes 📝

The book Autobiography of a Yogi

KC's book Permission to Glow

Joseph Campbell's The Hero’s Journey

Lauren's 5 Truths of Purpose, Watch this video to learn more.


Connect with Kristoffer Carter
KC's book, Permission to Glow


0:00 - Intro
1:22 - Best Time/Worst Time
10:01 - KC’s story of transformation
14:24 - What happens in your late 20s
17:58 - KC’s start to coaching
20:13 - When does purpose begin?
22:54 - What Meditation really is
28:35 - Giving yourself Permission
32:44 - Step 1 to Transformation
34:40 - Asking ‘What do I want?’
37:40 - Pay attention to intuition
42:41 - Hike up your audacity pants
43:29 - Giving others permission
47:40 - KC leads a meditation


Episode transcript

- Kristoffer Carter, better known as KC, is an executive coach, meditation teacher, author, podcaster, husband, and dad. He does so many things. He is the ultimate hype man and has charisma and energy in spades. His recent book, "Permission to Glow," is a beacon on the pathway to meaning, and fulfillment, and peace. He walks you through learning to meditate, finding your spark and your purpose, and, then absolutely glowing, being so much of who you were meant to be. That you're shining all the time. The journey was one he had to make consciously. After struggling with alcohol and setting boundaries in his work, who you'll meet today is evolved. He's enlightened, he's present. He's the type of person who gives 100% of himself to every conversation. And, you know, he does because you can feel it. He makes people feel heard and feel confident in the transformation they wanna undergo. He is able to do that because he transformed his life so many years ago. This is "Kristoffer Carter The Transformer." Okay, when was the best time in your life?

- Well, I literally always believed that the best is always yet to come. My grandfather raised me on this whole paradigm of, like, it always works out in the end. So if it's not working out, it's not the end. And I could honestly say that things keep getting better and better and better. And I don't know if that's your forties, you know, like, what Oprah said many years ago is that you kinda know who you are by the time you're 40, but as things keep improving or keep evolving, and expanding, it just, everything gets better. So I honestly think it's the year that I'm in right now is the best time of my life.

- I thought you were gonna say best time is tomorrow.

- It could be, but then I would not be in the moment, you know?

- Yeah, that's true.

- But, I'm grateful for the year I'm having. This day has been phenomenal. Meeting you, all this, I mean, I'm pretty content at the moment.

- I feel like you must set your expectations really low, if I'm the highlight.

- Oh, well, I think it's the healthiest way to live is not having any expectations, and just, you know, being present to it as we are when we're kids, or how, when a golden retriever walks in the room, we sort of play with it, you know? And not every day's like that for me, but, you know, I'm kind of on a stretch right now with having that. So I'll take it.

- Yeah, great. When was the worst time in your life? The worst time... I thought you said this was a game. No, the worst, I'd say anytime that I feel just prolonged periods of real disconnection. Disconnection from purpose, disconnection from, you know, my spiritual practice, being, feeling lost in the maze of life. The most notable one was when I was 26 years old. I nearly passed away from stress related illness. And when I look back at that time, it was a catalyst for me to get on the path and find the path that I've been on now for a long time. However, it was a really terrifying, depressed time, and it wasn't that anything really was bad in my life. I had a good job. I was newly married. I just didn't know how to do any of those things. So I struggled with it. I resisted it. I medicated it. And, yeah, that was probably the hardest time of my life.

- Mm, but you got past it and now you're here to share the good news.

- In retrospect, it's grateful for all of it, you know? And we're really blessed if we can look back and reflect on that time and be grateful for it. So, yeah, I'm grateful for it.

- When was the turning point in your life?

- I think that time is probably one of the biggest, was that after nearly passing away, I had to get really honest with myself, with my wife, with where I was, and with what was and wasn't working. And it led me on this rabbit hole exploration of personal development. And I always like to say that where the personal development path ends, the spiritual path begins. And it kinda set me up to get past a lot of that achiever, personal development stuff, which was all awesome, you know? I got to walk on fire with Tony Robbins and do all that rah-rah achiever stuff. I love all of it. But the, you know, the self-reflection, the radical honesty, that was an absolute turning point. And it's been a long term build. I mean, I'm 46. I mean, that's where I'm coming at in 20 years of this building that path.

- When has been a greatest moment of clarity for you?

- Hmm. You know, holding a new baby, like a brand new baby, any one of those. I have three, I know you have three. Peak experiences. My wife was a natural birth instructor, and she kind of schooled me and coached me on that whole husband coach childbirth thing. So helping deliver those babies and looking into the newborn eyes of your child, I had never held a baby.

- Yeah.

- So having those moments of connection were just really, really profound, and they force you to reevaluate everything that's important.

- Life and death, right? Those are the times that we have major evaluations.

- Yeah, yeah. And I mean, similar. I mean, my father, my stepfather passed away about seven years ago and I sat up with him all night long and kind of read him passages of my guru's book, "Autobiography of a Yogi," just trying to ease his transition. And I was really thinking that. I was thinking, "Gosh, how we enter this life is how we exit it. We fade in, we fade out." And it was a real beautiful, you know, realization to realize that death doesn't have to be scary and sad, it can be a joyous release.

- Yeah. Tell me something about your nature that you've overcome or you continue to overcome.

- Oh, gosh, this is a better question for my wife, maybe. You know, the one that I'm working with a lot lately is just my ingrained genetic impatience. One of my survival mechanisms and the type of coaching I do, we name our survival mechanisms. And one of mine is called Raging Railroader. I just like to do things as fast as possible and get 'em done. And it's good because it's made me become a meditator to learn how to slow down and be more patient, and grateful for how things are moving. But even on the book journey this year and releasing the book, you know, you always expect the results or this or that, like, the second that you want 'em, and that whole process of crafting a book from nothing has forced me to just be more patient with the creative process, with myself, you know? And I think there's a lot more self acceptance and compassion when you're willing to be patient. You know, so I'd say, and I wouldn't say I've overcome it. I'd say that I'm actively working with it and I'm seeing some of the benefits.

- Yeah, yeah. You acknowledge the struggle there. I appreciate it.

- The struggle's real. What do you find yourself saying a lot lately? Are there words that always seem to come outta your mouth?

- I mean, you and I were talking earlier a bit about these vines that we swing from in our lives, in our careers, and what we were saying, this is something that comes up in just about every coaching conversation these days. It's that I don't believe it's limited to just these achievers and executive leaders that I coach, I think it's the human condition right now that we are kind of between chapters of how we live, meaning that there was the old way of doing things, the old paradigm, maybe this was pre-pandemic. And then there's the path forward. And these could feel like vines in the jungle that we're swinging from. And sometimes we need to have the faith to release the vine we're on and reach for the one and just hold it there in the liminal space, having the faith that it might show up and we could grab it. And, you know, and that brings up for me, just the risk, the faith, the trust that we know what we're doing. And I find myself in that conversation just about every day. And if it's not out with my clients, it's with myself, or with my kids.

- Yeah. You make me think of the old school "Indiana Jones" movie. I think it was "Raiders of the Lost Ark." No, which one was it? Where the two, when he's gotta take the sand, and he throws it out and steps onto the stones.

- Oh, yeah, that's-

- Do you remember that scene?

- Yes, that's the one with the-

- They have to drink from Christ's cup.

- Yes, that is "The Last Crusade."

- "The Last Crusade."

- Yeah, with Sean Connery. Yeah, it's all about finding the chalice of Christ. Yeah, that was phenomenal, but yeah, it is the leap of faith.

- Same thing, right? Stepping out.

- Stepping out.

- That's amazing.

- Yeah.

- What do you think your purpose is right now?

- Well, you know, it's great time to have this conversation. We just had this, like, really powerful full moon eclipse this morning. And it happens to be a lot about purpose and dharma. And I've known that my dharma, my north node in astrology is Scorpio, which is change and transformation. I can honestly say that work chose me, I didn't choose it, 'cause it wasn't a major in college, or anything like that. And what I realized lately, and especially this week, is that my real purpose these days is to help others find peace in that process. Because it can be a brutal, hard, confusing process, but if we could gamify it, if we could find some levity in it, if we could find some chill and peace in it, magical things could happen. And my job, my purpose is to help shepherd that process.

- When did you realize that was the purpose, your purpose?

- It's always ever-changing. And I believe that purpose gets revealed to us over time. It's like a gift that we get to continually unwrap. And I've helped so many clients find purpose over the years. And, usually the thing in the way of finding it is that, you know, story that we have to go on some quest and come back with the magic elixir. Here's my purpose! And, so I would say, it's always getting fine-tuned and evolved. And when I'm in deep in meditation or just kind of centering myself, I believe we can get marching orders from spirit, from God, that let us know, "Hey, do more of this, and a little bit of less of this, but here's what we need from you." And that's how purpose has arrived for me. And, you know, finding peace and transformation seems to resonate right now.

- Yeah, and it's interesting 'cause I call you the transformer because I feel like that is... I know. I know, I love that.

- Yeah.

- But, in the way that you're doing it in this interesting journey that you've taken yourself on and now you help others, tell me your story of transformation.

- Yeah, so personal transformation. Well, there's who it looks like we'll become based on where we grow up, the scripts our parents hand us, where we go to school, you know, that predictable path. You know, I was a kid from the suburbs in the 1980s, a latchkey kid.

- Yeah.

- You know, typical eighties family. My parents were divorced and I had a lot of spare time between school. And when mom got home from work to get into a lot of trouble. No oversight, you know, questionable choices, running away from my brother and his friends who were kind of bullies. And something about growing up in that time of, you know, eighties was a lot about achiever consciousness. Like, you know, I think of Michael J. Fox and "Family Ties" like with his little briefcase and his straight tie. And, there was part of me that really wanted to be that to impress my dad or my parents. But then, over the course of time, as I mentioned, just kind of figuring out all the ways in which life didn't work for me. You know, just following everybody else's rules, or trying to fit myself into some tiny little square box, like a cubicle, for example.

- Yeah, yeah. A cage.

- Yeah. Right.

- A cubicle cage.

- A cagicle. And there's nothing wrong with that. Like, some of my favorite leaders still work in cubes and that's great. But it wasn't for me. And I started realizing that I needed to find some practices to anchor myself in a very just turbulent world, you know? There's change is a constant, it was always very loud and chaotic. I feel like I'm a very energetically sensitive person. And, you know, in the eighties that might feel like I was not man enough or I was being weak or something. This was before we had the term soft skills, which we, you know, tend to marginalize the important work with. But, over the course of time, I surrendered into these practices and that's where transformation really started taking route. I mean, there's people that run into me on my book tour this year, that haven't worked with me in five, six years. And I don't, you know, I have the same sense of humor, but I'm not the same person. And it's 10 years sobriety. You know, that was a big part, you know, that conscious choice to cut out alcohol and marijuana, was a major part of the journey. And now what I realize now is, my life anyway, and this is an enneagram seven thing. We were talking about enneagram earlier. My job is to surrender into structure. And when I surrender into structure, just the best stuff in life comes from that.

- That's interesting because you seem like someone who loves to experience so many things, right? Like, you've got the energy for it. You have the charisma for it. You have the smile for it. You get yourself into all of these situations. It's interesting to me that you find that you need the structure.

- I do.

- I find that fascinating.

- And I do need to recharge my batteries in private. I mean, this morning, it was an hour of meditation, a little bit of yoga. You know, I have to clear that slate, and clear that canvas so I could paint the day on it, you know? Versus what I used to do, which was just like, fill the cup on all sides, and then end up depleted or hit a wall. I should mention too, I was a professional musician when I was a young kid, I was in the Sky Band playing a couple hundred shows a year. And that was real formative training in entertainment, show business.

- Yeah.

- Being a professional and being a complete unprofessional 'cause I had to quit that band because they could never show up on time. But I did get to play shows with a lot of my heroes. I did get to learn the ins and outs of how to move a room and how to move energy around and that formative training and the entertainment biz, I think was really helpful to me too. So yeah, I think my path has been one about balancing those extremes of, like, high energy rock and roll showbiz with quiet contemplative practice.

- Yeah, and that only came in adulthood, right? And choices, it seems like.

- Are we yet in adulthood? I don't know. I'm like...

- Perpetual childhood.

- Right. Well, I believe in like, "Don't grow up, it's a trap." But, yeah, I think we do improve with age, we mature, if we're lucky, and you know, marriage, sobriety, meditation practice, these acts of devotion, they require a lot of showing up. And that all that showing up, I think refines you over time from a jagged-ass piece of glass, into like a smooth piece of sea glass, you know? At least that's the plan.

- I love all your sayings. The sayings are great. I really want you to take me back to that 25, 26, 27-year-old. Tell me about that person who needed transformation.

- Yeah, I think, you know, I see this in some of my clients now at around that age, there's this coming up to your thirties where the scripts, the prescriptions of how things should work out and feel for you, aren't necessarily feeling congruent with how you live or how you want things to look. And I was just disenchanted, you know? I had moved my band out to California. I was living in Hollywood, working in a movie studio during the day, sleeping on the floor of studios at night, just trying to get our album done. And I was newly married, and I had no idea how to be married, you know? I didn't know that I needed to be there more often than I wasn't, you know, nobody really-

- No one told you about that.

- Dear old dad didn't pass along that lesson. And, I was just becoming increasingly full of despondency, hate, agitation, you know? I was sitting in five-lane gridlock traffic in Los Angeles, which was like a metaphor for how disconnected and stuck I felt. And, I was kind of alienated from my band. My marriage needed help. And we started seeing a therapist shortly there afterwards and we've done that throughout our 22, 23-year-old marriage. And, yeah, just figuring it out, you know? But the unhappiness to me was the indicator, because I knew I had a great enough childhood. I had a very special childhood. My grandfather was an incredible influence on me. And he gave me those tastes that life is supposed to be about joy. And you know, you're in the zone and you're on purpose when you're near your joy. And it doesn't have to be this ecstatic, toxic, positivity joy. It's like this-

- I love... The snap is really what got me there.

- The eighties dancing.

- Yeah, you got me with the Carlton. I love it, thanks.

- It could be like, hey, it could be more like this, just deep-seated sense of gratitude and awareness and peace. And, I had enough of that as a child to realize I was far off course in my mid twenties. And so, it was about doing whatever necessary to navigate back to that.

- Wow, wow. And how did you?

- You know-

- You're like, "What's step one?"

- Yeah, well, I think step one, as I said, was the honesty. Like, being willing to see things as they are. And once I eventually kicked booze, many years later, sobriety in our country typically means the lame absence of booze. Like, "Oh, so and so's sober, don't party around him," you know. It's like the lame absence of booze. But sobriety as a virtue, is that the willingness to see things as they are, to be with what is. And it shows up in my book a lot as the first permission, permission to chill, like being at peace with what shows up in the moment to test you. And, when I was willing to start seeing things as they are, I started seeing opportunity, and it was start taking care of my health, learn how to run, which looked like... You know, I eventually ran marathons, but it started out as, see if you could run a hundred feet without wanting to puke up your lungs, you know? Like everybody starts. And so all of those paths of, you know, just extreme incompetence at first. Running, taking care of my body, figuring out what to eat, and what not to eat, meditating, treating people kindly, and respectfully, all these things. They were, over time, became paths to, I would never say eventual mastery, but, I became so kind of into being on those paths of just working, experimenting, showing up better a little bit each day.

- Yeah, when did you start coaching people?

- Well, coaching, that's a funny question, 'cause, like, there's when I was certified, like, I was trained eventually three years ago. Formally trained, year long program, but I had been coaching for a long time before that. I was kind of a magnet for people's deepest stuff.

- Okay, so that's why I was gonna ask you because I feel like when you start... Anybody, when anyone starts on a journey towards something, I feel like we do start to attract people who need to hear the message or hear our personal story.

- Yes.

- And even if they weren't attracted to what they needed, I feel like we just start to share those things. So, I kinda wondered if that was the case for you. If people just started like coming outta the woodwork to find you and hear you.

- Well, there's something interesting. There's a distinction between coach and teacher, and I am both. A teacher shares their experience, shares stories to serve the other, you know? And that's very, very powerful. A coach, however, is all about just asking questions to get people to open up. So, I would go on plane flights where I just didn't feel like talking to anybody, I would just sit down, and people would sit next to me and just open up the deepest, their biggest fears, and their biggest hopes and dreams.

- Did you pull that out of 'em or did they just start talking? And you're like, "Oh, geez."

- I was kind of a magnet for it at first. I didn't know what to do with it, you know? And that's what I mean by it kind of chose me, 'cause I was like, "What do I do with it? Why is this person telling me?" But over time I realized what a gift that is and what a responsibility it is. So I, you know, I started, I worked for a startup company for years. We grew from like 40 people to 900 people very quickly. It was a very rapid growth, a lot of success, but because it was such a pressure cooker, everybody around me needed coaching. And I was kind of becoming this default people saying like, "Hey, KC's my life coach," whatever. And I'm like, "Yeah, sure." I mean, what is it? What's that? I'm, like, looking it up, what is life coach? And, eventually, my joke early on was people would say, "Oh, wow, I wanna hire you to coach. Are you certified?" And I'll say, "No, but I'm certifiable." Meaning like, I'm crazy enough to know that I'll probably change your life. I don't don't know why I know that, but I know. And then, eventually, because of my mentors and coaches, they said, "Go get the formal training." And ever since then, it's been a very, you know, building a pro-level coaching practice. So yeah, it's kind of a long answer to... It's been another one of those journeys of just kind of, you know, surrendering into who I've probably always been.

- Well, that's something funny that I find, you know, not just in my own life, but in the lives of a lot of people who have found purpose, I think there's a point where you realize your life has been a pinball. You've been the pinball in the pinball machine. And, at some point, you, as the pinball, have to turn around and look at at the past and say, "Oh, my gosh! I actually have been doing this purpose all along. I just didn't realize it." So I kinda wonder if, like, the present-mindedness, the conscious understanding of purpose is the point where purpose begins. What's your take or did purpose already begin before?

- Yeah, that's probably the million-dollar-question around purpose. I believe that there are innate qualities our souls come in with that need to express in this particular lifetime we're in. I do believe in reincarnation. That's part of my yoga training and my yoga philosophy that I study. And also, I feel like we gotta go through the pinball machine to get beaten up, and, you know-

- Right.

- Navigate towards what it is and discover it. So, I think it's a little bit of both, and we're really blessed. I mean, whenever I'm having a really bad day, like a really bad day or my clients are all melting down for whatever reason, and I'm driving home kind of replaying the day, I think, you know, to even be in the smallest percent that have an inkling of what your purpose could be, let alone be working in it and making money, and supporting a family in it. How blessed are we to even, you know, beyond that-

- To beyond that.

- Right, right.

- Totally. And, you know, I mean, from the very first moment I met you on the phone or on a zoom call, like, a couple months ago-

- Or email.

- But there was a familiarity, and there was a, like, just a connection of, "Oh, I understand what she's doing here, because all of this is part of your big honkin' dream. Like, the expression of helping people find purpose, celebrating, purpose, exploring purpose. And, you know, I think, I don't know if it's a Burt Bacharach song, but it's like... ♪ What the world needs now ♪

- Is this.

- Love, sweet love.

- Yes.

- Yes.

- It's like, you know, and the pinball machine has only gotten a little bit more violent and unpredictable.

- Do you think so?

- I think that change is absolutely speeding up, compounding, and accelerating all the time. And the military calls it VUCA. Like volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity. If we look at these forces, and we think back five years, even 10 years, 15 years, these forces are bigger in most of our lives, which means we need to ground into something, like, either a purpose, some sort of steeling practice, something to slow down our experience of it.

- Yeah, and so, I wanna talk about your yoga practice, and, you know, the promise you made to yourself all those years ago for meditation. Walk us through that.

- Well, meditation early on was, you know, we get ideas about what it means to meditate, and it usually looks like the cover of time magazine with, like, a white woman in yoga pants with candles, like-

- And she's shot from behind. And she's like, that's... Yeah, you see her outline.

- You see it in the poster. You know, the perfect posture, the nice figure. Meditation is a much more rigorous, challenging process than that. It doesn't look as easy. I mean, my first few attempts at meditation, I thought it was like the end of yoga class, like Shavasana, Corpse Pose. So I would lay down in the basement floor when we lived in Chicago at the time, and I would just fall asleep, you know? So for maybe the first couple months, my meditation was lay on the floor, fall asleep. I'm like, "Am I meditating yet?" But then I realized over time, and I had teachers that would come into my life and say, "Hey, your path is to be a meditator. Like, let's get on with it, you know?" And I'm like, "What does that mean?" But I learned to meditate in Chicago while riding the train to and from work. I meditated on a busy train, very loud. I felt like that was a really important part of my training. Because if I could meditate there, I could almost meditate anywhere. But it was just, the big distinction is most people think that meditation is clearing your mind and being in this peaceful, blissful place. It's not. It's the time you give to consciously clearing your mind and bringing your attention back. And in doing so, we're strengthening the muscle of our meta attention. So, in doing that, you know, on the train in Chicago at first, and then eventually in front of large rooms of people teaching meditation, I'm just trying to show people that if I can do it, you could probably tell I have a lot of energy. I had uncomfortable levels of energy my whole life.

- [Lauren] It's not uncomfortable to me, just so you know.

- Oh, good, thank you. I will, 'cause Namaste, you have the same type of energy.

- Namaste.

- Right. You go, I don't wanna say you go hard, but you make room in your life for a lot of stuff, you know?

- I do, yeah.

- You burn in a fast clip and it's inspiring.

- You know why?

- Why?

- It's because I refuse to let anything go and that's not in a, "Lauren, let some stuff go." It's more of, "No, these all deserve to be part of my life. I will not let that go. I will not let that go." And it's part of, like, my kind of mantra's, "Have your cake and eat it too." 'Cause I believe I can have all the things that I want. I believe I can have a family. I believe I can have a career.

- And you're proving it.

- And I prove it to myself everyday because I did not grow up in a family where my mom worked. My mom did not work. And so, everyday, I'm teaching myself, and I'm also proving to myself everyday that I can have all of those things. So, I'm with you, my friend, keep going.

- Well, we'll see what's inspiring about that. And I think a lot of people need to learn this, is that if we work on ourselves and we create capacity in ourselves, there's no limit to what we can hold in our life, you know? More kids sitting on the boards of more companies and foundations, launching this project, that project. You're doing the work to expand your capacity, to make room for those things. And that's a beautiful thing. And, especially in a parent, because the generations before us were typically like, "You have a job, you maybe see your kids, you maybe don't see your kids. And then you're back at work on Monday." Now. It's like, well, it's challenging all those conventional paradigms. But you're in yoga. You mentioned this morning, like, by 5:30 in the morning.

- I love my yoga practice. And I found that it is truly the only thing that will clear my head, and I find my body craves it and my mind craves it because I've always exercised, I've always been a very physical person. I danced competitively all through my younger years. And even into my twenties, I still danced. I taught and competed in ballroom. And so I've always been very physical, but it's the yoga, it's the mindful meditation, the open eye meditation that happens in that practice, That my, again, my body craves it, my mind craves it. It is the only thing that does it. Running outside in nature is a beautiful thing for me, but it doesn't clear my mind the way that force, that yoga practice does. The balance postures, the forcing yourself to have so much focus, that you can stand on one leg and, you know, do whatever.

- You know, or if you dancing or, you know, figure skating, to be able to spin and hit that mark, so you don't spin your brain and fall over from dizziness. The things that force us to be incredibly present and mindful, those are all really important structures. But they do allow us to hold more of what we wanna create.

- Right, right. So let's get back to your meditation, though. I mean, because you had to force yourself into that. You had so much energy. And was this a way for you to harness the energy?

- Yeah, so, what I always tell people, and this was my exact experience, the real tipping point for people, and this was the same for me, was to get to 15 minutes a day, everyday, no excuses. That felt impossible when I started, I couldn't sit still for a minute, but once I started showing up consecutively every single day, it creates this compounding benefit. So it's not about those 15 minutes you gave today. It's about 15 minutes, times 400, 500 days. You get compounding waves of gratitude, opening your heart, presence. The ability to see your life in new light. And so, I had to get over that hurdle like everybody. And once I started getting there, then it was eventually finding my teacher or guru, getting to an hour a day, hour in morning. And if I'm on my game and I'm getting my hour in, I call it taking my meds.

- Because it's a meditation, your med, meds.

- Exactly, right, right. And, they are the healthiest meds I can take, you know? But that hour makes me crave it more. And the rest of my life flows accordingly when I'm able to show up and do it. It's not that every single meditation is easy, far from it. Some of 'em are just brutal. However, it's that showing up everyday, where you get the compounded return.

- Well, and I love this because there's a word that's been really, I think probably forward for you, like tip of your tongue, front of your mind for a while. And it's because it's part of your book title, permission, right? "Permission to Glow." And that's a foundation for you. Is that chill, right? The meditation is such a foundation. For not just your book, but for your life.

- For my life, yeah. It's "Permission One." And like, there's a four-permission-framework in the book. It's "Permission One" for a reason. You know, without the willingness to sit still and to settle the snow globe, we won't see things as they are. And, yeah, that has been my experience in life.

- Yeah, I find that interesting. And, you know, in everything we have choices, right? So even doing that is a choice. Did you find it hard, excruciating, challenging, to sit down with yourself, force yourself to be silent, as a practice in acceptance? Or what was the hardest part of it?

- Yeah, I mean, I think most of us are on a path and I was certainly on this path where I had a lot of self-loathing earlier in my... And it comes and goes. I mean, it's part of human nature, I think. It's here to inform us. And, at first, I just wanted to become somebody that I wouldn't mind spending five minutes with. Like it was that bad. And then eventually over time, like, through consistent meditation over time, 15 minutes day in, day out for months and months, years and years, and then became like, "Oh, my God, I actually respect this person. Like, I like what you're working with." And then over time, it's, "No, I really love this person," you know? And I think all of us are on a similar journey from self-loathing to self-love, self-acceptance. And so, I love that you made that correlation, because if for no other reason to sit and meditate, learn to love yourself, learn to see yourself for the singular divine gift that you are. And then teach yourself how to open that gift and receive it, and to share it. And nothing in my life started working and expressing until I was able to sit down and do that work inside.

- There's some objectivity to that, right? It's so hard. Let me back up. It's so easy. To sit across from someone and recognize their strengths, recognize their weaknesses. It's so easy to do that for someone else. It is so hard to do that for yourself.

- The little piece of Southern folk wisdom that I love is, "You can't read the label from inside the jar." You know, my friends have said that to me for years, and it's true.

- I love that.

- The way that they reflect back to you, do you see yourself? I call it the magic mirror in coaching when we're able to hold up the mirror to clients and say, "Do you see this, what I see?" But yeah, the strengthening in meditation, in strengthening your meta attention, you're able to bring your awareness higher and higher degrees of, like, these lenses, these zooming back and seeing your life. And when you could say, "Wow, I like how I handled that. I did this in accordance with my values." Like, your meta awareness expands. And, I think in doing so, you're able to actually see yourself in the game of life, in the maze of life.

- Was there a point where you actually saw yourself in that way? Do you remember a point that that was transformational in that sense?

- I think I tripped over it when I was a kid playing music, you know, like these kind of ecstatic, almost out-of-body states, where you're rocking a crowd, and 3,000 people are jumping, and you're almost, like, looking at yourself from above, being like, "That kid's an electric circuit," you know? I'm like, "Oh, my God, it's me, yeah!" But, in meditation, I think that I've had different experiences, yoga is, at its core, is union with spirit. That's what it means. And when we dissolve these facades and filters we have between our human consciousness and divine consciousness, we start to see ourselves as spirit sees us. Irreplaceable, here to express something unique, beautiful, perfectly imperfect, you know? And I've had, you know, it makes me emotional to think, but there have been many moments where you just realize, like, "Oh, I get to be this? I get to do this thing and serve these clients," or, you know, "help these kids clean up their mess for the thousandth time." Those moments are just deep gratitude for being you.

- Yeah, I feel like it would be easy for someone to, you know, hear what you're saying, or see the life you're living, and say, "Oh, man, I could never be that. I could never, I'm so far from happiness. I'm so far from gratitude." What is step one? What's step one to, like, start that transformation journey?

- Yeah, I think step one, the only place you could start is to build the bridge from where you are. You can't look at anybody else's life, and this is why it's hard to be alive in the age of Instagram and mindless scrolling, 'cause we're always comparing and despairing-

- [Lauren] It's called doom scrolling, you know?

- Oh, gosh, it's awful. But if we really look around our life and really see ourselves, where we are, and what is the one thing we can be grateful for in this space right now, you know? Maybe it's in your body. Maybe it's just that I'm not in pain in some way. Maybe it's, you know, this one little thing that my mother gave me that's in my pocket everyday. Just getting present to one thing and then build it from there. Because I assure you, as happy as I can be about my life that I've built over many years, and you know this deal, it's easy for people from the outside to say, "Oh, she's happy all the time. She's superstar," you know?

- Yeah.

- But you don't know what it's like to roll in this-

- [Lauren] Yeah, in this skin, right?

- In this skin, yeah. And different pressures or whatever. But that willingness to see it. I think it's the, I would tell anybody to just practice. Practice the gratitude, you know, right hand over your heart, left hand on your abdomen, breathe deep, and just send deep loving presence out through your heart, circulate it back around through your other arm, into your abdomen, breathing up and around, just these little practices make you realize, "Oh, I'm not who my LinkedIn profile says I am. I'm something more. And I deserve love and respect and happiness."

- Yeah, I've had this sort of situation this year where, you know, it has been my 36th year. It's been a transformative year where I've asked myself so many deep questions things that I'd never answered for myself before. And, I, this is, it sounds so crazy for me to say this, but I, up until my 36th year, I had never asked myself, "What do I want?"

- Mm, yeah.

- What do I want? I've never asked myself that.

- What was the answer?

- This, actually. This, this is what I want. There was a multi-month excavation of what brings me happiness, what brings me joy. What do I actually like to do? And what I like to do is actually this, like, connect deeply, one-on-one with someone, to understand them, to create community around that. Around, you know, just that deep excavation of who we all are, and a celebration of humanity, a celebration of the messy and the ugly, the celebration of the story, you know? Because that what created us. What made us who we are. I think that's what I finally came to, but it took so long and so many inner questions. The simplest, simplest question, what do I want? And I found that to be the hardest question to answer.

- Well, I mean, most of us live our lives and I know what I don't want. You know, not this, not that, not this, not that, boss, not this job, but it's a powerful question. I put that to a guy I met randomly today. I said, "You know, you have this story about turning 40. What do you want your forties to be?" You know, he's like, "Oh," like he was all confronted by the question as we often are.

- Yeah.

- It's like shakes you loose because we are responsible for designing that.

- Yeah, we do design it.

- Right. And when you design it, I mean, I like the word design because it implies it can be fun, creative, include discovery, wonder, curiosity, awe. Versus like, "I better figure out what I'm gonna do when I grow up, like-"

- "I've got bills to pay!"

- Right, right. Better, figure it out. And, that's just another, you know, projection of what you don't want. I'm screwing this up. I'm not choosing. I'm not, it's like, "No, what do I want?"

- Yeah, well, I think one of the greatest things that someone had said to me, and I think it was almost one off. I don't think this woman had the, I don't think she even knows what kind of impact it had on me. I was just talking about some of the questions I'd been asking myself and she said, "This, yeah, this is a curious time," you know. One of those beautiful things about this space that you're in right now is it's your opportunity to be curious. And curiosity is the greatest thing you can have right now, because curiosity is how you explore what's gonna make you happy. And then once you hit each point, you say, "Oh, do I like this or do I not like this? Okay, you know, what do I want? What do I really, really want? And then you keep pulling the layers of the onion and really getting down deep to it. When am I most excited? When am I happiest? When am I most fulfilled? And once I was able to personally identify those times, that's when everything was like magic, right? Because I finally excavated it. I finally excavated those answers, you know,? From those deep, deep questions.

- Like, what I hear from that is just the willingness to pay attention to what's lighting you up. And, correlating those together and say, "Oh, this is the thing," you know, "I'm gonna optimize towards more of this that serves me. Leave behind behind the stuff that I'm not, that depletes me and more towards... That's in the book, I call that permission to glow in the dark. That's like choosing our self-expression. There's always fear involved in that. It's not easy to do all this. There's risk involved, there's fear. And when we do the bold thing, anyway, the thing that lights us up, the world responds, people are like, "Oh, you're kind of glowing a bit." It's magnetic.

- Yeah.

- It's kind of infectious.

- Is there a step between chill and glow?

- Yes, sadly, I wish there wasn't, but that's, like, where all of my breakthroughs are with my coach, is in "Permission Two," which is to feel all the feels. It's to embrace our full humanity. And as I interpret that it's to be at peace with what wells up in our hearts to guide us. And that's not always a pretty, beautiful picture that comes up there. Sometimes it's scary and gunky, and it can include trauma. It can include all sorts of stuff. But when we're willing to feel it and share what we're feeling, I believe that that's our way to connect to our spirit. I believe our soul speaks to us through our emotions. And then we could tap into what women have known far longer than any males, is that intuition's a thing. You could have intuition, you know what I mean? You could have inner wisdom and inner knowing, and that becomes incredibly powerful. And, I think, more important in a world that we're living in where, you know, the stakes are a little higher, it's more important to choose closer to correct the first time sometimes. Our feelings inform that and guide us to it.

- Well, don't you think too? I mean, that's a muscle. I really do feel like that's a muscle that you have to trust it in the smallest ways, and listen to that. I mean, listen to that whisper, listen to that knock, whatever it is, you know?

- Yes.

- In the smallest ways before you can start to really sense it in the biggest decisions, you know?

- Yeah, and I truly learn this from all the women in my life that there seems to be a lot more self-acceptance in interpreting those whispers as data. "Oh, I'm not feeling that," you know? And, you know, the man is usually like, "What? Just do the thing or don't do the thing," you know? But I said... It's another thing that arose outta meditation. That's why the sequence of the permissions is, chill first, create the silence, and then you could actually hear the whispers, you could hear the divine guidance, and then accepting yourself as you're feeling those feelings, navigating by them, being open to saying, like... You know, when I say self-loathing, people say, "Yeah, oh, man, I have that too." Or they're like, "Ooh, what does he have to hate about himself?" Like, there could be shame in that. But just even understanding that it could inform where you wanna get to. And that's what I was going for with feeling all the feels.

- Yeah, and I like that you said that a lot of that's data, you know? And, it's that coming back to understanding, recognizing, accepting that very specific emotion, and why do I feel that way? Where is this coming from? Do I need to feel that way? Do I like feeling this way? No, I really don't. Where did that come from? Okay, I'm gonna make sure that I don't put myself in that situation anymore.

- Yeah, and here's a coaching tweak to that is that we grow up learning, "Why do I feel this way?" And it's something a therapist might ask us, you know, "Why do you do this?" Or, you know, whatever. But it takes us into the past and it reinforces the, "I'm not right to feel this way." Like, "Why am I feeling crappy again? I have no reason. I'm doing this and that. Why, why, why?" Versus, "What is this here to teach me? What is this here to inform?" And in doing so, it accepts it, it neutralizes it, and says free from interpretation, "Oh, I do this thing when I'm confronted by my own power, when I'm coming up against facing my big dream or whatever. I do this thing where I sabotage by, you know, dabbling in self-loathing or whatever."

- And that's a great time to come back to the chill.

- Yes.

- Right? Because it builds on itself, right? Your framework builds. And so we are feeling all the feels, wait a minute, I'm feeling some feels I don't love. Like, let me come back to this. Let me come back to that-

- To process and integrate, you know? In doing so, when you're doing that earlier work, it sets you up for, I think, why most people hire a coach, or a life coach, and it's to self-actualize. And that's permission to glow in the dark. It's being at peace with what the world is asking of you, which can be frightening as hell. Like, I never chose to have this particular job. All the juicy goodness in my life has been a part of that. However, on paper, sometimes it scares the crap outta me, like, sitting down with powerful C-level executives, sitting down in long form interview with her. She's so scary.

- So scary. But, you know what I mean, though. Like, we get confronted all the time with, are we comfortable in this situation, are we not? And being a coach is at the farthest leading edge of that. Being out in the unknown with a client, in their deepest discomfort, you know? Facing down our dreams. So I, the darkness in that, the glowing in the dark is despite the ever present fear that we all have, if we could accept that, we have a chance of glowing, and doing something extraordinary. And it always gives me chills. It always does, because that's the greatest show on earth when people are willing to be with the fear and throw the damn switch anyway, to hike up their audacity pants and just do the thing. I mean, do this thing, you know what I mean? It's-

- I do, I do. I know intimately what you mean.

- I mean, you're glowing, and I'm like, "Damn, Lauren, just stop."

- Just stop glowing. But, I think that when we do that, when we step forward outside of our darkness, people thank us for it. And it gives other people permission to do the same.

- I could not agree more, I could not agree more. This is something I write so much about, is that magnetic energy that comes from someone living with purpose because people don't see it. And that's actually why... That's my personal story. I mean, that's why I started a podcast about purpose because for two years, I've been doing these kind of like profile stories here in Nashville on different people that I could never figure out why I was so attracted to these people. And, you know, I'd tell their story, but I found that there was so much more to their story, that it wasn't even making air. The parts that were so powerful, there was no platform for it. And I needed to share those stories because they changed my life. And I started to realize just even a few months ago, I'm like, "What is it about these people?" And it's purpose. And I realize that if people, no one tells you how to find purpose, period. And so if I start sitting down with people who have purpose and I start asking them those questions about purpose, and turning points, and moments of clarity, and maybe someone who hears this will see themselves in your journey, you know? And get that moment where they say, "This was it. This was it. This is how I get there," you know? And it's everything.

- It's such noble work because it gives us other people permission to find their own path and express that, because we need them doing their thing. We're, the only one of us, we're trying our best to be on purpose and do our thing. We need them rocking that thing. And it's like Joseph Campbell outlined the hero's journey. It's used in every movie in Hollywood. There's a predictable pattern path of finding this purpose and bringing it back for the betterment of humanity. And that's permission for, by the way, it's glowing in the light. That's once you are living on purpose, and you've done that earlier work, you're no longer concerned with comparison, scarcity. As I more fully express and share my glow, it gives you more courage and permission to do the same. And that's, if spirit is demanding, and needs anything of us in these turbulent times, it's to do that, to uplift everyone, and give everyone permission to collaborate. To start solving some of these big problems we've created. And, I think it starts with what you're doing right here, which is to give people, you know, permission to step forward and glow.

- One of the times that, like's just been such a great higher purpose type of moment for me is something that you just mentioned where, you know, we don't need to be concerned about scarcity. There doesn't need to be the competition. Because there was this moment for me, where I just realized, I don't need to be concerned about what other people are doing. This is mine. This was given to me. This is not anyone else's. Sure, plenty of people do this kind of work, but this is also my work. This is mine.

- Yes.

- I don't need to be afraid if someone else does the same thing, great. If they're living on their purpose, great! Do your work. I'm gonna do mine. No one will take it from me. This is mine. This is my journey, my path, my purpose. It's here for me. I will live it out and have those amazing feelings, right? The satisfaction, the joy.

- Right.

- The self-love that comes from knowing that you're doing what feels so good to do, when you act on purpose.

- Oh, yeah, that's great. I mean, there's so much compassion we give to others by doing the thing that we're here to do. What I heard in what you shared is that you're taking full responsibility for doing this thing. As far as you can, as big as you can, doing you. And, in doing so, it just lets other people accept that gift for themselves, you know? It's, not taking, you know, when we trip, when we get tripped up in comparison, scarcity, it's just one more way on the mountain of ways to not be responsible for our life, not be responsible for how we create this purpose, or express it. But when we're willing to accept that gift and responsibility, it's like game on, you know? It's like, that's where all the power is.

- Would you be willing to walk us through meditation?

- Yeah, definitely. What do we need to do?

- Well, what would this meditation ideally create for people?

- Hmm, maybe a connection with purpose, maybe a connection that starts that journey.

- Hmm, great. Okay so, what I'm gonna do before we get started, and maybe, like, three to five minutes, like that?

- Great, yeah.

- Before we get started, just for people to pay attention, is what we're gonna do is we're gonna get our own attention. We're going to bring our attention back to the visualization, and then at the end, we're gonna direct our attention. And the reason I say that in underline is 'cause that's at the core of any meditation practice, whether you're meditating three minutes together, or eight hours. You wanna get your own attention, bring it back, and then direct it, okay? It's like an amplifier. So let's begin, all right? So let's close our eyes, come up to a comfortable seated posture. And just on your next exhale, just exhale all the way out. Let's inhale through our nose for a count of four on the inhale. Here we go, one. Three, four, now hold your breath. It's gonna be for seven counts. Five, six, seven. Exhale through the mouth for a count of eight slowly. In for four through the nose. Hold it. Big exhale through the mouth for count of eight slowly. And one last cycle on your own count, in through the nose for a count of four. Hold. Big exhale slowly through the mouth for eight. Now just pick up the steady inhale and exhale of your breath through the nose. Just steady rhythm. Just try to make your breaths even on the inhale as they are on the exhale. Letting each breath pull us more fully into the present moment together. Letting each breath pull us more into the presence and possibility of being on purpose. Noticing that when we are consciously breathing and observing our breath, we are breathing on purpose. Just let each breath in and out through the nose, pull you more into the present moment, become aware of any sounds in the room. Any places of discomfort or ease and well-being inside your body, just become aware of all of it. And let's visualize on the screen of our minds out in front of us, a mountain, just a beautiful mountain. And on this mountain, sun rays are breaking through the clouds and hitting this mountain. As it comes closer into our view, as we're moving towards it. And as our awareness starts to stray and become distracted away from my words or from the visualization of the mountain, I just want you to remember this mantra, as we look around the sky, we might notice these distractions, these feelings, how we feel about things, these thoughts, just picture them as clouds floating around in the sky, as we make our way over to this mountain. And as we breathe, the mantra that we use to remind ourselves is: I am the sky watching all weather move through me. I am the sky watching all weather move through me. So I'd ask you to think about or notice are your clouds fluffy and bright? Are they low and dark? Doesn't matter, because I am the sky watching all weather move through me. So just become aware of what's in your space as we look down and straightforward at this mountain in front of us. And as we come even closer, we could start to realize that somebody's standing at the top. Just relaxed and firm, stable, confident, proud. And this is you. This is you on purpose, in purpose. I want you to take your awareness into how that feels in your body. How are you standing? What is the look on your face? What do you already know about what it means to be on purpose? Feeling the kiss of the sun on your skin, your deepening laugh lines around your eyes, the joy welling in your heart. Maybe it's the purpose isn't such a big grandiose thing at all. It's just some simple, beautiful gift you get to share. And the last thing that we're gonna do here is just let's take our right hand and put it over our heart, and our left hand and put your abdomen as you continue to breathe. Just notice your right hand, your heartbeat, and offer the deepest gratitude to yourself for being brave enough to explore your purpose, to find your purpose, to live your purpose. Notice any fear or apprehension 'cause this is brave work. Just offer yourself a little bit of love and gratitude for just a moment. And the very last thing we'll do, we could bring our hands down, is to just picture the circles of humanity out around us, our families, our friends, allies, clients, community, anybody our work touches. Who's grateful, who feels the ripples of our big, bold move of stepping into our purpose and living that place, living in that place. So offer gratitude around those widening circles and let's start bringing our awareness back, back to the space. No rush. You could open up your eyes whenever you're ready.

- Thank you. Namaste.

- Namaste.

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