Find your Genius: How Excellence Is Killing Us with Debra Sunderland

What if you aspired for your version of success instead of what others thought it should be? Would you be in the position that you’re in right now? For many people, they wouldn’t. We usually take the path that would render the most praise and applause from others, leaving our true passions behind. But why is that?

Join me as I discover this with Debra Sunderland so we can combat this and live authentic purpose-filled lives.

In this episode, we explore:

  1. How Excellence causes suffering
  2. How Genius will lead us out of that, and into what we truly love to do
  3. Practical and science-backed ways to find your Genius

[00:51] How is Excellence killing us and how to spot it

  • Debra debunks Excellence and how, due to our conditioning from childhood, it makes our lives toxic and feel empty— even when you’re at the top
  • You’ll know you’ve only achieved Excellence when you see these signs. ●            You alway do the SHOULDs. But do you know your WHY?

[12:06] Your source of self worth

●    Debra explains how just being born into this world already makes you worthy. ●       Feeling crappy is actually good. Learn why.

[13:31] The way out of Excellence

  • Because of your Excellence, you keep on postponing the things you love the most. But why?
  • Unconsciously, we limit ourselves to only two options, and this is what keeps us blind.
  • Debra dishes in on the secret on how to find these. (Hint: you’re doing it right now but it’s not taught in school)

[16: 14] Be acquainted with your Genius

●    This is key in truly achieving your happiness — but your brain will be the last to know. ●    We explore how to detect it.

[17:25] Your body tells you first

  • It sends tingles, sensations, aches or pains if something is right or not right for you.
  • Different body part, different message. Learn how to decipher what your body tells you.

[22:40] Your emotions tell you next

  • However fleeting, they demand to be felt. If not, they can literally make you sick.
  • Debra discusses the science behind it.

[28:01] Know the action to take

  • Now that you know the message, what will you do? Listen to yourself for the answers.
  • What you need: (1) a few minutes, (2) your breath (3) your curiosity

[27:55] Now practice this everyday

  • Meditate to let your thoughts float. Notice why they appear and let them go.
  • Debra suggests ways of making it a habit. Don’t worry. There’s no Excellence in meditation.

[33:29] So can anyone find their Genius?

  • When you live your genius, everything is easier. And you’ll inspire others to do the same.
  • Debra challenges CEOs to raise Geniuses, not Excellence.

[36:53] Debra’s origin story

●    Be inspired as she shares her story and her determination to wake others up, the same way she woke up from Excellence and her coma.

[44:25] If you’re not ready for Genius yet, it’s fine

●    If you’re forcing your Genius, it’s actually Excellence that you’re doing because of the fear that runs you.

[44:58] Differentiating Genius vs Excellence

  • Discover the difference between the two to know if you’re on the right track.
  • The Genius route won’t be perfect. But there’s a secret ingredient that offsets this.

The key to achieving your Genius is self-awareness. By using your body and emotions as your compass, you will be able to discover what truly fulfills you and what doesn’t. And when you do, you’re going to realize the absurdity of living someone else’s dream and not yours.

Featured Guest

Debra Sunderland

CEO/Founder & Certified Conscious Leadership Coach

Debra’s genius is creating a clear vision for CEO’s and their teams – and making that vision a reality. With decades of C-level executive and team coaching, Debra challenges leaders by inviting them to create a collaborative, vibrant, responsible, and joy-filled culture, which fosters highly desirable results.

Debra specializes in awakening leaders to transformatively solve their upper limiting beliefs, sabotaging behaviors, and unconscious biases, moving them into sustainable excellence and self-awareness. She coaches through the tough and uncomfortable work of removing the blockages preventing leaders from fully living their genius, equipping them with the thoughts and skills to bring their goals to fruition. She challenges leaders to own their results in all areas of life, to be present in the here and now, stepping out of leading with reactivity and into conscious leadership.

Working with Debra is unlike any other coaching experience – elevating your life, your joy, and your leadership! She fosters a culture of empowered leaders, in a uniquely transformative way, thus supporting her clients to truly live their genius.

Debra graduated from Miami University, holds a degree in Psychology and is certified in The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership, the Integrative9 Enneagram, Corporate Goal Coaching, and CTI Co-Active training. Debra’s work has been featured on Fox National/Local News, Crain’s Chicago Business, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and 190 N Television. As a continual learner, Debra is graduating in the Inner MBA NYU Mindfulness, May 2021. Her base is Nashville and Chicago.


Get Debra’s “Beyond Doing Quiz”

episode transcription

Timestamp  Speaker    Transcript


00:09.54   drclark    Hello and welcome to the show today we have on Debra Sunderland very excited for this conversation. Deborah’s genius is creating a clear vision for ceos and their teams and making that vision a reality with. Decades of sea-level executive and team coaching Debra challenges leaders by inviting them to create a collaborative vibrant responsible joy -filled culture which fosters highly desirable results Debra welcome to the show.


00:39.42   Debra Thank you Heather! So glad to be here.


00:42.54   drclark    I am very glad to have you on because we have a fabulous topic all teed up debra I would like to know tell us about how excellence is killing us.


00:57.20   Debra Um, yeah, this is a loaded question. Yeah, um, so it stems back to our parents but this is not a blame session to our schooling. To us not being fully aware and awake to ourself and it being reinforced the way we think the way we view the world The way we view ourself. Um. By the outside by our parents in school etc meaning when we went off to school most of us were told this is what it looks like to get an a this is what it looks like to fail. This is what it looks like to complete. X Y Z This is what it looks like to get to grade 2 3 four Yada Yada Yada right? This is what it looks like to graduate and we learn to become excellent doers many of us right? Um, and if we didn’t some of us just gave up some of us. Pushed even Harder. Um, and what I found as 1 of the ones that fell into the excellence mode of like I got to get the a um I’ve carried that through my life I carry that through whatever I did because it became my significance. It became. My accolades. It became the gold star on my forehead. It became ah this recognition and who doesn’t like recognition but I lost myself because I was so looking outside of myself to be that person. To be the 1 that was accepted to be the 1 that was chosen to be the 1 that would go to the next level to be the 1 that would make a certain amount of money to whatever it was and I don’t remember and I don’t know if you remember anyone asking. Maybe you had someone in your life. But I don’t remember it asking. Being asked. What do you most love and are you spending most your time doing that I haven’t had that and so when I think about our excellence is killing us. It’s that we just we just we trust right? and we should we trust we’re children we grow up and we. Hear these things about you know what? it looks like to be this famous person or um, have money or to be successful and we’re told what success is but we don’t question it. We don’t question what does that mean to me what do I want and so we go about.


03:43.32   Debra Believing thoughts that are kind of put inside of us that we haven’t questioned and then we become reactive to those thoughts and so we continue to go deeper and deeper and deeper into by the time we’re fifty sixty years old if we’re 1 of those highly overachiever people we’ve achieved. So much but we’ve exhausted ourselves and we’ve lost the joy the passion. The the the love in our life and um so the excellence what I’ve found in many people. It’s killed the joy in their life. It’s killed a lot of their relationship to themselves. They don’t know themselves because they’ve been looking outside. In fact, when I ask ceos. Do you take care of yourself. Do you love yourself. They’re like I don’t know what that means I don’t know what that means and I’m like whoa. So it’s going back to how do you love yourself? How do you listen to yourself so without love fear drives us because the amygdala is the driver in us and so fear keeps us trapped keeps us small keeps us just getting to that point into the next point and in our culture. Um, most of us were very really great at doing that across the board and now it’s finally coming out whether even before the pandemic the amount of suffering that people have because they’ve lost themselves for achieving They’re not Happy. Um, but yet people don’t they’re so fearful. They don’t know how to break away from their patterns and their habits. So they stay stuck and then they become depressed or they take some kind of medication or drug or something to soothe themselves temporarily and so when I say our excellence is killing us. It’s looking at what have I left behind am I going to go get that can I go back get back that love that I once had as a child can I rediscover myself am I going to be brave enough to do it because most people aren’t and so um. Yeah that’s just a little bit of what’s what’s going on.


05:57.27   drclark    So as you see it Could you define for us. What specifically maybe not specifically. But what’s the flavor of excellence.


06:06.53   Debra Um. The excellence is striving achieving for um, usually a story that’s made up in your head that you believe is gonna finally get you there but it never seems to be satisfied. And so it’s a not. It’s a never ending striving of getting somewhere and on the flip side of it is is my work is about getting past that it’s about getting to the genius and people who were called to be what we love doing and do we. Live that most of our days right? and are we brave enough to step away from the excellence that we’ve achieved so much and are we willing to let that go in order to step into what we most want to do and most people don’t ever take that leap.


07:09.55   drclark    Well cause it’s terrifying. Yeah.


07:10.40   Debra So excellence is is another description. It’s terrifying so excellence. That’s the part that kills us it kills it kills who were meant to be in our purpose it it. It’s it’s a mask. It’s a huge mask excellence is a huge mask to temporary happiness temporary. Not even Joy. Because I don’t know very I don’t know I don’t know if you know anyone who is about being excellent who really is restful or peaceful or easeful I don’t really know anyone like that. So it takes that away from us. And it takes away connection in and our businesses it takes away um relationships it takes away humanness. It takes away being human.


08:05.43   drclark    Talk to us a little bit more. Yeah, absolutely. Um and I Just really thank you for that I really receive that because a lot of us have fallen into the traps of um Excellence is almost an obligation like ok in order to do this I have to I must.


08:06.10   Debra Authenticity.


08:25.14   drclark    I Well why are you doing this well because I need to well why? um because I should well Why should you because I was told to and really it sounds like your clients are similar to mine in that it was an idea they picked up when they were a kid maybe nobody explicitly told them ok.


08:27.42   Debra Oh.


08:39.61   Debra So.


08:44.32   drclark    Do X Y and Z but like you can feel that that’s what’s expected. That’s you were sharing about this is what it looks like when you get an a this is what it looks like when you fail. Well there is a very different reception to getting in a versus failing. So most people much prefer.


08:57.87   Debra Um, yeah, absolutely and and in my work. It’s all about learning. There is no a there is no failed.


09:02.82   drclark    The kudos and all of that and it’s real easy to slide into.


09:14.84   Debra It’s all how is everything just for our learning and our growth everything if we learn. It’s never a failure and we have set our so our kids up which really really saddens me far Beyond what I experienced as to. How they need to be what they need to look like you know the social media the words that they’re hearing the the words they’re hearing the ah images they’re seeing in in my my daughter is locked in literally into school. From 7 a m till she finishes about Eleven P m at night because what does she tell herself she just has to take all a p classes now I haven’t told her that right? That’s what she believes she needs to do to get into the university. She wants to get into. And we have how it’s killing us is the suicide rate is out of control 12 to 30 2 year olds are giving up because everywhere they look. They’re feeling like they don’t measure up and they’re not telling. Their parents. They’re not telling their friends or maybe they tell 1 and not only that the ceos heads of churches that are big. Megachurches are taking their lives as well and so I want to ask when is it enough when is it enough. And when we’re on the excellence route it and it is just worn in yeah but.


10:45.82   drclark    Which is an Ex look. Well it and when is it enough and really with the issues. Um I don’t know perhaps this has been the experience of people that you work with as well. But you share something like like I don’t know how I’m going to get there because the suicide rate is. Super high in Healthcare as well because you feel trapped and a mistake can literally kill people so excellence um not in the way you’re sharing it. But in the way of doing things as well as possible is is really a way to go and then people are kind of left with. Nowhere to turn and then when you share with someone it that’s difficult for people to receive. Oh yeah, I’ve got all the trappings of success I’m doing so quote so well. Um, but people can’t receive that wait. There’s a real problem here. So.


11:42.48   Debra Hands.


11:45.23   drclark    What people often will do? oh no and then basically deny your experience. Oh no, you’re doing great because of X and Y and Z and look at all the stuff and you’re just left with oh like nobody gets it and where you supposed to go from there. Yeah.


11:56.65   Debra And then something’s wrong with me because I should be happy I should they should on themselves my overachievers they all should on themselves you know and that’s our work is can you accept yourself right? where you at can you love yourself.


12:09.10   drclark    Um.


12:15.98   Debra Who you are not what you do, but that you’re worthy just because of who you are because you have breath you came out of the womb with breath because you’re worthy and and where’s that. Appreciated or taught we you know we don’t even stop to breathe. Yeah so you in his we don’t even stop to breathe hack with the breathing. Ah yeah.


12:33.49   drclark    Exactly but I or even I should be grateful for what I have like I. With my clients a lot of times I discovered that they have a hard time even allowing themselves to feel crappy about what’s happening like oh it’s crappy but I should be grateful because it’s not as bad as everybody else like oh Honey. No like if it’s Crappy. It’s Crappy. It doesn’t Matter. You’re at on the spectrum.


12:59.78   Debra Um, yeah.


13:07.11   drclark    Because if you don’t stop an experience. Oh oh yeah, this isn’t working for me then you’re continuing to deny it your short circuiting your ability to really connect like it’s no and it just it. It leaves you with nowhere to go.


13:10.21   Debra Yeah.


13:15.84   Debra Totally Well, That’s the other thing. Yeah, go ahead? Yeah, and so we it. It seems like we put ourselves in we keep ourselves in the trap in the box that we are put in as children. And then we don’t know how to get out but we do There is a way out and and and since I know my study is consciousness and I know from this is science now that consciousness is being present aware of self aware of. Body Intelligence emotional intelligence Iq aware of your how you’re seeing yourself how you’re seeing the world. The thoughts you have that are causing the emotion that are causing the behavior that are causing the results which are typically the ones we don’t want. But we’re not taught to be aware of ourself and isn’t that the most important thing So good.


14:15.96   drclark    Not if you’re so committed to excellence that you’re pushing through awareness of yourself is it’s a entrance to that. So.


14:22.15   Debra No the yeah, there’s no room for that. there’s no room for that yeah there’s no room and and it’s you know my work is like I I always say I ask people what results. Are you not getting that you most want or you don’t have them and you’ve been pushing and pushing and pushing because pushing harder isn’t going to be the answer. It’s noticing that we’re either operating from the future or the past and in a fear state that I should do this. I have to do this and we’re we’re only left with 1 or 2 options. So if we’re only left with 1 or 2 options as and I should state guess what either 1 is not going to probably be the 1 for us. But we’re to get to keep pushing on 1 of those until we learn that that there is. Ah, place of trust for self a place of curiosity for self if I could just pull back breathe and get out of that triggered state that most of us seem to be living in 98 percent of the time and that triggered state is our reactive state to keep us safe and and and in our in our box. We put ourselves in a box. We keep ourselves in a box but we can get out of the box if we breathe if we start to get curious and and wonder how could there be other options in my life. What if there were to be other options for me instead of it’s this or that. This or that is you know did the the amygdala saying oh no, you only have really 2 options and you better choose right? Yeah, you better choose right? me.


16:08.52   drclark    Who yeah, what else is possible that I haven’t even considered. Yeah, absolutely um so tell me more about Genius like.


16:15.19   Debra Her her and her her.


16:24.32   drclark    Because I can feel you’re not talking about just Iq and I love it I Want to hear all about it.


16:27.86   Debra Yeah, yeah, so genius in my work iqe our brain which we’ve been taught to work from is our last knowing. It’s the last thing to know that something’s for us or not for us and I don’t mean wrong or right meaning aligned with who we are called to be. So genius is something that you would love to do that. You love doing it lights you up, you do it usefully it is your head heart and gut alignment and you just have a whole yes to our you’re up to in the world. And things happen usefully people come towards you because you’re like a magnet and it’s unique so people even come towards you because there aren’t too many magnets out there. You know that people are aligned and they’re like yes I love what I do and I do it most of my day and. So. It looks like first listening to our body body intelligence is the first um teacher to tell us if something or someone is for us and it’s really cool I’m sure you know this so I started practicing it and it’s really learning to sense. Um. When our body’s constricted or when it’s open to sense when our body wants to go forward or when it wants to go back because right when we’re agreeing to something and we’ve got a whole yes, our body’s gonna lean forward. We’re gonna want to do that but many times it it’s still or it goes backwards and we override that. I work on a whole yes state. So first the whole yes state is listening for the body. What is it saying and and there’s a lot of we don’t have time for this but there’s a lot of senses that align with our emotions that show up in our body so we know we have double wisdom from our emotion and our body telling us of what it wants us to know. So this once we listen to our body and wonder huh my next tight. My shoulders are stiff my jaw hurts. What is it trying to tell me what do we normally do take an aspirin. Take a drink we ignore it. You don’t listen right? So I’m just going to give you in that stage in that state of jaw shoulders neck that’s anger. That’s where anger in us lives in in a conscious curious state. Anger the anger of wisdom means this no longer serves me so. What do you think happens to our body if we don’t listen to this no longer serves me whatever it is a situation a person work we suffer and the body starts to scream louder.


19:15.18   Debra We grind our teeth. We get horrible headaches you get tmj we get you know migraines we write this is where what happens in this part of the body when we don’t listen. Um, we all know what. It’s like to be anxious when we don’t have a whole. Yes, we have anxiety in our body and our stomach is trying to say caution pay attention. That’s what anxiety means when we’re open and curious. It’s saying look at this. Don’t override this What do we do with. Anxiety we keep pushing and don’t until we get ulcers cancer right? And what do we do? We take rolllades or whatever the ah way that things aren now or we eat something to make us temporarily feel better. Um, sadness. We know where sadness is in the body. You know you feel it when sadness comes you feel it well up the sadness behind your eyes. The tears come. You can feel the pressure on your forehead and if we’re curious about sadness in our body sadness says what needs to be let go of. So something new. Can come forward right? And again, oh, don’t be sad. You’re a baby or don’t cry or right we you know like we we’ve learned something about it and so we stuff that and so we don’t create something new because we’re clinging.


20:39.24   drclark    Yeah.


20:50.80   Debra To whatever it was and we either get resentful or we get depressed because we know ever let go of the sadness right? Um, and then I work on Joy joy is in our heart joy shows up in in this part of our body and that means what wants to be celebrated. And is in our excellent State. We’re in a hurry and so we override our celebration. We override things that we’ve already done and accomplished. We’re just under the next thing and so how much joy do we feel? do you know any joyful people in your life.


21:26.60   drclark    I do.


21:29.17   Debra You do? okay, perfect. That’s awesome. That is so great because when I it’s so great because when I ask people can you think of the most joyful person you know do you have a joyful person in your life. They might think of 1 person.


21:30.56   drclark    Do ah it is awesome.


21:46.64   Debra And if for certain isn’t them and I ask why isn’t it you right? because it’s the I’m gonna override that to get to the next thing so and then the the last part of the body that I use is um. Our sacrum and in in in that area of our body where we actually birth our children. It’s called creative energy something wants to be birth through us. We get excited. We want to create. We want to create something besides children. We want to work purpose to create something but we don’t. Take the time to listen or trust what do we most want to so that’s where in our body it it lives and then when the emotions come so then we feel the body and then the emotions come as I had shared with you and they last only up to ninety seconds. So emotional intelligence is will I be. With the feeling will I allow the feeling to come through my body until it passes now. Do we do that in the us. No no, we we we.


22:52.93   drclark    No, not typically.


22:58.39   Debra No, what do we do.


23:00.44   drclark    Will you ignore it till it goes away. Obviously yeah.


23:02.88   Debra We ignore it or we stuff it down and there’s certain emotions that we’re more afraid of or or you know maybe a little more comfortable than others but it is frightening when they come up because we’re told emotions don’t belong here. Do not bring them to work. Do not bring them. To school. This isn’t the place for Them. So if you know anything about Dan Goldman out of Harvard who I’ve been studying with if you know anything about emotional intelligence Emotional intelligence is greater than Iq and somehow we’ve left out our intelligence right? by the things we’ve been taught. And so when we don’t feel our emotions all the way through guess what happens.


23:51.48   drclark    They get caught they create problems. They come out sideways they create all sorts of drama. It’s late and then you’re left with this mails strum that’s difficult to sort through because it’s like what even is happening Well we’ll just pick through it.


24:03.27   Debra Um, yeah, we get exactly we we we get in a whirlwind of stuck emotion and then we can’t see straight and not only that.


24:09.15   drclark    Like.


24:22.80   Debra The emotion so emotion comes and I’m and sure you know this emotion comes from our brain. Our brain is like ah electrical currents come through our brain when we have thoughts. That’s why we do eeg eats. You find out what’s active in our brain and what’s being triggered and when we have a thought and it triggers electrical emissions into our body. It comes into our body as energy and that’s what emotion is it’s energy and motion and so if we stop the current. Of energy. It actually turns into cortisol cortisol is the hormone that is toxic to us and it gets locked into our adrenals and then we get very sick and we get sicker and we get sicker and for my work I’ve noticed you know I believe it causes. High blood pressure high you know, cortisol, ah cholesterol cancer. All kinds of things it blocks into our body and we’re not meant to hold it. It’s meant to come out and it’s meant to be our teacher and it’s meant for us to have wisdom so that we can see clearly and then. And also when just like you said when we don’t feel our feelings. It’s like a deer in the headlights we like don’t know what to do but breathing when we notice we’re in a triggered state breathing actually relaxes our nervous system allows the muscles to open. Especially in our where our lungs are located which our our lungs are from the top of our shoulder pretty much all the way down our back and it then we can expand and breathe into that area and it actually orchestrates a new blood chemistry in our body that is for us. But when we’re not, we were. We’re coursing with. Adrenaline like we’re just running high and that’s causing heart attacks and killing us so really learning breathing practices and then once we’re in not a triggered emotional state then we go to our head and we say huh is it an interesting. That I had this feeling and my body reacted this way. What am I telling myself what am I believing here. That’s causing this rumbling in my body that’s causing causing my body to react this way. It’s the third thing we are to ask. What’s going on here and when we get curious then the worlds are a oster but when we don’t take time to listen to ourself. We’re again limiting our options and we’re choosing 1 or 2 ways of being with ourself with each other.


27:05.69   Debra And our results.


27:07.35   drclark    Yeah I like that it’s and I like they’re relating to it like this is simply information. Let’s get curious. What’s the Information. What’s the message is there an action to take is there not is it a way of being a there a belief to like like there’s all of these different questions. A person can ask themselves. But. It does require the feeling of the emotion. The feeling of the feeling the being with it if you will and then asking the questions like just getting curious. Um and at least for myself and for a lot of clients.


27:35.23   Debra Exactly.


27:42.20   drclark    Perhaps this is the same for you. You can actually do this on the fly pretty quick if you’ve practiced.


27:45.90   Debra Yes, thank you? Yes, yes, you’re leading to a you’re leading to a good thing because none of us none of us have been given these tools most of us have it right? and so I love that you brought it practice. It’s like oh okay, so you’re saying all this well how do I do that right? So how. You know for me, it’s like I learned to breathe that was my first thing can I learn to fully breathe that of course we breathe. Of course we’re like alive and and kicking. However, our breath is only normally from like our chest up. It’s not from our belly and so to learn to breathe. That if people would just do that 1 thing from their belly and take five minutes 3 times a day to just be conscious of my breathing can I take some deep belly breaths and breathe all the way in through my belly through my chest through my nose. I feel filled and can I just exhale even a little more slowly then I inhaled and just notice my breath because the breath as you know is the only is 1 of the only things in our body that’s present. It doesn’t have to you don’t have to tell the breath what to do. Just does it for us. So it’s a great way to get out of in the future and freaking ourselves out or stay you know in in Anger or resentment or sadness or grief when we’re in in the past so can I come back to my breath can I just practice that can I make that a habit and then of course. The next step I always say is what about would you be willing to do meditation. Well what is meditation um, and and it’s not about oh I’m not going to have thoughts because we have 60 to 65000 thoughts in a day and we’re unaware of them. It’s can I be with myself. Can I be with my breath can I be with my body can I welcome myself and would I be willing even as a baby step just again could I spend five minutes in the morning just sitting on the floor feeling myself on the ground feeling my breath come through my nose and can I just notice. Thoughts that come into my mind and can I let them float by like the clouds are passing by an even greater can I notice when I latch onto 1 of them right? Can I notice when I latch on and I’m holding on for life or death or’s in can I even let that 1 go right. And and and that’s just the learning right? It’s like oh my gosh because when we have so for so many years believe certain things we already have automatic thoughts so when those automatic thoughts come in. We’re we’re used to grabbing that 1 oh I know that 1 oh I’m gonna believe that oh.


30:32.30   Debra Know that 1 Yep, that’s a familiar 1 I’m going to hold on to that 1 but neuroplasticity says that we can rewire the ones that we hold Onto. We can choose another thought if we but we have to be aware of the thought we’re holding Onto. We. Let go of that thought is it loving and serving to us most of the time It’s not.. It’s a protective thought can I let it go and can I choose another thought that I most want to be so I can eventually have a new automatic like it’s like a train track shifting gears shifting The track. Takes practice like you said I’m just I’m gonna practice this and having a mantra around that noticing. Maybe the biggest trigger you have in your mind the thought that you’re believing that’s causing you to have inner Strife What’s I Love this.. It’s a byron Katie Move. What’s the opposite.. What’s the very opposite of that thought that causes me to get in the bunch and can I believe that 1 could it be just as true or truer than that thought that’s keeping me safe and practicing that and just practicing being aware and it it is it takes It’s a lifetime. Right? It’s a lifetime of it’s a never 1 and done.


31:42.50   drclark    Yeah, and as you go though because you’ve been doing that work when something new comes up. It’s real easy to identify. Oh oh this is new. All right, Let me just process this whereas at the beginning you’re like I don’t know man there’s a lot going on here. No it can feel difficult to unpick. But really, it’s just.


31:53.14   Debra I.


32:02.38   drclark    Okay, well, what’s up most strongly sit with that.


32:03.16   Debra Exactly exactly now here’s where the excellence if we’re used to like being in our excellence people are like well I’m not good at sitting still or oh I’m not like because the excellence part is yelling Oh well, you can’t you must sit still and you no no, it’s not even about sitting Still, it’s like can I just. Be aware. Can I Just breathe can I be aware of myself head heart and Gut. What’s here for me can I just be aware with no judgment with no judgment.. There’s no right or Wrong. There’s no excellence to get to.. There’s no excellent meditation. And Genius is coming back to South So can I Yeah right exactly I don’t know anyone who said that Ah, that’s not the goal. Yeah, but I hear that a lot. Oh I’m I Just I can’t you know I’m not good at this I’ve heard that.


32:42.19   drclark    Yeah, it’s like oh I meditated perfectly.


33:01.21   Debra Um, heard that.


33:02.39   drclark    Um, so in your words Excellence is coming back to self I Love that um or no rather it was Genius G Pardon me Genius is coming back to self and then Excellence is really.


33:06.68   Debra What genius is coming back to selfs. Yes, Genius is coming back to claim yourself excellence go ahead.


33:21.48   drclark    Beautiful. So everybody has access to that. Then.


33:23.44   Debra Absolutely every and there’s fear because people are like well what if I don’t have a genius and in my belief I Believe you’re created everyone else in the world is created like no other to live as such a time as this in history and all of time and all of eternity and it’s like I’m sure you’ve heard this. It’s. The chances of you being born to your parents at this time science says it’s like 1 point four trillion and a half so what times ah that possibilities that you would be here right now just exactly the way you’re wired with your passions your desires. Your whole being right? and isn’t that a gift isn’t aren’t you a gift aren’t you a gift and if you can’t be the gift to yourself who’s going to give you the gift and think about if you’re not being a gift to yourself. You can’t be a gift to the world.


34:00.46   drclark    Beautiful.


34:18.65   Debra And don’t we all want to be the change. Don’t we all want to be that 1 that makes this world different. The only way we’re going to do It is by being fully yourself and allowing those around us to do the same encouraging and seeing when they’re lit up and saying hey. You seem to do that really well and easefully and I see your face smiling and I see you Joyful Do you notice that and can we raise up companies like that can we raise up teams like that can we can We do that. Wow Like I get chills thinking about that like what if that was the main role of the Ceo is to have a vision for how will I raise up geniuses instead of excellence and my culture.


35:02.92   drclark    Beautiful. Love it and and the little secret is um when you’re living your genius. Everything is easier like everything’s easier.


35:13.36   Debra Yeah, yeah, you know that you’ve experienced that I’m guessing. Yes.


35:17.23   drclark    Yes, absolutely and then the results you get are at the caliber that you wanted before except there’s not the struggle to get there. There wasn’t this driving like I don’t know it’s almost like I don’t know what happened, but really, it’s like no, you just.


35:32.82   Debra Um, exactly exactly I mean think about it if you think about the people you’ve met in your life who they’re just happy being themselves. They’re just in their zone and they’re just you know.


35:35.75   drclark    Chose to continue to be yourself and it got easy.


35:52.70   Debra Rarely get ruffled by other people or situations and that’s rare to find someone like that. But when you know someone like that. It’s like Wow like you’re curious and you’re like Wow I I Want to be like that person right? or people who have stood for themselves like in our time when I think About. Mandela Martin Luther King right? The people who said this is who I’m called to be in this time and I’m gonna stand for what I believe what? I feel what? ah you know it’s not. My responsibility and how others respond to me. It’s my responsibility and how I respond to myself? Yeah, Ah yeah.


36:38.26   drclark    Yes, love it. Love it. Love it very much so tell me how did you become? How did you come to be doing this work. What’s your origin story.


36:47.21   Debra Yeah, yeah, yeah, so I grew up in a survival mode. Which is what I think most of us are in but I very much ah me and my brother I was the protector of the 2 of us in a very toxic home and I was looking for acceptance speak outside of my family because I wasn’t getting it at my for my mom and dad. So I became the winner at everything. Matter what it was bath’s violinist um ah track runner academics and I kept pushing all the way through until um I decided that I wasn’t just going to ride my bike anymore I was going to compete. Because that’s what I did I competed at everything everything in my life was a competition to be the best because I temporarily felt good enough and my wake up was it’s coming up on 8 years now june first twenty thirteen I was in a criterium race used to be a cyclist a competitive cyclist. And my it wasn’t just that I competed my first year of competing I was forty 2 years old which doesn’t happen. Ah normally normally you’re in your teens when you’re competing at that age at that level and. My first year of racing I was competing against nine hundred and ninety 8 women in the United states and I was ranked number 2 now my and my competitor was 12 years old who is that she’s now. Ah, she’s 22. She’s an amazing brilliant woman who is. That’s her her life. That’s all she does is compete. She’s 1 of the best racers in the world. But I tell you that that’s how crazy how wired I was that I was gonna win not that I was some great athlete but I strived so much that I was my acceptance and my worth was gonna kill me. And almost did because as I’d said 8 years ago I was in a race and I felt great I thought I was going to podium and it came down to the the last third lap of our race and. Apparently another cyclist in the race bumped my bike and I went plummeting to the ground forty miles an hour and cracked my skull open shattered my shattered nine ribs punctured my lung separated my shoulders sorry convulsing on the side of the road I don’t remember any of this the race doctor kept came running to me. Apparently.


39:29.17   Debra And they hauled me off to a trauma 1 hospital in Chicago my parents are might and not my parents. My family was called my children were there but the rest of my family was called and they said you need to get here. We don’t think she’s gonna make it. She’s had a severe brain injury. They the doctors put me in a coma to keep my brain from smelling and intubated me and yada yada yada and for 3 days they weren’t clear if I was gonna live I laugh because I was in the hospital for a month when I was about to leave to go to therapy because I literally had to learn to walk talk cut my food again I was going to be released to 3 or four days of therapy with a van coming to pick me up about my house because I wasn’t going to be cleared to drive for a very long time. The doctor. The neuroscientist said to me as he plucked. Staples out of my brain out of my skull because they’ve had a staple back together. He said you know it’s probably going to take you 3 years for your brain to heal because you bus your brain injury and I’d already been practicing as we talked about practicing in my life neuroplasticity I already knew that what I thought. Was what I was gonna create and so I rejected that and I said hell no, it’s not with ain’t met within 8 months I was back on my bike and my coach was like holy crap. You’re exactly where you were but that wasn’t the the goal. Goal for me was when I was lying in my bed at home I said okay I’m gonna I’m gonna get angry here I’m gonna get sad here I’m gonna allow those feelings to come and then I’m gonna ah then I’m gonna say okay, why am I here because I wasn’t supposed to be. And I don’t want to miss it this time I was taken out of a coma to wake the hell up because I lived a life in a coma my excellence was my coma so I called out to god the universe as I was lying in bed and I said please show me what it is. Believe there’s a greater purpose for all of us a loving god a loving divine being for all of us and I chose to believe that there was something for me out of this so the beauty was of course I got my answer I was taking my dear ones to school. And my son was 16 and my daughter was eleven.


42:00.99   Debra I see my son get on a train in a very affluent town with all these beautiful people going to work. My daughter’s in the back of the car. She sees them also getting on the train going to work as I pull away from the train station and taking her to school. She says Mama. Why does everyone look so unhappy getting on the train going to work I was like ah that’s their excellence. That’s their excellence. It’s killing I dropped her off I went back home to get on my bike nests only 8 months after my accident. And I’m just about to go over the same railroad tracks and my purpose hit me and this is what I heard. Thank god I almost died doing something I love doing and I was awesome at it these dear precious people are dying a slow death thinking they have to do this and they don’t even realize when they’re dying a so death doing something. They don’t want to do I am here. Wake them the hell up. So I knew that was my calling I knew that was my purpose I knew my life was spared that I was given my life back to help get their life back and I fell into consciousness I fell into as you as you know when you like you said, if you are in your lane if you are. Doing your thing if you where you’re supposed to be if you’re being who you’re called to be It’s useful and all of a sudden I’m meeting like conscious people and conscious coaching and I started to study with the conscious leader coach leadership coach and started waking up waking up waking up waking up to who am am I who am I called to be and now that’s. What I do that’s I’m waking up people to who they’re called to be not what they’re called to do. It’s my journey.


43:51.64   drclark    That’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing that and I love that you got clear information about oh I see what’s happening here I see what’s happening there I see what’s happening there and then all of a sudden. Oh that’s my purpose and.


43:54.86   Debra You’re welcome.


44:09.24   drclark    And even though it wasn’t done. It really feels like oh no, that’s very clear I’ll just simply move forward with that. Love it.


44:16.00   Debra Exactly Yeah, it wasn’t something to figure out to have to man handlele and put together on. Okay now I have to go do this because that’s what excellence says Genius says I trust that when it’s time for me to know I will know because I trust my genius. Inside of me to tell me fear which is excellence is searching for an answer to be safe. Genius does not search out of fear.


44:49.39   drclark    Says you stepped forward in genius and through Genius what was that like how did you know that was stepping into genius and what sorts of actions were you called to take just to help us discern the difference between. Am I operating from excellence or genius here.


45:08.50   Debra Yeah, really good question Again, it’s you can feel when anxiety is running you I can feel it so it’s listening to what’s my body telling me and so I could tell if it was a whole Yes I was on fire. And that’s how I felt about what I had hurt like this is this is it like there is no doubt in my body. My mind my heart It is a whole. Yes, This is what I’m called to now what have I learned that sometimes people don’t want to do this work. They don’t want to get to their Genius. They would rather stay in Excellence. So Sometimes I’ve worked with clients who say they want to go to their genius but they’re too afraid to take this step and when I haven’t listened to my knowing I know before they know that causes me to suffer because it’s to release them. Because they’re not ready right? And how do I know that I get results I don’t want how do I know it because I might be striving I might be trying to I take on more than my responsibility I’m trying to maybe help them or fix Them. No 1 needs fixing. Everyone’s perfect, right.


46:20.70   drclark    Um.


46:22.84   Debra So if I see myself trying to like convince them or then I know I’m not in my genius. My genius is to see them where they are to support them in strategy and to. Wake them up around that. But if they’re not willing I’m not. That’s not my job is to make someone willing and if I find myself in that state I could feel that ooh it just feels icky. It feels uncomfortable. It causes stress inside of me. It’s. The dissonance that we hear in Music. You know when you hear the the scary part of a movie and you’re like that’s how it feels in your body right versus harmony and flow and. Things happen easefully like there. You just know you know and we’ve gotten comfortable listening and living most of us excellence is the the dissonance in us we are not fully happy right? So we know that we’re not in our genius because. There’s something Missing. We’re not fulfilled. We’re searching. We’re striving. We’re pushing.


47:41.32   drclark    So it sounds like whatever actions you took were from an inspired place. You paid attention to the feedback from your body from your other intuitive mechanisms you just and then it sounds like you also paid attention to is this am I striving here a wait.


47:58.45   Debra Um.


48:00.62   drclark    But get curious about that. That’s interesting. What if I shifted back? Um, so just.


48:03.34   Debra Yes, very well said and thank you for synthesizing. Ah yes, it’s exactly right.


48:09.42   drclark    What? Well it’s really helpful because there’s a lot of us that are stepping forward and yeah, you know is this my brain telling me to do this or is this my my divine inspiration.


48:20.34   Debra And yeah.


48:25.13   drclark    Um, well this seems like the right thing to do It was an aligned. Yes, it was a whole body. Yes, and now I’m in doubts is that because it and it sounds like you’re just really paying attention and asking questions am I in doubt because I’m operating from Excellence or am I in doubt because there’s new information that I’m ready to receive now like it’s.


48:42.85   Debra Yep.


48:44.25   drclark    Just sounds like curiosity and really paying attention is the the key here.


48:45.90   Debra Yes, yes, and if you are listening if you have fear that you’ve got to find the just the right place. You know your next ones and you’re not in your genius. So. When I say to someone if you’re really wanting to go into genius. It’s gonna be fearful because it’s new for you and then the amygdala the small part of our brain that wants to keep us safe and no doesn’t know what it’s like to be ingenious. So it’s gonna be flipping out and it’s gonna be telling you no don’t do that you are you sure. But what if this happens and how are you going to make money and and and what is your family going to say and what are your friends going to think that’s ego that’s Amygdala. So what I tell people is would you be willing to walk forward with the fear but welcome love to. Can they both step forward just a little bit. Can you just take ah give a little capacity a little more and explore just a little bit of you that you haven’t yet and could they just show up together. Love and fear because eventually the more we step into love for ourself. Guess what happens. It covers over the fear I’m not saying don’t be afraid fear is our teacher I’m saying can we welcome love to join the fear until it finally covers over the fear where the fear isn’t the 1 making the decision anymore. It’s love.


50:18.60   drclark    And from your approach it sounds like this isn’t oh I’ve received my divine inspiration and now I blow up my old life and then step immediately into the new life. It doesn’t sound like you’re doing that at all, it just simply step by step a little bit more love a little bit more presence a little bit more consciousness. And then gently move forward like it doesn’t require the pick destruction. Yeah.


50:40.55   Debra No no, it doesn’t in the reason I am compassion I’m passionate about this work is we can get our learnings easely or you can get slapped inside the head like I did to get my learnings. So. If Someone’s willing to listen and not get slapped upside the head and get thrown into coma and they want to get it curious I’d say get in touch with me. Let’s let’s talk about this. Let’s let’s let’s explore this together but sometimes that’s what it takes sometimes and that’s okay, too. If again, if everything is our learning if we’re right where we need to be and there’s no right or wrong. We’re right where we are. We’re perfect, right? where we are or perfect right? where we are. There’s nowhere else to be but with yourself and hopefully with love to yourself. Yeah.


51:32.66   drclark    Beautiful Deber What’s it mean to you to be unshakable.


51:37.90   Debra Um.


51:47.47   Debra I Don’t know if I believe in that word I believe in resilience.


51:59.43   Debra And resilience to me me means you get up and you get up and you get up and you get up but not from a place of torture. Self but from a curiosity. Wow How is it that I grew up with a family that was unkind to me. How is it for me. How did I keep going through the trauma and how is it for me. How is it. That I can now walk and breathe on my own and I’m alive. How is that for me I don’t know if my all my shattered bones were unshakable. But I know how I responded is with resilience. Not all the time but it’s about can I just.


53:06.30   Debra I’ll tell you what it is when I was lying in bed.


53:13.81   Debra Resiliency is knowing that there’s something greater than you. There’s a greater purpose. There’s a greater loving world a greater universe that holds all of us in love and if I can go to that space of Love. For God the Universe then myself and those around me am I gonna do it perfectly. No, That’s not what I’m called to do am I gonna learn from it I’m gonna practice that and that’s my resiliency right? and I’m gonna stumble. But I’m gonna pick myself back up and learn. And and that’s what I think we’re called to do.


53:52.81   drclark    Beautiful. Thank you, Thank you? Nope Where can we find you.


54:01.00   Debra So on my website, there’s lots of blogs and you can connect me through there knowmi more there. It’s w w w dot sunderland s u n d e r l a n d not Suerland but Sunderland. Coaching dot com um, also my name is Debbra d e b r a at Sunderland coaching dot com email me and then you can. Also if you’re really wanting to find out where are you on your genius or your excellence. Have a mini quiz. It takes about 3 minutes and it’s just a self-awareness quiz and it’s w w w dot. Um, oh done I’m forgetting. Um I to get back to you on that because I just forgot. My brain shuttting down and yeah.


55:00.97   drclark    Don’t I am so glad to hear there are other people on the planet that do that too because that’s me I’m like oh this really important thing and it’s magical and I get in the middle of it. Um, but what I will tell people is all of that will be in the show notes. So it’s all fine.


55:04.88   Debra Ah, yeah I.


55:14.71   Debra Thank you Perfect good. Yeah there it goes by braid. Yep, it’s perfect. Yeah, anyway, yeah, and you can if you take the quiz it will spit back info for you and if you want to talk to me about the quiz and then the other ways if you learn of me and want to know more about me. Um.


55:18.60   drclark    It’s all right there. But.


55:34.70   Debra Totally without a fee. Um, get get on the calendar with me. You can find my my link on my website or through that and and spend thirty minutes with me too and let’s get to know each other. Yeah.


55:46.20   drclark    Beautiful, Beautiful. Thank you so much. It’s been just such a delight. Thank you.


55:51.21   Debra Thank you, Thank you so much.