Are You Feeling Stuck in Your Comfort Zone and Craving Change? It Might Be Time to Find Your Alter Ego!

The Zone of Purpose™ Podcast

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The Zone of Purpose™ Podcast
Are You Feeling Stuck in Your Comfort Zone and Craving Change? It Might Be Time to Find Your Alter Ego!
Sep 25, 2023, Season 1, Episode 29
Virginia James and Meg Niman Interview
Episode Summary

In this podcast episode of the ZPP, I had a wonderful chat with Meg Niman, the founder of The Alter Ego Project. If you’re going through career questions—or even life questions—tune into this show for encouragement and nuggets of wisdom!

When we were talking about the “both/and” method of showing up, this is the gem that Meg shared with me, for my own work and how I show up:

“For you, maybe you don’t want to be that bold person all the time, because that’s not all of who you are, but there are times when it’s called for so how do you…consciously bring it in… It’s not about fighting, it’s not about erasing, it’s not about any of that…”

Such gold! And FYI: Meg’s got an upcoming workshop in October! Check out the details here and sign up for Your Best Self Everywhere LIVE.


Listen time: around an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s a longer show, but you might want to hear it on repeat like the other interviews on the ZPP!

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The Zone of Purpose™ Podcast
Are You Feeling Stuck in Your Comfort Zone and Craving Change? It Might Be Time to Find Your Alter Ego!
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00:00:00 |

In this podcast episode of the ZPP, I had a wonderful chat with Meg Niman, the founder of The Alter Ego Project. If you’re going through career questions—or even life questions—tune into this show for encouragement and nuggets of wisdom!

When we were talking about the “both/and” method of showing up, this is the gem that Meg shared with me, for my own work and how I show up:

“For you, maybe you don’t want to be that bold person all the time, because that’s not all of who you are, but there are times when it’s called for so how do you…consciously bring it in… It’s not about fighting, it’s not about erasing, it’s not about any of that…”

Such gold! And FYI: Meg’s got an upcoming workshop in October! Check out the details here and sign up for Your Best Self Everywhere LIVE.


Listen time: around an hour and fifteen minutes. It’s a longer show, but you might want to hear it on repeat like the other interviews on the ZPP!

Speaker A [00:00:11]:

Alright. It's Virginia James with the Zone of Purpose podcast, and I am here with Meg Nieman today. And I'm so freaking excited for this conversation because we've known each other for a few months now. And I know, like, We've talked about this. When your kindred spirits, your kindred spirits. So, Meg, tell us about yourself. Tell us what you do. Show up and be real about it.

Speaker A [00:00:34]:

Let's go.

Speaker B [00:00:35]:

Absolutely. So I'm Meg Nieman. I am the founder and facilitator of the Alter Ego project, And I'm sure that we'll have a chance to talk more about that. But in a nutshell, I help people get unstuck, kind of solve a problem through an alter ego. And alter egos are, things that we often think about like Beyonce and Sasha Fierce and for famous people, but honestly, all of us can have them. Virginia has already shared with me that she has 1. Most peep about 30% of people that I meet secretly have 1, and everybody can. So that's what I do now, in the past, and we can talk about this.

Speaker B [00:01:14]:

I was an educator for 3 years with Teach For America after in the cognitive science degree. So I was always sort of interested in how people think and how people learn. And then I switched into tech, And I worked in the tech world for about 17 years, in San Francisco, in Seattle, and then also I now live in Pennsylvania, so in Philadelphia. I was a user experience designer. So, again, really thinking about how people think and how to make technology approachable to them. I am a a people person at heart, And, the alter ego was born the alter ego project was born out of, some of my own experiences when, when life lives you, when things go a little bit awry, and then using alter egos myself and then digging into my own research as well as other research to realize that they're actually a a really, powerful and accessible tool, to to create change in your life, to give you a little more confidence. It's I could talk about it for days. I it is one of the things that I have discovered in my life that I am truly passionate about, so I'm honored to be able to to share it with other people.

Speaker A [00:02:17]:

Oh, yeah. It's huge. And I think, you know, even in this intro and, of course, we talked about the q and a together, Meg. But, but we're gonna go off script already Because we can. But, I wanna know about this, what you what you just said earlier about this secretly. Like, this that word you use. Like, some people secretly have this alter ego because I'm kinda curious about it because I mean, I've I only share mine with select people like you, like my buddies. So So tell me more about that if if you don't mind.

Speaker A [00:02:47]:

Yeah. Absolutely.

Speaker B [00:02:48]:

I mean, I started the alter ego project as a research experiment. I just I found that I had some alter egos. I don't think you have to tell people your alter ego, so people didn't necessarily know what I was doing with them. A coach helped me find my first one, and then I actually did go out and socialize with the one that I use a lot in, business Now and when I want confidence, her name's Dee. So so some people did kind of know that, but some people only knew me as Dee and not as Meg. You know, like, it was all kinds of fun in that in that context. And I think that alter egos are very personal, and especially the ones that we create or that organically come out of us. It's not the kind of thing that you just start sharing with people.

Speaker B [00:03:34]:

You have to, you know, have some level of vulnerability. And For some people, I think they're kind of like your inner voice. They're a thing that we all kinda know is there, but you don't necessarily name it or sharing. And I'm in a place in my life and of the opinion that there's a lot to be gained from sharing. And so I just encourage folks if they're comfortable to bring it out because, part of what we do With the alter ego project too is is really take a problem, name it, and, like, bring it out into the light. I feel like we're I'm I'm an anxious and and depressed person, by nature. I have lots of support in my life. But I I feel like There's so many places in our lives that we are the little kid afraid of the snake on the floor, and you just need to turn on the light and realize that it's a sock.

Speaker B [00:04:31]:

And so, like, alter egos, I feel like help with that. I'm just like, look. I'm afraid of this thing. And it's like, name it. Confidence. Great. Let's shine a light on it. Let's figure out what that really looks like.

Speaker B [00:04:42]:

Like, what kind of sock? Is it a tube sock? What color is it? Like, Whose sock is it? You know? Like, let's just go there and talk about it because, you know, similar to Brene Brown's research, it's just sort of like, You know, shame shame needs the shadows and it cannot survive the light. And a lot of these things within us Our shadows and it's not that we need to kill them off, but the light is really helpful. And the light is like this Creative kind of place where we can be a little bit more playful and we can just sort of see. So there's something about me that when I say alter ego, people either light up Like, That's kinda curious. Or they're like, oh, yeah. I have 1. Yeah. And it's just it's just fun.

Speaker B [00:05:27]:

And then I also have found that many people have too. So it's and it's not as simple as, like, the devil and the angel on your shoulder. Like, I feel like that whole dichotomy, it's fine. But it's usually way more nuanced than that. And, like so it's it's based on, you know, being a prim and proper person versus being a golf person or it's based right? Like, there are these people who who float between. Right? Or it's based on like, for me, there's, like, People pleasing. Yeah. Really kind of, like, innocent little girl who just wants everybody to be happy.

Speaker B [00:06:03]:

And then there's d who's like, take me or leave me. I don't care. And d I mean, every time I say d, I sit up taller. Like, d is just here. Like, you see it present.

Speaker A [00:06:13]:

He just

Speaker B [00:06:13]:

shows up. Yeah. And so, Like, those are sort of opposites, but also just very different energies that are all within me and within us. Mhmm. And And and what I love about working with alter egos and my my bag is the creativity of them. So, sure, you try to, like, You know, synthesize them down into archetypes or into some other, like, categorization. I have no interest in that. I am much more interested in you telling me about your hyena that you take out when you need to feel like a badass or I had another person who had a, gosh.

Speaker B [00:06:53]:

It was like madam greyhound, and it was this woman with, like, a fur coat Walking a Greyhound, and I was just like, yeah.

Speaker A [00:07:01]:

Like Not only that one. Yeah. No. I need

Speaker B [00:07:05]:

these are just like What's that? What a descriptor. You know?

Speaker A [00:07:08]:

Like, it's cool. And then visual. Exactly. Like cheetah or, I don't know. A jackrabbit or or, you know, I don't know. Something like fast paced or like a go getter or something. I have no idea. But that is an interesting visual.

Speaker A [00:07:22]:

And so Make sure and go, wow. That's fascinating. And that's unique, right, to that place.

Speaker B [00:07:29]:

Yeah. Exactly. And that's what I'm most interested in, Is you know, there's ways that you can use alter egos and just tap into somebody else's like a shortcut and that's totally fair and good. And we could talk about that. And I do some workshops where we do that. But what really, like, lights me up is when we go deep and we actually, like, Invent a brand new character for you to embody that is what you need in this moment and that is uniquely yours And that you workshop and and make into something. And, I it it it's this I am a I'm a multitude of contradictions, so I just wanna be really clear. I am a musician, not an artist.

Speaker A [00:08:12]:

If I

Speaker B [00:08:12]:

could draw madam greyhound, I would. I don't know how to. I've never acted in my life. I am corporate improv. I've literally never even taken an improv class. Like, I am not An expert in these things. I just find them to be fascinating. Yeah.

Speaker B [00:08:31]:

And I'm brave enough to bring them to other people and play with you with them. So I just Like, my whole thing in this is we're trying to lower the temperature, make this simpler, make this Decibel. Like, this is not about a holier than thou or me being a guru or having, like, amazing skills. This is like, We are at the playground, and we are just gonna play. And I happen to be the kind of person, which I don't even fully understand why, who, like, Tends to play and will jump up at the karaoke bar because I can, and I know the lyrics even though I'm a Horrible singer. Like, there's just there's some part of me that can jump in. And so I'm the person that jumps in and gives you the confidence, but, like, this is yours. This is yours to play with and yours to create.

Speaker A [00:09:17]:

I appreciate that. It kinda makes me think of, you know, maybe in in therapeutic mention, like, a play therapy. Like, okay, kiddos. Here's your sandbox. Here's all the little avatar toy items, You know, anything. Anything that they can be creative with and say, well, what do I feel like even today or in this moment? Because you made me think of, like You know, I cannot wait wait. I mean, we're gonna talk about it too, but, like, I cannot wait to take one of your workshops. Cannot wait.

Speaker A [00:09:45]:

Because, like, I have my own just For context for those listening or watching, like, I do have my own alter ego, but the details are fuzzy In some way, shape, or form, which is why I wanna work with you, my friend, when I when I can and down the road very soon. So, like, I think that mine personally is that pearl kletcher. Her name's Mindy with an I e at the end. And actually, For those of us eighties, nineties babies, the glitter pen with the heart on the eye, let's just throw that detail out there. That's the best detail I got. But, you know, she's the people pleaser. She's like, oh, you can't do that. Right? And it's been very Freaking challenging.

Speaker A [00:10:24]:

Oh, and sorry, Meg. We can swear because it's my show, so I'll just say that. So it's been very fucking challenging. No. No. I wanna say what I really wanna say, because, You know, we we hold back. We we hold back whether it's in that job interview, whether it's in that email to somebody, like, not a cold pitch, but just to, Hey. Do you wanna work together or collaborate? So there's these very integral parts of us that have been wired, whether it's conditioning, patriarchy, Family slash caretaker norms, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Speaker A [00:10:56]:

So I love that you dig deeper instead of just, It's not really the case, but, like, I have a book my book right on the bookshelf. It's not just, you know, pick up the book and hear you're 1 of 12. Tada. That's it. Because as beings, we have a lot, like you said earlier, these nuances, and these egos shift every For seconds sometimes if it's one of those days. Right? And I love that you're I love that this is some of your your soul's work and that you've Maybe didn't expect it 20 years ago, but you're in it now and you're going, there's some potential here. Not just for you as an individual, but for everyone you work with, which is beautiful. I love that.

Speaker B [00:11:38]:

Yeah. Yeah. No. Thank you for reflecting that. And I think one of the things that also really lights me up is I'm happy to work with folks on the ones that come up. So, Mindy, you're you're pearl clutching, you know, Person is probably very very, good friends with my, Ernestine. He's a little lost in Wonderland little girl who just wants everybody to be happy and brings people Tea on platters. Great.

Speaker B [00:12:04]:

But I think that a lot of times, those ones that organically come out of us, are They're they're a little more unconscious. And what I'm because I'm not a psychologist, and I'm not a psychotherapist, and I'm not an On MSW, and I have ultimate respect for all of those fields and utilize people's services all the time. I tread very lightly on the unconscious and the things that are coming out of us. Yep. And I focus on the conscious creation. So what what I you know, you're welcome to workshop Mindy, but I think the truth is you wanna be a badass Who can write that email and not worry about what Mindy has to say. So let's find that person Yeah. Who's going to be the The d of your life that gets you to step up taller and just take up your space and own own your experience.

Speaker B [00:12:59]:

And and I have a few of those. So I've got d. I've also got, Chloe, who's my social media manager because marketing and social media do not come that easily to me, so I really channel her. She's about 26. She's super into it. She's unabashed about sharing and promoting, and it's not mine. It's you know, she's promoting me, which makes it so much easier. There's there's a ton of really fun stuff too around, you know, as solopreneurs or as as small business owners who are wearing so many different hats.

Speaker B [00:13:31]:

And how do you sort of create that distance too that you can kind of wear the different hats that you need to? I'll offer one other interesting story. I there's a local knitting shop that I go to, and I talked to her. We were we were knitting during the pandemic because I can talk about knitting in a whole other bag of, like, ways of, like, sequel mindfulness. Yes. Yes. But I mentioned to her what I do, and she was like, you know, I have an alter ego because when I'm behind the counter Mhmm. I am professional, And I don't talk politics, and I am about spelling knitting. And then if I have a friend that comes in, I will literally walk around the counter And come not be the person in charge, but just a a random person who can talk about politics and all the other things.

Speaker A [00:14:19]:

Wow. And I just felt like, woah.

Speaker B [00:14:22]:

Exactly. And she knew it. She recognized it. It was this thing that she found herself doing. Mhmm. And it's It's that that I find so interesting. It's like, how do we bring it into consciousness and allow you you know, she, as a business owner, doesn't wanna be in the business of politics, and so she's made This thing to allow herself to be both and. And so, like, for for you, maybe you don't wanna be that Bold person all the time because that's not all of who you are, but there are times when it's called for.

Speaker A [00:14:53]:

Yeah.

Speaker B [00:14:53]:

So how do you just sort of, like, consciously bring it in? And then you can, you know, walk back aside. And and if Mindy shows up, you know, you we welcome her and let her do her thing. Like, it's not about fighting. It's not about a racing. It's not about any of that, but it's just about, like, how can we be more conscious about this and actually use it to our advantage and and to to help us.

Speaker A [00:15:14]:

Yeah. Absolutely. Well and I think I know we could talk for, like, hours and hours and hours on these things. And, oh, and just quick side plug y'all listening slash watching. Follow us on LinkedIn because there's a lot of talk there about alter ego. And Even I remember even commenting, on some of your stuff, because and and I'm so glad you brought this up because It's incredibly important to remember, it's not that dichotomy. Right? It's not just the devil and the angel or the Jiminy Cricket and the non Jiminy Cricket or whatever. Right? You know, like, you just even even just now you reminded me that you have multiple egoic spaces, head spaces, heart spaces, whatever.

Speaker A [00:15:57]:

You know, where it Whatever the task is, whatever the demand or need is, you kind of pull that that personality up a little bit. You know? Kinda like a bookmark in a book. You know? Just like, okay.

Speaker B [00:16:06]:

What are you doing Now,

Speaker A [00:16:08]:

you know, let's check this out. And so I really appreciate that it isn't just 2 things. Right? Whether it's Mindy and whatever the hell we're gonna label down the road in your workshop. But, like, there there's so much more to this. And I know some folk could be like, oh, I don't like that many options. I'm more rigid minded. I can't do that. What are you talking about? And yeah.

Speaker A [00:16:29]:

So it might be a little overwhelming, but that's where there's a facilitator like you who shows up and says, let's how to let's keep this simple, You know? Or or less overwhelming, you know, and help your help you consciously create this future, this present that you want. And so I really appreciate that.

Speaker B [00:16:48]:

Yeah. And I just wanna speak to that, like, overwhelming anxiety about too many options because I am committed to the notion that you can have as many as you want. Mhmm. But you don't need to have as many as you want. What the reason that I say that is actually much more from a place of permission and creativity. Mhmm. Because so often, we, like, Take the first thing and think it's it's what we need or what we want. And and from my background in design thinking and In working in tech, like, it's all about alts.

Speaker B [00:17:22]:

It's all about alternatives, trying different things. Mhmm. In my most recent workshop, I really Ask everybody to make 2 versions

Speaker A [00:17:32]:

Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:17:32]:

Of their alter ego. And consistently, the first one was the safe one, and the second one was the one that was a little bit Pushed out, but the one that everybody liked more. Yeah. And so, like, for even people who are a little bit more anxious, the reason to Make multiple is actually to relieve that anxiety. To say like, this one doesn't have to be perfect and this one doesn't have to be perfect. And we can mix and match and bring it together to get to something that you really like. And it's it's really trying to give you more of that space to sort of Play and try. Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:18:03]:

Because so often, I feel like in in work and life, there's a sense that, like, you need the thing.

Speaker A [00:18:10]:

Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Nothing. Yes.

Speaker B [00:18:14]:

Yeah. And and so we I'll talk about alter ego all day, but one of the other things that came up in some of the prep that we were talking about is, like, I I've worked with a a lot of people coming out of college who are trying to get into the design field and trying to get in getting their first job. Mhmm. And there's so much anxiety. Yeah. Especially from, you know, I went to a more prestigious school. So then my the alums that Come out of there. They're they just they feel like they're sort of on this track, and they have to keep more and more and more, better, better, better

Speaker A [00:18:50]:

Yep. Leveling up all

Speaker B [00:18:51]:

the time. Up all the time. Yep. And I just from my own life, I've been so fortunate that things have sort of Come to me, and I follow the bread crumbs. And and my my path stopped at college. Like, I was firmly undecided on my major even. Like, I I I had no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. Yeah.

Speaker B [00:19:10]:

Mhmm. I knew I was gonna go to college because that was in my family's kind of Storyline. But beyond that, no idea. And and I don't have an advanced degree. Oh, multiple people in my family do. I'm I'm the one who most people thought would, And I just couldn't make up my mind along the way in lots of different moments where I was like, I don't know what I really wanna do. So I've been very kind of, like, without a map ever since I turned 18. And and really been Following whether it's intuition or society and kind of weaving my way.

Speaker B [00:19:43]:

But I I really firmly believe there's nothing wrong with that. And the the folks that feel like they have to go from this school to this job to this. And there might be some things that are cut off. Like, If you have aspirations of being a Supreme Court justice, you might really need to clerk for a Supreme Court justice. Just say it. But Like, the mode for the vast majority of us who still have ambition Mhmm. You you don't know what you don't know. And so it's really like When you're coming out of school, you just need your 1st job in tech

Speaker A [00:20:17]:

Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:20:17]:

If you're trying to get into tech. And tech is is is particularly difficult to get into in some ways. And it's like but you just need the first. Right. As soon as you've won on your resume, everything else starts to open up. And so just, like, focus on that. Focus much less on, like, if it's the perfect company and if it's this and this And cast a wide net because you don't know who's going to be interested in you just like a lot of people when they apply to colleges. It's like cast a wide net.

Speaker B [00:20:41]:

Like, get rejected. It's It's it's when you know you aimed high enough. So I just if there's a way to kind of, again, like like, lower that temperature on the anxiety And take away this notion that there is one perfect thing Yeah. And allow us to see that there's a lot of different ways to get places. Yeah. Like, I'm not I'm not the biggest Sheryl Sandberg fan, but one of the things that she did speak about was that, like, our careers are more like a jungle gym than they are a ladder.

Speaker A [00:21:10]:

Yep. Mhmm. And that

Speaker B [00:21:13]:

feels very true. Like, we do all kinds of lateral and even going down to go up. Maybe it's more like rock climbing, but it's just Yeah. It's about taking the next logical step rather than the most perfect next step. And something in in the alter ego project I feel like tries to underscore that and very much what I talk about on LinkedIn and other places is just about like How can we give ourselves a little bit more grace Mhmm. And and acceptance of of also what it is and not, like, Fight against it. You know? If you got a if you got a good job from a medium sized tech company and it's not Google, like, take your time.

Speaker A [00:21:54]:

Like, you get the

Speaker B [00:21:55]:

we're gonna meet. And, truthfully, you're you're more likely if you take a job at a Medium sized tech company, which is what I was fortunate enough to do when I was younger, those people all turned out to be People at all the big companies now. Right. Yeah. Like, if you're in tech, you want the next big thing, the next Google. So take the small job And see where all those people go. That's gonna actually most likely serve you better than being one of many in a massive corporation that Truthfully, Google is the Microsoft of today. So

Speaker A [00:22:30]:

Yeah. Yeah. There's I mean, I'm agreeing with you. I don't know because I'm not working tech, but I'm taking your word for truth in what I See. And and I think, like, you know, you're speaking this well, like, the Sheryl Sandberg, advice or suggestion of this jungle gym. That's the same thing as, like, the zone of purpose. That's what I call it in my work. And so, you know, you know how fucking freeing it is to see that things aren't linear? Like, it takes decades.

Speaker A [00:22:55]:

Okay? But, you know, that's fine. That's fine. But I think that, you know, it's it's really important And this is actually my next question. It's a good segue because when you when you're talking about kind of Sort of in a way going with the flow, seeing what's logical and what fits or versus pushing for something. So when you've been through you know, on your career journey, we'll call it Career journey in quotes. You know, were there any breaking points? And I and I say that phrase very softly understanding we All have breaking points, whatever you wanna call them. So what was the breaking point that taught you that advice that you just shared with us? Like, kinda Ride with the wave instead of trying to tell the wave it's not a wave and that it's it's, you know, being bananas. Like, so do you mind Explaining that for us.

Speaker A [00:23:47]:

No. I mean,

Speaker B [00:23:47]:

the breaking points for me were all the moments when I ended up with really massive transitions. Mhmm. And and I when I was younger, it said that I I'm really good at doing things I hate. Yeah. Which is, like, the saddest thing to say, but it's true.

Speaker A [00:24:09]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker B [00:24:10]:

And so I'll give you 3, and all of them were really pivotal to where I am now. And We're very much the the sort of Steve Jobs from his Stanford speech of, like, you can't connect the dots going forward. You can only connect them backward. Yep. So I'll try to be somewhat brief. But the you know, I I I went into teaching because I had this Cognitive science degree that I didn't know what to do with. I took every class that I was interested in and got a degree out of it. And then the most logical thing was to do research, But I didn't want to do that.

Speaker B [00:24:44]:

I did not know about UI and UX and any of the tech applications. This was 2001. I went to a liberal arts school. It just was not part of the curriculum, and it wasn't clear. Yeah. So I did Teach for America, because I had an instant community and I always liked kids. I was a good tutor. That was the main job I had in high school.

Speaker B [00:25:08]:

And 3 years in, I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it anymore. Teaching, I will say, and I know other people who've left the field, it is the hardest job I've ever had. I've shipped technology for millions of people. I've worked on multimillion dollar accounts. None of that compares to how difficult it was to be a teacher. Yeah. And I quit it without a net.

Speaker B [00:25:34]:

I didn't know what I was gonna do. Mhmm. But I really did hit this breaking point of Realizing that it was not fair to me or the children in my classroom to continue being a teacher. I it wasn't fair to have them have a teacher that didn't wanna That wasn't that's not my ethos in what I wanted to do.

Speaker A [00:25:52]:

Mhmm. Yep. And

Speaker B [00:25:53]:

I was really in debt. Mhmm. For various reasons, I was Literally, $100,000 in debt. Mhmm. This is $2,001 Yeah. Or $2,004. And I was making $40,000 as a Like, the Mhmm. The math did not line up.

Speaker B [00:26:10]:

Yep. And so I was really sort of desperate for something. I was looking at, Teleprompter jobs. We didn't have AI then, and those are high paying jobs. I was like, how fast can I type? Maybe I could do this. And then the fates kind of aligned, and I ended up doing a lot of informational interviews with people from my college, with people from Teach For America. I guess for your this is not like an ego thing. I went to Wellesley College.

Speaker A [00:26:37]:

So

Speaker B [00:26:37]:

I had a ton of, like, Women in my network, which was amazing and really incredible to be able to do informational interviews with them. And it's, you know, small liberal arts colleges like that and especially women's colleges tend to take each other. So it was just it was actually I had a lot of support of people trying to help me figure out where to go. But it was actually a Teach For America Connection, where I thought it was an informational interview. And she was like, oh, you're not applying for the job? I need to hire somebody. And I don't like anybody who came through, and I think you'd be perfect. And I was like, And that was my 1st tech job. And so, like, that was how I got in.

Speaker B [00:27:12]:

Was honestly I wasn't I didn't even realize I was applying. I had been I'm to Hooten Nifflin and to all these other people, cold resumes.

Speaker A [00:27:19]:

Mhmm. But

Speaker B [00:27:20]:

there was the warm connection through my network that got me in. And then, my tech career kind of unfolded, but that was a a big breaking point. Right? To to to leave teaching with no Plan and a lot of debt. Yep. And I just had to take the leap of faith because I it was not working.

Speaker A [00:27:40]:

Yeah. And you knew it. You knew it in your body. You knew it in my body. All All capacities. You have to like

Speaker B [00:27:44]:

I mean, truly, my 3rd year was already pushing things.

Speaker A [00:27:48]:

Yeah.

Speaker B [00:27:49]:

Yeah. And so by the end of 3rd year, I was like, This cannot go on. Yep. And so then I had kind of this illustrious tech career, whatever. I mean, it was fine. I did well. And then I hit another breaking point where I guess, yeah. I'll skip over that one.

Speaker B [00:28:13]:

That's okay. I took an RV trip. We'll talk about that in a different podcast. I love the the the I think I'll just speak about 2 breaking points. The 2nd breaking point was no. No. There are 3. I'm sorry.

Speaker B [00:28:24]:

The 2nd breaking point was when my 12 year relationship ended.

Speaker A [00:28:28]:

Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:28:29]:

And I was doing some consulting in San Francisco and already kind of, Overcommitted, and then I got this opportunity to work for one of the consulting companies and be, like, the 4th person in, which I never worked at a small company like that. I was kinda curious. And so kind of as my relationship fell apart, I was taking on this new role and trying to Figure that out and 6 months in, they laid me off. And so then I was, like, literally sitting in a $3,000 a month apartment that didn't kitchen because it was San Francisco. It was a live work like, ridiculousness. Yeah. No relationship, no job, tons of community, but I've been wanting to move closer to my massive family in Pennsylvania for 10 years. Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:29:19]:

And I had been interviewing with other with another company because I already knew the company I was with wasn't it wasn't really working. Yeah. I had a coach at the time and she said, do you want to work? And I immediately said, no. Yep. You just knew. It was like knew. So for me, what happens is I'm like the Anais Nin quote of which I'm gonna butcher, but basically, like, when the Pain of being a bud is worse than the pain of expanding. Like, it's a butchered quote, but that is the idea.

Speaker B [00:29:51]:

Yeah. That is me. So it was like the pain of being in San Francisco was worse than the unknown of Moving across the country, and she challenged me. She was like, in a week before we meet again, you need to buy a plane ticket to Pennsylvania. And I was like, that Sounds insane. And 24 hours later, I had a plane ticket one way to Pennsylvania, and I I haven't looked back. So that was another, like, pivotal moment. And so for me, I actually don't see myself as a particularly risk Taking person.

Speaker B [00:30:25]:

I don't see myself as being overly, I actually think that I'm pretty cautious, But I do have these key moments where, like, things just hit this point where I can't sustain it anymore. And some part of me has faith in my ability to figure it out. And I've had enough moments in my life where I have figured it out that I sort of take these calculated risks. And, this is maybe a whole other thing, but I I really When I take a risk, I start off doing a small version.

Speaker A [00:31:02]:

Oh, yeah. That's smart.

Speaker B [00:31:04]:

Mhmm. If I have what I call a reason to believe. So, like, even with the start up, I had been consulting with them. I had a reason to believe it was going to work. Yep. With this this shift to Pennsylvania, I'd already visited my sister's house. She kept saying I have room for you. It had been a dream for 10 years.

Speaker B [00:31:22]:

Like, I had Plenty of reason to believe this was the right thing.

Speaker A [00:31:26]:

And a lot of data points in conversation, like, it's gonna be okay. It's gonna be okay. You have a place. You know?

Speaker B [00:31:32]:

A 100%. So So these are and even when we did the RV trip, which I won't go super deep into, but we did a 29 day trial Yeah. With a rented RV to see if we liked it. And we said, yeah. We're in. And then we bought our own RV, and we did it for a year. But there's I think so often On the outside, you're like, oh my god. You sold you know, you got rid of all your stuff and you just moved across the country.

Speaker B [00:31:56]:

And it's like, I've been working with a coach for 3 years to plan this sabbatical goal that I wanted to take. Like, this was not out of nowhere. Right. There was plenty of groundwork that I had laid, and then I finally Kind of took the leap.

Speaker A [00:32:10]:

Yeah. You literally got the ticket. You you Exactly. I'm gonna show up at the airport At 4 in the goddamn morning, and I'm going, like, or whatever. 2 AM.

Speaker B [00:32:19]:

Exactly. And and my whole family was like, great. We've been waiting for this moment. You know? And and so, like, the last one that I'll speak of was was the Ultra Eco project. And that one, I had been working was a consultant for a few different companies in Philly. I built up a whole new network. Mhmm. Some parts of it were really amazing.

Speaker B [00:32:39]:

I actually really enjoyed all of my clients, but I had this I I was burnt out. I took a 1 month break, and I came back and it lasted 6 weeks. Okay. And there was just this, like, moment. It was actually a Martha Beck exercise where and she's all about sort of getting into your emotions. And so you say 2 things out out loud. And I was like, I'm going to continue doing my consulting job, and I will learn a lot from it. Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:33:05]:

I'm gonna do the alter ego project. I'm like, literally, that's what happened both times. It was like my Face lit up. And I took a video of it, and I was like, okay. I mean, just I wasn't even, like, putting on a show. That literally just happened because it's it's it's that Important to me and my reason to believe on that one and I did take a pretty big leap, and I'm I'm figuring it out because I Had some savings, but, I jumped full force into the Alter Ego project. And we got to go to South by Southwest and had one of the biggest, Like, one of the most popular workshops there, which is a huge, you know, kinda notch in my well, not your belt, I think, is actually, like, a private violent metaphor. But, it it was a it was a huge win, for me and a and a an amazing place that was a lifelong dream of mine to be able to be a presenter at South by Southwest.

Speaker B [00:33:57]:

I It I've always wanted to be on stage. So that was, like, huge and felt, like, incredibly validating. Candidly, you know, continuing to build the business. It's hard. This is Hard, hard work. So much harder than I expected. But my reason to believe with the alter ego project was actually almost the inverse, which is that I had been Trying to build it while working full time for 2 years

Speaker A [00:34:20]:

Yep.

Speaker B [00:34:21]:

Not getting traction.

Speaker A [00:34:23]:

Yeah.

Speaker B [00:34:23]:

And so that moment where I was like, Well, I'm unhappy with the work that I'm doing. It's it's good money. I can't blame my clients. I can't blame anything other than it's just not what I think I'm supposed to be doing. And coupled with the fact that I wasn't getting traction on the Alter Ego project without giving it my full attention Yep. Was my my most recent Version of, you know what? I'm just gonna go for it. And I I said to everybody in my family and friends, I was like, listen. I'm jumping out of a plane.

Speaker B [00:34:52]:

Mhmm. I know that sounds scary. I've researched the the the outfitter. I'm doing it tandem. They have an incredible safety record. I've done flying trapeze. Like, I've done lots of things that have shown you that this is going to be reasonable and that I'm taking care of myself. I've also made peace with death.

Speaker B [00:35:12]:

If I if I die, I'm really I'm actually even okay on that. Yeah. So, like, I know this is scary for all of you, but I know what I'm doing. I'm jumping out of a plane. I have not literally jumped out of a plane, but I have done flying trapeze and all the other things. And so, you know, it it's like That also is part of it is, like, sometimes taking that calculated risk, and it remains to be seen whether this Is or is not a horrible decision on my part, but it was it what was what felt necessary, and it was not without A lot of thought and trying alternatives and then landing on this. So I think, When when those breaking points come, I've I've learned to listen to them. Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:36:00]:

And then the last thing that I'll offer is I have a friend, and we've talked about this both in careers and relationships. And he was like, you know, I've never I've never left a relationship or a job too soon. Like right? How often do we stick it out and really grind away? And and there is nothing wrong with giving it your all and going as far as you could. And my 12 year relationship, we are on good terms, but I think we would both say that we probably gave 85, 90%. I'm sure there's a little more we could've given, but we we tried. We tried. We And you tried differently. We tried different ways.

Speaker B [00:36:38]:

We still love each other. Like, it it wasn't for lack of trying. Mhmm. But both of us would also say we could have ended it 6 years earlier. We we we practice breaking up many a time. And And so I have to make it up. You know? Like, how do you guys I feel like we had so many iterations of, like, when's the last time you're gonna see my family? Who's take the dog. What's gonna happen? Like, so many tears that by the time it finally happened, it was like, yeah.

Speaker B [00:37:03]:

Okay. You felt you felt close.

Speaker A [00:37:06]:

You're just like Yeah. An easier close. I don't I'm saying that It was, though.

Speaker B [00:37:10]:

It was. I mean, I feel like we practiced. Yeah. And so and, again, I'm not actually advocating that you're in a relationship that you have that on and off cycle. Like, that's not necessarily healthy or good.

Speaker A [00:37:21]:

Yeah. Yeah.

Speaker B [00:37:21]:

But I think It is this sort of thing where my goal in life is to get better at recognizing when I'm at that breaking point and taking action Yes. 100%. And and maybe even leaving too soon. Maybe even leaving something before I know that it's not gonna work because I just have feeling and, like, then giving myself the grace that, like, if it could've worked, like, just to let that go and just, you know, like, It's all about finding, there's sort of like this line. There's a whole other thing I could get into. But In my in my frame, there's a line, and there's lots of ways to find the line. But often you have to go over the line to To find it.

Speaker A [00:38:09]:

And then you see it back there

Speaker B [00:38:10]:

in your life. Gotta get back here. Oops. That was a little painful. Yeah. Yeah. And and so, like, in some ways, like, Leaving too soon is actually like going over the line. You're like, oh, okay.

Speaker B [00:38:21]:

I guess I could have stayed. But what we often do is we just inch, inch, inch, Inch, inch, inch, inch. And you're just like, are you gonna have the line?

Speaker A [00:38:28]:

Or I am?

Speaker B [00:38:28]:

I'm gonna have the line. I'm gonna have the line. I'm gonna have the line. You know? And and it's like, you never know if you're there because you never actually get to it. It's that, like, infinite infinite having. And so, like, yeah, the more that we can just like, it's okay. It's okay to Holy fuck up. It's okay to screw everything up and go over the line like people will still love you.

Speaker B [00:38:47]:

It is you it is it is human. It is human. My therapist says this all the time. You're being human. It's human to go over the line. It is human to make mistakes. It is human to, To not know until you know. And all of that is, like, good.

Speaker B [00:39:04]:

That means that you're growing. That means that you're learning. Like, you're not doing it wrong. You're actually doing it All the ways that we're meant to do it.

Speaker A [00:39:13]:

Yeah. And I almost cut you off and said you're doing it right. Well, that might be our perspective, my friend. You know? Because, like But you're doing it.

Speaker B [00:39:23]:

Like, can we just say, like, that's it?

Speaker A [00:39:25]:

You're doing end of podcast episode. Boom. Do it. You know? Look at the line. Be be the line. Be the line. But, Well and that's that's huge because, like, you know, my next question, which you maybe you already answered, but, like, about these comfort zones. Right? And in in my program, I talk about different, you know, comfort zones, whatever, blah blah.

Speaker A [00:39:43]:

It doesn't matter. But the point is that we we have these matter. Yeah. Oh, thank you. Thank you. I was like, but this is about Meg. You know? If y'all wanna know, go to my website. But the point is that we have these we have a lot of lines or these circles or these hoops that we try to go through and all these things, and we tow it And then we back off.

Speaker A [00:40:02]:

And then we tow it, and we back off. And the reality is there's a whole bunch of freaking lines throughout our entire life. Right? We were talking earlier about those ladders or this jungle gym or whatever. You can go in multiple can sound Woo woo. But you can go in multiple directions and dimensions and things to expand yourself in different ways. And so I appreciate how Thank you also for sharing these vulnerable stories with me and us. I really appreciate that too, because we sometimes we expand forward. Sometimes we expand backwards, sideways, diagonally like the jungle gym idea, maybe climbing up somewhere, Jumping down.

Speaker A [00:40:43]:

You know? I mean, we all, you know, as beings, have these different experiences, and let's respect those experiences. Right? You know, we won't get into why, but like earlier before we hit record, on our our show here, like, we were discussing about these different ways of thinking that are very rigid minded. And so the beauty about alternative, right, or alter spaces of thinking and being is we can say, Well, wait. Wait. I wanna try this differently. And those who love you, though, in in platonic or romantic ways will say I support you in that. I don't know what the fuck you're doing, and I'm eager to see what happens. I got the popcorn, but I am here for you.

Speaker A [00:41:24]:

And so I appreciate that you decided Because when we first met, did you decide to go into alter ego, like, full on yet, or were you still doing something? Like, it might have been a cusp.

Speaker B [00:41:36]:

It might have been. I think I was I was probably pretty in it at the time that you and I met, but Yeah. I'm neither here nor there.

Speaker A [00:41:44]:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. I love it. And I think, like and you are you do light up when you talk about this stuff. Right? You do. And so That's something for anyone listening or watching is what lights you up even if you say, oh, it's 87 things. Great. Then you have 87 things that light you up.

Speaker A [00:42:00]:

Cool. Like, there is no way. You have to do the one thing, the thing, like, we were talking about that doesn't even exist.

Speaker B [00:42:08]:

On a

Speaker A [00:42:09]:

construct for fuck's sake. Excuse me. But

Speaker B [00:42:11]:

There's like A 100%. And I think that, like So I'm I don't know everything about Serena Williams. I know she's amazing. Mhmm. Her dad was given I actually didn't see the King Orchard movie, but, or whatever it was called. But her dad was given a lot of flack for doing weird stuff. He had them do ballet. He had them do dance.

Speaker B [00:42:35]:

He had them do football drills. He had them do all these things that were unexpected, Unusual in the tennis world. Mhmm. And, honestly, who knows which of those did or did not contribute to their amazingness, but some of them probably did. Yeah. And and so I I think that there is so much to be said for sort of like I use lots of different metaphors. 1 is to, like, follow the bread crumbs. The other 1 is to, like, sort of follow your nose.

Speaker B [00:43:06]:

Like, I I feel like I kind of I did not grow up as a woo person. I did not grow up with the sense that there was any intuition. I grew up in a family that was very about your brain, and about logic. Yeah. And I've really been working in my adult life to Figure out what's in my heart and get more connected. Mhmm. But one thing that I've talked about a little bit And I will bring in here is I don't think I would be doing the Alter Ego project if I hadn't taken up knitting.

Speaker A [00:43:40]:

What a transition. Yeah. All my knitters out there, like, yeah, you're spinning on this.

Speaker B [00:43:46]:

Yeah. I had been knitting. I I tried knitting in high school a little bit. My mom taught me and then I tried knitting a little bit after that 1st job. In tech, she was a big knitter and she taught me. And I remember When I was learning to knit, she would be like, okay. Is this a knit or a purl? Those are basically knitting is basically binary. There's, like, 2 things.

Speaker B [00:44:05]:

There's a knit or a purl. And I'd be like, it's a pearl. She's like, nope. It's a knit. And we did this over and over again. Like, I could not freaking see it. It drove me.

Speaker A [00:44:12]:

Still to this day, I'm like, let me Google it

Speaker B [00:44:16]:

And Yeah. It's and now that I've been knitting for as long as I have, I'm like, it is so obvious. I'm like, it's in my bones. Like, But weirdly, in knitting, I have been fearless. And I've been fearless because I do not care. I do not care if what I make looks good. I don't wear a damn thing I make. I make stuff for babies.

Speaker B [00:44:44]:

I make hats for other people. I will rip out days worth of knitting Yeah. At the drop of a like, I am so unattached. It is like a mandala to me. I am unattached to any of this. And I take on Patterns that I shouldn't do. I've knit stuff that's all gooped up and weird, and I'm like, well, I guess I'll try that again. Yeah.

Speaker B [00:45:04]:

It is a meditative practice for me, and I get So much relief, and, like, it lowers my temp my my my anxiety and my, blood pressure to knit. It is just it is this, like, thing that probably, like, runners get this too. You know? I've just, like, It's just it's a way to relieve stress. For me, I'm not a runner. I knit. Mhmm. And I knit and I try stuff and I am unattached. And by doing that, I've taken way more risks and I've made way more complicated things than I feel like I have any right to do.

Speaker B [00:45:40]:

I still consider myself like a beginner intermediate. I think I've done some pretty complex stuff. Mhmm. I'm like, it's figureoutable. That whole notion of, like, is it figureoutable? Yes. And thank goodness we have YouTube. Because what a difference it is learning to knit with videos and close ups compared to like oh, the book is Hard.

Speaker A [00:45:59]:

It is it's like 5 of them, but I'm like, oh.

Speaker B [00:46:01]:

Learning to tie knots in books too. Like, just it's just hard because these are physical things, and you want to see it. And the best thing would be to have a master next to you, and the next best thing is to have YouTube. So but, like, truly, truly, truly, this this avocation, This hobby and this notion that I am not invested. I do not claim to be a knitter. I'm not going to be a master knitter. I also, for the record, have made very bad art because I am not an artist. And I've done weird stuff that doesn't make any sense to anybody but me and I love it.

Speaker A [00:46:35]:

It's like that. Like, you know, we're just like, woah.

Speaker B [00:46:39]:

Anyway, it's It's bad. It's bad art. It's, like, deliberately bad, and there's something good about that. There's something good about just being, like, deliberately Uninvested

Speaker A [00:46:53]:

Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:46:53]:

And not caring. And it's given me the courage to do things that I am invested in and do care about. And so I think, like, for the people that are interested in 87 different things, it's like, yeah. Go do one of those 87 things and do it Because your heart wants to do it and do it because you are bad and at it. Do it because there's like, you have no right like, this is A phrase I use, which is probably damaging in its own way. But I'm like, I have no right to do that. But I do it. And there's, like, something the damaging part is, like, I shouldn't say that I have no right because everybody has right to do whatever the hell they want.

Speaker B [00:47:29]:

But the fact that I have no right and I do it is the is the magic. And, Yeah. I just encourage anybody who's listening. Like, what is that thing? Like, make bad food. Like, I'm not trying to be wasteful, but There's an element of just, like, letting yourself off the hook. Mhmm. But one other thing I will offer is, Kristin Neff has a book called, self compassion. Oh, okay.

Speaker B [00:47:52]:

Yeah. It's I have not finished it because I'm very bad at reading.

Speaker A [00:47:57]:

No. I mean There

Speaker B [00:47:58]:

is an exercise in there that It was it was worth the book itself. And it's just like listen. We are all good at some things, average at some things, And bad at some things. Mhmm. Right? The joke is, like, 80% of people believe they're better than average driver. Right. No nobody nobody wants to admit they're a bad driver. It's not it's not cool.

Speaker B [00:48:21]:

Not cool. I would say that right now, it's not cool to say that you don't know how to cook. Like, cooking has become this thing. Like, you have to know how to cook.

Speaker A [00:48:28]:

Four a. Mhmm. I am

Speaker B [00:48:31]:

an average to below average cook. I can follow a recipe. I'm a decent baker. I am not a good cook. And to finally just, like, write that it's like, what am I bad at? Mhmm. I'm not a good cook. I'm awful at languages. Yeah.

Speaker B [00:48:47]:

I'm like, I like to dance. I'm not a good I'm the joke in the I am so unathletic. I cannot catch a ball, Basically, to save my life. Like, anytime I catch a ball, it's like and I'm a family with, like, division 1 athletes. Like, I am the outlier. Even music, I love playing music. I'm not an amazing musician. Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:49:08]:

I like playing music. There are other things that I'm really great at. I'm really good at bullshitting. I'm really good at talking. I could talk forever. And and just really being honest with ourselves and saying, like, listen. You are human. Of course.

Speaker B [00:49:25]:

There are things that you are really good at. There are things that you're okay at, and there are things that you are bad at, and that makes you human.

Speaker A [00:49:31]:

Oh, yeah. And it's okay. It's okay to suck at some things. Okay to suck at something. Yeah. And even if you try 400 times and you still suck at it a little bit, that's there's no shame in that.

Speaker B [00:49:43]:

No shame. Okay to love something you suck at. Yes. Yes. Like, there is no shame or shade Yeah. In loving dancing and being horrible at it. Right.

Speaker A [00:49:57]:

Or, like, you'd love to sing. I saw this on LinkedIn recently. Somebody loves to sing. And somebody's like, where do you sing? In my car because I'm not good at it, and I don't wanna put others through that.

Speaker B [00:50:09]:

You know? Or you're on

Speaker A [00:50:10]:

the freeway, and you see those people jamming. We're all stuck anyway. Why not? You know? And and you're trying to figure out what song they're, you know, maybe, you know, lip syncing to or something. But, you know, I think, like, this is huge. And On a quick side note because, I my you you might have already answered my next question. But on a quick side note, the last thing I knitted okay. So long long story short, I'm I'm cold very easily. It's just my my body makeup.

Speaker A [00:50:37]:

Alright. So I've been trying for about 2 years now, to make this, core, like, body warmer thing, AKA A sleeve that's not a corset. I don't know how to explain it. But the stitch in it, I was like, thank fucking goddess for YouTube because I was like, I in the instruction and you know those instructions. You're like, I have no idea what you said there. I don't know what you said there, and I really don't know what you just said there. So I had to Google. There's 1 video For the metamorphosis stitch, badass name, had a metamorphosis stitch.

Speaker A [00:51:10]:

Not encountered this one. I know. I'm gonna send it to you if I find the pattern somewhere in my But, what you do is you you're in the round, whatever whatever. Okay? Of course, I'm a dork, and that was the 1st project I've ever done in the round instead of flat. And I'm like, oh, this is Great. With the whole new stitch. Oh, yay. But, anyway, so you go around and you, you know, you do your, I don't know, knit, pearl.

Speaker A [00:51:31]:

Can't remember the pattern right now. You go along And then you do 5 rows, and then you drop 4 of the stitches. You bring your needle back around, and it the butterfly pattern.

Speaker B [00:51:42]:

Woah. Thank

Speaker A [00:51:43]:

you. So it took, like, the you know, to your point, I had to undo that sucker, like, 2 or 3 times. And now I'm sitting here, like, a year later, and, of course, fall's coming again. So I'm like, oh, sure. I wanna knit again. Why not? And I'm looking at this thing. It's in my off I'm just like, I have no fucking clue where I left off. I mean, you got stitch markers, but you're like, I don't know if that's off by 1 or 2.

Speaker A [00:52:07]:

So I might be ripping it out. And it's so scary for those who are knitters, who are listening, or crocheters, or artists, or whatever, to undo some of your work So you can continue to do it, but how symbolic is that for life. Right? You know? And and I think, like, this is my next question. So, like, That's something I would tell my younger self is let the stitches go, girl. It's okay because you're gonna re you're gonna create something so much better. You don't know it. You don't know and you're freaking the fuck out right now, but it's gonna be okay. What would you tell your younger self? You know? Like, any of the lessons so far, You know, that are they're a prime.

Speaker A [00:52:46]:

They're a key for you.

Speaker B [00:52:53]:

Like the power of grace.

Speaker A [00:52:56]:

Yep. Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:52:58]:

There's there's there was, As a younger person, I gave myself I put so much pressure on myself. And, you know, I was thinking about this this morning. Mhmm. That quote of, The definition of insanity is doing the same thing twice? Is that what happens?

Speaker A [00:53:20]:

Yeah. Yeah. And thinking that that would be different, basically. Yeah.

Speaker B [00:53:24]:

And thinking the outcome would be different. Right. Okay. Fine. With the outcome being different, I guess, it's a little bit less upsetting. Mhmm. I don't like that quote.

Speaker A [00:53:33]:

It's hard. Yeah. There's a lot there's some problems in it. You know?

Speaker B [00:53:36]:

There's some real problems in it. There's there's some real, like, perfectionist, 10 like like, sort of pushing in that quote. I feel like, even a scientist, If they get a wildly unexpected result, we'll do the same experiment exactly the same. Mhmm. Because they're not convinced that they didn't get it.

Speaker A [00:53:58]:

Yeah.

Speaker B [00:53:58]:

So they there wasn't something that they were missing. Right. And we need to learn the same lesson multiple times. And when we come around it the 2nd time, we're actually bringing new information to it. Mhmm. And so I just think, like, all of that shame and Doing it wrong and I should've known better, should've, would've, could've, like, all of that was so deep in me when I was younger. And just the sense that I couldn't, like, falter. That, like, that that making a misstep was an indictment on me.

Speaker B [00:54:35]:

And your character Or how you show up

Speaker A [00:54:38]:

A 100% future for 80 years till we're dead or something. Like yeah.

Speaker B [00:54:43]:

I mean, I didn't I I've taken way more risks As a 30 something and 40 something that I did in my twenties, I was actually very, Afraid as a 20 something. Mhmm. And I kind of, and even in college, I I kind of regret that. I think that there was a lot that I could've I I needed to I I could've made more mistakes and probably learn some of the lessons that I'm Embarrassed that I'm having to learn now at 43 because I was so committed to doing it right and and not having egg on my face and not having to, backtrack and apologize and just sort of keep going forward. And so, Yeah. Grace was never a word that, felt accessible or even something I would want I was younger, and the 1st time that I really saw it and felt it was I had a cousin who is about the same age as as I am, and and she had a battle with breast cancer. Mhmm. Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:55:51]:

She handled that with such Grace. Oh. It's the only word that made sense.

Speaker A [00:55:59]:

Mhmm.

Speaker B [00:55:59]:

And to really recognize that, like, grace Isn't necessarily, she was so strong and such a fighter during that time And yet also graceful. So it's not that grace is softness. It's not that grace is just like pushing things aside. Like, Grace was her taking all of those inputs and finding a, like, a level path To go on that allowed for all of it, but also didn't, like, overly indulge. Like Mhmm. I have so much respect for my cousin who who made it through this journey, and she is on the other side, and she has a lovely daughter and everything as well. But that That power and grace Mhmm. And, just allowing allowing It to happen, allowing the mistakes to be made.

Speaker B [00:56:55]:

I I wish I wish I wish wish that somebody had offered that to me and that I had been able to Have the grace to accept it when I was younger.

Speaker A [00:57:06]:

Yeah. Because it's not a weakness. Like, I think I think for we're similar in age, so I don't wanna Totally construct our reality, but, like, I think there's a lot of in our, quote, generation, right, you know, where we have to show up. In some ways, we'd be silent. We just take it and we just move forward and we don't fucking complain and or whatever. Right? You know? And within that, interwoven with those experiences, whether it's professionally or personally, you know, it it's this, like, buck up soldier, you know, that bootstraps, You know, wiring. Right? And so I was in the same situation growing up for varying reasons, and that's its own show, etcetera. But, like, I think that grace, it's an incredible five letter word.

Speaker A [00:57:56]:

Right? Even when you say it out loud, it you just feel a little bit more whole and complete. And I think there's a lot of young folk And older folk, right, and everywhere in between. We need to give ourselves grace more often. We really need to because that's how we heal. That's how we move forward. That's how we look at the line and go, whoop, fucking crossed that 20 years ago. Let me go back and fix that for just a day And and heal from it and say, well, that was interesting. Plot twist, and now we move forward.

Speaker A [00:58:27]:

Right? Because you're right. And and, like, we're always gathering information. Today is a new day. This very moment's a new moment versus an hour ago when we were, you know, chitchatting about things or whatever You know? And so I think, like, that matters. And I love that that's not the word, but I love that that's your answer Because it's incredibly powerful, and, and I'm excited to see what more you know, especially with ego and just your your life in general. You know? What are those opportunities to show yourself grace? Right? And go, oh, honey. It's Okay. It is fine.

Speaker A [00:59:06]:

Fine. Fine. Oh, that that like, we were talking about with marketing because we're in the we're in the same sitch. Right? Like, I don't like marketing myself. I just want conversations. Damn it. You know? So when you're like, well, that sales call, if you can call it that, was a bust. You know? Or I made a

Speaker B [00:59:21]:

script, like, a year ago, and I was like,

Speaker A [00:59:22]:

I don't fucking follow the script ever. Like and that's okay too. And What a lesson for us to continue in our thirties and forties and fifties, etcetera. And, just a little PS on this note, Before we move on to the l word, my mentor, she said, in one of our meetings a few months ago or, I don't know, a while ago, she was like, Virginia, I cannot wait for you to not give a fuck what anyone thinks. And I was like, you know, such and such. I agree with that. Yes. You know, because and and she found out maybe more of that in her fifties.

Speaker A [01:00:01]:

Right? But, like, God, for those of us who are kinda quote type a or we have a lot of self pressure, we give a 180% all the time to everybody else. It's very Powerful for us to say it's okay if you take some time. It's okay to chill out. It's okay to do what your heart calls you to do. You don't want to fit in the box anymore because what is the box, which is a whole big conversation and philosophical. You know?

Speaker B [01:00:26]:

Yeah. I mean, there's another. I'm playing with my hair. It's okay.

Speaker A [01:00:30]:

Do it.

Speaker B [01:00:30]:

There's Iris people who've read my stuff know this. Iris Dement has this song called The Way I Should. And, it's it's really like this whole deal with the devil, actually, I was realizing when I looked at the lyrics more closely. But, Yeah. She she has a line that says, I realized I was keeping my score up in a game I didn't choose.

Speaker A [01:00:54]:

Oh, goosebumps on that one.

Speaker B [01:00:57]:

Like, how many of us are doing that? And so I think as part of the grace equation is, like, what do you want in your life? Yeah. What what and we're gonna have another conversation about this. But, like, for me, I think of it as, like, what is a contented life? Mhmm. And and that is not definable by anybody but you. Yeah. And I've spent time in meditation and in yoga and in unraveling and in trying weird things like Driving around the country for a year in RV and not working for a year. I'm really kind of, like, figuring out different ways that identity could work for me To try to unravel that. And so, if we wanted to, we could talk about what that means for you.

Speaker B [01:01:50]:

But I just think that, like, As part of the process of doing yourself grace is to ask that really bold question of, like, what game are you playing, And is it

Speaker A [01:02:00]:

the game you choose? Right. Right. Who's on your team? Is this the sport quote that you wanna even be engaged in. Right? You know? What are what are points?

Speaker B [01:02:11]:

Like, is it points? Is it time? Is it relationships? Is it love? Like Yep. What are you even using as a scorecard? Because and so often, we're just fed things. We're fed Things like money is the score keeper or, you know, having I'm also I happen to be divorced. Neither my ex nor I wanted to be divorced. I do believe in long lasting relationships, but there are people who, like, that is the score. It's like, I'm gonna stay in this relationship come hell or high water despite the fact that we are both incredibly miserable and not living our best lives. And Right. That is a choice for each person to make as, like, is that the game you want to play? Mhmm.

Speaker B [01:02:54]:

So it's it's really not even that, like, I'm here to judge your game, but just know That we're always playing some sort of game.

Speaker A [01:03:01]:

Yeah.

Speaker B [01:03:02]:

So many of us are playing a game we do not choose Mhmm. And keeping score with things that don't actually matter to us. And it is, it is a revolutionary and bold statement To ask that question of, like, what do I want to use to keep score and what game do I want to play?

Speaker A [01:03:23]:

Oh, yeah. Well and this is beautiful segue into the next thing, legacy.

Speaker B [01:03:29]:

Oh. Oh my goodness.

Speaker A [01:03:30]:

I couldn't realize there was, like, the l word thing. I there could be a lot of different l words. No. I was

Speaker B [01:03:34]:

like, what was that? What was yeah. How long did you ask legacy? Yeah.

Speaker A [01:03:40]:

Tell me.

Speaker B [01:03:40]:

I love that you asked this because I, as somebody who has not had much of a plan since I was 18 Mhmm. Struggle hard with legacy. I I want to be remembered For the way I made people feel, I want to be I already feel like this is the story of my life. Mhmm. I have Been loved, and I have loved.

Speaker A [01:04:16]:

Mhmm.

Speaker B [01:04:17]:

I have taken adventures. I have had amazing experiences. I have Been now I've I've ex I've experienced death. I've been at a birth. I've reveled in nature. I am living in a place that I love. I've had moments in my life where I truly am spending my time exactly how I want. I've experienced beauty where I literally said out loud, I could die right now, and it would be fine.

Speaker B [01:04:53]:

And so that's kind of all that I'm going for. Yeah. Which doesn't make a great business plan, I gotta say. Like, if you're this, babe. You do whatever you want. Like, that's okay. But I really I feel so fortunate that I've had all of that in my life and that I can see it And then I can recognize it. And so if if if my legacy is that I live my life as much As I could on my terms and I learned and I came to peace with how my life has unfolded, like, that that really is enough.

Speaker B [01:05:42]:

If I left something in this world that helped other people. But if if if just my presence in the here and now helps people, that is also more than enough. And, truthfully, if my presence in the here and now just helps me, I'll take it.

Speaker A [01:05:57]:

Our heart is low right now. It's okay. Yeah.

Speaker B [01:06:00]:

Mean, I'm not trying to be overly selfish, but I just feel like that you know, my job is to take care of me first.

Speaker A [01:06:08]:

Mhmm. Yeah.

Speaker B [01:06:10]:

My job is to take care of me enough that I can help others. Mhmm. I know that I have a kind heart. I know that I really believe in the possibility of everybody. And, yeah, that's what I'm here to do.

Speaker A [01:06:24]:

That's amazing. Yeah. And I think, like, you've You've helped us recognize that, you know, that self awareness is big. Right? And and and and what you just said is, like, essentially, if I have x y z things, I'm content. I'm happy. Like, if something happened to me tomorrow, doing pretty damn good about things. Right? And that doesn't necessarily minimize or discount The really fucking hard times in life, right, you know, that we've we've all been through. But at the same time, like, what A journey to be able to identify those things that are the kind of the equivalent of the bucket list.

Speaker A [01:07:06]:

Right? And, like, what are those, You know, whether we call it values or boundaries or guardrails or something, right, that that classifies these things, that Categorizes these things. But I appreciate how you have found that light within yourself, and you're helping others find that light as Well, you know, instead of just like, just accept it for what it is. Tough shit. You know? Like, you know, we

Speaker B [01:07:29]:

grew up in that era, and that's fun.

Speaker A [01:07:32]:

But, like, Guess what? There's different ways to do life. You know? And if this is your legacy, guess what, my friend? You're actually already living in it. You're already serving people. I can tell on LinkedIn, and I can see it in your workshops. And and you're serving yourself With recognition, and that is amazing. Especially, you're a role model for being that, like, I gotta take care of myself first. You know? Or when I have a tech hiccup, which happens every time we talk Yes. Which is

Speaker B [01:08:00]:

I bring bad tech mojo to you. I know that's

Speaker A [01:08:04]:

it's okay. But, like, you know, that grace, it comes back, that grace and how we wanna define the rest of our lives because, No. We cannot go backwards. You know? Yes. We can think and reflect on that line that we crossed, like, 20 years ago with shit, But we physically cannot go back and change things. All we got is now and no few steps ahead. And, so I'm so Grateful for that, and I and I cannot wait for this next question because I know it's gonna be gorgeous. But what advice would you give To those listening, like, in all of what we've talked about, which has been amazing.

Speaker A [01:08:43]:

But what would you say for those who are listening about Finding fulfillment, purpose, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. K.

Speaker B [01:08:54]:

My mantra is It all works out. It always does. Mhmm. Take that and use it as much as you want. If you wanna sit with it as a con and really figure out how to, like, even make death be part of that equation, which I have spent time doing, I found that to be useful. I also give you permission, Permission to question, permission to play Mhmm. Permission to do it your way Mhmm. And one of the slides that I threw up in my workshops over and over and over again is You can't do it wrong.

Speaker A [01:09:41]:

Yeah. Because it's your life.

Speaker B [01:09:44]:

You can't you can't do it Wrong. Mhmm. So just, like, breathe, Know that it's all gonna work out. Mhmm. And, you know, go from there. There's plenty of us, me, Virginia, others who want you to, succeed, who who who believe in you, And and also, you know, for you to believe in yourself. But, yeah, it it all works out. It always does.

Speaker A [01:10:20]:

Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, like, I know we've covered different bases, but I've got 1 PS question that just came to my mind in my heart. But, like, let's talk about this mojo thing Before we go into your socials because, like, we talk about creativity and, like, grace and all these kinds of things. But I remember in our email exchange, I was like, mojo. I think that's a good ending. I don't know why I feel that way, but I think

Speaker B [01:10:45]:

A 100%. So I have 5 things that I live my life by. It's I I use this bizarre, please. I'm not gonna tell you the acronym. It's play, freedom, creativity, connection, and

Speaker A [01:10:59]:

MOJO. Uh-huh.

Speaker B [01:11:00]:

And and Mojo is is that life energy. It's the life force. It's The it's the it's both the badassery and also, like, the playfulness. And I think a little bit of, like, Stella got her groove back. Like, it it involves, like, Sexuality, but it's just it's just the light that comes from us, and it's that place of flow and aliveness and joy And, being present, and it is the hardest for me to hold on to. For sure. Oh. Just so you know, like, it's not a gimme.

Speaker B [01:11:39]:

Uh-huh. Uh-huh. Hard. I'm done. Oh, but it's important to value. Yeah. The other ones are easier. Like, I'm I'm good at connection.

Speaker B [01:11:49]:

I'm pretty good at creativity. Those things like Mojo Mojo is there to remind me that That we have this stuff in us, and each of us I I I firmly believe every single person on this planet has something, unique, brilliant, wonderful, amazing to share. Mhmm. And and that's part of Mojo too. It's just like, you know, what is your what is your thing? What is your thing? What is your vibe? What is your essence? What is that thing? And and and stop tamping it down. Needs to come out, man. It's like whoo. Right.

Speaker B [01:12:26]:

Go to. Yes. I see.

Speaker A [01:12:29]:

Oh my god. We should have a workshop on this at some point. You know? I think because and you know what I love about that is, like, even your body for those watching the video, like, your body language is like, fuck yeah. You know? Like, this energetic bubble. Like, your shirt's badass today. I love it. You know? I feel so drab in my gray, but, you know, I think, like but yet it's the hardest thing for you. Fascinating.

Speaker A [01:12:52]:

Right? That that that dance that dance. Right? The different egos slash, you know, situations within our existence. Right? And so I I appreciate that it's something that you covet. It's something you crave and work with and towards, but you also have to Pump yourself up sometimes, like, you know, in these not in this conversation, but, like, if we're doing something on LinkedIn. It's like, okay. We're gonna market ourselves.

Speaker B [01:13:18]:

That's right. What is shit? You know? But but yeah.

Speaker A [01:13:21]:

I mean, so I love I love that we ended on this because Mojo Mojo matters. That's a new bumper sticker. Mojo matters. Yeah. Right. I think I think maybe we should have some swag at some point. But, but, like, how like, tell us where to find you, where you can help others with their mojo. A 100%.

Speaker A [01:13:41]:

Badge. Yes.

Speaker B [01:13:42]:

A 100%. So I am Meg Nieman. There's only 1 Meg Nieman in the world. Thank goodness. So on LinkedIn, it's, you know, LinkedIn in Meg Nieman. You can find me there. The alter ego project is alter ego hyphen project. The other version of it is actually a skydiving company, which is sort of funny.

Speaker B [01:14:02]:

But, yeah, Alter Ego hyphen project is a great place to find out about upcoming workshops. You can sign up for my newsletter, which tries to go out every week. I am, I continue to offer things for individuals. I also do corporate work. So if you're hearing this and think that something about alter egos might be interesting for your company or your ERG, your employee resource group, Love working with queers. Love working with, other marginalized people, whether that be people who identify as women or non binary or, people of color. So, there's lots of places that this work, comes into play. And, truthfully, I I just love chatting.

Speaker B [01:14:43]:

So if you want to hit me up in the DMs on LinkedIn, I will respond. I promise. And, even allow my Calendar to be open, and we can just have a chat and see what happens. It brings me fulfillment to connect with other people, about life as well as Alter Ego. So, yeah, LinkedIn and, and and Alter Ego project website are the best. And then you can also always reach me at Meg at nymandesign.com. That's my email, and feel free to send a note.

Speaker A [01:15:13]:

I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for our conversation today. Oh, it's been such a boost. Every time we talk, even if it's delayed with tech issues, it is such a boost, and I adore you. And I'm so grateful. We met at the lesbians who tech summit, you know, recently, and then we should just hang out at the next one. Right? Yeah.

Speaker A [01:15:33]:

Awesome. But yeah. No. Everyone follow Meg. Work with Meg. She is outstanding, and I think, like, this is this is really important work, and what I love about your stuff is it's new. It's unique. Right? And it kinda has a a new flavor that we all could work with.

Speaker A [01:15:49]:

So sign up. Thank you for your wisdom today, Meg. I appreciate you. Blast. Awesome.

Speaker B [01:15:55]:

I had a I had a wonderful time. Thank you for being in conversation, Virginia, as always. Anytime.

Speaker A [01:16:01]:

Anytime. Alright. And I will talk to you soon.

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