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Do you need to outsource help? How can you surround yourself with a community of women to support you throughout the week? Have you given yourself permission to live your best life?
In this podcast episode, Veronica Cisneros speaks to Louise Brandy about letting yourself down, finding accountability, a life-changing retreat, and becoming empowered and unapologetic.
Meet Louise Brandy
Louise Brandy is a Vice President for a Large Real Estate Investment Trust Company, a step-Mom to 2 boys and a Grandma.
She resides in Southern California and enjoys networking, helping others with their career development, and takes pride in living in the moment with family & friends.
Louise has a big family who she absolutely adores and just recently recognized that boundaries need to be set, even with family. There was a time she needed to feel needed and struggles with independence.
In This Podcast
- Letting yourself down
- Emotional workout
- The type of person who should attend the retreat
- Finding accountability
- The VIP group
- Give yourself permission
Letting yourself down
During the exercise of talking to her younger self, it was so emotional when Louise realized that she had let herself down. She would never think of doing that to a friend or family member so why would she do it to herself? Why would she treat everyone else better than she treats herself? Realizing that was another life-changing moment, she would never do that again, she would never let herself down again and not be there for herself. When you’re in a safe environment where you know you’re not going to be judged or criticized, you’re able to give yourself permission to follow through with the exercise and give yourself permission to let down your guard and not be led by fear.
Louise equates a lot of this work to working out in a physical aspect. We know the benefit of being physically healthy and we know that in order to get there, we have to go through the sweat, and your hair is going to look terrible, your face is going to look terrible, and you’re going to be yucky and smelly. Women are so concerned about how things look. I’ll look ugly if I cry. How will I appear to other people? Will I appear weak, will I appear emotional, will I appear like I’m not worthy? That plays into our vulnerability but we need to be able to be raw to be able to show our true selves to a community.
In order to get healthy, we need to go through that ugliness, pain, hurt, and discomfort. That’s how you know you’re changing – when it’s uncomfortable. If we’re staying comfy in the same old spot then we become complacent and that’s no way to improve.
The type of person who should attend the retreat
Louise was able to get more done in two days at the retreat than she ever would have been able to get through in months of therapy. Louise thinks that you should attend the retreat if:
- You’re in a rut of unhealthy thinking
- You’re struggling with guilt
- You’re struggling with knowing that you need to do things for yourself but you can’t get there
- You feel like your life is not going in the right direction
- You feel broken
- You feel like you’re lost your identity
- You’re a caregiver
Louise was paired with her accountability partner. It added an extra dimension of support and safety for Louise to be able to be herself and since that retreat, she has been more and more herself. She let go of all of the facades and everything she does now is done with genuineness and a true desire to truly be there through the wonderful moments of life.
The VIP group
When we have this community of other women that are going through it and are able to be authentic, it then gives us all permission to be authentic. It then gives us permission to all say, you know, I don’t have it all together and that’s okay, and even though I don’t have it all together, I’m still living my best life for me and my family. However, I come first and I can say I come first because, in order for my family to be whole, in order for me to have these healthy relationships, I need to be okay.
Through the VIP group, weekly Zoom calls also really help Louise recalibrate where she is in the week and she loves the weekly exercises that I provide because she can blend them right into her day.
Give yourself permission
Make an active choice and give yourself permission to live your best life. It doesn’t have to be something crazy big, do something small for you. Sign up for the VIP membership here and receive:
- Weekly live coaching with me
- A community of women to support you throughout the week
- A hand-selected accountability partner
- Monthly challenges to finally get balance in the midst of chaos
- Easy access to content available on Facebook
Meet Veronica Cisneros
I’m a licensed therapist and women walk into my office every day stressed and disconnected. As a mom of three daughters, I want my girls to know who they are and feel confident about their future. I can’t think of a better way to help other women than by demonstrating an empowered and unapologetic life.
So I started Empowered and Unapologetic to be a safe space for women to be vulnerable and change their lives for the better before she ever needs to see a therapist. Whether you listen to the podcast, join the free Facebook community, join the VIP community, or attend our annual retreat, you’re in the right place. Let’s do this together!
Thanks for listening!
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Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts seeking to help you thrive, imperfectly. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom Podcast, Imperfect Thriving, or Beta Male Revolution, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network.
[VERONICA]: Empowered and Unapologetic is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a family of podcasts that changed the world. To hear other podcasts like the Bomb Mom podcast, Beta Male Revolution, or Imperfect Thriving, go to practiceofthepractice.com/network. Have you ever thought, how did I manage to lose myself? Being a mom is so hard, especially when we’re feeling stressed and disconnected. We exhaust ourselves trying to create this perfect life for our family. You deserve to enjoy your marriage and your kids, without the stress perfectionism brings. I am going to teach you how to identify who you are, outside of all of the roles you play. Hi, I’m Veronica Cisneros. I’m a wife, mother of three, and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am on a mission to teach women, just like you, how to become empowered and unapologetic. Welcome to our girl gang. Hey guys, so I’m here with Louise. Louise Brandy is an absolute badass. She is an amazing, loving, and caring individual. And in addition to that she is a vice president for a large real estate investment trust company, a stepmom to two boys, and a grandma. She resides in Southern California and enjoys networking, helping others with their career development, and takes a great deal of pride in living in the moment with family and friends. She has a big family who she absolutely adores, and she just recently discovered that boundaries need to be set. And although she struggled with that she has learned how to go ahead and set them in a healthy way. There was a time she needed to feel needed and struggled with codependence. Here we are. Louise, hi, welcome. [LOUISE]: Hi, Veronica. I’m so excited to chat about my journey with you. So, yeah, looking forward to it. Thanks for having me. [VERONICA]: Absolutely. So, Louise, tell us about your story. [LOUISE]: Got it. Okay, so, yeah, it’s been an interesting journey. I have lived many years on the earth. And I found myself pretty seasoned, I’ll call it, in the ways of having boundaries and in the ways of being able to deal with loved ones in my life and pretty much anyone. I’ve been in management for years, and with that comes a lot of coaching for people, a lot of helping to inspire them to do better. I’ve had staff, very large, very small as well, but you’re always trying to help others get through their success and meet their goals. So, I’ve lived a life of that. I also came from a very close-knit family, still have one, but my parents were much like that. So, I grew up learning that you’re there for your family and you help them. And this journey took me through a lot of twists and turns, and most recently, when I lost my husband suddenly, I found myself struggling with what I thought I had down pat, thought I had it all together. [VERONICA]: Absolutely. [LOUISE]: Because life was successful, everything was successful. But as this crisis hits, this trauma hits, you find yourself knocked down a bit, and that inner voice just was a bit gone and I found myself without that foundation that I normally have. So that’s basically the story, and do I talk about how I came to meet you? [VERONICA]: Sure. Well, I kind of want to hit more on, you know, you just said, life was good, life was great. There were so many things going well for you and then, you know, at the loss of your husband, it was kind of coming to this realization that, you know, I can’t keep on running and just being on this autopilot like maybe I was in the past, right? [LOUISE]: Correct. Exactly. Yeah, yeah, that was the big lesson there was, yes, family is very good to have there during that crisis, and you need people to lean on. But at the same time, there has to be boundaries where you can fall back into the bad habits of feeling like you have to be there to help everybody else. And I needed to be able to not feel guilty about putting myself first and that was what I needed at that very, very time in my life. And I had no idea I wasn’t ready for that. So, yeah, that was the shock and the kind of aha moment of, I don’t have it all together, and not that anybody really does ever, but… [VERONICA]: Right. You got it, girl. [LOUISE]: We’re all [unclear] journey together, in some way. You got it. But it was an epiphany of, gosh, I am in pain and life is not comfortable. It is not always easy. It’s not always fun. A lot of things came easy to me, so I took for granted that I wasn’t ready for some of these really hard, hard moments. [VERONICA]: Of course. So, with that, what was it? What was it exactly where, you know… at what point did you realize, okay, I need to go ahead and outsource help or I need to go ahead and maybe get a guide, or I need to do something about this because living life this way is not healthy? At what point did you realize something needs to be done? [LOUISE]: Yeah. It’s a great question because I had been through this before. I had been, 10, 12 years ago, through counseling with my husband and we had a really good experience and we made it through. And I thought I had all the skills, but I didn’t realize it was because the two of us could do that, that I was relying on that way too much. So, when the loss happened, I thought, well, I’m just gonna jump back on the bandwagon of finding people, the right people, to talk to and I can get through this. And I have to tell you the actual ‘what was it’ was going to your retreat. [VERONICA]: Really? [LOUISE]: I did not go to your retreat with the idea that I needed that. [VERONICA]: Yes, I love it. [LOUISE]: I went to your retreat because I went with my niece and she was going and wanted some support. And we had no idea what we would go through. And so, it was during that retreat that the epiphany of, holy moly, I need help. I need a community, I need tools, I need a better way to rethink the way life events come at me. And I really need to get off this treadmill that I need to help everybody else and I need to fix things. That was the moment during that retreat that if someone had told me that beforehand, I wouldn’t have believed them. I would have said… In fact, you know, I think you remember – I came in pretty much, you know, I don’t need [unclear]… [VERONICA]: I’m good. [LOUISE]: I’m good. I’m just here for [unclear]… [VERONICA]: I’m just a backup dancer. That’s it. Just call me when you need me. [LOUISE]: Exactly, yeah. I’ve survived a few things here. I’m good. I’m good. I got this. I don’t have to worry about you know, guilt with my kids, guilt with my husband. None of that was there. But yeah, you’re never too old to be able to shift your mind into thinking in more healthy ways. And I had gotten into an unhealthy thought process and thought patterns that needed to be changed. And I wasn’t aware. It was like going to a boot camp. Oh, wow, I’m out of shape and needed to get into shape. That’s all – needed to get mentally back into shape. So that was a big epiphany, and glad that I was able to do it in a healthy place, and in a supportive environment like you created. [VERONICA]: Of course. What do you think it was? So, you’re there, we’re at the retreat, you know, there’s women there, and there’s women in tears, and there’s women that are really, really speaking to their pain. What was it that clicked for you? What were we doing? What was that light bulb moment? [LOUISE]: The part that hit me twice – there were two major things. The first one was the extreme pain that these other women were going through was so severe, I was shocked. And they looked so together on the outside that I thought, wow, I thought I had it bad. I really don’t. I don’t have it as bad as I thought I did. So that one thing said to me, if they can go through this and bare their soul, then I can too. And I don’t have to look like I’m all together either. That we’re all in this together. So that was a major point when I saw that kind of sharing and that they were able to do it. That was the turning point to getting healthy, right. Like they say, the first thing you have to do is admit you have a problem. [VERONICA]: Oh, yeah. Yes. [LOUISE]: That was when I said I do have a problem and the second thing I think, that second point, when we wrote and talked about, you know, to the younger self which I had kind of done a similar exercise in the past. What made this one much more deep and hit a nerve for me was because I had a picture of myself and I actually had to talk through those things that were so painful. Like I said, I thought I could talk about my husband’s death and his passing and I couldn’t, as you recall, I could barely spit out the words that he’s dead. And the community that was there in the room just made it something you could do without falling apart and that, to be able to say that was like going through the toughest obstacle I could have ever gone through physically. Yeah, I went through it. I made it. I had to go down to that dark, deep place. Get it out, open it up, and do it in front of other people. That was a big… [VERONICA]: Sorry, not sorry. [LOUISE]: I know, no, doing it in front, and, you know, in front of my niece who I thought I had to be the one who was the toughest and strongest, and she was there for me. I’m like, dang. Those were the two pieces that really got me to turn around and say, you need to redo this, you need to rethink a very healthy inner voice and get back to the space where you feel like you’re rocking it again. [VERONICA]: And I love that you just said that. I love that for the first time, there was somebody there for you. And it was a… I mean, it might not have only been like this vulnerable state. However, it’s like also this new experience that you were witnessing for yourself. And it was taking you to the space that… it’s kind of like uncharted territory, right? [LOUISE]: Yeah. Oh, it was. [VERONICA]: [Unclear] I’m here, wait a minute, I’m supposed to be here for you. I just signed up for you, like, this wasn’t for me. [LOUISE]: Exactly. That was exactly it, it was such a turnaround like, what was that all about? How did I become the one that needed to be held up? [VERONICA]: Yeah, yeah. You know, you mentioned our exercise. There’s so many people that use the, you know, if you could talk to your younger self, right? There’s so many people that use that, especially as therapists. However, there’s so much more power in actually looking at a picture of you, and you can’t lie to yourself, you know, that’s something you can’t do. And so, when you’re actually looking at her, there’s this… I don’t know, I guess I want to call it like, there’s this level of vulnerability that is so indescribable and you only know it when they’re there, right? [LOUISE]: Oh, you are so… That’s really what it was. It was a genuineness, a rawness too like, okay, you know who this girl is and it’s no one else who’s able to… it was almost like there was no judgment there either like, hey, girl. What you went through and what you did, and I loved the question, how could you have protected her? What could you have done to protect this young girl, this lovely spirit, lovely human. And it is so emotional in that moment when you’re just like, oh my god, I let myself down. I would never think of doing that to a friend or family member ever, letting anyone down. Why would I do it to myself? Why would I let myself down? That was that was the big, like, what the heck? You’re treating everyone else better than you’re treating yourself, your own self. So, you know, time to turn that around. That was another, just like, life changing moment that I’m never gonna do that again; never gonna let myself down, and not be there for me, basically, [VERONICA]: Yes. And I think that can really only be done when you feel safe and you’re surrounded, you know, by people, or you’re in this environment that you’re not going to be judged, you’re not going to be criticized. And when you’re really in that space, you are able to give yourself permission to go ahead and follow through with the exercise; you are able to give yourself permission to let down your guard and not be led by fear. And I think there’s so much to say about that, because in so many ways, we allow fear to take over and, especially for us women, we tend to be on this autopilot, being a slave to the task, and making sure our families are whole, making sure our kids, our friends, like making sure, girl, are you okay? Are you okay? Okay, awesome. And then the next one, and who else do I need to rescue? We very rarely, if not ever, you know, or never, take the time to go ahead and say, okay girl, like, where are you at right now? You know what I mean? Where are we at right now? And am I okay? You know, because if I’m not, right? [LOUISE]: Oh, yeah. And that’s I think, you know, women too are still somewhat into that looks thing, like, how will I look? How will I… you know, just the mere fact of physically crying, I look ugly, or how will I appear to somebody else? Will I appear weak, will I appear emotional, will I appear like I’m not worthy? And that plays so much, I think, into our vulnerability and our being able to show our true self to a community that, and like you said, in a safe space. I need to be able to be the [unclear], whatever it’s going to be. And that that’s okay. It is actually the right thing to do. I equate to much of this a lot like working out, in a physical aspect. [VERONICA]: Oh, no girl, I love that example. Yes. [LOUISE]: Yeah. Because we find ourselves the benefit of being physically healthy, being strong, having muscles. Well, in order to get there, you got to be going through the sweat, and your hair is gonna look terrible and your face is gonna look terrible and you’re gonna be yucky and smelly. [VERONICA]: That’s right. [LOUISE]: And then, but yeah, I’m done. Take the shower, I’m doing good. I’m looking good right now, and I’m gonna keep going until I know I can level to a healthy space. But in order to get healthy, I’m gonna have to go through that ugliness and pain and hurt and uncomfortable. Cos that’s how you know you’re changing, right? When it’s uncomfortable. If we’re still just not changing, we’re just going to stay comfy in the same old spot and get complacent and that’s no way to improve. So yeah, you’re right. It was a safe space, a healthy place. And that’s where I feel like I was able to get through it. Great way to launch it, that’s for sure. [VERONICA]: Right. So, we’re hosting an event – we’ll be hosting the retreat again in September. Who would you recommend? So, if all of the moms, if all of the women in the world were listening, who would you recommend and encourage to attend this retreat? [LOUISE]: Yeah, so I think because of how empowering this was and what you did there, the retreat brings us through almost like a quick boot camp. It is an intense couple of days where you just got to get out there and start working and go through that pain and I always feel… I’d been through therapy before and it had taken months and months and months to get to what you just did in like two days. And I was able to quick start [unclear] being healthy. So, I would say… now, are you looking for personal recommendations are just the type of person who should go? [VERONICA]: The type of person, yeah, what type of person do you think should be attending this retreat? [LOUISE]: So, yeah, it’s so funny. For me, you know, I would say anyone who feels like they are in a rut of unhealthy thoughts, unhealthy thinking, needs to go. Anyone that is struggling with guilt, struggling with knowing that they need to do things for themselves, but they can’t get there. Anyone who really wants to change their life, that it’s just not going in the right direction that they think it’s going in; they should go. Anyone who feels broken, like their identity is lost. They’ve been helping their kids they’ve been helping their husband, their family, their work, their bosses, their parents. Caregivers need to go, because we as caregivers get too wrapped in that we have to help our loved one go through this crisis or health crisis, and that we have to be there for them. Anyone who, like I said, feels that they are struggling and pulling a mental weight all the time and never can get anything done for themselves. They need to go. [VERONICA]: Absolutely. [LOUISE]: Just go. Don’t even think about it. Don’t even think about it. Just go. Sign up and go. It’s two and a half days out of your life. It’s well worth the years and years you’ve built up this horrible kind of thought problem. You just get mentally back in shape, and healthy. [VERONICA]: Absolutely. Now, I want to ask, so fast forward to, you’re done with the retreat. And what was the next step for you? So, you’re done with the retreat, how did you know the retreat worked for you? And in addition to that, how did you know you were implementing the skills you learned from the retreat? [LOUISE]: Okay, so, I knew it worked because I left there feeling such a weight lifted. I left being hopeful for the future; I had hope again. And when you’re not mentally healthy, you’re in despair, you feel there’s nothing, there’s no good future, you can’t do it. So, I knew it worked because of that hope for the future. And what I did, what was the launching pad, was the goal setting, the mini goals and accountability. Just because I was leaving there doesn’t mean that I didn’t have any more support. I had a couple of little goals I needed to get done and they were very easy to get done, and I had an accountability partner, who we were going to connect together and make sure that happened. That’s how I knew. I was good and the road to success was the continuing of these exercises and learning more and more how to have healthy thoughts and not have distorted thoughts. [VERONICA]: So, Louise, with that, you know, you mentioned having an accountability partner. Who is this person and how did you obtain them? [LOUISE]: Yes, well, I did it with your group. You have an uncanny way of being able to know how to pair people. And I think that was really what made it a very… it just added an extra dimension of support and safety as you said, being able to be safe, to be myself, and I have been more and more myself since that retreat. I can’t tell you I’ve had so many people compliment me on, gosh, that was a very real description. Wow, you really know how to, you know, you’re dynamic in the way you speak to us. Because I let go of all the facades I had, and everything that I do is done now with a genuineness and a true desire and love to get the point across or to get the project done or to have that family event or be there through the wonderful moments of life and to truly be there. So, I feel like being in this space has helped that. Being part of the weekly Zoom calls; those just help to recalibrate where we are in the week because yes, we leave there and we’re going to go to day to day life, and those crazy things are going to happen at us again, and that same old, you know, bad habit could creep back up and we could be having distorted thoughts, and we’re not thinking correctly, and we’re not thinking in a way that gets us out of that negativity, and go back to the bad habits. So, you have these… I love the weekly exercises that you give us because I can blend them right in my day. I don’t have to take extra time away, I don’t have to put someone else off because of it, I can still do the wonderful things I like to do in my day, and then have this weekly, and do a quick check in and say yeah, how would I answer that question? How do I look at the event and what emotion did come up and what did I feel so that I can write down my distorted thoughts, reread them and say, well, that was not… that sounds absurd. How would I [unclear]. I just love that. I do that a lot. I do it a lot. [VERONICA]: Oh, that’s so great. [LOUISE]: It’s such a habit. It’s like healthy eating. It’s like, I’m in the habit, I’m good. I like it. I’m enjoying it. I’m getting so much more out of it, I totally am. I’m serious. It is amazing to me how your exercises are just like man, I’m gonna be able to do this more and more. And there’s more and more to learn, which now, because of the solid base I have, I know I can do even more. It’s not going to go away. It’s just going to get better. [VERONICA]: Absolutely. And what Louise is referring to is the VIP group. So, you know, from that retreat, the women wanted more. And, you know, I think I event mentioned it at the retreat, well, I wasn’t planning on this, but we should totally have a membership group where we can go ahead and still connect, and you can still continue to learn, and now that you’re implementing all of these skills, there won’t be so much regression because we’ll keep each other accountable. And you know, we have those weekly Zoom calls. And in addition to that, we have worksheets that we go through, and we cry, and we laugh, and we do all of those things. However, we all do them together, and I think you mentioned, women being so caught up with how we idolize perfection and how we idolize who we need to be versus who we really are. And I think when we have this community of just other women that are going through it and are able to be authentic, it then gives us all permission to be authentic; it then gives us permission to all say, you know, I don’t have it all together and that’s okay. And even though I don’t have it all together, I’m still living my best life for me and my family. However, I come first, and I can say I come first because in order for my family to be whole, in order for me to have these healthy relationships, I need to be okay. [LOUISE]: Yes. [VERONICA]: And I really think that this group establishes that platform for everybody. [LOUISE]: Totally. It totally does. God, that brought me back to that very first thing you said at the very first minute of the retreat – what do you want to get out of this? And all I could think of was, oh, I just don’t want to feel guilty putting myself first, like, I know I need to, but I don’t want to feel guilty about it. That’s all I need. That’s all. [VERONICA]: Then I’m good. [LOUISE]: Yeah, and then, [unclear], but it was having to go through so much more, though. And this idolization of perfection, you’re so spot on; we are not going to be that way. And that is what brings us to be a perfect symbiotic group of people living together, is when we know we’re not. And it is that imperfection that makes us dynamic and helpful for each other. And that I can live my best life [unclear]. [VERONICA]: Yes. Yep. I can live my best life unapologetically, right? [LOUISE]: Yes, unapologetically. That was so powerful to say. Yeah, this is who I am, and I am not sorry for it. [VERONICA]: Amen, right? [LOUISE]: Getting back that self-love again was like, oh, man, there’s nothing like it in the world. Yeah. Living my best life. [VERONICA]: There you go. So, Louise, I have to ask, what advice would you give to the mom who feels stressed and disconnected and has trouble answering the question, who am I? [LOUISE]: Oh, yeah, that is a very, very good one. The advice I would give them is to change what they’re doing right now. Find the help in your tools, get to a retreat, no matter how you look, no matter how you dress, no matter how you can get there. And I would say, get your butt in that chair and go through… just go through it. Just go through the emotions. Don’t think, just follow your directions, and go through that tunnel, and you’re going to come out the other side. And open your mind to the fact that you can and will learn a new way to think, and that new way of thinking will give you the best life you will have and you’ll find out who you are again, and you’ll love it. You will love who you find. [VERONICA]: Yeah. Yes. And ladies, just lastly, I want you guys to give yourself permission. As Louise kept on commenting, it’s living your best life. Well, we can make an active choice to do that. And so today, I want you to give yourself permission to live your best life, even if living your best life is jumping in, you know, a bubble bath or living your best life might be going for a walk. It doesn’t have to be something crazy big. I want you to do something small for you. Again, it doesn’t have to be big. Do something for you. What’s up, ladies? Just want to let you guys know that your ratings and reviews for this podcast are greatly appreciated. If you love this podcast, please go to iTunes right now and rate and review. Thank you, guys. Many women lose their own identity in the shadow of being a mom and a wife. We are a community of women who support each other. We leave perfectionism behind to become empowered and unapologetic. I know you’re ready for the next steps. If you want to become empowered and unapologetic, get my free course, “Unapologetically Me,” over at empoweredandunapologetic.com/course. This podcast is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. This is given with the understanding that neither the host, Practice of the Practice, or the guests, are providing legal, mental health, or other professional information. If you need a professional, you should find one.