Entrepreneur Paula Shaw is a life transition expert helps people navigate the crosscurrents and challenges of change. Often synonymous with personal and business growth, change nonetheless brings with it growing pains. We talk about how to handle painful transitions, including grief, anxiety and depression, as well as how to make change our friend, something to be welcomed and embraced.
Melinda Wittstock: Paula, welcome to Wings.
Paula Shaw: Thank You, Melinda. I’m so delighted to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: I am so happy to have you here, because what is an entrepreneurial life without a lot of transitions? And of course, you are the expert in helping people through those transitions. Some of them can be painful and awkward. And I know you have a new book coming out soon. I shared a little bit about it in the introduction, and I’m so eager to understand how these tie together.
Paula Shaw: Well, in my work, as a life transitions expert and therapist, there are always challenges that we’re all going through, because change is the one thing we can count on in life, right? It’s going to happen whether we like it or not. And yet, humans have this love/hate relationship with change. On the one hand, we need it because if we don’t go through change, we don’t grow and we’d also be bored to death. On the other hand, we don’t like the discomfort of the unfamiliar. So, change is a really interesting issue for humans. One of the transitions that comes up in life that is so difficult is loss.
Loss always creates change, and loss is happening all the time, and I’m not just talking about death. It could be a divorce. It could be moving. It could be some other kind of a change in a relationship. It could be a health loss. There are so many different kinds of loss we go through, but all loss creates emotional pain and grief. What I have found over the years in working with people, going through transitions, is that when someone they care about is in emotional pain, one of two things happens. Either they show up and they do their best to try to comfort this person, or they’re scared to death to make that call or to go visit, because they don’t know what to say.
They don’t know how to be. They’re terrified they’re going to make it worse if they say the wrong thing. So what often happens is the person who’s grieving or who is in emotional pain is left all alone to deal with their pain, without the support they really need. So after years of watching this happen, I said, “Enough. I’m going to create this book called Saying the Right Thing When You Don’t Know What to Say.” It gives you very specific step … not steps but … What’s the word I want? It gives specific mindsets, so to speak, that need to be present, very specific kinds of behaviors and literally specific statements to make and not to make.
So, I can tell you briefly, like some of the steps that you want or the mindsets you want to have in place are always begin with an intention. I don’t do anything before I set an intention, because setting an intention is our way of telling the energy how we would like it to show up. I feel that’s really important, but we also need to have the right intention in our own minds. In this case, that right intention should be to comfort and support, not to teach, preach or judge. All of those are death to good communication with somebody who’s in emotional pain, because then it puts them on the defensive.
So instead of being able to have therapeutic conversation, they’re now feeling less than or feeling defensive or something that’s not productive. So having that intention to just be there, to comfort and support and listen. And along with that, another really important component is that you’re present, that actually your body and your mind are in the same space right there with that person. If you combine being truly present with listening, now you have something that can actually be therapeutic and healing for another person, because that’s really, really important.
I think it’s kind of funny that in a book entitled Saying the Right Thing, the number one thing I talk about is listening, because people in emotional pain need to process. They need to express what they’re going through and that happens only when the supportive person is in listening mode. Then the final piece is respond from the heart, with feeling words, not intellect. Remember, this is not an intellectual situation. It’s a heart situation. And so, we need to respond with heartfelt words like, “Oh I’m so sorry for you. Oh that must be so painful. It sounds so confusing. Oh you must feel devastated.”
These kinds of things make you sound like a human being who understands, who’s getting the picture of what the other human being is feeling. Does that make sense, Melinda?
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, of course it does, of course it does. It’s so interesting with the debate reignited again around the emotional or mental health of entrepreneurs. After the suicide of Kate Spade-
Paula Shaw: Oh yes, that’s right.
Melinda Wittstock: … everyone from the outside, looking in, you know, she … Everything looks perfect, right?
Paula Shaw: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: Everything looks perfect. More and more people are encouraging, for instance, entrepreneurs to kind of step up and share when they are vulnerable which is a really difficult thing to do because we’ve all been acculturated to sort of fake it until you make it or we don’t want our clients to see us being down or our customers being down or heaven help us, our investors would panic, or whatever.
From that perspective, how to create, I suppose, safe places for an entrepreneur to be able to actually talk about this?
Paula Shaw: Well, you know one of the things I truly believe, Melinda, is that when you’re present, that is what’s required in order to connect with somebody on a heart level. And if you’re just present and you’re actually listening, then I think you will instinctively know what to say and what to do. But the truth is, you want your responses never to come from judgment, never to come from teaching or like you know the right way they should be or what they should be feeling because everybody feels their pain at a 100% and everybody’s experience of their pain is unique depending on the situation, depending on where they are in their own life, in their own health and all of that in that given moment in time.
I think we need to … You said it earlier and it was so perfect. We need to like let go of the ego that thinks it knows the right way things should happen and just be present with what’s going on with this person in the moment. Because I guarantee you, I really don’t know too much about the reasoning behind Kate Spade’s suicide but I think a lot of times people who are looked up to, who everybody thinks have everything that they could ever possibly want. Those are the people who are most reluctant to talk about anything in their life that’s painful because they know that image that they’re having to live up to.
And hopefully, they find a therapist or someone to help them through that transition or that experience that they can talk to, but so often, I think we get caught up in the image of how we look to others. And to our own detriment, we try to live up to that or into it when it’s not authentic. The most healthy thing we can all do is be authentic every moment even if what we’re authentically feeling isn’t pretty in that moment. Even if it’s embarrassing or even shameful, we are so much healthier when we’re being real than we are when we try to be something else or live up to the image.
Melinda Wittstock: Last year, I had a very inspiring experience around exactly this. Entrepreneurs really kept showing up and telling it like it is. We were in Puerto Rico and it was after the hurricane, and Maverick 1000, we were going to go there for our annual retreat or whatever and thought, “Well, should we cancel or should we go?” And we chose to show up and help.
We did a lot of handing out water filters and doing things like that but we also met with 30 entrepreneurs whose businesses had been completely wiped out like it’s hard to do business if there’s no electricity, for instance. They were really struggling. But what was fascinating about it is we used it as an opportunity to really talk about the kind of inner struggles that go on with entrepreneurs.
Melinda Wittstock: And one by one, people that you thought had it all figured out and like you were the only one who didn’t would stand up and share and we’d all be like, “God, we had no idea you were going through that. Why didn’t you say something?”
Paula Shaw: That is so interesting, Melinda, because I think we don’t say something for a variety of reasons. Some of it is the way we were raised like I don’t know about you but in our family, it was this kind of we don’t air the family’s dirty laundry out in public. That was a clear message. Only show who you are when you’re looking good. It’s funny, I can remember a story of my own.
When my husband first went into recovery for his alcoholism, I started going to Al-Anon. And so whenever I would share, I would share some great insight I’d had or some way I handled the situation what worked really well or whatever. And one day, I said to my therapist, “It’s funny that the women at Al-Anon don’t seem to want to get to know me. When it’s over, nobody talks to me.” And he said, “What do you share about?”
I told him, and he said, “You might want to next time share about something you don’t do so well or a real moment that you went through when you didn’t know what to do.” And I thought, “Well, that’s an odd concept. Who would share about that?” Well, it happened that the next time I went to a meeting, I was so emotional about something that had happened that I did share about it and probably eight women came right up to me when the meeting ended.
Even if it’s embarrassing or even shameful, we are so much healthier when we’re being real than we are when we try to be something else or live up to the image. #WingsOfInspiredBusiness #WomeninBusiness @PaulaShawCoachClick to tweet
I learned something powerful because remember, Robert Bly, he said, “We bond through our woundedness.” And I’ll bet you, you and those women went home much closer than you were when you arrived because you dared to share your woundedness and we all need to give each other permission to do more of that because we all have it.
Melinda Wittstock: And so, Paula, along the way, as you were working on your book and you were thinking about, “Oh, my goodness, what do you say to somebody who’s just had a tragedy, or what do you say to someone who’s bereaved? What do you say to someone who has just lost their business or whatever?” How did you figure this out and come up with this blueprint because your book to me is so helpful. I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in that situation where I just simply haven’t known what to say.
Paula Shaw: Yeah. Well, I’ll tell you what. I’ll read you some specific statements from the book-
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, lovely.
Paula Shaw: There’s a list of helpful things to say. There’s a list of things not to say and I ended up adding also a list of things to say if you are the person in pain because I can’t tell you how many times, Melinda, they’d be sitting in my office in therapy going, “Oh, my God, I almost hit this person the other day. If one more person says to me, ‘God needed him more than you do,’ I’m just going to scream.”
I realized that the griever or the person in pain often gets abused because people don’t know the appropriate kinds of things to say so they fall back on old colloquialisms or old lines or were old words of wisdom so to speak that somebody said to them or that they heard somebody else say. And most of the time, those things are just really unhelpful. They’re really unhelpful.
One of the things that I say initially is don’t come from your head. Remember, grief is not intellectual. It’s a heart deal. So, come from your heart. Say what you’re feeling as you listen to this person tell what happened to them. One of the first things I say in the book is you can say to people what happened. They need to tell the story. It’s very therapeutic to talk about the details of the accident or the details of the illness or the death or the divorce.
What happened? Simple question can be very, very helpful. Then, one of the first things to say and, I think, comes pretty naturally to us is, “I’m so sorry. Oh, my heart just breaks for you.” Now, when I say that to somebody, it’s not solving a problem and that’s a big thing I want to say. Remember, you’re not in this to solve the problem or fix them. You are there to comfort and support and listen.
When you’re just saying, “I’m so sorry, my heart aches for you,” what that does accomplish is it lets that person feel heard, understood and connected to on a heart level. They feel your empathy. They feel your compassion and that’s what they really need.
Another statement might be, “I’ve been thinking about you and wanted to know how you’re doing,” because people … I have to tell a little story on myself. One of the things that really inspired me to write this book was that years ago, before I was a therapist, I had a dear friend who had been trying to get pregnant for quite a long time. And she finally got pregnant and after three months, miscarried. I was there for her in terms of, “Let’s go to lunch. Let’s chat.” Oh, I’d tell her funny stories and that kind of thing and she went along with it all. We have coffee. We have lunch but several months later, we were in a very serious conversation and I don’t even remember what made her opened up but she said to me, “You know what was the hardest part of losing the baby?”
And I said, “What?” And she said, “Nobody talked about it. Nobody asked me how I was doing or what I was feeling. I felt like I just had to try to be cheerful so they wouldn’t feel bad and so I’d be aligned with the conversations they were having with me.” I got chills right now telling that story. I can still see her and I still feel badly about it.
Melinda Wittstock: Gosh, I mean, right. You see … Oh, man, I’m so choked up too. I can’t …
Paula Shaw: It’s so awful when you feel like you were right there and you missed the important thing to do and I know we’re not the only ones, Melinda, and that’s why I have to write this book. In fact, I will tell you the day I finished writing it, I announced at my Rotary group that I just finished writing this book. I told them the title and God is my witness, five people grabbed me when the meeting ended and said, “I have to have that book now. I’m going through the exact same thing. My son saw his best friend killed in front of him and I don’t know what to say as the mother. My boss’s husband died today and I don’t know what to say.”
Things happened and people don’t know what to say and do they mean well. We want to be there for people we love but when we feel inadequate, we tend to not show up.
Melinda Wittstock: What is it though that stops people? Is it really just that feeling of inadequacy or is it actually a fear that if they talk about it that somehow, I don’t know, they just don’t want to feel those feelings?
Paula Shaw: That’s a really great question, Melinda, because one of the things I always teach people when I’m doing any kind of workshops for hospice workers or anybody else who might be sitting with someone in pain like we’re talking about, it’s very important to have your own healing and your own work done because otherwise, yes, somebody else’s pain can trigger yours. Or you may avoid seeing them because of that inner knowing that that’s going to take you into a danger zone.
Paula Shaw: I actually think both things are at work here. I think sometimes it is inadequacy and sometimes you just know on an innate gut level that you can’t go there because it’s going to trigger your own stuff.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, exactly. And so what do you do in that case where you want to be there for the person but on the other hand, you’re in this zone where you want to be positive? [crosstalk 00:37:16 you want to be vibrating at that higher level like it’s-
Paula Shaw: You know what? I think probably in a case like that, either you bring somebody along to help with the conversation that is not triggered by those same things or you begin by telling the truth and just say to your friend, “You know what? I have to be honest with you. It was really hard for me to come to see you today because I’m still raw about this kind of thing happening to me. But I just wanted to be here for you. I don’t know if I’m even going to have anything helpful to say, but I just want you to know that I love you. I care about you and I’m here. If nothing else, I can give you hug. I can listen.” You know what I’m saying? And honesty is very therapeutic because everybody understands that and then they’re so touched that you walk through your own pain to even show up. That’s very helpful and healing.
We all know that we’re all human beings and we all have fears and faults and areas of vulnerability. I don’t think any of us expects perfection from others but what we do hope that they’ll be there for us when we need somebody to lean on. You don’t have to show up in your track suit and be at top peak performance level to help. You just have to have your heart in the right place and be there. Just go. Just show. That’s the most important thing.
Melinda Wittstock: I hear so many entrepreneurs now these days where we all know that that personal growth and business growth are so intertwined, but there’s all sorts of maxims out there like only surround yourself with really positive people. Things like if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room, really like things like that. Really attracting like attracting really positive people into your life and I wonder if that somehow gets in the way of our empathy towards people that need help, especially if the message to entrepreneurs is, “Other entrepreneurs only want to be around positive people, so therefore, I always have to be positive myself,” like I can’t actually genuinely go through something that’s difficult.
Paula Shaw: Yeah, because otherwise they may run like I’ve got the plague.
Melinda Wittstock: Right, exactly, because that’s what it feels like. You think like you’ve got the cooties or something.
Paula Shaw: Yes. It’s like the Scarlet G for grief, right? Don’t want to be wearing the Scarlet G.
Melinda Wittstock: Right? Or depression or any of these things.
Paula Shaw: Yeah. And I do think that people are concerned about that sort of thing. Again, I come back to … And yes there are truths in all of those things that you said. We do want to surround ourselves with positive people, with people who will help us dream our dreams rather than knock us down and tell us we’re crazy. I think all that is important but I think we all need to remember that our first duty is to be true to ourselves and to what we’re being, what we’re experiencing in the moment. And if we’re experiencing sadness in that moment or we’re experiencing fear.
It’s more important is to say … And I’m trying to think of people that I know. Most of my friends are entrepreneurs. If one of them were to just … Like at a networking group, if somebody were to stand up and say, “I can’t do my 30-second commercial today. I’m just feeling really kind of wiped out because my husband left me.” I can’t imagine anybody in that room looking down on them or not wanting to be near them. I think that instead, there’d be some hugs, there’d be some, “Hey, if you need to go for coffee or whatever,” that’s what I would hope anyway, Melinda, because we’re humans first. We’re entrepreneurs second.
Melinda Wittstock: Paula, you recently started a new radio show. It’s also a podcast called Change It Up, which is really exciting and I was so honored to be your inaugural guest. We talked a lot about women and entrepreneurship on that show. But tell me, what’s the inspiration behind Change It Up?
Paula Shaw: Well, I think people are hesitant or maybe a better word is unskilled at embracing change because it creates fear. We fear the unknown. We have discomfort with the unfamiliar. Change brings all of that with it, doesn’t it? And I think after years, over 26 years now, I’ve been counseling people who are going through change, who are going through life’s transitions and I realized that we need to bring information to people and we need to spotlight those people who are stepping out there and changing it up so that people can get more comfortable with embracing it and see that change is vital. It’s vital to creation. It’s vital to growth. It’s really critically important to having quality of life.
Change It Up, I felt like it brings a kind of an upbeat look to change. It’s not, “Oh, God, change.” It’s a big difference. “No, no, not again.” It’s Change It Up. It’s kind of like we say happy, sad, mad, glad, change it up. It’s time to change it up. We need variety in life. We need to experience different things. And if we don’t get comfortable with change, what we do get is stuck in a rut. And that’s not a good place. Growth doesn’t happen there. Joy doesn’t happen there. Connection doesn’t happen there, and if we really want rich …
Hasn’t happened there and if we want rich, positive, fruitful lives, if we want to make that difference most entrepreneurs want to make than we can’t be stuck in a rut. We have to be comfortable with things changing.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, what is it that makes people so flipped out about change. I mean it really is the one thing you can take for granted in life and yet so many people are really resistant to it, afraid of it.
Paula Shaw: Exactly. Well I think it’s as basic as, I think they say the basic fears that a child is born with. One’s a fear of falling, there are some basic fears that we just have and I think because, what did they say about child rearing? How important it is to have a routine, right? To have boundaries and those structures in place so children can feel safe and comfortable.
Well change blows all that out of the water doesn’t it. It changes your routines it changes the boundaries it changes your living conditions. It can change your financial condition. Change just takes away all the structure that we were feeling so nice and comfortable with and yet if we don’t have that we’d be living Groundhog Day, wouldn’t we? It would be the same thing every day and that would make us all crazy.
Melinda Wittstock: Absolutely. Oh my goodness.
Paula Shaw: A necessary evil, right?
Melinda Wittstock: It’s so, so, true. And I mean I think entrepreneurs inherently know this, but not necessarily their spouses or friends of whatever, right? So when an entrepreneur is all out there embracing change sometimes the people around them can be holding them back from that. What’s your best advice for somebody who is actually stepping into it and is doing that inner work to allow them to really embrace change so they can grow, but other folks are kind of holding them back?
Paula Shaw: Yeah, wow. That’s such a great question and it’s such a real issue in life. But I guess I would say, remember the people who are holding you back are probably run by fear, not by passion and inspiration. And most entrepreneurs are doing what they’re doing because of passion and desire to create change and to make life better for people. Fear is the enemy. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is what keeps us from doing the great things we came here to do.
So, the naysayers I think we all have to say “nay” to the naysayers. “Nay, I’m not listening to you. Nay, I don’t buy what you’re saying. I’ll try it anyway. Call me crazy, call me silly. I’m going to do it anyway. I’m going to give it a try.” And I’ve had to walk through that many times myself because most of the people I knew early one. I went to school to become a teacher so I immediately started working for the company store, so to speak. After three years I just realized this is not for me. That teachers room being the only place where I talked to people other than children, for the most part of my work everyday, just wasn’t working for me.
Now, let me say I have great respect for teachers and I they’re amazing and they should be the most highly paid people in the country, but I realized early on while I love to teach, classroom teaching wasn’t what I was built for. And those that are I have huge respect for and I think we all should because they’re shaping the future. They’re very important people. But I think that we all have to find what we’re meant to do. And if you find that then you’re driven by an inner light and you have to go to that inner light when people around you are trying to say, “Don’t do this.” Or, “Why don’t you give this up.” Or, “This is a crazy idea.” You have to go to that inner voice and if it’s saying, “You go for it, this is what you came here to do.” Then my advice is go for it, this is what you came here to do.
Melinda Wittstock: Paula that was just so beautifully and so comprehensively said and it’s funny, we arrive at this point in our lives where it’s like, “Duh”. But it wasn’t always duh. Tell me a little bit about your journey, like how you learned these things. Were you always this wise?
Paula Shaw: [inaudible 00:49:46
Melinda Wittstock: What were the big ah-ha moments that got you where you are?
Paula Shaw: Listen I think I am a long time member of the school of hard knocks. I was not born wise; I don’t think anything came easily to me. I think there were so insights and awareness I had even when I was young, but I learned a lot of things the hard way. And mostly because I thought I knew everything, like so many of us do when we’re young. You know we didn’t have coaches then, there were mentors kind of, but it wasn’t like it is today where there are so many coaches and people out there who will teach you what they know and guide you.
So I like to think of myself today as more of guide than a counselor or therapist, you know. Because I realize that we all have this beautiful inner Wisdom that is, and should be, the most powerful guiding light for all of us. But sometimes we need somebody to help us see it clearly, to help us define it and then materialize it out in the real world. So I think that I’ve had those guides along the way, I’ve had people who slap me around and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me, you are not going to be believing that. Are you.” Or, “Come on, you know the truth, you know what you really want to do. Or you know what you’re really good at.”
And so I’ve been very blessed with some really beautiful people in my life that have helped me in those moments when I thought it was all looking pretty bleak and pretty dark. I think we all have those moments, it’s part of the human condition. But if we realize …Here’s a really wise thing a dear friend said to me one time and it’s stood me in good stead many a time. I was talking about the circumstances that were going on in my life at the time and they were pretty dire. The money was gone, the husband was gone, all these things were looking really bleak and she said to me, “Paula, it’s just circumstances. It’s not who you are.”
And oh my goodness, Melinda: Those words were like gold because I realized oh if it’s just circumstances they can change. If it’s who I am, that’s a harder deal, but circumstances can change. And that gave me the impetus and the energy I needed to hang in there and start making some changes. And sometimes, you know, it’s just a matter of sitting in that situation, feeling it, assessing what we feel about it and then going forward when we have the energy. But taking that time to regroup, to recoup, to heal ourselves, sometimes we have to do that too. You pushing too far…
Melinda Wittstock: Yes we do. I think it’s so profound what you said though about sometimes we take these experiences, negative ones, and we make them say something about us.
Paula Shaw: Yes.
Melinda Wittstock: Like our core, our soul and they’re not. They’re circumstances.
Paula Shaw: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: And like how to let go, because I think often what happens is that we give these things meaning and that’s what makes the trauma persist.
Paula Shaw: That’s right. That’s so true and you know the truth that most of us have realized over the years is, we can’t control pretty much anything. The only place we have any control is over our own behavior. So while I can’t control circumstances I can control how I respond to them. I can impact how I think about them and how I position them in my thoughts and in my heart and in my feelings. So I like to try to respond to things rather than react to things, from the highest place I can respond from. But I’m a human, we’re not all good at this 24/7 and so I try to cut myself a little slack and I certainly try to cut other people slack when they don’t respond from their highest self, because that’s just part of this thing we’re doing here on this planet called being humans.
Melinda Wittstock: Well, yes, forgiveness is such and important thing. Being able to forgive other people, they are operating at the best they know how.
Paula Shaw: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: And then not take their actions and make them mean something about ourselves either. But more to the point, forgive ourselves and I think that’s probably ultimately the hardest thing.
Paula Shaw: Mm-hmm (affirmative). And that’s so beautifully put, Melinda. That word forgiveness is huge, isn’t it? And I think it’s critical because if not then we fall into the rut of rumination. We keep ruminating about what we did or we should have done or what we could have had or what we could…You know what I mean, it’s like shoulda, woulda, coulda.
Melinda Wittstock: Oh, that’s just, there’s no power there. That’s all stuff in the past, it’s already happened, you’ve got to let it go.
Paula Shaw: Yup. There’s no control over the past, I can tell you that one.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, that’s it but we do often get trapped there. This is all so important, everything you’re saying, it’s really a blueprint for success and I find that the further I get into my own entrepreneurial journey or just life journey the more I realize that everything in the end comes down to these things. These principles of forgiveness, gratitude, being able to let go, being able to dis-attach from outcome, to be in the hear and now, all these sorts of things. It’s a real life’s work, often.
Paula Shaw: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Melinda Wittstock: But I’m kind of hopeful for younger people coming up, do you think that the generations coming up now are going to have to unlearn these things around the same age, in your 40’s and 50’s you start to figure this out? Or really can the younger generations kind of embrace these things a little bit earlier on?
Paula Shaw: I think they’re going to be in so much better shape than our generation because first of all, they’re exposed to so much more information. And they’re parents are much better informed and more conscious than I think people were able to be back then. I think parents are raising children with more respect now rather than the kinds of things people were saying when I was a child, “Spare the rod, spoil the child. Children are to be seen and not heard.” You know those …
Melinda Wittstock: I always used to end up having to stand in the corner.
Paula Shaw: Right? Or be sent to your room. I remember a little poem that my dad said to me more than once. There once was a girl with a pretty little curl right in the middle of her forehead. And I had curly hair. And we she was good she was very, very, good, but when she was bad she was horrid. And those are the kinds of things people said to kids. Loving, well intended parents. People spanked their children all the time then or hit them with belts and things that today we would just go, “Oh my God that’s physical abuse.”
Melinda Wittstock: Oh God, I was a champion at being spanked.
Paula Shaw: I hear you and so many of us were, but I got to tell you, Melinda, one of the most fabulous experiences I have had this year, and I’ve had the experience before, I go back for more every year. But, I am a docent here at a reserve here in San Diego called Tori Pines and so one of the things I do every years is help the other docents, we have a small committee of docents, that judge projects at the San Diego science fair. And we choose a couple of recipients to get a scholarship award for doing projects that are relevant to the reserve. And this year we chose two kids, Erik Yang was one and Emily, I’m blanking on Emily’s last name. I’m sorry Emily. But they were amazing and the first time I experiences that science fair I said to myself, “I’m coming back here every year because I don’t worry about the future of this planet when I walk through this room and I see what these children are capable of creating and thinking about.” It is so amazing, they are brilliant and creative and concerned about the planet and about others. It’s beautiful, it’s just beautiful.
Paula Shaw: So, yeah, I have a lot of faith that this generation’s going to knock it out of the park.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s wonderful. So what’s next for you? What’s the big vision? Where are you going?
Paula Shaw: Wow, that’s a huge question.
Melinda Wittstock: I know, that’s why I love to ask these tough questions. I’m sorry.
Paula Shaw: Oh yes, if i didn’t love you so much, I’d just [inaudible 00:59:35…
Melinda Wittstock: I know.
Paula Shaw: You know, I think for me what I’d really like to expand in my life right now, two things. Teaching on a bigger level, maybe doing more big webinars online and also speaking. Speaking at conferences and corporate events and that sort of things because you can only reach so many people doing one on one work. It’s why I wrote my book. It’s why I’ve written three books now because I want to teach these things that I think I came to this planet to teach before it’s my time to move on.
So I think the speaking and teaching on that bigger level will be vehicles that will really be helpful for that. And I’m excited about this book and getting it out there to many people and I hope to create some kind of format where I can interact with people about what they experience either in using the principles and the suggestions of the book, or in their fears around using things or their situations. I want to be more accessible on that level.
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah, that’s lovely because in this way moving from one on one to scale.
Paula Shaw: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: it’s so interesting that so many women when they start business tend to start practices around their expertise. At a certain point you think, wait a minute, I want to have a bigger effect, I want to put a multiplier on that.
Paula Shaw: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: So, I love that because you know what, so many people and deserve to hear your wisdom. So I’m so please to hear that that’s your direction.
Paula Shaw: Ah, thank you Melinda. Thank you so much for saying that. That’s beautiful.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s really true though and I think as women we all need to think bigger. We can all start a small business but it’s just as hard to start a small business, as it is to start a very massive one.
Paula Shaw: I wouldn’t believe that but I know you’ve been there, so okay.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s really true because if you talk to women who’ve done five, six, seven, eight, nine figure businesses the challenges are slightly different along the way, right? But it’s still really the same thing. You play different roles at those different things and sometimes the person that you need to be in the start up you have to be a very different person once it resembles more of a corporation and that isn’t for everybody. Some people like to be in the early stage, some people like to be in the later stage and in different sort of businesses. But the main thing is just really knowing what makes you happy, what makes your heart sing and just doubling down on that.
Paula Shaw: Yeah. I hear that and I know you’ve talked to some of those women who’ve created some huge businesses so you know whereof you speak.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s all the same thing, it starts in the mind and in the heart. I love what Kara Goldin who now with Hint is really at the billion-dollar level now.
Paula Shaw: Wow.
Melinda Wittstock: And she’s like, “Stop architecting walls around yourself.” Don’t even make the walls to begin with.
Paula Shaw: Yeah.
Melinda Wittstock: It sounds so simple but, really it is actually simple at the end of the day, you know? The only thing that ever holds us back at the end of the day is ourselves.
Paula Shaw: Our own limitations. Our beliefs, right? Our limiting beliefs.
Melinda Wittstock: Exactly. So, Paula, how can people find you and work with you?
Paula Shaw: They can find me either through my website paulashaw.com or the changeitupradio.com website or they can call me and I would love to offer our listeners a complimentary 15 minute consult if they want to just ask some questions and see if we are good fit for each other or if one of my groups, I’m starting some online zoom groups, so one of those groups might be a good fit for them. My number is 626-864-0756. There’s also an email address on my website paulashaw.com and, by the way, if they want to go to that website I have a gift that is straight out of my new book and it’s called 21 things to say and not say to people in pain. So some of these statements that we were talking about earlier, there are 21 to say, 21 not to say and 21 things if you are the person who’s in pain that can be helpful responses for you as well.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for putting on your wings and flying with all of us today.
Paula Shaw: Thank you for letting me fly with you. I love you, Melinda.