Navigating Midlife with the Work of Brené Brown

Many women look up in midlife to realize that while their lives look really good on the outside they don’t feel that good on the inside.

They’re smart, capable, and productive and work hard everyday to accomplish a lot.

They take care of people, managing work deadlines and finances, business trips and family vacations, school conferences and day care pickups.  

But they’re not as happy as they thought they would be. 

They’re tired, pulled in a million directions, anxious, overwhelmed, accomplished but unfulfilled. 

And often women in midlife are drinking too much to reward themselves for getting through it all at the end of the day. 

Brené Brown describes this time in life not as a midlife crisis, but rather the midlife unraveling. 

Brené writes

If you look at each midlife “event” as a random, stand-alone struggle, you might be lured into believing you’re only up against a small constellation of “crises.” The truth is that the midlife unraveling is a series of painful nudges strung together by low-grade anxiety and depression, quiet desperation, and an insidious loss of control. 


By low-grade, quiet, and insidious, I mean it’s enough to make you crazy, but seldom enough for people on the outside to validate the struggle or offer you help and respite. It’s the dangerous kind of suffering—the kind that allows you to pretend that everything is OK.

The midlife unraveling can also be a time for transformation and evolution.

I asked Libby Nelson, a Professional Certified Coach who has trained in the work of Dr. Brené Brown and is a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator, to join me to dive into how to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you really are through the work of Brené Brown.

Tune into this episode to hear Casey and Libby discuss:

  • Why people pleasing, perfectionism and rule-following can become suffocating by midlife
  • What to do when years of trying to outrun, outsmart, and numb vulnerability have made you fearful and disconnected
  • Why Brené considers sobriety a super power, not a limitation
  • The many forms of numbing pain and discomfort we’ve mastered by midlife—eating, drinking, spending, planning, playing online, perfecting and staying really, really busy
  • Why you need to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are
  • How to develop shame resilience with empathy, vulnerability in a safe space, self-compassion and connection
  • Advice on which of Brené’s books to read first based on where you are in life

From The Midlife Unraveling by Brené Brown

By definition, you can’t control or manage an unraveling. You can’t cure the midlife unraveling with control any more than the acquisitions, accomplishments, and alpha-parenting of our thirties cured our deep longing for permission to slow down and be imperfect.

Midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:

I’m not screwing around. All of this pretending and performing—these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt—has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.

If you look at each midlife “event” as a random, stand-alone struggle, you might be lured into believing you’re only up against a small constellation of “crises.” The truth is that the midlife unraveling is a series of painful nudges strung together by low-grade anxiety and depression, quiet desperation, and an insidious loss of control. 

By low-grade, quiet, and insidious, I mean it’s enough to make you crazy, but seldom enough for people on the outside to validate the struggle or offer you help and respite. It’s the dangerous kind of suffering—the kind that allows you to pretend that everything is OK.

We go to work and unload the dishwasher and love our families and get our hair cut. Everything looks pretty normal on the outside. But on the inside we’re barely holding it together. 

We want to reach out, but judgment (the currency of the midlife realm) holds us back. It’s a terrible case of cognitive dissonance—the psychologically painful process of trying to hold two competing truths in a mind that was engineered to constantly reduce conflict and minimize dissension (e.g., I’m falling apart and need to slow down and ask for help. Only needy, flaky, unstable people fall apart and ask for help).

It’s human nature and brain biology to do whatever it takes to resolve cognitive dissonance—lie, cheat, rationalize, justify, ignore. For most of us, this is where our expertise in managing perception bites us on the ass. We are torn between desperately wanting everyone to see our struggle so that we can stop pretending and desperately doing whatever it takes to make sure no one ever sees anything except what we’ve edited and approved for posting.

Click here to read more from The Midlife Unraveling by Brené Brown.

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    Grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking, 30 Tips For Your First Month Alcohol-Free

    Connect with Libby Nelson

    Libby is a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) who also coaches in the corporate space, supporting individuals and teams as they struggle to adjust to the ever-changing work environment. She is passionate about helping leaders create inclusive workspaces and in 2021 completed a certification in D & I from Cornell University.

    After spending most of her career in the nonprofit sector, Libby became credentialed as a coach in 2012. A graduate of Northwestern University, she is trained in the work of Dr. Brené Brown and is a Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator as well as a Gottman Institute Bringing Baby Home Educator. 

    In her private practice, Libby coaches bright, high-achievers in the middle of major life transitions – from C-suite executives to career-changers, entrepreneurs and parents returning to work following leave.

    Libby lives in Seattle with her husband and their three teenagers. She has been in recovery since 2014.

    To learn more about Libby and the work she does, head to www.libbynelsoncoaching.com

    To learn more about Brené Brown and her want to know which book to read first, head to Which Book Do I Read First? – Brené Brown

    To read the referenced article by Brené Brown, Midlife Unraveling, head to The Midlife Unraveling – Brené Brown

    Follow Libby on Facebook and Instagram

    Connect with Casey

    Take a screenshot of your favorite episode, post it on your Instagram and tag me @caseymdavidson and tell me your biggest takeaway!

    Want to read the full transcript of this podcast episode? Scroll down on this page.


    The Hello Someday Podcast helps busy and successful women build a life they love without alcohol. Host Casey McGuire Davidson, a certified life coach and creator of The 30-Day Guide to Quitting Drinking, brings together her experience of quitting drinking while navigating work and motherhood, along with the voices of experts in personal development, self-care, addiction and recovery and self-improvement. 

    Whether you know you want to stop drinking and live an alcohol free life, are sober curious, or are in recovery this podcast is for you.

    In each episode Casey will share the tried and true secrets of how to drink less and live more. 

    Learn how to let go of alcohol as a coping mechanism, how to shift your mindset about sobriety and change your drinking habits, how to create healthy routines to cope with anxiety, people pleasing and perfectionism, the importance of self-care in early sobriety, and why you don’t need to be an alcoholic to live an alcohol free life. 

    Be sure to grab the Free 30-Day Guide To Quitting Drinking right here.

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    navigating midlife With The Work of Brené Brown


    Brené Brown midlife, drinking, libby, daring, vulnerability, coaching, stories, talk, book, work, question, starting, struggle, valued, thought

    SPEAKERS: Casey McGuire Davidson + Libby Nelson


    Welcome to the Hello Someday Podcast, the podcast for busy women who are ready to drink less and live more. I’m Casey McGuire Davidson, ex-red wine girl turned life coach helping women create lives they love without alcohol. But it wasn’t that long ago that I was anxious, overwhelmed, and drinking a bottle of wine and night to unwind. I thought that wine was the glue, holding my life together, helping me cope with my kids, my stressful job and my busy life. I didn’t realize that my love affair with drinking was making me more anxious and less able to manage my responsibilities.

    In this podcast, my goal is to teach you the tried and true secrets of creating and living a life you don’t want to escape from.

    Each week, I’ll bring you tools, lessons and conversations to help you drink less and live more. I’ll teach you how to navigate our drinking obsessed culture without a bus, how to sit with your emotions, when you’re lonely or angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, how to self soothe without a drink, and how to turn the decision to stop drinking from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

    I am so glad you’re here. Now let’s get started.

    Hi there. If you’re listening to this podcast, I’m betting you’ve been going back and forth for a while now on whether or not you should stop drinking. And I want you to raise your hand. If you’ve had any one of these thoughts.

    You might have been thinking, I’m not that bad. I actually don’t want to stop drinking completely. I just want to drink like a normal person. Or maybe you come home after work. And you think I know I shouldn’t drink tonight. But I literally can’t relax or have fun without it. It’s really common to say I’ve tried to take a break from drinking before. But it’s just too hard. I always give up anyway. So what’s the point in trying again? Or here’s one I hear all the time from women. Everyone I know drinks. If I stopped drinking, I will be bored. Or I’ll be boring. I’ll have no fun. I’ll never be invited anywhere. I’ll just sit home and be miserable. Or maybe you can insert whatever your reason is there.

    So is your hand up? If it is that is totally okay. And that’s because taking a break from drinking and changing your relationship with alcohol. This shit is hard.

    And that’s why I’m really pumped to invite you to my completely free 60 minute masterclass the five secrets to successfully take a break from drinking, even if you’ve tried and you failed in the past.

    After you take this free class, you’ll realize why what you’ve been doing up until now hasn’t been working, and what to do.

    Instead, we’re going to cover all the juicy topics, including what questions you need to stop asking yourself, because they’re setting you up for self sabotage, not for success. We’re going to talk about exactly what you need to do differently. So you can stop the exhausting cycle of stopping drinking and then saying screw it, and starting again.

    And we’re going to talk about the real reasons you haven’t been successful. And I’m betting they’re not what you think they are. And this isn’t surface level stuff. I am handing over the strategies and the mindset shifts I go through every day with my private coaching clients. If you’re listening to this podcast, I really encourage you to take a moment and sign up for this completely free masterclass. It will help you on your journey to drink class and live more to feeling better. So if you want to save your spot, go to hellosomedaycoaching.com/class while the class is still available, and I really hope to see you there.

    Casey McGuire Davidson 05:00

    Hi there. I’m really excited for this episode because we’re going to be talking about Midlife Evolution – Embracing Who You Are with the Work of Brené Brown.

    And one of my very good friends is here to talk with me about it. Her name is Libby Nelson. She is a coach as well. She’s actually someone I met five years ago when I was celebrating my one year sober literally on the day I turned one year sober. We met at a She Recovers event in Seattle. And we sat down next to each other at lunch, and I just loved Libby’s energy and vibe. And she was like three years sober. She’s two years ahead of me and just wanted to be friends with her. And we ended up going up to the Salt Spring Island retreat together in BC. And we were in a car with two other women. And I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so hard, right, Libby.



    I forgot about how awesome that car ride was. I didn’t know anybody. And she ran through, She Recovers, except for a couple of people I met the day of that one day event. And so it was just awesome. By the time we got there, I was like, Oh, I’m good. You know? Yeah. Going away by myself for four days, you know. And now I’ve got friends already. By the time we got up there. It was awesome.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  05:50

    I know. And the funniest part was like, somehow we started talking about how all four of us and maybe this is true for lots of women who drink, but like completely overthink everything. And for some reason, like when we were going up to the customs office, I think Ingrid had some like contraband fruit that we weren’t supposed to bring into Canada. And she had this whole plan of like, just pass on the passport just pass on the passport. The guy was like, Do you have any fruits and she was like, you know, like she had over-thought it so much. It was a total freeze moment. Really, Jesus Christ pull it together.



    It’s so funny. You remember that? I don’t remember any details like that about anything and I can’t play my drinking anymore. So I don’t know. It’s just midlife.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  06:37

    Midlife. Yeah. Well, so let’s talk about this. First of all, I’ll read your bio. Libby’s a certified daring way facilitator and let me just read you her bio so you know who we’re talking about. So she spent most of her career in the nonprofit sector, and then became credentialed as a coach in 2012, so a decade ago. She’s a graduate of Northwestern University and is trained in the work of Dr. Brené Brown. She’s a certified daring way facilitator, as well as a Gottman Institute bringing baby home educator. In her private practice Libby coaches bright high achievers in the middle of major life transitions from C suite executives to career changers to entrepreneurs, and parents returning to work following leave. Libby is a professional certified coach, who also coaches in the corporate space, supporting individuals and teams as they struggle to adjust to the ever changing work environment. She’s passionate about helping leaders create inclusive workspaces. And in 2021, completed a certification in diversity and inclusion from Cornell University. Libby lives in Seattle with her husband and their three teenagers, and has been in recovery since 2014. And we were just trying to do the math. So I quit drinking six years ago, and you quit eight years ago now.



    January 2014. Yep, very. So I was eight years in January. That’s right. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  08:13

    That’s awesome. Well, thank you for coming on. I’ve been wanting to do an episode about Brené Brown sort of incorporating her work. And her concepts for women who are quitting drinking for a while and I told you I’m the biggest fan of this writing she did, it completely hit home for me. The midlife unraveling and I really wanted to talk on the podcast about it.



    Yeah, well, thank you so much for inviting me. I love well, first of all, any excuse to talk to you, Casey and then also any excuse to talk about Brené’s work. You know, I think it’s so relevant to all of us, but especially to those of us who are walking the path of recovery or thinking about it. And also, you know, those of us who are staring down the barrel at midlife, which is such a time when a lot of us are questioning, has the way I’ve been doing life been working for me? What’s worked, what hasn’t and what do I want to change for the next chapter? So sort of in the back half or the second half of my life, you know, I can start to live in a way that feels more true to who I am and who I want to be in the world.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  09:21

    Yeah, absolutely. And one thing she wrote and I could quote the whole thing that I just wanted to put this out there in the midlife unraveling piece is Brené wrote, if you look at each midlife event as a random standalone struggle, you might be lured into believing you’re only up against a small constellation of crises. The truth is that the midlife unraveling is a series of painful nudges, strung together by low grade anxiety and depression, quiet desperation and an insidious loss of control by low grade kids. It’s an insidious, I mean, it’s enough to make you crazy, but seldom enough for people on the outside to validate the struggle to offer you help or respite. It’s the dangerous kind of suffering, the kind that allows you to pretend that everything is okay. And that just hit me so deeply. Because when I read it, and when I was drinking, yeah, that’s exactly what it was like, sort of the low grade anxiety, the depression, the quiet desperation, the painful nudges that, you know, that kind of suffering, that was not so bad that it allowed you to pretend that everything is okay.



    Right? Yeah, yeah. And I think, I love that you brought that up, and that particular part of the piece, and especially because when we think about the pandemic, the last couple of years, I think that has been really illuminating. Because those of us who were, and I mean, the collective, whether it’s about our drinking or other behaviors, our relationships, those of us who are sort of getting along, you know, going along to get along with that, just below the surface, that sort of suffering hanging out, I think the pandemic really shone a light on that, because here we were, you know, all the busy, most of the busy, the traditional kind of busy, I should say, it was gone. 


    Lots of us were busy because maybe we had kids at home, or we were helping to care for elderly parents, or we were trying to navigate this whole new work environment. But anyway, a lot of the other things that we used to distract us were taken away. And it was like people, you know, somebody shone a bright light on what was happening. And I think that’s why we live, why we’ve seen drinking going up, and now people, you know, who are sort of as we were emerging out of the pandemic, and life’s getting back to normal, a lot of folks are saying like, Oh, yeah, you know, that’s why we’re seeing this big resignation, you know, around the country in terms of people leaving jobs, leaving relationships, doing all kinds of things differently, because the suffering, you know, it wasn’t sustainable to keep sort of shoving it down and keeping it under the surface.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  12:13

    Yeah. And I completely agree with that. And what I’ve seen in coaching women and just talking to women and with myself is, I love that you said distractions because we had so much you know, you’re busy, you have a lot of distractions in your life, whether it’s, you know, for me driving my son to baseball or back, or going to work, going on coffee breaks, having everything being busy, so that you can’t focus too much on any one thing. And I realized I used to spend, you know, five days a week, sort of two, three hours with my husbands and kids, maybe an hour in the morning, but we’re all running around trying to get ready, dinner, cooking, dinner, cleaning up and then maybe an hour or so after dinner. And then when you’re home with them all day in this environment with the energy I mean, you know, I say I was lucky because we actually, my family likes each other. Really harmonious. That is not to say it was easy, but I know I talked to a lot of women who have sort of a difficult, either sort of toxic relationships or conflict or tension that is hard to navigate day after day, week after week, you know, and so a lot of right.



    Absolutely, and you know, Brené talks about in her work, you know, the ways that we handle the difficult things in our lives, the anxiety, the pain, that suffering, and she talks about numbing, you know, and numbing as a behavior that human beings reach for, we don’t have to be sick, we don’t have to be addicts. You know, we’re alcoholics or whatever title you want to give it. Human beings reach for numbing as a way to outrun feelings of pain, shame, vulnerability, all of the above. And so there’s lots of ways that we numb. We numb with booze, we numb with, you know, pills or drugs, we knew no one was sex shopping, Netflix, and another one is compulsive busyness. And I think that’s one that’s sort of glorified in our culture, you know, productivity is, we worship at the God of productive, you know, at the altar of productivity in this country. 


    And so when a lot of those outside again, distractions, ways of numbing with compulsive busyness, the constant running around, were taken away, we were sort of left with ourselves. And so when we’re doing that, then what happens, you know, we’re looking for other ways to numb that pain. And of course, as she says in her work, and as, as a lot of us know, when numbing becomes compulsive, and we become dependent on those numbing that’s when we crossed the line into maybe more problem behavior, you know, in a way to numb us human you know, in a lot of ways, but when that numbing becomes something we feel like If we can’t live without, you know, that’s when a lot of people I think start to look at, is it time for me to make a change?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  15:06

    Yeah. And I know a lot of this with Brené’s work is tied to vulnerability, like we’re trying to protect ourselves. And as we do that, you know, she talks about this pretending, this coping was more fearful and disconnected because, you know, we’re not as openly engaged with life and the people around us because we don’t want to share those vulnerable parts of ourselves.



    Right? I think that’s particularly true when you’re struggling with drinking, I don’t know what your experience was like Casey. I’d love to hear in my own experience as I was drinking more and more. And for me, I was never really a party girl. I mean, I had my moments, but the bulk of my daily drinking was done at home on my couch after my kids were in bed. It was my method of self care. I didn’t really have a lot of other tools for self care, I thought self care was getting a manicure or, you know, getting a massage, taking a vacation, not day to day practices for good mental, emotional health boundaries, that sort of thing. And so, you know, I would kind of push, keep my head down and push through my day, people pleasing and perfectionism, perfectionism making my way through the day. And then I get to the end of the day, and opening the wine was my way of saying, I’m off the clock. Now I’ve compared it often to a taxi turning off its light at the end of the shift, like no more passengers, I’m done. I’m here physically, but I’m clocked out. 


    So as I was starting to drink more, and use that pickup, that coping tool and that self care tool, I felt a shame about it. I felt like, you know, there was a mommy wine culture. I know, you’ve talked about it a lot on your show. But I was starting to recognize that what I was doing was different or above and beyond what maybe my friends were doing. I was noticing that I would want to leave the get together with friends so that I was safe to drive home. And then I would open a bottle of wine when I got home. And I think the more we do that, and the more we sort of other ourselves in our own minds, you know that we know we’re different. That’s such a vulnerable place to be. And to admit that out loud, feels really terrifying and really hard. And so we isolate more, we pull back maybe from friendships, we start to maybe decline some invitations, leave early, opt out, so that we can keep doing this thing that feels like something we need to do in order to cope with our lives. But meanwhile, we’re moving further and further from that real connection that comes from you know, truly living a wholehearted life to use Brené’s word and living in joy. It’s so vulnerable that we opt out or pull back.

    Casey McGuire Davidson  17:59

    Hi there. If you’re listening to this episode, and have been trying to take a break from drinking, but keep starting and stopping and starting again, I want to invite you to take a look at my on demand coaching course, The Sobriety Starter Kit.

    The Sobriety Starter Kit is an online self study sober coaching course that will help you quit drinking and build a life you love without alcohol without white knuckling it or hating the process. The course includes the exact step by step coaching framework I work through with my private coaching clients, but at a much more affordable price than one on one coaching. And the sobriety starter kit is ready, waiting and available to support you anytime you need it. And when it fits into your schedule. You don’t need to work your life around group meetings or classes at a specific day or time.

    This course is not a 30 day challenge, or a one day at a time approach. Instead, it’s a step by step formula for changing your relationship with alcohol. The course will help you turn the decision to stop drinking, from your worst case scenario to the best decision of your life.

    You will sleep better and have more energy, you’ll look better and feel better. You’ll have more patience and less anxiety. And with my approach, you won’t feel deprived or isolated in the process. So if you’re interested in learning more about all the details, please go to www.sobrietystarterkit.com. You can start at any time and I would love to see you in the course.


    If you’re drinking, and we’ve talked about this before, when we’ve gone on retreats and gotten together, like was almost exactly like my drinking, you know, like, on the couch, I would do it before my kids went to bed. Just start out, right, like when I was cooking dinner, and then when I would sit on my couch, I was like, okay, yes, exactly off the clock. But yeah, I was really focused on alcohol, you know, I mean, in terms of being fully present and engaging openly with the world around us. You know, I would go out to dinner and be trying to like, very subtly, get the waitress’ attention so I could order a third glass of wine before the check came and it got really awkward. I mean, how present are you in a conversation when that is something you’re trying to do for 10 minutes, you know? Or like, I would even get up and go to the bathroom sometime and catch the waitress on my way there and be like, Hey, by them, they could, I mean, seriously, like, talk about distraction. And then, you know, the opposite of engaging openly. 


    I mean, clearly, I was low level worried about my drinking and then high level for a decade. And I never talked to my husband about it, like, because I didn’t want him to know, I didn’t want him watching me, I didn’t want to have to cut back or stop. So literally, the person I was living with for 10 years, my partner in everything, did not know this thing that was weighing on my mind, you know, 60 to 80% of my day. And he thought I talked to him about it. And on this podcast, when he came on, he thought I just wasn’t that into him or didn’t want to talk to him. I was really like, sort of defensive or guarded or like avoiding his eyes in the morning. And for years, he was like, wow, she just really doesn’t want to kind of engage with me. Meanwhile, I was hungover and trying to avoid his eyes and thought he was mad at me or, you know, whatever.



    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. It’s funny, you know, in Brené’s work, we talk a lot about how as humans, we’re meaning making machines. So we want to, when we don’t have a reasonable explanation for another person’s behavior, our brains will work really hard to create an explanation. Brené gives us an example of, you know, speaking up in a meeting, let’s say, and we’re presenting something in a meeting and asking the boss after the meeting, Hey, I thought that meeting went really well. What do you think, you know, of how it went? The boss gives a weird look, and goes in her office and shuts the door. So what happens in our brains? We’re thinking, Wow, maybe she doesn’t, she didn’t think I did a very good job, maybe, maybe she doesn’t think I did a good job. You know, she probably never even wanted to hire me. I’ve always thought she liked this other person better than me. Maybe I should start reaching out to some recruiters. By the end of the day, we’re on LinkedIn jobs, you know, looking for a way to submit, right? Because our brain wants to make sense. 


    She talks about fact checking this meaning making machine, this storytelling that we do in our brains. Walking out instead at the end of the day and saying to the boss, when you see the boss leaving when we used to all be in the office, you know, say something like, Hey, I just wanted to check in with you. It really felt like, you know, when I spoke up at the end of the meeting, and I asked you about it, it seemed like maybe you didn’t feel like it went that well. So I just wanted to check in with you about that. And she says, and then, you know, let’s suppose the boss says, Oh, oh, yeah, I thought it was great. It’s just that I’m training for a marathon. I ran 15 miles yesterday. My legs were killing me. I just had to go to my office and stretch. Yeah, like, What was, you know, here? We’ve gone through this whole like,


    Casey McGuire Davidson  23:52

    I gotta talk to a recruiter, how will I pay the mortgage? That communally where it’s like, what would that have been? Yeah,



    I asked my husband to have a chat tonight because I think I gotta get out of this job, or I’m about to be canned, you know. I mean, the stories brighten the links our brains will go to to complete that circuit of the unknown. And so going back to the example with you and Mike, you know, I think that when we don’t know what somebody else is thinking, because we can’t have that honest, real vulnerable conversation with them about it, we can get ourselves into all kinds of trouble. Because our brains actually get the hit, the endorphin hit, the serotonin hit. Our brains get that hit for completing the story, completing the narrative was something we make up, we get that whether it’s true or not, whether it’s a made up story or not. So thanks for sharing that example. Because I think, you know, all of us do that in all kinds of different relationships. And when we’re drinking, and we’re in our shame, and we’re isolating and we feel like maybe that’s hard or scary to talk about or we fear being judged, or we fear that somebody will ask us to change our behavior and we’re not ready to change our behavior? We can really do a number on ourselves in it, you know, in between our own years.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  25:06

    Yeah. And so if someone’s listening to this and doesn’t know Brené Brown, doesn’t know Brené’s work, can you sort of give us a summary of what her teachings are? What drew you to her?



    Sure. Yeah, thank you for this question. I love this question. So first I had a friend. So Brené began and has spent most of her career and still is a professor at the University of Houston in Texas. And she is a researcher storyteller is how she describes herself around topics of, you know, really, her initial work was almost exclusively vulnerability and shame. She began a project where she was interviewing 1000s of people with the help of TAs and grad assistants to ask about their experiences with these topics. And what does it mean to really live a wholehearted, connected life? Over the years, her work has evolved, she’s gotten a lot more into the corporate space. And she takes some of these concepts into businesses. She’s you know, Casey and I are in Seattle, she works with the Seattle Seahawks. She’s worked with the Gates Foundation, she’s done tons of work with businesses, companies, nonprofits, organizations, about brave leadership, because a lot of these same qualities that we bring to our relationships, having honest conversations being real, there is no creativity, there is no innovation without vulnerability, because to create is vulnerable, to put an idea out there that you’re not sure if it’s going to make it or not, is insanely vulnerable to do that, and teams and spaces where vulnerability is not accepted, where people feel like they have to be perfect, before they bring an idea to the table really struggle with innovation. So in recent years, she’s gotten really focused on bringing some of these concepts to all these arenas of our lives. 


    And I first fell in love with Brené way back when her very first book came out, it was called, I Thought It was Just Me, but It Isn’t. And it was about the experience of shame and vulnerability. A friend who lived in Houston sent me her book. I was a stay at home mom at the time. And she said, I think you’re really going to love this woman. I read the book, Casey, I had tears pouring down my face, sitting in my bedroom during nap time reading this book. And I thought, this is everything. This speaks so deeply to my experience in life. And I have to find a way to share this work with other people. I didn’t have a coaching degree, I had been out of, you know, working full time as a mom for a couple of years. And it really led me on my path to ultimately, you know, four years later, deciding to go back, become a coach. I chose a program so that I would be able to be set up to have the credential I needed to ultimately teach and facilitate Brené’s work is how that unfolded. So she’s really, that book and that experience is really the root of what led me in the whole, you know, my whole career. Yeah, trajectory started with


    Casey McGuire Davidson  28:17

    her. And I’m looking at the cover of that book right now. And what I love is, you know, it’s I Thought It was Just Me, but It Isn’t. But the subhead is making the journey from what will people think, to am I enough?



    Yep. Yeah. And I think we are so socialized in our culture as women especially. And I know you have both men and women that listen to this show. And so it’s also true of men. But I think women in particular, we are very socialized to be pleasing, to be accommodating, to be flexible, to be kind, to not ruffle feathers, to be a helper. A lot of our orientation from a very young age is set up to try to control and manipulate in some ways, other people’s experience of us. And so if we’re living from that place, where we’re constantly sort of reading the room to say, what do they think of me? Am I good enough? Am I being who these people need to be? It’s really easy to lose ourselves, right? Because we sort of turn into this chameleon, who can, who’s trying to change our color to fit whoever we’re with. A lot of this work is really about getting clear on who we are, and finding a way to really stand in our enoughness of what that is, with all our imperfections, with all our vulnerabilities and our flaws and our defects and our foibles, that we’re enough exactly as we are today.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  29:50

    Yeah, I mean, and that’s hard to do, right? Because so many of us struggle with that whether, you know, we have some insecurities, which everyone does right? You know, right? Well, thanks for being human, right? Not smart enough, not pretty enough, not engaging enough, whatever it is. And then also, especially when you’re drinking, right, you don’t want people to look at you too closely, or, or whatever it is. I mean, I think that getting to the idea of I am enough, I know that I felt for a long time, like I had to justify how productive I was, how much I accomplished for sort of the price of just being here, you know, I bring this to the table. And so, you know, to be like, I’m enough, just because who I am like, that’s a hard concept.



    Yeah, I think it’s a really hard concept. I, the very first coach I ever worked with, before I became a coach myself, said something that really blew my mind. He said, What if people value you for who you are, and not what you do? And I was, I didn’t even know what to do with that. Like, what, you know, I am what I do, you know, my output, my productivity, even if that is not in a workplace, even if it’s the way I provide for my family, or the way I love and nurture my children. I mean, there’s a lot of crossover because who I am comes into that. But what if I have value and worth just by being human, you know, alive at this moment in time, and not what I produce? It’s a pretty revolutionary idea, especially, you know, in a capitalist, you know, in a capitalist culture, you know, where we really value productivity, you know, and so and an output, so, yeah, it’s a big one to


    Casey McGuire Davidson  31:47

    say that one more time, because I really liked it, but I want to get it right.



    Yeah. What if we were valued for who we are? And not what we do, what we produce? You know, what if it’s, it’s the essence of who we are. That is our enoughness. Yeah. And the rest of it’s just like icing on the cake. Yeah. I think, what do you think?


    Casey McGuire Davidson  32:13

    No, I love that. And one of the things that I did an episode a while ago on the Enneagram, which I think is super interesting. And I was, before I did the interview, Jim’s Hartman, who was my guest, was kind enough. He was like, I want to type you before we did the interview, you know, I want to so we had this whole, you know, typing session over Zoom beforehand. And he asked me all these questions, and one of the ones he was like, how do you earn love? And I pause for three seconds. And then I launched into like, a 20 minute description of all the ways I earn love, like, I do this, I do that, I’m kind, I’m helpful, blah, blah. And he was like, Okay, so after we finished, he was like, first of all, you’re type three, like, there’s no question.



    I was just gonna guess if you were three. Yes, completely.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  33:07

    But not only that, he was like, because mostly you answered this question. He goes, I will ask that to lots and lots of people, and they will be stumped. They won’t think of a single thing. They would be like, I don’t earn love. I just, you know, and I was like, what that would never occur to me. So the idea of like, what if we were valued for just who we are not what we do? I’m like, Yeah, that’s hard to get to. And, you know, there are also lots of people you know, I’ve seen read the quote, which I think is so true that like, lots of people pleaser, started out as parent pleasers, you know.



    Yes. 100%. Yep. Yeah. Yes. We had. Yes, we did.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  33:51

    Yes. And so I was reading in, in sort of brushing up for this episode, you know, which Brené on her website has, because I’m sure she gets asked all the time. Which book to read first, like when you’re diving into the work, and she talks about the first one she recommends is the Gifts of Imperfection. And then moving on to I Thought It was Just Me. And so interesting. Yeah, I just said what do you know, tell me about the Gifts of Imperfection and the main message and yeah.



    The Gifts is my go to book. I’ve read it 12 times probably. I have, you know, caught my copy is underlined and dog eared and I reread it every couple of years just because I think there’s so much goodness and richness and part of midlife is we’re peeling back layers of the onion, right? We, we’re becoming somebody different as we let go and shed a lot of ways of being of our younger years and maybe let go a little more naturally. I think aging helps us let go sort of what people think but a lot of us still struggle with this root idea of having to be whatever our own definition of perfect is. And I love The Gifts because The Gifts is based, The Gifts of Imperfection is based on these 1000s and 1000s of interviews of people who report living really wholehearted lives, and what are the elements that are part of living a wholehearted life? What is it letting go of, you know, what is it letting go of scarcity? Letting go of productivity as a status symbol and exhaustion, you know, as a badge of honor? And what is it embracing, embracing authenticity, embracing rest and play, embracing creativity and making things it’s, it’s kind of revolutionary in a way, because it really appends this idea of, of what success, you know, looks like, and I’m putting air quotes, you know, you can’t see me on the podcast, but I’m putting air quotes in the air of what success looks like. So I think that’s a beautiful place to start to really get right to what Brené, the heart of Brené’s work. 


    And then I’d say, I don’t want to contradict, but I would say that, in terms of a second favorite book, I think it really depends on where you are in your life, actually. So I think there’s a lot of richness in Daring Greatly, I think that’s where she really starts to unpack what it means to stand up with courage in our lives, whether that’s at work in relationships, you know, coming into something like quitting drinking, you know, getting in touch with our why, and having the courage and the guts to do that. That’s a great place. Rising Strong, on the other hand, is the book that came after Daring Greatly. Rising Strong is a book about, what do we do when we’ve fallen on our face and we have to get back up again, you know. And sometimes we come to this work, a friend of my mom’s actually, you know, in her 60s was laid off from a job in a very public way. And she’s a high profile person, and I sent her Rising Strong, and she felt it was life changing, because it spoke to her exactly in that moment. I think for people who work in the corporate space, and especially people who lead teams jump right into Dare to Lead. Dare to Lead encompasses a lot of the, it’s one of the more recent books that encompasses a lot of the ideas. So I guess I could go on and on. Braving the Wilderness, if you’re struggling in this time where there’s a lot of friction between folks of different political ideas. And, you know, after these last couple of years of pandemic, Braving the Wilderness is pretty popular and powerful, because it talks about how can we build bridges and meet people in the middle? So that’s a long winded answer to your short question.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  37:48

    I love that. And one of the things you said that I thought was interesting was, were you saying that Daring Greatly was one that, that you really like in terms of, you know, if you’re thinking about quitting drinking, kind of going through those exercises?



    Yeah, I would still start with The Gifts. But Daring Greatly is going to talk about the idea of numbing, and why we reach for numbing. And I think, you know, it’s one thing to just cold turkey, stop drinking, you know, it’s really hard to do without any kind of support. But if people are trying that my hat is off to you. I think it’s also once you sort of get through that initial, you know, maybe if you’re having cravings and kind of get through that initial really tough period, going deeper into your own healing about why drinking was your go to in the first place is really an important piece of the puzzle. And Casey, I know you offer resources about that, that help people through that. And there are certainly other resources that are available, you know, out in the public lexicon, but I would say, you know, Brené is in recovery herself. She’s talked about that publicly. And she shared a little bit more detail about it progressively through several of her different books. But really, you know, I think it’s countercultural to quit drinking. In our society, you know, it can feel like a courageous and brave thing to do in light of the drinking culture that we’re all immersed in. And so I think Daring Greatly could be a great one to pick up as sort of just plugging into your courage and why I’m doing this now.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  39:31

    Yeah. And I’m glad you mentioned about Brené being in recovery, because I think that is something that is very important to her, you know, she’s quit drinking many, many, many years ago, I think, you know, 20 plus, but she has said in various interviews that when she’s asked about the secret to her success, the first thing that came to her mind was her sobriety. And she said I didn’t, had I not been sober and trying to live an authentic honest life, rather than trying to outrun, outsmart and vulnerability. She wouldn’t be where she is today.



    Wow, that gives me chills. That’s beautiful. I don’t think I’ve read that exact quote from her before. And I would absolutely say 100% the same is true in my own life, you know, there is an integrity, I think that can come with living life wide awake. That is a beautiful surprise. You know, that isn’t why I reached for, you know, sobriety, I reached for sobriety, because I needed out of this groundhog day cycle that I was in. The drinking for me, I wasn’t sleeping at night, because I would wake up with all this fear, anxiety and worry about where the drinking was going, then I would get up with my kids in the morning and wouldn’t be my best self. And I would, you know, be swearing, I wasn’t going to drink anything that night. And then by two o’clock, I’d be starting to rationalize why a bottle of wine, you know, might be a good idea, actually that night, for various reasons. And so, or at least a glass, a couple glasses of wine, you know. And so, anyway, I think I stopped drinking because I wanted out of that toxic cycle. But one of the really beautiful side benefits the best has been two things. One is just the integrity with which I can move through my life. I was talking to a friend the other day, who’s recently stopped drinking. And he said, You know, I can still make mistakes, but I’m not drinking, you know, that’s good. You know, I guess I could still, I don’t have to be perfect, but I’ve got that you know, to reach for, oh, it feels really good. Never gets old to wake up without a hangover. Still love it eight plus years in, you know, and the other piece is the the connections and getting back to that idea of being able to be vulnerable and real with other people and sort of be unmasked and feeling that deep love and connection that comes with relationships with other women in particular, our partners, our spouses, our children. There’s nothing like it, it’s irreplaceable.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  42:22

    Yeah, and I mean, I think one of the things that resonates with me very much from what Brené said, and it, I found it true in my own life is that when I’m vulnerable, and I obviously talk pretty openly now about having I used to drink a lot and quit. And it was not easy to stop. It allows other people or invites them to share things with me that they have not shared with many, many people because they feel sort of safe, right? Like, I’m not gonna judge. It’s not just about drinking, it’s about you know, they may not struggle with that at all. It’s about their relationships or their fears, or you know, what’s going on at work that, you know, they truly deeply have anxiety about or mental health, whatever it is, you know, we have really deep open conversations, and it is so much better than sort of the shallow surface stuff of, of, you know, trying to protect your images, having it all together. Yeah.



    I love that you said that, Casey, because I think so often, we share something about our life in, you know, without alcohol or life and recovery, whatever path we’re taking. And it takes a lot of guts to put that out there. Because people can make up all kinds of stories about us and what that story was about. But I think courage is contagious to borrow from Brené. You know, and there is an assumed trust and vulnerability and an almost an understanding that like, wow, this person has a depth and a story that is behind this kind of I don’t drink anymore. You know, there’s, I think it sparks our curiosity of like, I want to know more about that. And even if somebody doesn’t want to know more, I don’t know. My hunch is there’s just like a leapfrog forward in terms of our level of trust that we can get deeper faster. Yeah, with somebody who is open and vulnerable about their story. Yeah.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  44:30

    And one of the reasons I wanted to title this episode, midlife evolution and embracing who you are, like doing the work of embracing who you are, is I do believe you know, I say this to clients all the time. You are allowed to change. And when you think about the next decade of your life, who do you want to be how do you want to live and it’s not that you’re going to get rid of your spouse or your kids or your jobs, but you’re allowed to evolve and become, you know, a stronger, more confident, more interesting woman who no longer drinks too much and recovers from hangovers. And also may not, you know, be the drinking buddy of your partner, like you’re allowed to evolve into other things. And that kind of does require going a level deeper to figuring out who you are and what you need, like and embracing that, which a lot of us never do. You know, we’re sort of told who we’re supposed to be. And then we spend all of our time and energy trying to figure out how to measure how we measure up against that. Or if we can be that, we are beating ourselves up because we fall short. So, you know, figuring out who we are below who we’re told we want to be, I mean, that is the way



    and how other people value us. I mean, a lot of us get a lot of kudos and a lot of rewards for being who other people want and need us to be. And I read a quote just on social media in the last couple of days, and forgive me because I can’t remember where it came from. But it said, If you measure your value, by or your worth, by what you do, you will never measure up because there’s always more to do. You know, and I love what you’re saying. I think midlife is the time when it’s a great place to get curious, it’s a great place to start noticing. What are these nagging things that you know, I’ve been or done, you know, that maybe sometimes it’s almost like we’ve closed we’ve outgrown or shoes that are too tight. Maybe it used to be something we could slip on that felt like it fit, it doesn’t fit anymore, and we’re still trying to shove ourselves into those cute shoes, you know that everybody compliments. So it’s on, but we’re ready for something different. You know. And so I think it’s a brave thing to do to take a look at that. And it can be really terrifying too because if we believe that our value and our worth rests in us being these things, then to be something different. I mean, who will we be then? And I think that’s a big question that comes up for a lot of us in midlife. It’s like yeah, and sometimes this question is,


    Casey McGuire Davidson  47:15

    I don’t know who I am, right? Like some people I know myself. I’m like, no idea. Drinking, you know, being a red wine girl being the girl who arranged the weekends away in the parties for friends and all the things that was a huge part of my identity. So I was like, if I remove that who am I? Like, am I fun? Am I interesting? You know what I mean? Like?



    Yeah, absolutely. And I think that wine can enter or whatever or drink of choices, it can really cover up a lot of that, you know, it’s it’s hard to know, and I think that’s but every somebody else said, you know, every I think it was Elizabeth Gilbert. You know, every new beginning began with not this. So with saying not this, I know that Oh, my God. Yeah, it’s, it’s okay. I’ll send it to you after I have it. And I haven’t enough things to put on my wall that I haven’t gotten freedoms yet. But every single change, we might not know what we’re going toward. But we start, it starts with a knot this, I don’t know what I want, but it’s not this. And yeah, that’s step one. I think for a lot of us, and sometimes we’ve been getting those messages for years and down, pushing them down, focusing on something else. Yep.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  48:37

    One of the things in terms of how to do the work of embracing who you are, was, I know you’re a certified daring way facilitator. And I was lucky enough when you were going through the certification process or doing all the training, you invited me and maybe five other women to do a weekend workshop that you needed to do it. I was just like, this is incredible. I mean, I love all this sort of inner work stuff. And so we went over to your house for three full days. We sat on your couches, we went through all these exercises, it was really interesting, because, you know, just the group that you picked, we had all stopped drinking at various points in sobriety, right. Some are newer and a lot more shaky. Some are further along. I was probably somewhere in the middle. And the daring way work. I mean it various times. You know, I think every one of us was in tears, both good ways and bad ways. You know, meaning both sadness and hope and excitement and just, you know, like you said, wholeheartedness I mean sharing everything. And it was, it was such a gift. But I also want to ask you like, what is, what is some of the work that if you go through sort of a daring way workshop or something We’d like we did, what are what are the different pieces that you touch on?



    Yeah, great question. So, you know, it all begins with the, you know, when we, when I work with daring way, with clients, and I do it primarily one on one with clients where they decide to work with me, I send them a workbook and some videos, and we do this really intensive one on one work where we dive deep into it, I also will go to groups or take elements of it into companies, that sort of thing. Or if people want to pull their own group together, then I can come to them. But we always start with this question of what is the arena in your life where you want to show up the scene and live brave? You know, that’s the question that we lead with, it might be in my recovery, if I’m new in recovery, it might be as a parent, it might be at work, it might be dating, you know, or retirement or decide, you know, if they’re if they’re coming out of college, you know, what, what do I want to do? How can I show up the scene, and live brave in my life, and we dive in first and foremost, to values which values get a lot of sort of, you know, I don’t know lip service, in media, about family values, that sort of thing. But really a deep dive into what matters the most to the unique person that we are, what is the compass? What are the kind of driving principles of our lives? 


    So we dive into that. And once clients are really clear on what their values are, then we start to talk about vulnerability, we start to talk about empathy, we start to talk about what are some of the shame stories that may be live in your subconscious, your mind your heart, that might be holding you back from being more of who you could be from living brave. I’ll give you a little example, Casey. So I grew up in a family where productivity was really valued. And I also grew up, I don’t know if there are Myers Briggs folks out there. But Myers Briggs is another personality assessment, you know, like the Enneagram is, and anyway, I’m a pee in the Myers Briggs, which is the last letter and the peas are, you know, the folks that are, don’t like to make lists and are sort of like more like, spur the moment and let’s see how we feel. And let’s play it by ear. Those are like buzzwords of the piece. And I grew up in a season where the ads here, the Jay you’re just by your reminders for the podcasts and like how you were and Jays are the list makers, the planners, the tick off the boxes, they feel very comforted. And both days feel very comforted and assured by their planning by you know, dotting the I’s and crossing the t’s. So I grew up in a family of all J’s like this is confirmed, we all took the Myers Briggs and I was the only p, I was creative. I was in theater. My room was always a disaster, I was sort of like, in my head a lot. And sometimes the critique that showed up around that, and I come from a very loving family. So if any of them are listening to this podcast, this is not a criticism, but where the word lazy was used, you know, because everybody else was kind of on it. And I was a little bit more like what some might say, flaky but I had other really incredible gifts, right? That I brought to the world. But like all of us do. We’re all these unique people. Anyway, I’ve carried this shame story around this word lazy. My whole life, you know. 


    And it’s interesting, because when we think about these identities, and we do a lot of identities work in the daring way work, too. You know, we think about what are some of these old shame stories? And how are they running us and Brené likes to say, if you don’t own your shame stories, they will run you one way or the other. So we’re either running from or we’re running to overcome these shame stories. So there is not one person in my life right now, who would say I am lazy in any way, shape, or form. I’m a super hard worker. And a lot of that might be when if I was getting curious and have gotten curious in the daring way work, because I’m trying to not be this thing that’s related to the shame stories. I want to be so far from lazy, that nobody could ever accuse me of that or critique me for that. And so that’s just a little example of kind of the heart of what we get to in some of the daring way work is what are our stories, how are they running us? And what are new ways of designing a way of living that feels authentically part of who we are, and maybe unhooking a little bit from some of those old stories that might be driving us one way or the other.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  54:52

    That is such a perfect example because I think that so many of these stories are created when more young, when we’re kids when we don’t have a lot of power, to get us acceptance and to stop from being excluded, and then we hold on to them as adults when we really don’t need it anymore. It’s actually holding us back. And I wanted to read this because I was thinking about it when you were talking. It’s from Brené’s writing on the midlife unraveling. But she says midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, you know, this pulls you closer, and whispers in your ear. I’m not screwing around all of this pretending and performing these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate, and getting hurt has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable. But you’re still searching, and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging, courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live in love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.



    Yeah. Whoo, chills. It’s so good. She is such a beautiful writer and has such an articulate way of expressing her ideas. Yeah,


    Casey McGuire Davidson  56:45

    yeah. We’re talking about lazy and, you know, believed that, you know, your armor could help you secure, feeling worthy and lovable and all those things, you know, yeah. Enough messy and productive to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt, right?



    Yep, overcome it, you know, overcome it. Say yes, you know, to outrun that and I think I think we can shape our lives around these things we’re running from, and we can also shape our lives around the things that other people have told us, they like about us, you know, if we are constantly accommodating, if we are the kind one, the good one think of somebody who I have clients who come to me and you know, they had a sibling who were maybe the ones that were off the rails. And so the client was like, I don’t want to ruffle any feathers, I don’t want to get in any trouble. And so they have gotten a lot of rewards and strokes for that, you know, and so continuing to behave in a way that keeps them small, simply because, you know, that’s that’s what was valued about them, you know, when they were young and yeah, it’s just like the too tight shoes. You know, we can outgrow those things. And I think in midlife is the time where it’s like, get on it. Because you know, enough. I mean, there’s, we become aware, I think for the really, for most of us the first time that our time here is not unlimited. It is the only non-renewable resource. Yeah,


    Casey McGuire Davidson  58:18

    we were talking about that actually, yesterday when we were just chatting before this episode, in terms of shaping yourself based on what you think other people like about you. And I kind of shared that when Mike and I got together and we met when we were like 22, 23 years old. You know, his previous girlfriend, and I’m talking from high school and college, was sort of struggling with mental health and various things. And one of the things he said he really liked about me was that I was happy and competent and independent. And you know, all these things, right? That I didn’t basically in my mind that I didn’t struggle with that kind of stuff. And, you know, as I grew up, and we were together, and I was drinking and I was probably drinking to overcompensate for anxiety and a mood disorder, whatever it was, I really was worried about my mental health. I mean, I felt like I wanted to jump out of my skin. I had crushing anxiety, I was, you know, feeling depressed. And I did not share any part of that with my husband, who I’ve been married to for 14 years. And the reason I didn’t share it with him is because I thought he loved me because I did not struggle with that stuff. Like he had of course said like a million other reasons of things. Like, you know, in retrospect to yours



    or our brains love to cling to that one thing,


    Casey McGuire Davidson  59:54

    Right? Because it’s that one thing but like the amount of support it. And I was denying myself in the amount of fear and insecurity, I could have spared myself by just, you know, I’m sure for him it was somewhat of an offhand remark, you know?



    Yeah. It’s just something you felt in the moment.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:00:17

    Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I’m sure, I’ve told him lots of things that I like about him that, you know, hopefully he hasn’t held on to is, you know, I like your, you know, a two year old body, he’s like, great. 46. Exactly,



    I was just gonna say, I think I think bodies are a big part of that, that all of us do that, you know, especially if we’ve been partnered a long time, you know, that the story we tell ourselves is, is the the body that the person fell in love with, you know, had to look a certain way. And so I think bodies in our culture are a huge source of all shame and vulnerability for a lot of us men and women, and, you know, these old stories we have about, you know, that body type my partner likes, you know, we might not be that body type anymore, and what are we carrying around, you know, in terms of our not enoughness, and our, our lack of worthiness, and of course, our culture, you know, is all too happy to, yeah, reinforce those insecurities. You know, and


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:01:18

    I’ve had clients who’ve said, you know, not an easy process, but when they quit drinking, they feel seen and understood by their partner more than they have in years and years, just by virtue of, of talking about what they’re going through and asking for support and being honest, because you can go through that, pretending and performing in your intimate relationships, sometimes more than anywhere else.



    Absolutely. And I want to name to Casey, as we’re talking about this, the fact that, you know, I think it holds a lot of people off from maybe stopping drinking sooner, especially if it’s something that they have traditionally, or historically done and enjoyed with their partners that that story can come in there, too. Maybe a partner has said, I value you because you’re so fun, you know, or you’re not uptight, or you know how to have a good time, or I love going to I mean, I went to him, you know, in Italy on my honeymoon, you know, and we drink tons of wine, and I went to nap on vacations with my husband, I think some of those old stories we can have about, again, what we’re valued for can inhibit our growth, even when everything in us is screaming for something to change. And so, again, it gets back to that conversation about checking our assumptions. Maybe we could check in with our significant others, you know, or family members or friends to say, Hey, I’m thinking about this, the story I tell myself, is that, you know, you’re gonna not think I’m fun anymore. If I stopped drinking, is that true? You know, so having the vulnerability, the extreme vulnerability to to ask the question, instead of just living in the story in our own lines,


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:03:08

    yeah. Or even phrasing it in a way which I know that I did in the early days of just, Hey, what are you noticing is different now that I haven’t been drinking the last month? Right? And because I know a lot of women are like, got a boreen He doesn’t want to hang out with me. This is hard. And



    I’m laughing because you know what’s boring, but having a partner who’s like a slap on the couch.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:03:39

    Three glasses of wine. Yeah. Yeah, that’s pretty boring, right. I know. I know. A lot of good stuff happening there. Yeah. Like, did we have more sex when I was drinking? I don’t know. I was passed out and decent. If I do, I don’t remember it seriously, right? Yeah, I mean, I asked my husband like, what do you notice is different? And his answer surprised me. He said, Our home is just a lot more peaceful, like and more even day to day and I was not a rager I mean, I was pretty nice person regardless, but my emote you know, I would come home all revved up about the injustices of the world, or the injustices of work, or I’d be really high and then the next morning, I’d be like, Hey, babe, you know, to my daughter, like don’t jump on the couch mom has a headache, you know, like, it was very uneven. And he was just like, our house is peaceful. And I wouldn’t have ever been like, you know, in my mind, I’m not as fun this is inconvenient for him, whatever. You know, he doesn’t like me as much. Meanwhile, he’s sitting next to me going, huh? This is really peaceful.



    Yeah, yeah. Yeah. And sometimes couples I think do have to navigate some of those changes. I mean, the fact is that not everybody in our lives even if they love us are always going to embrace and love the changes we’re making, you know, boundaries are such a perfect example of that. I know you’ve had a lot of folks on your show who talked about setting boundaries and, and codependency and, you know, when we start to set boundaries, not everybody’s jumping for joy, because they’re pretty, they liked us, you know, how we were sometimes. And so I think part of the courage, you know, to step into that arena to use Bearnaise words of whatever the change is, is kind of knowing why we’re doing what we’re doing. Yeah, and getting a little more comfortable with other people’s not loving everything that we’re doing. And that doesn’t mean it’s not the right choice for us, I can bore that the relationship isn’t going to work out.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:05:42

    Yeah, because some partners, they really like it when you drink because your drinking buddy, or maybe they don’t even drink a lot, but they like sort of having that upper hand, have more moral, you know, condescension ground. Or maybe if you drink, you don’t call them on their ship as much because you don’t want them coming back at you with judgment or, or questions. So, you know, every relationship is set up in a certain dynamic and, and, you know, good and bad, it works for people in different ways. And you know, or you drink because you’re kind of annoyed at your partner and it helps you unit out. So they’re looking at someone. 


    Yeah. Oh, god. Yeah. Right. But I mean, there is a definite period of adjustment. But again, you can go, you know, as Brené said, you can go through the rest of your life, you know, basically pretending, trying to look perfect to avoid or minimizing painful feelings of judgment, or shame or blame or whatever it is, but you never get to engage fully in the world. You never get to be loved, for who you are, not what you do.



    That’s right. That’s right. And I think ultimately, in midlife, especially it comes to this question like, Is this enough for me? You know, and, and if it isn’t, then what am I longing for? You know, and my, it might be something very subtle, you know, being more awake in my own life, you know, not all these changes are gigantic and radical, but I think midlife is a time when a lot of them are gigantic and radical for people. Because, you know, maybe this was good enough up till now. But if this is all I’ve got left. Yeah, something’s gotta give.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:07:39

    Yeah, I hear from a lot of women. And even when I worked in the corporate world, I mean, I know I had these questions myself. And, you know, a lot of the women I worked with, who didn’t drink a lot had the same questions, which is, Aren’t I supposed to be happier than this? Right? I’ve done everything I’m supposed to do, I guess, went to college, maybe got a graduate degree, got a job, got the house, climbed the ladder, had the kids? Yep. Aren’t I supposed to be happier than this? Or? That’s right. I’m not that happy. Is this good enough? Or am I just, is this just what adulting is? Am I supposed to just put my head down and grit my teeth? For the next decade? And right, I mean, all of those questions, like you said, Is this, is this good enough? Or is it time to do the work to kind of dig down and make those you know, they don’t have to be huge changes, but subtle shifts, in, you know, becoming who you really are. And some of that’s just admitting to yourself what you actually want or



    what you have. 


    Yeah, and experimenting with what you want. Because, you know, if you have been living life a certain way, and giving yourself over to everybody else in your life and everything else in your life, you might not actually really have a good sense of what you enjoy and what you want and what fulfillment might look like. So yeah, sometimes it takes some experimentation and it starts with a small shift, and it’s kind of like pulling a thread, you know, out of an embroidered thing. You know, you just never know when the way where it’s gonna end and, and I think that keeps a lot of people from stopping sooner, you know, because they sort of don’t know where it’s gonna take them. But that’s the ultimate courage really.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:09:44

    And even if you’ve already stopped drinking, that peeling back the onion work is really really important because if you just remove the alcohol, your coping mechanism, your means of having fun, your means of having an adventure, and don’t do would anything else your life is just set up the exact same way, all the things, you grit your teeth through all the same activities, you know, without shifting them at all. You’re really selling yourself short, as opposed to removing the numbing mechanism, and then shifting editing parts of your life that led you to have alcohol as your main source of joy.



    That’s right. I mean, I think it’s hard to search and hunt down those things and create those things, if alcohol has become a problem for you, because alcohol sort of, it saps the energy for me, I lost a lot of my evening hours even think about it, you know, the shame and the worry, and the fear. And the anxiety that you mentioned, feeling for a decade takes up a lot of rent in our head, you know, a lot of square footage in our heads. And I think for a lot of it, you almost tapped to, a person almost has to sort of remove that piece so that they can do an explore, you know, the next level? Yeah, it’s, it’s sort of like a chicken or the egg thing. But it’s quite hard to make some of those changes. I think if


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:11:17

    I omit drinking. 


    I completely and totally agree. And that’s why sort of, in my work, I always do, you know, almost all the women I work with either want to stop drinking and have been struggling with moderating or for life coaching, have stopped drinking at some point and are ready for what and what’s next, and sobriety coaching transitions to life coaching, but I always say like life coaching doesn’t work. If you’re drinking and you’re struggling with it, you just don’t have the mental space to move forward. Like you have to remove that giant boulder first, right. And then you’re able to move forward with all the other areas of your life.



    That’s right. And I think, you know, ultimately, our goal is to not have to live a life to create a life that we don’t feel like we have to regularly escape from, you know, that’s the big, that’s the big end goal. And, yeah, I don’t work with folks who, I don’t work with many folks who are in the process of trying to get sober. But I have a lot of folks come to me who, women especially who have some time under their belts, and it’s like, okay, you know, I’m not gonna just keep living the same life with the coping mechanism removed. You know, something’s got to change. And that’s pretty exciting. Yeah, place to be. And there’s, it’s just endless possibility there.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:12:41

    Yeah, I think midlife and sort of the process of removing alcohol is really exciting. I mean, it’s really transformational. And I asked, not feel sorry for people. But if you don’t do this work, it really is a shame. You know what I mean? Like, because it is you’re stepping into the next version of yourself that sort of deeper, I have a I have sort of a quote on my wall behind me on this giant letter board. And it says, maybe the journey isn’t about becoming anything. Maybe the journey is about unbecoming everything that was never really you. So you can be who you were meant to be in the first place.



    I love that. Yeah. Yeah. Amen to that. You know, I mean, that sort of encapsulates, I think a lot of the things we’ve been talking about, you know, in this session, and, and I would argue that I have no data on this. So just my life experience in loving and knowing a lot of folks in sobriety, you know, I think if we don’t do that next level work, and we don’t start to create a life that feels like a life, we want to live sober and wide awake. We’re also really so much more likely to pick up a drink again. Yeah. Because, you know, if nothing’s changed, except removing the alcohol, that’s a really uncomfortable place to be.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:14:09

    Yeah, yeah. And so obviously, we’ve talked about a lot of Brené’s work at a high level here, but I really encourage anyone listening to this to take the time to dive into it, whether it’s with Libby or with the sort of daring way or certainly with the books, because there are a lot of exercises and tools and steps to go through that are so valuable to take some time to work through it. And I know it’s easier with a coach or a facilitator to do that.



    Absolutely. Everybody can get something from reading Brené’s books. Her TED talks are phenomenal as a great sort of just introduction to her work her website Brenébrown.com has tons of resources on it and I highly recommend there’s videos and talks, I mean, you could just spend the rest of your life on there and probably never run out of content and material, I will say, I think it’s pretty powerful. If you’re ready to dive in, I really recommend working with a facilitator to do it, whether it’s me or somebody else, because we receive a lot of training in how to help walk people through this work. When we’re talking about shame stories, when we’re getting into the depth of where those things got born. 


    For people, it can be pretty triggering for people, if you have a lot of childhood trauma, there are daring way trained therapists that I would highly recommend, if you if you’re in a basically a pretty functional place, and you’re feeling like, Okay, I’m ready to take my life to the next level and dive deeper into this a coach is a great way to go. Groups are wonderful, because you get to hear and learn from the experiences of other people and the one on one work is super concentrated, and powerful. And we can go really deep really quickly. So yeah, there’s so many ways to access this work. And Brené also has an amazing, two amazing podcasts. One that is Unlocking Us, which is sort of for the regular listener and then one around her Dare to Leave work. Which, if you’re somebody in business, it’s just a great lesson, so much richness, and she has wonderful guests on there, too.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:16:28

    Yeah, I love that. And I mean, I think that just doing the work to let go of who you think you’re supposed to be in embrace who you are as, as Brené goes into in the Gifts of Imperfection. I mean, it’s really freeing.



    Yep, yep, yep, yep. And I think it’s just a beautiful, logical next step to living, you know, a life that’s, you know, brave and free and courageous and filled with joy. And so, highly recommend. Thank you so much, Casey, for having me on to talk about this work, which I just, I try to live every day and I feel so passionately about sharing with the world. It’s an endless treasure trove of self discovery. And it’s just, it’s awesome to get a chance to talk about it.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:17:18

    Well, so tell us how people can find you, get in touch with you. What’s your website?



    Yeah, great. Thanks for asking. So you can find me at LibbyNelsonCoaching.com. And it’s, I’m sure Casey will have this in her show notes. But it’s LibbyNelsoncoaching.com.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:17:35

    And I-B-B-Y, right? Yeah, yes, n-e-l-



    s-o-n? Yep. Yep. That’s right. Thank you. I’m LibbyNelsonCoaching.com. You can also find me on LinkedIn, at Coach Libby N. And I’m also in my corporate work. I also bring a lot of this work into companies and corporations through my work with 3Be Coaching. And that’s 3BeCoaching.com. So I offer seminars and workshops as well as one on one coaching through that work. And you can find more information about that there. So I also can be reached, you know, the new old-fashioned way by email, which is [email protected]. So feel free to reach out to me directly about that.


    Casey McGuire Davidson  1:18:27

    Perfect. And I’m sure everyone listening to this can tell why I was so drawn to you when I sat down at that table after yoga at the She Recovers event because I just love your energy and how deep you go. And what a great listener you are. So thank you for coming on. I think I asked Libby to be on this podcast before I started it. So for me, no, I just knew that. You know, I wanted to have you on because you’ve been a total inspiration to me.



    Well, it’s been so fun to watch your evolution Casey, as you live more and more. I mean, obviously I met you and you were sober already a year. But just as you’ve lived more truly and authentically into your life and what you want for yourself, you know, and creating, leaving the corporate sector and, and creating this beautiful new platform that has helped so many people and your coaching business. It’s really remarkable. It’s an honor to be on this journey with you and thanks for including me today. Of course, I’ll talk to you anytime. Yeah, awesome. Okay, great. Take good care. Thanks, Casey. Bye.


    Thank you for listening to this episode of The Hello Someday Podcast. If you’re interested in learning more about me or the work I do or accessing free resources and guides to help you build a life you love without alcohol, please visit hellosomedaycoaching.com. And I would be so grateful if you would take a few minutes to rate and review this podcast so that more women can find it and join the conversation about drinking less and living more. 


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