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Ep26. Decision Paralysis

Do you ever struggle with decision making?
You know where you feel like there is a right or wrong decision for everything and that there’s catastrophic consequences if you pick the wrong one?
Maybe you even find yourself soooo anxious with all the choices... that you end up paralysed in non action.. just so you don't have to choose.. #bizgoingnowhere.
Tune in to this live coaching session with Anna Jonak where she explores what really sits beneath a fear of decision making.

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TRANSCRIPT

Anna Jonak: [00:00:36] Welcome to Episode 26 of the Brave Business Podcast. Now, today we have a super special episode because one of our lovely students has stepped up into the hot seat for a life coaching session with me, Anna Jonak. I'm looking at her nervously looking at me [laughing]. She really is excited to be here now. I know it. Welcome Daniella Levy. It is so, so good to have you here and I cannot wait to jump into things tonight. I am just going to give everyone a little bit of an overview to you to let them know that you are the founder of Made Wonderful, a quirky brand for, in your words, the mini humans and it's all about celebrating childhood through messages of empowerment and positive self-image. And I love this. You showed me what your concepts are all about, from being brave to being strong, and my favourite, “be you” and this messaging is so important not just for our kids but for us. And you know, so wonderfully empowering and what a great role model to be kind of bringing that into our house and for generations to come. Now, you are here with me today because, in your words, you are spending too much time at the moment aiming and then not firing. So in other words, you're tying yourself in knots with your decision-making like you're spending far too long making decisions or not taking action or thinking about things or rehashing things and then kind of second guessing yourself and it's got to a point, from our conversations as you said to me, where you're feeling kind of anxious and foggy headed and just kind of feel like it's taking over everywhere in your life.

Daniella Levy: [00:02:06] Yeah. So I just spend way too long analysing my decisions to the point where I go round and round in circles and then never make one [laughing], which is you know by default making one but yeah doesn't work after all for anything. 

 Daniella Levy - Founder Made Wonderful

 

Anna Jonak: [00:02:20] I like it. By default I am making a decision not to make a decision [Daniella agrees]. I like it. You own that one. Okay, so how long has this been going on for?

Daniella Levy: [00:02:32] A long time but I feel like it's gotten really bad since probably, oh I reckon at least since having my second baby, it's about 16 months ago. And I don't know what triggered it. I've never been good at making decisions. I'll say that upfront. I've never been great at it. But yeah. Ever since sort of second pregnancy and that ending. It's just been sort of on overdrive.

Anna Jonak: [00:03:01] Okay, so when you say you've never been great at making decisions, what do you mean by that?

Daniella Levy: [00:03:06] I guess I've always been, a part of my personality, I'm the analytical type so I am prone to perfectionism and I know that and I try to curb that where I can, not very successfully. But just by default, I like to analyse things. I want to make sure I'm making the best decision. But in that process I'm going over all the options to the point where I don't know which option to choose and then don't pick one [laughing].

Anna Jonak: [00:03:35] Okay, so you're overwhelming yourself by the different options. The over-analysis is causing that paralysis essentially [Daniella agrees] because there's too many different scenarios. So come back to the perfection because, ultimately, you've said that's tied in there. But from thinking about the fact that you are over-analysing things, you're obviously wanting to find a perfect outcome.

Daniella Levy: [00:04:02] Yes. And there's not normally a perfect outcome but yes I'm just trying to find the perfect one.

Anna Jonak: [00:04:10] So you're trying to find the perfect outcome which probably doesn't exist, in your own words.

Daniella Levy: [00:04:16] Yeah. Trying as hard as I can to find this unicorn. In most situations. Yeah.

Anna Jonak: [00:04:24] So what does the unicorn represent? What does a perfect decision represent for you? What does it mean?

Daniella Levy: [00:04:30] Oh, that's a good question [seconds of silence]. I want to say success, that it means the decision is successful. So I guess, not finding the unicorn would be a not great thing because then, it means there would have been a better option out there. Even if it's not the unicorn, if it's not the best option then I've failed.

Anna Jonak: [00:05:04] Okay, so the fear comes back to the failure. So it's making a decision which leads to something not being perfect or failing. But, in your mind, the unicorn is equivalent to success [Daniella agrees]. And can you think of where that, I guess, attribution of success might come from? Like making the perfect decision? Everything lining up? What success looks like?

Daniella Levy: [00:05:40] I don't really know. Uhm I just know I'm always striving for something that I never feel like I achieve. So I think if I put it on the decisions that's a smaller like I'm constantly making decisions because we all are., so if success is linked in there then I have some opportunity to achieve it.

Anna Jonak: [00:06:07] So we're coming back to that, achieve is coming out a lot. How did you perform at school?

Daniella Levy: [00:06:18] Well I was a straight A student. But there was always pressure. So you know if I brought a report card home or test home and it was 98 percent it was always why isn't it a 100 percent. But yeah. So I guess I feel like I never measure up to some standard. I don't know what that standard is but I'm constantly trying to achieve something and never feeling like I get it.

Anna Jonak: [00:06:48] Okay, so do you remember that from like early years of school and all the way through?

Daniella Levy: [00:06:56] Yeah definitely Primary School. I don't remember so much in high school. I guess I always sort of maintained a straight A report card except for sport [laughing]. I hated sport. My parents didn't seem to care too much that I wasn't any good at it. It was the other subjects that mattered. Yeah. So there was always that pressure and then even, I guess, in high school it was sort of like if I was interested in subjects that weren't considered academic subjects so I'm interested in home etc. I liked cooking and I tried sewing, wasn't any good at it. But that was sort of like my parents didn't approve, I won’t say they didn’t really approve, but it was like, "oh well you know make sure you're doing enough of the other subjects, why don't you do a science instead or why don't you do a…" you know there was always that kind of focus and then yeah it was alwaysabout which uni course and all the rest of it and there was always, I guess, pressure to perform in that sense.

Anna Jonak: [00:08:00] Okay. So listening to that then, it sounds like, I guess, your experience kind of growing up has definitely been one which is under pressure and one which has always driven you to keep going, to keep achieving, to keep being successful, because for you there's a synergy between getting praised and acceptance, and most likely love, as we’re young children, the way we see it, that we're loved and accepted when we perform.

Daniella Levy: [00:08:25] Yeah I think so. I mean I feel like I've never really discovered who I was until I got into my mid 20s because it was when I was growing up it was all about just I felt like nearly being who my parents wanted me to be. So I didn't really explore interests outside of school because I was just meant to do schoolwork and focus on that and I got to being an adult and realised I had no idea what I have wanted to do or what I was even interested in or good at because I was good at school but I never felt like I was really that interested in anything. I had a good memory. I had a photographic memory so I could memorise all my schoolwork and do just fine in the tests but I wasn't passionate about anything.

Anna Jonak: [00:09:13] That's because you weren't given the opportunity to explore what you were passionate about. From the sounds of it, you were directed and guided towards what your parents would have seen, would have been successful and would give you the qualifications or what have you for, I guess, the vision perhaps that they had for what they wanted for you.

Daniella Levy: [00:09:33] Yeah I think they just wanted like they were going off their own upbringing. And it's probably more my dad than my mum. But in their eyes if you didn't go to uni and you didn't do maths and science you couldn't make anything of yourself. So I think, you know, that it was coming from a place of they wanted me to do well in life and that's how they thought it needed to happen.

Anna Jonak: [00:09:54] I'm just having a thought here. So for a good portion of your life, your parents almost made decisions for you.

Daniella Levy: [00:10:02] Mm yeah. I mean, I'm trying to think if I ever really wanted to do something and they said no. I don't think I ever really tried to break free from that. I don't think I put anything forward. They don't think they ever had to. I think I just went along with it. Yeah, but yes.

Anna Jonak: [00:10:25] So I'm thinking there's a sense of like you've conformed to, I guess, their standards, their approach. In that vein, there's a sense where you haven't actually practiced of flexing the muscle of decision-making because you've not really had the opportunity to make, as you said, that many decisions for yourself in terms of exploring all these things you were kind of led to think, be and do a certain way.

Daniella Levy: [00:10:56] Yeah I mean look when I enrolled in a uni course and started uni and I hated it and I dropped out after a couple of weeks so I guess that was me sort of kind of flexing the muscle because I just sort of spat the dummy and said no this isn't what I want to do, I'm not doing it. But then from there I just landed in a full time job that I wasn't, just because I needed to work if I wasn't going to study and it just sort of rolled on from there. It's been a bit of a discovery process over the last five years or so of actually working out what is it that I want out of life, not just letting life happen.

Anna Jonak: [00:11:38] Well yeah I mean look, I think it's a valid thing that you're saying because if you think about it, you think of your age and you think of your experiences and the volume of experiences you've had where when most things have been mapped out for you and you've been kind of gotten praise for doing what they would like you to do, the best scenario in their eyes, there's a sense where you are just following along and you're not making decisions for yourself and you're not learning what it is that you want. So you're kind of coming into a portion of your life now where, perhaps, all of this is kind of being blown open a bit whereby you are now in a position where, you know, with your own family and your own life and perhaps as a realisation that you know who am, I what am I going to do, and all those things. And from there what's next?

Daniella Levy: [00:12:23] Yeah yeah definitely. I think I feel like I've come to this point in my life and I just think I've suddenly realised that I can take control if I want to. That sort of thought hasn't really occurred to me up until now. I think up until now it's just been, well life just happens and adulting is hard and you just deal. But [laughing] yeah I think I've just started to realise that well no, I can choose.

Anna Jonak: [00:12:56] You can choose. But with that, potentially becomes a fear because it's not something that you've practiced. It's not something that you've exercised over the last ten years where you've done this or this if it's been kind of laid out a bit for you. I can see there being a fear associated with decision making plus, because you haven't flexed a muscle, plus you then couple that with the fact that you are so prone and used to achieving and striving. There's a sense of in your mind of a right and wrong decision because that's what you've kind of seen from your parents. No do this. No don't do that. Do you see what I mean? [Daniella agrees] Do you see how these things come together?

Daniella Levy: [00:13:36] Yes I look at everything as a right or wrong decision like it feels like I always feel like I'm going to make the wrong decision even when it's something minuscule that really doesn't have a wrong decision, I always feel this enormous pressure that there is a right and wrong and my mind will run over the scenarios of you know, well if I choose this and it's the wrong one then this list A, B and C will happen or this person won't be as happy or all the rest of it to the point where I just, my brain is in overload all the time from silly, silly things.

Anna Jonak: [00:14:09] But are you thinking, in that case scenario, are you thinking about everybody else or are you thinking about what you want?

Daniella Levy: [00:14:15] Most of the time everybody else [laughing] and occasionally myself. But even when it does come to myself I still end up in overwhelm because I feel like I'm used to putting myself last, the martyr syndrome but it's just something I've done for so long that even sort of being aware of it, trying to break out of it, it's like oh sometimes I feel like I don't even know what I really want. I don't know if that makes any sense.

Anna Jonak: [00:14:47] Again it comes back to the same thing. If you've been almost placating your parents in doing what, you know, doing as they've suggested for so long that there's a sense of that's what's comfortable. It's what feels normal.

Daniella Levy: [00:15: 04] Yeah I guess I never realised that that's what I was doing in a lot of ways I feel like I've done things differently to them. But then when I think about it maybe not so much [laughing]. Yeah. I guess I do struggle to make my own decisions, definitely. Yup.

Anna Jonak: [00:15:31] And it makes sense and I want you to understand that from when you’re running a pattern for so long and you're so used to behaving a certain way, being, doing and behaving certain way where, you know, for so much of your life I can see why you get to a point now when you do realise that you seem to be somewhat awakened now and actually I want to ask you that for what reason is it that you feel more awakened right now which is that I do have these choices and what is it that I want?

Daniella Levy: [00:16:01] I don't know. For me I felt like, so I turned 30 last year, revealing my age. Something happened, like I think I just got to 30 and went like I've had ideas for like running a business in the past and for a long time people telling me "Oh you should do that. You'd be good at that." My default reaction was always "No, I wouldn't. I don't know anything about doing that." You know, I'm just always squashed it all. And then I've watched my parents like my dad in particular who never takes risks. Never. Like he stayed in a job he was unhappy in for years and years and years and even when he was offered opportunities out, it meant relocating the family and he just refused to even consider options like that. And I watched him be miserable for years and I just decided that I was heading down that path and I didn't want to. And I had to change something. But it's a process [laughing] I'm definitely not there yet but I just decided to jump in and make the move because if I didn't then I wouldn't ever probably. And so, it's been probably the awakening as you call it. It's probably been happening over the last year or so, year and a bit. And yeah.

Anna Jonak: [00:17:27] And how do you feel in your awakening state?

Daniella Levy: [00:17:31] Scared [laughing]. And also excited but it feels like I've jumped off a cliff and I don't know where I'm going. But I guess I'm happy that at least taken the step because I know that I would regret if I hadn't.

Anna Jonak: [00:17:53] That's some really good advice.

Daniella Levy: [00:17: 59] I guess. I still feel like I've got no clue what I'm doing.

Anna Jonak: [00:18:03] Do you suppose that everybody has a clue on what they're doing?

Daniella Levy: [00:18:07] I think I did up until recently. But the more I delve into sort of this business arena I realise that hey maybe I'm more like everybody else than I thought, in that we all don't really have a clue. But I think up until now I felt like yes everybody had it together and I just had no idea what I was doing.

Anna Jonak: [00:18:32] I think that probably would come back to the expectations that you would have had on yourself for what you should know because of, you know, how you've performed previously and how you should be. I do kind of want to draw you back to the fact that there's a sense of lightness about you when you talk about being awakened and flying by the seat of your pants and jumping off a cliff, and whilst it’s scary, there's still a sense of, as you said, excitement and an awareness around the fact that you would regret not doing what you were doing [Daniella agrees]. And I think that, that's really important for you to hold onto and remember that you did make this leap. There was something which drove you to make it, to go do something for yourself when you've been on a roller coaster certainly. And you couple that with, you know, a really long experience of kind of being safe and secure in having people make decisions for you or with you or guiding you. And now you're in a different environment and you've been going for it. But I really want you to hone in on the feelings that you have around this in the positive that coincide with the negative because I think that they're important to remember and to hold on to. Because when we get overwhelmed quite often we focus on the negative. You know I don't know what I'm doing or like this is so hard and everybody else can't do this and blah blah blah. I've spoken a lot about this in some of the classes we've done recently but focus is such a key thing. So if you can focus on the fact that what is everybody else know, not how far along should I be, is this normal? And looking for answers which really support where you're at and really support your journey then that should help give you give you a better understanding of how you're travelling compared to other people. And you know, look, you're certainly making the right business decisions in the road that you've gone down with all the testing we've done, some research and you know, you're taking smart steps to making smart decisions to follow things through as opposed to you haven't just gone "hey I'm just going to jump in and fly by the seat of my pants entirely." You have actually gone through the process of doing things methodologically and say that you can learn.

 

Made-Wonderful-Models

 

Daniella Levy: [00:20:48] Yeah. Well that's thanks to you and Flori really [laughing]. I'm just really glad I found Business School for Mums because I think if it wasn't for you guys I would be doing the other method because I wouldn't know any better.

Anna Jonak: [00:20:58] But you made a decision. You have to own the decision that you made which is that you made some decisions and I think that you came across us that's fine, we came into your sphere but you still made a decision on the way that you wanted to approach this business. So I just want you to own these things because you've made good decisions. You've made good solid decisions for the business and for you. And you were very, you know, when it came to analysing the business and what you were going to do, you've made good quality decisions. So I wanna know have you made any really bad decisions, that you feel are bad decisions?

Daniella Levy: [00:21:36] Business wise you mean or just in general? Uhm I'm sure I have, nothing leaps out at me right now, as like "oh my gosh that was like the worst decision". I can't think. Yeah. I don't know. Nothing stands out as like "why did you do that, Dani?" I guess probably most of the things that I worry about don't really matter that much and the things that do I, I'm an analyser and a researcher so I don't rush into things normally without looking at all the options first. So I guess it's. Yeah [laughing].

Anna Jonak: [00:22:29] So are you saying that you actually have quite a good skill set with which to approach a decision?

Daniella Levy: [00:22:38] Yeah. Well I don't make impulse decisions. I do like to have the options in front of me but that is where I think I'll get a little bit bogged down because sometimes I don't know which option is the best option to pick so sometimes it's not even about the perfect one but there'll be A, B and C and one might be better than the others but it's working out which one is the best one.

Anna Jonak: [00:23:08] Well that still comes back to, to that hunt for the perfect, [Daniella agrees] right decision. Whereas and this is where I can see like over-analysis is where when you start to go into all the different scenarios, I think that sometimes one can go too far in these situations and there is a sense of needing to trust your gut. And also with the perspective of if I choose A, B or C what's the worst case scenario in each of these scenarios? Because quite often, the outcome is not as bad as we think it is or even if we get that outcome we can always find our way out of it. And I think that you have a focus on making the wrong decision and yet you've never made a wrong decision. So what does it mean to make a wrong decision ultimately?

Daniella Levy: [00:24:08] Well potentially failure or a lot of time wasted or a lot of money wasted. Sometimes I worry about, you know like making the right decisions can mean being economical or not wasting too much time on something. We're all pretty time-poor.

Anna Jonak: [00:24:34] And yet the irony is you spent a long time on your decisions.

Daniella Levy: [00:24:38] Yes [laughing]. That is the irony. I spent way too much time on decisions and then quite often I'll make up my mind on an option only to find that that option is no longer there because I've taken too long to make up my mind [laughing].

Anna Jonak: [00:24:52] So a lot of times, people fear failure and what they do is, as you said, they procrastinate. What you essentially do and I've said this on a class recently is we fear something and so we sit in procrastination but what we do in that time is we create a failing anyway. Because what you do is you’ve created a loss of time, you've potentially created a loss of money because of the loss of time especially if you look at the hours you're working and if you suddenly are losing options off the table then, you know, you could look at those as failures in their own right. Likewise, if you sit on a decision for so long that you just don't take action, again you're not moving your business forward. And I think that we get so caught up in the potential of this failure and this judgement and everything else that we don't realise that what we're doing is we're failing ourselves in those moment by not just kind of backing ourselves and going for it and realising also that in the moments of things not working is where normally is the biggest growth for ourselves personally and in our business. You can't be a success in anything without failing. You just can't. It's just not possible. You have to make mistakes to grow. If you did everything perfectly, I mean, it just doesn't exist. If you look at all the people that have gone out there and been successful in their careers and their lives and everything else, you will see you know f*ck up after f*ck up and you know being let down, rejection, losing money. I can't even tell you how much money we've spent this year on things like you know bad decisions and it's painful. It makes me feel sick sometimes. But sometimes you cannot foresee those things in advance. You can't foresee every single scenario when you analyse because it's not until you get into that decision and down that path that you might be delivered new information which sets you on a better path. Do you see what I mean?

Daniella Levy: [00:26:54] I do. I think I worry that if I make the wrong decision that I then wouldn't know or wouldn't be able to recover from it. So yes, you know, the stories of how many failures people have had to, in order to then reach their success. I look at that and go ok. But if I have one of those failures, how am I going to get back up? Or "how do you find the, i don't know, the resolve or even if it's monetary, what if you've used all your funds and then what?" it's sort of this big question mark that I go, well I want to avoid that happening at all cost even though I know that that's not realistic.

Anna Jonak: [00:27:37] It's not realistic but equally, as I said, sometimes it's you have to experience it to progress. Like you can't have one without the other. So it might be that loss of income. But if that loss of income in that moment sets you on a trajectory where in five months you double that income because you've found a new version of your business or a new way of doing something then that's what it's about. So you say resolve. For you, do you feel that you don't have resolve or you don't have a determination or a drive?

Daniella Levy: [00:28:10] No I've always been pretty determined. But I suppose I've never had a very good self-esteem so maybe it's more that that I'm worried about that I would take it as a like personally and then see it as a personal failure and not want to continue because I would then feel like I personally failed.

Anna Jonak: [00:28:46] Okay, so come back to that what was that all about. Talk to me about "I don't have good esteem" that you kind of glossed over it and continue talking. What does that mean?

Daniella Levy: [00:29:03] [Laughing] That I just don't, I guess I struggle to see my own self-worth. So I always put everyone else's needs around me above my own. And I think just my own self-talk is, can be a lot of the time fairly negative just like I'm not good enough, I'm not this, I'm not that. Even though I'm aware of it. And yeah I guess I'll try to change it. But still my bent is to that sort of I'm not enough.

Anna Jonak: [00:29:52] So I understand it's coming back to if you were to fail and make a poor decision then it's not about the fact that, you know, something didn't work out, it's about it's a reflection on you being not good enough to have made the right decision. It's an impact on you and how you view yourself [Daniella agrees]. And how long do you feel that you've had that view of yourself?

Daniella Levy: [00:30:22] Always. I don't remember when, but as long as I can remember.

Anna Jonak: [00:30:28] And, can you think of an association with where that may link back to?

Daniella Levy: [00:30:40] I think it must come back to my relationship with my dad somewhere. I think he probably feels the same way about himself. His self-talk is always pretty negative. And I think having seen that modelled, I've adopted it myself. I think it's been there from childhood like I don't think I've ever felt good enough so probably, I mean, somewhat tied into the whole performance at school and you know always, you know like 98 percent was not good enough. But I think just seeing him that's how he's lived out his life and I think part of me just felt like that's how nearly like having self-worth is being arrogant. That sounds weird but uhm like if you think of yourself as good at anything then you're, you know like, nearly like you've got tickets on yourself. But I started to realise that that's just silly. But I think that's just what I grew up believing.

Anna Jonak: [00:32:17] That's great to have that awareness around the fact that, that is a belief that you've carried around because certainly if you are walking around with that's not good enough, keep going, why haven't you got this grade. And then this kind of like oh well you know you're doing well but don't have tickets on yourself. It's like you're kind of like a double edged sword. You're kind of driven to perform but then you don't get the praise for the performing. So it's like you can't win.

Daniella Levy: [00:32:46] Pretty much yeah that's how I felt.

Anna Jonak: [00:32:51] Yeah, which sucks [Daniella agrees]. It sucks if you've been working yourself working hard to achieve to get, you know, to get that I guess acceptance and kind of feeling of worthiness to then not get that recognised and also get told to kind of like you know settle down and don't think too much of yourself. I can completely see how that, over time, would have an impact on you just potentially shutting a side of yourself off whereby you would just kind of going through the motions and you just kind of being there and doing everything for everybody without actually kind of having to go through the pleasure or the pain and the association with what it means to be, you know, to you to be accepted and to not be accepted and to stop, I guess to almost stop thinking about you. Does that make sense?

Daniella Levy: [00:33:48] Yeah it does. Yeah. For a long time I told myself I didn't need to worry about myself. It was just more important to focus on everyone else and if I could do that then that was I guess in a way my achievement if I could keep everyone else happy that that was good enough and good enough again. Yes. And not like, I just wouldn't think about myself because that was too hard that I could at least...

Anna Jonak: [00:34:19] Because it was painful either way when you think about yourself [Daniella agrees]. Well that's quite a big… if you think about it, it's pretty big that what you've done is you've just denied yourself. You've denied yourself because of the pain that's been associated with thinking about yourself in the scenario that you've had it. I mean that's your experience and obviously that's not how life has to be. It's certainly just the environment with which you are in and the pattern that you were used to and I can understand that sense of numbing out and putting everybody else first so that you don't have to feel that sort of sense of disappointment and yet it still kind of spills into everything that you do.

Daniella Levy: [00:35:07] Totally. Yeah I feel like uhm yeah, disappointment's a good word. Like I feel like I'm always at risk of disappointing probably mostly myself. But yeah.

Anna Jonak: [00:35:18] So what does it mean to, like what's the opposite of disappointment for you?

Daniella Levy: [00:35:31] The opposite of disappointment. Wow. I don't know. If I know the answer to that... I don't think I've let myself go there.

Anna Jonak: [00:35:51] Go there.

Daniella Levy: [00:35:52] [Laughing] Oh gosh. I guess it would actually be feeling okay about myself like feeling like I can do this and that what I'm doing is worthwhile and that I'm as well.

Anna Jonak: [00:36:13] If you can't express it you can't have it. Put it that way. If you deny even saying the words out loud and you don't have an expression for it, how can one ever achieve it?

Daniella Levy: [00:35:24] True. Yeah, well it would be, yeah, feeling worthwhile feeling like I matter.

Anna Jonak: [00:36:30] Do you think that you matter to all the people in your life?

Daniella Levy: [00:36:32] Yep, Yep

[]Anna Jonak: [00:36:38] So what's it gonna take for you to believe that you matter for you, that you are enough?

Daniella Levy: [00:36:46] I think we're coming back to the achieving thing again [laughing] I guess. Yeah.

Anna Jonak: [00:36:53] That goes back to an external validation. You need that, success comes back to external validation because it's what you're used to. [Daniella agrees] What about being authentic to you? Coming back to your wants and your needs and your hopes and your dreams? That can be seen as a measure of you, accepting and loving you, is honouring you.

Daniella Levy: [00:37:17] Yeah, I think, yeah, just feeling like, being who I am is okay. Yeah.

Anna Jonak: [00:37:30] You know you need an internal barometer for yourself because what happens with people in your situation, and I can say the same thing because I've been in a very similar situation with my parenting, is that ultimately, if you're constantly looking for external validation to feel okay, that's when you have the highs and the lows because the whole environment and the way everybody sees you basically is how you end up seeing yourself. So if you're looking out and you're getting praised and people are loving you then you feel good and then if you, you know, things don't work then you suddenly feel like crap. And that's where you kind of get the ping pong up and down as opposed to in the face of the good and the bad, knowing within anyway "I'm enough and I've got this" and that’s, at the moment, is why the failure feels so big because as you said you fear that you can't get back up. I don't know if I've got the resolve because you're not allowing yourself to trust yourself. You're not coming back to that place of saying "I am enough. I can do this."

Daniella Levy: [00:38:33] Yeah. Yeah. Trusting myself. Wooh. Yeah that's a good one. It's not something I've done.

Anna Jonak: [00:38:44] Trusting yourself. That's why you over-analyse everything because you're making it external. You're making it about everything else [Daniella agrees]. So, you're never allowing it to come back to you because if you make a decision and you trust yourself and then it fails then what.

Daniella Levy: [00:39:05] Yeah. Then I failed when really it's just the circumstance.

Anna Jonak: [00:39:11] Really I just tried. I tried something. We definitely need to come back to the perception of what it means to try and what it means to fail but ultimately you need to come back to like I said that barometer for you of what it means to be okay and that sense of looking around your family and going "I'm loved. I'm enough. I've got, you know, an incredibly supportive husband who's been by my side as I've gone down this road. And this awakening and he's been supporting me in letting me do my thing. I've become a voice in the community, in our community where people know you and respect what you're doing and you know you're putting your incredible vision out there to create and inspire change for a generation." I mean I said that at the beginning. Like that's not a small thing that you're doing.

Daniella Levy: [00:40:04] Yeah yeah. And that's why I'm doing it because I don't want my kids to grow up like I have. I want them to have that self-worth and to know what they're worth. I mean, heck but I can't do that for them if I don't find it for myself. And I know that.

Anna Jonak: [00:40:23] So no but. So finish that you can, you can try that sentence again.

Daniella Levy: [00:40:30] I will find it for myself and they will have a different upbringing. They will know their self-worth.

Anna Jonak: [00:40:35] They will see their self-worth because they'll see it in you. You're certainly, you're doing all the right things as a role model for them with what you're putting out there and I think that perhaps that you can see the journey that you've been on as leading you to this point where you are here to go on and empower others.

Daniella Levy: [00:40:54] Yeah I hope so. Well yes that's right [laughing].

Anna Jonak: [00:41:00] I think you need to come back like, your story will dictate how the outcome of everything. It's the story that you tell yourself. So you get to decide what you make this story mean. You can look at the fact that, you know, perfection and striving and achievement and kind of being in a painful state of kind of like don't love yourself too much. But, you know, keep working harder it's not enough. You can look at all this stuff and you can make it mean I can’t make decisions and I'm going to go into overwhelm and all these things or you can say you know what, this has led me to a path where I'm right now to a point where I've taken a leap into a business and I'm creating something special for a generation of people and I'm now about to go on a personal journey which can be documented alongside what I'm doing, like this could be something, I think I've said this to your forum, like this is your journey. This is an opportunity for you to vocalise the pain, the disappointment, the frustration, the awakening, the self-love, the trying, this vision of you taking this journey and taking this step and being authentic and being open is an opportunity for you to heal and to share and to be something incredibly significant. Or you can choose it to mean that you're going to overwhelm and you don't make decisions.

Daniella Levy: [00:42:19] Wow. Yeah. Well I definitely want to choose the first.

Anna Jonak: [00:42:24] It's way cooler, right?

Daniella Levy: [00:42:27] [Laughing] Definitely and less time consuming. Well, I don't know about the time consuming. But yes way cooler. And will help other people.

Anna Jonak: [00:42:35] Certainly. Can you see the difference when you look at it as in "I can make this mean something incredible" or "I can make this, I can just fall into a heap and feel sorry for myself"?

Daniella Levy: [00:42:47] Yeah. When you put it like that uhm, yeah, it's definitely, wanna take it by the reins then and make it something and not be the person falling in a heap,which I have been.

Anna Jonak: [00:43:06] Pity party for one. Just pity party here I am. Let's go, everybody.

Daniella Levy: [00:43:14] Yeah I'm good at throwing those [laughing]. No. That's something I don't want to do anymore.

Anna Jonak: [00:43:20] So if we're looking at this as chapters, let's look at what do we want to call the old chapter?

Daniella Levy: [00:43:32] Uhm, the past. Let's just call it the past.

Anna Jonak: [00:43:36] You need something you need something better than that.

Daniella Levy: [00:43:40] Oh I don't know . Uhm [thinking]... the Dani who doesn't believe in herself.

Anna Jonak: [00:43:48] So we've got Dani who doesn't believe in herself, who goes into overwhelm, has a bit of a pity party, goes into a place where she denies herself [Daniella agrees] and she chooses to not feel. She chooses to put everybody else first in an attempt to get some sort of satisfaction [Daniella agrees]. And the flipside, if that's the old chapter, what's the new chapter?

Daniella Levy: [00:44:24] The Dani who trusts herself to make decisions.

Anna Jonak: [00:44:30] And tell me a bit about what that looks like?

Daniella Levy: [00:44:35] So I guess I would mean not to over analysing decisions and knowing that most of the time I got decisions probably the right one and if I'm not sure knowing that I, trusting that I can research enough to make a good decision.

Anna Jonak: [00:44:53] Or that you can recover or even if the decision's not right that you can recover.

Daniella Levy: [00:45:00] That I can recover. Yeah I'm cringing as I say that. But yes knowing that I can recover.

Anna Jonak: [00:44:06] Hang on. Have you been through childbirth? Like are you kidding me? Like we can recover. Have you been through identity crisis since having children? [Daniella agrees and laughing] Exactly and look at what you are doing? You've recovered. You've stepped into something. You went into a degree, didn't like it, stepped out. You recovered.

Daniella Levy: [00:45:33] That took a long time. But yeah.

Anna Jonak: [00:45:36] But you did. Doesn't matter whether it's a long time or not. I want you to see what else have you done where you've recovered? Where you've persisted? Children, partner, education, study.

Daniella Levy: [00:45:54] Yeah. Yeah well I mean hey when you're a mum you're just persist don’t you. You don't have a choice in that. But yeah. I don't know. This is a struggle. Well I can't even recognise what I've done.

Anna Jonak: [00:46:11] You can. And you can right now with me. So I think of something.

Daniella Levy: [00:46:15] Think of something.

Anna Jonak: [00:46:18] What would your husband say?

Daniella Levy: [00:46:20] What would he say? [Thinking] He'd say we've gotten to nearly 11 years of marriage.

Anna Jonak: [00:46:27] Far out [amazed]. That's incredible. Hello. That takes resolve.

Daniella Levy: [00:46:42] That I stuck it out in a very interesting job for 8 years. And got to my long service. Oh yeah.

Anna Jonak: [00:46:54] So you've done a couple of things where you've been able to go the hard yards. You've also been in a position where you've started to make some decisions. You've kind of jumped into this last 18 months. You said it's all been a bit crazy. I think you're starting to see that there are certainly characteristics within yourself which demonstrate that you do have a sense of resolve and an ability to recover and keep on. And I think that that will only grow the more that you take steps where you do begin to trust yourself because you need again, all of this is about practicing of flexing the muscle. Just remember up until now everything's a pattern that you've been rocking. And you've been 7 year old Dani. You've been young Dani trying to protect herself in amongst the chaos of family life as it was for you. And it was easier just to kind of play small, stay small, stay quiet, please everybody and to not feel the good or the bad because you didn't really get the good and the bad didn't feel good. So let's not feel it. It's old you, it's old Dani but when you feel that now, I just want you to remember that that is a 7 year old protecting themselves and our patterns stem from our childhood. And what you need to realise now is that you are stepping into adult life and where you are right now is still running your seven year old strategies. So it's okay. And it's going to feel normal for you to keep thinking that way because it's habitual. It's a habit now. It's natural for you to kind of default into this behaviour. But what you need to do is step into 30 year old kick ass Dani that says that's old chapter. That's not me. That's the old chapter. And you know she did what she did because she needed to survive right now and I'm in a new season of my life and the new version of my life is me trusting myself because I'm going to do that for the old me and I'm going to do that for my kids and I'm going to do that for the business that I'm creating and I'm gonna create a movement, a moment. I'm going to have a conversation. I think there is so much that you can do with your story to share. And I trust that by you doing this just now that you have tons of people through our community who have been through similar experiences that can feel your pain and appreciate the journey that you're on. And I admire you and champion you on. And by you doing that, by you being able to be vulnerable and be here, you're giving other people permission to go and do that, which is exactly what this whole brand and your whole business is all about.

Daniella Levy: [00:49:26] Yeah it is. And I just, yeah, I've never wanted to get that vulnerability out there but that's what it's going to take to make this successful and for me to [thinking]... be okay with myself. It's actually realising that it's okay. Yeah. And being okay with who I am, enough to put myself out there.

Anna Jonak: [00:50:06] And you know you will see that people will open up to you and will appreciate your candour and your vulnerability and they will love you for it. And you will see that in doing that, like you said you're gonna see be you and be authentic to you and your world will begin to change because you'll see how people are when they're actually seeing you for you, not for the, you know, trying to be perfect, trying to have it altogether, trying this, trying that, make the right decision just for the person who's standing their going it's not easy. It's hard. It sucks sometimes. But you know what, I'm going to be the best mother I can be. I'm going to create a kick ass business and I'm going to empower the people around me and the kids around me and I want to do this with everybody out there. We're going to do this together.

Daniella Levy: [00:50:59] Yup. That's what I want. Not the perfect Dani or the trying to be perfect Dani but the real Dani.

Anna Jonak: [00:51:07] The real Dani. Oh you said that. [both laughing]

Daniella Levy: [00:51:11] I said it.

Anna Jonak: [00:51:15] Did everybody else hear that? She wants to be the real Dani and she wants to have her voice heard. You want to have your message out there. And you're going to. I got tears and goosebumps which means that I know that you got to a point that you needed to get to.

Daniella Levy: [00:51:40] Yeah definitely. Thanks Anna. It's the real Dani moving forward, not the trying to be perfect Dani.

Anna Jonak: [00:51:48] The real Dani. Ah stop it, I'm getting goosebumps head to toe.

Daniella Levy: [00:51:53] [laughing] I’ve got my tissues here

Anna Jonak: [00:51:47] I knew I'd break you eventually. [both laughing] Everyone comes along. I'm going to bring tissues. The real Dani. There it is. I love it. You said it, the real Dani. I can't wait to see the real Dani step into her power. And get messy and be real and mess up because it's all going to happen but be okay with it.

Daniella Levy: [00:52:19] Yeah. It's time to be okay with it. Yeah I've been afraid of it for too long. But yeah I'm not going to be afraid of it anymore.

Anna Jonak: [00:52:28] And I believe you. I can see your demeanour. Like I obviously, I get to video so I can watch your demeanour change. So tell me how did you feel right now compared to when you sat down with me?

Daniella Levy: [00:52:42] I feel like like a load's been taken off. Yeah. Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. That suddenly it's not about everything having to be perfect but just being [thinking]... being real even if that means, like you said, it's messy and it's not perfect. Yeah being okay with imperfect.

Anna Jonak: [00:53:16] Exactly. I love it. And can I just say that you look like you've just like [laughing] you look like you've just smoked a joint right now, you're really like... she's gone from hyper Dani to like yeah I'm just chill. I'm okay [both laughing]. I love it.

Daniella Levy: [00:53:35] I think I'm just taking it all in. It's like wow okay i can do it because suddenly it's not about trying to do everything.

Anna Jonak: [00:53:44] It's just about being the real Dani. It's just about being real.

Daniella Levy: [00:53:49] And I am Dani so I can do that [both laughing].

Anna Jonak: [00:53:54] And you know what, this could be one of the messages that you have on one of your t shirts. Just thinking about maybe something like this. You've got be you. I love that. Be you. Be real.Something along those lines like cement it.. cement it for yourself with something that you can like have something you can look out or wear or you know have plastered somewhere that is something signature for you that really demonstrates this whole thing.

Daniella Levy: [00:54:18] Yeah that's a great idea. I need to make myself my own T-shirt. Be my own brand ambassador [both laughing].

Anna Jonak: [00:54:29] I don't think you realise you're going to be. I think this is a journey, that you go on, that your story is what will bring your crowd by sharing, by being able to be on video and by sharing this stuff. I think that it's going to be truly special. Okay. So I would like you to share one key take out. I'm going to end with a parting thought shortly. But what I would like for you to do is give the listeners out there something for them to think about based on your journey over the last hour or so with me.

Daniella Levy: [00:55:10] I think it would just be realising that imperfect is okay.

Anna Jonak: [00:54:18] It totally is. In fact, and this is going to be perfect because my parting thought is "perfect and bullet proof are seductive but they don't exist in the human experience. We must walk into the arena whatever it may be, a new relationship, an important meeting, our creative process or a difficult family conversation with courage and the willingness to engage. Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgement and advice, we must dare to show up." - Brené Brown. And even that does give me goosebumps because I think it's like so perfect in terms of just doing that daring to show up, daring to be you.

Daniella Levy: [00:55:54] Yeah. And it totally is daring because it's not easy but it's better than the alternative of sitting on the sidelines.

Anna Jonak: [00:56:11] So show up. Stand up. Be you. Be real. Be authentic. Be imperfect. That's it.

Daniella Levy: [00:56:22] Well yeah. One of our T-shirt says Free to Be Me. So yeah that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to be me.

Anna Jonak: [00:56:27] Yes. And I ask everybody actually that is listening to this episode if they'd like to share some thoughts with Daniella then please drop us a line at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. We would love to share thoughts and in fact when this episode goes up, come on comment on the post. Come and champion her on. I know that our sisters, there'll be many of our sisters when this one comes up in the Facebook community they will be high fiving you and no doubt crying along, feeling all of the feelings and thanking you for just being real, the coming on the journey and showing them something that they can learn and within themselves as well. So you were very brave to stand here and do this. And I salute you for that and I know many others will and I think this is the first steps for you of the real you, trusting yourself.

Daniella Levy: [00:57:20] Yes. Thanks Anna.

Anna Jonak: [00:57:25] Okay. Well, look, let's we've got to give the end. We've got to give everybody. And remember as we wrap things up for that you guys have got to show up too, okay, and remember to be brave in your business.

 

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Based in Sydney but servicing clients worldwide, Business School for Mums (BSFM) is an education hub for Mums in Business. Founded by Anna and Flori in Sydney in 2016, BSFM’s mission is clear - to deliver Mums all the coaching, training & resources they need to ensure RESULTS in their small business.

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