What do you do when faced with a difficult and uncomfortable conversation?
Do you wish you had someone to problem-solve with?
Do you need another set of ears at that doctor's or lawyer's appointment?
Do you have to figure out how to lay off a dozen loyal employees?
If you answered yes, then you need Debra Woog.
Debra A. Woog is a Crisis Navigation PartnerTM with 30+ years of experience as a leadership researcher, executive, and advisor. Her purpose is to walk alongside overwhelmed, on-their-own women in difficult situations, nourishing them to lead strategically to the best possible outcomes.
The Boston Globe profiled Debra for her outstanding abilities to select talented candidates, motivate and develop employees, and resolve conflicts between people as well as between organizations. Her work has also been featured in Forbes, Inc., U.S. News & World Report, and more, and now, Permission to Heal.
Connect with Debra
Official Website, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn.
Debra created a 10-question quiz to show women their Competence Archetypes and give them personalized tips for making daily life easier. So many people are receiving so much value from the Competence Archetype Assessment. Several people have asked her for more background info on her HyperCompetence concept.
Here's the blog post that started it all. She created a virtual course called How to Win-Win Any Difficult Conversation to help women learn to navigate hard conversations with confidence and say what they want and feel heard.
Connect with Marci
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Hello, and welcome to permission to heal. I am Marci Brockman, and I am thrilled that you are here today. Today. I have a phenomenal conversation with Debra Vogue. She is a crisis navigation partner. This is a career that she herself has coined and created. She has over 30 years of experience as a leadership researcher, executive, and advisor.
She conducted primary research at Harvard business school for an award-winning book, directed admissions and career development for the MIT dual-degree MBA program leaders for global operations advised nine technology startups as director of people's strategy for Cambridge incubator. Boston globe profiled Debra for her outstanding abilities to select talented candidates, to motivate and develop employees, to resolve conflicts between people as well as between organizations.
Her work has also been featured in Forbes, us news and world report, and more. And now on permission to. So you, we, we talk a lot about what a crisis navigation partner is and what a crisis navigation partner does, and who are the ideal clients of this crisis navigation partner? She talks a lot about how to create healthy relationships and have conversations with people.
Are true to your values and true to your boundaries. She's got a 10 question quiz to show women, their competence, archetypes, a personality type, quiz that to show you what your competence archetype is. And, I took it as fun. I love taking online quizzes like that.
She also has a virtual course called how to win when any difficult conversation. And we just talked about being single moms and we talked about parenting and we talked about our children and we talked about meditative art. Very cool. Very cool. So, stay tuned. You're going to love it.
Well welcome Deborah. How are you? I'm great. So good to see you. I'm excited to be here. Yeah. It's fun. It's fun. I love podcasting. I feel like you know, it's like an intimate little conversation between you and I, and yet we don't know how many tens of thousands of people are listening. Yeah. Tens of thousands. All right. Well, let's hope here's hoping, so, okay. Let's just jump in with the six quick questions and then we'll get into talking about crisis navigation. Okay. Why not? Right. So what six words would you use to describe yourself?
Compassionate. This is what I, how I try to be compassionate, inspiring. I have three. Let me think about what the words are. They don't have to be at. Curious of it ought to be adjectives. Oh, I see. I get it like identity mom, entrepreneur. I mean, I said describe, so you would think adjective, but suddenly somebody at one point way back in the beginning of this podcast was used nouns and verbs.
Wow. Okay. To speech cool. Or Jared's or, you know, whatever. What's your favorite way to spend a day? For me, it's a treat to have a day that's completely unplanned and unstructured. And I can just go with the flow of what I feel like doing and be with people that I love. Nice. I love to be at the ocean any time of year.
So if there's a walk involved and it's on the beach, even better, regardless of the weather. Yeah. I like the beach in the winter and the fall and the winter and early spring, better than the summer. I don't really like to go to the beach in the summer. It's too hot. It's too crowded. I don't like sweating.
I don't like sweating, eating, like I'll wear headphones as earmuffs and, you know, walk the boardwalk and February. Why not? Number three. What is your favorite wet? No. What is your favorite childhood memory? That's it childhood memory?
Hmm, that's a good question. Hmm. I moved around a lot as a kid and so my favorite memories have to do with being in the different houses. Different friends who are local to the different places that we lived. Interesting. And, I had a, just one specific one. I had a best friend when we lived in Omaha, Nebraska.
Her name is Dana Wayne. Hi, Dana, shout out to Dana Wayne. And she was an only child and I'm the oldest child. And our parents became friends. We knew each other from synagogue Hebrew school school. And I loved going to her house. It was very different than being at my house and it taught me it was probably quieter, quieter, but it, it was a place where people were less super busy and more present.
Ah, and I loved the feeling there and. That experience of going there over the course of those four years that we lived there taught me a lot about how I wanted my own home to be one day. Interesting. So peaceful, present, mindful, reflective, quiet. I mean, my home was loving in a way, but verbally expressive about loving each other.
I never heard people say to each other. I love you. Wow. I was at their house in fourth to seventh grade. I was like, they just say it. And like they hang up the phone or somebody is leaving. Bye. I love you. What? Wow. Wow. I know that. I was from a very, demonstratively, emotionally demonstrative family.
[00:04:28] And when I started dating my first husband and I got into their family, I I'm a hugger, you know, I hug, you know, I won't hug strangers, but I, I hug everyone. I know, to me, that's how I express affection. And so I started hugging and my, my who wound up being my mother-in-law was just initially like a little taken aback.
[00:04:53] And then I felt her just like fall into the hug and, and I started hugging and physical contact, and I love you with his parents and his brother and him and, and, and that sort of gave them the cue to do that. And so they were starting to do that as well, but he had told me that his parents hadn't lived that way, or hadn't done that before I entered the family, which is interesting.
[00:05:25] And the same thing happened in my family. My family saw that and started modeling it more. And I was like, I would come home and I would try it out. I think it was good. I think we all need reminders. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. Life's too hard to, to have to guess. You know, like I know she loves me because she wanted me to call her when I got home or I know she loves me cause she said I should wear a sweater when I leave, which are all expressions of affection.
[00:05:55] But sometimes it's just nice to have someone say, Deborah, I love you. Yeah, absolutely. Love ya. Talk to you later. You know, we need these things. Yep. Wonderful. I love that. Okay. Number four. What is your favorite meal?
[00:06:15] It's ice cream. A meal can be the way I eat it. It can be my favorite food is ice cream. Any specific place? I go back and forth between peppermint stick, really flash mint, chocolate chip, or anything with peanut butter and chocolate combined. Oh, nice. They're my favorites. And in general, my favorite cuisine is Mexican, like TexMex or like more, you know, traditional Mexican,
[00:06:50] but anything that food that is from my childhood of growing up in a Jewish family and things that we had on holidays. That's probably my favorite, like lots of belts. My grandmother's brisket, my grandmother's noodle kugel. Yeah, exactly. Things that remind my grandmother's apple cake from Russia, Shanna, you know, those things, those that's where my favorite meal or holiday meals.
[00:07:16] Yeah. I love, love, love, love, love. It is my absolute favorite. I love the talking. I love the Seder part. I love the, the, the, the courses. I love the symbolism. I just soup to nuts. The whole thing. Yes. And it's musical and it's, it's just lovely. You know, even we do our own reformed, strange, you know, family adaptations with all sorts of, I just, I just love it.
[00:07:47] It's my favorite. My favorite I would do Seders. Maybe it's more special cause it's only twice a year, you know, the first and the second. But, uh, I was going to say that I would like to do it more often, but it might be annoying. It might not be as special if we did it more often. Anyway, number five, what one piece of advice would you like to give your younger self?
[00:08:11] You are enough exactly. As you are beautiful. I think we all could have really used to have been told that in a way that we could have heard it. Yeah. Yes. I mean, I was, when you say younger, I mean, I think of myself as a teenager, as a child, but this applies to me for, you know, decades after that to always feeling like I needed to do more, be more aspire, more, go farther, get higher.
[00:08:45] And I spent so much time in the getting there wherever there was that I rarely was present there. Yeah. So, uh, yeah, that's an important thing. And then I'm working on. My own kids to know that too. I mean, it's great to have ambition and it's great to learn and try new things and go for the next level and get to the next destination on the journey.
[00:09:19] But your worthiness of love and belonging are not contingent upon any events, not contingent upon anything you've done or anything you've accomplished. Right. Right. You're valuable just by the sheer fact that you're bringing breathing air into your lungs. That's it? That's all you have to do, keep breathing.
[00:09:37] And you're worthy of all the love and belonging in the world. Yeah. Every single person is right. Yeah. I didn't know that until at least 40, if not later, probably 44 40 and I'm 40 53. So I mean, it's only within the last decade that I figured this out. Yeah. Yeah. That's one thing I think I understood. I think I knew it in a lecture.
[00:10:05] In my thirties, but I didn't embrace it in my heart till my forties, I think. Yeah. And I still, I need to remind myself, oh, I think we all do. I think society has done a number on women for millennia, you know, you're, you're the homemaker, you're the one who's still nurture your family. You're the one who you had to stand behind your husband and make him meals.
[00:10:29] And you know, that we're, we're only valuable through service to others. We're only valuable by how much we can do for other people, the selfless mom, you know, and I, I think that, you know, my mom always used to say that that love and relationships required sacrifice. And I, I think I intuited that to mean that I was the sacrifice that I was the sacrificial lamb in all of, for Jewish metaphors here.
[00:11:00] Um, for. Yeah, right there. Right. I was the sacrificial lamb, so that, that in order to be worthy of the love and relationships and whatever that I had, that it was me that had to give up whatever it was that I wanted in the name of supporting others and all that made with me resentful. I had this very conversation with my 17 year old daughter today, today, today, today.
[00:11:34] Tell us about that Kenya. What was it like? Sure. Well she's a senior in high school and as we know, being a senior in high school as a stressful time, hell yeah, he is a volleyball player in Massachusetts. Volleyball is a fall sport. Okay. And she's applying to college and wants to do as many of our applications early, you know, early decision and early action as she can, which means the month of October is holy hell.
[00:12:01] Yeah, yeah. Between school and volleyball and applying to college it's a lot. Yeah. And I am fortunate enough that timing worked out for me, that the mini van I bought when my son was one in 2003 is still going. And so I didn't know how much longer it was going to be going. And in February of 2020, I bought another car.
[00:12:34] Okay. So now the minivan still running. So my kids can use the minivan. My son is a freshman in college, so he's away. So Kira gets to drive this hunk of metal around wherever she goes, which is great. However, she feels like she has to give everybody rides, spend all the time, doing all the carpooling and.
[00:12:58] She wants to make other people happy. And I'm trying to teach her this lesson of give from the saucer, not from the cup. Ooh, nice do that. You will have enough energy, not all the time, but sometimes over the course of your lifetime to be very generous with other people and the way that you want to. Right now, you're feeling completely drained and depleted.
[00:13:24] You don't have to drive so-and-so home just because you said she, you would, because in fact you have somewhere else you need to be. And I don't want you missing that because you're driving her home. But I already told her that I would drive her home and I'm so sick of people asking me for things. And then I'm feeling resentful.
[00:13:42] I think that's a very natural reaction when you don't say no start feeling resentful of what you're giving, because you're not giving from a saucer you're drained right now, empty cup. And you need to take care of yourself. So I said that car I give to you and Aiden to drive for your convenience and wellbeing and for my convenience and wellbeing, that's it.
[00:14:09] Right. I'm saying that that's absolutely, those are my priorities in that order first year, then me and I don't want you doing anything as a favor to other people that will interfere with your own wellbeing. Did she hear you? She did actually a lot of this conversations over texts cause it was during school.
[00:14:31] Okay. And she texted her friends and she was like, well, I can't, I can't just tell her this. And I said, you can, you could just be very clear and kind, you can say, I overestimated how much I could do today. And I realized they don't have enough time to take you home before I have to get to my appointment after school.
[00:14:50] So I can't take you home today. Right? That's good that you gave her the verbiage so that she didn't have to stumble over what to say. She just had to, yeah. She texted her friend bandaid off and do it. It made it her appointment. She took care of herself. Sure. The friendship is not damaged at all. Her friend was probably like, okay, I'll find another way home.
[00:15:13] So I mean, her, her, her friend said something in response that was very like vague, like oh, okay. Or something. And she said, oh no, my friend is upset. I said, you know what? That's probably don't know. Oh, okay. Is maybe she was in class and didn't have time to. But anyway, if she is upset, what you think, what she thinks of you is actually none of your business right now.
[00:15:34] All you need to do is focus on taking care of yourself and getting through this month. Isn't this your expertise though, helping people through difficult conversations and difficult relationships. So there you go. I use that at home because I had to learn these things the hard way and we teach what we're here to learn.
[00:15:56] Okay. Last quick question. What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world? Oh my goodness. Um, I believe that if more people had greater capacity for empathy, the world would be a better, more balanced, equitable place overall. And I think empathy is a highly under developed quality in too many people still yeah.
[00:16:35] On our planet. No. I agree. I agree. I think if we got, if we increased empathy, so many things would decrease, right, right. Greed and narcissism and, and, and hoarding. And like, we want all the power and the money because you'd start thinking about other people. Yeah. And justice would increase. Absolutely equity would increase.
[00:17:00] Absolutely. Absolutely. My, my last guest on my podcast for the episode that dropped this week, um, Dr. Jess day was actually talking about, um, wisdom, but also that increasing empathy and the capacity for connection, that empathy allows, reduces the amount of shrinkage in people's physical brains. Wow. So there's a neuro biological route into why this is a good thing for us.
[00:17:39] Empathy keeps you smart. That's so interesting. What a soundbite? I think he said him pick hippocampus. Don't ask me he's the PhD. I mean, he's the, he's the, he's the doctor, the MD neuropsychiatrist. I'm the English teacher with the podcast. So I don't, I think he said hippocampus, but, but rather than shrink people, people who go out of their way to create more empathy and more connection and more community in their lives, especially as we age, they, they keep their brains active.
[00:18:11] It keeps their, their, you know, the whole mind body connection keeps their bodies more active. Keeps keep helps them. Retain more of their brain and their mental faculties then without it. Yes. Beautiful. Okay. So now let's get into these things. Okay. What is a crisis navigation partner? I've never heard this phrase in my life.
[00:18:39] I mean, I know what each of the word reach of the words means alone, but how do you put them together? Surprised you've never heard this in your life because I kind of made it up. I kind of made up my own profession. Oh, good. Deb. I love this. And um, so before you even get into this, everyone who's listening, this woman, this brilliant, gorgeous woman made up her own profession and didn't need anybody's God damn permission, butter.
[00:19:05] That's right. And you can make up your own profession too. It's totally fine with me. I signed everyone's permission slip to do it. They can sign their own damn permission. It's permission to heal. You don't need anybody's permission, but your own you're exactly right. Tisha. So anyway, a crisis navigation partner is a designated confidential resource to help you lead your way through difficult situations to the best possible outcome.
[00:19:38] So what that means for me is that I work primarily with women, primarily with leaders, but I work with men as well to help them with challenging situations that they're facing personally or professionally. And the challenge could be coming from the personal context or the professional context, but either way, it's going to affect you personally.
[00:20:03] And I help by being a thought partner by connecting you to the right resources. I do outsourced research project, but you can outsource the research to me. If you don't have time to get all the information you need in order to make the decision under pressure. And I help people strategize their communications.
[00:20:25] Wow. Difficult conversations come part and parcel in crisis. And I help people figure out what it is they want to communicate and how to say it. Wow. So, so do people contact you for, for short periods of time or extended? Well, initially people contact me for short periods of time and then sometimes it goes on.
[00:20:50] So for example, I have a client I just wrapped up working with after about a year, she came to me as a vice president of marketing. Whose partner had been diagnosed the month before with glioblastoma life partner or business partner, her life partner. Okay. They were not married. Um, and they actually had their, you know, our age and they had, uh, been dating like on and off for four years.
[00:21:23] So they hadn't actually made a life commitment to each other, whether or not that's called marriage. Like they hadn't made that decision. We're spending the rest of our lives together. Right. Um, but she was his primary person and he is going through brain cancer and she was doing everything she could for him.
[00:21:39] And it was affecting her experience at work and her career and her own health actually. And so we work together to figure out a plan to make it more manageable so that she could show up for her. And at the same time, I mean, that's a tough nut to crack. You know, we haven't said I do is we haven't really committed ourselves to one another completely.
[00:22:04] And yet I'm now your responsibility, responsible person for all of your medical decisions. And so it was kind of dancing through that and figuring that out. I mean, is she actually responsible for his medical decisions if they haven't made that commitment? And she had to learn to put herself back into that equation.
[00:22:24] A lot of times the people I work with or what I call the person zero in the crisis, they're the person with the diagnosis. They're the person who just got divorced. They're the person who, has to lay off all the other people at work. But other times, probably maybe 60% of the time the people I work with are the people that I call the point.
[00:22:44] People for the person zero in the crisis is as intense and difficult to. The person, the point person sometimes as it is to be the point person that sorry, as it is to be the person zero in the middle of the situation. Well, I'm sure there's a degree of helplessness that you have being the point person.
[00:23:06] You know, you're not ultimately responsible for decisions and you're not ultimately responsible for sometimes you are, if it's your child. Oh yeah. That's true. That's true. Yeah, that's true. Yeah. I have a story about my own kids that I always think of when they were young, they both have peanut allergies and one of them bit into a peanut butter cream filled what BPI, without knowing that was the kind of cream and the Whoopie pie.
[00:23:34] Oh no. And the other one smelled it and said, stop. That's been about it. I can smell it and said, okay, we need the epi pen. And you know, she was. they were seven and nine. So my daughter was seven when this happened and she was the one who said, dad, get the epi pen, stopped the driving the car. We have to go to the hospital, give him the shot.
[00:23:58] I got to the hospital, I wasn't with them. I got to the hospital. Aiden was covered from head to toe in these horrible highs. This was after the epi pen and more epinephrin. Wow. And he was totally fine the next day. Just completely fine. Thank God your daughter had her head about her. Yeah, she always does.
[00:24:19] But even at that tender age of seven, but Kira was traumatized from it. Asia was walking around, went back to school and back to playing on the playground and everything was totally fine. You know, he had a weird day at night in the hospital. Completely fine, but she, she was really shaken up and she was the point person.
[00:24:36] And she had gone to the post-traumatic stress of being the one who was on in that moment. Right. And he actually. That's interesting. He was the one that you potentially could have died. Right, right. Then had they not done the right things? Yeah. We had a sort of similar experience. My son has a anaphylactic seafood allergy, and we went to one of those hibachi Japanese restaurants where they do all the cooking in front of you on a big grill.
[00:25:05] And we told them ahead of time, he has a seafood allergy and they cooked his, this, his steak dinner or whatever in the kitchen. And so when his food wasn't going to touch anything that was on the grill, but the, the chef, you know, they do the routine where they throw the vegetables and you catch them in your mouth or whatever.
[00:25:24] And he was tossing the zucchini around and the zucchini had been on the grill with the shrimp. And as it was in the air going towards my son's face, for me, everything went to slow Mo and I was like, And he caught it in his mouth and I'm like, spit it out. It touched the shrimp and he spit it out. And I gave him water and I had an old Benadryl that was like dry in my pocket book.
[00:25:51] Cause who the hell expected that? Yeah, we paid the bill right away. I drove him to the emergency room. Cause I would be faster at that point than an ambulance. And they immediately got him on, you know, an Ivy and the whole thing and he was fine, but it was like a moment of absolute panic. And we were there for my daughter's like 15th birthday or something.
[00:26:12] And so he was fine. I was fine. My daughter was upset. Oh my God, I can't believe my brother almost died on my birthday. I'm like, he wasn't even close to death. Don't over-exaggerate he was okay. We did what we had to do, you know, the epi pen, but we didn't need it, whatever. So it things, all these things affect other people besides just the.
[00:26:36] What did you call them? The zero person person zero zero ground zero person. Zero. Yeah. Yeah, the epicenter, the whole thing. So a lot of times the person's zero and sometimes the point person is alone. For whatever reason in their situation. Sometimes you, the point person is an only child, adult, child of parents who are aging or is single going through, you know, going through a divorce or something.
[00:27:05] When I went through my divorce, I could've used me when I went through my divorce also. And that's part of why I decided to do this because I didn't want anyone else to feel alone the way I did when I went through some of the things that I've gone through. And so that's really my motivation for being a crisis navigator.
[00:27:26] You don't want people to be alone and struggle. It goes towards the emergency and tries to help in that situation where most people like, ah, get back. It's not my monkeys. I'm outta here, right? Yeah. Yeah. So that's what a crisis navigation partner is. Okay. So you have this business now and you have all of this leadership research, executive advisor running into all of this research, Harvard business school, and a book and an MBA, and like all this stuff.
[00:27:53] And so you have a vast amount of experience and expertise that you're bringing, besides your obvious empathy and compassion and warmth. And I love that. That's awesome. Thank you. I took your quiz. Yeah, the competence archetype quiz. So before I tell you my results, would you explain what competence archetype.
[00:28:19] I will explain it to you, but I cheated. I already know your results because whenever anyone takes the quiz, I get an email. So, but you can tell everybody else so we can still talk about it. I'm very, you know, upfront and honest. So I don't wanna pretend, I didn't know. The competence, archetype assessment is a quiz that I created because I love those kinds of typology.
[00:28:44] I love Helion kind of things like, you know, psychology major. And I love the Myers-Briggs and I love all those things. And I noticed over the 20 something years that I was in business before this moment that the people that tend to come to me for work together are people who are like me and they are what I call hyper competent.
[00:29:09] And they're either recovering. Or they're actively hyper competent. And when you're hyper competent, you are so good at getting things done. It's like not good for your own good, like, you know, like my kid today who is juggling all this stuff, but has stopped to give somebody a ride home. You couldn't perfectly, well, why calling her own because you don't want to leave anybody hanging.
[00:29:33] So over time I realized that there was this sort of theme and that there were really three fundamental types of people who were hyper competent. And so I created this quiz to help people kind of self diagnose, and it comes with your, this type. And here's some things you can do about it if you're interested.
[00:29:57] So there's three types of hyper competent, and then there's the highly functioning competent. You are hyper competent, but you've learned to reign it in to the point that you're a functioning. Oh yeah. Oh yeah. This is, this is, this is for now the best I can be at this and take care of myself. Cause I was like pathologically morbidly, hyper competent where I didn't put myself on my map at all.
[00:30:24] Yeah. Yes. Been there. Yeah. And that is not a healthy place to visit. We do not recommend anyone else goes there. No, no, no. Avoid it. Cross it off the map. Don't even go there. The competence architect assessment helps you look at what some of your reasons might be for being this damn good at getting stuff done.
[00:30:45] Right. And how has it negatively affecting you? Okay. So you want to share what your type was? Sure. So it was a, it came out as highly functioning, competent. You live in the present moment. You are masterful at keeping your mind focused where your feet are right here. And right now you may be content completing, even repetitive tasks.
[00:31:06] You enjoy receiving reassurance, which is true. Your dominant character traits are consistency, reliability, and discipline. People have said to me all along, we don't know how you get done. All the things you get done in a day. It's because I don't breathe in between that saves time. Right? You consider yourself organized, which I do accurate and thorough, mostly changing or ambiguous roles make you uncomfortable.
[00:31:32] Oh, rules changing ambiguous rules. Yes. That definitely makes me uncomfortable. I fancy myself. Vagabond, creative, flexible fly by the seat of my pants type of woman. And, and I'm disappointingly. Not like that. I am more like that in my, in my comfortable, committed love relationships. I'm like that.
[00:31:59] Like, I'm like that with my husband. I can be that way with my children. I'm like that with my siblings, you know, I but when it comes to my teaching job or it comes to schedules, I want, I like a plan. I want to work a plan. My know, I I'm more comfortable knowing what my schedule is. Don't tell me 10 before, 10 minutes before you want me to do something that you want me to do it I'll get it done.
[00:32:23] Cause I always do, but I'm going to bitch about it. You know it's just, I want to know what we're going to have for dinner. I want to know who's cooking. I want to know. I just want to know, you know, so if we're going to spend Passover together at your house and you're going to make what you're going to make, and I'm going to make what I'm going to make, that's the way it's going to be.
[00:32:41] Don't tell me 20 minutes before that we're doing it at someone else's house, because I'll still show up, but I'm going to be like first and I'll get all of that angst out before I see you. What worked for us? We can do Seders together this quick. I too want to know a month from now. What are you making?
[00:32:57] What am I making? Right. I started asking people about Thanksgiving already and the role, like, I don't know. Well, I kinda got to know don't I it's out there. I started Hanukkah shopping already. Cause I just, I thought I know whatever. Creative chaos rattles you. I don't know about this one. Okay. I mean, I I'm taking.
[00:33:21] Like the room that I'm in now that I do my arts, do my podcasts from originally started out as just a spare bedroom in my house that I converted into an art studio for my daughter and I, because we're both painters. And so I've got like stacks of canvases and I've got paint in tubes over there and you know, everywhere.
[00:33:38] So it's like, it looks like an art room, but it's also where I put my makeup on. And it's also where I pay the bills. It's also where I do the podcast. So this is like the creative hub and the room is a mess. Okay. But it's an organized mess. Like I know where everything is. It just someone else would come in here and they, they might not see what I see, but I don't like it when the rest of my house is a mess.
[00:34:04] Like right now, my kitchen counter has too much crap on it. And this morning, while I was making tea, before I went to school, I was actually physically anxious because there was too much stuff on. And I thought tonight after the podcast with Debra Vogue, I am going to clean that goddamn counter. Cause I can't stand the mess, but everyone else, I mean, it's just my husband and I know, but everyone else would just not even notice that.
[00:34:31] So that's what I'm taking about creative chaos. Am I right? Well, that is a valid interpretation and it's kind of the question of what is chaos to you. So for you, that room is a mish-mash of a lot of different things and purposes, but it doesn't bother you because it all makes sense to you the way that you have it, right.
[00:34:52] Your happy place. Right. So maybe I wouldn't call that chaos. Maybe you wouldn't consider it chaos, but I don't know th this is not, I really struggled with this because. All my own, like, you know, what is good enough stuff. This is like a Cosmo quiz. This is not perfect. And I realize this, this is not actually like dissertation quality.
[00:35:19] Oh no, no, no. This may apply to you based on how you answered those questions today, this may or may not apply. It may not apply. So I'm thrilled that as many parts of this did resonate with you. And some of it didn't so as quizzes online, and anyone can take it for free and you get a little results report in the email, in your email, when you do with some suggestions of what are some things to do next to make your life even better.
[00:35:48] I do have another question about this though. Third paragraph, it says, perhaps you are a natural type B pronounced personality, or perhaps you're a recovering type. A, I don't know what that means. Type a personality. It's like somebody who's like obsessive and like, yeah. They need to like check everything off the list and being on the Myers-Briggs it, that person would be kind of a J at the end where they like, things nailed down.
[00:36:14] And I want to know what we're having for Thanksgiving dinner, but it's still October, right. I'm a J but, but, but I'm a borderline PJ perceiving J borderline. Yeah. So, all right. And a type B personality is what, a little more calm as you are a little bit more easygoing. I, myself am a recovering type. A, I am not a type B.
[00:36:43] My son just kind of goes with the flow. It's amazing. I've never seen anything. Like, it totally works for him just bobbing along. And my son's like that too. It's ambitious and goes after what he wants, but he's, he knows when to relax and he knows how to relax and he knows how to unwind and yes, he just stops the distinction.
[00:37:06] Yeah. I don't quite know how to do that. I'm like full throttle or asleep, although, I mean, I've only been married for almost five years and my husband Michael's teaching me how to relax. Like I used to not be able to even watch TV without a project in front of me. Like, I felt like I felt guilty if I wasn't multitasking every moment that I was awake, like I have to be folding laundry or paying bills or whatever it is that I can do.
[00:37:38] That's productive while I'm watching television or I can't watch television. Like you're not allowed, I'm not allowed. Yeah. It's, it's a sickness. I relate. Yes. Yes. Okay. So your prescription here, I like the things the way you have this go schedule, at least one, two hour block of time for creative renewal spend the first hour and a half doing what ever you feel like doing at the moment, as long as you weren't hearing other voices.
[00:38:13] And I like you can call her or go for a bike ride, take a nap. I like that for the last half hour, write a free response in your journal to the following question. What makes my heart sing? Repeat once a week for four weeks, I can get behind this prescription. This is great because when I feel overwhelmed, anxious, emotionally depleted, I turned to art and writing.
[00:38:40] That's been my go-to since 1983. What 13, 14 years old. I write, I draw, I paint, but that's my, it allows me to process. It gives my brain some time to rest. I don't actually have to think about the thing that I'm thinking about or trying to, not to think about, because I'm now focused on this creative thing that I'm birthing, you know?
[00:39:02] Yeah. That's so beautiful that you have that. Not everyone has figured out what that is for them selves yet. And a lot of times people who have that tendency to be hyper competent will be like, you described like going full throttle or asleep with no in between. Right. So having unstructured time to choose when you show up what you feel like doing and letting yourself do it, giving yourself permission.
[00:39:30] Yeah. So healing, so healing. I was in a place like this last Saturday and the weather here was gorgeous and I decided. I'm not grading the papers I have to grade. I'm not doing any of the work I'm supposed to do. I am taking a day off. I didn't get dressed. I didn't wash my face. I stayed in my nightgown all day long.
[00:39:51] For like three hours, I laid in bed and read. And to me, that's a vacation. If I can lay in bed and read, I am happy. And then of course I was hearing the birds sing and the children play outside in the neighbor, you know, the neighborhood. And I thought, well, gee, it's lovely outside. I'm going to take this whole enterprise out onto my hammock and do it there.
[00:40:13] So I took my blanket and my pillow in my book. And I laid out in my hammock and I stayed out there until the bugs drove me back inside. But I literally did not get dressed or wash my face. And I was fantastic data meeting. No one bothered me. My husband was doing his own thing. I was just, and I was, it was like a week's vacation.
[00:40:35] Yeah. Fabulous. Okay. So you also have a virtual course called how to win, how to win, win, any difficult conversation? Yes. Did I do that right when win? When any difficult conversation? When, when, when, when? Yeah. All right. How to, when, when I, I thought it was a typo again, I kind of make stuff up. So you know how, like, when, when conversations win-win situation, you win.
[00:41:04] I win. Everyone's happy. Okay. Yeah. It's cool. In reality, a win-win conversation, not everyone is happy, but each person feels heard and acknowledged. And that's a lot, if you can have a difficult conversation where you hear each other, that is a success right there. Oh, absolutely. Haven't come to a point of agreement yet.
[00:41:26] There have been people that I have been in, in emotional entanglements with let's just say, who were. More of a narcissistic type of personality type where any sort of win-win any sort of compromise, any sort of give and take was impossible. Yeah. And yet you still have to some somehow come to some meeting of the minds in some way.
[00:41:55] It's interesting that you say that because this is another thing I've noticed with this hyper competent type population. Very often they've had significant run-ins with narcissists and yeah, I have really noticed this pattern. I've written some blog posts about it. I've seen some ideas about why that is and why is that?
[00:42:19] Well, I mean, I have my own theories, but I really interested in yours when you are dealing with a narcissist and you are struggling, you take it upon yourself to protect everybody else from the nurses. And that means you're running around, cleaning up all the messes, but the narcissist is constantly creating because that's part of the personality disorder and the narcissist who truly has narcissistic personality disorder.
[00:42:48] Not that I'm a psychologist, but that person creates drama and chaos because they feed off of that. They get their energy supplied from that drama that they create and they feel that they're entitled to do that and drive everyone crazy. And then I have been in that exact, exact situation more times than I care to account to account for, but, and then, and then it leaves, it left me resentful.
[00:43:15] Like why does that person get to be a pre-Madonna? And I don't, why are we all running around trying to solve that person's problems or clean up that person's messes and they're just nonchalantly going through life, making more mess, like who the F do they think they are? You know, and eventually, did you stop doing that for that person?
[00:43:35] Yeah, I divorced him and that was that. And then I had the same thing with my mom and, um, and I stopped talking to her. I made a demand. And either you clean up your act, literally, I mean, she was also an opiate addict, so that added a whole other dimension of joy to the situation. Um, but that was it. I'm like I have to self protect.
[00:44:02] I have to protect my kids. I can't let this go one day freaking further. And that was that really brave. Yeah, it sucked. Oh, I hated it. But I knew that I couldn't let my kids suffer the way they were going to, if I had let that continue. And hopefully your kids. I know they're still relatively young, but hopefully they won't become hyper-conscious no, no, we fixed we've fixed it.
[00:44:29] My son, there was no danger because he's, you know, the, the, the lay back lately back scientist guy my daughter had some anxious tendencies and some of that residual stuff, plus things of dealing her with her own relationship with her dad, but that's her story. But yeah, I've gotten her enough therapists and have re counteracted that as much as possible where she's not like that now, which is good at 20.
[00:44:59] And it took me to like 45. So I feel like, yeah, yeah, yeah. It's nuts. Yeah. Nuts,
[00:45:10] such heavy things. We live such tangled deeply. Confusing law. Yeah. As humans, you know, it's hard to know how to, how anything came to be in the first place and then how to manage our own lives, our own feelings, our own thoughts and desires and inner dialogue and what our inner knowing it says and what are, and managed to take care of the relationships that we, that we want that are important to us that are healthy and not toxic.
[00:45:49] And it's so hard. And then it's, it's a lot. And then to be a parent and a single parent on top of that, I know, you know, what I'm talking about is just sometimes excruciating. So I think it's pretty wonderful that, that you, you particularly are offering this service to people to help them through. So you don't necessarily like, I, I try, I turned to a therapist when I decided that I was going to divorce.
[00:46:22] My ex-husband, I was sort of in between therapists. I had been in therapy have been in therapy for most of my adult life. But there were a couple of years there toward the, before the end of my first marriage where I wasn't inactive therapy. And I went to find one just to help me not screw up my kids in the process to make sure that I was keeping their needs in the forefront of every decision that I was making so that I didn't screw them up the way my parents divorced, screwed me up.
[00:46:53] And I didn't necessarily need at that point, the mental health thing, but I needed somebody. I could try. Yeah to, to be like you said, thought partner tote, like reason this out. Like what, what, how do I navigate this? And and, and she was wonderful. Susan was great. She was great. I am a big fan of therapy.
[00:47:18] I have benefited from it a lot over the past 30 years. And at the, and I'm not a therapist, but at the same time, there's there there's limitations sometimes too. How do the extent to which a therapist can walk with someone through a crisis? You know, basically they can be there 45 minutes a week. Right.
[00:47:36] And I wanted to create something where some, where people would have more access to support if that's what they wanted and needed. So how often can people contact you? People can contact me whenever they want. Right. So, you know, we'll set up sessions that, you know, women, we make appointments for our sessions.
[00:47:57] In the beginning, if you do, if you're really in crisis and you do a program with me, we might actually have sessions twice a week, but also I will go with the person to family court or a new, IEP meeting with the school district or to some difficult situation they have at work to a negotiation and interesting stand by them literally and metaphorically during that time.
[00:48:27] So that's something that I can talk about. Huge comfort to have somebody there, if you don't have somebody that you can trust and depend on to have your support and interest at heart. Yeah. Yeah. So it's been a journey for me since. Started focusing my work on being a crisis navigation partner, like officially labeling it and explaining to people.
[00:48:54] That's what I do to a little over two years ago, I needed to figure out how did I protect my own boundaries in that too. So that that's been kind of part of my journey and figuring out what works and how I can work with people and how I can't work with people. You know, I'm not a 24, 7 crisis hotline, just one person, right.
[00:49:14] Not a whole organization. But I've through trial and error figured out what works with people and it works for people. And going back to your original question, I kinda never finished my story about the vice president of marketing and sorry. No, no, no. I just remembered we worked on those initial hot issues for a couple months, and then she brought me into what she has going on at work.
[00:49:38] And we worked through some of the things that were happening there. And I did my leadership coaching work with. Nice. Up until recently when we finished up what she needed. So some people come for a short time. Some people come for a long time. I've been in business over 20 years and I love it when people come back, sometimes I'll work with somebody intensely for a period of time.
[00:49:57] And then 12 years later out of the blue, they contact me and we reconnect and that's cool. So you impacted their lives and stuck with them long-term so that when they needed something again, you were the one they called. Yeah. I'm a relationship person, much more than a transactional person. You know, I don't want to have a zillion relationships.
[00:50:18] I want to have a smaller number and really pay attention to them. That makes sense. That makes sense. So, so what are the three main ways that you recommend people to get through a crisis? Like if they're in an emergent thing, what, what kinds of strategies can they employ to help them figure their way through.
[00:50:41] Well, first of all, clear, I'm not sure if that question was quick. Yeah, no, no. I understand the question. So first of all, I want to say that I think not to be a downer, but crisis is inevitable in our lives. Life is a lot like we were saying before, and every time I give a talk and I have people that are in the room with me or on zoom, if I can see them, I ask people, you know, I just kind of define crisis for them.
[00:51:04] And then I ask people, you know, raise your hand if you've ever been in a crisis. And every time it's close to every more center, the people, if not everybody, if you're going to live a long life, you're going to be in crisis multiple times. Right? So we don't know the scope. We don't know the timing. We don't know exactly what the content is going to be, but there's things you can do to kind of prepare and develop those muscles.
[00:51:27] So you'll be in better shape when you are in a crisis. And those are similar things. These that you, you can employ, you can be more ready to employ those things when you are in a crisis. So your question is what do I recommend for people in a crisis? So I think about the three CS of crisis management, they are communication community and capacity.
[00:51:52] So the order doesn't really matter, but I'm just going to start with capacity because that's top of my mind right now, let's look at everything that's on your plate, the person going through the crisis. And first of all, think what can we set aside? What can we delegate? What can we let go of to expand your capacity?
[00:52:11] Because part of the definition of crisis is that you can't keep going with life as its regularly scheduled programming, right? Prioritize and eliminate things that aren't. Yes. So that's a big piece. So if we can expand your capacity, that's critical. And then look at who is your support system. You might not need a crisis navigation partner.
[00:52:34] You might have family that you're close to that's nearby or chosen family, friends who can be there for you. And if you're not a crisis, navigation partner can be part of your community during that time. And then the communication is all about those being vulnerable and saying things that are hard in the moments of the crisis.
[00:52:58] You might have difficult decisions to make. You might have to decide what kind of treatment are we going to employ for this person? You might have to decide what the strategy is going to be. Should we keep trying to work with the school district to meet the needs of my child, or should we go a different direction?
[00:53:18] And. There that takes a lot of clarity about what your priorities are and what your values are. I think making decisions from a place of values can really ease the decision-making process. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. You couldn't communicate those values. It's a lot easier to have people understand you.
[00:53:42] If you can be clear about where you're coming from with your choices, that makes a lot of sense. That makes a lot of sense. Cause you're not, you're not grasping at straws. You're not guessing at things because if you can be in touch with what your value is around that you're then you're Ben, you're your good decision.
[00:54:03] Your best decision is, is parallel to that is in line with that. It makes a whole lot of sense. I like that. Nice. You're also an intuitive painter. I just saw this on my own research sheet here. Yeah. Really are like sisters from other families. Yeah. I, they only way I can paint is completely intuitively because I have no ability to represent any form that I have in my head on paper or canvas or anything like that.
[00:54:38] But I like playing with colors and just playing with paint. I, and I'm not an artist. My, all my art looks like it was made by a kindergartener and I'm fine with that, but it's fun, but it's fun. Yeah. So that's what I mean by intuitive painting. I actually took a class in intuitive painting a few years ago.
[00:55:00] And the whole message of intuitive painting is not to judge your work, but all these people in the class with me were actual artists. And I had the easiest time because. She'd say, you know, use these things, make these things. So I would just do whatever. I had no attachment to it. That was fun, but it, up in the front of the room, and then she'd ask everybody, you know, what does it make you think of when you see this?
[00:55:24] Or how does it make you feel? And everybody else in the room would judge themselves and their work and each other's work. And I had zero attack. It was most just the most freeing thing. Like knowing that I have no artistic talent is the best. So they went in with no expectations. It was easy to unleash your inner three-year-old.
[00:55:46] Yeah. Yes. That's awesome. Yeah. That's awesome. I I'm mostly an abstract painter. I do landscapes. I don't do portraits because I suck at them. Everything looks like a Picasso, even if I didn't intend it to, and not even that good. I'm just saying, you know, like strange looking. But I have been doing for like the last, I want to say like eight or 10 months, I've been obsessed with neurogenic art.
[00:56:14] What is that? Neurogenic art. It's like the painting that's behind me. Yeah, I see it. Okay. So those of you who are listening, you could go to the YouTube channel and take a look, or my website, because there are a bunch of bunch of them there too. So a basically the idea is that you start with your paint brush or a marker or a pen, like whatever your, your drawing implement, and you start off of the edge of.
[00:56:39] Canvas or paper and then just organic lines, whatever, however you want to go. And the end of the line has to go off the paper the same, the other way. And you can't lift up your pen or your, your implement technically. No, I mean, you could, but start back at that same line then it, and, and so then, and, and you fill them up and draw them wherever the hell you want to put them.
[00:57:05] And then where all the lines intersect instead of having the intersections be hard, right angles or, or any pointy angle, what you're then going to do is take your, your, your crayon or your marker and fill in the point so that every joining of the lines is soft. Huh, I'm looking behind you as you're listening to you.
[00:57:35] Okay. And then you can fill in the gaps any way you want. So I started doing it with colored pencils on small pieces of sketch paper. And I'm like, oh my God, this is great. I wonder what this would be like to do on a canvas. So I bought acrylic paint markers, and I did this one behind me and another one that I have hanging downstairs in the hallway.
[00:57:56] And it was so much fun. And, and like you said about the non-judgment, it's totally freeing everything. Every time you do it, it's going to come out differently. It doesn't matter what it comes out like, because they all look beautiful in their own way. And it's just like, to me, they call it neurogenic because the, the lines and the circles, when they come together, sort of represent the joining of neurons or dendrites or whatever the neurological component in your brain is.
[00:58:29] And because of how free flowing it is and how organic it is, it's really very meditative. And I find it extremely freeing. So, so like in, in my prescription from the archetype quiz where it said, you know, creative renewal, to me, that's what, that's what these things are. You know, I'll take a big canvas or I'll take a big piece of paper.
[00:58:55] And all of my drawing tools, I like this better with a hand in implement, you know, like a pencil or a marker versus a paintbrush. Cause I can get the lines more precise. Um, but that's just my level of skill or lack thereof. And I just find it so relaxing. That's beautiful. And I just keep making them and every time they come out differently and yeah, it's pretty cool.
[00:59:22] It's pretty cool. Just inspired me. To do for a fun activity for myself on the long weekend this weekend. There you go. There's if you look up your neurogenic art on YouTube, there are a couple of like the first things that will pop up. There are a couple of very interesting, much more technical, but very interesting.
[00:59:43] Instructional videos and one of the art teachers in the high school where I teach recommended this to me as a meditative sort of art. And so she had me, cause I didn't know what the heck she was talking about. She had me look at the videos first and I was so inspired. I went home that night and I drew my first one.
[01:00:02] And, and, you know, you can sort of adapt it. Like they, it doesn't have to be just random swirls and squiggles in circles. You could do it. With portraiture, not that I'm a portrait artist, but you could draw like the outline of somebodies face or whatever, and then have these neurogenic lines going through it.
[01:00:22] So you're almost like making the portrait looked stained glass like, oh wow. You know what I mean? So it can be really creative. I I've been, I don't do portraits, but I do a lot of florals when I paint. And so I created a few like neurogenic florals that I've framed because to me, they look like stained glass.
[01:00:45] They're just so pretty. But you know, it's just paper and acrylic marker. Acrylic paint, marker. So I don't know. I just love it. You have inspired me. And on my website, Marci, brockman.com. There are a bunch of samples. I put up a bunch of them that I've been doing because I just love it. So. So anyone wants to look well, Deborah, this was so wonderful.
[01:01:12] I love this. I feel rejuvenated. I feel inspired. I do do cause you've inspired me. This is awesome. Yay. Fabulous. So I'm going to link your website and all your socials and your 10 question, competence, archetype quiz, and your win-win. And he's difficult to any difficult conversation. Virtual course, all of that is going to be in the show notes.
[01:01:35] So if you are listening, once you pull your car over, don't do it while you're driving. Once you pull your car over, scroll down and we'll all be there. And thank you so much for being here, Debra, on permission to heal, giving me a chance to get to know you and be connected to you. I'm really happy that we had this time.
[01:01:52] Oh, excellent. Thanks so much.