You are listening to my freedom Grove podcast with Gretchen Hernandez, episode five.
Welcome to My Freedom Grove podcast. This is where strong people, just like you come to have honest, open discussions about anxiety, depression, and frustration, but we don't stop there. We go deeper by learning and applying mindset management tools to once and for all break free from the pain. So we can actually enjoy our lives. I'm your host, Gretchen Hernandez. I'm so glad you joined us.
Hi, my strong friends. Happy 2020. Are you getting as excited about this year as I am? I know this year is going to bring so many amazing changes for you just as a result of listening to this particular episode. I know that sounds like a pretty big claim, but here's why I know that this is true. Today I'm going to tell you about my story over the last couple of years on how I have transitioned from working in a corporate environment, selling my house, moving out to the Mendocino coast and launching my own private practice. I'm going to share this story with you because I've been told by other people that it is incredibly inspiring. In fact, the reason why I decided to do this was because someone reached out to me that knew about my journey and she was having some thoughts about taking that big type of a leap herself and she said that I was the one that had inspired her and that she wanted to have me to talk to. And she's not the only one I've had several people reach out to me for this purpose all alone. So I thought, what better thing to do to kick off 2020 than to share this with you? Because there's something great waiting for you. Your future is waiting for you to step into it. And I would love to help inspire you to get that. I'm not going to go all the way into the way back machine and tell you about like my childhood, anything like that. I'm going to start from a time where I had what I called my white light moment. Now, some people might just call it a crossroads in life, but for me, I called it a white light moment because I was so miserable in my life that I was ready to end it there.
I'm just going to say "trigger warning". There might be something that comes up when I tell you about this. Um, hopefully it won't be that bad because I'm not going to spend too much time on it because I want to get on to the good stuff. Back in November, 2017, I had this really great successful life. Anyone else looking from the outside wouldn't even understand that I was suffering on the inside. I had this really great career working in biopharma for 25 years. I was a scientist. I was a business process improvement specialist and a business coach. And the last few years had changed into not just a business coach, but a transformational coach. I had a great house and a great blended family. We had five kids living at home at one time. Some people were just amazed that I could handle a career and a family of that size, but we made it happen.
There were a lot of things going on in my mindset, a lot of painful thoughts that I was living with every single day that drove me to be that successful. Now that might seem like a good thing, right? But really all of those thoughts were causing me to crumple on the inside. It was so painful that I just wanted it all to end. I had a long drive to get from my work to my house and it involved a two lane highway out in the middle of nowhere with a whole bunch of telephone poles. Every day I fought the urge to drive straight into those telephone poles because I just wanted all of the pain to end, but I knew that there had to be something else out there for me. So this is why I'm calling this a white light moment, because as you can think of white light coming through clouds, going straight on up to heaven that I had a choice to make.
Was I going to go up those white lights? Or was I going to try to do something that would change things? Now I had tried so many things that I knew it was going to have to be something totally radical, like a complete makeover of me as a person, because all of those thoughts were just in my head. It wasn't what was happening out in my life. As much as I'd like to point to all of those things. That's not what it was. I needed to do a complete remodel of me and how I was living my life. I got some of my answers from Facebook. I know that sounds strange. But in November of 2017, a couple of Facebook ads popped up in my newsfeed. The two ads specifically came from Brooke Castillo and the big life journal, Brooke Castillo is just an absolutely amazing, amazing life coach.
She's the founder of the life coach school and the author of a couple of books. This particular ad that I saw was on if I'm so smart, why can't I lose weight? And I thought back then I was trying to chase happiness. So of course I'm always beating myself up over my weight. So I decided, okay, I'm going to check out that ad. Once I read her book, it just blew my mind. I knew that I was eating for all the wrong reasons, but I didn't realize that my thoughts were what were controlling all of my emotions and that my emotions were what generated all of my actions. And that if I was trying to do an action that wasn't in alignment with my thoughts, that, and another word for that is willpower, that there was no way I was ever going to have success. In fact, I was only going to have pain that led to me, starting to listen to her podcasts, which have absolutely changed my life. The other ad that I saw was from the big life journal, this was geared more towards kids on helping them to think big about their lives and think big about themselves. But one of the concepts that brought up was growth mindset. And I thought now what is a growth mindset? And that led me to find the book of growth mindset written by Carol Dweck and reading that gave me a lot of clues at first to how everybody else was wrong.
But over the years, I've learned how to figure out where I was the one that was having some struggles and I'll get into more of those details in future podcasts. Now I had decided once I saw these two, once I learned what Brooke was teaching, and once I learned what Carol was teaching, I felt hope again. And I thought, you know what? I can do this. Now. I'm going to have to focus just on me and my development, which wasn't going to be, how I typically spent my life. I always spent my time developing everybody else and putting myself on the back burner because I always felt it would be selfish to spend any time on myself. But I knew that I had no choice this time. I decided I would start project me. Project me was all about becoming the person that I wanted to be.
I wanted to be a person that was no longer plagued with depression or anxiety. I've never been much of a vision board person because what I had observed other people doing was creating vision boards and then just staring at them and wishing that all of it would happen while I'm not a wishing kind of person. I'm a doing kind of person, but I still took that concept. And although I didn't create a board itself and pictures, I was creating a written description of the type of person that I wanted to be. And I went into a lot of details about what my life would be like once I was already there. And knowing that feelings are the things that generate our actions, I was going from a place of how I wanted to feel. So these aren't like your regular goals of like lose weight, get a new job.
It was how do I want to feel at any given moment? And then designing my life around that since I don't live as a single person, I decided to enroll my husband in helping to create this vision, because this would be something for both of us. In March of 2018, we went off for a nice little weekend getaway at this great mountainous, quiet, peaceful town of Cob. And we wrote up 15 pages of what our life would look like if we just absolutely loved it. Now I'm not talking, winning the lottery and having gobs of money. I'm talking just the basics and the simple stuff. Like we started going over our six senses. Even like, if we were living a happy life, what would it smell like? We were writing out what are all the different smells that make us feel great. We extended that into what we would want to have around us in our environment.
What do we want to look at? And that's when we started talking about Redwood trees and oceans and wildlife, what would our daily routines be, what type of things would we want to be doing? And then we started talking about the type of work that we would want to be doing. Now, again, this is thinking from a place of us feeling really great. What would it be that would make us feel really great and help us earn a living. Now, my husband got really specific and he was fun. He said he wanted to work somewhere where he could be barefoot. Right? How great would that be? Right for me, I was thinking one of the things that just lights me up is helping other people, but from like a heartfelt manner, like improving someone's business is great and all, but improving their life. That's a whole different other level.
I know that I've really made a difference when I can see the pain visibly lift off of another person's shoulders after we've had a very powerful coaching session. That is what just lights up. My soul is seeing people be able to go on and live a different other life that they didn't even know was possible. So in these 15 pages, we got really specific about what does that look like? Another cool thing is while I was there at that Cob house was finding a Martha Beck book, loving what is, this was really interesting. She has four questions that she would use to help people release some of their pain. I started to use these questions on myself and also with my clients. It's pretty amazing. I mean, it's just four questions, but it has the power to do so much good. Getting back to those 15 pages.
Once we had this very detailed list of the stuff that we wanted in our lives, I went out and I started looking for it. In may, that year, we went on a mother's day garden tour in Sacramento. I noticed this guy, he was a bicycle taxi driver. And I went up and I talked with him because I saw some ladies getting out of the taxi and I thought, wow, what a great service. Because if you've ever been on a garden tour, you have to do a lot of walking between houses and here he was making a little bit easier on people so that they could still enjoy it. Even if their bodies couldn't handle all of that walking, what was cool about this guy? It was that he spent a lot of his time having conversations with these people. He could have easily just given them a taxi ride from one spot to another, but that's not what his purpose was in life.
His purpose was similar to mine. He wanted to help people's lives be better. So he had conversations with people and he found himself also coaching people on mindset. He had developed his skills over the years too. And he wanted to try to figure out a way where he could help people, but also make a living. And he found a bicycle taxi. Here he was, he loved to be in the outdoors. He loved getting exercise and he loved helping people. He found this creative outlet of having a bicycle taxi. Now he could live his life's purpose and make a living. I felt really inspired by him. As I'm out in the world I'm looking for people that inspire me, teachers that can teach me things that I haven't learned and people that have different pieces to the puzzle that I'm trying to put together for my life.
At a library book sale I came across a 25 cent book from Dr. Wayne Dyer called erroneous zones. Now this book was back from the seventies and it had a cover of his face, like really big. It was kind of creepy, but the book opened up my mind to so many things that I was doing wrong in my own mindset that was leading to my pain. I incorporated a lot of his teachings into what I do. At this time I was listening to a lot of Brooke's podcast and she would talk about her different teachers. I figured I loved what this woman was saying. So I wanted to go and learn a little bit from some of her teachers to just try them out. See if I liked what they had to say. One of them was Abraham Hicks. I had heard of the law of attraction, but I had never actually read any of the information.
So at the time I was starting to do some walking and I'd use audio books. So that was a great way for me to learn and get exercise at the same time. I learned deeper information about the law of attraction, the deliberate creation and the most important one for me was the law of allowing. Facebook also brought me inspirational teachers that taught me something right when I needed it the most one of those was Lisa Nichols. And she taught me that you teach other people how to treat you by how you treat yourself. When I started to look at how I was treating myself, I thought, well, that explains quite a lot. There were times in life that I felt like I wasn't being given the opportunities that I wanted, that other people just were luckier than me or that they were the favored person. But I realized that wasn't the truth at all.
The truth was I was holding myself back and that I was not either paying attention to the opportunities or having the courage to go after them. How could I expect other people to give me opportunities? If I wasn't giving myself opportunities. That summer, we went on a family vacation to Santa Cruz and another piece started to fall into place. One of the things that we had on that 15 page life plan was redwoods. We were staying in a vacation home in Santa Cruz and it was in the middle of a Redwood forest. And I really loved how I felt when I was there. There's just something about these Redwood trees and knowing how much adversity they can take and how resilient they are. And I started thinking, I want to be like a Redwood tree. I always knew anytime I had gone camping in my life around redwoods, that I always felt stronger and more centred and peaceful when I was around them.
That was something that I thought, okay, when we're thinking about where we want to live in our life, I want to make sure that there's Redwood trees around there. That summer I also started blogging for the first time. I've always been someone that goes and learn something and then turns around and teaches it to other people. And it's not because I'm trying to force anything on them. It's just a way that I learn best is by teaching other people that helps me to understand the lessons better If I have to put it into my own words. So I started blogging. Much to my surprise there were people that actually were enjoying the things that I was writing. I was starting to have quite a following. And I thought, well, that's something! Feeling inspired I was dreaming really big. I pulled out a piece of paper and I started designing a wellness village.
This is a place where people could come to have healing of all sorts of different ways. I know that there's not just one cure all for any individual person. It's usually a combination of a couple of different things. Now, if I had this retreat village that had different disciplines, then people could come to it and they just pick the things that work for them. Or maybe they try out a couple of new things that they had never even heard of before. It's kind of like a buffet of wellness. This retreat village would be surrounded by redwoods and have large bodies of water nearby and lots of walking trails. It was a wonderful and inspiring dream. So I held onto it as like a long range career goal, but I started working towards it. I thought, well, I might not be able to do that for 10 or 15 years, but I'm going to at least start small and start building up my little part of it because eventually, maybe I can afford to build that.
In fall of 2018, I started taking on my first private clients. This was a huge confidence boost for me because when I was working in the corporate environment, people knew that I was a coach and that they could come and essentially hire me, although they didn't have to use any of their own money to do it. This was all on company dime. So finding clients that were willing to pay me directly was a pretty amazing feel and to start giving them results that I knew that I could give them in an area that I hadn't really done before. So I again had doing business coaching, but the mind set coaching was a different spin on it. Now how I did this was I found that a lot of the business tool that I had been using for a years were also applicable to mindset.
It's the strangest thing. So although I may not have had official psychology training, I could take the same exact tools that I was certified in and just apply them to a different object which was a thought as opposed to a business process, step and it worked in a beautiful, amazing way, and people were getting some astounding results. I remember one woman when we just had an introductory call, she was telling me that after talking with me for one hour, she had made so much more progress than she had in three months of going and talking with her counselor. And I thought, yes, I am doing something right in this world. One of my first challenges was trying to figure out an office space for myself. When I had started blogging, the only space in my house that was available for just me, because remember five kids and a husband in the house with me, there's not all a lot of privacy. So what I had originally started with, and this is going to sound so funny was this oversized chair with an exercise mat around it to try to block off the rest of the world.
Well, I decided when I'm having clients that obviously that doesn't work, it's fine for writing a blog, but it's definitely not fine when you're trying to have clients. So I started trying out different places like libraries or empty offices at my, at my corporate job. Now that didn't feel like the right thing to do. And I tried to find office space that I could rent and I wasn't having a whole lot of luck. So I decided to do something pretty big. I invested in myself by building what's commonly known as a she shed, but in my case, it was an office in my own backyard from when I made that decision that I wanted to make that investment to when it was a reality was four weeks. It made my head spin. It was amazing. Let me tell you standing in the middle of that office and knowing it was all mine and that this was the first big step on my dream. Wow, talk about feeling self-love now self-love for someone that has been struggling with depression for 30 years is kind of hard to come by, but to feel that much all at one time, I started twirling around with my arms open wide and crying. Someone else probably would have laughed at me, but I don't care. Things for my new venture were all starting to fall into place so well. And my confidence was building that by new year's of 2018, I had that overwhelming feeling that by June of 2019, I would be ready to leave my corporate job at Genentech and start out on my own. And I didn't know exactly what that was going to look like, but I knew that June was when I was going to be ready. One of my very first self-help teachers that made a huge difference in my life was Don Miguel Ruiz.
He talks about living in a dream that all of us are walking around in a dream state and that our thoughts create our reality that man's teaching had been helping me for about two decades. I pulled his books back out and I started reading them again because I knew that I was creating a new reality for myself. And I wanted to make sure that I had whatever support I needed. The first part of 2019 was a little Rocky. There were a lot of changes going on at Genentech, as we were trying to decrease the cost of healthcare for people, unfortunately, that has a big impact on the employees that work at those companies. Mental health started to become a bigger and bigger issue. The human resources department launched an are you okay campaign? This was a space that I absolutely love to be in. And I stepped into it and found that there were a lot of people in the corporate world that were having a lot of challenges to their mental health.
And that the type of coaching that I was providing was something that was making a difference for them. Now, this wasn't actually in line with what I had been hired to do. I had been hired to help with business coaching and transformational coaching. But what we didn't realize was that part of transformational coaching, especially when you're changing a large corporation to a completely other mindset, we were going from traditional leadership to servant leadership model, that it brings up a lot of unhelpful thoughts and outdated thoughts. And that having a mindset coach was something that was very, very helpful, but it wasn't exactly something that had been defined. And it wasn't necessarily something that you would look to your operational excellence group to provide that type of coaching. It gave me those extra clues that I was going in the right direction. That being a mindset coach, especially for people in their work environments and talking about the work issues was something that could make a big difference in people's lives.
I just needed to find the right venue for that. In may of 2019, I had a 15 minute conversation that has completely changed the trajectory of my life. A leader and I were getting together to do a little bit of thought partnership. And before we got into the details about work and value in everything, we decided to just get to know each other a little bit. We found that we had something in common in that we like to go to small towns and stay in vacation rental homes and stuff, just to experience what life is like in these other towns. Other ways of living, I shared with him some of the line items that my husband and I had put on those 15 pages when I was describing the environment where we wanted to live. This gentleman said that sounded like this little coastal town called Gualala.
It's on the Mendocino coast. I didn't think that at a place like this actually exists, I had been searching for more than a year at different coastal towns, checking out on Google maps, trying to find if there was anything that was matching our description. Here he was saying that there was one and it wasn't that far away. When my birthday rolled around and my husband asked me, where do you want to go for dinner? And I said, actually, can we go on a little road trip to this coastal town called Gualala. There was just a couple of days notice on this. So all of the hotels were already booked up. We didn't have any place to stay, but I felt so certain that this is probably a piece to this life puzzle that I said, let's just go throw some sleeping bags in the back of the car and camp out if we need to in our car, just to go check out this little town. Wow. If you've never been to Gualala you have to go. This is the plan where the ocean meets the redwoods and a river, all three of nature's most beautiful things. All in one place. We started talking right then and there about what it would be like to live there and how we'd probably have to wait and tell retirement before we could afford to live out there. On the second day we went exploring and my husband took a turn that I don't know why he took that street, but he did. As we went down, the redwoods started getting more dense and I was feeling great because remember I mentioned that redwoods make me feel really, really good. I get totally energized by them. So we found our way to the Gualala art center.
Oh my gosh, here was this beautiful wooden building that has this outdoor amphitheater and an outdoor picnic area with picnic benches and a wood-burning pizza oven. As we got out, we're looking at this and it's nestled within all of the Redwood trees. I got this really strange feeling of familiarity because this was looking very similar to the drawing that I had done the summer before of this wellness retreat. It might not have had all of the extra buildings around it, but the town had these different buildings with these different types of healing arts. What this was doing was showing me the place where I could step in, this was a building that could provide a place where I could host retreats. I could provide the classes that I want to provide. I remember standing on the stage of this outdoor amphitheater with tears, just streaming down and thinking I don't have to build it.
It already exists. My dream is here. My reality is here. It's just waiting for me to step into it. It was that moment that I realized that the 15 page, ideal life list that we had come up with and that sketch of my career entail were merging together at one time. That's when I knew this was exactly where we were supposed to be as it having that feeling wasn't enough and an interesting thing happened as my husband and I were looking at the picnic area. He said to me, Oh, Hey, there's a trail over here. And I thought, well, of course there is because I had one in my drawing, right. And without turning around to look at the trail, I said to my husband, go walk down the trail a little bit. You're going to see the river. So he did, he took it a few steps in sure enough, there was the river.
And he said, how did you know that was going to be there? And I said, it's because it was in my drawing at that moment, I knew that two of the books that I had read in the last year were showing me that it was true. One was an Abraham Hicks and the law of attraction. Is that the things that you believe in dart to manifest for you, Dr. Wayne Dyer has the book that he wrote. You'll see it when you believe it. Yeah. I haven't quite finished that whole book, but that title really sticks with me. You'll see it. When you believe it, I believed that we would find these things on that 15 page list. But when I wrote out that retreat photo, I believed that that was, was going to be my future. Now, of course I believed I was going to have to build it once I believe that it would exist I was able to see it and hear it was right here at the Gualala art centre.
Remember I said, I'm not someone that just creates vision boards and just wishes and hopes were to show up. So although this did just show up, I knew that this wasn't it. I needed to actually figure out how to make the rest of it happen. This was just one of the pieces. I was grateful that this piece already existed, but I knew there were so many other pieces that I needed to figure out on how to make this happen. My husband and I ended up coming back to Gualala. I think five times over the next six weeks. On the second time that we were out there, we started to talk about, could we actually move there sooner, rather than later? We had no plans at all to be moving. I mean, I had just invested all this money and building an office in my backyard.
And it had only been like eight months. Why would I consider moving now? I thought I was going to be there. My plans were to be, be there for at least five years in this gorgeous office that I just built. But when things are, they're staring at you right in the face, how can you deny that opportunity? It boiled down to just a math problem. I mean, sure. All sorts of, Oh no, that couldn't be possible was popping up. But really the only thing that stood between us and starting this whole new life was just a math number. We just had to figure out how would we be able to live there and still make an income that would make it work. So that's what we set about doing and getting really creative. So I'm really happy and excited to share that. In September we moved. Friends, we bought a house on a foresty mountain that overlooks the ocean.
I never in my wildest dreams thought that I would be living in a house where from my living room and my dining room, I could look out at waves crashing. I know that you're probably thinking, well, this must be really, really expensive. We make a lot of assumptions in life that hold us back thinking that our dream house is going to be super, super expensive. It's going to make the dream house super, super expensive, but that's not where our mind was. We were trying to figure out what math number did we need. So we already knew our math number. Now we were just trying to find a house that matched the things that we had on our list, because this was our big leap. This was our new life that we were living. According to that list of things we wanted. And how does it make the math number?
So you won't believe this, but this gorgeous house that we have actually costs less than the houses in the neighborhood that we were living in. Keep yourself limited by your assumptions. You're never going to find what you want during this past fall. We had a lot to try to figure out, not only did we have to try to figure out how we were going to make this new venture work for us with the math number. We also had a lot of thoughts that we had to change thoughts about how we viewed ourselves, how we viewed, how life was supposed to happen. A lot of those pesky thoughts kept popping up. No, this isn't how things are supposed to go and be scared and run back. But all of those were just thoughts and they were just optional. This has been an amazing few months of personal growth, as well as career growth for both me and my husband, things are going quite well.
I was able to create this podcast and put my voice out into the world. Hopefully sharing stories and tools that can help people so that they don't have to suffer anymore. I'm hoping to get as big of a reach as possible, because I know there are people out there that are also facing their white light moments. And I want to know that there is another way it might not be as big and dramatic as what I did with a whole life change. It might be just changing a few of those very unhelpful thoughts that when you change them, all of a sudden, you're not in that same amount of pain and your options for going on and living a happy life are much bigger. Knowing that people like to come out to the ocean to try to feel better and to heal. I'm not only going to be offering my coaching services virtually.
I'm going to be finding some office space for Saturdays. So people that want to come out to Gualala or the Mendocino area have that opportunity to have those in person coaching sessions with me. Now, I haven't found that office space yet. I thought I'd just throw it out here. If anybody knows of office space that might be available for Saturdays in Gualala. Mendocino, send me an email at [email protected] I would love to be able to go check these things out. Also for anyone that is interested in having some coaching sessions with me virtually, I do have a couple spots open. You can go to my website at www.myfreedomgrove.com/services. I offer free 30 minute introductory sessions, as well as some custom made packages. For those of you that like to get in and get a whole bunch done all at one time, I also offer concentrated two and a half hour long sessions.
What I want to leave you with today is that you only get one life and you can create it any way that you want it to be. You don't have to settle for what you've been taught your whole life. There is no step one, two, three, four, that you have to follow. You can throw out your rule book. You don't have to paint by numbers anymore. You can paint a picture of your own life in a way that just lights up your soul. The life you create might just surprise you. You may find yourself doing things you never even imagined. You have the opportunity in 2020 of creating a completely different life for yourself that you can absolutely enjoy. I can't wait to see what you create this year. I hope I get a chance to hear from you on how it's going. Have a wonderful week. My friends, I can't wait to talk with you again next week. Bye bye. Thank you for listening to My Freedom Grove podcast. I hope this podcast provided you some relief and some inspiration. If you know somebody else that can benefit from this podcast, please share the link with them. Together I know we can make a difference to access more podcasts and offerings. Please visit www.myfreedomgrove.com until next time, take care of yourself. This world needs you!
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