Episode 77

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Published on:

9th Jan 2024

First, Expand Your Window of Tolerance, a Look at Emotional Mastery Systems -77

To keep your growth a priority in 2024 this week on The Grit Show we are bringing you an eye-opening conversation between host Shawna Rodrigues and guest Violetta Znorkowski. Together, they delve into the world of emotional intelligence, leadership, and personal growth, exploring the role of challenging experiences in shaping our lives. Violetta's journey from burnout and depression to founding Expand and Impact is an inspiring tale of resilience and transformation. Get ready to uncover the link between the nervous system and our ability to embrace change and pursue happiness. This episode will challenge your perspective on quitting, self-care, and societal expectations, leaving you with practical strategies to navigate stress and foster personal growth. The key takeaway? It's time to listen to your body and give yourself permission to change paths for a fulfilling life. Learn more about emotional mastery and expanding your window of tolerance to better tolerate stress. If you're craving insightful discussions on self-mastery and overcoming societal pressures, this episode is a must-listen.

Violetta Znorkowski is the Founder and Facilitator at Expand and Impact, a School of Emotional Mastery and Embodied Self-Leadership dedicated to guiding goal-driven women to experience deeper states of joy, calm and inner freedom so that they can achieve their goals without sacrificing their wellbeing, relationships and potential in the process. With over 10 years of experience and an international career teaching self-leadership and emotional resilience especially during times of stress, uncertainty and adversity, Violetta is passionate about guiding others to safely explore their connection to self, others and the world around them. Violetta is also a trauma-trained holistic therapist and uses an integrated approach to self-work by incorporating the latest in neuroscience and brain-body based practices so that women can succeed sustainably and have both the impact and inner peace they desire. She is on a mission to close the gender gap from the inside out and create a world of happy, relaxed and successful women. When Violetta is not facilitating internal transformations that fuel external success and alignment, she is likely climbing up or snowboarding down mountains or planning her next adventure.

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LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/violetta-znorkowski/

Website: www.expandandimpact.com

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Transcript

We feel it is important to make our podcast transcripts available for accessibility. We use quality artificial intelligence tools to make it possible for us to provide this resource to our audience. We do have human eyes reviewing this, but they will rarely be 100% accurate. We appreciate your patience with the occasional errors you will find in our transcriptions. If you find an error in our transcription, or if you would like to use a quote, or verify what was said, please feel free to reach out to us at connect@37by27.com.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

How do you cope with stress? Have you had a chance to reflected on this as we enter the new year? Here on The Grit Show, our focus is growth on purpose and practical strategies to support that. So, we've talked about stress before, and I'm very excited for you to hear today's conversation with Violet. We cover a range of things from her incredible journey and her unique international experiences to navigating societal expectations and how that can impact decision making. But the highlight of our conversation is around your window of tolerance for stress. And what you can do to work with your nervous system to help increase these tolerance levels. There is a lot to gain from today's conversation. So, I'm excited for you to be here, and I'm excited to find out what you learn.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Welcome to The Grit Show, where our focus is growth on purpose. I'm your host, Shawna Rodrigues, and I'm honored to be part of this community as we journey together with our grit intact to learn more about how to thrive and how to get the most out of life. It means a lot that you are here today. As you listen, I encourage you to think of who may appreciate the tidbits of knowledge we are sharing and to take a moment to pass this along to them. Everyone appreciates a friend that thinks of them, and these conversations are meant to be shared and to spark even more connections.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

I'm so excited for our conversation with Violet today. She has done so many exciting things. She speaks 3 different languages which I would love to have that kind of skill. She also believes in the possibility of creating a world where humans feel deeply, whole, present, and content within themselves, which is a beautiful thing to believe in. And she has spent most of her 20s working and living around the world, and guiding youth and adults on outdoor expeditions. So, we get to know her a little more today, and getting to know some pretty exciting knowledge she has is going to share with us and the work that she does around really helping us regulate better. If you go into the show notes, you can read more about her and her extensive experience and what she has to offer. But thank you so much for being here with us today, Violet.

Violetta Znorkowskiki [:

Thank you so much, Shawna. I'm really excited.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Yes. I'm excited to get to know you. So, of all of the adventures you have been on, tell us one of your most memorable experiences you've had.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Oh, there's so much to choose from. I've been really fortunate and lucky to be in some pretty cool areas of the world that the majority of the population can't access because it's kind of like through invitation only. So, I'd say some of the most special moments were just temporarily residing in, like, indigenous villages throughout Southeast Asia and in Peru and being with the local communities, sleeping, how they sleep, eating what they eat, and learning from them. And there were a lot of moments where, of course, I was challenged, but we'd be, like, sleeping under mosquito nets or, like, in hammocks in the jungle. And it was, like, all intertwined with these communities and their way of living, and it was a really unique experience to be able to do that and follow the way that they live their life. You know?

Shawna Rodrigues [:

That is so exciting. Do you feel like this is something that you've always been curious about other people and other ways of doing things or something you just kind of, like, stumbled into learning about these other cultures and being part of all these different ways of doing things.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

I really appreciate that question because if I'm really honest with myself and I reflect on it, it's been something that's been inherent in my curiosity from a very young age. I grew up between cultures. You know, I speak three languages. One of them I learned throughout high school and university and college. 2 of them I grew up speaking. And I remember, like, even in high school, I would always, like, choose essay topics, like, in literature and English about something to do with diverse cultures and, like, human behavior. And I had no idea that that meant anything. And now doing what I do now, it makes complete sense that there were, like, these little breadcrumbs along the way that were guiding me to what I really am passionate about and, like, what I'm meant to be doing, but it's not a new thing.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

It didn't happen in my adult life. I've always been really interested in different cultures and different languages and the different perspectives and lenses that you see because, many people don't know this, but when you speak multiple languages, you almost have a different personality in each language because of, like, the different qualities it brings out in you. And I was just recently in Italy, and Italian is one of the languages that I speak. And I remember the waiter asked me what I thought of the meal, like, the pasta dish that I bought, and I, without even thinking, responded brutally honest. I was like, oh, yeah. Like, it was okay. It wasn't that great, like in Italian. And I would never say that in English. I would never say that. And all of my friends looked at me, and I was like, wow. I think I'm really honest in Italian, and I would never say that in English. So, it brings out these, like, really interesting quirks in you, and you're like, oh, wow. Okay. I didn't know about that about myself, and maybe I could bring more of that into my English-speaking way. You know?

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Oh, that is so interesting. Like, there's, like, the cultures embedded with the language, and it reflects parts of you too. That is so interesting. I love that. More reasons why you should learn other languages. I do know there was studies done because I've worked in early childhood, and there was one fascinating study about kids who we're in bilingual homes and their ability to when it came to, like, looking at a box and figuring out how to get an object out of a box, the kids that were raised in bilingual homes were able to be more creative about solutions, about how to get an object out of a box, and it was because it was, like, the parts of the brain that were utilized to learn multiple languages gave them the problem solving skills or ability to look at things differently and understand that there was, like, different parts to things and different ways of doing things. So, I've always loved that and like learning languages and using all of your brain in those ways. That's amazing.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

So, tell us more about the work that you're doing now and how you kind of use your experience because you worked and did some exciting things internationally with outdoor experiences and working with folks and how you kind of incorporate that into the work you do now.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Yeah. I'd love to talk about how those 2 things go together because the work that I did for almost a decade, I really think that just the standardized education systems need to learn more from this industry or incorporate more of the experiential, like, resonance to education that I did. So, some background. For about a decade, I worked in experiential and outdoor education. So, this can mean a little bit of a different thing depending where you're from and, like, how the industry looks in your country. But I spent a lot of time in Southeast Asia working for, like, Australia, New Zealand, US companies that send students and adults abroad on expeditions, outdoor expeditions. So, we would be hiking in the Cambodian jungle for example, it's when I mentioned I was sleeping in a hammock for a few days. We would be in these indigenous communities. We'd be integrating with culture, and my role as a facilitator was to facilitate the education of emotional intelligence, leadership skills, personal growth, conflict resolution, challenging your comfort zone. What does that mean, and how do we do it safely? And how do we bring back these things that we're learning abroad on our travels through these outdoor experiences and culture into our everyday life so that it's not just a momentary thing in time, but actually imprints who we are in our own development and the way we see the world so that we could make a better contribution just by simply being alive.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

We would use the experience of being challenged, of having to be abroad, engage in physical activities. You know, like, sometimes it would be really humid and really hot, and you have a heavy backpack on. How do you regulate your emotions when you're so completely at the end of not only your comfort zone because you don't speak the language, you're in a foreign country, you're away from your family maybe for the 1st time and you have a heavy backpack, you're with a group of 15 people. It's like all of these challenges that you can't just walk away from. So, how do you self-manage? How do you lead yourself? So that way you can contribute to the group that you're with to the success of the expedition so that we don't just get stuck in the negative emotions, we don't get stuck in the conflict, but that we actually learn how to integrate it within ourselves and with the people that we're with so that we can continue forward with harmony, you know, and with acceptance and from a collaborative space. And, essentially, like, being in this industry, it was a male dominated industry, so amazing and very privileged to have experienced what I have, to see the parts of the world that I did, and also it really pushed me to experiencing the biggest burnout I have ever experienced where I got physically sick.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

It was a combination of me denying my own needs, not understanding I'm allowed to have needs, me not knowing how to manage myself in these toxic environments because it was a lot of stress on the system, a lot of stress on the body, and I didn't have an example of someone to show me how to actually manage myself in those moments. So, it accumulated, accumulated, accumulated until I got physically sick and entered a deep depression, burnt out completely, and essentially had an awakening of sorts where I changed the direction of my life and shed a lot of layers and a lot of parts of myself that were pushing me to leading in the way that I was towards exhaustion, towards burnout, towards making sure every person on my team was taken care of before I even gave myself some time. And one of the things that I noticed while working in this industry is that being born a white woman in America, I had a lot of privilege. And yet, being in a male dominated industry, I wasn't treated as an equal, and it was always an uphill battle. It felt like I was always moving up stream, and I had to fight for everything. Like, anything to happen, any progression, any promotion, anything good. I had to fight my way or, like, earn it. I had to earn any positive things happening to me, which I think many people can relate to that experience of especially as a woman who has goals, who is ambitious, to have to fight for what you want.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

The systems don't exactly make it easy. And what I didn't know is that I actually had a really big role to play in that too because the way I was thinking, what I was believing, the way I was acting as well, was denying me of my own, I guess, like, birthright of feeling peaceful and content inside and finding a way to make this industry work for me. But I noticed I was experiencing a lot of, I guess, like, gender discrimination in the industry. And then the countries that I worked in, most women had very few rights. So, it sort of ignited this interesting observation of, like, well, if I'm born with so much privilege as a white woman in America, and I'm working in these countries where most women don't have rights, they don't get to choose. There's just a lot of things going on culturally, economically, but I also realized that I had a lot of power in how I felt after this burnout. So, from that industry, I, you know, trained up in holistic therapy and different mind-body modalities and practices because I noticed there was a gap in the industry of, like, teaching and learning certain things, you know, even experiencing them, but, actually, like, how do we maintain it and, like, make that change and transformation real, sustainable, and long lasting?

Violetta Znorkowski [:

So, today, I have a company called Expand and Impact, which is a school of emotional mastery and embodied self-leadership that's been motivated through my experiences from the outdoor industry, and I work with goal driven and motivated women to really enhance self-leadership, emotional regulation, and learn the internal skills that will help each individual, especially women, thrive in the systems that we live in with your dreams without self-sacrifice so that you can have the relationships that you want, the love that you want, the success that you want, and still feel deeply connected to yourself self and steady on the inside, feel really capable even when things don't go according to plan. So, I'm super passionate about the work I do, and thank you for the invitation to being able to share that.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

No. That's so exciting. I think that's something that resonates with a lot of people and trying to find, like, how do you get from where you were with the burnout, with feeling like you didn't have agency and no matter how much you wanted to get somewhere that you were hitting that glass ceiling, you were hitting the roadblocks and not being able to make the progress that you wanted to be able to do those things. Like, how do you get from being there and the burnout, the depression, and the frustration you felt to actually being able to regulate and see the path. So, tell us more about that transition and how we can all see that and make that transition.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Yeah. Thank you for that invitation, Shawna. I think one of the key things to really consider here to make any type of transformation that we want in our lives, whether that's in your professional life, in your personal life, everything starts from within and from the individual and taking self-responsibility. This we know. Right? This isn't new information. But what's important to highlight here is the function of our nervous system and, like, what that actually is and how it perpetuates the difficulty of being able to break certain patterns and how by learning about the nervous system, the changes we want to see actually start to happen with less resistance and less effort and more spontaneously without us having to work so hard at them. So, if you're having behavior patterns that you're wanting to break, coping mechanisms, mental thought patterns, emotional patterns, if you're, like, anxious, you experience anxiety. You internalize a lot of stress. You're noticing yourself being in a lot of conflicts, for example. It all starts internally from the nervous system. So, if it's okay, I can share very quickly, like, what it is exactly and what it isn't because there is some misconception online, especially in the self-help space where Instagram is leading the way at the moment.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

That would be wonderful. Share with us. I'd love to hear more.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

So, the nervous system, in essence, is a continuous loop of information between your brain and your body that holds all of our experiences that we've had throughout our life and energetic component to it. And it's constantly scanning our environment searching for threats to see if it's safe enough, for example, to be ourselves. So, when our nervous system scans our environment and perceives something to not be safe, and the way it does that is that it compares it to the experiences we've had in the past, then we won't be able to create that change that we're wanting, or maybe we have a trigger or a reaction that doesn't make rational sense, and we think like, well, why can't I calm down? Why can't I just, like, have this conversation? Like, why am I getting so heated? And the reason for that is because there's body memories that are stored from everything that we've experienced that are being triggered unconsciously when we maybe even smell something, when we see something, when we unconsciously are reminded of an experience that we had. So, one of the most helpful things of really creating embodied and real change is to learn to expand the capacity for your mind-body to feel safe and comfortable experiencing a new type of set point, a new type of reality. So, if you aren't used to resting, resting is going to be triggered as unsafe, and this is why we get anxiety. This is why we can't sit still because there's an internal system that from years and years of potentially working really hard and hustling your way to success is telling us that resting isn't safe, and these are the reasons why.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Maybe you grew up in a home where if you had downtime, someone will call you lazy, so we store this. Or there was an experience you had in the school system where the teacher said that you were slacking even though you had already finished your test, but they didn't check if you were done. They just saw that you weren't working anymore, so they called you a slacker. So, we start to internalize these experiences, and that's why resting, the example that I'm using, may be challenging to actually do even though rationally we know it's good for us. Even though rationally, we're intelligent and smart enough to know that we need it, we need to restore our body, self-care is positive. So, why is it so hard to prioritize ourselves? And that's one of the reasons why. And there are other reasons, but in my own journey, for example, that was the key that I noticed was missing even in what I was teaching all those years is that we were learning the things to do for transformation, the way to think, but we weren't learning on how to actually create safety with those new realizations.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

And when you do, life becomes a lot easier because you're changing the entire wiring of your nervous system to thrive in the things that you know are good for you and that you want. Right? No one wants to struggle. No one wants to suffer. But sometimes it's easier because that's what's familiar, to stay in those loops. So, I think that answers your question, Shawna.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Wow. I'm over here just, like, processing what you just said. That is so fabulous, and I really think that for those listening, like, you just need a moment for that because that is pretty intense to recognize. Like, what about resting? What about self-care? What about doing these things that on one hand, I'm being told is good and I can kind of believe it's good, why does that not feel safe for my body? Why do I keep moving away from it, why do I not sit with that? Why does it not safe to sit with that? And that safety piece, and what about it? What messages have I received historically through my life and make it so that doesn't feel safe? I think that is such a profound thing to sit with and reflect on and think about. Wow. Mic drop. Like, we get in the podcast episode right now.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

I was going to also just add to that that, when we think of, like the nervous system, there's a common rhetoric that says, to have a healthy nervous system, you're calm all the time or you're relaxed. That's actually not true. That's not indicative of a healthy nervous system. A healthy nervous system is flexible. And what that means on a mind-body level, what flexibility really means is being able to mobilize energy from within and be productive, take the action that you need to take, be under stress, work under pressure, performing high, and then also being able to rebound back into that state of deep rest, back into a state of calm and steadiness. So, instead of working really hard and having a lot of this energy that's pushing us, what often happens when our nervous system is pushed to its edges, we have a crashing period. Right? So then followed by intense productivity, we experience procrastination. We experience numbness. We experience depression, and then we wonder and feel really ashamed. Like, if I'm so capable, why don't I feel happier? Why can't I get out of this procrastination when I was just taking action, doing all of these things. And there's this huge pendulum in our emotions because our nervous system hasn't expanded enough and doesn't know the skills yet to move back into that state so that way when we are under pressure, we know exactly what we need, and it's different for everyone to make our way back to peace. And the more we do that is taking on a little bit of stress, maybe processing things and then coming back, and then taking a little bit more and then coming back. So, that's a sign of a healthy nervous system in reality is not to be calm all the time, but knowing how to make your way back to peace. So, being able to work under stress, work under pressure, and then coming back instead of having those big crashes that so many people experience, especially at the end of the year, at the start of the year when you're feeling rejuvenated, after having rested and then you crash again a couple months later, this is one of the reasons why.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Because you had to know how to do that up and down and back and forth and be able to go from one state to the other instead of needing to stay in a calm state or needing to stay in an expanded state is the actual going back and forth. You mentioned being able to do a little stress and going back and a little more stress and coming back. But are there other ways other than exposing yourself to stress and coming back and forth you can to exercise that and work on that?

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Absolutely. So, essentially, what we're talking about here is something called the window of tolerance where the window of tolerance when we are in our window, we are operating at, like, our optimal state. We can experience stress. We can rest. We feel happiness. We feel sadness, and we experience our entire emotional spectrum without being thrown off completely off the waves of life and internalizing our experiences. And when we are operating out of our window, that's when we start to notice feelings of anxiety, feelings of, like, hypervigilance, for example, were triggered easier, were short-tempered, and the opposite of that as well. Maybe we can't get out of bed sometimes. Maybe we are apathetic and languishing and, like, are completely not interested of even socializing anymore. So, those are some indicators that we are operating outside of our window. So, when we're working with the nervous system, we're wanting to expand our window so that way we can make our way back. Right? Make our way back to peace. We can handle more on the outside world and make our way back. So, some ways that we can do that, and it's really important to use your discernment for everyone listening to notice how it is for you specifically? Because there's a trend right now, for example, of ice baths, getting into a cold tub. And a lot of people have ice baths. It's very trendy in the wellness industry.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

And I do that too, but I don't always do it. So, for some people, that's a challenge. Right? Because it's a shock to the system to get into the ice bath. So, that's something that can expand your window of tolerance and your capacity to make your way back to peace and, like, handle stress because you're physically putting your body under stress, practicing your breathing, staying in longer and longer and, like, connecting to your breath, connecting to the present moment. But someone who's healing from chronic stress, for example, or who has experienced a lot of traumas in their life may not benefit from an ice bath, and it could actually make things worse because it's too much too soon for the system. It's too big of a shock, too big of a change to be useful. So, in this moment, we can try smaller things to expand our window. Maybe that is noticing a sensation, noticing a feeling. I'm noticing I'm anxious. I'm noticing I'm sad and sitting with it for 30 seconds, and then going on about your day.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

So, even something like that is practicing being with discomfort however that looks for you in the safest way possible where after you do an activity, you don't feel completely derailed and, like, frantic. So, the second you notice that you're feeling horrible after you've done something, it wasn't the right activity for your system in that moment because we shouldn't be pushing ourselves to these extremes in the sake of wellness and then finishing them and not feeling well. So, if it doesn't bring you into a centered place after, perhaps it's the wrong activity. So, even connecting with your breath, that can be a way to expand your window. Having a hard conversation. They sound like simple little things, but simple doesn't mean easy, and sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to do.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Yeah. So, something that's more controlled, but a level of tolerance that you can do, that can be something that you can control so you can have some level of mastery over that and have that experience doing something challenging, whether it's the breathing or the experiencing emotion or a physical factor outside such as the ice or something like that or maybe even just noticing your feet on the floor or whatever else.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Or even resting. Yeah. Doing nothing for 5 minutes.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Yes, resting.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Yeah. It's going to suck. It's going to be uncomfortable. You're going to feel maybe, like, turbulent tension if you're not used to it. Do it for 5 minutes and then get on with your life. Be productive. Be busy. And what you'll notice is that you're starting to grow your capacity and your tolerance for that to be safe, so those 5 minutes eventually aren't going to have that same triggered reaction. It's actually going to be comfortable for the body because the body is noticing, oh, nothing bad is happening. Nothing bad happened. I took 5 minutes off. Nothing bad happened. It's okay. Maybe I'll take 10 and just slowly.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

No. That's wonderful. So, different ways you can start to expand that tolerance and start to experience those things and get your body more used to that. That's wonderful. And so, those are the things that you started to learn about and started to work with to get yourself to a different place then as well.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Yeah. Exactly. I actually, many of us are doing this every day, and we don't even know it. But specifically with the industry that I came from, it's like I was used to being challenged. As a professional woman, I was used to obstacles. I was used to moving head first into resistance, not taking no for an answer. That was my comfort zone. So, I needed to learn the opposite of those things of when is pushing too much, too much. When should I actually not see this challenge as an opportunity that needs to be overcome, but as an indicator that I'm in the right place, and maybe I need to step away, say no, and leave? So, that was what I started to become more aware of through the work of the nervous system, through learning to sit with my emotions, through being in stillness. It has an amazing ability to start to open up your awareness.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

And when you open up your awareness, naturally, that curiosity starts to come through and you start to see more those moments that are hard and you start to question, is this supposed to be like this? Is there a different way? Because for all my life, pushing into resistance was my comfort zone. For some, it isn't. But I think for many ambitious women, it is. We don't like to be told no. We'll just do it twice as good and show you that we're capable. And how much of that action actually, we were denying ourselves and what's meant for us in the process. Maybe there was an easier way.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

That's so interesting. I think that one of my signs of maturity has been a point when I realized that it was okay to quit and okay to walk away. And there's this joke I have with my love of my life partner that we joke that he's like, you never quit, and that's a big thing with him. I'm like, well, you're marrying a quitter because I quit, and I walk away, and I let go and do that. And for me, I say that without any negativity because I really did learn that it was okay to quit, and it was a hard lesson for me. And it's so funny because as much as, like, I've come to terms with that, listening to what you just said, I've never given myself credit for that and for realizing how so much of my life is proving myself and proving I had to do things and proving that I could just push and push and having to prove myself and having to do stuff and be able to say, like, you know, not my people. Not it's okay. I don't have to prove that just be and being an ambitious woman and being a woman that had to fight for everything to get to the places and do the things and show that just because I was a woman, just because I was shorter, just because I was smaller, just because I was all those things that, no, I can still do this anyways that I don't have to prove things anymore.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

And I think the 1st time I did that, my girlfriend and I were at a lake, and there was jumping off of a bridge. And, usually, I'd be like, yes. I'm going to prove that girls jump off bridges too, and I'm going to do it. And I was like, no. I have no desire to jump off this bridge, and I'm only doing it to prove that just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I'm not going to jump off a bridge. No. I don't want to jump off a bridge. I don't have to prove anything to anybody anymore. And so, those moments when you finally realize, I don't want to prove anything to anybody. Like, I can do it because I want to and not because I have to prove anything, so.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

And it's so subtle. Right? Because a lot of the time, at least in my experience, it's like, I did it differently. You know? It's like there's not many people that move across the world when they're, like, 22 and, like, have this job that no one knows about and, like, are pay getting paid to travel and teach others around the world. So, it's like it looks different. It looks like I'm already, like, going against the status quo, but there was still a huge part of me that was proving myself along the way. And what happens when we unconsciously do that, wanting to be validated by others, is that we're denying different parts of ourself that want to be seen and want to be expressed. And for me in this industry, it was my femininity because the more feminine I looked, the less seriously people would take me. But I love wearing dresses. I love snowboarding. I love rock climbing, but I also love makeup and wearing dresses. And I needed to learn how those 2 versions of myself can coexist without it feeling like a threat that it's going to be used against me, against what I'm actually there to do or that I'm wanting to achieve in my life. And I think that is the, again, it sounds simple, hardest lesson to learn, so I want to acknowledge you for changing your mind. And like, you call it quitting, I call it changing your mind. I call it staying true to yourself and listening to what you need and what you actually want and being able to go with that. That's huge. The majority of the people haven't learned that and that's a skill.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

No. I love that. I love reframing it instead of having to be like, yes, I'm a quitter. I'm a quitter, and being okay with that is, you know, I'm allowed to change my mind. I'm allowed to pursue what's best for me. I'm allowed to make decisions that are in my best interest and to understand what I don't need to do instead of, like, you start something, you finish something. You have to do it no matter how painful, no matter how terrible, no matter how bad it is, it's okay to choose what's best for you to take in new information and to figure out what's better. And that's exactly what it is, but it's so funny that you don't get to say that and be that, but instead, you're a quitter. You know what I mean? And so, I love that the part of what you're doing is now with, oh, you're doing the right thing. It is okay to be doing the right thing instead of building up this wall of, okay, I'm a quitter.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Yeah. And that's what makes people not change their mind is because it's the fear of what will people think or even, they know that it's going to cause drama, and they just don't want to deal with the drama. And you have to start to weigh the impact of that because denying your needs or your wants one time, not that big of a deal. Maybe twice? Okay. Not that big of a deal. But over time, it starts to weigh on your nervous system. It starts to weigh on your mind. It starts to weigh on you, and it starts to accumulate. So, maybe once or twice, not that serious. But over time, it has huge consequences, and a lot of the time, that manifests as physical illness.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Absolutely. I absolutely believe that and absolutely support that. And I want to empower more people to be able to figure out what they want. And it can be really hard to silence the other voices and to have to hear those other pieces. And I know that changing because I have a license in clinical social work, which is a US thing, but I have a clinical license and had done that work. And it was funny because it wasn't just hard for people that I've been in that industry with and done that work with and led agencies at the state and federal level and did all sorts of work that a hard time with me leaving and doing this and starting a podcast network and doing this powerful meaningful work I'm doing now. And it was interesting because people that had barely known me were like, but you can still go back to that. Right? Like, you could still go get in a job and you can. No. I'm doing this now. I started this, and this is my career, and this. And people still don't see that and don't get that all the time because I traveled across the country and led things and went into fellowships in DC and did all sorts of different things to do that and did a lot of powerful things in that field and won awards for that work and did national level TA and products and did a lot of powerful things in that career. But I was ready for something different and something that was defined by me and my choices and what led, and it's hard for other people to see that and be okay with people doing those things.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Yeah. But that's why these conversations are so powerful and brilliant because it gives permission to someone who has that little voice that's considering it. The little voice in the back of their head where, like, you wake up to go to work every day and you're like, oh, something doesn't feel right. But then that motivated part overrides that voice, and you keep pushing. You keep pushing. You keep taking action. And conversations like this, I think, are such a beautiful way to give permission to that quieter voice to take up a little bit more space. What is it wanting to communicate? What is it wanting? It's okay to change your mind, and that's something I think we need to normalize in society because we have so many successful but miserable people. We have a lot of examples of that, but not a lot of examples of, like, wealthy, powerful, happy, in love, connected women. Relaxed women. There's not been a lot of examples of that, and I believe it's a 100% possible.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Yes. And they need to fill the examples of yeah. It's okay. And it's maybe hard to start over again, but you finding where you need to be and want to be is the important thing for you to move towards. And understand that you taking care of yourself and your nervous system and finding that way is going to be worth it. And to be able to not have to say that you quit, that you say that, you know, I found a better path. I found the way that I was meant to be and I'm following that. That's powerful work that you're doing. That's so exciting, Violet.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Thank you. I'm really passionate about it and think it has a huge place in the world to help a lot of people really break away from all of the should’s that we're supposed to do and find a way to belong to the world and the systems as they are without compromising your mental, emotional, physical well-being, your relationships, and I'd love to see a world with more happy, relaxed and successful women, and I think we are the generation to be able to make those different choices and learn the skills that we weren't taught in school that will help us to achieve that.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Yes. And these unique gifts we have that are going to light up the world and change things in ways we never imagined, but we don't realize how dispensable we are. I think more with the pandemic, we've realized how dispensable we are with some of the work that we do and to actually do what we're passionate and care about is something that is more unique, and those are the things we shouldn't walk away from and can't walk away from. That is so valuable. This has been such a wonderful conversation. I am so glad you were able to join us today and share with us. Is there anything that we haven't touched on that you want to make sure that we touch on before we kind of get to our wrap up?

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Not for me. Is there anything that you're noticing that can be added?

Shawna Rodrigues [:

No. This has been wonderful. I think you definitely touched on it all, but I do want to make sure that we got to those pieces. So, one thing we do in each of our episodes as we talk with each of our guests about what you do for self-maintenance to take care of you and be able to show up in the world is who you are and to take care of yourself. So, what do you do for self-maintenance?

Violetta Znorkowski [:

You know what? I'm going to change my answer last minute because this conversation reminded me of something that I do. That I wasn't aware of consciously until this moment, my self-maintenance, like, what I do for that daily is I allow myself to change my mind. So, I am in deep connection with my body, and that's taken years of learning what that means, how that feels, what that looks like. And if I say that I'm going to go, I don't know, go in the ice bath or go in the sauna or do some kind of self-care routine, and when I start doing it and it's not feeling right, using my discernment of, like, is this me just, like, not wanting to do it or actually it's not what I need, and I very quickly change my mind now. You know, if I start myself on some kind of routine and it's not feeling good, I'm like, well, I guess that's not what I need. Let me try something else.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

That's awesome.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

But it's taken me a while to learn.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Yes. And as we're having this conversation, I don't share my stuff all the time, but right now I'm supposed to have another meeting after our meeting, and I have a headache. I'm super tired. I'm recovering from not feeling well, and I'm going to cancel my next meeting and take care of myself. So, thank you for that. Listening to my body and discernment.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Yeah. Let's celebrate that together.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Yes. I think that's very important to do that. So, whoever's listening, give yourself permission to listen to your body and what you need to make those decisions, and it's okay to do that. That's important to take care of yourself. So, this is very beneficial. In that way, I'm going to change that meeting. I can move it till tomorrow because I need to take care of myself tonight. So, thank you. I'm glad we had this conversation. The other thing we also do is we do what we call grit wit, where we walk away with something very applicable. I think there's a lot of things we've talked about, and I wonder if the first one isn't that discernment and people listening to their bodies and listening to changing their mind. What are your thoughts on what we should offer people that they can walk away and do immediately that we've talked about today?

Violetta Znorkowski [:

I'm going to suggest something that may seem a little bit left field, but I think it ties in beautifully. And it's starting to notice when you are living through the interpretation versus the observation of life in your human experience. So, let me just quickly, I'll give a 2, like, a 1- or 2-minute explanation. So, when we are interpreting a situation, we're living through the story. So, for example, we can use the example of, like, being in our hometown and seeing someone we know across the street. We're walking in opposite directions. We can take a moment to visualize this if you're a visual person. You see your friend Sally across the street and you wave to her, and she keeps walking.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

And in that moment, maybe I'm saying, wow. I can't believe Sally ignored me. I can't believe she just ignored me, pretended she didn't see me. And when we are responding in this way and thinking like that about a situation, what the trickle effect is, and it also connects to the nervous system, is now we're believing that someone ignored word of interpretation. So, now we're maybe angry. We're self-conscious. We're criticizing Sally, or maybe we're feeling bad about ourselves. We feel guilty. Like, well, what did I do to deserve this? Like, should I apologize? Or people pleaser comes out. And then we start to act and react from that space. And our nervous system gets triggered, so now we're triggered. And when we were to look at that same situation but through the lens of an observer, Sally, I waved to Sally across the and she kept walking, we can say when we're observing the situation, I waved to Sally and she kept walking. So, even notice how that feels as I say that. There's no stories there. It's like, it’s simply fact. I waved; she kept walking. I don't know that she didn't see me. I can't know that a 100%. Maybe she just found out that her partner ended up in a hospital, and she was preoccupied in brushing down the street.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

So, by taking the stance and practicing, noticing when we're in the interpretation of any situation. This is a simple one, but we do it all the time. A couple weeks ago, I was, like, in the shower, and I thought he didn't make the bed. Right? Because I like, we had a conversation where I was like, I'm tired of always making the bed. Can you do that? And I went in to have a shower. I opened the door, and I saw, like, the end of the cover, and I, like, instantly got angry. And I was like, I can’t believe he just went to work and didn’t make this bed. And I instantly started, like, making up that story. And I walked into the bedroom, and he was lying in bed reading. Like, he hadn't even gotten out of bed yet. And instantly, that, like, emotion filtered away, and I was like, oh, that was me. I created that. I created that emotional reaction by living through the interpretation, and it wasn't fact. It wasn't reality.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

So, I think this is a really tangible perspective shift and skill that anyone listening can start to notice within their own lives and start to try to practice observing. Practice the observing and see what changes in your physical body, in your mental state, and in your relationships.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Yes. That's very powerful. I think the stories we tell ourselves and the way we fill in gaps can be very damaging and dangerous, and it changes the entire narrative about things. The people we work with, the people we live with, the people we love, and that it's important to not tell ourselves the interpretation, just do the observation. That is fabulous. So, we should all practice the next time something happens to say, was that an observation or interpretation? And how could I change it to an observation? That is lovely. I love it.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Yeah. What's the ripple effect of that? Notice for yourself.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

How much that can change things? I love that. Okay. That's what we're going to do. I love it. That's our good grit wit for today. That's perfect. So, then what is the best way for us to get in touch with you or if people want to connect with you? What is the best place to find you online or otherwise?

Violetta Znorkowski [:

You can find me on Instagram, @Expand_and_Impact, or LinkedIn under my full name, Violetta Znorkowski, if that's your jam to be on LinkedIn. But I would also like to offer everyone listening an opportunity to practice this meditation bundle that I put together that really ties in with what we're speaking about today. There are 5 meditations designed for different levels of your nervous system that you don't have to do sitting down. So, those moments where you want to take some time for yourself or you're wanting to kind of center yourself again, maybe you're feeling a bit discombobulated, but it's really hard to sit down, there's a reason for that, and it's connected to the nervous system. So, we don't have to sit down. We can change our mind. We can do something different.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

So, this bundle has a walking meditation, a guided one. It has 1 you can do laying down. It has 1 you can do in the shower, a seated, and then a gentle breath work practices to move some energy and to start to heal some of those triggers and bring ourselves back to balance as well. So, if that sounds appealing to you, I'd love to offer that to you.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Nice. We can definitely we can put that in the show notes. Is there is it an easy URL or website to remember? Should we just put it in the show notes of the link?

Violetta Znorkowski [:

We'll just put it in the show notes, or you can even go to the link in my bio or send me a message. I love connecting with folks and genuinely building relationships, so you could come say hi and I'll send it, but it'll be in the show notes.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

That's perfect. I love that. That'll be great. And I love that you can do 1 in the shower because sometimes life just feels busy and so, something like, oh, I'm in the shower. I'll just put that on while I'm in the shower. And that way, I can definitely make time for it. That's great.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Thank you so much for offering that. That is a wonderful gift for folks to have. And this has been a fabulous conversation. I really appreciate the perspective you've offered us in being able to look at our nervous system and how things are activated and how we can look at kind of reworking things and expanding our window of tolerance for things and even evaluating when we're interpreting instead of observing to help us be more successful in life and moving forward. So, thank you.

Violetta Znorkowski [:

Thank you so much for the opportunity to speak together. It's been a pleasure.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Thank you for joining us today. I hope you enjoyed this episode. Be sure to jump on over to Instagram and follow us at The.Grit.Show. And if you aren't already following Authentic Connections Podcast Network at 37by27, you should definitely be doing that as well. Don't forget. You are the only one of you that this world has got, and that means something. I'll be here next Tuesday. I hope you are too.

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THE GRIT SHOW
Growth on Purpose
Are you a giver and a doer? Are you someone who has shown your grit and powered through, and now you're ready for the other side? Now you re looking for the conversations that remind you about self-care, that bring to mind grace and understanding, and give you space to reflect on purpose. Do you want more room to breathe and to live life with a little more ease? Each week, we discover tools and ways of thinking that support alignment, build stronger connections, help us find better questions, and live our best life. Most weeks we laugh, some weeks the topics touch close to home, but ultimately; this is where we grow together as seekers and thrivers. The Grit Show - growth on purpose. https://podcast.TheGritShow.com
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About your host

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Shawna Rodrigues

Shawna Rodrigues, Founder and Director of Impact at Authentic Connections Podcast Network, Host of The Grit Show (https://podcast.thegritshow.com) and Author Express (https://bit.ly/AuthorExpressPod) and coming in 2024- Authenticity Amplified. Shawna is a Podcast Mentor, Internationally Best-Selling Author (www.shawnarodrigues.com) and consultant.
Find her on Instagram @ShawnaPodcasts.