CwL Ep62: Dancing in the Dark

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The poet, Bruce Springsteen, put words to what Lisa believes leadership looks like right now. Or at least, her style of leadership.

In this full length episode Lisa is starting the conversation around what it looks like to lead in times like these, as women.

In truth, it’s a jumble of thoughts that have been flying around in her head, come up in conversations with her peers and are currently filling the pages of her journal.

How can more women take the lead in their own lives? What’s getting in the way? Do we even recognise we can?

All these questions and way more are raised in this episode where Lisa attempts to ‘spark the fire’.

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Prefer to read? Access the transcript here

Hi, it’s Lisa Corduff, welcome to the podcast where you can expect inspiring, raw, energising, and transformative conversations with people on the path of personal evolution. I’m here to really live my life. And if you are too, these conversations are just for you. I’m really glad you’re here. Enjoy.

Hi everyone. I hope you’ve been enjoying the tiny trainings that you have been receiving via the podcast, which can I just be totally honest? Sometimes I have created a lot of stuff. A lot of stuff. I’ve been sharing this stuff online since… I mean, I had my first Facebook page in 2012, but I created my first online course in 2014 and I’ve been creating stuff daily almost since that time. And I love going back through the archives and finding little nuggets of gold that we’ve been sharing with you that I honestly need reminding of in my life because we can complicate things. We can totally distract ourselves and sometimes we just need to come back to those beautiful basic principles and reminders. So look, I’ve been digging them as much as you, hopefully, you have. Today though, we’re back with some freshies. We’re getting some fresh podcast episodes. This will be a little bit longer than the tiny eps.

And really today is just an introduction, I guess, an introduction into this conversation that I’m having in my own head, I’m having with friends, I’m having with you all online via Facebook and Instagram. You might’ve noticed recently that some of my posts, I have changed a little bit that I’m, you know what, I shared really honestly a few weeks ago that I’m so bored of a lot of the stuff that I see online. That’s so much just seems cookie-cutter, so much seems vanilla, so much is just regurgitation of other people’s stuff and I get it. I actually understand all of the marketing practises and why people do things the way that they do them. And it’s just that I’m fucking bored of it. And I’m sorry to swear, but swearing is what I do. And it was extraordinary your responses, but here’s what happened to me after that. I suddenly went, oh, shit. I’m actually bored of myself. I’m bored of the conversations that I’m having here. I’m bored of kind of a filtered version of me.

And I don’t think it’s wrong to not share everything of yourself. It’s certainly not what I’m going for. I think I just came to a point in my life where I was really ready to be seen more fully, and I hadn’t been ready before. I’ve always had authenticity for want of a better cliche word as one of my core values that if you met me on the street or in a park pushing my kids on swings when I was younger and doing the whole food stuff, that there wouldn’t be a disconnect between who you’re hearing here and who you would meet in real life. But the fact is that there really has been a difference because there’s been so much about my life that I haven’t been being ready to or willing to share because it was mine and I was in the process of processing and I think I’ll be processing forever.

And so suddenly this post of me, just honestly sort of saying, “You know, man, where are these good conversations that women are having?” I feel like I’m having them in my personal circles, but share with me who your lighthouses are online. And I realised at that moment, like afterwards that I needed to step up. That maybe if I’m bored of what I’m seeing, maybe people are also a bit bored of me and that if I wanted to lead, then I needed myself to start taking action. And this is a part of the conversation that I want to have with you is about what it means to lead at the moment and for women. So on the back of that, I shared, I suddenly felt quite willing and able to share the story of being married to an alcoholic, which I’ve never really fully come out and said. I have alluded a lot to Nick’s mental health struggles and addiction is a mental health challenge for sure. And there were lots of other complications for him.

And I absolutely knew in that moment of sharing that this is something that everyone in my personal life knows my children are down with, everyone is sort of like, I mean, there’s just this no shame for us at all in Nick’s addiction. It’s not a character flaw, so I’ve never felt ashamed of it in that way. But I think what I have been is protective because if someone had said to me, my husband’s an alcoholic that would have brought up certain interpretations for me. I would have been thinking of certain horrible things, abuse or violence or things like that. And until you actually experience it, you’ve actually got no idea. That was absolutely not a part of our experience at all. And so I think I was protecting him and me from people’s judgments.

And I think a lot of us do that in so many different ways in our lives. We don’t share things because we assume other people will make interpretations and that might make us feel uncomfortable. And at the end of the day, I now know that people will assume whatever they want to assume. It doesn’t actually change anything about me, my experience, my children’s experience and the legacy of Nick who was a brilliant, creative, very loving and loyal man. But it’s coming up to two years. Two years for people who’ve been following along, in September 2021 will be the two year anniversary of his death. We separated in January of 2019, and he passed away in September while holidaying in India. And he was in relapse at that time. And there is so much that I could share about that.

And I do want to encourage anyone who is triggered by this conversation to please get in touch. You can Google support services, phone support services if you know and love someone who is suffering from addiction, or if you yourself are concerned about your drinking. There is so much help available for you and I really always want to encourage people to take that step to reach out and have a phone conversation. It’s absolutely possible for you to receive support.

The whole addiction space is one big shame guilt spiral for a lot of people. I mean, anyone who I tell comes right back at me and is like, “Oh yeah, my uncle, my father, my sister, my niece,” whatever it is, there’s so much of it out there. You’re really not alone. And I’m sure I will end up sharing more about that, but that’s not really what I’m talking about today. I’m talking more about the process of getting to the place of being honest about that and what it actually means in terms of embodying leadership for me at the moment and what I believe women are craving?

And this is what I was talking about being bored. Like where’s the new ones, where’s the complexity? And I can say, I know why people don’t share all the ins and outs. I know how hard it is to have your vulnerable little heart laying bare. But if we want to have real conversations, if we actually want to move things forward, we have to own all the parts of ourselves. We have to love it all. If you want to be able to be more visible in your life, which is that’s what this past little while has been for me on Facebook and Instagram. And if you’d seen the sex post that also went a little bit crazy as well, and I shared how much pleasure I’m experiencing at the moment. And I’m just like, let’s just say the things that need to be said, let’s put it out there. Let’s see what people respond to. Let’s have the conversations that have been uncomfortable.

And I guess I’m thinking about myself and being an example of what embracing all of the parts looks like, because that’s what I’ve been in the process of doing myself behind closed doors and with my psychologist and with spiritual helpers and with my freaking outrageous crew of women that surround me. Even living it out in my relationship and using my voice in ways inside a relationship that I’ve never done before like all of it. I have been on this supercharged, oh God, it’s like been a total shakedown of my whole life the last few years. And in amongst it all, I’ve questioned myself. And so at the moment or recently, especially this year really sort of questioned, what’s a point? Like Lisa, you know nothing. You are such a work in progress.

Oh my goodness. People just should not be looking at you. You’ve got nothing to say a value, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. And it’s kind of no one knows everything. Thought leaders abound, experts abound, and I bloody love those people who can absolutely claim. I know this stuff. I know this stuff really, really well. I’m pretty much the best person that you can talk to about this stuff. I feel like I’ve been really getting honest with myself about what I truly know, what I could truly claim to know. And I mean, I love what I teach in Ready for Change. And I love opening women’s eyes to the bullshit that they are telling themselves and giving them a really simple process to follow when it comes to the stories that are keeping them stuck and how to shift them and create stories that serve them.

And then in Live the Change, which is the six month coaching programme that follows that. I just teach really simple principles that when you start to live from the place of those principles, everything can really start to shift. I stand by and I love those programmes and the women they seem to attract, just awesome. So that’s lucky for me, isn’t it? But there’s this other sort of aspect and it’s been really around, I’ve always considered myself. Like I was always putting my hand up for extracurricular activities and women leaders camps. And, I mean, I was school captain. I was always, I mean, before that I was public speaking captain at high school year, says the woman facing a microphone at the age of 41.

So I’ve always kind of felt like I enjoy sharing publicly and onstage. I love sharing about things that I’ve been learning that have been helping me. And I mean, I’m so privileged to live in a time where there’s a platform for that. I literally created my own ideal business. But there’s something else that’s bubbling away and it’s like leadership just used to be like that hold the sort of masculine model of leadership of have a vision, gather a team around you and get them on the same vision and be out in front. It sort of feels like old concepts of leadership falling away.

And I haven’t quite known what to replace them with. What’s actually going the fuck on here. The world is falling down around us, nothing is as we know it. We’re leaving with huge levels of uncertainty. We’re trying to grapple really big moral and ethical questions in brand new ways. And here are all us. And if you’re listening to this, I’m including you in on this. Very, very privileged women stuck in their bullshit, often victimhood of how hard their life is when, really? I mean, hard stuff has happened to me and I will never discount your life experiences as being hard because, Jesus, I mean, some of the things that I’ve had to live through, I wouldn’t wish on anyone. But I’m talking about how we just keep ourselves from not looking after our bodies that a gifting us this precious life.

I’m talking about how we just keep ourselves feeling shame about things that we’ve done in our past and whip ourselves for it just over and over again, instead of dropping that whip and just moving forward with more grace. And I’m talking about perpetual cycles of overwhelm and stress that literally distract us from the miracle of life that surrounds us. The literal moments of joy that make this whole freaking thing worthwhile. We are so distracted and it’s keeping us small and it’s keeping us owning our story. It’s keeping us dreaming bigger, serving more. We’re needed in ways that I don’t think we even really get, because we’re just so caught up in our own little heads and we create it for ourselves in many ways. So what is leadership? What would it mean to lead yourself through a tough time in your life?

What might it mean to lead yourself through change? What might it mean to have a really big audacious dream and have no idea how are you going to do it, but try anyway? And so, as I do, I listen to music. I was about to say bad music, but really Bruce Springsteen is still bad. Bruce Springsteen is a genius. And one day I was listening to Dancing in the Dark. I mean go and listen to that song. Some of the lyrics in that song, I’m like, this is speaking to me, this is speaking to me. I’m just wandering around this house, and I’m like, yup, so mommy, just trying to write this book, yup, same with me. And when I heard those lyrics Dancing in the Dark, I’m like, it’s kind of what we’re doing, isn’t it?

It’s like so many of us are recognising that the old ways, the old patriarchal ways don’t serve us at all. Even just that term, I was about to say, the old idea of busting our balls, we even use men’s physiology and analogies around working really hard. And I’m not just talking about men. I mean, I sit in my masculine energy a lot because I’m a sole parent. I got to get things done. I’m running a business. Absolutely, I need to bring my masculine. But I also play, I also seek out pleasure as a strategy for success.

I also collaborate and I mean community with women, it’s not a sitting at the top looking down. It’s not what we do anymore. It’s the old ways just don’t make sense anymore. This is what leadership feels like to me at the moment. It’s dancing in the dark. It’s dancing despite. It’s bringing light when, I mean, it would be easier to just kind of crumble and hide. But you know what, he talks in that song, the poet, Bruce Springsteen is, about needing a spark.

And that spoke to me too, because I’ve always relied on myself as a spark. I know what I need to do to light it up inside me. I wonder if you do. But some of those things haven’t been accessible. I mean, seven months of lockdown last year in Melbourne, the normal ways in which I connect with people changed. My ability to travel change my environment connect. I really loved the American energy for shifting me for getting me into that kind of different mindset. I’d go over there multiple times a year for the past few years, that’s gone away. So what’s the spark, what’s the spark for you?

I realised if I was looking for one and maybe you were too, and maybe we are it for each other, maybe I might be. For some of you, and this is a conversation that I want to start having. We are all required to lead ourselves through whatever it is that we’re going through in our lives. And I wonder what comes up for you when I use the term leader, leadership? I mean, it’s kind of old school connotations, but I’m not too sure what to replace it with yet. And I asked my friends about, and they were like, “Oh, kind of, I don’t feel like a leader and these women totally who you would consider leaders. No, I don’t like that term. I just prefer to work with people.” I’m like, “Yeah.” They just don’t associate with that, it feels icky to us.

And I’m interested in that, I’m interested in, why? And I’m interested in what it looks like. I mean, I genuinely think of myself as the leader of this house. Do you think of yourself as that? Or you just sort of bombard like life is leading you, you’re just living by default. I mean, it really look and feel like to you to take your own life by the reins. What story you telling yourself about why that’s not possible? And I get like… Listen, all of those circumstances are so different and I never want to presume about anybody’s life. But there’s little ways, aren’t there? There’s little ways that you can. You can have the conversation that’s been sitting on your mind. I mean, just choosing to do that is choosing to lead. It’s acting, doing before we feel ready, before we necessarily know. But we can kind of want to know, don’t we, the outcomes?

How are you going to try this thing if I know it’s going to be a success. Or I couldn’t possibly do that, I’ve got checks and balances, pros and cons. We’ve totally lost the ability to sink into our intuition. I mean, yeah. And I shared a post about feeling optimistic. I was on holidays, just having the loveliest time. It’s really sinking into how grateful I felt for being in that moment. I was there with my boyfriend and his two sons and my three children. It was just like heaven. And I shared that. I think so much of what we see in that kind of leadership or motivational space is what some people would consider toxic positivity, sort of fake. Most of us know, you shouldn’t disregard all your other feelings. You’ve got to feel the spectrum. You’ve got to feel it all.

And we kind of don’t believe, it looks insincere, now all of that stuff. And I have wondered if people have thought that of me over the years, but it’s more like, I think it’s optimism, right? I think I have been able to move through stuff because I just kept believing it was all for something and it was all going to be more than okay. I never stopped having expectations of a really good life. And to me, that’s optimism. I mean, I’m not positive all the time. I can sink into a negativity spiral, like the best of them, but it doesn’t last long and I don’t get attached to being in that space. And I think we need to practise that a little bit more and I definitely teach about that inside, live the change.

Anyway, this first step, this is me starting the discussion. And Dancing in the Dark, quite literally like, where’s this going to go? Where are we taking this Lisa? Because to circle back, what do I know? I know my life experiences. So I think we’re going to be exploring this through the lens of them and far out I can’t tell you how liberating it is to just be seen, be known for my whole story, which will be shared probably in dribs and drabs. You’ll be picking stuff up. And it might help you see why I have learnt the things that I’ve learned over the years? Why I’m so passionate about what I teach?

Because at any moment I could have made Nick’s diagnosis as an alcoholic mean anything. And I have consciously chosen what I would make that mean for myself. I have been to the depths and I thank the depths. I thank him. I thank myself choosing him for our amazing children, for the extraordinary love we shared, for the excruciating pain of that love transforming, for the way in which he showed up in the face of addiction, for what he tried for… Yeah, I mean, it was extraordinary. And I didn’t see this, but there’s been extraordinary gifts in his passing and it was so hard. I can’t even tell you. And yet most of the women that I know who inspire me were forged in the flames. Most have not had life, just breeze through it. To be a woman is to know, I think depths beyond anything a man could.

Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked now. Well, I am just looking at my window at the beautiful bare trees in winter, just now going on a tangent. And I’m going to stop that because there is so much more to come in these conversations. I don’t know if I’ll keep calling it leadership, sort of just what I mean right now. I’m obsessed with myself and how to move myself through things. And also you, I’m creating opportunities for you to just take that first step. Or if that’s already been done, what’s next? What are we building here in terms of our lives, our communities, our society? What is not okay anymore? And how can we be activated to be a part of changing things? I mean, it’s pretty extraordinary freaking time we’re living in, right? I’m excited. Yes I am.

All right. Let me know how this landed for you. I’d be really curious, reach out any time on any of the channels. I mean, quite obviously I love being in conversation, take care and I’ll see you next week.

Hey, if you’re enjoying the conversation, then it would mean the world to me. If you head over to iTunes and give us a rating and review, it really makes a difference. And it’s my intention to get as many of us involved in real conversations that really changed the game as possible. Thanks so much for your help and I’ll see you in the next episode.

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"I’m here to help you break free from the stories holding you back, and create change that sticks"

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