Permission to Take Up Space | Suzy Benson | Episode 37

Permission to Take Up Space | Suzy Benson | Episode 37

Join Kimber as she talks  with Suzy Benson, a life coach who trained under Dr. Brene Brown. They discuss:

  1. How Suzy went from seeing life in black and white to seeing it in color
  2. How vulnerability is a strong courageous characteristic
  3. The kindness of setting boundaries

Suzy Benson is a certified professional coach and facilitator. She personally trained with Dr. Brené Brown and is certified to deliver her Dare to Lead Program. She splits time working with clients and organizations in her coaching business and taking people on personal development expeditions to Uganda, Africa.

You can find her at or

Follow Kimber on instagram @justbeyourbadself  or join the JBYBS facebook community here for more interaction!

For guest bios, episode transcripts or to leave a review, please visit:


Suzy Benson

Today I'll be interviewing Susie Benson, a certified professional coach and facilitator who personally trained with Dr. Bernay brown and is certified to deliver her dare to lead program.

Susie splits her time working with clients and organizations in her coaching business and taking people on personal development expeditions to uganda africa

Kimber: Susie, I'm so excited to have you on the podcast today. Can you just give us a brief introduction of who you are and what you do?

Suzy: sure. We've got the, the LinkedIn version and we've got the personal version. So let me start with the personal version which is, I am tender hearted mother of many soaring Eagle flying above the storm. Bright light of love, hopeful, visionary.

I like that introduction a little bit more because it's really who I am at my core. And I, I can of course give you the LinkedIn version. But it doesn't really say who I am. So I like to start with that sometimes when I feel comfortable. So I am Susie and I let's see I'm a mother and that is not how I define myself.

So it's funny that I started with that but I think the five kids sometimes gets people, you know, a little rattled, like, whoa, that's a lot. My oldest son is adopted from Africa and he came into the family at the age of 14. he I guess before that, He was proceeded with four siblings in six years.

So that was a lot. And I am a certified professional coach. And what does that mean? It means I, I trained with the with an organization that gave me the certificate of Certified coach, which is a little different than just slapping up a shingle on the wall. It was a lot of work. And I was lucky enough to train with Dr.

Brene brown, who I know, you know, and I am authorized to deliver her dare to lead curriculum and to coach using that curriculum. But the other part of my work that I love so much in addition to my coaching is I lead people on leadership and professional development expeditions to Uganda Africa.

And what does that entail? It, it means we we walk through some coaching, like a pre journey. It's almost like a hero. Journey. We go to Uganda, we immerse ourselves in a village with the idea that we are not there to save Africans, but we are there to partner with them. And I found these journeys for, for the people I've taken to be very transformational.

So that's why I call them personal development journeys, because they're a lot more than just, you know, going to Africa as tourists or heaven forbid. so white savior. I really take the approach of we show up as learners. course I a of dare lead in Brene brown into those journeys.

So that's the long introduction.

Kimber: That's a great introduction. I wanna get a little bit into your story of how you, how you got, where you are and why, you chose to coach and all of that. So can you take us through your own personal journey on how you got here?

Suzy: Yeah, sure. That's a, an interesting story. So I was a stay at home mom for 24 years. During that time I started a nonprofit organization in Africa and that the, the purpose of the no nonprofit was to, or is it still exists to support women and employ them and pay school fees for disadvantaged kids.

However, I didn't really pay myself very much. And after a 24 year marriage, I found myself did you listen to Jen Hatmaker podcast yet with Glennon?

Okay, so

Kimber: have a podcast, but I don't listen to very many. So

Suzy: so for any listeners that have listened to Jen Hatmaker podcast with Glennon and Abby and Amanda, my story is very similar to Jen's, which is, I found myself. Suddenly in a position where I was going to be divorced. I chose to, to to move forward with that divorce. It was actually my choice.

However I could not stay in that marriage any longer. And it was a very big surprise. And so I found myself saying in fact, I remember my ex-husband telling me, you know, if, if you divorce me.

we will both be destroyed financially. And I made a choice that I would rather live in a cardboard box.

And have nothing and to stay in that marriage. And it was terrifying because I had I mean, my nonprofit, which, you know, the purpose was to help others. So I wasn't like making a six figure salary. I mean, I wasn't even barely making anything. And so I was like, what do I do? Right. Like, how do I support myself for the first time in my life, I have to generate income to sustain myself.

And I was terrified. And so a friend of mine and my brother who at the time was a, a VP at a big tech company, told me about this thing called coaching. And I was like, what's this? Like, I've been in Utah enough that I know there's a lot of coaches and I'm doing air quotes to Kemper. And I didn't have a very good opinion of coaches because I, I met a lot of people who had no training.

They just. You know, we're trying to coach people. So what I did was I researched and I found a, an organization that was backed by the international coach Federation. And I became it's more leadership, executive coaching. And then my nonprofit, I had been taking people on these trips to Africa and they were transformative and I was getting feedback about how life changing they were.

And I thought, well, why don't I take that part of my nonprofit and form a for-profit where I lead people on these journeys so that I can continue to better the lives of Ugandans and better the lives of the people I took with me on these journeys. So I did that and I'm happy to report that I didn't end up in a cardboard box.

Yeah, but that fear was very real. I've, I've lived in fear for a long time and it's, it's still there and it's still present. But thankfully with some of the, the strategies I've learned through coaching, I'm learning to calm down my which is the flight fight or freeze part of our brain that tells us we're not safe.

Kimber: Yeah. I mean, there, there was a lot of courageous decisions in there. I just, just hearing you, I mean, obviously the divorce. Is huge for many, many, many, many, many reasons and scary, but also deciding to, to. To do something for profit, that's gonna make money is a huge courageous step too. I was just talking to someone this morning before before I got on this call with you, about how hard it is as a woman to decide you're gonna do something.

That makes money because we're taught as women, you know, give, give, give, give, give. I was, it's so funny because I was just talking to, to my business coach today saying, you know, maybe I'm not cut out for this. Maybe I'm not cut out to like, I'm, I'm trying to do this retreat with Natasha Heer right now.

And it is a lot of work to do anything as, as a solo person that you have to market yourself and, and. Get stuff out there. And I was just telling my business coach today, like, you know, maybe I'll maybe I'll, I'll start a nonprofit or, or do something else. And she was like, first of all, nonprofits are not any easier.

they're they take so much work. There's so much organization that has to go with them. And second of all it is okay. Like we're taught as women, that to be a good woman, it's like vulgar to like make money. Right.

Suzy: Yeah,

Kimber: And to, to, to be a good woman, you just have to give, give, give, give, and, and not do anything where there's this, this value exchange.

And so I'm sure that's just been on my mind this morning. And so to hear that part of your story, I'm like good for you. You did the nonprofit and you did the for profit you made it work and you're not living in a cardboard box. That's awesome.

Suzy: absolutely. No, I, I think that, you know, if I were to look back five years ago, when this I guess these big changes and transitions started to take place. I could not have envisioned I'm not just surviving, I'm thriving, which is, I think, you know, if I were to tell anyone, I, I spoke recently at a conference a little bit about my story and, and the rising strong process from BNE brown.

And a woman came up to me who was 40 and she was crying and she said, my story is the same as yours. And I don't know what to do. And how do I like how do I generate income? And I just looked at her and I was like, you can do this. Like, you're 40. Like that is not, this is the beginning of your life. And so I, I look at my life kind of in chapters, like there was that chapter and had I known that this part was possible?

I, I mean, I probably would've been very dissatisfied. At the, the, the first chapter, but kind of like Jen, Matt Hatmaker talked about in her recent podcast, like I thought the status quo, like what I was living. I thought that was it right. I'd been taught that my job was to get married and their children.

So I got married at 19 and I pumped out the babies and gave, gave, gave but you know, I feel like I was living in black and white and now I'm living in color

and I, and I never knew that. So if I only saw black and white my whole life, that probably would be very satisfying. And it was, but now, you know, I'm in a, a thriving, beautiful relationship with a new man.

Well, he is not new it's, you know, been several years . But I, I look back and I'm like, oh my gosh, I thought my marriage was so great. I thought my life was so great. And I just had no idea until I took the blinders off that I was lying to myself. The status quo was what, what I, I thought that was the best I could do.

But I love working and I love changing lives and I love getting feedback that I'm killing it and coaching. And I you know, some days I have to remind myself like, wow, you're really doing this. Like, and you're good at it. because a woman, I think you're right. We're meant, or often we're, we're taught that we need to downplay our successes.

Kimber: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Suzy: And if we're assertive, then we're bitchy. If we're, you know, if we, and, and how often do we say, sorry, just for breathing. I mean, notice next time. so I work with women all the time and men sometimes notice how often you apologize

Kimber: Mm.

Suzy: and why are you apologizing and make sure you're ES are for the right reason that you really.

Did something that hurt someone or caused something that you know, an error in a system, but watch when you're in the grocery store, how many times you say sorry, or, you know, just start counting.

Kimber: So you talk about the shift that you made from black and white into color. And I'm wondering how do other people, a, even though they're living a black and white life, right? How do you recognize that doesn't sound like you recognized it till hindsight, right.

Suzy: Yeah.

Kimber: and then B how do you make that shift that leap of faith into, into this life?

What does that look like?

Suzy: Yeah. I think you're right. like?

it's hard to see the forest from the trees. Right. If I, I think that it's questioning it's through curiosity. It's through questioning the status quo. So, you know, my ex-husband and I got along very well. We were really good parents, but asking yourself the question, is there more, do I want more and allowing yourself giving yourself permission to want more?

So I don't think I ever allowed myself permission to look outside of the little world that was curated for me. And so it started with permission to be curious for me, I had a big transition with my faith at the same time. So curiosity, allowing myself to look outside of what I was told would keep me safe.

And then once I was curious, I was insatiable and I wanted to learn more. And I think for me too, when I was trying to make a decision. About getting divorced or not getting divorced. I was always extremely faithful, both in, you know, physical and, you know emotional with men, but after some things had happened, I told you it was a big surprise, and we won't go into details, but most people can kind of imagine, let your mind wander.

I didn't think I would ever love again or be loved. And I remember I went to a retreat and a really handsome man. His toes touched my foot under the blanket and I felt a spark and I was like, whoa. I was like, I still have that fire in me that has been dim for probably 20 years. And that gave me the courage.

I don't need a man to be happy, but if I choose to be in a relationship, I realized my, my body, my mind, I was still capable of feeling, feeling that spark, feeling that excitement. And I went home from that retreat. And that's when I asked for the divorce, I was like, I can do this. So, so to answer your question, I think you BNE brown talks about the arena, right?

And she uses the Teddy Roosevelt quote about the courage, belongs to the person who is in the arena, whose face is marred with dust and sweat and tears. And that is I think the Brene brown rising strong process first daring greatly. Those are the things that helped me get the courage to step into the arena.

And the arena was, oh, I'm going to have to generate income for myself. I'm going to, I slapped the title of facilitator and coach on, on me and I was a coach and I facilitated a little bit and I applied for Brene Brown's dare to lead program. And I was the, I got accepted and there's only approximately 600 of us in the world who trained with her.

And I look back at that and I'm like, I had no business training that, but I called myself a facilitator. I mean, I had facilitated things and now, I mean, I, I feel super confident in that space and it was courage to step in the arena And take a risk.

Kimber: And I think that's gonna lead us really nicely into the work you do is what you did yourself. Because as you were talking about this, this process of. Transitioning, you know, transitioning in your faith, transitioning in your relationships, stepping into this space of, the arena. That even just the journey from outside of the arena into the arena takes a lot of vulnerability.

I think that that curiosity that you talked about. There's a lot of pain that comes along with taking blinders off. would you agree that? when, when you start seeing things and, and examining your life, examining that what did you call it? The curated world that was handed to you? There's a lot

Suzy: Yeah,

Kimber: you, you have to be willing to be vulnerable, even be willing.

To examine that because it is freaking scary and, and painful and you know, all the emotions come up, right. Anger and grief and sadness and yeah, the curiosity, maybe things could be better and it is terrifying. And so I wanna, I wanna jump into a little bit more of The training that you've got around vulnerability and what you've learned from Brene brown that can help other people as they enter this arena.

And as they maybe decide to take, take a, a closer look at their life and, and how they may wanna change it,

Suzy: that's a that's great. No, that's good. That's great. So let's start by defining vulnerability because a lot of times. People still right? One of the myths, the first myth of vulnerability that Brene brown discovered through her research is that vulnerability is weakness. But if we define it right, vulnerability is taking a risk, it's emotional exposure and we're uncertain of the outcome.

So I often play this game with people when I'm coaching or facilitating. Let's do it together. Okay. Kimber, are you open?

All right. So I want you to think of some times in your life that you were vulnerable we're going to share back and forth one at a time with the prompt. vulnerability is okay. So I will start vulnerability is starting your own business.

Kimber: vulnerability is auditioning for a play

Suzy: Oh yeah. Vulnerability is loving again after heartbreak.

Kimber: Hmm, vulnerability is setting a boundary with someone you love.

Suzy: Ooh, that one just got me in the fields. Yeah. One more each let's see, vulnerability is loving someone through addiction.

Kimber: Vulnerability is expressing the parts of yourself that

Suzy: Beautiful. So when I do this exercise or when I'm facilitating, I always ask people in any of those instances that

we just shared. Did you hear any weakness,

Kimber: Absolutely not

Suzy: right? So, what did you hear?

Kimber: courage,

Suzy: Mm-hmm

Kimber: bravery, stepping into some really hard stuff.

Suzy: yeah, so that myth Risk Yep. So that myth, that vulnerability is weakness, crumbles not just under the data, but in people's lived experiences. So just by demonstrating that we have flipped that myth, that vulnerability is weakness.

Kimber: that. Hm.

Suzy: And I will say that when you step into the arena, if you choose to do that, you are guaranteed to get your butt kicked hands down a hundred percent.

And the, the, the beauty is in the rising. So what do you do with that? Right. Brene talks about the arena and you've got the cheap seats and the naysayers and all these people. And it's really about the people whose opinion actually matter to you when we're flat down on our faces. So I often use you can't see my hands in the audience, but circles three circles.

So in the center who, whose opinions actually matter to you? Most people that's their, their very close friends and their family. And then you've got the next circle who belongs in that circle. Those are the people who, yeah, their opinion can matter, but then we've got the outside circle. oftentimes those are the people that really don't matter, but we give them the most power.

And so I often ask people to examine that. So when we're in the arena and our. You know, our butts are kicked and we're down in the dirt. And that's really what happened to me. Like what happened in my life was a shock. It was like a great big kick in my gut. So hard that I, I couldn't even breathe for weeks.

So in the rising strong process, okay. We're in the arena. We're flat on our faces. What do we do? And I, I often talk to people. We get into our amygdala. You've heard me mention that a few times. that's the part of

the brain that's responsible for flight fight or freeze. So sometimes when we get our butts kicked, we get triggered, right?

We've heard that. word, that part of our brain becomes activated. And so I like to work with people, give them strategies on recognizing, okay, I'm activated. My brain is offline. This is not a good time to react to that text. I am not responding until I've cooled down. And so for me, a lot of my rising strong, I mean, even just yesterday, I had a really not great situation with someone that I was triggered.

I couldn't sleep the night before and learning, how do we get out of that space so that we can get our wise mind back online. And, and for me, you know, there's all sorts of strategies that work, and I sh often share those with people in coaching.

Kimber: Because it can be, as you were talking, I've thought about the times , you know, I, I said earlier vulnerabilities, auditioning for a play or, you know, there there's been different times in my life where I have been vulnerable. And for some reason I tell myself

Suzy: Hmm.

Kimber: that if I'm vulnerable, Things will pan out, right?

If I'm vulnerable, then will see like, this is, this is who I am and I'm being courageous and you know, I'll get the part or I will, I will fix the relationship or, or whatever it is. So it's kind of a relief and a big aha to hear you say, if, if you're gonna be vulnerable, if you step into the arena, you will get your butt kicked

Suzy: Yeah.

Kimber: I felt so much bitterness throughout my life.


Suzy: exactly. We

Kimber: that I did go. Put myself on a line. Right? I think a lot of us do this. Well, I was vulnerable before and I got my butt kicked. Therefore doing that again. I don't wanna go through that pain and it can last for years, right? Like, oh, I didn't get that part. I'm never gonna try out for another play again.

It, that hurt too bad. So give us some strategies on that, on these things that we carry with us that have like burned us and we're like,

Suzy: shut down. Yep. Mm-hmm yep.

Kimber: I'm not gonna go there. How do we, how do we get through

Suzy: Well, I think what you were saying, correct me if I'm wrong is sometimes when you're vulnerable, you've been attached to an outcome. Like if I'm vulnerable, this is gonna happen. I'm going to yeah. She's nodding . Yeah. So I think step number one is letting go of the attachment to an outcome.

Kimber: Hmm.

Suzy: So if we're vulnerable, we will get our butt kicked sometimes.

And if we're not vulnerable, what does that keep us from? Connection, love, joy, belonging. And so we actually have to make a conscious choice. Okay. So I, Susie loved, I gave my whole heart mind, everything to this person who hurt me deeply. And. I could shut down and I've seen people do that. Kimber, for real, I've seen women who've been hurt like this.

I don't know any men particular, but I know people who are like, I'm never going on a date again. I'm never exposing myself, but when we stop our or keep ourselves from getting hurt, what else do we lose? I, I just listed a few. So it really is this courageous choice and it's really in the rising strong, like, how do I get up when I'm hurt?

How do I get myself back up? And like, I, like I said, for me, a lot of it has come with learning how to calm down that? part of my brain, because I have some serious trauma. Right?

And so my boyfriend, who's amazing. He has never Been unkind or unfaithful or any of these things, but sometimes my body remembers you're not safe.

And so when my body says I'm not safe, I used a lot of different strategies to get me back to like bringing my brain online. And some of them are just little silly somatic things. Sometimes I shake and wiggle my hands really hard. You've always gotta take a walk or go do the dishes you can't, you know, but, but really it's I don't, I think it's really a choice to get in the, your kicked.

Kimber: Yeah. So, so we kind of addressed this idea of not being attached to, to the outcome and understanding that just because you're vulnerable doesn't mean you're, , you know, you're, you are X, so Y will happen, but let's talk a little bit about when it is maybe not appropriate to continue to be vulnerable with someone, because that happens too.

How do you, how do you notice that and recognize that.

Suzy: Yeah. That's yeah, that's a really great question. I think it's all about boundaries, right? So if you keep putting yourself back in a situation, let's just take a relationship. For example, you show up you're vulnerable, you get your butt kicked. You're like okay. They were not honest with me.

And you have to evaluate, like, is this a safe relationship? And there are plenty of relationships where it's actually not a good choice to be vulnerable. Or maybe even let's say you've applied or, or let's say, you've, you have auditioned a thousand times for a play and your heart keeps getting broken every time.

Maybe it's time to hang up the, the acting, you know I don't know, it's not shoes, but, and, and find something else where you might feel a little bit of success because getting your heart broken over and over also, you know, it's it, we wanna step in the arena, but if you're literally never getting back up, because every time you try, you just get knocked back down, you might have to say no.

And for me, that's

a Find a new arena.

I like that. And, and especially in relationships, right? Like we have to, I always say when people show you who they are. Believe them. So if they're not in that circle of trust, maybe the first circle or the second circle, it might be time to place a boundary.

So a boundary is just what is okay. And what's not okay. So we've gotta teach people how to treat us. So if I'm in a relationship that's not working and I set my boundary and I'm like, Hey, it's totally okay for you to be mad at me and express your feelings. It's not okay for you to yell at me. And I've actually had to do that before.


Kimber: Boundaries are hard. boundaries are, are so hard. I think, especially, I think, especially for women, right. Once again, I, I think we are such givers. That it's really, it's really hard to decide, like this is my line and maybe not for all women, I'm maybe mostly speaking for myself, but for also a lot of women that I know it's, it's hard to set a boundary in the first place, and then it's very difficult to enforce that boundary once someone's crossed it.

Can you give us some strategies for, in, for setting and enforcing boundaries?

Suzy: Yeah. I think that if we bring it back to like Brene brown always says clear is kind unclear is not kind. So often I will say for many women that I know enfor and setting a boundary is hard because we don't wanna hurt people's feeling.

Kimber: Mm-hmm

Suzy: we think by being unclear or actually being kind or not hurting them, but in the lack of clarity, sometimes I might come back to you and be ticked off at you.

And you have no idea why, because in my lack of ability to be direct and clear, I didn't actually tell you what I wanted or thought. So sometimes. Have you ever had that happen where someone just blows up on you? And you're like, I had no idea that that thing I was doing actually was causing a problem. So I, I think it's about being direct and, you know, there's the business principle called radical candor.

We talk about, we wanna be in the radical candor category, which is I'm direct. And I care for you personally. We don't wanna be in the ruinous empathy. I see a lot of women there. We care so much about people that we let that get in the way of actually being clear and setting a. And so when boundaries are crossed, you have a choice, like, do you wanna continue to be in that relationship?

And again, I go back to, if it's not working for you, you have every right to say that doesn't work for me. Or you might set up a relationship where it's like, okay, maybe I just see my family at holidays. I D I don't actually like babysit my sister's kids or, you know, go out for birthday dinners that you, you have the right. I, don't know who made that rule that we have to accommodate, and please everyone.

Kimber: I, I, is a big area of growth that I've been going through in my own life is this boundary setting. And I have not mastered it yet. but one area that I've been working on it with is, is my mom who is also my best friend. And this year has really sucked for both of us, because we're both working on boundary, setting in the safe container of doing it with each other.

But it is hard. It is hard when we've like, want to please each other, we wanna be able to drop everything and, you know and to set these boundaries, but one thing that I've we kind of coach each other, which is nice. One thing that I've told her is like, mom, are a safer person. When you set a clear boundary boundaries.

People are safe people because my mom, who is. Hopefully she's okay that I'm talking about her. She listens to my podcast, but she, she can be a very boundaryless people pleasing that's I learned from the best, right. very people pleasing giving, can I do for you person? But then what happens is even if she hasn't maybe stated a boundary, she can feel when her boundaries get crossed.

So sometimes she'll come back because she feels that a boundary's been crossed. I didn't know there was a boundary there because she didn't, she didn't tell me. so it's hard to accept, help from people.

If they don't, if you don't know that they have boundaries, some of my favorite friends are my friends who will, I will call and they'll say, Hey, I actually can't talk right now. I call you back such and such time? And the ones that I absolutely know will tell me that have an easier time calling, because I don't feel responsible to set their boundaries for them.

Right. I think as women, often we, we kind of care each other's boundaries like, oh no, no, no, you don't have to do that. Let me help you. And we don't set our own. And we just really complicate things by doing that. If we could all just set our own boundaries, we'd all know where each other's boundaries were.

We wouldn't feel scared that, that we were taking advantage of someone because we would know this is their line. So I'm a big fan of boundaries, but it's definitely, it's definitely a learning process that it's not easy when you've been culturalized and trained to be. So people pleasing right. And self

Suzy: Sure. Well, when we don't set that boundary and then sometimes we feel, we won't even call it a boundary cuz she didn't set it, but she ends up in a position that she actually isn't really okay with.

That's when we, we, we think, but that by pleasing others Like we're doing them a favor, but it actually, it builds resentment in us. And then it comes out potentially in negative ways. Like Renee talks about the ways we offload emotion, some people chandelier, which is like, you know, they, they like go from zero to 60 and all of a sudden you're like, whoa, I had no idea that , I, I, I was taking advantage of you.

You didn't set a boundary or they stockpile and they get resentful and angry inside. And you, you really have no idea. So in an effort to be kind, we end up selling ourselves out and we become frustrated, but the other person is over there feeling happy. And then we're even more ticked off cuz still they realize how much we sacrificed for them.

Kimber: Yep. Yep. Absolutely. And, and the answer is no,

Suzy: they have no idea. They have no idea. So I mean it's. I think if, if

Kimber: don't realize

Suzy: humans and in particular women today were, know, talking a lot about that, if we can learn that we're actually, you know, case in 0.1 of my dearest friends in the world, her name's Patty she asked me to dog sit for her once. This was years ago, probably 15 years ago.

And I was like, sure, of course, like I had never owned a dog. I thought I liked dogs. But what I found out was like, when her dog nipped at my baby and lifted its leg and peed on my couch, I actually really wasn't okay with that dog. So I, I think that I really didn't want to dog sit, but I wanted to look like a good friend.

And so imagine her surprise when she came home and I was pissed off, you know, and I did not. I wasn't true to myself. I did not want to watch her dog. I did it because I was a pleaser and then poor Patty ended up with my passive aggressive behavior. Like, you know sure. Of course I'll watch your dog.

You're my best friend. And then, you know, I'm super aggressive when she comes home and she literally has no idea why I'm ticked off. I just acted mad, you know?

Kimber: it's not her fault,

Suzy: No, it was not

Kimber: That's on you because you didn't

Suzy: hundred percent it's and it's about telling people what's okay. And what's not okay. You know, I could have said, you know, it's totally okay for me to come over three times a day and take Myrtle potty, you know, take her to the bathroom, but it's not gonna work for me to have her at my house.

You know? So I think the more we can be clear, you know, And if we take ownership too, right? Like it's, it's. How I feel you know, my partner sometimes is late. He'll show up at my house late. And if he says I'm gonna be here at six o'clock, if he walks in the door, you know, at six 20, and maybe I cut my pickle ball game short to come home to be, you know, ready for him at six and I'm ticked off.

But I don't tell him why, if I don't communicate with him. So I've said to him before, because he's come over before when that's happened. And then I'm just fuming inside. I'm like, I really like mountain biking and pickle ball. And sometimes I'm cutting my activities short for him and he is showing up late.

And so I've really practiced like a lot of this eye language. Like when when you tell me that you're going to be, you know, to my home at six and you show up late, the impact is, you know, I feel invisible or I feel disrespected or something. And then I always follow with an ask, like in the future, it's okay for you to be late. if you can tell me that you're going to be late, that would make it all right, for me. So it's like, I'm not blaming him.

Kimber: right, you're just letting him know this is, this is a boundary. This is the effect

Suzy: totally. Okay. For you to be late. Yeah. Mm-hmm

Kimber: and hold on three year old again.

so if someone's a repeat offender that they continue to let's, let's say it's a spouse,

Suzy: mm-hmm

Kimber: How. Things can escalate really quickly in marriages.

Suzy: yeah,

Kimber: sometimes if it feels like your boundary keeps getting crossed, that the end result is like fine, like I'm divorcing you. Right. And sometimes that's appropriate.

Sometimes that

Suzy: sure.

Kimber: thing, but let's say it is like continually being late for something

Suzy: Mm-hmm

Kimber: is, do you enforce that by just saying like, I'm, I'm not gonna cut my activity short for you anymore, or I don't even know, like, how do you navigate that?

Suzy: Yeah. My ask for him in this situation is, you know, it's okay to be late. Right. I understand he's single parenting. He is got all of these things going on. It's okay to be late. But my ask was, I would like to have some advanced warning. And if he continued to cross that boundary, I think natural consequences are always a good thing.

So you say you're gonna be here at six in my mind. I'm like he's always, and this isn't actually the case, but let's just pretend let's say he's you know, historically 30 minutes late, I'm not gonna stop my pickle ball game or end my bike ride early for someone that I can't count on. So if you know, he shows up at six and I'm not there till six 30.

I think there's a conversation to be had that?

said, you know, in the past I've asked for this. You, you haven't been communicating with me. And so in the future, I'm not going to like value your time as much because it's historically I I've noticed this pattern or trend. And I always think like, if it's really that bad, you really need to get a therapist.

you know, you really need to learn how to communicate, but obviously boundaries that are crossed you, you have to decide What your, your line is like. You know, for me in a marriage, certain things were non-negotiable fidelity honesty. If those things are crossed in a marriage, I'm out peace out, you know, that's my, that's my line.

And you have to decide what's right for you. And what's not right for you. I mean, I certainly wouldn't break up with my partner because he's occasionally late. But if he continues to disrespect me, it's not about being late. It's actually about the disrespect.

Kimber: Yeah. Yeah. Well, any advice for those people who are super now to be clear, a isn't. Confrontation, but it can feel that way. to people who are super non-confrontational. Right. I would imagine that practice is probably a really good thing, but how we we've been talking a lot about this fight or flight, all the amygdala stuff.

What are some strategies to help those of us who are, it's just terrifying the idea of setting a boundary and then enforcing that boundary just sounds so. Scary to us, which is why, I mean, I would fit in this category, obviously. That's why I said setting a boundary with a loved one. To me, that's being super vulnerable.

That's really hard for me. What are some, what are some like brain hacks

Suzy: Yeah.

Kimber: that can help us get better and practice this, this skill of boundary setting.

Suzy: Absolutely. Yeah.

I think sometimes writing it out is really helpful and I use something you can, anyone who's in interested can look it up. It's called an SBI. We use it a lot in business and I actually add an a so I S is the situation. So sometimes I'll write out this is, this isn't necessarily a boundary, but it works the same way.

It's just the example I have on the top of my head. So the situation might be in the meeting yesterday, when you gave the presentation, then you go to the B the behavior. I noticed that you looked down and, and didn't look up at the audience and the impact I was that the audience did not seem engaged.

And here's where the, a comes, which could work in the boundary part. I call it the action as a result in the future. I would like you to run through your presentation with me before we meet with the executive team. So situation behavior. So it's, it, it takes all the blame out of it. So if you Kimber, if I'm talking to you and I'm like, when you do this and you did this totally takes out the blame, here's the situation you're late sometimes, or, or, you know, we, we had our date with our friends last night.

You were late. Is the behavior. The impact was I missed part of my pick ball game. Here's the boundary in the future. If you're going to be late, I would like a phone. So I use the S B I a for every hard conversation. Boundaries are not boundaries. Just any time I have to be direct if I wanna be in that radical candor quadrant.

It's an S B I a. So the other thing is I always often , I can't say always, I try very hard to make sure that remember we talked about the activated brain, the triggered brain that I have done something to calm that down, being, being hot or being in a angry or frustrated place is never a time to set a boundary.

If you're in that place, my partner and I, we do a tea time. We, and, and our therapist has helped us with like, go and do the dishes or go and listen to a song, do something before your brain can come or before your, so that your brain can come back online. So it takes a lot of courage, but if you're doing it from an activated place, you're gonna feel maybe all those physiological sensations that are accompanied with triggers for me, like identifying and knowing, okay.

When I'm triggered I, it feels like a peanut butter bread ball in my throat. I can't swallow. And then I, I check in, what am I, what am I thinking? And like, I'm playing the story in my head. Those are all signs that I'm activated. That is not a good time for me to go and set a. And then again, I tried to go back to writing it out and I had to set a big boundary with a friend.

And she won't listen to this because we broke up so it's a safe environment, but I had to set a very big boundary and I used my S B I a, I had a therapist and a coach review because I was so terrified. I didn't wanna talk about COVID with her anymore. I didn't wanna hear any judgment about people who got vaccinated.

I didn't, it was just like waring on me, the judgment about people who, blah, blah, blah. We don't even have to go in the detail. And my therapist and coach evaluated my S B I a and I was like, damn, this is good. Well, it didn't go well, I got my butt kicked.

Kimber: Yeah.

Suzy: came back defensive blaming. And I like eventually had to say this friendship doesn't work for me anymore because I don't feel heard.

And I don't feel seen. And I walked away. And that's okay. we, we have to give our, we should give ourselves permission to say not every person is for us and it's okay. You Kimber, not for everyone. And that's okay.

Kimber: Yeah. Yeah, that's also a big area of growth for, for me right now, personally is like it's yeah, that's okay. You don't have to be for everybody and you're allowed to set boundaries and, and if that doesn't work for people, in fact, I have a, I have a life coach. Who's like a super intuitive life coach and I was talking to her.

I can't even remember what I was talking to her about. I was talking to her, actually. I do remember I was talking to her about this last retreat that I hosted and how awesome it was and that I felt so held was the word that kept coming to mind for me. I, I said, I just felt so held that, like I had done, I had done everything to put this in place, and once we got there, everyone did their own thing and everyone Everyone had a role and I, mine was finished.

Right. I could just be there and be held. And we started talking about this idea of boundaries came up. Oh, because what I said was, I wish I could take that feeling into my home and into my everyday life, because I do not feel that way every day. And she said she said the image that's coming to mind for me is this image of like a vessel of a vessel that people can.

Can hold it can hold as well. But she said, if, you think of a vessel or if you think of water, is boundary list, you can't really hold water. It just, it seeps through your sees through your hands. It spreads everywhere. But a vessel can hold that water and in turn, a vessel can be held.

And so we talked about this idea of people as vessels and that if we allow ourselves to. Boundary. She said, I think you need to be very clear about where Kimber ends and where someone else begins. And so that's kind of been a visual that I've used a lot lately because boundaries. Boundaries. Not only allow us to hold our energy in essence and not just spread ourselves too thin, but they allow us to feel held as well.

And I told her, I said, I think part of me scared that if I have boundaries, no one will want to hold me. she said, that's the. That's okay. Just like what you're saying, right. You don't have to be for everybody, the people that aren't willing to hold your boundaries, don't get to enjoy whatever you, you, as a vessel contain.


Suzy: mm-hmm

But what makes this, what makes us as women think that we're not worthy of that though? Like, right. Like what keeps you in that space where you let people who don't hold boundaries in? Yeah.

Kimber: It's the ethic. Patriarchy. That's what it is.

Suzy: Mm-hmm do you think it, I mean, for me, I often think it comes back to worthiness. Like,

Kimber: yeah.

Suzy: are we worthy of being held and, and who do we let in our vessel that, you know,

Kimber: Which is what this whole podcast. I laugh every time I do a new podcast episode, I always use the lines. This is what this whole podcast is about. but it's about a lot of things, but this idea of worthiness is what I started the whole podcast off with. I'm the, my first episode, I said, I'm. We are told by everything.

You're not enough, you know, your clothes, aren't pretty enough. You don't have the right makeup. You're not a good enough mom. You don't make your bed the right way. You know, it goes on and on and on people make money. Capitalism is all about telling people they're not enough. So then you go buy the things to make you enough.

And, and so my very first episode was me saying, I'm done with that. Right? And, and the title of the podcast is just be your bad self. So this idea of. Can you be, you can you accept that you are worthy and it's okay to be boundaried and that you aren't going to be for everybody. It's a really, that's a really hard thing for some of us to be okay with

Suzy: Mm-hmm

Kimber: being who we are and you and I have both experienced a faith transition that comes along with that too.

Right. That's one really scary thing is that, by being honest with. Your beliefs or the way you want to be, you can, you can lose community because not, everyone's gonna be okay with who you wanna be. And you've gotta be that's this entering into the arena, right. This is who I am, and I can be okay with that.

And, and maybe you all don't wanna be in this arena with me, but I'm gonna be here anyways.

Suzy: Yeah, I love that. Yeah. It is about deciding who is worthy to be in there and thinking and owning our own worthiness, believing

in it. Hm

Kimber: flipped something on, on its head that I don't think I've done

Suzy: mm-hmm

Kimber: When you said it's about deciding who's worthy to be in there with you. It's not a question of, are you worthy,

Suzy: that's.

Kimber: of who's worthy of being in, in your arena with you

Suzy: Absolutely. I think that is the thing we want. We often bring it back to our worthiness, but really if we have the self love, it is about who's worthy. Like who, like, you know, when Glen and Glen and Doyle and Abby announced their relationship. I don't know if you remember this that they told Len's mother, like we're an island and on our islands, our little family, and right now you are all outside of the island.

And if, you know, basically you're worthy, we will lower that Drawbridge down and we will welcome you to that island with like whole hearts. But if you cross our boundaries essentially is what she was saying. You're not welcome on this island. And that's a hard conversation to have with your mom.

Kimber: Yeah. I, I totally remember what you're talking about because I've used this island analogy. For some reason, for me has come up a lot the last couple of weeks.

Suzy: Mm,

Kimber: at this point where I'm finally like, At that point where, where you were talking about getting curious and what do I want in my life and, and feeling like it's okay for me to examine that.

And I'm at, I keep thinking, like I keep thinking about that island and keep thinking, can I, I want an excuse to move to a new island. Like, do I have to find a lesbian lover so I can move to my own island? Because now I feel like I'm in this, I on this island with all the things and. By setting boundaries.

I'm like pushing people off my island

Suzy: mm-hmm

Kimber: then deciding what gets to stay, which is a lot harder. I'm like, is there a way to just like move to a new island then decide who gets to cross the Drawbridge? Cuz I'm already like so encumbered with all the, all the people and all the things. And I don't really wanna push them off the island.

Suzy: Geez. Well, yeah, I mean, with the faith transition you know, we, we come from the same place. It's hard when you lose that, because this. Life that you designed, those things are no longer true. And so sometimes I think we go back and question, well, if that's not true, then was I supposed to do this? And how many kids should I have?

Like, I look back and I'm like, I had no choice. I had five kids and I didn't see any other way. It was, my job was to create children. And so when you lose that idea of like, oh, like as a woman, I realized when I lost that, like I have a brain and I'm actually really capable and I'm so much more than baking bread.

And I was really good at all of that. And I kept it clean house, but I actually love working. And I think this idea that women can't work, you know, that it's their job to stay home. It's like when I met my boyfriend, he had a nanny. And I judged him. I was like, gosh, how can his girls be? Okay.

They've got a nanny that, you know, comes before and after school. And what I've learned now is I'm like not every mom is like, as good as a nanny. You know, some kids are gonna thrive. They thrived with their nanny. She was loving and, and compassionate. And you know, maybe I'm a better mom when I go to work and I fill my cup up because I feel like, you know, a badass at work.

Maybe I'm a much better partner because I have my own passion and sense of belonging outside of the family. And I, I think we really do women a disservice when we're like, you know, outside of the family there, you know, that's not a place for you because sometimes we need to belong too. Well, not sometimes we need to belong too.

Kimber: Just sometimes

Suzy: Right. Right. And.

Kimber: once in a while.

Suzy: And we've gotta start by belonging to ourselves. Obviously like that's the first place to start, but especially if you've gone through a faith transition or changed something that big, you lose your community. And for me, like I get a lot of connection and self-worth out of work that makes me a better mom.

And I'm teaching my girls, like never depend. I know this is probably going to make some people, people uncomfortable, but maybe this is my own growth, Kimber. Like don't depend on anyone else to take care of you financially, make sure that you can always take care of yourself. And that's, that's something that I learned the hard way, you know, because we, we are taught, taught that like, we're gonna do this thing and we're gonna be taken care of, and your role is this and your husband's role is that.

And boom, if that blows up, then as a woman, sometimes you can be left in a really bad situation. So I don't know. Mm-hmm

Kimber: I love this idea of belonging to yourself. It, reminds me of what Glen and Doyle says, and uncertained when she talks about and you might know the quote better than me, but something about your job is to, disappoint as many people as it takes so that you don't disappoint

Suzy: Yeah, exactly. And I tell my daughters this all the time, it is not your job to keep people from feeling something, whatever that feeling is, it is not your job to keep them. And my boyfriend reminds me all the time as I am highly empathetic and try to, you.

know, prevent blah, blah, blah conflict. He'll say it's not like he wants me to go on a trip this summer with him and his girls overseas to Europe.

I don't want to go. I traveled all last summer. I travel all the time. I'm exhausted and there's lots of reasons and I probably am going to disappoint. And every time we talk about it, I feel all sorts of feelings. Cause I'm like, oh, I wanna be that good girl. I wanna be that good partner. And I wanna be there for him and the kids, but that might mean that I don't get to go on my trip to Moab because I can't take that much time off.

And I really wanna go to Moab. So I'm in this conundrum Right.

now. If like, if I go with him on this trip, I will probably disappoint myself. I might even be resentful. Right, That's not being clear. And if I don't go or if I do go with him, wait, if I go with myself, I'll probably feel guilty. So I, I think that's the belonging to myself.

Like what is, what, what do I Susie want? And giving myself permission that it's okay for the first time in my GED life to put myself first, because I've always put myself last, but as Glennon taught me. You know, selfless, selfless. We hear that a lot. Oh. And it's even like spoken for in a way of praise or giving accolades to women.

She's so selfless. Well, less of self means I have less in my bucket to give to you. So how can I give you like your oxygen mask if mine isn't owned first? So this idea that we need to take care of others, like, I love my newfound life. I have hobbies. I have a career and I am such a happy person. And I want my girls, all my kids, but I want my girls especially to see like, it's okay to prioritize you.

I have one daughter who says she doesn't even wanna have children. Wonderful. I was never even given the choice.

Kimber: right.

Be full of yourself.

Suzy: Mm

Kimber: Just filled right up to the brim

Suzy: that's right. That's right. And it's okay.

Kimber: Mm,

Suzy: Yeah.

Kimber: you, you and I have very, I mean, for a lot of reasons, I think, but everything you're saying is speaking to my soul, I'm like, oh, you get it. You get every level oh, I'm like right in the middle of a lot of that right now. So I thank you so much for taking the time to talk today. Do you, do you have like a big, we talked about so many things, but you have like a big big picture takeaway that you wanna leave with the listeners today.

Suzy: me think on that.

I think I would just leave the listeners. If, if there are women listening, I would, would like to give you permission to take up space.

Kimber: Yeah.

Suzy: I want to give you permission that it's okay to put you first and flip that idea that loving others is about giving to yourself because you're slowly dying inside when you give to others, but you don't fill your own bucket.

So. Just permission. It's not selfish. It's maybe permission to love yourself.

Kimber: Yeah. Amen.

Suzy: That's right.

Kimber: Where can we find you? Perfect. Okay.

I'm on Facebook. Um, Susie Benson coaching S U Z Y is how you spell my name and Benson B E N S O N. And I have a website which is Susie Benson, And my other business, if you wanna go on a personal development journey to Uganda, uh, is African promise expeditions. You can just Google that and find.

Suzy BensonProfile Photo

Suzy Benson

Certified professional coach and humanitarian professional

Suzy Benson is a certified professional coach and facilitator. She personally trained with Dr. Brené
Brown and is certified to deliver her Dare to Lead Program. She splits time working with clients and
organizations in her coaching business and taking people on personal development expeditions to
Uganda, Africa.,