Adam Baruh 00:04
For my little six year old brain to kind of deal with what was happening, I had constructed this story as if I caused it as if it was my fault.
Kristin Taylor 00:25
Hello, and welcome to How I Made It Through. My name is Kristin Taylor, and I’m an executive coach. This podcast is based on the immortal words of Robert Frost who said, the best way out, is always through. Through this platform, I get the honor of sharing remarkable stories of courage in the face of challenge stories that encourage us to step into our lives, even and especially into the heart places, allowing whatever it is that we are facing to shape and transform us mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. My hope is that the people I introduce you to, will provide a much needed sense of inspiration, deepening your trust in yourself that whatever you’re facing, you too, will find your way through. May you see yourself in their stories, and may their wisdom help to light your way. All of my episodes are special to me. But this one is in a very unique way. You see, without my guest, Adam Baruh. This podcast would not exist. Adam is the founder and producer of EIQ media, and without his edge for business and heart for making a difference in the world. How I Made It Through, never would have even been dreamed up, let alone executed with a care and professionalism that he so beautifully orchestrates behind the scenes. Adam and I met in March of 2021, when he agreed to be my client. He was a dream client for me because of his commitment to growth, integrity, courage, and healing that will forever move me. In our work together, Adam uncovered a painful episode from his childhood that changed how he saw himself and what he consciously and unconsciously believed to be true. With great vulnerability and candor, Adam explores with us what a turning point this was for him and how one simple clarification. In the definition of the words guilt versus shame served as a powerful catalyst for his healing journey. In today’s episode, Adam openly shares his story, and how it led to a commitment to redefining leadership. And what truly goes into creating a healthy workplace culture. It’s quite an inspiring story. And one, you will not want to miss. Hello, Adam, welcome to How I Made It Through.
Adam Baruh 02:56
Kristin Taylor 02:57
It’s so good to have you. I’m noticing I’m feeling incredibly relaxed, in a way that I wouldn’t necessarily with people that I don’t know as well. But I know you pretty darn well and see you all the time. So it’s really nice to have this opportunity and in a relaxed way. Just share your story because you’ve got an important one.
Adam Baruh 03:17
Ya know, I’m super happy to be here. I think, you know, my journey was very challenging. But, you know, for the last little bit over a year now that I’ve known you, I mean, it’s taken such a, you know, such a positive turn that I truly, you know, I think it was possible to make that turn and to be put on the right path. But, you know, really and truly, you know, it was you and the safety with the space that you created for me, that that allowed it to happen when it did. So yeah, I’m really happy to be here. And you now have that opportunity to talk about this journey.
Kristin Taylor 03:56
Yeah, I just feel like there was something cosmic or spiritual in our meeting because it was just, you are open and we intersected. And one of the things that of many things that really moved me about you and getting to know you is you are one of those kind hearted, thoughtful, courageous people who is sharing his story in a way that makes a difference. It lights the way for others it de-stigmatizes mental health issues, trauma. I’m just so impressed by what you’ve done with your growth experience, to chart a path forward that you are encouraging others to pay attention to so thank you. With that, I would love for you to share with the listeners a bit about how we met because it feels important in terms of the decision to ask for help or be receptive to support And what was going on in your life that enabled you to be open and reach out or respond as it were?
Adam Baruh 05:06
Yeah. So I think the way that I’ll kind of talk through this journey is to go in reverse order a little bit, because I mean, that’s kind of for me how things unfolded. So, you know, here, it was, I think it was like around March of 2021. I, you know, sitting at work one day, and, you know, as CEO of my consulting agency, I mean, I’m LinkedIn, I get solicited, you know, I’m sure, like, every everybody else on LinkedIn, just with, you know, business coaches are this not and, you know, your advertisement wasn’t the first I’ve seen. But, you know, the really interesting thing was, I was in the space that I most needed somebody to guide to help guide me. And there I was, and, and I think it was like some sort of like, automated LinkedIn alert or something notification came up about Kristin Taylor, executive coach. And I thought, I mean, the first thing I was like, okay, executive coach, that’s, yeah, I mean, I had been speaking to other if I’m gonna forget the name of the company, but, you know, Vistage, maybe I think it is, there’s a, you know, that there’s like a cohort program. So I had kind of, like, been thinking of these things. And, and so there I am, and I get this notification, Kristen Taylor, executive coach, and I thought, you know, what, I’m gonna, I think, I think I’ll follow up, I think, I think I’m right now, recognizing that where I am at in my life is not sustainable. And I’m in the most kind of desperate situation to get help, because I really, truly recognized that I have not going to be able to do this on my own, I need a guide I need, you know, somebody that just kind of like, you know, in a very nurturing way, show me the path that, you know, my higher self, as has tried to, you know, get me on track to for so long. So, you know, if you if going in reverse if we kind of backtrack from there, what what led to that feeling was, I think it was for about, I mean, this, it started a little bit before the pandemic, but it really got amplified during, you know, the weird, foggy, 2020 year that now seems like it never even happened. Interestingly, but, yeah, so I guess about six months or so ago, before or six months or so, before the pandemic, I had noticed that I was getting a lot of anxiety, feeling that, you know, I mean, although I’ve been an anxious person, I mean, I’d never had it really escalate to the level of an anxiety attack up until around this time. You know, I mean, like, candidly, I’ll tell people, I mean, there’s, you know, a CEO of a of a consulting agency or any company, I mean, you’re gonna deal with legal stuff that comes up. I mean, I’ve spoken to so many people, and they’re like, Oh, your first lawsuit? Well, that means you’ve made it as a CEO. Right. So I don’t think, you know, it’s, it’s an uncommon journey in that respect. But, you know, and then there was just challenges, you know, running the company, and financial and all these things were kind of coming to a head and behind the scenes, you know, because I wasn’t dealing with it and making the space to let these things flow through me, they were getting stuck in me to the point where I was now going to meet with a client. I had this client up in the LA area. And I had met this guy before, numerous times. And I’d been up to this office numerous times. But for whatever reason, like this particular day, I went to go drive up there to have a meeting with him. And I’m in this giant, like, literally, it was a gigantic conference room, but it didn’t have any windows. And I started to get claustrophobia. And I felt myself sweating and my heart racing. And I kind of was playing it off to the guy though, that I wasn’t feeling well, and can you turn on the air conditioning? You know, I was able to kind of like, settle down. I think I went to the bathroom and kind of splashed some water on my face. But anyway, so that was kind of like the first kind of big one. And then it just kind of, you know, I think would just show up from time to time. And then once the COVID You know, the pandemic head. And I’ve talked about this on my podcast quite a bit sweet centric, where we’ve always been a very, like kind of tight knit company culture and you know, Prior to the pandemic, most of the team was here in the office. And so we, you know, we would, you know, we have an intensive switcher, so we’d play video games together, we’d go to happy hours, we just, you know, it felt like a really good family atmosphere. And I, something I’ve always really emphasized is, is team first. And so when the pandemic had, I really was very anxious about having the lay people off, I was very anxious, the company would be in business, you know, we’re being in the E commerce space, you know, I knew that, like, customers, were going to get affected supply chain, and, you know, people shopping online, I don’t think anybody really predicted that ecommerce would kind of have the opposite effect during the pandemic, where everybody was shopping online, but it makes sense. And so I took on this project, I mean, we were fortunate enough where a project, you know, kind of landed on our laps that, you know, for me to be able to have the control over knowing that the project was going to be done really successfully and ensure this great long term relationship, I put myself in the position of being lead developer, lead, architect, Lead Project Manager lead kind of everything. And I was probably working 70 to 80 hours a week, my little guy who’s two and a half now. So at the time, I guess he’s about six months, he’s still waking up four or five, six times a night. And I was also you know, because during this project, I was working with a vendor at an India, which required me to be online, you know, late at night, I told my wife, like, if I’m up, I’ll just take care of Ezra. So you don’t, so you can sleep, right. So I was working 7080 hours a week, sleeping three, four hours a night disjointed. And just the anxiety attacks came in full force, like where every day almost every day trying to go to sleep. I mean, if I would lay in bed, and if I didn’t fall asleep, immediately, I would have thought would enter my mind that I was going to be up all night. And that would set off a panic attack. And I mean, I’d have to wake my wife up, like, I’m like, Hey, you could you could sleep through the baby crying, but if I need you, because I’m having a panic attack, let me wake you up type of thing, you know. So it just was getting worse. And worse I was, I think I was just not there to be present for my family, my wife, or myself, really, you know, most importantly, and I knew I needed to change. And that’s where, you know, in March of 2021, I got that notification.
Kristin Taylor 12:37
So first of all, thank you so much for sharing in the way that you did with such detail, and emotional truth. And the reason I do what I do is exactly for people like you, for people like me, who have experienced that level of anxiety and your words, you weren’t letting the emotions flow through you, they’re getting stuck. I’m hearing all of this pressure. And the notification from an executive coach, not all executive coaches really pitch themselves in this way. It’s talking about stress, and anxiety and impostor syndrome, and just feeling like it’s all getting to be too much. So tell me a little tell us a little bit about you, constitutionally, your personality, how you move through pressure and stress, and where that came from, if that makes sense.
Adam Baruh 13:36
Yeah, so I think I’ve always, I don’t know, if I would describe myself, as you know, kind of fitting the bill of a highly sensitive person in, in kind of the exact definition of it. But I think I have been a highly sensitive person just in regards to my emotions. Less so in my senses, you know, loud sounds haven’t really bothered me, but more so in my emotions. So like, you know, as a kid, I remember, you know, I was also really short. And so I remember getting picked on a lot. And it really, you know, affected me and I think I grew up with just this. While there, interestingly, is a lot of confidence there. And it’s like real and I feel it. There’s also a side that is like, really not confident and you know, really vulnerable. Yeah. And I’ve always, I’ve always thought that I’ve had to hide that. And that that was a flaw. And that was a weakness. And that was something about me, that was something I wanted to hide and run away from and not, you know, be true to Yeah, you know, I think that in terms of the imposter syndrome, I was running my company now. I mean, we’re here about a little more than five and a half years old. And that’s something the imposter syndrome is something I’ve dealt with quite a bit. I mean, just my background is, for the majority of my career, I was a software developer. My background in School going back to college. I mean, I have a, you know, Environmental Studies degree. And I did wedding photography for 10 years. And so I came into being the CEO of Sweet centric, whereas I mean, I had a lot of NetSuite consulting experience, I had almost no leadership and business experience. So, you know, up until I started working with you, I really didn’t know what my identity was, as a CEO, I thought I really had to kind of front. Yeah, and put out this persona of being something that that wasn’t resonating with me. It didn’t, it didn’t feel good to me. I remember actually, at 1.1 of my partners talked about doing a podcast on NetSuite and stuff like that. And like, huh, like, I it’s not, that is not in line with, you know, a topic that I feel like I could talk about, you know, to fill up a podcast episode, right. So clearly in working with you. And, you know, recognizing that kind of sensitive side of myself, one of the things that you helped me flush out in myself is my level of empathy, I think it’s always been pretty high. And you know, that, that being a sensitive persons, okay, and really, you know, the magic that you gave me was, you know, a recipe for learning how to nurture myself, right. And so through that work, which, you know, clearly had a profound effect on me, I was able to identify that, you know, this thing that I thought was a major character, flaw and weakness, and something that I’ve felt I’ve had to hide my entire life is actually my superpower. Sadly, it gives me this ability to tap into people, and situations that I think a lot of people truly just kind of, like to stay blind to. And so, wow, and you know, I’m a CEO, and I have this platform, and I’ve been trying to figure out the type of CEO that I want to be, but here it is, it’s always been there inside me. You know, I’d like to be a CEO, that’s that. If, you know, people had to characterize me, they say, he leads with compassion, he leads with empathy. He, you know, he has a team first model, he tries to be a good listener. And so that’s, that’s who I am. Now, that’s, that’s something that feels natural, and I completely love it.
Kristin Taylor 17:30
Well, it’s so interesting that you that you talk about this, like growing up, being short feeling, not good enough in whatever capacity that you know, being teased for that where that sort of started. And then I hear this pressure, this feeling of immense pressure, which makes so much sense. And really, in the work that we did, so much of your growth and healing, as I experienced it from the outside was about this deeper level of self awareness. That’s the sensitivity gave you. I work with so many different people. And I get to really see how people move through the world. And I don’t remember your exact words, but you said some people kind of push away this awareness, or this connection to other people. I don’t think that they necessarily push it away. At least this is my experience of working with others and my awareness of other people. They’re just not as finely tuned. There’s so much other noise and distraction. And whether it’s their nervous system, their emotional intelligence, I mean, those are all those are both very deeply connected. It’s not a choice of tuning out, it’s their propensity to inquire inward. Either the curiosity isn’t there, or the experience isn’t there, or sort of like I said, constitutionally, that’s just not how they’re wired, necessarily. So for me, Adam seen your gift was, as a coach, working with someone who has that level of curiosity, that level of care, that level of heart, that level of commitment to doing their own personal work, that to me, creates a level of hopefulness about the burgeoning, evolving definition of leadership, that someone who cares and is self aware, cares and self aware, and self aware gets to show up and lead others. That, to me is one of the best things ever. What did you learn in our coaching because there was a lot that we cover a bit, is there anything that felt like a turning point or like fundamental to how you move through the world now, that feels worthy of sharing with the audience?
Adam Baruh 19:51
Yeah, and you know, to answer this, let me let me go back even further, because I mean, you know, obviously, as you know, there was It was a very significant breakthrough. For me, that really was the thing that kind of paved the way for, for everything else. And so I’ll describe it like this. I don’t know, if it was my second session with you, or my third session with you, it was very early on. You know, we used to meet on Fridays. And I remember, you know, in this early conversation, we were talking about, you know, some emotions, I felt from, you know, my divorce that I had, I think, around 2010 or so, something like that. And, you know, my two older kids from that marriage, how, I mean, especially with my son, who’s now 20, how I just was having a hard time, not carrying this, this level of guilt, that I felt towards pain that I can see that he was going through even you know, to this time, you know, from that? And I remember you asked me, Well, I mean, do you what is it that you particularly feel? Is it guilt or shame? And I asked you, I said, Well, I made a statement, I said, Well, I don’t like what’s the what really is the difference with that? I, I don’t know if I know the difference between guilt or shame, and you kind of described it, I think you said something to the effect of, you know, guilt is something like an emotion that is challenging, and it makes us feel bad, but it’s not identity building. Whereas shame is something that belief systems are built around and therefore, like identity can get created out of and
Kristin Taylor 21:39
Yeah, can I pause you there? Because I think this is super important. Because this is such an important one that if other people hear it may resonate. Guilt is something you feel because of something you’ve done because of a behavior, you feel guilty about something you’ve done, or you haven’t done. Shame, is a sense of brokenness and who we are, that there’s something wrong at a core level with who we are. So one is about a behavior. And it’s just like you said, one is about a sense of self identity.
Adam Baruh 22:08
Yeah, exactly. Um, so you know, and then we wrapped up our conversation. And, you know, went about my day. And it was later that same evening, everybody in my house was asleep. I was, I think it was like, around midnight, I was kind of finishing watching the show. And I when it was done, I turned it off and required in the house, and I just kind of that that conversation, you know, reentered my mind. Guilt and shame, guilt and shame. Is there is there anything I feel shameful for and I kind of thought about that for a second. And I don’t know if you’ve ever had an experience like this, but it was almost like, in that moment. my higher self was connected with that present reality and, and said, you know, he’s, he’s ready for this. Now he’s ready to deal with that. And kind of like, I mean, I liken it to like the parting of the sea, or, you know, getting hit by a truck or something like that. It was literally the story and history of my life. Up to that point, it was 48 years, came to my consciousness with a full sense of truth. And what I’m talking about is, in terms of that, this claustrophobic anxiety attacks, I immediately thought of how when I was six years old, and my parents were recently split, and my mom used to have this babysitter, teenage kid who would come to the house. And as soon as my mom left, he would invite several other friends over a bunch of teenagers, and, you know, I would get locked in my mom’s walk in closet, lights shut off door barricaded. And that feeling of pure terror being in there. But worse than that, is then I would get let out. And I was molested. And I mean, obviously, I wasn’t blocked by that information. I was consciously, you know, afterwards I, you know, through my life I remember that happening wasn’t like, like in this moment. It wasn’t like I remembered it for the first time since I was six. But what crystallized for me was how that how, from that moment how everything progressed to now being a 48 year old dealing with what I was dealing with. Because I recognized that actually what I took on in the context of talking about shame was and I definitely would left, you know, you’re, you’re kind of take on what you think causes this. But, you know, I had, I think, for my little six year old brain to kind of deal with what was happening. I had constructed this such this story as if I caused it as if it was my fault, right? Not recognizing that I was actually a victim there, right. And so, you know, when I had this revelation, it was the first time in my life of realizing that I actually was a victim. And I had, I had built this shameful belief system, that I was bad that I caused, what happened? Yes, I did it. I mean, and so everything, and I mean, I’m sitting here on this Friday night, when I’m when this all this information is like coming into my mind. And I’m like, crying thinking of this, I’m like, thinking back to that little boy who was like, taking all the blame on himself for what happened as a six year old, and, you know, how it led to very likely lead to drug use and alcoholism in my life. And, you know, likely contributed to, you know, the factors leading into my divorce back in 2010. And, you know, impostor syndrome and everything, I mean, it’s like, it all kind of like, got wrapped up in that. And it was a lot of information to deal with. I mean, and I’ll, I’ll tell you truthfully, I had never, ever talked about that. My, you know, ever. I mean, nobody, they I just felt like it wasn’t really conversational, and didn’t really needed to be talked about, to my parents or anybody. Right. I know, my parents knew, and unfortunately, you know, just times are different now. But, you know, it wasn’t normal to talk about the issue, this issue with your parents, so it was kind of swept under the rug, there was no, you know, let’s get a therapist for Adam, you know, six year old Adam. I mean, I think all these things would be normal now, for parents like to do it and to really, you know, get a child help. But so, yeah, I mean, so, you know, just, I had never told my ex wife, I never even had told my current wife about this. And so I remember afterwards, you know, coming back to you, like our next session, after having had this revelation, kind of speaking with you about it. And then just thinking about how I wanted to talk to my current wife kind of start opening up about this, because it didn’t need to be hidden anymore. I was a victim. I wasn’t the cause of it.
Kristin Taylor 27:40
Yeah, yeah. So, so profound, what that level of trauma does that defining moment, and you’d said, maybe I can speak to this I, I will certainly try to the best of my understanding, and my own experience, as well as my training, and my reading and researching, particularly around issues of trauma and shame, and abuse. You know, when we’re so little, there’s so many things that are outside of our control. And here you have this terrible thing happened to you. And in an attempt to survive trauma, and to stay cohesive, and to adapt and survive, we create meaning. And if you make it your fault, and of course, this is not on a conscious level, as a child, we are not consciously doing this. But again, it’s this need to stay intact and cohesive and survive, when there’s so much out of our control. If we can make it our fault, then it least the assigning of blame is something we have agency over. Yeah. Right. But this defining moment, at such a young age, being this organizing principle of who you are, that there’s something dirty or bad or wrong about you, then becomes like metabolized into your nervous system, the way you move through the world, your sense of self. That is why shame is so powerful because and we keep secrets. And we feel like there’s something inherently bad about us and what a horrible way to grow and move through the world with bad is something like a seed that you have to hide, but that we think of as who we are.
Adam Baruh 29:47
Yeah, and you know, I’ve dealt with like a nervous tics since I was about 16. That had various manifestations are probably kind of like comes across as like a very subtle Tourette’s But I always thought that it was, you know, like, like, Tourette’s is where it’s it’s genetic or it’s physical, or it’s something that I, I don’t have control over, I can’t fix, but, you know, kind of, you know, after having had this revelation, and now kind of starting to, like really line everything up, I’m like, That TiC is my nervous system, having never dealt with the trauma, and faced it and worked through it. It’s, it’s the way that my nervous system is trying to find regulation, right, so, so well, they, I remember, I can remember looking back now, you know, for like, the month after having had that revelation with you. I was the first time in my life, that I felt completely free. I felt so empowered. And I mean, I even wrote in my journal, I’m like, Adam, you’re a badass, like, for having kind of, like, made this acknowledgement and kind of, like, recognition of like God, like, for what you’ve gone through and how you’ve gone through your life. But here literally, what I’ve been able to achieve, like, yes, being a CEO, having a successful company, you know, having four amazing, beautiful kids, you know, being married to, you know, great spouse who’s super supportive, like, like, you know, now, here, I am finally able to, like, soak that in, in a nurturing way that, you know, it’s okay. Like, I’ve, I feel like I’ve made it, I mean, I still have a lot of work to do. And it was interesting, like, the first, you know, the first six months after that revelation, it was, there were so many changes happening happening in my life that I think it was really hard to deal with, you know, right away just a whole other side to this is, you know, I think what came out of this insecurity and this lack of, you know, fully feeling good with who I am, was, as a person, as an adult, as, you know, somebody in my career, and as a parent, I’ve always given everything to everybody else, and everything else without giving anything to myself. And I, you know, I think that stemmed from just, you know, the nervous systems, you know, and the trauma that I dealt with I, I didn’t feel like I was even worthy of taking care of myself.
Kristin Taylor 32:33
Adam Baruh 32:33
Right. And so, now with this increased self awareness, and, you know, having reached this, like, higher level of, you know, self nurture, I recognize the importance of taking care of myself. And I mean, that that is my path to taking care of my family, and my kids and my wife and my businesses, it has to start with me. Yeah. And I, it’s never been that way. So that’s, that’s where a lot of like, it was, it was kind of hard going through all the like, coming to terms with this new level of awareness and consciousness for the first six months after having made this revelation, it was like, I remember last summer, I was in Cape Cod. You know, we go there every year, you know, my wife’s parents live there. And I, you know, there was a moment where I, again, I was kind of falling back into this pattern of not speaking up, when I, when I felt I needed to have my needs met, I would let my battery drain to zero without saying anything. And, you know, developing a lot of resentment and stuff like that, to the point where then there would be this big blow up and fight with my wife, like, you know, and that wasn’t good. And, and so it took a little while to finally like, know, how to communicate my needs, and how to how to continuously not let my battery level go down to zero, but, but work on always filling it up. Yeah, so I feel like I’m in a good place. Now. Finally, I mean, definitely, there’s still there’s always going to be work to do. But I feel like at least, you know, I’m doing a lot now, you know, where I am putting everything again, and I’ve spoken about on my podcast about this, this, you know, concept of like being positively selfish, but you know, it’s not selfish to that word, you know?
Kristin Taylor 34:26
Adam Baruh 34:26
Yeah. To, to want to take care of my needs. When I know that by doing so. I’ll be in a better position to be there for my family.
Kristin Taylor 34:35
Yeah, yeah. Gosh, Adam, there’s so much I want to comment on because there’s so much that you said there that is worthy of slowing it down. to demystify the whole process because someone might listen to this and think, oh, wow, he spoke the truth and now he’s in recovery and he’s doing so much better and, you know, life just shifted immediately. It doesn’t happen that immediate Utley, and one of the first things I said as your coach, because I am not a therapist is you need to see a trauma therapist so. So EMDR was a part of it to work with someone who is specifically informed, and working with someone who’s the victim of child sexual abuse. And so you’re getting that concurrently. And then the work we were doing was really through the lens of Yes, self awareness, and mindfulness in particular, noticing that, you know, it’s important to acknowledge when you have feelings, to give them a name, and to recognize that we are not our feelings. But that feelings do matter, and that we need to pause. And we, you know, I lead you through a lot of different exercises around when the feeling comes up. Number one, where do you feel it in your body? Yeah, connecting you with your body and recognizing the impermanence of right now. This is the sensation that arises, it’s not a good or bad that you get to show up with curiosity and neutrality to just the experience in your body, as well as what are you believing when that feeling comes up, whether it’s guilt, or shame, or anger, or rage or sadness, or frustration, or whatever it is, and understandably, you were holding a lot, and you had been in the practice and the habit of shutting it down, because you had people to take care of, once you start to reverse that and rewire your brain, you get to allow back to your words, rather than having emotions and feelings and beliefs and stories get stuck in your cells in your body, you got to practice having them move through you energetically. And it was such a an honor to watch you courageously feel feelings that you had spent decades pushing down. What did that give you learning mindfulness and learning some tools for emotional regulation that was so important?
Adam Baruh 37:06
Well, a couple of things. I think, because my nervous system was always in such an activated state, I didn’t know how to slow it down. And so you know, I thought the mindfulness was so powerful for me, because, you know, without it, I’m not sure that I would have gained that level of self awareness now that I have, because, you know, that tool was such a great tool for me to slow things down. And, you know, you led me through, you know, some breathing exercises to which were great, you know, talking about the nervous system. And you know, how just by controlling your breath in a certain way, it’s like, you know, kind of activating that parasympathetic branch. And so those exercises really helped me and my nervous system start to slow down, you start to not always feel activated, feel relaxed. My nervous tic was actually starting to on its own just kind of disappear for a bit, you know, I think for the most part, it’s probably like, 75% reduced is still present to some extent, but you know, so that’s one thing. I think, you know, one of the other exercises that you did with me, was Tara Brock’s rain exercise. You know, I’ve, I’ve used that and trying to coach other people around it too, and talking about it on the change, because I think it’s such an interesting, you know, way to just kind of simplify, like, kind of stopping and kind of capturing, you know, what’s happening in a particular moment. And, and, and doing that investigative work to really, okay, no, I get why I’m feeling that this way. It’s probably because this is going on and then, you know, for me, the whole key terrain was the N word that the nurturing part, right? Because, you know, for me having kind of not ever given that gift to myself of self nurture and having positive self talk, you know, I been always in this cycle of negative self talk. And it was just so it felt so good it just anytime I would do that exercise, it just felt like a hug. I was giving myself you know, and it opens the door then to just okay, I’m worthy of that. Self nurturing love, like, I have made it like, despite what happened, it, it happened. And, you know, this is really, I think, the key of everything. What happened to me when I was six years old? Of course, I wouldn’t want that to happen anybody and looking back, I wouldn’t probably want it to happen again to myself. If I could change things, but it, you know, it was an experience I had in my life that allowed me to grow and be the person I am today. And, you know, perhaps if that didn’t happen, I wouldn’t have the level of empathy that I haven’t, I wouldn’t. I wouldn’t have grown to be this person that I am today, which, you know, I feel really good with…really good with.
Kristin Taylor 40:27
Yeah, I’m gonna, so I, I always struggle with this. So I’m gonna own that I struggle with this. I believe that you would, I believe that you are not this way, Adam. Because of the trauma. I believe that this light of yours, despite the trauma still prevail, because it’s so essential to who you are. Perhaps some of the lesson and if you did a lot of suffering for decades, it put like a fire under the need to, to heal. But I truly believe that you are not who you are because of the trauma you are who you are, because your light refused to dim.
Adam Baruh 41:14
Yeah. Totally. No, I fully agree with that. It was how I worked with that information, how it worked with my experience, how I let it inform me and kind of how I, how I took it to empower myself, you know, because I feel empowered. And I, you know, I, I can truly say that I feel more empowered today than I’ve ever felt in my entire life.
Kristin Taylor 41:45
It’s an amazing thing to be able to say what I’m also hearing, tell me if this is true, is a is a level of self trust, that you trust yourself?
Adam Baruh 41:54
Absolutely. Absolutely. And not to say, you know, where I still don’t put trust in others, like I still, you know, my, yeah, like, my wife is still such a great guide for me. And she, you know, puts a lot of great, you know, things in front of me for me to learn from. So yeah, I’m glad you touched on that, too. Because yeah, like you can have, like such level of self trust, where it’s not, you know, a barrier to also putting trust in others.
Kristin Taylor 42:29
What I mean by that is it actually I think it’s not even that it’s a barrier, that our capacity to exercise and experience and believe in ourselves and have trust for ourselves is directly proportional to our capacity to really practice vulnerability with others. Because if you know, at the end of the day, whatever happens in our lives, good or bad, that you will show up with your to yourself for yourself a self compassion, then there’s more of a willingness to be vulnerable in relationship to trust other people. Do you know what I mean?
Adam Baruh 43:04
Oh, 100%. I mean, and it was, it’s what led me to, you know, wanting to do a podcast, which I remember when I started to have the thoughts around, you know, cuz I mentioned earlier, like, when it came to talking about, you know, technology or things that I’m not that don’t really, I don’t feel passionate about, like, I don’t think I could, you know, talk 10 minutes on that subject. But when it comes to talking about vulnerability, and leading with empathy, like, yeah, I, I have such trust in myself that yes, like I, I recognized that I have an opportunity as a platform, you know, having a platform as a CEO of a company, to demonstrate, you know, that we can be leaders and show vulnerability, and put team and empathy and emotional intelligence, you know, at the top of our list. Yeah, before financial success. And by doing so, it will lead to financial success. I mean, it’s definitely opened the door for me to tap into people that come to work for me that, that get what I’m doing. And so it’s attracting people around me and attracting clients to me that are helping to, you know, still continually make me have a successful company, despite, you know, not having that bottom line, you know, financial first approach.
Kristin Taylor 44:34
Yeah, yeah. Well, what I have experienced in you and what I’m hearing you talk about today, in terms of just putting your story into a cohesive, linear message that other people can hear is that this major turning point allowed a level of healing in you that so much energy that went around, being self denying I’m shut down, really hiding a part of yourself that you’d spent again decades working to hide, because that’s what shame does freed up so much energy to connect you with what I believe you are here to do in this lifetime in terms of your own soul’s calling in terms of the way that you are uniquely gifted, in terms of the advocacy in terms of opening up conversations that it reinvigorated, like, yes, software is the thing that we do, but it’s not who we are. And we get to focus on who we are. And the business is an extension, but it’s not nothing. So as we go into the last part of this conversation, I’d love to hear you share a bit about who you know yourself to be on the other side, and what you’re doing with that, as a CEO as a podcaster as a thought leader in this space to amplify your message and this message.
Adam Baruh 46:04
Yeah, thank you for that. So, you know, I, I think through my experience, and how painful it was, for me to feel like I had to, you know, hide who I was, you know, with the sensitive side and, you know, mental health stuff I was dealing with, within my anxiety issues and trying to, you know, feel like I had to hide that. I’m trying to kind of reverse this concept that, you know, CEOs have to be super strong and you know, impenetrable. Like, you know, there’s this concept, there’s this notion in this kind of old school business way of thinking that to be a business leader is the opposite of being vulnerable and opening yourself up. But truthfully, what I know now is that, truly to be the best leader is to open yourself up to vulnerability, and model, that it’s okay to show flaws, and to not be perfect, because I think, you know, we we’ve all dealt with so much over the last couple years. I mean, especially with the pandemic, but if you look at, you know, the racial divide the environmental issues, I mean, there’s so much going on, it’s really difficult to deal with, and, you know, we go into our jobs every day, where I think, in kind of the old school business methodology, when you were at work, there was this feeling that you had to just be present and only think about work. And that if there was anything painful going on in your life, you had to deal with that privately. And so, you know, where I’ve, where I’m kind of going with, you know, the, the work that I’ve been doing, and the role that I’ve identified for myself is, I very much want to be an advocate for de-stigmatizing mental health issues, I very much want to be an advocate for showing people that it’s okay to be vulnerable, and that there’s no expectation of always having to be perfect all the time, and to hide a part of you that is dealing with pain. And so, you know, that’s primarily, you know, where this idea for the podcast, that change came into play for me last year, which you know, how can I, how can I take my platform and take my message and put it out there and show other CEOs who may, you know, be listening to podcasts around mental health that, you know, there’s, there’s a way to build a company in this kind of team first, emotionally intelligent way and still have a highly successful company. So that’s where my work is focused right now, as well as working with you on this podcast and looking for other content that can be published around this idea of emotional intelligence. Because I think, you know, I think emotional intelligence needs to be spoken about more, it’s, it’s important in business, just, you know, the simple way of just kind of knowing what your customers going through and kind of putting yourself in their shoes, or, you know, teammates shoes, I mean, the same thing, like we should try to relate to each other more within business or just in general, because, you know, clearly there’s been such a divide. And we find that these, you know, there’s polarization and, you know, there’s, there’s less and less people that kind of are thinking in the middle and then try to understand both sides, but we need more of that. So, you know, that’s why I’m truly advocating for you know, you know, normalizing mental health conversations and You know, just the importance of having conversations around emotional intelligence, more and more.
Kristin Taylor 50:07
So what I appreciate is that you have really connected with the fact that this is a core value of yours. And you have seen the ways in which when there isn’t a level of vulnerability, or what is called psychological safety in the workplace. It causes harm individually and collectively. And you took function. You didn’t just think God that, you know, this is something I’ve discovered, and I’m so glad that I did. Because that in and of itself, would be enough. But you’ve said, I want to promote this. And you are by having conversations that start to pull back the layers so that when people talk about emotional intelligence, it’s not just a buzzword, it’s like, well, what does that mean? How do you actually demonstrate that? How do you practice that? How do you develop that? When we talk about vulnerability, it’s like, well, who should I be vulnerable with and when, so that we know self care is often boundaries, and that awareness to say, I am choosing to be vulnerable, right now and with this group, and this is why, because so many things that we’re talking about right now, are the tip of the iceberg. And you are like, you know, draining the ocean to say clean when you get down and look at what really is underneath that tip. So that it can become more accessible. And for that, I just have such immense respect for you. And I also, you know, it’s so interesting, we went and I’ve never really done this with the client. But we went from being coach and client to then sort of coaching colleague with the podcast, really good friend. Yeah. And I’ve learned so much about you, and just appreciate your quirky humor and openness, and your willingness even today to share to the extent that you have and I will share. I’ve talked a lot about with some people, but not everyone. So I’ll share here about the importance of CO regulation. And so much as a coach, you mentioned this is that one of the most fundamental things that I strive to do is create safety for the other person. So they feel seen or understood, there is trust. And that is really what’s happening behind the scenes is our nervous systems are co regulating. And you mentioned after the shame versus guilt conversation, and this realization of what you’ve been holding on to those first two sessions, I was even commenting to my husband, I didn’t share who you were anything about it. But I was like, I’m meeting with this guy. And he’s just like, the nicest guy in the world. And I’m noticing when I’m with him, I’m having all of these rushes of panic. And I don’t know why. I’ve never had that happen with a client. And I felt like it was like two sensitive souls coming into a room. And my nervous system was picking up on something very fascinating.
Adam Baruh 53:15
Well, I mean, I can’t say enough how much you’ve been a blessing in my life, and just a great friend and a great listener, and I, I just can’t thank you enough for you know, being there for me like you have and helping to be my guide. You’re just so you know, good at what you do. Because I and I, you know, when I talk about you to other people, I say you know that one of the best things about Kristin is, you know, the safety that she gives, but she’s an effective coach, and just an amazing coach, because she asks good questions that get you to think, and then you listen, and you’ve never told me what to do. And you’ve never said, you know, you should think about this thing or whatever. It’s just the way that you kind of shaped that conversation around shame and guilt was the start for all of this. And it was just It’s fascinating to look back and and think how just a conversation and the way that you kind of shaped that circle of trust between us, allowed me to feel and my higher self because I think a lot of this was kind of happening outside of my consciousness. But you know, there was something that like I talked about my higher self earlier. You know, I truly believe in spirit and I think my higher self was just sitting there waiting for Coach Kristin Taylor to come and create that safety for me that that allowed me to understand my story. So thank you for everything that you’ve done and who you are. Because like I said, You’re You’re truly a blessing.
Kristin Taylor 55:16
Gosh, I don’t even I only know how to respond to that, except for I will hold on to that in the moments where I’m by myself and having doubt those will be curdles of love that I returned to. So thank you. And it couldn’t have been more my honor. I also believe that, you know, I love that you started to define your higher self. And I will share openly before every session with anyone I say a prayer that my guides may show up, that I may hear their guidance in some sort of knowing, helps me with clarity and compassion and wisdom. And it is my belief. It is a belief that our guides are on the other side doing a lot of orchestrations and timing matters. And I believe we were meant to meet. And absolutely, I’m very appreciative of you, too. Thank you. Thank you for letting me in. All right, well, I so appreciate you, as always friend, thank you for sharing your story. And like I say to everyone who shares a profound story, and yours is one they matter. And sharing them helps to heal. So thank you.
Adam Baruh 56:25
Absolutely. Thank you so much.
Kristin Taylor 56:28
It is humbling to know that I played a part in Adam’s journey. But he truly has done the same for me in ways that deserve an entire episode share. But regardless of the timing, and what that all means, what stands out to me is the willingness that Adam shared, the willingness to feel, to be seen, to turn inward, to touch his shame, and to be open to support and healing. There are few things more courageous than that. And when we are willing to feel to be seen to touch our shame, it serves to eventually liberate us and connect us more deeply with a sense of purpose, as it did for Adam. Again, thank you, Adam, for what you shared, and who you are. May your story encourage others to be willing, willing, perhaps, to do what is most uncomfortable, but necessary, so that you too, and all can be more connected to who we really are? And what we’re here to learn eel and share our theme song and sound engineering was provided by Shane Suffriti. You can listen to more of Shane’s music at www.shanesuffriti.com If you have a story about making it through something that forever changed you or want to tell us what you think about our podcast, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you enjoyed today’s episode, we humbly ask that you share it with others. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you next time on How I Made It Through.
EIQ Media, LLC 58:11
How I Made It Through is produced and distributed by EIQ media LLC. Elevate your emotional IQ with podcasts and content focused on overcoming adversity, leadership, mental health, entrepreneurship, spiritually transformative experiences and more.