Ep. 010 | Healing our Success Wounds, Sobriety, and Socialized Self Identity with Brooke Taylor

Jul 25, 2022

Where you won’t find trendy business tactics, but you will find truthful insights and timeless stories from leaders to look up to.


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Ep. 010 | Curate Conversations With Pia Beck

“I really do believe that individual healing is collective healing. It has to start in the micro and what that means is having everyone answer that question of ‘How did I define success growing up? Is my definition of success about power over or control over others? Is it about ego or is it about process?’ Is it about service, about something greater than yourself?” — Brooke Taylor

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In this episode with Brooke Taylor, we talk about our socialized self identities, the old and new paradigms of success, what it will take to heal our individual and collective success wounds, and a thing we have in common. We break down what the Success Wound is, how it drives drives everything from unfulfillment and manic ambition, to greed, corruption, and thirst for power-over, and we explore the question am I projecting my definition of success onto someone else?

I hope you enjoy this episode. 

Links mentioned in this episode:

Music created by Queentide.



[00:00:00] Brooke Taylor is a career coach for female leaders. She’s the global leader and expert on a phenomenon. She identified in insecure overachievers called the success wound. The false belief that worthiness of love and belonging comes from what one produces, achieves or does rather than who they are. Her [00:01:00] expertise is in helping corporate women to heal their success wound so they can lead live and work with impact and without burnout, . Her transformational group, coaching programs and workshops at companies like Google, Uber, and McKinsey have changed the lives of over 3000 women globally.

And she’s trusted by top leaders from Goldman Sachs Salesforce IBM and more looking to motivate, advance and engage their team. In her career at Google, she held roles in sales, go to market strategy and people management. She was also the head of programs at the Dream Collective. A global diversity and inclusion consultancy that helps companies to attract, retain and advanced, diverse talent.

She currently resides in Los Angeles with one fiance and multiple house plants. In this episode, episode 10 of the Curate Conversations Podcast, we talk about our socialized self identities, the old and new paradigms of success and a thing that Brooke and I have in common. I hope you enjoy.

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 Welcome Brooke. I’m so excited that you’re here today. I have been looking forward to this conversation since I started preparing all the questions to ask you. I think that your work is super interesting and it’s something that people talk about a lot, but not in the way that you’re talking about it.

And I’m so excited for this [00:03:00] conversation. Thanks for being.

Thanks. I’m so excited too. Thank you.

So the first question I always like to ask is in your own measure of success, tell us about your growth. Uh, this could be your business growth. It could be your personal growth. It can be both because we have other very intertwined. So maybe it’s people who’ve gone through your work or a personal event, or, um, something that happened for someone who went through your work. Whatever feels meaningful to you about how you’ve grown.

I love this question because it’s so meta in the sense that I work with high-achieving women to help them redefine success on their own terms. And so how I define success is how frequently and often I’m living in alignment with my truest and highest self. And if I am not living in alignment with my choice since the highest self it’s, usually I’m living in alignment.

Society’s definition of what success is. My partner’s definition of what success is, um, maybe a manager’s definition. And so I [00:04:00] came to this understanding of success because I actually had a very warped experience in relationship to success and extrinsic validation and achievement that actually started when I was really young and growing up in Silicon valley. Um, in the nineties, you know, I was very much grown up around this notion of like, if you can dream it, you can do it. Intellect is king. Um, Everything relies very much upon you being able to grab the bull by the horns and take something forward. And so I learned in my cultural upbringing, what achievement and intellect are, how you define success.

And that really sent me off to the races as a perfectionism, perfectionistic, and high achieving young woman. And it actually ended up making me really sick. And so my work has been about disentangling, my identity. From success and redefining it on my own terms, such that success is a lot more [00:05:00] consious

I love asking this question first, because everyone answers it so differently. And your answer is of course, very on brand. And I love how you just like totally reframe that for us. I have a follow-up question, which is around the word alignment. So this is a word that we hear thrown out. All the time. It’s a very popular word these days, right.

Of doing things in alignment. So tell us, like, without using that word, what does that look like? Or what does it feel like? Or what does that mean?

That’s a great question. In fact, the tagline for my business used to be aligned ambition. And to me, what alignment means is when I, my thoughts, behaviors, actions, emotions, and embodiment are unified are on track with my highest self. There is a sense of connection, connective tissue between my ideals or my values and how I’m showing up in [00:06:00] the world. Because that alleviates something that I learned in psych 101, which is cognitive dissonance. Or when my insides don’t match my outsides. Right. And so when I’m able to bring my insides, meaning my values and my soul and my heart into alignment with my behavior and my ideals and how I show up in the world that creates self-esteem. So I think that’s why alignment gets tossed around a lot, but I think you’re right. It’s like very ill-defined.

Totally. And you just did such an incredible job defining it. I’m so glad I asked that question and kudos to you for answering a very big question in a super succinct and eloquent way. Really appreciate how you did that. And I think that you made it so tangible, right? Which is if the connective tissue right between this is, this is who I think I am.

This is what I want. This is what I know is best for me. And this is how I’m showing up in the world. Okay. So getting back into this conversation of success, let’s start by [00:07:00] defining a term that defines the work that you do. And maybe this is a term that exists in the world, or maybe you, uh, made it up and trademarked it, which if you haven’t, you totally should.

Which is our success wound. And so that’s kind of the that’s the center of our conversation today is, is the work that you do around helping people heal their success wounds. And so, because we’re going to be mentioning this word a lot, let’s define that for everyone who’s listening so that they know what we’re talking about.

And then we’ll, and then we’ll get into our question.

Totally. So the success wound is the pain that comes from when we mistake our success for our self-worth. And it actually originates in childhood when kids tend to receive more approval or love or attention from their parents or their teachers when they do something worthwhile or when they behave well, they get a gold star, right?

So as kids, we actually learn that my worthiness of love and attention and approval [00:08:00] is contingent upon what I do and what I achieve, not the inherent worth of who I am. And so this wounding really is the result of kind of shame and childhood trauma that lives in the subconscious mind. And it occurs when an individual or in this case, you know, a child originally, but also when an adult abandoned their true self in pursuit of an ideal of what success looks like from their in group.

So from their family, from their culture, company, society, community, you know, what have you. And so, as a result, this individual creates this socialized self identity that is chasing that belonging and that extrinsic validation and starts to embody or inhabit that self. More than their true self, the self that came into this world already whole already knowing what he, she, they value.

And so even just that notion of a split [00:09:00] of selves, right. That splintering, that is a wound too. And so the successful is also kind of that subconscious, psychological pain that comes from abandoning, who we really are in favor of. This self that is, approved of by others. So that’s all very lofty language, but I want to ground this in an example a little bit, and I’ll just use my own story.

You know, again, when I was growing up, I remember I took my straight first straight a report card back to my dad and he kind of picked me up in his arms and scooped me around. And he was really proud of me, which is makes a lot of sense. But in my 11 year old brain, I associated achievement with that high of being loved and picked up and elated and applauded at the dinner table.

And my teachers all like saying, Hey, can I see you after class? And just whispering, like you did such a great job this quarter. Right. Um, [00:10:00] and so I became, my, my whole orientation became about getting more of that field. And so I chased that gold star kind of way of acting through high school, getting into a really good college all through college.

And I started having more of this socialized self as Brooke, as the achiever, high functioning, all of that. But. And so doing, I lost connection to who I really am, which is somebody who’s a lot more creative and tender and, you know, interested in other people and feminine. And I actually, that caused a lot of pain.

And it also caused a lot of pressure. And I ended up a enestitizing that pain and pressure of the success wound with drugs and alcohol and food and extrinsic validation. Right. Because that pain has to be numbed somehow. Some people I’m going out with so many different things, but this is what I mean when I say.

The [00:11:00] success wound is, um, deeper psychological pain because it goes untreated and undiagnosed. Um, and we, we eat over it. We drink over it, we chase over it. And so, ultimately it led me to being early in my career at Google and I had climbed the corporate ladder to get there. I was achieving well, I was getting all the accolades and the stars, um, but I was also like really in my addiction and eventually this all kind of really hit ahead.

And I remember waking up in my New York city apartment and I looked at myself in the mirror after waking up at like 10:00 AM on a Thursday after partying really hard. And I looked at myself in the mirror. This isn’t who I am. Isn’t who I want to be. Like, my success would have actually driven me to this place and my socialized self had started to take over.

And that really scared me. So, my whole work in my own personal and spiritual development has been about inhabiting a different [00:12:00] definition of success, which again goes back to your original question is how often am I living in alignment with my true self? Because as long as that’s happening, then everything else opens up for me.

If I start to go into that carrot chasing socialized self of trying to people, please, and please everyone else and chase something, I get sick and nothing’s available to me. So that’s really the work that I do. And to answer your earlier question, this is a phenomenon that. That I have noticed and coined and kind of taken on.

So this message is cutting into my work.

My lawyer would tell you to go trademark it. If you haven’t already.

It’s in the process. Thank you. Yeah, 

Great. Okay. Pending trademark pending. Um, I have a follow-up question for you, which is, your example called on positive reinforcement, right. Of I did this thing and I had this, this high feeling and then I spent my life chasing that feeling again.

Do you think it also gets wrapped up in negative reinforced? For example, you didn’t meet the standard, you [00:13:00] didn’t do this thing or people who are successful do this. You should go do that. Do you think it goes both ways like that?

A hundred percent, a hundred percent, because both are messages of, you know, either you’re not enough. Or congratulations. You’ve met this ideal of what we think is successful and good enough. So keep going, right. Both messages of like, this is right, or this is not right. Paint a subconscious or a very intentional definition of what a successful person looks like.

And so, and both can result. I think we all can think back to being kids and being shamed in some way for not doing something right or measuring up to somebody’s definition of success. And that creates that trauma. And it means that we then have to go and have it some other self for self protection purposes.

 Totally. My success wound comes from the narrative. And I think mine [00:14:00] was more like negative reinforcement, more so than, well, maybe it was a bit of both, but mine definitely comes from the narrative of, like doing the right thing. Right? Like you were successful when you do the right thing, when you know the difference between right and wrong. When you work really hard, when you.

Like no, what you should be doing, or, you know, like the right thing to do in a certain situation that was, and, and also, um, like sucking it up, right? Like people who are successful, like suck it up. And those narratives were what defined success and like high performance in my childhood. And it’s been my life’s work and my work in therapy for years to. Like start to, to let go of that. Right. Of all. I’m allowed to be learning things. I don’t need to know what to do yet. And, um, it’s so it’s so interesting. I think that you’ve made something that can feel really daunting to people, which is, uh, [00:15:00] our conditioning and our, our childhood traumas or microtraumas, or even just like, you know, the cultures and the societies and the family dynamics that we grew up in.

You’ve taken all of that and made it, I think. and very accessible for people not to say that there’s not a whole shit ton of work to do, to still address it and work through it. Cause there is. But I think that a lot of people think about their conditioning of like, oh, it’s this thing that’s been building for my whole life.

And how do I know what it is? And how do I know how I’ve been. How I’ve experienced trauma and how do I know all of these subconscious messages that made their way into my brain? At least that was my experience when I first started exploring this. And I think that by calling it what you have and coming up with a definition that you have, right.

The success, it just makes it so clear. And I think that’s really, really powerful.

Thank you. Thank you. I’m so glad that you’ve said that. And it’s great that you’ve been able to identify and diagnose your [00:16:00] own success wound. And you subconsciously or unintentionally taken the first step that I always recommend for people who are trying to diagnose their success wound by asking yourself what did success look like when I was younger?

What models of what a successful man, woman, mother, person, employee, student did I witness growing up? And what of that ideal is still living within me. Has that changed? Has it not? Um, sometimes they do change sometimes they don’t. So your definition of success, it sounds like did that come from a mother or father teacher?

Where’d that come from?

Mother and father, I would say my, it was, it was a mix. They each contributed their own flavor to that?

Sure. Did you find it through watching their behavior or was it based on what they said?

No, it was very explicit.[00:17:00] 

Yeah. Yeah. There’s so many different ways that we get these messages. It can be explicit. It can be just through behavior. Like I have a client who realized that after spending 10 years at the first job she attended and out of college, she subconsciously defined success as loyalty to one place and chugging along because her dad worked at the same company for 40 years and she hadn’t really put that together so they can be explicit or implicit.

I have so many questions. I asked, I have another question in a little bit about like the generational component of this, which we’ve kind of already started to dig into. Um, but I’m like getting a look into like the work that you do already, which is so cool. So on that note you have group coaching programs that you deliver at companies like Google or used to work.

Uber McKinsey for female leaders. Tell us about what challenges come up as. Women in these like very, well-known very large, um, somewhat like idolized organizations. What are these women start to [00:18:00] confront? When what they’re grappling with is like not only the personal challenge of healing, their definition and their relationship to success.

But also what I think is a very, like deeply cultural and systemic narrative. That’s reinforced both in those contexts and outside of them.

What I see is pretty much the exact same symptom based on again, the exact same root cause. And that’s, what’s made this phenomenon. So, um, it just kind of hit me over the head. So for example, Almost all of the women who are at Google, McKinsey, Uber, these companies that I work within, feel some level of burnout and exhausted from overworking and from carrot chasing and from the constant voice that says, you know, if you relax a little bit, you’re going to lose your edge.

And burnout comes not just from overwork, but burnout can come from working [00:19:00] with a really toxic manager. Burnout can come from working from working within a context of not being passionate about what you’re doing. And so you’re forcing yourself to show up every day. It can come from a lack of childcare and, and understanding on your manager’s part.

And then finally, there’s this, observation that people are really on the hamster wheel. They think that the burnout will stop just around the corner or that they’ll finally feel content when they have that next promotion or when they finish that project, then I’ll slow down. It’s this notion of like the contentment and the answer that I’ve been looking for is just around the corner.

And so I just need to do more of what I’m doing harder, and then I’ll finally make it. And this is why, in some ways the success wound actually looks like an addiction, right? Because when we’re addicted to a substance, let’s just take alcohol. For example, the [00:20:00] message in an alcoholic’s mind is that more alcohol is going to fix my problem.

When in fact that’s the exact poison that’s causing the problem. And so with the success wound that most people have, they think more success is going to cause the it’s going to help make them feel more content when in fact it’s their success wound that’s causing them to discontent in the first place.

I totally relate to the, oh, it’s just around the corner and, you know, on a, on a macro scale. And also on a micro scale, right. Even if I look at my to-do list, for example, right. I’m like, oh, if I can just like, get a little bit ahead this week, next week’s to do list will be a little bit lighter. Right. And I catch myself doing that still often, even though like, you know, I can sit with myself for a moment and say, that’s not how it works.

It’s not true. It still is so easy to kind of like fall back into that trap. So I have a question about that. Like, let’s call it a quote unquote, like relapse later. To go with your [00:21:00] example, your metaphor. Um, and I think that, I say that just because I think normalizing that feeling is really important.

I think that being able to say like, yeah, Even if we are people who are working on ourselves, who are healing, our success wounds, who are doing the work, it’s it still can come back up. Right. Or maybe you haven’t started doing the work yet and you relate to that statement and that’s okay. Right. And I think part of what your work is is separating the person from what they’re doing.

And so not to have anyone kind of like bypass their work, but to say. It’s okay. Right. It’s okay to relate to that. It doesn’t like, say anything about you, right? This is something that like a wound. This is something that happened and acknowledging that it’s, there is the first thing that needs to happen. If you’re going to heal it.

Absolutely. It’s not a moral issue. And in fact, It’s pretty ubiquitous in our culture. And I just want to also make really clear [00:22:00] that, um, I’m not blaming the women in these programs. In fact, the success wound is very much based on kind of a patriarchal definition of success, right. Something based very much on power over scarcity.

Kleinman’s way to the top gaining power. And so it’s kind of no wonder we are where we are. And I also want to normalize. You know, I love when women want to be the CEO of McKinsey or Google, I’m not trying to make them into monks. They should be working hard. You know, there’s a difference between hard work and hustle.

Hard work is esteem building. And if it’s motivated by something other than ego, that’s excellent. But when we’re in our wounding and in our state of unconsciousness, and we think that success is going to fix us and we pursue that all the way into the CEO, to the top of our mountain. That mountain is going to feel really fucking high and really fucking lonely because we’re going to get to that mountain and be like, holy shit, this wasn’t the mountain.

I was meant to be [00:23:00] climbing the whole time.

Totally totally. You, you mentioned something, uh, before we started our conversation that I thought was, was really interesting, which is that it’s the success wound that drives things like unfulfillment, which we’ve talked about a little bit and also manic ambition, greed, corruption, thirst for power over, et cetera.

And so. It’s not, I work hard at this because I enjoy it because it’s fulfilling for me because it’s in alignment. It’s I work hard at this because I feel like I have to, or because I’m driven by this thing that I was taught is the thing I should be going towards.

A hundred percent. It feels much more like a compulsion. It feels like it’s driving the individual, not they’re driving it. It can masquerade as, um, you know, these are just my really high goals and ambitions, but then why, when I, when I finally reached the goal, it doesn’t feel good. Um, [00:24:00] yes. And I think that that is the capitalistic structure that we live in.

Right. It’s the promise. It’s the illusive promise of more, it’s just it’s capitalism in a way.

I have, I have another question on that, but we can get into that in just a second. Um, and the question is along the lines of like, how do we possibly overcome that? Right. It’s such a huge, huge entity. So we can get into that in a second. Cause that could take us down a very, very different conversation.

You mentioned the example of addiction and so I, I really appreciated in learning a little bit more about you, that we have something in common that. would love to explore. And, uh, that is that you are six years sober. You got sober when you were 24 single living in New York city, which is like good for you.

Oh my goodness. All of those things together. And, obviously when, you know, a lot of other 24 year olds are, not, and also not maybe particularly, um, understanding [00:25:00] or accepting or, educated on like, why a choice like this might be the thing that is good for you. And I’m five years sober. I got sober around 23.

Same thing. I was the only person that I knew who had kind of decided to stop drinking. And it was for the same reason that you said I woke up one morning and I was like, this isn’t who I am. I don’t get to be myself when I’m drinking that much. I don’t feel like myself. And then I wake up the next morning and I have this dissonance, right.

Of just like, oh, is that person I don’t like that person. And, being able to reconcile that and just really feel like I get to be embodied in like who I really am as a person came with a lot of challenge. Right. A lot of social challenges. You know, new friend groups and new types of relationships and new things that I did to bond with people and new things I did to bond with myself and like all of the things.

And it’s been [00:26:00] one of the best decisions that I ever made for myself and I, truthfully don’t even really, miss it at all. It was a huge adjustment and, you know, I, I never think like, oh, maybe I shouldn’t have, maybe I shouldn’t have done that. Or it would be great if I could, you know, go out and do this or that.

I, I really. Don’t miss it very much at all. And so I would love to talk about this. I know it, wasn’t a part of your success journey as you’ve you’ve mentioned. And I’m curious both about your personal experience and specifically like how it changed you as a person. Let’s start there.

it’s a great question. I wish we knew, knew each other. Then could’ve been friends.

I know we could have been such good friends.

I totally could have really used you and needed you. I it’s really interesting cause my addiction and my dependence on alcohol is very much mixed in with my, my success with, into my addiction to extrinsic validation. And it [00:27:00] was very much a coping mechanism. It was numbing the subconscious pain and the paradigm that I got sober.

I understand addiction to be a three-pronged disease. The first is that it’s a physical allergy. When I ingest alcohol, my body and my mind have a different physiological response than the average drinker. Meaning when I ingest alcohol, I want more, I want more, I like the feeling I drank because I liked the feeling produced by alcohol.

I liked feeling connected to other people and like feeling good and. when I drank. The second prong of the addiction in this paradigm is that it’s a mental obsession. It’s the voice in my head that tells me, oh, going to drinks is going to make me feel better. Or one more drink is an answer, or, oh, I just need a beer after work.

And then I can finally exhale. It’s the same voice that also tells me, the promotion just around the corner. That’s going finally make me feel better. Or, oh, that next boyfriend, like, that’s going to fix, that’s going to fix it. And what, what the mind is [00:28:00] telling us is going to fix is actually the third part of the disease.

And that’s the spiritual malady. It’s this void, this emptiness. Then I am using alcohol substance, anything outside of me to fix and fill. Right. And in this paradigm of addiction recovery that I got sober in, really the only thing that can fill that is a relationship with a higher power. Something outside of me and something spiritual love, God, the universe connection, whatever that is.

And so that’s why the opposite of addiction is connection. And so, you know, having that moment of looking myself in the mirror and being like, this is not who I am. Really. My recovery process has been a process of filling that void with. Um, self esteem with connection and with love. And it is the number one most [00:29:00] important thing in my entire life.

It, it has to come first or else none of the beautiful things that I’ve created for myself come first. And I have to say it is my super power and my competitive advantage. I wouldn’t have started this business. While working at a full-time job at Google, if I was still drinking, I wouldn’t have had the energy or the mental space or the clarity.

I think I understand people a whole lot better because I know I can kind of see the similarities and kind of these patterns of addiction in others. But most importantly, I am so much more comfortable in my own skin. And I think I was so scared to do something different to actually step out of that socialized self, because I had spent so much time carefully creating that identity as like a work hard, play hard, party girl.

That the only thing that kept me from not drinking for getting sober earlier was I was so scared of who I would be without it. And so the same thing with success with [00:30:00] recovery. It’s, who am I, when I’m defining success on my own terms?

totally. That’s a big question. No big deal. So how, if someone were going to start exploring that, right? Who am I, when I’m defining success on my own terms, who am I without this piece of my identity that I’m no longer choosing to pursue anymore? How do we start answering that question? Like where would you have someone start in discovering who they are without that.

That’s a great question. And you know, some of the language I’ve been from around a little bit is words like true self and words, like socialized self, right? This is a very common, psychological understanding that psyches are inherently multiple. We aren’t just like oneself, right? There’s maybe somebody who shows up when you’re comfortable with your partner, like on the couch and maybe somebody who shows.

You know, I’m at work or somebody who shows up when you’re feeling defeated or defensive. So, your true [00:31:00] self is your healthy self it’s the self that’s connected to something greater than you. It’s who inhabits and lives within your values. What we need to first do is understand the difference between the socialized self and the true self.

And the first step in doing that is really to diagnose. The size and shape of your success wound. Because by understanding and diagnosing the success wound, we can understand the relationship between the socialized self and the true self. So for example, in your definition of success, growing up as like always doing the right thing, no matter what, and always kind of searching and kind of that, that morality, I’d be curious, you know, part of the work that we might do together would be okay.

Who are you, what behaviors do you exemplify and how does it feel when you are pursuing that notion of what’s right at all costs, right? How does that feel in your body? Does that feel, does that feel good? Does that feel free? The other question is like what’s ideal [00:32:00] of a successful entrepreneur. Are you subconsciously comparing yourself to in moments when you don’t feel good enough?

Yeah, totally. I love that. 

Once we kind of have that shape, we can then say, okay, if we were to, if that part of us were to step aside, then we have to start taking inventory of like who our true self is. But most people identify as that socialized self. And so it’s a lot of work to kind of peel back those layers.

Totally. Those are two really great starting points. I’m going to reiterate them just for anyone listening, because I think that there are things that you can, one of them you can do right away. The other, you can start practicing every day, which is what idea of a successful blank, right? Whatever you identify as do you have in your mind that you’re pursuing, trying to be like, and then when you are acting with that idea of success that you grew up with, what does it feel like in your body? Those are great. Thank you for sharing that.[00:33:00] 

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 I think this brings up a really interesting point. That is something I talk about a lot in a lot of different contexts, and I’ve never talked about it in this context before, but I’m just seeing a parallel. And so for our community, that’s familiar with a lot of the dialogue that I’ve had about this. I want to pull it in, which is the idea between leadership versus authority. And, you know, it’s really common in the entrepreneurial space. And specifically if you’re providing a service to have authority doing air quotes, right? Um, you are an authority in something, you are a no-go to authority for something, right. People see you as having authority. This is like this goal that I think a lot of people work [00:37:00] towards. We in the Curate Well Co community really differentiate the idea of authority and leadership. And so leadership includes some degree of authority, right? However, it’s not the whole definition of leadership. It’s like maybe pattern all 3% and there’s so much else that goes into leadership, both leading yourself and leading other people leading, leading a movement that’s built on a philosophical belief and that the act of leadership requires abandoning. What is the kind of dominant way of conversing with people and really like being like in the arena, right. It looks like enrolling people into something that isn’t actually about you at all. And I think that how that relates to what we’re talking about here is that I think that a lot of people’s success wounds speaking very generally, of course, and like, you know, parts of my own [00:38:00] self-exploration to lead us, to seek being an authority versus seek being a leader. And I think that when you can do that work and differentiate those two, like that’s when you land on the thing that really resonates with people, right. That really has people want to like walk alongside you towards whatever it is that you’re walking towards.

That’s so interesting. And I haven’t thought about that in this context before, but you’re right. When I am pursuing, um, extrinsic validation, a certain title being seen as an expert or an authority in my space, it is based on ego. Versus to your point, leadership is very much a being of service and actually showing up with your higher self and inspiring others to do the same and creating something that’s bigger than you and being, you know, if I’m extrapolating a little bit, even just this word authority like rings to me like authoritarian, like ruler of one, right.[00:39:00] 

Versus leader is leading many. And I think the success wound would have us believe that it’s really about. You know, our title, our curated image, um, our ego, what other people think about us and what we’re kind of known for, what we’re an authority in. Versus conscious success, which is the antidote. The success wound is all about enabling your highest and best self and helping other people to do the same.

So that’s a really interesting and.

Yeah, everything you said, I think is like totally clicking for me. And it wasn’t until I really started thinking about this before our conversation, I was like, oh, that is so interesting. I’m sure there’s like 1800 layers to this that you will continue to discover over the rest of your lifetime doing this work.

 Which is very cool and, and exactly how it should be. I’ve always struggled with the narrative around like work and worth and identity. Um, so like just to play devil’s advocate a little bit when people and by people, I [00:40:00] just mean like culture and society and social media and like, you know, no one in particular.

Talk about that. Our work being tied to our worth and like how much of our identity is wrapped up in work. There’s a part of me that’s always been really resistant to that conversation, which like maybe is my success wounds talking and like being resentful of like all the people who have achieved this and I haven’t.

And also there’s another part of me. That’s like, I love my work. Right. I am someone who has always really taken a lot of pride in the work that I do. When I was a kid and I was a babysitter when I was in college and I worked at the rec center and like, you know, all of the things like I’ve always been someone who, really cared about what I did for work and how I did it. And I’m curious, like, how do we find out like where the line is, right. What part of that is like, yes, this is my like aligned self. This is my highest self. This is the part of me that like really [00:41:00] truly does genuinely like want this. And what part of this is the success wound saying?

Yeah, you should take pride in your work and you should want this to be a part of your identity. How do we figure out like where that line is?

 Great question. And I guess I’m just asking you in those contexts that you just mentioned. When you would show up with the energy or the intention of getting external validation, being seen a certain way, achieving something, how would that, how would you behave when that was your intention or that was your motivation?

Probably pretty guarded.

 Like, I wouldn’t necessarily show up to do my work with, with my, like, you know, I was armored, right. It wasn’t like, oh, I’m here to like, give this, give us everything I have and, you know, risk feeling hurt or pouring my heart into this. Or, or really kind of like being open to like what this could look like or, or what could happen here.

It was very, it was armored, right. I was guarded. I [00:42:00] was like, I’m going to show up and like do this thing. This way to like, get to this result and not like show any part of myself or not, or not, you know, risk someone seeing me a different way.

And what if the energy, when you showed up was actually kind of part of that success, winning that we talked about of like maniacal need to do the right thing. How would that show up? 

Like a lot of rigidity.

So, like not allowing other collaboration, you trying to take it forward yourself or.

I would say like, uh, just like a lack of creativity, like one of the things I really did not learn until I started my own business, which was very much in parallel with a lot of like, the work that I started doing on myself was, um, like really creative problem solving. Right. I don’t know the answer, but like we’ll figure out eight possible answers and, you know, go through this process of figuring out how to move forward.

That wasn’t something that I learned until a certain part of [00:43:00] my life. And so I would say that, it showed up like, yeah, like rigidity of like, oh, the process has this. Or the rule says this, or like, this is, this is the way that we like get to this result without a lot of exploration. 

anything. And was there a safety and following those rules and being like, no, this is the right way?

 I don’t know if there was like a conscious safety, but probably.

Okay. There was some sort of like, I guess, um, there was some sort of beneficial or adaptive payoff from following that notion. And so to answer your question, it’s very much like a moment to moment. Thing and question of what is the energy behind my pursuing this goal? What is my motivation for showing up today?

What’s my intention for this conversation and what’s powering that conversation. It can be out as literally moment to moment, and because we can go. Unconscious in a [00:44:00] second. And when we’re unconscious, we slip into rigidity, blame, being closed, being guarded, and that is things of, you know, the success wound. Versus again, the antidote to the success wound is this concept of conscious success. Meaning having pursuing flow and process over force, defining success on your own terms.

 Having the contentment and the joy that you want now and embodying that now, not after you pursue the goal or get to the right answer. And, you know, again, it’s that, am I living out of my socialized self in this conversation and then 10 seconds later living out of my true self. Um, and hopefully that percentage of embodying the true self and embodying the conscious success.

That is, that is really the difference.

That’s great. Thank you. I’m going to switch gears a little bit and go back to some of those bigger [00:45:00] picture questions. And I’m really curious on your perspective on. So we kind of did like the personal, right? Like what’s kind of happening close to like where we are right now. And, um, thank you so much for being willing to kind of use me as, as an example to probe a little bit deeper.

I think that was a really helpful demonstration. If we zoom out a little. There’s kind of two things that I want to ask about. And the first one is this greater like systemic reinforcement of success wounds as being very productive for the patriarchy. Consumerism and capitalism and all of those things.

And then the second thing I want to ask about is like the generational component to this. So I’m going to, I’m going to do the first one first and then we’ll, we’ll come back. And I’m actually gonna read an excerpt that you sent me about your work to, uh, kind of ground, this, this question around how.

How do we overcome this on a systemic level? And so the excerpt is the success wound is our [00:46:00] collective belief that our value comes from our perceived power as defined by what we produce, achieve and who are what we control. This belief drives greed, consumerism, war, crime, violence, racism, patriarchy, misogyny, xenophobia, and more.

It manifests in our legal systems, public policy, economic systems, and corporations. Today’s world leaders operate to maximize power as a means to create a false sense of safety and control. Job security, significance and relevance. So like, And like that feels very true. Right. I read this and I was like, yeah, totally.

Like we feel it. And we experience it individually and like, yeah. If everyone is feeling it and experiencing it and having this, and we’re not doing the work on ourselves, like it compounds and then it gets huge and it’s in all of our systems. And I just like very much [00:47:00] agreed with this statement. And it also brings up the question of like, how do we possibly. As a collective as a, we, as a culture, like heal our collective success wound and create a different world that we all get to live and work in.

 Yeah, great question. It feels like a big kind of hairy issue, right? It’s like, wow, this really does seep into all of our political systems and our organizations and our communities. So. I just take it back to the, to the specific. Like it’s no secret that there’s this kind of deep, global, psychological pain in our world.

And that pain lives in the splinter gap between like who we know we can be and our actual behavior. Like we know we’re inherently good and capable of incredible kindness and community and lasting peace and getting together and having them together. But we don’t behave that way. Instead, we seek to control.

We seek power over and that [00:48:00] drives our wounded behavior on a collective level, through, through war, through racism, through misogyny, as I mentioned, because all of those systems are just ways of controlling others and keeping others down. So, you know, we can have a cognitive dissonance at a collective level to that pain of holding one ideal about yourself.

And your behavior that doesn’t match up to that ideal, right? Even Marianne Williamson who ran for president versus Joe Biden. Like actually I think both of them had the same catch phrase. It was like, healing the soul of America. That’s what they were talking about. 


exactly what they were talking about.

It was, you know, we need to start acting the way that. That are ideals in a way that exemplifies our ideals. So to answer your question about how do we start to heal that? I really do believe that like individual healing is collective healing. It has to start in the micro and what that means is having everyone answer that question of how [00:49:00] did I define success growing up? Is my definition of success about power over or control over others. Um, is it about ego or is it about, is it about process? Is it about service is about something greater than yourself. And so once more of us start to inhabit that that’s when the systems are gonna change. We’ve already seen that in a global level over the last five years.

Right. Like it’s it’s collection of individuals where ideas are shared and grow larger. That. It’s fine. You know, the BLM movement that’s really changed a lot for us. And I, you know, we’re seeing already the limitations of capitalism and capitalism defined success and winters in Western society as well, influence and power and the promise of capital.

Exploits and exacerbates the success wound, right? So to become wealthier and wealthier is to receive more love in the form of attention and worship and reverence and fame. And the wealthier and more successful you come, the harder people laugh at your [00:50:00] jokes and the more people want to be around you.

And the more prestige you have. And so ultimately what we’re all searching for anyone between you, me to our politicians, to actors, everyone just wants that love. And so how can we source that love and belonging? Does it have to be through consumerism and through control and power? Or can it be through another means?

And that’s what kind of collective healing looks like?

 So good. Thank you for, for sharing that my mind is racing with like all of the very like current examples of this that are going through my head. Okay, so on the, on the generational note, and then I actually thought about third question too. So I’m a throw some, there were some real big ones that you’d wrap up.

 So the, the generational question is, I’ll, I’ll pose you with an example, which is that I am experiencing in growing my team and, and hiring people who are just entering the workforce a really different, view of, of the role that work plays in our life. And aside from, I think like the [00:51:00] fashion trends, this is like one of the things that is starting to make me feel like very old.

I’m like, okay, I’m now in the old category for like the first time in my life. And I’m interviewing and I’m hiring a lot of people who are just now entering the workforce. And like I said, they, they approach work completely differently than I do. And on a personal level, I’m like good for you.

And then on a, uh, employer and like a business owner level there’s times where it’s really frustrating for me where I’m like, okay, but I need you to. You know, do it, do a job that I’m going to, that I’m going to pay you for it. And so, we’re, we’re in this like, I think weird middle where we’ve got like the great resignation, right?

We’ve got, uh, what I think to be a very powerful generation entering the workforce. And we’ve got a generation like the millennial generation, like who I think this is. I would imagine that the successful initial up in, in, in many generations and in multiple ways. And I think [00:52:00] I recognize it in myself and a lot of my peers and a lot of other people in the generation that I’m in.

And so we’re kind of like in this weird middle, right, where there’s all this stuff moving around, but we haven’t really closed the gap of, of reaching critical mass of enough people defining their own version of success, I would say. And I, and I think I am one of them. And so. How do you think this gets translated across generations? And how do we set future generations up for success to do this work. Or better yet like not have to heal from a success wound because maybe they don’t have one.

Good question. And it’s just so funny because it wasn’t too long ago. Millennials were entering the workforce in gen X was like, you guys are entitled. You don’t, you know, you hardly want to do work. And then we’re looking at gen Z, like, what are you guys doing? Like, please? Yeah. So it’s funny. I agree. Listen, I think the ultimate sweet spot is when [00:53:00] the vision for your company and how your company defines success.

Ideally as people over profit and impact over profit maximization, directly mirrors the, and kind of fits like a puzzle piece and to how your employees define success too. And so you all are growing in the same direction and contributing to the same vision. I teach often. Again, companies like Google and Uber and McKinsey.

I teach managers how to unlock motivation and engagement in their people. And it always comes back to uncovering and understanding our employees why. And even making that like an interview question, a really juicy, fun interview question. Why this not just why this job, but like what gets you up in the morning?

What are you trying to contribute to this world? What important to you and what are your values and how do you see this role as an [00:54:00] expression and are you a fit here because we’re all going to be charging in the same direction towards that thing. So, and then of course there’s an element of like, John Mackey, the CEO of whole foods started an organization called conscious capitalism.

I’m not saying capitalism is inherently bad. I’m just saying how it’s been kind of corrected and co-opted, but there is a way that it can be conscious. That’s right where money that’s gained and maximize through organizations can actually give back and have impact. And in a lot of ways, actually the private sector is going to be what changes our world.

Our political systems are way too slow. They’re broken. And so private sector is actually such a great space for us to be actually answering some of these big, big, juicy questions. And so I see that there is so much room and opportunity for really inspiring, really interesting and interested people to be coming together around these issues.

And so I feel like what a great work environment that would be to [00:55:00] work in. And yet, of course, it’s like, we gotta, we got to show up and do what we need to do for our clients. Right. And so, you know, there’s elements of that too.

Yeah, layers and layers. I wrote down those interview questions because I love them. I will definitely be using those. Thank you for that upgrade.


Um, okay. I have one more, one more kind of, kind of big philosophical question that you can answer to whatever degree you want to. And then we’ll, we’ll close out.

And I think it’s around the personal development industry in general, and like the coaching industry. I’ve spent a good amount of time in this space as a consumer and also as a facilitator. And I think that when not handled a certain way, the personal development, self-actualization industry can be actually more harmful. To this success wound [00:56:00] than beneficial to it. I think that there’s a fundamental, psychological knowing and, acknowledgement and adherence to it is missing in a lot of this work. What is your opinion on.

So astute and so, right. So right. I think the larger context that I’ll answer this question is. Are these individuals, these coaches, these personal development people operating in the old paradigm of success that we’ve been talking about, have power over others control over ego? Or are they operating in this new paradigm of success? Where success is again about impact flow, not force, um, grit, not grind, all of that.

And so, we as, you know, we can quit our corporate jobs and just subconsciously actually recreate the exact [00:57:00] same systems in our quote, new paradigm organizations. It happens all the time. We see it also with spirituality getting co-opted by consumerism too. And so that is a huge value in my work. Uh, leader’s work to go back to your point around authority versus leadership.

Is am I taking my own medicine every single day? ’cause I still have my success wound. I’m teaching what I need to hear. It’s very strong in me. And so I need to be really careful and asking myself, am I projecting my definition of success on into somebody else accidentally. If somebody comes to me and say, Hey, like, I need to find the same job tomorrow.

Am I just saying, take my money and I’ll help you get there. Or am I saying, wait, hold on. Um, I’m not a job transition coach. I firmly believe that we’re going to change our world by healing this thing called the success wound. Is that something that you’re interested in? Because if not, I’m going to have to pass you off to [00:58:00] somebody else.

So there is that level of integrity, and I think that matter new age spirituality and coaching can very much operate in perpetuate the old paradigm 

That was so well said, so well said in such a good,

I know you. I know you understand it.

I totally do. And I also really just appreciate that you’re that you offered a really tangible, like question that we can ask ourselves. Right? Which is, am I projecting my definition of success on the someone? Is it in integrity for me to say yes to this?

I think that’s a really helpful way to continue to explore the way that our wound is still showing up, because it’s going to show up over and over and over and over again. It’s not going to go away in one day. I love to leave our listeners with a little bit of a mic drop moment. And it’s not as scary as it sounds really.

I’m just kind of handing you the microphone and giving you the opportunity to say whatever you want to say, whatever you think needs saying whatever you haven’t had a chance to say yet [00:59:00] that you want to make sure you do.

Love that opportunity. I think I just want to hit this home by talking specifically about the success wound in women and why I typically only work with conscious women. And it’s because I very believe very much believe that women are uniquely qualified to hear. They’re successful and transform our culture’s definition of success into this new paradigm of conscious success because you know, women have been victims of this patriarchal definition.

Um, and imagine if our world could be defined in terms of power, not power and consumers, and, but in terms of inclusion and self love and community and care for others, not control over others. And so I think it really does start with conscious women, who are starting their own companies or are in organizations, private public. Really leading from this new paradigm of [01:00:00] success.

And that really does start by diagnosing your success wound. Starting to understand and live into who your truer, truest, healthy self. Doing the difficult yards to kind of heal that success. And then finally, like asking your true self, like, what would you have me do? And how would you have me contribute in this world?

And if every woman did that, our world would completely transform. So that’s kind of the why behind what I do and why I think this message is so important for.

I love that. What a great note to end on. Thank you. Brooke, thank you so much for being here today. This was a really interesting conversation. I only got to ask you like half of the questions that I had, so we’ll have to do it again because I have so many more curious, uh, paths that we could go down about this and, kudos to you for, for doing this work it’s it’s needed and it’s necessary.

And I think the fact that we barely scratched the surface today is one of many testaments to how necessary it is and how [01:01:00] much there is to explore here. So thank you so much.

Thank you. Thanks for having me.

 There was a lot to love about this episode with Brooke. And one of my main takeaways was her question, am I projecting my definition of success onto someone else? I think that Brooks model of the success wound is so relevant to so many of us and to echo her stance on it. The success wound is what drives everything from unfulfillment, maniac ambition, greed, corruption, and the thirst for power over. You can find broke online at BrookeTaylorcoaching.com.


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