Self-Sabotage vs. Self-Protection with Dr. Lee Cordell of the Institute for Trauma and Psychological Safety

This week I’m chatting with Dr. Lee Cordell about vulnerability and psychological safety as an entrepreneur and business owner.

Dr. Lee C. Cordell is the CEO and founder of the Institute for Trauma and Psychological Safety. Dr. Lee uses her 15+ years of experience in leadership, healthcare, psychology, and education to help humans release shame and recover from their past painful experiences. Her mission is to empower people in the development of safe, supportive and mutually beneficial personal and professional relationships.

Top takeaways:

  • Dr. Cordell emphasizes the significance of psychological safety in our lives, particularly during uncertain times.
  • We discuss the importance of vulnerability, embracing emotions, and seeking support for personal growth.
  • Entrepreneurs are encouraged to let go of expectations and ego to overcome challenges and thrive.

We also chat about:

  • The different ways Dr. Cordell has impacted my own entrepreneurial journey.
  • How the Institute for Trauma and Psychological Safety was founded and the importance of psychological safety, especially during times of uncertainty.
  • The challenges faced by entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on letting go of expectations and ego.

Connect with Dr. Lee Cordell:


Becoming Trauma Informed Podcast

The Institute for Trauma and Psychological Safety

The Trauma Sensitive Business Collective

ADAPT 5 Day Training

Episode Transcript


Shannon Mattern: Welcome to the Profitable Web Designer, a podcast for web designers who want to work less and make more money. I'm your host Shannon Mattern, founder of the Web Designer Academy, where we've helped hundreds of web designers stop under charging, overworking, and create profitable sustainable web design businesses.

Shannon Mattern: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Profitable Web Designer Podcast. And today I am so excited to introduce you to today's guest. You have heard me mention her name many times on this podcast. As I talk about the things that I work through in my business, the challenges and epiphanies I encounter, she is like been a big part of my journey as an entrepreneur since I met her in a local mastermind a few years ago. Her name is Dr. Lee Cordell and she is the founder of the Institute for Trauma and Psychological Safety. And I am so, so, so excited to have you on the show today, Lee.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to be here with you have been very like emotional all day. So like I'm listening to you talk, I'm like, oh, I'm gonna cry again. Okay, cool. ,

Shannon Mattern: This show is absolutely cry friendly, family friendly, dog friendly, doorbell ringing, friendly. So I love it. We just get to like be ourselves and let whatever happens happens. And yeah, that's definitely partly inspired by you as well. So just to give everyone a little bit of background, Lee and I met in a ma local mastermind here in Columbus, Ohio a few years ago and she is just like such an insightful person and one of the pivotal moments I recall in like 30 seconds of coaching, like you just like unlocked something for me about like me wanting to be a good girl and do all the right things and shifting into like just being unapologetically me. And so anyway, that's just like we have a lot to talk about today. So before I get all into that, can you share a little bit with our listeners just about your background and what it is that you do at the Institute?

Dr. Lee Cordell: Sure. So I'm actually a doctorally prepared nurse practitioner. I worked at the bedside in critical care and in cancer care for over a decade. Also taught at the graduate level at a big university for several years and really realized just how inherently traumatic the healthcare system was. Even when, you know, talk about the theme of our conversation of like doing everything right even when you do everything right, the way that it's actually, especially when you do everything the way you've been taught to do it, it's inherently traumatic. There's so many things that happen that just really made me go like, I don't know that this is how it's supposed to be. And you know, my experience with patients and then also as a mindset coach, my experience with my clients, I was just like, you know, I feel like we're missing a really key piece of what we need as humans to thrive and not just like shuffle through our days.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And the psychological safety piece was that, and what's so fascinating is is when I founded the institute in September of 2021, so we're about to have our first or our second birthday, that psychological safety piece wasn't as big as the trauma piece. And now I'm like, yeah, yeah, we like, we can talk about trauma, but let's talk about psychological safety and why that is so important. So I really feel for the last year, especially of us kind of coming out of the pandemic and there's so much upheaval going on in the entrepreneur world in just in business and life and around finances in general, that psychological safety piece of being able to bring your full self to your work, to your relationships, you know, to each individual moment throughout your day. Like that is the thing that if I only got to talk about one thing for the rest of my life, like that would be it is how we can do that. How we can be more of ourselves in every moment and feel safe doing that.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah, and, and you and I really, you resonate with me so much just in your journey through like the traditional corporate world, not even just like the healthcare world as a whole, like its own animal, but just, you know, we're so conditioned to not bring our full self to everything that we're doing because yeah, it has been inherently unsafe that it is like so in those spaces anyway, I should say. Yeah, it is so unnatural . I feel like to even think that you possibly could be vulnerable or yourself or fail or be messy or show up on a podcast after you've been crying all day and be like, Hey, I've been crying all day, or all of those things and just in meeting you and just really consuming your work. It's so funny. Like we met up for coffee a couple weeks ago. I'm like, you coached me through a really hard time and you didn't even know it through your podcast and everything that you've, that you've done, we just weren't conditioned for it to be okay to be vulnerable. Like, right. Why do you think that is?

Dr. Lee Cordell: I'm not sure. There's so many points and places that I think we can go to in history and go, oh, yep, that affected it, that affected it, that affected it. And it, it's one of those things that I, I think that this is the crux of the human condition and like the human experience is we oftentimes think about our experience on the planet as like as being, how do I wanna say this? I don't think I've ever articulated this idea before. So I'm like really in, I'm like chewing this through my brain right now. We focus on a lot of times the outcome as humans and if you are a, a faith-filled person, a lot of times we think of the outcome as like this, this part isn't even the, the big part. Like it's after it's beyond. And if you're not, you know, it's okay.

Dr. Lee Cordell: But like when I get to this point, when I get to this point, when I get to this point. And so as humans oftentimes when we are so outcome focused, we ask ourselves the question and I don't even think consciously, we just go, okay, well who do I have to be? What do I have to do in order to get to that outcome? And when you are outcome focused, a lot of times you're willing to do things that aren't actually in alignment with who you are or how you wanna show up or what you really think is right in order to be the way or, or get the thing that you've been taught is important. And so it really is this, this deconditioning work around, okay , what is that outcome gonna get me and why do I want it? You know? And a lot of times when we go in and, and when I do this work with clients and we like get into the why of why they want something, there's a feeling they're trying to get.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And that feeling usually is psychological safety. That feeling is I wanna belong, I wanna feel important, I wanna feel happy, I wanna feel like I matter, I wanna feel like I have purpose. And all of those things are, I wanna be connected to other people in a way that I feel accepted and that I belong. Brene Brown actually talks about this, she says that the opposite of belonging is fitting in and that is really her saying the opposite of psychological safety. A k a belonging is fitting in, which is, I'm not safe, I don't feel safe, so I'm gonna just become whomever you need me to be. And I think that the more our society gets focused on outcomes and the more like instantaneous things get right, the easier it is for us to have outcomes quickly at the less patient we are, the more we're like willing to kind of mask or shift or do things that don't really align with how we want the experience to feel.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Just to have that certainty of the outcome. And, and this is something that I have been experienced, this is actually why I was crying earlier today because you know, we're selling our house right now and I was just telling, I was just saying you Shannon, before we started, like we had 20, we had 20 showings this weekend and no offers. And that was so unexpected and I noticed my brain going to like, okay, well like how do we do this? Or like, how do we fix this or make this look like, and I kind of stepped back and saw myself and went, Ooh, I am trying to create an outcome out of this in a way that I don't know that this is actually gonna help me feel the way I wanna feel in the long term. And so like what am I feeling right now? How do I wanna feel about it? How can I feel that way right now? And then how can I move from that place instead of, oh, how do I get to that outcome as fast as possible?

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Like how do you, instead of changing the circumstance to change how you feel, which is what we all do, we're like chase the next shiny object, sign up for the next course. You know, all of the things when we're trying to like create a certain outcome in our business. You're saying, how do I identify what I'm really trying to feel now, feel that way and then decide do I even want to be on this path? And if so, what are the steps that I do want to take Yeah. That are in alignment with me instead of like, I'll feel better if I have the secret strategy . Right.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And that is, this requires vulnerability. And actually it's so fascinating we're talking about this today because I had a training like drop into my brain on Friday and I was like, oh this is our next training, our next thing we're gonna do. And it's called Safe to be Seen And and it's all about how do we practice vulnerability both internally, like how do we see ourselves, how do we stay honest with ourselves about what we really want? Even when it's super inconvenient even when you're like, oh I'm not supposed to want that. Right? Like when there's shame around it, all of those pieces and then like how do we feel safe being vulnerable externally, which is so important from a business perspective. Because if I don't feel safe showing myself to people then and they buy either they're gonna buy from me and then there's going to be a disconnect at some point.

Dr. Lee Cordell: 'Cause They're gonna go, wait a second, I thought you were a different human than you are. Or you're just not gonna sell. They're not gonna buy from you either because the message is gonna feel off or you're just like not even gonna put the message or the offer out there because why would you? Because you're afraid of, there's a lot of reasons that people are afraid to be seen and afraid to be vulnerable. There's actually 10 that we're gonna go through in the training and a huge one is like, I'm afraid that people are gonna judge me. They're gonna reject me, they're gonna persecute me for whatever I've put out there.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I mean, so the thing that I hear, so this podcast is our listeners are freelance web designers, right? Yeah. And we talk, one of the things I teach them is how to market their web design business, how to get clients. And there are some really big reasons, which is exactly what you're talking about, why people don't do it. They're afraid of bothering people, annoying people, all of those things. Yeah. But that's not what they're really afraid of. They're really afraid of the rejection or the reaction or the who do you think you are showing up in my inbox? Like they're afraid of those things and what they make that mean about themselves. That's one reason, huge reason we see people like either not marketing or really hiding and like doing what you like, doing what you said, putting a mask on and then trying to be somebody different.

Shannon Mattern: And that just feels so hard. It's like, I mean I'm the same way. I'm like, I cannot be bothered to show up on social media because I can't figure out how to be myself there and if I can't figure out how to be myself there, then it feels too hard to do it and I'm just not gonna do it. Right. And so yeah, it's like I can be myself in a podcast. I can be myself in an email for whatever reason. I have not figured out how to be authentically me in that short format that's given to me on most , most social media platforms. So I opt out so they, they hold themselves back in that way. But the other way I see people holding themselves back is pricing because they're like, oh, if I charge this much then like I have to like give more than I'm capable of giving or I'm presenting myself as being more than I think that I am. Yeah. And so there's just a lot of fear around pricing as well in terms of all of those things like their psychological safety and all of that. So if business feels hard, the the things to actually do to market your business and sell projects are very, very simple.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Yeah.

Shannon Mattern: But it's these other things that are in our way that are preventing us from creating the outcomes we want, not the actual like steps.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Yeah. And I am, ugh, I just got so excited because , I geek, you know me, I totally geek out about this stuff because even these terms of like hold yourself back and I'll hear a lot of people say self-sabotage when we think of holding yourself back, right? That is when we hold something back it's because we are trying to protect Yes. Either the thing we're holding back or ourselves from moving forward. And the same with when we frame that as self-sabotage, I'm like, y'all look you Yes. Is there a part of you that you are hurting? Absolutely. There is a bigger, deeper, more emotionally connected peace that is protecting you. And if we can figure out how the thing you are doing that feels harmful is actually protecting you and we can find another way for you to feel safe and another way for you to feel protected while you go do that thing, I promise you you're not gonna have a block anymore.

Dr. Lee Cordell: You're not gonna create something that we call moral injury in the trauma world, which is where you do things that are out of alignment with how you'd like to show up and you feel out of control around it. We create moral injury when there are parts of ourselves that are at war with one another. Right? And so it's like having your foot on the brake and the gas at the same time. If we can figure out why your foot is on the brake and we can find a way for it to safely ease it off, you will move. But so many people keep trying to like put extra pressure on that gas pedal and talk about dogs barking. You know, , my dog's losing his mind in the background here. But you know, you think about like if I keep putting pressure on the gas pedal but my foot is firmly entrenched on that break, like all I'm gonna do is exhaust myself and then I'm probably gonna be mean to myself about how exhausted I am trying to do the thing.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And it just becomes this, this self-fulfilling prophecy. And so I love when I get entrepreneurs in front of me that are like, I feel stuck in this area. I'm like, oh this is exciting. Because what that means is, is we just gotta figure out what your break is. You might have seven different things that are on the brake too. So sometimes people find one and then they're like, okay, it's gonna work now and it doesn't and then they're like, well forget it. None of this worked. And I'm like, no, it worked. It's just you've got several, okay, you had your foot on the brake but you also had the e-brake pulled or you didn't have a car in gear too. So if you got a manual car, I learned on a manual. But all of those pieces, like we get to look at it from that perspective. And all of that is from a lens of compassion, self-compassion of like, can I be grateful that my nervous system held me back in this way? Can I be grateful and appreciative of how much my body and my brain love me and try to keep me safe? And can I approach what's going on from that place?

Shannon Mattern: That line of thinking has really revolutionized like my business, I had a, I had a situation happen which I talked about on this podcast with a security breach that like affected my finances that I mean emotionally flooded me, was the only, like the biggest way that I could say it. And then there was some, there was definitely some, and I don't know if I'm using the correct terminology, but I was like very triggered after the fact and my nervous system was like going like into overdrive and you know, while you're in it, you're not able to think clearly. And so I was like trying to be the good girl and I was falling into my default protection mode, which is to be nice and just explain it again and maybe someone will help me because if I get mad then I won't get helped And, and all of these things and like as the situation unfolded and I had to like do different things to, to navigate it that were very uncomfortable for me because they felt unsafe.

Shannon Mattern: Mm-Hmm going public with it and opening myself up to criticism and judgment and the victim shaming that happens and just all of those things. The one thing that I kept coming back to is like, it's okay, like I'm supposed to feel this way right now. Yeah. Like this is my body trying to protect me. This is my brain trying to protect me. I don't need to fight against this. I don't need to tell myself that I shouldn't feel this bad. I don't need to tell myself that I should be able to handle this better, that I should be more resilient. I was able to just be like, no, I should absolutely feel horrible. My body's trying to protect me. I'm not gonna blame myself for going into people pleasing nice girl apologetic Shannon mode at the beginning 'cause that was my default. And then still being afraid to like take other steps. It's like all of that was supposed to happen. And I think at the, at the end of it though, the thing that I really, if I didn't know it was all supposed to happen, I don't think I could grow from it.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Yeah. Oh that's a whole word, right? as somebody going through a similar growth edge right now. Like this has been the hardest last four months of business that I've ever had. And that is saying something and you and I talked about that at lunch and that's why we were like, oh podcast. Because a lot of this stuff is stuff that you are trained to not talk about publicly as a business owner, right? Like we're supposed to just make it look like it's all sunshine and rainbows and you know, you and I have these multi-six like I'm not sure like seven figure businesses and we are the 1% and we've made it and everything's great and like our relationships are great and everything. You know? And and one of the things that I realized is I was like I am not going to perpetuate that. Yes. And, and while I'm not gonna come online and like you know, we talk about when we have an kiddo wounds, which a wound could be the good girl wound of like if I don't, I will trade my psychological safety for my choice

Shannon Mattern: For sure.

Dr. Lee Cordell: I will let you control what I'm doing or I will respond in a way that you want me to in order to feel like I belong. Which again, it's not true psychological safety but it's as good as it got when we were younger, right? So we've learned that pattern. So you know, when we have those wounds and they get brushed up against like, and we're bleeding, I'm not gonna come online and like bleed all over the internet. Right? I'm not going to come onto social media 'cause I'm on there a lot more than you are. I'm not gonna come on social media and in a dysregulated state and share what's happening. But you best bet I'm gonna tell people that this is hard, that I am struggling, that there's so much good in my life. And there's also so much like we are in a storm right now.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And it's one of those things where for me it was like okay, well if I do everything right then the storm will end and if I keep just doing everything right and I had a conversation with, you know, if you believe in it or not, but like I had a conversation with God last night and I was like, look, I will keep weathering this as long as you want me to . And also are we close? Like are we close? Because it has felt really, really hard. And one of the things that I've really learned is when I go through something like this really like what am I supposed to learn from this? What am I supposed to learn from this? Is there a part of me that I get to develop more? Is there a part of me that I get to recognize I've actually developed really well because it's helped me get through this and and if this wasn't here it would've been worse.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Like can I see that and be grateful for that? It's really one of those things of like, it's gonna be hard And there's this myth I think that gets sold to us as entrepreneurs that like, oh it's as soon as you get to this point it's gonna be easy. And I have not found that to be the case at all. The, the hard just changes and it actually gets bigger. Like the more people you have and the more clients you have and the more money and all the things and looking at it through the lens of what does this mean or what else could this mean other than this sucks and this is hard and I don't wanna do this . Like I don't wanna look at any of this. What else could this mean? That's a a curiosity perspective. But in order to get there and I should say, and in order to get there, like you said, I see so many people try to spiritually bypass their emotions and their feelings and like they make themselves wrong for it.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Or they're like, no, just shove them down and don't feel them. And I'm like y'all, you have to feel those feelings because if you don't, your body stays in that what you're describing as a hyper aroused state. And guess what? You can't access curiosity there. You cannot get curious when you are in hyper arousal. So like you need to go cry, you need to go yell into a pillow or punch it. You need to go like do whatever it is that you do to feel your feelings. Because on the other side of that is where you can ask that question of what does it mean?

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. I feel like when you were saying that what was coming up for me is like I also had the most challenging four to five months in my business ever to the point where I wasn't sure that the business was going to survive our financial challenges that that happened. You know, there were decisions that I made in the business that didn't work out the way that I thought that they would. There were things that happened that were completely out of my control that also impacted things. And then I also think that there is like a shift happening, whether it's economic or us coming off of three years of pandemic, pandemic, captive audiences or whatever is happening in the entrepreneurial space that if we're going to be in business for ourselves and like have it for the reasons of like freedom, flexibility, financial independence, I don't know. And I do think it's like I bought into the idea and I don't know who sold it to me. I probably sold it to myself also that it once I, like you said, once I reached this point it would just stay that way. Like I would either plateau there or grow but I would never go down from there. Yeah.

Shannon Mattern: Right. And so it's like, oh I've arrived and now the next thing is to grow. Like it never occurred to me that there could also be the option of like falling off the cliff. You know? And I think that like it's just reality, right? Like we can't control everything that happens and there's going to be retraction in addition to growth and to pretend that it's not going to happen at some point seems, I don't know like I don't wanna say like I should have been more realistic 'cause I don't think that, but looking back to be like oh that was just so shocking to me that those two launches just flopped completely. And then to navigate like the shock and then the recovery. The recovery. 'cause You call it a rupture. A rupture in your psychological safety. Like what I believed about the world,

Dr. Lee Cordell: Right?

Shannon Mattern: And I did all the things I was supposed to do. I

Dr. Lee Cordell: Did it right, I did it,

Shannon Mattern: I did it right. Exactly

Dr. Lee Cordell: Right.

Shannon Mattern: I put so much work into it, I work so hard. So I do feel like more of us need to be talking about that. And I do feel like a lot of the entrepreneurs that I've talked to had a challenging first half of 2023. Yeah. And I think there is like if it's just about the money in the business and the stuff like why 'cause a job would be easier at some point it's like, so when I think about like what did I have to learn from it, I ha like there were so many things that I learned like just to, to let go of the expectation. To let go of the idea that I have arrived and that I already know everything. To like put my ego aside Yeah. And ask for help and then also allow, help accept, help receive help and not judge myself for how hard it's been.

Dr. Lee Cordell: I am so grateful you just said that. I feel so appreciative because my big thing is I learned that I was so hyper independent.

Shannon Mattern: Oh me too. I can only count on me. I'm the only one that can I, I can count on. Right

Dr. Lee Cordell: That though, that is not vulnerability. No, that is I'm armored up and I will bear the burden and hold the weight of everyone. And I actually had two really interesting patterns that I ran. I like to call them patterns because they're not, they weren't part of my personality. Again, they were programmed in at some point. But I ran that pattern of like I'm armored up, I'm in fight mode, like nobody can help me. I'm gonna just like bear the brunt, hold all the weight. And then the other thing that would happen is when that got too heavy I would go into what we call damsel, which in the trauma world is also referred to as cry attached for help. And it's very closely related to people pleasing. It's a threat response And it's basically we go back to being little kids or we go back to being helpless people and we go into this state where we just want somebody to rescue us or save us. And I found myself doing that with my husband and with the business and with this. And I was like, and again it's that outcome. Well if somebody could just come along and fix this or like snap their fingers, wave a magic wand, like everything would be better.

Dr. Lee Cordell: I have an incredible husband and partner and he's been doing his own work over the last several years and looking at our patterns together . And he said something to me that really just like clicked in my brain is he's like, I want to help you. Right? I want to help you and I want to be able to like use my intelligence and my skills to help you the way that I can help you best not the way that you are. Like I'm tired of you telling me I can't help you in certain ways and that I'm tired of being told exactly how I need to help you and that I can't happen in any other way. And that was so hard to hear. He was like, I need you to take responsibility for what's yours and I need you to stop taking responsibility for what's not.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And I don't think I've ever been so mad and like also like so just grateful in the simultaneously in a moment. You know when you get that advice that you're like, I wanna punch you in the face and also thank you. That was a huge moment for me though. And and that ever since then from a business perspective, I've been really looking at that of like where am I taking responsibility for stuff that's not mine? Where am I not letting my team support me? Where am I not letting people who want to help help? Where am I not admitting that there's a place that I have some weaknesses that I could use support in? And also where am I like just expecting miracles and somebody to come along and like swoop in and save the day where instead I could just be taking some small consistent action that yeah like it's gonna take longer, it's going to require more intention, it's gonna require more patience.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Huge word for me. Patience. It's gonna require me to not try to fix things so urgently. It's gonna require me to be able to tolerate uncertainty. It's gonna require a lot of these things that I have that like really in order to be the kind of business owner and just to be the kind of human I wanna be in general, like I'm gonna need those skills. And so those are the things I've been working on is like intentionality and patience and integrity and responsibility and all of these words that I think are just like kind of scary words. And the biggest one is that vulnerability piece of like, can I be honest with myself about how I'm feeling and can I be honest with other people about how I'm feeling and what I want? And can I not man try to have to like manipulate things?

Dr. Lee Cordell: Can I just be open and non assumptive and just say, yeah, this is what I would like and also that might not happen and that's okay. There's been so many lessons out of this and so I am so grateful for this experience. And also if it could end like yesterday, that would be phenomenal . But like it is what it is. And I, and I don't say that from the place of giving up and saying, you know, rolling over and saying, oh it is what it is. I mean that place of acceptance of this is what it is and I get to choose how I'm gonna respond to it.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. All of those. You know, just to kind of circle back to the work you do, you know you have this program called the Trauma-Informed Entrepreneur.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Yeah.

Shannon Mattern: And myself and our client success coach Erica who I believe you've talked to Erica Nash. Yeah. You've been on her podcast 'cause she teaches curriculum design and program design and, and all of those things. And we have really intentionally put a lot of thought into how we've set up the Web Designer Academy to be that ki like an experience for our clients that is different than just, oh come in and we're gonna teach you the strategies to package price, position and sell profitable web design projects. Which is what I say over and over and over again.

Dr. Lee Cordell: I'm like that rolled right off . But

Shannon Mattern: The real work is to learn how to be vulnerable, how to be seen as who you are, how to shed all of the shoulds and the imposter syndrome. And I will even say like to shed the idea that you can self-sabotage because we also don't believe that you can, we, there's a reason that you're doing all of the things that you're doing. But the place that I have the most challenge personally is in like the marketing and selling of what we do. Because if I talk about it in terms of like, hey listen, I'm gonna show you how to do these things and I'm gonna coach you on your mindset, but like, I don't know if you're gonna actually like get clients and I don't know if you're gonna actually make money and like I can't say all of the shiny things to you to say like we guarantee that within 90 days of you joining our program, if you do X, Y, z, you are going to five extra revenue.

Shannon Mattern: Like the sales proposition is that we're gonna support you through all of the really hard challenging things that it takes. Yeah. As you take these actions to grow your business and we're gonna support you when you check all the boxes and you do everything perfectly and it still doesn't work out or mm-hmm when that client says something to you that sends you back to being 10 years old and you go into your people pleasing like self-protective patterns. And so it's so challenging if this is the journey that I'm on right now is like how do I talk about what we really do without selling you on this like sparkly glitter, you know, we're gonna help you work less and make more money , right? Like, 'cause it's not, it's not what we do, but it's almost like a, it's like it's is what we do, but it, that's not what we do. What we do is help you become a more aligned person on your path to do that.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Hmm. I think that there's been, for several years there was, there was a distortion in the coaching and and service provider industry around that you can guarantee results that if you can make more money, life gets easier, , you just need more clients. You know, all of these things. And I think that distortion is getting corrected and I think a lot of people have realized that that was like, that was a fantasy that yeah maybe if five or 10% of people who went through all those programs hit it. And the best way for you to control your outcome in your business is to be in command of yourself and in order to be in command of yourself. And what I, what I mean by in command is, is that you are in integrity, you do what you say you're going to do and you don't do what you say you're not going to do.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And earlier you said things are really simple. That is such a simple idea and it is one of the hardest things to do because of what we talked about around that self-protection and that self-sabotage. And so if you have a community of people who are already modeling what it looks like to show up as your full self and to own and be like, ugh, you know what I said I was gonna do this and I didn't do it and like let me look at why, not from a judgmental perspective but from a curiosity perspective. What's going on here. If you are in a space where people are modeling that around you, you, you wanna talk about programming that is the kind of programming we're looking for, right? I intentionally program and condition myself now all the time by being in spaces around people who, you know, when I cry they're not like, oh my gosh, like here's a tissue, get yourself back together, we'll just do the podcast another time.

Dr. Lee Cordell: The people who I like you, I can come on and say, Hey I cried for like three hours this morning, are you good to go? Like I'm good, are you good? And you're like, yeah, let's do it. And like that is, if you can do your work in spaces like that, you're going to be more in command, you're gonna feel more regulated, you're gonna feel more empowered. And that leads to consistency, that leads to persistence. And I always say like consistency plus persistence plus integrity. You are unstoppable if you are those three things the majority of the time, not even all the time. just the majority of the time. And when you catch yourself out being inconsistent or you catch yourself kind of giving up or you catch yourself out of alignment with doing what you say you're gonna do, are you nice to yourself and do you bring yourself back toward those three things? Because that, again, I know that sounds so simple, but if you can find a program and, and Shannon I know yours has this in it 'cause we've talked about yours. Like if you can find a mentor or a community that prioritizes those things, they can teach you mediocre web design , they can teach you like here's C plus or B minus stuff. I'm not saying that yours is I'm here is a plus. I'm sure not that I'd be able to tell the difference or not, but

Shannon Mattern: ,

Dr. Lee Cordell: I don't think people realize that like B you know, expertise plus those things is gonna get you so much further. So much further. And so I just get really excited when we have entrepreneurs like you come into our programs and learn because I know that you're gonna go out and create those spaces and that people are more likely to have success there. And that I feel very excited by that.

Shannon Mattern: I feel like what you do, I'm honored to be a part of what you do because it does help me help you spread the work around and have you Yeah like it helps me, you are empowering me to have the real kind of impact that I want. You know, it just so happens that I coach web designers because I was a freelance web designer myself. Yeah. And it is a niche that I know inside and out and I understand. I've been in the shoes of women web designers and all, especially the ones who are people pleasers, perfectionists. We put on all these masks. We're try to keep ourselves safe. We try to like for all the reasons why we do it and the things that I have learned like in your space and in hiring people like Erica to help design our curriculum and help inform how our program is structured. It's so interesting that you said like A plus B plus C plus. I feel like there are so many incredible strategies out there that other people are teaching that I don't teach. It's not our strategy that helps our students create the outcomes that they want. It's all of the other stuff because we have people come in that have learned other really fantastic strategies and yet it's these other things that they need to work on that have nothing to do with anything I teach. It's the coaching piece of it.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And that is, I think the thing that people have are also starting to wake up to is there is not a strategy like the strategy, right? There is no one strategy that if you learn it is gonna make a difference. Yep.

Dr. Lee Cordell: The strategy that you learn that is gonna make a difference is the one that allows you to self-protect the least because you feel the most comfortable and confident. You're able to be the most consistent with it. You're able to be the most persistent with it. It keeps you in integrity like that. Our operations director Sarah Khan, is a phenomenal coach and a phenomenal human and she is like the pepper pots to my Tony Stark. And she and I have had this conversation a lot 'cause I think a lot of people are like, oh, Sarah does strategy and you do mindset. I'm like eh, I mean Sarah is brilliant at seeing what strategy works for people and helping them develop a strategy that works for people. So she's really good with the gas pedal and I'm good with the gas pedal too, right? But her expertise is the gas pedal, mine is the brake.

Dr. Lee Cordell: You have to have both. And I would say 90% of programs out there focus on the gas pedal and the, and I would say of the 10% that focus on the brake, 90% of those do it in a way that you feel crappy about yourself. So if, if you've got a program like yours Shannon, where you can figure out what helps you press the gas puddle and then also like take your foot off the brake at the same time, those programs are so rare, those spaces are so rare and it is why they are so successful is because you're looking at both sides. You're looking at all of the aspects.

Shannon Mattern: Well and that's why I wanted to have you on the show because I think that we do a great job in our program, but I feel like there's such an opportunity for people to go deeper in this work with what you do over at the institute. Because I know that for me, when I was experiencing all of the challenges that I was experiencing over just a few months ago when I was very dysregulated and very anxious and like I definitely, my emotional reaction to situations is typically not to cry. I go into like anger or anxiety. But like I was beyond anger and anxiety. So crying was the only, only one left. So it was a very dysregulated, very just for weeks at a time. And truly like going through your programming really helped me just understand why, why I was feeling the way I felt.

Shannon Mattern: Yeah. Which gave me some relief. I felt normal, I didn't feel like I needed to change it. I was able to process it. I was able to talk to my therapist about it. I was able to get some context and some exercises and some things to do to like get myself back to where I could like have the capacity then to do the things I needed to do to move forward. And so for everyone that's listening, how can they learn from you? Like get in the world of the institute and all the incredible things that you do to really help people like feel the way that they want to feel that they're chasing with all these other things?

Dr. Lee Cordell: ? Yeah. Yeah, I would say, okay, so I'll give three things. The first thing is is that actually four, I'm gonna give you four options. I don't have have to believe.

Shannon Mattern: That'll me, all of them gimme 10 . I know

Dr. Lee Cordell: Our brains are typically like 1, 2, 3, many. But I'm gonna tell you why you would choose each of these four options. So the first one is, is like the, the toe dip two. I just wanna hear more on, you know, this gets to be a part one because we're gonna do part two over my podcast. So that's the first place. There's, I think actually when this comes out, this'll be like the 99th or a hundredth episode, which is super exciting. So we have a lot of stuff over there about trauma and business and, and all of the things. The second thing is that earlier in the year we did something called adapt and it was a, it's a five part introduction to trauma and recovery. And so if you are somebody who has never even like contemplated if you have trauma or you know, you've listened to this episode and you're like, wait a second , right?

Dr. Lee Cordell: Like there might be something here. I really like that it's a great toe dip into the world without feeling overwhelming. 'cause That was really important to me is, you know, there's, you can pick up some trauma books and actually put yourself into a very dysregulated, unhealthy state by chapter two. So it's designed to be gentle and allow you to kind of take it as, as it feels safe for you to do so. And then the two opportunities from a business perspective that I just always encourage entrepreneurs to think about is our first is our business collective. So our business collective's fascinating because we talk about all of the things that you would traditionally talk about in business masterminds except we do it through the lens of trauma and psychological safety. So like we go through sales, we go through marketing and messaging, we go through client experience, we go through pricing, all of those things.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And we do it from the kind of think about taking the mask off of like, if I wanted to do this in the way that felt the absolute best for me, how would I do that? And okay, what, what is everything that comes up around that? What are all the brake pedal pushers that come up around that and how do I move through those? And so that's a really cool experience because it's set up where you can join it for one round, which is three months or the whole year, which is four rounds. And we have people who are actually in their fourth going into their fifth round in September. And it's different every time, even though the material like we go over the same core concepts. So it's been a really cool way for people to grow and shift and focus in on what they need to.

Dr. Lee Cordell: And then the last thing is our leadership conference that's coming up. And so that is something that I really felt called to bring to the world. It is like the most terrifying thing I've ever done. , right? It's really for people who feel called and committed to like to bring everything we've talked about here, you know, regulation and curiosity and trauma sensitivity and, and all of these pieces to how they lead in their businesses and in their lives. And if anyone's listening to this and going like, well I'm not a leader, yes you are because everybody's a leader because everyone has one person they can lead and that's themselves. And so learning how to lead yourself and like create that consistency and that persistence and that integrity is the most important thing you can do as a business owner. And so that's a place to come in person and really go deep with us into that work. If you're tired of being online and tired of watching a Zoom screen and wanna get immersed in like some real life stuff. So

Shannon Mattern: Yeah, I'll link up to all of those in the show notes. Definitely check out Lee's podcast. It is, I mean I have so many episodes saved that I listen to. I go back and listen to ones on failure and money and all of these topics that like no one is talking and thinking about these topics in the way that you are. And I'll link up, we'll be sending out in more information about the leadership conference and the collective and all the things because truly I do feel like every person listening to this podcast has the break on in their business in some way. Yeah. Even if things are going really well, like there are places that you're tapping the break. And I think it's just good to be aware of those, even if you're like, it's cool that I, I'm, I know I'm tapping the break, right? And I'm fine with tapping the break, right? I'm totally cool with tapping the break, but hey, at least I know I'm tapping the break

Dr. Lee Cordell: That sometimes you're tapping the break and it actually makes sense for you to do so. And like thank you for like wrapping that up in a bow because it's not always bad. Taking your foot off the gas or tapping on the brake is not always a bad thing. It's just are we doing it with intention? Are we aware that it's happening? Are we addressing what's going on?

Shannon Mattern: So good. I could talk to you for a hundred more years about this stuff and you guys get to listen to us talk to it even more because we are going to have a companion episode on Lee's podcast, which I will make sure all of you get. And it'll also be linked up in the show notes of this episode as well. So if you're listening to this in the future, then you can just click into the show notes and head on over to Lee's podcast to hear us talk more about, I don't know, the messy side of business and the growth of leadership and all the things. So Lee, thank you so much for being here. I so appreciate you.

Dr. Lee Cordell: Oh, I appreciate you too. Thank you for having me and I'm excited to do our companion episode.

Shannon Mattern: Alright everyone, thank you so much for listening and I'll see you right back here next week. Bye. If you are ready to finally stop undercharging and overdelivering, if you're ready to take back control of your time and book more high paying clients you love and make more money as a web designer than you ever thought possible, then book a zero pressure discovery call with me today. All you gotta do is go to, choose one of the available time slots, fill out the intake form, and we'll meet on Zoom to talk about your goals and what's really in the way of you reaching them. And if it looks like I can help you inside the Web Designer Academy, we can talk more about what that looks like. It is super chill. There's zero obligation to say yes to working with us. If you book a call with me, it is simply a chance for you to learn more about how we can specifically help you, you personally, with your unique skills, personality, and experience to create a highly profitable, sustainable web design business and create the freedom, flexibility, financial independence and fulfillment that you started this business for in the first place.

Shannon Mattern: So just go to and I can't wait to talk to you more about your web design business.

Speaker 3: This podcast is part of the sound advice FM network. Sound advice, FM Women's Voices amplified.

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