A conversation with Lisa Graft – Part 2

Experiences, Leading Ladies, Podcast

Don’t Cut your own bangs episode 29

Danielle:
Hey this is Danielle Ireland, and you are listening to Don’t Cut Your Own Bangs. You’re about to jump into the second part of our conversation with Lisa Graft. I don’t want to keep you in suspense. I know you’re ready for more because the first half was amazing. Thank you Lisa. And here she is, Lisa Graft.

Danielle:
Well, so we’re talking about all these great things that you’ve made and I can’t help but wonder, because you’ve talked about storytelling and all different forms and expressions of creativity. What does creation mean to you?

Lisa Graff:
Oh my gosh. Creation. That’s a really hard question, but I think the first thing that jumped out at me is probably what I’m going to go with is that, it just means the absence of fear for me. It’s the one step of being brave and I guess maybe absence of fear is totally wrong cause I live with fear just all of the live long day.

Danielle:
Doing it in the face of fear.

Lisa Graff:
In the face of fear. So yes, it’s being brave and being courageous, because you’re being so vulnerable in creating. And so … when I write, I sit down and write like “What am I going through? What’s the worst thing I’m going through this week?” And if I share it, someone else is probably going through it too, so let’s bring some hope to this at the end. I like to tie it everything off with a bow. But I think that’s what being creative is, it’s just like, “You know what?” Being exactly who I am and being vulnerable.

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Danielle:
I didn’t have an answer for this question myself when I presented it to you, but I can say that I have a feeling that my definition or how I interpreted is probably very similar to you because, I don’t know if you can see the book that is my microphone, but it’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic, The Art of Creative Living Beyond Fear.

Lisa Graff:
Oh yeah.

Danielle:
So, loving your definition of creativity. I’m also really interested to know, what gets in the way of your creative process?

Lisa Graff:
Oh my gosh. All the things!

Danielle:
Wait, listeners. The the most epic eye roll you could imagine. It’s like, her eyes rolled back into her head and came back.

Lisa Graff:
Oh jeez, at least they came back.

Danielle:
It was a full body eye roll.

Lisa Graff:
Yes, right, exactly. Yes. It would done with fierce commitment. Oh my gosh. Well so many things first like the busyness and chaos of life. I work a full-time job. I have a part-time job and then I’m trying to launch this whole Mother of the Year movement as a side gig. I’ve got two kids and a husband. We have two families that live out of town. So it’s like all the things I have a social life and I like to sing at church and so I’m like doing all the things. So just the sheer busyness gets in the way of like actual time and energy conservation.

Danielle:
Yes.

Lisa Graff:
And so that’s probably one thing. But then mostly I would say is fear. Fear is always in my way. It is just so ever present in my life. And I just hate it. It just makes me so mad. Cause I’m like, “I talked to women about this all the time.” Why can’t I practice what I’m preaching?

Danielle:
Yep.

Lisa Graff:
And then that’s …

Danielle:
Because you’re teaching what you need.

Lisa Graff:
Right. Exactly, right. And then that sets the shame spiral. So then I’m like “I am totally worthless” and I cry for three days and then I’m like, “Oh well, suck it up buttercup, let’s go. No one else is going to do this for you and if you don’t want to have this voice in the world then shut down the voice. Who cares?”

Danielle:
Yeah.

Lisa Graff:
But I do, I want it more than I want to be ruled by fear.

Danielle:
Yes. When the thing you want matters more than feeling sorry for yourself.

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
And that probably sounds like self critical, but I know that’s where it goes for me. That’s definitely where it goes for me. Cause I … what I’m exploring in this season of the podcast is, the themes of permission, perfection and procrastination. Which I think are all three different manifestations of fear.

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
And I don’t think there’s a hierarchical order of, or one that comes first. But for me they … those are my … I know there was four horsemen of the apocalypse, but I’ll call those my three horsemen of the apocalypse. Those are the my hurdles. And I think anytime I do any creative project, I am wrestling with one or all three.

Lisa Graff:
Totally. All three.

Danielle:
Yes.

Lisa Graff:
For sure. For sure. Yeah. Cause I think first starts with, for me, I feel like I’m going through something or I feel like “Maybe, what’s the next step?” I’m always asking God like “What is the next step for me? Please just give me something.” And he’s always, always given me something very clearly. So it’s never a surprise. I don’t believe that God wants to just play hide and seek with what you’re supposed to do with your life. He’s like, “Here you go. Oh, I’m looking for people just to come and let’s do this work together.” And so that’s what I feel like, man, I asked like, “Okay, should I focus more on merch and try to get into retail shops or should I… what should I …” you know, and then I was like, “But I kind of like speaking, I don’t know.” I’m like, “God, what do you think? Tell me.” And within 10 days, I prayed that for two weeks before and within a span of 10 days I got six unsolicited speaking requests in my inbox. And I was like, “God?”

Danielle:
That’s amazing.

Lisa Graff:
It’s asking and then expecting and paying attention to it.

Danielle:
Well, I have a less profound yet similar story, but you know what? It’s important too. It’s important in its own way. I’m not going to minimize my story.

Lisa Graff:
No, don’t do it.

Danielle:
I’m rebuking myself. About six or seven years ago … Was it six? Gosh, wow. It really had been that long. I was trying to find someone new to do my hair, and I’m like walking around and telling anyone to listen like, “I just use someone else to do my hair and I want this type of thing and this type of thing and I just don’t know.” And all the while I’m getting text messages from Cory Sleet who now does my hair and he works at Bobby Cooper salon, the little plug for Corey Sleet. Like, “Hey, I’d love to do your hair sometime.” And he doesn’t … It’s such a weird thing. He’s told me since like, “I don’t reach out to people to do their hair. That’s not my normal thing.” But I must’ve received like three or four text messages. Like, “Hey, you should let me do your hair.” And I’m like, “I just don’t know guys. Where … Who should …”

Lisa Graff:
Who should do my hair?

Danielle:
“Who should do it? and again, I wish you could have thought of a much better example, but I know so many times it’s like, you can ask for the help, right? And you can really, really, really want it, but sometimes you can get so focused on the wanting and what feels like the lack of the thing that you want, that you miss … it’s like knocking on your door. It’s like, “Hello, I’m here. I’m here.”

Lisa Graff:
Yes. It’s all around you waiting for you. Just to be like, “Okay, cool. Let’s do this.”

Danielle:
“Let me cut your damn hair.” [crosstalk 00:06:48] And in your case like “Speak, just speak.

Lisa Graff:
Right? Yes. So I started speaking.

Danielle:
Yes.

Lisa Graff:
And I’m like, oh great. But then after I got the sixth, I broke down into all the tears. Full of fear going, “Now, what do I tell these women? I don’t have anything to say.”

Danielle:
Yeah.

Lisa Graff:
Bald, bald, bald.

Danielle:
Yes.

Lisa Graff:
Went on a run. And I was like, “Okay, God, if you want me to talk to these women, you’re going to have to give you something to say.” And he did. Like I went on a run and it was like, whoosh. It came over me. Not only … not just like what to say, but like I had my three points and I saw … this sounds so nuts and so like…

Danielle:
No, no it doesn’t.

Lisa Graff:
If you’re not a Christian, believer, whatever, I feel like I have a very personal relationship with the Holy spirit, the Holy spirit came to me and showed me a vision for my future.

Danielle:
I don’t think that’s crazy at all.

Lisa Graff:
You don’t think so? I don’t think it’s crazy, but it can sound crazy if from the outside looking in going, “Okay…”

Danielle:

So whether what you call the Holy spirit is what Elizabeth Gilbert calls big magic or what Oprah calls the universe or spirit or .. I think the magic and mystery of life is what makes life worth living. If we had all the answers and knew all the things, then why are we …

Lisa Graff:
What’s the point?

Danielle:
… why are here? It’s like if we’re already done baking, like, hello.

Lisa Graff:
Right, right.

Danielle:
And so the mystery or the unknown and I love, I did a talk for a group here in Indianapolis called Walk the Talk, and the theme of the event was on science and synchronicity. And I remember like feeling the pull so strongly that I needed to speak at this event. And I was like, “But signs and synchronicity? Seems a little whoo-whoo-cha-choo-choo.” Is that really what I want to be talking about? I am a serious professional. Right. And that’s very, that’s very out there. But like you, I went for a walk and I guess I was like, “I don’t really even know what I want to say.” And I can’t even explain why I felt …. so I’m like, “I know I need to do it.” I’ve felt the pull to act and put myself in an uncomfortable position, a vulnerable position in a creative way. I’ve felt that feeling enough to recognize it.

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
But I was like, “But I don’t know what I’m going to say.” And I don’t know if I had the vision quite like you had, but what what I needed to say, what the message was and how I was going to present it, I’d say 80% came to me all at one time.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
I mean even J.K. Rowling talks about her experience, so basically the story of Harry Potter, just, poof. Now, it wasn’t like she wasn’t doing the work and doing all the writing and doing all the things before. But there is, there’s the work and the discipline and the dedication to something you believe in. And then there’s the magic. Yeah, there’s God, there’s God, Holy spirit, right. That, that little glimmer of fairy dust that you just, that you, there’s no rational, reasonable explanation.

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
But also, who the fuck cares?

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
I don’t want to live in an only rational world.

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
I want there to be a little mystery. And it’s also hard not to, I think too … I think one of the most spiritual moments of my entire life was actually a couple of years ago, I went swimming with whale sharks. It sounds really mystical, but it also was terrifying and a lot of different things that I wasn’t prepared for because I thought what was going to happen, it was, I was going to be one with the whales and I was going to dive into the water and I was just going to like sprout a mermaid tail and I’m just going to have the spiritual bond with this giant sea creature. And you, we’re just going to become one. And instead I was terrified. I’ve never literally had a knee knocking moment, but I had knocking knees. It’s a biological phenomenon. I thought it was just a metaphor. It’s not.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
It’s real. And the whales, well the whale sharks … anywhere from 20 to 40 feet. So that’s a really big animal. You know what those animals also have really big? They have really big shits.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
So I did have a moment where I was like, “This is majestic. I can conquer my fears. Everything’s going to be okay.” And then I see this big cloudy white stream and I’m like, “All right.” So I mean … but I have to say though, I mean that moment was all the things, but it’s hard not to experience moments of life. Whether it’s on a walk, on a run, in your home or in the middle of the ocean with a creature that existed, the times that dinosaurs existed. It’s hard not to think, “There is something big going on here.”

Lisa Graff:
Totally.

Danielle:
That my little human brain cannot comprehend.

Lisa Graff:
Absolutely.

Danielle:
Because this world is much bigger than me.

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
Much bigger than me.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah. Yeah. And for me, I think it’s like creating the space. That’s what the walk or the run does. It’s like it’s just creating the space …

Danielle:
Creating the space.

Lisa Graff:
… to let it go. You need to do all the work, but …

Danielle:
Yes.

Lisa Graff:
… when you create the space, things will start sorting out. Your body, your brain knows what to do.

Danielle:
Yeah.

Lisa Graff:
But if you don’t have space for that, you’re never going to find it.

Danielle:
And I think especially coming from you, just given full-time job, part-time job, children, husband, social life, self, all of that. So what do you have to do? How do you create? Like literally, how do you actually create those boundaries for yourself and either say the yeses or say the nos that you need to say to carve out, create the space.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah, I’m learning. It’s a work in progress.

Danielle:
Of course, of course.

Lisa Graff:
For sure, but I have standing appointments with … I have a Monday night girls group, we get together and watch whatever bachelor, bachelorette is on and during the off season we take some time off, but we still get together and our dogs play and it was just, that’s what we do on Monday nights. And so that’s just non-negotiable.

Danielle:
I love that.

Lisa Graff:
It just doesn’t, it doesn’t matter. It’s non-negotiable for me. And so, like that, and then I always try to take time when I’m good, when I’m the healthiest, I’m taking time in the morning before everyone wakes up.

Danielle:
How early is that?

Lisa Graff:
Well, my kids get up at seven so it’s not, it’s not unreasonable.

Danielle:
Okay.

Lisa Graff:
But like if I can get up at 6:15 …

Danielle:
Sure.

Lisa Graff:
6:30 …

Danielle:
Yeah.

Lisa Graff:
And drink coffee from a real mug, because there’s a season in my life where I’m dumping the coffee in the to-go mug and it just feels like, ugh.

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Danielle:
Yeah.

Lisa Graff:
I am like, I rebuke you I will not drink out of this stainless steel mug. No, I just don’t want to.

Danielle:
No.

Lisa Graff:
I want the peace and serenity of, you’ve got a whole day ahead of you with a whole list of things to do. Like what if you just sat and drank some coffee?

Danielle:
Out of a cute mug?

Lisa Graff:
Out of a cute mug. I said, “Good morning, gorgeous.” “Right back at you baby.”

Danielle:
Look a smiling sunshine.

Danielle:
Right, anything. And just have that moment. Now I’m not … in full disclosure. My daughter’s not been sleeping well and so I’m like … she comes in and I’m like, “What time is it? What’s going on?” And that’s the worst way to start the day. To be woken up by your kids is the worst way to start the day.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
For me, because then I’m like, “Oh look, I’m already behind.” I want to set myself up. Create even if it’s five or 10 minutes of space.

Danielle:
Well because your first moment, it sounds like your first moment is tending to someone else.

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
And just even thinking about what I know from momentum with mental thoughts and thought patterns. If you spend eight to … I think it’s 15 seconds, actually. 15 seconds on one particular thought or emotion that generates the momentum, which usually leads to the next one.

Lisa Graff:
Cool.

Danielle:
And it builds and builds and builds. So if even if you’re first, let’s say, let’s go real bold, minute is just maybe breathing with yourself. That sets you on a completely different track than when you’re interrupted from REM sleep…

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
… with a child that has needs. Because then now you’re already like, “Here we go. Here we go.”

Lisa Graff:
“We’re going for it.” Yeah, it does. It’s really hard. But I think too, I’m getting back into the running season and so then I will be … running is the best for me.

Danielle:
I wish I loved running, I wish.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah, it’s the most disciplined. All my thoughts. It doesn’t matter what I’m going through. It just it creates the space that I need to let my thoughts form themselves into patterns instead of me trying to like, “I need to figure out this puzzle piece.”

Danielle:
Have you always been a runner or did you discover running later in life?

Lisa Graff:
I discovered running … this is such a good story.

Danielle:
Yes, tell me, tell me.

Lisa Graff:
I don’t know. I’m like, “I don’t know if we have time for it, but who cares!”

Danielle:
Tell me, tell me.

Lisa Graff:
So I was working at a radio station here in town and was relatively new. And so my boss called and said, “Hey, I’m going into a meeting and I need you to say yes to what I’m about to ask you.” And I was like, “Oh, okay. New boss, I will say yes.” He’s like, “I need you to run the Chicago marathon.” And I was like, “Oh yes, yes, of course.”

Danielle:
My God.

Lisa Graff:
So I hung up the phone and I told my coworker, I was like, “So I guess I’m running the Chicago marathon.”

Danielle:
Oh my God.

Lisa Graff:
And I’m like, what? Cause I had run one half marathon before, you moved to Indy and then you have to run the Mini. It’s basically what you have to do. And I thought, “I’m going to die. I hate this.”

Danielle:
Oh, I’m so glad you said that.

Lisa Graff:
I did. I hated every minute of it.

Danielle:
Okay.

Lisa Graff:
And I’m like, “I am going to get to the end and I’m never going to do this again.” And then all of a sudden here I am, I’m running the Chicago marathon. And it’s because our radio station was partnering with Team World Vision, which brings clean water to kids in Africa. And so you fundraise and $50 provides clean water for kids in Africa for their lifetime.

Danielle:
Right.

Lisa Graff:
And so, I’m like, “Okay, I’m doing it.” And so I started training and my motivation behind actually getting up and training was, I don’t want to embarrass him. I don’t want to be a failure for this radio station, for this partnership. How embarrassing if you would fail. And so I started running out of fear. And then like everything in my life changed. It was just … I didn’t know what was missing and I needed it so bad.

Danielle:
Yeah.

Lisa Graff:
And if like that discipline of training not only created the space that I didn’t know I wasn’t giving myself and that was when I was like, “I’m newly married, I have no kids, we’ve got a dog.” And I thought my life was busy. What you don’t know.

Danielle:
Yes.

Lisa Graff:
And then the discipline formed into I was a better worker and I was all these things. And then I just loved, I loved it because of the connection I had with God in nature and just the connection to myself and everything I learned in that season was amazing. And so since then I’ve run, I think, seven half marathons and one in Nairobi. We got the opportunity to go with Team World Vision over … my husband and I to Nairobi, run a half marathon and then see all of the clean water projects. And it was like …

Danielle:
That’s amazing.

Lisa Graff:
Sometimes being bullied into saying yes to something is not the worst thing that’s ever happened.

Danielle:
What I think what I love about that especially is that I think so much of my bias I lean to is that fear is a de-motivator. It’s like when motivation comes from anxiety … I’m sorry, there was a dog hair in my mouth. Sexy things, sexy things. But when we do things motivated at fear, generally for me what it does is it can shut me down. So I’ll get my wheels spinning really, really, really fast and then I’ll kind of burn out.

Lisa Graff:
Totally.

Danielle:
But not only was it motivated maybe a little bit by fear at first, but what it also sounds like too is you were representing more than yourself.

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
And I think that I can also connect that to with maybe even what you do with I Am Mother of the Year, the days that maybe that are harder that you don’t want to show up, where you haven’t maybe written something and it’s a deadline to get something out and it’s … you’re representing something bigger than you. And I think sometimes that can help you get out of your own way. Like I don’t know if that’s only fear or maybe this is touching on something else that’s not coming clear to me in this moment. But when you’re working towards a goal that’s bigger than you …

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
… it can help you get out of your own way sometimes.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah, I think you just gave me what I’m going to write about in the next three hours or whatever to meet this deadline I have. Which is … because I wrestled with it last night, the everyday sacrifices of being a mom. I want to wake up and I want to drink coffee for as long as I want to drink hot coffee. I don’t want to forget that I even made coffee and put it in the microwave and then forget it in the microwave and then find it when it’s time for lunch. I want to just drink my coffee and I don’t want to pretend with you. I want a scroll on Facebook, and I don’t want to … and is it worth it? Is it worth it? And I’ve tried to tackle that question, which was … oh so last night it was like, “This? Nah, I don’t have it in me.” But that’s what it is. That’s what it is. Is it’s worth it because it’s not just us.

Danielle:
It isn’t.

Lisa Graff:
It’s not. Motherhood is the one thing that like, and marriage does this too, shows you kind of how selfish you are. Like, thanks a lot. But man, nothing like having kids just shows you the mirror of how selfish you are.

Danielle:
Oh well I think there’s … it’s interesting, I just explored … so I run a support group on Wednesday nights and one of the themes that we were exploring was the concept of selfishness for selflessness. And how I think there really needs to be a healthy dose of both. If you could almost visualize the infinity symbol, because if all we’re doing is being selfless and giving of self, then we become less of ourselves. And there is a direct, direct, undeniable correlation between boundaries and burnout. If you are not saying no some of the time and you’re saying yes all of the time then, and obviously it depends on what you’re saying no and yes to, but let’s just assume you’re over-giving, over-giving in this context. Because I think that’s a really common theme for parents and mothers. But that selflessness feels like less of you.

Danielle:
Now at the same time we’re only focused on ourselves and we’re only inwardly focused, then you almost become stagnant. Like if blood gets clotted, right? That’s not healthy either. We need the flow.

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
And the give and the take.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
And we’re going … and listeners you’re probably going to hear dogs barking for a little while. There’s someone … there’s someone in the house. No. It’s scheduled, it’s safe. But in the case I don’t edit this out, that’s life. Dogs are going to bark.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah, right.

Danielle:
So Lisa, I want to segue a little bit into your “Don’t cut your own bang” moment cause I have a feeling it’s going to be juicy and delicious and I want to hear.

Lisa Graff:
I can’t, I honestly, I can’t. I think I have three that they keep rolling around in my brain.

Danielle:
So do you want to share all three?

Lisa Graff:
Can I share all three?

Danielle:
Um, of course.

Lisa Graff:
I’ll make them quick.

Danielle:
Okay.

Lisa Graff:
If we need to, but, so the first one is because of, in direct correlation to, I Am Mother of the Year. So I got the vision and went for it and got these stickers in the mail. And I’m holding the stickers in my hand and I was like, “Okay, here I go.” I’ve never actually given a sticker to a mother at Target, but I ordered a thousand stickers.

Danielle:
Oh my God.

Lisa Graff:
So we’re doing it right?

Danielle:
You ordered a thousand stickers?

Lisa Graff:
A thousand. Yes. The first time.

Danielle:
You were all in.

Lisa Graff:
I’m all in. Right. Because I’m like, “Everyone’s going to buy these and this is going to be a hit.” I can see the vision of it. And I’m like … but I have not once done it myself. So it was like, you should never ever do that. But I did cause I’m like, “This is amazing. It’s going to be awesome.”

Danielle:
Yep.

Lisa Graff:
And so I’m in Target and then it is like we talked about my stocking problem earlier this morning, but I’ve got the sticker and I’m like scouting for the mother and they just … I zeroed in, target acquired, and all in one rush of a moment, as soon as I decided to take that step over to her, it just all hit me, the magnitude of the moment, the dream becoming reality, all the things like every emotion, just like “tidal wave!” And I burst into tears, which is like my medium response to any emotion is the crying.

Danielle:
Oh yeah, Yep.

Lisa Graff:
And so I go up to this mom, I’m blubbering, she probably had no idea what I said and I hand her the sticker and then I just sprint away from her as fast as I possibly could. And I hid, I hid in the shoe aisle and I’m like, “What? What? No!” My dream was not that.

Danielle:
Yep.

Lisa Graff:
But I’m holding the dream in my hand and I’m like, “I’m not going down like this.” So I … that you know what you can be normal, you can be normal, you can redeem into this moment. So I did, I found two other moms and whatever, but I just totally underestimated like …

Danielle:
In the same trip at Target?

Lisa Graff:
In the same trip to Target. I’m like, “I’m not leaving the store until I redeem this moment. Because I can’t, I can’t go out like this.”

Danielle:
That’s amazing.

Lisa Graff:
Isn’t that funny?

Danielle:
That you were crying, handing … I’m having this vision of like Kristen Wig playing you in this moment and she’s audibly sobbing, handing someone a sticker.

Lisa Graff:
Yes. Yes. She would play me in a TV movie.

Danielle:
That just … oh.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
That’s a wonderful moment. And honestly, to bring it back to the whale shark moment. My entire life, my entire life was leading to that moment. That was a seminal moment for me. Because swimming with whale sharks and swimming with humpback whales, I was like, “It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen.” And not only is it going to happen, but it’s going to be magic, right?

Lisa Graff:
Um hum, yes.

Danielle:
My soul is going to connect with this creature, two will become one for one synchronistic moment in this wide open universe, I’m like, “It’s going to see me and I’m going to see it and we’re just going to bond and it’s going to be this whole thing.” But no, that the first entire day at sea I was terrified. Terrified. It’s a good thing that the ocean is basically a giant toilet because, let me just say it, all of the things, I … terror. Thankfully I’m very blessed I guess to be able to make this next statement, but I haven’t truly experienced many moments of terror. That was terror, because I’m looking out and there are roughly 60 whale sharks in the water. Like I can see the fins and I can see them all, but dreaming of a moment, like you were describing this dream of your thousand stickers, “I’m going to change a thousand women’s lives.”

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
This is going to be like a whole movement, a sticker movement, and then that moment comes where you found her. You found the first sticker recipient, this is going to be it, and then you’re flooded. I felt like such a loser. I’m like, “This is the moment you said you wanted your entire life.”

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
You wrote a report, you wrote a report in fifth grade on these animals.

Lisa Graff:
Oh no.

Danielle:
You know everything about their anatomy and their physiology and here you are, and you’re a coward.

Lisa Graff:
What’s wrong with you?

Danielle:
And then I jumped in the water and I was so overcome with fear that I kind of had this awkward dog paddle where like my legs, like unconsciously, my legs and feet and arms were kind of huddled in and I was … and of course … so your snorkel is meant to point up. But because of my head I wouldn’t actually put my head in the water, my snorkel was taking in water.

Lisa Graff:
Oh jeez.

Danielle:
So it didn’t become beautiful until the third day at sea. But I wasn’t going to give up. And you didn’t give up.

Lisa Graff:
No.

Danielle:
You gave two other women’s stickers.

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
So please tell me your other two moments.

Lisa Graff:
Okay. Yes. We talked about it earlier before we turned the mics on is my hair. So 2019 is my year of building, in 2020 is my year of huge growth. But this is a year of building. And so I had all of these building goals and wrote them all down. My husband and I even sat down and every category of our life we wrote it down on paper and it was this whole thing and I was like, “Yes, 2019, it’s coming up all Lisa.” And then I woke up on new year’s day and like my feet hit the floor and I was like, “You’re a failure! You’re a failure! You’ve not done anything so far in the year. You’re just .. just forget it. Just forget the whole thing. Close up shop.” So I’m just overtaken by this fear. There’s absolutely zero rational thought happening of course.

Lisa Graff:
So I’m like, “You know what? There’s one thing I can control. I’ve been wanting to dye my hair, I’m going to go for it.” So I drove to Kroger in my pajamas and slippers. I was so desperate and wild, that I bought a box mix and I dyed my hair. Medium brown, the box said. It was like red and pink and orange, all of these different colors. And it was like, this is the face of fear. This is what fear does to you. It is …

Danielle:
Rainbow hair.

Lisa Graff:
You want to look at yourself in the mirror, this is fear staring you in the eyes. It was ridiculous.

Danielle:
Yes.

Lisa Graff:
And it took me a long time. I got it fixed, but it took me a long time to settle down and like, “No, you’re fine. Take it one day at a time.” And then it was like, “No, let’s that’s too much for you. Let’s take it one moment at a time.” And so that’s where I’m am right now. Trying to just live in each moment. Like, “What can I do right now? That makes the most sense.” That was a hard lesson to learn. It made for great radio. I went Facebook live with it, it’s a great story.

Danielle:
Yeah.

Lisa Graff:
But it’s like “Duh, be better.” It’s not like I’ve never dyed my hair from a box.

Danielle:
Sure.

Lisa Graff:
And it’s gone wrong before, but it doesn’t matter in the moment.

Danielle:
No.

Lisa Graff:
The irrational part of you takes over. It’s like …

Danielle:
“This is going to be great.”

Lisa Graff:
“This is awesome.”

Danielle:
“This is going to fix it.”

Lisa Graff:
Yep.

Danielle:
Yep. I think when we’re knee deep in anxiety and convinced that something externally is going to soothe the inside, that’s when we grab the box of Girl Scout cookies or that’s when we lose a day with Netflix, or that’s when it’s like, “Oh yeah, this is going to go awesome.” And then you come out the other side and you’re just like … you kind of come out of the haze, like anxiety haze and you’re like, “Oh God, what did I do?”

Lisa Graff:
“Don’t look back.” It’s so embarrassing. Oh gosh. So then my last cut your bangs moment, which I think this will be relative to everyone who’s listening is, so I went on that run, I got this huge vision for what I’m going to say and all of that. And then when I sat down to write this talk, I came up empty. Like I just spun my wheels over and over and over again. And I’m like, “Okay, I’m going to strap on my running shoes and I’m going to put on the same playlist and I’m going to run the same route. And I’m going to tell ‘God, you show up and you tell me again!'”

Danielle:
“Inspire me again!”

Lisa Graff:
“Tell me again! Cause you said this, you said this, now tell me again. Tell me.” And I got real like whiny and annoying.

Danielle:
Oh my God, I love …

Lisa Graff:
I was like annoying myself.

Danielle:
Adult tantrums are like … yeah.

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
When it’s not yours I think they’re the best because we all are still five.

Lisa Graff:
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Danielle:
But when it’s happening to you, it’s very real. So go ahead.

Lisa Graff:
Oh totally, yes, yes. So I’m basically yes, throwing in an adult size, temper tantrum on this run going, “Well, where are you? Come on, come on, come on, you said and I deserve this and now I need this because now, next week already.” I put it off till next week. I have to not only write but rehearse and be good at a talk. And my moment that happened was I was … We’ve somebody on my radio team, I am actually on his radio team since he’s the host, I’m the cohost. But he is the most gifted speaker ever. He’s so good at what he does. And I’m so intimidated by that part of him that I didn’t let myself ask him until the 11th hour for “Can you help me? Just help me?” And he’s like, “Why did you wait so long?” And I’m like, “I don’t … I don’t know.”

Lisa Graff:
It was like this mental block, like I didn’t give myself permission to be vulnerable with somebody when they’re good at it. But he’s had 17 more years of experience than I have and he’s rooting for me, he’s on my team, he wants to see me succeed and you know what it took? A 15 minute conversation for him to unlock this in me and I went home and I was like, “dah dah dah dah dah dah dah. Done.” And I’m like, “Why? Just ask for help.”

Danielle:
That is incredibly relatable and a really, really great story because I do think … again, the isolation that our own shame and fear, because what shame tells you and how it convinces you that if anybody knew this about you, they would judge you. They will criticize you. They’d talk about you behind your back. Like he was going to look at me like, “No, I’m not going to help you.” That’s the story shame’s it going to tell you.

Lisa Graff:
Right, of course.

Danielle:
“No, I’ve got a lot of better things to do with my time and helping you is not one of those things.” But we are innately … we are bred and born for connection and there is nothing more satisfying than being able to help someone with something that you do well. Right?

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
Like that’s just … I mean it’s even like conversation 101. You get the topic on something someone else is passionate about and like to talk about. You can sit back for 30 minutes and listen. Like that’s just … I mean it’s so fulfilling.

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
It’s so fulfilling, and it’s esteem building to know that the thing that you love to do and the thing that you’re good at is helping someone else.

Lisa Graff:
Yes, exactly.

Danielle:
Yeah. And I’m always humbled every time. Because this podcast is a great example for me when I wanted to create a podcast and I had this dream and it’s like I go … Usually my creative process is, I get an idea and I’m really pumped and excited cause I’m like, “This can be a thing. I know it.” And then the how, I’m like, “I don’t know what it is.” And then I kind of go slack-jawed and I just … I’m like … and then I freeze and shut down for like a day and a half and avoid thinking about it.

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
But I can’t avoid thinking about it, which makes me more anxious. And there’s a lot of like anxious cleaning and like Marie Kondo-ing closets, and all the things that need to happen before I tackle this thing. But when I finally found someone, Jen Eades, who is incredible and so gifted when it comes to helping people access their voice and get it out of their own way, to get the technology out of the way so that they can do the thing that they love to do and create podcasts. I was willing and did pay her. It wasn’t like I was going to … I was like, “Well, will you work with…” I was so, so timid. I was like, “Will you … will you meet me? Oh, talk to me about podcasts?” And she was like, “Well yeah, that’s what I do for a living. I’m happy to talk to you about it.”` And I’m like, “OK, Jan Eades.”

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
And it’s almost like I was like a proposal, like, “She said yes!” And it’s also her job.

Lisa Graff:
Right.

Danielle:
And I understand … Those moments, we need those moments because when someone comes to me with their own … every time someone comes in for their first session in therapy, whether it’s a couple or an individual, I know all the little victories or perceived little failures that someone has to experience before they really ask for help.

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
Because I know … I’m not as … I mean I’m good at it in some ways, and I’m really bad at it in other ways. Probably where I’m still working on it is where I still have a lot of shame. So like, technology, sharing my voice, blah, blah, blah, all those things.

Lisa Graff:
Yes.

Danielle:
I’m like, “I got to re-rev that engine, that worthiness.”

Lisa Graff:
Yep.

Danielle:
Every time. Oh, Lisa, that was a great story. Thank you for sharing.

Lisa Graff:
Yes, of course.

Danielle:
So I want to know what’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Lisa Graff:
Oh, Whoa, boy. Oh my gosh. I don’t even know.

Danielle:
That’s all right.

Lisa Graff:
Let me think about it.

Danielle:
Yeah.

Lisa Graff:
Just let that roll around in my brain for a second. I don’t know if I can point to one person, one phrase.

Danielle:
Sure.

Lisa Graff:
But I think it’s overall, and this fits in perfectly with your podcast, but having permission to be myself. Lots of people in my life give me that permission, embrace me and encourage me in who I am and that’s the best advice I guess I’ve been given through relationship, is like just, who you are is who we need.

Danielle:
Yeah. Who you … Ooh, I like that. “Who you are is who we need.” Permission to be yourself. I like that a lot.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
That’s really good.

Lisa Graff:
Thank you.

Danielle:
Um hum. So you have your goals, you have your vision, you have your plan, your plan to meet Alan. Yeah. What do you think the Lisa who has on Ellen, has now been a recurring guest, you and Ellen text.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah. Obviously.

Danielle:
Your buds. It’s no big deal, it’s like, whatever. It’s just, you have a little nickname for Ells. “How’s Portia doing?” So 10 years from now you’ve done those things and more.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
What do you think that Lisa would tell this Lisa?

Lisa Graff:
That’s so good. I think she would just affirm me and the steps I’m taking, because I think as hesitant as I am, but also so passionate, there’s no way on earth I’m not doing this. But I’m so hesitant in it, it’s okay. It’s okay to be that. But just keep going. I’m a really good Christian and I have this Bible verse in my brain, but in the message version of this thing, it’s like “You know what you’re supposed to do. Don’t do it and starts and stops. Just run.” And that’s what I think she would tell me now is, “Start running, keep running. Don’t do this.” Because I’m very, very good at starting and stop, start, stop, start, stop. And then I’m like, “Oh why can’t I figure anything out?” Well cause I’m not doing it all the time.

Lisa Graff:
Part of it is capacity. But part of it is this starts and fits. Don’t do … just keep … even if it’s not a run, it could be a snail’s pace but just to keep …

Danielle:
Moving.

Lisa Graff:
… one thing moving.

Danielle:
Yes. Well that’s a good one and that’s … I needed to hear that.

Lisa Graff:
Thank you.

Danielle:
Yeah, that’s a really good one.

Lisa Graff:
And like I said, I’m obviously telling myself, because I’ve got 15 projects and I’m like, “Yes, I know this is where I’m going.” Have I started some of them? Some of them, some of them like, “Yes, they’re almost done. Oh no, actually take it back to step two.” I’m like, “Oh geez.” But I need to keep scheduling that time, blocking that out in my schedule because it’s important.

Danielle:
Well maybe talking about it here is your snail’s pace forward. You’re like, “I’m still talking about it.”

Lisa Graff:
Right exactly.

Danielle:
I haven’t forgotten about it.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
And just all the way.

Lisa Graff:
There you go. I won today. Done.

Danielle:
Checked it off the list. I thought about it and talked about it. You’re next.

Lisa Graff:
That’s enough, right? That’s enough for today.

Danielle:
Lisa Graft. I Am Mother of the Year.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
Thank you so, so much for spending an hour of your time with me. This was a pleasure and it flew by and I will make sure to have all the links of all the things and ways that people can connect with you in the show notes and thanks so much for your time and I can’t wait for our listeners to be able to connect with you and get their stickers and get your journals.

Lisa Graff:
Yeah.

Danielle:
Right? All the things. And let’s us all grow together.

Lisa Graff:
Yes, let’s.

Danielle:
Awesome, thanks Lisa. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for listening to another episode of season three of Don’t Cut Your Own Bangs. I don’t want to slow down your momentum. If you’re in the middle of a binge, you keep going. You’ve got this. Just a couple more episodes left. Keep listening if you need a break too, I totally get it. I completely understand. Whatever you need, I am here for you. And to that end, let me hear from you. Leave a comment, rate, review, subscribe, or shoot me a message danielle@danielleireland.com. Either way, I hope you continue having an awesome day. I hope your day was maybe a little bit better after listening to this, but, keep on keeping on and thanks again for listening.

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