You Can Get What You Want

Shownotes

Today I’m chatting with Cristina Comunian. Cristina works in marketing and communications and lives in Prague. As Cristina has gotten busier, she’s made extra time for meditation.

Is fear holding you back? It probably is even if it may come in different cloaks. Listen to this episode to learn how meditation can help you, and why it’s important to make time for it especially when you’re busy. You’ll also see why asking for help is important and how you can make use of resources available to you, including coaching to get unstuck.

Cristina writes on Medium and you can connect with her there. She admits that although she has a website and Twitter account, she doesn’t spend much time on either of them.

Book Recommendations

Every time you ask for help, it means you allow the other to do the same when it’s their turn.


We change our mind, we change our goals, we change perspective. We meet people that help us change. So we don’t need to be too rigid or too prescriptive

Brief Timeline of the Chat

1:22 – Cristina introduces herself
1:57 – The biggest recent change in her life
2:48 – When you have everything but something’s still missing
3:26 – Learning to be present and mindful
4:22 – The value of a coach and coaching doesn’t have to be one on one
7:12 – The different tools used in coaching and recognizing your power
9:35 – Her fears and overcoming them
10:15 – How lack of trust in ourself and others holds you back
11:25 – It’s important to ask for what you want
12:34 – How she managed to take 2 months of work to travel through India after putting it off for years
16:08 – An adventure to London and taking chances
19:34 – What her family is like
20:51 – What stability means to Cristina
21:47 – Her meditation journey and why she has increased the duration of her daily meditation
23:46 – What make time for meditation when you have no time for it
24:40 – Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. Overcome fear and ego to do so
26:36 – The relationship between personal and professional life
28:05 – What we learn from our families and culture and importance of mutual trust
29:13 – Recognizing when you’re stuck and getting help
30:50 – Two book recommendations


Transcribed Interview

Damianne: [00:00:00] You are listening to Changes BIG and small. This is Damianne, your host, as we explore what makes change exhilarating. Each episode we’ll meet one person who’s found freedom by embracing change.

Today I’m chatting with Cristina Comunian. Cristina works in marketing and communications and lives in Prague. As she’s gotten busier, she’s made extra time in her day for meditation.

Is fear holding you back. It probably is, even if it may come in different guises. Listen to this episode to learn how meditation can help you and why it’s important to make time for it, especially when you’re busy.

You’ll also see why asking for help is important and how you can make use of resources available to you, including coaching to get unstuck.

Let’s get started.

Hi, Cristina. 

Cristina: [00:01:12] Hi Damianne. Thank you for having me here today.

Damianne: [00:01:16] If you could start off by telling us where were you born, where do you live and what do you do that pays the bills? 

Cristina: [00:01:22] I was born in Italy, in a town called Padilla or Padova, which is close to Venice. And what I do for a living. I work in marketing and communications for a European program working on satellite navigation. And I live in Prague. Happily. 

Damianne: [00:01:38] I know Cristina because we used to attend the same gym. Cristina, you’ve made quite a few changes in your life recently. I think from some conversations you were looking at ways to maybe create some space.

Tell us about something exciting you’ve done recently.

Cristina: [00:01:59] I would say that the biggest change that I went through maybe the past two years, is introducing meditation in my life, which is not just meditation as as an activity, but really introducing space in your head to discover yourself, who you really are. In the past few years, I was really struggling to find balance and to find, you could even say happiness, like in the deep sense. I’m a happy person or that’s the way I see myself.

But inside there was a lot of negative talks, a lot of insecurity, a lot of fear. A couple of years ago I started to dig deeper to see why is it you’re not happy anywhere and why is it that they are not fulfilled as well? And so I just started a process of self-analysis, I would call it to really understand who I am and what’s the purpose.

Damianne: [00:02:45] That’s a really hard thing to do. What encouraged you to do that? 

Cristina: [00:02:47] I think it’s just when you wake up and you realize you have everything, you could not possibly complain on anything. You really have everything you can possibly dream of. And people would do anything to have your life and still something is bugging you.

This thing, which is like a little worm, just eating up headspace. In the long run, it’s really detrimental. You really pay a high bill if you don’t take care of it. 

Damianne: [00:03:13] When you did the self analysis, what did you discover? 

Cristina: [00:03:17] I did the self-analysis, but I also, I mean I think I was very helpful. I really relied a lot on books and videos and self help books, but I also start working with a coach.

I started really doing meditation in a different way, which is not just silence, but really understanding or you could say being present. So when you get angry, why do you get angry? When this person upsets you, why does he upset you? What did she say that triggered something? And you really have to observe all your reactions and how much space they take in your freedom and in your happiness and how much they decide your next step instead of you taking charge of however you want to react. So this is the first step. I think it’s hard to do it by yourself. So if you can reach out, if you have the level of awareness to see, okay, something is not right and I cannot keep blaming my colleague, the world. There is something I need to do to change how I want to feel.

And so once you realize this, you can reach out to people and there are a lot of resources out there that you can use to take the first steps. 

Damianne: [00:04:19] How did you go about selecting a coach. 

Cristina: [00:04:22] There was like a meetup group where there was a coach offering her services almost for free every Thursday to anybody who wanted to come along.

She would have some themes and really out of her heart just to, you know, to help people and also for her maybe to test some tools and see the reaction and see how she could better understand the people. I started going to these meetings and it was really interesting. Everybody sort of vomits out their issues. But then I could see that she could really try to help you put order. It was not just a mess. It’s just there are different issues. They are linked. They’re not linked. They are coming from here. They are coming from there. Then you realize, okay, that’s true. Actually maybe this is just, it’s nothing to do with my colleague is me being fearful. It’s nothing to do with the world today, it’s me trying to find excuses for not taking action. So you start taking responsibility. And I just like it the way it was structured. And there were some very low moments because you realize that you feel sometimes powerless. Even though we all have power to change, I realized, okay, I cannot do this by myself and I cannot really do this in a sort of random way.

I need sort of structure and, and I just need to, even you could say, to have somebody that you need to be accountable to maybe once a month, maybe once every two months, but you need to report and look back. So what have you done all day. Tools that you had available, did you use them or did you just get lost and why did that happen?

And you work on this together. It’s a bit like this podcast that you tell the story and you discover your story as well. So you have your story, but you have never read it and nobody has ever told it to you. So when you have the opportunity to share yourself, you really discover it for yourself too.

That’s something to start with. If you don’t want to take the first one to one session or for any reason you’re afraid, just to see maybe in a group environment can be a bit more relaxed. 

So you have your story, but you have never read it and nobody has ever told it to you. So when you have the opportunity to share yourself, you really discover it for yourself too.

Damianne: [00:06:16] This is very interesting to me because actually over the past two weeks, I’ve been having some discovery sessions with some coaches. And this is more from a professional standpoint, but in talking to each of three different coaches. One of the things I’ve been trying to find out is what does coaching look like from their perspective and what can I expect if we work together. From all three of them, it really sounds like what they do is to ask the questions that will help me clarify what I want, what’s missing, where I’m headed. Some people focus more on goal setting. Some people focus more on milestones, but it sounds like, although there might be some main methods that coaches use, there are also different tool.

In this coaching process that you’ve been involved in, what’s something that has surprised you?

Cristina: [00:07:12] There are many things and indeed, as you were saying, there are different tools. You need to explore what works for you, and it can be in a certain phase you need one kind of tool and in another one, a different tool. For example, what really helps me is this questioning, having somebody to ask questions, which I would never dare to ask myself, even though I know I would need to reply to them.

And when you’re in the session, it really has to come out. You have that reply already in you. It’s just that it’s really hard to pull it out and show it to the world and acknowledge that that is the reply, and maybe you’re just not ready yourself to face that this is the reply to that specific question. Or maybe this is exactly what I want from my life; I’ve never realized it for sure. For sure, questions are essential, but even visualizing. That’s also a very important tool. So how do you see yourself in five years? Is it at the same place where you are right now? Is it the same colors? Is it the same emotions? Do you see more people in your life, more than what you have now or different people? You really understand that whatever you see in the future, you need to put the seeds down now cause they’re not going to show up out of the blue in many ways. You really need to take a responsibility for the decisions that will take you there. That’s very hard to think. Very hard because it’s just so much more comfortable to have like a victim role; it’s just so much more comfortable and it’s like, okay, this doesn’t happen in my life, or this doesn’t come. This will never come. And it’s just because you are actually preventing it from happening because it just scares you.

So that’s what you learn from coaching, that you have so much power if you just make that statement of what you want and go for it. 

You need to explore what works for you, and it can be in a certain phase you need one kind of tool and in another one, a different tool.

Damianne: [00:08:52] That can almost be a bit scary because that’s a lot of responsibility, right? If you’ve got all the power, then you’re the one standing in your own way. I think about the fact that I really enjoy going to the gym and I enjoy group classes.

I enjoy working out at home, but I push myself, or rather maybe the coach pushes me a bit more if I’m working out at the gym. When I was talking to the three coaches that I had meetings with last week, one of the things that I told them is that I’m very capable, but sometimes I need to be challenged.

What has scared you along this journey? Maybe that’s too big, but if you wouldn’t mind sharing some of your fears with us.

Cristina: [00:09:38] I think it’s what has scared me and what is still scaring me. I don’t think that I’m over at all and maybe will never be over as well. I’ve come to accept this. That is, there is a learning process, which is also about yourself. And there is also evolution. We change our mind, we change our goals, we change perspective. We meet people that help us change. So we don’t need to be too rigid or too prescriptive I would say about this

Damianne: [00:10:07] So it’s not just one and done. There actually are challenges that you continuously or fears that you continuously encounter. 

Cristina: [00:10:15] I would say that the biggest one is not trusting. I had never thought that this was my issue first.

I discovered it maybe a couple of years ago. 

Damianne: [00:10:23] And is this not trusting other people or yourself or both? 

Cristina: [00:10:27] It’s both. Which means going to a meeting and not trusting the people around you, or even looking at yourself in the mirror and not trusting your decisions or maybe knowing your weaknesses and not trusting that you will be strong enough to cope with situations.

Life goes on. It’s never the end of the world. So making things bigger than they are or more catastrophic or just taking a, a sort of fear step, it’s not trusting. And one thing which I also discovered, which is related to fear, which okay this is also my problem, is when you’re afraid to ask. You don’t trust you will get it, so you’re not going to ask it not to embarrass yourself, and you also don’t trust that you have the right to have it.

Damianne: [00:11:06] If I recall correctly, you’ve had to face that issue head-on, right? There are some things you’ve had to ask for and you’ve discovered that you can actually get them if you ask.

Cristina: [00:11:19] This is a discovery I made last year, and it’s very interesting because it’s also changed a lot my life. Maybe I gave myself just too much importance and that is also fear and ego. Thinking I’m so important in my job, you know, nobody can live without me, which is of course not true. And I never really dared to ask for longer leave or more time for myself, more space until one point I just reached the limit.

And through a very, very curious sequence of events, I asked for two months paid leave to my boss. I was surprised that she wouldn’t even complain or saying, Oh, come on two months, are you kidding? No, she just said, sure, take it. And I was like, why didn’t I do it before? Why don’t I ask regularly for things that I think I should get or I deserve. At least I should have the courage to ask for them and then trust enough that this will be given to me. But because I’ve never really felt entitled to it, I never dared asking. And of course if you don’t ask guess what, we’ll never get it. That is for sure. This just gave me the opportunity to take two months leave and go to India, something that was on my list for so many years and just something that it always seems so close and every time something would come up.

And it was always job-related. And of course, this was also a fear. Oh c’mon, are you going to India for two months alone? Just be careful, you know? And that kind of conversation. And how do I tell my mom, how I tell the world that I want to do this and not look crazy? And what will they think?

Damianne: [00:12:50] It sounds like when you actually got the courage to ask for two months leave, you were really at the end of your patience, of your energy, almost like a burnout. Is that fair? 

Cristina: [00:13:02] I think burnout will be a bit too much, but I was completely overwhelmed. Yes, yes. And that’s also very interesting. Instead of asking, I would have rather quit my job. You know, I could have totally missed the opportunity. If I hadn’t asked, then I would have maybe quit my job and then jump into the next job. 

Damianne: [00:13:20] Some people may be listening to this and think, there was something special about you. This couldn’t happen to me. If I went to ask my boss, I would get fired. What would you say to this kind of response? 

Cristina: [00:13:34] I would say look at yourself and really understand your value. If you’re bringing value to your company, why would they get rid of you? Why wouldn’t they give you the time that you’re asking for it? If they trust you and you trust yourself, how can things possibly go wrong?

And anyhow, what if they say no? Fine. You know that you don’t have the negotiation power. Fine. 

Damianne: [00:13:56] So you were prepared to quit if you did not get those two months off. How did you prepare for such a big decision? 

Cristina: [00:14:05] I was helped by, by the universe again, I think. I was offered a job a different job. So if I didn’t get the two months off, I would have taken the other job and allow some space in between the two jobs. This was a plan B. Now I can say I’m happy that things went the way they went because it is easy to say, Oh, I’ll take two months off in between jobs. Not sure. It’s also very hard to ask your new employer, can you just wait two months when I come back from India?

Because of course, if they’re looking for people, they’re looking for people right now, not in two months. It was just a, a very lucky outcome for me because it really gave me the space in my mind as well, to say, okay, I can really switch off. I know I can go back to the job. I know have a team that supports me there when I leave and that will welcome me back when I come back. But I think we should all give it a try at least. At least ask for it. And worst-case scenario, they tell you no. 

Damianne: [00:15:03] So what I’m hearing is to consider what you really want and what you’re willing to do to achieve that. Whether that means switching jobs, asking for it, making plans for it.

It really might depend on your circumstances or your situation, but if you don’t even entertain that it’s possible, then everything continues without any change. I remember a story from you about when you were, I don’t know, maybe late teens, early twenties and you went off to London. Share that story with us because I think it goes to show your attitude, and maybe you lost it at some point, but you did have that quest for adventure or that interest in following your dreams.

Cristina: [00:15:51] Now that I look back, this sounds like, Oh my God. I don’t even know where I found the courage at the time. Maybe I was just naive or I didn’t think about any obstacles at all. But when I finished school and I was 19 or almost 19 I went to England.

After the summer, I was looking for a job, but also was not really ready to settle down in any jobs that you would get a 19 which would be normally a cashier job. And I just told my mom, you know, I really want to go to London. And I had been there the summer before for like maybe a month, and my mom said, yeah, but what are you going to do there?

And of course I had no, no reply for that. I knew nobody there. And my English was really, really rough, really coming from school and really not ready to have any normal conversation or interview for a job. And I just told my mom, you know, I just feel I need to go because I really don’t want to stay here right now in my life.

And my mom just say, okay, go. She was also very courageous. Because this was the mid-nineties so imagine there was no internet, no mobile phones. None of my family could speak English, seally. My English was so shaky and shy. I don’t even think I had a credit card at that time. I just left with a one-way ticket to London and maybe 200 euros in my pocket, which was not a lot to survive in London, not even at that time.

And so I got to London and of course really no planning. I mean, the plan, of course, was just get any job. Any kind of job you can get it as fast as possible because I knew I could survive maybe three weeks. And the truth is that I sort of went to a hostel, booked a bed for a week. The day after I just went around looking for a job here and there and inhotels, restaurants, McDonald’s.

In a matter of 24 hours, I had a job as a receptionist in a small hotel run by an Irish family in central London, and they were offering me also room and board, and they also were telling me that I could do the afternoon shifts so I could go to school to learn English in the morning. Within one day I had like a job, I had a room to live in, you know, all the security that I need. I was super lucky, of course. Now that I look back and I say Oh, my God, you are so lucky. Because you could hear so many stories after about how much people struggled to find or room, to find a job with which you could actually live, because that was not obviously in London, because you could have also worked many, many hours and still not make it to the end of the month.

And the fact that I could go to school in the morning to learn English. Wow. After a couple of days, I just called my mom. I said, mom, Oh, we have it. I have it. So you don’t need to worry about anything. I have a job. I have somewhere to sleep. And you know, they’re nice and they treat me well, and I can go to school in the morning.

And she was also excited as well. But of course, also very scared. She really could not even imagine London or even imagine speaking a different language or your daughter somewhere God knows how many hours away from you. And that was really totally out of her reach and understanding. So now that I look back, I say, Oh my God, she was so brave. She was even braver than I was because she really also took a big risk. I can only imagine my grandma telling her how you’re letting her go alone. I can only imagine what she went through for me in that sense.

Damianne: [00:19:08] Are the other people in your family also adventurous? 

Cristina: [00:19:37] I would say normally no. Especially if I look at my extended family, like my relatives, my cousins. Me and my sister are the only one who have been traveling and living abroad. I’m talking about like maybe 40 cousins all together, just to give you an idea. Actually, my sister lives in the UK and has been living there for almost 20 years, so she’s stable there.

She hasn’t really been traveling as much as I did and changing jobs as much as I did and be more adventurous. She is more stable and she has a position in the university she has been working on for so many years and now it’s consolidated. And she has her own family. She’s much more stable than I am in that sense.

She looked up at me when I was, you know, young and look at me and see how the decision I took and how much they were not the standard kind of life that people would have at that time. Like in the mid-nineties, you wouldn’t really find that many Italian girls leaving everything and moving somewhere else.

And she was inspired by this, I would say yes. 

Damianne: [00:20:16] You talk about your sister being stable. Is stability something that’s important to you? Do you see your life as being unstable? 

Cristina: [00:20:25] That’s a good question. It’s tricky though. I think stability meaning like staying in the same country. Yeah. I don’t need that.

I like testing new grounds. I like meeting new people and discovering new places. So this is more maybe roots than stability. And I think stability is more like an inner value that you have for yourself. It’s really about who you are. You can be anywhere and still feel stable. 

Damianne: [00:20:54] So it sounds like there are kind of two definitions of stability.

There is the stability that your sister experiences because she’s kind of rooted in one place. But you don’t feel that’s missing from your life because you’re true to yourself and you feel grounded in yourself. She’s nodding.

Tell us about your meditation practice, because you mentioned how important it is in your life.

Cristina: [00:21:21] Meditation is also a journey, something that you learn every time. It’s never really the same, and it’s also something that tests you in many ways. You test yourself through meditation to see, okay, where you are with your head? You know, when you think you’re in peace, but you’re not. Where are you when there is silence around you or where you cannot talk to anybody? Let me give you a concrete example. In the past three months, due to several changes within the company I’m working for, I have experienced an overload of work, many more hours than I used to work, much more responsibility and very little resources to cope with it. In these three months, I doubled up my meditation time to cope. If I think about it, I know I could have just drunk a bottle of wine, or stuff my face with ice cream or start smoking. I don’t know. People have different tools too that help them process certain stress and pressure and which those chose to become habit at the end.

I really looked at myself. I said, thank God I have this tool with me now, because if I had to start now, I would be lost. Because it takes time to build it up. I’m okay with waking up at five just to allow myself at least an hour of meditation in the morning, or half an hour in the evening before going to bed to process and really clean up my mind.

The kind of meditation I do, it really also depends, whatever I need. I try not to be dogmatic about this. There is no right and wrong. Sometimes I need guidance; I will listen to a guided meditation and go along. Sometimes I just need silence and I can do it by myself and I know that. I just sit down and I do one hour of silent meditation.

It really, it really depends on the day. Whatever works. 

that hour that you spend in the morning, you will recuperate it during the day or during the night as well.

Damianne: [00:22:56] It’s very interesting for me to hear you say that you got busy and so you spent more time meditating, because the excuse that many people use, including myself. I don’t really use this excuse anymore because I know I’m not making time for it, but people often say, but I don’t have time to meditate.

How would you respond to that?

Cristina: [00:23:17]Two responses, and of course this is my personal experience. If your head is busy 24-7 because you cannot switch off, which is what was happening to me, then you’re not going to be able to sleep or the quality of sleep is going to be really poor. And even when you work, you’re so overwhelmed because there’s just too much going on in your head, that you’re not going to be as productive as you could.

So in the end, that hour that you spend in the morning, you will recuperate it during the day or during the night as well. Because I also don’t need to sleep much because of meditation. I can sleep six hours and it’s plenty. So I think It’s an investment. But we will need to be patient in the beginning to build it up because it will not come to you so easily, especially if you really are not used to it and you’re really new to the practice.

Damianne: [00:24:03] Your job can be very busy at times. What other strategies do you have for practicing good mental health or good sleep hygiene or all of those other things that might be important to you? 

Cristina: [00:24:14] Something I mentioned already is asking for help. Or asking in general. And I used to be the kind of person that wanted to do everything by herself and the thinking just because I know how to do it faster and better, and that kind of talk and which I know many people find themselves, you know, repeating the same sentences on and on.

We just need to stop calling this, Oh, I can be self-sufficient. We have to call it either fear or big ego. There is nothing else, because we are surrounded by people or we should be surrounded by people that we can trust or that we can have an honest conversation with, and with whom we can feel free to ask for help. And you can delegate tasks and you can work together and you can make them grow. You don’t have to give just tasks. Maybe start giving responsibilities as well, so they don’t need to come back to you every five minutes reporting. This is one example. Sometimes, okay, I have that moment when I feel a victim of all this work coming to me and I feel so down.

But if you keep it inside, is this yours? And maybe you just need to call a colleague and have a coffee and just talk it through or just get it out. And normally once you share it, it’s half the weight. I think this asking for help is really the biggest one though, because there are always people who want to help.

But you really have to trust the people that want to help you. If you think, gosh, I’m not going to ask what help, otherwise they’re going to think I cannot do my job, or I’m not good enough, and that kind of conversation that we always have with ourselves., we are just judging others through our own lens without giving them the opportunity.

You really have to trust the people that want to help you.

Damianne: [00:25:49] Do you find that some of the habits from work also play out in your personal life. I’m curious how your coaching and your meditation practice have affected or changed your personal life as well.

Cristina: [00:26:05] They have changed both. It would be hard to think that it can change just one aspect because then you really are developing some sort of split personality syndrome or I don’t know how you would call it.

You see some people who have a certain mask at work and there are different people outside. They are the most sociable outside. You can have all the drinks you want and tell jokes, and then when they get into the office, their face paralyzes, as if there are two conflicting personalities.

I don’t know if this is healthy or it’s just a way to protect oneself. I mean, there can be many reasons for that, but I think we should be able to live in a place where we can be consistent with our own values and who we are. So yes, I start asking for help at work, I start asking more for help and share with friends and I’m not afraid of saying, okay, right not I’m really in a bad place. There is nothing wrong to say that. Whether you’re at work or you’re having a drink with your friends or even with people you don’t know. This is where you are right now. That’s it. You know, honor where you are. Are they going to judge you? Okay, that’s fine. That’s also not your problem. But as long as you are consistent with who you are across all the arenas or across the different roles in life, you don’t really have anything to fear. 

There are times that you need external support because you need different eyes because you’re already too much into it. You’re too close.

Damianne: [00:27:15] Sometimes over time we haven’t kind of cultivated those relationships where we feel like we can ask for help.

What did you have to change in terms of your personal relationships to be able to ask for help, more clearly than you may have done before? 

Cristina: [00:37:30] Probably maybe something that is coming from my past and also from, from the way I’ve been brought up. Because I was brought up in a family where self-sufficiency was a big thing.

You need to be able to do things by yourself and be a grown-up even if you’re not. You know, don’t ask for help because people would think this and that of you. And you can do everything and all this conversation and I could see also my parents never asking for help and really trying by themselves to do everything.

And of course, this puts a lot of pressure. Also because you build this persona in front of others, and people don’t expect you to ever ask for help. And they also will not ask for help to you because that would just create a sort of disbalance here. Because every time you ask for help, it means you allow the other to do the same when it’s their turn.

And that’s how you create this mutual trust between people. 

Damianne: [00:28:15] We’re coming up on time and thank you so much for chatting with me today. Before we end, maybe you’ve already said it, but even in the interest of clarifying, what’s the advice you could have for somebody who’s feeling a bit stuck. they know that they’re not happy with the way things are, but they’re not sure how to shake themselves out of it.

Cristina: [00:28:37] If you wake up and you’re not happy. If you go to bed and you’re not happy of the conversation you have in your head about what happened during the day and this goes on and on, that’s already an alarm and that’s when you need to ask for help. How you do that? If you have understood enough what’s the issue, you have reached a level of awareness that you know, okay, this is where I’m stuck, this is what’s not going right. If you sort of able to identify this by yourself, that’s good. Sometimes you’re just in a mess. You have no idea where this is coming from and maybe it’s multiple factors as well. Try something. It doesn’t mean that there will be a solution. Maybe you can exclude that after; this is not at all the solution. But at least you have crossed something out of that list and then you’re ready to take the next step.

There are times that you need external support because you need different eyes because you’re already too much into it. You’re too close. You just see the trees and you don’t see the forest, and you need somebody just to take you a bit out to make you see things the way they are and not the other way they are played in your head.

Don’t be afraid or don’t be ashamed, you know? Because sometimes people are also ashamed. Is this mental health? Am I depressed? Does it matter the label that you put to it? Are you depressed? Maybe, maybe yes, maybe not. And so what? Acknowledge that you have a problem or that you’re not happy or where you are, and take action.

If you’re going to the psychologist or if you’re going to coach, or if you’re going to yoga class or to a psychiatrist, you are on the way for a solution and that’s all that matters. 

Damianne: [00:30:06] I am going to ask you one more question just because I love books. Is there any book that you might recommend? 

Cristina: [00:30:13] I have two books actually.

The first one, just because I talked about it so much and for me it was really revealing. It’s Amanda Palmer’s The Art of Asking. It’s amazing. I loved it. And the second book, which I don’t even know how I came across this book, but I knew that I wanted to read it many years ago and I didn’t read it. But this year, for some reason, I just made it. I don’t remember the author, but it’s called The Things They Carried, and it’s about the soldiers that went to Vietnam and the things they carried, which is super interesting because people do not understand what’s the weight these people carry. Of course, they carry 20 kilos of armor and guns and medicines and food and drink and all sorts of protection, but the heaviest weights are all inside, and most of it is fear which you may think is obvious because come on. These people that are like facing death every other second, but not only were they, they had fear. The biggest thing was shame of showing fear, and this was the heaviest. They’d never had to lose face in front of a threat. Many of the things they did was to avoid shame.

One of the soldiers, he said, you know, I enrolled just to avoid the shame with my family. And now people call me hero. And I was just too scared to face my family, and that’s why I went to Vietnam, which is not really like the most glorious reason. And I was like, wow. And it’s like, how many times do we take decision not because we want that thing to happen to us, but just because we are fearful or ashamed of that decision, and these people were risking their life just to avoid being shamed or being judged by society.

That’s very powerful. 

Damianne: [00:31:59] I have the Amanda Palmer book on my shelf, but I’ll definitely check out the other book. And actually there is one book that you might enjoy. It’s called The Untethered Soul

Okay it’s on your list. I’ll add the links to those books and the authors in the show notes as well. Thank you so much for chatting with me today.

Cristina: [00:32:20] Thank you Damianne, for having me here today.

Damianne: [00:32:25] Cristina admits that she has a website and a Twitter account. But she doesn’t spend much time on either of them. She does write on Medium though, and you can connect with her there. Go read her stuff! She recently had a great post about New Year’s resolutions.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of Changes BIG and small. For more great episodes like this one, don’t forget to hit subscribe in your favorite podcast app. This will let you automatically download new episodes every week.

As always, I leave you with this.

Go ahead. Take the smallest step that you can today to get closer to your dreams.

Have a great day. Everybody.


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