Ashley: I am very excited today. I am joined by Lindsay Sealey. Lindsay is an educator, consultant, mentor, facilitator, and speaker. She also is the creator of “Bold New Girls” and “Brave New Boys” and her newest book is “Made for More”. Thank you so much for joining me.
Lindsay: Thank you for having me.
A: Can you tell everybody what your newest book is about?
L: Of course, so “Made for More” is a really super positive, encouraging, and inspirational call to action. I’m going to call it for young women. So late teens, early twenties, and even a little bit older really think about, believe in, and then live out their “more”. But what I don’t mean by that is society’s definition of “more”, so more money, more followers, more achievements, more accomplishments, and more success (whatever that means). To a young woman, it’s more about “more” from the inside out. So I really want these very amazing, talented, beautiful, wonderful, ambitious young women to be more confident, more brave, more connected, more powerful, more about progress. I think it’s a big ask but I feel like we’re all headed in the wrong direction, right? Our society is like more, more, more… that’s better. I used to live that way. I did, and I achieved everything and I was “successful” in terms of societal standards but I was very unhappy. It was very confusing because I thought I checked all the boxes. I’ve done everything right that I should do to feel happy and to really feel fulfilled but I wasn’t. So I really had to dig deep into my own “more” and I realized that’s not what it’s about. It’s about more self-worth and self-love and self-kindness and our ability to really understand ourselves and find those passions and live our purpose.
A: I really appreciate that that is the message that you’re trying to put out there because I think so many of us had this idea if you finish high school, go to college, and then meet the person you’re supposed to be with. Maybe you have kids and then you get to this point where everything is perfect and smooth sailing. We do all of these sorts of outer, check mark things but then maybe true happiness isn’t at the end. I think when we look for that outer validation to be like we did everything we were supposed to, now what, and really take it back to putting the ownership on us and the tools that we can have within us that don’t necessarily require us to buy something but just that self-love, that self-acceptance, that more compassion, more just connection especially in the last couple of years, where our connection has been more over Zoom. Also just in general, even if we were to take pandemic things out of it, I think more and more of us choose to connect via a social media app or a text message where I don’t know about you, but I hate when my phone rings. I don’t want to talk to people necessarily on the phone anymore.
Redefining Society’s “More” Label
L: So true. It’s the way we’re all moving. It’s like, of course, we want faster, easier, and more comfortable. So we grab for the followers, we grab our phones and, the quick shopping and the instant happiness, like, I want happiness now. I think what I’m asking for is so much different and better but it takes time. You know, you’re not just happy when you snap your fingers. You don’t just become confident because you have a day where you’re a little bit more brave or bold. I think this is personal work and it’s definitely a process of self-discovery, but that’s what I’m asking for because I think as I said, we’re going in the wrong direction, this quick and easy instant anything isn’t actually giving us that feeling, even like an instant friend, I can make an instant friend on Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or whatever it is but that is so much different than meeting with someone in person once a week for many years, to get the depth of connection and maybe eventually community. I feel like there’s a big difference between those two.
A: I think that true connection and that authentic friendship piece, so many people are missing. It’s so much harder in a way now to maybe build that and maybe is sort of the downside of some of the technology that we have. I have a 15-year-old daughter. When I was 15, we might go to a movie or go to the mall and now it really is like, let’s watch a group show on Disney+ and Snapchat each other all night. That’s very, very different.
L: It’s so true. I think in this digital landscape, we are noticing mental health is on the rise and especially loneliness. I think it’s because you’re right there. Girls are choosing to stay home and watch Netflix over going to the movies or going to a restaurant or shopping in person. That real-life experience with, or without other people I think is actually causing more harm than good. Right. So we’re alone, disconnected and we’re very lonely and separate from people. I think the irony is we’re more connected now than any other generation but we are more disconnected. We’re sad, depressed, stressed, and overwhelmed. Something’s gotta change. This is the best I can do. I think in noticing that problem and saying, okay, well, let me write a book. Let me give you ideas, tools, and tips. Maybe you can try some. Try whatever you want. It’s not prescriptive, it’s descriptive. I hope that there is some movement in the positive direction to more connection, meaningful connection, and community.
The Three A’s
A: For the young women or young people in general that are starting to sort of accept I’m at a place where I do feel disconnected and I feel like I’m not sure what my next steps are. What are some of the tools that you’d recommend to get them moving into the, wanting more and accepting more for themselves?
L: Yeah, it’s a good question. So I like to look at it like the three A’s. It’s about acceptance, asking, and action. So I think, first of all, the best and strongest thing we can all do is really accept. This is where I’m at today, without judgment, without criticism, I just call it, standing in truth here. I am maybe I’m not happy. Maybe I’m overwhelmed. Maybe I’m confused. I’m insecure. I feel trapped, whatever it is. Just own that and be with it because I think from truth as if truth is our foundation, then we’re ready to change. If we’re not telling ourselves the truth, we’re avoiding, escaping, and denying. We’re not ready yet. So being able to get to that place, I say it like it’s so simple. This is very hard. But if we can sit in that truth and it might be uncomfortable, it’s so helpful. The next step is really about asking like I encourage girls because I encourage myself to just be really playful and curious. What if I did go back to school? What if I did let go of that friendship, what if I did move cities? Like what if, and we play around with that and it might be uncomfortable but you don’t have to do anything. You’re just playing around. What if I decided to love myself more? Be a little bit braver and start asking for what I need setting firmer boundaries. I just like to ask these questions whenever
I’m in a place, I want to change but I don’t know exactly what that looks like. So I start to ask questions and another question I really like, it’s more of a heavy hitter. I call it, but it’s just asking yourself, what do I really, really, really want? Because I believe we always know we’re just a little bit shy or afraid to, to ask it, but if nothing else answer that question to yourself, right? What is it I really, really want? I really want to travel. I really want to live in a condo. I really want to be married. Like whatever it is. Just say it, just own it. I think that so much positive energy comes from these questions. I really call it like opening up possibilities, your heart, your mind. When we do that when we think with openness. We’re much more likely to then take the next step, which is action. So we can’t just wish things. We can’t just hope I’m a big believer. This book is all about action steps, and it doesn’t matter if they’re tiny, tiny, tiny steps, but whatever it is. So let’s say you decide you’d like to earn a degree. So that’s the goal. Can we reverse-engineer that one? And can we break that down into little steps? When I started my business, I had a list of a hundred things I needed to do to create a business. I really started at ground zero. I listed those hundred things because my philosophy was if I do all hundred things that’s gotta give me something like something’s gonna happen. If nothing else, at least I’ve gone through the process and I knew I would learn a lot from that anyways. So I think that we can do that. We can create little tiny steps. Maybe a step is just research or having a conversation with someone or following someone who’s also gone back to school and earned that degree. Or reading some books about that field, just to make sure that is something that you’re interested in studying, but I found that was extremely powerful to write those steps, to start doing the steps and, on a hard day, I do a really easy step. When I had more energy and more confidence I would do a hard step. So I just really worked my way through it. Oh, the end of the last story is that at the end of the hundred things, I mean, I really did have a business. It worked. But it took time and it was a lot of work, but I think the acceptance and the asking, and then the action is a really good three-step plan.
A: I think sometimes when we set a goal for ourselves and it’s something like going back to school or starting a business, it does seem like this massive thing. So I love the idea of breaking it down to the little steps and also giving yourself the grace and the permission that it’s like if I’m having a bad day or I’m having a week that just has too much, I’m going to do this tiny little thing. Yeah. I also think in your case, that’s so amazing that you did end up with a business and you got to complete your whole goal, have a tangible list that you had at the end to say, this is how I did it. And to have the experience of knowing that you kind of cover your bases but say you had a list and your goal kind of set you on one path. Even just starting in one path, could then also pivot you into a different goal that you didn’t even know that you had but you would’ve never realized if you didn’t just start with something
L: That’s so true. So I try, for the most part, to look at everything as a win-win like, no matter what even if I made this list and no business came of it, I would think that’s really helpful to me because now I know what is not gonna happen. So I can just put that out of my mind. Like maybe it just all felt wrong or it was just too hard or it just didn’t align with me. Like maybe there was negative energy or just too many doors closed. I would be able to then say, okay, I did my best. and that didn’t work like what’s next. I would probably go back to those questions of like, what if, what if I did this instead? Or what if I tried that? I think that that’s also a learning opportunity. Yeah, it took time. I guess you could look at it like, oh, what a waste? I just don’t. My perspective is that nothing is a waste. Everything is just information for us about what to do. What’s next? What feels good? What works, what doesn’t work. My story worked, but that’s not to say every story or every goal is going to work well.
Super Girl Syndrome
A: Sometimes the experience of the journey is just as important as the end destination. We are in an age where perfectionism and this idea of hustle culture is really awarded. A lot of times we’re getting that message to prioritize that.
L: No, I want to talk about perfectionism. Let’s go there. Yeah. So when I work with girls, I definitely notice they’re in like one of two camps but they’re actually the same camp. They’re either perfectionists. They want to do everything all at once. Amazingly, they want to try new things and be the best on the first try. So obviously this is impossible and very unrealistic or they’re in the other camp where they’re like, yeah, I want to be perfect. I want to do great things but it just is so overwhelming, like you said, or I’m never going be as good as so and so, and they start to compare. So I think I just won’t try. And they’re really the same thing. It’s like, we want to achieve our goals. We want to live into that made for more. At the same time, we often feel like we’re just not good enough. We’re not capable, we don’t have the tools. We don’t have the family, we don’t have the money. There are all these things that can get in our way. I really just call this super girl syndrome. I think it’s just so much pressure that society’s putting on us because we’re obviously in that digital culture.
So we’re seeing more messages and hearing more messaging. I think we put it on ourselves a lot of time. I think we internalize this message of women can do it all to mean, we must do it all. And it’s like, no, no, no, they mean you have all these, choices and you can do anything. It doesn’t mean you have to do everything. So when I work with girls, I think one of the things or young women one of the things that we work on is just being able to. Embrace this idea of being perfectly imperfect. Let’s reframe this idea of perfect. We know there’s no such thing. Why don’t we look at it as progress and a process? Instead of the harsh punishment that comes with perfectionism, let’s be, self-compassionate and kind to ourselves along the journey. So it’s not to say we can’t have goals. It’s not to say we can’t achieve what we want, but it is to say that we’re gonna achieve and accomplish as much as we can every day. On our journey, we’re gonna make mistakes. We’re gonna flop and we’re gonna fail and we’re gonna learn and we’re gonna keep going and keep growing. And as we go and as we grow, we’re going to take little pauses. To look back and to celebrate because the thing that young women are not good at is actually giving themselves some credit.
L: So it’s like, let’s remove the cape. Let’s remove the pressure. Perfect. Doesn’t exist. Let’s please stop comparing because it is just so hurtful, whether you’re comparing up to someone or down to someone. So it’s really about this personal journey. Like I said at the beginning, it’s self-discovery and I want it to be gentle and kind at your own pace in your own time, in your own way. I think once we see that as a slow and steady step-by-step journey, the pressure’s off. Again, going back to the list, it’s very important that we take tiny steps, but maybe even. Like teeny tiny steps some days. I always speak like we’re on this journey alone. I should also say that I am not alone. I’m very well supported and I have learned to ask for help. And so maybe on this journey of breaking down perfectionism and achieving, we also remember that. We are supposed to ask for help. We are supposed to celebrate with people. We’re supposed to share our ideas and maybe get some feedback, get some support as we need it. And to really live in a circle of support so that we feel like we’re not alone. And we feel like we are surrounding ourselves with those people who are going to encourage us, support us and maybe sometimes challenge us and definitely champion us. This is what we want to surround ourselves with and I think that just changes this idea of whoa, there’s so much pressure on me but no, the pressure’s gone, I’m going to move. I’m going to take those steps and I’m going to move forward no matter what.
A: That is so important too. That community aspect of it is so huge because I think a lot of the times, again, we feel like it’s just us and we put this pressure on ourselves because of like outwardly messages, whether it’s society or whatever, telling us again, quote unquote, should but it’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to not be an expert. It’s okay to look for a mentor. I think it’s okay to fail. So like that perfectionist, it’s like, we forget that success is not this straight line. We’re really kind of going in loops and we might take a couple of steps back and we might take a couple of steps forward. If we try our hardest and what we really want doesn’t end up being what we think it’s going to look like or what we think it’s going to be, it’s okay to say this changed or it’s okay for your idea to become something new. It doesn’t mean that you failed. It just means that it wasn’t what it was meant to be.
L: Yeah, maybe the word instead of failure is flexible. Like how flexible can we be? Someone said this the other day. I cannot remember if it was a podcast or a book, but we often ask how did I succeed today? Or, what was the best part of my day, maybe a better question is how did I fail today? Because it’s through that question that we’re like digging deep and thinking, okay, like that wasn’t the right choice or the best choice, or I made a mistake but then we’re learning so much from that. Because I think we do learn more from our failures than from our successes. It’s not to say don’t celebrate and give yourself credit, but I think it’s also balancing it out with how did I fail because that really opens the intention up to let’s expect it and learn from it instead of fearing it or avoiding it or playing it safe because we don’t want to make that mistake. It’s like, no let’s flip it. Like I tell young women and girls, I make so many mistakes a day and I’m so proud of that because through those mistakes I’m going to learn and that helps me with tomorrow a lot. I’ve made about a hundred mistakes today.
The Opposite Of Failure is Flexible
A: I think owning up to it and laughing about it and having sort of that, it happens mentality helps us remove the guilt from it because I think a lot of the time we really internalize things that really are out of our control. But to make it seem like it’s something that we should have had control of or should have gone differently and then it manifests into something that it really doesn’t need to be. Whereas if we are really open with ourselves and open with others, hey, I totally oops on this thing over there. Or, ugh, I failed so hard at this than other people, I feel like it gives them the flexibility or the freedom to be like, oh yeah, me too. I totally did that. It doesn’t mean that either person is bad or that they messed up terribly but it gives everybody permission just to be authentic with each other.
L: I love that. I’m reading “Fierce Self-compassion” by Kristen Neff. She talks about the three elements of self-compassion kindness, be kind to yourself, mindfulness, and just be aware of when you’re cutting yourself down or you need something and you’re maybe not giving yourself what you need. And the third part is what you’re saying is common humanity. When you make a mistake, maybe the first thing that you should think is I’m sure I’m not the first person who’s done this. I’m sure many people have done this too and if you can even just sit with yourself in that moment, I think you release any guilt or shame if we hang onto that guilt. I think we also then are much more willing to take the next step, which is just to share. This is what happened to me today. I made the oops. I made the mistake. I had poor judgments and you are almost always gonna be met with me too. or at least that that makes sense. That’s pretty common. I think that just makes us authentic, like you said, human, this is what I mean by perfectly imperfect. We are not designed to be perfect. We’re very flawed. We’re going to hurt and disappoint and make poor lifestyle choices. The best thing we can do is accept it and be gentle and then just decide to do better. Just change. That’s the beauty of life, but the harshness has got to go.
A: The harshness does need to go and we are so harsh on each other and end up trying to live to standards that Instagram (which is very fake) tries to make us seem like we should look like a filter. You should live in a perfectly clean house all the time, all these different things. But I would imagine like some of the things that we’ve talked about, especially for girls or young women, would almost be challenging for them to fully be able to grasp a hundred percent of all of these concepts, just from the sort of neuroscience of it with their brains, not being fully developed of not necessarily understanding I guess the risk factors in a way of knowing it’s okay, that I’m not super harsh on myself because, I saw on this app, this person did it that way of just really having that frontal cortex of knowing it’s okay. This is how I make a decision, and this is how I can pivot differently in the future.
L: That’s a really good point. The best way we can help girls through some of these mistakes that they make, where they don’t often think through it, right? They don’t have the ability to see the consequences or think about the big picture or have perspective. I think that really comes down to relationships with girls of all ages and stages where we are really cultivating that connection, building that safe space, where we can say, hey I want you to come to me with anything. I want you to lower that mask. I want you to put away those shoulds, take off the cape and just show up as yourself. I will see you and hear you and validate your experience and give you the empathy and understanding that you need. Because I think with the rise of social media, The fact that most girls are on their phones by themselves in this lonely world. I think they’re often going to turn inwards instead of sharing those stories. If we really reaffirm, like here we are, we’re here for you, come to us. And that relationship is a priority. They’re much more likely to share, and then we can talk it out and we can help them or problem solve or troubleshoot or whatever it is so that they then can learn for next time. But I think the problem is those conversations are becoming less frequent. So girls are either not talking or they’re turning on themselves, which can lead to high anxiety and depression sometimes, or they’re self-harming or they’re going to influencers on social media or friends who might not have the wisdom we’ll say, of a mentor or a parent. This is what I wrote about in Growing Strong Girls. It’s this foundational practice of cultivating connection, which I’m never going to say is easy because maybe she doesn’t wanna talk to you or, it’s just really hard to make that time, but I’m still going to say I think this is important. Very important, like life-saving and game-changing important. So I think we all can do that. That’s the challenge for us all.
A: If you’re a teenager or your kids are, you know, not open to it’s kind of not pestering them, but it’s also creating space and situations where maybe it’s at the dinner table and you’re having no phones. Let’s start talking about a show and maybe the show will lead to a conversation about what happened in your day or what’s happening with your friend group but just creating space so I think to have those conversations.
L: It comes down to intentionality, right? I often tell parents, we can say, get off your phones and we can say, let’s try to be present. As you said, let’s jump into that feeling or that conversation and put everything else going on in our lives and in our minds, on the shelf for a few minutes. and I think that we really have to be that positive power of example because I think often we’re saying let’s have a conversation but we’re on our phones. Just doing that one last email. And that’s not, that’s a little bit confusing, to be honest, but that’s not what we want. We want a mutually agreed upon time when the phones go away. I love what you said. Like it’s not necessarily staring into each other’s eyes and saying, how are you feeling? Cause that that might not work and that might be uncomfortable, but I love the idea of side chat. Like, let’s go for a walk and chit chat, or let’s go. I like to say, follow their interest. Maybe they want to go to a movie or the mall, or maybe they just want to watch TV and something will happen, right? These are like magical moments but we are really being intentional about setting the opportunity. It may or may not happen but at least that safe space is there. And you’re saying here I am. I think it’s very possible but I think that it’s not about finding the time, it’s really about making it. We have to make it.
A: Especially as we’re heading back into school mode and Fall where our schedules do tend to be a little bit busier. I think it is choosing the moments and choosing how to start the conversation. Like, I don’t know about you, but if my daughter gets in the car and I’m like how’s school, that’s not necessarily going to lead to, oh my gosh this happened and that happened. It’s like, Ugh, school. Like I just survived the day and now I don’t want to talk about it. Where if I’m like, oh, that person, you know, has a really cute outfit, while we’re driving home. And what do you think of their backpack and kind of pivot around even sometimes the simplest thing where it doesn’t feel like we’re searching for information. Because I think sometimes teens do tend to be more guarded and are thinking, why are they trying to talk to me about this? What do they think they know? Having those kinds of conversations where they feel like we maybe are out to get information other than just having a conversation and a connection.
On Kids Also Needing Decompression Time
L: So true. They think we’re the police, right? It’s interrogation and that’s when you get the fine. Good. Yep. And then they’ll pull out their phone and you’re thinking, ugh, that was nothing. I didn’t get anything. I often ask, how was your day or how was school? Well, those are not great questions because they’re very predictable and they can often just answer fine, good. We obviously want more, we want the conversation to go somewhere. Sometimes I just try to work on the creativity aspect of asking questions because I think we just get more like sometimes I will ask what were a few highlights of your day and that could be anything that she did. That was good. It’s not necessarily the math test that she was taking that day. So sometimes I think that helps, or I say is there anything on your mind, like what’s causing you to stress right now? Or I might say, what did you do that was brave today? What are you thankful for today? Are there a few things that you were just really grateful for? Like maybe they worked out, they went your way and I just tried to switch it up. Another tool that I’ve learned is when there is a connection, like maybe in the morning drive, she thinks she’s really nervous about a presentation. Then when she comes in the car, it’s like, oh, how is that presentation? I think that just shows that we were listening and that we really care and that we’re remembering, we’re sort of doing the circling back to the thing that would be on her mind, where I know you were gonna talk to so and so, and you really wanted to work out, the conflict, like how did that conversation go? Or, you know, tell me about it. If we don’t get much, sometimes I just say, tell me more. I’d love to hear some details and we try to get it and then I think we have to work on just being quiet because I could say to you what were a few highlights of your day? And if you say, I don’t know, then I could say, okay, after school, we’re gonna do this, this, and this. Well, maybe she just needed some time to think. Maybe if we just waited. Sometimes, I will say to my clients, like, I’m just gonna give you a few minutes. And I just wait, which is so awkward. I don’t have very much patience in conversation, so I like to talk or go onto something else, but I just wait, and sometimes it comes and it’s great. Like the really good stuff comes out when we wait.
A: That silence can be very awkward. I think I’m the same way that I look to fill the space. But sometimes it also is, like you said, giving them a minute to decompress at the end of my workday I don’t necessarily want to rethink it all, or even necessarily have the capacity to think it, all that it’s like taking that 10- 15 minutes really checking in with yourself, having a quiet moment, being able to really have that mindfulness to be like, okay, boom. I can switch to home mode. School mode is behind me. I had a math test that sucked and I had a really good burger at lunch or all the different things. I think giving them the space to take their space is really important too.
L: I just thought of something. Thank you for saying that because we forget that a school day is incredibly hard and tiring. So, yes, they’re learning. So that’s draining, they’re dealing with all the social stuff, the social scene, and they’re trying to figure themselves out, how does this feel for me? What am I thinking about? They’re managing all their stress. So they get in the car. And the first thing they’re asked to do is to think and to talk and they’re literally depleted. So I just wanted this idea. It might be smarter for us to let them go on their phones. That’s usually how they like to decompress, like, yeah. So go on your phone or just listen to some music. Like maybe we can just ask them what it is they wanna do. And then say, let me know, what time you’d like to have our check and talk, and then they can decide that gives them some choice, which they often don’t have during the school day, so many of my students just wanna go in their rooms and chill and their parents are so offended because they wanna talk. And I think, no, no, no. They’re just decompressing. They’re just coming down from the day they’re processing. They’re trying to like get some energy back and they do believe it or not want to talk to us. So maybe it should just be a little bit later so we can still have the conversation, but I think it’s not always on our time. I think that’s very humbling for us. It’s when they’re ready. But it doesn’t mean the conversation doesn’t happen. I think that’s important. It’s not like, oh, well she’s on her phone. And then, you know, we get busy and that’s it. We never talk. I think that’s not what I’m saying at all. I’m just saying decide upon some time and guaranteed she’s probably going to show up for that conversation and maybe even look forward to it, but it’s kind of following her rhythm, right? I think that might be a better strategy.
A: The rise of helicopter parenting or parents being so overly involved in their kids, that I think sometimes we do have a tendency to get offended over things that kids aren’t trying to offend us with. I think it’s like removing the feeling that it’s a personal thing. Like if your kid is okay, feeling just overwhelmed and they just want like 10 minutes to themselves for the car ride home, it doesn’t mean that they’re mad at you. It doesn’t mean that you failed as a parent. It just means, just like us at the end of our work day, they need a minute. I think it sometimes just remembering when we were younger and our parents were annoying or our parents were too much at once. It’s like if we fought back and just needed that space, I don’t remember ever feeling like, ugh, my mom is the worst or it’s just like, Ugh, give me a second. It’s just giving them the flexibility and the freedom and taking that personal attack vibe out of it.
L: I agree a hundred percent. I think maybe this can all be worked out with the conversation about what that means for you and your daughter. Like it’s gonna be different because I should say some girls jump into the car and they want to talk about everything and maybe that depends on her day and her mood and because we have technology and it can be really wonderful for this. Maybe there’s some kind of system like at two o’clock we do a check-in talk and it’ll be like what do you want the pickup to look like today? Do you want to chat? Do you want to go for a coffee? Do you want quiet time? Then she gets to choose and then it’s very clear. It’s like we’re on the same page. I think we can get offended because we have an expectation. That we are gonna ask a question and she’s gonna tell us. When she doesn’t, we’re thinking that I am a terrible parent and that’s the wrong conclusion. I think it’s maybe just more communication about what’s going to work for you and her on that day, knowing that every day is probably going to be different.
A: I love your suggestion of checking in with your kids. What’s your mood like today? What are you feeling? I think it’s really, like you said, just having that connection piece and having those conversations and not making assumptions.
L: So true. Sometimes it’s about planting seeds. So it’s like, hey, I’m so excited for, eight o’clock. We’re gonna watch our show. We’re gonna watch the movie. She has time. Then she has a couple of hours, like, as I said, they really need consistency and they really need those little times to look forward to. I don’t think we have to evaluate every single time it’s going to be this deep heart-to-heart. I think it is what it’s. Sometimes there are going to be deep conversations sometimes not, but presence is huge. Just someone sitting beside them on a couch is a pretty big deal. That feels good. That de-stresses them. That builds a sense of safety and security, and they need that as they go back into that “battlefield” called school.
On Bold New Girls and Brave New Boys
A: Exactly. Can you tell us a little bit about what “Bold New Girls” and “Brave New Boys” is?
L: Yeah. So when I was writing my list of a hundred things to start a company, I was also trying to be very honest with myself about what it is I wanted to do. Like what mattered most to me. I ran into a conflict because I am an educator. That’s what I studied. I love teaching specifically. I like teaching process and procedure. So not necessarily math skills, but how to break down a question and work through it and manage your stress and really break tasks into those pieces and how to study and how to think. And I just think that that’s so fundamental to any learning. So it doesn’t matter what the subject is. But I also loved having conversations about everything else, everything to do with growing up girl or growing up boy. So I love talking about confidence and bravery and friendship and social media and body image and pressure and perfectionism. And all of this always came up in conversations anyways. I thought my having to decide is really almost following the societal method. That is one or the other, like pick a category, pick a field, pick a niche. These are the messages we get. I was so happy for the realization that I can do both. It is my company. Why can’t I have this hybrid model where yeah, I’m trained in education, and that it’s very empowering to learn school skills, but I think it’s equally empowering to learn life skills, that was an important part too. So I really merged them together. Most of my work is mom. One with mostly girls, “Brave New Boys” is a little bit newer and it’s about like 25% of my company. But I really just meet with these kids weekly. I create programs that are customized around their learning and their interests and their goals. I like to ask them what they want to work on and if they don’t know, I’ll make some suggestions, but I really like to meet them where they’re at and I like to teach them skills. I also like to have conversations with them. I can’t tell you how much joy I feel to really be able to do so much in an hour. Like every hour is very different and it’s like, we have different conversations and different activities, but I like to feel that they should always leave better than when they arrived. That they should leave feeling hopeful and happy and inspired and engaged because they’re not having a lot of one-on-one conversations. I’m glad to be that person and I encourage them and support them and champion them. So that’s really what it’s become. Just one-on-one coaching, teaching, mentoring, whatever they need it to be. That sounds like it’s maybe flaky or unplanned. There’s definitely a plan in place but it’s very fluid and very flexible based on how they’re doing.
A: That flexibility is really important because like we had talked about, you really need to meet them where they are that day and again, if the vibe is one thing and your lesson plan is different then it doesn’t become as valuable for either
L: That’s true because I’ve tried. I think part of my growth is letting go of my agenda. You know, I need to teach X, Y, and Z and I would force it sometimes. I would just realize this isn’t going anywhere. This isn’t what they need. They’re so stressed about someone who texted them, something they don’t understand. That’s what we need to be talking about. I’m not a flexible person. That’s the truth. I’m quite rigid and quite disciplined. I’ve just learned, like, I have to be flexible that took a little bit of time, but it’s okay. You know, not following my agenda is the best thing sometimes because they are at the center of this circle that I’m on the periphery of. I had to really check myself but I think that’s now become one of my strengths is to be able to meet them where they’re at.
A: I think it’s to know, this is my skill set. This is what I’m good at but again having the confidence of knowing, okay. But I can’t always force this situation. And I think that’s really great that you have the ability to have that self-awareness of knowing this is how I am. But maybe if I stepped outside of my comfort zone, this is what could be fantastic, where I think sometimes we tend to wanna stay boxed up and we don’t necessarily want to accept, change, or accept that there is a better, a different way to do it.
L: Yeah. That maybe goes back to connection too. I can feel when the next is there and they feel seen and heard and validated and I could feel where I’ve lost them. They’re zoned out or they’re upset or silent or something. I also was able to follow my intuition and my sense, which was really important too. You just reminded me of something. I have to also say I can’t do everything. I am talented and I have passions and interests, but there have been sometimes when I do feel that what they’re telling me and what they’re needing is beyond my skill set. This is especially true when it comes to any mental health concerns that are not just stress and anxiety from a busy life or some school struggles, it’s stress and anxiety. That’s like depression. That is maybe even suicidal ideation or self-harm or eating disorders. I can talk about it, but as I’ll tell them. I definitely feel like we need to invite someone else into this conversation and team. I think being able to recognize our limitations is really important too. I would love to be an expert in everything, but I’m not. Sometimes we need to bring in a medical doctor or I’m not as experienced yet. Like gender fluidity. And so I’m happy to talk about it I like to think I provide a very safe space and a non-judgment place for them to express themselves. But I think that’s also an area that I like to bring in other people into that conversation.
A: I think that’s huge too, allowing maybe the ego to be removed from it and acknowledging that yeah, as much as we would love to be experts in all things. And as much as Google makes us feel like we are, that it is important that we have to have other people and that it is great to be able to create a community of resources saying, I can’t help you, but this psychologist would be great or this nutritionist or whatever the case may be. And I do appreciate that there is a safe space for LGBT2QIA people that are needing that because there are not enough safe places and resources. I find for people to be open to having those conversations with everybody.
L: So true and sometimes then my job morphs into something different, but also important. And that is helping them with the language of asking for different help or sharing what they’ve told me with mom and dad, or a close family friend. I really, really love scripting and role-playing because I think it can be very hard to find the words. It can be very scary to speak truth and they really like to practice it because it obviously lowers stress. I think it prepares them and it makes them feel like they’re in charge and they have a voice that is such an amazing way to build confidence and inner strength and, that becomes our session. So now I’m not the expert, that’s going to be able to teach you about your eating disorder or your bipolar diagnosis but I am the person who will help you have conversations in asking for help or setting boundaries or explaining things to people that might need to understand a little bit more about you. These are all win-win because I love that part too.
A: I imagine that would be huge for them with their frontal cortex, not being developed, being able to act it out and seeing how it could play out, I think would be huge on having them actually take that action.
L: Yep. They’ll often just get stuck in that worst-case scenario. It’s like, it might be the worst or it might actually be pretty good and you might feel a sense of relief. And so I think you’re right. It’s definitely positive to be able to get them to practice and to embody it. This is what it feels like. Also to not expect a response, we don’t know how people are going to respond. So sometimes we just get ready for all different kinds of responses and all of them really you can handle because, at the end of the day, it’s not about the response. It’s about the courage to say what you need to. We can’t control that stuff. I mean, I’ve tried, but it doesn’t work. So what we need to do is really remind them that it’s about the speaking up. It’s about sharing it’s about being able to verbalize and experience or ask for help or whatever it is, and to feel really good about that, regardless of how it plays out.
A: Are your programs in person or are they online or are they a combination of both?
L: Yeah, they’re a combination of both. Thanks for asking. So it was mostly in person before COVID and then it became all Zoom and now it’s really settling into a hybrid model. I do try to prioritize in person for all the reasons that we’ve talked about but now I have some clients that do not live anywhere near me. So that is impossible. So then at least I think, oh, thank goodness we have Zoom. And for some of them just life happens, right? Sometimes people have colds or they’re too busy or they have an appointment and they can’t get to me in time and so Zoom was a great option.
A: What a glow-up Zoom has had in the last three years.
L: I know. Had we only invested right? Yeah.
Connect with Lindsay
A: Can you tell people where they can find information about your programs?
L: Yep. Everything they need to know from the programs to the books is at my website, Lindsay Sealey dot com and they can also follow me on social media at bold new girl.
A: Perfect. Well, thank you so much for having this conversation with me today.
L: Thank you. I really enjoyed it. This was great. Thank you,