340: Shayna Bergman—What Could A Great Personal Coach Help You Discover About Your Inner Self?

Hear how to identify your values and live them every day

Today you will meet Shayna Bergman, a terrific executive leadership coach with big ideas to help you find your way during these challenging times of change. Her goal is to empower you to unlock your personal potential. Shayna specializes in helping people achieve deeper meaning and fulfillment in their personal and professional lives through authentic leadership and clarity of purpose. She believes, as do I, that you have to have a purpose-driven life. There has to be something that really motivates and drives you, a North Star. Need help finding yours? Listen in!

Watch and listen to our conversation here

Shayna video
What is the purpose that you’re living toward?

With a focus on parents in executive and leadership positions, Shayna challenges her clients to look deeply at themselves by reflecting on their values, dreams, limiting beliefs and inner critics. She then helps them create an action plan that inspires breakthroughs and leads to sustainable change. Shayna’s most successful clients are those who are dedicated to evolving their best selves and fostering that growth in others.

You can connect with Shayna on LinkedIn or her website. 

For more guidance on living a purpose-driven life, try these:

Additional resources for you

Read the transcript of our podcast here

Andi Simon: Welcome to On the Brink With Andi Simon. Hi, I’m Andi Simon. And as you know, I’m your host and your guide. I’m also an author of two award winning books, and you might want to read them to learn more about how I help people change. My podcast, though, is dedicated to bringing you very interesting people, people who are going to help you do what I want you to do: see, feel and think in new ways because that’s the only way you change. You decide with your eyes and your heart, so how do they make you feel? And if they make you feel really cool, you’re going to listen carefully and begin to think about how this person can help me change. Change is something your brain hates, trust me.

So today I have Shayna Bergman with us. And Shayna is an absolutely wonderful woman who’s here to help you understand how to balance life. I’m not going to talk about work-life balance. The pandemic has told us there is no thing called work-life balance. That’s just life. And we work in it and we take care of family with it and we take care of parents with it. Let me read her resume a little bit and then she’ll tell you about her story.

Shana is a passionate, results-oriented coach who empowers motivated individuals to unlock their potential. She has a proven track record of helping people achieve deeper meaning and fulfillment in their personal and professional lives. She does it through authentic leadership and clarity of purpose. We’re going to talk a lot about a purpose-driven life today. Because at the end of the day, it probably should be the first thing you think about.

With a focus on executive and leadership positions, Shana challenges her clients to look deeply at themselves by reflecting on their values, their dreams, and limiting their beliefs and inner critics. You know who’s talking to you. Remember, your brain runs faster. You’re thinking all the time, you’re thinking all night long. And then you have a conversation. It wasn’t what you were thinking anyhow, and what happens next? She challenges her clients to really look deeply at themselves. And that’s what we’re going to do today.

She helps them create an action plan that inspires breakthroughs, and leads to sustainable change. And she and I both know that’s not easy. That’s about all I’m going to share with you about Shayna because I want her to tell you her story and it is much richer than anything I can read. And then we’re going to get into what she does to help you, parents, or even those prospective parents to understand how to balance life and have one that fulfills you, at the same time you have many of the things that you think are important, and don’t ditch one for another. And make sure you have the right room and collaborators, partners to help you get there. Shayna, thank you for being with me today.

Shayna Bergman: Thanks for having me on, Andi.

Andi Simon: Can you tell our listeners and our viewers who Shayna is, what’s your journey been like?

Shayna Bergman: Yes, so my journey toward this life started at a very early age, earlier than most people probably could even guess. And it started when I was three years old. And the reason it started when I was three is because my parents used to take me and my brother on road trips in our 1985 Oldsmobile station wagon. And we’d be sitting in the car, and I would want to be listening to Raffi, the children’s singer who used to sing “Baby Beluga,” and instead, my parents would be listening to Tony Robbins. And they were listening to Tony Robbins because they were building a dental practice and they really found him to be quite motivational.

So from a very, very early age, I was hearing all about motivation and believing in yourself and how we can get in our own way. And after hearing those tapes at the time, and then hearing the CDs through the years, and then hearing my parents’ dinner table conversation, I really found great passion and understanding how people ticked and how they got in their way of really reaching their fullest potential. And so I took a journey toward the side of HR. And I figured, well, if I could, if I believe in this, I could really help people from the side of human resources.

And so I went to GW to get my bachelor’s degree in communications with a focus on organizational sciences and French. I then transitioned to NYU for my masters where I got my HR leadership management and development degree with a focus and executive coaching. And I was working in the world of corporations, everything from startups to multi-billion dollar companies.

In that way, I was able to learn how I could help and motivate people from the side of human resources and being a strategic business partner. And yet I knew still that there was more I had in me that I hadn’t yet tapped into and I knew I wanted to go the route of executive and leadership coaching. And I also knew I needed to have the experience that I had lived to have the ability to talk to my clients head-to-head to really understand what it was that they’re going through and to say I’ve lived it myself.

So, I eventually sort of woke up to “the time is now” and I went and got my certification in executive leadership coaching, as well as in core dynamics and leadership focus, and basically transitioned that into having my own practice. And so now, I work one-on-one with leaders. I do workshops, I do podcasts and I speak. And that’s really sort of how I got to where I am now. And being able to partner with parents who are in executive and leadership roles.

Andi Simon: I can hear a little Tony Robbins still coming through.

Shayna Bergman: There’s probably a lot of that. Yeah, I think so.

Andi Simon: Because you know, the stories that we hear, change our minds, and even as a child, they were forming in your mind view of the world, and how to mobilize it, and inspire it and succeed within it. And it’s a very interesting history that you have. And I can’t tell you how many women told me their most important person in their lives was their mother, and the stories that she told.

But as you’re thinking about this, you became who you are. And that served as a foundation for helping others. Where are women today, as we come out of the pandemic? Are you seeing the patterns changing? Are the challenges that your clients and others listening here are facing, different? I mean, I can truly share mine, but I’d love you to share what you’re seeing, and how can that help them begin to understand that the times have changed? We’re not going back to what it was. You might have liked it, but you don’t remember it, really. And now you’re going to try and figure out what’s next and what is my purpose. What do you see?

Shayna Bergman: Yeah, so I think that there’s been an awakening. I think during the pandemic, people, women, mothers in particular, as they were schooling their children, changing diapers, leading meetings, whatever it is that they’re doing, I think that they realized that something’s got to give, and that the way that we were living life before is going to lead to burnout. It’s living a life that somebody else has laid out for you, and not necessarily the life that maybe they wanted. And I lived that myself during the pandemic. So I know that story very well.

And yet, I think that while that awakening happened, I am now seeing with my clients this return to a little bit of what was its expectations to be back in the office, expectations to be burning the midnight oil, expectations to be connected all the time because we can. And so I think that the tension that was there pre-pandemic escalated to an awareness during the pandemic. And I think now it’s reached an all-time high, where people are now really saying, something’s gotta give.

And so I think people now have a chance to change the trajectory of their lives. We wake up every day with a choice. And I think people are realizing that they have that with them. And I think, in some cases, that’s very scary. And they’re trying to figure out, what do I do with all these feelings that I’m having, that I was sort of on this hamster wheel before and now I’m realizing I have a chance to step off. What do I do with that?

Andi Simon: Well that requires us to take a look in the mirror and begin to ask, who am I now, and what is my identity? It’s a journey. And so we made it through the pandemic, hopefully, I hope. And now we’re looking at others pulling us back to what they thought was the way to be. We have some choices and now we have the dilemma of the paradox of choice. Barry Schwartz wrote a great book on the paradox of choice. And that too many choices make us immobilized. We can’t make any choices. So do you have a process to help people begin to sort out the options and how to make the right choices for the next stage? Is there a framework or is it just a hope?

Shayna Bergman: Yeah, that’s a great question. And I love the book, The Paradox of Choice. I love that book. It was so before its time. So it was better. So here’s what I would say: Yes, I have a framework. And it also differs from person to person. Here’s where I would say I go generally. So I think it’s important to take a person and help them understand where am I today. What is it that I’m dealing with? What am I experiencing? What is and isn’t working? What are the things that I bring to the table that I want more of? What do I want to be saying yes to and where can I be saying no? What are the obstacles and the roadblocks that are getting in my way on a regular basis?

So I think that’s first. I think, second is figuring out where I want to go. What am I looking for? That’s different, and I think a lot of people think they want more, they want bigger, they want better. And I think a lot of people now, post-pandemic, realize that maybe that’s not quite the perspective they want to have. Maybe it’s just different and different is better. And so it’s really figuring out, and I think of it like a map, where am I today? Where do I want to go? And then we discuss how we are going to get there.

And that is the piece that’s highly customizable and varies person to person. Because there are some people who are ready to jump, they don’t care what risks they’re going to take. They just know that they want to make a change, and they want somebody to hold their hand as they jump out of the plane. And then I have other people without a parachute. And I have a lot of people that say, No, no, please, I don’t want to do it, I’m not ready. But they know something has to happen. And so for those people, we spend a lot more time peeling back the onion, and really trying to get at the root of what’s getting in the way.

And there are all kinds of things that get in our way, whether it’s the limiting beliefs we have, whether it’s the stories we’re telling ourselves, whether it’s the things that we interpret a certain way or maybe just our perspective, or maybe it’s the inner critic that we have. But this is what creates obstacles and keeps us stuck. And now we can wish and hope that some stars are going to fall upon us and things are going to change. And maybe that happens once in a blue moon, but, the reality is, things aren’t going to change unless you start to take bold action. And sometimes it’s imperfect action. But without that, you’re not going to change at all.

Andi Simon: So I’m a corporate anthropologist and a culture change expert, as I tell my listeners, who specializes in helping organizations and the people inside them change. And whether it’s an organization or an individual, the brain hates me. It creates all kinds of cortisol, the amygdala hijacks new ideas, even if the old ones aren’t working. And I say that to our listeners so that you understand, it’s not personal. Your human evolution has allowed you to thrive because of the stories that are in your mind that you believe to be your truth. It’s an illusion of what’s real. But once you have them in there, that’s the way it is now, you’re not happy.

Shayna is working with you saying, what do you want more of or less of, and you know it, but you need a process or a framework to begin to take a look at what makes you high while shallow, so that you have a process for beginning to think about what you’re going to do less, what you’re never going to change, what you’re going to stop, and what you’re going to start, which is the most off-putting part. I’m not going to say it’s scary, but it’s unfamiliar.

And that’s where I love Oprah and her small wins, a step at a time, and that’s where you begin to try things, test them. You’re going to have to break old stories and create new ones. And it becomes a real good thing to have a coach to help you think out loud. How do you first make them take a look at who they are? Can you share a little bit more about what happens next?

Shayna Bergman: Yes, absolutely. And I’ll talk a little bit more about that first piece, because I do something that’s really special. I do what’s called the ELA, the Energy Leadership Index Assessment. And it’s basically a test that allows somebody, if they answer questions truthfully, to understand what their energy is like on a regular day. So what happens to their engagement, what happens to their motivation, what happens to how they show up day to day when the day is good, and things are going in their favor. And then it also spits out basically what happens to them when they’re stressed on a bad day, and how their motivation and their engagement and how they show up is impacted when under stress.

And it’s a starting point for us, especially because people are not always self-aware. Some are but not everybody. But it’s a starting point for us to have a conversation around what works for you. And then, how are you hijacked. How was your brain hijacked? And everybody is different, everybody’s test comes out different, but it creates a conversation. And what it also does is, it creates education and a language for me and my clients to share, where basically we discuss the seven levels of energy, that they have one being sort of the lowest level of energy that’s not working for you where you’re in high stress, all the way up to the seventh level of energy, which we would consider to be extremely high consciousness, high choice.

And it allows us to be able to have this awareness of what’s happening to me in this particular situation, and what level am I at? What level do I want to be at? And what is it going to take to get there? And so it really breaks down in a much more tangible way the steps that somebody can start to take, speaking to the small steps that you just mentioned, that Oprah talks about.

And you know, a journey begins with a single step, that concept for them to understand how they can safely dip their toe into something that might feel a little bit new and a little bit scary. And as you know from studies of the brain, our brains have deep grooves that are habits. That’s how we react and how we respond to certain situations.

And it takes those little minute tiny steps time after time after time to start to create a new groove in the brain. It’s like building muscle. You don’t go lifting 500 pounds, you start with one pound and you lift one pound until that feels lighter. And then you go to two pounds. I do the same thing with my clients, it’s little steps. And like I said, some make bigger leaps than others in different amounts of time. It varies across the board. But whatever it is, is normal for you. It’s not good or bad. It’s normal.

Andi Simon: Yeah, it’s interesting because in so many ways, women have achieved enormous success. You know, 60% of college graduates are women, more than half the doctors are women, half of dentists are women. 65% of the accountants are women. 40% of the attorneys are women. I could go on. We haven’t quite moved up into the C-suite or into the partnership yet. And in some places, the women are the worker bees, while the men are the managers, I get that. On the other hand, a guide path to a happy life has been missing.

And for both my clients and yours, there’s no college degree to a happy life. There’s no really early training on how to assess what’s working and what is not. And consequently, we get these words like burnout, depression, anxiety, the amount of pills that are taken to quiet the mind, that’s telling you, this isn’t where you should be. But, there’s no training on how to be.

And I actually met a guy who’s a vigorous and happy coach. And he has a book, So I’m Happiness. I said, oh my goodness, we have to actually teach happiness. Will we know it when we find it?

In a way, as you’re guiding the folks, do they go through a transformation? I couldn’t agree with you more. You know, our brains are habit driven. And they’re perfectly happy doing the old habits in a very efficient way, and they really don’t want to learn something new. But as you’re rooming with them, when do they have that epiphany I always think of that aha moment when they go, “Ah, that’s what’s going to work.” I love it when they do it!

Shayna Bergman: I do love those aha breakthrough moments. And I think those are sparks of joy. Because we are also our bodies. And you know, being human, we do love development. We love changing. We love evolution, that’s something that we seek. And it is those little sparks, this little “A-ha!” that creates that growth like, “Ooh, I learned something new. I succeeded at something,” big or small.

And I really try to stop and celebrate those moments with my clients when they have that realization, or they did something that felt bold, to let them know, Yes, you can do it. And you can keep going. And sometimes it takes us sort of looking backwards and saying, Well, when have you done something like that in the past? Take me through that. And a lot of times, we forget that we’ve overcome big barriers and challenges before, maybe we didn’t see it that way. We didn’t think about it. But some of the work I do with my clients is realizing you’ve actually done this before. So you can do it again. And I think it’s through that journey, that some of that joy starts to come out a little bit in those moments of growth.

And the growth happens in the times of being uncomfortable. It doesn’t happen when things are status quo. You know, yes, there’s joy and comfort. There’s joy in knowing what you can expect. But the excitement comes when there’s something new that’s happening. And I like to think about it almost like a roller coaster. It’s like, you have that steady climb upwards, and you’re nervous about what is going to be on the other side. And then there’s joy, and there’s laughter as you’re taking the twists and turns and the ups and the downs. That is part of the experience. And you and I really believe you can’t have joy without moments of sadness. I think the two have to go hand in hand in order to be able to experience them. And I think they all serve a purpose.

And so if you think about touching a hot stove, it hurts. And that makes you move your hand. It’s the same thing when you have sadness, or you have anger or you have frustration, that emotion is giving you a cue to know what to do next. And so I think that all of those things serve in some way, but it’s just learning how to read them and how to know what to do with them.

Andi Simon: It’s a whole language and it’s so fascinating. I was interviewing someone earlier today. We’re writing my third book, and it’s called Women Mean Business. And that should come out September 2023. But in that interview, she made a good point: Watch out for the balance. It’s the imbalance that propels you forward. And that’s what you’re saying. Because when everything seems fine, the status quo is good. You are going to become complacent. And that complacency is going to keep you from seeing what’s possible, and where you’re going.

Now, you and I could talk a great deal about this. I want to talk more about purpose and a purpose-driven life, purpose-driven companies. It’s become almost a cliche, but I think it is an extremely important and missing part of having a life worth living. What do you see?

Shayna Bergman: Yeah, I totally agree. And I know having come from the last company I was at, especially as we’re hiring and bringing in new people, we’re seeing, especially with this generation, this desire not to just work and make money, but to do something that is for a bigger purpose for the greater good. This warms my heart, because I think that has been lacking where everything has been only bottom line driven. And yes, that is a component of business, right? But if you know that there’s some greater purpose to what it is that you’re doing and what your company is doing, I think it does create this feeling of fulfillment and that there is more to your life.

But I do believe you have to have a purpose-driven life. There has to be something that really motivates and drives you. And I think a lot of people will go back to the hamster wheel. They’re on this hamster wheel, and they don’t even know what it is that they care about anymore because they’re going through the motions. To partner with somebody, with a coach in particular, who’s going to ask you powerful questions that allow you to reflect and to really touch base with what it is that you care about deeply, what your values are, what drives you, what gets you out of bed in the morning, to me, that is what creates that life of fulfillment and that life of purpose.

But so many of us have just gotten caught up and wake up, go to work, get the kids fed, give them a bath, get to bed, do it again the next day, that we’ve lost sight of what that is. And so I think it’s got to be at the forefront of what it is that you’re doing and who you are. And to me, that’s the North Star. That’s how you decide.

Everything that you do in your life is in my mind living toward whatever my particular purpose is, and maybe it changes, but to not have anything that you’re working for and just to be getting to the next day, which I hear a lot of — I just want to get to the next day — that’s not going to be a life of fulfillment.

Andi Simon: Well, it’s also not a life worth living. You’re right. But there’s also one other part to that. And that’s self-care. And they’re connected. I do think that if you don’t take care of yourself, then you can’t really either fulfill your purpose or take care of others. And our job is so much of caretakers. Your thoughts on self-care?

Shayna Bergman: Yeah, so I have a saying that I like to share with people. I call it SCORE. So the S is for sunshine, so you have to get outside every day.

The C is for connection. So that means getting together with friends and family, connecting to other people is critical. In fact, the happiest places on Earth are places where people live in these tribal communities where there’s a lot of connection. And that’s a big piece of who they are.

The O is for oxygen. And so I say that in terms of breathing, meditating, taking a moment to have some peace and calm in your day, recognizing when you haven’t been breathing deeply, and you’re feeling stressed and tense and your shoulders are shrugged up. And just relaxing and taking a deep breath and what that does for you.

The R is for rehydrate. So make sure that you are drinking lots and lots of water and eating right.

And I call it SCORE, and it’s how I keep score on the day. Did I do these basic things? And I think as silly as it sounds, we forget sometimes that the basics are what sets you up for the rest of it. And so if you’ve been sitting inside in a dark room all day and you haven’t gotten outside, you’ve got to go get some sunshine. It will make you feel better, you will sleep better, it will regulate your biological needs. I mean, there’s just a lot of things that need to happen that we forget to do because we’re sacrificing our care for somebody else’s checklist.

Andi Simon: And that makes it very difficult to be the kind of person that you really want to be and smile at the end of the day. It’s interesting because with all of the smart, trained women, we’re also watching them struggle with how to be smart about themselves and really have something, because what you say and how, like your parents and Tony Robbins, leave an impression on those children of yours, and even on your spouse or your parents or your friends.

Remember, the stories we tell change the story in the minds of those hearing them. And they evolve and you don’t realize it but you’re changing something that’s then passed on to the next generation. And when I was teasing Shayna that she sounds a little like Tony Robbins, it becomes part of your story and what you hear, and you’ve got this great movie going on in your head. Be intentional about it. Think carefully about the curiosity that you need, the self-care that you’ve got, it’s really an important time to take care of you and it’s okay to do that. It’s not terrible, and you’re not broken. You’re just on to the next phase. And it’s not that you’re sick or you need pills, it’s now you need a purpose and you need a guide to help you get going. This has been so fun. Some last thoughts: two or three things you want us not to forget, and how can people reach you?

Shayna Bergman: So the first thing I would say is remember SCORE. I think that is the basis of making sure that every day is a great day. You really have to do the basics. And to your point about self-care, it starts right there. I think second is, figure out what is your North Star. What is the purpose that you’re living toward? What are your values, and I do a lot of work with my clients to uncover really what their values are, and how they’re living them on a day to day basis. And sometimes those things are mismatched.

And then the third thing is, I’m going to make a book recommendation, because it’s a book that changed my life. And that is the book Brave, Not Perfect by Reshma Saujani, who is the woman who founded Girls Who Code and you probably see her all over the place now. But it specifically speaks to women and how we are raised and how that has impacted how we’re able to live our lives and take bold risks. And to me that was sort of the book that launched this part of my career and this part of my journey, and so I really recommend it.

And then in terms of how to reach me, you can find me at Shaynabergman.com. You can also find me at Shayna Bergman Coaching, both on Facebook and on Instagram. And if you want to email me to talk more, I am at Shayna@Shaynabergman.com.

Andi Simon: And I have a hunch that our viewers and our listeners are going to say, Hmm, what am I going to do more and less of? And how am I going to find my North Star so I can have a life worth living. And it’s never too late to start, so don’t wait too long to think about it.

And now, I’m going to say goodbye to our audience because I think we’ve had a great conversation today. And I always love these conversations. And remember my books: On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights and Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business are all on Amazon. And they await you with great joy. There is even an audible I did myself and the other one I had someone else do, but they’re fun to listen to while you’re driving. And I think people are going back to that commute, which is sort of like, wow, I remember those times.

Well, as you’re thinking, send me your emails. I get lots and lots of emails from people who said, “I listened, I loved it, and here’s someone else you should interview because I want to hear what they have to say.” So send them along. It’s info@Andisimon.com. It’ll all be on the blog that we produce when we put this out. So thanks again, Shayna. Thank you so much for being with me. It’s been such fun.