Living in the 'And'
Ep. 280
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In today’s episode, I’m sharing what I call “Living in the ‘And.'” For so many of us, we trap ourselves in the illusion of either/or thinking—believing we’re either good or bad, successful or failure. But here’s the truth: you’re not a single-faceted person. By embracing the ‘And,’ acknowledging that we’re both flawed and fantastic, we can alleviate the pressure to conform to rigid binaries. Join me as I share personal experiences and practical tips on changing our self-prescribed narratives, fostering self-acceptance, and building richer, more compassionate relationships. Listen to break out of the either/or trap and find freedom in the ‘And.’

Show Transcript
Hey! Welcome to Lessons from a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you've spent getting to where you are. If ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.
Hello my friends and welcome to another episode. I'm so excited to have you here. If you are in the States happy week of Thanksgiving, hopefully you are doing something you want to be doing, whatever that is, whether that's being with family, whether that's not being with family, um, I'm excited to have you here. Before I jump in. I realize I don't talk about this enough. I have a quiz that I made that has a really helpful guide attached to it, depending on what stage you are. So not only will it tell you kind of where you're at, once you take the state, the quiz, and it's all about whether you're ready to quit your job, um, it'll tell you what stage you are and then it'll give you a guide of like what you need to focus on for the next three to six months.
One of the biggest things I help my clients do in my membership, the Quitter Club, is get out of the overwhelm of trying to figure out everything they have to do until they get to some end point and really focus on like what is the short term goal we need to do now.
And so I want to help you do that too, so you can stop spinning in confusion and overwhelm and you can actually get on with creating your plan, figuring out what you need to figure out, um, figuring out who you are, what you wanna do.
All of that depends on what stage you're in. So you can take that quiz, it takes like two minutes and then you'll get, um, the guide sent to your email. So you can take that at and it's free. So go ahead and check that out.
Um, yeah, what else is going on? I just did a full day workshop for my Quitter Club, um, for a lot of the people that joined that got a bonus for joining the last launch. And it was all about setting intentions, figuring out what, where we wanna go, figuring out long-term goals, figuring out short-term goals, mapping out 2024. Um, and so I'm so excited for this year and like creating a plan for like 90 day goals. And I've realized like a lot of this stuff is, um, what I love doing because it helps create a life of intention. It helps us not use goals simply to feel better about ourselves or think we need to do things to, you know, become perfect, but really figure out like what do I want for my life and what do I wanna focus on? And so I just did that if you were there, I hope it was helpful.
And if you were not, you should join the club and come join us for these types of workshops.
Okay, I wanted to take today, since we are going into the holidays and since, you know, last week we talked about how the world is a dumpster fire and there's a lot of, um, horrible things happening all the time. And I think it can be really depressing or it can get us to a place of kind of apathy.
I wanted to talk about this topic because I think it relates to everything and it's something that I've noticed that is a problem that comes up for a lot of people that I coach, and it can help clear up a lot of suffering that we have in our lives.
And it's a really simple concept. And so I figured what better week than to talk about it this week. And it's learning to live in the ‘And’ and what I mean by that is that most of us naturally, like our brain sort of really craves some type of certainty. And so we think we are living in either or we're living either as, you know, I'm either good or I'm bad. I'm either successful or I'm failure. Uh, a failure. I'm either whole or I'm broken.
Whatever it is that your brain has convinced you of, we have these beliefs that there's some binaries in our lives and we are constantly striving to be on the quote unquote good side of those binaries. And we lack a lot of times. And so that is what we feel really bad about. And the thing is, is that it's just an illusion. There, there is no either or for most of life. And I think for so many of us, we create so much negative emotion, so much pain thinking that, well, if I am not this, then I must be that instead of realizing maybe I'm a little bit of both. Um, I did an episode a while ago that was called, um, the Messy Middle and it was sort of a, a ancillary like a sister concept to this concept. And it was really, we talked in that episode about the fact that like most of our lives is in the middle, right?
It's not in this, I've reached some goal and now I'm, you know, in the end zone and I'm gonna kick up my feet and enjoy my life. That just doesn't ever work. We're all in the middle of figuring it out and failing and getting up and figuring out again, and constantly striving and going two steps forward and one step back. And the more that we embrace that middle, the more that we understand like this is all of life. There is no end zone, right? There is no place where you get to where it's all rainbows and butterflies. And the more we really try to enjoy that journey, understand that, you know, it's gonna be 50 50, the easier it becomes to, um, get out of this hustle of trying to get to this end zone, right? Get out of this hustle of trying to rush through our life and get to someplace where we can finally get better and actually enjoy where we're at.
It also becomes easier to enjoy even the challenges, uh, that will inevitably be regardless of what you are doing. And so this is a similar concept, but I think it's a different way of looking at it and a different way of thinking about it. And it applies slightly differently. And so I figured it might be something that you can use in your own thought, work in your own, you know, quest to manage your mind. And it's really constantly reminding yourself that you are in the, and that you are not in the either or you are constantly living in the, and, and what do I mean by that? I think for so many of us, like again, you know, I, I mentioned like we think we're either good or we're bad. And I see, so I coach so many people on this constant guilt of if I say no to this person that I'm, you know, not a good person or if I go back on my word, I'm not a good person or whatnot.
And there's this constant striving to be in some, you know, black and white dichotomy between good and bad. And the reality is, is that like it's all and right, we're all both good and bad. You know, there's no way to go through this life where you don't harm someone even if you don't intentionally do it, even if it's because you ha.. you're trying to do something good for someone else, even if it's because you're trying to take care of yourself. And I think that the problem is not in being both good and bad or being both, you know, maybe a success and failure in different aspects of our lives in embracing these. It's that when we believe that we are, you know, part of the bad or we have some parts the relentless, you know, um, beating up of ourselves or thinking that something has gone wrong or thinking we should be different or that we should be able to kind of stamp out that part of our humanity is what causes so much suffering as opposed to really understanding.
And I think sometimes we think if I accept it, then I'm just gonna not care and I'm not gonna try to be good or I'm not gonna try to be nice to people. And that's just the farthest thing from the truth because there's intrinsic need to want to be in community. There's an intrinsic need to want to be with other people. It feels good to be good. Like there's tons of studies that altruism releases a lot of like dopamine for us. It feels better. You're not all of a sudden gonna become this like selfish, you know, lazy who hates everybody else. And I think we have this fear. I see so many people policing themselves. It's like, well if I just let go or if I just accept that I'm like this, then I won't have something driving me. But that's not true. We've sort of been conditioned to believe that we have to police ourselves.
We have to constantly whip ourselves in order to get to some perfectionist standard of whatever that either or is whatever that extreme is. And the more you understand like, yeah, I am both, I am both of these things and that's okay because that's what makes me human. The more we can take off the pressure of trying to be in the either or, right? And so I'm gonna give you some examples and just walk you through the suit. 'cause I think it's easier when I explain it and I think it comes up a lot in my, in my coaching.
Like for me, one of the things that I realized was like I had this story about being lazy, right?
And my whole life was really a te like this narrative that I am lazy. And what was funny is that when I started showing myself all of this other evidence of the fact that I was persistent af like I am a really hard worker, I'm an overachiever, I'm ex incredibly persistent, and that is what has allowed me to accomplish a lot of things.
It was really hard to hold these two truths together, right? Because I kept thinking, oh my God, look how much I had to ignore. I had to ignore all of these accomplishments. I had to ignore all of this other stuff that I do to prop up this, uh, story that I'm lazy, right? But what was weird, what I started finding a lot of cognitive dissonance was if I started trying to ident identify or adopt an identity that I'm not lazy, that I'm, you know, um, you know, extremely hardworking and I'm extremely persistent, that was also only part of the story. It felt really weird for me to drop that other identity because that also seemed true to me because I really do love doing nothing and I love taking naps and I will always take time to just rest throughout the day. And if you allow me, I will lay on the couch for hours on end and not care.
And so I kept thinking, but like I am really lazy, right? In certain things. And it was when I started really understanding like, I am an incredibly persistent, hardworking person and I'm lazy as. Like both of those things are true. Both of those things are part of my personality. And I think for so many of us, so many people come to me and they tell me that they have so much, um, they like, they're so sold on one story that they have about themselves. They're so sold on one story that they, you know, are selfish or that they are, um, not smart or whatnot. And whenever I try to get them to see like, what is the other side of the story that you're ignoring, what are all the pieces of evidence that you're not looking at to try to prop this up? They can find those, but they have a really hard time changing that identity. And I think a really easy way of bridging that gap is like, can I just be an and for a while? Right? Like maybe you start realizing I'm not even lazy, but for a while can I just live in like yes I am, you know, I don't know. I can be a rude person and I'm extremely loving.
I can be absent-minded and forgetful, and I care really deeply about some things that are really important to me, right? Can I see that I'm a multifaceted person that has multiple, um, the ability to be multiple things at once? And I think when we do this, when we start seeing ourselves like this, it is becomes easier to see other people like this too. It becomes easier to understand that other people are not these dichotomies either, right? I can start seeing like, my mo mother is neurotic and she is this unbelievable well of love. Both of those can be true, right? My mom can have very strong opinions that she's not willing to back down off that might cause a lot of fights. And she is the person that will take care of every single person in our, in our family. When I see her in that multifaceted way, it allows me to have more understanding and have more compassion and have more empathy, right?
It allows me to create not just a rich life for myself, but these rich relationships where I understand that no one person is perfect, no one person is either or no one person is going to be good or bad success or failure, right? I can look at even people that I see online that are successful and I can look at 'em as as a success. I can know like they might be successful and they might still feel really lonely or, and they might still feel like a fraud. All of those things can be true at the same time. It's part of this 50 50, it's part of this messy middle. And I think when I started realizing that, when I started realizing that about other people, it helped me so much in my relationships, even in my relationships with let's say, you know, not close family or friends, but like let's, you know, we talk about careers like your boss, your coworkers, when you start adding dimension to them and when you start realizing it's not someone that's just annoying or someone that's just on a power trip, maybe that person is on a power trip and also extremely insecure or, and also like, thinks that this is the best way to do things, right?
It again, that understanding is not for them, it's for me because it gets me out of this anger and rage and frustration of why isn't this person this way? This person should be like this. Why doesn't this person act like this? It allows me to color that experience with, again, more understanding and more empathy and more, um, more, I don't know, an ability to be able to see people more clearly for who they are and what they're not and accept what they're not because they have these other parts. I think this is also like really important when we're talking about relationships where it's like there's no one person, perfect person. So like, even when I'm looking at let's say dating, I think a lot of times we think, oh, I'm ignoring red flags if I'm not like breaking up with this person because they're like this.
And yes, there's a time and place to talk about red flags and you know, what you wanna accept and what you don't, what boundaries you wanna put on. But there's also an understanding that like, of course this person is amazing and I love them and they're incredible and they don't communicate well and they shut off when they're upset and they don't show me love the way that I maybe want it. And so how do I reconcile those two things? What do, what is it that I wanna think about? What do I wanna think about this person?
I also look at this when we look at ourselves in this quest for, um, you know, personal development improvement, all of these things. One of the things that I've really realized is for so long my personal development quest was this idea of like, I am broken and I need to be fixed, or I am a mess and I need to clean it up. I need to become perfect in some way. I mean, I didn't maybe say that to myself, but that was the goal is like, if I could just do these things, if I could just follow my calendar and stick to what I'm supposed to do and work out three days a week and do all these things, then I can feel good about myself, right? And I think so many of us come to personal development from that place and we are sort of programmed to kind of constantly want to be better and to improve things and to improve ourselves. And the problem with that is that like we also hinge it on, like if I get there, then I can feel good. I,
And what happens is along the way, even when we do accomplish a lot of things, we don't feel that much different. So it's like, well now I have to accomplish something else or I have to get better at something else because I thought I'm gonna get to some place and all of a sudden become this perfect person or become this enlightened being or you know, everything is gonna change and then it doesn't because it's still the messy middle. It's still the same 50 50, right? Some things have improved and then there's other things that haven't. And so when I started realizing like, I am perfectly whole and I am amazing exactly as I am and I still wanna improve things, I still wanna grow, I still wanna see what I'm capable of. Those two things can exist together.
I, and in fact, like that's the best way to go after personal development, right? I have a lot of big goals. I have a lot of things I wanna accomplish, not because I think I need to do that in order to feel one way or another in order to be good. When I started realizing like, I will always be a mess because I'm human and being human is messy, I will always fall short in certain things because I'm a human and I will never be perfect and I can continue to try to work on it. I can chip away at it. When I started thinking in that way, it took off so much pressure to have to fix everything in a year to think that like that you even could, right? To think that there's some magical place where you wake up and all of a sudden you're this perfect human being.
When I started realizing like, this is just an ongoing lifelong journey and I do wanna keep growing and I do wanna see what I'm capable of and I wanna keep evolving and I wanna allow myself to kind of become new iterations and I know I'm perfectly great the way that I am mess and all 50 50 and all, and when I started coming from that place, I feel like it just made personal development so much more loving. And it wasn't this punishment of like, there's something deeply flawed with you that you need to change, but rather like, can I accept even my weakest parts? Even knowing like, yes, I have this good and bad and I'm gonna like incrementally work on it. And I think for so many of you guys that come to coaching, and I think people that, especially if you find yourself in a rush, like, I have to change things within six months.
I have to start this and I have to lose this weight and I have to get that degree and I have to change this career. I think when you slow down and you're like, but what if it was like an and here? What if I could love myself? What if I could accept myself and no, I can still work on it. 'cause I know a lot of you guys have a lot of fear about that. Like, if I accept myself, then I won't wanna change, then I won't care. It's just not true because your brain wants growth. It's just way, the way all human brains are, um, created forever. It doesn't stop. There's never a time where you don't want growth. And so that could be the reason why you wanna improve things, not because you need to in order to be able to love yourself or in order to be able to feel as though you're a good person.
And so the last thing I'll say too, like another way of looking at this again, when we talk about the world and we talk about like the world being a horrible place, that is true. That's a true statement. And it's filled with so much beauty. It's so miraculous. It's so incredible. Humans are both terrible, horrific to each other, right? And truly mostly filled with goodness and kindness and wanting to help. And we have to really figure out how do we grapple with like sitting with both? How do we know that that is just the human condition? Again, it doesn't mean that we're not gonna work towards a better future. We're not gonna work towards a more justice. We're not gonna work towards upleveling our consciousness and changing our standards for the way which we treat people. Of course we will, but we're not waiting for that day when all of a sudden we reach some utopia where that's gonna happen.
'cause it's not going to happen in our lifetimes and likely in our children and grandchildren's lifetimes, right? Like that there is just, there's a fallibility to human beings and we will succumb to, uh, greed and selfishness and hypocrisy and all of those things. That was the other thing I think for me when I really realized like these terms that I was so scared of, like being a hypocrite, being a liar, um, being, um, greedy, being selfish, all of these things that were like so deathly afraid of like, God forbid someone labels me when I could take those on and be like, yeah, of course I'm those things. Of course we all are of course we all have selfishness. Of course we all wanna take care of ourselves. Of course we're all greedy. Of course we want more. And I'm extremely giving and kind and generous and loving and I want good.
And both of those parts of me exist. And the more, the less, I'm trying to shame that part of me, the less I'm trying to hide it, the less I'm trying to suppress it, the less I think there's something wrong with me for having it. The more I can get curious about it and see like, what is this part? Like why is it there, right? Is it unhealed? How can I heal it a little bit more? How can I sort of direct myself away from maybe these natural tendencies and realize that I don't need it? Like the evolutionary kind of, um, drive to hoard things for myself was from a place of like wanting to stay alive, but I don't maybe need that in my life right now, right? I can, I can deal with it better if I'm willing to look at it, but so many of us aren't willing to look at it because we're afraid of what it says about us or we're afraid that it will confirm our biggest fears.
That there's something inherently wrong with us. But there is nothing inherently wrong with you. You are simply a human just like the rest of us. Flawed and all. We're all hypocrites, we're all liars, we're all greedy, we're all selfish, we're all also beautiful. We're all also loving. We all are also generous and kind. And I think the more you see that in yourself, the more you see it in others and vice versa, the more you see it in others, the more you see it in yourself and the more you live in that ant and the more you tell yourself that ant, the easier it becomes to deal with all of the parts, the easier it becomes to not shun part of yourself and tell yourself you have to bury it or you have to cut it off or you have to not look at it or you have to let nobody see it.
'cause God forbid if they see it, then they'll know that you're some kind of flawed human. And so when you're trying the next time to kind of convince me either on a coaching call or convince yourself of some truth that of how you are, I want you to just look for the aunt, okay? I want you to look for like I lose it as a mom and I'm doing a pretty good job most of the time. I love them fiercely, right? I don't know what I'm doing some of the times at work and I'm pretty freaking smart and I've gotten to where I've gotten because I have some good skills. How can all of these things be true? Right? Look for that and and the more you look for that and the less there's pressure that you have to change part of yourself immediately and the more there's room for you to actually make change, to give yourself the time and the space to actually make that change.
All of life is in the end, I promise you that either or is such an illusion. And the sooner you drop it and the sooner you accept, you know, both parts, all of the parts, the easier it becomes.

Alright, my friends, I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate it. I hope you take some time the over this holiday to really look for the, and um, anytime you see yourself getting annoyed or frustrated or mad at something, just ask yourself what's the and in this situation and start seeing how you can start seeing a different facet of your life. Um, I hope this was helpful and I will be back next week with another episode.
Hey, if you are looking for more in-depth help with your career, whether that's dealing with all of the stress, worry, and anxiety that's leading to burnout in your current career or figuring out what your dream career is and actually going after it, I want you to join me in the Quitter Club. It is where we quit what is no longer working. Like perfectionism, people pleasing imposter syndrome… and we start working on what does, and we start taking action towards the career and the life that you actually want. We will take the concepts that we talk about on the podcast and apply them to your life and you will get the coaching, tools, and support that you need to actually make some real change. So go to and get on the waitlist. Doors are closed right now, but they will be open soon.