EP 27: Frank Anderson, MD - Challenging the Fear of Rejection and Leading with Vulnerability - Part 1

leadership podcast May 21, 2021

We watch leaders crash & burn all the time.

We watch with morbid fascination as leaders fall out of grace because their unaddressed pain led them on an unsustainable path of poor choices–even dangerous and deadly choices–to avoid feeling the vulnerability of rejection.

Those times when you experienced the pain of rejection leave their mark because rejection hurts. Like, physically hurts. Neuroscience teaches that this kind of emotional pain is processed similarly to physical pain.

The burdens of social rejection of any kind can become all-consuming in an effort to do whatever it takes to never go through that kind of pain again.

But stepping into leadership means stepping into rejection and being misunderstood. It is just a part of the physics of leading and putting yourself out there in any capacity.

If you are stepping into the title, the power, and the access of leadership as a way to bypass the pain of rejection, it will not go well.

My guest today is an expert–personally and professionally–on addressing the trauma wounds of rejection versus bypassing the pain of vulnerability.

Dr. Frank Anderson is one of the nation's leading mental health professionals as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Committed to promoting compassion, hope, healing, and non-violence in the world, Frank specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation and is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the Internal Family Systems model of therapy. He also travels around the world as a proponent and instructor of the IFS modality.



Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • Why Frank is committed to bridging the gap between survivor and expert, starting with himself
  • How leading from a wound leads to crash and burn, and why healing his trauma has led Frank to real, lasting happiness in his career
  • Our conversation around the meaning of power and power dynamics and their impacts on leadership
  • How becoming a parent-led Frank to Internal Family Systems and doing his own deep healing work

Learn more about Frank Anderson, MD:

Learn more about Rebecca:


Scroll Down for The Full Episode Transcript:

Frank Anderson: So many leaders will become leaders to bypass what’s underneath, and then, typically, what we see (‘cause it’s all over media) is there’s a big crash and burn. When you're driven by such demons to become above that, you're inevitably gonna crash and burn, and that’s the fear, oh, my god. Let’s hide behind my expertness so I don’t have to deal with my vulnerability.

[Inspirational Intro Music]

Rebecca Ching: Stepping into leadership means stepping into rejection and being misunderstood. It is just a part of the physics of leading and putting yourself out there in any capacity. I know, this sucks, right? The burdens of social rejection of any kind can become all-consuming in an effort to do whatever it takes to never go through that kind of pain again, and if your approach to leading is trying to avoid getting hurt, then a crash and burn is inevitable.

We watch leaders crash and burn all the time. [Laughs] We watch, too often, with a morbid fascination as leaders fall out of grace because their unaddressed pain led them on an unsustainable path of poor choices, even deadly and dangerous choices, all to avoid feeling the vulnerability of rejection. Many of us struggle to give feedback effectively for fear of retribution, and many, these days, feel entitled to offloading their pain on us but call it construction criticism, leaving us feeling slimed. As a result, we have lost the capacity for giving and receiving feedback well, along with the ability to give and receive constructive criticism and accountability. That only furthers a toxic cycle of avoiding rejection at all costs.

These tender wounds from the various times in your life where you experienced the pain of rejection leave their mark because rejection hurts - like, physically hurts.


The rejection we experience is compounded by all we are seeing and experiencing today, and neuroscience teaches us that this kind of emotional pain is processed similarly to physical pain. It sure makes sense that we want to avoid rejection at all costs, and if you're stepping into the title, the power, and the axis of leadership as a way to bypass the pain and rejection, it will not go well, but many try. Shoot, [Laughs] I know I have, and I suspect you have too. I still remember the detailed memories of heartbreaks from adolescent crushes not reciprocated, and the betrayals from those who were supposed to keep me safe, and disappointments when friends and colleagues chose to stay quiet over rocking the boat, therefore, throwing me under the bus in the process.

All of these echoes from my story have fueled my own complicated relationship with the vulnerability of rejection. Stuffing the pain down and vowing to not care and never feel that way again was not a very productive way for me to deal with that rejection. No matter what we do, we care. We care what people think. We care about truly being understood and feeling significant. To not care is dangerous, and caring can also feel incredibly dangerous, too. Ah, the paradox of it all. Instead of digging deep and healing those rejection wounds, we try to achieve more power, more accolades, titles, control (oh, control) and worldly prestige.

Now, my guest today is an expert, personally and professionally, on addressing trauma wounds of rejection instead of bypassing the pain of vulnerability. Dr. Frank Anderson is in demand as one of the nation’s leading mental health professionals as a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. Committing to promoting compassion, hope, healing, and non-violence in the world, Frank specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation and is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS therapy model.


Frank also travels around the world as a proponent and instructor of the Internal Family Systems psychotherapeutic modality, an evidence-based treatment that offers an accelerated path to self-awareness and permanent emotional healing.

Pay attention to how we both approach power from different perspectives and, note, we barely scratch the surface around the complexities and nuance around power. Listen for Frank’s rumble with fame and his own pain and what he discovered as he did his own trauma work. Notice what stirred up in Frank as a result of parenting his two boys. There’s nothing like parenting or caring for young ones that will send you on a fast-path to what needs attention. Now, please welcome Dr. Frank Anderson to The Unburdened Leader podcast.

You're listening to The Unburdened Leader, and you all are in for a treat today with my colleague Dr. Frank Anderson. Frank, welcome to The Unburdened Leader show.

Frank Anderson: Thank you very much. It’s wonderful to be here.

Rebecca Ching: So I want to dig in. There’s so much I want to cover today, but I want to note that you're both a psychiatrist and a psychotherapist. Can you tell me about a time that inspired your focus ‘cause that’s not a common duality many people hold in your area.

Frank Anderson: It totally is not a common duality, and, interestingly enough, I don't identify much anymore as a psychiatrist. It’s a whole different pool of people. It’s a whole different cohort, but I have a group of psychiatrists who are similar to me. [Laughs]


So it’s this weird group. Anne Segal, Bessel van der Kolk, Amy Banks is another person, and we’re this group of people who never really fit into the psychiatric world, and we became primary therapists, often, most of us are in this trauma field, and it’s a weird combination. I mean, what I can tell you is that I was really -- moments of that kind of clarity, if you will.

I was in my medical school, way back when, and it was in Chicago, and we had this very strong Psychopharmacology Receptors Research Program that I did when I went to medical school at Rush Presbyterian St. Luke’s. They had this one analyst there in the whole department, and for our medical school training they had us kind of talk to this analyst and rotate through with this analyst, and I was fascinated by what this person was doing separate from medications and all this kinda stuff. So it was like this opening to, like, oh, my gosh, we could do this too. Then, when I went to my residency program which was interesting because moving from Chicago to Boston -- Boston is so heavily psychoanalytic. It’s like the psychoanalytic mecca. I didn't really know that at the time and I didn't even really know all that much about that, but I was so lucky to go to this residency training program. It was this very unique place. We worked with the chronically mentally ill. They had to be homeless with no insurance to get in. It was that population, and it was a Harvard affiliate hospital so all the supervisors were analysts.

So we were doing psychotherapy on the chronically mental ill, and all of our supervision was by analysts.


So we learned these very complicated roots of all these psychotic symptoms, and it was fascinating for me. It was just like I went to medical school ‘cause I was fascinated with the body. Really, I wanted to know how my body worked. I was so curious about the body, but then when I started learning about the mind, it kinda blew me away. So I was like, oh, my god, this is amazing.

Rebecca Ching: So for some of my listeners, or many of my listeners, they may not know what you mean by psychoanalysis or even, really, what the true difference -- the real basic difference between psychotherapy and psychology. Can you just do a brief psychotherapy is this, psychiatry is this, and here’s what psychoanalysis is?

Frank Anderson: Yeah, totally. So psychology -- I think most people are most familiar with psychology ‘cause that can include a social worker, that can include a psychologist, licensed mental health counselors. Psychotherapy is where people go to talk to people about your problems, and that’s the biggest pool of people, right?

Rebecca Ching: Yep.

Frank Anderson: Psychiatrists, back in the day, did both, and there was this group of people called psychoanalysts -- that was sitting on the couch, laying down doing four sessions a week -- very popular way back when, you know? Freudian psychoanalysis, so to speak. So there were, years ago, many, many psychiatrists who also did therapy.

Rebecca Ching: Psychiatrists are medical doctors, right?

Frank Anderson: Medical doctors, totally.

Rebecca Ching: Just different training.

Frank Anderson: Exactly. Go for totally different training. It’s in medical school, and psychiatry is one of the specialties that you can learn about. When biology and neurobiology became popular, psychiatry moved all into receptors, neurotransmitters, and medications. So psychiatrists, then, stopped doing psychotherapy or talking to people, and they became all about the medical model of fixing the brain, working with schizophrenia, working with bipolar disorder, kind of more major mental illness.


So there was this chasm, I think, created between psychiatrists (MDs) and then psychologists, social workers, licensed mental health counselors - they did the therapy and then the psychiatrists did the meds, and, honestly, looking back, for me, I’m such a relational person. I love talking to people. Doing meds would be so boring for me. I couldn't do it all day long. So it was just this natural fit when I started seeing psychiatrists also talk to people, I was like this is where I belong. This is where I belong. You know, most of these med visits are 15 minutes, is what an insurance company covers, and you give somebody a med and ask them their symptoms, where with psychotherapy, you spend an hour, at least, with people and you can sit and really talk with them.

The other piece that was a moment for me in my residency training program when I started talking to these people who had chronic mental illness, all of them had trauma histories. All of them had trauma histories. It was not coincidental for somebody with an acute bipolar episode or a schizophrenic breakdown or any number of severe life events that ended up having them be homeless with no insurance, I was just fortunate enough that Bessel van der Kolk, who’s a very famous kinda trauma person, housed his trauma center at my residency training program. So it was this beautiful kinda serendipitous fit for me sitting around talking to people with chronic mental illness, loving to connect with people and learning about their stories, and then to have Bessel van der Kolk at my residency training program -- ‘cause, then, I just became a psychiatrist for Bessel which meant I could give medications to people when the clinic needed it, but I was also able to do psychotherapy with everyone. So it was kind of this perfect fit for me, and I can’t even believe that I’m in that -- like I said, I don't even feel like I’m in the group of psychiatrists who only give meds.


Rebecca Ching: Like how psychiatry’s traditionally understood.

Frank Anderson: Exactly.

Rebecca Ching: You got into medicine because of a desire to understand the body --

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: -- and that was inspired in part by something that happened in your family, yes?

Frank Anderson: Totally.

Rebecca Ching: It was an experience with a family member. Can you tell us more about that?

Frank Anderson: Well, it’s interesting. So, first, there was this -- how do I explain this. So the story unfolds, for me, like this. My father’s a pharmacist, my mother’s a nurse, my uncle’s an ophthalmologist. I came from such a medical family. It was kinda funny, Rebecca, I didn't even know what an engineer was, and, like, those are the people who are on the train. I grew up in this medical family, and I went to The University of Illinois which had a huge engineering program, and I was like, oh, my goodness! I’m here with all these people who are in this engineering program, right? And so, I ended up really learning about what engineering was, and I was in school with a bunch of really kind of very smart people who worked in this field of science and a bunch of pre-med people, but I had gone in the pre-pharmacy program first because my father was a pharmacist. He had owned pharmacies. Of course, I was gonna be a pharmacist, and I just got into college and loved learning about the body. So I was just so fascinated, and I ended up doing better than all these pre-med people were doing, anyways, in school, and, like, wait a minute. I was so passionate about it. I was doing really well. Why don’t I go into medicine, is what I thought.

So I kind of shifted from pharmacy to pre-med, and then my sister had her first psychotic break while I was in college, and so, I had this fascination with the body, and then our family was so profoundly impacted by that.


Like, oh, my god, talk about a game-changer for our family. I was away at college when she had her first break, and that’s when psychiatry became clear for me. I had this fascination with the body, but then it was really rescue, rescue, rescue, you know? We didn't know anything about this. My family was freaked out. We never had experienced anybody who had been psychotic before. They didn't know what it was. Even back then, I’ll tell you, there was all this old fashioned -- some people may know this, some people may not know this -- this term schizophrenogenic mother. Back in the day, you blamed the family for major mental illness, right? And so, they were searching for why this was, and it was really kind of a -- and I just never -- that never sat well with me. I was like this is not about that, you know? So it was really with my sister’s break that I was like, oh, my god. It was totally rescue -- I need to rescue her, and so, I dove from traditional medicine, exploring what I was gonna do as a doctor to, oh, my gosh, I’ve got to go into psychiatry. I’ll just finish this story and bring it full circle, honestly.

So it started out with my rescuing my sister and, lo and behold, surprise, surprise [Laughs] (as it goes for many of us who are wounded healers, right) I realized after that drive to save her -- then I got into my residency training program which they start having you look at yourself, I’m, like, holy cow, this isn't really about my sister, this is about me. So it started out kind of looking at her and then, really, got stirred up. I got so stirred up working with people who had severe mental illness, it was so profound and so powerful.


It stirred up my own trauma history in a profound, profound way. So I was fortunate. It was serendipity for me to have Bessel van der Kolk’s Trauma Center at my residency training program because, then, it was like, “Okay, I’m home. Okay, this is where I need to be,” and here I am, I don't know, 30 years later, I devoted my whole career to this.

I have to say, I love the title of this podcast because this is so much about being the unburdened leader, unburdened healer. That has been my journey. It really, really has ‘cause I’ve evolved and done so much healing my own stuff, and then being, you know, someone who’s one of the leaders in the field, that’s certainly around Internal Family Systems. So, you know, that’s kind of --

Rebecca Ching: Thank you for that. Thank you so much for sharing that event. It is amazing how the burdens in our story often do inspire our life’s work.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: That’s something that just clicked with me the more I sat with people, and so, combined with IFS, that experience definitely did inspire this show and the focus of it.

As you talk about this 30-year journey and realizing as you were diving into trauma it stirred up your own, and you’re at this beautiful place now, but there’s such, for so many, a resistance or a desire to bypass or get to the end and, even still, so much shame and stigma --

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: -- around trauma, around struggle, even, or even naming it. And so, how did you navigate that especially in a world -- talk a little bit about your journey as you were dealing with your own stuff around this community that’s in the helping profession, and navigating those polarities of, “Oh, my gosh, I want to help people,” but be fixed and be arrived and keep it all together.

Frank Anderson: Well, this is something that’s really near and dear to my heart, honestly.


This is hugely passion for me, honestly. I would say it’s almost part of my platform, if I can be totally honest about it. I can remember -- so as I was affiliated with Bessel van der Kolk, you become the expert. Bessel’s one of these leaders. Judy Herman and Bessel van der Kolk are these two trauma gurus in our field. I was affiliated with him. We had an annual conference every year, and then as an intelligent person, I became in the expert lane instead of the survivor lane, right? There was this us-and-them dichotomy always.

Rebecca Ching: Yes!

Frank Anderson: -- to get up on that pulpit. “Hello, I’m --,” (back then I was), “I’m Dr. Frank Guastella, and I’m the expert, and let me tell you about the problems that you have because I’m the expert,” and it always felt bizarre to me as somebody who had a trauma history who, then, jumped into the expert category as opposed to the survivor category, and there was this us-and-them dynamic always.

One year, I’ll never forget it ‘cause it was pivotal for me, although, not quite where I’d hoped we’d be, Bessel had a survivor’s conference, okay? So I was like oh, my goodness! The first time.

Rebecca Ching: When was this? What year is this?

Frank Anderson: This was -- oh my gosh. Oh, this was probably 20 years ago.

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Frank Anderson: It was a long time ago, and I remember it was at one of the hotels in downtown Boston, and he had a survivor’s conference which was wonderful but, yet, all the experts were still there teaching the survivors, do you know what I mean? But at least we opened the doors to survivors coming to this conference which I applauded him for doing that.

So that was a step in the right direction, and I remember saying -- I guess it had to do with -- I guess I’ll tie it to coming out also. I was older when I came out.


I didn't come out early, so coming out as a gay man, I was like god, I had to break through this whole straight stigma because I was a white, straight male once upon a time, and so, I kinda moved out of that, you know, privileged group, and I became a gay person. So that was an experience of, like, wow, let’s get rid of this crazy us and them divide, and then, secondary, I would say, honestly, was the divide in the trauma world (like the expert versus the survivor).

Rebecca Ching: Yes.

Frank Anderson: It’s the platform for me. Everywhere I speak, including this podcast, right, as you can see, I’m gay and I have a trauma history and I happen to be an expert. I’m really bridging that gap. It’s so important for me to bridge that gap, to get rid of this us-and-them mentality which is so shaming and stigmatizing, and, you know, it’s kind of like I don't think of myself as a role model that much but if I can inspire people who are out there with trauma histories to also know that they could be leaders in the field too, that it doesn't have to be this us and them and destigmatize shame, I am all about that. I really, really am.

Rebecca Ching: One of the most common things I hear with folks even outside of our bubble within the mental health field is even just anyone in any leadership role, there’s this underlying belief and fear that they carry that I will lose credibility, I will lose trust, reputation, or my business will be hurt if I am real about my story. Now, I’m not saying when you’re in it you share it with everyone ‘cause that’s not helpful to anybody --

Frank Anderson: Right.

Rebecca Ching: -- but to be honest about your story and, as a result, I see then there’s this polarity of then anyone else struggling, they want to shut that down. Let’s keep it tidy. Let’s keep it neat.


Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And so, what would you say to those even outside of the helping profession world, anyone in a leadership position that has a trauma story -- which you and I both know most people have more than one trauma. Everyone gets a pass with their first trauma.

Frank Anderson: That’s right.

Rebecca Ching: I joke and say if you’ve been through middle school and puberty you’ve been through trauma so --

Frank Anderson: That’s right. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: So check, check. What would you say to those that are just listening that think, “I can’t share these things or talk about these things. That’s unprofessional, and I’ll lose credibility, and it could hurt my business and my reputation.”

Frank Anderson: Well, here’s the way I think about it, and the way that I’ve come to this being a wounded leader, if you will, is I think many people become leaders to bypass their trauma.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, keep going with that. Go deep with that.

Frank Anderson: Okay, because what ends up happening -- and I will say, myself, initially was part of this too, even though I had in the back of my head, “Wait a minute. Why is there us and them?” I became an expert. I became a leader because I was compensating for feeling less than an inadequate because of my trauma history. So many leaders will become leaders to bypass what’s underneath, and then, typically, what we see, ‘cause it’s all over media, is there’s a big crash and burn. When you’re driven by such demons to become above that, you're inevitably gonna crash and burn, and that’s the fear, like, oh, my god. Let’s hide behind my expertness so I don't have to deal with my vulnerability, you know? There was a little bit of that for me.

I remember the moment I was with a dear friend, Amy Banks, I’m like, you know, I’m gonna be famous someday.


It was this weird kind of thing of famous, and it was driven by my wound. It was a wound-driven desire, and this was many, many years ago, okay? As I found IFS, as I continued to do my work, continued to do my work -- I’m a lifer. I’m a therapy lifer. I will always be in therapy. As I started healing my trauma, healing my trauma, the fame thing totally fell to the wayside. It was something I had no interest in at all. As a matter of fact, it was a little bit gross for me because it was very unrelational. There was nothing relational about fame, so I really had taken that away, and what happened over time is I’ve become a healed leader. So I’m not driven by success. I’m not driven by being famous. I’m not driven by being a leader, actually. The more I healed my trauma, the more I’m doing what I love which, then, because it’s coming from a connected place within me, ends up making me, as a byproduct, more successful. It’s not my drive at all.

So, for me, if you’re working on yourself, your success comes from within and it’s not driven by your demons and it’s not propelled by your protective parts that need to compensate, if that makes sense. So this was something that I just really -- over time, over time over time, I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my whole life. I’m so much clearer as it relates to my history and my wounding, and so, honestly, now, I’m a calm leader. I’m not driven to lead. I’m leading from a peaceful place, not a place of power.


It wasn't where I started out by any means, and I can see the evolution of that over my career. So the more that I have healed, the more I’ve naturally become a leader in a way that just feels good because I’m helping people and doing what I love. The motivation is totally different now from where I started, and I do believe most people start in the leadership desire from a place of wound, not from a place of healing. I feel fortunate enough to be able to have made that transition, I believe, through the course of my career. I don't know that everybody makes that.

Rebecca Ching: Well, I mean, hanging out and working with severe mental illness along with being in the circles of Bessel, it’s hard not to. Again, it sounds like things just really clicked for you and then discovering IFS, which we will get into that.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: I want to circle back to something you said about leadership in power because this is another big topic, too. I think there are two folds of this. Some folks are hungry for that power, and that’s definitely something I saw in DC, right?

Frank Anderson: Yes. 

Rebecca Ching: When I worked in DC, you don't make the big bucks working in government, but it’s the power and the reputation that you’re wealthy in or strive to be wealthy in.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: The other side is so many people don't realize how powerful they are.

Frank Anderson: Mm.

Rebecca Ching: And so, there’s an interesting kind of tension with the word power and especially what’s going on in our culture right now as we unpack that.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And so, when you say you're not leading from a place of power, that just kind of caught me because I see you as someone that’s very powerful. Could you unpack what you meant by that statement and I’ll follow up accordingly?


Frank Anderson: Yeah, so I think what I was talking about is power driven by wound.

Rebecca Ching: Ah, there we go. Okay.

Frank Anderson: Power driven by wound ‘cause that kind of power is to dominate, to get more, to be bigger than. It’s relative, right? It’s that seeking, more and more and more kind of power which is driven by the inadequacy of the wound underneath. So that kind of power -- it’s so interesting. When I think of -- I don't even really think of myself as powerful at all. [Laughs] I think of myself as present and doing my purpose and being aligned with my truth. Now, if that comes across as power, great, but that’s not what it feels like to me. It feels more like alignment in truth and in my passion and in my joy and in my creativity. That’s what it feels like. So it doesn't feel like power.

Sometimes I’ll talk about calm power, but it’s not even -- power has that connotation of imbalance in less than bigger than, at least, for me, in the way we use it culturally.

Rebecca Ching: Interesting.

Frank Anderson: You know?

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Frank Anderson: ‘Cause I just feel like I’m me and I’m clear and I’m in my truth and I will join you. We are equal. We are equal. I will be in my truth, you be in your truth, and isn't this amazing? It’s made me successful to be in my truth and be in my center, but, yeah, it’s interesting. I feel authentic more than powerful. I don't know if that makes sense.

Rebecca Ching: I think that’s your experience, though. I think it’s really cool to hear you unpacking that, and I do believe that we all are powerful.


I work with a majority of women who don't and haven't owned their power. So I think maybe that’s where I’m coming from.

Frank Anderson: Got it.

Rebecca Ching: Or a lot of leaders, both men and women I’ve worked with over the years, have underestimated their power for good, but I think because of so many of our trauma histories, we see power as so deeply connected to our trauma and wounding.

Frank Anderson: You got it.

Rebecca Ching: We don't want to be connected to that, right?

Frank Anderson: Okay, got it.

Rebecca Ching: But I think you are a powerful person for good -- is how are we using our power.

Frank Anderson: Let me say a little bit more about that ‘cause you're absolutely right when you say that ‘cause I have worked a lot on fear of powerful because it gets associated with a perpetrator.

Rebecca Ching: You personally worked on it?

Frank Anderson: Yeah, personally, yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Frank Anderson: Personally, I’ve worked on it. So when you say the word power, historically, I’ve had this association of power equals perpetration. Perpetrators are powerful so I have been fearful of power because it meant perpetrator energy, you know? Dominating, that whole way.

Rebecca Ching: Manipulation, coercion, control.

Frank Anderson: Yeah, exactly. So I’ve been very kind of I don't want to be powerful because that’s scary for me, and if I’m powerful, historically -- and this is what happens in a lot of trauma. Perpetrators attack powerful people because that goes against their mission, okay?

Rebecca Ching: You got it.

Frank Anderson: So power can feel scary. It certainly did for me, personally. Oh, my gosh. If I’m in my power, I’m at risk of getting attacked. So it’s taken me a while to be able to embrace me in my fullest capacity. You would call that embracing my power and not feel scared about it but feel okay about it in a way that feels good as opposed to scary because it’s gonna get squashed or taken away or associated with something negative.


Rebecca Ching: Okay, so this brings me back. Thank you for discerning this because my brain went back to when I first met you, when I attended as a participant before I was on your PA training team for your Trauma and Neuroscience Level II training in IFS, and I don't know if it was you or Dick that had said, a lot of times, people don't -- they are triggered or activated our parts within us by being in self energy.

Frank Anderson: Yes, that’s right.

Rebecca Ching: I had my own inner-brain explosion because that was where my traumas happened. The more in self I was, was when I was the most hurt.

Frank Anderson: Yes, you got it.

Rebecca Ching: I also saw that in a lot of those that I’ve worked with over the years too. The more confident I was, the more clear I was, the more I embodied that, the more I attracted that perpetrator energy.

Frank Anderson: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: And so, then, there was a lot of adapting, for me, and then unlearning [Laughs] as a result of my own healing journey.

Frank Anderson: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: So I just think this is an interesting nuance depending on your story.

Frank Anderson: That’s right.

Rebecca Ching: Power is an interesting trailhead in itself then, yes?

Frank Anderson: You got it. Absolutely. Absolutely, and it’s interesting ‘cause I do love this discussion, actually, unpacking the word power because it really does have a lot of different meanings for many people. Where I am right now -- I may be somewhere different in ten years or five years, but I think I probably will be, right?

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, I was like yeah, probably! [Laughs]

Frank Anderson: Yeah! [Laughs] I think of self -- alignment, truth -- is authenticity more than power? I think it’s a powerful place to live from.

Rebecca Ching: Yes!

Frank Anderson: Okay?

Rebecca Ching: Yes.

Frank Anderson: It’s a powerful place to live from, but I don't experience it as powerful. I experience it as clear, authentic, truthful, expansive. So self, that alignment, is a naturally powerful place, I guess, but it just feels good and truthful and aligned and full of energy.


Rebecca Ching: That’s powerful to me.

Frank Anderson: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: When I’m in the room with folks like you that hold that, that’s powerful, and then I’ve been in the room with power-over.

Frank Anderson: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: That’s how I differentiate it.

Frank Anderson: That’s right.

Rebecca Ching: Where there isn't this sense of we. This isn't collaborative. It is hierarchical.

Frank Anderson: That’s right.

Rebecca Ching: It is very much attached to the system of white supremacy. We are all in the process of unburdening, right now, the nuances of that.

Frank Anderson: Yes, that’s right.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, this is interesting, the trailhead of power, ‘cause the message was you should not be powerful.

Frank Anderson: Right.

Rebecca Ching: You're too much, right?

Frank Anderson: Yep, oh, yes. Oh, yes. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Okay, keep going with that. Why are you saying, “Oh, yes?”

Frank Anderson: Oh, my whole life was I was too much this, I was too much that, you know? [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Subgroup. [Laughs]

Frank Anderson: Oh, my goodness. You know, my expansiveness, my emotionality, my effeminate traits and qualities, it was all too much. I squashed it all to be able to fit into this Midwestern, straight world I grew up in. So, oh, my goodness did I live with -- now, I am me, and if you don't like that, that’s totally fine, but I will not not be me anymore. I am done doing that. You know, we have this running joke in our family. My kids, because I’m very expressive, because I’m very passionate, I happen to be Italian, so that just fuels that whole thing, right?

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Frank Anderson: But my kids will say to my husband, “Act like papa, act like papa,” and then my husband jokes, and he’s like, “Oh, my goodness! That’s amazing! I love that!” You know, like, he gets really expressive, and I’m like you've done it right, sister. I will embrace me from here on in, you know? Maybe that comes across as powerful or whatever it is, but it’s me, right? 

Rebecca Ching: It’s contagious.

Frank Anderson: That’s right. Yeah. 


Rebecca Ching: It’s kind of contagious because we’re tapping into the energy that does feel freeing. There’s power in that, but power can be weaponized and power can be healing.

Frank Anderson: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: You brought up family, and I’m excited to shift our conversation to that a little bit. 

Frank Anderson: Yeah. 

Rebecca Ching: You and I are both parents of two kids. Yours are -- your youngest is the same as my oldest. How old is your oldest?

Frank Anderson: Yes, my oldest is 17 and my youngest is 13.

Rebecca Ching: That’s right. He just turned 13 and mine is turning 13 in a month, and, I mean, just before this conversation she dropped a bomb on me, like, a big conversation which was beautiful, but on that note, it’s about her neurological differences.

Frank Anderson: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: You and I both parent kids with neurological differences, and I think that’s what drew me to you when you shared you had a son on the Autism spectrum and that he was the same age as my daughter. I was like, okay, all right, one of my people. One of my people ’cause just the way that you approached it. I felt very alone in how I conceptualized it, so it wasn't a problem. She was never broken.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: I just wanted to help her navigate a world that might see that differently.

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So I’m curious. We talk about Internal Family Systems. How has this methodology of seeing how we view our inner systems, how has that helped you parent your kids?

Frank Anderson: Oh, that’s a whole three-day workshop in and of itself, honestly.

Rebecca Ching: I know.

Frank Anderson: There’s so much in this. 

Rebecca Ching: I know you're passionate about it, but if you can give me…

Frank Anderson: Let me talk about my first son first and then my second son. That is the order for me, honestly. So, in reality, when I told you I had a trauma history, when we had my first son, such deep stuff got activated within me because of my very early attachment trauma that I had no clue about, but it activated such deep, powerful stuff in me.


Having my first son is what shot me into IFS therapy, interestingly enough. I was feeling things so profoundly and so powerfully, I’m, like, I will not perpetuate this. I will not perpetuate this. So I shot it. I did one of those level one, level two, level three -- boom, boom, boom, boom, boom -- become a lead trainer. I shot up that so passionately it was all driven by not perpetuating my trauma because it got activated in such a profound way.

So, really, my IFS journey does start with the birth of my first son because it just was so powerful what kids stir up in us, like, nothing else ever, right?

Rebecca Ching: True story. True story. 

Frank Anderson: And so, that was my main motivation to dive into this in the way that I did. Then, interestingly enough, as I -- and I go very spiritual in this way because I love the IFS spirituality connection there -- nothing is happening for any kind of random reason, in my view. It’s all related, and it’s all connected, because after my oldest was three, I just had this yearning inside, this big yearning that was like, “I need this. I need another kid.” My husband and I had agreed on one. We’re gonna --I needed to have another one. I didn't even know what that was about. It was just such a powerful force within me, right, that was so driven by other forces, and as it turned out, my boys were conceived on the same exact day four years apart by the same birth mom.

Rebecca Ching: No way.

Frank Anderson: She didn't even recognize those dates, and she called me up -- so we did surrogacy with my first son. He was born on March 25th. She called me up out of the blue and said, “Oh, my goodness. Are you interested in another child? I got pregnant, and we really can’t have another child.”


Same day they were conceived. They're a day apart birth-wise, my two boys, and so, we have our second son on March 26th, 4 years later. So it was this thing that was crazy. Like, you can't even make that up.

When taking care of him and seeing the differences and just starting to notice some of these things early on, I was so overwhelmed, honestly. I was like I can't do this. [Laughs] I’m taking care of patients, I’m taking care of kids, I’m taking care of this kid who is just not sleeping for nine straight months, who gets ear infections, who has GI trouble. We didn't know, you know, with the spectrum -- the way the stuff on the spectrum unfolds over time, you have no clue. It took many years, many years to get clarity around what was going on, right? But we were in this intensity, and I’ll remember the moment because I was just so distraught and I was just so overwhelmed, and I just was like at the wits’ end for me, and my husband said, “Just go to the gym, and go on the treadmill. Go exercise. You need to take a break.”

So I was on the treadmill, and I had my eyes closed, I had my headphones on, I saw a light, and I heard a noise, and it was a voice, and it said, “You know. He’s here to teach you as much as you're here to teach him.” Okay, it was that moment. It was so powerful for me, and everything settled from that moment on. He was very young. I don’t know if he was maybe two or three at that time, and it really shifted everything for me. I was like, okay, I’m here to learn from him. Okay, I’m here to help him but, really, here it shifted that learning from him.


That’s where, for me, in IFS, he is who he is. The world needs to learn how to be with him --

Rebecca Ching: Hello.

Frank Anderson: -- as opposed to him trying to fit into the world, right?

Rebecca Ching: Thank you.

Frank Anderson: There was such a shift for me in that awareness, and that was some divine something, and it was exactly in the moment that I needed it, and it shifted a lot for me because there’s so much pressure to fit in, to go to good schools, to do this way. There’s the script that I grew up with that I had hoped to perpetuate, honestly, with my kids because that’s what you were supposed to do. That’s what culture says, that’s what my family of origin says, and we are the most [Laughs] atypical -- we are one of the most atypical families I know which I can embrace fully now.

I’ll tell you this one funny story. As my oldest is now looking at college essays he’s like -- he wants to go to culinary school, right? He’s like, “I have got the college essay down.” I’m like, “What are you talking about, honey?” He’s like, “I mean, come on, I’ve got two gay dads and an autistic brother. I’m a sure-in with my college essay.” [Laughs] He’s like I’ve been born into the most unique family ever. I’ve got this. I’ve got my essay down, no problem. This is my life experience. He’s like look at my life, right? We have this totally -- what is unique, right? We have this totally unique family, but it is unique for me in that I’ve given up a lot of the supposed-tos and shoulds in this family.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, gosh.

Frank Anderson: And we’re quirky, and we’re odd, and we don't fit in, [Laughs] and it’s kind of okay. As a matter of fact, it’s kind of cool.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, it still -- I have to remind myself of that.

Frank Anderson: I do too.


Rebecca Ching: Like, I don't want to fit in, I want to belong.

Frank Anderson: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: I think one of the things my husband had to decide on early on with our daughter was we wanted the four walls of our home to be a place -- because we knew that the world was gonna be the world, but how do we create the space, and whoever comes in this space is able to be able to go, “Hey, I appreciate you as you are,” and so, it really shifted our entire world for the better. I often say she was the catalyst to the community that we have today.

Frank Anderson: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: She inspired it because of that boundary that we wanted to go she’s not broken. Autism isn't something that breaks you. The more that I learn, especially with girls, there are so many people going under the radar in how skilled the protectors are in the girls to mask.

Frank Anderson: That’s right.

Rebecca Ching: And so, they do that. I’m curious to how you would describe how using the IFS lens to parenting is different than conventional wisdom around parenting. How do you, on a high level, differentiate that approach?

Frank Anderson: A couple things. So I’ll certainly speak to that ‘cause I do workshops on parenting and IFS now which I’m really loving to do. The thing that I’ll -- I want to back up a little bit ‘cause when you talk about your family and that safety within the home, that’s a place, for me -- even though I can really embrace he’s not broken, the world needs to orient themselves around him, I hold a lot of tenderness and pain in my heart to have him have a good experience in this world we live in.

Rebecca Ching: Ooh yes.

Frank Anderson: So I want to just bring up that other side. Like, hey, world, you have a problem if you can't accept who he is. I’m okay with that, but it’s, “Hey, honey, I want you to have a good experience in this world that doesn't see you as normal,” so that’s something I’m often aware of, and that’s where my heart can just fall apart, when the world doesn't allow him to be who he is and how do we help him navigate that.


Rebecca Ching: I agree. It’s just more of a radical acceptance of they're at where they're at. We’re gonna still do our part to change that, but we need to cultivate a world within our family so there is respite --

Frank Anderson: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: -- because it can be brutal out there. Neither my husband or I grew up with those neurological differences but we both know what it’s like to be different in our own ways, and I think, as you say, parenting does break you open. It finds whatever little crack still needs some attention and goes for the jugular.

Frank Anderson: Totally, totally.

Rebecca Ching: So I don't know if it’ll ever stop hitting those tender spots, Frank, right? I don't know, watching how the world navigates that -- I don't know about you. I realize acceptance, we’ve gotten way farther with acceptance, but inclusion, we are still in infancy to really come to my party, come over to my house, come to this team event. It’s gonna be uncomfortable or inconvenient, and that’s where I think the tenderness, for me, comes up still. I think that’s what you're referencing.

Frank Anderson: Totally. Totally. You know what, as we’re talking about it, Rebecca, honestly, I think a lot of parents feel this even when people are not on the spectrum.

Rebecca Ching: For sure. No question.

Frank Anderson: It’s the spectrum of every child fitting in and belonging in life because nobody does. Everybody’s gonna bump up against it. It just is more extreme, perhaps, with people on the spectrum and the world is in infancy around accepting this group because it’s a relatively newer popular diagnosis, so to speak, so the world is not used to it yet in that way, right? But, yeah, no, I think every parent struggles with that with their child whether they're on the spectrum or not.

Rebecca Ching: I couldn't agree more.

Frank Anderson: I feel that with my older son, right? Wanting him to have a great high school experience and fit in with friends and all this kinda stuff. It’s the same thing.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.


Frank Anderson: You know, in regards for the parenting issue, that is something, really, like I said, it drove me into IFS but, then, over these last 17 years of being a parent, I have healed so much of my own trauma as a result of my children, and, really, they have triggered me more than anybody else has ever triggered me. My husband and I have been together 22 years now which means I’ve had prior relationships. So I worked out a lot of my intimacy stuff earlier, and him and I have a really great relationship, but then having kids activated a whole other level of things that I didn't even know existed in me, right? So they have helped me heal so much, but what I’m aware of and why I’ve created this parenting curriculum is parents get in the way of kids’ development so often because of their own histories. This is my orientation that we get triggered because of what kids do to us, and, for me, there are so many books on how to raise children, I want to write a book on how to raise parents. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Oh, gosh. 

Frank Anderson: Because parents are the ones who need more of the training and the healing because the more I’ve cleared myself, the more my kids get the parent they need, not the parent that gets triggered by their behavior because kids’ behavior, by definition, is immature and inappropriate. That’s who they are, by definition. They're supposed to be that. What ends up happening is that impulsive, reactive, immature behavior triggers adults because of their histories. Then, adults react to the kid to shut them up and stop it so the parent wound doesn't get triggered.


Rebecca Ching: Yeah, stop crying ‘cause it hurts me. I want to feel better so shut your shiz down, right? [Laughs]

Frank Anderson: When you cry, if you cry, it reminds me of when I cried, and I got hit for crying. So don't cry because my wound is getting activated right now. 

Rebecca Ching: But we don't know that. That’s happening so fast. Right.

Frank Anderson: No, it’s not at all conscious.

Rebecca Ching: Yep. 

Frank Anderson: It happens at such a deep level, and, again, it’s easier to read a book to fix your kid than to do your healing work about your history. It’s a much easier thing. It’s much less painful to focus on your kid’s behavior than to really look at what --

Rebecca Ching: True story

Frank Anderson: -- is really going on, right? Like, oh, my god. I’ve been doing therapy so many years to have a good relationship with my husband. Now, I have to go back again and look at all of this early wounding that is unconscious? That’s what happened for me, and that’s what I want to help parents with.

Rebecca Ching: And I think this is a leadership issue. I mean, obviously, parenting is a form of leadership, no question, and I see this with so many of the leaders I work with, too - my employees, my clients, my direct reports, or my colleagues, and they need to stop whatever the behavior is, and just get -- it’s so connected.

Frank Anderson: Yes. 

Rebecca Ching: But if we, as leaders, (whether it’s parenting to the board room and everything in between) can up our capacity for discomfort and help release those burdens, right, (this is the part of IFS) then we can have a little bit more -- it doesn't mean there isn't boundaries.

Frank Anderson: Right.

Rebecca Ching: It doesn't mean there isn't accountability at all. It’s not like whatever goes, it’s just that my kid who is losing it on the floor ‘cause their crayon broke, and I’m thinking, “Really? Really? We’ve got five minutes to go, and you have this whole world I’ve given you, and you're crying over a crayon?”


So many parents will say, “You're fine. You're fine.” I’m like, “No, the kid’s crying, so they're not fine. I’m just not okay right now about what’s going on.” So that nuance there is so important. 

Frank Anderson: It’s about you. It’s about you

Rebecca Ching: It’s all about me.

Frank Anderson: It’s all about you. You know, we have this saying in IFS. Mona Barbera, I think, is the woman who came up with it. “When it’s intense, it’s yours.” Anytime you have an intense reaction, it’s about you. It’s not about the other person. Every single time, when it’s intense it’s yours.

Rebecca Ching: Maybe. Maybe. Like, I’m just thinking with some of the things -- I think I totally would say, knee-jerk “yes,” and then I’m pausing going with looking at so much of the disparity of power in our country, let’s just take a look at racism right now. If I’m having an intense reaction -- my husband had a really hard experience last year, and he still has the echoes of that in his system, it’s his but it’s also a reflection of what’s happening in culture, too. There is a little nuance going on. 

Frank Anderson: Yeah, but it’s still how that affects you and what about you is affected by it. It still comes back to you. If I’m watching something on TV, and I’m like, “Oh, my god, that is horrific. That is terrible. Look what they're doing,” I’m resonating. I’m being affected by it. When I dig deep down, yes, I’m upset by what’s happening in the world around racism and inequality and the abuse of power, and the reason it affects me so powerfully is because I’ve experienced that, and it’s happened to me, and it’s triggering mine, okay?


So what I’ve learned, and this is my view. You can certainly have a different view there, but what I’ve learned when I no longer carry that stuff inside of me is that I’m with pain and atrocity and inequity differently. I’m not with it in a triggered place, okay? I’m with it.

Rebecca Ching: I gotcha. 

Frank Anderson: The same thing with parenting. The way I can be with my kids when they're dysregulated now is so different than the way that I was with my kids when I had my trauma history still within me, okay? “Come on, that’s crazy! Don’t do that. We’ve got to go!” That’s about me. Now, I’m in with them like, “Okay, it’s theirs. They are having a meltdown. I can be with them and supporting theirs.” For me, the more I heal mine, the more it becomes about them instead of me, and I could be with them. This is this whole thing. We have to get into this empathy compassion discussion that I have a lot. When we’re empathically resonating, our stuff is getting activated.

Rebecca Ching: Absolutely.

Frank Anderson: When we’re compassionately with somebody and, for me, the unburdened leader doesn't get triggered, but they can be with it in the compassion at stance whatever it is, okay? So that’s the way. It’s not saying us feeling something is even bad and wrong. We’ve talked about this.

Rebecca Ching: Exactly.

Frank Anderson: It can inform our compassion, right?

Rebecca Ching: Yes. Yeah. Yeah, and I remember when I interviewed Dick for this show, he touched on how even the qualities of courage and confidence and clarity have a quality to them in the face of injustice --

Frank Anderson: Yes. 

Rebecca Ching: -- or power-over that still is strong, and so, I think as a culture we just need to rethink triggered and reactivity.


Sometimes we pathologize that and want to just get rid of it, but it’s a place of curiosity. It’s a place of agency is what I’m hearing you say. When I feel that flash of intensity in me, it’s an opportunity for me, first and foremost, I have to do the Y-O-U turn, the YOU-turn and go, okay, first and foremost, I gotta get in a place, a space, even if I have to get to a safer space to go and get curious about that, and then I’ll think about how I’m gonna be with you, but, first, the work has to be within. The more that we have the capacity to deal with those that are leading themselves, leading from more of a protected place that is -- I’m using the word power -- using the power inappropriately or, I mean, really, in the sense of we’re all just trying to protect ourselves, and how we protect can be very, very painful, very disruptive to others.

Frank Anderson: Let me break down what you said in two components because this is relatively new for me as the more healing I’ve done internally. So there’s one way to lead when you still have stuff in there that is susceptible to being triggered as a leader, okay?

Rebecca Ching: Yeah.

Frank Anderson: So, then, you do need to be with your stuff. You need to listen to it. You need to validate it. You need to let it settle down and not take over and dominate so that you can lead from that place of self energy, okay? So that’s being a leader while you still have traumas in you that, potentially, can get activated. That’s when it’s intense, it's yours.

There’s also leading when you're not being triggered much anymore, and this is an evolution of leadership that I’m seeing and feeling now. Now, I’m not done, but I have just finished a huge piece of work around my own trauma history, and I am much less triggered than I used to be in general in my life, okay?


I’m not done, but I am much less triggered as a leader now, and when you're not triggered, you are able to set limits, you're able to be clear, you're able to be confident, and you're able to allow somebody else to have their reaction and have their feeling with the clarity that it’s about them and you, as the leader will help them with theirs because you don't have as much of yours active anymore.

Rebecca Ching: Thank you for that differentiation. I appreciate that. It’s like a longer onramp to change and to healing, and I think we don't have that nuance so much in these conversations, and so, thank you so much for that.

Okay, you have a new book coming out.

Frank Anderson: Yes.

Rebecca Ching: I want to make sure we have some time for that. So talk about your new book. Tell us about your new book, and you're writing it, and how people can get it.

Frank Anderson: This is the thing, Rebecca, this is so much about my whole journey. All of what we’re talking about is so related to this book, okay? To date, it’s been my life’s work, and all that we’re talking about here is the motivation for me to write this book, honestly, and it’s called Transcending Trauma: Healing Complex PTSD with Internal Family Systems Therapy, and it’s coming out May 19th. Preorder now, and it’ll be available then. It really is talking about healing violations of relationships. Complex trauma is relational violation. I’ve spent most of my career being a recipient of that and also healing that. I talk about personal anecdotes in this, and I think within the first page I say, “And, yes, I have a trauma history,” just like I’ve done on this podcast so the book is very self-revealing about my history and my struggle.


It’s a lot of the work that I’ve done through this career of helping other people overcome these repeated relational violations that get in the way of us being leaders, of us being good partners, of us being good parents. So, for me --

Rebecca Ching: Good humans. Just good humans, right? 

Frank Anderson: For me, the timing of this is beautifully placed for me in the way that it’s serendipitous. My trauma is out there. My work around trauma is out there, and, as I move into the next phase of my life, I feel like at least everybody can have all that knowledge in one place because, in this very weird way -- and I’ll just say this -- I’m moving away from trauma in healing the world by giving love and compassion. I’ve spent most of my career healing what was done to people, and I think there’s a lot of that that’s in this book, Transcending Trauma, and I feel like the next phase for me is to help bring more positive in also. There’s a difference between undoing what was done to create positive and also, then, bringing in positive. 

So, for me, this is a big transitional moment releasing this book. I didn't realize that at the time, but this is what comes up when you write something. I’m like my trauma and my knowledge about trauma is out there for the world to soak up and use in the way that they want to. Honestly, it’s been a very channeled book so a lot of what comes in there I’m like, “Oh, my goodness. Where did this come from?” So I feel there’s a higher purpose to this book, honestly which I’m so happy to share with the world, and I feel like I’m gonna move into this next phase of my life now that this piece is out there. So it was a labor of love. I feel so good about it. I hope people like it. Maybe they will, maybe they don't. I love it. I really feel that, like, I love it and I hope people do too, you know? 


Rebecca Ching: Frank, I didn't even touch on a fraction of what I wanted to talk to you about. Will you come back so we can talk more? I would love to do that. Where can people find you if they want to connect with you, get on your newsletter. Where can people find you on social and the interwebs? 

Frank Anderson: Yeah, I have Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. I have all those channels available. The easiest way to find me is www.frankandersonmd.com, that’s my main website. You can sign up for my newsletter there. You can connect to all my social media channels there. That really is the easiest way to reach me if people are interested. I would absolutely love to come back. This has been such a fun conversation. I’m like we just got started here! Let’s go!

Rebecca Ching: Yes, no surprise. No surprise given our history of conversations. I knew this was gonna be a possibility.

Frank Anderson: Exactly. 

Rebecca Ching: Well, thank you, Frank, so much. I can’t wait for people to experience your wisdom and your heart, and I look forward to continuing the conversation. 

Frank Anderson: Thank you so much for having me.

Rebecca Ching: Rejection stings. The physics of  stepping out into the world is inviting rejection. There is no way around it which brings up a challenge and a choice on how to deal with this inevitable pain. As much as it is easy to write about The Hero’s Journey moving through rejection or even talking about it, it is a beast to live through it (can I get an amen?) especially when you're carrying the wounds of old rejections. We, too often, dismiss and minimize these old rejection wounds often as cliche or just far in the past and dealt with, but this belief minimizes the power this pain has over your present and your future. When you hunker down and press down the burdens of rejection instead of healing these burdens, your values and your compass change, derailing you and leading you towards a crash and burn.


In addition, the fear of rejection perpetuates a stigma around struggle and falling and changing our minds. It is exhausting, and it is unsustainable. 

Frank shared his own journey discovering these truths while walking us through how we help so many do the same. Where are you bypassing the pain of rejection in your life? What anticipatory fears do you have around experiencing rejection? How do your fears of rejection move you away from your values and integrity setting you up for a crash and burn? Bottom line: it is hard to be human. Relationships are work, caring is better than bypassing and numbing, and we can’t hack our way out of vulnerability of rejection. It is part of the gig of doing life with people and leading. 

Leading is hard, and leading is also controversial as you navigate staying aligned to your values, your mission, your boundaries. Navigating the inevitable controversy can challenge your confidence and clarity and calm, especially when there are wounds of rejection involved. You do not mind making the hard decisions, but sometimes the stakes seem higher and can bring up echoes of old doubts and insecurities during times when you need to feel rock solid on your plan and action. 

Finding a coach who gets the nuances of your business and leading in our complex and polarized world can help you identify the blocks that keep you playing at safe and small. Leading today is not a fancy title or fluffy bragging rights, it is brave and bold work to stay the course when the future is so unknown and the doubts and pains from the past keep showing up to shake things up. Internal emotional practices and systemic strategies are needed to keep the protector of cynicism at bay and foster a hope that is actionable and aligned.


When the stakes are high and you don't want to lose focus, when you want to navigate inevitable conflict between your ears and those in your head, when time is of the essence and you want to make hard decisions with confidence and clarity, then Unburdened Leader Coaching is for you and where you deepen the capacity to tolerate the vulnerability of change, innovation, and doing things differently than the status quo.

[Inspirational Music]

To start your Unburdened Leader Coaching process with me go to www.rebeccaching.com and book a free connection call. I cannot wait to hear from you!

Thank you so much for joining me on this episode of The Unburdened Leader. You can find this episode, show notes, and free Unburdened Leader resources along with ways to work with me, at www.rebeccaching.com.


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