EP 78: The Intersection of Relational Trauma and Business Boundaries with Heidi Taylor

Uncategorized May 12, 2023


Your past experiences and relationships inform how you lead and run your business today, whether you are aware of it or not.

Overworking, perfectionism, fear of failure, crappy boundaries due to people pleasing or micro-managing can all stem from our relational history. 

One of the more insidious aspects of trauma that can impact leaders and entrepreneurs is relational trauma, which can be difficult to identify and heal.

Unhealed relational trauma wounds often lie outside of our awareness leading to an unconscious drive to repeat the painful patterns we experienced in our present-day business and leadership.

My guest today wrote an email last summer about the connection between her relational trauma and how she is setting up her current business. She detailed some of the systems she has in place so she can serve the best right fit people while also protecting her energy and making sure she is not replicating her relational trauma in her business. I immediately sent her a reply to her email and invited her on the podcast. I am so honored she said yes.

Heidi Taylor is a business and sales coach with over a decade of experience. She helps experienced, high-touch service-based business owners increase sales conversion rates and demonstrate their expertise with a strong intake and sales process.

Heidi has a remarkable ability to help you feel confident in your sales process by helping you develop solid intake forms and asking better questions so you get straight into the sales conversation with confidence in both the buyer's intentions and your own ability to demonstrate the value of the service you have to offer.



Listen to the full episode to hear:

  • How healing from her childhood experiences taught Heidi that she needed to slow down her sales process 
  • Why Heidi’s boundary document is an integral part of building relationships of mutual respect with her clients
  • How building her business actually gave Heidi tools and confidence to address the traumas in her personal life
  • How Heidi approaches sales with curiosity and collaboration, rather than tactics that can be manipulative
  • How Heidi has redefined success after sacrificing her health and wellbeing in her early career


Learn more about Heidi Taylor:


Learn more about Rebecca:


Scroll Down for The Full Episode Transcript:

Heidi Taylor: So, growing up in a very fundamentalist religious tradition, having a parent who was very control and power over, I'm incredibly sensitive to how can I respect my potential client, how can I respect myself and make that a mutual power with, right, not power over. That is something that is, of course, incredibly important to me.

[Inspirational Music] 

Rebecca Ching: Does your business or job support your wellbeing or is it hurting you? Do you find yourself in the same type of work dynamics that stress you out and wear you down again and again? Have you done a lot of work on yourself so you can make sure you leave the past in the past but familiar feelings and struggles keep showing up? Now, the leaders and business owners I know and work with often do not intend to bring their past traumas into their business and leadership practices. In fact, they take many measures to make sure their past struggles do not impact their present work for better and sometimes for worse. Yet, also, their past pains can inspire incredible ideas and visions and systems fueled by a commitment to create something in this world that counters their difficult life experiences. But then sometimes, no matter how hard you work, the echoes of your traumas can overwhelm you, especially in times of growth, change, or when anything new shows up and taps into your vulnerability.

I'm Rebecca Ching, and you're listening to The Unburdened Leader, the show that goes deep with humans who navigate life’s challenges and lead in their own ways. Our goal is to learn how they address the burdens they carry, how they learn from them and become better and more impactful leaders of themselves and others.

Your past experiences and relationships inform how you lead and run your business today. Whether you're aware of it or not, the parts of you that helped you survive some really hard things have set you up to be keenly observant, and I know for some of you, you drive and push through challenges and work until you find the answer or achieve the goal because settling is not an option and failure feels like a threat instead of a learning point.


So, when I see things like overworking, perfectionism, fear of failure, crappy boundaries due to things like people pleasing or micro-managing, I often take a moment to get curious about the relational history of those I’m working with. One of the more insidious aspects of trauma that I see impact leaders and entrepreneurs is relational trauma.

Now, underneath those protectors of perfectionism and fear of failure and the well-known inner critics or hypervigilance and over functioning lies the burden of complex relational or betrayal trauma. Now, the burdens of relational trauma usually stem from various forms of abuse, neglect, maltreatment, or abandonment within a relationship usually by a primary caregiver, but it also can be teachers and mentors and other formative adults when we were younger. Relational trauma is often the most challenging to identify and heal from, especially when basic needs were provided for you.

So, I often hear from those with relational wounding in their story they feel like they're making a big deal of this kind of pain when they were provided for with meals and shelter and opportunities, even though other relational needs were not met or were violated, and the burdens of relational trauma can also impact how you see yourself and what kind of relationships or success you deserve, often leading through either hustling for love and affection or metrics that are so externally-focused, or you’re walled up against the vulnerability of ever getting hurt again. The parts that protect you from this kind of wounding often fuel the drive and ambition that can get you praised and rewarded, right? Yet unhealed trauma wounds often lie outside of our awareness, leading to an unconscious drive to repeat the painful patterns we experience in our present-day business and leadership.


When I look back on my own work and entrepreneurial experiences, I can see the connection with the jobs and careers I’ve chosen with my own past pains in primary relationships and in school, and it’s sneaky how parts of us will remedy needs that were not met when we were younger in our work. Again, this is not necessarily wrong or bad unless we’re burning out or our worthiness and safety become deeply linked with maybe a warped view of success of our work, and it’s also sneaky how we can build a business and systems and teams that unintentionally replicate our relational trauma wounds. We do not see it because we are so used to it, and it feels normal until it doesn't.

When I observe and reflect to my clients how their relational traumas are playing out in their business and leadership approaches, what usually follows is a frustrated exhale along with some statement like, “Rebecca! I thought I worked through this already!” [Laughs] I know my extra pair of eyes on their business and their leadership style picks up these trauma patterns in their business and leadership style because I’m not swimming in their system, and for me, after all these years, I could sure pick up the patterns quickly. Yet the parts of us still carrying the wounding can also inform how we lead, create a business, and build teams for the better, too.

My guest today sent an email out last summer that I quickly opened up because she always has wise words for her community, and this time she wrote about the connection between her relational trauma and how she’s setting up her current business. She detailed some of the systems she has in place so she can serve the best, right-fit people while also protecting her energy and making sure she’s not replicating her relational trauma in her business.


I immediately sent her a reply to her email and invited her onto the podcast, and I am so honored she said yes, and you all are in for a treat.

Heidi Taylor is a business and sales coach with over a decade of experience. She helps experienced and high-touch, service-based business owners increase sales conversion rates and demonstrate your expertise with a strong intake and sales process. Heidi has a remarkable ability to help you feel confident in your sales process by helping you develop solid intake forms and asking better questions, so you get straight into the sales conversation with confidence in both the buyer’s intention and your own ability to demonstrate the value of the service you have to offer.

Now, pay attention to why slowing things down in her systems helps protect her business, her energy, and those Heidi wants to support, and notice when Heidi shares how growing up in a fundamentalist home influences how she wants to share power with her potential clients instead of fall into the common power-over tactics often taught today. Listen for the intentions behind Heidi’s boundary document and how she feels, still, every time she sends it to a client. Now, please welcome Heidi Taylor to The Unburdened Leader podcast.

Heidi, welcome!

Heidi Taylor: Thank you, Rebecca! I am delighted to be here!

Rebecca Ching: Thank you for being here and thank you for your trust. I’d love to start out with light and breezy stuff, right? That’s what we do here on The Unburdened Leader. Just kidding. We’re gonna go deep, but I’d love for you to talk a little bit more about some things that you've shared, particularly about how being raised by a parent with narcissistic traits and undiagnosed mental health issues actually helped your business. Specifically, walk me through how your childhood helped you hone in the ability to spot red flags in relationships and how that led you to creating a process to protect your energy and your business today.


Heidi Taylor: Let me just start off by saying I’m a highly sensitive person, meaning I take in a lot of information when I’m talking with somebody, when I’m in the room with them, when I’m on a Zoom call. It doesn't matter, it’s like I’m listening, I’m observing, I’m intuiting, I’m looking at body language, all of those. Not to make you feel paranoid, but I’m soaking in all of the cues that the person I’m talking to is giving to me because in my childhood I had to do that to be safe and to survive. And so, the idea of selling to my clients, being on sales conversations, I really had to pay attention to I am feeling all these feelings, I’m noticing all of these things, and it can almost be overwhelming to my system. 

And so, if I want to be successful and feel confident and be able to really do my job to the best of my ability, I had to figure out a way to sort of slow everything down -- slow my sales conversations down, leave generous space for me to spot red-flag behavior in potential clients, to check in with myself (what am I feeling). Because I am so sensitive to the incoming information, I have to really give myself some space sometimes to go, “Okay, is this mine? Is this theirs? What’s in between us?” So, I had to figure out how to slow down my sales conversations, check in before a client says yes. “Am I ready to say yes to them? Are they ready to say yes to me? Does that feel good?” And so, the ways that I’ve been able to sort of sort some of that out, an intake form has been a fantastic tool for me because I get to look at somebody’s answers, and I can get a read based on what they're saying in between the lines about how they might show up for the relationship.


It’s all there. I believe it all shows up from the beginning.

Rebecca Ching: Mm-hmm.

Heidi Taylor: There are no surprises. Lots of times we can look back on things and go, “Oh, I missed that, but it was there,” right? And so, yeah, those are some of the ways that I’m just taking in so much information, and then I had to go and say to myself, “Okay, what do I need? How can I make this experience really respectful of me and myself and what I have to offer and the fact that I’m taking in so much, and then what does the person on the other end of  a client relationship need from me? How can I really get mutual respect?” Because I grew up in a very power-over environment, a very intense, fundamental, religious upbringing, and then sort of with that parent with narcissistic traits.

So, growing up in a very fundamentalist religious tradition, having a parent who was very control and power over, I’m incredibly sensitive to how can I respect my potential client, how can I respect myself and make that a mutual power with, right, not power over. That is something that is, of course, incredibly important to me.

Rebecca Ching: Well, and maybe you want to take a step back, Heidi.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And how do you define red flags in relationships? What is a red flag for you?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, an easy, quick tell: is the person that I am in conversation with following direction? I don't know however it sounds to people, but, for example, if I say, “Hey, I would love to have a conversation with you. Hop on over to my intake form and fill out the information,” so when they go over there they're like, “Okay, I don't want to do these questions,” maybe they put in N/A, right?


They’ve technically done the form. That’s an example that happens to people. It hasn't happened to me, but other ways that they can show me that they're not following instructions or they're not giving me a lot of information. There are certain behaviors that’ll show up in people’s answers that tell me they're not ready. That sounds like a judgment, but it’s a matter of, okay, how are they answering the questions? Does it sort of show me that they have the challenges and problems that I can help them with in my business?

Yeah, so those are some of the things I’m looking for. I’m just so wired for being able to pick up on things that it’s hard for me to give you exact examples.

Rebecca Ching: It’s hard to articulate because it’s so intuitive, but I really do want to get a little granular. So, I’m hearing when you talk about following directions, to me, that sounds like a boundary.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: When you ask someone to do something and they push back or they do it differently, and it may not be a full red flag, but maybe enough of a yellow flag to go, “Hmm.”

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Are there any other red flags that show up for you in business, or even yellow flags, that cause you to pause and get you a little bit on alert on, really, the trajectory of whether this relationship is gonna be one that is right fit for you and your potential client?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I’m very tuned into how much somebody needs from me.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, tell me more.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, and so, if it feels like they’re hanging on every word -- you know what I mean?


There are good connections where people -- obviously when you're a coach and you want your client to be in with you and listening, but then there are the clients who are pushing boundaries of, “You said all these things. Can you help me with this? Can you help me with that? Can you --,” and it just becomes this push, push, push, push, push, “I paid for this. I want to get every cent that I’m owed here, so I’m gonna ask a million questions.” And so, pacing, right? Pacing: are they able to have critical thinking? Are they able to take their time? Let me just say every client has different needs and is gonna show up a little bit differently, and I am here for accommodating people, and I want people to be open and honest about what they need, and there definitely has to be boundaries in place, right? If there’s a lot of, “I need you every second. I need you to be available after your hours, on weekends, all of the time. Why aren't you answering my messages?” That is just way too much.

Rebecca Ching: You know, I’m thinking about this, and my brain is even going to is this a transformational relationship or a transactional relationship, right?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Am I respecting you as a human being and your boundaries and your edges and what’s okay and not okay and mine, or am I like, “I’m giving you money, and you're gonna give me whatever I want whenever I want however I want.”

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: We see that a lot in culture, and I think it’s kind of we breathe it all in. There’s this entitlement. “Well, I paid for this, so I can get whatever I want,” versus there’s a living human being here [Laughs] that we’re entering in relationship with. I think that touches on what you said at the beginning. Does it start to feel like a power-over relationship versus a power with. Am I tracking that correctly?


Heidi Taylor: Yeah, one thousand percent. So much of the relationship piece, if this relationship with a client is going to be successful, how can we set it up to be as successful as possible. A transaction is not going to get my clients a transformation that they need and want, and I’m also gonna show up as a very unhappy service provider, right? And so, I’ve put a whole bunch of different checks and balances in place to support me and protect my energy as well as my clients because, given the background that I come from, I know that I’m not gonna show up as my best self if somebody is looking to sort of get as much as they can get, basically extract absolutely everything they can from me. To me, that’s not value.

Rebecca Ching: No, that’s not value, and there’s a dehumanizing piece to that.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So, you just mentioned you put in a lot of checks and balances in your business to protect your energy. Practically speaking, what are some of those that you have in place?

Heidi Taylor: So, I have a boundaries document. So, I realized, for me, early on in my business, I had some boundary violations that happened with clients, and I also realized this is a relationship that deserves respect, and it needs to be mutual. And so, I went really deep on boundaries, communicating and articulating my boundaries. I literally have a seven-page document that’s boundaries and agreements.


So, it’s both. It’s both my agreements to the client and the boundaries that I’d like them to uphold and expectations. It’s all communicated in fine detail.

And so, a big reason why it’s all written down is I want my clients to be able to read it, experience it, decide how they feel about it, and agree to it or not so that before the work starts, usually what happens, it’s really amazing. I know that I’ve made a really amazing right-fit client decision when they read my boundaries document and they sign back and say, “I love this! This is amazing. Thank you so much.” It’s usually a really exuberant, positive experience. People are usually pretty wowed by it because we don't normally get this much information, and what I found is that my clients tend to come from a similar background. And so, when they see everything spelled out, really articulated brilliantly -- listen to me, brilliantly --

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs] 

Heidi Taylor: -- but communicated well, they feel really supported, respected. They feel like they're in a safe container where they can really understand, “Okay, here are the boundaries. I know what to expect. There are no surprises,” right? I’m not gonna show up with some scam. There’s just so much integrity built into that process, so that’s a big one for me. If somebody -- once they’ve signed the contract and agree to the boundaries, we’re good to go.

So, yeah, that’s been a massive part of my process, and then I think as I was telling you earlier, in the sales process before they pay me, I may have up to three conversations with someone because I’m really taking my time to check in.


I have found the sales conversations that are fast, that are those 15-minute qualifying calls, I understand why people do them. I’m not here to shit on them, but I am here to say that that doesn't work for me.

Rebecca Ching: Well, I mean, a lot of that is rooted in NLP, which is -- I don't even know if I want to even call it -- it utilizes psychological and hypnosis types of principles that can often be weaponized, in my opinion.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And that gets people’s feathers ruffled because a lot of people believe in that, but if we forget the person, there’s a human being that we’re interacting with, to me, we don't want to work with folks out of manipulation. We want that contract.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So, thanks for talking through that because a seven-page boundary document may feel overkill or cumbersome to some, and for your right-fit clients and mine, it delights them. They feel safe. They feel held. They feel seen. It builds trust. I know from my clinical training one of the most common casualties of relational trauma is the loss of trust in ourselves and the ability to trust that we’ll be okay when we speak up and ask for something.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And so, can you tell me a little bit more about how this boundary document and these other different guardrails you have in place have helped you rebuild your self-trust and keep the burdens of trauma out of your business?

Heidi Taylor: You know, writing that document requires the person writing it (me, at the time) to take up a lot of space, to ask for things, to be really clear in communicating my needs, my values, what I’m agreeing to, what I’m asking for people to do with me, how I’m asking them to show up, how I feel about boundaries and the client relationship.


It’s all in there, and so, some people would say, “Heidi, that is overkill. Can't you do a video? Can’t you quickly explain that on the sales conversation? There are more efficient ways to do that.” But for me and just the way that my system works, writing all of that out, taking up that space, I mean, literally, Rebecca, every time I press send on that document to every new client, there are butterflies in my stomach, right? There’s that little bit of nervousness like how are they gonna respond to my boundaries, even though I have lots of evidence that the best and right people love them, I am taking up a lot of space by sending that and saying, “Here’s a big, fat, juicy signal that I am here for this and I’m showing up with everything I’ve got, and I’m asking you to do the same.”

Rebecca Ching: Having a primary caregiver who has narcissistic wounding, the way to protect is to shrink --

Heidi Taylor: Yep.

Rebecca Ching: -- is to not steal the limelight, not push back. As a kid, it’s like you have to bob and weave, even though this is someone who also provides for you, keeps you safe (which is ironic, right), offers you shelter and food. And then you throw in gender to this about taking up space.

Heidi Taylor: Right. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Kind of the intersection of some of this, and so, tell me about those butterflies, I’m making up those younger parts of you that are like, “Um, 2023 Heidi, are you sure? Are you sure we’re gonna be safe?” Again, we don't have to rationalize it, but tell me what their fears and concerns are when you push send on that document to a potential new client.


What are they, just want to say, “Are you sure we’re gonna be okay?” Yeah, what are their fears and concerns, even though I know they trust you or else they wouldn't let you send the document.

Heidi Taylor: Right.

Rebecca Ching: But what are they still feeling a little vulnerable about when you put this spacious document out to potential clients?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I think the young part of me is, “Will I get a strong reaction,” right? “Will they reject me? What will they think?” That’s a big one, right? Because I spent so much of my time observing before acting, listening, paying such acute attention to be sure that it was okay to exist.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, my gosh.

Heidi Taylor: Right? And so…

Rebecca Ching: [Sigh] 

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, so every time that document goes out, there’s a little part of me that’s like [Inhale], you know, holding my breath a little bit. What’s the response gonna be?

Rebecca Ching: I can't help but wonder, though, that every time that document is received and whether it goes to this exuberant, “Thank you, this is amazing,” to, “Oh, my gosh, too much,” that younger part of you is relieved because you have the data.

Heidi Taylor: One thousand percent.

Rebecca Ching: Okay.

Heidi Taylor: Once I have that data, I feel unstoppable.

Rebecca Ching: Because you can, then, make the decision. You have the choice to enter into that relationship or not, where as a kid, we didn't have those choices. We had to figure out how to survive. I’m saying we because I think there are some aspects of your story that I really resonate with in that, too. So, I really appreciate that. I really appreciate that.


So, one other thing that you've touched on in the juggernaut of an email that I referenced that led me to asking you to join me today, you talked about loneliness, too, and I’m curious how did the loneliness that you felt as a kid help you navigate the inevitable lonely times of business ownership and entrepreneurship today? 

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, you know what? I think what has really helped me heal and be a strong business owner is really having gone through what I did, I was able to put things in place in my business before I could maybe do some of that work in my personal life with my family, right?

Rebecca Ching: Ooh, tell me more.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, it felt like I was thinking a lot about this in preparing for our conversation about how that worked for me. I don't know if it works that way for other people, but my livelihood depended on it (income) and also my sanity. And on a different level, for some reason having the space, the choice -- autonomy is a high value of mine. Having the room to breathe and think and create a business and an experience for my clients, I didn't get to do any of that when I was younger, right? Doing that work and having those conversations with your family is high-stakes stuff, right? It is with your business, too, but it’s very different. And so, I feel like my business gave me a lot of confidence. Setting it all up the way that I wanted to, I had so much choice and freedom and space, and self-expression that just wasn't available.

Rebecca Ching: Huh.


Heidi Taylor: So, that’s been, I think, really, really powerful for me.

Rebecca Ching: So, tell me, this is what I’m pulling from this, too, this almost setting up your business helped you and your inner system really reauthor the stories that you were told about who you were, what you could and couldn't do, and then starting your business helped you usher you into a deeper level of conversation and clarity with people in your family of origin, whether it’s boundaries and what’s okay, what’s not okay and sharing those things. Am I landing on that?

Heidi Taylor: You got it.

Rebecca Ching: Okay. Okay.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. 

Rebecca Ching: And so then bringing it back to the loneliness piece, I mean, just on a practical level, too, how did your capacity to move through loneliness as a kid help you when there’s that -- I mean, remember, loneliness isn't not being with people, even though for you as a solopreneur, there isn’t a lot of in-real-time connection, but sometimes that loneliness is really feeling like, “Who gets this? Am I the only one that goes through this,” and even just the physical pain of loneliness, it’s a painful emotion.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: When those moments come up (which they do for all of us) in your business, how do you see how your childhood helped you move through them in a healthier way today?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I think you get so used to sort of having to figure things out on your own, right?

Rebecca Ching: Totally. Yeah.

Heidi Taylor: So, that is definitely there, but certainly there’s some loneliness and grief and sadness in that as well because it is scary.


There are some things that happen in your business that are scary. The beautiful thing about having a business and that autonomy and when those times of loneliness or scary things happen or the potential for scary things to happen, I can support myself. I have all of these tools to help myself that I didn't have when I was younger, right?

Rebecca Ching: Ah.

Heidi Taylor: Again, that just feels like this really healing piece of having a business is that I have the space. I’m not in a nine to five job. I’m not being pushed to do things in a time and in a way that works for my employer. It’s like I am the vessel. I am the one that’s helping other people. I have to take care of me.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, it almost sounds like you building a business and a life has been inextricably connected to your personal healing journey which, I mean, I would say duh to just about anyone. I think what we build, what we’re drawn to is connected to our story whether we’re aware of it or not. I’m hearing you see this so clearly. It wasn't just a reflexive, which I think that’s some of what it was for me. I just did it. That’s more my personality, and then I’m like, “All right, I’ll figure it out later.” [Laughs]

Heidi Taylor: Right.

Rebecca Ching: Your system, it really slowed you down, and there is this piece about taking space, reauthoring and protecting your agency and your autonomy and even if loneliness hits or those challenges, you’ve also been intentional. You and I met in an entrepreneur community, and you’ve put yourself in spaces around other folks who share these different skills, too. You’ve been really selective in that, yes. 

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, incredibly discerning. I had some early experiences that didn't go so great because I brought my own little things to those, you know? Wherever I am, there they are.

Rebecca Ching: I get that. [Laughs]


Heidi Taylor: So, having some of those experiences and going, “Okay, I need something to support me. I need to really be very careful about, okay, who am I letting into my world, into my brain space, into my energy.” So yeah, really just being incredibly discerning about who am I surrounding myself with.

[Inspirational Music]

Rebecca Ching: Leading is hard. Leading is also often 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. Now, I know you don’t mind making the hard decisions, but sometimes the stakes seem higher and can bring up echoes of old doubts, insecurities, and relational woundings during times when you need to feel rock solid on your plan and action. Finding a coach who gets the nuances of your businesses and leading in our complex and polarized world can help you identify the blocks that keep you playing at safe and small.

Now, 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 both 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 with those you lead, when time is of the essence and you want to make hard decisions with confidence and clarity, then Unburdened Leader Coaching is for you, where you deepen the capacity to tolerate the vulnerability of change, innovation, and doing things differently than you were taught.

To start the Unburdened Leader Coaching process with me, go to www.rebeccaching.com and book a free connection call. I can't wait to hear from you!

[Inspirational Music]


Rebecca Ching: You know, Heidi, one thing I’ve learned about watching you and listening to you and learning from you over the years is your body, your system will not tolerate toxic people. It shuts it down so equivocally and not in a disrespectful, drama, whatever-we-see-play-out way. It’s just there’s a lot of clarity, and you really listen to that, and that’s one thing I know, for me, I have a too-high -- and this is true with I think a lot of people I work with -- my capacity for tolerating BS or toxic stuff is too high. I would say in recent years that's shrunk, especially since the shelter-in and really all of us kind of reflecting a lot that now my capacity for tolerating is a lot less than it used to be, but I really appreciate your awareness of that you're not gonna tolerate it anymore. It’s like your system’s like, “Nope, never again,” right? 

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I’ve been leaning deeply, deeply into that and noticing how it’s getting very much so that I cannot tolerate. I’m the person that would rather be alone than tolerate BS.

Rebecca Ching: So, I think this is probably where we’re different because you know me. I’m like a raging extrovert.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And so, I have to just catch myself to not settle for what I’m allowing into my space because it takes a while to metabolize the ickiness of if I had a rough interaction, and I used to tolerate so much. I wouldn't think that through. I wasn't as discerning because I was like, “Yay! Someone to talk to!” [Laughs]

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.


Rebecca Ching: And so, that’s where my personality is, but I actually really appreciate that, and I have a lot of friends and I even married someone who is a lot like that and would rather be alone than to tolerate that. I have a lot of respect for that, and I think maybe people criticize that, but I think it’s a really discerning strength. It has its shadow side too, right?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah. 

Rebecca Ching: And so, at what point do you realize you’ve kind of isolated too much?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, and that’s totally my tendency. I have to be careful about not isolating too much. And so, I think the way that I’m able to sort of manage that is finding these communities of people, right, where it’s a discerning, safe place and knowing that I do have community available and I can also step away and spend time with myself, check in with myself, and I have very high relationship-building strengths. I’m, like, 80% relationship building. So, I am also cultivating some really great relationships that I can check in with other business owners and just say, “Hey, this is feeling really hard. How about you?”

Rebecca Ching: You know, this is bringing me back to something you said earlier in our conversation back to your boundaries document where maybe some would say, “This isn't efficient. This isn't productive.” But your pace of things, we say in the IFS community “slower is faster,” you're living that. There’s nothing in your system that wants to replicate that again. And so, you really look at things in long-game perspective. Fast almost becomes unsafe, is that correct? Those are my words, so correct those words.


Heidi Taylor: No, no, that is true. That is true because I feel like if I’m in fast mode, it feels overwhelming. I might miss something.

Rebecca Ching: Mm.

Heidi Taylor: It’s really looking at there are times where, yes, we all need deadlines. I need deadlines to show up and get things done, and I also need some space, right, to think, to breathe, to check in with my body. What’s my body telling me? What’s my heart telling me? What’s my brain telling me?

Rebecca Ching: So many people don't do the -- it feels inefficient to do that.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And now it’s becoming a non-negotiable for me, but I just didn't think I could, and I think that’s the way I metabolized and tried to protect my trauma was to just keep going. Just keep going. Don’t get stuck. For me, slow felt stuck and dangerous.

Heidi Taylor: Right.

Rebecca Ching: Because I felt too vulnerable in that. For you, there’s an intentionality. You're not dragging things out.

Heidi Taylor: Right.

Rebecca Ching: So, what’s interesting though is one of your superpowers that people come to you to help them with is sales.

Heidi Taylor: I know. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: That’s a word that -- oh, my gosh, sales and marketing, even though they're two different things (I want to be very clear), but they're connected. They're often very connected and interwoven in strategy, but sales is something that feels like you’ve got to do. “You’ve got to make the sale. We’ve got to go --,” you know, there’s a speed to it, but there’s also an immense vulnerability and also there’s a lot of judgment around sales.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: So, tell me how negotiating sales for your business helped you process and heal your childhood wounds and reconnect with your power. 


Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I mean, I feel like it affords me so much power. Again, not in a power-over way, but to me, asking is powerful.

Rebecca Ching: Okay, stop right there. Stop with that pause. Okay, but for so many people, asking is needy, asking is being a burden, asking is opening yourself up for judgment and criticism, and you're saying asking is power. Help me connect the dots here.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I love that. So, I’m asking with so much curiosity about the person I’m talking to. So, I’m not asking them to help me; it’s all about them, right? I’m being very curious to ask questions about their problem, their challenge. That’s all sales.

Rebecca Ching: Oh.

Heidi Taylor: Sales is all curiosity.

Rebecca Ching: But you're not doing it from a manipulative perspective. You have, what I call, a non-agenda curiosity. It’s just, “Tell me more.” And that’s true, Heidi, because when I feel like someone -- and I’ve been on the recipient end of that from you and from others, and when I feel like someone really wants to get to know me, that builds trust and that builds connection.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Once you have trust and connection with me, and I think with anyone, then so much more can happen. So, if I’m hearing you correctly, your approach to sales is, “What are you struggling with? Tell me more.” Okay, and you get in the weeds, you really take the time to ask, not to be the solution person, not to be the hero, but just to understand. Tell me if I’m lining this right, and then I still want to circle back on how that’s been healing for you.


Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I mean, asking, there’s so much creativity, right? For me, it’s all about connection --

Rebecca Ching: Wow.

Heidi Taylor: -- and creativity, because getting somebody to just give me the most important information about their business so that I can help them see the gaps or the problem or the challenge, for me it’s fun, not that it’s a game, but I get to discover along with my clients.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, it’s collaborative.

Heidi Taylor: Totally! It’s absolutely collaborative. I’m not extracting anything from anyone because I’m inviting them in to just tell me more.

Rebecca Ching: It’s not exploitative.

Heidi Taylor: No. 

Rebecca Ching: With this extracting there’s an agenda there, but for you and your value and your ethic, sales is relationship. It’s understanding and then where do you say, “Hey, here’s how I can help”? What does that look like --

Heidi Taylor: Yeah!

Rebecca Ching: -- with that curiosity period, and then how do you say, “Okay, here’s what I can offer you”?

Heidi Taylor: I mean, they can look a million different ways, right? So, I don't use scripts because that feels incredibly inauthentic to me. I really am in it, right? This is where it comes back to that whole observing, listening, taking in, being really sensitive to what is happening and what I’m hearing. And so, in terms of inviting somebody to talk about, “Okay, here’s the investment. Here’s what it looks like to work together,” I just say, “Hey, do I have your permission to talk some more about going deeper?” “Does it make sense for us to talk about working together?” “Would you like to know more about what it costs to do this?”

Rebecca Ching: So, you know what I’m hearing in those questions? Permission and consent.

Heidi Taylor: One hundred percent. Always, yes.


Rebecca Ching: Permission and consent, it’s, “Is this okay? Here’s what I’m hearing. Here’s an invitation.”

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Again, it’s the antithesis of NLP and all these other different hacks that bastardize the best of psychology, just to be honest. [Laughs]

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I mean, again, respect is my number one value, right, mutual respect. And so, if you're in a sales conversation and you're feeling like you're being disrespected, guess what? That’s gonna happen the whole way through. It’s not gonna change. The sales person’s disrespecting you? That’s what you're gonna get for delivery. If a potential client is disrespecting you, that’s how they're gonna show up for their client relationship, right? I really believe that all that stuff shows up in the first conversation, and so, I’m just there to be as respectful and invitational and open to connection.

Rebecca Ching: Huh.

Heidi Taylor: It’s a very different experience than the way that a lot of people sell.

Rebecca Ching: The way that a lot of business folks run things today.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, sadly, because it’s inefficient and it’s not canned. There are not scripts, it’s about skill and heart and integrity and practice and skill. My brain went to how much parenting has been healing for me, that I’ve been able to give my kids things I didn't get, respond to my kids in moments in ways that I wasn't responded to and how that’s been healing to me and my system. What I’m hearing is your business has offered you that.

Heidi Taylor: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: That how you engage with people and interact with them, what you offer and how you’ve built everything has helped you. That’s how I’m connecting the sales piece with healing your childhood wounds is because you get to give others what you didn't have, but you're doing it through your business. I think that is incredible. What comes up when I say that?


Heidi Taylor: Yeah, it one hundred percent resonates. One of the things that I really -- I don't know if I realized it at the time. I mean, I’ve been doing a lot of work on my anger and realizing that when I take my anger and I advocate for myself, sales is all about advocacy. I’m advocating for my client. I’m advocating for myself and my business. When I can make that shift from --

Rebecca Ching: It’s power with.

Heidi Taylor: Yes!

Rebecca Ching: It’s power with, not power over.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, when I can do that, that’s just awesome, right? That’s healing.

Rebecca Ching: Anger, especially with those who identify as female and have been raised as female, it’s complicated to get into.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Especially with your background, the fundamental religious background around anger. “Do not sit in your anger.” I’m like, okay, yes, but that doesn't mean we don't get angry, [Laughs] you know?

Heidi Taylor: Right. Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And you don’t get to all decide what’s a sin and what’s not [Laughs] just because it would have been what you feel like, but that’s a big mind F, and especially how folks who identify as male express anger, there’s probably a lot of stuff of unlearning there.

Heidi Taylor: Mm-hmm.

Rebecca Ching: We weren't taught about righteous anger.

Heidi Taylor: Right.

Rebecca Ching: And I love how you’re using that anger as a data point for advocacy for those that have entrusted you with their business. I really appreciate that. That’s a really values-aligned business right there, and it’s also giving back to you, Heidi, is what I’m hearing.

Heidi Taylor: Massively. Yes, absolutely. I mean, instead of thinking back to my childhood and my experiences and feeling helpless or trapped and full of resentment and anger, all of those things that I wasn't able to express and my needs that weren't getting met, I’m now an adult, and I can advocate for myself, and I can create an amazing boundaries document and a sales process and an experience for myself and my clients. That is what is healing me, right?


Rebecca Ching: I love it. 

Heidi Taylor: Taking all of those steps in my business has just really helped me become the person that I always wanted to become, and there just wasn't the space and the room.

Rebecca Ching: I was raised on the customer is always right.

Heidi Taylor: Mm.

Rebecca Ching: And I had to adapt to that.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: And whatever they want, because they're gonna give the money, it was all about give them whatever they -- and it was full-body sacrifice. That’s literally what I cut my teeth on and what mentors had taught me. I saw it in my family. I saw it around me. It was hustle, hustle, hustle, and this is really the antithesis of it.

But before we go, I want to take you back to before you had your business. There’s kind of like an in-between period for you in your journey. You were working in the flower industry. You were working in a space expressing your creativity. You thought, “This is my jam,” and then you realized that you were working with some of the most incredibly talented people, but they also were equally toxic and they were reflecting the same kind of toxicity that you grew up with at home. So, I’m curious what the tradeoffs were for you when you realized you were sacrificing your sanity, your wellbeing, for success.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, they call it an agricultural business, and so, in agriculture, it is labor. It’s physical. It’s intense. The hours are long. Weekends, holidays, it’s all in, everything. Body, mind, soul, you are in.


I just found that what happened was I ended up sacrificing -- again, this mirrored my childhood -- I was sacrificing for others, right? I was sacrificing, and that’s a hard habit to sort of break when you're used to bending to everything around you.

Rebecca Ching: Mm.

Heidi Taylor: I was placing my value on worth, on how hard I could work, because in the floral industry, it’s all about the hours you put in, the labor. The longest day I ever worked, I worked until 5:00 AM on my feet. I drove home. I had an hour commute. I slept for three hours, came back, and did another full day because I was working for companies and we were doing high-end events, weddings big time -- the budget was $100k on flowers, and that was back in the nineties, right?

Rebecca Ching: Dang. Yeah.

Heidi Taylor: So, I worked harder than I’d ever worked in my life, and I suffered greatly for it. And so, this is why I’m so intentional. I literally, in the middle of my floral career, ended up in the hospital with a tracheostomy tube.

Rebecca Ching: No!

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, I had a trach tube for three years.

Rebecca Ching: Heidi, I didn't know that.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, so, I mean, that’s the other interesting thing, right? When a trach tube’s in your throat, that’s your voice. That’s your breath.

Rebecca Ching: I was just gonna say that. Oh, my gosh. That’s your power. That’s your life.

Heidi Taylor: Right? And so, I learned -- I had just been married for a year and a half/two years. I learned a massive lesson about your health, your body, your relationship to yourself.


Endless lessons, and so, I sacrificed my body, and it showed me, again, “You can't tolerate that.” My body showed me.

So, it took me a while to get out. I had to slowly back my way out, but I got there, and part of that whole -- I don't think this is answering your question directly, but part of that experience was realizing, “Okay, my body can't take this, but also, I have so much more to offer the world than just creating beautiful things with my hands. There’s value in that, but there’s so much more to who I am and what I have to offer the world.”

Rebecca Ching: And maybe what I would add to that, it’s not even about the creative expression, it wasn't about you just laboring in that way, that kind of -- I mean, we both grew up in that kind of Agrarian culture where your worthiness is what you do and how hard you do it. Even in my DC days, people would brag about how many hours they worked on the weekends and thought that was great, and I’m thinking, “That’s not what I want to do when I have a family.”

Heidi Taylor: Right.

Rebecca Ching: So, saying all of that, Heidi, what does success look like for you today, and how is it different from when you were younger?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah, so, to me, success is like -- helping is really healing, right? Especially when you're helping from an integrated, healed place as much as possible. And so, success to me now is like I get to challenge the edges of my own personal development and evolve and grow. That, to me, is success versus laboring, exhausting myself, right?


I can be really intentional, thoughtful. I just feel like that, to me, is success versus those times where I was in those environments where I was mirroring my childhood, being around toxic people, not having choices. 

When I was in the floral industry, the pay is ridiculously low. You're doing it for the love and the passion, and it’s not sustainable. There’s no way, financially, emotionally, physically. And so, yeah, being able to sort of grow up and do a lot of my own work to get to this place where I can own my own business, work in my strengths and my skills, and honor other people while I’m doing it, that’s the dream for me.

Rebecca Ching: That’s success?

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Ah, Heidi. Thank you for this conversation. I feel like there are a few more that I want to have in the future with you. So, I hope you come back. But before you go, are you up for some quickfire questions? I love this. I love it when it makes sense in an interview. I love these questions.

Heidi Taylor: [Laughs] Hit me. Hit me.

Rebecca Ching: Awesome. Okay, what are you reading right now?

Heidi Taylor: So, I just finished Prince Harry’s book Spare.

Rebecca Ching: And?

Heidi Taylor: There’s been a lot of controversy about it. I loved listening to his voice. I have a special place in my heart for him because I was literally in the hospital the weekend his mother died. I was intubated at the time, really ill. And so, I don't know, there’s just this weird parallel. You remember where you are when really famous people die. That’s where I was.


Rebecca Ching: You remembered that.

Heidi Taylor: And so, experiencing him go through all the trauma with his family, listening to his audiobook was really, really powerful for me.

Rebecca Ching: Thank you for that. What song are you playing on repeat right now?

Heidi Taylor: So, on the weekend I was listening to a mix of Depeche Mode, Erasure, and The Cure. [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Oh! And The Cure! [Laughs]

Heidi Taylor: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: You know Depeche Mode is on tour. They're coming to San Diego at the end of this calendar year, and I think I’m gonna take the plunge and get tickets. I cannot believe they're touring.

Heidi Taylor: Amazing.

Rebecca Ching: That’s awesome, and Erasure has such a special place in my heart.

Heidi Taylor: Right?

Rebecca Ching: I love that. Best TV show to movie you’ve seen recently?

Heidi Taylor: Everything Everywhere All at Once. I’m a little bit behind on that, but that movie is amazing. They say this line, “Every rejection, every disappointment has led you here.”

Rebecca Ching: I know!

Heidi Taylor: And the end of that movie, phew!

Rebecca Ching: Yeah, I know. It’s so good. I need to watch it again. I need to watch it again.

Heidi Taylor: Same.

Rebecca Ching: All right, you and I are of a similar age, so what is your favorite eighties movie or favorite piece of eighties pop culture?

Heidi Taylor: So, it’s very hard for me to pick because I am a massive Jon Hughes fan, the director, right?

Rebecca Ching: Yes! Yep, yep.

Heidi Taylor: However, if I had to choose, The Breakfast Club.

Rebecca Ching: Ugh. 

Heidi Taylor: Right?

Rebecca Ching: And, of course, I'm doing the sign right now.

Heidi Taylor: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: [Laughs]

Heidi Taylor: The end of the movie!

Rebecca Ching: Yes, yes! The end of the movie. Fist bump the air. Awesome!

Heidi Taylor: [Laughs]

Rebecca Ching: Heidi, what is your mantra right now?

Heidi Taylor: So, I don't know if everyone else watched. Netflix has Stutz, and he says, “True confidence is living in uncertainty and moving forward.” Yeah, and I love to remind myself of that because, you know…


Rebecca Ching: Yeah, it’s the vulnerability of not having it all figured out and having that courage to step into it. I dig it.

Heidi Taylor: Yeah.

Rebecca Ching: Heidi, what’s an unpopular opinion that you hold?

Heidi Taylor: I think my unpopular opinion is slow is great, slow is where it’s at for me. 

Rebecca Ching: Slow is where it’s at.

Heidi Taylor: Right? Lots of people say slow is fast, but for me slow is exactly where I need to be.

Rebecca Ching: Oh, I like that. Ooh, I like that. Who or what inspires you to be a better leader and human?

Heidi Taylor: Well, as you know, I have been working on getting certified as an Enneagram practitioner, and so, doing the work with the Enneagram really inspires me to be better. The depths of that work, you're always uncovering something new, and so, it has really helped me just be a better human being and notice who I am and how I’m showing up for everything I do.

Rebecca Ching: That’s incredible. I’ve learned a lot about the Enneagram from you, and I’m grateful. So, Heidi, thank you for this conversation. I know it was like the tip of the iceberg of the amount of wealth and knowledge and wisdom that you hold for all those that you serve, but I really appreciate you taking the time for this conversation and sharing some of your heart and story. I know people are gonna get a lot out of it.

Heidi Taylor: Oh, thank you, Rebecca.

[Inspirational Music] 

Rebecca Ching: Before you go, I hope you take away a few key nuggets from today’s Unburdened Leader conversation with Heidi Taylor. Now, bottom line, entrepreneurship and leading can be a challenging journey requiring constant adaptation, problem solving, and risk taking. Yet for many entrepreneurs, their success can be traced back to a traumatic event or relational trauma that shaped their ability to thrive in an uncertain environment. Now, we learned from Heidi how she stepped out of the grind of overwork and people pleasing (responses from her relational wounding) into a healthy and boundaried business. That leaves us with so many lessons, right?


Heidi shared the thought and heart-felt intention she puts into her business and the experience she wants to create for all who work with her and herself, which is inspired from her own awareness of relational wounding and in turn making sure her business supports her instead of harms her.

I’m curious, how may you be replicating your wounds from your story unintentionally in your business or your work today? And are there still some echoes of your past pain showing up in your work and life that need some attention from you? And what is driving the decisions in your work in business? Is it value-aligned boundaries or is it over functioning and people pleasing?

Now, we cannot power over our relational pain through more strategy and more work. In order to release the burdens of relational trauma, we need to do the work to understand how these pains inform us, so we do not replicate them in our life and our work, and this is the ongoing work of an Unburdened Leader.

Thank you so much for joining this very special episode of The Unburdened Leader. If this show was particularly impactful for you, I would be honored if you would go ahead and leave a rating, a review, and share it with someone you think may benefit from it. That is how we get the word out about this show! You can find this episode, show notes, ways to sign up for the free Unburdened Leader weekly, and resources, along with ways to work with me at www.rebeccaching.com. 

[Inspirational Music]


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