The Choice Effect

From External Validation to Inner Peace: Kelly Gifford's Inspiring Transformation

August 30, 2023 Sonny Von Cleveland Season 1 Episode 7
The Choice Effect
From External Validation to Inner Peace: Kelly Gifford's Inspiring Transformation
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Imagine walking away from your dream job, packing your belongings, and leaving life as you know it. That's the inspiring story shared by Kelly Gifford, a former personal trainer. Kelly bravely exposes her journey of self-discovery, revealing how she confronted her deep-seated insecurities about her body and self-worth, and decided to change her career path. She speaks candidly about her decision to leave the fitness industry, a dream job for many, and the moment of realization that external appearances and job titles don't define happiness.

What if you were told that solitude can be your superpower? That's exactly what Kelly discovered as she embarked on her transformative journey of self-introspection. Listen in as she discusses the power of solitude and self-acceptance, and the profound impact it had on her life. Kelly beautifully illustrates how this period helped her uncover who she truly was and what she wanted, leading her towards self-actualization. She shares her story of trusting her instincts and following her heart, which led to unexpected outcomes and life-altering experiences.

Does fear hold you back? Kelly Gifford talks about how she learned to confront her fears, transforming them into a powerful ally in her journey. Our discussion explores how to navigate the presence of fear and turn towards it, using it as a catalyst for change. Kelly highlights the influence of books and people in her journey, and how they helped guide her towards self-discovery and acceptance. This episode is a powerful reminder of how facing our fears can be a game-changer in our lives. Tune in for an inspiring conversation that promises to change your perspective on fear, solitude, and self-discovery.

Connect withKelly!

https://kelevatecoaching.com

Instagram: @kelevate_ https://instagram.com/kelevate_

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Thank you for joining us on the Choice Effect Podcast. This is Sonny Von Cleveland, reminding you that every challenge is an opportunity for transformation. Your past doesn't define you; your choices do. Let's keep inspiring, healing, and choosing paths that lead to our best selves. Until next time, stay empowered and remember: You have the power to change your story.

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Sonny Von Cleveland:

Today we have Kelly Gifford with us, an individual whose story speaks of a stark transition from an enviable job to a sole searching mission. Once a personal trainer. Kelly's voyage into deep personal development unearthed an uncomfortable truth about her relationship with her body and self-worth. Today, she's here to share her enlightening tale of self-discovery and the redemptive power of choice. Hi Kelly.

Kelly Gifford:

I feel like I need to take that and just bring it with me everywhere. That's the most beautiful intro I've ever heard.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

It's funny. Everybody keeps telling me that, well, that's a good intro. I'm like I mean, I'm just doing my due diligence, right. I want to give people an idea of who they're about to hear. How are you, kelly? Tell us where you're at and how's it going up there?

Kelly Gifford:

Thank you. Yes, so I am currently in Newfoundland, canada, which I am just temporarily visiting some family here before I embark on another travel-filled journey to South America for the indefinite future.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I feel like you're just. You just jump off the grid at any moment. You're like I wonder what's happening in Timbuktu. I don't even know if that's an actual place, but I'm going to go find out. I feel like you're just kind of there. I love that. Can you give us a snapshot of that pivotal moment when you decided to step away from your dream job to focus on your healing journey?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah. So, after being in the fitness industry for multiple years and really having it be like what felt like my dream job, like I told everyone that if I could just you know, live in the gym for the rest of my life and train clients, I would be so happy. And I had the whole dream of, like you know, open up a gym for myself one day. And all of that, and around the time of when the first lockdowns during 2020 started to come open and there was talk about the gyms opening back up, I found myself in a really weird position where all of my clients who obviously had to stop working with me at the gym during that time were so excited to be back in the gym and everyone was telling me how much, you know, they wanted to be back there.

Kelly Gifford:

And I was having this really weird experience of dread, and my own dread scared me because I'm like, why would I feel dread around going back to the gym? Why are all of these people feeling so excited about going back to the gym? And it makes me like wake up in the middle of the night in a panic, knowing that I'm going to have to go back there. And it was so weird because it was everything that I ever thought that I wanted and that started to kind of plant this seed for me of moving in a different direction. But it actually took me about a year and a half to do something about it.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

So you? It's crazy to wake up one day and you're like I don't think I want to go back. I don't know that I need to go back to that gym. Everybody's excited for Kelly to come back, but Kelly doesn't want to come back. Kelly has another plan in mind. It sounds like a significant realization hit you when you were out with a friend, if I recall. Can you paint that picture for us and what was going through your mind during that interaction?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah. So this was actually about a year after the fact when this first experience of feeling like, oh my gosh, do I not want to be a personal trainer anymore? Started to kind of happen. So I was invited to go out dancing with a new friend and this friend was very like, extravagantly outgoing and extroverted, and I was both terrified by the idea of going but also kind of excited over the idea of stretching my comfort zone a little bit, because at this point I lived a pretty isolated lifestyle like lockdowns aside, I was very introverted, I didn't go out very much, I didn't have very many social plans or very many friends, and I spent most of my weekends just like going for walks and reading self help books. That's kind of what I did. And so this experience of going out with her taught me a lot.

Kelly Gifford:

And when I was on the dance floor with her and she was just so free and moving her body and meeting all these new friends and introducing herself to all of these new people, I found myself feeling so confined by my own insecurities and fears about what other people were thinking about me and I was trying so hard not to let it consume me and I was trying to dance and mimic her movements and trying to put myself out there more, but it felt like my insecurities were latching on to me like a straight jacket, and it was in that moment that I realized that I had spent the last decade of my life going through my own fitness journey and then turning that into a career as a personal trainer and a coach in the fitness industry and learning and integrating all of the best science based tools for controlling my body and getting my dream body so that I could ultimately feel confident and have a happy life. And I was not confident at all and ultimately not happy at all either.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Wow, and just in that atmosphere, right at that moment, right, that's got to be a pretty profound mental thing. That's happening when you're surrounded by people, you're trying to enjoy the atmosphere, and then this starts to creep in, right, this mental attack on yourself. And when you say you realized you were not so confident, despite the years you spent sculpting your body to fit a certain image, what emotions, deep, we're bubbling up. Can you identify those?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, I think the deepest one is Shame, but I think the more surface level ways that shame can manifest itself is just in anxiety, worry over other people's perception of me or other people judging me and and just an overarching sense of like insecurity, like not feeling comfortable with my own being.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And I mean that can be such a gripping thing in the moment, right Like it's, and so many people suffer from this and and they don't know how to break away from it, and that's that's one of the scary parts is is you know what? You obviously figured out how to escape out of that and and and work through that, but there's so many people who I think would be it will be inspired by you when they hear this or when they hear your story, when they see you, wherever they see you, and they'll be inspired by that, because a lot of times it's it's a prison and they're stuck and they can't get out of it.

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, and I had created a really comfortable prison for myself and it. It was something, funnily enough, that I think was sort of in my awareness For many, many, many years, but I wasn't aware that I was aware because I didn't.

Kelly Gifford:

I didn't want to admit that I was, you know, building this huge brand and business for myself around being confident and like having a healthy relationship of food and making fitness fun and enjoyable and sustainable and loving yourself and all of that. But there was some lack of resonance for how I was actually authentically Experiencing myself and my own personal relationship with food and my body and that manifests in shame, right?

Sonny Von Cleveland:

we feel that as it comes off, as you've built this identity Based on this thing and then, all of a sudden, your whole world is turning upside down because you're having this attack of emotion and and it's, it's, it's, it's my blowing right, like the decision to leave your profession Undoubtedly brought on a whirlwind of fear and anxieties. Can you elaborate on some of these fears and how they manifested in your daily life?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah.

Kelly Gifford:

So when I made the decision that, for my own personal Well-being, I had to completely abandon any and all means of controlling and manipulating the size and shape of my body, which meant actively going against all of the conditioning and rules that I had around what I should eat, what I shouldn't eat, choosing the opposite of what my brain told me that I should do and starting to treat my body and movement in a completely different way, I Naturally kind of felt like, in order for me to fully go into that and commit to that long term, I needed to remove myself from any environment that was going to create pressure whether it was actually pressured from the outside or just my own self-inflicted pressure to have to be a certain way or Look a certain way.

Kelly Gifford:

And so when I started to transition out of Personal training and kind of starting to change the way that I was coaching my clients to be a little bit less Fitness and nutrition based and a little bit more mindset and self-love based at the same time, there was a lot and I mean a lot of questioning around.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I could imagine the right thing, like You're like, could you have clients that you have been working with you and you know it's? Eat your salads, eat your lettuce. Stay away from this. And then one day Kelly comes. This is yeah, put the celery stick down and grab a knickers bar over there and make love to that.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Right, because at the end of the day, it's about happiness to right, and there's there's healthy, there's healthy avenues that you can take in life without sacrificing so much happiness because to have, unless you're like in the profession of and it's a passion to be in the profession of bodybuilding or competitive Fitness you don't, you don't have to live such a restricted life. Right, like I think it sucks away some of the joy that life has to offer when you, when you focus so much on Doing something for a goal and not for a passion. Right, and, and so I'm a very passionate person, I'm passion driven in everything that I do, which Sometimes without moderation, if I don't have, like my wife, that sometimes slapped me in you know like hey, no, no, I would end up buying a motorcycle with four engines on it and wings and trying to fly it off.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I'm out because it'd be like well, that would be cool, because I'm passionate about motorcycles flying in adrenaline. Let's try that. And and and I think that there's a you have displayed a wonderful sense of self moderation when you didn't jump off this ledge like I. You know what I'm gonna go live in a 600 pound life. Let me go see what that's like To embrace that happiness. How did your inner circle react when you opened up about your decision like? Were there any reactions that particularly surprised you?

Kelly Gifford:

Well I I kept this transition that I was doing inwardly on my own personal relationship with food in my body a little bit private, mostly because of the shame that was happening with it. And, ironically, around the same time that I was making this transition, I decided to move to the other side of the country, so I was actually physically removing myself from the physical environment where people knew me as Kelly, the personal trainer, and so the people that really Knew what I was going through inwardly and physically Was really just my best friend at the time and Did you make that move to avoid that, that conflict, or did you?

Sonny Von Cleveland:

did you just not want to deal with that? You were just like you know what this is. Enough stress and pressure on myself.

Kelly Gifford:

I'm just gonna change the environment so I don't have to yeah, it's funny because a lot of things went into that decision and it. It felt Crazy and just really like sporadic that I made that choice and I don't think consciously I was choosing it as a way to make myself more comfortable making the changes I was going to need to make. I Was justifying it to myself because I had, like I was kind of forced out of my living situation and then when I started looking for places locally to stay instead and to move into, I was just like I don't want to Like it. Just it didn't feel right intuitively. And maybe part of why I didn't feel right is because I had some of those looming fears starting to brew in the background of my mind that my body might start changing soon. I just made this big change to the way that I'm living my lifestyle and but I don't think that was as conscious as I. I could be able to answer that question really honestly but I'm sure there was probably some influence there.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Yeah, yeah, I mean, I mean, and it's, it's. It's not like a character flaw to to want to avoid that, because I'm a firm believer If, if your environment makes you uncomfortable or if there's something looming that's coming, you can move, you can remove yourself from that environment because and it's not, it's not like running in fear, it's it's avoiding adding more stress to your life that you don't need, because, at the end of the day, you don't need anybody's permission, you don't need anybody's acceptance, right, you don't need their approval. And and so I just was wondering if that was a a part of that. Now, as your body began to transform post your career change yeah, you mentioned feelings of insecurity, shame and depression. How did you navigate these emotions during such a vulnerable phase?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, I hid a lot. It was a moment of multiple months of just solitude and I was very well versed in the world of personal development and transformation. And at the very same time that I was going through this, I was also deep into a 12 month life coaching certification program. So at the same time that I was learning all of these different modalities for mindset and emotional regulation and somatic regulation and unconscious reprogramming, I was kind of forced into using them on myself.

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, because there was really no like just trying to talk myself out of the feelings and I had the knowledge to at least understand that that isn't really what I needed anyways, because there were feelings inside of me the shame, the insecurity that had been there all along.

Kelly Gifford:

Those feelings have been there my entire life. It's just that I had been running from them by controlling my body for all of those years. And now that I was releasing my grip on the external control of my body, those feelings were coming up and I, as hard as it was to really consciously choose to presence those emotions and to really feel through them, I at least had the conscious understanding that that is what I needed to do and over the course of many months, I started to create more and more safety within my emotional experience, allowing those feelings of shame and insecurity to come up and out of me, whether it was through talking them out loud in a safe space with my best friend who would listen to me, or to just journal them, or to do what's called inner child work and all of those things to really just let those emotions be felt rather than continuing to suppress them.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Do you find that the isolation was a boon? I've endured a lot of isolation in my life and I've come to find that in that inner sanctuary, when there's nobody except maybe you had a friend, your best friend was there and I had a mentor across the hallway I found that that isolation was a boon to the process of self-actualization and self-awareness. Did you find that that was a bonus to you? Or, looking backward, would you have wanted a support system? Or do you think that that solitude was a benefit?

Kelly Gifford:

I think the solitude was what I needed during that moment of transformation, and the more solitude, like an isolated way of going and retreating and doing my own personal work, is really familiar to me because I'm just very much like an introverted person and I spend a lot of time like that, and so I 100% agree that that is a space that kind of transforms us if we use it that way. And over the last couple of years, as I've started to kind of step out of that period of my life and into something completely different, I have realized that there is a completely next level of transformation available when we do so in relationship, when we do so in the presence of other people and leading on the support systems that we have available for us. And I think that maybe for someone like me who's so used to being alone, that felt like a huge elevation in my transformation, whereas maybe people that are used to being with people all the time, them taking some time away from themselves that would elevate them a lot.

Kelly Gifford:

Like their own personal self-actualization.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And I think the most important no, maybe not the most important, but one of the most important things that I've taken away from that, that solitude in that time of Self-interpection is that it goes to show that you have all the tools that you need to Be your best self Right here, there, that you don't need external things. Sure, you might need, maybe, some material that will guide you down that path, but I think that one of the I'm not such a big fan of, of Like workshops in group therapy. I don't think that, because there's always going to be that, that existence of shame or that existence of, of worrying or fear of others perceptions, right, because most of the fear that human beings have is the fear of someone else's opinion and, and, and so I think when people can grasp the, the benefit of solitude, it's it's it's really freeing, I think, and it's pretty good. You talk about freeing up the mental space and pouring it into other facets of your life. Can you share some specific experiences or moments that felt particularly enriching during this space?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah. So about a few months I would say maybe like five months into this journey of Releasing myself from the control of food in my body and transitioning out of the fitness industry, I decided spontaneously to book a one-way ticket to South America, which I had never traveled by myself before, and I had never just traveled outside of North America before in my life. So this was just like a big moment of like. I guess I'm just doing this the deep end.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Geronimo.

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, and it was so incredible for so many reasons. I Put myself out there in ways that I never thought I was capable of doing. I had experiences and leaned on people and created connections with people that Previous Kelly wouldn't have done because she would have been too concerned about. Did I eat the proper amount today, or is this gonna mess up my workout schedule? Or am I gonna not get enough sleep and then suffer tomorrow and then Emotionally eat because I didn't get enough sleep, like there was always that calculation going on in my mind For as long as I can remember. And after releasing that grip on my body it, that space that was freed up Just allowed me to be in the moment a lot more and go with what was showing up for me and to follow new experiences and to really develop Real, authentic connections of people, because I wasn't in my head half the time Calculating when am I gonna eat next, and blah, blah, blah.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I could actually be with the people that I was, you were present in that moment and you kind of you, were you able to, like, absorb the beauty of around you? Like, and did you recognize in that moment, like, when we're stuck in those phases, we miss so much Beauty in the world, right, like it, just it passes you by and you miss it because you're so stuck in this, this tunnel.

Kelly Gifford:

Yes, yeah, and my life was a tunnel for a very long time. It was these are the things I need to get through in a day before I can get back to sleep. And then I just wake up and I do it again and I started to experience this like actual excitement over life, like what do I get to do later and then what do I get to do after that and when I finish work, like I get to go salsa dancing, and like having actual I don't even know what salsa dancing is what I want to do it.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

You should, it's so fun and then called salsa, is it was that a joke or is there really salsa? Dance like salsa, like chip dip salsa.

Kelly Gifford:

Well, it's felt like that, yeah, but I don't know if it has anything to do with the actual dip. Like a Latin American kind of dance, very popular.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Oh, you know what I have her? Yeah, the salsa, do the salsa. Ah, okay, don't judge me. Okay, I've had a very restricted life. I don't know what I do when I'm down.

Kelly Gifford:

Don't you judge me.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Kelly.

Kelly Gifford:

Oh, I hear you.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

So like you're feeling at home with oneself, is a very powerful statement.

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

How did you finally arrive at this profound state of self acceptance? You're going through all these transitions and you're taking these new leaps and you're making these new connections. How did you come to this, this final moment? How did you arrive at that profound state of being at home with oneself?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, I think the best way that I can describe it is that all parts of me are allowed and I've decided that and I've radically acted as if that's true in my life, and so when I'm experiencing patterns of thought about Myself or about life or about my body that I don't prefer, I don't make myself wrong for that.

Kelly Gifford:

I have a relationship with all parts of myself the insecure parts, the shameful parts, the anxious parts, the parts of me that worry About what people think about me, and I don't make them wrong and I don't need them to go away in order for me to be okay or to be happy in my life.

Kelly Gifford:

I've learned how to have a relationship with all of the different parts and aspects and patterns of Myself, because I see that all of them are innocent All parts and patterns of myself, ways that I've learned to think and ways that I've learned to operate in the world. We're just the best ways I learn how to operate in this world throughout. You know, from the time that we are Popped out of the womb, we're just trying to figure out how to navigate this life and get our needs met, and so learning how to have a very compassionate relationship with myself in all of my different sides and parts of myself. It has allowed me to really just be this warm, comforting space, to land and to come back to inside of myself when I feel like I'm Coming away from that and it's gotten a lot easier with repetition to call myself back into that home.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

It's such a fascinating perspective. You're going to change the world, young lady. I can see it already. That's such a profound perspective. Some people go their whole life not being able to get to that. I think this should be blared on the rooftops of all civilization. You guys should be kind to yourself, be nice. I think kindness, at the end of the day, is the key to everything in life. If you can put on the lens of love and kindness and approach everything in life from that paradigm, it sets you free. It starts with first, be nice and kind to yourself. Because we're so hard on ourselves and we're so critical of ourselves, and that comes from a place of fear, and nobody has. I've said this a million times. Nobody has a rulebook on how to live life. We come out, we're all innocent. I think that all people are born from pure love. If you see a baby, like the innocence of a baby's belly, laugh. Hitler himself wouldn't be able to not smile and laugh at that.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

It's the most touching thing in the world, and at some point it's broken and we lose it, and then we spend the rest of our lives trying to get back to that. Your approach to decision making feeling what's heavy and what's light is quite intriguing, and can you shed some light on how this method has helped you to navigate choice?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, this has really been a process of coming back into my body, because for so many years I was disconnected from it and I learned I had to be disconnected from it and follow external rules in order for me to be okay. And so, as I've gotten more in touch back with myself and my body, I've started to feel that there is a sensory reaction to most things, and then my mind immediately kicks in to try to justify what I should or shouldn't do. But right before my mind kicks in and starts coming up with all of these different stories around, well, this is the right answer, because this and this, the thing that I learned in this person said this to me when I was four years old and blah, blah, blah and spitting out an answer at me, it's like what was my answer before my mind kicked in and there's this sense of just like openness and expansive and just like it feels like lightness, like that's the best way that I can describe it. That just feels like a yes, and then there's this experience of contraction and heaviness that feels like a sensory no, and a lot of the time it's actually the complete opposite to what my mind is telling me most of the time. But I started to test it a lot in my life with things that were big decisions for me. One of them was when I mentioned earlier that I didn't want to go back to the gym and I had that sense of dread after the lockdowns and everything was opening back up. I had every reason in the world to ignore that sense of dread and go back to the gym anyways, because I had clients waiting for me, it was my main source of income, I had a mortgage to pay, like I had no backup plan, like all of these logical reasons not to follow that intuitive feeling that I had inside that was telling me not to go back. But I didn't go back because I could not ignore that feeling. And that was the first time that I really made a decision based on something that made no logical sense.

Kelly Gifford:

And what unfolded from that was really quite incredible. Because, well, one is that there were second and third and fourth lockdowns. I would have had to go away from the gym anyways and that would have been stressful. Two is that the gym I was working at ended up closing down months later, so I would have been unemployed anyways. And then, three, when I found out I had to move, like move out of my house. That would have been really stressful to do in the midst of all of that, whereas I was already working from home. So it was easier for me to find a place to stay in another province across the country, and then I started to travel indefinitely as a result of all of that too. So a lot of really cool things happened as a result of me following the thing. That was totally illogical to my brain.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Whereas you could say the effect of your choice.

Kelly Gifford:

Right.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

You see, that's not a shameless plug or anything.

Kelly Gifford:

I see what you're doing.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I see what you're doing there. I think when you live purposefully and you live instinctively and you go by these, by what's in your heart, and you just follow what's in your, you can't go wrong. You, I don't think that your instincts will ever lead you down the wrong path. I think we find a way to justify and excuse away what our heart tells us all the time, and it's it's. I liken it to like animals, right, like deer. Whenever there's a storm, deer know where to go, birds know where to go. These animals, they all know where to get. Whenever there's danger, they sense it, or or where they need to go. Even Canadian geese, they know when to fly, they need, they know when to migrate somewhere else. And I think that human beings possess that same instinctual characteristic.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I think we, just because of what society is thrown on us, and we're all reared by either parents or some type of of influence that that tries to deviate us from that instinctual path and we're told to ignore it.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Right, because here's a societal norm and and, and that's different any culture that you go to. There's so many differences in the cultural acceptable norms that I mean you can get lost if you, which is why I think traveling should be a curriculum. I think I think it should be a curriculum when you're done with high school and you graduate. You're not allowed to do anything else. It's mandatory that you have to put on a backpack and go go across Africa or go across Australia or go across Europe. You get to pick, but you have to go and you have to spend one year traveling by yourself. You got to solo travel for a year. I think that would give so much perspective to people Because I mean again, I'm not Canadian, I'm not raised in Canada. I don't know the differences between here and Canada, but I imagine that you have the same societal standards and stuff that are there that can deteriorate your intrinsic desire to live.

Kelly Gifford:

Absolutely yeah. It's very much like a onto the next thing, onto the next thing. Let me just check all the boxes until I basically until I'm done working and I can retire for the rest of my life.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Then go pursue everything you want.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And it's like but now I'm old and I can't, yeah, and I think I've had this conversation earlier too. I think that's one of the benefits that COVID brought. If we try, I'm a silver linings kind of guy. Right, shoot me in the leg and I'm gonna try to find a silver lining in what happened here. Maybe you rerouted an artery for me or something, and I think out of COVID it destroyed so much. But at the same time we're seeing a new generation of people come out realizing I don't need to go make somebody else a ton of money. I can live my life by pursuing my passion and monetize that, and I think that's one of the benefits of social media. I don't there's so many negatives to social media. I think that there's. I think it was a monster that got created and got out of control before it was able to be under control. Yeah, do you think social media played any influence in your development in that early stages of your life?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I had a Facebook when I was like 10, which is really weird. And it's even weirder now for the younger generation. They're on there when they're like five and just being exposed to everybody's opinion all the time and everyone else also feeling entitled to share their opinion with you all the time, which is fine, but that's not something that we're used to having in our faces constantly.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Yeah.

Kelly Gifford:

I feel like it amplified our already very human desire for external validation.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And it takes you to an extreme level. There's really no middle ground. So somebody's either depressed and feeling unworthy and unsatisfied in the world because of social media, or they're uncaring and only care about themselves and only desensitized and pursue just what they want and give their opinion to everybody. And so I think we've lost that middle ground, because you're right when you're. When you're raised up prior to social media, the really only opinions you had were your family and your peers at school. And now I got some kid in China that tells me my mohawk looks stupid and it's like dude, not nice.

Kelly Gifford:

I like my mohawk. I got the best in my life without knowing that you thought that Right.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Like great, now I'm going to go get a haircut because some kid in China thinks my mohawk looks stupid. It sounds like I mean, excuse me. If someone came to you today teetering on the edge of a life altering decision similar to yours, what advice would you give them?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, I think that when we're on the edge of a life altering decision, all of the fears feel really paralyzing.

Kelly Gifford:

And I think one of the most powerful things that we can teach ourselves is how to presence our fear, because, ultimately, when we turn towards our fear and we learn how to actually embody and embrace it even if the fear isn't like coming true in our external circumstances, but we really just come into our bodies and we feel what it would be like to actually have our worst case scenario come true and you don't have to believe me in this, this is something that you really have to experience for yourself experientially.

Kelly Gifford:

But it starts to soften, and one of my greatest lessons that I keep learning over and over and over again in my life is that sometimes my greatest fears, the ones that I have convinced I need to make sure never happen to me. When those come true, I am so free because I realize that I'm okay even if they happen, and when I can come into a place inside of myself where I know so deeply that, no matter what, I will be okay. And then it opens up this new realm of how I'm moving and how I'm making decisions in my life, but I'm no longer making it to try to avoid bad things from happening. I'm trying to move towards what's the best chance that I have of the best case scenario happening.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Yeah, yeah, I'm almost speechless because it's the same philosophy that I take. Face your fear, jump scared, jump scared was my tagline for the longest time. Jump scared because you're going to be okay, no matter what. I mean. If you look in the overall scheme of things, most people don't die because of what they were afraid of. Most people don't lose their life from their fear. They lose their life for a myriad of circumstances, but generally it's not from falling from 20 stories up because you are afraid to hide your whole life. And so I think if we can make that a pervasive mindset to face the fears and jump and a lot of people hear it, but the actual application of doing it is in that moment If we can isolate that moment between jumping and not jumping and all of those emotions that come in and hit you, that's the paralyzing fear, and what advice would you give to somebody on how to calm that voice in that moment?

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, get into your body, because it's your mind that's keeping you away from what's really being experienced in your body. And the more that you're looping in the thoughts about how scared you are, the more that you're perpetuating the idea that you can't do it. But if you can just get into your body with a few breaths, even putting your hands somewhere where you're feeling the largest, most intense contraction underneath that fear and presence it, and even tell yourself I am allowed to feel this fear right now and it's okay that I'm feeling this fear right now, and really just come into your body to experience what it's like to be fearful, to be scared, because when we can really start to tune into what the experience of fear is like, we can start to realize that it's not nearly as bad as our mind is making it out to be. It's something that we can stretch our capacity to be inside and it might be uncomfortable, but it's not nearly as much of a threat inside of us as we think that it is.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Yes, I love that. Yeah, it's incredible. It sounds like certain books and individuals have been very influential guiding lights in your journey, and I love to talk to people about the books that they've read that have helped influence them, because that's what my nonprofit is all about. We do book drive and give books to people because I think books are so profound. Can you tell us about Kyle Cease, stephanie Buttermore, alyssa Nobreja and the significance of what's in the way is the way? Before you answer that, I love the line. I don't know what this book is, but I'm a student of the Stoics and Marcus Aurelius always said whatever goes into the fire becomes fuel for the fire, and that sounds to me like it's along the same vein. What's in the way is the way.

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, yeah. Well, what's in the way is the way is a really deep guiding light for the transformational work that I do on myself and my clients, because it comes back to learning how to meet all parts of ourself with love and compassion and allowing all of them, because the paradox of transformation is that the very thing we're running from holds the key to what we want. And so if we want confidence, it actually comes in accepting and embracing insecurity, which is totally foreign to what we think it is. We think that if we're confident, we don't feel insecure, but kind of similar to courage and fear.

Kelly Gifford:

Someone that's courageous isn't just someone that doesn't have fear. If someone is doing something and they don't fear it, they're not really being all that courageous, and so I like to apply that to every other feeling. If we want to feel safe, it comes with embracing and accepting the presence of fear and worry. If we want to feel confident, it comes with embracing the experience of shame, embarrassment and insecurity, and so this book, what's In the Way Is the Way, is just a really beautiful way of showing us how that can be true for us in our life, and it's just like the best book I think I've ever read. It's so incredible.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I need to pick this book up. I'm going to have to check this book. I mean, I have a slew of books and I've never heard that one and I have to check it out. You are such a phenomenally well put together young lady and I'm so thankful for your time. Where can people find you If they want to follow your journey and see that? Yeah?

Kelly Gifford:

So one of the best places that you can find lots of me these days is on TikTok. I've been really going with my generation on there recently, so you can find my TikTok under the at kelevate. So it's the word elevate, but with a K in the beginning.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Elevate your life.

Kelly Gifford:

Yeah, a little play on words with my name, kelly, so K E L E V A T E. You can also find me on Instagram. I'm pretty active on there at kelevate, with an underscore at the end because someone stole the name of the underscore, so now I have to use the underscore. And then if you want to know a little bit more about the work that I do and also want to find out more about this um kelevate method program that I have, for it's basically a fitness and nutrition program, but really centered around healing your relationship with your body, yourself, food and exercise. You can find out more about that in me and the work that I do at kelevatecoachingcom Awesome.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

And I will post all of those links down in the description. And yeah, thank you so much, kelly, for your time for being here. I look for. This is one of the most inspirational conversations I've had yet.

Kelly Gifford:

Amazing. I love to hear that.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Yeah, it's. It's so good. I think it's going to do so good for so many people. I'm so thankful for your time and the work that you're doing in the world. I seriously believe you'll inspire so many people.

Kelly Gifford:

And you're doing that. Thank you so much. Oh, oh my gosh, you put me on the spot.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

I mean I could go for another hour.

Kelly Gifford:

Let me get my notes. Um, yeah, thank you. Thank you so much, sunny. This was such an incredible conversation and I loved how you led the entire thing. It's so powerful, so you are a really great podcaster, by the way.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

Thank you, I had no idea about that either. I was just like yeah, I just like doing this, let's have a conversation.

Kelly Gifford:

Amazing. I love it.

Sonny Von Cleveland:

We'll see you soon and we'll talk to you very, very soon, kelly.

Kelly Gifford:

Thanks.

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