Episode 84: How to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable – with Kari Schwear of GrayTonic

Discovery Coach and author Kari Schwear explains how she came to terms with her own feelings of discomfort and how she helps others understand their feelings and take control of their coping mechanisms.

Today’s guest

Kari Schwear of Gray Tonic

Website: GrayTonic

Facebook: Question The Drink

Instagram: GrayTonic

Twitter: GrayTonic

LinkedIn: Kari Schwear

Email: kari@graytonic.com

Kari Schwear has spent most of her professional life helping people find the story they want to tell about the choices they make in their lives. For the past two decades, she has helped companies grow by helping them find new ways to serve their clients.  Kari believes the best way for a company to expand is for them to help their clients expand. 

She founded GrayTonic and Question the Drink (QTD) in 2018 for professionals like herself that use alcohol as a coping mechanism for stress.

Kari is a Discovery Coach, speaker, and co-author of the book, The Successful Mind, Tools for Living a Purposeful, Productive, and Happy Life.

Kari is living proof that you can make a significant career change and change your life to do something you can be proud of.

She’s passionate about helping people reach their true potential and has a philosophy that anyone can rewrite their story, and you don’t have to stay with the narrative you’ve been working with until now.

In this interview, Kari talks about the importance of being ok with being uncomfortable, how we can understand our feelings, and how to find opportunities for growth.

What you’ll learn in this episode

  • [1:23] What GrayTonic is and the type of “Gray Area” Kari focuses on.
  • [1:59] What it means to be in the “Gray Area” and how people find Kari.
  • [2:33] The programs that Kari runs.
  • [3:19] What Kari did before becoming a coach.
  • [4:49] What Kari gained from changing career seven times.
  • [6:13] The type of work Kari did for Porshe.
  • [6:52] How Kari realised that it wasn’t her job she was unsatisfied with but herself.
  • [11:04] How your experiences affect your perception of reality.
  • [12:23] How Kari recognised that she needed a coach, and how they helped her.
  • [15:13] Some of the techniques Kari’s coach used to help her understand who she was.
  • [18:15] What it means to be “ok with being uncomfortable”.
  • [19:37] How to move away from using detrimental coping methods and gain clarity and focus.
  • [23:10] Kari’s passion for helping people and how she ended up starting GrayTonic.
  • [27:02] The five coaches Kari has used to help her start and grow her company.
  • [29:08] What Kari wants to achieve with her business in the long run.
  • [30:32] The never-ending nature of Kari’s goal.
  • [31:44] Kari’s next goals for her life that she’s focusing on.
  • [32:30] Resources Kari recommends to others if they want to expand their life.

Resources mentioned in this episode

Please note that some of these are affiliate links and we may get a small commission in the event that you make a purchase.  This helps us to cover our expenses and is at no additional cost to you.

To see the resources recommended by all our guests, visit the Resources page.

Episode 84: How to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable - with Kari Schwear of GrayTonic

Jeremy Cline 0:00
You've just come home from a terrible day at work. And it wasn't just today. It's really been three days this week and a few days last week, and in fact, you've had quite a lot of bad days at work this month. In fact, now you come to think of it, there's been quite a few bad days this year. What do you do when you get home? Do you try to find something to help take your mind off of it, be it television or open a bottle of wine? Or do you come home and start to think about why you had a bad day? What is it that's making you so uncomfortable in this job? That's what we talk about in this episode. I'm Jeremy Cline, and this is Change Work Life.

Jeremy Cline 0:47
Hello, and welcome to Change Work Life, the show that's all about beating the Sunday evening blues and enjoying Mondays again. If you've ever felt like you're capable of more, but you're struggling to work out how to close the gap between where you are and where you want to be, well then, you will identify with my guest in this week's episode. Kari Schwear is a seven times career path conqueror. Yep, she's had seven careers. And she's the founder of GrayTonic, where she coaches people out of their gray area. What's their gray area? That's what we're gonna find out. Kari, welcome to the show.

Kari Schwear 1:16
Hey, thanks, Jeremy. Thanks for having me.

Jeremy Cline 1:18
So, let's start. What is GrayTonic? And what is a gray area?

Kari Schwear 1:22
Oh, yes, great questions. So, the gray area is this space in between not feeling fulfilled and just being really stuck. You're in a perpetual fog with life in general. And GrayTonic is my coaching business, but I really focus – I don't want to say 'but', it's an 'and' – I really focus on those that are stuck in the gray area, particularly with alcohol, meaning they're not severely abusing alcohol, but they are more than just a social drinker.

Jeremy Cline 1:49
Okay, so how do these people find you? How do they identify as being more than a social drinker, but less than something more serious?

Kari Schwear 1:58
Well, it's funny that you should ask, because about 50% of the population that consumes alcohol is in the gray area. So, so many can identify with that. They have that one too many drinks every so often, or they don't drink during the week, but then they'll binge drink on the weekends. So, they're really in that in-between space, and they're not severely abusing to the point where they need a recovery or a 12-step programme, but they're starting to ask those questions about their relationship with alcohol. So, they usually will find me through social media or word of mouth or through some sort of internet website.

Jeremy Cline 2:32
And how do you help them?

Kari Schwear 2:33
I coach them with a couple different ways. I have six programmes. My signature programme is called Question the Drink, and that is a 12-week, one-on-one coaching programme that I work with them very closely. It's a concierge programme. And then I also have a group programme. And I have three other programmes that are geared more towards business in general, for, they got any gray areas at work, I help them through that and their stress, and then also couples or partner coaching that are questioning the drink.

Jeremy Cline 3:01
I mentioned at the top that you'd had seven careers. Let's not go through all of them in detail, but I am curious as to the sorts of thing you've been doing and whether there was any kind of narrative flows you went from one to the other?

Kari Schwear 3:15
Yes, it's called, 'I wasn't happy for the longest time', that's the narrative. I was really just trying to find my way. And I've done, gosh, so many different things, everything from working in a Porsche dealership to working in a high-end restaurant and everything in between. I think it's been quite the journey for me, but again, it comes back to not being fulfilled, and always looking for something different or better to make me happy. And I think a lot of that stems from my childhood. I've lived in, at this point, 20, I'm up to 21 homes that I've lived in, but I went to 12 different schools in just nine years, and that change that was constant for me, I just felt like that's what I had to do with my professional life, is always trying to find the next best thing that would then make me happy. Once I have that, then I'll be happy. So, it was just, I could not find a way to be content. And I think that was the main reason why I kept changing jobs and changing careers, because I just wasn't finding that silver lining that I was looking for.

Jeremy Cline 4:22
So, out of interest, how did you end up in 12 schools in nine years?

Kari Schwear 4:25
Oh, yeah. Parents' divorce was the short answer. And just, they had a rough time at it and just moved around a lot.

Jeremy Cline 4:34
So, when you were changing jobs, maybe you could give us a couple of examples, I mean, what did you think that job B that you went to would do for you that was going to be better than job A? Maybe you can give us an example that stands out of one of your particular career changes.

Kari Schwear 4:50
Oh, gosh, you know what, it was more about the jobs themselves than the career. I mean, it was seven careers, but as far as jobs go, there was multiples in there as well. You know, I think it was, I want to better myself, I want to become someone. It was always striving to be a better version of myself, but I never could quite get there. I would say the last 15 years, I'm pretty proud of the last 15 years, especially. I remember being in the food and beverage business for quite some time and that's really where my drinking career took off, so to speak. And when I left there, I went into the medical field. And I was in the medical field for a number of years, about eight or nine years. And I remember taking that leap and people saying, 'Oh, you're never going to be able to do that. How could a former server and bartender and food and beverage manager work for plastic surgery and go into the aesthetic world?' And I just, I was determined, I was determined to do something better for myself, become somebody that was proud of what she did for a living. And that really was the first step into making a significant change, was that leap. And then from there, I'd went into real estate, you know, again, I wanted to have the real estate life. And then from there, I went into the car business world, worked for Porsche for a number of years. And I have to say, that was probably one of my most favourite careers I had, was in the car business, it was really fun.

Jeremy Cline 6:11
So, what sort of stuff, what were you doing for Porsche?

Kari Schwear 6:13
I was their, at a dealership level, I was the finance and insurance manager, or also known as a business manager.

Jeremy Cline 6:20
And so, what was it you were doing before you started the gray area and turned to coaching?

Kari Schwear 6:25
Well, right before that, that was the car business, I was in the car business right before that. And then, before that was the medical field, and real estate I was doing both at the same time.

Jeremy Cline 6:36
So, let's talk about the most recent change. So, you've been through these various different fields, you're working in the car industry. When do you start thinking, 'Oh, no, here we go again, this one is not working out, either'?

Kari Schwear 6:51
Oh, gosh, you know, it had nothing to do with the jobs. It had everything to do with me. And I think that's the biggest lesson here. It wasn't about anything in particular other than my own unhappiness and creating my own reality.

Jeremy Cline 7:05
Can you expand on that a bit, please?

Kari Schwear 7:06
Yeah, again, this really stems back – this is why I'm a coach, by the way – it stems back from when I was a little girl and just never being happy. I remember, as early as age seven, sitting on my driveway at my parents' house saying, 'Is this all there is to life?' Because if so...

Jeremy Cline 7:24
Age seven?

Kari Schwear 7:25
Seven, and I was like, because this isn't that great. Like, I'm not really liking this, I'd be okay if I didn't exist. And so, I had early memories of not being happy. And by the way, age seven is also the first time I smoked a cigarette. And I started smoking cigarettes on a regular basis by age 11. Just to give you an idea of my craziness back then. And I think it was this deep-rooted, unfortunate seed that was planted for me of not finding this true happiness. And I felt like it existed. I think that's the only thing that kept me going. I was always searching for it and it just never came. But the problem was, I was looking outside of myself, I wasn't looking inward. And it wasn't until I became a coach and actually worked with a coach myself several years ago that I started that journey of exploration of understanding this deep unhappiness that lied within me. And until I found what that was, I couldn't be happy. It didn't matter how many jobs I had, or how many schools I went to, or how many careers I've had, or any of that, it just didn't matter. As a matter of fact, the house that I currently live in right now is the longest I've ever lived in a home. And it's nine years. I've never been in a house this long, ever. And it's funny, I told my husband, I'm getting itchy, like I wanted to move. And we've decided no, we're not going to move. We're going to stay here and we're gonna update the house a little bit, just because, I think it's because I've never been in a house this long. And it's kind of weird. So, I think this, it's innate, inside of – it's like this innate thing inside of me that is always looking for change. But I will say what I get to do for my living now is such a pleasure. And I don't look at it like I'm searching for something different. I know I've found my passion. I know I've found my deep purpose. But that started with me. I needed to find that first. I think that's the secret to success.

Jeremy Cline 9:27
Coming back to the seven-year-old self, when you say to your parents, 'Is this it? Is this what it's all about?', what was their reply?

Kari Schwear 9:34
I didn't say it to them. I said it to myself. I remember it too. I was sitting on my driveway. It was a hot summer day and I was looking around the neighbourhood, just observing kids outside playing, the weather, it was hot, like I said. It was actually the game jacks, I was playing jacks. My sister was six years older than me, and so she wasn't around too often. And even when she was, I was the annoying little sister. 'Leave me alone, you dumb brat', things like that. So, I just sat there and thought about it. It was very profound, obviously, I remember it, and just that was the beginning of my realisation that I wasn't happy. And now that I know, I will say, I didn't know it until, again, about five years ago, when I started this journey into self-development and understanding the brain and why we are who we are. It's because everything that happens before the age of seven, we take that information and store it as factual, as beliefs in our subconscious. And up until that time, you know, I had some rough beginnings, like I said, so I just felt like this was my destiny. But I get to rewrite the story. And that's my biggest message for my clients, is, you get to rewrite your story. You don't have to stay with the narrative that you've been living with.

Jeremy Cline 10:51
I'm gonna say for those of us with young children, that fills me with a slight feeling of terror, then, that, you know, she's not seven. So, kind of, it makes me think, gosh, what am I feeding her and so what's she going to believe as fact when she is seven?

Kari Schwear 11:03
Yes, and it is true. I mean, they've done so many studies that it's the experiences that we have that we internalise as true. And a good example, something that's a real-life example, would be like if a dog growled at you, say you're five-years old, and a dog growled at you. You might internalise that as all dogs are bad, or mean, right? And then, we know that's not true. We know that there's dogs that are, most dogs are beautiful and loving and sweet, and all those things. But we might internalise that as true. Or you're in kindergarten, and you said you'd meet your friend Joe outside at the playground right after school, and Joe doesn't show up, you might internalise that as he doesn't like you, therefore, you're not good enough. I mean, these little tiny things that we don't think are a big deal at the moment can become something so impactful in somebody's life. Just like a word of affirmation can change someone's life, these little experiences can also make an impact on us, without us even realising it.

Jeremy Cline 12:06
Going back to five years ago, so when you started the process of self-discovery, what was it that started you down that process in the first place? I mean, how did you find out about it? How did you know or maybe even think that that was what you needed?

Kari Schwear 12:22
Well, my own drinking. At that point, I was drinking a decent amount, definitely more than a social drinker. I was a gray area drinker, but I didn't know what I was. And before I quit, I started down the path of, okay, I need to start to understand why I'm so unhappy. And I started researching books and self-development books, and then started understanding how the brain works. And that really got me excited to take this drinking and do something about it. So, I did, without knowing where to go, I didn't know anybody like me existed, I decided to go to Alcoholics Anonymous, which was a great programme, but I wasn't an alcoholic. So, it wasn't a good fit. And I did all the things that AA tells you to do, I got a sponsor, I read the big book, I did the 12 steps. And while that was helpful, and I gained a lot of tools, and AA in general is such a great programme that that helped me in itself. I always say, I think every human being should go through a 12-step programme, because it's quite enlightening. But I just didn't identify with being an alcoholic. So, I felt like it was a misfit. Again, I didn't fit in. And I left the programme and was really on a quest to figure out who I was, what I was and why I still had this deep feeling of not being fulfilled. Now, at this point, I wasn't drinking anymore, so I couldn't blame the alcohol. The alcohol wasn't the problem. The problem was me. The problem's always been me. But I still couldn't put my finger on it. No matter how hard I tried. I just could not place this deep unhappiness. So, I decided to work with a coach. And by the way, I had had a therapist here and there throughout my 30s, because I used to have anxiety attacks, and I was seeing a therapist and they never did anything for me. So, I thought, okay, well, I'm not going back to a therapist because – and nothing against therapy, please hear me on that, I'm sure there are some great ones, I just happened to not have some good ones at the time. So, I decided to try something else and I went the coaching route. And I worked with a coach who happened to be a physician that I once worked with, and this guy rocked my world. He absolutely brought so much light into my life. He helped me gain the self-confidence that I needed. He helped me move out of the shell. He had me face some of my darkest fears. He showed me things that, maybe I knew that were there, but I was too afraid to go there, and he pushed me, he pushed me hard. Matter of fact, he only coaches men. I was one of only two women he ever coached and he was very hard on me. But I needed it, I wanted it, I welcomed it and it's what helped me.

Jeremy Cline 15:02
Can you describe some of the things that your coach did, the techniques that you and he used to draw out the things that you discovered about yourself?

Kari Schwear 15:12
Yeah, so one of them was to go back to some of the deepest, darkest places in my life and what they were and write those out. The other one was to, this one I use with my clients now, which, my one-on-one clients that is, is to ask them, who were you, who are you now and who do you want to become? And for me, that was such a great exercise, because it really had me reflect on who I thought I was, and who I was at that point. And this deep desire to be somebody, that I knew, like, I knew God had called me for greatness, but I just didn't know what that meant. And it wasn't until I did that exercise that I realised I had something to say, and I had some impact to create. And in that exercise, I said, 'I want to be a teacher.' And then I said, 'No, no, not a teacher, I want to be a speaker, I want to do a TED Talk. That's what I want to do. I want to do a TED Talk. I want to help people. I don't know what, but that's what I want to do.' I'll never forget it. And he actually had me record that. So, that was part of pushing me out of my comfort zone. Jeremy, I know, you've seen some of my videos, I could not even record myself five years ago, or four years ago. I couldn't do it. I could not watch myself on video or hear my voice because I had no self-love. And I remember him saying to me, 'I need you to respond to me by doing a video', and I was like, 'You are out of your mind. I'm not doing that.' He said, 'No, you're going to do it.' So, little things like that, he encouraged me, he really pushed me, he pushed me out of my comfort zone. But yeah, that was just one of many exercises that we did that was really uncomfortable and my message with my clients and what he taught me, and he was kind of the beginning point for that, is to be okay with being uncomfortable. And that is really the root of everything I do with my clients, is that teaching and coaching them through those uncomfortable times, that that is where the growth is. We've never been taught to sit with our feelings. We just want to escape them. And so, my escape was changing jobs, moving, never being happy. It's amazing that I'm married to the same guy 31 years now. That that was one thing that has never, I've never wavered on, that I stayed true and steadfast to is my marriage. But everything else, no. And he really taught me that, that's what he brought it out for me.

Jeremy Cline 17:41
When you talk about being okay with being uncomfortable, what sort of discomfort are we talking about here? Because, I mean, one level, I could say, 'I am uncomfortable with my job because I don't like my job.' So, are we saying that we are trying to be okay with that? And what goes from that? Does that kind of mean you just accept being uncomfortable? I'm sure the answer to that is no. But I'm just wondering where, you know, when you say it's okay to be uncomfortable, what sort of discomfort are you being okay with?

Kari Schwear 18:15
Yeah, what I'm talking about is when you have feelings of, for example, let me give you a good example, because it's easier to do that. Say you had a really rough day at work, and you come home, and this is very typical for a lot of people, and you just want to pour a drink, or you just want to binge eat, because you're just angry and upset, and you just use something or do something, it's usually with an action, of course, that covers up that feeling of not feeling good. So, that's what I'm talking about, sitting with those emotions of not feeling good, or you want to escape from that. And what we've done is we've trained ourselves over a period of time, which is what I've done, is to soften that feeling of not feeling good, and escape it or try to remove it and that's what happens. A lot of us do that.

Jeremy Cline 19:02
So, it's finding a coping method, you know, some kind of salve, be it food, drink, watching TV, playing Xbox, something like that.

Kari Schwear 19:14
Yes, absolutely. Shopping, pornography. I mean, some of that would definitely, the coping mechanisms is what is really about covering all that up and not sitting with it and not being okay with it.

Jeremy Cline 19:26
If, instead of finding a coping mechanism, whatever it is to deal with it, what do you do with it that doesn't leave you feeling just incredibly downhearted and depressed by it?

Kari Schwear 19:37
Yeah, so that is really where the magic is, right? So, that's all about what I do and how I coach people. So, I have many methods to walk yourself through that, but it comes down to acknowledging what you're thinking in the moment. I have a tool that got downloaded to me, it's called the SABER. The SABER stands for Stop, Acknowledge, Breathe, Embrace and Redirect. And so, whenever we have this inner mind chatter or we have a trigger or we have a pull or being, like, this power struggle in your mind of this, 'argh', this tug, and you don't know what to do in that moment, by saying 'Stop', you can immediately stop that thinking from that continual torment, you can give it a moment to pause. So, saying 'Stop' out loud, then acknowledging your thinking. And when we acknowledge our thinking, we do a couple of things. One, we're bringing awareness to it, we can look at the thinking and ask, 'Is this really true? Is what I'm thinking 100% accurate? Or is this a story or a narrative that I'm telling myself?' And 99.9% of the time, it is not true and it's a story that we're telling ourselves. And to breathe through it. Because if we can calm our nervous system down in that moment, then we can have more clarity, which allows us to be okay with where we are, which is the Embrace in SABER, and then the R is Redirect, we redirect our focus and our attention to something that will serve us. So, to give you an example of that, back to the coming home from work, you had a stressful day, 'Argh, my boss got on my nerves. This guy cut me off in traffic, I just want to get home and have a drink', we'll just say 'Stop' and say, 'Okay, phew, I'm looking at my thinking, I had a bad day, I realise I had a bad day. Do I really want to pour this drink right now or would that actually make my situation worse? What could I possibly do that might better suit me? Is this really serving me? Let me take a moment and let me breathe, and do these deep breaths, and embrace that you've given yourself even a two-minute pause before making a decision, because our thoughts and our feelings will always move us to a decision or a choice or an action. So, if we can just take a pause, we can acknowledge it, we can breathe through it, and then we can embrace where we are, then we have the power to redirect those thoughts to something that will better serve us or a decision that will be better suited for us in the long run. So, that's a really good example of sitting with it and being okay with being a little uncomfortable. Because guess what, we've not been trained to do that. We just want to autopilot make ourselves feel better. And that's exactly why addictions and things happen and why people like to soothe themselves, because they don't want to sit with the uncomfortableness, they just want to move through it, versus sitting in it and acknowledging it. And then once we can start to do that, we can retrain the way that we're thinking, which allows us to have a different path. In all situations, this isn't just for drinking, this is in all situations.

Jeremy Cline 22:36
When you had the realisation with your coach that what you really wanted to do was help people and you recorded it and everything, what was the first thing you did after that, in terms of identifying what you wanted to help people with and how you wanted to help them? Because I mean, the definition of an entrepreneur is someone who wants to help people. And that could be anything, I mean, that could be helping with their career, it could be helping them with their social media, it could be helping them build websites, it could be helping with any number of things. What was your journey to helping people in the way that you are now?

Kari Schwear 23:10
Wow, such a great question. Well, up until that point, no matter what job I had, or career I had, it was always about helping people. It was always about expanding someone in their life. So, in the medical field, I worked for plastic surgeons and aesthetics, cosmetic surgery, and so forth. And my job was to be with the patient, and to help them through that journey and help them expand. In real estate, you know, moving into a beautiful home or selling a home and moving on with their life or, you know, even in the car business, realising a dream for someone to own their dream car, whatever it is. So, when it came to, my coach asked me that question, and I had this first thought of doing something bigger and greater than myself, but not knowing what that was, he planted three seeds for me during our time together. The first seed was, 'You know, Kari, I think you're going to own your own business someday.' And my response was, 'You're hilarious, because that will never happen.' At that point, I was at Porsche, and I was making fabulous money, and I loved what I did. And I didn't see myself ever leaving there. So, I was like, 'You're crazy.' The second thing he said was, 'I think you'd make a really good coach'. And that, I laughed, and I said, 'You're really crazy now, because, like, no.' And then I started thinking about it and I'm like, actually, I probably would be an amazing coach. And the third thing he said was, 'You're going to share your story about your drinking journey with the world.' And I busted out laughing, and to that I said, 'Oh, heck no.' So, it was no, no, and heck no. Well, I meant it. And there was no way I was doing any of those three things. So, a couple months later, I was at church, and they were talking about forming small groups. And I looked over at my husband and I said, 'I think I want to start a small group for those that are in the gray area.' And he was like, 'That's a great idea.' So, I contacted the church, and long story short, they felt it was too close to the recovery group that they already had in place. And they asked me to either change it or not do it at all, and they weren't going to support it. And I left the church angry. My girlfriend called me that same day and she said, 'What's going on?' And I told her, and she said, 'Kari, you are already helping so many people.' Because what I didn't tell you is when I left AA, I had a few people leave around the same time I did, and said, 'I want you to sponsor me, to coach me, to be with me, to be that person I can rely on.' So, I was already coaching on the side without even knowing that's what I was doing. So, when my girlfriend said this to me, I was like, 'Yeah, I'll show that church, I'll start something on my own.' And that's literally how GrayTonic began. So, I'd never thought of it as starting my own business. I never pursued it as, 'I want to be an entrepreneur'. None of that was true. It just unfolded. And then I thought it was going to be a side gig. So, I was working on creating GrayTonic, making it an official business, which was over two years ago, and I was like, wow, I think I'm going to start a website. And then, I'm going to start social media. One thing led to the next and before you knew it, you know, I was starting to make some progress and I went to my husband one day, and I said, 'I want to quit my job.' And he's like, 'You make really good money.' I said, 'Yes, I know.' I said, 'Will you support me, so I can do GrayTonic full time?' And he said yes. So, here we are. And that's how it all started.

Jeremy Cline 26:37
Can you tell me a bit about the business side of things? So, I mean, how did you kind of know what sort of stuff to put on a website, how to do social media, how to turn it, when you came to have that conversation with your husband about quitting your job, how you knew what to do to turn it into not just something where you're helping people casually, but where you do actually have a business?

Kari Schwear 27:02
Yes. Well, let me just say, this is where I get to promote coaching in general. I knew that I didn't know what I was doing. And I needed to get some help, some direction, some guidance. And so, I reached out and I hired a business coach. That business coach helped me birth this whole idea of a business. She helped me kind of get all this stuff that was in my head out on paper, so I could start to put some pieces of the puzzle together. After her, then I worked with a communications coach. And that coach helped me solidify my messaging. And then after working with that coach, I joined a mastermind of a head coach, and then my own personal coach, and I was in that for a year. And then, I currently have another coach that I work with right now, who is, she plays two parts. She is actually, she's a clarity coach, but she's also my personal coach. So, she sort of is doing dual role. She is a business and personal coach for me. I strongly, highly recommend that, anytime you are faced in a situation that you don't know how to move through it, is that you find somebody that's done it before you that can guide you. And that's exactly what coaches do. They guide you. They're not therapists, they're not counsellors, they're not physicians. They guide you through the, you already have what you need inside of you, they help you pull it out, so you can move to that next version, or that next step, whatever that is, whatever you're working on.

Jeremy Cline 28:31
How did you find all these coaches?

Kari Schwear 28:33
Oh, gosh. Well, my first coach was on my favourite podcast, she was the host. And then, the second coach, same thing, I found her on a podcast, she was a guest on another podcast that I was listening to. And I was like, 'Oh, I really like her', and looked at her social media and reached out. And then, the mastermind was just social media. And my current coach, I met, I'm in the National Speakers Association, and she's a member as well. So, that's how we met.

Jeremy Cline 28:59
So, now you've got your business up and running, you've got the coaches helping you grow it, what's the long-term vision?

Kari Schwear 29:05
Oh, my goodness. Oh, Jeremy. My long-term vision is just being the disrupter for society and how they view alcohol in general, and to show people that they can have fun without alcohol. I'm not on a crusade against alcohol and I'm certainly a proponent for people to find true joy and I think we all have that inside of us, it's just finding it. So, my ultimate vision is to be that disrupter of what it means to drink socially and/or what we consider problematic drinking, that we can remove some of this stigma or this scary part of it, like how am I going to do my life without socialising with a drink in my hand? Because that's the biggest thing, we've been so trained in society to, this is what we do when we want to have fun or celebrate, is we have a drink. And there's nothing wrong with that. But when it becomes a problem, then it's a problem. So, let's not get it to be a problem. Let's start using our minds a little bit differently and more strategically, so we don't find ourselves in those situations and find ourselves in a gray area.

Jeremy Cline 30:15
Is this something which you know you will have got there once you get there, or is this something which is just going to continue and continue and continue?

Kari Schwear 30:23
Are you talking about being in the gray or business?

Jeremy Cline 30:26
Being – your long-term vision, being a disrupter, in the way that you just described.

Kari Schwear 30:30
Oh, goodness, I don't think I'll ever reach the destination. And I think that's the fun part now. See, before, I thought I could arrive and then life would be good. Now, it's about the journey. Now, it's about chasing myself. There's a really good, you know who Matthew McConaughey is, right? When he won, I don't know if it was the Oscar, an Oscar award. I think it was the Oscar. He gave a really good speech. And his speech was about, he's chasing his hero, and his hero is himself, his future self, 10 to 15 years out. And then, when he got to his older, 10-year older, you know, like when he was 15, he said his hero was when he was at 25. And then, somebody asked him when he was 25, 'Did you meet your hero?' And he said, 'Oh, gosh, no, not even close. I'll meet him when I'm 35.' And then, when he's 35, 'Have you met your hero?', he's like, 'Gosh, no.' So, it's like, I think it's the same thing for me. It's like, I see how far I've come in 15 years, and it blows me away. On a personal front, not so much even professionally, but on a personal front, I'm like, wow, if I could have that much growth in 15 years, what can I do in the next five years, knowing what I know now? So, I don't know if there's a destination in mind. But I think, as far as the journey getting there, this is fun. This is really fun.

Jeremy Cline 31:43
So, what's the next step, do you think?

Kari Schwear 31:45
Oh, perseverance. I definitely want to do a TED Talk. I know I mentioned that. That was one of my goals with my coach. That is definitely on the horizon for me. I co-authored a book, this past year, called The Successful Mind: Tools for Living a Purposeful, Productive, and Happy Life. And this year, I'm actually thinking about creating my own book, which would be a combination of my own story and what it means to be in the gray area, and just having this deep unhappiness, and how we can find it, but it starts with within, it starts with a desire.

Jeremy Cline 32:17
You mentioned podcasters who you've used to help you find coaches and that sort of thing. Are there any standout podcasts or books or tools which either have helped you particularly or you recommend routinely to others?

Kari Schwear 32:29
Yes, 100%. One of the books I always recommend is the Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod.

Jeremy Cline 32:37
I know it, I've read it, I kind of tried it.

Kari Schwear 32:40
Yes. And I still practice the Miracle Morning, most days. It is the one book that somebody introduced to me when I began this journey. And that book is what started this whole process for me, so. And plus, I love Hal, he's just a good guy, honest guy and I just love everything about that. I think it's, that's part of my coaching is, daily habits are huge. But here's the thing, and this is my little saying: everyday effort equals expansion. So, if we do something every day, we put the effort in, we will expand in our life in every way. But we have to be able to put the work in. So, yes, journaling every day, meditating every day, having a vision for yourself, saying affirmations, exercising, reading something of value, and just getting quiet. You know, all these things add up, they add up to great things. It's like investing into a bank, every time you put a buck in, a dollar in or a pound in, you want to see that grow. And that's exactly what happens when we take the time that we can invest in ourselves.

Jeremy Cline 33:46
One of the things I like about Hal Elrod's book and also Atomic Habits by James Clear...

Kari Schwear 33:51
Oh, yes, the best, 1% better every day, isn't that the one, I think?

Jeremy Cline 33:55
I mean, for those who don't know the Miracle Morning, Hal describes a set of practices which he suggests people try out, like meditation, affirmations, exercises, and that sort of thing. But one of the, it's not just about that, it's everything that's around that, and also with James Clear, sort of questions of identity, which I love. So, how, rather than kind of hooking your identity onto what you do, instead turning it the other way around and doing what you want your identity to be. I haven't expressed that very well, but you know what I mean. He sort of says, you know, do what the person you want to be does rather than be what you do.

Kari Schwear 34:32
Well, also one person that I follow who I love, love, love, is Dr Joe Dispenza. And what he talks about, and this is what you're alluding to, Jeremy, is that when we can feel, remember your feelings really affect a lot of things in our body, it affects your nervous system, so when we can feel how we want to be, we actually can become that. It has an emotional signature attached to our nervous system. So, if you think, in the future, for example, I want to be speaking in front of 10,000 people, that's my ultimate goal, is to be in front of 10,000 people in a stadium and talking about the gray areas and just empowering others to do the same and just have all this greatness, right? Well, when I put myself in that position, and I think about that future me standing in front of 10,000 people, and that excitement I have, and this overwhelming joy that comes over me, I want to embed that into my nervous system. And here's the thing, our brains don't know the difference between what is reality and what is not. So, when we can think it, and we can believe it, we can become it. And it's true, we can.

Jeremy Cline 35:41
Kari, thank you so much for coming on and telling your story and sharing all this good stuff. If people want to find you, where's the best place they can go?

Kari Schwear 35:48
Graytonic.com, and gray, by the way, is spelled with an A. There's so many things with gray, right? I know in the UK, it's E-Y; here in the States, we say A-Y. But yeah, G-R-A-Y tonic, all one word, graytonic.com, is the best way to find me. You can find all my social media links there and all that good stuff.

Jeremy Cline 36:07
Cool. There will be links to all of those in the show notes. Kari, thank you so much for joining me.

Kari Schwear 36:12
Thank you for having me, Jeremy. I really enjoyed it.

Jeremy Cline 36:15
Okay, hope you enjoyed that interview with Kari Schwear of GrayTonic. Quite often when I interview people who've been through career changes, they're able to identify something that was particularly wrong with their original job, which explains why they made the change to whatever it is they're doing now. In Kari's case, she'd been through seven different careers, multiple different jobs, but she came to the realisation that it wasn't actually the jobs that were the problem. The problem was her. She came to recognise that she needed to look inside herself to find out what it was that was going to satisfy her. This echoes the conversation I had with Mareike Schoenig last week, where we were talking about intuition and the importance of getting inside yourself to find out the answers for you. It's clearly not an easy thing to do, and that's why Kari got some help, got some coaching doing so. But as Kari shows, it's definitely a worthwhile exercise.

Jeremy Cline 37:04
Full show notes for this episode are at changeworklife.com/84. That's 8-4, for Episode 84. And you'll find there links to where you can get in touch with Kari and the resources that we mentioned, as well as a full transcript and summary of everything that we've talked about. After we spoke, Kari was kicking herself over the Zoom call when she realised that she hadn't actually mentioned her signature brand, which is called Question the Drink. So, if you google Question the Drink, it'll take you to all the links which relate to her signature brand and her signature course, and that's also the name of her private Facebook group. And you'll find links to those in the show notes as well. And if you want to get started with a bit of introspection and a bit of tapping into your intuition, then don't forget to visit changeworklife.com/happy, H-A-P-P-Y, that's changedworklife.com/happy, for the exercises I've got on my website, which are all about helping you work out what is right for you, help you tap into that intuition in order to find your perfect career. Link again, that's changeworklife.com/happy. We're already a third of the way through the year. I hope that 2021 has been treating you better than 2020. One thing that's for sure is we've got some more great interviews coming your way. So, subscribe to the show if you haven't already, and I can't wait to see you next week. Cheers. Bye.

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