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  • Elisa Torres

What's Therapy Got to Do with It

It’s often been said that every millennial has a therapist. And many times, it’s said in jest. Except I don’t think there’s anything funny about it.



My generation gets a lot of flak, but what I love about us is that we are not afraid to call a thing a thing. We are not afraid to put in work to ensure that we don’t repeat the same mistakes. How often are we walking around with blind spots that make us less than optimal leaders or less than optimal in our relationships? This can have devastating impacts on our teams, our loved ones, and our personal growth.


Soul Piercing Question


You clearly have the capacity. What's stopping you?

I remember sitting across from our Company President 6 years ago. He pierced my soul with a simple question. “When are you going to be ready to take on more? You clearly have the capacity and ability. What’s stopping you?” Tears welled up in my eyes. They represented all the fears and stories I had been telling myself for so many years.


To answer his question, I’d have to dig back into the most formative year of my life - age seven. My family suffered devastating financial loss, which caused a lot of instability and pain. I didn’t know how much that affected my adult years. I saw all the positives of how resilient, scrappy, and relentless the difficult times made me, but I didn’t understand the dark side of it, which made me incredibly fearful and risk averse. All I knew was that I had achieved a level of financial and career success that I never could have imagined, and my #1 goal was to hold onto it and not mess it up. So, when this pesky question about taking a promotion kept coming up, I would clam up. Running through my mind were a million “what if” scenarios. As a sales rep at the time, I could mostly control my income – and I had gotten really good at it. If I took a new role, I’d be taking an initial pay cut. I feared the unknown - what job should I do? Could I do that job well? After driving myself to exhaustion with innumerable scenarios, I realized I could benefit from seeing a therapist.


Do the Work

Choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid at the exact same time.

I have been seeing my therapist for over 5 years now and I very much keep her on speed dial 😊. Together we uncovered many of my limiting beliefs and, we continue to grapple with them to this day. I am forever grateful for her guidance and support. In therapy, I realized how some of my childhood memories shaped me and how they were still preventing me from showing up as my best self. Slowly but surely, we replaced those lies with truth and I grew into a stronger, more confident woman. To be clear, this is incredibly hard and sometimes I can't believe that I am still dealing with the same fears. But I remind myself that it is brave and important work. Brené Brown puts it best, "Choose courage over comfort. Choose whole hearts over armor. And choose the great adventure of being brave and afraid at the exact same time."


When I encounter colleagues, who have difficulty expressing themselves or any other variety of situations, I often wonder what undealt with emotions they may have that drives them to behave this way. My question to you is “what’s on the other side of that nagging feeling that you keep ignoring? What could it look like if you dealt with your unspoken fears and hurts?” I challenge and encourage us all to “do the work” and explore those areas that plague us - that make us lack empathy or understanding. We owe it to our colleagues, our families, and most importantly, to ourselves.


It Pays Dividends


It made me a more empathetic leader, a better listener, and it made me have more grace for myself.

I could have never imagined the dividends that investment in therapy would pay. Because I took the first step, it led me from being scared to leave my sales territory in New Jersey to greater roles of influence in my organization. It led me to Moldova on a life changing mission trip, it led me to Colombia to do amazing work with Operation Smile, and it led me to Singapore for the hardest and best two years of my life. It made me a more empathetic leader, a better listener, and it made me have a lot more grace for myself. I hope my experience will encourage you to explore your limiting beliefs and how you might overcome them to unlock all that is within you.


You can do it!


Elisa


PS Let me know - have you worked with a therapist before? If not, what concerns do you have about it?


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Alexandra Algarin
Alexandra Algarin
Apr 29, 2021

Wow! I absolutely love this post! Thank you for being so open and vulnerable to your readers. Your words challenge me so much because I know that I have to "do the work" that will push me to the next level in my life, despite past failures and fears. Thanks again for sharing!

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Elisa Torres
Elisa Torres
May 01, 2021
Replying to

Thank you for reading and sharing! Yea we all can use a little push from time to time! Xo

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Raghvendra Deepak
Raghvendra Deepak
Apr 28, 2021

Hi Elisa, surely never worked with a Therapist! I think it's got to do with how society views you in my part of the world if you have one😀!


Went through your life experience and it immediately struck me about so many of my own 'what ifs" Lot of times I seem to have given up on an amazing possibility! I had a similar scenario as yours in my growing years with respect to my family financial situation, which while reading about you made me realise how that has made even me a risk averse individual to some extend, losing confidence and ending with " What ifs"

Thanks for sharing, I may not have therapy session but surely would look…

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Elisa Torres
Elisa Torres
Apr 28, 2021
Replying to

Hi Raghvendra! Thank you for sharing! Therapy certainly has different perceptions around the world, though it seems to be more accessible and accepted slowly but surely as of late. I am glad the post was able to help you reflect and take away some learnings. A book that helped me a lot, which you may enjoy is called Daring Greatly by Brené Brown.

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junellecole
Apr 27, 2021

I love this post... no matter how old we are ... that little girl or boy is never far behind. Some people decide to adapt and live with the fear and internal constraints.... “fake it till you make it” was advise given to me many years ago. It’s ok for awhile, but I rather do the work and be set free of all that holds me back from my best self. Thank you for inspiring us to keep going.

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Elisa Torres
Elisa Torres
Apr 28, 2021
Replying to

Thank you, Junelle! So powerful. Let’s do the work. It’s the hard way, but it’s the freeing way!

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Carissa D
Carissa D
Apr 27, 2021

I loved this post especially the wording "I could have never imagined the dividends that investment in therapy would pay." !!!!! wow. this is how i feel right now because i am paying out of pocket for my therapist so it really is a financial investment for me in a time where my money can really be used elsewhere, but after every appointment i leave so satisfied knowing my money is being invested into something incredible.

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Elisa Torres
Elisa Torres
Apr 28, 2021
Replying to

That is amazing that you make the investment in yourself. It will definitely pay off!

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Jasmin Lopez
Jasmin Lopez
Apr 27, 2021

Elisa,

This post really spoke to me. I have constantly let my past/childhood influence some of the decisions I make now.

Your post is truly inspiring and thought provoking.

jasmin

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Elisa Torres
Elisa Torres
Apr 27, 2021
Replying to

Hi Jasmin! I’m glad it spoke to you. I hope it can help in your way forward!

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