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A Year of No Nonsense with Meredith Atwood

We have a very special guest with us today – author, speaker, coach, mom, and podcaster Meredith Atwood. A former practicing attorney, Meredith is the author of the best-selling book ‘Triathlon for the Every Woman: You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You.’ She’s recently released her new book ‘The Year of No Nonsense’ and she’s here today to tell us why we should all be cutting the nonsense out of our lives.

So many of us live our lives the only way we know how, and we often deal with a lot of nonsense. Whether it’s something that somebody has told us in our past that has stuck with us, or whether it’s simply the story we’re telling ourselves, we can create self-fulfilling prophecies which prevent us from moving forward in our lives. But we can change that!

Join us this week where we’ll discuss how to start cleansing our lives of the nonsense we put up with. We’ll learn why failure is actually an important part of growth, and why if you want something bad enough, nothing will stand in your way of getting there. If you want to change your life, you have to make the change. Now’s your time!

If you want to learn how to deal with conflict more effectively, as always, we are both available for individual one on one and couples coaching. For the next couple of months, we are also offering free virtual training to organizations. Our goal is to support you, your team, and your business both at work and at home during this pandemic. Get in touch with us to find out more!

If you enjoyed the show, please share the podcast with your family and friends, or post a five-star review on Apple Podcasts. Rating and reviewing the show helps spread the word, which means less friction and suffering for everyone, and who doesn’t want that?

Learn More:

  • How to get rid of the nonsense in your life.

  • Why it’s essential to show yourself compassion.

  • How old stories might be affecting your life today.

  • Why failure is a good thing.

  • How to stop making excuses and start creating a life you love.

  • How to get un-stuck in your life.

  • Why people resonate with authenticity.

  • Why you’ll succeed if you want something bad enough.


Full Transcript:

CrisMarie: Welcome to The Beauty of Conflict, a podcast about how to deal with conflict at work, at home and everywhere else in your life. Hi, I'm CrisMarie.

Susan: And I'm Susan. We run a company called Thrive, and we specialize in conflict resolution, communication and building strong, thriving teams and relationships. Conflict shows up in our lives in so many ways. Most people, unfortunately, are not very good at handling conflict. Most people have never been taught the right tools for dealing with conflict, and then it leads to unnecessary friction, arguments, passive aggressive emails, tears, hurtful comments, stuck-ness, all kinds of things we don't want. We're on a mission to change all of that.

CrisMarie: We've spent the last 20 years teaching our clients how to handle conflict in a whole new way. We're here to show you that conflict doesn't have to be scary and overwhelming. With the right tools, you can turn a moment of conflict into a moment of reinvention. Conflict can pave the way into a beautiful new system at work, a new way of leading your team, a new way of parenting, a new chapter of your marriage where you feel more connected than ever before. Conflict can lead to beautiful things.

This episode is an interview with Meredith Atwood who is the author of a Year of No Nonsense.

Susan: And originally I got introduced to Meredith Atwood by actually looking into some of her books that she’d written about becoming a triathlete. She’s known also for her podcast Bike Swim Mom, I think is what it is. But a fascinating woman, she was a lawyer, made some changes there. Extraordinary story about becoming a triathlete and then in this book, The Year of No Nonsense, she really gets down to how we get into a whole bunch of nonsense in our lives.

CrisMarie: And in this episode we talk to her about the process of what she went through to coming into herself, to stop being a fake or an imposter, and how that transformed her life. And I have to say, that’s exactly what I do when I coach women leaders who are smart, successful, but they have this underlying anxiety. And often when we get into it, it’s they are holding themselves back.

And so I coach them to actually be more in integrity and alignment and take those risks, and their confidence increases, they relax and get into their peace and serenity, and it’s a really powerful transition.

Susan: And I loved in this interview, she talked about how she shows up now in such a real way in her working, speaking, and going out there with the book. And that was just not what she did before, even though she was sort of looking incredibly successful. But now she’s bringing more of herself to everything.

CrisMarie: And how that resonates for her audiences when she tells her really personal story, and people are like, “Oh my gosh, that’s me.” So we hope you enjoy this episode as much as we do.

So today we have a special guest, Meredith Atwood, is an author, speaker, coach, mom and podcaster. A former practicing attorney, Meredith is the author of the bestselling book, Triathlon for the Every Woman, You Can Be a Triathlete. Yes. You. And her recently released new book, The Year of No Nonsense: How to get over yourself and on with your life, which you can buy online or at Barnes & Noble, Target and Wal-Mart.

Now, Meredith inspires through her podcast, The Same 24 Hours, which aims to help the listener make the most of their 24 hours. The podcast has over one million downloads and is a top 100 on iTunes in the fitness category. The podcast is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Podbean, Pandora and Spotify, and also at

Meredith is based out of Boston, Massachusetts, with her husband and two children, and is originally from Savannah, Georgia. She spent her adult life in the metro Atlanta area and is now in New England. And I’m wondering how you’re doing with the winters, Meredith.

Meredith: As I sit here with my hands in my pocket, freezing.

CrisMarie: I bet.

Susan: It is very different.

Meredith: I know, and everyone around here is like, “It’s not even winter, this is not winter.” And I’m like, “What is this then?”

CrisMarie: We just were in Savannah two weekends ago.

Meredith: Oh, no kidding.

CrisMarie: Yeah, it was so beautiful there, it’s so stark and pretty and we went on the ghost tours.

Meredith: How nice, very nice, good for you.

CrisMarie: So how has it been? And maybe you could tell the listeners kind of just your premise around the book and how it was writing it and now releasing it?

Meredith: Yeah. So the release was fun, I mean it’s crazy, for years that this thing is going out into the world. And then on publication day it’s like, how did this happen, why is this happening to me? How is this book out and everyone’s reading it? And it’s this crazy process of baring your soul and then realizing that it’s no longer yours, because when you write a book you let it go, and then it becomes the readers. And so that’s been an interesting struggle and process, but I’m very grateful, it’s doing very well.

And so that’s been fun, but the origin of the book, kind of been on this decade long – well, it’s a lifelong journey. But the last decade has been sort of the big one.

So about 10 years ago I started the sport of triathlon, which is swimming, biking and running, I was a 250 pound mom, litigating attorney with a bit of a drinking problem, found triathlon. And that really did a lot for me, it changed my life, it taught me how to do hard things, to move my body and to start to want more for myself. And that was when I wrote the first edition of the triathlon book.

And so about eight years after that, I was really proud of myself and feeling good, but I realized that I still had a problem. Because I woke up one morning and my husband had left a little note for me on the counter next to pizza boxes and ice-cream container, and some unpaid bills that told me I needed to get my beep together. I was like, oh boy, what is, you know, first of all, are you talking to me? I don’t think you’re talking to me with this note, this must for someone else.

But it started this sort of process that yeah, I had made a lot of changes and I had come far. But I still had a lot of stuff that I needed to work on, for starters, my alcohol consumption and then my career, and just my presence and the way I showed up for my own life. And the word ‘nonsense’ sort of popped in my head around this time.

And I thought, gosh, I sure do have a lot of nonsense in my life. And for some reason that word just stuck out and it became this sort of cornerstone for where I went from there. And I thought, gosh, I’m going to have a year of no nonsense and it’s going to be fun, it’s going to be lighthearted. And I pitched a book to a publisher and she’s like, “Yeah, that sounds like a lovely lighthearted read.” So I kind of proceeded with that. And what I uncovered in my year of no nonsense is that nonsense is a pretty lighthearted word for some pretty dark stuff.

And meaning that when we start to peel back the layers of our life and identify our own nonsense, which is a subjective sort of concept, what is considered nonsense to me is not necessarily for everyone, so we each have our own versions of it. And when I started to uncover the darker stuff, it really took me on a very interesting path, which is kind of what the book is about.

But it aims to help the reader first show up to see that we are here to live. And I think that seems like a no brainer, but so many of us are caught in the hustle and bustle and in our own worlds, and names and numbers that we’re letting define us. That we’re not even recognizing that we’re here to live our lives, that is the main goal of the book is to point that out. And then to help us see the truth so we can begin to change the things that are nonsense to us. So that’s it in a nutshell.

CrisMarie: I think that’s so true, I mean the ways we distract ourselves or make ourselves wrong, the nonsense that we create by comparing and despairing in our lives. And being in the rat race and trying to get ahead and then judging ourselves for not being ahead.

Meredith: We’re always behind, we’re always behind, yeah.

CrisMarie: Yes, I know.

Susan: Well, it’s just amazing to me how, having coached and worked with so many different people, people who have, what seems like to me, everything, in terms of money, in terms of comfort, in terms of luxury. And they are still playing the same crazy game. And then people who have nothing sometimes, but their hearts are open and they are actually living more fully.

So it’s just so interesting that, you know, what is it that makes the difference? And I do think it has to do with whether we are fully engaged in our lives, like you said, living fully, or we’re in some version of a transactional. I’ve got to get better, and there’s something I’m seeking, and when I get there then I’ll be living. There is a big difference, and I don’t think you actually do one or the other, even after a year, I don’t think we can say, you know, that we still have – it’s an ongoing process. It’s part of the human dynamic I guess.

Meredith: Absolutely. And it’s that delicate struggle between wanting to do better and wanting to change and improve and also acceptance, which I mean how do those two coexist? I mean that’s the big struggle, accepting the situation in where we are, breathing it in, being this is where I’m at. But I want to do better, but I don’t want to do too much because then I can’t accept it. It’s like this crazy cycle, but that’s kind of where you want to be is find that – and I don’t like the word ‘balance’, but harmony with all the spheres that you live in.

CrisMarie: I do think when we are in that striving mode, I’ll be better when I got over there, it’s often very serious and I’m usually beating myself up or I’m not being good enough. And if, even in that process I can take a moment and have some compassion for where I’m at, the energy shifts. And maybe I laugh at myself, maybe I relax a little, so I do think you’re right, we’re wired to kind of want to keep striving and then how do we come into this moment? And I do sometimes think there are just moments of like compassion for ourself, yeah.

Meredith: And being able to laugh at yourself, that’s an excellent point. I mean you have to have a sense of humor in life, or it’s just, it’s way too hard.

Susan: And I know, we talk a lot about conflict, and I think your book about the no nonsense has a lot to do with that internal conflict that is constantly going on between the parts of yourself that, you know, the part of you that wants to be successful. The part of you that wants to be a good mother. The part of you that wants to be the best lawyer, whatever it is, even the part of you that – the little girl or little boy who wanted something different than he got. And it’s such a hard thing to deal with even that internal conflict.

But the same idea, if you can accept it as opposed to trying to get rid of parts, that’s – too many times I see people try to get rid of like, okay, I’m going to get rid of that critical part. And it’s like, well, probably not, good luck with that.

Meredith: You’re stuck with your warts, all of them. Yeah, I mean that’s so true that oftentimes we are just fighting ourselves, we’re just torn between some of the core beliefs that we’re carrying around, that we maybe don’t even realize that we’ve been hauling around with us for years, and years, and years. The example I have, it seems like a simple one is I had a coach in 8th grade tell me, “If you run like that, you’re never going to be a runner.” And I thought what are you talking about, I’m running down the court, I’m running, what do you mean I’m not going to be a runner?

But that really stuck with me, I mean it stuck so sticky that I just never ran after that, I actually went into weightlifting because someone said, “She’s strong.” And I was like, well, a good thing I’m strong because I’ll never be a runner. And that’s like, you know, it seems silly but that literally stuck with me through all of adulthood until I started doing triathlon in my 30s. And even when I would be out there running 10 miles, 26 miles, I’m like, well, yeah, I’m still not a runner but, you know, and I’m out there running.

But that kind of stuff sticks with you and then that’s the importance of pinpointing that, hey, that’s nonsense, that’s absolutely nonsense. So I’m not going to do that to myself, but yeah, there’s a conflict that we’re dealing with, with our own mind.

Susan: I have a similar thing, when I was a young child I’d be out at this camp, and there was a woman who was the Art Director and she was quite a – she was an amazing artist. But we would always be – have to start art projects. And she actually had a box over in the corner that she called, ‘Susie’s unfinished art projects’. But in the life of me, I think it’s wound up being this thing where I never think I can finish something, whether it’s art or writing. And it’s taken me a long time to realize how it goes back to that unfinished box of stuff.

And it wasn’t until I really realized what an impact that had, that I started thinking, I’d better work on this because I do want to finish something.

CrisMarie: Well, it’s those old stories are so powerful, I mean it’s – similar, I was, for whatever reason, thought I was ugly. And my sister was the beautiful one, she was older. And it wasn’t until, I think, more in my 40s somebody said, “You’re really pretty.” And I’m like, “What?” And I still don’t – I struggle with actually embracing I have a certain beauty. And people would think, you’re crazy you don’t know that, versus the story of the pretty girl who grew up knowing she was pretty and could it use it all the way, I sometimes think I wish I’d had that story.

Meredith: That’s how I think too, because I was the fat girl with the pretty face. And so when I look at myself now I’m like well, at least I have a pretty face. But now I’m getting older so my face is going too. Man, if I don’t have a pretty face, then what am I, just a blob. But I know, it’s just those early perceptions, they stick. They stick, and we’d better work to switch that around.

CrisMarie: It’s so true, because otherwise we’ll just kind of – they’ll be self-fulfilling prophecies and they’re really not helpful.

Susan: That, or you have to learn how to use those stories to your advantage because I do remember when I was playing basketball, I couldn’t jump, I couldn’t shoot. I was really not meant to play basketball, but I still wanted to be on a team.

And so I remember going to my coach and saying to him, “You need me on the team, because you need somebody who doesn’t want to shoot, who’s doing to slow the game way down.” And four years later he joked at me, he said, “You’re the only person who’s ever made my team over and over and again by the things you told me you could not do well.”

Meredith: But that takes a certain level of self-awareness that I mean is that you know that you, you know, I mean how smart is that actually? You had some cunning going on right there.

Susan: Yes, I don’t know where it came from but it worked well for me because I just love that, it’s like okay, yes, now.

Meredith: That’s some innate grit right there, that sounds like my daughter. My daughter is 11 and I mean she will make the world conform to her. And it sounds like you have that personality too, like no, I’m going to be on this team, it’s just where are you going to put me?

CrisMarie: Well, and I think about how many people stop themselves from engaging in things because of these stories. And really I think the people that are successful in anything are the ones that keep leaning in, keep trying, they fail, they pick themselves up, they go on. I mean you know, writing a book is not easy, we’ve done it, you’ve done it. And you get up every day and kind of keep slogging through it.

And if we don’t have that ability to kind of bust through those old stories of I’m not a writer, that was another one of Susan’s, I’m not a writer, and so we started doing blogs. Finding a way through, so the nonsense isn’t debilitating and keeping you stuck.

Meredith: Right. And a big part of the book I talk about is failure and how good failure is. And if we don’t stretch the failure muscle, people who say that they have a fear of failure, and they also have a fear of success. And some of that is true to a degree, I mean who really likes to fail? But it’s also a way to stay status quo, it’s a way to stay exactly where you are, if you’re like, “Well, I’m afraid to fail, I’m afraid of success,” that means you don’t have to do anything. And so you can just be like, well, I’m just, I’m going to stay right where I am.

And so stretching that failure muscle, and what’s what triathlon taught me, because I was not a natural triathlete, I was pretty terrible at all of it. And so you go into a race and you put on a really tight spandex suit and you get wet in it. And then you get on a bike and then you run, that is an exercise in failure.

Susan: Right there.

Meredith: Right there. And I do think because I had been so accustomed to kind of hiding inside my body, being a lawyer, being a mom, all these things up until that point. My failure muscle had not been stretched and I was just comfortable being miserable.

And so stepping into athletics as an adult is a very quick way to learn to fail. And I think it’s that kind of awakening that so many people who do try a new sport, or a fitness in their adult lives. I think is such a catalyst for what comes next, that body connection and then the embarrassment. But pushing through it because it’s kind of a harmless way to push through really.

CrisMarie: I wasn’t an athlete growing up, and then I came to the University of Washington, and I’m kind of too short to be a rower, but I still wanted to be a rower. But I didn’t have all this esteem around sports or these people are so amazing. I was just like I want to try out for the rowing team. So I was willing to fail and ask for feedback, and I think that created the sticking power that took me to the Olympics because I didn’t have that whole transference of I’ve already got to be good at this. I was starting from the bottom, I don’t care.

Meredith: Right. And there’s something to that, I mean a lot of times the comparison to our former selves is a big thing that stands in people’s way. The real pretty girl or the real thin girl who suddenly found herself older and not so thin, I’m not even going to bother because I’ll never look like the former version of myself. I mean that comparison is so tough, and we do it to ourselves.

Susan: I always thought that the people around me that had the most challenging lives were the people who were either super smart or super gifted, because they didn’t fail enough, it’s really what you’re saying. And then the fear of failure becomes so great that it’s just ridiculous. I mean even when I met CrisMarie, she had gone to the Olympics and she was telling herself she was a loser because they didn’t get a gold medal. And I just thought that was the funniest thing I had ever heard.

CrisMarie: I made a lot of nonsense about that.

Susan: I mean you’ve got to be kidding me. And I don’t know how many people I have coached where it’s like you’ve been so successful, but you’ve actually not put yourself in a position where you’re terrified to fail and that’s limiting you.

CrisMarie: I think it can be hard, I think it did, like that story that Susan’s saying, we were supposed to medal and we didn’t. And I had started to win over and over again, and so I got really brittle. Brittle is the word to failure, and it broke me. And I thought I was a horrible person and how, you know, shame, and humiliation and that’s those feelings I think are what people attribute failure to. And it’s really – I felt like I was in the middle of a stadium and everyone was booing me, this did not happen, even when we crossed the finish line, they never booed.

Meredith: Nobody booed, right.

CrisMarie: No. But that’s that nonsense that really stops us from bringing ourselves up. I think it was Sarah Blakeley, her dad said when she was growing up, he’d say every week, “Well, what did you fail at?” And then she’d tell him and he’d high five her, to kind of go back with that failure muscle.

Meredith: That’s really good. Well, it’s funny though, because my son is kind of, you know, he’s just a little bit of an Eeyore personality. If I asked him that he would say, “Everything.” I’m not going to test that one out. I’ll try that one on my daughter.

Susan: Okay, there you go.

Meredith: That’s funny, that’s funny.

CrisMarie: But it gets so rigid, I think that is something to – for all of us to look at, how can I de-stigmatize failure in my nervous system because we brace against it so much.

Meredith: Right, yeah, it’s the emotional connection to hit the emotional system because of the emotion we felt at the time, it takes us right back there.

Susan: I’m sure. And I was thinking a triathlon is something that is such an extraordinary thing to have accomplished. One thing that is kind of neat about those sort of things, is you are up against yourself, which can be a good thing because you don’t, you know, you’re out there in the water. Well, actually I did one Danskin triathlon thing, and there were like 200 women swimming with me, I was not out in the water by myself ever.

CrisMarie: Getting kicked in the face, right?

Susan: Yes, I think of that. So the notion that you’re by yourself, but probably when you’re in a full triathlon you would have moments where it’s just you.

Meredith: Yeah, especially when you’re in the back like I always am. There was a part in Lake Placid in 2015, and it was like 10:30 at night and I was on the back stretch of the marathon. And I was the only one out there, a guy on an ATV rode by and I was like, “Can I get a ride?” And he was like, “Hop on her, if you want to clip the race.” And I was like, “Never mind, carry on.”

CrisMarie: Well, will you stay behind me and the light the way so I can see?

Meredith: Sorry, I interrupted you, you were saying?

Susan: No, I love it, that’s a great story, but that’s actually probably where you learned to come up against yourself and say, “No, I want to finish this, I want to get through it.” We all have those things where we’re challenged to say, you know, whether it’s inside ourselves, the conflict within us or sometimes between us and another person. Or how do we deal with that and say, “We’re going to hang in and go through this?” Versus give up and say, “Okay, forget it.” I think those moments in sport teach us, hopefully, in relationship.

Meredith: Yeah, people that feel like they’re stuck, what do you guys – I’m going to interview you now. What do you tell people to take that chance, what is some advice that you tend to give? Because I have a lot of clients who are like, “Well, I’m just – I’m scared of trying this, I’m scared of taking this next step.” I mean that fear of the past, the shame and it is like paralyzing. So what are some of the things that you kind of tell your clients to tell them to lean into that conflict?

CrisMarie: This is CrisMarie. When I’m coaching people I actually one, have them breathe and connect into their bodies. And do some things to discharge that past pain from the nervous system, because it really is a nervous system piece. And then also the reason I stuck with rowing so much is because I really wanted it, it was like a heart passion, so to connect to the why, as Simon Sinek would say.

But what is it that I’m wanting? And that would often help me get my butt back up and try again, even when the coach was laughing at me or I felt embarrassed or whatever it was. No, this matters to me, I don’t care what you’re saying, I’m going to do it anyway.

Meredith: Yeah, and I think when we talk about nonsense, it is, that’s a really great point because if people are doing these things they don’t want to be doing. Because so much of our ‘bad habits’ that we’re doing, we don’t want to be doing them, we just continually find ourselves doing them. And so pointing to your why and the reason behind it, and recognizing that the perceived sabotage may be that you’re doing is that nervous system response, and kind of normalizing.

Not making it some mysterious thing, like I don’t know why I’m doing it, this is a mystery, why, you’re coping, you’re doing the things you’ve always done, but you have a bigger why. And you don’t want this habit to stand in the way of that why, so buckle up sister, let’s go.

CrisMarie: Yeah, because when people have a big enough why, they’ll find the money to do what they want, they’ll find the time to do what they want. All those are just excuses that keep people…

Meredith: I’m getting my soapbox out when you say that, okay, I’m dragging them across the floor. It drives me crazy, it drives me crazy when people, you know, and coaching is one thing, there’s all sorts of theories behind why people don’t want to spend money. But they will be the first to go on a four week vacation to Europe, but they will not pay you for two weeks of coaching when they tell you they want to change their lives. And I’m like, there are times in my life that I would have given away my car for certain things.

And to change, like if someone had walked into my house and said, “You can be sober, I can wave a magic wand, what would you give?” I mean I would have given anything at certain points in my life, I had to go through that the hard way. But you’re right, you have got to really want, and then if you want something bad enough there’s nothing that will stop you. And so stop talking about the things you want, and just seriously if you want it, let’s create a plan and make a sacrifice. Make a sacrifice because you will waste money, you will not sacrifice all sorts of crap for stuff you don’t want.

CrisMarie: It’s true. I mean they’ll pay for a plastic surgery and all different purses and shoes.

Meredith: A purse, yeah.

CrisMarie: Yeah, to invest in yourself, and so the question is how bad do you want it? Because we have that felt sense, each of us sitting around these megaphones of really wanting something and doing it. And I just want to ignite that flame in other people, to turn up the volume of what they want.

Meredith: And like one of the things that I always talk about is people will say, “But that’s hard.” And I’m like, “That is not hard, you just don’t want to do it. Let’s talk about what actually is hard.” Oh my gosh, you’re talking about changing your life and you’re going to call it hard, I’m just asking you to give up gluten for a week and see if your knees feel better. That’s not hard, it’s not hard.

CrisMarie: It’s uncomfortable, but not hard. Susan, were you going to say something?

Susan: Well, I was thinking about, for me one of the things that’s been the most powerful is that I’ve been able to do work with horses. And I just love what they have taught me because horses don’t story tell. So if you walk out into a herd of horses they’re not out there looking at each other going, “You’ve got a big butt, you’re not going to – you can’t be in this thing, and I’ve got the smallest.” They are just out there knowing that they are totally dependent on each other in different ways and they let that connection occur and strengthen them.

There’s not like this big hierarchy or who’s better, who’s best, and as a result I think they really do use that connection to each other as a pathway for the best of the herd. And when we’re allowing them, we have that opportunity to drop in as well because like working with people, they so often will say, “This horse doesn’t like me.” And I’m like, “I’m pretty sure that’s got nothing to do with it, like I think maybe…”

Meredith: Don’t take it personally.

Susan: Yes. And it’s like they will read, if you’re nervous or anxious, they don’t know what weird story you’re telling yourself in your head, but they’re kind of like, there is a disconnect between the inside and the outside. And that’s all they’re registering, it’s like because as soon as you can say, “I’m actually terrified, I don’t have a clue what I’m doing.” They relax and come right in and are like, “Okay, now you’re congruent.” It’s such a great way for people to begin to understand when they’re congruent and incongruent. And that’s such a big factor in being able to overcome that stuck spot.

Meredith: Well, I am severely allergic to horses, and that explains so much. If I had always been able to be around horses my life would have been easier, that is the takeaway. No, true though, I mean the sense of community, if we would all just – and I know we have social morays and we’ve got to get along in society. But if we could all just drop the BS for a little bit. If you want to know something about me, ask.

And I tell everything in my book, but I will be speaking to an audience and I can see their guard droop because I am telling a really embarrassing thing or a really hard thing. I don’t have a façade at these things, I mean I did, that was part of the nonsense I had to get over. I mean I was a complete fraud four years ago. But just having that connection and being like, “You know what, life’s hard, there’s suffering, what are we going to do about it?”

I’m here, you’re here, that is where I can feel the change and I’ll leave these events and I’ll be like, “Oh my gosh, there’s a rumbling, do you feel it?” And they’ll be like, “What are you talking about?” Because I’ll go to Chipotle after and they’ll be like, “What is up with you woman?” It’ll be this huge connection with a group of people and you think this is how change is going to happen. We’re all going to drop the BS and we’re going to get rid of our nonsense and then everything is going to be great. And then life happens and you’re like, “This is a bad idea to write this book.”

CrisMarie: No, no. And it’s true, when we recognize we’re more similar than we are different and we connect at that human level, that we all are worried. We all think we’re not good enough, we haven’t done enough, all that nonsense stuff we all do, when we’re speaking or working with a team or coaching, it has that palpable like, oh, it’s a drop in the energy.

Susan: I know when people experience somebody is being real and willing to even, whether it’s messy, whether – like for us because we’re dealing with conflict, often we’ll get right into a conflict. And people are like, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.” And then they see us kind of work it through, and it’s not clean and tidy and politically correct, it’s messy, it’s whatever. And they’re like, “Oh, wow, okay, they can do that, we can do that.” And there is this place of like normalizing our humanity and who we are.

And it sounds like that’s based on your book and what I’ve seen, that’s what you share and that’s what gets people to drop their guard a little bit.

Meredith: Well, and it’s not always – it hasn’t always been purposeful. I’m just – I kind of do dumb things and then like, I, for example, I was in North Carolina and I went to Charlotte Running Company to do an event. And as I stand there on a giant floor mat that says Charlotte Running Company, I thanked Fleet Feet for having me. And someone goes, “You’re at Charlotte Running Company.” I was like, “Oh, Jeeze, oh my gosh.” Totally humiliated but I was able to show, whoops, oh well, and kind of tell the audience that was really humiliating, I will go, “Sorry.”

And one of the things I talk about in the book is how we can literally do nothing about 10 minutes ago, we can do nothing about 10 years ago, we only have now, we have what choices we make going forward. And to make a faux pas like that at an event that so graciously brought me there, and to thank the wrong people. But that’s part of humanity, no one’s getting it right all the time, and we have to know that they’re acting like they are.

CrisMarie: That’s true, that’s true.

Susan: Yes, totally agree.

CrisMarie: Well, this has been lovely, Meredith, as we wrap up, are there any kind of words of wisdom or anything else you want to share with our listeners about even how to connect to you?

Meredith: Yes, you can find me everywhere, Swim Bike Mom,, and social media, Swim Bike Mom. And I’d just like to leave people with a challenge around nonsense. And so one of the things that I say in the book is you can kind of boil everything in your life down to nonsense, yes or no.

So the two week challenge is any time you have to make a decision in the next two weeks, ask yourself, is this thing I’m about to do, this decision I’m about to make, is it nonsense, yes or no? And nonsense to you, do you get a sick feeling in your gut? Do you think I just can’t do this? Just really come and align and think about what in your life is showing up as nonsense. And you don’t have to do anything about it, but once you begin to see then you realize you have choices around these things, and that’s how real change can start to take effect.

CrisMarie: I agree, that’s awesome, turning up the awareness of it, of nonsense. Good, I’m going to take your challenge.

Meredith: Okay, well, let me know how it goes.

CrisMarie: Okay. Thanks, Meredith.

If you want to learn more about what we discussed today, or how to deal with conflict more effectively, Susan and myself, CrisMarie are both available for individual one-on-one coaching. We also offer couples coaching, which now as we live and work 24/7 together, may be more important than ever.

Susan: We continue to do our team facilitation, both live and now virtually. Let’s get real, until you’ve had a tough conversation over Zoom, you may not be building the trust you need on your team. For the next couple of months we are offering free virtual trainings to organizations. Our goal is to support you, your team and your business, both at work and at home during this pandemic.

CrisMarie: Right now you can find short videos on my, CrisMarie’s LinkedIn and Facebook with tips, tools and inspiration. To contact us, email, that’s

Susan: Okay, stay safe, stay healthy and remember, together we’re better and stronger.

CrisMarie: Take care.


CrisMarie Campbell and Susan Clarke

Coaches, Business Consultants, Speakers and Authors of The Beauty of Conflict

CrisMarie and Susan work leaders and teams, couples in business, and professional women.

They help turnaround dysfunctional teams into high performing, cohesive teams who trust each other, deal with differences directly, and have clarity and alignment on their business strategy so they create great results.

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