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How To Love Your Life Today: Emily Harman #105

Warwick Fairfax

February 23, 2022

Retired naval officer Emily Harman accomplished many things in her career, but realized after she retired that the one thing she hadn’t done was understanding what she truly loved to do. She was so focused on achievement that she had no idea what brought her satisfaction and could bring her significance.  But she’s turned that around by taking a deep inner journey that has unlocked emotions she neglected most of her life, and opened up a new career as a podcast host and life coach. Her focus? Helping women create a life they’ll love living today.

To learn more about Emily Harman and her business and podcast, Onward Movement, visit www.emilyharman.com

Highlights

  • How basketball got her to where she is today (2:51)
  • Becoming a people pleaser and hyperachiever in high school (4:37)
  • Discovering her purpose by reflecting on her childhood (7:40)
  • Launching her naval career (9:20)
  • The failure of her marriage and its aftereffects (11:37)
  • Retiring from the Navy … and the crisis of identity that followed (13:33)
  • Finding discovering how to slow down (16:31)
  • What her ex-husband’s death taught her (20:34)
  • Creating Onward Movement (29:44)
  • How basketball still figures into her career as a coach (34:19)
  • Deciding what kind of coaching she wanted to focus on (43:09)
  • The importance of valuing yourself (48:35)

Transcript

Warwick F:

Welcome to Beyond the Crucible. I’m Warwick Fairfax, the founder of Crucible Leadership.

Emily H:

How many times do we even ask this: what would we love? What would we love in our life? What would we love to have to be, to do, to share with other people to give back to this world? What would a life of significance be for me? A lot of times we don’t even stop and look up and I didn’t, I was too busy achieving whatever, whatever the next step was supposed to be. But what did I want? I didn’t really look at that. Or maybe I thought that’s what I wanted, but we really, a lot of times don’t take time to just stop and say, what would I love?

Gary S:

There is a question that’s critical to ask ourselves in the wake of a crucible. In fact, sometimes it can even help us avoid a crucible. Hi, I’m Gary Schneeberger co-host of the show. Our guest this week is Emily Harman, a retired Naval officer who accomplished many things in her career then realized the one thing she hadn’t accomplished was understanding what she loved to do. She was so focused on achievement that she had no idea what truly brought her satisfaction and could bring her significance. She’s turned that around, she explains, by taking a deep inner journey, it has unlocked emotions she had neglected most of her life and opened up in her retirement from the service, a new career as a podcast host and life coach. Her focus, helping women create a life they’ll love living today.

Warwick F:

Well, thank you so much Emily for being here. I really appreciate it. I love what you do with Onward Movement and the podcast in particular, trying to empower women in particular to live authentic lives, to live free of judgment, to live their dreams. It’s a, I must say, a sacred calling, but it’s a wonderful calling, but you’ve had an amazing journey, obviously leading up to your career in the Navy and government service. Talk about Emily Harman growing up, your family influences that led to the Naval Academy and probably ultimately in some ways led to Onward Movements. So who was a young teenage high school environment, who was Emily Harman growing up?

Emily H:

Well, basketball is what I would say got me to where I am today. And the reason I say that is because when I was in sixth grade, fifth or sixth grade, I started to play basketball and I was like five, six, about 95 pounds uncoordinated. And so growing up, my parents were not in the military, but what they told me and my brother and sister, the three of us is, if you do well in sports, we’ll pay for your college, we’re thinking that it would get us into college, which it did for all of us or you can work and then you can pay for your clothes and all that. We’ll take care of you as long as you’re applying yourself at sports. I used to have to jump rope for 10 minutes every morning before I got breakfast.

Emily H:

And I appreciate my parents for having me do that because that got me coordinated. And my dad worked two jobs and still spent a lot of time on the weekends helping me learn to play basketball. I was left handed. He helped me learn to shoot left and right handed, do a hook shot. So many things my father taught me and it wasn’t until I became a parent myself, that I realized what a sacrifice that was for him to be spending his free time with me and my brothers and sisters too. And so in high school, I became the leading scorer in Maryland, DC and Virginia. And I could have scored 40 points and my dad, would say, good game. Now you remember that time when you went right, you should have gone left? And my point to that is the way I reacted to that as a first child, the first born, and he was trying to help me, but the way I reacted to that, I can see now looking back is I became a pleaser.

Emily H:

I tried to really please him and then that translated into being a pleaser in other aspects of my life. And first borns are typically hyper achievers. I was a hyper achiever and I was always striving to improve in my whole life. Always striving to do better and not celebrating any wins. If I did, it would be like a second, like, all right, I got that let me move on to the next thing. That childhood translated in my life, which I’m sure we’ll get into about how it impacted my life in positive and not so positive ways. And so I was recruited by several colleges to play basketball. West Point was one of them. I don’t know if you’ve ever been there, but it was cold and rainy and gray.

Emily H:

And then I went to the Naval Academy and I know you’ve been there and it was sunny. And I liked the basketball team and I liked the people there. And I decided to go there because I didn’t know that much about the Navy, but I all also knew that education would be the number one thing. Like if I ever got hurt playing basketball or something, I wouldn’t lose a scholarship. I’d still get my education. And that was a good decision. Because when I was there, I had two knee surgeries, I tore my inter cruciate ligament, but I still got a good education and graduated. That’s how my life started out. That’s why I say basketball has got me to where I am today.

Warwick F:

What’s fascinating about your story Emily is we’ve had all sorts of men, women, all kinds of backgrounds, races, some folks come from very difficult families, maybe abusive or maybe parents who just were never there. But it sounds like your upbringing wasn’t that bad. In the sense that you had loving parents that cared about you, maybe you could say in hindsight, I don’t know that they had all the psychology books or people weren’t quite as aware of parenting years ago. And so the resources weren’t there, but it sounds like you had supportive parents that wanted the best for you and your siblings. Now you may have translated it into like a performance achievement way of thinking. But I think what’s fascinating for listeners is you don’t have to come from some terrible broken home to have challenges and you might have very loving parents that are trying to do their best, but unwittingly kids can interpret things differently. Does that make sense? It doesn’t sound like you had a horrific upbringing.

Emily H:

No, I didn’t. I was able to go away to summer camp for like seven weeks in the summer and horseback ride and do arts and crafts. My parents gave us a lot of opportunity. No parents are perfect. I’m not a perfect parent either. And I would say that I never saw my parents argue, they got married six weeks after they met, they’re still married 59 years later.

Warwick F:

Wow.

Emily H:

But I didn’t really see conflict resolution and I didn’t really see holding hands. I didn’t really see, it wasn’t like a warm, loving relationship that I saw. We just pick up on different things. I think that in some ways I haven’t really talked to them about this, but I can look back and feel there were times when I didn’t feel heard or seen. And so it was so interesting when I founded the Onward Movement in 2020, I did an exercise with one of my coaches and I do it now for my clients where she helped me by reflecting on my childhood and what was missing in my life from my perspective, she had us come up with what our purpose in life, our purpose for being here.

Emily H:

And the words that I came up with were words that I had already put in the manifesto that I created for the Onward Movement, which was, “We see you, we hear you. This is a welcoming place.” And although we strive to improve ourselves, we know we’re enough, just the way we are. These are things that I’ve had challenges with in my life that I then put into the manifesto that then when I did this exercise with my coach came up as my purpose for being here in life. It was so amazing. It just brought tears to my eyes to see that correlation. And I do that for my clients and I bring tears to their eyes too, because it’s just amazing to really come into a better understanding of why we’re really here.

Warwick F:

Let’s fast forward. So you’re in the Navy and what’s fascinating is it’s not like you grew up thinking I want to be in the military. It was a logical choice and a wise choice, as you said, blowing out your knees and it’s not like your parents said military is what you need to do, but you did. So you’re in the Naval Academy and you launch into the Navy. So talk about as your career and life unfolds, you get married, have kids. You’re obviously a driven person. So talk about from Naval Academy on, what was the next steps like for you in your life?

Emily H:

Yeah, I graduated and I got stationed. I went into the Supply Corps, which is like the business end of the Navy. After I went to Supply Corps school in Athens, Georgia, I was stationed on a ship, a submarine tender. And then that ship, the steel decks and everything really hurt my knees. I had had knee surgery on both of my knees. After a couple years, two and a half years or so, I got off that ship. And then I went to work for the Atlantic fleet, which is where I helped do a study on how much plastic the Navy was dumping into the ocean. This was in the mid ’80s when plastic was just washing up on the shores all the time and medical waste and the ships would just dump everything overboard. We did studies and now if you go on a ship, you’ll see they have these things I don’t know if they call them plastic waste processors anymore, but they recycle a lot of the plastic and bring it out in balls or discs or whatever.

Emily H:

There’s a lot of recycling that goes on onboard ships now. And then I got stationed back at the Naval Academy. Where I help coach basketball and I taught leadership and I was a company officer and that’s when I met my kids’ father and we got married and I just decided I didn’t want to go back to sea again and raise children. I got out of the Navy after seven years working on active duty and I became a civilian working for the Navy in government contracting. That’s what I was doing at the time. And then I did 13 years in the reserves. So I did 20 total. And then I stayed on as a civilian and I ended up getting divorced from my children’s father. He was verbally abusive. And the pleaser that I had developed kept putting up with that.

Emily H:

And I didn’t leave until I could see it impacting my children. That’s where that pleaser personality did not serve me well there, I tried everything to make that marriage work, but in the long run, verbal abuse is really tough to overcome. And I still think it impacts me to this day, but we ended up divorcing and then I was a single parent. And so a lot of my career was pushing through. I coach in energy levels now, so on a scale of one to seven energy levels, I would say I was at energy level three. And at that energy level you push through and you look at the bright side of things and you find the silver lining and all that’s great.

Emily H:

However, what you don’t do is you don’t really pay much attention to your feelings because they get in the way of you pushing through. I spent a lot of my career being a hyper achiever, moving up, moving up, moving up, never feeling satisfied with where I was always, trying to do more and achieve more, raising my kids, and ignoring my feelings. I didn’t know all this in my head. I wasn’t aware of this consciously, what I was doing, sense that I’ve learned how I was ignoring my feelings and I’ll explain the way that happened is, it was 2019, my kids were grown. I had made it to the equivalent of a two star Admiral in the reserves. I mean, as a civilian, I was the director of the office of small business programs for the Navy and the Marine Corps advising the Secretary of the Navy and all Navy leadership and responsible for the whole program on how we provided opportunities for small businesses to participate in government contracting.

Emily H:

So I had made it up pretty high, but I still, something was missing. I didn’t know what it was. And I was tired of being busy. I was busy all the time and I thought it was my job. I was busy all the time and I knew I wasn’t feeling my feelings. And I kind of felt like I was turning into some of the things that bothered me about my mom. That’s the way she is. She’s busy. She’s always fine. And so I didn’t want to be that way anymore. I decided that I was going to retire. I was going to retire from the Navy that in my mind, that job and the work I had done for the Navy was causing all of my stress. I retired and I figured now I can relax. I can be who I want to be. I can do what I want to do. But who am I? Where did Emily go? Because she’s buried under all of these responsibilities and pushing through and not feeling your feelings. I didn’t even know myself anymore.

Warwick F:

There’s a phrase on your website. I think you talk about the chameleon Emily versus the real Emily. And it feels like your whole life. I mean, you’re an achiever I think you write somewhere you’re in the sixth class at the Naval Academy that admitted women. You’ve got these different strands, it’s determination, but yet there’s people pleasing. And for some people they might think, well, somebody so determined and so courageous, how could you put up with things that weren’t inappropriate, but yet people do. You probably know many women in particular who were equally as determined as you are and to help folks understand that bit of that psychology. Because it seems like what you are so determined. You, you got to accomplish anything. You can break through any barrier, right?

Emily H:

Yeah.

Warwick F:

If there’s any somebody I’m going to bet on it’s Emily Harman, she can break through anything. She is tough. She is strong. Yeah. There’s something about that people pleasing mentality that I don’t know, help us understand that. Because it’s an interesting dichotomy.

Emily H:

Well, I wish I understood it 100% because I’m a coach in an area called positive intelligence, which is about strengthening your mental fitness. And it’s all about understanding these saboteurs in our mind. And two of mine are the hyper achiever saboteur and the pleaser. And these are basically the way Shirzad Chamine who developed this program, talks about it is these saboteurs in our mind is what causes all our stress. And they’re really started with being strengths, but their strengths that are overused by the left side of your brain, the saboteur side of your brain. And they issue with anxiety and stress. They cause all your stress and anxiety. I could have. And right now I can achieve, but I achieve through my right side of my brain, my sage with my heart.

Emily H:

I’m not pushing, I’m not driving to prove anything to anybody. So there’s a difference. So my saboteur, when I use it, it hinders me and causes all of my stress. And so that’s what my pleaser did. I love to serve people. I love to coach people. That’s what I do right now. But if I do that too much, then I start to get resentful and get stressed and feel not appreciated. I need to and if I’m trying to please somebody because to make them happy all the time and that doesn’t help. And so I just didn’t … And so somebody asked Shirzad, can you have some different saboteurs at work than you have at home? And he said, yeah, you can. There’s a lot of people like that. I didn’t have a pleaser saboteur as much at work as I did at home. It was like I was two different people.

Emily H:

I am still working to figure out how can, how could I have put up with that verbal abuse? Why did I have such a low self-esteem that made me put up with being called bad names and things like that for not loading the dishwasher correctly or leaving my son’s pacifier in the trunk when he was in the car and he needed it right then or not handing him the toll money in the right way. These are all ridiculous things that most people who knew me would think I would never put up with that, but it wasn’t until I couldn’t even leave the house to go for a walk because my kids didn’t want to be alone with him and he never hit me. But I think verbal abuse is just as bad as hitting. Nobody can see it. Nobody can see the bruises, nobody can see it. And I don’t quite yet understand why, but I think it’s very common for that to happen.

Warwick F:

Yeah. I’m no expert. Without getting told the details I’ve had somewhat of a bout with verbal abuse when I was young from a close family member and it can erode your self-esteem. And I remember initially I’d push back and I’d be like six, eight, very young and I’d push back. But then eventually would wear me down and I’d say, I’m so sorry and that kind of cycle, but yeah. I’m no psychologist. I think one of the things we talk a lot here is the question of identity.

Warwick F:

And if it’s like, well, who is Emily Harman? Well, she is an achiever. She’s a people pleaser, but who are you beneath that? And maybe it’s like, well, you were saying to yourself, I don’t really know who I am. There’s all these roles I play like, like in almost a Greek tragedy or something that there are these roles I play, these masks I put on, but who am I beneath the mask? I don’t know. You obviously now you know far more about who you are and the Emily Harman today is not going to put up with inappropriate behavior or abuse or whatever, because you know who you are. Right?

Emily H:

Yeah. I know who I am and I love myself.

Warwick F:

Well, exactly.

Emily H:

And I have compassion for myself. And I think back then, I didn’t love myself. Definitely not like today. And so what happened when I retired, when I called my retirement a graduation, thinking, yes, now I can do what I want. And then I figured that with all this time on my hands, I didn’t have to work. And I knew I wanted to be a coach and a podcast host, but I figured with all this time on my hands, that I am going to have time to work out. I’m just going to have time to get up in the morning and just, I’m going to be so much more relaxed. I knew that’s what would happen. And it did not. It did not happen. So my point there is that a lot of times we think, well, when circumstances change, when this happens or that happens, and if only this wasn’t in my life, if only I didn’t work with these people, if I did this, we tend to point our finger at other circumstances or situations.

Emily H:

And when we do that, I’ve learned, we have three fingers pointing back at us. So that was my crucible moment. I have got to look at me, why am I not slowing down? Why do I still have this other saboteur, which I haven’t mentioned yet, which is restless. I’m always like, let me sign up for that class. Let me do that. Let me do that. And then my condo starts to, my outer world starts to reflect my inner world of unorganized, disarray, stress, anxiety, my outer world. My condo’s not clean. I’ve got these different projects not completed. And so I’ve worked with coaches for the past two and a half years to figure that out. And then I also had to start feeling my feelings because what happened is three weeks after I retired, my daughter called and told me that her dad, the guy who had been verbally abusive to me, had cancer.

Emily H:

And then two weeks after that, he was paralyzed in both arms from his cancer. And he died five months later. And when that happened and my daughter helped take care of him, I helped take care of him. And when that happened, I saw a man die with regrets. And I got closure like a couple nights before he died in December. I said, “A couple nights ago would’ve been our 28th wedding anniversary.” And he just looked at me and he shook his head and he turned away and he said “I’m sorry.” And he told my son, “I’m sorry, I wasn’t there for you when you needed me.” My son is an alcoholic. He’s almost six years sober. But from age 13 to 23, it was very, very, very, very hard. I didn’t know if I was going to get a call that he was dead from drugs and alcohol.

Emily H:

His dad wasn’t there. Bruce was not there for us. And so I saw him die with regrets. He was a civil servant. He was a retired army officer. He was a West Point grad. He had done all these things. He had these files. He had been successful at work, but not with his friends and family. And he had all these files on what he was going to do when he retired. And he never got to retire. He died at 64, just like that, that woke me up. And that is why I help people create a life they love living now, don’t wait for circumstances to change. It’s now. And we can do it now.

Warwick F:

That was part of the, I think epiphany you’ve mentioned earlier and elsewhere that you went to 2014 International World Domination Summit, and then the incident in 2018 where you’re riding the subway to the Pentagon and all these faceless people with the ear pods, and you’re on this treadmill and you decided to get off. There was still inner work to be done, but that was the catalyst, 2018, 2019, you decided I’m leaving my government career and I’m doing something new. I think one of the other faceting things you said, I think initially your first idea was, I’m going to keep achieving. This is going to be my first, I’m going to keep, now I can achieve in a different direction.

Emily H:

Yeah.

Warwick F:

Talk about that, there’s a bit of an epiphany and in turn obviously, your ex-husband dying, all of those things. It seems like they helped you turn, not just outward, but you get to say the ultimate voyage of discovery is a journey inward.

Emily H:

Definitely. When Bruce died, yeah, I was angry, I was pissed off at him for the way he had treated us. And then I was sad for him. And I still loved him, even though he had been verbally abusive, I still loved him. And it just made me sad the way he lived his life and my kids saw it too. And everything fell on me to help my kids through it. And I saw my kids go through his basement and learn about their dad that way, because Bruce hadn’t really shared much about his career as a test pilot and things like that. And so all the feelings from the divorce, all the feelings that I had shoved down when I was in that energy of push push push, came to the surface. I was a mess.

Emily H:

And I started to learn how to feel my feelings. And I started to realize that I had lived mostly in the left side of my brain, lived in my head, not connected to my intuition, not connected to my gut, just logic a lot. And that’s Navy, the DOD is all charts and graphs. And so the next level of energy I tend to go to is level five, which is where you can see a whole bunch of opportunities. And I do see that I see opportunity in this, this, and this and this. And then what happens is, and that’s that restless saboteur in my mind, I get paralyzed by all these opportunities and I get stressed and I go down to energy level one, which is I give up, I can’t do it. I’ve learned so much about myself. I can put words to my different energy levels and how I show up.

Emily H:

It didn’t happen overnight like I thought it would, it wasn’t because of my job that I was restless and hyper achiever. It was because I had internalized that and I needed to see who Emily was beneath that. And really I am intuitive. And now I live a lot of my life in energy level seven, which is the highest energy level, which you would know it when you see a four or five year old, just the way they look at the world. That’s how I live a lot of my life now. It’s amazing. I’m still calm. I’m just relaxed. I’m not pushing. And clients come to me. The universe sends people to me and I’m not chasing clients or money or whatever, I am being. And it’s awesome. I never thought I could be this way. I thought that it was my personality to be like push, push, push, and achieve, achieve, achieve, and do all these different projects and not be in the moment. But now I’m in the moment.

Warwick F:

I want listeners to hear what Emily said because I really feel like in using different words, that chameleon Emily is gone, doesn’t exist. It’s the real Emily Harman. The one that from my faith perspective God or whoever’s up there always intended you to be. However, what faith paradigm, one uses. I think one of the things I’ve learned myself and just from other guests on the podcast is sometimes there can be gift and tragedy. Nobody wants to go through what you did with your ex-husband with verbal abuse, being at his bedside and he’s in tears apologizing, which is probably, it’s something it’s better than not apologizing.

Warwick F:

Doesn’t make up for everything, but it’s a little something, but that forced you to take stock and just to change direction. And so like you, the experiences you’ve had, the way you are with your kids now, and I’m sure with the women that you mentor those tragedies, they’re hard won lessons that come from that, but there’s a gift amidst the pain that you are using for your family and for women and others all over the place. Does that make sense as you’re making use of that pain, if you will.

Emily H:

Yeah. We can find a gift or an opportunity in everything. And I’ve told my kids, I always told my kids that your dad loves you. He suffered from anxiety. We didn’t have that term for it back then. He was also an alcoholic, but he never really went to get help. It was always if you do this, if you do that. But I always tell my kids that he loved you as best that he could in his way. And we also talk about the gift and the opportunity in his passing for them to also realize how short life is and to create a life they love living.

Emily H:

And my son is just finishing up two years of, well, it’s been longer than two years, but his associates degree in engineering and he’s getting a little stressed and I think he’s going to stop and go, he’s doing it full time. He’s going to stop and go to work and see if this is really what he wants to do. And he was, I think, a little nervous to tell me and I’m like, well, I’m your mom. I coach people in creating a life they love living. If going to college, like this is stressing you out and you’re not sure if you want to be an engineer. That’s okay.

Warwick F:

Not that it’s that surprising. I also have a son named Will. It’s not like it’s that stranger name, but yes, I have a Will too. It’s funny. We have a little thing in his room that a family member did that said where there’s a will there is a way. It’s a little comic thing, but yeah. Talk a bit about Onward Movement. And I think as we transition, there’s probably a bunch of high achievers listening, executives, military, you can even be in the world of faith and be a missionary and have a high achievement mentality. And I’m not against achievement for whatever reason and listeners would understand, I did my undergrad at Oxford, worked on Wall Street, have MBA from Harvard Business School.

Warwick F:

It’s not like I don’t try to achieve things, but achievement in and of itself doesn’t make us happy and strong courageous people do what you did and what you advocate. They make the inner journey. I sought counseling years ago after the whole company went under because I was in pretty bad shape in a good part of the ’90s, that inward journey to understand who we are. We can’t help anybody at least but ourselves if we don’t do that inner journey, we don’t care of ourselves, not only are we not going to be able to care for others, we’ll probably hurt other people. It’s inevitable, your inner pain spreads almost like cancer or poison, not to get too graphic. Your friends and family in the world, they doesn’t deserve your pain hurting them, not that you want to but that inner journey that you do, it’s so important.

Warwick F:

It’s a sign of strength to say, yeah, you didn’t grow up in this horrendous upbringing, but we all have pain and brokenness and you got to deal with it, whether it’s spiritually through counseling, whatever your truth is, it’s so critical. I just want listeners to really understand what Emily is saying. Talk a bit about Onward Movement, because that is maybe the mission that you were put on this earth to advocate for, but you didn’t know it when you were young, but talk about Onward Movement.

Emily H:

Yeah. And that, and my podcast. The Onward Movement is part of this journey that I’m on. When I retired, I did start the Onward Podcast. I didn’t start the Onward Movement right away, but I’ve published over 150, 170 episodes of the Onward Podcast. And initially it’s all been the Onward Podcast, but it’s had different subtitles. It was the Onward Podcast: Facing Adversity and Moving Forward. Well, that was my life. Energy level three, face adversity, push forward. And I interviewed people on how they had done that. And some people were more advanced spiritually and in their life and in their inner journey than me. And I didn’t always understand everything that they were telling me when I was interviewing. It was interesting because my awareness wasn’t there. Then I switched it to Onward Podcast: Facing Adversity, Moving Forward, and Discovering Ourselves Along the Way.

Emily H:

Because I learned, we really discover ourselves. Now I’ve changed it to Create a Life You Love Living Now. And it was in April of 2020, right after COVID hit that I started the Onward Movement and now it’s always been since then a Facebook group pretty much. And I have an email address of about almost close to 1500 people now, of people who are looking to create a life they love living, to release that fear of what other people might say and to embrace their authentic self so that they can do that. Create a life of their dreams, a life they would really love. And so I developed a manifesto, I’ve got a coaching program around that Onward Movement, which is outlined some of the steps I went through to really get back to myself.

Emily H:

And eventually we’re going to start having, now that COVID is lifting a little bit, we’re going to start having some live events where we can get together and maybe do a retreat. But I do a lot of posting in there. Go live. I hold some Zoom meetings and things like that, where we’re all talking about encouraging each other to really go for creating the life of our dreams and realizing that life is short and we can do that. And we create a space, a safe space for people to have some of these discussions and share some of their hardships and help each other along the way.

Gary S:

I want to jump in at this point because there’s something you said at the very start of this conversation Emily, that’s been tickling the back of my mind, and I know why now. You began talking about when Warwick asked you to tell your backstory, you said, “Well, it all starts with basketball.” The basketball was the organizing construct of your life. It got you into the military, unlike you while I played city league basketball, I never led one state let alone three in scoring like you did. But I used to have a saying that I would say all the time that I applied from basketball to life. And that was, if you want to score, you got to shoot the jumper.

Gary S:

And I think what you’re talking about, when you talk about create a life you love living now, embrace your authentic self. In some ways you could apply a basketball metaphor to that to say, you’ve got to shoot. You’ve got to be in the game. You’ve got to have the courage to take this shot. I think it was Michael Jordan who stole a line from Wayne Gretsky, who said, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. You’ve got to take your shot if you want to embrace your authentic self and create a life you want to live now.

Emily H:

Yeah. That’s exactly right. And then the other thing is somebody might look at me and say, oh well, she’s got … I’m getting ready to release a new updated website. She’s got her website. She’s got her message clear. She’s got this. She’s got that. I don’t know if I could start a business. I don’t know if I could be a coach. I don’t know. And the thing is, is that nothing was clear. I just took the shot. And I just kept shooting and I have not missed publishing a podcast weekly since June 1st, 2019, even through Bruce’s sickness and death, I continued to do that. I continued to put one foot forward and keep moving forward towards my dream of becoming a coach. I had to put off getting certified, I’m getting certified in the next month or so.

Emily H:

But I had to put that off initially, because he was sick. Once again I was getting ready to retire and do everything and go for my life. And then I did put it on hold to help my kids through it and to help him. When you’re paralyzed in both arms, there’s not much you can do. And it happened so quickly and it was so hard to see someone go downhill that quickly. So anyway, yeah. So many times we think, well, I mean, how many times do we even ask this: what would we love? What would we love in our life? What would we love to have, to be, do to share with other people to give back to this world?

Emily H:

What would a life of significance be for me? A lot of times we don’t even stop and look up and I didn’t, I was too busy achieving whatever, whatever the next step was supposed to be. But what did I want? I didn’t really look at that. Or maybe I thought that’s what I wanted, but we really, a lot of times don’t take time and just stop and say, what would I love? And then when we do well, I would love to be less busy or I’d love to have a house on the beach or I’d love to go on this trip, but I can’t because of, but what if you could, how do you know you can’t? Our minds hold us back.

Warwick F:

You’ve got to be willing to try. And one of the fascinating things that we’ve talked a bit about is your vision doesn’t come fully formed. We’ve talked about obviously visionaries that everybody knows Walt Disney, he didn’t have this big vision of Walt Disney World or whatever. He just back in the ’20s thought cartoons could be better. They could tell a bit better story. And eventually that led to Snow White and it just evolved, he just had an idea and he started and that’s the important thing is to start and noticed as you look back on the name of your podcast, it evolved, right?

Emily H:

Yeah.

Warwick F:

I think there were three things that obviously you would remember better than I, but first it was freeing yourself from anger or something. And then it’s like second evolution. Was it authenticity? I forget what it was. And the third evolution was the inner journey. But there was an evolution in the names of it, as you were evolving yourself in terms of what your vision was. That’s a way of charting the vision. How has Emily Harman’s vision changed? Well, just look at the names of the podcast and that’s not wrong. That’s good. Right?

Emily H:

Yeah. And my awareness has shifted. I interviewed my son Will in April of 2019 and right before I retired and then published his podcast a few months later, but we were talking about his journey, drinking from age 13 to 23. And it’s the number one listened to episode that I have, and it’s a really good episode. But at that time I would’ve been somebody who would’ve said poor Will, he’s drowning his feelings in alcohol. I’m the mom, I’m in this level three energy, I’m going to push through. I’m going to help him, whatever. But I didn’t realize that Emily was drowning her feelings in busyness, clueless about that. Now I can look back and say, what’s the difference between me and Will? Okay. He was getting drunk. I look at it when my condo gets messy or whatever that, that is my hyper achiever, or maybe restless more restless saboteur.

Emily H:

It’s just like me going on a drinking binge, is the way I look at it myself. Maybe that’s not right. But that’s how I look at it is I got hijacked by my saboteur this week and got so busy that I wasn’t doing what I said I wanted to do, which is pay more attention to who I’m being as I’m doing, to be more in the flow. When my condo starts to look like that, it’s not a terrible mess, but that tells me I’m not centered. And I just started taking pottery with my mom. And that was eye-opening because that’s meditative and you have to be in the present moment and you to get the clay balanced from the beginning. If you don’t, you’re going to have a bowl that’s not even, and that’s just like life. We have to be balanced or else it reflects on everything that we do.

Warwick F:

I’ve often thought that the inner journey or inner game is it’s a bit like exercise. You could say I ran yesterday. Aren’t I good for the next year? No, you get flabby. You got to keep it up. And from inner perspective for me as a person of faith and for me in particular Christian faith, I do my daily Bible study and meditation. I’ve got my scripture memory, for others that might be mantras or different faith perspective factors that they pick up. But that centers me if I’m feeling angry about something. One of the gifts I have is I’m a very reflective person. I’m just wired to reflect. It’s not hard me to reflect. It’s just like breathing. Not that I don’t achieve, but if I’m feeling bad, like if it’s personal, obviously I’ll say to my wife, Gale, I feel bad. I don’t quite know why.

Warwick F:

If there are things that I know I’m not devastated by, but it’s like a little ember, it could be a forest fire tomorrow. Today, it’s an ember. Here’s an example Gary’s familiar with. Had this book come out, Crucible Leadership late last year and gossip column in I don’t know, Sydney Morning Herald, one of the papers in Australia that we used to own wrote some article saying, oh, Warwick’s got this book coming out and he’ll share it with you for a price. Who shares a book for nothing? What’s that about? And it some snarky little cartoon. Now was I on the floor sobbing? No, I was irritated, but I knew if I let that little seed or that yeast grow, bad things will happen. So I talked to Gary, another one of the folks on my team, not because I was devastated, but I knew I am not going to let that little thing get traction.

Warwick F:

And I dealt with it. But if I hadn’t dealt with that, you start going down at, oh my gosh, look what I did. 150 year old company. And yeah, there was 4,000 people and I caused rifts in my family and I did this, I did this, I did this and this, I hurt this, I hurt this. You start spiraling down, which is not helpful. It’s like that inner journey is understanding who you are when there’s negative thoughts or negative vibes, come, figure out ways that you know that you can deal with it. Put it out.

Emily H:

What you did is you weeded your garden, right?

Warwick F:

Exactly.

Emily H:

You didn’t let it get to be a huge weed. You pulled it right away.

Warwick F:

Again, it’s like exercise, you want to help other people, you’ve got to be spiritually fit. You got to be spiritually in good shape. And just because we’re in good shape today, doesn’t mean we’ll be in good shape tomorrow. It does mean we have tools, but don’t just say, well, I went to counseling and I got that assessment yesterday and I was chatting to some close friends and I’m good. I never need to talk to a close friend ever again about anything I’ve been through. Because I’m bulletproof. It’s like, yeah, no, it doesn’t work like that. Does that make sense?

Emily H:

Oh, it makes complete sense. Because initially when I was in coaching, I was being coached and I’d be like, well, I don’t think I really have anything else to work with them on, which was then every time I’d meet, it’s like, oh so more and more. And then I started to realize, yeah, you’re never really done. Here’s another thing that explains how far I’ve come. I was like, I know I want to be a coach, but what do I want to coach on? This is when I was getting ready to retire. Who’s my target audience? I know it’s women who are so busy, they can’t get everything done. And I have accomplished so much. I’m really good at time management. I’m going to help them with their time management. That’s where I was going to … Look at that. I’ve come from that far to now, like just be, and things will still get done.

Warwick F:

Amen. That is brilliant stuff. As you think of your podcast and Onward Movement, I’m sure the vision will evolve and grow as all good visions do. If I ask you this question in 10 years time, you’ll probably have a slightly different answer. Maybe not radically different, but who knows it grow and flourished as all good things do like a beautiful garden. But at least as of right now, what’s your dream that you hope for the people that listen to your podcast and Onward Movement. What is the dream that you think, gosh, this is what I would love to give to these folks in some fashion, I would love to help them. What’s the core of your dream would you say?

Emily H:

I would just love to help them realize if they haven’t already that there’s more to life than just pushing hard. Life can be so joyful. You can be so free from your mind. You can be the observer of your mind. You are not your mind. You’re the awareness, observing your mind. Knowing that and feeling it and living it are two different things. I’m feeling it and living it now for the most part. And it’s awesome. And that’s what I hope people will realize whether they come to me as a coach or go somewhere else, find a coach.

Emily H:

I think it’s really hard to do that inner work without doing it with somebody. I think it’s very challenging, I would not be here on my own if I hadn’t invested in coaches. That’s what I hope to help people who aren’t living like that already, who see that, who are pointing to circumstances or other people, if only this would happen or this would change. And in some cases that might be perfectly right. But a lot of times we look at ourselves, we make these changes to ourselves. We improve ourselves. We go on this inner journey, our outer world changes. That’s what I hope people see.

Gary S:

That sound that you just heard listener was the captain turning on the fasten seatbelt sign. It’s about time we’re taking our descent to land the plane. Before we do that though, before you have to gather up your peanut bags and leave, before we land the plane, I would be remiss Emily, if I didn’t give you a chance to let listeners know how they could find out more about your services and about your coaching practice, how can they find out more online?

Emily H:

The best place to go is just my website, Emily Harman, H-A-R-M-A-N.com. And there’s a bunch of information there. And then you can also find the link to join the Onward Movement Facebook group, and to subscribe to my newsletter, to listen to the podcast and you can also follow me on LinkedIn. I broadcast my podcast live on Wednesday nights at 7:30 in the evening, Eastern.

Gary S:

Before I turn it back to you Warwick for a final question, I just want to make an observation. And I hope listeners that you’ll become viewers and go to our YouTube channel and watch this episode because what you’ll see when Emily started out talking, I’ve been noticing it throughout. When she started out talking about her military career and what her life was like before, there was kind of a serious cast to her face and the way she spoke. And then when she got into what she’s doing with Onward Movement and what she’s doing since she is living the life that she really wants to live, it was like her entire countenance changed. You probably heard it in her voice too, if you’re just listening to audio, but you can really see it on video. And it’s a beautiful thing, Emily, to watch that transformation right in front of us. So thank you for that gift.

Emily H:

I’m in tears because I’m so full of joy. That’s really my life right now. And I never thought I could find that. I never really, yeah. It’s just amazing. I’m so happy.

Gary S:

Warwick, the last question is yours.

Warwick F:

Yeah. Wow. That is just so wonderful. We talked about often the biggest journey is the journey within, I think another journey that’s almost like the Mount Olympus of inner work is to think that we are valued just because of who we are. From my faith perspective we’re taught that we’re loved by God, we’re children of God, we’re sons and daughters of God. And we have value in of ourselves with our foibles, our gifts, whether we’re athletic, artistic, mathematical, there’s nothing we have to do to be more loved by certainly God or the universe. And for those friends and family, who are truly friends and family, there’s nothing that we can do to earn more of their love. I’m sure that would be the case with your kids and close friends. They love you and care for you just because of who you are.

Warwick F:

And we need to surround ourselves with those sorts of people and realize you are doing what you do with Onward Movement and your Onward Podcast, not to achieve things, not to score another basket, you’re doing it because it’s a reflection of your desire to help people. And just to be more fully Emily Harman is to do that. It’s an overflow of the inner light that’s going on within if you will. And I think of different ways, I think of stating what you’re stating, but does that make sense that part of the Mount Olympus of inner journeys is to say I matter just because I am, and there’s nothing I can do. There’s nothing I need to do to earn the universe or God’s love more or other people. I have value in and of myself. That frees you to actually help more people in some strange ways, not achieving the more you are doing your being work. And the more I matter just as I am somehow sounds little strength. That’s a radiance that will even radiate. Any of this make sense just as we close?

Emily H:

It’s so true. And then you find yourself, initially my journey, I would find myself like, I want to be like that coach, or I want to be like that, or I’m up behind her or whatever. And now it’s like, there’s no comparison. I’m not comparing to other people. Everyone’s on a different journey. And the other thing that I would say is I never really grew up going to church. My parents both worked and on the weekends, they took us out hiking in the woods, in the mountains, in the Shenandoah Valley. And they wanted to spend time with us. And that’s how I grew up. And I never really understood it when people said, God told me something, it didn’t make any sense to me. I’m like God never talks to me.

Emily H:

Well, of course he didn’t because I never was still enough to even freakin’ listen. I was just so busy. And so I relate to that term, the universe and my intuition. When I get quiet and quiet my mind and meditate and connect with my higher self and the universe and thoughts come to me that I would not have thought of myself. That’s God speaking to me. And so now I understand what people were saying, whereas before I never did. So if you’re listening and you’re like, I don’t get it. I’m so busy. You’re busy like me all the time. You can slow down, you can quiet your mind and you can hear God or the universe talking to you.

Gary S:

And with that, we can put the plane on the ground. Dare I say, the planes that we’ve been flying in this episode are US Navy blue angel planes.

Emily H:

Awesome.

Gary S:

And they’re on the ground. Listener thank you for spending your time with us in this very exciting and emotional conversation with Emily Harman, we ask you to visit Crucibleleadership.com where can get Warwick’s book. You can read blogs. You can explore more about the universe of what Crucible Leadership does in addition to other episodes of this podcast that have come before. And until the next time we’re together, we ask you to remember this, that we know your crucible experiences are difficult. What Emily described today was extraordinarily difficult what she went through.

Gary S:

Warwick’s crucible, as you all know has been difficult, but if you learn the lessons from your crucible, which is what we’re talking about here, how do you learn the lessons of them and how do you apply them? If you do that, and as Emily has done it, we’ve listened to her talk about it for the last hour, she’s applied the lessons of the crucible she’s experienced and what she has done with that is what you can do with the lessons from your crucible experiences. And that is chart a course to a new and better life, a life of significance.