Why Your Personal Life is Killing Your Brand

linda esposito killing your brand

Today’s guest post is from Linda Esposito, a long time Redhead Writing community member. Say “oh haiiiiiii” and steel yourself away for a wild ride through your YOU problem. Next week, you’ll meet Jayme Yarrow, one funny-as-hell stand-up comic that I met while at my recent stint at Second City. Buckle up yer shit.

*****

I bet you’re pretty good at what you do for a living–be that sell widgets, offer kick ass career coaching, or design vibrators that can help her engage her G-spot and double as a dildo.

But what goes on behind closed doors when the MacBook Pro shuts down?

If you’re more comfortable during the hours of 9-5, or 11-7, if you’re a ‘trep, you may be leaving money on the table when it comes to your livelihood.

Believe me, I know. 

When You Can’t Breathe

I wasted precious emotional energy in grad school, on jobs, and during my psychotherapy training. I knew I wanted my own private practice to undo all the fuck-ups caused by my clients’ crack-ass parents, plus be my own boss. But something was holding me back…

It wasn’t my rookie credentials, or the fear of putting up a website, or narrowing my clinical niche. I knew I could learn what I needed in order to build a viable business.

The lesson that came too late however, was how to stand up for myself in my relationship. I knew how to teach others to establish boundaries, how to say ‘no,’ and why it makes sense to walk away when someone emotionally abuses you.

In theory, anyway.

I was capable of rational thought when I was calm. I planned out the scripts in my head for the next time me and my partner went at it like two fat housewives in curlers during Black Friday at Walmart.

But when the emotional thermometer rose, I reverted back to lashing out, or swallowing my feelings. I became BFF with Sara Lee Chocolate Cheesecake. At least she never complained about my consumer debt.

It was like living separate lives.

By day, I was building my therapy chops and gaining valuable professional experiences. By night I was miserable and stuck. For the first time in my life I entertained a flight of fancy: If one googles ‘cyanide poisoning,’ is it traceable…?

Truth and Bloodstains

My “Fuck-This-Shit-O’clock” epiphany came while eating lunch at a quaint outdoor cafe in downtown Los Angeles. I looked around and saw vibrant people: Business-types, techies, and ladies who lunch. I envied their energy and gusto.

My eyes were burning from lack of sleep, and my slacks were wrinkled. I looked ahead five years and asked myself how many more restless nights, silent meals, and psychological arm wrestling matches I could endure.

I wish I could say I walked away after the last bite of my bleu cheese and red pepper quiche.

The important thing is that I eventually left relationship dysfunction–the biggest creativity killer and energy thief this side of normal, IMO.

In doing so, I opened the doors to self-confidence, innovation, and most importantly, emotional well-being. Three characteristics essential to any business model, and kick-ass brand. 

And not to sully the house with Sigmund Freud, but if you don’t have mental health, you don’t have shit. 

Maybe you’re struggling, too. Perhaps your partner doesn’t get you, and complains about the hours spent online.

I know–It’s hard to justify when the cash isn’t exactly flowing.

  • But why is your self-worth tied to money?
  • Why is okay to wake up with a knot in your stomach more mornings than not?
  • And most importantly, how would you spend your emotional energy if you weren’t squandering it on someone who doesn’t value you?

I’m not advocating that you get all hasty and walk away. I don’t know you, or your background, and all of the details that got you where you are right now. And I’m sure-as-shit not the expert in all things that are other people’s situations, if you’re not on my couch. I’m just encouraging you to get clear. And to befriend the truth.

Yeah, I know the truth can be a bitch. But so is snapping at your kid, and neglecting to walk your dog because you’re exhausted after working twice as hard as necessary in your relationship.

Here’s the rub: Your business and your personal life are intertwined. That’s human nature. As much as we try and leave our home life out of the office, and vice versa, there’s going to be an overlap. But there’s a big difference between seeping into, and bleeding all the way through.

And blood stains, am I right?

Calling It

Once I walked away from relationship dysfunction, I walked into a healthy private practice I was proud of. I was clear about the clients I would accept, and which ones I’d pass on. I decided how to handle late arrivals, what my rates would be, and whether I’d offer couples’ counseling (fuck no).

The experience felt real. And real is the new black – to hell with orange. And if that isn’t a sexy brand in the making, I don’t know what is.

***

Linda EspositoLinda Esposito, LCSW is a psychotherapist in Los Angeles, CA. She’d love to help you get from anxiety to Zen (awwwyeah). Get on the list, and get something here!

41 comments
Raschella
Raschella

So this morning I read your post "6 Reasons I'll Never Be A Popular Therapist." Loved it. Saw one of the links in your post, about why you don't do couples, written "in pretty salty language." Laughed and thought, this gal reminds me of Erika (adore Erika), and clicked the link....and there you were, guest posting on Erika's site!  Why am I not at all surprised?

And by the way..."two fat housewives in curlers, etc." I cringed. I get it. Way too much truth. As for couples therapy, the hubby and I just recently kicked and scratched through four sessions before we (I think) got fired.

Are all redheads this radical? Whatever. You both kick start my day. Better than coffee.

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@Raschella I love you! Funny--I was just thinking about sharing this post on Twitter and went for the link, and saw this new comment. Aww--I'm honored that I reminded you of Erika--a true honor.

Sorry about the couples therapy issue...I hope you arrive at whatever decision needs to be made.


Positive vibes your way, babe.

pentoZen
pentoZen

I always know I can trust a person who has a healthy enough self-image to use the terms slacks and dildo within the same general area. 

I'm a little late to your post, but thank you for this enjoyable kick in the crack-ass today, I needed it. Was feeling a teensy pitiful, that's all over now bitches, I'm fine.

AnnacristinaGirardi
AnnacristinaGirardi

Hey, Linda! ¿Cómo estás, chica? Great post, as usual. Congratulations! Facebooked it immediately. You'll be happy to know that I 86-ed two toxic relationships in a row. One after 7 years and a newer one when I saw red flags. At the first red flag. I'll be moving on, changing countries (the plan is in motion, at least: waiting on the paperwork) and, yes, finally doing freelance writing. You always said I should. Where I was, what I was doing, and who I was with were not happening for me. The signs said STOP. Now turn left... so It's off to the Great Beyond.... I am looking forward to major change and centering on myself. Only on myself (myself + child, of course).

I've discovered that each day should be taken on as an opportunity. Each day brings some kind of a shift --- a change -- good or bad. Something always happens and it turns one's life around. It's actually kind of magical... amazing.

Thanks for the breathe, breathe again and keep breathing advice (and all the other great tips). Every time I hit a "bump" and my anxiety starts to churn, I just inhale and exhale. And think of you, of course!

Un abrazo muy fuerte from Spain (for the moment)

Ever,

Kris

PatriciaBT
PatriciaBT

Hi @LindaEspositoHi @Erika

Woot, thx Linda for this post. And now I know this website thx to you, I like what I just saw here, the tone, the language... perfect :)

What resonate a lot in your post is this "Perhaps your partner doesn’t get you, and complains about the hours spent online." Yep, you bet! even though he's very helpful with house chores + spend time with the kids, it's true sometimes he just does not get what I do, especially I for now didn't make real cash!!

Well, this kind of post and the online communities I'm in are a huge help, in terms of energy and see I'm not alone with the same struggles!

Thx again :)

Geoffbassist
Geoffbassist

Great post Linda. I love these phrases! : 'My “Fuck-This-Shit-O’clock” epiphany' and 'relationship dysfunction–the biggest creativity killer and energy thief '. 

AssistantNikki
AssistantNikki

This is amazing. Aside from what I do as an entrepreneur, I have a gift for helping people with their relationships. although I'm single. My friends come to me for relationship advice, not because I'm some professional, but because I give real, hate-me-all-you-want-but-it's-true advice and they appreciate it. I want to start a "Why Am I Single" bootcamp to help people hold a mirror to their issues and patterns that are causing a stall in their love lives, but, I fear that my own personal life might be a barrier to people's ability to hear me. 

This blog post helps me understand that it's not just me. We all have/had separate lives from what we can help people with and what we can actually do/handle ourselves at home. Thanks Linda for your honesty.

Steph Ritz
Steph Ritz

I read this post yesterday morning. Thought about sending it to my boyfriend. Thought better of it. Then I began to cry.

"How would you spend your emotional energy if you weren’t squandering it on someone who doesn’t value you?"

Realization hit that I had spent years justifying being treated poorly.  I spent a few hours sobbing my story to a close friend. Then I realized I'd had the EXACT same conversation over a year ago with another friend. Now I get to figure out how to disentangle. Ug. 

Truth IS a bitch! 

Thanks for this post. Truly helped me open my eyes.

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@Steph Ritz Oh, Steph. Wow. The beautiful thing is that you reached your 'aha' moment. It's never easy. One thing that helped was my therapist said (in my response to "I know on some level I will feel happy again. But right now...I just can't see it") "Those who leave a relationship and vow not to repeat the same patterns the next time always find happiness."

Sending strong, positive vibes your way.

You got this.

~Linda


AssistantNikki
AssistantNikki

@Steph Ritz I commend you Steph. We've all been there. It's great that you are able to reflect on yourself and figure out the patterns.

Kudos to you! 

Health_Sessions
Health_Sessions

This: "If you don't have mental health, you don't have shit." Who you are and how you feel in the core of your being, seeps into every part of your life, business and personal. 

Truth bombs wrapped up in a sassy post. Great job Linda! 

BerniXiong
BerniXiong

#LindaEspositoIsTheNewBlack <--- that :)

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@BerniXiong ZOMG! And not to bring abject inappropriateness to the RedHead Writing Community, but I LOVE black men, so it's extra meaningful Berni!

I have so enjoyed my Twitter time with you today. If you hadn't of interviewed Erika for the #ShutUpShow, I wouldn't have met you yet.


Muah!

Bjohnson16
Bjohnson16

Omg this is awesome and right on time! Thanks for posting this!

JuneLefebvre
JuneLefebvre

Great post! And if I lived in LA, I'd be knocking on your door to hopefully become a client you'd accept!

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@JuneLefebvre Aww. Thanks June! I love all the stalkers here who want to be on my couch :)

Just kidding! And thank you for the nice sentiment.

RickyLopez
RickyLopez

Great info Linda and great straight forward advice...you had me laughing.

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@RickyLopez Thanks Rick! You know you can count on me to serve it straight up, minus the b.s. on the side.

KitMaloney
KitMaloney

Awesome post! 

The words “F*ck-This-Shit-O’clock” are now taped to my wall!


Here is my other fave quote: "I knew I wanted my own private practice to undo all the f*ck-ups caused by my clients’ crack-ass parents" ha haaaa...


(BTW, "designs vibrators that can help her engage her G-spot and double as a dildo"?!?... I think that deserved an affiliate link!  ;-)

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@KitMaloney Hah! And if I could design a vibrator that can double as a dildo, I could leave the couch!

Thank you, Kit :)

P.S. "Fuck this shit o'clock" came from someone in this awesome Redhead Writing community. I'm just quoting it. But honestly, I've been saying it non-stop for the past month or so....Here's a secret---sometimes Erika "Calls it..." on Fridays on her Facebook page...

grahamophone
grahamophone

@LindaEsposito  Ummm.... I thought a vibrator WAS a dildo. Clearly, I have lots to learn. Thanks for this article. I notice my creativity slowing down a bit, yet when I channel it into helping my non-relationship move forward, I notice, not only have I grown the balls to let my man know what I'm thinking (i.e. *communicate*), I've also gotten some work done, for what it's worth. I notice we both respond well to direct talk, and not beating around any bushes. Now I'm hoping to work up the courage to say to this beautiful (black) man, okay fella, let's get to work on making those cute little babies of ours, or you can just go bye bye. In so many words..... I guess I'd better be prepared to fire up that dildo - errr, vibrator.

Roni Wise
Roni Wise

Your always so real Linda, that's what I like about you. Sent this on to my sons, who can really use a reality check . Love Erika's website, it just makes me smile, namaste!

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@Roni Wise Oh, Roni! So nice to see you here. Thank you for passing this along. And yes--Erika's website and products, writings, brand, etc. are just top-notch.

Namaste.

DocJessica
DocJessica

We teach what we need to learn, right, Mama?  Being successful entrepreneurs means valuing ourselves enough to think someone we don't even know will want to pay for time with us.  Can't really pull that off if we allow those folks NOT paying for our attention to treat us like shit. You're killing it, my friend. xoxoxoxo 

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@DocJessica "We teach what we need to learn." I JUST heard that for the first time this morning--whoa. I mean, you can function when things on the homefront aren't going well--and at times, that's gonna happen because it's just reality. But I can't come up with any compelling reason to stay in a dysfunctional relationship. Toxic, toxic, toxic.

And Good Gawd Almighty--children do not ask to be raised in this environment. And children have one shot at childhood.

Thank you for the wonderful quote + nice words, Jessica.

torourke358
torourke358

Great post Linda!  If I lived in LA I would try to get you to be my therapist...

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@torourke358 Thanks Tim! Damn, what with all the email I've received from this post about 'thanks for this. I really needed to hear it...', I should've been a couples counselor :)

Oh, and btw--"I would try to get you to be my therapist..." doesn't sound like much of an effort. Am I right? Hah!

Carrie Drephal
Carrie Drephal

Reality is so often ignored by so many people who don't open up their eyes to see everything going on around them and how it's affecting every bit of their life. I'd like to say I've always lived with my eyes wide open, but am finding that even I have missed a few things over time. I recently walked out of a "relationship" that was detrimental to not only my mental health, but my physical health as well. It's great to see others that are also willing to talk about their reality and how good things came about for them in making some changes to it. Congrats on finding your way!

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@Carrie Drephal True that about denial being rampant on so many levels. We all have our 'aha' (or as Erika would say, "Fuck this shit o'clock") moment, but sadly it comes way too late. I'm not saying it's easy to walk away from relationships--no matter how dysfunctional, because we're conditioned to what is familiar to us. Often that 'relationship template' came from our parents.


Glad you found your way too, Carrie!

irenehsavarese
irenehsavarese

Dear Linda,

Good for you! Great guest post.

I am proud of you! Couples counseling can be pretty fucked up especially if some of my own buttons get pushed. 

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

@irenehsavarese Oh, yeah Irene. Whether on the couch, in life, or in business--you have to know your limits or you may end up in a padded room...

Thanks for sharing!

LindaEsposito
LindaEsposito

Wow. Just wow. Thank you so much for offering me this amazing experience to write in your beautiful virtual home, with some of the most vibrant, insightful, and humorous readers around.

I'm truly honored.

Have a safe trip to Chi-Town :)


xoxo

~Linda

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  1. […] A big thank you to Erika Napoletano for  the ‘You problem’ reference. I only wish someone would’ve walked up to me years ago and asked if I wanted help fixing my […]

  2. […] about it here in pretty salty language, if you’re […]