What You Will Hear:
- Career coach and speaker Valerie on the essentials of living a more inspired life;
- How to really make change happen.
Listen to ReLaunch Show on iPhone or Android App
More about our featured guest
On the show is Valerie Groth, host of Inspiration with Val, motivational speaker, career coach, and workshop facilitator.
She is perfect for our show because she is a master at helping people overcome fear, break through limiting beliefs, gain self confidence, and making massive positive transformations in their life.
In addition, Valerie is spearheading the mission to build Chicago's first boarding school for inner city students. Ryan Banks Academy will open its doors in time for the 2017-2018 school year and seeks to impact the lives of students through a rigorous college and career preparatory education, a supportive boarding program, and a focus on personal development in a positive environment.
[00:02] Joel: Welcome to Relaunch, your daily dose of inspiring stories, fresh ideas, practical steps and solutions. You can think of this show as being your prescription for personal growth and business success. And if you are a daily listener, well welcome back and thank you for tuning in and being involved in the before and the after show, online conversations on Twitter, and also on Facebook, and Google+. And if you are new to the conversation, welcome and just know that you are among friends. And you know Pei, when I was doing my background research for today's guest, one of the things that she wrote that really struck a chord with me, she must have wrote it in a blog, or on her website, it really, it touched me, and she said that she was one of those kids that, growing up, she was one of the last people that was picked in her gym class, and I don't know how it was for you Pei, but that was pretty much a weekly, if not a daily experience for me, to be the last person picked in gym class, you know, when they're choosing up sides.
[01:17] Pei: Right, especially after your recovery from that coma.
[01:21] Joel: Yeah, yeah, and it was, that was a painful, painful experience. And I wanted to learn more about her story and her Relaunch, when I kind of dove in, to some of the information. On the show today, therapist, life coach, speaker and host of a great podcast, you're definitely gonna wanna put this on your Must Listen list and give it a 5-star rating on iTunes. The show is called, “Inspiration with Val,” and of course, I'm talking about the amazing Valerie Groth. Welcome to Relaunch. This is the first time that I've had you on the show. Welcome!
[02:04] Valerie Groth: Thank you so much! What a great intro, I love it. [chuckle] Thank you, it's great to be here.
[02:09] Joel: Well, it's good to have you on, Val. And one of the reasons that I knew you would be perfect for this show, is because you are an expert in helping people break through limiting beliefs and thought patterns, and experience a life of transformation. And we'll definitely get into some of the practical steps a little bit later on in the show, but before we do that, you know how we roll around here. This show is all about the Relaunch, and what I generally ask my guests to do is to talk about the one Relaunch that has been the most significant for them, or that has been the most transformational for them, and then just unfold the story from there, and if it's okay with you, we'll go ahead and just start out today's show kinda talking about that transformational Relaunch. What story should we start with Val?
[03:00] VG: Sure. Actually my story really starts with kind of the tie-in between what you mentioned, I used to be the last kid picked in gym class, which as you know is a terrible place to be. It sounds kind of trivial as an adult looking back, but it's painful, right? I mean, that's a bad, bad spot to be, or at least it was for me. And for a long time I was very much always poor in gym class because I was not physically fit. And I wasn't overweight, I was kind of like the skinny/scrawny kid, and I also had a lot of insecurities. I did well in school, I got good grades, but I was very worried and had a lot of anxiety and was just kinda like a fearful kid, and very nervous in a lot of ways. And it was actually running that got me kind of to where I am today. And I really credit doing different things kind of with my physical health, that really was the big catalyst for a transformation for me.
[04:00] Joel: When did you start that program?
[04:04] VG: So when I was in school, I pretty much couldn't run a mile to save my life. [chuckle] In fact, we had to run the Physical Fitness Challenge. I'm not sure if you had to do that, where you had to run…
[04:14] Joel: I hated that! I absolutely…
[04:15] Pei: Oh my God!
[04:17] VG: Talk about the worst day of the year! And I would always try and fake sick, but I had the parents that were kind of like, “You have to go to school, no matter what.”
[04:23] Pei: Oh, you did that too?[chuckle]
[04:25] VG: Oh my God! I hate, I mean I just… I can't even express to you how much I hated that day. And it was the physical pain of running, because I just wasn't a good runner, but it was also so much, just kinda the shame, “‘Cause everyone else can run, and I can't do this.” So all through middle school and high school, I was just not in great shape. I would try out for sports, and get cut from the team over and over and over. And then in college, I started running a little bit, just kind of to stay in shape, keep off the “freshman 15,” that whole thing, so I would run a mile, two miles, maybe three at the very most. And there was one day that I will always remember, and it was at the gym at my university, and I was at the track, and I just kind of kept running and kept running.
[05:10] VG: And before I knew it, I had run three miles, and then four miles, and then five and then six, and then seven miles, and I can remember like it was yesterday. I wanted to see one of my friends on the side of the track, so that I could scream to them, “Hey guess what I just did? I ran seven miles!” Because I felt like I had conquered the world. So I went home and I felt on top of the world, like in this way that I had no idea my body and my mind could do that. “And If I can run seven miles, like what the heck else can I do?” That previously felt kind of impossible for me. So, that day, I went home and I signed up for a half marathon, and marathons came later, and the rest is history, but that was kind of the big day, that I look back, and really give a lot of my personal growth, I think, came from that day.
[05:57] Joel: You know, this show is all about personal growth for business success, and if you can just indulge me here for a little while, or just for a few minutes, to talk about that. I don't know about you Val, but something that I had to learn, in the growth of our business, is that it's not just building the business, but you gotta build yourself too, to fit in, in the business. And gosh, as well intentioned as I was, at least, I think, to wanna improve a thing, it's easy to overlook what really needs to be improved, and that's the stuff on the inside. Can you speak to that a little bit: Personal growth for business success?
[06:47] VG: There's so much to say about that. I think, honestly, the first thing that comes up for me when you say that, even though we're talking business specifically, is just that there are so many parts of our life that are so interconnected. And, you mentioned that I'm a therapist and a coach, and so, in my former life, I was trained in psychology and social work, and I worked in different agencies as a therapist. And, now what I do with coaching, is very similar to that, in a lot of ways a lot of the techniques are very similar, but… Therapy's fantastic for a lot of reasons, don't get me wrong. But, what I really struggled with, was a lot of therapeutic techniques don't look at the person as a whole, and it just focused on a specific part of their life.
[07:30] VG: What's great about coaching, is it takes a very holistic view of all of those different areas, and how they're all interconnected, and intrinsically tied together. So, I think, when I think of personal growth from a business standpoint, the first thing I think of is just, “How are you doing in all the other areas of your life as well?” Because if someone comes to me for business success, we are also talking about, “How is your health? How is your mindset? How are your relationships, your finances, your living environment?” And often, we see that, if you're getting stuck in your business for some reason or another, it's tied to not doing so great in one of those categories, and they're all very, very much connected. So, that's one of the pieces of the puzzle, is, I think, making sure to address all the different parts of your life, and there are a lot of people out there, who are doing really great in a lot of categories. They have a lot of business success, and financially they are doing great, but usually, there is something falling by the wayside, whether it's their health or their relationships, and that's where I think a lot of people get stuck.
[08:31] Joel: Sure absolutely. Go ahead Pei.
[08:33] Pei: I was just gonna ask, so, how did you… You studied psychology, and now you're doing the life coaching, how did you go through that transition?
[08:45] Joel: I'm thinking it probably has something to do with her own personal growth, and there was an area of stuckness or of unfulfilment, that might have stimulated that growth in you. Val, is that true? Am I?
[09:00] VG: Yeah, very much. Actually, someone today earlier asked me where that all started for me, and if I had a mentor, or a person in my life that triggered that, and I really didn't. And, I have great parents, and I've worked with so many great people along the way, but, I think when I really first started, it was a lot of self-taught work. And so, it started with running the half marathon, and then marathon, and then, that just showed me the idea that I can push my boundaries, and I can do things that are really hard for myself, and I feel really great when I do that. And that just triggered in me the idea that I wanted to more of that, and to expand the idea of what I'm capable of doing. So that I think, really started my personal growth. And along the way, there's a lot of things that I realized that I could be setting my expectations a little bit higher for myself…
[09:54] Joel: Okay, like what for instance?
[09:57] VG: Yeah, I've been through a divorce, and that sounds like a bad word to some people, and it's not a great situation to go through, believe me, it's a hard time. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but, getting divorced is the best thing that ever happened to me, I really think for so many reasons. Because it showed me what I'm made of as a person, it showed me how strong I am…
[10:17] Joel: Okay, so let's talk about that. Let me jump in here. So yeah, absolutely. Not a pleasant experience, on many, many different levels, but it was definitely a growth opportunity…
[10:32] VG: Yeah.
[10:32] Joel: For you. So, I'm just curious here, because some people have experienced that, and if we can kinda connect with them briefly, and just talk about what did you learn about, or relearn, about your own potential, possibilities, value even, as you were, either going through that experience, and I'm not gonna pretend to understand what it was like for you, or as you were recovering from that experience?
[11:02] VG: Looking back, I just have a new-found appreciation for my own worth, and I think I have really high expectations for romantic partners. And, I have a great guy in my life right now, and he's fantastic, but aside from that, it's just… I think I really demand a lot more from the people around me. And not in a demanding way, demand is maybe the wrong word, that has a negative connotation. But, I do have very high standards. And, I spent a lot of time with the wrong individual, and I learned a lot from that experience, but now, I think I'm very selective, in terms of who I choose to work with, who I choose to spend time with, in terms of my circle of friends and business colleagues, things of that nature. And, I just have a very much solid list of non-negotiables for all of those different relationships. And I think…
[11:53] Joel: Can you share some of those non-negotiables? ‘Cause it sounds like you're on the right track there, but if we can put some meat to what you're talking about, I think that would be very helpful.
[12:03] VG: [chuckle] Yeah, and I think that really depends so much on the individual person. I mean, for me, a lot of the things that are really important for me… Well actually, and I hate to delve off this, but one of the things that I love to talk about with my clients, is around the Jim Rohn principle. And I think a lot of us have heard of the idea that: We are the average of those five people we spend the most time with.
[12:25] Pei: Yes.
[12:26] VG: Right? And so, a lot of us have heard that principle before, and so one thing that I devised to do with my clients is an exercise, and I have the link on my blog, I can send it to you guys if you're curious, but I have my clients think about what are the most important categories for them. So, it could be anything from health, wealth, kindness towards others, drive, work ethic. One of the ones that's really important for me, is actually the desire to change the world. And so, I have my clients go through and rank the different individuals who are in their life on one through five. So, five being, they really embody that characteristic, and one being, that characteristic is not very present in this person. And what's so interesting is, I swear that time and time again, we find that we really are the average of those five people in all those different categories, it's almost a scientific formula, it's crazy how often it works.
[13:17] Joel: Let me ask you this, when you apply that model to yourself, the average of the five people, was that a surprise to you? Was there something that caught you off-guard?
[13:30] VG: I didn't come up with that until after getting through the divorce, but going back to that place in my life, being with that person and also the friends, and colleagues that I was with at that time, definitely were not individuals that I wanted to be surrounding myself with. And what I always tell my clients is, if you do this exercise and you don't like the answers, you don't always necessarily have to cut those people out of your life entirely, but there are a lot of things that you can do to bulk up those categories. So…
[14:03] Joel: You bet!
[14:04] VG: If you don't have a lot of friends who are thriving in business, you can join Masterminds, listen to your show, hire a coach, there's so many different ways of filling in those gaps.
[14:14] Joel: Indeed. Okay, so talking about transforming limiting beliefs, okay that's something that you're an expert in. And I'm curious, if you look at it, take it to a personal level, what were some of the limitations that you were able to turn around, to find the antidote for, and to blast through in a practical way?
[14:41] VG: What a great question. I think, my own personal limiting beliefs are just very similar to what a lot of people have. I think, it all really comes down to just the idea of, “I'm not good enough. I'm not worthy. I'm not capable of success. I'm not worthy of love, happiness.” And that definitely took a lot of work, and a lot of introspection, and a lot of taking action and making myself do things that were difficult for me. And that really is one of my favorite techniques, and that sounds very simplistic, but I really believe in pushing yourself. And…
[15:18] Joel: Yeah, walk us through, walk us through, 'cause that does sound like a powerful technique that you're teeing up there, so if you don't mind?
[15:25] VG: You know what? And that can take so many different forms, depending on the individual.
[15:31] Joel: Sure, yeah.
[15:32] VG: I've challenged my clients to do lots of different things, sometimes that involves challenges involving getting outside their comfort zone in the dating sphere. I have clients who have taken on the idea of just trying something new and bold each day, and keeping a record of that. And what's great about that, is when you're journaling is, you can really see the progress you're making. And when things are hard for you at the beginning and you do them anyway, and then eventually you start to see, “Well, I'm actually very fearful of doing this, but after I do that I feel so much better and the fear is dissipating little by little.” One of my clients really had a lot of luck going through improv classes, not because she wanted to be funny, but more so just to step outside her comfort zone, and just do something really tough for her, that was very much outside of what she would normally do. So, I think, depending on who you are and where your strengths and weaknesses lie, there are a lot of ways of pushing yourself outside that boundary to get stronger as a person, I think.
[16:33] Joel: Now, you mentioned strengths.
[16:36] VG: Yeah.
[16:37] Joel: Okay, so let me ask you this, when you are… Well, when you were re-evaluating yourself and your own strengths, stuff that you were good at; not just from a business standpoint, but stuff that was part of who you were; were there some things there that you learned, or that you reconnected with? Strengths, or talents, or passions, or maybe even dreams? We can talk about coming out of your divorce, or we can just pick a different place, that's fine too, but I'm just curious about the self-discovery.
[17:17] VG: Yeah, great question, and being in tune with your strengths I think is so important. And yet I think so many people have a really tough time with that. And I hate to generalize, I really think that women have a tough time with this, and a lot of men do as well, but I think culturally and societally, we're ingrained to not brag about ourself, and to not boast and to be arrogant. And I think a lot of women internalize that in terms of, “I can't be aware of my strengths, and I can't be proud of them.” And that, I see my clients kinda getting stuck in that reason, in different parts of their life, not being aware of their strengths, and not being proud of that, and that affects their confidence in so many ways. And in terms of for me, a lot of it was…
[17:58] Joel: Was that… Was that a struggle for you at some level?
[18:04] VG: Yeah, I think, absolutely. Absolutely.
[18:07] Joel: How did you get through it? Or how do you recommend that people get through it, how about that?
[18:12] VG: One of the… One of the things I think of when I think of strengths, it also very much ties in with our core values. And that's one of my favorite things to do with my clients, as well. And one way that I have transitioned from being in positions that weren't right for me, to being in a position that, that fit my values a lot better. And an example of that is, I've held jobs in the past where some of my core values were really being met in the way that, one of my core values is being of service to others. And I would go through that job and start to feel like I was getting stuck in certain ways, and trying to figure out why that was, because I used to love that job and I used to get a lot of fulfillment from that. And then, starting to realize that one of my other core values of achievement and progress wasn't being there.
[19:02] VG: So at that time, I worked with the population that was going through a lot of traumatic issues, and a lot of abuse, and neglect and violence, and really severe psychiatric illnesses. And so, that population didn't make a lot of progress. And one of my core values is that I really need to see achievement and results. And that keeps me going and keeps me feeling fulfilled. And so, it was just, kind of, being in touch with those core values as well, and that, I think, is very much playing with my strengths.[overlapping conversation]
[19:29] Joel: Yeah, thank you for that. How did you get in touch with your core values? ‘Cause I agree with you. I think that is a game changer. When… Yeah, go ahead, Pei.
[19:38] Pei: What you just shared, Valerie, reminded me what Joel went through, right after… Actually, maybe during, when you were getting some hours after your Counseling degree. And you worked at a hospital that you really try to get people to move forward in their lives.
[20:01] Joel: Yeah. A typical one, I remember that.
[20:01] Pei: Yeah, and you found out that, that's not the environment for you.
[20:05] Joel: Right, right, and that was a tough lesson to learn. Because I wanted so hard…
[20:11] Pei: To help people…
[20:12] Joel: So much. Right, right, and… A lot of those, what I found out is, that structure was not really designed for what I needed for it to be designed for, based on my values. But that's another podcast. So…[laughter]
[20:29] Joel: How did you get in touch with your core values, 'cause it is a difference maker, 'cause your values drive your decisions, and in the end, it will drive your business.
[20:41] VG: Yeah, I'm glad you agree. I think it's so huge. And I think that's where so many people get stuck is… I work with individuals who are doing really well in a lot of areas of their life. But they often have that feeling of feeling very stuck, like you talk about on the show so much. And I think, that usually comes down to not living in alignment with those values. And sometimes those clients are living in alignment with values that were important to them 10 years ago. But often, their values have changed, or possibly they're living in alignment with values passed down to them from their family or their parent…[overlapping conversation]
[21:13] Joel: Talk about values changing, because that's a great point that you brought up. And sometimes…
[21:19] Pei: There's so much golden nuggets.
[21:20] Joel: I know. Pei keeps smiling and pointing me, because she knows that I'm kinda the guy that… I'll just jump in. Because if I see something that people can get value from, I'll tackle it. But okay, so talk about values that change, because I don't know about other people, but for me… Gosh, what a struggle! If you have a value that's important to you for 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, and then all of a sudden, because you've had a certain birthday, or you've gone through a certain life event or experience, the value doesn't become unimportant, but it just kinda shifts a little bit in importance. It shifts, is that a fair word?
[22:05] VG: Yeah.
[22:05] Joel: Okay, so talk about values changing. Please tell me it's okay. And…
[22:11] VG: [laughter] It's definitely okay. And, I think, everyone goes through that. If your values are the same when you're 10, as they are when you're 40. You probably need to do some more introspective work, right? I think we all shift and change as we grow over time… For me, personally, I hate to say it, but one of my values, I think, was that I wanted to get married. Although, it was kinda for the wrong reasons, at that point in time. When I was younger and it was very much, “So that's what you do. And that's what people do in this world, and in my family.” And I never really stopped to question why that was so important to me, and what the underlying desire was there. And I think, if I had stopped to do that, I would've realized… I very much value loving other people and being loved, and the idea of connection and support. And a lot of those feelings that you get from being in a committed relationship, but it wasn't actually the idea of marriage that I really valued.
[23:11] VG: Another example is, I actually have a couple clients that I have been working with recently. And they both made the transition to… They initially thought they were going to go back to school to get their MBA. And both realized that that wasn't the path for them. And they were both very committed to this idea of, “I have to get the MBA, and I'm very committed to this and psyched about this path.” But when we kind of delved a little bit deeper, it was very much, “I think, I'm going to get the praise of my parents. I think it'll look good. I think it's going to help me on my resume.” But it really didn't fit with their core values. So I think… You know what? I just think we're not taught these things in school. And it's sad to me, because I think my life would have been a lot different. And I think, that's why I have clients, because we weren't taught these things. We weren't taught about goal setting, and limiting beliefs, and our core values, and vision. And those are things that are so important to living a life that you love, and we just weren't taught those things in school, which blows my mind.
[24:17] Joel: Awesome.
[24:17] VG: So, we have that. [chuckle]
[24:19] Joel: We're talking with Valerie Groth today. “Inspiration with Val” is her podcast. So let's talk for a minute or two as we kinda zero in and circle in for a landing here. Talk about your podcast and what do you generally talk about, and what can people get from listening to “Inspiration with Val”?
[24:41] VG: Well, like I just mentioned with Inspiration, that's kind of why I started the show. I started the podcast because I wanted to interview people that I look up to, in different ways. And totally selfishly, I think it was just kind of for that reason. I wanted to talk to great people, and I thought, “Hey, if I have a podcast and whoever else wants to listen, hopefully they'll love it too.” It's a great excuse to talk to fantastic individuals, it's the best job in the world, as I'm sure you agree.
[25:06] Joel: Oh yeah.
[25:08] VG: I love having a podcast. It's so much fun. And so crazy that five years ago, this was not really an option for a lot of us, right?
[25:14] Joel: Right.
[25:14] VG: It's just [25:15] ____. So I love the idea of finding inspiration from all sources. And so, my show is different than a lot of shows. I love what you do, and how you're very niched down, in terms of ReLaunch. And when I started the podcast, I was told that I needed to niche down, and maybe I still should, who knows? But it's a little bit more general in terms of, I just wanna hear a great story, that will inspire my listeners in some way. So we have everyone from… I had a nine-year-old on the show who runs marathons in every continent to race money for charity, and he inspires the heck out of me, right? Considering I couldn't run a mile to save my life when I was nine years old, and for him to care so much the world and helping other people.
[25:58] VG: I've had multi-millionaire CEOs, about their business journey. I had Josh Bleill, who is a former marine, who lost his legs in Afghanistan. We have so many… Crazy inspiring individuals who have done amazing things, who I've been told by my listeners that they really just take a lot of value from hearing their story. And a lot of my listeners just really appreciate that inspiration, especially when they're going through a tough time, to see someone who's overcome a lot of obstacles, and is doing some really amazing things.
[26:31] VG: And also I think if you're not having a tough time right now, we all have those moments of just kinda feeling a little less inspired and not feeling motivated. And whenever I am feeling that way, I go back and listen to one of my own podcasts, to be honest…
[26:45] Joel: Absolutely.
[26:46] VG: 'cause my guests…
[26:47] Pei: Yes!
[26:48] VG: [chuckle] Yeah, are so inspiring.
[26:49] Joel: Very good. Get it on your phone, “Inspiration with Val”, put it into your podcast lineup. Also, put in ReLaunch![chuckle]
[26:57] VG: That's right.
[26:58] Joel: Val, this has been a pleasure. You're welcome back here on ReLaunch anytime. So glad that you were flexible and kind enough to make this show happen. There's been an obstacle or two, but we were finally able to pull it off. So thank you for that opportunity.
[27:18] VG: It was great to be here. Thank you so much to you both.
[27:21] Joel: Thank you as well. We'll have all of the social media hotspots in our broadcast show notes and you have, Val, a wonderful, wonderful rest of your day. Thanks for being on.
[27:34] VG: Thank you, you too.
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