Rebel Rising Podcast

Choose Wonder Over Worry with Amber Rae

We are kicking off a new series on the Rebel Speaker podcast called, The Movement Makers Spotlight.

A movement maker is a catalyst who uses their message to change the world for the better.

Using the three-word rebellion framework, we dive deep into the change these movement makers want to create.

Plus, it gives you an insight into how others crafted their own 3 Word Rebellion.

I am so excited because our very first guest is Amber Rae.

She is called a millennial motivator by Fortune and the Brené Brown of wonder by MindBodyGreen. Amber helped launch six bestselling books as the chief evangelist of Seth Godin's publishing experiment and started an accelerator for your life called the Bold Academy.

Her upcoming book, Choose Wonder Over Worry… well that title had me at hello. It’s an amazing example of a 3 Word Rebellion.

Fun fact: I’m the Olympic Champion of worry. I’ve struggled for ages with quieting down my own brain so that I can sleep at night. Becoming an entrepreneur only worsened my non-stop worrying mind.

Additionally, I see worry so much with my clients who are on the verge of becoming even more visible. They worry about being rejected. They worry about landing the gig. They worry about never making it to the big stage.

It’s time to stage a rebellion from worry. On this episode Amber and I talk about:

  • What she’s really rebelling against (and hint: it’s not worry)
  • The one thing that ALL worry is rooted in
  • The change she wants to create in the world and a few very actionable steps to deal with your worry
  • What the world would be like if everyone Choose Wonder Over Worry

Sit back, relax and enjoy this interview with Amber Rae.

Prefer to listen?

Seriously. As soon as I found out about this book, I pre-ordered it because I am a worrier. I learned that habit from my mom and I often wonder how worry holds me back.

Additionally, I see worry so much with my clients. Like what if they reject me? What if I put myself out there? What if I never get there?

What I love about Amber's work and the movement she's creating in her three-word rebellion is, she's connecting you with your voice of worry and wonder.

She teaches you to listen to your emotions, rather than silence them, which I was a big culprit of. And, she encourages you to seize your dreams.

Welcome to the Rebel Speaker podcast, Amber.

Amber:              Thank you. I'm so excited to be here.

Michelle:          Yes. I am too, because Choose Wonder Over Worry, is just such a beautiful example of a three-word rebellion because it's calling in the right people.

Those of us who are warriors, which are most of us, will appreciate that it really does a great job of painting a picture of what we can do instead.

So, tell me, Amber…

What are you rebelling against?

Amber:              I am rebelling against our societal obsession with positivity and finding the silver lining in everything.

Even how I came to this message of Choose Wonder Over Worry is that I was trying to get rid of and push away my worry and my anxiety and my fear for most of my life, which only led to more anxiety.

Which led to struggles with eating disorders and constantly feeling not enough or unworthy.

I kept trying to cut off these parts of myself and see the positive in everything.

What I ultimately realized is that I was just living in this delusion and not embracing or allowing or accepting all of who I am.

And so, I'm rebelling against this desire to cut off or to get rid of or to become fearless, to get rid of these aspects of ourselves.

Michelle:          Oh, I love that. A follow up question. Was there a breaking point when you realized that you couldn't go on like this anymore? That you couldn't just keep pushing these emotions away.

Amber:              Oh, yeah. It was my early 20s, I was addicted to Adderall and I was taking Adderall to get more done, 'cause I was like a hyper performer, to get more done and to stay thin.

Because I thought the size of my body was equal to the amount of love that people could give me.

So, I had all of these worries around if I don't perform, I won't be worthy of love. If I'm not thin enough, I won't be worthy of love.

And so, it led to all of these toxic behaviors. Using Adderall, I had struggles with eating disorders, pushing overwork and under-play, until it culminated in this moment where it led to a full-on panic attack.

Well, I think that the major breakdown was a panic attack and then I was like, “Okay,” but my Adderall, which I convinced a psychotherapist in college that I needed and which was prescribed to me… It was a symptom of my toxic worry.

But then I started forging prescriptions and yeah, and then got caught.

That was the moment when I realized. Whoa, because I actually thought I was gonna get arrested and go to jail.

But when they called the doctor, the doctor said, “We'll take care of it.” Like, “It's fine, we'll take care of it on our end.”

What I realized in that moment when I thought I was gonna go to prison, is that I had been putting myself in a prison all along through this addiction and through these escape mechanisms of trying to really just not feel my feelings.

It was as simple as I didn't wanna feel the discomfort.

I didn't wanna feel different grief and pain and loss and I thought I could just numb or push it away.

Michelle:          Yeah. I think that is a very, very common thing in our society.

Keep a stiff upper lip. You just plow through even the most devastating losses.

Let alone little disappointments or these concerns we have that I'm never going to be loved.

We don't allow ourselves to actually feel that. That creates that toxic environment that you're talking about.

I know in the book, you talk about the myths of worrying.

What are some of those myths that we worriers should be aware of, so that we don't find ourselves going down that path to toxic decisions?

The Myths of Worrying

Amber:              Yeah. The biggest one is the myth of not enough

I'm not good enough, smart enough, thin enough, powerful enough, influential enough, my story isn't interesting enough, I don't have enough money, I don't have enough time, that not enoughness, that scarcity, is what I found at the root of all our worry.

I've worked with thousands of people over the year.

Whether they were the CEO of the top organization and had so much abundance in terms of money and power, or whether they came from nothing – they still had this story of not enoughness.

It was like I was meeting with people across all different backgrounds and perspectives and there was still this story of not enoughness.

This is something that's been baked into our society for thousands of years. ‘

That story will likely persist beyond us being here, but we get to choose if we want to buy into the story of enough or not enough.

The major question I ask is “how is the myth of not enough playing out in your life?”

When are you telling yourself that you're not good enough or thin enough or powerful enough?

I often hear, “I don't have enough Instagram followers to be able to do this.” It can show up in ways like that.

Or, “I don't have enough influence in my company to speak up and have my voice be heard.”

Or, “I'm not a good enough writer or artist or entrepreneur to try this thing.”

And so, it's recognizing when that “not enough” voice is speaking up, and saying, “Okay, maybe.”

Or, this is where Wonder comes in.

Or “How else might I look at this? What else might I try?

Maybe I'm not the best writer but about how do I get better?”

Michelle:          Yeah. I just read Lynne Twist's book, The Soul of Money.

She talks about that very fact, that scarcity is just ingrained in us. The first thought we have in the morning is like, “Oh, I didn't get enough sleep.”

Immediately we're in that not enough mindset.  I see that with my clients and speakers. Like, “Who am I to be on the stage?”

Which is  the imposter complex thing, which I know is another myth you talk about in the book.

But there's all of these … Like we're just wired to be not enough.

That brings us to the next question. And you've already hinted at it.

What's the change you want to create?

Amber:              Yeah. There are so many. The change I wanna create is for us to get curious about these worries and these parts of ourselves that we tend to deny and push away.

Because, again, I don't think the path is to say, “Oh, I'm not going to worry anymore.”

But to ask, “Where is this worry coming from? Where did I learn this? This story of I'm not ready, actually, who told me that?”

And so, it's having this sense of curiosity and wonder about these aspects of ourselves that aren't serving us anymore.

And then with that, comes feeling those feelings that are associated with it.

Feelings are fleeting, they come and go but the story about them… that sticks.

It's like, I lost my father when I was a kid and the fact in that  is that my father died. The story I created about that is that men I love will abandon me.

It took me 20 years to even understand how that was playing out in my life in so many ways and affecting every relationship I entered into.

And then I had to go through my early 20s, the process of feeling the grief that I didn't allow myself to feel, because I thought it meant I was weak or it was bad, or I wasn't supposed to feel it.

Again, there's what happens and then there's what we make what happens mean, and then that becomes the story that we live.

Michelle:          Yeah. I heard a statistic that we actually can only feel an emotion for about 90 seconds and then it leaves our body. But it's our brain that actually keeps it going.

Amber:              Exactly. I had a mentor once tell me when I gave him my writing, that, “Oh, Amber, no one cares about your story.”

He didn't mean to say your story doesn't matter, but I made that mean my story didn't matter, and I should never share my personal story again.

That's what my brain interpreted. Because I was like, “Oh, he doesn't think I'm worthy.”

Instead of feeling that for that period of time or even getting curious and asking him like, “Oh, that's interesting. What do you mean when you say that?” Or, “Tell me more about your point of view?”

Instead of choosing wonder or getting curious, I immediately grabbed on to the worry, ran with it, and then didn't write for three years.

Michelle:          Oh wow, 'cause it's so funny you brought that up because that's one of the things I say.

Your story doesn't matter, unless there is a big lesson there, that you can teach the audience something from it.

Amber:              Exactly.

Michelle:          That's always like the turnaround I wanna give for people.

But hearing just like, “Your story doesn't matter.” Then nothing else, and you're like, “Oh yeah, that means I don't matter, so I'm not gonna write”

Amber:              I don't matter. Yeah. Exactly. What he was really was probably saying like, “Hey, land the takeaways a little bit.”

Tactically, he probably meant like, make the takeaway a little bit more clear for the reader. You know what I mean?  He was just giving quick feedback.

Michelle:          Yeah. He's like, “Oh, your story, it doesn't matter.” Which is way different than, “Tell me what the takeaway is from the story and make it really concrete and clear for the audience.”

And then not to write for three years after that, it shows the power of the words.

Amber:              The toxic worry.

Michelle:          Yeah. And the worry.

I've had a few people on where we've talked about worry and rumination before.

I'm always curious, because one of the things I've noticed about worry is that when I start worrying, it's like I cannot pull myself out of it until I become aware.

So, how do you become aware that there are these worried thoughts going in your head, so that you can actually choose wonder?

Amber:              Yeah. There's a few ways.

First, it could be actually like you hear almost it's like a voice talking, like the voice in your head.

You'll start to notice that it's making all these like, “This isn't good. You can't say that. Oh my God, they're gonna judge you,” and just noticing that real time.

And then from there, it's filtering.

And so, I always ask myself. The first question is, is this useful?

The second question is, is there any productive action I can take right now?

Because worry he can be useful. Worry is wired in our brains to protect us and keep us safe.

Worry, like when we're standing at the edge of the mountain and we're getting too close and worry's like, “Yo, back off.” That's important.

Or if we are in the dating phase of our lives and we meet someone who says to us, “I'm never interested in falling in love with someone.”

Worry might be like, “Not your person.” That's super helpful.

But what often happens is that a deadline is coming up or we're putting out a piece of work that has us feel seen.

Or we're getting on stage to share our story and to guide the audience.

It triggers that same threat mechanism system in our brain, which has us feel like this fight or flight and the world is ending.

And so, it's again asking like, is this useful? Which often like if I'm writing and the perfectionist saying, “This is terrible, that's actually not useful.”

And, “Is there any productive action I can take right now?” It's like, “You gotta keep writing.”

It's filtering those. But then some people aren't as in tune with understanding that there's a voice that is talking.

Michelle:          Yes.

Amber:              The other way that I'll notice it is in the body.

Is my body clinching up? Are my shoulders tightening?

All of a sudden, is my heart beating fast?

It's getting in touch with those bodily sensations and noticing what's happening in the body.

Doctor Dan Siegel, his big approach is name it to tame it.

Neuroscience shows that when we can vividly name what we're experiencing in the moment, we actually can reduce our sensation by up to 50%.

If we're all of a sudden shaking with worry or our heart's beating really fast, if we can say, “Okay, right now my heart's beating really fast. I'm noticing butterflies in my stomach. I'm noticing that my shoulders are tightening up and I'm getting in this fight or flight stance.”

Now that I'm in touch with my body, I'm noticing that there's a voice inside my head saying like, “You're not good enough.”

When we can do that, what happens is that our emotional brain begins to relax, and we can get back into our body and back into the present moment, where we are re-centered.

We're not in reaction mode anymore. We can come back to the here and now.

And then we can say, “Okay wait, what's my next move? What do I wanna do next?”

Michelle:          I love that, because I've noticed as I've been wrangling my own worry and experiencing it, I'll get up in the middle of the night to go the bathroom.

I'll come back to bed and all of a sudden, it starts.

I notice like, oh my shoulders are so tense. I'm laying in bed and my body is super tense.

I tell myself, “Okay, let's breathe. Let's release the tension.”

As soon as I start doing that, the thoughts start slowing down a little bit.

And I'm like, all right. Usually, in the middle of the night, your next step is to go back to sleep.

Amber:              Right.

Michelle:          That worry is never productive at 3:00 a.m. so, I love how you explain it and what questions to ask yourself, and how we can really get back into our body so that we can make choices.  

Because you're making an active choice at that point.  

You're saying, “Okay, do I wanna pay attention to this worry or do I wanna start questioning it?”  I think that's why I love it so much.

Amber:              Can I share one more technique?

Michelle:          Yes.

Amber:              Once you've named it, that can be as simple as naming your experience.

Or if you wanna take it a step further, you can actually name and create characters out of your different worries.

Like my perfectionist is Grace.

She's this 30 something British woman who has short blonde hair and wants everything in a perfect neat box.

Anytime that my perfectionist starts chiming in or I'm trying to obsessively make something perfect, I'll be like, “Oh, Grace, I see you. What's going on?

I realized that Grace just really cares about the end product and wants it to be really high quality.

So, I'll have to remind Grace, like, “Hey, thanks for caring so much and I need space to get messy, so we can get to that place.”

Naming it can, again, be vividly describing your experience or getting into a place where you can actually like, “Oh I'm really anxious and tight right now,” and being like, “Okay, if I had to name a character who would this be?”

It might be anxious Annie or whatever it is.

Then once it's a character, again, because so much of this is what's happening in our brain.

And when we can create distance from something happening inside of our body to actually a character that we can dialogue with it. Again, it creates that distance.

That's where the next step is to dialogue with it and to be like, “Hey, anxiety, what's going on? What are you trying to tell me? I see you.

Thanks for being here and trying to keep me safe.”

Michelle:          Yeah. I do the character thing too.

I have Sally Poopy Pants who hangs out. She's the one who's always, I'm writing the three-word rebellion book right now. And she's like, “Ooh, this isn't very good.”

I'm like, “Okay, Sally, I hear you. I know you want it to be good. I know you want us to do a great job.

But this is the shitty first draft and it's not supposed to be good. So, we're okay. We love you. Thank you.”

It's amazing how when you put it outside of yourself and you see it as this other entity, you can actually deal with your worry.

Honestly, I feel sometimes some genuine love and appreciation for it.

Amber:              Yeah, when we were little kids and we were about to run across the road and there's a car coming, our parents are going to scream for our safety to get our attention.

So oftentimes, these emotions are screaming for our attention because they think we're in danger.

And so, when we can have compassion like,” Oh, I really appreciate you wanna keep me safe, but this shitty first draft is not gonna kill us.”

Again, it creates that distance and allows us to calm and get back into that moment in our bodies.

Michelle:          Love it. Final question.

If everyone acted on your message, what would the world be like?

Amber:              What's coming to mind is, they would be free from their suffering.

Not that the suffering would not exist because suffering as a part of life, but they wouldn't be trapped and stuck by their suffering. They would be in relationship with it.

As a result of that, they would shift the relationship to the suffering and it would create a sense of freedom and expansion.

They'd be able to create space for the fear, just as much as the curiosity. Create space for the worry just as much as the wonder.

I always have the visual of when we can embrace the fullness of who we are.

It's like allowing every part of us to have a seat at the table of our heart. Whether it's shame is allowed there as much as compassion, perfectionism is allowed there as much as courage.

What happens is that we embrace all of ourselves and we find so much freedom and love inside of ourselves that that beams out into the world.

Michelle:          So good. I'm gonna leave it there because I think that's a beautiful way to end this interview.

Amber, tell us how we can find you online and about your book.

Amber:              The book is Choose Wonder Over Worry, and it will be out May 15th. You can find it at choosewonder.com and Amazon and Barnes and Noble and every retailer that has a book.

Online, I'm Instagram @heyamberrae, I love Insta for stories and images and visuals and storytelling.  My personal site's amberrae.com.

I'm going on a seven-city tour from May 15th till June 15th. So, would love to see people live if I'm coming to your city.

Michelle:          Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Amber.

Amber:              Thank you.

Michelle:          Go and read her book, Choose Wonder Over Worry. It has beautiful stories, it has actionable insights like we got in this interview, and it is well worth your time, especially if worry is holding you back.

Thank you, Amber. I'm so glad we did this.

Amber:              Thank you.

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