Creating A New Money Story - Shame, Curiosity & Burnout in Your Finances with Merideth Bisiker

Money is at the centre of many things we do, but what is your relationship to money telling you about the way you value and see yourself in the world.

Money is at the centre of many things we do, but what is your relationship to money telling you about the way you value and see yourself in the world. In this episode Merideth Bisiker shares her journey through financial trauma to a healthy money relationship. She shares the shame that so many people carry around finances and how important it is to be open and aware of your financial health. Paula and Merideth discuss getting curious with your money story and how to avoid recreating the same environment as an entrepreneur that you were leaving when you quit your 9-5.

In this episode we chat about:

Becoming colleagues with those you used to look up to.

How Merideth created a new money story and became a money coach.

Where to start when you feel “broke”.

Why spending money feels so good.

Building new habits to grow out of a burnout situation.

And so much more!

Merideth and her family have lived on the traditional, ancestral and stolen lands of the Coast Salish people, specifically Qualicum First Nation, since 2006. In settler terms, this is Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Merideth is an ICF-accredited professional life and business coach with a 25+ year background working in banking and government and non-profit finance. She's passionate about helping people discover how to give themselves permission to be creative and genuine as they carve out new paths for themselves. In her coaching practice, she supports leaders who are focused on setting fresh boundaries at work, allowing them to free up time and energy to work in their zones of genius and transition to more fulfilling opportunities. Merideth specializes in supporting clients who work in the private business and non-profit sectors.

As a white, cis-gender, middle-class women born in Canada, descended from multiple generations of Europeans settled in North America, I recognize my responsibility to support and develop genuine ally-ship to people marginalized by the system. Merideth's intention is to create safe coaching and workshop spaces for our clients so that they can focus on exploration of themselves and taking part in coaching and workshop conversations.

When she's not coaching or learning more about coaching, neuroscience, and equity in the workplace, you’ll usually find her writing, reading, or practicing music (winter), or on a road trip to a beach somewhere on Vancouver Island (summer).

Connect with Merideth!


(04:22) How life can come full circle and you get to be colleagues with the people that you look up to right now.

(05:44) How Merideth became a coach after a traumatic financial experience whilst raising her autistic child and became an ICF accredited money coach.

(11:33) How Merideth began overcoming her shame around money struggles and how important it is to talk about money and your money story.

(14:35) Where to start when money feels lacking and out of reach, in a practical way.

(16:20) Getting curious with your money.

(19:20) How self-enquiry creates results but telling people what to do does not.

(23:11) How money stories are just the surface piece of how you see and regard yourself.

(27:50) Why does spending money feel so good?

(29:35) Systemic burnout and how it relates to money.

(36:09) Shifting your focus in your business and feeling responsible for other people’s feelings.

(40:12) Building new habits to move through burnout.

(43:05) Recognizing why you wanted to change, perpetuating old money stories by chasing the overnight millionaire idea.

(47:50) Merideths’s top of advice for dealing with burnout and finances.



people, money, feel, programme, burnout, coach, coaching, business, bookkeeping, clients, paula, meredith, work, experience, thought, buy, podcast, life, job, years

Paula Shepherd 00:01

Hi, I'm Paula shepherd. I went to college to get a good job and make a lot of money. Back then, no one talked about doing what you love. And while I successfully climbed the corporate ladder, I felt like there was something missing. So I left the seemingly comfortable corporate world at 40 years old for the freedom of full time entrepreneurship. Today, I get to help ambitious women go from entrepreneur to confident CEO of their lives and businesses. I created this podcast to share what I've learned with you to make your journey just a little easier, and to connect you with other incredible business owners who took a chance on themselves and who they are becoming. So whether you're just getting started, are all in for just want to hear a friendly voice. Come on in and sit with us. Now, let's dive in. Hey, everyone, welcome to another episode of The confidence Sessions. Today, I am super excited to bring to you certified life coach Meredith as for Ashley Meredith hat and her family have lived on the traditional ancestral and stolen lands of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically qualicum First Nation since 2006. And in settler terms, this is Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She's an ICF accredited professional life and business coach with a 25 plus year background working in banking and government and nonprofit finance. She is passionate about helping people discover how to give themselves permission to be creative and genuine as they carve out new paths for themselves. And then her coaching practice. She supports leaders who are focused on setting fresh boundaries at work, who doesn't need some fresh boundaries. This allows them to free up their time and their energy so that they can work in their zone of genius, and transition to more fulfilling opportunities. Welcome, Meredith. Well, thank

Merideth Bisiker 02:08

you so much, Paula, I am equally excited to be here and to be speaking with you.

Paula Shepherd 02:14

I want to tell you a little story of thinking about this this morning, before we jumped on to this podcast recording. The first time I met you didn't actually meet me, because I was taking, I was part of a coaching academy, right breeding coaches Academy. Right. And you were the face that I first saw going through the videos.

Merideth Bisiker 02:41

That's wild, because I meet people now, I should backtrack. I think I recorded those probably about four years ago now. Supporting just Stephens with bringing her programming online. And looking back what a good idea that was. That was two years pre COVID. But thank goodness, that project. Thank goodness, we undertook that project. But now I meet new coaches in the radiant world, we might do a zoom, we might be doing a podcast interview like this. And they'll say, it's so cool to meet you. And I'll think what the heck is going on? And then they'll say I, you know, met you in quotes on the radiance course. Oh, right. And so it always feels like there's a little bit of maybe it's like a millisecond of fame. And then

Paula Shepherd 03:30

it goes away. No, it was so much because that was the face that I saw. And the fact that it was done virtually while I was still in my corporate job was the reason why I was able to participate. So it's just interesting to me how full circle we've come where I was looking at it coming like, wow, this person has, you know, she's on here and she's recording this video and she's part of this programme. How awesome is that? And now I'm interviewing you on the podcast, and you're a guest here and it's really honestly I want people that are listening to go the people that you are watching right now can become your colleagues and your confidants Don't think that just because someone else is doing something that feels really far fetched to you right now that at some point down the road, that you're not going to be connected in a different way.

Merideth Bisiker 04:20

That's such a great point. And I'm thinking of some people who I met many years ago when I started this online journey as well and connecting with people, you know, all around the world, especially through Facebook and thinking, Oh, that person is so cool. I'd love to spend some time with them. And now you know, we talk all the time we I've met many of them in person. And I think what you say to Paula brings up such a good point that most people don't want to be held on a pedestal. Most people feel like I'm just a normal person and would also like to have great relationships.

Paula Shepherd 04:55

They do. Oh my gosh, but the online world really does. I think it sets some serious boundaries and and it actually perpetuates some things and people like being disconnected from others, especially if you are an introvert, it's very difficult for you to start those conversations. So well, I am so glad that I met you back then. And I am really excited to talk about your story. Because you the whole reason you got started was basically because you had your own, for lack of a better term traumatic personal financial crisis. Oh, yeah. What, tell me a little bit about that.

Merideth Bisiker 05:40

Sure. Um, gosh, I could probably write a book about it. Now, it's been about 10 years since we started our recovery from that, but long story short, we had our second child, and just, I don't know, it must have been weeks after she was born, my husband was laid off from his job, we knew it was coming. And he had already started his own business in a small way, we were ready for it. So we were excited. At the same time, the small baby, which we know now has had autism, she still has autism. And so we had our experience, when she was really little, was probably just as traumatic as our experience that we had with our financial crisis. Because, you know, we've already had one child, things went tickety boo with her. And then we have a second child who doesn't want to eat who doesn't want to sleep, I'm pretty much like a zombie. Because like, you know, any parent who's had small children knows it's tiring, but I was tired. And then I had to deal with, not deal with but support my husband, with building his business and having my background in finance and accounting and business admin. I was ready to take that on. But we just couldn't get that business off the ground enough. And I wasn't able to go back to work full time to fill in those gaps. So we were starting to go through any cash we had, including our retirement savings. And, you know, we were racking up debt at lightning speed. It was crazy. And as someone who had worked in in banking for a long time who had worked in accounting, I felt such shame around that because I thought I should have known better, like, how did we get into this mess, I, I should have been able to do something to stop all this. So finally, my husband decided that he would get a full time job. And I ended up with a good part time job working the local government. And we were able to recover from that. But it took years. I mean, here we are 10 years from now and I are 10 years later, excuse me. And I can still be triggered depending on what's going on, I can still wake up in the morning, tired or with a migraine and go back to a space where I'm worried about money and don't need to be worried about money, right? So it's, it's been a journey. And because of it, I ended up coaching. I, I realised as I was coming out of our money crisis, and I was working really diligently at sticking to our budget and my husband was as well, we had a plan. I should have felt safer at a certain point. And I wasn't I was still feeling so sick to my stomach. My stomach was just it was in tatters for four years because of this experience. And I often tell the story where I picked a sock up off the floor in my bedroom. And I thought there's something emotional here. And I had worked at that point, Paula in like the money world for almost two decades. And No buddy was talking about our emotional connection with money. Nobody, nobody, nobody. And so that sent me on a journey. I grabbed every book I could on money in psychology, I didn't know there were like hundreds of books on this topic. And I was reading a book called financial recovery by Carol. Karen McCall, who I met and have spent a little bit time with in zoom rooms now and the same kind of thing, as you say, followed like, wow, this is so cool to be in the same room as her. Her book changed my life. And as soon as I started reading it, I thought I have to somehow tell other people they don't have to feel this way about money. So off I went and I was my first training was it was cert, sorry, money coach training, which is a lot different than the training you and I received from radiant coaches Academy. So I got that training and Then later met Dez and trained as a ICF. Certified and now accredited coach. And the rest is history as they say,

Paula Shepherd 10:10

oh my gosh, there's there's something that you said that I want to just highlight for a moment. And and I think it doesn't matter, necessarily whether you are young or a little bit more seasoned in life, or even necessarily what your background is. But this whole idea of I should have known better, or I've been in this industry, and I can't, and I see the shame show up in a lot of ways around money, like, I'm this old, I should have my stuff together by now. Yes, right. Or I did i Same thing as you I did XYZ in my corporate job. And I managed that so well, why can't I manage my own life? I can't I manage my own self. And the shame that happens there because we stop talking about it out loud, to other people, and we're afraid to have the conversation with anyone, we don't want somebody to say, well, of course, you're messed up. And now you need to do this thing or, and you're and you're just feeling in such paralysis, because of the shame and being in that vulnerable situation, that it's hard to move forward. I know you mentioned the book, but how did you get past I should have known better.

Merideth Bisiker 11:35

I think it's because I finally felt safe enough to do so what's my husband? There's a thing here in Canada, where a lot of people work up north, in air quotes, like up north and up north is the oil patch. And the reality is that there are a lot of people who are who take advantage of being able to travel and work and make money and so he was making some some good money. And and I was making, I'm finally making some money too. So financially, I felt safe enough to actually be able to look at the numbers not do a like sideways glance at my account, wondering if I had enough to buy, you know, dinner for tonight, like at the grocery store, it was I could look at all the numbers, and know that there was enough money coming in so that I could start fixing the situation. And I also love what you say about we don't talk to people about this. And I have actually two things to say about that. One is when I heard that voice that told me you need to tell people that they don't need to feel ashamed about their money. I also thought about how I would go to friends houses and suddenly their credit card statements would be in front of me. Because they knew I'd worked in, you know, the money world for quite a long time. And they felt safe enough to just lay it all out for me. We just be I wouldn't even be going over for this purpose. But they felt safe enough to ask me the so called dumb questions, right that they they didn't know the answers to there are no dumb questions, especially when it comes to money, but they felt safe enough. So I was like, Okay, that's a good sign. People might listen to me, right? And then yeah, the other piece of that is just feeling safe enough to finally be able to look at those numbers. Nobody could have sat me down and said you need to fix this. But that's because not many people knew I'm sure people suspected. And there was the surface level like statements like Oh, we're so broke and I remember specifically saying to a friend at work. I hate money. Oh, wow. I hate money. That was what ice okay universe if you're listening right now, that's not true. Love this story. I love money. By hate money. And what I meant was that by that was, you know, I hate everything that comes with feeling like I don't have enough.

Paula Shepherd 14:08

So what about people then who feel like, there isn't enough coming in? Because you said at some point, you weren't doing the side? I do have enough to swipe my card and get dinner. Yeah. Yep. Then there are those people that are going well, that's nice, but I still feel like there's not enough coming in for me too. live my life. Where do you start with those via

Merideth Bisiker 14:37

I start where they are, you know, from a coach perspective. i In the olden days before I trained with radiant and you know, learned how coaching is supposed to be I'm not supposed to tell people what they do. I would have said something like you just got to push through. You just You just have to go and make a little bit more money or you just have to speak to your spouse and ask them not to spend enough and that sort of thing. But now, you know, I can't I knew you're going to ask this question too. I knew it sounds like what am I going to say, but really is starting where they are, and helping them discover what their next step is. That could be anything. So for people who are listening, saying, Okay, that's all well and good, but I still don't know what to do. It could be that you need to go and get a second job, it could be that you need to push through in your business and, and market it. And I'm speaking from, like, personal experience, and I know you appreciate this to Polit as well, Paula, because it's like, I'm hiding. I'm not making enough money in my business. But how can I if people don't know about my business, right. So that's a big one. Sometimes it's dealing with overspending. Again, in this online world. And for entrepreneurs, we sometimes feel pushed to buy all the shiny things, or we think those shiny things are going to be the answer to helping us make more money, or sustain a larger profit. Right. So it just depends. It really depends on the person. But my favourite phrase is my clients will tell you is, rather than getting mad at yourself, just

Paula Shepherd 16:26

get curious. Oh, my gosh, yes. Right. So the see, and in the courage blueprint actually stands for curiosity. Yes, that's right. I 100% agree. And I do think that as people in general, and I can raise my hand over here, that sometimes I have to do this for myself, actually, very often. I'm really good. I've gotten really good at coaching myself, my team will tell you that. Mm hmm. But sometimes we have to say like, what what is this really about? You know, I'm not making any money, or there's no money coming in, or I'm not going to be able to pay X, Y, and Z. And it's and to get curious, like, Why do I think that that's true? Yes. Is that true? And then, what can I do about it? Right? Because otherwise, we're swirling around this thought and this feeling, but we're not actually taking any action toward it. And we imagine all the terrible things that could happen. But it seems that sometimes people aren't willing to do the thing, they want the money to come in one direction. And and I say this, because, um, you know, our friend, you know, brand deck, she, she says, If you spot it, you got it. I remember her saying that to me once, and I never forgot it. And it is so true. If you, if you if you spot it, you got it. And I spot it all the time, where there are certainly things where I have shiny object syndrome, I've bought the thing and gone why did I even buy that? Well, it was a distraction for me to do the thing that was actually going to make? Why did I? Why did I sign up for all of these things? Well, I signed up for all of these things, because I wanted to make more money. Well, why did I want to make more money? Well, because the industry or the online space was telling me that in order to be successful, I had to do this thing. And so like the psychology behind, I don't want to say manipulating, but I'm gonna use that word, manipulating people to some capacity, like anyone that is using psychology in any of their, you know, which we're doing in our marketing and whatever is in some way, manipulating, right? Um, because if you know what you're doing, and you know what you're saying, and you know what you're saying behind it is going to attract people to do X, Y, and Z and spend this money, then that's what we're doing. Right? But But what I think is very interesting about what you're saying is really this idea of like pausing, and getting curious about your current situation, which I can totally get behind. And it becomes like a personal slap in the face. You don't even need anybody else to do it for you. And it's very true. Have you found that that's been much more profound and getting your clients to take action than if you were to tell them you just need to do this thing?

Merideth Bisiker 19:18

Oh, 100%, I think back to experiences with said friends who would come to me and say, This is what's going on. And I give advice, you know, this is what, here are the numbers, here's what you should start paying down first. And maybe you should start investing in this and I am not an advisor, but I worked in banking long enough for me to say, you know, like, maybe you should go talk to your banker about this, this might be a good idea. And rarely would they take action and I'm not sharing that story in any kind of judgement. I'm just noticing you know, rarely did they Take judgement. In fact, sometimes when I really dug in to help people, it's like, their situation would get even worse. And then I wouldn't hear from them because they then they feel shame because they had asked me for help, and they weren't.

Paula Shepherd 20:15

But it kind of becomes a codependent. Right? Exactly when and I get it, because I think there's this is, I want to talk about your coaching style here in a minute too. Because what I love what you're saying, and I think the difference between what people get when they spend money, particularly, let's just say we're just gonna say in business, sure, then I can also apply that to that, like really pretty shirt that you just saw that store that you felt like was going to make you happy in that moment, looking at those two things, whether it's a $3,000 programme, or it's a, you know, $25 shirt, the decisions that you're making behind that are, you know, and that are behind that, like, what is your intention? Why are you doing that? Why are you buying that thing? Do you really need it? And it's not even a sense of need, like, it's the, like, what do you think that value is going to bring, and not because someone else is going to give it to you, but because you're willing to put in the effort, because this person is providing a framework a safe space. And especially when it comes to money. I know a lot of people, a lot of people being myself included, are like a budget, right, and then there's a whole, then there's Dave Ramsey, and then there's profit first. And there's, like, there's so many things that you can listen to. And it's like a diet, like you get all you know, you can do all the things and do all the diets. And at the end of the day, none of them could have worked. And you could have gained 20 pounds instead of lost 20 pounds. I may also be speaking from experience there.

Merideth Bisiker 21:55

But I love being from experience, right?

Paula Shepherd 21:57

Like the same thing happens with money. And I And again, the reason why I want people that are listening to understand, like the reason why I can talk so openly about this, the reason why Meredith can talk openly about this is because we've experienced it. Yeah, you know, this isn't me just looking at what everybody else is doing. This is like being in the trenches, and really understanding what it feels like to like sign up for something, let and with money, you know, money is involved in some way or to buy something, we'll just say making a purchase. Yeah. And then the expectation that someone is going to do something for us. Even if it's a $25 shirt, right? Like that $25 shirt, we assume is going to make us feel so happy. It's going to make us feel so happy when we wear it. And maybe it makes us feel happy. Like for the day that we wear it or the time that we took a picture we posted it and somebody said how amazing we looked at it. Right? But how much joy do you get from extended experience, which is why I think that the way you show up and coach, right, this holistic perspective, the way that we've been trained, is really imperative to changing you at the core, yes. And affects so much more than just your money decisions it becomes it becomes greater than the money.

Merideth Bisiker 23:16

So much greater because it is greater than the money the money is just the surface piece. And I think how we show up with our money is very reflective of how we how we regard ourselves, and how we wish to be treated. And you know, thinking about the the pretty pink shirt so I am not people are always surprised. Not a pink girl there. Yeah, well, no pink is pink is actually it's a colour since I've had two girls, which is so stereotypical, very, it's not. It's very stereotypical, I know. But anyway, love pink still even 17 years after my first daughter was born. But I'm not a big shopper. I've never enjoyed shopping. But every once in a while, like if there's a photoshoot coming up, I'll need some new clothes. And I'll get excited about that. Because I'm tying in the brand and how it's going to help you know, this piece of clothing is going to look at a photo. And I will often walk away from a shopping experience feeling really satisfied and of course doing everything I do and coach I'm like, why does this feel so good, right? This feels so good. I just went and spend money to spend spent money. And it's because I had the money. It's because I have a goal. I have a use for it for me. I always need to have a use for something and I have to catch myself with that. But then on the flip side, I had a really interesting experience back in November. So we have you know the pandemic, we have lots of lockdowns, I'm in British Columbia, lots of lockdowns, we're at home. I'm fine and feeling safe with all of this. And then we had catacombs Wismec flooding and landslides, landslides in our province, we had our main highway totally cut off from the rest of the country. And we're on the coast. So you know a lot of stuff gets shipped across Canada and up through the states and then up through Canada. So we were here we are cut off again. Here I am cut off even from going down Island. Vancouver Island is huge. There's a lot of cities and I have options for Costco. My regular Costco I couldn't get to because there was a sinkhole. And we it would take hours to get through down to this other city. So I have to go up to another city to go to Costco. And Paula, there's no toilet paper.

Paula Shepherd 25:40

That's a crisis. That's like a serious crisis.

Merideth Bisiker 25:44

I had finally hit the point like we had, we'd held it all together. When lockdown first happened and the kids were home from school. I'm like, I got this I homeschool for a long time. And or did you know hybrid experience or hybrid programmes? I've worked from home for a long time, we dealt with just having to react all the time with our younger daughter who has autism. So yeah, I got all this. But in that moment, oh, and then the other thing too is are, we had a limit on how much gas we could get. So I guess up to go up, I can only get 30 litres, which is not very much. It's about half a tank, I get to Costco, there's no toilet paper and my brain went berserk. And I saw boots, really nice boots, I bought two pairs of boots. I hate buying shoes. And then I bought a whole bunch of Christmas lights. And then what came home, drop some stuff off that I picked up for a friend and I said I just spent all this money that I didn't plan on spending. And it felt really good in the moment. And that really scares me right now. And she's, she's a great friend who I can say anything to and you know, she says well, that's that's the way it is. I said we have the money. It just scares me that it feels so good to spend it. But it's because I I felt like I'd have a little bit of control by having these two pairs of winter boots. And these Christmas lights somehow that gave me control over the fact that our provinces Island were completely cut off from the world, and would be for a few weeks. Oh my god, but but I was conscious enough of this, to acknowledge that that's what was going on.

Paula Shepherd 27:26

You said this sentence twice. So if you're listening, if you're in the car, don't do this now. But write it down in a notebook. Write it someplace that you can put it back to somewhat everybody that's listening, write the sentence down this question to yourself, why does this feel so good? Mm hmm. Because we tend to focus on when we get curious. The negative? Yeah, why am I focusing on this thing? Right, instead of really revelling in and celebrating that feeling of like, pure unadulterated joy? Yes. And going, Wow, how does this feel? Why does this feel so good instead of glazing by it, so that we're also recognising that experience? It sounds like you bring a lot of clarity to people and yourself around that question, because you've you've asked that in terms of yourself twice that Why does why does this feel so good?

Merideth Bisiker 28:29

Yes. Yeah. Yeah. And that's an interesting question as well, because it's in the context of, I should, I think it implies that I should actually feel really bad that I've done this thing. I've been conditioned to think very poorly of myself, because I've done this thing.

Paula Shepherd 28:50

It's such a good question. So everyone, write that down, post it somewhere, put it on your screensaver, do something. It's a good one, but you said it

Merideth Bisiker 28:59

out. And I love that you said I said it twice. Because this is the power of coaching. When we're speaking to other people, we don't realise a lot of what we're saying. And this is what coaches do. They pick up on these these these things that are really important that we don't really look into.

Paula Shepherd 29:16

It's a good job. Yeah, it's so true. I mean, that is that is the the power of true coaching. And we can go into regulation, all of that. But before we have that conversation, if there's time, I want to talk about burnout. Yeah. So there's a there are people and how does burnout relate to money? For me, burnout relates to money, because I know you had your own personal experience. And I really resonated with it. Because I was in that place of burnout, not just physical burnout, but psychological burnout. And that's really what led me to leave my job. So tell me I'm like very busy. In this moment, tell me, tell me tell me because I have to know. I'm just so curious. What was your experience? Personally, when it came to burnout, which is kind of like, I don't know, it's just become a buzz term. But truly, what did burnout feel like to you? And what did that experience look like?

Merideth Bisiker 30:20

Oh, experiences? And I'm sure you've probably had experiences? Yes. Yes. And many people have, it's just that I don't think we've really had a word to put to that experience. And also, in a lot of the systems change work I do. I'm understanding now that this is so systemic, right? Like it, it's so burnout is so systemic, and it's just such a part of our culture that we either tend to brush it away when people want to talk about it, or we don't even know it's, it's there. We just think this is the way it's supposed to be. So anyway, to answer your question, a couple of very significant experiences for me that I'll try to keep in, you know, the nutshell. The first was about six years ago, just before I turned 40. And I remember, I was working really hard, I was still working part time in my government job. My child had not yet been diagnosed with autism. So we were just in the space of, you know, we can't control her What the heck is going on, and then finding comfort and solace in working on

Merideth Bisiker 31:33

you know, what was my side gig at the time, my coaching business, and I just pushed and pushed and I ended up getting sick. It was in December, I got sick with some kind of weird, cold thing, but it wasn't really a cold, then we were up on a local mountain for tobogganing or something. And I remember feeling like something was poking at me on my torso, like constantly, like there was like a pin, I ended up getting a small case of shingles at the age of 40. I had pushed myself so hard, I was getting up really early, really early to record podcast sessions for my own podcast, I was working really, really late, you know, like, it's just one more night or one more early morning, push, push, push, push, push. And then after shingles, I got sick again. And that sickness was related to shingles, because I was fighting the virus, right. And I, at that point, I said, Never again, I'm never getting to this point I I just pulled back and focused on that's when I learned you really need to focus on the one thing that's going to get you to where you want to be and stop getting distracted with all these other things. And then most recently, I was not only running the coaching practice by accidentally opened up a bookkeeping practice. And I was really enjoying that. But what happened was, I wasn't setting the right expectations and boundaries in that business. And what I did for one client, I didn't do for another, you know, I really catered to what was going to work for them in terms of workflow. And, you know, software we were using. bookkeepers have can have all sorts of tech stacks, I had like, a million different tech stacks, depending on the client. And so early last fall, I thought, Okay, well, then I can just, I can re onboard everybody. So here's how I'm going to do it. Because not only is bookkeeping, a really, it's a really tough job. So if you guys have a bookkeeper, just know, it's, it's a very time consuming job. And then COVID came, so at least here in Canada, a lot of my clients were eligible for applying for certain programmes, and I had to do that for them, or I did that for them, and also all the administration. So accountants and bookkeepers are very burned out right now. And I just decided it's not work I want to keep doing, I can either re onboard my clients who were all fantastic, none of this is their fault. But I can re onboard them and change the rate structure. So I was making what I should be making. Or I could start looking at shutting down my bookkeeping business and focus on coaching, which is really what I want to do. Plus do work with a provincial nonprofit that I work with, as well, which is extremely mean of meaningful work. But I didn't do it soon enough. And I ended up getting very burnt out and I was sitting at the desk I'm sitting at now my husband comes in and he's like, You know what, you really, you really need to shut things down. You are miserable. And he didn't. He wasn't saying I was miserable. Because I was grumpy all the time and making like not very nice for everyone else. He was saying he was very compassionate like he knew I'm not normally in this miserable state, you know, mad at everybody. And that was, that was a great, that was wonderful encouragement to just give the gift to myself of shutting everything down. And the reason why it took me so long is because I felt guilty, right, like everybody had our time. And for some reason I was taking responsibility for everybody else else's feelings of security, I guess.

Paula Shepherd 35:32

Wow, that's not an abnormal feeling to have, though. In our business. We feel like we're so committed. And I think sometimes that shows up as I've been running this programme. So for you, it was bookkeeping, but for someone else might be I've been running this programme for a long time, and I have clients that are inside of it. But I don't even really want to be offering this anymore. Yeah. And how do I do I either either continue with it, because people are making payments, or that's my income? Or how do I pivot that? How do I transition that? How do I make this a good thing for them?

Merideth Bisiker 36:08

Yeah, and I can think of two coaches in particular, who had membership programmes a few years back now, probably about three or four years back. And they, they just blew up, they, they were excellent coaches, and they were able to shift their programming so and their their offers so that they could earn more money and running, the membership just didn't make sense anymore. And you could tell as they transitioned out of those memberships, that they were feeling bad, and they, they were bracing themselves for backlash, because Sure enough, sure enough, there's always people who are mad, they don't like the change, whatever reason, and both of these people cancelled their programmes in full integrity, they, for people who paid memberships, they were willing to, you know, refund a portion of that, or, you know, offer other resources. So that change is hard, because we take on that responsibility for other people's feelings.

Paula Shepherd 37:18

So you have so much experience across the board when I'm just talking about not having feeling like you don't have enough and what is the next step there? But also this idea of being burnt out? And how does that correlate to your, you know, financial life? Right? And how do I let go of those things? There's a lot of there are a lot of people that I know who have continued to offer something that that they didn't really have a fire behind any are because they were afraid of not having that money? Mm

Merideth Bisiker 37:51

hmm. Yeah, there is so much there. Because I think burnout can also come from doing those things that don't let us up anymore, because there is a heavy feeling of obligation. And it is very psychological. Right. And so we might even end up resenting our clients, which is not a nice place to be. And I always say to people, when you start resenting something that's a signal, something's got to change, it's because it's not that situation. It's something that you, you have to take on. Yeah, so it does lead to burnout. And then you have the worry about money as well. So that it's like a limbo, that that particular spot, and sometimes sometimes you do just have to take the leap and go, Okay, I can't move forward, unless I let this go. Like, that's just the reality, or what do I have to invest in right now. So I can maintain that, but also build the thing that's going to support me financially so that I can eventually drop this other thing.

Paula Shepherd 38:57

And you didn't just say, What do I have to sell? What do I have to get rid of you said, What do I have to invest in right now? That will help me get to where I am and looking at investment as not just that next thing you're going to buy? But like where do you need to invest in yourself? Yeah, maybe even from a personal standpoint, that stepping away giving yourself space not being in the office, you know, or in front of the screen from this time to this time, really recognising the fact that that's not a sustainable way of living. And at some point, the money won't come because you won't be able to do the work.

Merideth Bisiker 39:42

Yeah, yeah, that's right. It's, uh, well, being in front of a screen becomes a habit again, speaking for myself, right? Just it'll be in the fall I realised, you know, my, my time in front of the screen was creeping later and later and later into the evening. So you mentioned Making those personal changes. And when I realised I had hit burnout again, I'm a lot more aware of this. Now, I did a couple of things. And one was I committed to building new habits, especially going into this year. And that was a lot of those habits were around sleeping, you know better sleep hygiene, I'm still not great at it because of such a night owl. But I know that I work better when I go to bed earlier, earlier. And my day starts off better eating properly. And for that I did make the investment in working with a dietitian, because I'm, you know, heading into perimenopause, and I'm still building a business that I love, and I still have children at home. So I knew that food was going to be a key to supporting me going forward. And so building habits around eating breakfast on time, and eating, like eating more actually had to become the habit and sitting down without electronics in front of me. And that has been key Paula and helping me feel really good about this transition from from closing my bookkeeping business, because that was a good source of income for me as well. So there was this, and there is like this, okay, I'm not quite making the income I was making before. But because I'm sleeping better and eating better. And you don't have various supports through friends and, and people I work with, I'm far more self regulated. Right? I can get myself through those moments of like, it's totally okay to be scared. It's totally okay to be scared. But when that starts to overtake your life, so that you are not taking any kind of action, that's where it really is a problem. Because you and I want everybody to be able to I hate the phrase live your best life. But yeah, so 15 right now, right? So yeah, investing in in oneself. And that might not mean investing in your business, or it might be invested in your business, but what's going to support you best so that you can support your business so that you can support your clients and make that impact you want to make, right?

Paula Shepherd 42:19

Absolutely. Well, in this world of, you know, it kind of looks like online, that especially in the coaching industry, that everyone is trying to be an overnight millionaire, right? Like, let's go from six figures to multiple six figures. And then it's like, by the time you get to multiple six figures, you have to be thinking about a million dollars. And there are some really dangerous things I have think that happened there. And And honestly, I think it's very I've seen it, I've been part of that, where you get excited. And you you start to becomes a cult mentality, and, honestly, a bit incestuous for lack of a better term. Oh,

Merideth Bisiker 43:01

I Yes. I've used the term pyramid schemes with quite a lot. Yes, like the million dollar coach teaching the next coach to be a million dollar coach to teach the next coach to be a male. And I got caught up in that for a good couple of years. Yes,

Paula Shepherd 43:15

I think we I want to say that I think everyone that's been in this for and has seen some level of success. At some point recognises that they were caught up in that because there is psychology behind it. Right? There's no no shame behind it. But this idea of like, really look at is that really why you started what you're doing? Is that really why you left your job? Is that, you know, if you're trying to if you leave your job because you had a toxic boss, and you didn't want to say no. And then is it really that you want to make more money? Or is that you want to learn how to speak up for yourself? Right, right. And then where does that change your circumstance? And then how does that change your money and really digging in from the bottom up from the core up? But when you're looking at it, do you feel from both your client work and what you are seeing in terms of the market that when people are in mass exodus, leaving their jobs, and then most of them starting their own businesses, that they're perpetuating the life that they had in their job by trying to become the overnight millionaire?

Merideth Bisiker 44:28

That's such a good question. I have to say, you know, the people I see who are leaving their jobs or my friends there, I'm not working anybody with anybody who are have left their jobs. Certainly some of them are considering it. But they're trying to find other ways to set boundaries and make changes in their own life so they feel more more supported. I think just pausing for a moment to think of the people I know who have just said screw And I'm, I'm out of here. And, and one of those people, it's been a very traumatic experience. So they're just giving themselves time to process because they have to. And I think many, many people are, you know, we before the pandemic hit. So many people were already pushed to the limit, but able to hang on. And what I did see a lot of is when the pandemic hit, either people ended up working a whole bunch more, which was like the case of myself and my colleagues in bookkeeping and accounting, we got burned out, because we ended up being way more busy. And we had already overloaded ourselves in the first place. Or the flip side, suddenly, people were out of work. Right. So all of this has been, it's going to be an interesting study, Paula, when we finally are able to look back at this, maybe in 10 years, hopefully, when we're out of this, you know, not to mention all the other experiences that are happening, like what happened in our province with with the flooding, or what's happening right now with the, you know, the war in Ukraine, all of this, it's going to be interesting to, to look back at it. But I want to get back to your question, which was, Are people perpetuating that? I think there is a risk, that yes, they are going to perpetuate exactly what they did in their jobs, because it's all they've known, especially if they worked in corporate. And that's what they've seen, you know, maybe their their parents worked jobs as well. And it's, it's what they know, because you tend to stay with what you know. And that's probably one of the best reasons to step outside of your circle, and find people who have done, what you've done, or what you want to do. So that you can there's power in that because people who have hit a certain level of success, however you define that, so many of them are generous with their advice with their mentorship with saying don't do this, right, just because they don't want other people to follow that path. Yeah. But yeah, I think I think point blank, yeah, people will perpetuate it if they're not staying conscious of

Paula Shepherd 47:20

this, which is why it is so important to have a coach like you to be guiding them through that because we're so used to a regular paycheck, and then we step out of that, and that feels really scary. And yeah, now we're looking for money and other ways, even if it's not starting your own business. So yeah, as we're wrapping up here, what is one? Nugget, one golden nugget, one piece of advice that you would leave with people regarding burnout and finances maybe combined? Hmm. Like so many, which was

Merideth Bisiker 48:02

exactly which one do I pick and also thinking of, you know, different clients and different people I know, because the situation would be different. I think again, it comes back to that staying curious, because that's very centering and very grounding.

Paula Shepherd 48:21

And why does this feel so good?

Merideth Bisiker 48:23

Why does this feel so good? Oh, that's right.

Paula Shepherd 48:27

I just, I mean, that just sits so well with me right now. It just, Oh, God. That's a great way to end this episode. So make sure you write it down. If you and why wouldn't you want to follow Meredith? You can find her at any of the links in the show notes or at her website. Talk to my Meredith, thank you so much for being here. I am just I'm so honoured that this has come full circle and I'm getting to interview on the podcast. This is a it's insane. Thank you for being here.

Merideth Bisiker 49:03

It will thank you, Paula. This has been just a fantastic conversation.

Paula Shepherd 49:08

Alright everybody, I hope you enjoyed it. Remember, ask yourself why does this feel so good? Multiple times a day, I think you'll change your your frame of mind. Go follow Meredith and I will see you next week. Thank you for listening to this episode of the confident session. I know there are hundreds of 1000s of podcasts. And I'm so grateful that you chose to spend your time today with me. Head on over to be fearless with forward slash podcast to check out the show notes from today's episode and grab links to all the amazing goodies mentioned today. Also, if you love this episode, as much as I love making it, make sure you don't miss any future ones by hitting the subscribe button right now. See you next time.

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