Stepping Out From Rock Bottom And Into Your Life’s Purpose With Sabine Gedeon
The mundane day-to-day life can tend to take its toll on us, but that is only until we've found the purpose for what we're here for. Living her life living in her purpose, Sabine Gedeon has since been helping clients identify and overcome their self-sabotaging behavior. Before all of this, Sabine has been through rock bottom. She shares that moment in her life with us and how a faithful encounter helped pull herself up in this episode. Sitting down with Tony Martignetti, she takes us through her story of finding her purpose, revealing some moments that helped her from her book, Transformed: The Journey to Becoming. Sabine also talks about how she is helping people work through the mental and emotional challenges when transforming into a different person—be it in their professional or personal lives. What is more, she then touches on why entrepreneurship is the best self-development course anyone can go through.
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Stepping Out From Rock Bottom And Into Your Life’s Purpose With Sabine Gedeon
It is my honor to introduce you to my guest, Sabine Gedeon. She is a speaker, certified life and leadership coach, and the author of Transformed: The Journey to Becoming. As a transformational leader, she helps her clients identify and overcome their self-sabotaging behavior, take action towards their goals, want to achieve, and unapologetically step into their leadership identity and power. With the focus on personal growth and self-leadership, she aims to facilitate the transformation process for high-achieving mission-driven leaders so they can gain the clarity, courage, and confidence needed to effectively lead themselves and others.
Sabine has spent many years supporting leaders and professionals in their career development within Fortune 100 companies. In her own business, she has helped hundreds of professionals breakthrough barriers, uncover or build their leadership capabilities, and experience personal and professional growth. Sabine lives in Los Angeles with her Shih Tzu, Bailey. She’s an avid reader. She’s excited for the US to start opening up again from the pandemic so she can get outside more often. Welcome to the show.
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited about our conversation.
I’m so thrilled to have you on and seeing how you came to this place where you are where you’re making such a great impact in the world. The world needs your impact now more than ever.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s given us the space to have that time, to give ourselves that time to be introspective. As I look at 2020, and for most of the people in my circle, it’s almost been like everything that’s inside of you has come to light and we have all had opportunities to deal with the real us, the hidden us, the true us. I’ve been able to leverage this for myself and certainly for those who I support to help them navigate outside of the external factors that we’re facing that they’ve been given the opportunity to deal with.
The journey to discovering who you are and what your purpose is is a lifetime event.
I’ve been calling it the great revealer. That’s a great way to think about it. What we’re going to do here in the show is to talk about flashpoints. These are points in people’s stories that have revealed their gifts to the world. There can be one or there could be many of these flashpoints. We can start wherever you like to start. You can share what you’re called to share. I’m going to turn it over to you to let you take it from there. Along the way, we’ll pause and see what comes up.
When I think of the first major flashpoint for me to get me to where I am, it took place in 2007. I had hit my personal rock bottom and was at the place of beyond considering suicide. I had a plan in place. I talked about this in my book. At that time, I was working in Corporate America, at about 25 and still had the part-time job that I had since I was a teenager and devise this plan of how I was going to exit the world. The night before, I cleaned my apartment, got everything ready, and was like, “This is it.” I decided to have a conversation with God up until that point. I’m grown up Catholic but wasn’t religious. I did things that you were told to do and believed there was a God, but I wasn’t sure if I was as devoted.
I was like, “This is what’s happening tomorrow night,” as if He didn’t already know. I had this experience of religion pouring out all of the weight, pain, disappointment, and things that had even got me to that place of rock bottom and feeling that I’d be better off and the people in my life would be better off without me. I release that. At that moment, what I stated was, “If I knew that there was a purpose behind everything that I had endured, it would be easier for me to accept and be able to keep pushing forward. I don’t know what my purpose is. I don’t know why I’ve had to suffer all of this pain. I won’t go into details of what all those things were.”
At that moment, I asked two questions. I was like, “I need to know that you’re real and I have a purpose in this world.” I had my own physical encounter with God where I felt the arms of God wrapped around me. I cried myself to sleep on the floor and woke up the next day with a determination to find what my purpose was because of that encounter. That was the biggest pivotal moment for me of stepping beyond the mundane day to day of doing life to understanding why I am here on this planet and there has to be something bigger.
It’s such a powerful one that it deserves a pause and people often talk about purpose but when you see how important that purpose was for you and the need for purpose. That’s what I want to reflect on for a moment and saying, “How amazing of an experience to have that.” Knowing that that’s something that could turn you around that this happened and this is what created something for me to be able to say, “Now I know that there’s something real for me.”
Allow people to explore without feeling boxed in.
Oftentimes, purpose is spoken about, especially in the coaching space around what it is that you’re supposed to do versus who you are supposed to be. In that moment and even throughout these years, I’ve had to remind myself that there are things that I can do that are outward expressions of my purpose, but those things are not my purpose. Who I am and who I’m becoming is the revelation of my purpose. It’s been many years and I still can’t tell you that I can pinpoint what my purpose is. There have been opportunities and glimpses of where I’ve been able to express it through different channels and coaching being one of them. I feel like the journey to discovering who you are and what your purpose is, is a lifetime event. It’s often advertised like, “Once you find that thing that you love to do, you found purpose.” No, you haven’t because you’re still going to continue to grow and learn things about yourself. You’re still going to be given opportunities to be challenged and stretched. The purpose is not a one-time thing and not found externally.
One thing that comes to mind for me is it’s almost like the pursuit of purpose and the hope that there is purpose. That feeling that it’s there gives you enough to go on. It’s almost like the engine that keeps the heart moving forward.
You used two words right there. It was the hope that there was more and seeing when you’re in that place of that level of depression and that level of suicide. All you see and hear is darkness. From the time I woke up in the morning to the time I went to bed, it was all of this negative, critical chatter in my head of how unworthy I was and how unlovable I was. All day long that was the tape deck replaying, and the images and visions that I saw were situations in which that evidence was there. To have that moment of a glimpse of something wider and more positive, definitely spurred that hope. It was enough for me to be like, “There’s something more. I’m here now, but there is a pathway that leads to more light.”
I want you to continue your story. I like to jump on that because it’s such a powerful moment and I felt like we needed to have a conversation about it.
The second pivotal moment for me was I spent ten years of my career in Corporate America mostly in HR. I remember when I started my career, I wanted to be an HR business partner. That seemed to be the ideal role. They had told me, “Most people who make it to this level have been in HR for twenty years.” I’m the ambitious, bright eyes, “You can’t tell me no. I’ve already proven otherwise in many different aspects of my life. There’s no way I’m doing this for twenty years to get there.” I hustled and busted my butt for ten years trying to get to that role. I went back and got my Master’s.
Entrepreneurship is the best self-development course that anyone can go through.
I finally got the role. Within months, I was like, “This is not what I want.” I had one of those moments of, “I’ve spent ten years striving, sacrificing relationships, sacrificing fun, friends for the focus of my career for this thing and it is not even what I want.” It wasn’t rock bottom but it was one of those moments that forced me to pause and look inside myself. Even then, I had to circle back to the discussion that I had back in 2007 of, “What is my purpose then? If this isn’t attached to it anymore then what am I supposed to be doing? How am I supposed to be showing up in the world?” That was another journey to discovery or pivot for me from a career perspective.
It’s such an amazing story because if you think about it, there are many people out there who go down these paths. I call it climbing the wrong mountain and you spend all this time. You said about the sacrifices you made along that path to this place. You get to the top and you realize, “This is not where I wanted to be. I wasted all that energy, effort, and other things like family things or health,” to realize that wasn’t what you wanted. It’s frustrating but sometimes, that journey having gone down it, now you realize that there are some learnings in that that you want to pass on.
I saw it play out in Corporate America at various different levels of the organization. If you can identify that person who’s always grumpy, always mad, and nothing is okay. We look at them like, “They’re difficult.” No, perhaps they’re doing this because it doesn’t fulfill them. It caused me to look at the personalities that I had encountered throughout my career to understand that many of us, whether it’s for the title, financial resources, we have a mortgage, and we have kids to put to college. Many of us stay in situations or environments that we know are eating away our soul yet because of all of these external things or perceived obligations, we don’t break outside of the box.
Crack open the door and peek to see what could be on the other side, where can I find more fulfillment? When I found myself in that place, it was humbling. It gave me an opportunity to step back and say, “In my career, where have I felt the most fulfilled? What were the things I did that I felt like I was operating in my zone of genius?” For me, that was when I was coaching employees one-on-one. Being in the recruitment space, I would do feedback sessions with internal employees who didn’t get the job. I start to ask, “What is it that you want to do? What is it that you’re good at?” I could spend hours doing that.
That fueled me versus draining me. Also, when I talk to leaders and we have those behind closed door conversations, they would allow themselves to be completely vulnerable with me around what they personally were dealing with, how it was being reflected or being projected in the workplace, and helping them work through that. As I thought through, “There’s something here with coaching because that’s where I feel the most passionate.” It allowed me to start my coaching practice doing career coaching.
I was like, “I’m a recruiter. I read resumes. I know what to look for. I can help serve people in that manner,” until I realized that’s not what I wanted to do. I did not want to sit there and spend three hours writing a resume. It wasn’t as fulfilling as I hoped. There were several different pivots, but that was the catalyst to help me stop and think through like, “What do I enjoy doing? Where do I feel like I am the most impactful and I’m able to help people grow, develop, move on in their career and then eventually help others?”
It’s getting closer. It’s the whole game of like, “Am I cold or am I warm?” It’s okay to not figure it out. In some ways, as long as you’re trying, as long as you’re moving forward, it’s progress.
It’s funny when we get out of school or when we’re in school, it’s like, “You’ve got to pick a major. You’ve got to know what it is.” At 18, 22 or 30, there’s so much about ourselves we don’t know and we’re discovering. Putting that level of pressure on an 18, 20, or 22-year-old, you’ve got to figure out what you want to be for the rest of your life. I feel like it’s so unfair. Granted, I went to undergrad for Human Resources, I did human resources for thirteen years, and I still consult in human resources but that’s because there’s an element in me that enjoys serving others or being able to help people.
For other people, they’re like, “My dad and my granddad was a teacher. I’ve got to be a teacher.” They go down that path not because it’s fulfilling but because there are some other expectations. I’ve heard the saying many times that people will go through many different careers throughout their life and it doesn’t necessarily have to be attached to a specific degree program. I wish we would change the system and allow people to explore without feeling boxed in. That message carries on into corporate, it carries on into your career. We get boxed into these labels or these specific things. It’s hard for people to break out of that.
It’s like celebrate the fact that people have a range of different skills and that is something that’s powerful as opposed to specialized. It’s great to have some deep knowledge but also to have a broader view. It’s also very powerful. I have a question that’s going to be an interesting one for you. What did you want to be when you were a kid?
None of us are immune to those low places, to those rock bottom, and challenges.
I wanted to be a lawyer. My sister was going to be a nurse. My brother was going to be a mechanic. I was going to be the lawyer because I wanted the briefcase, office with the glass, and the high-rise. That was all I knew about being a lawyer. I had this smart mouth and the family was ready to debate anyone on anything at any given moment. They reinforced, “You would be a great lawyer based on your nature.” When I chose HR, I knew that I had to do a four-year program before going into law school. The plan was I would do HR for undergrad and then go into law school. That didn’t happen because I got a job in HR right after.
There’s always a big connection with how people are as children and their entire youth. Sometimes, it rises back up in there as they get progressed in their career. They do or depart during the adolescents and into their formative years, then all of a sudden, you come back and do a full circle.
In undergrad, I wanted to change my major to Psychology because I was fascinated with the human mind and how we thought. I did the math in terms of compensation. I was like, “We’re not.” First of all, I’m not going to go to school for the rest of my life. From the sheer base salary perspective, I was like, “I have a better shot at Corporate America,” but it does come back full circle because my focus is so much on mindset and self-leadership which is I feel still directly connecting to Psychology, human behavior, and understanding how the mind works.
I’d want to get back to the story for that reason. Here you are, not feeling it in the career coaching area. How did you make that transition into where ultimately you landed?
That was a different kind of journey. I tell people all the time that I feel like entrepreneurship is the best self-development course that anyone can go through. Once I had that epiphany in 2016, I started the business. I’m doing it on the side, here and there, because you have the security of a paycheck whether or not you push forward, at that time, didn’t matter. In 2018, I led to jump ship, leave Corporate America, and start my own business. I did start it with people who are in career transitions in a sense of they were going from one field to a different. Still career-related but what I wanted to help people work through is some of the mental and emotional challenges that you go through when you’re shifting and transforming into a different person.
I was trying to combine the career aspect with the actual self-development piece. During that time, I thought I was pretty entrepreneurial-minded. Once you leave Corporate America after being there for so long, there were many things that I realized that had been hardwired into me in the way that I thought, perceived myself, and evaluated what success was in school and in work. You work on a project and complete something, there are some types of reward and recognition.
In entrepreneurship, you can work on this program, put it out there, and get crickets, or you could put all this effort into working with a client and not see results. There were a lot of things that, quite frankly, I had to be programmed in my thinking and my understanding of not just an employee, but what it is to be in the space of very institutionalized roles to you’re in a field on your own. You are leading this pathway by yourself. Not that I didn’t have mentors or coaches, I had mentors or coaches, but it was in those moments of self-doubt, self-sabotage, imposter syndrome, comparison, and perfectionism, all of these things that I didn’t know were inside of me that I had the propensity to manifest.
Those were the things where I didn’t have someone guiding me or leading me. For people who do start businesses or even if you’re not starting in business, you’re shifting, those are the things that people struggle with the most. It’s not about, “How do I set up my marketing? How do I set up my website?” It’s, “How do I become who I need to be and shed all of the old versions of me so that I can step in and own this new space and new identity that I’m operating in?”
Coming from where you came from, it’s a powerful shift to come into this place of entrepreneurship, especially when you had your demons from the past. It’s not uncommon for people to see them come up again when you start something that’s bold, risky, and all those things start showing up again. They show up and amplify because now you’re in a place where you are a lot riding on you because you are the one who is the business. There’s a lot of pressure and nobody there to be holding you accountable besides you. There are a lot of myths that people have about the beautiful nature of entrepreneurship, but in reality, it is beautiful but at the same time, there are many things about it that can play with your mental game.
I thought 2020 is a personification of what people go through, through that process. All of your fears, anxiety, worry, doubt, and negative things where you feel completely out of control, all of those things that we’ve all gone through are exactly what prepared me to be able to feel somewhat stable. I’m not going to sit and act like I had it all together but there was a feeling of being a lot more grounded and not as easily shaken where I know for some people that hasn’t been the case. I would like my experience in 2018 and 2019 to be very similar to what many are experiencing now.
Every great person had some tremendous challenges to overcome to become great.
“Those wounds are our strengths.” I don’t know where that came from originally, but I love that saying because when you’ve gone through those challenges and battles, they make you so much stronger in the long run. You’d love to not have to go through them but there is something about them that prepares you for the later battles that you have. I want to know, what are the key takeaways for you along this journey? If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what advice would you have for your younger self?
I’ve thought about this question a lot. There are different periods of my younger self that I’d like to go back to. For the younger self coming out of high school going into college, I based on my family dynamics. I’ve always had to be independent and figure things out. What I would tell her at eighteen, who has her life planned out and had to know that everything was going to work out, I would challenge her to explore, give herself the permission and space. I’m an immigrant. My parents are immigrants. There was a lot of focus around, “You’ve got to achieve, excel, be better, and do better. We’ve sacrificed all this stuff for you.”
There was a lot of pressure of being a savior. I developed savior syndrome. When I say explore, it’s giving yourself that permission. If I had to do it all over again, I would have taken a year between high school and college to be without the pressure of grades to understand what it is that I want in my life. In college, there was a point where I wanted to change my major. Not because I didn’t enjoy what I was learning with regards to HR but I was fascinated by psychology, human mind, and all these other things. I let what I perceive to be more valuable around compensation to hinder me from pursuing something. Thank God, He brought me full circle.
I know college is a lot of money and prices go up but give yourself space and the permission to explore those things that you’re passionate about because that’s a part of you that’s telling you, “This is part of the path and the journey. Whether that’s changing your major or taking an additional course to explore, don’t be afraid to do that. I do believe that throughout our journey, there are things that come in our way whether they come by challenges, by opportunities, and by a test to help steer us in the path that has been specifically designed for us. Don’t ignore those things.” I would say to my 25-year-old-self who was at space of rock bottom because of what everyone else’s perception had been of her, one of the things that I’ve had to learn as part of understanding who I am and accepting who I am is that, “No one is perfect.”
I know we say that, and intellectually we know that but there’s still something inside of us that spurs this comparison, looks at other people, and feels like they got it. What I love about this show is that you’ve positioned it as we only see people’s highlight reels. Most of the time, we’ve seen when they’re on the mountain. We all go through valleys and tough times in our journey. When you’re looking at yourself and doubting whether or not you have what it takes and you’re looking at this person that seems exceptional, I challenge you to realize that none of us are immune to those low places, rock bottom, and challenge on places. It’s easier said than done when you’re in it.
Look at the mountaintop that they’re on and admire it from a place of, “They’re on the mountain top.” If they’re on the mountain top where they made it, imagine the ditches and the valleys that they had to be down before they got there. Don’t just focus on where they are because I am a firm believer that every great person had some tremendous challenges to overcome to become great. If you’re in a challenging spot, you’re in the right place.
You’re exactly where you need to be. For those who are either in Corporate America or whatever it is that you’re doing in your career, and you feel unsatisfied, unfulfilled, and there’s more, give yourself the permission and the space to explore that because there’s nothing sadder than someone going through this life. Life has its own crap to throw you out but to go through life feeling worn down, worn out, unfulfilled, and the things that make you who you are don’t matter. We have a finite amount of time on this Earth. Give yourself the space to be the best version of you. Sometimes from experience, that means losing people, losing places of comfort, being in a place of ambiguity, and change constantly.
The message is something that lands squarely in my heart because it’s such truth that everyone needs to know. It’s our wake-up call. I thank you for bringing that to the show. I feel like we are shifting gears to this place of very arbitrary questions, but what is one book or books that have had an impact on who you are and why?
Two of the ones that I always go back to is Who Moved My Cheese? One of the things that I’ve learned in life or in this time that I’ve been here is that the one thing that’s constant is change. If you’re looking to grow and continue to develop, I’m not saying that it gets easier but when you can expect change and when it happens, you can learn to lean into it like, “What’s the lesson here?” It’ll make the disruptions and the challenges so much easier to overcome. I’ve had to learn when challenges do come.
I asked myself once I realized in a period of transition, “What am I supposed to learn in this?” Often, we’re trying to defend ourselves and trying to make sure that we don’t have to face the hard times. We’re trying to protect ourselves. Oftentimes, it’s in those challenges, it’s when the tornado is happening that the beauty is taking place. Leaning in and saying, “What is this lesson? What does this thing come to teach me about me?” Who Moved My Cheese? is my periodic reminder of, “You’ve got to stay in the space of exploration, and you’ve got to be ready for the change.” The other one is Think and Grow Rich, not for the reason that most people usually read it.
It's when the tornado is happening that the beauty is taking place.
I started reading it because it was suggested as, “If you’re going to be a business owner, you want to be successful. You’ve got to read this book.” What I took away from the book and fueled my whole quest on focusing on mindset is that the book has very little to do with how to get rich or how to make money. Don’t get me wrong, you can apply some of the principles to help you with that space but what it focuses on is your belief system. It gives you insight into how powerful our mind is, how powerful our feelings are, and our beliefs are to creating the lives and the things that we want. Think and Grow Rich for me is the reminder that, one, while I may not have control over external circumstances, I do have control over what I believe and what I want to create in my life.
Two, there is power in us. Many times we believe that we’re powerless in terms of creating the lives that we want. That book is the reminder for me that, “No, you’re not powerless.” There’s the saying, “The obstacles are the way.” Looking at it as it’s not an obstacle to deter me or to push me back but it’s an obstacle to help me build the muscles that I need to get over and be able to overcome the next thing that’s coming my way.
Think and Grow Rich has a powerful take on it because I’ve never heard anyone describe it that way. It also reminds me that the most powerful books are sometimes the ones that are the classics that have been around for ages and the message is clear. It means a lot to us and we have to continue to hold on to those messages. That’s what is always interesting about a book like that. It stays with us. Thank you much for coming on the show and sharing your insights. This has been powerful. This story touched my soul.
Thank you for creating a space for people like me to be able to share. Thank you for the work that you’re doing, especially in times like these. Having individuals that you can turn to such as yourself, the work that you do, and this show too. It’s such an easy world nowadays, especially with social media to feel small because everyone is magnified, looks great, and pretty on Instagram and everything else. To have people on that can be vulnerable and share honestly like, “This is not all peaches and cream, but to leverage this as there’s hope. If they made it out of those low places and they’re where they are, I can make it out of my low place.” Thank you for the opportunity.
I want to make sure that I give the audience a way to reach out to you if they want to learn more about your work and get in touch with you. Where can they find you?
My website is www.SabineGedeon.com, which is always there. I do a blog post weekly and on social media channels. LinkedIn is where I hang out the most. Please feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn if you have questions if anything spurred at you. I’m also on Facebook and Instagram as well, but not as active. I’m always looking to connect with new people, share resources, and share my network so let’s connect there.
Also, the book too. Make sure that people run up and grab this book. I can’t wait to buy a copy. I’m going out to grab that because I’m dying to read this. Thank you. I also want to thank the audience for coming on the journey with us. I know they’re leaving with many great things to put into action. At the very least, they’re inspired to go out and do something powerful in their lives.
- Transformed: The Journey to Becoming - Amazon
- Who Moved My Cheese?
- Think and Grow Rich
- LinkedIn – Sabine Gedeon
- Facebook – Sabine Gedeon
- Instagram – Sabine Gedeon
About Sabine Gedeon
My unique approach to coaching and consulting is designed to take high-achieving, purpose-driven leaders through a deep and thorough process of change, transformation, and growth.
I'm a Leadership Consultant, Certified Coach, & Strategist. My "Superpower" is helping ambitious, purpose-driven leaders transform their thinking so they can achieve greater results and experience more impact in life & business.
I specialize in Executive Coaching & Training for Service-based Businesses and their Leadership
I've spent over a decade supporting leaders and professionals in their career development within Fortune 100 companies and in my own business, and have helped hundreds of professionals breakthrough barriers, uncover or build their leadership capabilities, and experience personal and professional growth.
I know first-hand the amount of faith and courage it takes to break away from the norm and step into something new or bigger than yourself. Using her professional training, expertise and personal experiences as a benchmark, she hopes to help lead millions of others through their unique paths of purpose, impact, freedom, and legacy.