Today’s episode is about Judith’s Fear Of Being Fabulous
Judith & Jim’s expertise in helping people with Overcoming The Fear Of Being Fabulous didn’t just come from working with clients in their private practice over many years and now coaching tech industry executives. It started with their own personal challenges.
Today you’ll gain insight into a bit of Judith’s background and how it helped create personal and professional challenges for her – so you can hopefully relate them to your own life.
Next week it’s Jim’s turn to share some stories about his holdbacks.
Ep.135 ~ Our Own Holdbacks-Part 1~ Judith’s Fear Of Being Fabulous~ TRANSCRIPT
Like most people, you probably suffer from some form of The Fear Of Being Fabulous. We’ll bet you do. After all, most people suffer from a variety of holdbacks, failing over and over to live up to their full potential. They’re afraid to be all that they were meant to be. And they know it.
How does this apply to you? How are you living with frustration, disappointment, procrastination, and anxiety?
It doesn’t matter whether The Fear Of Being Fabulous is effecting your work life, your love life, or it could be showing up in any area of your life, even hobbies and pleasure.
You see, we’ve both had to overcome the soul-draining undercurrents of this fear in many areas of our own lives. And now, when we teach this topic, we’re always struck by how nearly everyone laughs, giggles, or blushes when we start talking about The Fear Of Being Fabulous.
When we ask for examples, we hear about how people are afraid to ask for promotions, reluctant to speak up at meetings for fear they will be seen as arrogant or aggressive, shy about asking someone for a date or even a get together for coffee.
The examples are endless, but the results are the same. People are held back by internal forces, beyond their conscious control, from living their fullest, most fabulous lives.
Judith – Hi – I’m Judith Sherven and I’m Jim Sniechowski
We’re a married PhD Psychology team and we welcome you to this episode of our “Overcoming the Fear Of Being Fabulous” podcast series.
This time it’s Judith’s turn, and next time it will be mine as we introduce ourselves to you in some detail regarding how we experienced The Fear of Being Fabulous in our own lives.
We started exploring this topic when we were first dating and discovered that we had both been professional actors earlier in our lives. AND we had both left it behind. Walked away from the success we both experienced. Success that came effortlessly. Success that had always come with substantial Screen Actors Guild and Actors Equity League Union based incomes. Neither of us had ever worked for free. We were never “starving actors.” Quite the contrary.
And yet, we walked away, leaving it all behind. Why?
As Jim said, today’s podcast is dedicated to helping you understand a bit about my background and how it affected my inability to hold on to success in my early years. Next time, you’ll hear Jim’s story. We’re trusting these background insights will help you pin down some elements in your own earlier life that are still affecting you now.
Today I’ll share with you what I call – “Surviving in a World of Mad Misbegotten Misfits”.
Little did my parents know when they met in the recreational ping pong room at a trailer park in Inglewood, California that both of their mothers were traumatized by this material world and rarely associated with anyone outside their immediate families. Instead both of my grandmothers routinely sought comfort and salvation by going to evangelical Christian tent meetings where they would over and over again go up to the altar to be saved, but that never truly satisfied their hunger for safety and salvation from what they called “this corrupt and heathen world”.
My mother Helen was at the trailer park with her parents and two sisters while they looked for a place to rent, having just arrived in Los Angeles from Des Moines, Iowa where my grandfather had worked as an overnight security guard and my grandmother – always ambitious in her way – ran their home as a boarding house. It was located in the fancy section of the city which they could not otherwise afford. This required my mother to attend the area’s “Beverly Hills type High School” often without lunch money and always dressed in her older sisters’ hand-me-downs.
My father Ralph was there with his two brothers on their way back to Minnesota after their band “The Sherven Brothers’ Rodeoliers” had played in several Gene Autrey movies. Despite acclaim for their music and film roles, they were prohibited from performing in clubs or theaters in Los Angeles (or anywhere in California) because they belonged to the musicians’ union of Minnesota rather than the union in California. So, they felt forced to abandon their dream of growing a successful musical career.
Helen and Ralph married two years later, 1939, in Las Vegas. It was a simple courtroom ceremony as they had no money beyond the meager income my father earned as a sales rep for Ben-Hur spices.
Having lost his father to the flu epidemic coupled with pernicious anemia in 1919, which then required his mother to work three jobs to support five children, my father dropped out of school in the 11th grade to help out. Consequently, my father had no interest in having children. But my mother persuaded him otherwise and four years into their marriage I was born.
My mother lived a life of anxiety, and certainly during her pregnancy there was ample reason for heightened anxiety beyond the reality of growing a new life in her womb. Frightful WWII news headlines were coupled with the breadlines that my mother regularly had to stand in to get her rationed food stuffs. Six weeks after I arrived my father, who was a conscientious objector on religious grounds, had to report to an alternative service firefighting unit of like-minded men in the mountains above Fresno, California. With only minimal visits home to see his new family, my father would be away for the next two years leaving my mother to survive accompanied by her loneliness, depression, grief, and ever-present anxiety and the task of caring for a new born baby.
For nine months in the womb I was surrounded by and connected to the anxious nervous system of my mother. Then when the hour of my birth arrived, the charge nurse kicked my father out of the delivery room even when he pleaded to stay explaining that he’d birthed many a farm animal in his youth. Then, after a traditional father-forbidden, hospital dictated and drug-infused birth, I was brought home three days later to a grief-filled environment as my parents prepared for my father to leave for camp.
My limited ability to bond and attach played out in my relationships at school. I never connected with any of my teachers. In fact, my 4th grade teacher held her wedding during the school year and invited all of her students, but I was the only one who didn’t go, feeling like I didn’t belong there. And while I got along with all my elementary school classmates, I was never close with any of them. Instead I played with the neighbor girls in the summer and on weekends simply because they lived next door and across the street and we were all the same age. But since I never felt any meaningful attachment, we never became actual friends. Consequently, I never cared what we did. If they suggested hop scotch, roller skating, Chinese checkers, or the card game Canasta I’d go along just to go along.
This absence of desire played out in my relationship with academic excellence. While I had the brains and got good grades, it all happened by rote. I was raised to be a dutiful girl, so I didn’t rebel against school, even though I found it incredibly boring. I simply did what I was told and did it very well because I could. In fact all through junior high I was on the Honor Roll every semester, which I took for granted rather than understanding that I actually excelled. Consequently I never even considered attending college except as a way to meet an eligible husband.
When a child is uncared for beyond the material requirements of food, safety, and bodily comfort the unconscious lesson is that life is merely about coping and getting by. And that was certainly true for me.
I have almost no memory of my early years and only began to retain glimpses of my childhood experiences around the age of nine when I began to wear what was then called a “training bra.” Yes, I developed very early. And by twelve I looked eighteen and won a beauty contest. That’s when my conscious life actually began. And that’s when I started modeling at the Del Mar Beach Club in Santa Monica, earning $5 for each Sunday night fashion show.
That led to getting an agent and my first television commercial when I was 14. followed by my first acting job on the “Ozzie and Harriet” television show. My career continued to grow such that I earned over $10,000 every year of high school and was able to put myself through UCLA, paid for living in a sorority house, and bought my own cars. After UCLA I went to New York where I continued working, making over $50,000 net in 1967 (which would be approximately $350,000.00 today).
And then I quit acting and modeling and moved back to Los Angeles. Why?
What I told myself was that I needed to get married. That was what my conscious mind told me. That was what I’d been raised to do. Get married.
What I discovered only later in discussion with Jim was my own version of The Fear Of Being Fabulous. I was making far more money than my father had ever made as a sales person. My mother had never worked. And my unconscious Allegiance to them caused me to feel that getting married was what I needed to do, rather than continue acting and modeling.
Growing up in my family there was never any mention of “career” or “ambition.” Unheard of!
So I’d never viewed my acting as a career. In fact, when one of my agents in New York asked if he could manage my acting career, I never even discussed what he had in mind. I simply said “No, I need to return to Los Angeles and get married.”
I trust this gives you a solid glimpse into my background and how The Fear Of Being Fabulous played out in my early years.
Next time, Jim will share a bit of his growing up background to fill out your beginning insight into how we both came to care so much about people gaining the internal permission to live their fullest, most successful lives!