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Redefining Success and Self-Worth

“Cancer has brought me so many blessings in terms of lessons and rediscovering who I am and what I wanted in life.” – Mayda Poc

Mayda Poc is an international life and career coach for executives in fast paced industries, with a background of over 16 years in the investment banking industry. She enjoyed working in a high pressure environment – and the success and earning power that came with it. However a diagnosis led her to redefine how she defines her success, her productivity – and her self-worth.

Mayda left investment banking after her diagnosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma – but not right away. After having another life-changing event, she then changed her fast-paced life and started focusing on helping others find fulfillment and purpose in their lives – whether they stay in their fast paced careers or not. 

Discussed in this episode:

  • How mental programming and societal expectations can be like muscle memory that needs to be observed and questioned.
  • Recognizing and reframing self-criticism as a habit that no longer serves a purpose.
  • The identity shift that happens when you’re no longer being defined by your productivity, earning power, and success.
  • Embracing personal choices and having the courage to start over, without apologizing for pursuing a different path.

Guest Spotlight: Mayda Poc

Guest Mayda Poc, smiling, wearing a pink sweater

From Wall Street to International Life and Career Coach for Executives in fast-paced industries.

After more than 16 years in the financial industry, in Paris, London, and New York City, and a ‘life happens’ event, Mayda Poc left Investment Banking to become an international life and career coach, focusing on helping executives find more zen, fulfillment, and purpose in their lives and careers.

As your typical overachiever, Mayda holds multiple certifications and accreditations: Life Coaching, Career and Corporate, as well as a Health coaching.  A Certified Hypnotist, and Mayda also uses Neuro-Linguistic Programming as well as Emotional Freedom Technique.

Mayda speaks 4 languages, having spent part of her childhood in Syria then in France.  She now resides in New York City with her hubby.

Connect with Mayda Poc

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Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

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NOTE: This podcast was transcribed by an AI tool. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Mayda Poc
Hello, everyone. Welcome to the live your life, not your diagnosis podcast. I'm your host, Andrea Hanson. The identity shift that comes from developing a chronic illness. It's something that I talk about quite a bit. I think partly because it's a real phenomenon that I see all the time with my clients, I've experienced it myself. And also, because I think it's just fascinating.
We develop these identities that are tied to our health. Our work, our ability to contribute to our family and our community.
And when something happens like a chronic illness or a death of somebody close to us, or even an abrupt career change, these identities that we hold so close. Are not just changed, but gone. It's like we're shedding a very big layer. The layer of who we think we are, how we fit into our family. Our community, our world.
And what shedding this layer uncovers can be a whole host of things. It can be feelings like shame and fear and uncertainty, even grieving.
It can uncover our true values and beliefs that we didn't realize that we had. And shedding, this layer can open us up to whole new perspectives and worlds that weren't previously available to us. Because we weren't open to them. That's what this week's guest uncovered as a part of her journey after her diagnosis. Mayda Poc is an international life and career coach whose previous identity is an investment banker was in some ways, very different from her identity. Now.
In this week's episode, we talk about how to shift that identity and why we have it in the first place.
Mayda is so honest and open about her identity when it came to being successful and a top earner. And how she shifted it to become much more loving towards herself and redefining herself worth. Mayda takes her experiences from working in a very fast paced environment and helps high achieving people in similar fast paced careers. Find joy.
And peace and passion in their lives. As she puts it, her mission is to help others find their way back to what makes their heart sing. Even if it means being an investment banker. I loved talking to my data and we go deep on quite a few topics around finding joy. And redefining things like self-worth and what validation from other people really means.
This was a great conversation and I can't wait for you to meet Mayda and hear her story. Please enjoy this week's episode and visit Andrea Hanson for more on Mayda Poc resources that we talk about in the show and transcripts from today's episode. You can find the link to all of that. In this episode description.
[00:00:00] Andrea: Welcome to the Live Your Life, not Your Diagnosis podcast. I'm Andrea Hanson, author, motivational speaker and master certified coach. When I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, I was told I would never reach my goals, but I did and I'm on a mission to prove that life with a chronic illness can still be expansive and quite remarkable.
Everyone has their own unique path. I'm talking to people living with a chronic illness that come from different backgrounds, have different points of view, and are achieving amazing life goals of all kinds to inspire you to achieve what you thought was impossible. These stories are raw, uncensored, and judgment free listener discretion is advised.
I'm here today with Mayda Poc. From Wall Street to international life and career coach for executives and fast-paced industries. After more than 16 years in the financial industry in Paris, London, and New York, and a life happens event, Mayda Poc left investment banking to become an international life and career coach, focusing on helping executives find more zen fulfillment and purpose in their lives and careers.
As your typical overachiever Mayda holds multiple certifications and accreditations, life coaching career in corporate as well as health coaching a certified hypnotist and MI a uses neurolinguistic programming as well as emotional freedom technique. MAA speaks four languages having spent part of her childhood in Syria, then in France, she now resides in New York City with her hubby.
Mayda, welcome.
[00:01:40] Mayda: Thank you. Thank you for having me. I'm very excited to be
[00:01:43] Andrea: here. I am so excited. I'm so excited to talk to you. One of the things that, that really jumped out when I was reading through your bio and all your other things, Is that I was also, I was in finance, which is kind of like a cousin career to, to investment banking.
And I get it. I get that fast-paced industry. I get that whole, that whole wor, it's like a whole other world that you just don't, you don't get it unless you've been in it.
[00:02:12] Mayda: Exactly. I call that fast and furious. Yeah. I think I really, honestly, now that I do the, the job that I do where I work, not only with people with FI in finance, but in other industries as well, like luxury retail startups, I don't think there's anything that compares to the craziness of being, it's, it's just doesn't exist.
No, sorry. It's very self-serving, it feels like, but crazy. It's just. I don't know how humans can do that, but I guess way. Right.
[00:02:48] Andrea: One of the most common questions I got asked more so closer. I mean, it's been a while since I worked in finance, but one of the things people would always ask me is, is it really like Gordon Gecko?
And my answer was 100%. Absolutely.
[00:03:04] Mayda: You, you have some crazy behaviors. Yeah. And at the same time, I would say like 90% of the people are normal. They're, they're just normal people. They, they have kids, they're married or not, don't have kids, whatever, but they just want a nice life for themselves. The, the issue in these industry is that, It's so much geared to our survival.
Mm. There's never enough. So that's Gordon Geiko Greed is good because it justifies a lot of shitty behaviors. Yes. And one of the things that I found really important, and I continue to share this, is that. You can have crazy people around you. You can have people behaving badly around you or not being in integrity, but you don't have to, you still can have a career.
You still can have a job. You still can have a life where you are okay? And you are satisfied looking at yourself in the mirror and not saying, you know, and don't tell yourself, I how, how on earth can I survive this? Or How on earth can I live with what I did? But sometimes there's this. Kind of, we want to feel part of that tribe in a way.
So breaking free from what other people tell you to do or what are doing and not comparing yourself to others. Because some of them engage in not very good behavior and they get promoted and you know, they get the big bonus and you're like, oh yeah,
[00:04:37] Andrea: not me. Yeah. They get like put on top of the world.
It's, it's funny because I was doing it when I was. Very young, and that was a little bit like that. And like a couple other small businesses I worked on that were all kind of the same thing. It was my introduction to the corporate world. And so I'm young, I don't really understand, like I'm outta school, I don't understand corporate and I'm looking at all of this and it's like very much.
The Okay. Accepted behavior. And so it's like you feel yourself getting sucked into it and then all of a sudden it's like, when I got out of it, I was like, who was I? Like, I can't believe I was actually thinking about doing these things. Like this is insane. And I got into it because I got diagnosed and I was in school at the time and I was like, I can't.
Have the luxury of being a student. I gotta go into this career, which by the way, pays very well. So I kind of ran into it. You had a little bit of a different story. You didn't necessarily run away from it when you got diagnosed, but you were doing it when you got diagnosed. Yes. Talk a little bit about that.
[00:05:41] Mayda: So talk about, I'm sure if that was messed up. Or not. So I'm trying myself here, but it's very difficult. So for me, when I diagnosed with cancer,
Really not being able to breathe anymore. And because I'm someone who believes that the outside matches the inside and you know, everything is symbolic or, or, or not, for a very long time, for me it was my job is suffocating me. I'm suffocating at this job. I can't take it anymore. This is not for me. And so for two years I started having difficulty breathing.
And for two years I first I ignored it because that's how I am. I, oh, it's going to go on its own. I'm going to continue doing acupuncture. You know, it's, it helps. I've always done acupuncture and natural stuff, so it was not unusual for me to sing that way, but it's really, at some point I realized that having cancer, Was actually an inconvenience for me.
I was there, I was at the job. I had this nice, very stressful job where I was the head of equity syndicate. I was working with Hong Kong, with the Middle East, with Europe, with Latin America, and North Latin America. It was a lot of things going on, and for me being diagnosed, it meant. I'm not going to be able to be on the management call tonight because I have to go or I have to, I, I remember a conversation with the oncologist at that time that I used to call Maestro cause he was fun and, uh, he took himself very seriously.
He was, he had a lot of reasons to take himself so seriously, but it was fun for me and I said, well, After the first or the second chemos, like, you know, I'm thinking about taking the day I received the chemo off because I'm having some trouble writing my emails. It was a Blackberry at the time on my Blackberry while having the.
The chemo going through my veins and he looked at me like, you're another level of a nut job. You know?
So I did take that day off and then with time I had to stay to work, you know, the week of chemotherapy. I had to work from home because I was. Pumped with liquids and I was feeling very bloated and it really didn't feel good. But mostly working with being diagnosed has been a bit of a savior for me, or my saving grace because my mother had cancer at the same time as me.
And my mother lives in Paris and she was diagnosed with breast cancer and she was diagnosed literally a week before I got, and I was very scared for her. I was really, really very scary for her because, That was something that she's always dreaded her own life. She doesn't have a family history. But for me, when I got diagnosed, it went a bit in the background because it was, I wanted my mother to be okay, and the job took over completely and all of a sudden I was living with cancer.
I, I wasn't having cancer. Cancer wasn't ruling my life. My life was, I. I had a cycle of Monday evening, I leave the office at five. I shut everything down because I was going to have chemotherapy. The next morning I would wake up. My husband was really very supportive, would come with me to the clinic. I would receive.
There will always be something happening during the chemotherapy going home. Then having the night of crisis where it doesn't feel okay at all. And then three days of working from home. And then I go back to the office. I think one of the things about living with your diagnosis or having a diagnosis and living with it is, as the title of of your podcast says, is you're, it's not you.
It's not your life. It's part of. But it doesn't define you. It doesn't, it can prevent you from doing certain things. Mm-hmm. But at the same time, you can find your freedom in a lot of other places. Maybe this is the invitation.
[00:10:09] Andrea: When did you have that? I don't want to say moment, because usually it's not a moment, but when did you look at it and say, this cancer does not define me
[00:10:18] Mayda: very quickly.
Very quickly because I was very pissed. Yeah.
[00:10:23] Andrea: Yeah. I can imagine.
[00:10:26] Mayda: I've, I've always eaten very healthfully. I've never done anything crazy. I've never been somebody who partied. I've never smoked. I've, I, I literally, I've never done anything else but working in my life, and that was the unhealthy part. And getting cancer was like, What the heck?
Why? Why me? What did I do? It was more like what did I do to myself? Where am I responsible for that? Right. And at that point, like, you know what? I don't know if I'm going to survive it or not. I had ho Hodgkins is, it is highly curable, but me, I was on the other side of that statistic. It was quite literally everywhere.
[00:11:09] Andrea: Just explain. What it is to be just very briefly to people who don't know which Hodgkin Yes. Hodgkin's lymphoma. So
[00:11:17] Mayda: Hodgkin's lymphoma is a blood cancer that affects your lymph nodes and they become to swell. And there are several types, there are a lot of different types of lymphomas. The one of the rare ones, But most known ones is Hodgkins, because generally it affects people who are younger.
They're in their twenties when when you hear about people in college having cancer and blood cancer, generally Hodgkins. The protocol for Hodgkins has been for a long time now it's. Changing, but it has been a classic chemotherapy and it's highly effective. It's very intensive. It destroys a lot of different things, but it's highly effective as well in in curing that cancer and gets you into remission.
And of course there are other issues that happen after remission, like with. Anything. There are always side effects, but Hodgkin's Olin is a cancer that is highly curable and among the most curable. I was a bit on the other side of that statistic because I waited first. I was older, I wasn't 20, although in my head maybe, but not biologically.
Also, I think one of the things as well that made it more difficult as well was the fact that it took me literally two years to get the diagnosis. It's notoriously difficult to diagnose because there are there symptoms that people can interpret in isolation very differently until something happens.
And for me, something happens was collapsing on the street because I just. Couldn't breathe anymore. And the diagnosis at that time was, I had acute asthma or whatever and you know, I was like, okay, fine. I have asthma. So I took the, how you call that, the, the inhalers and it was like, you, you are not you using it.
Well, and then I had like a helmet to have it and it never worked. Simply because it wasn't that the problem,
[00:13:14] Andrea: right? But it was a little, it was still some of that like, what am I doing wrong? It's me that's doing
[00:13:19] Mayda: something. Yeah. And it was a relief. Once you have, this is when they say the truth sets you free.
Maybe not in the same context, but once you know what you have, You can go into making plans, you can go into the action rather than feeling almost like victimized, and I don't like this word, but there word, but I don't, for the lack of better word. It's like you, you don't feel like everything around you is happening and you have no say because you don't know what's going on.
Once you know what's going on, then it's like, okay, now what? And now what? So you have a lot of people who are coming to you with a lot of ideas, some good, some really not good. You make a choice. You make a choice for yourself. You speak up for yourself. And then, you know, like this hero's journey, I think.
I think everything is a hero's journey and a diagnosis. Oh my gosh, yes. Yes. It is one of them, and there are little hero's journeys inside all of that. But the hero's journey, like any hero's journey, you will have helpers, you'll have people who will come your way. You'll have teachers, you will have to, mentors will have people who will not be helpful.
Mm-hmm. They are. Every one of them is there to give you one piece of what is missing for you. To live your diagnosis. I'm going to say the best possible, I'm not sure is the right word, but to feel like you're still yourself. You still matter. You. You're not belittled because there's something bigger than you that is called cancer or, or death or, or whatever.
There's life and you're alive and you still have your brain and you can still use it for so many different things. Mm-hmm. It's an invitation, again, to kinda find your freedom and big free of. Whatever you thought people are expecting
[00:15:05] Andrea: of you. So during this time though, you, you have not left your job. You have figured out this amazing week, which I remember because I, I wasn't doing chemo, but I was in the infusion center a lot and getting a different infusion.
And I remember seeing people just like you who were there getting infusions on their laptops, on their blackberries, like just going at it and they're like, Nope. Going back to work. You know, I'm all done. And I'm thinking like, what? The heck. And so you were still, you were, you were dealing with this diagnosis, you were dealing with your mom's diagnosis.
You were dealing with leading up to the diagnosis, trying to figure out what it is. You created this amazing weekly schedule for yourself where you were, you were kind of weaving in chemotherapy and not feel great, feeling great with this high pressure, high stress, crazy job. And you stayed there for how long after your diagnosis?
[00:16:02] Mayda: Two years. Two years. Two years until completely out of nowhere. This is where, here's journey. Yeah, yeah, yeah. The call to action, right outta nowhere. I had a panic attack on a Sunday morning because, I received an email saying we need to get on a call. And again, this is a job where I used to start my day at 4:00 AM and finish it at 9:00 PM and working on what weekends.
So it wasn't like a huge surprise. It was like, oh my goodness, what's going on? But that was my tipping point. I was like, I'm not doing this anymore. Yeah. And then there was that voice inside of me, so I'm like, I don't think I'm, I'm mentally crazy. Or
[00:16:48] Andrea: there's sometimes no, we all have voices inside of our head, all of us.
[00:16:52] Mayda: This one was pretty clear and pretty loud, and it says to me, something around, you'd better do something about it because the next one will not be as pleasant. Now, the next one in my head was the next cancer because, When you get out of chemotherapy and these kind of intensive, especially in blood cancers, there is a higher chance of going back, of having something similar or leukemia, whatever, and the, the following two to three years because again, chemotherapy is very intense and this is blood cancer.
So it's, the whole body is not, you know, taking a tumor out a place. And it's not like the first one was particularly pleasant, but I did well. I really did. I was very proud of my,
[00:17:39] Andrea: you're such an overachiever. Even I did the same thing. I was like, I crushed it. I'm crushing this MS thing.
[00:17:46] Mayda: Exactly.
If it were in French, I would say something like, meant not even hurting me. Didn't feel anything all good. I did feel that if I continued that way and it wasn't going to go very well for me, and in hindsight, the most interesting part is that probably it wasn't the, the message quote unquote message wasn't necessarily about continuing the job or not.
It was about continuing the way. I was living my life, which are two very different things, but at that time, I didn't have the tools to say, it's not about the job, or I didn't have anybody to tell me it, are you sure it's about the job or is it something else? Or is it maybe your mindset or your mentality at that point?
So now I, I do see that, but at that point, like I, I can't, I don't know what else to do. I chow.
[00:18:46] Andrea: I just gotta outta get outta here. Bridge that gap. What happened between, and how long was it between leaving your job and investment banking and becoming a career coach for people who were just like you?
[00:19:00] Mayda: It took me some time because quite literally I was in PTSD when I left the job.
One of the reasons why I was so there is the first two days of elation. And then there's the after elation, the sobering up. I was like, oh my God, I don't know what to do with my life. Do I even have the right to have a life if I'm not bringing money? It's, I can't do that. Am I without this? Very pleasing identity that is investment banker, and it's so pleasing that up until now I'm still talking about it.
This is how pleasing it's, and it's very pleasing and it's very normal. We live in societies where the first thing that we define ourselves with is what you do and what you don't do. Who are you? And you have the right even to open your mouth and have anything to say. There was a long route for me between what, what am I here to do?
What am I good at? What do I want to do? Which in each one of them was I have no strictly no idea what to do, what I'm good at, and no, I don't want to do anything. But I'm very scared of not doing anything, this internal tug of war and then saying, okay. That was cancer. Let's see what happens now. Let's see what happens.
And. What do you know? I speak with one person who tells me, oh, you know, my sister goes with to this coaching program. Would you? Maybe you should try it. I go, I like it from there. Another person who tells me, oh, you know, there's this other thing. Would you would be fun to have you with us. My sister calls me and we have a discussion and she's like, oh, you know, you should really do some hypnosis.
My sister is a hypnotherapist in Paris because this is really very much for you. You're very intellectual. You will be able to course I do that part of the hypnosis. I meet another friend of hers and the two of them are doing a career, corporate life coaching program.
I think there is like, exactly like with cancer, and I can talk for a long time about this sort of happenstance or ity, synchronicity. I'm not exactly sure how to define this, but there is a moment where. You know, you don't know what you don't know, and you are okay with that because there's nothing else left for you to do.
Then to continue that path and things will start happening, and if we are open-minded, And if we accept that whatever we think should happen might not happen, but maybe something else could be maybe more interesting, more exciting, different, then we start seeing these little signs or little sparks or little pieces of life showing up for us, and we rediscover joy.
We discover connection, and it takes time. It's not going to happen overnight, but it does.
[00:22:04] Andrea: I find that in those moments where you are completely open and because you're completely open, you see things that you wouldn't necessarily see before. What comes before that is a complete release. Of an anything and everything.
And it doesn't have to be a bad thing. It doesn't have to be from your diagnosis. It doesn't have to be it. It happened for me after my dad passed and I had an intense grieving, and I just cocooned. I let go of everything and. Like I said, you don't have to be in these terrible, huge, life-changing moments, but sometimes that's when you do just let go of everything.
Leaving a job is another thing, right? Like cutting off this identity. Like, I mean, you're right, an identity, especially in a very high powered, high paying, fast-paced jobs, somehow it's this badge of honor that we have because we've been there. And letting go of that is such a drastic change in identity and that kind of thing is a precursor for being able to just be completely open-minded because you've let go of all pretenses, I'm almost going to say you let go of all ego and all identity and you are s are very open to what's to come.
[00:23:29] Mayda: Yes, and I'm going to tell you another thing. It was really cancer that taught me that because when I got diagnosed I was very lost and I did what I do is like, I don't care. Just give me whatever I need to do and I don't care. It's, I'm annoyed. And then I discovered so much support around me. I was so touched.
My team, my whole team, and again, this is, this is people I, I love my team and we were very close to each other and we're a very good team, but my whole team would be helping me when during that day where I wasn't in the office, I had people from other departments come and have, Flowers on my desk for every Monday.
When I went back to the office, my boss, who as well, had cancer at some point in his life, did a fundraising. They used my story and we had people from. Brokers and other banks that I've never met in my life, just pouring the money and there is $20,000 on my story only. And the people, I have no idea who they're, but this for me was, we spoke earlier about Gordon, Geico.
But here's the opposite. I don't know what the opposite of it's. It's using this power, it's using the smarts, it's using your connections for the greater to good, and all of a sudden it showed me as well that. People who took me for granted or I thought were taking me for granted, were not like that at all.
I had very senior people from the bank come and speak with me and tell me, listen, we we're here to support you. If you need to take time off, like no, absolutely not. Don't talk about time off, but if you need, your desk is still here, nothing will happen. We want you to know that. And there's a show of humanity.
There's a show of kindness. That. I mean, I expected from people on my team because I've known them for a long time and we've always been a very supportive to each other, but I didn't expect it from people I've never met in my life, ever. It was extraordinary.
[00:25:46] Andrea: One of the interesting things that happens when we leave that environment and it's not only is it the team environment and working with people, but it's also you are used to working at a certain pace, right?
You are used to doing and you're working with people who are all working at that same pace. That's kind of what makes it hum and somehow that's just a muscle memory that comes with you. Did you find yourself when you were starting this next career with the career coaching and the working with the other life coaches and that kinda, did you find yourself kind of falling into feeling like you had that hustle and you just kind of applied it to your next job?
[00:26:28] Mayda: I felt the pressure of doing that. There was a competing something else inside of me that said, I can't do that anymore. I don't want to do that anymore. But so yes, exactly a muscle memory, but at the same time, it was so much driven by form of shame that I had inside of me of. Again, not producing, not being successful, whatever that meant at that point, not being someone who was getting up and, and going, getting and doing seven figures or six figures or whatever the number is.
I had a lot of shame inside of me of not being able to actually be that person who wants to go and kill it in life. Right. It took me a long time To get rid of that as well. That was also another step in my maturing as a second career, as in, yes, I want to earn money, of course, because no money I live in New York City. No money, no, no life.
It's, I, there's no way around that. But at the same time, it's not only about the money. It's about living a life where I feel I exist and I decide what exist means and I decide what the terms are, and I decide that if tomorrow I want to bring my business to the next level. It's within my responsibility to do that.
And it's me. It's not my parents telling me that I have to do it, because by age, whatever, I'm supposed to be multimillionaire. It's not my community, whatever that is, that tells me, you know, you're a spiritual person. You are not supposed to make money. It's, it's none of that. It's about being my own self and it's about knowing that.
What I do, I'm responsible for it and what I do, I do it for a purpose that I don't have to apologize for is mine and mine only.
[00:28:28] Andrea: You know, that's a really good point that you were just making, is that a lot of times we have our own pressures that we put on ourselves. And then a lot of times we have pressures that we think other people are putting on us because they expect us to be doing these things.
And so we in turn say, oh, well I expect myself to do that. And that's something that you help your clients with, I know is kind of divorcing themselves from what they think other people are expecting from them.
[00:28:55] Mayda: And it's hard. It's hard because it's so ingrained and because. Even in the places where they work, it is part of the motivation.
If I'm not made managing director by age, whatever, and all my friends are, then I'm a failure. What other people are going to think about me? And it's true. There is a big part of that is that if you want to find a job somewhere else, having been at a title for 10 years and not being promoted, people are going ask the question.
The question is how do you detach yourself from that narrative? And how do you create a story of your career, of your achievements, of who you're, regardless of what people think of you, and regardless of what you think people think of you. So we're going to go back into being a bit more individualistic in that point of view, as in.
Society wants people to look some way. You know, it's better to be young, healthy, and rich than, you know, young. We're not going to stay there long, long time, whatever old means, whatever. But you know, it's like self, it means beautiful is what it means. Yes, yes. It's, you know, one of those self-fulfilling prophecies that, you know, like the train is gone and you're running behind it and you'll never catch it, but you can decide that.
Maybe my purpose in life and purpose in life is not necessarily a job, but my purpose in life is to have an impact. And how do I feel good about myself at the job? How do I feel good about myself in my family or with my friendships or in the world at large? And, and so the pressure doesn't come from you to.
From yourself to, I want to succeed because achievement is becoming managing director by 40 or by 35 for certain people. It's crazy, but it comes from, I am here, I feel good. I feel proud of myself when I accomplish X, Y, Z. And accomplishing is not necessarily doing something. Accomplishing is for me sometimes is I wake up in the morning and I don't have anxiety and I feel good about myself.
Like, oh. Today I feel like I'm in this kind of like serenity place where I have seven calls back to back, and I'm going to be fine because I actually like it.
[00:31:20] Andrea: So how can people start to even verbalize that , because you're right, so much of our self-worth can come from.
Your job, your earning power. And if you're not, if you're not working, then it comes from how much are you contributing to the household, how much are you contributing to what's going on? And so sometimes instead of working at, you know, crazy hours at a job, you're becoming like this taskmaster , at home and a lot of our self-worth can get wrapped up in. Our production and part of that is just, it's just kind of how society will define it. I remember when I first started my job, or my business, I should say literally a month in all people wanted to know is how many clients do you have?
Yeah. Like it was such a flex question and I was so young and so wrapped up in my identity and my worth being how many clients? I would have like little mini attacks every time because I was like, oh my God, I don't have any clients. How do you go from that to. Okay. You know what? These are my values. This is what I'm going to now define myself as.
This is what I am now going to define myself worth as and and have it be okay that it's not what. The world at large defines
[00:32:37] Mayda: yes worth as, and I'm going to go back to what you said earlier, muscle memory. And I think that this, this mental programming is also a muscle memory that needs to be kept in check. So I'm going to start with something very simple as just observe yourself when you go there and ask yourself, is it really true?
And sometimes it's. If, if you are going to a, a big charity, whatever event or trade event and everybody is on Wall Street and you are the only one not there, you're not likely to feel at ease there cause you're ugly duckling over the. So maybe think about why you're, you want to go there and if you decide to go there, it's because you're different.
So you own your difference. But on then I would say, number one, observe yourself when you go there and ask yourself, is that really true? And one of the things that I tell my clients, so either they have kids or they have pets. And it was like I had a cat for a long time. I would never go and tell my cat, you're useless.
You don't do anything all day long. It would never really come to me to say that to a kid, to a pet, to a dog. It doesn't happen. Why? Why would I say that to myself? It's not true. So first let's take out this narrative and see it as just being a habit that we have put upon ourselves. That was the way we motivated ourselves for a long time.
Like you have to be grade A student, you have to be an mba, you have to be first in class, blah, blah, blah. All of that. In the past, it's still somewhere in the brain. It's still active. It's our job to tell it. I understand you're here from me. I understand you love me and you want the best for me. I totally understand it.
But it's not the right moment. That will be when I want to be promoted, then we will use that energy. But right now it doesn't, it's not helpful for me. What, so let's, let's leave it and then the second step is to go back to, as you were saying, your values, your vision, what you want in life. So if you, what you want in life is having a certain lifestyle, let's, let's go that way.
If it's having a certain lifestyle and it means having a certain amount of money, Then maybe you are in the right place, and in that case, own it, but know exactly what you are putting yourself into and why you're doing it. So you just like, you're not apologizing for being on Wall Street, or you're not apologizing for being a coach, or you're not even apologizing for being a coach that is starting because it takes a lot of courage to start over.
A lot of courage because this is the, the whole identity is shredded. You have to reinvent yourself. It's a very difficult rock bottom where people look at you and say, some of them not. You have very supportive people and then you have this odd person's like, why did you destroy everything you have built for so many years?
competing talks. Inner talks, outside talks, a lot of noise as well. But remember, what is your vision? What do you want from your life? Likely for most people is to have a nice life. Safety, security, not having to worry about, you know, paying bills and or whatever. It's of some people, it's having a family and, and being with them.
So connect back to that and see how your definition of success is all of a sudden very different now. It's not about having this big paycheck or having this title. It helps, but it could be, you know what? I am pretty content with my life right now. I'm healthy. I have a shelter, I have a home, I have friends.
I go out, I save money. Whatever it is that you feel success is, and sometimes success is getting out of bed. It's just like there are days where really we don't want get out and yet do it, and that is check the box. I've been successful today and things only you can decide what it.
[00:36:53] Andrea: So what is success for you in your life right now?
How do you define that
[00:36:58] Mayda: right now? For me, success is being able to share what I know and feeling confident about it. When I started as a coach, I had a lot of trouble talking about cancer. It wasn't even mentioned in my, in my website. Even now, I say life happens. I don't, I rarely talk about cancer simply because I don't feel I earned it in no way.
[00:37:25] Andrea: Oh, interesting. What do you mean by that?
[00:37:27] Mayda: So I feel that it went fine for me. It was a very smooth time in my life. There were, there were a lot of obstacles and there were a lot of issues, but I don't feel I have the right to use it in a way that it's not, it doesn't, again, it doesn't define me, but it was more like, no, I'm fine.
I was fine. I don't have the right to complain about it. It went fine. I didn't have to struggle for it. Today, I'm bit more lax about it or bit more relaxed in the sense where I feel that. Cancer has brought me so many blessings in terms of life lessons and rediscovering who I am and what I wanted in life that I'm proud of.
Being able to share that to other people and maybe to have them. I don't know, like an eyeopener in a way, or wake up call or whatever it is, but just to say there's more to life than whatever is happening, so don't get too wrapped up in it. Imagine your life in five years. Would that matter? Sometimes it does.
Cancer would matter. It diagnosis will always matter because. Hey, sometimes you know, opening the door and you are reminded of it, so it's part of your life, but it's what you do with it and you are certainly an inspiration for a lot of other people. You don't see it. You don't feel it because you're inside, but people look up to you.
It's like, this is courageous. This person shows up every single day. Yes, there are days where they're feeling bad. There are days where really they hate their lives. But overall they're there. They stand up for themselves and they give other people the courage as well to say, if that person can do it, then maybe I too can do something extraordinary in my life and extraordinary.
Again, it's not to save the planet. If you want to, you can, but it's sometimes too inspire another person. It's sometimes just to say thank you to someone who you don't know what's going on in their life, and they just needed this acknowledgement.
[00:39:30] Andrea: I love that. It reminds me of a conversation that I had with another guest about how sometimes the most inspiring thing we can do is live out our life in a very honest, open way, because you never really know who's looking at you and getting inspired.
[00:39:48] Mayda: Yes. And at the same time, it's not about inspiring other people, it's about you. And because, so it's not about validation and it's not about pleasing other people. It's literally about being happy with who you are. And there will be days where you're going like, oh, I have big thighs and I have this, and I have gray hair, and I hate that blah, blah, blah.
There will be this like this. But at the end of the day, again, you show up and you're courageous. It's a bit like action and reaction thing. The reaction will be for someone that you don't know who has been observing this and says exactly what you said, this is inspiration, but really it's about you. It's about what you want.
It's about how you want to live your life and why. Mm-hmm.
[00:40:40] Andrea: I'm glad you brought that up, that idea of validation because I guarantee you, there were people who said, I.
Oh my gosh. Mayda she was working in this job and she was going through chemo and she was amazing and she showed up every day and like you might not even know who it is, like it might not even be anything that you ever know, but you have still inspired people by just living your life. But on the other side can be like an addiction to get that validation. How do you help your clients to kind of get away from that? It's like, yeah, it's like a, it's like a drug. It's like a hit every time
[00:41:12] Mayda: you get valid. Exactly. It like dopamine, like woo, yes. Then, then someone says, yes, but, and then that's a soft landing.
There's to observe that. To observe that, and so, Yourself. You're just making fun of yourself as in like, oh, I did that thing so that the person you know says, thank you back to me. It wasn't that unconditional and it's fine. We're all humans. We'll all have that. We need feedback from others. We, we live with others, especially in the workplace.
It's very difficult not to have validation and actually, One of the issues in the workplace is people not getting validated enough. But there is this validation that is needed as a feedback because that's part of the job, and there is this addiction, as you were mentioning, where anything and everything that we do, we become these little girls and little boys who are looking for the authority.
Daddy, daddy, mommy, proxy, right? Please, please, please tell me that I did good. I'm, I'm the person was like, I'm your boss. I'm, that's not my job. And I think it's, it's just making fun of yourself sometimes is just what you need. It's like, oh, here I am again asking for validation. I am 30, 40, 50, 60. Sometimes we do it way farther than that.
Way beyond that, and I'm still looking for somebody else to approve what I do. That.
[00:42:41] Andrea: I love that. I love it. Good. Fuck that. But sometimes it's, sometimes there's almost nothing to backfill. And so you're afraid if you don't get that validation, like you, you're not given it yourself if you're, if you're kind of raised on looking for that validation.
[00:42:58] Mayda: Absolutely. It is a drug as well as you said, it's an addiction, it's a drug, and in that case I would say find it somewhere else. Some people are not good. Some people have kids, some people have pets, some people have hobbies. Find something you're good at that makes you proud. That is the best form of validation.
So it's not necessarily finding somebody to tell you that, but sometimes you know, you feel down and you, you would like people to tell you how extra new you are and it was a bad day at work and everybody is pounding at you when you feel really. Down. You go home, what's going to happen? The spouse is there.
Guess who is going to get all, all your, your frustration. The spouse. So this is where the shift
happens. It's like, okay I had a bad day And I need a hug today, or I need some love, or I just need someone to listen to me, or I need some safe space to be able to, to vent a bit. Or, you know what? I had a bad day, but I love playing music or I love listening to music, and this is. My act of self-love. So we go from looking for validation on the outside to taking yourself in your own arms and saying, I'm a pretty decent human.
This is, this is success for me today. Self-love is a lot of that as well.
[00:44:24] Andrea: Yeah, I totally agree because sometimes when we're in that cycle of looking for that validation, and you know, like you said, I think it's actually very true, we almost kind of manipulate for it. Like, what am I going to say to get that feedback and what am I going to do to make them say, you know, X, Y, Z?
When we get validation that way, a lot of times the reason why we want more and more and more is because we're not, ironically, we're not really accepting it. We're not really taking it in. And feeling it. And so to do that switch, like you mentioned, where you put yourself in that role of almost, of almost opening yourself up and saying things like, Hey, I had a bad day.
I need a hug. Or I had a bad day. I need this. It's a way to open yourself up to receive what it is that you need, but then it's much more of a self-love than any kind of external thing, because that's the rub, right? External validation will never make you feel. Amazing. It'll give you like a couple seconds of like, yes, but then that is ultimately not really what your, what your soul is looking for.
[00:45:28] Mayda: Exactly. I don't think you can lie to yourself, and when you manipulate to get affection, you know that, you know that. Let's be honest, and this is why it will never be satisfying, because you people please, you said the right words, you, whatever it is that you did to get that. But when you are genuine, and some people use the word vulnerable or I'm going to say like when you're truthful, when it's like, you know what, I, I really had a bad day today.
I really don't want to hear anything just. I want just peace today. And all of a sudden you're genuine. You're yourself, you're human as well. You drop that mask of the high achiever who's always there and you know, grinding and fighting and hustling and wanting to be the top dog, whatever. And this mask drops.
And all of a sudden there's a human who has their ups, their downs, who wants love, who is afraid, who doesn't want to be rejected, but overall is living the life that they have right now. And once you get to that place, and again, it's not a place that you can maintain, you know, in the workplace because there is a workplace mask that we wear as well.
But sometimes, you know, you go home and you drop that mask and all of a sudden it's. Okay. Oof. I can ease into what's going on right now. It's, it's transient. It's a transient state. It's not going to stay forever. I don't want it to stay forever. I'm not going to, to dwell in it. It's just happening.
Tomorrow I will be a different day, and tomorrow maybe I will do things differently, but right now I'm going to go and book myself a massage because, I'm going to give myself every word that I didn't get elsewhere, but hey, who cares? I'm fine with
[00:47:17] Andrea: that. Yeah, I mean it's the best reward of ever or ever that I think is the ones that we give ourselves instead of the ones that we wait for other people to give us or look for other people to make us feel.
It's because like we said, you're not necessarily going to feel that same warm hug then when you're giving yourself that love and, and sometimes that's a big shift. I know when I was first looking into things, it was. A huge shift for me to go from what I thought I needed, which was approval from other people to saying, screw that, and just approving of myself.
That took some work. But once you shift into that space and know what that feels like, it's a game changer I think.
[00:48:00] Mayda: Yes, because you start working for yourself. Mm-hmm. You don't work for your boss. You don't work to disappoint or to please whatever. You work for yourself. You work for your vision. You work for your future.
You work to feel happy, whatever that means inside, like to feel achieved or serene inside, and all of a sudden, Whatever is happening on the outside, although it's going to impact you and affect you, but it's not to the point where it's crushing your soul anymore. This is what agency is, and sovereignty is.
It's a long road. I mean, I'm, I'm so far away and I'm sure a lot of people as well. It's, it's, say lifelong acquisition in a way, but once we get to. Yes. Okay. There are things happening on the outside. Yes, not everything is perfect, but I feel I am living in my truth, and once you get to that point,
you're good.
[00:48:57] Andrea: That's the ultimate, I think, end to all of our heroes journey is just getting to the point where we are living in our truth. We're comfortable living in our truth and doing anything else is like nails on a chalkboard.
[00:49:14] Mayda: Yes, it's exactly that is I am who I am. I am open. I don't know what I don't know. I am still learning and growing, and I'm okay and I'm decent, and I have the right to live, and I have the right to be who I want to be.
[00:49:31] Andrea: Oh, I love it. Mayda I could talk to you for another five hours. You have shared so much just wisdom and goodness. I know people are loving this. I know people are going to have questions for me, for sure to ask you. Um, but I will have a link in the episode notes on how to get ahold of you, but just quickly tell people how they can find you.
[00:49:55] Mayda: Mostly on social media, LinkedIn and Instagram, Mayda Poc, and then on my website, And you can email me at Mayda at Mayda Poc Coaching dot com as well.
[00:50:09] Andrea: Fantastic. Thank you so much.
[00:50:11] Mayda: Thank you. Thank you for having me. And thank you also for being a soul doula here, because your questions, your kindness, your open mindness as well has
brought me as well to a new stage in my life today. So thank you for making a difference in my life today as well.
[00:50:27] Andrea: Oh, thank you so much. If you like the show, don't be shy. Please give us a five star rating and review. Follow us on Apple Podcast, Amazon music, or wherever you're listening right now to see complete show notes and resources mentioned in this episode.
Visit Andrea Hanson Thank you for joining me and until next time, take care.

About Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis

Live Your Life, Not Your Diagnosis podcast

Hear inspiring discussions with people living with chronic illness. These people went after their passions and big goals -even when everyone told them they couldn’t. Listen to stories of resilience and gratitude in the face of uncertainty.

I’m your host, Andrea W. Hanson, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Autoimmune Rebel living with multiple sclerosis. You’ll not only fall in love with these guests, but you’ll soak up positive mindset tips and ideas to find your own unique path to success.

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