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The Hidden Life of Many Leaders | Stories With Traction Podcast


PODCAST EPISODE SUMMARY: In this episode, Kari Schwear and Matt Zaun talk about how many leaders live in a “gray area” and suffer behind the scenes.

KARI SCHWEAR BIO: Kari is the founder of GrayTonic, where she focuses on executive lifestyle coaching for high achievers and corporate training.

For more info, check out Kari here:

MATT ZAUN BIO: Matt is an award-winning speaker and storyteller who empowers organizations to attract more clients through the art of strategic storytelling. Matt’s past engagements have catalyzed radical sales increases for over 300 organizations that range from financial institutions to the health and wellness industry.

Matt shares his expertise in persuasion with executives, sales professionals, and entrepreneurs, who he coaches on the art of influence and how to leverage this for profits and impact.

For more info, check out Matt Zaun here:




*Below is an AI-generated transcript, which may contain errors.


Matt Zaun


When I tell people that I speak professionally, it always prompts an interesting response. And a lot of people say, it must be fascinating to share messages with audience all around the United States.

And it is wild. But what really fascinates me is not me speaking, but me listening. I've had the opportunity now to speak in almost every US state to thousands of people, different backgrounds, different industries.

And I've met and learned from some incredible leaders. Two things really stand out. One is intriguing to me, and one is horrifying.

The thing that intrigues me is it doesn't matter who I'm talking with, even if the person is a CEO of a company of thousands of people, everyone that I've come into contact with has some form of an inferiority complex.

So for anyone listening who feels inadequate and something in your life. life, just realize that everyone has some form of an inferiority that should give you hope.

Now, what horrifies me? The more I connect with people one-on-one, and they truly go deep, start to lower their ego and be vulnerable, the more I realize how many people are living in a gray area.

What do I mean by that? More people than ever before are looking shiny on the surface, but behind the scenes they're suffering.

It amazes me how many people are suffering in their marriages at work and their relationships. They're over drinking, they're over eating, they're engaged in behavior that is hurting them.

That's why I have been anticipating this episode. Today I'm joined by Karish Ware, who is the founder of Gray Tonic.

She's an incredible executive lifestyle coach and an amazing speaker and corporate trainer.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

Welcome to the show, Karish. Thank you so much, Matt. What a nice introduction and a nice descriptive of what the gray area is.


Matt Zaun 

So thank you for that. Well, thanks for your time. I appreciate it for anyone that thinks that I picked, I guess, Willie Nilly.

We have been, this has been on the calendar and scheduled for four months. I've been anticipating this conversation.


Kari Schwear

So thank you. I appreciate you joining us today. Yeah, thanks for having me. I'm excited to dive into some content here and hopefully inspire those that are listening and give them some planted seed of hope and what they can do when they find themselves in the gray.


Matt Zaun 

Well, let's start with that hope aspect because I feel like a lot of leaders feel like they're on an island.

They look great. Maybe they have large teams of people that are helping them. And maybe social media has pushed more of this into the world where a lot of people, I think psychologists call it identity management where people try to identity, really manage their identity.

and he's online and then that carries into their personal life where they always want to look shiny and happy and behind the scenes more is going on.

So to give us hope, can you just tell people that there are more people out there that are dealing with gray areas than they may think?


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

Oh my gosh. I think every human has some form of imposter syndrome lying inside of them, no matter how successful they get.

And because I work with mostly male business owners that are very successful, they run seven figure businesses. You know, from the outside world, you described it.

They are very successful. They drive the nice car. They have the beautiful home. They have a nice beautiful wife or husband at home.

They have the kids. They have all the status that would society would say they're successful. But inside they may not be feeling that way.

There's the less than or trying to prove themselves. They've worked so hard to build a business. And now on the inside, things are starting to not feel the same.

or crumbling silently. And then they might be doing some self sabotaging addictive behaviors to deal with some of those stressors that they find in their life.

And because they are so successful, they're not gonna be sharing that with anyone. So they keep it inside. And then you're right, the identity piece that's so tied to this, all of our behaviors are driven from our own identity.

So what they actually believe, what you believe, what I believe about myself, shows up in our behaviors every single day.

And so because of that, someone who is highly successful needs to be very careful, treading water very carefully and making sure that no one finds out how they're really feeling inside.

So it takes so much energy to hide what they're really feeling. And that's the struggle that I like to work through with clients because it's not a great place to be.

They can't impact the way they wanna impact. on the legacy that they work so hard at building, they're not going to be able to be present for their family, their kids, their team members, their colleagues.

It requires so much energy to stay in the gray.


Matt Zaun 

So let's talk about this energy because you're right. I mean, it's absurd what people do, the lengths that they go through to conceal what they're suffering with.

But what's interesting to me is I almost feel like for someone to make a shift, there needs to be a massive destructive turning point.

And it's so unfortunate, meaning, you know, someone is radically over drinking, but it's not until they get that DUI and it shows up in some news piece somewhere that they get help or they're engaged in some other destructive behavior.

And they almost, it's almost like they need to get caught before they do anything.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

Does it need to be that way? Absolutely not. And I think that's the thing, you know, my story is I was, I was a gray-area drinker.

And let me define what that is for the listener that may not have ever. that term. So a gray-area drinker is someone who is in this wide spectrum of drinkers that it falls between socially drinking and I mean the take it or leave it drinker all the way to severely abusing alcohol where they need it to survive.

So that leaves the mild and medium and into the severe categories of alcohol abuse disorder. So it's a wide spectrum of drinkers.

It's estimated about 50% of those that consume alcohol may be in this gray area. So it affects more people than we even realize and that's where I was.

And so when someone finds themselves in those situations unless they're forced, like you just said, a rock bottom that we're typical, we're typically we hear this happened, then they made a change.

Most people don't have a rock bottom. Most gray-area drinkers don't have a rock bottom. They don't need to have a rock bottom.

They finally get to their own enough. And it's so personalized. It's so individual. based on what is going on in that person's life and the situation that causes them to get to their place of enough.

And for me, it was a conversation that I had with my 23-year-old son at that time. He's now older, but he was 23.

I walked in of having a full day of drinking. It was a holiday. It was actually July 4, 2016.

He made some comments to me about, wow, mom, you're really drunk and all the things. And I slued back some unfavorable words that no mother should ever say to their kid.

And he reminded me of what I said to him the very next day. And I was devastated. So that was my enough.

That was my wake-up call. So I think everyone has their own experience when they finally get sick and tired of being sick and tired, or they're tired of hiding.

They're tired of playing the games with themselves. They're tired of the cognitive dissonance that's bouncing through their brain. on a continual basis where they can't stand it anymore, they finally get to a place where they want to make the change.

And that's where change can happen. It cannot happen before that. They have to get to that place of a strong desire, knowing their why and then being committed to themselves.


Matt Zaun

Wow, so that goes deep. So it correct me if I'm wrong, but the why was you want it to be what?


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

A better mother, a better connector to your children. What was the why behind the shift, the change? Well, I looked at my son who, you know, he's just out of college and maybe a couple years out of college at that point.

And he was a heavy drinker coming out of college, you know? He was in a fraternity and all the things that goes with that.

And I realized that I was this role model for him. And my behavior was deplorable. And the things that I had said and the things that I was doing at that time.

And I thought I was the average mom, the average person. I mean, everyone else. I would tell myself that because everyone around me did.

And that's very common. We think it's very socially acceptable to drink excessively on the weekends. We have the excuse of the weekend coming up.

We deserve it. We want to have time for ourselves and all the things that goes with that. And I just got on that train of it's acceptable.

So for me, the why was I don't want to be this way, as an example for either of my children, let alone myself.

And I think that was the biggest piece for me personally was, I looked apart, had a very successful job, live in a beautiful home, drive the nice car, got the great husband, all the things.

But yet deep inside, man, I was not happy. And so that's when I really needed to start to make some of those changes.

I knew it, you know, I knew it secretly. And I kept it to myself and carrying that burden with so much harder.

than just coming out and sharing with someone, even my husband, how I was really feeling. So I kept it inside.

There was no way I could tell anybody how I was, what was really going on. So you said in the beginning something so important that I wanna open back up, which is about being vulnerable, about being willing to share or speak to somebody when you are feeling that way.

And the moment that you do, something happens. You release that grip and the fear and the shining light that you think is so bright on you, isn't.

It's actually, it reflects outwardly in that person that you're sharing it with, a close friend, a colleague, a relative, whatever, whoever it is, will see you for who you really are.

And they're not gonna judge you. They're gonna accept what you're saying and are most likely gonna support your decision and really support you in whatever it is that you're sharing.

And that's the beautiful thing about being open and vulnerable. We start to move through... That's a real- it and then we become actually stronger.


Matt Zaun 

Well, I appreciate mentioned the leadership piece. Like you truly want it to be an incredible leader of your family that caused that transition.

I mean, thankfully something didn't happen destructive bodily, right? Like there wasn't a car accident. I mean, it could have been a lot worse.

So thank God for that. Um, so I, I do think a takeaway that I have is someone doesn't need an unbelieve that's a really destructive turning point to make that change.

So I appreciate you mentioned that even though what you said was destructive, it could have been a lot worse, right?

So I'm glad that you were able to do what you did when you did it. Um, my story is a little bit similar, kind of as far as me making a shift regarding my relationship with alcohol.

And you mentioned 23. What's interesting and what a lot of people listening probably won't believe is I didn't have my first step of alcohol until I was 23.

The reason for that is I started wrestling when I I was in elementary school and I wrestled all the way through some college.

And you basically, I would play football. So I would beef up and then I would cut weight. So the thought of consuming alcohol and having to cut weight, I would wrestle at a very, very low weight and half the battle was the scale.

So the, the mirror thought of going to a party, even in high school and, and having to cut all that was, was horrifying to me.

So I, I stayed away from alcohol and no one gave me any kind of peer pressure because the wrestling team was glorified.

So it was, you know, Matt's not partying because he needs to make weight. And when I was 23, I had my first sip of wine and I really like to dive into things.

I have a somewhat of an obsessive personality. So I started going to different vineyards and understanding more about wine, which led to all kinds of different alcoholic beverages.

So I learned pretty quick what alcohol can do and then when COVID happened and no. world was in peril, so to speak, in April of 2020, I had my first night of overdrinking.

And I was like, wow, is this what it feels like to have that euphoria, if you will, by drinking too much?

And then that was what started kind of a path where it was overdrinking. And then my pivot, my transition was the sleep deprivation, because I believe it or not, no, I didn't have my first sip and close 23.

My level of alcohol, my intake, my alcoholic tolerance is off the charts. I have never experienced a hangover ever, which is not a good thing, because it didn't teeth like I didn't have to deal with that.

And what's amazing to me, though, is I realized the sheer lack of sleep I was having due to the amount of alcohol I was drinking.

And from there, I remember based on the inspiration that you've shared and our relationship over the years. things I've read that you put out, Kerry, and I appreciate it.

I thank you very much for that. It allowed me to understand that there is places that I can go.

I didn't understand what your great drinking was. And I remember reaching out to you saying, hey, I'd like to get better sleep because alcohol was the main cause of my sleep deprivation.

So I appreciate what you do. And I just want everyone to realize that the gray area is a real thing.

I would definitely would have considered myself in that category. And it's something that people really need to be cognizant of, like what kind of, even though it might make me massive destruction, I mean, sleep deprivation isn't good.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

It's not something that is good for my family, not good for my business. So it was good to make that change.

So thank you. Yeah, you're welcome. And you know what? The alcohol, listen, I'm not on a crusade against alcohol.

You know, it's always going to be prevalent in our life and around us in society. But my mission and my goal is just to bring the awareness of what it is and to plant that seed to just pay attention, listen to those inner voices that we have inside.

I, that we can really start to make sense. Why am I using it? How is this helping me? Because there's other ways to reward yourself or to relax or to escape from a rough day.

There's a lot of tools that I have in my toolbox that I share with clients on how they can move through the day to day stress.

And, you know, alcohol is just one part of the symptom. It's just one part of a gray area. Another gray area that I see quite a lot, Matt, is in marriages.

You know, particularly as someone builds their successes as a leader, they're so focused on their business. And again, becoming uber successful and tying their identity to their work that then they forget about the family life, particularly their spouse at times.

And that can really be very, very hard and difficult to maneuver when you don't have the support of your spouse on board with you.

And this is another gray area that I personally went through. My husband and I have been married almost 34 years.

And just after we celebrated our 30th year, we came to a head with our own marriage of are we going to continue this?

And it was devastating for both of us. And we worked really hard to work through that and rebuild our relationship, which is another huge gray area.

And a lot of that had to do with his career. He had his head down all the time. Again, his identity was tied to his success and his head was down.

He wasn't paying attention to what was going on at home. And this happened. You become withdrawn. You know, get in your own head about things and not sharing the communication stops, not showing up for your kids, all the things.

And that's very commonplace. So that's another area. And you know, people feel your energy as a leader, as someone who is responsible for our family and team.

on your shoulders, especially for men, we're already, society's shifting when it comes to masculinity, right? With things happening in our world today.

But as a man that's trying to hold everything together for their family and their business, it's so much for them.

And alcohol's one of those ways that's easy to escape with, you know, as well as porn or emotionally eating and not taking care of themselves or looking elsewhere outside the marriage or, you know, fill in the blank.

There's all kinds of things that we do to cope with our stress.


Matt Zaun 

Sure, sure. So there's lots on pack with what you said. So first congratulations on 34 years. That's absolutely, absolutely amazing.

I got married when I was 12, by the way. There you go. I'm wondering. That's awesome. No, that's amazing.

So I'm coming up on 12 years and I'm excited about that. So 34, that's amazing. So I just want to mention that.

One of the things I always recommend for people to do is so go to nursing homes. So I get asked this question all the time.

People always ask me, what books do you recommend on public speaking? Especially since I go out, I do a lot of talks.

You know, what books do you recommend on public speaking? Most books in public speaking are complete and utter garbage.

I'll save everyone listening time. They can teach some mechanics. They don't teach you how to tie into your pain.

In order for you to be unbelievably inspirational, you need to tap into a very, very deep level of pain.

So I always recommend talk to homeless veterans, go into nursing homes and talk with people on their deathbeds and hear unbelievable regret.

Right? So I really appreciate you mentioning the marriage piece because if you go into nursing homes and you talk to people that they know their time is coming very soon for their passing, it's very rare that they talk about, I wish I spent more time at the office.

I wish I was on social media scrolling more always has to do with relationships. They weren't there for their children.

Unbelievable. So I highly recommend people do that another thing that I want to mention because you mentioned the mail piece you mentioned, you know, the shifting that the script has shifted Definitely gender speaking as a society.

I do want to make a point about that. I and I and for for women listening. I want people to recognize that this is really important for you as well.

The the script for women, as you know, radically shifted to you go girl be awesome in the corporate boardroom and be awesome at home have everything that you want.

And I'm not against that script. My wife is amazing. She's an incredible leader. She's a phenomenal business leader. I consider my wife an incredible mentor of mine.

I've learned tons from her. But the the script the the script for men has shifted, right? And it's it's causing massive confusion where men don't know.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

don't know what the script is. There's no playbook anymore for men.


Matt Zaun 

And I see more, you know, people want to talk about toxic masculinity. I see more destructive elements when it comes to men that I think women should be concerned about it as well, because for us to function and have a healthy society, we need health across the board.

And I do want to mention this that I want to unpack with you. I do to the spike in suicide in the last few years, which has been absolutely horrifying.

I was at an event, a local event. We've had a lot of suicides with local high schools in our area, unfortunately.

And there was a local event and hundreds of people showed up to this. So they were going to have a candlelit event.

They I don't know how many people they were expecting, but hundreds and hundreds of people showed up to this.

And the speakers, speaker after speaker talking about the life of all of these high schoolers that end up killing themselves.

Nine. of them, there were nine of them. Okay. So their friends got up, all of them were male, hmm, every single not a single girl.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

Now, I don't care who is listening to this man woman, this should horrify everyone because that that literally tears up the fabric of our society in many ways.

So what what are your thoughts regarding that? Why is that? What is what do you think are some of the reasons behind that?

Well, I think, you know, my age group, I'm in my middle 50s. And I think that the age groups have changed, you know, the demographics have changed a little bit.

And I think that we're trying to appeal to everyone, we're trying to make everyone feel inclusive, you know, and I think that's important.

I think we all have an important place in our life. But I also think the traditional roles of masculinity, especially for people closer to my age.

And that's really who I speak to and work with anyway. There's this confusion, this mass confusion, even with that age, because they've been brought.

up to believe the man is the head of the household. My age is when it started to shift slightly that women are now in the workplace.

And just like your wife, I am my own business. I'm successful. All the things, right? We are pretty equal in our marriage in that aspect.

But I look at my husband with reverence. He's still the man. Look at him with honor. And I think some times that is missing.

And I think for these the middle age guys and up is very confusing. They're trying to figure out how they even fit in anymore.

And the responsibility that has been put on their shoulders has shifted. And they're trying to be everything to everyone and still hold all of this together.

And it's that pressure becomes too much. But to your point about teenage suicide with males, that is on the rise.

And I'm connected with a few people that really specialize in suicide. suicide. And we've talked about this, you know, especially with high schoolers and middle schoolers and the trend that's happening with that.

I blame a lot of that on social media and trying to keep up with the facade of looking good.

Same thing. They're in the posture syndrome zone too. It's just looks different for the rage group. But there's just a lot of pressure everywhere, Matt.

You know, our world is changing and more so than ever before. We need to really focus on what is most important.

And that is being connected to something higher than yourself, whether that's God, Creator, whatever. But also to really look inward and get honest with yourself and be the best that you can possibly be.

And that is hard to do for a lot of people. They just don't want to do the work to do that.

And that's what needs to happen in order for them to move through it. You know, so the clients that I work with, I mean, I just got two beautiful testimonials this week from clients about.

out, my work reaches well beyond just working with that individual. It's a trickle down effect. I wrote a post recently about that myself.

And just it is true. It's it's not just working with the individual. It's a trickle down effect for everyone in their life.

Their spouse or kids, their teammates and everything. It's the energy that they hold. So there's a lot riding on this.

I think this is an important topic that needs to continue actually. Yeah, absolutely.


Matt Zaun

You know, one of the most horrific conversations I think I had in the last couple of years was with a friend who basically ran a crisis center.

And so he is a he's a counselor and then he started to to run the center. And he shared with me things that are unbelievable.

Like the sheer volume of people that they're seeing in the last couple of years has skyrocketed. And I said, well, what is like the biggest shift that you've seen any.

He said the kind of people that are now coming in that no one would think are. Yeah. So basically.

Yeah. And basically in the last couple of years, there are more and more people coming in that you know, one would ever think they're dealing with any kind of opioid addiction or any kind of, you know, alcohol addiction.

You mentioned pornography, like all the different things that have skyrocketed in the last couple of years where people are really suffering and hurting and you know, he's counseling some of these people that are unbelievably successful human beings.

And I don't think enough people realize it. And again, they feel like they're on an island all to themselves.

So someone that's in that category, whether they want to admit that they may be in the gray area, maybe they already realize that there's something destructive.

Where do what do they do? What's the first step? What would you recommend? If someone somewhat knows, at least they're willing to admit there's some type of issue that they're dealing with.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

What's the first thing that they should do that you would recommend? The very first thing is not run away from the feelings.

It's okay for us not to feel okay. And this is the reason why we act by choosing alcohol or overeating or pornography or whatever.

We're trying to escape or run from a feeling. We've never been taught how to sit with our feelings as children and teenagers and growing up.

It's very rare for a child to be okay with not being okay and having that temper tantrum. We need to be okay to talk through how we feel.

Our feelings is what drives our actions. So be uncomfortable is an okay place to be. So that's the first thing is to not always feel like you have to act upon your feelings.

I have a quick little saying which is stop and pause and reflect before you act. And if you just give yourself that one minute timeout, just stop and look at what you're thinking about.

Notice how you're feeling and. Ask yourself some questions like why am I feeling this way? What are the thoughts that I'm really having about this?

Are they really true? Could there be something else that is true? Taking a couple deep breaths through this time is really important.

And redirecting to something that's going to better serve you. Just taking that time out for yourself is huge. The second thing I'd say is if you already think that there's a problem with something that you're doing, even those inner thoughts is, could I be drinking too much?

Could I be doing X too much? And you think it's a problem? It's probably a problem. So the fact that you're even asking yourself those questions is an indicator that you want to pay attention to what is going on on the inner side of yourself.

What is that inner voice that is speaking to you and listen to it, stop shoving it under the covers?

It's only going to be able to stay there but for so long. gets overtaxed. A lot of the things that we feel we push down, especially men, men are just notorious of this.

They keep pushing down their feelings. They don't want to share. They don't want to open up. They don't want to be vulnerable.

I got it. I can handle it. Most men are control freaks. I got it. It's the ego thing coming out.

And eventually, your nervous system will break down. And you will either explode, erupt, fall apart, or cause some catastrophe in your life.

Eventually, you will be forced to make a change if you don't do it while you have the opportunity. Being in a gray area is a choice.

Let me say that again. Being in a gray area is a choice. You still have the choice that you can make to get out of the gray, whatever it is that's going on before you're forced to make it this is.

That's the beautiful thing about being in the gray areas.


Matt Zaun

You still have that option. Wow. So that should be inspiration for people that if they're in the gray, get help now.

Start at the process of figuring this out before the eruption happens. So I appreciate you mentioning that. You know, one of the things that's amazing to me, I've learned so much about leadership just by being a parent.

As you know, there's a lot of emotions that come with that. And there's a big turning point for me, this was really profound to me, is during holiday break.

So I have three young kids, three very young children. And as I'm sure you can imagine, you have a few weeks during the holiday where I always want to keep them preoccupied and go, go, go.

And activity after activity after activity. And you just, at some point, you can't keep up, right? You're just, you're putting so many activities in front of them.

And I remember my kids coming to me and they continued to set. We're bored, we're bored, we're bored. And in my mind, I'm thinking like, oh my gosh, I have back to back to back to back activities.

Like, and it's like they get from one thing to another to another to another, trying to keep them active.

And at one point, I just looked at him and I said, you know, it's okay to be bored sometimes.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

Yeah, I love that, Matt.


Matt Zaun 

And I shared that with my mentor a week later. And I said, you know, Matt, he said, it's okay for you to be angry sometimes.

It's okay for you to be front. Like he was shoving it almost back in my face because as adults, especially as a male, you mentioned the fixing when I'm tired, right?

I get frustrated, I want to fix it. I should be doing this, I should be doing that. When I'm angry, when I'm dealing with something, it's like, this is not okay, I need to fix it.

And he was basically pushing it back in my face. Okay, it's okay for your kids to be bored. It's also okay for you to not feel okay, Matt, right?

That was so profound to me is we should also listen to what we're saying to our children. and also allowing and giving them space to understand their feelings.

Because you're right, a lot of kids were not allowed. They were not given the space to do that.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

So I appreciate you mentioning that. Yeah, one other quick thing is as leaders, as really successful leaders, what I find most often is there is this tremendous amount of incongruency going on inside, where again, this goes back to imposter syndrome, but they're looked upon as being this high leader who has this amazing, you know, couple hundred employee team running a 35 to a hundred million dollar business and things are cranking and everything looks great on paper.

But they know inside that they don't really feel that way. So that incongruency, this rubbing the sandpaper kind of feeling inside of their soul is what's causing a lot of this.

And again, you mentioned it, it's about being okay with not being okay. clients say to me, you know, I'm just neutral.

I'm just neutral. And as if it's like not a great place to be, I'm just neutral. And I'm thinking, no, neutral is good.

Let's, let's capitalize on the fact that it's neutral and you're not in this downroads spiral, what I call a protective state.

Let's celebrate neutral. We don't always have to be on this high every single day. The expectations that we have to be, you know, operating at this level 10, 24, seven is just it's, it's not going to happen.

It's a foul wall. It's just, it's not realistic. We are going to ebb and flow through our day and our states throughout the day.

We're going to go in and out of protective state and an expansive state just because we're human and because we have all these emotions.

So a lot of it, you know what comes down to, we just need to give ourselves some grace for human.

It's okay. We're supposed to have all these emotions and feelings. And it's okay to have an anger fit. Just just

do it by yourself and with a pillow, right? It's like screaming to a pillow. I love, I love boxing bag, like the big hanging boxing bags.

If someone has access to put that near their house or their workplace or their, you know, inside their space that they work at and you're just frustrated with something, go hit the damn bag.

That's the best thing you can do. Just get out your aggression. You know, don't keep it inside. Your nervous system cannot handle.

If you keep shoving stuff down, you got to be able to expel it and in a very healthy way.

And that's the key.


Matt Zaun 

Yeah, I appreciate mentioned that the nervous system going into the brain function, the neutral piece. Here's something that's very concerning to me that I think is not being talked about enough.

I really like sharing this because I think it's very helpful is the idea of what we've done as a society as it pertains to dopamine.

And I don't think a lot of people really focus on that is that when you even if you go like I'm like going to a movie theater today and watching movies.

compared to 50 years ago, right? It's like the spike in dopamine that you experienced by watching some type of like just an action movie today or even social media.

It's like everything with it's graphically visually appealing. And what we've done now as a society is it's dopamine head after dopamine head.

And I always, I always recommend the book, Dope Me Nation, as many people as possible. And a Lampey, she is a psychiatrist from Stanford University, phenomenal book, Toughbook to read, but Dope Me Nation talks about the pain balance, right?

So you have this spike in dopamine, it's a pleasure and then you have a crash. So it's this sea salt, if you will, of pleasure pain.

And it's just when you said the neutral piece, that's what I thought of because we're like training our brains.

We're so overstimulated that just like being now is like neutral and it's like, it's okay. Yeah, it's okay. And I think we're missing out on.

other pleasurable experiences in life because we're artificially inflating our dopamine. You know, one of the, one of the things that's been amazing about travel that I do is I get to go and see some gorgeous mountains and be out in nature because I'm in all these different states.

And it's like, it's so actually beautiful. It's not beautiful on a screen. Like it's some like Instagram polished picture.

It's like, no, I'm literally staring at a mountain right now. And I could just sit and be and it's okay to just, just be being that neutral state.

Amazing. You've talked about that before about nature, right? I remember you saying, you know, you going and connecting in nature and trying to figure out like next steps that was really important to you.

I remember you. Yeah.


Kari Schwear 

You know what? This is, and I'm glad you brought that up because one of the things that I, I did recently at a workshop was I took, you know, these are all CEOs of large companies, you know, successful businesses.

And I took them outside to a courtyard and I said, take off your shoes and socks.


Matt Zaun

And they're like, part of me. That's awesome.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

I said yes, we're going to take off your shoes and socks. We're going to do something known as grounding, which is to get our feet on the earth and in the grass and the soil and really feel the earth beneath us.

But scientifically, there's a reason why this works. There's magnesium in the earth. And years ago, there was more magnesium in the earth than there is today, but it literally can recharge us.

So there's something really cool about going barefoot. But even more so, just being present, we just stood in the grass, kind of leaning back and forth with our toes while we did some breathing exercises and just being present and being quiet can make all the difference in the world.

So if anybody's, that's one of the, one of my little tools in the toolboxes, get outside, take your shoes and socks off, walk in the grass, especially a spring is coming, get with nature.

Another hack, by the way, is people travel across country the fastest way. to acclimate yourself to the current time zone there is to ground to get your shoes off, go and go to a beach if you can, if there is water, if not, just go in the grass and just acclimating yourself to that time zone is, is this is the best way to do it is through grounding.


Matt Zaun 

And there's so many papers on this. I'm not making this up. Interesting.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

Yeah, it's called earthing or grounding. There's plenty of articles out there, scientific data proving this point. But yeah, it's one of those little hacks that maybe the average person doesn't know about.

But there's so many things that we can do to benefit ourselves that can really help our nervous system that we can self regulate without needing to pour a drink without needing to look elsewhere outside of our marriage without viewing porn.

You know, we can find things that are going to satisfy us and help us move out of that protective state and into an expansive state if we just give ourselves the opportunity.

buddy. This is much easier when you do it with someone by your side. That is going to help you see the blind spots and help you really open up and be vulnerable and be willing to share and have that courage.

And that's when someone begins to really expand in their life.


Matt Zaun 

Wow. Wow. Wow. Powerful stuff. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing all of this. I very much appreciate your time and what you do.

I got a lot out of this conversation. And I know a lot of people listening probably got a lot of takeaways as well.

There's three in particular that really stood out to me. I really appreciate what you said regarding what you believe about yourself shows up every day.

That's really important. I think there's a lot of leaders there that haven't truly unpacked their trauma where maybe they had some type of childhood trauma that comes out with their team, right?

It's different elements of what they believe about themselves that shows up. And you basically mentioned it takes a lot more energy to hide that.

So I appreciate that. The second thing I got was it's better to figure out how to get out of the gray area now, and it's okay to not have a massively destructive turning point.

People don't need to get a DUI or go to prison or do something crazy before they have that turning point.

They can make that turning point now. I appreciate that. And then also just the fact that you mentioned it's okay not to be okay.

I do think that it's becoming more acceptable to buy into that philosophy. But I appreciate what you said after that.

You said the fact that someone may even be asking themselves, is this a problem? It's probably a problem. So I appreciate that.

So those are my three biggest takeaways. So I appreciate it. I appreciate your time. Carry if people want to learn more about what you do.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

Maybe they want to get in contact with you. Where's the best place that they can go to get that information?

Yeah, the best place is on my website at graytonic.com. T when I see and I'm pretty active on LinkedIn.

That's how you and I met Matt. I'm LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. I think it's probably the best social platform out there.

And you know, it's, it's, it's a real community that is formed on there and with real people. And I think, um, yeah, it's the best platform out there.

I have a big shout out to LinkedIn.


Matt Zaun

So that's awesome. I'm a LinkedIn. The beautiful thing is I'm the only carry square on all of social media and Google.

That makes it super easy to find me. Amazing. All right. So to make it super convenient for people, I will include that in the show notes to people who just click and check out your stuff.

So thank you again, Carrie. Very much.


Kari Schwear (graytonic.com)

Appreciate your time today. Thank you for having me, Matt.


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