Passion for the Dance with Debbra Sweet

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In this inspiring episode, we are thrilled to introduce Debbra Sweet, a remarkable individual who has earned titles such as the “Queen of Courage” and “The Rock Star of Resilience,” Debbra tells stories of her childhood and her healing journey through PTSD. Debbra embodies the essence of grit and determination, transforming her life’s adversities into stepping stones to success.

Highlights:

{04:40} When you get down on yourself.

{13:10} A life of learning how to be resilient.

{20:30} What makes Debbra a Titan

{28:30} Betraying yourself.

{33:20} Prayer Warrior

{40:25} PTSD

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Debbra Sweet Bio

Meet Debbra Sweet, a beacon for those who’ve had life’s interruptions deter them. Known as the “Queen of Courage,” “The Rock Star of Resilience,” and “The Goddess of Get It Done.” She embodies grit and determination, turning her adversities into triumph platforms.

Bold. Artistic. She is relentless in her pursuit to inspire. Debbra defies the conventional, challenging entrepreneurs to dig deep, rediscover their vision, and push past life’s inevitable setbacks. With a captivating blend of substance and sensation, she doesn’t just motivate—she propels.

For those entrepreneurs hungry for tangible results, feeling that fire but constantly sidetracked by life’s unexpected turns inside and outside of business, Debbra provides the roadmap back to their path. She connects, resonates, and lights up the room, ensuring every entrepreneur leaves reinvigorated, refocused, and ready to turn their vision into reality.

Connect with Debbra

https://debbrasweet.com 

https://www.facebook.com/debbrasweet 

https://www.instagram.com/debbra.sweet

Check out all of our interviews: https://titanevolutionpodcast.com/blog/

Connect with Travis: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nonprofitarchitect/

Sponsored Links:

Podcast TITAN: Are you ready to take your podcast to the next level? https://podcasttitan.com/

Hey, welcome back to the show. I’m here today with my good friend, Deborah Sweet. Deborah, how are you today?

Wonderful. Travis, how are you today?

OH, you know, get some creeks and some cricks, and you start moving, and your joints sound like popcorn. Is that normal?

Some days, it is, especially if you haven’t had enough water.

Oh, that’s true. That’s true. Deborah joins us today. She’s a motivational speaker, an award-winning musician, and an international New York Times best-selling author: leadership visionary, entertaining keynote concert performer, SBI Survivor, and more.

Deborah, I’m just excited to have you on the show today. I know we do. Met, shoot it. It was like a year ago down in San Diego at Julie Ducharme. She talked; I was the only guy talking, and all the rest of you were ladies. And let’s be honest, that’s the way I prefer it. Anyway, you were the smart man in the room.

Like smart men? No. Go where? Women are right. There you go.

I was talking to a friend here about it, and he’s like, It’s a lady conference. I’m. Yeah. And then, like, you’re speaking. I’m like, yeah, he’s. I always knew you were a girl. I was like, The smartest girl in the room. He’s like You’re probably right. You’re probably right.

I love it, so I do a lot of work with men and women, and when I’m with my women, I say we’re Dynamic women and amazing Rockstar Men who support us because, you know, you and I clicked. We clicked right away. I couldn’t wait to talk to you. I’m glad to be here. And yeah, you rocked it that day, too.

Yeah, it’s. I just love being around people who love people. You know what I mean? Like, we’re there. We’re together; we’re doing whatever great stuff that is amazing that we’re creating, and you’re not around those people who think if they’re going to win, you have to lose. I don’t believe that for a second. Yeah, if we’re talking about a sporting event, there’s a clear winner or a loser, or you end up in a tie or nonsense.

But in life, everyone can win all the time; at the same time, no one has to lose for you to win. And you regaled us with an amazing performance of sheer through her different phases of stardom. It was a lot of fun, I know.

So, I will develop something you need to know here for you. I’m normally a hater of live music. It’s usually like they didn’t set the sound right. It’s too much Volume for the space that they’re in, or it’s off, or the performers are on something, and it’s just. It’s almost like the audience was not considered when they were up there doing their thing.

So often I get there, and I’m like, you know what, I can’t be… But your performance was amazing. It was engaging. It was fun. The sound was set up for the venue. I thought it was just phenomenal. So, I appreciate that about you. Yeah.

Thank you. Well, I bring a lot of intention to it. All that I do is that, and when I’m performing as her, those are like, that was a different experience. So that was what we call a special appearance show, and, you know, the room was great. I love the people in the room and was honored to be there. And so, thank you.

Oh yeah, that stuff is a lot of fun. I also like to show up as different people for everything I do. You know, showing up as a dad as a different kind of person is showing up as a husband as a different kind of person, and we have all these different aspects of who we are.

But somehow, when we make a mistake in one of those things, we tend to take it on, as the whole self is the problem. I wonder if you ever felt that way. You make a mistake with one of the personas we all have, and you’re like, and you are just down and hard on yourself. Have you ever experienced that?

Oh yeah, that was about—well, if not. Have I ever? It would be once the last time, and I would say about two weeks ago. I did a good thing. That was. Oh yeah, I had that head talk. I had that head talk in. The moment when I realized what happened, which was and so, I’ll just tell you what happened.

So, I have this property. I’m a bird girl. I love animals. But if you ever hear me talk about our birds, I’ve always been connected to them. I grew up in a different state in the Midwest.

So, I used to love going out in the woods. And I. I would talk to the birds. But I wouldn’t say that I am … I think the term is an ornithologist. That’s a real bird—a bird nerd. I’m not that nerdy. I just made that up.

I’m giving you bonus points for that one bird. Nerd bird, nerd, right?

Yeah. Yeah, right. Yeah. I just made that up. So anyway, why? Why is this relevant to you? Have I ever had that moment? So, when I met my husband today, it was our 30th wedding anniversary. 

Today is 30.

Yeah, it means you guys were married in the late 1900s. 

Wait a minute, that was mean.

No, my son’s 15. I just got his permit.

OK, now I take it to the early 1900s. You said the late 1900s. OK, so I’ve got my mask right there. You go, yes. We were married on August 17, 1993. So, excuse me. Not August, but October 17th.

So we have this thing where we celebrate two anniversaries. We celebrate. What a term that I’ve coined called our metaverse. Sorry, it’s the anniversary of the day we met, which is August 19th. That’s the one we feel is our real anniversary because we’ve been together since that night. So that’s 32 years. And he wanted to get married formally. On August 19th,

So he could remember it. How we landed on October 17th was if we wanted to get married shortly. The next August 19th was seven years away, so we figured out the next best number we could remember. And that was 17 because we were both born on the 17th of the month. And October seemed like it was going to be a nice weather month.

So there you go, October 17th, 1993. Let’s fast-forward to your question. 

When I met my husband, we started dating. He had birds. So that’s how I learned to be a bird owner. So, we’ve had house birds—birds inside the house. We’ve had little parakeets and cockatiels. I’ve had parrots, and we’ve housed and rehabbed many animals. I call it the sweet zoo sometimes. But the house we’re living in now has an outdoor aviary.

And so, I counted yesterday; I had 36 birds again. So, I have, you know, it’s they do what they’re going to do. When they have babies, they lay eggs. And so about two weeks ago, when it was, I was out taking care. Of the birds I was looking at, there were trees in the backyard, and I’m like, oh, I need to water this. This one could use some water. So, I turned on the garden hose. I took care of the birds. I got done, and I went into the house.

What did you forget to do?

That was about 4:00 in the afternoon. Notice that night? Wow. Water pressure is slightly lower, but somebody’s doing laundry or showering in this house if you cook in the kitchen. You know, we get low water pressure, so I got up the next day, and my husband was cooking, and my husband was kind of, I think, taking a shower and getting ready, so he went. Have you noticed that the water pressure is a little low? A bit lower, I said. Yeah, I did notice that.

And so, because this is a unique property we’ve had in the past, we had a water leak. The main line is on the main line. So, he’s like, I wonder if we have a water leak. I should go. Check it out. So he went, and he went. But two minutes later, get your shoes. I found it. Yep, I forgot to turn off that water hose. And this was on a Saturday morning. I had about that much water out my back.

Oh no.

You know, we have, like, when it rains out here, California doesn’t handle rainwater well, so I know what our water table is and how it usually goes, but let’s just say that head talk showed up because I was already on the back end of it. Personal and mental moments Defeat three days earlier.

So, it was kind of a term called emotional whiplash, and that was one of them. I was rebounding from something that, like these last ever since August, this month and this year in particular, has been challenging. This has been a challenging year in a good way, but it has not always been easy. And you know that, Travis, sometimes we’re growing through it. Getting through those growth moments is not always easy or comfortable, but it’s how you emerge from them.

So, the good news is that they bailed out all that water. My husband, I hope that this isn’t right, but he said it. It was about 6000 gallons of water. So, I think I will have a hefty water bill come in. I don’t have to water it back for a while. Because we were sweeping it, I was sweeping it down and out, away from the house, because I couldn’t let that water stand. And then I got to the point where I was.

We scooped it with buckets and cups and threw it back up. I’ve got other things that could use watering, so we, you know, disperse the water, and, you know, one of the things I have. This is my mindset. I always see the silver lining. I call myself an eternal optimist. Even when we have dark times, sometimes you’re in a tough situation. Know what I will cry. I got angry that day. I got angry at myself. I was embarrassed. I felt ashamed. 

You know, those are real raw emotions. I cried a little bit because I was frustrated with myself. But then I bucked up and just got it done right. I pulled up my big girl pants, got it done, and took care of it. Within the next day, when we were dispersing the water, I planted some flower bulbs that had never grown, and all of a sudden, they were growing.

You just didn’t realize how much water they needed to sprout. 

Evidently

You couldn’t have foreseen it because if someone told you, look, these things will need 6,000 gallons of water, which you wouldn’t have; I bought them, right?

I probably would not have bought them. Yes, but trees. It looks pretty good. The tree is looking really good. It wasn’t bad to begin with, but it’s well watered, and my husband’s like, well, I hope that that doesn’t mean that it, you know, his perspective was, I hope that it doesn’t. All that water didn’t loosen the ground enough to make it topple. And I’m like, you know what? I’m going to shift my beliefs around this because, you know, we get what we think.

And so, my belief is that water. Did you build that water to penetrate so deeply that it forced roots down? There’s something called tap roots. It caused that tap root to go down further and grow healthier anchor roots. So now we’re looking pretty good.

Oh, I agree with that. Amazingly, what we focus on with our minds tends to show up. You know you’re focused on all the hate on the news in America, and you walk around with that. You’re going to see it everywhere. You’ll see the hate everywhere, but if you’re focused on people’s love—for their family, friends, and romantic interests. And you walk around. Focused on that, you’ll see love everywhere, and neither person is right. And neither person is wrong. You just see what it is that you focus on. 

It’s so wonderful that you can take that focus in that moment and redshift it to something beneficial. Just self-deprecating, self-flagellation, and all that stuff you don’t have, like a chalice at home to whip yourself with. You know, when you’ve had one of those bad days, it’s easy to get pulled into some of this darkness for some of these things, and we can take a moment to reframe the situation and maybe focus on that. 

So, we’re lining up; we’ve got a chance to get out of whatever the situation is without devastating impact on our world.

Absolutely. And there’s one; I think you mentioned it in the bio. There’s this little phrase on rockstar resilience. It’s what speaks truth to what you just shared—one perspective. But there is a life of learning how to be resilient because if I talk about my younger years, there’s Deborah. Ages: birth and 10. Between 10 and 17 and 24 into my UM. 40S, and then into my current decade and so. When I talk about things from my youth, or especially my teen years,

The story is very different. What you’re seeing right now is number one for me. I’ve always felt that I was supposed to be. But I know Travis knows that. I’m thinking it’s 2023. I think it was in 2020 or 2021. I’m thinking it’s 2020. So, I won’t remember the exact year, but I do remember the moment. I knew I was funded and came out of my 40-year trauma tunnel.

So, my past has had a lot of hardships. The average is just kind of, let’s set the stage here. In 2020, I got certified. I have some unique training certifications, and I don’t think you know about some of them, but in 2020. I said yes to an opportunity, and I am certified technically; I’m our first responder, and my unique certification has allowed me to be a first responder to first responders. I did not do the training I went through to do that. 

I said yes to the opportunity to get this unique certification, which is not a sexy name; it’s called the C-ISD critical incident situation. The debriefer is not sexy at all. It was built. The training was organized by former military and law enforcement officers.

So, it’s very practical and functional, with all the acronyms. But I said yes to it because, through all my years of doing business, my daytime stuff has been helping businesses. Be successful. And then my side has always been called to be this performance’s dancer, musician, and performer.

And so, what I noticed about all my daytime business Is that there were what I am calling internal and external influences. This is my definition of internal and external influencers. That impacts life and business. These are those moments. When we’re working, we show up; we’ve got a goal, but you get a call because your kid is sick. That doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it could cause much stress for the mom or dad.

But now it’s time to stop everything and figure out what I will do. We don’t have to go down all the tentacles that come with it. That’s an influencer. There’s another one. Let’s talk about it from a positive standpoint for a second. What if you’re working and suddenly you play the lottery, and you win the lottery? That’s an influencer. 

Totally.

And if you never are and are not used to having that kind of wealth come your way, that will be an influence. Or it can overwhelm you. Downward spirals and influencers, by the way, are not always negative. But my point about the certification of what I’m getting at is that. What I’ve noticed for years is that there are these. Influencers are internal, and the four walls of our house are internal. You and your family Are with your siblings, children, and yourself. 

When you go to work, Internal influences in your business or at your job could be you with your coworkers or boss. Maybe you are the boss, along with your employees. I remember one of the influencers. 

Years ago, I had a girl like that. It worked for me. Marketing firm, and this was a crappy thing. She stole from us. She sabotaged the equipment she stole. Clients misrepresented. It lied to my face like this was all that was an internal influencing situation. Right.

OK, so what I’m getting at is that we have these influencers. These are things that can take us off. Correct. And in life and business, those can create the traumatic moment. Before 2020, here’s the statistic: That’s why I’m setting this up for you.

So, you have an idea here. Before 2020, the average person was a guy gal—every day. Mom and Dad, in our lives, we might have three, maybe three, traumatic incidences. For comparison, with a 20-year-old law enforcement officer on the job, we’ll see 999. 

While I was going through that training, there was a segment where we had homework to do in less than 20 minutes. Non-stop, I wrote over. I think it was like 396 traumatic incidents that I went through between the ages of 10 and 17. That’s not all. So why is this relevant? Well, I took on the training because when I’m working with my clients, whether they want personal support or, you know, their goals, their reaching goals, personally or professionally, I’ve been seeing all these traumatic things pre-2020 getting in the way, and post-2020, that number is even higher.

So, being the rockstar of resilience is having a lifetime of overcoming and not giving up. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Or it was enjoyable to figure out how to change your heart and perspective when life is difficult. Not so clean, not so messy, or not so pretty. It can be, you know, kind of messy. Some training and some support are needed, but it takes time. I call it conditioning, and I practice the mental practice so that. You have a situation where you forget to turn off the water hose overnight so that you can get through it and not have a total meltdown that you can rebound from. Stay strong, be resilient, and come out stronger than before. There you go. I’ll try not to get on my soapbox too much. But you’re talking to me. And this is what I do.

So, it sounds like you’ve had quite a traumatic life. What is it about you? What core things within you allow you to get through that? The question we usually ask on this show is: What makes you a Titan?

My inner warrior is incredible. Her name is Deb. When I referenced Deb, that’s so. That’s what I’m talking about. She is unbelievable. She is. Truly the. She is my inner warrior. 

My answer to this question is that it’s a good question; I haven’t. I have been asked this before. If I bring my simple brain into this, so will my little Debbie, my little girl. I think there are two things. One is my passion for music.

My young one, whom I’ve known since I was five years old, there was a day in kindergarten. I knew this deep within. I knew exactly the answer to the question, which has been part of the trajectory of my life, so it’s a desire. It’s a deep, deep desire of my heart. And I remember it. In kindergarten, we had to draw out a picture. That answered the question. What do you want to be when you grow up? 

I knew for a moment that I was born in a big city, but I grew up very rural and rural, not as rural as my grandfather. Grandmother, but still very rural.

So, the point of relevance is that I had limited access to television and radio, so I didn’t get to play with friends like other kids did. I could get up, go to school, come home, do homework, cure my siblings, cure the household, and then be with my parents. Their business every day. But when I was allowed to watch TV, I got to watch PBS. And I was allowed to watch a couple of early TV shows in the evening. My mom is a product of the 50s, and she does like music and musicals, so I got to watch Donnie Marie, Sonny, and Cher. Barbara Mandrell, the Grand Ole Opry, and Lawrence Welk, and on PBS, there was this. Now and then, I did have a ballroom dancing competition. And there’s this woman named Juliette Prouse.

 Now, this is way back. This was a few decades ago, but Juliette was stunning, and she just had this grace, this elegance, and this confidence. And she was smiling. And she would just she would just move across the floor with such elegance. I want to say resolve. There was something that happened. I watched her in particular. It was very enthralling, and she was. It was watching her. I made it so that I wanted to be like her. I wanted to dance like that.

And so, in kindergarten, that was what I wanted; that was supposed to be what was on. My paper is so. What was interesting? So that’s the desire of my heart. To dance is to be a dancer. Today, we call it dancing with dancing. Like what? Like what we see dancing with the stars, right? So that’s right there.

So, here’s what happened that led to the tightening component. I went to do that assignment. I was so excited because there was this little conversation with all my classmates. What are you going to do? What do you do? What are you going to do? What are you going to do? 

Everybody’s telling all their stuff, really excited, and finally. Somebody came. You need to know that I’m an introvert. People don’t believe it. I’m an introvert, and so on. I couldn’t wait for somebody to. Come up and say, Dad, what are you? What are you going to do? What are you going to do? That happened, and so I said I would be a dancer.

And I did not get the love and support. What I got was, really, how will you do that? You can’t do that; it was nothing but slaps in the face. It came from my classmates. It came from my teachers. I went home later that day and remember talking to my mom about it. I want to be a dancer. No, you’re not like any way you could say. No, so here’s what I call simple. Girl, my simple brain. That was the day, Travis. My life started to shift. 

Because here, I showed up big and bold, sharing my heart and expressing my truth. And I remember—I can recall this being. It was time to do this assignment, and my heart was hurt because what was in my inner voice was, how can they know what’s right or not? Right? For me, this is how I feel. Then, five years old.

So I didn’t know. How do I get the dance classes? I wasn’t allowed to do that other stuff. Right. But part of the resolve was the passion—the passion for the dance, the passion for the music, and that vision. That little something locked in my brain through all my traumas and trials. Passion and desire. For that vision, for me to do something with music is number one for years of what kept me alive.

So, my, I’ll lay one part of this story here. What ended up happening? I did that assignment. Sadly, I listened to what other people said. Because see, there’s another part of my upbringing: you need to follow the rules because you’ll get in trouble if you don’t. 

Now, I do agree that rules are important, but there are times when rules are punitive. I can’t entirely agree with rules that cause poverty, cause us to feel oppressed, or lessen the essence of a human. I take a firm stand against that. I didn’t understand that as a kid; that’s the adult me. But here’s what I did know that happened: I did that assignment. And I got so much. “No, no, no, no, no.” And there was already one. There was other stuff going on at home that I didn’t have. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t have all the parental love and support I wished to have. I didn’t feel it. I didn’t have the parents that had my back. That’s kind of the bottom. They provided a line for me but took that moment to support that child. And know that so your child knows you’ve got their back. There’s a term called certainty in your humanness. That’s not what was present.

And so, I didn’t know that as a kid. What I did know is this. I did that homework assignment. And what do I draw? I was a nurse because that’s what everybody said. 

So, I let it. I didn’t know how to have trust in my decision in my heart and the conviction to hold on to it no matter what. I hid that deep in my heart and my mind. And when I drew that nurse, I can remember, I drew the hat, and I drew the skirt, and it was when I drew the shoes. Those nurses, shoes; those practical nurses, shoes. 

I remember my heart sank because I knew. It was a lie. And I also remember that that was the first time I drew that. All I wanted to do when I drew that and turned it in was feel myself sinking into the chair and just want to disappear. And right there, that’s very pivotal in the arc of my story.

I mean, it sounds like that was the moment when you betrayed yourself based on what other people thought.

For me. I started letting go. Absolutely. I just didn’t know. It may be. I’ve never had anybody give me that input, so it’s possible. It’s possible that that isn’t accurate. I don’t know if there was betrayal right there. I don’t know if that one’s quite the one. The right word for betrayal, but like. I don’t have the inner resolve to just hold on to it publicly and draw it out. I guess that was that.

Yeah, yeah.

It could be a betrayal. So, this is interesting.

You knew the answer, regardless of whether anyone else said it. And you specifically took action against yourself.

I guess that would be a betrayal. I’ve never really thought about it like that before. So the fast-forward through that is. 

So, music is my passion and desire for music. 

So, here’s the good that came out of it. My little heavy Go dancing a lot. That is never me. I never gave up on that. What I ended up doing was channeling that desire. Because through my schooling now, here’s the good: here’s a good thing through the schooling, of how I grew up. Every kid in school was required to participate in two from kindergarten through at least eighth-grade performances. 

So, we had our vocal teacher, choir, director, chorus, choir, whatever, and then we were banned, and so on. Every kid in the whole school had to be—part of a winter. Like a Christmas show and then a spring assembly, I think, is what they called it. There was always something like a play on the stage. That you could try out, there was a pit band, and then every kid in every grade had to sing. Your class had to sing, and then the teacher would select soloists. I’ve been doing performance stuff since I was little. 

And I won’t go into this whole story here. How? But what? I will tell you that. My appetite got wet. And I wanted to be like my friends. I wanted to sing, and I wanted to do a band.

And so, when I started talking to my mom about Mom, can I play an instrument? We were allowed to play an instrument in 4th grade.

That little cheesy recorder—that’s plastic and sounds terrible, no?

No, we did; we did not have those. Now we had real instruments, but I went to my mom. I remember having this conversation. It was third grade and fourth grade. Mom, can I do band? No. I heard many ” no’s, like many “no’s. My skin is really tough around the nose because I heard that. Much of it is so.

Well, what a lot of people! I don’t understand. It’s a no if you don’t ask, so you constantly get “no” all day. You just don’t hear it. The only chance we have for it is if we ask.

This is true. Yeah, I can. I can. I kind of agree with that. There’s a lady that I have met who is in her 80s, and she has. She’s still doing business stuff. She’s very dynamic and has a statement like, this is the polar opposite, she says. Of what I just said, you know, I heard a lot of notes. Her platform is showing up. And keep asking. Show up and keep asking. The Titan part of my inner warrior held on to that vision of music. Even when my mother said no, you cannot do band. However, this is what she said. She goes. However, if you still want to do it next year, go into fifth grade. I’ll let you.

So, you better believe some are in 4th grade. Bam. Mom. I mean, we are talking clockwork. I was committed to that vision. And I think that’s a really important thing about that inner warrior. It’s that. And that’s the visionary influencer in you. What’s your vision? When I work with people today, that is one of my first questions. What’s your vision? What’s your goal? What’s your plan? Let’s come up with a game plan.

So that inner vision, holding on to it and being committed to it no matter what. And part of it. The resolved part There’s the music that was the driver because it’s my deepest passion, and then this is the other part that showed up in my life and has been the catalyst. Is it my faith? Not a doubt, because when? In good times and in bad times. I want to be. I do my best to give glory, honor, respect, and gratitude.

For my heavenly father, everything is like this when life seems like there’s just a **** show in front of me. There are times when it seems like the forest crumbles before us. The less-than-poverty mind will think, oh my God, you go down that negative spiral. I’ll look at it like the path is getting cleared. I can go around. I’m looking up or over. I don’t make sure; sometimes it’s not easy. But when I don’t know what to do, I allow myself to feel all the emotions, and that’s another thing. 

I can feel the emotions, and I’m not overwhelmed or afraid of my relationship with my emotions at those low points. Where’s all I got sometimes? That’s it. So that’s a long answer.

You have access to the most powerful being in the universe. That’s all you have left.

You know what I mean? I thought about it all.

I mean, I’m intentionally challenging that statement on purpose, right? Yeah.

I know you are. I know it exactly now. I am a prayer warrior. So when I say all, it’s usually my first line of defense. It’s my last line of defense. I do my best to lead in prayer like I am that woman where it’s happened over my life, where I’ll get pulled out of a deep sleep at 1:30 to pray. For something that’s so like a world event that I don’t even know what it is, I just know the feeling. 

And I’m like, Oh, this is global and intense. OK. I’ll be up at 1:00 in the morning. I pull out of a deep sleep, am up all day, and just pray. So yeah, we have a, we have a. We have a very well-developed relationship.

Well, it sounds like it. That stance in their presence is vital to your success and who you are.

100% I would not be here without that. All the stuff I’ve overcome—why do I do what I do today? So, there was a point. My life when I was between 17 and 24 was the darkest. It’s the outer world. Many people would like me if I told you some of the good stuff. Showed up. 

There was this external glance perception: Oh, she got it going on. She’s going to college. She’s got a career. You have good grades in school and a good family. There’s, like, there’s some external things. In my life, that is cool. There are some cool things, and in one part, I know it’s because of a teacher. He was the most influential teacher in my life. He showed up for me. When I was 13, I was 14. I was a freshman.

So, I did go into I was eventually allowed to play music, so this is a trajectory. When my mom said, well, what do you want to play? I’m like, I don’t know. I’ll do what the neighbor does because we had to pick an instrument.

So, I picked a saxophone. I had a neighbor girl who was close to our family. She played it. So, one thing my mom did I say right? And I’m. I have a lot of gratitude for that. She made me take private lessons in addition to school from day one.

So, I accelerated. So, I’ve always been an advocate of coaching. I’ve been in the coaching role since I was little, and I’ve been coached. I always do my best to remain coachable, so fast forward. This is a positive directory. 

I finally got into high school, my first time around others. Remember what I told you? I wasn’t allowed. I played with friends and had many kids, but I wasn’t. We weren’t allowed to play. If friends came over, my mother tended to put my friends to work, and I was talking yard work, household chores, and cleaning. Like, that’s not what my friends should be here for.

So, I stopped inviting friends over because that was embarrassing. The good is that. In high school, I’m a freshman. I’m starting to meet other kids. The school was always easy, and I remember I was leading the band. One day, I was able to start. Playing with the high school band, even though I was in grade school, there was a program that allowed us to start a little early. This teacher was very, very innovative. 

He was supposed to be on tour with Stephen Miller, but he turned them down to become a teacher, and he’s like, that was a cool call, and so on. I remember. I was leaving the band room to go to class and ask my teacher, who was it? He’s physically taller than me and kind of a big guy. It kind of Got up in my face. And just out of nowhere, what are you doing? You know, I’m a teenager. You don’t talk. Back. But I’m. I don’t know, going to class. He’s like, no. What are you doing? Going to class. What are you doing? I’m going to class, and he said again, and he’s like, no, what are you doing? You’re screwing up.

And then he proceeded to read me. It’s not the riot act. But let’s just say he had. I had a lot to say that I can’t remember. Everything that he said. But I remember this: He took a stand for me then. He saw my potential and was the first adult with my back. And the gist of what he said is, Deborah, you have talent, and you’re throwing it away. You’re allowing yourself to get distracted by these people. Your grades are getting impacted. I mean, he just remembers certain details. But I don’t remember the nuances. That was the first time any human ever did that for me. You did that for me.

And it was so impactful, Travis. That night. I remember his words just resonating all day and that night. I thought about what he said, and I realized this. What I wanted to do professionally was be a music performance major. I wanted to tour the world and perform my music. At this point, I was told I was not good enough to sing. I was given all those solos in the ironies I had already been singing, but not that teacher. From high school to grade school to high school, you’re not good enough. It turns out I was; unfortunately, I’ll listen to her too, but not completely.

But this teacher stood up for me, so I was the only one who learned to emote instrumentally. I learned to emote without my words. And that’s where I picked up this passion in my life. Music. When I say music saved my life, it’s because when I was playing my horn, and I would practice, there was a time I practiced 13 hours a day. I played. And I could, at least, express and connect to an audience without words.

I bring this up right here because there’s some good, and there’s some amazing good. But there was this other part. And include it in your resolution. 

Behind all the good was a lot of trauma and hardship. What didn’t we know? There was something that happened when I was 10. And it was a day that, at ten years old, I became aware of that. I was aware. And it was a fight. My mom and dad had fought before, but this one was horrific. And it’s not. They were the words that were spoken. That mortified me. I’ve done a lot of trauma work on this.

As a 10-year-old, I did not understand what I was just observing or the words. That I heard. That was harsh. What do I know? Is this what my inner warrior kicked in that day? And that was the day I started putting on my suit of armor. Putting my gauntlets on fire like Wonder Woman

So, I learned how to protect myself emotionally. In hardships. And by the time I was 17, again, you don’t. Know it when you’re going through it. You’re just living through it. I was fighting. My inner warrior was just fighting to survive. And again, to the outer world, I looked. Things looked really good. But inside, I was dying. Physically. Emotionally. I would go to the church. But this is not good.

I’m not advocating this. Because I would skip school. I went to the church to pray because that was the only place I felt heard. And I was on my journey. I was on my way, searching. I was searching for a resolution, but there it was. That was a point. Where life was so dark and people were so busy. I did reach out. I reached out to adults. Because of my parent’s business, I knew doctors. I knew people in different areas, and I would go to them. 

And I’m 17. I’m like, something’s not right with me. I just knew something wasn’t right. And unfortunately. They didn’t want to see me. Like, see me. I didn’t want to hear a cat. Even in that incident, I was talking about the dancing. I spoke up, but I didn’t. It wasn’t hurt.

And so. I reached out to doctors. I was asking for help. And they just all said this. You’re fine. Nothing’s wrong with you. You’re a teenager. Well, that didn’t. I knew I wasn’t fine because I wasn’t fine. Life was dark. And it was getting darker, and although I had done well on the outside, it was the inside stuff. And then there was a day. I finally took action. 

So there are six times in my life. I failed significantly. And I’m really glad I did. Because he intervened. I tell you this because these are tears of gratitude right now, OK? Through all that, you know, I was on that quest when I was ten years old. I started a quest to be whole, healthy, and loved. That was the cost of that.

And or so day. And what happens on that initial day? I now know because of the certification that I just went through. Is that at ten years old? I started living with post-traumatic stress disorder. Not just PTS. We had no idea there was such a thing as post-traumatic stress disorder back then. It wasn’t talked about. 

Before I was ten years old, though, I was exposed to many traumas. For those who don’t know, the distinction between post-traumatic stress and disorder is that we have a stressor or trauma. The body is designed to go into fight or flight. You might have frozen in the way. Too, that’s. More freeze, fight, or flight? And that is a natural. We will either fight like our blood brushes up, and we want to fight our way out, or the blood will rush down into our legs.

So we have the strength to run. Away, and that is life or death. Fight or flight is the body’s innate protective mechanism in a mortal-death situation. When people are exposed to trauma repetitively, it can get triggered so often. And it’s not always that you’re in mortal danger. There are these things. 

There’s a term called emotional hijacking. There are just these ways. We don’t have children; if we do not have love and support, we don’t. We’re not taught how to have a healthy relationship with our emotions, ourselves, and others. There are many conditions that they’re not prepared to handle, and that’s what I was exposed to, and I’ve personally felt that today and in our current year. We have more awareness of the impact and importance of mental health and that it’s OK to talk. We should talk.

But growing up back then, we didn’t. That wasn’t the way you showed that you shoved that **** down. You cannot tell the world that you have a problem. Well, fast forward. I’m now at a point where I was not allowed to succeed, and I know there was no doubt in my mind of divine intervention. Behind the actions that I took to try to take myself out. Through my healing and through my life, what is my life about pondering all of that? What is my hectic life about? Why? Why am I drawn to all this? Why do I have these complications? Why me? I’ve come to understand that I’m here today. I’ve been heavily groomed. 

As part of my job, I help people learn how to be resilient and shorten their timelines so they don’t have to be stuck in all the drama. Trauma. My mission now is to help heal the world. One heart at a time. But I am so grateful that I could not succeed in that moment.

So, when I meet people, my perspective is very different. You can’t fake it. There are certain things you cannot fake. And my antenna, my radar, or connecting with it are very different. I’m highly sensitive. I perceive things differently, but I’ve been groomed by trial and error. 

So much that now. Want to have an incident? If I have one, I call it a toboggan moment—an emotional toboggan moment. I can rebound a lot faster. And that is. In my opinion, that is. It’s an indicator of your inner strength and resilience, and it’s in my heart to be able to help more people understand that they can. Do it, too. I’ve always said this. When people come into my life, whether they meet me through my music or not, they meet me. They’re speaking; they met me through business.

I’ve been told that Deborah, you were. You’re inspiring that, Travis. That was never a word that I ever used about myself. It took me a long time to understand why. Why? Why do people keep saying this? I’m inspired. They’d say, how do you do it? How do I do what I was fighting to live? That was it. I was fighting to live. And figure it out. 

What’s this crazy vision? How do I make it happen? Because nobody seems to be showing up. I trailblazed through a lot here, but when I kept hearing that word inspiring so much, I finally allowed myself to accept it and take ownership of it. 

And I do get it. Now I understand when I tell my stories and people here. Bits and pieces about me. They know I’m real. And when I say I care about your success, that’s not puffery. That’s not a vain word. 

I care because I don’t want people to go through it. The harshness. Some of the stuff I’ve gone through When somebody is willing to stand for you now, here’s what I won’t do. I don’t let myself get pulled down into the drama anymore. I stand on the ground. Firm ground. I won’t go into what? I call the monkey muck. It’s kind of like a lifeguard, right? If somebody’s drowning, the lifeguard doesn’t necessarily just dive in the water; they’re going to throw you a Life that is preserved first. Only in extreme conditions would they dive into the water to rescue you because their lives could be apparel, too, but that’s a different subject.

So yeah, my faith is really strong, and I’ve been groomed by trial by fire. So, my inner warrior knows that. All of this has taken me to the point where I’m ready to step into my forever future, which has required me now to be at this point of this ability to have such resolve. And be willing to stand up. And take a stand for other people to become unified in vision. To serve a greater purpose. So, there you go.

Oh, that’s it.

I don’t know. You tell me.

I’ve been experiencing a few different things as a podcaster recently. I love talking. It’s one of my favorite things to do. I talk all the time. Anyone who knows me, like, you’re always talking, right? And I’ve been making a concerted effort to listen, to sit in the pause, and to let. And it’s hard for me because I want to jump in a million times. 

I want to tell you how amazing all your words are when you talk about, I don’t know, puffery, meta, anniversary, bird nerd, emotional whiplash, tap roots, drama, and trauma; I just want to comment on all of those things. But I think if I had, I would have commented in real time on those we would have lost. The essence. Of the message. And I think the message is that. We become who we are meant to be. Through the trials and tribulations of our lives, is some of this awful and unpleasant? It is. Some of the stuff is amazing and powerful. But it’s what? We do with those things, times, and experiences they create. 

Who we are, and when we embrace those things, even the hard stuff that’s not our fault, we don’t believe we’re to blame. And we experience and understand those things as we go through them to create amazing people like yourself, Deborah. And the world needs you as you are now, and I’ll need you as you become. And I think that’s a powerful way to look at what happened.

Thank you. Well, you and I talked off-camera before we started. We were talking about our books because I’m a booker too. I love to read, and I’m a talker, too, by the way. As you can tell, I Oh yeah. Did I say that I’m a vocalist? I do vocalize with my music, so I have the capacity. I know this about me. I’ve done training where I had to train people. 

Sometimes, they’re five or six hours. It’s not an issue when I’m doing shows; my music shows, and I’m singing with high energy, especially if I’m performing a song. Those are sometimes 3-hour shows where I’m singing in costume, so I’m saying endurance. I’ve got this stamina and endurance, so you and I could talk for hours, and we know. That’s right, but while I’m bringing this up, is that? Before we came on, we were talking a little bit about books. You were sharing some information about some books that you’re reading. And I shared one that I’ve recently read over the last couple of years. It’s called The Big Leap; it is out of all the books I’ve ever read. And by the way, I worked in the library for a while.

So, I could be around books. The Big Leap is the second most impactful book of my life, so I bring this up without going into all the details because of what you just said. You mentioned who you are becoming. I’ve known that for a long time. Leadership was placed on my shoulders when I was four years old. I didn’t ask for it. 

So, just a little side note. I have never done so. I intentionally sought a leadership role to say I’m a leader; what would happen? Because I’ve been because I’ve been in. I’m highly responsible. Very. I do my best to be efficient.

And I am good at what I do now. There’s a lot of stuff. I am not good at it. I just learned early on. Please don’t do what you’re not good at; lean into what you are good at and improve. OK so. This leadership thing is interesting. For a while, when I left to work for my parents, I didn’t know my skills business because nobody bothered to tell me. Eventually, I was introduced to the art of selling. I was having. This is my definition. I love having intentional conversations that convert. I love having an honest conversation. But I was trained very wonderfully. That helped me fall in love with the process of having a sales conversation.

So, I just applied for sales jobs for most of my career jobs because I didn’t think I was qualified for anything else. And, by the way, they were. Commissioned jobs, so salary. I didn’t worry about it, so this is this. Entrepreneurial risk. Please take it in. I have a very high tolerance for this kind of stuff. But it’s relevant here because I have many places I’ve worked for. One of two things would often happen is that I’ll get a job, and I want to do my role well, so I’m going to take the time to learn the details, and I’m going to ask a lot of questions because I want to be my best prepared. 

Usually, within the first week or two of my questions, one would happen. One is that they’re my bosses. Their eyes would glaze, and they would go. They’d roll their eyes and, you know, have this heavy sigh. And then I’d get fired. Or two, my boss’s eyes would light up. Up and go. Oh, we’re putting her right in management. I got fired. Because, unknowingly at the time, I identified a problem within their business. And I wasn’t trying to solve the problem; I was just trying to. I just asked a question to make my sales, but my boss didn’t like that.

So they figured you’re new. I don’t want to deal with this; I will fire you. Those who put me in leadership say, “Oh my God, we have a problem. She gets it. She’s she can. Oh, she can fix it. We’re going to put her under management.

So, Travis, I have never been to date and intentionally sought out a leadership role. And so, I share this with you because in one of the books, I think it was the second book I got published in. This is something I discuss. There is not a lot of anger. And a lot of attitude and sometimes resentment: I was always having leadership stuff put on my shoulders when I didn’t ask for it. Hindsight is always 20/20 or so. 

I share this with you because I have the Mental willingness to put on what I call the robe of leadership fully. And my heavenly Father and I have talked about this because he’s pushed. I went into places and situations that I did not want to. Be. But I knew that. I needed to be because I was getting groomed for leadership. How does he groom you? He puts you in the deep end. Throw you into the deep end, and you can. I learned how to swim, so I finally accepted it. You know, mentally, I accepted my robe of leadership. I brought this. To this point, how does it tie to the big leap?

So, this is this call to leadership, and I have written it as a whole. I’ve got books over here. I had a whole series called The Power of Leadership. A radio show called The Power of Leadership; I’ve learned a lot. Along the way, it’s a hot topic. But I want to bring this up. Is that? What I’ve been getting groomed, no doubt this year for me, 2023, is grooming me on a whole new level. Because there’s a call for leadership. And then there’s you’re calling.

So in the big leap, The big leap will Talk about stepping into your zone of genius. The premise of The Big Leap—don’t let me tie this together because it’s pretty powerful. The author describes the Big Leap in his book. He talks about four quadrants, and he’s got lots of certification in counseling.

So, he uses a term in his book called The Zone of Incompetence. Now, words are really important in our brains. The way our brain works, I’m very particular about my words, so I wouldn’t say I like that word. I don’t feel we are incompetent. I feel that there’s a weedy zone. I’ve renamed it the weedy zone. There’s a place where we’re thick in the weeds.

Oh, I thought you said Wheaties Zone. Like, we have to get our fiber before we go.

Weegies or maybe, but no WEED ES.  Somebody might want to do the WEEDE zone, OK?

We’re derailing. This train is off the rails.

You got it, baby. All right. So, this is us. We have these things in life that we just know, man. I do this, and the stress just goes away. It’s not that it can’t do it, but it’s there, so it takes me too long. You shouldn’t be there. Right. Outsource that first, then there’s this, and then the author discusses the zone of competence. I’m competent at a lot of stuff. And a lot of people get stuck here. Traditional schooling about life and business gets people stuck in their zone of competence. How many people, Travis, do you know to say I hate my job?

I try not to know them. People anymore. But I know what. You mean?

But you know what I mean? Right, meat chip. So those people are stuck in a zone of competence. I’m going to my job because I have to. You don’t have to. OK. So, you’re competent. So, you do it. And there’s a lot of belief that sits in here that I’m not going to get into. Then, the author talks about your zone of excellence, which is a great place to get to your zone of excellence. This has to do with gifts and skills. And so, for me, my zone of excellence is taking me time; I’ve been working on this for the last three years to become aware of the nuances.

And so, my zone of excellence is my visionary strategy. I used to think that was my total gift. I’m very visionary, and I am very strategic, so I can see the big picture really big and fast and then understand how to pull it off. All together. Music. Is it like that when? When you orchestrate, you score. You pull things out of them. I do visionary strategic planning all day long in my businesses, and I’m good at it and have fun with it. We can make a great career, and many people make a great career living in their zone of excellence, should you allow yourself to. And then this author is trying to inspire us to step into our zone of genius. And that took me some time to figure out. What’s my zone of genius?

So I have a client. This book is so good that for my private clients, I have them read it so we can talk about it. I have a client with whom we are working on branding, marketing, and all that business stuff, and it hit her zone. Genius is fun. I think about that in business. Like, how can that be a zone? Of genius fun. But it’s true for her. My zone of genius is inspirational leadership. Right, that is inspiring. I inspire; there’s no doubt about it. When people see me, they hear me. They talk to me. It’s been happening for years. That’s my zone of genius. But there’s this other thing now. 

I’m sharing because I’d like to encourage your listeners to contemplate this. If you all get this book, I have nothing to do with it—the author. The author doesn’t even know I exist; it’s just a good book, right? It’s a good book, great conversation. And again, if I can pass on some good resources that help you, I feel like I’ve done my job here.

But here’s what I’ve been growing through, and Travis, I think this is what I’ve been going through, which leads into some of what we’re speaking of today. There’s this component of your calling. What’s your call? What’s your calling? 

And for me, this is what 2023 has been about. See, there’s my zone of genius. But the call is above that. And when we allow ourselves to say yes to the call that we are called to make, this is my deep opinion. It has much to do with leadership, in my very different opinion or perspective. I believe that all people are born to lead, and there’s a reason I believe that which goes contrary to what many people teach. But if you allow yourself to, show up. And fulfill your call. That’s how we can change this world. And that takes vulnerability. That takes willingness and everything. And I’ve talked about it so far. You referenced this a little while ago when I shared. Part of my story is that when you expressed it to me, it was the benefit of learning how to listen. The flip side of that is as a human and as a leader. Allow me to show up and express your vulnerability. That’s the other part of it. It’s two sides of the same coin. 

And if we allow, if you feel in your heart, I was. Talking about it, what’s what? Did you say what You answered when asked as a little kid? What did you know you wanted to do? And what are you doing? That’s your call. So, Travis, what did you want to do? I’m curious. When you’re a

Little boy. I’m going to tell you right now. I had no idea. It’s changed so many times.

Do you remember the first one?

There was a point in my life where I wanted to be, you know, a police officer, a firefighter, and an astronaut, and then I was. I wanted to be. In every military service, I wanted to do many different things, and it would probably take a lot of discussion and exploration to get down to the thing I wanted to do first. I don’t know if I can answer that right now.

So far, everything that you’ve shared has to do with rescue, adventure, and service.

I’m writing this down. I need these notes for myself. All of you listening can wait for a second rescue in service.

Possibly an astronaut. Yep, that’s there. It could be a protection component, but rescue, adventure, and service.

I like adventure. I like service.

When working with my clients, I have found that even though our life trajectory might not have mapped out exactly the way we might have hoped, what I do with my clients when we talk about aligning is that there’s this thing that I termed a coin. I’ve coined the term. That’s the right way. I’ve coined a term called leadership brand fusion. I am the originator of leadership brand fusion, and I love helping those who lead a business or a family, in this case, leading a business, transcend the logo so they can step into their true selves. Their true strength is to lead their business and experience joy, which requires us to align many pieces that are typically categorized and require some of that vulnerability.

But I find that there’s always a tie-in. It’s the red thread that runs between us in all of our parts, but even if where you’re at today might not look like what you envisioned when you were a child If we map out your journey, there is a common thread. 

And I am living proof that you’re never too old. You’re never too old, and it does not matter what you’ve overcome. It does not matter what you are currently going through. If you heed the call of your heart and are willing to stand forth and allow yourself to get some support, you can overcome anything and be the vision of that person you’ve always wanted to be. The body is strong, and the mind is stronger.

I tell you what, that is a great place to end it. Deborah, if people listening or watching this want to get a hold of you, what is where you would like them to connect with you?

You know what? Just my main website would be fine. It’s Deborah Sweet.com, and my name is spelled a little unusually. It’s Debra. So, Deborah, with 2B’s. And then, sweet, like sugar. Sweet. So Deborah, sweet.com, they can just drop me an email, and please reference that. You heard us here. I’m happy to reach out. And talk a little bit.

I appreciate that, Deborah. Thank you so much for being my guest today.

Travis, thank you.

Like every time I get a chance to talk to someone. You’re like one of the bright spots of my day. So, I appreciate you being on camera and catching up over the last couple of weeks. I look forward to this coming out and people getting to experience that vulnerability that you shared with us today. That God-centered life you’ve been living, returning to your 4-year-old self, and knowing you have passion for the dance. Thank you, Deborah.

Absolutely. Thanks, Travis.

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