In this episode, Lisa Fabrega joins me to talk about some of the skills and capacity that you need to develop to really be a transformational leader, to be expansive in your work, to be making a bigger difference, reaching more people.
Instead of thinking of boundaries as some scary thing, you can look at boundaries as a very clear request to the universe of what you want it to help you achieve and bring into your world..
Watch The Video
Welcome to today’s episode of Retreat and Grow Rich the podcast.
I’m super excited to bring to you today someone who’s very special in my life, who I have been retreating with this last year, and whose work has made a real impact in my world.
And we’re going to have a conversation about, you know, some of the skills- and I’ll use your word Lisa- a capacity that you need to develop to really be a transformational leader, to be expansive in your work, to be making a bigger difference, reaching more people. And Lisa is an expert at what she’s really started talking about as “capacity.” And so that’s what we’re going to dive into.
This is part of our series on really what does it mean to be a RICH entrepreneur, get more money in the hands of people who are cultivating their right-brained, creative, intuitive, connected soul, connected spirit, connected self, connected and heart-centered skills in the world.
I personally believe that the more money we have in the hands of people like us, and people like our listeners, the better off we are. The more influence we have in the world. You know, and it’s nice to think that we can have this influence just, you know, free flow of love and yet having more money in the hands of leaders like US will give us more influence.
So that’s the conversation I want to have today. Lisa, I just want to share a little bit about you. So when it comes to doing your great work in the world, Lisa is super committed to you being able to do that work in the world, and she has a really simple philosophy which is: every time you hold back, self sabotage, or keep yourself from stepping into the leadership you know you were born to embody, you’re affecting the fate of the world and you’re removing a key player that assists in that evolution and that is you. Like, if you are called to this work- you are a key player, and if anything takes you out from that the world loses, really.
Lisa is a truth-telling Coach writer and innovator in the realm of leadership. She has devoted her life to helping people get rid of fear, anxiety, and self-doubt so that they can unleash their inner Gandhi, Mother Teresa, or MLK and make a powerful impact in the world. And I love, Lisa, that this says, you know, getting rid of anxiety. I was doing an interview earlier today where someone had some techniques for anxiety which I loved and one of the biggest impacts that I had in this last year in my work with you as my mentor was having my anxiety dissipate- and it was anxiety that I didn’t even know I had.
That was the interesting thing. Like, I was so low grade and so persistent that I wasn’t even aware that it was there. So I’m totally present to the magic of that and I want to take a moment to thank you for who you are in the world and for doing your work so that others can step in and do their work.
Lisa Fabrega: My pleasure. Thank you for stepping up to the work and doing that.
Darla LeDoux: It’s not always easy. And and that’s really why I’m having this conversation about these-what I call soft skills- and, you know, part of my story is I was given the feedback when I was working as an engineer to tone down my soft skills because they would only get me so far. Like, “you’re not gonna get promoted with those skills, you have to use these techie skills in order to get promoted.” And there was a part of me that bought into that. And then a part of me that said, “well that’s bullshit.” And it took me a long time to own that part of me and, as you know, I’m continuing to own that part of me that sees the bullshit, right, and speaks it and brings it forward.
So my commitment is more and more leaders that aren’t afraid to own what they’re actually doing and what they actually value in the way they work so that we can influence people who haven’t yet gotten it that, like, we have to work in a different way.
So I would just want to open Lisa with giving you a chance to share your own journey to being the leader that you are. How did you come to own this? You know, and did you ever feel like, “oh my God, I have to sell a marketing formula because that’s what sells”?
Lisa Fabrega: Oh totally. I mean, I began my business back in 2010 and that’s when I found my first client. I had started it before that, but I had my first client in 2010. So I consider that the start of my business and yeah, at that time, I think, you know, it wasn’t as saturated as it is right now- although in the large scheme the coaching market really is not saturated or oversaturated- and I just remember there was all of these formulas and things, ways that you had to do things in order to create money, in order to create impact, in order to get the clients.
And I kind of, you know- similar to you and probably your audience- have always been a little bit rebellious in terms of how everybody does things. And I noticed that when I tried doing things the way that other people told me how to do it that it wasn’t working for me as well. And I put a lot of money into hiring a lot of experts and a lot of people that told me the strategies and the funnels and over the years I would notice every time as the business grew and grew and grew.
But every time I tried to follow a funnel or whatever perfectly, exactly to the letter, it just didn’t make as much money as when I just did it the way I wanted to do it. And so that piqued my interest.
And in 2015 I invested about one hundred thousand dollars in a new funnel and a very fancy team that was going to make me millions of dollars. And the whole thing tanked and I went a hundred thousand dollars into debt and this was five years into my business and that was a huge, amazing- in retrospect- year for me as a business owner, and I think all business owners, because I work mostly with women who either have very successful careers or have their own businesses.
All women who are here to make an impact at some point they have like that “come to Jesus moment” as some people would say, or like that rock bottom, like hitting the rock bottom, have to reassess how I’ve been doing things completely moment. And that was when, I mean, I just completely let go of everything I had been taught, for the most part, and I spent all of 2016 sort of rebuilding based on my own inner directives and my own discernment, which is, you know, now I teach this in my work.
And we had been hitting a plateau like 2013, 2014, plateau, plateau, with no revenue, and then 2015 was like negative because we went into so much debt, but it was a capacity expanding year, because I realized that I could survive having that much debt and keep going and pay it. And also that it really grounded me into trusting in my own discernment, and my own intuition, as you would say, and how I want to run my business.
And that was a year where I really started to work on a much- and was already working, I’ve always worked deeply with women- but that year I really started to go even deeper than ever, and I started to notice that this was the accumulation of the work I’ve been doing all along, but I really started to notice that you’re working mostly with women leaders. These women who have these amazing accomplishments, very successful women, still have, we still have things that hold us back from that next level just ever so slightly.
But when we’re at this level, in terms of our success or our drive, those little tiny tweaks can make massive improvements in revenue, and your impact, and your energy levels. And, like you said, your anxiety, and how you feel on the day to day with what you do, and that is when I really started realizing that what I’ve been doing all along is helping women to expand their capacity to achieve more in the world and to continue to be able to expand into their true purpose versus kind of getting there 90 percent of the way and just always holding back that 10 percent.
Because that 10 percent is the difference between where you are and being promoted by Oprah, or being where you are, like, reaching a hundred thousand people or reaching 100 million people, so that that’s sort of my journey, is- I definitely fall on my ass many, many times- and that is how I have learned all my lessons to where I am and I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met somebody who has not learned their best lessons from falling on their ass.
Darla LeDoux: I have so many thoughts coming up. First of all, you went $100,000 into debt when one of the things I healed in this last year was my $50k negative event. I spent $100, but I lost $50, so I feel somehow just so grateful that it wasn’t $100, although maybe your $100, your lesson was double my lesson, but yeah, it is those moments that are messy, that will wake us up in my in my opinion- and you know all my messy right now
It’s what wakes us up and brings us into more alignment? So what was that like in that moment when you had to make that choice? Because I’m imagining you spend a hundred thousand dollars on a funnel, you’re thinking “I have to make this work.” What was that journey like? That discernment to say, “actually, no” and to step away from that?
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah. So that’s part of what led to the hundred thousand was it- I’m one of those people that I do not give up on things, I’m like, whatever we need to do to figure this out we’re going to do it- and I think that’s really what’s made me, and what makes my clients so successful, is like the conversation doesn’t end at “no” you know what I mean.
The conversation, I mean obviously it has to make sense- that’s different- but the conversation isn’t like, “the money is not there, oh well guess I’m done.” That’s not us. Right. But the beautiful lesson I had to learn that year, and this is all capacity related, number one: I really had to expand my capacity to give up and that was hard for me because that’s what pushed the debt so high- that I kept trying to figure it out when I think for probably two or three months earlier I had already had the gut feeling, of like, this is not working we need to pull the plug.
So my ego kept being like, “now we have to figure this out”, right, and pushing and pushing, and so there was that piece. So that was an ability- so you know my four pillars are: discernment, sovereignty, equanimity, and boundaries. So that was a lesson in boundaries with myself. Boundaries with the team I had hired that I was spending so much money on and discernment, learning to go, no my ego is the one that wants to keep going here but my soul, which is the wisest part of me, has been saying for three months to end this, like just duck out and reassess.
Darla LeDoux: Pull the plug.
Lisa Fabrega: Right, but it was hard because my ego was like “we don’t give up.” We did, what I did eventually realize was, “oh ok, it’s not a bad thing to know when you need to stop” and know that it’s not your ego telling you to stop, it’s actually, like, an online decision to stop. That was the first time I actually learned that because I’m a pusher.
Darla LeDoux: I think it’s interesting, you know, the way you framed it, “I had to expand my capacity to give up.” You know, when we think about expanding capacity we’re thinking like “do more,” right, have more, be more. That’s not typically what we think of. So can you talk a little bit about what capacity means?
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah I find that capacity, in order to explain what capacity means. I think we have to explain the six areas where I see people struggle with it the most. And I can give you a better understanding of just giving you like a different dictionary definition of what capacity is, right.
In my work with women, what I have noticed over the last nine years now is that the areas that women who are on a track to success, who are ambitious, who are here to make an impact in the world, the areas that they struggle with the most are: money, your structures, your boundaries, your embodiment- and embodiment I lump underneath physical, spiritual mental, and emotional health- your purpose, and oh, and visibility, of course.
So those are the six areas I notice that we struggle in our capacity, right. So, for example, I’ll give tiny examples for each one.
If you say you want to make a million dollars, but actually some part of you feels freaked out by making a million dollars more or thinks that, you know, “oh when I was 5 and my mom made a million dollars, you know my dad left my mom because he was threatened by that” or whatever story you have going on that might resist making that million dollars. That’s a capacity issue right.
You’ve got to expand your capacity to receive the amount of money you say you want to make. And a lot of us think it’s as easy as just saying “well I want to make it,” but we have all of these things that we’ve learned from living, right, about what that means. “Well people leave me if I make an amount of money,” they show up in a million ways, that’s just one example.
You know, you might be a person who-I had a client once who would get these large sums of money and she would just get so anxious seeing so much money sitting in her account that she felt like she just had to spend it right away and then she’d be like in a in a really bad situation with cash flow in two months, right.
Instead of expanding her capacity to just sit there and enjoy twenty-five thousand dollars just sitting there, you know, like it can, you can hold twenty-five thousand dollars, it feels good right. So that’s a money capacity thing.
Visibility, you know the way I define visibility- which I’m sort of similar to how you define it, Darla- is just letting people really see all of you in your work, who you really are. You don’t have to kind of front, you don’t have to avoid cursing if you’re a cusser. A lot of women I work with have intuitive gifts that they completely hide from their strategic work and then they’re miserable, or they’re experiencing a lack of energy and they don’t know why, and they think it’s because they’re not eating right and it’s actually that they’re so out of alignment that it’s draining them to not just say, like, “hey I am a medium, I am a channel, I am a shaman” or whatever and integrate it into their work.
So there’s a visibility piece, so to me it doesn’t matter how many media opportunities you have, if you’re not really letting yourself be seen fully then you don’t have the capacity to really let yourself be seen in the way you were meant to be seen. You’re going to notice you’re going to attract the wrong kinds of opportunities for media or for people who might notice you for what you feel are the wrong reasons, or you’re going to be saying yes to things you’re not that excited about, you know.
Purpose is, my favorite purpose one is that I’ve had so many women- like I had a client who was huge and had so much press come and work with me and she had built this massive brand and she says to me “I don’t know who I am anymore or what I do.” And I thought, what are you talking about, you have this massive, super successful brand on TV, on the Internet, if you don’t know who you are or what you do. And she was having this purpose crisis, which I call a crisis of purpose, and really, actually when we worked together we realized it was a purpose capacity issue, because it wasn’t that she didn’t want to do that anymore, she just needed to tweak some things about how she was doing it and her ego was creating this entire story around how she just didn’t know who she was anymore.
When we cleared that out, and we did some capacity expansion in that area, she’s like, “oh yeah, I still want to keep doing this. I just have to do it differently.” So a lot of times you want to throw the whole business model out the window and it’s like, hold up, let’s look and see, like, is there a misalignment with your purpose? Are you creating? Are you getting to a bigger level when you’re afraid of being seen on purpose? Like what’s really making you want to.
To me, the most important one in my opinion, is the body capacity, which is your emotional inner strength. The ability to handle hate or comments. The ability to handle bad press, the ability to have crazy stuff happening in your life and still show up and deliver. You know, like you and I are, both in the last couple of years had crazy things happen and we just had to show up and keep working. Like the mission, the momentum has to keep going. And so it’s not about ignoring your feelings and pushing yourself. That’s not what I’m talking about.
Darla LeDoux: I think that’s important, because people go there then, and like make it about, “oh I have to push myself” and there is a striving to it, as opposed to the commitment underneath it.
Lisa Fabrega: Right. It’s about the fact that you have a greater commitment, a greater mission, and you’ve got to keep the momentum going. Period.
If every little thing that happens in your life- and our lives are long and very tragic things will happen in all of our lives, many times, you know- if we just let all those things keep knocking us off our momentum then we’re not fulfilling our mission. And we’re buying into the story that we’re so much weaker than we actually are, right. We’re not that weak. We can handle so much more. And especially if you’re here to like impact a lot of people you’ve really got to expand your emotional capacity to hold a lot and not get so triggered by all the little things that happen around you.
Darla LeDoux: I’m curious, because I know my ego has had this thought this week, and as you know my father in law passed this week and this is the week of the funeral, and I’ve been helping with the planning and doing a lot of that, and I’ve noticed the thought just whizzed by of like, “fuck, when is it going to end right. Because I’ve had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity to expand, expand, expand, and my thought is that actually the more expanded, the less it’s even a thing. It’s just not even an issue. Yet there is still that little thought of like “wouldn’t it be nice to not create and have another capacity expanding opportunity.” So what are your thoughts about that? I’m curious about that.
Lisa Fabrega: I think that that little part of you is that part of your ego that wants to dramatize so it can start the process of sabotage. What I mean by that is, actually, it never ends. Life is very dramatic. It really is. And opportunities-let me get more nuanced about this- those of us who are on the growth path, ok, I don’t believe every human who is here on this earth is on a growth path. I think humans are here for different reasons. Some are here to serve. I don’t think all humans are here to serve. I don’t. But, we are here to serve and we, our souls, chose the growth path. And your audience is on the growth path. My audience is on the growth path.
So when you’re on the growth path, the opportunity to expand your capacity is always present. It doesn’t always have to be so dramatic. You can say “ok, I’d like to learn things in a more gentle way.” But, honestly, when you accept that you’re on a growth path and you learn to approach the capacity expansion moments with curiosity and joy- and as I’ve said to you probably many times- it’s sort of like the universe gives us a gym like, to work out and prepare for the next level.
So if you want to go on Oprah in a year, who you need to be to go on Oprah is not who you are right now. Right. So you’ve gotta go to the gym and get the muscles ready and prepare. And so situations will arrive in your life, you expand that capacity to get to where you need to be to be on Oprah. If we start to look at it from that perspective it doesn’t feel like “oh when is this going to end.” And that is when we start to- the ego starts doing that to get you to stop the momentum, to get you to go, “no, let’s just stay comfortable. It’s too much, it’s too dramatic.” And as you expand your emotional capacity, it doesn’t feel so- like you’re doing right now, right. It doesn’t feel that dramatic, you’re just doing it.
Yeah I mean, my cousin was just murdered two months ago-well more than two months ago now, it was in August- and that was a huge, that’s the biggest thing that’s ever happened, the most violent thing that’s ever happened in my family, and it was very upsetting and very devastating. And I remember just being like, “well, ok, here we go.”
I did take the week off, I did tell my clients, you know, I won’t be as available this week, but I booked myself massages, an infrared sauna appointments, and I booked myself a place to stay that wouldn’t be near a toxic family dynamics, and I got all my stuff in order, because I knew I was entering a dramatic situation and that’s where I got to see like, “oh, my capacity has expanded in that area pretty nicely that I was able to set those things up for myself so I could continue to show up for my clients when I return. Because if you go and get drained and everybody’s screaming and crying and there’s all this toxicity, then come back and serve your clients? Your well, it’s not filled. You know, so, that’s a combination of down there- boundaries, emotional.
Darla LeDoux: Ya I love that example. I, you know, 90 percent of what we’ve been- maybe 95, maybe even more, I don’t know,- but it has been like “wow what an opportunity this is to really see all of my self growth, and my work that I’ve done, and that Kimmi and I have done, and that, you know, in our partnership, and how we can bring that to the family like to really see the gift in that.
And then there is that just little thought of like please, please, enough.
Lisa Fabrega: But I don’t think that voice ever goes away. Your survival instincts, you know. And that’s good, because that also makes sure that you don’t step into oncoming traffic. So we don’t always want that voice to go away.
Darla LeDoux: Love it. So we have left boundaries and structure.
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah. So structure, structural capacity, to me I find structural capacity the most interesting because structural capacity is often the last one people suspect is the source of their problem.
So I had a woman write me a few weeks ago, who wanted to work with me, and then she said to me, like, “I just don’t even know how I would fit it in because I’ve got three kids, I’ve got a really booming business, and I’m buying a house.” And I’m like, yeah, that’s exactly why you need to do it. The fact that you said “I don’t see how I can fit in the very work that is going to help me be able to manage this” is the capacity problem.
So a lot of times women think the problem is that they don’t know their purpose, or that you know, like, they hate- “oh my clients”- or they think it’s everything else except for, wait a minute, do you have the structures in place- your team, your daily schedule- the structures of your life?
A great example is I have a woman who comes and cleans my house every week, but I was still doing my laundry. And I was like, “why am I still doing my laundry? Why don’t I just pay her to stay an extra hour and do my laundry, so that I have, like, three hours of my time freed up every week?” And then I was like telling her not to put it away in the drawers for me, I would do it, and then I was like, “why not?” That is structural capacity.
Does your housekeeper do the structures of your life, and the structures of your business do they support you in showing up fully filled up in your well, feeling good, feeling like you could just show up and do your best work. And a lot of times I find people blame everything and they don’t realize that they just don’t have the right structure in place. The calendar is a mess.
Darla LeDoux: I think it’s interesting that you said that people don’t suspect it. And I wonder if it’s that working on our purpose is more fun for those of us who, you know, do this work, and like it’s more fun to play with that than it is to go into a calendar sheet or to have that really specific conversation about here’s where, you know, my underwear goes.
Which I know, [sarcastically] “well you should just know where things go, right. I don’t want to have that conversation, you should just know where things go.” Like, that’s not a fun conversation to have. So it’s more fun to go relook at purpose, or whatever, than some of the structural things, I think, for people like us.
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah. I mean for creatives we think that structure is going to thwart the creativity. But what it does is the opposite, because- it’s sort of like kids, like, if you just let kids do whatever they want they start to act out because they feel unsafe, because there’s no boundaries at all. But when you have boundaries in place, in terms of your structures, your creativity feel so much safer to play.
If I’m, like, going to have a painting day and in the back of my mind I’m like “I still have to write twenty five emails and I haven’t made the time to write them,” I can’t enjoy my creativity day and therefore I don’t get the full benefit of replenishment of that creativity day.
So we need both. And that’s often, you know, the part where I have to sit down with my clients. I had a client with a private retreat here a few weekends ago and she has three different businesses. And I was like “we’re doing this- we’re going to sit down and we are literally going to do your calendar.” Because she was doing nothing because she is homeschooling her kids, she’s got three businesses. We did her calendar and within the week, you know, the week after she got back from her retreat and did her calendar she got stuff that she hadn’t been able to do for eight months done in like a day because of having that structure there. So yeah. That’s one we like to avoid, but it’s actually the one that can liberate us the most.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. I’ve had to get to a place of clear commitment to “this is the thing.”
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah. Yeah me too. I mean once I learned that the structure is- obviously I’m always learning, I’m still growing and learning my own. For example, the thing with where to put away my underwear and I think “please put away my clothes, why am I acting like the hero for not asking you to put my clothes away, like, you don’t mind doing it. I could be doing so many other things” you know. Yeah.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So what about boundaries. I feel like that’s always the juiciest conversation.
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah. Everybody- all of our most visited blog posts, everything always puts boundaries in it. Boundaries, I think are for ourselves and for other people. And most people are terrible at them. The other thing that’s interesting about boundaries is that we think that once we set boundaries, that’s it. Like, that’s how the boundary is always going to be. But as you become more successful, as you’re holding more, as you’ve got a team of people that are supporting you that you’re managing, as you’re accepting more opportunities–your boundaries shift. And they have to shift.
Ok, because what was ok with you two years ago now in order for you to-you know, I often, Oprah to me is one of my role models. I often think of Oprah. Like how does she get on a jet, go to her house garden, and do a photo shoot for Oprah magazine, then fly over here to do this, then go to South Africa to take care of her school. How does she do all of that? And the answer is boundaries, right.
She knows what to say no to. Her boundaries have to constantly be evolving. And you have to have boundaries with yourself and boundaries with ourselves are: I’m going to stick to my schedule. Boundaries with ourself are, I don’t care how bad I feel, I’m going to say no because I know realistically if I try to do this much in a week I’m going to be flatlined for a month, and then I’m really going to be out of momentum in my business and my work.
But the other thing that people don’t know about boundaries is we tend to look at boundaries as these scary things, but boundaries are- and I say this often- they’re really, like, specific requests that we get to make to the universe. Right. Because if I say “no more, I’m not allowing, I’m not available for this anymore” then the universe is getting the message like, “oh, but you are available for this that you want.” Yeah.
So instead of thinking of boundaries as some scary thing, you can look at boundaries as a very clear request to the universe of what you want it to help you achieve and bring into your world. And I find that that makes it a lot less scary. And if you have fear of setting boundaries then we got to go back to your emotional capacity and do a little expansion there. So you’re not so afraid of saying no to people and being ok with people being disappointed in you.
Darla LeDoux: We’re systematically trained to have poor boundaries in being taught to be polite, being taught to, you know, let your aunt give you a hug when you’re not feeling it, or whatever it might be. We’re trained for that, so it makes sense it’s the most visited space in your site.
Lisa Fabrega: Well and we can end up with, another way I see it show up is with nightmare clients, right. Like, if your boundaries are not clear in your contract, if your boundaries are not clear from the get go, you could end up filling a program with like five problem clients and that energy drain that you are going to have from that experience is going to take hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars away from your revenue because one nightmare client is draining enough.
Darla LeDoux: And I think that evolves too, right. So, you know, it’s one thing to have boundaries like “don’t email me” or whether, you know, whatever those details are, but then also the boundary energetically of who, you know, who the people are and who you’re available for. And for me I know I’ve gone through different stages of kind of feeling like, “well, you know, nobody contacts me inappropriately, nobody’s late for calls, nobody undervalues my time in that way.” Yet then becoming aware of, but energetically, right. So maybe they’re following all of my rules, but is it really at the boundary level that I really want now. And so it changed for me over time.
Lisa Fabrega: Right. Exactly, like they could be following your rules, but still behaving in a way that’s like trying to foster codependent relationship with you. Right. And so there’s also the energetic like what are you vibrating. And a lot of that goes back to the very practical question of what are you available for and what are you not available for. And what is the external world reflecting back to you about how aligned you are with what you’re not available for.
So that’s the beauty of getting those clients as they are like mirrors that reflect back to you, “oh okay, well I’m not being very clear.” You know. either my boundaries are too wishy washy or not clear, or my boundaries are too rigid, because they’re coming from wounding and from fear instead of alignment. And so then I attract people who just want to push up against them, because it’s my wounding attracting another person’s wounding. So yeah.
Darla LeDoux: So looking at what is this mirroring back.
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah I think that’s a wonderful question always, is whenever someone pushes my boundaries, I always ask myself “what’s this a mirror for?” And I’m like, “oh yeah, that’s just my mom showing up again, got to do some work with that relationship, you know.” Or, oh, you know what, I said that I was going to start speaking my mind more and “boom,” immediately someone gets on my Facebook posts and like trashes me for speaking my mind- that’s the gym. The universe providing the gym for me keep speaking my mind and building my muscle.
Darla LeDoux: Yeah I teach that. I call it the cycle of proving, and it happens like that.
So you’ve got these six areas that it shows up the most: money, structures, boundaries, embodiment, purpose, visibility. And those are all areas where when we expand our capacity, our results shift.
And I know, because I read your work, that a lot of the people you work with have invested a lot in, you know, formulas, in how-tos, in “this is how I did it”, and I know for me- I once was in a program where I started to realize that the sales pitch for the program was very much “here’s all the hundred things…” They handed out a map of like all the marketing strategies and it was like forty-seven or something like that. Like all the different touch points. And if you’re not showing up here, you’re missing out. And that was the whole sales pitch. It wasn’t the one I bought from, but I saw this, and I- that was the moment when I became disenchanted with the whole thing because it’s like that’s asinine.
So you have people come to you who have invested tons of money in the practical, right, and the logical, and the rational, and the like “yes, this makes total sense logically that I should do that.” while maybe their soul was screaming something different.
And you, all of your focus is on that internal capacity work. So what’s been your experience with- because it’s it’s paradigm shifting, right. And for me, just like you, I started in 2009. I’ve always been focused on the inner work and the alignments. And I’ve always known that’s the thing that matters most, it’s always been the thing that I sell, yet I always have an external message- I have had- you know, kind of like a practical hook so to speak, but the inner work is always the key.
And I always have clients come to me and they say “well, you know, so-and-so told me I can’t sell transformation, eight different coaches told me I can’t sell transformation, so I have to sell something different.” And so you’re doing this work and it’s 100 percent what you’re doing and with no apologies for that. What’s that journey been from 100k in debt and like, you know, paying all these people to do the fancy things that is like the next latest thing, to really squarely owning the softer skills?
Lisa Fabrega: I never had a problem, like I’ve always sold the softer skills and when I’ve tried to do things, like the funnel, like this is how you have to do it, left brain sort of way, you can’t sell transformation that way, because it’s like you’re using the wrong tool. Right.
But I never had a problem selling transformation when I listen to my soul directives, right. Which is why embodiment is one of the pillars of my work, because- it’s funny, yes, I’m focusing on expanding your capacity, but, you know, we’ve had strategic discussions, right. But when you talk about strategy from the place of capacity the discussion is very different. So it’s not about what so-and-so said that I should do, rather, your soul tells you the strategy it wants you to use, or how it wants to adapt a certain strategy, or what would actually be the best way for you to approach this from a strategic perspective.
So it’s not that we never talk about strategy or that we just pretend like it’s not important, of course strategy is important, of course we need to know- otherwise we’d be going around naked and freaking people out unless we live in nudist colony which great. But I mean, like, we wouldn’t brush our teeth or take care of our bodies if we didn’t have an ego or we, you know, if we didn’t have some part of us that cares about belonging then, you know, we may be doing all sorts of things to upset people.
But I think that, whoever said you can’t sell transformation, I don’t know who the heck is going around telling that…
Darla LeDoux: A lot of people. A lot of people.
Lisa Fabrega: That’s just like the most jaded BS I’ve ever heard in my life, because I think, especially right, now people are craving transformation so badly because our world is completely falling apart on some levels. Right. That whole, like, you have to approach things from this very left brained, egotistical, methodical, formulaic, do it like everybody else is a good way of doing things, is what is falling apart.
And I think people are craving more uniqueness, more creativity, more real, more raw. I think that’s what people are craving. And my business has done just fine selling transformation, more than just fine. It’s made millions of dollars in the last nine years selling transformation. So I don’t buy that. I don’t buy that and I think that, in my opinion, people who try to stick to the status quo don’t have the businesses the last. They may make a million dollars really fast and you may feel like “oh my gosh. they’re doing it.” You know, I have friends who made a million dollars and I did it that year too and I was comparing myself to them and then the next year they’re getting divorced, everything’s falling apart, and the business closes. Right.
But my business is still going nine years later because there’s more to a business and how you’re impacting your customers and the world around you than what your strategies, and your funnels, and you’re, if you’re teaching step-by-steps and how-tos, that’s kind of like for, in my opinion, a beginner level, mindset kind of an audience- and there’s nothing wrong with that- but your audience grows.
Like once they learn the basic concepts, now what do you have? Have you spent the time developing yourself in those years beyond just focusing on teaching how-tos and superficial level stuff that is good for entry level? Do you have, have you been building your capacity so that you can now take those people and take them through the next level of transformation? Honestly I find a lot of people are not building those skills within themselves and then the market gets sophisticated, and people start craving more depth, and those people who are telling you that you can’t sell transformation- I’ve been in conversations where those people are not making money as easily anymore and they’re freaking out. So that’s my opinion, I’m very opinionated about this.
Darla LeDoux: And don’t know what to do or even how to buy transformation in a way that really serves them.
Lisa Fabrega: Right, because they never open themselves up to it and they look down on it as stupid, or whatever it might be, or as not the “sellable” thing. But once again, I think it’s long term versus short term. Do you want to be a flash in the pan and make a million dollars and then crash? If you look at the history of all the most successful, longest running, most profitable companies in the world, they are not just subsisting upon superficial tenets. I mean, maybe reality TV, it hasn’t been around that long.
But I see that, you know, like, just five years ago when I was selling transformation everybody was talking about business formulas, but now the market has become sophisticated, people want to do more social work, and I’m seeing all those people who were making fun of me start to add like the word “soul” in their marketing because they’re realizing “oh crap, like we’ve got to do this to catch up.” Because people are craving more depth. So yeah, the longest term surviving companies are the companies that are touching upon something deeper for their customers, not just a transactional sort of like how-to. Yeah. That’s my opinion.
Darla LeDoux: I love that you touch on the market too, because in the realm of retreats more and more people are attending retreats, first of all. More and more people are offering retreats, because people are craving that experience and the depth, and more and more people in our industry have done the basics, you know, they know what an opt-in gift is. They know, you know- they’ve clicked on Facebook, like, they know a lot, our audience is more educated. And also more and more people have had enough experiences of “that didn’t work.” “I did that and it didn’t work,” because something’s off here.
Lisa Fabrega: Well and because people who are selling strategies, and how-tos, and step-by-step plans, and done for you templates-again, not putting that down- but people who are only selling that, if you are not doing the inner work to have the capacity to implement that template- so let’s bring it back. Let’s I have a fear of making a million dollars. I really want to make a million dollars but I have a story from when I was 3 about a million dollars meaning that my world’s going to fall apart.
You can hand me- like Richard Branson could show up on my door and be like “this is the definite path to success, follow this formula,”- but if I’m scared of making a million dollars I cannot implement that strategy, and that final, or whatever the heck Richard Branson gives me, strategically enough to make the million dollars, because there’s something in me that’s just constantly blocking receiving because I have not done the work to expand my capacity to be able to move through those spheres.
So that’s the problem, you see a lot of people selling the strategic and they’ll sometimes say it’s like “soulful work,” but it’s really just a couple mindset hacks, which it’s not real transformational work.
Darla LeDoux: Because they don’t even know how transformation works.
Lisa Fabrega: Exactly, because they haven’t been doing the work. Right. Which is why, you know, I think your work is so important because you have to do the work to be able to help people transform. If you’re not doing the work, you’re not going to help people transform, you’re just going to be teaching people some mindset hacks and…
Darla LeDoux: Well, and in my world, you know, so many people they want to know like what resort and what legal contract do I need to do a retreat.
Lisa Fabrega: That takes five minutes.
Darla LeDoux: Exactly. It’s like, that’s not where the juice is. right. If you can’t hold space. Because, and I would love to ask you for a story, so you can kind of percolate on like a capacity expanding retreat story, because, you know, to me the beauty of being a retreat leader is we grow every time we lead. Right.
Every time, not just being in front of the room, because so many people they just picture themselves in front of the room, or you know, whatever- on the hiking trail or the yoga mat or whatever- but not the process of filling the retreat. Yet the process of filling the retreat is the transformation the leader needs to hold space for the people who are actually going to come to the retreat and that is all the divine container. And people are just thinking about this thing and thinking “I can just ignore my own”- to use your word- “capacity until I get there and then it’ll be amazing.” And it’s like, no, it doesn’t work that way.
So, you know I’ve had all the experiences from having one person at a retreat to being sick, you know, right before and giving up control and then my ego’s need to think “I have to be on,” and, like, all the things, and I’m curious, you know, what made you laugh immediately?
Lisa Fabrega: Because I’ve had so many interesting- I’ve done 40 retreats, at least 40 retreats by this point. So I’ve had practically just about every experience under the sun once. And, you know, when I first started doing retreats I was so nervous. And at this point, because of all those capacities spending moments, I’m like “I’m ready to receive whatever at this retreat and I know I can handle it.”
But I think one of the most memorable experiences happened a few years ago. I had a retreat with two women who were friends who joined the program and they were fighting at the moment. And I had a conversation with one of them- because I wanted to make sure that they did not bring that into the container- and I had a conversation with each one of them before the retreat and it seemed like it was resolved, like, they were going to show up and do the work.
And I remember on the first day I had brought in a shaman to do a really beautiful ceremony and the shaman said that, you know, explained about the energy of the weekend and I heard a voice in me say “something’s going to fall apart this weekend.”
And so I began, just, I was like “ok, let’s see what happens.” So on day two of the retreat, the two women just didn’t show up to the session, like did not text us to let us know where they were. And you know, like, we’re like sure we have like release agreements and stuff, but still, like, you’re the one responsible for these women, and you want to make sure everybody’s ok. Plus, it disrupts the container when two people just don’t show up and learn to support each other.
So they didn’t show up. And my event assistant was texting them like, “is everything okay?” We had the hotel call their room the room, they weren’t in their rooms, and hours and hours go by. And now we’re really worried, because we’re kind of in a remote location, and apparently they had decided to go hiking on this kind of wild, dangerous mountain and didn’t tell any of us. And they claimed that their texts had not gone through because they didn’t have reception.
And so I said, “well, you know, I understand, but, like, you’re not on a solo retreat, you’re on a retreat with a group of people and, you know, like these women are here waiting to hear your feedback and to have your energy at Circle. So if you guys could please come back I would appreciate that.” And the two of them got so triggered by me asking them to come back, they were texting me all sorts of insults. It’s was just ridiculous.
And so it ended, it was a very stressful experience, but it was wonderful, because I actually got to have an open discussion- because all the women were feeling really upset about the other two women not showing up- and I really had to harness my leadership skills and hold a safe space for the two women. Because it could have turned into like them against them, you know and then the other women wouldn’t feel safe to step back into the container and take responsibility for what they had chosen to do.
And so it was wonderfully expanding for me because I had to hold the concerns of the group that felt like they got totally ignored by the other two women -they went off into their own thing- and I also had to hold those two women in their trigger, and then my own, like pissed off, like, “what the hell, who doesn’t tell you where they’re going?” And it was great.
I got to have a conversation with one of the women, she came to my room, and we had a really amazing, just like very direct conversation where I got to express my disappointment in her decision and tried to explain to her from the retreat leader perspective that what she did puts all of us at risk. And she really had a wonderful moment of realizing like “oh my gosh, you know, I never even thought about that, I’m so sorry.”
And she had a big transformational moment around how she’s always been like goody two shoes with authority, so some part of her wanted to rebel against my authority, in a totally twisted way. And she kept projecting onto me that I was like “the authority that was, like, trying to control her” and we had this amazing conversation where she realized that she was projecting that onto me, that I was on her side.
So it really taught me to have really confrontational conversation with a very triggered person who was running her own stories and remain very calm, and be a good coach, and hold the space for her without taking it personally, like all the projections she was making.
The other woman refused to have any conversation about it, chose to stay in her story, chose to not continue that weekend. And that was also an amazing capacity expansion for me because I also was like, I also learned the “I can take you to water, but I can’t make you drink,” right.
I also learned that the capacity of letting it go, and if she likes she can walk away with her own story of what happened that weekend and I’m not going to be stressed, or freaked out, or doubting my skills because of it.
Darla LeDoux: Or what would she say or, like, what are people writing?
Lisa Fabrega: Ya, like what is she going to say to others, I mean, no, I actually ended up choosing to remove her from that mastermind, but it was also- that was also wonderful, because I had to do it in a way where she didn’t feel rejected or like she was being punished. And I got to finally have a good conversation with her like a month after that when she had come down out of her story a little bad. And I was like “I just don’t know that this is the right fit for you at this time.” So again, like even that, was something of learning- learning how to kick somebody out in a compassionate way, you know. So, yeah, that was a crazy, crazy weekend.
Darla LeDoux: Thank you for sharing that, because I think it gives such depth to the experience, and the growth as a leader, and also, for me, my passion around bringing groups together, and communities, is how we show up in community is how we show up in community. Right. And all of life is done in community, unless you’re choosing to be a hermit, life is done in community.
And it’s such a beautiful way to heal if you can step into it. And I like to imagine, like, the person that you said, you know, didn’t come back that that was seed planting for at some point. You know, I mean you may or may not know, but, like, at some point the pieces will fall into place of like, “oh this pattern is that same pattern that had me be like this.”
Lisa Fabrega: I definitely think it will because I know she was going through a lot of other things in her life and a lot of other things were falling apart and breaking down because of the same behavior. So my hope is that that weekend made you realize, “oh, well this keeps showing up.” People who are really rooting for me and are on my side, so yeah.
But then the last thing I want to say about that that was really amazing is that I had to go through all that with the two of them and still show up for the whole rest of the group. It was like ten other women there, right. And make sure that their weekend was untouched, like that then we can continue to be an amazing experience with all this drama was happening behind the scenes. That was really capacity expanding in an awesome way too.
Darla LeDoux: That’s beautiful. And we never know, we never know what’s going to show up or what the divine purpose is and for me, so many of my lessons have been around, like in that example, I don’t get to control it. I don’t even have to know. I don’t have to know what that person’s transformation is. Like, I know I held the container for something.
Lisa Fabrega: Right. Right. You’re not, exactly, it’s that codependent thing. I am not- I always tell my clients this- you are responsible for your results, not me. I am here to hold a container for you to get the best results possible, but you’re doing the work. So I am not necessarily responsible for your transformation. You are. I’m responsible for holding the container for your transformation, but ultimately you’re responsible for your transformation.
Darla LeDoux: Beautiful. So Lisa, how can people learn more about you? How can they get their capacity expanded?
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah, you can go to my website, www.LisaFabrega.com.
Darla LeDoux: And we’ll post that link below this video.
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah. So if you look, if you just type in, like, “capacity videos” in the search, you should be able to find bunches where I cover the capacities.
I’m @LisaFabrega across all platforms.
Darla LeDoux: No confusion. And you recently did the video series on capacity and so people, I would recommend like setting aside some time to binge watch. You know, like, shift from Netflix over to IGTV and binge watch the capacity videos. I guarantee there will be a nugget of gold in there.
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah yeah. We recently sent an email out calling it capacity flicks.
Darla LeDoux: Yes!
Lisa Fabrega: It’s about two hours of watching time, so you can take it- each video’s like between five to seven minutes long- so you can just take it one at a time when you want to or binge watch, which I love binge watching stuff. So in just two hours you’ll have a massive education on your capacity.
Darla LeDoux: Amazing. Thank you so much. Any parting words for the leader who knows that they’re gifting is in this realm of transformation and maybe they’re nervous about totally owning it?
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah, I think this is a really good question and I want to expand upon the conversation you and I had about “you can’t sell transformation.” I think that you just need to wipe that out of your head because you absolutely can, I think it’s what people are craving the most right now.
And what I think those people who are saying that are trying to say is that you definitely have to meet your customer halfway in terms of how they speak about things. So they may not know, they may not know what listening to your soul mean, right. Like that’s one of the things I talk about. So I try to explain to people who are just coming in in a way that they would understand, but that doesn’t mean I’m cutting out the transformational piece of my work. And I think that’s something that a lot of transformational leaders run into, is that they feel like having to mold their language means they’re cutting out the transformational and it doesn’t. You can still sell transformation and speak your customer’s language.
Darla LeDoux: Awesome Thank you.
Lisa Fabrega: You’re welcome.
Darla LeDoux: Well thank you Lisa, I so appreciate your time and energy for this group and this podcast.
Lisa Fabrega: Yeah, my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
Have you been called to integrate transformational retreats into the way you work with your clients?
Do you want to be known as a masterful leader of experiences that permanently shift your client’s mindset and energy, so their results with you quantum leap? Would you like to receive great money for those magical and unique parts of you that you’ve likely been sneaking into your work for free because you’re not sure how to market them?
We’re now taking applications for March in the Beautifully Aligned Retreat Leader Collective. Spots are limited in this 12-month container of support for your business vision. You will rock the front of the room with the latest techniques and skills, and have the inside scoop on venues and creating amazing experiences. You’ll learn to streamline your business model and marketing so you aren’t always in search of your next client, and you’ll connect at a heart level to others on this journey who speak your language and uplift your work in their communities. Apply today.