Oct 03, 2023 | Podcast, Your Business

Coming Home to Yourself as a Highly Sensitive Man with Josh Speraneo

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About the episode:

I have never had a male identifying guest on the podcast who identifies as a highly sensitive person (HSP). But would you believe there are 1 billion highly sensitive men in the world? Knowing this, I’m absolutely thrilled to have Josh Speraneo on the podcast today. Josh is a certified Master Life Coach on a mission to change the way the world views high sensitivity. We talk about how he coaches his clients, many of whom are empaths and HSPs, to reclaim their identity and rewrite their self worth story. I think you’ll deeply enjoy this conversation! 

Topics discussed:

  • Josh’s early experiences as an HSP as a boy in middle school and how this started to manifest itself as an adult 
  • How the educational system is not designed for empaths and highly sensitives 
  • Josh’s approach to coaching HSPs to help them reclaim their identity and rewrite their self worth story 
  • Actions that you can take to fill up your self worth account and why we should focus more on compassion 
  • How Josh has seen the specific struggles that men face as empaths and HSPs and how he helps heal them from trauma surrounding it


About Josh:

Josh is a certified Master Life Coach on a mission to change the way the world views high sensitivity. He has a deep desire to help highly sensitive people, empaths, and introverts live vibrant and fulfilling lives where they make the most of the many gifts that come with these traits.

This desire led him to create his unique coaching program called The Personal Evolution Process, which includes his innovative goal-achievement model called The Success Cycle. You can learn more and connect with Josh on LinkedIn, or by going to his website TheSuccessCycle.com.


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode

Catherine A. Wood  00:02

Josh, welcome to the podcast.


Josh Speraneo  00:05

Thanks so much for having me. It’s great to be here. I love the show. It’s awesome to be a guest on it.


Catherine A. Wood  00:09

Yeah, totally, you always have such a lovely things to say about the show. So it’s so fun to get to highlight you and your story today. By way of introducing yourself, I would love to invite you to just share your pronouns with my audience.


Josh Speraneo  00:23

My pronouns are he him? Awesome.


Catherine A. Wood  00:27

So typically, I invite people to share their story by way of introducing themselves to my audience, but I actually want to start our conversation differently. Because something I’m super present to with you, is I’ve had a couple of couple of dudes, a couple of male identifying guests on the podcast already. And I don’t work call any of them self identifying as highly sensitive. And you do you identify as an HSP. And so I would love to hear your story of how you came to understand or know about yourself, that you were a highly sensitive, I mean, boy, and then a highly sensitive manner and where and when and how that journey unfolded. Okay,


Josh Speraneo  01:17

yeah, I’d love to share that it’s, I’m trying to think of the best place to start. So I think a part of me always knew that I was wired, a little bit more sensitive than most of the other boys around me. I think I was more I felt more emotional and more empathic. I, as a kid, especially just had this really keen sense of injustice, and always considered compassion and encouragement to be a couple of my superpowers. But I didn’t have a word for it, I didn’t have a label for it, I didn’t know why I felt that way. And in some ways, it actually made me feel very different from my peers. Like there was something may be wrong with me that I was as sensitive as I was that I got emotional as easily as I did. And so I think a part of me started to try and turn the dial down on those emotions, just so I could be a little bit more socially acceptable, just so I could fit in and avoid judgment. And so it was like, How do I mute that a little bit and turn that down? Because sometimes it’s just, it was just so loud, you know, this compassion, this empathy for others. And just also questioning how can you know, especially at school and grade school, how can other kids treat kids that way? How can they call them that? How can they tear them down like that it just broke my heart. And I didn’t understand why it didn’t break everyone’s heart. And so in a lot of my life, I think I tried to just keep that pushed down under the surface, you know, especially growing up in kind of a turbulent home at times, it was easier to take my emotions and be by myself for a while and then come back when I looked like I had it all together. That was my coping strategy was stuffing those feelings down and isolating. And that was just how I grew up was, you know, my emotions are mine. They’re my problem. I’ve got to keep these to myself. They’re not appropriate. Nobody else feels or looks this way. There’s something weird or wrong or different about me. And it wasn’t necessarily shameful, but it was just different. And so it’s like, that’s, that’s for me to figure out. So, just in the last couple of years, you know, leading into to your back into your question, I came across the book the empath Survival Guide by Dr. Judith Orloff in a bookstore. And I just kept going by the book, I kept seeing it and something about the Word Empath was just screaming at my intuition. And I didn’t know it at the time, I just knew like something about that book is calling me. So eventually, I finally sat down. I opened it up there in the bookstore. After I passed it a few times, I think in a Springfield bookstore and one here in Joplin, it was just like, it was calling me and I was trying to ignore it. I feel like so I sat down, I read through the test of are you an empath, and checked off almost every single box and I thought, Oh, well, that’s interesting. There’s something here for me. And as I read the book later on, one of the terms that came up during the process of the book was highly sensitive person. And I thought, Well, I wonder if there’s a self test for that. So I went online to HS person.com. And I took a Dr. Elaine Aaron’s Are you a highly sensitive person self test, and was very tested very high on that. And I thought, that’s weird, because, you know, I guess like many people, the stereotypes I’d heard around that phrase, were very much what I call namby pamby, you know, I posted on LinkedIn this morning about highly sensitive men and use the example of the the Ned Flanders stereotype. And so if that’s what you hear first, as a highly sensitive man, then it kind of turns you away. It’s easy to get turned off by that that phrase or that thought, but I knew that there was something there. And I started reading so I read Dr. Elaine Aaron’s book, The highly sensitive person, I watched the movie sensitive The Untold Story. And as I watched these things, what was amazing to me was that suddenly it you know, we mentioned in our summit interview that we did together, this idea, the phrase that kept coming up, that’s really resonated deeply that I’ve heard since that time was coming home. I’m to myself. And so suddenly I understood why I had been as emotional as I had as a boy, why my empathy was almost overwhelming at times, why I couldn’t look at a person and not believe in them, and want to encourage them and inspire them to be their best. And so and also just why instead of diving right into things, I would stop, and I would process what I was seeing and wait, before I engage things like that, that had always separated me and felt like something that was wrong, I suddenly realized, no, those are all part of this genetic trait that I have. And potentially behind all of those struggles, there are actually incredible gifts and strengths. And so that’s really, I guess, you know, where the story began was following that rabbit trail, or going down that rabbit hole and learning what it really meant, and realizing, Oh, wait, this is actually not strange, or weird or broken, I’m just wonderfully different. And there’s so much to explore in this world that you know, now suddenly, it’s a whole new level of self awareness, and self acceptance that I didn’t know I could reach. And now that I have, it’s just, you know, I’m excited to share with everybody.


Catherine A. Wood  06:11

I love so much of what you shared, like that idea of feeling shame about your sensitivity as a child and then finding acceptance and compassion for it and adulthood through having your experience be normalized through some of these books. I’m reading the empaths survival guide right now, thanks to your recommendation, the last time we chatted, and I’m, I’m loving it, and I’m imagining the difference it could have made in, in my life in so many of my own clients lives. And so many of our listeners lives, if they, you know, read it when they were really coming to grips with their own, empathic or sensitive tendencies. Yeah. And the other thing that really strikes me is about you know, how being highly sensitive as a child is really constructed in, in the education system here in the States. I mean, even in adulthood, like right now, I’m taking this online course, with this international coaching body, and there’s prop, there’s over 200, folks in this class, and every week, I’d say, I can count on the single hand, the people who raise their hand to talk every single class and they’re, you know, the first people to put up their hand, the first people to get mic time. And, of course, you know, they’re the extroverts. They’re the ones who are chomping at the bit to communicate and imagine the voices that we don’t get to hear from not creating an education system that creates space for all learning styles for all processing systems, that perhaps gives the introverts as much as the extroverts time to consider and reflect on what they want to share, and then invite responses in a more thoughtful approach.


Josh Speraneo  08:06

Yeah, exactly. And that’s, you know, I think I’m fortunate in the sense that in school, I was able to walk that line pretty well, I went to a rural school growing up before I went to high school. And so I had the same class of about 30 kids from first grade through eighth grade, we were all together in this group. And so because it was a smaller group dynamic, and we all kind of grew up together, that made the beginning part of school really easy, you know, up through middle school, high school was a little bit overwhelming, because then we’re in a class, you know, a school of 1000s. And, you know, it’s, it was easy to get overwhelmed there. But at least for the beginning part of my journey, I felt like I had teachers who appreciated me for the considerate nature that I had for the intelligence that I had. And in a smaller peer group, so it was easy to, to get along with most of the kids it was actually usually the older kids that, you know, were were harder to deal with and did a lot more bullying and, and that type of thing. But yeah, it’s I think, for me, my saving grace was my mom. Just because she was always a safe place for me to go. i There were times when I tried not to bother her because my dad had some mental health struggles. And if he was having a difficult season, I didn’t want to be, you know, burdening her with what I was feeling. And she would never have turned me away. She would never have told me that that’s just what I picked up on or what I believed in my mind at the time, but the the other side of that is that my dad was may have been a highly sensitive person, but if so he had reacted so strongly against that and gone the opposite way. So that he, he wasn’t really a safe place. I didn’t feel like to share my feelings or share my struggles. And so a lot of things come with being a boy and trying to figure out who you are, I think I didn’t necessarily have a dad, I felt like I could go and talk to you about those things. So it created some odd dynamics and some odd ripple effects growing up that I think now I’ve been able to work through, but it was definitely challenging. And I think for a lot of highly sensitive boys, it’s like you go to school, you see kids who are wired differently than you, the teachers oftentimes seem to appreciate all the qualities you don’t seem to have in terms of the extraversion and maybe being super athletic, or super outgoing. And so there is kind of this sense of, I don’t belong, kind of an alien sense or feeling estranged, or feeling like I need to use my empathy to figure out how to blend in and be acceptable, and be who everyone wants me to be, which can, again, create all sorts of people pleasing tendencies, and perfectionism. And so there are just a lot of traps that highly sensitive boys and highly sensitive people in general fall into growing up, that we almost have to kind of figure out later on, where did the start? Where did they come from? And how do I actually figure out who I am, you know, identify my authentic self and start to live in alignment with that person again. And so it’s, it can be a long journey for us. But it’s definitely possible, I guess, is the highlight there. I don’t want to end people with this note of like, You’re weird and strange, and you’re broken. It’s not, it’s not that at all. It’s that sense of when you start to come home to yourself, when you start to realize you’re highly sensitive and what that means, and embrace those innate gifts that you have the world, it just lights back up again, there’s so much joy to be found in that self acceptance and in that journey, but if, you know, I just want people to know that if they if they felt like their childhood was a dark time, or they felt like they turned off that part of their heart that is sensitive along the way that there is a way to revive that and to bring that back into really embrace and become the force of nature that we were all created to be.


Catherine A. Wood  12:07

Don’t think that’s such a good reminder. I think it was in an episode that I recorded with Atherton. Oh, gosh, her last name is avoiding me right now. But we were talking about manifesting and everyday magic. And Catherine Andrews, and we were talking about this, like this idea that as empaths and highly sensitive children, that we learned how to control all of our emotions, and deep feelings so as to protect ourselves. So in adulthood, so much of the work that there is for us to do is to reconnect with our emotions, and to give ourselves permission to express them in a in a healthy, safe way, because they’re truly our superpower.


Josh Speraneo  13:04

Yeah, absolutely. I think, for me, so much of the work I do in coaching, especially with highly sensitive people is what I call helping them the three stages basically there, you know, reclaiming your identity, rewriting your self worth story, and then rewiring your mind for success. And the key part where we spend the most time is that idea of rewriting your self worth story. Because if we think about it, as highly sensitive, empathic children, you’re right, we are so much more open to the world. But that also means that we’re so much more open and receptive to those critical voices. And so I think of the five key enemies I was talking about with self worth, you have criticism, cruelty, mockery, trauma, and abuse. And so if you think about how, with our sentient, being highly sensitive with our nervous systems turned up the way that they are, all of those things are amplified as they come to us. And that doesn’t mean that other people’s trauma doesn’t count. It doesn’t mean that, you know, I would never downplay what a non highly sensitive person went through and say, well, it’s not as bad because you’re not highly sensitive. I don’t mean that at all. But just to say that we all have that the good and the bad that’s coming at us through our intuition through our senses, is all amplified. And so those things cut much deeper, oftentimes, I think, than they can for someone who’s extroverted, and can just shake it off and say, Oh, that, you know, that’s not true. Because we so often, I think, fall into the trap of believing that other people know more about us than we know about ourselves, that other people are trustworthy and good by nature, and they have our best interests at heart, which obviously is not always true. And so those daggers stabbed very deeply. And so the key part of that is that each let’s say, we have what I call a self worth account that as babies were born and it’s full, you know, we cry and expect people to take care of us and we need food and people feed us so when we come in In the world, our self worth is perfect. And yet, through those things, those different attacks that we undergo, that account gets drained. And eventually, it’s one of those things, we’re just in survival mode, and we were just barely getting by. And so I think a huge part of what we have to do is reclaim that you rewrite our self worth story, and start to refill that account. And, you know, there’s so many different ways we can go about that. But all that just to say that, you know, for many of us, where we start out on this journey of personal development and personal growth, with a negative account that needs filling, and that’s as coaches, one of the best things we can do is just in encouraging people and building them up and helping them recognize their gifts, is to start to fill that back up, so that they come back to life, and they come back into the world, with their self worth intact. And the you know, the five pillars I was talking about with self worth, or beauty, courage, wisdom, joy and love. And I say that just so that if you imagine somebody who feels worthless, whose life and childhood and their experiences have told them that they’re worthless, if you can revive those five key elements in a person, suddenly they show up, and you can see the the energy that they’re beaming out, you can see the light come back on in their eyes, you can see how much they believe in themselves. And so that’s always I feel like the goal is to help people come on that journey, and really show up as the person they were born to be, and show up with that sense of self worth. And that energy and that passion, and a new sense of purpose.


Catherine A. Wood  16:36

Just that’s so brilliant. Can we can we dig in a little more about filling the self worth account backup? Yeah, but what do you what have you noticed, either within yourself or with your clients that really are some of the most empowering ways to fill up that tank? Or that account? You said that word account? Yeah,


Josh Speraneo  16:57

no, you’re fine. Um, so one of the best ways is kind of interesting. What I love to do with my clients is ask them what they loved to do as children. And one lady in particular that I worked with, well, I used to love to draw into paint. And I said, Well, when was the last time you did that, and she’s, oh, it’s been years. And so I challenged her, Okay, well, this week, when you get a chance, go out and you know, buy some supplies, buy some, you know, some paint by a canvas, and treat yourself to some time to enjoy and engage in that activity, and then report back on how you feel. And she was doing a lot of deep inner work anyway. But just the next week, when she told me about what she had painted, and what her family had said and what her friends had said, and somebody asked her to paint something for them, it was like this light came back on inside of her. And so giving herself the time to take time for herself was a huge element of that just basic self care that she was working on. But also engaging in something that she loved as a child brought back those happy memories brought back that sense of joy. And she just lit up with that. So sometimes it can be as simple as if you love to paint if you love to swim, if you loved to play tennis as a child or fly a kite. You know, if you loved reading a certain type of book, going back and rediscovering that all of those things I feel like are ways to invest in our self worth account. The other one other element, there are many that we can look at. What’s really interesting is that when you do something compassionate for another person, not out of if I do this, then I’ll have worth but just selflessly serving and loving others. It makes a deposit in their account. But the amazing thing is that it also makes a deposit back in your account. So sometimes just a riding a car to a friend giving a phone call to somebody you haven’t talked to for a while stopping someone at work and just appreciating something that they’ve done. You’re making a deposit in them, but you’re also getting that back. And so it’s just this multiplied effect. And I think it’s how we can multiply our impact in the world. Just by looking for you know what Wallace Wattles called the impression of increase, giving people leaving people feeling better after you’ve encountered them than they did before. All of those things are huge. And then just again, basic self care, letting yourself take a nap, giving yourself some space, taking a walk in nature, all of those things depending on how you’re wired and what you love to do are ways to give yourself those gifts of deposits in your self worth account.


Catherine A. Wood  19:35

I wish the audience could see my face right now because I just have this like smile from ear to ear because it’s so powerful what you’re saying and you know this idea of your self worth account. Like I think some of the ways in which our self worth account is empty are really obvious, right with the self loathing and the self hate or the self harm. But I think that there are Other ways in which people have a really low self worth account, and they, they really over manage around it. So I’m not sure if you know this about my story, but I was in DC for a decade. And I mean, most of my career I was in DC. And I worked with have worked continue to work with a lot of my clients in the DC area, like, I’ve worked with a lot of high powered leaders, and politicians and executives and attorneys. And a theme that I notice over and over again, is how so much of their emphasis in life is on their career achievement, and their career success. And so many of them come to me when they reach this place where they are professionally at the top of their game, financially doing extremely well, and feeling really unsatisfied under, under utilized, unhappy, unfulfilled. And I think it’s because of this very thing that you’re speaking about, that they have a very low self worth account. And they have been pursuing this long career of achievement and success in order to compensate, and overcompensate and often compensate at the expense of their relationships, their health, their self love, their their marriage, their home life and their joy.


Josh Speraneo  21:40

Exactly. Yeah, you nailed it. And that’s, to me, it’s interesting, because you’re right on. And the fact is, and a phrase that I that I use, or a principle that I often share with people is that success, or achievement without a healthy sense of self worth will, it’s going to be light, it’s going to be momentary. And on the other side of that, so often we will feel that sense of imposter syndrome, or will self sabotage, because a part of us doesn’t believe that we deserve what we’ve achieved. And so if you think about our self worth is like a thermostat, if we achieve something that feels too far beyond where that internal thermostat of self worth is set, then we begin to sabotage things in our lives until we get back to where we feel like we belong. A phrase I use a lot is we accept the lies we think we deserve. And so the reality is that I may get that promotion, I may, or an example everyone can relate to, you think of the the actors and musicians who have these amazing achievements, amazing careers. And yet, when you hear behind the scenes, you know, the story, so many of them have these awful self destructive tendencies, or their stories ended in suicide. And the reality is that that ties back to oftentimes, I mean, there, there can be mental health struggles and other things in the works. But oftentimes, I think it ties back to that low sense of self worth and feeling like they don’t really deserve that life. And so to me, I love you know, I created a model called the success cycle that they can probably, well aren’t they be able to see if they were viewing it, sorry. But I created a model called the success cycle, that that’s a way to help people achieve their goals. But when I thought about it, I thought I need to create a program or something around self worth, because I can help people achieve their goals all day long. But if they don’t feel like they, they’re worthy and deserving of that, then it’s, it’s going to feel empty, they’re going to feel like they don’t belong there. And so, yeah, so you’re right on. I mean, self worth is such an essential piece of the puzzle that so many people are missing, and so many programs are missing in the world. And it does, it can lead to some very dark places.


Catherine A. Wood  23:58

And I think another everyday example of this that we see in the business world is in terms of people’s finances, right, like, which honestly, I think is one of the reasons I wanted to launch this podcast because I see so many deeply heart centered entrepreneurs who care so deeply about others, yet haven’t necessarily done that internal self worth work. And so they might have, you know, they might have great competitive rates, they might have a really great margin on their expenses and yet they’re not increasing their wealth. Yeah, because they’re not doing this internal work. They don’t know how to grow their wealth or cut their costs or increase their margins because they’re self sabotaging.


Josh Speraneo  24:50

Yeah, I love telling people well, there’s there’s three main truths that I love to share with people. One is that the truth about you is beautiful. And that’s regardless where people have been what they’ve done at their core, the truth about who they are is perfect, and it’s beautiful. The second truth that I love sharing with people is that you are worthy and deserving of every good thing you desire in life. And then the third one is that absolutely anyone can lead a life of intentional influence and impact. And so especially with my clients, I just try and drive those those truths home. Because to me, when someone believes those three things, they become this unstoppable force of nature, they become the person they were created to be. They tap into that innate power. And they also, like you’re saying, when they start to expand, and their life evolves, and they start to create more wealth, they no longer have that nagging voice that says, you don’t deserve this, you’re not worthy of this. They realized no, I am, you know, that, that ultimately, that who they are, that their worth has never diminished over time, like we talked about what you know, from babies to now, that worth has never gone anywhere. It’s just that the world and the voices around us have have tried to persuade us that we’ve lost that in some way that we can somehow sacrifice that and it’s just not true. So I know we we veered away from the highly sensitive men part. So I apologize for for leading this down that trail. But no, that’s there’s just self worth is a beautiful topic to explore. And there is so much power there. And I hope that and I believe that the fact that we’ve gone down this part of the conversation that somebody today needed to hear that. And the other side of that tying it back to the highly sensitive issue is that I think a lot of highly sensitive men have those same assaults on their sense of sense of self worth. And they also have that extreme empathy kicking in. And I think that that can lead to some very dark places like addiction, or other compulsive behaviors, in order to numb that sensitivity. And in order to, to drown out those voices that tell them that they’re not good enough that they’re not strong enough or smart enough. So


Catherine A. Wood  27:09

for what it’s worth, I think this is perfectly connected with what we’re supposed to be talking about today. So, and I’d love to kind of continue down this same direction. So the first stage is filling your self worth tank. The second stage is rewriting your story. So share more, share more about what that stage of your work is about.


Josh Speraneo  27:34

Yeah, so rewriting your self worth story, I think is all about looking at where Where has your what had been the major withdrawals from your self worth account along the way, you know, where is it that you feel like your self worth was assaulted, and maybe that was growing up in a home where there was a lot there was abuse, or there was trauma, growing up in a home where there was a lot of criticism or, you know, going through the school system and dealing with criticism or cruelty. And so I think that that’s where so often, if we look back, there are these withdrawals, and we develop coping skills to try to cope with that we, we end up feeling like there are pieces of us that are missing, or if it hurts so much. Like I said, it can lead into addictions or compulsive behaviors to try and cover up that hurt. It also can lead us to hiding parts of ourselves to keep them safe, hiding parts of our heart. So if I’m a highly sensitive boy, and someone’s continuously hurting my feelings, or if I, when I express my emotions, bullies and other people are narcissists are kind of drawn to that than I have, I feel like I have to hide that part of myself, I have to keep that to myself. It’s not safe to be me. So I have to be who everyone else wants me to be. And so rewriting your self worth story is about looking back at that part of yourself that you may have abandoned along the way or hidden along the way, and saying, Wait, no, there’s, if that’s a natural part of who I am, if the truth about me is beautiful, and I believe that, then that part of me is beautiful as well. And the worst thing I can do is separate myself that part of myself or cut that part off. And instead what I need to do is learn to revive that self, that part of myself and bring that back to the forefront. So if you think about, let’s say, someone who you know, a man, a father, who is feeling who seems emotionally distant from his wife from his children, and doesn’t understand why there’s every possibility that at some point in his story, that sensitivity that compassion, that empathy was judged, and he was told that he was too too sensitive to soft, too frail. And so he left that behind. And now he wonders why he has trouble connecting with people, it’s because that he’s missing a piece of his essential self, you know he’s in in this in the case of being a highly sensitive person, it’s literally part of our genetic wiring that is being ignored. And so that’s the beauty of rewriting your self worth story is that when you come to totally and unconditionally love and accept yourself, and all the pieces of yourself, then you can show up and you’re fully present with the people in your life all over again, then, not to belabor too much more, but the other the other aspect of that is that we can also it’s not always an external force that makes withdrawals from that self worth account. It can also be our own failures, mistakes and poor choices. So many men because they have made mistakes, because they have regrets or shame or guilt. That also keeps them from being fully present and fully showing up as their authentic selves, because they feel like no, that the real me is bad. Because I did this, the real me is bad, because I made this mistake or did this thing. And the reality is, like, we’re saying your self worth never went anywhere. And no matter what, what you’ve done, or where you’ve been, if you’ve made amends, if you’ve you know, done the best to rebuild your life that you can, then your value, and your worth is still there. And that until we resolve those things, I can’t be fully present with you, I can’t fully express my emotions, because it’s like having one foot in the past, and then having one foot in the present, and it just doesn’t work. And that’s why I think in many relationships, people feel like they you know, this family member of theirs, or this friend of theirs is it’s like they’re living a half life is the phrase that I often use, they’re only halfway present, because they’re still struggling with the pain they went through whether it was inflicted by themselves or somebody else. And so that’s the beauty of rewriting your self worth story to bring all that back and hand it back to you here in a sec, is that when we do that, when we go through that process, then we can be the people that we were born to be, we can show up without trying to hide ourselves without feeling like a part of ourselves as bad, we can fully engage. And it’s beautiful to see that. And you can tell when somebody is fully themselves fully aligned their awesome, authentic self, because there’s a freedom there and an energy where they’re fully engaged. And so that’s part of my goal. And part of the reason why I named part of my program, the way of the Phoenix is this idea of reclaiming that part of our past and bringing it reviving that part of ourselves so that we can be who we were born to be, and, and be free of all the pain that we’ve endured along the way.


Catherine A. Wood  32:46

Yeah, I’m just, I’m just thinking back to, you know, some of the really highly successful folks in my life that, you know, I’ve spoken with and worked with, and I’m just, I’m just, I’m just really mindful that so often, when we’re in that process of reconnecting with all of our parts that we think that by we think that we’re losing parts of ourself, when we reconnect with our authenticity, or our emotive side, when in reality, we were not losing the part of us that hustles or grinds, or is really great at bringing that masculine energy forward. We’re really just reconnecting with all the unique ex Express expressions of who we are.


Josh Speraneo  33:43

Yeah, I totally agree. And that’s, I think that’s part of the the challenge is, you’re exactly right, it feels like giving something up. And it feels like giving up something good of this, this hustle this grind, like you said, but the question is, where is that coming from? Where is that, that belief that I have to hustle for value, I have to hustle and achieve, to become worthy of the things that are in my life. And to to to gain value. So if you think about somebody, let’s say somebody who works for a nonprofit or in health care, or even a teacher, if they have a low self worth account, a low sense of self worth, and they believe that their value comes from helping and serving other people, then they’re going to give all of their time, all of their energy to their students, to their patients, to their clients. Everything they have is going to go into trying to get other people to tell them that they’re worthy, tell them that they are valuable, tell them that they are lovable. And and that’s a trap that I fell into in my own story. And it led me to a very dark season of burnout and depression. Because the reality was nobody could ever give me the self worth that I I felt like I was lacking. Nobody could ever tell me I was valuable enough or good enough. And I lived for people to tell me Oh, you didn’t have to do that, oh, that was so nice of you. Because each of those things felt like a deposit in my self worth account. But the reality was, I was outsourcing myself worth to other people and asking them to give that to me, I at some point, bought into the lie that my worth was gone, that for whatever reason, because I had made mistakes and poor choices. Because I wasn’t as good as I thought I should be in certain areas of my life, that I had given away my sense of self worth. And so it was like, I need you to tell me that I’m valuable and that I matter. And when we do that, and other people can’t meet that need, because it has to come from within, we can easily burn ourselves out trying to hustle and grind and serve and volunteer, and give all of our time away to people hoping that they will fill that void that only we can fill. And so it is it’s a trap that can be said in corporate culture, it can be said in nonprofit work, if you think about the number of ministers or pastors who end up losing their families, because they’re giving all their time to their congregation, that so often Beneath that is that desire for self worth. It’s that thought that only the only way I gain worth is by serving these people. And if I’m not giving all my time to them, then what am I really worth? And so it is hopefully, you know, for our listeners, something that they’ll they’ll think about is Have you fallen into that trap have have you outsourced your self worth to somebody else, and you’re waiting for someone to fill that void that only you can fill. And, you know, the on the bright side, again, is that there are ways to recover from that there are ways to bounce back from that there are processes and techniques that you can go through to learn how to fill yourself worth account. But it takes that initial realization of Oh wait, I fallen into a trap here. And I’ve got to start finding my way out.


Catherine A. Wood  37:09

Yeah. Oh, man, this hits home. So deeply, I completely relate. And I have my own version of this story. And I’m just mindful of the time and I think the place where I want to end is a place where we actually were started before we pressed record. And I know you to be an educator like I am so mindful of how often you’re educating folks on LinkedIn about HSP traits and Empath qualities. And, and, and I asked you a question, you know, like, why aren’t you a coach for HSP men? And you shared that there’s a lot of education to do around educating HSP men, and I think, you know, there’s there probably are more women identifying as HSPs than then men, and I would love for you to help us close that gap. You know, what are our, our male listeners? What do they need to hear to really start coming home to themselves that they may not be? They may not be listening or tuning into, or they just haven’t found the right voice to educate them.


Josh Speraneo  38:30

Yeah, so if you think about it, statistically, there are one, at least 1 billion highly sensitive men in the world. And the phrase I always follow that up with is probably about 1% of them actually know what it means to be a highly sensitive person, in reality beyond the stereotypes and misconceptions, so I think, for those of us so so for those men who are listening, I guess my advice would be if you’ve been drawn to the word Empath, then there’s something for you in the term, highly sensitive person as well. And ultimately, the very things that you may have thought made you weird or different or broken, the things that maybe were criticized along the way when people called you soft or fragile, or weak. And maybe you turn those turn the volume down on those things, that there are actually beautiful gifts, hidden within those qualities and those traits behind your sensitivity behind your intense compassion, and your love of encouraging other people and your ability to see the best in other people. There are beautiful gifts and talents, longing to be expressed. And your heart is good. And you are good. And there is a beauty within you. Just longing to be shared with the world through compassion through generosity through So many different gifts and abilities. And I would encourage those guys that are listening, if this is resonating with you to dig deeper to really give us some thought, of where, where Did someone hurt you in such a way that you felt like you had to turn away from that, or had to subdue that part. And if this, if this is hitting home, maybe it’s time to go back and revisit that part of yourself. And to go back and seek some healing for that young child, that young boy who maybe was left in the dark along the way, and maybe was ignored, because at the time, it felt safer to leave that part of yourself than to fully embrace it. And if that’s the case, just know that that part of you is still there, that part of you is still good, you are still good, your heart is still good. And there is healing and hope and joy and beauty and love and so many amazing things, just waiting for you. If you’ll if you’ll do that work, if you’ll start to love that self, that part of yourself again, and work on reviving that essential element of your heart that is so, so tied into how you’re wired and also tied into your purpose, and the gifts that you have to offer this world.


Catherine A. Wood  41:25

I can only imagine how many of our listeners needed to hear that today, Josh. And I’m deeply grateful and humbled to have this conversation because this is certainly where my journey in coaching began. Falling in love with myself was the first breakthrough I generated working with my very first coach back in 2014. It’s the breakthrough that has transformed my life tenfold and continues to everyday sense. And it is the underpinnings of this entire conversation. And it has everything to do with being a prosperous and Beth and thriving in our sensitivities and our loving natures. And so I so appreciate your invitation to our listeners to come home to themselves. And to really look at what what may be getting in the way and how they can start to to make peace and make amends and reconnect with themselves.


Josh Speraneo  42:38

Yeah, well, hopefully that helps. And if you’d like I can send you a link, I’ve got a resource called how to rewrite your self worth story. It’s a short ebook, but it also that one of the last pages is a worksheet and it’s full of I think 40 or 50 ways to make deposits in your self worth account. So if you’d like I can send that over to you to include in the show notes. And we can pass that along and just get people kind of jump started on this journey. But yeah, it’s I’ve loved this conversation. I’ve loved the time with you and I it’s a message I needed to hear even just a few years ago, so I love sharing it. And I really do hope it’s resonated. With everyone listening.


Catherine A. Wood  43:17

Well, we will include all your, your links and your social media profiles in the show notes. But that guide sounds like the perfect place to begin getting to know you more. So we’ll definitely add that in. And as we wrap up here today, I’d love for you to share you know, what do you say is made the biggest difference in you becoming a prosperous empath?


Josh Speraneo  43:41

So one of the things that I would say is, I made a commitment a few years while probably over five years ago now to learning and growing and becoming a better man every day. So whether that’s listening to a podcast, reading a book, finding some way to invest in myself in my growth, but I would say the other thing more recently is committing to tuning back into my intuition and becoming more heart centered, getting out of my head and really tuning into my heart and my intuition. So those are probably the the biggest things is just that commitment to personal growth. And then also that commitment to really tuning back into my heart because like so many men I turn that off for a long time and and there’s so much more to life when we’re fully aligned in our head and our heart and that that pours out in the passion that we we serve others with and bring to the world.


Catherine A. Wood  44:36

Thank you so much for today Josh it was so nourishing that this conversation was deeply nourishing and and I’m really grateful for the work you’re doing.


Josh Speraneo  44:46

Yeah, same here. I love this time with you. And I also appreciate your show and I love it and tune in every week but also your heart behind it shows through in everything that you do and so I appreciate your incredible work as well and this one Using opportunity thank you


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Creating Transformational Group Containers with Kerry Dobson

Have you been thinking of adding a group program to your business offerings (or even investing in one)? This episode of The Prosperous Empath is for you! I’m honored to have Kerry Dobson, a coach who supports authors, coaches, and other thought leaders in crafting & leading their own group certification programs, on the show. After hosting over 100 professional groups in her career, Kerry has so much insight into what makes a group course successful for the leader and the participants via igniting passion and creating long lasting & impactful connections. Just by listening, you can hear the care and expertise she brings to this work. Your programs can be just as transformational as your 1:1 offerings, consider today’s episode as a resource to help you get started on creating your own!  

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