Jan 16, 2024 | Podcast

Philippa Robinson on Balancing High Sensation Seeking and Being an HSP

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About the episode:

How do you fulfill your desire to seek new experiences without being overwhelmed as a highly sensitive person (HSP)? In this episode of The Prosperous Empath, I sit down with Philippa Robinson, a coach who helps HSPs embrace their sensitive strength and craft the life they’re here for. From reinventing your relationship with the beginning of the year to figuring out how to balance your dual need for the novel and the routine, we dive deep into a discussion on life and business as high sensation-seeking individuals and HSPs. Tune in for nuggets of wisdom on following your intuition, building new habits that work for you, and creating a more fulfilling life.


Topics discussed:

  • Understanding how family patterns influence your relationship with the holidays and the New Year
  • Navigating the push and pull of both wanting to hibernate and going after big goals at the start of the year
  • Exploring what high sensation-seeking is and how it can manifest itself in your life and business
  • Incorporating high sensation-seeking into your life in a healthy way, creating supportive habits, and finding the balance between new experiences and your routine
  • Structuring your daily practices and habits in a way that truly nurtures you and allows you to meet your excitement need


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Click here for a raw, unedited transcript of this episode


Catherine A. Wood  02:52

 Philip, a happy new year. I’m so thrilled to have you on the podcast today.



Hi, cat. Yeah, happy New Year to you too. And I suppose to your listeners, but they may well not be listening in January. But that’s where we’re at. And yeah, it’s interesting to be in 2024. Now, it is,


Catherine A. Wood  03:29

isn’t it? Actually, this this episode is gonna air later this month. So it’s super timely. And before we press record, we were talking or you were sharing how you have mixed relationships with this month, which I think is very apropos, being highly sensitive and empaths as we get to kind of reinvent our relationship to New Years and traditions. So I would love to hear a little bit more about that. But by way of just introducing yourself, I’d love to give you an opportunity to share your pronouns with my audience. And then a little bit about, about who you are.



Okay, well, my pronouns are she her. And I’m Philip Robinson, I’m from the UK. I’m an HSP. Coach. So I’m an HSP. And I coach HSPs. So and my, my journey to that started probably about, you know, must be getting on for seven years ago. Now, when I have something medically going on. I thought I was going to lose the sight in at least one of my eyes, if not both. And I didn’t lose that sight. But what had started then that I couldn’t stop was an unraveling. It felt like a breakdown at the time, but I think looking back now it really was the start of a massive unraveling, and I was 47 at the time. So classic time for Having a big long look at life and how I’d got to where I was. And did I like that place that I was in, and funnily enough, I’ve acquired quite a few clients who’ve come to me age 47. So I don’t know whether there’s something around that, definitely, it’s when the menopause is kicking in. But that led me on a journey of leaving my legal career, I’d been a lawyer for 29 years by then in various guises, and really taking stock of what it all meant to me what life meant to me what I wanted my life to look at. And that’s when I decided to train as a coach, because it dawned on me that that’s what I’d been doing all the time, without really knowing. So yeah, that’s kind of what’s led me to where I am. Now, I do a little bit of the legal stuff, because actually, the left side of my brain still likes that. So I have sort of foot feet, but a foot in each camp now, what my heart and soul is very much on in the coaching in the connection in the talking about being an HSP. And that’s in that space, you know, and you know, connecting with wonderful people like you can’t,


Catherine A. Wood  06:27

I love the word unraveling. And oftentimes, when clients use that word with me, when we’re on a call I, I watched their hands kind of literally unravel. But as you were saying it I was actually appreciating your glasses. And curious if whether you wore these gorgeous pink glasses that you’re wearing right now, before you had your unraveling.



I didn’t but that was for many reasons. I’ve always worn slightly different glasses. So the glasses that I wore then was smaller, hexagonal, but we’re purple. Amazing. And since then, I’ve had lots of things going on in my eyes, I won’t bore you with them. But these are really thin frames, and I would never have been able to weather them before. But when these became available to me, I was like, Yep, I actually was going to have the cobalt blue ones. But I tried the pink ones on and I thought oh, no, no, those those. Those are what I want. So yeah, that’s what I went over these bright pink glasses.


Catherine A. Wood  07:30

Well, I, you know, I always am mindful that these episodes, the they’re recorded and only fully recorded and available on audio, but I always try to point to the visual components, because I feel like the visual components of how people show up on a call are so indicative of their essence, and who we really are. And you’re right. Glasses are just so brilliant. And something I always equate with you.



Well, yeah. And that’s funny, because that sort of ties in with where I find myself now calling, you know, calling myself the bald HSP. And maybe we’ll get onto that later. But it has been embracing this colorful, bolder part of me that has really been the latest part of my journey, actually. So it’s almost like these glasses are representative, as you’ve pointed out of quite a few things.


Catherine A. Wood  08:21

I love that. Well, I’d love to touch on your kind of relationship to January and new year because I’ve I’ve actually been seeing so many posts this month. And I have a client in one of my masterminds who talks about. I was sharing recently on how her her new year starts in the spring. And I really appreciate that. I’ve been seeing it everywhere recently. So what is what a January? What does it mean to you now? What has it meant to you in the past? Well, yeah, I



think so. I’ve always had a really complicated relationship with the end of the year. I think, you know, growing up, my mom hated Christmas, it was always really stressful for her. And as a result, I learned to not love it. Because it was just quite terrible, really. And but she was very much. You know, by the time we got to boxing day or the day after 2627 It was like, Ah, thank goodness that’s over now we can enjoy new year, a New Year’s Eve. And I think as a child, they always had a party on New Year’s Eve. And it was very much a celebration of sort of, maybe it was a celebration in their eyes of the end of the year but what I took from it as a child was very much heralding in the new year. And I think for that reason I’ve I’ve always looked at the New Year as a as a new start. As probably very much oh let’s leave behind. Let’s Leave behind what went on last year. And let’s just move on to the next year. And there’s wrapped up in that all my feelings around endings and beginnings. But maybe we probably don’t have time for everything today. But that was definitely how I saw Christmas or New Year as a child, Christmas was not to be enjoyed. January was right now we’re in here, let’s get on with it. And I’m a I’m a doer, I like to do things and get on with things. I spent a lot of my late teens and 20s and probably 30s, making new year’s resolutions and to varying degrees of success, usually quite limited, not managing to stick to them, which then became a stick to beat myself with because the very mean voice in my head, then have something else to shout about. And that is the way it was for a long time. I definitely always used to say I love January, I like the new energy of the new year, my birthday is at the beginning of February. So I think that was always something to kind of, you know, I look forward to perhaps. And it’s only recently, probably in the last seven years or so since I had that breakdown. And I’ve been talking to myself so much more in a much kinder way. And my inner critic is now nowhere near as loud as it was that I’ve really not set new year’s resolutions because I don’t really feel the need to in a way. I perhaps I you know, I’ve started in the last few years having a word of the year that that word to guide me during the year and you know, I’ve had play and rest and consolidate. Hopefully enough, I can’t remember what last year’s was. I was thinking about that this morning. I think this shears might be gentle, because I still need to learn the lesson of not pushing too much. And then it was really only last year that I really started taking notice of the things that you just mentioned cat of people posting about No, I’m hibernating in chat in January and February. And really, you’re not going to see much of me till March. And I noticed that my reaction was oh, gosh, you know, that’s three months into the year how and to realize that that was a thing that that was possible that some people do do that ansed. And it obviously touched something in me that I quite liked. I quite like the idea of taking it a bit slower, a bit more gentle. And so this year, and find it and I think just last year, I don’t think I did get going quite so quickly. Last year, and this year, I’m finding as I shared with you that I’m finding a real push pull about it. I want to I want to hibernate, but also I want to get going and it’s you know, and classically, you know, as an HSP I have done need to balance my energy and work out what is right for me. So yeah, I It’s interesting this year, it


Catherine A. Wood  13:32

is interesting, my I so appreciate you sharing that struggle, that push in that poll of wanting to be gentle and slow and rest, and also feeling very goal oriented as a as a doer. I mean, from one Doer to the other. I feel Yeah, yeah. And I I I just appreciate that duality. And I think so much about embracing and owning being highly sensitive or being empathic is that I think that it gives us so much more permission to reinvent on our own terms, like even what you’ve shared about Christmas, right? Like I think for so many of us. We don’t necessarily see or acknowledge how our relationship to one holiday is simply a reflection of our upbringing, or our family’s relationship to that holiday. And I think so much of the work of self expression and owning our unique values is that we get to reinvent on our own our own terms and I was thinking as you were sharing, I was just thinking of my holiday and I enrolled both sides of my family, my husband’s side and my my side and doing gift exchanges this year. So rather than buying for the whole family, which I love to do, I love, love buying thoughtful gifts for others. I love receiving thoughtful gifts Certainly one of my top love languages. But I enrolled everyone in doing a gift exchange. So we just had one person, we set a budget, we got to create our wish lists, and Philipa I kid you not for perhaps the first year, I didn’t end the holiday with any disappointment, because I was thoroughly delighted by my gifts because I, I brought so much intention to how I wanted to exchange gifts this year on both sides of my family. And, man, it’s so nice to give yourself to reinvent, or maybe give yourself permission to reinvent on your own terms, do things your own way, in a way that feels good with your values. Your inner wisdom.



Yeah, I completely agree with you. And I love that that’s your reflection from it. And that’s what you decided to, I suppose to try out because you didn’t know how it was going to be having tried it out. It’s like, wow, I really like this. Yeah. And that’s how we that’s how we do anything, isn’t it? I mean, our Christmas is actually just me and my family. So I’m married. And I’ve got two teenage sons. And and our Christmases have been largely just the four of us, occasionally two family members come, but it and I was really worried that that was going to be really boring. I’ve got a finger about being boring, which, you know, but I actually both my kids turned around to me this Christmas and said that Christmas is their favorite holiday. Much better than summer much better than Easter, and it’s their favorite holiday. And there was this real sense of relief in me that I mean, I might have passed other things on I’m sure I have, but I haven’t passed that on. So and I’ve that allows me and has allowed me in the last few years to actually just relax into it and enjoy it myself. And know that those four just being together is enough. Yeah, yeah.


Catherine A. Wood  17:02

I love that. Well, you used the B word of boring, which honestly, it’s a word that so many of my clients come to me on, on wanting support around their own relationship to boring. But you we chatted about boring the last time we connected because you were just sharing how how your relationship to boring kind of goes hand in hand with this part of you. That is a high sensation seeker. And you’re one of the very first people that has kind of explained to me what that means. And it sent off so many light bulbs for me when you started talking about it. So please enlighten us and share kind of a little bit more about your journey with boring and being a high sensation seeker. Well,



it’s interesting. Yeah, I’ve forgotten we had that. I remember us talking about high sensation seeking. So yeah, I mean, if I start there, I mean, I discovered I was an HSP. But probably three, four years ago now. So only recently and I didn’t know anything about it. I mean, I’ve been in survival mode for so long that you know, I just been shut shut off to anything, really. But I did find that once I started being open to learning things. It was amazing. All these things that came up. Okay. Yeah, so I’m much more introverted than extroverted. I’m an HSP. And then I started hearing about this thing called high sensation seeking. And I was really curious. And I find certainly for me, if I’m curious about something, that’s because it’s, it’s tapped into something inside that needs a little bit of we need to investigate a little bit further. And, you know, I would have said, Hi, Sensei, without knowing high sensation seeking is people who, you know, just sort of, I don’t know, willfully and recklessly go and do wild and you know, fantastic but oh my goodness, you know, sorts of things. And as much as I have that streak in me in my teens and 20s. And you know, I’ve done a bungee jump and a parachute jump and dived on the Great Barrier Reef and done some like really wonderful things. As I’ve got older, the desire to do those things has waned. So I also thought, oh, maybe it’s one of those things that maybe you are a high sensation Seeker for a little while and then it sort of, you know, tails off, but actually no honey, high sensation seeking is all about desiring the new and the novel. So, you know, experience and that can be as that can be as simple as eating, eating a meal that you’ve never had before or trying a new cuisine. In, you know, it doesn’t have to be doing a bungee jump, it can be going to a new place that you’ve never been daytrip trying a new activity and meeting new people. It’.s just doing something that you haven’t done before, or a variation of something that you’ve done before that just adds that novel element around it. Yes, it can be wildly fantastic, adrenaline filled things. But it doesn’t have to be that and I, I have always railed against routine, which, which is strange, because as a HSP, I really, it would make sense that I love routine, because that can keep my nervous system in check, I know what is happening, I know what is going to happen. I know where I am all of those things. But there is this other part of me that very much, doesn’t want to know what’s happening, wants to wants to experience something different. And I think part of being an HSP. and a high sensation seeker means that when I experienced those new things, gosh, I feel them really deeply. And I, you know, I just revel in it. And it can be something really simple. Like taking my dog for a walk somewhere. I’ve never taken him for a walk before, you know. So when I learned about high sensation seeking, I was like, oh, yeah, of course, this makes complete sense. And the challenge, then you don’t, it’s not about it’s nothing to do with being an HSP, you can have high sensation seekers who are not HSPs. But if you are both and there are a lot of us, actually, the challenge there is I’m sure you can imagine, is getting enough new and novel that isn’t completely, you know, blasting your nervous system too much. So it’s getting the the Well, I would say balance. But maybe there isn’t a balance. I think either you’re having a bit too new and novel or you’re having a really calm, nervous system. And it’s sort of the seesaw between the two.


Catherine A. Wood  22:16

I have so many thoughts on everything you just shared, that maybe it’ll start from the beginning, because the idea that you are high sensation seeking and you resist routine. That feels very familiar for me, because when I started my coaching journey as well, I also really resisted routine. And I’ve always loved being high sensation seeking. And I don’t think I ever claimed that title until you shared it with me on our last call. And I also had someone else on the podcast who talked about being high sensation seeking, actually, Barbara from the summit. And that was I think the very first time I heard the term. But, um, but I have found that I don’t, I mean, clearly I am a morning routine kind of Queen. These days. I love my multi hour morning routine. And I’m super kind of mindful of the privilege that it is for me to have so much time for myself in the morning. But I am curious, like, do you do in your experience? Are they mutually exclusive? Is being high sensation seeking. But does it consistently make you dislike a morning routine? Has your relationship with a morning routine shifted over time?



Well, I think that’s part of the high sensation seeking bit that sometimes I like to have a morning routine. And sometimes I don’t. I think if you said to me that I must have you know, acknowledging all the privilege that goes with that if you’d said to me, I could have I had an hour every morning to follow my morning routine. I’d go please. That’s amazing for a little while, and then I’d go off. Don’t have to do it again. So I think and I used to think that meant I wasn’t I was inconsistent and couldn’t stick at things. But actually I think it’s more to do with keeping it fresh. So for me, for me and I totally get that a lot of people will absolutely thrive on having the same routine. And I did have a morning routine for at least a year. I started off doing the artists way and doing the morning pages and then carried on So once my kids had gone off to school I would have a lovely cup of herbal tea and light a candle a journal, I you know, I’d pull an Oracle Card and journal around that, you know, I loved that. Loved it. And then something broke that that that habit I whatever it was, and I haven’t really got back to it. And I don’t really have that desperate urge to get back to it either. Now when I do, I hope I will be able to find the time to follow that. Because I’m pretty sure it won’t be the last time that I have that routine. I find it very calming and very nurturing. But I obviously don’t feel that I need that. Yeah, right that that doesn’t mean I don’t need it. I just don’t feel that I need that right now. And what I’m really leaning into is following that intuition. Of what what do I need? What is good for me?


Catherine A. Wood  25:42

Yeah, I mean, you said keep it fresh, like you like to keep it fresh, which is feels very aligned. So what is keeping a fresh look like for you? Oh,



gosh, what a good question. I’m just, yeah, what a great question. Well, funnily enough, I’m in the middle of blitzing my house, I don’t know why I’ve suddenly decided I want to clean everything in my house and sort it all out and have a really good tidy and go through all the cupboards. And I’m about two thirds of the way through that that started on New Year’s Eve. And I think that’s very much about keeping it fresh in a weird way. It’s like rearranging things and putting things in slightly different places. So it just looks and feels a little bit different. You’re smiling. Do you recognize that? Well, I’m


Catherine A. Wood  26:31

smiling because your eyes are totally lit up right now.



Yeah, yeah. So I think and you know, that’s really easy to do. So. Yeah, I think it’s the I think what it is actually the keeping freshmen is all about energy. And for me, it has if I think moving things around and clearing things and cleaning things and sorting it out, refreshes the energy. And that is really helping me these last eight, nine days as we record, just feeling fat. I don’t know. freshness. newness?


Catherine A. Wood  27:13

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think that makes perfect sense. I think when we start New Year’s, there’s often kind of this part of us that wants to declutter, simplify, create more space. Yeah.



For me that very much. I think, as I see it clearing in front of me, it helps sort things in my head. And it’s very much the external representing what’s going on in the on in the internal. I think you No, I don’t give it too much. consideration, because I just know, that’s what I want to do. So I that’s what feels right. So I just do it.


Catherine A. Wood  27:51

I mean, that reminds me of something that Bonnie Kazuma sama shared on a prior episode that we recorded about intuition. And she says that one of the primary ways to access your intuition is to create more space in order to connect with your own inner voice. And I have it that creating space, there’s so many different elements of that there’s physical space, mental space, space in our calendars, emotional space, there’s so many different elements. So I think that completely makes sense. Yeah. Yeah. I want to talk a little more about being a high sensation seeker, because it still feels so novel for me to to try that on for size as a label for myself. And I’m curious, like, what do you what do you get from seeking high sensation activities? Like, what’s the, what’s the benefit?



Well, I think so I’m thinking about this in real time. And I think for me, it it’s all about honoring another part of me. It’s knowing that that definitely resonates with me that I like the new I like the novel. I like to keep it fresh, you know, that really works for me, it keeps me interested, it keeps me keeps me on my toes, I suppose a little bit. And, but what it really is, is very similar to the HSP part of me, it’s honoring that part of me, it’s a deep honoring of who I am. And so hearing it I’m really trying to understand it as best I can. And then giving that part of me some of what it needs as much as I can with what I have available at the time. And you know it Yeah, I think that’s really what it is. Because without that with I knew the novel, The freshness, I really stagnate. I read and then I get grumpy. And then I’m not a nice, I’m not that nice to be around. And I’m not a good mom, I’m not a good person to be around, or I’m not as I’m not the best version of me that I can be myself primarily, but also for others.


Catherine A. Wood  30:26

And do you? Do you sense that it kind of fills your cup? Or is it like it fills your curiosity or your joy? I



think it’s. So I think the self care filling. So I always think of self care when it comes to filling up my cup. You might see it slightly differently. But I think the filling of the high sensation seeking cup requires different things to the filling of the HSP. Needs cup. So I suppose for me, it’s about keeping both of those cups as full as I can not both of them brimming over but well, why not have both of them brimming over but you know, then it becomes a time and money and all sorts of other what what can I actually do for myself. There is a cup and metaphorical cup, high sensation, it’s high sensation seeking cup. And already, I’ve got three weekends, booked this year in February and March with friends to go and do different friends to go and do things. And that is like, Oh, great, I’ve got these things. But um, the HSP side of me is okay, but no more. That’s enough for January. That’s enough for February and March. I’ve got nothing planned in January. So make sure I rest to two weekends away in February and two weekends away in March. And to be honest, that’s probably a little bit much but it’s birthdays. So you know, they happen when they happen, don’t they? So yeah, it’s about without that, without that new novel, doing those things that light that side of me up the, the rest of it sort of starts to fall apart. Really, that is really important. It’s not just a nice to have it’s actually really important for me to be the best version of myself.


Catherine A. Wood  32:38

Yeah, I really appreciate that as you were sharing, I was thinking back on my own journey and and the doer piece comes to mind for me because when I was first starting my business, it was so hard for me to put down that doing tendency because I was working for the government I was building my business on the side so I had my nine to five and then I had my five to nine and I was so motivated by it but at a point I got to this place where I I was just so burnt out because I wasn’t creating any space for me and I and I what I’m kind of the pieces I’m putting together for myself right now are that it was that part of me that prioritized new activities and new experiences that allowed me to kind of connect with my own what’s enough. And really I think the need that got met for me was a sense of fulfillment, life fulfillment not just career fulfillment, but life fulfillment and I and the way that started for me was also not directly taken from the artists way but adapted from that book. I started taking myself out on weekly dates with myself Yes. And it was such a powerful practice for me in in prioritizing what I wanted to do how I love to spend my time it helped me break up with people pleasing because it really like forced me to reckon with that question what do I want? What do I want to do? What I want to spend today and find that joy and fulfillment and contentment in spending quality time with myself? Yeah,



I all those things are absolutely right. You’re very eloquently spoke about the things that I feel but I didn’t It’s funny. Yeah, I totally agree with you and for me I’d also add the word fun cuz I I felt I didn’t have fun for a long time. So it’s been really important for me and you know, that is definitely nurturing my inner child as well and giving her some fun because we didn’t have she didn’t have a lot of fun when she was younger. And I did The artists way, just as we were all in lockdown, so I did it in 20 started it in 2020. So I didn’t have any artists dates because there was nowhere to go. But just the idea of doing it, that I would have done that had I been doing it at a time when I could have gone out, as then has been the sort of the permission slip that I needed, that I do go out and do things that I want to do now and then go places and do things and just go Yeah, no, I’m going on my own. And my kids like, can I come? I said, Well, no, not today, I’m going to do this. I want to go by myself, which makes me feel a little bit like, Oh, but I know when it’s really important that I go on my own. I just feel that. Yeah, it’s tough. But there’s that inner knee inside going, Oh, we’re just going on our own, you know, when it’s tuning into that.


Catherine A. Wood  35:52

Well, I so I’m you know, I’m just mindful that we’ve been talking about this idea of being high sensation seeking. And I’m hearing kind of the applicability in our personal lives and our self care and our kind of fun meter. But I’m wondering, does it impact? Does it show up? Does that part of you show up in business?



Oh, yeah. And actually, just before I forget to say this, on Elaine Aaron’s website, which is where a lot of people go to to do the HSP test, she has an HSS high sensation seeking test on there. And I score very highly on the HSP test, I score even higher on the HSS test. I bet I will, too. Yeah, exactly. So if anybody is interested and wants to know, there is a test on her website, we will link it in the show notes. Yeah. So does it show up? It absolutely does. And I I mentioned earlier that sometimes i i weren’t I have a tendency to think well, maybe I’m a bit inconsistent and don’t stick at things. And what can happen is that I I’m not so guilty, I think as some people call it chasing the shiny Oh, that’s another shiny thing. Let’s you know, I’m very good at finishing something. If I started it, that’s just to I am, if I started it, I am probably going to finish it. What I don’t do is start it until I’m I do a lot of thinking, a lot of considering a lot of gathering mental information. Really, even if it looks like I’ve got nothing to show you. I’ve got nothing on a piece of paper, I can’t show you that I’m actually really doing something but it’s all going on inside. And then when I when I’m ready, it just all comes out. And it looks like I’ve done it really quickly. And I haven’t because there’s been a lot of preparation going into that. And I think the high sensation seeking part of me wants to do what is fun, wants to do what is new, what is you know, what is novel, it’s which in a lot of ways is good because it I think it’s the high censorship sation seeking part of me that that pushes me to do new things is that go on, come on, what’s the worst that can happen? Go on, give it a go. And so I think it’s that part of me that makes me brave. And I think it’s probably that part of me that makes me bold well, because a lot of being bold is being courageous or brave, which I think a lot a lot of us use those words interchangeably. So it definitely does show up in business and you know, I have two sides to my business. You know, I have my coaching and I have my legal stuff and that’s very chop and change and it gives me two chances to have new and novel. Yeah, you know, so it kind of when you when I start looking at it, it shows up everywhere.


Catherine A. Wood  38:55

I love that Yeah, I mean I appreciate that reminder that sometimes being high sensation seeking means that you have multiple sources of income that you don’t put all of your eggs in one basket





Catherine A. Wood  39:08

Hmm Interesting.



I love like the look at what Jr you’re sort of processing as we’re talking on you and it’s like, oh, yeah, light bulb light bulb?


Catherine A. Wood  39:18

Yeah, I mean, I’m thinking about for me and I, I think that being high sensation seeking shows up in us in as miniscule of a thing as a convert of conversation with a new person. Wanting to uncover new information, wanting to hear new stories, wanting to ask new questions, wanting to invite folks to take on new practices to bring more excitement to what we’re up to, to how you’re expressing yourself to how you’re integrating and for me too. And I also noticed the inverse that when I am kind of two tired or my energy is down in a conversation that that’s often not only a place to look with the person I’m speaking with to see if it’s the same experience over there. But also just a reminder that that there’s something to turn back on that there’s some energy to turn back on here.



Yeah. And so why haven’t you got that energy? So what do you need to what do you need to give yourself to get you back into that place? You know, you can be if that’s where you want to be? Yeah, I mean, new conversations. Absolutely. When I was an I remember at one job I had, I have this reputation for being the person and I didn’t realize this for a long time, who would always go and say hello to the new people, and would go, Hi. So what’s your story, then? I’d go and do and when, you know, quite a few people became friends. And one of them said to me, that was so funny when you came and said that to me on day one was like, oh, yeah, it’s a bit bit in your face, isn’t it? And she said, No, actually, she said, it was really nice having somebody who was obviously interested, so


Catherine A. Wood  41:01

yeah, totally. I mean, one more thing I’ll share too is I was thinking I used to have I used to have a second business hosting transformational retreats. And one of the roles I played as a retreat facilitator was the risk taker. I was always taking risks. I was always inviting people to bungee jump with me to jump off of this cliff to go streaking to I don’t know go swimming at midnight, like the I love that stuff. Honestly, I think it’s why I never was curious about drugs. I’ve never drank that much, because I always kind of got that excitement need met through more kind of adventure based practices. Like I’ve always been like that since I was a little girl. I’ve always loved taking risks. And yeah, like, kinda like, I always call it like, healthy risk taking, you know? Yeah,



I’m not sure saying that. You’re, you’ve made me think though, that that actually was me. I’ve never really been interested in in drugs. My mum was an alcoholic. And I always used to think that that is what put me off drink, but maybe actually, there is a bit of, I didn’t really need it, because I kind of got that woohoo from somewhere else.


Catherine A. Wood  42:22

Yeah. What are some of your favorite high sensation seeking activities or practices or kind of habit as well,



you know, one of my favorite, you know, one of the ideal ones?


Catherine A. Wood  42:35

Wasn’t a leading question, but I certainly want to talk about this.



So one of my new newer, favorite high sensation seeking activities is cold water, swimming, cold water dipping, because you can’t really swim when it gets really cold. And I started that 18 months ago, I started in the summer, because it was so hot that a friend, a friend and I went oh, shall we just should we just go to this place. We both knew I was about half an hour’s drive away. And we went and it was like, gosh, this is wonderful. Like, let’s Of course, there were lots of people there. It was packed. It’s a marine lake. So on the coast, It tops up when the tide comes in. So you’re not actually in the sea. And it’s actually the Bristol Channel, it is part of the sea. But it’s the channel that’s coming up to meet the river. It’s where the river sort of meets the sea. And it does top up with saltwater when the tide is high enough to come over the wall. But it’s actually Well, unless it’s windy, it’s actually quite calm in there, which is quite nice. And we, you know, we’d go and swim in there for like 3040 minutes in the summer. And we just kept going. We loved it. We just kept going. And we did all winter 2223. And we’ve done all 20 You know, all of last year and when I when our second winter. But interestingly, I’m finding this winter harder than last winter. And I think that’s because it’s not quite so novel. Oh, wow. Yeah.


Catherine A. Wood  44:13

That is so interesting. Yeah. Yeah,



I have been quite a lot over the Christmas break, actually, rather than it being routinely or when, you know, twice a week on the same days. We were going all over the place because we both had time off work. And I think that’s renewed my enthusiasm for it. Because if we woke up and just went yeah, let’s go. We just went but the cold water. The you know, the cold water is so amazing. It’s the first winter now the first summer we did, we couldn’t believe people were people around in the community. It’s a great community down where we where we go. We’re saying Oh, can’t wait for the cold water to come back and we’re like, What are you talking about? This is wonderful as we’re paddling around, and then as the cold came on, we got that buzz that you get after you’ve been in the really cold water, who like oh, yeah, right, we get it now. So for the high sensation seeker, part of me loves the afterbuzz loves the loves the challenge. So as it’s getting colder, it’s pretty cold now. And you know, it’s a challenge, every time we go is like, gosh, this is gonna be really cold. And the challenge of getting in, and, you know, the first few breaths the first minute or so when you’re really having to control your breathing, and just let your body get used to the cold. And, and then the euphoria of like, oh, gosh, this is me, I don’t want to get out. And you know, when you don’t want to get out, you know, that’s the time to get out because you’re starting to get too cold. And it takes so many boxes, it takes the high sensation seeking box it because I go with a friend, you know, it’s the company I have with her there a back, it’s usually at least around a two hour trip. And we talk about all sorts, there’s a great community there, the breathing makes me be in my body, which is definitely somewhere that I wasn’t used to being I disassociate or dissociated for a long time because of lots of things that happen. So being in my body is really novel, actually. And it makes that happen for me without me even really having to do anything, because I’ve got to breathe, because it takes your breath away, doesn’t it? And I was thinking today that knowing that I can do that, that I go and do that. And it can be hard and constantly challenging myself to to do that to get in the water because I know I’m going to feel amazing afterwards. Really helps me be braver and Boulder in other parts of my life. Because I know what I can do that hard thing. So it ticks so many boxes for me it really does.


Catherine A. Wood  47:19

I’m resonating with so much of what you’re sharing and I think the thing I just want to share with you is that you know we we met through this through the HSP summit but what made me know that you were my people was seeing all of your pictures of you cold water slipping because I think that there’s a there are some certain personality traits of people who are willing to do cold water swimming in the winter and in the ocean or the channel or lake or wherever that that just kind of makes people naturally attract naturally like minded.



You. You’re right, I’ve not really thought about that. But you are right, we are a required bunch, aren’t we?


Catherine A. Wood  48:08

Certainly quite a bunch. Yeah. And I was thinking for me so I haven’t gotten dippin yet today but I will later this afternoon and today will be my 76 day in a row and I so I don’t I don’t share that I share and relate with so much of what you shared in the call but I’d say one thing I don’t share is the kind of consistency thing like I love being consistent with my habits and routines like I I love what it gives me and what I find is the consistency of dipping every day allows me and it doesn’t feel it also doesn’t feel high sensation seeking anymore for me either like it doesn’t feel if the water isn’t feel cold it’s not hard for me to get into the water I don’t I’m not I don’t struggle being in the water like that almost feels natural now but it allows me to to seek higher sensation everywhere else through the rest of the day. Yes and no I didn’t prioritize and how I show up on calls and the bravery and courage and willing to take in business and so it’s kind of like a means to me being who I want to be everywhere else. And nothing fun thermometer like it’s through the roof like I just come home beaming



Yeah, yeah, I bet you do. And you shared a post I think yesterday or the day before about swimming in the snow now if not swamped I’ve not I’ve not been in the snow yet been inhale and like everyone else but not not snow. And there is something really magic about it. And you remind me actually that one of the other things I didn’t mention that that one of the real benefits for me and the reason that we kept going my friend and I kept going was big cause we did realize that after we, we’d been in, we were just much calmer. You know, it’s really great for your nervous system. And yeah, and we also have this practice, we would go, there we go, right what we need to leave in the lake today. So anything that was bothering us, we either literally just said, you know, didn’t talk about it much and said, right, well, we’re leaving that in the lake, or we talk about it, we’d swim up and down. And we go, right. That’s when we talk about Imago. Right, that’s it. We’re leaving it in the lake. And it’s literally like we were washing it off. That’s


Catherine A. Wood  50:37

beautiful. Well, I feel like I want to share with you So behind me. And for those who aren’t watching behind me, there’s this black little box. And this is my most recent Christmas gift from my amazing gift or have a husband who bought me a portable Steam Sauna. Oh, so now this is going to be the newest activity to my add to my morning routine is I get to go cold dipping, and then I get to come home and sit in my sauna. Amazing. Totally reasonably priced. Like this is not it’s nothing crazy. Philippi like it’s an I tried it out yesterday put it together yesterday. It’s a dream.



Oh, I like the sound of that. That’s great. Because do you want to walk? Do you have to drive to where you go swimming? I


Catherine A. Wood  51:25

see the ocean from my office window. The beaches literally around the corner. So it is so much easier for me. Then your two hour commute? Like for me? Yeah. 20 minute door to door. Adventure. Yeah.



Okay. So yeah, I get that, especially as you’re doing it every day. I don’t think I’d want to do it every day, which is? I think what we’re highlighting here is the importance of finding what works for you in a way that works for you


Catherine A. Wood  51:50

orderly? Absolutely. Well, I’m mindful of the time and I want to, I want to give you an opportunity to ask the question that I asked of all my guests, which is what has supported you and becoming a prosperous empath?



Well, I think that I feel really deep in deep inside me that what has helped me become who I am today, and there is very much, you know, there is empathy in there. And there is a prosperity in there that I never had before. And that is very much the time and that I took to actually take stock, which you know, when I lost the sight in my eye, I could have just, I think gone through all the through all the medical thing, all the medical procedures, and I could have just batted away all the feelings because that is what I done until the age 47. Until my age 47. I batted all the feelings away. And I think what hasn’t allowed me to become who I am now. Who I love, you know, I love that this is what has happened is, is going inside and diving deep into it all. And yes, it was painful. And yes, it was odd at times. But that has allowed me to sort of leave that weight behind a little bit. If I was swimming, then I would probably have said Leave it in the lake. But I wasn’t doing them but it has it it doesn’t go away. But the weight of it has lifted, which has given me the space that we talked about earlier to discover these other parts of me and I think it’s know when incidents that it was only after therapy that I discovered my high sensitivity and my high sensation seeking and I started my business and that all these amazing opportunities and just the way I feel has come from all that. So yeah, doing the inner work really.


Catherine A. Wood  53:58

Yeah, I’m reminded of the quote in the very center of our fear exists our fearlessness. Yeah. Love it. Thank you so much for today, Philip. I have loved our conversation.



Me too. Thank you for having me. I’ve really enjoyed it too.



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Exploring Sensitive Leadership with Nina Khoo

On this week’s episode of the Prosperous Empath®, we’ll explore how to effectively lead as a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP), mitigate challenges, and work with your strengths. I’m thrilled to sit down with Nina Khoo, a Sensitive Leadership Coach and a Master NLP Coach who helps HSPs understand and embrace their unique wiring so they can become confident and empathetic leaders. It’s common for Highly Sensitive People to believe that they’re not capable of effective leadership and struggle with overwhelm, perfectionism, and second-guessing. Nina and I uncover how our greatest strengths can sometimes be the traits we feel most self-conscious about and pose a central question: How does a Highly Sensitive Person protect their gifts as a leader? As an empath and an HSP, your brain is physiologically wired to take more information in and process it more deeply, which can be an incredibly powerful leadership skill. Yet, it can also lead to overwhelm and self-criticism. Through our conversation, you’ll learn how to approach leadership in a more sensitive, empathetic, and compassionate way so you can own your gifts and make a bigger difference in the world  

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The Prosperous Empath® Podcast is produced by Heart Centered Podcasting.

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