July 1, 2021

Let's Make a Plan for Your Personal Growth and Resilience with Audrey Grunst

Let's Make a Plan for Your Personal Growth and Resilience with Audrey Grunst

“Just be yourself!” is what everyone says, but that’s way easier said than done, right? 

Getting in touch with who you are (a.k.a. your real self) can be quite the journey! For some it may be simple, but for many it can be very challenging and take many years to “figure it out.”

We know deep down we want to live as our true selves, but we also worry that we might run into difficulty if we actually do so.

You might be worried that if you show more of your true self, others won’t like you. Maybe you’re thinking, “If I show my true self, there’s no way I’ll get that job/promotion -- it just doesn’t work that way.” The reasons to keep our true self hidden often far outnumber our reasons for wanting to express ourselves more fully.

In this episode, you’ll hear from Audrey Grunst, the CEO founder and therapist at Simply Bee, a counseling and wellness center in Illinois. She created an easier way for others to learn how to find themselves through journaling with her new guided journal system, Bee You Planner. The planner is designed to help foster your personal growth, build your resilience, and help you find your true self in the process.

Timestamps: 

[4:59] - Helping others through guided journaling

[9:12] - Developing a blueprint for journaling therapy

[12:59] - Understanding the power of urge in our actions

[16:10]- How our urges are contradictory 

[29:55] - If not now, when?  

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For more information on the Make Time for Success podcast, visit:

https://www.maketimeforsuccesspodcast.com

 

Connect with Us!

 

Dr. Christine Li -

Website: https://www.procrastinationcoach.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/procrastinationcoach

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/procrastinationcoach/


Audrey Grunst -

Website: simplybeecounseling.net 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/simplybeecounseling/

Instagram (Bee You Planner): https://www.instagram.com/beeyouplanner/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/audrey_grunst

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/simplybeecounseling

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/simply-bee-counseling/mycompany/

Instagram Giveaway: Check out https://www.instagram.com/procrastinationcoach for more details!

Transcript

Christine Li:

Thanks for listening to the make time for success Podcast. I am Dr. Christine Li, your host, and this is episode 29. So how do we structure our thoughts, feelings and the signals our body gives us so that we can act in ways that serve our highest goals. Today's guest licensed clinical social worker, Audrey Grunst, is here to teach us how to answer those types of questions. She's going to teach us how to direct ourselves for maximum growth, while maintaining our sense of wellness in the process. She is the founder of simply be counseling, and the creator of the new bu planner. She has been a fountain of both knowledge and support for me personally, and I think you're going to find her tips for fostering growth and resilience to be invaluable for you too. I'm excited for you to meet her. So let's go listen to the episode now. Hi, I'm Dr. Christine Li and I'm a psychologist and a procrastination coach. I've helped 1000s of people move past procrastination and overwhelm so they can begin working to their potential. In this podcast if you're going to learn powerful strategies for getting your mind, body and energy to work together so that you can focus on what's really important and accomplish the goals you want to achieve. When you start living within your full power, you're going to see how being productive can be easy, and how you can create success on demand. Welcome to the make time for success podcast. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the show. Today I have the great pleasure of welcoming my friend and colleague, Audrey grunts to the show. She is someone that I met on the onboarding process of getting onto a plane headed to a conference in California and me being me, I just said are you by any chance going to this conference. And that little exchange led to a great friendship and great professional relationship as well. Thank you for being on the show Audrey. Welcome.

Audrey Grunst:

Thank you so much for having me.

Christine Li:

So Audrey, I know you're a woman of many, many talents, and many, many interests. And I'm excited to have you talk about as many as we can get to today, so that our audience can know how to work with you and can learn from you. I know you've been up to a lot of different exciting projects. Recently, can you just get us started with telling us what your focuses are, and what you do professionally and personally, and how that all works together for you in your life.

Audrey Grunst:

Absolutely. I am the CEO of simply B counseling in Chicagoland area, and also the author of the BU planner, and a licensed clinical social worker, I own and operate a group practice that serves over 200 people a week, and provide consulting services to corporate and school district level professionals who want to invest in the top down approach of wellness and mental health. We have been working with professionals for a year and a half now. And just recently during COVID focused our attention on educators and school districts are now implementing our programs to influence teachers to be mentally well. And really, my focus is always around our vision and our mission statement, which is to help people simply be themselves through resources, education, therapy and other services. And that really came to me at a retreat center in 2017. This idea to simply be myself or to help other people simply be themselves. And it caught on and now I'm very proud of the brand. I think that it emulates exactly what I wanted to and we're all over social and YouTube and people can pick up on our brand. And I think it really showcases a different way to see mental health. And so that's where we've been for the past four years.

Christine Li:

Wonderful. I know you are a very hard worker, and a very disciplined worker and I know that you follow your passion you really follow your instincts and what you know is needed in the marketplace. Can you share with us your own situation with getting to be simply yourself and how that might intersect with how you've crafted your business.

Audrey Grunst:

Yeah, absolutely. So part of what happened when I decided to do simply be was that I was going to a retreat center trying to find some peace. I was working very hard, seeing many clients a week, and I had two young children and needed to kind of escape. And when I did, I was there. And I felt sad a lot of the time that I had to escape to get the peace of mind that I wanted. And I asked myself, How can I do that, in my hometown, where I don't need to escape across the country, I can simply be myself in a therapy session with my therapist. And it kind of started coming to me that I didn't want to be a person who escaped my life, I wanted to be a person who was alive and involved and present in my life. And it really started to become an obsession of mine. So over the years, I have always tried to stay in touch with what my thoughts are about situations, whether it be a business situation, or a client situation or a hire situation. And also very clear on how I feel about the person or the situation, and also kind of like my gut reactions and my urges, whether they be good reactions or urges or not. And also just physical sensations, you know, just a really mindful approach to making decisions. And what evolved recently was a model called the growth resiliency model. And it's now a copyrighted model that I use in everything. I use it in the way that I talk to clients, I use it on the way I present, because I present a lot as a public speaker, and decided to make a planar series out of it. So there's five planners out, that deliver these steps for people to really simply be themselves and get in touch with what they need in order to make the next steps of their life. And my vision was to not put it in one big book, my vision was to put it into five planners, each planner is a step, each one should last about 30 days, because you and I know five months of personal development work could be huge for people. And I also didn't want to trick people into thinking that there's a magic pill in one book that could all of a sudden give them this whole step by step process that I was kind of promising. So I wanted to break it down into five. And it's really for the person who loves the idea of personal development, but doesn't know where to start. That's the person who really should kind of get into the planner. And I have a ton of personal examples in there. Because this planner was written from a public speaking event that I had, where I went off the cuff for 90 minutes and just talked about all of the ways in which I do a step by step process to make my life as great as I can. And I transcribed it and put it into a book. So I kind of work a lot smarter than I try to work harder to make sure that I'm using my time Well, you're such an expert on that yourself of how to use time. And I think I've kind of honed in on how to work harder, but not smarter. So that's kind of where I'm at right now is just seeing how current content and current skills that I have, can be multiplied, rather than recreated.

Christine Li:

Wonderful, and congratulations on the planner. I just got it in the mail earlier this afternoon, just in time, and it's beautiful. And I can't wait to sink into it. And from the looks of it, it looks like you cover all the different bases that are involved in wellness, like you said, it's not just how you're thinking. It's not just how you're planning your day, but it's a multiple level process. Could you describe to us your thoughts about what interferes with people your patience, sometimes yourself maybe interferes with clarity around how we're processing things, how we're reacting to things?

Audrey Grunst:

Yeah, absolutely. And the planner, the first one is called become aware. That's the first step of the model. And I go into in depth an example of a couple that I worked with, where what was interfering with them is something that I called static. And during the week, there was a increase level of static noise that was going on with them individually, but then also in the home. And I talked about how it's a very slow increase of volume that is static meaning stress, anxiety, worry, multitasking, all the things that really just fill our head up with noise. And because it's such a gradual increase in our day, we don't really realize it until sometimes we come together and how conflict, whether it be with a partner or a co worker, and all sudden it's their static and your static and it combines and a blaring stereo of static that you can't hear each other over the noise. And so I believe that people have static, they get in their way have a clear thought process of the clarity that you talked about. Also just a, what is my emotion. And the planner has a list of emotions, because people don't know what an emotion is. Oftentimes people will say, I feel okay. I feel like they don't know what to do. That's not a feeling at all, that people mix thoughts with feelings. So I believe that the static is really what interferes with the clarity. And so by really organizing it into what I call the Big Four, it gives them an opportunity to say, this is my thought, This is my feeling, this is my urge to react. And then this is my body sensation, this is my feeling. And then also, this is where I'm at with general feelings of fulfillment. So in the planner in the back, the worksheet is the same worksheet every day. But it should always look different because it's always different experiences. And then it's also picking the skills to match what you journaled about. So that you're now taking what you journaled about. And you're matching it to a skill that I trained you on and then journaling about it. So for anyone who's intimidated by journaling, anyone who's intimidated by the idea of a blank page, it doesn't have to feel that way anymore. And people have described it as therapy between therapy, which I just love, because we're in a mental health crisis. And if I can speed people's recovery up faster, I will do it. And if it's a planner, let's have a planner out there. So the planner has been distributed out to all of my colleagues and friends because I want their clients to have it so that we can continue to help more and more people quicker, because there's a lot of demand for therapy and not as many therapists and I'm pretty concerned about that. So that's where I'm hoping that the planner fits into the market right now.

Christine Li:

Beautiful, I love that you're training people without being on site with them that they can have this planner tucked away with them to pull out get inspiration from to help them sort through what the static is. At the moment. I'm curious about urges in particular, because I don't think I've heard that phrase freeze mentioned that often in mental health work. So I'm wondering what you're referring to in particular, and then how identifying them being specific about them might be helpful to people in getting clarity.

Audrey Grunst:

Yeah, that's a great question. And I'm glad that you picked that question because urges is the topic that I can spend the most time on with people because one, we don't talk about it often, too, it makes so much sense once people understand it. And three, to give credit to the behavioral ism of psychotherapy, which is cognitive work at CBT. At DBT. It's realizing that, hey, we have an urge before every single action, and how freaking cool is that? That we can control our actions if we understand that there is an urge prior to it. If I have my fists clenched, and I opened my fist with my fingers, I had an urge that fired my brain to my hand to open up my fingers. And I love that idea because so much of our life is powerless or out of control. And we think that things just happened to us or we have impulsivity is that we can't stop and we realized that, oh, if I can create more awareness between my urge and my action, and in the planner, again, I have something called a mindfulness rainbow, where it talks about instead of your two clouds being an urgent action, budding up to each other, let's use skills to separate out those two clouds with a mindfulness rainbow. So that could be a skill such as breathing or a skill of waiting 24 hours to make a decision or to have a sense of urgency. That's not really real urgency, you know, in slowing things down. So the urge for me is not talked about as much in the common place. Not as much in therapy, but by no means that I kind of design that. That's been known in the research, but we're not really giving it as much credit because it's not sexy really to think about it. But if you tell me that my urge to go pick up beer or wine or cigarettes or drugs or fast food or whatever, if you talk to me about how much of that urge started at 11am, when I had a difficult work call, and that urge has actually been manifesting all the way until I'm going to do that thing, I'm going to say, wow, I have six hours to change that. So to me, I love it, it is so exciting as a no dorky therapist. But for people who realize that and it changes their life, they get excited, too. It's just you have to really appreciate what it represents, which is power and control.

Christine Li:

I love it. I love the six hour frame that you're now gifting people that instead of saying Oh, I can't resist the urge to pick up a cigarette, you can just explain and lovingly show them, you actually have way more time with that urge to manage that urge. And maybe next time, we can get you to hesitate a little bit longer and get you away from those triggers and away from the actual cigarette doing these micro steps.

Audrey Grunst:

And the part of it that I was really trying to craft in the planner was the ability to understand when an urge is where it comes from how it comes out of a triggered situation. And you know tons of thoughts and feelings around the urge, even if it's unconscious, and trying to elicit more of that consciousness going into it. And there's no better way to do that other than writing it down every day and talking about what your urges are. And realizing that urges are contradictory. So if you want to exercise, you have an urge to exercise, and you also have an urge to not exercise, you have an urge to take a shower, you have an urge to not take a shower. So there's a lot of contradictory feelings in our urges, that sometimes we just pick one thing that's real. And so once we realize that urges are a little bit of a spark, right, there's a spark here, there's a spark there doesn't mean there's a lot of meaning behind it. If I want to go do something that's an unhealthy behavior, it doesn't mean I'm a bad person, it means that my brain got triggered to do something. And so if you understand that it's the brains fire and wire, and it's not that you're a bad person, that also relieves all of the guilt and shame that we have around experiences when we feel impulsive or urgent.

Christine Li:

I love it. I think instead of the terminology of urge, I tend to explain to clients that it's just a conflict, but we don't have to get afraid of the fact that there's a conflict conflict just means there are two different sides of view or two different feelings that you have about the same issue. And let's take that as an opportunity, rather than a situation where you have to feel like there are no options, or that you're terrible, or that you're stuck, because this is your body and your mind contributing to better decision making potentially better decision making that we can do better. Because we've gotten the clue we've gotten a signal that it's time to make a decision, it's time to take a path that hopefully is the better path for us.

Audrey Grunst:

Yeah, absolutely. I like it too. Because what you're saying is that, then we're able to see opposing feelings and thoughts as information and not necessarily like the route that needs to be taken. And it's information, it's a clue, it's a nice way to talk to yourself rather than the guilt and shame of you know, x leads to y like, it doesn't have to be such a linear process, we can kind of sit in the mix bag of emotional and mental experiences. And having a tool to do that, I think is really the place to see it for yourself on paper, and kind of have it looking back at you a little bit.

Christine Li:

I love it more clarity, and in the privacy of your own space to just process and know that you can slow yourself down and help yourself out at the same time. I would love to ask a question about working smarter, not harder. Practice. I know you do that practice, generally. And I know you just told us that you used it when designing and creating the planner. Could you give us some examples of how that method works? And what inspired that within you? Why did you adopt that method?

Audrey Grunst:

Yeah, it's a great question. When you are a young mom and starting your own business efficiency is key and it is a blessing and I feel blessed that I have an operational mind. So I'm not going to say that everyone's going to think this way, having an operational mind is different than having an analytical mind is different than having a communicative mind. So, I am an operator not analyzer. So I don't look at the small small details like an analyzer, I look at the medium to high level like operator. So I think my mindset has always been an operator, and it served me well, in this process of working smarter, not harder. An example of working smarter, not harder. The first one I had said, where I took a 90 minute public presentation on my model, and transcribed it into a website and got 60,000 words out of it, which is just about a book and broke it down into the five steps, took those five steps, rewrote them, kept rewriting them and in kind of crafting them into sort of a piece of art. In my mind, if you look at the planner it has designed to it it has color, it has some organization to it. So that piece of it was crafted from 60,000 words that I had spoken and had gotten paid for her, and then to transcribe it and then into a book. That's an A great example of working smarter, not harder, I could not sit down and write 60,000 words right now. Another example would be how we've automated our phone system here at simply be. Now because of the mass amount of phone calls we're getting, because of the pandemic that we're going through, we have a automation that on our website, they click to schedule an intake call with us for 15 minutes. And when they click to schedule with us, they pick a time and a date based on our availability. And then it has 10 questions. And that's majority of information that we need. So now when we get on the phone with them, we always get a hold of them, there's no phone tag, we already have information put into the system. And all we're doing is finishing the scheduling piece. And we put it into a system called air table, which you basically can send that information to confirm with the therapist we've assigned, and then a different piece of information that we've collected to confirm the appointment with the client. So we can take a new client and book new client and under 15 minutes, when we used to have a person on the call on the phone eight hours a day, just sitting and playing phone, tag and waiting and all those things. So that's worked smarter, not harder, because they love it, it's them getting on the phone, they know they're going to get us and they can work their work schedule around it. And we know that we're gonna call right on time and not run out of time. And that was just an adaption from the market, the market said there's more calls coming in, we had more clients to manage, and we didn't have the time to be on the phone. And so just looking at it from an operational standpoint, now, our efficiency is way higher, and way happier The Win Win process. And I love a good one, when I think a win win in business is in life, honestly, is what to aim for. If you can aim for a win win, you're on the right track.

Christine Li:

Love it. And I'm thinking that there are wins for your personal life as well when your professional life is running smarter, not harder. Especially in pandemic times like these, that we all need the space to take that extra breath, to have that extra play time. Whatever it is.

Audrey Grunst:

It's important, I think, to always have your set of values to lead everything that you do. And every morning, I have a paper planner kind of to do list in front of me and I write down my value system on the top. And I always look at it to make decisions because for me, it's never about the money. It's never about anything that could disappear tomorrow. It's about everything that is sustainable. What's sustainable for me is my family first, my freedom, my creativity, II quality, and then also community. And if I'm hitting those marks, the money is going to come. I don't worry about the money because I believe that if I act from a place of values, and I have an expertise and I have a degree that I feel privileged to have, that's all I need to make the next best step. I don't ever want to make a decision based on money because then I believe we start to subject our values to something that obviously is at the end of the day not nearly as important as the value. So a value system is really important. And that value system, it's actually on our website, simply be counseling dotnet. If someone wants to look at a values activity on how to identify your 10 values and act from them, it is on our website, pretty easy to find. And I would encourage everyone to go do it. It's the top workshop that we get hired to do.

Christine Li:

Wonderful, and it's simply B with two E's. Is that correct? Like B?

Audrey Grunst:

Yeah, like the bug. I mean, we were playing with just the word B, E. And then I was working with a marketing guy, and he's amazing. And he kept pushing me for B, ee and I did not want it at all. I thought it was cheesy. I had a business at the time called ag behavioral health and consulting, very medical. And B, ee just sounded like a playground, I was not interested in the simply be name brand, but I trusted him. In my gut. I thought cuz there's a lot of plays on that, you know, there's a lot of plays on that. Becoming aware, right? It goes on and on and on. We act like a high if our community fits in, you know, there's, there's endless things with simply be and I'm so grateful to have had all of these things collide and let it be the name because otherwise, I don't know if we would be as felt in our community as we are felts right now, because of the B. It just symbolizes a lot. And I love it. I love it so much.

Christine Li:

Wonderful. So we've got the right spelling we've got how to reach Audrey, I also want to have you spend a few minutes telling us about your amazing podcast. Could you do that for us?

Audrey Grunst:

Yeah. So Audrey off the cuff is a podcast that you get me off the cuff, you were one of my first guests. And I'm so grateful for you and

Christine Li:

it's great to be on the show with you

Audrey Grunst:

It is over, it ends up being over an hour, I have to do part one and part twos because I just end up going on and on. But it is like sitting next to me on an airplane. I mean, you probably know what that's like you sit next to me. And as long as I don't have my sunglasses and air pods in it means that I'm open for business to have those conversations. And I talked to really, really strong, powerful, interesting, fascinating women from all walks of life that have a story to tell of strength, whether it be of immigration, of bankruptcy, of changing careers, leaving abusive relationships, cops turned into real estate agents, just amazing people. And I really want to focus on helping people hear other stories that they can connect and resonate with and say yes, like, I hear myself in her story. I hear myself and Audrey, no one is better than anybody else, we can all do this. And just leading from storytelling as an example, rather than lecturing is something I tried to do. And we're supporting women who need inspiration. And it's gone into a program called Mondays with Audrey now, where every week on Mondays, you get a video message and email and the accountability sheet that basically says, Here's your week, this is what you should be doing. This is how you should be trying to use a skill or adjust it. And it gives people more therapy in between therapy, you know, I'm just feeling the need to fill a gap in our mental health crisis right now that can be filled in a very low cost or free way that can change lives. And so for under $50 a month, there's a planner, and then there's Audrey Mondays with Audrey and then a podcast. And so that's actually a lot and I'm not saying come to me. But I'm saying if you have $50 a month or $5 a week, you can access help. It just may not look like the traditional form that we're used to. And I want people open their minds to that.

Christine Li:

Wonderful. So thank you, if you could leave our listeners with one very high level inspirational tip for making time for success in their own lives to just going for that next scary, hairy thing that they've got rattling around in their head as a creative process or relational advance whatever they've got going what would you say?

Audrey Grunst:

Yeah, so I heard I think at the conference, we went to Brendon Burchard said mortality motivation, I believe was his phrase. And I had never heard someone say that. But I had what I call a near death experience in the ocean with a whale swimming underneath me. And I thought I was going to capsize and drowned. And I was 21. And I've never felt more mortal and at risk in that moment, and it stuck with me. So I would say, use the finite life as motivation to go do your thing, because we are finite, we are going to pass. And we don't know when that is. And most people will make a big change in life when their back is against the wall. That's a way to do it. And that's the way I've done majority of my things. But I do think that people can make major changes, if they realize that at the end of the day, we're not all going to be here, so why not. And just having that sort of approach and playfulness, to major life goals, is more doable than you think. Because making a podcast, going back to school, you know, adding to your family, whatever it is, it can come from a place of If not now, then when, and really using that as motivation. So I think people should just really, you know, keep a big picture of what they want and how to get it.

Christine Li:

Beautiful. Thank you. You have inspired me from the moment we got off the plane, what I remember is that you took me on my first Uber ride, and I was afraid of doing it. So that's a memory. But thank you for inspiring me throughout the years and through our work together. And thank you for now inspiring our listeners today, please let us know the best way for our listeners to get in touch with you.

Audrey Grunst:

Yes, so on Instagram, Audrey off the cuff is my account. It's really easy to find me there. And then from there, you can see all of the links in my bio that can dive deeper into the planner into the practice that we have and then additional media information. So Audrey off the cuff on Instagram is definitely the place to go. Audrey. Thank you again. I wish you the best of luck with this beautiful planner is to simply be planner. It's the BU planner b e e y o u Yep, planner.

Christine Li:

The bee you planner. I apologize and congratulations on its launch. It's beautiful. I wish you the best. And thank you so much for joining us today.

Audrey Grunst:

Thank you.

Christine Li:

Thank you for listening to this episode of The make time for success podcast. If you enjoyed what you heard, you can subscribe to make sure you get notified of upcoming episodes. You can also visit our website make time for success podcast.com for past episodes, show notes and all the resources we mentioned on the show. Feel free to connect with me over on Instagram too. You can find me there under the name procrastination coach, send me a DM and let me know what your thoughts are about the episodes you've been listening to. And let me know any topics that you might like me to talk about on the show. I'd love to hear all about how you're making time for success. I'll talk to you soon

Audrey Grunst

CEO and Therapist at Simply Bee Counseling

Audrey Grunst, is CEO and a therapist at Simply Bee, a counseling and wellness center in Illinois. She earned her MSW at Loyola University Chicago in 2011 (where she was also a Division I volleyball player) and is certified in Change Management from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. Audrey combines over 10 years of clinical experience with her business background to help others improve their mental health and wellness.

In addition to her clinical expertise, she is also a published author, national public speaker and partners with schools to provide wellness programs and professional development workshops for educators, parents and students.