Unveiling Self-Awareness with Brig Johnson

Join Roberto Candelaria in a candid conversation with Brig Johnson, a coach devoted to the health and empowerment of women, especially women of color.

Step into Brig’s captivating insights, from 20+ years helping manage nervous systems as a healthcare provider, as she dives into the importance of studying ourselves, regulating our nervous systems, and scaling our capacity in order to grow our businesses and lives.

Together, we’ll get guidance on setting empowering goals, getting comfortable with discomfort, and the role of self-love in seeing past our conditioned thinking.

Let Brig’s wisdom help you understand your stress patterns while also finding motivation to keep going despite uncertainty and uncomfortability on the entrepreneurial roller coaster.



Brig’s podcast episode: Why‌ ‌Going‌ ‌From‌ ‌“goodt”‌ ‌to‌ ‌“gooder”‌ ‌is‌ ‌Hard‌

Connect on IG @robertocandelaria

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Roberto Candelaria 00:00:02: OK, y’all, so Brig and I were just having a conversation and y’all know, one of the things I love about these podcast and these conversations is it’s literally me talking with my friends. And so I was like, Brig, I just thought of a question. She’s like. Nope, Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. That’s a good place to hit record. So we hit record and.

Roberto Candelaria 00:00:22: Like before we get into that, what do you want people to know about you?

Brig Johnson 00:00:28: What that I deeply deeply care about the health of women.

Brig Johnson 00:00:38: The health and well-being of women and I don’t think we have to sacrifice our dreams for it and especially for black women.

Roberto Candelaria 00:00:51: I love it and you know it’s it’s I love that you shared that because it actually went just like right in line with the question that I didn’t get to tell you. But I get to ask you now is, you know, as a business owner, we are presented opportunities every day.

Roberto Candelaria 00:01:09: And whether that’s an opportunity to hire somebody, whether that’s an opportunity for us to say yes to a podcast or yes to, you know, for coaches maybe yes, for you to go coach in someone else’s program or sometimes even invest in our own offer like in our own education has to say in our own offers. But other people’s offers for us.

Roberto Candelaria 00:01:29: That way and you know, we just passed the holidays actually at the time of this recording, we’re in the middle of the holidays. Black Fridays happened, Cyber Mondays happened and there was, I mean, a lot of people’s nervous systems were just fried with. I want that, but I can’t afford that right now.

Roberto Candelaria 00:01:47: And I think it’d be fun to have just start that conversation about like what I started to ask you was like, you know. When people say I can’t afford that, it’s not always about money. Like sometimes there’s a time issue. Sometimes there’s a capacity issue, sometimes there’s.

Roberto Candelaria 00:02:06: A nervous system issue like what are some of the reasons that you see people say I can’t afford that, that we’re going to play with a little different?

Roberto Candelaria 00:02:17: Maybe they’re thinking it’s something bad versus looking at the relationship with themselves and their nervous system and actually acknowledging what’s going on there. Like, let’s start there and see.

Roberto Candelaria 00:02:26: Brig Johnson: Where we go so good and I think that takes a level of awareness for for us to 1st understand. Like that would take a level of curiosity of like why am I saying I can’t afford it? Is it truly? I can’t afford it. Like you’re looking at the numbers. And what are you making that mean?

Brig Johnson 00:02:53: Right, so that. You can go. OK. I can’t afford it. And what else? Like what is underneath that. And that’s when you can kind of figure out like. Why am I still anxious? Why am I making this mean something and what is it that?

Brig Johnson 00:03:11: That part of me, because you know, if you know me, you know, I love talking in parts because I think we’re multi like we’re all have multiple personality disorder and that’s just the truth of it. There’s the wounded self. There’s the kid self. There’s the protective self. There’s the nurturing self, that’s like, oh, go get the ice cream. Right, because you don’t feel good. And then there’s a protective self. Never, ever, ever, ever again. When we experience that, there’s the kid part or the child part of us. And then there’s the self that is.

Brig Johnson 00:03:45: Our truest self and I think until we ask that question and then figure out like which one of those cells is talking and what is it? And of course, it goes back to nervous system. But I think it’s it has to; we have to have an understanding of the biology of ourselves, and I think that’s where.

Brig Johnson 00:04:08: A lot of us are missing and I’m sorry. I’m I’m I’m being long winded but yeah, we’re just missing biology of.

Roberto Candelaria 00:04:15: Not at all, friend.

Brig Johnson 00:04:19: The science matters and like we try to do this **** without the science and I’m like, no. How about we use science and biology force and work with a ******* tailwind, headwind tailwind as opposed to going against the headwind?

Roberto Candelaria 00:04:33: Yeah. And so like for someone, you know, one of the first things you said was, you know, it takes a level of curiosity. How would someone you know even begin to be curious about this? Like what? What are the things they might consider asking themselves knowing that everybody’s biology is different, but how could they begin to explore what curiosity is for them?

Brig Johnson 00:04:54: Right. I think the first thing is like to know that there’s an option like cause for so many of us. It’s like I’m scared. There’s this nervousness system. There’s this nervousness in our body. It’s like our stomach is cramping up. Like, my heart is palpating like.

Brig Johnson 00:05:11: And I think The thing is, is the first thing is just to slow down and notice those sensations. You may notice those sensations or those habits or triggers long before you’re like I’m thinking this or I’m feeling this like right it’s like.

Brig Johnson 00:05:30: I want to encourage you to slow down and study yourself, I think as as a people, as a culture, especially for women, women of culture, like the more marginalized you are, the more you study the environment you study everyone else for your own safety. But we never, never study ourselves. You know what I mean? Like, like the boss comes in and the boss didn’t get coffee. Uh oh, he didn’t get coffee. What’s going like you know what I mean? Like or he didn’t speak like we know the patterns of our spouse. The we know the patterns of our kids, the the tone and an inflection on when they answer something. When they say mom or when they say mom.

Roberto Candelaria 00:05:51: That’s good. That’s good.

Brig Johnson 00:06:13: Right. We know when it’s like we study everybody because it’s a safety mechanism but we never study ourselves like what’s going on with you, why is your heart rate up we don’t even notice when our heart rate goes up or we notice it, but we just think I’m stressed and we stop at that. Like that’s the answer as opposed to I’m stressed why? What’s going on?

Roberto Candelaria 00:06:39: Yeah, yeah. When? And I love the comp like this idea, and I’ll even say, like the conversation starter of how do we study ourselves and you know, you and I’ve had the opportunity to be in programs together. You be an instructor, me be a student, and one of the things you taught me was the importance of self-love when I’m having conversations and exploring for myself because there was this natural lens to be like, oh, it must be wrong because I’m gay. Oh, it must be wrong because I’m a person of color. Oh, like ohh. It just is that I will have to work 2-3 four times as hard because of this and only looking at outside systemic things versus looking at what power I held and I remember.

Roberto Candelaria 00:07:35: Where were we? I don’t remember where we were, but we were in Miami. And you said something along the lines of like you don’t realize your power. You so freely help other people gain more power, but you don’t realize that it’s your power that helps you give that to others. And that really began this beautiful journey of exploration.

Roberto Candelaria 00:07:57: Could you talk about like, when someone’s looking at themselves and looking inside, like the different lenses they might be able to use to do that.

Brig Johnson 00:08:05: Yeah, I think first to understand like the more marginalized you are the inner like. If you study intersectional, like feminism or like the intersections of things, the more marginalized you are the more your brain is wired to to see wrong in you, like so. To understand that our default is, I’m wrong. like our brain is wired to I’m gonna see the negative, and it’s me. I’m the problem. And so when you just realize that that’s your default, not because it’s true that’s just the lens in which your brain is gonna offer it to you. I think that right there is enough to go. Oh, my brain is just making me wrong again. Like here is that thought of like something’s wrong with me. I was too loud. I didn’t say. Like if you just notice that that happens, I think it starts with. There’s just knowing that that is that’s just a bend of our brain and it’s not the truth, and you can question that.

Roberto Candelaria 00:09:11: So what do we do with that, what type of questions?

Brig Johnson 00:09:15: Yeah, I think It’s I think it’s not even starting with what type of questions? But it’s just acknowledging that you feel uncomfortable and that like sometimes if we just say, oh, I’m thinking I’m wrong in this situation. Just acknowledge that like that it’s happening. That studies show like if you look at that area of our brain that that triggers fight or flight or whatever that we call it the amygdala, like just naming it, the energy of that of that area goes down by 20-30. Forty, 50%. Like just naming it. It goes from this scary thing of the unknown. I’ve had this feeling to ohh I know why I’m having this feeling.

Roberto Candelaria 00:10:02: And I think one of the things that I want to add here and I believe I said it in your introduction and if not, I think it’s important to add here is you know, I think a lot of coaches and people throw around the word nervous system and I do want to just in case I didn’t say it earlier, like restate here that you.

Roberto Candelaria 00:10:21: You know, Brig has helped literally physically manage people’s nervous systems for 20 plus years in in, in various operating rooms. And as you know, working with anesthesia. And so when she’s sharing about the biology and the science and about, you know, what she sees in the human brain, this isn’t like, you know, she went and read a manifestation book. She is trained and educated in this area and has helped manage people’s nervous systems in the operating room for, you know, 20 ish year. So I just I I felt that was important to say here as we’re talking about this cause.

Roberto Candelaria 00:10:57: I know one of my things y’all is sometimes people be saying something I’ll be like, that’s ********, said who? And so? I just love to qualify things sometimes.

Brig Johnson 00:11:07: Or that you like. Yeah, I get it. I totally get it. And I think it was. It’s it’s a. It was a great segue for me for coaching because not only did I deal with people’s physical reaction to surgery, but I dealt with their mental and emotional reaction to surgery and the social reaction, like the families reaction, like the husband, that’s in the operating room, like their reaction to what’s going on and managing like the surgeon, the nurse, the patient and my own reaction and holding space for all of that helped me really understand, like, oh, it’s like and everybody gets to have their own reaction and it doesn’t have to be what? I think it should be so yeah, but I I going back to I think if we just first just say, oh, I’m having, I’m having some issues. What is it? Oh, I’m making my I think I’m wrong in this.

Brig Johnson 00:12:04: And I think even just saying that it’s like, oh, there’s an option that I’m not. Right. And that opens it up for exploration. Well, what makes me wrong? Says who? Where did I get that from? Who told me I was wrong? Who benefits if I’m wrong? If I continue to think I’m wrong, right? Like, who benefits if I continue to think I’m wrong?

Roberto Candelaria 00:12:23: That’s a good one.

Roberto Candelaria 00:12:31: Nervous system changes. I kind of go go gadget. Like intellectually, we’ll get something and our head is over here. But our our body is stay way over here. Our body has to catch up with our head. Right and so.

Brig Johnson 00:12:47: Meaning we may go. Oh, no, I’m actually not wrong. This is just uncomfortable and unfamiliar with me, but we we then want the feeling to go away of that discomfort. And I’m like, just because, you know, mentally you’re not wrong doesn’t mean that you’re not gonna feel it. You have to allow your nervous system or your body to catch up to your brain and go that go go gadget thing right like.

Roberto Candelaria 00:13:11: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And. And, you know, as we enter in to what are as of the airing of this in this new year and beginning of 2024 here, you know, we hear a lot of the well, I spent all the money on Christmas. I spent it that and I’m I’m going to say entrepreneurs because that’s who really listen to our podcast entrepreneurs and coaches. You could be like, well, I spent all my money then. And can we talk about some of the other resources that entrepreneurs don’t consider enough meaning like their time and their capacity that, you know, it’s just not all about money? Like money is a beautiful thing, but there’s other resources, other relationships we have that I think people don’t consider enough.

Brig Johnson 00:14:02: Yeah, I think I think for some, especially for entrepreneurs, especially like we, we treat success in a vacuum and it’s only like we’re looking at it from the money point of view and that’s it. And so we we do strategies on the money point of view. We look at everything from the money point of view and like the road to entrepreneurship is full of UPS, it’s like a *******. Rollercoaster, we all know that it’s up and it’s down. But also speaking to capacity if we’re already at capacity or already close to capacity as a standard of life life like our base is elevated, then we don’t have as much room to take that down right because of it, so. Where someone else may invest and make the investment because it’s like, Yep, I’m gonna bet on me because they have that capacity for risk aversion, more risk aversion. We may not and it may be the same amount and they may have the same amount of money in the bank and the same like the same circumstances. And one would make it in one won’t not to say either one is right because it could be. Right, it could be wrong. But I think our capacity to fail our capacity to to handle that discomfort of it and what we make it mean? Has to be dealt with too like that. That is, like we scale our business, we scale our business strategies, but we don’t scale us in our our systems like we may scale and systematize our business.

Brig Johnson 00:15:47: But are you systematizing you? Like is there a system? Is there a way of you evaluating? How you’re doing? Do you have a structure for that?

Roberto Candelaria 00:16:02: I’m like I’m sitting over here writing. Systematize you or systemize you and like and and looking at that like, I know earlier, we talked about being able to, you mentioned being able to stop and say, OK. Am I wrong and really evaluating stopping being curious, what are maybe one or two other things that? People could use as part of this system as they systematize themselves to kind of having that tool chest or, hey, entrepreneur Jenna, we love the term SOP even though they all look different. But what? What is the what is the SOP for them?

Brig Johnson 00:16:36: Right, yeah. I think the SOP for them is to like. First, realize that just like I have SOP’s for my business and just like I study and know everybody else. Like if you want to scale your business, you have to scale you and make that priority, because if not, you’re like you will never be able to scale past your nervous system. End of sentence because when your nervous system shuts down, guess what? That’s it like and we can override it all we want to or try but and that’s the part of us that’s saying no and digging it’s it’s like taking a kid to in the scary house. I I remember telling my daughter who was five years old when we went to Six Flags and we went through a haunted house and like she saw Jason with the, with the, with the chainsaw.

Brig Johnson 00:17:38: And I was trying to talk to her and like, no, it’s not true. It’s OK and everything. She saw the exit sign at five years old. She knew what exit sign read. And she read that and she ran through that exit sign. I could sit there and go. It’s OK. It’s not a big deal. It’s not true but she tore *** out of that and I think we we have to have to think of like that is us like especially as as black women.

Brig Johnson 00:18:11: Like we start businesses at largest amount and guess what, we quit businesses at the largest amount too, like the average black woman found founder makes 36,000 and the average White Woman founder makes 143,000. That’s a huge difference and I think the difference is I quit quoting because they do like my daughter. They see this scary thing and it’s like. Right. And so do you have a system that allows, first of all acknowledges that that’s where I’m at and not make it a problem?

Brig Johnson 00:18:53: Like so. Go ahead, go ahead.

Roberto Candelaria 00:18:57: We both good, but go ahead

Brig Johnson 00:18:58: I know, right?

Roberto Candelaria 00:19:00: Yeah. So, so you mentioned in having to scale you one of the things was like the nervous system. How does someone know their nervous system? I think that they we hear a lot about this. For someone that’s never stopped and actually been like, OK, what’s going on here? How do they know when they’re at capacity?

Roberto Candelaria 00:19:17: How do they know what’s going on? What are I know you mentioned earlier, being able to stop, but where do they know where they’re at? Because I think a lot of people use the word, but for someone who hasn’t had maybe a life coach or coaching or whatever, what does it even mean? How do they know?

Brig Johnson 00:19:34: Right. I think if you’re I think if you start paying attention to the sensations in your body, like why am I always at this constant state of angst or anxiety, or if I like easily triggered? We all know if you get easily triggered, we all know the person who’s easily triggered get the get the coffee wrong at Starbucks and we are like we know the person that even if we don’t say anything we know like for me my I had to study me and mines was if I’m doing this and scrunching up y’all I’m I’m like wait. I’m for those who are listening. I’m putting my hand through my head and rubbing my head and like.

Brig Johnson 00:20:17: I know me now I start doing that and then all of a sudden I’m like, wait a minute. What’s going on? that means I’m I’m holding it in like I really want to go off, but I’m gonna hold it in like my lips get real tight. I know that because I studied me, right? So it’s like oh my, I’m I’m up regulated. What’s going on? Right? But if you’re always in it, like, oh, I’ve been. I’ve been eating a lot. What’s going on? Ohh, I’m on a couch. A lot watching Netflix.

Brig Johnson 00:20:48: I’m numbing out what’s going on, right, so start paying attention to what’s going on with you and you may you may do that for three days and then think, wait a minute. I’ve been watching Netflix for three days. Baby. What’s going on? You numbing. What, like, what’s going on? This is unusual. Know your patterns when you start knowing your patterns, then you’ll know.

Brig Johnson 00:21:09: When there’s influxes in them, but the other thing I want to tell people, and it’s one of the things that I’m really great at because of my years of anesthesia and that I work with my clients on is there is literally a measurement that you can look at every day. It gives you a number and it’s called heart rate variability.

Brig Johnson 00:21:29: And all my clients that I work with, I give them a tool that helps them monitor it. We we look at it daily and we create systems for them so that it improves overtime and the heart rate variability is a measure of your nervous system readiness. So there is available Apple watches have them like or rings. Have them woop. All these things like you can look at it and start like playing and experimenting of like a good night’s sleep gives you a like sleep is so important nutrition is so important we have to move it’s important, right. Those type things, we need to have the difficult conversations because if not, they angst at us in our heart rate variability will say it like you’ll know. Ohh I’m not having. I’m not saying my truth because I’m flatline. Why am I flatlining? Because I I held my truth. Go ahead.

Roberto Candelaria 00:22:33: No, this is so good. I love it. Like I actually I I I don’t know. Actually. I don’t know where my Oura ring is y’all. That’s a whole other conversation. But I could. I remember when you talking with me when I first got it and you was like, what does it say? What does it say? And I was like, it says I need to do better.

Roberto Candelaria 00:22:51: And I remember the first day I got a little crown I was like, yes! I was so happy. Listen, y’all, you get your own little award. It gives you a crown. They don’t mail you one. It just says it in the app. But it was like the best day ever. So what do you want women to know? What do you want women entrepreneurs to know?

Brig Johnson 00:23:10: I want them to know they’re not crazy. I want them to know they’re not being greedy for wanting more. I want them to know that that desire to want more if they have the desire that it’s available to them. I want them to know that the road is supposed to be hard, but you can build the capacity to meet the road. I wanted to let them know that it’s OK, wherever they are. Whatever whatever emotions they are having in it is normal and I want them to know that in order to scale their business, their entrepreneur, their dreams, they have to scale them and they have to scale their relationships they have to. We can’t do this in a vacuum and that sense of belonging, we get to create. So your relationship, that’s why I I think I coach more in relationships than anything else. Their relationship to themselves. Something’s wrong with me. I’m lazy. I’m not doing this or their relationship with someone else. Both of them are so critical. We have to scale both of those in order to scale our businesses.

Brig Johnson 00:24:18: Because if not we get data and then we make it mean something about us and then we’re mad because our friends don’t support us, right, or he or our spouse didn’t do something the right way, like it’s and then we’re tanking.

Roberto Candelaria 00:24:36: I think that was one of the hardest lessons that I learned in entrepreneurship, and I meant to say life, but I wish I would have learned it sooner because I started in the business in a place of where I started it on food stamps on a Social Security disability check like, you know I talked about like there’s this mystical magical number, y’all. And yes, I I purposely said mystical and magical together that like when you hit 100K, everything’s great. Or when you hit seven figures, everything is great. And I was like, y’all, my first business goal was to pay my rent on time like that was my entire first goal is how do I pay rent on time and then once I had that I was like OK, now how do we do this then how do we do that and I didn’t understand that that was working on my nervous system, I just understood I want to live indoors and I like running water and electricity more than I like living under a bridge, and I have a dear friend who’s like living under the bridge with a van, and I was like, no, I wouldn’t have even had a van because there wouldn’t have been a community van I would have been out there alone and she was like, with the sleeping bag. It’s like a no sleeping bag and again, it’s like.

Roberto Candelaria 00:25:51: On the on the cardboard, right? Yeah.

Roberto Candelaria 00:25:53: On the cardboard, like I wouldn’t have even had cardboard girl like my brain took it that far. It was like you gonna be out there with nothing. And so my first business goal was pay rent on time and I think part of what you’re sharing about today in this relationship with ourselves that I wish I would have known, is that part of that relationship is being kind as we set our goals.

Roberto Candelaria 00:26:18: I think we see at least I do some of the, the the beautiful humans I get to work with it be like next year is going to be my million dollar year and it’s like what girl you made 27 dollars this year, like and so I guess in closing maybe not. We’ll see in this regulation of nervous system in systematizing themselves and being able to stop, how do they set goals?

Roberto Candelaria 00:26:44: In a way that is kind to them versus adding more oppression to ourselves.

Brig Johnson 00:26:51: Yeah, I think I think this is such a great question because there is that that limit where it gets it has to get you out the comfort zone like we set goals and it’s like. OK, listen, that ain’t a go like because it’s it has to get you out the comfort zone, but it can’t put you. It can’t take you 2 so far out that it’s in there. What the **** zone? It can’t be in the what the **** zone. But it has to be. It has to be out of the comfort zone. So it has to challenge you.

Brig Johnson 00:27:25: And it has to challenge you enough so that you get dopamine and you get the norepinephrine and all of those biology, biological chemicals that come when you challenge yourself, but not so far off where you shut it down like I think the way we know how to do that is we study ourselves again, we set a goal and if we just sitting around and we ain’t doing nothing, it’s like ohh, I’m shut down. Why? Right, like. What’s going on is that go too big or you go for it and you see what happened is like, OK, maybe I should have, like, allow for the experimental process. That’s how you learn you, right? It’s like, yeah, I’m going for a million. OK. I got 50. Like, maybe this time we go with a 100 there’s nothing wrong with saying I’m gonna do a million.

Brig Johnson 00:28:16: Unless it it’s paralyzing you completely, then it’s like. OK. Well, what’s the first step to a million? And I think we can still hold the goal, just breaking it down in steps because that allows us to give ourselves dopamine along the way, which is the thing that’s going to help us stay in the journey.

Roberto Candelaria 00:28:37: So how do people find you? And? We’ll ask two questions at once. And who do you work with and how?

Brig Johnson 00:28:46: Got you. I work with High Achieving Black Women. I work with all women, but especially high achieving black women one-on-one and it is for them to systematize themselves. There are practices, their habits, their relationships so that they can scale their life to the level that they want. It sounds geeky, like nervous system regulation, but that’s not how it ends up. It’s like we talk about everything, and I know I’m doing it like I know like and there is a system, Matic holistic way of just up leveling you so that you can uplevel your business. And so a lot of times it’s not a strategy. I know Robert Roberto. You know, like you may give someone a strategy, but they don’t have the capacity to to act, to act it out.

Roberto Candelaria 00:29:45: Yeah. And where do people find you?

Brig Johnson 00:29:49: They can go to my website brigjohnson.com I’m on IG at Johnson Brig and Facebook at Brig Johnson.

Roberto Candelaria 00:29:59: And y’all there is an episode of Brig’s Podcast. I don’t know it right now off the top of my head as we’re recording, so we will put it in the show notes. It’s an episode that Briggs shared with me a few months ago, but it’s on, I think it’s called from good to great and I would invite all of y’all to go listen to that episode because I think that the conversation we’re having today will actually pair beautifully with that episode. And so we’ll put that in the show, notes Zoe y’all. Thanks for joining us, Brig. Thank you, my friend.

Brig Johnson 00:30:33: Thank you. It was, it’s from good to gooder.

Roberto Candelaria 00:30:35: Good to gooder. See, I knew it was something.

Brig Johnson 00:30:40: Right. And I talked about how I like, talked to my nervous system is I didn’t call it nervous system, but it was like the questions I asked and my process, but yeah, and it’s going to scary stuff and how you scale doing scary stuff. So yeah, that’s a good one.

Roberto Candelaria 00:30:54: Yeah, we’ll do it. All right, y’all have a good day and we’ll see how soon.

Brig Johnson 00:30:59: Thank you.

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