The Wizard Files

Feb 14 2020 9 mins

Perhaps you feel like you've lost your way. You're not even sure you know what "your way" is anymore. But one thing you know for sure, something has to change. And you're ready. You're ready for change. And you're starting to feel like you can't think your way to an answer this time. Your brain has taken you as far as it can, and it's not enough. (Hot tip: Your brain is a great tool, but it's time to stop letting it drive the bus.) On this podcast, I'll help you bring that change into your life. I'll help you toss the rules and expectations that aren't serving you anymore, I'll help you find that new path that feels joyful and purposeful. Brought to you by Sonja the Grey, your very own wizard (no robes, tho, this is the 21st here). She brings together intuitive wisdom, brain science, spiritual connection, and a whole lot o' wizard magic to help people live a life they love.

Your Passion Is Not Your Job Title
Feb 14 2020 7 mins  
It’s an idea that has been imprinted on you since you were a child. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” How often do you think you heard that question? More than once? More than once a year? More? From the time you were able to form complex sentences, people have been asking you what you want to be. As though you aren’t “being” sufficiently already. As though you are supposed to transform into something new when you become an adult. And they would ask you as though you must certainly have an answer. It was rare to find the adult who encouraged you to have no answer. Those adults typically weren’t the ones who were asking the question. And the answer has an expected form. When a kid says, “I want to be a magical unicorn!” how often do you suppose a well-intentioned adult chuckles in response, “well that won’t pay the bills, now will it?” And if someone says “I want to save the earth!” again, the adult translates to, “Ah, you’d make a lovely environmental scientist.” The unspoken expectation is that you will answer this question with a job. Meanwhile, family, friends, Famous People on TV and the Internet, and eventually memes all advise you to “follow your passion.” I suspect this really set in somewhere around the 90s, when all of the money-hungry behavior of the 80s was turning out to be Not So Much Fun after all. As knowledge work became far more common, employees needed to be invested in the work differently to really thrive - they needed their souls on board in a way not previously seen in the workplace. These two ideas are both doubling down on the same myths: That projecting 5, 10, or 20+ years into the future makes any sense at all. That you should know what the path to that future looks like. That you know what your passion is, or that it will stay the same as you grow. And the most harmful myth: That what you are passionate about is the same thing as your job title. This approach cheapens the experience of discovering what you’re passionate about. What drives you is now reduced down to a line of print on a business card. And it’s why rattling off a list of skills and asking, “what career should I pursue?” doesn’t work. What drives you is so much deeper. You have to dig underneath the skills, and see what motivates you to use them. Perhaps you’re a fierce advocate of spreadsheets. Is that because you like to organize? Or is it because you like to create formulas to help draw conclusions from data? Maybe you like spreadsheets for their ability to sort. Shit, maybe it’s because you like spreadsheet art. Someone who is soothed by the organizational structure of a spreadsheet, might be driven to high levels of anxiety at the idea of creating a complex formula to process some data. These two motivators are different. Simply saying “I like to work with spreadsheets” doesn’t dig down to why you like to work with them. The same thing is true of work. A web developer might find the repetition of copying and pasting known widgets soothing. Another web developer might find this task tedious. A writer might find the editing process reassuring, whereas another might loathe the experience. And in case that’s not enough, not all jobs of the same title are created equal. A Sales Representative at one company can have completely different job expectations at another co...

Your Future is Hurting You Now
Jan 16 2020 8 mins  
Today, I want to talk to you about how your future is destroying your ability to make decisions in the present. ... Just saying those words fucks me up a little bit, so I just want to take a moment to say it again so we are both clear on the topic today. Your future is destroying your ability to make decisions today. Once upon a time, there was a girl. That girl was me. I had a job that wasn't terrible, but over time it drove me into the ground. I didn't feel like myself there. I didn't feel respected by my boss, improvements that I knew were possible were ignored, I could go on and on but if you're listening to this podcast, you know what it's like to work somewhere where you don’t feel seen. I knew that something needed to change. And one day while I was at an acupuncture appointment, my acupuncturist said to me, “Why don't you quit?” Panic welled up inside me. It was subtle, but it was panic. As my heart settled into its new home in my throat, I said, “I can't quit.” “Why not?” He asked me. “Because!” I exclaimed. And then, I launched into the list of reasons that of course, I had to stay in my job. I would never be able to afford the mortgage without this job. Nobody would hire me because my experience is too specific to this company. I wouldn't have any references. I don't have enough money saved. On and on I went with reason after reason that my future was fucked if I quit my job. He paused. He looked at me with a small smirk that I now recognize as, “Oh, Sonja.” and he said, “Have you called the bank?” I sat there, completely confused. Normally at this point, people will tell you, this job is no good for you, it's hurting you, leave, blah blah blah. But the bank? What is the bank have to do with any of this? Why would I call the bank? Thankfully, he continued. “Do you know what options are available for your mortgage. Have you applied to other jobs, and do you know that no one would hire you. Do you have any evidence to support the reasons you can't quit?” Of course, I didn't. My fear about what would happen in the future, how much worse it might get, it was driving me to stay exactly where I was. It was keeping me frozen in a place that was unhealthy, in exchange for staying away from a potentially scary future. So, here's the thing. Your brain, specifically the amygdala, is in charge of keeping you safe. That's been the amygdala’s job for a very long time. Uncertainty is very scary. An unknown animal, and unknown human, and unknown darkness in the forest. An unknown sound that you don't recognize. All of these things warrant staying alert. Heightening your reaction time. Strengthening your awareness. This is fear’s job. And yet, your brain also loves to dream about the future. To imagine what could be. To plan, to chart a course, to try new things and explore new work, new cities, new relationships. If you think about it, and if you never explored new things ... would you still be hanging out with the same people from high school? From grade school? Sitting in your childhood room playing with a binky? Humans are constant explorers. Your amygdala registers this future possibility as terrifying uncertainty. It misinterprets it as an uncertainty that’s a threat Right Now. And your amygdala is not the sharpest crayon in the box. Uncertainty is uncertainty is uncertainty. Your amygdala is going to freak the fuck out, regardless of how unlikely a future scenario is.

Why Goals Fail
Nov 27 2019 5 mins  
Every new moon, I take a little time to set intentions for the month. I like to base it on the star sign that the Moon is in, mostly because it's fun - I also feel there is a synchronicity between astrology signs and the time of the year. A few days ago I was giving an online group session around setting intentions, and an excellent question came up, Why intentions and not goals. I want to offer a challenge. In this world where goals are idealized. Don’t set any. Don't set any this month, don't set any for the new year. What I mean by that is, don’t set any as motivators. Sure, you can set targets that you want to try to meet, but don't make goals your motivation. Goals genuinely suck as motivators. Goals suck because they have been squeezed dry all of their life force. Specific, measurable, all the other things in the SMART goal-setting checklist. And that's really useful when you're putting together milestones for some project. It's no good as a motivation. Goals have nothing to do with why you're doing something. They don't remind you of why it matters. And if they do, they're probably too vague. Goals train your brain to only feel rewarded when you hit this measurable marker. There’s no joy in the process. And if you’ve been using goals as rewards for a while, you’ve also trained your brain to start looking for the next reward (because that’s where the good shit is, after all). And when you live that way long enough, you start to create stress in between all of the reward points. Because your body is generating stress to push you to the next reward. And switching goals? Holy pivot point, Batman. This often translates to a feeling of failure when you’re using goals as motivation. Because in order to switch, you have to let go of the initial goal that was motivating you in the first place. But realistically, how often do your goals change? How often do you realize that the goal you set for yourself doesn’t match where you want to go now that some time has passed. If you’re like me, it happens pretty often. Now … motivation. When you know why something matters to you. And you follow that with all of your heart, goals just become mileposts along the trip, they’re still there, marking the way, but you can switch freeways, or get on a boat or take a plane. You can change destinations easily when you realize that your motivation would rather take you to New York instead of Florida. The journey becomes the joy. So as we head into a time when a lot of people start to reflect on what they did or did not achieve in the previous months, I invite you to think about the adventures you had. Think about what warmed your heart one Saturday afternoon. Think about the whacky decision you made in the middle of January, or June, or July, and how much fun you had that day. Think about that, and then decide your intention for this month. Or decide your intention for the next year. Fuck goals, they're just a measurement. New goals can come along at any time. Ask what motivates you, what inspires you, who do you want to be. That's what matters. Figure out who you want to be, and then live into being that person with deepest intentions, and see what happens. If you want to read more detail about how goals differ from motivation, head on over to my website. You will find PDF ready for you called “Why Goals Fail,” ready to download in the Resources section. Have a great week, and if it if you're in the US enjoy the long weekend. There's a lot of twisty energy happening right now so remember to pause, and take in something wonderful near you. Even a pleasant smell or bold color can sometimes brighten up a tense moment.

Eliminating Perfectionism
Nov 20 2019 8 mins  
I love listening to the intro music as a way to warm up for these podcasts. So I'm sitting here with my headphones on, snapping along, thinking wow, my snaps sound great! And then I realize ... I can't hear my snaps at all, that's the music. Womp woomp! Today I want to talk to you about a topic that's near and dear to my heart: perfectionism. It wasn't until very recently that the idea was even floated that maybe "perfect" as a goal was not helpful, and more recently had the realization that shook my understanding of perfectionism to the core. When I was a kid (and by kid I mostly mean teenager), I thought perfectionism was an admirable trait. I thought it was something to strive for, because obviously you want your stuff to be perfect. Obviously you want to keep poking and prodding until something is right ... right? But perfectionism is a sneeeaky little shit. Because it's taking your desire to be awesome, taking your desire to do that thing your heart wants, and turning it against you to keep you safe. So let's unpack that a little bit. You, and most other humans, have a fear response that is triggered by your amygdala in your brain. You may have heard this referred to as the lizard brain, or as your fight-flight-freeze response. Now this triggers in real threat situations, like being chased by a lion. It also triggers in situations that feel just as threatening due to a past trauma. Your amygdala responds to the unknown, because the threat could be hiding there. This is a time for high alert. Your amygdala looks around and says, "I don't know where the fuck we are, but we are not going over there." Now. Let's say you've been wanting to write a book. You are not in mortal danger when you decide you're going to write a book. And you've been writing for a while and your gut says it's time. It's time to write that book. You guessed it, you are venturing into the unknown. As we've evolved, the unknown as a threat has remained the same. So now, threats include writing your first book. But some part of you knows that you're not in mortal danger when you decide you're going to write the book. So here we are. In the unknown. Your amygdala is freaking out. And another part of your brain is saying, I'm not in danger. Your fear response has some seriously complicated work to do here. It needs to convince you that you are in mortal danger when you put your fingers on the keyboard. This is where trickster level genius happens. Your fear response looks around and says, "Don't do that. It won't be good enough. You're going to look like a fool." Boom. Perfectionism has landed, my friends. Because in this space, logic will lose. Your fear can keep saying, "it won't be good enough, you're going to look like a fool" every single step along the way, every edit, every improvement, and you do it all in the name of perfection. This was my first introduction to the idea that maybe perfectionism was holding me back. It was keeping me from releasing the thing, from posting the stuff, from learning the learnings. And this is where the popular concept, "done is better than perfect" often comes in really handy. Get that thing out the door, because getting it out there is better than not. But we can actually take this to another level that destroys perfectionism completely. When we say, “done is better than perfect”, we are implying that done and perfect are both equally measurable. Most of us can agree on when something is cons...

Podcast Introduction
Nov 14 2019 8 mins  
Hello hello! Welcome to the wizard files, I'm so glad to have you here with me as we start out on this new adventure. My name is Sonja, you can find me online at sonjathegrey on Instagram and Twitter, and my website is I'm going to keep it short and sweet here in today's episode, as I introduce what this podcast is - who it's for, who I am, what I do, and what you can expect. So. Who is this for. This is a podcast for the seekers. And, I'm going to tell you what I mean by that. You feel stuck. Up until now, you've followed some kind of flow that wasn't your own. You followed the expectations put on you by family, friends, school, media, society. You studied your favorite subjects, along side the "right" ones that you're "supposed" to be good at. The things you love were fun, but they were distractions. Or they were hard to keep up with as you got older and had to follow the real work. Not to mention, you're wicked smart. You've leaned on intellect for most of your life, because that seemed easier, safer, the right thing to do, rather than be "too emotional," or "too sensitive." So you let go of the things that felt good, one by one, as you grew up. Or, perhaps you outgrew some of the old fun things, but new fun things didn't pop up in their place because hashtag responsibility. And that felt okay at first, because you are an adult now! Responsibilities required focus. You could play once all the work was done ... right? More and more, there was no time for fun and play. And that still felt okay, because the money was coming in. You were okay. You were safe. Except. After a while, earning the income and being self sufficient stopped feeling like an accomplishment. It stopped feeling like ENOUGH. So, you turn to the most obvious source of help. The internet. Now the internet would love for you to believe that a few affirmations in the morning will pick you right up. So you try that. And you try 100 other hot tips and tricks from all the lists and books and resources. (And of course, don't forget the app.)It's too much. You feel like you've lost your way. You're not even sure you know what "your way" is anymore. But one thing you know for sure, something has to change. And you're ready. You're ready for change. And you're starting to feel like you can't think your way to an answer this time. Your brain has taken you as far as it can, and it's not enough. (Hot tip: Your brain is a great tool, but it's time to stop letting it drive the bus.) On this podcast, I want to help you bring that change into your life. I want to help you toss the rules and expectations that aren't serving you anymore, I want to help you find that path, a new journey, that feels joyful, and purposeful. And I'm going to do that by bringing you the brain science, the intuition, the spiritual magic, and the body wisdom. I hope to bring on some of my favorite people to interview from various modalities. My daughter will also likely make unexpected appearances, because she has a tendency to do that. I also can't 100% tell you what's going to happen on this podcast, because I haven't planned it out. That's part of that intuitive wisdom, creating a without a plan (shhhhh - don't tell the internet!) I'm also looking forward to asking questions of you and hearing what you'd like me to address. I cannot wait to have those conversations. So, who am I? I spent over a decade as a manager in tech. I've seen this path walked over and over by my employees, and I've walked it myself. As a manager, my goal was to help my employees grow to their full potential, in a way that felt fulfilling for them. So I spent years studying how we get ourselves stuck, and how we get ourselves out of it. And, probably not coincidentally, around the same time, I started exploring spirituality, and the energy that connects us all, whether for you that's God, the Universe, Spirit, I devoted a lot of study and time to understanding how to interact with that energy in my body ...

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