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2023 Hotter Than Ever Year in Review

Erin: Welcome to Hotter Than Ever, where we uncover the unconscious rules we've been following, we break those rules, and we find a new path to being freer, happier, sexier, and more self expressed. I'm your host, Erin Keating, and this is our Year in Review episode.

So this is the first year of the Hotter Than Ever podcast. We launched on April 20th of 2023. That was a little nod to my weed smoking friends, 420. We are eight months in. This is the 36th episode of Hotter Than Ever. I have done 25 interviews and 11 solo episodes, including this one. I'm going to count them all. And I have put an episode out every week since April 20th, with the exception of one week when things really fell apart due to my travel schedule and poor planning. And I learned that that feels terrible. And I never want to do that again.

In fact, next year, we will have two episodes a week, one regular episode, either an interview or a solo episode, and then we will have an advice episode. So I'm really excited about bringing you more content in the new year. Content such a gross word, right? Bringing you more insights, more thoughtful conversation, more banter, more jokes, more fun, more depth, all the things.

I have learned a lot. this year about myself, about my extraordinary group of peers, about successful women and how they navigate their lives. And I have been so grateful to share these learnings and insights with you and to build my audience of like minded women who are looking to live an exciting and honest and vital and inspired life during this one and only time we get to be here on planet Earth.

I come back again and again to something Sherry Salata said to me as I was on a retreat in Italy with her in November of 2022. And she said, 'how much time do you think you have left?' And I have been living this year under that philosophy.

How much time do I think I have left? How much time do you think you have left to live in situations and circumstances that are not bringing you joy, that are not bringing out the best in you, that are sapping your vitality and your life force, that are not making the most of your beautiful one and only talents and gifts that you've had a lifetime to uncover, and that you're probably still uncovering every day?

I'm so thrilled, to have shared this journey of hotter than ever with you in 2023. And I wanted to go through a list of things that I've learned and that I took away from the conversations that I've had with my amazing guests this year. I'm going to start with Sherry Salata.

Everything is a love problem. She said that when I spoke to her on the podcast and it really resonated with me. I think everything is a love problem because so many things are a self love problem. We do not act as though we are in love with ourselves. If we acted as though we were in love with ourselves, if we treated ourselves like someone we adored, we would not tolerate so much of the shit we tolerate in our lives, right?

If we treated ourselves with tender, loving care, and we treated the things and people in our lives with tender, loving care, and that was our biggest priority, not just pleasing people, not just doing things. Service and doing what's needed, but approaching our lives with love at the center of everything. So many of our problems would be solved.

Sonora Jha said, you can choose fear or you can choose love. And that's what she's trying to do every single day. She's working to choose love. I have heard this in other places as well. It always resonates with me. I'm going to choose love. It's so, so easy to choose fear, and for so many years of my life, I chose fear, I was driven by fear, I was motivated by fear, I let it fuel me towards success, in quotes, success, but it wasn't love that was running me.

I was afraid of not getting what I wanted, not having what I wanted, not being who I wanted. I was afraid I'd be found out as not good enough. And if you come from love, those factors are so not at the forefront of how you are handling your life. So I am on board with choosing love over fear, and need to be reminded on a regular basis that that is the fundamental duality, and that is the fundamental choice we have to make.

Okay. My favorite topic, sex, boy, have I loved my conversations around that this year, Dr. Julianna Hauser said that sexual agency and agency outside the bedroom are connected. So if you have the ability to take agency in your professional life or in your family life or. If you find someplace where you're really self expressed and you can lead through decision making and communication in areas outside the bedroom, then you can do that in the bedroom as well.

Conversely, if you can tell your partner or partners what it is that you want, what it is that you need in your sexual life, you can then bring that agency out into the rest of your life. I found this to be a really profound revelation, that agency is agency is agency, and you can apply it, if you're having success applying it in one area of your life, you can apply it in other areas of your life.

Melissa Febos talked about wanting to be wanted, the whole cycle of desire and wanting to be the object of desire. I related so deeply to that, the sort of paradox of objectification. Alicia Reiner talked about the difference between long term marriage and friendship being sex. Now, I had a long, I guess I had a friendship. I didn't have a marriage for the last 10 years, according to that definition. But I really love that. If you want to keep the spark and the tenderness and the sensuality alive in your relationship, then you need to prioritize how to connect sexually and sensually with your partner.

That went away for me in my marriage, and then it even became hard to keep the friendship. Gosh, I wish I had had someone say that to me as nakedly as she said it on this podcast, because maybe it would have stopped me from lying to myself sooner.

The third major takeaway for me is that self talk is so critical. What is your inner monologue? What are you saying to yourself? What is that radio station playing in your head automatically all the time, and you don't even really realize that you've got a radio station that's on, that's sort of on a low hum in the background.

So identifying that inner monologue, identifying that inner critic, and finding a way to talk back to them. Katie Goodman, when I talked to her about using improv tools in your life, she talked about the difference between the inner critic and the inner coach. And what she says to the inner critic is not helpful. When she hears those blunt criticisms, those blanket, irrefutable statements, not helpful. Finding a way to talk back to that inner critic.

Lauren Zander also talked about the inner you. What is the narrative you are telling yourself in the background? Even sometimes the most successful among us, like Dawn Porter, who's a wildly successful documentarian I spoke to early in the year, she was saying in the beginning of her career she had a hard time naming herself as a director and claiming her right to be in charge.

So sometimes even the most successful among us can't hear the part of our inner voice, our inner coach that says, Yeah, you are the boss. You are in charge. You do know what you're doing. You are entitled to be called the director, the leader, the boss. I love that. The difference, I think, is that people who are successful hear that talk or feel that vulnerability, and they do it anyway. They do it anyway, so they find some override lever that they can pull that overrides the self talk.

Talking to Katherine Morgan Schaffler about perfectionism. Also connected to me around self talk and learning that perfectionism is not a bad thing. In fact, it can be a big part of your unique brilliance. If it's the adaptive kind, not the maladaptive, like if I do everything perfect, then I will be loved kind sort of teasing out what part of your perfectionism is adaptive and is a kind of incredible power and engine and force that can drive beautiful, meaningful, successful change in the world.

Stop criticizing yourself for your perfectionism if what that perfectionism is, is just ambition. It's okay to be ambitious. It is okay to want things. It is okay to see the world as it is and say, You know what? I'd like it to be a little bit better, and I think I have an idea for how to get there. If your perfectionism is driving that, fucking great.

The fourth observation is that trauma is intergenerational, right? They say alcoholism is a family disease. If there's violence in the home, that tends to get passed down. If we do not intervene on our own behalf We will pass it on to our children. We will pass our trauma and our parents trauma on to our children. It is intergenerational. Lauren Zander said this. So did Bela Gandhi from the Smart Dating Academy. She really helped define for me what trauma bonding is, you know, and, and bonding across your trauma, I thought was potentially a good thing because it meant that you could see each other's trauma and help each other. But I was wrong about that. I thought I was bonded due to mutual trauma.

I think what I was doing was sort of saying, Oh, this feels familiar and not finding a way to work through it or move past it in my marriage. So now I take that on in therapy. I work on the intergenerational stuff because I don't want to pass it along to my children.

So many of the women I talked to this year, in one way or another, said to me, you already have the answers. You already know, and you just need some tools to get in touch with those answers and either stop lying to yourself or learn to hear yourself. We talked about how mushrooms can bring those out with Tracy Tee, the founder of Moms on Mushrooms, how those can be your, a little helper that helps you hear. The answers that you already have within.

We've talked about how your friends can bring out the truth. They can be a mirror for what's so in your life. Journaling, meditation, spirituality, God can bring out the answers. If you take the time to develop a relationship with God. And that's a weird one, right? For me, what does that even mean? Because I think it's different for everyone.

In Twelve Steps, I learned that prayer is talking to God and meditation is listening to God. So if you pray and you share and you unload with God, then, and whatever your conception of God or spirituality or the universe. We talked a lot about woo woo stuff this year, you know that I'm ambivalent, but I like the benefits of it, but I don't like the frame of it and I don't like how it sits in the culture and how kind of bullshitty and superficial it is in a lot of incarnations to me, just bringing it down to if you get still and you listen, you can get the answers that you already have inside of you.

Whether that's mediated through something you call God, or whether it just connects you to your inner voice and your inner consciousness. Wow, I love this cosmic stuff. And I love finding a way to talk about it that's practical, and straightforward, and doesn't require that I wear a crystal in my bra. Cause I don't believe in that. If it works for you, fucking great.

Everything important is a long term goal. Lauren Zander said, quick fixes do not do the job. Everything that is important to you requires a long term goal. So, if you think you want to have a totally different career, you might have to go to graduate school and put one foot in front of the other. If you want a certain body, you might have to take a course of action that will unfold over the course of a year. If you want a new relationship, you might have to kiss a lot of frogs. You might have to hire Bella Gandhi and have her help you do online dating so that you can talk to a handful of people over a long period of time so that the slow unfolding of your long-term goal, the thing that is important to you, has time to breathe and in and evolve.

We love a quick fix. I love a quick fix. I, okay, I'm gonna just tell. on myself and say, I fucking really wish I could go on Ozempic or one of those weight loss drugs. Like, I want the quick fix of being a person in a socially ideal body, even though, like, what, I'm like 30, maybe 40 pounds overweight, depending on what your charts say.

I don't really care anymore about carrying some extra pounds. But sometimes when I see celebrities who I know who have been fighting like a stubborn 15 pound weight loss, like a Mindy Kaling or Kelly Clarkson, they're fucking skinny now and they got what they wanted. They I mean, it's nonsense. I'm so superficial, but it's a quick fix. Right? And I don't believe in it. I don't believe in it. Because at the end of the day, what are you going to do? Take Ozempic every day of your life for the rest of your life? Not knowing what the consequences of that will be? It hasn't been around long enough and in use as a weight loss tool long enough?

I'm not saying I'd never do it. I'm not. I once said I'd never do Botox. I do Botox. But I'm skeptical of a quick fix. I want to earn things and I want to get the things that I want that are long term. And that will lead to long term growth and change. I digress on the Ozempic thing, but it is something I think about. I bet a lot of you think about it too. I'd be curious to hear your questions and thoughts about that.

Another observation, number seven in my list of ten. We change over time, and it is okay not to stay the same. It is okay to change. It is okay to evolve. Carmen Rita Wong talked a lot about how much her life has changed since she was a broadcast money expert to the life that she's living today. Rebecca Wolf talked about making up your own rules for how to live, how to parent, how to do sex and relationships, how to evolve in your own life, with your family, with your desires.

It's okay to change over time, and in fact, it's inevitable. Pleasing others gets in the way of our own happiness. Right? I think pleasing others is a way to focus on not changing, on playing a role where we're approvable and acceptable to the people in our lives. Whew!

It is okay to stop pleasing others, because it can keep you from telling the truth. It can keep you safe. In quotes, it can keep you in a socially acceptable position, perhaps it can keep you meeting others expectations of you and getting a pat on the head as a result of that, it can also keep you lying and certainly kept me lying, trying to please everybody all the time and sacrificing myself and not having my own back. I really, really appreciate change. The midlife crisis is a fucking tsunami of change, and it is an ass kicker. But we're gonna change one way or the other. We can own it, or we can be in denial. That is my point of view.

Number eight, you shouldn't live without what you say you want, but you're gonna have to do the work to get it, right? You should not have to live without the things you say you want. You want something? You want to open a bakery? Just thinking about the movie Bridesmaids and how that's like a subplot in that movie where Kristen Wiig's character had opened a bakery, and it failed, and she sort of retreated from life after that. She shouldn't have to live without being a baker, just because she failed the first time she tried. She's just gotta do the work.

You have to do the work to get what it is that you want. But you should do that work, if you really want something, to find out whether you really want that thing. For years and years and years, I loved striving towards a certain level in my career. And then a moment came where I was like, oh fuck, I have the thing I wanted, now I have to learn how to live in that thing. But I got the thing I said I wanted. I got the marriage, I got the two kids, I got the big career, I got the house. Can I tell you how annoying it is to own a house? It's so fucking annoying and expensive. Okay, now I get to decide whether I want to keep it.

Kelly McMaster's talked about a moment in her own life where her friend showed up in her life and said, I want you to remember what it's like to want something and get it. She was so in acceptance of what she thought was her lot in life with her husband and her kids living in rural Pennsylvania, living in the consequences of the actions she took to live a fantasy life outside of New York City that did not turn out to be the fantasy that she wanted. And her friend breezed into town and bought her a necklace at this auction, and she said to her, I wanted you to remember what it's like to want something, and get it. Whew. Fuck, that's profound. You should not live without what you say you want. And you can do the work to get it.

A lot of people have talked about what it is to be happy, what it is to find joy, what it is to be content in life. Kelly Howard said, search for lasting joy. Happiness comes and goes. I love that. I love that. What are the things in your life that are going to give you lasting joy, connection, community, feeling part of, recognizing ourselves in others?

Hotter Than Ever for me has been a source of deep and lasting joy this year. It takes a lot of work to put the show together, but it is a joyful experience. To connect with all of you, to connect with the guests on the show, to feel part of a public conversation, to feel part of a community of peers. Mmm, it is so profound.

Number ten, related, Katherine Morgan Schaffler, who is a therapist, and quite a credible one. She said it's not stuff or money that makes us happy, constructing meaning is what makes us happy. Finding depth and meaning in our everyday lives is what makes us happy. Making this podcast for you has constructed so much meaning for me. In my life, it has tied me to a deeper, more profound conversation, an opportunity to be reflective, an opportunity to share a vision of midlife. That is exciting and vital, hot, sexy, successful, engaged, honest, all of that stuff has given me so much meaning. And I hope from the bottom of my heart that it's listening to the show has given you some depth and meaning as well.

I am so grateful for you. I am so grateful for what this year. Has been, I am so excited for the foundation that we have built together through this, these conversations. And I am so excited for next year and all of the awesome things that are to come. Take a minute to reflect on your own lives. Can you make a top 10 list of the things that you learned in 2023, the revelations that you've had, the insights that have stuck with you. The profound moments, the meaning.

Where have you found meaning this year? Where have you found depth? Where have you found freedom? Where have you found joy? Where have you found pleasure? Where is your pleasure coming from? Are you prioritizing that? Or is that something you want to do in 2024? Let's do all of it together.

I'm so grateful for you. Thanks for listening to Hotter Than Ever. I am so excited to do a second episode every week next year, starting in January. There are now two ways to get in touch with us. We have a telephone number 323 844 2303, or slip into our DMs at hotter than ever pod. I want to hear from you.

I want you to reach out and ask questions. Is there a thorny issue in your life? Maybe it's in your marriage. Maybe it's in your relationship with your kids. Maybe it's with regard to your own sexuality. Maybe it's around your agency and decision making. Maybe it's a person in your life who you don't know how to talk to them and tell them what you really think and what you really need from them.

Call or DM us. Tell us what's on your mind. Ask for advice. Ask for insights. Ask for a script. I'll write you a script for what to say to somebody who you're having trouble with. Talk to me about how you talk to yourself and we can rewrite that language together. I am so excited to get into it in a deeper way.

Next year, 2023 was all about going deep. 2024 is about going deep and going wide. And I am so excited to do that with you. I cannot wait to hear from you.

Hotter Than Ever is produced by Erica Girard and PodKit Productions. Our associate producer is Melody Carey. Music is by Chris Keating with vocals by Issa Fernandez.

Come back next week, come back next year, and we will keep talking. Love you.


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