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Trusting Yourself with Your Own Dreams and Desires With Sybil Amuti

Erin: [00:00:00] 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. Today, I talked to brand strategist and podcaster Sibyl Amudi. Her podcast is The Great Girlfriend Show, and you can feel her warm get real girlfriend energy from the jump.

We talk about how she unintentionally started a community around her podcast, about how you might wish you were a dove bar, but you're actually a starburst. That's a good one. She encourages women to put their spirit on display and talks about a spiritual [00:01:00] awakening she had after a really dark period in her life.

We talk about talking to God, finding spirituality in nature, and remembering to celebrate ourselves. This is a good one. Here's my conversation with Sybil. I am so excited to have Sybil Amudi here with us today. Sybil is so many things. She's an executive brand strategist. She's a podcast producer and host, a philanthropist, a wife, a mother to an 11 year old and a 14 year old. In her branding work, she's delivered strategy and direction for companies like Nike, Target, and Tony Robbins.

I think you might have heard of at least two of those. Sybil created the Great Girlfriends Show podcast to connect women with daily tips and solutions for living a passionate life and building a thriving business I'm so excited to have her here today. Hi Sybil.

Sybil: Hi friend. Hi. Okay, so wait I've listened to your voice a thousand times right but hearing it in this space I'm [00:02:00] like it's the sexiest smoking hot It's so sensual.

Erin: Why, thank you. You know, if the goal of life is to discover your gifts and use them, I think this is one I have found.

Sybil: This voice is a moneymaker. Let me tell you something. It is smoking.

Erin: Excellent. I will take it.

Sybil: I love it so much. Hey, Erin.

Erin: Oh my God. I mean, What you have built with the Great Girlfriends show is big and meaningful, and it's a community, right? I want to talk to you about so many things today. I've, I think I want to start with what is the connection between your work as a brand strategist and then that slide into Podcasting and community building, which seems like a whole other world, but I know you have the dots in your head that connect.

Sybil: It's so interesting because I look at brand strategy as storytelling. And ultimately the role of a brand [00:03:00] strategist is to help build, develop, and amplify the story of a brand or product to go to service. Right. I wanted to get into podcasting. I didn't know that I was establishing a storyline that needed to unfold in the market.

So I wasn't clear on that at first. What I did know was. Well, I know how to build a brand. I can come up with this concept, develop a go to market plan. I can build a strategy. I can set up products. I can help market it and build it and really get it and grow it. But I didn't understand that I was helping other women tell their story.

I thought I was just supporting their preexisting stories. I didn't realize the unfolding that would happen through the community build. I was just there to say, Hey girl, you're doing great. I wasn't there to go. Hey girl, you can do it. I was like, wait a minute. That's a whole different.

Erin: Isn't that interesting though? We see how people present themselves in the world. We think that person has their story down. That person knows who they are, what they have to offer, what their business is, for example. And then actually you create a frame and they step into it and they go. [00:04:00] Oh, let me give it a breath here and think about how I talk about myself, what I want to say about myself. How do I shape that?

Sybil: Yeah. It's crazy because I think the connection in storytelling is that it's like this quilt. It's like the words will weave together and they will develop a new chapter for someone new as we tell our stories, as I'm connecting to you and you're connecting to me. Some hot, amazing woman like us.

I was listening somewhere in Montana, Arizona, or Illinois is going, wait a minute. They were able to start a podcast with kids, with families and pivot in business. They were able to pick up again. They were able to walk away from things that didn't serve them. I can do it too. And so I think what happens when you do share stories, when you start to.

Open up that world. People jump into that world and they take away what they need to go build in another world. And so we started to see a lot of that happening in the community space of it [00:05:00] all. That I was very much like, whoa, there are people who want to commune over this content. I think that's so powerful. At that time, going on eight years ago, I didn't understand that With podcasting, there could be community.

Erin: I want to dig into that because I am someone who always thinks I'm alone in the world. I always think that I have to do everything myself. I have to figure it out myself, that there's somehow weakness in.

Reaching out and asking for help and support. Now I'm growing in that. That's part of my evolution. I'm not as hardcore in that way as I was say in my 30s when I was like I have to build this career brick by brick and as i've gotten older i've gotten more understanding of how community and connection and really vibing with people works in your life.

And how you can feel close to a [00:06:00] community of people. Like for me, I grew up in the comedy community, right? Like I grew up working at television networks where comedy was the product. And so I always do feel a sense of belonging in that world. But. I'm not necessarily doing that day to day and I find myself sort of adjacent to a lot of different things But never like in the heart and center of something and I don't know what that is in me But what I see in you is you actually showed up and made a thing in this podcast and And then this community grew around it.

Did you come in and think, I'm the leader of this community and I'm going to light the path for other people? Or has it just been something that wanted to exist and therefore sort of came up because you created a place to put it?

Sybil: I would hide under a pillow. I was like, wait, who's going to, you want me to like, [00:07:00] Oh, you need more. I was like, there's more to this because I literally thought, okay, I'm going to create this content and we're just going to put this content out and it's going to have a life. But then what happened was people started to ask, well, you know, where, where are we meeting? When can we meet other podcasters and things like that?

And I started looking up the podcast that I was listening to. I was like, are they doing meetups? Cause I've never seen this type of thing. I'm they're not meeting up. So what's happening, but I think women in this space, women know how to commune, women know how to create connection and women crave it more than men.

So back then the podcast world was predominantly male driven. Very white male, sterile voices, right? So I was kind of tapping my feet in a pond, not really sure if there was a space there for me, but wanting to explore what it could be and not seeing a true blueprint to what it could become. I didn't see a blueprint for what I was seeing in my head or wanted to create.

I just knew how the brand world worked and I knew what could be the tentacles of a great brand, [00:08:00] but the community part was a rapid response from listeners who would email, because again, didn't have a Facebook page, started an Instagram, wasn't sure what it was going to do. I was like, I don't want to do social media, but this is the age of social media. Like you have to have this space, but the emails is where it started to build. When are we meeting? When are we connecting? Where? And I was like, Oh my God, this is crazy. And I'm like, are you all from New York? And they're like, no, we're from X, Y, and Z city, state, country. I'm like, Oh my God, they're all over the place.

I don't know what to do with this. So that's when I built a Facebook group and just started to add them in and said, Hey, you can jump in here. And that was where the growth really started to progress. I mean, overnight in terms of the community build where women started to just jump into the Facebook group, grab their friends, start talking about the podcast.

And it really took on a world of its own, almost kind of separate from the podcast now. Now, it's sort of a community of women who are all connecting and celebrating over friendship, etc. [00:09:00] They may not all be podcast listeners, which is so interesting.

Erin: So who, like, I know on your Instagram, I have seen pictures of your events.

And I have never seen a better dressed group of women in my whole life. I cannot handle the fashion is over the top and they're dressing for each other.

Sybil: Yeah. And it's so great because there's no dress code. I'm like, you just. Where, where, what makes you feel amazing and they just show up and the colors and the vibrance that I'm like shopping the crowd, like, oh my gosh.

They impress me just, just the way they love on themselves. And I think that's what I'm learning, Erin, is when I look out at an event, I look at a mirror of, okay, this is, this is the perception of what they think this brand deserves, and this is how they want to show up for this. Brand. And I'm so honored because, you know, you can wear sweats and I'm like, come on in.

But to see women just really want to [00:10:00] love on themselves and be so warm and genuine and these amazing colors and dresses and everything, like the whole look, it really puts a lot of pressure on me, honestly. I was thinking that I'm going to wear.

Erin: I know. It sounds so superficial, but it really is not for women. I think how we dress and how we present ourselves and how we turn ourselves out and show up in the world. And you created that. Whatever you did intentionally or unintentionally as a leader, as the locus, as the center of this great girlfriends universe, I can only imagine that people see something in you where they go. Okay. I'm going to, I'm going to bring my A game. I'm going to bring my A game to this party.

Sybil: Yeah. I think it's probably like my sole request of anyone is to put your spirit on display. What does your spirit look like? Like what's the fabric of your spirit? What's the texture of your [00:11:00] spirit? Let that really be a display of who you are. Not facades. What does your spirit look like? Let that be the thing that you mirror out to the world. How do you think?

Erin: How do you get in touch with what that is so that you can shine it out?

Sybil: Oh my gosh, so much work there. That is, has been a huge part of what we spent time doing on the podcast is talking about what you look like from the inside out, like, what are the values? What are the attributes that you possess that are on display?

What is your guiding light? What is your leading force in life? How do you show up every day? What's your intentionality? And some people, I are to be bold and aggressive and vivacious in their ways. And other people want to be soft and tender, right? And some people want to be super sexy and racy and smoky.

And so there's so many different textures and you get to choose. But the question is, who is that? And for me, I spent a lot of time saying, it's not who I want to [00:12:00] be. Right? But who am I true to my core? I, like, I would love to be so Sex and the City, High Heels, Miniskirt everyday. Just, like, have a, have a cool cigarette that I don't smoke.

But just have, like, it in my hand just for the look. And a red lip. But that is, I am the dorkiest, geekiest. Sweats meets miniskirt meets I'm bubbly pink and I'm shimmery gold. Like, I'm so many different things. So, I could pretend. To be Carrie Bradshaw, right? But that's not who I am. It'd be so fake and it'd be so contrived that no one would identify with me.

So I've just decided to be my bright, bubbly starburst self. She is so far from starburst and I totally admire her for not being a starburst. I wish I could be, let's see, what is she? She's like some type of chocolate, not a Godiva, something way more sensual. She's like a, you know?

Erin: She's like a dove bar. She's like a you can't have that. I'm not supposed to have that, let alone be that.[00:13:00]

Sybil: She's like a dove bar and I'm like a pink starburst, right? And so I totally admire the dove bar in her and I would love to emulate that, but it's not true to me. So who are you at your true core? I might have dove bar days and dove bar nights. But this is Starburst Girl, this is who I am and I've learned to just respect and honor who I am and then help other women accept and embrace. The sooner we embrace and celebrate who we are, the sooner we can optimize the experience of being who we are.

Erin: I love the dessert metaphor. It's just so, it's so gorgeous because I went through many years when I would not have known What, how to even classify myself in that category. I was like a graham cracker.

Like I was like so dry and disconnected from my sensual self, from my vitality. I felt like I was just here to labor for other people and to keep the trains running [00:14:00] and to push, push, push, and to accomplish and drive and, and I think what has happened in the transformation that led to Hotter Than Ever.

is I let myself rediscover that sparkle, that inner vitality, that I shed a lot of the things that were keeping a lid on that jar, um, of Nutella or whatever. If we want to keep the metaphor endlessly or marshmallow fluff, I don't know what I am.

Sybil: Yeah. Right, right, right. It's crazy because. You realize, I think, at a certain point in life, I was going, going, going, and it's like one day I finally sat down, and I, I mean, I, I took a seat, and it felt like I hadn't sat down in years, but when I did finally sit down, I just And I was like, what am I doing?

Who am I racing against? What is this timeline I'm on? That's forcing me to feel like I have to be [00:15:00] so responsive, right? So reactive to everyone else's expectations of who I'm supposed to be. And how did I box myself? How did you, who were you racing against? I know, I think I was racing at well, when I was living in New York city, everything's a race, everything.

I mean, you know how that goes. It's just. It's a contest. It's a race. And when you look up, it's time for the next race. It's every day. It's, you're racing to sit down on the subway. You're racing to get, you're just racing in traffic.

Erin: Wait, I have to tell you a quick anecdote on that. I remember going to the movies on the Upper West Side and it was in one of those giant movie theaters and it was really packed and I was headed into the row and this woman behind me said, excuse me, I was thinking of sitting there.

Sybil: No, I got here first. She was like, I was racing you.

Erin: Yeah. She was like, and in my mind, I won. [00:16:00] That was such an amazing metaphor for life in New York City.

Sybil: I love that. She was like, I was going to sit there and I was having popcorn. Okay.

Erin: In my mind, I had visualized the whole thing. Like, well,

Sybil: What did you say to that? Cause, like...

Erin: I think I might've said, I got here first. Which of course, I was in New Yorker too. I wanted to win. That was my seat.

Sybil: It's so, that is so funny, but that's the press of the times. I think it was that, and I think it was once you have children. Gee, it presses more. You start feeling like, Oh Lord, is life over? Like, what about me? Life starts to choke you up. You're like, all of my time, my energy, my attention is being pulled in multiple directions. I started saying it more like, what about me? And then I was helping other brands and I was like, but what about me?

What about my brand? And I remember working on a project for Tony Robbins. And we were working on a book project for him [00:17:00] and I was helping with the philanthropic side of it, helping on the book side. A number of things were happening at once, all tentacles of his amazing brand. And I heard this voice in my head saying, why do you give?

Your clients and these brands permission to live out all the facets of who they are, but you only get to live out one facet of who you are. Why do you do that? And no one's doing it to me. I was doing it to myself. Why do you give them permission, but you withhold permission from yourself? What is that about?

And I think that was when I realized that I didn't trust myself. I don't trust me with me. I trust me with, uh, at the time I've gotten really great at this now, but I trusted myself with other people and I knew what I could do for other people because all of my life I had been really great. I was the youngest child of five kids, accommodating and pleasing and making space for other people.

I was born into other [00:18:00] people's lives. I wasn't really born into my own life. I got a manual when I arrived. They were like, this is how we do things. This is the beat of the house. You're the youngest. You do what we say. It was like military, right? I'm like, Oh, what about me? So That was, I think, how I realized, wow, you really have put yourself on the back burner and you're really great at people pleasing, you know, and I would have never thought it was a people pleaser, it would have been so offensive to say it to me, but I had to be honest and go, you've been pleasing other people, you've been very accommodating to their dreams, but you put your dreams In a furnace, go back and get the ruins out, you know, and that was it for me. That was an awakening that I had. And I was like, well, anything that I do great for other people, I can do great for me.

Erin: Oh, can you please say that again?

Sybil: Yeah. I said, anything that I do great for other people, I can do great for me. Because it's the greatness in me that helps to make it great for other [00:19:00] people.

So, but isn't it something that you have to have that moment of logic, like, wait a minute, if a burger is good there and I made it, then the burger is good here. The burger is good. It's a good burger. Yeah. It's a good burger because I make good burgers and you have to have that moment of like, wow.

Erin: Yeah. I love that so much. And one thing I love to talk about on this podcast is uncovering the unconscious things we've been telling ourselves. And I love you saying that you didn't trust yourself, that somehow you didn't trust yourself with yourself. Yeah. Like you trusted yourself in service of others. You trusted yourself in pleasing people.

But Bye Yeah, I think that's our work. I think that's our work is to discover how do I trust myself with my own dreams, with my own desires, with my own aspirations, with my own way of doing things that might be different than the status quo, that might be different than what people expect of me, that might be different than what I've been doing in the [00:20:00] past.

I'm obsessed with a pivot. I'm obsessed with a career transition. I'm obsessed with life changes. And taking the reins of your own journey. Um, I think that's so wonderful.

Sybil: As you think about it, Erin, I don't know about you, but I felt like at a certain point I was distributing so much of my worth outward. I wasn't holding enough for myself, right? Like I was giving 20 percent over here, 10 percent here, 30 percent here, oh the kids, 50. And then by the time there was, I look up and I want to give, assess myself and look at my worth and even hold something from me, there was nothing there.

Erin: Well, and do you think the culture supports us holding anything for ourselves?

Sybil: No, absolutely not.

Erin: Right. And it's also hard not to feel really selfish when you have kids and you're trying to earn money and you're trying to give your kids this great life experience and you're trying to keep a marriage together and you're trying to do all these things. Like the most that I could ever claim for myself was a [00:21:00] manicure.

When my kids were little, I had to negotiate time. I mean, I have twins, so like, everything was a shit show. Um, and there were never enough hands, never. You know, you need, you need four adults to manage twins because that's the ratio, it's two to one. It's supposed to be. So we needed a house full of adults at all times, which meant no privacy.

And... And then if I wanted to get any breathing room at all. I would be like, okay, I know how long a manicure takes and mani pedi and that is my self care. And that was all I did for many, many years. And that was a negotiated settlement.

Sybil: And it's hard. Yeah. Because you have to tell yourself that you deserve it, that you're worth it. Right. That, that it is, it's okay to give this time back to you and that it, you know what I mean? That you return back a better person.

Erin: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. But I needed so much more than that. I needed so much more than that. And I think [00:22:00] that's what led to me feeling so depleted and so like a husk of myself at a certain point.

And that's what precipitated so much change in my life. But I also think you have a beautiful marriage and I have heard your husband on your podcast with you and I want you to talk about what it feels like to be in a functional marriage because I don't know about that. And I also am curious about the role that faith and spirituality plays.

In your family life, because I was raised culturally Jewish, but my dad's not Jewish. I went to Quaker school. I have cobbled together my own spirituality through various explorations and 12 steps and all of that stuff got me really thinking about what is, what is God? Is there a God? What do I call this higher power?

Like how does this all work? I've never bought into like a system. of spirituality and [00:23:00] belief, but it plays a role in my life. You are actively a spiritual person. And I just want to hear about your, how you identify spiritually. How is it part of your everyday life and how is it part of your marriage and your family and how you keep everything served together and sane and functional? Obviously I'm idealizing you, Sibyl.

Sybil: Functional. When you say functional, I'm like, Ooh, I guess it is functional. It's so weird because when you're in the middle of your thing, I don't know, we're 17 years in and it feels. It's so good to be 17 years in what makes it functional for us is that we choose each other every day. I still choose him and he still chooses me and those choices help to work towards what we want to see.

So we're working in harmony or in sync with one another. And that's what makes us so functional for me. And it's quite interesting [00:24:00] because I never wanted to be a wife or have children when I was young and tender in New York. I was just like... I'm going to have this New York life and this is what we're doing.

But it was God, literally. It was God that led me to trust the idea of marriage. Trust that I could be in a marriage that I would want to be in. I mean, and my parents were married 53 years before my father passed and they had a. Good marriage. So there wasn't a lack of blueprints or anything like that. It just wasn't an interest.

It was not on my list. And I was okay with that. But I really do recognize now every year past 2001 is really a grace year for me specifically because, I'll say 2000 specifically because prior to that, I went through extreme depression. Extreme depression, wanting to commit suicide, all of these things because I had gone through sexual assault and it really knocked the wind out of me, like it hollowed me out.

[00:25:00] And so the reason that my life was resurrected was because all my dead or dark days were intercepted by God. I literally had an interception. And people would always talk about their relationship with God and I didn't have it. And so I was so angry because I was like, well, why do these people get a relationship with God and I don't, or why do these people seem to have so much joy and I don't have it?

Like what makes them more special? And you know, I was very Judge Judy, like what makes them more special than me? Like how did they qualify? And I took that to God. I was like. I don't think it's fair that these people get joy, that these people have happiness, that these people may not have gone through assault or these people haven't had depression.

Why do I have it? And God responded to me with love. And it was weird because I hadn't heard a voice that wasn't familiar with that, didn't know what that was, but I couldn't deny what I was hearing and communing with and thirsting for more of, which was. It's like this connection with God that led me into nature, that led me into love, that led me into trust, that led me into hope, led me into [00:26:00] joy, led me into acceptance, forgiveness for the, all the things that I had done wrong and for things that had been done wrong to me and led me into high expectation.

And so I think that Kwaku, my husband, It's one of those gifts that came alongside that journey because I knew that I was getting permission. I knew it from God. Like I knew I had a release to love unconditionally, abundantly, and safely, securely. Like, having safety and security was obviously major. And I had that space to do that with him.

And so, even in, alongside that, I never wanted kids, but as I started to love Kwaku freely, liberally, without apprehension, in my mind I started to go, hmm, I could see myself having kids with him. Like. Not in the

Erin: Abstract.

Sybil: Exactly! Because before, it just, it made no [00:27:00] sense, there was no logic, there was no applicable space where it would happen.

But with him, I was like, and so this other world started to open up to me of possibility. And I just walked into it, I didn't run from it, I ran towards it. And now, 17 years in, I'm so blessed to have trusted myself in that way, because I feel Kwaku's been such a backbone towards Me feeling my best, highest, freest self, I mean, my most loved self, he is a reflection of that, and he mirrors it, and he supports it, and he's never been like, you can't do this, and you suck, and he's never been competitive with me, he's never been jealous, or any of those things, I haven't experienced that, I've just experienced a space where he's I could really evolve and so I think it's really the spirituality at the center has given us the permission to trust that our marriage could be a space where we could dwell and not just we could [00:28:00] dwell, but other people are involved in our marriage, that people can come in and experience our marriage and it's okay and it's Hopefully an example of what's possible.

Hopefully it's a healing space. Hopefully, because that's our vision. We're like, hopefully when people come into contact with our marriage, they feel love, they feel joy, they feel hope, and that our kids will have some type of, I don't know, hope. If they never got married, we don't care. But if they come out of a space where they felt love and connection, that's what we care the most about, that we did our best to give it to them.

However that goes. And it's not perfect. Some days are so rugged and rocky. Some days are so crazy, but the good thing about those days is we know that it's not an end, it's just a period. Right? It's just a timeframe and we don't hang on to that stuff because we have too much evidence of what is good.

Erin: I love that. So I love that. I want to rewind and unpack the very beginning of what you said because you said you took it to God. You took your complaints to God. Yeah. How did you know to do [00:29:00] that? Were you raised in a faith tradition? Did you have a relationship with God in your life? And when you say you took it to God, is it like you just spoke out loud? Yes. Like, what the fuck, God?

Sybil: Literally. Yes. So I was raised in a faith tradition. I was raised in a church and I was raised Christian for my entire life. However, I did not have a relationship with God. I was just in the routine of it all. We went every Sunday, we prayed over dinner, we prayed at night and all that.

So I was in the routine of it all, but I did not have a personal relationship with God at all. I think when I went to God in anger was the first time that I actually went to God. It was the first time that I even, I had never really truly communed with God. I just went to God in anger and frustration.

And that was the beginning into the relationship. It felt like almost God was waiting [00:30:00] on me to come to him. And I know it sounds like so spooky, spooky, but I literally, Spoke out like, why this is not fair. I'm sorry, but the crazy lady in Times Square, I'm people watching in Times Square and I'm looking around and all of these people seem to be so happy, so overjoyed.

And I'm like, why was I the girl that got raped? These women don't look like they've got the going through anything, right. Judging from the outside. And why is everyone so happy? And they're taking pictures. Why do they feel so connected? And I feel so alone. Like it's so unfair. And I just, I started to have that verbal communication and I felt like I heard it back and I was like,

Erin: Oh, so what did you hear back? Like a voice or a message in your head? I'm really curious about the mechanics of this because, well, because it's all mysterious, right? Everything about spirituality is so mysterious and so kind of unknown and unknowable. And yet you do at times, I'll speak for myself, I do at times feel. spiritual guidance or something coming [00:31:00] from my intuition or some kind of voice that says it's gonna be okay you're gonna work this out you're gonna get through this and it's gonna be so amazing keep the faith and there's a thing in 12 steps called the gift of desperation which is when you are When an alcoholic, my 12 step experience is with food, but when an alcoholic or someone with some kind of addictive behavior hits rock bottom, then they are willing to surrender enough to the notion that there's something bigger than them.

And that there's some divine guidance that is available, however you conceive it, however you write it for yourself, wherever you find it, whatever clues you pick up and decide, yep, that's it. I'm a very much of a choose your own adventure when it comes to spirituality. I'm like a bird who has a nest And I'm like gathering all the little bits that make the nest and it's made of all kinds of weird stuff. But you had the framework of [00:32:00] Christianity and you had the framework of people in your life having faith when you were growing up. Even if you didn't.

Sybil: Yeah. And so it was interesting because I was in it, but I wasn't necessarily of it. I hadn't. Felt a personal connection to any of it. I was just a routine, a kid following the routine of the house, but in this particular space in these years, I would say this was very depressed, dark years.

I only heard negativity. I didn't hear anything positive in my head, anything affirming. My parents are very affirming and supportive, but in my head, I only had these harsh, negative, dark voices. And so. It was very hard for me to see light and appreciate it or hold on to it. This was the first time where I could hear, receive and accept that there was light.

I heard, I love you. That was the response that I heard. And I was like, what do you mean? What do you mean? And I kept trying to like rebut it and I kept hearing over and [00:33:00] over and over again. I love you. I love you. And to the point it started to torment me almost. And I was like, well, if you love me, then why?

Erin: What the hell?

Sybil: You know, like why, why this is not love. This does not feel like love. None of this feels like love. None of this feels like joy. This is love. I don't want it. Like if that's the case. And I started to hear you have not come into full contact with my love. You can't judge God's love by circumstances.

You can only judge it by his grace through circumstances. And so I'm like, ah. I got to really sit with that. And so my challenge, the thing that the one line that changed my entire life, Erin was this one very simple moment. And I remember cause I was so angry and I was like the nerve of you to say you love me.

And you know how, how I'm feeling, God, you know how much pain I'm in. You know, my [00:34:00] life has a very little value to me right now. You know, I'm looking for a way out and all I'm getting is this one line. So I said, well, help me to love me the way you love me. That was the one line. Help me to love me the way you love me.

If this is real, if your love is like this whole thing, or I love, okay, well help me feel that. I want to feel what you're feeling towards me because I don't feel that. And that was my little hostile Z formation to God. Well, help me to love me the way you neck roll.

Erin: You threw it down. You threw it down. You said, this is my challenge to you, God.

Sybil: This is my challenge. And that was the beginning of. An entire journey. It was, it was so interesting because I had been beat over the head with the Bible my whole life, right? And everything in my life was pointing back to a church and the Bible. And I just knew that God was going to point me towards a church.

And instead I got pointed towards nature. And I was like, Oh, we're not going to [00:35:00] church straight to nature. Look at the birds. Look at the trees. Look at the bounty of, look at this, look at this, look at all this grace. You're sitting in the middle of it, but you don't have eyes to see it because you're so caught up in the circumstances.

So I would sit in the park hours every day and peace began to just overwhelm my life. I was just watch the trees, watch the seasons change, watch the birds and watch the clouds. And now, Erin, if we're in the car, I'm always looking at the sky, I'm like, Erin, look at that cloud to the left. Isn't that amazing?

And you probably won't even see it, but, but it's my thing. It was my entree into peace. And it was my entree into acceptance and grace and love and joy. And then I got directed into what I thought were proverbs and they were actual scriptures and they started to resonate and I just began to study more deeply.

And that began this full connection. And the way that I found my spiritual space was where I felt safe and [00:36:00] where I found refuge. That's where I find where I have evidence that something was transformative was happening. And that was where I knew I had found a home I'm like I'm getting results here.

This is transformation. God is real I believe it you can no one can tell me otherwise because I have enough experience and evidence and proof Because of the things that God has shown me. Right. So I think for people who are looking for their spiritual refuge, their space, the reason that I'm a Christian is because I have the evidence of Christ working in my life.

Not just the function of it, not just the religion of it, but I have testimonies. I have proof that it was only God and it was. through my belief that led to certain things. So you have to have refuge in your spiritual space. You have to have transformation. You have to feel love. And I don't know what that is for everyone else, but I found mine.

And then I'm like, if anyone wants to know about [00:37:00] Christ, I can tell you. I can tell you, I can tell you according to my belief, not according to the years I spent in church. I don't even talk about. My preliminary years, they were great years. They were fun. But what I know for myself came from 1998 forward.

Erin: It's amazing. I mean, when you start to talk about scripture and Proverbs and the Bible, I go like, my brain is like, I don't, I don't know what you're talking about. Because I'm not Christian and because my Judaism is largely cultural where we never talked about God growing up and almost the philosophy in my cultural upbringing as a Jew was like, isn't that nice that other people need that?

It was almost like, Oh, religion is the opiate of the masses, but we're, we're a tribe, you know, we're a tribe and we help each other, never talked about God. No. And in fact, my father was a self proclaimed agnostic, [00:38:00] so he definitely found something in nature and is always like, yeah, I mean, we don't know.

What do we know? We don't know anything. This is all a mystery. Life is a mystery, isn't that? Yeah. And so. You know, he was never willing to say, no, there's no God and I know something. He was always willing to say, there's something and I don't know anything. Which I respect. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And then my mom was very identified with Judaism.

But when I started to do 12 step work and started to talk about spirituality, because it was helping me. relieve my sugar addiction and my self hatred around my body and all the shit that had plagued me and was softening me and opening me and healing me in a lot of ways. I resisted that God talk. I resisted all that stuff.

But I also heard people who were real recovered say, you need it. Sorry. You got to find it. You need it. Otherwise this shit doesn't work. [00:39:00] And so, for me, it's like, I have some really, like, I make fun of myself for where I find evidence of the divine, but it's largely in nature. Yeah, yeah. And seashells, and the connection to Because you can't make this stuff up. And fractals, and, well, I mean, what is the Fibonacci sequence? And why are things always patterned like that? And why is corn so organized? It's so stupid. It's so stupid! But, it is a miracle of efficiency.

Sybil: That is such a great question.

Erin: I have to take it down to a really dumb, basic kind of level.

Sybil: I love that so much. What is porn so organized? I don't know.

Erin: What's a pinecone? Why does it look like that? It's incredible. Right? I mean, and I like how silly it is. Yeah. That I find mystery in these very everyday things, but I really do, and it really does remind me to enjoy not knowing, to enjoy the fact that I'm small in the [00:40:00] universe, that what I do matters so much to me and matters not at all. Yeah. Yeah. There's some liberation in that, right? Where you go.

Sybil: Right. I was going to say, it's so freeing. Yeah. It's freeing. Yeah. You know, that you don't have to carry the weight of the entire world because there, there is a higher power at work. I literally watched Gladiator the other day and what is the line he's, he said, we are shadows and dust. We're mere shadows and dust. We're shadows and dust. We're shadows and dust. And I was like, we are shadows and dust.

Erin: And you could see that as super depressing. Like, oh no, everything I ever did doesn't amount to anything. We're just shadows and dust, ashes to ashes. Or you can say, well, let me just enjoy the magical things.

That are available to me here and now like human connection like community Like the fact that your ladies dress up for you like the fact that you have a loving husband and a partnership that Works where you can communicate with each other and you can [00:41:00] create a culture of your family together where you all Share a set of beliefs and experiences.

And I think all of that stuff is, you know, that's the like essence of life. That's, that's the deep stuff.

Sybil: And I think we have to just play our part, right? I've just learned, I've learned to play my part. What is my role? Right? What is my contribution here? This is a human ecosystem and everyone's part matters.

And every single day I have an opportunity to play my part. So what are my contributions, right? What are the things that I want to see or what are the differences I want to make? And how do I make them on a daily basis? Like being here with you is part of my contribution because I love connection. So I'm like this, having this love connection.

This is part of my contribution and it's part of the gift of being me that I get to get it back, right? So the reciprocity of this moment is very rich for me. So I'm looking for those kind of moments in life where I can [00:42:00] give and I can receive it in return. I can receive the reward of the moment. And I'm constantly in a space where I'm asking what are the contributions that I'm supposed to make?

There's tons of things that I wish I could do, right? I would love to be the ultimate roller skater. I'd love to dance. I'd love to go on tour with Beyoncé and just be a background dancer, right? Put me on the tour, Beyoncé. But it's not happening. So, in the meantime...

Erin: She may or may not be listening to this podcast.

Sybil: Maybe. In the meantime, one of the contributions that I'm supposed to make, where I am with who I am, and that's, I think that's full acceptance. It's not trying to curate something that is not for me and that is for you. This is my time to be me, to give of me, to love myself, to embrace myself. And part of that is how I show up in the world.

What's my benevolence. What's my thought leadership. What's my contribution. That's why I'm so excited about your podcast, because I know the pivot that you're [00:43:00] in and the evolution, and you're giving yourself permission to open this space up. It's so big. It's bigger than you can even imagine right now.

Trust me. Okay. Years from now we're going to, I'm telling you years from now we'll be at your event on some stage and you're going to be like, wow. When you look at how. Like how the mark has been made, like you're really securing a space for not just yourself, but all of the thousands to millions of women that are going to listen and it opens the door for so many people.

Erin: And I just respect it. Your mouth to God's ears and you've got the direct line. I respect it.

Sybil: So, yeah! I'm like, Hey guys, it's me, listen, we got Erin out here, Hotter Than Ever, let's make it hot. No, but seriously, you had to step out to do with Erin.

Erin: You really did. Yeah, I did. And also I felt called to do, like in my definition of that, it wasn't that God called me. I just was like, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. [00:44:00]

Sybil: And so many people have a call Erin and they ignore it. They're afraid, because you can excuse your way out of a call, right? You can go not today, maybe tomorrow. And, but next thing you know, I'm like, look, there's a whole, wait a minute. We've got graphics.

We've got a schedule. We've got, we got a producer. This is in motion.

Erin: I love this. This is the beginning of something. Right. And I don't know where it goes. We never know where it goes. Yeah. One thing that I fight with. And that I think women fight with is this fear of being selfish, this notion that, well, if I step out front and I claim space, like, who do I think I am?

And I'm not superior to other people. I should cede the floor to other people so that they can have space. But for me, it was like, is this narcissism wanting to do something like this? Is this self centeredness? How do you claim your voice? And then recognize that your voice is yours, but it's also for other people.[00:45:00] Like, how do you reconcile that with this taut notion of like, don't be selfish?

Sybil: Yeah. You know what's so interesting? I think for me to claim my voice, I had to silence everyone else's voices. I had to silence my parents voice. I had to silence the external voices that said that I belong here, that I should be doing this, that I should be saying this.

I just silenced my sisters who probably would never share some of the stuff I share publicly. Like, why would you share so much information? People ask me all the time, why would you share? I'm like, because I'm free. I'm not bound to it. So I'm okay. Once I'm free, I can share it, right? It doesn't contain me. And so many times I think we allow other people's voices to contain us.

Erin: And other people's opinions of us. Yeah. What they might think of us. With the consequence of stepping out and being like, Oh, I'm going to talk publicly about my sex life because I want to help other people feel liberated.

Sybil: Right. Right. Because what's [00:46:00] wrong with that? Because we all do it. It's human. We're lucky. And people are like, you shouldn't be talking about that, Erin. You should not putting their headphones on listening like, shame on you.

So I just, I feel like it's so important for myself on a continual basis for you, Erin, for every single person that's listening to remember the most valuable voice in our heads is our own. The words, the sweet space that we create on the inside gives us permission to say kind things, to empower ourselves, to believe against the opposition, to believe against the stereotypes.

And all the expectations that people will place on us. And it gives us the courage to really understand and speak with confidence and clarity who we are and know that this world is huge. First of all, let's get clear. So if I want to take up literally two acres of space for myself, [00:47:00] and you want to judge me for taking up two acres of space, shame on you.

Much respect to me, right? If I want to take up 2 million people to listen to a podcast and how many billions are there? Was it 8? Don't quote me on any. Yeah. I think it's right, 8 billion. Yeah. Okay. Respect me, right? Honor me, regard me, recognize that I'm doing my part of, I'm doing myself a service and I'm doing the world a service.

Silence does the world no good. Every voice matters. So us being willing to use these voices to help amplify the voices of people who've not yet found a mic or have not discovered who they are. That's service, that's community service, that's contribution, that's benevolence, that's charity, that's philanthropy, that's thought leadership. It's the TEDxLive every week. And think about it, we're Oprah's babies, right?

Erin: We are Oprah's babies. Whether we like it or not, that is who raised us.

Sybil: What did the world think was going to happen to all of us after we sat at the foot of Oprah after school and after [00:48:00] college and after work for all those years? Surely we'd want to have a contribution. Surely we want to give and develop more voices. Surely we want to create a sense of freedom for the next generation, right? So for me, when I see a woman specifically, my expectation is that she'll have a story she's ready to try to share. I'm like, what is it?

There's something there. I'm always looking to help release a woman to say, you know what? Maybe you haven't felt like it's worth it. Or maybe you feel like, cause you work in accounting. You're just supposed to hold your head down and count the numbers. But maybe that is a big part of what you do, but it's not who you are. Who are you? Who are you? And how do you want to share that with the world in whatever ways you do?

Erin: One last question for you, Sybil, which is, are there any deal terms in your life? Is there any contract in your life that you feel like you want to renegotiate? Ooh, it's a question I like to ask everyone on this podcast, because I feel like it gives us a chance [00:49:00] to think about we're in deals with everybody and ourselves.

Sybil: Yeah. Yeah. I think I'm in frequent renegotiation with myself, still figuring out how to allow permissions that I put on hold for years. And part of it is continually saying it's okay to socialize and amplify things that you would have traditionally kept quiet on. I tend to celebrate at home and over dinner and it's okay to celebrate publicly.

It's not egotistical. It's okay to pat yourself on the back and ask for other people to pat you on the back. It's okay to give out a medal here and there to yourself. So that celebration piece is something that I'm still really building on. And when I say frequent renegotiation, I didn't realize how many rules I had around it until I'm challenging them.

Erin: Amazing. I love that. I struggle with celebrating myself and making room for [00:50:00] celebration in general. I love that. I love this conversation. Thank you so much for taking the time, Sybil. Everybody listen to the Great Girlfriends podcast. I will put everything in the show notes, so you know where to find Sybil and what she's up to next.

Sybil: There goes that voice again. Erin, it's something to it, I'm telling you. Because it's a bedroom voice, just to be clear. It's like... All low and smoky. And I'm just like, I'm here for it. I love you so much. I'm so proud of you. There's something there. I don't know if you've considered voiceover work, but back in the day, back in the day.

Erin: Yeah. Maybe again. Yeah.

Sybil: You got it. You got it. You got it. Thanks friend.

Erin: Thanks for you. I want to hear what you think of these conversations, these themes, these. topics. I want to hear how it's resonating for you. So please DM us on social media and share your reaction and your own story @hotterthaneverpod on Instagram, Facebook, and every social media platform in the known universe.

We may even share your message on the show. Please follow the show on whatever platform you're listening to right now. Tell your best girlfriends and rate and review us on Apple podcasts.

Hotter Than Ever is produced by Erica Gerard and Podkit Productions. Our associate producer is Lena Reibstein. Music is by Chris Keating with vocals by Issa Fernandez.

Come back next week for more deep talk. You're so fucking hot.


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