220: Beyond Traditional Success with Dr. Zarya Rubin

Today’s guest had all the markers of traditional success, an Ivy League Education, letters after her name and a well paying career, but she realized she was miserable because she was not being authentic to herself. She broke out of the medical system to help people in a more holistic way. Join us!

Dr. Zarya Rubin is a Harvard-educated physician and certified health and wellness coach who is passionate about helping people heal through functional medicine. She partners with her clients to get to the root cause of symptoms and create a roadmap to wellness.

In this episode:

  • Why Zarya considers herself a “multipotentialite” who is passionate about many interests and has engaged her entrepreneurial qualities in many varied careers
  • How Zarya’s love of opera singing has fared during the time of COVID
  • Zarya’s personal brand of intensity means that she has always been “a lot,” but seemed like a “garden variety normal intense person” during her time in NYC
  • Why she is intense about political activism and her many passions but has learned to be quieter as she has aged and come into the coaching space, learning to live a slower paced life on the west coast
  • How Zarya’s intensity has transformed over the years as she grew up as a shy and quiet child
  • How the acceleration from kindergarten to 3rd grade in one year led to Zarya’s inner struggle with darkness and anxiety
  • The disastrous outcome of Zarya’s acceleration in school leading her to become a burnt out gifted kid
  • Cultural factors that influenced Zarya stemmed from her very Jewish, very intense, and very loud family
  • How Zarya had to tone down and tune out for decades to make herself more acceptable to women in friendships and men in relationships, which also meant she dumbed down her education and career
  • How Zarya’s intensity never appeared out of control outwardly, but she inwardly dealt with anxiety and PTSD
  • How Zarya uses her relentless pursuit of answers and solutions for the good of her clients and her family
  • How Zarya’s husband helped her gain a new perspective on social media posts
  • What parents of gifted kids really want
  • How Zarya harnesses the power of her intensity by embracing, recognizing, acknowledging, and accepting it
  • How Zarya’s goal as a coach is working with women in midlife to help them find their spark, joy, and passion again


* Rough Transcript *

Ep. 220


Zarya: I had all the traditional success. I had the Ivy League education. I had the fancy letters after my name. I had the multiple six figure jobs and whatnot, but I was still miserable, and I was still not living an authentic existence.

Aurora: Welcome to the Embracing Intensity Podcast. I’ll be sharing interviews and tips for gifted creative twice exceptional and outside the box thinkers who use their fire in a positive way. My name is Aurora. Remember Holtzman, after years of feeling too much, I finally realized that intensity is the source of my greatest power.

Now, instead of beating myself up about not measuring up to my own self-imposed standards, I’m on a mission to help people embrace their own intensity and befriend their brains so they can share their gifts with the world through the embracing intensity, community coaching, educational assessment, and other tools to help use your fire without getting burned.

You can join us@embracingintensity.com.

Hello? Today’s episode is with Zarya Rubin, md, who joined Women’s Entrepreneur Group with Emily Roach Griffin with me, and as I was looking at her website and learning more about her, I knew that not only did she need to be on the podcast, but I needed to have her speak in my Embracing Intensity guest speaker series because she has a talk on.

Breaking the stress cycle. So that is coming up this weekend. So, you can come join us for a live call on breaking the stress cycle, or you can find the recording in the Embracing Intensity community@embracingintensity.com. The call will be on Saturday at 10:00 AM Pacific, and we have our guest calls every third Saturday of the month at the same time.

Enjoy. Welcome to Embracing Intensity. Today I have Zarya Rubin, who is a Harvard educated physician, certified health and wellness coach, and she’s passionate about helping you heal through functional medicine. She partners with you together to get to the root cause of symptoms, creating a roadmap for wellness.

Welcome, Zarya.

Zarya: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

Aurora: And we were just talking right, right. Before we recorded that, I was actually gonna skip having a speaker in July just to take, to have to take a break then. But when Zarya and I joined Women’s Entrepreneur Group together with Emily Roach Griffin, when I saw what she did, that she was a physician who’d burned out and everything about her just to me screamed, embracing intensity.

So, I. I knew she would be a great person to have both on the podcast and also to speak next week on breaking the stress cycle. So, it, it was meant to be. Super glad to have you.

Zarya: Yay. Yeah.

Aurora: So, tell me a little bit about yourself and what you are intensely passionate about.

Zarya: Oh, goodness. Yeah. So, I am a physician by training, health coach by design.

I’ve also had about, I don’t know, I’ve. Count of how many other careers. I joke that it’s around 20, but it’s not actually a lie. Anything ranging from I was a professional opera singer, professional actress. I’ve been a translator. I still do translation work, worked in advertising. I was an overseas nanny and au pair.

I’ve worked in the pharmaceutical industry. I’ve worked in health tech at a startup. It goes on and on, and I think ultimately, Led me to a path of entrepreneurship because I think folks like us, you know, I don’t know. It’s hard to fit a mold and to fit one thing and do one thing. There’s an incredible TED Talk, if you haven’t seen it, on being a multi potential light.

And when I saw that talk, I just, like light bulbs went off in my head and I was like, oh my God, that’s me.  I’m not, there’s not one thing, you know, that I’m, that I’m passionate about or that I just knew from a very young age that like, that’s my calling. I mean, I, I did think it was medicine and I am very passionate about health and wellness and healing and really helping people to, to be at their best and you know, When their health is holding them back, that can be very difficult.

So, yeah. And yeah, and I’m originally from Montreal, Canada. That’s why I grew up speaking French so that there goes some of the language and translation aspects and now live in Portland, Oregon with my family and we love it here. And you know, I was still keeping up my artistic side. Singing part-time in the Symphony choir, which was amazing.

And then of course, COVID. So, I haven’t, I’ve been singing on Zoom, which is not the same. No Zoom choir, let me tell you, it’s a thing and it’s not a thing.

Yeah, I know it’s hard with the syncing, not syncing. Yeah,

I mean, you mostly are just singing on mute in your solitary confinement of your living room, and you’re making your own recordings and submitting them.

And then we’re creating these, these, you know, compiled, edited tapestries, which are, it’s really cool and it’s really beautiful and we’ve been able to do really cool things. And through an organization called the Stay at Home Choir, I’ve gotten to perform with like the king singers and the Swingle singers and like, That’s pretty amazing cuz it’s all virtual and so, you know, there’s a, there’s a slight upside to it, but I cannot wait to get back to in-person making music.

Aurora: Yeah, that’s so cool. Yeah, it’s, it’s funny when, when you’re talking about the education or I mean, the. Medical, like le, your overall umbrella there. It’s very similar to me with education. Like the system leaves a lot to be desired and I was also very stressful. And so there, you know, I think we both have similar approaches in terms of how we, we, it doesn’t change what we are passionate about, it’s just.

Entrepreneurship is a way to address it in more ways and get more creative with how you do it and that sort of thing? I think

Zarya: so, yeah. I’ve, I’ve sort of never been on inside the box, inside the mold thinker. Mm-hmm. or person I. You know, my mom tells a story that I was kicked out of several nursery schools for not complying with things like nap time and lining up.

So, my mom would drive up to pick me up and the kids would be in a neat line, and I would be over on the other side of the field by myself, arms crossed against my chest, scowling in the, out here. Mm-hmm.  So that’s, you know, that’s kinda how I fared in. Institutional organization, Yeah. I don’t really fit the mold and maybe the mold needs to be broken and it needs to be changed.

And certainly, as far as the medical system goes, we know it’s broken. It’s broken for patients and for providers. Yeah. And I think we do need to come up with a new paradigm that’s focused on health and wellness and prevention rather than on disease and illness and treatment. You know, post-talk once the horse is out of the barn, once you are.

Dealing with a lot more serious things including pandemic.  Yeah.

Aurora: Yeah. Totally. Very similar to education.

Zarya: Yes. Oh, yes, yes. My other favorite TED talk is of course, the Ken Robinson TED Talk on Creativity education. And oh, I was fortunate enough to go to a real hippy-dippy creative arts. Performing arts school in Montreal, Canada.

It was a public school. I went through my entire education from kindergarten to the end of high school. Yeah, in those days, those kinds of schools existed and, and so got to really incorporate the arts into everything I did and. So many of my friends and classmates went on to pursue scientific careers and medical careers, and it doesn’t matter.

It’s just that creativity really fosters, I think, creative thinking and excellence in so many other ways, and it’s, it’s just missing from a lot of schools right now, and it’s, it’s tough. To get that back.

Aurora: Yeah, definitely. So, tell me a little bit about your own personal brand of intensity. What does intensity look like for you?

Zarya: Oh, my goodness. You know, it’s not something that I’ve really thought about too much, although it has come to the fore of it. Since moving to the West Coast. So, I lived in New York City for a long time and let me tell you, I barely qualify on the radar there. You know, I’m just kinda like garden variety, normal, intense.

I’m just kind of like average neurotic there. And I, you know, talk quickly, think quickly talk a lot, interrupt a lot. And it’s not cuz I’m trying to be rude, it’s just cause I wanna contribute to the conversation. And it’s like, for me, it’s like a servant Bali thing, not. Someone has the ball for 10 minutes and then someone else has the ball for 10 minutes.

You’re like, oh my God. Back and forth. Yes, me too. That’s amazing. and people here are just like, what is wrong with you? Mm-hmm.  who are you? You are terrifying.  Like, and you know, and it’s, it’s, I just kind of, I’ve just sort of learn to accept it and, and just be like, yeah, you know, I’m, I’m not for everyone, you know?

Mm-hmm.  it’s not every flavor of ice cream is gonna be everyone’s cup of tea, and I’m kind of like, The rocky road, extra caramel crunch nuts, chocolate covered coconut maybe a hint of like card. I don’t know. It’s a lot. It’s not vanilla. Mm-hmm.  And that’s so, yeah. Okay. Yes. So yes, that’s my. I guess that’s my random intensity.

It’s just I have always. Been a lot and mm-hmm. done a lot of different things. I think that’s a little overwhelming too, when I tell people sort of like, oh yeah, I’m a physician and I’m an opera singer, and I’m a translator and I’m a writer and I’m a speaker, and I’m a, and people are just like, what?  why?

Why don’t you just kind of do one thing and just be more normal? Like, I can’t, cause I get too bored. And I, there’s too many things I’m interested in. There’s too many things I’m passionate about. I’m also, you know, really politically active and a bit of an activist and trying to get involved and all that, you know, and people sort of say, including my husband sometimes, why do you wanna save the world?

Like, just calm down, you know? And I’m like, oh my God, I have to save the world. Like, why don’t more people wanna save the world? Right. You know? But it’s, you know, it can be a lot. It’s funny cuz a lot of my friends are, I. They don’t really know what to do with me, but they think its kind of entertaining.

They’re like, wow, you can just talk for me. It’s okay. It’s cool. I’ll just chill over here in the corner. And I’m like, gosh, is this, I’ll give you a chance. I’ll give you a chance to talk. It’s okay. You know, and I’ve learned to kinda be quieter and you know, in my old age, this is me being or hilarious, but and certainly, you know, in coaching, so being a coach is, is a very unique and.

Experience from being a physician. You know, the average patient encounter physician interrupts a patient after about seven seconds, and that’s just kind of, you know, what we’re used to. And then in coaching you have to kind of leave that space and create more space for your clients to. Share and to experience things, and you’re more of a guide.

It’s less paternalistic, it’s less like, you know, okay, you need to do this and this and this, and this is what’s wrong with you and this is what’s going on. And it’s more of a, a sharing open, you know, collaborative space so that, you know, I’ve learned to kinda take a step back. Then of course being on the West coast, you, you just kinda, everyone is a little more laid back here and I certainly don’t walk as fast as I used to in New York.

I have slowed. You know, and that’s, you know, that’s a good thing. So, you know, I think we adapt.

Aurora: My spouse grew up in Germany, but lived in both Montreal and New York and has had similar observations.

Zarya: no way. I studied German in college. I was like my minor in college.

Aurora: Oh nice.

So how do you. Intensity affected you growing up?

Zarya: Oh my gosh. Yeah. It’s interesting cause I think it, it, it definitely, it definitely transformed and transmuted over the years. I mean, I was actually a very shy, very quiet child, believe it or not. Didn’t talk a lot and didn’t, didn’t speak up. I think part of that was owing to the fact that I kind of.

Skipped a whole bunch of grades all at once. I went from kindergarten to third grade in one year and that was a disaster. But there weren’t provisions for kids like that. And this was, you know, this, I’m gonna date myself. This is the seventies. And they just didn’t know what to do and there were no tag programs or streaming or this or that.

And so that the solution was skip and. and I think that that was really detrimental for me. And just then I became extremely shut down. Had a lot of some serious medical issues as a kid, I think that also shut me down. And then then divorced, you know, parents getting divorced at a, at a very formative age.

And that also caused me to, I think, Really silence and dampen my intensity and try to be that good girl and that perfect child and student and just never cause trouble, never speak up, you know, just go with the flow and try to fit in as much as I could and. That didn’t last forever though, but so I think it was very interesting.

And then it also manifested in terms of a lot of inner, I think a lot of inner struggle and, and darkness. Like I was a very anxious kid and very tormented by things. You know, I would often say to my mom, like, How do we know that dreams aren’t real and that what we’re living right now isn’t a dream? And this was when I was like two or three, and my mom’s like, oh, what do I do with this child?

And so, she didn’t really know what to do with a lot of my intensity, but she was, you know, very loving and very supportive and just, just supported me. And when I would get extremely, you know, anxious and need to do projects like 24 7, these elaborate projects, projects pro, she’d be like, okay, let’s do projects.

Like, let’s do them, you know, day and night kind of thing. And I’d be like, as long as my mind was occupied and I was busy and active, then the other worries and fears and intensity over, you know, I don’t know, stuff like existence didn’t bother me as much.

The acceleration thing is so interesting to me because I work with and talk to a lot of gifted adults and gifted plus disabled disabilities that didn’t get identified or whatnot, and.

It’s so, it, there’s such a disconnect between like all the gifted ed things. They’re like acceleration, acceleration, acceleration. And everyone that I know who’s an adult is saying no. That like, and it’s been something that’s been on the forefront of my mind lately cuz I have a seventh grader who, you know, there’s this whole thing with math acceleration and for me, it, it, anytime we look at acceleration, it should be driven by the kid.


Aurora: Like, it should not be driven by the adults saying, let’s accelerate this kid, because I feel like that’s what happens. Like for me, the only reason for acceleration is because they’re, they’re losing their spark, they’re losing their interest because they’ve already mastered this level of math, but, In such a young age.

I don’t know. It’s, I’ve been lucky with teachers for my kids, so, so that’s pretty, pretty much what’s got us through. But it’s just, there has to be other answers. There has to be other things than

Zarya: acceleration. Absolutely. I mean, I think that, you know, proper streaming. And proper tag programs, either within a school or exclusive tag schools.

I mean, we, we’ve made an application to a public school that is, you know, you have to, you know, be 99th percentile and above to get in in Portland, and we’re so lucky to have a school like that, but it is lottery based. You know, it’s not need based. Exactly. And there’s a limited number of spots. So, we’re waiting to hear from my daughter who’s seven, who’s struggled with public school and we didn’t accelerate her per se, but her, she’s an August birthday, you know, so she’s, she is at the young, younger, very younger end of, you know, there’s kids who are a full year older than she is in her grade.

So, in a sense, That’s a form of acceleration. You know, just birthdate, acceleration. But you hear both sides of the story, like people who accelerated and just saying it was awful. I mean, certainly that’s my experience. And then people who didn’t saying that it was awful because they were, you know, bored and stifled.

And then for me, I got to live both, which was awesome because after I accelerated all those grades, then they quote unquote, failed me a grade. Held me back because there was a big transition in fourth grade. So, the first, second and third graders were together, and then fourth, fifth and sixth were together and they just didn’t feel like I was emotionally prepared to go into fourth grade, and I certainly wasn’t.

But then having to repeat a grade when I had, you know, been at the top of the class the year before was kind of. That’s when I also wanted to give up on school as well. So, I, I hear, you know, both sides of the, the equation and, and we definitely need to do better for our gifted kids and our two e kids especially, and to treat them with the same kind of respect that we do with kids with other learning challenges.

Aurora: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. So, do you think there were any cultural factors that affected how you expressed yourself?

Zarya: You know, I’m Jewish, very culturally Jewish, not religious in any way, but I think that. in a way that was a good thing. I mean, I don’t know, it’s a chicken and egg. You can’t know what’s, you know, environmental versus what’s cultural versus what’s genetic or was I destined to be intense or was I, you know, grew up in a Jewish environment where everyone’s pretty intense and talking and talking over each other and.

You know, my husband, you know, was like, God, your family just like hawks all the time over. I’m like, yeah. And then when I go and visit, you know, when I visited family in Israel, I, I thought they were really angry at each other and screaming and yelling, and I was like, oh my God, my Hebrew’s not good enough to understand what’s going.

They’re like, no, they’re just talking about like what to make for dinner. It’s just a lot of intensity, a lot of screaming. So, I think that, you know, in, in a sense, A good thing cuz it was very culturally acceptable to be intense.

Aurora: My spouse is also culturally Jewish and has family in Israel.

Zarya: Yeah. Well there you go.

Yeah. It’s funny cuz my husband is, is half Jewish, but was raised completely, you know, not in that, Environment at all. And it’s very foreign to him. And I’m just like, dude, get your Jewishness on. Like deal with it.

Aurora: So, so I already mentioned this a little bit. Did you ever try to tone yourself down and tune yourself out? Yeah,

Zarya: absolutely. For decades of my life. To either be more accept. To, to women in terms of friendships, not wanting to appear too much or too successful, and certainly with men in relationships, dumb myself down, wouldn’t disclose where I went to college, wouldn’t disclose what my job was or profession, or would make things up about what I did for a living.

Or I would say, oh, I went to school in Boston, you know? Or, The reactions were often not positive. They were, oh God, I don’t wanna deal with that. I don’t want to be challenged in that way. Or, you know, compete with a partner. And it was often the men who felt competitive. I mean, I didn’t feel that way and I certainly, I wanted a partner who was smarter than I was.

I thought that was, that’s the goal. Right. And luckily my husband felt the same way. He was like, well, yeah, you’re smarter than I am. And that’s, that’s great. That’s good. And, but it took a long time. I know. I didn’t, I didn’t meet him until I was 40 because it just wasn’t happening. It was very difficult.

Aurora: Yeah, it is definitely a challenge. Can you think of a time when your intensity got out of control?

Zarya: Ooh, I have always been a very controlled control freak kind of person, and I certainly never let it outwardly get out of control. Now, of course, inwardly is another story, and a couple of years ago you. The decades and decades of anxiety, and then later I actually found out it was undiagnosed P T S D.

It just got to. And too loud internally to the point that I was living kind of a double life. I mean, I had my, the life that I led outwardly, I was a wife, I was a mother, I was, you know, people thought I was this awesome person who had it all together. And then inwardly, I had a completely other world going on where I, my anxiety and me

You know, flashbacks and one were so intense that I was not able to really be present in the world. And it was, yeah, it was excruciating and unbearable and thank God eventually got diagnosed and got help in many different ways and, and it’s been such a relief to have that kind of quieted down a bit, you know.

Aurora: So, tell me a little bit about how you use your

fire for good.

Zarya: So, I’m, you know, I’m very passion. I have a lot of different passion and I am very intense and I’m very, I’m pretty relentless when it comes to pursuing things and when it comes to sort of finding answers and finding the truth and finding a solution, like I don’t give up until I find the answers and find the solutions, and I think that that serves my clients really well.

It. You know, my family, like, you know, whether it comes to researching something for the house or a school for my kid or you know, resources, I won’t quit until I’ve found that thing. You know, of course my husband thinks I’m crazy cuz you know, he’s a satisfier, I’m a maximizer. Like I will just keep looking until I find the perfect thing and he will the first thing that meets the bare minimum criteria.

He’s good, you know, So it’s a funny compliment, but I think that that passion and that relentless. Can definitely be a challenge. And it, it can definitely be hard to live with sometimes, and sometimes it’s you have to sort of pick your battles and know when to let stuff go. And certainly, that is true of virtual battles on Facebook.

And I’ve learned to kinda like just walk away, step away, step away from the insanity. This is not your circus, not your monkeys. You don’t have to. You know, fight the good fight with every post, but, you know, so, but it, but I think in general, it’s, I’ve managed to turn it into a positive thing rather than, than a negative or, or a sort of a challenge.

Or an impediment.

Aurora: Yeah, it’s. I’ve come to this point with social media where I’ve decided I’m become much more generous with my block button, and if I’m going to engage in an argument, I almost always respond to the person who I’m supporting rather than responding to the person I’m disagreeing with.

Zarya: That’s so smart. So smart.

Aurora: Otherwise, you know, if I see someone who needs that support, then. Pipe in. But otherwise, yeah.

Zarya: I, it’s, you know, and my husband has a really great strategy. He says, don’t bother, like, don’t engage on that thread. But what you do is you then post a new original post with your position mm-hmm.

on your own social media property. Yeah. And then you control that dialogue. Yeah. And you’re not engaging with that other. But you’re still, and I was like, wow. Damn. So that’s a reason I married you. You’re pretty smart too. And, and, you know, so he just doesn’t, he doesn’t engage in that. He doesn’t in his own way, on his own terms.

And, and I’m like, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Makes a lot of sense. I should do that more.

I actually did that recently on TikTok because, and her post wasn’t really shareable or stickable anyway, so I just, but I had to take a clip of it because it was, it, it just like, she had a lot of really good points, but.

All lost on me because she basically was, this person was gaming the system to try to get their kid in a gifted program. And she had a lot of good points about racism in the gifted programs and, and gaming. Like, she had a lot of really good points. But, but then she goes, and secondly, your kid’s not gifted.

They’re just not gifted and they’re, and like the way she dismissed it and then she said on like in the thing, like, only 2% of kids are. Oh no, she said only 2%. But then on the screen it said, I’ve only met one truly gifted kid in my life. And I’m thinking, unless you’ve only been working a couple years, that’s statistically even at 2%.

And that’s not accurate either, because it could, you know, there’s a lot of, it’s a lot more complicated than that. But like, the way she said it, I was like, so I made it friends only on my TikTok because I didn’t, I I really didn’t wanna get in a debate with her on it, cuz she made a lot of really good points.

Yeah. But, but I’m, as a parent and an educator, I’m in this weird. Where like I see how e the actions of each side is shutting down the conversation. and I, it, it’s just so frustrating to me cuz there’s a lot of entitled parents who see it as a badge of honor and, you know, wanna see acceleration above all else and all that stuff.

And they’re part of the problem. But then the school also has their stuff too, and, and getting them to community. Is a challenge and I’m being in the middle? Like sometimes I, I’m, I become that person in that conversation. But on that side, it was like just one of those clear, like the educator was just shutting this person down with not even accurate information.

Really? like if you’ve only met one truly gifted kid, then you’re not looking for the right things.

Yeah. That’s just not.  Yeah. And I think that when you are the parent of a, of a gifted child and a, and certainly a two-week child that you, I mean, accelerate, I could care less about that. And I, I actually really don’t want it.

I, I, yeah. You just want them to be happy and to be thriving and to enjoy education and not have school refusal and massive anxiety. And you know that, I mean, that’s what a lot of us deal with as parents of gifted kids. It’s, like, it’s not about getting your kid into college, it’s about getting your kid to actually go to second grade and show up and not have a complete meltdown and nervous breakdown at home every day and scream and yell and refuse to go to school and say, I’m so bored.

I’m so bored. And, and, you know, you just, you just want what’s best for them and. You know, I think that’s, that’s the majority of parents of, you know, quote unquote real gift kids, Like that’s how we feel. You know, it’s just about, kind of about survival and wanting those resources to be there for your kid that most public schools don’t have the resources to provide.

Aurora: Yeah, the best thing I ever heard at a gifted conference was it’s our job as parents and teachers to keep that spark of learning alive and like that’s, I keep it going online all the time.

Zarya: A hundred percent. I mean, I saw it extinguished completely during the transition to virtual last spring, and I just saw her say, I hate school.

I hate, I’m not good at math. I’m like, you’re amazing at math. Like, this is crazy. And that’s when we just took the, the step, the leap, I guess to, to homeschool when it was not my intention, but it just seemed like that was the only path forward. And it’s been a challenge for numerous reasons, but it, but it was a way to keep her engaged and keep her learning and, you know, and then, What she really needs is she needs the social contact and she needs to be around kids.

So, we’re attempting to go back.

Aurora: Yeah. Yeah.

Zarya: It’s, yeah, today was the first, first foray back into it, so it’s pretty, pretty big deal. But, you know, so far so good. And the school’s being super, super sweet and accommodating and, and, you know, it’s, it is only a couple hours a day, few days a week. The year’s almost over.

We’re gonna make it. Yeah.  Yeah. Oh. But man, it’s been hard on these kids for sure.

Aurora: That’s definitely been true for us as well. So, what do you think has helped you the most with harnessing the power of your intensity? Are there any personal habits or anything that is,

Zarya: Hmm, it’s a great question. I think it’s a combination of really embracing, you know, your intensity is, you know, like your podcast, it’s, you have to.

First of all, acknowledge it reco. Learn to recognize it and acknowledge it. Accept it that you are maybe not like other people, and that’s okay. And don’t try to be like other people. Don’t try to put a square peg in a round hole. Don’t try to fit yourself into a mold that is going to absolutely stifle your spark and your creativity and try to find ways that.

That support it rather than, you know, antagonize it. And I think that, that, that’s kind of maybe the most helpful advice. I don’t know. And, and it doesn’t always look like what you think it’s gonna look like in terms of traditional quote unquote success. I mean, I had all the traditional success. I had the Ivy League education, I had the fancy letters after my name, I had the multiple six figure jobs and whatnot.

But I was still miserable. and I was still not living an authentic existence and I wasn’t being myself. And it took years and years and years and decades and decades to figure that out, and I think that hopefully kids today or young folks today are more in touch with that and are more in touch with who they really are and about living.

Fully and passionately and not having to conform to a very small number of choices that we have to make. So early on, it just felt like our options narrow so quickly and there’s not a whole lot to choose from. It’s like, oh, you’re good at school, you’re smart, you like science. Be a doctor. Great. And it’s like there’s a million other things you could do and be, and we need to e.

Kids to explore that and just maybe find a better fit for them. And I think they really should be doing much more in the way of profiling and personality testing before you embark on, on a schooling and a career that’s gonna take decades to train for. And if I had done testing beforehand, I mean, they could have easily predicted, whoa, no

But they don’t do that. They just do the aptitude tests and the, you know, the exams and the, the, the, the, the, the book learning and stuff. And then it’s like, oh, well you’ve got great test scores. Great. You get in. And I think that’s a, that’s a potential disservice. And I mean, I, I would never say, well, if someone has, you know, quote unquote unfavorable personality scores for medicine, you know, you’re not allowed to do it.

But maybe think about something else. You know, cuz you just don’t know what it is until you’ve already invested so much of your life in it.

Well, and I think the thing about that is that then you have, you’re not doing it because you think that’s what you need, what you’re supposed to do, like you’re doing.

Like if you do still decide to go into something, even if a personality test says it’s not the best suited for you, it makes you think it about it more. It’s not just default mode because this is just what you do. Yeah. Because you have that aptitude and that’s, you know. Exactly. Yeah.

Aurora: So how do you help others use their own fire?

Zarya: You know, I think part of my role as a coach, I work a lot with the women in midlife. That’s kind of the demographic I work with cuz that’s who I am. And although I don’t like to admit it sometimes I still think I’m 25. And I think a lot of us get to a certain point in our lives where we have been so shut down and we have tried to be all things to all people.

Many of most of my clients are, are moms. Their kids are more grown by the time I work with them. Not all. Some are having young kids or are getting pregnant and whatnot, but just those demands of constantly your existence is there constantly to serve other people, and whether it’s your spouse or your kids or your job and.

They’re often very cut off from themselves and they say, well, you know, what do you do for fun? What are your hobbies? What brings you joy? And most of the time they can’t answer that. There’s no answers to those questions. And so, I help women kind of tap back into that and realize that they are worthy of finding their spark and their joy and their passion.

And they, they’re allowed to do that. They’re allowed to be loud, they’re allowed to. Take that time and find themselves, or go on a solo vacation, even if it’s only for two days, or take a vacation. You know, I had a client who’s like, well, I just don’t know if I can take a vacation. You know, my clients need me.

And I said, come on, your clients also need you to take a vacation. You know? And so, yeah, I really enjoy. Helping people find that spark. Awesome.

Aurora: Do you know Raquel Mueller? She’s in Port, the Portland area. She’s a therapist coach.

Zarya: I do, I do. Raquel. Yeah.

Aurora: I was just thinking you guys have complimentary approaches.

Zarya: I love her. Yeah, I know. She, she has a door hanger. You know those things that you hang on a doorknob? Mm-hmm.  like in a hotel. Mm-hmm.  and it says, do not disturb mom at work, or something like that. Like it’s a mm-hmm.  It’s a do not disturb thing for moms. And I thought that was so, that’s so great.

Aurora: Yeah.

Zarya: I love it.

Aurora: Yeah, she’s that a lot. It’s amazing how many folks that I’ve interviewed that are parents of older kids, like that’s sometime in their parenting journey. Like they had to like reconnect with themselves because it’s so easy to get lost. You can, you know, be a martyr at the altar of self-sacrifice and motherhood.

Zarya: I mean, it’s, it’s really easy to, because when they’re little, I mean, you kind of have to, it’s, that’s, that’s what you have to do. I mean, especially if you have a really, really intense high needs kiddo, which I did, and I didn’t even know that was a thing. Until I had one and I was like, oh man. And then of course, all the stories came back to me and what my mom used to say about me as a baby, and none of those terms existed, but I was like, huh.

Yeah. Well, I guess what goes around comes around and. Yeah. Oh, oh, you never slept as a baby either. Oh yeah. You know, I’m like, oh, great. Yeah. So that makes sense.  you know, but it’s very hard to break out of that and to realize that you need to take care of yourself and nurture yourself and, and you know, I say put your own oxygen mask on first because you can’t help others if you don’t help yourself as well.

Aurora: And I’ve seen it with dads too. It’s not, and you know, that makes me sad as well, because there’s so little out there for dads.

Zarya: Yes.

Aurora: is there anything else that you would like to share with the embracing intensity audience?

Zarya: Gosh, I just think that this is such a great thing that you’re doing and, and to just connect folks like us who, you know, don’t realize that this is a thing and that we’re out there and that, you know, we’re unique and we’re different and the, the sort of grownup gifted kid is a thing and.

I think there’s a lot of memes that are circulating about it, that are pretty funny, and they’re pretty accurate. There’s like a bird dipped in Curry and there’s the Halloween costume of the Failed Gifted Kid or something like that. Just amount to anything. I’m like, yeah, they’re all a little too familiar, but

But yeah, I mean, if folks want to stay in touch with me or connect with me, they can do. I have an Instagram account. My, my coaching practice is called Wild Lilac Wellness. Cause you know the wild part is self-explanatory and the wellness part is also the lilac. I grew up with a lilac tree in my yard and I just love the smell and it’s just, it’s very hopeful and healing.

So that’s my business that you can go to. My website, www.wildlyluckwellness.com. You can download, I have a free guide for folks. becoming stress proof, and it’s a toolkit that helps you. Kind of address all of the aspects of stress and how to cope with it and how to reduce it in your life. And I guess I’m gonna be talking about that soon too.

Aurora: Yeah. Next week,

Zarya: Yeah. And I also have a community on Facebook, a women’s small women’s community called Clean Living with Wild Lila Wellness. And we talk. You know, wellness and, and health stuff. A lot of, lot of recipes and cooking. Clean beauty is my other jam, my other side gig, and so we talk a lot about that and parenting survival tips and tricks and just.

Yeah, it’s a nice welcoming place so anyone can join that if they want. And yeah, I guess, yeah, just I’m always responsive to shout outs, emails, dms, feel free to connect. Awesome.

Aurora: Well, thank you so much. Like I said, I, you know, I think for the first time we were on a call together, I kind of knew you were one of us, so, yay, each other.

Zarya: Yeah.  Yeah. Awesome. Thank you so much for having me. This was a real pleasure and yeah, yeah. Thanks for doing what you’re doing.

Aurora: Yeah. Thanks so much.

Looking for ways to embrace your own intensity. Join our embracing Intensity community@embracingintensity.com where you’ll meet a growing group of like-minded people who get what it’s like to be gifted and intense and are committed to creating a supportive community as well as access to our courses and tools to help you use your fire without getting burned.

There’s also a pay what you can option through our Patreon. Where you can increase your pledge to help sustain the podcast or join us at a rate that better fits your needs. You can also sign up for my free, harnessing The Power of Your Intensity, a Self-Regulation workbook for gifted creative, and twice exceptional adults and teens.

All links can be found in the show notes or on embracing intensity.com.


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