We are our very own toughest and harshest critics. We tell ourselves enough lies to forget the value of who we really are. It is time to shut down these self-whispers and step into bigger living. In this episode, Gretchen Hydo, certified mentor coach, mesmerizing keynote speaker, and engaging workshop facilitator, shares her story and teaches how women can break free from their dirty little secrets from all the shame. With her book, Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secrets, she provides tips and insights on overcoming the things we think about others and ourselves. Full of personal realizations, honest confrontations, and self-actualizations, tune in now to this conversation and learn how to break free from everything that’s trapping the real you!
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What Is Your Dirty Little Secret? With Gretchen Hydo
We have one of our authors on who was brave enough to release two books at once. She put together a killer book and a companion journal with it, and you are going to love what she has to say. Before we get started, we go over and grab your free subscription at Breakthrough Author Magazine. You can find that at BreakthroughAuthorMagazine.com.
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Our guest is Gretchen Hydo, and she holds the highest designation of Master Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation. She’s a keynote speaker, a facilitator, and a trainer. Considered by many to be one of Los Angeles’s top coaches, she specializes in guiding individuals and organizations to make high-level transformations by breaking the rules, shedding their secrets, and changing their lives. Her Ten-Stage Secret Breaking System helps people step away from their default legacy and lean into a created future.
As the author of the book, Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secrets: A New You in 10 Secret-Breaking Stages, she is dedicated to helping women break free from lies and their false self-whispers about who they are, what they have done, and step into bigger living. She lives with her family in Los Angeles. You are going to enjoy this.
This is one of the few books that, when she brought it to us, I started reading through it like I always do to see if it met all the criteria to take her on as a client. I have to say that I literally stopped and said, “Can you give me a minute because I want to do these exercises?” It’s amazing. She not only released this book but, at the same time, a companion journal titled Tell Your Secrets. Stay tuned. Here’s Gretchen.
Gretchen, welcome to the show. I am so glad that you said yes because we got a lot to weave through here.
I’m super excited to be here. Thanks for asking.
Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secrets, this sounds like a tease book but also, when you get into it, it is an emotional book. What did you do when you said, “I need to sit down, I need to write this, and I need to help others with this?”
I have helped so many women with their secrets to breaking free from shame. One day, I was walking in the park and I got this download from God, and God said, “You need to write this book.” I was like, “I don’t know.” He was like, “You are doing this.” I was like, “Okay.” Across the street is this little taco stand, and I went, I sat down, and all of the bullet points of what it needed to be came out.
It was interesting because it is a salacious teaser title, but then you get into it and it’s such an emotional journey. I knew that due to some of my own stories, the secrets that I have had, and the shame that I have carried about those things that there were millions of other women who had secrets like that. If we can break free from the weight of those secrets, we can lean into the life that we are meant to lead instead of this adjacent living that most women find themselves in.
I shared with the audience in the intro that I read usually the first two chapters of every book when they come in. I couldn’t read every one of them, but I look for editing. Is this a good book, or does it need to go to a book developer? I said, “Can you give me a few more days because I feel like I want to weave through this and work it?”
I want to share with everybody as I was doing this, I was making a list of what those secrets were because that’s where you start. I love the vulnerability where you share your secret, but you also share some other secrets. I remember hitting the reply button and saying, “This is a thing?” I love the transparency of your own secret because I learned a lot about you but I also learned how incredibly vulnerable you are to tell those things. Do you want to share any of that?
Thanks for saying that about the vulnerability. Here’s what happened on my journey. All of us have something. I found out for myself that one of the ways that I tend to cope is to get bigger than others and bully them back into place. The secret that you are talking about is that I had a broken foot. I was in my very early-twenties. My husband and I are at church. Not just any church, Bellaire church. It’s fancy. My husband leaves to go upstairs, where our friends sit and I feel abandoned. I’m sitting there exposed, not feeling good enough with my broken foot in a fancy dress. I’m trying to get along with “church people,” and I feel less than.
My fight or flight response came in, and all of the stories about who I am, “You are not good enough. You are poor,” because I grew up not very socially and economically abundant, and it’s just there, and I’m standing there in this lobby. By the time he came down, I was furious. I have created stories that he’s abandoned me, he left me, and he doesn’t care about me. He was gone for seven minutes.
This is that thinking that happens, and what do I do? I lunge for him with my crutches and chase him as if I don’t have a broken foot. We get to the car somehow with me, cussing at him in this church. Remember, it’s Bellaire Presbyterian Church. Thousands of people go to each service. People are watching. I take out the key and I put it up to his neck as if I’m going to stab him. It’s crazy, but here’s the thing. I was a well-put-together woman. I had a job. We owned a condo in Los Angeles. I’m married, and yet I couldn’t get ahold of my emotions.
For a long time, I felt shameful about that. That day that God told me in the park that I was going to help other people, I had already done some work. I had already created the Secret Breaking System. I’d already walked some women through it and had seen the shame be lifted when they could go through the process of, “How did you become a secret keeper? What were those coping mechanisms that you learned as a kid? What was the wiring that got wired that was faulty that it’s not the correct messages? What’s the core feeling that you are running towards all of the time?” For me, it was always to be loved and to feel secure.
Stabbing someone at a church does not give you that feeling. It does not. That’s not okay. However, it was the same feeling of like, “Notice me. Do you see me? Am I good enough?” In this system, I walk people through any secret that they have. The truth is, it’s not much of a secret because people saw me. That’s the first thing when it comes to secrets. Half the time, other people know. It was exposed. There were a lot of people there.
The second part of the secret is the story that you tell yourself about who you are because of it, and that’s what we carry with us. That’s the piece. I didn’t want people to know I was violent or that I flew off the handle. The story was that maybe I wasn’t trustworthy with my own emotions. I better be careful. Don’t set her off, and so that keeps us in place.
The third part is, “How did it become that?” The truth is the way it became that is I grew up in a family that had a lot of addiction issues. Police were at our house often. Violence towards others, not ever towards us kids, was the equivalent of love and protection, and so things get jumbled. Through this process, I take people through their own jumble and make it a straight line so that you can see. You did this because of this and then create new ways and new systems in your internal regulating system to cope.
It’s so funny that you said that about not knowing because years ago, I connected with an old childhood friend. She said to me, “I’m going to tell you. I know you don’t know but I came out. I’m gay,” and I laughed. I was like, “We have all known you were gay since you were five.” It was that thing where she thought none of us knew, and she’s like, “You are the fourth person who’s told me that I have shared that with.”
That’s the part. We think it’s a big secret that no one knows but oftentimes, people do know. They do know but we are carrying this narrative. It’s more like your secret narrative about yourself and then because of the narrative, there are different choices that you won’t make because of who you think you are.
Interestingly enough, as I was going through the notebook, I jotted down 3 or 4 secrets right away. I walked away, and this big one that I have started coming up, and I was getting uncomfortable. I finally sat down the next day and I was like, “The other ones are frivolous. This is the one you need to connect with.” It’s interesting too. You have to check your gut and see, “Am I throwing these other ones out because they don’t need work or is it this big one that needs work?”
What I found with that, too, is that sometimes people have to throw out the ones that seem silly or small first as a practice run before they can access that larger one.
I even shared with you that I went to an energy healer that week. I called her and I’m like, “I need some help there.” It’s so very interesting. You are incredibly brave and you are publishing two books at once, which is, I’m sure stressful, but tell us about the companion journal that you put together with this because it’s beautiful.
Through this book, I had a vision of what I wanted everything to look like. We, women, like beautiful things that are elegant but practical. The reason I created the workbook to go with it as a companion is that I wanted people to have a safe place to keep the dissection of their secret altogether. Not on one little piece of paper here and then another scrap paper there so that they could go back with any secret that they have and rinse and repeat.
All of the steps are there and all of the exercises are there. It’s meant to be something you can use again and again with the prompts, but to take that one secret. The one that you were talking about and even the one that I’m talking about, your big one through, and to have it all in one place, it gives you a level of safety. It’s just, “Here it is. It’s all right here,” and I wanted it to be easy to follow, and that’s why I created it side by side to use with the book.
When you get into the vulnerability, this is going back to childhood stuff because you referenced childhood. I had a very similar childhood and I will share mine. I have been divorced. I’m a horrible dater, so I don’t date much anymore. This propelled me to join Mat Boggs’ program. I signed up to get involved with that program and say, “I have been avoiding this for a long time. It’s time to reengage, so thank you for that.”
When you are going through it, it always goes back to your childhood. There was something you shared in the book which I thought was so interesting. I had both parents that were like that. They were messy. There was a lot of addiction. You had a very spiritual mother because we had the whole thing that went back and forth with the tepee. I remember reading it and imagining my family was someone who was spiritual and going, “That must have been like 100 times worse than having two addicted parents.”
It’s interesting when it comes to spirituality. Both of my parents exposed us to different beliefs. My mom would take us to the Indian sweat lodges and we would go. It’s very hot and smelly and whatever else. It’s great for some people and they like it, but when you are nine, you don’t like it. It’s weird. She was very kind in that and for her, she was going through her own spiritual journey at the time and trying to find her own connection. She’d been raised Catholic, and she no longer subscribed to that, so this was the way that she went.
While my dad always has had Christianity, and he gave it to me in a different way. I share in the book that there was a time he had just gotten out of jail, and he said to me, “You should get baptized with your brothers so that you can go to heaven and have a relationship with Jesus.” I was like, “You mean you think you are going to heaven, but I’m not? Me and all of my thirteen-year-old glory.”
He said, “You have to accept Jesus Christ if you are going to heaven, and I want to make sure that you are okay.” I said, “If you are going and I’m not going, God clearly has an organizational problem,” because that’s how it felt. It was such crazy making with what we were seeing in the behavior, but I did go in the bathroom and read the Sinner’s prayer because I am a girl that likes to have all of the options covered just in case.
It’s no mistake that the stabbing happens. That’s a non-stabbing because it didn’t go through, and I didn’t go through with it, nor would my husband let me. It happens at a church at a spiritual center. It’s interesting the way that it’s all there and then what we come to on our own about spirituality and God, and whether it’s religion or not. There is a component there in the healing. Call it whatever you want, but something’s going to need to be connected outside of your own good ideas.
I feel like for those of you out there reading, even if you don’t feel like you have a secret now, this is one of those books that you go by and maybe you put on a shelf. The reason I say that is this. Remember when I got divorced going through horrible problems, somebody gave me this divorce book, and I stuck it on the shelf. I never looked at it, but then there was that one time about a year later when I got triggered and I went and I took it down. It was right there and I started doing the work.
If you don’t think in your immediate world that you have a problem or you have an inkling you do, but you are not willing to deal with it, this is the book you still should buy. If you don’t read it, let it sit there and walk by it every day until you are ready. I was ready but if I hadn’t been, it would have been something that I would have gone looking for at some point.
Here’s what I will say about that. A lot of us don’t think that we are secret keepers, but if you check your private thoughts, do you want people to know everything that you are thinking? Probably not. That alone is a secret.Many of us don't think we're secret keepers, but if you really check your private thoughts, do you really want people to know everything you're thinking? Click To Tweet
Mine is because I’m sarcastic. If you knew what was going on in my head when I’m talking to you, you would never talk to me again. Not you right now but I have been in those conversations where, “I can’t roll my eyes and now I have a headache from trying not to roll my eyes.” Describe secret-keeping as the things that happen in our lives because we are not willing to look at them.
It’s interesting that you asked this question. I was coaching a client around this. Secrets are like splinters that are festering under the skin and poking to get out and they hurt. You touch them and it’s tender. It’s pokey and maybe they are getting a little bit of puss around them. Here’s what our life looks like. We get sick spiritually, emotionally, and physically. Sometimes you have headaches. Maybe you develop colitis. Maybe there’s a stomach issue, stress, anxiety, depression, or any of those things that can show up.
That can be your mental aspect or physical aspect. Our spiritual aspect, when you are walking around feeling like, “This is it. I thought there would be something more,” or you are feeling like, “I would like to try this other thing, but people like me with my past can’t,” that’s how the secret makes you spiritually sick and it keeps us in these boundaries.
Now we have this emotional, mental block. Now we have got a physical ailment. Now we have got a spiritual block and we get smaller and smaller while the secret bubbles up right under the surface. It’s important to do this work to take a look at your own inventory so that you no longer have to walk with the weight of the past on you.
Not only that. You talked about how yours manifested in this triggered anger, but you could almost interpret that, too, as self-sabotage. At that moment, you felt not worthy of your husband’s love or however that manifested, and then you went and did something that potentially, had he not loved you, he would have said, “We are done.”
There’s a lot of that self-sabotage that goes on. What I got from your book, too, is looking into your patterns. I tend to do this a lot with my family and myself because I have childhood pa patterns from my own family or I have seen patterns that I don’t want to repeat. What would you say about that? Do you think that’s the time to start looking, or do you think there’s another area you should look in?
That it’s important to look at our childhood conditioning because any coping mechanism that you use was given to you. It’s what you thought would work best so that you could receive your core feeling of feeling liked, loved, valued, or secure and we pick it up from our parents. If you live in a house growing up that was volatile, maybe you became the peacekeeper or maybe you became visible. Maybe to be seen, you had to get bigger.
However, it’s coping and so that becomes our patterns and we outgrow the patterns. They no longer serve us in our adult selves when we get to sit in the space of, “I no longer have to be in a survival mindset,” and it’s all subconscious. That’s the other piece. No one is consciously walking around thinking, “I’m trying to survive.” Not usually, anyway. We pick it up. It’s that past. It’s the thing, and even for those of us who didn’t grow up traumatically, there wasn’t some deep and dark thing that happened in our family of origin. There were still coping mechanisms that you learned.
I was with someone whose little girl kept saying she was sorry, and she was maybe seven. I said to her, “Why do you need to be sorry?” She said, “Nice girls are sorry.” I thought how interesting. What an interesting thing to pick up. What an interesting message. I can only imagine all of the secrets she’s going to create about being a nice girl and being sorry.
I see the patterns. From an addiction space, patterns are not manifestations of addiction but like addictions, they get worse and worse with every adventure. They keep manifesting themselves bigger and bigger. It’s almost like that alcoholic who has to hit rock bottom. I feel like you have to do that with your patterns as well, and that’s where this digging out that you are doing in these books is so essential.
As you said about getting to rock bottom, that incident with my husband at the church was rock bottom. Before that, I had angry outbursts with my words, cutting remarks, or those sorts of things, but never had it been physical. It does get bigger and bigger with the ways that we cope with our plight to feel a certain feeling, value, and love. It doesn’t make any sense because it’s so counterintuitive to the way that a person is going to get to feel those things, but we have to hit the rock bottom and then be willing to look at it so that we can build again.We have to hit rock bottom and then be willing to look at it so we can build again. Click To Tweet
Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secrets and Tell Your Secrets. It flew right out of my head. I have been working on it.
Tell Your Secrets is going to be in stores on February 1st, 2023 and available to buy. They will be on the online distributors on February 1st of and released on February 28th.
If we want to contact you in between, find you, and work with you because you do a lot of great work, where do we find you at?
You can go to my website, GretchenHydo.com.
Thank you so much for being on now.
Thanks for having me.
- Gretchen Hydo
- Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secrets: A New You in 10 Secret-Breaking Stages
About Gretchen Hydo
Considered by many to be one of Los Angeles’ top coaches, Gretchen Hydo holds the highest designation of Master Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation. She is a certified mentor coach, mesmerizing keynote speaker and engaging workshop facilitator. She specializes in guiding individuals, organizations and entrepreneurs make high-level transformations by breaking the rules, shedding their secrets, and changing their lives.
Her coaching and wisdom help people step away from their default legacy and lean into a created future. With these new lenses, her clients employ their very best version of themselves and achieve life-changing success both personally and professionally.
Gretchen is the author of the book, Break Free From Your Dirty Little Secret: A Ten Stage Secret Breaking System to a New You, and is dedicated to helping women break the rules and break free from their secrets to step into bigger living. She knows that when women’s lives change, everyone’s life changes. Her ten-stage secret breaking system takes people down a practical path towards their own inner truth and wisdom.
Gretchen has spent over 20 years working with individual clients, name brands, and notable companies. Before becoming a Master Certified Coach, Gretchen founded a successful public relations firm, Chatterbox PR Ink. Her entrepreneurial experience, tools, PR acumen, and real-world practical advice have all contributed to the unprecedented results she produces for her coaching clients today. She has an extensive background in PR, marketing, and business strategy.
Gretchen is a frequent speaker, trainer, and executive coach at notable companies throughout the US. As a thought leader in her field, she is regularly featured in A-list publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Fast Company. She is an instructor with the Life Purpose Institute and a mentor coach for the International Coaching Federation where she specializes in training coaches. Gretchen’s coach training program for coaches, Stairway to Six, teaches coaches all they need to know about the business of coaching so that they can launch their practice and develop thriving businesses.
Gretchen lives in Los Angeles with her husband of over 20 years and two children.
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