Today, I interview Erin Bogdan who grew up believing she truly did have the perfect family, with an easy childhood and parents who loved her. Now she says she’s realized it was a dynamic of “emotional codependent dysfunctionality”.
There were issues with addiction on her mother’s side of the family, and there was a lack of emotional connection on her father’s side. Growing up in New Jersey, efforts were made to make their home life appear picture-perfect on the outside. However, Erin learned from a young age that high achievements and good behavior were the way to gain approval and affection, as she tiptoed around her father’s temper and her mother’s tendency toward people-pleasing.
Looking back now, Erin says she didn’t realize she didn’t have a voice back then. She fit the mold and that’s how she functioned. But she was holding herself back and not getting her needs met. Her sister struggled with addiction, and this played into Erin’s development and ability to use her voice. That is, until she discovered meetings for families of Al-Anon. She realized she’d been hiding herself.
She spent several years in Al-Anon rediscovering her wants and needs. Her corporate career development paralleled Al-Anon, and she was slowly pushed more and more into the spotlight and various leadership roles. Erin went on an immersive retreat to Bali where she had a transformative epiphany, realizing that she was merely existing – that she’d never let her true self live freely and boldly. She now uses her voice to speak into the fears of others and help them to find passion and purpose in life.
Erin Bogdan is an authenticity & confidence coach & soul-purpose activator who coaches unfulfilled ambitious high-achievers & people pleasers to ditch their self-doubt & ‘not enough’ mindset and become their most confident, capable, unstoppable, and unapologetic, authentic selves so that they can create an aligned & purpose-driven life. Today, she is free to be herself and her very journey of transformation was the exact training she needed to facilitate the same deep, profound, & tangible shifts in her clients. Erin’s passion & enthusiasm for serving badasses-at-heart to wake up to their infinite potential is her soul’s calling and she is so extremely grateful to be living her purpose daily.
**Download her free 6-step No BS Guide that will have you boldly & confidently Remembering, Reclaiming, & Radiating all of who you were born to be: https://mailchi.mp/2eae852ce24d/0yek7qi87p
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Learn How to Speak Without Fear!
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Transcript of Interview
Transcript of Interview
Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast
Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing
Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com
Episode #68 Erin Bogdan
“Reawakened to Her Purpose”
(00:35) Dr. Doreen Downing
Hi, this is Dr. Doreen Downing. I’m host of the Find Your Voice, Change Your Life podcast. And I get to interview people who have stories, life stories about what it was like not having a voice and realizing that there’s something about not having a voice. Hopefully at some point, they get to wake up and say I want more. I want more out of life. And it’s going to take me having a voice. So how do I get it? And we get to hear their journey about how they found their voice. And I’m going to be introducing you today to Erin Bogdan. Is that how you say your name, Bogdan? Hi, Erin.
(01:15) Erin Bogdan
Hi, thank you so much for having me, Dr. Doreen. I’m so excited to be here.
(01:21) Dr. Doreen Downing
Well, I’m excited because what happened here is that you’re brand new to me. And we’ve just met on the playground. And here we are going to have a conversation and get to know each other at the same time. Our listeners get to hear you unfold your story. But before we dive in, can I read a bio you sent me which I think really frames you nicely.
(01:28) Erin Bogdan
(01:50) Dr. Doreen Downing
Erin Bogdan is an authenticity and competence coach, and soul purpose activator who coaches unfulfilled, ambitious, high achievers, and people pleasers to ditch their self-doubt and “not enough” mindset and become their most competent, capable, unstoppable, and unapologetic, authentic self so that they can create an aligned and purpose-driven life. That already gets me saying, “yes, yes, yes” to you. There’s a little bit more though. Today, she is free to be herself. And her very journey of transformation was the exact training she needed to facilitate the same deep, profound, and tangible shifts in her clients. Erin’s passion and enthusiasm for serving bad asses at heart to waking up to their infinite potential, is her soul’s calling. And she is extremely grateful to be living her purpose daily. And here we are, living your purpose daily, right here, right now, in this moment. Again, that was a wonderful bio you sent me because I think it really captures your spirit.
(03:09) Erin Bogdan
Thank you. Thank you so much. Yes, I can’t wait to dive in.
(03:14) Dr. Doreen Downing
Well, you told me earlier you’re from New Jersey. So I guess that’s where you were born. But I always like to dive a little deeper back into life. I’m a psychologist. And a lot of times people say that was the past and now is now and let’s move forward. Which is a good motto. But just because I’m so curious, where were you born? And what was your family like? And how some of those early experiences gave you a sense that you had or didn’t have a voice?
(03:48) Erin Bogdan
Yes. And I love that you started the introduction saying that about how although our past is our past, it definitely shaped the person that we have become. And I would say that I was a little bit of sleepwalking. I didn’t realize. I guess the journey I’ll talk through a little bit that happened about five years ago, more profoundly for me. But up until that point, I was kind of asleep, meaning I had really no awareness to the fact that what was being presented to me in my life was just a mirror of my subconscious beliefs. And those subconscious beliefs were formed at a very early age.
(04:31) Erin Bogdan
So before I get into that, I’ll share a little bit about my family upbringing. From the honest hand over, I don’t know, I’m not a very religious person, my hand over Bible maybe, I thought that I had the perfect childhood, truthfully. I really thought that I had two parents that loved me and they do love me, but I wasn’t aware of the emotional codependent dysfunctionality that I was raised in. And yes, I’m born and raised in New Jersey. My mom is half-Italian. So we had that culture within us, everything’s got to be perfect on the outside, and look neat and tidy and nice, and we need to care about what people are going to think about us. On my mom’s side, there was addiction present.
On my dad’s side, my grandfather that I never met, really wasn’t emotionally available and wasn’t really a good father to him. So they’re doing the best that they can do, give him what they have. And I slowly started to come to terms with that. On many levels, my emotional needs were not met. And just a little bit more around that. My dad was very angry. I remember him being like the disciplinary, authoritative figure. Very explosive and angry. And my mom was just kind of that people-pleaser, passive-aggressive, do what you’re told, shut up, just fit in, be good, and that’s it. And I was the oldest child of me and my sister. And I just learned to play the role of being the good girl, the way that I got attention, love, validation, approval was through playing that role of being the perfectionist, the good girl, the high achiever, and that’s kind of the baseline of where we can begin.
(06:31) Dr. Doreen Downing
Oh, wonderful. I mean, well, I like the story that you’re telling the picture that you’re painting. And one of the things already I’m getting, that I think listeners will say is that you could look back and say, I came from a pretty intact family. They stayed together. And I felt loved. But when you actually start exploring, and what you said about the beliefs, the beliefs that perhaps were instilled early on. And also I get the modeling of an angry father and a passive mother, that’s who am I really. You had two choices there to model yourself after. And imagine, we all become somewhat of an integration, perhaps. But thank you. Again, the message I got so far is, there’s probably more to our early life story than we first thought.
(07:35) Erin Bogdan
Yes, absolutely. And there’s something present I can share a little bit more around the voice piece, if that’s something you want me to talk about now?
(07:44) Dr. Doreen Downing
(07:45) Erin Bogdan
Okay, perfect. Yes. So I really didn’t have the awareness, honestly, that I didn’t have a voice. But I didn’t have a voice. And what I mean by that is that I have learned that in order to receive love, validation, and approval, is to just do what I’m told. Do what you’re told, fit into the box, shrink yourself, do X, Y, Z, and get this result. And what I felt like I was never really seen for the true essence of who I really was. And I felt like the best way for me to kind of fit in and fit that mold was to people please. And fast forward in my life. Out of many dysfunctional codependent families is born addiction. And so it’s no surprise that my sister struggled with addiction for probably 10 years of her life.
And that was very chaotic, because that even suppressed my voice even more, because I was like, well, there’s so much chaos going on with her, I really need to be good. I really need to just do what I’m told, only be seen, don’t be heard. And so I just kind of fit into that little box pretty nicely. And then when it came to the first awakening for me was actually in 2012 when I found the rooms of Al-Anon, which is for family members of alcoholics. And I realized that oh my god, I have been disconnected from my own needs.
And I’ve been so worried about taking care of everyone else. I’ve been so worried about who do I need to be? How do I need to show up? Be the chameleon to flex and adapt to just fit in. And I had shut off from who is Erin? What does Erin really want? What does Erin really like? And a part of that shutting off was also losing my voice in the process because anytime there was an inner desire that would bubble up and then stop at the throat and then be shoved back down. And so that’s a little bit more into the dynamic of my family and how that impacted also the suppression of my true, authentic voice.
(10:07) Dr. Doreen Downing
I heard what you said, and this stood out to me, shrink. We shrink ourselves in order to fit into a box in order to get approval.
(10:19) Erin Bogdan
Yes, and I guess fast forward on that path. So I was in Al-Anon for a good, probably five, seven years. And it was really this journey of coming home to Erin. What does Erin want? What does Erin need? What are my boundaries? All the while actually, I also slowly reintegrating my voice, because, ironically enough, my corporate background was in human resources. And a majority of my experience was in recruiting where I had to be out on campus, speaking. I was doing trainings. I then moved into a corporate training role. So I started off kind of being pushed into reintegrating my voice and using my voice.
And when I was doing this personal journey with Al-Anon, I actually, also, through traveling to Maryland from New Jersey, while recruiting, was listening, oddly enough to a podcast. And that podcast episode I listened to, the person being interviewed was the individual that ended up hosting a 12-day retreat in Bali. And that’s when I basically did this immersive experience in Bali. And that’s when I really was like, holy shit. The version of me that I’ve been living as at that time I was 28, Erin until this point was the mirage of what everyone wanted Erin to be. Erin didn’t really know who she was. And that’s when I really found my voice.
You cannot put baby in the corner anymore. I am here. I’m speaking. I am loud. And since then, it’s been a snowball of that is now my purpose of sharing my voice, getting on camera, which is highly uncomfortable in the beginning for me, even though I was a trainer, when it comes to talking about you, it’s uncomfortable. So I’m on YouTube, all these different platforms of using my voice, and I feel in my heart, my mission is to be a speaker. So that journey of not having a voice, now owning my voice is also a part of my journey to inspire others like me, that need to really own their authentic truth.
(12:38) Dr. Doreen Downing
Owning your authentic truth. We’ll go into that a little bit more. But I just also want to get back to this whole idea of this Al-Anon experience that was such a transformational journey for you. It’s not something you just go to one meeting and say, wake up, but it does feel like there was a lot of learning. And I used to do retreats in Hawaii. It was called SpeakingQuest: Journey to Your Authentic Self. And it sounds similar. And what happens for people in transformational retreats like that is that they grow. And then going back to a pot or the box, as you described, it’s too small for who they’ve become. And so what was that like going back to life initially after you had done that retreat?
(13:28) Erin Bogdan
I love that you asked that question because that’s so spot on. Yes, you’re like stretching so big, you’re stretching beyond what you thought in your mind was possible of the person that you are. I had many moments of really fully standing in my power. Understanding I’m not this version of me that I’ve been playing is small. And to put it best, it’s uncomfortable. It’s a little uncomfortable, because you’re like, oh it’s a reality check. So that time it was 2017, I actually stayed in my corporate job for another year and a half. I did have a five or six-month maternity leave. So that helped a little bit. But what it was like you’re kind of coming…The key with transformation is it’s all about your awareness.
So it’s like now I’m just aware. Now that I’m not asleep, I’m aware that I was asleep. And now I’m looking around at the life that I created for myself, based on the version of me that I thought that I needed to be. That was really eye-opening and you’re like, what am I doing? But there was a really big balance between not…I knew in that moment that I was meant for more. I remember saying this to my coworker, actually because she was like, what’s next? And I was like, for once in my life, I felt like I’m being guided. I don’t need to force anything. Whatever is coming next is going to come next and whatever order it needs to come next and I really felt that my heart didn’t feel like I needed to go out and apply for jobs and search and seek and figure it all out.
I just was comfortable knowing that I’m not the same person. And as a result, things are going to start to shift. And ironically enough, how I ended up leaving my corporate job was they, very corporate-like, we’re rolling four jobs into one, and wanted to give it to the new mom, me. I was fresh back from maternity leave. And I said to my manager, I don’t want to, again, good thing I wasn’t the people pleaser, to just suck it up, and be in my anxiety and my overwhelm, and the self-doubt and the not confident. I had the power at that point to say, I don’t want to be doing this. What are my options? And she gave me three options. Two of them weren’t really options. And last option, it was like, well, if you’re open to it, we’ll give you a severance package.
And for the first time I was like, wow. And that took a lot of courage to then say, well, I have this safety net of this secure job, and I was the primary provider in our household, to be like, I’m just going to take the leap of faith and go out on my own. But it was like, everything was saying yes, to what was unfolding in my life, and taking that leap, believing in myself, and now the rest has been history, because that was 2019. So three years ago, four years ago.
(16:33) Dr. Doreen Downing
Wonderful. I liked what I heard about trust, when you said you knew that you were different. And there was a breakthrough that you had at the retreat, you had expanded and you had, I guess, it’s a wake-up call. But you didn’t have to go do anything except for trust that the change was in process for you. And I think that that word is really important for people. That by living in the life that you imagine or that you want, or who you are, it feels like then life opens up and you have to trust. You have to really trust that what you found is true. So that makes me want to go back to what you said earlier about truths inside. Say more about what you’ve come to realize about the truth inside.
(17:27) Erin Bogdan
To caveat that a little bit is I didn’t realize before that retreat, I realized that afterwards that I had this voice inside my head that was very prominent, that just told me all the ways that I wasn’t enough, all the ways that I’m going to be a failure, I’m not capable, you can’t be a good mom. All these stories that what was the inner critic that my parents were supportive, but I realized that now even in our interactions is they’re very critical. They’ll never affirm or acknowledge something first. They always give the criticism first. And so I just inherited it. I took their voice and inherited it as my own and made it even stronger with the desire to beat the whip, to then do more or be bad or be successful.
I think it was like a motivational thing that literally was just harmful. That the end, it’s like, that was what I had subscribed to be true before. And what I realized is the voice inside my head isn’t true. That’s one possibility. But the other possibility is what is the authentic truth. And that’s the journey of getting in touch of what’s your authentic truth. But for most people and me, myself included, our authentic truth is we are already whole, perfect, and complete. We are already enough. We are strong. We are capable. We are powerful. We are one with whoever, for me, it’s God but could be whoever you choose to call your higher power.
But that sense of oneness is what is the truth of I am already worthy exactly as I am. There’s nothing that I have to do to make myself worthy of anything. My birthright is that I’m deserving. And the other big integration piece for me was needing to give myself permission to have fun, to experience life, to have joy and pleasure and play, because that was also something that wasn’t a truth. Like you have to always be busy. You have to be responsible. You have to get things done. You have to go out and do. So there was a lot of unraveling of my what I thought was true to get in touch with what was really true and is really true.
(19:51) Dr. Doreen Downing
Well that’s very profound. But it takes awareness as you said before to examine what you are saying to yourself. What are those voices and all the ones you listed seem to be pretty negative. But to realize that there’s another voice inside, which is truth, and I loved hearing the difference. Learning to know the difference, to feel the difference, to experience it, and what comes from, I think some of what you’ve just said, is the joy. I can just see you as you’re smiling here and talking, it just feels like, you light up when you talk about, oh, everything is inside of us. We’re whole. It just feels like you want to get out with a big banner and tell the world.
(20:42) Erin Bogdan
Yes, and that’s honestly, that’s it. When I did my very first podcast, I was like, I got to do more of these. I love talking about this. And that’s where it was also the realization that we can get really caught up, and myself had done this in the past, it’s easy to get caught up in like being the victim and being like, why me? Why did this happen to me? Why was this my life? Why was this my childhood? But it was the exact preparation that I needed of not having a voice and now be able to go through the process of owning my voice.
And I thought that I was alone on that journey, meaning it really does surprise me when I meet people that were just like me, and I’m like, wow, I get to help you. Now I get to serve you now. I get to guide you now to have the same transformation. And that’s where my joy comes from. Every client’s transformation that I’ve worked through, I get filled with so much joy, and so much gratitude, and so many tears at the end, because to see where they were, to see when they came in to where they’re at. At the end, it’s life-changing, even for me, that changed my life. And so how can you not be excited about that? How can you not be joyful about that?
(22:01) Dr. Doreen Downing
Yes, what I find in my coaching is that a lot of times, people, they’re drawn to us, because we hold that vision and that possibility plus we’ve also been down the path of transformation. But a lot of them go, I just can’t see it for myself. I can’t. I don’t believe it. I wish it could be true. But a lot of them start right there, don’t they?
(22:25) Erin Bogdan
(22:29) Dr. Doreen Downing
And in terms of that first belief system, I guess it would be like a voice inside of their head that they’re listening to how hard it’s going to be. I don’t really deserve to spend that much time looking at myself where I don’t have enough money to pay a coach or I don’t want to invest. All those kinds of ways that people don’t step into the transformational journey to find their voice.
(22:59) Erin Bogdan
Yes, I want to actually speak to that, because that’s really powerful is that when you start to realize that your mind is there to protect you. That’s it. When you can come from a place of noticing these thoughts that I’m thinking aren’t me. Like the voice inside my head is just a thought. It’s not me. When you can start to observe it, you start to realize that its purpose is to keep you safe, to keep you in what’s comfortable. And while I was very comfortable, that wasn’t truly serving my purpose, my mission to what I’m here for. If I had not had the courage to say yes in so many different ways in my life, I wouldn’t be here talking to you. Maybe I would years from now because I feel we’re destined for something, but I had to say yes, and yes, and yes, and yes. I’m saying like, I don’t even know I lost count now at least 10 plus times, of me having the courage to say, I feel in my heart that I need to do this for me.
A long time ago in corporate, someone said to me, you have to be the CEO of you. No one is going to look out for you but you. No one has your highest best priority in mind other than you. And if you can’t put yourself first, who the hell’s going to put you first? No one. And the only way for you to serve other people fully, you don’t need to be a speaker or a leader, I’m just talking in your daily life is to put the oxygen mask on you first, so when you value you, you’re showing to people around you that you have self-worth, you value you, you love you and then you can let in the love and the value from other people and so you have to transcend your fear. The fear is normal. The fear is natural.
Of course it’s scary to do something scary. For me of course it’s scary in the beginning to get on camera and talk into like no man’s land. That’s not comfortable. But when you transcend the fear and you do it, the feeling that you have on the other side is like, I feel so alive, I feel so excited. So there’s always a process of transcending your fear in order to say, I’m worth it. I’m worth saying yes to me. And of course, there’s an investment because it’s just an energetic exchange of the transformation that’s waiting for you on the other side. If I hadn’t said yes to me, I’m so grateful for all the people on my journey and path that have gotten me into this place. And it all involved an investment, it all involved saying yes to me, and every time it was scary as fuck, and I still did it.
(25:41) Dr. Doreen Downing
Yes. Well, what I hear also is that the journey and the saying yes, was not only to something inside, but it was yes to the fear as opposed to no to the fear. Because people say, I don’t want to go there. I want to avoid it. I don’t want to be afraid. So this is the comfort. You’re talking about what the voices are saying about, stay safe, stay safe. But you have to say yes to fear, hello, fear. Let me look you in the face, fear. And you don’t scare me anymore, fear.
(26:13) Erin Bogdan
And to go back to trust. You have to trust that if it’s aligned, if the decisions align, like every decision I’ve made, I felt in my heart and inner knowing this is what’s right for me, you have to trust that the universe God is always supporting you. Always giving you the next thing that you’re ready for. And saying yes, if it’s aligned, that investment comes back to you tenfold. There is no investment that I made, that I’ve regretted, that’s been aligned, because it’s come back in 10 times the amount of value than what I invested. And so if it’s aligned, you will be supported. And that I think was also what was the encouragement for me to trust to know I need to leave this job. And I need to say yes, and I need to do this. And that was the energy that of leaning into that saying yes, to the alignment piece, too.
(27:12) Dr. Doreen Downing
I like that leaning in analogy. Just the image of leaning into yes. Which also means in order to take the yes, you go towards fear. And being a psychologist over the years, having people come in with so many fears, and helping them not run away from fear. And that was one of the things I want to mention here to people that you have alluded to. In that stage, we aren’t talking about necessarily being a public speaker and helping people, get up and talk to hundreds of people, or even talking to a small group. A stage is every day, every moment of your life, and you’re using your voice. And calling the repair person and are you really going for what you need. And I know that that doesn’t sound like it’s toward purpose, but it’s about being clear about what you want, no matter what the situation is, I would say.
(28:21) Erin Bogdan
Yes, it’s having the courage to speak up for yourself in every circumstance, every situation, and setting those boundaries of what’s acceptable for you. And even something as small as a huge win for me, was just even getting something that I didn’t order at a restaurant and having the courage to say this isn’t what I ordered, or this isn’t good or I don’t like this or I actually asked for a salad, not fries, whatever. In that embodiment of your true essence, there’s the fear of people won’t like me anymore. I won’t be loved. I’ll be rejected. But actually, the other truth is that in you owning your truth, you’re radiating that out and inspiring others to stand in theirs. And so one of my mentors from Bali always said, the truth always serves everyone. It’s coming around a place that whatever needs to be spoken, it’s spoken, and inspires the other person to rise up and meet you.
(29:28) Dr. Doreen Downing
It reminds me of a quote by Marianne Williamson about when you break through your fear, you’re no longer afraid of other people. It sounds exactly the same thing. They are inspired by you being who you are and fearless.
(29:47) Erin Bogdan
(29:49) Dr. Doreen Downing
I’m sure people have been inspired by you today. How do they find you? And give us some sense of how you work, and where you are, and how you do what you do.
(30:02) Erin Bogdan
Yes. So where you can find me, I’ll start there. My last name, the spelling is B-O-G-D-A-N. All my social handles are just my name. My Instagram. It’s Erin Bogdan. Facebook, LinkedIn, Erin Bogdan. My website is ErinBogdan.com. How I work with people, I work with them in a six-month container, and I awaken them into their badass self. And more information on that can also be found on my website. If any part of this conversation inspired you, I’d absolutely love to hear from you. I’d love to know. If you’re like I’m ready for more, I’m ready to say yes or to tap, step into your power, own your voice claim your worth, all of that good stuff, you can also book a free chat with me that’s also linked on all my social pages in my platform. I have a free guide. I’m doing free content all the time on YouTube and my social channels, as well. I’m everywhere, basically. I think where I’m working also for myself is to like really get clear on where is my voice, the most powerful and most potent, and starting to dial it back a bit. But right now I’m everywhere. That may not be the truth forever.
(31:27) Dr. Doreen Downing
Well, I think that you’re like a jewel, and you radiate out of many facets is what I’m getting today. Thank you so much for sharing your voice, and your journey, and the breakthroughs. Everything you’ve said today I think is full of light and those who don’t see you only can hear you and I have to say you are full of light. Look at those eyes. They’re just bright. You’re spirited, and you’re inspiring. Thank you so much.
(31:58) Erin Bogdan
Thank you so much, Dr. Doreen for having me. It was such a pleasure. I really appreciate you.
Also listen on…
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.
Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speaking: doreen7steps.com.