Voices of Athena

Sit down with the highly accomplished members of Athena Alliance, an executive learning community for women leaders, to hear the personal tales behind their professional success. We learn the real story behind their inspiring executive careers — their fears, their failures, and what song they’re singing at karaoke. You don’t get to the top without creating some memorable stories along the way.

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Finding Your North Star with Britt Ide


Britt Ide 00:00
I think it’s back to know yourself and then have the courage if you’re not happy, have the courage to fix it and it doesn’t have to quit your job. It could be work within your job, it could be find another job. There’s lots of options. It was very scary, but it was so, so good.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 00:53
Welcome to Voices of Athena, a podcast highlighting the personal stories of some of the most successful women in business. I’m your host, Priscilla Brenestuhl. Today, we’re getting personal with board director and ESG and tech expert, Britt Ide. thank you so much for doing this. And I love that we have the opportunity just to like, hang out for an hour.

Britt Ide 01:18
Like I’m glad it’s Priscilla doing this. I don’t think I’d be willing to do that support, Priscilla. Oh,

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 01:24
thank you. Thanks for saying that Britt that we thought we’d gotten

Britt Ide 01:28
to know each other over the years of you with your babies. And I mean, it’s just

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 01:32
yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Okay. Wonderful.

Britt Ide 01:36
Building that comfort level. Oh, yeah.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 01:39
And thank you for sharing that you feel that way. And it’s something that’s super I’m super passionate about. I’ve always said like, let me just be the weirdest one in the room and the most vulnerable and open so that we can all get to know each other better. And honestly, it’s because I’m awful at small talk. I’m not good at small talk. I’m super awkward, like but if we like go deep into taboo subjects, I like a lot.

Britt Ide 02:03
Oh, that’s fascinating. Okay, that’s good. Well, I’m good at small talk. So it’s good for me. It’s all about balance. I did his Air Force. So I moved all the time. So I had to get really good at like, Hi, I’m My name is Britt. You know, and like, people.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 02:19
I am good at getting to know people and talking to everyone because same thing. I moved a lot and also my dad’s very like outgoing. Go for it. Yes. Okay. Um, yeah,

Britt Ide 02:29
it’s Murphy’s Law. Just when we’re about to start the dogs are like, Oh, let me come bother you. I will

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 02:34
digress one last time, so you can dive in. But my son always comes comes into my office and he has like a space that he can sit it and you know, but he can’t talk. And so it was probably like three months ago, maybe not even but he was in his orange snug and he does maybe he starts like tight and I’m like, because he can’t help himself. And then this time it was different and I noticed like a flame behind us I’m in a meeting and there’s and I turn around his he leaned over the candle in the back and caught his hair on fire he has a big afro he caught it on his hair with inflamed spread I am so I’m actually wish it was on video. Like or I mean, it wasn’t video everyone saw his hair went everywhere. I like dragged him to the bathroom, put his hair out. It smelled terrible for weeks. But I wish it was recording because I was like you would never believe like, and you know what’s so weird? He was the solar eclipse and his name is Sol Ray. Oh, and he caught his hair on fire. So it was like the super like, Oh, man. Oh my gosh, anyway, it’s grown back nicely. Everything’s fine. But yeah, I feel like there should be like, I don’t know, maybe an entire show. Related to just like keep things that are happening when people are trying to be professional. I totally agree. I

Britt Ide 03:54
think it’s helped our whole world because we realize like, we are real people with family and pets. And

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 04:02
absolutely, and I think that’s really made a you’re seeing a lot more personal of the personal come into the professional in all platforms. I you know, LinkedIn is even becoming a little bit more like Instagram, and there’s just this. Yeah, and it’s like people are just more relatable in the professional sphere. And this is that’s kind of my aim with this podcast. So in the vein of that I want I would love for you to start by telling me how you would describe yourself.

Britt Ide 04:31
Tough question first. I am an extrovert. And I enjoy I really love my work. Let’s start there. I really love my, my two passions are working towards using clean energy to help deal with the climate problem. And my other passion is to develop women leaders, especially on corporate boards. So I get to do both of those and I have so much fun so I work I serve on corporate boards in the energy and clean tech space where, you know, we’re really making a difference around climate. And then I, you know, Coach for thena, where I get to help women build their confidence, most importantly, understand their value proposition, and then help them you know, on boards, and all different kinds of boards, because it doesn’t just have to be the public board. You know, there’s so much you can offer to start up boards and early stage boards and private boards and family boards, there’s so many ways, and each person has a different fit, and also what they love, my enjoy my big public board. But I also have so much fun on my, you know, earlier stage boards, so they’re just, they’re just different. And then I also I’m in the, called the C three E, it’s called clean energy, education and empowerment. I was appointed by the US Secretary of Energy, there’s about 40 ambassadors. And we oversee this group and we pick winners, we get all these nominees is for most fun things I do, we get to review all the finalists for women in clean energy and mid career. And we give awards in eight categories like law and finance, and business and entrepreneurship and international about women who are doing great things in clean energy and, and helping other women. And it’s so fun and so inspiring, and to see what the women are doing and what’s coming up. And I mean, it just whenever you have a bad day, like look at that stuff. And it’s so, so incredible. So that is awesome, because I get to do my two favorite things together clean energy, and women leaders. So I am very, very thankful that I get to do what I love. And I love the flexibility of having the word portfolio, my kids, my daughter’s in college, and my son is 16. And so gives me flexibility to be with them when they’re available, or when they want to hang out with mom, which is rare. And I know that it goes so fast enjoy them. Little ones that my son is driving now my daughter’s in college. But yeah, it’s just been such a good, I’m just so grateful I get to do what I love. And and in a way that feels balanced. And I have the flexibility, you know, to do things I love and also take a break when you need it, you know, we’re just talking about COVID and just everything and there’s some days that are hard. And so you know, you just need to like give yourself space and time and having balance that lets me do that. And then I come back stronger and get three times as much done the next day. So, you know, I think it’s, it’s really smart that companies are coming around to that model. image. So a lot of opportunity move. But I think it’s really realizing, you know, people we don’t tend to we don’t run in straight lines. And just being aware of that. So you don’t burn yourself out. And, and also just to find what gives you joy and do more of that. So yes, yeah, it’s it’s good. So I don’t have any like good short adjectives to describe myself but that’s my so I love my work. I love my family and I love to be outside. I’m an outdoor girl, a Montana mountain girl, I it’s snowing right now. And I love to cross country ski, downhill ski and snowshoe and hike and bike in the winter or the summer. I love that I live here. And then I get to travel all these wonderful places for cities and you know, all these great companies and boards. So it’s a, it’s a great balance for me that I get to fly home and be really happy to be in Montana, and then I recharge and then I go fly somewhere else. So it’s a really fun.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 08:26
It’s like the modern Captain Planet or something where you’re, you’re out in the elements, enjoying it, and then, you know, then going off to defend it to defend elements and keep all of that and all that exists.

Britt Ide 08:40
I like that it’s so true. Because we you know, we had so many wildfires and you were just smoking the whole summer and you couldn’t hike because it was just it would kill your lungs. And, and that’s one of those were I think it helped a lot of people understand that the climate issues are growing, and helping people think about it

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 08:58
more. I am excited to announce that since this conversation took place. It was appointed to the board of techno Silva, a science and tech company with advanced wildfire prediction and risk analysis software AI to help utilities and fire management agencies reduce wildfire risk and impact.

Britt Ide 09:22
So no, I’m an optimist. I heard a great quote it said I’m not. It’s said I’m not an optimist. I’m a realist with a vision. I love that because I’m not Pollyanna. Like I know there’s a lot of challenges. So I’m a realist, but I have a vision of where we can go and how we can get there.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 09:40
Yeah, I’m focused on going towards the improvements. I’m not focused on what’s wrong. Right. I love that and

Britt Ide 09:48
write complaints. complainers frustrated me like let’s just, you know, either fix it or

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 09:56
Yeah, once we’ve identified the problem, like let’s move on from there. Yeah. I get so emotionally exhausting, if you just I mean, that’s where I find energy again, because otherwise it’s overwhelming. And I think what you said is super important because, you know, how do I put this, the more the more modern we get, the more technology technologically advanced we get. A lot of times it means the further we get from nature. We talk about climate control, I even think about, we literally control our climate, all the time in our own personal spaces, right, so you have my fan going, you got a heater going are you are, you know, we’ve created like these spaces where we just have so much control over the elements. And so a lot of times, when we’ve removed our set ourselves from, from sort of the big picture and from nature, and from what’s happening there, and it’s, in order to make a change, I think one of the most important things is you have to personalize the message. And so yeah, it’s the wildfires and all of that, it’s, it’s emotionally taxing. But it’s just as you said, like, okay, but this is what we need, sometimes, you know, we need it to affect people in their lives. And, and this is how we kind of wake them up to the issues and maybe get them involved and see how its see ways in which they can make a difference and why it matters, which you think for a lot of us, it’s like done matters

Britt Ide 11:32
to people struggling and just to, you know, just to pay their bills, pay their energy bills, so they can control their environment and their, you know, to work for their kids. And, and when you’re struggling that much, you’re just trying to make it through the day. And so it’s hard to think, way ahead for the climate or whatever. And so, you know, I think, and then there’s just people who are so busy, you know, they have the money to do stuff, but they’re just they get on this rat race. And they’re so busy, they don’t think about anything else. So I’m like, do you I think that like just checking in with nature. And it doesn’t have to be go for a mountain hike, it can be go in your local park, and just watch, watch your squirrel, you know, before we started talking to deer, we’re crossing over I live on a golf course. So a groom, it is cross country skiers ski by while I’m looking out the window, and then the deer will walk by and take a moment to like, observe that is really healthy.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 12:22
Yeah, I agree. Speaking of healthy, so there’s something that you said before about, I love my work. And it’s that I have that the balance and the flexibility. And there is a part where you offer that, you know, I love that companies are going in that way of recognizing that we don’t go in straight lines, I would also probably bet that over time, you also have learned how to create more of a balance with boundaries and say no, or knowing what to lean into. And I wonder if you would speak to us a little bit and the part that you have played in creating that balance.

Britt Ide 12:59
That’s a really good point. So when I think about my earlier career, you know, I was, I’m an engineer, so I have an undergraduate in mechanical engineering, and I have a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering, and then I went to law school. So my joke is no more school. So but that was that was all very, you know, achievement driven. And, you know, it’s the next class in the next semester. And, and, you know, you’re applying to get into the next program. And so I look back at that, and then even my first jobs, it was just very work, work, work. You know, go go go. And it probably chill. parenthood is probably when you realize, like, that model doesn’t work, because it just goes crazy. And you know, it just is my husband, I stayed home for three months when my, my daughter, my first was born. And then my husband stayed home for three months. And I thought he phrased it so well. He said, parenthood is a lot more work than I expected. But it’s a lot more fun than I expected. And I think that totally captures it. Like you just can’t explain how exhausted you’ll be and how you’re totally pulled in a million directions. And I felt like for 10 years, you come out of that decade of with a little and you just go, wow, where was the world what happened? I kind of stuck. So I think that was you get especially if you’re working full time, especially if you’re working full time and a more traditional, you know, eight to six kind of job and you’re trying to balance everything, you can definitely feel like you’re going off the rails. And that’s where you have to find a way to find your balance. And so I think over time that forced me so you answer your question, How did I do that? I think yoga is a big tool. Meditation. I love the Insight Timer app, because it got meditations that are like two minutes long. Sometimes it’s only like four but five deep breaths can make such a difference. It really can. Yeah, so just just once you get to that calmer place than you realize you can get to that calmer place and then you realize you actually want to get back there. So I think that’s part of it. You know when you get off track You’re going a million miles an hour, you know, you’re like, oh, okay, I can’t do this. And so then it’s like you said, creating boundaries, finding ways to do it, appreciating it, even if it’s five minutes a day, or five minutes a week, when the kids are little,

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 15:14
because that makes it much more approachable to because it’s like, it feels so far away. You’re like, Wait, work life balance, like, treading water, like I’m

Britt Ide 15:25
say, like, they don’t like that term balance. Because you’ve met with little kids, you’re never imbalanced. It’s just which way you’re leaning. And so like to help, you know, lean into what you want to do, which I think is a good way to think about it.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 15:37
But yeah, yeah. So

Britt Ide 15:40
I think my kids now you know, that’s so true that the days are long, and the years are short. And poof, now my son’s driving my daughter’s in college, and it feels freeing in so many ways, but also sad, you know, I missed that. I miss what they’re doing, but I’m excited for where they’re headed. And, and I’m also excited about well, what does that mean, for me and my career, does that allow me to do a little bit more or, and or travel bar or, you know, fun stuff. So it’s, it’s a definitely a life, you know, to change. It’s a transition, and I still have a couple sons a sophomore in high school, so I have a couple more years before he’s fully left the nest.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 16:17
Yeah, it’s wonderful. It’s you, you transition into it, then you transition kind of out of it, and definitely don’t come out the same kind of person. And I think, maybe the balance is, is it’s more like a yo, yo, it’s like swinging kind of, you know, might give you whiplash, trying to figure out how to hold on and breathe through it and just trust the process. That’s something I’m leaning into, you know, this won’t, this won’t last forever. Because that’s always kind of what I tend, I don’t know, when I when I’m not in my best headspace. I’m, like, you know, feeling like it’s never going to change. And the truth is, is that so many of our things in life are just momentary. And even in the worst times of my life, I’ve looked back, and there’s things that I’ve been fond of, or that people that I’ve missed. Yeah, and so just trying to kind of hold on to that. And you all inspire me, you know, seeing your enthusiasm and and what Liz Tinkham refers to as the third act coming back, like, stronger and excited and ready to kind of take on the world with a new perspective and zest for life that the kids can really give you. I think kids can really help you find purpose and creativity. So thank you for sharing that.

Britt Ide 17:40
My husband and I motto when the kids were little was go with the flow. And as a planner, it’s hard to me, but it was when with kids, you just kind of have to go with the flow. And like you said, just adjust and adapt, and it’s no matter what’s going on, it’s going to change. I had a friend that said don’t worry about when they’re little they have all those parenting books, you know, and you can follow the stages. And then after that, she said forget the parenting books, no matter what’s going on. It’s just gonna change anyway. So

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 18:08
yeah, and especially if you’re so busy trying to model your your life, someone else’s it’s always gonna be disappointing because you know, someone else’s kids or their kids. Yeah. It’s, it’s,

Britt Ide 18:20
it’s that’s number one advice to parents with young children. Don’t judge by other people. Don’t try it, you know, know, you know, your kid the best, you know yourself best. Yeah, follow what’s right for you. And don’t, don’t get hung up by what’s going on for other people, which is a good good motto for the rest of our lives to whether it’s money or fashion or where you live or what your job is, you know, follow? Yeah. And, and not what others, you know, don’t try to keep up with the Joneses.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 18:47
Yeah, I mean, it’s really quite, that’s what I love about the coaching aspect is, so often, so much of our life is spent figuring out how we fit in. And coaching says, we, let’s like, put away what pleased your parents or you know, what the ideal mates come for. Let’s put all that away. And let’s like, do some self exploring. Who are you and what excites you and what makes you feel safe. And all of those

Britt Ide 19:21
favorite books, and I recommended often to my coaching clients and friends is Martha Beck. It’s called Finding your North Star. It’s all about that. And it’s learning to find quiet, it’s learning to listen to yourself. It’s what do you really love? It’s a great, great book, and especially when people are transitioning, they’re not sure what they want to do next, but it’s good in your life.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 19:43
Yeah, because a lot of times we you know, we change and but we’re still operating. Like today I was in the swimming pool and there’s always been a muscle they have a swimming pool today. I thought what if it wasn’t advice? What if I don’t like swimming as much as I did five years ago, right? What if I like something else? slike even just the that like question to ask yourself, like, how have I changed? And even, you know, I tried to catch myself when I say, Oh, he won’t eat carrots with my son or my buddy Mike today caught him doing that now too well, maybe phone today, you know, and to this possibility, you know that you, you can you can be different and you can’t be done.

Britt Ide 20:26
Sure. One of the greatest things I read it was an author and she said, I wonder how my future self will write this book. And I loved that concept of like, you know what, I don’t have to figure that out right now. We’ll see what my future self decides. And that was so

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 20:41
freeing. Yeah. And like, I can’t wait to like meet her and to grow with her and to like, yeah, and to have more years of perspective and to be able to kind of look back I mean, I remember finding in my last move, finding, like a journal I wrote in like, I was just like, five years ago, not that long ago. But it’s almost like I couldn’t recognize the narrator. I was like, No, that’s so different from this person. Right? Yeah. And my my perspective has shifted and even what I’m interested in so

Britt Ide 21:13
and then is that 510 15 years ahead

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 21:46
what song are you singing karaoke?

Britt Ide 21:50
Okay, so I did pellet my peloton bike this morning. And Jolene by Dolly Parton. So I am Joey. Joey. So I have that in my head right now.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 22:02
Oh, my man, I mean, I guess

Britt Ide 22:06
jazzed up version. So it was really awesome.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 22:10
I love that song. Will you tell me about the most daring thing that you have ever done.

Britt Ide 22:19
I left my corporate job and started a consulting business. And my kids were young. My daughter was five, my son was two. And I was 38 at the time, which is my mother died of brain cancer when she was 14. And so I hit all else down. My kids were little, my husband’s brother died of bladder cancer that year. 35. And he left a five year old daughter who’s the same age. So it was just so life shaking, earth shattering. And I was smart enough to know not to do anything right away. Like, don’t do it while you’re under trauma and stress. But I hired a coach, actually, who I found through Martha Beck that book I recommend amazing. I went to her website, read the book, which is her website. And it was basically like, Okay, I don’t love what I’m doing. I’m not I’m not thriving in my work. And I’m away from my kids at this really important time. And life is so short. And that’s what all that reminded us. So I found this coach, I was living in Boise, Idaho at the time and hired her. It was August and I said, Okay, I get a bonus at my job in March. So I want you to help me stay through March, but then get ready to go out on my own. And I’m not sure what I want to do. And I’m scared as hell. And but we work through it. And the biggest thing was fear. And so getting over the fear. And one of the things she helped me, she said, you don’t get your security from your paycheck. You get it from your abilities. And that was really good for me because I you know, come up through the corporate ranks. I’ve been in corporate America, I’ve surrounded by people that you know, we’re all about the corporate life and moving up the ladder and it was all about the pension, you stayed for the pension, I’m like, I’m 38 pensions a long way off. And so it was it was really hard. But it was such the right thing. And for my family for me and then it was the launching point over years to really develop my confidence and build what I really want to do. And I’m hearing him and I love it and I’m so grateful because you know there are definitely some people thrive in the corporate environments and different corporate environments are great the one I was in was not the right one for my knee my skills. So I think it’s back to know yourself you know and yeah, and then have the courage if you’re not happy have the courage to fix it and it doesn’t have to be quit your job. It could be work within your job it could be find another job. There’s so out of options, but it was very scary. But it was so so good.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 25:06
I think it lines up, there’s a few things I want to say about it. But I think it lines up to what you’re saying, like, you know, you recognize the problem. But knowing that actually, I don’t have to stay in this problem. And it’s not a reflection of, of me, there’s not shame in it, it’s just not the right fit. And I know that and how do I assess, to make a change? You know, whereas a lot of us, you know, fear can keep us just in the place complaining about it and not making any movements. Yes.

Britt Ide 25:38
And I, I love StrengthsFinder. So have you done Strength Finders? Yes. So my, one of my top strengths is positivity, which is awesome, but can really be a dark side. And in tough times like this, because they found that people who are more positive, are you more likely to stay in the wrong roles longer, because we keep thinking, well, if I just do a little bit more, I just work a little harder, if I just, you know, whatever. And so it’s almost like, it’s almost makes it harder

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 26:08
for you to leave 100%, because you’re always thinking that you can always find the silver lining, or you can find the reason or you can always find the hope I too, I too, can struggle in that way. I learned that even in my relationships and stuff. Like he helped me. And then even just, you know, even just sometimes it’s like, you’re sometimes I would notice that I was like, just struggling to find a closure point. Or, and even that like, Well, what happens if like, I don’t have the closure that I’m looking for? And like, is that okay? You know, and that’s such a powerful again, this coaching and the ability to really ask yourself these questions, because I don’t know, I never saw anyone else asking those questions. You know, like, my mom hated her job and dad ate it is like, they just kept going, like, you know,

Britt Ide 27:02
what’s your colleagues, like, you know, if you’re not liking your job, tell your colleagues.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 27:07
And then And then while you’re talking to what your husband or whatever, and then your husband, like, I don’t want to hear about it anymore. You know, like drains on your relationships? And, you know, it’s like, yeah, okay, great. So what are we going to do about it? So, I love that, and that,

Britt Ide 27:23
that had a good point to this for some people that aren’t ready to move. Because she said, you know, think of it like the military. Think of it like you’re gonna reenlist for a year or six months, or whatever it is. So you give yourself a timeframe. So you don’t have to, like, analyze it all the time. And just say, like, this helped me like, I’m staying till March. And then me, me, and that that helped to have that. But there was also times where I needed to say, I need to just stay here for another year for life reasons, whatever, in a different this was a different job. But I just need to stay here for a year and then I’ll reevaluate. And maybe a year it’ll be good or maybe not. And then I’ll adjust it. But I’m not going to spend on my spin on my wheels right now. Yes, no, yes. No.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 28:04
Yeah. Because, again, be that thing that it’s over now. Yeah, it’s over. And there’s a new position. And so knowing that there’s that you can you can reevaluate, and that there can be other options is really freeing. And then it allows you to lean in and say, Okay, what do I want to get from this experience before I say goodbye?

Britt Ide 28:24
Exactly. Like, sometimes you think of it as your NBA.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 28:29
I like that.

Britt Ide 28:31
There’s all sorts of that’s what’s cool about coaching is to have someone help you through, like to get out of your head, and add some structure and some options. And, and just think

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 28:40
I think even Yeah, and I think even get in your head, like even in because like, instead of just like repeating the same things over and just like living in that space. Like, why did you say that? Or why do you think that, you know, can be so powerful? And we often don’t have the ability or like the relationships with people to do that. So you need kind of outside assistance. So in the north in the North Star, I don’t know this might not fit but the book, but what did you find your north star to be is

Britt Ide 29:12
it’s the it’s the clean energy and at women. Yeah. And the way they phrase it to they said, Well, what what would you what would you do for free? Like what do you love so much that you do it for free? Because that’s if you look, a lot of us are already doing what we love, we volunteer we, we do things and so and then helping you realize, okay, this is mine or Stern? Yeah. How do I monetize this? Yeah, and so because you know, and not a bad way, but because you want to support your family.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 29:39
And so how your percent and for us that’s it can show up really well like wow, I know that I’m passionate about this. So I know that I can drive value in this because I want to deliver and it’s something I’m passionate about makes total sense, because we don’t all have the luxury of making money on things we hate and I love that Having a family and I, you know, I only have so many points I can hold up at a time.

Britt Ide 30:05
Be sure to hate your job or your whatever. Just and I think that’s what’s such a reminder. COVID was a reminder for all of us there just there’s some really hard things going on in the world. And so I you know, I think, seize the day Carpe Diem, you know, find your find your joy find even if it’s a little bit of your day, you know, focus on that.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 30:25
Absolutely. Easier said than done sometimes. Definitely very important to remind yourself. Yeah.

Britt Ide 30:32
That’s the key is like some days you’ll find your joy for five minutes. Yeah. And that keeps me going next day.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 30:41
That’s exactly it. That’s exactly right. It’s like golf.

Britt Ide 30:45
You know, you have one good golf shot to get you through the 10 bad was

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 30:49
it keeps me coming back. promise of a better tomorrow keeps me coming back Yes. What’s your biggest fear? Okay, so

Britt Ide 31:32
my because my mom died young. I, I the good part. I mean, there’s obviously tragedy and terrible and all that. The good part is that helped me be very independent. And the bad part is what I’ve realized is I am insecure about money. You know, I feel like I have to provide for myself. There’s not there’s not enough. There’s never enough. There’s that. So my fears are really around anxiety around finances. So I’m working through that and getting better. Trusting the future trusting and what I love, trusting in what I do, and trying to retrain the brain. But you know, like we were talking about not not going down that path of lack, you know, there’s not enough or I will be able to do that. And focus on Yes, it will. I have now, there will always be enough. So that’s that’s what I worry about. And then so my probably my greatest greatest fear is that I would die young and leave my kids. I you know, have that with my mom. So every year is birthdays are a big deal to me, or birthdays. And I am not one it’s like because I just turned 50 year and a half ago, almost two years ago. And I am not one like, Oh, I’m sad. I’m 50 I’m like, oh, amen. I made it.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 32:45
Oh, I love that. Yeah, absolutely.

Britt Ide 32:51
Those are those are like badges by

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 32:53
earned. Not everybody gets that opportunity. I will be 40 in 14 days.

Britt Ide 33:05
Happy birthday. Thank you.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 33:06
And it does love it, own it. Oh, I do. I really, really do. And I and I do have this place of like saying goodbye to my 30 years. I’m like what it mean, then. But it’s all really beautiful thinking about what this last decade has, has given me. And then I don’t know, for a long time, like 20 years, I’ve always imagined 40s being the best time of my life. And I don’t know where that comes from. But I’m just like, I’m bleeding all the way into that. I’m like, I’m starting the best deck live,

Britt Ide 33:38
everybody told me 50s are the best. So you still got like, it’s and then lately I’ve just been, you know, talking to people just about how like how other Americans are actually getting happier as they get older. And they’re living longer. There’s this article about how seven days is this new decade that we never really had before, because people didn’t live as long. And now people are retiring in their 60s, and they have the ability to go do what they love and travel or whatever. And so I just think it’s just all up from here.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 34:07
From here, that’s what I told myself. I’m like, well, now when I’m in my 40s, I’ll be saying that my 50s to the st. You know, it’s just like, never, it’s just, yeah, and just the different elements, right, that we talked about, even it’s easier to have easier and fun or to have grandkids than it is to have kids for most people, like you know, just like things shift and get a little bit more lighter. And probably you don’t have that for voting. You know, you said the scarcity, which is this is a mentality also that I work on too, from my background, but you said you know, I’m independent. And that’s like two sides of the same coin. Right? I am independent and that’s a good thing in these ways. Yeah. But it’s also not a good thing in a way that I sometimes feel like I’m the only one who can solve all the problems and all the things and I imagined it 77 Can I exist for you? I haven’t, I’m gonna, I’m gonna wish it upon you before that, like, we’re going to say that that’s you’re going to overcome that little Bible every day. I know think it’s 70 You know, most people have that fear. So that’s something that you can can look forward to. Amazing. No, you will be you will live to a ripe old age you will play with your grandchildren and have such peace. Yeah. Isn’t that amazing?

Britt Ide 35:29
It’s really neat to think about,

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 35:31
it is really neat to think about why we got to get out there and keep protecting this environment that we love so that we can, yeah, keep increasing the age and the time that we get to enjoy it. Tell me, please, about a life changing or life defining moment. And now you’ve already mentioned, he

Britt Ide 36:16
kind of talks about it, you know, so my mom, they found the cancer when I was five, and she was able to do whole radiation. So she lived till I was 14. And as a kid, I don’t remember thinking, I don’t remember worrying about the cancer coming back. And I don’t really remember her being ill, although my grandmother said you never said you really never knew your mother well. And which I, you know, I didn’t know because I was a kid. I didn’t know the difference. And then it came back. And so she passed pretty quickly when I was 14. And so that was just, you know, we talked about the independence, we talked about the downside of scarcity and lack. But you know, I think it also makes you realize that the little doesn’t matter. When you go through something like that, you know, as a teenager, you’re like, Okay, forget what, you know, hairdo is supposed to be the best one that I’m wearing right now or whatever, you know, whatever it is. And so I do think that foundation of just true deep loss, young just helps ground you in what matters. And that definitely, you know, we talked about when I was 38, and I quit my corporate job. It’s like, okay, this is what matters, you know, times my kids the big picture, if I only have a few more years, what do I you know, what would I want to do? I love that if I said, if you were going to don’t think about like if you only had a year, because then you just like lay on a beach for you. Five years or something like that? What would you do with your life? And that really helps think about what do you love? What energizes you? And if it’s five years, how do you want to spend that and so I wanted to do something that I love that making a difference, where I’m valued, and I value and have the balance with my kids and my family and me and happiness, hope, and all of that. So I think that whole theme has, you know, helped shape who I am.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 38:14
I think that’s why I want to have two other questions. And I said, we already went here, but I didn’t ask it in this way. And I think it’s, I think it’s because I was trying to make my way back to this mirroring where it started with your mom. And then you had it happen again, at 38. And we talked about we started the conversation with the wildfires, you know, and we talked about your positivity and, and how, you know, I guess, I guess, I guess what I’m taking away is that the positivity, the optimism exists, from a deep space of knowing what losses

Britt Ide 38:57
I think that’s true.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 38:58
Yeah. And that’s, that’s profound and heavy and beautiful. And a bittersweet. Yeah. There’s, there’s so much weight weight to that. And I think I think it’s really helpful to kind of explore those areas, because I think a lot of times we get sold a different story, that positivity means you don’t have anything going wrong in your life or you were born with a silver spoon and you know, all of those, so it’s easy to be positive if you have money or why you and yeah, actually Hey, I my best friend when we were 18 She killed herself. Oh, can that But really though, yeah, exactly. Right. Like oh, like, Oh, yeah. And it’s still something that rattles me and can make me cry on a whim and, oh, but is I would say I was, you know, I don’t want to just lean too hard into into categories or Like, hey, I want to say I would say that I was like a depressed teenager. Yeah. And, but it was a total shock. I mean, I never, it was a complete shock. It wasn’t like something like, oh, yeah, kids like Not at all. And somehow, that experience, like shook me out of my depression. And it also made me fearless in some ways. Once you see, okay, well, if then is not living anymore. Well, I already know what that looks like. But what happens if I stay? Yeah, you know, like, what happens if I Yeah, the fear is already there. But what happens if I like move through that? And what lives on the other side of that? And can I take this as a call to dive deeper into who I am and what I love and to cherish those moments more, even when they are when they are rough. And you definitely had two big wake up calls in that area. And it seems like you were able to really, you were able to really utilize them to launch a life that now you show up and you say, you know, when I asked you how to describe myself, it’s basically like, I love my life. I love my job. I love what I you know, and I honestly, you know, they’re probably probably say there’s only 10% of the people that I know actually can say that. And I know some really fun, free spirited, cool people. So I may even have my margins skewed.

Britt Ide 41:32
Yeah, it’s a we should all be striving for us to get to that place, you know, because life is short. And I think that’s what we have, you know, when you’ve experienced tragedy, you realize it’s short. Seize the moment, what can you do? And, and build what you can because there’s Yeah, not everything is perfect. It won’t ever be perfect. Which is, which is not bad. Because if everything were perfect, it’d be weird. We wouldn’t appreciate it. So, you know, and that’s what I first read that North Star book in like, 2005. And it’s a journey, you know, it’s it’s little steps, you make changes, you make some big changes, you make some small changes, you adapt, you move you whatever. But then you know, each step gets you closer to what you really love. And then one day you wake up, you’re like, wow, I got here. I love it. I did that. And Martha Beck, she talks about how once you get there, she calls it the heroes saga or whatever. Like she’s like, and then something will happen and it’ll change. And so you have to keep you know, adapting and readjusting. And that’s true. But you know if Yeah,

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 42:36
which thank God because you know, what happens when we get complacent? You know, then you don’t want anymore anyway. So when you think bored? Yeah. And when you I mean, I do, let’s get honest bread, I would love to be bored for like, afternoon,

Britt Ide 42:50
you have to remember, I’m like, somebody could give me a trip to Hawaii. And all I really want right now is a nap. Literally,

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 43:00
literally, like, just can I just lay in my bed and not be disturbed? But yeah, but again, that’s again, that’s not always going to be my truth. Right? So following finding following reevaluating that Northstar, knowing it’s an ever changing journey and knowing that if I’m the main character in this story, like then I can, like make some calls about how it’s gonna go. And I can change things when I want to. Yeah, I love that. I love that this store. This conversation has been very light. I mean, we went round in circles, but I actually feel like it has been very linear. I mean, we’ve been heading north the whole time.

Britt Ide 43:36
Yes. Do you think that that’s, that’s I love the way she phrased that. She said, when you’re following your North Star, which is what you’re meant to do, the universe will align to make it easy for you. Not not like, not easy and you have to work for it. But when you’re going in the right direction, things will align when you’re going the wrong direction things come they block you and you’re like, but it’s because that’s what I was just talking to a woman who was, you know, they’ve been interviewing for something she’s like, well, what am I doing wrong with my interviews and said you may be doing everything perfectly. It’s just the universe hasn’t found the right job for you yet. So don’t worry, that just meant those who are in it. So don’t you know, don’t see that as something wrong with you. Right with you and you’re on your right path and

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 44:19
having that understanding to Yeah, that rejection is protection sometimes. Yeah, all of those things. Yeah. And yeah, keep it’s hard not to get discouraged sometimes but that’s what I lean into is you know, like even the life I have now is way more than I could have imagined in my own brain. So I tried to talk myself out of like, No, this isn’t working out to something better is coming. But it does take it does take us take a you know and and then maybe in five minutes, go back to like the doldrums and say

Britt Ide 44:57
oh, and that’s okay. Because the doldrums might be talking to you, there might be a message there. Or you might just need to take some time to rest and process and I think that’s we tend to judge. I think I definitely did that when I was younger as I judge emotional, I shouldn’t be feeling that way. I shouldn’t be feeling now. It shouldn’t be. Whatever. And now it’s a little bit more like, Okay, what’s, uh, trying to tell me? Do I need to just take some time for myself? And then how do I move forward?

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 45:24
Yeah, exactly. Again, it’s back to knowing you’re getting to know yourself and being more curious. Yeah. Yeah. Because I think that happens in all of our relationships. Once we think we know someone or something we make our judgments about how it’s going to be or who it’s how it’s gonna play out. And that feels, that doesn’t feel fun, or exciting. And I think we do that with ourselves too, you know? So I’m gonna go try food I don’t like

Britt Ide 45:54
taking it nice to have more chocolate.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 45:57
Both are good answers, spirit. Thank you so much for this hour of laughter and encouragement and, and just just sitting and reflecting together. I really enjoyed, share sharing the space and time with you. And I’m gonna, I’m going to look for that book. Yeah, I’m ready to dive in.

Britt Ide 46:21
I highly recommend to get the hardcopy because you need to write stuff in there. I’ve gone back to mine. I’m gonna show it to you.

Yes, please.

Britt Ide 46:30
So this is what it looks like. And look at all my tabs and highlights. So I highly recommend getting it and filling it out. And you know, go back to it a couple years later and do it again. Yeah. So it’s just such a it’s a gift. And it’s really fun. And she’s funny, which I like. I like her sense of humor, which is important.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 46:49
It’s very important. I think, like we said in the positivity, it’s like being able to have like good sense of humor. It’s vital, even if your humor is not the same as others, but like, how do I get through this a laughing Buddha?

Britt Ide 47:03
Well, it’s like when your son’s hair cut on fire, you can basically to a funny story. And that’s better than like seeing it as a drama.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 47:11
You know? Yeah, I mean, and it took me a minute to get to the funny story.

Britt Ide 47:19
But yeah, now you can laugh. That’s Yes,

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 47:22
exactly. And I’ve just spent the last hour laughing with you and I needed I needed that. So it really did.

Britt Ide 47:30
Thank you for sharing it with others. Thank you for this is your gift this is your North Star.

Priscilla Brenenstuhl 48:05
Thank you for tuning in and sharing your time with me today. I’d love to know what your North Star is. But lights up your heart. Please email me at Priscilla at Athena alliance.com. And if you don’t know what your North Star is, is there space in your life to try something new? Or maybe it’s something old that you thought you didn’t like? And you give it another chance? Maybe we all remain curious about the people we are becoming your story matters

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