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Episode 61: From Stuck to Empowered with Pam Matula

Updated: 4 days ago

Pam posing and smiling on a cream chair
Pam Matula


This is Episode 61.


"Welcome to 'Wellness in Every Season,' the place where we explore the rich tapestry of motherhood and wellness in all its forms. I'm Autumn Carter, your host and guide. 


Autumn Carter: Hello, welcome to wellness in every season. I am Autumn Carter, and this is episode 61. Today I have with me Pam and she is a certified life coach. We actually went to the same school, but did not meet each other until a Couple months ago, and she is focused on empowerment and mental fitness.

Her business is intentional butterfly coaching. I love that, I love butterflies. She says," I believe that we have the power to transform into our own unique butterfly based on focusing on what is most important to each of us in each phase of life, leading to mental wellness and better fulfillment.

She was in my called a cohort. We learned about positive intelligence and it was amazing. She decided to bring it into her practice and embrace it with open arms. And she has quite the story. I joined her Facebook group where she is sharing some vulnerabilities from her past and it has been an amazing journey as a consumer. So I really wanted to bring her to all of you guys.

 She is going to be talking to us about self sabotaging thoughts. and how to shift that into a more positive view. Being vulnerable and transparent, which she has been practicing a lot. It's been amazing to see and how that helps you to not feel so isolated and alone , and healing. And she also works mostly with women right along with me. So I felt like this would be perfect.

So can you tell us a little bit about your journey to becoming a life coach?

Pamela Matula: Sure, thank you. I actually started out as an accountant. I was very shy and introverted growing up. So I thought, when I went to college that becoming an accountant, getting behind a computer and doing things on my own was a perfect job for me. As it turns out, the accounting profession is a lot of interaction with people. It's a lot of tight deadlines, lots of people dynamics, lots of stress and overwhelm that actually was not part of my job. As I was continuing through my accounting journey, I was internalizing a lot of anxiety and stress along the way. Dealing with betrayal from coworkers or from a boss ,just the politics of everything.

 So running became a way for me to escape from the stress of work life and to just be on my own. I became an endurance runner for the next 15 to 20 years just on my own, running half marathons, running marathons and trying to build myself up away from the stress of what felt like was out of my control.

What I loved the most about being an accountant was when I was connecting with other people. When I was either Mentoring younger staff, when I was teaching, or when somebody would come to me and just need somebody to talk to. Those were the moments that I really held on to, and realized that I wanted to spend all of my days helping support people through not feeling alone. When they're going through Anxiety and overwhelm. Knowing that if you're struggling, it's okay to speak up and knowing that when you can figure out.

Something that's meaningful to you, you're not just reacting to life and you can focus on something that's meaningful. Build a plan to achieve that life, your mental health gets better, you feel overall more fulfilled in life. I love coaching!

 Helping people figure out, I call it, the various pieces of the puzzle for that stage of life, if things are out of balance, if there's something that's meaningful, that's not included in your puzzle, or you have too much time given to something and it's throwing everything out of balance. That's when you get anxiety and overwhelm and stress. And especially as women, we tend to put everyone else before us. And that adds to more feelings of anxiety and stress. And I believe that if you can figure out what's the most important thing, and focus on that, then all the other pieces fall into place and that you have a more meaningful life.

Autumn Carter: And I know from your posts, you were an accountant and it was in big corporations where you were one of a few females?

Pamela Matula: It was mostly men. I have worked for big, small, private, public. I, I kept trying to find the right mix of what was going to feel like the right balance for me to fit in, in accounting. In general, there are more male superiors and there's probably as many women as men, but the dynamics between people it really, it was not what I was expecting.

 The teamwork mentality was not as prevalent as I hoped, starting out. I always had a need to do well, to help others, to show up as my best. And I think realizing that there are a lot of people that it is all about them and they're more selfish, that it just it creates a lot of chaos and stress.

And if you're not willing to, step over people to get promoted. It just, it's not as clear of a path of how to succeed. At least that was my experience.

Autumn Carter: And with coaching, you succeed with the more people you help.

Pamela Matula: Oh, definitely.

Autumn Carter: The relief just throughout your whole body right there.

Tell us more about Running. And I'm curious if anything with your running has changed since finishing the program that was for coaches so that you can now offer it to clients.

Pamela Matula: Yes. So I got first inspired to run when I watched a friend run a marathon. I was in my twenties and I thought, Okay. That looks fun.

I'm going to do that. And I signed up and decided to train for a marathon the next year. I didn't talk to anybody, I didn't have a coach. I just figured out what I could and I ran and I was miserable. I finished it, but I felt like such a failure because I ended up walking a lot of it. And I thought running is not for me.

And I put it away for a few years. Then as Work stress was growing. I realized I did enjoy the aspect of running to just go out the front door and just be free. So I started running again and decided I'm not going to do full marathons. I'm going to just do half marathons. So I started smaller and I just realized I, The more that I was focused on my training, life seemed easier.

 As the years progressed and I knew I really couldn't get. faster, then I was trying to do more races per year to keep just getting faster, doing more races. One of the goals that I created for myself was I wanted to run a half marathon in under two hours. This is a goal that a lot of half marathoners have. It seemed like it was doable. I tried to get under two hours at least for ten races and I got close, but I was never breaking two hours. And I realized that failure feeling that I felt after each one was sabotaging me the next time, that I would train and then it would be race day and I was purposely walking or going slower. That I was actually scared to get that goal.

And now I know that it's because I didn't really know what was going to be expected of me if I broke the two hour goal. It took a series of events before I finally decided, you know what, this is holding me back. I know I can do it. And I tweaked my training and I broke the two hours and I immediately knew when I finished what was next for me was not to get faster, but was actually to get slower and to start pacing future races so that I could help encourage other runners to get their goal. And that is what I've been doing for the last almost year.

 It is very fulfilling as far as how that would apply to clients. The journey that I went through and the mindset of working towards a goal and understanding what your mind does and how we sabotage ourselves and how you can be afraid to fail, but you can also be afraid that you aren't sure what's next and just stop making the goal a priority because you don't know what it means.

Maybe somebody is going to have more expectations of you. Maybe you don't want to be in the highlight that, okay, you did this. And what does that mean? I like to help my clients work through what might be keeping them from achieving the goals that they want and helping to encourage that just because you achieve a goal doesn't mean you have to figure out exactly what's next the next day.

It's just about continuing to take steps forward. And that can just be making steps towards a different goal that's maybe not as difficult, but is more meaningful for your life.

Autumn Carter: What I realized through my life is that I need to celebrate the small successes along the way otherwise I burn myself out. When we were talking about this right before we recorded, you were talking about how sometimes it's not the next goal that's ahead of it or the next one after it, but sometimes it's the one that's just next to it. Now we need to have the other aspects of our life then meet that goal. There are so many times where it's okay, now I'm lopsided in other areas. So now I need to bring those up to where this other goal that I met is.

 How have these experiences shaped how you are as a mother and influenced your perspectives?

Pamela Matula: I believed I was unable to have children until I was 35. I had some medical issues and thought this is it. I'm just going to be working, I'm going to be unmarried, I'm not going to be a mom. And I got pregnant with my son and was not married.

And I still had to figure out how to balance I still care about my career, I want to be a great mom, but I was mom and dad to him for the first eight years of his life. Balancing all of that and trying to be a good role model for him and trying to still be seen as a successful business person. What that has helped me realize is the only way that I could successfully balance everything, even though it was just me with him, is to take care of myself first. And that it was okay to be selfish and if I had to leave him with my mom or leave him with a caregiver so that I could step away and run, walk or see a friend so that I could show back up as the best mom for him.

I knew that ultimately that's gonna be best for both of us, in the long run if I'm taking care of myself. I'm super passionate about self care and not just letting life dictate how your day should go. Everything is hustle and bustle and so busy and we just internalize so much and don't take care of ourselves. In the long run, it's just going to take a huge toll on our mental health.

Autumn Carter: Why do you think we sometimes call it selfish when we're taking care of ourselves? I think there's the society and the guilt part of it. What else do you think is there?

Pamela Matula: Self care and taking care of yourself, what comes to mind is getting a massage or doing something that conjures up a feeling that you're doing something that is fun and neglecting of somebody else. When really it's just putting your energy back into yourself so that you can give even more to the people that you're around.

Autumn Carter: When I start to feel those feelings of I'm taking away from my family by doing something for myself I visualize, the flight attendant and how if the mask isn't on you, if you're passed out, you can't put it on your children. And we naturally have this response where we want to put it on our family members first.

Back in December, right after I had surgery, I ended up getting the flu. I made sure everyone in my family had a flu shot, and I forgot to get mine. I still just, ugh, facepalm. I still feel super stupid for that, but it's classic, right?

 Where if you get the flu shot first, then you're getting everyone in your family one It can feel selfish right? Or if you're going out running and then showing up more as a mom you took those hours to run and then there's the cost involved for the shoes and the clothes and getting the babysitter. It's eating or Having a budget. If you're trying so hard to lose weight , this is not the way to do it; or to have more money in certain areas and you're just cutting back and if you cut back too far, then you end up binge spending or binge eating and then it's even worse.

It's this whole yo-yo effect and it can be that way with our self care too. You can feel a lot of resentment towards your family. Even after you've had time for yourself, if you're not getting it often enough, if it's not long enough. Then it you get this ping pong effect or yo-yo.

 I'm really glad that you let me put you on the spot with that one because there's so much there and I could go on a soapbox for that. Going with that, you know what I'm passionate about, and you're passionate about self care. What else are you passionate about relating to motherhood and anything related to motherhood?

Pamela Matula: I am passionate about not keeping things locked inside you because you think it's selfish to talk about it. Maybe if you feel like nobody has time to be listening to my complaints that aren't real problems. I believe if you are having emotions and they are negative, there is a reason. They are valid. They need to be talked about, worked through, whatever you need to not keep it locked up. I think those self sabotaging thoughts, those voices just get louder the longer that, you can create a story in your head about what the stress is from . What the circumstances around you, what that means to how you're feeling.

And you can create such an anxious, negative chain of emotions in your head that you can't possibly function in a healthy, productive Way. I do coffee chats or offer myself all the time to be that ear because sometimes just letting that voice that's in your head come out and to sort through is so healing.

When you can talk it through with someone who is giving you that space, it just, it becomes such a beautiful thing to figure out. Now I know why that was bothering me. Now I know how I want to move forward. But if you, I learned this from my own experience from thinking I'm supposed to have this figured out.

Everyone else is doing fine. I can, I'm smart. I can do this. I'm not going to burden anybody with my problems, but the longer that, that I just told myself that story, I was just sinking deeper into mental unhealth. So I am passionate about giving a voice to struggles, not feeling like It's a burden to anybody to talk, to share and knowing that sometimes if you just make that first step, it naturally works itself out what is supposed to be the next step.

Autumn Carter: Do you follow Brene Brown at all?

Pamela Matula: I do.

Autumn Carter: Okay, good. I love what she talks about shame. Shame has us wanting to hide and not share and as soon as we open our mouths and start to share it, it becomes, oh, it's figureoutable. I'm totally misquoting her, so sorry for those who are better versed in her than I am, but it's, there's so much truth to it.

Pamela Matula: And I am, as you mentioned, I'm sharing some stories of my professional life in corporate America in little bits and pieces of highlights that are still pretty easily accessible in my head because I never really talked about them or healed from them. And as it's coming out, a few wonderful things are happening.

Number 1, I am feeling healing just from writing. I'm feeling healing from sharing with my husband and with some people that I know, some people I don't know. But the most beautiful thing is I'm getting those messages from people that are saying, I could relate that resonated with me. It's not exact experiences. We all have our unique. journey, but when you can see glimpses of your own pain and what somebody that you connect to, that what they've gone through, it just releases you from so much isolation. And then you feel connected to humans and you feel like, okay, maybe I can talk about this. Vulnerability breeds vulnerability.

And I'm having people open up to me and say, Thank you for making it easy to talk, because you're sharing, hurts that you've gone through. I can talk about mine too. And There's a path to happiness after that, that you can release it and those voices aren't in your head telling you, you aren't good enough and no one is ever going to love you or accept these things about you and you can finally quiet those voices.

Autumn Carter: I think it also gives you a chance to go back and hold space for yourself, doing the inner child work, embracing yourself. It's okay, we got through this, I got you. I love that and I love that it came while we were doing our positive intelligence journey together.

The next question is, what does your ideal client look like?

Pamela Matula: I love working with people, with ladies primarily, having trouble understanding why they know things aren't right, but they feel like maybe this is as good as life gets, but I feel like there should be more. I'm struggling. I'm struggling to set goals. I'm struggling to take care of myself.

I'm struggling to put myself first. I'm struggling to talk about what's going on with me. And just to create that space. To lay it all out, find the connections between the areas of life and then building a plan to move forward. I tend to relate a lot to Aging moms that are either empty nesters or about to be empty nesters since that time period has a lot of changes.

We are not immersed in child rearing anymore, and you get a little bit of extra time to start looking at yourself, but that's when a lot of people start to really feel like. Okay, life isn't over, but I have no idea. Why do I feel this way? Why don't I feel fulfilled? Why don't I have a passion? Why don't I have any goals? And to help them figure out for that next chapter, how do we shift that and quiet Any negativity and really focus on building a positive future.

Autumn Carter: I was just going to ask, where does the positive part, the mindfulness come in? So there's the positivity. Is there anything else that you do along with that?

Pamela Matula: The main thing that I like to focus on is intentional baby steps. And I think it's really important when you can identify that person that you see yourself being and you can learn to understand the negative voices that maybe they were required in your younger years to help you survive your childhood, but they don't really have a purpose now to help you become your most, your fullest potential.

Like learning to intentionally take those steps forward. When you can quiet the negative thoughts and you can shift your mind to a more curious mindset, that's when you have the ideas of, Oh, maybe I do want to try this. I never tried or I was really good at this back then, but I haven't made time for it. There's so many interests or hobbies or things that we neglect, but they would add value. And so learning to, to reconnect with that part of you can, help you move towards it.

Autumn Carter: There is an app part of your coaching. Can you tell us a little bit about that part?

Pamela Matula: Positive intelligence. com has a free saboteur assessment that anybody can go on and take, if they're interested in learning what their saboteurs are that are maybe keeping them from their best relationships, their best health, their best career. When you can understand why these voices might be holding you back, there's a program that I'm leading that is taking people through and helping build the muscles to command your brain to focus on the positive and to quiet the negative so that you can Look to a more productive and fulfilling future.

Autumn Carter: I found that to be powerful, that assessment, but there's another one that I liked better, and I cannot find it to share with people, it's the one where you're seeing how often your saboteurs are standing in your way. And for me, when I took it, it was 67 percent of the time! And that was just mind blowing for me.

It was like, that makes so much sense because I feel like I'm fighting within myself. I found this program through another coaching friend and it was exactly what I was looking for to help with that inner turmoil part of me. So I'm really excited that you're offering this and if you want to learn more, how do we go there? How do you learn more?

Pamela Matula: You can email me at Pam at intentionalbutterflycoaching. com and I can send links for doing the assessment that Autumn is talking about, that's the saboteur assessment, and then information on future programs where you can go through the six week program and get back in touch with the essence you're born with, that you still possess, that's from when you were a child and before life experiences shaped you.

And it's a very powerful program. I'm excited to keep offering it as a way to bring people along this journey, but also to help. My muscles are just going to keep growing. It's like going to the gym. You start small building those muscles, but the more you go, the stronger you get, and the less often you're hijacked from those self sabotaging thoughts. You can shift quicker to a more positive outcome and not dwell in a negative.

 If you lose your job or you lose an important client, most people, the initial reaction is going to be negative. It's going to be fear based. It's going to be what now? And when you have loud saboteur voices in your head, you can stay in that negative mindset so long that you can't even see straight to see a possible way out of the situation,. When you can learn to shift to a more sage, a more positive mindset, what we would say is a negative circumstance and turn it into a gift or an opportunity for something that's even better for your future. When you can be curious and when you're open minded to what the gift is, those saboteurs don't keep you in that negative emotion. You can apply this for really every negative circumstance that happens in our life if you can identify The saboteur that might try to keep you in that negative. It's only going to help your overall mental health when you can Shift it to a more positive outlook.

Autumn Carter: You said it's six weeks long. There's an app that goes with it and they get coaching with you. And that's just one of your programs. You also offer one on one coaching. And, if I remember right, you told me before that there's five seats for the app.

Pamela Matula: Yes. And then I offer one on one coaching, I'm in Sugar Land, Texas I offer in person coaching for people who are local and who want to come to me. One of the other things I'm passionate about, I feel like a lot of our anxiety is Since COVID is related to not connecting with people face to face, and I'm trying very hard to do what I can to bring that one on one personal connection back into my coaching.

Autumn Carter: Hey, they could fly and see you, do some really deep sessions. And I really like the coaching that you do. I'm the type of person that I need somebody to give me the space and I just need to like word vomit it all out. Here's all the puzzle pieces that are in my brain. And then I can start to see, okay, this one lines up here and have the coach be able to tell me, okay, these are the blind spots. Okay. These are the hurdles that might come in the way. Let's talk through those types of things. So I love that you offer that. That's definitely something that resonates with me because that's my natural tendency.

 We will make sure to have her website and her email address, and if you want to follow her on Instagram, all of this will be in the show notes. So if you did not see it before listening, go back through and you can connect with her that way.

Autumn Carter: so much for being on today, Pam.

Pamela Matula: Thank you, autumn. Appreciate it.



Thanks for tuning in to this week's episode. I'm Autumn Carter, guiding you through motherhood's seasons. I hope today's discussion inspired you and offered valuable insights.

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