A Profitable Impact

Podcast with Pamela Bruner

Join business coach and online marketing expert, Pamela Bruner, as she uncovers the secrets of successful transformational businesses. If you want to make a difference in people’s lives, expand your reach, and attract high-paying clients, you’ll love A Profitable Impact podcast!

Pamela Bruner - Attract Clients Online Blueprint

The “Syndrome” that’s Stopping your Success (ep. 43)

The “Syndrome” that’s Stopping your Success (ep. 43)

There is a “syndrome” that can be the biggest internal challenge to your success. Yet this “syndrome” originates in the same area that gives coaches and healers their special gifts. So where do you draw the line? In this episode, I share my insights from 12 years of coaching transformational entrepreneurs to be powerful and whole in running their businesses.

  • In this episode, you will:Identify the “syndrome” that gave you transformational super-powers, but is also probably holding you back from success.
  • Discover the 5 signs that you’re operating from this place, and what to do instead.
  • Learn the 3 ways that you can overcome the effects of this “syndrome.”

Subscribe on: Apple | iPhone | Android | Google | Spotify | Amazon Music

Timecode Guide:

  • (02:18) Identify the “syndrome” that gave you transformational super-powers, but is also probably holding you back from success
  • (04:16) Discover the 5 signs that you’re operating from this place, and what to do instead
  • (13:08) Learn the 3 ways that you can overcome the effects of this “syndrome”

Resources Mentioned

Want to know more about how to attract your ideal clients online? We’d love to chat! Grab a Breakthrough Session with one of my coaches to learn how to create real impact and income online.

Podcast Transcription

Episode 43: The “Syndrome” That’s Stopping Your Success


Speaker 1 (00:00):
You’re listening to A Profitable Impact.

Pamela Bruner (00:02):
There’s a “syndrome” that can be the biggest internal challenge to your success as a coach or healer. And yet it’s probably exactly the same thing that gave you your special gifts. So how do you keep the gifts and overcome this challenge?

Gene Monterastelli (00:16):
Welcome to A Profitable Impact where every single week we help experts like coaches and healers to expand their reach, to increase their impact in the world, and to be well paid for their extraordinary skills and talents.

Gene Monterastelli (00:27):
My name is Gene Monterastelli and I am the lead coach in Pamela Bruner’s Impact Accelerator Coaching program. And now please welcome my friend, my colleague, and the CEO of Attract Clients Online, Pamela Bruner. How are you doing today, Pamela?

Pamela Bruner (00:40):
I’m actually in a little bit of a mixed place today, Gene, because we’re talking about something that’s really, really important and exciting, and it is likely to be a little controversial. So that has to be mostly excited and a little bit nervous. I believe that there’s a “syndrome” that can be the biggest internal challenge to your success. And I put “syndrome” in quotes because this isn’t part of any medical diagnosis anywhere. This is what I have seen over more than a decade that I’ve been working with transformational entrepreneurs. And the thing is, this challenge originates in the same internal area that actually have a special gift. So it’s like, yes, this is giving me gifts and yes, this might be stopping me. How do I draw the line and how do I identify this? And what do I need to do with it?

Pamela Bruner (01:30):
So in this episode, we’re going to talk about the “syndrome” that gives you your transformational superpowers, but it’s also probably holding you back, and we’ll look at the five signs that you might be operating from this “syndrome” and what to do instead. And the three ways you can overcome the effects of this.

Gene Monterastelli (01:47):
So as listen to our conversation today, if you recognize the fact that you are indeed operating out of this particular place and would like to find a way out of it so that you are more successful and you’re able to reach more people in the work that you’re doing, we would love for you to have a conversation with one of our coaches absolutely free. All you need to do is go to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. That’s BookMyBreakthroughCall.com and you can get on the calendar with one of our coaches so that you can be operating from a place of strength and not out of a place that is making it hard for you to move forward.

Identify The “syndrome” That Gave You Transformational Super-powers, But Is Also Probably Holding You Back From Success

Pamela Bruner (02:18):
So let’s talk about this “syndrome” that probably gave you your transformational super powers. And that is what I call the wounded healer “syndrome.” And Gene, you and I have had discussions about this many, many times over the years, because as transformational entrepreneurs, almost always, we are intrigued to do what we do. We want to transform lives. We want to help people overcome their challenges because of some wound or some challenge we had in the past. It’s not uncommon for people to go through weight loss journeys and then they say, “Okay, now I want to become a weight loss coach,” or “I want to help people optimize their health,” or something like that. I had an enormous problem growing a coaching business at the very beginning due to social anxiety, misunderstanding marketing and sales, a terrifying fear of talking to people about what I did and when I overcame that, I said, “Okay, this is how I want to help people in the world and I want to help transformational entrepreneurs to get their gifts out in the world.”

Pamela Bruner (03:20):
So certainly my business came, if not from wounds, at least from challenges or from a lack of ability I had in a given area and then I overcame it and wanted to help other people with it. So the wounded healer “syndrome” is what we’re going to talk about. You may hear that name and think, “Oh no, that’s not me.” And I say wounded healer, even though I am not a healer, I’m a coach. So maybe it resonates with you, maybe it doesn’t, but we’ll look at the signs and we’ll look at how to overcome it and whether you think you actually have this “syndrome” or not. I think you’ll find this useful.

Gene Monterastelli (03:54):
And I think what you’re saying there is really useful in that it’s not that we’re operating from a definition of something, but when we can look at the specific symptoms in our lives, it’s so much easier for us to recognize the pattern of something like this showing up. So in your mind panel, what is the first most primary symptom that we see that is going to direct us toward recognizing that we might be operating out of this place, even if we’re not consciously recognizing it?

Discover The 5 Signs That You’re Operating From This Place, And What To Do Instead

Long Sessions

Pamela Bruner (04:16):
One of the things that is a very strong giveaway for wounded healer “syndrome” is that you run sessions too long, almost every time. Maybe not every time, but almost every time. So there’s a part of you that really wants people to get the transformation. You really want them to be happy with you. And those are all tied to whatever your particular challenge was in the past or your childhood or whatever. But it means that you tend to want to give all the transformation in one session or you want to make sure that this session was extraordinary, or you want to make sure that they feel loved and cared for, and well, “I’ll give them a little extra something-something.” “I’ll give him a little extra time.” “Instead of a 60 minute session, I’ll run 90.” It’ll run 120 minutes and then they’ll know that they’re special and hopefully they’ll get a great transformation from it.

Pamela Bruner (05:06):
But that running sessions too long is, for one thing, there’s an argument that it is not professional and also, it doesn’t come out of necessarily a need to serve your client, or at least not an unadulterated need. It comes out of your need to have them get a transformation and have them feel good and have them be happy with you.

Gene Monterastelli (05:28):
And as we navigate this, there is certainly as we look to make our sessions efficient, that there is a point at which our sessions become too short for us to create the transformation. And so oftentimes when someone is wrestling with this particular thing, they’re saying, “Yes, I agree with you. I need to have a clear boundary,” but in this case, it needs to be this way because they are in so much distress that we need to take care of this right now. If you are someone who is in the transformational space, it means that you’re probably coming from a place of a really good heart and more than likely without you realizing this, this is a boundary that you’re violating all of the time. And so if it is showing up consistently, give yourself permission to know that, yes, I don’t want to make things too short, but I also recognize that I’m probably making things too long and get back to the place that you’ve agreed with the client before you started working was the appropriate amount of time.

Push Boundaries

Pamela Bruner (06:20):
Yeah. Such a great example. And that takes us right into the second sign, which is letting clients push boundaries because you’re afraid they won’t get the transformation or you’re afraid they’ll be unhappy. And these pushing boundaries are sometimes time-based like, “Oh, I’m going to respond to a text at eight o’clock at night even though I don’t want to do that.” Or, “Oh, you want a Saturday session? I don’t really do Saturday sessions, but I’m afraid that this person won’t feel valued or they’ll want to leave,” or something like that. Like, “I have to give them every single thing they want.” Or you want an extra session or you want, whatever it is, if you let clients push boundaries because you’re afraid of X, whatever X is, they won’t get the transformation, they won’t like me, they’ll leave, whatever. Then you are operating from a place of powerlessness and helplessness with your clients, which is not a good place for you to hold the space for their transformation.

Pamela Bruner (07:19):
And on the surface, it looks like, again, you’re taking excellent care of your clients, but the boundaries are important. One of the things our clients tell us all the time is, “I cannot believe the support that you give in your programs, Pamela. And it feels like every time I have a question, I get an answer really quickly.” And the truth is from Friday evening to Monday morning, we don’t monitor the emails. We are seldom in our Facebook group, although we’re there all the time during the week and you can get a response from my team in a couple of hours during the week. But because we over-delivered in our boundaries, we don’t have to exceed those boundaries and people still say it’s the best support they’ve ever gotten.

Gene Monterastelli (08:02):
And it’s really interesting. Yesterday I had a client who had stepped outside of what was the boundary. She was supposed to do something in a particular way and wasn’t able to do that. And as I sent an email, I’m like, “Hey, I saw this request. It doesn’t really fit in the way that we’re supposed to be working together.” And her response was, “I take 100% ownership over that. You’re absolutely right. This was a mistake that I made and this is the way that we can work on this thing moving forward.” But it was because the boundaries were clearly articulated. I was saying, “This is how I’d love to help you. This is the framework that we do that within, and this is the way that we’re moving forward.” And in a lot of ways, people actually feel more clearly served when they know we have a firm grasp on the reins as we’re moving forward in that particular way.

Ignore Money Requirements

Pamela Bruner (08:46):
Yeah. That’s a good example. The same way they tell parents, children often feel better when the boundaries are clear. And I’ve used the example a couple of times of comparing clients to children and I’m not at all saying that the clients react like children or are like children. Our clients are amazing as I’m sure your clients are. Our clients are amazing empowered adults and humans, and establishing good boundaries is just good for everybody. So the third sign is you ignore your money requirements in favor of the feel good you get from your clients. So when you work with them, you feel so good and it’s like, “I shouldn’t charge for this. I don’t need to charge for this. Maybe I can discount.” “This person wants to work with me even though they have no money,” or “Even though they want to offer me a ridiculously low rate, but I know it’ll feel so good to work with them and help them transform.”

Pamela Bruner (09:39):
And especially at the beginning of your business, the tendency is often to take on the hard luck cases, the really challenging transformational cases, because it’ll feel good when those people convert, even though they can’t pay you or they can’t pay you your stated amount. So if you are ignoring your money requirements, that could very well be a sign that you’re operating from wounded healer “syndrome.” And then along with that, if you want to help your clients transform more than they do, and this is a little bit along the lines of something we teach when we’re teaching selling and marketing. You can’t sell to need, you can only sell to want. So I’ve had people say, “I want to help caregivers do better self-care.” And I say, “Most caregivers need to do self-care. They need to do more self-care, but a lot of them don’t do it. They want to be better caregivers.”

Being Responsible for Clients

Pamela Bruner (10:35):
So you talk to them about, here’s how you can be a better caregiver. Make sure you’re taking care of yourself. You frame it in the terms that they want. When we’re talking about you want to help your clients transform more than they do, if you are putting more energy into a coaching or healing relationship than your client is, you’re not over-delivering for the client. You’re over-performing. And there’s a huge difference between those two. And over-performing is not a good thing because it disempowers the client. It basically puts the energy and the control and everything back in you, when by rights, it belongs in the client. You hold the space, you create the facilitation, you provide the environment, the tools, and they do the work.

Gene Monterastelli (11:16):
And the reframe that I like to use for that when I’m reminding myself and re-reminding myself of that is I am responsible to my clients. I am not responsible for my clients. By being responsible to them, I give them my best. I show up inside of the boundaries. I am professional. I am clear. I am loving. I am caring. But I am not taking on responsibility for something that is not my responsibility. Their struggle, their transformation is theirs. I am the one that is helping them to accommodate that and accomplish that. But I’m not responsible for them. I’m responsible to them and how I show up in my work.

Get Success and Identity from the Amount of Client Transformation

Pamela Bruner (11:50):
That’s such a great quote. Yes. Write that down. Tweet that. And the fifth sign that you may be operating from this place is you get success and identity from the amount of transformation that your clients get. So if you’re working with clients and they’re on top of the world and you’re getting people to have great transformation and it looks amazing, you feel great about yourself and you feel very empowered with that. If they are not getting success or if they’re struggling, not necessarily because of your skillset, but because people do struggle with transformation and you feel like your identity is threatened, you feel like you’re not successful, you wonder if you should really be doing this. If you get success and identity from the amount of transformation your clients get, rather than knowing you’re serving the world in the business that you’ve created, you probably have a little bit of the wounded healer in you.

Gene Monterastelli (12:50):
So now that we have some clarity around the places that we get hung up and what the symptoms look like when we are acting as a wounded healer, what is the first thing you do, Pamela, when you’re working with our clients to help them to start to overcome that and transition out of being a wounded healer and moving into being an empowered practitioner and an empowered business owner?

Learn the 3 ways that you can overcome the effects of this “syndrome”

Filling the Rest of Your Life with Great Stuff

Pamela Bruner (13:08):
The first one I’m going to share, I will admit was the hardest one for me. And it’s one that I’m still working on although I’m more successful now than I used to be, which is filling the rest of your life with great stuff. When I started my business, I basically was looking for something to pour my passions into and it didn’t matter if it was 24/7 and I worked way too hard for way too long, but I didn’t concentrate on the rest of my life. I put everything into my business. And so my business had to fulfill me energetically and emotionally, and I needed to get all my emotional needs met for my business. And instead when I started looking at my life and filling these other parts of my life so that they were equally juicy and rewarding and awesome as the business was, then that brought everything into balance.

Set Strategic Boundaries

Pamela Bruner (13:58):
So as you look at your life, are you allowing the rest of your life to have that same glow and fulfillment and enjoyment? And if it’s not, then look to see how you can create more balance. If the business takes over, then again, it may be a sign you have the wounded healer “syndrome,” but also it works as an antidote to it. The second way to overcome the effects of the “syndrome” is again strategic, kind of like feeling the rest of your life is strategic in the sense that you can decide to go for a walk in nature. You can schedule a social event with a friend. Setting boundaries with clients before they ask or push and effectively communicating those boundaries. So, “Here’s how we will communicate together. Here’s how I will be supporting you. Here’s what you can expect from me.”

Pamela Bruner (14:48):
And an important part about this communication is that it is unapologetic and not defensive. So, “This is the way we’re going to communicate and don’t expect me to respond on weekends.” That is a defensive energy in that phrase. Or, “I’m really sorry, but I can’t text you back at eight o’clock at night.” You don’t have to apologize for it. Instead, “I am happy to respond to your inquiries during business hours. Just email me.” “And if you email me after business hours, you’ll get a response first thing the next morning within 24 hours,” or whatever your standard is. But you communicate that in a positive way about the support and setting those boundaries up and ahead of time before clients ask or push also allows you to know what you’re going to do rather than make it up on the spot.

Gene Monterastelli (15:43):
And the reality is you probably already have some implicit boundaries existing in your life. If you had someone reach out to you and say, “I want to work with you, but I’m only willing to work with you at 2:37 in the morning on nights with full moons.” That would probably be a pretty easy thing for you to say no to because it’s outside of the implicit boundaries that you already have. I’m not going to get up in the middle of the night to work with a client. The place that it gets difficult or the number of examples that Pamela has mentioned, someone who wants to go and get an email response very quickly or someone who desperately wants to work with us on a Saturday morning and that’s not something that we do. And so by sitting down and thinking about what’s going on, we want to move from a place where these things are implicit and move to a place where they’re explicit so it’s easier to do.

Gene Monterastelli (16:28):
The other thing is to give yourself permission not to get it right the very first time. I was at a training last week, and one of the presenters was talking about onboardings team and teaching them how to do things. And one of the things they did was every single time something went wrong, they created a rule so it wouldn’t go wrong in the future and they just created these SOPs so that they communicated really clearly when new people came on. The same is true in these boundaries as we create them with our clients. In the beginning, we might create boundaries that are better than the ones that we have right now and are still too porous for what is actually healthy for us, the things that are still getting through the holes. And so give yourself also permission after you clearly articulate these new boundaries to learn from your experience and go, “Oh, I actually need to communicate this differently,” or “I need more boundaries in this area of my life. I’m going to update these so I can now communicate them as I’m going forward.”

Pamela Bruner (17:23):
Great example with that. And if you heard the phrase SOP slide by, SOP means standard operating procedure. So whether it’s just a list of these are my boundaries or this is the operating procedure that I work with in working with clients, that’s what an SOP is.


Pamela Bruner (17:41):
Now let’s talk about the third way that you can overcome the effects of the “syndrome.” Because when we talked about ignoring your money requirements in favor of the feel good that you get from clients, one of the common ways this shows up is in allowing discounts or somebody makes you a ridiculously low offer. “Will you work with me for this amount of money?” And it’s 75% or 50% or 25% of what you’re used to. And one way to overcome that again, practically is to create down-sells instead of discounting your services. So what I mean by a down-sell is, “Here is a way to work with me that is more cost-effective for you. This is 25% of the price of my signature system and this is the transformation.”

Pamela Bruner (18:23):
So you’re not discounting your high ticket offer. You are offering a smaller transformation for commensurate appropriate price. And the truth is when we’re looking at wounded healer “syndrome,” it can be an instant awareness. It can be gradual awareness over time, and it is a gradual process to heal from this “syndrome,” this condition, so that you show up powerfully and effectively for your clients. So if you see these signs or you try to implement these, just know this probably isn’t something, like many of our other strategic episodes, where you’re going to flip a switch and you’re instantly going to be out of it. Even I, as I’m looking at this list, I’m like, “Still got a little tiny bit of this, that, and the other thing,” even though I feel that I’m pretty empowered in my business and way more empowered than I was 12 years ago when I started this business, this is a gradual process.

Want to know more about how to attract your ideal clients online?

We’d Love To Chat! Grab a Breakthrough Session with one of my coaches to learn how to create real impact and income online.


Gene Monterastelli (19:20):
So if you’re in a circumstance where you are exactly where Pamela just described. You recognize the fact that this is something that you’re probably operating out of, but you’re not exactly what the first step is to take to start to transform this so you’re more of an empowered business owner, you’re more of an empowered practitioner, we’d love for you to have a free conversation with one of our coaches. They will help you to sort it out and get you on the right track. All you need to do is go to BookMyBreakthroughCall.com. That’s BookMyBreakthroughCall.com, and absolutely free you can get on the calendar with one of our coaches and they will help you to sort out how you transform out of working as a wounded healer in your business. If the conversation you heard today resonates with you in such a way that you know that there’s someone else in your life, another coach, another healer, another practitioner you know who’s struggling with this as well, please pass this along.

Gene Monterastelli (20:05):
This might be the exact piece of content and information they need today to transform the way that they are working in their business so their impact in the world can increase as well. If you have a question, a comment or a topic you’d like Pamela and I to talk about on a future episode, we would love to hear from you. All you need to do is go to AttractClientsOnline.com, click on that contact link, shoot us an email letting you know the topics you’d like us to cover in the future. And please in that email, note that it is for the podcast so that we have it in the right spot so we can respond to it here. If you have not done so already, please subscribe to the show. You can always subscribe to podcasts absolutely free. You can subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Audible, basically everywhere you find audio online. All you need to do is search for A Profitable Impact.

Gene Monterastelli (20:56):
For A Profitable Impact, I’m Gene Monterastelli. Until next week, I hope you have an impactful week.



Pamela Bruner - Attract Clients Online Blueprint

Building a business as a coach or expert is challenging, especially if you’re trying to find your clients online.

Join business coach and online marketing expert Pamela Bruner as she uncovers the secrets of successful transformational businesses. If you want to make a difference in people’s lives, expand your reach, and attract high-paying clients, you’ll love this show!