On this episode, we have the lovely Samantha Harper. Sam is a coach like myself, but she also has a background as a clinical psychologist. She is a smart, intuitive, just fucking lovely soul. And you are all going to love to learn from Sam today. We talked about so many different things. Sam really guides us through how we can set boundaries in our lives, figure out what our boundaries are, set those boundaries, and then really implement them in our lives.
We also talk about following your intuition and how we can start to even learn what our intuition sounds like and train it like a muscle, and really start to work with it. Sam talks about her deep coaching, which is her unique style of coaching people, and it’s really beautiful. It’s really creative and special. Sam has such a unique approach. Sam has experience as a coach is really comes from her 20,000 hours of experience in a clinical setting in professional counseling. Her areas of expertise include expressive art, therapy, and drama. Sam talked about today on the podcast where all the different modalities and things that she uses within her coaching to helping people really open up to change in their lives. I hope you guys love this episode. It’s so interesting. Sam is so lovely.
You can find her on Instagram @sam_e_pants; that’s why I call her Sammy pants on the podcast because that’s what I always think of. And then her new website that’s so beautiful is https://www.samanthaharper.com/.
I hope you guys love this episode.
SAM: Hey, thank you so much for having me on your podcast today. It’s so funny when people identify me as Sammy or Sammy pants, a handle that I originally had with my Instagram a long time ago, and it just took. I love it when people say out in the wild identify me as Sammy pants. It’s so great.
REGINA: I love it. Well, it’s so funny because whenever I talk to people locally, I’m like, you know, Sam Harper, Sammy pants. Oh, Sammy pants? Yeah, I know her. Oh, my gosh, I’m so excited to have you. I’m so excited to share you with the community. You have had a unique journey from being a licensed therapist to now having a really beautiful, unique coaching practice. Before becoming a therapist, what was it that led you down that career path?
SAM: So I feel like my story is a little bit unique in that I knew that I would be a therapist when I was like maybe nine or ten. I was such a nerdy kid; I was what they called a peer mediator. I would put on this vest during recess and lunchtime in elementary school, and I’d be on the playground with a clipboard. And if there were any arguments out on recess, I was the peer mediator to come in between and see if people could figure it out without having to call in an adult or go to the principal’s office or anything like that. So I feel like my counseling skills really came into play at such a young age. Then I knew that I wanted to help people. I so I just knew in my bones that I was meant to do that in my life. It was my bigger purpose. I tried to go down to different avenues and different lanes, and just every single time, I would come back to therapy and helping people. Even in college, I was pre-med. I wanted to be a sports doctor. And some huge life event happened. And it brought me back to psychology. So I ended up here.
REGINA: Oh, my gosh, and how long did you practice as a psychologist?
SAM: I was in behavioral for about nine years before I transitioned out. And then, I took a little hiatus and worked in a nonprofit for two years and then opened my own business, which now is a coaching business. I refer to my approach as deep coaching. You know, you can’t unlearn what you know and all of the therapy techniques that I learned and use for so many years. It’s second nature for me. So oftentimes, when I’m coaching a client, I’ll deviate a little bit off the regular coaching path because I can’t unsee that I need to help you see that. And then we’ll come back to the more like surface coaching stuff.
REGINA: When you are a therapist, something that you and I share, which is an interesting background to people when I tell them, is that you worked with prisoners, right?
SAM: Yeah, my niche was working with sex offenders. And I also worked with the other side of the spectrum, which were the victims, but about 90% of my clients were offenders. And so, they had been institutionalized. They’d been in prison jail for several years, and they were court-ordered to come to see me as part of their prolonged aftercare program. So I did that, and then I worked with substance abuse clients as well that were court-ordered. So they were aftercare program with me after they were released from jail.
REGINA: What was the experience like working with court-ordered sex offenders as a therapist and a woman?
SAM: Oh, that’s like a whole other lifetime. It was a completely different experience. And I was a completely different person then because I had to be for some pretty obvious reasons. But I learned very early on when I was working with the offenders that I had to be really strong and thick-skinned, and I had to change my personality a bit to fit into that arena. I couldn’t be my bubbly, happy, open self. I had to be really, really tight. The way I describe it is you have to go in tight, and then you can loosen up. Still, if you go in loosey-goosey with poor boundaries, you’ll get walked all over, and they’ll sniff you out. They’ll manipulate you and all the stuff, so the clientele was difficult to work with, but I knew that if I could work with offenders, I could work with anybody because of the number of limitations that they have on them. And the fact that they didn’t really want to be there, to begin with. And so, I had to build a really strong rapport with them and build trust so that there could be some change. And that was really what kept me motivated working with that clientele was the challenge for one, but also knowing that if I can break through here, I can break through anywhere. And that was really motivating for me and then seeing the change happen with people who had been so deceived in their reality, and really, really distorted is that I could see some potential there. And once the potential came to fruition, I had done my job. And that was a really beautiful thing for me to be a part of. And still, now, when I talk about it, I’m so humbled that I was able to do that work.
REGINA: Yeah, it’s interesting to think about you doing that work, because I think about me doing work where I was taking depositions, and being in prison prisoners, and you just have to be in this like, masculine, Uber masculine, hard vibe, to go in with that. And you’re right, you go in with that, and then you can loosen up, right?
SAM: Oh, yeah, I was a totally different person. Like, I dress differently. I spoke differently. It was a whole different world.
REGINA: Same, I totally understand that. So then, what was the thing that made you shift from being a therapist to being a coach? Why did you make that change?
SAM: This moment, for me, is so vivid, I feel like it was yesterday, I remember coming home from work, I was working, but a lot of hours, like 80 plus clinical hours in a week, in addition to all the documentation that I would have to do, but it was right after my son was born, he was three. And I just felt like I was missing out on some of those key parenting moments like I would leave right when he woke up in the morning, and I would get back at right as he was going to sleep. And I remember telling my ex-husband to keep him up because I wanted to come home and just give him a bath, like do something normal, do a parenting thing. And I remember bathing him and thinking I was doing something wrong because I had been working with sex offenders. And hearing these horror stories day in and day out for years and years and years. And I was like, Oh my gosh, this is not healthy. I’m just bathing my son. Like, maybe it’s time to step back. Because my boundaries had been very blurred between work and home. Because I was working so much. And so, I knew that it was time for me to step back and refresh my life, my perspective, and get some footing into what my actual reality was.
So I decided to leave in transition out of that therapy work. As I said, I took a little break from work to nonprofit, and I just couldn’t get away from work; the work found me again. And then I decided that I wanted the freedom and choice to work with whoever I wanted to work with and people who wanted to work with me, not people who are court-ordered to work with me. So that’s when I decided to start my own business.
REGINA: How long ago did you launch your own business?
SAM: It is about, let’s see, a year and a half ago. Maybe it’s two years. Very blurry. Once you start your own business, it’s all very crazy and fast.
REGINA: I know. What was it like starting your own business was challenging? Did it come with ease? Like how did that process go for you?
SAM: It was really exciting for one. And I feel like I did things a little bit backward. I got my LLC, and I already had a client right away. And I had a few clients word of mouth right away. So I was able to have the income and the flow of work really quickly. And that pushed back some of the other things you would typically do when you start a business. So I didn’t have a website at the time. I wasn’t promoting myself. I wasn’t marketing. I wasn’t doing any normal business things because I had these clients’ word of mouth. And isn’t until just very recently that I decided, like it’s time to put myself out there a little bit more so more people can see me. So now I sorted all of that back-end stuff. So I’m playing catch up there a little bit. But there, it’s been challenging in that it’s stretched me very far outside of my comfort zone. I’d like to know what’s coming. I like to have a plan. I like the stability of like a corporate job, you know, you have healthcare, that steady check coming in. And this is completely different. But with that, I’ve grown so much and have a lot of confidence in myself now and not really looking for a boss to tell me I’m doing a good job because I feel and I know that I’m doing great for myself.
REGINA: Yeah, totally. And I love what you just said, because I think so often people think like, well, to start my business, I can’t start until I have a website. And I have branding. And I have all of these things. And I always tell people on your perfect example that you just did, like you brought you got the LLC, you brought in a client word of mouth, you have a business.
SAM: So it’s the same thing when people say, I’m not an artist, everybody is an artist, you don’t have to be Picasso or Van Gogh or anybody like that to create, right? And so same idea with a business. You can own any business you want. You just have to start. You just have to do the first step. And then take the second step and take the third step and just keep moving.
REGINA: Totally, I think also what you just said, like everybody’s an artist, I love when I meet entrepreneurs who are super or structure-oriented, system-oriented. And they’re like, I’m not creative, like, I can’t do creative things, or you meet a super creative person. And they’re like, No, no, no, I’m not system-oriented. I’m not structured; I can’t be that way. And so they preclude themselves from the other thing because they’re like, No, no, I’m not that I can’t be that.
SAM: Yeah, it’s a people disqualify themselves all the time without trying. And without just seeing what they’re capable of. I’m more of an artistic, creative person. And so I do have resistance towards the numbers and all the backend admin stuff that really is not my jam, it does not excite me, but I know that I can do it; it maybe takes me a little extra time. But that’s okay. Because the creative stuff doesn’t take me as much time, so I can go really fast over there and then spend some time in the areas that I still need to grow or learn or just be patient with myself. And those people who are really admin-oriented, very numbers and all of that, can do that really fast. And then it takes them a little bit more time to be in the creative zone.
REGINA: Totally. I’m the same way. Like I tend to be very structured and system-oriented. Just that’s how my brain works. But I’ve also always fostered the creative side. And so I tend to go the other way. But I am, I always am like, well, it’ll take time, but I embrace both.
SAM: Right. It’s about balance, you know.
REGINA: Totally. So being creative is something that I think really plays into the way that you coach and the method and system in which you coach people. Can you tell the listeners a little bit about your deep coaching method? And how you coach people?
SAM: Yeah, it does, absolutely plays a huge part in how I coach, my background, you touched on it a little bit, but I have my Master’s in professional counseling, with an emphasis in trauma and expressive art therapy. So I use many creative methods that I was trained in and the things that just come naturally to me. I tried for a long time not to have that be part of my coaching. And it just didn’t feel right. And so I learned pretty early on that I just need to do what feels right for me what comes intuitively for me because that is what’s going to help make the most change with my clients and is going to feel really aligned for me. So deep coaching, somebody comes in with a problem, pretty much everybody comes in with very similar pain points. And so there are ways and methods of approaching that it can be. Let’s get your basic needs met. Let’s find a solution to the anxiety that’s going on or the overwhelm or whatever it is. But I take it in a little bit more creative mode. Sometimes I’ll ask my clients to doodle while we’re in session because there’s an integration between both hemispheres of the brain while you’re talking. And while you’re doodling or drawing. It’s activating both sides. So the integration process is a lot quicker, and the recall is a lot quicker. So just like some small things like that, I also integrate sound bowl healing into my practice, not for everybody, but for some of those who are open to the energetic side of themselves and where those blocks might be coming in. I do more of the I call, you know, like woo-woo stuff. So talking about energy work and doing the sound bowls and really getting in touch with that inner voice and intuition and those things that are our inner guidance system. My approach is a little bit different. But I think that the people who come and find me are really seeking that because other methods have not worked for them.
REGINA: Totally. And speaking of the sound goals, and the creative and the doodling. How do you see that play out in the results for your clients? Because I think sometimes people think like, Oh, no, like, I don’t know if that would be for me. But I actually think it’s that creative element that would serve most people.
SAM: Right. So I think that again, people disqualify themselves from certain outcomes because that’s not their way of thinking, which is why they’re coming to see me in the first place, they’re coming to see me because whatever they’re trying on their own hasn’t worked up to this point, or it’s only gotten them so far. So the results are really beautiful. Honestly, it’s this integration that I don’t think that they would have found otherwise, or by themselves; maybe somebody else could guide them there. But definitely not by themselves. They need somebody to push them outside of their comfort zone a bit. And like I said, it does this shift between the right hemisphere and the left hemisphere of the brain. And so the recall and the connections, you’re building new neural connections when you’re doing that, so you’re really growing your mind, body, and spirit.
REGINA: So, so good, something that you and I have talked about. And it’s something that I know a lot of the people that listen, and people that I have worked with have struggled with is the idea of boundaries. And I know that you work a lot with your clients on establishing boundaries and work and life in all areas. What is a way so something that I see a lot with my clients, especially my clients, business owners, is that they’re starting a business. They’re usually a mom; they have a family, have a partner, and have all of this stuff going on in their lives. And the business seems to always get pushed back for everything else going on in their life. What is something that you would say to somebody like that? Who’s trying to learn? How do I start to create and implement boundaries in my life, family, and business?
SAM: Yeah, boundaries are such a hot topic with all of my clients that I work with. Some have really great boundaries than others.
Yes, some have really great boundaries; others don’t. And what I’ve learned in helping them find what that sweet balance is, is to be uncomfortable. So it’s not comfortable to set new boundaries. And people will test your boundaries, too, because they’re used to you saying or doing one thing and behaving one way and then getting whatever they want. But once you set up a new boundary, people may not believe that that boundary is serious or that you mean what you say. And so it’s going to be really uncomfortable when you implement new boundaries. And boundaries aren’t just saying, No, I can’t attend whatever you’re inviting me to, or no, I can’t take on that new project. It’s energetic boundaries, too. So if you realize that you are feeling sucked of your energy around a certain person and energized by another person, you may want to consider limiting your space with that person who’s sucking the energy from you. That’s an energetic boundary. So how much of your energy are you giving away to people that you could really be giving back to yourself and setting up more time, more energy, more focus, more competence, in giving back to yourself and building that business and going after your goals? So it’s, it’s more than that, I would say the external boundaries, it’s a lot of internal boundaries as well.
REGINA: Something that you just said, and speaking about boundaries. And this is something I know about you is you speak and live a lot according to your intuition. And I know many people listening, you know, when you’re trying to determine boundaries, you have to tap into yourself and figure out what is making you feel good and what is not. But that first step of like, recognizing our intuition, trust it, and then trusting that intuition is so difficult for a lot of people to like, start that first access point of like, Oh, this feels good, this doesn’t feel good. How would you help somebody get in touch with their own intuitive pains and their intuition to start?
SAM: The first, the very first, and most important part is to be as present at the moment as you can. So if you’re thinking too much about the past, you’re not going to be able to click in or hear what your intuition is saying because you’re going to be so bogged down by what happened in the past. And that’s going to feel like it will predict the future, which is not true. And then the other, if you’re too far into the future, you’re unable to see those signs. And those little messages that are right in front of you in the present moment to help guide you for your future. So really centering yourself being as present at the moment as you can is the first key.
And then the second key is just starting to notice the things that come up in your head. So noticing, recognizing, acknowledging feelings, things that you’re noticing, and then letting it go, not resonating, not sticking on it for too long. And then allowing the next thought to come in the next feeling to come in. And just take an inventory of what comes up for you throughout the day. That’s where those messages start to come in is, I’m not feeling good about this, or that thing is making me anxious, and then just noticing it, letting it go. But then you start to see the patterns and start making the connections, and the dots all start to align. And those messages are really your inner guidance system again, telling you, whatever made you anxious, you may want to look at that. Why is that thing making you anxious? And so asking yourself those deeper questions of did that thing make me anxious for a reason? Or am I tired? Or my basic needs not being met? Right now? Do I need to spend some time alone? Do I need to set more energetic boundaries? Or is there a reason why that anxious alarm is going off? And do I need to pay attention to that? So I work with my clients a lot, walk, go on walks, and see what you notice. And so you say you go on a walk for like five blocks. After the first block, get to the corner and ask yourself, which direction would feel better for me to go right now? And let your intuition tell you, I feel like I want to go, right? No, I actually think I want to go left and then do that. Go left. And then keep doing that; your intuition tells you and guides you so much. You just have to take the time, slow down, quiet yourself, be present at the moment, and listen.
REGINA: So I know you just said like, take a walk, what are some other things you do or teach your clients to do? To start to center themselves and to become present?
SAM: Yeah, meditation is the crucial one I recommend to everybody. And I don’t mean you have to sit there with your legs crossed and be very Zen. Active meditation is really great, too. And what I mean by active meditation could be a walk. For me, I know active meditation is when I do yoga or cross-fit even there’s no other place that I’m more present than when I’m working out. And so that’s an active meditation for me. But there are other meditations that are more still, which is, you know, wake up in the morning before you check your phone before you get out of bed. Lay there, take some deep breaths. All you need is three deep breaths to indicate your nervous system to slow down and check-in. So it doesn’t take a lot. I think people overthink meditation often. And it’s actually quite easy. It can be more complicated if you make it more complicated, but it doesn’t have to be.
REGINA: Yeah. And I know for me, like meditation was the thing, like creating the space and being like, for five minutes a day, you’re going to start to do this thing. And you’re going to start to sit, and I start with like a headspace app, just like a guided five minutes. And I’m like; I can do this for five minutes. I’m just going to do it, right? I think that we overcomplicate it, and I’m like, Oh, no, I can’t sit on the yoga mat for an hour. So I’m just not going to.
Yeah, it’s so true. And I know a lot of the women that I work with like this is the thing. Like they’re learning how to set boundaries. But then they’re like, I don’t even know how to be with myself to figure out what those boundaries should be that I want to be setting.
SAM: Right. So think back. I know for me, like, back in my 20s, I had FOMO. Like, I seriously was so afraid of missing out on things because I feel like I connect with people and bond with people through activities and connection and all of that. And so I was like, I’m going to miss out on making good connections. And really, when I started to set up some boundaries for myself, like take care of yourself, self-care is so important. And I would give myself Friday nights. Friday nights were my nights. I wouldn’t go out with anybody; I would be home by myself. And in those moments is really when I started to get to know myself better. And realize that actually connecting with myself is so valuable and important if I ever want to connect with somebody else, so I better tap it.
REGINA: So true. And that’s like when you start to do that when you start to like, take the time to be with yourself. Especially during this time that we’re in right now with the pandemic, and when people went into quarantine, I think that’s why so many people were freaking out because they had to be with themselves.
SAM: Oh, yeah, I think that was such a blessing in disguise for people to be forced to be with themselves and get all of the distractions on the way. Like, there was nothing else you could do except being with yourself. And that can be really scary. But so, so imperative and important for awakening, being more aligned with who you are, and why you’re meant to be here. So I really think that quarantine was such a blessing in disguise, do I want it to continue? Not really. But there are some gold nuggets in there.
REGINA: Totally that even like, I feel like I’ve been on this journey for so long. And there were moments during quarantine where I was like, “What is happening? Like, I felt it, I felt the energy of the collective. I felt like, “I can’t be myself anymore”.
SAM: I felt it too. I felt it too. Like, even though I’ve been doing these practices for so long now. I felt it in such a big way it would come in waves, you know, like, I’d be fine. And then the next week or the next day, even I’d be like, I’m going crazy here, I need to get out, I need to see people I need to travel, I need to do this, I need to do that. And it was because I didn’t want to look at the shadow that was right in front of me or like look in the mirror and like start to do some deep work. But it all happens for a reason and at the right timing.
REGINA: Totally. I feel the same way. What is the next thing in your business that you are so excited about?
SAM: Thank you so much for asking that. There’s a couple of things I just launched my mini-course on how to eliminate burnout from your life, which, you know, kind of coincides with being home and being quarantined. I think that there’s a lot of people who are like, I need to produce, I need to go go go. And since you’re working from home, there’s that really blurry line between work-life balance. And so people are feeling super doubt. So I have a free mini-course on my website. So go check that out. And then I have group coaching and a women’s retreat launching in early 2021. So I’m very excited about those things. For people who can’t do one-on-one coaching or, or just want a community to connect with are kind of in the same pain points and all kind of going through it at the same time. So I’m really excited to check those two projects.
REGINA: That’s so exciting. And I think now more than ever, like what you’re creating is so relevant because people are starving for community and like connection with a community of people. Right?
SAM: Right and not a force community. Because I think before COVID there are these, like built in communities that you just find yourself in, like the pickup moms group, you just find yourself in that group at school or your work, people that you talk to at the water vendor, you know, at work or whatever these built-in communities that actually aren’t really what you’re looking for are what you want. And now we get to choose what does that community looks like? How do I foster that? And how do I call in the people who are aligned with what I want for my life?
REGINA: I love it. It’s so beautiful and so important. Make sure everybody goes and checks out Sam on Instagram. I’m going to link her profile in the show notes. Also, check out her new beautiful website at Samantha Harper comm you can check download her freebie connect with her more and get up make sure you get on her mailing list you can learn about her upcoming programs that are launching in 2021 thank you so much for being a guest I love having you.
If you guys love this episode, take a screenshot share it on your story tag me and Sam and let us know what about this episode you love so I can keep creating more beautiful content like this for all of you. I love you all have such a beautiful week and I will see you next week on the podcast.
Regina Lawrence Esq. is a former trial attorney and law school professor turned soulful business & life strategist. She has found that so many entrepreneurs have these brilliant ideas and dreams but don’t know how to take the dream and create a system or structure to make that dream & idea profitable. That is where Regina comes in. With discipline, consistency, systems & structure, we can’t help but create profit & fulfillment from our soul-driven business ideas.
Regina’s approach to coaching marries her background in legal analysis, spirituality, mindset coaching, holistic nutrition, and neuroscience to create an experience that will assist you in getting into alignment, get clear on what you are here to do and what steps and systems to implement to make that dream a profitable reality.
You can find Regina on Instagram @reginaalawrence.