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Creating a family culture of wellness the whole family can thrive in -Cole Berschback-EP16

The theme of today's podcast is creating a family culture of wellness the whole family can thrive in. We'll also discuss the erosion of resilience in our kids today, the causes and some practical tips for parents to help them build healthy, resilient kids.
Our special guest is Cole Berschback. Cole is co-founder of Total Potential, author, Unbeatable Mind Coach, Registered Dietitian, and certified yoga instructor. She is a wife and mother of three incredible kids. Cole has spent the past 20 years working in health and wellness.
Connect with Cole: https://www.thetotalpotential.com/total-potential-cole-berschback-jake-taylor/
This episode is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academy. https://skillsamurai.com.au/ 

Automated Transcription of the Podcast: 

Welcome to the Parenting in the Digital Age podcast, many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behaviour, education, and nutrition to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting in the digital age. Here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.

Speaker 2: Hello parents, and welcome to another episode of the Parenting in the Digital Age podcast. Today I'm joined by Cole Berschback, who is the co-founder of Total Potential. She's an author, unbeatable mind coach, registered dietician, and a certified yoga instructor. She's a wife and mother of three incredible kids. Cole [00:01:00] has spent the last 20 years working in health and wellness. Now, several formative events led to a deep passion for families and all that's possible when we approached the family as an opportunity and not an obstacle. She supports group and one-on-one coaching to help individuals experience the best version of themselves with the people they love the most. Uh, now the theme of today's podcast is creating a family culture of wellness where the whole family can thrive in. And we'll also touch on the erosion of resilience [00:01:30] in our kids today. Uh, the causes and some practical tips to help parents build healthy, resilient children. Now, Cole, welcome to the show. First of all, please share with our listeners in your own words, uh, what you do and what you are passionate about.
Speaker 3: Yeah, well, first, thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to, uh, have this time together. And I mean, really the passion boils down to I really see families as a opportunity to [00:02:00] heal so many things that are present in our society today, and to do that in connection and community with the people that we love most. Um, and so I think, you know, something I noticed that kind of brought us, I do this work along with my brother, which is so fun for a family business that it's my brother and I that do it together. But, um, you know, we really just noticed that there was this pull away from the family that all of, you know, the self-development work [00:02:30] and, um, you know, even things about exercise and nutrition, they're just, so many of them are so impractical for family life and we're like, there's gotta be a better way.
Speaker 3: If I go to the gym for three hours, that means I'm, I'm not with my family for those three hours. And not that you can't go to, I mean, that's beautiful. Go to the gym and work out for three hours, that's great. But as in terms of every day, what are the practices that help us become the best version of ourselves with the person that we've chosen to do, do this life with? [00:03:00] And then with the people who we clearly opted into bringing into this world, <laugh>, how do we really see that as an opportunity and not as an obstacle? And so that's, yeah, how, how it all started and where the, the meat of the work is, is helping support people in their own self-development so that they can really show up and, you know, raise the next generation of people who serve this world in a big way.
Speaker 2: Yeah, that's fantastic. That, to me is [00:03:30] a real paradigm shift. Uh, we speak to a lot of coaches on the podcast and, uh, you know, even myself, like I, I immerse myself, whether it's in books or personal development, and often it is very self-focused. We talk about self-care and this notion of flipping that about and saying, well, how do we achieve all that with the people we love, uh, is a really interesting concept I've not really heard before. So I, I'm really fascinated to dig in, uh, to our discussion today. And maybe I'll start with, uh, how, like, how do you balance work, family, and [00:04:00] care? If I can ask that.
Speaker 3: Yeah, for sure. Uh, one thing is that I always wake up in the morning before my children do because that time is where I set myself up for success and what is really most important for the day, instead of just hopping on the hamster wheel because, you know, the kids are awake and the day has started. Um, so waking up before the kids super important for me. Uh, I've really had to learn how to and say no so much more often now, as [00:04:30] my focus has become clearer and clearer on that, you know, one of my principles is family first, and if a commitment makes it so that I can't actually keep <laugh> that principle alive, it's probably the wrong commitment for me. Um, and so really having some outlines of what are, you know, just a couple of values that I'm really committed to and checking in with those every day that has, uh, allowed me to keep, keep the focus. But then there's of course, you know, a little time hack strategies [00:05:00] too, right? Like I stack a lot of my practices. If I'm going to get a workout in for the day, you better believe I'm gonna be doing a breath practice at the same time. I might do it out in nature. I mean, I, I try to really get, uh, the most out of the time that I do commit to my self-development work so that there's still plenty of time for the connection. That's, for me, the most important part.
Speaker 2: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So, uh, you mentioned morning routine. Can you give us a little bit more insight as [00:05:30] to what your morning routine looks like? Cause this is, I think this is something that, um, not enough parents, uh, or people in general put enough focus on. And you said something really impactful there. It really does set you up for the day, mentally, spiritually. So maybe, uh, give us a, just a, an insight as to what your morning routine looks like.
Speaker 3: Yeah. I try to keep it really simple so that I can do it every, every day <laugh>. Uh, one is I get up and drink a huge glass of water and, you know, kind of charge the battery with that. [00:06:00] Um, then I move into a gratitude practice, which for me is a written gratitude, uh, journal that I love and I've been actually keeping since I was 14 cuz I was clearly one of the cool kids back in the day. Um, so do my gratitude journal and then I do a breath of meditation practice that often will include prayer. And then I close with, um, like my priority setting up the day, what are the top three things that need to happen? What are the next three things that if they get to happen? Awesome. [00:06:30] Um, and then how do those in unbeatable mind, we call this the three P's. How do these things align with my passion, purpose, and principles? I review those three things every single day so that it's on the top of my mind and I can really check in with, are the things I'm doing align with what I say I, you know, that my life's gonna stand for?
Speaker 2: And, and those, those values. Cole, can I ask, uh, you mentioned them in the previous question also. Are they something you set with your husband? Are they something you set with the family or are they something [00:07:00] you set individually? How, what are those values? Don't have to share the values specifically, but how, how would you set them up?
Speaker 3: Yeah, I have set them individually, but they're communicated broadly, right? So my husband knows that, you know, one of my values is to do good work without attachment to the results. And he can help check in with me on that. Like, Hey, it seems like you're getting a little outta sorts, right? That that maybe isn't working out the way you expected. And one of your things is you're gonna do good work regardless of what the end point is. [00:07:30] Um, so it's values I've established myself, but definitely the family is aware of what those things are so that we're all kind of, you know, checking in with one another on them.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. Thank you. It's, uh, a great insight. So how can parents increase connection and peace within the family, uh, especially with this, uh, digital distraction at our fingertips?
Speaker 3: Yeah, I think there's a couple of things that are super important. One is some rituals [00:08:00] of connection. So if you are, um, if you have a certain time of the day, for instance, that you sit down as a family, I'd love for there to be a consistent sort of mode of interacting where you can just fall into that and then everything else can kind of expand from there. So for at, in our household, it's high low buffalo, what was your high, what was your low? And buffalo for us is like the funnier, ridiculous thing that happened throughout the day. And so that is like a touch point that is a ritual of a [00:08:30] way that we connect and it happens many days a week. Um, another thing is physical touch. Oh my gosh, our poor kiddos, you know, especially in this digital medium, have so much less like person-to-person contact.
Speaker 3: And as parents, whether it's a hug, a high five, a pat on the back, um, I'll sit in the car and hold my kids' hands. Like those points are so valuable, like from a human biological perspective [00:09:00] that the connection is, is happening without us even having to think about it in those circumstances. And so even as the kids get older, making sure that you still have that way of connecting with them. It's just so, so important to our humanity. Those are, yeah, those are some really tangible ways we can stay connected. Um, just in the, you know, day to day of run into soccer practice or whatever the things are.
Speaker 2: I like that. I [00:09:30] like the, uh, high-low buffalo. It's something I can take away and use. We, we have a similar practice, but, uh, we, we don't necessarily share the, uh, buffalo thing all the time. So thank you for that. It's the all I will definitely take away <laugh>. Um, one, one of the things, uh, I was in the learning center the other day and um, uh, there was a particular student who was having a struggle who was getting, you know, noticeably frustrated. And I sort of went and sat with this young boy about seven years of age and, [00:10:00] uh, trying to help him through it. And one of the things he kept saying, uh, and he said this about 13 times I counted this, he goes, I'm just so unlucky. This stuff always happens to me and, and various derivatives of, and I thought, you know, like, you know, what happens in a kid's life or what happens in a kid's world that, you know, makes them think that their, their life is so unlucky, you know?
Speaker 2: And, uh, it got me thinking about resilience and some of the things we've noticed about resilience in kids. So I wanted to touch on this point if we could. [00:10:30] Um, there, there, there's a whole body of research saying that, you know, over the last 10 years, uh, resilience in kids has gotten worse or gotten less, so kids are becoming less resilient. Uh, and there are two main causes for that. Um, one is, uh, helicopter parenting, um, and the other one is screens and digital addiction, uh, which I know you, uh, are very well qualified to talk to us about. Um, and for those that are listening that don't know what helicopter parenting is, uh, it's really just, uh, [00:11:00] when a parent has a tendency to jump in and solve a problem before the child has a chance to, and, and really what happens is when a parent does that, um, they're saying to this child, they're saying a couple of things, but uh, too in particular is that, you know, the world's a dangerous place.
Speaker 2: You should be scared. And the other thing they're saying to that child is, you know, you are unable to solve this problem on your own. Here, let me do it for you. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, and, uh, I I I just see so much, so much of this now, uh, with the younger generation [00:11:30] and I just wonder firstly, what's your view on that? Is that something you see or you would believe? Uh, but secondly, um, do you have any tips or tools or just something we can take away that would help parents, uh, who are listening, um, developed healthier, more resilient kids?
Speaker 3: Yeah. I'll even throw out in the last couple of years I've heard a, a term called snowplow parenting. Meaning like, you know, the helicopter parents were up above, right? Sort of like hovering over and making sure that, the snowplow [00:12:00] parent is the person who completely clears the way of all obstacles. And I'll share with you one of the wisest things anyone ever told me. This was years ago when I had just, uh, one kiddo who was two years old, this social worker that I worked with in a hospital, um, she said, the best parents are good enough because our children need to fall flat on their face once in a while. They need obstacles, they need challenges. That is how they learn skills. That's how they build their own self-esteem. These things are [00:12:30] critical for our children. So first of all, yes, 100% I agree that the parenting dynamic, uh, on a broad scale has really diminished our children's resources that they have innately in themselves to really, you know, rise to challenge, um, that present cuz it's life like challenges are gonna come, right?
Speaker 3: So there's a couple of things that come to mind as ways to shift that in your own experience. One is [00:13:00] to model something different than that for yourself. I recently did, um, a seal Fit Crucible, which is modeled after Navy Seal hell week. And you go and just get your buns handed to you for <laugh> hours on end. Like, it's so hard. And I did it because, you know, everyone tells our kids or tells their children you can do anything, but no one goes out and shows them that they can do anything, right? Like, what are we [00:13:30] doing to show our kids that you can put in the effort and become something you can put in the effort and just try something hard and learn and grow from it. So my first, you know, thought on that is to model resilience, to try hard things. Another thing is to let them fail, but then ask questions about it and not try to fix it and not try to, um, remove the obstacle or make the phone call that clears the situation from happening.
Speaker 3: [00:14:00] But to really just let them fail because we all fail in life. And to start treating that instead of as a mistake and as instead of as something that's bad, as nothing more than a learning opportunity, because that's exactly what it is. Failing is such an odd thing to consider, like we're either growing or learning and those are the only two things that are happening. Um, so that's super important. And then the other thing that comes up is, you know, the whole, let me take care of [00:14:30] that for you. Let your kid's mind just expand. Like as something as simple as asking the question. What is your idea of how you wanna manage that? Or what do you think might be the first move you wanna make if that friend situation is going poorly instead of the solution? And it's done from, there's no judgment. I mean, we do that from a very, um, good place. Like it comes from love, but [00:15:00] there's definitely other choices we can make that support a longer range vision for what our kids might have accessible to them when life contacts them because they're, well,
Speaker 2: Yeah. Yeah. Some really good takeaways there. Thank you. Um, mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, you may have heard this in the past, but, uh, I plan on, uh, assembling a book or writing a book. It might be the better term for it, but really taking away the learnings from our first 100 podcast episodes. And [00:15:30] Cool. And I'm just like writing down notes madly here. There are so many takeaways here that are gonna make this book. So thank you so much for your generosity so far. Um, so, uh, I guess another question, maybe a lighter topic is how can we experience parenting and family as an avenue for growth?
Speaker 3: Yeah, so something that we were noticing a lot when we first started this was that one parent within the family would really [00:16:00] get sparked by, you know, starting a yoga practice or taking on this new religious tradition or, and go all into it, which is cool. But what was happening was that these families were behind this parent exploding and we just like, oh gosh, the thought of that happening to our own families just did not sit with us like we really were committed to that there has to be a better way, um, to do this. And so [00:16:30] instead of the family looking like it's the obstacle, like if the thing that's holding you back, like, oh, when the kids are gone, then I'll be able to do blah, blah, blah. Or oh, if only my husband didn't do that, then I would be able to do blah, blah, blah.
Speaker 3: Like that is all a story number one. And number two, everything, our family is a gift because every trigger point that we experience, it's because it's showing us our own work. If you have a child who pushes [00:17:00] every button you have, like mentally every time that happens, thank that child because they are showing you exactly your opportunity to grow so that you can become the very best version of who you are. And so I think the shift around, um, just that the family is not the obstacle. Like everything you're ever gonna need to learn about yourself, every way that you could possibly show up as a whole person or heal your past, it is all available when you [00:17:30] do it from a place of love and intention with your family. So yeah, my whole heart like sits in that space. I'm sure you can hear that in my voice a little bit, but there's, there's nothing that our family is holding us back from. In fact, there's every opportunity ahead of us if we really just put new eyes on that family dynamic.
Speaker 2: Yeah, that, that's definitely a big takeaway. The, the family isn't the obstacle. Uh, it's not the excuse, it's not the thing that should get in the way of us having a fulfilled, abundant, happy life where [00:18:00] everyone in that family unit is growing. So that's such a valuable piece of advice. Um, I wonder if you could, um, well we might just turn the topic a little bit. I'd like to learn a little bit more about your organization and what you do, you know, are, are your program, I know you do one on one and some group stuff, but uh, is that available online to people who might be in other parts of the world like Australia? Um, or is it, uh, purely in Wisconsin? What does it look like, uh, and how does it work if you don't mind sharing?
Speaker 3: Yeah, for sure. So yeah, both [00:18:30] one on one and group-style coaching. Um, it's all virtual <laugh> that's been, you know, the gift of the last few years is that, uh, pretty much everything is happening in the digital realm. So yeah, I coach people from all over the world, which is such a gift cuz otherwise I would never have had the opportunity to meet these people. Um, and then, you know, we're really clear that both my brother and I have quite a bit of health and wellness background, but I'm not, for instance, an educational expert <laugh>. And so we [00:19:00] go out and find people who are experts in their areas, whether that's a, you know, child psychologist or something related to schools, marriage and family therapists, and invite them onto our podcast and provide resources through our website so that people can have access to these ideas and create, you know, this, the wholeness of that whole family growing, not just me or not just me as a spouse. Like we're, this is all happening simultaneously and so lots of resources are on our website. [00:19:30] And then same thing, our book, total Potential is, uh, you know, how do kind of like a map of, okay, I get the idea, but how do we actually do this in day to day life?
Speaker 2: Yeah. Wonderful. Thank you so much. Um, I'm mindful of the time in your part of the world and it's getting very late over there, but one, one question we, we love to, uh, finish up on kind of a light note, uh, and that is, um, you know, if we had a imaginary time machine and you could go back in time to your 10 year old self, what is one piece of advice that [00:20:00] you would give to yourself and um, yeah, share it
Speaker 3: With us. Yeah, so if I could go back and talk to my 10 year old self, I would tell myself to trust my inner voice because I just from a very young age had a ton of intuition and, um, always kind of wanted to like beat to my own drums, so to speak, but then sort of was like conditioned out of that for a variety of reasons. Like, I grew up in a super loving family, like nothing terrible, but [00:20:30] just like life happened and, you know, through school and sports and all those things, I sort of unlearned to listen to myself. And if I could go back and tell my 10 year old self one thing, I would just be listen, because you're, you're listening to the right thing. <laugh>.
Speaker 2: Yeah. Wonderful. Good advice. And, um, where can our listeners find you online? And, and I'll post this in the show notes of course as well, but, uh, for those listening, where can we find you online?
Speaker 3: Beautiful. So our website is www.thetotalpotential.com [00:21:00] and we are at the total potential on all social media platforms, and I'm available through any of those means. So, uh, if yeah, if you'd be interested in learning more or you know, kind of see yourself in this parenting dynamic with more opportunity, uh, there's, yeah, there's lots of fun work that can be done.
Speaker 2: Super. And, uh, one unscripted question for, to, to finish up on, is there anything that, uh, you, you wish I had asked [00:21:30] that I didn't ask? Is there something I should have asked in today's podcast?
Speaker 3: Mm, <laugh>
Speaker 2: Tough one. Tough one.
Speaker 3: That is a tough one. You know, I
Speaker 2: Think say yes, of course, but, uh, just, I just thought it's just a nice way to wrap up. There might have been something else we can, uh, we can touch on before we finish off.
Speaker 3: Yeah, I think there actually something really interesting about the question you asked around resilience, because there's a lot there and I, you know, when we look to our children and [00:22:00] kind of see expressions of what's happening in the world through them, it's really giving us information about ourselves, right? And so I think even in that, anything that we talked about today, like if you see it outside, it's just giving information for what's on the inside. You wouldn't even notice it if it didn't matter to your system, right? And so if you're, you know, sitting with a kiddo who is kind of like a "woe is me", is struggling to rise up to the [00:22:30] challenge, like what a cool opportunity to just say, Hey, where am I doing that? Where would I like to do better? So that, I guess as you ask the question, like that's kind of on my mind from this conversation. Uh, how to really take what we see in our kids and ask ourselves, not only how can we support them, but what is that, what is that really showing me about my own path?
Speaker 2: Yeah. Beautiful. Way to finish. Cole, thank you for your generosity. Thank you for your information. I know that there are parents out there who are gonna [00:23:00] get a ton out of today's conversation, uh, and I hope we cross paths again soon. Thanks for your time. Yes,
Speaker 3: Thank you. I appreciate, thanks so much for having me.
Speaker 2: You're welcome.

If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast. Description parenting in the digital age is sponsored by Skill Samurai, coding and stem academy for kids. Skill Samurai offers after-school coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future. Visit skillsamurai.com.au