June 18

Episode 1445: Interview with Katarina Polonska About How Relationships Are a Struggle for High Achievers

Inspired Stewardship Podcast, Interview


Join us today for the Interview with Katarina Polonska, about the real reason high achievers struggle in their relationships...

This is the interview I had with speaker, podcast host, and coach Katarina Polonska.  

In today’s podcast episode I interview Katarina Polonska. I ask her why her background led her to focusing on helping other high achievers find successfully in love. I also ask her why so many high achievers struggle in their relationships. She also shares with you what you can begin to do to find successfully in love.

Join in on the Chat below.

Episode 1445: Interview with Katarina Polonska About How Relationships Are a Struggle for High Achievers

[00:00:00] Scott Maderer: Thanks for joining us on episode 1, 445 of the Inspired Stewardship Podcast.

[00:00:08] Katarina Polonska: I'm Katarina Polonska. I challenge you to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence, and impact the world by using your time, your talent, and your treasures to live out your calling. Having the ability to recognize their worth is key, and one way to be inspired to do that is to listen to this, the Inspired Stewardship Podcast with my friend, Scott Maderer.

[00:00:36] Originally, when I started out on this, on this path, yeah, there was a bit of a spiritual kind of leaning, but it wasn't, it wasn't embodied. It wasn't felt. And it was actually in the darkest moments when things were falling apart, when things were imploding from within, when I was hitting, you know, rock bottom.

[00:00:57] Scott Maderer: Welcome and thank you for joining us on the Inspired [00:01:00] Stewardship Podcast. If you truly desire to become the person who God wants you to be, Then you must learn to use your time, your talent, and your treasures for your true calling. In the Inspired Stewardship Podcast, you will learn to invest in yourself, invest in others, and develop your influence so that you can impact the world.

[00:01:29] In today's podcast episode, I interview Katarina Polanska. I ask her why her background led her to focusing on helping other high achievers find successfully in love. I also ask her why so many high achievers struggle in their relationships, and she also shares with you what you can begin to do to find that success in love.

[00:01:53] I've got a new book coming out called Inspired Living, assembling the puzzle of your call by mastering your time, [00:02:00] your talent, and your treasures. You can find out more about it and sign up for getting more information over at InspiredStewardship. com Inspired Living. That's InspiredStewardship. com Inspired Living.

[00:02:16] Specializing in helping executives and entrepreneurs be as successful in their relationships as they are in their careers, Katarina Polonsky is an ICF accredited high performance relationship coach, gender dynamic social scientist, and founder of the Successfully in Love Method. Her work focuses on the behavioral science of attraction and helping accomplished professionals find healthy, secure, meaningful love.

[00:02:42] Fast. As an ambitious woman with a master's degree from the University of Oxford and a background in behavioral science, she's had a lot of experience in the world of dating and relationships. From living and working in six different countries, helping her parents navigate a painful divorce, battling [00:03:00] anorexia, to calling off an unhealthy engagement, she understands how hard it is when we don't want to settle in life, but do want to meet our match and settle down.

[00:03:10] Using her proven three phase process based on the behavioral science of attraction, Katerina helps disenheartened executives create their ultimate relationship and become successful in love. Welcome to the show, Katerina!

[00:03:24] Katarina Polonska: Thanks for having me.

[00:03:26] Scott Maderer: Absolutely. So I like to start I, we just talked about a lot of different things in the intro and it always feels like I'm dumping a fire hose of stuff on people.

[00:03:38] And yet I don't think our intro ever really captures our whole journey and what brought us to the point in life. So back up a little bit and walk us through a little bit about your journey and what brought you to focus on. This is the area that you want to share your message with the world.

[00:03:58] Katarina Polonska: Yeah. [00:04:00] And this is such a good question. So there's three prongs to my journey. The first is I'd say from a kind of academic point of view. I've always been interested in relationships. It's always been something that I've been really fascinated with and I might not have called it relationships back in the day.

[00:04:20] I probably called it love. But I, yeah, I literally throughout my teens, throughout my university career, both my undergrad and my masters, I was always looking at kind of the dynamics in relationship, whether it was looking at it from a gendered point of view and looking at gender dynamics. masculinity, femininity, how that all plays out.

[00:04:41] Literally did my master's degree on this at Oxford or just studying texts and philosophies around love. And I never really made anything of it back then. It was just like, I'm just that weird kid who's really into love. I don't know what to say about that. It was just a thing. But over time, I [00:05:00] guess I realized as I moved more and went to the entrepreneurship side of my life, that this is something it was actually one of my coaches, she said to me, what is something that you could talk about?

[00:05:09] Every day, all day that you do talk about and that is probably the thing that users never get bored of talking about. And I was like, it's love, which struck me then as such a weird thing to answer. But now I'm like of course, I made complete sense now, right? With my career. So that's on the academic side of things.

[00:05:26] On a professional front, I never planned to become a coach, but my father is a coach and he was a management consultant and lecture university academic, and then he became a coach. And he was the one who really pushed me into the land of self development from a really young age, like growing up with a Tony Robbins and all the books and blah, blah, blah.

[00:05:47] And yeah, and he paid for me to do my first coaching qualification when I was 17. So I did my NLP and hypnotherapy at 17. I was going through some issues of my own. I had anorexia and I was insomniac [00:06:00] and things weren't going well for me. And rather than sending you to therapy, my parents were like, she'll cure herself.

[00:06:06] We'll train her to be a coach and she'll get herself out of this mess. Very very kind of high achieving mentality my parents. And you know what? It didn't fully cure me, but it did help. And it taught me a lot about the unconscious mind and limiting beliefs and core wounds and all this kind of language, which I didn't know about before.

[00:06:23] So that was the beginning and it got me on this journey of being really fascinated into personal growth and inevitably to recover from anorexia I got knee deep into this stuff, into behavioral science and as someone who's quite nerdy I really wanted to understand like psychology and how does this happen and how did I get this essentially mental disease.

[00:06:42] And so as I worked to cure myself of anorexia and discovered somatic techniques and all of these different tools to help me, I was never hospitalized or anything. I never really did much therapy on it. It was really a process of working with different coaches and pulling myself out of it quite quickly.

[00:06:59] And when I [00:07:00] landed on certain techniques when I was actually doing my masters at Oxford, I healed myself in nine months, which is pretty profound, I think, because so many people never recover. And it wasn't like I was full blown, hardcore emaciated, it was more just disordered eating like I think a lot of women have, a lot of men have.

[00:07:18] And so anyhow, so that was the professional side of psychology that I loved it and I was studying it and I was applying it. And then after Oxford, I went into the behavioral science space formally. So I worked for behavioral science consultancy. It was consulting people. I was consulting organizations on their people strategy.

[00:07:39] So really helping them understand how do you make your people happier at work? How do you make them more engaged? How do you make them more productive? And all this kind of questions and DE& I was a really big passionate area of mine. Yeah. How do you create like more diverse and actual environments?

[00:07:52] I'd prevent backlash. And so I loved that space. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. And over time, as I climbed the corporate ladder there, [00:08:00] I began to see the gaps where group training was limited and you needed more of a coaching approach. And so that's when I started to move towards coaching professionally.

[00:08:09] I started working for a really big coaching company and then decided to train formally as a ICF coach. Quit, built my own executive coaching practice. As I did executive coaching, I realized something that hadn't happening in my personal life. Prong number three, which was the personal story. And the personal story is that as someone, again, who's been really interested in love, I was always interested in relationships and understanding them, but two big things happened in my life that kind of threw me off course.

[00:08:37] One, my parents got divorced when I was 23 and that was completely out of the blue. unexpected and really just threw a spanner in the works and sent me on a downward spiral. It was really a shocking, unexpected thing. And I helped them navigate the divorce and was like the middleman.

[00:08:55] And that was really hectic and stressful. But also very eyeopening. [00:09:00] And then I was single for a long time. And then when I got to my late twenties, I was like I'm ready to settle down. I'm ready to meet someone. How hard can it be? And I did meet someone off Bumble. And we had a really wonderful beautiful relationship for a number of years and we got engaged and everything was picture perfect, but on a gut level, I wasn't convinced it was the right decision for me.

[00:09:24] I wasn't sure I was with the right person. And this went on for years. And I fell into this kind of fallacy, which I think I see a lot of high achievers doing, which is. Gaslighting myself, almost taking responsibility, like I'd been doing for my entire life of this is clearly my problem.

[00:09:45] This is clearly me. I probably have a fear of commitment because heck, my parents got divorced a few years ago. It's probably my anxious attachment style. I'm probably just being overly anxious and I'm probably like ruminating and overthinking and really erasing any, [00:10:00] Real grounding into that the relationship maybe just wasn't the right relationship for me and taking on that ownership.

[00:10:06] So in terms of therapy, good, I did every type of therapy out there. Honestly, I was doing all the therapy. I was really working on myself, trying to purge myself of this doubt, trying to get rid of this feeling that I'm with the wrong person. And eventually I landed on a really good relationship coach. who started helping me discern, is this actually the relationship or is it me?

[00:10:27] And the more the work I did with her and the more I learned these different tools and techniques, the more I got clarity that I was actually in the wrong relationship. And I left. Follow 11 months after that, I was knee deep in the work, the relational work, because I realized, you know what, I can do all the therapy in the world.

[00:10:43] I can do all the personal growth in the world. Doesn't mean I'm going to have a good relationship. Doesn't mean I'm going to have figured out. My relationships at all clearly. And so I went knee deep into kind of the relational development. Met my husband 11 months after calling off that first engagement.

[00:10:58] And at this point as I was doing my executive [00:11:00] coaching, it dawned on me, I was like. I'm not really enjoying the executive coaching. I love the behavioral science. I love the tools and techniques and I love. And as I was working with the executive coaching, the executive clients, I kept seeing the same trend.

[00:11:16] I kept seeing two camps. Either they were single or Struggling to find healthy love because they were working hard because they were living on a plane because they were doing a 70, 80 hour weeks because they were fundraising for their startup, because they were looking for a promotion, whatever it might be.

[00:11:32] But there was like this kind of like neglect of the love life, or they were in relationship but they weren't sure it was the right one. Or maybe they'd grown out of their relationship or and then this kind of anxiety I kept seeing, again, this anxiety, this rumination, is it me? It probably is me.

[00:11:50] And just self gaslighting. And that's when I was like, Holy cow. I keep seeing the same patterns in other people that I saw in myself. Maybe I'm not just an isolated weirdo. Maybe this is actually a bit of a [00:12:00] trend. And so that's when I started to really formalize the relationship coaching built a methodology with a psychologist, began testing it on different types of PhDs and built this methodology that I now work with.

[00:12:10] So that's a really long answer. But no,

[00:12:15] Scott Maderer: a couple of that's brilliant. That's fine. A couple of things that I want to follow up on or kind of probe a little bit is this idea of what you're calling gaslighting yourself or talking yourself into it. And that's something I've seen myself in and I, not just in high achievers, though, I think you see it A lot.

[00:12:40] And quote, high achievers, where. Because of our own background, because of our own history, because of our own learnings, whatever it is most, I think most people have a tendency to look at a relationship as it's me, not them it must be my fault, I'm doing something wrong. I think even in an abusive [00:13:00] relationship that happens where we.

[00:13:03] Pull that abuse into ourselves and go I must have done something. No, you're the other person's actually an abuser in that case. How do you see You know, that area, do you think part of, I guess what I'm asking is for you, do you think in some ways the knowledge you had about behavior and psychology it almost makes that, I don't want to say worse, because that sounds judgmental, but makes it easier to fall into that trap, I guess is the way I would say it.

[00:13:35] Katarina Polonska: I think you're spot on. I think you're spot on. I think I also fell into this trap. Which I see so much of my goodness, every time I see this, I'm like, Oh, please stop doing this. People. I fell into this trap where, because I was doing all of this personal growth and all of this therapy, I was like a self help junkie.

[00:13:55] I think Gabby Bernstein calls it self help junkie. Like I was obsessed with it. And [00:14:00] I had this fallacy that I get it and I know it all and I'm going to figure it out because I'm smart and I've done, I've read all these books and I've done all this therapy that I now I know everything. And so I can diagnose the issue and I know that he's going wrong in this point, he's doing these things wrong.

[00:14:21] I know I'm getting wrong these days, and that's that. And so I'm going to do my side of the street and I'm I'm going to clean up. And it was like this very I'm going to take ownership. I'm going to take control. I'm going to fix this because I can fix anything in my life, right?

[00:14:35] I can fix anything because I'm good at achieving stuff and I get things done and I'm very goal orientated. And so it's just there's a difference between knowing everything rationally, because maybe you have read every book out there. Maybe you have done tons of therapy and the difference in actually embodying and getting to the root and getting to the gut.

[00:14:54] And I wasn't getting to the root. I wasn't getting to the gut. I was just like spinning my [00:15:00] wheels rationally and taking ownership and doing all these different things and different interventions. But I was completely missing the point that on a root level, yeah, I was self sabotaging, but I was also with the wrong person.

[00:15:13] It wasn't so black and white, right? It wasn't so simple as I have to do these things and then I'm going to transform the relationship, or he has to do these things and it's going to suddenly fits itself. It's more gray, it's more nuanced. I went on a tangent there. Sorry. No,

[00:15:27] Scott Maderer: no, I think I didn't that's actually what I was.

[00:15:31] What I was digging for and I didn't, I was struggling with how to ask the question. Cause I do, I think it's that it's a weird thing of, and I see this in a lot of areas my coaching is not around relationships. It's around money and productivity and these sorts of things.

[00:15:46] Yeah. But even there people come in and it's it, they come in with the assumption that it's an information problem. Yeah. If I could just learn the right thing.

[00:15:55] Katarina Polonska: Yeah. Yeah. I'll

[00:15:56] Scott Maderer: fix it. No, it's a lot more gray than [00:16:00] that. It's a lot more nuanced than that. Cause even if you learn the right thing, how you put it into practice, how do you implement it?

[00:16:06] Yeah. Does it work? How does it work in your particular life and situation could be completely different than your neighbor and it's that nuance I think that we lose track of, and that's one of the beauties of coaching and working with

[00:16:26] a coach, a good coach can help pull out the nuance and go, Hey, have you looked at this? Have you thought of this? What is your feeling here? So that's awesome. Let's, I, one of the things I like to highlight too, is how our life journey and our faith journeys intersect and what that looks like for us.

[00:16:50] Would you share a little bit about how your personal faith journey has intersected and. We've woven through that thread of your life [00:17:00] journey.

[00:17:01] Katarina Polonska: Yeah, absolutely. I will say the more I've done the deep inner psychological embodied work. the more spiritual I have become, right? Because I think originally when I started out on this path, yeah, there was a bit of a spiritual kind of leaning, but it wasn't embodied.

[00:17:23] It wasn't felt. And it was actually in the darkest moments when things were falling apart, when things were imploding from within, when I was hitting rock bottom. And I simply could not think or process or logic my way out of it anymore and all I could do was surrender and the more that I would surrender, the more I would take that energy out of my head and this kind of egoic control.

[00:17:53] drop down into my unconscious, drop down into my body, drop down into kind of almost like the [00:18:00] animal part of me, like the part of me that isn't driven by my conscious mind, which is so flawed and so lacking in so many ways, right? Because all of our conscious minds are limited. And in that place of surrender, that's when I'd get the biggest download, the biggest insight, the biggest clarity, the biggest kind of next step, even if it felt strange.

[00:18:23] unexpected, confusing, but I would also get that with a deep sense of trust and kind of navigating from leaving that first engagement and then meeting my husband, which was in retrospect, like the most irrational thing I could have done. Honestly, we met. At a dance floor at a rave, he was inebriated as was I, and he was traveling from Canada.

[00:18:52] He was in London for a week. I was in London at the time. I was there with my ex. [00:19:00] I was essentially on a date with my ex and everything was just like wrong about it. He was visiting. He was like, they're basically just for a week. I was there with my ex. We were both like not fully sober, And I remember just like the energy that I felt from him.

[00:19:18] And again, that very strong, intuitive download of I need to spend the rest of my evening with this guy. And no, and I did, and we actually, we were very lucky. We got a security guard to call some footage of us. And it's so funny because I look back at that footage and I'm like, we look like we're already like married.

[00:19:33] Do you know what I mean? We're already like dancing and vibing away. And then we had three dates in that subsequent week before he went back to Canada. And by the end of the third date, he I remember I was like, telling my friends like, I don't know what's happened, but either I'm meant to be with this man, I don't know how it's going to work, or the universe slash God has sent me him to show me how good of a man and how good of a relationship things can be.

[00:19:58] And I was like, I don't know him, he's not [00:20:00] my type, our backgrounds are very different, nothing about this is rational. And yet I feel safer and more at home with him than I felt with anyone. And from there, the rest is history. We got married within the year and that to me, again, was such a spiritual path and so many other things, right?

[00:20:20] So many other things like in my career and my finances have been humbling and difficult and unexpected and irrational have proven to be. the aligned path. And so the more I'm leaning into this, the more it's unfolding, the more trust I'm building, and the more evidence I'm building of yeah, this is the best way to be.

[00:20:40] This is the best way to be.

[00:20:42] Scott Maderer: Yeah. Some of that, I think that unconscious connection we have, you're in the field of relationships that definitely happens. And in the field of faith or spirituality, I think that happens too, that oftentimes whatever name you want to give [00:21:00] it, we're tapping into something.

[00:21:02] That is deeper than our conscious level, where it lets us feel that moment of, Huh, I have no way to explain this, but that feels right. And we also get it the opposite. I think sometimes that discomfort you had in the other relationship is that unconscious part of your brain going, Yeah,

[00:21:20] Katarina Polonska: yeah.

[00:21:21] Scott Maderer: Something's not right here. Yeah

[00:21:23] Katarina Polonska: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

[00:21:25] Scott Maderer: We get the tingles that you get when you're walking through a parking garage and then all of a sudden there's somebody there and it's like, how did I know that person was there before I saw that? Your brain picks up on things that we don't pick up on consciously.

[00:21:40] So let's talk a little bit more about the field of, and you alluded to this earlier, but I want to give you a chance to go a little deeper into it about high performers and. Why relationships can be such a, an area where they don't [00:22:00] focus on it, they ignore it it, it bubbles up as a, an issue.

[00:22:04] We all know the cliche, right? Of the the high powered man or woman's executive seven divorces that kind of thing. That's almost become a joke in a way, even though it. I wish it wasn't, but it's so typical that we almost expect that what, why do you think that pattern shows up so much for high performers?

[00:22:28] Katarina Polonska: Oh, there's so much to say here. There's a psychological perspective. There's also very like practical perspective. Maybe I'll start with the practical and the practical level. It's a lot to do with time and prioritization, right? On a very tangible level If you're working a 30 hour week, you have nice lunch breaks and you finish work at five and you commute home and you're with your partner or you like go to the pub or go to a bar or whatever, and you have all this time and space.

[00:22:59] And [00:23:00] you're probably in one community, probably in one town or one city and growing up there. It's a whole different ballgame to build a relationship in that environment than if you're doing 70 hour weeks, even 60 hour weeks, 70, 60 hour weeks, whatever it might be. You're on a plane all the time, you're in different cities or in different continents, you're traveling a lot, you're in business lounges, you're sleep deprived, you're under intense pressure.

[00:23:24] If you're an entrepreneur, then you're constantly trying to grow your business or your fundraising. And you're in very specific circles, right? The thing that you probably have time for is like the gym, right? You'd probably go to the gym, probably have some time for your friends because you want that immediate ROI to let off steam, you probably see your family a little bit.

[00:23:42] But outside of that, it's dating and relationships feels very volatile. Not only do you not have time for it, but as one of my clients said to me, it's like the unpredictability of relationship, whether it's being in an unhappy relationship and not knowing what you're going to come home to, or going out there and dating and not knowing how the date's going to go.

[00:23:59] [00:24:00] That unpredictability when you are so stretched and so busy and so worn out and so high stress, it's almost not worth it. You prefer something more higher ROI and more predictable and more stable, like going to the gym, being with your friends or working on your investments. So from a very tangible point of view, you just don't put the time in.

[00:24:19] You don't even have the time quote unquote, and you're not prioritizing it. So that's why that area of life is going to suffer. Of course it is. And then on a psychological level, what I have seen, and this is going to be some generalizations there, but hear me out. What I have seen a lot of is a lot of high achievers and that kind of drive to perform, that drive, that hunger.

[00:24:43] It comes from a wounded place, right? It certainly comes from a wounded place with me, with pretty much everyone I work with. And I say that with love. I'm not saying that in a kind of critical way. I'm saying that with like deep love and compassion. It comes from a place of maybe your parents were high achievers, and maybe they [00:25:00] were working really hard.

[00:25:00] Maybe there was a family business that you were born into. Maybe they were out there traveling the world themselves. Maybe both your parents were working. And in that space where your parents are. essentially emotionally not available because they're working, they're producing, they're creating for the family, that lack of emotional availability created some core wounds.

[00:25:23] And those core wounds can take on many different forms, right? Depending on where you land, but in any case, those core wounds create this kind of fundamental safe or a fundamental feeling of I'm not safe to just be, I'm not safe to just be, and I'm not worthy just being. So I have to do, I have to constantly be out there and I have to be doing, I have to be producing, I have to be achieving, right?

[00:25:46] And then, of course, if we think about childhood, the odds are there would be having some reward, right? Some pleasure associated with doing and achieving. And because there's this kind of lack of safety and just being and just existing, [00:26:00] because that's considered lazy, that's considered not enough.

[00:26:03] This drive to keep going keep climbing that ladder becomes part of the wiring, right? Becomes part of the programming. And that then has many successes in society, like from an academic point of view, from a professional point of view, from a financial point of view, it's like clap clap.

[00:26:20] Climbing the ladder of society, you're doing incredibly well. So there's more social capital, there's more praise, more pleasure associated with all of this. And so this behavior becomes so automated. And again, I can speak very much myself here. And yet the relationships are an area where this kind of drive and programming doesn't actually work and where these core wounds actually lead to patterns of self sabotage, right?

[00:26:47] Because in order to have a healthy relationship, you need to heal the core wounds. And to heal the queens means you're gonna have to look at this stuff. And now that doesn't mean that you're going to lose the driver ambition. You can still be ambitious and driven in a healthy way. [00:27:00] It just looks a bit different.

[00:27:02] So they're the two main reasons why I see high achievers really struggling with relationships and Yeah. It's a really good question. I've been pondering, like, why is it that the clients I work with, and my focus is so much on this demographic?

[00:27:16] Scott Maderer: Yeah. And so when you think about like let's flip it on its head.

[00:27:21] So you mentioned there at the end one of the things that you have to do is focus and heal those old wounds. What are some of the things that people need to understand or need to do, or in terms of somebody's hearing this right now, and they're like, Yeah, no, she just described to me this is, I recognize myself.

[00:27:41] What are some of the first steps or things that they need to think about doing to begin to move in a healthier direction?

[00:27:48] Katarina Polonska: Yeah. Great question. Step one is that awareness piece, right? building awareness. And because you can only do something when you're aware of it. If you

[00:27:57] Scott Maderer: don't know, you can't fix it.

[00:27:58] Katarina Polonska: So it's awareness. [00:28:00] So if this is even landing with you, or even if you're getting a bit of a spidey sense of Ooh, she might talk about me, then that is good awareness. And then you might want to do a bit of therapy, or you might want to do some journaling, or even just meditate on this and just bring a little bit more awareness to okay, how how is this feeling for you?

[00:28:16] At that point, I'm going to say something a little bit controversial here, maybe, but stick with me. I wouldn't say go and do 15 years of therapy like I did purely because in my experience, a lot of therapy when it's done kind of siloed and when it's done from a, there are so many different modalities and different streams of therapy.

[00:28:39] And I've honestly done more from EMDR to CBT to IFS to everything. Therapy is phenomenal for awareness building, and it can often fall short of doing more. Not all. Not all, but I would say definitely do some therapy. Just don't get stuck in it. Don't get stuck into this thing where like my therapist is on speed dial because [00:29:00] you don't need that.

[00:29:00] You don't need to be in it for 15 years. You don't even need to be in therapy for like more than a few months. This didn't have to get that awareness. And then you want to start solving for the core wounds and something I'm so passionate about. And that really took me all those 15 years to figure out.

[00:29:16] It's probably more than 15 years at this point is you don't need. You go deep into your childhood and unpack the stories and sit there and ruminate and hate your parents and wallow. You don't need to do any of that, right? It can be helpful to give a bit of clarity and understanding, but it's not going to move the needle on actually changing it.

[00:29:35] What you want to do is get the best tools and techniques out there to help you shift the core wounds and transform them. Transform is such a vague word, but what I mean by that is essentially heal the core wounds, right? And you can do so many different things you can do. I will say plant medicine is a great one.

[00:29:53] It's not going to fix you though. So don't start booking eyewasks and ceremonies because they're not really going to they'll help them. But [00:30:00] that's another thing I see a lot of. To me, it's you just got to go with the core wounds and work with the unconscious mind. and start digging them out at the source.

[00:30:08] That stuff, when you actually get to the core of it and you work with the unconscious mind, you can transform things very quickly. My teacher says three months is enough to really move the needle. Six months is enough to fully clear them out if you're disciplined and you do the work. So that's not involving retreats.

[00:30:24] That's not involving disappearing halfway around the world and making this a big laborsome process. It can be short and efficient to be focused on it. So that's a long answer. Not a very focused answer, but you get what I'm saying.

[00:30:39] Scott Maderer: And I think there's a question that I want to ask from that, because, and this isn't necessarily about coaching or self development or coaching, because I think I've seen it in all of those areas.

[00:30:53] Sometimes we almost begin to focus on things like [00:31:00] past wounds, things that have bothered us, whatever. And it's almost like you become enamored with. Finding those things as opposed to getting past those things it's like you said, you live in the awareness piece.

[00:31:18] It's Oh, let me find out what else is wrong with me today. Yeah, and I see that even in self development circles where people become addicted to the next self development thing or the next guru or the next coach or the next whatever. What do you? Again, why is that a trap or how would you speak to folks that kind of get on that endless cycle of find the next thing, find the next thing.

[00:31:44] Katarina Polonska: Now that's such a good point, because what you're describing there. And again, I did this too and I see a lot of it in my clients before they work with me. Is this kind of. egoic addiction to the label. And I'm literally actually studying, I'm [00:32:00] knee deep in unpacking and going hard on shadow work right now, right?

[00:32:04] And kind of the pleasure that we derive on an unconscious level with being so associated with the victimhood and the pain and the kind of the masochism that we all have. But that aside, Being, just being aware, ironically, that you are getting addicted to the identity of being the person who's always fixing, who's always solving is going to help you because the question there is, what are you afraid of if you were to let go of that identity?

[00:32:34] And very often, folks don't know who they are after they stop fixing or after they stop processing, or after they stop labeling themselves as I'm the woman who keeps attracting abusive partners. Okay, who are you if you weren't to be doing, if you weren't to be doing that, right? Or I'm the man who keeps attracting women who lie and cheat.

[00:32:56] Okay, who were, who are you if you were not to be [00:33:00] that? Or I'm the woman who's in this relationship or this marriage and I'm unhappy and I can't leave. First of all, is that actually true? And second of all, who would you be if you weren't to be that? So it's like challenging the identity that you're addicted to and questioning, What is it that you're afraid of, if you were to let go of that?

[00:33:18] And often it's the fear of change, often it's just the not knowing of who am I going to be? And so then the next step is start ideating. Who are you, if you are not these things? You were not these things before, like as a child, you weren't these things, most likely, right? When you were in the womb, you weren't these things.

[00:33:37] When you were born, you weren't these things. So are you, who are you outside of these labels that you've created? And that's a really nourishing place to fixate your energy and just to explore and make familiar and start to embody, to allow you to detach from that world. Addiction to I've got these problems.

[00:33:59] I have to do this, Eric. [00:34:00] I have to do this work.

[00:34:01] Scott Maderer: And I think you mentioned something at the beginning that I think probably for a lot of high achievers is almost. a trap that they could fall into almost easier, which is that identity of the fixer or the problem solver. Yes. Because a lot of high achievers, that's why they're in the position that they're in, is because they have a talent for solving problems, yes. Now, again, that's not every high achiever, but I know for a fact that oftentimes once you get that reputation, it's okay, now we're going to throw you into problems and you keep solving them. That's success in terms of everyone else outside looks at that and goes you're good at solving problems.

[00:34:43] We're going to put you in a high authority position and give you that opportunity. So it's almost like that identity of solving problems. is something that they're rewarded for.

[00:34:54] Katarina Polonska: Yes.

[00:34:55] Scott Maderer: So now I'm going to play that out of my personal life too and be the [00:35:00] problem person. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:35:02] Katarina Polonska: I'm just to add to that because you're so spot on and I love that you brought that up.

[00:35:06] In addition to that, when we are fixing problems, especially in relationship, there's a value associated to that of you're a good person, you're doing something good, you're providing value, right? And it comes back to that core wound of, I'm not enough, just being. I have to be doing, I have to be creating value, and my value is fixing people or creating projects out of people and making them be better, quote unquote, whatever that looks like, which, oh, I've been there, I did this, I've been

[00:35:40] Scott Maderer: there.

[00:35:40] And it's an easy thing to fall into because it's what you're rewarded for. Absolutely. Everywhere else you feel like you're rewarded for it. Totally. Why wouldn't this work here? It should work. And

[00:35:53] Katarina Polonska: you get to avoid your own problems that way,

[00:35:55] Scott Maderer: right? Get to

[00:35:58] Katarina Polonska: protect.

[00:35:58] Scott Maderer: And it [00:36:00] feels Yeah, it feels like you're doing something.

[00:36:02] Yeah, not actually.

[00:36:04] Katarina Polonska: Oh, it's great. Oh, I miss those days.

[00:36:09] Scott Maderer: Ignorance truly is bliss sometimes. So before I ask you a few questions that I like to ask all of my guests, is there anything else about the work you do or the study of relationships that you feel is really important to share with the listeners?

[00:36:25] Katarina Polonska: Yes, and that is that you do not ever need to settle in your relationships. And you are always worthy of healthy love. And by settling, what I mean is, not that you need to go out there and be like, I'm gonna go marry a billionaire. I'm not talking about, again, egoic desires. I'm talking about how you feel in your heart and in your body with the person that you're with.

[00:36:50] You don't have to settle with feeling like you're walking around on eggshells. Or like your needs are too much. Or like you are too much. right? [00:37:00] None of this is what you deserve. You deserve so much better. And whether that's something that you need to work through with yourself and your own patterns, or whether that's something you need to work through with the relationship, that's something to figure out probably with a professional.

[00:37:12] But the point is you don't need to settle and suffer.

[00:37:18] Scott Maderer: So I'm a big believer in defining terms and understanding words. And my brand is Inspired Stewardship. I run things through that lens of stewardship and being good stewards. And yet I've discovered that's one of those words that when I use it, it means a lot of different things to a lot of different people.

[00:37:35] So for you, when you hear the word stewardship, what does that word mean to you?

[00:37:40] Katarina Polonska: As we were talking, I was like thinking, I was like, how can I even define stewardship? It's a really good question. To me, stewardship is, I'm so bad at this stuff. You're stewarding someone. Oh, hard to describe this.

[00:37:56] You're, to be a good steward is to [00:38:00] be, it's like being a champion of yourself. A code of ethics and values and principles. That you are carrying through and transmitting to others, right? So like one of the things my own coach actually was telling me, she was like I want to be a good steward of money.

[00:38:22] And I thought that was such an interesting concept because for her, she was like I don't want to spend money unethically. I don't want to be an unethical person, a hoarder someone who's like butchering the planet or anything. She's I want to be ethical and be an ethical steward of money.

[00:38:36] And I thought that's such a really lovely way of saying that she wants to bring kind of ethics and integrity to the wealth that she is creating and to be the money that she's spending. So it's this transmission of a value code to me. I hope I got the answer right.

[00:38:52] Scott Maderer: There isn't a right or wrong, because what does it mean to you?

[00:38:56] I

[00:38:56] Katarina Polonska: wanted an A star!

[00:38:58] Scott Maderer: It's an opinion question [00:39:00] I can't judge it. I always find it interesting when people ask opinion questions and then try to tell someone they're wrong. It's you asked for an opinion. There is no right or wrong. Yeah,

[00:39:10] Katarina Polonska: yeah.

[00:39:11] Scott Maderer: But I see that happen. Here's my favorite question that I love to ask every guest.

[00:39:18] Imagine for a minute that I invented this magic machine. And with this machine, I was able to take you from where you are today and transmit you into the future, maybe 150, maybe 250 years. But through the power of this machine, you were able to look back and see your entire life, see all of the connections, all of the ripples, all of the impacts you've left behind.

[00:39:40] What impact do you hope you've left on the world?

[00:39:43] Katarina Polonska: Yeah, I've spread more love, which is so funny because 20 years ago, I would have said the same thing. Honestly, it's finding the answer actually has really convinced me back then. I was saying, I don't know how I'm going to do this, but now I'm like, no, I, [00:40:00] yeah, just spread more love.

[00:40:01] So

[00:40:02] Scott Maderer: roadmap for you as you continue on this path?

[00:40:06] Katarina Polonska: Yeah. Two things. Oh one, I am launching my own podcast, which I'm quite scared about, but I'm excited for, so that's one thing, really the main focus there for me is to keep building out the community and the group that I've created. Right now it's very small.

[00:40:25] I never planned for it to get big. And if it does get big, I'm just going to create another one. But I've created a very. Sacred, safe, group, co ed, men and women all masculine and feminine beings. And it's very much about, it's very much, I call it the successfully in love group, because it's very much about doing the inner work to become successfully in love.

[00:40:48] So that you have the love life that you crave and that you deserve, whilst also having a life that you love and deserve. And that group is really a blend of people in relationship. So it's 50 50, honestly, at this point. [00:41:00] People in relationship who are maybe unsure of whether they need to stay or go with their current partner, or maybe they've decided they want to stay, but they want to upgrade and level up that relationship from within.

[00:41:10] Or maybe they're planning the exit and they're just not sure how to do it because maybe logistically it's difficult because they're married and they've got kids and there's a lot at stake. Don't want to make the wrong decision. So that's half the group. And the other half of the group are singles who have maybe made already made that decision.

[00:41:25] Or they've come out of a breakup or they've been single for a while and they're looking to create healthy love. And it's this really amazing community where it's everyone's an executive or an entrepreneur. Everyone's a ambitious professional age is really 32 to 60. It's quite an age, a wide age group, and it's international, but it's such a safe and sacred space of getting coaching with me.

[00:41:51] Every single week everyone gets hot seat coaching, so there's a lot of that kind. One-on-one space. The community is really vibrant and everyone's supporting each other. There's the [00:42:00] curriculum that I've built and it's, to me, it's like you are doing a master's in relationships in a really fun way.

[00:42:08] It's not it's not heavy. It's like fun and loving and supportive and safe. So my goal is really to keep growing that group and keep nurturing that group and getting more and more client results and helping more and more people. I also have my one on one practice, but I feel like the group almost has more value because of that community piece.

[00:42:28] And then, Yeah, that's really, I'm going to stop there for my goals for the year. I have a tendency to try and do too much.

[00:42:35] Scott Maderer: So I'm going to, I'm not going to let you off the hook on the podcast. Do you have a title yet? What's the name? I do.

[00:42:40] Katarina Polonska: Yeah. So I have already trademarked my name. So it's called a successfully in love podcast.

[00:42:44] Yeah.

[00:42:47] Scott Maderer: Because people will look for it by the name. Yeah,

[00:42:51] Katarina Polonska: absolutely. I'm going to be launching it in July. So I'm just at the stage of recording the first three episodes and getting all the Text that up. Yeah. So if

[00:42:59] Scott Maderer: folks are listening to [00:43:00] this when it comes out by next month, you can be looking for the Successfully In Love podcast and you can listen to that if that's an area where Yeah.

[00:43:08] You've been working and I'm sure I'm sure we'll hear more about that. I'll try to circle back and put a link in the show notes too. It after amazing. Thank you. After it goes live, so thank

[00:43:19] Katarina Polonska: you. I also have I will say I also have a free masterclass, which is well worth watching if you want to understand more about the behavioral science of attraction, the methodology that I use of science behind it, and really how I help people discern whether to stay or go in a relationship and find and create health and love.

[00:43:37] So well worth watching that.

[00:43:40] Scott Maderer: And you can find out more about Katerina over on her website, which is at Katerina Polanska, and that's K A T A R I N A P O L O N S K A dot com. Of course, I'll have a link to that over the show notes [00:44:00] to make it easy for you as well. Is there anything else you'd like to share with the listeners?

[00:44:06] Katarina Polonska: I'd love to get in touch. Go watch the masterclass, drop me a message, let me know what landed for you, let me know what insights you got, let me know what questions you have, but because I'm in the relationship space, I obviously love relationships, I love building relationships, and I just love talking to people, so definitely reach out, don't be shy.

[00:44:28] I had one guy jump on a call with me and he was really nervous. It's like, why are you nervous? You're loved. You're fine. You're safe. Yeah. So definitely get in touch.

[00:44:37] Scott Maderer: I think it is a vulnerable topic for people to talk about. Again, especially somebody that has performed well in other areas of their life to admit that struggling in an area is hard.

[00:44:48] Katarina Polonska: For sure. Absolutely. No, I completely get that.

[00:44:56] Scott Maderer: Thanks so much for listening to the Inspired Stewardship Podcast. [00:45:00] As a subscriber and listener, we challenge you to not just sit back and passively listen, but act on what you've heard and find a way to live your calling. If you enjoyed this episode please do us a favor. Go over to inspiredstewardship.

[00:45:20] com. iTunes rate. All one word. iTunes rate. It'll take you through how to leave a rating and review and how to make sure you're subscribed to the podcast so that you can get every episode as it comes out in your feed. Until next time, invest your time, your talent, and your treasures. Develop your influence and impact the world.

In today's episode, I ask Katarina about:

  • Why her background led her to focusing on helping other high achievers find successfully in love... 
  • Why so many high achievers struggle in their relationships...
  • What you can begin to do to find successfully in love...
  • and more.....

Some of the Resources recommended in this episode: 

I make a commission for purchases made through the following link.

Originally when I started out on this path yeah there was a spiritual leaning but it wasn’t embodied or felt, and it was in the darkest moments… - Katarina Polonska

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About the author 


Helping people to be better Stewards of God's gifts. Because Stewardship is about more than money.

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