Talking to Linkedin ‘boss’ and business coach in Portugal. Heidi Medina opens up about abuse
Making conversations about abuse count!
This episode contains one of our most important conversations, so we’re definitely going to make it count!
She’s a Linkedin expert and business coach who is the exact opposite of the classic ‘my way or the highway’.
Whether you meet Heidi online or in-person she is the same. She’s conversational, spirited and asks so many questions!
It’s why we knew she’d be perfect for this show that just so happens to be all about conversations!
Heidi has faced many challenges, especially tackling abuse head on, and she explains what happened, in this episode. Her pivotal moment that created her career-defining and the reflective turning point is a powerful one.
We think you’ll take a lot from this episode, whether you’ve suffered from abuse, or you know someone who is or has. It goes without saying that if you are yourself enduring abuse, then please do not suffer in silence.
These people are here to help.
Heidi has some special details to share with you about the launch of her new programme! Find out more here.
Use code #WendyIsTheBomb for a 100E discount
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Making Conversations Count – Episode Twenty-One
March 15th 2021
Wendy Harris & Heidi Medina
00:02:48: COVID has forced change for the good
00:04:23: Being genuine on social media
00:07:31: Meeting the “real” person on zoom
00:08:38: Americans will talk to anybody!
00:10:04: Heidi’s love of writing
00:11:47: Why no photo on social media…
00:14:46: Heidi’s pivotal moment
00:19:48: Is blood really thicker than water?
00:20:39: Walking away and starting again
00:22:27: Final thoughts
Wendy Harris: Welcome to Making Conversations Count, the podcast hosted by me, Wendy Harris, bestselling author and telephone trainer of over 30 years’ experience; and I bring you business leaders who share that one conversation that created a turning point in their life or career, and what followed next.
Have you ever been affected by abuse, either mental or physical? This is something that more of us have experienced than we would really like to admit. But, today’s guest has suffered this and reflects on that conversation that created a turning point for her in her career, and has led her on the journey to where she is today. It is the very spirited and conversational lady that I have gotten to know so well on social media channels and in offline conversations; it is Heidi Medina. Today, we are going to make conversations about abuse count.
For our listeners, Heidi has put together a very special discount on a new programme that she is launching. Make sure you listen to the very end to get the details and take her up on this spectacular offer. Heidi Medina!
Heidi Medina: Hi guys, I’m so happy to be here and hang out with you, Wendy!
Wendy Harris: It’s like having a girlie night in, and I’m in the UK and you’re, I don’t know?
Heidi Medina: Portugal; I’m in Lisbon where the sun is finally shining after three days of rain.
Wendy Harris: Oh, I’m so jealous. So, you’re sitting on the veranda with a G&T? No, she’s not really; I’m actually lying.
Heidi Medina: I would have loved to, but there’s a little bit too much traffic and you guys might not have heard me, but, you know…
Wendy Harris: Well, it’s a beautiful part of the world. Introduce yourself. What do you do; and tell everybody how we first met?
Heidi Medina: Hi, I am Heidi and I’m a business coach with Talk to Heidi. I also am a LinkedIn expert, which just happens to be where I met Wendy; it was on LinkedIn. Shoot, I don’t even know how long it’s been now, do you?
Wendy Harris: Well, there’s a six-month vacuum where something’s stolen time from my life, but yeah, it must have been last year, I reckon?
Heidi Medina: At least a year, maybe longer. I’ve been on there for well over three years, so definitely made pretty cool connections in that time frame, you being one of them. Adore LinkedIn. I am actually huge on conversation; that’s where I specialise heavily. New products are coming out soon, all kinds of exciting stuff happening right now.
Wendy Harris: There are lots of people that have been working on different projects, squirrelling away, and I think it’s just fantastic that we can take this time and innovate ourselves and really dig much deeper than we probably would have done if we’d have just been rolling along okay.
Heidi Medina: Yeah, COVID has definitely brought faster pivots and changes. People probably would have made them eventually. I think things have been sped up two to three years for a lot of stuff.
Wendy Harris: Yeah. I know that some of the studies that I’ve been reading are sort of five and ten on tech.
Heidi Medina: That’s entirely possible. I’m just thinking about through my clients and the people I’ve most connected with, and definitely things have jumped ahead. And even with myself, with the stuff I’m getting ready to release, I don’t think I would have been working on this until mid to end of next year. We can look at this as just being a negative time, but there are so many positives coming with it.
COVID has forced us into new directions we might not have followed. I mean, there’s a lot of awesomeness coming out of it too. I mean, yes, we don’t want it obviously, but hey, let’s look a little more to the positive sides now.
Wendy Harris: I think I did a poll on LinkedIn and I was asking people, “Have you found that your business has stayed the same? Have you pivoted and grown? Have you gone backwards? Are you doing something completely different?” Out of four options, three of them were all positive and there was not much in the negative going backwards; it was like 18%.
Heidi Medina: Okay, that’s good.
Wendy Harris: So, there’s lot to be positive about. But, I’m just going to touch on LinkedIn. I love your posts on LinkedIn and I know how conversational you are, and I’m going to apologise upfront right now, because sometimes I don’t engage. And, this is just proof that there are lurkers. I do lurk your profile, Heidi, and it’s just purely because I know that if I say something, you’ll say something back and then we’ll get into a conversation and then I might just lose the time that I was doing something else.
But, I just love that about you, and it’s certainly what I try to do. I don’t know whether I do it as well as you, but certainly you have what I would call a positive reputation?
Heidi Medina: I’ve always liked to talk to people, but definitely online, I’ve had to really learn what worked for me and didn’t. And, people treat the online world so different than offline that I’ve tried to help change that whole atmosphere that it’s all the same place, it’s all the real world; it’s not different. You wouldn’t do those bad behaviours we do online of just, you know, walking away in the middle of a conversation, or being rude, or stuff like that if you won’t do it in the real world; don’t do it online.
Wendy Harris: Yeah, I think for the listeners, there’s a guy, Geoff Young, that I’ve connected with; he’s lovely. He’s Ohio, I think, and he is the LinkedIn guru. And, he shares so much value and tips about how to behave and how to behave properly. When I had a one-to-one with him, he paid me the biggest compliment by saying, “Do you know, you are just the same as you are online”.
Heidi Medina: Yeah, it’s this whole idea of a different online persona versus the real world when, in reality, if we met on the street, you know me; but, how many people do you actually get on a zoom call or actually meet and all of a sudden you’re just like, “Who are you?” Their phots tend to be older. You’ve got people leaving 10, 20-year-old photos, because they like their younger self; and then, just how they talk and treat people and that whole attitude. It just doesn’t work, especially now with COVID; we’ve had to move online to zoom conversations so much more often.
Then all of a sudden you’re getting on a zoom call and you’re like, “Oh my God, I actually don’t know this person and I thought I did!”
Wendy Harris: Does that happen to you a lot, Heidi?
Heidi Medina: It has this year. It’s been, in some ways, very disappointing because, you know, I’ve built these relationships with people through LinkedIn and some of them through Facebook and things like that, and you’ve had all these amazing conversations in DM and through the comments and things like that.
Then all of a sudden, you get on this zoom call finally, because this year, I’ve had more coffee chats this year than I have; I’ve met more of my connections this year in the entire three years on LinkedIn, and it’s been amazing and incredible. But at the same time, in some ways, it’s been disappointing to find out people aren’t who they portrayed themselves as.
Wendy Harris: Have there been people you’ve had a coffee chat with and then gone, “Do you know what; before this, I wasn’t really quite sure whether I’d get on with you”, and they were just a joy; that’s got to happen, right?
Heidi Medina: It does happen, it really does; because, you get that extra level of connection when you actually get to meet, either on zoom or in person or something, that you don’t get through DMs and comments, and I just enjoy it; I absolutely love adding that level, because you get to see facial interactions, your tone of voice and body language, and it just adds so much more.
I think the hardest part for me, because I’m a hugger, I love to give hugs, and so COVID has really made it worse; I don’t get to hug people.
Wendy Harris: Even the elbow thing was never my thing. “Shall we do a bum bump?”; that took off in one of the ladies’ networking groups at the beginning of the year. I think we’re all missing a little bit of, not intimacy, but it’s a level of friendship that you can share with colleagues, isn’t it, like the office water cooler chat? We’ve had to make the effort to keep those conversations going.
Heidi Medina: I think that’s the big point too, is that we’ve had to make the effort to do it, because you see a lot of people getting depressed because they don’t have the contact, and things like that. But at the same time, they’re not reaching out and making it happen. I’m seeing it and, you know me, I talk to anybody!
Wendy Harris: I can just imagine you in the supermarket queue or waiting to be served at the counter!
Heidi Medina: Oh, and in Europe; oh my God! So, I’m from the southern US, and we will talk to anybody. We’re kind of polite and cheerful, but we’ll talk to anybody; it doesn’t really matter. And the weird thing is, I grew up shy and I’ve had to overcome all that; and sometimes, I still have those moments. But still, then I get to Europe and I’m used to walking down the streets saying, “Hello, how are you, good day, bye bye!”, or even at the grocery store.
Wendy Harris: Morning!
Heidi Medina: The queue is up and you’re waiting around, so you turn around to the guy, “Oh, what about that product in your cart; do you like it?” or something to that effect. And, yeah, Europeans don’t like that so much. They also start looking at me like I’m an axe-murderer, like I’m going to take their head off around the corner!
Wendy Harris: I think that just depends on whether you’re wearing your hat that day!
Heidi Medina: I really don’t wear it enough!
Wendy Harris: That’s it. Note to self; wear the hat more. People will talk to the woman in the hat.
Heidi Medina: I haven’t worn it today.
Wendy Harris: I know; I’m disappointed. So, conversation, I mean you’re actually trained to write stuff as well, aren’t you; you love to write? And, I see it comes out in the posts that you do, that there’s this outpouring. And I think that’s what’s engaging for people, is that you’re sharing what you think and what your observations are; but, you’re actually calling people out to say, “Answer me back; tell me”, and you don’t mind if it’s divisive. You’re kind of encouraging people to show themselves, which I think is just — I’m applauding, for those that can’t see.
Heidi Medina: I truly believe that communication is the key to solving all our problems. I don’t think we do enough of it, and I think that’s part of the reason the world in general is where it’s at, is we just don’t talk. And, it’s not that you can just talk; you have to listen. And, it doesn’t mean you have to agree, but at the same time, you still have to leave space for the person to express their opinions, be themselves, accept that you’re not going to like everyone or everything about everyone; and, that’s perfectly okay.
That’s what I do try to do through my posts. I do invite people in and then I do leave the space open, “Okay, fine, disagree with me; be polite about it”. It doesn’t mean — you know me, I drop the F-bomb all day long, but don’t do it in an abusive way. I’ve got no patience for trolls; I have no patience for anybody that’s abusive to somebody, or anything like that. But, if you want to come and do a strong conversation where we don’t agree; fine, let’s do it.
Wendy Harris: I think it just shows the balance of having all the opinions that you possibly can, because then when you run out of questions, you’ve got your answer?
Heidi Medina: And not just that. You know, I’ve put some of my opinions and ideas out on LinkedIn in general on this a couple of times where I was firmly rooted in my belief. People having to have a photo, was one of the big ones. I was firmly rooted; I don’t connect with people without a photo. And I got into an amazing conversation and several people actually came to me in DM because they didn’t want to express it publicly, that it had opened the door enough that they felt comfortable enough to come to me in DM and tell me why they didn’t have photos.
It completely changed my view and I’ve, of course, written a couple of articles on it since and things like that. But, if I hadn’t have left the room, and even in my own mind, even though I was firmly rooted in that, if you present me with the right stuff, obviously I can change. I love that about conversations, because it helped me grow in somewhere that I was pretty set on.
Wendy Harris: I would agree that to some extent, I’m wary where there’s no photograph, because that’s like walking into the biggest networking room on the planet with a paper bag on your head. But then, just listening to you say reasons why people wouldn’t, I’m already conjuring those answers, and I can see situations where you perhaps wouldn’t want to be identified; witness protection, or abusive relationships, or it could be a number of things, couldn’t it, that you just don’t want to be identified?
Heidi Medina: The weirdest thing is, I was so deeply rooted in that. But, yeah, I’ve come out of a very abusive relationship with my ex, and then my family was very abusive, and I spent about three years not allowing people to know where my location was; and as a result, I also didn’t put my photo up. So, it actually shocked me that one of the women came to me and said, “I don’t do this because of my abusive ex”. And here I am just like, “I did that; why the heck did that not even occur to me that it was that?”
But even still, what you just said, you’re a little bit, when you don’t see one, you start saying, “Oh well”. I do still check them out. I check everything else out instead.
Wendy Harris: Yeah, you kind of have to do your due diligence, don’t you, because like anything, it’s open for abuse? But, I would say that is such a small part of the brilliance that is LinkedIn and the conversation starters. I also say, it’s a conversation starter; it’s fabulous!
Heidi Medina: I know, and it opens the door to, “Hey, why don’t you have a photo?”
Wendy Harris: Yeah, I know, and I would say, you never know where a conversation will lead. I mean, look, we’re now on a podcast; how cool is that? And, we’ve never met in real life; we’re in different countries. But, these are the possibilities that can happen for people by just having a conversation. So, it kind of created a pivotal moment for us?
Heidi Medina: It did, didn’t it?
Wendy Harris: So, I’m going to ask you, Heidi; everybody that comes on the show, I ask you to think about a pivotal moment. I don’t want to have known about it; I don’t want to have read about it; I kind of want it to be something that’s so exclusive that it’s just between me and you and all the listeners, because I think that these stories really help people.
When they hear that, they say, like you were saying earlier, “I did that, and I’d forgotten. That’s just put a fresh perspective on something; it’s just brought something to the fore”. So, big reveal, Heidi; what’s your pivotal moment?
Heidi Medina: I’ve got quite a few, so the hard part was picking one. I actually have one that I’m going to start sharing that I haven’t shared. It’s going to be part of the story with the new product, so maybe now’s the time to go and reveal!
So, some of this goes into with how I actually started over my life, and it took a while, growing up abused and then, I just married into an abusive relationship; it was all kind of normal. I distinctly remember the moment.
I was 28 and I hit a point where all of a sudden I understood that this wasn’t the way life had to be; it was normal, how normal people lived, per se; and, that’s when I started realising things had to change, because I wasn’t happy. I wasn’t living my life, my dreams; I was just doing for everybody else. Me was kept in this tiny little box, because nobody wanted me.
The personality you guys get to meet now was the one that they all wanted to keep in the box. Instead, they just wanted the person that would do what they wanted to do, make their dreams and stuff happen. Yeah, that was such a huge moment. I spent four years trying to work it out; I tried to get people into counselling trying to get things to change.
But I was 32, four years later. I always host a Christmas dinner at my house. I was in the kitchen, because I’m always the chef. I was talking to my dad a minute, but it was a [beep] of a day; it was a complete [beep] of a day. I was fighting with my ex now and everything else like that; and I was so upset, I reached into a hot oven and actually picked up the pan of mac and cheese with my bare hands.
So, with everything, the abuse, and everything had come to the end; it was the end. I was four years trying to change it, nothing was changing, nobody wanted to change and help make things where I could live and be me and all that. And, I had hit a point where no matter what, I was going to be me and do my thing. And, I had a really big fight with my ex that morning. We were still married at that point, and abuse had happened; it was the whole thing.
I was so upset and so in my head that it was done, you know, I had to change something; it had to change. And I knew at that point that I had to walk away from it all. And because of being so locked in my head, I literally just reached into the oven and pulled out this pan bare-handed; 350 degree Fahrenheit oven, which is about 200 Celsius. My dad’s immediately grabbed a towel and I get my hands under the sink, but that’s when I woke up and said no more; this is it.
So, it was two months later when I walked away from it all; a multi-six-figure business, a dream life, custom 3,400 square foot house, 20 acres of property, a business that was exploding, was on magazine covers, you name it; we had all that covered. I even ended up walking away from my entire family, except from one of my sisters, because nobody was willing to let the abuse go.
So, that was such a life-changing moment that I have succeeded at two of my biggest goals now, my dreams. I’m living in Portugal now, I work from my laptop anywhere in the world with an internet connection, which was two dreams I’d had since I was in seventh grade.
Wendy Harris: Wow!
Heidi Medina: I’m meeting cool people, I’m travelling the world, I do some really neat stuff. And especially, one of my dreams was always to be able to help others achieve their dreams and goals, because I know what it’s like not to be able to do that yourself. And so, that moment, when I finally hit that point and, it wasn’t easy; I don’t recommend it, if you can make it. But, at the same time, if it’s what you have to do…
Wendy Harris: For me, hearing your story, the conversation was with yourself as much as anything, wasn’t it; because, there was nobody else listening?
Heidi Medina: No, there wasn’t.
Wendy Harris: You needed to tell yourself it was okay to walk away?
Heidi Medina: I still struggle with that sometimes. I mean, I left my family. I had six years of therapy to deal with it, realising that the abuse wasn’t okay, that blood is not thicker than water, which I don’t know if it’s a big saying around the world?
Wendy Harris: Yeah, it’s overuse, abused, yeah.
Heidi Medina: Yeah, so there was the whole guilt that I left my family, that I abandoned my family. Of course, my family kept trying to have contact for a long time, and there was a lot of guilt put into it, and all that kind of stuff; if you abandon your blood, you abandon your kin.
It took six years of therapy working with the abuse and dealing with that guilt of leaving and realising and learning how to function normally, in a sense; what’s actually normal behaviour.
Wendy Harris: Yes. And I guess, you know, there’s one point that I think we need to raise here, Heidi, is that you walked away from a gifted life, if you like, where if you’re successful and you have money, then you don’t really give decision-making much thought, because if you want something, you just do it. So, walking away strips all of that back. You’re right back on a teat, so to speak, aren’t you, really?
You’ve got to give yourself credit, because you are now in control; you realise that you don’t need to accept this certain behaviour. Look at your business now, look at where you’re living; it’s just fantastic. I’m so glad you listened to yourself.
Heidi Medina: Me too. I mean, even the agony of going through it all and stuff like that, I can’t tell you the relief that I get to be me, that you get to meet me, and that all of that stuff is also what’s allowed me to be able to talk to people and understand them the way I do and things like that; it’s all the learning from all that stuff, and just kind of empathy and understanding.
Wendy Harris: We’re born into our family, we don’t choose them, but we can choose our tribe. Or, should I say, mother-cluckers, which is your famous tribe! So, do you know, Heidi, I could talk to you forever and I know that I will, post-show.
Now, we’re about out of time. I really can’t thank you enough for sharing such a personal moment, but certainly out of that adversity, that was what you needed to happen for you to be where you are; it’s your journey; it’s all part of you and your blueprint. So, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Before we go, where can people find you if they want to pick up the conversation with you?
Heidi Medina: Yes, and thank you for having me, Wendy. If people want to find me, they can either find me on LinkedIn at Heidi Medina, or at talktoheidi.com; I’m on both all the time!
Wendy Harris: We’re in an online world now, aren’t we; there’s no hiding.
We do hope that you enjoyed the show today with Heidi. We said to listen to the very end. She’s got a very special offer for you. If you use this code: #wendyisthebomb, you will get €100 discount from her business programme that she’s offering now.
We will pop the note for her programme into the show notes, but you need to go to www.talktoheidi.com/boomerang-your-business. Hope you take her up on the offer! Go to our channel which is www.makingconversationscount.studio/podcast. You can see all the different mediums; your favourite will be there. Make sure you hit the button so you never miss an episode again.