Interview with Alyssa Worrell
Life Coach Pro Alyssa Worrell is Co-founder of Mothering with Intention in Georgia. Her experience as a former military person with a medical background make her a great asset to our PocketSuite Pro community. Alyssa talks to CEO, Chinwe Onyeagoro, about her role as coach, therapist, child psychologist and friend.
Full disclosure, I’m a mother of two toddlers, so I’m just going to completely open the kimono as we talk about the work that you’re doing. Where did this all begin for you?
First of all, it’s my sister and myself. I’m the co-founder with my sister, Andrea Ferguson Peterson. MWI, Mothering With Intention, started on behalf of our mom, who we always say had a powerful journey of breast cancer, not just once, but twice. So she gave us such a different experience. I know some people are like what? But we had such a different experience with it that our perspective is always the glass is always half full, no matter what. So we always say probably our insight and looking at things in terms of breast cancer and having a parent transition is a bit different, but we knew that our experience as kids was very unique, and we wanted that same experience for our kids, but she wasn’t there.
So we’re like okay, listen, we have got to make this something amazing. We knew we wanted it to be different and so we figured, hey, let’s just jump in. We knew that we couldn’t be the only moms out there trying to figure this out and wanting this amazing experience for our kids, so we just started. One day, I went to another mom event and I was like wait a minute. I need this right now. So literally, we started with something called “StoryTimeForMoms” and it’s still happening. We’ll start back up in February, because we take breaks because we’re moms. We’re not doing the extra, super, CEO schedule. So moms love our schedule. Let me tell you what it is first. I get so excited. But it’s a 20-minute call because moms are busy. Okay, it’s a hit it and get it. It’s a powwow. We really feature the aha moment. It’s about the aha moment of parenting. That’s really what it is. First of all, we start it with a party. Obviously, you can tell I’m the one with the blue hair. Oh my God and it’s a genuine party because what mom that you know literally can stop for 20 minutes for her alone, right?
So we’re excited. The moms are coming on the line. We’re calling everybody’s name like they’re on the red carpet. We’re excited. My sister always has to calm me down. That happens for two minutes and then she comes on. She introduces. We tell our story as to why we started it, which I just shared with you. Then we either have a celebrity guest. I mean, we’ve had movie stars. We’ve had CNN anchors. We’ve had what we call regular moms who we think are the superstars anyway. We’ve had actresses. If you go on our website, you’ll be able to see some of the people that have come on just to tell their story. What’s amazing is I don’t care how famous they are or whatever, the bottom line which makes us so unique is that at the end of the day, we’re all moms, right?
I don’t care if you’re Japanese or Indonesian. You have got to think about it. If somebody is putting down your kid, it’s going to sound the same in Indonesia, Japanese, and Englsh. Our heads may be moving differently, but we’ll all feel what she’s saying. So that all happens in a culminated call of 19 minutes, 59 seconds where they share that moment. It is so powerful. Then at the end, I come behind and I just do an encouraging, “Hey, listen, we can do this. We got this.” 20 minutes, we’re off the call.
So the schedule, of course, is a mom’s schedule. We always say, “Hey guys, we won’t be on long because this is my birthday,” or, “It’s Andrea’s birthday,” or, “It’s our kid’s birthday,” or, “It’s Father’s Day.” They’re like, “Yes, I’m glad, because I’m trying to clean and cook this food. So our schedule is not going to look like the regular podcast schedule. But that’s how StoryTimeForMoms happened and it just evolved into what I needed, what my sister needed. So if you look at our website, you’ll see the courses. Our courses are, of course, different. For example, one of the courses is why I can’t seem to get it together with my kid’s syndrome? Why is time running me instead of me running time? We have the wives. We have the parents in boot camp because this feels like a boot camp. Don’t you feel like you’re in a boot camp?
It’s still evolving. One of the things that I’m really passionate about because everything that you see there, everything that we’re about is because we’re either just coming out of the fire of it or we’re in the fire. So the one that’s next is “Winning the Heart of Your Daughter”. That’s where it started. And that’s my story. I’m sticking to it, and we’re rocking with it.
That is so awesome. I am hearing more and more stories where people are looking at themselves and their own experiences and saying this is an asset not a liability. But when you’re a young child, it’s more likely to feel like trauma when you have someone that’s close to you that’s going through something like cancer and not a time for celebration. How did you find your way to the light to be able to share it in this way?
Not just because she was my mom, but she really was there. I’m sure everybody’s going to say this about their mom, but she was very special, very, very special. She was very different in her own respect. Now, of course, I always tell the story as I speak on different platforms that I think I was grieving for maybe three years and didn’t even realize I was still grieving. It was so painful, so painful, to where you feel like you couldn’t even catch your breath. Then as my life was moving and I began to develop in ministry and different things that I was doing. I’m a former military person with a medical background. All of those things kind of drew me out. Because of the needs of other people. I found myself really talking to people about what it’s like to transition your parent as an adult. I don’t care what anybody says, it’s different. It’s different when you’re over 25, 27, 28 years old and you’re transitioning your parents. My parents died 36 months one after the other.
So when you ask me how did I get to that place, we’re still there. The classes and the courses are healing for us. Whenever we’re on the call with moms, we literally can feel her presence. We hear her conversation. We say some of the same things that she says. Every call we share with people, the slogan that she would say, “Sick or well, I’m going to work.” Well, those are the things that developed our work ethic. “Sick or well, I’m going to work.” So you would see her get up, having had chemotherapy the day before. She obtained several degrees all the way through. If she had a little more time, she probably would be a doctorate to this day. So that’s what we saw. She was one of the first black child life specialists in New York. Now that’s a popular thing. Back then it was not popular. She developed the wing in what was Interfaith Medical Center in New York. So when you say how did we, we’re still pushing.
How are you connecting the work that you are doing to interactions with your children? Are they the “living lab” and model for the curricula and workshops that you’re creating?
When I tell you we are in the fire of it, we’re conversing about everything on purpose. We’re at the dinner table. The news is on and we’re talking. When you have a son that you’re raising as a young adult and your conversations are different. For a while, I was in denial, like oh, I don’t have to talk to my son. He knows. But I had to say the words. I had to say, “Son, when you get in the car, take off your hood.” “Son, you cannot walk into the store like that.” It’s mind blowing. So when you say how are we bringing them in? Because we’re in the fire and because of just the lifestyle that we choose to live, you have got to think, we’re raising these young people and then the world is trying to raise them too.
We’re a little creative in our house. Yesterday, my husband is the music person, so they’re sitting there watching Verzuz together. I don’t know if you know about Jeezy and Gucci Mane, but I think it is amazing. They sit and he knows the words. They know the words. I mean, they’re three different generations in my house, but it’s that kind of thing that we do. Some people might say, “Oh, that’s redic.” No, it’s not. If you don’t know what they’re listening to, that’s a problem. But not only know what they’re listening to, but it means something to him, too. He’s yelling, “Oh my God. I know that.” And she’s like, “Oh my God, Dad.”
I think one of the things that has kept me grounded is “Don’t forget why you started”. Don’t get so big up into the numbers that you forget that one number or that first person that said yes or that first person that clicked beyond the $100 sale. Don’t forget that because it was the essence of that that continues to drive you.
Let’s talk about the mechanics of your business. Give me a profile of your clients and how they find you. I imagine word of mouth is a powerful attractor, but how does that happen?
One of the primaries is whenever I speak. I’ll speak mostly at women’s conferences or people will have me at different workshops, and they’ll say, “Oh my gosh. You got to come speak to our girls. Or you got to come speak to our women,” or, “Hey, can we have you come to wherever?” I will do that. Others may happen through just interacting and conversation with their kids. Then one of them may say, “Well, she got my kid all the way together, so you might want to call her. You might want to call her.” Or you have young moms that are like, “Oh my God. She sat with me on the phone and helped me clean my house because it was just a lot. It’s just different connections like that. Not that I don’t want to be totally out there, but I love that it’s very authentic and grassroots. Because the thing about it is, what we do, you have to want this. I’m sure everybody feels like that with their company, right?
I tell people if you look at one of our forums, you don’t have to listen to anything I’m saying. I’m just saying, “Mama, if that baby is three years old, listen to what I’m saying. Now you can bring him back to your bed if you want to.” We’re going to sing this bedtime story together. Okay, sing.” She is crying because she knows at the end of this song, I’m going to have her walk out of the room. “Sing, mama.” She is crying about the baby. “Go ahead, walk out. You’re fine. Go ahead. You’re fine. Let’s go. Close the door.” “Put your babycam thing on. Is he breathing?” “Yes, he’s breathing.”
Let me get to the medical part of why you’re supposed to do this. You’re supposed to clear out his lungs.” They will have a problem as an adult, if they don’t know how to satiate themself. Everything is connected. Go and take your shower by yourself. Do not go back. Those are the things. Because why? Because I was the mother with the car seat in the bathroom, shower door open, talking to the baby that’s crying when I’m trying to take this three-minute shower. That was me. But I was not the only one, if mothers are taking showers at all.
We know that that is a big “if”, isn’t it? So you’re one part coach, one part therapist, one part child psychologist, one part friend.
There’s just so much going on here. With two toddlers under the age of four, I know the early part of motherhood for me involved a lot of shame – about so many things that I just wasn’t prepared for. With most businesses, as a client, you’re buying a service. You’re going to get your hair done. You’re going to do this or that. It’s a positive thing. I feel good about it. Everyone feels good. In comparison, this amazing service that you provide feels heavy. It’s a tough conversation for moms to admit that we need help in this area. As women, we live in this guilty place. How do you help people help themselves to your services? Because there’s a sales element to it that’s tricky. It’s really tricky. How do you get them from I went to a workshop and I heard you speak to yes, I’m going to sign up and I’m ready to take this journey with you?
How do we do it, first of all, by example, teaching people self-compassion. Well, the business sales part of it is still there. I don’t like feeling like I’m selling a car, because I hate that. I hate it, hate it with everything in me. But we share the opportunity. We share the opportunity to, number one, just feel better.
Exactly, exactly. The judgment never ends. What are your most popular services?
I think the most popular services are the bootcamps because, for the wives, they’re in these houses. It’s happening right now. Now the parenting boot camp because you have parents at home working and kids at home. The whole dynamic has changed. You have got to imagine if you have CEOs and COOs sitting next to their kids at the computer too, and they’re conducting meetings like, “Be quiet.”
Then when we offer those as private sessions, the private sessions are amazing. Because it’s one-on-one, the intensity is greater. I’m finding sometimes that I have to do every single day. That’s been a major transition. So I found we’ll have to do that because more is offered when people feel comfortable. When they feel safe, you get to the truth. Of course, every time it’s 100% authentic, it gives you so much room for breakthrough. So those have been the biggest things for us, those two.
Well, you are a miracle worker. It’s clear. You’re singing so much truth about the lives we’re all leading. It sounds like you’ve had some COVID moments in your house, how has COVID affected your business? Clearly, it’s increased the number of people who have a need for your services?
I think it is different now because the need is different. People, they have a sense of wait a minute, something is wrong, or an urgency to figure it out. Okay, I have got to do something different. You didn’t have to really deal and dig in before. So now all of that energy is transferred to a concentrated moment, which is at your address. So it’s like sifting through all these layers, figuring out that your home is not actually your safe place. That may be at the office. Maybe you were having an affair. No disrespect, but maybe you were having emotional affairs at the office. That’s why you were so grounded there, but when you come home, it’s like “Why did I do this? Who is this person? Who’s children are you? Why are you here? When are you leaving?”
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Just picking up on that, a lot of pressure is put on mothers right from the beginning. What is the role of the father in your practice? As you’re coaching the mother on parenting, are you also coaching her on sharing, shifting, and balancing responsibilities with co-parents or partners?
Well, that’s a beautiful question. That’s a wonderful question. It also depends on who comes to the table. Because you have to remember, too, the dynamic is you have to want to come for it. You have to want to come to my house. Something else that we do is called “Fathering With Intention”. We do Mothering With Intention and Fathering With Intention. But here’s the thing, usually it is the mother coming. So respectfully, we deal with whoever is in front of us. What will happen is, as you evolve, it will attract the father.
Yes, radical alignment. Well, it’s funny. One of my biggest ahas in parenthood is that my husband and I are values aligned, but it doesn’t mean we show up in the same way for our kids. So, I had to at some point say, “Okay. You know what? This is not a reflection of how good or bad a parent we are. We’re showing up differently and they need both styles. We’re still headed in the same direction.” That was a big moment.
Yeah, we talk to families about superpowers. You gain a different perspective with a simple question like “What is your superpower?”
I’m having flashbacks here. So when you look up and out, what do you see for your business? What’s your vision for the future?
Oh my God. The whole vision is that we serve 10,000 families next year. We’re going to serve 10,000 families. How we’ll break that down is every family that we speak to, that mother or that family will then create their own community, their own tribe, and then they will begin to intentionally impact the world of parenting. I just believe it. I talk like it every single time. If you ask me the same question when I wake up at 2:00am in the morning, I’m going to say the same thing. We’re going to impact 10,000 people in the world and we’re going to do it. Every parent that we contact, they’re going to then begin to impart what they have learned about grace based parenting.
PocketSuite is going to help you. We have thousands of moms running businesses, so you have access to this community. Also, I personally am going to sign up and learn more about grace based parenting. God knows, there are some times that I struggle with sustaining a state of grace in my mothering.
I don’t care how young they are, the principles are still the same.
Perfect, I’ve got a wily one. She is three years old and has already got me under her thumb. So I’m there. I’m there. So you’ve got all these entrepreneurs who are in every industry in the PocketSuite community that you can imagine. They’re all focused on the same thing, which is living their best life, serving their clients, and doing their best work. This is a tough time. Even for those who are doing well, it’s a tough time. Is there anything that has kept you grounded and on the path that you’d be willing to share?
I think one of the things that has kept me grounded is “Don’t forget why you started”. Don’t get so big up into the numbers that you forget that one number or that first person that said yes or that first person that clicked beyond the $100 sale. Don’t forget that because it was the essence of that that continues to drive you. Then the other part is when another small business like myself comes your way, be sensitive.
Tell us about your PocketSuite experience.
I’ve been reborn. Oh, God, thank you. The call I got today, just the fact that it was a personal call and it was a few minutes. It wasn’t beating around the bush. That’s what that was for? That’s what I’m paying for? It was just a few minutes, but if that’s the energy behind the staff and the mission, oh my God. Oh I love you. That’s only going to attract.