Lead With Soul

Building communities and amplifying queer voices with Megs Pulvermacher

September 13, 2021 Kimberly King Season 1 Episode 12
Lead With Soul
Building communities and amplifying queer voices with Megs Pulvermacher
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Lead With Soul, we're chatting about the importance and impact of creating connections and building communities for queer folks, navigating the ups and downs of personal development and how allies can support and empower folks in the LGBTQ+ community.

Megs is a LGBTQ+ Community Builder & Podcaster and the creator of the Queer Impact Collective — a community of queer-identifying entrepreneurs, creatives, & changemakers with the goal of amplifying queer voices and empowering queer missions. She also hosts the Out, What Now?! podcast, which is all about navigating the ups and downs of the coming out journey, while having as much fun as possible. Megs has 10 years of experience working as a nationally certified school psychologist, which hugely influences the way she builds relationships, creates & facilitates spaces for connection and healing, and her mission to empower queer folks to love themselves, live more boldly & authentically, take up more space, and have more fun.

Connect with Megs:

Find me on Facebook and Instagram or visit my website here.
Find more episodes of Lead With Soul and show notes here.
Download the transcription here.

Episode 12: Building communities and amplifying queer voices with Megs Pulvermacher

Welcome to Lead With Soul — The podcast for spiritual entrepreneurs who are ready to build an impactful and profitable brand, create a thriving and sustainable business that aligns with your values, and experience more freedom, fulfillment and abundance in your life and business — while making a positive difference in the world. If you’re ready to elevate your business and brand to a new level, manifest your vision into reality and embody the leader you know you’re meant to be — this is the podcast for you. I’m your host, Kimberly King.

Kimberly King:
Hello, welcome to another episode of Lead With soul. Thank you so much for joining me. I am so excited for today's episode because I have a special guest, Megs. She is an LGBTQ+ community builder and podcaster. And I am super excited to have a conversation with Megs today. So Megs, I would love for you to take a moment to introduce yourself, tell us a little bit more about who you are, and maybe share a little bit more about your journey. Whatever parts you feel called to share. You can give us cliff notes and we can dive into conversation.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Right on. Cliff Notes would probably be a good idea because it's one of those ‘where do you begin?’ kind of stories, but like Kim said I’m Megs, my pronouns are she/her. I am more commonly known, I suppose at this point as Megs the Connector, which is something that I purely made up, because I've really found that over the course of my life and building my business, I am pretty freaking awesome at building connections with people. And I love bringing lots of different people from different areas of my life into one space. I love connecting people with other people so that they could become friends and do cool collaborations and change the world. And all of that kind of good stuff.

So where that has led me as far as what I do now, is I run a membership network. It's a mostly online community, though, when COVID gets the hell out of here, it will be more in person, a big community of queer-identifying entrepreneurs, creatives and changemakers, who all come together to support one another to collaborate to change the world all with the goal of amplifying queer voices and empowering queer missions. Because everybody knows that when the world is even just a little bit more queer, it's a much happier, cooler place. And we have so many people in the queer community who are talented and heart-centered and service-driven. And the more that we can amplify those voices and bring awareness to the things that those people or the people in our community have to say, I think the better because we're just one of those communities that's marginalized and silenced. And those voices aren't always heard, those stories aren't always told. And so it's really about increasing visibility, and, you know, making the path ahead much easier for those coming behind us, which is cool.

I also host a podcast, it's called Out. What Now?! because that was a very good and accurate way to describe how I felt after I came out. I knew that I was queer, like when I was 13. Pretty much, no doubt. I mean, I was one of those slam dunk queer kids for sure. But I grew up in a family that was very religious, very Catholic. And so I had kind of a hard time figuring out how could I be a good person and a gay person and what did that look like in my life, so I kind of meddled with that on my own for 10 years.

I didn't actually come out to my family until I was 23. And after that, things got a very different kind of difficult because there's an element of struggle, I think, to every queer experience where you're kind of figuring it out in the closet by yourself, and it's stressful, and it's isolating, and you can feel very withdrawn. But it also provides a lot of safety because then you don't have to deal with or explain anything to anyone else. And after I came out, it was really hard to navigate things with my parents, with my other family members at work with my friends, and all of these different kinds of things. So I created the podcast to talk about the different things that I experienced that I learned the mindset shifts I had to go through in order to navigate the journey that really never ends because it just gets difficult in a different way as you go along. And every time you meet a new person, if you're queer, you're coming out again. So it's really been a cool way to share my story. But also to give a platform for other people to share their stories and experiences and tools that they've used in mindset shifts they've undergone to kind of give a grander scope of the queer experience, because there is no one career experience, which is why there is, unfortunately, no kind of accurate guidebook for how the hell to do it or figure it out.

And when I'm not doing those two things, I also work as a school psychologist, which I've been doing for a decade now, which is just absolutely nutty. And a lot of people don't know what a school psychologist is. But basically, what we do as school psychologists is, we're not counselors, we're not therapists, we are not social workers. We do a lot of evaluation, planning, and crisis management and looking at the strengths and weaknesses of students from a cognitive perspective, from an adaptive skill perspective, from a behavioral perspective, and try to set students up with services and resources that are going to help maximize their potential, wherever they're at, depending on you know, what their needs are. Which is very paperwork heavy, which anyone in mental health will tell you. But it's rewarding when you see those little success stories, or you see student progress, or you see a student who sees potential in themselves beyond their disability, or whatever, which gives me a nice well rounded view of my world when I'm at that job. And then when I come home, and I'm working on my business and working with queer folks in the community, those things mesh together really well. So there's a whole lot going on over here, but it's pretty fun.

Kimberly King:
Amazing, that's awesome. I love it. If anyone hasn't checked out the podcast yet, definitely go check it out. Subscribe. It's absolutely amazing, highly recommend it. So that is really cool. Just the dynamic that you have. But it's also very, very much connected. Because I'm sure so much of what you do, as a school psychologist intertwines with how you show up in the spaces that you've created through your business. So I'd love to talk a little bit more about the idea of building community and connection and sort of dive into why that is so important. And we can talk also specifically more about the importance of that for queer folks and sort of speak to just building community and creating safer spaces for queer folks who may be in your community as well.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Yeah, it's kind of interesting, because I've always been a person who just cannot have enough friends. I want to be friends with everybody. I can talk to anyone. It's so much fun. And I have been doing that. I've been like that my whole life. But until like a year ago, I didn't have any queer friends. Really maybe like a couple that just sort of happened along, but I certainly wasn't seeking any out. I avoided queer spaces with all of my being and mind you I've been out for a decade now. And knowing that I was queer for 20 years at this point, it's interesting how the thing that you really need sometimes is one of the things that you avoid the most because it requires a certain amount of self-love and admitting to yourself where you're at in your coming out journey, how you identify what that means. And for me, being in community with queer other queer folks, like a year ago, absolutely terrified me, because it was going to make me face things in myself that I just hadn't really dealt with yet not at the level that I really needed to because saying, I'm queer is very different than, you know, accepting and loving your queerness. And doing all of that. So I had some work to get through there.

But I think that's one of the reasons that we feel so isolated in our community is because the very thing that we need, which is to be in community with other people who get it. If you're in what I would call a queer affinity space, right? Like a community or a space that is all queer folks, it negates the need to explain yourself or to prove anything, or really to even talk about it. Because one of the things that came up for me after I came out was, there was a period of time where when I talked to my parents, I feel like, for three or four years, I didn't have one single conversation with them, where my sexuality didn't come up. And it's exhausting to have to explain and to have to justify and to have to defend and all of that stuff. But I guess, where I ended up being able to resolve that was doing a lot of my inner work. And finding out and coming to terms with the fact that I just didn't love myself as much as I thought I did. Not every part of myself. I liked my personality. I liked how fun I was, I liked that I was successful. And I'm like, pretty, you know, academically fine. Like I've had, I have a bunch of friends I had, my life was good. But I despised my queerness so much that being around anyone else who represented what I didn't like about myself or reflected back to me, what I didn't like about myself was really stressful.

So once I started working through that, and what initiated me doing that was COVID. I'm not sure if you've heard of COVID. But it's this big pandemic that changed the world. And I was doing events as part of my business prior to that. And it was kind of it, was very mindset-ty, but not specific to my queerness. I didn't talk about my queerness at all. So it was interesting because authenticity was one of my brand values, right? You know what I'm talking about? And it just felt very halfsies like, sure, I was like authentically being my fun self who says like these weird catchphrases that only the kids say, and I'm you know, in my mid-30s, but I wasn't talking about like the deep down things that really are pieces of my identity that make me who I am and reflect the lens I see the world through.

And I was in a mastermind that just so happened to start right before the world shut down. And my coach in that mastermind was asking me who I was trying to serve, what I was trying to do. And I was like, I don't know, nine to fivers who want to make more friends and talk about personal development. He's like, sounds like bullshit to me. But tell me what your story is. So I was telling him that, you know, it kind of started with fitness and nutrition. And then when I was going through this nutrition coaching program, I kind of learned how to have fun again and play around and experiment and not take things too seriously. And that was really where I was able to dig into this underlying issue I was having around my queerness and a lot of the ways that a lot of the decisions and thought patterns I had around movement and nutrition, went back to my disdain for myself at a very core level. And figuring out how to navigate that head kind of helps me get better back on track with fitness and nutrition, as it were. And he was like, Oh, well, that makes sense. You should be serving the queer community. Because the problem that you're solving isn't what you're eating. It's what's eating you, right? And its what he said to me. And then I found out it was the title of a book. I was like, you stole that, and here, I am chirping about it on a podcast now.

But I was like, yeah, that is a great point. That really is like my area of experiential expertise, if you want to call it that. And that's great, but also, holy shit, really terrified. And because I had not had conversations with my parents and my family that had needed to be had, I hadn't really had conversations with myself to dig into that stuff. And once I was able to do that, and even before I was really ready because this is a thing that you, you know, you have to work through your entire life. I started to generalize that love I have for connecting with other people and bringing them into a space. I started to generalize that to the queer community because I kind of was branded myself as a queer life coach. Actually, I hated the word queer, which is so funny to me. Like last summer, I never used that word. I hated it. It had like that negative connotation to me. And now I run like the Queer Impact Collective. I'm pumping out mugs about queerness it's like ridiculous how much you can evolve in such a short amount of time.

But I was noticing that there are a lot of us out here, you know. We got queer VA's, you got queer coaches, you got queer copywriters, queer money coaches, queer psychologists, or therapists, queer fashion people, queer candle makers, all of these people. And everybody's sort of following each other. But I noticed there weren't really any conversations going on. And I was like, you know, what I want to do is, masterminds have absolutely changed my life and my business and my networks, and just the circles that I'm running in and the level of, I guess, vibration, if you will, that it takes you to be around like-minded people. What if we had something like that for queer folks because I was kind of looking for a queer mastermind that existed and I wasn't really finding any. So I thought, this would be a great thing to put together. And so I had that idea in July and didn't host a meet-up for it until December. So it did take a lot of, you know, work to actually get rolling on that and initiate the thing beyond the fear, and all of that stuff.

But then I was making the choice to put myself in community with people who were like-minded, who were trying to change the world and whatever way they're doing that. And the way that that has helped me evolve, I mean, I facilitate it right. So you think as a leader, that whoever's leading the thing probably has a pretty amazing self-concept, like they're super. Like "Oh Megs has to be like, so confident in our queerness to be out here", you know, talking about keeping it queer meetups, and turning it into the Queer Impact Collective and talking to all these queer people all the time. And I was terrified, like, the entire time. Every time I would have a conversation with someone like in a DM or whatever. I'm like, I don't know if I'm even the right kind of queer to connect with this person, or are they going to want to hang out with like, kind of a standard looking white Midwestern softball, lesbian? I don't know. Because that's my vibe. 100% like, softball, flannel, and Under Armour, that's my jam.

But just being in a community with people where everyone has a similar experience. Like, yes, we sit and talk about the queer experience, but we can get down to actual business because we're getting a lot of this underlying stuff out of the way, which then allows people to go out and be more visible, to be more confident and to know that they're going to have a support network. When things go awry when you're getting misgendered by a client. When you post something on social media and your mom's in your DMs like "Oh, Grandma might see this" or "this isn't what we taught you", or whatever, all of these different things that come up. And I think there's just no substitute for kind of the unification of voices for amplifying a message because it doesn't matter. If you're a copywriter, if you're a coach, if you're a psychologist, if you're into fitness, it really doesn't matter. We're all trying to do the same thing. We're all trying to help people go from where they are to where they want to be to help people believe in themselves to help people take up more space to make the world a better place. And when you're in a space with people where you get to do that, I don't think there is anything more powerful, particularly in the queer community, because we are so used to being silenced or brushed over or people just moving on with the subject because they're uncomfortable, or don't know what to say. And it's a really beautiful, invaluable thing.

Kimberly King:

I love that. Oh, gosh, I wrote so many, so many notes as you were talking.

Megs Pulvermacher:
That was a long answer. But hey, here we are.

Kimberly King:
No, that's perfect. Yeah, it really goes to show you the impact and importance of creating community. And some things that just kind of came up for me as you were sharing about that is, I've really noticed this in the work that I do with my clients. So previously, I was more focused on branding and graphic design and building websites for entrepreneurs. And time and time again, I would notice that the problem wasn't designing the logo, or which font should I pick or what colors it was, "oh, I'm afraid to fully express myself and be seen as who I am in my business." And I just noticed that over and over again. And it's the reason why I kind of shifted the work that I do. And my messaging is to be able to support people with that specifically, because authenticity is something that is often used. It's a word that's used a lot, which is incredibly important. And I feel like it's not often talked about that there are definitely different layers to that. And it's not always as easy as just show up authentically, just be yourself, right? Like, it's be yourself, but what about all of these fears that I'm having, or these parts of myself that I haven't fully accepted, or even those parts of myself that don't feel safe to take up space here?

And I love that you've created this community specifically for queer folks to have that space to not have to explain themselves or to not have to worry if someone's going to get it. To know that there's this level of understanding and I definitely recognize that too, with different masterminds I've been in where sometimes I'm like, you know what, I don't feel seen in this space. So I love that you have created the space for queer folks to be able to feel that way in a community and have that support too when things do come up, you know, when you do share something, and it does impact you in a certain way. So I think that's absolutely incredible.

I know you mentioned doing the inner work was something that was really supportive for you and coming to this place of more self-acceptance of being able to hold space for other people as well. So I'd love to maybe dive into that a little bit more like what does that kind of look like for you? Or do you have any specific tools that you really love sharing with people to support them on that journey, especially if they are in the queer community or possibly wondering if they might be as well? Yeah, I'd love to dive into that.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Yeah, inner work so fun. It is such a pain in the ass. And the best thing that I have ever done for myself as a human, and as a business owner certainly is to get the coach that I have right now. And her name is Andrea Parker. She is also Canadian. And I used to say she was my favorite Canadian, but now I have so many in my life that it's like we're going to have to, I don't know, maybe like a Hunger Games situation or something. But I met Andrea, last year after I was like, "Ooh, I got some stuff" because I got a lot of resistance to being able to put out the group coaching program that I'm supposed to be putting out. To put out this podcast idea that I want and I knew I wanted to be able to do the things, but I had a bunch of stuff in the way.

And the thing that makes inner work so challenging, I think, is it's really hard to see, you know. When you get into personal development people talk about mindset and willpower, and, you know "change your thoughts, change your life". And some of that is true. That's where I started. I think that's where a lot of people start. I really learned a lot about how to manage my own mindset, really, through fitness and nutrition, and figuring out how to get that under control, which is a great place to start because it's something that's super concrete. I want to order 10 wings, but I know I'm only hungry for five. Why do I want to order the 10 wings? Or why do I always finish them when I know I'm full or whatever? Kind of digging into the why of some, like very concrete behaviors is a great starting point.

That's where I really started getting more in touch with paying attention to what works for me, what is my why behind the reason I'm doing a thing, or the reason I'm not doing a thing. And that is a wonderful skill to have. It's a great place to start. But when I started working with Andrea, we really started digging into more of the subconscious stuff. And the things that you're not aware of that are blocking you that you just cannot see. It is just not possible to know what your subconscious is doing. That's why it's called the subconscious because it's under there. And you have to use tools in order to access it. And it is super, super helpful to have a guide there to be able to help you see the things you cannot see. Because when we're in it, you know, we're in the thick of things and we're spinning on our own self-doubt, and what our success or failures mean in relation to our work or approval from others, or approval from family, or whatever, it's really hard to see some of the stuff that is right in front of your face.

And it ends up being super obvious when you use these different techniques to kind of access those things. And I don't know all the words for like what we actually do. But in the sessions that I'm in with, Andrea will kind of talk about, you know, what's something that I'm wanting to do that I'm not doing? Or I'm doing all the things that I'm supposed to do and I'm not getting the results that I want - What is the block there? What is the resistance? I think it's called the 'heart freedom method', it's a guess, I'm pretty sure that's what it's called. But it's kind of like tuning in to your body, particularly in response to like a phrase. If I'm having a block around getting something done, or there's resistance.

This happened like a month ago, I needed to make these videos for my sales page to explain 'What is the Queer Impact Collective?', like 'what does a meetup look like?' 'What can you expect?' And I wanted it to be a video of me so they could also kind of get to know the vibe of the thing because I'm a whole vibe. And I was having a lot I was having a lot of trouble with it. Which was weird because I love being on camera. I love making videos, I love running the queer impact collective but I was having a lot of resistance to making the videos for some reason. We kind of started digging into that where she's like, you know, "Okay, think about you're sitting down to make these videos and you're starting to feel that resistance. Like where in your body do you feel a block and energy or something that you didn't before you started taking yourself to that place?"

And then we have to talk about like the shape of it and the color and the texture and the temperature and all of that good, you know, psyche stuff. And you really like focus in on that and you start digging into like - What is your first memory where you felt like this? or Is this an old feeling a new feeling? What's happening? Who's around? Da di da, whatever. And the block that we kind of got into is this fear that I have around... or not a fear, but a self-doubt about being an expert. And my personality is so big, it's big and it's fun and it's energetic, and a lot of times I have trouble kind of intersecting the two because I know a lot of shit. I have a lot have experiences. I'm really smart. I'm getting old so like I've done a lot of things. I've seen a lot of stuff. I've overcome a lot of things. And I tend to let my expertise, take a backseat sometimes, because I see myself and I feel like other people see me as solely like high energy, fun Megs and that's where it ends. And so it's just kind of detecting dissonance like that, which I think as entrepreneurs we all run into, we all experience imposter syndrome. We all have fear around putting something out or not feeling like we're qualified, you know, who am I to do XYZ? But being able to dig into those subconscious beliefs, and then go through this process of okay, like, what advice would you give yourself about that? Is that even true? and being able to check a belief that you didn't even know you had unless you have a tool to be able to access it.

And so that's just one example, kind of a concrete example, of how I've been able to get through the fear of hosting my first meetup. Get through the fear of charging to run meetups. Get through the fear of raising my prices. Get through the fear of putting the video on my sales page, to add merch, you know, do all of these different things that it takes a whole lot longer to do if you don't have someone there to guide you through working through the stuff that you, you just really can't do on your own?

Kimberly King:
Absolutely. Yeah, I'm a huge fan of any of the subconscious work. I think it's incredibly important and super impactful. Only 5% of what we do is actually from our conscious mind. 95% or more is subconscious or thoughts, actions and behaviors. So every single day, we're operating from this subconscious place. And like you said, if we don't have that support and those tools to be able to access that it can keep us just kind of spinning in the same place, in that place of, "Oh, I don't feel like an expert enough. I don't feel good enough. Who am I to talk about this thing?" Right? When really, who are you not to talk about that thing? I don't know if I've met an entrepreneur who hasn't felt like not an expert enough about something that they've been doing at one point or another.

Megs Pulvermacher:
It's a great thing to be able to access that stuff, but it's also a huge pain in the ass. Because then it becomes 'know better, do better', right? Because once you know what's actually going on, and the bullshit thought patterns that you have, and you know it's not true, and you're going to be fine because no matter what you do as an entrepreneur, you're not going to die. Like, you're gonna be okay, you're gonna live to see another day even if it doesn't go like you planned. And then you have no choice, but to do the thing, which will absolutely change your life. But holy shit, are you living outside of your comfort zone, like next level, all the time - you better buckle up because you're about to take off - kind of stuff when you're getting into that.

Kimberly King:
Yeah, personal development and entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. But the really incredible thing is that there are these tools and the support, and also that community too, right? Like personal development, looking at your own shit, you know, working through these beliefs, or past trauma or parts of yourself that maybe you haven't accepted. It's definitely not easy work. And, you know, there can definitely be moments of sort of those dark nights of the soul kind of experiences. Just the last few days or think it was last night I was like, "I'm just gonna I just feel like burning my whole business down to the ground, like, what am I doing?" You know, and then this morning, I'm like, "No, it's all good. I feel really inspired and connected to my mission." So it's definitely, there's definitely those ebbs and flows and peaks and valleys. But it can also just make it so much easier to go through that when you do have these spaces and this community, where you can just be like, "Hey, I'm going through this thing." And it's just incredible sometimes how many people are like, "me too", "I've been there", "I'm feeling that too" and then can just support you through that and hold that space for you. So I think that's absolutely incredible and super valuable.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Hugely. Yeah, there is so much shared struggle out there and it can be the most mundane thing, you know. A thing that I have recently, and I think I said this in a meetup just earlier this week was like, I need to go to bed earlier and I need to leave my phone in the kitchen and not bring it with me. And everyone "Yeah, like, no kidding, I do that, too". It doesn't matter if it's that or, you know, I get scared to post an Instagram post every time because what if I lose clients? Or what if my family sees it and they get pissed and I get redirected? Or my partner doesn't like 'get the business thing' or there's this like all different kinds of avenues for shared struggle, which is so interesting.

You didn't ask me about this, but I'm going to tell you about it anyway. Because it reminds me of a thing. Before I started the Queer Impact Collective, before I shifted to serving queer folks, I had a business called Living Headfirst and I had a podcast called Headfirst Radio. And it was all about mindset and building community and I used to run these events. I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota and I had events that would happen at different breweries and bars and stuff around the metro that was called 'Create your own happy hour'. Basically what I was doing was tricking people into personal development by giving them alcohol, if they chose to indulge, and it was like this social networking thing. Like the first half-hour was, you know, kind of icebreaker questions and you get some like price slips or whatever, to just kind of get people talking. And then I would run like a mini mindset workshop that had a very like bar trivia vibe to it, because I would take games and then that would be seemingly unrelated or just fun, and then tie them to a mindset concept.

And we did one that was like, I would put so much thought into, like making these games super cool and complicated, in depth, and, like, there would be case files and different rules and stuff like that. But the game that was the most popular out of the four that I did was this pet peeve game. And literally, all I did was tape a picture of an easy button to the top of a box, and the name of the game, I don't even know what I named the game, to be honest. But what you did was anybody can just say, a pet peeve that they have whatever. The number one pet peeve of my moms is, when my dad or anyone leaves all the cupboards open, which I've noticed in my adult life, I do. So I definitely got in there. But um, so like leaving the cupboard open, or people who hang in the left lane or whatever. And then you touch the easy button and anybody else in your group who agrees or shares that grievance with you also slaps the button. And that, I mean, it took two seconds to put together. But the opportunity for people to share in struggle is so like cathartic I think for people and rewarding. And they just loved it. It was like the biggest hit, which I was like, that's so easy. I guess I'm just going to do that game for the rest of ever and find different ways to do it. Because I guess I can do an event in one day. But shared struggle is super important. It makes people feel less alone. It makes people feel like they're not unique in their struggle and it empowers them, I think to then be like, okay, yes, this sucks. I'm not the only one who thinks this sucks. So I can then move forward because the need or the struggle has been validated.

Kimberly King: 
Hmm, yes. Oh my gosh, validation is such a huge one too.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Big time. Being able to see and hear that you aren't alone, that you're not crazy, that you've maybe just been gaslighting yourself a little bit. I don't know if you've had Jenna Slaughter on the show, but Jenna Slaughter definitely specializes in helping people make sure they're not gaslighting themselves. And we tend to do that a lot just as humans, but certainly as queer folks, too.

Kimberly King:
Can you talk a little bit more about what that looks like?

Megs Pulvermacher:
When you're gaslighting yourself?

Kimberly King:
Yeah, specifically for queer folks. I'd love to dive into that a little bit more.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Well, I think we get so many questions, and so many opportunities for people to be like, 'Oh, you're being dramatic. Like why do you need pride?' You're just like, 'Why does everything have to do with your queerness?' I don't know! Because the rest of the whole damn world is living in heteronormativity and it's been shoved and slammed down our throats since the beginning of actual time. Bleh. But I think we just get so used to as queer folks compartmentalizing our lives, not taking up space, like you kind of talked about earlier, thinking that we're being just overly sensitive, always catering to other people and making sure that they're comfortable and demean parts of ourselves to create a comfortable space for other folks so that we don't have to put all the energy into explaining ourselves, or justifying or qualifying or any of that stuff. I think we just end up staying quiet, which is the whole patriarchal goal, isn't it? It is to shut those people up, if they're talking about stuff that, you know, cishet, white folks don't like. And shoot, we got a whole bunch of people who are no longer staying silent, who are more willing to be bold and take up space.

And that is a very new thing for the queer community, I think. Not very new, but I think the vastness of it, particularly following COVID. Because I think so many people spent so much time with and within themselves during lockdown and all of that stuff that we learned a lot about ourselves. And we found out that this world is a whole lot queerer than we thought. And so the voices are getting louder, the community is getting bigger and more bold.

And I think one of the reasons that that hasn't happened to the degree before that it has now is because when you're isolated, and when you feel like you're alone in your struggle, you don't say anything, because you don't think anyone else is going to get it. Which is another piece that I think is so powerful about queer folks, or anyone who's in a marginalized community. If you're looking at race or faiths, or whatever you have going on - being in community with those who experience the same kind of marginalization or being silenced, you get a whole lot louder because you realize that you're not alone. And that's pretty cool.

Kimberly King:
Yeah, absolutely. Yes, if 2020 was anything, it was definitely a great opportunity looking at, I guess, the positives of it. A great opportunity to be with yourself. At the same time, that can be very confronting, and scary and bring up a lot of stuff. So I think, you know, one incredible thing that has come from that, too, like you said, is realizing that there are so many other people out there within your community and just now having more space to express yourself and show up. I feel like people really want to feel seen, heard, and understood. And acceptance is such a huge thing. And I feel like a big part of that is accepting ourselves, which is a process. And the more that you can be around people who understand you, it makes that acceptance so much easier. And it also takes you from that place, like you're saying, of acknowledging and realizing, I have been not accepting this part of myself, or, you know, I have this struggle to that empowered place of okay, it's okay that I am experiencing this, like, it becomes a little bit more normalized. And also it gives you more of that just empowerment and courage to then speak up and say, like, this is not okay, or, you know, I like this as who I am and kind of live more openly and boldly as who you really are. So I think that's super powerful.

And I'd be curious to know if you have any, I mean, I'd love to talk about the event that's happening next week. So kind of leading into that, if you're open to sharing that, of course. I'd love to talk about if you have any specific words of wisdom for those who are not within the LGBTQ + community, who are maybe allies who have businesses that they desire to create a safer space for those in the community. So I'm curious if you have any advice on that or sort of insights on how people can just empower queer folks?

Megs Pulvermacher:
Yeah, well I guess I can start with the event that we're having next week, which is the Queer Impact Collective + Allies Pride 365 Networking. I called it a networking party the first time around, and then I switched it to event this time. Maybe I need to switch it back to party, I haven't really decided yet. But it'll be a party that, you know, with a mask of an event. And the reason that we started having it, the main deliverable that we have for members of the Queer Impact Collective are virtual meetups that we host a minimum of four times per month. But usually, it's closer to six, six to eight because we love hanging out. We're a big cool, fam. And it was coming to the end of Pride Month, and I had kind of been noodling on doing an event where we invited allies. And my goal with it really was, everything is layered, you know, kind of like authenticity is layered.

This event is layered, because there are so many potential benefits you can get out of something. Because I think there are a lot of, I know I have a lot of great allies in my life, who as I've been kind of getting into doing the Queer Impact Collective and holding that space, they're like, oh, I wish I could come to it or whatever. It's like well, every space is for you. So you can go to literally any other meetup, except this one. But 'how can I support?' And they will listen to my podcast, and just really try to learn about the queer experience by engaging and listening to people's stories and understanding where folks are coming from, what they're experiencing, things that have happened to them or been said to them and how it impacted them.

Because even with, you know, well-intentioned words, well-intentioned actions, you can create hurt. You can create a traumatic experience for people. You can say things that are very triggering, depending on their experience. And you don't always realize the impact that you have, regardless of what your intent is. And I think its an important powerful thing for allies to be able to understand, that just because, like your intent comes from your perspective, right? And as an ally, you might have the world's greatest intentions in the questions you ask or the way you put together a panel or the way that you set up your business or whatever. If you're, you know, it's Pride Month, and you're just throwing rainbows all over everything. And then we don't hear from you, until next June, or whatever. There are these well-intentioned things that are just shitty.

And it's so valuable to actually get queer perspectives on what actually is helpful. Because it's different for every person, but the more perspectives you can hear, the more you can get used to this skill and kind of building this muscle of asking people and not just assuming that you know what someone wants, or someone needs. Which yes, takes a lot more work. But that's why being an ally, isn't like a state of being it's a state of doing. Because it takes work. You can't you don't just get to like, you know, pick your little label and put on your ally sticker and call it a day. Like you're asking us to show up, ask questions and take the feedback, whether you've done the right thing, or the or the wrong thing, and continue to do that.

So the aim of the event was to bring allies into a queer space where they weren't the center. They weren't the focus. You know, willing allies who want to support better, who want to show up better. Not just for the people who are in the space because A+ awesome if you come to the event as an ally, and you're like, gosh, I need to hire a VA anyway, why not hire a queer-identifying VA and get some money into the queer community and support small queer-owned businesses? Or maybe I need a coach of some kind or a therapist or I need to I want to get back on my fitness game and I want to, you know, be in a queer allied space for that or whatever. There are all kinds of like big and personal benefits that can come from being in a space where you have queer folks and allies who are trying to work together to extra amplify queer voices, empower queer missions. Which we can do pretty well as a queer community, but we can do it so much more at such a much larger scale when we have allies, because their voices are the ones who are most commonly heard. So it's beneficial in that way.

But also, we had a great discussion at the end of the event in June about how can allies show up for folks in the queer community. And we talked about, like, what to say, if someone comes out to you, or how to react, or how to engage in a conversation with queer folks that you're serving, or who are already patrons of your business, to actually ask them what feels good? What could be better? To take that feedback, actually apply it and kind of put your money where your mouth is, as far as hiring or diversifying panels and events, and the way you represent your potential clientele, and your advertising and your marketing and different things like that. And all of the different pieces that go into running a more inclusive business that makes people feel comfortable to be there.

We had a chat about pronouns as well, that's obviously a very simple thing to do that I think a lot of allies want to support, but don't always fully understand why it matters. Because they're like, well, I'm an ally. So obviously, my pronouns are going to be she/her or he/his or he/him. Whatever, see, like, everybody messes it up. And what's right anyway? But it's like building capacity in understanding the value in the power of just creating space for people to be. And it doesn't mean that if you introduce yourself with your pronouns, someone who's kind of figuring out what their what pronouns feel good for them, or where they're at with their identity, they may not show up in a way that they're like, oh, yeah, like, since you said, your pronouns, I'm just gonna, like, toss out that I prefer they/them or whatever. And pronouns are also not preferred. They're just pronouns. But I think it's understanding the impact you have, even though you can't always see it in the moment. But the space that you create over time, is what really keeps people coming back to your business. Because talk about know, like, trust. If you want to build trust, with queer folks who are giving you money and accessing your service and engaging with you, that is a great way to do it. To be consistent, to be genuine, to be authentic, to ask questions, and to take the feedback when you actually get it would be a couple of things off the top of my head.

Also, we have another event on August 25, at three o'clock Pacific Time, five o'clock, Central, six o'clock Eastern, I don't even know when this podcast drops. But if it's before then and you want to come hang out, you can sure do that. And we'll probably we'll be having them every other month toward the end of the month. So if you're following along with me on Instagram @megtheconnector, you'll be able to see stuff as it comes up. And we would absolutely love to have allies, any allies. You don't have to be a business owner, even. You can just be someone who wants to support queer small businesses, because we got people who are just out there serving people. It's not all entrepreneur to entrepreneur. And the last one we had, you know, my mom, a school psychologist, who is another school psychologist, I mean, I was there too. But she's going to be bringing in a couple of speakers who were at that to the high school she works with to, you know, speak to GSA is about financial literacy, and finding yourself and being non binary and those experiences and there's just all kinds of opportunities, no matter who you are or where you are to support and take action on that.

Kimberly King:
Yes, love it. I'm not sure when this is going out. But either way, I'm gonna share about it on social media, but there will be more right so.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Right, absolutely.

Kimberly King:
That's such a great opportunity for allies just to actually hear perspectives and feedback. And I just like If what you're saying about asking people. I feel like that really ties so well into building a brand that aligns with your values. And if you say that one of your values is inclusivity, but you're not doing anything. Right, again, that doing part. Like you can say, 'I am an ally', but what are you doing to actually show that? To actually create a safer space for queer folks? And have you actually taken the time to have a conversation? And to also remember, too, that it can vary from person to person, right? We're all unique. So what feels good, or how someone would like to feel supported may look different to someone else. But if you're not actually taking that action, educating yourself, having conversations with real humans, and getting that feedback, and then integrating it into your business, your policies, your intake forms, your sales process, your social media content. And if you're not actually doing that work, you know, can definitely create a disconnect between people feeling like, Oh, I feel seen here, I feel like this is a safe space for me to take up space. So I love that. Just a reminder to actually do the work and integrate it.

And I love what you said too, about over time that's going to build that trust with your community. Because you know, there may be people in your community right now who are not feeling fully seen by you. And it's a great opportunity to create a more inclusive space, if that is something that is important to you, is a really great opportunity just to actually be taking the action on that. And I feel like these events are a really great opportunity to do that as well. So I am super excited.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Yeah. And I think if I could just add one thing. It's also taking those actions and applying that feedback to every interaction that you have. Like not just when you think there might be a queer person in the room, but demonstrating those values. It's such an opportunity to be a leader to change hearts and minds in the way you show up in your business. Because really, what does a queer person even look like? Right? Yeah, but like, when you are integrating the feedback in every interaction that you have, that is really when you become a leader, and you can create some change that will have a mega ripple effect. Because you never know who you're talking to, or how maybe it'll impact someone who shows up or can show up better for someone else in their life, or whatever. And that stuff is hugely impactful. So it's not, you also don't want to try to isolate those two, like, primarily queer containers or things that you perceive to be queer interactions but to do it holistically. And really, like you said, if it's a, if it's a brand and business value, then you're asking us to be doing it 100% of the time, baby.

Kimberly King:
Yeah, absolutely. I love that. That's such a great point, too. I feel like sometimes too, we can get really stuck in like our messaging and marketing and creating our containers, and then sometimes not realizing, am I actually taking these values and living it and embodying it. And I think that's so important to and to remember, with sexual identity, gender identity, you can't know by looking at someone those aspects of themselves unless they choose to share that with you. It's important not to assume. You don't know unless someone tells you, so it's important to remember every interaction, even with someone who you know identifies as cis-gendered or heterosexual, to know that the conversations that you have with any buddy can have an impact in helping you support queer folks. So I think that's yeah, I absolutely love that.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Yeah. And it's as a, how did I describe myself earlier, like a standard white, Midwestern softball, lesbian. It's pretty common for folks to deduce how I might identify like, largely, by the way, I present. And I think we can detect when you have that experience, you can detect when someone is acting different. Because they're like, oh shit, queer person in the room, I better ask about pronouns and people kind of like stumbling over it, or whatever. And you'll appreciate the effort. But it's like, if you were doing this all the time, you wouldn't have to be weird about it, it would like just be a thing. And I think that's kind of an inverse result and impact that things can have when you feel like you're being extra accommodating. It's like don't be extra, just be an ally and be an ally all the time. Because now you're making me feel like a weird anomaly like I already do in all these other hetero spaces, so be cool, man. Be cool.

Kimberly King:
Awesome. Oh my gosh, I absolutely love it. This has been such an incredible conversation. Before we wrap up I would love to ask if there's anything else you feel called to share, anything that we didn't dive into. And also any offers you've got, any exciting things you want to share, and how people can connect with you.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Absolutely! Megs the Connector, that's me. You can most commonly find me on Instagram. That's the easiest, fastest way to get ahold of me. And my handle is @MegsTheConnector. You can also follow along with the podcast it's @OutWhatNowPodcast is creatively the handle for that. And Queer Impact Collective. If there are any queer-identifying humans out there who would also identify with the words: entrepreneur, creative or change-maker, that is vast, it casts a very wide net, we would love to have you with in the collective. That is a kind of a rolling enrollment so you can join at any time, you can cancel at any time, rejoin, whatever. And we do meetups like I said a minimum of four per month, but usually closer to six to eight. And we have an online community platform for you to get feedback or kind of shoot the shit with people who maybe didn't land in the same meetup that you were in because of scheduling or whatever, to ask questions, get support and that kind of stuff. And it is an insanely valuable space because there really is no substitute for the value of community and being able to expand your reach and build your network and be in a cool affinity space like that. So we would love to have you shoot me a DM if you have any questions, or you can go to queerimpactcollective.com to get more info about that.

I also have some pretty dope merch, which is brand new. If you follow me along on Instagram, you will notice very quickly that I do a coffee pour every morning. I love sick beats. So I pick a different song to pour my coffee to every day. So I have a bunch of different mugs that have like the Queer Impact Collective logo on them. And throwback to Headfirst my old brand and Out. What Now podcast. And I always say 'keepin’ it queer', or 'keep it queer out there' to end my podcasts and our meetups and all of that. So we have some 'keepin’ it queer' merch as well. And that will expand to other things, but we're just getting into that. So if you want to keep it queer, with your coffee and fuel up with me in the morning, you can snag some of that. That's actually megstheconnector.com which is new and cool. And I should probably just change all my domains to that because it's just such a cool name.

But I think, what would my biggest piece of advice be or an additional nugget of wisdom? I don't know that it's additional, but I would say if you aren't in community and it scares you to be in community, that is a really big clue that you have some stuff to dig into and work on. And that can look like a lot of different things. One of the things that really helped me was just incorporating more movement, more fun, more play, more things that brought me joy. Because I think it takes you back to kind of a childhood-feeling place when things were easy and stuff just came to you and it felt safe to be yourself. And those types of experiences that can be very simple - it could be a walk, it could be a sport, it could be a movie that you really like could be anything - that kind of helps you get back to yourself and can give you some clues about where you might need to dig into some other stuff. I think it is invaluable to have a coach and or a therapist. Having both is extra super bonus because they are very much different things. And then I would say get in community. Even if you're scared even if you're nervous. Get yourself into community and allow yourself to take up space to be vulnerable to make connections and to understand that you are already enough of whatever you think you are not enough in and I don't know, have as much fun as possible along the way. Fun is my baseline. So if things aren't going well, I just tried to do something fun. And that's how I get through it so might be helpful to you too.

Kimberly King:
Yes, so important to remember. Entrepreneurship and authenticity and all of these things can get heavy sometimes. So I love bringing more fun into it. And I feel like you've done an amazing job of building a brand that just, is like, you know, focused around growth and personal development and being more of who you are, and also like being a part of a community, but make it fun. Yes, you know, so I love that. Awesome. So I will have all of your links in the show notes. If anybody is looking for any queer folks to work with or connect with Megs is the person to go to 100%. And definitely, if you feel called to check out the community or anything else Megs is up to, highly highly recommend. I am so honored and grateful to have had you on the podcast, Megs. Thank you so much for being here and sharing your wisdom and everything and it's been so much fun. So thank you.

Megs Pulvermacher:
Thank you so much for having me fun as the name of the game.

Kimberly King:
Awesome. Thank you everyone for listening to another episode of Lead with Soul and I will see you on the next one.

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