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Conversations with the Inspiring Elisabeth Caetano

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elisabeth Caetano.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Elisabeth. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Having fallen down and gotten out of many rabbit holes in my own life, starting from a very young age and where I had no control over getting out of them, as a matter of survival, I had to learn how to get out of them on my own. I remember my rock bottom rabbit hole. The one that inspired me to get help. I was on the floor of my apartment bedroom, more than a little drunk, suicidal and reached out to a friend. I said there had to be another way to live life and if there was, I needed it yesterday. She referred me to her therapist who had helped her through her divorce at the ripe old age of 21 herself.

This was the beginning of my journey. I discovered that there was indeed, a different way to live life and it included learning to THRIVE rather than just survive. It included going from a victim mentality to VICTOR. My journey included recovering from molesting as a child, rape as a teenager, paying off massive credit card debt and sobriety from alcohol. It included a lot of therapy (some good and some not so good experiences) and self-help books, groups, journaling, tears, and discoveries. I learned that I had to EMPOWER myself with the help of a Higher Power and that no one else could do this for me. My journey and truth were unique to me but the tools and the skills I learned were UNIVERSAL!

I was so inspired by what life could look like, that I realized that I wanted to help others go from merely surviving to THRIVING in life as I had done. I went back to school in my late 20’s to get a masters degree in counseling/psychology and began my career in private practice helping people to empower themselves using a no-nonsense, goal oriented and teaching approach to therapy.

20 years into my career as of 2017, I decided to write the book, Down the Rabbit Hole and Back: Stop Believing the Lies and Live Your Own Truth. It is a guide that teaches the universal tools that can help empower women in health, wealth and relationships (the top three areas of discontent as noted in numerous studies) and really are applicable to all areas of life but that is PERSONAL and UNIQUE to the person reading the book.

Getting curious and following that curiosity like Alice followed the White Rabbit in Alices’ Adventures in Wonderland, saved my life and my sanity. I weave in the story of Alice being lost in Wonderland because we all get lost at times in our lives and fall down rabbit holes. The one constant in life is change and the more resilient I became, the more I avoided the rabbit holes in the first place. I hope that my book inspires a movement for people to define and live resiliently in their own truth, jettisoning the lies that they have been told by society, culture, and upbringing.

There is hope and the hope is tangible and actionable!!! Down the Rabbit Hole and Back shows people how!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
As I mentioned in my last answer, the road had been FAR from smooth. The thing is, we are wired to survive as humans. We all have levels of the good, the bad and the UGLY that has happened or happens to us on this journey called life. The trick is to learn resilience. What tools and skills promote resilience in all areas of life?

I wrote my book because the tools and skills are readily available, but they are not taught in early schooling, college, trade schools or work training. For example, how do you learn how to have a healthy relationship? How do you learn how to be a parent?… coming up empty? Me too! We get taught a lot of unhealthy rules and “shoulds” from media, culture, and society at large. Did you ever see/hear your parents fight? Now, the kicker is, did they make up in a healthy way that you saw or heard so that you could learn the skill set for resolution of an argument? Maybe yes, but for most, the answer is a no.

Yet how did you learn to drive a car? You took lessons! How did you become proficient in your career? Most went to some kind of schooling and had on the job training. Why don’t we have that for life skills??? We are left to patchwork it together. Some things work and others don’t but it is just trial and error and bumbling through and in many cases (especially in the areas of Emotional Intelligence, relationships with others and with ourselves in our own heads) – It is all GREEK! Seriously, it BAFFLES me!

We all have some sort of self-esteem or we would not be functioning in life. Let’s say you have good self-esteem in 3/4 of the pie called self-esteem but in the 1/4 piece of the pie where our relationships are, we tend to have low self-esteem. This can be our relationship with a significant other, our relationship to money, to self-soothing, to health and friendships. If you are just starting out, don’t neglect this 1/4 piece of the self-esteem pie that is lacking for most people! Learn the tools and skills NOW! Don’t wait until you are married, 2-3 kids into it, maybe stuck in mid-career, with massive responsibilities and get stuck in what I call the GRIND!

It can be done and I have worked with women in their mid 60’s to 70’s who ask me if it’s too late? I say, it’s NEVER too late but why live in what I call the ZOMBIE apocalypse that is already here for so long? ( I call it the zombie apocalypse because soooooo many people live on autopilot in an unconscious fog just going through the motions and not questioning anything!)

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I empower women to THRIVE in health, wealth and relationships through a unique, signature program that I created which are foundational tools for all areas of life. The book, Down the Rabbit Hole and Back, is a culmination of all of these tools and skills played out with a nod to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Even for her, the trials and hardships she faced, the uncertainty and pain points that she experienced, grew her to become authentically who she was meant to be which is why I weave that story throughout the book with my own personal experience and the skills that she learned along the way.

I am different from most other coaches OR therapists in that I am a no-nonsense, straightforward combination of both a coach AND licensed therapist, so I have the best of both worlds to offer my clients. I am just the guide much as the Cheshire Cat was a guide to Alice, except I am much less cryptic and teach you the concrete action steps to take to get out of the rabbit hole you have fallen into.

I am also a Keynote Speaker! I love reaching a larger audience with these skills to live healthier, wealthier and have more meaningful relationships.

I get it that your convention, women’s retreat, conference or live event needs to provide value and not be a snore-fest. Speakers need to be engaging, funny, helpful and provide content. What a concept! I use stories of inspiration, achievement, and real-life people getting out of rabbit holes to drive points home on a meaningful level.

If you want a speaker with a pulse, who will leave your audience wanting more, I speak from the heart, use humor to entertain and inspire and humility for real connection, to create a spark that kindles into flames of self-empowerment and self-leadership for your audience.

Looking back on your childhood, what experiences do you feel played an important role in shaping the person you grew up to be?
It was actually through the hardships that I experienced that grew me. I have a teenage daughter and I would love to protect her and raise her in a bubble but since I cannot do that, I am teaching her the tools and skills now that will help her to empower herself in the future. She hopefully won’t have to spend as much trial and error time as she figures out her own truth because she will at least KNOW to question and search for and define her own truth.

I didn’t know, what I didn’t know AND I did not have anyone suggesting or teaching me anything. I was left to cobble together ideas from society, books, culture, television, etc. and identity. I had no idea how to deal with negative emotions and was never taught that they can be a GOOD thing! So, media taught me to self-soothe these feeling with alcohol. It didn’t really work. What was around me in society and culture was no real modeling in my family, a culture that told me a woman’s worth was to be a sex object (which is proportionally worse in today’s day and age) and relationships that mirrored back to me the worthlessness that I felt inside.


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Janet Bark Photography

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1 Comment

  1. Karen

    January 9, 2019 at 14:20

    Bravo, Elisabeth… For speaking your truth. For sharing some of your most intimate details of your challenged childhood in order to help others , like me- THRIVE. Your bravery is commendable, pure & refreshing.

    Checking ourselves at the door is something we all need to do this day and age and your book- DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE AND BACK, will help give us the tools to do just that and more!

    I love how you speak about empowering your own beautiful daughter that it is OK to question things/people and to not follow the path of least resistance as well as to learn to love herself for who she is – not for who society or unhealthy persons that come into her life – thinks she should be.
    This is every parents wish and dream, right?….for a healthy child on the inside …but it gets convoluted and lost so many times when outside pressures like divorce, pathogenic parenting, or social stigma/ pressures take hold and tend to overpower and squelch their own beautiful, unique voice.

    So thank you, Elisabeth for your story, your journey, your truth- that brought you to where you are today so we can strive to become better versions of ourselves… because everything shapes us- nothing is wasted.
    Cheers to you, my dear friend !

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