top of page


Stephen Box runs a great show, making sure you highlight all the points he loved. Learn more about creating Unshakable Habits at

Intro 0:01

The right habits put you in control of your health, relationships, mindset, and more. But most people lack the tools to stick with those habits long enough to see results that is about to change. Welcome to the unshakable habits podcast with your host, habit change specialist and speaker Stephen Box. Join us each week as experts share their stories, experiences and insights and give you the tools to build unshakable habits so you can live life on your terms. It's time to take your habits from unsustainable to unshakable.

Stephen Box 0:46

Welcome to the unshakable habits podcast, I am your host, Stephen Box. And I'm joined today by founder Harmon, who has over three decades of experience in trying to get relationships, right. I'm happy to say she finally did. So you're gonna learn all about that today. Sandra, welcome to the show.

Sondra Harmon 1:12

Oh, thank you so much for having me. I love that. I love that intro. Because it's all true. It really is all true.

Stephen Box 1:23

So before we jump into your story, today, I do want to remind our audience about the unshakable framework that we want to view these stories through. And a framework is very simple. The first step is you need to have a vision. Now vision is how you envision literally your life looking, what kind of actions do you take, what kind of person will you be. And that's different than a goal, which is tied to a very specific outcome. Most of times, something we don't really have a lot of control over. Then in order to get that vision, you're either going to need to utilize some skills that you've already developed, or you're going to need to develop some new skills or improve on some of those existing ones. And in order to do that, we have to glue to the third part of the framework, which is daily or repetitive actions that actually build up those skills. So as you're listening to Sandra story today, be sure to look out for her vision, the skills that she had to build and the actions that she took to build them, because that's what's going to allow you to take her story and transfer it to your life so that you can go from unsustainable to unshakable. Father, take us through your story. Wait, take us back to the beginning of three decades. Oh, yes.

Sondra Harmon 2:50

Okay. So I often say that I was kind of like, when it came to relationships, I was like Goldilocks, right? I and just as a side note, business was always great. It was easy. I developed software, I ran companies, I helped a lot of startups as Interim Executive. And that was all fine and good. But my relationships sort of sucked. And then I even went off to Vietnam and started a nonprofit there. Same thing, great nonprofit relationships, kind of sucked. So I kept looking at myself like, okay, for three long term relationships, the first one was like, too hard. Or if you've ever experienced, it's like, this is just too hard. The next one was just too soft, I guess you could say. And the third one, right in the story of Goldilocks was supposed to be just right. My experience of it was actually worse than the first two combined. And I was very determined, each relationship is about eight to 10 years. So I was determined, and I kept trying to do all of the things that I thought would get me the love that I wanted. Because, you know, this is the realm of romantic relationships. Yeah, and, and it just didn't work. And actually, as I was listening to, like your framework, what what I found is it's not so dissimilar to what happened. I mean, I kept trying to do like, well, if I do this, if I'm a more perfect person, if I I don't know if I make sure to this wasn't true, but just as an example, I made sure to have dinner ready every day at six o'clock then he would love me and we'd be happy and live happily ever after. And all the doing in the world doesn't really help without that vision. So I really I really love how how you frame how you frame this, but the way I got to what I to where I am now is about 49 I guess msos you know almost three decades into kind of having relationships. I I really just hit bottom. And I I didn't know, is possible. And I think that's one thing with visions is you kind of have to believe that you can that there's a possibility of having what you're visualizing. Otherwise it's too easy to say, Oh, no, I can't have it. And I was so lucky to meet a woman that it was a business conference and she was up on stage. She runs a manufacturing company. And anyway, we were working together as first time I'd met her but I saw her come offstage. Linda Shea goes over to her CFO, Frank Maggio. And they're like holding hands, and they're so adorable. They look like, you know, teenagers in love. So I figured, you know, one of them was divorced. One of them was recently widowed, and they got together at the office, and they're having this little office romance because they just looked so in love. I found out they'd been married at that time. 34 years. Wow, they looked like yeah, they looked like newlyweds. Like they were in love. And I didn't know that was possible. Certainly from my experience. I didn't know that was possible. Like, how is it that you could be in your middle 60s 70s and look like teenagers in love. And I decided I wanted to find out. So one of the best things that happened is I got to learn from Linda. Like what her lived experience of being in love was. And it was nice, because we were talking before we got on about how you can either have a framework or you can kind of just do the framework without really knowing what you're doing. Yeah, she actually had had a different a difficult relationship with her husband, and went through learning and understanding herself and created her own little framework that she was teaching to me. So it was I got to see real tangible examples of what I envisioned. And then I got to work with somebody who was kind of giving me the hints of like, yeah, this is what happened to us today. I also got a chance to study in India. I was over there learning to be a meditation instructor. And then a wisdom teacher or consciousness transformer, they call it with a group called a cam picture, you know, like the big marble, you know, temples, amazing place, amazing place to go. But they had written the book, there's a couple that started at prejudging Christian Jean, they've written a book called freedom and relationships.

And it was really 30 meditations to help people understand kind of what's going on within themselves. that's preventing great relationships. And for all the training I did I, I still said, Look, the only thing I want to teach are these 30 meditations because it's so important to me, to help other people not suffer for as long as I did in relationships, and I was almost 50. And I know there's people out there listening right now that are suffering, or are afraid of suffering in a relationship. And how do you help because there is a way it's not like, it's not like it's some lottery. It's not like, oh, some people are lucky. And some people aren't because Linda taught me that. prodigy and Krishna Ji taught me that. And then I also learned from Allison Armstrong, who's a woman, super well known in some circles, not well known in other circles, but she is known for understanding men, she did a lot of research with men and understanding, you know, how, actually how amazing they are. I think she tells a story, how she started to interview them wanting to know that the enemy, but she realized that men are actually really awesome. So I spent about two and a half years working with her on a program where he's doing hours and hours, hundreds of hours researching and interviewing hundreds of people and teaching different topics. So all of these things together, the mentoring I had received the the consciousness changing exercises in India and then the interviews that I had done with so many people really gave me the certainty that there is a way to stay in love. There really, really is and and Can I can I share with you some of the things I learned?

Stephen Box 9:43

Sure, absolutely. But before you do, though, I want to kind of rewind a little bit and get through some of the stuff you've already dropped on. So one thing that this stood out was you talked about how you had all of this success and Different areas of your life, but your relationships are struggling. Yeah. And I'm sure part of that was the time and the effort that you had to dedicate to having all that success had an impact on your relationship, because that's one thing I always teach people is how all those things are intertwined with each other. But I think another thing that we often overlook, and I think I hear this more from female clients than male clients, but you may be able to tell me if you've had the same experience is when you have that kind of success, and then you have an area that you don't have success. It's just so frustrating, because you're like, why am I struggling in this area? I know how to be successful in everything else. Why can I not do this thing?

Sondra Harmon 10:52

Yeah. Yeah. It's one of the things that I found, especially from for myself, and a lot of the women I work with, I lived in New York for a long time, where more women are in what I would call hunting mode. More than gathering mode, one being a more masculine energy, one being a more feminine energy. And yeah, that's, that comes up a lot, like, How can I be so successful? And then the questions and blame come up like, Well, you know, men aren't able to handle a strong woman, that's one you hear or, you know, men, men, just like, what are they they can't be emotionally available. That's another one I hear. But what one of the things that I see with others, and I, I saw it from my own past is that a relationship kind of operates on a different basis than traditional business, right? I was a clo CFO, president of a variety of companies, how you run a business is kind of the opposite of how you run a relationship. Like you're not running a relationship. Right. And if you start with that, that it's it's a different skill set, there's a completely different skill set to being in love than there is to accomplishing things. Because in a business, you are trying to achieve something, right, there's something you're trying to achieve new clients, you're trying to achieve more revenue, you know, you could be somebody on a factory line, you're trying to achieve a certain amount of throughput at pretty much every business. And every role in the business. You're trying to achieve something. Yep. Relationships are a little different. Right? It's more about that heart to heart connection, that in love part, right, not the Oh, we're going to stay together for the kids. But that that feeling, you get that feeling? You get the tingly feeling of wow, you know, we're, we're together. We're like, we're like one. And so it's similar. It's similar in a way, but totally the opposite. And yeah, and I guess that's, that's why I said when you were going over your framework, I could see how even relationship success. I don't want to, I can't think of another word off the top my head falls into a framework like that. But it's just, it's just slightly different. Yeah.

Stephen Box 13:22

Yeah. And I love that you that you point out, and I hope that everyone wrote this down. If not, you should go back and write it down. Now. You do not run a relationship the same way you run a business, because you don't run a relationship. Not the same? Because you don't it's not the same thing. Right. Right. And so something else that you mentioned, and I think it actually goes right along with that is you talked about how you had this idea, right? of, oh, if I fix dinner every day at six o'clock, you know, dinners already ready? Then he loved me. And we talked about in the beginning with the framework how you need to have a vision and not a goal. And would you had with a goal you were trying to figure out how do I make this person love me? What action can I take to make that happen? And then later on when you talked about the meditations, you used a different phrase. And it was all about realizing what is within us. And I just love that that contrast that you provided because and I'm sure they as you tell us what you learned, you're going to kind of share a little bit more about this. But I wanted to point it out because I want people to really start to listen for what are the subtle differences between you're trying to run your relationship you're trying to manage it, you're trying to achieve goals. You're trying to get a specific Action out of the other person versus understanding what's inside of you. So I was just I love the fact that you really brought all of that out and your story.

Sondra Harmon 15:13

Thank you. Oh, thank you. Thank you for pointing it out. I love I love hearing what resonates with people, because that would be something I would I might say, and it would just be a throwaway. It's like, oh, okay, there's some importance to it, because it let me tell you that some of the things that I learned, and I'm, I'm just putting on if I can put into your framework, because it really does belong there. One is that I believe that we're really born to connect. Like, we've fallen like we fall in love, pretty much anyone I have ever talked and spoken with, has, at one point in their life, falling in love. Without being taught how to fall in love. Like, it just happens, it happens naturally. It happens with, you know, not just people, but you can fall in love. Like I'm in New York right now, I fell in love with New York, I just love New York. And you can fall in love with a job like all these. It's kind of this emotional experience that's coming more from your heart than your head. Right? Like I moved to New York, I don't know, 2020 or 15 years ago, and there was no good reason I just wanted to be here. Right? Now. It's not It's not that intellectual approach. Whereas I had had a very intellectual approach. Later on, after having been hurt in relationships, I switched over into a I'm smart. I'm a CFO, I'm used to spreadsheets, I am going to spreadsheet what I'm looking for in a man and, and all the men I date, I'm, I had the spreadsheet. And it was all these characteristics that were important to me, all the men that I was dating and some people that were just my role models. And then, and then I took it a step further, I would put weighted averages for each one of the characteristics because some were more important than others. And I was so excited because I figured I could like use my mind to figure this out. And I took my spreadsheet to my to my mother's husband, my stepfather who they have this view, they actually have a beautiful relationship, but I just never could see it until I'd met Linda. So anyway, I'm taking this spreadsheet over to Bob is his name. Like, Bob, look, I've got it. Here's the spreadsheet, you just fill out the spreadsheet, and it all works. It'll be perfect. He looked at me and he's like, I don't think relationships work that way. I don't know, for me, it does, I'm gonna make it work. And I learned then, after all this work that he was right. Right. It's not a logical thing. It's a feeling it's an emotion. And you can't apply the same sort of like metrics to it. Now what you can do though, is you can have a vision and what we'll get, I want to back up a little bit because you fall in love. People fall in love, things happen, things come up, we get hurt. And we do something with that hurt. And that's to me the key discipline and exercise. So you fall in love, you're happy you're connected, your heart sings, you know, you feel like one. And then something will happen, you'll feel disrespected or get your feelings hurt, or you'll be disappointed. And then you start to build up a wall. Because you don't want that you don't want to feel like that you don't want that to happen again. So you figure out the strategies how to not have that happen again. And and it's in that moment of building up the wall that you cut out love because now you're not connected anymore. You're not like that feeling of oneness. So really the daily practice that I still have is releasing as quickly as possible. All those little hurts that build up all those little disrespects that build up all those little annoyances that build up, because it starts small. In fact, one of my favorite type of people to work with are particularly women, actually, yeah, mainly women and this women who are in a new relationship. Because if you can within the first year, get in the habit of releasing those hurts, then you can stay connected. And if you get in the habit of holding on to the hurt or building walls to protect yourself from the hurt, then that's the habit you're building going forward and it's going to make you you know in 10 years This way, you start off going this way, you know, you kind of keep going. I was like, whatever direction you're in. Right? Right. So the habit

is releasing her. But how do you do that? And for me, the first thing was really research into a couple things. I think people have this vision, or they have this goal, they have this idea that I'm going to fall in love. And I'm never going to have my feelings hurt, I'm never going to be disappointed. I'm never going to be annoyed. I'm never going to feel betrayed all these things. We think that's the vision or the goal. Yeah, but it can be both. Right? And, and that's really not practical. Because what I found, there's one, one topic of research I was doing, which was talking about how women experience hurt, whether they're in a feminine mode, and how they experience hurt when they're in a more masculine mode. So I was researching all of the whole bunch of women about this. And I was I was researching with men about their the effect of having women who are hurt around that. But that's another story. And what I found is that the women who were in great relationships, Linda Shea included, I started with her, I said, you know, has Frank ever hurt your feelings? Oh, yeah. Yesterday, he did this, this and this, you know, he looked at a piece of mail, and he threw it all out. And, and I thought it was something important. And he did anyway, she went through this whole story that it just happened yesterday. And other people that were in great relationships, it would be Oh, yeah. You know, so and so. You know, my husband, my boyfriend, my, my partner? Yeah, just two days ago, they did this. Yeah, the people that were in difficult relationships, when I asked that exact same question would say, yeah, three years ago, three years ago, he did this. Yeah. And, and that was actually the beginning of my looking at what turned into the book The power of Ouch. Because we don't recognize if we recognize the Ouch. And we let go of it, and we work through it, then we wake up the next day. And it's fresh again. And I talked about how, you know, when we hurt ourselves, physically, we go out, right, and we take care of the wound, we don't start moving furniture around yet we take care of the stubbed toe, first we might need to put a bandaid on we take care of our own feeling the own injury before we do anything. And in relationships. So many times, we don't even say that our feelings have been hurt, we hold it inside. Or we blame the other person, which doesn't dissolve it. Or we blame ourselves, which is not dissolving anything. Or one of the things that visions come in is sometimes people will visualize a future where they won't be hurt for whatever external reason. And this can happen, like when we get married, then everything will be fine when we have children when we retire. And I imagine that you're looking at this a lot more in business, but I've got to believe it's a little bit the same. Because if you put into the vision, the idea that then I'll be happy, and then I'll be fulfilled, you will be miserable. Like if you're waiting for some external event to make you feel joy make you feel connected, make you feel love. It's, you're gonna wait. Yeah, that one is a one of the tricks is realizing it's a trick, one of the truths is realizing that, like we have that love within us. And it's a matter of just not blocking. Right, growing the love within us and not blocking it by blame by self blame by running by hiding all these things that we do. to, at its root is to try and prevent us from being hurt again. Like we don't want to feel that same way. You know, somebody gets breaks up with a two people break up and now one or both of them are like I never want to experience that again. I never want to feel that broken heart. It's so horrible. And all the strategies that we put in place, which are very complicated, including I'm not going to connect with somebody until something else happens. Yeah, what you can can I like you, if you don't have an open heart, the other person can't connect with you. Anyway, so whatever you fear is going to happen because you don't have an open heart to be able to connect in relationship. So when I look at vision, I look at how is it that you want to feel In a relationship, because, you know, we were saying earlier, you can't, you know, you don't

run a relationship, you can visualize how you want to experience that relationship, which is another definition of have, right? Have a relationship? Or what's the experience of it, there's no have a good time, like, what's your experience of it? So take a look at that you go, Well, I want to experience joy, for example, in my relationship, great. We it kind of take it backwards. And the first thing you have to do is you have to be joyful. Yep. Or if you want to experience, you know, playfulness in your relationship when you have to be playful first. And if you want to be playful, it's probably already part of your nature. And it's just those things that we don't have the habit of releasing that get in our way. Yeah. And it's, it's constant. So, so that's kind of the way I see the simple path of releasing and releasing To me, that's the habit.

Stephen Box 26:12

Yeah. So so you're talking about a couple things here that I just I'm so fascinated by? So, first thing is, we can't avoid the hurt, right? Yeah. It's something that we we come but like you say, we come up with all these strategies for we try to figure Okay, I'd never want to experience that. Again. I don't want to deal with that. How do I avoid that? And the reality is, and I've talked to other, you know, guests about this as well, in terms of creating habits, which is, the struggle is usually where most of the growth happens. And there's a difference between going through pain and going through struggle. And the biggest difference a lot of times, is what's happening in here and our brains, because it's, like you said, when you don't let go of what you perceived as, as slight or disrespect to the other person probably didn't intend to be that way at all. Yeah, you don't let go of that. Now, there are times where someone legitimately has disrespected you, and maybe they did it on purpose. And then that becomes a point you go, you know, am I the right relationship? But do I need to get out of here? You know, and I'm sure you can kind of dive into how do you know, when it's just in your head, and you need to make changes versus what does it look like to actually be in a bad relationship that you just need to get out of right. But the other thing that you said, and I love this, so when people are creating a vision, the three words that I took, that people should look out for is if, when, and then if your vision includes if, when or then you're probably setting yourself up for something that's not realistic. Or you're hoping for some magical thing to happen before you start taking action to be happy.

Sondra Harmon 28:19

Hmm, huh? Yes, I love that. I never looked at those three words embedded into what I call daydreaming. Like, for me, that's the difference. But vision is this is how my life is going to unfold. And I call that if, when then I call that daydreaming. Yeah, it's like, I'm going to sit there as like, I'm unhappy now. So I'm going to daydream. You know, if I went a million dollars, then I'll be happy. Right? And I love that I love I love those three words in there. I never noticed them.

Stephen Box 28:52

And in trying to be positive and say win a million when I win a million dollars doesn't mean it's gonna happen. Right? Yeah, right. Right. Right, exactly. Because otherwise we'd all be millionaires.

Sondra Harmon 29:03

And instantly in a relationship, because it's all emotion based. It's changeable almost instantaneously. I don't know if you've ever had that experience where you're, you know, upset with something upset with something. And then all of a sudden, you see some you look at it in a different way. And you're like, oh, and then all the tension resolves? Yeah, what, what I do is and you're talking about in your mind, like how much of it is in your mind. That's kind of so in my book, The Power of Ouch, I kind of have it broken down into three pieces. The first piece is recognizing when we're putting up a wall because we might not look at it. But it's easy to recognize when we're blaming someone. It's easy to recognize when we're running away from someone, it's easy to recognize all the other. I don't know there's like 12 of them. Things that we do rather than dissolve the hurt then the second Section goes over a method of releasing the tension that we get, you know, it actually hurt you. That's why we say it's like a heartbreak because it hurts. Yeah, even if it's something little, you know, there's tension involved. You know, somebody doesn't call you when he says he's gonna call you, there's tension involved? How do you release that tension in your body? And do you want to some people like having the tension, so you can't work on something? Or if you like, and you want to stay that way, because it makes you feel safe, you can't change. So don't keep reading further. But how do you release the tension in your body, and then the last part is all about the mental stuff that's underneath the hurt. Yeah, and I were talking about like acronyms, I use NES, m e, s, s. And the first one is really exercises and different ways of looking at the meanings that we have for things. Because if you have a meaning that if somebody offered, we're talking about my coffee, right, I could have had the coffee situation not work out well. And I would have chosen to keep waiting in line to get my coffee, and I would have been late for our call. And you could have the meaning that anyone who's late for a call is so disrespectful and such a bad person that, you know, I should never talk to them, right? Because it means being late could mean disrespect to other people, especially I moved down to Puerto Rico recently, being late, there's no meaning to disrespect. It's just you know, your things happen at the flow that they happen. So looking at your meaning, and is that meaning serving you and what are the other possible meanings because we get attached to one, we think there's only one meeting, it must mean that they just respect me, could be all these other things. So then the next thing he is looking at expectations. Because we can have an expectation that comes from either real life events, you know, it's like you wake up every single day. And when you put your feet on the floor, the floor holds your weight, right, it happens every day. So now you can expect it you can expect the sun to rise because it happens every day. But unlike floors and the sun, people change. Right and expectation you might have with one person, it's not how another person behaves, you know, you are used to in your family always celebrating Christmas in a certain way. You're now in relationship with somebody and it's time to celebrate, you know, Christmas, if that's your holiday you celebrate. Yeah. And and they do it completely differently. Yep. Like, how can that be? How can that be that they don't give gifts? What's wrong with these people, right? Because you had that expectation, having grown up in a family in a certain way. And the other thing that can happen is you can have an expectation solely based on your own visions of the future. So you might have this expectation that, you know, I'm going to meet this person and they're gonna bring me flowers every single day. And they're gonna bring me flowers every single day. And so you create your own expectation, even though it's not real. So expectations, you can't live without expectation. So I'm completely not one of the people that say, you know, don't have any expectations, you need expectations, otherwise you wouldn't get out of bed in the morning. But where you feel that tension? Because an expectation didn't work out the way that you thought it would. You need to adjust your expectation. Because reality is one way and you're holding on to something that is not true. So you can actually look at anytime you're getting your feelings hurt, disrespected all these things, these, I call them outages, right? Any anything that's out you in a relationship you can look at as an opportunity to dive into what were the meanings, because it's probably not workable one, and there's so many you can assign any meaning there's probably some expectation that you need to upgrade your software, right and come up with, we need new expectations. It could be the stories that we tell ourselves. Like we always have these stories going on in our mind. And if somebody is not playing their role, or you're not playing your role, then you're it's gonna feel ouchy we'll look at that story. You know, is there a different story? Do you need a story at all, which is kind of hard? And then the last one is strategy, because this is where it ties back into business. A little bit. You know, you talked about all the business strategies and you know, if you do this, then they will do that. Well The thing about strategy is it disconnects you.

Yep. Just by saying, at or asking the question, because I'll get, I'll get people asking me this question, you know, how do I get my partner to do blank? You have just you're trying to create a strategy, the question itself has disconnected you like you are no longer in the relationship, because you are treating that person as an enemy. Right? Like you're going to, you're trying to like when you go to somebody else saying, you know, how do I get somebody to your you're, like manipulating you're trying to manipulate. Right? And sometimes I love I love women, we're so great. They're like, Oh, no, I'm not trying to manipulate I'm just trying to influence like, no, they're probably trying to manipulate. Because if you were on the same side of the table, you would be sitting together, you're having that conversation. Yeah. So those are the components of mess. And then the last one is the mess gets even Messier with you. And so it's messy. And the EU is obsessive, self centric thinking, that is all about you. Somebody needs to make you feel right. Yeah, make you feel loved. And I the earlier question you had about, you know, how do you know about whether you should stay or you should leave and maybe somebody disrespected you you felt disrespected and wasn't intended? Or maybe they intentionally disrespected you? What about that? Well, think about it. If somebody were assuming that you guys were in love, you were connected. At some point, there was that connection, that oneness. And now all of a sudden, they said something to intentionally disrespect you. They're hurting underneath them wanting to hurt you. There's something that that's an ouch for them. And rather than now, all of a sudden, going on the opposite side of the table, get on the same side of the table and see what's going on. Yeah. And it's hard because, you know, we tend to read, we tend to get our own reactions. So we're not in a place of love and connection, where we can sit down and say, sweetie, you know, that was super harsh. What's going

Stephen Box 37:32

on? Yeah.

Sondra Harmon 37:37

Instead, it's like you said something, you know, you yelled at me, you shouldn't do that. I'm going to go get a I'm going to read 10 books to tell me that you shouldn't yell at me. And then how to get you to stop yelling at me, as opposed to recognizing that anytime someone's disconnecting, there's a hurt underneath that.

Stephen Box 37:54

Yeah, that that's, that's really, really powerful stuff. No, I mean, I think that there's obviously situations that we wouldn't want to encourage people to stay and like, if someone is physically abusing you, you don't that's not a relationship you want to stay in. But I think what you said they're so powerful that we have to kind of put down our own things. And I just want to run through these real quick to make sure for all of our list people that I got this already for the first M and Messi is meaning. The E is for expectations. The first S is for story, those are the stories that we tell ourselves or that we've been kind of brought up on the second S is strategy. And then the Why is you really that you have to accept responsibility for the fact that when things are messy, the person should have to blame is the one in there.

Sondra Harmon 38:50

Well, you know, I let me rephrase that a little bit because self blame itself blame itself disconnects you so that that whether you're blaming somebody else or you're blaming yourself that is disconnecting because somebody can't be connected to you if you're so oh my god, I'm such a bad person. I can't believe I did that in that moment. You no longer are connected. The Why is this idea that it's all about you obsessive self centric thinking where it's constantly it's about me, it's about me, you should be the way you know, I think things should be you should be doing what I think you should do what crazy place that I saw a perfect example of this was there's a website in New York was looking for apartments called apartment calm. That's great about decorating apartments too. But there's a like a question and answer section to apartments calm. And somebody wrote in and said, You know, I've got this roommate, so it's, you know, no romantic relationship, but I have this roommate, and this roommate is always leaving dirty dishes in the sink. And, you know, how do I get them to stop because it's So disgusting. And you know, it's so wrong, and we're sharing this apartment together, and he needs to stop. And the response that the person was answering this questions gave, I thought was beautiful. Because she said, You know, it's his apartment to maybe he likes to have dirty dishes, maybe there's a good reason for him to have dirty dishes. How can you, as the other roommate, insist that someone be different insist that they're wrong. And that just kind of blew my mind? Because I realized that what it would be like to be with somebody that had some standard that you didn't necessarily have, and them making you wrong about it, as opposed to Hey, you know, I'm sure there's a great reason why you like to go to bed. I I feel uncomfortable, would you give me the gift of cleaning up? And if you if so, is there any way I can help support you? Because it would be a gift to me, it's your awesome, it would be just a gift to me, because I can't figure out how to, you know how to deal with this. Or maybe just do the dishes yourself? Because you're the one who cares about. But you see, that was so such an exact opposite of, of how I thought that somebody in a apartment website was going to answer a question. Right? Somebody was, was actually looking for strategies to try and fix the roommate. And the conversation and the teamwork would be Hey, this is what's going on with me. This is how I feel you're totally cool.

Stephen Box 41:44

Yeah, right.

Sondra Harmon 41:47

Now, what can I just keep going, because it ties in a little bit too, out of a relationship. Because it might be that you can't get over. Having somebody who doesn't want to do dishes, like you just can't. And that's just who you are. And that's cool, we all have these things that we just have to have, hopefully, it's a short list, not a long list. But there are just things that we have to have. And if we can't have that with our roommate, right, or our partner, then at that point, it makes sense to separate but then it's still from connections, like, Hey, we love each other, I can't get over the fact that you want to have grilled cheese sandwiches left in the sink. And he's like, and I cannot leave my grilled cheese sandwiches in the sink. And neither one of us is wrong, we just have a different way we want to live so we can't be together. Yeah. So and same thing. So anything where it's abusive, or you know, or feeling like you're not able to be who you need to be in the world, of course, don't be part of the relationship. But you can do it still connected. You can stay connected, and split up.

Stephen Box 43:06

I love the way that you that you phrase that. I do want to go back just a little bit to to your example, or the dishes, because I think it's such a great example of really our entire conversation, you can really kind of wrap everything into this analogy, right? Where we you think about the dishes. So like, you know, when I said, you know, you're blaming the person in the mirror? You know, I guess for me, and I love the fact that you kind of pointed this out, because for me, I don't look at blame as a negative. But I totally get where other people do. Because I've you know, over the years and developing habits, I use blame and responsibility interchangeably. So I look at it as I'm responsible for me, that doesn't necessarily mean that I'm a bad person. Because I did something. It just means that if I didn't like the outcome, I have the power to do something different. Right? So to me, it's an opportunity, which is a positive, not necessarily a blame, but I love to take you pointed out because because remember what you said, right? That's my expectation. That's my meaning. That doesn't mean that other people are going to take it the same way. I appreciate that, actually. But when you look at this dish thing. So here's here's what stuck out to my mind almost automatically. And it was so interesting. So when you said you're the one who has a problem with the dishes, if it bothers you that much you wash them, right? Yeah. But you also talked about the importance of letting go because we all know what happens when you decide to wash the dishes, right? You start to have resentment towards the fact that you have to wash the dishes. Although you are the one who wants the dishes washed in the first place. So really what it comes down to is you're mad that this person isn't giving you what you want, you're mad that you're having to now do the work to get what you want. Because we're not accepting the fact that we're the one who wanted it. That person never wanted it. Like you said, if it comes down to a point where, you know, what if you talk to this person, and you're just like, Hey, you know, this is something that really bothers me. Is this something that's like, super important to you to have? Or are you cool with like actually washing your dishes and leaving them here? And the person says, No, I absolutely have to have dirty dishes. Like, I love my dirty dishes. Part of the aesthetic, right? Maybe that's the relationship that you go, you know what, this isn't going to work? Because we clearly have two very different things. And this bothers me that much. But if you go, you know what, you don't want to wash the dishes. That's fine. I don't mind washing them. Right. So you know, and then maybe there's something that you do that annoys that person, that they're willing to pick up the slack for you. And now you both take insulin on each other's plates. And you're both happy, right? So sometimes it's finding that compromise.

Sondra Harmon 46:10

Yeah. And that's the thing that I would look at, like in a truly like, partnership kind of relationship, that, well, I'll I'll wash the dishes, because you won't, because you should. But I'm going to do it anyway. And therefore, now I've got a point. So now when I need you to do when, like, when I'm doing something that you don't want me to do, and you have to do it, because I was doing the dishes, that that that is also on the on the opposite side of the table. Right? You're not working together,

Stephen Box 46:42

and that person has to decide they want to do it for you. You can't ask them to do it for you. It's not a set of plans.

Sondra Harmon 46:49

And even that, like, honestly, I have this, I have this with my husband about socks on the floor. I know it's a small thing, right? It's a it's a really small thing. And I used to use it a lot with a friend of mine, when we would use it as an example. And what do you know, all of a sudden, it showed up? Before which I value clean floors? And it was interesting, because if you think about it, am I valuing a clean floor by just picking the sock up? Or is there something that means something if he picks it up? Because honestly picking up a sock washing dishes? It takes two seconds. But you know a sock left on a floor can drive some people into rage? Yeah. I mean, obviously things have built up. But think about it. The thing in your mind that's going to make you happy isn't a clean floor. Because if you just wanted a clean floor, you would pick that sack up. Yeah, you want somebody else to do something for you. And there's some kind of meaning or expectation or something in there where you're wanting somebody else to be be a certain way and do things automatically and for your pleasure. And whatever it is. It's everybody has different meanings and different expectations. But if you really look at it, like, why, if I value a clean floor, why don't I just pick up the sock? There's something else under it?

Stephen Box 48:23

Yeah. Yeah, I love that. And it's, I think it all comes back to this one very simple idea. Which is that, ultimately, it's up to us to decide what we want in our lives, right? So do you want to be stressed out by the socks on the floor? Do you want to hold on to the hurt that has been caused by the slap on the floor? Or do you want to let it go and be happy?

Sondra Harmon 49:05

Exactly. Exactly.

Stephen Box 49:08

So it's a choice that we all get to make, which when you understand that you can only control what you can control and you let everything else go. It's so easy to be happier.

Sondra Harmon 49:24

And it's and it's that the happiness comes from you and you share it with the other person or the joy or the compassion. In fact, one of the things that when my husband and I were married our wedding vows weren't Oh, you know, we're gonna stay together till death do us part. It went along the lines of I will nurture joy in my own being and share that joy with you. I will nurture compassion in my own being and then share that compassion with you. Right I like things that are more about us being a tenant. To the state that we're in so that we can share it. Yeah. You know, and bringing it all back to the coffee example this morning, right? I guess I will say, I nurture energy and myself, and then show up for a podcast, even if I'm late. It wasn't like, but you know what I mean? It's like, you have to see what you're going to share. I'm going to in order to share energy with a bunch of people, I need energy myself. And that was, and we didn't touch on this at all. But since I was just mentioning it, it's one of the things that I see probably more with women is doing the things that you need to be the best you get put on the backburner. Yeah. And if you flip that all around and look at it slightly differently, that in order for you to be the best you can be you need certain things. And those are critical. could could be coffee, it could be an hour of alone time every day, it could be going on a vacation with girlfriends once a year, whatever it is, that fills you up so that you can nurture who you are to share that beautiful thing with the rest of the world. Yeah.

Stephen Box 51:22

Yeah, I love it. It's it's a great message. You know, I think sometimes we're all guilty of it, man, I think do it maybe a little bit differently than than women do. But I think that we are also guilty of, you know, feeling like we need to be providers and protectors and things like that. And sometimes we don't take care of ourselves to do that. And we kind of missed the point that you can't provide and you can't protect, right? If you don't take care of your health. If you don't manage your stress, if you die at 50 you're not going to be protecting or providing for anybody. Right. So yeah, it's a great message for for men and women, both you have to take care of yourself. First, you have to fill up your own cup before you can fill up anybody else's. So I love it. Yay. Founder we are at our time for the day. But I really appreciate you being here so much and you've given us so much wisdom and information today. If someone wants to get in touch with you or work with you further, how would they do that?

Sondra Harmon 52:38

Probably the quickest and easiest way is go to my website, Sondra Harmon Sondra with an Sunder And I have I have fun stuff available there all the time. So whatever I'm offering that's free or fun for that month or week. It's all there. So just know that you can always write to me at me at Sundar I love hearing from people it's it. I I get most of my insights through talking to other people and looking at other possibilities. And then looking and matching where I see that in myself. So I love conversations with anyone, particularly you I really enjoyed our conversation today. Thank you so much, Steven.

Stephen Box 53:22

Thank you very much. And I just want to say if you are someone who is out there and you are struggling to find happiness in your relationship, definitely reach out to Andrea she clearly has literally decades in this and she she's really getting her framework for helping people to get better with this down. So I thank you so much for coming on and being so generous to share your knowledge and your wisdom with us today. And I do want to just remind everyone that you can subscribe to the unshakable habits podcast by going to our YouTube channel, unshakable habits, comm slash YouTube or you can find us wherever your favorite podcasts are played. I'll see you back next week. But in the meantime, remember to take the story that you learned today apply that unshakable framework to it so you can take your habits from unsustainable to unshakable.

Outro 54:26

Thanks for listening to the unshakable habits podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, and you'd like to help support the podcast, please share it with others post about it on social media or leave a rating and review. To catch all the latest. Please subscribe at or on your favorite podcast app. You can learn more about unshakable habits at unshakable Until next week, be unshakable Bye friends


bottom of page