SWGR 547 Inner Dominatrix Inner Dominatrix

 

We may not all have the same outward chutzpah, but lurking inside of us is an inner dominatrix that awaits to be unleashed. How do you hold the reins of this beast and use it to your own advantage? Elizabeth Bachman gets the truth of the matter from million-dollar company CEO, two-time award-winning speaker, bestselling author and Master Healer, Dana Pharant. Today’s topic: how can you use your inner dominatrix to take charge of the negotiating table? Dana also dispels common mistaken beliefs about the dominatrix role and defines what it really means in the coaching world.

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Negotiate Like A Dominatrix With Dana Pharant

This is the show where we interview experts from around the world on how you can use your presentation skills to move your listeners to take action. That’s important whether you are speaking to a group if you’re up on stage, in a meeting, or on a one-on-one conversation. For this, I’m happy to have Dana Pharant as my guest. Welcome.

Thank you, Elizabeth. I’ve been looking forward to this.

I’d like to remind you that if you’re interested in seeing how your presentation skills are, you can go to our quiz at www.SpeakForResultsQuiz.com. It takes four minutes and you can see where you are rocking your presentation skills and where you might need a little bit of support. I’ve been hearing about Dana Pharant through a mutual friend, Cindy Ashton, who has also been on this show. She was one of the very first people I interviewed. Cindy kept saying, “You need to meet Dana.” We have reconnected. I’m glad to have you here.

Thank you for having me. Cindy is such a delight. She’s my biggest raving fan at this point.

Let me read the official bio. Becoming a badass in life and business requires you to stand in your power and be super comfy with being unique. Dana Pharant knows all about standing out and being unique. Her personal brand of The Inner Dominatrix pushes people out of their comfort zone, challenges their preconceived notions, and has them stepping into a fierce determination to rock their bold, sexy, and fun-filled lives. She’s worked with clients to transform their lives for 25 plus years. She’s been the CEO of a million-dollar company, two-time award-winning speaker, bestselling author of five books, and earned the title of Master Healer. She was a dominatrix.

Dana, I’m thrilled to have you here. I spoke with my other half and I said, “I’m interviewing a dominatrix.” He goes, “Don’t get too excited.” I’m like, “It’s fine.” We’re going to do it on Zoom. I think we’re going to keep this PG, but this is not too difficult. I’d like to know about your dream interview. If you could share the stage with somebody from history, who would it be? What would you ask them and who ought to be in the audience?

Every time somebody has asked this type of question, the first person that always jumps up for me is Madonna. Growing up, Madonna was my idol. She was big at that era in the ‘80s. She was a huge pop star. The more I’ve come to know her story and watch her journey and her constantly reinventing herself and going through all those variations and leaving into different challenges. She is a super badass. I love her chutzpah. I love how she keeps showing up in spite of what people throw at her. For me, it would be an audience of women entrepreneurs who need to hear the good, bad and ugly so that they know that they have as much right to be up on a stage or going for whatever dream it is that they have as Madonna or I or anybody else and that we are all capable of doing things.

Being a dominatrix is not about being in control of the other person. It is about being super-responsible for them. Click To Tweet

It’s one of the themes when I ask people this, they often say like, “How did you do it? How did you get the courage to get out there and be yourself and stand up for yourself?” I’m delighted to have you here. Madonna would be fun. I would be there. What is the Inner Dominatrix about? You were a dominatrix. Might as well get that out of the way first.

It’s one of those eye-catching things. It’s a showstopper like, “You are what?” What I need to explain first is that world. For most people, we get our information through Hollywood or media in less, we are involved in it. Media and Hollywood in particular do a terrible job of portraying anybody’s profession, least of all this one. They show all of the sensational sides of it. The whips, corsets, and stern persona. That’s one little slice of what is possibly there. I started out on the submissive side, experiencing it myself. That, for me, created a deep transformation for healing a lot of trauma that I had growing up because we could create a scene that reenacted the abuse, but then we also scripted in a different outcome that allowed me to, on a deep level, reclaim my power.

That is a way of practicing new ways of telling your story then?

It is, and it’s a kinesthetic experience because you were immersed in it and you let yourself be taken care of. You get to surrender to the dominatrix so that they are guiding the scene and in your best interest. To me, it’s similar to the coaching world in that before a dominatrix session, we would sit down and say, “What’s okay or not okay? What are your hard limits? What’s never? What’s a, ‘I want to explore this?’ What do you want to get out of this?” In those things, which is much like coaching. From there, the scenes are scripted by me. It’s loosely scripted because life happens, stuff happens, but within the dungeon, once we step into that, that is now my domain. I’m in charge, but contrary to what people think, it’s not about me being in control of the other person.

It’s about me being super responsible for the other person. I step into this persona of being large and in charge so that they can relax and surrender. If we relate this back with coaching, I step in as the expert so that they can relax and we can move through whatever it is we need to move through and they’re not trying to be therapist and patient at the same time. It’s that piece of co-creating that is magical. What I found is that even though it has the ability for this massive transformation, I was surprised that the majority of people didn’t want to go to the dungeon with me.

Were they just there to have a little fun?

Have a little fun and some people were quite willing. For a lot of people where I said, “Here’s this way that we can move through what’s going on,” that’s a little too scary. I started bursting this idea of the Inner Dominatrix. The energy of it and inviting people to step into who I had to become to take on that role and bringing that into the business world because I see, especially for women in business and I’m sure you see this too, women are unfortunately still very apologetic, underprice themselves, don’t negotiate well and not standing in their expertise. They wait until they’re 110% beyond what they can do. They’ll say, “I can do with that.” I want to bring that fierceness, that willingness to stand up and speak up for yourself. That’s part of the Inner Dominatrix energy.

I do have to say before getting onto the business side of this is in my early days in San Francisco, there was one year when I was not working during the gay parade. I was able to go to the gay parade and I volunteered to help out. I wound up working backstage at the everything else stage where all the people who didn’t fit any other category, including the leather scene and the people who were doing S&M demonstrate, it wasn’t sex. It was like international Mr. and Ms. Leather. It wasn’t like Hollywood at all and all that I had expected. It wasn’t glamorous. Let’s go back to negotiating because I wanted to ask you negotiating whether it’s to be the person who asks to go out and be the speaker or negotiating for a raise. Negotiating around money tends to be a scary thing. It is a sales conversation. That’s a lot of what I talk about with my clients. How can you be a badass expert and not get the pushback of being considered too bossy, too aggressive, too much?

SWGR 547 | Inner Dominatrix

Inner Dominatrix: People do one of two things when negotiating: either they’re pushing too hard because they’re desperate for the sale or they’re too apologetic because they’re afraid of asking for the sale.

 

The thing that comes up with people when negotiating, usually they do 1 of 2 things. Either one they’re pushing too hard because they’re desperate for the sale or two, they’re too apologetic because they’re afraid of asking for the sale. Either way, it creates pushback from the other person. The first thing that we need to get into is the mindset of being detached from the outcome. We know this from sales that we’ve got to detach from the outcome, but if we genuinely come in and were in that playful, creative energy, we come in and we’re having the conversation. Let’s say I’m negotiating with you, Elizabeth, “Tell me what’s going on. Tell me what you need to make your convention great. Let me see if there’s a way I can help.”

If I come in, I’m super curious and I’m listening. This is a thing with sales, we listen a lot about what’s going on. The piece about going in and being able to be detached, our brains are like a PC computer in which the more windows you have open, which is AKA emotions. The more emotions that are running, the less cognitive and creative abilities you have. If you want to go in detached, we’ve got to wrangle those monkey mind emotions so that we ramp up the creative ability, because then we go in and we can pretend that we’re negotiating for somebody else. I can go in as if I’m negotiating for you and say, “What do you get? What can we do? You don’t have any money. What else do you have? Where else can we find something equivalent? What’s going to work? How do we make this a win-win?” You’re constantly being able to look for something, but if I say, “Do those strategies,” if you have all of the emotional baggage going on, what’s going to happen is you’re going to come in and go, “What else can we do?”

“Goddammit, that kid got promoted ahead of me. I’ve been here for ten years longer than he did.”

I may be a little biased because I’ve been doing inner work for many years with clients. For me, it starts there. If we don’t have the inner capacity to show up, then we don’t use all those great tools. We can talk about the actual strategies of when you’re negotiating, you’re going to ask for what else is possible? You’re going to say, “Do you have a newsletter? Do you have a magazine?” We can talk about all those things, but if you’re not open in the first place, then it’s not going to get planned.

I often think of it as voices in your head. I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a voice. I have a choir. A lot of them sound like my mother, but it’s like a whole choir of my mother telling me all the things that I’m doing wrong. I love my mother, but she had high standards. Let’s put it that way. If you’ve got this whole choir shouting in your head, you can’t listen if you’re tuned in to what the inner voices are saying.

It’s like being at a noisy bar and your friend is trying to talk to you. You’re straining to hear them over all the other noise. We have to be able to contain the voices. I call it the monkey mind because I like that image. Going from my background, I put a ball gag on the monkey mind and get it to be quiet. We do have to wrangle that in so that we can show up. First and foremost, detach from the outcome. That is the most important piece here.

Committed, but not attached.

If we feel confident in who we are and what we do, we're not going to feel threatened by other people. Click To Tweet

Coming in and being that playful, creative five-year-old, we’ve all come across the five-year-old. They’re the ones that are like, “Why is the sky blue? Why is the grass green? Why does it work like that?” They don’t know what the answers are, but they’re curious. They keep asking questions. That’s a big key. Do not try to negotiate anything until you feel like you’ve got all the specifics out of them that you possibly can. “Who’s coming? What’s the setup? What’s the agenda? What do you need? What would make a great conference for you?” if it’s a conference.

Maybe negotiating for a raise. I spent a lot of time with women who are helping women who are hitting glass ceilings. Getting them to show up, being taken for granted.

That speaks to this piece of, it’s how we show up. When we go in and we have that expectation ahead of time that we’re hitting a glass ceiling, then we’re going to hit a glass ceiling. When we go in and we say, “It feels like I’m hitting a glass ceiling. Is that my imagination or is that what’s going on here?” you can start moving that needle a little bit and start asking some questions like, “What else would be possible?” When they make an offer, the most powerful question I have for negotiating for anybody, I use this everywhere, “What else is possible?” Can you say that without any attachment, without any expectation? You’re only curious, “I wonder what else is possible?”

I’ve used these in hotels and I’m like, “What else is possible?” We’re talking about things that give me upgrades and with extras because if you throw it out there and you don’t answer it, it leaves a void. The other person feels drawn to fill the void. Most people are not willing to be detached from the outcome. They go in and they’re like, “They’re going to give me an upgrade.” They go marching on up there and like, “I’m going to be all badass and I’m going to get my upgrade.” The girl is like, “No.”

It is easier said than done. Do you have any hints for how to deal with the old programming if the old programming resurfaces? You hear yourself in the middle of it and that makes you even more distracted. I don’t know if that happens to you but that happens to me. I hear myself doing the old patterns and thinking, “The chatter, the choir is going again.”

The deeper work that I do with people, we go through the full process where we get in, remove the old programs, look at replenishing what we would have gotten had we not put those programs in, and this gets a little bit woo. We also look at reparenting or reprogramming, putting in what we do want. That whole system, there are these cool tools that I have for moving that needle. The first thing to start out with, and I love giving this to people, is a simple tool. What we do, you’re going to use your breath to release the emotion, the attachment to things. Breath is powerful. We can say statements because when we say statements, it brings up the emotion.

We’re going to use the statements on both the so-called positive and the negative or having and not having. Money is a great example of this. If we think of it in terms of money, we have stuff about having money and stuff being judgments, emotions, and whatnot. I’m not having it. If you said a simple statement like, “It’s safe for me to have money,” and then you take a deep breath and you release whatever that statement being said, brought up, and you keep saying the statement and releasing it with the breath until the statement feels neutral. Neutral is how it feels when you say the statement, “The sky is blue.” Most of us are neutral on that statement.

You also work on the not, “I am safe to not have money.” It’s not, “I am not safe to have money.” I know everybody wants to go there, but that’s a different statement. What you’ve done effectively is you have eliminated both sides of the equation and what we’re left with is this beautiful space of choice in the middle. It becomes a choice to have it or not have it, do it, or not do it. That is a simple tool. If people want to reach out to me, I have a booklet that will walk you through it and you can start digging into that first layer of the process. That is a good way to start pitching out the monkey mind or the itty-bitty shitty committed. To start tackling that on your own, and then the bigger pieces where it’s locked in and you can’t even say the statement, that’s when you give me a call because those are the pieces where you need that container. Like going into the dungeon for people, space, relax and be guided.

SWGR 547 | Inner Dominatrix

Inner Dominatrix: Women at the leadership level need to help the women below them because that’s what’s going to change the system.

 

It’s like that old saying, “You can’t see the label if you’re inside the bottle.” This is where outside eyes, an objective, observer, can help. What is it do you think that makes women afraid to fail? I always thought that I wasted years personally, waiting to be recognized for the good jobs I was doing and being pissed off and resentful about the guys who walked in and just said, “I can do this.” They weren’t nearly as qualified as I was, but I never knew what to do about it for a long time.

We have our social conditioning that is going on in which we have been conditioned to think of the whole, be a collaborative community, women in general, and for millennia, this has been our role. We haven’t been the hunters. Men have been the hunters and they go out and kill their thing, as opposed to women. We’re like, “Let’s all go together.” We all gather our baskets, go out together, and go picking berries. There’s that conditioning. There’s also the fact that realistically, women have only been climbing the corporate ladder since 1960, maybe 1970 if we want it. That’s only where women started going up.

It’s a short period of time. Women didn’t have the mentors moving up. The first women coming up, they clawed their way to the top and they were not reaching down below and helping the women below them. You didn’t benefit from having a mentor above you, even if there were women above you, they weren’t helping. This is the dynamic that starts to need to change is that women, you and I, at our level, we need to now turn and help the women below us. That’s what’s going to change the system overall is that if we start mentoring them and letting them know, lean in early, “You got this. I got you. You can do this. Ask for it.” Quell those thoughts of what’s going on in your brain.

It gets to our old friend’s trust. Trust that there will be enough, that it will be safe, that there’s room for more than one woman. If you get up there, will you do that? I tend to be a collaborative person and what can I do to help and who would do this? It is always a surprise when another woman sabotages me. This happened not too long ago where I was introducing myself to a group that I had where I’d met, where I said, “I think I would be a good person on your team.” Another speaker trainer responded and by accident copied me in. She hit reply all by mistake.

She said, “No. Elizabeth would be terrible with this.” I was surprised. That was unexpected. After I got over jumping up and down and gnashing my tea, I was able to have a nice little, “You haven’t seen my work in several years. I do this.” I’ve often thought that the women who clawed their way up, it’s the scarcity mentality that keeps them from saying, “It’s going to be okay if I let somebody else in. If I leave the door open for someone else. That doesn’t hurt me to help somebody else.

Everything’s always multilayered. We have a situation where initially there was only one seat at the table. If a boardroom was open to having women, they would let one woman in. They weren’t going to let them more than one woman in. They were like, “We’ll let the token woman back into the room.” We have women in our boardroom. It was that thing. There is a legitimate scarcity, however, changing that paradigm so that we are willing to lean in and feel that abundance. That comes from do our own inner work. If we feel confident in who we are and what we do, we’re not going to feel threatened by other people. There’s no need to put down another woman if we know who we are and what our value is. That’s the call for me is to invite women to come and stand in their own inner dominatrix, that power. From there, when you’ve claimed who you are, it’s easy to turn and say, “Let me help you up.”

It occurs to me that being a dominatrix is giving service.

It’s a high-level service position.

If you are willing to lose everything, you can have anything. Click To Tweet

If you think of that as claiming your inner dominatrix, you could also claim it as a way of doing service. I think about the people who work flinching backwards and saying, “Do I have to wear a leather corset?” It’s like, “you don’t have to do that.” What’s exciting for you these days? We’re all working from home now mostly. How has your business been evolving?

Prior to COVID, I was starting to move into opening up small retreats and I called them the Deep Surrender Retreats. It’s a weekend where we can come together, feel that supportive container, work on ourselves, but also understand, getting in touch with that, surrender that trust that we’ve been talking about. These are small, maximum of twelve people. I’ve been waiting patiently for everything to open. It’s all opened up. We have our first one going in July 2021. I see those being a real call for people because we’re craving the connection. Nobody wants anything big, but we want something real, something with substance, something that’s going to move the needle in a real way. I’m excited about these retreats.

Dana Pharant, this has been such a delight to have you on here. I’m sure there are a million more things that we could talk about. Do you have one thing to leave us with?

My favorite quote is mine, “When you were willing to lose everything, you can have anything.”

Thank you for having been a guest.

This has been a delight, Elizabeth.

It’s been great and fun. I’ll see you at the next one.

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About Dana Pharant

SWGR 547 | Inner DominatrixFor the first 18 years of my life I lived in a mild cult (Jehovah’s Witness) and went through almost every type of abuse available—the whole smorgasbord! Then I moved in with my mom, and found myself in a home that was the polar opposite; everyone was addicted to sex, drugs, and alcohol.  I tried to numb out as much as I could by drinking and eating compulsively (I was such a sugar addict!) while at the same time going for counselling. At 21, I graduated as a registered massage therapist (RMT), and by 25 with the help of therapy, I was no longer experiencing nightmares, flashbacks, and other triggers.  I was functioning.

Most women are functioning; they’re head down, let’s get the kids’ lunches made, let’s do what we need to do. Husband wants sex? OK, bang, bang, bang. They think they’re doing well but they’re still dissatisfied, they’re judging the shit out of themselves, and they’re not as happy as they’d like to be—even though they’ve worked through some of their issues.

I was functioning, tackling my issues with lots of counselling, and working as an RMT. One of my clients was involved in the kink world and over the next several years, I started dipping my toe into it. During that time, I also started my own RMT supply outlet and massage clinic, but in spite of all the counselling I’d been doing, I made some bad business choices. I hired people who had no skills to do the job and they fucked up—a lot of the time. But I let them and I ignored what was going on, so I was blindsided when five of my therapists moved out on the day I took the key to a bigger space!

I didn`t realize it then but the mistakes I was making were a result of the programming set up in my body from the abuse (just like the programs that run in the background on your computer).  And it was playing out in my business. Surprisingly, the rewiring I needed was waiting for me in the kink world. My partners and I would create the script ahead of time so that I was able to re-enact the abuse, but I could alter the outcome and fight back. That changed things neurologically in my system, which began to change the programming. Once I had done that work, I moved over to the other side of kink, the dominatrix side, and worked with people to take them through that same healing journey.

Fast forward a few years, and even though I’d made changes in my company, I was still carrying a shitload of debt from past mistakes, which crippled the business and it went bankrupt. The cool thing is I did not make myself wrong in any of it, which is incredible for most people to imagine. But it was because I’d spent 10 years implementing some really good tools. I had only two ten-minute meltdowns, in that six-month period!

Self-judgment is the single biggest reason women aren’t bolder in their lives and businesses. Most are not willing to take a chance, because they’re not willing to make the wrong choice. So they hesitate, and the bigger and bolder the choice is, the more risk there is of it being the wrong one.

I was willing to lose everything, to surrender into the bankruptcy, so instead of desperately clinging onto something I was able to reach out for something different.  I made a commitment to myself that business was going to be fun and make me money or I wasn’t doing it. So I restructured the company and sold it.

When you resist failing you don’t play full out, you don’t dive in and take the opportunities and risks that will propel your business forward. But when you surrender and let go, you lose that heavy, serious energy. Then laughter and playful energy shakes things up and you get back into who you are; you tap into your creative juices and that is the sweet spot for your business. If you’re creative and you’re lit up—boom! You’re gonna rock it!