Episode 7

full
Published on:

15th Feb 2024

Being Aware of your Triggers with Oleksandra Lazarchuk

What are 'triggers' and why should we be aware of them? Sarah chats with Oleksandra about this very topic, including easy to implement strategies to become more aware, and how you can manage them.

About Oleksandra:

I am a digital marketer with passion for SEO. I started in the industry around five years ago and never got bored. The dynamics of it is what I find the most fun part of the job, as it always pushes me to learn, try new things as well as it's an open space for sharing the observations. I currently work as SEO Manager at YOYABA - a German marketing agency focusing on revenue marketing.

Where to find Oleksandra:

Follow Oleksandra on LinkedIn

About 'The SEO Mindset' Podcast

Build your inner confidence and thrive.

The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that will give you actionable tips, guidance and advice to help you not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Each week we will cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics too including professional and personal development.

Your hosts are Life Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years of experience working in the industry.

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Transcript
Sarah:

Hello everyone, and a very warm welcome to the SEO Mindset podcast, where your hosts are myself, Sarah McDowell, and the ever so wonderful Tazmin Suleman. Now, unfortunately, we have no Tazmin today, but that means that we have a cracking guest lined up. Now, before I do that, before I introduce my guests and what this topic is about, just want to remind you of the ways that you can support the podcast. So if you enjoy what me and Tazmin are doing, there's a couple of ways that you can support us. First up, you can give us a donation so we are set up on buy me a coffee. So, an external website that allows creators like the podcast like me and Tazmin to receive donations from listeners. If you fancy doing that, you can follow the links in the show notes and in the show notes as well. There is a link to subscribe to the podcast. Why should you subscribe? Well, whenever there's a new podcast episode ready for you to listen, you'll get notified so you'll never get fomo. You'll never miss out on whenever a new episode is ready for you to listen to. And if you're feeling extra generous, why not give us a review? Even better if it's five star. Anyway, let's crack on with today's episode and my guest who I've got joining me today is the wonderful Oleksandra Lazarchuk. And they are a digital marketer with a passion for SEO, starting in the industry around five years ago, and they never got bored. The dynamics of it is what they find most fun about the job. It pushes them to learn, try new things, as well as create an open space for sharing the observations. They currently work as an SEO manager at Yojuba, which is a german marketing agency focused on revenue marketing. Right, and the topic, I nearly forgot to say what the topic was, being aware of your triggers. So a very important topic. So let's get Oleksandra onto the podcast. Hello. Hello.

Oleksandra:

Hi. Nice to be here.

Sarah:

Well, thank you so much for joining me. Very excited to have you join me on this podcast episode to talk about a very important subject. So how are you feeling? How are you doing today?

Oleksandra:

Yeah, I'm doing pretty well. It's my first podcast recording ever. I'm super grateful to be here and of course a little bit nervous time, but generally I feel good. It's winter and windy outside, but feels nice to be like in this cozy atmosphere that you created here.

Sarah:

That's wonderful to hear. And I'm super appreciative that your first experience of being a podcast guest is on the SEO mindset. So thank you for choosing us and putting faith in this podcast. So the topic of today is being aware of triggers. Now, it's a very common word, isn't it? Like, we hear about this a lot about what are your triggers? Being aware of triggers, what triggers you. So I think where we need to probably start is taking it back down to the basics. So what are triggers? What are we talking about when we say that word? And can you give us some examples?

Oleksandra:

Yeah. So trigger is a thing, a person, an action, a situation that is causing some intense emotional reaction. And that's typically the way our body is reacting or processing some of the past traumas by just like spitting out some emotion or some particular action to the particular situation. And if we talk about the examples, if we start generalizing, that can be some negative previous experience, or it can be some trauma. That's probably the most common thing, can be anything related to some relationship, loss, grief, change, potentially. Fear can also be a trigger. And if we go into the real life examples, I think the most common one that everybody knows as a trigger is fireworks for a military veteran or from SEO life, let's say if you get weekly meetings with some client and you know that the client is difficult, it can trigger some particular emotions in you that are negative. So I would say these are my examples.

Sarah:

They're very good examples. And I suppose to take it back down to the basics, it's triggering an emotional reaction from you because of a past experience. Okay. And yet they're going to be lots of examples of that in SEO, like you said, for example, dealing with tricky clients, or maybe you've had past experiences of dealing with a tricky boss, or where you've had to relay information about, I don't know, traffic drops to a website and you get triggered because that wasn't a great experience. So I suppose there's a lot around us in our professional life, being in SEO, working in SEO, but also personally as well. So experiences that we've had in past relationships, whether that is with a loved one, with family members, with friends and stuff. So it's a lot related to your history, isn't it? And what is triggering you. So now we've got a good understanding of that. Why is it important that we need to be aware of our triggers?

Oleksandra:

Maybe I could jump a little bit back to the previous topic, like to the intro, just like some interesting thing came to my head. And I think it's worth mentioning that triggers are pretty much the way our brains have processed the previous traumas so something has happened to us in the past, and then our brain connected some particular reaction to that, and then to save us in the future, brain just reproduces this reaction, and that's what is causing later on some issues for us in our lives. I think that's a good addition to summarize the topic, like, what triggers are.

Sarah:

100%, because just to add, our reactions, whether it's physical or mental, are normally there to protect us. So that's what that trigger is there for, isn't it?

Oleksandra:

Yeah, exactly. And coming back to the question, like, why is it important to be aware of them? I think the awareness of the triggers leads us to the better feeling with ourselves, to the healthier reactions to things, to general better mental state when we are dealing with certain situations. And definitely a better self awareness and self understanding. That's how I would put it.

Sarah:

And self awareness gets brought up a lot in our podcast episodes when me and Tazmin are talking about different topics or when we're with our guests. Because self awareness is so important, isn't it? Because different ways that we can be more self aware and triggers as part of that, if you're aware of how you react or how you might react to a situation, you can better manage yourself in a professional manner, but also outside of work as well.

Oleksandra:

Yeah, absolutely. They say that awareness is like part of solution already, right? So just when we know that something is causing the particular intense reaction for us, we already sort of process this information, we can potentially navigate ourselves to the different way of acting, to the different reaction, and long term train ourselves to be more resistant to this kind of issues, or maybe.

Sarah:

Yeah, because reflection is important, isn't it? And we should be reflecting back and not to sort of give ourselves a hard time, because, say, for example, you find yourself in a situation and it's turned out badly. And one of the reasons is because you got triggered. It was one of your triggers. When you're thinking back and you're reflecting on that situation, don't give yourself a hard time, but learn from it, I suppose. And the amount of times where I've. It's horrible going back to that situation because you have to put yourself back into those shoes that you were in. But it's really helpful, isn't it? Because that's how you grow, that's how you develop. That's how next time, when you are presenting with a similar situation, hopefully you can have a better outcome.

Oleksandra:

Yeah. And in addition to that, I think, yeah. First of all, give yourself some slack. But on the other hand, from my experience, I can say it's always okay to just, if there is another person involved, it's always okay to get back to that person if that caused some particular reaction. Talk about this, talk through and most of the times it will help you find out some answers or if maybe this trigger caused some, I don't know, difficulties in the relationship with the person. It's always possible to talk this through and find some in commonly find some ideas or answers to the trigger and dive deeper into the whole topic. It's always okay, I think, to just be open about how you feel and discuss that. And yeah, vulnerability is just fine.

Sarah:

Yeah. Because that helps you resonate and build better relationships as well, doesn't it? If you are open, transparent and honest and actually someone's going to have more respect for you as well. Because we all make mistakes, we all say things when things get heated, we all react in a way, but if you own up, take accountability and talk to that person like an adult, it's only going to help foster a better relationship. It's only going to help foster a better way of working with that person. Yeah, sure. Yeah. Okay. Right. What I suggest that we do is that we take a short break and when we come back, because now we've got an understanding about what are triggers. You've given us some great examples. We've talked about why it's important. I think when we come back after a short break, it'd be really good to talk about how so how you became aware of your triggers and strategies to manage them. But before we do pause, is there anything else that you'd like to say on this matter?

Oleksandra:

No, I'm ready at the moment to the best part. Actually, the most practical one. Yeah.

Sarah:

Awesome. Right. Well, join us for part two. We are back with part two. I hope you all enjoyed that short break there. So we are talking triggers. So Oleksandra has given us some examples from her experiences that she's had, and we've talked about why it's important. So let's get into the meat and bones. Okay. Let's get practical. How did you become aware of your triggers? And can you share some strategies and tips on how to manage triggers?

Oleksandra:

That's a very good question because I think it generally works differently for different people. But for me personally, the starting point was to start noticing some strong emotions and following your advice. Actually from the women in tech SEO mentorship, I started noting them down. I carried a journal next to me and I started putting some notes what is triggering me? What emotion am I feeling at this particular moment? And then I would take a moment later on, at some free moment to look through this, to dive deeper into this topic and actually ask myself, why did I feel this way? Or why did I react this way? What caused this particular thing and how did it make me feel? I asked myself a lot of questions. Sometimes it was really not easy. Sometimes it was really deep, because some reactions that are there, they are rooted deep in our childhood or something like that. But I started noticing patterns in different things. And I think that's, like, about synthesizing this. So I started noting them down, then I started grouping them, and then I started synthesizing them. And then I started understanding, okay, so this is, like, some patterns. This is what is probably a similar situation, or at least like a similar situation for my brain, probably. And the reaction is this, but the desired reaction would be something else. So how can I deal with this? How can I navigate myself a little bit better in this situation? And then, yeah, I started listening to myself a little bit more. So when I was approaching a similar situation later on, which I knew already that is a trigger, I would listen to myself how I feel right now. Is it going to trigger me right now or am I able to manage it? And with time, I think it came to the point that especially when I was in a good mindset or in a good, for example, not absolutely tired, it was a lot easier to navigate myself into the different behavior instead of what my brain would normally do. So I think that's my answer.

Sarah:

So there's two things that I want to sort of bring up here. And I imagine when you're first sort of becoming aware of your triggers and you're noting things down, that must feel a little alien. It must feel a bit weird doing that. Do you know what I mean?

Oleksandra:

Absolutely.

Sarah:

So I guess the more that you do that, did it get easier for you? Did it feel less weird?

Oleksandra:

I didn't do it for a long time. I did it probably for a week, and then my brain was already so trained to notice these things that I didn't need to do it anymore. I was just, like, grouping them. And then later on I could process. But it was absolutely weird because you are sitting in the meeting. On one side you have a business notebook, on the other side you have another notebook where you just write, okay, this thing was triggering for me. That's for later. That's for now. Come back to the meeting.

Sarah:

But I think it's such an invaluable thing to do, because the only way that you're going to learn about yourself is digging deep. And you said as well, it is going to be hard because everything leads back, or pretty much everything leads back to childhood or past experiences. So it might be upsetting or it might be hard at times, but it is worth it, isn't it?

Oleksandra:

Yeah, absolutely. It makes me feel more stable, stronger, and especially more in control of myself.

Sarah:

And how did you find. So, obviously, there's like learned behavior, isn't there? So when you're becoming aware of your triggers and you're becoming more aware of how you act, how easy was it to change your behavior or how easy was it to start that process?

Oleksandra:

Really depends on the trigger, I would say. Yeah, I think it's generally not easy. You really need to process it. So I had this one trigger that I couldn't get to the bottom of it. And then I took half of Sunday just sitting together, like sitting in bed. I woke up, took my coffee and I was sitting for hours. Created a mind map to get to the bottom of it. And once I did, then it was much easier later on to navigate myself into some journey. But some triggers I still don't have figure out. So it's like halfway. I understand that it's a trigger, but I don't know what's causing it. Exactly. So that's like a longer process to get to the bottom of it and change the behavior. But just understanding that it's a trigger already makes things a little bit easier.

Sarah:

And I suppose the thing here is, this is continued, not continued. I can say that in a better Way. This is a journey, isn't it? So you're not going to fix things, like in a week, in a month, in a couple of months time, it's going to be a continuous journey that you are working on. Okay. Yes, you will get better, and things will get better, and you will handle situations better, but you're always going to find yourself in situations that throw you and you're triggered. Yeah, that's life. There's things that are outside of our control. But I suppose the more that we do this and the more that we take time to reflect, the more that we take time to understand. Okay, this situation makes me feel like this, and this is why I react. It's all part of developing yourself, isn't it?

Oleksandra:

Yeah, that's definitely part of personal growth. The deeper you dive into yourself, the more you understand yourself and different parts of yourself, the more you'll probably feel like yourself. But it's also probably a different feeling for everybody.

Sarah:

I mean, from you doing this journey and with you yourself being more aware, what personally have you got out of it or how would you sell it to our listeners? If you get me like, do this? Because it really helped me with x, y and z sort of thing.

Oleksandra:

Um, let me frame it that way. It was definitely easier to deal or to dig to the bottom of the work related triggers because they are relatively fresh, I would say they are created in the past number of years, rather. I think, and I think it ultimately helped me to communicate better.

Sarah:

Communication.

Oleksandra:

Yeah, it really impacts the way you communicate. And if you're in the professional environment where you have to advise clients, communication is key. And sometimes you cannot afford to be triggered during the communication with the clients. So this was something what really helped me to dive deep into the particular triggers and get better in that also the daily stress at work, we all get sometimes overwhelmed. And if we understand exactly why we are overwhelmed, what triggers particular, this overwhelming emotions, then you also understand that you can deal with it in certain ways. So, for example, Q four was pretty intense. It's probably intense for many people in many industries. Industries. And yeah, I understood that. I need some help. I went to my team lead, we discussed this, we found some solutions, because I dug to the bottom of my trigger, of my stress. So ultimately it leads you to finding the solutions out of the difficult situations. And that's the best part of it.

Sarah:

And I suppose as well, there's going to be things that you're not aware of yourself. So whilst you might be aware of a trigger or you might be aware that something triggers you, you're not always going to be aware of your behavior, are you, until you start digging, do you know what I mean? Because even if we try and hide our emotions or I think there's been times where we find ourselves in a situation, we don't know how to deal with it, we've been triggered, so we try and mask it, we try and hide it, but then it comes out in different ways as well. So I think even in those situations it's more beneficial because you're understanding yourself on a deeper level. Like more subconsciously maybe? I suppose I'm getting at.

Oleksandra:

Yeah, I think so. Because when you have this figured out for yourself that something is like a trigger, I think our brain then also makes some different connections. And then the next time you're in a similar situation, you are already subconsciously reacting in the particular way.

Sarah:

Yeah, it's interesting, isn't it? Because you could get really deep with this. This goes on so many different levels, but ultimately any kind of self awareness. So if it is knowing your triggers, that is part of self awareness. Anything that you can do that gets you to know yourself better, gets to know why you react and behave in a certain way, it's just going to be better on so many different levels with relationships, whether that is in a work capacity or in your personal life.

Oleksandra:

Yeah, absolutely agree. And if you get somebody to support you on this journey, then it's invaluable. So if there is a friend or a partner with whom you can discuss this and get some understanding, if you're open also pointing out that, hey, you are right now behaving that way, so you are also aware of that. If that's what you're open for, I think that helps even more, but that can go pretty intense.

Sarah:

Yeah. And I'm just trying to think back to. So, for example, with me and my partner, obviously arguments happen. We don't live in a unicorn. And what's the rainbows? Rainbow word? Yeah, I could see it, but I couldn't think of the name. Unfortunately, we don't live in unicorns and rainbows life. Things go wrong. Arguments happen, but, yeah, things go wrong. But I think a lot of the time, it comes down to someone being triggered. Right. Because that's what happens. So something that me and Tash, my partner, try and get better at, for example, is when we do have a disagreement or something happens where one of us has been triggered, we try and have a cooling off period, but then we sort of try and have a conversation about, okay, this is why I think this happened. This triggered me. Tash will be like, well, this triggered me. And then you figure out, well, in actual fact, I'm not angry at you. It's a past trigger that happened. And that's really interesting in itself. And that's the same in work situations as well. Like, maybe something happens at work that gets out of hand, you've been triggered, but when you get to the root of it, you realize, oh, I'm triggered because of a past experience, and I've brought it in to this new experience, if that makes any sense.

Oleksandra:

Yeah, I can absolutely relate. On the personal level, I don't have enough fingers to count all of the situations, of course, but, yeah, sometimes it comes down to the. To the point that we just talk and we know, okay, this triggered me. I'm sorry. This is my long term trigger. And then next time it can be against the reason for the argument, but then both of us already know that it's because of this.

Sarah:

Yes.

Oleksandra:

And in the workplace with your team, I think I'm actually lucky that I can say what triggers me to my team. Not always, not with everybody, but in some cases, I have a bad day. I reacted, overreacted to something, and then I realized that. And by the end of the day, hey, can we have a short call and just go through this? Explain to the person that this certain behavior triggers you. You can talk about that and it makes you feel better. And then both of you are aware that something like this can be a trigger in your working relationship and can impact potentially the quality of somebody's day or somebody's work.

Sarah:

Yeah, because it's all related at the end of the day, isn't it? Like your relationships that you have at work is going to have an impact on the work that is produced as a team, as a department and all of that. So it all feeds in. And I'm very sorry, but we are running. Well, we have run out of time, but this has been such a great conversation, and we'll just have to get you back on another time to discuss another one because this has been wonderful. So thank you very much for talking to our audience and talking about an important topic around triggers.

Oleksandra:

Yeah, thank you very much for having me here and diving deeper into this topic.

Sarah:

So with every guest, I need to squeeze in a couple of questions and then we'll wrap up and ask where to follow you and all of that stuff. But what is the main takeaway you want people to take away from this episode?

Oleksandra:

I'd say start noticing how you feel with a notebook next to you.

Sarah:

Just nice.

Oleksandra:

Put it down next to you and it will make a big change in your life.

Sarah:

Nice. So get a notebook. Get a personal notebook, trigger notebook or self awareness journey notebook. Yeah. And write down lovely. Best piece of career advice you've ever received.

Oleksandra:

I can't say globally ever, but I can say what really impacted my life lately.

Sarah:

Yeah.

Oleksandra:

And that was tracking the meeting preparations. So I created a spreadsheet where I started preparing for the meeting in a different way. So besides the context of the meeting, I would set the goal, define the expectations internal and every time external, I would build the strategy for the rapport. And then after the meeting, I would put together the notes of reflection after the meeting. And that changed so much in my communication strategy. And I learned how to better deliver the message, how to get to the client what is expected, and also get what I need to be able to do my job in a better way. So yeah, that was the advice. And I think it was invaluable because you also learn to do things like this later on. You don't need spreadsheet anymore.

Sarah:

Yeah, that is a really good bit of advice. Thank you. Thank you for sharing. And this is a tricky one, because out of all those wonderful SEO people we've got out there in the industry, I'm going to ask you to whittle it down to one person. So who's that one person that you think everyone should follow right now?

Oleksandra:

It's also a little bit outside of the scope, I was thinking, and I would name Chris Walker, founder of Refined Labs. It's a b two b marketing agency that is specializing on demand generation for business growth. And they obviously also do the SEO. But I've been listening to the podcast of Chris and it helped me to connect so many dots in how just business works, how marketing works, how to see the bigger scope of SEO impact. And that's why I would recommend everybody to follow and to take a moment to dive a little bit deeper in the topic, because right now the industry is changing so much that we need to be ahead of the trend. And that's what will help.

Sarah:

Nice. Thank you. What? I'll make sure I just did some googling. So I have found Chris Walker on LinkedIn. And you said it's refine labs, isn't?

Oleksandra:

Yep.

Sarah:

Yep. So I'll pop some links in the show notes. Oleksandra, where can people find you? What if they want to carry on this wonderful conversation, ask you questions, connect, or just see what you're posting? How do they do that?

Oleksandra:

I think best platform would be LinkedIn.

Sarah:

Yeah. Awesome. Well, I'll make sure that a link to your LinkedIn account is in the show notes. And I would just like to thank you, Oleksandra, again, for joining and talking about very important topic and being very transparent and open and honest with us as well. That's been very helpful when we're discussing triggers. So thank you very much. Reminder again about the ways that you can donate or subscribe to support the podcast. So yeah, give us a one off donation via our buy me a coffee page. You can find a link to do that in our show notes. And there's also a link in our show notes so that you could subscribe. And if you do subscribe, the next time that there's a banging episode like the one you're listening to right now is ready for you to listen, you'll get notified so you'll never miss out. Right. I'm afraid to say that is it. Got to call time. Thank you once again, Oleksandra, and to everyone else, goodbye, and until next time.

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About the Podcast

The SEO Mindset Podcast
Personal growth tips to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms!
The SEO Mindset is a weekly podcast that gives you actionable, personal growth and development tips, guidance and advice, to help you to optimise your SEO career and not just the algorithms.

The podcast is dedicated to talking about important topics that aren't often spoken about in the industry such as imposter syndrome, burnout, anxiety, self awareness etc. Sarah and Tazmin, along with their special guests highlight important topics, share own experiences as well as giving actionable solutions. Basically we have open, honest and frank conversations to help others in the industry.

Each week we cover topics specific to careers in the SEO industry but also broader topics. We will help you to not only build your inner confidence but to also thrive in your career.

Your hosts are Mindset Coach Tazmin Suleman and SEO Manager Sarah McDowell, who between them have over 20 years experience working in the industry.
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About your hosts

Sarah McDowell

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I've been in Digital Marketing and Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) for around 10 years, currently working as the SEO Manager at Captivate (part of Global), the world's only growth-orientated podcast host. I am a self-confessed SEO nerd (I find the industry fascinated and love learning how search engines like Google work) and a bit of a podcast addict (with this being the fourth podcast I have hosted). I am also a speaker and trainer. I hope you enjoy this podcast!

Tazmin Suleman

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I am a Life Coach, helping people grow and thrive, however my background has included careers in Development, Data Integrity and SEO. Through coaching, mentoring and teaching I help people build happier more fulfilling professional and personal lives by changing their mindset and habits. I teach courses on these topics and have incorporated a lot of the teachings in this podcast. I hope you find it useful.