An Interview with Gabrielle Hildebrand
Sometimes it's hard to admit that we need to make changes in our lives. But Gabrielle Hildebrand specializes in helping people do just that. I spoke with her to learn more about what she does and what is involved in a transformation of the mind and body.
Brooke Lazar (BL): What do you look forward to most when speaking at the WITI Annual Summit this year?
Gabrielle Hildebrand (GH): I look forward to thinking deeply about my material so that I'm offering an experience that helps women in the technology world. I was there last year, so I met a lot of people and enjoyed working with the women. What I want to teach them is how to be grounded and powerful, and at the same time empathetic and kind, so that they can be effective in their careers, as well as true to themselves. I know that they operate in a man's world on a regular basis, and I want to help them create an inclusive world so that they can be themselves without feeling the need to fight or insist that they're right. I want them to be strong just as they are.
BL: What inspired you to study the human mind and body?
GH: I've always been interested in truth and what people are thinking, as opposed to what they present to the world. I just wanted to understand people. When I was in college I had a close friend, and we did a lot of talking about what makes people tick. Later on, I became a massage therapist and that's when I got interested in the mind-body connection. The work I do is body-centered. It's not just thinking about things, it's actually standing up and moving around so that you use all of your resources. You might act it out, or you might notice what's going on in your body so that you're using all of the information that's available to you.
BL: How do you prepare a client for their transformation?
GH: Generally, people come in with an issue of some kind, and I listen to their story with an open and accepting heart. I listen for the emotion that's underneath, and I make sure that they notice it too. I encourage them to feel whatever emotions they're dealing with and to realize what's going on in their body so that we're getting as much information as we can. It's not just coming from the mind.
The next step is to help them see how they are contributing to the situation and also to help them realize what they can control as opposed to what they can't. Often, people focus on changing somebody else, and that's not effective because you don't have control over somebody else. You might be able to influence them, but you can't make them do anything. It's a waste of time and energy, and you don't get anywhere. So I help them see what their contribution is and how they can shift that, which in turn shifts the dynamics of the situation. So what I'm helping them do is to act where they're powerful.
The other part of it is that sometimes people have never taken the time to think about what they want in a situation. They're focused on the problem, but not on the solution, so I'll have them get in touch with what they want and what steps they can take to get there. Then we make a timeline and a clear statement of what they want. Then I encourage them to make the change. I also help people speak in a way that they can be heard, in a way where they are taking responsibility and they're not blaming anybody, which helps if they need to communicate something.
BL: On your website, there are "meetup" groups. Can you explain what those are and how they work?
GH: The "meetup" is a way to let people know we're doing a workshop. For example, we do a workshop on how to complete something, such as an event or a relationship in your life. People see our topic, and they come to the workshop based on that. We have our own "meetup" group, but we also post on other "meetup" groups.
BL: Do transformed clients ever have the tendency to revert back to their old ways?
GH: Yes, which is normal. When you're changing something in your life, you've got to break habits and patterns. You might make a decision to change, but sometimes you go on autopilot and end up resorting back to doing things the old way. What I do myself, and what I encourage my clients to do, is when you handle a situation the way that you don't want to, you replay the situation and you practice doing it the way you wanted to. Over time, that gap between the reflexive way of doing things and the conscious new way starts to get smaller, and soon, you'll do it the way you wanted to. It takes some practice, but you make the change if you admit that you want to do things differently.
BL: In what ways do you try and get people informed about what you do?
GH: I have a website, a yelp page, and a "meetup" group, so that's the way that I get the information out online. I also do webinars, workshops, WITI conferences, and free consultations. I have a lot of ways that I intersect with people and inform them about what I do.
BL: What does a normal day look like for you?
GH: One thing I love to do is swim in the bay, and I belong to a club there. I might swim a couple of times around that area and then afterward go to the sauna with my friend. I also walk with friends and in terms of coaching with my partner, we want to make sure that we walk our talk. So if anything comes up between us, or if anything's going on individually, then we'll take the time to use our techniques to work on that.
Brooke Lazar is a student at Youngstown State University, majoring in Professional and Technical Writing. She is an editor and is dedicated to achieving her goals. In order to immerse herself into the writing world, she spends her free time reading and conducting research on writing styles in order to edit individual manuscripts accordingly. As a WITI intern, she hopes to acquire skills to further her education.