Debra Woog

Debra Woog-Crisis Navigation Partner; Difficult Conversations Expert



Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:00:02] Hello Everybody. This is Nicky Asher-Bowling. From motherhood unfiltered is going to be okay. And today’s guest is Debra Woog. So, whether you’re experiencing your own crises or managing others throughout, there’s she is a crisis navigation partner and can help you determine your goals. Express. Hold on here. Express, you know, complicated situations. So, and before I bring her on, I just want to remind everybody that if you’re watching this on YouTube to like comment and subscribe if you haven’t already. And that will help with the algorithm getting more people to see it. And if you listen on any podcast platform, then please go to Apple at. Apple and then you can write a review there. I don’t know of any other podcast platform that where you can rate your podcast. So, now let me bring Debra on So, we can get to know her. Hi, Debra.

Debra Woog [00:01:34] Good morning. Good afternoon. Yeah.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:01:40] So, Debra, just tell us a little bit about being a crisis navigation partner and how you got started being a crisis navigation partner.

Debra Woog [00:01:55] Okay. So, I have a crisis navigation partner, which is a profession that I basically made up. So, if you haven’t heard of this before, you’re in great company with most of the 7 billion plus people in the world. So, I created the concept of a crisis navigation partner because I have been both a leader and a leadership consultant and coach in situations where I’ve been in crisis or when I was the consultant or coach, where my clients have been in crisis, where they’ve been. And I’ve been a woman who’s a leader and feeling on my own for Some reason, and my clients have been to either because they’re single or they’re only children of the only adult child of parents that they need to take care of, or they are at the top of an organization. It can be lonely at the time; I know for sure. My role is to be that person that I wish that I had and Some of the difficult things that I went through, especially my child’s mental health crisis. Mm hmm. My role is to be that person for my clients where I can provide emotional support combined with practical support. So, I do research on behalf of my clients. I help them strategize for difficult conversations and a lot of listening and teasing out what are the pain points that are personal and what are the pain points that are situational, and how can we guide your way through to the best possible outcome of the situation?

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:03:35] Wow. That’s interesting. I, I love that you. Well, first of all, I didn’t realize that you created this role. And, I mean, how smart is that? I don’t nobody else has done that. So, but I mean, they have Someone that you can reach out to when you’re, you know, in the middle of a crisis. Like, I know when I went through my divorce, I would have loved to have Somebody there to help me with that, you know, because I yeah, I was a stay-at-home mom, you know, and I ended up with having three little boys and. I don’t. The first thing I could think of was, well, I need to get a job. But if I’d had Someone help me, then I could have helped. You know, not only find a job, but also, help the boys transition from being a two-parent home to a one parent home and all of that. It just seems like we. Are always like putting out fires, you know, and stuff like that happens. And then our loved ones are being put to the backburner because we’re just trying to take care of their basic, basic, you know, their basic needs. So, and So, I really love that. So, how So, kind of explain the steps, you know, like more interest if Someone is lost a loved one and they reach out to you. So, what would be the first thing that you would want to look at?

Debra Woog [00:05:15] Well, initially, I always have a no cost conversation to understand what’s going on for the person and to see how I think I might be able to help these be what they’re looking for. Sometimes it seems like I can’t help, and sometimes it seems like I’m not the right person in those cases. I’m always happy to refer them to Someone else. I have a big connector. I have a network of brilliant women who can provide a lot of different services. So, it starts with kind of the assessment piece. What’s your current situation and what is your ideal best possible outcome given this difficult situation that you’re in?

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:06:03] Oh, okay. I really like that doing an assessment and. I. And Sometimes if Someone’s like me, they’re probably go, I don’t know what the best possible outcome is. You know, because how do you think of that when you’ve lost Somebody, you know?

Debra Woog [00:06:21] Yeah. So, taking that right, I mean, the best possible outcome would be brought them back to life. Okay. I don’t have that power that is not in the job description I made up for myself, although if I had the power, I’d put it right. Other people would like it. I would like it. So, yeah.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:06:38] She’s doing God’s work now.

Debra Woog [00:06:39] So, you. No, I would. I what I do is work with people to define success at this phase of their life. Yeah. And how can they leverage their unique brilliance So, their best skills and interests and qualities, their top needs, their top values, their priorities, how do they leverage all that to create the next phase of life without this person? What kind of support do they need? Right. Kind of. Access. What are the toughest things going on right now? What wouldn’t like that load? What are the big decisions that you’re facing? So, I can’t do that magical thing, right? To help ease Someone into the next phase. And I can help them understand grief better, although I’m not a grief counselor. Go through that before. Right. It’s not linear and it takes So, many different phases and they don’t necessarily go in order. And though Elizabeth Kubler-Ross had all the right ideas and there even she said they didn’t always go from there. Yeah.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:07:53] That’s right.

Debra Woog [00:07:55] So, I see myself as a thought partner as well as an extra pair of hands. I studied psychology in college and then I went to business school. I was an organizational change consultant and a leadership and career consultant for. It’s been 25 years now since I graduated from business school.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:08:14] Right. Right.

Debra Woog [00:08:15] Bringing my own skills and expertise to bear is having gone through all my own difficult situations. I just know how painful it is to be on your own. And Some people have family and friends who can help them through these kinds of things, and that’s great. And people don’t for whatever reason then.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:08:35] Yeah, I do agree with that. I find it more and more that there are people that just don’t have Someone they can turn to. I don’t know if it’s just because they’re not close to people, you know, to their family or whatever. But like for me, I would I know how busy my family is. I would not want to burden them with Something. So, I would probably. Want to reach out and ask for help.  So, what kind of crises have you faced in your life or in your work? I mean, obviously, this is a personal thing for you because you decided to change your whole career to help other people.

Debra Woog [00:09:28] Yeah. I mean, I was I like to think I was helping other people in that, you know, in the earlier parts of my career, too. But I must hone-in one more specifically. That was a switch. It was a clarification for me. But to answer your question, starting with as a kid, my family moved around because of my dad’s job nine times by the time, got more.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:09:53] Of.

Debra Woog [00:09:54] A lot of the United States, and we were constantly having to start over. And, you know, when you’re a kid and you get taken away from your friends, that’s a kind of crisis on its own. Yeah. So, you know, it’s not a tragedy, but it’s hard. Yeah. I have the experience of starting over and building a new community. I mean, I’ve experience of starting over a lot.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:10:19] Yeah. Yeah.

Debra Woog [00:10:21] As I went into my twenties, I lost my best friend from business school to now. I lost my best friend from high school right after I was in business school to AIDS. And before that he had become very suddenly ill, and I helped him, and his partner identify potential treatment options for the diagnosis. Yeah, well, yeah, within that because AIDS is a collection of things, right? I went through that. I got married. I had kids. Those were great things. I got divorced. I became a single mom. My child of two just turned 18 yesterday and in November it’ll be 14 years. Yeah. So, I’ve been a single mom on my own during that time. My Son was diagnosed with type one diabetes, and then my daughter, a few years later, started having severe generalized anxiety disorder now. So, those are Some examples of the crises I’ve personally had. I’ve been very fortunate in a lot of ways in life that I haven’t had a lot more loss people in my life who were younger.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:11:40] Right. I find it interesting that sometimes we go through things, you know, as a child or as a young adult that helps us, like you said, like hone in our redefine our purpose. And those things have helped you with your own personal journey and you and your children, you know, So, and they are better off for it, you know, because you already practiced this in your life. It just makes it easier to help Someone else who’s in the middle of a crisis. And I just really love that concept. I know, like I’ve said before, there’s lots of people that don’t, you know, have Somebody. And I feel like we just need to get this message out there that, hey, you’re not alone. You know, we’ve got Someone here that can help you in this moment of your crisis.  So, what was the defining moment that you were like, this is what I got to be doing. I got to help people when they’re in the middle of a crisis. Was that a defining moment or was it just the, you know, slow revelation or, you know, how did that happen?

Debra Woog [00:13:00] Exactly. Kind of a sudden revelation. It is. Going back to your question about types of crises before. I’ve also, been through my own existential crises. And, you know, what am I doing here? What is my purpose? And I am living where people need me. And I’m I filled from my work. Right. I’ve also, been downsized. You know, I’ve been laid off. I have overseen human resources for a company where I had to lay everybody else off. Gosh, I’ve been through disputes. I’ve coached a lot of other people through various kinds of disputes. So, back to your question now. In around 2017, I started my business in 1999. Around 2017, I went through a kind of a phase that I think I’ve been through. That’s kind of the third time I’ve been through where I felt like, I love having my business. I’m successful. I like my work. But it’s not lighting me up like it used to. I know like what to do. And I am So, excited to show up every day to do it.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:14:06] Yeah.

Debra Woog [00:14:07] Yeah. Well, it wasn’t energizing me the way it used to.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:14:11] Right. Right. Oh, I totally get that.

Debra Woog [00:14:14] And so, I used the tools that I used as a career coach with my clients, some of which had come because I use them in the past in my own existential crises, to think about what would success look and feel like for me, and what were the times in my life that I felt most alive? Most useful.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:14:39] Right?

Debra Woog [00:14:40] Most fulfilled. Mm. And I started making lists. And then I was looking at this whole list of things I went through that Some of them were related to my business and Some of them weren’t new things that I had gone through as a friend or as a loved one of Somebody else.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:14:58] Right.

Debra Woog [00:14:59] And I was like, holy cow. I had have kind of, um, like, there’s been a lot of crisis in my life and in my friends lives. And I am one of these weirdos who kind of goes towards not away from.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:15:15] Your friends or danger.

Debra Woog [00:15:18] I mean, I go tours, like, bungee jumping or anything, but I don’t mean that I don’t love adventure. I’m not a thrill seeker. My dad was a volunteer EMT when I was like that used to bring home the ambulance. Sometimes it was very little like two and three. I remember being. But what my dad to this day listens to a police scanner to relax. I don’t do that. But if Somebody I deeply care about is having an emergency and they come to me, I stop what I’m doing.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:15:55] Right.

Debra Woog [00:15:56] And my dad would, like, follow a fire truck from a safe distance just to watch and see what’s on fire and how they never live. I want to be there for other people. And. I just realized how many times it had come up in situations that I was not creating. I mean, I contributed to my divorce operations in the lives of my clients and friends and family that. It wasn’t making happen. But then when they came and said, I want you by my side during this week.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:16:31] So, yeah.

Debra Woog [00:16:32] Asked me, have asked me to be the executor of their wills. Yeah, I know. And I was going to like. So, you want me in your crisis when you’ve left because.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:16:45] They want you to pick up the pieces.

Debra Woog [00:16:48] I started asking people like, why did you come to me during that? Why, right? Why do you want me to be here in those situations? And I am listening to the themes and that aha moment. Help me. Okay, I get it. What I want to do. And then I had to think about, well, what’s the name for this? Because that’s this thing. And I wanted to be clearer that I wasn’t. Your garden variety career coach or life coach has never resonated with me for my for my work.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:17:23] But yeah.

Debra Woog [00:17:24] For the business coach more than being a leadership coach.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:17:29] Yeah, I love that people are seeing you as a a standard or a pillar, you know, a strong foundation. And they know that even though they may be flying in the wind, they can, you know, link arms with Debra and Debra will hold them, hold on to them, you know, and guide them through the next step that they need to go through. I, I feel like each time well, I would think that each time you would help Somebody that you probably learn Something new. Oh yeah. And, you know, you’re just still continuing to learn and to help others, you know, with the next quiet. The other thing I wanted to mention, and I think it just left my brain because that’s the way it is.

Debra Woog [00:18:22] But I have a thought to mention, if you want, while you’re thinking about what.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:18:27] Yeah, go ahead.

Debra Woog [00:18:30] As I was putting together my kind of own manifesto, but my own ideas about how I wanted to serve and who I wanted to serve. Right. In a crisis, there’s kind of two different roles. Mm hmm. I don’t think that people talk about this in this way. So, again, I made up the language of, you know, better language for this. Please tell me this is what I’m using. In the meantime, you’ve got it in, you’re in a crisis. You are the person zero who’s got kind of the ground zero, the person right in the center of it. This thing is happening to you. You’re getting divorced. You’re lying in the hospital bed. You just got laid off.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:19:08] Yeah.

Debra Woog [00:19:09] Diagnosis, Something like that.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:19:10] Yeah.

Debra Woog [00:19:11] Or another way you could be in a crisis is that you are the point person for a person’s era. So, you’re the spouse of that person. You’re the adult child of that person. You’re the parents of that person. You’re the best friend.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:19:24] Great analogy. Yeah. Yeah.

Debra Woog [00:19:27] Point person often has as much stress and challenge from the experience as the person. Zero. Yeah. And I’ve talked to a lot of people about this. I have been the point person, you know, most of the time in the crises that I’ve experienced. And I feel like it’s a role people don’t get. How much support the point people need to get through?

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:19:53] Yes.

Debra Woog [00:19:54] And then there are Some situations that are. The hardest where Someone is both the person zero and they must be their own point person. I heard a close, close friend from business school who was diagnosed a year, year, and a half ago with breast cancer. Single she lives by herself, and she was the one going through it. And yet she had to be the one to figure out. What are all the treatment options and how do I file for my disability insurance? And where do I go to get the prosthetic breasts? Yeah, she’s had to do So, much. And when I told her, you know, when this started that I was, you know, dedicated and a friend to doing whatever she needed me to do. And I went with her on Face Time during the pandemic. She lives in another city.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:20:54] Mm hmm.

Debra Woog [00:20:55] But I just saw how especially draining it can be. When? Now. And she’s still a year and a half later. Thank goodness she’s free of cancer now, but she’s still doing dealing with all the side effects from the treatments.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:21:09] Oh, gosh.

Debra Woog [00:21:10] Yeah. Still fighting with the disability insurance company to get the payouts from the policy that her employer had paid for. And there’s So, much to deal with.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:21:20] Right.

Debra Woog [00:21:20] So, I just wanted to highlight that, too. I’m here.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:21:23] I’m glad you brought that up. Yeah, we had talked about that, too. And that is such an amazing point because Someone who, like you said, has, you know, they’re sick, they have a disease, and they also, have to do that, be their own point person. They don’t even have time to focus on getting better. You know, they don’t have time to rest or.

Debra Woog [00:21:53] You know.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:21:54] Because they’re So, busy, you know, they must call or email or research. And yeah, I can totally see how that would just be. And that’s stressful. And add a stress adds to whatever disease or that you’re dealing with, you know, and I just love that you remember to point that out. So, you know, anybody who is helping Someone else, you know, you know, you can use this service.

Debra Woog [00:22:24] You might need a crisis navigation partner. I have a client who came to me referred by a friend of mine who had been her coach. Yeah, she was a vice president of a tech company and who she had been with for four years up to this point. But they weren’t married, and they didn’t live together. They considered a partner. He had been diagnosed with glioblastoma six months before she came to me. And we were blessed and was a very aggressive, fast-moving cancer. Wow. She was trying to be everything for him, you know, in sickness and in health, although they hadn’t made those vows. And at the time, she was trying to be the vice president of the function in her company that she runs.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:23:11] And, my goodness.

Debra Woog [00:23:13] And the change that that organization was going through as she just had So, much on her plate. And she was trying to figure out for him what the best nutrition was. And how could you get into this specialist in Boston versus a, well, well-known person for glioblastoma who is also, in a Boston hospital?

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:23:32] Right.

Debra Woog [00:23:33] She had So, much on her plate and they would delegate tasks to me. They would delegate research to me. And wow was helpful for them both, even though I actually have never met him. It was always working directly with her. Right. And I had to be a mirror Sometimes a. Maybe mirror is not the right or the right image, but I need it to reflect back to her. Sometimes you need a break. Yeah. Now to take a break.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:24:11] Yeah.

Debra Woog [00:24:11] Want to sleep in your own bed tonight? And not here. Because you need a good night’s sleep. And you don’t want his giant dog crawling in bed with you. That’s reasonable. And even though you’re scared that he will be here in six months, you need to yourself now. Right. Help! Help him through this next six months. And for yourself.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:24:32] Right, right, right. And she may not have had anybody else being very clear and upfront with her and say, hey, you got to take care of yourself first. You know.

Debra Woog [00:24:43] Everybody else in his family was looking to her to be the point person because they didn’t want to be the point person.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:24:49] Yeah.

Debra Woog [00:24:51] But, you know.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:24:52] So, I mean, have you been helping a client and you’ve just because I would be Someone that would be So, emotionally involved in the situation, you know, their feelings or my feelings or cry. Cry. So, how do you handle that? You know, when you obviously, you know, your friends and you’ve helping them and you’re trying not to, you know. Right down in front of them because you want to be strong for them, you know, how do you handle those moments? You know, because I know this must be a very touching and, you know, situation for you.

Debra Woog [00:25:32] And I am I’m an empath. I really feel other people’s feelings along with them. So, I have had to learn in that, you know, I pivoted my business to hone in more on this and to that in my team. And I really have had to learn since then how to up my own game in terms of self-care and what were my expectations of myself in other areas So, that I could really be there for other people without. Exhausting myself. Yeah, because I get tired. You know, I went through a situation this week with Someone. They’re a 19-year-old who had a psychotic break that was brought on by Some super potent weed that she had smoked.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:26:24] Oh, Lord.

Debra Woog [00:26:24] And, you know, I was with her for about three days. And we are in the hospital getting her treatment and everything she needed. I mean, I was So, tired afterwards. I really mean that early and take care of myself. So, I learned too also, be extra gentle with myself. And I consider that a lot of public service, but a private service to my clients or my loved ones, because they’re more likely to believe that it’s okay for them to go to bed early if they see that I’m doing that. And that’s how I can keep showing up. Right?

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:27:04] Right. That’s great. I mean, you have to be intentional and aware and conscientious of you of yourself in the moment. So, that. Okay, I’m almost to my breaking point here, you know. I need to step away and go take care of myself. So, I really like that. You recognize that? Because I mean, what you tell other people, if you don’t practice it, then it’s right. No, it’s not going to. Yeah. So, how can people reach out to you, Debra? I know you have a beautiful website.

Debra Woog [00:27:51] Yeah, So, this is a little confusing. So, the name of my business is Connect and then the number two corporation. But on social media and my website, it’s all at connect tw00, that’s my hand on Instagram. That’s my Facebook page. That’s mine dot com. So, if you want to email me, Those are some good ways to, to get in touch.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:28:20] And you have a free brochure that people can download.

Debra Woog [00:28:26] I do, yeah. On my website. And I also, have a kind of cool tool that is helps people understand when they’re being ah, yeah, that’s my brochure, helps people understand it’s a quiz that helps people understand when they are being competent in a crisis and when they are going too far and working too hard and overcompensating and y. And anyway, with that and it’s under services, there’s a dropdown menu for services on my home field and it takes 10 minutes, but you get back up customized report, and I created this whole thing and I think it’s really neat. I recommend it as a good way to get to know because.

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:29:08] Definitely because I like to go there and be like, I don’t know if I need anybody, but they take the quiz are like, Oh Lord, I’m in crisis mode. I reach out to Debra.

Debra Woog [00:29:19] They help on the questions, art, on the quizzes. The questions are, are you in a crisis? But then, you know, how do you handle challenging situations and while you fail afterwards? And what are the causes of this?

Nicky Asher-Bowling [00:29:32] Gotcha. Yeah. Well, Debra, I appreciate you So, much for taking the time out to talk to my audience. Motherhood, unfiltered is going to be okay. I talk to mothers who are dealing with anxiety and depression daily, and a lot of those situations arise from being in a crisis, you know, whether it’s being, you know, a divorce, say, or suffering from, you know, a loss of a loved one or just being a single mom, just trying to navigate their life. I have always said I wish now that I had had Someone that I could maybe I always thought of like a loving nanny, you know, that could help me when the boys were younger. But, you know, that’s in the past now. So, now I’m just hoping that people can use these tools to reach out and say, yes, I need your help. So, So, thank you So, much for joining me today. Bye.

About Author

Motherhood Unfiltered: It's going to be okay.

Welcome to a safe place and hold onto your hat as we go on a new journey together. I've experienced major changes in our family and frankly have been devastating to me. I've been feeling sorry for myself and am done with it. I hope to shine a light on others who have struggled too, maybe, just maybe, we'll get through these trials together and come out smiling!
Much loves,
Nicky ❤

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: