Life is a complete mix of joyfulness and sadness. But sometimes luck is not just on our side, making the challenges in life much more significant compared to the victories. But for Heather Pearce Campbell, Founder of Pearce Law PLLC, it is during our failures and desperation that we shine brightly. She joins Rodney Flowers in looking back to her life full of trials and tribulations. Heather shares how she found strengths, wisdom, and courage in her numerous miscarriages, being a mother of two, and facing near-death experiences.
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Heather Pearce Campbell On Gathering Courage And Overcoming Challenges In Life
I have a warrior mama in the studio with me by the name of Heather Pearce Campbell. She is a nature lover, dedicated attorney, and legal coach for world-changing entrepreneurs. Based in Seattle, she is mom to two little wild munchkins and Founder of the Pearce Law PLLC, home to her legal practice and The Legal Website Warrior. It is an online business that provides legal education and support to entrepreneurs, coaches, consultants, online educators, speakers, and authors around the US and the world. Welcome to the show, Ms. Heather Campbell.
Thank you, Rodney. It’s good to be here.
I’m glad to have you here. How are you?
I want to dive into this whole warrior mama aspect that you’re bringing into the game that you’re offering to your clients. What is that all about?
A lot of people who know me know me through my work. I’ve practiced law here in Seattle for several years. A few years ago, I launched a second online business. I work with entrepreneurs around the United States and the world. In the background of all of that, building my legal practice, my business, I tell people like I climbed my personal Mount Everest, which was my path to motherhood. It took seven years, seven pregnancies to get my two little people here. Part of the warrior mama and you may feel the same way. Some of us come with the warrior’s heart and sometimes our life experiences call on that. My path to motherhood was one of those times.
Let’s talk about that because I don’t think everyone comes with the warrior’s heart. Sometimes you’re called upon to stand up and be a leader, a change-maker, make a difference, and have an impact. Everyone has that, but not everyone rises to that occasion. Sometimes I feel life is calling you to step up into that arena and things happen in life where we get the opportunity to step into that arena. However, it is a choice. For some people, it’s having the right support system. For some people, it’s learning the right tools. It’s a multitude of things that could either push you into that realm and that frame of mind to be a warrior and step up or not. What were some of the things that allowed you to step into that role and be that warrior mama?
I’ve had a variety of experiences in my life that have called upon that. It’s partly in my nature. Yet there also we end up sometimes on paths that we don’t choose. While I chose motherhood, I didn’t know what that would entail getting there. Sometimes when we are on those paths that we don’t choose, we do have the opportunity to turn on our ability to utilize the skills that we have to optimize our mindset to get through. Also, to get through in a way that allows us looking back to appreciate the experience for what it was and the growth that we developed and accrued as an individual. That’s what the gift of hardship is all about.
What allowed you to turn the switch on? A lot of people are hurting and they’re at that point where they have to make a decision, who am I going to be? Am I going to climb Mount Everest? It seems insurmountable. Is it possible? These are questions that people are asking themselves right now, one way or another. How can they turn the switch? For some people, it may feel that it’s pointless. I don’t know if you ever felt that way when you were going through your experience. Was it worthwhile to keep trying? Was it worthwhile to put forth the effort? It can happen again. You can lose again. You could fail again or it could not work out the way you want it to. Do I want to put myself through that? I could die. Do I want to start this climb because I can lose my footing and die? What made you turn the switch on and say yes?
There’s a couple of things. One, part of it gets back to choosing optimism. What a lot of people face is the unknown. We’re all stuck in this limbo. We’re trying to figure our way through. We’re trying to make adjustments. A lot of people have way more on their plates than they’ve maybe ever had juggling everything, doing all the things at once. For parents and I’m one having to work on top of a parent at the same time, it’s a lot. The unknowns are big and people are reaching their breaking points. I reached multiple points where I could have thrown in the towel. I could have said this is too much and too hard, but there was a significant piece of me every time that said, “I may not know how this goes, but I’m in it.” I have to trust that it’s going to be okay. I have to trust that however, it goes, I’ve got what it takes to get through and it’s going to be okay in the end.
It pushed me clear up to the end. My daughter’s pregnancy, which was number seven, and she’s my second child. I had already had near-death experiences, but her pregnancy was the hardest thing that I’ve ever lived through. For a month of her pregnancy, I would go to bed every night, I’d say good night to my husband and son and not know if I’d see him in the morning. It’s interesting how we can cope. This was a month where I did not sleep for five minutes. I was focused on breathing. Every minute of my life, I was trying to breathe.Almost every chance of growth happens as a result of compression. Click To Tweet
There were some extreme conditions going on in my body that were causing all kinds of turmoil. I’ve told people this before. The one thought that I would hang on to that would get me through 1 minute, 5 minutes, 1 hour, and then 8 hours of the night is it’s not always going to be this way. I don’t know how long it will be this way, but it’s not always going to be this way. I didn’t know when it would change, but I knew it would.
I had that same mantra during my journey and I still use it, but it was a little bit different. I said, “It’s only temporary.” That allowed me to get through it. It allowed me to keep going. I was on a podcast and I was talking to someone about when we have that choice to stop, I always think about the alternative. What’s the outcome if I stop?
This is a good one for right now because things are tough. I’ve shed some tears during COVID trying to figure out how to do all the things. I come from a personal place of feeling the weight of what we’re dealing with pretty heavily on behalf of a lot of people. Luckily my family is blessed. We’ve been healthy. We are able to socially distance. We have a lot of privilege, but we have been on severe lockdown since March 1st, 2020. We take our obligation as a member of a larger community and a member of the world very seriously. Even with two little kids, we have not seen family. We have not seen friends.
We play in our backyard. We take walks. My husband and I trade off our crazy work schedules to make things work. We’ve talked about it a lot. The alternative of saying, “It’d be easier to not socially distance. It’d be easier to have some semblance of normal life and go out and about.” The weight of that, like for me, it’s this alternative that you mentioned. I want to get to the end of this period in COVID as a member of the human family and know that I did my best, know that I did everything possible for my neighbors, for my larger family. That I didn’t throw in the towel and I didn’t say on any given day, like, “Let’s not do it now because it’s so hard.” The alternative is far worse. As hard as it is right now for us, to me, I remember that every day when I get to the end of this, I want to look back and know that we did our best.
I think about the end as a goal, a destination. We don’t know what that looks like right now, but it’s worth shooting for because I look at nature and how nature puts things through a process. It’s not always beautiful. It starts off and you’re like, “What?” That doesn’t look too comfortable or it looks strange or it’s not going to reach its destined end, but yet it does. Look at a butterfly, plants, the way things are born, and even humans. You got to go nine months in the belly of a lady and then this whole incubation period. I feel in some way that’s what this is. I’m choosing to look at it that way because it’s a positive way of looking at it. I believe that before you can build up, you have to go through some type of process to get where you want to go.
I feel the universe, nature, what we’re in right now although it seems pretty bad and there’s a lot of uncertainty about it. We’re going to come out in a place much better than what we are right now because we’re going to adapt, adjust, get stronger, and learn. By default, if we can stay positive and look forward, look for a positive outcome, and have the intent for a positive outcome, that’s almost guaranteed. You will come out better than where you were before you went into this. The alternative to me is to stay the same and to be bitter about the changes that are occurring, which is to be rigid and resistant to your growth. This is like any other thing. It’s here and it’s causing you to adjust.
If you were on a team, you’re playing in a game and the defense was doing something and that was throwing you off and you couldn’t score. You would have to come up with a new strategy, a way of playing the game in order to win. This is the same thing. The quicker we can adjust, adapt, and bounce back utilizing some of the skills that we’ve talked about, the better off we are, the better player we are. We’re going to gain a higher level of performance. Even though we fumbled or we lost a few yards or whatever happened and whatever situation that was negative to you, even though that occurred, you’re still in the game. Every day that you wake up and you can take that breath, you have that opportunity to look at this situation, determine and discover ways to overcome it. You’re charged with that as an individual, as a player in this game, as a part of the human race.
Not everybody sees it that way. Those who learn how to thrive do and they learn how to see it that way if we’re honest with ourselves. Some of us live in the personal development world. I joke with people that my husband is constantly teasing me, “Why don’t you read something fun?” All I read is business or self-development. I’m like, “This is fun.” He’s talking about sci-fi, fantasy, or something. If we’re honest with ourselves, even if we don’t live in the personal development world, the reality is that almost all of our growth happens as a result of compression. It happens as a result of these hard moments. Otherwise, we’re in homeostasis. We get to be comfortable. We get to continue on autopilot, doing the things.
These periods are what make us. I have a friend who is a wonderful person. He leads a group of entrepreneurs that are all quite socially conscious. He has a quote right now. He’s like, “I was made for these times.” The fact that we’re all here means that we were made for these times as well. We have to remember that. We have to believe that because it is through our periods of compression and sometimes intense compression that we get to shine and that we get to come out the other side evolved.
I have a question for you, the experiences that you talked about that you have gone through, the seven pregnancies. I know there were some other things we talked about. Are you grateful for those experiences?
With the pregnancies, I can look back on that and say, “Yes, I feel like I was able to trust as hard as it was.” Through seven pregnancies, the only time that I ever thought maybe I can’t do this again was after the sixth one. I was in my second trimester. It was a little girl. Everything had been going perfectly. I got a phone call from my doctor saying the results of your blood test came back because I was of advanced maternal age, anybody over the age of 35. Your baby has a 99% likelihood of having Down syndrome. That was devastating news, yet I still had hope. I did all this research into the test. I spent a week crying, researching, and looking at the percentage of test results that are wrong.Plans usually fail because the universe has even better plans. Click To Tweet
It was surprisingly higher than you think it would be. I thought, “I’m not saying that this is absolute. I’m going to trust.” The next week I had to go in for some follow-up tests. It was during that time period that the baby stopped developing. That pregnancy came to an end on its own. I was familiar with loss. That was not my first loss, but there was something about that one that was devastating. I thought, “I may not be able to do this again,” but I did. It took a little bit longer to recover from that one. As I look back and I look at my children now and my son turns out has had special needs. It’s been a path to figure out what his needs are and to get him some of the support built-in. As I look at the gap, between him and his sister because it’s almost exactly five years, I have a profound knowing that if she had come any earlier, his path would have been harder.
I don’t think their relationship would be what it is. Because it took us many more years to get her here, the transition, even for a little guy with special needs was seamless. We didn’t have any of the things that we were afraid of. They loved the heck out of each other since day one. I look at the beauty of what we have now and there is a part of me that trusts. Regardless of the reason and I’m sure you know this as well. Sometimes we can set a goal and reach it. Sometimes that happens within a timeline that we have in mind, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes it doesn’t happen at all because the universe has other plans for us. I’ve had other experiences aside from motherhood that have shown me that.
Looking back, I can say that I am grateful for my pregnancies and my seven-year path to create these children and get them here because it’s beautiful what we have now. I trust that the universe knew. On the other hand, it’s hard in regards to my mom’s death and my sister’s death. She died young in a car accident. It’s hard to say that I’m grateful for those things. I am grateful for some gifts that have come out of those things and a much deeper understanding of life, a whole new perspective on life and death.
What would you say to people now as we deal with the challenges, uncertainty, and navigating all of this presentation here in all of this realizing we don’t know what tomorrow’s going to look like? I’m sure people have their objectives, wants, desires through all of this, and give you experienced what, what’s your message to people?
I’ve got a couple. One is that we have to give up this idea that we ever do have any control over our lives. That’s what embracing the unknown is about is I think we get into this false sense of security. Homeostasis about what our schedule is going to look like or what type of supports we have and all of these things that we are now missing. One is recognizing the idea of control, the idea of things going. It’s an idea. It’s not reality. At least in part, that helps me to soften the blow and also recognize whether we know it or not every day is an unknown. We happen to be in a time of a lot more of the unknown, but we’ve done this before.
The other thing is whether it’s life, business, entrepreneurship, or parenting, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. We got to be in it. You don’t get to choose your good days and come out on the sunny days. In that way, anybody that has been through tough times before and most people reading this will have in some way. You’ve done this before and this might be a longer period of unknown. It might be a longer period of having to buckle down to get through some long days. We have what it takes to do it. Looking at it from the framework of what’s the meaning that you can assign to this experience so that it’s not this void. When people struggle is because they can’t assign meaning to something. It’s too deep. The pain or the struggle is too big, but when we’re able to find meaning or attach purpose, it changes the game.
What do you feel people should do? When they wake up in the morning and they’re faced with uncertainty, they realize, “I don’t have a lot of control.” I want to pull on that a little bit because that could lead to paralysis. It could lead to the thought that it doesn’t matter what I do. I can’t change anything because I don’t have control. I’ve been in that space where I felt I didn’t have control because the doctors didn’t have an answer. No one had an answer. I prayed every day and yet I woke up with the same situation. There was that point in time where I did feel that it was pointless to put forth an effort. If I had my way, I would flip a switch and this would all go away if I had control, but I don’t have that. What do I do?
Anybody who’s lived through a circumstance that’s extraordinarily difficult and I know yours is up there on the charts of things that are difficult. I don’t know how you got through, but it’s important. Even this idea of this is only temporary. It doesn’t mean that something might change drastically. It doesn’t mean that we know what comes next, but we cannot give up hope. When I think of that last pregnancy, I went through three rounds of pneumonia caused by respiration stomach acid, which I didn’t know what’s happening. You add pregnancy and some of the physiological impacts of pregnancy, which loosens all of your smooth muscle tissue, which includes some of your esophageal sphincter and some of your stomach function.
I’m only now figuring this out and my daughter is three. It’s taken that many more years. I was not creating enough stomach acid. There are two types of cells you have in your stomach. One creates mucus like a mucosal lining and the other one creates stomach acid. You can have a deflection of those cells that create stomach acid with pregnancy and physical stressful events on a female body. I’ve tried to unwind with my doctor like, “How does this happen?” Any number of things in my life could have contributed or caused it, but it was severe. When you’re not creating stomach acid, your esophageal sphincter loosens up even more. It’s the stomach acid that tells those muscles to work properly and close off. I was having all of this reflux, but then you add coughing on top of it. It started with a cold.
Between 6 months and 9 months of pregnancy, three rounds of pneumonia. I broke a rib from coughing repeatedly and hard. I fell down the stairs and broke another rib. It was so bad. I couldn’t breathe. I was in so much pain. I burned out my esophagus because of all of the stomach acid. It was no joke when I could not sleep. I couldn’t leave the house and take my four-year-old to preschool. I was afraid. I thought I could die because breathing took all of my effort, but I never stopped trying to figure it out. I never stopped looking at options. I remember one day listening to something. I do a lot of online education. The voice coach talked about training her students through the loss of their voice.
She mentioned going on a steroid and for some reason, my ears perked up because I had no voice. I totally 100% lost my voice. I went to my doctor. I was digging into it. I said, “Would a steroid help?” He’s like, “I don’t know, let’s try.” We did that first, but it gave me enough reprieve that we finally figured out that it was the stomach acid issue, but it went the wrong way. They put me on a total acid blocker to stop the production of any acid but that helped. It at least allowed some healing because my esophagus was so damaged from pregnancy. That last month I was on the right medication finally even though it was still terrifying, the whole journey was terrifying. We have to understand that if we give up hope, we don’t see the opportunities that come our way.You don't get to choose your good days and come out on the sunny days. Click To Tweet
We stopped looking for answers. Sometimes the only way we get to the answers is through the endurance that it takes to get there. They’re not always handed to us. It’s a very dangerous thing to give up hope because we never know when the answers will show up. One of the episodes I did on my own show was about intuition and the gift of the invisible hand. This is a reflection of my belief that the universe does support us. It knows what we need, but it’s also responsive to us when we’re clear. Sometimes if we’re not paying attention, it shows up in ways that we’re not looking for.
Here I am a few years later and I’ve been on a very extensive journey trying to figure out what is going on with this whole stomach esophageal issue. I’m talking to my naturopath and it’s COVID. I’m not going into the office to talk to them. We’re trying to explore through a call like this, “What the heck is going on?” He says to me, “Have you ever tried HCl, which is hydrochloric acid?” I said, “I haven’t, but guess what showed up at my house last week in a box of supplements that I didn’t order, a bottle of hydrochloric acid.” He smiled. He was like, “The invisible hand.”
The interesting thing is like sometimes when we look that had been tapping on my window for some time. As I reflected back, I had an acupuncturist who several years ago said, “Do you think you have low stomach acid?” She wrote down HCl. I remember standing in a PCC and looking at it and being like, “I don’t know, should I take this?” There are ways that if we look, sometimes the answers have either already been there or they are being presented, but if we give up hope, we’re not looking.
What role do you think the invisible hand is playing in all of what’s going on right now?
I personally think it’s a huge role and some people will pay attention to. Some people won’t. It’s up to the people that are paying attention to make change and up-level their own lives, up-level our connectedness with our neighbors, the world, the respect we have for our environment. The irony is we’re learning now more than ever how truly connected we are. Even then some of us are struggling with that reality in the United States with not wearing masks and making it an individual versus the collective we type of conversation, which is not the conversation we need to be having. We all are sitting on a massive opportunity and that invisible hand is involved.
If people wanted to connect with you, where could they find you?
There are a couple of places. I do a lot of connecting on LinkedIn and people can search my name there, Heather Pearce Campbell. They can find me on my website. As you mentioned at the very beginning, I work with entrepreneurs. I provide legal support. They can go find me at the LegalWebsiteWarrior.com. I’m kicking off a personal passion project called the Leap Lab for Women, a place where women leap. It’s designed to be an experiment in the midst of COVID about how we create an external shift in our reality by creating an internal shift. I’ll be leading a group of women through a structured two-week process. We’re going to be up meeting every day at 6:00 AM. I’m going to have this morning beat. People can find out more information on the Leap Lab too. I suspect we’ll probably be doing it again.
That’s what I was going to ask. If you’re going to do that again, it’s going to be a hit. Thank you for offering that to the readers. I appreciate you coming on the show sharing your story with us. I appreciate you appreciate you opening up and sharing that.
It’s great to connect with you, Rodney.
Before we end the show, we always like to ask our guests, how could we bounce back from adversity, dominate our challenges, and continuously win at the game of life?
One is reconnecting with the knowing that you are made for this, and also looking around and recognizing that anybody who gets anywhere to the top of their game to any successful point, whether it’s their personal life and parenting, whether it’s work, whatever it is, has been through some challenges. It’s what we’re called to do.
Thank you. I believe that. Challenges are a part of the game. It’s a part of life. You don’t get through life without challenges. Some great, some small, some seemingly insurmountable and yet we still exist, we still move forward, we still press on and we figure it out. We navigate. One thing I love about now and you brought it up is the fact that we’re still connected. We can lean on each other and reach out. We’re more connected now than ever. There are people who have experienced all types of challenges, obstacles and overcome them.
Everything that we need is not always in a textbook. Sometimes it’s over a Zoom call. Sometimes it’s in a podcast. Sometimes it’s pick-up the phone and saying, “I’m dealing with this. Can I talk with you?” We have the ability to do that. We’re using those tools now more than ever to reach out and connect with each other. That is a major tool and strategy we should all think about as we go forward because maybe that’s where the answers lie in each other and being able to connect with each other and learn from each other.People are, by far, the greatest asset and resource in the world. Click To Tweet
One of the modules that I’ll be walking people through is all about seeing the support that you already have. A lot of times when we think about solving a problem, we see the problem in isolation. I run people through this exercise where I put it in the middle of the circle, I draw a big circle around it and say, what else is in the circle with you? Sometimes it’s a book. Sometimes it’s a mentor. Sometimes it’s a colleague who you happen to trust on this particular point. Maybe it’s a good friend, but there’s a lot that can be put into the circle. People are by far our greatest asset and resource. This idea of connection, because even one degree removed. If we can’t see the resource right now, somebody we know has it, has access to it or can point us in the right direction. That’s one step removed. Connection is the magic.
Life is a team sport.
There is no denying that.
Heather, thank you again for coming on the show. It’s been amazing. I appreciate you.
I appreciate you as well, Rodney. Thank you.
- Leap Lab for Women
About Heather Pearce Campbell
Hi, I am Heather, the Legal Website Warrior®. As a legal coach and a business owner, I have a big heart for entrepreneurs. I protect them by helping them armor up, i.e. get essential legal documentation in place so that they can stress less about all the proper protections and legal details, and put 100% of their effort and heart into doing the work they love. After years of working with businesses of all kinds on a wide variety of legal issues, I built this business to better serve online entrepreneurs who need specialized, knowledgeable, and hands-on assistance at an affordable price. I want entrepreneurs to have access to the basic protections that they need!
In my 16 years of experience as an attorney helping others solve problems quickly and effectively, I have negotiated multi-million dollar deals, kept businesses from bankruptcy, and helped many others form and properly operate new businesses. I worked on a small team representing 130 homeowners in negotiations and the ultimate $93 million dollar sale of their entire complex to Seattle Children’s Hospital, guiding communications with the homeowners through the multi-year process.
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