top of page

Releasing Inner Barriers With Lori McDaniel


Meet Lori McDaniel, her career spans 20+ years in tech consulting, project management, and global training. She is a multi-passionate individual who also delved into transformational coaching.

She's dedicated over 10,000 hours to empower women, people of color, and organizations in leadership, diversity, equity, inclusion, and mental fitness coaching. Including founding the Center for Transformational Equity and Leadership, providing career acceleration for women, women of color, and first-generation women, along with DEI coaching for organizations.

Join us in listening as Lori reveals just how she went from surviving to releasing her inner barriers to become the woman she is today. To connect with Lori, visit her website


Watch Lori's Story




Welcome to the I Don't Give a Should Show – a podcast exploring ALL the ways that women SHOULD all over themselves. How many times do you find yourself acting out of obligation or doing what everyone ELSE expects from you without stopping to consider why? Where do all those beliefs that are driving you come from? If you're tired of feeling resentful, overwhelmed, stuck, exhausted, or pissed off, you're in the right place.

Shoulding all over yourself is a real thing, but it doesn't have to be in the driver's seat.

I'm your host, Jen Sherwood, and I spent way too many years trying to prove that I was good enough and worrying what other people thought while avoiding conflict at all costs. Today, I don't give a should – well, not as many anyway, and neither should you. I'm talking to women like you who figured out how to stop shoulding and start LIVING.

Today, my guest is Lori McDaniel. Lori's career spans 20+ years in corporate technology consulting, project management, and global enterprise training. Being a multi-passionate individual is such a great terminology. She also, on top of all of that, developed a passion for transformational coaching outside of her other job. For the last decade, She's devoted over 10,000 hours of one-on-one coaching and team coaching to empower women, people of color, and organizations in leadership coaching, diversity, equity and inclusion coaching, and mental fitness coaching.

She is proud to have recently founded the Center for Transformational Equity and Leadership, where she and her coaching colleagues provide a career accelerator for women, women of color, and first-generation women. The center is providing DEI coaching and learning solutions for organizations.

Lori, you are on a mission, and it shows my friend - I'm so happy to have you here today.


Thank you so much - I really appreciate that.

It's so great to hear an intro because you forget all the things that you've done over the years.


Yes, you know, you're not the first guest to say that, and it is really interesting. When you sit back and you listen to someone else describe what you've accomplished, how I always when I work with my clients, we talk about every week, every time we meet, we talk about what were your celebrations, because as women, we tend to just blow right by all the things we've done to get on to the next thing.

I'm thinking you just had, you know, 20-30 seconds to just take it in all that you've done.


I'm glad that's how we're starting out today. It's so true about how women are not conditioned to just pause and appreciate themselves.


Yeah, yeah, we're going, going, going, going.

Speaking of that, let's go back to the time for you. You know, what was it like for you when you were living under the shoulds?


Yeah, I'd love that so much the shoulds - I was thinking about this before getting on, and I think I'm gonna go back even further to my journey, which is like 12-13 years ago, and my daughter who's now 21 was about 10 or so, maybe 9. I was working in corporate tech and raising her in my own right, and it was nice to raise her for her, to grow up in your extended family, but it was just me and her in the home.

It was really before I broke free from societal expectations, my own expectations as a mother as a, you know, et cetera, et cetera because really, I was living this very small life where I was getting up. I was going to work, I was coming home, I was being a mom, I would try to go to some of her school events, but I was working full-time in an office situation.

I felt really scared about asking for time off in the middle of the day, you know, to go do things and I didn't want to use up my PTO hours, and I had a few friends, but not that many. I was just kind of like, I was just kind of surviving. I was trying to be a quote-unquote good mom, you know, by being focused on her and like work, you know, and a little bit for myself, you know, but I was living inside of this myth of what a good mom is and like what a good provider is given that it was just me.


I just was listening to you thinking so many women are relating to you right now - I go to work, I take care of my kid, and that's pretty much it.

I don't think any of us go into this because I can totally relate to that, too. I don't think any of us go into this thinking, I don't need time. We find ourselves raising children and going to work, and we're just doing the best that we can, but like you said, that's what you're thinking a good mom does.

There's just this undercurrent of sacrifice in our society, and I mean, moms are just lauded for the like, when you hear people talking about their mom, oh, she gave up everything for us, and no one stops to think about what did that cost her?

Now, for some women, that's actually what lights them up, and we are not; if that's what lights you up, you go for what lights you up, but if that's not what lights you up, then what? It sounds like that's where you were that there were these ideas out there when you had ideas, but they had to be based from somewhere, so we pick this up society and the mom, what is there that term mom wars, I'm not saying you were in that, but you know, there is sort of like this comparison of how great so and so is doing, and then it can devolve into how great she looks while she's doing that as well.

Now that I've talked over you let me just let you talk about what it was like for you.


I love it.

That's so I love how you're fleshing that out, you know, and I think you bring up a really important point, which is that I think when you're in the trenches of that, and you're looking around at other people, there's this shoulding, right? Like, oh, I should be like that person, I should be like that person, and I shouldn't be doing it like this, oh, I was, you know, raised to believe I should be doing it like this.

There's like this whole, you know, landscape of shoulds that are running the show, and visibly, you know, it's just invisible. I started doing transformational work, which interrupted all of that which started to make a lot of things visible. You know, like, the old stories, the old patterns, they kind of came from behind being invisible, but like, I was like a puppet.

I was like, well, wait a minute, why do I have to only work and raise a kid? Why can't I go take a personal development seminar once or twice a week? Why did I have my parents babysit for an entire Saturday once a month to go do something for myself?

For me, what lights me up, I'm a growth junkie, and so I love going into a room full of people and like learning and growing together and virtually to, like, that's my idea of a really good time for you to me to write.


Me too - can I back you up a step? What happened, or how did that transformational work start? So you were in a place of doing?

It's interesting because you said you were raised to believe things should be a certain way, and it's fascinating, right? I mean, your mom's mom was raised in a certain way, and your dad was raised like all of this comes down. What was going on for you that made you seek out or be open to this transformational work?


Yeah, you know, that's such a good question because it didn't happen, sort of, by chance, I can see how, first of all, the universe is a kind place and set all this up.

I'm very clear about that, looking back on it, but I was working my full-time job, and I buddied up, you know, I had this friend who was like me, we were both like, yearning for something more and actually quite entrepreneurial in our makeup so we sort of started trying these out these different consulting businesses on the side, and we were in the same line of work, we worked in the same office.

We'd go to lunch and talk about stuff, meet up on weekends, and we had a little bit of clientele. And so we just kind of started running together. I was introduced to his world of people who had done Landmark Worldwide work there, you know, one of the most famous, transformational companies for personal and professional development. For about a year, I was sort of running with these different people and going to their not so much the seminars, but eventually, you know, I found myself saying, well, why haven't I done the seminars?

I'd love to deepen my personal professional development so let's see, let's see what this is about. Their methodology is so unique and so powerful that it really sort of opened my eyes and put me on a very different life trajectory. Lots of different companies and lots of different bodies of work use a transformational methodology of some kind.

For me, it was like the thing that interrupted all of the shooting patterns, all of the invisible limiting beliefs. Then, from there, it was like, I've been on that path of transformational work in different different ways ever since then. It was profound because it really opened up, you know, yes, I could travel, I could take my daughter with me, or she could stay with my parents. Yes, I could widen my circle of friends. Yes, I could participate in, oh, my god, a yoga retreat all weekend, even as a completely single mother, and that's actually going to make me a better mom.


That's right there!

I totally need to interrupt you, and like, I want to shoot an arrow right at the bullseye. So many women think that it is selfish to go, well, I can't leave my kids with my parents for the whole weekend just because I want to go to a yoga retreat.

But what they don't understand is what you just said, you're going to come back such a better version of yourself. I have women all the time coming to me, you know, I just want to stop snapping at my kids, and I want to stop being a little short with people - this is it if we're not taking the time for ourselves.

That is for a lot of people, I don't want to paint with the big brush, but for a lot of people, that's how not taking care of ourselves shows up. We're short, we're irritable, we're frustrated.

I know there's a lot of women out there who really try hard not to let that stuff out on the people they love, but they feel it, so is it selfish to take a weekend to go to a yoga retreat? Okay, sure, by the definition of selfishness, what's wrong with selfishness if you show up a better, more calm, patient version of yourself, for those parents, for that child, for your co-workers, then hey, let's embrace selfish if that's, you know, that's what we have to hopefully, let's reclaim the word selfish, because that yoga retreat, probably did you more good than a lot of other things, you haphazardly did in your life.


Absolutely, again, you have fleshed that out so beautifully - it really is an investment in these people that you love in your commitment to motherhood, if you're a provider, if you take care of yourself and invest in time and energy in yourself, you're going to make more money by just arm because you're more your tank is full, so you're more resourced. What I really like to say to women is that you need a reserve tank that's full all the time because, like, just like getting the kids up and getting them to school, probably your tank goes all the way down, then you have a full day ahead of you.

Then what are you, you don't have reserves - no, you need reserves, you need a reserve, so you need to be like filling up yourself selfishly in quotes, as much as you can. Having that kind of balance, that's, it's a revolutionary balance for women.

It's an evolution, and it's a revolution for women to actually come into what's a healthy balance for us, as opposed to what we've been taught. It's time for that, and I'm really happy to see so many women waking up to that, like, I mean, because at the end of the day, if you look at the dynamics, if you just kind of look through the lens of psychology at what a codependent relation is the relationship is and what it is to enable people like in an addictive relationship or codependent relationship.

That's kind of how we've been taught to be mothers - we enable everyone, right? Like we don't, we don't have them develop and cultivate the skills to be independent of us. Generally speaking, especially for women of color, I think, I think women of color are first-generation women, it's even more so like this. It's like a prized way of being, it's like your best mother. If you're feeding everyone, you're making all the beds, you know, whatever it is, right, like to the max ironing shirts, you know, and I'm not saying there's anything wrong with any of that. It's just that if that's costing you too much of your own, you know, peace of mind, your emotional well-being, your health and well-being - that's when it's, you know, it's like it's out of balance.


My best friend growing up, her mom loved to iron - I don't get that, but you know, there's a lot of things. I don't like to do that and, and so what you're saying is so true. If that's something you enjoy, do it if you're doing it because that's the expectation of what makes a good fill-in-the-blank mom, wife, grandma, whatever - it's time to question that.

I love how you said going to landmark helped you to see the puppet strings because we don't, and this is what I say that we're responding to it without recognizing that it's there. Oftentimes, it takes people to get frustrated or irritated or something and actually start examining that to figure it out. What I loved about your story was that you're going along, but there's something entrepreneurial that's pulling on you, there's something calling to you, and instead of, and maybe you did ignore it for a while, but a lot of people just poopoo for many years.

You kept talking with this friend, and then look at where that led you, and I really hope women listening are listening to that, that just sort of following this is one thing I work on with clients all the time, like if there's a little whisper or if there's just a thread of interest, just follow it. If it doesn't go anywhere, that's fine.

You gave that interest some attention, but look where it took you, it took you to a landmark, and then you started discovering all these shoulds and all the ways that the limiting beliefs are holding you back. If somebody doesn't know what that is, that's just something you believe about yourself that stops you from doing other things like I'm not educated enough, I'm not smart enough. I'm not, you know, filling in the blank - there's a good jillion limiting beliefs out there.

We often operate as if those are solid truths, but when you start seeing it and questioning it, you can go in a totally different direction. Speaking of different directions, tell us where that exploration has taken you and what work and life is like for you now?


Yes, well, you know, it's really just beautiful to look back at the last 10+ years. I started coaching about 10 years ago, so I kind of count that, but truthfully, you know, I really have traveled the world, you know, some of it with my daughter, you know, and some of it on my own or with friends.

That was while I was raising her, you know, and she didn't suffer, she grew out of my growth, right, and she wrote out our international and national travels together. That's something that I treasure and was made available to me out of that new trajectory, right, a new set of beliefs.

The transformational coaching work that I've done over the years and continue to do is just mind-boggling to reflect on the contribution that I've been able to make, you know, one-on-one with teams and coaches. I mean, it's just beautiful, and I'm so excited now because we, my colleagues and I - I'm in sort of the leadership position, but I'm always very collaborative, I love to co-create magic with other magical people who are standing for people's greatness.

I've just founded the center, and we're going to be working with women in a career accelerator, so women, women of color, first-generation women, we'll be looking at how do we release the shoulds. The inner barriers caused by culture and gender that are getting in the way of your career in some way, and then with organizations, you know, how do you create a great place to work where everyone's included and everyone feels valued.

Everyone has someone like them there, you know, that's kind of the thing people don't talk about with diversity is like, it's nice when you're not the only one, right of whatever you are. That includes everything from, let's say, someone's blind to, let's say, someone is the only woman on a board.

There's a whole spectrum of what will be what we work with organizations around, and it's juicy and exciting.


It's amazing the work that you're doing and the impact on now but also on future generations; how this will shape the way we grow is absolutely incredible.

Lori, I am certain people want to know more about you, so if anyone wants to get to know you, follow you, or reach out to you, how can they find you?


If you google the Center for Transformational Equity and Leadership, you'll find us. We're on Instagram, and it's pretty easy to find us and our handle is @rainbowbridgesdei


Lori, it has just been such a pleasure to get to hang out with you and to hear your story.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you - this has been a real joy, and thank you also for the work that you're doing and the impact and ripple effects that you're having to thank you.

Anyone who is watching or listening, thank you so much for joining us and come back next time for another episode.

3 simple steps laid out in 3 bite-sized videos to go from overwhelm to ease (even if you think it's not possible!)



Recent Posts
Search By Tags
bottom of page