413 | Guest MaryBeth Fortner: Her Journey As a Wife and Mother

413 | Guest MaryBeth Fortner: Her Journey As a Wife and Mother

Continuing our focus on Taking the Lead in Parenting this month, I’m joined in this episode by long-time friend and former colleague, our guest MaryBeth Fortner: her journey as a wife and mother.

As you might’ve guessed, not only is she a good friend, but she’s also the wife of our Leadership Development VP, Joel Fortner! 

Around here MaryBeth’s claim to fame is being the ONLY person to ever make ME cry while I was leading them through our Next-Level Life process! 🙂

Today, we’ll dig into some of the tough topics that we brought up in the last episode, dealing with the baggage that we all bring into our leadership and parenting styles (e.g. things like self-worth, fear of failure, and taking personal responsibility for our families). 

We’ll build on the concept that we’re not just raising kids, we’re raising adults by:

  • Becoming a more confident parent and spouse
  • Learning to be vulnerable with our kids ourselves

You’ll take away more than just a few tips and tricks on leading your kids well; you’ll also get great insight on how to stay on the same page with your spouse as you lead together in a unified direction. Don’t miss this vulnerable, encouraging, and lighthearted episode!

Enjoy the conversation!



struggles, joel, elise, parent, kids, life, fear, marybeth, funny, child, mom, talking, fat cat, consequence, tools, bad, feel, relationship, fun, person


MaryBeth Fortner, Chris LoCurto, Brian Alex


Chris LoCurto  00:00

On today's episode, one of my favorite people on the planet, that is coming up next.


Chris LoCurto  00:15

Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show, where we discussed leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. It is a great day because MaryBeth Fortner is joining me in the studio. Welcome!


MaryBeth Fortner  00:36

Yay! Am I allowed to cheer for myself?


Chris LoCurto  00:40

You can cheer for yourself. That is absolutely an okay thing here. So for those of you that have been following us for a very long time, you know who MaryBeth is. MaryBeth is one of my favorite people on the planet, one of my very best friends. Also the spouse of one Joel fourtner, who resides in the building.


Chris LoCurto  01:06

MaryBeth for six solid years, amazing years, was a personal assistant to me for over when we were at Dave Ramsey's, I don't even know how to say that. It's just so funny to put the title, it was more like, just you know, best friend in the office. Just great person.


MaryBeth Fortner  01:22

I like that, that's a better title.


Chris LoCurto  01:23

There you go. Always the face of the team for us, always just, you know, handling things with the team and making sure that I stayed somewhat alive, insane, because, man, I found my old calendar, by the way, do you remember when I used to have the handwritten one?


Chris LoCurto  01:44

I used to have three calendars just because we were so insanely busy.


MaryBeth Fortner  01:49

Or you were just insane.


Chris LoCurto  01:51

Yes, that is probably it, that is probably it. So for some reason, I still kept it. I was gonna throw it away, and then I was like, no, I'm keeping this, because it's a great reminder of, I'm never running that hard ever again.


MaryBeth Fortner  02:03

Oh my gosh, it was nuts. It's nuts.


Chris LoCurto  02:06

Yeah. And I don't know if it kept you kind of either sane or insane by having to pull all that together.


MaryBeth Fortner  02:13

The jury's still out.


Chris LoCurto  02:14

The jury's still out. But today we are talking about parenting. And we've got some fantastic stuff that we're gonna be discussing today, one of my favorite stories from the god-children, or one of the god-children. We have many god-children. I have two parents in the studio today, Brian's in here as well.


Brian  Alex  02:35

Two different parents.


Chris LoCurto  02:37

Two different parents with that have god-children of mine. No, wait. They're my god-children. Your children are my god-children. There we go. Four-two parents of four god-children. Wow. Chris does math on the show. This works out.


MaryBeth Fortner  02:50

That was well done.


Chris LoCurto  02:51

That was well done right there, right? So today we're going to be talking about a lot of stuff from the parenting side. Struggles, experiences, what it's like, you know, some of the fears that you experienced before raising kids, even just moving in the direction of raising kids, and some fantastic things that have happened since. So we're gonna be talking about all of that, when we come back right after this.


Chris LoCurto  03:21

Hey, folks, if you're feeling stuck, anxious, not good enough, or held back in life, then you need to go through our Next Level Life. That's why we created this two day event process. The power of Next Level Life is that it helps you discover your specific root system, why you believe what you do, how you make decisions, and why you are where you are in life. You'll learn the things that are holding you back in life and how to overcome them. You'll come away having found healing, and ready to start living with purpose and authenticity. So if you're ready to stop struggling, if you're ready to find greater peace, then head over to chrislocurto.com/nextlevellife, and Next Level Life is waiting for you. That's chrislocurto.com/nextlevellife, today.


Chris LoCurto  04:13

Alright, we are back and we're going to be talking through a lot of parenting stuff today with the fabulous Marybeth Fortner, we're going to be talking through a root system struggles. We're going to be talking about what it's like as a couple raising kids. But one of the things I wanted to start off with is the process of going into having kids, thoughts, fears. Okay, not the birds and the bees processes going into having kids, we're gonna leave that for a-that's a completely different show that we probably will never air. But when you are going to have kids and, so how old is your son now? He's eight?


MaryBeth Fortner  05:00



Chris LoCurto  05:00

Okay. So, nine years ago, what were you experiencing? Or even before that?


MaryBeth Fortner  05:06

You know, I was, I would say mostly excited, we were ready to have kids. But I was definitely, there were some fears about whether or not I knew how to be a good parent. You know? I hadn't parented before, obviously. And especially when it comes to the idea of having a daughter, I don't know, I didn't really have the fears towards having a son. But the idea of having a daughter and not having a good relationship with her, not knowing how to raise her, not knowing how to be a good mama to a daughter. And so, there was definitely some fears surrounding that.


Chris LoCurto  05:46

Yeah. And interestingly enough, I always say God gives you what you need first. Which Josiah was the first.


MaryBeth Fortner  05:54

Easiest little baby in the world.


Chris LoCurto  05:55

Easy, little baby boy, super high C, most likely high theoretical in there as well. What was that like?


MaryBeth Fortner  06:02

Kind of amazing. He has been a great little kid from, you know, gosh, even even in the womb, except for the fact that he did beat me up a little bit. But no, I mean, everything about him-


Chris LoCurto  06:16

Did you fight back?


MaryBeth Fortner  06:17

No, no, that's these days, these days, much larger now. But no, he's always been so compliant. And pretty easy to parent. You know, so he's been the good-they're both good kids, he's been the easy kid.


Chris LoCurto  06:37

They're both fabulous children. And the interesting thing is, is that, you know, for people to know going into this, they are the mini versions of you and Joel.


MaryBeth Fortner  06:49

Yes, yes, they are.


Chris LoCurto  06:50

Josiah is such a mini version of Joel, Elise is such a mini version of you. Even looking like you guys. I mean, it's amazing how much they look like each of you. It's so fun to see. Every now and then you'll see a different side. Like, you know, if I'm hanging out with Josiah, it's Joel, Joel, Joel, Joel, Joel, MaryBeth. Oh, wow. How funny. Like he'll have comments or jokes. He has your sense of humor.


MaryBeth Fortner  07:19

Oh, he told his first joke the other day-the first one that he made up by himself.


Chris LoCurto  07:23



MaryBeth Fortner  07:24

Oh, what kind of tree is the most sick?


Chris LoCurto  07:28

That's a great question. I don't know.


MaryBeth Fortner  07:29

A Sycamore.


Chris LoCurto  07:30

Oh my gosh, did he just like..


MaryBeth Fortner  07:33

He totally came up with it. I'm just like, and he was at gymnastics and telling everybody I'm like, Oh my gosh, you're so funny.


Chris LoCurto  07:38

I can see his little eyes going. Did you think that was funny? Good, right? Oh, my gosh, I love it. So Josiah, great. first child. Easy child. Then you're pregnant again?


MaryBeth Fortner  07:51



Chris LoCurto  07:52

And some fears are coming about?


MaryBeth Fortner  07:55

Yeah, well, first of all, Josiah was only nine months old, Elise was not expected. And then I was sick all the time with her. And I just, it was a struggle. I'm like, I'm not excited about having this child. And then the fears of like, what if it's a daughter? Am I going to be a good mom? How can I parent two children that are this young well, how can I parent two children well, just so many fears came up.


Chris LoCurto  08:25

And especially that fear of relationship. It's an important one for us to hit this because there's a lot of people out there, moms and dads, that have that concern of like, what if I don't know how to have this relationship? What if I don't know how to parent? Well, like you're saying, you know, am I going to screw my kid up? Right?


MaryBeth Fortner  08:50

Yeah. Yep.


Chris LoCurto  08:50

So how did you, how were you internalizing that, what were you thinking through, what were the things you were saying in your head if it came out, and it was a girl?


MaryBeth Fortner  09:01

You know that's a great question, Chris. Because that was a long time. Um, you know, I think a lot of it for me was just, can I do this? Can I have a good relationship with a daughter? Am I able? Am I capable of doing that? And what do I do? How do I parent her in order to make that happen? And I just I didn't know.


Chris LoCurto  09:30

Also, something that's interesting to point out is you are the one daughter with how many brothers?


MaryBeth Fortner  09:36

I have three brothers.


Chris LoCurto  09:37

Three brothers, so you grew up with three boys. So relationships with boys? That's not difficult.


MaryBeth Fortner  09:44

Right, right, relationships with boys are easy, that's what I knew.


Chris LoCurto  09:47

Yeah, that's what you knew. You weren't ever a tomboy, but again, you had brothers. I can't remember are you...?


MaryBeth Fortner  09:56

I'm number three.


Chris LoCurto  09:57

 Number three. So you guys are always out doing things together.


MaryBeth Fortner  10:03

We played in the woods, we played ball. I mean, every now and then they would generously allow me to have my Barbies with their GI Joes in playing, but it didn't last long because they went into war. And I'm like, my Barbie doesn't want to play war. But, you know.


Chris LoCurto  10:22

So again, we can see there's a lot of elements that might bring in these fears. And then you have said child. And beautiful, amazing, Elise. Comes out And what happened?


MaryBeth Fortner  10:38

Uh, pretty much fell in love immediately. And mama instincts kicked in. And it was like, This is my precious baby girl. And I think the fear dissipated to a degree, at that point. It wasn't something that was, you know, I'm in new mama mode. So I wasn't really like, in fear mode at that point, but over time, you know that struggle was still kind of there.


Chris LoCurto  11:12

So we're gonna shift to something that's selfish for me, which is the grudge that I had for so long that Joel Fortner came and swept you off of your feet and took you away. But then I got to get you back here. See? Paise God hallelujah.


MaryBeth Fortner  11:28

See? You get me back, plus Joel, plus god-children.


Chris LoCurto  11:31

It's fabulous. When you came back, we had the fantastic opportunity, and you went through Next Level Life.


MaryBeth Fortner  11:39

Yeah. Yeah.


Chris LoCurto  11:40

What was that like?


MaryBeth Fortner  11:42

Well, emotional.


Chris LoCurto  11:46



MaryBeth Fortner  11:47

 It was tough.


Chris LoCurto  11:47

You have it the worst of anybody who comes through Next Level Life because I know you intimately inside and out. So I know where you're pushing. I know, you know, the struggles.


MaryBeth Fortner  11:58

Yeah. So I mean, it was tough. But, I mean, I learned so much about myself. And I learned so much about where those struggles with relationships, like, why I have those struggles, I learned how to resolve a lot of those issues. And so, man, it's like night and day difference. And it's so funny, because, you know, we were talking about this before the show, and I'm just like, I'm trying to remember back then, because like, I remember having those fears. But now that I'm so far, I mean, what was that four or five years ago? It was probably at least five years ago.


Chris LoCurto  12:41

It's hard to remember.


MaryBeth Fortner  12:42

It's hard to remember how much struggle but I look back and I remember, I'm like, there was a lot of struggle. Why was that again? You know, because I'm so far on this side of it now.


Chris LoCurto  12:53

Yeah, first person to ever make me cry in a Next Level Life.


MaryBeth Fortner  12:56

Woohoo! Oh, was I not supposed to cheer about that?


Chris LoCurto  13:00

That's cheerable. That's definitely cheerable. I think that's such a profound thing to state is; I remember there were struggles, it's only four or five years ago, which again, seems like a lifetime, but at the same time, it's only four or five years ago. But so much has changed from that experience, things that you've put in place, and that you've been working on. That it's even difficult to remember the struggles as they were back then. That's pretty fantastic. I mean, that's amazing to go, gosh, now I don't really remember life with those struggles. Because of the things we've put in place.


MaryBeth Fortner  13:43

It's freeing.


Chris LoCurto  13:44

Yeah. So what has it been like? So before we know, there's this fear of relationship, fear of, am I gonna be able to raise a daughter, fear of all this stuff, how is it now?


MaryBeth Fortner  13:56

Oh, my gosh, that little girl has my heart. I mean, I don't know the words to say, she's, she's my little baby, you know? So it's funny again, I'm like, why did I have those fears, again? Because it's, we have a great relationship, and we talk about things all the time. And it was really sweet. The other day-


Chris LoCurto  14:18

She has your sense of humor, she has your way of processing.


MaryBeth Fortner  14:21

We were at the park, and two of the boys ended up tagging along. We're fostering that's why there's two boys. And so she let the two boys go ahead and then she just grabs my hand, and she's like walking through the park holding my hand, and I'm like, this is what I never thought I would have. You know? So it's pretty awesome.


Chris LoCurto  14:42

It is funny to watch. I dunno if it's funny, maybe it's endearing actually, like if she's out because she will be like you, with her brother. You know the brothers out there, riding bikes, skateboards, roller skating, whatever it is, she will be out there in the mix of it. And playing with Dad, you know, doing the tough things. And if she gets hurt, she will go like literally right by Joel. All she wants is mom. Yeah, if she falls down, she gets hurt, it's everything is Mom, I need mom right now. Go straight to mom, which is again, what an amazing obviously relationship, but that connection that you have with her as well. So that doesn't mean that you-well, I don't know, does that mean that you've lost all struggles or fears or insecurities when it comes to parenting?


MaryBeth Fortner  15:39

So I still have you know, those concerns or fears or sometimes like feeling failures, or whatever will creep in. But I now know how to deal with that. And how to, I guess lead myself through that, like, why do I feel like a failure in this moment? Okay, it's this, am I a failure? No. Okay. And like, just kind of work through those issues. If I'm feeling out of control, or any of those things, I just now better know how to work myself out of that like negative spot and into what is true. And into what is right.


Chris LoCurto  16:23

Yeah. So here's an interesting perspective, before having kids, and again, not a fear of having a son, but have a fear of having a daughter, the relationship, all that kind of fun stuff. All of that is focused on you. All that is focused on your abilities, all that is focused on, you know, how are you going to handle this, what's it going to be like for you, all of that on the backside of Next Level Life, one of the things I love is watching you parent. Because it is yes, definitely there struggles in there. Definitely there's things that come up. But your comfort level is so amazing. I mean, it's just a, you know, an incredible calmness, things are happening, things are going on. And you just respond. You're not responding-and it's not to say that you haven't, we've had good conversations over the years of, what do I do with this situation, right?


MaryBeth Fortner  17:24

Yeah, yep.


Chris LoCurto  17:25

But when things are happening, the great thing is, is that you spend way less time worrying about you. Because what are you worried about in that moment?


MaryBeth Fortner  17:37

The little people.


Chris LoCurto  17:38

The little people.


MaryBeth Fortner  17:46

You know, I want to fix what's going on with them, and it's not like, oh, am I a failure? Am I this or that? It's like, let's fix the situation. Let's solve the problem.


Chris LoCurto  17:57

Because you have a child who may be feeling like a failure, you get to see, this is the greatest thing about walking through the process is now, you're looking at a little person. Yeah, who's struggling with things that you used to struggle with, and didn't have the tools to solve that stuff. So what is that like leading them through their own little fears, their own little struggles?


MaryBeth Fortner  18:23

It's actually kind of fun. I feel a little twisted saying that, but like, not that I'm having fun seeing them struggle, but it's fun being able to like, have the tools to help them in those struggles. Yeah, I'm thinking about, in particular, there was this one time that I was, I don't know, I must have been having a bad day, because Joel did something and it was like one of those on par with not loading the dishwasher right kind of thing. So it's really stupid, right? And for some reason, it just irritated me. And I'm like standing there grumbling about it, while the kids overhear. So then I'm like, crap. So we go over to the kids. And so we have this whole conversation about like, did mommy respond correctly? "No, Mommy, you did not." And boy, did they love that. Right? They're just like, this is great. So okay, well, how should I have responded? And then, well, why was I complaining? Well, I was complaining because I was making assumption about what daddy was doing. Well, it turns out that his way was actually better. Don't let Joel listen to this episode, by the way.


MaryBeth Fortner  19:35

But then I'm like, oh, mommy made a bad assumption. So then we talk about that. And we have this conversation, man, the kids just love it when I point out my own stuff. And I'm like, because then they come back and they're like, "Hey, Mom, I remember that time?" And I'm like, yes, little punk, I remember.


Chris LoCurto  19:53

But amazingly, what do we do before this? We protect ourselves.


MaryBeth Fortner  19:58

Yeah, we want to hide.


Chris LoCurto  19:59

 We put a wall up. We can't allow our kids to see that we failed at something, we can't allow our kids to see that we made a bad assumption, we can't allow our kids to see that the other spouse was correct, and we were wrong, and admitting those failures. These are by far the biggest parenting issues that we see, is not being able to be vulnerable with the kids. And what happens when the child sees, oh, my gosh, it's okay to be vulnerable?


MaryBeth Fortner  20:31

Well, I mean, gosh, I just I've seen them be more vulnerable. And they've come to me when they make mistakes, and they know, they're not a bad person, they made a bad choice and there are consequences for bad choices. But it changes the whole dynamic of even being able to talk about problems.


Chris LoCurto  20:50

Because now they're not fighting to protect themselves, fighting to put up a wall. One of my favorite stories is coming up soon, we're going to talk about, and the reason why we're doing this episode of that, what does that parenting look like when you're using the right tools? It's just so profound. But before we get there, I want to talk about what has it been like parenting in the process after Next Level Life? So your personality style, We've got a lot of I, S and C in there. How is your growth and healing from Next Level Life, how's that helped you to parent, like, your level of capacity? Or, you know, the way that you parent the kids, how has that helped out?


MaryBeth Fortner  21:35

Well, it's funny, because I think everything has become easier. And things that would cause me to shut down before, especially like that high S, I am not perfect. I'm not I'm failing at everything, I'm hurting somebody, all of that stuff. Man, it would put me in this like, what's the word? I'm just frozen. I can't do something.


Chris LoCurto  22:02

Paralyzed from the fear, the struggle.


MaryBeth Fortner  22:04

Yes. paralyzed. Thank you. And so now that's not almost never an issue, you know, and I'm able to just work through things. So that's the biggest, I think, for me what I feel is like, that's the biggest change is just, man, things just seem easier.


Chris LoCurto  22:25

Yeah, both of us have a lot of S. Both of us have that first half of life where that is such a paralyzing piece of when you get to that place of, oh my gosh, I'm a bad person, because I've hurt somebody. Even even if I do not have the perspective that I've actually hurt somebody, because a lot of stuff has come our way of saying, "You're the problem. But I didn't even have anything to do with it. Yeah, but you're the problem anyways, because I'm not happy. I'm not happy. You're my issue." And I gotta say, that has been one of the greatest things in life is having that tool to go, hold on a second. Let me first just gain quality perspective. Did I screw something? If so, take the responsibility. That's great. Hey, mommy was wrong. You know, I shouldn't have responded this way. When you take the responsibility because it's something that you did, man, it's easy. But it's fantastic when you don't cause yourself to freeze up because you're taking responsibility for something that you should not be taking. Which that paralysis is just, not only as a terrible on a person, but the same things we're discussing about what you're teaching and training your kids on, you do the same thing if you're stuck in that place, that process. So, when Josiah was born, I came on up to DC. We did the baptismal, right? Or what was the ceremony you guys did?


MaryBeth Fortner  23:59

It was a baptism.


Chris LoCurto  24:00

It was a baptism ceremony through your local church at the time. And when he was, oh, gosh, no, I guess this was one Elise was born. I came out the second time, because he was now jumping off the couch. So this is when Elise was born. And I remember just the confidence that he had and the the lack of fear that he had. I remember standing there and he was just jumping off the couch into my arms, and jumping off the couch into my arms. And then we stopped, and I had turned away, and I was looking, and I don't know, you and I were talking or Joel and I were talking, something was going on. And out of the corner of my eye. I see this body flying through the air, and praise God jedi reflexes as I turned around and caught him, and held them in thought, what in the world made you think that you could do that? Like how were you not, you know, how are you not seeing, I wasn't watching you, I wasn't turned towards you. And everything is-


MaryBeth Fortner  25:03

18 months old and he just trusts you.


Chris LoCurto  25:06

The amount of trust in the lack of fear blew me away. Like I sat there holding him going, he's going to have a life of this. He's going to grow without that fear, you know, being able to I mean, he just did something that oh my gosh, little me I would not have done. And had I done it, I'd have been worried that the person you know, even at 18 months, I probably would have been worrying. But it was just a fabulous moment of just going. You were fearless in that moment.


MaryBeth Fortner  25:42

Yeah, that was on Joel. I remember when he was a little itty bitty and started, I mean, he started walking at 10 months. I mean, he was early at all active things. And he would start climbing and Joel's like you've got to let him do it. Do not hold him back. He's like, let him figure it out. And I remember it was he was 18 months old. I was nine months pregnant with Elise, and he's climbing this 10 foot rope ladder. And I'm like, Oh, Jesus, please do not let him fall. But I mean, he could do it. And you know, and that was the thing of Joel pushing on me to just don't go mama protective on him. Let him figure things out. And so that was a growing thing for me. But you know, look at him now. He can do all the things.


Chris LoCurto  26:32

And so now he climbs everything. For many years, it's been me. I've been the jungle gym. I've been the jungle gym for both Josiah and Elise. So and I go back to the days of Emma and Abby. And I was their jungle gym, when they would just hang off of my arm. That's exactly the picture I'm thinking of Brian's he just spread his arms out there time, I've got my arms up both kids hanging up my arms. But Josiah will climb. I mean, there's just so little fear in that boy. It's amazing, and Elise too. So question, how have you guys, obviously Joel is a facilitator here. He went through Next Level Life, you know, back then, you know, all the stuff that we teach. How has that helped you guys? How do you guys stay on the same page when it comes to parenting?


MaryBeth Fortner  27:31

We talk.


Chris LoCurto  27:32

That is revolutionary, right there.


MaryBeth Fortner  27:38

No, seriously, though. I mean, we do have regular date nights, which I think just helps us just stay unified. There have been things that have come up, where we are not on the same page. And, you know, there I was sharing this one story earlier. Just Joel made a decision, and I was not happy with it, at all. And being my high S self, I just let it go. And let it go. And let it go. Thinking he'll see the error of his ways. Right?


Chris LoCurto  28:12

Of course, absolutely.


MaryBeth Fortner  28:12

He'll figure this out. I mean, in all the years we've known each other, this has never been a tactic that has worked. But for some reason, try try again, right? So I just let it go. Well, finally I get to the point, I'm so mad. I mean, I am ready to go to war. And then we had a date night, so I'm like perfect timing. Let's fight it out. But finally, after all this time, it finally dawns on me hey, before you have this conversation, maybe we should pray about it. So I do, and in that, I felt like God was saying ,ask a question. And so of course, my first question was, are you happy about this? But I eventually got to the point where I'm like, is this important to him? And so we had the conversation, and he's like, no, not really, we just, you know, we hadn't communicated about it. And, okay, I mean, it was resolved. Right? And it's so funny, because I was so stinking mad for months. All the buildup, and I'm like, have I not learned anything from my Next Level Life? I mean, really. But the truth is, prior to our Next Level Life, this would have come to a massive fight. And it would have been one where, it would have taken him considerable effort to convince me that he does care about me, when in truth, we just hadn't communicated.


Chris LoCurto  28:17

 That's all it is.


MaryBeth Fortner  29:32

And I'm like, praise God for Next Level Life because man that would have been a fight.


Chris LoCurto  29:51

Well, and even changing your question. The initial question in your head is, you know, I'm going to pummel you by asking the question and changing it to well, let me just see his perspective. Is it important?


MaryBeth Fortner  30:04



Chris LoCurto  30:05

Because what if the answer was yes?


MaryBeth Fortner  30:07

Well, if the answer was yes, then it was like, well, shoot. All right, now we have a problem. But we're on the same page now. And we can figure out how to solve the problem.


Chris LoCurto  30:16

How do we solve..?


MaryBeth Fortner  30:17

Right. We're now united in solving a problem instead of fighting each other and treating each other poorly. I mean, nobody wins like that. You know, so it gets to a point where it's like, okay, ask the question, get on the same page, and figure out how you can solve the problem together.


Chris LoCurto  30:37

So all of this brings me to one of my favorite stories. And I want you to share the story of Elise at the at the park with the other kids. Because-and this just happened not too long ago. But the response-well, gosh, I don't want to-just share the story, and then I'll speak to it, I don't want to give anything away.


MaryBeth Fortner  31:02

Alright, so we get to the park we're with some new friends, and the mom and I are at the swings, pressing the little ones and all the big kids are playing. And I know that Elise has struggled with the one older boy, because he's a dominant personality. And like her mother, she can struggle with dominant personalities. And so they're over there playing, well all of a sudden, there is this scream, and tears. And we look at each other, and the moms make their way to the merry-go-round, and can I tell you, all of the children went silent. It was like the moms are coming, right? And so I get Elise down. And the other mom on the way over says to me, I have no problem believing that my son had part in this. So she's like-


Chris LoCurto  31:56

What a good mom.


MaryBeth Fortner  31:57

She's like, so she goes over to address him. Well, I'm trying to get some feedback out of Elise of like, what even happened? Well, this girl's in the depths of despair. I mean, *fake crying* I mean, it went on and on, and I finally get out from her. And the whole thing was like that. But it finally came out. "The kids were making fun of me." Well, she's never been made fun of by strangers before, maybe her brother from time to time, but not from others. And she is just devastated. And so the other mom in the meantime is talking to her son, and is like, "Hey, were you part of the problem?" And he's like, "Yes." And she's like, "Well, you need to fix it." He's like, "Okay." And he starts to go over to the merry-go-round. And she's like, "Hey, Elise is over the other direction." And he's like, "I wasn't making fun of Elise. I was making fun of that kid." So anyway, on the way home, because at this point, I mean, the playing is over. We're done. So we're walking home. And I share that with Elise. And she just processes on our walk.


Chris LoCurto  33:21

Six years old.


MaryBeth Fortner  33:23

Six years old. Yeah. And so we get almost home. And she's down to the whimpering stage. And she's like, "Mama, I just, I just feel bad that I made an assumption about him." I know, I was like, baby girl. So we get home-


Chris LoCurto  33:48

Six years old. She's gone from the tragedy of being made fun of, the trauma of being made fun of by a strange, dominant kid. Older, obviously. Right?


MaryBeth Fortner  34:00

Yeah, yeah. several, several years older.


Chris LoCurto  34:03

To hearing a different perspective. And in your mind, you're not really expecting, I'm assuming you're not expecting anything from it. You just shared the perspective.


MaryBeth Fortner  34:13

No, I was expecting her to continue to cling to me for the rest of the day.


Chris LoCurto  34:17

And within a certain time frame, a walk, which is only about a five minute walk, then she's feeling bad that she made an assumption.


MaryBeth Fortner  34:25

Yeah. And then we get home and we're talking about like, okay, because I think there was another child that was saying to her that she's no fun. And I'm like, baby girl, please, do you know yourself? I don't think I know a more fun person on the planet.


Chris LoCurto  34:42

You are your mother's daughter, of course you're fun.


MaryBeth Fortner  34:44

You're fun. I mean, that kid's just straight up wrong. But you know, we talked about well, why might he have said that? "Well, he wasn't getting his way. And so he was being unkind." And so you know, we get home and then out of the blue, she just goes, "I guess I should have just been like fat cat on a mat." I'm like dying, because I know what this means. We have this little phonics reader, and there's fat cat on a mat and fat cat sees a bee, and fleas up a tree. And then in the course of this story, there's a nest of eggs that falls down. Well, Jake snake wants to bake a cake and big pig wants to do something and this other character, and fat cat just says, "No, no, no." And finally, you know, they say to her, "You're no fun, you're this, you're that." Fat cat just ignores them, and carries on with what she's doing, which is hatching the eggs. But it's so funny, because I'm just like, man, I read my kids these stories of like, valiant characters that have such courage and empathy and trying to- and she gets her lesson from fat cat on the mat. Throw out The Chronicles of Narnia. Just kidding. Would never do that.


Chris LoCurto  36:06

But how amazing to see this. And I believe even the next day, was it the next day or something Joel had?


MaryBeth Fortner  36:13

Yeah, probably the next morning,


Chris LoCurto  36:16

Did he ask her or did she just bring it up?


MaryBeth Fortner  36:18

I don't remember who brought it up because they were outside. He was about to leave for work and they were chatting outside. But she was just like, "I made an assumption. And I know that it's not even true. Like, I know these things aren't true." And so like for her to see all that, is just amazing.


Chris LoCurto  36:38

Yeah. So here's what I want to back up. And here's why this is so ridiculously important. Because had you not walked through the process and started implementing the change and had the tools, then situations like the dishwasher wouldn't have happened. Situations like the date night conversation, wouldn't have happened. And here's the crazy thing; those fears, those concerns at the beginning, could have continued to have become actual reality. Right? Could have been self-fulfilling prophecy, where there isn't great relationship, where in you know, she's six now, and seven years from now you guys are at each other's throats because the relationship isn't good. And instead, what's happening because you're walking through this process, you're using these tools, a six year old child has the opportunity to look at a situation with perspective, and go, "Well now I feel bad that I assumed something I shouldn't have done that. I should have been like fat cat on a mat."


MaryBeth Fortner  37:47

I should have been like that cat on a mat and just let it go.


Chris LoCurto  37:50

Just let it go. How in the world? I mean, like what, what did you experience in that moment?


MaryBeth Fortner  37:57

Oh my gosh, pride. I just wanted to take that little girl in my arms and just give her the biggest hug. She I mean, gosh, she's six. And she's figuring out things that I didn't figure out till you know-


Chris LoCurto  38:11



MaryBeth Fortner  38:14

Like, well, good for you, little girl.


Chris LoCurto  38:18

I wish I had me as a parent.


MaryBeth Fortner  38:22

I'm so awesome. Let's just bring it back to myself again.


Chris LoCurto  38:28

But seriously, that pride of being able to look down at your little girl and go, if you have this at six, what does that mean at 10, at 15, at 20? How are you looking at you know the way guys look at you when you're a you know, hopefully much later teenage you know, girl, right young woman, how do you experience how they treat you? How do you experience how they respond to you? How do experience other girls if they're being you know, catty, whatever, how do you experience these things? And what are your thought processes? Because of your example, you know, the example of both you and Joel and the things that you've been through, a six year old has this process in our brain. It's just powerful. Well done, my dear. Well done. So good. Alright, so here's what we're gonna do, we're gonna take a break. But when we come back, we're gonna walk through pain points, which is always fun, pain points of parenting, when we come back out to this.


Chris LoCurto  39:31

Hey, leaders, we're a long way from the problems of last year, and yet for many owners and leaders, their businesses still look the same. So let me ask you a question: What changes have you made to ensure you're stronger by the end of this year than you were last year? Here's the thing; if we don't take new action, then we can't expect anything to change. Now is the time to make those necessary improvements. It's time to pour new life into your business, your team, and your leadership, by learning and implementing new and sharper skills that will give your business the boost it needs to succeed. Now I know you want to lead your team out of the past and into a better, stronger position. That's why it's time to sign up for the Next Level Leadership Live Event that is happening this month. Now listen, this is not some positive thinking seminar. It's a strategic thinking workshop designed just for you as business owners and leaders, you'll come away equipped with an actionable plan in hand to immediately increase your team's capacity and stability. How? Expert driven workshops where you'll sit down together with our coaches, and design a better future for you and your team members. Imagine returning to your business and your team, with newly defined key result areas for your most important team members. Imagine having the tools in hand to give your team a new level of ownership and responsibility, empowering them to succeed like never before. This event is happening soon the 28th through the 30th of April, so don't miss this opportunity. If you've been to our event before, then you already know what a game changer this is. On top of that, we've added brand new experiences and excursions that you will never forget. Registration ends on April 21 at midnight, so don't wait. Go to chrislocurto.com/liveevent or text "liveevent" one word, to the number 44222 for more information, and to get your tickets. Again, that's chrislocurto.com/liveevent. Don't miss this opportunity to change your business, team, and leadership for the better.


Chris LoCurto  41:54

Alright, we are back and we're talking, or we're about to talk about, pain points as a parent. Pain points as a parent. So, and we're just going to kind of walk through different experiences and different thoughts and things that you know you've experienced. And things that what we hear from parents a lot, you know, when people are coming through Next Level Life or they're thinking about going through it, some of the things that they struggle with. So from your perspective, having been through this now for many years, and walking through all this, the first thing that, one of the biggest things that we hear is people that are afraid that they're going to mess up their kids. What would you say to that person?


MaryBeth Fortner  42:40

Go through the Next Level Life. Do it.


Chris LoCurto  42:44

So well. Alright, so let's unpack that. Why? What does that mean?


MaryBeth Fortner  42:50

So for me, gosh, there were so many assumptions I had, expectations I had, fears I had, all these things, and honestly, some of them I didn't even realize, they were so deep in me that that's just the paradigm that I live my life through. And so going through Next Level Life, man, it just brought all these things to light. And then I'm able to deal with that, and to work through a lot of those things and make changes. And I mean, it's not like we made changes overnight. I mean, we are five-ish, give or take years down the road now. But now I'm at a place where those things are so minimal. And like I said earlier, like, man, it's hard to even remember that time before. But it's because I've practiced, I've used the tools that I got through Next Level Life and practiced them, and practiced them, and get better and get faster. And so now, it's more natural to live this way than that way.


Chris LoCurto  43:59

So another side turn here. What was it like going through with me facilitating that process? You can let the sass fly, feel free.


MaryBeth Fortner  44:10

I'm like, well, I did make you cry first.


Chris LoCurto  44:13

That is true.


MaryBeth Fortner  44:14

No, it was not. You know, it's funny because you are one of my best friends. So on one hand, it was like, I don't want to share things, you know, but when I chose to be like, alright, let's just do this thing. Man. First of all, no judgment. Thank you for that by the way, that's why you're one of my best friends. But that's just who you are, and that's who my husband is, you know, that's, which is why I married him. But when I was vulnerable and opened up to do that, like, man, you just walked me through these things. And it was like, okay, I mean, there were some tough, tough points. I mean, I'm not gonna lie, there were tears at times, but it wasn't because you were being unkind or I was being judged, or any of that, it was because I was seeing truth for the first time in some cases ever. And I was like, ah man. I have been messing some of these things up. Okay, now I can, now I can change. And it wasn't like, oh, man, I'm such a bad person because of messing things up. It was like, man, I now have something. I have tools, I can move-


Chris LoCurto  45:27

I can point to that, I can understand that. Now I have a tool to change my decision making. And the me crying part, we should probably clarify, is because there were tough moments. And I'm watching you, I'm facilitating you through this difficult part. And I would literally say that I don't know if I ever told you this. Surely I did. But there were times I'm like, I'm taking a break in 15 minutes and I'll give her a hug then. Because there's so many times I wanted to rescue you, like giving you a hug at the moment. We're walking through this thing. And it's so painful, because that's the first day is tough. It's not easy. But oh my gosh, is it worth it when we get on the other side, we pull all this stuff back together. And, you know, even like what you're saying now, of I don't even really remember what it was like back then. Right? So for everybody who's hearing this, and is struggling right now-


MaryBeth Fortner  46:22

There's hope!


Chris LoCurto  46:23

How great is it to like think, oh, I might not even understand what it's like to feel this way four years from now. If I do this, if I can just get this process done in my life. But I remember those times of just going, I'm taking a break soon. I can give her a hug, then. But you got to keep going and keep push, push, because you've got to work through it. You've got to get through that moment, to that place of going, aha, this is why this over here exists. This is why this thing here is happening. And this is why I keep making this decision. And then roll forward, to a frustration that you're having in your marriage. And instead of going in airing out the frustration with attacks, you switch it around and ask a very loving, concerning question, is this something that's important to you? Because if it is, we just got to change something else. What a completely different way of handling that. So yeah, just so powerful. Alright, so back to the fear of messing up my kids. Well you, you pretty well answered that, what about the fear of, or not the fear, but the feeling out of control, and I want to kind of hit this again, because there are certain personality styles Brian Alex- no judgement, well, for higher C's, we literally just did Stratplan the other day with somebody who, when we say this phrase, certain personality styles don't align with it, because in their mind, "out of control" means that I'm not controlling something. And when you say the word-because I did the same thing. We had this conversation a long time ago. And so I'm sitting there, going through Stratplan, and I go, you know, because you're feeling out of control in that situation, and he goes "No." I'm like, "Okay, I'm sorry, let me ask it this way. Do you feel frustrated? Yes. Do you feel emotional? Yes. Do you feel angry? Yes. But you don't feel out of control?" "No, of course not." And it looks so funny of like now think about what we just walked through. And so much of it is definition. Right, so as we say, the feeling out of control. I'm saying this for the people that are listening, if it makes more sense to say the times that you're feeling frustrated, you're angry or whatever, that's fine. Let's go with that. What do you tell the person who's telling themselves the lies? You know, that negative self-talk or they're feeling heavily frustrated, angry, out of control?


MaryBeth Fortner  46:25

Oh, man, I was there. I was there. I mean, there were days and, you know, little baby land is a tough place sometimes.


Chris LoCurto  49:14

We are so putting that sign up on your house.


MaryBeth Fortner  49:16

Haha, no, I think gosh, I don't even I'm not even sure how to respond to this because I think about when I'm feeling out of control now. Because there are still those moments that come up where man my kids are disobedient, or something happens or whatever. I can now go, Okay, why am I out of control? Why am I frustrated? Why am I feeling these feelings? But like sometimes like I do have to just step away and process from it. It's not, this isn't a magic like, Oh, now I can immediately start responding perfectly. I mean, there are times that I still have to step away, and process and be like, Okay, what is going on? And then I'm like, Okay, now I can go and deal with my kids with a more gracious spirit, you know, and just, yeah, there's still going to be consequences for disobedience. But they're not going to be given in anger, or frustration, or rage, or like, you horrible child. You know, it's a very different way of responding.


Chris LoCurto  50:57

And let's talk through that, because we hit that a lot. We talk about it in parenting, you know, we talked about it Next Level Life we talk about in leadership, because it doesn't matter if you're 5 years old, or you're 35 years old, in the person leading that person needs to understand choices and consequences. What has that been like for you guys? Because I remember in the early days, when we were talking through that, it's like, how does that even work?


MaryBeth Fortner  51:26

Right? Gosh, wow, I did have that conversation. Holy moly.


Chris LoCurto  51:30

And now, I mean, it's just, well, what was that like for you?


MaryBeth Fortner  51:34

Well, I mean, I was like, what, what do I do with these people? They're little, and they're making me crazy. But when I learned how to approach choices and consequences, hey, listen, you know, you can choose this, or you can choose that. And here's the consequence for this, and here's the consequences for that, one happens to be a good consequence. And one not so good. Hey, you make your choice. Which one do you want? And then man it's all on them. So you know, Josiah is so compliant. So when he was little, he was like, it was like "Baby, your little Thomas stuffed train is going to go away if you choose to fight us on this. Or you can choose to brush your teeth." Because that was one of the things, you know, he went through a phase of I don't want to brush my teeth. Like or we can brush your teeth. And you can have your little Thomas stuffed train in bed tonight. Immediately, immediately.


MaryBeth Fortner  52:46

So Elise, though, it's like, I'm gonna take your stuff puppy dog away. "Okay." Well, then you're gonna lose this. "Okay." Like, Oh, my gosh, finally, I mean, we finally we just had to figure out, it took us time to figure out what is going to work with her because she's a different child. You know, and it was funny, because little timeouts, you know, they'd have to sit against the wall in the kitchen next to me, for timeout. And Josiah was like, okay. You know, and Elise was like, I'm just no, she would just stand up and walk out of timeout. She didn't care. She was like, No, I'm not sitting here. I'm like, oh, my gosh, child.


Chris LoCurto  53:29

Was it dresses?


MaryBeth Fortner  53:30

Dresses was one of the things. I mean, this little girl, she wears dresses. She's outside right now playing in the mud at home in her beautiful pink dress. And I'm just like, well, it doesn't fit you anymore. So carry on. Whatever.


Chris LoCurto  53:42

What else did you discover worked?


MaryBeth Fortner  53:45

Oh, gosh, dresses is her big thing. Every now and then because we are fostering and we do have to do that little timeout with the two little ones. Every now and then I will throw timeout at them. And it's so unexpected that they're like, what? Mom put me in timeout. And now it's like, it's so funny because now that almost works more. But, you know, it could be her roller skates. She loves roller skating a lot. She loves roller skating right now. So it's just it's like, What Does she love? And what is you know, I'm not going to take her roller skates away for three weeks. Because she you know, did one little thing.


Chris LoCurto  54:24

The goal isn't "I want to hurt you." The goal is, "You're making a bad decision. Let's teach you good decision making. You can continue on with the bad decision, and you get a bad consequence or you can make a really good decision and you get a good consequence." And it's fabulous. I love you know, there have been times you know, being over there having dinner or something like that, and somebody is doing something that either you or Joel's like, "Baby. Baby, you can choose to do that..." and I am so proud. That's just such a happy moment. Because you see the child respond immediately, immediately, which wasn't always the case. You know, as you're putting this in place, it took time, but they got to understand, you're serious, and this, it really sucks. But here's the greatest thing about it, is you're teaching them high levels of quality decision making. Like you're literally teaching them, there is going to be a consequence, which is absolutely the opposite of what so many parents are teaching their kids nowadays. They allow them to make stupid decisions, and then they get to be enabled or be victims or, you know, so on and so forth. And instead, you're prepping your kids for life. Because they're looking at situations and going, do I do that? And even in an Elise situation, I bet you there are times she weighs out the consequences and goes, "Now the consequence would be worth it."


MaryBeth Fortner  55:59

Probably, I'm sure.


Chris LoCurto  56:01

But it helps them to make those decisions.


MaryBeth Fortner  56:04

But I think you know, the other really great thing about it is actually the relationship. Because it's no more me against them. And I'm not making them a bad person. They're, they're choosing. Like, this is like, well, this is what you chose. And Mama loves you. And I'm really sorry that you have to have that consequence. I don't want you to lose your roller skates. I don't want you to lose your bike. You know, but, man, you made that choice. So that's what happens.


Chris LoCurto  56:32

Yeah. And one of the other things that I love, is that because you do this, there isn't the victim mentality. You know, once in a great while, just like every kid, there's something that they will do there, you know, every kid's going to do something, that it's just like, whoa, what was that? And you can see the immediate response of, that was a bad decision. Not, "It's not my fault. I'm, a victim." You know, literally, you see the immediate, "That was a bad choice." You know, you can see, you can recognize it. And the great thing is, is that your kids have so much confidence to be able to do whatever that along with that is going to come well, you probably should not have jumped off of the you know, bookcase, right? That was a bad idea.


MaryBeth Fortner  57:19

There are some natural consequences. Josiah jumped off the top of our privacy fence. And the thing is, nobody was around because he had run home to grab something. And he couldn't open the gate for whatever reason. So he's just like, I'm just gonna climb and jump off of it. Well, he twisted his ankle. I'm like, well, natural consequence baby, didn't think that one through.


Chris LoCurto  57:38

Yeah. And the good thing is, is that they you never see them be victims in the situation.  It's an immediate, "I know I did wrong. I know that wasn't a smart thing to do." You know, they don't look at you and go, "The fence just messed up my ankle." Right? You know, if they do, because you guys allow them to be kids. So they might come flying off a couch somewhere onto something that it's just it's okay. There's nothing wrong with this. They get to be kids, right? But if they land on one of the other kids, and it's a, they hurt the other kid, it is a "Hey." And it's it really doesn't have to go much further than that. It's an immediate, "Yep, that was bad." Not a, "I'm a victim." And I think that's just so incredibly powerful. So with that, you haven't been using guilt. You haven't been using fear. You haven't been using-unless there's stuff I don't see when I'm not around. And, you know, I have the kids from time to time, there's been multiple weekends, you guys have gone away. I've got the kids. And it's not it's just not there. Right? It's a it's just a fabulous time. So you're not using yelling and screaming and out of control responses. And this is what we're seeing with the kids are seeing this type of response. So we teach here the relationship circles, we speak for all, we have a lot of folks who aren't believers that are following on the show. But we have a ton of people who are believers and when I say believers, I say believers in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We teach the relationship circles. Most important relationship, better be your relationship with God. He's the only one who holds your eternity in his hands. The next one and if you look through Ephesians four, five and six, it lays out this way. The next one is putting your spouse first the most important human being on the planet. The next one is putting your kids. There's this disgusting thing that happens nowadays, and you see it a lot and you see where a parent is putting the kids before the spouse. And I got to say it is so horribly disgusting. And by the way, remember that and here's the I think the funny thing is the parent always thinks, you know, it can be both it can be the moms it can be the dads is more likely going to be the moms in the situation, you can tell it because they say things like, "Oh, he knows where he stands." Which means, after the kids. And for some reason, they think that you know, that they are going to be that attached to those kids for the rest of their lives, and they will try. But that's not actually what happens, right? You're still going to be with that spouse, hopefully, when the kids are gone. What does it been like parenting with the relationship circles in mind?


MaryBeth Fortner  1:00:40

You know, it's funny, because you say that, and I think of some moms that I have hung out with that very clearly put their children above their spouse. And I'm like, how do you even parent well? Like, honestly, because, first of all, when Joel and I have those moments when we are not a united front, man, it makes it so much harder. Yeah, I mean, I think that with me and Joel, on the same page, when I'm having one of those days, where I'm like, man, I'm feeling out of control. You know, actually, I had one not terribly long ago, it's probably a few months back. And I called him up at work. And I'm like, babe, I just lost my mind with the kids. And, I mean, it's a pretty rare thing, but we've had a lot going on. And that just, I mean, it happens sometimes, you know? Still not a perfect person, even though I try. Close. No, but I call him up. And I'm just like, this is where I am now. First of all, I'm not fearing judgment. We're on the same page. He loves me, he cares about me. And he's like, yep, yep, I understand. I've been there. And it's like, okay, what are we gonna learn? Like, how are we going to move forward with this, and not be in that place? And so having that support, man, I just, I can't imagine not having that and being a solid parent, like, I just, that's tough.


Chris LoCurto  1:02:23

You guys have had a lot going on, especially with fostering kids and fostering kids coming from not the world's greatest situation, and struggles that these little babies are going through. And I think one of the things that we expect from parents is, well be perfect. You can't struggle.


MaryBeth Fortner  1:02:47

Crazy talk. Crazy talk.


Chris LoCurto  1:02:50

Which I think is also brought the pendulum swing of all your colossal victim as a parent to your kids, right? Yeah, I think we see both sides. But being able to not only have the tools but recognize no, I'm struggling. And having a person the most important human being in your life, to turn to and go, just letting you know.


MaryBeth Fortner  1:03:12

Yeah, I need some support right now.


Chris LoCurto  1:03:14

I need some support. Yeah, just lost my mind. Not really sure where it is, and just talk to me in this situation. Then instead of that battle level, why did you do that? Or Well, that's stupid. Well, you know better than that. You have this, completely understand, completely get it, let me walk through the I'm supportive. I'm supportive, I'm supportive. But we still have to fix this. So what do we do going forward? If you don't have that support, the last thing you want to do is to fix.


MaryBeth Fortner  1:03:41

Right well and the thing is, man, if you didn't have that support, now I'm feeling even more out of control, because I don't have-I am doing this on my own. You know?


Chris LoCurto  1:03:52

Yeah. Oh, gosh, that's the worst. Feeling like you are the only parent who's actually parenting. I know there's a lot of folks listening right now that that's exactly how they feel. Like the other parent won't-like they have to be the bad parent. The other parent won't stand up and do things or they won't take responsibility and they don't feel like they're on the same page. So talk about noticing worth issues or codependencies or anything like that over the year- you give me a look like, what are you talking about? Have you noticed worth struggles faster, easier, better, have you noticed something that would have been a codependency for you that is not?


MaryBeth Fortner  1:04:38

I think the worst thing is probably more of a thing with me, because man, my self-worth pre Next Level Life. Like I mean, I struggled with being a stay at home mom. You know, it's funny because I wanted to be a stay at home mom, but I had always worked I'd always contributed and then like all of a sudden I feel like I'm not contributing. I feel like my worth is like, I mean, I changed diapers, like, come on, like.


Chris LoCurto  1:05:08

You pretty much did that with our team too so, metaphorically speaking.


MaryBeth Fortner  1:05:12

Metaphorically speaking. That's true. Good point. But, you know, I struggled with feeling like my-I don't know how to say that, but that basically my self-worth was kind of just not there. And then going through Next Level Life and seeing, first of all the importance of being at home with my kids, and how I can be, you know, putting all this into their life, instead of having them not have that, you know, seeing that as a valuable role. That was, that was probably pretty huge. One of the big things for me, as far as that's concerned.


Chris LoCurto  1:05:58

I think the thing that I love is watching you grow over those years, there's not-push back on me if this is incorrect. I feel like the struggle of what would have been about you, just doesn't seem to exist anymore. It's not a, I'm a parent, you know, I'm a person struggling as an individual in a situation where I'm parenting, like, what you're talking about what the worth issues. I feel like I'm not contributing. You know, that's a that's still about you in that moment, right? And then I feel like, it has become such phenomenal purpose. And it's not everything, you still do piano teaching from time to time, which is a passion of yours, something you love to do. You still have outlets and things. But it, I never ever see you being, my life is not good. It's not good enough. You know, I need to do things for me, I need to it's always just, this is what I do. This is my life. This is my purpose. This is what I'm focused on. I mean, for years, I've said, man, I wish I would love to have you back in the business. You know, I would love to have you doing stuff like this. It's just not your purpose.


MaryBeth Fortner  1:07:19

Yeah, no, it's funny, because there are days that I'm like, can I come work for you? Joel can we trade jobs for a day, please? But I mean, now I do like I'm able to, like, put all of that creativity and all of that passion into how can I be a better parent for these kids? You know, which instead of just like, I just have to be here, and somebody has to like, you know, do the things. But it's become my purpose.


Chris LoCurto  1:07:52

Yeah. And you do a fabulous job. So I love it.


MaryBeth Fortner  1:07:56



Chris LoCurto  1:07:57

Well, thank you for joining me on the show, and talking through all of this stuff. You know, something that somebody who hadn't been through Next Level Life probably would not want to come on and discuss. But it has so much more meaning and purpose, with all the experience behind it. And once again, just you know, I don't remember how you told me, was it the text or was it over ecclesia, I can't remember how you shared the story. But just such a profound moment of being able to look at y'alls parenting and the things that you've been through and the things that you've done, and how you're shaping, you're not raising kids, you're raising adults. You're preparing them to go face, what's now becoming a very ridiculous world. And how do they handle themselves in that world? And it's just such a phenomenal thing. One last thing for all the parents, whether it's mom or dad out there, what would you tell them? What is like, what is one thing you want them to know if they're struggling in their parenting?


MaryBeth Fortner  1:08:59

Man, I'd say that there is hope when you have the right tools. Can I just stick to one, but no, but seriously, the crazy thing is, though, like what's gonna work for me and what I struggle with may be similar, but maybe different from a lot of people. And it's like, man, figuring out why you make those choices that you do and why you do, like, why are you where you're at? And how can you move forward? I mean, I can't tell any individual that, like they've got to go through the process and figure it out. You know, because, man, it is like, it is a world of difference between now and then. And it's so worth it.


Chris LoCurto  1:09:43

It's so not uncommon, what you experienced. We see it in Next Level Life, that you know, I'm afraid to have, you know, a daughter, I'm afraid to have a son, that is so not uncommon. We see that in people. Another common thing is, this child is going to give me all of my worth. I don't feel good enough, and I don't feel worthy now. But when I have this child, oh my gosh, I'm going to be full of or this is everything, this is going to fulfill everything. And then without the right tools, having the child goes, how am I not your everything? You know, how am I not when they start doing things on their own and all that you see this crazy worth drop. So it's so powerful. What you experienced, might be a different version. But it's so powerful when you have the tools. Well, thank you for coming on.


MaryBeth Fortner  1:10:35

Hey, thanks for having me. I love chatting with you.


Chris LoCurto  1:10:37

 Hey, same here let's go have lunch. We gotta go do lunch. Folks, hopefully this has helped you today. Maybe you've heard some of MaryBeth's story and you're thinking to yourself, oh my gosh, I've experienced that myself. I know what that's like, or a different version of that. Here's what I want you to hear. Do not put off getting your butt in Next Level Life. Do not put off MaryBeth and Joel are not void of struggle. They're not void of problem they're not void of issue. What you heard today is how to deal with those, the tools the the ways to work through it the the ways to have conversations, the way to gain perspective, the way to change things. And Marybeth screwing around with her water bottle making noise right now.


MaryBeth Fortner  1:11:29

So sorry.


Chris LoCurto  1:11:32

Those things are things you can put in your life right now if you do not hold off, don't put it off. The The least you need to do is go to chrislocurto.com/nextlevellife and start the journey. Just get the information. Just get the information to find out if this is the right thing for you. Just to find out if this is something that's going to help you in your situation, and then put all of the tools into play with your life and your marriage. Just what it's like just as as a husband and wife. Gosh, that's a whole another episode. We'll probably have to have you back in. That's right. We'll have you back. I love having you on the on the show because you make me scones, which is fantastic. So that's a that's a great thing. Folks, get your butt in Next Level Life, or at least just get the information and start the journey. Well hopefully this has helped you today. We hope that you take this information, change your leadership, change your business, change your life. And join us on the next episode.


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Meet Chris LoCurto


Chris has a heart for changing lives by helping people discover the life and business they really want.

Decades of personal and leadership development experience, as well as running multi-million dollar businesses, has made him an expert in life and business coaching. personality types, and communication styles.

Growing up in a small logging town near Lake Tahoe, California, Chris learned a strong work ethic at home from his full-time working mom. He began his leadership and training career in the corporate world, starting but at E'TRADE.