top of page

Boldly Unbounded in Emotional Debt and Release

Boldly Unbounded in Emotional debt and release

Hello, you Boldly Unbounded Soul ✨

Here's a snapshot of one of my favorite neighborhood coffee shops in the morning sun. This week on Be Bold, we'll take a look at emotional debt and release. Ready?


Last week I met with a guy named, Rob Lawless (cool name, I know!). He's running a project to meet 10,000 people, 1:1 for an hour. Ours was conversation #6246.

What struck me about the conversation, was our shared motivation to imagine an impactful, fulfilling life that led us to start our own things, leaving life as an employee in search of something more. He was working at Deloitte—with great pay, bad hours, and an echo of "Is this really my life?" So, he decided to take the leap and go after the life he truly wanted.

robs10kfriends conversation with rachel marie korb

We talked about the ups and downs of this adventure—and I realized there are so many parallels with leadership. The isolation, the self-doubt with the passing waves of optimism, the limited resources, the energy needed...

And then I realized something even bigger! The deep inner work I've done since going solo is more pertinent than ever for leaders. I had done that work before going solo (like snorkeling or open water diving level 🤿), but since I've graduated to the 'advanced scuba diving level' to fully release the residual emotional debt that had accrued working years in fast-paced, high-growth startup land.

And that brings us to today's topic—releasing emotional debt.

Rachel Korb's signture



How do you want to create yourself today?

Many days start with half asleep rising—blindly reaching to turn off the alarm—followed by jumping out of bed and into the day. But, how often do you think, how do I want to show up in the world today? It's a small shift that changes how you view yourself and the world. So, how do you want to show up today?


Unbounded Learning of the week —emotional debt

For you startup folks, I'm sure you've heard of Technical Debt. As a Fractional Head of People, I use the term People Debt. It's when the minimum viable 'product' or 'feature' is built—knowing it will break down if it's not addressed in time.

Well, the same idea applies to emotional debt. But have you ever heard of it?

Emotional debt is the build-up of unprocessed or suppressed stressors (and emotions) that are often held as micro-trauma or tension in the body. Tight shoulders. A clenched jaw. Constricted hips or hypertonic pelvic floor. They could all be a sign of emotional debt.

I bet you're wondering, "Do I have emotional debit?" We all have some degree of emotional debt—the problem is when there's too much. And the 'too much' is all too common for leaders because they operate in roles like the Over-functioner, the Over-achiever, or The Perfectionist.

You can learn more about in my free workshop, Create A Life You Love to Elevate Your Leadership.

Now, for the million-dollar question. What's the cost of emotional debt?

  • The nervous system will be frazzled. You'll be more reactive, stressed, tense, and drained energetically. Not only will it negatively impact relationships, but it'll also affect your clarity, decision-making, and respective actions.

  • Relationships may suffer. If your nervous system is going haywire, it'll likely pass on to your team. It's called mutual dysregulation and comes from neuro mirroring—when the mirror neuron system matches the state of the person you're observing or interacting with, creating a shared autonomic experience.

  • Faster aging, functional decline, and higher risk for chronic health issues. Something called allostasis occurs as a response to stress triggers. Chronic triggers lead to allostatic load, meaning the body is dysregulated. Cue the joke about aging faster in the world of startups. We really are aging faster in the high-paced culture of startups 🤯

  • Increased likelihood of burnout. Emotional debt contributes to burnout, and leaders are increasingly showing signs of burnout—72% of leaders feel spent at the end of the day in 2023, compared to 60% in 2020.

So what can you do to free yourself from emotional debt? ↓


Be Bold experiment of the week —releasing emotional debt

Imagine how you would feel after releasing emotional debt from your life... What would that new version of your life look like? How would you show up differently at work? How would you feel?

Here's my #1 recommendation: Practice Somatic Sensing.

  1. Start by creating embodied safety (i.e., bringing the nervous system into the connection state). You can do this in several ways—unique to each person. This could be calming breathwork, using aromatherapy, cozying up in your happy spot, or being with someone who makes you feel safe and calm. If you're new to Somatic Sensing, my Boldly Embody: Somatic Sensing Session, could be perfect for you.

  2. Move from mind to body. Allow yourself to move away from thoughts or narratives and scan the body for physical sensations. Notice areas of tension, discomfort, or edginess.

  3. Gently bring your attention to one area and get curious. If the sensation were a physical form, what shape would it take? Color? Texture? Smell? Anything else? If that shape had a name, what would it be? If [name] could speak, what would they want you to know? How has [name] been protecting you? If the experience becomes too intense, shift to another part of the body that feels more relaxed or neutral (the feeling of your weight on the floor or chair). You can also bring your hands to your chest or hug yourself. Then, gently bring your focus back to the intense sensation and hold it with the positive or neutral one.

  4. You may start to notice a sensation shift. The sensation may move physically through the body, and release emotions. Emotions commonly manifest as tears, laughter, or yawning, followed by calm clarity and lightness in mind, body, and spirit. Like a weight has been removed—this is emotional release.

  5. Give yourself time to rest and relax if you have an emotional release. This is the integration period—when your nervous system rewires neural pathways. It could be taking a bath, nature bathing, sound bathing, going for a calm walk, or gentle stretching. Pick a relaxing thing you love. I recommend a minimum of 15-30 minutes.


Rachel Korb at Boldly Unbounded

I don’t just coach, I’m a fractional People Leader, too!

(I love remote workplace design to inspire a new way to work for people and profit.)

Hi, I'm Rachel Marie Korb. I'm a curious, sea-loving human based in Barcelona, Spain. After being a senior leader and scaling remote workplaces for a decade, I founded Boldly Unbounded to help ambitious female leaders shift from fear, self-doubt, and stress to clarity, courage, and connection to deliver impact—without the burnout—and design a life they LOVE 💗

Create a life overflowing with abundance to elevate your leadership.

Follow me on ​LinkedIn and Instagram​ for more practices, leadership tips, and resources.

Know someone who might find it valuable? Share with a friend or coworker.


bottom of page