I’ve got my very first guest on the show this week, and it’s somebody whose work has had a big influence on me and so I’m really excited to share it with you.

This is going to be a great episode for you if you’re someone who has ever struggled with certain aspects of your business, that doesn’t seem to have an obvious strategy solution to them, which AKA is every one of us.

So those places in our business where we find that this may be a bigger than usual emotional resonance. So for example, why do I feel such terror when I’m doing my accounts? Or why do I struggle to take time off and to have proper boundaries around my business?

Why do I find that I’m working really long hours and I’m struggling to switch off a bit at the end of the day? Those kinds of things, which I know are really, really common. And very often we will try and solve with a different strategy. Whereas actually, the truth is that there’s something deeper going on beneath the surface.

Nicole Lewis-Keeber is a business therapist and mindset coach who works with entrepreneurs to create and nurture healthy relationships with their businesses. She’s a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Masters in Social Work and has a rich and varied experience as a therapist. Certified in Brené Brown’s Dare To Lead™ methodology, she’s also been featured on numerous media outlets including Fast Company and NPR for her work in breaking the stigma of mental health and business ownership.

She writes and speaks about the impact of small t trauma on businesses but her biggest, more important work is in combining therapeutic processes with business coaching to help entrepreneurs build emotionally sustainable & financially stable businesses

I can remember having a conversation with her about three or four years ago when she introduced me to this concept of having a business that loves you back.

And it kind of blew my mind cause I was just like what you mean? Surely I just set up the business. I do the business. I work really hard. I push myself really hard and then the business will work, but the truth was I was finding myself incredibly overwhelmed in my business and that my business was this unwieldy, dreadful, all over the place thing.

It was like a herd of cats sometimes. And other times it was, this really mean place, which I didn’t like to be. It was this source of, I was never good enough in my business. And so even just having some conversations with Nicole early on really helped me to switch some of my approaches to my business, to put some better boundaries in, to disconnect, or to keep working on disconnecting from this idea that I have to work really long hours, I have to  Push push, push, push, push if I’m to make this work.

Nicole Lewis-Keeber has just released a book, which is all about this kind of thing, and it’s called how to love your business, stop recreating trauma, and have a business you love, and that loves you back.

What I cover in my conversation with Nicole Lewis-Keeber

  • How she discovered the concept of being in relationship with our business
  • The impact of trauma (both large and small t) on our relationships
  • Tools that help to heal your relationship with your business

Links mentioned in this episode

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

Ray Dodd – Feminist Money Coach

Tanya Giesler’s work on the Imposter Complex

Brene Brown’s work on vulnerability

Nicole’s website

Nicole’s Instagram

Nicole’s Facebook

Nicole’s book 





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Jo & Nicole Lewis Keeber


[00:00:00]Jo: [00:00:00] [00:00:00] Nicole Lewis-Keeber. Thank you so much for joining me. You are just one of the wise women of the internet. I always, in my head, I have this collection of the wise women of the internet. And and you are most definitely one of them. And by that, I mean, the people who are doing something that is. So interesting and new, and yet, you know, when you hear an idea and you think, Oh, I know I’ve not heard that anywhere before.

[00:00:31] And yet I feel like in my bones, I’ve been hearing that all my life. Do you know what I mean? It’s like, you are able to articulate stuff that I have only felt before, and I just think that is such a genius gift.

[00:00:44] Why thank 

[00:00:44] Nicole: [00:00:44] you, I appreciate it. 

[00:00:45] Jo: [00:00:45] Wow. And thank you for writing this book because you’ve written a book.

[00:00:50] How to love your business, stop recreating trauma, and have a business that you love. I have highlighted a ton, a ton, a ton of bits from it. But could you give people just this, an overview of this whole concept of having a business that, that loves you back because you don’t just mean having a business that you enjoy or having a business that a business us that feels a bit, you mean literally having a business that loves you back.

[00:01:16] Tell us more about that. If you wouldn’t mind. 

[00:01:18] Nicole: [00:01:18] Yeah. So one of the kind of, you know, I guess pillars of my work is that we bring childhood experiences into our business. Those experiences [00:01:30] positive and negative, the ones that, you know, really kind of inform how we see ourselves. And so a lot of the work that I do is about we’re kind of digging in and revealing and.

[00:01:41]Either releasing or unleashing the the power or the challenges around that. And I do a lot of talks about childhood trauma and how we don’t always define it in ways that people can connect with. And we can talk about that in a little bit, but the first piece of that is that one of the ways that we.

[00:02:01] We recreate childhood experiences in our adult lives is through our relationships. Right. And so when we start a business, it is something that is external to us or you, or you write a book or you, you know, jump into a career or a job, whatever that is. It’s something outside of this that we are relating to.

[00:02:19] And so we are creating a relationship with it and we can either do that intentionally. Or a lot of times we do it by default because we haven’t examined our role in the patterns of relationships that we’ve been and where those, where that role kind of came from. And so I saw myself creating a relationship with my business that was really demeaning and very abusive and was seeing that happened with my other clients as well.

[00:02:41] And so that kind of. Got me into digging into how do we have a business that loves us, because if we can create a business, that’s kind of a mean boss. We could also create a business that’s benevolent and compassionate and loves us and wants the best for us.

[00:02:57] Jo: [00:02:57] I adore that. Can I just read one of the [00:03:00] very first bits from the introduction that, that, like I say, there’s a lot of highlighting that has gone on in this book!.

[00:03:06] That’s so 

[00:03:07] Nicole: [00:03:07] good to hear,

[00:03:09]Jo: [00:03:09] but you say “every day I see business owners and entrepreneurs who are stressed out by their businesses. They feel overwhelmed by the schedules, alone and unsupported. The financial freedom they were seeking by becoming their own bosses has alluded them. The pressure to get things right, and take care of a myriad of tasks feel like a Boulder pressing down on their chest.

[00:03:28] They feel run down and beaten up. They internalize the problems and their businesses becoming so miserable that they seek relief by reading self-help books and working on their mindset.” We have all been there!, 

[00:03:39]Nicole: [00:03:39] Yes!

[00:03:39] Jo: [00:03:39] “But it doesn’t help. And they end up feeling worse because the efforts still do not get them results that they hope for.

[00:03:45] What they haven’t realized is that no one drops their personal baggage at the door. When they start a business. In fact, starting your business means   entering a relationship, just like a friendship or romance neighborly or familiar relationship. And just like in human to human relationships, if we do not set clear boundaries, work to practice them mindfully, we are bound to default into toxic behaviors from our past.

[00:04:07] In other words, we bring our emotional challenges into our businesses with us. And when we ignore this, we get into trouble.”

[00:04:13] Discuss!

[00:04:22] Because it’s my gosh. I see that as the encapsulation of the journey that so many. Yeah, [00:04:30] I’m gonna say women. I work predominantly with women. So, you know, I’m sure men go through the similar things as well.

[00:04:36] Nicole: [00:04:36] Yeah, they do

[00:04:37]Jo: [00:04:37] And that kind of desire to kind of fix ourselves and fix the mindset and almost work on the kind of up here.

[00:04:43] Oh, I just need to work on my money blocks or I just need to you know, I do a lot of work with people around visibility and so much of it. Comes down to much deeper stuff and  the stories that we’re carrying around those experiences. And so could you talk just a little bit about how those early experiences, those childhood experiences can play out in the relationships that we have, particularly with our businesses?

[00:05:16] Nicole: [00:05:16] Yeah. So one of the things that I know to be true is that when I’ve worked with a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners and leaders, is that they had some experience that happened in those developmental years as a child that made them feel. Either unloved, unseen, unworthy, not powerful. And there’s some kind of internal mechanism around, you know, safety.

[00:05:42] Our brain wants to keep us safe as the job that it has says to that eight year old, seven year old, 10 year old, 15 year old whomever it is and says, I never want to feel this way again. So how can I not feel this way? And I see a lot of businesses get that GRI created from that moment of that deeper wives.

[00:05:59] What I [00:06:00] call it To say, you know, I don’t want to feel weak anymore. So I’m going to the, be the most successful person in the room or Yeah, I don’t feel valuable. So I’m going to hoard my money, like whatever it is. And so seeing this pattern of, of relationship with those experiences that my clients and myself had, you know, in childhood and seeing how many entrepreneurs are really connected to some of that patterning, because let’s be honest, you know, a lot of entrepreneurial skill sets and talents.

[00:06:28] Really tools really come from those experiences where we felt like that. Right. We create a lot of really useful. Patterns of behavior around that too. And so there are so many people that I know that are entrepreneurial for a reason. And a lot of those reasons come down to those feelings of needing to prove something, overcome something, show someone, something around those experiences that we have when we’re kids.

[00:06:52] And so, because we are human and we’re wired for connection and where we’re at for relationship that gets played out in our personal relationships and in our career. And so we spend our time wanting to feel. Safe and wanting to feel connected and. And so that pattern plays out in, do I feel safe in this relationship?

[00:07:12] If no, then let me move on. Or how can I control it? Do I feel safe in this business? I don’t know. Do I need more money to feel safe? Do I, do I need more people to have under me? So I feel like a sense of superiority, like whatever that may be. And so it’s very [00:07:30] personal and also very predictable. When we have these experiences that they inform our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as adults, because that’s what it’s supposed to do.

[00:07:39] Right? Our brain is really wired for safety and survival, that new kind of older ancient part of it. And so its directive is to keep us safe and in survival. And that changes how we see ourselves in the world around us. And that impacts a lot of different components of our business. 

[00:07:56] Jo: [00:07:56] I guess when it, when I talk to.

[00:08:02] Friends and family who don’t walk this path. You know, I, I sometimes think of all of us running businesses that we really from the Island of MIS you know, misplaced toys what is it? The broken toys or whatever it’s called you know, misfit toys, that’s it. And it is, it’s a, it’s an unusual path to be, to be taken and.

[00:08:20] When I, I talk to my friends and my family, and I think actually one of the driving forces for me is itfor me, running my own business . I feel like it gives me that real sense of control and safety, which they think is ridiculous because surely safety control comes with knowing you have a paycheck coming in each month.

[00:08:39] And so I’m really fascinated by that the idea of, of safety and what safety means to each of us and how that plays out. Yeah. 

[00:08:49] Nicole: [00:08:49] Being the one who calls the shots. Right. And having it at the end of the day, it’s yours. And you can say what happens and when it doesn’t happen. Yeah. That’s some agency that we’re seeking that [00:09:00] sometimes we’re kind of giving it a little bit of a roundabout way that doesn’t always work for us, but there’s a, there’s a desire there, right there that we’re trying to replicate.

[00:09:09] Jo: [00:09:09] So yeah. I can I, yeah, I can, I can relate to that a lot. I want to, I’ve also made a page of written notes as well. This is how much I fucking, I want to get this loads of highlights and I’ve actually written out things. Oh, I want to ask them, I want to ask about that. So this idea of the childhood trauma and the patterns that, that we bring to things, but but then also this idea of our business being something we can be in relationship.

[00:09:38] With which. I know that when I first met you, that was one of the thing that was the main thing was like, what, how does that work? How does that work? Could you share the story of how you kind of landed on that, that concept? 

[00:09:52] Nicole: [00:09:52] Yes. Yes. And can I just say that my inner kiddos are like super thrilled that you love the book because.

[00:09:57] Talk about a vulnerability hangover is writing a damn book. 

[00:10:00] oh, I 

[00:10:01] Jo: [00:10:01] can imagine

[00:10:03]Nicole: [00:10:03] especially when that four years and a lot of extra eff effort from other people because of the way I process information. So super thankful to have that experience. Thank you. Okay. So this is where it gets real. So I was a therapist for 18 years and so I, I typically worked for other people.

[00:10:19] I didn’t work for myself. I had a small private practice but it was. Kind of plug and play. You know, I didn’t have to show up a whole lot. Like people just referred people to me. And so I just [00:10:30] had to make sure the books were kept. He has no big deal. But when I left the world of psychotherapy and working for other people and started my own business, I started out doing money, mindset, coaching, and.

[00:10:40] What I saw with the people who are working, I was working with is that they didn’t have a money mindset issue. They actually had a trauma response in their money. And so it was already starting to be curious about this whole idea intersection between trauma and money, right. And how it affects people’s businesses.

[00:10:54]And then about two years into my own business, I was ready to quit and Was feeling really beat up by my business was feeling very dejected, like a loser. I’m not happy about it. Not feeling like I was getting any of the, any of the things I was promised if I started a business, right? Like financial freedom, freedom of time success, you know I like to travel and just do type lifestyle for, I was at work a week, laptops on yachts, you know, which we all know that like, that’s not your yacht, but anyway, I digress.

[00:11:30] So most of the time, so, you know, there was a lot of that, particularly around the online business of coaching, you know, when I first started out. So. I was feeling like, okay, this is not what I signed up for. I did not sign up to have inconsistent income and all of the responsibility be on me and not have a 401k or any of that retirement, you know, just so I could feel like crap on a Sunday night again, before I jumped into my workweek and that’s how I was feeling.

[00:11:59]And I was thinking [00:12:00] about quitting. I was not happy. So I was reading Liz Gilbert’s book, big magic, which is a magical book is genuinely in my top three books. There’s a magical book. Really is. Yeah. I was lucky enough to get to see her and speak with her about two years ago. And I told her what I did and I asked her about the book and I said, did you realize that this book would actually be magical?

[00:12:20] And she said, I had a hunch. And I said, well, it was, and I told her like about my experience, I’m about to tell you all and how it changed the entire trajectory of my work. In the world. And she said, I’ve never heard anybody talk about trauma and business. And first of all, yeah, you and keep going. And second I’m so glad that this book got born and let me.

[00:12:42] Be the one to mother, you know, like birth it because it is magical. So anyway, so I’m reading the Liz Gilbert’s book because I was feeling like crap and I needed some kind of motivation. And for me, a lot of times I get that from reading, which is why I was so dedicated to try and get this book done, because it’s a way that I think other people can have that aha moment.

[00:13:01] And there was a story in there about an, I don’t remember the details of the story right now, but there was basically a story. And there was, this professor was talking to her incoming group of freshmen around, I think it was environmental sciences. And she asked him, everyone in the room, raise your hand if you love nature, and everybody raised their hand.

[00:13:18] And then she said, raise your hand. If you think love or nature loves you back. And no one raised their hand. And that story made me understand that those people were about to spend all this money in [00:13:30] four years of their life or more studying and engaging and relating to something that they did not think loved them in return.

[00:13:36] And I had this lightning bolt moment of. Oh, my gosh. Okay. So I love my business and I’m creating it and something I’m working towards, but I don’t feel like it loves me back. In fact, I feel like it hates me most days and that I can’t do anything right by it. And so, you know, of course my therapist, brain then was like, okay.

[00:13:57] So if I don’t feel like my business loves me, why is that? And I quickly to do so that I had recreated a relationship with my parent. With my business where I did not feel like I could do anything, right. I was misunderstood. I was working with no outcome, no feeling of accomplishment and that I was driving myself because of that relationship.

[00:14:17] And so I recognized that my childhood trauma patterns around relating to perceived authority, which my business lives and . Was pretty gnarly and not sustainable. And so I kind of worked back from there to figure out how can I change this relationship by setting an intent by creating an intentional loving relationship with my business.

[00:14:38] Instead, almost like recreating that relationship with our parent, our coach or authority figure, rewriting the story. So that we are connecting with it through intention and with purpose, as opposed to defaulting into trauma patterns that we tend to when we’re not paying attention. And no one’s looking for trauma and their business, they’re just not, I certainly wasn’t, [00:15:00] but that was the moment that I recognized that there was more here and that if I could create a crappy relationship, I could create a loving one.

[00:15:07] And that’s what I set out to do. And that’s been part of my work ever since then. Long story. 

[00:15:14] Jo: [00:15:14] Brilliant story. Because I think that’s something that I know so many of us have hit that point usually fairly early on in things you kind of so certainly a lot of the people who’ll be  listening to this, they either.

[00:15:28] Didn’t feel that they did that well in the quote unquote corporate world, or they had a you know, a traumatic or toxic experience in there. And so there’s the desire to, okay, I am going to go out and I, no one’s ever going to be the boss of me again. I get to be in the driving seat and then we find that we’re actually pretty shitty bosses to work for.

[00:15:49] Nicole: [00:15:49] Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. 

[00:15:51] Jo: [00:15:51] So can you tell us a little bit more about, about that, that relationship with  you have these wonderful exercises in the book about starting to examine your relationships with bosses with previous bosses and whether they be, you know, workplace bosses or like you say, authority figures and how they can play out and how understanding that can then.

[00:16:10] Change help to change. That’s like three questions in one,

[00:16:18] but could you just walk us through a little bit about that, that kind of process and how we start to analyze that and break that down? Because that, for me was just like big, big, big, big, big, yeah. 

[00:16:26]Nicole: [00:16:26] Yeah, it’s funny. When I gave a talk one time, this woman stood up and she said [00:16:30] If I had a boss who treated me the way I treat myself and my business, she’s like I would quit and I would report them to OSHA because I’m literally sitting in a broken chair at my kitchen table trying to work.

[00:16:45] And everybody in the room was like, Oh, I feel very seen  right now that I am such a mean boss to myself. Right. Like we would not accept that. Right. And so that’s why I kind of start there with that whole, like what relationships have you had with bosses in the past? Because I think it’s like a. A little bit more of a user-friendly way for people to get into feeling like, Oh my God, am I recreating that mean boss relationship with myself?

[00:17:08] You know, am I still working nine to five? Because that’s how I did things. You know, I still driving myself towards metrics and goals that were created by some corporate structure I used to live in and work in as opposed to what I really want for myself. So it’s kind of examining the characteristics of bosses that have not made you feel seen, heard, and supported, and the characteristics of bosses that, where you have felt if you had that experience, which I hope you have, where you felt seen supported and that they really understood what you needed.

[00:17:38] Like comparing those two is a really good place to start to find out who you are to yourself and your business. Right. And so if you’re finding that you’re not that nice to yourself and that there’s probably some edges there that need to be buffed out. The next thing I always ask people to do is, okay.

[00:17:56] So where have you felt this way before? [00:18:00] You know, where did, who told you that this was an acceptable way to be treated, that you should tolerate this? Right? And so we usually can walk it back towards. Some person, some caregiver authority figure someone whose power mattered in your childhood developmental years made you feel that way and put you in that position to feel like you had to accept it, or can you try and work harder to not feel that way.

[00:18:27]And so that mean boss piece of it, we can walk it back to find out where that might have its origins. In your childhood. And I, I had someone ask me, they’re like, why do we have to look back? Why can’t we just keep moving forward? That’s so low vibe is what they said. And I was like, because it literally created the foundation of how your neuropathways work.

[00:18:47] That’s why we have to look at it. That’s why, so we take those steps back to kind of figure out. You know, what relationships did were there that made me feel less than, or, or what relationships were there that made me feel seen and supported. And how can I find those characteristics and, and start to embed them in the way that I create this relationship with my business, because we, I had people create an entity out of their business that they can relate to because we’re wired for connection.

[00:19:15] And it helps us do that. So those are some of the steps that we take.

[00:19:19]Jo: [00:19:19] , I really can relate to that and, and there is a fair amount of.unpicking because so much of what we do, we do unconsciously. We just do it because, well, [00:19:30] that’s the way you do it. Isn’t it. And, and I, there was something really powerful in kind of being able to trace it back to its roots.

[00:19:38] And then you can kind of go, Oh, is this useful? Is this helpful? This is something I want to keep or something that I need to do some, some, some healing around. A big part of my work is helping people to almost disentangle from some of those kinds of toxic business messages that we have.

[00:19:54] Yeah. Long hours, 16 hours a day. You know, if you don’t work 16 hours a day, you don’t love it enough or be everywhere. And I remember somebody saying to me once that.  If toxic capitalism is about exploiting resources to their depletion and you are your main resource, then there is this whole culture that we have, which is all about just, just playing out toxic capitalism in  our businesses and our businesses give us this opportunity to change some of that culture for us individually, but also  , from , a wider perspective as well.

[00:20:29] But  we can’t do that unless we’re aware of first of all, what are the behaviors? Where might they   be coming from, and then we can start to do some healing and start to put in some much healthier ones. 

[00:20:42] Nicole: [00:20:42] Yeah, I agree. I believe you can heal things. I believe that your business can be a mechanism for healing and.

[00:20:50] Starting a business as a high dive into personal development, whether you like it or not. And I think that when we, we know that we can harness it just like when we know that childhood trauma impacts our [00:21:00] business, we can harness this as a mechanism for healing because it doesn’t happen in silos.

[00:21:05] It just does not, but we’ve been taught to compartment lives and check ourselves. Right at the door. That’s not what we need to do. We need to understand that all of who we are, comes into all of what we do, including our business and that it can be a healing process if we allow. 

[00:21:21]Jo: [00:21:21] And it can be something that I think shifts that the perception of and the space for what’s possible for other people, you know?

[00:21:28] So the more people who are there having healthier relationships with their business, the more space we open up for other people to kind of go, huh? What she says that she doesn’t work 12 hour days or she’s taking the weekend off and that’s actually part of the way that she’s running her business or, you know, a self care is embedded in that, that kind of opens up that that conversation is mostly, it can become this gorgeous virtuous cycle that, that kind of starts to spread it out.

[00:21:59] Yeah. Okay, that my my next question then. And this is a bit of a personal one is yeah. How long did it take you? I know you and are you done?

[00:22:12] I’m like, okay. The coach in me knows that this is like, this is not a kind of one and done. Oh, I just got to set really cool boundaries. Now,

[00:22:25] do you have any, I guess, any mechanisms that you you have in place? [00:22:30] To maybe stop you falling back into the old ways or maintain the, the, the new ways. 

[00:22:36] Nicole: [00:22:36] Yeah. 

[00:22:37] So, no, we’re not done because we are evolving. And I don’t remember who it’s a Bernay Brown was talking to, but I was listening to one of her podcasts, you know, and she was talking to, I think he’s a neuroscientist.

[00:22:46] And he basically said I will not be the same person at the end of this conversation as I was at the beginning of it. So we are constantly integrating new information, new data we’re constantly changing. So this is an evolution. So if you’re looking for it in metric, I’m sorry, there is not one. So don’t do that, but I can give you some points of how, you know, I help other people and help myself.

[00:23:10] You know, what I call it is, you know, people don’t ask you when you start a business, you know, did you have any childhood trauma that might show up in there? They don’t ask you that question. They give you a marketing plan and a sales plan and like all that stuff. So, you know, I help people develop what I call an emotional sustainability plan to help you recognize what might need to be.

[00:23:32] The healed a little bit, what could hold you back and also what your real skillsets are so that you can have a plan for those things. And so kind of how I do that is first of all, I know that I can’t do anything perfectly, so don’t try. I just don’t, 

[00:23:47] Jo: [00:23:47] I’ve built my whole business around that. Now it’s my brand.

[00:23:51] You just 

[00:23:52] Nicole: [00:23:52] can’t. And I think that there’s power in naming that, you know, like I say this, I think Stacy, Jordan Shelton says this and other people say call a thing [00:24:00] a thing and so I call it out and that helps my inner kiddos. So like I’m not being. Fraud, you know, it helps other people see that Oh, she doesn’t have it all together.

[00:24:08] So there’s room for me showing up despite, you know, perfection. So my book launch was in perfect. We’re literally still working on the Amazon description because someone reviewed it and said, you know, I think you could do better with the description with SEO. And so you might want to wait and I’m like, I’m not waiting to put the book out of their way to for four years.

[00:24:26] So launch the book, we’re still working on the description. The book launch for, to market it. I didn’t want a big flashy thing because I don’t sustain that. Well, my nervous system emotionally and my. I don’t have a team that can support that for a long-term, you know, so we kind of did it in the way that it works for us.

[00:24:43] So we named it and it’s been part of the learning process. And part of the the launch of the book is to say, Hey, we had a launch set up this way, but the person who was working on it had a personal problem, a personal issue that they had to go attend to. And I said to them, you are more important than this book.

[00:24:59] These social media graphics can be done after the fact, Hey, there was this book that got released, go look at it. And th that, and so is it perfect? No. Is it done the way that we said it was going to happen, but she is more important to me than my book will ever be her, her. Health and wellbeing. And so that has been part of the lessons for my launch.

[00:25:21] And we have just named them each and every time along the way. So the other people can see that that is what it means to be humane to yourself and [00:25:30] loving to yourself, but also loving to the people that are connected to your business and within your business as part of the values that I have. So knowing your values, knowing how they play out.

[00:25:41] In your business, I’m sure you do values work with your, with your people as well. And I help people see where some of the places that the research I’ve done, where trauma might show up the most and that’s money, visibility, boundaries, trust perceived control, like it shows up there. So there’s just some good places to start looking.

[00:25:58] If you want to Have a little bit of healing and change in those categories within your business. There are good ways to look at where trauma shows up and it’s for you and for the people that you work with as well. So, yeah, that’s a long answer to the ways in which it shows up and how we manage it is by being honest.

[00:26:18] Jo: [00:26:18] I mean top tip as a podcast guest. Never apologize for longer than else.

[00:26:26] Nicole: [00:26:26] that’s it. That’s my thing, because I have a processing difference. I’m like, I don’t even know if what I’m saying makes sense anymore, but we’ll go with it. 

[00:26:33] Jo: [00:26:33] Totally, totally make makes sense. Makes sense. And I love the analogy that you use in the book about your sustainability plan. It’s like the spokes on a wheel, so it’s not like you just do the one thing it’s it’s this, this.

[00:26:45] Almost like this orbit to this collection, this of sometimes it’s activities, sometimes it’s it’s behaviors, but sometimes it is that,  being really rigid in your values or and I’m thinking about your the, the book launch and [00:27:00] that idea of perfect. And it keeps taking me back to something that Ray Dodd talks about a lot.

[00:27:07] I don’t know if you know, Ray and her work, she’s a feminist money coach and she talks about the idea that, you know capitalisms, this, that there is lack. And so that we have to do things on a certain, you know, really, really short time scale. And if we don’t do it in that exact way, then we have kind of missed the boat as if there’s some mythical boat that you know, what we’re going to have missed are the fact is.

[00:27:28]There isn’t a boat. There is plenty. There’s plenty of time. A book has longevity. That’s the thing. You’re putting this out into the world. And sometimes it’s like a big splash into it. That’s going to make a big noise. And sometimes it’s like a pebble in a pond it’s going to ripple out. And I think that’s, that is a very.

[00:27:47] Gorgeous and necessary for those of us who tilt towards the anxious for us to remember is that actually those small actions the imperfect, the, the, putting it out anyway, that at the, Oh, it’s it’s, you know, if it’s not the big splashy thing, then it’s useless. Being able to get out of that. Binary is really, really useful.

[00:28:08] Nicole: [00:28:08] Yeah, there’s no way that I’m going to help other people learn how to love their business and feel supported by that. If I’m doing it from a place of self abuse for myself, it’s not going to happen. It’s not going to bear fruit. It’s just not going to work. And so that’s something that, you know, I think that I keep coming back to and whatever it is I do with my work, whether it’s this book or the do no harm [00:28:30] intensive, you know, where people would say, Oh, I can’t join this time is, you know, are you going to do it again?

[00:28:34] And I always say, yeah, And some version, because this is my life’s work. It’s, there’s no scarcity around this, right? It’s not a you’d get in or you don’t get in. You will be able to do this work in some way. I promise you. And if it’s not this time, it’ll be the next time. And if you know the, this book again, it’s a pillar of my work.

[00:28:52] It’s not going anywhere. Like, you know, fun, fun, splashy launch is fun. But it’ll be just as relevant and just as worthy and necessary a year from now. So yeah, we just don’t have to play into that narrative anymore. And 

[00:29:07] Jo: [00:29:07] I think that is, that’s a hugely healing message to have out there just in itself before you get into all of the other goodness, that’s that’s in the book.

[00:29:16]One of the exercises that I have actually done before And I don’t know if it was you who talked about it the last time that we talked or whether it was our dear mutual friend, Tanya Geisler, who had me do a similar exercise, but the idea of writing a love letter to your business. And can I just say, as somebody who was a huge Muppet movie fan.

[00:29:37] Yeah. Okay. Would you mind telling people a little bit about the love letter and this idea of almost envisioning  that the, the entity that is your benevolent business? 

[00:29:49] Nicole: [00:29:49] Yeah. So the processes are kind of like a, you know, assessing the relationship that you have and then figuring out the relationship that you want to have.

[00:29:56]And part of that is really kind of identifying. Remember I talked about the [00:30:00] characteristics of where you felt supported and, you know, kind of like the personality of it. And so to take people through this process where they start to kind of, you know, identify how they want to feel in relationship with their business, like what partnerships I’ve worked for them or to have they looked at in the past and what are kind of the mechanisms, characteristics of that.

[00:30:17]And then from there, you know, we decide we either, it either emerges or. We come to some understanding about the entity of our business outside of us, because you know, again, you are not your business. It is not your baby. You want it to actually do something for you and with you. And I have people create this identity of their business and based upon those characteristics and for me, what it was, it ended up being the ghost of Christmas present for the Muppet movie, the big.

[00:30:47] Orange hair guy. And the reason why is because, you know, he’s big, he’s boisterous, he’s, you know, he’s benevolent. But he knows that he there’s some fun and levity, because I think in my, my work, there needs to be a little bit of fun and levity. But he knows how important the past is and how it informs our present and also how it also informed the feature.

[00:31:07] Right. So he’s very much about now, but he also regularly recognizes the importance of looking back because it impacts our future. And I don’t know why he came to me as my business entity, but he did. And so I went with it and so I had, I wrote a letter to him, a love letter telling him, you know, how.

[00:31:26] Thankful. I was, it was almost like, you know, if you think about, you know, like wedding [00:31:30] vows that you’re making, like, this is why you’re fantastic. This is why I love you. This is why I want to be in relationship with you. These are all the things that I can see that we’ll do together. And so I read a love letter to my business, and then I wrote one back to myself from my business, with the things that I wanted to hear, you know, about the commitments and the vision and mission of the work.

[00:31:51]And I have all my clients do that too. And they are some of my most favorite things to read is when people create this entity and they relate to it and they write these love letters. In fact, my editor said, are you sure that you want to put your email address and the, and the book that people send you, their love letters that they write them?

[00:32:06] I said, yes, it’s one of my most favorite things in my, in my business to read these letters. So please do send me your letters. So it is so much fun. And what is really cool is that. I was doing this process, Tanya was doing this process and there’s also another there’s like a a design structural design, social work format that I talked to someone at about six months ago.

[00:32:29] And I, you know, they were telling me this love letter being a mechanism of that design thinking. And I was like, I had never heard of this before. And they said, yeah, so you were like intuitively doing this or Tanya’s intuitively doing this. So there’s like something I think very important. About that exercise of writing that love letter that has kind of come down and all these different arenas that it makes sense.

[00:32:49] Like it’s an important piece of it. So it’s whimsical , but it is also really important and profound and makes an impact. So I always tell people do [00:33:00] it anyway, because it may sound silly, but do it anyway.

[00:33:02]Jo: [00:33:02] I know I adore it. I get my clients to write a love letter to their potential clients, because it’s a really powerful way of getting into the real.

[00:33:12] The real essence of what they want for them. And it takes them out of that kind of role. What will people think of me? And it really puts them into that kind of know just about what do you want most for your clients? And, you know, we get some great emotional detail about that, that you know, really helps with the things like the marketing and stuff like that.

[00:33:31] So I just adore , this idea that we can write a love letter to our business. We can have that level of. Gorgeous loving, relating with our business. It doesn’t have to be this, you know, this means scary thing or, 

[00:33:49] Nicole: [00:33:49] Oh, and it’s an intimate relationship. Yeah, it really is. And so when you have to make decisions about your business, you’re not alone.

[00:33:56] I can look to his picture and the commitment, right. And the vision that’s created from that commitment. And. Remember, you know, what matters. And so it helps me to make decisions almost every day in my business. And sometimes I’ll just think to myself what he liked it. If that, if I did that, no. When he said that I’m treating myself well in my business today, no.

[00:34:20] Right. So it gives me something to relate to and it gives people something to relate to outside of ourselves to help us often make decisions. 

[00:34:27]Jo: [00:34:27] It’s so it’s almost like that there’s [00:34:30] like seems to relate to that inner wise one kind of idea that we use a lot in coaching. Oh, I just, I just adore it. Okay.

[00:34:38] We’re coming close to time and I still have lots that I want to talk about. So I’ve done the love letters I’ve done in terms of the possibilities when people have. This much healthier relationship with, with their business. What changes then? I mean, I know that that sounds really obvious, but, but what changes for people who are like, I don’t get it.

[00:35:05] I just, I don’t understand why would I do this? Could you just articulate a little bit what that difference is? Because I know for myself even just a little bits of the work that I’ve had chance to access over the years, it’s huge. Just expand on that a little bit for us 

[00:35:23] Nicole: [00:35:23] first and foremost, I think that it gets us in a conversation about childhood trauma and how important that is because of the systemic.

[00:35:31] It is interpersonal. It is specific and we don’t look at it and have discussions about it because the systems around us benefit. For us not knowing that what we’re experiencing is trauma. So for me, like that’s the biggest answer of all of it is that it gets us in conversation about what I call small T trauma and how impactful it is and how many of us are operating from a nervous system that has been traumatized that we don’t recognize it.

[00:36:00] [00:35:59] So that’s the most important thing right? There is it lets us have that conversation in relationship to 

[00:36:06] Jo: [00:36:06] that’s huge. That just in itself is huge.

[00:36:09]Nicole: [00:36:09] It is huge. And that’s my purpose stay tuned for the next book..  It’ll be all about the research. So that’s important and profound work.

[00:36:19] The second piece of it is that people then begin to understand that not only are they replicating these patterns in their life, they’re creating them in their business, around their money. It changes the relationship that they have with the people around them. I had a client who. And she, I didn’t create her write her about her in the book, but she said to me, I feel like my business has benefited from this work that we’ve done.

[00:36:42] She said, but more over my relationship with my daughter has changed because of this work. Right. Because how we do one thing is how we do everything. How we relate is how we relate. And as Brene  says who we are is how we lead. Right. It’s all connected. And so. She was really happy to see that she was feeling better about her business felt less, you know, kind of vulnerable out there when she was be speaking or whatever.

[00:37:05] But she said being able to understand that my daughter has her own experiences, her own life, her own agency, and that my need to try and control and keep her safe because of my experiences that she doesn’t need, that she needs me to support her. To listen and say, what do you need? Like I’m here. Right? So it changes.

[00:37:26] It can change that. It changes our relationship with our money and our [00:37:30] business and what we actually need and want as opposed to what we’re being told is necessary to feel successful as a business owner, because we take that. We’ve looked at it and we’re like, okay. So who told me that I needed this number to feel safe and secure in my life.

[00:37:47] And then we all know we get to that number and it doesn’t make us feel that way. So we keep striving for a number. So you can actually start to feel better when you reach a certain number. When you can look at this and stop striving and never riding and getting there so impacts the relationship that you have with money in your personal life and in your business.

[00:38:06]There are many people who will go through this process where it’s not a love letter, ends up being a dear John letter where they say it’s time for me to move on and they close their business, but they’ve done it from a place where they feel like they created this opportunity to go through this process and make the decision from an empowered place, as opposed to.

[00:38:26] I didn’t have enough money or I wasn’t successful. It was, I literally created a business that replicated the abuse that I experienced when I was a child. And I don’t want that business for myself. Let’s start again. So there’s so many ways that this work can make change for people. I would love to say, you know, you’ll have a six figure launch.

[00:38:45] if you read this book!

[00:38:55] Jo: [00:38:55] Joking aside. I do know from my own journey [00:39:00] and genuine clients that actually, if, if that six figure business is what you’re wanting, you’re either, if you haven’t healed some of a stuff, you’re either just going to boot camp and abuse yourself to that point. And it’s coming from that place of real drive and push.

[00:39:16] And and that ironically. When we’re able to be gentler and more nurturing with ourselves and much kinder to ourselves that creates much more space for creativity for being able to focus on what we’re really good at, what brings us joy, right. Zone of genius. And so ironically, it may actually help you get that faster, but yeah, if that’s your whole purpose of it, maybe, you know, I think there’s just so much richness.

[00:39:46] And not even secondary benefits because there’s so many layers of the benefits of doing, doing this type of work. 

[00:39:58] Nicole: [00:39:58] And you get, I think you get relief that you’re looking for. You know I always say that people are putting business solutions on emotional issues. And when you do that, you don’t get the relief and healing that you’re looking for.

[00:40:08] You just get one more marketing tool or one more sales funnel. Because we’re thinking that this business, you, these business components are the solution, and they’re not always, it’s about understanding who you are in your business and how you can have the business. That’s right. For you. 

[00:40:23] Jo: [00:40:23] Yeah. Yeah. I was said that the bit that I’m interested in when it comes to, cause I, you know, I always call [00:40:30] myself an accidental business coach.

[00:40:31] So it was like, I don’t quite understand how I got here. Actually. I’m not the person who’s going to go through the spreadsheets with you. I’m really interested in, okay, here’s the strategy now? What stops us from doing those, those things? What stops us from, you know, being visible? What stops us from, , Doing the thing that we know we want to do and we, and you end up in those stuck places.

[00:40:52] That’s why I’m really interested in how do we get out of those stuck places and and create something that feels kind and lovely and nurturing and expansive and creative, and allows us to take up that space. But the things that are holding us back there, the things that we need to kind of do the healing around and, and that’s why your work is so, so powerful.

[00:41:15] So. I really want to thank you for that personal level as well, because yeah. Your work over the past few years is yeah, it’s just been so impactful. Thank you. We are coming close to time and there are lots of elements of the work that you do. Would you mind just telling people some of the ways that they can work with you?

[00:41:35] Some the programs you’re involved, I know that you’re a dare to lead  facilitator you have fabulous programs. Please tell people everything. 

[00:41:43] Nicole: [00:41:43] Yeah. So we’re kind of in transition right now around some of that. So the pieces of it look like this. I have a I ran a love your business group program last year, and it was an eight month program and some of the stories are connected.

[00:41:55] Some of the people who were through that group and they, they loved it and it was so [00:42:00] fantastic. And so what I did is I ended up creating a self-paced love your business course. And so I have courses out there I did train with Brene Brown two summers ago to become a dare to lead facilitator.

[00:42:11] And so a couple of times a year, I, you know, partner with someone else and we co-facilitate trainings on the dare to lead processes to get other people. A dare dare to lead trained so that they can you know, take those amazing skillsets and tools that Brene teaches us into their workplaces, into their businesses and to their leadership or whatever that may be.

[00:42:33] We just ended one last week and I just absolutely adore that process. And I have been doubling down a little bit on a program of mine called do no harm. And what it is is the program where we look at how childhood trauma impacts. Us our business and then how our business operates in the world. So it kind of goes from what is trauma, what is business trauma, you know, the anatomy of a traumatized business.

[00:42:56]And then the love your business process of course, is in there. And then we look at how could you be recreating trauma in your business, but also with the people that you’re working with, you know, through your marketing, through your conversations, through your sales, through the front facing mechanistic piece of your business.

[00:43:11] And so. That’s a piece of my business. I’m, I’m really looking at expanding and doing more work around as well. So I also do those business intensives and of course, private coaching, always so 

[00:43:25] Jo: [00:43:25] fabulous. And just in case anybody’s, I don’t know, driving and right [00:43:30] now they can’t look at the show notes because I’ll say I’ll put all of the links in the show notes.

[00:43:33] Could you just tell people where they could find you while you’re out in the digital world? 

[00:43:37] Nicole: [00:43:37] Yeah. So Nicole, nicole.lewis-keeber.com. And on Facebook, Nicole,lewis-keeber coaching and And Instagram is Nicole dot Lewis keeber. So one of those places you’ll find me, you’ll find that other, other footprints too, from there.

[00:43:52] Jo: [00:43:52] So, and obviously I will put all of those in the show notes. I just want to thank you so much. Thank you for your time, Stacy. Thank you for your work and everybody, please. I cannot recommend this book. Highly enough is so, so good. And I just want to thank you for writing it. Thank you. I’m excited to be here and I’m just so happy that you enjoyed it.


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