During a breakdown, we often give others a lens into which they can see a perfect version of ourselves. The quest for perfection isn’t necessarily bad because it makes us strive to be better. But it can also eat us up when we don’t get the results that we want. Most people get stuck between these two lines and Nancy Levin helps them escape from it by telling them to jump. She shares how you can make change happen in your relationship or career by reclaiming lost pieces and making an internal jump to self-love, self-worth and self-forgiveness.
I’m excited to have Nancy Levin on the show. That’s NancyLevin.com, incredible speaker, Hay House author, Director of Events at Hay House, got to hang out with Wayne Dyer and Debbie Ford, and a fun and amazing person. She comes on and talks about her view of how to reclaim those lost pieces, how to enhance those imprints we’ve had from children from two to eight, and how we can make our lives fuller by addressing those patterns that we magnetize so we’re not unconsciously living them, and how to have more of the life we want and attract the things we want. Steve then comes on the line and talks about his own imprint of a traumatic childhood and how that’s led to his wife leaving him and other various things in this life, and Nancy lays down some serious wisdom to have more in his life. For more shows, please visit us at TuffLove.Live.
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Reclaiming Lost Pieces with Nancy Levin
Excited as always to be here every week. We talk about things to enhance your life, to challenge your life and go, “Huh,” or, “Hmm,” or, “Wow,” or what we can do to spark you from that mediocrity that some of us tend to accept as normal. I do not believe in mediocrity. Mediocrity sucks, and this show is dedicated to helping people find those little tips and tricks, those pragmatic things, to take your life from level A to level B, C, D, E, F, G, whatever scale you use to enjoy the depths of life and excitement.
This week is a guest star week. I am so excited to introduce Nancy Levin. Nancy is someone I’ve known for many years. She is a successful author, speaker, has her own Hay House talk show and an amazing person. I’ve heard her speak at the Hay House writer’s conference and I was wowed by her story, by her courage. Just saying no to her own mediocrity, no to her own stuckness and reclaim the lost piece of herself, so I’m excited to have her. Welcome.
Thank you. I’m happy to be here.
Do you want to give a little synopsis of your story? I know your talk is usually 40 minutes of intense detail. If you give us the highlight of what happened and give people a feel for you.
The entry point for me into making a major change in my life was the breakdown of my marriage that happened from the way in which I was unwilling to tell the truth to myself and therefore unwilling to tell the truth to anyone else. I lived my life with by the motto of never let them see you sweat. I had been managing the perception of others, projecting an image of perfection to the world and giving everyone else a particular lens to see me through. I now know because of the work that I’ve done that this originated for me around a particular significant event when I was two years old when my six-year-old brother died. He had been born severely handicapped and was incapacitated and broken, if you will. When he died, the imprint on me was if I am imperfect in any way, I will die.
Thus began the quest for perfectionism in my own life and the quest for wanting to heal a wound in my parents that couldn’t be healed and wanting to be the fixer and the savior and wanting to be the one and the only one and the superhero and all of that. When we’re imprinted at such a young age with these limiting shadow beliefs, we go out into the world and we start drawing toward our circumstances and situations that will reinforce those beliefs. I drew toward me a man who I married and it was literally as if on the day we met that he said, “I’m broken,” and I said, “I’m superwoman. I will fix you.” It’s the way that we keep our patterns in place. We keep the dynamics in place when we are being ruled by these old beliefs. Fast forward, I spent twelve years as the Event Director at Hay House, traveling around the world with the greatest teachers and authors in the field of self empowerment and motivation and inspiration.
Yet, I wasn’t able to let any of their teachings land in me until I was in my own dark night of the soul, which happened when I was flying home from a business trip to discover that my husband had read my journals and to discover that what he’d read in my journals was that I’d had an affair eight years prior. I’m not standing here or sitting here condoning infidelity and all of that. What I’m wanting to recognize, and this is what it came to in myself, was being able to tell the truth to myself, being able to tell the truth to people who are safe, being able to be supported by people who were willing to rally around me when I revealed the truth of who I was when I was no longer abandoning myself and betraying myself.
I set a bomb essentially in that journal to detonate eight years later because I didn’t know any other way out. The ‘me’ today would be able to have a conversation that the ‘me’ then was unable to have. To me, the real process of evolution has been being able to be with the truth so that it doesn’t come out sideways and realize that this self preservation, the protection of the perfectionism and this giving the people the lens to see me through and continuing to hide the parts of myself that I thought I needed to hide in order to be loved and accepted was no longer an acceptable way for me to be living. That’s a little nutshell for you.
So many doors and so many alleys to talk about. There’s a couple that sparked me because your belief system is a lot I’ve learned from Morgan and this concept of imprinting and the concept that between zero and eight, we do take on these thoughts that dictate the rest of our lives. From your expertise and your experience, can you talk more about that? To someone who doesn’t understand this concept at all, “I believe it, but I don’t really understand it.” What clues can you give them? Any tips of how to find out what these imprints are to find out what the unconscious patterns reveal themselves?
It’s part of a longer conversation and a deeper process, but it’s about understanding that the significant events that occur when we’re likely under eight years old, we’re too young to process and digest what’s happening in a healthy way and even in a conscious way. What we end up doing is we make them mean something personal to us. This is a conclusion that we draw about ourselves in reaction to what’s happening around us. For example, when I was saying about my brother dying and I was only two, I wasn’t consciously connecting that if I am imperfect like he is, I will die. That need for perfectionism was something that was grounded into me like into my operating system. This is the way that our limiting shadow beliefs are formed and these conclusions that we draw about ourselves most commonly present as some version of “I’m not good enough,” “I’m not enough,” “I’m not lovable,” “There’s something wrong with me,” and they all funnel down into “I’m not worthy.”
Another example I can give in my own life is that as an adult, my mother and I have had a conversation about the way in which she did not bond to me when I was born because she was waiting to see what would be wrong with me like my brother because this was back in the 1960s when there wasn’t all the testing that there is now. The only way they knew anything was wrong with my brother was that he didn’t sit up and roll over and all that stuff that babies do. My mother said “I didn’t attach to you because I was waiting to see what would be wrong with you,” so another imprint in me of “There must be something wrong with me if I’m under this much scrutiny.” Again, it’s not until we’re adults and we’re willing to begin to do this self inquiry that we can connect the dots. I can now connect my brother to my ex-husband. I can connect things that with my mother to the way that I, in this present day, have an aversion to being watched in a certain way, being under scrutiny.
The bomb blew up when the husband read the journals, and I know your story, which is online. From the bomb blowing up, what were your first steps in the recovery or the discovery process of this imprint? What steps did you take to go from destruction of a marriage to the enlightenment I perceive inside of you now?
When I was at Hay House, I was producing the events and my very dear friend and mentor, the late Debbie Ford invited me to come do her shadow process weekend immersion as an attendee. She said, “Your staff can produce the event. I want you to come, put your ass in the chair, do the work, so that you can leave this marriage” and be on the path of my own liberation here. A lot of this had to deal with the shame, self-forgiveness, and having the self awareness to be able to give myself permission and so that was the very beginning for me of the journey to the self discovery to connecting all the dots once the bomb blew up.
Because I was so deeply impacted by this work, I ended up going through Debbie’s year-long coaching training certification program, which was more rigorous than my master’s degree. It was epic, but I never in a million years intended to be a coach. I simply did this year-long program because I wanted to continue the inner exploration. At the end of that certification, it was clear to me that I was unrecognizable from the woman who began it and that it was my mission, my calling, whatever we want to say, to help other people get free. From there, I set myself on the trajectory to ultimately leave my day job at Hay House three years ago and go full-time coaching. I was doing both for a while, but I left the day job three years ago.
The way I heard it, I may be incorrect that Reid Tracy kicked you out.
What happened was that I had published my first book, which was a book of poems. I have my master’s in poetry and that was the first book I self-published. Then Reid Tracy, the President of Hay House, said to me, “You need to write a real book.”
The second book I wrote is called “Jump…And Your Life Will Appear, An Inch-by-Inch Guide to Making a Major Change,” which was my reflection upon the steps I took to leave my marriage, which ultimately then I took to leave my job and can be taken to make any major change. As I was writing that particular book, I had said to Reid, “I am burnt out. My job is epic and I’m writing this book. I want to quit my job.” Reid said to me in his very deadpan tone, “I’ll tell you when you can quit your job.” He said, “What you need to do is build your platform. You need to get your coaching practice up and running and you need to finish this book.” He wasn’t even publishing the book. It was a self-published book yet again. I spent the next eighteen months after that conversation building my platform, finishing the book, building my coaching practice. The book came out in February of 2014 and then in May of 2014, he called me and said, “Your book is crushing it. Hay House wants to take it over.” I was like, “Wow,” and then he called me about two weeks later and said, “It’s time for you to leave now.” I was like, “You’re firing me?” He said, “This is what we’ve been talking about all along,” and it was.
Talking about your coaching practice, you obviously have experience with your own process and going through the Debbie Ford coaching program, how do you guide people from stuck places? If you want to get down to what you offer and how people can work with you, if they might be interested, you can go into those details as well.
I have coaching groups and I work one-on-one, so I do both. Specifically, I’ve created a coaching curriculum, if you will, from my book Jump…And Your Life Will Appear and then my third book, Worthy, which is about boosting your self-worth to grow your net worth. I also am having a fourth book, which is about relationships. It’s called The New Relationship Blueprint: 10 Steps to Reframe the Way You Love. Simultaneously, as I’m writing that book, I’m working on the coaching curriculum for that one as well. I primarily take people through a very specific process that is proven to be able to help them make change. When we’re working with Jump it’s literally about any major change, whether it’s relationship or whether it’s career or whether it’s geographical or whatever it might be. Because the bottom line is that no matter what the outside jump is, it’s the internal jump to self love, self forgiveness, self awareness, self worth, all of that.
When we’re working with Worthy, it’s about money but not about money at all because it begins with the ways in which we determine our value and our worth. Most of my life, I determine my own value and worth by what I produced, by what I achieved, what I did, and so it’s about being able to come into the place of standing in solid worth and value and not hooking it to something else outside of us. I dive deep into what we were talking about earlier around the shadow beliefs, around the underlying commitments, what it is that we’ve been committed to all along that we haven’t been aware of. Because we can create what we’re most committed to, but the problem is that most of us have no idea what we’re most committed to. We think we’re committed to what we say we want, but we’re committed to something else.
It’s about being able to uncover what our strongest commitment is, being able to align our commitments with our desires and our awareness because everything’s going to come down to the choices and actions that we make. That’s the bottom line of coaching. In order to make change, in order to move from where you are to where you want to be, it’s about being able to make different choices and take different actions. It is the only way change is going to happen. Our present moment choice is the crystal ball. Our present moment choice is what will predict our future. We have to be conscientious about the choices we’re making every day to make sure that they’re in alignment with where we want to go, so that’s the fundamental basis.
This concept of commitment, I liked like the way you phrased that. We think we’re committed to our relationship, we think we’re committed to our job and making money, but that isn’t happening and then there’s an underlying shadow commitment. What are some of those common things that you’ve seen in your clients? What are some shadow commitments that occur that they’re not aware of?
The first thing to know is that those underlying commitments are the survival strategy and the coping mechanism that we put in place when we were young to stay safe and feel loved. These commitments can sound like “I won’t rock the boat in order to stay safe,” “I’ll stay invisible in order to be loved,” “I’ll stay quiet in order to feel safe.” It’s the ways that we begin to package ourselves to be digestible to someone else. We make that commitment at an early age and it serves us because it is it essentially saving our lives on a literal or metaphorical level, and yet that very commitment that serves us when we’re young becomes the seat of the self-sabotage as we get older. One of my clients, for example, is an opera singer and has been having a lot of trouble with her throat and has been having a lot of difficulty moving forward in successful ways with her singing. Through the work that we have been able to do, we begin to see that as a child, the commitment was literally to stay silent. It’s a very simplistic way to demonstrate it, but it can be that simple. It’s that a commitment to stay silent as a child is now sabotaging her deep desire to sing on world stage.
The fascinating part is you picked the professional opera singer, so that’s fun, ironic and interesting. Interesting to me to combat those limiting beliefs as a child, she picked a profession where she had to face it or not is the thing I’m noticing.
Everything funnels back to these commitments and the fears around like not being seen, not being heard, not allowing ourselves to shine, not allowing ourselves to be big.
Let’s bring on Steve. Hello, how are you?
Thank you so much for being on the show, vulnerable and talking with us. We’re grateful. How can we make this most optimal for you? What can we do to serve you?
I’ve listened to some episodes and I’m not quite sure what to say at this point about that. I’ve pondered that question. I’ll leave it up to you to ask the questions and get what you want from me, and I’ll try to bring everything I can.
Let’s stick with the theme of the show, reclaiming lost pieces. You’ve heard Nancy speak about the concept. Has anything sparked for you? Does anything come to mind on this topic, a place where a younger limiting belief is stopping you in this world?
I had a traumatic childhood and that plays into a lot of things the way I currently live my life. I had a wife leave me couple years ago and I’m having a hard time fully moving on from that.
The first place I would go in is because I would imagine that there’s going to be some link up between the traumatic childhood and your wife leaving. There’s likely an undercurrent of some shadow belief and/or commitment. What we want to start doing is looking at the events that occurred and then asking the question, “What did I make it mean about me?” For example, if you look at the events of your childhood. If you can just for a moment connect with what occurred and see if you can distill what you made those events mean about you.
It’s likely that there’s a through line then that led you to create a belief about yourself that then became magnetic. Our beliefs are magnetic and we often think about beliefs as being fact, but a belief is not a fact. A belief is simply a long-held idea about how the world works and our role within it. The belief becomes magnetic and we start to draw toward us circumstances and situations that will corroborate and reinforce what we believe.
I’ve thought about that concept before, but I seem to stall out on my own understanding of it and making progress in that direction.
What’s the conclusion you drew about yourself based on your childhood, based on the events that occurred?
Maybe a lot of it has to do with confidence and not believing that I can do things, and some things are too good for me.
“Some things are too good for me,” that right there is a shadow belief.
I’m not even sure what all those things are.
Even if it’s flipped into “I’m not good enough.”
Maybe it’s “I’m not good enough yet for this,” because I’m into self-improvement and maybe that’s a way of me hiding.
Part of it is that we want from this adult place be able to go back into the child to see what the child made it mean. The adult part of you can put in yet, but the child part of you couldn’t have put in yet. It’s about what’s the conclusion that the child part of you drew in response to the circumstances going on? It can be literally as simple as “I’m not good enough.” It doesn’t even have to be named, “I’m not good enough for what,” but simply “I’m not good enough.” Some felt sense of “I’m not good enough.” I would ask if you can see if that’s a through line in your life in other areas. In your marriage perhaps, in work situations, in other relationships, in any other way, does that “I’m not good enough” become a through line for you? Then you can begin to see the ways in which there’s a cost to that belief.
Our beliefs are magnetic and this sounds very simple, so I want you to be with me here. It has to shift on the inside first. We have this idea that something outside of us is going to have us change how we feel about ourselves. If she loved me, if they took good care of me, whatever it might be, then I’ll feel good about myself. Remember what I said that we start to draw toward us what we reinforce and what we believe, the shift has to happen in here first. Then there needs to be different choices and different actions to cultivate the new belief. It begins with literally simply shifting the belief, so it could be something as easy as “I am good enough,” or something else that comes to mind. Shift the belief first and then make the choices and take the actions that serve that particular belief. Up until now, likely unconsciously as an act of self sabotage, the actions you’ve been taking and the choices you’ve been making have been taking you away from what you say you want. A great exercise to do here is to literally make a list of “I say I want but what I’m experiencing is.”
You can start to crystallize the discrepancy that’s happening because there is “I say I want, but what I’m experiencing is.” Then the next step to it is to be able to go in and see the actions that you’ve been taking and the choices you’ve been making that take you away from what you say you want. Then once the new belief is in place, and we can do this around commitment as well. It could be a commitment to staying small, a commitment to staying safe, a commitment to staying quiet, a commitment to not rocking the boat, whatever the strategy was. Shifting that and then literally letting those be the guideposts, letting those be now the new bar by which you make the choices and actions, so that they’re only in service of that. Because every choice we make is in service or sabotaging what we desire. It’s one or the other. When we can bring all of that out of the dark into the light, then we can make conscious choices and take conscious action instead of being ruled by the self-sabotage.
I need a lot more conscious choices.
We all have our go-to drug of choice. We all are avoidance strategy, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, shopping, work, exercise, food. Whatever it is, we all have the thing that we’d go to numb out and we also go there pretty unconsciously. Even to just start tracking ourselves on the way there, “What is it that I don’t want to feel or deal with that’s having me go unconscious?” Just begin that piece of awareness right there can be a game changer.
I like that. I can see where I do that.
I have a question for you. What was your wife’s number one complaint about you?
She didn’t complain too much. She was too passive.
Did you have a discussion about why the marriage ended or why she left you?
What was the main motivation she had for leaving you that she said?
She came out as lesbian and later decided that she wasn’t or didn’t feel like she was. I think I messed up with the feminine and masculine polarity. I don’t think I was masculine as far as taking care of her and making her feel safe and things like that.
To jump on Nancy’s thought process, can you go back to your childhood? Can you go back to those traumatic experiences and relate that lack of polarity to something in your childhood?
My dad was not good at that at all and neither was my mom. They were just trying to survive. I never saw a good example of how you both become reliable for each other.
To stay in the vein of this feeling important path, it’s the unconscious belief systems that you learned from your parents, and we learn relationship from our parents that had you magnetize the same experience in adult life to heal?
I have healed and learned a lot from it. In the end it’s going to be beneficial and it’s already proving to be beneficial.
Are you still beating yourself up in current time for this marriage dissolving?
I think so sometimes. I’m making pretty rapid progress past that, but I have spent a lot of time doing that.
My hope for you in conjunction with what Nancy is recommending is cut that out, cut it out. Do you ever do yoga? Do you ever do a sport?
I do stretching but not yoga.
In yoga there are these poses that have you in these weird positions and you’re standing up and all of a sudden you’re leaning so far, you fall on your face. There are two options at that point. One is to jump up and say, “I stretched my boundaries, I pushed myself, I expanded myself,” and option number two is bemoan the fact that you fell. Over here, you are on this great adventure of life, you’re healing this deep-seated part of yourself and to congratulate your courage to be in that spot. Beating yourself up to me is akin to laziness. It’s like, “Why live in the past like you had to go through the experience to get where you are now?”
I think about that all the time. I’m really proud of myself.
It’s a very important point to bring it around to the way that these patterns spiral around each other. We will continue to create and orchestrate for ourselves the situations that we need to heal from the past. The opportunity is here to heal and you don’t want to be drawing in yet the next opportunity to have to continue healing this very part. What I want you to know is that I look at it like a video game, what you win for this level of the video game is the advanced level of the video game. That’s how I look at it, and so the healing happens in a spiral and that we’re always drawing from the past and then healing a piece of the past, reclaiming that piece, and then we continue. That’s how we start to begin to draw in healthier relationships and circumstances as well.
Steve, any other ways we can serve you?
I can’t think of any, but thank you for the opportunity to come on here and face my fear, my anxiety of being here. I have appreciated it, and I enjoy your time. Thank you very much.
It’s our pleasure. Thank you so much for having the courage to be on the show.
How do people find you, Nancy? How do people buy the book or when is Worthy coming out? Brag a little bit.
Worthy is out. My website is NancyLevin.com. Everything is there. I do have a weekly radio show on Hay House. I also have a private Facebook group where I have a growing tribe of people who are engaged and connected. There are links to my books, links to my private coaching, group coaching, all of that good stuff. I will say that I do free group coaching calls and you can sign up for free group coaching calls with me at NancyLevin.com/Free.
Describe that a little bit more. There’s a bunch of people on the call and you coach certain people.
I’ll usually begin with a certain piece of material that I’ll teach. I will take the group through a particular process to have them do some unearthing, someone unconcealing, and then I’ll take sharing and I’ll do laser coaching from particular callers. We’re on a massive conference call and I’m able to mute and unmute people as they raise the virtual hand. There’s so much power in experiencing the resonance of shared experience. Even if the content isn’t the same, we all share the same feelings, and so there’s so much healing that can happen when we resonate with each other’s stories. That’s something I particularly love about my coaching groups.
Thank you so much. It’s a pleasure seeing you and working with you and grateful watching you share your wisdom. Thank you so much for being on the show.
Thank you, Rob.
That’s it folks. For more shows, please visit TuffLove.Live. For ways you can support the show, one is to sign up for my mailing list. Subscribe on iTunes to increase my downloads or spread the word, tell a friend, tell an enemy, tell someone you’re fighting with, “Go listen to Rob. He’ll get your ass straight.” I’m here to keep the peace, to create mayhem, and also to empower the world and have my own impact. Go forth, be free. I love you. Take care.
Thank you so much for joining us for Tuff Love with Nancy Levin, an incredible show, laying out some interesting and poignant ideas about how to find those patterns, those unconscious patterns, and where they’re keeping you stuck. Please visit TuffLove.Live, sign up for my mailing list. I write good emails and they’re fun. There are videos every week and they’re not boring, they’re exciting. If you like to give us a review on iTunes, that’s very helpful. That’s it’s. Go forth, be free. I love you.
- Hay House talk show
- Nancy’s video online
- Reid Tracy
- Jump…And Your Life Will Appear, An Inch-by-Inch Guide to Making a Major Change
- The New Relationship Blueprint: 10 Steps to Reframe the Way You Love
- Nancy Levin’s Facebook
About Nancy Levin
Nancy Levin is the bestselling author of Worthy: Boost Your Self-Worth to Grow Your Net Worth, Jump … And Your Life Will Appear and Writing For My Life, She’s a Master Integrative Life Coach and the creator of the Jump Coaching and Worthy Coaching Programs, working with clients – privately and in groups – to live in alignment with their own truth and desires.
She is also Contributing Editor of Best Self Magazine and one of the hosts of the Hay House World Summit each year since its inception.
Nancy received her Masters in Creative Writing and Poetics from Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado and she continues to live in the Rocky Mountains.