Listen to the episode:
Are you in a healthy relationship with your business? With your creative practice?
Or is it unrequited love?
On this episode of The Autonomous Creative, I talk to psychologist, author and business therapist, Nicole Lewis-Keeber.
As a business therapist, Nicole uses her eighteen years of experience as a clinical social worker to help small businesses owners and entrepreneurs break the cycles of abuse they’ve established in their working lives.
It’s not only about running a business — or doing the creative work! — you love, but setting it up to love you back.
We also discuss different types of trauma, how to identify them, and the importance of establishing boundaries in any healthy relationship. Plus, what causes money trauma and how can you get out from under it?
Finally, Nicole shares her refreshing perspective on the inner critic, which I previously wrote about in a blog post called, “How to Silence Your Inner Critic: Embrace it.”
For Nicole, the best way to handle the inner critic isn’t to “overcome,” “conquer,” or “master” it, but to approach it with compassion and patience. Maybe even let it sit in the backseat? It might have something important to tell you.
If you find this episode as valuable as I do, Nicole has a brand-new free resource you’ll want to check out: the Trauma & Entrepreneurship Connection Masterclass.
More from the episode…
- How did Nicole recognize – and end – the ‘abusive relationship dynamic’ she had accidentally created with her business?
- Why are boundaries around time and money so important for our mental health?
- Nicole identifies what ‘big-T’ and ‘small-t’ trauma look like, and how they can lead to behavior patterns that negatively impact our work.
- The number one reason ‘changing your mindset’ doesn’t work when dealing with a trauma response: “The inner critic is going to call bullshit on it.”
- “You’re going to find a little bit of wisdom about something that needs to be healed.” — Why Nicole recommends recruiting your inner critic, rather than exiling it.
- The importance of recognizing unsupportive systems, in the past and present, and how they affect you: “You can stop gaslighting yourself.”
- What’s the relationship between money and trauma?
- Nicole breaks down the steps for creating an ‘emotional stability plan’ that can help make your work less triggering.
More from our guest
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 a rich experience of working as a therapist.
She’s certified in Brené Brown’s The Daring Way™ and Dare To Lead™ methodologies. Her biggest, most important work is in combining therapeutic processes with business coaching to help entrepreneurs build emotionally sustainable, financially stable businesses.
Connect with Nicole Lewis-Keeber
Click here to read the transcript:
ACPOD 011 – Building a healthy relationship with your creative work, with Nicole Lewis-Keeber
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: I don’t think people are walking around sabotaging themselves. I think they’re having trauma responses and that no one’s let them walk through that process in a way that is healthy and that they can then connect with that experience and move through it. Because your trauma is in your business, whether you think it is or not. Your trauma in your art, whether you think it is or not. Your trauma is in your career, whether you think it is, like it just is.
AC intro3: what does it take to become a successful writer or artist?
There are some destructive myths out there about what a creative career is supposed to look like.
And we’re kept in our lane by the undermining belief that, as artists, we’re somehow incapable of building autonomous, sustainable careers– if we choose the work that’s closest to our hearts.
So we’re going to tear down those myths and get the truth by going to the source:
Incredible professional creatives who’ve followed every path but the expected one to success on their own terms.
I’m cartoonist, author, and coach for creatives, Jessica Abel.
And this is the Autonomous Creative.
Does it sometimes feel like you’re stuck in an abusive relationship with your work?
I don’t mean to diminish any love you may feel for your writing or art or whatever form your creativity takes. But do you ever wonder if it loves you back?
In my work with students of the Creative Focus Workshop and Authentic Visibility and members of the Autonomous Creative Collective. I see the same things come up all the time.
One of the most visible, painful patterns I see is skillful, committed, fascinating, mid-career creatives pacing up and down the same well-worn grooves of painful self-recrimination, ancient doubts and repressive fears.
That’s why when I became aware of the work of Nicole Lewis- Keeber my ears perked up.
Nicole is a licensed clinical social worker with a master’s in social work and rich experience working as a therapist. She certified in Brené Brown’s the Daring Way and Dare to Lead methodologies. And her biggest, most important work is in combining therapeutic processes with business coaching to help entrepreneurs build emotionally sustainable, financially stable businesses.
Nicole works with small business owners to unpack their relationships with their work and help them Do No Harm, which is the name of her coaching program to themselves or others.
Now you may not identify as a small business owner, regardless after years of coaching, creative people, everything she says about the interrelationship of childhood trauma and how we go about pursuing our dreams rings 100% true.
And in case “childhood trauma” feels like an overblown description of your past. She also says whether you have significant trauma in your past or not, we’ve been socialized and conditioned not to have agency over decisions we make. And that rings true for me as well.
I invited Nicole to join me for a live event last year with my membership, but the conversation was so valuable I wanted to bring it to the podcast so that we can all continue to benefit from her powerful insights.
We’ll dive straight into our conversation with Nicole Lewis- Keeber after this message.
What does it really take to make it as a creative? This is the burning question that’s driven me for– forever, really. I used to have to try to ferret out the answers one by one, when I got a chance to hang out with a fellow artist or writer. And when I judged it safe enough to ask that delicate question we’re all dying to know the answer to: how do you make it work?
Every guests I’ve interviewed so far has mentioned this. One of the secrets to how they’ve gotten as far as they have is that they’ve asked every creative pro they met, every chance they got asking the question often enough is a game changer.
We learn so much each time. Starting with the fact that, whatever we thought was working for that person? We were probably wrong.
We each imagine the other person has some kind of secret and that they’ve made the leap over the giant chasm between beginner and pro and feel safe on the other side. And inevitably, neither person feels that way at all and as amazed to realize that from the outside, they seem to have it all figured out.
I’m pulling that seemingly taboo conversation out of the shadows on the show. It’s also the conversation we take further every day inside the community of Authentic Visibility.
Authentic Visibility is our group coaching program designed to help dedicated creatives who are very reasonably wary of marketing and promotion into powerful advocates for their vision and their work, setting the stage for huge career growth and a major role in the larger cultural conversation.
Got a major project dropping soon, and you’re determined not to let it founder? Get the support you need to create a reasonable promotion plan that aligns with your goals and fits your life.
Don’t know how to talk about your work without squirming? You’ll practice and refine your messaging in a safe, supportive space inside Authentic Visibility.
Hate or fear social media, and dunno what else to do? There are lots of options, and you can workshop solutions that suit you and your approach with your peers.
You can learn all about Authentic Visibility and get a sense of my teaching philosophy in a free 90 minute class, specifically for creatives called “how to get people wildly obsessed with your work” and in it, you’ll get a headstart on developing clear, compelling language for sharing your work with your audience so that they get it and they want more.
If you want your work to make its mark in the world, check out the free wildly obsessed class and supercharge your ability to connect with new fans in just 90 minutes.
Go to Jessica abel.com/wildly and join the free class now.
That’s Jessica abel.com/wildly.
Okay, let’s start the show.
I’m so glad you’re here, Nicole. Thank you for being here.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Jessica Abel: Yeah. Um, can you tell us just a little bit about what you do, what your process is like, what kind of things do you do in your, in your own practice?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: It’s a lot of different things. Um, I would say that the thread is that I help people who either have a business or multiple businesses or, um, identify as a leader in some place in their lives get clear about how seemingly insignificant childhood experiences and some pretty significant childhood experiences impact their relationship with that thing, that business, you know, because what I have learned over the years is that those experiences that we have change how we see ourselves.
It can, you know, impact our confidence, how we value ourselves. And, you know, when it comes to creativity, when it comes to starting a business, all of those things are an act of courage and you’re putting yourself out there in a very vulnerable way. And when we feel vulnerable at times in our life, previously, maybe as kids, you know, like younger kids, that vulnerability can come back as adults in new endeavors.
And so I’ve been working with people for eighteen years as a therapist, but about six as a business therapist to help people really begin to reveal and untangle some of those experiences that may be impacting their, their business, their life, career.
Jessica Abel: I think that’s just so it’s, it’s really awesome that you identified this need and then saw it through, you know.
I just, I feel like as any coach you see this all the time. You see people playing out the same patterns and things, but I’m not a therapist. I don’t know how to handle that stuff. I mean, I do the best I can from a coaching point of view, but the sort of deep untangling stuff. I just, that’s why I’m so excited about sharing your work here.
So can you just tell me a little bit about how you ended up in this niche? What’s your turning point here?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: This odd little intersection, right? So, yeah, so I was a therapist for eighteen years, so I have a pretty, you know, broad experience in working with humans. And um also have been in therapy myself here. I think any good therapist should be in therapy. Um, and so I know what it’s like to be in a, in an office with someone asking you about your childhood trauma and saying, I don’t really think that I experienced trauma. Completely minimizing my experience.
Um, and I should have known better because I was a therapist too. And, you know, so I’ve had this experience in multiple ways and after I left the world of direct practice, about eight years ago, I started to work with small business owners and entrepreneurs around money mindset, because I wanted to do some coaching and that was the first certification available.
And so I jumped in and like, yeah, my relationship with money, probably not that great. I mean, I’m a social worker by the way. So you know, that’s an immediate vow- vow of poverty. So let me, so let me jump in and learn. Um, and so that’s what I did.
And as I was working with the clients around money, what I began to see was the people who are attracted to me were working with me because I had been a therapist and they were really recognizing that a lot of the money mindset, tips and tricks, and like all the things that you read, you know, weren’t working for them.
And so then they have shame on top of that. But the reason it wasn’t working for them is because they were actually dealing with child, some childhood trauma patterns that were showing up in their relationship with their money and mindset tips and tricks don’t work when you’re dealing with a trauma response.
And it really opened up my eyes to begin to see that. Hm. Money. Trauma. Interesting. Um, and so I began to explore that with my clients and along the way, about two and a half years into my business, um, I was not feeling very empowered in mine and feeling pretty beat up by it and actually was wondering whether I wanted to continue working, you know, with these clients and having my own business.
And when I recognized in the story that I can tell later now, is that I was actually replicating some childhood trauma patterns within my own business and the, and the mechanisms within the business. And when I got clear about that and makes some changes regarding that it changed the direction of my business, my work, my study, the research I do, everything. It was quite a, an amazing, you know, moment. And I can talk more about that.
Jessica Abel: Please tell us about how that happened for you.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. So I think, you know, have you ever been in one of those moments where everything comes together and you know that you’re in the right place and you’re doing the right thing at some point?
Even if you don’t know how to monetize it yet, even if you’re not exactly sure what the next step is, you feel that your experiences, your training, whatever it is, all those things came together in this perfect moment.
And I believe that’s kind of what was happening that morning and that I woke up and was feeling like crap, um, and was literally considering stopping my business because in my mind, my business was a failure. Not making enough money. My clients aren’t happy. You know, it doesn’t look the way I want it to look.
I’m feeling really exhausted at the end of the day and unable to see any benefit, any positivity whatsoever at the end of the day. And I didn’t really sign up for this. Like I could do that and have a 401k and a paycheck to feel like crap. Right. Just let someone else to do that. So I didn’t sign up for that.
And so, uh, what I did is, I was trying to change my mood, because I think we can change our energy if we can take action. And I was reading the book Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and that book talks a lot about creativity.
And I came across a chapter in that book where, I don’t remember who it was at this point, it’s in my book too. I should remember, but I don’t. But it was a professor of, if I believe, environmental sciences, some kind of nature degree. And this professor asked the incoming class if they love nature to raise their hand and they all did. And then she said, how many of you feel like nature loves you in return? And their hands went down.
And the gist of the story is that she said, this is going to be problematic. If you’re going to spend all this time and this money studying something that you do not feel that you have a relationship with, that you do not feel supports you and loves you in return. This can be very problematic.
And in that moment, I realized that I love my business and I was creating it, and it was something I was really dedicated to you, but I did not feel like my business loved me returned at all. And in fact, I felt like I was being pretty beat up by it. And so as one does, I started asking myself these questions, well, why would I feel that way?
Well, I would feel that way because I set it up to be that way. There’s no one else here but me, right? And I began to recognize that I had set up an abusive dynamic with my business because I believe that your business is something that is outside of you.
You are not it. You are not your, you know, anything, is always something outside of you and we’re relating to it. And so therefore, we are prone to bring those roles and patterns of relating into that dynamic. And so that morning I recognize that I had done something really gnarly to my business and I spent my entire career working that backwards for myself and with my clients, which is why I ended up writing the book I wrote. So that people could begin to understand this.
Jessica Abel: Yes. Yes. So much so. I mean, it’s such a familiar feeling. I completely recognize this. And like in my own life and patterns with which I didn’t pull apart at the time, but patterns of like overwork and workaholism with my comics where I would just, wall to wall 12 hour days, you know, just grinding through stuff because that’s the model that I understood of showing up to work. And, I really recognize that moment where you go, like, this is unsustainable. I can’t do this anymore. And yet, you know, I, I love this work so what do I do?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yes, absolutely. And I had to recognize that, you know, I had a really difficult relationship with my mother and so I had this dynamic where I was setting up this parentified relationship with this business, that if I looked at it that way, and if I related it to that, it that way, there was no way for me to ever feel that it was enough.
Or that I had done a good job because that was not the relationship. You know, it’s a very hyper-critical relationship. And so, you know, as I started to work with my clients around this, they began to see many of them, but they had set up a dynamic with their relationship, with their business as well and it was not serving them to the highest level of what they were wanting to reach.
You know, I, I, I’ve worked with people who write books, same thing. They set up a relationship with their book or their writing process that felt very demanding and abusive sometimes. So, you know, it’s, I always say, you know, you are not your business. It’s something outside of you that you are relating to. It is not your baby, either. It is something that you deserve to partner with you to create the vision or the outcome that you’re looking.
Jessica Abel: Yes. Yes, absolutely. And you said something a little while ago that I wanted to pick up on and made a note to myself is this idea of when you were first learning coaching and you were doing money mindset and you’re like, well, the problem is tips and tricks of mindset don’t apply. You know, they don’t work if you’re experiencing trauma.
I have a big problem with the word mindset because to me, it has this kind of air of like a tinfoil hat. And like, you can take off one tinfoil hat and put like another one on, and then you have a new mindset. And it seems to me that anybody who’s having issues with what we call money mindset probably does have trauma.
Like probably that’s what’s going on and that’s why we’re having issues with this. And so, is there a better way of thinking about this? I mean, clearly the overall process that you’re talking about of like digging into, you know, and unwinding childhood trauma is that thing. But I mean, just in terms of like action versus tips and tricks, or, you know, more sort of frameworky in that sense.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: I think I understand your question and if I haven’t, feel free to check in with me because sometimes I process slower.
I think that mindset tips and tricks indicate that there is a flip of a switch available to us when it comes to our brains, how are we process things, our relationship with our money, how we value ourselves, our nervous system, and that is not the case. I literally don’t know of anything in life that turns on and off other than my lights, maybe my TV.
But we approach it that way that we should be able to, we’ll just choose to be happy, just to look at the positive, just choose to believe that the universe loves you, and it’s going to drop you a million bucks in your lap. And it doesn’t work that way, I think in general, but it really doesn’t work that way if you’ve had trauma because these practices expect you to have trust and belief. And when you have had trauma, big T trauma, and little T trauma, if you’ve had experiences where your trust in other people and yourself has been fractured, asking someone to trust in and believe that this beautiful and bountiful thing is available to them, their nervous system is not going to come online with that. Their inner critic is going to call bullshit on it. Like it’s just not going to happen. And so then what happens is all the tips, the techniques, the tricks don’t work and so then there’s a spiral out and they think it’s about their money when it’s actually not that. It’s not actually about the money, it’s about how they’re valuing themselves and money’s just a representation of that.
Jessica Abel: Oh, absolutely. Yeah, no, that’s exactly it. And like, swap out money for creative motivation or some other, whatever else it is that you think you can kind of just fix it.
And so I want to get into what does trauma look like, big-T, small-t, because I think a lot of people you know, they may think of experiences that were negative in their lives and think like was that- does that, I mean, does it count? Do I get to say that I had tra- you know. And the thing that you said about breaking trust, I feel like that is probably at the heart of it.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: It absolutely is and I, if anyone asks me was that experienced traumatic? And I say were you traumatized by it or do you have energy around it? And they say, yeah, sounds like that it is right? Because trauma is very personal. And I can’t tell you. What is traumatic to me may not be traumatic to you because you may have different systems around you that support you.
You may have different people in your life who are there to kind of help you put the pieces together a little bit when you have a fracture, fracturing experience. So I think it’s really important for us to make space and listen to people when they say, you know, this experience was really traumatic and not say, well, you know, well I had blah-blah-blah and it was worse or that’s nothing.
And that’s the experience that at least I’ve had growing up in my life, and even as a therapist is the, well, that’s not trauma. That’s just a hard day or be lucky you had blah-blah-blah.
So if we were to define it, um, I always like to define it in two ways. So one of the, I think one of the things that’s really problematic is that no, one’s expecting to find trauma in their businesses. They’re not expecting necessarily to find trauma at work. They’re not, maybe they’re not expecting to find it in their creative process. I kind of think it is cause I think trauma and creativity, those processes are like, so healing, right?
But what we’re, what we do is we don’t define it correctly. So if I were to take my, if I had a microphone and went out on the street and ask people, “Hey, what does trauma mean to you?” they’re probably going to give you really big dramatic events, like PTSD, violence, you know, catastrophic illness, natural disasters, you know, all these things. And that is trauma. It is, we call it kind of like big-T trauma, it’s acute and it’s, it changes everything really quickly and you’re out of, it’s out of control, of your control.
Um, but one of the things that I’ve learned about over the years is that there’s different types of this and there’s also something called little-t or small-t trauma, which are cumulative. These are small micro moments where you have felt unsafe, unseen, trust was fractured. And those cumulative moments add up. They change how you see yourself. They erode your confidence and make you begin to, um, modify who you are to match other people, to change how you value yourself and see what might be possible for you.
And that can be anything from having a learning difference, like I did growing up, you know, going to school every day and being told you’re lazy, you’re stupid, you can’t do this. You know, that’s traumatic and that adds up and it changes how you see yourself. It changes how you value yourself.
And so you better bet when I started my business and I had to start putting price tags on things and speaking to people that, that experience I had, that trauma, because that was trauma, that added up and it impacted me. It took me many years to see that as an actual trauma, because I thought again, like trauma was what everybody else says as far as like violence and abuse.
But there’s a lot of people walking around with these small-t traumas that have really impacted their lives in very profound ways that they would not say, “Hey, that was the trauma.”
Jessica Abel: Yeah, no, we’ve talked a lot in, in the Autonomous Creative Collective about this feeling of growing up, you know, as artists, a lot of people, a lot of us were kind of the weirdo in the playground, who was like off in the corner. Like I would like walk along the back fence and like pick stuff up and play with grass, you know, like avoid sports at all costs, you know?
And it did actually, it absolutely affected how I was able to show up and what I felt like my value was. And in some ways I took that when I sort of went more into like punk rock and like going to shows and that kind of thing, like, I kind of just gave everybody the big, you know, F U but that was a reaction to that kind of small-t trauma that, you know, went throughout my earlier childhood. Yeah. And it, it absolutely shaped who I am.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: It absolutely does and things like being neurodivergent, you know, it’s the systems around us don’t support, you know, anyone who doesn’t fit into the small slice. So, you know, there are systems around us that are traumatizing. It’s really much bigger than we actually thought, which is sad on one hand, but it’s also relief on the other, because then you can stop gaslighting yourself and say, I should’ve just been a better kid or I should have tried harder. No, there was no way for me to learn in that system, like period. End of story. The fact that I have a master’s degree is an absolute miracle.
Jessica Abel: We’ve had several people, uh, in the last couple of years in our community who have, not from us, but like during the time that they were there, get a diagnosis for adult, uh, ADHD, autism spectrum, you know. Being neurodivergent is highly associated with being creative. And so I think for a lot of people too, there’s, there’s all of that layered in as well.
But I think what’s important to highlight here is that, well, first of all, the people who got those diagnosis, were thrilled because they’re like, finally things make sense and I think that’s what you’re saying about looking at these patterns and saying, oh, there’s- there are reasons. Right.
But I think the thing that is so kind of crazy-making about discovering how childhood trauma affects your relationship with creative work as an adult is that it’s supposed to be our healing, like you were saying, like it’s supposed to be our place of safety, our place of, where we really get to be ourselves. And that’s why we’re doing it in the first place, right? And yet there are behaviors that go around it that we, you know, get trapped in that just absolutely undermine that.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. It’s, it, all of them don’t make space, right? There’s less of them that do and so creativity becomes a way to cope. Creativity becomes a way to express yourself. Creativity becomes a way to disappear. It becomes a way to have value. It becomes a way to communicate.
It, you know, and I see that happen with people who start a business that so many people who are entrepreneurial in particular, that need to be the one in control, to be able to express their vision in a way that’s not, you know, contained by the systems and by the people around us. Childhood trauma is, it a is a place where many businesses are grown out of and a lot of creative work- it’s an indicator, right.
And it’s, it’s, it’s can be wonderful because these childhood experiences can create skillsets and, you know, abilities to be very entrepreneurial, to be very creative, to think out of the box, have a high level of tolerance, unfortunately for intense situations or you know, discomfort.
Um, but at some point that doesn’t work anymore. And so I think when you are trying to put a value or put a business or something like that around a creative process, and that’s been your way to cope and to find meaning for yourself for so long, that can be hard.
Jessica Abel: Yeah. And you also talked about, you said that trauma is often related to an experience of feeling unseen or unheard. Making creative work is about expressing something.
I believe that it’s, it’s about making something that can contain somehow your inner life, some part of your inner life and convey it to somebody else in as complete a form as possible. And that means that you need to have somebody on the other end there and you need to, but if you’re, if you can’t trust that people are going to understand you, that can also prevent your thing from finishing and getting anything out there cause you think like, I want to be seen that, you know, that response to this trauma, and yet I’m afraid that I’m not going to be seen. I’m going to put it out there and be rejected again.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yep. Just one more, one more time where people didn’t get it. They didn’t see it. They didn’t value it so therefore they don’t value me, see me, or get me.
Jessica Abel: Absolutely. Yeah. Um, so I’ve seen some comments in the stream going by here about inner critic, and I know you have very interesting, like sort of reframing for us around inner critic that I think would be really helpful if you could go into how you think about the inner critic.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: So I think about the inner critic differently than a lot of people do and I think part of it is because I think the inner critic is very much wired, is very connected to our nervous system in that our nervous system is set up for survival. Period. Right. And so whatever it takes to survive, it’s going to happen. And over time, those critical people in our lives, their voice gets attached to our inner critic.
So I think kind of a little bit differently about it. However, you know, a lot of people will say, you need to kill it, you need to slay it, you need to bury it, fire it, whatever that is. Um, and I’ve been there too. When I first got into the mindset world, I literally wrote an ebook called Fire Your Inner Critic.
So I’m not, you know, don’t, don’t get me wrong. It’s a journey. I’m evolved. But what I understand to be true, what I do, is that your inner critic can be a partner to help you understand when you’re getting, you know, triggered or activated. You’re nervous system-
Jessica Abel: Okay. Wait, let me say that again. The inner critic can be a partner, a partner, when you’re getting triggered and activated. Okay, go ahead. I just wanted to make sure everybody heard that cause that’s very important.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah, it can be. It can be a really, it can be a, you-know-what too
Jessica Abel: Difficult partner perhaps.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: So it can be, and which is why I think a lot of people are really quick to shut it down, but the problem with that is, is that we lose wisdom and we lose information when we do that. If we just try to shut the thing down, then we’re spending all our energy in battle with it, as opposed to stopping and saying, “Hm, that’s interesting. You’re here again. What’s going on?” And just like in the book, you know, Liz Gilbert talks about fear. She says that, she’s talking about creative work and creativity, that fear will be along for the ride. It just will be because it’s supposed to be, right?
Our nervous systems are assessing risks, safety and fear around us at all times. It’s what its job is. So we can’t say, “Hey, fear, leave.” So in a story that she uses in the book, she talks about inviting fear on the, on the ride, you know, basically like you’re going on a road trip. And so fear gets to sit in the back seat. Fear does not get to have a say in where you’re going, change the channel of the radio station for all us old folk. It doesn’t get to make any decisions, but it’s honored and it is there, you know, it’s not exiled.
And so I don’t think that we should exile our inner critic because, I think that there’s information there for us, because most of the time in the work that I’ve done as a therapist and, you know, as a coach, there’s usually some younger version of ourselves that has been wounded in some way that needs some attention when that critic comes up.
I think our inner critic is the protector of those younger versions of ourselves that were wounded, right? So if, if I want to give a talk and get on a stage, which I have done, you know, lots of people, my inner critic will start to say, who do you think you are? It’s not safe. You’re not wearing the right outfit, um, you’re wearing, you’re using notes. They’re gonna make fun of you.
And if I take a moment and say, I hear you, what is it that you need? Usually what happens if there’s a younger version of me that is really unhappy with the fact that I’m about to stand up in front of 300 people and give a talk because that younger version of me still thinks that I’m dumb and lazy. I have nothing to say and that people are going to be mean to me. So that critic is really there to kind of try and stop it.
So when we say, I hear you, what do you need? What’s going on here? And we take a breath and we stop and don’t try to overwhelm and undermine that voice. A lot of the time, you’re going to find a little bit of wisdom, a little chunk of knowledge about something that needs to be healed, a part of you that does not feel comfortable with the thing that you’re asking it to do. And so that you can get into partnership or relationship with that part of you to negotiate next steps.
Jessica Abel: Yes. Yes. So that’s so good. I love that. Um, The one thing you said right at the beginning there, which I think is really, uh useful, especially with the way I talk about things in methodology, I talk a lot about data gathering.
So looking at things that are, you know, showing up in a way that we’re not thrilled with, or the way that we’re functioning, isn’t the way- and I go, Hmm, interesting, fascinating. And like kind of take notes, you know. And I feel like what you’re saying there is like, look at those moments where the inner critic shows up most forcefully and take that little bit of distance.
But I also like the feeling like you are the older self and you actually know that you’re completely capable of this and, the caring for that inner critic like, “oh honey, you’re going to be fine. No, look, we’re going to be fine.”
You know, like that kind of kindness, not necessarily to yourself, but to this piece of yourself, I think can give you, can potentially give you a sense of competence. You know, that you are able to be a carer, that could help heal that.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. I used to judge myself for being critical of myself. So then there’s just one more layer there. Right? So I’m critical and I’m going to judge myself for being critical, but when you realize why it’s there and that there’s usually a wounded part underneath it, and you can literally say you are so loud and gnarly today. Could we take a step back and what is it that you need, or who are you trying to protect, or what’s going on here? Usually you’re going to get some information.
And this is why I really struggle with the whole self-sabotage thing, because, you know, I don’t, I don’t think people are walking around sabotaging themselves. I think they’re having trauma responses and that no one’s let them walk through that process in a way that is healthy and that they can then connect with that experience and move through it. Because your trauma is in your business, whether you think it is or not. Your trauma in your art, whether you think it is or not. Your trauma is in your career, whether you think it is, like it just is.
You know, that 12-year-old who decided you were going to be a banker because you wanted security and that’s what you saw as security. You better bet that that experience is still informing your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors as an adult.
Jessica Abel: Yes. Yes, totally. And I think that the thing that can be, um, tricky for some creatives who actually, I mean not everybody, but some people actually use th- their trauma is part of what the story they’re telling, you know, they’re making art about it. But that doesn’t necessarily solve how it’s coming out in your process. You may be resolving thoughts and feelings you have about, you know, things that happen in your life and expressing them, connecting around them, but that doesn’t mean you’re actually changing these behaviors that are triggered, you know, as a result of, of whatever happened earlier. Yeah.
Yeah. Um, yeah, no, I think that’s really, it’s such a powerful idea that you could, could basically, you know, the inner critic is such a pow- can be such a powerful voice and such a like, you know, demanding voice, whatever. To actually like, recruit that voice as part of your team and say like, ” all right, let’s all, you know, let’s figure this out together.”
I remember when I, when my kids were younger, I learned this phrase from a client, which is behavior is communication. Um, which is very hard to remember when you have an 11-year-old, doing 11-year-old things. Behavior is communication. What am I communicating to the world, to my business, to my art, to my spouse, you know, whatever. Like, what am I communicating by this behavior?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yes. Yeah, absolutely. And when I’ve had a meltdown, it’s usually, yeah, it’s usually 11-year-old inside my head. It’s not a 50-year-old woman.
Jessica Abel: I got one on the outside. It’s worse. No, he’s fine. He’s fine.
Okay. So, uh, we talked about money trauma a little bit, cause you talked about the idea of, you know, this is where you sort of came from there, but like, can we expand on that a little bit because that just being an artist or being a writer is very similar to being a social worker in terms of the way that the mission-oriented kind of expectation, um, in society and in ourselves often.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Absolutely. I think that there’s so much that we download as you know, kids about money. Who has it, who doesn’t, and how it comes to us. And, you know, we make decisions based upon that sometimes consciously, sometimes unconsciously and there is, there seems to be an inherent belief that if you’re a social worker, you have to be low paid and be doing it because you are, you just can’t not do it. You just can’t not help people.
And, um, that may be, it may be a little true, you know, we’re and we were conditioned to never ask for, never to expect to earn more, to never negotiate a salary. You know, we were put down a path and told what we could and could not make. And I’m proof that you can be a social worker and make more than $30,000 a year.
You know, like it’s not a thing. Um, and it doesn’t have to be magical for you to do that. It is, it is refusing to believe what people are telling you about the money. Um, and, and starting to come up with, what is your relationship with money? What is your story around money? And that requires some dismantling. Because unfortunately the systems that told us what we get and what we don’t get are still at play, and can, you know, have an impact on the day-to-day of our life, work and business.
And also what we see, what we see to be true for ourselves from day-to-day. So I think a lot of the, the money trauma can be systemic. It can be experienced that you had or, you know, maybe someone told you that, you know, you could never make money by doing art or no, one’s going to buy your stickers. Or, you know, that’s just silly, why are you, you know, whatever that may be, but that gets really deeply ingrained into our belief system about ourselves and what is possible.
So we kind of have to unravel that money trauma. And look for people who are actually, you know, I don’t want people just to believe things. I want them to excavate it, do some research. Be a sleuth. You know, if there are people making money for creative processes what are they doing? What does it look like? Show yourself the evidence that what you believe to be true is actually true.
Jessica Abel: Yeah. Agreed. And I feel like a lot of times it comes down to, it goes back to this piece about communicating and feeling like, the trauma around or fear, or that comes out of trauma, around sharing what you’re doing and then getting behind it and really, really standing there going like, this is what I’m communicating. This is what I’m really doing here, here’s me.
And then that translates to this kind of difficult, like then if the work’s not getting out there, it’s not getting shared, you’re not talking about it. You’re not, you know, it’s really tied together. Right.
And I’ve talked to so many clients who are just like I can’t, I can’t, I mean, I have to make it so cheap because people won’t pay anything and they don’t care and starving artists and you know, all this stuff.
And that’s, I mean, it’s just, there’s so much to unwind. There’s so many messages around this. And, um, and you know, this, this overall expectation that like, if you’re an artist, if you’re a writer, you’re doing it because you’re passionate. And you are. That’s true. And thus money shouldn’t come into it. Because somehow that spoils it.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. I mean, you see that in the, in the helping services, just like, you know, we were talking about social work or if you’re in a healing modality, you know, I have the same very conversation with people who are in healing arts, where they are challenged constantly, because people will say to them, “you should heal because you want to change the world, not because you want to money.”
And we have to disrupt that thought process because it has not always been so. Creativity and creative work, you know, there have been times where it was highly valued, so-
Jessica Abel: It still is. It’s just, it’s, I mean, but it’s, you know, there are mixed messages around it. And I think that a big piece of this. Yeah, exactly.
A big piece of this is that the work that we’re talking about is work that’s been feminized. And, um, whether it’s all women or not, it’s, you know, it’s feminized work. And that means that women are expected to care for other people, societaly, mostly, without asking for anything back.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: It’s a really good point. Thank you for illuminating that for me.
Jessica Abel: I think that’s, that’s, what’s ha- like with art and writing, gradually, we’re getting to the point where, I mean, I see it in my classes, where I’ve got 15-20% men and everybody else’s women, and same thing’s going for master’s programs.
When we see applications for faculty, the teachers who are coming through, it’s more and more women doing this work, um, which is amazing. It’s awesome. They have so much to say and so much to share, but I think when, you know, it just, it changes the dynamic around value unfortunately.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. I think a lot of trauma happens as well, around being creative when we’re young and art in general, cause has to look a certain way. And, you know, I never thought I was creative because I couldn’t, you know, I’m being really reductive right here to say, I couldn’t draw.
That’s not, I don’t mean that all creative work is, you know, reducing it down. But you know, that experience cause I loved to draw, but that experience shut me down from my creative self, like in a lot of ways. And I, it only came to terms in the last several years that my work is actually, my business and my work, are actually my creative outlet.
You know, they are very creative to me, you know, and I never have seen it that way. And it was, I had to unravel that trauma from that art teacher.
Jessica Abel: Yes. No, I, I see that too. Like, I, I feel like I stayed away from building a business for probably 10 years longer than I would have, because I didn’t feel like I could get over all of the business versus art crap. And I see how creative it is now and it’s very interesting and stimulating for me. And, you know, I still feel like I have to couch it for everybody, “Guys, it doesn’t matter if you don’t think you’re a business owner. It’s okay. It’s okay.”
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yes, yes.
Jessica Abel: Which it is, it is okay. But it’s also like you can be, and that’s also okay.
This episode of the Autonomous Creative is brought to you by Authentic Visibility. I work with a lot of committed mid-career creatives who struggled to get their work seen.
It feels crappy to put so much love and effort into making something, but when you introduce it in the real world, there’s a whole lot of nothing, as far as reaction. It’s truly awful.
And they’re not looking for attention because they’re, egomania. Art and creative work in general, exists to communicate some set of ideas or thoughts or emotions from you from inside your head to inside someone else’s head in as intact form as possible.
When you release your project and it goes up like a brilliant bunch of balloons disappearing into the clear blue sky with no one around to see or care, nevermind to pick their own balloon, to take home and treasure.
But the truth is most creatives in their natural state are frankly pretty terrible at telling anyone why they should care about the work.
Why should someone show up to get a pretty balloon?
It’s not their fault though.
It’s how we teach people to create their best work by digging deep inside ourselves, to come up with wonderful, original new ideas. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The problem is that’s where the process typically ends. Creating, not communicating.
Virtually all the training and practice of making creative work focuses on the first half of the core mission of communication, getting those ideas out of your head and into some actual form that people can see. But that’s missing half the picture.
As a creative, it’s your job to build the whole complete connection to build a bridge for the audience that they can use to easily cross over and understand the value of your work to them.
And this kind of clarity and audience focused language, doesn’t come easy to creatives.
And that’s why I put together a free class specifically for creatives, ridiculously named how to get people wildly obsessed with your work.
And in it, I teach the key technique to flip your perspective 180 degrees, and start to use your audience’s point of view to inform how you share your work so that they’ll get it.
I also introduce our awesome program, Authentic Visibility, the audience growth program designed to turn highly skeptical and frankly marketing sensitive creatives into powerful advocates for their vision and their work, setting the stage for huge career growth and a major role in the larger cultural conversation.
So if you want your work to make its mark in the world, check out the free wildly obsessed class and supercharge your ability to connect with new fans in just 90 minutes. Go to Jessica abel.com/wildly and join the free class now.
That’s J E S S I C A A B E L.com/wildly.
Now let’s get back to the interview.
Jessica Abel: Anyway, so one last question, and then I want to open up to everybody else’s questions. You have talked about, you talk about in your book, which we should get a link to that in the chat there, but you’ve talked about an emotional sustainability plan.
Can you talk about what that is and what role that plays in your professional life?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. So I’ll kind of lay it, I’ll try and kind of lay it out in that it is recognizing that there’s childhood experiences that impact everything we do, including our business. Then, um, getting clear about what they are, checking out how it’s impacting the relationship that you have with your business. If it’s one that’s not sustainable and positive, then how do we do that- change that? Cause you can change the relationship with your business. It’s within your power to do so.
Defining what relationship you want to have with it and I love that process and that’s what the book is mostly about is that process.
And creating this like loving partnership with the business is part of that emotional sustainability plan, because then you never feel alone anymore. Even though your a business of one. Um, and then really recognizing what experiences that you had that could be triggering your behavior in your business, because if you can recognize them and know what kind of the lava is underneath them, you can begin to change it.
And that could be that. You know, maybe you’re really struggling with a client that you was a high, it was a high price client. They, you know, commissioned you for something or they’ve set a retainer and you just find that you are struggling with them every second. And it’s very activating.
Part of that emotional sustainability plan is to be able to look at it and say, you know what, this person reminds me of someone or I’m feeling a way I used to fill in this relationship or in this circumstance. And so when you can honor that and make some space for it, and work on that trigger, that critic, that’s coming up and saying, you know, you don’t deserve this client and, you know, um, then part of that plan is for you to then recognize it, see what kiddo might be attached to it and spend some time with them and begin to course correct.
And also looking at, you know, what are your values? Like, I think values work is so important when it comes to having a business, because if you know what your values really are for your business, it’s going to direct you in a way that makes your business, much more emotionally sustainable, because you will know what does not line up and what does line up. And it makes decision making so much easier.
So that emotional sustainability plan is really kind of understanding, you know, who you are, where you’ve been, how it’s impacting what you do now, why you’re doing this to start with.
You know, a lot of people start businesses because they’re trying to prove something, rebel against something, show somebody something. And if you don’t know that, and that is running underneath your business or your project it will change the direction of your business, because you have the intention underneath it, running behind your business that you’re not aware of.
And so getting clear about why you did this to start with, outside of money, freedom, any of that stuff like really why. You know, for me, part of my business is to show people I’m not dumb, stupid, or lazy. It’s a why I have. It’s deeper, but I recognize that. And so when I recognize that I can harn- I can harness it as opposed to be triggered into, you know, sabotaged by it.
So that’s kind of what I mean from an emotional sustainability plan is like, why did you start this business to start with and how can you maintain it in a way that does not overwhelm you, burn you out, retraumatize you, do harm to the people who are connected to it. It’s important.
Jessica Abel: Yeah, no, it really is. And, um, so if you guys have not checked out the book, you totally should. Just a little teaser, there is a Muppet. Say no more. Say no more. There is a Muppet. There’s a Muppet in it. Just saying.
Of course there is. Why wouldn’t there be a Muppet?
Um, okay, so let’s get to some questions here because we’ve got some really good ones.
Andrea asks, “how did you make changes in your business as a result of your insights?” So you had this big moment of like, oh my God, then what did you do?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. So I got clear, you know, asked myself. Um, okay so I’m feeling abused by my business, why would that happen? Because I started this business it’s mine. Okay. I defaulted into some old patterns of behavior because of those experiences I had with my mom growing up, which I had handled in personal life, by the way.
They were all like in the rear view mirror, but you know, when you start a business, it’s a crisis. So we revert back to old patterns sometimes. Um, and so then I decided to define the relationship I wanted to have now that I realized that I was in a relationship and I sat down and looked at, you know, what are the characteristics of the entity that my business is to what I want to connect with.
And I started to build the relationship I want. And you know, I started there, so that I can feel connected to it in a new way, in a way that felt empowered and felt deeper, more resonant. And got clear on those values and then began those next steps of building a business that would support me emotionally, uh, as opposed to feeling isolated and alone. So that’s kinda where I started was identifying the relationship I had and defining what I wanted.
Jessica Abel: I wonder if you could, I mean, please say no, if this doesn’t sound okay, but like give us a specific example of something that you saw that was abusive and then something, and then how did you alter that?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: I had no boundaries. My clients were directing my time. I was emailing at night. I was not recognizing the revenue I was bringing in to contribute to my household. I thought I was not helping. I wasn’t acknowledging the facts and I had no boundaries. Um, and so if I was feeling burnt out and beat up, it is because I was, I was not allowing myself to have a break, to have time off, to protect myself and my energy and my emotional capacity when it came to this business. Uh, cause they don’t teach you that in therapy school either how to protect yourself or take care of yourself, by the way. and so
Jessica Abel: It sounds a little bit like art school where they don’t teach you how to like actually be an artist in the world.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: They don’t. My sister when to the art school and she would be in that building at three o’clock in the morning doing a batik. And I’m just like, how can you do, how can you live like this? Um, it’s just so hard. And so driven.
Jessica Abel: That’s a great example. It’s very concrete and I think a lot of people here experienced that where one way or another, in some area of your world that you’re like, there are no boundaries here. What do I do? So how did you then resolve that?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: I got clear on where I was leaking. And then I got clear as to why I was leaking them, because again, remember I felt as a kid, like, I didn’t matter. I wasn’t, seen, heard, valued. And I was leaking them because I didn’t feel valued in my own business that I was creating.
And so I got clear about what my capacity was and where those boundaries were being, um, too fluid. And so money was one of them. I wasn’t, I wasn’t relating to my money in a way that I should. I was a money mindset person. Go figure. But you know, I was still building a new business. I’d never had a business before.
Jessica Abel: Cobbler/shoes, you know.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Right. Exactly. So getting clear about what, what I was going to pay for and was not going to pay for, who I was going to donate to, who I was not going to donate to. What my working hours were, and putting a cap on them. The type of work that I do, you know, so scope creep doesn’t happen. Getting very clear about the types of, you know, packages, if you want to call it that, that I offered. So I wasn’t constantly creating new things for people.
Jessica Abel: A million ways, right?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: A million ways. The place I was working, I was, you know, I wasn’t even working in an office at that point. I was constantly moving around. I had no boundaries around space in which I was building this company.
Jessica Abel: I know a lot of you identify with that. Your doing your art in some corner that isn’t even yours. Right. You’re piling it on the dining room table and you have to clear it off for dinner. Guys. There’s going to be some way to handle this. Even if you live in a small space, that you can have your own space. Yeah, I love that. That’s so helpful. Thank you.
Yeah. Okay. So, um, Andrew says, “I’m curious about my trauma being the seat of my desire to start my own business. Does people sometimes do this inner work and then decide they’re comfortable working for somebody else? I really struggle with both feeling that I’m worthy of my own investment and the work, um, to believe that I can make good money and feel good about it as much in our world systems.” Uh, I’m thinking I’m reading this wrong. “I can’t tell if I’m making everything more difficult by trying to start my own thing.”
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: A lot of people respond to this in different ways. Sometimes they will go through this work and they will say, you know what? I created this business because I wanted to prove my dad wrong, or because there was an expectation in my family, and I don’t really want this business. This is not even mine. Now that I realized this, this whole thing was a trauma response. I don’t want it.
And so then what they do is they decide do I want to burn this down and start over and bring me to the thing, um, or do I want to try and make it do, because I already have some success here? Uh, but it’s not that uncommon for people to do, to, for it to, instead of be a love letter to their business it ends up being a breakup letter.
And that feels really good to them. There are times where people will do this work and they say, you know what? My capability and my capacity are two different things. I’m stuck. The fact that I’m capable means I need to have, I need to do this thing or have this business when I would rather use my capacity for my family, for a hobby that I enjoy, for traveling.
And I would rather work for someone else, recognizing I don’t have to prove anything by having a business or being an entrepreneur or whatever, or, you know, getting paid for my art. Like I don’t have to prove anything to you anymore because I’ve done this work. So people’s responses to this can be very different.
Some people double down, they’re like, let’s do this, you know. Me and my inner critic, I got my critic. I understand let’s go, you know, let’s build this thing to be even more. So it just depends. It’s a very personal process.
Jessica Abel: Yes. And I think that’s really great to that idea that like, you know, I recognize in myself and, in lots of other people where it feels like you’re not really the thing, and this is a trauma response, feeling like you can’t really be actually a good artist or a good writer or a good creator of any kind, if you’re not being paid for it. If it’s not your job.
So even if it’s you working for somebody else, like you ha- you have to be paid for that thing, or it’s not real somehow. And I, I spend a lot of time talking to people and going like, it’s okay, like, you’re doing an amazing job. Like you’re doing this cool thing. You can still do it. You can still share it. It doesn’t have to be your profession for that to be the case.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah, that’s letting these outside structures tell you what it gets to be and how it gets valued in the world. And that’s, it’s yeah, not useful most of the time.
Jessica Abel: And if that feels scary, which I, I recognize that scary feeling of like, oh my God, does that mean I can’t do it? You know, you can, you still can do it professionally. But recognizing that feeling of anxiety around that I think is really, really useful and hard in getting better and like figuring out what you really want and not just reacting, reacting, reacting.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: I always tell people that, you know, if you, if you’re giving your business a job, outside of the, you know, the structural pieces of it. If your business is there to prove something, to make you feel worthy, to whatever. You know, if you have some kind of job for this business outside of what is obvious, it can be problematic. And yeah, it can just be hard because you never find the relief that you’re looking for. Um, because that first revenue goal that you reach, or that first product you make, or that first book you write, if there’s some reason underneath it, that you’re working on this, that is emotional, that’s like an emotional underbelly. You can write eight books and you’re still not going to feel worthy. You’re still not going to prove anything to that person that told you, you couldn’t write. You know, it doesn’t work that way. And so we have to get really clear about this.
Jessica Abel: Yes. Yes. Thank you for that.
Um, okay. So this is a question from Eleanor that kind of relates to that in some sense, which I think is sort of like if you identify all this trauma, um, “do you think that it’s always possible to fix the relationship between you and your business? If it was born through childhood trauma and built as you reenacted past trauma, as a consequence added more trauma experiences into that, can you transform that into something else other than a vessel to carry this stuff in?”
It’s a very good question.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Do you mean transform the business into something else?
Jessica Abel: The work that, the practice that you’re doing, the thing you’re trying to build, the creative work. If it’s so threaded through with trauma, is it salvageable? Can you make it something else?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: It can be. It can be. Again, it’s kind of a personal process to figure out, you know, how much energy is this taking out of me? And do I feel like I can right the ship or put it in a new direction? Um, so I, I believe it can be because it happens every day. I work with people everyday who do that. And so yes- the answer is yes, and it takes some work. It takes some exploration and a willingness to be able to say, okay, that thing that worked for me, working in that way to not work for me, um, I’m going to change this. I’m going to do this differently.
And being willing to address, you know, is, is, is visibility a problem for me? Is that’s something that’s really hard for me? Okay, so maybe I need to do a little bit of tweaking of what, what type of visibility feels safer to me as I build, as I, you know, evolve this business. So you can.
Jessica Abel: Yeah, I think that was very à propos because I know Eleanor is thinking about visibility, um, just in general, thinking about what feels safe and what feels good. And so that idea of figuring out from the point of view of- again, embracing your inner critic in those questions and saying like the information, this is information, what do I get from this? Like how can I learn from this and take care of myself and also this younger version of myself.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: I think you can heal yourself through your business. If you’re aware, it’s a possibility. Absolutely.
Jessica Abel: Yeah. I mean, I believe that too. I think that, you know, it’s, it’s not a baby bathwater situation, you know. Like, or don’t make it a baby bathwater situation.
Like, you know, there’s lots of great stuff there and people are doing, you know, the, the amazing things that you do that give you joy, those need saving. You know, and then thinking about what are the things that, what are the parts of that, what are the parts of the process, what are the structures around it that aren’t working?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. I had a client, I’ll give a real quick example. I had a client who came in with the goal of being in the top 1% of revenue for her company as a, you know, female founder and driven, driven, driven by that. And she recognized that that drive and that desire to reach that goal had nothing to do with her.
It was all about proving something to her father, right? And when she recognized that she kept the business that she had, but she changed the goals that she had for herself. And funnily enough, she’s still met her revenue goal. She just wasn’t driving herself to get there. And she let go of the eight employees, you know, that she was managing, that was driving her, you know, to the brink.
Um, and was still able to do the thing that she wanted to do. She was just not doing it in a way that was replicating that really self-abusive behavior that was worked- she was working it out on everyone around her included, including her employees. So she didn’t change. She didn’t get rid of that business. She just changes how it- changed how she operated within it. I say “just” and I don’t mean “just.”
Jessica Abel: I mean, it’s a long process, and it takes a lot of work, but I think that that’s, you know, what’s the alternative really? If you recognize this stuff and you see what’s happening to not take action about it is just, it doesn’t seem possible to me. And maybe it doesn’t, it’s not immediately effective or like there’s some wrong turns or whatever, but if you’re seeing these patterns like. Yeah. What’s your motivation for not doing something about it, you know, I know it’s scary, but
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. And the right answer can also be, you know what, I want to work this out and heal this, but I want to do it, um, without it being a high risk situation where my revenue, my, my money is dependent upon it. I’m going to go work for someone else. Why work on this myself? And then see what I want, you know, because maybe I’ll want something different. So those are, those answers are right.
Jessica Abel: Yeah, in the chat liz has posted a link to her work, which is actually a PTSD musical that’s, uh, about different kinds of trauma and what effect it’s had and healing from that. So maybe something that people really enjoy. And it’s been a long, awesome process watching Liz develop that. So there’s, um, there are performances of this as well that are recorded and available.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Gosh, I would love to see that.
Jessica Abel: Yeah. Well, I’ll make sure you get it, if you didn’t see it in the chat. Okay. So, um, Patricia is asking a question that I’m pretty sure the answer is yes, but the pretty simple one here, which is “if you are having trouble making progress in your entrepreneurial endeavors, do you think that trauma can be why? And is that what you help find out?” It’s kind of a gimme, so
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. Especially if you’ve worked with a coach and you’ve had the strategies and you’ve done all the things, right, then the hunch is that you’re putting business solutions or strategies on top of an emotional issue, right? And if, if, if you’re spinning your wheels there, it could be that there’s something there.
Jessica Abel: Right. Perfect. And we’re just at time and basically are through the questions. So, I want to just ask you quickly, where can people find you? How can they get more, from your work? I know we already posted about your book, but can you talk about it a little bit? What else can people do?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah, absolutely. Follow me on Instagram at nicole.lewiskeeber. I post there a lot. If I have something coming up I’m usually posting it there. I’ve been trying to do some educational reels and, you know, I, I’m still learning these things, but that’s where I am a lot.
Yeah, I, I also on Medium. I have, I write articles about this topic on Medium. So I, I have a profile under there under Nicole Lewis-Keeber.
Jessica Abel: Okay, great. And you have a, um, so with the book, there’s also a self-direct- or self-paced course. Right? There’s a “Love Your Business” course is that right?
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: Yeah. Yeah. I have a course called “How to Love Your Business” and its a deeper dive into the, the book and it takes you through the exercises and more, you know, it kind of, the book stops about halfway through the course and the course continues on about all of those mechanisms for creating the sustainable business, emotional, sustainable business, that, that you. Yeah.
Jessica Abel: Right. Okay. So we’ll get that, that link in the chat as well. So, yeah. Um, okay, well that about covers it. Thank you so much for sharing your time with us, Nicole. It’s been just amazing hearing more about what you do, and I’m just so pleased we could do this.
Nicole Lewis-Keeber: I am too. Thank you so much for having me. It was nice to meet everyone.
Jessica Abel: All right. Thanks a lot, everybody. Thanks for being here with us. See you next time. Bye-bye
Thank you so much for joining us today for the Autonomous Creative.
Our show is produced by Matt Madden. Our production coordinator is Lousine Boyakhandjyan, and our production assistant is Rhiannon Sunday. Music is by Matt Madden. And I’m your host, Jessica Abel.
You can find all our takeaways as well as the links and extras we mentioned today, Plus transcripts in the show notes. Find everything you need at acpod.show.
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