315: Linda Vettrus-Nichols—Challenged? Stuck? What If You Are In Control Of Yourself?

Learn how to become the person you really want to be

I met Linda Vettrus-Nichols through her lovely husband Terry Earthwind Nichols, with whom I’ve done two podcasts. Here is our most recent one. Linda brings you a different perspective on how you can take control of your life and become the person you have always wanted to be. She talks about her own journey and how she got to where she is now, as a coach, as a person really into thought leadership, and as someone who inspires people to do what they might otherwise not have done (like write a book in 30 days). Linda’s a really special person to hear from. Listen in!

Watch and listen to our conversation here

Linda V video-1

It’s not so bad to really love others, and love yourself a little too

Linda is the CEO of Evolutionary Healer, a global transformational performance improvement company which she co-founded with her husband Terry. She calls herself “the queen of clarity” and believes that at the end of the day, love and solid relationships are all that matter. As a spiritual thought leader and coach, she finds the gaps and corrals the chaos that keep powerful entrepreneurs stuck or stalled. In some ways, we do similar things. We both would like to help you see, feel and think in new ways.

Linda is also the author of 21 books, one of which focuses on the practical action steps you need to publish your own book in a month or less. You can connect with her on LinkedIn, her personal website and the Evolutionary Healer website.

Need a little help becoming who you really want to be? Here’s a start

Additional resources for you

Read the transcript of our podcast here

Andi Simon: Welcome to On the Brink with Andi Simon. Hi, I’m Andi Simon. And as you know, I’m your host and your guide. And people come from all across the globe to listen to us because we help them get off the brink, which is so much fun. You don’t want to get stuck or stalled. And that’s really very interesting because sometimes when we see things, we run the other way. We don’t really go forward towards them. You need a little nudge, or a little hope, or some trust. So I go looking for interesting people who are trying to help you see things through that fresh lens. You begin to trust the fact that you can in fact change.

I know your brain hates to change. But don’t waste this crisis that we’ve gone through. It’s time to rethink everything that you used to think was exactly the way we did it and now there are all kinds of new ways. You’re not quite sure how we’re going to go back because you’re not going back. Now the question is, how do you go forward? And where is that? And how do you see what’s new and uncertain when you all want certainty? And there is none.

So today, I have Linda Vettrus-Nichols. And Linda came to me through Terry, who is her husband and her partner in a wonderful firm. Let me tell you a little bit about her. Then she’ll tell you about how she got here because it’s been a wonderful journey for her. She does some great things with people as a coach, as somebody who is really into their thought leadership. Somebody who helps you write books in 30 days. So Linda is the CEO of Evolutionary Healer, a global transformational performance improvement company. I’ll say that, again. They are global. And it’s a transformational performance improvement company that she co-founded with her husband, Embassy Ambassador Terry Earthwind Nicols. I’ve done two podcasts with Terry. And I’ve done two for him.

Linda is “the queen of clarity.” And I love that title. She believes that fantasizing about the impossible is totally reasonable and striving for satisfaction is a must. And at the end of the day, love and solid relationships are all that matters. You know, we’ve learned a whole lot during this pandemic. And that is, you do only live once and it’s not so bad to really love and love yourself a little too. She’s a spiritual thought leader and coach who finds the gaps and corrals the chaos that keep powerful entrepreneurs stuck or stalled. So in some ways, we do similar things. And we’d like to help you see, feel and think in new ways. She’s a published author of 21 books, and she has a book with the practical action steps you need to get your book done. And I have two books done. We’re working on the third. It is a journey. Thank you for joining us today.

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: Thank you. And oh, Andi, I just absolutely love your book Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business.

Andi Simon: I truly appreciate that. I’d love for you to share with the audience who is Linda? And what is your journey? Give them a sense of your story because I do think it’s a wonderful rich one, and one that helps others begin to see their own selves in journey form. What’s your journey? What’s your story?

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: My story is, I was in a marriage for 33 years. I call it a starter marriage and was just trying to keep my sanity and trying to figure it out and figure out what wasn’t working and why. And at the end of the day, I found out it takes two people. And I didn’t know, I just felt stuck. And now I teach that people aren’t stuck. Not really, they just feel stuck. And for me what got me unstuck was to surround myself with a whole different group of people. And within that group, there was somebody who helped me with questions, kind of clarity questions on taking a look at leaving a marriage of that many years and coming up with answers to that question. So that was one sort of pivot for my life.

And, then I met Terry and he had figured out a process to take people through. Much like Sigmund Freud, he was looking for interior discoveries, like breakthroughs to find that amnesia in memory from childhood. And so we worked on that together. We were in a coaching industry with that and going out speaking and things like that. And then Terry had heart surgery. And my coach was like, What do you want to do now, because he’s out of commission for a while, and I had no idea what I really wanted to do. And so I guess that’s probably how I started stepping into clarity and helping other people with their clarity.

Andi Simon: So there was a catalytic moment where you were on your own for a moment, not alone. But on your own and as you discover that part of you was an emerging lesson in the next stage in your own journey, which was really quite interesting. So as you began to frame that, what was the problem you wanted to help other people solve or to solve for yourself? Because there’s a combination. It’s really a collaboration, not simply, I do this, you do that? It sounds like you are going through your transformation, and could help others do as well? How did you develop it? Is there a particular process you can share?

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: Well, I love people’s stories, like you. And I was just talking to someone networking, and said, Oh, I love your story. I’d love to record it. And maybe use it in a summit or something. And she was like, Oh, yeah, either way, that’s fine. So I did that. And then there were two more women that came along. So I recorded and then I started thinking, what are these women really saying to me, and they were telling me about a time that they were stuck in their lives. And I thought, I could do a summit on being stuck. And so I interviewed 14 women, ages 16 to 74. The 16-year-old was actually one of our clients who had been suffering from PTSD, post traumatic stress disorder, for about two months. So we were able to bring out her story that fit what we’re doing in our business, and bring out what these other women were doing in their businesses.

And then I just kind of kept rolling and kept interviewing people. I had so many interviews. I’m like, Wow, I could just have a summit a month, for eight months. Which I did. Then I asked 16 of the probably 60-some women I’d interviewed if they wanted to be in a compilation book. And so I got the transcriptions back, and they were in script format, like a play at school, and I thought, Oh, that’s different. And I was going to put them into a sort of written form. And then it was like, they have a beautiful flow this way. I really hate to take away that beautiful flow. And so I told Terry, I’m just gonna leave them in script format. And I go, Who does that? And he goes, Nobody.

There were two authors apiece from those 16 and we made up eight little books of their stories and named them after the different summits. So one is called Stuck. One is called Paradigm Shifters. It was more social media and that way. I ended up publishing nine books. So I kind of cheated.

And so people aren’t used to 21 books. How did you do that? My kids were really challenging. And so I hooked up with another person whose kid was super challenging. And we started helping parents. We were pulling kids out of biochemical autism, ADD, ADHD and learning disabilities. Now we’re teaching parents, mostly moms, how to do that. And I was before you could like Google stuff, you know. So that was really a special time, way back when, that was my first book in 1998. And then, I suppose it was about 2016 when I started cranking out books. I started with nine.

Andi Simon: You know, the audience who’s watching us today is scratching their heads and saying, How’d she do that? You know,  you can inspire people. You can push them. They’ll run the other way and say, I can’t do that. But in fact, part of this requires trust and courage, a bit of bravery. But part of it just requires a mindset that says, Of course we can, let’s see how, and having a husband who’s supportive is not inconsequential. But you also had a real good understanding of what was needed. Whether it was for those mothers, or for the others, and you sort of felt that they had an unmet need. You are really a Blue Ocean thinker.

Instead of putting the transcripts into a format of a font, there’s something about your approach that’s really fascinating to me. You see what is needed, and then you come up with an idea to really solve it. I have a hunch that that’s been sort of the last period of time, since you left your last marriage into this one. What is so important now for you is the freedom to do this, the autonomy, the mastery, your purpose. Give the listeners some sense of how you’ve come to terms with who you are at this stage? And where is it going, because they want to have a role model. Because they all have great ideas, sometimes they’re sitting there, and as you know, they don’t blossom, and we want to help them be free. How about your thoughts?

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: The transition of marriage was, even if you’re in a really healthy relationship, and you’re not just loved, you really feel loved and supported. It’s not enough until you love yourself. And so that was one of the big shifts for me, is learning to love myself. The other thing is stepping into, for lack of better words, my zone of genius. What is it that I do that I am so good at, and I am not exhausted doing it. I could just do it 24/7, and not even burn out.

So I have actually stepped into that in the whole book in 30 days process. And that I do free sessions. They’re usually more like a clarity session, and whether someone thinks there’s a book inside of them or not. And it’s very powerful. The number one thing is, I get women out of their heads. I get them to slow down, to focus, to really embody. And that’s my little process. So we just do like three belly breaths, like close your eyes. It’s funny because when you do that, and you get your hand on your abdomen, all of sudden, you just really calm, you slow. And it makes people feel sane. And it’s just been a really special process. It’s just a free thing that I do for people, whether I’m networking with them, or they’re a potential client or whatever. So that’s, that’s huge.

And then I say, if it’s a clarity thing, that’s just like, okay, so if you can only do one, which one would it be? If it’s more of, they haven’t come to me with something specific, it’s like, Okay, if there’s only one thing you can let the rest of us know, like, you’re poof, off the planet tomorrow, and you really, really want us to know it. It’s not about yourself. Not about you, it’s you wanting us to know what for us. What would that be, and then they give it to me. And then I get another one and another one. And I get three and then I go back to the first of the three and do it again three times. And I end up with nine things in a special order. And I always say, it came from their soul, you know. And that ends up being their book chapters and their message to the world in a specific order of importance to them. And it’s easy for them to find their tribe, so to speak.

Andi Simon: Well, but you know, easy is an interesting word always. People hate to change, the pain in the brain is real. Cortisol gets up there, your amygdala fights it. The second thing is that the amygdala doesn’t like the unfamiliar. And it really wants things that are comfortable. Even if they’re not answered. Your mind does exactly what it thinks you want it to do. And whether it’s putting the hand on the belly or doing some mindfulness or a little meditation, you quiet down and you just take your brain into a quiet mind state where it feels really safe. Yesterday is gone, not much you can do about it and tomorrow hasn’t happened. So for the present, you have this wonderful gift of just being, and then your process shows them what is possible.

And the trust that comes from that is extremely powerful because they really don’t know where they’re going, do they. And that uncertainty makes people very uncomfortable. And slowly, the three turns into nine. And next thing, you know, it’s time for us to write a book about us and a bit about what we want the world to know so it can be a better place. So as our audience is listening, think about yourself: what kinds of ideas do you have that you want, in some fashion, to turn into a legacy of some type? Do you find that people write more than one book, as you have?

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: Well, my clients sure do. I really believe that everybody’s full of all kinds of books. And like you, your clients, you won’t even take them unless they’re at “enough is enough.” And so they just almost come to me pregnant with a book. It’s like, I gotta get this thing out of me. I have no idea how to do it. Or I’m afraid to do it. I’m afraid if I tell whatever they’re going to tell, somebody else will hate them for it or be mad. And yeah, there’s a lot of drama trauma stories with my clients. What’s even weirder is, I have clients who have done cookbooks with their drama trauma story. They’re really powerful, cool books. But it’s like, who does that?

Andi Simon: I’m working on my third book. And the gal I’m working with said, We really want to do a cookbook like this. I said, I like that idea. And I’m not sure what. God is in the kitchen, all’s well in the world? But there’s something about that cookbook model that pours out a whole different side of us, particularly as a woman, although the great chefs are all guys. There’s a female side in there that’s very nourishing, in many ways, and close to some interesting opportunities. Now, you’re a person who doesn’t stand still. What do you see coming next? Because I always say we never waste a crisis.

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: I love that line of years. That’s so cool. You’ve stepped into making a course. And I can’t wait to take your course. It just totally fills the gap in my learning, if you will. So I’ve created three Thinkific courses. And then I started experimenting with clients and doing courses. Actually, a client came to me, she had already started one. And we took her book and put it into one and then I did mine. So that’s been interesting.

And what I’ve found is, even though we’re using the material from the book, the course becomes its own thing. It becomes almost a whole new teaching. And if you haven’t read the book, you’re going to be okay and get through the course. If you have read the book, it reinforces the books. Another thing I enjoy doing is analyzing someone’s website. That’s what I absolutely love to do.

Andi Simon: And it’s interesting because we’re in the process of redesigning our website, and I’m impressed with our guys, because they’ve been working with us for a long time. I’ve been doing this for 20 years. So we’ve had multiple websites and iterations. But, you know, it’s an interesting time, to your point, because as we started to look at what we had been, and were no longer who we were, and I was aware we were going either/and it was all captured in a website of all things. And then I renovated my office two weeks ago, three weeks ago, and had to repaint it. But in the process, I took a lot of books that had been here for 20 years, taking down the bookshelves was a fascinating capture of life. Because the books that were important, aren’t necessarily the ones that I want to hold onto. And I’m not quite sure what I’ll be doing with future books and so many of them are on my iPad. But they are an interesting commentary on being an anthropologist. It’s all a digital indication of the things that matter.

And you almost want to make a record of who and why you were and what’s coming in the way in which you’re reading and the ideas. Warren Buffett said, Spend five hours a day reading. I’m not sure I can do that. But I try to read two books a week. And I love to read, I’m not a Netflix person, but I am a reader. And I find the ideas change your mind. You know, your mind rises, as you add new ideas into it, particularly on how to write a book, and how you convey the story. And it’s a very interesting way of learning about things. But we’re both changing.

And as we look forward, people say to me, Well, I want to go back to the way it was. I say, It’s never going to go back to the way it was. So it’s time to create the future you like to have. They have so little in common with the folks who come to you to write their book. They’re not quite sure of the future they want to have. But I tell them, Unless you visualize where you’re going, you can’t live today.

You know, we’re futurists. And so do you help folks in your coaching? I’m curious what you’re seeing among your coaching clients and others about what they see coming? Can they visualize something new? As I’m coaching my clients, or doing my workshops for CEOs, they’re stuck, many of them, and many of them are guys. And they knew how to run what they had. And they have no idea how to run what is now. And they’re smart people, entrepreneurial, and frustrated, and they can’t relate. And so I almost want to put their hands on their belly and say, take a deep breath or start again, you’re in the startup phase.

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: That’s such a great point. And you probably know that my husband created the vision strategy roadmap. And so I use that with my clients as well. And it isn’t sort of, just like magic, one time, let go of everything. And you know, it kind of comes up from the soul. It embodies all right there from your abdomen, your powers, and just let it come up. And what are you doing? Like, where are you and it’s really interesting.

If they tell me they want to speak from a stage, I just go into this intense drill down with them. Because that can mean so many things. And I really want them to get to who they really are. So if you were out in the center of the football stadium with people behind you, not a wall, would you be comfortable with that? And some people will write, Yeah, and other people, No, I wouldn’t. If I go to the movie theater, I’d love to be in the back with the wall behind me. I like lots of neurological things. My background is special education. And I love all the brain stuff.

Andi Simon: Just to share some of our observations: I push them being who I am, as an anthropologist, I push them out to go exploring. I don’t have a clue how to redesign your business without going out and listening. You don’t have to do much more than listen to customers, are those whom you’d like them to be? And my workshops start off with, Who’s going to be your customer tomorrow? What do they need? How are you going to be serving them?

I did a podcast earlier about the customer experience now that has changed. Everyone wants things fast. And the customer service centers are having a difficult time. They’re all 30%, short on staff. And they are trying to figure out how to adapt to a remote workforce. How to evaluate them, everything that was, isn’t. But the new one isn’t yet either. And so part of it is, How do I visualize what could be taken out a year or two, and then sort of backward plan to begin to set up a path to get there because in the absence, we don’t know how to live today.

And all the hormone perspective stuff that Martin Seligman has shown us from psychology, your human brain wants to see the future. And that’s how it is now and if you don’t see it, you make it up. So it’s an interesting time for helping people see the opportunities of what comes, as opposed to flee them or fear them. And your amygdala would love to hijack them. So it’s pretty cool stuff. And as you’re working with these entrepreneurs who want to be on the stage, you might set up a stage and let them learn. It’s just being up there and talking to people.

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: Another big question I say is, Do you like having the lights in your face?  They may not know and have to go try it. Some of them just immediately go, No. So you want to see your audience? Well, yeah, I’m like, Okay, well, that just totally changes your venue. That totally changes the amount of people who are going to attend. Sometimes they can’t quite come up with them themselves. So I start giving them some of those more concrete things.

Andi Simon: They need you to ask those profound questions. So it’s pretty cool. So I’m looking at our time, it’s about time for us to wrap up. I like to ask my interviewees two or three things you don’t want the listeners to forget. Are there some things you want to tell them because they remember the end better than our beginning. What do you want them to walk away with? And say, Oh, Linda really helped me with this. Thoughts?

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: Just the idea that no one’s ever really stuck. And words are just stories we tell ourselves. I know, you and I both like that. And, know who you are. So get in touch. Write your own story.

Andi Simon: Let’s emphasize the stories a little bit. What we’ve learned is that maybe 45,000 or 50,000 years ago, or at some point, we had a quantum leap in our brain. And humans, because of that, are storymakers. We give meaning to things. And so a thing isn’t a thing, it has some purpose or meaning, or it has some value. And out of that came the stories. The secret of our success is about how the stories in our culture have been the secret of our human success. And it changes our minds as we evolve. And it keeps this coevolution here, it’s both the external and the internal transformation that’s going on.

And you are evolving, as Linda has and I have. We aren’t the same folks. We started out as not that different from them, either. But there’s been a transformation. And Linda works with people to help them see, feel and think in new ways, as I do. Because if you don’t see it and feel it, you don’t know what it is that we’re talking about. And she’s talking about people wanting to be on stage who don’t realize they are gonna be lights in their eyes.

We’ve got a little bit of good testing. Pretend you’re in high school, and you’re going to get on stage and see what it feels like because we decide with the heart and the eyes up ahead. And that follows. There’s stories coming out of the pandemic, really big stories, and I’m anxious to see how we can compile them. As I’m listening to you, maybe there’s a book here, about the post pandemic reality and how do we share it?

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: Yeah, that’d be cool. And the idea of healthy detachment really comes from staying out of the story. So there’s the flip there, too. We get so caught up in the story, and it’s just a story. It’s a story of time. So you had all this pain, flip the story. And that’s what happened to me. I had a gymnastics accident, lost my balance, fell, and really jammed my shoulder and nobody could understand it. I went to an ortho biochemist, and she said, Tell me how that happened. Tell me the story about it. So I told her, and then she said, Now change the story. Flip the story. And I’m like, as if it didn’t happen, you know, because I had the gymnastic accident and lost my dance career.

A few months later, I lost my father to suicide. So there was a lot of trauma locked up in that shoulder. So I flipped the story. Terry was standing behind me, and all of a sudden, my shoulder blade just went clump. Literally, a sound of clunk. And he just went right in there. And took care of business, like no way to get under there before, but don’t lose the power.

Andi Simon: I don’t mean to interrupt you because it’s so exciting to talk to you. But we live the story in our minds. They aren’t there, they’re an illusion. They’re not real.

Linda Vettrus-Nichols: But they’re also in our bodies, right? That’s the thing. And when we change the story, it’s just a story. When we change the story, the body doesn’t know the difference. The body goes, Oh, okay. Is that the story? Great story. Oh, okay.

Andi Simon: And I think this is just a great story to share with our audience about how to change because we don’t want you on the brink anymore. We want you to soar. And I don’t want you to jump out of an airplane without a parachute either. Nor do I want you to fly the airplane, you know, and build it at the same time. There’s lots you can do here. And I love Linda’s process for helping you express this. Turn it into a book and make it a reality, at least an illusion that turns into something. So it’s great fun.

Thanks for joining me today. This has been cool, thank you. It’s fun. People always ask, Who’s your audience. So I say to all of you out there who come, I’ve truly appreciate you. As you’re thinking about yourself, send me your ideas at info@andisimon.com. I have people across the globe who send me their little notes, their ideas about who they’d like to hear from. It’s great fun to share them. And it’s a great time for you to rethink who you are, where you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. Sometimes you need a hand. And that’s what we both do.

Both Linda and myself have a great time helping you rethink your story. And when you begin to work through my program, Rethink Your Journey with Andi Simon, or hers, you begin to see that it’s all in that story. And if you like the story, great, but if you don’t, we can change it. I love Linda’s story. She changed her story and her new shoulder didn’t hurt. How does that happen?

My books are available on Amazon: On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights and Rethink: Smashing The Myths of Women in Business. We are delighted you come to enjoy, and share, and have a great day. Stay well. Thanks, Linda, thank you so much for coming today. And we’ll say goodbye. Bye now.