My pastor taught a sermon on, brokenness, a few months back, and he made the analogy of a, broken, vase. He said that a, broken, or cracked vase cannot hold any content, everything leaks out. We must heal our, brokenness if we are going to hold love, self-esteem, self-worth, or confidence.
Certified Life coach, Myrna Young and registered social worker, Arifah Yusaf discuss, How to Heal your Brokenness,
The LORD is near to the, broken hearted, And saves those who are crushed in spirit.
My pastor taught a sermon on, brokenness, a few months back, and he made the analogy of a, broken, vase. He said that a, broken, or cracked vase cannot hold any content, everything leaks out. That means that if you are, broken hearted,
you cannot hold love,
you cannot hold appreciation,
you cannot hold compliments,
you are incapable of receiving and holding anything.
So it is very important for us to find our cracks and mend them. As, minority women, most of us have experienced some, brokenness, in our lives.
Here are the top 3 reasons for, Brokenness:
Devalued and rejected by others
Abandoned by our parents
Feelings of not being good enough because we have lack.
How do we Heal, brokenness?
I know in our practice of social work and in psychology, a lot of clinical professionals, look at the research study around ACES which is our first childhood experiences.
That study basically states that childhood experiences before the age of 18, whether that be witnessing abuse or being abused themselves, living in poverty or just going through traumatic events; Those experiences impact their, brokenness, as they grow up into adulthood. It may impact how they maneuver through success or how they view themselves as failures.
These experience are also linked to risky health behaviors, chronic health conditions, low life potential and even early death.
Myrna Young, Life Coach, I agree that risky behaviors from, brokenness, usually means an absence of self-love and that can definitely lead to early death.
I am going to niche down in our conversation today to address women of color and, minority women, because that’s who we are.
As women we can be, broken, both in our childhood and by narcissistic men in our adult lives, who have rejected us or devalued us.
Our, brokenness, becomes compared with the, broken hearted. Also when we experience, brokenness, as children those experiences can leads us to get into unhealthy relationships. Healing our, brokenness, prevents us from repeating this pattern of unhealthy relationships that would leave us, broken hearted.
It takes work to heal our cracks. The first step in coaching is to identify how you became, broken, and then replace your subconscious programming with a new program similar to writing over a CD disk.
How to heal the, Broken Hearted
Acknowledge that you are, broken
Follow the pain – pay attention to where it hurts
Trust outside eyes. Have close trusted friends to tell you what they see. This can also be a, life coach, who can uncover your blind spots.
Allow love to mold you like the potter molds clay.
Pray and meditate on the fruits of the spirit, peace, joy, love
Here is a story on, How we become broken, and the process of healing.
Arifah – In my years of practice, I obviously had a lot of opportunities to engage young people who have expressed feeling, broken, based on their lived experiences or their adverse childhood experiences. As we talked about earlier in the segment, those experiences impact how they view themselves, how they show up in relationships, in their place within society or their environments.
I recall speaking with this young woman who shared witnessing domestic abuse at home. She actually found her mother’s body when she came home from school one day. She was then placed into the foster care system. At 18 years old having nowhere to go, she was placed into a shelter. I remember her telling me that she really struggled with her identity and her self-esteem. She harbored resentment towards her family because nobody had come to claim her in Foster care which magnified her, brokenness.
In her late teens she became pregnant and wanted to connect with her family; because she was starting to feel isolated and she wanted her child to know more about her family history. But she faced rejection once more. She decided that it was all up to her, to make a difference in her child’s life.
She then stared setting small goals for herself and accomplishing them. That started building her self-esteem until she recovered from her, brokenness. She became more engaged in her community and connected with other single mothers. She stopped blaming others or comparing herself to others and continued her healing process.
She decided to develop a plan with a network of positive healthy people. Eventually she stopped defining herself as, broken, because she realized that she really could make a difference in the life of her child. It was all up to her, no one else. Like the analogy of the broken vase, she couldn’t hold self-esteem, or self-worth, as a broken vessel, everything leaked out. When she became whole everything stayed in. That is, how to heal your brokenness,
My purpose in writing this book was to share with my readers the power of intention as the energy in my life. This book is my testimony on how I overcame my, brokenness.
All my life I have been called lucky; but there is no such thing as luck just positive energy and preparation.
As women we sometimes fail because we are always working; but not On their lives. We instead work in our lives. To succeed your commitment to your own personal growth must parallel your commitment to building remarkable lives for yourself and your children.
After you read my book and become inspired by my story of success after starting out with nothing and healing my, brokenness, I would like to Help you get off the starting block with the most unbelievable coaching offer ever made!
If you are interested in doing something remarkable with your life and escape the Snares of failure from, broken relationships, broken marriages, by moving your dreams from your head into your hands, then download your FREE book and purchase my coaching package.
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Keshia Morris Desir has a blossoming career in DC. She is an activist working in DC to disrupt the over criminalization of communities of color by investigating and exposing the underlying causes of mass incarceration through a democracy lens. Getting incarceration money out of politics, and advocating for guaranteed voting rights for everyone, including people serving time in prison. But today she is speaking as my daughter about becoming a mother. She is entering into the second trimester of her first pregnancy.
The very first question I have for you, mom is in your book, you share a bit about the, circle of life, and how your parents were not married when you were born. So, for folks that haven’t yet read the book, can you share a little bit about that experience?
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My circle of life started with poverty and child abuse
Myrna: Yes, I would love to. Out of the Snares, is basically my story. It’s the story of me getting out of the snares of, child sexual abuse, poverty, being born in a third world country. And, of course, being born to parents, or who were not married. My mom and my dad hooked up and had sex and I showed up. They weren’t even really in a committed relationship. It’s one of those things that happened. When I read Oprah’s story I found out that her parents also hooked up just one time and created her. We were both born for a purpose.
So, I pull that in to my experience, that I was born with a purpose. On that rainy day, all those years ago in Guyana, my mom was alone when I was born because my father was not around. And I feel that coming from that kind of nurturing environment, where my mother was my central figure or my central person. For a long time, it was my mom, it was my grandmother, it was my aunt. These are the people that kind of raised me and as I got a little older, my father came back into my life.
But yes, I learned everything that I know about, motherhood, from my mom and my grandmother and my mom is an amazing mother. She has four children, and she basically single handedly raised them all on her own because the men were not around. She was that unfortunate, the men kept leaving. Your dad and I broke up when you were five years old. So, I have been the most influential person in your life and I took that very seriously. So, that’s basically my introduction to, motherhood.
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The connection between Single mothers and delinquent children
Keshia: As you were speaking, I’m thinking about my work. And I’m thinking about what usually breeds or is usually the crux of, black families, being involved in the, criminal justice system. Thankfully, none of your brothers and sisters have been involved in the, criminal justice system, and I just want to know, what do you what do you attribute that to? Because often we do hear of, black families, that come from, quote, unquote, broken homes where fathers aren’t in the picture. They get involved in crime, they go down the wrong path, they get involved in the, criminal justice system, somehow. So, what do you attribute your family success to?
Myrna: Excellent question. And I’ve thought about this a while now, not in Guyana, because we left Guyana as children. So, we weren’t old enough to get into the, criminal justice system, in Guyana. But when we were living in Toronto, Canada, we actually lived in the projects. And I have always wondered why my siblings didn’t get involved with the bad crowd. I’ve always wondered about that and the only thing that I can come up with was that my mother loved us and we didn’t want to disappoint her. I was speaking to her a couple of weeks back. And it was really interesting what she said. She said to me, you know, I had yawl, and I took any job because I had yawl to feed!
Keshia: Thank you for sharing that mom, it was really helpful to hear that feedback. It was just something that I was thinking about. I’m just gonna turn it back over to you. I think you have something a poem that you’d like to share.
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Motherhood my baby girl is born
Myrna: Yes. Right. So, in my chapter on, motherhood, I start off my book talking about the, circle of life, continues where I was born, and then I dived right into, motherhood, because it was something that was very important to me and made me feel so special. I have two biological children. I was 21 years old when my son was born, and then you my daughter was born on my 30th birthday. So, because she was born on my 30th birthday, she was a girl and a lot of women always want little baby girls. You know, I was tickled pink, in fact, it becomes more special than that. She was conceived for my honeymoon.
So, I came back from my honeymoon, and a couple of weeks later found out that I was pregnant. The immediate response of me learning that I was pregnant was joy. I mean, I didn’t know the sex until she came out. But we had a connection from the very beginning. So, in my book, I actually wrote a poem that I want to read to you guys. It says,
Poem my baby girl is here
My greatest blessing showed up on my 30 birthday,
A bundle of joy for born to this world
Six pounds, seven ounces of joy, my birthday gift. Oh, what a toy.
I little girl with curly brown hair, smooth black skin, with the face of an angel.
I shed a tear it was a love affair at first sight.
She reached through my heart and grabbed my soul forever more.
God had given me the desires of my heart, a daughter to adore.
Bird sang, trees swayed, the sun shone brightly, and the heavens opened up and poured out rain.
My baby girl was here. Keshia, her father whispered welcome to my world.
And her mother answered, Glory be to God, let her light shine brightly.
Let her be a delight.
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Myrna: See, I spoke it into existence, you have been a delight. You have been the gift that keeps on giving. A lot of mothers and daughters have special relationships, but we have a relationship that everybody talks about, and it’s absolutely amazing.
Keshia: Wow. It’s been a while since I’ve heard that poem. I have a jacket on but if you could see my arms, I probably have goosebumps. I just hope to repeat that, I am heading as you said, into my second trimester. And I have a similar due date as our birthday so yeah, we should be hoping for three peat.
Myrna: Yes, yes. From our mouths to God’s ears.
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Motherhood: How to protect your kids from sexual abuse
Keshia: Okay. All right. Well, I’m gonna take this conversation a little bit differently. And I’m going to ask you a question, because at the start of this conversation, you started by saying that Out of the Snares is about you coming out of poverty, sexual abuse, and parents not being in the home. And so, we talked a little bit about the, poverty, we talked a little bit about parents not being in the home. But I’m wanting to hear a bit more about your memories of your, child abuse. And in your book, you also talk about how the memories of that, child abuse, came back to you after I was born. Can you talk a little bit about that? About that time for you as you had me and those memories of, sexual abuse, came flooding back to you.
And then also maybe you want to give some advice to listeners that have experienced, sexual abuse, and have had daughters and now have to feel like they have to protect their child at all costs.
Myrna: Well, thank you Keshia, it’s a very important conversation to have. So let me start with me and then I will expand it out. I was, sexually abused, by my godfather. I called him grandfather and I spent a lot of time at his house. So, that is the first problem that contributes to our black and brown babies getting, sexually abused, because apparently in our community it happens a lot. In my experience, it wasn’t a babysitting thing. It was just that, I was always at someone’s house. I was at my aunt’s house, I was at my grandfather’s house and when you’re sleeping over at people’s houses and there is men around, this is basically what happens.
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I read something from Tyler Perry, that was addressing this issue, and he was talking about our community. Most Black mothers don’t have money for a babysitter, so they always have the kids go and stay at the uncle dem house and this person’s house and all that kind of stuff. And this is basically what happens. Kids are being, sexually abused, by people that come to our homes and even boyfriends. So, getting back to my, child abuse, I didn’t have any trauma attached to it as it was happening because this person was a loved one and I really loved him.
He showered me with gifts, we were poor, and he was rich. So when this experience was going on, I wasn’t traumatized in any way. I mean, I didn’t understand what was going on because it started when I was very young age. I didn’t understand what was going on until I started having boyfriends at 13 and realized, you’ve already had sex. These guys are gonna think that you’re a tramp.
Past sexual abuse trauma resurfaced after birth of child
That started my whole self-respect phase which worked for me because I was never promiscuous. So, it wasn’t very traumatic. When I recognized that it was wrong, I stopped it. There was no big problem. You know what I mean? But then, when you were born, something that I buried came alive and it was very, traumatic. I stopped wanting to have your dad to touch me, I had bad dreams. And whatever it was, clearly it was coming back up. I mean, and it was really an unusual response. Of course, I never went to therapy or anything. I just worked through it, but it started my vigilance of making sure you were not exposed to, sexual abuse.
And my vigilance came with people in my home and where I sent you to sleep over. Your father and I split up when you were five years old. I made sure that anybody that I’m bringing to the house that I would, make sure I don’t leave you alone with that person. At one point in time, my sister was living with me, and her husband started bathing you. And I immediately put a stop to that.
So these are the ways that you protect your girl children and boy children, because it’s not only girls now. But you protect them by knowing who they’re coming into contact with. Our world is becoming really messed up because women are now molesting boys. Tyler Perry, tells a story of how he was molested by a woman and I think even Terry Crews revealed that he was also, sexually assaulted.
Motherhood: Be careful your kids are always watching
In my book, I share my views on, motherhood, and I believe that, motherhood, you are a role model for your kids. I remember you were always watching me. It was an incredible thing, you didn’t feel comfortable unless you’re in my presence watching and listening, watching and listening. And mothers or fathers, your kids are always listening. They’re always watching. So, you can’t say “Do as I say it, not as I do.” You’ve got to do it. You’ve got to walk the walk. So, I was a role model to you and I taught you things that my mom taught me. For example, to make decisions for yourself.
What do you feel is the role of a mother and how do you plan to embrace, motherhood?
Keshia: Yeah, I mean we’ve talked a lot about protection, I definitely think that the role of the mom is to protect their cub so to speak. When we watch Animal Planet you always see the mother lion protecting her cub and protecting them from harm.
The role of a mother
So definitely protection is the, role of a mother, as well as all the other things like:
Feed your children not only actual physically feeding, but emotionally feeding, feeding their self-confidence,
Teaching them to become contributing members of society
Helping them to find their purpose
Teaching them to love God
And how to survive in life
To lead by example, kids are always watching. You want to be able to not only say the important things, but show them the important things as well.
So how am I embracing motherhood? I’m still learning, I am just a few months in but yeah, I have been reading books and I am working towards embracing, motherhood.
It still feels weird. You know, hearing my baby’s heartbeat seeing it via ultrasounds. I mean, it just feels different. I can’t even really grasp the words to say like, how does it feel to know that something is living inside of you and living inside of your belly? Right. Something that you have to care for and nurture and protect and be worried for and scared for and love all at the same time. So, it’s very humbling. Maybe that’s the word.
Circle of life continues connection with baby
Myrna: I didn’t hear the word, connection. Are you connecting to this baby?
Keshia: Thanks for putting me on the spot mom. I don’t know if I would say I am connecting with the baby yet. I don’t feel connected yet. I did have the feeling that morning that it was a girl even though all along I’ve been saying they think it’s a boy. But that morning I did say yeah, you’re a girl. So maybe. Also, the day before I found out that I was pregnant. I said we need a new car and went out and bought a new car that day. Because I’m like we you know, we need a new car for family planning. So, I guess she is speaking to me.
Myrna: She’s sending you those signals. Yes, yes. Amazing. All right. Well, listen, Keshia Morris Desir. You did not disappoint. We had an incredible conversation. Thank you for sharing your, motherhood experience, with me and my audience. Wishing you the best pregnancy and delivery.
Coach Myrna share some tools to help you build up your, self-confidence, and, self-esteem, while starving the negative self-talk. The negative self-talk that tells you, you are not good enough. You can never make it, you are not smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough.
Welcome to, Transformation Fridays, with Coach Myrna today I would like to teach on the topic how to, raise your self esteem, by erasing, self doubt.
First let me give you the definition of, self-confidence, self-confidence, is defined as a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.
Self-esteem, is confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect. Pretty similar.
I was listening to a Ted talk video some time back and the speaker was telling his back story. He said for 10 years he smoked crack, when he woke up and before he went to bed every day. Hoping to numb the pain of living. He was a disappointment to his mother, his wife and his children. He felt worthless! So, no, self-esteem.
On his second trip to prison, he spent a total of 8 years in prison, his adopted mother had a heart attack and died. He felt pretty low that this woman who adopted him and loved him as her own and who tried to give him a better life, was now in the hospital, and he was not there to offer her comfort. The prison did not even allow him to go to her funeral. This was the first spark of change in him. Maybe he should do something with his life other than being a mess up.
When he got out of prison this time he decided to go to college. He was now a middle-aged black man and he was in college with 20-year-old white students. Never the less he did good and now looked forward to the accolades his teachers gave him because he was performing better than expected. He said that praise was now his new drug. He lived for his teachers praises. One day one of his teachers put an application for a job on his desk. He couldn’t believe it. His teacher had, confidence, in him, his teacher had confidence in his ability to do the job.
The, self-confidence, seedling inside him got water and grew a little. As his self-confidence grew his life changed. No longer was he a non-contributing member of society, he was making a contribution. He now had a new family and 7 years after he was released from prison, he received his PHD in Physiology!
Self confidence is needed for success
Self-confidence, doesn’t always come naturally. Sometimes you have to practice and practice until you build it. Sometimes it comes from your teachers, your parents, your friends or your boss.
So today I want to share some tools to help you build up your, self-confidence, and, self-esteem, while starving the negative self-talk. The negative self-talk that tells you, you are not good enough. You can never make it, you are not smart enough, pretty enough, thin enough.
But before we can get to the solution of anything or before we can get to anywhere on the map, we have to know how we got to where we are right now and pinpoint where we are.
For example. If you are at the mall and you are wanting to go to Macy’s department store you look at the map and it shows “You are here” if you want to get to Macy’s than you know you have to walk right or left. It is the same way in life.
Statics show that we can shed a lot of light on how we got here on the map by looking at our childhood. You see parenting does not come with a manual and some parents get it right; but most get it wrong.
We get our self esteem from our caregivers
Understanding your, inner child, is very important to unlocking the door of where you are on the map today. You see when you came into the world you were totally dependent on someone else to care for you. Not just to feed you, bathe you, and to keep you warm, but to love you, protect you and nurture you.
If whenever you cried your mother or caregiver came and picked you up and smiled at you and comforted you, then you transformed that into the feeling that you are important.
If, however when you cried you were ignored, then you formed the feeling that you were unwanted. Even though you have no memory of being a baby, your heart and your internal computers have a record of everything. A hypnotist can go back and pull it out. That is the root of, low self-esteem, and, self-doubt, that has now grown into an oak tree!
If you are listening to me and you are experiencing, low self-esteem, and, self-doubt, or you don’t understand why you are not getting the results you want. Why you are here on the map and you can never get over there. I challenge you to do the work find out why.
I was watching Oprah Super Soul Sunday a few months ago and she had a guest who talked about going back to your childhood home in your mind and looking out the window. What do you see?
Looking out your childhood window
I grew up poor in Guyana but with a lot of love. When I looked through the window of the room, we lived in. I saw that even though I was poor, I had hope, I had love, I had friends, and I was happy. I saw that I had, self-confidence, because I did well in school and I had many boyfriends. I had, self-confidence, because I believed I was intelligent like my dad who was a professor.
What do you see when you look through the window of your childhood home? Can you find the root of your, lack of self-confidence, and, self-doubt?
Here are a few reasons we develop low self-esteem
We were inadequately nurtured as children.
We could have absorbed negative messages about ourselves and it still resides in the core of our beings.
Parents or teachers extremely critical.
Poor academic performance in school.
Did not fit in either because of looks or clothing or religion.
Trauma, Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse can all significantly affect our feelings of self-worth. If you find yourself replaying memories of abuse or otherwise feeling tormented by or ashamed of your experiences, please consider seeking treatment from a licensed clinician.
Parenting style. The way we were treated in our family of origin can affect us long after childhood. For instance, if you had a parent who constantly belittled you, compared you to others, or told you that you would never amount to anything, you likely carry those messages with you today. A parent’s struggles with, mental health, and substance abuse can also change your relationship with the world.
Bullying, harassment, and humiliation.Childhood bullying can leave a mark on your confidence when it comes to looks, intellectual and athletic abilities, and other areas of your life. Humiliating experiences in adulthood, including workplace harassment or a peer group that disrespects or demeans you, can also make you less willing to speak up for yourself or pursue ambitious goals.
Gender, race, and sexual orientation. Scores of studies show women are socialized to worry more about how they’re perceived and, therefore, to take fewer risks. Racial and cultural background and sexual orientation can make a difference, too. If you’ve been on the receiving end of discrimination, you may have internalized some negative, untrue messages about your potential and whether you “belong.”
When we grow our, self-esteem, we expand our capacity for happiness.
Here are 3 benefits of high self esteem
The higher your, self-esteem, the more equipped you are to handle life’s adversities.
The higher your, self-esteem, the more ambitious you are not necessary in a career; but in forming healthy relationships and not repeating destructive patterns.
The higher your, self-esteem, the more likely you are to form nourishing bonds with others.
Higher, self esteem, enables you to love yourself.
How do you know if you love yourself?
Ask yourself these questions?
• Do I take care of myself?
• Do I make being healthy a priority?
• Am I stretching and challenging myself to be better than I am today?
• Am I living life with passion or am I just passing through?
If you answered No to any of these questions then you need to make some changes in your life before you get to 80 years old and realize that you never lived.
You have to protect your dreams by plucking up the weeds before they grow. They will come. Self-doubt, always comes; but you have to pluck them out by speaking of your goals and doing something to get you moving towards the place on the map you want to go.
That is why you have to know where you are so you won’t move in the opposite direction.
First Think it. There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so. William Shakespeare.
Rhonda Bryne of the secret says “What you think about you bring about”
Your thoughts affect your attitude your, self-confidence, your mood, and there is a direct relationship to your thoughts and your experiences in life.
Remember when you were a kid and your parents would tell not to hang around Johnny or Jane? They did not know why; but they knew that if you kept company with Johnny or Jane, no good would come of you.
In the same way if you keep replaying negative emotions in your head such as fear, discontent, anger, jealousy, insecurities, blame etc. then no good will come of you because you will keep attracting more negative energy to your experience.
Erase negative thoughts to erase self doubt
But let’s say you are wanting that promotion and you see yourself in this new role and you are confident that you will get this promotion then you will. You might not get it at your first try but if you keep trying and never give up it will be yours eventually; conversely, if you want this promotion; but you place road blocks in your path such as any and all negative thoughts, then chances are you will never attract this reality into your experience.
When we think, our thoughts become like magnets and attract, and then attach to like thoughts. That is why what you think about you bring about.
Nothing shows up in our life unless we attract it.
We have all seen the power of the Law of attraction in motion when if we have something bad happen to us at the beginning of the day, bad things keep on happening for the rest of the day.
So, it is very important to watch what you think.
Now let’s take a look at Speak it.
The spoken word is a powerful tool and by leveraging your voice you expand your dreams from internal thoughts to external possibilities, laying the ground work for divine purpose to manifest. Deepak Chopra
When you take your thoughts, which are formless and speak them into the atmosphere you give them form. This empowers them.
Think it, speak it, do it
“Talk happiness; talk faith; talk health. Say you are well, and all will be well with you. God shall hear your words and make them true.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox
So, remember to speak it. Tell a friend or your coach of your intentions.
And lastly “just do it.” Nike made this phrase popular but it applies to more than athletics. Just do it. There will never be a better time than the present.
“He who waits to do a great deal of good at once will never do anything.”
― Samuel Johnson
So “just do it.” Think about something you have been thinking of doing for some time. Tell someone about it and then take the first step. It does not have to be a giant step. It could be as simple as doing research or taking that nice red Mercedes out for a test drive; but it will be a step in the right direction.
I hope my presentation was thought provoking. These are the principles I live by and I attract all that I want into my experience; so give it a try.
If you lacked self-confidence or self-esteem I hope this episode gave you a starting point to change your thinking because when you transform your mind you will transform your life.
Lusene Donzo started life in the US as a, refugee, from Liberia. After arriving in America he enlisted in the, US Army, and began, training his mind, to live his, calling. Listen to Lusene’s story of how he overcame a grand mal seizure, living on, welfare, to find success in the, army, as well as an entrepreneur and speaker.
Lusene grew up in Monrovia, Liberia, and came to America as a refugee 17 years ago. October 20, 2016 his life changed forever where he ended up having a grand mal seizure and ended up in a coma. He quickly realized that tomorrow is not promised and as long as you have life you should chase after your dreams and things that matter.
He later graduated from Virginia State University as a computer science major, commissioned in the US Army in 2018. Today Lusene is an author, speaker, credit consultant and a United States Army Officer who loves empowering people and helping them build their credit. Lusene is the author of “The Power of Determination: Train Your Mind To Live Your Calling
Myrna: We are witnessing a war in, Ukraine, at this moment, I’m having chills now just thinking about it. We all know that the life of those, refugees, are not going to be easy. Right now, they don’t know where they’re going to be living or how they’re going to eat. So, your journey is an interesting one to talk about in this climate. Tell us, your story.
Lusene: So, originally, I grew up in Liberia, at the age of six, in 1990, Liberia had a civil war. I was born in 92. So I was born during the height of the Civil War. And I remember at the age of four or five years old that we would have rebels coming up coming the house and my mother at the time, she would hide me on the ceiling from the rebels, because they were looking for young men to fight the war. Children are the easiest individuals to take advantage of.
So my mom would always hide me, up in the ceiling, just to make sure they don’t find out that she has a male child. She eventually gave me to my grandmother to go live in a village in a different country, Guinea. So I lived in Guinea for about two years. It was a lot of struggle there we used so to eat in the same bowl. We all used to play together. It was more family, but it was a lot of struggle because at the time I didn’t know who my father was.
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I didn’t have my mother, I was just living with my grandmother and all my cousins and we were fighting to eat food. So it was it was one of those things that when I look back, at the position that I’m in right now, I am so humbled because especially I can resonate with what some of the individuals in, Ukraine, are going through because being a, refugee, is something that I wouldn’t wish on anyone.
So once I left Guinea, I went to Ivory Coast, there was a civil war in the Ivory Coast and everyone that was not Liberian they were trying to kick them out the country. You needed this thing called les de Paseo, which is kind of like in America, a green card to stay in the country. America had a resettlement program for, refugees, in Ivory Coast to bring them to the states so my family applied. Nine months later, we ended up coming to America as, refugees. Initially we were on, welfare, collecting checks, food stamps, and all that, but eventually my mother got off, welfare.
Training the mind to get off welfare
Myrna: That is such a beautiful story. I came from Guyana, we weren’t that poor, but it’s still a third world country. I had the opportunity to go to Canada. That’s what’s got me out of my poverty. And then I ended up coming to United States. I support a charity that’s called food for the poor. And one of the things that they show are the kids in Africa eating from one bowl of rice. Oh my God, it breaks my heart. So you went through all that and then you ended up with a grand mal seizure? How did that happen?
Lusene: So after I came here, I moved around a little bit, and I moved to Philadelphia, I was living with my uncle in Philadelphia, where I graduated high school. I was working while in college, I was working a lot. I was, training the mind, by working hard and being determined to get off, welfare. I was working about 18 hours, I had school, I had ROTC, I was the Army Reserve. I was just doing too much.
I ended up having a seizure because I wasn’t getting adequate amount of sleep. I wasn’t eating a lot of nutrients. So my brain went into a shock and I ended up having a coma. I had a seizure initially, where I broke my left shoulder while I was sleeping, I then had a grand mal seizure, at the hospital. The seizure was so bad that I ended up in a coma for about six to eight hours.
Myrna: How old were you then?
Lusene: 24 years old.
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The Army trains you mentally and builds character
Myrna: Wow, so somebody told you about hard work, you came to America and you worked. It’s one of the things that immigrants do. You know, we’re not lazy. You’re trying to make it in this world and overworked yourself. Alright, but again, all our experiences in life are guiding us through something and what that you said in your bio. What you realized after this happened to you is that tomorrow is not promised and you should chase your dreams. So why did you decide to go in the, army?
Lusene: One of the main reasons I decided to join the, military, was because I wanted to challenge myself as an individual. Prior to joining the, army, I realized that I wasn’t challenging myself while I was living my life. And one of the things I realized that a lot of successful people have trials and tribulation, but they get through things that challenge them.
I joined the, army, because I looked at myself in the mirror and saw that I was not mentally where I needed to be. I wanted to develop my character to become better. So that’s one of the main reasons why I joined the, army. I think the, army, has been a blessing to me because it has helped me to be very resilient in everything that I do.
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Training the mind to become present
After I had the seizure, the doctors told me that I should give up on all my dreams because I was disabled and would stay on welfare since I would not be able to get a normal job. And that never resonated with me because I looked at myself in a mirror and, trained my mind, to become present. I said I did not come to this land of opportunity to be on, welfare.
So I challenged what the doctor told me. I started to, train the mind, with, meditation, until I was able to get off my seizure meditation. I told the doctors I did not want to stay on a seizure medication. I have a dream and I will return to the, army.
Another blessing was the fact that because I was in the, army, they paid for my medical bills which was over $350,000. I told my physical therapist, I can overcome this, I’m already, resilient. I’ve been through so much as a, refugee, so much, mental training, in the, army. I didn’t come to America to collect a disability check.
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Training the mind to build character
Myrna: Your first goal was that you recognized that you wanted to, train the mind, and you wanted to build your, character, and that’s why you went into the, army. And I’m understanding why the doctor was thinking that you would always be on disability because normally the cause of a seizure is something mental. And maybe he diagnosed that you’re always gonna have seizures.
Lusene: To, train the mind, to build, character, I asked myself:
How determined Are you?
How bad do you want to establish yourself?
How bad do you want to tell the world your story?
How bad do you want to write a book?
How bad do you want to set yourself up for success outside of the, army?
And that’s where my, determination, came from because I kept on talking to myself. I kept on repeating affirmations. I kept on turning down all the haters and naysayers that were saying I’m too young, I don’t have any credibility. And one of the things I realized is how can you get, credibility, if you don’t have a product? The best way to have, credibility, is what to get, credibility, so you have to start something.
Myrna: You were in the, army, and wanted to have a job outside the, military?
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Finding a product to build credibility
Lusene: Yes, I’ve always had multiple jobs even while I was in college. So I was never used to having one source of income, but it was a little difficult, with senior leaders constantly discouraging you and telling you that you cannot do this because you don’t have the, credibility, because in the, army, your rank is low.
Myrna: So what is it that you wanted to go after? Is that your credit consulting business?
Lusene: One of my ultimate dreams is to become the number one speaker on the planet, but the credit counselling business came very easy to me. I wanted to chase my dream of, entrepreneurship, and at the time, I didn’t have a product. So, I actually enrolled in Eric Thomas program, and one of the things he said was the best way to get credibility, was to write a book.
I started researching things that came very easy to me and, how to build credit, was very easy because I took my credit score from about 585 to 840 in 18 months. I realize this was an amazing accomplishment, and I said to myself, I have a skill that can teach other people. I started teaching people, how to build credit, for free and when I had 20 clients, I started charging and then eventually I went ahead and got certified. Check out my credit counselling course @
Myrna: Okay that’s awesome, I love that determination.
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How the army trains the mind
You book is about, training your mind, to achieve your calling. How did the, army, train your mind?
Lusene: So this is how the, army, train the mind. When you first get into the, army, you go through this thing called reception and immediately they tell you drop your bags, and you have sergeants yelling at you telling you what to do trying to break you. They tell you this is what you’re gonna do, they strip out all the civilian out of you. They now tell you, you are no longer a civilian. You are in the, US army, you’re a, soldier.
Now you’re going to be told what to do. Once you have acknowledged that, some people don’t, some people do. But once you have acknowledged that now they tell you to call your parents let them know you’re safe. You’re now in basic training. They’re now telling you when to wake up, when to go to bed, when to have personal hygiene and all those things.
Why the army trains the mind
The reason why the, army, train the mind, is to condition you as a, soldier. You’re going to be told to execute missions from higher officers, so they start, training the mind, on accepting orders in basic training. The first thing that the, military teaches you, is you have an assigned weapon. When you have an assigned weapon, what that does is that teaches you how to take care of something that you’re going to use to eventually kill someone.
So you’re going to learn everything about that weapon, because at the end of the day, if you’re deployed and your weapon jams, you have to know how to fix the malfunction. That could save your life.
After you learn how to take care of your weapon, you start training your legs. The, army, trains your mental toughness because they want you to be, resilient. They want you to be mentally fit, so when you’re tired, you stay sharp. You’re going through this training in the span of eight to nine weeks, where you’re waking up at four in the morning, you’re sleep deprived, and you haven’t seen your family, you don’t talk to your family, and you’re constantly being challenged.
That is how the, army, train the mind. You’re constantly waking up at 4 am in the morning, you’re constantly going to bed exactly at 9 pm, you have to make up your bed. You have to make sure your bed is detailed. You have to make sure your laundry is done. You have to make sure your lockers are clean. Don’t say these are small things. They’re, train the mind, to be a, US soldier.
You can take those lessons and you can apply them in your personal life or whatever it is that you want to do in your career.
Myrna: I absolutely love it. I read a few books on the Navy Seals training, but they, train the mind, of every, soldier.
The Power of Determination: Training the mind to live your calling
Tell us about your book why you wrote it and what you want the readers to walk away with.
Lusene: The book: The Power of Determination: Training the mind to live your calling tells the story of what I went through as a, refugee, being abused by an uncle who was mentally and physically abusive, joining the, army, having a seizure while in the, army, and still ended up enrolling myself in a speaker program. I talk about my credit program and , how to build credit, and give steps to help you, repair your credit.
The reason why you should get the book, it’s a highlight my story of all the things that I went through, all the trials and tribulation, just to stay on course and stay, determined. I think one of the most important things in life is for you to literally, train the mind, to find your, calling. I wanted to, train the mind, to live my, calling, because I believe that every single one of us have a, purpose. We all have a, calling. And my, calling, is to inspire millions of people around the world by speaking. Check out Lusene on his website https://lusenedonzo.com/ and follow him on instagram @lusene2motivate
Out of the Snares, a story of hope and encouragement is a book written to encourage women of color who were born in lack. It showcases my, personal growth, journey and how I got, out of the snares, of poverty and, child abuse.
Myrna – I am a, life coach, I host a show on the preach the word television network called Transform Your Mind to Transform Your Life, one of the reasons that I wrote the book, Out of the Snares, is because I believe and I wanted to encourage women that it is not where we come from, but where we end up that’s important.
It’s also the only way that we can go through that transition like from a caterpillar to a butterfly is if we allow the things that happen to us in life help us with, personal growth. We should use challenges to transform ourselves and for our, personal development.
So, the book, Out of the Snares, is basically a story of my life. I wrote it from a, life coaching, perspective with 10 principles of, life experiences, that happened to me and what I learned from those, life experiences.
I’m a, life coach, but I do most of my coaching on my show Transform Your Mind. It is a radio, podcast and a television show.
Dr O.C Pringle: You’re doing it all sister Young, you’re doing it all right and so of course your inspiration would be your, life’s experience, and, child abuse. let’s talk about that.
Out of the Snares of Child Sexual Abuse
Myrna: I was, sexually abused, as a child in Guyana by a family friend. He was technically my Godfather, but being from a third world country, a very poor country and he was very rich.
We would call him a, pedophile, he showered me with a lot of attention, and bought me a lot of gifts and then took advantage of that.
I didn’t realize that we were doing anything wrong until I became 13 and started having Boyfriends.
DR O.C Pringle: Until you became what? Wait how old were you?
Myrna: This, sexual abuse, began at age 10.
Dr O.C Pringle: Wow did anything ever happen to this guy?
Myrna: No, because like most children I didn’t say anything about it. I told no one. This book was my first experience talking about it and I in my 40’s when I wrote, Out of the Snares. My dad read the book and was very upset that he did not know this was going on.
Children carry a lot of shame regarding, sexual abuse, I still carried shame when I wrote, Out of the Snare. As you can see I used my maiden name Trotman for the author name.
Dr. O.C Pringle: So, you placed Myrna Bernadette Trotman on the cover of the book, because you didn’t want people to know it was you, but your picture is on the cover!!
Myrna: I started to release shame when I started talking about the, sexual abuse, and when I learnt that children can’t give consent for sex. So whatever guilt and shame that I had attached to my, sexual abuse, I released it.
Dr O.C Pringle: Well listen it worked out for your good, but all things work together for the good of them that loved God and are called according to his, purpose, so your, sexual abuse, worked in your favor. You were able to redirect that energy into something positive where you’re helping people all over the world. You’re on radio and on television, yes you are some kind of a woman.
Out of the Snares, a story of hope and encouragement
So, let’s talk some more about the book.
Myrna: Out of the Snares, is made up of 10 principles in life that we should live by:
Keep Your, Vision, in Front of you– Dare to dream big dreams and understand the principles of vision casting.
The events in your life whether good or bad, work together for good– God said I know your expected end. Stay the course; don’t give up until you win.
Let the, Universal Laws of Attraction, the, Laws of Intention, work for you– Ask and it will be given unto you.
Have a, Positive Mindset– Take control of your thoughts and attitudes. Get rid of ANTS (Automatic Negative Thoughts)
Use what you have in your hand– You were created with a purpose; God gave you the skills and talents you need to complete your task. Stop waiting for the right time.
Be intentional about your Growth– Be proactive, be intentional, build on your gifts, and continually improve.
If you build it, they will come“ Be a servant first.
Find your Passion– it is the Fire in your belly. Become conscious of what lights you up. God put that Fire in your belly as a beacon to achieve your purpose.
Love– it is what makes this Human experience worthwhile. Love yourself first. Love is spirit, God is spirit.
Business Consciousness– how to create a startup company and succeed in marketing.
Oleg Lougheed has a very interesting story of how he turned the, adversity, of his birth in Russia, living in an, orphanage, from 9 years old and then being adopted by an American family at 12 years old.
I love stories, right now I’m like almost addicted to Oprah’s master class, because all she does is ask these influencers and stars to share their story and it always starts with their childhood. Oprah spends an enormous amount of time on their childhood story, because your childhood is what shapes into the person you are today.
Listen to the full interview here:
Introduction to Oleg’s story of Adversity
The memories made in the first 12 years of my life were painted with shades of, poverty, loss, and a dim hope for a better life.
A hope that acted as my only survival method.
A hope that got me where I am today – 5,500 miles across the world – 5,500 miles between myself and the life I was destined to live.
I said goodbye to my birth Mother at the age of 12, not realizing that I would never see her again. I never met my Father.
I learned early on what alcoholism was, what starvation felt like, and what sacrifice meant.
For me, it took leaving the place I called home to find a better life in America.
It meant saying goodbye to my Mother, Sister, relatives, friends, and saying hello a new family and new friends.
At 12 years old, I was adopted from an, orphanage, in Chebarkul’, Russia to a family in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Adoption, changed my life.
Adoption, opened a door into a new world and forced me to close the door to everything I had ever known.
I am here today to tell my story.
The story of how I overcame my own odds.
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Turning Adversity into Opportunity
One of the reasons I love your story Oleg is because you’ve used your, adversity, to propel the, opportunity, you were given by being, adopted, by an American family.
Oleg says, adoption, changed his life which you know sometimes, adoption, is good and sometimes it does not take. I am also an adoptive mom so I can identify a little bit with your story.
I was born poor myself in, Guyana. I did not encounter starvation. or alcoholism and I was not, adopted; but my maternal aunt sponsored my mom and her three kids to move to Canada to live a better life.
My first question is, we’re your adoptive parents able to heal the pain you experienced the first 12 years of your life?
Oleg – Before I share about my, adoption, let me give you some context into my own background. I’d like to acknowledge the fact that stories do play a critical role, overcoming adversity. Everything revolves around the story we tell ourselves. Our internal dialog.
My world shifted from, adversity, to, opportunity, when I stopped being the victim. As you had mentioned being born in Russia and living there for the first 12 years of my life and having experienced quite a bit of difficulty and, adversity, and tragedy.
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I began to realize I did not have the mindset that I have today. Back then I did not have the resources; I did not have the knowledge that is found in the book “Think and Grow Rich” and other great books.
So, for me it was about figuring out from day to day how to survive. It is funny that you mentioned Oprah because Oprah had a similar impact on my life. I once watched a video of Oprah sharing her story and there was a segment in that story where she spoke about her childhood and the trauma that she faced when she was a young girl.
One of the ways that she was able to, overcome adversity, was by believing in a better future or a brighter day. That is exactly how I survived as a child, by believing in a brighter future. Thinking of a brighter future, when I was nine years old, I was faced with the decision to either continue living with my mom and my sister or go and live in an, orphanage.
I chose to go live in an, orphanage, not realizing that meant not seeing my mom and sister again. I was adopted at 12 years old. I was able to come to the United States and hit the restart button. I think, adoption, has really helped me recognize that my life of, adversity, leading up to it was a dress rehearsal for the, opportunity, that lies ahead.
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After I was, adopted, I remember I was looking back upon my past and I lived in, victimhood. I lived in, victimhood, because I looked at all of those previous circumstances and asked, “why me.” I began to realize after a couple years that I could turnaround, adversity, into, opportunity.
That is when my life started to shift once again. I started my desire and passion for personal growth and personal development. Started seeing, opportunity. I did not just read books anymore I became a part of those books.
Myrna – My circle back question is “Do you feel that your, adoption, was Successful? Were you able to adapt to your new family and be not being able to see your birth mother?
Oleg – Before I fully answer that question, it’s important to identify what successful, adoption, means to me. One of the biggest reasons why I choose to look at my, adoption, experience as successful as my parents were and still are tremendous human beings. They never raised their hand on me, they’ve always kept an open mind and open heart regardless of what the situation and circumstances I presented as a teenager.
Teenage boys not all; but some do not always make the best decisions, especially those who had a painful past from, adversity; but that is one of the beauties of my parents, even though we went through the ups and downs. We went through the multiple years of therapy both individually and collectively as a family. What really made this journey was beautiful that they continue to be there for me every step of the way.
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Myrna – It was an, opportunity, which is why we’re talking about turning, adversity, into, opportunity.
Why you think, adoption, changed your life?
Oleg – For me, adoption, one of the changes in my life was because it gave me a second chance in life. It gave me another, opportunity, to live the life that I once upon a time dreamed of. After going through, adversity, from a very young age and then after the, adoption, I chose a different story.
I started to ask the question “what am I here to learn”? What is this, adversity, here to teach me? I started to pair each one of those, adversities, with a lesson or a takeaway. My perspective became completely different. I was no longer letting the circumstances define me; but rather I was looking at those circumstances as something that I can learn from to move forward.
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Reframing your adversity into opportunity
Oleg – I started to tap into purpose. I was able to approach that initial question of” why me”? through the lines of if not you then who. I started to experience this sense of energy that was flowing through me from the, adversity, of my birth. I asked myself, what do I channel this energy into? I wanted to create a space for people of similar experiences such as those who are, adopted, or have gone through the foster care system. Create just an open space for them to share their experiences to be able to embrace and accept all aspects of that journey.
I wanted to highlight all the, adoption, and foster care stories because, how can a prospective, adoptive parent, know of the other side if they’re only being presented with the side of the social worker.
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When I started this, I received quite a bit of criticism, but I just started to create a space for people to write in comments or share their story. Eg my, adoption, was terrible because of x y z. I would just say “why tell me more.”
Oleg – There’s a section in the book where he talks about judgment. Goggins says why judge anyone if you can still remember the feeling of being judged yourself. I started to realize that one of the reasons why I chose to not only respect myself; but respect those surrounding me is because in a way I’ve experienced what it was like to not be respected or
not be taken seriously.
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I wanted to shine a light on humans because I truly do believe that every single person has value to offer to this world, not only those who have made it or are successful but those who turned, adversity, into, opportunity. Our society is only interested in the stars’ stories and podcasters are only interested in interviewing these stars because it builds their podcast.
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How can our listeners and those watching on YouTube connect with you?
Listeners can connect with me on Linkedin. That’s where I spend the majority of my time. Part of the work that we do is we host events that focus on different themes and elements of the personal narrative. Our event this January is called “Survive to Thrive Attitude of Gratitude”
It’s really about tapping into, gratitude, but not solely through the lens of who or what you are grateful for; but digs deeper.
You can also connect with me through our website “Overcoming Odds” and you’ll be able to find us through Facebook and other social media channels @oleglougheed
I want to remind you to subscribe on the Transform Your Mind YouTube channel. To listen to the full interview of my conversation with Oleg head over to iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts and remember to leave a review and subscribe.
I would like to also invite you to join my Facebook group called life coach. We have a lot of Life coaches in the group who share inspirational messages every day including myself.
Until Next time Namaste
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