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Sometimes when you’re just trying to be good, you stop yourself from being really great and being in your magnificence.

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Hello, and welcome to Retreat and Grow Rich, the podcast. I’m so excited you’re joining us for this special series called Transforming Out Loud. We have a very special guest today, Nicola Humber. If I say it in my British accent, and she’s actually coming to us from upstate New York today, which is exciting. I can’t wait to hear about your journey that led you here from the U.K. to the U.S.

And we’re gonna talk today about, as part of this series, what happens when we are called to be transformational leaders, and spirit works through us in ways that sometimes, “look bad” from the outside, even though we know on the inside they’re healing journeys that are calling us forward in new ways.

And this is in alignment with my mission to normalize transformation on the planet, one intimate retreat at a time, and one truth-based conversation at a time. So the more we are talking about the truth of what’s really happening, kind of behind closed doors, before we put the perfect version of us out on the internet, the more we are creating space for people to tell the truth and really be out there with this is how it works as humans, right?

How it works as humans is transformation is messy, and my brand has been Aligned Entrepreneurs for some time and talking about alignment, and I know I even had the illusion that I would someday get to this place of alignment where stuff wouldn’t blow up anymore and I wouldn’t have to change and grow, and it would feel like this harmonious experience, which it does in a new way now. But really, spirit is always calling us to the next level. So, welcome, welcome. I’m gonna share your bio here.

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Darla LeDoux: So, Nicola Humber is a mentor to unbound women. So we even just start with that concept, which we’re gonna explore today, and you can feel the energy and momentum in that. She activates recovering good girls to embrace their so-called imperfections and shake off the tyranny of shoulds so they can be their fullest, freest, most magnificent selves.

Nicola is the author of two transformational books, “Heal Your Inner Good Girl” and “Unbound.” She’s also the founder of The Unbound Press, a soul-led publishing imprint for unbound women. So, welcome.

Nicola Humber: Oh …

Darla LeDoux: Thank you so much for being here and for raising your hand for the authenticity sequence.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, thank you, thank you, Darla. When I saw that you were inviting people to have these kinds of conversations, and someone had kind of tagged me in your post, and I was like, “yes.” I just had this full-body knowing that-

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: … I wanted to have a conversation with you. So I’m excited to see what comes out of this today.

Darla LeDoux: Even just reading your bio I feel the energy, and how timely this conversation is, and how perfect it is for our audience. So I’m super excited, and in particular, to learn what does unbound mean for you?

Nicola Humber: Well, I’ve had a really interesting journey with this word, unbound. I first came to it … I don’t even know if I’d even heard it before, but I was doing some work quite a few years ago now with Danielle Laporte called Desired Feelings, and just tuning into, okay, well what are my core desired feelings.

And one of them, initially, I thought it was freedom. Freedom has always been a key value of mine, and I’d started my own business to have more freedom. But the word freedom just didn’t really do it for me. It just felt a little bit surface level. I couldn’t feel it in my body.

So, I love words. So, I was looking in the dictionary and the thesaurus to look at other words that were similar to freedom, and I saw unbound. And one of the definitions was “without a cover or a binding,” which related to a book. And I hadn’t even written any books at the time, but it just felt, energetically, like physically I could feel this resonance with the word unbound.

And it really spoke to me because there’s this sense that something has been bound previously. And that’s definitely how I’d felt for a big part of my life, like I’d been held back, often by myself, and still do feel like that at times. So I like the … it kind of feels like a dynamic word, like it’s a continual process, this process of unbinding.

Darla LeDoux: Mm-hmm, yeah. So, what’s an example, maybe from your life, or one of your clients’, of a way we get bound?

Nicola Humber: Oh my goodness. So many. So many. I mean, I work a lot with the idea of the inner good girl, and that definitely came from my personal experience, but also from working with clients. So many of the women I work with resonate with this. They know immediately what I mean when I talk about the inner good girl.

Darla LeDoux: Oh yeah.

Nicola Humber: You know, she is the part of us who wants to get it right, she wants to be perfect, she wants to fit in, she doesn’t want to make a fuss. And for a big part of my life, that’s who I was, or that’s the role that I played, the good girl. Followed the expected path, was the older sister, did well at school, got a proper job in finance. And did that for many years, until kind of my mid-30s. That’s who I was. And I didn’t even recognize how bound I felt by that kind of identity that I had taken on until I started on this journey.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah, it just feels like the norm, right?

Nicola Humber: Oh, yeah.

Darla LeDoux: Like, of course, this is what I’m doing.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: And I was … I received positive feedback continually for playing that role. That’s why I continued to play it for so long. Sorry, I’m getting worked up and bashing my laptop as I’m speaking about it. You know, I was receiving this kind of affirmation all the time.

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: The way I should be. So, for a long time, it didn’t make sense for me to rock the boat and to start doing something different.

Darla LeDoux: So, what happened in your 30s that shook things up?

Nicola Humber: Well, this is one of the things you were speaking at the beginning about how something can look bad and we can feel it, like a bad experience in our lives. And that happened for me, like my early to mid-30s, and at the time, I wasn’t on this transformational path so I didn’t identify it in that way. It just felt like my life was a big mess.

But I mean, what it was, one of the triggers for me starting this process of unbinding, was that I had an affair. I was single and actually had an affair with a married man that I was working with, which went on for a few years, on and off. And of course, we’re talking about the good girl.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: That completely went against the way I saw myself, as this good girl. So that really rocked my sense of identity. Not that I kind of really consciously recognized that at the time. It just felt like, like I said, my life was a mess, that I wasn’t on the right path, that I kind of didn’t have the kind of self-awareness at the time, or the levels of self-awareness, to recognize what was going on. Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: Wow. So, you know, I was probably a similar age when I got divorced, and that was my big like, “oh I failed completely”

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: “I suck at life.” I had married someone who had a child, and so I was the stepmom, which to me, I was a stepkid, so it was like this big identity and huge responsibility that I took on, and then I backed out.

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: And so, very similar. It was like all of the concepts of who I knew myself to be started falling apart.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah. It sounds-

Darla LeDoux: So-

Nicola Humber: … really similar, yeah.

Darla LeDoux: How did you come to create an awareness around it? Or, what did you learn from that process? How did it actually serve you?

Nicola Humber: I think the main way that it served me was I only really knew a part of myself, like a limited part of myself. And of course, we’re always discovering new parts of ourselves, new aspects of ourselves. But it was very limited, this awareness that I had of the different qualities that I embodied in the world. It was very much, “okay, I have to be good, I have to be approved of, I have to be accepted.”

And when I had this relationship, it kind of really made me confront this different side of myself who was completely single-minded in getting what she wanted. You know, as I look back now, I’m like, “oh my goodness. I can’t believe that I did that in that way.” But it’s like-

Darla LeDoux: Well, that could be a skill, right?

Nicola Humber: Yeah, absolutely. And this is the thing. When we acknowledge, and we kind of welcome these parts of us, we can hold them in a more resourceful way. Whereas I’d held all of this down for so long, and it just bubbled up in terms of this relationship had manifested in this quite unhealthy way, although at the time I felt I was in love and this was-

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: … the man I was meant to be with. It turns out it absolutely wasn’t that, but it did provide an opportunity for all of these qualities that I’d kind of pushed away and held in the shadows to come up.

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: So, looking back on it, and again, I didn’t always appreciate this at the time, but it helped me to come home, really, to a fuller expression of myself. And also, at the same time, it did … it was the trigger, or certainly one of the triggers, for me deciding that I don’t want to work in finance, I don’t want to live this life for the next kind of 30 years. I want to do something different. So it kind of opened the door to me doing what I do now.

Darla LeDoux: Amazing. So when you moved through that and came out the other side, wherein this journey did you have an awareness of transformation, or this idea that like, “oh, my beliefs led me here and I can create different beliefs, and I can learn and grow from this experience?”

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm, mm-hmm. Well, throughout this time, and as I was coming towards the end, although I didn’t realize that, of kind of working in the corporate world, I knew that I needed to make some decisions about what I wanted to do in my life. So I took six months out and went traveling, and I went to three countries I’d always wanted to go to, Peru, Australia, and India. And I thought, “okay, I’ll go away and find myself.”

Darla LeDoux: Eat, Pray, Love, right?

Nicola Humber: Exactly, exactly. I don’t even know if I’d read Eat, Pray, Love at the time, but that’s the kind of experience I was looking for.

And although it didn’t kind of happen like that, I think that again was a way of me discovering more of myself. So there’s kind of this … it always took me a while to catch up with myself, I think. I would have these experiences and because I’d been on this kind of good girl path, where maybe I wasn’t particularly self-aware, I wasn’t quite able to kind of see or access the transformation or appreciate the transformation at the time. And it was afterwards that I was able to go, “oh, okay, I can see how that was a turning point.” Now I find it much easier to recognize those situations as I’m in them-

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: … which is helpful.

Darla LeDoux: Yes. Yeah, so that’s my goal, really, is that rather than berating ourselves-

Nicola Humber: Absolutely.

Darla LeDoux: … ’cause I know that’s the natural tendency, we can look at it and go, “oh, okay. This is part of my journey. What’s opening up now?” And really skip a lot of the pain.

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: And, sorry to interrupt you.

Darla LeDoux: No.

Nicola Humber: You know, what you say there about kind of skipping the pain, I spent a long time, really a period of years, in turmoil and pain. Not all the time. Sometimes I could be okay and I could kind of float along on the surface of that. But really, looking back, that whole period, like throughout my early to mid-30s, was very, very difficult.

Darla LeDoux: Yes. So, what made you decide to write your first book, and where does this fit in the journey?

Nicola Humber: Yeah. So, after going through this kind of turmoil in my career and my personal life, I’d been asking the question, “okay, well what else can I do?” Because I really didn’t know what I wanted to do.

And I ended up making a completely intuitive decision, even though I didn’t recognize it as intuitive at the time, to retrain as a coach and a hypnotherapist, because I saw a demonstration by a hypnotherapist who was quite eccentric, to be honest, but there was something in what she shared that really spoke to me, and I was actively and consciously looking for this new direction.

So I decided to do that. Left my job, got a part-time job to support myself, and thought, “okay, that’s it. I’ve made the decision. I’m retraining as a hypnotherapist and a coach. I’m all set now.” And as we know, it doesn’t quite happen like that. That was back in 2008 that I made that decision, and have been … kind of had my own business ever since.

And it took me a long time to actually give myself permission to write a book, even though I’d always wanted to be a writer when I was a little girl. And when I started my business, I was blogging consistently, and always had the idea of writing a book, but never quite got to it.

And what happened was a few years ago now, I went for an angel card reading actually, and the woman doing it, the first thing she said was, “have you written your book yet? Like, they’re telling me you need to write your book.” And I was like, “oh, no I haven’t, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about.” And from that reading, I made the decision. I made the commitment to writing my first book. And the title for that, “Heal Your Inner Good Girl,” just came a few days later. I was out for a walk and the title just came like a download, and I was like, “okay. That feels perfect for me.”

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: It’s interesting. Speaking to a lot of other women now who are writing books, how a lot of us have had that same experience of having some kind of reading, or kind of energy work, or something, and it’s come through to write a book. And it’s almost … I think a lot of the time we need somebody else to affirm it to us, or almost to give us permission to write.

Darla LeDoux: It’s a big decision.

Nicola Humber: It is.

Darla LeDoux: Having published my first book, I started several-

Nicola Humber: Yes.

Darla LeDoux: … at various times, you know?

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: Where I got really inspired and excited but I didn’t set myself up to actually succeed at finishing.

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: And it’s a big deal.

Nicola Humber: It is. Yeah, it is. It’s a big commitment. And also, it’s such … well, I’ve always found it, and the women that I work with also find it such a rewarding experience, and it can be such a transformational process in itself, the actual writing of the book.

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: That’s what I’m really interested in.

Darla LeDoux: So, Heal Your Inner Good Girl … since transforming out loud often is in direct conflict with our good girl-

Nicola Humber: Yeah, absolutely.

Darla LeDoux: You know, if I think back to the fuel for my fire around really supporting us and being more accepting of self, and accepting of others, and what’s going on with people without assumption, a lot of that comes from my own experiences of things that I’ve experienced where it’s like, “oh, I really screwed that up.”

Nicola Humber: Yup.

Darla LeDoux: So, give us some insight around this “good girl,” and how it plays out for business owners and people who want to lead retreats and want to write books and want to make an impact in the world. How does that get in the way?

Nicola Humber: Well, I think from what I know of your work, Darla, we’ve got really similar approaches in terms of running retreats or writing a book, and that is kind of just do it. Whereas the good girl wants to have it all mapped out, and needs to have a really clear plan of what she’s going to be writing about, and wants to know kind of all the chapter headings at the beginning, and for someone to go, “yes, this is absolutely right,” and yeah, give her all those ticks.

It’s like, no, you actually learn through doing. You gain that clarity, often, through doing. And I think certainly with the writing process, when you make that commitment and you get started, even though you’re not clear exactly on maybe where the book is going, you allow it to be messy, the creative process to be messy, which the good girl definitely doesn’t want it to be messy.

Darla LeDoux: No.

Nicola Humber: She resists the mess. But that’s where the creativity happens. That’s where the magic happens in life.

Darla LeDoux: This is so juicy. So, when people are hearing this, it will be past, but I did a Facebook Live talking about … my wife and I are putting the vibration out into the universe to buy a retreat center. And these two parts of me, the part of me that knows how to write a business plan, that comes from corporate, that loves spreadsheets and can map out all the details and micromanage and … that part of me wants to look really good, right?

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: Like, “oh, look at how prepared we are,” and, “of course it’s gonna work.”

And then the part of me that is my more truthful part of me wants to be inspired by a property and let the vision come in a download and let the land speak to me and tell me who it wants to have here. Whereas the logical part of me says, “well, here’s all of the things that are going to work because my brain says they’ll work.” So that’s what I’m hearing in that.

Nicola Humber: Absolutely. Absolutely. And what I encourage women to do, because so many women that I connect with want to write a book. And very often they’ve wanted to write a book for the longest time. And maybe, like both of us, Darla, we started books many times before we actually wrote.

Darla LeDoux: Oh, you did too?

Nicola Humber: Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. But I hadn’t really made that commitment because I guess a part of me didn’t really believe that I could write a book or that anyone would want to read it. All this stuff comes up. But I very much-

Darla LeDoux: Well, and it’s that good girl.

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: For me, I would say the way you’ve described it, that’s what stopped me. Right?

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: Is this in the right order?

Nicola Humber: Exactly.

Darla LeDoux: You know? Is this going to make sense?

Nicola Humber: Oh, God, that question. I know. That can be such a limiting question.

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: Is it going to make sense.

Darla LeDoux: Which is the same thing that happens for people leading retreats also.

Nicola Humber: Exactly.

Darla LeDoux: Do I have the right content?

Nicola Humber: Yes.

Darla LeDoux: I had 182 PowerPoint slides for my first retreat.

Nicola Humber: Absolutely. You know, and that’s the way that we’re taught-

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: … to do things. It’s the way we’re taught to show up.

Darla LeDoux: Oh, I’m glad you said that ’cause I want to explore that a little bit.

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: Why do we get this idea? Where does this kind of character of the good girl come from? And why do we take this on, this idea that we have to have a plan, and know in advance, and have it all tidy?

Nicola Humber: Yeah. We receive these messages in so many different ways from a very young age. I know I did, within my family, certainly at school. I was taught to do things-

Darla LeDoux: Right.

Nicola Humber: … in a set way, have neat handwriting, and for everything to follow the rules, follow the plan. So, everything. And then, you know, when I got to corporate, again, there was a set way of doing things. And I guess I was never really encouraged to think outside of that and to … I never saw myself as a creative person or even thought that was a possibility for me.

So, receive these messages over and over again about, like, this is how it should be done, and if you don’t do it like this, then it’s not right, you won’t be accepted, you won’t be approved of. Receiving those messages consciously and unconsciously, you know? And then in the media as well, particularly as women, we’re kind of encouraged to be a particular way.

Part of being, taking this unbound path myself, has been like really questioning that. Well, how am I showing up, and how am I kind of masking my true self? And part of that was like allowing my natural gray to come through a few years ago. I covered that for years, even though I had my first gray hairs when I was in my teens, but I just dyed it and covered myself. So, we receive all of these messages about how to present the right image or the image that will be approved of.

Darla LeDoux: Mm-hmm. I wonder what role kind of the fact that our society’s been led by men-

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: … plays in this, right? Because it’s a “good girl,” and I mean, there’s certainly the good boy, but I feel that looks a lot different, whereas for women … for me, going into corporate, I mean, it was definitely put on your suit-

Nicola Humber: Yup.

Darla LeDoux: … and do things in the way that’s been mapped out by all of the male leaders before you.

Nicola Humber: Exactly. You know, I go out in a very male-dominated industry and-

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: … certainly the company I worked with, I was the first female financial advisor within the company where I worked, and-

Darla LeDoux: Oh, wow.

Nicola Humber: .. all guys. So yeah-

Darla LeDoux: For me, going to school for engineering, there was this small percentage of women in our programs.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah. So, yeah, I never recognized the … again, this is something looking back, I can say, “oh my goodness. How did I manage to kind of be in that environment and do things in this very kind of masculine way for so long?” Because now I’ve learned to operate in a way that honors the feminine.

But yeah, it’s all of these ways and systems that have been created, as you say, very often by men. And we take them on, often without questioning.

And I know certainly that’s how it was for me, and even when I started my own business, I took all of that into my own business. It was like, “no, I have to kind of have a system, I have to follow a plan, I have to have everything perfect.” If I was gonna do a talk or, like you say, a retreat or whatever it was, it’s like, “no, I have to have every-“

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: “… every single detail planned out.”

Darla LeDoux: When the most beautiful things that happen on retreat are when there was no plan.

Nicola Humber: Absolutely, absolutely, yeah. I ran a retreat last year and it was after reading your book, Darla-

Darla LeDoux: Yay.

Nicola Humber: … actually, and we were in the New Forest in the U.K., actually. One of my favorite places. And one of the days we’d just gone out for a walk, and I’d sent the different women off just to connect with the forest and just see what messages wanted to come through.

And one of them ended up … she came out at the end of the kind of time that I’d allotted, and she’d sunk into the mud. She almost lost her kind of boot in the mud, and she’d been there struggling to get it out, and she kind of came out of the forest sort of covered in mud. And actually, a part of me was like, “oh my goodness, I sent her off into the forest and now she’s had this very traumatic experience.”

But it was so transformational. We were able to kind of explore that and there was so much joy in it as well.  It was something that had gone wrong, had gone wrong-

Darla LeDoux: Right.

Nicola Humber: on purpose. But it was-

Darla LeDoux: I love that you share that story because it is often the things that go wrong that are actually happening for us, right? When things are happening really smoothly, we don’t pay attention.

Nicola Humber: Exactly.

Darla LeDoux: We don’t hear the messages. So, as a leader, holding space for people, if we’re coming from or bringing in this energy of fear, which is so common-

Nicola Humber: Yes.

Darla LeDoux: … then we’re thinking, “what’s my liability? How do I make sure everybody stays safe and comfortable and has a good experience?” But often it’s the discomfort that causes us to grow. It’s actually that gap between what we want and where we are that causes us to grow. So-

Nicola Humber: Absolutely, yeah.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah. What’s been your experience with that?

Nicola Humber: Wow. It’s the same with writing, actually. In my experience, particularly when I wrote my second book, Unbound, it was quite an uncomfortable experience because I’d … In the first book, Heal Your Inner Good Girl, I talk about the idea of the unbound self, the you that expresses all of you, and writing Unbound, I connected with that kind of energy more directly. But the very nature of it is that it can create a lot of transformation, but a lot of challenge and discomfort. So I experienced that through the writing of Unbound, through stuff that was happening in my life.

Also, the writing process, it just is quite messy and chaotic and I was, “ugh.” It didn’t feel comfortable, but the end result is just more than I could have ever hoped for.

So what I’ve learned is, with other women, now, when I’m supporting them in their writing, rather than trying to create a space that is very comfortable and we’re like just creating all the plans and it’s like, “it’s okay,” it’s like, okay, what- inviting them to kind of get comfortable with discomfort and challenge, and to know that when stuff is coming up or when writing something feels … when there’s emotion coming up or they’re going through a process of transformation, what they’re doing is they’re having that powerful experience themselves, then their writing becomes infused with that, and it creates space for their readers to experience the same level of transformation.

Darla LeDoux: Oh, say that again.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, when we allow ourselves to have this transformational experience as we’re writing, when we allow ourselves to really go there, and all the challenge that brings, we actually create space for our readers to experience the very same thing.

Darla LeDoux: Yes. I love it. It’s like the energy gets infused-

Nicola Humber: Yes.

Darla LeDoux: … into the work, right?

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: I mean, because I have people tell me they read my book and they heal things, and that wasn’t necessarily what I’m writing about, right?

Nicola Humber: I know.

Darla LeDoux: Amazing.

Nicola Humber: I’ve had people come to me and say, “oh yeah, that bit in the book, this is kind of what it.” Sometimes I can’t remember the bit in the book that they’re actually mentioning.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: Like, “did I write that?” And the impact that it has is, like I said, so much more than I could’ve imagined.

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: So-

Darla LeDoux: So, let’s go with this idea of … so, the writing becomes infused with the transformation.

Nicola Humber: Yes.

Darla LeDoux: So that’s in the book. But also, in this idea of transforming out loud, this can be if you’re writing a newsletter, or you’re writing a Facebook post, or … for me, I work with my clients on their story when they open their retreat, and it’s not always the same story that you’ve practiced, and it’s perfect, and you walk from here to here, and you drink your water and you … which I was trained in speaking.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah.

Darla LeDoux: This is what you do, and I rejected that so completely. But it really is when you are in, as the leader, in a place of transformation, and you share that transformation vulnerably, people get cracked open to that similar energy of transformation-

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: … just from the sharing. So, how have you harnessed that in your business? Because I know our mutual friend said, “you have to interview Nicola because she models this.” How have you seen that work for you?

Nicola Humber: Well, in every part of my business, it’s certainly my aim to kind of infuse this unbound quality for me to be the fullest expression of who I am in every single element of my business.

Darla LeDoux: Oh, wait. Quick question. When you claimed Unbound as your brand, were you freaking out, like, “oh, great. Now I have to be that?”

Nicola Humber: No, I wasn’t at the time because I didn’t quite appreciate it. But I’ve been shown over and over again, because this is, this word that I work with so closely, and it is. It’s-

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: … it’s my brand. Time and time again, this kind of unbound energy comes into what I do, and things don’t turn out as planned, and clients come to me in different ways that, you know, not in the way that I imagined they would-

Darla LeDoux: Not the plan.

Nicola Humber: Exactly. And it’s the magic. And what has happened is whenever I do, because my good girl was still there, she still wants to make a plan.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: And whenever I do kind of give in to that-

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: … it won’t work. I can only do things in an unbound way, which I’ve come to learn-

Darla LeDoux: Right.

Nicola Humber: … and certainly over the past few years, I just kind of go, okay, if something’s not working out the way that I thought it would, it’s like, okay, well, what am I doing here? Where’s my good girl showing up? How can I-

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: … be more unbound around this? How do I need to show up around this?

Darla LeDoux: And we never get to where it’s 100% ease, right? It’s like the same with the concept of alignment. We’re in and out. We’re in and out, and that is part of the journey.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah. And I know because I’m so clear that what I’m here to do is to support other women in being unbound and unbinding themselves, particularly in their writing and sharing their stories, since I’m so kind of deeply connected to that now and I’m so clear of it, when things aren’t going the way I expected, or challenge is showing up, it’s like it’s okay, because this is what I’m here to do, and it’s all creating the space for other women to experience the same, which is just so-

Darla LeDoux: Would you say it’s that that mission to create that space is more important than your own comfort?

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah. Yes, yeah. It has to be. And paradoxically, that makes it more comfortable, because if I’m feeling discomfort because I know it’s part of the bigger mission, I can be with that a bit easier.

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, so-

Darla LeDoux: That makes perfect sense to me.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah.

Darla LeDoux: So, what’s been the scariest story that you’ve shared, where it’s like, “okay, I know I need to share this in service of the transformation of other women, and this is making me shake a little bit?”

Nicola Humber: Well, you know, the story I spoke about earlier, about having an affair back in my 30s, that is something. I’ve written about it. This is interesting as well, for me, it feels much more comfortable to write about something than to actually speak it, whereas when I speak it, it’s like, “uf.” There’s still a part of me that’s like, “well, what will people think? Will people judge me for this? Will people stop following me if they know this about me?” There’s all of this stuff that comes up.

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: There can be a lot of shame around these different experiences that we’ve had in our lives, and I know I felt a lot of shame around that particular experience.

Darla LeDoux: So, say that again. “That makes it really challenging to share this idea. People might stop following me if they know this about me.”

Nicola Humber: Yeah, exactly. That’s something that comes up, and I think that’s very much a good girl thing, wanting to please everybody.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: You know, wanting everyone to think I’m a good person-

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: … or a nice person, a nice girl. I know, or my unbound self knows-

Darla LeDoux: Mm-hmm.

Nicola Humber: … they’re not my people. If people aren’t able to hear that and to be with me, then they’re not my people, and that’s okay.

Darla LeDoux: So, the unbound self knows-

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: … but the good girl wants everybody to like her.

Nicola Humber: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely, yes. It’s a really key thing for her to be approved of and to be liked. And actually, that experience was a great learning for me because it was a time in my life where I did have to get, or I did have to … I wasn’t comfortable with it. But there were people who were quite obviously kind of disapproving of me and I wasn’t liked by everybody because of that experience.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah, did you lose people?

Nicola Humber: Yeah, I did. I did. It was something that happened in the place that I worked, and I’d been quite close to a number of the people that I worked with, and some of those, you know, yeah, chose not to be my friend anymore. And I found that challenging at the time.

Darla LeDoux: And did you write about it in your book?

Nicola Humber: I’ve written about this in Heal Your Inner Good Girl.

Darla LeDoux: Mm-hmm.Because isn’t it interesting, right, the things that are most traumatic for us actually hold within it our message.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Darla LeDoux: It’s like you can’t share about the inner good girl without sharing about that experience.

Nicola Humber: No, because … this is kind of the paradoxical thing as well. I identified so strongly with the good girl, but still I ended up having this kind of experience that was so not the good girl. And my inner good girl certainly felt a lot of shame around it.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: So it kind of highlights those parts of us, I guess, that we’ve got so strongly attached to.

Darla LeDoux: Yes. Yeah. And it’s the shadow side, right? So if we can’t embrace all of us, it’s gonna come out in an unhealthy way.

Nicola Humber: Absolutely.

Darla LeDoux: I teach this thing on retreat often, called the Old Tired Path, where if we have good, we also have bad. And really, the more committed we are to good, the more we’re sentencing ourselves to everything in life is either good or bad.

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: So, if we’re trying so hard to be good, inherent in that, we’re going to go to the other end.

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: It’s like-

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: … impossible. I think of it as … I had a whole thing about selfish, and the more I tried not to be selfish, the more I would say yes to everything-

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: … because I wanted to be this generous, giving person who will do what you need, which then would have me be in total overwhelm, total scarcity of time, not be able to fulfill my commitments, and I would end up, then, crashing and saying no, and ended up looking very selfish in the end because I didn’t take care of myself in the beginning, right?

Nicola Humber: Absolutely, absolutely. And also, I think, when we have this expectation of ourselves that we’ll kind of show up in this particular way, then we can have that expectation of others. I could be very judgmental in the past of other people who I saw who were not being good.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: Before I had an affair, if I’d heard that somebody else, I probably would’ve been really judgmental of them-

Darla LeDoux: Right.

Nicola Humber: … and critical of them. How could they do that? Because, yeah, I was still very attached to that idea of what it meant to be good.

Darla LeDoux: Totally.

Nicola Humber: It’s the same with selfish as well. When we have that going on for ourselves, we can be judging other people as selfish.

Darla LeDoux: Yes. I share, in this series, about an experience I had this summer. So I’ll let you see it, come out, about last summer. And it’s totally an experience that I would’ve judged people for, that I have judged people for-

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: … that I have gone, “oh, yeah. Where there’s smoke there’s fire.” You know? So, I totally get it.

And so much healing happens for our good girl when we really get in those experiences, and it’s like, this is why I’m so passionate about retreats and the work of transformation and having a container of support as you grow, so you can actually look at it, the little things that are happening that are clues, so we don’t create this big drama to happen to get our attention.

Nicola Humber: Absolutely.

Darla LeDoux: And when we go on retreat or design those experiences into our life, it’s a container and a microcosm where your client might have a breakthrough around why she created getting her boot stuck in the mud-

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: … which is like, oh, that’s a great way to have a breakthrough, as opposed to an illness, or a car accident, or an affair or-

Nicola Humber: Absolutely.

Darla LeDoux: … something like that, yeah.

Nicola Humber: Absolutely, yeah, yeah, and to, yeah, and to do that with a group of other people around you as well, with that container of support-

Darla LeDoux: Yes.

Nicola Humber: … is just really, really powerful. That’s why I love kind of working with women in any group, but around writing as well, because everyone is having experiences as they’re writing, and sparking off kind of insights and awarenesses in the other-

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: … which is so powerful.

Darla LeDoux: So, share a little bit about how you support writers in this process, and really having the writing be transformational, and being willing to share those stories that some part of them thinks, “people won’t love me if they know this about me.”

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm, yeah. Well, I work with women in different ways, so I have a group process, the Unbound Writing Mastermind, which is actually running at the moment, and I also work with women one-to-one. But something that we launched at the end of last year was the publishing imprint, The Unbound Press, which is very exciting. It happened in a very unbound way. I wasn’t planning it. The good girl wasn’t planning it, but it happened.

And this is a publishing imprint specifically for women to share their stories that will inspire and activate other women. And I’m very passionate about that. Some women are coming to us where they have kind of written a manuscript and we’re in talks with them to publish it.

But what I’m really interested in is supporting women right from the beginning of the process. So, someone coming to me with an idea for a book that they have-

Darla LeDoux: So, we’ll just go with an example, because I know my second book is going to come through this year, so-

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: … how would you help me?

Nicola Humber: Well, I would-

Darla LeDoux: I have a title.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, I was going to say, do you have a title? Do you know what? The way I support someone, really, is to be really open about what wants to come through.

So just from that initial idea, we would talk about if you did have an idea of what the time frame would be, but then to really just start writing. Actually, what I would do, initially, and this is something very interesting, and I think, Darla, with the way you run retreats, like when you were talking about your retreat venue and connecting with the land and the venue, the initial starting place that I would encourage one of my authors to start from is to connect with the essence of their book, with the spirit of the book that wants to come through them.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: So I have a process to help people do that. So it’s like you’re not doing it on your own. You’re doing it in collaboration with the book that wants to come through you at this time.

And we also bring the unbound self into that, the you that is the fullest expression of you. She’s a really important ally with you on the journey as well. So it’s like you’ve got this team that you’re working with, rather than just thinking, “okay, I’m gonna map it all out from, kind of, my mind, from head level.” You’re allowing, kind of, the energy, the essence of the book, and your unbound self to come into it.

And then we take it from there. Depending on what’s coming through, I’m really thinking about the journey that you’ve been on that’s led you to write this book, and also the journey you want to take your readers on. So, having a sense of that and the kind of transformation, because these books are all transformational books in one way or another.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: What is the kind of transformation you want to create that space for? And actually setting that intention in itself … Once you make that commitment, things start showing up. Ideas start coming through, you start having experiences or conversations or meeting people-

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: … and it’s all meant to be material for the book.

Darla LeDoux: That’s beautiful. I love it. I love it. It’s like we unlock the soul of your retreat, and have conversations with the retreat, and who is meant to be in this particular container at this time.

Nicola Humber: Yeah.

Darla LeDoux: It sounds very similar.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, exactly. I think, it’s something that I’ve done for a while in terms of connecting with my business and asking my business what wants to come through. So now when I’m writing, I’ve always connected, but since I’ve been working with her, my unbound self, but actually to connect directly with the book as well is very powerful.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah. That’s amazing. So, people can visit your website-

Nicola Humber: Mm-hmm.

Darla LeDoux: … Https://, or Humba

Nicola Humber: That’s it. Humber, yes.

Darla LeDoux: I love it, I love it. I’m hoping to get back over to London this year.

Nicola Humber: Oh, fantastic.

Darla LeDoux: Putting vibes out for that.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, well, I travel back –

Darla LeDoux: Are you going back-

Nicola Humber: And then forwards. Sorry?

Darla LeDoux: Are you going back this year?

Nicola Humber: Yeah, I am. I’m going back next week, actually.

Darla LeDoux: Oh. Wow.

Nicola Humber: I’m traveling back. I spend time in both places. I’m based here in Rochester, in upstate New York, but I go back to the U.K. a couple of times a year.

Darla LeDoux: I’m looking at late June, so let me know if you’ll be there.

Nicola Humber: I will do, yeah.

Darla LeDoux: But the best way for people to really connect in is your Facebook group.

Nicola Humber: Yes.

Darla LeDoux: And it’s The Unbound Collective.

Nicola Humber: That’s it, that’s it. And that’s a space for women to come and really experiment with being their unbound self. And when you join the group, you get access to a range of resources around that as well-

Darla LeDoux: Yeah.

Nicola Humber: … which will help you in particular with your writing, if you’re interested in that.

Darla LeDoux: Yeah. So it’s not just a Facebook group. They actually get access to this portal with different resources-

Nicola Humber: Yeah, exactly.

Darla LeDoux: … that will help them on their writing journey.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Like you say, it’s more than a Facebook group. It’s like a membership community, really, where you do have access to this range of resources.

Darla LeDoux: Beautiful. Anything you’d like to leave people with?

Nicola Humber: Oh. Well, I’m kind of thinking back when you were introducing me at the beginning and what I do is to activate women to be their fullest, freest, most magnificent selves, and that word, magnificent, really struck me. And what came through when you said it was, we can be magnificent without just being good. That kind of … sometimes when you’re just trying to be good, you stop yourself from being really great and being in your magnificence.

Darla LeDoux: Mm-hmm.

Nicola Humber: So I guess that’s what I want to offer as we finish. Maybe that question. Where are the ways that you’re trying to be good, and that’s stopping you from really being in your unbound magnificence?

Darla LeDoux: That’s beautiful. Thank you so, so much for showing up and sharing your brilliance with us. I personally am going to check out your book.

Nicola Humber: Yay.

Darla LeDoux: I don’t know about you, but I always forget to say that, but people can get your book also.

Nicola Humber: Yeah, I always forget that as well.

Darla LeDoux: And get the experience of the transformation. So check out Unbound, and also the original work on Heal Your Inner Good Girl.

Nicola Humber: Absolutely, yeah. I was speaking to someone the other day on an interview, and she thought the first book was called Kill Your Inner Good Girl. It’s like, no, it’s not killing. Kill the good girl. Heal Your Inner Good Girl.

Darla LeDoux: We’ve got to love her up a little.

Nicola Humber: I know.

Darla LeDoux: That’s awesome. Well, thank you. It’s been a pleasure, and we’ll talk soon.

Nicola Humber: Thanks, Darla. Thank you.

Darla LeDoux: Bye. Bye, everyone.

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