Transcript: Thanks, Alan. Our special guest today is the Empowering Story Whisperer, Leslie Karen Hammond from New London, Connecticut, and welcome. How are you today?
Leslie Karen Hammond: Thank you, David. I am extraordinary. It’s always a good day. You decide or choose what kind of day you want to have, not based on the weather or not based on the mood of the other people in your household. It’s just like, “Let’s make today a great day.”
David Brower: That’s exactly right. I could not agree more. Then, what makes it better is I get up. I have a cup of coffee. I commute 16 feet to the studio, pet my dog. It’s a good day.
Leslie Karen Hammond: That sounds divine, if I ever heard of a morning routine.
David Brower: Then, kiss my wife goodbye because she has to go to work.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Oh, well, bless her. Hopefully, she’s doing something she loves.
David Brower: The Empowering Story Whisperer, I mean I could read off all your stuff here, but then, the show would be over. You have a lifetime of experience and starting off as a young child with some challenges and things that help make you who you are today, I would assume.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Well, yes. That title does not come without a lot of personal transformation stuff behind it. I firmly believe that anyone who has a mission that’s close to their heart and is here to serve others, they do so because of virtually, the polar opposite of what they appear like now. They look very professional. They look like they have their act together, and none of that happens out of the blue. It’s all a matter of, I mean, this extreme process of really taking a look at all of these events that have happened to say, “Oh, let’s look at this,” and “Oh, I don’t need to be defined by this,” but if I take a look at what I can learn from this, how it can help me be a better person or how it can help me be of more service to the people that I am here for, then, none of it was done just for the sake of someone being uncomfortable or in pain.
David Brower: No question about it. It took me a long time to figure out that everything in life is an opportunity, and when I’m authentic enough to actually acknowledge that and be probably 80 to 85% true with it. It changes your life, and your server heart grows bigger. Life is just better all the way around.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Oh, absolutely. The one thing that I chuckle now, of course, I’m not chuckling in the moment when it happened, but every time that I’m facilitating something or I’m giving a talk, teaching a workshop or I’m asking people to do. In fact, just this Saturday, I was facilitating something, and I was hoping no one was watching my face, because when I create material, I don’t do so thinking about what my own reactions will be as I’m doing the work with the folks who are doing it.
David Brower: That makes perfect sense to me, yes.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Yes, because if you’re attached to outcomes, then, what’s the point? You’re doing a disservice to the process than to everyone who you’ll be influencing.
David Brower: Right.
Leslie Karen Hammond: As I’m doing this work, I can feel my face grimacing, and I can hear the sighs. I’m just hoping that everybody’s busy doing their own work, and they’re not paying attention to me because so often, in our society, people hold facilitators and teachers in this guru position like they’ve done all the work. They’ve mastered this. They’ve mastered that, and for those who serve most authentically, that statement couldn’t be farther from the truth.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Leslie Karen Hammond: They’ll be the first to admit, “Oh, I haven’t got this whole thing figured out.” I mean I’ve processed a lot of my own stuff, and I told everybody that was here. “Don’t think for a minute that I am coming to you from this place of perfection and that I know all the answers,” I said, “Because I don’t.” I am processing, sometimes, things that keep coming back, but every time this invitation gets handed to me by the maître d’ with the beautiful bowtie and the silver platter and the white gloves.
David Brower: That wasn’t me. I swear to God. That was not me crashing your party.
Leslie Karen Hammond: It’s like every time that this invitation comes forward, it may feel initially or intellectually, is a better way to say this. Intellectually, it may appear like it’s the same work you’re doing again. However, we are different people from one minute to the next. I mean five minutes, five hours or five days later, we are different people. We’ve evolved from this emotional, physical energetic intellectual being that we were. Every time that invitation comes to revisit something, it’s always being revisited from a different place.
David Brower: That makes perfect sense for a couple of reasons to me, because one, it keeps you fresh because you’re continuing to grow your process and learn more about you during each session, which makes, if I happen to hit three of your sessions over the course of six months, I’m hearing new stuff.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Mm-hmm (affirmative), absolutely. For so many people, vulnerability and shame or disempowerment and weakness still go in the same sentence.
David Brower: Yes, yes.
Leslie Karen Hammond: There is only a handful who can truly take vulnerability and see it for the empowerment tool that it really has the capacity to be. I mean nobody wants to deal with anyone who believes they’re perfect.
David Brower: Right, right. Let me ask you a question. Is this as basic as, “It’s hard for me to receive a compliment,” or “It’s hard for me to say thank you,” those kinds of tough things for some people?
Leslie Karen Hammond: Oh, sure. I mean that and although that appears like something very basic, yes, indeed. It can begin there. Essentially, that is the tip of the ice burg, and the complexity that lies under the surface of that is enormous. Until we’re ready, all of these little synopsis and these connections, they don’t happen until we’re at a point that we can process it. Sometimes, and I’ve taught a lot of women about the act of graciously receiving a compliment because it could be … I mean there’s a number of things that could have happened in the past to have someone believe they need to deflect it, but sure, things can be … They can start at that very basic level, absolutely. Even more primal when there are no words involved, looking at someone else in the eyes.
David Brower: Just eye contact, right?
Leslie Karen Hammond: Exactly.
David Brower: Yes.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Exactly.
David Brower: On your website, your mission starts with Your Journey Matters. As I read through that, it says, “Your past will become your future unless you change the story.” You really work with people on understanding their old tapes, if you will, and how to scratch a new surface. How does that process work with you?
Leslie Karen Hammond: It depends on where someone really wants to go and where they choose to come in. In a perfect world, it might look like a three-year process that could be everything from, “Let’s sit down and have a conversation about the root of one particular thing that you believe would be helpful for you to energetically detach from.” Then, once someone believes they understand what that is, then, there’s discussion around that. “Let’s take that a little deeper. Well, is that really what it is?” If this matter of continually mining to see what’s really under the surface and, nine times out of 10, it’s always something different than what people believe that it is. There are different protocols to help people cut and heal whatever this tie is. Then, as we move from there, it depends on where someone would like to go next. I do things, as well as help people publish their stories because the act of putting those words on paper is incredibly transformational because the thought of putting something out there for other people to read is probably the second most heroic act of vulnerability.
The first being getting up on stage and talking about your story, which I’ve also helped people do as well. It is incredible, and it’s such a privilege to watch that transformation occur in people because when someone feels more confident, they have this deliberateness in the way they move through their day-to-day, the way they interact in all of their relationships, the way that they begin to speak up, the way they feel more comfortable following a certain direction instead of feeling fragmented or constantly floundering. A lot of times, people think, “Oh, I don’t want to dive into this ‘personal transformation business’ because I don’t have time to deal with this proverbial can of worms.” Then, never mind the fact that if it’s got anything to do with relationship with someone else, then, it’s not only their can of worms. It’s the worms of everyone else too
David Brower: Absolutely, absolutely.
Leslie Karen Hammond: The notion of doing that for some feel so completely overwhelming. They feel like it’s easier to just keep sweeping this stuff under the carpet, to keep ignoring it. They just don’t believe they have the bandwidth. The part that is so sad is it doesn’t take as much effort as people think. Yes, there’s work involved there, but the reward is 10 fold. When someone has guidance to help them like the Sherpa that’s there, helping to make sure that they stay on course. They feel supported. They don’t feel like they’re alone. Then, that makes all the difference in the world. Can you just imagine-
David Brower: My sense is that … Go ahead.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Oh, can you just imagine, I’ve had people say to me, “I would love to live in a world, and I want my children to live in a world where people are as happy and peaceful and grounded as I feel right now.”
David Brower: Wow. Sign me up for that.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Exactly. Who wouldn’t want to leave that world to their children?
David Brower: Who wouldn’t want that? Yes. It strikes me that you have instant credibility when you sit with somebody or speak before a group is my sense, which allows them to open up their vulnerability a little sooner than maybe in other scenarios. I mean you’ve got to have some credibility and some trust pretty quickly for people to share their vulnerabilities with you, right?
Leslie Karen Hammond: Well, I do, and if I could share a really quick story with you?
David Brower: Please.
Leslie Karen Hammond: I’ve recently come back from five weeks in China. I had the privilege of being part of an organization called The World Academy For the Future Of Women. Part of the reason I went was to teach college-age women who were part of this organization, getting to know themselves as a leader. Before I began teaching my module, I was asked to fill in for a coaching session, which meant a group of these women would come together. They would sit in a circle, and they could ask a question about the module they were taught that week. If they had a personal challenge, whatever the case, it was open forum for whatever they needed. I had just gotten it. I hadn’t met any of these young women yet, so the first coaching session that I sat in and substituted for, there were four women, and to speak to that credibility that you just spoke of, not from an egotistical standpoint by any means, but-
David Brower: No, no, no. No. Yes.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Three of these four women that just met me were sharing things I could have never imagined someone would feel comfortable sharing just meeting me. One of them was in tears because she was running out of money for school and supplies, had a part-time job, and she had a brother who was very sick and needed surgery. She couldn’t ask her parents for money. Another one who was having a problem was a professor and was just in tears because she just didn’t know what to do. Then, a third one who was talking about her father who had severe depression and how she didn’t want to be around him anymore and how she was so concerned about that becoming her story as well. I just met these women, and here, they’re pouring their hearts out to me. I mean I’m in the verge of tears right now. One of the things that so moved me was I went there with an open heart, and everything that I do, I engage from this place of service and openness and vulnerability that I came back from that trip, feeling like I found a family I didn’t know I had.
David Brower: I love that. Oh my gosh.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Connections that were made where I spent less than 24 hours with people, some of which, there was this one woman that we were hugging each other and crying as we’re saying goodbye. Less than 24 hours I spent with her.
David Brower: What a gift.
Leslie Karen Hammond: So profound.
David Brower: Absolutely.
Leslie Karen Hammond: There’s something to be said about the way that you show up. The energy of your person, the power of your intent and your desire to serve, people feel that.
David Brower: I couldn’t agree more. That is so well-said. They are either … I mean if you have a room of 12, let’s say, or a circle of 12, and you get four or five people to open up like that and bring them and you to tears, man, that’s got to soften maybe some communication with the other six or seven to a, “Wow, maybe I should think about that a little bit.”
Leslie Karen Hammond: Absolutely. My intent everywhere I go is to create this environment of safety and of peace where a person can do whatever they need in that moment, with no attachments to outcome because it doesn’t matter to me what they do, as long as there’s a seed that gets planted or a veil is lifted. They see even one thing from a different perspective. All it takes is a little …
David Brower: It’s just one.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Exactly. A little crack in the pavement, and a tree can shoot out.
David Brower: Yes, the faith of a mustard seed.
Leslie Karen Hammond:Yes.
David Brower: Absolutely right. This is so much fun. I think we could do this for several hours.
Leslie Karen Hammond: I’m sure we could.
David Brower: We’ve only got a couple of minutes, so I want to make sure that we get all kinds of information out there for folks to reach out to you. First and foremost would be website, lesliekarenhammond.com. That’s H-A-M-M-O-N-D.com, and there’s tons of resource on there. I think you got 26 posts on your blog, along with video versions of that. They’re incredibly empowerful. I mean people could spend an incredible amount of time just getting comfortable on your website and feel like they know you.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Well, thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment because the intent-
David Brower: It is, yes.
Leslie Karen Hammond: The intent was for people to get what they need.
David Brower: Yes, it’s there. It’s really well done. You are known as the Empowering Story Whisperer, and we just gave an example of that with your visit in China, which is really quite remarkable. You’re also a three-time author, Keep it Real, Why We’re Afraid to Speak Up and What To Do About It, Women Rising: How to Go From Uncomfortable to Unstoppable, which is great, and Tap Your Source. You got another book in the works?
Leslie Karen Hammond: Oh, you bet I do. A lot around the experience in China and how much I’ve grown and shifting and rediscovering how I fit in the world, because I went from thinking globally to behaving globally.
David Brower: Wow. How did that come to you? How did you know that? How did you get in that moment?
Leslie Karen Hammond: A radio interview that I did around Keep It Real.
David Brower: Nice.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Yes. It was all in divine order.
David Brower: Agreed, agreed. The biggest part is, to my perspective, is to show up, have a servant’s heart. You have two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionally.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Yes, indeed.
David Brower: I’m thrilled with the work that you do. I hope people check you out on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest. She’s got her blog post also on YouTube, three-time, almost four-time author. You also have a Facebook group. Tell me about that briefly.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Yes. Well, on Facebook, if you search me, the good stuff is on Healing Through Your Story, and that’s also on Instagram. The Facebook group is called Divine By Design, because everyone is divine by design. There will be inspiration, inspirational posts and pieces that you see in there and me being really vulnerable and tons, and sharing where I am in my process with something at any given moment. Again, it’s a place to provide some authentic inspiration and tell it like it is.
David Brower: Well, good for you. God bless you in the work you do. You touch thousands of people, I’m going to say, every day. I don’t know if that’s true, but it sure feels like it. Thank you for sharing your gift with so many and especially with our listeners today. It was really a joy talking to you, Leslie. Thank you.
Leslie Karen Hammond: Oh, it’s been a pleasure, David. Thank you so much, and thank you to all of your listeners.
Alan: Until next time, don’t forget to download your free audiobook at audibletrial.com/your20minutepodcast. That’s audiblerial.com/your20minutepodcast for your free audiobook. Thanks for listening to Your 20 Minute Podcast with David Brower.