Yemi Penn is a global thought leader on empowerment and resilience. An Engineer by profession, Yemi is a champion and tireless advocate for equality and equity in STEM fields. As an Entrepreneur and Mindset Coach, she is an advocate for self-empowerment and resilience as tools to get organisations back on track with wellness and productivity.
She is a force to be reckoned with and has inspired audiences across Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, where she recently delivered her first TED talk at TEDxOcala in Florida.
Yemi is a sought-after speaker and facilitator on the topic of Wellness and she recently facilitated the Lucy mentor program for University Technology Sydney. Yemi focuses on traditional and more modern neuro linguistic methods of transformation to achieve goals. She is an investor for the Women’s Business School, Australia, and is a supporter of the 2020 Ausmumpreneur Awards.
She has worked with companies across the Engineering sector on large projects such as Crossrail, High Speed Two and Sydney Metro in various roles; underpinning her work with clarity and inclusion.
As a serial entrepreneur Yemi has been featured in a number of worldwide media outlets sharing her story and tips for people to change theirs. This includes entrepreneur.com, australiannews.com, Refinery29, MI Woman, The Sun UK, Pleasures magazine UK and more.
Her book is called Did You Get The Memo?: Because I F**king Didn’t.
We don’t all get to start at the same line for the race called life. In spite of enduring childhood abuse and becoming homeless, having fallen pregnant at 24, Yemi has defied the limiting belief that suggests your past has to be your future. She is a self-made millionairess who is devoted to challenging the status quo and has made it her mission to use her voice to guide others to live life on their terms.
Did You Get The Memo? touches on the fundamental pillars of life as we know it; Childhood, Education, Marriage/Divorce, Motherhood, Money, Fear, Entrepreneurship and Time. The book prompts the reader to take a gentle yet necessary journey into figuring out who they are, the journey they have followed so far and the myths they have believed. Yemi’s personal stories invites the reader to transcend into different possibilities and opportunities at the end of each chapter.
Did You Get The Memo? is a must-read for those who feel their lives have taken an unexpected turn and have been left questioning everything! Discover the untapped greatness within you, as Yemi shares tips, tools and mindset hacks to rip up the memo and create the life you want.
Listen to more great episodes at Next Level Soul Podcast
Follow Along with the Transcript – Episode 057
Alex Ferrari 0:23
I like to welcome the show Yemi Penn, how you doing Yemi?
Yemi Penn 2:09
I'm wonderful. Thank you so much for having me.
Alex Ferrari 2:12
Thank you so much for coming on the show. I am, I am excited to talk to you. I'm not excited to talk to you about trauma. But I'm hoping that this conversation can help people listening, deal with trauma identify trauma, it took me many years to identify my own personal trauma, and to write a book about it. We could talk about that later. And the effects that I had on almost 20 years of my life, all of those kinds of things. And I hope that going through your journey can help some people. So I wanted to ask you first and foremost, how did you start your your your spiritual journey, your journey dealing with this? Identifying and dealing with it?
Yemi Penn 2:57
Yeah, I think that I think there were What's the weather like crumbs? There were things that I was doing. Yeah, there you go. There were breadcrumbs, kind of like awakenings, awareness, but I wouldn't have known so I would have been in my late teens, I was at university. And that was when I started to, you know, form relationships, especially sexual relationships with with partners. But I found myself wanting to talk about a particular trauma that happened to me, which now I go back and think it would have felt potentially bizarre to my partners, because it was just potentially the biggest romance killer. So when I go back, I think bread crumbs that was it, I was reaching seeking out but had no idea who it was I needed to speak to the real kind of big thing of okay, you need to do something about it was when I relocated to Australia about eight years ago, and I was going through a divorce and I just thought, yummy, you're broken. Like I literally started to see myself as a broken individual, something I'd never felt before. And then I and someone just advised me, okay, goes go see a therapist, that wasn't necessarily spiritual. But that opened me up to a different paradigm. And from there, I was almost attending every personal development just to figure out who the hell I was. And which layer was overpowering another layer. And that was the beginning of the journey.
Alex Ferrari 4:27
And was it the basically was stuck in your subconscious and it wasn't really conscious because you had a meme. So you had a memory, obviously, of the trauma and if you don't mind, can you talk a little bit about the trauma that you're talking about that we're discussing, and then we can figure out what happened because I again, I understand my traumas and completely subconscious. And I'm assuming it was like that for you as well.
Yemi Penn 4:52
It was so my list and like it you said earlier before we came on, everybody's experienced some level of trauma. You might not want to call it that it It's a distressing or disturbing event, but the one that I kind of figure has played a big role in how I show up in the world with a meme is a memory I have of around seven, eight years old, where my uncle, so this was a family member abused his power, his sexual power to be precise over me. And I've started to say that in a more palatable way, because it, it's hard, it brings you it brings you back. I mean, I'm conscious of trying to protect my own energy. And as I speak more about this, I'm able to, I'm able to soothe my body to say that I'm no longer seven year old Yemi. However, I still do mourn with her because of the loss. And there's a part of me that mourns with other young girls and boys that still go through that type of trauma. But for me, it was being overpowered it was being taken advantage of it was major sexual repression. And, you know, at some point, if, if we're open to I just had my first six therapy session last week, which was huge. But you know, I'm almost 40. And that's how long it's taken, for me to even go and look under that rock. So that that was the particular trauma that happened to me, that really has been the catalyst for the work I'm doing now.
Alex Ferrari 6:14
And on a subconscious level, I mean, you obviously have a memory of the trauma, but yet, didn't the subconscious, because the mind is such a powerful thing, it is your best friend and your worst enemy all at the same time, right? It is built to protect you. And so it's trying to avoid any pain for you. So it hid a lot of the trauma that you you suffered, and not bringing it out to the light. So it was hidden behind you. And again, I'm using my own examples of it, because that's exactly what happened to me. Until finally, it gets to a breaking point in your life. You're like, so many things are happening to you. Or like, there's these patterns, I keep seeing these are bread crumbs you're talking about? And you're like, wait a minute, there has to be something else. And then you go, Oh, wait a minute, it was this thing. And then you you go archaeologically back into your own life? Yeah, like Indiana Jones, and you start figuring out oh, here it is. And when you open up that cave, Oh, that. Whoa, is that a pretty decent example?
Yemi Penn 7:22
You took me on a movie, like my whole mind is with you, especially with the Indiana Jones, that is exactly it. And that can span over decades, decades, decades. Some people think that might happen a couple of weeks, we're talking decades. So mine definitely was suppressed. It was in the subconscious, which is just below below ground. But obviously, there was some memories, I think, on my preconscious, which I've just found that is really just that bit where you know, something happened. And you've heard a few other people speak about it and might be trauma, but you're not sure because you're alive, you're breathing, you don't have any broken bones. So you don't really put it into the conscious, but that the smack I had was when I found that that particular uncle was looking after another little girl in the family. And that was when everything went like, literally, if you could hear cars crashing. That's what was happening in my mind and my heart. And the sad thing now is that, that still didn't create the response I had yearned for. And that was when I realized, Ah, okay, this is something we hide. This is why it's in my subconscious. Because when I came out wanting to speak about it, it literally was everybody just going on about their daily life. And due to the to do this happens, and it still happens today. And of course we put it in our subconscious because like you said, I was trying to protect myself. I like how was I going to operate? If this was going to be the thing on my mind. And yeah, I'm now I'm just creating healthy ways to do that.
Alex Ferrari 8:58
And there's and there's when you have a trauma, a deep trauma like that, depending on how how devastating that trauma is. There's layers upon layers of protection. Like, again, if we go into a movie, you're talking about walls and guards and weapons and like, and it's in its layers upon layers of Defense's that that's what working with a therapist does as you start to break through little by little. And it could take years to finally because some some some people repress these so badly that I did. I didn't even have any idea about my and I keep talking about it. No, give you a quick I want to know Yeah, it's a really quick it's a really quick explanation. I've been in the film industry for many years. And when I was 26, I was I got caught up with a ex gangster who wanted to make a movie of his life. And for a year of my life, I was stuck in this abusive relationship with this person who basically threatened my life on a daily basically was like going to going to work with Joe Pesci from Goodfellas. Like you like one day he's the most funny isn't happiest. And my god, this is great to split second, I'm going to kill you, I'll hit you over the head with a shovel up and dump you in the back. And being 26, Young, fairly green, about life, I was really not a very worldly person at that age. I had no defenses for it. So it wasn't a physical and physical abuse. But the verbal and mental abuse that I took, completely derailed my entire career for 17 years, where I was even afraid of even making, making a feature film, which was my goal in life. My dream was to make a movie. And every time I would get down close to it, I would sabotage myself subconsciously or I would bring in the wrong people subconsciously and nothing. And as I kept saying, Why am I not getting through this? Like, have the talent? You know, not I have more talent than most have more experienced than most. So I can objectively see that I can do this job. Why am I not doing and I found out only after I decided to write a book about it. That's when that exploration happened. And I was just like, it all came rushing out of me. And I was, and again, for people listening. It wasn't 17 years that I was thinking about this, like, Oh God, this guy did I call I call my gangster Jimmy. So again, it's not like Jimmy is like, Oh, what did you do? It's it defines my life. None of that I barely thought about it. After two or three years of very deep depression I went into after that. But after I got back out of it, I I barely ever thought about it rarely ever thought about it. And even impacting you all completely. No, it was it was basically it had the it had the hands on the steering wheel. So it was controlling me subconsciously on the way I moved. Because in this is the weird thing about it with me was that on the on the conscious level, everything I did was about trying to make a movie trying to follow that dream trying to do everything. But the backseat driver was completely derailing me without me knowing it for almost two decades. So it was such a real it was such a such an revelation, when I finally realized what had happened. And I started writing this book, someone said you got to write this book. So I did. And as I started to go back into like I literally had notebooks full of notes of because I said one day, I'll do something with this story. It's just too insane. And by the way, when I was with this gangster, I also was being flown out to Hollywood, and I met the biggest movie stars in the world. And I was, you know, the most powerful people in Hollywood. I was at the, you know, the Shatter Mamasan and the IV and all these amazing places. And I'm in Hollywood, and I have a whole chapter how I met Batman, the act, one of the actors to play Batman and all this. So can you imagine the dichotomy that I had to deal with, which is my life is being threatened on a daily basis. And I'm being verbally abused and beaten down psychologically. And yet, I'm so close to my dream that I could literally, I'm literally a foot away from the person who can make my movie come true, which is what kind of
Yemi Penn 13:22
What contrasting worlds it was mean, that sounds like a complete distance.
Alex Ferrari 13:28
And imagine that for a year, a year of that. So it wasn't just like a little event. It was a year of that. So that trauma that I went through, when I started writing the book and going back into the archives, I started it started to the fence, it started to break down and things started, light wanted to come out and it started to boot. And then all of a sudden I would I would realize that I would literally have to skip chapters of the book while I was writing it because I knew where I had to go emotionally to do I would cry while I wrote it. And after the book was done the first draft, I'll never forget it when I wrote the final words of the first draft. It was gone. It was gone. I just let go of it. And you just needed to get it out. Apparently, that's all I needed to do. Because once I was once I had let the story out, there was no going back. And then shortly thereafter, I made my first movie shortly thereafter, I did other things. All these things started to open up for me. But that was my trauma. So hopefully people listening can understand. You know, it's not it was very traumatic to me. And it was again because you know, it was I'm a Latino man. So it's like, oh, you know, be a man about it. Don't worry, he didn't do anything. It's like all this kind of stuff. So a lot of that cultural stuff was on top of me as well. So I didn't really, especially 20 years ago, you don't really think about verbal or mental abuse the same way
Yemi Penn 14:53
Any impact. It's just like, oh, just yeah, these conversations are so important and I'm And I truly believe that you know, your listeners and hopefully my listeners or just all the listeners, they hear this, they can maybe understand the things that they don't realize is holding them back because we have been told or not told that they can have deep, deep impact. But let me tell you the golden what I heard in what you just said, it's the fact that the minute you let it out, and I know it's different for everybody, that acknowledgment opens so many other things for you that that is, I mean, I say it in my TED talk. And I know it's really hard when we're in stuff. But the minute we just find the piece of the thread, and we try to go back and trace it. Honestly, we it cracks US Open. And this is why one of my questions is can trauma be transformative, but I think I'm getting ahead of myself. So I'm gonna just hold the fire out and go back to you. But thank you for sharing that. I mean, that that moves me to hope.
Alex Ferrari 15:56
Yeah, and I hope I hope people listening can really see that that it was such a weird thing, because I was in the front. Like, it's kind of like, in the front seat. Everything I did in my entire life was dedicated to try to make this dream come true. Anybody ever listening, trying to make trying to get a book written trying to get a movie made trying to get the job, whatever that dream is, for you, I all things I did all everything, my entire existence was about making that dream come true. But yet, the backseat driver, which is a much stronger driver than the front seat driver, completely derailed me and completely made me bring people in that weren't proper, I made mistakes that I shouldn't have been making, I started getting involved with people that shouldn't have been involved with again, and again and again. And again, it was just like, until you as you get older, you just go What the hell is going on? Why can't I move forward when there's an obvious aspect of like, I can do this, you know, or, you know, if you have, you know, relationship issues, you know, like something happened with you traumatically with a relationship, and like, all men are bad, or all women are bad. And it's a subconscious thing. At a certain point, you're like, Why do I keep picking the wrong person in my life? Why do I keep attracting that into my life? Why do I keep accepting that kind of behavior in my life, all of these things? And that was the thing that was so fascinating about me, because if I would have told you Yeah, I went off and I became a, you know, a breadmaker. And I never really thought about making movies again. And then all of a sudden, like, oh, what I really want to do like, and then 20 years later, I come like what I really wanted to do is make movies and no, that's the really interesting part of my story, I think is that my entire life was dedicated to this goal. And yet, I was sabotaging myself subconsciously because of the traumatic event that happened. And only after I let it out, through writing this book, it allowed me complete freedom, complete freedom of it now I talked about it as openly as you do about your trauma. It's the beast has been let out. He's not scary anymore to me. Before he was a scary beast because he was behind that wall. And those walls
Yemi Penn 18:18
Sometimes we've got to name it.
Alex Ferrari 18:20
Mine's Jimmy mines Jimmy mines Jimmy, I have his face in my head as we're talking to you right now. But by the way, for me, and this is going a little bit deeper. I have no ill will towards him. I forgiven him. Because I cannot blame a scorpion for being a scorpion. I cannot fathom a frog for being a frog. And he made me who I am today better or worse. And a lot of the work that I do today, and why I want to help people is because I want them to avoid a lot of the pitfalls that I went through with him. So he had a position and a point and a purpose in my life. And that's how I personally deal with it. It's different for everybody, but I truly have no ill will towards them. I send him love. I wish him the best. I don't even know if he's alive anymore. He was pretty old when I was working with him. But he had a purpose and there was a purpose. And not all things that happen in your life have to be good in order to have purpose. Bad things that happen to you as well. Are there to make you grow to challenge you to do all these kinds of things. And that's what I found with him and my acceptance of this trauma.
Yemi Penn 19:34
Oh, you see me writing I'm writing on my notebook. Do you know that is 7am in Sydney and I'm writing on my notes.
Alex Ferrari 19:44
I appreciate it. With your experience. Obviously with your experience of traumas. There are different kinds of traumas. Can you talk a little bit about what those different types of traumas are?
Yemi Penn 19:53
So I started doing documentaries, which is why I'm so intrigued with your film history as well because document writing telling my story through that creative form was really important. I figured that I'd reach people. So I've been work with a lot of psychologists. And non, you know, non traditional healers, but the way they've just put it is kind of complex and shock trauma, like you can have lots of traumas in both of them. So complex trauma would potentially be what you went through what I went through people who, struggling with PTSD, and a shock trauma is something like a car accident, something that happens immediately. Now, it doesn't mean that that doesn't live on in you, it just means that the impact was there. And so therefore, it might have a different magnitude resonance. However, as a lot of us who follow trauma, there's this body of science that says the Body Keeps the Score. So for those of us who have complex trauma might be little building, building until this massive implosion, but those who have shock trauma, the body just holds on to it. And probably every loud bang, they hear they absolutely go wild and nuts and freakout because of that shock incident. So that's the best way that they've described it. But there's so much in it so much. So I'm doing a PhD on this at the moment, because it's, yeah, I just don't understand how this phenomenon of trauma and the healing of it is not embedded in our society, society the same way eating is embedded, or go into the doctor's for a broken leg. We need to do more.
Alex Ferrari 21:37
So when you went through your exploration, and discovered what your trauma was, how did you begin to heal from that? Are there any techniques or tips that people can take with them? To start beginning the healing click because it won't happen overnight. So how, how do you deal with it?
Yemi Penn 21:58
I think for me, it was acknowledgement but even just speaking to you now, I realized that acknowledgement isn't just saying to yourself, Okay, this happened that is one part. And it does without shadow of a doubt, given element freedom. It was actually speaking to my loved ones and trying to explain what happened, and how it impacted me then from memory, and how it continues to impact me that was the acknowledgement, the acknowledgement that I'm not a worse for saying it out loud. A couple of decades later, that I'm not incomplete, because it happened. Acknowledgement went deeper. So that was the first part of healing. Now I needed to do it differently. Not everybody needs to write a book, like we have not everybody needs to do a preview, everybody is different. But then to be really honest, this is the second time and I say this in my TED Talk, really, it was the awakening, I just realized that I needed to, like do a 360 turn on my blind spots. It couldn't just be the talking therapist, I went to see, it couldn't just be the psychologist, something was drawing me into different traditional methods of dealing. So I started to do things like Reiki energetic healing, I became a crystal dreamer who like I mean, I'm an engineer. And I know it probably sounds like I'm trying to make excuses. But I'm trying to explain how, as an engineer, I use the other side of my brain that can be very analytical. So for me to explore something different suggested that I was really curious about so much untapped modalities for healing being out there. And definitely the crystal dreaming helped a lot because that, that took me aback and gave me a bit more reasoning understanding
Alex Ferrari 23:42
What is that? I've never heard of crystal dreaming.
Yemi Penn 23:43
Yeah, it's a gentleman who's in Australia, he founded it over 25 years ago. It's effectively using crystals, which obviously are taken from Mother Earth and have these amazing qualities and properties from all over the world. So we use specific crystals to kind of create a portal. And you just lay it in the, on the floor like a mandala. And typically you lie down in it. And what it does is it opens your subconscious. Like you, you literally your practitioner just asked you questions in a loving way. And you literally calling your guides, but you do you go deep into your subconscious and you start actually telling stories that you potentially didn't even know existed, or some that you do remember, truly powerful. And it's not the practice the practitioner is the vessel, you are the one owning it.
Alex Ferrari 24:31
It's just it's does so much damage.
Yemi Penn 24:35
So, but here's the thing, Alex, I think and once again, and I'm really hoping because I know we're having a conversation, I think these kinds of dialogues is how we shift and we change the narrative around trauma. So I'm really hoping listeners are picking up. So what you just shared with me is something that's been on my mind and I might not do it for a couple more years, is if that's the case, could we go and start doing a stocktake on our kids? Because we know trauma happens to me Everybody, however, we're not going to be able to stop everything. Did our teachers know that by having a high class and a middle class and a low class would impact? But it does. Imagine if that was done slightly differently? Could you have been more of a badass much earlier in life? I don't know. Question mark. These are the things that I think about. But then I know we can't stop everything. Yeah, it is part of life.
Alex Ferrari 25:25
It is it will if you can't put, look, I think this generation that has been raised right now, we are trying to stop everything. And I think it's a disservice. I think it's a disservice to this generation of kids, because the world ain't like that. The world isn't all about, you know, participation, trophies. That's not the world. That's not the world we live in. So I think there has to be a balance with not going all the way trying to protect them from everything. Because if you do that, then when the world comes and hits gym, life is going to hit them can't stop it. Life is going to hit them. And when it does hit them. They're not going to be prepared. And but it's so interesting to on the way. Even slight dramas, there was a moment where something happens on a playground when you were a kid and that rewires you. Yes. And you're when you're rewired from that point on and now it takes decades for you to kind of change the wiring. That's what Tony Robbins Does, does. So well. It's like scratching the disc. Because the record, the groove is in there. And the older you get, it's harder to reprogram, but it is subconscious programming.
Yemi Penn 26:29
So you know, yes, you're actually just as you mentioned, the rewiring. I remember, did you get the chance to watch my first documentary
Alex Ferrari 26:36
I saw I saw I saw bits and pieces. Wonderful. Yeah.
Yemi Penn 26:39
Okay. But one of the therapists in that she's just now taking part in my third documentary. And suddenly she says, wouldn't it be great if we taught our kids to self regulate? Meaning when something happens in the playground, they fall over someone hits them that there's they have this tool where they can stop and just check in with their body? Because apparently, they say if you respond to a trauma within the first six hours, you can reduce the negative impact it has on you for the rest of your life. That's what we've got to start looking at that. And when we sued, how can we sue our body and just check in as to how did that make me feel and just figure out ways, that's where our focus should be.
Alex Ferrari 27:18
So you discovered your truth, I discovered my truth. And when that truth comes out of what happened, when it's in the light, we can deal with it. But when it's in the darkness, we can't it's a boogeyman. Is that right? Is that your experience?
Yemi Penn 27:32
It is absolutely. I mean, I had it best. Once again, from a coach through Tony Robbins is you can't say goodbye to something you won't even say hello to. It's like, how can you like and that's the other thing people wonder, why do we keep on having all these struggles, because you won't even acknowledge, you will not even acknowledge something that is driving it. And sometimes you don't know. But you won't even look at it. Like we just hide it.
Alex Ferrari 27:55
Because again, we're trying to protect ourselves, our minds are trying to protect ourselves. And it's just such a it's so it's so weird. I've seen, I've seen people I've seen relatives who've had trauma since they were kids. And I've watched their entire lives. They just keep repeating the mistake again, and again, and again. And you just go, why do they not learn that lesson? What is it? Why? What's driving them to make the same mistakes again, and again, when they know their mistakes, but yet they keep going back there? So what is that? And I and then again, I analyze my own life as well. Like, why did I keep doing this? Or why do I keep doing that? And by no stretch of the imagination, I still have plenty of other little traumas with inside of me that I'm still trying to figure out we all do. Well, I don't think we'll ever all get rid of them. Because there's there's micro ones, there's the paper cuts, and then there's the punches in the face. I always tell people don't worry about the punch in the face is the paper cuts. That'll bleed for real.
Yemi Penn 29:07
And you won't even know you're bleeding now I keep on keep on feeling. Why?
Alex Ferrari 29:12
Because you got 400 paper cuts, but you're worried about the one stabbing, like
Yemi Penn 29:18
So true. So true. Wow.
Alex Ferrari 29:21
So you you come up with a concept that do we choose the experience our trauma teaches us? Can you kind of dive into that a little bit?
Yemi Penn 29:31
I had to modify that one. So when I did my first documentary, I remember speaking to the producer, she said typically when you do a documentary you want to you want to be answering a really pivotal question and said like and it needs to be and it just came to me just like a download. So my primary question was did I choose my trauma? Because I had started to hear this notion it was positive psychology of you know? Was it something growth, transformative growth No, I can't remember exactly post traumatic growth. That was it. And so I started to think of that as a thing on some different realm. Is there a possibility that I had a choice in my trauma? So I called my documentary did I choose my trauma that got a couple of 100,000 views around the world? A very small percentage, I thought there'll be more. We're quite horrified. Why would you even ask such a question? Like they were horrified by the question, the question was triggering in itself. And I always knew that I wasn't going to reach everybody. But that's why a very strategically made it about me, but I choose it. I am feeling bold, and have the audacity to ask such question and investigate. But I couldn't put that on other people. And that's when I then went to what do we choose the experience because some people assume that we go and we say, I want to be bullied and harassed and threatened by a gangster, or I want my uncle to completely take my sexual power. I didn't I don't think I don't, I don't believe we do. Someone might think different. I definitely don't believe we do. But do we choose the experience? Do we on some level, whether in this life or in another life of people believe that say, I want to learn how to use my voice, or I want to learn how to speak for people who are struggling in countries or I want to learn how to feed people, and then they become a farmer. But you know, they might think, Oh, they're not doing a worldly profession? Do we choose the experience? That's what we've got to start looking at. So every time I'm going through some really deep ish, my question is, what, what am I meant to be learning from this, like every business venture I've had in the past couple of years, there's always been conflict with the men in particular that I'm meant to be liaising with. And so I'm now asking myself, What is the experience here? What am I meant to be doing? And that's why I posed that question.
Alex Ferrari 31:49
I think that I think that people listening really need to think about something. Every great historical figure, every whoever, from Mandela, Martin Luther King, you can you can Jesus, everybody, throw it all out there. Every one of them had a struggle. Every single one of them had an event, something that happened to them, that made them who they are. I believe that we cannot be who we are meant to be without being tested. And it's just, I'm not even getting into the spiritual here. We if you want to go down the spiritual, I could absolutely go into karma and all that kind of stuff. But if you look at it just as a pragmatic, using the engineering side of the mind, every great historical figure who accomplished great things, every single one of them, had obstacles, had things that they had to overcome. And they were challenged. Some of them were traumatic events, like Steve Jobs was adopted. Yeah. Yeah, he was he was abandoned by his his parents that defined his life. If he would have been born into a loving family, would we have apple today? Would he have had that drive? That you need? would have, you know, would Nelson Mandela have been able to do what he did? I don't want him to be in prison for as long as he was. But do you know what I mean? You know, does this Buddha have his experiences, you know, to become to become enlightened, if he doesn't go through the multiple different ways he was trying to find enlightenment that were all wrong for him. And I had had to go through these experiences. So I believe that we're here to be tested, the metal cannot get hard, and unless it's being banged against the stone, and I think this comes with age, as you get older, you start looking back at your life, and you're going, Wow, that thing that was really the worst thing that could have ever happened to me, truly kind of was what I needed at that time. I needed to almost go bankrupt. To understand the value of money, I needed to have a breakup or I needed to be in that really bad relationship. So when the right relationship showed up, I could recognize it. Yeah, these kinds of things. What's your opinion on this?
Yemi Penn 34:12
No, absolutely. I mean, as you were speaking, that I was like, really leaning in saying yes, yes. And then I had my other voice saying, Yeah, but I really don't want to have to go through hard times. And I think that's part of the narrative we have to get comfortable with. You know, everyone is saying get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I completely agree. And I remember my daughter's saying to me, because I had her go to the UK for six months. I went to boarding school in Nigeria and I tell people people when I say boarding school, they think oh, Prince Charles Prince Harry type boarding school. No man, Harry Potter. No, Hogwarts. No, no. Think survivor with no camera crew and you're lucky if you get rice beans. That's what I'm talking so I went there and I remember telling my daughter that that really taught me independence. I didn't like it at the time. And, and she said to me, your mum, not everybody needs to go through major trauma in order to evolve. And so I sat, I sat with that for a little bit. And so I said, Okay, maybe you don't need to go to Nigeria, how about you go to the UK for a bit your dad's day go be with family. And so for six months, we just created a new contract, she has come back with a completely different profound human being, the change and environment, something. So even though some people might feel well, I don't, why do we need to go through that? Sometimes you need the shift. And if, if you don't make the shift, like you said, with that punch, life will give you the shift. So you kind of got to make a choice. That's, that's my view, make a choice.
Alex Ferrari 35:43
You don't learn from winning. You learn from losing. I mean, that's just life. If you learn if you are winning all the time, and have nothing but success. You have no understanding, or you're not really growing you because you need to have that. That hit to go okay, you need that rocky moment. If if rocky would have gotten into the ring and knocked out Apollo Creed in the first punch? What kind of movie is this? Like? What like, why would he Why would we be watching? He needed to struggle. That's why I love that movie so much. Because it's and that's why it's still resonating. It's a 70s movie that resonates to this day, you can watch it and just go Got it. Because he still this is still on tap tapped into something that was so primordial in us. That is the underdog story. But look at Yes, the struggle, but then get the shot at the at the ring at the at the championship, where you should never even had a shot at the championship. But yet you were still able to get it. But he needed to struggle struggle is what makes us stronger. And if you even look at our bodies, the way our muscles grow is by tearing them apart. Absolutely. It's nature.
Yemi Penn 36:58
Why did we miss? Why? Why is this not common knowledge, because we don't we want to fight.
Alex Ferrari 37:06
Because we don't want pain, because our entire mind is built around avoiding pain and gaining pleasure. That is that is that's and it's also ego based. So look, most people just want to sit back and relax. And they think that if they had a billion dollars, life would be good. I know a lot of billion. I'd like to know a lot of people who have a lot of money and have a lot of success. It's not what it's all cracked up to be. I know some people who are have a lot of money successful are absolutely wonderful. They're doing great work and all that stuff. But they have a different, they have a different drive of what drives them. But without but that's the thing is that we, we don't want to struggle who wants to struggle, like I don't want to, I want to wake up tomorrow morning and look like Brad Pitt. And never and I want to eat whatever I want to eat all day, every day, and have a six pack and look like Brad Pitt all day. That's that's what we all want to do. You know, it could be whatever, pick your movie star, you know. But even Brad Pitt doesn't do that. By the way, Brad Pitt still has to work to keep President looking like Brad Pitt looks, you know all all of us do. But we all want the easy route. But as you get older, you start realizing that when doors are always opening for you, which rarely happens. But when it does happen, you don't, you don't grow as much as when the doors have been. Obstacles are being thrown in front of you because you need to, you need to get stronger to go through it. And to go back to what the conversation starts off as trauma traumas, probably the biggest obstacles that can be thrown in front of you. They are the biggest life challenges. These are the things that define you, or define your mission in life, and not in a negative way. But it definitely tilts you in a direction. Like we've discussed your direction, my direction, without our traumas, we're not who we are. And I and I don't want people to have to go through traumas. But if life is brought that to you, it is what it is. And you have to do the best you can with what you're given in life. And some people are born in the royal family. And that's a whole other kind of trauma. But but some people are born rich, and with success, and they have success around the model wears and doors are open for them and they have their life set for them. And others are born in the ghetto, abandoned in a dumpster somewhere and they struggle and fight to get out of where they're at. And both our experiences in this life. Write both. You can't blame you can't blame the You can't blame Prince Harry, for being a Prince Charles for being born. He was born that's that's his path. And the one who and he's, I promise you he's dealt with trauma, but not trauma that you and I have dealt with because we don't know that world. But we have different kinds of trauma and dealing with it. I spoke to speaking to a Navy Seal the other day. We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show. And I asked him, What does it take to be a Navy SEAL? What is what is that thing, that thing that you see that all people who make it through that program, which is the most difficult mental and physical endurance in human in the world, is to be a Navy SEAL? And he's like, Well, first off the big muscle bound guys, who were the quarterback in high school, they're the first to go, because they've never had any adversity. Everything's always been given to them. So they were so good at what they did. They thought they could just post through this. They're gone within a couple days. Then you've got the ego built out guys who are all tatted up and big muscle bound guys who think they're it's all ego. And they're like, I'm the toughest of the tough. They're gone. Few days later, I go was a who lives who stays he goes, it's the scrawny guys, the guys who have been fighting incline and grinding their entire life. Those are the guys who make it through. Those are the guys that have what it takes to get through mentally and physically. And I was like, Wow, isn't that amazing? So the one who's had the most trauma, the most obstacles are the strongest and can survive that kind of endure that kind of trial, as opposed to the quarterback, who's good looking, has gotten everything all his life and doors have swung open for him. They they have no defense, they have no weapons, they have no tools to deal with adversity in life. So you see, you see what I'm talking about?
Yemi Penn 41:59
Yeah, no, I do. And I guess, when I start thinking of how, for the listeners, or for me, I boil it down to two choices. And you can always have more, do you choose to transform your trauma? Or do you choose to transfer it? We're not suggesting anything that happened to us good. Just just make the choice. You can sit in and say this happened to me, this is it, just break it down, transform it or transfer it. And we do transfer it either generationally or to our loved ones. When you find yourself getting out at people you are transferring it when you find yourself being that mean partner, because you were treated poorly. That's transferring it. You can transform it in so many ways. And that's the choice.
Alex Ferrari 42:47
Yeah. And Rebecca, that's so powerful. You're absolutely right, because you do you know that trauma gets passed on generationally. It does get passed on, if you're not careful, you can pass on that anger or that abuse or that thing to your kids, or to your partner when they come into your life. Or to your business partners or to friendships or every relationship in your in your world can be transformed by those things if you're not careful and really identify it. I heard a great saying the other day, which is the boiling water that softens the potato also hardens the egg. So it's the same boiling water.
Yemi Penn 43:33
Oh. So good. It's I heard that I was listening.
Alex Ferrari 43:42
As I heard that I was just like, You know what, I'm going to use that all the time, because it's such a powerful and profound statement. Because if you want to use the example of boiling water as trauma, you can either let it soften you to the point where you can't deal with anything else. Or you can let it harden you and you can get stronger from it. But it's the same water. Yeah, that's the powerful part about it. It's it sounds like woof
Yemi Penn 44:11
I mean, can you see just how changing like just the sentence with some truths and facts can really get you thinking differently. And that's what I love about transformation work. That's that's what's completely changed my mind that this introvert, this shy girl who felt her voice was taken away, can actually speak on stages and, and do the work and start, you know, because I started opening businesses, the minute I started to acknowledge my trauma, like that's what I'm trying to say. And it's not just about the business or the money, because there have been failures in that as well. But it's actually just the freedom, the freedom to do like honestly, it's the ultimate freedom and it's it's the it's the ultimate dance with fear. That acknowledging my trauma has allowed me to do my goodness, I want everyone to have that everybody,
Alex Ferrari 45:02
And the transformation of of your trauma into something positive into your life because like we said earlier, it's not your choice. Yeah, per se, it is not your choice to have the trauma on you. It's not your choice again, to a car accident, it's not choice to get abuse, it's not choice to to be you know, abused by a gangster for a year. While chasing your dream. All these are not choices, per se. But what you do with those traumas is, we have no control of our life, quote, unquote. All we can do is control how we react to life.
Yemi Penn 45:42
Yeah, I absolutely, I think and you know, when you go to bed thinking about something, you end up dreaming about it as well. Like it literally seeps into your psyche, and probably comes through your poor, whether you want to call it law of attraction. I know sometimes we've given things words that have, you know, kind of woowoo find it. But honestly, people need to lean in. And that's another reason why I don't fight as angry or as dirty as I used to, because I thought that was the only way you could get ahead, because it's the energy it took to do that was way, way, way, way, way, way destructive took away from time with my kids. And I'm like, no, like, I don't even now my answer is just no, if I'm having a disagreement, even with a business partner, it's just no, this is why, like, I don't even have to go into all of it because it draws a lot. So I'm very intentional of what I put out. Sometimes it's hard. But very intentional. Because I know what I put out, it's going to come back to me and I am tired.
Alex Ferrari 46:38
I'm exhausted against slapped around by life and life keeps slapping me around the sledgehammer keeps showing up.
Yemi Penn 46:45
I just give everybody loves more now take love, hate love genuinely to this what I want back.
Alex Ferrari 46:51
Now there is a part of your story that's really intriguing that you were at one point homeless? And then you got from homeless to this point. Can you talk to me about how you got to the point of being homeless? What brought you down to that point in your life? And then how did you overcome that to get to where you are today?
Yemi Penn 47:13
Oh, definitely been gradual. The more I tell the story, that the less of a big deal, it feels in a weird way. So the the homelessness part was, I decided to do things differently fell in love tall, dark, handsome guy in the UK. And we just, you know, because what 24 we thought we knew everything. No matter the really thought we knew everything, because that's what love would do. And our parents wanted us to get married because we would go against the grain we're going against the memory, as I call it. And it basically got to the point that my parents said, Well, if you think you can do this, then you're going to need to hop on out because I just graduated from university. And things weren't going too well with my then partner to the point that I literally had nowhere to go because parents had said move out, he didn't have a place he was with his parents. And here I was, I think about six months pregnant, needing to go and and literally registered with the government. And I didn't even know what government help or housing was like for me, I'd never had it, I'd got myself in jump from the age of 12. It was it was a big deal. And I remember that first night waiting at the door somewhere close to midnight, because I wanted to be the first person in line so that I could be held. And I was housed. And it was a halfway house where you know, people who are in between homes and you know, trying to get over drugs. And I wasn't ready. I wasn't ready for that. And that was that was a moment where once again a very different level of consciousness nowhere near where I am today was a key me. This doesn't feel right. What do you need to do? And I think mentally I just thought, Okay, I need to be on my grind. But I, I need to be I need to save me, no one's coming to save me I need to save. And that was when subconsciously I started applying for the roles I started showing up of work more as boss woman more confident. And that then over time helped me to start doing some particular things like living living in Japan for a little while and then going back to London, then come into Australia. And then within a year setting up my first company, it went a bit but I needed to hit rock bottom because that's contrast, right? That Do you know what you want?
Alex Ferrari 49:32
So let's just let's let's dissect that for a second for everyone listening. You needed to go to that place in order to know that you don't belong there. If at that moment, someone wants to show up, a guy on a white horse wrote in and said, Hey, come move with me into my mansion and it's all gonna be fine and you wouldn't have learned that lesson you wouldn't have had that drive. So again, then that is a pain that you needed to go through in order to project you out into the path that you needed to go. But without that, you don't, you don't go down the path. And you start and it's as you like you say is, as we've gotten older, we, we look back, and you can only you can't see this 24 You haven't lived long enough yet. Generally, generally speaking, generally speaking. But when you're getting into your 40s 50s, and you start looking back, you start seeing patterns. You're like, Oh, thank God, I didn't have that happen to me. I really wanted that to happen. Thank God, it didn't happen. Oh, man, that thing was like the worst there. That was I felt so bad. I was devastated. But that moved me here, oh, I got fired from that job. I thought it was the end of the world. But three days later, I got this other job, and then that project meaning to this into opening up my own business and these kinds of things that when you're in it, it's so hard to see. But in retrospect, you go okay, so I hope that people listening can kind of understand that in their own journey that if something and I do truly, and I know this was hard for people to understand, but I truly believe that when something bad is happening to you, in the long run, it is for your best. And I know that's hard for people to swallow, especially when you're going through a difficult time. Because I've had I've had devastating breakups in my life, let's say that were traumatic, like, sitting down six months and not going outside because I was destroyed, I was devastated by a traumatic experience. Two years of being in a depression after Jimmy, you know, not so I get, like, if you if I would have told me, then like, Hey, man is all gonna work out fine for you, I would have punched me in the face. Because you can't see it, you can't see it.
Yemi Penn 51:46
And let's say that for those who are in it, and we never know how bad it is correct, you you might want to be you might want to punch him in the face. And you, we get that, but just hold tight. Because even though it might not make sense. Now, the minute in whether a week, two weeks, two months, two years, remember this conversation and come back to it. Because this is what will get you out of that hole a lot quicker than you think.
Alex Ferrari 52:16
But I do appreciate you saying that. Because I said I know when you're in the middle of the pain, you don't want to hear anything from anybody. And we have no idea how if you're listening to this, what kind of pain or what kind of trauma you're going through right now. But understand that from both two different perspectives, yours and mine. As difficult and as painful and as horrific as some of the traumas are, in time, you will be able to look back on it and understand what was going on. I forgot this, this wonderful author who was in the the genocide in Africa, in the Wakanda genocide, she was stuck in, she wrote a book, she she toured with Wayne Dyer, I forgot her name. But she she was basically her family was killed, just completely murdered. And she had to hide in a bathroom for three or four months, every day living within fear of dying of her being found by by murderers. I mean, it's it was just the genocide, it was a genocide, and how she had to deal with that trauma, and how she was able to come out of that and to finally forgive and to find love. But she's like, how could I love someone who killed my, my entire family? How can I forgive this Trump? How can I you know, all of this stuff. And that story, and I'll see if I can find it. I find that story. I'll put it in the show notes. But there's trauma, different levels of trauma for every Yes, so. But it takes time. It takes time. Now working on I'm gonna ask you two questions, I asked all of my guests. What is your mission in this life?
Yemi Penn 53:57
Who is the raise the vibration on acknowledging and healing our trauma? It hasn't changed. It hasn't changed because I truly believe that we talk about sustainability of the planet. And it's like everybody's forgotten the sustainability of humanity. Unless you want robots. Literally toiling the ground and doing all the things we need to just take just a few steps back and sustain humanity. And to do that we need to look at our trauma and healing as we go along.
Alex Ferrari 54:29
And why are we all here?
Yemi Penn 54:36
To remember who we are, which comes from love.
Alex Ferrari 54:39
That's why and where can people watch your movies? Read your book, find out more about what you do.
Yemi Penn 54:47
So my website is best yemipenn.com which is yemipenn. And then you can watch the documentaries there and order my book but also Instagram. Follow me on Instagram and you get the realest realest version of Yemi official.
Alex Ferrari 55:00
Let me thank you so much. This has been an absolutely wonderful conversation. I absolutely love talking to you. And I hope that our conversation is going to help some people listening out there. So thank you for the work you do. I really truly appreciate you.
Yemi Penn 55:14
Thank you for having me.
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