Amber: Welcome to The Amber Lilyestrom Show, a podcast for the visionary, the dreamer, the disruptivator, and the passionate soul on a mission. My name is Amber Lilyestrom. Branding strategist and business coach, lifestyle entrepreneur and world shifter. Each week I’ll be bringing you soulful conversations that inspire you to become the CEO of your life and business. We believe that true fulfillment begins when we say “Yes” to our dreams and take bold and inspired action to design the lives we were created for.
Are you ready? Let’s rock!
On this episode of The Amber Lilyestrom Show podcast, I have Lauren Handel Zander, celebrity life coach, public speaker, and the co-founder and chairwoman of Handel Group. Grab a notebook. I took three pages of notes just from our conversation.
Here’s a snippet. Okay, a long one.
Amber: Welcome, Lauren!
Lauren Zander: Hi, everybody!
Amber: Let’s just dive in. What led you to create this methodology that now is the structure that serves so many people?
Lauren Zander: I had everything going for me except for the fact that my inner dialogue and my outer world were absolutely fake with one another. Like what I said vs. what I thought and what I did vs. what I told anybody else I did…I was a liar. And no one knew it, and I could’ve lasted a lifetime like that. But, somewhere around 19 years old it dawned on me that maybe it was me. Right? No matter what. No one could know the real me, because I was lying. I was full of shit. I was a fraud.
Amber: Tell me more. Like what part of you was a fraud, right? Because you were achieving things on the outside, but the inner dialogue is the part that you’re speaking about directly or…
Lauren Zander: Yes. Well, what I thought was that: what no one knew didn’t hurt them. And if no one knew and it wasn’t hurting them, then I could do it.
So, for example, I came from an Orthodox Jewish family. If I could tell my dad I was walking down the street to hang out with my friend, and then my real friend came and picked me up in a car, and my parents never checked on anything, did I lie? The answer is yeah, I did. But back then I did not see the harm in that. However, did I feel connected to my parents? My relationship to myself? Even to that friend that lived on the corner…how did I really feel about the life I was living?
Like I wouldn’t have my true battles. I wasn’t an honest, present person. I was a manipulator to keep everyone else happy. And at some point, I could feel how little I could feel. And that’s how what was on the outside, wasn’t what was on the inside. And no one cared. I didn’t even seem to care. Right? So, I could have a boyfriend who loved me, who was taking me away on vacation and I could have cheated on him last weekend. He never knew. And if I could live with it, did it happen? And what was the consequence of all of my behaviors? That’s when I had an epiphany about how cold and dead I was on the inside regardless of how thriving my life looked like on the outside. And it occurred to me that I was a liar. That was the big revelation. That I lied.
If I was withholding information, it was lying. If I was telling something they wanted to hear, it was lying. If I was managing how much someone knew, it was lying. If I couldn’t tell someone how I felt, it was lying. If I didn’t know how I felt it was lying. Oh, I’m a liar. And I’m a liar about being a liar. And guess what? So is everybody else. Like, that was the big 19…and now I’m 49…
Amber: So I just wrote this down because I think this is a common theme where a lot of the women in this community will talk about being people pleasers. I love how you said, “People pleasing, ultimately it’s manipulation.”
Lauren Zander: It’s a con. It’s worse.
Amber: It’s worse. So, there’s someone listening who’s going, “How could that be? I’m doing it because I love them. I’m doing that because I don’t want to ruffle their feathers. I don’t want to cause conflict. I don’t want to … they can’t accept the truth.” And so let’s just crack that little egg open together.
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Lauren Zander: Okay. So, imagine if we were going to start to talk about equality vs. dominance, right? We would all scream and vote for equality. You and I, regardless of if I may be older, wealthier, or whatnot, who cares, we are equal. Right? Like what you say and what I say is equal. You’re worth it. I’m worth it. We’re both worth everything. Cool? Okay. Let’s pretend, we agree we’re equal which I fundamentally believe. Okay? Now, if I am going to lie, hide the truth, not tell you my full honest truth, be one-to-one with you…but instead, I’m going to put you up on a pedestal, I’m going to make you more important than me, more important than my truth and lie because it’s what you want to feel, what I want you to feel, what I want you to experience about me. Like I’ll be a puppet to make you happy.
Is that one-to-one, equal power? Or am I turning myself into lower than you? Like I’m a two and you’re a one. Right? I’m putting you up on a pedestal. I’m making you feel more important, and I just lied to you, sold myself out, to make you feel good, to make you experience what I want you to experience. So I literally took myself down to make you feel better.
Now, ready everyone?
It’s gross of us. That person did not ask you to do that. Hi, best friend, do you want me to lie to you about what I think about your boyfriend? Hi, VP of Sales, do you want me to lie to you about what I really think about the deck you just made so that you feel better about yourself? Does lying work? The answer is, it never does. But we’ve been doing it since we were children, right? I have three kids, right? And I remember the first time, really, the first time I howled, rolled on the floor, and got that kids are born liars.
We didn’t learn lying. We’re born liars. And you’re like, what does that…how is that even possible? I walked into my two year old’s room. She can talk a little. Chocolate is on the face. She doesn’t understand crumbs and chocolate get left on the face. And so I walk in the room and I’m like, “Daisy, did you eat a cookie?” So now she thinks I’m clairvoyant and a genius. Big eyed. And she goes, “No.” And I go, “Daisy. Come here, honey.” And we look in the mirror and I’m like, “What’s on your face, honey?” and I’m not humiliating her. And then ready? What does the human do when they get caught? Hysterically cry. I swear I’m being cute. She’s not in trouble. She then makes up another lie. Kiya (her big sister) had one, so she took one. It wasn’t her fault.
Lauren Zander: Okay, ready? It gets even crazier. Kiya didn’t have one. She even made that up. This is like epic.
Amber: She’s two.
Lauren Zander: She’s two, people. She only knows 48 words. But boy, she figured out how to use them so she could get out of trouble, cry, get dramatic. So here I am going, “Holy shit. What’s up with the human that is constantly pretending we can’t be ourselves?” And then we wonder where our real voice, self-confidence, self-love, big dreams, trust and trustworthy-ness really are. And boy do we have a lot of explanations for it…
But not one of them is that the reason a bunch of us aren’t honestly happy is because…we’re not honest.
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