In this episode, we have our very first guest, the 2019 Exceptional Women of Color honoree, Laticia “Action” Jackson. She’s a globally recognized women’s health and personal development expert, CEO of Empowered Coaching, as well as an author, veteran, speaker, fitness Olympian, and survivor of domestic abuse.
Join us as we talk about the topics of abuse and power. More specifically, we deep dive into the signs of abuse and surviving it, and what power really means and how to take your power back.
For more information on Laticia check out @Npoweredcoachingacademy on all social media platforms or her website www.npoweredcoaching.com
WHAT YOU WILL DISCOVER
We will be talking about Abuse and Power
We deep dive into the signs of abuse and surviving it
What power really means and how to take it back
How to overcome the guilt and shame of being in an abusive relationship.
FEATURED ON THE SHOW
Jennifer: Welcome. Hello, I’m Jennifer Dawn business coach and founder of the Best Planner Ever. Welcome to the Happy Productive Podcast, your go to resource for learning how to bring awareness into your productivity, your goals and your time management practices so that you can set yourself up each and every day for as much love and happiness and joy as you can possibly handle today. I am so excited you guys because we’re going to have our very first ever guest on the podcast and she is a powerhouse, the 2019 Exceptional Women of Color honoree. She’s a fitness Olympian, survivor of domestic violence, a globally recognized women’s health and personal development expert. She’s an author, she’s a veteran, she’s a speaker. She’s also the CEO of empowered coaching. Miss Laticia Action Jackson. Welcome!
Laticia: Thank you so much for having me. I really cannot wait for us to have this conversation. So excited!
Jennifer: Me too. It’s a very necessary conversation. And Laticia is so awesome, you guys. She’s been featured in over 30 health and personal development magazines. And today she’s here with us. So I’m so honored. And I have to say that part of what drew me to her is that I went to your website, and I saw that you are a survivor of domestic violence. And I too, had a marriage. That was definitely a violent situation. And I went through that as well. And it’s not something I’ll be honest that I talked about that often because it was a really dark period of my life. And if any of you have ever been in an abusive relationship, there’s a lot of guilt and a lot of shame that goes along with it where you don’t want to talk about it.
And so when I saw this like beautiful, powerful woman sharing her experience, I was just super inspired to bring you on and to talk about our power because in an abusive relationship, really what’s happened is we’ve completely lost our power. And so you can’t be happy, productive. That’s our podcast topic. You know, Happy Productivity. So we’re producing happiness in our lives and you can’t be happy, productive if you have either given away your power or you’ve lost your power. And so power is our topic today. And that’s what we’re going to be diving into. And Laticia I know you’re the perfect person to talk about this topic with.
Laticia: I loved it. And I will have to tell you, first of all, thank you for sharing your own experience with domestic violence. One of the things that I realized after I had gone through my experience with domestic violence, I went through a period of anger. I went through a period of depression, anxiety, and I felt ashamed, you know, how is it possible? I’m highly educated. I’ve been in every magazine around the world oxygen magazine, Muscle and Fitness Hers. I’ve been on to TV, NBC News, Fox 40 I have degrees. So the list goes on and on and on. So there was a constant narrative of who I was, and who I thought I was. And the reality was outside of my titles outside of my awards outside of my accolades, I was a broken individual. I was a broken woman, and I met a man who gave me something that I had not taken time to give myself I needed to be loved so badly that even though I saw the signs of an abusive man, I married him anyways, and I almost lost my life as a result.
And I think what’s so sad is that so many of us as entrepreneurs as successful women, we bury those stories because how dare I tell someone that I’ve been through this? How will they perceive me? Will I lose my influence? And here’s the reality there’s no power behind silence. And when we talk about a woman’s power and before you and I came on one of the reasons why I named my coaching academy “N-powerment”, which starts with the letter N, I realized that I in my myself and so many other women that I had encountered, were looking for outside validation, so validations to walk and live in their power. No one gives a woman her power, it is something she’s innately born with. And so this whole conversation about power has nothing to do with the outside, but it’s about the inside the empowered.
Jennifer: Yes. Oh, my goodness, I love that so much. And you’re so right, I’m married, it’s actually my second marriage. And when I came into that marriage I to I was broken. And I was a survivor of sexual abuse from my father from a very early age and I really spent my entire life just saying, you know, it didn’t hurt me. I’m okay and you know, suck it up and get back to work and yes, very successful in the business world and the business world. For me was an area of my life I could control I felt comfortable and like I could control that even though that intimate those intimate relationships in my life felt very much out of control. And I was very broken in these areas.
And it was it was that abusive relationship that I say it took me to my lowest low, but it also really required me to rebuild myself, like there were things that I had to heal. And it just became so blaringly obvious in that relationship that I was the one who allowed an abusive person into my life into my children’s lives. It’s on me, I did that because of the parts inside me that were broken. But I’m also grateful in some ways because it did it shifted me and it put me on a path and I wouldn’t be where I am at today. But it was really hard to figure that out and reclaim my power and even just finding the strength to get out of that relationship was really, really hard. And so I would love it if you would just tell us a little bit because you said you saw the signs of an abusive man.
Jennifer: I saw the signs and abusive man too, and I completely ignored them. And I married him anyway. And then because I was so ashamed of what I had done, and I didn’t want to admit I was wrong, I stayed in the relationship far too long. And so tell us a little bit about those signs. What do I see right that you chose to ignore? I chose to ignore but what were some of those signs that you saw?
Laticia: I first need to address that. You know, often when I’m interviewed, people will say to me, do you think most women see the signs and my question or my response to that is absolutely. And I also asked, I take it even further, and I said, the question you really need to ask women is, why is it when you saw the signs you did not leave? And to answer that question, it’s multi factor. It’s multi layered. For me, I grew up in a household where my parents got divorced. And when my father left, I was around 13 years old, as a 13 year old daughter, who had not developed cognitively, when my father left, I took it upon myself to say there must be something wrong with me.
And so as I developed as a teen, and as I develop into my 20s, I grew up seeing a mother who had a man leave her, and then she went on this quest to find another man to love her. My mother did not do the internal work. And so I learned that being loved meant having a man there, regardless of how he treated you. So I got into my teens into my 20s and when I began today, I noticed some very unhealthy habits. I was very codependent. And I found myself being attracted to men who wanted to control me and so at first I would get into these relationships and I was so broken, I needed to be loved so badly. They would call me 10-12 times a day. Where are you? Who are you talking to? Why are you wearing that? Where are you going?
And in my broken, frail mind and my broken heart, I thought, wow, this is love. My father was never there. These men are paying me this attention inside of the depths of my soul. I knew it wasn’t right. But you have to remember wherever there’s an ache and a pain, we will take anything that will soothe that pain. And so that was my patterns in my 20s. And at 29, I met my ex-husband at the gym, my favorite, favorite place in the world as an athlete, and he was very charismatic. He was very attentive, and his attention drew me to him.
So as we began to get to know each other outside of the gym, the same thing, the excessive calls. Where are you? Why are you talking to this person? And I saw all of these signs and he asked me to marry him and I agreed. I put it in the back of my mind. I was like, yeah, I see the signs, but the wedding invitations have gone out. But I have someone to say he’s mine. But I don’t want to be ashamed of canceling a wedding. So some of the signs are isolation. My ex husband never wanted me around other people. The other sign is verbal abuse. He would say things to me like, well, YOU made me angry. So verbal abuse, emotional abuse, you know, if you didn’t wear that men would look at you. And what’s so dangerous is I knew I was not doing things that he was accusing me of. But he had so many accusations I started to believe them.
And so I realized one night in particular, we were at the gym and this kind of ended at all. We got an argument because a man asked me to work in on the machine I was working in. And my husband went into a fit of rage called me, b-i-t-c-h, whore, every horrible name of the book. And I told him I said, your mother did not raise you to be like that, you are not a man. And he was enraged. I told him that and I can remember hanging clothes up in my closet, and I went to turn around and he put his hands around my neck and he tried to kill me. He was in such a rage. So the signs are numerous but they’re often common. The isolation is really one of the most common, removing you from your support system, removing you from having girls night out, removing you from having friends with the opposite sex, and even the excessive calls.
Jennifer: Yeah, and the verbal abuse. I think that’s a really important one because, you know, I was not being physically beaten, but there was a lot of verbal abuse, tearing you down, tearing you down, tearing you down. And that really steals your power and it puts you kind of in this small place. The only word I could ever use to describe what happened was a mind F-you. That was the really only good word best descriptive word I could ever find. Because it was just it changes your thinking it changes your mind. You see things in a completely different perspective when you have somebody who is so adept at bringing you down, right?
Laticia: Yeah. And that’s where a lot of those limiting self-beliefs happen. When I was working heavily in my business with women’s health. I never saw an overweight woman as an overweight woman. I always saw an overweight woman with unresolved issues meaning when I was sitting actually get to the root of why the weight came on or how the weight came on, I would say probably 80 out of 100% of the women I work with has some type of verbal abuse growing up. I have a really good friend of mine. She’s absolutely beautiful. But her father would tell her you have a beautiful face. You’d be pretty if you lost weight.
So does the self limiting beliefs it kind of, well, if you look this way, you’d be better. Or you’re really not as smart as you think you are. Or you’re really not that attractive. Now, you may be an absolutely beautiful woman. I think I’m highly beautiful. But he was saying things to me like, “Oh, you think every man wants you, don’t you?” And I’m like, “No, I didn’t say that.” “Well, why are these men looking at you, what did you do” and I’m like, wait a minute, I’m not in control of a man looking at me. And so unconsciously I started dressing different. Unconsciously I started, maybe not doing my hair and makeup. When I go to the gym. He’s like, “well, you’re not wearing that”. It’s workout clothes, and I’m wearing this. He’s like, “well, he used to tell me you are my property, and you don’t get to wear that. And so it was a constant forward back and forth with him, because I have a very strong personality.” And he couldn’t break me. So it was repetitive. He had to shoot me down. And yeah, you’re fit, but men only look at you for your body. And so I was smart enough to realize that what I was in, was not healthy.
Jennifer: Yeah. So let’s just talk a tiny bit about the difference, right? Because when I used to think about power, and we have our power, I used to think that that meant like we’re in control, and you know, maybe we’re domineering or we’re super in charge. And there was a part of me that was just like, I don’t want to be that way. I don’t want to come off as aggressive. I don’t want to come off as you know, a jerk or anything like that. But I’ve since of course, learned that our personal power is actually something very, very different. And so I think love for you to just talk a little bit about the difference between our real power of ourselves versus this kind of controlling abusive behavior.
Laticia: I think the tragedy behind the word power is that so often, especially for women, that word within itself, 1) has been over utilized, 2) has not been clearly defined, and 3) has been gender based. And so the difference between, to me, my definition of power is self-control. So whether a woman is a CEO, whether she is an entrepreneur or whether she’s a mom, true power comes from being able to self-control and self -regulate yourself. And what we think of people say, Well, she’s a powerful woman. Typically what they’re saying is, well, she’s controlling the environment. She’s controlling the atmosphere. She’s controlling the narrative. I almost relate power to confidence. A confident woman never has to tell you she’s confident. She operates from an internal knowing of her confidence. And when a woman has to tell you, I’m a powerful woman, she really doesn’t understand power.
Power is about making decisions for yourself. Power is about is this is this healthy for me? Is this healthy for the people on leading. Power is not about standing before a room of people and demanding a task being done, or demanding someone to change their thought of what you’re trying to get them to change. Power is an internal narrative. And every woman must cultivate what power means to her. To some women power may be quitting that job that underpays her and starting her own business. To some people power may be raising children that have faith in God.
Power needs to look different for every woman. For me, power meant getting out of depression getting out of anxiety and reframing my mind to see myself the way God saw me. Power to me meant going back to my Creator, and learning to undo all of the negative things that have been spoken over me. Power was looking at myself and being accountable for the roles that I played, and any adverse situation. So I guess what I’m getting at is that women need to step back and really ask themselves, how do I define power? Because if you only have a definition of power, the world will hand you over a definition and then expect you to live up to it.
Jennifer: Exactly. I think that’s so great. And I love what you said about the ability to make a decision. That’s really where power comes from, because you can decide if you’re going to be aggressive, overbearing, abusive. You can decide if you’re going to be controlling or you can decide not to be. It’s that ability to make decisions and it comes back to that same ability to make decisions when it comes to your goals, the kind of relationships that you want to have. This is Happy Productivity. So the time where your time is going to go every day, who you’re going to spend it with what you’re going to spend at that time doing what’s right. I really believe that’s where our power comes from, because we can choose to spend it with somebody who tears us down or is it right, or I choose to leave and we can choose to do something different and that to me is power. It isn’t this “woohoo, look at me” in front of the whole room bossing everybody around. That is not it at all.
Laticia: I like to live there for a minute because that’s important that we discussed that. If we believe power as women is bossing someone around. I’ve read so many different articles. Women are afraid to be powerful because the definition of power has been skewed. Even when you look at women that are in power, other women have a tendency to say, “Well, she’s a b-i-t-c-h.” And you’re like “Why is she perceived that way?” And here’s the reality is that women for a very long time, and we didn’t even get the chance to vote into 19th Amendment right.
So women are still trying to accept the power within themselves. Yeah, if we’re really honest, women don’t see themselves as powerful because they’re looking for it around them instead of within them. And so every woman is powerful, but she has to understand herself. And I used to hear all the time, “fake it until you make it.” I’m like, if you tell another woman to fake it until she makes it, I’m going to scream. What we really should start saying is confront it until you change it.
Jennifer: Yeah, I agree.
Laticia: And you do have the power of choice. I had the power to leave my ex-husband or I have the power to stay, but then we have to dissect that a little bit further. If you feel powerless, what took your power away? Or who did you give your power to?
Jennifer: Yeah, I love that. And so let’s go there a little bit more, because that’s so good. So let’s say you’re in a situation and anybody who might be listening right now, you might be in a situation where you feel like you’ve given up your power are giving it to somebody else, and you want to get it back. But maybe you’re just not quite sure how. This is something you had to discover. I had to discover how to take my power back and I don’t know about you, but for me, it was not easy. It wasn’t like one day I woke up and was like, “Hey, I’m all fixed now.” It was it was years in the making and a lot of therapy and energy work and just healing and a lot of setting my intention to be like, you know what, “I’m going to I’m going to heal myself and I’m going to do whatever work I have to do to heal myself to get in a good place.”
So it was it was years. I mean, even just learning for me how to set boundaries was painful. I was terrible at setting boundaries. Because like you, growing up, I was taught a man’s needs come first, my mother knew I was being abused and did nothing about it very toxic person to this day doesn’t take any responsibility for anything. And so I learned from a very early age, the way I survived was by keeping him happy. And whatever that meant, right? And so growing up as an adult, you carry this into adulthood. And when you’re in a relationship where my job is to please him, you basically you give all your power away, but I didn’t understand that. I never understood how that all worked until really only probably the last seven or eight years of my life. So when you’re in a situation like this, and you want to start this process, you know, in your heart, you’ve given away your power, you want to get it back. What would you suggest, like, where would somebody start who wants to take back their power?
Laticia: You have to start with being honest with yourself. And, you know, when I came out of my marriage, I had some myself in the mirror and say, “You don’t love yourself. You don’t. You don’t respect yourself. You don’t know what love really is.” And so being able to get honest with yourself is the hardest thing you will ever have to do. Because oftentimes inside of our pain, inside of our confusion inside of our disappointment, sometimes we are not willing to be honest with ourselves. We create facades, we create personas, of who the world thinks we are. But when we’re alone, we understand that who we think we are and who the world thinks we are, is in conflict with who we really are.
And sometimes you have to be brave enough and courageous enough to sit in that discomfort and confront it. If you are in a relationship where you’re not thriving and that person is using their words to harm you. And you feel that within the depths of your soul. You have to be honest with yourself and say, “Why am I here?” if you’re working at a job, and I’ve worked in corporate America before I started my own business, I have every degree but a PhD, my resume is a football field long. But I found myself in positions where I was overqualified, and underpaid. I took myself to those positions, because I didn’t see my own value.
And in order for me to stop repeating those patterns, I had to say, “Laticia, you don’t value yourself. How do you expect to get value out of other people, if you first don’t see within yourself? You are totally amazing girl.” And I had to have these conversations with myself. And I had to go back and confirm how amazing I was. Through the work that I’ve done. Through every woman, every girl that I’ve helped, but I had to believe it’s so deep within the depths of my soul, that if no one ever told me again, I was amazing. I enough for myself.
Jennifer: Yeah. I love that so much, you hit the nail right on the head with being honest, and how difficult that can be to really and truly be honest with yourself. Because you and I both we saw the signs of an abusive ship and we married the guys anyways, right? Because we didn’t have a choice, and we chose to ignore those signs we chose not to be aware. And that’s part of why I started this podcast was about bringing awareness right into our daily life so that we could make the most powerful decisions that we can make. And self-care is such a big part of that. I never took care of myself. I was always taking care of a husband. I was taking care of clients, I was taking care of my children. And then I was way, way last on the list. And then I always felt like, guilty, right?
I was just like, I shouldn’t really be taking care of me, I should make sure that everybody else’s needs are met. And if you are in this place, you know that the whole dang day gets taken up by taking care of everybody else. And at the end of the there isn’t any time left for yourself. If you do manage to carve a little out, it’s like, it’s like you almost feel guilty and it’s a terrible, terrible place to be. And so, I agree with you 100% I think this is a big first step in regaining your power is to start loving yourself, putting yourself first loving yourself doing what you need to do for you, whether it’s, you know, going to bed early and getting some extra sleep, getting off social media because it doesn’t make you feel good or, eating a little bit better or getting some exercise.
And it’s funny because when I created my planner, Best Planner Ever and if you’ve ever seen the planner, it’s a full daily planning page, but I have a whole section on there for self-care, and I put it on there because I was not doing my self-care and I’m like, look when I sit down to plan my day, as a professional woman, I can I can rock it in my business all day long. That’s so easy for me. But to take time out and to put myself here as a top priority, that was really hard. But I found that that’s what helped me really get that power back and learn how to set boundaries and be an even more powerful woman was bringing it front and center and going, you know what, this is my whole life and a piece of that is going to have to be self-care, or I’m not really good to anybody else that I love and want to take care of.
Laticia: Yeah, and it really amazes me. We’re launching a DIY program this month called N-Powered To The Next Level, and it’s a six week online program. The very first module is titled “Overworked, Overwhelmed and Over committed.” And we really have women step back and say, “Where are the areas of your life that you are one overwhelmed with, over committed with and you’re just totally out of balance?” And a lot of women have been bought into this this narrative in this social framework of having it all, leaning into have it all were super women. I’m like, that is baloney. You cannot have it all. You can’t lean into it all. You can choose what’s important to you.
You can identify the why behind what you’re doing. Are you doing this side hustle? So you can say you’re a boss, like, I don’t even know what that means anymore? Or are you doing this side hustle because it’s going to lead you to full time entrepreneurship, because you want the freedom to bring in the economic stability that you want. Are you doing these things because it drives what makes you feel good and here or are you driven by external “great job?” Or do you want your Instagram page to be curated to look like you have it going on? I am so over that I get phone calls all the time. I get invitations, if it does not align with my morals, my values, and my mission for my life and my business answer’s “no.”
And I don’t even give an explanation. I may say “No, thank you” because there came a time where I found myself in rooms, whether it was doing a workshop or a keynote speech, and I wasn’t getting paid nearly as much as I’m worth. And I had to step back and said, “Laticia, you are overwhelmed for one because you are still underselling yourself.” And it starts with sitting back and literally listing out where in these areas are we overwhelmed, over committed and overworked and being honest, and then asking yourself “why are you there?”
Like, why am I showing up to another free event? I don’t do free. I’m an expert. I’ve written 13 books. I don’t do free. You know, so I think it’s always about checking back in with yourself on a daily basis. And when you find yourself in environments, I love to be in places where I can thrive. I have a lot of energy. I am spunky. I am assertive. I am that girl. When I walk in a room, I know why I’m there. I want to meet everybody. But then I’ve walked into rooms where I’m like, I don’t feel my energy can be free here. And that overwhelms me. And so women need to stop and just say, “Who am I? And where do I thrive? And where do I go? Where I feel the most powerful inside of myself?”
Jennifer: Yeah, I love that so much. And I love hearing a beautiful, powerful, strong woman who’s written 13 books go “Wait a second. I don’t do free and I’m doing free!” There’s just something I appreciate you so much for being so vulnerable because my hope is that some other woman out there is going to hear this and go “Wait a second. I’m doing free and I don’t need to be doing free right now.
And I just I love that because you sometimes we bring this like false sense of identity where we think other people have all got it figured out. And we’re the only ones who are broken. And it’s not true at all. And so to hear you talk about this, it’s like, “Yes, yes!” And you changed it. You made a different choice. You took back your power. You said, “Wait, I don’t do free and you stop doing free.” Yeah, I think that that’s really how you get your power back is by a different choice, a different position, one at a time, one at a time. Absolutely.
Laticia: But and you know what’s so funny, like we can run around a track with this all day. But we are always going to go back to the starting point of knowing who you are, knowing your own value and I work with a lot of young girls and it saddens me because we live in a world where women are taught that their values based on how they look, around their values based on their education. I have a lot of degrees but when I separated my what from my who, I found myself even more powerful. You can strip every degree you want to from me, the knowledge is in my mind. You can’t take what I earned in my mind, I have utilized this stuff to help other women. That’s power, because you can’t take it from me. I did the inner work, whatever we do as women from the inside, no one can come and take it.
Jennifer: That’s right. That’s right.
Laticia: Point blank, period. So if you don’t want my products and services, it’s not a personalization attack on me. Maybe it’s just not what you need right now. I know I offer value. And I always tell myself, whatever a person decides in business, it is not a direct correlation of who you are stands for.
Jennifer: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. So powerful. I can talk to you all day long. And I hope to everyone listening that they hear this and they are inspired to do something. If you’re in any kind of a situation where and I’ll tell you even today with all the work I’ve done I’m in a great place. But there are times when even now I still have to remind myself to set a boundary. Or yesterday I was like, I was really pressed for time, and I wasn’t going to do my yoga. And I was like, “No, you’re getting asked on the mat, and you’re going to do your yoga.”
You know, I cut it of you five minutes, but I was like, “I can live with that.” And there’s, there’s even times, even when we’re in a good place, that we still have to come back. And we still have to remember these things. And we still have to grab that power and go, “Wait a second, I’m not going back down that road.” So I really hope whoever’s listening will take this and use this and know wherever you are you always have a choice. You always have a choice.
Laticia: And I really want to chime in on that. That’s so important, because power is not a destination. I think women have that confused. I think so many women are striving to get to a place. Power is a place of existence. And that place of existence looks different. Like I just got remarried, and I have an amazing husband. He’s supportive, he’s encouraging, he’s loving, he’s kind. He’s all the things I’ve always desired and deserve. But I had to work on myself in order to attract him to me. And even now as 42 and recently married, I’m redefining what power looks like now.
And so, what I’m saying is allow yourself to grow your definition of power. Allow yourself to evolve as the world around you evolves, and be okay with saying no to things that no longer fit you at 42. What fit me at 40 doesn’t fit. And I struggled with that for a while. I’ve even told my husband the other day. I’m still adjusting to being a wife. Like sometimes I look at him. I’m like, “Did we get married?” And now it’s like, well, what does power look like to me being a wife and that’s making sure that my husband thrives as I thrive and he grows as I grow. So it’s give yourself the permission to expand your definition of power as you evolve.
Jennifer: Oh, I love it. Those are perfect words to end on. I love that. That’s so perfect. Thank you so much. Laticia tell everybody where they can find you.
Laticia: Absolutely you can go to our website at in power coaching.com and that is the letter in you can find us on Instagram at N-Powered Coaching Academy, Facebook at N-Powered Coaching Academy and we just started a brand new YouTube channel that will be posting content this month at N-Powered Coaching Academy.
Jennifer: So fantastic. I encourage everybody to go check out Laticia she is a super powerhouse and I have no doubt at all her products and services are jam packed with value.
Laticia: Thank you so much for having me.
Jennifer: Yeah, you’re so welcome. And thank you so much for being here. All right, you guys. I really hope that you took some valuable stuff. So many great things from the podcast today, I would encourage you to just even just pick one thing. Just pick one area where you’re going to take some action, take back your power, so that you can you know, get out there and live your most Happy Productive Day!
Laticia: Yeah. Thanks everybody. Bye!