Listen in as Mike welcomes Laura Di Franco, an award-winning publisher for holistic health and wellness professionals, who shares her journey of overcoming her fear of not being good enough and inspiring others to do the same. Laura unpacks how she used her background as a physical therapist and a black belt in Taekwondo to build discipline and trust in herself and her abilities. Laura and Mike discuss how discipline can create a successful career and the role of accountability in this process.
The conversation then shifts to the world of holistic health and healing. Laura shares how looking at the mind, soul, and spirit as an entire system can lead to a better understanding of a person’s pain and consequently, better healing. Laura also explains the importance of energy and awareness in the healing process. Laura shares her personal experience with cultivating an open body and mind and seeking moments of joy.
Laura also reveals how she brought together expert healers to write a book about self-healing techniques, which quickly became a #1 Amazon bestseller. Laura has encouraging and inspiring words for people who have thought about writing a book but have let doubt get the best of them. We all have unique experiences and insights, and we shouldn’t let fear get in the way of sharing that with the world. Your fear of not being good enough is boring, so share who you are and what you have learned with others because there is someone out there that needs to hear it.
- Overcoming Fears and Connecting With Others
- Starting and Building a Writing Community
- The Impact of Martial Arts Discipline
- The Challenge of Discipline for Entrepreneurs
- Understanding and Nourishing the Human Spirit
- Dreaming, Writing, and Collaborating
Connect with Laura Di Franco:
Check out the video version of this episode below:
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Episode transcript below:
0:00:00 – Mike Malatesta
Hi everyone. Mike Malatesta here and welcome back to the how it Happened podcast. On this podcast, I dig in deep with every guest to explore the roots of their success, to discover not just how it happened but why it matters. My mission is to find and share stories that inspire, activate and maximize the greatness in you. On today’s episode, I’m talking with an amazing CEO who knows what it means to be a warrior, not just to herself, but to everyone she works with as well, we talk about your fear of not being good enough and why it’s boring. Her thoughts about trust and surrender and ninja level awareness.
0:00:39 – Laura Di Franco
What I love the most about being in my healer community is that we’re all in this game, living our lives, experiencing all of these different kinds of challenges, and mentally it’s what we make it mean, and so I’m going to get all the way back to this mindset thing that turns me on. So much this awareness, and if you can walk through the world with ninja level moves of awareness, you’re going to survive, and so I like to talk about that and I like to teach people what does that even mean for you? What’s the next level of mindset?
0:01:14 – Mike Malatesta
moves for you. She’s published 62 Amazon bestselling books and what it means to be a brave warrior. She shares a very, very moving story near the end, so stay tuned in for that and enjoy my conversation with Laura DeFranco. Hi, laura, welcome to the podcast.
0:01:41 – Laura Di Franco
Hey, thanks. I’m excited about this one. I’ve been thinking about it for days, believe it or not.
0:01:48 – Mike Malatesta
Well, I think you’re one of the first people who’ve ever said that to me, so thank you so much for complimenting the host right off the bat. That’s really good Of course I’m so excited.
Way to go. So I want to quick shout out to Justin Breen, who connected Laura and I on LinkedIn, and we just talked about our preference being to connect people by email. But anyway, I’ll take connections, anyway I can get them. So I gave you a little intro about Laura, but I want to give you a little bit more so you can get as excited as I am for what’s to come. Laura DeFranco is the CEO of Brave Healer Productions, an award-winning publisher for holistic health and wellness professionals. She spent 30 years in holistic physical therapy, has 14 years of training in the martial arts and has authored 10 books. Her company has published over 55 Amazon bestselling books, with a global community of over 1,000 authors who are waking the world up to what’s possible for healing. One brave word at a time. Her website is BraveHealercom. That’s the business website Laura DeFranco. Is it DeFranco? Is that how you say it?
0:02:54 – Laura Di Franco
You got it, DeFranco yep.
0:02:56 – Mike Malatesta
I just wanted to make sure, because sometimes it’s so. Anyway, Laura D-I-F-R-A-N-C-Ocom.
0:03:03 – Laura Di Franco
0:03:03 – Mike Malatesta
Laura, I start every podcast with the same simple question how did it happen for you?
0:03:08 – Laura Di Franco
I love this. So you challenged me so much with prepping us for this with this question, like so much, in fact, that I went out to my community and I laid out a poll of four options and I let them pick.
So, yep, believe it or not, it all started when I realized the words I was writing could actually save someone’s life and that my fear of not good enough was boring. That is how it started for me, and there’s a story behind that, so let me know where you want me to go with this one.
0:03:46 – Mike Malatesta
Yeah Well, let’s start with the fear. That’s not boring. What’s what fear?
0:03:52 – Laura Di Franco
That fear of not good enough. So these are purpose driven fears to me. This is what I call them, the stuff that we say to ourselves in our minds, some of the self-sabotaging BS you’re not good enough to do this, you don’t have what it takes, it’s never going to happen, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I was reading a blog this was many years ago from Elizabeth Gilbert, and she titled this thing your Fear is Boring, and my whole body went into goosebumps when I read that. I’m like yes, yes, and so I tweaked it to your fear of not good enough is boring to me. Because what if the thing you’re still a little afraid to share is exactly what somebody needs to hear to change or even save their life? Like it’s time to be brave. It’s not about me, it’s about who I can help if I get over that kind of fear. So purpose driven fears that’s what I call those.
0:04:59 – Mike Malatesta
So I want to dig into that a little bit. Your fear of not good enough is boring, so does that mean that your fear is boring or not? Talking about your fear is boring. Being afraid of your fear is boring. What is it?
0:05:12 – Laura Di Franco
I think it’s what happens because of it. It paralyzes people, it keeps them from speaking up, it keeps them from sharing their very powerful story, it keeps them small in the world in general, and I’m here to play a little bit bigger. And so when that moment, when I realized that was what was preventing me from playing bigger, I was like, oh my gosh, all right, we got to stop that nonsense like let’s go. And what that meant for me was lots of different things. It was speaking on podcasts, it was telling my story, it was just getting out there and being authentic and transparent about my life and some of the personal things that had gone on and helping people feel not alone.
0:06:00 – Mike Malatesta
So that sounds easy, like, oh, I heard Elizabeth Gilbert say this and it was like boom, baseball bat to the head and like I had this epiphany. But I know that a lot of people who have fears, I have fears. I hear lots of great stuff that makes me want to, that makes me think my fear is very boring, but yet I don’t necessarily take action because I guess intellectually I can appreciate what’s being told and I can like when I’m hearing, like what Elizabeth Gilbert said, but there’s something that’s not intellectual about it, at least for me, laura. That’s like I’m not sure that I really want to do it. So how?
0:06:43 – Laura Di Franco
Yeah, there’s a deeper story that is really powerful for me to share today and I read that and I thought a lot about it and I did a lot of writing. But honestly, I was sitting at my computer one day and Facebook Messenger popped up from a total stranger and typically I would not only ignore those, but like be careful and maybe ban those people who are just trying to message me out of the blue.
But for that day, for some reason, I was paying attention and the message was hey, I read that article you wrote on. It was a mind body green blog and I really appreciated that message. I’m a mom of five and I’ve been struggling with some depression. Any chance you have more for me to read? And I read the message and I was like, oh yeah, so you know. I typed back to her.
I said of course I had written I don’t know, over 300 blogs on holistic healing and self care and all of these beautiful topics I knew would help her. So I went away and I found a couple of links and I dropped them in the chat for her. But then I went away and I wrote and dedicated a blog to her anonymously and I stepped up. I asked my audience to step up in the comments with love and advice and support. You know she had told me she was a mom of five and struggling with depression. Well, my audience were healers, moms, men and women who had been through depression and gotten to the other side of it, right.
So they stepped up, as I knew they would, and I got to drop that link for her back in the messenger and I think she felt connection that she hadn’t felt in a really long time. To make the story a little faster, she we became friends. She joined the class I was teaching. She went on to write some blogs for the world about her story and only after that did she share with me that she had actually been planning the suicide note she’d write to her husband and five children.
0:08:56 – Mike Malatesta
0:08:57 – Laura Di Franco
Uh-huh. And so I mean I am so grateful to be able to even share that story with you today, because typically, you know, we’re not brave enough to reach out to a stranger and ask for help. And Shirley is one of my deepest burning inspirations. She doesn’t mind that I talk about her and I would ask your audience who is your Shirley? Who is that person that you are doing this for? Your fear of not good enough is boring, so that circles back around to that, for you Got it.
0:09:37 – Mike Malatesta
Well, that’s a powerful story. Thank you for sharing that. Let me ask you about your writing. You said you had written hundreds of blog posts up to this point. How did you get started with that? So it feels like you didn’t have fear in some parts of your life because you were putting out a lot of material that, when you were, sounds like you were building a community around it. You’ve mentioned your community several times. How did you get started with that?
0:10:02 – Laura Di Franco
Thanks for asking that. It’s a fun part of my story. My first career was as a physical therapist and I was so excited to write for my audience and educate them about holistic health and healing. So I started blogging at the beginning of that physical therapy practice business and that was easy for me because I’m an anatomy geek man. I can talk body parts all day long, I can teach you about what’s going on and I loved to educate. I felt like I was in my element when I was doing that. So the writing for that was natural for me and easy, and it wasn’t like sharing the personal life of Laura. It was like, hey, let me help you. I was like many healers a helper, an overgiver, a want to help you person and I’ve been writing since I was 15, honestly journaling, writing, started blogging for my business. That was really the start of it and the first book didn’t come until about 2012. And that was a much more personal story. That’s when things shifted in terms of what I was writing.
0:11:11 – Mike Malatesta
So tell me about that.
0:11:13 – Laura Di Franco
My son was about five and a half at the time and we were looking for an activity for him to try. And I had been in my physical therapy business some mom, a wife and a business owner and we went and watched a Taekwondo class together. If you asked my friends and family, they would tell you that I had said for many years I’m going to write a book. I know I’m going to do this, I just don’t know what it’s going to be about. So we finished watching this class together and my little dude, five and a half, looks up at me and I’m like, well, and he said well, I’ll do it if you do it, mom.
And so six years later we earned our black belts together and I had my book when we tested. At the end of that journey I had been journaling through the six years, every story, every challenge, every everything. And I woke up the day that day, looked at my journals and I thought, whoa, here it is and I wrote Living, healing and Taekwondo. For you know that was my first book Baby for the World and told some real stories about what was going through my life and as a mom, again, healer, business person, martial artist yeah.
0:12:37 – Mike Malatesta
Yeah, okay, and you are, you still practicing today Taekwondo.
0:12:43 – Laura Di Franco
No, I am sad to say. Well, I’m going to say no and yes. When COVID started and we couldn’t go to the dojang, things stopped in a pretty abrupt way. And I’m going to say yes, I still practice the lifestyle. Martial arts is a mindset, it’s a mental discipline as much as it’s a physical exercise practice. And 14 years of training and a third degree black belt later, I’ll say I practice every day and haven’t been in the dojang in a while.
0:13:27 – Mike Malatesta
Okay, and for people who have no idea what Taekwondo is and this, no idea what the journey to getting a black belt, or the journey, like you just said, the mindset and the discipline behind it, outside of the actual physical part of it, as you mentioned, that’s been kind of sort of put to the side. How does it impact you on a day to day basis?
0:13:47 – Laura Di Franco
Master Holloway’s quote is discipline, the mind, the body will follow. And discipline is kind of a harsh word for people. They don’t like that D word. So much right. But there’s some pain involved in discipline and I was talking to someone else yesterday about it. That’s acute pain, right. If you can get through creating a discipline for your life, you’re going to get through that pain and you’re going to realize the prize on the other side of creating healthy disciplines for yourself.
What I didn’t realize going through that training, I mean I thought I went through a couple hard things. I went through a divorce. That was a rough year and for many people that’s the roughest year of their life. But I realized that some of that mental training was preparing me for much more challenging things. And you don’t know that, you can’t see your big picture. So you have to trust, right. But every day I don’t quit.
I would say, if I had to sum it up, indomitable spirit. It’s one of the tenets of Taekwondo and that one has served me the most. I have a raging spirit inside of me and when she’s having a bad day she does not dwell in that dark alley of her mind. She pauses and takes a breath and remembers where she is in a body, in the room, and she carries on with the purpose. And so, yeah, I appreciate you asking me that question, because this has been really probably one of the most profound things I ever did. Was went through those years of training and then be able to tell you what that’s meant to me later.
It’s big potato stuff to me.
0:15:37 – Mike Malatesta
The discipline thing I thought was interesting. People don’t like the D word. I find that a lot of people like the D word if they’re applying it to someone else, but having the D word applied to you is a little different story. I forget where I heard it, but somebody told somebody said that entrepreneurs love holding other people accountable. They just aren’t very good at holding themselves down. Sometimes, then, it’s sort of like the discipline thing. It feels good to do it to somebody else, but you’re often not willing to put yourself in that same bubble as you put other people in.
0:16:11 – Laura Di Franco
Well, I don’t know what you think, but I think probably successful entrepreneurs have made that work.
0:16:18 – Mike Malatesta
Oh yeah, well, yes, for sure, right, definitely.
0:16:21 – Laura Di Franco
And the ones who are struggling haven’t developed practices and disciplines that are serving them.
0:16:29 – Mike Malatesta
0:16:31 – Laura Di Franco
And they might be instead in sort of unhealthy habits or patterns or whatever it is. So, yeah, it’s hard to. If we had the answer to get people to do what they already know they should do but are having trouble doing, we’d have the billion dollar solution for yeah.
0:16:51 – Mike Malatesta
Yeah, I say like everybody knows the answer. They’re just not willing to talk themselves into it all the time.
0:16:57 – Laura Di Franco
0:16:58 – Mike Malatesta
Yeah, interesting, and that quote that you said you can’t see your big picture. That’s a really good one. That reminded me of Steve Jobs said something like you can’t connect the dots of your life looking forward. You can only connect the dots of your life looking backward. In other words, everything that you’ve done up till now has prepared you for what’s to come. But if you think about, it’s sort of paralyzing to think, oh, I have to connect all these dots in the future to be who I want to be. Anyway, I thought that was.
0:17:26 – Laura Di Franco
I don’t think you can do it.
I think, if you start to do, that you’ll be lost up here and then you won’t be in your moment, which is where all the good stuff happens. And I think what it is is trust and surrender. Trust and surrender every single day. I don’t know the big picture. I’m really talking about the crappy days right now, because it’s in those days where you are exhausted or you’ve got a problem or you’re frustrated or things aren’t working out, that you have to trust and surrender. All the things you’re going through, including that current moment problem, is perfectly orchestrated. They were perfectly orchestrated to get you in a place where you want to go. I don’t know, people don’t like to talk so much about the M word manifestation, but I think the practice that we’re talking about that trust and surrender, especially if you’re a hard working entrepreneur who has really put effort in I think that has been my solution for that bigger picture. Can’t see it, but I trust it.
0:18:40 – Mike Malatesta
Can you trace back to where that became natural for you? And I’m asking because I think it’s human nature is natural to trust, but human experience starts to erode that because people let you down or you perceive that they let you down or whatever, and it becomes then kind of or it can become kind of scary to trust someone or trust and surrender, or even scarier because that could be. You might think that’s as likely to be a good outcome as a bad outcome. How do you square that?
0:19:20 – Laura Di Franco
Oh man, this topic is loaded. So I started to see a pattern and this was so great with your show and how you started off with the question because I went back a little bit to look at what that was before we met and I started to see a pattern almost yearly, which was really interesting, of an occurrence I thought was really sucked to coming onto the other side of almost a small miracle, like in my life and business. And so I’m like, huh, that’s interesting. And then the next year another one happened, and then the next year another one happened. And that’s why I did the poll with my friends, because I’m like I don’t know what to tell them.
You know where do I start this story, but after that happens two or three times, you kind of it’s like oh okay, I think I can fall back into some trust here and I believe it before I see it. But I started to see it so often it helped me believe it. And I wanted to make one other quick mention of yes, people let you down. But what if that was for you? What if they were being weeded from your life on purpose and it had to be that much in your face for you to do something about it, right? So sometimes, if you’re not listening to the whispers, the universe kind of gets loud and says you know, and so that’s also the trust that that, whatever that bigger source is, it has my back, and if I could just relax. But man, is it hard, right, when these things happen and people let us down in big ways and it really you know, I’m pointing to my chest because I get the trigger right in my middle of my heart when stuff like that happens, you know.
0:21:21 – Mike Malatesta
So Okay, I’m gonna shift gears here a little bit and I’m wondering, Laura, before you became an adult, who were you?
0:21:30 – Laura Di Franco
Oh, before I became an adult, wow, I was this little kid who loved to climb trees, pretend she could fly and wanted to be the bionic woman, and I just loved using my body and figuring out what it could do. I loved nature. I still love all these things now. These are the things I come back to now. Right, that the origin story is a beautiful thing to revisit.
0:22:12 – Mike Malatesta
And the what the heck was her name? The bionic woman? It’s Beans.
0:22:16 – Laura Di Franco
Lindsay Jamie Summers. Oh, lindsay, yes.
0:22:19 – Mike Malatesta
She was the actress, right Lindsay? Yeah, okay, exactly, great show.
0:22:23 – Laura Di Franco
Lindsay Wagner Believe me, I’ve got the fan club stuff in my closet still.
0:22:31 – Mike Malatesta
And were you into sports? Were you thinking about holistic medicine or therapy? What was going on?
0:22:40 – Laura Di Franco
I was. I was lucky. I did gymnastics when I was little and then I started to play soccer and by the time I was a sophomore in high school. I knew I wanted to be a sports medicine doctor and the gal came in who was a physical therapist, into the career center that year and she did her little talk about being a physical therapist and I literally fell in love with her, with her passion, and I started to do some volunteer work as early as high school in physical therapy and went on to become a holistic physical therapist. That first 30 year career for me. But soccer and running all my life. I played collegiate soccer for two years, I ran marathons for three or four years and then I became a third degree black belt, so lifelong athlete here.
0:23:34 – Mike Malatesta
I was wondering when you were telling me about Bionic Woman and stuff. So when you took your five and a half year old to the Taekwondo class and he asked you that question, did you think? Oh this is my Bionic Woman time coming back.
0:23:51 – Laura Di Franco
Oh, I don’t know. I don’t think I was thinking that I was just looking at his little fuzzy head and I was like I want to do anything. I can do to get you in here, you know, and get you to meet some friends. I was just being a mom.
0:24:04 – Mike Malatesta
Okay, fair enough. I want to make sure that I and everyone listening understands what holistic means, and I think we’re all acquainted with the word. But I find that a lot of people are acquainted with words and have some understanding of it, but it may not be the understanding that you have when you use the word and when you practice. So help us with that.
0:24:34 – Laura Di Franco
Yeah, I love this question because there’s a couple of really cool ways to look at it. You know, as a physical therapist, if you came into my office and you had an ankle sprain that you were recovering from and I was going to sit you down and assess and start to talk to you about what that ankle was doing, if I forgot to look at your neck, that’d be my bad, because holistic in the physical therapy world is looking at the entire system, the myofascial system, the inside, the outside, all the parts as they link together and work as a body. That is pretty darn amazing if you think about it right, that body system. So holistic for me as a practitioner was I didn’t like it when doctors would write a prescription for ankle pain. I wanted to be able to look at the whole body and connect the dots that way for someone.
But the other big deal thing to me was if I forgot to ask you about your life, like maybe you had a loss that week in your family, maybe you had a job shift, maybe there was some stress or anxiety that was affecting your body, mind, I was going to my bad again. I would be missing a huge piece of the picture that could help you heal. And so holistic to me meant a couple of things. It meant whole body, and it also meant whole body, mind, soul, spirit and having somebody understand all of the parts, integrate all of that together so that we could find great solutions. And it might have meant that I had to collaborate with other practitioners or talk about what that would look like. But, man, I wish the holistic health and wellness world would get on the ball with that a little bit more. Help each other collaborate as practitioners, because we could be helping our clients way faster.
0:26:36 – Mike Malatesta
And how do you get at someone’s spirit? And I agree with you, I mean, the mind rules, everything right. But I don’t know. I guess I’m as you said that I got. I was like, yeah, get that, get that, get that. And then spirit, I don’t know how to. How do you get to that? People aren’t used to saying hey, laura, let me tell you about my spirit. Today they can tell you about their ankle or whatever pain they’re having.
0:27:01 – Laura Di Franco
Well, the thing is, as a holistic practitioner who’s done it a minute or two, your energy precedes you into the room. Your, your face shows it. Your spirit is either emanating from you or it is dampened and dulled, and sometimes a barely even need to ask a question to see that somebody’s spirit is low. Remember I was saying one of the tenets of in Taekwondo is an indomitable spirit. Well, I’m smiling, my posture is up, I am excited to be with you, I feel an enthusiasm for life, I’m living in moments that feel purposeful. So that’s how you get at it. And to have a practitioner even ask you those questions whoa, I mean, you know that that would be pretty amazing to find somebody who is incorporating those kinds of things. But that’s why I started calling myself a holistic physical therapist, because I wanted people to know that that mattered to me and it matters to them, obviously.
0:28:11 – Mike Malatesta
And what’s the healing power of spirit?
0:28:15 – Laura Di Franco
Hmm, it’s energy, so it’s vibration, it’s a frequency of vibration, so you can be walking around really angry or you can be walking around fulfilled and inspired. If you just take a minute to breathe with both of those scenarios, you will feel different from just practicing both of those scenarios. Literally, you will become tight from the first one, and so that is going to be a body mind occurrence over there, right? So helping people to just have awareness this is probably one of my favorite topics ever. Ever is what does that awareness mean? Well, with awareness, I have a choice. So, body awareness, thought awareness. The way that I’m speaking today, you know I get excited, so I get louder. So I have to, like, check myself, you know. So I have to just be like. You know, you can see me leaning in. Sometimes, too, my whole body talks, right, but I don’t know. Maybe that answered that a little bit.
0:29:31 – Mike Malatesta
Okay, it did. It was a great answer. In fact, now I’m thinking about my spirit and how I use my spirit and how my spirit. When my spirit is in the right spot, I am open, not just my mind open, but my body is open. And I find, I don’t know, I find that when I’m feeling that way and focused on that way, I have a lot less issues in everything that is that I thought was an issue, is less of an issue, whether it’s a personal issue, whether it’s a business problem or whether it’s some pain that I’m feeling somewhere. You know, if it’s, if I’m open to, if my spirit’s in the right place, at least what I’m calling my spirit, which I think is my spirit, yeah, I feel like a more productive human.
0:30:20 – Laura Di Franco
Definitely, and I think if you even just think about it as an alignment with joy, that is going to be different for you than it is for me, but if each of us seek moments of that and we make our lives about you know, some people have to give themselves permission to seek joy more often and that gets back to that person who would walk in and I would see it was drained from them.
You can see that in somebody, but you can also feel it. And even just chatting about topics that they don’t normally get to talk about with their inner circle people, you could see the smile come on, you could see the posture you know improve and I want to take responsibility for my energy. When I show up with people, I know that that’s me actually healing the world in that moment. That might sound a little corny, but if I take responsibility to raise that vibe and give you all I got in that moment, then that is something that you receive from me. If you’re open to receiving that, that matters, it really matters. And when you start to talk about business whoa, you know holistic business, showing up in a holistic way in your business as a whole. Another day.
0:31:49 – Mike Malatesta
What I think I heard you just describe as your presence, and I think your presence is the most valuable gift you have to give somebody, someone else. It’s rare, you think no, it’s not rare, because I’m present with people all the time, but really being present where you’re 100% focused on that person, you’re giving all of your attention to that person, that’s truly rare.
0:32:10 – Laura Di Franco
Huge gift, huge gift. I think about that a lot with my kids.
0:32:16 – Mike Malatesta
Yeah me too, and yeah me too, but other things where I don’t do. Well, you know, it’s a practice, that’s for sure.
0:32:25 – Laura Di Franco
0:32:26 – Mike Malatesta
You mentioned a couple of times, you know, your first 30 years career. What’s your second?
0:32:31 – Laura Di Franco
Brave. Healer Productions is the publishing company for my Healer friends and it was pretty awesome to kind of move from that professional practice into helping my friends publish their books and get their words out into the world in a bigger way. I sometimes feel like I’m a translator of Healer speak. I want the world to understand what’s possible in terms of healing. I really want them to wake up to it and have hope. They may have seen 10 doctors and if they don’t give up there’s going to be a solution. But maybe they just haven’t heard it yet. But if there’s something you haven’t learned yet that could change everything, I like to ask that question a lot.
0:33:21 – Mike Malatesta
And that’s a great question.
0:33:23 – Laura Di Franco
This company was built from that and I love that. The universe put me in that holistic physical therapy role first because I really had to learn the practice, do the work, get myself to a place before I could be this publisher that I am now. I have never been in my purpose more than now. It’s an awesome place to be.
0:33:53 – Mike Malatesta
Was it the writing of your own books that led you to think that this was your next calling, or was it something else that came along?
0:34:03 – Laura Di Franco
My own books were fun. I am also a poet. I’ve self-published about five books of poetry. I’ve been writing poetry. I wrote some teaching memoirs. I told you about the Taekwondo book and some other books. But actually, no, it wasn’t my own. It was learning everything I learned from those experiences, realizing I could pay forward what I learned about the publishing process. That’s kind of the boring piece, and part of my mission is that I don’t want people to have to make those dumb mistakes I made in the beginning of my life. I don’t want to make the beginning of my publishing my books. I actually woke up at the beginning of COVID. This was about a week after my physical therapy practice had been shut down. I’m one of those people who was telling the story that, oh, I’m transitioning from business number one to business number two, and then I told that story for five years and couldn’t do it.
I was too afraid. So COVID did it for me and after about a week of panicking I was like, oh all right, well, maybe this is for me. And I woke up dreaming a dream. I was dreaming a dream of putting all of my expert healer friends into a book and teaching the world self treatment techniques, because we’re natural teachers anyway, all of us therapists and doctors and practitioners. And so I went in and I wrote a little note to this group of people that I was teaching a class for and I said, hey, who wants to write a chapter? Let’s do the ultimate guide to self healing and let’s teach the world what they can do at home right now. And 48 hours after I wrote that little note, 24 people said, yeah, I’ll do that with you. And five weeks after that we birthed that book to a number one Amazon bestseller.
0:35:58 – Mike Malatesta
0:35:59 – Laura Di Franco
I was like whoa, what just happened? Like I mean, if you talk to anyone in the book where they’ll be like five weeks, really you did that in five weeks and the project management aspect alone is pretty mind boggling, with 25 people, you know, and I thought it was going to be a one off until a friend emailed me a week later and said, laura, when are you doing the next one? And I said today, I guess, and so I’m happy to be here with you today celebrating book number 62 expert collaborations with 1000 plus authors in the last three years, three and a half years. And so I know that was a little bit of a long story to answer that question, but I didn’t realize what was in store. That’s what we were talking about and I don’t know the big picture.
0:36:50 – Mike Malatesta
And these healers, give me an example of what a healer is, or the healers in your community, and what they do, cause I want to make sure that I again, just like with the holistic, I want to make sure that I understand and everyone understands what you’re talking about.
0:37:06 – Laura Di Franco
Well, most of my healer friends. They don’t want to be called a quote healer, because authentic healers understand that they don’t fix people. They’re facilitators of that healing process. So I’ll say that first.
0:37:19 – Mike Malatesta
0:37:20 – Laura Di Franco
Yep, we help you connect with your inner wisdom and your inner healer and we help you connect with what you need to connect with so that you can feel better literally Mind, body, soul, spirit, right. But my guys and gals are yoga instructors and they are master meditation teachers. They are naturopathic doctors, they are acupuncturists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, they are Reiki energy practitioners. They are just a little bit of every healing modality you might think of. They are breath workers. They teach holistic modalities that address and integrate all parts of us, and that is why these modalities not only work but can actually be more long lasting than the traditional sorts of medicine and therapies we are prescribed by our traditional doctors and therapists.
And so I think holistic and alternative stuff it’s gaining ground. There’s science now that is connecting mind, body. I think we’re a little bit past understanding that those two things are connected, but now it’s just like man. I get excited about what’s possible. I get excited about teaching people that breath work can drop your pain levels by three notches, that energy work can do the same. Oh my gosh, our entire series on ancestral healing Fascinating stuff.
0:39:06 – Mike Malatesta
What is that?
0:39:08 – Laura Di Franco
You know your parents, their parents, their parent, like you know, you know that story right. The line of ancestors those people in their energy bodies went through. Whatever they went through in terms of trauma you can imagine. We all know the history stories and that comes down the line to us here in this world. We’re gonna pass some trauma on to our children in the DNA that we’re moving through the line. That is a very quick explanation for you. I’ll give Amy Gillespie-Guardia a shout out today because her community of practitioners in the ancestral healing realm is phenomenal and I’ve learned a lot from her series and from her experts. So again, just getting back to hey, what if there’s something you haven’t learned yet?
0:40:06 – Mike Malatesta
0:40:07 – Laura Di Franco
That could change everything that could change everything, right?
0:40:10 – Mike Malatesta
yeah, Did this originate from the community that you developed with your blogging and stuff over the course of time?
0:40:16 – Laura Di Franco
0:40:17 – Mike Malatesta
0:40:17 – Laura Di Franco
So started building that community early on, as a physical therapist. Went into Facebook one day, opened up a group, started to, you know, gather my healers and started to do events. I blogged a lot and so I educated that way and as I was sort of shifting and then opened up Brave Healer Productions, I was interested in helping these holistic practitioners with their businesses, with their publishing, with all the things that we don’t go to school for.
I realized, you know, by the time I graduated, that, like, if I wanted to do all this business stuff, I was gonna have to learn a lot of things that I hadn’t been taught in school. And that was that passion was to help those people along and to help them build what they were doing. It felt like the biggest ripple for me because those people were helping people. So if I could help them get their word out and they get to help more people than that, you know it, just it was awesome.
0:41:17 – Mike Malatesta
So yeah, so 62 Amazon bestsellers in three years. I think you said how does somebody work with you to write a book? How does the process work?
0:41:29 – Laura Di Franco
There are several ways for people to come into our community and just get a taste. We have free events every month, first of all, so you can come in and meet the community and you can hear about some of these things we’re doing. With publishing, our expert collaborations are absolutely the specialty of the company. The reason I fell in love with the collaborative book after that dream story I told you was because what I realized is so hard to publish and launch a book solo as you are the only author. You have to build a platform in a community around you for that book to be successful.
So when I brought all my experts together in that first one, I realized that that ripple was so much bigger for in terms of book launching, that I just honed in on the systems and strategies to run an expert collaboration and it has been fabulous. So people can come in and they can write a chapter for one of these expert collaborations. If you need coaching on your solo book process, I am here as a resource to do that. I have published a handful of solo authored books and then we just opened up and are working on Brave Kids books, so our children’s book line is phenomenal. These are not any children’s book authors. They are expert holistic practitioners coming in to write children’s stories about intuition, about healing, about meditation, about loss of a parent, about all the topics that we need support with right and to help the kids.
So that one gave me goosebumps to tell you about because, that’s been a really big thing for us to start to write for kids.
0:43:23 – Mike Malatesta
And what’s the future look like?
0:43:25 – Laura Di Franco
Oh, the future. We are expanding in all of these areas that I’m talking about. We are building our community in a way that supports the business behind our authors in so many different ways.
So, into the future full course platform, writer’s circle, so that we can write together on a regular basis we are going to retreat for a couple of book projects, because I learned really quickly this past year or two, even through COVID, believe it or not. Well, we got together with an author group to do some of the work together and then write together and then craft this amazing book together. The energy and the bonding of that group of people was off the charts phenomenal. So we will be adding a retreat writers, authors retreat to our schedule. Oh my gosh, the future. I could go on and on about that.
0:44:21 – Mike Malatesta
I like that idea. I mean I wrote my book pretty much in complete solitude, just me and computer and my thoughts. But and we? I used a company and we had meetings. You could join on a Zoom call or whatever every week. But it’s what you just said makes a lot of sense to me, because if you’re with other people who are writing their book, not only do you have this, you’re all committed to the same thing and you’re all going through the same thing. So there’s an instant sort of connection and a willingness to help. But I imagine just the I don’t know if energy is the right word, but I’ll use it of, you know, being with people who are going through the same thing, that you are maybe at different stages. They can be a way to not only be inspired but also a way to get quick answers to things that are holding you up, like obstacles or whatever.
0:45:17 – Laura Di Franco
So get what you’re saying and I can feel the solo author place of loneliness in you as you’re telling me that, because this is no, you know, easy thing to do.
And even when you are writing your own solo book, as many people have. If sometimes, what you don’t realize and I think this is for everybody sharing your story, your personal stories for the first time in a published fashion is for warriors and you don’t realize that you jumped into a healing process. You’re just like, yeah, I’m gonna write my book because everyone is telling me to write my book, and all of a sudden you have to share real stories from your life and you realize what’s up with that, and now you have nobody to talk to or do the work of healing with, and so that’s. I mean, I think if I wanted to be known for anything as a publisher, it would be that I get that writing anything a chapter, a whole book, a blog sometimes is a healing and self-development journey. And if your publisher doesn’t understand that, then you’re gonna go through the steps and kind of feel whatever you feel at the end, and it may not be as great as you thought.
0:46:34 – Mike Malatesta
I mean, let’s face it, writing a good book is telling stories that interest people, and if you, getting back to what you said early on, if you have, you know your fear is boring. So if you don’t expose something that’s shows the reader that they’re getting a piece of you that they may not ordinarily get, they’re going to be that’s not gonna be interesting to them and that probably holds back a lot of like you tell me. That probably holds back a lot of authors too, because they know they have to go there but they don’t wanna go there, and so it creates like a block. Maybe sometimes, I don’t know, is that your experience or you got something different?
0:47:15 – Laura Di Franco
I mean, we are about going there and I won’t let you do it alone, though, and I’m gonna help you through the process of sharing that story. Listen, the more personal you are as an author, the more universal your book will be, more red it will be. You’ll sell more copies when you actually get over that fear and step up and show up with that real story. You are so right, people don’t wanna do it. But you know what’s funny? I think one of the things that paralyzes authors the most, in terms of they just they don’t do it. They don’t write their book. My story isn’t bad enough.
They’re in comparisonitis with all the other stories out there that people have been through this or that and they decide their story isn’t bad. Are you kidding me? Like, no, no, no, like there is somebody waiting to hear the story. Everything has been said, done, written before, but not by you.
0:48:18 – Mike Malatesta
0:48:19 – Laura Di Franco
You know that’s that saying so, it’s your unique way of sharing it that is gonna matter for your Shirley.
0:48:26 – Mike Malatesta
Do you think some people also are so close to themselves that they think, Laura, there’s not really anything that special about me to tell in a book?
0:48:33 – Laura Di Franco
Exactly. Yeah, and that’s the thing you have to realize is that maybe 20 people could tell a story like that, but it’s the way you tell it that’s going to change someone’s life. Someone’s waiting for your version of it. You are special because you are you Right. And man, what a process this is to move through all of that stuff in your head and even just begin. I would encourage people just start to journal. Maybe it doesn’t have to be anything, maybe this isn’t a book, who knows? Right, that was my first book. I journaled my stories of my Taekwondo training and then later I realized I could share some of that.
0:49:17 – Mike Malatesta
Right, that’s very smart advice. I do think everyone’s got a book inside of them that would interest a lot of people Everyone.
0:49:25 – Laura Di Franco
0:49:26 – Mike Malatesta
So why not get it out there?
0:49:28 – Laura Di Franco
0:49:29 – Mike Malatesta
If not for, if for no one else but yourself. But it won’t just be for you, it’ll be for. So you’ve used the word brave and warrior a number of times, and I’m wondering why. Why is that the theme of?
0:49:43 – Laura Di Franco
Brave healers Because they said, yeah, I’ll sign up for that life, I’ll do this work of healing so that I can be a trailblazer and a model, so that I can talk to you about what you’re going through. That would have been my answer up until these last three years and over the last three years I actually now can tell you, I think, part of why brave is in what I do. We as a family have had to be involved in the justice system. For the last three years We’ve been fighting my daughter’s abuser and it took three years to put him in jail. And throughout the process of that I realized I was pushed to a place I had never been before, mentally and emotionally. I was just waking up in moments where I thought to myself, whoa, you’re at capacity today. I don’t think you’ve ever been at capacity Like really feeling like if one more thing was going to happen, I would tip over the edge and not really be able to function very well.
I was really dabbling with my mental health and being able to function as a mom and a business owner and all the things I was doing in my life, and before then I don’t know that I would have been able to say to you why I use brave. I knew there was something about what we do as healers that was brave, but until these last three years I thought I don’t know. But now I can say to you that people who have been through any traumatic experience and come on the other side of it to help other people, that’s brave. Because many people end up they just don’t talk about it. You said it earlier. They don’t want to talk about the personal stuff. They think it’s TMI or they think they’re going to offend someone or whatever. They think about that process. But what I’m going to say is you can change or save a life if you can get over that kind of fear. That’s my warrior.
0:52:03 – Mike Malatesta
Well, I have to say I was not expecting the answer to my simple question to be that powerful. So I’m glad you’re through. Well, it’s probably never through, but I’m glad that it’s been at least. I was going to use the word resolved. Probably isn’t resolved, but there’s been some accountability, at least it sounds like. And now I guess you go from there.
0:52:29 – Laura Di Franco
We did have to come to a place of some closure, and you’re right, that story is a forever story. But from the beginning, I knew that we were meant to be in that story because we were going to be brave enough to fight. And not everybody is in that particular kind of story, and so I wouldn’t wish this upon anyone, ever, ever. Not any person and not any family of any person, because it takes something to say, yeah, we’re going to fight this and we’re not going to give up, and we’re going to fight it to the end and we’re going to see it out and wait for that closure. But that was a big deal.
I know that, in terms of that comparing, I told you the thing that paralyzes people, though my story isn’t bad enough, but what I love the most about being in my healer community is that there have been so many stories like ours, but also different, seemingly worse, maybe seemingly not so, but we’re all in this game, living our lives, experiencing all of these different kinds of challenges, and mentally, it’s what we make it mean, and so I’m going to get all the way back to this mindset thing that turns me on so much, this awareness, and if you can walk through the world with ninja level moves of awareness, you’re going to survive, and so I like to talk about that and I like to teach people. What does that even mean for you? What’s the next level of mindset moves for you?
0:54:21 – Mike Malatesta
So that’s it. So elevating mindset basically that’s what you’re saying. You can continue to just keep walking your level of awareness, your mindset about you and your circumstances, or whatever, Just keep walking them up.
0:54:40 – Laura Di Franco
Well, you mentioned discernment earlier.
0:54:43 – Mike Malatesta
0:54:43 – Laura Di Franco
And there’s another D word. It’s I’m sorry you mentioned discipline.
And discernment is the other D word. And when I start to talk about discernment and as far as awareness, it’s like, oh yeah, so inside of me, right, this moment, is this feeling I’m feeling. And that feeling is either aligned or it’s not. And when I can discern that kind of purpose driven fear from a survival fear which is a oh heck no kind of thing, I become a bit of a ninja. I’ve become a badass, I become somebody who can walk through the world and really know I can stand in my power, I can set my boundaries with people, I can choose for my own health, which is the first thing I have to do if I’m going to help anyone else. And so, yes, I think we can keep elevating on this journey. What would it mean to get better at that? It’s different for everybody.
0:55:47 – Mike Malatesta
You got to get selfish about yourself before you can help anybody else. That’s what I believe. I think that’s a great place for us to cut this off. Laura, I do want to ask you, is there anything that I haven’t asked you that you would? I should have that you would like to leave with us before we go?
0:56:04 – Laura Di Franco
I don’t think so. I really enjoyed moving through all of those different kinds of ideas with you today. I really appreciate the time and just very grateful for people like you who are helping us share our stories. So thank you.
0:56:21 – Mike Malatesta
Oh, it’s my pleasure. I learned a lot. I think my mind got opened up to a few new things. I clarified my thinking with some of the questions I asked you, and so, yeah, it’s been real eye-opener. Thank you so much for doing this.
0:56:35 – Laura Di Franco
Thank you, my pleasure.
0:56:37 – Mike Malatesta
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