Mike Malatesta

Entrepreneur | Author | Coach

Mike Malatesta

Entrepreneur | Author | Coach

Toni Lontis – Finding Your Smile! (298)

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Toni Lontis

Toni Lontis is an international radio broadcaster, bestseller co-author, novelist, speaker, and visionary who discreetly entered the business world in 2019 with the release of her memoir, Resilience. After 35 years in nursing, from clinical practice to running her own nurse consultancy company, Toni wanted to write a book about what it takes to overcome dysfunction and trauma in her own life to create a heart-centered impact and help heal others.

Toni was first exposed to the power of spoken word when the audiobook was produced along with the book’s publication. A meeting with an American media organization resulted from a “chance” encounter, and Radio Toni was established. From these modest beginnings, a passion for speaking with enterprises and individuals about life, business, and the cosmos grew. Her shrewd interviewing techniques have swept the globe. Toni currently hosts a number of live streaming TV/radio shows and a number of co-hosted business talk shows, all of which are situated in the US and aired to a global audience.

Tools to Attract More Life into Your Business

Toni is an experienced online marketer; as such, she understands it’s crucial to attract more life into your business. Meaning to create a deeper connection with the people you serve.

How can you do that?

  • Video
    Most business owners occasionally share a video. However, you may reach a new audience and breathe fresh life into your company by starting a YouTube video channel. Even on your sales and landing pages, you may welcome visitors and establish a more personal connection with them by using brief video messages. In order to increase interest in your company, think about starting a video channel and series.
  • Membership Features
    You can create a community by including a membership option on your website and in your business model. Membership offers a variety of perks and advantages and might be free.
  • Mobile Apps
    For instance, a business coach might develop a mobile app that helps business owners in tracking their goals. An app for “useful tip of the day” might be developed by a virtual assistant, or a fitness influencer could create a fitness motivation app.
  • Events & More
    To generate interest, you can start a brand-new content series, offer a free report, or host a webinar. Consider your target first, then consider how to offer the most value and advantages.

And now here’s Toni Lontis.

Video on Finding Your Smile With Toni Lontis

Watch Toni Lontis Speakers Reel

Visit ToniLontis.com to Learn More About Toni Lontis

Check Out Toni’s Book – Resilience: Memoir of a Broken Little Girl Discovering a Woman on Strength and Beauty

Listen to Toni’s Podcast: Radio Toni

Subscribe to Toni Lontis YouTube Channel

Check Out Toni TV on Facebook

Connect with Toni Lontis on LinkedIn

Follow Toni Lontis on Instagram

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Podcast with Toni Lontis. Finding Your Smile!

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

life, toni lontis, mike, people, trauma, book, smile, daughter, day, talk, story, perpetrators, write, thought, moment, happen, stop, world, feel, started

SPEAKERS

Toni Lontis, Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta  00:02

Hey everybody. Welcome back to the How’d It Happen Podcast powered by WINDJECT Studios. I’m so happy to have you here. And I’ve got a very special guest for you today. I’ve got Toni LontiLontiss joining me on the show. Toni, thank you so much for being here today.

Toni Lontis  00:26

My pleasure, Mike, thank you for having me.

Mike Malatesta  00:30

So you may pick up on on. See, I’m gonna call it an accident. She wouldn’t call it an accident because to her regulars and to me, she’s listening to me and going What the heck is that? Anyway, Toni, Toni is joining us from Australia today. Actually where I think it’s tomorrow for her already. So this is kind of neat. We’re, we’re straddling two days, which is always fun. So I’ve been looking forward to this. I was on Toni’s show a while ago. It was wonderful. You are going to be she is so wonderful. It was a wonderful experience. So I’m glad to have her here today. And I’m going to tell you a little bit about her to get you as excited as I am. So Toni, and that’s t o n i is the CEO of Toni Lontis enterprises. She’s an international radio and TV host, a best-selling co-author, and author, a speaker, a visionary. And Toni quietly entered the entrepreneurial world in 2019. After the publication of her memoir, which is called resilience through after 35 years in nursing, and she ran the gamut in what she did in nursing. She wanted to write a book. And she wanted to talk about what it takes to heal from dysfunction and trauma in her own life to create a heart centered impact and help heal others. After the book, there was an audiobook production and Toni was introduced to the power of the spoken word. By chance, quote, unquote, chance conversation led to a meeting with an American media company and radio Toni was born. And from those humble beginnings, you know, she’s become really a world renowned. I was gonna say star, but I will say personality. She’s a world-renowned personality, she’s got so. So 35 years in nursing doing all of these things. And now she’s read completely, I’m gonna say reinvent, but it probably isn’t an actual reinvention. It’s just an evolution. We’re now she hosts, TV and radio shows, on all kinds of platforms. She’s got her own TV network, which is called the everyday Women’s Network. She’s got her podcast called Radio, Toni. And she’s got so many things that I I can’t even name all the things that she also has an icky schedule. Like a lot of us, Nikki schedules. You can find out more about Toni, all over the place with her name. T o n i  L o n t i s on most of the social sites .that looks like there’s an M in there on Instagram to NIMLONTI s. YouTube. She’s everywhere. So yeah. Toni, thank you so much for being there. Like, that’s a lot. I think I’ve done enough there. So I start every show with a simple question to get us going. And that is how did happen for you.

Toni Lontis  03:51

Firstly, thank you so much for that intelligent introduction. Thank you for having me on the show. It sounds like a lot when someone else says it. But when I’m thinking about it, it’s just like life. So how it happened for me is is part of the journey and the story. So I guess if I go back to the beginning, I was born to a royal family. I was born with a congenital facial defect called a pre auricular sinus. And the problem with these little defects is that they have a habit of becoming infected and requiring surgery. And after one of those surgeries slash infections, I was left with a left sided facial palsy, which meant that I couldn’t smile. I couldn’t raise my eyebrow. I couldn’t chew properly. I didn’t close properly. And that was what I was had from about Before I was three, so as you can imagine, going into school and growing up was, was kind of tough. And there’s some things that are realized in my adulthood that I had no idea about as a child. But for many people, humans, smiling is a way to connect with people. And because my smile was so bad, I didn’t smile, so I hated photos, I’m still not a great fan of photos. But that’s another story. But I felt that I couldn’t smile because I couldn’t smile properly. And I got teased and bullied, and all of those sorts of things, pop that into quite dysfunctional upbringing. And in then it led to a whole range of things in early adult life, lots of traumas, lots of things went wrong, culminating in a complete breakdown in my 40s. And into that complete breakdown, where my doctor sat me down and said, If you don’t stop working so hard at such a high level, if you don’t try some medication, and start learning to heal and deal with your trauma, you won’t make it to 50. So that was my wake-up call. Into that period of my life. My daughter disclosed a history of sexual abuse. And I effectively lost the plot for a number of years, a place of deep, dark, sadness, guilt, etc, etc. Moving forward, I actually did invest in myself, finally accepted that help, and started that road to healing and self-discovery. And that meant learning what makes me tick and learning why things were the way they were. And that was very helpful for me. So move forward another 10 years. And as I started to come out of that deep initial healing period of my life, and started to talk to people about the things that had happened, I kept getting this, you need to write a book, you need to write a book, you need to write a book, and I put that off for probably five years, until I made a decision. And at that time, I was I have my own nursing consultancy company, and zapped across Australia, prepping day surgeries and small hospitals to meet the national health safety standards. I stopped doing that. I sat down in the July started to write, I wrote for five months straight 1214 hours a day, just wrote, got to November, sent this manuscript off to get edited, got the cover organized, and it was published in January. Now I had no plan, Mike, I just thought, I’m going to write this book, it’s going to be a best seller. Off I go to a life of speaking and writing. It’s not quite exactly what happened. I’d known that once you write a book, you have to start talking to people and marketing. And the one of the ways that you do that is to jump on social media. And I set up all my profiles and started talking to people and connecting. In the background of that I also wanted to produce the audio version of the book. Now, I said to the producer, I want an actress to do the voiceover and the narration. And she said, Okay, and then she came back to me and said, I think you need to do it. And I said, No, no, I’m not going to narrate it. No way. It’s not gonna happen. She kept at it. She kept saying you need to do this. This is your story. It will be powerful in your words. Finally, after much support she and saying, you know, I’m going to be there with you. It’s going to be okay. We’ll do it together. We did that. We recorded the book. It was very cathartic. There’s something different from speaking your words versus writing your words. So there were lots of tears, and she was amazingly gentle with me through that process. But at the end of it, she sat me down and said, Toni, there’s something about Your voice, there’s something about your story. There’s something about your energy, you need to be in media. And I’m just like, No way. And she goes, you know, podcasting might be a thing, or radio or TV? And I’m like, no, no. So at that period in my life, I was still working through a lot of stuff, I was still very shy, very introverted. I wouldn’t pick up a phone and talk to someone that I didn’t know, unless there was an extraordinarily good reason to do that. So not the person you see today. But she encouraged me to get out there and talk to people. One of those conversations was with an American media CEO. And I actually just said, can you tell me about podcasting? What is this podcasting thing? And we had a conversation, and eventually he got got back to me got said to me, why would you podcast when you can live stream radio, across the globe, and get a podcast as part of what you do? And I’m like, how’s that work? So we had a few more conversations. And that’s how radio Toni was born. So he said, Look, if you invest this amount of money for 12 months, you can have a show of your own, here’s the slot. Off you go, you can do and say whatever you want. And I just thought that that was amazing. I thought that the ability to talk to a global audience, in a one on one show was amazing. As I went through that process, and I spent the first six months Mike being sick behind the microphone, so every time I heard a show coming up, I would be nauseas, like, Oh, my God, I can’t do this, I can’t do this. And I just I kept doing it. Even though it terrified me, I kept doing it. Somewhere along that first six months, I discovered that once I was actually in the studio and talking to someone, the fear dissipated. And slowly, people started to say, you create a really safe space for me to talk about my trauma, my business, my book, whatever it was, that we were talking about. And I feel really safe. And I’m like, Okay, so maybe this is okay, maybe, maybe I can do this. And then my entrepreneurial brain kicked in. And I thought, if I want to keep doing this, it has to generate an income, because I can’t keep it, I can’t keep paying for a show, and not generate an income. And so that started the host your own radio show packages, where I helped people host their own radio show. And then that continued to evolve. And it’s now become this whole online broadcasting business and company, where I co-hosts a series of shows, with business owners, companies and brands to help them get in front of a global audience. And it’s a done for you and done with you because I remember what it felt like when I first started. And I continually had people saying, I don’t know how you do that, and show up and, and keep doing show after show after show when you still get a little nervous. And I don’t know about the tech. So that was the inception of the bigger package packages and programs to help people understand that the world just needs to connect with you. It doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to be you. And that’s the love of what I do now is these cohosted series of shows with business owners talking about what they do, what their vision and mission, their story, their journey, and making them shine. That’s my job. And then I have two shows of my own a business show and an author show. And then in behind all that is the ongoing development of everyday Women’s Network, which is essentially Netflix for women, where I have a number of foundation channel partners, who will be together on the network providing content that is female, focused, female supported, female led to try and flip some of that nontraditional idea around what media is and what it can do into what you and I do, Mike which is essentially nontraditional media, but it still has an impact on the globe, doesn’t it?

Mike Malatesta  15:03

So? Well, I think your US has more impact on the globe than mine presently. I’m, I’m, I’m on your heels. But I think I think I’m still trailing a little bit there. But But yes,

Toni Lontis  15:17

I show my Oh,

Mike Malatesta  15:19

thank you. But I do agree that the this is very powerful. What’s happening here, even though it may not feel that way, every time you do it? It’s Yes. Right. Is that Is that fair to say?

Toni Lontis  15:34

Yes, I still get nervous, like, people that I’m a bit in order of, I’ll still get nervous. And even people I’m not in oral field just be some days where I’m just like, I don’t want to go on the show today, I don’t want to show up today, I’m feeling a bit tired. Do you know what I mean? But it you just that I’ve learnt to live in a space that is outside my comfort zone. And so living in that space, outside your comfort zone is uncomfortable, but you get used to the feeling, and it drives you forward and grows you as a person, it grows your business, it grows your impact, and it grows your influence. If you learn to live just outside that comfort zone.

Mike Malatesta  16:31

If you don’t mind, I want to explore this thing a little bit more before I go back and explore some of the things you laid down in your answer to the question which there was a lot. This I want to see how you feel. So this getting nervous. You said you know maybe if you’re an all of somebody or something and that that, I think is very natural. But it’s also very strange, right? So someone that you’re in awe of usually means someone that is known. Like for some reason we assign some special hierarchy or some specialist something

Toni Lontis  17:12

is a good word, Mike. Yeah, we find something.

Mike Malatesta  17:16

Because someone is, yeah, because they’re known. Right? That’s kind of like, I don’t know, if that’s like, oh my gosh, I don’t want to blow it or oh my gosh, they’ve, you know, they’ve been interviewed a million times. And so what could you possibly do that would interest them? And but, um, so I get that. And it’s weird. Here’s how I, here’s what happens to me, I want to see I like to you to tell me what happens to you. I in the run up towards or the preparation towards or the anticipation towards having a guest. I’m my mind is just on its own, telling me how I should feel about that. And most of the time, it’s telling me, this is going to be fine. Don’t, don’t, don’t worry. But sometimes it’s telling me you better do this one. Good. Because if you don’t, it’s going to somehow, you know, reflect poorly on me. But then there’s the other thing that this is what happens to me is like the vibe of the guest can make be very comfortable or make me nervous. Yeah. Does that happen to you?

Toni Lontis  18:28

Absolutely. Absolutely. Sometimes it’s flipped sometimes if this is going to be okay. And you’re feeling really comfortable. But for some reason, whatever has gone on in their life before you’ve joined them in the studio has brought an energy with it. And I’ll find like half the show, I’m trying to manage that energy. And it’s got nothing to do with me. It’s got everything to do with whatever’s happened in that person’s life. And sometimes you don’t find out what that is, or you’ll get off air. And they’ll go, Oh, my God, such and such and such and such happen just before I come on the show, which is just fascinating. Because sometimes, like, for some people going on shows is really difficult. They really struggle with it. And again, it’s that moving out of their comfort zone. And sometimes when you’re moving in a direction of growth, that first step I in interview, things are going to come up come up for you things are going to not go as you planned them to because you’re stepping outside your comfort zone. No other reason. It’s just just the way it is. But yeah, that Mike’s the energy of the person that you’re talking to has a huge impact on the way they Interview guys. Okay, and you can never guarantee that.

Mike Malatesta  20:04

Yeah, well, a lot of times I don’t even, like sometimes I’m sensing that before I go on, because I know a little bit about, like, for example, if someone is one of those people that just seems really confident about themselves. Yeah, I’m kind of like, nervous, right. But if it’s someone, someone like you who see who’s competent stuff, but you’re not like, out there outwardly, like, you know, trying to, I see,

Toni Lontis  20:32

my eye key for me is is a heart centered connection. And so for me, gentle and kind, I say this in my daily life, just be kind, doesn’t matter what the situation is. Just be kind. People are doing the best job. They know how to do in that moment. And all you need to do is just be current. So it doesn’t matter who I’m talking to. that permeates whatever, I’m going into whatever situation be at a live interview, be at networking, be at an event. Just be kind. And I think that kind of helps me a lot, Mike, that I will always be kind ahead of anything else. Even if someone’s aggressive, and nasty. I’ll still be kind.

Mike Malatesta  21:29

Well, I’d like to think that I am. So I’m gonna say it’s not because sometimes you want to, you know, you want to, like give what you’re getting sometimes. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Okay, well, thanks for going down that that little path with me. When you, I did an audio version of my book, and I read, I read it as well. And so when you mentioned time, yeah, it’s a long process. Yes. Right. I don’t know. Mine was like six and a half hours or so broken up over time to do it. And my book is short on the short side. So yeah, when you were, you mentioned, the difference between reading your words, and writing your words. And I was wondering, when you were reading your words, in the audio book, Toni, Were there times where you were really impacted in a way that you weren’t when you had just written that correct.

Toni Lontis  22:27

That was the most surprising thing for me. Because, by the time I’d written the book, I’d done a lot of healing and a lot of work on myself. And I’d started to do work on my mindset, and that whole, you know, changing your neural pathways, etc. But I was unprepared for the emotion I felt when reading some of those more difficult passages within the book. And I would just be overwhelmed with emotion. And we would have to stop recording, and I would have to have a big cry, and then get up and get on with it again. I was unprepared to that. Because, you know, by the time you get to that stage of a book, when it’s published, you’ve read that story, so many times, edited and, and commented on and you think that that’s you, you’re all good with it. I didn’t realize, as I’m speaking certain of those passages, there would just be overwhelming grief. And it took me by surprise. And again, a big shout out to my producer from Brisbane audio book. Because she just was so beautiful in those moments. She would just stop. We would I would cry, she would hug me we would. I would breathe and off we go again. But I was very much surprised that the end that was when I started to realize that there is power in the spoken word, such power and I never realized it until right at that moment.

Mike Malatesta  24:20

Is there a particular story in the book that you could abridge the one or the ones that impacted you that that way?

Toni Lontis  24:31

I guess the the most energy and traumatic moment was describing the lead up to my daughter’s disclosure. So background I’d been off work trying to recover from a major breakdown. It was about five or six weeks into that process. There had been a background of issues with my daughter who I thought was just acting out her teenage years. And I, I thought that I was a bad mother. So in, in the background of this was, I was about to marry the man that I’d been with for a substantial amount of time, I thought that he was my knight in shining armor. And that the only issues in our life was this wayward teenager who had anger and breakouts and all the typical rebellious teenager behavior that we’re familiar with. And I thought it was because I was a bad mom. Now, I’m not saying that I’m a perfect mom. I’m not even suggesting that at times, I’m a good mom. I was an imperfect mom, however, into that scenario, where I was in this very deep, dark place. My daughter went to lunch with myself and my best friends. Now, I was really excited about this lunch, because we had my daughter and I had been essentially estranged, and very difficult relationship. But she’d started to come home from work after everyone else had gone in. Because I was now home all day, she come home in the middle of the morning, and when we’d start to have conversations, and that was making me really happy and grateful. And so when she came home this morning and said, Oh, where are you going? I said, I’m going to have for lunch with my best friend. And she said, can I come to I’m like, Oh, wow, this is awesome. Oh, if we went to lunch. Now, my friend who had her own teenage abuse stories had said to me, are you sure that there’s someone’s not hurting her? She would have had that conversation in the preceding year at some stage. And I’d actually gone to my daughter and said, and asked her that and she’d said, no, no, everything’s fine. Schools. Tough was never excuse, I think at the time, at that lunch, my best friend was sitting across from my daughter, and she just, we were eating and chatting and talking about wedding plans. And she just looked over to my daughter and said, He’s hurting you, isn’t he? And I think I dropped my fork. And I’m like, who’s hurting you? And I looked at my daughter’s face. And in that moment, her whole pallor changed to gray. I can still see her face this, even as I’m speaking to you, Mike, in that moment, and it’s 15 years on from that time, her face went gray, as she had the most horrible look on her face. And tears started to fall. And I’m like, who’s hurt you? And she said, he has mom. And I mentioned my then-fiance’s name. And she just nodded. And that was the end of the lunch. And when I was narrating that story, I got to that point, and just held because I just remember that moment. So clearly. So it was like the world stopped. It’s like, the waves of blackness just crashed in on me. And I just couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe. My friend reached across, grabbed my hand and said, I don’t need to know any more. I’m gonna go. I’ll talk to you again. Soon. She put her hand on my daughter’s hand and said you need to tell them what’s going on. And I was just in shock. From that moment on. We left jumped in the car started to drive home, my daughter grabbed the keys and said you can’t drive. As we started driving. I’m like, okay, so I thought perhaps he just touched her. I thought that it was that simple. It wasn’t that simple. And what I’d learned over the coming days was truly traumatic. But when I was writing the book in that moment, I remembered that moment and then I started to remember what was coming after that and are just, and then there have been lots of therapy, lots of help, lots of counseling, lots of tears, but when our re read it out loud for the first time, there was Just bucketloads of associated emotion and grief and letting go. And I’m so glad that I did that, because that was like the reading and narration of that portion of my story was like it was just released in that day, at that time. And so now I can talk about it without too much emotion, although, you know, there are still elements of that, that I just, I still struggle to get my head around, you know, the fact that I found out what he’d done, and that it was way worse than I could ever have imagined. The fact that she tried to tell me four times and that he’d stopped her doing that by perpetrating more things. And it was just truly horrendous. And I’m so sorry, my phone usually doesn’t ring at this time of day. So I’m just going to turn it off. Okay. Hopefully that works. I’m so sorry, Mike. No one brings it this time of day. It’s like supper six in the morning. And a persistent

Mike Malatesta  31:20

episode. Maybe they maybe it’s an emergency or something?

Toni Lontis  31:24

I think so. It’s not my I’ve only got my brother in Canada, and it’s not his phone number. Okay. It’s all good.

Mike Malatesta  31:31

So, Toni, when you were thank you for sharing that, by the way, when you were writing the book, was that a story that you included? Right off the bat? Or was it something that because I know sometimes I know, with my experience, there was some stuff that? Yeah, I didn’t want to

Toni Lontis  31:50

correct, you know, yeah, there were lots of bits and pieces that I was really reluctant to write about. And I had a really good, I picked an editor who actually was a psychologist. And that was very intentional, because only she like with a psychology background, she would understand. But they will. There were things that I didn’t want to write about that were just so hard to write about. The disclosure was one, and then some of the actual events in my own life. And in my daughter’s life, were really hard to write about. And I tried to only tell the portion of my daughter’s story that was relevant to my story, because she will write her own story one day, and I didn’t want to intrude on on that. And I just, I thought that the readers just needed a certain understanding of that. And yet, my editor challenged me and said, You need to write a little bit more about this. And I would write back to her and say, I can’t, I can’t write anymore. I just I don’t want to I don’t want to write about this. But she gently eased that out and then helped me with the words that made it right, if that makes sense. But it was tough.

Mike Malatesta  33:20

I had a similar experience, obviously a different story, but a similar experience with some of the things that I wanted to write about, because I only wanted to write about this deep, you know, and they kept saying, Well, I think maybe there’s like this much story there. So what’s, what’s happening with your daughter now?

Toni Lontis  33:43

So we so my, my nursing background meant that I had a pretty okay understanding of what to expect in terms of statistically abuse victims, drug abuse, promiscuity, alcohol abuse, traumatize relationships. So I sort of knew what might be ahead and made sure that she had access to counseling, which she was going really well and life was going okay for her and to the criminal trial. And he went to jail. However, four months after he went to jail, they appealed. And the Supreme Court judges let him out of jail. And the consequence of that on her and her life was pretty bad, Mike. So there were lots of things in her life. From that point on that were pretty hard. To manage so, you know, cocaine addiction and the men that she allowed in her life was seriously scary dudes. I’m talking, you know, by keys and, and that sort of, of thing that was incredibly hard to walk through. However, I can say at this point in time, she is thriving, and she is great. And she has done, I am in awe of my daughter, number one for the courage it took for her to disclose in the first place. And number two, for the courage and tenacity, it’s taken to exact her own healing. And number three, for the fact that she still keeps learning and healing each and every day of her life, and wants to be the best mom that she can possibly be. And the best human and her wisdom for a young woman in her 30s astounds me, it’s down to me every day. And the most beautiful part of all of that is I’m so proud of her. Mike, I’m so in awe of her and I’m so one of my proudest things in life is that we have a close relationship now. And there’s been bumps, loads and loads of bumps. And there’s been incredibly difficult stuff to walk through, both for both of us, and in terms of that mother daughter relationship. But I’m just so glad that she’s at this point in her time in her life, that she recognizes and understands what her trauma triggers are. She has a good understanding. And her healing is at a point where she can mostly talk about things, and not had the same level of impact and trauma. So I couldn’t be prouder of her like she’s doing wonderful, really good, really good. And statistically, I knew that that would possibly not be the case. And there were enough suicide attempts throughout that period of time for me to be very grateful that she’s still here.

Mike Malatesta  37:19

I’m glad that I’m glad that that’s where you ended up. I wasn’t sure when you first started there. Were going to we were going to end up Yeah. Would you mind if I asked you two more questions about this? Absolutely. And if you don’t want to answer them to just tell me, but the first one is the so you find this out? How do you how do you deal with your fiance.

Toni Lontis  37:44

So this was two weeks before we were to get married, Mike, my gosh, in the middle of a breakdown, like just talk about battered, I was battered. However, I was really blessed in that moment. Because instinctively, apparently, I did the three things that are most important to the success of getting through from a victim’s perspective, that thing, three things that ensure that they start the healing process. Number one, I believed her without question. And I love this man. Like I this is the man Mike, who that very day, hugged me at the front door told me how much he loved me and said he couldn’t wait to be married. So this is the duplicity of perpetrators. So he’s living two lives. One is convincing me that he is the best thing since sliced bread and keeping me unaware of what is happening in the background. So in that moment, after we left our lunch that day, I called the police number one. I messaged him and said, I know everything, and the wedding will be canceled. Never come near me or my children again. So that’s what I told him on that day. And thirdly, I run my parents. Now, according to the child protection officers, that’s exactly what you are supposed to do. I didn’t know this. I just, that’s what I did. I can’t tell you where that came from. I can’t tell you why. But that was I needed to talk to the police. Number one, I needed to make sure that he never come near us again. And that’s a whole other story. And then make sure that we had some support. And then I put I remember putting my hand on my daughter’s shoulder and saying I just need to check how badly he hurt you. And that you’re absolutely sure. And she said yes. And she She nodded and we had a bit more of a conversation and then that was it on Okay, we’re not going to talk about this anymore. Because I, the police had said that they need to come and interview her first and foremost. And they would come to our place of residence to do that. So. And again, that’s a whole other horrible story around what happened when the two young male police officers arrived at our home?

Mike Malatesta  40:29

Okay, well, I’m not going to dig into that one. But the other question that I had for you was, yeah, how have you? How have you come to be able to trust people? Oh, after experience?

Toni Lontis  40:46

Or do you that was I’m so number one. I’m very trusting that that’s mine. That’s a fundamental part of who I am. I’m very trusting. And I didn’t, I did a lot of work with my psychologist saying that I didn’t want to stop trusting people. But I didn’t, for a long time, Mike. And I had to work really hard. And I actually made my world very small, for a substantial amount of time. In fact, I would say that up until the point that I wrote the book, I kept my world incredibly small. So a couple of close friends and family. And that was it. And then once I wrote the book, I’d done enough healing and I, I had the skills or had learnt the skills, of how to trust. And so I’ve slowly become more trusting, the longer time has gone on, but it was incredibly difficult. And I asked, and still asked quite a lot of questions about of people and about people. The other thing that changed Mike was that once you’ve been in that situation where I lived with a perpetrator. So once I started to do the healing, and started to research and read about what those personalities look like, I can pick them out energetically, in a room walking down the street, it’s just, I wouldn’t call it a superpower, it just no one will ever surprise me in that way again. And that was very important to me. Because even though the children are now adults, and grown up, there’s grandchildren. And I want to know, if I’m with my grandchildren, if there’s someone unsafe around, and my spidey senses are very good at that now, whereas they wouldn’t have been before. So, but very hard to learn to trust again. And then there’s still moments where I have to take a deep breath and go. It’s okay. They’ve said they’re gonna do X Y Zed, allow them the space to do X Y, Zed. If they don’t, then this is what you’re going to do. So I actually am quite analytical, almost, Mike about. Yeah, yeah.

Mike Malatesta  43:24

And it’d be good if you could, like, hire that out and be able to use a watchdog for all other kinds of people that don’t have that same superpower. So save people.

Toni Lontis  43:39

My daughter is the same too, if we’re together. And it’s happened so many times that I don’t doubt it anymore. Sometimes we’re together, like in just a normal situation, shopping center, for instance. And she’ll just grab my hand and go, Mom, let’s go this way. I don’t like that man. Should just which is good. And, and bad, because you never gonna go up to the guy and go, you’re a perpetrator. Like, course, you know what I mean? But, but she backs away like for her. It’s an energetic feeling around a certain person, and she just backs away. And I respect and acknowledge that that’s what happens. The other thing is Mike, that I didn’t realize, and this is an important point to understand for for your listeners, is that if you have any sort of trauma in your life that is ongoing or not dealt with, you are vulnerable. So what I didn’t realize was that I was at the time when I’d met this man. I was a young single mother with two children. And I didn’t understand that that makes me vulnerable in this world. And if you’re vulnerable in this world, you need to take additional protections around you and your family. I didn’t understand that certain things make you vulnerable. And if you’re a perpetrator, they’ve got like a honing system, they will find you

Mike Malatesta  45:14

vulnerable in a sense that you’re maybe inclined to be welcoming a protector of sorts.

Toni Lontis  45:22

Oh, correct. Yep. So if you’re a single mom or a single dad, and you have been through some sort of trauma, you’ve been through a divorce, there’s family dysfunction, you need to be extra careful. And it’s not often a stranger that you need to be wary of. It’s those people in and around you, often very close to you, that you have to just be aware of signs and, and things. And I wish that we talked more openly about this in society. And I wish that I could get with every single young woman that has children and go, Okay, you’re vulnerable, just by the fact that you’re a single mom, that’s a vulnerability to begin with, because you do in life by yourself. So here’s what you need to do to make sure that you and your children are safe. Never allow them to be anywhere. Or an alone with someone you don’t know. Ever, that, you know, and just be really protective of their time and space.

Mike Malatesta  46:41

Thank you for sharing that. It’s it’s horrible that you need that. Yeah, no, it’s hard to be Yeah, that you need that. But

Toni Lontis  46:54

you, and you know, that that would be the that would be the the world that I would like to leave for my grandchildren is a world where we are so intolerant of harm against women and children, that it’s just not you that it just doesn’t happen anymore. Now, I know that that’s probably unrealistic. But part of that piece of work starts with making sure that vulnerable kids have access to counselling and trauma informed care from the get go. Because we know statistically, perpetrators come from trauma of some description. That is why they’re perpetrators. So if we, if we dealt with that, in a very real way, from the get go, we would circumvent some of these crimes. Of course, we’re not going to get all of them, you’re not going to get this you’re not going to prevent psychopathic behavior. But some of these perpetrators in that do evil to children and women, we would stop that happening because their trauma would have been dealt with when they were younger, and when there were child and they had access to services and help etc, etc. And I know that’s probably a utopian world, but that’s what I would love for my grandchildren. Yeah, it’s, you and I are not having this conversation. Right. Right.

Mike Malatesta  48:27

Right. Right. That would be super. So you, you mentioned at the beginning this condition that you had and you know, being Yes, bullied as a kid and all that and not wanting to take photos and not smiling but you have such a wonderful smile. When did you learn how to smile, and be okay with?

Toni Lontis  48:47

Absolutely. So, up until I you love this story. I love telling it up until I was 40 I was still very lopsided, my smile was still very lopsided. As I started to do that healing and self-discovery work, these nerves in the bottom of my face started to rejuvenate. Now that’s the that’s the weirdest, strangest thing I remember the day when I felt the first twitch and it I’m like, Oh my God, what’s that? Oh my God, what’s that? And and both used to twitch and then I developed a dimple and then I started to be able to smile better than I’d ever been able to smile before. Now, I still can’t raise this eyebrow like it doesn’t raise like the other side. And this I still is a little bit kind of droopy. But for the most part, I can actually smile and engage look at myself in the camera and be okay. This is me. No Not perfect, but it’s okay. But that didn’t happen until my 40s. Mike the these little nerves, and I remember going to a neurosurgeon, and he said that it was possible was a possibility that the nerves would regenerate, but they didn’t hold up any hope. So apparently, the the seventh facial cranial nerve was the one that was damaged slash cut in the trying to deal with that very bad infection when I was a child. And it’s the biggest gift, like when I discovered that I could smile and giggle and laugh, that’s one of my favorite things to do. Because I just, and I can, when you smile, it’s unconscious, and you can’t, you probably don’t even feel your facial muscles working. When I smile each and every time I smile, I can feel my muscles kicking into action, and what a gift. Like, who else can say that, but I can because it’s, you know, I feel it moving. I can. And I don’t on this side, this side is normal, obviously. But this side, I can feel them. And when I get tired, they’re still Twitch, by the way. But for the most part, the discovery of having a smile and for people to actually say to me, you’ve got a beautiful smile. Earth changing mic, like, how good is that?

Mike Malatesta  51:31

Yeah, and it’s amazing, especially, like, it makes me wonder whether all the work that you did on yourself helped with the rejuvenation of the nerves, like it’s not really 100% about the, I don’t know, neurology or whatever the nerve thing is. It’s about just how you approach your

Toni Lontis  51:53

mind, ya know, your mindset. And I, I’ve done a lot of that work on loving, I had to, I had to learn to love myself, Mike, like self-love and self-belief, I had to learn that in my 40s. Because in my 40s, I just thought I was trash. You know, I stuffed up my life, I’d partnered with this person who hurt my daughter, I was I didn’t think very highly of myself at all. That took a lot of work. And I, I absolutely believe that there is a link between your mind and your body. And the more healthy your mind is, the more healthy your body’s going to be. So I absolutely believe that they’re intrinsically linked. And I will continue to keep working on myself to be the best person I can be. And this gift at 42 smile or partially smile. I I didn’t have photos that I looked at and felt happy with until I was 50. Those were the first photos I looked at and thought, Okay, not too bad. All the other photos, I would just pick two pieces and criticize and hate and hate on myself. And it’s life changing to learn that you are a valuable, beautiful, unique human being that you have a unique purpose and mission to discover what that is. And to be imperfect in the presentation of that and go on and go through life. What a gift. Yeah.

Mike Malatesta  53:47

And it feels like for you at least it it’s a gift that didn’t nest didn’t come till later. I mean, the gift was probably always there was the realization of the gift, I suppose. Yeah, right. It’s yeah,

Toni Lontis  54:06

it later. I just I have to say, from my perspective, these are the best years of my life. And I’m, I’m great for that. This is the way that life has been for me because now I can talk to people. Most people, I have a point of connection because I’ve been through so much crap. I can, and I’ve done so much work. There’s always a point of connection for everyone that I talk to, again, what a gift. If I hadn’t been through all that stuff, there wouldn’t be that connection or that ability to connect with people. And and again, who would have I would never have I would if I had dreamed back then I never would have dreamed of this. Does that make sense? Yeah, yeah. So what, you open up and allow yourself to experience can can and will change your life. And if you don’t put blinkers on, and you just have a year like I did in 2019, where you said yes to everything, no matter how terrified you were, you don’t know what you can create, you don’t know what life will open up for you.

Mike Malatesta  55:24

I like to think about it as the, you know, the everybody’s got a story. And the most important story about you. And probably the most valuable thing about you is the story that you own the one you want to be about you and you are willing to own it. Because once you do that, you one are on the road to achieving it. That’s number one, I guess. And number two, you begin to recognize when forces either yours or someone else’s are trying to knock you off that road and onto another and you can say, Oh, you can feel yourself sort of turning that way. And you say, no, no, no, no, no, this is the road I’m on. I gotta get back on this road. Yes,

Toni Lontis  56:08

yeah. So you still, you know, Mike, it is not always easy to get up and look in the mirror and go, you’re beautiful today. There are days when I’m just like, don’t want to get out of bed don’t want to deal with the world. But it ceased being about me. It’s about the people, you help the people that need to hear that message on that day, you know,

Mike Malatesta  56:39

right? Yeah. So get your butt up and make something happen. Yeah, you can

Toni Lontis  56:45

have days when you just like, I know, do you have days where I just give myself permission to lie in bed all day, or Netflix all day, you know, you have to balance your balance as well. So it is okay to just give yourself a break. But if I don’t show up, then someone misses out. And someone might need to hear that message that day might just like you, if if you, Mike, don’t get up and do your podcast on that day, someone misses out on the message you have that day. And you may never know who that person is, or the people. But it’s important to do it. There’s that belief in the greater good and the greater universal connection to humans. Yeah.

Mike Malatesta  57:36

Yeah, for sure. For sure. Well, I’m so happy that you were willing to go down these roads with me. We didn’t get to spend much time on, you know, this. You’re creating shows for people and helping people get, you know, build worldwide audiences and stuff. But they I think this has been really fun. Yeah,

Toni Lontis  58:01

Mike, they’re very important. And kudos to you for having the courage to go there and have that conversation. Because there’s still lots of people who won’t still lots of people who want to avoid talking about trauma and the not so nice portion of life. But I make a living out of talking and having hard conversations. I think that we need to get comfortable having hard conversations, because they bring about change. And we so need change in the world today.

Mike Malatesta  58:34

Well, I agree. I’m so impressed and thankful to have had this opportunity, so impressed by what you this discovery that you have what you said about, you know, this being I don’t know the exact words, but it was sort of like, you know, this is the best time of my life or the most impactful time of my life. And I think everybody should think about should listen to that and say that same thing for themselves, no matter where they are. You’re in your 20s, your 30s, your 40s, your 50s, your 60s or your 90s

Toni Lontis  59:07

Yeah, if you’re in your 20s Get up, get out there and do it. Don’t wait until your 50s All right.

Mike Malatesta  59:16

So, Toni, thank you. I do Is there any thing you want to you want to end with here before we sign off or

Toni Lontis  59:26

I’m just really grateful for the opportunity to speak to Mike. If you want to find out more jump on to Toni lantus.com to and I ello en ti s.com You will find loads of information, lots of resources. I’ve got a little gratitude thing I’ve got heal your inner child free eBook. I’ve got some hope therapy courses. I’ve got links to the broadcasting and how to partner with me to do co goes to Joe so Toni launches.com That’s it jump on you can contact me directly from there and we will respond always

Mike Malatesta  1:00:10

wonderful Toni thank you so much

Toni Lontis  1:00:13

Mike thank you so much

Mike Malatesta

Mike Malatesta

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