Episode 277 | February 15, 2022

Breaking-free from Trauma with Yemi Penn

A Personal Note From Orion

Everybody’s got trauma. Based on a US statistic, one in 70% of adults had experienced at least one traumatic event. That means every other person you see has gone through something distressing. But, according to today’s guest, Yemi Penn, acknowledging your traumas starts the journey of healing.

Yemi is an engineer by profession, entrepreneur by passion, and transformation coach by mission. She is dedicated to raising the vibration by acknowledging and healing individual and collective trauma.

In this episode, Yemi and I discuss why acknowledging traumas and fears is the first step in living a fulfilling life. We also talk about how sharing your story can help others facing the same situations you’ve experienced.

So without further ado, on with the show!

In this Episode

  • [01:19] – Orion introduces her next guest, Yemi Penn, an engineer by profession, an entrepreneur by passion and a transformation coach by mission.
  • [02:44] – Yemi shares her journey in discovering her passion and narrates her life story in healing trauma.
  • [05:37]- Yemi talks about being homeless and pregnant at 24 and how she got out of that situation.
  • [09:32] – Orion asks how she got from a traumatic experience to becoming a successful woman who teaches people by healing traumas.
  • [14:41] – Yemi and Orion discuss finding different energy and the importance of our energy behind a message.
  • [19:05] – Orion wants to know more about Yemi being a working mom and managing it.
  • [24:08]- Yemi and Orion communicate their thoughts on the structures in society and the school system and talk about finding voice and power within a system.
  • [30:49] – Yemi shares to the audience some advice on the process of looking at their trauma.
  • [33:40] – Orion and Yemi discuss the modality of tapping different areas of the body, talk therapy and verbalizing concerns and fears in helping in eliminating trauma. 
  • [36:03] – Yemi explains the course of transmuting pain and trauma into power.
  • [38:41]- Yemi tells her three tips to live a stellar life.
  • [39:09] – Grab a copy of Yemi Penn’s book, Did You Get The Memo? And check her website to learn more about her workshops, events and campaigns.

Jump to Links and Resources

About Today’s Show

Hello, Yemi. And welcome to Stellar Life Podcast. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you for having me. I’m excited because I get a different feel and vibe already. So I’m excited to see what comes out of my mouth. Thank you for having me.

Before we dive in, can you tell me a little bit about your passion and how you discovered it?

My passion is so unsexy. It’s unreal. My passion is honestly waking people up to their untapped potential.

Kind of sexy. 

Yeah, untapping their potential, but first by looking at their trauma. And that’s the bit that I don’t think we want to do, and it’s my passion. It’s my passion because the journey is so beautiful. I mean, my daughter calls me savage. My partner says you don’t show much emotion, but I cry when I see people realizing, “Aw, I was like this because of this, and now I know I have a choice to change it.” That will move me time and time again. And that’s why it’s my mission.

Right. Can you share a little bit about your life story and how you healed your trauma?

Yeah, everybody’s got trauma. When I did my TED talk, it acknowledged that based on the statistics in the US, one in 70% of adults had experienced at least one traumatic event. That means every other person you see has gone through something distressing. So when I speak about me, I say that because I want to start by saying that I don’t believe my traumas are bigger than yours. They may have impacted me more, but it doesn’t make anybody else’s insignificant, which is why we need them to look at it. 

The one traumatic incident that I remember that I think altered who I was meant to be was, as a child, my uncle abused his power – his sexual power, to be specific over me. And the memory I have is of me as a seven-eight-year-old. Now, I know it happened more than once, but that’s the memory I have. Most people know that you start to imprint a child’s personality between being born and eight years old. 

My passion is waking people up to their untapped potential.

So acknowledging that only a couple of years ago and I’m fast approaching forty, that was pretty phenomenal. Because I knew it happened. I didn’t even think if I knew it was wrong. I had to do the work to realize how wrong it was, and I almost knew – only knew how wrong it was because I’m a mother. I couldn’t bear my child or another child going through that, and that was when I realized, “Oh, you have not looked at your trauma. How can you can have empathy and sympathy for another child, that you are yet to nurture the child that went through that and the adult she became.” So that was when the journey started. And honestly, in the depths of it. That was only about three-four years ago. 

Wow. But regardless of not looking into your trauma, I mean, you’ve been at age 24 were homeless and pregnant. How did that happen?

Yeah, you think it’s funny whenever that comes up because that got featured in a newspaper that then went global, and I know people jump onto the sensationalism of stories. I had gone to university. So I talk about the memo. I’ve got my first book about the book I’ve got out at the moment is, Did You Get The Memo?, genuinely me questioning. I wasn’t following – well, I thought I was following the memo. But they forgot to tell me that these really difficult parts are relationships. 

Did You Get The Memo? by Yemi Penn

I had graduated from uni. And I just thought, “Oh, my gosh, there’s got to be more to life. I can’t just go to school, study, study, study.” Then, I meant to go to work and work, work, work till I’m 60. So I figured having a child would be the next best thing, and I was a bit of a mini rebel. So I didn’t get married first as the memo says we should. And being of African-Nigerian descent, there’s a certain order; we are to follow the memo in every possible way. 

I was still living at home at the time, having just recently graduated from uni. And with as much love as they possibly could give me, my parents said, “You’re going to need to find somewhere to go,” because I didn’t want to get married. So I’d managed to convince myself that I shouldn’t have to get married just because I’m pregnant. And that required me to sleep on a few people’s sofas, and at some point, to sit outside the door of what we call the town hall because they were the only ones who are going to be able to house me, so I had to be put into emergency housing. And that, I share that period because even though I don’t recall that having any traumatic impacts on me, it probably did but not of major magnitude. I’m aware that can be traumatic for other people, and it was a big deal.

How did you get yourself out of that situation?

The first thing was I needed to swallow my pride. It was bruised. My ego was bruised. I graduated with a first-class in mechanical engineering; it was huge. And I thought, “Oh, okay, I’m doing all right.” And then it just felt like a crash. Like I was pregnant, my friends were already climbing up the career ladder. So my ego was bruised. I realized that I needed to not overthink this and go and ask for help from the government. It hadn’t dawned on me the stigma attached to asking the government for help. It hadn’t dawned on me that we would live potentially. When I was pregnant, I was put into a house that is typically the halfway house for people coming up to drugs or come out of prison. 

Oh my goodness, what an experience. It’s like, “What am I doing here? What did I get myself?”

I don't believe my traumas are bigger than yours. They may have impacted me more, but it doesn't make anybody else's insignificant, which is why we need them to look at it. Click To Tweet

Yeah, and I was not prepared for that. This is not what I signed up for. This is not what I thought or how I was living. So, I needed to hit that rock bottom because what I then started doing was, I started going back to the council to the town hall, and borderline beg and said, “Look, I need you to house me. I will pay the rent and good for the money and just can’t pay the big private rents. Can you please get me out of the house because I was due to give birth in a couple of weeks?” 


Yeah. Speaking it out feels a bit, “You went through that?” I must have had some guides because this woman put me in temporary accommodation which the rent was ridiculous, but they were helping me with it. But I was grateful. It was one bed, and I was really grateful that I would be able to take my baby from the hospital, not to a halfway house.

Where did you go from there? Because today you’re this very successful woman, you teach other people about success. You teach them about healing traumas. You are an author. You’re living your potential every day. So how did you get from that place to here? 

Everybody’s got trauma.

That’s a good question. 

What were the core beliefs? Did you have any mentors? Did you have any guides? Was it your inner guide and intuition?

There was a bit of inner guidance and intuition, but I didn’t know what that was. So it might as well be no. I only know what that is now because I’ve done the work. But to be honest, the first part is I got uncomfortable. That was it. If anybody’s listening when you get uncomfortable, like you broke down, you find yourself like a broken record telling the same story to yourself or your friends. It usually means that you’re at that broken point, and there’s an opportunity. 

Once again, I wouldn’t have known that I think life forced me into it. But to be fair, the biggest break for me is the change of environment. I think I’m a bit extreme according to the standards because my butterfly moment of transmitting some of my pains or power was when I moved. Firstly, I moved from London to Japan. I lived in Japan for a bit, then moved from Japan to –

Where in Japan? 


Okinawa. Oh my god, I lived in Japan for three and a half years. I’ve never been to Okinawa. 

Why wait till you die to do that? Start doing it now.

Really? It’s so gorgeous. It’s so beautiful. Arigato gozaimasu. I love it. My daughter thrived there. I definitely want to go there.

It’s like Hawaii. It is amazing. It is where the oldest people in the world live because they live in such a healthy way. Healthy foods, working in the land and being in the community. It’s a magical place. Wow.

Yeah. It was. It was profound.

How did you get to Japan?

Well, I love this. We’re going everywhere. I love it. I met a guy online, and we got married. I told you that the memo is crazy. He worked for the US Air Force, and that’s where he was stationed. So when we started dating, he was stationed in South Korea, which I did go to visit. But then, when we got married, he was stationed in Japan. And so I picked and left, and I went there. That was probably the beginning of what we call depression. 

But I’m a high-functioning depressant. Like I’m, if there’s a glass and it’s fully depressed, I’m half full when I have my down moments. And so that move there was a saving grace because the trauma was still following me in London. In my documentary, I highlight that. But it still wasn’t; there was something that still wasn’t right. I’m no longer married to that man, but we have a son together, and we’ve got a great relationship. And it was part of my journey, but it wasn’t where the healing was to begin. 

There's power in acknowledging your fear or trauma because it doesn't hold control over you. Click To Tweet

So for me to go from being homeless to where I am now, I needed to change my physical environment. For me, it was physical. Mentally, I don’t think I would have had the capacity to do it with family and friends. I think it’s Einstein or one of those geniuses that said, “It’s very difficult to solve a problem in the same environment in which it was created.”

Yeah, I like the song Let It Go.

Frozen. Are we going to start singing, please? Yep.

So there is a line that always speaks to me when I’m alone at home and just singing out loud to myself. Because my son is small, it’s like two and three months, and we listen to Disney songs. And honestly, I listened to that song even if I didn’t have to.

When we become parents, our fear and our risk appetite are suppressed.

Yeah, but their words.

I forgot the word exactly. But it’s like, it’s amazing how some distance makes everything seem small. You have the distance from your problems when you go away. You can look at it from a different angle. You can see it from a different angle when you’re not in it. You’re not in the picture. 

I read on your website that you studied with Tony Robbins, and I did too. And Tony Robbins says that to change your state, you want to change your focus, language, and physicality. Physicality is the way you stand, but I guess physicality is actually can be the physical place that you’re in it, just like “This is not working right here.” This energy is bringing me down; I’m going to go away and change, like you. We both lived in Japan. And I moved to the States from Israel and know that when you’re in a different place, you can see things differently. Plus, you are you. What did you do to take yourself out of that state of functioning depression?

Perhaps I had to get unreasonable.

I like that, tell me more. 

Yeah. I don’t know who I heard it from, “No knowledge is new knowledge.” We are all recycling the same thing, which is great. We just find different energy. We’ve always been taught to be reasonable, be sensible.

Most of us do not want to speak because of the fear of criticism.

But if we’re applying different energy, do we recycle things? Because it’s a different energy.

Okay. I agree. That’s so good. And you saw that continues to give me permission. I usually say that because I don’t want people to think I came up with it. But the energy we put behind it is a big reason. Whoever wants to speak should speak because the energy you put behind a message is so important. Like, already, I want you on my podcast because I want to know your story. I don’t believe people move environments for no reason. 

Yeah, I got unreasonable. I was so desperate for change. I had two kids, a seven-year-old and a seven-month-old. I was on the brink of divorce. These were two kids from two different dads. It was never meant to be the story. It just wasn’t. I felt ashamed. I felt embarrassed. And I just thought, well, if I’ve been following a certain path, that certain memo, and I’m still unhappy. I’m still conflicted. Then shoot, I’m just going to throw this out and try something different. 

There’s a possibility someone’s going to think I’m crazy. Someone’s going to think I’ve lost my mind. And that’s what the unreasonable is, that they would because most of us have been told to be reasonable. Now, I’m not saying we need to go about and start creating protests or wars and all of that. No, just change it up a little bit. Most of us are fearful, and I speak about it in my book.

Whoever wants to speak should speak because the energy you put behind a message is important. Click To Tweet

As you know, once you learn to dance with fear, life isn’t that difficult after that. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s not that difficult. So that’s why I did.

It’s beautiful. But don’t you think that sometimes like when I look at the younger me, she used to dance with fear much better. Now I’m more like setting my waves. I don’t want change. I don’t want things to change, but change is inevitable. And I like what you said about, the only thing we are certain about is that we’re going to have changed in our lives. 

But we want to have, what my Kabbalah teacher is talking about, certainty beyond logic. When you go after your dreams, you have to eat on you can, like you said, live the memo. You have to have certainty beyond logic that what you’re dreaming of is going to come true. So I guess this was kind of like the voice inside of you that everything’s going to work out regardless.

Look at some of your heroes in the past.

Yeah, and it wasn’t so much everything. I don’t know; I might have been Jack Canfield. I figured out what was my biggest fear. What was it that I fear the most in the whole world? Not the trivial stuff, not “Oh, I don’t know, I might lose my hair,” or “I’m going to get…” Not the trivial stuff, not the superficial stuff. My biggest fear, the one that would make me quake in my boots, tended to be going on a plane. And I thought, well, I’m scared of flying; it wasn’t that, it’s just because I don’t have any control over it. Therefore, that’s where my fear is. I just got really clear. 

And then the next fear was if I have no control over it, I might be dying at somebody else’s mistake, and then I realized that everybody dies. We know this. Unless someone’s got something else, there might be some. Elon Musk might be working on how to elongate our life or whatever. But that’s a guarantee; I’m going to die. So what am I scared of? And then it was actually that if I die, my kids don’t know what I’ve done, my view of my story, I haven’t told my loved ones. So I said, “Well, why wait till you die to do that?”

Start doing it now, and that’s what I did. I wrote my book and made sure every time before I got on the plane, I’d say, ‘I love you very much.’ I’d send them videos; it might be overkill. But I got used to knowing what my fear was. And the minute I knew that if anything I did, whether it was starting a business or moving to a different world, it was not going to result in my greatest fear. I did it. I’d survive. That’s how I do things now. Now I need to manage stress because I do make some decisions. I’ve got some businesses that I think, “Would I do it again?” No. Do I regret doing it? No, because I’ve learned a lot, and I would do it differently.

How do you manage being a working mom? And I think you have more than one business, right? 

I’m not just here to speak and gift other people. I’m also here to heal.


And doing all the things that you do.

Yeah. Alright, easy. I break the rules.

Tell me more about breaking the rules. I want to know more about that. Because like being a mom, since I became a mom, there is something that happens when you become a mom. You get the mom’s guilt like  I don’t feel like I’m ever doing enough even though I’m a very dedicated mom. I don’t feel like I never do enough. 

It always feels like there is some guilt because you see people know what they do. They are moms and entrepreneurs. And they do this. And they do that. And they seem to accomplish so many things all at once. And sometimes I can’t. I always put the bar so high. And my coaches are like, “Take the bar down. It’s fine. You’re fine.” How are you managing everything? Tell me more about breaking the rules.

You just reminded me of something we need to acknowledge. I’ve noticed this in men as well. When we become parents, our fear and our risk appetite are suppressed. And I think it’s suppressed because we’ve got extra life. Yeah, I think it’s suppressed because of caring for more than one person. So it’s a balancing act. So I think we need to balance that.

Intergenerational trauma is in our DNA; there’s another level where we have to clean our own stuff.

When my baby was born for the first year, I was shaking every time I went behind the wheel. So much fear just driving when I was like, “Oh, my goodness, this is scary!”

Yeah. And I wish we would talk. I mean, I know we talk about it jovially. But I want to know the psychology behind it. I want to know, what is it? Is this human love? Is this the “We were willing to put ourselves at risk, but we’re not willing to put the child”? How? Why do we have more love for the child than we? Like I’m intrigued. I love human behavior. But I think if we can acknowledge that, then for me, there’s power in acknowledging it because then it doesn’t hold that control over you. So I think that’s the first thing.

I think people will often do more for others than they’ll do for themselves. You see the cases of, then something happened the baby’s locked in the car, and the grandma gets this extraordinary strength and managed to lift the car. If it was for her, it probably would never have that.

Yeah, it’s phenomenal. Why? Why is that? I’m intrigued. The breaking the rules, one in how I do it, is breaking the rules of meditation. I am go, go, go. I’m getting less of that now. But I’ve always, not always, in recent years become a go, go, go. It was very much masculine energy that I was using to achieve things, but I now use feminine energy to balance it to create love, equity, diversity. So I love the mixture of both. 

However, meditation, transcendental meditation, my partner introduced that to me. It was really powerful for me because I have 20 minutes, and might only have silence for two, maybe five minutes max, and I’m okay with that. But what that did to my brain and my body was almost like, it gave me four more hours in the day. It’s the best way I describe how powerful meditation is for me; there is something in peace. It’s either that I end up solving problems in my subconsciousness but what would typically take me two hours to do all of a sudden I can do in 15. That’s what meditation does for me, so I get more time in my day. So that’s number one. 

“It’s very difficult to solve a problem in the same environment in which it was created.” – Albert Einstein

The second thing is breaking the rules. Rules were created for us, and we know that. I’m sure you and your listeners and previous guests have probably spoken to death about whether it’s patriarchy or what role a woman should be, the gender roles that I think hurt all genders, those rules that are imposed on us. But then, I also think there are rules we create ourselves. For instance, I created a rule to cook meals for my kids. I created that rule because it was expected I do that in previous relationships, but I don’t want to cook sometimes. And so I was okay. 

So I started breaking the rules and either hired a chef to cook some meals, ordered healthy meals, or got comfortable with my partner cooking meals, which was once again challenging bias. So that’s what I mean by breaking the rules, and I also created a rule. I must pick him up from daycare every day. I needed to be the first, but I was knackered. So why am I following our cable rules that don’t work for me anymore? Because I now work. And I now work because I’ve been in a low-income family. So why am I breaking my back? So I break my rules rather than break my back.

Right? What’s your take on structures in society? Like the structure of our schooling system, the structure of our government.

Orion, that’s a big question. It’s broken. Either it’s broken, or some people say it was always built that way. It’s not conducive. I don’t think it is. 

Empty your cup because you only learn when there’s space in the cup.

Even in a school system and how we teach kids to obey and never to break the rules. 

Yeah, and not to talk back.

Not to talk back, not question things. It’s either you get an A on the test, or you’re worthless. 

Correct. No other skills. Where are you on the diversity spectrum? That person might be so good at sums or puzzles. And it’s not having a go at the individuals. The teachers are great. It’s the system. And the reason why I do my work is that you might be a teacher in the system; who knows, the system doesn’t work. But do you have influence? Can you create a petition to change that or introduce that? And that’s what we need. 

Because as individuals, there is so much power, we look at our own stuff, and therefore there’s so much change we can make as a collective. But I think the pandemic has brought an opportunity. Yes, it’s really sad. So many people have lost people. But the discomfort might be here for a while until those who have the voice of which is all of us, but those who also have the influence, say, “Okay, so what can we change about this system that wasn’t working before?”

Right? So you’re talking a lot about finding your voice? And let’s say this teacher saw that the system is broken, but she’s indoctrinated into the system? She doesn’t feel like she’s got the power. How can one find that power within a system? I feel like we live in a world now that doesn’t matter what’s your opinion about the pandemic. You’re going to be eaten alive if you’re going to talk about it.

Agreed. It’s the canceled culture for having a voice.

“To change your state, you want to change your focus, language, and physicality.” – Tony Robbins

There’s censorship by the media; we censor each other. People of the same family stop talking to each other. I feel like COVID became a religion.

Yeah. I never heard it that way.

Some people are more religious than others. Some people are more radical than others. But, how can one find a voice in a world that doesn’t encourage you to speak up? Like there are some topics that are cool to talk about, you want to talk about self-empowerment. Great. Talk about changing something in the system? Oh, zip it.

I’ve got to give you an example. My daughter in Australia, I was told this, but the ignorance, which is racism, especially in schools, is high. And some really ignorant and racist things are said, and I had enough, so I decided I was going to start a petition to get the Department of Education to bring critical race theory. 

Now, I use the word knowing that term is already very loaded. And I don’t know much about it, but I know it started in America. I don’t know whether they are left-wing or right-wing and never really follow it. I really don’t want it. It’s making even black, indigenous, people of color say, “Yeah,  maybe change it. Don’t use the word critical race theory because it gets non-BIPOC people’s guard up.” And I’m still trying to understand the feeling and emotion. And you know what, I’m flexible. The most flexible person controls the environment, I will happily change the wording of my petition. 

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

But fundamentally, I’m trying to say that we want to educate people in schools about race and the whole ideology of racism. That’s my point. It’s not to bring anybody down but tell the truth from a different perspective so that these ignorant comments stop impacting people. Now I share all of that to say that for people to find their voice in a system or a cancel culture, there are a few things that I think we need to figure out. 

First, what is your fear? I went back and read or listened to the book, Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. And it’s phenomenal. Apart from the fact that it’s heavily biased towards men, there is so much gold in it. And there are six fears they talk about, which I can’t remember all of them, but one of them is fear of death, fear of ill health, fear of poverty, of which a lot of these were brought about due to the pandemic of the Spanish flu in 1918. And the one that was brought about by the media was fear of criticism. 

Now, bearing in mind that this book was written in the early 1900s, it’s still prevalent today. Most of us do not want to speak because of the fear of criticism. We no longer live in a world in most parts because I know some parts where you can easily be killed or imprisoned for speaking out. And we have you know, you look at Malala’s Story, and I can imagine where elsewhere around the world, but some of us are in that safe place. So that’s where our privilege lies that we can speak, and I encourage people to speak with empathy and compassion; more people will hear you that way. 

Firstly, figure out that your fear is probably fear of criticism, then you’ve got to do the work. It all leads back to trauma. Why do you have a fear of criticism? Because I’ve a fear of abandonment, I don’t want my partner to leave me. I don’t want my friends to absorb themselves. I don’t want to lose my job. Just figure it out. And once you sit with that fear, you figure out whether that potential reality is worth the cause. So you’ve got to go back to the cause. 

On top of that, look at some of your heroes in the past. They don’t even need to be like the Martin Luther King of the world. It could be your mom, your grandmom, someone in your family who did not stand for BS or who stood for a cause. What did they do? How did they do it? You draw strength, and you make a call. I want to put my head down and follow the memo. And there’s nothing wrong with that because it’s what we all know. Or I want to make a change, and I have to be prepared for one of my worst fears to materialize. Which isn’t that big a deal? Because I think this is how I work through it.

Break the rules and create a new rule for yourself. Click To Tweet

Right? So what are the first steps to looking at your own trauma? Because you told me that only in the last, like three to four years, you actually looked at your trauma. What was your process? How would you advise someone to take a look at their own trauma? Because it’s scary to look back, and people will never look at that because it was so traumatic. What kind of words of encouragement or steps can you give one was a need to hear that?

Everybody’s got different things. And it’s partly the reason why I’m doing documentaries because I’m trying to bring therapy in different modalities to your screens for those who either can afford it or are too scared. Talk therapy was really important for me. I couldn’t afford it five-six years ago. There’s always a solution. I found a psychology group with psychology students who were still learning to become psychologists for only $20 for the hour compared to the $200 that I now pay. It was $20. 

And they just had the questions to ask, and they created the silence in the space. And I just spoke it out. It’s funny because we used to call people who talk to themselves mad. They know something to speak out, especially if you don’t have someone to listen back or you don’t have someone to talk to. It’s powerful because, in one of my documentaries that I’ll be releasing in the next week, the psychologist says, “When you speak out the words and the words inside your bodies like Scrabble until you speak it out. It doesn’t land.” And then you have another meeting. 

Once you learn to dance with fear, life isn’t that difficult after that.

I’m grateful to people like yourself, Orion, and others for giving people the platform to speak in the podcast. I’m not just here to speak and gift other people. I’m also here to heal because I know more through your questions. I know more about me. Firstly, my brain does the thinking because I am in touch with my body. I then know the words. So that is to speak, either find therapy. 

There are students out there who are still learning, so that’s a really good space. And suppose you want to without being labeled anything. In that case, you could look at your mirror and say, “I’m feeling really sad today because this happened,” or, “This reminds me of that time when my brother did this, or my sister did this.” I find talk therapy amazing. However, there are so many other things I also did tap in. I don’t know if people know about emotional freedom. I love that. I love it. That helped me open my second business, which almost killed me psychologically. 

I think it’s thetappingsolution.com. That’s the website for tapping. And then people can find tons of videos about it. It’s basically tapping different areas of the body and relaxing and somehow affecting your neurology, and you can let go of the reins on cellular on a neurological level. It’s like mental acupuncture.

I agree. That’s exactly what I think. And even just speaking to you, I forget that I can just do that in the car. When you see certain people, and you see their legs shaking or nervous, it’s not the same, but that’s them trying to regulate themselves. And you know, there’s always just a little way, sometimes before I go on stage, if I’m a little bit nervous, I just do that. So that nobody says, “What are you doing?” I do that to reregulate myself. It’s powerful.

Right. And so when you have talked to therapy, and or talk to yourself in the mirror, or do tapping and while verbalizing your concerns and stories and fears. What does it do? Like how does that eliminate the trauma? Is it just the awareness of what happened? The heels?

No knowledge is new knowledge.

I think more than anything; it gives empathy. It gives you empathy for yourself. I don’t know about you, but so many of us make a mistake. We might not say it out. “Why are you so stupid?” “Why would you do that again?” “Why would you date the same person who did this to you the last time?” Tony Robbins says this, “Well, that’s the equivalent of like, going to a baby who’s learning to walk. And then they take their first step at ten months, and they fall down, and you start shouting at them saying ‘Dan is such a dummy. Why won’t you learn how to walk quickly. Can’t you see the rest of us doing it?'” 

Why do we think we’ve got to get everything figured out? Maya Angelou said she would keep learning till the day she died. And I’m sure she did. So the first thing it does when you go through any form of healing is it gives empathy to yourself, and it’s needed. As a result of giving it to yourself, then can you give it to others. People talk about intergenerational trauma. Intergenerational trauma is in our DNA; there’s another level where we have to clean our own stuff. And one way or another, we pass it down to the next generation. So doing it gives you empathy for yourself and others.

How do we take that trauma and transmute it into power?

That last step or the juiciest part, the part that I believe I’m in and I deserve, love, love, love, is they contribute. You contribute. If you went through something, or experienced something, one of the worst things of your life, and you are on the continuous healing journey, I don’t think it stops. There’s a possibility you can help somebody else who went through that. And it could be anything. It could be anything. I tell the story in my TEDx of the boy whose goldfish was sadly killed by a bully in school because the glass ball was smacked out of his hair. 

I remember that story. 

The most flexible person controls the environment. Click To Tweet

That materialized to the point that he couldn’t trust anyone, including himself, and he probably just felt the need to follow the memo and got married, but he knew he was closed off, and it was closed off because he didn’t feel worthy. So that all stems from that thing he didn’t feel. Can you imagine what life from that because he didn’t feel worthy? But his contribution is his transmutation; not only was he coming into this event that we were both speaking about it, but he could decide to create a program that stops bullying. 

So that’s how you transmute pain to power, and my view is that you try not to fixate on the perpetrator. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of the compassion prison projects. They go into prisons to look at perpetrators who have either done murder or rape, other things to listen to what happened to them. Now, that doesn’t have to be my mission, but that’s somebody else’s mission. And they are probably doing it because maybe they were the perpetrator at some point, but feel bad about it, and that’s how they contribute. So you transmute your pain and your trauma to power by contributing.

It’s beautiful. I think this is my life’s journey. I think I became a coach and a therapist because of that, because of the pain that I’ve been through. And when I look at my pain, I feel like the pain is like a gift with a bow on the bottom. You don’t know it’s a gift when you get it, but maybe years down the road or decades. You turn this around, you open the bow, and you’re like, “Oh, I have to go through that. So I can use my purpose here in the world.” Well, I want to talk to you for a much longer time, but I got to be respectful.

I’ll have to come back again. 

Yes, please. Before we say goodbye for now, what are your three top tips for living a stellar life?

Probably the same as my TED talk. The first is to acknowledge who you are by sitting with the discomfort and uncomfortable questions. The second subject will be open, empty your cup because you only learn when there’s space in the cup. And the third tip would be to contribute. Ask how can I help somebody else as a result of this awakening. 


That’s how you live a stellar life.

Yes. And where can people get your book or find you, work with you, take your workshop, go to your speaking engagements?

So many things. I can’t do all the social media. So if you want to connect with the real Yemi, where I love to engage with my community, it’s Instagram, and that’s @Yemi.Penn. Yemipenn.com is my website where you see anything I do, and you can order my book through there or Amazon. I’m really keen. I like to hear people. So I’d love for you to connect with me, and I want to know your story. I like knowing people’s stories—the best way to connect.

Well, thank you so much for being here. I enjoyed talking to you. 

Thank you.

And I love how cool and genuine you are.


Thank you for healing the world by healing yourself. And thank you, listeners. Remember to acknowledge who you are, be open, contribute and have a stellar life. This is Orion til next time.

Your Checklist of Actions to Take

{✓}Acknowledge your traumas. Untreated trauma diminishes your quality of life and prevents you from healing. 
{✓}Humble yourself and ask for help when you are facing a difficult situation. Reaching out to others to ask for help is not a weakness. Instead, it is a sign of strength and confidence.
{✓}Change your environment. As Albert Einstein said, “It’s very difficult to solve a problem in the same environment in which it was created.”
{✓}Dance with fear. The only way to overcome fear is to give yourself enough patience to acknowledge and sit through it. 
{✓}Change is inevitable and constant. So don’t be afraid of change because it will make you better and stronger in life.
{✓}Break the rules. People create rules, but you can break them and create new rules that will benefit you and the people around you.
{✓}Don’t be afraid to speak up—your voice matters. Even in the smallest of circumstances, you have the right to protect your space in this world. If you don’t do it, who will?
{✓}Be empathetic to yourself and others. Empathy is one of the most important aspects of creating strong relationships, reducing stress, and enhancing emotional awareness. It will help you understand how others feel so that you can respond appropriately to any situation.
{✓}Contribute the lessons you’ve learned in life. Your story can help other people facing similar situations you’ve experienced.
{✓}Check out Yemi Penn’s book, Did You Get The Memo? Also, visit her website to learn more about her workshops and speaking engagements.

Links and Resources

About Yemi Penn


An Engineer by profession, entrepreneur by passion and transformation coach by mission. Yemi is dedicated to raising the vibration on acknowledging and healing our individual and therefore collective trauma.


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