Have you ever held back something about yourself that you are either aware of consciously, or not, without realizing how impactful sharing this part of you could be for your career, or how many more people you could help when the shields come down, and you finally allow others to see yourself for who you are?
Our next guest, a former model turned educator, who has brushed shoulders with Jamie Foxx and Will Smith, did just that, for many years, until she questioned why she was holding back this critical piece of who she was, and it opened the doorway for her career, helping many young people in the process.
Welcome back to the Neuroscience Meets Social and Emotional Learning Podcast for EPISODE #183 with Dr. Simone Alicia, otherwise known as the Self Esteem Doctor.
For those new, or returning guests, welcome! I'm Andrea Samadi, author, and educator from Toronto, Canada, now in Arizona, and like many of you listening, have been fascinated with learning and understanding the science behind high performance strategies that we can use to improve our productivity in our schools, our sports, and workplace environments. My vision is to bring the experts to you, share their books, resources, and ideas to help you to implement their proven strategies, whether you are a teacher working in the classroom or online, a student, or in the corporate environment.
Today’s guest, Dr. Simone Alicia, or the Self-Esteem doctor was introduced to me over Thanksgiving week. When I began researching her work, I was shocked at the many similarities in her life, to mine. Not that I was a runway model, like she was, as exciting as that looks, but we were both educators, who saw a serious need to help young people with their self-esteem. She built her business through the fashion runway, helping young people to find their potential this way, launching a magazine[i] (twice a year) just like we did with The Teen Performance Magazine[ii] where we interviewed celebrity teens to help improve the self-esteem of young people by showing them that even celebrities suffer with self-doubt, and how they overcame their insecurities.
Dr. Simone Alicia says it best herself that "Self Esteem is a mindset. It’s a focused belief about yourself and your ability to succeed in life. This is your path to clarity, wholeness and lasting happiness. It is the key for you and for everyone. Life’s too short to wait, align with the greatness within you and do it now!” she says and I agree 100%. Life is short—so don’t hold back, with anything.
Dr. Alicia went on to create incredible resources on her YouTube Channel,[iii] with online courses[iv], and has been a keynote speaker with many different organizations around the country.[v] She has her own podcast that people as young as age 6 and up, will find engaging and motivating.
I was drawn to Dr. Simone Alicia because I’ve always been curious as to why we hold ourselves back. It began when I was younger and missed opportunities because I was afraid of taking risks, and it’s why I began working with young people and self-esteem in the late 1990s, with the hopes that even one of the young people we’ve helped, goes on to accomplish their wildest dreams and this is exactly what Dr. Alicia said inspires her. It’s like Marianne Williamson’s poem where she says “our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, famous?”
I’m so excited for what we will uncover together, about her pathway to help young people discover their greatness, how she has been using brain-aligned strategies for years before they were making an impact in our schools and where she is focused on making an impact next.
Let’s meet Dr. Simone Alicia!
Welcome Dr. Alicia, thank you for joining me today. I’ve got to say, it’s not often that I’m preparing for an interview, and thinking “this sounds so much like me” and it kind of shocked me as to how similar our paths were, especially when the only runway I’ve ever seen, I was standing next to it, not on it! What a fascinating background you have.
INTRO Q: I like to open with a question that digs a bit deeper into anything I have uncovered in my research about you, and you go very deep on your podcast, and I will ask you some questions around that a bit later, but can we start with the fact that you (like me) both were drawn to teach self-esteem to kids. I know the moment that hit me like a brick in my stomach (when I saw a speaker working with 12 teens with like you said, these concepts that we now know to be called social and emotional skills (including growth mindset) and their results skyrocketed. It was clear to me what I was meant to do with my life at that point, but it’s been a 20-year journey from that moment to now. Can you share with us was there a moment of truth like I had where you just knew…this is what I need to do?
Q1: When I saw this need, there was this specific moment that just about destroyed me. When I saw it, I just remember that I started crying. It was embarrassing because I had to go sell books and there were all these famous people around. Melanie Griffith was there, and this famous athlete came to speak to me, and when I cry, it’s sort of noticeable. My whole face goes red. I just remember looking down and thinking “Oh Goodness, please get me through this.” I was working for this speaker, (Bob Proctor) and he was featuring these 12 teens and There was a moment when the speaker stood behind a teen who was having a hard time speaking in public (we’ve all been there) and he stood behind the teen and rubbed his back in such a way that he calmed down and I think the speaker just instinctively knew what to do with these kids to change their results, and this is exactly what happened. I heard you say exactly the same thing. You just instinctively knew what to do when there was someone in front of you that needed help. Can you take me through the process of how you began to use the runway as a way to help young people with their self-esteem?
Q2: So why is this skill so important? I saw it with that young kid who struggled to speak in public and thought “oh please don’t let this kid miss out on a lifetime of opportunity because he is afraid of what others will think of him.” I’ve since reached out to his Dad, who is extremely successful and well-known worldwide, and he wrote back immediately, connecting me to him. I can see this young man is now married, and I’ll find out more, and would love to get him on the podcast (thanks to you reminding me of this whole experience) but what did you see? What was it about this skill (self-esteem) that made you dedicate your life to it?
Q3: Many schools these days are dealing with students with trauma and many of us who are educators don’t have training in this area. I’ve just started to learn about trauma and the brain in this Neuroscience Certification course I am very close to completing and I saw something right away with your story. You know, the one that was difficult, with one of your first client who came to you with trauma, and you were able to change her life through the runway? Well, I connected the work of Joseph LeDoux[vi] on memory reconsolidation with your experience. I wonder, are you aware of Joseph LeDoux’s work? If so, has this idea of going back to a traumatic memory in a good place (like you recreate on the runway) and change her whole mindset about the trauma that occurred with her. Are you aware of memory reconsolidation and perhaps HOW you helped that one girl overcome this traumatic experience using the runway?
Q4: So what do we leave out? As we move forward in our careers, and many of us take off beyond where we were before, do we talk about our roots? I don’t particularly like sharing the fact that I was scared in my early days. I’m not that way anymore, but someone listening who might be afraid of launching an idea into the world could see that we all start out somewhere. At what point did you realize you had to unmute your modelling history?
Q5: I heard about this technique through the speaker I worked with over 25 years ago. He used to say that it was Jack Nicklaus who invented it. He would say “you need to go to the movies with your sport” and visualize every moment of the game ahead of time with golfing. I know that athletes now see how valuable this exercise it and I’ve received many emails about this over the years asking for tips on visualization. Why do you think mental rehearsal is so important and what does it have to do with self-esteem building?
Q6: What are your programs/services that you offer?
Q7: What’s next/vision for the future? Where are you going now?
Thank you very much for your time today, Dr. Alicia. If anyone wants to reach you, what’s the best way?