301: Trauma and Business Ownership with Nicole Lewis-Keeber

Everyone goes through events and/or experiences that cause trauma, and they can have an impact on how we show up in and run our businesses. Yet, this isn’t something people often talk about. Nicole Lewis-Keeber shares their insights about navigating business ownership and trauma.

Nicole Lewis-Keeber is a business therapist and mindset coach for small business owners, entrepreneurs and leaders. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Masters in Social Work and a rich experience of working as a therapist. Nicole is also certified in Brené Brown’s The Daring Way and Dare To Lead methodologies and provides trainings and mentoring for those who want to become daring leaders. They have combined their experience as a therapist and training as a coach to offer therapeutic and business solutions.

Nicole explains how trauma ties into creating and running our own business, including what kind of trauma “counts”, why starting a business involves diving into our “stuff”, and why our “big why” is likely connected to childhood trauma. They also share more about the importance of therapy as an entrepreneur, dealing with burnout, and why we need to separate ourselves from our businesses. If you are keen to learn more about how to create a business you love, this is a must-listen.

Key Takeaways:

[3:35] Shannon introduces her guest for this episode – Nicole Lewis-Keeber.

[5:38] What does Nicole do and who do they do it for?

[6:47] Does everyone have childhood trauma?

“I’ve not met anyone yet who hasn’t had some kind of traumatic event in childhood that changed things for them.” ~ Nicole Lewis-Keeber

[8:39] What does trauma have to do with business?

[10:04] How do we figure out the traumatic events in our childhoods that inform our deeper ‘why’, and what is the value of figuring that out?

[12:35] What are some examples of how our deeper ‘why’ tied to trauma can show up as entrepreneurs in the health and wellness space?

[15:33] How else can this show up in our businesses?

“A lot of the business schools and a lot of coaches would like you to believe that all you need is a sales plan, a marketing plan, business plan, but I totally believe that you need an emotional sustainability plan for your business.” Nicole Lewis-Keeber

[20:02] Nicole shares some ways that we can start to help ourselves if we recognize that there were some traumatic events in our childhoods that may be playing out in our businesses.

[23:53] Shannon gives a shout out to the sponsor, OfferingTree.

[25:45] Shannon and Nicole discuss procrastination and how that ties in with everything else.

[28:05] What other things can we do in coming to terms with how our trauma influences our business?

[30:37] For yoga teachers, it can be more difficult to separate themselves from their business of teaching yoga because of how intertwined their lives can be to yoga. What are Nicole’s thoughts on that?

[32:29] Nicole shares their thoughts on the discomfort that yoga teachers may have around bringing business into their work with yoga.

“We start to modify ourselves and how we operate to try and feel safe because of those experiences and that changes how we see ourselves and what we believe is possible for us over time and how we value ourselves.” Nicole Lewis-Keeber

[35:46] Nicole shares how you can work with her if you are keen on getting more of their expert insight into how your traumas may be informing your business.

[37:35] What is something Nicole wishes entrepreneurs knew or understood as they’re facing the daily challenges of running a business?

“Big T Trauma explodes, little T trauma erodes, but they are both strong enough to move a mountain.” Nicole Lewis-Keeber

[39:18] Shannon shares her key takeaways from this interview with Nicole and encourages you to choose one thing that really resonated for you and implement that.


Gratitude to our Sponsors, OfferingTree and Pelvic Health Professionals.

OfferingTree all-in-one software

Pelvic Health Professionals