Certified Jungian Life Coach and Bestselling Author Linda Davies joins Debra on Soul Sessions to explore how to use adversity to create a meaningful life and discuss her latest book, "What Every Woman Needs to Know to Create Financial Abundance." Linda shares her personal stories and insights into:
• What to do when wealth isn't enough anymore
• Leaving your job to follow your dreams
• How to use your adversity to create a meaningful and awakened life
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How to Use Adversity to Create a Meaningful Life Transcript
Welcome to Soul Sessions with CreativeMind with Debra Berndt Maldonado and Dr. Rob Maldonado of CreativeMind. Join us each week for inspiring conversation about personal development based on Jungian philosophy, Eastern spirituality, and social neuroscience. Spend each week with us to explore deep topics in a practical way. Let's begin.
Debra Maldonado 00:28
I have a treat for you today on Soul Sessions. I am interviewing the famous author Linda Davies. She’s an award-winning and best-selling author of many thrillers, also a memoir called Kidnapped. Her latest book is What Every Woman Needs to Know to Create Financial Abundance. Linda Davies is an incredible woman, we had a deep conversation about what it means to have meaning in your life even if you have everything. The incredible resilience and stories of challenges she's gone through in her life, how she used yoga psychology and Eastern philosophy to change life and step into her true power. I promise you, you’ll be inspired by her stories and her advice for how to deal with difficult times and how to get through it with brilliance and power. Before I bring Linda on, I wanted to remind you to subscribe to our channel to get more of these incredible interviews. Without further ado, I'd love for you to meet Linda Davies. Hello, welcome to the show. Linda is the author of What Every Woman Needs to Know to Create Financial Abundance. We are so excited to have you here on the show. This show is about personal growth but I do want to touch on the importance of financial abundance. I'm so glad you are here. We're going to dive deeper into some other topics about resilience. How are you today, Linda?
Linda Davies 01:58
Hi, Deborah. First of all, I'm thrilled to be on the show, thank you, I'm really excited. I'm really well, there is so much we can talk about.
Debra Maldonado 02:08
I'm just so excited to dig deep. Linda's actually a Jungian life coach, she went through our training. We are going to add a little Jungian twist to everything, of course. Tell me what made you want to write this first book. Why do women need to know about financial abundance? Why was there a need for a book just for women? Maybe tell a little bit about your background in finance?
Linda Davies 02:32
Originally, after university, I was an investment banker. I did that for as long as it took to save up my running away money. Then I ran away and I wrote because I'd always dreamed of being a writer when I was a girl. That's what I did. I wrote a series of financial thrillers. Luckily, giving up the day job did work. Then it came around when I was writing the 20th Anniversary Edition preface for Vespa Vipers, I wrote a lot about what happened in the money world in between. I realized I had a voice, I had a lot I wanted to say on a non-fiction front. That led me to write the book 10 Things Everyone Needs to Know About Money. But when I wrote it, I realized there was still enormous gender gaps between men and women in terms of saving, investing, borrowing costs, the language of money, the inclusivity of the money world, access to capital, and a whole slew of other things that add up to a sustained wealth gap that's going to be with us, according to various researchers, for over another century to come. I thought I'd said it all in the first book. But there's so much to say specifically for women to bring women into full financial empowerment. That's what I wanted to do in the book in an accessible way that’s going to make sense and resonate. Actually, it was that that led me to CreativeMinds, because I had long known how deeply psychological our relationship with money is. I wanted to delve deeper into that psychology. I started looking for courses, then I found yours, I got all of that and so much more. Aanyone listening out there, this is the best course, these are the best guys you can work with. I say that from my heart.
Debra Maldonado 04:33
With money, with women and men, do women not invest? What's the psychology of women, how are they different than men? We all know there's always exceptions to the rule like yourself.
Linda Davies 04:47
Women actually are more predisposed to saving than men that we've seen. Especially in the UK, when we look at the investment in government efficient schemes like ISIS, we see that women are more likely to save more than men. However, what they tend to do is leave it in cash rather than put it in the stock market. When you’re in an inflationary era, if you stick your money in cash, the real purchasing power of it is going to shrink year by year. You'll effectively go broke slowly. But there is this fear that if you put your money on the stock market, you'll go broke fast. There's an inaccessibility to the stock market that seems to particularly keep women out. Most financial advisors are men, most financial practitioners are men. There is a very esoteric language of finance, if you feel that you don't speak that language, you feel that that world is not for you. What you’ll see on the news in the headlines when stock markets crash, which they do periodically, it stirs our conscious and unconscious minds with fear. Women are much less likely to invest in equities than men. If we want to protect our capital going forward, we need to make judicious stock market investments. That's one of the areas I cover, there are quite a few other areas of how to invest as well as how to grow your capital, how to save big range of pitch.
Debra Maldonado 06:21
What do you think of money psychology of the saving? It seems like they play it safe. The investment feels like a risk. Are women more predisposed to be safer than men when it comes to money?
Linda Davies 06:37
There's a lot of discussion about this, whether it's to do with testosterone, or whether it's to do with conditioning. There's a fantastic report that was done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2001 but it's still highly relevant. It's called Boys Will Be Boys: Gender, Overconfidence and Common Stock Investment. They surveyed 35,000 households comparing men and women. I'm going to read out the results here. They discovered that men trade more frequently than women and do so from a false sense of their own financial acumen. Intriguingly, they discovered that single men treated less sensibly than married men, and married men traded less sensibly than single women. There's so much to unpack there. But I think men do manifest a greater appetite for risk than women, women are more conservative. Other studies have shown that women tend to invest more to create long term stable capital to their heirs, their children, whereas men are more interested in getting instant returns and quicker payback. That will make you take greater risks. You've got to go back to childhood and look at the ways girls are brought up relative to the ways boys are brought up. There still are differences. There has been a pervasive pocket money gap, if you believe it, which looks like it might be rectifying itself now, but women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s have been brought up with agenda pocket money gap. They're spoken to differently, they toe the line more. There's greater ability of men to be wildcards and to take risks, women are taught to be conservative and to play it safe. It's probably something in our collective unconscious.
Debra Maldonado 08:41
When we think from a Jungian lens, we absorb not only our parents’ attitudes around money and identify with the sex of the parent that we identify with and use them as a model or a template, but also epigenetics. We have that generational conditioning from the concept of feminine and masculine to that identity what the role is. We play those roles unconsciously, even if you're a very liberal woman and want to break the barrier, we have to work with what's unconscious, because you want to be equal but you have to deal with these generational conditioning patterns that you're not even conscious of.
Linda Davies 09:26
They're not going to get turned over in a generation.
Debra Maldonado 09:30
When you think about the Jungian psychology, I know you worked in the industry with lots of high worth people, because we want to go beyond having a bunch of wealth in our life. We want to have meaning. I know you work with high net worth women and men. Do they have a need to have something else? Do they reach a point in their life where they have lots of money, but it's still not the answer?
Linda Davies 10:00
Absolutely. Most of them have been incredibly driven. They believed that if they played by the rules, if they excelled in school, at university, competed hard to get the top jobs, gotten to the top investment banks, or law firms, or consulting firms, life would fall into place. For a while, life did fall into place, they accumulated, they had career successes, they were able to buy homes, start saving, build up their nest egg. Then they began to wonder “Is this it? I've got all this, but something's still missing? What's wrong with me? I've won these glittering prizes but I feel this inner lack. Something is missing. Do I need more achievement? Will that fill that void?” They initially drive themselves harder and harder, thinking that getting more achievement will give them lasting satisfaction, but it doesn't. It's a realization that money isn’t fulfilling all of their needs. Material success isn’t giving them a sense of profound well being and satisfaction. It's certainly better than the opposite. If you're going to be miserable, you'd rather be miserable with wealth than in poverty, clearly. But ideally, you’d be able to enjoy your abundance and let it permeate. So that it's not just a material abundance. More importantly, it's spiritual abundance. It's about re-finding that because most of us have that as young children before the conditioning kicks in.
Debra Maldonado 11:48
I don’t work with a lot of high net worth people, but I do work with a lot of entrepreneurial people who have made really great success. I've worked with some celebrities who've made so much success but it's so outside that their psyche becomes imbalanced because the external is great but there's emptiness inside. It’s almost like their soul is dying away. It can never die, but it's so unconscious, we become off balance. We need to find that. I love that you're incorporating the Jungian work into these individuals to help them.
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Debra Maldonado 13:20
Can you tell me a little bit about what you think is really important to start with for someone who is feeling very successful, but they're feeling that “What is my purpose?” Where do you think would be the first step for them?
Linda Davies 13:31
To go back to what gave them joy as children before they were taught that. For instance, daydreaming. All children daydream, but you’re taught by parents and certainly by teachers to stop daydreaming and focus on the real world and what's important. The suggestion is that daydreaming isn’t important, it isn’t the real world. Many people tend to switch off that creative side. Going back to what gave us joy as children, incorporating that into our lives, looking at why we want to get up in the morning. Do we want to keep getting up, going into this job, and making more money? Or do we want to look at living a very different life? Some people are scared of having a big income job. I’d work with them to create a plan where they might say “I can do this for another couple of years. If I start saving and get my finances in order, I can walk away from the big bucks and do a job that pays me much less but has much greater meaning.” It's being practical and looking at creating a money map. But it's also looking at whether you are identifying with your money. Are you identifying with your success? Is this the source from which you derive your identity? Would you feel vital, relevant, full of joy if you didn't manifest, you didn't come across as rich, didn't display any of these wealth signifiers, you were just another person on the bus, gazing out of the window at the nice view? It's putting those questions and shifting the mindset, ditching some of the visible trappings of wealth. It's interesting, the word “trappings”, there's a wealth trap.
Debra Maldonado 15:40
If you think about Maslow's hierarchy of needs, even if you're very wealthy, you're still in that lower level of survival, you're coming from that ego level, you're not coming from regeneration, living a legacy, and having purpose. Even if you're a billionaire, you're still in survival, because you're identifying the money as you, that's the ego. It’s fascinating. We have so many questions for you. But we do want to switch a little bit and talk about your running away money, because you talked about that earlier. That's what we want to have. We want to use money to serve our purpose versus use our money to serve our ego. Your runaway money, you've created that, then you became an author, which is your purpose. I'd love to talk to you about it a little bit. Were you scared when you first made that step? What was the drive to become a writer? Were you always about writing?
Linda Davies 16:39
When I was a little girl, that’s what gave me joy, I’d write for fun. It wasn't just a homework assignment from school or an exercise at school, it was me scribbling away in notebooks, or lying on my back in the field, gazing up at the clouds and imagining kingdoms. I love that world, but I realized it's a huge risk. I needed to eat and live in the meantime. Investment banking was the way that I thought I could make the greatest amount of money legally in the shortest amount of time. So that's what I did. But the key thing that I did, for anyone out there listening who wants to amass their running away money, I avoided lifestyle creep, which is when you go into an environment where you start getting paid well and you up your expenditure to match your increased income. I lived pretty modestly. That was maybe easier for me to do as a woman, because I was the only woman executive working for my US investment bank and corporate finance. There were no role models, there were no peers. A lot of the men did have the red Porsches. But I didn't need to compete. I was an outsider, I was never going to blend in, though I could make up the rules of my own. I didn't go into the conspicuous consumption, I saved radically, then I walked away. I had debt, I had my mortgage. But I was very lucky to be in such a high paying environment because I saved enough to pay off my mortgage and more, I'd given myself that freedom, I had created that running away money. It's much harder to do now with the insane property prices. But running away money is still a valid, achievable concept. It's a lovely thing to be able to create so that you can step out of the life conditioning has told you you ought to be leading into the life that really is what your inner self, your higher nature is yearning for.
Debra Maldonado 18:46
I love that. You've written 12 or 13 books now. One of the books you wrote, which I’m so interested to hear, is a personal memoir you wrote about your kidnapping in the 90s. Could you tell us a little bit about what happened?
Linda Davies 19:06
This is so weird. People have said it sounds like the pages of one of my works of fiction. It was like that, only it was real. My husband, myself, and our three children moved to Dubai. We were living in Dubai and thought it'd be a great adventure to get a boat. Long story short, we got a boat, a catamaran. We were not experienced sailors by any means. We got a captain to help teach us the ropes literally and take us on a weekend sailing. This was in the Gulf of Arabia. We set sail on a sunny day, I did that prudent thing, I told one of my girlfriends that we're meant to be back by X time tomorrow. If we're not, push the emergency button. I said I’d ring her when we were back, if she didn’t hear from me, push the button. Off we went sailing. We sailed too close to an island that in theory was owned by the United Arab Emirates, but was occupied, unbeknownst to us, illegally, by Iran. What happened was a load of Iranian Marines came storming out from this island. We couldn't see this. They came around the side on gunboats, brandishing Kalashnikovs, surrounded us, and then forced us to say, well, there were lots of things. First of all, they made us go out to sea a bit, lined us up on the side of the boat, we thought we were going to be shot. Then there was a crackling of their walkie talkies. Clearly, they got other instructions. Then we were towed in to the island. Different people were flown in to interrogate us. We were then flown out to mainland Iran. The interrogations continued. We were almost released at one point and then rearrested. We were miraculously released after two weeks. We were very lucky to be released that way, people who were taken just after us were held for 18 months in Evin Prison. We were incredibly lucky. I didn't write about it. I wrote an article for The Daily Telegraph in the UK when we were released, because I wanted to speak about in my words. Then I thought that would be it, I’d speak no more about it. Then a decade later, a friend of mine, who was an investigative journalist, said “You really have to write that story.” I thought maybe I can write it with some equanimity now a decade has passed. I did write it, not with equanimity at all. I was in floods of tears, especially when it came to writing the bit about being separated from my children and trying to explain, because we were allowed some phone calls, we used those phone calls to send covert messages, sending texts when pretending to be trying to dial in. But to tell my five year old son I couldn't be there for his birthday and stuff like that. It's even hard to think about that now. But it was very hard to write about it.
Debra Maldonado 22:27
What did you learn about yourself and about life from that experience?
Linda Davies 22:34
It was so interesting, because my whole persona I had built up was that academic achievement would give me security in life. If I worked hard, studied hard, got good grades, good jobs, I’d be protected. That’s what society values and I'd be fine. When I was being held captive and interrogated, trying to strike up a rapport with our captors so they’d see us as humans rather than pawns in a game of geopolitics, that was completely irrelevant. That persona was null and void. What mattered was my humanity and the spark that connected me to them as other human beings. That’s what was powerful, that’s what I focused on. I believe that was what ultimately got us released, because they did see us as individuals, as human beings. When I was released, I went into a short but profound depression after the euphoria had worn off, because I thought everything I built my life on, all those achievements, the financial abundance and so on meant nothing. That wasn't where my head went to. When we were being held and had no idea that we’d be released after two weeks, we thought it could have been years, we had to stay sane in that time. Where do you go in your head when you don't know what is going to happen? You're not entirely powerless, because you've always got some power. That's a really important lesson. I did have to influence our captors, even though in theory I was a powerless hostage. But where do you go in your mind? You go to love, who you love. You go to love, you go to faith, whether it's in yourself, whether it's in a deity, whether it's faith in a benign universe, you go to those things. My husband and I were very lucky, we had each other. Our captain realized he had no one. His mother had dementia, she wouldn't have noticed if he came back or not. He wasn't married, didn't really have close friends because he was quite itinerant. When he was released, he went off traveling and very quickly met and married a lovely woman who he's still with and has children with. That was his epiphany, “I need love. I need human connection.” You learn the lesson very strongly of what really matters, what sustains you. You really do learn not to sweat about the small stuff, although I've had to remind myself, give myself a slap periodically. We forget.
Debra Maldonado 25:23
I love that. There's many people who haven't had that intensive an experience, but they've had an experience where the world shook them up a bit. Jung always talks about the dark night of the soul. Even if you have wealth and comfort, there's still emptiness, or something falls apart in your life, we have to turn inward. I love the idea of connecting with each other's and your own humanity. The fragility of life and what's important. Even if things are going well in your life, always remember, it's such a precious thing.
Linda Davies 25:58
When we were released, to feel happy, I just needed to know my husband was around, he was in the house, and I was able to walk into my children's bedrooms and watch them sleep.
Debra Maldonado 26:11
Small little things. We forget, because we get so busy in life. We forget these very special things. What an incredible story. I love this idea about taking a risk in life. If you don't take it, it's just going to eat at you slowly, just with finances, but also in everything in life, what is really important to us, the things we hang on to, my education, or my bank account, all these things. We don't want to wait for something tragic to happen for us to find that.
Linda Davies 26:47
It's so interesting, you bring up risk. When I was an investment banker, risk was my thing, I put value on risk. That was what I did. I became an expert on risk. I've always been a risk taker, until I had children I was an adrenaline junkie. That switched overnight when I became a mother. But I’ve taken calculated risks and instinctive risks. For instance, my husband and I started going out with each other. Six weeks after we started going out, he asked me to marry him. Six weeks later, we were married. Two weeks after that, we started a new life in Peru. All of that was a huge risk. I didn't know him after six weeks, I just knew that I loved him very much, that life was better with him. It was this instinctual yearning to be with him. That was a huge risk. I could have said “Let's wait and see, let's get to know each other better.” We're still married, 28 years on, touch wood. Sometimes we need to access our heart and our heart energy, and see what our heart wants us to do. It might want us to do things that the brain, the ego is saying “That's too risky. Don't do that”, weighing up the odds. Number one, I profoundly believe you can shift the odds in your favor by your mindset. Number two, we never know all the facts anyway. We're always going to be taking a measure of risk.
Debra Maldonado 28:20
A lot of times people make decisions based on what they experienced before. Then you make a decision from the past, or what you think worked before, but it's not going to bring you anything new. It'll bring you more of the same. Making that decision is stepping into the unknown. You trust in yourself, almost like invest in yourself. You trust in yourself that no matter what happens, I always say this, there is nowhere to fall. We’re spiritual beings, we’re not these human little ego. There's a part of us that will hold us and be there for us.
Linda Davies 28:55
We've got to have that faith to back ourselves.
Debra Maldonado 29:00
What was the name of your book?
Linda Davies 29:03
That one is called it's called Kidnapped, the true story of my kidnap and detention. Or Hostage, because there's two different editions, there's a Hostage edition, and there's a Kidnapped edition.
Debra Maldonado 29:15
We'll make sure we put the link in the show notes. Is there anything else? You've gone through so much adversity in your life, how do you use your adversity? Because a lot of people don't know what to do with it, they want to move away from it. You've been able to profoundly shift your life through adversity. Could you tell me a little bit more about that? What can they do when facing adversity?
Linda Davies 29:40
To give context to everyone out there who doesn't know me, just over a year ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a mastectomy and 12 rounds of very grueling chemotherapy. I'm still having adjuvant therapy every three weeks until the end of January. That was a bomb that went off in my life. As it is when it goes off in everybody's life, I was in shock. What got me through it was partially my own resilience. But everything I learned with you guys, there was an emphasis on the teaching of Eastern spirituality, the concept that inside we’re inviolable spiritual beings so that no matter what ravages were being wrought on my body, I was still perfect, unharmed, and undamaged. That really helped. I did a really strange switch, because I used to believe the universe was a hostile place. I was brought up by my parents, my father had fought in the World War II, my mother had been part of Danish Resistance. Life was hostile, no question. I adopted as a child that the universe was a hostile place, the world was a dangerous place. Weirdly, when I was forced to admit my vulnerabilities, when I was so ill, with chemo and recovering from the mastectomy, I dropped this persona of being a Superwoman, of being tough. I showed my vulnerability, which took some time and was a real step for me. I got so much love back from people I knew, from taxi drivers in London driving me to hospital, random people came into my life. It switched the way I approached life. I was much more open and receptive rather than being guarded and protected. I got so much love back. I firmly believe the universe is a friendly place. It’s even friendlier if you believe that, because it comes back to you. We say our thoughts create our reality. My thoughts changed. Even in the midst of brutal adversity, they changed to thinking that the universe was a friendly place. Where do I get the resilience? From that belief, from love, the love I've got back from people, the love I feel for people, from believing in the power of our mind and how our thoughts can create our reality. I had a scan a few weeks ago, all clear. I fervently pray that it will continue that way. We'll see how the cards fall. But I think I influence how the cards fall. There have been challenges. There have been real challenges, but you get through them with openness, allowing your vulnerability, allowing others to help you, to love you. And connection, we are all connected. Feeling that sense of connection has been a real source of sustenance to me and is so powerful, so many of us live atomized lives, we forget the role of social connection. It's very powerful and very important.
Debra Maldonado 33:11
It's wonderful. You've been through a lot. To go from the upbringing of the world is dangerous and hostile, you even had very hostile events happen as an adult, then to turn around and have this illness now. Then you go “The world is a friendly place”, what a shift. It shapes our world, it shapes what we think it is. It's not out there telling us what it is, it's what we shape it to be. That's a beautiful thing. That's the best part of Jungian psychology, really seeing you're not the persona and not what happens to you. You can create your reality, the Eastern philosophy of you being pure consciousness, pure being, you can't be destroyed, the essence of you. It's important, and I love so much that you share that because I know so many women who've gone through breast cancer diagnosis, cancer diagnosis, as we all know someone who's had cancer, or recovered, some not. Just to know there's light at the end of the tunnel, there are resources within yourself that can get you through it in a powerful way and make you more powerful by going through.
Linda Davies 34:21
I feel so much more powerful. Things that might have fazed me a while ago, public speaking. I feel more connected to people. I regard them as friends, I'm just speaking to friends. I'm not speaking to an audience of strangers. Things like that hold no fear.
Debra Maldonado 34:40
This has been such an incredible conversation and flow. I want to remind everyone about Linda's book, What Every Woman Needs to Know to Create Abundance, Linda Davies. Also her other books, we’ll have posted in the show notes. I just want to thank you so much, Linda, for sharing your vulnerability, your life experience with us. We can all learn from your wisdom. I know so many people listening to the show that are going to be so touched by your messages and feel it filled with hope. That's who you are. You're a beacon of hope for people and for your clients. I'm so grateful to have you in our lives.
Linda Davies 35:19
Thank you so much. Likewise, I'm so happy I have you guys in my life and my world. It's been a pleasure. Thank you.
Debra Maldonado 35:29
Thank you so much, we'll see you soon.
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