#24 From Self-Deprecation to Whole Healing

Today's Guest: Laban Ditchburn

Today, I interview Laban Ditchburn who discovered that although self-deprecation worked as a defense mechanism, it was doing damage to his view of himself. It was tearing down his confidence.

Although we’ve all seen it used in comedy, when you get to the root of it, it’s clearly “cringe-worthy”, as Laban puts it.

He started to treat himself better and remove the negative self-talk. This opened the door to a more positive outlook and the ability to allow others to love him.

He now shares the value of overcoming the self-harm (whether it’s bad self-talk or numbing himself with addictive behavior) as a transformative part of his story to self-love, understanding, and finding his real voice and identity. His goal now is to be known as “the most positive speaker on the planet.”

After conquering the full gamut of addictions, from food and booze to sex, gambling, and drugs Laban now defines the word transformation.
He cured his own “incurable” auto-immune disease and soon realized that taking everything at face value, wasn’t always the best way forward.
And when he repaired the body, he also healed his mind and his spirit.

Laban is the Author of the sensational “Bet On You” book series, a speaker, Dino-Balls coach, and host of the “Become Your Own Superhero” show.
Laban’s burning passion is to inspire change to those that want it and are ready to take the first steps to do so.

Watch the episode:

Connect with Laban Ditchburn

Transcript of Interview


Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing

Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com

Episode #24 “Laban Ditchburn”

“From Self-Deprecation to Whole Healing “

Dr. Doreen Downing [00:36]

Hi, this is Dr. Doreen Downing and I’m with the FIND YOUR VOICE, CHANGE YOUR LIFE podcast. I have the extreme pleasure of being able to introduce guests from all over the world who have suffered from the lack of ability to have a voice where they felt they could make an impact and stand up for who they are in certain situations.

So today I’ll introduce a wonderful new friend, Laban Ditchburn. Laban Ditchburn conquered the full gamut of addictions, from food and booze to sex, gambling, and drugs. Laban overcame those addictions and defined transformation. He cured his “incurable” autoimmune disease and soon realized that taking everything at face value wasn’t always the best way forward. When he repaired the body, he also healed his mind and spirit. Laban is also the author of the sensational “Bet On You” book series, a speaker, Dino-Balls coach, and host of the BECOME YOUR OWN SUPERHERO show, which I had the pleasure to be on just a few days ago. So, he has a lot to say and I’d love to continue our conversation on my show today. Laban’s burning passion is to inspire people to take the first step. Welcome, Laban.

Laban Ditchburn [2:48]

Dr. Doreen, I graciously receive and accept your wonderful words. I just want to say that what you are doing with the show that you’ve had, is creating a real wonderful butterfly effect of encouragement and positivity and enlightenment for people that also are looking to find something that’s a bit above and beyond the mundane. So, congratulations and well done to you.

Dr. Doreen Downing [3:22]  

Thank you and I appreciate it. What happened that you felt as if you didn’t have a voice?

Laban Ditchburn [3:41]

I’ve been thinking about the last few days in anticipation of this podcast. The really interesting thing is that I’m the son of a retired radio announcer. My father has the record in New Zealand, my home birth country, a national record of the highest rating, a primetime radio show in the history of the country which is 51% of the audience, something that is very unlikely to ever be repeated in the modern format. For many years, I assumed my voice was going to be the acting, I was doing the stand-up comedy, I had attempted the self-deprecating humor. I realized that although physically, I had a voice that was not the voice that I was put on this planet to project.

Dr. Doreen Downing [4:51]

What were your thoughts behind self-deprecating humor?

Laban Ditchburn [5:17]

It stemmed from validation seeking, which is part of my big transformation journey. The big moment for me was a conversation with a psychologist that I had access to. She spoke to me about the link between coping mechanisms and escape behavior, escape is a behavior that children exhibit and develop as a result of growing up in a less nurturing environment. And for me, it was nothing more painful than being a child of divorced parents and having a mom and a dad who were ill-equipped to esteem themselves in many ways, let alone their children. So, I’ve learned a lot of really unhelpful behaviors. My father was a people pleaser for the majority of his life. I witnessed that behavior and I thought that’s how I would get people to like me, by pleasing people. And as it turns out, it’s a quick way to live a miserable life.

Dr. Doreen Downing [6:19]

The whole idea of self-deprecation, I’m curious about using yourself as the object of ridicule. What was that about?

Laban Ditchburn [6:47]

From a cultural point of view, UK, Australia, New Zealand’s comedy is different from the Western world. But it’s probably more prolific here because they have a real culture of what they call a tall poppy syndrome. It’s discouraged for you to put yourself out there and to ordain yourself as being the best at something. They try to chop you down at the knees, so as a result of the threat of being chopped down to the knees, people demean themselves in the form of comedy. For me, I used to find this stuff humorous, a long time ago but now it’s cringeworthy. One of the proudest parts of my transformation is the removal of negative self-talk. I was doing the self-deprecating humor and it was affirming these negative thoughts upon myself, that’s perpetuating this continual loop of just dysfunction. When I started to understand the mechanisms behind that, and why that was so impactful in a negative way, I changed this up real quick. When I start treating myself as someone I care about by removing all of that negative self-talk, the only thing that’s left is a positive affirmation, encouragement and self-love. And then the beautiful side effect of self-love was allowing others to love me, including my fiancé of three years.

Dr. Doreen Downing [8:32]

What were the addictions doing to you and what was the purpose they served?

Laban Ditchburn [9:16]

I was going down to the depths of hell, slow to begin with, and then sped up very quickly. And I realized at a moment of pure rock bottom six years ago, when I found myself sitting in my bed, with my laptop, open gambling on a horse race, in a country and spending money that wasn’t mine. I knew I was destined for much greater than what I was currently achieving. It was at that moment, I asked for help and got access to the counselor. And started the journey of self-love and understanding that what I had gone through was not necessarily my fault, but it was my responsibility, and no one was going to come and save me. I rode on my white horse. And that was very empowering for me at the time. And that put the brakes on the spiral of doom. As a man in his mid-30s, I had no loving relationships, I hadn’t achieved anything career-wise of any significance. There’s a lot of things missing from my life and one of those was my purpose. I finally figured out my reason for being on the planet, it’s simply to be known as the most positively influential speaker on the planet. I’ve just recently come to a huge epiphany moment where I have ordained myself as the best courage coach on the planet and I’m willing to prove that to anyone.

Dr. Doreen Downing [10:58]

What was your wake-up call towards a transformational journey and how did you find your path?

Laban Ditchburn [12:52]

It was that when she spoke about the link between the coping mechanisms, as a result of the dysfunction growing up, I looked at my life from a very young man, long before cigarettes and alcohol came along. I used video games and movies to escape from my life. There were custody battles, a lot of poverty, and a scarcity mindset. I copped a lot on the chin as a young man, and this isn’t the worst story. This is just the reality of what happened. And people go through far worse, but trauma is an individualistic thing. In her office, I decided to change myself. I need to understand how things work before. I’m on board with things that are important to me. With healing, I figured out things and that was the real powerful moment when I took back control.

Dr. Doreen Downing [14:18]

Did you find your path through your therapist, and how did she impacted your life?

Laban Ditchburn [15:02]

It was the journey of discovery that helped me identify some physical health issues that I had. I had an incurable autoimmune disease because that’s what 20 different medical professionals affirmed over the 17 years that I would constantly go and find out whether there were alternate therapies. It was GERD which relates to a lot of the inflammatory bowel and stomach issues that are prolific in society. I didn’t understand the link between healing my gut, mental health, resilience, fortitude, and courage. It’s been five years since I’ve had a drink, six years since I’ve laid a bet, drugs is six years plus as well. I was eliminating more and more of these negative toxic things out of my life, my body physically started to change shape and started to heal. And now throughout this time, I’ve transformed myself physically, I’ve lost 60 pounds of body fat, and put on 30 pounds of muscle. When my body started to heal I became more connected spiritually, and I unblocked my pineal gland and allowed the universe to send me messages, which I was now able to receive. Whatever your beliefs on spirituality or frequencies, to me, it’s undeniable and if you ask me about this thing two years ago, I would have laughed in your face, but now I’ve got a connection with the universe that is filled me with a.) zero fear of death, b.) an unwavering confidence and belief in the direction that I’m going. When you combine those, then you can call yourself the best courage coach in the world.

Dr. Doreen Downing [17:19]

What is your coaching process and how do you bring belief to people through your coaching?

Laban Ditchburn [18:26]

This is the fun thing, it’s a relatively recent thing that I’ve been able to ascertain exactly what my superpower is, and it is this gift of courage and courage is the first virtue of the stoics. If you took away the ability to show any courage, you really wouldn’t be able to breathe, you wouldn’t be able to do anything. And at a micro level, courage exists in everything that we do. I simply want to be able to show people what I’ve been exposed to. I see every single day people that have limiting beliefs on what they think they can do, how many people they think they can impact, or whether they’re even good enough to get out of bed. I think being able to lead by example is a really important virtue for me as well. There are several people out there that do as I say, not as I do, and I don’t ever want to come close to being anyone like that. I want to be able to have walked in the shoes of anything that I’m talking about. This is a real cliche that if I can do it, you can do it too. I failed high school, I never went to university, I never had a college degree and didn’t even take a creative writing course, I don’t have any qualifications. I’ve got one qualification for a personal training course that I paid $6,000 for. I did 13% of the course and decided it wasn’t for me. And then they emailed me a certificate of completion, probably auto-generated. So technically, there is no formal qualification. I’m not demeaning or diminishing who I am as a human being. But I understand now the power that I have within me, and I want to share that knowledge with people that want help and want to learn and get themselves out of the funk that they’re in.

Dr. Doreen Downing [20:45]

Did you mean courage is between wanting something and taking the first step?

Laban Ditchburn [21:14]

Public speaking fear is the topic that you share on this podcast. So people might be looking at me or listening to me saying, Wow, this guy sounds confident, he’s born with a golden gavel in his mouth but I’ve worked damn hard on this. I’ve spent six years grinding. I’ve empowered myself with the knowledge of over 500 nonfiction books, self-development books, books on how to communicate effectively, books on how to become a strong masculine man, books on how to be with women, books on how to sell, books on how to be empathetic and books on how to impact the world, what happens is when you take on as much of that knowledge, which I’ve been able to do at a much higher rate because my body’s functioning well because I’m looking after it and putting the right fuel in it. It’s now crescendo-ing into this supernova of confidence. And something that struck me the other day was someone posted on LinkedIn, they were talking about bucket lists. And this person was a 20-year speaker, very accomplished, and they put it there. ‘I want to speak at a Tony Robbins conference’. I wrote in my notes on my iPhone here, ‘I want Tony Robbins to have me on his bucket list.’

Dr. Doreen Downing [22:39]

How can we inspire other people to have courage about speaking?



Laban Ditchburn [23:05]

So my first question to anyone would be asking them how their life is going. And if it’s not going great, I’ll say, how’s that working out for you? Then we can explore gently, to begin with, because I realize my energy can be quite intense for people that are not used to it. A few questions to them about what is important to them. What do you find effortless that other people find challenging? And then they’ve had to think about that, what do people come and ask you for advice, or advice on, and then they can go, ‘I’m a really good listener’, and ‘I’m really good at solving problems. The third thing is what sets your soul on fire. It might not be being the world’s greatest courage coach or the most positively influential speaker, it might be working as a nurse, a dental assistant, or a garbage man. But the impact that you want to have on the world and allowing yourself to imagine what your life would be like if you had the bravery that I’m talking about, the bravery to pick up the phone and call the CEO of the company that you want to work for. And ask that CEO and say, Mr. C, my name is Laban and I’m the best nurse in North America. And the reason I’m calling… is you need to hire me because I’m going to transform that ward. This is something energetic about having that courage.  You can use it to achieve anything you want in the world. You can get away with blue murder, having this courage in a good way.

Dr. Doreen Downing [25:11]

You talked about a lot of questions you can ask your inner self. Can you offer one simple question that starts a spark in people to start to be courageous?

Laban Ditchburn [25:46]

It is to make a decision today to remove all negative self-talk out of your vocabulary. Now, never say a negative thing about yourself. And when you do that, you watch the world around you change and the people you attract in your life and you’ll start believing that you can achieve the most wondrous things.

Dr. Doreen Downing [26:14]

It is the fullness of self that gets the blossom. Any last words, Laban?

Laban Ditchburn [27:00]

We are one in multiple 100 million chances of being on this planet. The likelihood of Doreen and I having this conversation right now is in the multiple trillions, Do you think that’s an accident? And if you think maybe it’s not an accident, what kind of life do you want to live knowing that there’s a high being out there that’s got some good stuff in store for you if you just open up your mind and receive it.

Dr. Doreen Downing [27:32]

That’s absolutely wonderfully positive. Thank you, Laban, for sharing great thoughts.

Laban Ditchburn [27:55]

Thanks for having me, Doreen.

Also listen on…

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.

7 STEP GUIDE TO FEARLESS SPEAKINGPodcast host, Dr. Doreen Downing, helps people find their voice so they can overcome anxiety, be confident, and speak without fear.

Get started now on your journey to your authentic voice by downloading my Free 7 Step Guide to Fearless Speakingdoreen7steps.com.