#61 Self-Love, Self-Discovery, & Setting the Example

Today's Guest: Lesley Evans

Today, I interview Lesley Evans, who as the youngest of three children and the only girl, received plenty of attention as a child. Her voice didn’t begin to fade until her teenage years. Her parents divorced and she focused on comforting her mother, and from there she naturally fell into a caretaker role, giving her friends advice and being the supporter for anyone who needed it.

As a young adult, Lesley lived her life according to a checklist: get a degree, find a job, get married, buy a house, have children. She was busy all the time, getting things done and checking them off her list. But somewhere along the line, she lost herself. She was so preoccupied with accomplishing everything on the list, and with taking care of people and meeting their needs, that she completely forgot about herself.

In this interview, Lesley also mentions her sudden realization that her voice was also silenced because of her work in the nursing/therapy field– that often times nurses and therapists put in the most time and labor, yet the doctor is the only one who can “sign off” on things and have the final say.

In a precious revelation, Lesley saw the need for change when she saw her own habits mirrored in her daughter. As she encouraged her daughter not to diminish herself for anyone, she sensed that a shift needed to be made. She worked to break the cycle of putting herself last so that she could set a better example for her children. Lesley did a deep spiritual dive, learning to understand her life and her energy better. She was able to use all the losses and changes along the way to transform herself and find her own healing.

Today, she uses alternative therapies to help others achieve physical and emotional balance, form healthy habits, and rewire their thinking in a more positive way.


Lesley is an International Best-Selling Author of DeFUNK YourSELF. She has developed a perfect blend of ​modern and magical ​therapies to empower the overwhelmed by teaching how to shed the guilt, find your passion, and live an inspired life. Lesley has thirty years of experience as a Registered Psychiatric Nurse Therapist. She is a Certified Soul C​are Practitioner and Reiki Master. She brings new purpose and passion for raising awareness, gaining new perspectives, and teaching others to Shine Their Light​. ​She believes, like The Rising Phoenix, that everyone can rise from the ashes of their old lives and build themselves stronger to shine their light into the world.

Click the link below to get Lesley’s Tips to Fit Mindfulness Into Everyday Life: https://mailchi.mp/3d7acc782623/everydaymindfulness

Watch the episode:

Connect with Lesley Evans

Transcript of Interview

Find Your Voice, Change Your Life Podcast 

Podcast Host: Dr. Doreen Downing

Free Guide to Fearless Speaking: Doreen7steps.com

Episode #61 Lesley Evans

“Self-Love, Self-Discovery, & Setting the Example”


(0:36) Dr. Doreen Downing

Hi, this is Dr. Doreen Downing and I’m the host of the Find Your Voice, Change Your Life podcast. I get to invite people here to tell their stories. Oftentimes, it’s a struggle to find their voice, whether it happened early in childhood and nobody really paid attention to them, or if it happened somewhere along the line that they realized they were living a life that was not authentic to them. Today, I’d like to introduce you to my new friend, Leslie Evans. Hi, Leslie.


(1:10) Lesley Evans

Hello, Doreen. It’s lovely to see you.


(1:13) Dr. Doreen Downing

Yes. We get to meet each other in the cyberspace world. Let me introduce you because you sent me some bio and I want to make sure people get to know you first. So you have written a book and you’re an international best-selling author of Defunct Yourself. Leslie has developed a perfect blend of modern and magical therapies to empower the overwhelmed by teaching how to shed the guilt, find your passion, and live an inspired life. That sure sounds up my alley.


(1:54) Dr. Doreen Downing

And what we’re doing today in our podcast, your background, apparently you were a registered psychiatric nurse therapist, certified soul seek practitioner, and Reiki Master. You bring new purpose and passion for raising awareness, gaining new perspectives, and teaching others to shine their light. And you believe, like the Rising Phoenix, that everyone can rise from the ashes of their old life and build themselves stronger to shine their light into the world. Wow, what a wonderful introduction to give you the platform to share your message with us today. Thank you.


(2:43) Lesley Evans

Thank you. It sounds so funny when I listen to that bio. I’m like, wow, that sounds awesome. But it’s truly what I believe everyone has a light to shine. And sometimes they just need a little help finding it. And so that’s what I love to do.


(3:03) Dr. Doreen Downing

Wonderful. Well, what I do here today, we have some time to go a little deeper. Rather than just tell me about how good you are today, it’s more about the struggle. And that’s what I think reaches people, to know that other people who have found their voice have had found themselves in a situation where they felt like they struggled. So we could start way back when or just maybe I’ll just ask. So Leslie, what about you and your struggle finding your voice?


(3:42) Lesley Evans

Well, I can tell you that really it starts with a checklist, Doreen, a checklist of everything I thought I wanted in life. As a young girl, I went to psychiatric nursing school and graduated. I got a job in public health. I married my college sweetheart. And we bought a house. We had three beautiful girls and did the gamut. And what happened, Doreen, is as I checked off that checklist. I lost myself. I lost my voice because it was all about the checklist and taking care of all of those things and all of those people on my checklist. Between my family, as primary support to my mom, work, and working in public health, it was always about giving and not listening to my own needs and what I wanted in life. It was over a process of over 20 years that I just didn’t even realize I wasn’t using my voice.


(5:13) Dr. Doreen Downing

Yes, that’s true. I think that you wake up one day, and it occurs to you that slowly it’s been fading or dissolving. And just a quick question, do you feel like when you were born, you had your voice?


(5:34) Lesley Evans

I am the youngest of three children and the only girl. And so I definitely had a voice in that I did have a lot of attention paid to me. But I think that when I got into my teenage years was probably when I started to feel like that voice was going, that’s when I started to, be the person, be the go-to person. And as I recognize myself more as that caretaker, my needs go kind of last. I began to use my voice less and less.


(6:19) Dr. Doreen Downing

So in terms of caretaking, who needed caretaking in your family early on?


(6:27) Lesley Evans

Early on, when my parents separated when I was a teenager, again was the primary support to my mom, who had a really tough time with that transition. And so I looked out for her. And my friends, I was always the go-to person with my friends. If anyone was having challenges, they usually came to Lesley. And it’s no surprise that I went into the jobs that I did because that’s just what I’ve done.


(7:01) Dr. Doreen Downing

Yes, I understand totally. I was the oldest. There are only two of us. My sister and I are from a divorce. My mother’s divorce was early on, like, when we were five years old, five, six years old. But I know what you mean about becoming aware of something pretty drastically changing around you. And then there’s kind of a calling that you’ve got to meet. And no matter what, even if it’s sacrificing yourself, you have to step in. So I totally understand what you just said about being a caretaker for your mom. And I would say because you are so delightful and have such a heart, that that’s probably one of your gifts, that you are somebody who has a healing nature and responds to the call for care. And you have to make sure you’re caring for yourself too.


(8:00) Lesley Evans

Right. I know we’re going to go into how this changed. And so, when we get into that, where my awareness came in and why I feel like it’s so important for people to find their own voices in and their selves in this whole caretaking world because we so often take that on and put ourselves back, put ourselves last.


(8:31) Dr. Doreen Downing

Yeah, well, the checkbox or checklist that you talked about when we first started, I can also relate to that. Getting the Ph.D. check. And then finally, it’s like, okay, marriage, because I was not married first. Next is marriage. But it took a long time for me. And I think that what you just said about being a youngster getting married, and I think college is young.


(9:03) Lesley Evans

It is. Yes, absolutely.


(9:04) Dr. Doreen Downing

Yeah. How do we really know ourselves at that age? And then having children and going into health care. Any other memories that you can share with us about not having had a voice?


(9:20) Lesley Evans

As you say that, it comes to me. And in the profession that I chose, which is for me a calling at that age in psychiatric nursing and I worked most of my career as a therapist in psychiatric nursing. But there’s always this piece of it doesn’t matter how much experience or knowledge or anything like that, there’s always the doctor that has the final say in what goes on. We meet with the clients for hours on end, and we give all the information and yet the next step can’t be taken. And that’s a system thing. The next step can’t be taken until it’s doctor approved.


(10:15) Dr. Doreen Downing

Oh my gosh, that speaks to authority. What authority do you really have and here you are, totally involved, engaged, and probably bringing your wisdom to the moment, but nobody’s listening, except to the doctor. Wow.


(10:36) Lesley Evans

Right. Yeah. Which is very interesting. And there are many doctors who are wonderful, and give that recognition to the nurses and know the importance of nurses in the system, but ultimately, in the system, the medical system I’m speaking of, that doctor is the one with the authority enough to make those final decisions. No matter what the recommendations are of the people that are working with these clients all day, or throughout months, and sometimes years.


(11:16) Dr. Doreen Downing

Well, we’ll jump to it in a minute. But I’m just thinking about the difference between having your own wisdom, your own say, your own knowledge, your own interaction, your own involvement with somebody, and then being able to be the guide, and to be the one who helps people as opposed to, people think the doctor knows best.


(11:42) Lesley Evans

You’re right. That has been a big part of my transition into what I’m doing now. Honoring that knowledge and that experience and being able to walk away from that system that is so medical-oriented, the doctor makes a decision. To be able to honor that, like I said, the wisdom and use the experience, the knowledge, the magical, and being able to share that with the people that I work with, in order for them to move forward. And, not having to have that, yes, that’s okay or no, that’s not okay.


(12:34) Dr. Doreen Downing

Yes, a word that comes to my mind as I’m listening to you is trust in the relationship between you and somebody who’s baring their soul to you and needing help. And there you are right in front of them being a listener that receives them, and they feel trust in you. Yet, in that profession, as you’ve described, whom do you trust the doctor or the person who’s been with you for weeks and months and a long, long time, who really knows you deeply? What a bind and a dilemma and what our system gives to people who have to move through it. And it’s lucky, I think that some of those folks met you along the way on their path.


(13:27) Lesley Evans

I often speak with a colleague that I worked with for a long time, who’s also kind of moving out of the system piece. And we were able to be there for each other behind, behind the closed doors to encourage each other to know the incredible difference that we’ve both made to those clients that are going through a system. That there are a lot of good things about the medical system, and then there are some things that are challenging, and so we’ve been able to make that difference in that system.


(14:10) Dr. Doreen Downing

So we’re talking about growth, aren’t we? Yes. And what’s the most nurturing environment for somebody to grow? We can go back to you and you being a person who, over time needed to grow. You outgrew the medical system. Say a little bit more about the dawning of awareness.


(14:34) Lesley Evans

Yes. So I can tell you the first dawning of my awareness started when I was having, and I have three girls. So when I was having a conversation with my eldest daughter, she was 16 at the time, and she was having some troubles with a boy where she wasn’t singing like she loves to do, she wasn’t dancing, she was making choices and doing things maybe she wouldn’t normally do to be with this boy. And I can remember having a conversation with her. And I gave her the great advice any mother would give to say, “if they love you, they will support you 100%. Don’t change for everyone or anyone, you are important, and your voice is important.” And I left and I know she felt better after we had that conversation.


(15:28) Lesley Evans

But what dawned on me Doreen, is what am I modeling to my girls? By putting myself last, behind putting my priorities last, both personally and professionally. What am I teaching them? I don’t want them to learn that life is about self-sacrifice and that they’re not allowed to speak when things aren’t right. And it really dawned on me and look I’m getting little goosebumps. It was quite a moment Doreen, and it set about a lot of changes for me for my girls. And it was after that, that I really sat down and really thought about my voice and what was important to me.


(16:26) Lesley Evans

And it said about me and my husband of 21 years separating and deciding to end our marriage because we knew what we were doing to each other wasn’t good. Never mind what we were doing to our kids. And a new life of discovery. And Doreen here’s part of what I think is really important for people to know is that you can start that process of starting to find your voice, find your importance, and you can go back to old habits again. Even in this process, because I say that, I know that that was the moment that started that change.


(17:17) Lesley Evans

But there’s a moment that I remember even more clearly that I was running around making sure my girls were doing okay after the separation. I was taking care of my clients, my mom was doing okay, all of that. And guess whom I wasn’t looking after or listening to? Right. And I can remember, I went home for lunch. And I don’t remember what it was. And it doesn’t really matter. I just remember that it was sort of that straw that broke the camel’s back.


(17:49) Lesley Evans

The overwhelm came in. I was the go-to person, I’m the therapist. I’m the one that fixes everything, right. And I just remember this overwhelming. But I had to go back to work. So I drove back to work. I did my three and a quarter-hour that was left at work to take care of my clients. And at the end of my shift, I couldn’t find my keys. My keys are not in any of the spots. And then I remember walking out with my head down thinking well, I hope my vehicle is there. I walked out. Not only was it there Doreen, but I had also left it running for those three and a quarter hours. I just left it running.


(18:30) Lesley Evans

And as I got in, and if you can picture this just putting your head down on the steering wheel, taking a breath. It was at that moment that I realized that I was as empty as my gas tank now was. And it was that awareness of how far I’d allow myself to go to empty that started the next part of that change. Like I said, I was a therapist, I knew all the steps I needed to take. I help people with that all the time. But I wasn’t taking them myself. And I also knew there was more to healing than just the steps that we take in regular therapy, there was more to it.


(19:21) Lesley Evans

And so that’s when I set aside to be able to start looking into mentoring and some teachers to start looking into the more alternative healing things like Reiki, Angel healing. I learned about Akashic records and just about energy and intuition and all of those things. And what I learned is that this is where the true healing begins. And this is truly where my voice started to come out when I started to trust myself, trust my gifts, and build that confidence in my gifts. And then I was able to put both of those together, both my worlds together.


(20:15) Dr. Doreen Downing

Oh, this is so wonderful just to follow you on your journey to the more. And I get the sense that there was a window that you were looking out into, something that was expansive, and so new. I know you talk about the light, but it was like the light drew you. And there you went.


(20:38) Lesley Evans

And I did. There is that saying that says when you’re ready that teachers appear. And it’s so true as you allow yourself to start to connect and become more aware of yourself and your inner being, your heart, your spirit, and your higher self. The teachers become available to you. And so it’s an incredible transition and an incredible growth. This is what we talked about. How did you grow to there? It was just me being open to it.


(21:27) Dr. Doreen Downing

And willing. I mean, you could be open but too scared to take that step. And it feels like all along you took another step. And then another step. And then that day in the car, another wake-up, another “Knock Knock, there’s more.”


(21:47) Lesley Evans

Exactly, exactly. And I’m going to say, Doreen, there’s a lot of little “more’s” along the way to say, we think we kind of got it and then there’s this next Knock Knock that says you’re not quite ready, so let’s keep moving. That little push in the right direction. If you’re open and like you said, willing,


(22:10) Dr. Doreen Downing

Yes, yes. Well for people who aren’t actually seeing you there and just listening, on your background, you have Rise Of The Phoenix. Let’s start talking about what that means or how you founded that.


(22:28) Lesley Evans

Ah, Rise of the Phoenix is my company name, Rise of the Phoenix healing. and so for me, the Phoenix is my spirit animal. And it wasn’t long after I separated though. I actually got a tattoo of the Phoenix on my shoulder before any of this even started, before I was aware of it all starting. And so, the Phoenix for me really signifies the ability for all of us to rise from the ashes. And we can arise as many times as we need to, it’s not just a one rising, it’s as many times as we need to.


(23:13) Lesley Evans

And so, Rise of the Phoenix is my company because it really speaks to what I believe about people and that everyone has a light. Everyone has a light and we just got to shake off some of the dust sometimes and really start to get to know ourselves, to become aware of ourselves, and aware of the incredible opportunity in the universe to be able to shine our light. And Doreen, as we start to shine our light, we start to encourage other people to look for their light and to shine their light. And it’s an incredible thing that happens around you when you start to shine your light.


(23:57) Lesley Evans

It’s scary at first, though.


(24:00) Dr. Doreen Downing

Say more.


(24:02) Lesley Evans

It’s scary at first, to start shining your light, especially when it’s been a long time since you have allowed that light out. Because people will start to say you’re not in that box that we put you in. That’s not how we envisioned you or how we saw you or how we knew you. You’re changing. Absolutely. I’m changing and changing because that’s what the amazing journey for me is and what’s best for me.


(24:34) Lesley Evans

And that’s how I get to put my voice out there by changing and being that light. But at first, like I said in that medical system, I couldn’t have this part of me. And so, shining my light also meant that it was moving along, moving on from this job that I had for over 20 years, 25 years, and taking those risks along with it. And I’m telling you, it is amazing when you allow yourself to shine your light.


(25:09) Dr. Doreen Downing

Yes, it’s interesting today. As I listened to you, your light, I think has a light mist in it. I mean, I feel like the light is energy and your energy is coming through to those who are listening. They don’t get to see you and get to see your radiance. So, thank you. Anything else? I would love to have people have an opportunity to catch up with you. Where do they do that?


(25:39) Lesley Evans

You can go to my website. And I think that will be in some of the notes here. But it’s riseofthephoenix.org. And you can go there, and you can check out what I’m doing. But also, if you would like a little consultation, a little 20-minute intuitive guidance session, there is a link on my website that says book a call for free. You can book that, and we can have a chat. I’d love to chat with you.


(26:11) Dr. Doreen Downing

And in fact, I had a chat with you and that’s how we met. You were with me for 20 minutes. And I asked you, well, what are Akashic Record records really? And this is what made me made me realize what the depth of it is, it’s the soul’s print on you and what you’re coming into this life with. So, people who book even in 20 minutes, you can go very deep with Leslie. So I want to point people to you.


(26:49) Lesley Evans

Thank you, thank you. It’s an incredible gift, being able to study the akashic records, and being able to help those that meet with me, to be able to give that deeper insight into what’s impacting your life now, by being able to have those insights from where you’re there, your soul’s journey, where it’s gone before, and to have the deeper insights. So I appreciate that. Appreciate you giving a shout-out for that, Doreen.


(27:24) Dr. Doreen Downing

Oh, yes. Well, I always love the inner journey and finding out more about who we are and moving closer to the essence of who we are. And that’s why I call my business essential speaking, speaking from the essence of who you are. Thank you so much for sharing your voice today, the essence of who you are.


(27:46) Lesley Evans

It’s been my pleasure and my honor, 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.