Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo is one of America’s top psychologists and has made a career out of creating bite-sized concepts out of complex psychological ideas. Dr. Lombardo has shared her knowledge with audiences across various international events and on The TODAY Show and Good Morning America. She has also published multiple books on self-improvement and winning the fight against our “inner critics.” Lombardo also founded EleVive, which stands for “Elevate your mindset, thrive in life,“ and is geared toward improving teens/tweens’ relationships with their parents.
British Thoughts sat down with Dr. Lombardo to talk about crushing our inner critics. We also discuss her journey in phycology, as well as her new book series she’s dubbed “The True Success Formula Trilogy.“
Your road to psychology is quite the interesting one. I understand that prior to your career you were working in physical therapy. What made you want to go down the psychological path?
Yes, I was a practicing physical therapist and loving my career. A one-legged man made me realize that my true calling was in psychology. This particular client had a surgical amputation because of diabetic complications the day before. He was brought down to the physical therapy gym, where I was supposed to teach him how to walk again and use his prosthetic device. Despite my enthusiasm in working with him, he wanted nothing to do with me. He even yelled at me saying, “Can’t you just leave me alone?!” so I sent him back up to his room.
Later, the team was doing rounds when the doctors,nurses and therapists all got together to talk about how we can best serve each patient. We all agreed that this individual was struggling. That made sense. It was the next statement that changed my life forever. The attending physician, the doctor who had literally removed part of this man’s leg the day before, suggested “I’ll prescribe him Prozac.” Now, there is certainly a time and place for medication. However, I remember being struck that we were really doing this gentleman a disservice. “Don’t you think he needs to process what happened? Don’t you think he needs support to help him cope with this significant loss?” And it was because of this experience that I realized that my true calling was to help people deal with whatever life throws at them. Certainly, we don’t all deal with an amputation. However, we all deal with loss, with disappointment, with life throwing us unexpected curveballs. I wanted to be able to help people get through a challenging time so they could flourish despite what was going on in their lives. And so, I decided to get my PhD in clinical psychology.
Tell us about EleVive.
EleVive stands for “Elevate your mindset, thrive in life.“ It‘s a company I founded over the pandemic to address the significant needs of teenagers and their parents. Eighty percent of teens report feeling high levels of stress on a daily basis. Sixty-seven percentsay they hide how much they’re really struggling because they don’t want other people to worry. Seventy percent say they wish their school taught them more about mental health and coping skills. Sadly, most schools don’t. That leads to teens hopping on social media to get “advice,” which I can tell you can be pretty scary, such as how to engage in self cutting or eating disorders. What teens — and really everyone — needs are the skills of emotional regulation, grit, perseverance and healthy self-confidence. These are all skills that can be taught, but for some reason we don’t teach them in school. The purpose of EleVive is to empower our teens and parents of teens to cultivate these skills so they can be happier, healthier and more successful in their lives currently and in the future.
One of the things that comes up quite a bit in your work is the concept of “crushing our inner critic.” How would you describe our inner critic and why is “crushing” it so important?
We have all heard the saying, “Don’t believe everything you hear.” I think that is especially important when it comes to listening to what you aresaying to yourself. We all have an inner voice, an inner dialogue that is consistently speaking to us. Oftentimes, especially when we’re in high levels of stress, that voice is an inner critic. It says mean things like, “You‘re no good,“ “There’s no way you can be successful,“ “You‘re a failure!” and “No one likes you.” Because what goes on in our minds impacts everything that goes on in our lives, it is vital to address that inner critic.
The inner critic can be our worst enemy. For example, if it‘s saying, “Don’t even try for that promotion —there’s no way you’ll get it,” you most likely will not put in the effort. If it‘s saying, “You are a complete failure,“ that can lead to feelings of low self-worth and depression. When we crush our inner critic, it allows us to not be held back by negative (and usually inaccurate) thoughts. Instead, we can follow our passions and truly flourish.
Can you list one or two of your concepts that you think are essential to a happy life?
Focus on yourself and on others. Focusing on yourself means addressing self-care. This includes not only addressing basic needs like getting the sleep you need and proper nutrition, but also managing your stress, doing fun things and taking care of your mind and body. Exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones and having fun are all important components here.
In addition, serving others is a great way to be happy. When you help out others, it is not instead of addressing your own self-care, but rather in addition to it. This could mean formal volunteering, serving as a mentor or even just reaching out to a friend in need. When we assist others, it helps us feel happier and more fulfilled.
You’re working on three books you’ve dubbed “The True Success Formula Trilogy.“ What can you tell us about these books?
Thank you for asking! I am very excited about these books. True SuccessTM is a concept that I created after working with clients for well over two decades. It’sbased on the notion that how society may define success — having more money, looking a certain way, having a certain job title — doesn’t actually lead to fulfillment. In fact, the majority of my clients are extremely successful on paper, and yet when they come to see me, they say the same thing. “Is this as good as it gets?”
True SuccessTM is something much deeper than the superficial accolades. True SuccessTM comprises three pillars: passion, purpose and people. “Passion“ means positive energy even during difficult times. When we’re in a state of passion, we focus on gratitude about what’s going well as well as excitement, enthusiasmand empowerment to make things even better. “Purpose“ has to do with having meaning in our lives. It is human need to want to have meaning and fulfillment. And then “people“ has to do with our relationships. We are social beings, so optimizing our relationships, whether it be with people in our personal life or business life, is vital to True SuccessTM. Each book in the trilogy is based on one of these pillars.
When will the books be available for purchase?
The first book addresses passion and is called Get Out of the Red Zone: Transform Your Stress to Optimize True Success. It will be available September 13 of this year. The other two will be released in the following years.
You’re a public speaker, media personality and celebrity psychologist. What do you enjoy most about your work?
Wow — that is a tough one. My joy and fulfillment really come from empowering my clients or audiences to learn specific skills to help them flourish. I remember my first week in psychology school, madly taking notes and wondering, “Why do I have to get a PhD in order to learn this?” We all would benefit from better understanding how our minds work and how to make them work for us instead of against us. It is my mission to provide people with bite-size, digestible action steps that they can implement in their lives to help reduce stress, enhance true success and allow them to flourish in their lives. I love speaking on big stages, giving corporate training, being on TV and working with clients one on one, just being able to share this information. And the beauty is, when even just one person starts applying these concepts, it has a positive impact on their life and the lives of those around them. It is my way of trying to make this world an even better place, one person at a time.
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