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SPECIAL: Author Interview - Lyla Berg


Happy Aloha Friday!

Nicole (00:02):

I've invited authors I've worked with over the years to join me in a new series of shows where I will be interviewing them as we talk about what their book is about, how the book has helped them personally or professionally and where they are now. The thing I love about doing these interviews the most is really getting to know my clients and of course sharing them with you because honestly I love them all. I am definitely my client's biggest fan. Today's guest is a dynamo. Let me introduce you.


Nicole (00:56):

Dr Lyla Berg is an author, professional speaker, resiliency facilitator and career educator. She is the owner and principal consultant with Lyla Berg and Associates. Her international company focuses on assisting organizations and individuals to successfully achieve their goals through creative leadership strategies, effective collaboration skills, clear communication, and the spirit of Aloha.


Nicole (01:28):

Lyla was a member of the Hawaii state house of representatives from East Honolulu for several terms. She served for over 15 years with the state of Hawaii department of education as a classroom teacher, vice-principal and middle school principal on Molokai and in Kailua O`ahu. She has also been an instructor in the college of education at the university of Hawaii Manoa and Kapiolani Community College.


Nicole (01:59):

Lyla is the founder, former CEO of kids voting Hawaii, the statewide youth voting program implemented in partnership with rotary clubs on all islands. She's a longtime member of the rotary club of Honolulu and served several terms as district 5,000 new generations. Chair. She is also actively locally and nationally on various boards of nonprofit organizations.


Nicole (02:26):

Lyla received her undergraduate degree from Georgetown university in Washington DC and earned master's degrees in educational administration and curriculum and instruction from the American university and the university of Hawaii Manoa, respectively. Her PhD in education is from the union Institute and Cincinnati, Ohio. Lyla is currently the host for Island focus, a weekly interview format television program on ‘Olelo community television. She has hosted a number of her own weekly television programs in Hawaii, including lifeline on Oceanic Cable, "Voices for Change" on ‘Olelo and a youth civic engagement program entitled "Voices and Wings" on the DOE Teleschool channel. Lyla resides in Hawaii and enjoys traveling around the world to facilitate seminars and dance Argentine tango. Her greatest joy, however, is having raised her son Ka’ohu, 33 years old as a single mother. Please welcome to the show. Lyla Berg.


Nicole (03:42):

Hi Lyla. Welcome to the show. Hi Nicole. Nice to hear your voice again.


Lyla (03:47):

Yes, you too.


Nicole (03:50):

Uh, so Lyla and I worked together on her first book, leaving the gilded cage back in 2015. Uh, it has since been distributed in the continental United States and Europe and South America. And I have just shared with you that Lyla has an incredible background, but she's also an incredible person. She is accomplished, but she's also so humble and kind. So before I get all sappy, which I know we both can do, I would like to have you tell us a little bit about your background and how a book played into all of that.


Lyla (04:29):

All right, well thank you. And you know, um, we only recognize the characteristics and other people that we have ourselves. So please know, I'm very grateful for our friendship and your kindness and generosity as well. Thank you. Well, I'm thankful to, well, basically I'm a an educator. I've been a teacher and a principal and um, also had my experiences in the state legislature and lifted office and running my own business. And I've always been a writer. I majored in English Lit and college. Um, my degrees are in education and so I've always also had an interest in what other people are thinking and how they express themselves. My business has to do with customer service and the role that relationships and communication play in having, uh, employees. Not just buy into a company but have them be part of creating the success, their success in the company success.


Lyla (05:29):

So writing has always been a form of my most comfortable communication in whatever professional field I've had. And also education. This book has been, um, the book was a journey of course as all writing books are, but in particular it was not a scholarly piece, even though it's nonfiction. I needed to explore why I was having a hard time dancing tango. So I'm an Argentine tango dancer that kind of came serendipitously after I was in a, um, at a conference, uh, in South America, which is a whole nother story that I explained in the book. But basically I'm a dancer. I'm a trained ballet dancer. I was a competitive ballroom dancer and tango came up as, uh, something to do on my next trip to South America. But it was so hard for me to be in this improvisation form of dance in partnership with a strange person, a leader who was a stranger, um, that I had to discover what was holding me back from enjoying dancing, what was holding me back from feeling confident and what, what was going on that I didn't enjoy something that I had so much passion to learn and to do.


Lyla (07:01):

Um, and I went to an orientation session, um, invitation by a publishing coach, not a writing coach, but a publishing coach who basically told me that my book was my business card. And since I was already doing workshops and seminars and, uh, different sessions at the community college and also with my business, I thought, well, maybe this would enhance what I do. Um, it was a very joyful journey and at the same time revealing and kind of painful because I realized that what was keeping me, what was making me successful in the business world was actually keeping me from being happy and comfortable and enjoying the passion of dancing. Wow. So the book came as a, an exploration of what was really going on within me. Content is really important to me. And the process of writing the book, I didn't, I didn't understand. So the publishing coach was helpful with the process, but the content was really mine. That's kind of a securitas way to, to share how the book got started. But within nine months of hearing the phrase, your book is your business card to printing it. It was only nine months. And within that nine months I think I rebirth myself as well.


Nicole (08:34):

Absolutely. Absolutely. So maybe give us a little bit about your book or what, what about your book do you want to share?


Lyla (08:45):

Well, I have three sections and um, in order, remember I'm the educator, right? Academic to make sense to me. I had to divide it into three sections. And so what I realized as I was planning the book that I realized that I was in a cage, not a box, not a hole, but a cage that I could look out on the world. But I had put limitations on myself and while I was successful, again professionally and the different roles that I've played, um, how did that, how did that work with me personally? So I realized I couldn't separate my personal from buying professional. So the book has three sections and I realized that an owner order to open up to love, I had to open up to living, which in turn to me was synonymous with opening up to leadership. And so the three sections I have are leaving the cage means I have to open to self trusting myself, trusting the world and trusting other people.


Lyla (09:55):

So the sections have to do with how do we, how do we get past our, our past, all the decisions that we've made and the mistakes we think we fell into or the cultural, social and familial beliefs that I grew up with. Um, and then along with those beliefs, our attitudes. So a little bit of background on who my, my genetics, a little bit of back onto my genetics. Um, my father is German, French, Dutch from Europe. My mother is Spanish, Filipino, Chinese from the Philippines. And so I grew up in Hawaii, uh, with a, with a very eclectic background. Um, I was actually born in New York and because of how my eyes looked, um, I was always defending and fighting. And so we moved to Hawaii when it became a state in 1959 and I grew up looking like everybody else but not feeling like I really belonged.


Lyla (10:57):

I had my mother's sort of semi Asian culture telling me how I should behave as a woman and as from that cultural perspective. And then I had my European upbringing from my father and that family side, um, on how I should be a global citizen. So there were all this conflict within me that I didn't realize that played itself out while I was dancing. Should I be, um, more brazen is what my mother would call it. Should I be more brazen or can I call that more assertive as the Western culture would look at it? So the conflicts inside myself brought me to look at how I was living in the world, my contribution in terms of leadership roles that I've had and ultimately, um, the relationships that I moved through rather quickly. So by the time I wrote my book, I had been married three times, had a wonderful son, had lovely experiences along the way. But I think it was my longing to have a, a longterm relationship and a partnership with someone that I could support and who could also support me. So basically the book was learning how to fly again, learning how to leave the cage. How do we leave all our cultural and social and family beliefs? How do we go beyond it now? How do we ignore them? But how do we move beyond how we were raised and educated so that we can truly be who we are and be comfortable in our own skin. Yes. Yes.


Nicole (12:43):

So tell me a little bit, you, you wrote the book, it, it came out, it's been out now for five years. Uh, what has that whole process look like since you wrote the book? What has it, has it opened any doors for you or how has the book played a role in your life?


Lyla (13:01):

Well, that's a great question. I didn't, I didn't write the book to sell a million copies. I'm not sure how someone gets to be a bestseller. I think there's probably a marketing strategy to that. Yes, yes. The book actually is a business card. It's was interesting, um, as a writer, as an educator, I believe that anyone can write a book, but not everybody believes that anyone can write a book. And so when I have the book as a, as a gift to a company that I want to be a consultant for, um, they're actually quite impressed that I, I think they're impressive. The discipline, not a book. Um, but it was such a joyful process. And again, it happened in nine months that it wasn't hard for me. In retrospect, it was difficult in the moment. Yes. But not in retrospect. So the book became, has become something that demonstrates, I have something to say. Um, and I don't know, I, it sounds a little bit, um, arrogant. I think that when you write a book, someone thinks that you can do something they can't do and it's really not true. Yes.


Nicole (14:20):

Yes. So I know you and I, we've been talking about a second book and uh, tell us a little bit about that book. Maybe, maybe the process. I know it's been a long process for you.


Lyla (14:35):

Yes. You're very, very kind.


Nicole (14:39):

Uh, well it's going to be worth it. I know it will be. So tell us a little bit about what's the title and uh, uh, what direction are you going in with this?


Lyla (14:48):

Okay. Um, actually this is the book in a trilogy. So the first book was leaving the gilded page, recognizing the limitations, the beliefs, the things that I was holding onto that was keeping me stuck. So I moved past those and the second book is titled entitled, arriving with open wings because I arrived after the book was published into the world with open wings and quickly got into situations where I didn't know how to handle myself. Um, specifically arriving with open wings was referring to trusting myself, trusting the process. I got involved in a narcissistic relationship, which I was really unfamiliar with and uh, fortunately only lasted nine months. Again, another birthing marker. Absolutely. But I, it, the recovery took a really long time. And from all of that, I'm reading about narcissism and the trauma bonding that happens with the partner who is not the narcissist was rather the empath and the one that goes in very trusting.


Lyla (16:02):

The process of healing takes a while and really requires a lot of self inquiry. So the second book is my self inquiry into the healing to find myself again. And it has to do with having compassion, courage, and definitely learning to move through change. I thought I was pretty good at changing professions and changing relationships, um, in such a dramatic situation as being involved with a narcissist. There's more than change to adapt to because I let go of so much of who I was. So this book is about rediscovering myself, reclaiming myself. Yes, I know. I know that very well. I think any of us do, you know, I think we, we think relationships are separate from my professional life, but it's all intertwined. Yes, absolutely. So, um, in regards to this, um, new book or the old book, what encouraging thoughts, um, can you share with listeners and encouraging thought that I could share probably at this moment because I am, I'm stuck in it, um, is to have patients with your own process.


Lyla (17:26):

I started writing this book in 2017. It's now 2020. I've gone, you know, 300 pages for drafts over and over and over again. And what I realized is that every time we edit, we're at a different place in our lives and we really, really have to trust the process and stay with it. Uh, not judge ourselves. I was so self disparaging, um, when I was in the middle of the second book because the first book went so quickly. Why is this taking so long? So I think this is a journey like our times right now to be gentle with ourselves, really to exercise self care and have compassion for who we are, who we're evolving to and change and really accept that change is life. It's not, we're going to change now and get over it and then go on for yes, we will go on. And it's a question of how we get through the change process.


Nicole (18:35):

Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, awesome. Good stuff. I really look forward to the next book coming out. I look forward to working with you on it again. Um, and I have to say that I have been watching you for a few years now kind of on the sidelines and I just think you're awesome. I think everything you're doing is so inspirational and you know everything you do, you do it so humbly and so gracefully. And uh, it may not appear that way to you, but it sure appears that way to all of us. Wow.


Lyla (19:11):

Thank you so much. It kind of indicates to me that I did learn tango after all.


Nicole (19:16):

Yes, yes. You're applying it to life. Right?


Lyla (19:20):

I am. I am. And thank you for your generosity and, um, you know, you're involved with the second book and definitely the third book because we already had the cover for that.


Lyla (19:28):

Yes, absolutely. And, and tell us, um, all the listeners where we can find you or your book. Do you have a website or how can we find you?


Lyla (19:39):

Um, let's use the books website


Nicole (19:43):

Okay, perfect. And I will put that link on, uh, this, uh, this link here, so, okay. Well, um, it has been an absolute pleasure to spend time with you before the interview and now and um, definitely look up her first book, look up her second book, uh, check out our website over at and we'll have more to come, uh, as the next book comes out. So again, thanks for being here.


Lyla (20:12):

Thank you Nicole, and thank you for the work that you're doing in the world to help us share our voice and share the message of who we are. Thank you.


Nicole (20:21):

Oh, thank you. Absolutely. All right guys, that's a wrap for today.


Nicole (20:27):

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