Upleveling Whiplash

Nina Perez is the founder of Thrive Today,  and a Somatic Connection coach. She’s also a master Latin dance instructor, a best-selling author of The Musical Imprint, and a proud mother of two. She has dedicated herself to helping people become skillful in the dance of connection so they can create the epic relationships and the fulfillment they deeply desire.

You will typically find this self-identified shy woman facilitating large and small groups of people. She’s equally at home on stage, in a workshop, a dance class or group coaching environment.  She creates engaging & interactive experiences that get the whole room on their feet… smiling, feeling and moving… all of this in service to learning how to relate more deeply and effectively to themselves, each other and the world.

In this episode, Nina shares her experience with Uplevel Whiplash, which is a form of resistance that can arise as we reach for the next step in realizing our dreams.

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Show Notes

 

Transcript 

Jalen 

Let's start with talking about Upleveling Whiplash. What is that... and can you die from it? 

Nina 

Well, your ego might think that you might die, so it does feel like, Oh my God, what is happening? But what I call a leveling whiplash, it's whenever you're getting out of your comfort zone or you want something and you know that that's the next right step for you and you're like, OK, your brain is like, this is the best business decision. This is what I want to do and then you go for it and then all of a sudden doubt and fear and even your body starts having headaches or things like that that stop. You from fully enjoying the experience, fully being there and even after you're like, why? Why did it have to go that way? This is what I want. Why is there so much resistance to my good and I'll give you an example. I was so by trade. I'm a dance instructor I've been teaching. Dance and dancing for my whole life, 40 years dancing teaching for 23 years and then I've been coaching people on how to connect with themselves and others. And I combine the two. And so I will sometimes get hired to do segments where I talk about how to connect with yourself through dance. And we do these experiential movement exercises and then we debrief and talk about it with other people in the workshop. And you have these connected conversations that give you insights from what you felt and what you learned. And so here I am get talking to a retreat owner and this is the next best step for this type of work. I want to teach and facilitate in other retreats and kind of enhance. What a lot of facilitators are doing, so they're bringing groups of women who are going to work on their sself-love or they're going to work on their business and and their sself-worth And now I can bring this like beautiful experience with dance and with conversations and with getting to know yourself. And so. I know this is what I want. An opportunity comes by I met. I met this lady at a. At A at a workshop on marketing on how to get on TV and. So we were. Both in New York. Having you know, sitting in this round table and we start talking about, you know what she does and then what I do. And then she's like, Oh my God, dance. I would love to do that into my retreat. And I'm like, yeah, it would be great. And we start talking and we have this amazing 20 minute conversation where we know we are aligned in our values. We know that this is going to be great for the workshop. The retreat. Those dates work for me. I'm like. I can make that work until. We we kind. Of like sussed out all of the details in this like 20 minute conversation. And so I come back to Vancouver. I'm like, this is amazing. I'm going to do this. I prepare. I like. I come to the event. All the women are excited that I'm there, you know, everybody's curious about how this dance is going to. Impact them and how it's going to be different and what are we doing with dance? What are we? You know, it's all women. How are we gonna dance together? How are we? Doing the salsa and the tango and how that's going to work and so. So it's going great. First night I get there, huge migraine. I start having and I'm just like that. I know I'm drinking water, we're doing yoga. We're exercising. We're being vulnerable and I'm laughing. But this migraine just starts getting stronger and stronger and I start questioning like, you know, can I do this? But also I started realizing like who's in the room? There's these CEOs like, you know, women making 6-7 figures. And all of these. Amazing entrepreneurial women that I think what was started happening in my body was this feeling like is it going to make an? Is it going to be good enough for this retreat, like everybody's paying five figures to be here for four days, you know? And so that's what I call up leveling whiplash. It's kind of where you're stepping into something. And, you know, I've been teaching 23 years. Can I teach these women how to connect to their bodies? 100% I've been teaching. People how to connect on and off the dance floor. Can I create an experience where they think about how the dancing impacts how they converse with others, or how they show up in their businesses with their? Families with their. Lover, of course. But even though I know these things intellectually, it's like my body goes into it, went into this fight or flight response, and then the way that my body handled the adrenaline was a headache. And it was very interesting. I had to really call into all my tools, meditation, the breathing, the breath. Dark water. I I tried. You know, all of these different binaural beats and things to try to keep the migraine at Bay. And I did all of the routines with the migraine. And you know what they I'm great. I had great feedback, everybody loved it. But I came home wondering, why does that happen? This is what I want. This is the next level. This is the the thing that I know is the right thing. But your nervous system, your body sometimes. Is too afraid or doesn't is not on board and these things kind of happen. I'll give you another example which is much smaller. When I was when COVID happen. So I'm I can teach thousands of people to dance. I've been on Ted X stages and I taught 3000 people at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Vancouver, which is a beautiful space. And you can see a video on YouTube and everybody's standing and dancing and, you know, it was really hard with Ted X because you're not allowed to move people from. Their seats. So all I could do was like. If you can stand and keep. Your feet together, move your hips and. And so I have no problem being in front of large audiences when it came to getting in front of the video with COVID when COVID happened and I realized I need to pivot, I need to get on video more often. I started having severe redness like severe mice. I would all of a sudden get really hot. And my whole face would turn a fire hydrant red. And so I'm recording the video. Sometimes live streams on Facebook and and so on. And people are like commenting are. OK. Like I see you're a little bit red. Did you just finish running and and so of course, nobody's listening to what I'm saying because my body was super red and I and I, I realized, Oh my God, here it is. Me going to the next level in my. Mind this is what I want. To do, but my body has a reaction of fear. And it was obvious to the world, you know. And I have to say things like, you know what? The truth is, I'm. And I had to be vulnerable on the video and tell people I'm actually shy to get on video. It is very much, it's much more different than being in front of people because when I'm in front of people, I can. I can. I can sense the energy I can see if they're enjoying it or not. But when I'm talking to like a little green dots like here on this zoom meeting that we have where I'm just talking to a microphone. And there's zero. Reaction like I didn't even know. Jalen, are you still there? Right then it's much harder. And all of these kind of gremlins come up and and maybe the doubt and your your mind starts kind of going into. You know the hyper arousal of threat response and so that's what I call an up level. You know we can call it whiplash or a resistance or when when your body feels that moving to the next phase of your life is a threat, when in reality it's not. It's the good thing for you, but you need to figure out how to like get. Your body on board. And relax and and and even with your mindset, like, tell your body this is OK. This is what I want to do. And so I can talk about techniques to do that if we want to go there. But that's what I. Call an up. Leveling whiplash like you are moving forward and all of a sudden there's like. Mayhem in your body and even in your mind. 

Jalen 

It's really interesting. I mean cause that that first example you gave that was a multi day event, right? And so you and you do have a a something that you offered each of those. Days yes and. 

Nina 

So I. Had the the migraine the full 3 days and 1/2. 

Jalen 

So your body just wouldn't get with the program you would have. You would have a success. Things would go well on day one and then your body wouldn't sort of get, you know, get the memo. And you are still still dealing with it. 

Nina 

Yeah. And and. I think I think that the the bigger the leap. The the more that you're going to hit your upper limit. So there's this amazing book called The Big Leap, which explains all the signs behind it. And all of that by. Gay Hendricks that I recommend. And he talks about. Upper limiting that. Sometimes when we are heading to the next level. Our body goes in crisis or our mind starts to convince us, or we going to self sabotage, or we start having like major impostor syndrome, or like the the going to the next level becomes kind of a thing you have to overcome, even though it is exactly what you want. And it is the right step for your business. 

Jalen 

And you're really capable. And it's it's all being laid out in front of you and all that sort of thing, yeah. 

Nina 

You are capable. And so, yeah, that story was an example of me going to an upper limit of something that I've been wanting to do for a long. Time the opportunity arose, the. The the women were fabulous and wonderful. Exactly my. The market, like everything, was like. Yes, yes, yes. And still, you know, the perceived limit and and all the doubts and all the and. 

Jalen 

This perceived limit. 

Nina 

And I and I say that the bigger the leap, for example, if somehow in your mind you think, well, this is kind of early and this is going to be a big. Change a big step forward in growth. I think the bigger that is that the the more your nervous system might have a reaction against it. 

Jalen 

So clearly that first time around the first in the first story that you know that your body was. Well, lagging behind so since then clearly you've been doing some investigation on the matter because it was in your face, right? So what things have you found that can be done to try to like to shift that and make it so that your body or the OR the everything comes with you? And there's less resistance. 

Nina 

Yeah, well, let. Me tell you that? Even in that story. All those things that I did did work. They did. They would reduce my migraine symptoms so that I could. Nobody actually noticed. I had a migraine. The only time they notice is when I would say, oh, you know, I have a bit of a headache right now and. So all the tools. What I'm trying to accomplish now is to do them before so that I my nervous system doesn't go into that crazy havoc. Kind of way. So these these tools that I that I swear by they work and for me my own journey is to to do those things before and during and all the time and actually be more consistent. About it, because I think the consistency is what actually gets the body to relax quicker to understand, like, OK, this isn't a threat. You're you're the body is like something that turns on or. Turn turns off, so your your. Prefrontal cortex will turn on. When you are calm or turn off, if you are in anger and so you really need to kind of self regulate and for that you need the self-awareness. So that's where I would start. Anytime that you start having these voices or, you know, starting to feel nerves and anxiety, that's a little bit too much. That's the moment where you're like, noticing. So they always talk about self-awareness starts by labeling. So you start saying, oh, I feel my heart rate going up. Oh, I feel. That my face is getting red. Oh, I might be nervous here, or, you know, the truth is, I am feeling this way. I am a shy person, putting myself in front of a camera. And when you start labeling them, it actually relaxes your body. Your body goes, oh, you know what's going on. OK. And so it's like it it helps your body. 

Jalen 

Some part says like ohh somebody's on this. 

Nina 

And then the next part is like once you notice for. Me, I like. To I like to choose. 

Jalen 

I like to. 

Nina 

Choose so I notice that this is what's happening. Is this what I want? Yes or no? If it's like something that is very strong, so for example. Let's say and I and I. I coach my clients. When I when I do the connection coaching with people who want to date and they feel kind of an anxiety when they want to approach the women or men that they want to talk to because maybe they're good looking or maybe they're like in their minds out of their league. I say like, OK, notice that you're nervous. And then what is the choice? Is it overwhelmingly so much that you're like, I cannot talk if that's the case, just calm down and breathe and realize, OK, that is not going to happen today like this. My anxiety is too high and accept the feeling and just feel it. Oh, I'm really nervous to talk to this person or I'm really nervous to, you know, strike up a conversation with the CEO of the company or I'm really nervous to ask the investors for $1,000,000. Right. Like notice and sometimes it might be too overwhelming. And so then you just. Feel that and just let it let it be. When you have felt these things enough, there's going to be a point where it it becomes like a turning point where you're like, I can handle it. I'm still going to do it, and so that's the choice part where you're like, I know that this is what I'm feeling, but I'm going to choose to step into a different identity, maybe more confidence or I'm going to choose to step into. Let me be humorous. About it and light and see what happens or I'm just going to be curious, I'm going to say hi and see what. And so that's the point of choice. When you when you. Make a decision. I'm going to do it, you know. And and that's kind of. How it happened for the retreat and. Then I thought. Wow, it's a big commitment and and then I thought, you know what? It's kind of. A bigger leap I I was planning. To do this. In the fall and it's it's in the spring. I'm going to do it and so I made a decision, right? That's the second step. So awareness? Then a decision. And then. You know, whatever happens during is what happens during. The best thing is to reflect after what were your takeaways? What were the learnings? What would you do different? You know, forgive yourself for anything that went wrong like I've had to forgive myself for having the migraine. You know, I had to forgive myself for not believing in myself and and having that stress or I had to forgive myself for. Thinking that it mattered who was there, how much money they were making, what their reputation was, or whatever. And in the end I realized that didn't matter the connection that we had with everybody. You know, we're all humans and we're all in this family together. That's what mattered. And so I had to forgive myself for those thoughts that made me feel less or unequal. Or unsure or scared. 

Jalen 

I also notice that a level of acceptance that I am I am where I am right now in this moment and things are as they are. And and so rather than to CAC, it is a sign that there's something wrong with you and that that it's a showstopper. And then there's a question of, OK, so if you accept what it is, what is right now and where you are right now, then this question of like, OK, given what is, what choices do I have to work with the situation or choose to not work with the situation or whatever. OK. 

Nina 

Yeah, and This is why I believe connection is the most important thing you can study for yourself and you can nurture in yourself. Connection with yourself, you know. So how your self-awareness, your feeling, your choices, your identities? Who do you want to be? These questions, what do you want more of? What is it that you want and that when you have strong connections with yourself, when you keep exploring yourself and you keep on, like, building yourself? Your self worth your capabilities, your skills, then connecting with others or connecting with that dream or the next level of your business or whatever comes easier. Because you come from a place of understanding what you want, where you are, where you want to go, who you want to, who you need to become. There's all this understanding and so connecting with others becomes more genuine, authentic, easier relationships can flourish and grow faster because people sense. So this person knows who they are. They know what they want. They are comfortable in their skin. And and that's you know. That's what I love to do. Why I do? This as a business and my my work is all about teaching people how to connect with themselves and others through dance through. Body experiences through. Even just conversational experiences that are more enlivening people can learn, Oh my God, that is different than what I've been doing. These small talk or this, you know, kind of being guarded or my body language is closed all the time when you work on these things, I feel like the world opens up and the opportunities open up. 

Jalen 

Well, it sounds like you do you do some significant research into your offerings. And put a lot of yourself into it. So beyond practices that help you cultivate your self-awareness and your attunement to your body and your inner state, is there anything else that you can recommend that is resource for people in being able to steer their lives in the direction they like? 

Nina 

So I love this quote by David Cooper rider that says conversations, great World. I think that the way I look at connection, I think there's connection with yourself connection with others in connection with what you want to contribute to the world. I call that me. The F but I look at it as a circle and so I feel like you. Can start anywhere. You can start with, you know, working on yourself and the self-awareness. Or you can start with starting to connect with other people and that's going to bring you into feelings and moments and and that's going to give you the self-awareness or you can start saying, OK, I'm going to build a business that. Impacts sustainability in this way, and then you start coming up into blocks and that will give you the self. Awareness and so. I think that no matter where you start the the key thing is to have conversations. Conversations with yourself with others or with like what you want to contribute. And in the conversations, things will come up that will give you the insight or the next step or? The dream or whatever, so people try to do things in isolation all the time and. I don't think that that actually gives you much, even in isolation. You're having a conversation with yourself, perhaps. And the higher powers that you believe in, or even stillness and you know, stillness speaks to you or whatever way. Even in when you're alone, there is a conversation happening and I think that is a tool that is a tool, paying attention to the conversations you're having with others, with yourself in your own mind and with the world as you're interacting and out there, you know, what is the messaging you're putting out in your social media? That's a conversation. You know what is the the the when you are in the networking events having the these conversations those things will help you kind of create the support system and the resources so that when. You do feel? Like, Oh my God, something is in the way you can turn to people and people like, and that's what I did. You know, I had my support system and I was calling people. Saying this is what's happening. At the retreat and and I had amazing friends that would be like, OK, well you got. This this is. What are you going to do? You going to do? Here and and they help. Me work through it as. Well, so conversations I feel is one of them. The doorways to creating whatever it is that you want. 

Jalen 

Hmm, yeah, absolutely. I keep on getting this sense of. It This feedback loop. Experience within awareness and your constant reflection and reflecting and acting reflecting and acting. It's like constantly experimenting and learning from that. 

Nina 

And every time you move out to the next level, you kind of need a reframe. You know, whatever comes in the way that says you can't or it's it's too big or whatever. That's when you can have conversations with the people that know you that they're like, no, you. You've done this before. This is. How this is where and you have some examples that you might have forgotten you know, because that's what also happens when we're in the threat response is that our memories don't compute everything. We don't remember things that we've done and so another tool would be to have a list of things that you've done in the past. That like can give you that sense of I'm a ******. I've done this before. I have this much experience. I've done this and this and this and it went that way. So why do I think this is going to be? Going the wrong. Way you know. 

Jalen 

Wow, that's great. Well, I I am confident that this is, I mean, this is such a. Human experience, you know, like, especially if you're trying to accomplish anything in your life, trying to make anything happen, then you're going to come up against this sort of thing. And it's so great to be able to have access to resources about this sort of thing. Well, I, Nina, I really appreciate you taking the time to share. Share your your experience and your vulnerability with us for the sake of our learning. And yeah, it's very kind of you. And we will, we will check in sometime in the not too distant. 

Nina 

Future, I mean, we all have these stories. I think the more we share them, the more we share where we get stopped and and why and and most people think that we get stopped by things that are like negative sometimes are positive. Rewards will stop us. You know you win something and then you're like I don't know what to do with it. Or you you, you. Have the right connection, and then you're like oh. I don't know what if they say yes to my idea right or what if they say yes to to the next step and then that we're stopped by the success, right? So sharing the stories are is so important and I would love to hear some more stories from your listeners if anybody dares to comment. 

Jalen 

Absolutely. Well, thanks. 

Nina 

Thank you so much.  

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