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From Unwed Teen Mom To Award-Winning Author

Healing The Asian's Shame With Jacqui Letran

Published on: Aug 24, 2018

“I was a troublemaker from infancy. My motto was either I give the first punch or I get punched. I don’t want to get punched so I was the one that was giving out a lot of punches.” Those were the words from Jacqui Letran to express how it was to grow up fighting to survive. Jacqui is a multiple award-winning author, international speaker, mindset mentor, and host of the podcast, Stop the Bully Within. But before all the fame and the adulation was a teenage girl who had to struggle with depression and anger. She went out looking for fights because there was so much happening inside of her that if she didn’t do anything to release all those negative energy, she felt like she would burst. Jacqui is now helping teens and young adults discover the hidden gifts even in the worst of circumstances and tap into the remarkable strength and inner power already within themselves. She recounts her life story from being an unwed teen mom to becoming an award-winning author, and all the lessons learned along the way.

Healing The Asian’s Shame: From Unwed Teen Mom To Award-Winning Author with Jacqui Letran

Life teaches you many valuable lessons and how you respond to those lessons will determine your journey. Different children respond differently to their parents’ discipline. Some children will obey and follow parents’ order because they want to please the parents. Some children will repel and do the opposite of what their parents want them to do because they want attention from their parents. In this interview, you will hear a testament from a woman who had some difficulties growing up in America, how she became a bully, hang out with gangsters and became pregnant at age sixteen, and how she had turned those bad experiences into good life directions for her.

Let me introduce you to Jacqui Letran. She is a multiple award-winning author, international speaker and mindset mentor, and the host of the podcast, Stop The Bully Within. Jacqui is gifted at helping teens and young adults discover their hidden gifts and tapping into their remarkable strengths and inner power. She empowers her audience to become resilient and fearless. Jacqui teaches her audience that success and happiness are possible regardless of their current struggles or circumstances. Jacqui loves to travel in her RV, hikes with her dogs and plays with her three cats when she has free time. She and her husband live in Asheville, North Carolina. Here she is, Jacqui Letran.

Welcome, Jacqui, to the Asian Women of Power Podcast. I’m happy that you are here. When did you come to America and what did you remember at that time?

I came to America when I was eight years old and that was in 1980. I remember my very first impression of America was that everybody was beautiful, fair skinned and blonde because my uncle had married a Caucasian lady and she was there. She was this amazing goddess to me.

That’s all you remember?

That’s the first impression I got. In terms of what do I remember, what timeframe are we talking about? The first day I came or the first year?

Your impression is you met this gorgeous lady, she’s blonde and has fair skin. Did it inspire you to be like her?

I don’t know if I was inspired to be like her, but I was in awe because I’ve never seen a fair-skin Caucasian, blonde hair, blue-eye person in my entire life. That was the very first time I set eyes on someone who looks like that. We landed in LAX, a big airport. As we were walking in this airport, I’m like, “Everybody’s tall, blonde, gorgeous, blue eyes and green eyes.” The diversity was quite surprising.

I knew what an American looked like because my family had a tailor shop. Normally, we have a lot of catalogs for clothing, so I saw many beautiful models for women as well as men. I had the idea of what an American looked like. 

I’ve seen it in cartoons. Growing up we had several comic books. We had an idea of what Caucasian people looked like, but I’ve never laid eyes on one right in front of me. She was a typical Caucasian, I suppose. She came and she hugged me. That might have been one of my very first hugs because in Vietnamese culture, there’s not a whole lot of hugging. Here’s this person that looks like a goddess to me, who I have no clue who she is, she came and gave me this big hug. I was completely overwhelmed and in awe. It was a great start.

What was it like growing up in America?

It was fantastic. There were challenges, but I remember just a lot of adventures with my brothers and sisters. I had almost instant best friends. I remember being kids playing around, having a good time. Of course, there were occasional situations where we were made fun of for how we looked, how we dressed, how we talked, our accents and all of that, but that would be more in the minority. I felt more acceptance, fun and adventuresome in my early days until my pre-teens. From twelve on, it was completely different.

Tell me about that. What’s going on at that time after the age of twelve?

During that time, it was all about me wanting to fit in, be part of the crowd, and do what my friends were being able to do. Around thirteen or twelve years old, my friends started wearing makeup. They started doing their hair, they wore designer clothes, they were dating and stuff. Being a Vietnamese person in a very strict Vietnamese household, we didn’t have any of that. We couldn’t wear makeup. We couldn’t do our hair all cute. We didn’t have money for designer clothes. We couldn’t go out. All my mom wanted for us to do was stay home and study, and be completely obedient to our culture and our ways of life. At that point, I felt as if I didn’t belong anywhere because I felt like my family was way too Vietnamese, way too traditional, and I didn’t relate to them. At the same time, I didn’t relate to my Caucasian friends because they have all these rights and privileges that I didn’t have. I was in this limbo state, not knowing who I am, where I fit in and what life has in store for me. It was a very confusing and trying time for me.

Unwed Teen Mom: It felt like me against the world. Nobody understood. Nobody care. That’s when the depression really hits.

I became very isolated and very depressed. I became very angry because I’m trying to discover my identity, but every time a part of me surfaced, it would get shot down by my mom because it did not match her belief system of who her daughter should be and who her daughter should grow up to be. Every time I discover a part of myself, I was made to hide it or I was punished for it. I was made to believe something is wrong with me or that I should be ashamed of myself for thinking this way or wanting to be this way. It was very conflicting. I remember being angry at my mom because I felt like she was completely ruining my life. I had these friends who were doing great things. I wanted to do great things with them but I was completely held back by her. Not only held back, but punished for being who I am. I was angry at my friends because after asking me to do stuff with them a couple of times and me telling them, “No I can’t,” they gave up on me and they took off without me. I felt left behind, isolated and really alone. It felt like it was me against the world. Nobody understood. Nobody cared. That was when depression hits.

That’s between twelve to sixteen years old?

I would say between twelve to fourteen was the starting point and then from fourteen to fifteen my world turned upside down. By sixteen, I was a mess.

Can you share with us what things did you do that your parents forbid you to do?

It was simple things. It wasn’t even anything bad. It was the way that I view life and the way I raised my son. The things that I wanted to do that my mom wouldn’t allow me to do are things that I would encourage my own son to do. Things like extracurricular activities, after school sports, just being part of something and being part of a group of people who cared about their physical health, who cared about creativity and who cared about those connections. Growing up, I love gymnastics. I begged my mom to let me do the after-school gymnastics and she said, ”Yes.” I was thrilled. It was the first time she said yes to anything I wanted to do. Then two to three days into practice, she came by to pick me up and I was talking to two boys, two other kids who were in the gymnastics class. That was enough for my mom to be fearful that I was going turn into a bad person. She took me out of gymnastics and she would not allow me to do any more after-school activities, she wouldn’t allow me to attend any school dances, even the one that’s during lunch. It was just really removing me from the typical things that other people my age were doing as part of their normal growth.

How many siblings do you have?

I am the third of four children. I have an older sister, older brother, me and then my younger sister.

You are the middle one?

The dreaded middle one, yes.

You had to fight to survive.

That was my belief system back then. I believed that I did have to fight. Fast forward a little bit into my late teens and even my early twenties, I remember walking around and saying these particular words, something along the lines of, “Kill or be killed.” That was my motto. It’s either I give the first punch or I get punched. I don’t want to get punched so I was the one that was giving out a lot of punches.

You did not have much support from your parents doing the things that you love to do like gymnastics or do extra curriculum. You felt like you are alone. Probably, none of your siblings thinks like you?

Not really. My oldest sister is more traditional so that was easy for her. My brother was the only boy in the house so he got away with everything. My little sister is the baby of the house, so she got babied and so here I am the middle child. I didn’t have social standing within the family. I was a rebel from day one. That didn’t help.

From the time that you were young, you were rebellious?

Yes, I was a troublemaker from infancy.

You mentioned that your brother, because he’s a boy, he got away with everything. Is that true or is it your perception?

I’m sure a lot of it is my perception, but also my brother for sure did get away with a lot more than we were able to. With comments like, “He’s a boy.” It doesn’t matter if he’s a boy, I want to do that too.

I see that in Asian families, we tend to have double standards. For a girl, you cannot do those things, but for a boy they can do that because they are boys.

Not just Asian family, that’s pretty across the board for most people. It’s changing a lot, but even in Caucasian family there are a lot of, “Boys will be boys,” and “That’s not ladylike.” Comments like that are things that kids hear all the time.

You say that even in America, most of us would think that it is okay to see a grown man behave like a boy, but it is not okay for a lady to behave like a little girl.

I know it’s changing a lot. I know definitely what you mentioned is still going on, but I also see that it is starting to change a lot with women empowerment changing the whole landscape of that.

How did you feel? I know you are leading to the story, I wanted to get to that story. After the rebellious time from twelve to fourteen and you said something between fifteen to sixteen that you were a mess or something?

That was probably the beginning of the toughest part of my life because at that point from twelve to fourteen things started happening. I was getting more and more angry, more and more depressed. The way that my depression came out wasn’t withdrawn. The way my depression came out was with anger. Working with people now, working with clients now, a lot of people who are depressed, they don’t want to do anything. They’re sad and isolated. They’re withdrawn. They don’t do anything. I went out looking for trouble. I went out looking for fights because there were just so much happening inside of me that if I didn’t do anything to release all those negative energies, I feel I would burst. For me back then, the biggest thing was self-preservation. I’m going to do anything and everything I can to take care of myself and that was violence, unfortunately.


Unwed Teen Mom: When you’re looking at your child, what you want to look for is changes in behavior because that is an indication.

What trouble did you get in?

A lot. I wasn’t the worst kid. My friends definitely got into a lot more trouble. Lucky for me, I didn’t get into too much legal troubles. The majority of my friends were in gangs and they ended up being in juvie by the time they’re fifteen or sixteen. Even though I was hanging out with that crowd, I didn’t get caught and I wasn’t as violent. My violence, and I’m sure theirs too, was more of a cry for help rather than this deviant personality. It was me begging for some recognition and some love, but not knowing how to do it in a healthy, positive way.

What were the things that you did that you consider as violence and that was a cry for help?

Fistfights, whenever I feel down. I laugh now but it wasn’t that funny back then. I got into a lot of fistfights. Every time I felt depressed, inferior or anxious, I would look for someone to pick a fight with and beat them up. That was my way of coping with all of the negative energy within myself. People talk about bullies all the time and I definitely was a bully back then. “Hurt people hurt.” We all hear that. If I was a healthy person, I would not be bullying other people. I had all these pain within myself. I didn’t know how to express it. The only way that I knew how to release all my pain was by inflicting pain on others. I got into a lot of shoplifting and I hung out with a bunch of bonafide gangsters. They would commit crimes that I was not a part of because that was not who I was as a person. The people that I knew were arrested constantly for breaking and entering, for damaging properties. It was a big mess.

I appreciate hearing this from you because majority of us as Asian parents, we don’t know why our children behave that way. Most of the time, I thought that depression will show up as withdrawal. They don’t talk to anybody. They would just stay in their room, they don’t socialize or anything, but I did not know that it can show up in another form like violence.

It could be in forms of addiction. There are so many different ways that it can show up. When you’re looking at your child, what you want to look for are changes in behavior because that is an indication. I’m not talking about minor changes. I’m talking all of a sudden they act like a completely different person. They’re not eating, their grade is slipping or their friends are completely different. The way they dress is completely different. Those things are indications that you need to pay more attention to. It doesn’t mean that if you see these things, they’re depressed but if you see these things, then you’ll want to pay more attention to them. You want to have meaningful conversations with them that would draw out what needs to be drawn out.

If my mother had taken the time to ask me the right questions, chances are I would have shared it with her, but being an Asian mother, that was not part of her training. That’s not part of how she grew up. A deep conversation wasn’t a typical thing. It was more like, “How are you?” “I’m fine.” That’s it. Versus going a little bit deeper in a conversation and asking me about my day, asking me what I like about my day or what was challenging about my day, getting to understand me. If she had the tool to do that back then as she took the time to do that, then I think my whole outlook and the way I experienced my adolescent years and early adulthood would be completely different. I don’t blame her one bit. She had the tool that she had and did her absolute best. It’s just now I’m aware of more tools and I’m sharing it with other parents in hopes that they can be a great support system for the children.

As a parent, especially from the Asian culture, we did not have a role model to follow. We thought that being strict, making sure your children do homework and behave well in front of us or restrain them from hanging out with bad influence would be a good way to raise the kids. But we don’t know what’s inside them, what would they do at school or in school or outside of the house when we are not at home. You got married at sixteen and gave birth to a baby boy. Then you became a single mom shortly after that.

When I was sixteen, it was when I discovered I was pregnant. At that time, I already knew that I didn’t want to be with my son’s dad. We wanted different things and I was on a different path than he was. Now that I’m pregnant, my mother forced me to marry him because she didn’t want to shame the family. I was underage so we didn’t get married legally but we did the ceremony and all of that again to save face because shame is so big within the Asian culture. I moved into his family and when my son was eight months old, I left because I knew I wanted more out of life and staying with him would not give me or my son the life that I desired.

You took your son with you?

Yes, my son is my world.

What did you do to survive?

When I got pregnant I got on public assistance. I stayed on public assistance until I got my Master’s Degree at 23. That is how I survived, public assistance, financial assistance and winning grants for school. I dropped out of high school when I was pregnant. I finished ninth grade and I believe I was in the beginning of tenth grade when I dropped out of high school and then I got pregnant. Because I got pregnant, it helped me to decide that the life that I’m currently living is not the life I want for myself or for my son. I remember giving birth and being in all sorts of pain as you can imagine. Looking at my son for the first time, holding his little fingers and looking into his face and his eyes, and I remember that the first time that I looked into his eyes, something changed inside of me. In that moment, I knew that it was up to me to do something completely different. It was up to me to break the cycle of poverty, of hatred, of depression, of low self-worth so that I can learn to be worthy of this little baby’s love. In one glance he gave me so much love and so much acceptance that I wanted to be somebody who is deserving of all of that love.

I believe that children show up to teach us a lesson or remind us about the purpose in life.

My son and I used to joke all the time that we parent each other. I’m an author and I write books for teenagers, helping them understand how their mind works. In the Thank You page basically, I wrote a little blurb about thanking my son for being my greatest life teacher. I see him that way. Because of him, I’ve learned love, patience, courage, determination, perseverance, you name it, it’s all because of him.

What a wonderful gift that he gave you.

He is everything.

You have a son. Assuming that you have a daughter, she came home around sixteen or fifteen years old and told you that she’s pregnant but did not want to get married or get tied down in a marriage, what advice would you give her?

I would definitely have a deep conversation with her to understand what she’s thinking, where she is currently, what does she want to do with her life. Then I will keep asking her deeper and deeper questions so that she can discover those answers for herself because I don’t have her answers. She has her answers. My job at that moment would be to ask her questions and guide her into understanding of what she wants and understanding the best decision for her. The funny thing is when my son was sixteen, he did just that. He came home and he said, “Mom, I need you to sit down.” I’m freaking out. He’s like, “Mom, you are going to be a grandma.” I must have looked very panicky, he started laughing. He’s like, “I’m sorry. That was a stupid joke.”

Unwed Teen Mom: I was bawling my eyes out because the thing that I feared the most was right there in front of me and I had no idea what to do.

What if it was not a joke, how would you respond if he got somebody pregnant?

I don’t believe that because there’s a child involved that you should get married. If they wanted to co-parent, they can definitely co-parent as two single people or they can get married if that’s what they truly desire. My role is to support him in making the best decision for him and then helping him to understand what his options are and how to best meet those options. I love questions. I don’t have anybody’s answers but I do have a lot of questions that will get you thinking. I’ll ask more questions to go deeper and deeper. We all know what we want. Given the chance, given the opportunity, we’ll be able to understand it and voice it. I feel as a parent and as a coach, my role is to help people, to help pull from the people what they already know and bring it to the surface in a way that makes sense for them and then support them in carrying out that thing, whatever that thing is for them.

Many Asian parents feel that it is their duty to make the decision for their children because the children are too young to make the decision for themselves. To me, that’s disabling them.

It takes away their power completely. I work with teenagers and with older people. One of the themes that I see quite a bit in my practice is people saying things like, “My mom always told me that I don’t know what’s right for me, that she’s going to make the decision because she knows what’s best for me.” That takes away so much confidence, so much self-esteem, so much self-worth, so  much power that in their romantic relationships, they’re going to look for people who tell them what to do because they don’t know how to make their own decisions. They are too afraid to make their own decisions. They’re always asking for permission and none of those are powerful ways of being. For me, that’s not okay. For me, it’s asking questions so that they can understand their true desire and then supporting them to meet those desires.

Who or what inspired you to become a nurse practitioner?

A lot of the big decisions I’ve made in my life up until a certain point was from bad experiences. I don’t want to go through it again and I don’t want other people to go through it again. The nurse part of it was I dropped out of school when I was in tenth grade and I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had no idea who I was, but then I got pregnant. The way I found out that I got pregnant and how I was treated during my pregnancy and during the labor and delivery was traumatizing for the most part. Because of those experiences, I wanted to be a voice for others. I wanted to provide a safe space for other teenagers who come in and get help, to learn about themselves and their body, and to make intelligent choices for themselves in a safe and supportive way. The best way I knew how to do was through the medical community because I see my own mistreatment and I didn’t want other teens have to go through that.

Tell me more about how you got mistreated.

I’ll tell you the story of how I found out I was pregnant. That’s probably a great story to share. I became sexually active when I was sixteen. I knew I did not want to get pregnant because my best friend at that time had a child. I saw how difficult it was for her and I did not want to go down that route. I wanted birth control. Back then, before you get on birth control, you have to get a pap smear. I would go to the local family planning clinic and I would wait for five to ten minutes, then I would get scared and leave. A week after, I would come back and sit for a bit more. Then I would get scared and leave. Third time, I told myself, “I don’t care how scared you are, you’re staying put. You’re getting birth control because you are not getting pregnant.” That was my self-talk.

I remember being so scared sitting out in the waiting room and being even more scared when they called me into the exam room. The nurse had done tests and I was laying there on the exam table naked from the waist down with a paper across my lap for modesty. My legs were up on the stirrups. I remember the male doctor walked in and that freaked me out. I’m like, “It was going to be a guy down there.” He grabbed my chart, flipped through it, look at a couple of things. He walked towards me with my chart in his hand, slapped my butt with it and said, “Get dressed, you don’t need birth control. You’re pregnant.”

That was the start of the medical mistreatment. That is big news whether you’re hoping to get pregnant or whether you’re hoping to prevent pregnancy. Obviously, I was there for birth control to prevent pregnancy. That news should be handled with so much more compassion. There are a hundred different ways that he could have treated me with kindness during that moment, but he was abusive. I remember just bawling my eyes out because the thing that I feared the most was right there in front of me and I had no idea what to do.

What was going on in your mind when you come home and told your parents that news?

I never got a chance to tell my parents. I was telling you about my best friend who had a child and because she got a child, she got kicked out of her house and so she was living with me and my family. She was sharing a room with me. It was me, her, and her daughter in my room. She had this sibling rivalry with me. She was the one that took me to get birth control. She was in the room with me when I found out I was pregnant. She ran home and told my parents. I came home and my parents already knew.

What happened?

All hell break loose as you can imagine, yelling, screaming, crying, “How can you do this to me? How can you do this to your whole ancestry? We’re never going to be able to face anybody again. You ruined your life. You ruined my life.” You name it.

Was it your mom or dad?

My mom. My stepdad was a little bit more hands off. He’s a great stepdad but he wasn’t the disciplinarian. It was my mother. After that was the conversation of, “Let’s talk to him, let’s plan the wedding, let’s get you guys married, move forward and get out of my house.”

Did you have a conversation with your husband’s or boyfriend’s family?

Yes. He was my boyfriend at that time. He was five years older, so he was 21. He was very excited that we were going to have a baby and have a family. He was ready for marriage. He wanted the marriage. His family was not very happy with it. There were a lot of name calling back and forth, with them calling me names and my parents calling him names. It was just a big mess. I do want to share a little bit of something that he said to me when I was younger before I got pregnant. If there are teens out there, please read to this part. This is not the healthy part that I did not understand. When we first started dating and we were becoming sexually active, I talked to him about birth control. He was like, “You don’t need birth control. We’re going to have a baby. I want you to get pregnant because if you’re pregnant then no other guys will want you and then you’re mine forever.” Being so young, stupid and completely naive because prior to him, I was depressed and angry, I thought the world was against me. This man showed me so much love and so much excitement that those to me felt like love. Instead of running away, I was like, “He loves me so much. He just wanted me for himself.” Those were definitely warning signs.

There is some truth in it that when parents always say, “Boys just want to get into your pants.”

I’m sure the boys do but to speak for him on his side, it was true love. He did truly love me and even after I left and for many years after that, he continued to express a lot of love for me. He wanted to reconnect as a family. He was just not the right person for me.

You became a nurse practitioner. How long did you practice and how long did you stay in that industry?

Once I got pregnant, I made that decision to do everything I can to break the cycle of poverty. I decided school was the way. Funny enough, that was what my mother was pushing on me when I was a teenager that I hated so much. I didn’t realize it then, but all the stuff that I hated so much about what she was teaching me would later help me to excel in school. I graduated top of my class with a Master’s Degree at 23. Parents do know some things. The delivery might not be the perfect route, but the intention of my mother has always been good as to make sure that we do well and make sure that we’re successful. She just didn’t do it in a way that I understood it to be loving. I became a nurse practitioner at 23 and I practiced for eighteen years. The majority of that time was in adolescent health. I did a lot of mental health, diagnosing and prescribing medication for anxiety, depression, ADD and things like that. I also did a lot of reproductive health, pregnancy prevention, pregnancy counseling, STD prevention and general GYN women’s health issues.

Is it because of what you went through? You have compassion towards that and you want to help other people.

Yes. I wanted to give others a safe space. Even before I understand a whole lot about how our mind works, the word safe was very important to me. I wanted teens to have a safe space. I wanted teens to have a place where they can discover their voice because that wasn’t something that I had the luxury of having and I felt like that held me back tremendously so I wanted to be able to provide that for other teenagers.

Then after that, you moved on to the next career.

I transitioned multiple times within my career path. At the end of my career, I had two solo clinics where I own and operate these clinics on my own without any physician oversight. In the State of Washington, that’s completely legal because nurse practitioners are fully autonomous. I left. I closed two medical clinics because I didn’t feel the fit was there anymore. I felt like my path was taking me somewhere else and I wanted to follow that. What started that whole journey for me was me becoming disenchanted. I recognized that I kept seeing the same patients over and over again for depression and anxiety and all I’m doing was refilling their medications. I’m giving them a new prescription. I’m increasing their dosage. I’m adding a second medication, maybe a third medication or switching medications out.

Unwed Teen Mom: When I do something, I want to really understand the process.

What I realized was that I kept seeing the same people. A year later, three years later, five years later they were still on medications. At the same time, I started to become more aware of people saying things like, “If I didn’t have depression then I can do that,” or “Jacqui said I need to be on this medication because without it I will be a certain way.” I went into that field so that I can help people, but I felt like instead of helping people, I was part of the problem. I was part of the system that told them, “You’re not well and you need to have this pill for the rest of your life or for an extended period of your life because you’re not good enough the way you are. You need the pill.” I didn’t say those words, but the message they heard was that, ”Something’s wrong with me. I’m broken and this pill’s going to fix me.

I felt very discouraged. I felt I was part of the problem, so I started looking for alternative options. I wanted to see how else I can serve my patients. I stumbled upon things that I knew nothing about, hypnotherapy, neurolinguistic programming, emotional freedom techniques and other holistic options. When I first encountered these options, the science base in me, because I’ve been a nurse practitioner since 23, so all my life practically, I’ve been very evidence-based medicine. Here’s all these holistic options and I’m like, “These things are for crazy people. There’s no way these things can work. It’s a bunch of woo-woo stuff.” I was curious and I was open-minded. I discovered sitting there that I was out of alignment, I asked my physician mentor, “How do you deal with this? How do you deal with being part of the problem?” He said, “Hypnosis.” That was the very first time I got introduced to hypnosis and I was like, “Hypnosis, you’re funny.” He said, “No, seriously, hypnosis. Come hang out with me in my office for a day and watch what I do.” I was like, “Sure.” I took the day off. I went and hung out with him and he does what I now know to be called Conversational Hypnosis. It wasn’t like he was putting people on a trance or people would call it putting them to sleep, he was having a conversation with them, but he was embedding commands. People were changing their attitude right there in front of him. I know that change can be very long lasting and permanent if that’s what they want.

That was when I had that headache. I was rubbing my temples because I’m like, “I cannot believe my mentor is crazy. I trust this man and he’s a complete nutcase.” Then he was like, “Jacqui, do you have a headache?” I said, “Yes, I do have a headache.” I extended my hand thinking he was going to give me an Ibuprofen. He said, “Hop on my table.” I’m like, “Whatever,” so I hopped on the table. He interviewed me like he would with his patients. He’s tapping on me and he’s telling me to repeat stuff. I’m repeating stuff and I’m crying like a baby. At that point in my life, I don’t cry. I had to be the tough girl all the time. I was crying like a baby just like the other people I witnessed, and my headache went away instantly. I remember thinking, I have no idea what that is, but I want more.

You took the course?

I took so many courses.


I’m a Master Certified Hypnotherapist probably three, four times over. For me, when I do something, I want to really understand the process. I don’t want to know and then hope I’m doing it right. I want to understand the process. I discovered that even though the content is very much the same, it’s the approach that is different. I took the certification three times. With each of my teachers, I learned a different approach. I combined the approach to make it something that felt right to me and that’s what I use with my clients. In addition to getting certified as a hypnotherapist, I’m a Master Certified in Neurolinguistic Programming, in time line, in emotional freedom techniques and those are things I use constantly. I’m also certified in life coaching, relationship coaching, success coaching and also spiritual counseling. The funny thing, going back to my mother, the thing I hated back then, “Study, study, study,” became the thing that brought me the most joy and success.

It’s wonderful to see that you are doing well and you found a vehicle for you to express and help others.

I do appreciate it. The more I practice, the more I discover my own voice and it’s a voice I’m still refining on a daily basis. I’m still discovering. There’s more to learn and more to share. In 2015, I wrote my first book and it was about the things I teach on a daily basis with my clients. I never thought about becoming an author and never wanted to be an author. I hated writing because grammar is difficult for me. It’s challenging for me to know where to put the S and the tense and all of that.

With my clients, with the very first session, I will teach them the basic stuff and a whole lot of stuff like how their mind works and how to start and taking control of their minds. All of my clients would say, “Can you please write it down?” At first, I’m like, “No. I just gave you so much info. There’s no way I can write it all down,” but once I heard that request enough, I decided I’m just going to write a short, two to three-page PDF. As I sat down and started writing, it came out and more and more. Next thing, I have a book. I’m very lucky. My current husband is amazing. He is a wonderful editor. I write and he does my first edit. Then I rewrite and he does a second edit. I rewrite and then I send it to a professional editor.

That’s wonderful you have a support inside the house.

He is amazing. He is definitely my biggest support system.

You wrote three books so far. What does each book focus on?

The first book is called 5 Simple Questions to Reclaim Your Happiness! and that particular book go through five simple questions to help you to understand why you’re feeling negative and what you can do with those negative emotions rather than hanging on to them. How many times have you said, “I don’t understand why I feel this way. I just do. I can’t control how I feel.” Yes, you can. You definitely can understand why you feel a certain way. You definitely can control how you feel. In the first book, using five simple questions, I walk readers through those steps so that they can take charge of their emotions.

The second book is called I Would, But My DAMN MIND Won’t Let Me. That book is basically a primer on how your mind works. It’s not as complicated as people think. Many people try to make it seem complicated, big and difficult to understand. I like the opposite. I like to break it down in very simple language where even a third, fourth, fifth grader can read my book and understand how their mind works and start taking control of it. In that particular book, I talked about the four belief systems that destroy our self-confidence if we don’t take care of that.

Then the third book is called Unleash Your Inner Super Powers: Destroy Fear and Self-Doubts. That book talks about how we are born with these amazing abilities within us. We all have these abilities except we don’t understand just how powerful these abilities are and how to tap into them consistently. This particular book walks readers through with exercises to discover their powers and to grow their powers and to use their powers appropriately. I wrote these books for teenagers because I’m so passionate for this age group but the content in these three books applies to anybody who’s looking to improve themselves and their lives. They could be younger than teenagers. They could be in their 90s. In fact, one of the negative critique that I get on my book quite often is, “Why was this written for teenagers? I need this book.”

You mentioned that one of these books is translated to Vietnamese?

It’s being translated. Two of my three books were picked up by a Vietnamese publisher. I Would, But My DAMN MIND Won’t Let Me and Unleash Your Inner Super Powers were picked up by the publishing company in Vietnam. They’re in translating process and it’s a long process. Hopefully, it will be available soon. The reason my first book wasn’t picked up was that it was not available to be picked up. I self-published my three books, but then I wanted to have a traditional publishing experience, so I took my first book and found a publisher. That book is off the market completely and the publishers are redoing their stuff. Once it’s re-released then, it’s going to be available for foreign rights and they’re going to approach the same company to see if they want to pick up the first book of three, which I would imagine they would. It would make sense.

Congratulations on that accomplishment.

Thank you. I’m so excited that the first language that my books are going to get translated to is Vietnamese. That’s where I’m from so to be able to impact teenagers in Vietnam would just be a dream.

You also have a podcast.

It is called Stop the Bully Within. The reason I started that podcast and the reason I chose that name was after seeing thousands and thousands of clients, the thing that I recognized the biggest problem was that each and every single one of my clients, no matter why they came into see me for, whether it’s for depression or anger or for weight loss or insomnia, it doesn’t matter what, they were their biggest bully. The way that they talk to themselves, the way that they kick themselves when they’re down and when they made a mistake was the problem. I recognize that the negative internal talk is so strong in all of us and so I wanted to give back to the community. The podcast, as you know, we spent hours and hours on an episode and we put it out there for free.

Each of my episode takes me between five to eight hours to do. It’s a total passion project. I want people all over the world to be able to spend half an hour with me once a week, listen to the content, listen to the teaching, and then at the end of the episode I have action steps for them to take. If they listened to the episode and follow the action steps, they are going to learn how to recognize when they’re being negative on themselves and to stop that pattern. My husband joint force with me and we co-host that podcast together.

I will start listening to that podcast as well.

Thank you. It’s so much fun to do. It’s a passion project. I wouldn’t be investing eight hours to do it for free if I didn’t love it so much.

That’s important. We have to do what we love to do, otherwise it becomes a job, which we try to avoid. We are avoiding by not working for anybody.

I’ve been an entrepreneur ever since I was in my early 30s and I am very unemployable. I cannot be an employee. I would not make a good employee.

What are you most proud of?

That’s an easy one. My son. I am so incredibly proud of the man that he’s grown up to be.

What does power mean to you?

It depends on what you’re talking about though. Are you talking about personal power or power over people?

Just the word power.

Power would be being in alignment with myself and being able to express myself wholly and fully.

What about freedom, what does it mean to you?

Freedom is being able to do and say anything I want to. That is where I am in my life now. The thing that is most important to me is freedom and happiness and spreading that to the world.

Where do you want our audience to go to find out more about your books and the podcast?

The easiest way to get ahold of me is on my website, which is JacquiLetran.com. In that website, you can click on the podcast, the books and the mentoring. All the information is right there.

Thank you for this intimate conversation, Jacqui. I am proud of what you are doing and I’m proud to say that you are the Asian Woman of Power. We welcome you to this tribe.

Thank you for having me on and for inviting me into your tribe. I gladly accept.

Until next time, see you. What did you take away from this interview? As a parent, what will you do differently with your children to show that you love them and care for their well-being? As a teenager or a young adult, has your perspective about your parents changed? What would you do to help your parents understand you better? We want to hear from you. Until next time, live life loud.

Links Mentioned:

Episode Quotes

"My violence was a cry for help!"

"Decisions I made came from bad experiences."

"My depression came out as anger, not as withdrawal."

“Power is being in alignment with yourself and being able to express yourself wholly and fully.”

“You definitely can control how you feel.”

“Negative internal talk is so strong in all of us.”

About Jacqui Letran

Jacqui Letran is a multiple Award-Winning Author, International Speaker, Mindset Mentor, and host of the podcast, Stop the Bully Within. Jacqui is truly gifted at helping teens and young adults discover the hidden gifts even in the worst of circumstances and tap into the remarkable strength and inner power already within themselves. Jacqui is a passionate and energetic leader who empowers her audience to become resilient, fearless, and their own powerhouse and personal champion for success. Jacqui teaches her audience that success and happiness are possible, regardless of their current struggles or circumstances. Her passion is evident in her work and allows her to connect easily with her audience to create powerful and lasting transformations.

When not working with clients or writing, you can find her traveling in her RV, hiking with her dog or spoiling her three cats. She now lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

website: JacquiLetran.com
podcast: StoptheBullyWithin.com
Instagram: Instagram.com/MsLetran
Facebook: Facebook.com/JacquiLetran
Linkedin: Linkedin.com/in/JacquiLetran


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