Lilly Singh: My Deepest Insecurities Led To My Greatest Achievements | E136 | Transcription
Transcription for the video titled "Lilly Singh: My Deepest Insecurities Led To My Greatest Achievements | E136".
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Could you do me a quick favor if you're listening to this? Please hit the follow or subscribe button. It helps more than you know, and we invite subscribers in every month to watch the show in person. - I wanted to be powerful and to have influence because I wanted to prove people wrong. - You can't start the internet for very long without stumbling upon Lily Singh. - Lily Singh! - Lily Singh! - I was born into the reality of being a disappointment right away. There were rules about being a woman. My mom did not grow up with queer culture. So for me to expect her to operate from a place of my lived experience, how was that math ever gonna add up? - Do the first episode of "I'm Little Lake" with Lily Singh? - You got given a late night show. When I said that, you said, "I'm so sorry, "tell me why you said that." - 'Cause I don't think the thing was good. The community that I did this show for is pissed at me because I nervously made a joke out of context, and that broke my heart every day. - Did you have anxiety at the time? - I developed it during season one of the show. Is the struggle worth it? For me, yes it is. I believe in what I believe so much more than the hurt that I feel. - So without further ado, I'm Steven Bartlett, and this is the Dyer over CEO USA edition. I hope nobody's listening, but if you are, then please keep this to yourself. - Lily. - Thank you for being here. It's a real honor, and we've got a mutual friend in Jay Shelly who's really spoken so incredibly highly of you.
Journey To Success And Personal Insights
Early Years - Having to prove I was worthy (01:27)
And then when I got a chance to delve into your story, I became pretty fascinated by many things. I wanna start, 'cause I always believe that the foundation of everybody that I sit here with, and also myself, having studied some childhood psychology is their childhood. So I guess the question I had for you is, when you think about 10 year old Lily, and the lessons she had learnt by that age about the world and life, what were those lessons and where did she learn them from? - The lessons at the age of 10, I don't think were necessarily beneficial ones. I was born into the reality of being a disappointment right away, being the second daughter in an Indian family. I was told in my adult life that my grandparents, great-grandparents in India didn't find out about my birth for about two weeks, because they had said, if it's not a son, it's not worth calling home about. So that really colored in a lot of my childhood, because whether it was ridiculous things like, oh, girls aren't supposed to talk that much, ridiculous things, that girls aren't supposed to whistle. Whatever girls were supposed to do was very apparent to me from a really young age. So the lessons I was taught that there were rules about being a woman. There was expectations about being a woman, and I had to fit that mold if I wanted to be, not even accepted, but if I wanted to make people proud, I think more than anything. I never felt like I wasn't accepted, but if I wanted to be extraordinary in the eyes of people that were disappointed in me, I had to fit the mold. And so a lot of my upbringing was a little bit of this simultaneous, I need to fit the mold, but then this rebellious side of me being like, but I don't want to, and kind of negotiating that balance. - What you said about your grandparents wanting a boy, and generally in Indian culture, they're being a designer to have a boy, how did that impact you? - I read that you were a tomboy growing up. - Yes. - Yes, yes, yes, yes. I was obsessed with doing the Rock Johnson. I loved wrestling, I wore baggy clothes. I rebelled in every such way because of this expectation that was set upon me. I think in my adult life, I have learned, and I don't think I knew this growing up. I don't think I even knew this years ago. I think this is a quite recent revelation. That experience has put a very heavy chip on my shoulder that I carry in my adult life. And I think for a lot of my life, I was scared to admit that, or I was embarrassed to admit that, because no one wants to admit that they have this chip on their shoulder, but now I fully embrace it. That chip on the shoulder is for most of my life, I always felt like I had to prove myself in every instance. No matter what it was, whether it was school grades, whether it was my dancing ability, whether it was how I could speak up at a family party. No matter what, in every instance, I always felt like I had to prove myself worthy because I was born into this reality, where being a girl is lesser in Indian culture. And that has followed me into my adult life. And if you look at the pattern of everything I've done in my career, I've only now connected the dots that the common thread between all of that is proving myself. And so, even when I started making YouTube videos in 2010, a lot of people asked me, why did you do that? And I can give you the answer that I think people want to hear, which was, I wanted to create a path and no one else was doing what I was doing. And sure, that's all true to some extent, but the real reason was, I wanted to be powerful and to have influence because I wanted to prove people wrong. I think that has always been that chip on my shoulder. I wanted to prove that being a girl was worthy of celebration. And so that has been a thing that has followed me. So, that is truly the chip on my shoulder, that now I'm just fully transparent about. - When I think about my own insecurities and the things I pursued like 18 years old, they were all the opposite of the thing that invalidated me when I was a kid. So when I was a kid, only black kid in all white school, parents were the broke family in a perfect white picket in a neighborhood. And so my pursuit in life was like, if I had the things that I'd missed as a child, if I had money and if I was, I don't know, famous or whatever, then it would be filling some kind of childhood void. I wonder when you said then, I wanted to be powerful and have influence. Is that because you didn't when you were younger as well? Is that part of it? - I think it's more so that the people who are the most powerful in my upbringing were men. They were the men in my family, the men at a family party that were in the court, they got to control a conversation about what they said goes. Men, tourist in Indian culture are the decision makers, the powerful people. And I know one thing that the men in Indian, and I don't want to paint all Indian culture and men, but I'm just saying as a kid, it was evident to me that the uncles made the decisions. They got to decide what was acceptable, not acceptable. And so I knew one thing that the men would understand was power, money and influence. And so I think I strived for a career that would give me those things so I could kind of prove a point to them. Being like, you may not understand my value in any other way aside from money, power and influence. And to some extent, I was not wrong. I've done a lot of cool things in my life, but the things that really made my dad and my uncles go wide-eyed were things like the Forbes list, where things like, oh, she's in a headline, she has her own show. Those are the things that they understand to be a value. And I'm not saying that's right or wrong, and I'm not trying to dissect if it's right or wrong. I just knew they would understand that. And so for me to have an impact, of course I want to help people, of course I want to pay the path, that's all true. But those are not the things that the people that had power as a kid for me would understand. They understand power, money and influence. So I would be lying to say that that wasn't a driving factor. - And so you moved to LA, your YouTube career starts really gaining traction.
The reason for starting on Youtube (07:00)
You said a second ago that you pursued YouTube because of your very honest power and influence, right? But when you start on YouTube, there's no guarantee of power and influence, right? I know your first video did like 70 views and something crazy. So when you started YouTube, a very strange thing to be doing back then, recording yourself, especially doing like funny stuff in your room or whatever. - For sure. - What were you thinking? Like what was there? - Yeah, I was thinking a few things. One was that I was always a very creative kid. I was the kid that wanted to be the center of the dance circle at a family party. I watched Ace of Cakes, I wanted to bake cakes. I wanted to be creative through any means necessary. But I think I was convinced that creativity was a phase, that it's something you do as a pastime, as a kid. Your career shouldn't be creative. You let go of that, you get a real job, et cetera, et cetera. When I was in university and I discovered YouTube, it was a glimpse of I could be creative as an adult. I could express myself in a way that's like on my own terms. There's no gatekeeper, there's no rules. This was something that I got to make the rules about. I got to decide. I built a little community of people that also were in a little bit of a dark place. So I got the sense of connection that I wasn't getting in real life. And the real talk of it is that I'm an obsessive person. Once I started making YouTube videos, I was obsessed with it. I was obsessed with learning how to do it well, exploring how else I could be creative, learning how to get more views, learning how to market myself. I, with everything I do, am a very all or nothing person, which has been a great pro, but also very detrimental in my life, this type of obsessive personality. Especially if you become obsessed about something that isn't fully aligned, right? Which is possible, right? Because they can be two conflicting forces. The force can be, I want to be really successful. And then the other force can be saying, well, this isn't my purpose. And they can surely come into something. - It's also very problematic when you're obsessive over something that is governed by numbers. That is a very dangerous combination. When you're obsessive and your success is measured by views and subscribers and stats, that is a bad recipe right there. Because I would actually, and this was 2010 before YouTube had very complex analytics. Now you can see, and now you can know how many people with dogs on their laps are watching their videos. Like it's intense how many analytics you can get. Now back in the day, that wasn't the case. So I would actually have my own spreadsheets. Like a crazy person just on my wall, everyday tracking, okay, how many views this video did this, this made subscribers, this people, like an obsessive degree. And I don't regret that because it, I mean, great success, but I've had to slowly unlearn a little bit of that to not go completely crazy in my adult life. - Before that YouTube phase with the spreadsheets and stuff like that, did people consider you to be a lazy person? Do they like count you out? - One thing I can say is I've been called a lot of things in my life. I have never been called lazy. - So when you look, 'cause that phase before the YouTube and the spreadsheets, right? What were you doing in your life at that phase? - So I was applying to grad school. I had just finished graduating and I was applying to grad school. And let me put an asterisk to my last comment. I'm sure my parents would call me lazy from time to time. It wasn't lazy as much it was as it was. My heart is not in this thing. So I do not think it is worthy for me to put my energy into it. - That's what I was getting at. Which is how someone can go from being perceived by their parents or in my case by school as being, I got kicked out of school for the same thing. And then just years later, they can see that I'm obsessed when something is in line with, something has caught me like a fish on a hook. - Right, exactly. - For better or for worse. Maybe it's caught one of my insecurities and drank me off into the future, whatever. But I just thought that was interesting, that maybe in that phase of your life, others would look at you and go, "Oh, she's lost." - Because the moment I walked into my parents' room and I said, "I wanna make YouTube videos," what I actually was doing five minutes before that is I was trying to write an essay to get into grad school. And it was bad. And I was like, "I'm not, this makes no sense. "I don't even care about the outcome of this." I closed my laptop right then and there. And I said, "If I don't care about this, "I'm not gonna do well in this." And so I really had to shift my focus somewhere else. And that literally five minutes later, I went into my parents' room and I said, "I can't do this. "I wanna try making videos on the internet." And they were like, "Say what now?" This was in 2010. And they gave me the best advice ever and the best blessing ever, which was you have a year. So they also gave me a bit of a ticking time bomb. They said, "You have a year to try whatever you wanna try, "whatever this YouTube thing is, you have a year. "And if it doesn't work out, you will go to grad school "and you will do exactly what you were doing five minutes ago." And so I also had a bit of a time period that I had to figure things out in, which was a huge blessing because it made me every moment for that year work on making this pop off. - When you had that conversation with your parents, how big were you on YouTube, if at all? - Not that big, not that big at all. I think I had like, my views were in the thousands probably. - Okay. - And this was 2010, like I said, so I vividly remember when I hit 1000 subscribers. Now your cat can yell and you will have like 10,000 subscribers. But this was a lot of hustle to get to even 1000. I know this because I made a Justin Bieber never seen every parody when I was 1000 subscribers. I was like, "I'm naked, baby." - When you reflect now on the role that your parents were playing in your life, like even then like having to go to them and then like granting you this year, it all sounds incredibly like imprisoned. You know what I mean? - Yes, I think for a lot of my teenage years, my young adult years, I probably viewed it like that. I no longer do. I've done a lot of work to try to figure out and respect my parents' context, which has really, really helped me in their circumstances and really put value to it, not just dismiss it. So I actually think a lot of what they did, although the moment didn't seem right. And even now, a little questionable sometimes, it actually really helped me. Like this one year, if they were so liberal to me and let me do whatever, I might have not worked as hard in that one year, to be honest. You know? And if they did not teach me the value of a lot of the things that they value, I probably wouldn't be the person I am today. So I actually don't hold that against them at all.
What helps you when you’re going through pain (13:14)
- It's really interesting. - The guy that came on this podcast said that, and I agree, when people ask me in interviews, what would you say to your younger self and what would you change? I always say, I wouldn't change anything. Because even those horrible decisions, those questionable moments, they have all resulted in something really, really great. That's the exchange of the universe and that's just how things work magically. And it's interesting how knowing that, right now I consider and tell you that I would not change anything about my past, any trauma, any pain, even knowing that I will still sit here today and think that the pain I'm experiencing today is intolerable and not acknowledge that 10 years from now, I will probably say the same thing about the pain. I'm experiencing today. Something to always keep in mind, we have this way of humans as humans of thinking that whatever pain we're experiencing right now is for sure definitely the worst pain and it cannot get worse. It always does. And we always think that it's still the worst pain. When you were a kid, you thought, I remember when I was a kid, my mom, I said, I couldn't get this shirt, it said Backstreet Girls on it. And I remember thinking, this is the worst day of my life and my wife is never gonna get worse than this. I remember thinking that, I'm gonna run away, my mom hates me, she won't let me be a Backstreet Girl, how dare her? And then years, years later, something else happened. I thought that was the worst. And we keep doing that as humans, don't we? We keep thinking that whatever this is today, this is the worst. - That perspective, completely true, completely true, been through it myself a million times. I always say, the current crisis always feels like the fatal one until hindsight tells you that the current one is the fate. But what is even knowing that, it still doesn't seem in my case to stop the current crisis feeling, the fate, it helps a little bit, takes the edge off. But when we're in the heart of the storm, for whatever reason, what else helps you to gain perspective on the situation? I mean like, really, I don't mean like the advice that we give in our books and stuff, I mean what actually helps? - What actually helps me when I'm going through pain and I can't see myself coming out the other side, is truly, I'm a very logical person, in the sense that I always think about things through the best of my ability, facts or like diagrams, I just have this brain that likes processing things. And so I think about, okay, what is my success rate of getting through things? It's actually 100% right now, I sit here at 100, we all sit here, everyone watching actually, you sit at 100% right now. - Couple pieces, yeah. - 100% is where you sit at. So I think about things through that lens, but I also think about just, is the struggle worth it? And for me, yes it is. I believe in what I believe so much more than the hurt that I feel. And that's the balance I think we need to keep and check, is it worth it, is your struggle worth it? And I think you really need to do the work to make that answer yes. And I didn't always operate from a yes, but I think now I do, I believe I've found my purpose, and I know Jay talks about this a lot, but finding your purpose and what your purpose is on this planet helps you get to that yes. So for me, I think my struggles are worth it. I think the pain is worth it to get on the end. - You became a hugely, I'm gonna look back to that topic in a section, but to give the listeners a context, you became a hugely, hugely successful social media star, creator, whatever you wanna call it, built one of the biggest YouTube channels still to this day.
The skill that made you different (16:38)
- Sure. - Some millions and millions of subscribers. That makes you in the zero point zero, whatever percent are normally in the world. So I hear the obsessive thing. You said about the spreadsheets, I guess that. I thought for her to get there, she must be pretty obsessive. I walked in here and you were like, oh, she has Google Doc right now, over her. - Well, you're like, there's like, but we all, I think at times in our lives, probably look back and think, I was also probably toxic, obsessive, 'cause the things that I was, you know, especially when you're in the numbers business and the metrics business. So what else about you, when you think about that phase of your life from 2000 and maybe 13, when you hit a million subs to where you hit 14 point, whatever, seven million subs, what was it about Lily, outside of the obsessive part that made you such an anomaly through that phase of like career success in YouTube? - This has required a lot of reflection because I was trying to think recently what my purpose is, going back to our previous conversation. What is my purpose? 'Cause I thought my purpose was specific projects I would work on, specific things in the industry. And I kept thinking that's too small. That's such a, in the moment purpose. Like what is your greater purpose? So I had to go look back through my life recently and be like, what is the common thread here? And the common thread between everything, especially during this time period you're talking about, can be summarized in one word and that is disruptor. I think my purpose is to disrupt. And I think I've done it continuously in my life from being a tomboy as a kid, to being outspoken in a room full of uncles, to getting into the entertainment industry, not through an agent, not through moving to a labor through YouTube, where there are no gatekeepers, from the first late night host, wherever that historic moment was, I continuously feel the need to disrupt, not because I am actively trying to disrupt, because it is just who I am as a person. And I know this even on the personal side. The first openly queer person to host the late night show, the first woman of color, I've just been associated with so many firsts and I used to hate it. I used to, I remember thinking and telling my therapist, I don't wanna be the first. I don't want to be the first anymore. I hate being the first. I don't want the pressure of all this. I just wanna do what I love doing. And my therapist joked and said, yeah, you need to pick a cause. You got a lot of things going, you have to pick an issue. But I have since embraced that, instead of looking at it as a thing that I hate about myself and I wanna change about myself and that causes me stress, I have not accepted that it is my purpose to disrupt, it is just how I am built. I am built to break systems and mold, again, not because I am actively trying to stir the pot, but because it is just how my brain and my being operates. I have to break molds. So when you ask me that question between that time period, what was it about Lily? It's that Lily always would ask the question of how else can this be done and why isn't this being done this way? And maybe there's a different way of doing it. And when she gets told that this is the way things usually are done, I just simply do not accept that. Everyone on my team knows that's the worst thing you can say to Lily, this is how things are traditionally done. I just don't accept that with anything. Clearly you're someone who's built a lot of evidence that-- The look you just gave me is the look my parents gave me.
Why are you wired to be disrupted? (19:58)
No, yeah, you know, there was so much going around my head and I was thinking about different ways to take that and different feelings I got from that. One of them honestly was like, especially hearing the obsessive thing, listen, when I ask these questions, I'm not, 'cause I think 'cause I relate to so much of what you're saying. I'm asking the questions to dig deeper, not because I-- No, I love it. I love it, but it's just, the look is like my parents looking at me like, "I'm great, she likes to disrupt." Yeah, no, 'cause my brain went, "I'm like, she's so, even when you were delivering it, "so passionate that I felt, "Falsick, she must have, that's exhausting." To be obsessed with it, it's exhausting. On the other hand, I was thinking, "Why is your brain wide to disrupt things? "Like, why?" So I understand that from an innovation perspective, it's gonna be fruitful, you're gonna create new things. But why is that your predisposition? Is it going back to a childhood and saying-- I think so. You didn't like the system or-- I have asked that question to myself as well. Why is that no matter? And this is where it can be to a detriment sometimes, 'cause sometimes I'll take simple, simple tasks that don't need that much effort, but I will make it so I'm disrupting even those small, small things. Maybe there's a different way to throw a party. Maybe there's a different way to have a friendship. Maybe there's a different way to decorate my house. And every aspect I have to disrupt, and it is exhausting, it's absolutely exhausting. And I've tried to figure out why, what does it mean? I'm still trying to figure it out, but I think from my work thus far, I have determined that it's just that from the moment I was born, I was already a disruption. I was already that, and I think that's just me stepping into my power, fully embracing that's who I am and being like, fine, I'm not gonna reject that. I am going to fully embrace that's my purpose in life. Because another thing is, you know, when you ask me about the chip on my shoulder, the part of the story I didn't say is that I actually did come out the other end. So in my adult life, when I announced my first world tour, after becoming a YouTube success, I very purposely announced it in India. I was like, I wanna announce the tour in India, when the first stops to be in India. I know that's where my great grandparents are, now that's where my parents are from, I know it'll mean the most, how the biggest impact. So after I announced that tour, I went and did the eight hour drive to visit my grandfather for the first time in my adult life. I had never met him as an adult before. And this was the grandfather, where I hold nothing against him because I again, I respect people's circumstances, but he was the one that didn't wanna hear about a daughter who didn't believe a daughter in the family would be worthwhile. He was standing outside of his house and greeted me with a flower garland. And he said the words to me, this is like an 80 year old Indian man said the words to me, I was wrong. You have made this family more proud than anyone else could have ever done. And he showed me all these newspaper clippings he had saved with me. So that moment for me also validated what disruption can do. It can make progress. Progress comes from disruption and breaking systems. And so I think that for me was a very, and I remember it so vividly because it did leave such an impact on me. But that for me was like, look, this is what disruption can do. This is what the uncomfortable process results in. - And am I right in therefore concluding that the fuel of the disruption was that chip on your shoulder? And it creates almost a bit of an injustice in a sense of anger in people. I've seen so many times in myself in thinking about my friend, Dumar who's come from a somewhat similar background in Indian guy went on to create a billion dollar company. He grew up with this internal, just almost frustration, anger, this sense of trying to correct an injustice and that manifests as this chip on its shoulder. And I guess life, if you start with that predisposition and you go through life with that idea of disrupting the status quo, you will win. And that will reinforce that. So now imagine when I work with you, if I came up with a conventional idea, you know from 33 years of experience that the rewards are on the other side of the disruptive, you know, what we call first principle thinking. When you go to the extra effort of thinking about something from fresh. - Right. - And that's. - It's that. I also will be really honest. I thought that that moment of my grandfather knows now, who knows what's up, he knows my name, would eliminate the chip on my shoulder. It didn't. I don't think it will ever actually go away. - Why? - I'm still trying to figure that out. I think it's because that same chip is still reinforced in so many other places in the world. It's still that I was the only female late night host. And so when I was at that seat in that table, surrounded by men, that chip was just reinforced. - It's like an each room, aren't you? - Exactly. So I think it keeps getting reinforced. It was never just about my grandfather, it was just about the system. But that is also, I will just say, I have to get really honest and say, that mixed with ego. Once you get a bit of success, I think Jay-Z says, success is the most addictive drug. It is. Once you disrupt and it comes up the other way, and then you see how amazing it is, you're like, I keep doing this. I keep doing this. I keep disrupting. I need to, that's been something I've had to really meditate on in my adult life, is that when does that stop? When does that desire to just more and more and more and more and disrupt, disrupt, win, win, win, when does that stop? - That can be the real enemy of happiness, right? - Absolutely. - Your life. - Yes. Happiness is often right here, but we can't see it because we're still trying to chase it that way. What's they're trying to, it's always the, it's in the future mentality. Happiness will come, success will come, these things will come. Maybe it's like right now, right? - Even saying that there is not enough, right? - It's not. - Yeah, 'cause I say that to a lot of people, but still struggle with it myself. - Yeah, you have to do a lot of work. It's a lot of work. It's not just where it's a lot of work in how you assign value to yourself, how you assign value to other things. For most of my life, I have hustled, so my building entire brand out of hustling. Anyone that knows anything about me, it's a hustle harder hustle, is you want how to be a boss or first book? It's a, now, over the past two years, I've done the work to not hustle less, I still work very, very hard, but it's what does all this stuff actually mean? What does the value you tie to this stuff? Is what you thought it was gonna be? I think you can only learn that once you get there and you get it and you're like, oh, it's not giving me the feeling I thought it was gonna give me. And it probably never will, because of this value we've assigned to all this stuff. - Have you gotten to the point where you know that you are enough?
Do you think you are enough? (26:03)
- Who, this is trying to get to therapy? - What did you think? - Dang! - Dang! - The cat having him and canceled my therapy appointment. - Same myself, $300. - We charge. - Oh, guys, guys. I am just now actively right now in the process of believing that through writing my latest book. My latest book was a lot about that. It was about, am I enough right now? Because I think I'll be honest, it's a buzzword. Oh, you are enough, like, for example, kids are born these days and we, in the first of words, you tell them, are you enough, you're enough, you're great, just the way you are? I think we need to find the balance of hard work and spirituality, of business and spirituality. There's an intersection of these things where, yes, I think now I'm a full, complete human being. Does that mean I don't have goals and aspirations? I don't want things. I still have all of those things. But I'm at the point right now where those things, whether I have them or don't have them, will not impact the way I define myself. See, a lot of my life I've defined myself as YouTube sensation, late night host, actress who has this role, I am doing the work to realize that I'm actually a complete human being that has value aside from that. And those things are just cool things and experiences I get to do and I can strive to be great at them. I can perfect my craft, but I'm not lesser if I don't have those things and I'm not more if I do have those things. This is an active thing I'm working on. - And when you get to that place, if we are lucky enough in our lives to get to the place where we realize we're enough, that's really, you know, I had this really interesting conflict in my life, which I'm sure the listeners have heard about before, where when someone said to me one day, maybe seven years ago, they said, you need to realize that you're already enough. I remember thinking, what a load of bullshit. I'm not gonna get out of bed if I have that viewpoint. I don't need to strive for anything, bullshit, get out my office, right? And then upon reflecting on that right in my book, whenever I realized that my thought that knowing you're enough inhibits ambition is actually false. What it does, knowing you're enough kills fake ambition, the minute I knew I started to get closer to realizing that I was enough, my ambitions were all things that I actually wanted that were actually in line with my, so it's this weird paradox of when you know you're enough, it doesn't inhibit ambition, it's the foundation of real ambition. Correct, it gives you a lot of clarity, I think, and you're absolutely correct, because when you don't feel like you're enough, everything feels important. Everything feels like something you have to obtain, everything feels like a challenge. You know, when I didn't feel like I was enough and I felt like I am the late night host, I am this actor, I am my job, this is what defines me. If anyone asks me who I was, I would never answer as, I'm a patient friend, I'm a nice, I would be like, I'm in this show, I'm in this, that's how I would, or I would define myself by my struggles, which is another whole thing, not by ever my potential. I would never say, I'm someone who's gonna change the world because of X, Y, Z, I would say, I'm someone who had a really tough childhood. We either define ourselves by our struggles or by these other external validations and accolades that we think are important. When I did that, I would care so much, for me, what was so important was, I need to prove this troll wrong on the internet. I need to, that's my priority, I need to prove this troll wrong, I need to get this rating, I need to, and then the second I was like, you know what, my purpose is to disrupt, I know what my values, I'm a complete person already, certainly that stuff became way less important to me. Suddenly I was like, oh, actually my priority is going to be, I wanna tell stories that I think are really meaningful. I'm not saying that it has to be a box office breaker, in that I'm saying I just wanna tell stories that are important. Things become a little more clear when you accept, you make space for priorities to become clear, when you stop pretending that all this other stuff is important, so I totally agree. That is something I struggled with where I thought, and I think that was my resistance against it, when people would tell me you're enough and when they just tell kids, they're like, no, that kid's gonna grow up and they're not gonna become anything, if you just tell them they're enough. Again, I still think that there's an intersection between hustling and spirituality, I don't think we have to pick one or the other, I really don't, I think there's a way for both of those things to coexist. But I do, it has become apparent to me that, being mindful, feeling like you're enough, it actually allows you to hustle with more clarity. - I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast, as the seasons have begun to change, so has my diet, and right now, I'm just gonna be completely honest with you, I'm starting to think a lot about slimming down a little bit, because over the last couple of, probably the last four or five months, my diet has been pretty bad, and it started to show a little bit. Really over the last two months, I go to the gym about 80% of the time, so I track it with 10 of my friends, in a WhatsApp group, in this tracker online, that we all use together, we call it fitness blockchain, and I'm currently at 81%, so 81% of the days I've done a workout in the last 150 days, right? So I'm going to the gym about six times a week, that's been a little bit impacted by the Dervastio Live tour, but I'm trying to stick to it. And so one of the things I'm doing now to reduce my calorie intake, and trying to get back to being nutritionally complete and all I eat, is I'm having the pure protein shake, thank you, for making a product that I actually like. The salted caramel is my favorite. I've got the banana one here, which is where my girlfriend likes, but for me, salted caramel is the one. - You know, when people are saying, "Oh, you should need to get this rating," and you're thinking, "Well, I'm going to prove them wrong," and whatever, and you're getting dragged by external measurements or validation, and then you get to the point where you say, "Do you know what?
Advice when stuck at a crossroads (31:15)
I actually just want to tell stories." People reach that crossroads a lot in their life, where they've kind of like built an identity, in your case, tens of millions of followers, by doing something, and then, you know, in other people's cases, it could be they're working in as a lawyer, and then they catch sight of what their purpose might be, and at that crossroads, life says to you, if you go down that route, you're going to lose a lot of this stuff that you've built. I know it's not aligned with you, but you're going to lose friends, a network, an identity, don't go down that road, right? And you've faced that so clearly in your life, that crossroads, and even leaving YouTube, you know, when you have 14 million, fuck, you have your damn mind. - Yeah, that totally. - But tell me, so like, at that crossroads in life, what advice would you give to people when, in your case, you're one of the ones that really had, you know, I don't want to say a lot to lose, because that's a presumption, right? So it's like, the public would think that you had a lot to lose by taking a different route. - Right, you're absolutely correct. I think one of the reasons I, for so long, I kept holding onto the strings of YouTube, you'd be like, "No, I want to do other stuff, "but I'm still going to do this, "I want to do other stuff, but I'm still going to make these videos, "I'm still going to address it, but my parents was that." It was that I didn't want to lose this traction I had, this audience, I had this instinct gratification I had of having this massive audience at my fingertips. I also, to be honest, I was scared of this term relevancy. I think relevancy is used as currency these days. Like, you're not relevancy, you're worth less now, and we have this way to measure people based on relevancy. This can be summarized in one easy sentence, which is you cannot expect to grow and also stay the same. It just cannot happen. You have to make room for growth. And so, in order for me to fulfill my ambitions of I want to do stuff with movies and TVs, and I want to just do all this other stuff that is me growing in my craft, I cannot stay the same. You have to make space for that. I also always think about, if I have, again, going back to diagrams and the way my brain thinks if I have 100% energy at the start of a day, I can only spend 100% energy, no more energy is coming, I have 100. So, where are you going to put that energy? It can be to old habits, it can be to holding on to relevancy, but then that limits how much energy is left for growth. So, really is this the decision you have to make of making room for growth. - And when you did make that decision back in 2019, was it 2019 you left YouTube? - I still look, I still think-- - I still think, yeah, yeah, but yeah, I think around 2019 where I stopped consistently uploading videos, yes. - So, when I read about why you left YouTube, there was clearly some symptoms of life saying to you, you're fucking up here in some, what were those symptoms? - I think doing things because you feel like you have to, doing things because you feel like you owe people, doing things that you're not really passionate about, and feeling like you haven't given yourself permission to grow, because-- - And how do I emotionally feel? - Stagnant, I felt like I was trapped. I felt like I owed people this version of myself that was stuck in space and that was not allowed to grow. I felt not creative. I felt not free, and I felt like, even though what I loved about YouTube was freedom, I can post whatever I want, whenever I want, there's no gatekeepers. I felt trapped in that system. It became the exact opposite of what I loved about YouTube, which is you have to serve every Monday and Thursday, you have to post a video, you have to appease these fans, it has to be like this, it has to be this long, it has to appease the algorithm. It became the exact same thing I'd never wanted in the first place, which is to be trapped in something like that. And so, it just stopped feeling right to me. It stopped feeling like the place that I could grow and learn and thrive. - The Lily that I would see on camera at that point, in the lead up to you deciding to depart, versus the Lily that would be there, right after you stopped recording, tell me the difference between those two people. - Yeah, she's just as weird in both instances. I can tell you that, she's just as weird, she's just as quirky, but one of them was definitely a bit more performative, pretending to be a little bit more passionate than she was, pretending not to be tired and exhausted, and pretending to be excited about what she was doing. I think after I turned off the camera, I was like, "Oh God, I gotta edit this thing, I gotta do this thing, "and I gotta go through these." There was no growth, it was just such a repetitive pattern. And as a creative, I didn't want that. If I wanted that, I would've just done the grad school thing, right? - Mm.
Your late-night talk show (35:50)
- And then obviously you get this big opportunity, which is well written about, and I've watched the episodes, I've watched these in one end, season two, first tips. - I'm sorry, yep. - No, no, why did you say I'm so sorry? So first of all, the context of the, for people that don't know, so you've got given a late night show, you were the first woman of color to be lived. - Been over 30 years, yep. - In over 30 years, to be led into that boys club. - Yep. - On a major network. When I said that, you said, "I'm so sorry, "tell me why you said that." - Because I don't think the thing was good, and I'm not necessarily proud of it. You know, when I got the show, again, me being the instructor, the whole first season, the advertising was, we're gonna break the mold, we're knocking down the doors of late night, we're gonna do things differently, and then I proceeded to do things pretty much exactly how they've always been done. - Why? - Because for the first time in my life, I was in a situation where I could not call the shots. I couldn't make the decisions, I didn't have the resources to do things differently, the system is not built to do, the issue of the system is not built to do things differently. It's hard to do things differently when you're told, okay, so the episode has to be exactly 22 minutes and 23 seconds, it has to be. That amount of time can be a second over, it cannot be under. The acts have to be broken down like this because our commercials have to go in these time things. So you had a joke that went there, it can't go anymore. You have to do it like this. Oh, you're following Jimmy and Seth, and the audience is kind of used to their formats. You can do things differently, but it has to start with a monologue. So you're gonna have to come up, you're gonna have to hit the mark, you have to do the monologue. So many times when I did that monologue, which was the worst part of the show, it was like a 10 minute monologue of mediocre jokes because I had a tiny writer's room and very few resources, this is to no discredit to the writers. I just had such few writers that were too overworked. There were episodes where I would miss the mark and I would mess up and it was the best part of the show and I would have to do it again to get it right. And I would always think, I can't, we just put the mess up on air. The best part of the show even beyond that was before we were even rolling, I would go out and I would warm up the audience and I would just riff with them and talk some jokes and it would be so just natural and funny and you would never see that in the show. Why? We didn't have enough cameras to shoot the audience. So we couldn't put it in the show. So the system was not built for breaking the mold. - At that time, did your gut tell you something was wrong? - Absolutely. From day one, I thought, this is going to be very hard. It's gonna be very hard to make something that I'm proud of here. And when I hated about it was the proudness and the pride was of something superficial. I was proud of the headline. I was proud of the historic nature of it. I was proud that I got to make history, but none of the work could back it up and that broke my heart every day to know that I'm just riding this headline and I'm not gonna be able to deliver on this. There was episodes, I vividly remember this. There was several episodes where I would be with my, we didn't even have a showrunner. It was my head of development for my production company who acted as the showrunner for the show. And I would be walking and the show would be starting in five minutes and we'd be going over the monologue and I looked at her one and I said, this is not funny and this is not good. And I don't wanna go out there and I don't wanna have to pretend it is. And she looked at me and she said, it's a quantity game, it's not a quality game. And that broke my heart because late night is a quantity game. I shot 96 episodes in three months and I don't wanna come across as if I'm complaining and all this, but I'm trying to highlight that it was very difficult for me to go into the system, being the control freak I am, being the disruptor and just try everything to disrupt it and it's just two rocks solid to be disrupted. - I asked these questions in part because I've just joined a show called Dragon's Den which is like Shark Tank. - Yeah, yeah, yeah. - And I've been five of us at the investor walks in and since then I've been offered a lot more shows, right? And I mean, you've been there, right? Loads of, loads of views coming in for shows, big promises, whatever. And some of them are really tempting 'cause it's like, oh, you're gonna be on Netflix but then my gut says to me, that's a shit show though. That is a piece of shit show. So I'm asking from a perspective of advice. When you find yourself in the shadow of a great temptation, you know, Steve Bartlett might be the first whatever, whatever, whatever. But I look at what's going on, the system in which I'd be operating as you did. What advice would you give to me based on the lesson you've learned in hindsight? - I will end this question by telling you exactly that, the lesson I learned, which is, it wasn't until the show finished that I really had to reflect on that experience and be like, what am I gonna do differently? You see, when I was offered the show, the first time it was brought to me, I actually said no. People don't know, I said no. And it disappeared for like a month and it came back to me again. And I thought, okay, the universe is sending this back to me again. Let me evaluate this. The reason I said no first was because I never grew up with the dream of being a late night host. I know some people have that experience where they're like, I grew up with late night television, watched every night. I don't think my mom could tell you what Jimmy's last name is. Like she, they never watched late night. I never grew up with that experience. So it wasn't my desire, it wasn't my passion to be a host. So that's why I said no. But when it came back around, and it was explained to me the historic nature of this, three things came into play. One, my sense of responsibility and duty and to my ego. Those things together, I was like, I wanna be part of this historic moment. That would be really cool. Also I have a responsibility for this because what if I say no, and it goes to someone else, then this history is never even made. And we never even got this shot. So all of these reasons that I thought were so valuable and valid is why I said yes. I was naive to think that that would be enough to get me through those long shoot days it wasn't. Because I would come home at the end of 96 episodes in three months, broken. And I would think that was not fun. And I didn't enjoy that. And I have no memory or no positive thought to even show for that hard work. I learned the value of having fun and doing things you're passionate about. I believe more than anything else, those are the things that actually contribute to longevity. More than anything else, even money. Ask any person with a lot of money. You'll go tired of money. You'll go tired of buying things. You will never grow tired of having fun and being passionate about something. And so since I wrapped that show, any project that comes to my desk now, my agents will be on the phone and we'll talk about the money for a while, we'll talk about the schedule for a while and then I'll dedicate an amount of time. I'll say, okay, now we're gonna talk about if I'm going to have fun. And if these people are actually nice to work with. And do I even care about this? Do I care about this? What does this, do I even care about the message here with this thing? And if my answers are no, my definition of success right now is that I will not say yes to it. I have to have fun right now where I am or I'm not successful. So that's my advice to you is don't undervalue fun and passion because those, you will never go tired of those things. - It makes it even more difficult in that situation where you're coming home after filming those.
The impact criticism had on you (42:50)
And that, by the way, which is a ridiculous number of anything to tell. - This should do the math for everyone. That's two to three episodes of the day. And traditionally, Lane Eyel still wanted it. - So you're coming home exhausted after doing something that you didn't find fun. And then the exacerbating factor of all of that, which I reflect on and I say to myself, Steve, would you've been able to deal with this part as well? Is the show was, by some people, well received, but by others heavily criticized. Specifically the community, which is the YouTube community you'd come from. People made very hurtful, very shallow, criticism, sometimes your personal criticisms about you and the show. - Yeah. - Unless you're the superwoman, which is the pseudonym I think you used to go under, that has got to, doing something you don't enjoy that is not aligned with you. And then being criticized for it, is like the holy trinity of a bad place to be, right? - 100%, even you saying this has given me a fourth pimple on my cheek. And I'm sweating because it does evoke an emotional response out of me. It's not just the YouTube community, it was the South Asian community that I got critics from. It was a queer community that Chris says. Every, in every community there was people, not all, but there were some people that were criticizing me. That's a really hard pill to swallow. When I just finished telling you that part of the reason I said yes to the show was to help pay the path. I felt a responsibility to communities. The tough part about being a minority, anything, is that so many people are counting on you to reflect their experience. The best you can do is reflect your own. The best I could have ever done is talk about my experience and my lived circumstances. That's never gonna satisfy over a billion South Asian people. Queer people, women, that's half of the population right there, there's no way. And that's the hard pill to swallow, so that you can go out there, try your best. And still, because you're the only one, people are gonna criticize you. I think that is not discussed enough about why it's so hard to break through. It's because so many people are counting on you and it's an unrealistic expectation. I also had to, and this is way easier said than done, and I'm still working on it, I had to learn not, and I mean this with love, but I mean this very bluntly, not to take advice from people, giving it from inside their comfort zone. The amount of people, especially on YouTube, that would criticize the jokes on my show, the delivery on my show, the sound quality of my show, without ever, never having stepped foot into a late night studio, is a logical person, I have to shut that down. Because that's the equivalent of me watching basketball and being like, you missed that three point shot, oh my God, I could never make that shot. So I really had to retrain my brain to take away value from certain people and add value. If Jimmy Fallon wanted to give me critique on my show, I would have been all ears and taken notes and been like, thank you so much. But if some person on the internet has never done this, I simply cannot take their critique seriously. And I know some people hear that and they think, that's a really perhaps snobby way of looking at things, but not really, no, practically speaking, you cannot take advice from people who are doing it from inside their comfort zone, 'cause they actually don't know what they're talking about. - In that period, and especially in this sort of, the cloud of that criticism, was there a particular day where you go, that was my hardest day? Emotionally, how I felt, where it all just got, 'cause I've had those moments in my life where all the factors just line up on one particular day, I think, fucking hell. - Yeah, yeah, yeah. This one's hard to talk about, but for the sake of having honest conversation, in my first season, the first season was by far way tougher than the second. The second, I tried to make it more fine, I put more of my team into the staff, but the first season was really tough. This was the 96 episodes in three months I talk of. This was, we didn't even have a showrunner. We had half a dozen writers, which is half of what usually late night shows have. I was just worked to such an extreme. Like, my from morning to night was just at that studio. I was a writer, I was trying to produce, I was trying to host, I was just in such a bad state. And one of the tasks that was on my plate, because of me, I said I had to do this, was I had to watch every single episode before it would air. So at the end of a shoot day, at like 10 p.m., I would sit alone in that studio, and I'd watch the episode to be like, is this good? And then one of the EPs said, you don't need to do this. We can watch the show for you, take this off your plate. And after much convincing, I was like, you know what? Today, I'm so tired, I'm not gonna watch this episode. This episode was my interview with Jessica Alba. And even though it was not the first episode to air, it was the first one we shot, 'cause we shot out of order. It was the very first episode we shot. I'm obviously so nervous, I'm so new to this, I'm trying to be funny. Jessica Alba had made a comment about her kids, and how they tied towels on their head with chirby twists. And in an effort to try to be funny, and try to sound personable, and make her kids not embarrassed, I said, oh, I have lots of friends that tied turbines. And in my head, when I said it, I was like, it's the coolest thing ever, there's nothing to be embarrassed about. Like, I'm so familiar. Of course, not hearing the sentence of towels on heads and turbines in the same sentence, and how that could be really problematic historically. That was the one and only episode I did not watch before it aired. The one out of 96 episodes, and the very next day, I was getting dragged on Twitter, the sick community was so upset at me, I apologize profusely, and I remember that day, I was just the lowest I've ever been where I thought, the community that I did this show for is pissed at me, because I nervously made a joke out of context. I didn't watch that one episode, so I beat myself up about that, and then I watched every single episode after that again, and tortured myself all over again. But that was really tough for me, to feel like I let so many people down, to feel that I didn't get the benefit of the doubt of just being a human being that was nervous and misspoke, and to also have this idea validated my brain that, oh, if you don't do 300%, if you don't watch every episode, if you don't do every job, it's gonna come back to bite you. So that was a very unhealthy moment for me, and that was a really tough day. - If I was a fly on the wall that day, in your room, in your bedroom, what would I have seen? - A lot of crying, I think I cried, in my green room that day, I remember my friend actually came to visit me because he was like, oh, I know you're in bad state, I didn't even realize he was there, I was just staring into space, the whole day just, I just felt like, "Rabb, the whole day, for weeks, I still do, talking about it, I still feel like crap." - Did you have anxiety at the time? - I developed it during season one of the show, for sure. - I developed it. - I never was an anxious person. I think 2019, this show, maybe even leading up to the show, I definitely developed anxiety, for sure, where I would like be in my green room, not being able to control my body's responses, not being able to control my thoughts, like that definitely was something that developed during that first season of late night. - And then the second season, you enjoyed it much more? - I enjoyed it much more, because I was able to make some changes. I thought we're not gonna shoot in a studio, we're gonna shoot in a house, I'm not gonna do a monologue, I'm gonna do a rant. These things alleviated some of the pressure from me. Did I still think it was the most amazing thing we ever made? No, I thought it was better, but the thing is, people had already made up their mind after the first season. After that first season, because it wasn't instantly, which is another tough thing about any new voice, trying to do anything, if you don't impress people right away, they're giving up on you. Like the second season of the show, I truly believe if that was the first season of the show, people would have been like, "Oh, she actually broke the mold, "she's doing something different." But you can't get there, you gotta go through the process, trial and error, you gotta, every show in history is taking many seasons to find its voice and find its footing. But it's the, when you are a minority, you're just not given the benefit of the doubt, you know? - There's something that I really take away from this as well, which kind of goes back to the first question I asked on the topic, which is that even in the face of like temptation, I need to make sure that I hold onto my values, my professional, you know, my personal values. And, you know, people offering me a Netflix show, whatever, if it compromises my like creative and personal values, then I have to say no, regardless of temptation, until they are going to allow me to do it in line with who I am, like the creativity that you have that made you successful. - May I offer you a devil's advocate perspective here? - Because I've also had this conversation I bring lots and lots of times. I wish that, I'm gonna speak from the South Asian experience specifically as well because that's my lived experience, but I wish we could hold out for when we're allowed to do things exactly how we want to for them to get done. I truly believe if we were to all do that, nothing would get made. And I think that everything is progress. And so I think it's balancing the line of like, I wanna be treated my passion, my vision, but there is a little bit of compromise I have found has to happen and as painful as it is, that's why I don't regret the late night show, I think that compromise had to happen. Because when you, when I'm in rooms right now, it's my production company and I'm having meetings with Netflix and the Hulu's and all these people, the room of people giving me notes do not look like me, they still do not. So the option I have is to mold the show into a way that is slightly palatable for them. So it gets made so that another show like this could potentially get made. And I use Never Have I Ever as an example. The historic show on Netflix is number one in 30 countries. Because of that show, other shows like that will get green. Other South Asian stories will get greenlit because of that show. So that show has proved to be a great path paper for sure. Do I believe in my heart that that's the exact show the creators wanted to make and that they didn't have to, no, I think they had to understand that progress has to be made. So often when I'm in these rooms, I get irked. And I think you're not understanding the cultural nuance, I don't wanna cave on this, I don't wanna explain to you what Diwali is, I don't wanna have to phrase this like this. I have to ask myself the question, is it better to hold my ground and have the show not be made? Or is it better to get it made 70% of the way I want it to be made so that the next iteration of the show can be 80%. And then 90% and then 100%. That is the reality of minority storytelling right now. And I wish it wasn't, but that's what it is. So it's negotiating that reality a little bit as well.
What happened after the show got cancelled? (53:36)
- And that's not just a just a minority storytelling thing. That's like I was thinking about various facets of life and business and negotiation when there are multiple factors at play, there are stakeholders who have a say, they're investors, there is a timeline that constrains you, there's a limitation on resources as you described, all of these factors cause an unavoidable compromise where you have to go, you know, but I guess it's that balancing act of like what are my non-negotiables then? What am I completely not willing to negotiate on? After the second season of the call, you get a call saying that the show is not gonna be continued. Tell me about that though. - So I'm gonna describe it as mutual, although yes, the network does control like what they're gonna put money towards or not. I was secretly hoping two things and they're both completely contradictory. Half of me was like, I know this show was a win for the community, it has to keep going, it has to keep going or else it's gonna be a fail for the community. So I wanted it to keep going. The second part of me was, I really hope this show doesn't keep going cause I'm going to literally collapse and die if this keeps going. And I always judge things by what my gut reaction is to them. So when I got that call, my gut reaction was actually relief. That's how I knew that it was the universe doing me a favor I would never do for myself. Cause if they let me, I would have tortured myself for 10 more seasons, honestly, I would have. The universe gave me so they would have never got myself. I got that call, I felt a wave of relief knowing I would never have to torture myself in that exact situation again. But it also going back to what our purpose is and getting clarity, it made things a lot more clear in my mind. And in that moment, I was able to see, oh, this has been a huge distraction from what I actually care about and I actually wanna do. This was an obligation. This was something I thought I had to do. This is not my passion. It was never your passion. Never once did I say I wanted to be a late night host. I did say I wanted to act. I did say I wanted to tell stories. I wanted to produce all of those ambitions paused during the late night show. I couldn't audition. I couldn't do anything else. I literally sacrificed two years of my life for something that I didn't even wanna do. That's a sad, sad thing. That's a sad realization. So I think I was rewarded with a lot of clarity in that moment. - But what did your ego say in that moment? - Well, obviously my ego was bruised. Of course my ego was bruised. I didn't do good enough if I had done better. I'd let people down. I should have gotten more seasons. This is a bad look. How do I make myself seem like a winner? All of that stuff. - Yeah, very honest. - Yeah, super honest. - I would have gone through the same thing. I have things in my life at the moment where I'm in the exact same position where I'm like, I don't know if I love doing this, but if I was fired from doing it or if they said they don't wanna continue, I would be in the same conflict. Like I think there's certain things in my life that aren't aligned with me completely, but at the same time, you kinda wanna make sure it's done on your own terms. And that's the ego, right? - No one wants to be rejected. No one wants to be canceled. No one wants to feel like they could not do something, especially publicly, right? It's not a private rejection. It's a public. It's a very public or type of a rejection. So definitely my ego was bruised. And I think more than anything, I learned from that experience that part of the problem is that I easily put labels on myself. And I think we do this to ourselves and to do it with other people as well. I just kept calling myself first late night host, first this, first late night host has to do this and I have to do this. And that pressure, like I'm not just that. I'm someone who tried really hard at this new thing and had to learn and knew like all that context is worthwhile context. So now when I think about myself through that context, I have more compassion for myself. And it pains me that other people also didn't give me that context, but I can't control it. The people I can control myself. I do that to myself. As harsh as other people were, to me, I was way more harsh. I had to put way more pressure on myself. And since that experience, I have also learned to not label myself. So I just got this new show, this Muppet Show, that I was like, wanted so badly. And I was like, oh my God, I have to get this. I have to get this. This is gonna be a life changing thing. And the day I got it, I had to have a talk with myself to be like, you are not now the lead of the Muppet Show. That's not now your label. You will not now describe yourself as this thing. Because then that's just gonna be the late night host again. It's gonna be the YouTube sensation again. You are Lily. You are a complete human being. This is a cool thing you get to do. That's one of your goals, great. You get to do it, you get to experience it, but this is not now your definition. The thing part of that struggle with late night was, it just became every part of who I was. And so people weren't criticizing the show, they were criticizing me. They were criticizing every part of me and who I was. And that's just a really unhealthy boundary. - Amen. - And people do that. I noticed I've done that more in my life when I didn't think I was enough. So my identity or the label would make me make sense to the world. It would make me put me in a community. I would become social media CEO. And then the problem is social media CEO, any of these labels you describe comes with a set of implicit instructions on how to behave and how to be and how to act. And that can be really imprisoning. Generally, I wrote this chapter in my book called "Resisting Your Labels" because of how imprisoning they've been in my whole life. And also, as we're gonna get into with you now, when I left my label, so when I was no longer a social media CEO, I had a bit of an existential crisis. And life goes, well, just go be another one again, because that's what you are. And I think that's when people have these like midlife crises where they realize they spent the last 10 years or whatever being the label and not the person. You leave the late night show. How was life like for the next year? - Well. - And the pandemic rolls in. - Exactly. That was right around the time of the pandemic. So I think that was a very strange time because I couldn't bounce back into anything else, really. Everything was shut down. And my plate was pretty empty because my gigs were canceled, my travels were canceled, projects were canceled, everything was paused. So it was a very hard time to let go of something that was keeping you busy and that was how you defined yourself. Through the pandemic, and I think a lot of people can agree with this, the biggest silver lining was the work I was forced to do on myself. And it was when I wrote this second book, "Be a Triangle." Because the thing about the pandemic was, it wasn't just that I didn't know what to do with my time. It was that it was the first time I was faced with the reality of me not believing I had any value 'cause I didn't have work. And that was a sad, scary realization for me. It was the first time my schedule allowed me to sit there and be like, now I'm alone. And I'm with my thoughts. And I feel like I'm ceasing to exist as a person 'cause I don't have a purpose and I don't have value. And that's really sad because that means every time work goes away, I will feel this way. And that's not what I want. That's not setting me up for success. That's not setting me up for a spiritually happy life. And so I did the work to really dive deep into my soul and be like, you're gonna figure this out. And what I came to the conclusion of is that I don't have any original thoughts when it comes to who I am as a person and what I want out of life and what I value out of life. Everything I've operated on has been what people have told me. Whether it's school, whether it's my parents, whether it's society, I have never given thought into what it is I actually want. I never thought that was an option. It sounds ridiculous to say, but I guarantee you people that are listening to this will actually also think and be like, "Wait, have I ever done that? "Have I ever stopped to be like, "let me work on myself like a project "and let me actually think about life "as it's the greatest project I remember we're gonna work on?" And so I vow during the pandemic to create a strong foundation for my life. Well, what does that mean? 'Cause that's a fluff word and I hate fluff words. You've already expressed I hate fluff words. And so how I define a foundation is I wanted to create a safe place in my mind that I could return home to that was not connected to anything external and not connected to what was happening in my life. Because my biggest fear was that the pandemic would be over and then I would have worked up happening again. And then again, I would just teeter to happy, sad, success, fail, whatever was happening in my life, I would change to my core and I didn't like that. I wanted to create something that was true to me and no matter if I won 15 Oscars from tomorrow or I fail tomorrow, that safe place in my mind would still exist. And so that's what I did in this book. I came up with four things that I don't think will ever change in my life to make up the foundation of that safe place in my mind. - And that's why you called it.
What makes up the foundation of your life? (01:01:52)
- Well, good, good, good, good question. He's like, so the Illuminati? No. - They're triangle. - Yeah. - So when I discovered that a foundation is what I needed to create, I jumped onto Google and I was just like, how to build a strong foundation foundation and Google spit back the triangle? Because structurally speaking, the triangle is the strongest shape. It has the strongest foundation out of any shape. And then I started to think about triangles a lot and I was like, oh, my brain is very visual, like I expressed and I think of things in diagrams and I started to visualize a triangle and I thought the shape is actually really interesting because when you add to any other shape, you change the shape. It turns into something else. You add to a square, it becomes a rectangle. You add to a circle, it becomes an oval. You add to a triangle, it stays a triangle. It just becomes a bigger triangle. And I thought, that's really interesting. I wanna build my life like that where no matter what happens, what experiences come my way, I'm still building on this foundation that will not change. Because especially in this industry and all industries, actually you could really easily lose yourself but what's happening in your life. But the goal is to create something that doesn't allow that to happen and the triangle is the perfect shape for that. - And what is the, what constitutes your foundation? What are the ingredients of your foundation if it was a recipe? - Yeah. So I talk about four things that make up the foundation of my triangle. I know the hardest part of this book was figuring out what those four things are. And how I did it was I looked for several months, I looked at every struggle and issue or conflict in my life and I looked at it through the lens of four things. That was one way I determined them. The second way was what are four things that will never ever change, no matter what's happening in my life. So I came up with four pillars, which are relationship to yourself, relationship to the universe, understanding distraction and implementing design. I think no matter where you are in your life, who you are, what job you have, what country you live in, how old you are, those four things are always true in your life and it is the lens to which you can look at everything in your life through. - I had a few words to say about one of my sponsors on this podcast. As you might know, crafted one of the sponsors of this podcast and crafted are a jewelry brand and they make really meaningful pieces of jewelry. And this piece by Crafted, when I put it on, for me it represents courage, it represents ambition, it represents being calm and loving and respectful and nurturing while also being the antithesis of that, seemingly the antithesis of that, which is sometimes a little bit aggressive with my goals and determined and courageous and brave. The really wonderful thing about Crafted Jewelry is it's super affordable, it looks amazing, the pieces hold tremendous meaning and they are really well made. - On the point of distraction, which I was gonna talk about 'cause it was a big part of your book and you referenced there that the pandemic was the only time in your life where you'd really been forced to all the distraction fell away and you were left with yourself.
Panic attacks, meditation, and breath works (01:04:25)
So many people that I know and I'm sure you can relate to this, fill their lives with distraction and noise and things and busyness to avoid stillness, to avoid meditation or taking time for their own mind. You've picked up meditation and breath work and things like that. Can you speak to me a little bit about the impact that's had on you, specifically breath work because I'm getting a little bit more into this at the moment and when I read that you'd start doing it, I thought, oh. And I'm still, let me preface this by saying, I'm still novice and there's much to learn. I'm just starting my journey with really getting into meditation and breath work but I, over the past year, started to have, so this is from a scientific point of view before I even hit the spiritual point of view, I started to have panic attacks which I thought I knew what they were. I think most people who have not had a panic attack, they think it's the same as an anxiety attack. They think it's like, oh, you're really stressed and you don't know how to deal with what's happening in your life. That's what I thought a panic attack was until I had a panic attack and I was like, oh, it's very different. The first time it happened, I dismissed it 'cause I was like, I don't know what that was. The second time it happened, I was like, this is a recurring thing. I was talking to my friend and we were talking about something so unrelated. It was like, he was telling me a funny story about work and suddenly in my brain, I started to get outside my body. Like I was watching myself and I started to have these really strange thoughts. Like, I think I'm gonna take my head and slam it against the table for no apparent reason and I'm not gonna be able to stop myself. And then I started spiraling up like and then they're gonna have to call the ambulance and I'm gonna be bleeding. And everyone's gonna be like, and then it's just like you progressively are just spiraling to being sure that you're gonna smack your head against the table and nothing you say can change your mind. This is a minute of just completely irrational, dangerous thought. And then suddenly I was like, oh wait, no, no, I can stop myself from hitting my head on the table. Of course I can stop myself. That is a panic attack. It's happened once before to me when I was driving and I was like, I'm gonna drive off this cliff and there's nothing I can do that's gonna stop me. I won't be able to control myself, it's gonna happen. When that sort of happened, I talked to my therapist about it. And she explained to me that as someone who always operates on 10, because I'm always just working really hard and I'm always thinking about the next thing and I'm an all or nothing type person, I'm an obsessive personality, that some things can trigger my nervous system, just go a little bit into overdrive and that's the body's response. It's going into overdrive, your nervous system doesn't know what to do. Breathwork really helps with that. It's just bringing your nervous system back down to a state that's not an 11, you're bringing it back down. So from a scientific point of view, breathwork has been my saving grace to just health. Having said that from spirituality, it's just my belief of, you know, I talk about these pillars and I talk about a connection with yourself. Meditation is you making time for the partnership with yourself. You know, I believe we're all in a relationship to ourself, whether we wanna acknowledge it or not. Most of us are bad partners to ourselves. We don't make time for ourselves, we don't listen to ourselves. If anyone treated us how we treat ourselves, we would not be in a relationship with that person, probably. So meditation is more than anything else. It's not about religion, it's not about doing something so specifically, it's about making time to be in a relationship with yourself. And that's something I really, really value. And I think that's a huge form of self love. So from a spiritual point of view also, meditation is my everything. - Some people are really avoidant of like that time with themselves there. - I think I'm gonna do stuff. - Sometimes when I talk about meditation, a common response I get is, oh, I'm not good at that, that doesn't work for me. And I ask why and they say, "Well, I can't turn my brain off, "I have all these thoughts that go in my brain "and then so I'm not doing it right." And my response to them is, who says that's not right? Maybe what you need is to hear those thoughts. Maybe you've not given your brain a chance to get those thoughts out and what you need during meditation is just to hear those thoughts. Who says that's wrong? The only thing meditation, the only, I'd say there's one rule of meditation is just spending time with yourself. Whether that's you hearing these thoughts that are uncomfortable. It's not about problem solving, it's not about solving everything, it's just about giving time to yourself, allowing yourself the space and energy to be like, I care about myself, I dedicated these 15, 20 minutes to hearing myself out. That is the only thing.
Interpersonal Relationships And Personal Perspectives
Struggling to form friendships (01:08:41)
- In the book as well, I think chapter six, you talked a little bit about your difficulties with making friends as an adult. - Yes, yes. So one of the things that I have come to terms with is that I, like I've been mentioning, I'm a very all or nothing type person across the board. And it has been good in some instances because it has allowed me success in my career, but it's bad in some instances because when human things don't live up to my expectation, I write them off. In situations where I don't have to, I'm throwing a party. This party has to be the best. Everyone in the RSVP has to show up. And if they, and so I thought this amazing party that everyone has fun at, but if one person didn't show up, that said they were gonna show up, in my brain I go, well, it was nothing. It wasn't good. It wasn't exactly what I thought, if it's all or nothing, there's no middle. I have learned that that is not healthy and that's also hinders me because there will be no joy and there will be no celebration. There will be no progress if you're all or nothing. I did that with friendships. I told this to Jay. Jay is my friend in LA, but for a long time I struggled because my definition of friendship was all, which meant you have to know me since I was a kid, you have to know me before I was famous, you have to know me before all of these things. So that's a true friend. And so my definition of friendship was very rigid. And so when I met Jay later on in my life, I struggled with that because I was like, he's such a good friend. He's so supportive, but ah, he didn't know me. Like how my other friends know me from back in Toronto. So I don't really know if this is a real friendship. No, you gotta let go of these definitions and these labels we put on things and be a little more organic with things because that's where humans lie in that compromised organic space. - When I heard the thing, the analysis you gave about the party, one person not showing up and you being like, well, then it's not perfect. That sounded probably like also the underlying reason why you were so successful. - Yeah, that's what I'm saying. So that's why it's been so hard to challenge that belief because it has served me so well. So I think now what I'm learning is when that serves me and when it doesn't. That's actually been a lot of my work in this book. It's not being mad at myself for having certain patterns and not trying to completely do a 180 and be like, now I'm not that person anymore. It is learning which ideas serve me well in certain circumstances and which ones do not. It's unlearning this idea that I have to be one thing all the time. For example, speaking of labels, I call myself a hustler. I hustle really hard as I hold my whole brand. And I found that on days when I was lazy and I felt like just so tired, there would be a lot of resistance in my brain because I wasn't living up to my own label. I was doing the opposite of this label I put on myself, but I've learned. You cannot be everything all the time. We exist on various places, on various spectrums. And so it's not about changing who you are as a person. It's about learning what ideas serve you well in certain circumstances and which ones do not. And then on and off, on and off, on and off. - Have you got a lot of friends? - People might think I have a lot of friends. I don't know, I wouldn't say I have a lot of friends. I think I have a good number of friends. And it depends how I define friends. People that I can call and ask how they are without an agenda for the phone call. - Like friends? - Five, four, five. I think that's a good number. I'm not mad at that number. - Yeah, I mean, it's a good number, I think. Especially as we get older, me and Jay, we're talking about Jay Shetti, by the way. Me and Jay, we're talking about the Sea of the Day about how when you get older in life as well, the amount of friends you have, it becomes increasingly harder. You don't have the work thing, you don't have the university school, whatever. So really, it's more about depth and quantity as opposed to what your producer is doing. - It's also a little bit about, listen, my experience, watching the adults in my life as a kid, they never prioritized friendship and they never place value in friendship. And so I believe for a long time that as you grow up, you need to value the companion you have as a partner and that takes the place of friendship. And you don't have time for friendship 'cause you have a job. I have since unsubscribed to that idea. I never saw anyone value friendship, that doesn't mean I can't value friendship as an adult. I've actually learned this from Jay, Jay's very good at maintaining friendships. Jay's the type of person that will message you with no adjutators like, "Hey, just checking in, just saying hi." So I've started to reciprocate that to him and call him and FaceTime him just to be what's up. But that's something I had to actively learn because growing up, I don't think I could name one adult that was like, "I'm gonna go out with my friends." - Were you comfortable with friendship in both Platonic and romantic? Were you comfortable with it? 'Cause I remember thinking, 'cause I grew up in a similar way. I genuinely would cringe and feel deeply uncomfortable when someone said the best friend. - Oh, I don't use a term best friend even today. Even today, I use the term. - Steve is my best friend and my body would like Shada. - Oh no, my God, I'm so glad you said this because everyone knows I do not use, unless we're talking about my dog, who can do no wrong, I do not use the term best friend because I do have this little bit of like, cringe-ness where I'm like, "That means I rely on you and work with the head of that "and if I want that." - There is a little bit of work to be done, there's still. But yeah, that's interesting, I thought that was only me. - No, I think I said this to a couple of guests and you're the first one to buy it. - 100%, 100%. People that are so like, "Oh, they're my best friend." I'm like, "Oh, sounds dangerous." - But that, I've learned that with that comes a commitment issue romantically. So I also would run from any prospective sort of romantic commitment because that also felt like a bird trapped in a cage, a fella prison to me. So in the same way that friendship was just like, "Yeah." - I think it's because my parents weren't affectionate. They weren't affectionate at all, to be honest. We didn't have that very close relationship that a lot of my white friends did. I didn't even call my mum and dad, my mum and dad. I called them by their names. I mean, you probably can't do that. - No, I can never get slapped up in the face if I did that. - It was just a distance. - I think also what it is is, you know, I talk a lot in the book about unsubscribing two ideas that do not serve us. But I encourage people to look at everything in their life as an idea. A lot of things we think are fact and our rules are just ideas. There's still just ideas. So what we even think of friendships supposed to look like, what we think a relationship is supposed to look like, how we think a romantic relationship is supposed to be. Those are all just ideas. And I think because I thought there were facts, like it has to look one way, I resisted that a lot. Just like I did with friendship, I just told you. With romantic relationships, I did the same thing. That means that you have to sacrifice a lot. There's a lot of compromise. You can design any relationship the way you want as long as two people are on the same page. So I encourage everyone to think about that. I think what has really helped me get over some of the anxiety with commitment and relationships is it doesn't have to be this idea of what I think. It doesn't need to be this one way. I can design one that works for me and someone else as long as we're on the same page. - I'm trying to figure out where to go with this 'cause I wanna go down the relationship route.
What does success mean to you? (01:15:11)
But I'm also, there's a point, you're talking about unsubscribing from ideas. One of the ideas you talk about and subscribing from in the book in chapter three is about the idea of success and what that is and the definition of it. If Lily at 60 years old told me she was successful, what would that mean? - See, if you asked me this years ago, I would have answered this question in relation to accolades. I would have said-- - Ennumbis. - I would have said, oh, that means she's made, had made several movies that are box office hits. Now my answer, and it's been a hard journey to get here, but genuinely my answer is that at 60 years old, I still fully understand and believe I'm a complete human being and everything that has happened is just extra cool stuff. My goal is to never write another book. Truly. I know I said that from my first book and I'm saying it again right now. My goal is that this book can be the blueprint for that safe place in my life forever that I never have to make another blueprint. That is true. If I never write another book again, that means that I was successful in this week. So truly 60 years from now, I wanna know that I'm fully complete and anything that would have happened or didn't happen or just life experiences, gold, cool, stir stuff, but I'm not lesser or more because of it. Relationships then, romantic ones.
Relationships and expectations (01:16:31)
Yes. Have you been at a difficult to date? Difficult to find romantic love? Probably. Absolutely, I'm sure all of my actors right now were like, do you have to think about that? Absolutely. If I asked your exes why it was, you were, in their point of view, why you were difficult, what would be the common response, the most common response? That, a few things. One would be that I have an inability to forgive. Ooh. I do. That I am very transparent about. This might scare people off, but as soon as I know I'm gonna get into a relationship with someone, I very honestly tell them. I say, one of my weaknesses is that if you lie to me or wrong me and betray my trust, it is very difficult for me to trust you again, even if every part of me wants to, I will not be able to. And I tell people this very, very honestly. What does that come from? I'll tell you right now. I didn't know, first I thought it was like, oh, for my childhood from this, but no, I think that's all a lie. I think my inability to forgive people stems from my inability to forgive myself. I think that because I expect perfection from myself and I for so long didn't give myself grace to be human, I didn't give people grace to be human either. And as I've done the work to treat myself like more of a human and to have the inner dialogue of like, it's okay, it's okay, you don't always have to be perform, you don't always have to be perfect, you're allowed to be a human, you're allowed to be lazy, you're allowed to be flawed. The more I've done that work, I have given people permission to do that as well in my relationships. I've noticed since writing this book, one of the biggest changes I've seen in my relationships is that I can actually forgive people now. And I think it's because I've learned to forgive myself. I've learned to embrace humans for being humans and that started with myself. So that is something that next would definitely say. Also with the fact that I have very high expectations. All of my exes will say I have absurdly high expectations. Ouch. Yeah. That's a tough one, the expectation one. Are you in love now? I'm in love with myself, which is the most important love I think. And I think that's perhaps why I was never a good partner before. I don't think I was ever unconditionally in love with myself. My love for myself was always very conditional. Always based on my performance, always based on my ability to accomplish, never just for like the things that were me. You know, you had such a high standard for yourself. You talked about that obsessiveness and even that the party, if one person's not there, it's not perfect. Are you saying that that same level of expectation would sometimes be mirrored onto the person you'd expect them to be wildly ambitious? Or because I had this perspective on like, why aren't you changing the world? Why aren't you on a trip? Some of my past relationships, definitely it would irk me if I was working and the person I was with was not. And I don't even mean how to job. I mean, if I'm working at two in the morning, you should be working at two in the morning. We should both be equalism. I know it sounds ridiculous and I'm admitting that I was wrong. And that's a not a good perspective to have. But that's how I felt. Like I once went equally as ambitious. Since then what I have learned is that what I thought I wanted, if I was actually dating someone that was just like me, that would be horrific. Me and Jay talk about this all the time. Me and Jay talk about how both of us in some part of our life thought that we wanted to be with someone just like us. Me and Jay are so similar. We, in any time anyone is having a disagreement, we take the same side. We always have the same perspective. We're so similar. And since meeting Jay, I've learned that, oh, if me and Jay were in a relationship, we would kill each other. We would actually hate each other because there's no balance there. You need someone to balance you out and bring something else to the table. - Amen. - And I have fully acknowledged that now. And I think I was a little delusional in some of my past relationships, thinking I wanted me. But I don't. No, but none of you might think you want that, but you would kill that person. - You're totally right.
What's the hardest question you could be asked? (01:20:41)
My girlfriend now is very much in every way, the opposite of me. And that is in fact, as you've described, that is actually the value of our relationship is one plus one equal equal three, when we have different perspectives and healthy debates around things like that. - Right. - I've never asked anybody this question before, but I'm-- - Oh my God, I love it. Hit me. - What is the one question? 'Cause when I saw that you're in a book tour at the moment, you've got a great book that's just come out April 14th. And on that, I was watching you do all of these interviews and you're doing some great shows and things. And I was thinking to myself, having been in this process over the last week where everyone's asking you questions, what is the most uncomfortable question you think that I could ask you? - That would make me feel uncomfortable? - Yeah. - It can be a topic or a question. - You kind of already asked it, to be honest. For me, I get very uncomfortable when we talk about people critiquing things I worked very hard on, because those are my babies. My projects are my babies. And it, to be just really blunt, it hurts my feelings. And I think I thought for a long time I had to put on a facade that it doesn't hurt my feelings, but it does. I think I am a sensitive artist in a lot of ways. And so, the question you asked about people criticizing the show, I think that is the most uncomfortable question you could probably ask. Aside from that, another really uncomfortable question, I have been asked this though, is in the book I talk about my experience coming out to my parents. And that is really uncomfortable because, I'll just be really honest, a lot of times when anyone tells a story about their coming out experience, people's instant reaction is, you're right, everyone should have been very understanding. You should have been cared for and nurtured and accepted right away. That is the default answer. It was a very difficult thing for me to do, to go against that. And in the book, talk about how I was wrong in that moment. Because I didn't do that before. I came out to my parents, I was offended by their lack of instant accommodation and celebration, they were very supportive. They said everything that they knew how to say at that time, because it was not instant celebration. I judged them harshly for that. And that's a hard thing to admit when you're the one coming out. Because by default, like I said, everyone thinks you're right. Never thinks you should be celebrating, accepted right away. And to actually challenge that idea and say, no, actually that's not where humans operate from, this place of instant knowledge and accommodation, it's actually a learning process and we should meet in the middle and we should be compassionate. That's not a popular opinion, I don't think. And so that was difficult for me to talk about. - It's definitely the most mature, useful position. And you've expressed at the very start of this conversation when you highlighted your parents context, in regards to the potentially the mistakes they made and the lessons they taught you before the age of 10. And you talk about that in the book as well, understanding the, having empathy for their context and how that formed their reaction to that situation, I think is just the most amazing place to be in. Because then you don't, I mean, the first thing that comes to mind is you're not gonna walk around with resentment that they went, you know, they went perfect as you might see in like a fake movie or something. But also it, I think you can have better communication when you are able to lean into their world and understand them. And it tends to be the case you'll know, 'cause I haven't, my mum's from Nigeria, I was born in Africa. Like in all facets of like the first generation, second generation immigrant story, you actually tend to both want the same thing. So your parents want you to do-- - Which have different ways of going about it. - Yeah, right? Because they don't, as you say, like often, they don't know about YouTube. So Dr. A lawyer was the path to the happy, successful, secure life, right? And I think immigrants, like I had to with my mum, when I said I'm starting a business, I'm never speaking to you ever again. You didn't speak for two years. Not just that, I'm gonna tell all your family, not to speak to you. So it's having, it took me a long time to get to the place you got to. - Yeah, and it took me long too. I also for two years was like held resentment against my parents. And I created that drift. And that was how I learned this lesson. And I think it's also because the world today, the internet today, social media today, really, really encourages us to label situations, conversations and things very easily, right, wrong, canceled. You made a mistake, you cannot redeem yourself. You are now bad, you are now good. That is not how humans operate. It is not a realistic lens through which you should view humans. To expect people to know everything you know, without having your lived experience is a really entitled place to come from. And I'm even gonna challenge people online that cancel people for saying incorrect things and behaving in incorrect ways and the person can apologize over and over again. We don't accept apology. We're creating a culture of expecting other people to operate from our lived experiences. How is that possible? How was that remotely possible? My mom did not grow up with Lady Gaga Bops. She did not grow up with queer culture. So for me to expect her to operate from a place of my lived experience, how was that math ever gonna add up? It's never going to. And I know online we like to sit on our high horse and think it will, but it will never, it will never add up. That's an unpopular opinion, I'm sure on Twitter, but that's okay, I will die on this hill. No, I think it's a popular opinion. It's definitely a popular opinion here. Okay, good. So when you look off into your future, you've got a lot going on movies, Disney+, there's all these other things happening in your life now. What is the next? And I'm scared of us sort of falling into accolades and numbers and accomplishments. No, that's okay. But what is the next thing? There's a time and place for those conversations. I'm happy. The goals that I have for myself are associated with elevating storytelling. So I do definitely want to be on screen and behind the camera and produce and write and start in stories that highly underrepresented voices. That is something I'm really passionate about because I believe stories make the world go around. Stories are how I understand myself and other people. And I think there's, not every story has to be about everyone, but there should be stories for everyone. And so I'm very passionate about that. And I just love being creative in that way. So I think acting, producing, I have a book club called Lily's Library that's all about South Asian stories as well. That's just something I'm, that's just what I'm most passionate about. So I think most of my goals will align with that.
Interaction With Guests
Our last guest's question (01:27:10)
- Lily, thank you for writing such a great book. And I think there's gonna be so many people that are listening to this now. - I appreciate it. - That have heard the context of the journey that led up to you creating this book that might be having questions about their own foundation. - And I also will say, I don't know if you can see if anyone was watching this, it's a short read. It's a short concise and I guarantee you will hear my voice reading it to you because I've written it in that way. So how many pages is that? - 93. - 93, and now we're read. - No it is, it's really digestible. It's a type of handbag book that you could travel with. And really, if you're one of those people that doesn't like tiny letters and thousands of pages, this is definitely a book for you. And it's written from such a place of as you've expressed today, self awareness, wisdom and vulnerability. And those are always the best books because they are the truest and the most necessary. So thank you for creating a wonderful book. We do have a closing tradition on this podcast. - Let's do it. - Which is the previous guest. Right, the question for the next guest. - Ooh, nice. - Okay, how many times have you been properly in love? - I'm gonna say, perhaps including with myself three times. And I'm not just thinking about love romantically. I don't think love is just romantically. I think one time romantically, I think one time with myself. And I think one time after writing this book, truly, truly, truly, when I saw my mother for all the glory that she is. Like I have no problem saying I'm in love with my mom and the person she is. I was gonna answer with a higher number, but for me what translated, what I, the synonym I used for properly was, how many times have you been in love where both people in the equation became better versions of themselves? And that's what eliminated a few of the numbers. I think in every scenario, I'm talking about both people were better versions of themselves because of the love. - It's a beautiful answer. Once romantically. - Once romantically. - Figure out what you want to be in today. You know it's just like, you know who you are. - Thank you, thank you. - I know you're here, thank you so much. - I appreciate it, this is such a joy, thank you.