Leisse Wilcox is a transformational coach, a single mother of three girls, a podcast host and wrote her first book while undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Leisse is a lightworker and alchemist and I'm so inspired by her story. I can't wait to share this conversation with you. Let's jump in.
"To Call Myself Beloved" What a title, can you walk us through what experiences birthed this particular book for you and why you landed on this powerful title?
The title of my book, the name of my podcast, and the first line of my second tattoo are from one of my favourite poems, that I found in a very difficult season of my life. It’s by Raymond Carver, and to me, it’s a reflection of a woman at the end of her life, a conversation between her and God, that goes like this:
And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.
I get the shivers every time I read it; I first read it when I was going through the single most painful experience of my life, divorce, and I got so much clarity from it: this is the point, this is the goal, simply to call myself beloved and feel myself beloved on the earth.
I had struggled with very low self-worth, which was mine to confront and overcome. The ending isn’t flashy, it isn’t a big fanfare: it’s feeling completely at peace within yourself and knowing without question that you belong to you.
I had it inked on my right forearm using my own handwriting as the font as a “casual reminder” of the task I had in front of me, and how I would know when I got there.
Circling back to the book (and the podcast) and the why behind the title is exactly that: this is the book I wish I had had when I was starting over from scratch, going from a stay at home mom with a teaching degree and three kids to building an empire in my tiny corner of the world. It’s informed by my own experiences that have lead me to feel and heal from childhood trauma, divorce, and the trifecta of breast cancer…and it’s backed up by my relentless pursuit of education, through my formal training as a Neuro Linguistic Programming and Emotional Freedom Therapy coach…and otherwise keen observer of the human experience.
It’s a way to make all the things I’ve learned through my personal and professional expertise, and wrap it up with a beautiful bow, and deliver it with the intention of having a massive ripple effect - simply by giving people the permission to be themselves, and an example of the freedom and beauty that happens when you do.
For those who aren't as familiar with your work, can you share a bit about yourself personally and the work you do?
I used to introduce myself as a professional human and real life adult - because I wear a lot of hats and play a lot of roles. I have built a private coaching practice in which I specialize in “Emotional Alchemy,” the term I use to describe the process of taking what has felt dark and heavy, and turning it into something beautiful and gold, uniquely your own.
In addition to private coaching I offer a group coaching mastermind, and just launched two self-study online courses.
Because I’ve built my business using Instagram as a platform, I do some social influencing with brands that have an intention for high impact positive change.
I host a top podcast, To Call Myself Beloved, am joining the season 2 cast of the upcoming docuseries The Social Movement (which is effectively intention-centred reality tv)…and I am raising my three daughters as a solo parent. They’re nine, seven and seven, and I am always incredibly grateful that I have managed to create a life that allows me to do the work I love while being a very present and nurturing mom.
In our initial email communication you said a sentence that gave me goosebumps "I wrote a fucking book - and wait for it, because I WROTE THE BOOK PROPOSAL DURING CHEMOTHERAPY" - talk to us about your diagnosis and navigating this in parallel with life!
That was a crazy experience, that simultaneously confirmed for me that this life is fleeting and yours to live freely, and that trusting the process with grace and deep faith is the only way through.
I was 36 and at a cabin in the woods when I felt a lump in my left breast - I loved my breast so much that I would walk around holding them without even really noticing. In doing that, I felt something I knew did not belong, and I felt the colour drain out of me.
3 months and a couple of misdiagnoses later, I was in the thick of accepting that I did indeed have an aggressive cancer, that would demand equally aggressive treatment, including total hair loss and a double mastectomy.
It was in the process of coming to terms that my reality as a mid 30’s single mom now included being bald (temporarily) and completely flat (permanently).
The way I process things is to deny, freewill into despair, then find a way to make it my own. In navigating my experience with cancer and cancer treatment, it occurred to me I had done this in literally every challenge of my life. And hence emotional alchemy was born.
I remember lying on my living room floor after an early diagnostic appointment, and just primal screaming “HOW THE F*** AM I GOING TO DO THIS??” And I pinky swear I was met with a very quiet answer, “You are going to make this beautiful.” I was like “Excuse me, what?” And I heard it again.
No joke, from that moment forward, I committed full on to doing exactly that: I immediately set up a consultation with Your Shop Girl (Toronto stylist) to learn to dress my new body, and I reached out to Mary Young Lingerie to be a part of their Muse series…and booked both before I even book my mastectomy date.
I had been “trying” to write a book for about two years, and knew the hardest part would be sitting down to write the proposal; knowing too that I was looking at four months of chemotherapy and a heck of a lot of downtime to follow each treatment, I decided to use that time to write the proposal (and launch my podcast). I pressed “send” on the 100 page document from the hospital waiting room, minutes before my final treatment. This was a very proud moment.
By the time my scars had healed, I had updated my closet with clothes that reflected the new me, done an intimate shoot with a prominent lingerie brand, laid the tracks for two large pillars of my business…and was invited to be the cover girl of the NOW magazine annual body positivity issue.
That was my coping mechanism, feeling my feelings and letting them lead me home with grace, purpose, and beauty.
For the generation that follows you, what lighthouse in the dark ideas would you want them to be equipped with?
You alone are enough, and you have everything you need inside you. Everything else is just an invitation to get more clear on each of those, until it makes sense. Loving yourself first is foundational to your relationships, your work, your parenting, your life. And at the heart of self love? Unconditional self acceptance.
What is your intention for the reader of your book?
To appreciate how much agency we have over our own lives. I struggle with how quick we are to blame or to let ourselves off the hook when things don’t go as we want. There’s so much misinformation about being positive, and trusting the universe…inspiration memes and repeating what you heard on a podcast means literally nothing unless you are prepared to take action.
My coaching practice and ultimate expertise as a transformational mindset and success coach is to help high-potential women become the version of themselves they can’t stop thinking about. Not dream about it, not talk about it, not think about how nice it would be one day if…
No. How to become that vision by taking inspired action.
The intention behind the book is to give a taste of what that looked like for me, and what it could look like as a transformative, forward healing experience for the reader. My passion is to offer “actionable therapy,” and the book aligns beautifully with that.
I’ve been very lucky, and very intentional during these last couple months. For me, Life 2.0 meant doubling down on trusting the process, supporting my children and clients in weathering the transition, and investing more than ever before in my own business. I’ve been using this as an incubation period to level up my own business, life, and love, and I am incredibly grateful for what that looks and feels like already.
Also, Tiger King.
Emotional alchemy wins again.
To learn more about Leisse visit