Our guest this week is Riana Milne of Del Rey Beach, FL, who is a mother of two, grandmother of six, a licensed mental health counselor with decades of experience, a global life & love coach, childhood and love trauma recovery specialist, bestselling author and fellow podcast host.
Riana has a BA in Broadcasting & Speech Communications from Penn State University, and a MA in Applied Clinical & Counseling Psychology from Rowan University, NJ, plus a dozen certificates and licenses, including; Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, Certified Addictions Professional and Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor.
She is also a best selling author including the books:
– Live Beyond Your Dreams
-Love Beyond Your Dreams
Riana also hosts the Lessons In Life & Love Podcast, with well over 100 episodes.
Riana offers sage advice for moms and dads for themselves and their relationships as well as those seeking help for their sons/daughters and other loved ones.
Website – https://rianamilne.com > E-book and 4 love tests.
Email – email@example.com
LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/rianamilne/
Podcast – https://lessonsinlifeandlove.libsyn.com/website
YouTube Channel – https://www.youtube.com/c/RianaMilne/videos
Live Beyond your Dreams – https://www.amazon.com/LIVE-Beyond-your-Dreams-Relationships-ebook/dp/B00AR0SZ1E/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=live+beyond+your+dreams&qid=1574459056&s=digital-text&sr=1-1
Tom Couch: Special thanks to Horizon Therapeutics for sponsoring the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. Working tirelessly to research, develop, and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases. Discover more about Horizon Therapeutics’ mission at horizontherapeutics.com.
Riana Milne: So it’s interesting. When you teach your children young to believe in themselves, despite whatever complications they might have been born with, or develop in childhood, or go through emotional upset, if you’ll have this belief system taught to you…I wish it was taught to me when I was young. But if you can do that, it’s amazing what your children can do.
Tom Couch: That’s our guest this week, Riana Milne, a licensed mental health counselor, a global life & love coach, a childhood trauma recovery specialist, an author and a podcast host.
Riana dedicates her life to helping others live successful lives of their own. She’s got lots of interesting thoughts, and we’ll hear some of them on this Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. Say hello now to host David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: Hi, and thanks for listening to the Dad to Dad Podcast, fathers mentoring fathers of children with special needs, presented by the Special Fathers Network.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children connect with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support dads. To find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help, or would like to offer help, we’d be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com/groups and search dad to dad.
Tom Couch: And now let’s hear this fascinating conversation between Riana Milne and David Hirsch.
David Hirsch: I’m thrilled to be talking today with Riana Milne of Del Ray Beach, Florida, who’s a mother of two, grandmother of six, a licensed mental health counselor with decades of experience, a global life & love coach, childhood and love trauma recovery specialist, bestselling author, and fellow podcast host. Riana, thank you for taking the time to do a podcast interview for the Special Fathers Network.
Riana Milne: Hi, David. Hello everyone. Thank you so much for having me today.
David Hirsch: Well, you’re the proud mother of two children and grandmother of six. Congratulations.
Riana Milne: Thank you. Yeah, number six just came last week. Five boys and one little girl.
David Hirsch: Well, she’s gonna be the princess, and she’s gonna have all these older siblings or cousins to look out for her then. So, let’s start with some background. Where did you grow up? Tell me something about your family.
Riana Milne: I grew outside of Philadelphia, northeast suburbs, a place called Huntington Valley. It was a great place to grow up, and I was lucky to go to school with my cohorts from kindergarten all the way through 12th grade, which made some very close friendships over the years. I am the fourth out of five kids, two older sisters, brother, me, brother. So I grew up between the two boys and I was very much a tomboy in many ways.
But I also got into modeling at age 12. It was a great job for a young girl in Philadelphia working for the top radio station, WFIL radio, and I was working with celebrities by the time of 15, 16, 17 for the radio station. So I loved that.
Regarding my parental dynamic, my dad, who I was very close with, was not home much. He was a colonel in the Air Force, and we found out years later he was FBI and CIA. So we did not see my dad much. But we had treasured family vacations in Key West, Florida, every year. And I always said, “I’m moving to Florida one day,” and I finally did that, to plan for my retirement. At age 58, I moved down to Florida and I love it.
Then my mom was a daughter from two hardworking German folks who went through the Depression. So her dynamic was, love is shown when you produce. It was work hard, produce. We did not hear the words, “I love you.” I finally trained her to say these words. I’m like, “Why don’t you tell the five kids that you love us?” She goes, “Well, those aren’t words I heard.”
And ironically, this is one of the ten childhood traumas that I teach people about, which is called vocal habits or vocal situations, which is trauma number two. And many people in our generation from the fifties, early sixties, did not hear those words, which is very interesting. And I think the Millennial men and women are doing so much better with showing affection and saying the words and spending quality time with their children.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thanks for the brief fly by. So if I recall what you said, your dad was a colonel in the Air Force, and he was involved with the CIA as well as the FBI. So it sounds like he has worked with not something you’d talk about at the kitchen table.
Riana Milne: Well, we didn’t know. They can’t really tell their families. We knew, when my dad was sick with cancer and we got letters from Ronald Reagan and William Casey, thanking my father for his many years of service in both organizations.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, very interesting. So I’m sort of curious to know, how would you describe your relationship with your dad?
Riana Milne: I was very close to him. He was a very down to earth, very gregarious, outgoing man, would help anyone. Everyone said I’m my father’s daughter. He was just super friendly, comfortable wherever he goes. And I did miss him a lot. I always remember asking, “When is daddy coming home?” My mom said, “Well, I don’t know where he is.” She was angry, but I don’t blame her, being the wife and not knowing where your husband is, and you’ve got five kids to handle.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well it sounds like your mom was a rather strong person as well then.
Riana Milne: She was. And she was very intelligent. She was valedictorian of her college, and she was actually Grace Kelly’s best friend.
David Hirsch: Oh my.
Riana Milne: And she grew up as a debutante in Philadelphia.
David Hirsch: Well, thanks for the insight. Were there any important takeaways that you took from either your dad or your mom as far as your own parenting is concerned?
Riana Milne: I actually became the mother I always wanted. I always wanted a close fun mom that spent quality time with me, and I didn’t get that. I think it was the times that if one child’s a swimmer, you’re all a swimmer. The Milnes were swimmers, or we did water polo, and my brothers were superstars. They became all American. And I would love to have gotten a compliment from my mom.
The first time I heard a compliment was when my book Love Beyond Your Dreams went to number one best seller. Both my books, Live and Love Beyond Your Dreams were picked up for Barnes and Noble stores. And she actually read the book. She goes, “I read them. They’re really, really good.” And I said, “Geez, thanks mom.” It was a first compliment that I got.
I remember winning Who’s Who of American High School Students for English, where only one person is selected in your high school. And I came home all excited, and she said, “Well, why would you get that?” I said, “Well, I write for the newspaper. I’ve always gotten A’s in English, and some people happen to think I’m a really great motivational, inspirational writer.”
So that’s the difficulty of my mom and those verbal messages. And again, if we worked hard and produced, we’d hear a compliment on that. That was fine. But as an adult woman, I always have to look at my balance triangles between work, partnership and family. And then my own individual time and self care. So I’m always trying to keep that balance, and that also has to include fun.
So I’ve learned to comfortably say no when something’s not working for me, or I don’t want to do something, because I respect those boundaries of, “This is work time, and this is play and fun time,” which works for relationships. You have to have your boundaries.
David Hirsch: That’s fabulous. So my recollection was you took a BA in broadcasting and speech communications from Penn State. And I’m wondering, when you graduated, where was your career taking you?
Riana Milne: The first job I got was to be a copywriter, advertising director for WSEE TV, which was a CBS station up in Erie, Pennsylvania. I loved the job, I loved writing. I created all the ads. I did a lot of the voiceover work, but it paid peanuts, you know, so that wasn’t much fun.
And then I had a night radio show on Love Radio, WLVU. So I always did radio. With my career as a therapist and a coach, I’ve had four radio shows, which were kind of like the [?] formats. I play music, mostly love music, and then answer questions from people off the cuff. So I like doing that.
And then I’ve had my own television shows as well. At 26 I had a model and talent agency in school, and that’s when I really started the Mindset for Success work, teaching those people who were giving the messages, “You’re too fat to model. Why do you think you can be a singer?” Just these negative messages from their moms, dads or teachers or coaches that they can’t do it.
So it was my job to believe in them and have them believe in themselves. And if they took on the studying of what they had to learn to become professional in their field, they could do anything. So I’ve been doing Mindset for Success work for 40 years, starting with my models and actors, singers, and dancers.
Like I had a dancer that wanted to be a professional dancer. Her family laughed at her. She ended up being a Rockette. I had a size 22 female model, and her family said, “You’re too fat. This is a joke, why are you throwing your money away?” And I said, “Jen, can you work with me to be a size 16/18 model, and we’ll put you in plus size, special size models,” which they called BBW, big beautiful women back then. She goes, “Yes, that’s exactly what I want.” And she ended up modeling for Ford BBW and made a fortune. So, you know, it’s getting over those childhood messages that were so toxic, that led you to have all this fear and self doubt, and instead the mindset works. So I’m still teaching a lot of mindset work with the coaching that I do today.
David Hirsch: Well, that’s fabulous. And my recollection was that you took an MA in applied clinical and counseling psychology from Rowan University. Was that when you sort of focused more seriously in the clinical area, as far as doing the work you’ve been doing?
Riana Milne: Well, I always wanted to be a counselor. When I was being teased and bullied in middle school, because I was tall and skinny and considered a bit of a nerd, before I won a modeling scholarship at age 12 in eighth grade. But this is before that, I asked my mom if I could go to counseling, and she said, “No one in this family will ever go to a counselor.” Like it was a stigma back then.
So instead I turned to reading the masters: Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, the Dalai Lama for spiritual healing and hope. And I’ll tell you what, that has saved my life in so many ways. Having spiritual grounding, it’s always been super important for me. And I knew at 14,15, I wanted to be a counselor. So I get Vogue magazine for fashion and Psychology Today.
But you know, the way my life went, it was expensive to go to a master’s program, so I had children at 24, 25, my daughters, and then I said at 26, “I can do this local model and talent company.”
By the way, people said I was crazy, no one’s going to sign up for that. My first class, I had four. Within six months I won the Educational Excellence Award for my curriculum. Within one year, I won this Model and Talent School of the Year and had 24 in a class with eight on a waiting list. So the mindset can give you anything you desire, if you are focused and have spiritual faith. That is the combination that I use. And I had no money, no bank loan to do this. It was all belief system.
So this is also what I’ve taught my daughters when they were very young. For example, Lexi, at five, was watching TV and she goes, “Mom, I’m going to go to Africa and help these kids one day,” which was the “Save the children” commercial. And I said, “Baby, I believe you will. You can do anything you put your mind to. You have a heart of gold, you’re gonna do this.”
At 20, she and her best friend decided to go to Africa, to see how they could best help out. And now they have 21 water wells that they did just from desire. She goes, at 19, “I’m not rich, I’m not famous. How am I gonna do this?” I said, “You’re gonna figure this out because you’re smart. You’re gonna do this.”
So she also wanted to be a pop singer at age 15, like every kid did back then, when Britney Spears came out and Christina Aguilera. And as the world would align, I happened to meet a top 40 artist in Miami. I gave him the card and her demo kit, because as a talent agent I knew how to do demo kits, and she sang on three multi-platinum CDs and went on a world tour. That’s what took her to Africa. So, she sets up what she desires, which is our logo: “Create the life you desire and have the love you deserve.”
And she also met her husband. She’s spiritually based, so was her husband, and they met at a Marianne Williamson talk. So she grew up listening to the Course of Miracles and Spirituality, and that’s where she met her husband. And she goes, “I’ve been listening to these tapes since I was seven.” But whatever they desire to do, they do. And they are one of the top coaches around the world today in the Millennial set.
So it’s interesting. When you teach your children young to believe in themselves, despite whatever complications they might have been born with, or develop in childhood, or go through emotional upset, if you’ll have this belief system taught to you…I wish it was taught to me when I was young. But if you can do that, it’s amazing what your children can do.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thank you for sharing. Very inspiring story about your, daughter Lexi. And this might be a good way to segue to special needs. As you know, the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast is primarily directed at families, specifically fathers, raising a child or children with special needs. And that, you know, is very broad. It could be cerebral palsy, it could be autism, it could be Down syndrome, it could be one of those 7,000 plus rare genetic disorders.
And you hit the nail on the head about helping your kids from a very early age to know that there’s no ceiling, that they can accomplish things despite what their circumstances are. And I’m wondering what, if any, connection you’ve had to the special needs community?
Riana Milne: Sure. Well, I deal mostly with emotional and mental health special needs. So I was at every grade level, kindergarten through college, working as the SAC counselor, student assistance counselor. So I had the kids coming from traumatic homes, foster care kids, kids identified as ADHD, who mostly came from traumatic homes
Let me tell you, I was a real advocate for saying, “This child is not ADHD. Their mother is out on the streets of Atlantic City, and they were home alone last night, so their cortisol is high right now from stress and their traumatic situation.” When cortisol is high, learning and memory is low, because they are stuck in the nervous system, in the fight or flight response, and they can’t learn. They can’t still themselves enough to learn.
And in the early 2000s, I’m in my office doing meditation and music therapy. And I used to use Louie Miguel. I don’t speak Spanish, but he has the most soothing, calming voice. And if my kids were acting up in their classroom, the teachers would say, “Time to go down to Miss Riana’s relaxation room,” which is what I called it, my office. And they’re like, “Miss Riana, put Mr. Louie on.”
You know, that was the elementary kids. So I taught them to be able to calm themselves, talk about their feelings. I did the anti-bullying program. We even had a transgender child in second to third grade that was featured with Barbara Walters. So I had to teach other kids to be accepting and loving with this child and their choices as a family. So there’s a lot of emotional special need children as well.
So I served in that role at every level and worked with kids of trauma. For example, at the high school level, I worked with kids in gangs, the Crips and the Bloods, who had no real parenting roles at home, so they turned to the gangs for brotherhood and some acceptance.
I had one girl come in on Monday. “Miss Riana, my family moved out on me. I don’t know where they are. The lights are off. There’s a little food in the refrigerator in my bedroom.” Boom. You got to get into action and help this child in every way that you possibly can with special services.
So those were the kinds of things I dealt with. I also worked in a mental health ward for children ages five through 19. So these could have been eating disorders, cutting, suicidal kids. Many kids from the foster care system I had there at that hospital. So just really emotionally upset kids, also coming from traumatic home situations.
And then I worked in a drug and alcohol facility for teenagers as well. And while I was there, I was actually getting more credentials for my licensure. I have a triple master’s in applied clinical and counseling psychology, and then I got the SAC credential and then LCADC, which is drug and alcohol addiction. So I was there getting credits for that.
I just watched these kids sit around, smoke and watch TV at the rehab center. I’m like, “I can’t consciously be here and see these kids wasting time, knowing how much this costs. Can I teach a life skills class, so when they’re out of here, they can get jobs, they know social awareness, they know how to do an interview? They all will have a resume. They all will know how to dress, even if they buy their things from a consignment shop.” And they’re like, “Well, we’re not paying you any extra.” I said, “I don’t care. I have to do something to help these kids.”
So those are some of my experiences, and the kids loved it. They really soaked it up. It’s like, “Oh good, Miss Riana’s here today. We have life skills today.” And it’s like, “Yes!” So that was important. Plus relationship skills. They needed to know that, because a lot of those kids did not have ideal relationships modeled for them at home.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing. You’ve got an extraordinary breadth of experience working with youth in all these different situations that you’ve described. And I know that the world of counseling has changed over the last 20 or 30 years. You made reference to this earlier about. People of our generation, there’s that sort of stigma associated with counseling, like you said your mom made reference to.
And I think one of the biggest challenges for men, not necessarily men raising children with special needs, but just men overall, is that at least historically, we’re the gender that doesn’t pull over and ask for directions when we’re lost. So I’m wondering, when you reflect back on your experience as a counselor, how has that changed, or how do we get from where we have been to where we’re going?
Riana Milne: Okay. Well, I have been a licensed mental health counselor for 22 years and still hold that credential. But in 2017 I went global as a coach. I got certified 2009 as a life, love and relationship coach. Then went on and got certified in trauma recovery and then certified in mindset. So those are the three areas that I cover. My men love this program. The difference between therapy and coaching is that in therapy, most people call you a patient, which connotates you’re sick.
I always call my therapy clients “clients.” We’re there together working on an issue or a problem. So I’m very solution focused, motivational, inspirational. What can we do? Not focus on the negative, the fears and what we can’t do, right? So I always had a very different style from therapists from day one.
And then the coaching I just love, because coaching’s very educational. As a matter of fact, with my research on childhood trauma, my notebooks are 150 pages that my clients do with me. We’re in 90 pages in four months, 150 in six months. So it is an educational program, and whatever they’re coming to me with, it’s one-on-one and very individualized.
So if they’ve been through a traumatic relationship, we heal that. If they’ve come from childhood trauma, we have to heal that first, so they become better parents, better in relationships and more successful in happiness in life. Less anxiety, less depression, as well as much better in their love relationships.
So we cover all of that. I have men of all ages come here. I have younger men looking for quality relationships, who want marriage and a family, and they keep hooking up with the wrong type of girl. I have guys that have been through marriages 18, 22 years, and they’re like, I don’t want to repeat that. But then they go out and pick up someone 20 years younger who wants to marry them, use them for money, then drops them. I see that all over Florida. And then they feel used, right?
So too many men are leading with sexual hookups and wonder why they can’t find someone of quality. When there are different rules I call the “psychology and the art of dating well,” finding someone who really is like your soulmate, your best friend, your partner that really, truly loves you unconditionally. And that is the ideal, emotionally healthy, evolved and conscious relationship.
That’s what I teach, and the men just love it. I find some of the men, like 55 up, are like, “I can do it on my own,” and they make mistake after mistake. My oldest guy that has come to me I’m actually gonna feature on one of my podcasts. Bob came to me at 73. Been through four marriages, had alcohol issues, some gambling issues, cleaned all that up.
But the personality problem still existed, which we call norms. Norms that he grew up with, that weren’t working, and all four wives divorced him. And we put him through the program, and he met this woman. They’re together now six years. He goes, “Riana, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my life. Why didn’t I do this sooner?”
So you can wait till your seventies, or you can say, “I’m going to change the patterns.” And most people, including myself, did not know what we were doing wrong until I did this research on this huge impact of unhealed childhood trauma and the impact it has on life, love, relationships, and even your success in business.
David Hirsch: Wow, that’s a mouthful. I’m gonna try to dissect this a little bit. You’ve described a lot of counseling that you’ve done with men, and it sounds like one-on-one, and I’m wondering what you’ve done in the area of couples therapy as well.
Riana Milne: Yeah, I do couples, singles and couples both. The couples, I have to do one-on-one with the trauma healing. Then teach them, come back and say, okay, this is how you’re triggering her. This is how he’s triggering, how they’re triggering each other. Partner A and partner B, because I do work with LGBTQ clients as well. So it’s partner A and partner B. What was their traumas? Trying to teach the empathy for each other of what they’ve gone through, understanding how they’re pushing each other’s buttons, teaching them a whole new way to communicate and work through their issues, and then we practice that.
And then what are their desires in their life that they haven’t been getting? And what do they want their future to look like? And that’s what we work towards together as a team. And I have a saying, “It’s you and me against the world,” for my couples. So not putting friends first, or the kids first, because what happens if the kids are always first and you never save time for the relationship, the relationship falls apart. No matter what.
And I know kids with special needs need special help, but are you scheduling for a sitter or a service where you can still get out with your partner two hours a week and have quality time? So there’s still ways that you can do that and make it a priority to have that personal time.
And then you need individual time as well. So this is scheduled out for one person to go to the gym, and then the other one is scheduled out to go to the gym. So we rework the routine so it works for family, individual, and then the couple.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, I think you made reference to the triangle when you were talking about the balance that you seek in your own life. And is that core to all the counseling that you do?
Riana Milne: Yeah. We always look at the triangle, because anxiety comes when your life is out of balance. So one of them is mind, body, spirit. Are you paying attention to all three of those equally? Self, family and relationship—so which one is off? I just had a client say, “Wow, I do everything for my family, nothing for me. I’m exhausted, I’m angry, I’m resentful and burned out, and I’m overweight.”
So that’s someone that has really shorted themself and always putting family or children first, and then trying to fit herself in. Well, we have to change that schedule, right? We have to make sure she changes that. So we always are looking at balance. If someone’s feeling anxious, and we say, okay, what is off?
There’s all kinds. There’s even balance triangles in corporations and that type of thing. So it really depends on who I’m working with and what their goals are. So we set up triangles that they’re looking at.
David Hirsch: Well, thank you for emphasizing that. So we’ve talked a little bit about your coaching, particularly the singles and couples coaching. I know you also do coaching in life transitions, success in dating, as well as laser coaching sessions. What are laser coaching sessions?
Riana Milne: Laser coaching sessions are for people that have one particular issue that they want to get through quickly and discuss it maybe in two to four sessions. And it’s a quicker issue.
Someone that needs to get beyond childhood and love trauma, that’s a program because that takes time. There’s much I have to teach. Like I said, that involves the workbook and the practice that I’m watching them go from these unconscious behavioral patterns that don’t serve them anymore or the norms from the past.
I help them to survive as children to better habits, better balance, conscious awareness of what they do, say, and how they act, what they write, to create that life they really want, that future that they want. So that takes more time. That’s what laser coaching sessions are.
Then I also work with teens 16 and up who are stuck. So they’re not doing well in high school. They don’t know if they want college or what they want to do, or they’ve gone to college, there’s a lot of money spent, and they’re sleeping on the couch, depressed. They don’t know what direction they want to go in.
So that age is usually 16 to 26 that I have to help with life transition. That’s a really important thing, because if we can get them in the right direction with a proper mindset and belief system, and get a direction that they’re excited about, which is my job to pull that out of them, then they can really excel. So super important.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thank you for mentioning that. So you distinguished between coaching and programs, and I know that your website, which is very robust, has four different listings under programs. “Dating to Mating,” “Relationship Rescue,” “Life Transitions,” and something you made reference to a little bit earlier, “Celebrities and Superstars.” So I’m wondering if you could just briefly describe what the difference is between each of those programs.
Riana Milne: Sure. “Dating to Mating” is for singles that are looking for a quality, emotionally healthy relationship. They might have had two or three toxic relationships—one of them might have been a marriage—and they’re really serious about figuring out what’s going wrong, why their attraction factor is off, fixing that, and just feeling happier in life. So it’s a life and love program for singles.
For couples, it’s called “Relationship Rescue.” So it’s either married couples, or exclusive couples that want to change this toxic fighting pattern that they have over and over again, the breakdown of passion, fun, communication. They’re trying not to divorce and keep it together, but they’ve tried counseling. I always hear all the time, “We’ve been in counseling three years.” I said, “Yeah, counseling doesn’t work, because they keep examining the problem. They don’t give you the solutions.”
Coaching is a teaching model, right? So people come to me when they’re fed up. They’ve tried everything else. They’ve tried free summits, podcasts, they try everything, and it’s like, “Okay, I really am ready for change. Let’s do this.” So that’s my couples
The working with celebrities is because I was a model and talent agent, and I was in the modeling field 33 years, and my daughter was in the talent business singing with a top artist, I get people in the talent business. I get the rejection factor.
The mindset has to be super strong, fighting all the messages. Or when they go to audition, getting the mindset right. If that’s not right, they usually don’t perform. Or there’s a lot of imposter syndrome. Let’s say they’ve made it, then they sabotage because they don’t believe they deserve the accolades, or the rewards, or the money, the big money.
And this is also the same as sports figures as well. They sabotage once they get to the level they’ve worked so hard for. So that is the same division, and it’s the same type of program, but just taught with a difference in mind that I was a talent agent and also in the industry. So I understand their needs around that.
And then the other one is Life Transition for young people, teens and those in their early twenties.
David Hirsch: Okay. Well there’s a lot there. Thank you for explaining. So you’ve written a couple of books, the titles of which are Live Beyond Your Dreams and Love Beyond Your Dreams.
Riana Milne: Actually, there were seven books.
David Hirsch: Oh my gosh.
Riana Milne: And I’m working on number eight. The first one was a 250 page manual for my model and talent school and agency. And I never sold it to the public, but it did quite well, because all those people going through the program for 10 years had to buy a book.
The second one was my master’s thesis, which was on building resiliency in adolescence, and I know your dads would love this one, and decreasing high risk behaviors. And if you look under Terriana Milne, Rowan University, Increasing Self-esteem in Adolescence, it should pull up on Google. It’s now on the internet like everything else. So that was a scientific book about all my research on raising self-esteem, resiliency in kids, all the different things I did.
I did a free community program called Vetner [?] Team Vision: Helping Troubled Kids to Excel in Life, in School, with Friendships, and that was anextremely successful model. And then after that, Watch Me: The Bold New Motivational Attitude for Personal Success. Which then I rewrote into Live Beyond Your Dreams: From Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose, and Success. That’s all about the mindset for success.
And then Love Beyond Your Dreams: Break Free of Toxic Relationships to Have the Love You Deserve. That one had about two years of research. It’s 400 pages, and that one became the number one bestseller on Amazon in couples therapy, women in spirituality, and number two in psychology. Live and Love go together, because you can’t have successful love without a proper mindset. So they really do complement each other. My coaching clients all read those books, and they’re available online everywhere.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well thanks for sharing. We’ll be sure to include that information in the show notes. It’ll make as easy as possible for people to follow up. You also started a podcast a handful of years ago, and I’m wondering what your experience has been as a podcast host.
Riana Milne: Yeah. The show is called “Lessons in Life and Love, with coach Riana Milne.” And I cover all types of topics. There are quite a few tapes on parenting skills, since I had to teach this constantly to my parents that came to the counseling center when I worked with kids in the schools, in the school office, teaching the emotionally upset kids. There are tips on love, tips for men, tips for singles, couples. There’s 109 shows, so there’s a lot of topics covered.
And I guess about 600 podcasts now, teaching how to overcome the childhood trauma. What are the top 10 traumas? And if anyone’s interested in that free ebook, or to take the free love test, there’s my website, rianamilne.com, and you can also get free chapter downloads of Live and Love on my website. And my YouTube channel has like 250 educational videos. So there will be a lot there for parents and dads and men there.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, there’s two episodes in particular of your podcast that sort of stood out from the others. And one I think you made reference to, is number 42, which is, “Get beyond past trauma,” which seems to be really an important one. And then number 73, “Helping men evolve.”
Riana Milne: To be evolved means to being your highest and your best self. Your happiest self.
David Hirsch: So, I’m sort of curious to know what role spirituality has played in your life.
Riana Milne: Huge. It helped me heal, not only the bullying that I had as a young girl, but my very best childhood friend at 16 was killed by a drunk driver. And again, I asked to go to counseling and I was not allowed. So that’s when I started reading all the spiritual books for my own healing, and that was extremely helpful to me.
And you know, I mean, in life we are going to be challenged, right? So having a sense of faith for the tough transitions, the tough times, and teaching your children the same is super important. My girls grew up with faith. And I don’t mean religion. Spirituality is something that you live 24/7. It’s a way of being, acting. It’s your moral values. It’s the way you think. It’s the way you treat people. It’s super important for individuals, and then to surround yourself with like-minded individuals who are also spiritually based.
And that’s really important. I find when a lot of clients come to me, they have a lot of negative friends that stay in that victim mindset—negative, fear-based, woe is me—and their friends perpetuate that with them. So once they start healing and get out of that, and leave the past in the past, and become empowered in their present—which we call living in the now—and start creating the future that they want, they find that their old friends that are kind of bitching and moaning don’t fit in their life anymore.
And it’s like, “They make me anxious to even be with them.” Because my clients are meditating. They’re in vitamin therapy to feel good. It’s all holistic, and what they’re feeding their mind with and how they’re acting is just peaceful and happy and evolved. So they want to be around other people like this, so then their friendships change and grow towards other people who have that spiritual philosophy in life.
David Hirsch: Yeah. Well, excellent point about being surrounded by people that are like-minded. And if you’re surrounded by people that are negative or who are suffering from their own childhood traumas or whatever challenges they have, they’re just gonna drag you down. And each one of us has enough challenges in his or her life, right? You don’t need to be taking on a lot of other people’s challenges.
It’s not to say you shouldn’t be there for your friends and support them, but given a choice, you’d like to be surrounded with people that are like-minded and who have a focus and who have some desires, dreams that they’re chasing, if you will.
Riana Milne: Yes. And you know, for your dads, I really encourage them to find these empowerment type groups for men. Many churches have them. Synagogues may have them, temples and so forth, or the special needs groups, you know, that are more positive.
Keep in mind, parents, that when you are positive and smile, and whatever you do in your behaviors, your calm way of speaking, leading with kindness, leading with your heart, you are modeling to your children the same, right? They will become what you model. Super important. Words are one thing, but modeling is 150 times stronger than what you say. So who are you? Who are you being around your children? Are you encouraging them?
I mean, if you can, take your kids to the Special Olympics, show them other kids that no matter what they’re born with or develop, that they too can empower. There’s a motivational speaker. His first name is Sean, and he is a petite man in a wheelchair, and he is a multimillionaire doing motivational speeches about it’s okay to be different and how can we use this special gift to inspire others. He’s amazing.
And you know, encourage your kids to follow some of these people that are motivational, inspirational leaders. Whether it’s a handicap, if they call it that, or special need or the mental issues that they have dealt with, even like the loss of a parent, help them see that they don’t have to stay depressed forever.
It’s important that you do get them the support that they need, the coaching that they need, because I think it’s more important to get a coach than a counselor, because they’re going to have to have teaching to teach them the mindset for success. They’re going to have to have the skills, learn the skills, and counselors just don’t do that. They more process the past.
So that’s why people say to me, “Therapy didn’t work.” I’m like, “Yeah, I get it.” I understand why, because you want to get the skills you need to motivate yourself in these different areas. So whether it’s athletic, like the Special Olympic kids, or it’s motivational speaking like so many other people have gone into, find that niche that excites you and go for that. Go for your dreams, no matter what they are.
David Hirsch: Yeah, well you’re speaking my language. Because one of the dads in the network, Nik Nikic is his name, has a son, Chris. Chris is I think 23 now. And, Chris was born with Down syndrome. He has an older sister, ten years older and she’s a superstar in all respects athletically, intellectually.
And it took the dad 16 years by his own count to realize that he was treating his son with special needs differently than he was treating his daughter. He treated her like a superstar. And he treated his son as a person with special needs, and he needed to get out of that mindset and help Chris become the person he was meant to be.
So Chris was involved with Special Olympics and enjoyed that. And in Maitland, Florida, they were offering an opportunity for some people with special needs to get involved with triathlon, which is sort of out there, because it’s not just one thing. It’s running, biking, swimming. And Chris couldn’t, couldn’t ride a bike, right? People with Down syndrome have hypotonia, and they don’t have good muscle control or balance.
So he learned how to ride a bike at age 16, and then just a few years later, he signed up for his triathlon, sprint distance, Olympic distance, half Iron Man. And then in November of 2020, he is the first person on the planet to finish the Ironman Distance Triathlon.
Riana Milne: Wow. That is so awesome.
David Hirsch: It is. And what that means for people in the Down syndrome community is if you’re raising a young boy or girl, like you were talking about, they need role models. And you can hold the Chris Nikic poster up and say, “Here’s a person who’s just like you. He has Down syndrome, and look what he’s been able to accomplish.” You don’t have to become a triathlete.
But don’t think that there’s limits. If there’s limits, it’s limits that you’re imposing on yourself. It’s limits that teachers or counselors, or parents are imposing on their kids. And that’s not to be wide-eyed and just think everybody can do everything they want. But I think to help people reach their full potential, they do need role models. And I heard that’s what you’re saying, right? You want to make sure that young people have a series of different role models.
Riana Milne: Yes, exactly.
David Hirsch: So thank you for emphasizing that point.
Riana Milne: Yeah, for sure. That would inspire your kids to say, “Yes, they seem like me, and I could probably do it too, or I can try to do it or have fun doing that too.” Yes.
David Hirsch: Exactly. So if somebody wants to learn about your work or contact you, what’s the best way to do that?
Riana Milne: Through my website, which is my name, rianamilne.com. And again, on there you can get the free ebook, you can get the four free love tests about your relationships, whether you’re single or in a coupled relationship. You can also get the book downloads of Live and Love Beyond Your Dreams. And then my podcast, lessonsinlifeandlove.com, that a direct website. Or the YouTube channel, I suggest because there’s more on there. There’s like 250 videos and audios that you could listen to. So hopefully that will be helpful for you.
David Hirsch: Yeah, we’ll be sure to include that in the show notes. Thank you again. Riana, thank you for your time and many insights. As a reminder, Riana is just one of the individuals who’s part of the Special Fathers Network, a mentoring program for fathers raising a child with special needs. If you’d like to be a mentor father, or are seeking advice from a mentor father with a similar situation to your own, please go to 21stcenturydads.org.
Thank you for listening to the latest episode of the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. I hope you enjoyed the conversation as much as I did. As you probably know, the 21st Century Dads Foundation is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, which means we need your help to keep our content free to all concerned. Would you please consider making a tax deductible contribution?
Riana, thanks again.
Riana Milne: Thank you so much, David.
Tom Couch: And thank you for listening to the Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast. The Special Fathers Network is a dad to dad mentoring program for fathers raising children with special needs. Through our personalized matching process, new fathers with special needs children match up with mentor fathers in a similar situation. It’s a great way for dads to support other dads. To find out more, go to 21stcenturydads.org.
David Hirsch: And if you’re a dad looking for help, or would like to offer help, we would be honored to have you join our closed Facebook group. Please go to facebook.com/groups and search dad to dad. Lastly, we’re always looking to share interesting stories. If you’d like to share your story, or know of a compelling story, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Couch: The Special Fathers Network Dad to Dad Podcast was produced by me, Tom Couch. Thanks again to Horizon Therapeutics, who believe that science and compassion must work together to transform lives. That’s why they work tirelessly, to research, develop, and bring forward medicines for people living with rare and rheumatic diseases. Discover more about Horizon Therapeutics at horizontherapeutics.com.