November 23

Ep 7: The Power of living your Authentic life with Normal J Liverpool IV


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Did you ever felt like there’s no option or room for you to be who you really are?

Norman J Liverpool IV grew up in a strong Christian household, his grandmother started their church and his uncle is the pastor to this day. With no gay role models to offer him hope or inspiration during his younger years, Norman never even dreamed that one day he would be inspiring an LGBTQ+ community with his words of empowerment.

Recently on the Answer Your Unique Calling Podcast I got to speak with Norman (you can listen below). It’s a packed episode including Norman openly sharing how it was coming out into a religious family, what happens when you get vulnerable and share your authentic story online, plus the power of working with a business coach to move your life forward.

Normal J Liverpool IV is a coach, author and motivational speaker based in Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 2019, Norman started Over The Top Living to be a voice and resource in the LGBTQ+ community. He shares his stories and uses his voice to show people the beauty of living authentically and unapologetically.

His book Over The Top Living: Walking in Next Level Confidence Every Damn Day, is a reminder that you are worthy to live life as yourself, as the confident bad-ass you really are!

Here’s the full interview:

So you’ve written a book and you are a coach and a motivational speaker, but how did this all happen? How did you get to this point?

So it all just came out of me sharing my story on social media. That’s kind of how it started. I just started sharing my story and people began to reach out to me with like, “Wow, Norman that really resonates with me. I went through something similar.”

But what really touched me is one time I had a parent reach out to me and say,” I love sharing your content with my trans child. “

So from there, I started working with a business development coach to figure out what I wanted to do, and as we worked together, I found the power in sharing my authentic story. So I began speaking and booking gigs, people were coming to me for coaching. And so the next step for me was to write a book that put all of that in one spot. And, here we are today.


Was it a surprise to you? 20 years ago, did you have any inkling that you’d write a book and be coaching and speaking?

Normal J Liverpool IV:

Absolutely not. 20 years ago I was 15. And so I was still coming to terms with who Norman is. I was a sophomore in high school, and I grew up in an unapologetically black and unashamedly Christian household, and so there was no option or room for me to really be who I am innately.

So, no, I would have never thought that I would have been an author. I would have never thought that I would have been a coach or a motivational speaker, let alone be out in the open.


What were you wanting to do when you were that age? (20 years old)

Normal J Liverpool IV:

I was going to be a teacher. I kind of wanted to be in politics. I thought I might be a lawyer, so was all over the place. I knew I wanted to do something that would help people, I just did not know what that looked like because, coming from my family it was super, super, super religious. My grandmother started the church that I grew up in and her son, my uncle is still the pastor of that church today. I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t want it to look like how my family helped people.


When you were thinking about helping people back then, how did you envision that this might unfold for you?

Normal J Liverpool IV:

It was a couple of different things. I was very influenced by my high school religion teacher, and we are actually still friends to this day. That’s why I wanted to become a teacher because I saw the impact that she made in my life. And then when I started studying secondary education, I realized that that’s not something I want to do, so I kind of just spun my wheels until I stopped going to college and went into the workforce and figured it out from there.


Interesting, because when people start to answer their calling they usually have some idea of what it’s going to look like, and that’s never quite how it turns out.

Normal J Liverpool IV:

To be completely honest, I was all over the place.

I switched my major several times, I went to three or four different colleges, so I didn’t really know what I was going to do, and looking back, I had not met myself yet to be completely honest, at that time in my life. So it made it very difficult to forge a path.


What part did spirituality play in the process of writing your book, becoming a coach and speaker?

Normal J Liverpool IV :

It was very present. I started talking about some of the trauma that was brought on by my religious experience. I started speaking about my family, who at that point was also my church.

The church was started by a member of my family so it really had to do with me finding my own relationship and no longer allowing myself to be defined by the things that I was taught. It was about me coming to my own understanding of my spirituality, my own relationship with faith.

I have been able to cut off some of the negative things that traumatized me growing up.


If someone has had a traumatic experience with spirituality or religion growing up, what would your advice to them be to help them make it their own, the way that you have?

Normal J Liverpool IV:

That can be very tricky. So depending on where they’re at in that journey, I may refer them to some associates of mine that specialize in faith-based trauma. But if it’s something that’s along the lines of where I am, the first thing is, we have to set a boundary with our past. A lot of times we allow our past to bleed into our present and prevent our future because we have not dealt with the things of the past. I could not deal with some of the things that I went through until I said them out loud.

I waited for my grandmother to die before I could do that.

(And then) it was about lifting up the rug and pulling all of that out instead of living with everything swept under the rug.

That was really instrumental for me being able to speak on the situations that have occurred to me and not place blame, but understand that that was part of my journey and part of my growth and experience.


Tell me a bit about your coaching with LGBTQ+ people?

Normal J Liverpool IV:

So initially the coaching was solely centered on gaining confidence, and I quickly realized that you cannot operate in a level of confidence if you’re not operating in a space of authenticity. So my coaching shifted to “authentic lifestyle”. And with that, confidence comes.


Yeah. It’s very hard to be confident if you’re hiding who you are or you don’t know who you are and you can’t be authentic if you’re not willing to also be vulnerable. So what part does vulnerability play in the work that you do?

Normal J Liverpool IV :

It plays a huge amount because I literally have to live out loud. All of my platforms are extremely public. I share everything because I’m from the mindset that

part of my story can be someone else’s survival guide.

I don’t hide anything. I’m very transparent. And with that comes a lot of responsibility…a lot of negativity too, and that’s difficult sometimes to navigate. It’s also difficult to navigate when people knew the old person, and now they see this new individual emerge and there can be some mixed feelings with that. I’ve had to work very hard and very diligently to hold onto a little bit just for myself.


I’m really curious about when you were in this process of coming out, who were your queer role models?

Normal J Liverpool IV :

One of the reasons why I made the decision to step out so publicly is because we didn’t have any, and you know, if you did see something on TV, it was generally something very stereotypical back then.

I remember having to sneak in the basement and watch To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar, when that came on HBO or Showtime or something, but it came on like super, super late and I had to sneak into the basement to watch it.

And even the people that are around me that I learned were gay they weren’t living out and open. My grandmother’s brother. Beautiful man, extremely artistic, but never could live his truth, and so he ran away and did not come back for quite some time. And so I didn’t have the opportunity to know him or to get to know him. So there was none.


You mentioned that the media plays a huge part in warping that view of what it means to be queer for people when they’re first coming out. So do you think it’s gotten better or is this still something that’s an issue with people not having good role models?

Normal J Liverpool IV :

I would say both. And the reason why I say both is we have definitely made huge strides, especially not only being gay but also being a black man, that decreased the number of role models that I would have had. Back then, and today. I just never thought that I would live at a time where I would see black and brown and other people of colour, queer people on TV, playing roles that look like me in the main street.

That is huge because I didn’t grow up having that. I didn’t grow up seeing LGBTQ+ people on mainstream, evening television shows. But I also feel that there are so many types of people in our community that we still have more to do.


When you were writing this book and starting your business as a coach and a speaker what were some of the biggest struggles that you had to overcome?

Normal J Liverpool IV:

The first one was, so let me preface this by saying the book as it was released was not the book as it started. And I found that what was really blocking me was the fact of having to show people in a light that wasn’t good.

When I had to write about certain conversations that my mom and I would have and things of that nature. And so what I found was that the book, as it was originally intended was overly negative. And that really displeased me. So I went back to the drawing board. I literally erased everything and said, instead of focusing on the negatives, instead of focusing on these things that I can’t change -and while they’re very important and I will write about them eventually – let me provide tips, and be a resource to help build other people up. And so

once I was able to get over that hurdle, the book was done in about 30 days.

Another thing that was different for me is I’m used to doing everything myself, and it was different for me working with a coach. I believe in working with coaches so I hired a coach that helped me with the book. And that was scary because you’re putting your energy into this work, and then entrusting another person to deliver the message.

And then lastly, it was just getting out of my own head because as I began, as I neared the completion of the book, I’m like,

who wants to read a book from a black gay guy from Chicago?

who lives in Las Vegas, who is a motivational speaker. And so I had kind of discredited myself before the book was even ready. Being able to shift my mind-set and get out of my own way was probably the biggest hurdle.

When you’re in alignment things move a different way. And I was fighting against myself because I had it in my head that “no, the book must be like this. And it has to be like this”.

When I let go and just allowed myself to be authentic, to truly rest in my experience. The book began to flow and that process was so quick.


How did you decide specifically that coaching was going to be the way that you were going to embody your calling and your desire to help other people?

Normal J Liverpool IV:

Well, I just simply realized that I had already been doing it. I just didn’t have a name for it. I was already coaching. I was already mentoring. I was already advocating. I was already doing all of those things. But when I began to see my clients get results from working with me, that’s when my mind shifted to “this is not just something you like, this is who you are at the very core”.


Before you started your business as a coach and a speaker had you been a business owner before?

Normal J Liverpool IV:

I come from a family of entrepreneurs and so I was not a stranger to entrepreneurship. I just knew that I had to do it my own way. My parents had businesses that they really wanted me to be involved in and I’m like, “Ooh, I’m not feeling that”. So I was scared of entrepreneurship for a while.

And in 2019, I launched two businesses. So, you know, it was all about divine timing and being right where I was supposed to be, not just being there, but understanding why I was there, and understanding the joy that I get from being able to pay my employees so that they can support their families. That really brings joy to my heart.


A lot of my clients eventually start businesses as part of answering their unique calling. Because they’re also driven to help people and make the world better. And then, if it’s their first time, they struggle sometimes with charging for their services. Is that something that you’ve struggled with and if so, how did you overcome that?

Normal J Liverpool IV :

Yeah, 100%. I think, especially when you’re offering a service, it’s a little bit more difficult to put a price on that, that’s why I worked with a coach who really helped me put a price on not just working with me, but on the result and on the outcome. I just had to get over that.


What advice would you offer to listeners who either were new in discovering their calling, trying to determine what it is or have stepped into that place and started a business around their calling and now we’re struggling with it?

Normal J Liverpool IV :

Number one, you have to be able to pivot. When I first came into the coaching space, I had not identified that I was specifically going to be working with LGBTQ+ people primarily, so

understand that your niche is going to change and you have to just be able to pivot with it.

But I also say that we have to do things immediately because I feel like the longer we wait, we talk ourselves out of it. I feel like we need to do things intentionally. And it’s important that you are consistent in your messaging and sharing your story and that you really believe and understand in the power of you living your authentic life. And I think we have this notion where we have to be perfect. I tell my clients,

we want to do things imperfectly because if you’re waiting for the perfect time, it’s never going to happen. And so we want to do things intentionally imperfectly and immediately. That is to me, the recipe for success, along with being able to pivot.


Nice. I’d never heard anyone put it quite that way or create that kind of recipe for it. A lot of people get wrapped up in that perfectionism and it paralyzes them. They never do anything because they’re waiting to do it perfectly. I fell into that category for a long time myself.

Is there anything else that you’d like to share?

Normal J Liverpool IV :

Just from my heart to yours, know that you are exactly where you need to be. Everything is as it is, and as one of my pastors used to tell me, “What has been done has been done and what has not been done has not been done.”

We cannot add any more hours to the day. Of course, we want to manage our time. We want to get things done. We want to make an impact, but at the same time, we want to care for ourselves, allow ourselves to get rest, refill our cups, and that means sometimes disconnecting so that we can take care of self.

And I think that that’s the biggest thing as entrepreneurs because you’re wearing all these different hats. You’re the CEO, the CFO, the director of marketing. You’re this, that, and the other, and if you’re anything like me it’s hard to shut it off, so while we typically become entrepreneurs to have time freedom, we end up doing the exact opposite because we never turn it off. So just know how to turn it off sometimes.

A powerful story of embodying the power of your authentic self.

Listen to the full Podcast here today.


authenticity, norman j liverpool iv, queer spirituality, spiritual coaching

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