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From Setback To Comeback: Start Your Next Chapter – Interview With David Trotter And Mandy Adams

David Trotter and Mandy Adams, co-founders of Start My Next Chapter Coaching and Retreats, are passionate about helping people who have gone through a significant life change (such as divorce, job transition, or the loss of a loved one) heal their mind and heart so they can start their next chapter feeling empowered and confident.

As Certified Trauma-Informed Breathwork and Guided Meditation Facilitators, David and Mandy are dedicated to using somatic exercises and transformational coaching to help individuals not just cope but thrive after significant life changes. Their programs are designed to help people regulate their nervous system, rewrite the stories in their minds and bodies, rediscover their true identity, and develop a clear plan for the next chapter of their lives.

Image photo of David Trotter and Mandy Adams

David Trotter & Mandy Adams, Transformation Coaches & Breathwork Facilitators

Why are you passionate about helping people start the next chapter of their lives?

When you go through a significant life change, it can be incredibly destabilizing. You start asking questions about yourself and life…things like “Who am I? What do I truly want?” And, many people even begin to ask, “What is this life really all about?”

Those questions can feel daunting and overwhelming, to say the least.

Without support and guidance, the mind can easily spiral out of control and descend into hopelessness.

Whether someone has gone through a divorce, a job transition, the loss of a loved one, an empty nest, a health crisis, or even a big geographical move, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the previous chapter of life and step powerfully into the next one.

The bottom line is that we have experienced significant life changes, and we understand the challenges and opportunities of starting a new chapter. We know what it’s like to experience both the setback and the comeback, and our own journey fuels our passion for helping others.

As our friend Tim Storey says, “Your setback is a setup for a comeback!”

We’re incredibly thankful for the people who came alongside us during the comeback seasons of our lives, and we’re passionate about helping other people experience their own comeback.

Can you each share your personal journeys of starting a new chapter of life? Mandy, can you go first?

In my former life, I owned an advertising agency and worked in the industry for over 20 years. I was making a multiple six-figure income, living at the beach, traveling the world…and then COVID came along.

The pandemic basically killed my business overnight.

With all the changes happening during this time, it became clear that this chapter in my life was ending. Thankfully, I was already on a path of personal development and spirituality, including breathwork, journaling, and the power of manifesting, and I was ready to embrace change. 

Image photo of Mandy Adams

I wanted something different in my life, so I started a retreat business because of my passion for travel. Shortly after, I felt a calling to own a breathwork and meditation studio, which quickly became my focus.

After setting the intention and taking some initial action steps, I was soon approached by the owner of the studio where I was a regular. He offered me the opportunity to buy his business, and the most amazing part about this is that he had no idea I even wanted to own a studio.

Soon after, David walked into my life at a sound bath, and our love and partnership have been growing ever since.

Today, Behind the Lids is southern California's leading breathwork and meditation studio, and Start My Next Chapter Coaching and Retreats is helping men and women experience healing and breakthroughs in their lives.

How about you, David? What’s your story?

In my former life, I was a pastor and rather good at growing churches…but I was also a workaholic. For ten years, I tried to fill a void of not-enoughness inside me. If I could grow this church bigger and help more people, I’d finally feel satisfied…worthy…and loved. Frankly, that didn’t work for me, and it generally doesn’t work for anyone else.

Instead, I burned out and hit rock bottom, and I had to reorient my life. Part of that process involved deconstructing my faith and developing a much more inclusive spirituality that embraced healing modalities such as breathwork and meditation, as well as the power of manifesting.

Over the past 16 years, I’ve continued to serve people through coaching, writing, podcasting, speaking, authoring a dozen books, and producing and directing four award-winning feature films on critical social issues.

I’m passionate about coaching people to step into their power through Start My Next Chapter, and I’m honored to lead classes at Behind the Lids that integrate breathwork, guided meditation, and manifesting.

What makes the Start My Next Chapter Coaching programs unique?

Unlike many programs that focus solely on internal healing or external motivation, Start My Next Chapter Coaching and Retreats takes a holistic approach. We use the innovative Lifestory Mastery Method to create an environment where you can heal your mind and heart and then step into your power to create the life you truly desire.

Because our clients have recently experienced a very challenging season, many are having difficulty managing their thoughts and feelings daily. Some are still reeling from a divorce, and others feel the sting of a job loss.

It can be pretty overwhelming if you’re unsure what to do next. It can result in feeling completely stuck and acting impulsively. If you don’t learn how to calm your mind and regulate your nervous system, you end up living in a state of fight or flight and feeling like you’re just trying to survive.

First and foremost, we understand that managing your thoughts and feelings after a challenging season can be overwhelming. That's why our unique combination of breathwork, guided meditation, and somatic exercises is so effective. It helps you calm your mind and regulate your nervous system, leading to mental clarity and an internal grounding that allows for reflection without emotional turmoil.

After a client feels calm and regulated, what is the next step?

Our lives are largely created by the stories we tell ourselves in our minds and the stories we feel in our bodies. We adopt these stories from those who raised us, but we also make them up due to life's painful and challenging experiences. Because of traumatic experiences, both large and small, we develop stories about ourselves, other people, the world at large, and even the Universe.

The question is, “Are these stories going to help you create the life you truly desire?”

The truth is that the stories you told yourself in the previous chapter of life are not the stories that will help you confidently step into the next chapter.

Through our somatic healing practices and coaching, we help clients raise their awareness of the stories in their minds and bodies, often including stuck emotions. We help them release what no longer serves them and rewrite new, healthy, empowering stories that set them up to win in their next chapter.

Image photo of David Trotter

You mentioned that people often question their identity during a significant life transition. How do you help them regain a sense of who they are?

Most people who undergo a significant life change ask, “Well, who am I if I don’t have this job? Or if I’m not married to this person? Or if my kids no longer need me like they used to?”

Unfortunately, our culture teaches us to build our identities around things that can be here today and gone tomorrow - such as what we “do” rather than who we “are.”

We believe the Universe is an Infinite Love that created you to feel empowered by an identity that goes much deeper than your job title, marital status, or anything else that can easily change in this life.

We help our clients embrace their true identity as one who is loved, whole, and complete. This never changes, no matter what you’re going through in life. When you have this firm foundation, you’re able to start the next chapter with both clarity and confidence.

Often, people go to a seminar or retreat and feel excited about life, but they don’t have a solid action plan. How do you help people take practical next steps?

We hear from potential clients all the time, “I want a new job…or a romantic partner…or a sense of purpose now that my kids are gone…but I feel stuck and don’t know what to do next.”

We create an environment where you can clear away all the clutter in your mind and listen to your heart. Deep inside your heart is a longing to experience something that has yet to materialize. We help you translate that longing into a clear mental picture of your preferable future.

Then, we help you outline solid goals and incremental action steps that will lead you to experience that vision. You end up feeling incredibly confident, because you finally have a step-by-step plan that is very doable. 

If someone is considering getting support from a life coach, what encouragement would you give them?

Our question is, “Do you want the days ahead to be even better than the days behind you?”

Everyone can benefit from a coach, including the world's best athletes. If top performers recognize their blind spots and get support to keep improving, why wouldn’t we all take that approach to life?

Don’t leave this world without pursuing the desires of your heart. They were put there for a reason. If you want a beautiful, healthy romantic partnership, get the support you need to heal your heart and attract that person. If you want to discover your purpose for the next chapter of your life, don’t hesitate to reach out for support as you dive deep into your heart. If you want to start that business or launch that side hustle, now is the time to reach out for support as you clarify your dream and develop a plan of action.



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