You mentioned that as a child, you always thirsted for a glimmer of hope, even during the dark times. How has this helped to shape your life and business?
We all have a trove of stories that we can learn from and release when they no longer serve. They don't define us or predict our future unless we invite them along to stir it up and keep the past alive.
When I was tiny my grandfather used to call me his little hurricane. Apparently, I would enter the house with a burst of enthusiasm and loudly announce my arrival every day after school. I'm an introvert and a highly sensitive person to boot (HSP, it's a thing!) The lure of this story doesn't even land for me but the metaphor does. For as long as I can remember all hell could be breaking loose around me and I would be calm at the center - observing, feeling, and integrating.
I've been practicing mindfulness or "mind-free-ness" long before it had a title. I've always valued my ability to connect to the present moment and remain grounded, admittedly sometimes more successfully than others. What's critical is appreciating that life is fluid, unpredictable, unscripted and ever-evolving from one moment to the next. All we have is this veryinstance. The past is just that, the past. And the future is yet unknown. There is so much richness in the moment, it's too precious to waste on past emotions or future anxieties.
I've always been very decisive and believe in starting where you are, you can always course correct along the way, just start! Label it as hope, a commitment to okay-ness, the direction of possibility; it's an internal GPS of sorts and it serves every domain of my life. Do I miss a turn every now and then and end up in a bad section of town? Of course, I do. When I've zoned-out, it's usually some convoluted detour through a fear or an insecurity. It's a place of unfinished work and a theme that surfaces with many of my clients who are working on big transitions. We collaborate in the space of what's possible and account for past experiences that inform wisdom and sound judgment, leveraging instruments of predictability and intuition to navigate direction and together, develop a plan so you can get back on course.
How do you navigate fear or blocks in your own work? How do you help your clients do the same?
I definitely think we get better at this as we acquire experience and wisdom. Navigating fears, blind spots, the judgments of others — they each call for a healthy dose of self-compassion, honesty, and acknowledgment.
[Fear] Try telling someone their fears aren't real, good luck! Fears are real, period. Once named, we have greater ability to access choice points and to develop our strategies to cope with or overcome them. I love to explore evidence of proof that shows that we are stronger and more capable of working with fear or blocks than we think we are. It allows us to build an intimate trust with ourselves and makes room for greater credibility and courage. A healthy dose of fear is beneficial, it keeps us sharp, evolving, and relevant.
[Blocks] Feedback is a gift, unwrapping it with grace takes practice. They're called blocks or blind spots because we're unable to see ourselves clearly, our internal PR department a.k.a. "the ego" works nonstop on the spin; where we're either right, or we've been wronged. I love the quote, "you can either be right or happy," it's not possible to achieve both. If you're right, someone else has been made wrong, and there's nothing happy about that. We are hard wired for behavioral amnesia! No one willingly wants to admit to or be perceived as exhibiting unfavorable behaviors.
Enter 360 Feedback, it's one of my favorite tools to administer and debrief, I use The Leadership Circle 360 tool, one of the most comprehensive in the industry providing MRI like views into the individual's leader behaviors. Once able to recognize oneself in the feedback, it's harder to unlearn or dismiss. Excavating behaviors, patterns, perceptions and how they're impacting a client's relationships is an intimate reveal of one's vulnerabilities and an opportunity for purposeful shifts to occur.
You've mentioned that you're the kind of person who doesn't say no to anything. How has that helped (or hurt) you when it comes to running a business?
Saying "yes" to big purposeful stuff, good stuff, the unknown has always been my default, I've got a "why not" attitude and will check-in and scan a couple of questions.
- What's my intention? Why am I doing this and what are my expectations?
- How does this serves a greater good for myself, the business, or others?
- Is this aligned with my beliefs, values, goals, and purpose?
- What's the worst thing that could happen? Will I have any regrets later if I don't go for it now?
Being a "yes-star" throughout my corporate career resulted in numerous high-profile opportunities to effect change and create impact. As a result, I was tapped on the shoulder to lead major initiatives, take on new responsibilities, and quickly climbed the ladder.
The insights and experiences acquired were invaluable and pivotal to my trajectory as both a corporate executive and a future entrepreneur. I was versed in the corporate systems of culture, politics, people, hierarchy, and economics and adept at distilling it all down and creating complementary strategies, providing thought leadership, and serving as coach and mentor.
Learning to say "no" as an entrepreneur is a critical requirement, there is only so much time and so much of yourself to give. This was a huge learning curve and not one without a lot of frustration. I wanted to say "yes" to everything until I didn't, it was almost comical to observe "yes" turning into "oh hell no," I felt empowered and liberated. I'm the boss, I get to choose.
Turning up the dial on discernment was key. I got really deliberate about evaluating requests and assessing the return on investment. Now I ask questions such as; do I have the bandwidth, is this aligned with my brand and what I offer, is it the right population or client profile, is it lucrative, is it the right pay-it-forward opportunity, and most importantly, if not me, who can I delegate or outsource it to, or personally recommend.
Learning how to deliver a fully empowered "no" clears the way for incredible kick-ass opportunities for "yes."