Uncovering Money Blocks with Eleni Anastos

Episode 63

Eleni Anastos is the CEO of Business Insights Now and she specializes in uncovering money blocks to help business owners and individuals grow and learn in ways they never thought possible in life and business. She believes making connections and cultivating relationships is what matters most; including in your relationship with money.

In this episode, you’ll learn why Eleni believes that how you do money is how you do everything, how having a scarcity mindset about money can negatively impact your finances, the importance of realizing you’re enough, the different money personality types and how to discover your money personality, how to know when it’s the right time to invest in yourself, common limiting beliefs around money and how to reframe them, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

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Hey, hey!  It’s Andrea, and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast!

Today, I have with me, Eleni Anastos.  She is the CEO of Business Insights Now and specializes in uncovering money blocks.  That’s right, we’re talking about money today to help business owners and individuals grow and learn in ways that they never thought possible in life and business.

Now, aren’t you intrigued?  She believes making connections and cultivating relationships is what matters most, including your relationship with money.   Eleni has found that how you do money is how you do everything, and uncovering money blocks significantly impacts all areas of life, both personal and professional.


Andrea:  Eleni, I’m so happy that you’re here with us today on the Voice of Influence podcast!

Eleni Anastos:  Thank you so much, Andrea.  It’s an absolute honor and pleasure to be with you today.

Andrea:  Alright!  So what would you say then is the core of your message?

Eleni Anastos:  That money absolutely affects all of us and whether you’re an entrepreneur, you work in corporate, or you’re thinking about starting your own business; money impacts you.  It’s a part of our every day existence.  You know, you have bills to pay, you’re thinking about buying something, you’re saving for a house, yet money is often the one area that most people never want to talk about.  And I always question, if you had a better relationship with money, how would your life then be different?

Andrea:  Hmmm that’s interesting because I think that a lot of people who are kind of more message-driven were people that are thinking about the way we want to change the world and that sort of thing, money is not exactly something that we want to have to deal with.  We wish we didn’t have to deal with it and yet, I can say what you’re saying.  At some point, this is part of the problem or part of the issue.

So I’m excited to hear more about this.  Why this message?  Where did this start for you?

Eleni Anastos:  Well, I started to realize that I felt a little disconnected in thinking about money as a relationship or having a relationship with money.   I mean, if you want a rich and rewarding relationship with your spouse, with your kids, with a business partner, or with friends don’t you have to pay attention to them?  So how you can expect to have a rich and rewarding relationship with money if you don’t pay proper attention to it?

Andrea:  OK, I’m really curious, why this message for your voice?  I know that you’re a teacher a long time ago, right?

Eleni Anastos:  Yeah.  I was a teacher for many many moons.  For me, especially, you know, I was realizing that I was little uncomfortable talking about money and I had a very like close tight-knit relationship with money, almost too tight to the point where I had a scarcity mindset thinking “Oh there’s never gonna be enough to go around.”  That can have the opposite of that like when I was teaching, I was constantly over delivering.

I was giving way above and beyond; you know what I was being compensated for.  And I imagined that for people listening, they can relate to that to a degree.  I was uncomfortable talking about money.  I thought, “Wait a minute, I’m gonna have to deal with money for the rest of my life.”

And then several years ago when I wanted to start with my own business, I knew I had to get a grip on this.  I had to right the ship because if I was so uncomfortable talking about money, how could I asks for a sale?  How could I confidently state my fees?  There had to be a better way.

Then I also realized too because I was kind of stuck in that little scarcity mindset that I ended up giving things away in that sense, undervaluing myself.  I ended up just feeling miserable about it and I thought, “I can’t be the only person struggling with this.”

Andrea:  What’s the difference between wanting to give and do things for other people having sort of a generosity mindset versus having a scarcity mindset?

Eleni Anastos:  Yes.  Well, one of my mentors often said, “Do not confuse your business with your charity.”  And I’m extremely charitable and I love being able to help people when I can.  But on the flipside though when I was undervaluing myself and undercharging for my services, you know, the irony is I didn’t have the money then to help the people I wanted to help or to do for others.  So it’s a double edged sword.

So once I started placing proper value on myself and in my services then I was able to have the income to do the things to help others to donate when I wanted to.

Andrea:  Yeah.  We’ve talked about this on a podcast a couple of other times with some other guests about the idea of not realizing that you need to have a cash project in order to fund the heart projects.

Eleni Anastos:  Yes.  Yes, absolutely!  It always goes back to me to really realize, you know, I mentioned scarcity and as you did as well and I believe it was Brene Brown that said, “The opposite of scarcity is enough.”  You know, we have to start with I’m enough.  We still need to grow and learn new skills, new behaviors; but if you don’t start with “I’m enough” that’s the only way to make and begin to grow and move away from the scarcity mindset.

When I was stuck in that scarcity mindset, thinking I just wasn’t enough and practically giving away my services, it was like I ended up chasing a quick fix or I just wanted a bandage to stop the bleed.  You can’t build anything sustainable for the long haul in that headspace.

Andrea:  OK, so when you say “enough” and maybe when Brene Brown says it, but what is it that we’re trying to be enough for?

Eleni Anastos:  To realize that you have everything within you that you need.  We all need help getting somewhere.  We all need a bridge to get from where we are to where we want to be.  But it’s realizing that you’re still whole regardless of where you’re starting from.

I just thought of a client that I’ve had who, he was brilliant.  He’s extremely talented and creative but he was so afraid of talking about money.  He had such a scarcity mindset and it wasn’t until we start working together that he realized that he adapts all these beliefs from watching his parents struggle with money.  He heard things growing up, there’s never going to be enough to go around.  Money is the bad guy.  Money is evil.  It’s just something we have to deal with.

So of course when he was venturing out on his own in his own business that was all weighing on him.  Literally, the first thing he said to me when I met him was “I’m sick and tired of having to lower my fees just to get a client.”  So he was already fed up and frustrated but he didn’t really realize the depth of what was going on, how lowering his fees kept him playing small.  And he wasn’t going to ever be able to make the impact he wanted in the world to keep himself playing small.

Andrea:  You know the fact that you can be enough but also want to grow at the same time; it reminds me of something that a professor of mine said a long time ago in a seminary.  He talked about they’re being two stories a lot of times and we have to be comfortable with both stories.

There’s the story that essentially were enough or what I like to say on my end of things that “your voice matters” and it absolutely does and that’s just the way it is.  It’s just, innately, it matters but at the same time you can make it matter more.  You can grow in whatever that you’re going to grow and both stories are true.

To be able to hold those both at the same time is kind of tricky but it’s seems like it’s really important especially here when we’re talking about money and being able to say that what you’re offering or what you have is enough, while at the same time it’s OK to want to grow and want more.

Eleni Anastos:  Yes, exactly!  And again, I believe that it impacts every area of your life.  When you can start to own your worth versus being so uncomfortable, because I’ve been here.  I was so uncomfortable even talking about money, that again, imagine if you’re in your business for yourself that you could hesitate to ask for the sale or you might even apologize for your fees, or put way too much in your packages or program in what you’re being compensated for.

I had someone reached out to me that has a corporate job and he said, “Well, how did it impact me if I’m not setting my own wage?”  I said, “Do you ever find yourself over delivering above and beyond what you’re being compensated for?”

So regardless for where you’re at in life, if you’re so uncomfortable even talking about money and owning your worth, it’s going to impact you.  Then I will also question, “What other areas in your life are you not standing up for yourself or you’re uncomfortable even talking about?

Andrea:  And money illuminates some of that?

Eleni Anastos:  Yes.

Andrea:  You’d an attitude about money or whatever?

Eleni Anastos:  Yes, because when I see people being able to learn to have strategies or knowing how to value themselves and deep in their relationship with money, because we’re all hardwired to deal with money.  We all have a money personality, if you will.  And like any personality, we all have gifts and we all have challenges and there’s definitely no one that’s better than another at attracting abundance into your world, it really is about the awareness.

So you can champion your gifts or consciously navigate around your own challenges.

Andrea:  OK, money personalities.  Now, I’ve seen plenty of people become just so much more comfortable with themselves by understanding their personalities for this or their voice for that.  And based on assessment and then realizing like you just said that there’s just strengths and challenges with any of these personalities that they’re not right or wrong or whatever.  Tell us more about these money personalities because that’s something that’s really interesting and I know you had me take an assessment to help me find mine.

So can you tell us about this assessment a little bit or how you talk about personalities?

Eleni Anastos:  Yes, absolutely.  The assessment is a series of questions.  Well, the good news is, you can’t study for it and you simply can’t get any answer wrong.  It really is designed to get who you are.  So for example my top money personality is called an accumulator and I’m an inner banker and I have this very tight close-knit relationship with money and _____ that could be like match-made in heaven, you know, great!

But there’s always the challenge, the shadow side and those of us that are strong accumulators can be so tightly controlled with money that it may mean we hesitate to invest in ourselves or we block ourselves from growing.

I know many years ago when I decided that I was going to start my own coaching business, I felt the calling.  I believe I have the skills set and I knew I wanted to serve people.  But as a strong accumulator to invest five figures in something that wasn’t a car or a house or my college education that was scary.

I remember walking up with my credit card in hand and I couldn’t even break stride and I just turned right around going, “Oh there’s no way, I’m putting this much on my credit card.”  And I did some deep breathing.  I was talking to myself and I said “No, I know I mean to serve people in a bigger and better way.”  I walked up the second time.  I love the person touched the credit card but I don’t even think _____ a life could have drifted out of my hand.  I walked away a second time and I’m like “OK, Eleni what are you saying?”

And I talked to myself through it and I realized, if I didn’t invest in myself then I also wasn’t going to be able to reach the people that I wanted to help and serve.  So I walked up the third time.  I was able to release the credit card.  I admit, I think I kind of like throw up a little in my mouth but _____, so it was a success.  But now that I know how I am wired as an accumulator, I very consciously know when to invest and it’s not a matter of me throwing up in my mouth or getting so much anxiety that I can’t do it.

Andrea:  OK, so I want to know a little bit more about…you don’t have to tell me exactly what it was you’re investing in but in general it was investing in yourself in your business and being able to sell more?  What made that investment so attractive, enough that you would actually go so much against what was inside of you?  I don’t know if that’s quite the right way to put it, but what was it?

Eleni Anastos:  I completely appreciate that.  Well, you mentioned teaching and education and I know I was born a teacher.  I know that I was born to impact people in a positive way.  But at that point in my life it was time for a shift to do it in a different venue, in a different manner.  And coaching really resonated with me, doing personal coaching, working with people one-on-one and doing group programs.  An educator, it was very important to me to get certifications, to get a proper background, if you will.  Even though, I already know I had the skill set, kind of going back to the “I’m enough.”

I knew that I have a skill set for it, the raw material, if you will.  But I also wanted to have the proper certification and training to make myself the best I could be to reach the people I was suppose to reach.  Whenever I thought, “Well, if I don’t invest in myself, because as accumulators, we just love saving for the sake of saving.

We love seeing our bank accounts go higher, so the thought of putting money out there, again five figures that’s not a car or a house, it was very scary.  It was very intimidating for me but I was looking to the future.  I got myself to the point where I was making a decision from where I want it to be.  So I knew if I didn’t invest in myself, I wasn’t going to get to where I wanted to be.

Andrea:  OK, so for those of us who are interested in investing in ourselves, how do we know when it’s a good investment or not.  Do you have any advice for that sort of question or scenario?

Eleni Anastos:  Yes, because I have spoken with a lot of people that sometimes look at for example, “Oh I can’t take on that debt.”  Debt has just a negative connotation from many people and I understand that, but it’s really looking at the difference.  Because to me if you can be grateful for what it is, for example most home owners here in the US, you’re able to purchase a home.  Not many people own the outright and they have taken on technically debt for that as an investment but it’s to make their life better in some way.

So if you can sit down and look at, where do I want to be personally and professionally?  Is this going to help me get there versus am I spending an investing money just to fill a void, like feeling lonely or empty or back to the opposite of I’m not good enough.  That really is worth looking at because I worked with a lot of people that have taken on debt in their mindset is completely different, not always the same.

Some people have a lot of shame and guilt around taking on debt, but they could possibly, you know when they were younger, who knows what they heard growing up or what they witnessed growing up, because we all have a money story we grew up with.  And maybe they saw, you know, “You should never take on debt.  You should only buy what you can pay off within the end of the month or something.”  I’m not saying those are bad things, not at all.  But it’s an individual decision to invest when you know that it’s going to elevate your life.

Andrea:  I mean it’s like college.  It’s like investing in college as well.  And I know there’s plenty of people saying don’t take on debt to go college too, it’s just fine.  But when you’re investing in yourself for your business or for essentially for financial gain in the future, that’s a little different than I guess like what you said to try to fill a void or that sort of thing.

I know some people do life coaching or they do coaching around health and wellness, I think that sometimes it’s harder if it’s not directly tied to money, the investment or reward isn’t directly tied to money, it’s harder for people to invest in something that doesn’t seem to look like it has the potential to pay them back or at least _____.  So what should be considered when we’re looking at investing in something like a health program or other sorts of things that aren’t necessarily directly tied to a business?

Eleni Anastos:  My first thought immediately goes to what’s the cost of not doing this?  Like you just mentioned a health program, you know, if you want to seek out your guidance and counsel for yourself.  If something is happening in your life, you’re unhealthy, you know you need some support accountability, whatever it is, to enhance yourself basically which everything is connected.  You know one area of your life is out of alignment; eventually it’s going to affect all the other ones.

So when you look at yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially; the idea is to have it all in alignment.  So for me and when I work with others, regardless if it’s not directly you’re saying “Oh investing in this is not going to turn around and put money in my bank.  But if you’re investing in something that is going to enhance your physical health, enhance your emotional health that’s going to make you better at everything else you do, right?

So the end result is yes, you will be attracting more abundance into your world and I think the bottom line is still impacted.  I have a client right now, he’s absolutely brilliant, super high IQ, wonderful man, great integrity; but he was so professionally-driven and so business-driven.  You know, 24/7 that’s all he focused on that his physical health is greatly suffering.  And until he put the proper focus on that, I mean because the other areas stopped growing, professionally he kind of hit the wall because his physical health is taken a toll.

So, you know, it’s all connected.  Eventually, it might not be an instantaneous thing so I think that’s why it’s easy to ignore.

Andrea:  Yes, yes, it doesn’t feel it’s urgent.  Like my husband, he’s a physical therapist and he likes to say that investing in something like that, investing in membership to the Y or a gym of some kind or personal trainer is way less expensive than a heart attack.

Eleni Anastos:  Exactly!

Andrea:  Both financially and emotionally.

Eleni Anastos:  Yeah.  I mean, what’s the cost of not investing in that whether, again, it’s a trainer or some kind of health program.

Andrea:  Yeah.  OK, so going back to the personalities, what are some of the different quadrants or I don’t know how it fits all into a scheme of, but what are some of the different kinds of personalities that are out there when it comes to money and why does that matter?

Eleni Anastos:  It matters individually, and especially it matters if you’re in any significant relationship; whether it’s marriage, business, or close friendship, having the awareness.  For example, you could be business partners or a married couple and you know that there’s some stress and friction between the two of you regarding money.  That’s fairly common.  But you don’t really know what’s at the roots of all of it and what’s causing it so that awareness makes the difference.

I mentioned that I’m the Accumulator that Inner Banker that has a really tight close-knit relationship with money.  The opposite of an Accumulator would be a connector.

Andrea:  Me!

Eleni Anastos:  Yeah, so that’s the inner relationship creator and they just illuminate faith and optimism which is beautiful.  And connectors generally don’t pay a lot of attention to money because that faith and optimism kind of gives them the freedom that the money is always going to be there.

Imagine if you put a connector and an accumulator together without the awareness, like a quick example if I go shopping as an accumulator, I look to the best deal always.  I want the most banks for my buck.  If I’m going to purchase and article or clothing, I will go to the clearance rack first.  I could very least look at price tags before I try anything on.

I went shopping with a friend of mine who’s a true connector.  She never looks at price tags.  She doesn’t even know the stores have clearance racks, which is just fine, and she made purchases.  Now, as an accumulator when I make purchases, I’m watching every item being wrung up.  I’m paying attention to every number.  I’m double checking their receipts before I sign.

My friend, the connector, just handed over her credit card, did not double check any numbers, didn’t listen to what they said.  And again, it’s not that I’m right and she was wrong, not at all.  But I was like clutching my chest wondering where the defibrillator was.

So imagine if you have an accumulator and a connector in business together or any close-knit relationship and you didn’t have the awareness, you could make each other crazy.

Andrea:  Sure!

Eleni Anastos:  And again, it’s not one that’s right and the other one was wrong.  It’s just having the awareness so you can synthesize each other’s gifts and consciously navigate those challenges.

Andrea:  That makes a lot of sense.  Yeah, I think my husband and I…I’m not sure if he’s an accumulator but that’s _____ for him.  I think over the years, it’s been easy for me to sort of just let him deal with the money because he pays very close attention and then I don’t have to because I really don’t want to.  But at the same time, I’ve recognized that as I started wanting to get the message out and I want to get in to this as well.

As I wanted to get the message out, I started to realize that money was playing a role.  I didn’t wanted to but it did and it was playing a role and I was continuing to spend more and more to get the message out without thinking about it and thinking about how it was impacting that.  And then it got to the point where I was asked to speak somewhere.  People don’t realize how much time and effort you spend on a speech.

And I was asked to speak somewhere and I thought “Oh gosh, if I ask for this much, will they give me a little bit less than that?”  I was just trying to figure out.  My husband said to me, “How much time are you gonna spend on that?”  And I thought, “Oh probably about a week’s worth of time.”  And I would have a babysitter for my kids because it was summer time and they were home and they were actually little then.

He helped me see realistically how much money we were going to be investing, and me, giving a speech for somebody else.  And then it became a very eye-opening about “Oh my goodness, this is expensive for us.”  It’s too much for me to ask from my family if I don’t ask the appropriate amount for speaking for an hour.

So when that happens, it was just this really big eye-opener for me and I needed to own the fact that the time that I’m spending and the effort that I’m offering is not all just for free.  It can’t be.

Eleni Anastos:  That story, I so appreciate you sharing that.

Andrea:  And what’s funny actually, let me just throw in the very tail end of that story.  Then the people asked me “What would you charge if you didn’t even know me?”  And I said a number and they said “OK” and I did it and I did it for that amount and that was just like boom, like this huge eye-opener.

Eleni Anastos:  Yay, that’s amazing!  I love it.  It’s beautiful.  How did you feel?  I’m curious when you just said that amount?

Andrea:  Well, I put it in a proposal and explained.  I didn’t explain why.  I didn’t justify the figure, I just kind of really explained why it would be a good fit and I felt a little overwhelmed about doing it but at the same time, I felt good about it.  And then actually when I gave the talk, it was just for a few people.  It was for a dozen of people, educators actually.  They handed me a check and they felt good.  I received the check and I felt good and I thought “This is a good thing.  There’s nothing wrong with this, me receiving this money.  It’s a lot of money but I invested a lot and it’s OK.  So, overall, it was just this really great learning experience for me.

Eleni Anastos:  That’s beautiful because you’re truly owning your own worth and placing a proper value on your skills, on your expertise, and what you brought to them as an individual.  That’s great, especially you know you get to decide “Is the juice worth the squeeze?”  You get to decide what your time is worth.

Now, there may be sometimes, especially where speaking is concerned or actually in anything else.  You may make a decision to do something that upfront you’re not highly compensated for but you have the potential to gain influence and gain clients from that scenario.  That’s all good too but the point is making a conscious decision not again thinking “Oh I’ve got to low ball this, I’ve got to play small” just to get in the door then we know you’re never really getting in anywhere.

Andrea:  OK, so what is your take on when somebody has a message whether they have a job with a company or there’s somebody who is an entrepreneur or at least think that they’re a writer.  If you have a message inside, why should they care about money?  How should we approach it as somebody with a message?

Eleni Anastos:  Yes, because I have heard countless people say, it’s not about the money.  Money doesn’t matter.  I think we all have heard that somewhere or we verbalized it ourselves.  But I want to go back to the reality that money is a part of your every day existence regardless of where you live or what your current life is, money is going to be a part of your every day existence.

So I think it speaks to the mindset of “I should just do this.  I should just be giving.  I should just be sharing,” almost as if that person doesn’t have a right to be compensated for sharing their gifts with the world.  I think that could be a very dangerous mindset, a very slippery slope how we’re talking to ourselves.

Andrea:  And you mentioned before this idea of playing it small.

Eleni Anastos:  Yes!

Andrea:  And that is definitely something that I can relate too.  I mean, I went through a period of like “Oh my goodness, if I don’t start charging money, I’m just going to stay here.  I’m kind of stuck in this little pool when I feel like I belong in a bigger pool.”  And so yeah, playing it small seems like a big part of it too.

Eleni Anastos:  Yes and how you speak to yourself, is it a low-value statement, is it a high-value statement?  For example, if you say that “Oh no one’s gonna pay me for what I offer,” obviously that’s very disempowering.  It’s a low-value statement.  But I always want people to ask instead of going right to the negative, “no one’s ever going to pay me for my skill,” you know, what if they could?  What if you could get the money that you want?  What if your clients will pay you for your skill, for your expertise?

Napoleon Hill’s iconic book was Think and Grow Rich.  You can’t say, _____ and grow rich, instead Think and Grow Rich.  It may sound simplistic in nature but it really is really a concerted conscious effort on how we’re talking to ourselves and to place a value on ourselves.  Because those of us that are very mission driven and want people to live their best lives, is there anything more that we want for people to be wildly successful however they choose to define that.

Andrea:  You know, I guess I’m just sharing all kinds of my personal experience here but I think that’s another piece of what was hard for me when I was starting out.  What’s been frustrating to me probably on my life is that I don’t want to go in inch deep and a mile wide.  I’d much prefer to go an inch wide and 60,000 miles deep.

What I was realizing every time was that I could only literally, I could only go so deep because they were only invested so deep and they weren’t ready to go further until they were ready to put money behind it.  And I was like “I just have to be like this.”  I don’t necessarily want to be that you need to spend more money to have more transformation.  But at the same time, it’s kind of like that sometimes because people aren’t ready to totally throw their whole selves in until they put their money in.

Eleni Anastos:  Yes, and it’s backing that up and looking at it again, this is an investment.  I don’t want to spend that money, but that’s a different mindset from investing in yourself and then what you’re demonstrating for other people is not just like I had a client.  She was absolutely lovely, creative, and a beautiful soul but so tightly around with money, so scared to even talk about money.  She could barely state her fees to clients and practically apologize for them.

In fact a couple of times, she asked for permission like “Is that OK?”  She’d state her fees, “Is that OK?”  So that completely was undervaluing herself and she was giving them all the power.  I want people to be in the driver seat for themselves.  When she realized through our work together that “Oh, you know, it was from mom that constantly said, you just get whatever you can get.  Get whatever you can get, it’s OK.  Some money is better than no money.  Bread is better than no bread.”

I mean, no disrespect to her mom because I’m sure she meant with the best possible intentions that you what you can do to earn a living.  I think that’s a great advice on many levels.  For my client, being that creative soulful entrepreneur, she realized that she was not going to be able to impact and influence people if she just keeps trying to “Oh let me just get somebody in the door, whatever it is.  I’ll low ball it.  I’ll just give this away.”  Again, going back to the _____ and playing small.

When she was able to shift her mindset and she kind of adapted this new paradigm that money really is not evil.  That’s one of the things that I find amazing all the limiting beliefs that are still out there, “You know money is evil.  There’s never enough to go around.”  In reality, money is just is, it’s neutral like anything in our world; we apply the meaning into it.  It’s just energy, you know, an exchange of one service for another.

I think when people can wrap their heads around that money is really is the energy and exchanging one service for another that put some back in the driver seat where they feel they have control of money and therefore more control in their life.  That’s what I want to see for people to not feel like money is controlling their life.  How many decisions have we made based on money or lack of money?  That gives money the power.  I do want people to take their power back.

Andrea:  OK, this is great.  What would you leave us with?  You know this person who, they care about other people and they’re not sure what they want their relationship with money to be but they know it’s not quite at the place where it probably or should be in order for them to be free from, I guess like you’re saying the power of money over them instead of them having power.  What advice would you give that message-driven leader?  What do you want to leave with them today?

Eleni Anastos:  I’d like them to think about what they want most for the people they want to serve.  It’s almost always you want them to feel empowered and you want them to feel capable of doing anything they want to do regardless of what you’re teaching them or showing them in your mission.  And the best way to do that is to do it for yourself to be that role model, to demonstrate, “This is what’s possible.  This is what it’s look like.  This is how you can live when you’re on your own worth.”  “If we don’t start with us, how can we demonstrate to others that we want to serve what’s possible?”

Andrea:  Oh so true!  Alright, well thank you so much, Eleni, for being here today.  How can people get a hold of you and even take that assessment that you’re sharing with me.

Eleni Anastos:  Yes, thank you for asking.  The website is businessinsightsnow.com and the assessment on there is called, Crack Your Money Code.  So Business Insights Now and Crack Your Money Code.  It will take you maybe 10 minutes to take and again it’s painless.  You can’t study, you can’t get anything wrong and I am happy to engage and discuss results with folks that want to take it.  So you can reach out to me through the website with any questions.

Andrea:  Awesome!  OK, we will link to that in the show notes and I just thank you again for being here today and for helping the world to get used to this idea of money and being comfortable with it in the way that we interact with it and our relationship with money, Eleni.  Have a great day!

Eleni Anastos:  Thank you so much, Andrea!

Living Boldly with Andrea Joy Wenburg

Episode 62

This week I have a very special episode to bring you. Today is actually my 40th birthday and, as I started to approach this birthday, I began reflecting on my life. What is that I really want for my life and my family? What are the things I’ve been doing that aren’t serving me? How have I been holding myself back? Take a listen to this quick episode to hear the powerful realizations I’ve come to.

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:


Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Hey, hey! It’s Andrea, and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast!

So today, the day that I released this episode, it’s my 40th birthday. I don’t know, I’m not sure why I think about that. I’m not too worried about that I guess, but at the same time, it does make me think a little bit.

Today, I wanted to share with your some of my thoughts. I have a question for you. Do you ever wonder what your life is really about? I’m not talking about your overall beliefs, about the meaning of life really, rather I’m talking about how you actually live, what you actually say and how you actually do what you do…how are you spending your life.

A while back, I watched a movie that really kind of rocked me to the core and it got me feeling what I already been thinking about my life and what my life was about. This movie is called Still Alice, and the main character is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, which it hit really close to home.

As I watched this movie, I really kind of grieve with her as this brilliant 50-year-old Alice consider her future and forgot about her family, she grew anxious. She lost her ability to interact with other people. Honestly, I thought about myself and I wondered “How much time do I really have left?” None of us really know, but this really put in the perspective.

If I’m about 40 years old and this Alice in her mid 50s, yeah 50 year old, she’s just 10 years away from me, “What if I only have that much time left?” How would I spend my life, what would I want my life to be about?” And I can tell you what was easier to figure out. It was easier to figure out what I don’t want to be about, because I know based on just life and my own experiences and the way that I’ve come to view myself in the world.

I don’t want to spend my life protecting myself. I don’t want to hide or hold back just for fear that I might not succeed or that someone might actually not like me or think negatively about me or be annoyed with me. I don’t want to hold back out of that kind of fear and protect myself in that way just to keep myself from feeling hurt. What if I have something to offer? What if it really could impact people?

Of course this is something that I’ve talked about a lot. But I think in the end, we all need to kind of do the math a little bit and realize that all of those times that people don’t appreciate what we have to offer, don’t accept our offering, maybe you count them as negative ones, if you want.

But those times when the people do, I mean those are very small. They’re just passing blips on the radar. But when somebody does actually receive what you have to offer, how much bigger of a number is that? There’s so much more positive that comes with someone receiving your offering and you making a difference in their lives than all those little negative rejections essentially.

So I don’t want my life to be spent protecting myself from these tiny little negative blips on the radar. I want to go out seeking those out knowing that if I’m seeking those out that eventually I’m going to find somebody who actually does want what I have to offer. Do you ever think of it like that? Or do you see all of those rejections or those I guess negative moments in your life, or those people that tell you no. Do you give them more credit than they do? Do you give them more weight to them than they really have?

It’s nothing against those people that might say no or that might say not now or might not be interested. It’s not about that, it’s about OK, move on. So who does need what you have? Let’s find them and then think about how much more exponential impact you have with that one person who’d actually is open to receive what you have. Oh man, it’s worth the rejections!

So I don’t want to spend my life protecting myself, I know that. So I’m going to go for it. I’ve been going for it. I’m going to keep going for it and even when I get down, which happens, I just know that I have to step out and do something bold and brave and then I have to do it again. I might fail and I might not be everybody’s favorite person but I plan to learn and grow from it all and I don’t want to protect myself and I don’t want to just live protecting myself; I do want to love boldly.

Something else I don’t want is I don’t want to spend my life overwhelmed. It’s really easy to feel overwhelmed, doesn’t it? Honestly, this is not something I do well. I probably tend to feel overwhelmed. I packed my mind and my schedule. I try to not super pack it, but I do like it fairly full but then if I allow myself to get too tied to the outcome, I can easily get overwhelmed.

I don’t like the idea of shuffling stuff around my house and it’s interesting because we’ve lived in the house that we’re living in right now, we’ve lived in it for almost five years now, which is way longer than I lived in anyone’s house besides the one I grew up in since I was 18 years old.

So every couple of years, really, I had the opportunity in my adult life to go through everything. Almost twice, because you know, you go through it once when you’re packing and you think you’re getting rid a lot of stuff when you move. And then you realize “Oh my goodness, I need to get rid of so much more stuff.”

But I know that I don’t want to spend my life just shuffling stuff around my house because I haven’t had a _____ to go through everything every couple of years here at this house. I still have to be super intentional about going through things and I think it’s not just the things, is it? It’s the relationships. It’s the activities, which ones are kind of; I don’t know, be lasting and make a lasting impact.

I’m not sure that I always know the answer to that. I think sometimes we have to try things out and just see how it fits with our new schedule. And with two kids, one who’s going to 6th grade who is just starting youth group and just starting band and just starting all kinds of fun activities, I realized that it’s going to take a lot of reassessing as we go to kind of think through it. I guess that has to be OK!

So as I’m looking at the next few years and I’m thinking about not wanting to be overwhelmed, I know that I want to simplify as much as I can and not takes a lot of effort and intentionality. I’m going to cut back on stuff and activities that turn into detours or stumbling blocks between us and what we really feel like as our family purpose.

Like I said it’s going to be constant balancing act and I know it has been a constant balancing act, but there will be less to balance. Because I need to think clearly, overwhelmed makes it really hard to think clearly and that’s something that it gets really important.

The last thing that I know that I do not want, I did not want to spend my life running away from feeling…I don’t want to distract myself with meaningless things just so that I don’t have to feel the intensity of the meaningful things. I don’t want to numb my feelings or carelessly feed my emotions so that they grow out of proportion. I don’t want to diminish or exaggerate feeling and that’s something that I can easily do. I want the moment to be what it is. I don’t need to anticipate it ahead of time and hold that emotion, carry it out before and carry it out after.

This is the time in life when you start to realize how there are a lot of people around you that could be dying, a lot of people around you sick and becomes more and more evident. And I think it’s important to hold each one of those moments with the weight that they deserve while not carrying them too far forward anticipating bad things, while not dwelling on them too long afterwards punishing oneself perhaps for what you didn’t say or didn’t do. That’s something my husband and I talked about recently.

What is it that we feel like we really need to say to the people that we love? What do they need to know from us, to hear from us so that we don’t live without regrets? I wonder about that for you. Is there anything that you want to say to somebody that would help you to not live with regret? I think that’s probably one of these little buckets in our lives that probably need to continually be checked and dumped, if that’s how you want to put it; to look inside and say “OK, what now? Is there anything?”

Not necessarily because there’s stuff going on and like or some things specific that you’re concerned about. Though, it could be that. You could let those be triggers. You could let other people’s experiences be triggers for you to say, “Oh you know what, I’m going to do this now. I need to say this now.” But I think we also do that on a regular basis just because…so what do we need to say to live without regret?

So I want to explore. I want to dig dip, to uncover what I’m honestly feeling and why. I want to bring those feelings, those feelings to God and allow Him to turn them into power with love because I believe that’s what happens. I believe these feelings are fuel that they may not be structure, they may not tell us what to do, but boy they can sure fuel us through something hard or through something great.

So I don’t want to look at feeling and say it’s bad. I want to live passionately. So that’s basically it. I am confident that I don’t want to spend my life protecting myself, but I do want to live boldly and I don’t want to spend my life overwhelmed. I do want to think clearly. I don’t want to spend my life running from feeling because I want to live passionately.

To my question for you is how do you want to spend your life, your actual day-to-day life? What are you going to do to get there? You know what I hope you do; I hope you go for it. I hope you step out and do something bold and brave and then go do it again because your voice matters.




How to Stop Being Afraid of Standing Out with Alicia Couri

Episode 61

Alicia Couri is a dynamic empowerment speaker, author, and personal branding expert who shares her message of how overcoming low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence has created massive opportunities that influence, transform, and impact lives.

Alicia’s books focus on self-development and self-care and, while simple, are incredibly profound.  Her mission is to influence, educate, inspire, and entertain with audacious confidence and to help her clients do the same with a strong personal brand.

In this episode, Alicia discusses why the core of her message is focused around confidence, the difference it makes for the world if people are confident, how to gain confidence, why we shouldn’t look for external validation to boost our confidence, the three P’s of personal branding, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:


Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Alicia Couri Voice of Influence Podcast Andrea Joy Wenburg


Hey, hey!  It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast.

Today, I have with me, Alicia Couri, a dynamic empowerment speaker, author, and personal branding expert who shares her message of how overcoming low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence has creative massive opportunities that influence, transform, and impact lives.

I personally benefited from Alicia’s abilities with personal branding especially in the area of hair and makeup recently at an event that I spoke at.  So I’m excited to share her with you today.  Her books focused on self-development and self-care and they’re really fun reads and they’re both very simple but profound.  Her mission is to influence, educate, inspire, and entertain with audacious confidence and she helps her clients do so with a strong personal brand.

Alicia how wonderful is it to have you here today on the Voice of Influence podcast.

Alicia Couri:  Thank you so much!  I really appreciate how you introduced me.  That is so wonderful and I appreciated the opportunity to work with you recently.  Thank you so much!

Andrea:  Yes.  It was so fun. You were a delight.  You were very encouraging and I liked how I looked so that’s so great too.

Alicia Couri:  That turned out great, yes.

Andrea:  It’s nice to know that somebody professional has done the hair and makeup thing before you go up onstage.

Alicia Couri:  It makes a world of difference.  It certainly does.

[Off-topic conversation]

Andrea:  So Alicia what is the core of your message?  Tell us about what drives you in your message?

Alicia Couri:  In the introduction, you talked about me overcoming low self-esteem and low self-worth.  So the core of my message is really focused around confidence because everything that we do starts with being confident and it starts with having that confidence within yourself.  So for me that is such a staple and such a vital part of life so that is really what drives me.

Andrea:  What is it about that then?  I want to hear about your story then because it sounds like you have a pretty good story about why this is personal for you?

Alicia Couri:  Absolutely!  You know, I was born in Trinidad and I grew up in Australia.

Andrea:  You grew up in Australia but you don’t have n accent now?

Alicia Couri:  OK, so that’s part of my story.

Andrea:  OK, good.  I want to hear it.

Alicia Couri:  That’s also part of my story, because I was one of three black children in an entire school of 700 to 800 kids and so…

Andrea:  Wow that’s a lot.

Alicia Couri:  Yes, it was a really big school because it went from a kindergarten all the way through 12th grade.

Andrea:  And such a small percentage.

Alicia Couri:  And it was just one was a native Aborigines and other was my sister.  So it was three of us in the whole school that I’ve ever seen that were dark, at least as dark as we were.  So I got a lot of stares.  I got a lot of questions and as a 5 year old getting questions about your skin color and where you from and your accent and why do you talk like this and all of that, it was intimidating because I didn’t have the answers.  I didn’t know why my skin was different color than theirs.  I couldn’t answer that question intelligently, and so it has caused me as a rambunctious, really outspoken, outgoing little girl to become shy and kind of introverted.

It completely changed my personality.  It changed how I was.  I wanted to blend in.  I didn’t want to standout.  I wanted to be just like everybody else but the minute I look at myself, I knew I was like everybody else that I was around.  So later on in life, I realized that what impact that had on me, because when you’re in it you don’t realize what’s happening, but as I tried to step out and do things, I would realize that I would shy away and I would want to be in the background and I wouldn’t step up and I wouldn’t speak up and I couldn’t figure out why wouldn’t do these things.

So later on when we moved back to Trinidad, I looked like everybody else so I can fit in but the minute I open my mouth to speak, heads would turn again and people start asking questions and they start wanting to know “Can you say these words?  Can you say that word?”  So I started feeling self-conscious about even speaking.

Andrea:  Because of the Australian accent at that point?

Alicia Couri:  Because of the Australian accent.  Yeah, a heavy thick Australian accent from this little girl.  So my way of fixing that was “Let me just speak in a way that is clear and enunciate and so that people cannot identify me by an accent anymore.”  So that’s kind of why I speak the way I speak because I just didn’t want people to ask me where I was from and now I got it all the time because nobody could picture where I’m from.  I always hear say “Hey, where you from.  I detect something but I don’t know what it is.”

Andrea:  Yes, interesting.

Alicia Couri:  So yeah that’s kind of my story and so that’s why I so strongly believe in confidence because it erodes who you are if you don’t have it.  It erodes your worth, your value, your self-esteem, your ability to really go out and shine at the highest level that you can possibly achieve.  So that’s what I want for people to be able to realize.

Andrea:  OK, so what difference does it make then in the world if people are confident?  Why does this matter?

Alicia Couri:  Well, it matters, especially if you’re in business, it matters how you value yourself.  It matters how you show up.  It matters how you perform.  For instance, we love to watch world events and Dancing with the Stars and all these really great reality shows that are based in competition, say like Dancing with the Stars for instance.

When you put someone out of their elements and so you take someone who has never done ballroom dancing before and now you’re training them to ballroom dance and you see the process that they go through and how the lack of confidence at the beginning really holds them back from giving it their all to when they reached probably the semi finals or the finals and then you see that change in not just the way they danced but the attitude that they have when they danced because now they’ve got it.  Now, they’re confident in their steps that they’re taking and they’re no longer holding back.

So when you live in a world that you’re not holding back, that you’re actually giving it your all because now you’re sure of what you’re doing, you’re confident in what you do, it makes not just a difference in your performance but it makes a difference in your clients and customers in how they receive it.  They are able to celebrate it with you when you do a great job.  They’re able to be the beneficiaries of that great job, so I think it’s really important.

Andrea:  And it totally levels up what you can offer it seems like.

Alicia Couri:  Absolutely, absolutely!

Andrea:  Yeah.  OK, so how does someone become confident?  I’ve asked a lot of people on this podcast you know, “Have you always been confident, because they come across so confident.  And they’re like “Oh no,” and they kind of go back and then, “No way, I’ve always been confident.”  But I think that a lot of people are sitting there looking at people who looked confident and saying, “Gosh, I wish I was like them but I don’t really know how to get from here to there.”  So what do you tell people about that?

Alicia Couri:  So that is a really great question because so many times, people think there’s a formula to getting confident but we really have to start looking back at why you think you’re not confident or why you believe you can’t do this because sometimes it’s a universal belief that some people are born confident and others aren’t.  And so if you have bought into that universal belief then you’re always going to think that you can never be confident enough.

So think back to really what that seed that was planted that made you feel like either you couldn’t do something or you weren’t confident enough or you didn’t have enough skills, education, or whatever it is.  So for me when I looked back at my childhood and I recognized that it was that time in my life when I felt that I wanted to disappear then I can kind of shift back and I can say “Well, you know, that was my reality as a child, that’s not my reality now.”  So I don’t have to bring that baggage with me everywhere I go.  I am a choice now that I’m aware that that is where I came from, I am now a choice.

I think we even spoke about this when I was doing your hair and makeup that we can choose in this moment now how we are going to be.  So that kind of can get you out this idea that you think that you’re not confident enough or you think that you can’t do a good job is recognizing where it came from, being able to now make a different decision because now you’re a choice because you’re aware of where it came from and then just choosing it.  The other thing is recognizing where your skills, your talents, your gifts, and your abilities lie.

Andrea:  So big!

Alicia Couri:  Yeah, your talents, your abilities, your gifts, and your skills.

Andrea:  I like that tags.

Alicia Couri:  Yeah, your tags.

Andrea:  That’s good.

Alicia Couri:  If you know where your tags are, if you know that I am really good at this that is where you’ll shine and that is where you’ll be confident.  When I started doing makeup, it was a passion of mine.  It was something I love doing but I didn’t have all the skills yet, but because I love and I enjoy doing it and I was encouraged by the people around me that I was doing a good job, I got more training and more training until I felt that “You know what, I believe that in any situation, I can make this work.”

So I don’t need to know what everybody looks like before they sit in my chair because I understand now, you know face shape.  There’s a certain understanding of the technical aspect of it but I also know that I have a natural gift for it.  So I rely on my natural gift and I rely on the skill set that I’ve developed.  And so I’m confident when someone sits on my chair that I can do a good job for them.

Andrea:  I really like that you’re pulling up both the internal belief and where it came from as well as the need to develop the skills and to sort of level up where you’re already gifted because I think it’s definitely not enough to just say that I’m more confident.  Confidence has to be grounded in something…

Alicia Couri:  …in something, exactly.

Andrea:  Yeah, yeah.

Alicia Couri:  Absolutely, absolutely.  Too many times, especially young women looked externally at everything.  You know, beauty was a big, big thing for me because I spent a long time not believing in my own beauty, again came from my childhood and not seeing a representation of what I look like as beauty in the world in the 70’s.  There weren’t really people on TV or in magazines that were portrayed with my skin color, my nose, or my lips.  It was more, blonde, blue eyed, light skinned.

My concept of beauty was cute because of my surroundings and I had to figure out what beauty really meant to me.  So when so many young girls are looking externally for validation and they’re looking externally for things to identify with, it erodes their confidence because they no longer have confidence in themselves but they’re trying to be like the image that they see out there.  And it’s really important to develop your own concept of beauty and confidence and all those things for yourself and then like you said, make it tangible and then match the inside of what you’re now believing for yourself and then make it tangible.

If you’re going to use, for instance makeup, don’t make up yourself to hide yourself or try to alter your features to look like something else, but use makeup to enhance.  Say, “You know what, I love my lips and I am going to put on this bright red lipstick because it makes my lips just look juicy and beautiful.”  So you know, instead of underlying your lips so that they look thin and more acceptable.  So trying to build and develop confidence in yourself comes from the internal but also you have to add the external to it but don’t add the external as a way to mask, hide, or alter who you are.

Andrea:  Hmmm.  OK, so I love that you just said that we need to find that within instead of basing it on other people and getting approval and basing our idea of beauty or whatever _____ that we’re trying to set for ourselves basing that on somebody else or something else outside of ourselves.  But how do we do that, really?  I think it’s hard to get those images or those expectations out of your head and kind of comeback inside to yourself to find those answers.

So, Alicia, how did that work for you?  Let’s use beauty as an example because you’ve used it.  So how did you decide what was beautiful for you and what made you beautiful when you didn’t have representation in media and you didn’t see people like yourself out there _____ this beautiful?  How did you find that for yourself and how do you recommend that other people look within to find some of those things?

Alicia Couri:  It took me a long time!  It certainly did because I did not like looking in the mirror.  I did not like my picture taken and if you look at my Facebook page or my Instagram page, you would never believe that in a million years because there are selfies everywhere, but honestly, I was hiding myself.  I would hide myself and people would say, “Oh you so pretty.”  “You’re so beautiful.”  I couldn’t receive it.  I couldn’t accept it.  I would just politely say, “Oh thank you,” but inside I was like “What are they looking at?”

But it took me a while to kind of make the shift and so what shifted for me was to start seeing myself differently.  I had to actually start looking differently at myself in the mirror.  I had to take pictures of myself and stop criticizing myself and putting myself down and looking for the beauty.  When I would look in the mirror, instead of saying, you know, pimples or oh my gosh, my nose is this way, you know, just finding everything that was wrong, I looked in the mirror and I thought, “You know what, you’re not too shabby today.”  You know, I have _____ a little bit of a compliment, “Not too shabby today.”

And then I started taking pictures of myself which is something I really didn’t do. When I started taking more and more pictures, I started to see myself differently because I looked at myself objectively as if it wasn’t me I was looking at.  I thought, “If I didn’t know this person would I think she was pretty?”  And I would look at each picture saying, “Yes, she’s got beautiful eyes and she’s got red lips.  Her face shape is very good.”  You know, just start picking little things and looking at different features and saying, “Yeah, she’s kind of pretty.”

Andrea:  Yeah and just are ____, I mean, you’re gorgeous.  So yeah, I can’t even imagine not realizing that, but it’s so interesting that you took the time and energy and effort to do that because I think a lot of us don’t put the extra time and energy into that kind of reflection and to that kind of awareness.  You know awareness of taking the picture and then reflecting on it and saying, “OK, what do I see here?”

I think we can do the same thing with other areas of our lives that we’re trying to grow in and or become more confident in but yeah, we don’t.  It takes so much effort or decision or permission or something to actually do that.  So what was inside of you or what’s outside of you, I don’t know what kind of got you to that point where you said “You know what, this is worth the time, this is worth the effort to take my pictures and start thinking about this and overcome this issue from myself?”

Alicia Couri:  I was just tired of not feeling great about myself because there are so many people always telling you something about you that you’re _____ and all the stuff and you don’t see it then what are you missing?  So I thought and really wondering, why am I always shying away from the spotlight?  When people say, “Oh my gosh you make a great speaker.”  “Oh my gosh you will do great camera work.”  And I kept denying that from myself and I finally said, “Why do I keep denying my potential just because I don’t see it?”  But obviously, other people were seeing it.

So let me stop denying my potential.  Let me stop denying and saying, “Oh no, I’m trying to be polite or trying to be humble.”  You know, people think that’s humility when it’s false humility.  It’s really pride.  It’s not really humility, “Oh no, not me.”  So I really started looking at that and saying “Well, maybe I can speak in front of people and what will it take for me to stand in front of an audience and deliver a message without falling apart.”

And I thought, “You know, if I stand in front of an audience and I was nervous, what’s wrong with that?”  And I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with that.  Nothing was wrong with that you’re standing in front of people.  OK, so my voice shakes, so if my voice shakes what’s wrong with that?  Will people make fun of me?  Maybe, but will I get my message across?  Yes!  OK, so just start trying, just start doing and the more I did, the more stepped out and I did, the more confident I became and the more proficient I became and the less judgmental I became of myself and the less critical of myself.

So I didn’t do it right.  I didn’t do it perfectly and I think that is another thing that does not go well with confidence is perfection, because if you think that you have to do everything perfect, and if you think that you cannot mess up or make a mistake then you will never get to that confident place in yourself because you’re always going to be afraid you’re going to mess up.

So I didn’t do it perfectly.  You know, I have my radio show and sometimes, I look back at the radio show and I think “What was I thinking?”  “Oh my gosh.”  But people comments and they say how much fun they had listening to the show or how much they gained and as a matter of fact my last guest, she was talking about the opportunity for it’s about everyone else instead of about you.  So when you start thinking what I have to share can be a value to someone else then you think less of yourself and all the things that you think are wrong with you because now you are in service to someone else.

Andrea:  Yes.  Yes, love that!  One of my recent guests, Neen James, said, it’s hard to be nervous when you’re standing in service.  That’s the way she puts it.

Alicia Couri:  Right.

Andrea:  And I remember distinctly a point in my life when I was getting up to speak and I thought, “I got to love these people more than I fear them, more than I fear their judgment, more than I fear messing up in front of them.  I got to love them more than that because if I do, I’ll be OK.”

Alicia Couri:  Right and all the ums and the ahs and you know it happens and that shows we figure real.  You know, there are some speaking programs that are trying to cut all those things out of you, kind of try to slap it out of you and I don’t necessarily feel that it needs to be taken completely out of you.  Yes, it can be curtailed a little bit so that your message isn’t modeled in the umhs and the umhs and the umhs.

So there is a balance that some of those things can be removed a little bit but you don’t want to be robotic.  You don’t want to be too stiff when you’re delivering something to someone, when you’re in service to someone because you want them to be able to feel you.  You want them to able to experience what you’re sharing with them in that moment and if you slip off here and there then it’s fine, at least that’s my philosophy.

Andrea:  I totally agree with you because I think that people get so obsessed with that sort of thing that they do, they lose their voice.  They lose who they really are in that like you’re talking about.  People can’t really feel me if I’m there trying to do a perfect job because I’m not truly connecting with them.  I’m not connected to my message because I’m so worried about it.

Alicia Couri:  Oh yeah that can really mess with your confidence too because if you don’t have it down exactly correct, perfectly then you don’t feel as powerful in that moment.

Andrea:  Oh yeah.

Alicia Couri:  But if you can let it go and just say whatever it is it is and I have a strong message inside of me and I’m just going to let it out, not that rehearsal isn’t important.  Rehearsal is a very important part of it but don’t get so locked into your script that you’re not making that connection.

Andrea:  Yeah and even your story or your message in general, even if you’re having a conversation with somebody if you’re not connected to it in that moment.  If you’re trying to make sure that it doesn’t get lost, I think that’s something that is definitely even frustrating for me at times.  If I’m not totally clear in what I’m trying to say, I get flustered.

Alicia Couri:  A little tongue tied.

Andrea:  Yeah and then I used to just give up and that doesn’t do anything for the person that you’re talking to and it definitely doesn’t serve your message at all.  So having a sense of what it is ahead of time is helpful.

Alicia, you also talked about personal branding and I remember when you’re doing my hair and makeup, I asked you, “what is your perspective?”  What is your points of view on personal branding and would you share that with us now because that is something that we talked about a lot here and I think it definitely ties into awareness of who we are so that we can build that confidence.  So what is your point of view on personal branding?

Alicia Couri:  I talk about the three P’s to personal branding; Posture, which is about building a solid core and the core, of the C in core is confidence so that is your foundation to your posture, so posture.  And in building your core, we have confidence how you’re oriented which is what you believe and what you value.  We talk about your results and your relevance to your industry and what your education and your experiences have been.  So that is core, you know, anytime I talk to anybody about core, those are the things that I’m referring to.

And then Presentation that’s the second P, which is so important.  When it comes to presentation, most people when they hear about branding, they think about presentation.  They think about your logo and your colors and your image and those things.  What is your website look like?  What is your business card look like?  So that is part of presentation but an important part of presentation as well is your performance, how do you actually provide your service to people and your story, your copy, all those things that represent you in your presentation.

So we want to make sure that everything in that part of your brand and the presentation of your brand is consistent.  You have a consistent message and you have a consistent look about you, not a cut and paste.  It’s not like your wearing the same thing all the time.  You know, every time people see, like “Yeah, I’m in my brand,” but everything has the same feel.  Everything has the same flow.  If you have a particular font that you use for your brand, you’re always using that font so that people get used to seeing that in your brand, people get used to seeing your brand colors in your presentation.

Most of the time when I speak, people know I’m going to show up in red.  When I’m on camera, they know I’m going to show up in red.  So people just come to know me in red and in red lipstick, so they have just kind of embrace that part of my brand.

Andrea:  Which is awesome because it’s like the opposite of holding back.

Alicia Couri:  Exactly!

Andrea:  It’s like you’re saying, “Now, I’m standing out and I’m not afraid to stand out, here I am!”  I love that!

Alicia Couri:  It’s so funny, I did a media interview sometime ago, not too long ago and one of the notes that they sent me, the producers, “Don’t wear bright red.”  And I’m like “She don’t know who she’s talking to.”  Of course, I’m gonna wear red.  Are you kidding me?”  So you just have to fix the lights and the tone and everything when I get there.

You know, some people says, better to ask _____ information.  But I did actually send them a picture of my dress ahead of time because I want to be respectful and they said, “No that’s fine.  It will work.”  Even though they said, I guess people wear this really crazy bright red that mess with the camera.

But anyway, when I have instructions like that, I try to be respectful of it and I send them ahead of time and if they really say no then I might tone down the shade or wear something different.  It’s not a big deal to me, but most of the time, yeah I’m in red.

So then the last P is Positioning and I think sometimes we don’t really pay attention to how we’re positioned in our brand.  Are we speaking to the right people?  Are we in front of our target audience?  Are we positioning ourselves as an authority?  Do we have these pieces in our marketing like media?  I need to get some of this myself some articles.  I need to do more writing and get some more articles in magazines.  And how you’re positioning yourself to be considered the expert in what you do, to be considered a leader in your industry, to be considered a thought leader.  Are you really positioning yourself correctly?  Another thing that people don’t really think about in positioning is who is coaching and mentoring you.  What sort of groups do you belong to?  Are you positioned correctly in those things?

So those are my three P’s for branding and that’s how I look at it.  I know there are so many people who do branding out there.  Everybody has their own unique point of view on how you should brand yourself.  So again, position yourself correctly, find the right person that you believe can develop your brand for your and make it stand out.

Andrea:  So how does, Positioning, Posture, and Presentation; how did these things relate to your core message of confidence then?

Alice Couri:  Well, branding relates to my core message of confidence as a whole because finding your unique quality, finding what’s unique about you, what stands out about you and then being able to highlight that and having the opportunity to really to really allow that to shine is it can only come when you’re confident within yourself because then you’ll keep holding something back, like red for instance.

I did not even think red was my color because for two years, my graphic artist and I were trying to figure out my logo.  We’re trying to figure out my colors and everything that I came up with, she kept telling me, “Nope, I don’t see that.  Nope that’s not right.”  I wasn’t feeling it in and she wasn’t feeling it.

And then I did a photo shoot that was really just impromptu.  I really wasn’t expecting to do it so I looked in my closet.  I pulled out a top that was red.  I pulled out a dress that was gold that I had never worn and I said, “OK, I’m going to do this photo shoot and I’m bringing these three things with me, a black shirt, a red top, and this gold dress.

When I finished the photo shoot, I got the pictures, that red and that gold were just like, you know like when the light shines down from heaven and when I looked at the _____.  So it was just really by chance that I found those colors for my brand.  Sometimes, it will happen that way.  And because I had ran from red so much in my life, the only reason I picked that red top was because of the cuts.  I’m a stylist so I help people with their wardrobe.  It’s part of their brand.  I do a lot of image styling for people’s hair and makeup and wardrobe.

So the cuts of that top was really why I grabbed it because it was a very a flattering cut, not for the color.  So it’s very interesting that the color was the thing that actually stood out more in those photos and that’s what made people comment more.

Andrea:  Alright, Alicia, so what of all from today’s talk, what do you really hope that the listener would take with them this week?  What nugget do you want them to remember?

Alicia Couri:  Oh that is so great!  What I really want people to remember is that any point in time, they can choose to be more confident.  They can choose who they are in that moment.  You can make a decision to, let’s say climb Mount Everest for instance, that would not be me but let’s say you make a decision, “By next year this time, I want to climb Mount Everest.”  You can choose to not train and then last minute try to get yourself up to _____ or you can choose to do a little bit everyday to get to that goal.

But if you choose to do something every day to get to that goal, there’s a second decision that you have to make and you have to choose who you are being in that moment.  Are you going to be the person that procrastinates or you’re going to be the person that gets up and continues to march towards your goal?  Are you going to show up ready to work and give your best and your all, or are you going to phone it in?

You have the ability to make those decisions, to choose that action and then choose who you’re going to be in that moment.  When I was cast as a lead in a movie that’s filming down here, I thought to myself, I could choose to read the part and acted out the way I think it should be acted out or I can choose to actually put myself in this character and live this character and give a performance that is not comfortable for me, Alicia, but will fit and suit this character.

So I had to make that decision because I had never acted before and I’m doing this movie.  I’m casting this movie and I’m like “Well, how do I do this?”  I had to make the decision who am I going to be.  Am I going to be the person that they say, “Oh yeah, nice job,” and then cast somebody else or am I really going to turn into an actor and become this person?

And so that’s kind of the job that you have when you’re building your confidence, “Am I just going to phone it in and act the part or am really going to become who I meant to be?  Am going to become this person that I visualize that is awesome, great, wonderful, and everybody loves and it’s totally authentic to you because it’s coming from within from inside of you from within and it’s not coming from anything external.  So you choose who’s going to bubble up from me inside of you and show up on the outside.

Andrea:  Hmm love it!  OK, Alicia, I know that you have a free download for people, so can you tell us a about that?

Alicia Couri:  Absolutely!  It’s my first book.  Again, I didn’t know that I was going to write a book.  It’s the first book that I wrote and it’s called Your Signature Style:  Unlocking the Confidence, Style and Influence of the Savvy CEO, and also talked a little bit about my journey that I mentioned earlier from Australia and some of those struggles.

One of the most impactful chapters in that book is chapter 2 when we talked about overcoming fears and how to release step out and not consider the fear but do it, do what you need to do and do it in a very great way.  So I love chapter 2, so hopefully, you will enjoy chapter 2 as well.

Andrea:  How can we find that?  We’ll definitely link to it in a show notes, is that sufficient or do you want to give out another link?

Alicia Couri:  You can link it in the show notes and they can also go to my website, it’s www.aliciacouri.com and there will be a link to the book.  I know it’s available for a limited time since it is on Amazon.  I do make it available anytime I do a radio show, television show, or podcast.  I make it available for the listeners and the viewers.

So if you can go to my website, the download will be there but it will only be there for a limited time.

Andrea:  Gotcha!  OK and we’ll have it in the show notes at least for that limited time.

Alright, thank you so much, Alicia.  It was so great to _____ with you today and hear how you came into your own voice of influence.  We have so much in common and I’m just really grateful and I want to thank you for your voice of influence in the world.

Alicia Couri:  Thank you!  There are two things I want to say about what you just said, I know we’re _____, but one is that it’s so important when start sharing your voice and your story how much you realize how many people can relate to what you’re going through and so anytime you have an opportunity to share your journey with someone and how you’ve overcome and some of the tools and tips that you have, it is a value because they’re also going through some of that and they can benefit from what you have to share.

I’m also launching a podcast soon, so look out for that.

Andrea:  Yes that’s right and once that’s all ready to go and everything, we’ll definitely put that in the show notes as well.

Alicia Couri:  Perfect!

Andrea:  Awesome and yes good luck with that.  That’s exciting.  Alright, thank you so much, Alicia, and we’ll see you soon.

Alicia Couri:  I appreciate it.  Thank you, Andrea!

Sell Like Crazy While Serving Others and Being Yourself with Jim Padilla

Episode 60

We’re all salespeople whether we identify as one or not. If we want to use our voice of influence in the world, we’ll need to become better salespeople and this week’s guest is here to help with that.

Jim Padilla is the Founder of Gain the Edge, a go-to guy for all things sales, and a master collaborated whose purpose is to help entrepreneurs leverage the power of collaboration to scale their businesses, so they can impact the world the way they intended.

In this episode, Jim discusses his core message, the powerful story that led Jim to create his core message and to use his powers for good, his “park bench” approach to sales, the difference between manipulation and influence, the first thing you need to say during a sales conversation, why Jim focuses more on helping people with unrelated issues than selling them his services, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:


Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Jim Padilla Voice of Influence Podcast Andrea Joy Wenburg


Hey, hey! It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast!

Today, I have with me Jim Padilla, the founder of Gain the Edge. Jim is known in the personal development and the business coaching world as the go-to guy for all thing sales. You’ll just be able to tell by listening to his voice that he’s passionate and engaging, and you can see why he would be really good at this.

He is a master collaborator whose purpose is to help entrepreneurs leverage the power of collaboration to scale their businesses so that they can impact the world they way that they intended and Jim is known for instilling it to his sales teams, “It’s not what you say, it is who you are being when you say it.” Uh I love that!

Jim, it is so great to have you here on the Voice of Influence podcast!

Jim Padilla: Hey, Andrea, I’m super excited to be here and talk to you and just the total alignment with your brand and your vision here and just a great way to be able to share and connect.

Andrea: I’m curious how you would describe your core message because there are sales involved but you also talk a lot about this collaborative kind of atmosphere. So can you share with us, what is the core of what you are trying to get across with your voice of influence?

Jim Padilla: Yeah, you just actually hit it. The rule #1, the thread that we used to everything in our company is that who you’re being is far more impactful than what you’re saying or what you’re doing. So we’re always checking that. It’s literally something that’s get tested and checked every day.

So anytime somebody reacts in a certain way or result happens, who you were being that led to that result or who you were being that generated that response? Who were you that were constantly focused on how do we stay at or pick elevated state as a human being because from there we make incredible decisions. We make great partnerships and we inspire people boldly. Everybody operates at their best and I just find that in life that it just not how most people work.

[Off-topic conversation]

Andrea: So, who you are, how you’re being in this moment matters to everything else. I love that why that in particular…what is that have to do in sales, what is that have to do with your business? Yeah, tell me more about that? Where did this come from?

Jim Padilla: Yeah, you know, I have a pretty sorted past. My mom was 16 when I was born and she was in pretty unfortunate circumstances. So the way she responded in that situation was primarily with fear and anger. So I grew up getting abused on a pretty regular basis and pretty severely to the point that I was in a poster care at 13. I was on the streets at 16 and in jail at 19.

So it was pretty much then my first 19 to 20 years of my life spending all of my waking moments trying to figure out how to master my environment so that I can influence the people around me to feel safe around me so that they wouldn’t want to hurt me because that was my only self. That was my defense mechanism.

I was always constantly checking in on who might I’m being at the moment, who night being here, who might being there, or how am showing up to this person. It’s something that’s always being able to just regulate and it was mostly because I had to. And then you know, fast forward in 20 years and now I make a lot of money teaching other people how to master the art of the sales conversation by being able to influence the people around them to feel safe and to trust you and want to buy from you.

So we don’t focus on scripts and techniques and tactics, we focus on being-ness. We actually have a sales program called Sales Unscripted. That’s the whole focus of it. It’s all about who you’re being because everybody is selling something all day, all the time. There’s no human being on the planet that hasn’t sold something or influence their environment. It’s just you don’t do it in purpose. So we just try to help you get completely aware so that you’re doing it intentionally.

Andrea: Oh man, I love that so much. So you kind of went from…doing it as a survival mechanism to somehow turning it over the course of the years into business. When did that shift for you? Do you think it shifted or what was that transformation for you that took something that was really hard thing that you did just to survive and then turn it into something that is incredibly proactive and powerful?

Jim Padilla: Well, it’s interesting because there were actually two major shifts. One was that I learned I could do this on purpose and I could do this to my advantage but then you _____ and with the upbringing that I had and I essentially had this power that I could use to destroy people. And so I did, I build businesses. You know, I used to own a _____ company. I ran a mortgage broker shop. I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life but I spent most of my time figuring out how to get what I needed from people by using these skills.

So I conquered a lot, made a lot, and burned a lot of bridges, learnt a lot of relationships because that was all about me. I was manipulating my environment so that I would win. Then in 2008 when the mortgage crisis hit, I was at mortgage at the time, I had put a lot of people into loan for they had no business being in because I made a lot of money doing it. And I met a woman where I coach _____ in a high school basketball team. Her grandmother came in to do loan and I put her in a loan, it was a gamble. I knew it was a high risk gamble she didn’t belong in.

So fast forward couple of months or couple of years in a gas station here in Sacramento and her mom comes up to me across the gas station and she was like, “You’re a crook, you’re the devil, and you deserve whatever comes to you.” So my mother was living in that car over there and I knew everything she said was true and accurate and right and I didn’t know what to do. Everything came flashing back, my childhood, all my skills, all the things I’ve done. And I said, “Okay, I’ve got to change who I’m being, because it didn’t get me anywhere.”

Ultimately, I made a bunch of money and end up losing it because we gambled it all the way. I filed bankruptcy and foreclosed on multiple homes. We were back down to zero. So everything I had gained through bad means, I lost. And In that moment, I was like “I have to stop. I have great skills set. I have ability to be able change people’s lives and it’s time that I start using it for others’ benefit instead of mine.”

Right at that moment, I started going to town and said, OK, all the things that I’m doing in the sales process and all the things about sales that I hate that make other feel bad, that make sales people feel bad, I stripped them all out. What was left was all the things that actually serve people and make people feel good and make me feel good. But it was all about the power serving others that leads to the outcome instead of the other way around and that’s how this whole thing got started in 2008.

Andrea: Wow, I’m in total goose bumps here. When I hear you say that in that moment with that conversation, the way that you were using it before us, manipulation, your skills, that you realized that that wasn’t the answer but it could be used for good. Did you ever have a point when you were saying to yourself, could this be used for good? Did you ever question that? Sometimes we have these really big awesome superpowers that can really look bad and feel bad and it’s hard to turn it around and see the good. But did you see that automatically or was that something you’ve ever struggled with?

Jim Padilla: I struggled with it that time. My challenge was I was this kid from the streets who didn’t have anything, who had a mother on welfare. I saw capital, money, and resources as a need. So I was like, “Well, I need to get it at any cost.” So many times, I put people in a loan and I would feel bad about it. We would get people into the mortgage loan.

We’ve shown something on the paperwork and it would still be a little bit different when they showed up to sign at the escrow. But they were irritated enough that they didn’t like it but they weren’t irritated enough that they want to start the process over so they would sign but then we would never hear from again. I never got referrals from them, follow-ups, and callback and ______ do with us and we were just you know chop chop.

But great values were high and my phone would ring all the time, I didn’t care about how I took care of these people because I have more business coming in every day. And I started watching this cycle go on. It was just like eating away and I knew I was doing stuff wrong. The real problem was, I was like in my own island because I couldn’t even share the stuff with my wife.

At the time, I was actually scheming stuffs from my own paychecks. If I had a $15,000 commission, I would bring home like 8 of it and I would take the other 7 and I would invest in some properties or do some stuff and my wife had no clue. She thought I was out doing work. I was living my own lie. I was like, “OK, how can I control this,” and it just started eating at me completely. But I just tried to ignore it because, otherwise, I just had to look at the _____ of who I was being and I don’t want to do it.

Andrea: Oh wow! OK, so how do you go from that point to the point…was there a period of kind of forgiveness and redemption? I mean, now look at your business and how much good you’re doing for people. I mean, it’s incredible to hear about all the different people that you’re helping and I know that the sales process that you have now is legit. So there’s such a huge redemption story here. But what was that in between, how did you get to that point where it was better, I mean even in those relationships or what was that like for you?

Jim Padilla: Well, unfortunately, I was not the guy who learned anything in my life the easy way. Every single lesson I’ve ever learned up until that point was always learned the hard way and including that one because ultimately what happened is my wife…our three daughters are all grown and through college and a couple of them are married now.

But at the time when they were going in college, my wife was also getting her degree and had to apply for ______. And whether you qualify or not, you have to apply. You know, we owned properties and we were debt free. And my wife was applying for loans and she was fully expecting for them to say, “Oh you don’t qualify because you make too much.”

Instead, they called us and said “Hey, we want to let you know, you’ve been declined because you have too much debt.” She was like “What are you talking about, debt?” Because I was planting the market and things aren’t going bad and I had $50,000 invested here and money invested here and I needed _____ credit cards taking cash advances to try to fraud them at these debts because we weren’t making money in the mortgage anymore because _____.

All of a sudden, we’ve got multiple six figures with credit card debt. And my wife said, “What are you talking about, we’re debt-free.” We separated. We filed a bankruptcy. We foreclosed on our homes and I was gone for a year and a half. Literally, I got an apartment. I was basically on my face broken before God every single day. I was like, “OK, I did the first 40 years my way and screwed it all up. I’m ready to do your way now.” It was just daily over and over.

Over the course of a year and a half, in 18 to 20 months, my wife started seeing a difference in me and a change in me. I was thankful because I never thought I would get her back. I was hopeful, but I never thought it would actually happen. She just decided, “Look, if we’re gonna be broken apart, we might as well be broken together.” So we started that next year.

This is why it’s so powerful in the story because it went from me being the financial ruin of our family. My oldest daughter didn’t talk to me for six years and for my wife to be able to say, “OK, we’re gonna do this together.” This really finally pulled our finances together. We never had joint account, nothing before this. I was always running my own stuff then the next year, she was a retail manager for Target _____ in corporate management, she came and said, “Jim, I’m retiring from my job and I’m gonna count on you.”

So for her to come full circle to me being the cause of the problem to now I’m being the sole support of the family. Business was huge because she had to come full circle in my character and who I was being to be able to say, “Yes, I’m in this with you.”

And then that next year, she jumped in a business with me and we did nothing but explode and go skyrocket through the roof. And now, we’ve got this amazing business, this incredible marriage and an amazing family. My daughters are back in fold. My middle daughter didn’t talk to me for about three years after all this. I officiated her wedding last year. It’s just been amazing.

Quite honestly, I wish I had a better answer for this but I’m not out conquering business. I’m just out changing lives and business comes. I promise that’s how it works. I mean, yes, we got some strategy. We’re not just throwing stuff up in the air, but our sole purpose is helping people overcome their challenges because we have overcome so many things to get where we are. There’s nothing that you can’t overcome. You just have to be totally clear on who you need to be to make it happen.

Andrea: Oh Jim, thank you so much for sharing that story. It’s so powerful. I saw Jim at a conference just recently and not just Jim, Jim and Cindy. You guys together were just adorable and powerful. You’re both very engaging, powerful and you were holding hands and all that. It’s so cool to hear the back story on how much work it took and how much brokenness it took to get to that point where now you’re living just such a triumphant kind of life.

Jim Padilla: Very much so!

Andrea: Oh man! And now the core of your message, it sounds like there’s so much about that. It’s so much about this who you are and what you’re bringing in who you’re being. So do you incorporate, I don’t know who you’re talking to if you’re talking to using this message with more than your sales team or with the people that you’re serving, but do you talk about this kind of brokenness? How does that play into the influence that you have with people and how you encourage other people to have influence?

Jim Padilla: We’ve never done a ton of marketing and visibility because we’re pretty well connected and we get great results for our clients so that’s where a lot of our business comes. But this year, we just started to start really getting visible and it’s about sharing that. We’re in a position to hold a lot of the industry accountable because we see things that are going on behind the scenes. I’m like “Look, stop doing it that way, do it this way because this is the people are seeing of you.”

But I haven’t been sharing as much of myself in that publicly and that what’s just starting to happen now. I’m actually launching a podcast next month so I want to start being able to put my message out there and start getting people in tune and holding people accountable to a higher level.

You know, Cyndi and I see ourselves as leaders of leaders. We haven’t been necessarily called to reach people one by one, we’ve been called reaching by the masses and we do that by really reaching influence centers. Most of our clients have massive reach. The more of them that we can impact, the more people we can impact indirectly through them.

Andrea: So true. I mean, if you can have an impact on their message on who they are, they’re being then that impact all these other people, absolutely! Wow! This is really powerful. How do you see this for other leaders, other message-driven leaders like yourself, people who are listening to this podcast to have a vision of some kind?

They have a message and they’re struggling with this I guess balancing or understanding when they’re being manipulative or when they’re not? So they don’t want to be manipulative because who listens to this podcast don’t. They don’t want to manipulate but they do want to influence and that line can get really blurry. Do you have any advice for people on how to differentiate their message so that it is on the side of influence and not on the side of manipulation?

Jim Padilla: It’s interesting because the skill set is the same. The mechanics are really the same thing. It’s all about the intention and this is where people have to really get honest with yourself because we all like to say, “Well, I’m not attached. I really just want to help this person. It’s not as important if I make the sale.” Is that really true? Is that really true, right?

You have to get to the place where you can separate it and say, “I want to impact the person. I want to change that life,” and then watch the results come, I’m telling you. People go, “It’s always easy for you to say, Jim. You guys make millions blah, blah, blah.” I didn’t start making money like this until I started helping people first.

Andrea: So when you’re saying helping people, does that include the sale? Or how do you look at that because I think that’s one of the struggles is we have that internal struggle, but you’re saying get honest with the fact that you do want to sell to somebody?

Jim Padilla: Right. But here’s where it comes down to, I remember you’re posting something about the super problem in the group that we’re in, here’s the key. When we talk about our problem and we talk about what people do and we talk about how we help people, if you’re selling an idea, if you’re selling a vision for something, if you want people to donate to your cause or buy your program whatever, the only thing that you should be talking about is why it matters to them because that’s what they’re going to resonate with.

Here’s an example when I was in mortgage, I wanted everybody to be able to call me to get their solutions for whatever it is. We had tons of people who would move to the area, relocate, get a loan, whatever; and I said, “Look, if you’re looking for a school, a babysitter, a place to get your oil changed, or the best restaurant to go to, call me and I’ll take care of it. I don’t want you to have to look up on things.”

So people would call me for all kinds of stuff that had nothing to do with mortgage. But because they knew I’d care about making sure they got whatever they wanted, I got referrals, I got introductions, or I get invited to barbecues. I was in the people’s community. I was part of their lives and I do the same thing in my business. I make it a point to know what everybody around me does, who does it well. If they don’t do it well, how can I help them do it well, even if they don’t hire me because I want to be able to send people to you, right?

I have all kinds of people come to me because of who we are and because of the positioning we have and I hate turning people away without a solution. So if I can’t help you or you can’t afford us for whatever it is, I want to be able to say, “Hey, look, I know exactly who can.” I don’t want to have them to go anywhere else to look. I want them to come to me and maybe we can help them solve their problem.

The people that we do that for like our best referral sources in our business have come from people that we thought never been our clients. But because they appreciate in how much we value them and respected them in the process that we weren’t trying to sell them anything. We’re trying to help them solve the problem.

Andrea: There you go. So it’s not necessarily about the sale but you’re also being honest about it and it’s ultimately about helping them solve their problem and a genuine desire to be that resource for them.

Jim Padilla: Completely, and I will make this two _____

Andrea: That’s alright. Go right ahead.

Jim Padilla: We ____ with Jesus around here.

Andrea: Yeah, so do we.

Jim Padilla: Okay. We all have gifts. We all have a very specific gift that God has given us, some of us have multiple and most people have it hidden and buried. We need to be breaking that out. All the tumultuous childhood and upbringing that I had was the greatest gift that God has given me because that I know that you can literally overcome everything and that everything is possible to go from where I came from where I am now never should have happened.

I see everybody as a finished product and most people don’t see themselves that way. So I see that’s my job to inspire people to overcome and then help equip them with a skill set to be able to make it happen. Will you just work with me on this for a second, everybody just close your eyes for just one minute and visualize just your immediate community would be like.

If everybody you personally know was doing everything to the best of their abilities, your wife, your husband, your kids, your mailman, the teachers at your kids’ school, your pastor at church, or the police officers in your community, whoever; and if everybody was literally doing their absolute best that they’re capable of, how different will your personal life be? How different with the world around you would be? That’s just in your community.

Imagine the world like that. All of a sudden, we don’t have poverty. We don’t have the crime that we do. We don’t have all of the crazy political turmoil. We literally have a political environment whereby we’re just trying to help each other. We are shining and we become the _____ change in the world as a country. This may sound altruistic but it’s possible if we can just get people there, right? That’s my big mission. That’s what I want and I know that I can impact that kind of change as I see it happen every day.

You know, I was listening to one of your earlier podcast about pain can change because it’s all about perception. It reminds of the book that I read often. I actually just read it again last week and I recommend it to all of our salesman and clients. It’s called Zen Golf by Joseph Parent. Everybody should go get that book. It literally has nothing to do with golf. It has everything to do with how you perceive your environment and it’s all about visualization. He actually calls it imaging because visualization is more about eyes. Imaging is about using all the senses to bring it in.

You can start actually seeing yourself, hearing yourself, feeling yourself in the future, in the moment as a completely processed in winning. Your mind down sees that it can happen and then you start focusing on it. It becomes the new target. It becomes reality because you’ve seen it happen in your mind. You literally recreated reality and now you have to do is just follow the steps and go make it happen. That’s exactly what we need to be doing on a daily basis. That’s what you’re doing in the sales conversation.

Before I got on this call, I visualize, “What would be the mountaintop experience for this call? How can I impact people who would read this? How can inspire Andrea? How could I just say something that people just go “Wow, that’s awesome, I can use that.”” And I do that with every call, every single call. I don’t take anybody for granted.

I have this crazy sense of self-delusion that I believe that every room I walk into is better because I’m there. The conversation I’m in is better because I’m in it. As a result, I have the most…what I said when we first talking today, I live in a dream, right? I have the most friction-free life of anybody I know because I don’t look for it. I see the best in everybody and I do everything I can to help them achieve it.

So I have this circle of people, I have everybody in my life who just, you know, even if you don’t like me, I never see it because people don’t share it because it’s no benefit. I’m not like the center of attention and the life of the party but I’m just like, “I just love people and I love life so I put it out and I get it back all day long.”

Andrea: Gosh, I love that! So Jim, pick me apart for a minute.

Jim Padilla: OK!

Andrea: Because I’m not the only one that struggles with this and this is certainly something that I’ve struggled with in the past. I’m starting to get over it. I think a lot of people out there struggle with this and that is simply just not believing that they’re going to get the sale per se or that they’re not going to have a voice.

So people who want to have a voice for example, they want to have their message make a difference, but they don’t see it happening or they don’t feel like it’s going to happen. They can’t see it. They haven’t seen it before. You know, you’re talking about this visualization and that sort of thing, how do you coach somebody over that into actually feeling like “You know what, this gonna happen and actually make it happen?”

Jim Padilla: Well that one thing that gives us integrity with ourselves. You know, we always hear the _____ fake it till you make it. It’s funny, it’s interesting but it’s _____ that the inner you knows it’s not real so he doesn’t buy it, right? So you need to get into action as fast as possible and only focus on the things that you actually accomplish, right?

Andrea: Yeah.

Jim Padilla: Because every time you’re actually accomplishing, you give yourself real true credits so now you have integrity with yourself. And you say, “Hmm, I was gonna do that and did do it and I was able to do it.” Instead of going, “Oh man, I did 80% of that wrong.” “It doesn’t matter, you did this far right?” So now, how can we do 20% right, 30% right?

You have to learn to give yourself credit in life. “Did you get the right person show up on the phone?” “Yes.” “Awesome.” Okay, maybe you didn’t close them but your messaging was right, you’re in the right ballpark. Now, we just got to focus on who _____ being that led them to believe that you weren’t the person to buy from or today wasn’t the time to buy.

Now this is the key. This is where we focused on the most is you have to stay in action. Action is going to be vital to everybody part of their success because the more you accomplished, the more integrity you have with yourself. And then when you can be standing in that place of, “I am the expert. I own my expertise even if I’ve never had a client. The reason I’m doing this is because I’m great at it and I’m passionate about serving new with it. So whether I can sell this or not, I give myself total permission to screw this up as much as I want.”

And I tell everybody, if you’re talking to people in a sales conversation, the first thing you have to owe them is the truth and that truth can be everything across the board. I’d be first and foremost, “Hey, look I’m just learning how to sell but I’m phenomenal at what I do. Please don’t let the fact that this sales conversation might be a little bit cranky because I’m kind of nervous but I’m a bad-ass coach and I absolutely know how to solve the problem. This conversation is gonna be about how do we help you figure out the problem. Now, you just give me a self permission to screw up everything.” How do you think the person on the other side of this phone is going to respond to that?

Andrea: Uh-hmm absolutely!

Jim Padilla: You’re doing great.

Andrea: They’re falling for you now.

Jim Padilla: Totally. You could _____.

Andrea: Yeah. Try being honest by not being manipulative but by being honest.

Jim Padilla: Exactly and then that honesty has to come out throughout the conversation. I literally have a contract with myself that says, if I get to a place where I have to ask myself should I ask that question, I now must ask the question. Because the only time we ask that is that when you’re nervous about asking it. And usually, those are the most important questions.

So if you’re about to call somebody else on something and you’re like, “Oh I don’t know if I should say that?” Guess what, that might be the most important question you can ask them or the most important piece of insight you can give them and you just caused them the opportunity to take that and nobody else was going to tell that to them, right? And that’s how they buy from you. It’s not about the scripting and your seven-step process, it’s about being super connected and genuine with them and being able to tap into somebody.

The thing that I get a lot when I’m in conversations is I can hear people breathing patterns, you know, you connect with people energetically, right? We are all energetic being that’s on the phone, over Zoom, whatever; we are connected. You know, maybe _____ they’re trained. If they’re going to do _____ attack with somebody with a knife to not look at the person. They’re trained to look at the crown behind the person that’s going to attack because if you’re looking at the person, they can feel you looking at them and then you blow your surprise.

It’s the same thing. You can feel and read people as long as you’re focused on them and not you. When you’re worried about losing the sale, you’re worried about not sharing the message properly, you have to abandon that. You have to abandon that because it hasn’t work for you at this point. So get rid of it and start focusing on the other person and you’ll be amazed because you’ll start hearing them, “Oh they’re talking faster, or their mood has changed.” A lot of times we missed that stuff because we’re so focused on getting to the next part of the script.

Andrea: Totally! It’s interesting because I think I can hear people just sort of settle in and their energy comes up and their rhythm is just so natural and all of a sudden they’re just being themselves, like you’re talking about, just being, how does being is. You can tell when people are motivated by fear or by love and that’s essentially what it comes down to, isn’t it?

Jim Padilla: Totally, and you know, the most enrolling thing you can ever do is being yourself. People buy you all the time; they don’t buy your stuffs. They don’t care about your stuff. They buy you because they trust you to be able to help them get what they want. So you just have to be yourself.

We’ve all experienced this. We’d be on the phone or you’re at the store, whatever and somebody was trying to sell you something and you left the conversation, you’re like, “You know, I like him but there was just something about him, I don’t know what it was.” People don’t know how to identify it but they can sure feel it. So you want them to leave going, “I don’t know what it was with that guy, but I have got find a way to work with him because I love how I feel around him.”

Andrea: Yes, yes!

Jim Padilla: And that’s what I get a lot when I’m working. When I’m talking people on the phone, people get like super inspired. I get them grounded. I get them elevated. They’re like, “Hell yes, I can do this.” People will be sadly disappointed if they listen to my sales call because it’s not a bunch of magic. It’s just me being me. I don’t have a bunch of magic formulas, I’m just totally connected to the person I’m serving and I truly don’t have any concern or the best interest in the outcome, except that I want you better at the end of the call than you were at the beginning. I want you to have crystal clarity on what it is you’re trying to accomplish, why you want to accomplish it, what’s the cause of not accomplishing it and what’s in the way?

Andrea: That was really powerful _____. Can you say it again?

Jim Padilla: Yeah.

Andrea: OK!

Jim Padilla: I call it a Park Bench approach to sales, a Park Bench Philosophy; you as a sales person, which all of you are by the way, you should be able to sit down on a park bench with a random stranger. It didn’t come through a phone, _____, random stranger on a park bench and inside of 30 minutes, you should know what they want, why they want it, what’s the cause of not getting it, and what’s in the way? That’s by having a conversation about somebody you care about.

And then you say, “Hey, I know someone that has that solution.” Or you’ll say, “Hey, I can help you with that and here’s how.” That should be your approach to everybody you talk to. It shouldn’t be about, “Let me see if they’re a good client for me.” I was like, “No, let me see how I can help you solve your problem.”

Andrea: I love that. I do and I know that that can be totally contrary to what can be talked about around these ideas of sales and sales conversation and things like that and yet, there’s something very freeing about that, isn’t there?

Jim Padilla: Yes. Yeah, because your only outcome and agenda is to help them, which is what we’re designed for. So it’s right inside all of our will house, every single one of us.

Andrea: I think that one of the difficult pieces of that is getting to that point where you see that you can help them but then having to put a price tag on your help for them. And maybe that’s a different conversation but I think that there are a lot of people that do actually struggle with this. When do you share something and just share it and help people and when do you put a price tag on what you’re offering?

Jim Padilla: Well, it’s interesting because we just started this Facebook drop-in coaching membership group and it was formed from this idea. I get on the phone with people a lot. There’s a lot of people in our industry that are seven-figure, eight-figure people and they kind of live in the castle on the hill. They’re not accessible to the average Joe and I don’t like that. I totally understand protecting your time, I absolutely get it. But I want to help as many people I can.

So I’ll jump on the phone with somebody who’s expressing that they have specific challenge, “No, I can help you with that. Let’s get on the phone for 10 minutes.” And then we do it but it’s hard for me to do that randomly. So we’ve started this whole membership group just last week and it’s like 47 bucks a month and you get a dollar for the first 30 days. The whole objective here is to just drop in and ask the question and then we can help you. It’s mostly discussed with the admin running the group. But I cannot make money on it, I’m just happy.

And then in that the more we have dialogue and you can go, “Hey, I really like the way he thinks. I like his team or I wanna work with them.” That’s when we started pulling people into something bigger. You can do the same thing. You don’t have to have membership but we can do the same thing. You know, get into groups, get into discussions online or figure out networking.

Start listening instead of talking so much and listening for people’s problem and you got to have at least this one key problem or three areas that you can speak into and say, “Hey, I can help you with that.” And just talk to him. Don’t say, I can sell you that. Just say, “I can help you with that or I know somebody who can. Let me talk to you a little bit more.” The key is when we start worrying about wasting our time, because what happens is, I promise you guys, most people who buy it for me have to pull it from me.

I’ll get on the conversation with them and I’m like “Oh this is great. Oh I’m super excited about that. Here’s how I see this working. Oh, we could totally do that. Here’s what I see you need to do.” And they’re like, “How would we do it?” “Well, here’s how we do it.” “How do we pay for that?” That’s all a lot of my conversation and it’s just because I give this genuine, 100%, sincere passion about helping people. They feel it and they see it.

So you really have to check yourself. If you’re not getting those types of responses because you’re showing up in a way that’s not you, you need to be crystal clear why do you want to help this person or do you want to help them? If not, why not? This is a place you got to do some soul searching and how can I help the most on the people.

Like the event that we were at last week when we met each other there, I had a specific objective. Over the course of two days, I wanted to connect a dozen people. So over the course of two days, I was looking for, “OK, you are a copywriter, you need copywriting, awesome!” “You’re looking for bench members over here, you’re looking for someone else to serve, awesome, let’s connect you here.”

So it has nothing to do with me. It was, how can everybody else get help and then people go “Man, Jim is awesome. He’s a great guy. He really helped me.” And you know what, it leads to referral or at least a phenomenal relationships and leads to people going…

You know, I was on interview last week and the person who was interviewing me, she said, “You know what the first time I met you three years ago were at a Mastermind group, I walked into the room and I was like “Yeah, I got a table with 10 people,” and I said, “I’m really struggling with my sales. I need some help.” She said, “All 10 people at the same time _____,” right? That’s the power of being able to serve and everybody knowing what you do.

Andrea: Oh gosh, Jim, that’s so great. What a beautiful redemption of your story and to see you living in such a…I mean, it’s not totally selfless, I mean, it’s not totally selfless. I don’t mean it be like I don’t know, but it is in the sense. It’s that just giving and desiring to help and all of that. It’s just totally different in your experience before and it’s really beautiful and it’s exciting. I’m just so happy for you and I’m happy for all the clients that you serve and the people of the world at large and for the voice of influence that you have in this area.

Jim Padilla: Thank you! Yeah, I appreciate that I honor that quietly giving my track record in the past. These last 10 years has been whole different life and the first 40 was done my way, the next 40, I wanted to do the God’s way. So that’s really what has been about. I speak a lot, I get interviewed a lot and I’m on a lot of stages and I always get one particular piece of feedback, a 100% at the time. It used to bother me because the macho male ego in me wanted to get something bigger but people always say to me, “Man, I can feel your heart,” or “I could sense so much you care.”

It used to bug me because I want them to say, “Man, you rock,” you know or whatever. But that has subsided. My ego is gone and now I valued us so much and I want people to know that I care. I’m authentic. I’m real because I stopped trying to be Jim the dad, Jim the mortgage broker, Jim the sales person, or Jim whoever. I’m just Jim now. I’m just Jim all the time. I represent time. This is me. If you don’t like this version of me that you’re hearing right now then you don’t like me because I don’t have another version.

Andrea: Hmmm love it! Alright, Jim, so how can people connect with you?

Jim Padilla: I’m in two particular resources on; one, we just talked about it with the membership group. I really recommend it if you’re looking for any kind of influence sales support. Again, it’s in the Facebook group. So basically what we have is if you go to Gain the Edge now, which is our company, gaintheedgenow.com/influence-lab.

I know it’s a mouthful, but gaintheedgenow.com/influence-lab. That’s the membership drop-in coaching group. It cost you a buck for 30 days. Ask as many questions as you want. We’ll you answer stuff. We’ll post videos for you. You can network with other people who are on the same journey, great place to just get connected and get support without having to spend a whole bunch of money on coaching.

The other thing I wanted to include is a resource that, you know, our team does a lot of back of the room sales at live events. So basically, we help people in crowded rooms make powerful decisions, which is not an easy thing to do. I did a video and a PDF on Seven Keys to Making People feel Comfortable in a one-on-one room, so did you feel like you’re alone? It’s about reading people and being able to help them feel like it’s just the two of you ____ 150 around you and you’re freaking out. That’s powerful. I don’t care where you’re at, _____ relationships in your marriage, with your team, and with your clients.

So that one is gaintheedgenow.com/sevenkeys, and that’s a download. Check in, you’ll get on a list. You can opt-out if you want after that but just get the resource, check out the video while you’re there. Check out our YouTube channel that will take you there. What you’re hearing right now, that’s what I do in my videos. It’s just me sharing whatever I can. I’m a content machine so I always have new ideas. I just try to give out as much as I can and get on our world and you get a lot.

Andrea: Love it! So Jim, thank you so much and we will definitely include all of those links in the show notes. So if you’re listening and you’re thinking, “I’ve got to get back to this,” then definitely go back to voiceofinfluence.net and you’ll find the show notes for this episode and Jim’s resources.

Thank you so much for spending time with us today, inspiring us for the way that you have really embraced this life of beauty and redemption and the way that you’re influencing others. Thank you so much!

Jim Padilla: Definitely! Thank you and just one last word to everybody, whatever it is you’re thinking that you can do your wrong, don’t make it happen. Go out and take your responsibilities. Just scale yourself up wherever you need to so that you can go out and do the work that you’ve been called to because the worlds need it. I need it. My soon-to-be grandson needs it. Go out and change people’s lives.

Andrea: Thank you, Jim!

Jim Padilla: Awesome!





How to Respond With Grace & Power When You’re Under Pressure with Crystal Davis

Episode 59

Crystal Davis is a certified Leadership Development Coach, consultant, and speaker whose business personality and work practices are the foundation of her success.

I’m incredibly excited to introduce you to Crystal because I personally love her “voice” and the way she comes across as a voice of wisdom.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Crystal works with companies to improve their business processes to become more efficient and profitable, the organization she started to help women thrive in difficult industries, the events that led her to commute to Mexico for work every day for four years, the difference between management and leadership, the importance of not trying to emulate how others handle difficult situations, how being comfortable with who you truly are will help you find your voice, why she has her clients write a love letter to themselves, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:


Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Crystal Davis Voice of Influence Podcast Andrea Joy Wenburg


Hey, hey!  It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast!

Today, I have with me Crystal Davis, speaker, coach, and consultant whose business personality and work practices are the foundation of her success as a speaker, coach, and consultant.

I’m really excited to introduce to you to Crystal because I have gotten to know her personally.  And I love her voice, the way that she comes across as a voice of wisdom and she shares her personal story whenever she needs to but she has incredible expertise.

So, Crystal, welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast!

Crystal Davis:  Thank you so much for having me and thank you for the wonderful and personal introduction.  I really do appreciate that.

Andrea:  Sure, yeah, absolutely!  So, Crystal, you got a couple of facets to what you do as a voice of influence.  You have something that you do more with corporate and then something that you do more with individuals.  Could you share with us a little bit about both of those?

Crystal Davis:  Absolutely!  About four years ago, I took the leap of faith and left my corporate job where I’ve been working for over 20 years.  I started a company called The Lean Coach, Inc. works with organizations and Fortune 500 companies and other medium and small companies to help them improve their business processes so that they can be more efficient, more productive, and more profitable.

Also, I am a certified leadership development coach, so I also help raise the level of confidence, courage, and resiliency within the leaders of the organizations that I work.  So that’s one facet.  The second facet is that I majored in industrial engineering and I spent my first 17 years out of college working in the automotive industry, which was very very good industry before the decline in 2006.  But it was very, very tough environment to work in.

Andrea:  Why is that?

Crystal Davis:  Well, I’m going to tell you about it.

Andrea:  Awesome!

Crystal Davis:  That’s part of my story, part of the Faith For Fiery Trials.

Andrea:  Go for it!

Crystal Davis:  I started actually, here recently, maybe within the last two years a women’s leadership development pillar.  I took just another niche out of leadership development and focused in originally on women working in STEM and women working in male-dominated industries.  However, since I started disrupt-HER, so it’s like a play onwards.  So instead of disruptor, it’s disrupt-HER, and just really helping women to, be able to, not only survive very challenging work environment but to, actually thrive in them and be able to change those work environments.  I’ll explain what the whole concept behind this disrupt-HER as well as doing our talk.

Andrea:  Awesome!  I know that you worked for really big companies doing amazing things and so can you give us context or do you mind sharing a little context what that was?

Crystal Davis:  Absolutely!  So I started my career as I mentioned before, in automotive and I worked for two really small tier 3 or tier 4 suppliers and what that means is that they were that far removed, so three or four tiers removed from the OEM.

Andrea:  The what?

Crystal Davis:  From the original equipment manufacturer.

Andrea:  There you go.

Crystal Davis:  Sorry about that.

Andrea:  You talk to me like a lay person.

Crystal Davis:  Then I spent majority of my career for General Motors and then at some point early in my career in General Motors span of parts division, and that company was then named Delphi.  So I worked for General Motors Delphi.  I worked for Coca-Cola refreshment and also Thermo Fisher Scientific before going on my own.

Andrea:  And in working in those places, you were helping them become more efficient and that sort of thing?  Is that part of what you’re doing?

Crystal Davis:  Yes, but later to Coca-Cola and Thermo Fisher that was my primary role.  My role in automotive span various departments, so I started out, as I mentioned before, in the engineering department.  And then I did some work in quality department, procurement, or purchasing department as well as working directly in manufacturing as a supervisor.

So I had varied experience, and supply chain also.  How can I forget that and that was probably the toughest assignment?  So anyway, I worked in supply chain.  The reason I said it was a very tough environment, first and foremost, it’s a very high-paced, very stressful environment and when mistakes are made, they are extremely costly.

So I’ll just give you an example what I mean by that.  So I was working for a tier1, Delphi was a tier 1 supplier to a General Motors, meaning there may be parts that went directly to the automobile.  If we missed a delivery, and the delivery ended up causing a delay in their manufacturing process, and this was in the 90’s, it cost $18, 000 every minute that we interrupted their production.

Andrea:  Wow!  Yeah, gotcha.  High stakes.

Crystal Davis:  High stakes, very, very high-stress environment.  Of course, you know with vehicles in consumer, just a lot of regulations, a lot of safety requirements, and a lot of quality pressures.  So it’s just a very, very tough environment.  While there were a lot of women working in the environment, it’s still operated and functioned in the manner that men like to function in the majority of leaders were men.

Andrea:  OK, the manner in which they like to function, I’d love to hear a little bit more about that.

Crystal Davis:  Yes, you know as women, we’re more collaborative.  We like to have conversation, talk things through, or balance ideas around.  Men are just very matter of fact straight to it, don’t mince words, especially under a lot of pressure _____.  So you end up taking on a lot of that or becoming intimidated by a lot of that or afraid in some instances.

I can remember a very stressful meeting where people were yelling and screaming and cursing.  And if you’re not there for that, it can really, really either change who you are to adapt to the situation or you try to become the person that mediate to situation so that you can find the different way.

So I found myself as a young engineer evolving through trying to find that safe and happy place that fit who I was and not having to take going the same mannerisms and roles but also to not become a pushover because I didn’t.  So at first, I took on that persona.

Andrea:  Uh-hmmm put on the boxing gloves kind of thing?

Crystal Davis:  Put on a boxing gloves and it’s just not…

Andrea:  And it didn’t fit right.

Crystal Davis:  Right you know.  But somehow you know that does fit right until you stay within the dysfunction that you know, “You know, this is crazy.”

Andrea:  Right.  Oh man, I hear yah.

Crystal Davis:  Yeah, and so the opportunity working in automotive was one that was really, really great as much as I talk about what I learned of how tough the environment was, it was really great.  For me, I had so much more responsibility even though I didn’t the privilege to travel the world and to work in other countries.  So it was a good overall life experience for me as well as professional in terms of developing me and expanding my breadth of knowledge way beyond just you know the engineering space that I started out in.

Andrea:  I know that you have contributed chapter two of really important book, Faith For Fiery Trials and this sounds like something that would have qualified as fiery trial?

Crystal Davis:  It was.  Absolutely it was!

Andrea:  How does the story relates to or other stories perhaps subsequently happened relates to this idea of having faith in the midst of all?

Crystal Davis:  Great question.  In the chapter of the book that I contributed to, I talked about in my stories, I always look for “What am I to learn from this experience and how is that what I’ve learned changed how I might approach situations in the future, or how I might shift my behavior to either avoid a repeat of the situation?”  I shared this a lot of my stories from my early career in this book, Faith For Fiery Trials because it was the time and period in my life where it was my first real faith walk in life.

So I was 25 years old, I was working in Gadsden, Alabama for this automotive parts manufacturer.  It was Greenfield site, we’re building a completely new plant and this particular plant was going to be nonunion.  So it meant that we were trying to model after another successful nonunion plant collaboration that had been going on for years.

Well, long story short, the people there try to unionize the facility and the company decided to move that business to Mexico.  I remember that the vice president came down from our headquarters and talked to all the engineers and the essence of this conversation was the union is trying to disrupt this facility.  We need to stay on schedule with the launch of this new product line removing the business to Mexico.

As the engineers laying up the operating processes, we don’t have the time to start new, so “You can go or you can go.”  Meaning you can go to Mexico or you can find a job elsewhere.  Then you could not apply for jobs anywhere else in the company because this is so critical for the business.  I was just so young and not married.  So I talked to my parents about it and decided to go to Mexico.  So I moved to El Paso, Texas and I crossed the border every day to work in Juarez, Mexico for four and a half years.

Andrea:  Wow that’s a long time in going across the border almost every day.

Crystal Davis:  Yes, almost every day.

Andrea:  Just every day, flat out, four and a half years.

Crystal Davis:  Just every day, yes.  And it’s so funny because when we went down there, we went for orientation, we sat in this room and they talked to us about basic stuffs like benefits and taxes and all of the different things that would apply because we were working outside of the US.  But then they also _____ and said, “So here’s what happens if we have a bomb threat on the bridge and you can’t get home.”  “What?  What I did just sign up for?”

So it was very, very interesting experience that actually, again, turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.  Because here I am, I’m from Mississippi, I’ve moved to El Paso, Texas to the desert where there’s only one season.  The African-American percent in El Paso at the time was 2.5 and I’m working a lot of overtimes.  I’m dealing with just a lot of life-changing experience all at one time.  I don’t have family or support system there with me and I am having to cross the border where I do not speak Spanish.  I took French in high school.

So it was just a very tough time and I found a small church there that really, really got me focused on studying the bible, applying things to my life, and I found that to be my refuge with all of the stressors that I was under.  So I’m having to move, I’m moving far away from my family, I’m moving to a place that has one season, it’s brown.  And I’m used to greenery and trees and hills and water and all of that in Mississippi and I’m working under immense pressure because we also had to move the factory and I’m having to work with people who don’t speak English to keep this project off the ground and still on time.

That is why for me these stories reflect so much in terms of how my faith grew during that time because at the end of the day, it was just me and God.

Andrea:  So how did your faith impact the way that you responded in this situation do you think?

Crystal Davis:  I think that, for me initially, my faith increased because there were lots of time that I wanted to give up.  There were lots of times that I was homesick.  There were lots of times that I felt extremely undervalued on my job.  In addition to working in a male dominated space in automotive, now I’m actually working in a country where women were making stride.

Well, first of all, let me say this.  I later learned that there’s just a hierarchy of respect in Mexico no matter your gender.  So someone is considered jefe or boss, which is another level of respect that you give and how you behave _____ to say.  So that was difficult for me along with the machism that’s still around in some instances.

I can definitely say that was not the case for every man in Mexico because I have a lot of really good friends till to this day in Mexico that are men.  They’ve worked with me but that was just a very different environment.  So one of my stories that I _____ with when I’m speaking to women about being a disruptor, I was sitting in a meeting, I was the only woman in the meeting at the time.  One of my other American counterpart, he was also an engineer, was in the meeting.  He had a particular product and I had one of the larger products.

So we were in this room, in this conference room with manufacturing managers.  One of the manufacturing managers kept addressing my counterpart about my product.  So my counterpart would then in turn asked me for the answer and then communicate to this guy.  Finally, I started paying attention and I’m like “You know, why are you not talking to me, I’m sitting right here.  What’s the problem?”  I got so angry.  I was so angry and I was a hot head back then.

Andrea:  You sound totally not a hot head right now.  So you were a hot head?

Crystal Davis:  I was a hot headed because those were the mannerisms that I had picked up from the couple of years that I worked in automotive.  You got to be tough.  You got to stand your ground.

Andrea:  Yeah, and then you turned into a totally new environment where you’re trying to be this old persona.  Well, keep going.  Keep going!

Crystal Davis:  Yes, exactly.  So I was sitting there and I was literally like boiling over so much so to the point that I really just wanted to slide across the table and chalk him.  In a matter of seconds, I’m having these emotions.  I’m thinking these thoughts and I’m like “Wait a minute, I have what he needs.  So I have the power.  I just have to make sure I choose wisely how I use that power.”  And I said, “You know what, I have the information and if you want it, you will speak to me, otherwise, you won’t get it.”

Andrea:  OK, so you lead a very clear boundary about him and you said, if you respect and have this conversation with me then you’ll get what you want.  I think that boundary line is incredibly huge.  Those few seconds kind of came to you?

Crystal Davis:   Those few seconds, because I also realized that the room is watching.  I’m the only African-American in the room.  There’s a stigma about the angry black woman and I was angry.  I had a right to be angry.  This guy was not treating me like I was a human.  But that’s not the story that’s always told.  I just thank God that I was able to quickly regroup and be able to say that because had I made a choice to physically attack him or yell and scream then it really would have, I believe, change the path of my career.

Andrea:  So instead of demanding it in that manner where you would have, you know, essentially chalking or yelling, you pulled back into something where you were making it clear what the path was.  It was an invitation to speak with you and that this is the path.  So instead of demanding it, it was an invitation.

Crystal Davis:  I would say, at the end of the day, where you just said is correct, I honestly don’t know that I stated it as calmly as you just said.  So I don’t really know honestly if I gave him a choice, but I basically just let him know that I am the keeper of the information and if you don’t have enough respect for me to talk with me then you just won’t get it.

Andrea:  That’s so powerful.

Crystal Davis:  But at the end of the day, we said the same thing.  It was just an extremely emotional time for me, one where I did not feel supported.  So I went to my boss and I shared what happened that because of this whole respect for bosses and this hierarchy, my boss would not to go to back for me and he was also of Mexican descent.  And so it was just a very, very, very tough time and I found refuge in church through prayer and learning more deeply what the scriptures meant and how they applied for me and I could interpret from the scriptures.  It was just a very, very difficult time.  But it led to some of the most amazing time that I’ve had in my career.

Andrea:  And that was because…what are those amazing times?

Crystal Davis:  Well, you know, I talked about a few things in the book and I talked about the one thing that I can say about every promotion and elevation and new thing that I’ve taken on in life is that God never left me.  He always provided me with what I need or who I needed in my life.  At the same time that that was a tough environment, I experienced some of the best leaders in my life so that leader didn’t go to back for me.

There was some additional American that came to work in that region and I remember vividly the director of engineering.  These are guys who grew up in Ohio area, American-Italian descent.  The guy was a genius.  When he came in and he really started to go to back for the engineering department and he also appreciated talent and he also does not want a leader who’s going to tell you what to do.  He was going to challenge you to define what you needed and what obstacles you needed him to engage.  He would challenge you to go above and beyond.

Crystal Davis:  So I say that that was some of the best experiences I had because that was my first time ever when he came down there, to experience real leadership, not management, but leadership.  He opened doors for me.  He invited me to work on projects that were outside of the scope of my job title, if you will.  He is the one who invited me to be on a team of only seven engineers that were sent to Europe to work for a year to help them make them make some improvements in the operations, which was a bigger _____ of the headquarters, not just of Mexico.

So I got a chance to go work in Europe for a little over a year.  He’s a really, really great guy, because most people when they find your best people, they don’t want to lose them to anyone else but he was willing to say, “No, go, help, explore.  You’ve done well here.”  He was really just amazing because that just opened my eyes to so much more of the world.

Yeah, just tremendous and he gave me experiences where I could improve my skill set and learn more about diversity and inclusion and not what we talked about.  But I actually doing it because here I am in Spain, in Portugal and I am the minority there having to learn diversity and was so appreciative to people who were patient with me and who helped me during that time to just be able to live comfortably.

Andrea:  You know, Crystal, I think of that guy, that leader that came that really…it seems like he saw you.  He could see you for who you were and what you were contributing and he called that out of you and even more, really.

Crystal Davis:  Right, he did.

Andrea:  And kind of invited your voice out.  He wanted to hear your voice.  I think that’s one of the most difficult things for people when we feel like our voice doesn’t matter, when we feel like we don’t have a voice in a situation.  As women, I think a lot of times, and it might be men too, but I’ve heard it more often with women is that not feeling seen.

That situation of you in that office with this conversation taking place between these other two people and not including you, you were totally invisible in that situation.  You stood your ground in terms of saying that, “No, this is me and here I am.  If you want this information, you’re going to see me.”  And then you did have somebody that came along and saw you.  How did this change or maybe even impact the way that you approach working with individuals, with disrupt-HER?  I would imagine that you are excellent at seeing people for who they are and what they can offer.

Crystal Davis:  Absolutely, and it’s such a great question.  You’re spot on you know, I’m sure men experienced that also but women are probably most impacted or at least communicate their impact more about feeling invisible.  One way that I help all leaders but through the way that I help women is I meet them where they are.  I encourage them to learn how to operate within the authentic nature of who they are.

And then thirdly, I equip them to be confident and have the courage to be comfortable in the skin that they’re in.  So this weekend, I hosted a disrupt-HER retreat which was amazing.  I didn’t have a lot of women there.  It was a very small intimate space.  One of the women there said exactly what you said and she is a high-level executive.  She said, my entire life, I have felt invisible.  But yet, she still has been able to achieve you know, being a very high level in a very well-known company.

Andrea:  Hmm, isn’t that interesting?

Crystal Davis:  It’s very interesting, right?  And there’s one thing that people also need to recognize when you have mental health issues or depression or whether or not you just need an encouragement or some different ways to respond to situation in a workplace.  Because you know, when you look at, God bless her family with Kate Spade, someone who hasn’t acquired her level of success or financial wealth, Oh my God, she’s so successful and amazing and beautifully designed _____ but something is broken.

There were some areas in her life that she was not happy or she has suffered from depression.  You have to really separate coaching from where you need help around mental health issues.  I just wanted to say that to people but in talking right to this executive who said she felt invisible, she said part of what I have, the way that I operate is, I have to take time to…when someone says something to me that gets me off-kilter, she needs a being kind of process and then have time to respond.  But when she does _____ as she internalized and give power to what other people say.

So she said, “Crystal, sometimes I wish I could be a lot more like you, you know.  You’re very quick to respond.”  And I said, “Well, let’s be clear, you are who you are and there’s nothing wrong with how you’re made.  But what we might need to do is develop at least a scenario that you’d experience in the past.  I could tell you how I will respond but that’s not authentic to who you are.  But what need to do, we need to be able to _____ a protection, a wall that stops you from internalizing what they said so their words then don’t give power to over you.”

So that’s one way of how I help because she needs to be who she is.  She doesn’t need to act like me.  It wasn’t comfortable for me to try to take on the persona of how men were acting early in my career in automotive.  And she said and felt pressure to act like me.

Andrea:  That’s such an important point because I think so many people; they kind of look around and assumed that they should be like somebody else because they admire the ways that other person handles on thing.  It can become so pressure filled and it’s draining to try to be somebody else.  But to have somebody like you who could come alongside them and say, “But, no, this is you.  So let’s look at this from your perspective and your voice.”

And that’s what I love about this voice of influence concepts in general is that you find your voice of influence by helping other people theirs.  So for this gentlemen who helped you and kind of set you free to be you in your work environment.  I mean, he was a huge influence on you by letting you be you and now that’s what you’re passing on to somebody else.

Crystal Davis:  Absolutely!  He really was and he also taught me how to use my voice.  He was not a calm individual.  He was very intense and very high paced.

Andrea:  Because that’s his style.

Crystal Davis:  That’s his style and, while he was an influencer, he definitely could intimidate a lot of people.  But for me, what I learned from him and what I appreciated about him, he was very similar _____ said to me.  I appreciated the fact that he was going to be heard, and despite his approach, he was going to be heard.

That really, really helped me as a young engineer from that point of my career.  So this probably about 1998 before I left when I was like, “You know what, he says what’s on his mind.  He doesn’t mince words and while I’m not at his level, in terms of position, I’m going to make sure that I say what’s on my mind that I don’t mince words and that if nothing else, people will always know where I stand.”

I can honestly say that over my career, over my entire career, there were times that they got me in trouble but I could sleep at night.

Andrea:  Interesting.  Is that how you would define your voice at this point, like that not mincing words and making sure people understand where I’m at?  This is what I’m always going to bring.

Crystal Davis:  Yes.  Overtime, I’ve learned to adjust my tact.  I’m able now to speak calmly to situations.  I’m able to insert humor.  I can remember people always ask me, “Why do you laugh so much?”  And I’m like “I laugh sometimes _____ but I laugh because I’m a happy person.  While I’m happy, I’m gonna stay happy despite what’s going on.”  I remember I said, being comfortable with who you are and skin that you’re in.

Overtime, I’ve reached the point where, I am who I am.  There are behaviors that I can unlearn and learn new behaviors but I am who I am.  I have to be ultra comfortable in that and if I learn to operate in who I am and my strengths and the areas that I want to grow then I feel better and I have more to give to the world because I feel better about it.

Andrea:  OK, so when you’re working with women in particular, how are you helping them find out who they are.  You mentioned at the beginning that when you put on this persona of the male-dominated workforce around you that did it partly because you didn’t know what else you could be.  And I can totally relate to that so do you have any particular recommendations or suggestions about a woman who’s feeling fairly invisible because she has accomplished a lot.  She is good at what she does but people don’t seem to see her deep down.  Yeah, talk to me about what you would say to her.

Crystal Davis:  Right.  Definitely, there are lots of assessments that are out in the marketplace that really teach people about their cognitive skills, strengths finder, what their strengths are.  And so depending on the person and the situation that they want to resolve, I try to find an assessment that helps to give me more insight for how they behave.  It’s the first thing I do, because I have them write a love letter to themselves.

I remind them of being a young girl when you might have been giddy about a boy or a partner or whatever and the feeling that you had and what you wanted to say that person and how you wanted to tell them what you love about them.  You love their eyes or their smile or the way they make you laugh.  So you write a letter saying things, so whether that means you have to go back to a time when you love yourself or when you were unaware of all of the pressures that the world places on you.

I hear lot of women saying, “You know, I feel like I’ve lost myself.”  So I’m like “OK,” but when you were the person that you feel like you’ve lost, let’s describe her.  Let’s find out where she is.  What’s suppressing her?”

Andrea:  Do you find that women have a hard time writing a love letter about themselves?

Crystal Davis:  Most of them were very shocked when I asked them to do that, like “What?”  They were very shocked when asked them to do that and for the retreat, I did the same thing.  After I got them very comfortable with me and very comfortable with sharing amongst to other women and I told them, “You desire when you write it.  You can write it before we leave; you can write it tonight, or the next day.  But before we leave, I want you to write yourself a love letter.”  And I collected them and mail them to them at some random point in year to remind them.

Actually one of the ladies who were there, she said that she had that same experience at another retreat or similar.  It wasn’t a love letter but a similar experience.  She said that it was so amazing that when she was going through something, her letter came in the mail.

Andrea:  That’s fun.  That’s awesome!

Crystal Davis:  So that’s the second thing I do and then the third thing that I do is I try to find or develop with them a plan, a realistic plan where we can talk about equipping them in an area where they feel deficient, whether that’s increasing their own confidence, courage, resiliency whether that’s dealing with a difficult person at work or whether that’s applying for a new position or a new promotion, having a conversations with their boss about their career path or if it’s even about starting their own business.

I help them centered with self and then I help them to put together really effective plans to take a few steps that keep them pointed in the right direction and then we check in and of course we have coaching thereafter.  So like with this lady who talked about, she felt invisible and she wished she could _____ back like me.  You know, I told her that maybe one of the things we should work on is let’s talk to some different situations and I’ll create a lexicon and then you write a lexicon of what my responses would be and then you write how yours would be.

Again, it’s not about responding so that she respond negatively back to that person, but it’s about making sure that you go to that protection so that person’s words don’t have power over, you know making you feel bad or making you feel not valued or not worthy or anything that kind of stuff.

Andrea:  Hmm, interesting.  So one of my last questions here is if somebody is wanting to empower somebody else and to be that voice of influence for somebody else, not necessarily to be somebody else’s voice but to help them find theirs to release them to being more themselves, what would you leave them with? What would you want them to remember?

Crystal Davis:  The first thing that I would say to people, anyone who wants to find their voice is….

Andrea:  Well, how about the people who want to help other people?

Crystal Davis:  For people wanting to help other people find their voice is they should be transparent and be comfortable taking the risk of being super transparent.  People nowadays are inundated with information and you and I both know that the one thing that stops people from taking action is because they’re not clear.

So what I’ve learned is that people have access to information at the tips of their fingertips.  There are so many coaches out there.  There are search engines, insight papers, white papers, research; so there’s a _____ of information available to people dealing with any situation or circumstance.

But what people most relate to, at least the people I have encountered, they relate to the fact that I’m transparent and I’m able to share things that I’ve been through.  So they are looking at me as someone who has achieved the level of success and I have it altogether but I’m willing to share what I’ve been through and I’m willing to share what I’ve learned from it and I’m willing to share my success steps.

And that to me is what helps give power to the voice of influence, because you’re not coming from such a mechanical space of just knowing information and knowing approaches or tactics, you’re able to share with someone. Yes, I left a very, very well-paid job and I’ve a good position to take on the risk of starting my own business.

But here’s some of the challenges that I faced or here’s some of the things that I didn’t know I needed to think about and people kind of appreciate that level of transparency I think and welcome what you have to share because you have the story attached to it.  You have the experience attached to it.

And so if they can relate to your experience they now view you as a person that can influence how they might do things differently.  So I say to anyone, we all have stories, we all have life experiences.  We may not all have made the right decisions, but our wrong decisions and sharing it that might help someone else not make the same decision.

Andrea:  Absolutely!  That’s great.  Thank you so much for that advice, Crystal.

Crystal Davis:  You’re welcome.  I kind of just add one other thing, Andrea.

Andrea:  Absolutely!

Crystal Davis:  I studied leadership development coaching under John Maxwell organization and I love one thing that John Maxwell’s say, “Leadership is not about position, leadership is about influence.”  And so when you think about that despite whatever position you hold in an organization, in your family, or in your job, you can be a leader and you can influence other people in a very positive way and of course they should be used in a positive way.

So I think everyone can be a leader to someone else if they sought to take on responsibility.

Andrea:  I love it and do so through connecting it sounds like for being transparent and truly connecting with someone else with your story.  I love it.  Well, Crystal, tell us a little bit about the book because I want to know how people can find it.

Crystal Davis:  So the book is Faith For Fiery Trial and I believe there are a total of 20 authors who share their stories.  Some of the women have overcome illnesses, challenges on their job, or challenges in business, etcetera, etcetera.  We were asked not to only share our stories but to share the lessons that we want to share.  We want other people to learn from it.  So I think it will not only be a book 2of great stories but also a book of great advice and steps that you can take.

So the book will be launched at the end of the month, June 30th and you can follow me on forms of social media at crystalydavis and I will be selling the book also through my website.  Our hope is that the book will be picked up by major publishers and carriers.  But at the moment, we are freelancing and they can share with getting the word out because a lot of people are struggling and they need to hear these stories and they need to know that they can overcome the challenges that many of us face in life.

Andrea:  Absolutely!  So if you’re struggling, if you found yourself in that situation where the trials just keep coming, you’re feeling kind of down about it or you know somebody who is feeling that way or you want to have some inspiration and be kind of buffer your own ability to handle those situations before they even occur, go out and get this book because I think that Faith For Fiery Trials will be a really powerful book for you to really inspire you and then to equip you to be able to handle them.

So thank you so much for being with us today, Crystal, and will be sure to link all of this in the show notes for this episode.  This episode will be coming out right after your book launch so it will be a perfect timing and I hope that you’ll have a great success with it.

Crystal Davis:  Thank you so much.  And thank you so much the opportunity to share with your audience.  Like I said before, I love your title, Voice of Influence and I just love that you’re exposing other people to different ways that they can become more influential.  I love the work that you’re doing.

Andrea:  Thanks Crystal!  Alright, we’ll talk to you soon.

Crystal Davis:  Great.  Thank you!

How to Make & Keep Your Message Relevant with Joe Calloway

Episode 58

There are new businesses, thought leaders, influencers, coaches, consultants, you name it coming onto the scene every single day. So, how you can stand out and make sure your business, and voice, is relevant in a crowded marketplace? This week’s guest is going to tell us exactly that!

Joe Calloway works with leaders to help make great companies even better. He is a business author and conducts interactive sessions with leaders on how they can better simplify, focus, and execute in their businesses. Joe is also a partner in The Disruption Lab; which is a consulting group that helps companies with innovation and transformation.

In this episode, Joe talks about differentiating yourself by creating genuine value for your clients or customers, why he believes his influence is greater in smaller settings, why he takes a collaborative approach to his work, why just being different from your competition isn’t enough, the simple way to get the marketplace to “beat a path to your door,” how simplifying something is more difficult that it being complicated, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:


Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Joe Calloway Voice of Influence Andrea Joy Wenburg


Hey, hey! It’s Andrea, and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast!

Today, I have with me Joe Calloway. I’m so thrilled to have him because he works with leaders to help make great companies even better. He’s a business author and conducts interactive sessions with leaders on how they can better simplify, focus, and execute in their businesses.

Joe is also a partner in the Disruption Lab, which is a consulting group that helps companies with innovation and transformation. Oh, all these words that I love. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his wife, Annette and her daughters, Jessica, and Kate.

Joe, welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast!

Joe Calloway: Hey, Andrea, thank you so much for having me!

Andrea: So what would you say is the core of the message that you have in your business with your voice of influence, what are you trying to get across to the world or to leaders?

Joe Calloway: Yeah, I think that if I boil it down, it would be about value, how differentiate about creating genuine value for your clients or customers. And with leaders, it’s how do they create value as being a place to work for their employees and then also how do you lift that team of employees so that the entire organization is creating value. That’s mostly, as you said in the introduction, I mostly work with leadership groups now, which I love doing. It’s funny, after doing this forever; I’m really having more fun now than I think I ever had.

Andrea: Why is that?

Joe Calloway: You know, I think I’m like a bowling ball that bounces around and finally gets in the grove. I think I’ve got my grove on. I’m doing a message that I enjoy and that message continually evolves and changes. It has to, because I’m talking with businesses and business changes all the time. I’ve also gone from, I used to give speeches, I mean I would give a speech to 10,000 people or 5,000 people and it was made you in all the talking and the spotlight was on me and I really got sick of it.

Oddly enough, I got bored with it. And now, I prefer to say, I do conversations. I work with much smaller groups and it’s very conversational and, to tell you the truth, I have more meaningful influence. So I’m having more fun. I’m working with groups that I love to work with and I’m doing it in a style, in a format that’s fun for me.

Andrea: Hmm, yeah. I love those smaller groups where you can really go back and forth. So you feel like your influence is greater in this smaller setting because why?

Joe Calloway: I think because it truly does lend itself to that word that you used which was conversation. The group I’m going to be working with tomorrow is about 60 people and it’s going to be a very much a roll-up your sleeves and I’ll talk then I’ll give them something to work on and then we will talk together about what they came up with.

Here’s the coolest thing that I’ve discovered, Andrea, I think I’d do my best to work and I give them the most value in terms of my ideas in what I’ve learned when I’m responding to something that they just said as opposed to me going on with my outline, which I do. But I kind of set the stage for the conversation and it’s in that conversation that I think I have the greatest impact.

Andrea: It sounds to me like you’re talking about a difference between content and insight. Because content, it seems like we can share that and then they have to go and apply it, but with insight you’re able to offer something that’s specific to them in their situation.

Joe Calloway: Yeah, it is that, and I’ll tell you something interesting about this speaking business, a lot of people start out and they really just kind of do and book reports. They’re talking about what other people have said or written, which is fine. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. And then a lot of times, the next day, you start digging out the information on your own. But sometimes where your career leads you, and this is where I’m think and hope I am now, is the people that I work with they’re saying, “Well, Joe, what do you think? What do you believe about this? What’s your opinion about this?

You know, it takes some years and some going around the truck a few times to build up the credibility to, I think, legitimately have that kind of bliss with credibility and I hope I have accomplished that. But it’s that give and take of “Here’s what I think, what do you guys think?” And tomorrow I’m going to be doing a lot of that. I’m going to be saying, “Look, everybody in this room an experienced leader, what do think in addition to what I think?” So I think the combination of those opinions and those insights gives all of us greater insight.

Andrea: Hmm love it! I know that you are all about this collaborative environment and I’m curious if that sort of always been an important thing to you, you know, this bringing value, creating value and doing it with this collaborative environment? Is it personal to you in any kind of way?

Joe Calloway: You know it’s interesting. It’s funny; I just made a short promotional video, just a couple of minutes about how I work. The word that I focused on was exactly the word that you just used, which was collaborative. And what I say is I’m very collaborative in the way that I work, not just in the decision itself but I’m very collaborative before the event or the meeting because I want to know what’s going on with them.

It doesn’t happen much anymore but every now and then _____ would say, “Joe, just come in and do your thing.” And I’m thinking, I don’t know what my thing is until I know what’s going on with you guys.” I have some sort of contexts so that this really has some meaning for you guys. Yeah, it’s personal in a couple of ways. One way that it’s personal is that I simply find it personally much more satisfying for me to make it about them. Because a lot of times, we’ve all set and listen to people and we’re thinking, “OK, this is interesting and this is all well and good.” But I don’t really see how it applies to me.

The reaction that I want because it’s more fun and, because duh, it’s good for my business, the reaction that I want is for them to be thinking, “My gosh, I can do what he’s talking about and it makes all the sense in the world for me to do that. So I’m gonna go tomorrow and start doing that.”

So I do try to make it personal in just that way of working, the really highly customized messaging. Andrea, it’s just more fun for me because I get bored if I do the same thing over and over. I’ve got a very low threshold for boredom. I think it’s a double edge sword. It’s a blessing and a curse. But anyway, it’s the way I’m wired. So yeah, I like to make the messaging as personally relevant, and that’s another I think key word, as relevant as I can possibly make it.

Andrea: OK, so we’re talking about differentiation and that’s a big piece of your message. What kind of suggestions or what approach do you have to differentiation?

Joe Calloway: There are a lot of people out there and a lot of businesses that are falling into a trap. You look at the root of the word differentiation and the root of it is different, and yet, I think it’s a mistake for people to sit down and say, “OK everybody, we’ve got to be different. We’ve got to be different in the competition and if we’re different then we’ll do better.” Look, everybody can put on a funny hat and that will make you different. The best different and the only different that matters is to be better.

If you got a restaurant, you can be different through some sort of gimmick but that’s going to wear off. But if you’re different because you’re better, because the food is better, because the value is better, because your service is better, you know, just go down the list. If you’re different because you’re better that’s the wisest thing. Oh my gosh, what was it? I cannot take credit for this. I read it on the website of some company, who I would love to credit them but I simply can’t remember who it was. But it said, bells and buzzers wear off, value never dies.

So for me, that’s not key, key, key point on differentiation. Look, in every aspect of everything that you do and how you serve your particular market, how can you be better? How can you improve on that?

Andrea: OK, so value meaning improving what you have and making sure that what you offer is something of value to the other person. I’m assuming that’s what you’re talking about.

Joe Calloway: Yeah, it is. I tell you what, in business today more and more that’s getting to the point. Here’s a question that I post to my clients a lot, I’d say, “Something’s gonna put you out of business in the next five years, maybe the next three years or maybe quicker than that. Something will put you out of business, meaning the way you exist today. Now the question is, is somebody else gonna put you out of business or are you gonna put you out of business?”

Andrea: Right.

Joe Calloway: By moving on to be the next thing that you need to be or the next iteration or the next state of evolution for your business so that you can better serve whoever your market is because the market changes all the time. I mean, it just constantly changes and we all have to get better.

So a lot of differentiation is rooted in, what do we need to change? What do we need to start doing that we’re not doing? What do we need to be better at that we’re already doing? And this could be the biggest one, what do we need to start doing? That’s a tough one, Andrea. It could be that you say, “Well, everything is working. I’m not gonna start doing anything,” and that’s a trap. You’ve got to be one step ahead and figure out how you need to change because if you don’t, the market is going to tell you and it may tell you in a very unpleasant way.

Andrea: So, let’s say you have a couple of, maybe three or four leaders in a room that they realize that they need to stay on top of this. But how did they decide which things to target or is there…

Joe Calloway: Great question. That’s a great, great question. Let me tell you, there are a lot of big companies _____, you mentioned the Disruption Lab that I’m a partner in, we’re working with some very big corporations. But what we’re doing is taking a couple of people and working with them in their assignment from their employers, from that corporation is you need to think like a startup. We need to have part of this company thinking very entrepreneurially.

And the nature of a startup is you say, “OK, here’s the product or service based on what you wanna do, what you think has value, or what you think people will pay for it.” Here’s the product or service that I’m going to set up and then you put it out there and guess what, the market is going to give you some information and you’re going to say, “Oops, I think maybe we need to change course.”

And maybe then you’ll need to change course again and again or maybe you need to say the market is telling us, they’re not interested in this. We need to start over. But the nature of starting something new, and you have to look at it this way, is it’s largely a learning process. Now, where do we find these areas of opportunity? Here’s a really good place to look, what can you make easier for people to do? What can you make easier for people to buy? Look, at least I have a couple of examples.

Andrea: I love this by the way.

Joe Calloway: Say that again?

Andrea: I love this, what can we do to make things easier.” Keep it going.

Joe Calloway: Think about this, why is Amazon such a name of success and such a master in the marketplace? Because they made it so easy to buy anything, I mean anything particularly an Amazon Prime member, which more and more people are all the time, you press one button and you own it. It’s getting to the point where pretty soon, you’ll press the button and in 10 minutes a drone will be outside your front door with whatever that you just bought.

OK, look at the company that everybody’s sites is being the poster company for disruption, Uber. What did Uber do? They made it easier to get a ride. So if you can figure out an easier, simpler way to do almost anything, the market place as the old saying goes will be a path to your door.

Andrea: Hmmm love that! OK, so I know another thing that you talked about, it’s kind of related to easier is simpler and simplifying, which you have very, very eloquently stated in videos and in your website things about how being complicated is easier than simplifying. So talk to us about these concepts.

Joe Calloway: Yeah, I think in the video on my website. I don’t know where this word comes from. But I said, any knuckle head can make something complicated which is true. Listen, I will have a room full of anybody, but certainly if I’ve got a room for the leaders, I’ll say this, I’ll say, “Raise your hand if you frequently have this thought that the audience you know I think were making this way more complicated than it needs to be.” And Andrea, every hand in the room goes up every single time. We all make it, meaning pretty much everything more complicated than it needs to be.

I challenged them by saying, “Look, if you’re a leader,” but really this applies to anybody, “but certainly if you’re a leader, I would challenge you that one of your core responsibilities is to simplify the complicated.” I’ll give you a great example. I was working with a nonprofit 30 years ago. They were wanting to rethink their purpose in how to go about creating more value to their marketplace as a nonprofit. Well, they had a three paragraphs statement of purpose. It was kind of a vision statement. Three paragraphs and the paragraphs were kind of long, this is here we are and this is what we do.

So I charged them with boiling that down to the absolute essence of what it meant? Now, this was a nonprofit that works with young women, with girls in all sorts of ways helping them better themselves. What they boiled that three paragraph statement down to was three words and the words were, We Empower Girls. And they were so fired up over tapping into that _____ that in months and months later they said, it’s the most empowering thing for ourselves that we ever did was to simplify that goofy, complicated mission vision purpose statement.

So yes, simplification is kind of like making it easy but that’s a great thing for anybody to do in their business. Well, I tell people, go back and simplify. They say, “Simplify what?” And my answer is “Everything, everything that you can possibly simplify, simplify it.”

Andrea: Here’s what I have gotten…I have had some frustrations with this area and I’ve seen this a lot in working with other people who were trying to simplify their messaging. That is just doing it down to those few words like you’re talking about without becoming too abstract or confusing.

Joe Calloway: Yeah, because you sure don’t want to be confusing. You know, the first mission I think in a lot of communication, and this applies to your employees, to your customers; is number one, they have to understand to what you’re talking about. They have to get it. My gosh, I looked at my own website, this was about four years ago and I just look at it through my hands up and I thought, “You can’t even tell what business I’m in from this thing. This is so convoluted, so abstract, and so complicated.”

I’ve kind of boiled it down to, for me, I can have three paragraphs describing what I did and I boiled it down to, “I help leaders make great companies even better.” That opens up a question, which is how do you that? How does that work? But that’s fine. On the front end, at least I w ant them to get that he works with leaders to make their companies better. They may not want that. I may not be a good match for them. That’s fine, that’s okay. I don’t want to be working with the wrong people and they don’t want to be working with me.

So you bring at such a great point. You bring at such a great point because if there’s not clarity and that you know when I talk about simplicity, the very next step in that is to create clarity and that leads to the next step, which is so that you can create focus on what matters most and what’s most important. The winners are not the people that do the most things, the winners are the people that do the most important things and do them extremely well and with great consistency.

Andrea: And they choose the most important things based on how they have simplified…I mean, how do they choose?

Joe Calloway: Yeah, I generally look at a couple of things. The things that are most important to me are the things that will help me create the greatest value for my clients coupled with that will help my business grow. And then the third element which is that is something that I want to do because listen, Andrea, I have been caught in the trap so many times.

I mean, this is classic because I’m constantly telling people not to do this and I was the guilty as one in the room. I’ll put it this way, don’t get stuck doing something that you’re really good at but that you don’t want to do. I have gotten stuck doing things that I did well and there was a market for it and I didn’t want to do it. It wasn’t fun. It didn’t make me happy but I was really good at it and it was making money. So I got caught in that dumbo trap and it’s hard. It’s hard to give up something that’s working.

Andrea: Oh definitely!

Joe Calloway: It’s taking me a long time but I’m starting to get the hang of it.

Andrea: And so the reason why you shouldn’t get stuck in it is?

Joe Calloway: Well, you know, a couple of things, you could get stuck in anything particularly today. You’re putting yourself at some point in the future, and probably the fairly near future, and this goes back what I was talking about earlier, if you get stuck in anything, you’re going to go out of business or your business is little by little going to go away.

The other thing is, and I’ll go back to the very personal _____ of it which is, I mean, come on, what’s worth paying the price of doing something that you can’t stand to do. Listen, I understand the real world, there are people that have jobs they don’t love. It drives me crazy when I hear people say, “Oh you have to be patient about your job. You have to love your job and if you don’t then you’re a loser.” Well, wait a minute. There are some people that have to support families and they got to have a job and it may not be the job of their dreams. Come on, that’s just real life and that’s about responsibility.

Having said that, I am a great proponent of doing whatever it is that you can do to bring fulfillment into your life and joy into your life anyway you can and for some people that means what they do after work, away from work. But certainly for an entrepreneur, for somebody that has their own business, come on, we’ve got a leeway to try things.

The trick is, it maybe something you want to do but there’s another part of the formula. Is there anybody willing to pay you to do it? And there a lot of people that say, “Well, all I have to do is be patient about what I’m doing and I’ll be a success.” Yeah, if there’s anybody that wants to pay you to do it, you will be but it could be you’re passionate about what you do and nobody has the least interest in giving you the credit cards for you to do it so that’s a problem. That’s an indication you might need to shift a little bit.

Andrea: So I’m still curious about the simplicity thing because I interviewed your friend, Colby Juvenville, in episode 51 and he and I were talking about how it’s hard for him to simplify or not necessarily simplify, because I might be talking about two different things, but I want to see how they fit together for you.

Joe Calloway: Sure!

Andrea: But I’m similar to him in that. It’s easy for me to get a lot of plates going and I kind of enjoy spinning plates. I kind of enjoy having a variety of things going on and going on in my head sometimes. But then, it does, I think, become a problem when it comes to trying to simplify the message about what is the market message or the brand message or whatever because of so many different things.

How do people who are kind of on that creative spectrum of, we’d like all over the place a little bit but at the same time there’s this necessary piece of needing to simplify in order to communicate and actually grow something?

Joe Calloway: Yeah a couple of everything, and number one, I saw that you interviewed Colby. Colby is great. I like Colby a lot. He’s a smart, smart guy and great of what he does. You’re talking to somebody who loves nothing more than the next idea. Oh my gosh, I’m like the classic. I’m like a dog, squirrel. I mean, I’ll have a great idea and I’ll start to execute it but then I look up and go, “Oh but here’s a new shiny idea over there and I wanna do that too.”

So for me simplification partly means discipline about understanding the difference between a true opportunity and a distraction. I would never advice anybody to not try new things. And if you are wired such that you love to have, as you said a lot of different plates spinning, great, do that. There are people that are at their most productive when they are doing it.

Go back to Amazon. Oh my gosh, Amazon is getting into healthcare. Amazon is going to be into everything eventually and yet, Amazon still has to have some sort of unifying vision that makes all of these pieces work together. And I go back to what Amazon does; everything that Amazon gets into, they get into it to make something simpler or to make something easier, to make it easier to buy stuff, or to make it simpler to access healthcare.

So you can have a lot of different things going on but you still have to simplify in your mind to the point that you can keep up with at all, that you can manage at all. As you said, and this is really important, simplify to the marketplace so that they get it what your brand is about. Because if they look at your brand and go, “I can’t figure out what she does, she’s all over the map.” That’s not good for business.

For me, I do a few different things but it’s all now around effective leadership. And so I try to simplify the value of proposition but my delivery system, the way I deliver that value can take any number of different forms.

Andrea: Oh I like that. So simplify the value of proposition in what you’re saying what you offer but you can offer it in many different ways.

Joe Calloway: Yeah, exactly!

Andrea: Yeah, I love that. Oh this is so good. I’m so happy that you’re here, Joe. And I am curious, if you were to take this conversation we’ve been having and pull out something that you really think that somebody who has or wants to have a voice of influence. They want to make their voice matter more for a cause or inside of their business as a leader or even as a speaker, consultant; what piece of influence or advice you have around how they can make their voice matter for today?

Joe Calloway: There are a number of things that comes to mind and I just go to, I mean I have to do that, Andrea. I’ve been in business a very long time. I’ve got to work on those elements that you’ve just sited all the time for me to stay in business because the business I’m in has gotten way more competitive over the last few years. A lot more people doing it now, and my competitors, I hear people say, “I’m so good. I don’t really have any competition.” I think, “Gosh, what’s life like in that planet because on my planet, I’ve got tons of competition and they’re so good.”

I mean, these leaders are so good at what they do. I have to constantly stay on top of it. So a couple of things about creating value and truly being a voice of influence and one of them is this is to be 100% you. You know it’s funny, I don’t do so much anymore but I used to work with executives on giving more effective presentations. The main thing I have to do with them was get them out of their heads about giving a speech.

And I would say, please don’t give a speech, don’t ever, ever, ever give a speech just talk to them. You’ve got something that you feel is important to say and if you don’t, you shouldn’t be up in front of them in the first place, but if you do have something to say that’s important just talk to them. You’re not supposed to be in a particular way. You’re supposed to be you, 100% you, because people sense that and if they sense that you are fully present and if it’s truly coming from your heart with what you’re telling them then you’re going to have more impact.

I do think there’s a lot to be said for what we’ve been talking about in terms of getting clarity yourself on what you’re core message is. I’m not saying, it needs to be just one thing but you’re core messaging. I’ll put it that way, because if we don’t have clarity on it then nobody else is going to have clarity on it. And another part is listening and listening on the front end.

I can’t do a presentation unless I feel like I have absolute clarity on who I’m talking to, what their concerns are and what’s _____ for them. I’ve been relate my message to that. It doesn’t mean that I write something brand new just to suit them. That strikes me as kind of faking it.

And here’s the other thing, sometimes I find out that I’m not the right match and I want to know that, because my gosh, any of us that have been in front of the audience and we got that realization of, “Uh uh, I really shouldn’t be in front of these people.” So I want to know on the front in, “Am I the right match and how can my message match up with their concerns? How can I be relevant in such a way that truly creates value?”

Andrea: Being relevant with and also being 100% you.

Joe Calloway: Yeah.

Andrea: Great, I love that! Well, thank you so much, Joe. I really appreciate you taking time to be with us today in sharing so much wisdom and so much inspiration for us as we move forward with our own voice of influence. Thank you for your voice in the world.

Joe Calloway: Well this is…can we go this again tomorrow?

Andrea: I love that.

Joe Calloway: This is fun. Thank you so much for having me. Listen, I don’t ever ask people to agree with me but I hope that what I say at least provokes a thought or two. If I’m a catalyst for people thinking about what they do and what they want to do and what they should do then I’m happy. I hope we were a catalyst at least.

Andrea: I’m sure. I know that that is the case so thank you so much!





Stop Putting Yourself On the Backburner with Keri Stanley

Episode 57

When someone asks who you are, how often do you respond with your title? Wife, mother, physician, executive, etc. You’re more than just your title and this week’s guest wants to help remind you of that.

Keri Stanley is the CEO of Keri Stanley Coaching, Huffington Post Writer, and Inspirational Speaker who spends her life looking for the a-ha moments to share with her clients. She now hosts international experiences for healthcare and service-based professionals to Ground, Grow, & Give so they’re able to serve from a space of fulfillment rather than sacrifice.

In this episode, Keri talks about her journey of living a picture-perfect life while feeling lost and empty inside to now helping others prevent the same thing happening to them, how you can become more connected to yourself and those around you, the importance of letting go of some control and focusing on the positive “what if’s” instead of the negative ones, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:


Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.


Hey, hey!  It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast.

Today, I have with me, Keri Stanley, a sweet sweet, awesome, power-packed woman.  I’m so excited to share her with you!

She is the CEO of Keri Stanley Coaching.  She’s a Huffington Post writer and inspirational speaker who really spends her life looking for a-ha moments that she can share with her clients.  She enjoys the diversity of a worldwide client base, helping healthcare professionals learn how to fully connect, first to themselves and then to the rest of the world creating a really fulfilling life of meaning and impact, I’m excited to hear more about this in a minute.  She now hosts international experiences for healthcare and service based professionals so that they can Ground, Grow, & Give to be able to service from a space of fulfillment rather than sacrifice.

So, Keri, it is so great to have you here with us today on the Voice of Influence podcast!

Keri Stanley:  Oh Andrea, thank you so much.  I am honored and blessed to be here with you and I’m super excited to just have this conversation with you and to listeners.

Andrea:  Yes!  OK, so let’s start with…you’re really passionate about a lot of things.  If you could kind of distill it down to a core message or a main thing that you’re wanting to get across to the world with your voice of influence, what would that message be?

Keri Stanley:  Really that message would be that we all have a difference that we can make in this world and that we get to do that at the same time as we are taking care of other people.  And so, so often, we put ourselves on the back burners, so often we live our lives just fully in service to other people and then we’re kind left in the dust.

So my main message is that we can actually have both and do it in a way that tapped into the gifts that we have that we have meaning and impact in the world and that we get to take care of ourselves at the same time.

Andrea:  We have so much in common in that area for sure, so why does this matter to you?

Keri Stanley:  So yeah, just going back real quick, I am a single mom with two kids.  I have twins that are getting ready to turn 14 and I lived the life of a healthcare professional for a really long time.  I always knew that I wanted to help people or animals like that’s been a _____ since I was a little kid.  So the core of me is about helping other people.

So I lived my life based off of that and I lived my life in healthcare.  But what happened along the journey is that like I had everything from a picture perfect picture that from the outside looks great.  I had a successful career.  I had the marriage, the white picket fence, the kids, the whole nine yards, right?  But on the inside, I was completely lost.

I had days that I would look in the mirror and I’m like “I had no idea who I am anymore and how I exist in this world.”  I was feeling empty.  I was feeling used.  I was feeling abandoned.  I really didn’t know who I was anymore.  I didn’t feel like I was a good mom.  I would have days where I would just yell and scream at my kids and then I would feel awful.

I lived my life just in sacrifice of others, both in my profession and at home.  I didn’t understand the value of taking care of myself at that time and everybody else got _____ that.  So I ended up losing almost everything in my life.  My marriage fell apart.  I ended up losing my job.  I ended up, like all of these things that I was doing the right thing out there ended up costing me so much.

In that time, I stepped back and really started looking at like, is there a way to do life different?  Is there a way that it doesn’t need to be like this?  Is there a way that I can feel fulfilled that I can feel a really good mom and that I can make a difference in the world and like it all can work together?

I started seeing other people in life just in general that I was exposed to that they were making this happen.  I was like “If they can do this, why can’t I?”  So I started surrounding myself with people like that and I really started learning this value of understanding that you don’t have to give from a sacrifice state that you actually can give from a fulfilled state and starts with you.

So transforming my own life and even going back in the healthcare with a completely different shift and perspective, and now coaching individuals into how they can create this in their own life, my kids now see a truly happy mom on the inside and the out and they understand the value.  So not only am I doing that for myself but I’m actually teaching them on how to do that in their future as well as other individuals in the world.

We get to choose how we live this life but a lot of times, we’re just conditioned that we have to put all of our needs to the side.  And so learning how to shift that really makes the difference for both of you and the world.

Andrea:  So Keri, do you think that people get lost in that way that you were describing here a little bit ago?  I see it happen mostly with women but I think it happens with men as well at times, especially in that midlife kind of range when you’re starting to kind of question everything and ask what you’re really all about.  But how do you think that we end up really getting lost like that?  Does it have to do with the way that you’re talking about that living from this place of sacrifices instead of abundance, or what do you see there for that?

Keri Stanley:  Yeah.  I love your point about men because it is from women a lot.  But I do _____ with the fact that men go through the same thing, it’s just that that’s not talked about in the same way.  Women actually will talk about it more when they feel safe enough to share, when they get in an environment that they’re seeing other women in the same place.  Men tend to hold that inside way more than women do but they actually go through the same process of feeling lost and not having that identity.

So part of the things that I see, and I love that you talked about from sacrifice to abundance, that a lot of people actually don’t even know what the word abundance means.  That it’s just, again, we’re conditioned in how to live and we just kind of accept that as it is.  And you start saying things that just like “I’m just gonna survive this day,” or you start saying things like, “If I could just make it through this stage,” or “If I can just make it through to tomorrow,” or those types of things.

The other things is that we start identifying with our titles as who we are rather than remembering who we were as a _____ child that we have turned off through our life and we started accepting our worth is based off of our title at the time.

So whether we are a mom, whether we are an administrator, whether we are a wife, whether we are even single versus divorced versus whatever.  We just start identifying with these titles of that who we are.  If you ask anyone for the most part who they are, they’re going to start rattle off their titles.  The truth is that if you look at, look you and me for example, you are a mom just like I am, right?  You’re a woman just like I am but we may have all these similar titles but that the core of who we are, it’s actually very different, right?

We have so much in common but we have different gifts.  So who we are is really who we are as individuals and those are the pieces that we forget.  We forget our worth and actually who we are in the world and who we’re meant to be in the world because we’re just completely identified with a title, which means if you ever lose that title for some reason, a lot of people go into massive self doubt because they identify themselves completely by labels.

Andrea:  Right.  Yeah and then they don’t know who they are in the inside which is what really sustains the person through life and through hard times and through everything.

OK this is really cool, so what difference would it make in the world if people were to really embrace this idea that they can be more than their titles?  Yeah, what sort of difference would this actually make in a bigger sense, more than for just the individuals but also for the world in general, like what is your vision for this?

Keri Stanley:  Yeah, it makes such a difference in a way that we lived our lives and not only for ourselves but the impact that we have on the people that we touched on a daily basis.  So when you think about the people that you want to be around every single day, what do they have in common and what are the people that you don’t actually want to be around?

You know the difference in a person that is somebody that’s like really attracted in this magnetic way and they are people that like they have really good energy, they’re doing things in life.  They’re making a difference, like you just enjoy being around them.  So you get to choose to be one of those people.  The difference is the impact that you can make by just showing up in the world as you, like we’re always trying to be someone else.  So you get to be you, you get to bring your gifts to the world and when you’re authentically happy with your life, because 90% of people aren’t happy with their life.

If you ask people on a scale of 1to 10 how happy are you with your life, 90% of people are going to be less than five.  So you want to ask yourself, are you OK with that?  If you could actually make the changes to where you’re living a life that was, at least from the upper end if not closer to 10, what difference does that make for you as an individual, how you show up in your family as an individual, the impact that you actually feel like you can make in the world, it completely changes the entire perspective and your confidence in what you can achieve.

Because the reason that we don’t go out and do the things that we are actually meant to do and the reason that we’re here is because we don’t believe that we can.  So suddenly, when you allow yourself to step into that, you now see the world as possibility rather than, like “I’m just trying to survive.”  We were not mean to live on this earth in a way that we are just supposed to make it through the day.  That’s not at all why we were sent here, right?

So once you adapt to this lifestyle of living on purpose, living while you were here, taking care of yourself so that you can actually take better care of others then in some way you have a reason to be here rather than just making it through the day.

Andrea:  You know what I really like about what you just said is that you’re not saying that people need to totally change all the circumstances in their lives.  I understand that that could be a part of that, you might need to change your job or you might need to you know whatever, but you’re also talking about this internal shift that actually changes the way you approach your current circumstances.

Keri Stanley:  Absolutely, and to remember that you are not your circumstances.  So we like to go into blame, complain, and justify all the reasons that we are where we are.  So our circumstances are simply that that’s our circumstances.  We still get to choose how we want to create our life and how we want to live our life regardless of our circumstances.

As a matter of fact, your circumstances actually maybe a gift or something that you are learning so that you can do the next thing, but if you’re not connected to you and you’re not connected spiritually and you’re not connected to people, because we live a very disconnected life.  We’re very connected to technology that we’re very disconnected from all the things that are out there even the opportunities, the messages, all of that.

The people that are the most important in our life, a lot of times, they’re the most disconnected because we’re so focused on our _____.  So when you can step back from that and actually grasp the magic of the everyday life and the miracles that are happening all around you then you actually get to even enjoy the circumstances that you’re in with entire different set of lenses.

Andrea:  OK, Keri, when you’re just talking about this connectedness and how we’re disconnected, but what is it look like to be connected or how does one…you know if you feel disconnected in either areas of your life or just totally in general, what is it look like for somebody to actually become more connected in these ways that you’re just talking about?

Keri Stanley:  I truly feel that once people get so much more connected, because it’s a rhythm, right?  We go in and out of being connected versus disconnected.  It’s not a 24/7 am I connected but the goal is to be more connected on a much more regular basis.  So first of all when you’re connected to yourself, when you’re truly connected, there is the peace and a calm that you can even achieve in the midst of a storm because you are moving through it and there’s a light that happens to where people actually, like I said that actually want to be around you.

So there’s a different energy that you carry as you are going throughout life.  Mo most people are looking for this peace and fulfillment factor and so you actually can feel that peace within because so often we’re trying to get back from someone else.  So imagine being able to just create that regardless of what’s going on in your world within yourself.

And then when you are connected from a spiritual standpoint whatever that looks like for you, but when you’re connected from that spiritual standpoint, there is always a message, there’s always an answer, there is always something of what my next step gets to be when we allow ourselves to be supported.  Especially, we as women think like, I have to do this on my own _____ always have to be on my own.  And so create this on my own-ness and when we can learn to receive from others and from just the universe God whatever that maybe _____ in life doesn’t have to be so hard and lonely.

So that connection in and of itself allows you to feel primarily supported in life and you’re not ever doing it on your own or alone.  Those connections are critical in living a life but then it allows you to be truly, truly, truly connected in your relationships and that includes with your kids that includes with your spouse or your partner, relationships with your friends.

It could go on such a deeper level because how often do you pass by someone and just have a conversation that’s a fly by, right?  And we don’t actually get into real conversations.  So that is partly just because we are disconnected, which also doesn’t _____ to make a true difference.

Andrea:  Yeah, I cannot think of it too and so like the connectedness, it’s centeredness.  There’s something about that point when you feel like that calm that you’re describing that you realized how distracted you’ve been in these other conversations with other people or whatever.  That’s definitely been my experience as well and that’s been the kind of grand scheme of things, like I used to feel super distracted and that’s been decreasing overtime but it’s also been a cycle like you talked about.

You kind of go in and out of this feeling distracted, feeling the angst and that sort of thing and then kind of coming back to that center or connected place where you _____.  It’s just so distracting and I think that for me, this is something that I’ve been thinking for myself recently so maybe you have some thoughts on this, but I have felt an increasing amount of peace around what I’m doing.  I think when you’re creative or when you’re on a mission whatever, you can get in that hassle mode.  You can get in that mode of like “I gotta get a stuff done.  I gotta figure this out, I gotta figure this out.”

We actually talked about this recently where I was just like so like you said “You’re just so in your head right now, Andrea.”  And I was like “I know, but I don’t know how to get out of it in this moment,” because I was feeling this angst and I think that this angst to find and to kind of come to a conclusion about something is something that I’ve adapted as part of my identity like I have to feel angst or something.

Recently, I’ve been feeling less of that.  I’ve been feeling like “Why do I need to feel that way?  Why I’m always saying, I don’t know when I actually do know?”  So when people ask me a question about what you do or what you’re thinking or that sort of thing, I’d answer with, “I don’t know.  I don’t know.”  I’d get so lost in my head like you’re talking about.

So what is that looks like for somebody like what were you trying to help me do in that moment when you said, “Andrea, you’re so in your head?”

Keri Stanley:  There are two words that comes to mind as I’m talking to you right now and I remember this conversation because how often do we all get into that space because we’re doubting.  We’re doubting our value, we’re doubting that we can have the answers, and we’re doubting that it’s going to be okay because there’s this need for control.  So most of us have gotten to a point that we’re living life on the defensive, we’re trying to protect as _____, right?  We’re trying to protect.

So we’re living in life to where we’re trying to make sure that nothing bad is going to happen.   We’re trying to make sure everything is taken care of and we lived this life with control.  So when we do that, we lose sight of letting go to surrender and trust.  So those are the two words that as you’re asking me that and I have so many clients that there is their biggest thing is learning to let go of control because that’s really, really scary and that’s back to the “I’m the one that has to do it so I’m the one that has to figure it out.”

When you surrender and you let go and you actually trust that it’s all going to work out, that I actually already have the answers or they’re coming in perfect timing then the pressure gets to be released and I actually get the opportunity to be and enjoy my life.  And that’s a very scary thing even getting connected for most people because we live so distracted lives.  It’s a resistance and a way for us to protect ourselves from getting connected.

We use “busy” as this shield of our badge of honor because actually most people are scared to have stillness because they’re afraid of what they might find out and they know they’re lost but they’re afraid of what they’re going to find out as they go along with their journey and so in their minds that’s all what ifs that could be bad.

So what I challenge everybody that I work with is, what about all the what ifs that are amazing and that you get to experience by going on this journey.  I’ve seen time and time again; executives, VPs, moms, or physicians, that when they start letting go of all the control they’ve been holding so tightly to, which is actually just an illusion and it takes so much energy, that when they start letting go of that and the allow themselves to be supported that life actually gets easier and they’re amazed of how quickly things can happen in their life.

Andrea:  Love it.  Yes, awesome.  OK, I want to get into what you’re doing now because I didn’t come from a healthcare family but I married into one, so I have a big heart for them, for healthcare providers and you are now providing a means of support and vision for them.  I would like you to talk to us about your program first of all and then we can _____ out a little bit as far as why and that sort of thing, so what is the program?

Keri Stanley:  So the newest program that I’m launching, because I ran international retreats across the globe, some of just for women, some are for men and women together that anyone can come to, and the entire purpose of them is to ground, grow, and give.  When we talked this idea of surrender and that messages get delivered to you, I really got this clear message on a run because I’m a runner and I do that for my own self-care and I also do that for my own mental stability.  It really helps me from that standpoint but at the same time it’s when I can get those messages come through.

So this one was a very clear message that one of the gifts that I have is teaching people how to get grounded in their lives so that they can hear better, because we’re blocking that on a regular basis, because it’s disconnected and living from the state of fulfillment.  So allowing individuals to go on a retreat experience where they get to get grounded both in their own like who they are.  They get to get grounded in being disconnected from the day-to-day and actually just getting connected in life and getting connected in what really matters because how often are we focused on doesn’t matter that we think of.  But once we get quiet, we realized it doesn’t.

Then we have opportunity to grow which is getting out of our comfort zone, getting out of our routine, getting into a space where you’re connecting with other people, connecting with other cultures.  And then finally the last piece, and especially with healthcare providers and professionals just in general, is that after a while you give so much that you almost become resentful.

And we will love our jobs, and I’ve been there, we will love our jobs and we give and give and give but at the end of the day, if you go home exhausted day in and day out and not doing any kind of self-care, you start getting resentful whether it’s even to your kids or to your husband or whoever it may be, it starts appearing in life and you’re just not enjoying life as much as you could which also translates into how you serve.

So being able to really take the time to recharge and refuel yourself in a completely different place where you disconnected and reconnected to you, allows us to give to an environment wherever we may be, for example in Peru we’ll be with the farmers of Peru that we get to connect with the actual people that don’t see the _____ on a regular basis.  We go into the villages and get connected to the heart of the people and are able to give back in this beautiful sacred way that you really feel like you’re giving from a fulfilled state that then in turn can fill you backup.

Andrea:  That’s an interesting concept.  I’d like to hear about this giving from this fulfilled state because I end up feeling being resentful.  I think that you’ve totally hit it on the head that people who are here to help others or in professionals in general, like you said, I think that sometimes we feel like we’re serving someone else even our boss or the company at large or whatever and it can totally turn into that feeling of resentment.

So how does this resentment change because of giving?  How does that shift happen in a person, is it because you’re getting more connected and you’ve already grounded and now you’re growing?  What would you say as happening in a person when they shift from feeling resentful to a place of willingness and ability to give so much?

Keri Stanley:  Yeah, you know there’s that thing out there that you can’t pour from an empty cup and how often are we trying to do that on a regular basis even your gas tank in your car that you would panic if it was getting ready to run out of gas, right?  You might let it get all the way down to _____ but you’re going to make sure that you stop and you refill it backup.

We run our body and our physical lives on a regular basis not only with the low-fuel light but also with the maintenance light and every other light on and we just keep going.  We would never do that for other things in our life but we do it for ourselves.  So a car can’t keep going unless you stop and refill it and at a certain point like it’s just done, right?

So when we can take our perspective for ourselves to understand that if we would take the time to fill back our tank, if we would take the time to do some maintenance, if we would take the time to _____ some of those things like we actually function on such a better state and can go further.  We just have been taught that we’re not supposed to.  We actually don’t even know what it feels like to truly be able to be fulfilled in a giving state.

So yes, once you get grounded _____ and to be able to give then that process allows you to give in a way that is truly heart centered.  We talked about this idea that am I giving to give or am I giving to get?  At some point, you’re expecting or wanting somebody to say something to you like a thank you or something and that’s actually giving to get but that’s the state that we get into.  Once we realize that if we are constantly in a filled upstate or we understand how we can fill our cup back up that we actually don’t need those things and it doesn’t have to take this really long time.

I mean, I was just _____ in San Diego last week and in 24 hours there was a group of us, that even in our off hours of a training that we were in, we ran a project and we raised over $14,000 in less than 12 hours essentially overnight in the off hours and fed over 325 homeless people on the streets.  And actually deeply connected with them on the streets and gave them flowers and gave them food and heard their stories and gave them love and gave them hugs and literally just connected with them, you know talk about you’re not your circumstances, really just connected with them as human beings, because how often _____ at something?

So you can create that giving experience from a fulfilled state very quickly once you learn how to do it, it just that most people don’t even remember, like it’s been so long that they’ve given themselves as a break.  It’s been so long since they’ve allowed themselves.  There’s a lot of guilt that comes from “if I take time for myself.”  But once you realize, “I’m a better mom.  I’m a better caregiver, I’m a better physician.  I’m a better administrator.  I’m just a better person in the world,” and that makes the difference in everything.

Andrea:  I think it’s huge and it also…you know all that energy that we waste on that angst, on that desire to control and that grip that we try to have on life that we can even really ever really grip.  It’s such a waste of time and energy and when you’re not doing that, gosh you have so much more.  I think we forget how much we actually really have because of that, so I love that.  I love what you’re doing.

OK, so what would something that you would want the influencer listening to remember about themselves and their own influence in the world?  What something that you can give them to take home and say, “I’m gonna remember this this week.”

Keri Stanley:  So they always say on a plane to put your oxygen mask on yourself first.  Most of us in life don’t actually understand that concept nor do we do that, but if we don’t save ourselves, and we have a choice in life to save ourselves and actually choose living, ____ exist.  But once you choose living and you choose to save yourself, you actually get the opportunity to make a difference in so many more lives than you ever would if you choose not to give yourself that oxygen.

Andrea:  Hmmm yeah.  OK so what’s the challenge?  What challenge do you leave us with then Keri?

Keri Stanley:  My challenge to you is for all of you listening is find one thing.  It’s so common that I’ll ask my clients and those who come my retreat, I will ask them what’s one thing that truly makes you happy that you really love to do.  And most people have forgotten, they’re like “I don’t even know what that means anymore.”  So my challenge to you is find one thing that maybe you’ve enjoyed as a kid or find one thing that truly is something that just makes you feel excited about life again.

Maybe you love to dance, maybe you love to play tennis, or maybe you love to be in a drama like you love to doing the acting piece, whatever it is.  There’s something out there that you forgotten that you love to do and allow yourself to step back into that and even feel like a little kid again because that child in you still exists and that when you tune into there is where the magic happens.

Andrea:  Hmmm love it.  OK Keri, how can people find you?  What should they do to find you, your program or you as a coach, whatever?  Where should they find you?

Keri Stanley:  You can find me on Facebook that’s probably where I’ve been most active.  I do video every single morning and it’s Keri Stanley and Keri Stanley Coaching that I’m on there for both pages.  So either one, you can find me.  I’m extremely active on there and always giving tips every single day and my retreat and everything on there as well.  You can also find me, my website is www.keristanley.com and all of my retreats are on there.

I’ve got the next, Ground, Grow, & Give is coming up in September and October and then there’s a ____ specifically for women in Costa Rica in November so those are the two big ones that are coming up.  My challenge is just to continue taking care of yourself and enjoying every day because each and every day is a miracle.

Andrea:  Thank you so much, Keri!  Thank you for your voice of influence in the world and the way that you’re impacting people.  I appreciate it!

Keri Stanley:  Awesome!  Thank you so much for having me, Andrea, I truly enjoyed _____.

Andrea:  And I’ll be sure to link everything in the show notes.  Alright, thank you so much!

Find Authentic Confidence in Alcohol-Free Living with Kate Bee

Episode 56

How often do we see memes on Facebook about it being “wine o’clock” or how often do we hear references in pop culture about how alcohol is the answer to a stressful day or the perfect way to celebrate a special occasion? Today’s guest has made it her mission to change this narrative.

Kate Bee is the founder of The Sober School; where she coaches women through early sobriety and helps them navigate alcohol-free living without feeling deprived or miserable.

In this episode, Kate talks about her own journey with sobriety, her mission of trying to change the narrative around sobriety, why she tries to work with people before they’ve hit rock bottom, her tip for handling a situation where others are pressuring you to drink with them, what helps her publish her content even when she has doubts or insecurities, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:


Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Kate Bee Voice of Influence Podcast Andrea Joy Wenburg


Hey, hey!  It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast.

Today, I have with me my Kate Bee, Kate who lives in Manchester in the United Kingdom.  I’m so excited to have you and we were able to connect on this, Kate.

Kate is the founder of the Sober School where she coaches women through early sobriety and help them navigate alcohol-free living without feeling deprived or miserable, which I think is just a really interesting topic, so I’m excited to hear more about that.  And Kate, how you got into it?

So welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast, Kate!

Kate Bee:  Thank you so much.  Thank you for having me and it’s nice to talk to you.

Andrea:  Yes.  We were just discussing before we started the recording that it’s been a year in a half since we meet at Amy Porterfield’s live events in San Diego.

Kate Bee:  Yeah.  I know that was so cool.  That was such a big deal for me at the time going all the way, leaving rainy England going to sunny San Diego.  But yeah, I met lots of great people at that event including your good self, so it’s nice to catch up.

Andrea:  So Kate, could you share with the audience just a little bit more about what it is that your program is and what you’re doing right now?

Kate Bate:  Sure!  So yeah, I help women who are drinking too much to stop drinking and actually feel good about it.  So rather than feeling like it’s the end of the world and it’s an awful thing that they got no choice in, I try and inspire people and show them that alcohol-free living can actually feel really good and just be a really positive way of life.

So I’ve got a 6-week online course which I run a few times a year and I gather together a big group of women and everybody starts the course on the same day.  So you kind of get to be part of this tribe who are all going through this exact same experience.

It guides people through their first six weeks of early sobriety and really helps set them up either for an alcohol-free lifestyle or guide them through a break, because lots of people are kind of dip in their toes in the water and just want to see what it feels like to stop drinking.  Wine can make you feel really rubbish and it’s good to take a break and do it with a support of a group around you.

Andrea:  You know, this topic, when I was first introduced to you, Kate, it really intrigued me because actually I spent some time working with some folks in a recovery counseling center, not as a counselor per se, but more as like  a minister or chaplain kind of voice in that setting.  So in that setting, it felt like people were sort at the bottom of the barrel in their lives.  They just were sort hit that rock bottom and they were going through rehab really or a 12-step program.

It sounds to me like what you’re talking about here is not necessarily that 12-step program kind of thing but a little less intense.  How would you fit it into the scheme of you know, the landscape of the sort of program?

Kate Bee:  Yeah that’s a great point because one of the things I try to do is to work with people before they hits any kind of rock bottom and that’s a big part of my message is that, if alcohol is making you feel at all unhappy and miserable then you can stop and you can change that path.  You don’t have to wait until you are in rehab or you have lost your job or, you know, any of this other kind of stereotypical things that we associate with people when they really do go a bit further down that downward spiral.

So I tend to work with women who are, to the outside world, perfectly fine.  They are holding down good jobs.  They got busy lives.  Generally they got kids and you know, they make everything happens.  They get the kids to school.  They go to work.  They do good job.  They put a meal on the table at the end of the day.  Their lives to the outside world seem to be on track but they are feeling more and more rundown by the amount of alcohol that they are drinking.  I tend to deal with people just _____ who had years and years thinking that wine, beer, or whatever it is is a thing that keeping their lives together.  And now they’re just starting to think, “Actually, I think this is what is making my life so hard enough _____.”

So yeah, it is about showing people that you can stop drinking before things get really, really bad, just in the same way that you can stop using any of the drugs.  You can stop smoking before you get some kind of lung disease.  So a big part of my work is trying to change the narrative around sobriety and making it less of something that you have to do when all other options are being exhausted as a kind of punishment and more a conscious choice that you can make any time.

Andrea:  Yeah.  That’s really encouraging.  I think that a lot of people who have a message, we struggle to figure out exactly what that niche is.  And it sounds to me like you’re not necessarily saying; everybody should stop drinking, even though it might something that’s inside of you a desire to see.  You’re also not saying, if you’re at the rock bottom.  You’re speaking specifically to a certain kind of person.  From what I understand, you have a personal connection to that person, is that right?

Kate Bee:  Yeah, definitely.  I was inspired to start with the Sober School after going through something like this myself.  I was never a rock bottom alcoholic.  I was that person, you know, I showed up to work every day.  I kept things together.  The most common reaction I got when I stopped drinking with people would say to me, “But I didn’t know you had a problem.  Are you sure you need to stop drinking?”

So I was really good at hiding how alcohol affected me.  And yeah, I don’t have any dramatic stories of waking up in hospital or getting into trouble at work or anything like that.  But I was like many women.  I started drinking at a young age because it made me feel more confident.  It made me be the kind of teenager and young person that I wished I was.  You’re better at partying, better talking to boys, better at everything and then it just slowly moved from my best friend into my worst enemy.  It didn’t seem to _____ whether I had a good day or bad day whether I cheer myself up or celebrating something, I was always just drinking a bit too much and waking up feeling hang over and feeling awful.

But my problem was that when I look for help and this is kind of…I’ve only started looking for help back in 2009, 2010 and it was a while I stopped drinking in 2013.  When I was looking for help, I couldn’t find anything that applied to me.  It all seemed so extreme and it was talking about people going to rehab or going to meetings or you know talking about a kind of level of addiction that I wasn’t experiencing.  But yeah, I knew in my gut that alcohol wasn’t doing me any good at all.

So yeah, I’m really pleased I kind of took a leap of faith and did decide to quit.  Yeah, I’ve been really passionate since then about kind of saying to people; there is this middle ground between being a normal drinker and being alcoholic.  There are many shades of grey in between and it’s trying to get off the bus a bit earlier if you want to.

Andrea:  So why do you think that people need or want a program like yours, you know, that something that has some guidance to it and it sounds like some community as well.  Why do you think that people need that and don’t just…

Kate Bee:  Don’t just stop drinking?

Andrea:  Yeah.

Kate Bee:  I think it’s really because alcohol is in everything we do.  I mean, obviously, I live in England where we are particularly big drinkers.  I went with women all over the world, lots of women in the U.S. and some in Australia as well and whatever we’ve agreed on is that we seemed to be living in this very busy world while we are encouraged and it’s cool to drink on your birthday, on a wedding, on a debut’s party, or a funeral.  You think if any kind of event or gathering and the chances are this will be involved in some way.

If you’re on Facebook, the chances are you see Facebook, means all the time about Wine O’ Clock, Mommy Juice and all the stuff, because if there’s problem in life can be solve by drinking alcohol.  It’s very difficult to change your behavior when you are surrounded by those kinds of messages.  It’s cool to be sober, but also it’s not cool to be the person who can’t control their drinking.  You’re really stuck in that environment.

So one of feedback I got most from the women I work with is “Wow, I had no idea other people felt like this, because people feels so alone and they think they’re they only people who are struggling in this way.”  So yeah, it’s a funny old world really and it’s hard to stop drinking.  I often compare this actually to smoking.  I don’t know what it’s like where you are but here, smoking is not cool anymore.  Things have really changed in terms of smoking.

But I can remember not that long ago when I was at school, smoking was still a bit cool and actually I had a bit of a hard time because I don’t really like smoking.  And I think we’re still stuck in that when it comes to drinking.  We’re still pressuring people to drink and be cool and we’re questioning them when they don’t drink, which is kind of crazy.

Andrea:  Do you get that a lot.  I mean, maybe not so much now but when you first were deciding to be sober and you were out and about, did you get a lot of questions and looks and things like that?

Kate Bee:  Huh yes, absolutely!  Yeah, it’s like I have to justify myself choosing not to consume this drug, not to drink and people just can’t understand it.  I think sometimes people; they’re coming at you from a place where, perhaps they feel a little bit self-conscious about their drinking or they prefer drinking in a group and it’s a bit odd when someone changes their behavior.  Yeah, I used to get a lot of questions about it, but fortunately, now I’ve gone so far the other way, people know just _____.

Andrea:  Do you think that people feel like you’re judging them by not participating with them.  I mean, have you heard that kind of feedback or did you get that sense at all and how do you navigate that?

Kate Bee:  Yeah.  No one said that explicitly but I think that is what behind…I think that is what people feeling when they’re saying “Oh come on, come on, just have one, just join in.”  They do _____ a bit judged.  My tip for navigating that situation is always to be extremely positive _____ how you’re feeling inside.  Make it clear that you’re just taking a break from drinking or taking some time off and you’re loving it.  You’re feeling really good.  You’re really surprised how much you’re enjoying it and you’re very happy for everyone else to drink.  You’re still going to be the life and soul of the party, nothing else has changed.  Own that conversation and be really positive about it and don’t let people push you into drinking.  I would always _____ first to say that sometimes I’ve seen people bullied other people into drinking.

Andrea:  Yeah that’s probably true. You know, I was thinking about the…oh gosh, I had this thought in my head and so I’m going to add this out.  So one of the things that I hear from people and I’ve noticed is that people do seem to feel more comfortable when they have a drink in their hands and yet, you just said something about, you know, telling them that nothing’s going to change, they’re still going to be the life of the party.  Do you find that the people that come through at the Sober School that they actually are able to still tap into that person that they were like when they were drinking in the positive sense you know being more outgoing perhaps or comfortable.  Is that part of what you talked about or how do you know how they’re able to handle that?

Kate Bee:  It’s the big part of what we talked about.  First of all, people do feel more comfortable with drink in their hands.  I feel more comfortable with the drink in my hands in an alcohol-free drink.  So I say to people, get a drink and just because you’re not drinking alcohol doesn’t mean you should be empty-handed, doesn’t mean you should be drinking water or something boring, get a nice drink.  But a big thing we do on the course is to really analyze what is you think alcohol is providing for you because a lot of people fall into these habits where they think that alcohol is what is making the party fun or alcohol is what’s making them sociable and having a good time.

So we go through some exercises while we look at parties where you have perhaps not had a good time, where you have actually felt pretty bored or stuck for things to say even though you’ve been drinking loads and loads and loads.  So yeah, how does that workout?  If alcohol is the magic fun in a glass party juice type _____ then it should work every time.  We talked a bit about, you know, if you’re going to events that you can only enjoy by getting drunk with them, should you be going to these events anyway?

We’re not around for long.  We’ve got one shot at this life, we should be living it to the max in doing stuff that we genuinely enjoy creating.  A life that really is fun, not one that we have to kind of bumble through slightly drunk in order to stomach certain things, so yeah, it is an adjustment.  I’m not going to lie about that.  It feels a bit a lot you’ve lost a comfort blanket at the beginning.

But when you start really analyzing these thoughts rationally, you can get to a place where you go to a party and you do feel like your best self because you know you are.  You’re showing up.  You’re clear-headed.  You’re not going to be the boring person who’s saying the same old anecdote five times because you’re slightly drunk and you can’t remember that you said it already.  You’re going to be a good company.

Andrea:  Yeah, I like that.  OK, so Kate, I know that as with anybody who is sharing something, sharing a passionate message that they have, our voices kind of shift, morph, or mature become even sometimes more powerful.  Do you think that over the past few years that you’ve been doing this, have you felt a shift in your own voice as you’ve spoken about this, as you’ve executed the Sober School and talked to more and more people about your message?

Kate Bee:  Yeah.  I’ve been thinking about this ahead of knowing that I was going to speak to you and just kind of reflecting on how things have changed because I really think, “Yeah, things have really changed so much over the past few years.”  When I first started out, I felt very unsure of myself and _____ I would think the most often is, “Who do you think you are writing this blog, giving people this advice?  What are you doing?”  I would have these massive doubts, so unsure of myself.  I think it’s only _____ as my blog has grown and I’ve had more people follow that and really resonate with it and tell me that they like what I was saying that I became more confident and I think I will say I’ve become more confident in my own style and my own approach.

I used to get worried about offending people who had slightly different opinions on alcoholism or the best way to go about things and then I realized that that’s OK.  Actually, there is something to be said for certain people who just don’t resonate with your message rather than trying to be, you know, wanting to all people.  It is better to _____ down effectively and have your beliefs and answers stick with them.  So yeah, I feel like it’s been a long, long journey and I still have plenty of doubts now.

Andrea:  Especially when you’re first starting, but even now if you’re still having doubts at times.  What gets you passed those to actually press publish on your blog post or on your social media pages or whatever, why do you keep doing it or why did you have the courage even when you didn’t have the feedback yet?

Kate Bee:  Well, yeah.  I guess I’ve been held out slightly on that.  Before I started the Sober School, I did have another blog just on WordPress.  A kind of free WordPress and I do _____ experimented with my own voice and I I have _____ idea what resonates to the people.  I’d have some really positive feedback from people through writing that blog.  They said to me like, “I just like hearing what you’re doing and your emails always seem to come at the right time.”

So I think that gave me that confident to really go for it and think, “Well, if I helped five people with that blog, perhaps if I do my Sober School blog and work consistently and be really kind of establish myself there, I can help more people.”  That’s the thing I still come back to each today.

Every time, I write a blog, I always get an email from someone saying, “Huh, this came at just the right time.”  So I think, “OK, I helped one person.”  I think that’s what makes me keep going.  It’s a bit late in a day here in the UK, I just had a day of really struggling to write a blog post, so yes that would be one of those that I think, “OK, you got to stop worrying about this,  press publish.”

Andrea:  What kinds of things are still hard to publish?

Kate Bee:  I think probably about things that has more to do with me personally.  When I started off on this journey, I used to share a lot about me on my drinking, on my experiences.  But as more people have found out about the Sober School and my auntie knows and my cousins _____ from my mom, I sometimes really get self-conscious about the things that I’m writing, whereas, I didn’t use to think about that before.

I used to just write and I’ve been thinking about my ideal customers or readers.  I just been thinking about that and I published it with them in mind.  So something I really have to work on is that self-conscious kind of…what do you call it?  That voice that kind of saying, “Ohh do you wanna say this?”  Maybe it will come from the same place, the self-doubt, they just have a different _____ now, but yeah, sharing personal stuff is still quite a big deal for me.

Andrea:  It can put you in the line of judgment, it sounds like.

Kate Bee:  Yeah, yeah definitely because there are some parts of the recovery community online who are quite vocal about why you shouldn’t do this or you should do this.  And yeah then there are other people in my real life, who I always think “Oh what are they really thinking about me?”  I’m coming across like a very paranoid person and I’m not.

Andrea:  Well, now, you’ve come so far.  It’s clear that this is a small piece of it but it stills something that everybody deals with I think and so that’s why I asked.

Kate Bee:  Yeah, yeah.  I do feel _____ when I hear about other, you know, people who have much bigger businesses, like I’ve heard Marie Forleo and Amy Porterfield talked about self-doubt as well.  So that’s what makes me feel better.

Andrea:  Most definitely.  Yeah, the idea that somebody else could pull back or you know cast some sort of judgment on us, I think is definitely one of those things that is ever present and yet what’s telling is that you keep pressing publish.  There’s still that you care more about the message of the people that need it than you know…I call it a sacrifice.  It’s essentially saying, “You know, I’m willing to put myself on the line for this message.”  So every time you end up pushing publish, you’re just reinforcing that passion inside of you that really, that willingness to put yourself on the line for others and I think it’s a really beautiful thing.

Kate Bee:  Oh, thank you.  I appreciate that.  I used to be a reporter and a journalist before this, so I think I do still have something engrained in me that whatever happens, you have to meet the deadline and you have to publish something.

Andrea:  There you go!  I like that.  This is still along the same line of feeling a little unsettled about sharing _____ but it seems like when we talked a year and a half ago, you weren’t sure how much of that you wanted to put out there and then it continued to morph and no here you are.  I love that you’ve gotten on camera, on social media and you keep sharing ideas.  I feel like what you do is you give people that opportunity to say, “Oh, I don’t have to live like this.”  But you’re the face of that.

Kate Bee:  Yeah.  I mean, you must feel the same way; you’re the face of your business.  It’s estranged.  Yes, I am the face of my business and I have tried to be a bit more visible because my comfort zone is definitely in writing that’s what I feel comes to me most naturally.  But I will _____ from the point of view being a follower of other people.  The videos and podcasts connect with people in a way that sometimes wisdom words don’t.  So I have been trying to push myself out there and do more videos.  Sometimes I do free workshops and _____ videos.  Other times, it’s more “Hey, I’m in this place.  I’m full of these things that I want to say and let’s talk about what’s relevant here.”  But yeah, getting my face on screen is a goal for me, to do more of that this year for sure.

Andrea:  Do you do any speaking like live events?

Kate Bee:  No, I’ve never done anything actually.  That’s kind of thing that will give me sleepless nights.  I know you do that but no.

Andrea:  It’s not something that you want to do.  I understand.  If you don’t mind, I know that you took that Fascinate Assessment…

Kate Bee:  Uh-huh.

Andrea:  And you came out with your top two languages being Mystique and Passion, which is one of the most rare combinations, because mystique is about not wanting to share a lot about yourself and passion is about sharing and connecting with people.

Kate Bee:  Oh my goodness.

Andrea:  Isn’t that interesting?

Kate Bee:  I do know somebody else who is a Mystique plus Passion too, and there is this sense of depth like you exude a sense of depth and also desiring to connect and listen to other people.  So I think that it’s just your voice.  It does have a very reflective sound to it not just in a way that you in a tone that you’re speaking with but also just how you process things.  I can see how that would be such a struggle too, the desire to share but the desire to want to put the focus on other people instead of yourself.  It makes a lot of sense.

Kate Bee:  Yeah and perhaps you can help me with something because I went to a conference earlier this year.  I went back to San Diego where we met and I went to lots of different lectures.  It was for entrepreneurs in growing your business, and the last event I went to on a final day was about writing a book and becoming a self-published author.  I’ve always wanted to do something around what I do now and write about alcohol-free living.  So on a whim, I purchased this self publishing course and some sessions with a writing coach.  I paid the money _____, but I got this book commitment coming up.

As the deadline coming closer, I’m thinking..I don’t know if I can share enough with my personal story to make this book what it needs to be.  You wrote your book and what would be your advice for me given that I’m so conflicted?

Andrea:  Yes.  Well, I understand because that was not my intention when I started to write my book.  I was intending to share a little bit of pieces but not anything extensive and I ended up writing…my writing coach actually coached me and ended up finding the voice of my book needed to be on my own story.  But I don’t necessarily think that’s the case for everybody.  I know there’s a lot of people who write really good books that have a theme to them for each chapter and then they share snippets, like little stories that might illustrate the point that they’re trying to get across but not necessarily go into great depth.

But I think the book writing process itself is such a…I don’t know, transformative experience but I think specially if you have somebody alongside of you who can encourage you and help you to see what’s best.  When you start writing and you just give everything out that you possibly can and you don’t edit.  That’s the mean thing that you want to do when you first start I think is to not edit what you’re saying and you don’t want to spend a lot of time going down _____ but you do want to get out what you feel like you really want to get out and then you go back and then you say, “OK what’s effective here?”  And you push yourself a little bit but I understand too.  You don’t always want to share why you feel certain way or why you did the certain thing or…

Kate Bee:  Yeah, it’s funny isn’t it?  I just felt that once I get started, I will just end up sharing more and more.

Andrea:  Probably the case, but I wasn’t going to say that.

Kate Bee:  I thought of that assessment you got me to do, I’ve never taken anything like that before but it seemed release button.

Andrea:  Well, this has been just a really, really delightful conversation, Kate, and I would really appreciate it if you would share with the audience how they can connect with you the at the Sober School.  I think that anybody would really benefit from just seeing Kate online, on her Instagram feed or whatever.  So maybe you could share your handles and where they can find information about the Sober School.

Kate Bee:  Cool!  Thank you!  Well, I am on Instagram, I am the soberschool and that’s for everything, Facebook and Twitter.  I think Instagram and Facebook come out _____ so I’m definitely the most active there.  Yeah, if you’d like to find out more about me, read any of the blog and I’ve got a couple of free guides on my website.  I’m over at the soberschool.com.  I’ve got a free workshop that’s coming up very soon.  It’s all about reviewing where we are _____, having a bit of a research and if you want to take a break from alcohol, it’s about sharing you how to kind of kick stat that break.  So I’d be excited to share that with anyone.  It will be out very soon.

Andrea:  Great!  Well, we’ll be sure to link everything in the show notes and so I’m excited to share this interview with the listeners.  Thank you so much for your generous time with us today, Kate.

Kate Bee:  Thank you for inviting.  I really enjoyed it!  I think you’ve told me a lot about myself and given me a lot to think about, so I appreciate it.

Andrea:  Well, thank you for your service.  We’ll talk to you soon!

Find Your MOJO Even in Hard Times with Karen Worstell

Episode 55

We all have that loud voice inside our head screaming at us to avoid doing things that make us comfortable. While this voice is just trying to protect us, we must learn how to silence this voice and not let it stop us from going after our goals or making our voices heard.

Karen Worstell went from being a mom to toddlers who couldn’t afford to buy groceries to the Chief Information Security Officer for companies like AT&T Wireless and Microsoft. Now, Karen coaches women in tech and has a consulting business around tech and risk management.

In this raw and powerful episode, Karen shares why you must make peace with the skeptic voice inside your head and listen to the whisper of your heart, her advice for maintaining your resilience when things become difficult, her mission to help companies realize they should be encouraging their employees to be their truest selves instead of forcing them to fit into a set company culture, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:


Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Karen Worstell Voice of Influence Podcast Andrea Joy Wenburg


Hey, hey!  It’s Andrea and welcome to the Voice of Influence podcast.

Today, I have with me Karen Worstell who went from being a mom of toddlers and a computer science graduate student all the way to Silicon Valley with all kinds of amazing experience to the point where she was even the chief information security officer for companies, like AT&T Wireless, Microsoft, and Russell Investments.  Now, she is doing her own consulting business around tech and Risk Management as well as coaching women in tech.

So Karen, I’m really, really excited to have you here on the podcast today.

Karen Worstell:  Oh thanks Andrea.  Thanks for having me.

Andrea:  Actually, I was introduced to Karen, I should say.  I think I might have gone up to you, Karen, to tell you that you did a good job.  But I actually heard you speak at a conference and I was so impressed with your story and your presence on stage because I looked at you and I thought “Oh my goodness, this is a classy lady.”  And you told your story then really wowed us with some of the things that you had to say.

So I wonder if you would be willing to tell us a little bit of what you share that day about that moment in time when things really changed for you, however long ago that was.

Karen Worstell:  Sure!  Well, yah, you know how we all have those events in our life that it’s usually some kind of a crisis that gives us crystal laser like focus.  Really, what I was talking about then, and I’ll just share again, when I was a mom of toddlers as you call it.  I had 2-year old and 4-year old at home and through a series of my own choices, I found myself in a situation where I was standing literally in the grocery store staring at the fruit section and it was like apples, “Where the heck are affordable apples.”

In those days, apples were $49 cents a pound.  That sounds like cheap apples because today, you can spend $3 a pound for apples.  But $49 cents a pound was the going rate at the time in the 80’s and I did not have money to buy apples and I had to go through the manager and asked him, did he have any apples that he had already pulled from the fruit stand that he could sell to me at a discount.

For me that was this moment that said, “You know what, something has got to change.  I can’t keep doing this.”  So about that time my amazing brother, Michael, who is thinker and one of my best friends.  He had a TRS-80 computer with a serial number of six.  He brought that over to my house and spread it out on the table.  It took up quite a bit of space with all of its various components at that time.  It had 64k of RAM, which I couldn’t even operate with my phone with that today.  But he put it on the table and he looked at me and he goes, “Sister, you have to learn to code.”

Now, I have never done anything with computers in my life, and I was pretty sure that if I put my fingers on the keyboard of that thing and did something wrong, it was going up in flames.  I was quite nervous about this piece of technology in my home.  He was very encouraging.  I mean, I literally put my fingers on the keyboard and typed in H-E-L-L-O, and nothing bad happened.

So with his help, I learned to this in programming and Visual Basic and I learned how to program in a language called Forth.  You don’t have much about it these days but I was really attracted to it because it was the way my brain works, which is something called Reverse Polish Notation.  It’s a technical term for the way information get pushed into the computer and then popped back out of the computer when you’re doing code writings.

So I really liked that and I did pretty well with that.  I found out that I was really good at it.  And about that time, _____ University opened up a program in computer science.  They were advertising for students.  It was a graduate program and I did have my bachelor’s degree, so I went ahead and applied and to my surprise, I got in.

When you tell the story before this, there’s just all this opposition in my head that just really exploded because it’s like “OK, mother of toddlers.  I thought you want to be a good mother, right?  How can you go to a graduate school and be a good mother and clearly you have no money,” which is true, I had no money.  And truthfully, I just didn’t do very well with math.  Hello, the computer science department is part of the math department.

So I went ahead and applied anyway.  Kind of ignoring all the voices in my head and fear factor truly because I had no idea how this was going to all play out and work.  I got accepted, and two years later, I graduated with masters in science degree and computer science.  There were tons of people helped me along the way.  After I graduated, I had a number of positions and you mentioned this CISO in Microsoft.

Twelve years after I graduated with my computer science degree, I was the CEO of a Silicon Valley startup, and it focused on technology in cybersecurity.  So it sounds like a really incredible story.  And the reason I like to share it is because it really is everybody’s story because in my experience, really, what happened there was I took it one ordinary day at a time.  It was not a smooth path whatsoever.

There were a number of really huge crises along the way, but you show up every day, just show up every day.  Sometimes it’s enough to show up and say “Whatever today deals me, I’m going to deal with.”  I have no idea how it’s going to play out tomorrow and I did truthfully didn’t think in a million years that I would ever embark on a technology career like the one that I had.

My biggest goal frankly was to be able to get a job that paid me enough to have somebody come in the house…there were two goals.  Two big, hairy, audacious goals I had in my life.  To have somebody else come in the house and scrub the toilets, like that was a big deal because I only had two.  The other one was, it was so important to me to be able to pay my bills and to be able to pay all the bills that were due in one month in the same month and not have to make the choice about, you know, “What am I gonna pay this month and what am I not gonna pay?”

So my goals were not big.  I didn’t have like _____ goal that said someday I’m going to be the, you know, have this big role.  It was just showing up in dealing with each day at a time and that’s where we went.  The thing that I look back on is that it was this kind of a whisper that was in my heart that said “You should do this.  This is the path, you should take this path.”

And I had plenty of opposition also in my head saying, “Don’t pay attention to that.  We’ll try to do around that out if we can because this sounds risky to us,” and to go ahead and say “I’m gonna follow the whisper of my heart and I don’t understand how it’s all gonna work and I can’t give anybody a plan.”  But look where it went, you know.

I think it happens multiple times in our lives for paying attention that exact same scenario.  We hear that whisper that says “This is your path, walk in it.”  And then we hear the opposition that just really fires up, the skeptic in our head that says “What, are you crazy?  We’ll give you the list of all the reasons why this won’t work.”  And that can be so discouraging and there are times when we succumb to that.

I guess that’s the reason I share this story is to say, don’t succumb to that.  If that’s the whisper of your heart then follow it, because you won’t know the whole plan.  You can’t see the future.  All you can do is _____ that big desire to go in this direction and I’m going to do it, and yes, there will be obstacles.

In fact, some time during my first year of grad school, my 2-year old developed appendicitis which is extremely rare in a 2-year old.  He nearly died.  So I took everything I had, all my computer gear which was still that TRS-80 computer which takes up a lot a room.  I took that with my suitcase, with my clothes and a modem into children’s hospital with my son and all that computer gear in his room so that I could continue to write code.  It’s just that stuff happens.  Don’t let it take you off.  Don’t let your train off the rails.  It’s going to get you where you want to go if you stick with it.

Andrea:  You know, Karen, that image of being your son’s bedside in a hospital still trying to maintain your education, it reminds me of a lot of women and how it’s easy for us to struggle with guilt over that kind of scenario.  I’m assuming that you would have felt a little bit of some of that too, I don’t know, maybe you didn’t.  If not, then please tell us how.  But how did you handle that tension between being a mom and still pursuing your path that was whispered in into your heart?

Karen Worstell:  Yeah.  That’s a great question.  I think for me, I distinguished between a couple of very important emotions.  One of them is guilt and the other one is shame.  I felt guilty about lots of things by being a mom of toddlers in grad school.  I felt shame about not being able to feed my children.  Which one was I’m going to pick?

I could say I’m doing something about this situation that I’ve gone myself in that I considered shameful.  But I had two small children who I couldn’t afford to raise and I could say “Yes, you know what, that path is gonna be difficult.”  But guilt is a lot of that is in our head, right?  The master skeptic is in my head.

Shirzad Chamine wrote a book about this.  The name of that skips me right now but I can send it to you so that you can share it with your listeners if you like.  He really talks about how all of us are completely equipped with the judge, jury, and all of the accusers in our head and they all take on very specialized roles and one of them is the master of guilt.  And that voice, it says “Boy no, other people wouldn’t be doing it this way.”  Or “You really should have handled this, don’t you think?”  I mean, “How how could you be in this situation and how could your son be so sick?”

I had taken a week off the school when my son got sick.  I took a week off and didn’t go to class and stayed home with him and he was still sick.  The doctors, the nurses, and everybody that we call over the phone and everyone we talked into in urgent care patted me on the head and said “Dear, your son has a flu,” and he sent us home.  So after seven days, my toddler was changing color.  He was so septic and I just said “That’s it, we have to take him to emergency room.”

While we drove in, we called the doctor, we said, we’re coming in.  So here’s a good guilt one for you.  I handed my limp toddler over to his pediatrician who looks at me and says “Why the hell didn’t you get in here before now?”  So yeah, a guilt.  I think, in some ways, I tend to be a little less willing to accept the guilt that other people lay on me and I’m not really sure why.  I’ll lay enough guilt on myself for a lifetime but when somebody else…I said “Excuse me, I called your office every day for a week and you told me it was the flu.”

So yeah, it’s a situation that we can sit down and say “Wow, you know, he’s right.  This is something I did totally wrong and I’m a bad mother.  I’m a bad person.”  What I can say in all honesty was “Could I have done things better, yes.”  “Does that make me a bad person?” “No.”  I’m always about learning how to do things better and I accept that.  People have always told me throughout my career, “If you did X,Y, Z you could have done that better.”  I’m like “Great, thank you.  I will do that better next time.”

I did not beat myself up over the fact that I did my best and I didn’t.  I might not have met somebody else’s standard of what was good.  I did my best and that’s all I can ask for.  That’s all anybody can ask for.

Andrea:  You know, I know that you talked about resilience and I’m wondering how resilience or how that being plays out in these kinds of scenarios with both your education and your career path and then also resilience as a mom and continuing on even when things get really hard.

What kind of advice you have for people along a similar journey who feel like they’re hearing this voice that you’re talking before but they seem to keep getting setback.  What makes somebody resilient or what kind of advice would you have for them?

Karen Worstell:  When it comes to that voice in your head the one that stops us then and attract sometimes, the best thing I can say and it’s echoed in Shirzad Chamine’s book, I think it’s positivity, intelligence or something like that is to recognize that, first of all, every single one of us has that voice in our head to some degree that is going to be the skeptic, right?

I learned to make peace with that skeptic.  The way that I describe that to people and teach that actually in one of my courses is to recognize that skeptic actually all it really wants is for you to be safe.  It wants for you in not be ever in harm’s way in any degree.  It doesn’t want you to fail.  It doesn’t want you to do anything wrong and the way for you to do nothing wrong is to do nothing, right?

So I try to just recognize that when that voice pops up in my head or that feeling in the pit of my stomach, I ask myself “Am I actually making a decision here that’s just a very dangerous decision?”  If the answer is no then I come back and say “Alright then, I will listen to this to the extent that says, what do I need to do to be smart, but I’m not gonna listen to it to extent that says stop.”

Andrea:  Hmmm great distinction.

Karen Worstell:  It’s there to keep us safe.  It’s just that we don’t exercise the part of our self.  So why is that a whisper in our heart and a skeptic screaming in our head, right?  Why is that?  It’s because the skeptic gets more exercise.  We need to learn to listen to the whispers so that the whispers speak with a loud voice.

Shirzad Chamine talks about it as if it’s stepping into your sage as opposed to stepping into your judge.  When the judge starts to get very active, they have to be very conscious and intentional about it and to say “I’m not going to give you all that exercise because my sage needs it more,” and to step into the part that says “What’s the wisdom in this.  How is this the right thing for me to do?”  Why does this make a difference to my life and why would this be so helpful?”  And to let the sage speak as opposed to the skeptic.

I think if we give that more exercise, and he has a ton of exercise about it in his book, but if we give that more exercise, we would definitely not wrestle so much with such a loud skeptical voice all the time.  Maybe we just give out way too much exercise.

Andrea:  That is a really, really great image.  I love that.  OK, so Karen, I know that eventually you stepped away from cybersecurity for a time.

Karen Worstell:  I did.

Andrea:  Can you tell us about that experience?  Why did you stepped away?  How did you end up as a chaplain of all things?

Karen Worstell:  Well, I have always, and throughout my career, I was very fortunate very early to listen to Stephen Covey in The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Principle Centered Leadership and all these other books of that organization put up.  One of the things he always talked about there was writing down your goals, what are your goals.

In 1997, and I still have the paper where I wrote this down and took that in my day timer.  I wrote a list of things that said, these are the things that I want to do in my life.  I want to write a book.  I want to lead an organization.  I want to be a chaplain.  It was on this list.  It had always been there and I think it was born out of my experience of being a caregiver of some capacity for elders when I was an adult.

This is a whole lot of the conversation that five times during my career; I either scaled back my career and I took a leave of absence so that I could care for somebody in my family with Alzheimer’s.  So I knew that that very difficult experience of doing that kind of care giving had to have a purpose and it seemed to me that at that point in time the chaplaincy was the way.

Well, fast forward to 2011 and my mother was dying from Alzheimer’s.  My sister had just been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and I was working as the chief information security officer at Russell Investment at that the time.  So in a space of about a month, my sister gets very ill, I get laid off at Russell Investments and then the next day, my mom died.

So for me, I was like “OK, I get it.  I’ve been through this before.  This is it.  This is a setback.  This is how I’m gonna do it.”  And I always have like plan A, plan B, plan B1, plan B2, plan B3.  That’s how I work.  I would always shift into the new plan.  If the first plan didn’t work out, I have to shift into the second plan and I had that.  And I couldn’t make any of those plans work, for the first time in my life, I was unable to put one foot in front of the other.  I think my grief finally was so overwhelming that I feel myself really unable to make a decision.

I love cybersecurity.  I didn’t stop loving it.  I just was like “OK, I’m gonna get back into it.  Here’s how I’m gonna get back into it.  I’m gonna take this _____ course and I’m gonna study forensic and I’m gonna get back into the forensic thing.  I had always wished I was going to expand my capabilities and all I had some time off and none of it worked.  I couldn’t make myself even take a class on a subject I had always loved.  I was like “What is up with that?”

It was really like being stuck in a rip and being able to tread water and nothing else.  I couldn’t find a way out of the water, all I could do is tread water.  And I turned down all those dates with my friends who wanted to talk with me, who wanted to talk about projects.  I was like “I can’t.  I can’t and I don’t know why I can’t, but I can’t.”

I was very frustrated by all of that and then I finally just decided, “Hey, listen to this.  You are gonna have to settle it.”  It took about a year which was extraordinary amount of time but then when I ended up doing I was talking with a friend and I said “You know, I haven’t been able to go back in the cybersecurity.  I’m not really sure what that’s all about.  I love it.  I’ve always wanted to be a chaplain.  I don’t know what’s that about, but I’m not really sure what I’m gonna do next.”  And my friend basically says “Hey, I know this person, you need to call her.  She’s the head of chaplaincy.  You need to have a conversation.”

Basically to make a long story short, I called them.  They were interviewing candidate for their incoming class.  I called her and I signed up.  They accepted me like that.  I was enrolled.  This is pretty much about three years of training and my interest was in palliative care.  I loved, loved, and loved the work with the whole different side of connecting with people.  I did about 2000 clinical hours of supervised training and class time.

I got another masters degree and started off on that and my last role was as a palliative care fellow at the VA hospital in Portland.  I truly loved the work I was doing there but more and more what I saw was the moral distress that I was witnessing not only with patients and their families but with medical staff, reminded me so much of what people in the cybersecurity industry were dealing with.

I wasn’t really sure how they characterize it or describe it but I made a decision to go back.  Because the truth is that someone gets about 15 to 30 minutes of their time when their in crisis in the hospital _____, but the bulk of the people who are really hurting who need that kind of support in order to continue their daily life are in the workplace.  And there’s this principal of proximity in chaplaincy that was in World War I where the chaplain didn’t wait in their field tent for the soldiers to come to them, they went to the _____.  That’s what I decided to do.

Out of that, our program on resilience, you know, we have a program Make Resilience Work.  We also call it MOJO Maker, but it is intended to bring the kind of resilience needed to thrive in an imperfect workplace and to be able to build your career, excel in the place where you plant it and to be able to navigate your career and your life through all the stressors that we have to deal with.  I’m mean; I’m not the only one who has kids who get sick.  But we all have to figure out how to navigate that and stay healthy and that’s what we decided to do.

Andrea:  That’s awesome!  Have you worked inside of a company around this particular, you know, bringing in your chaplaincy kind of background?  Have you found that to be a welcoming place or you mostly focusing in on the individual?

Karen Worstell:  We’re focusing on the individual right now and I just had a conversation with another missing individual who has a career in HR.  We’re looking to clear this to be able to bring a weekend intensive and to offer that to a corporate environment.  And then what we have on to back into that is a years’ worth of programming that people can access online to support them with all the things that they learned in the intensive.  We’re hoping to be able to take it there.  We haven’t done that.

I will say that one thing that I did in April, I was invited to run to a peer-to-peer sessions at the RSA Conference in San Francisco, which is a conference that attracts 40,000 cybersecurity professionals.  I’ll try to be very brief about this but what was very interesting about it was we ran a very quick exercise.  The title of the peer-to-peer session by the way was Why are Women Leaving Computing, which is a big issue for us because the number of women in Stanfield is making in progress everywhere accepting computing where its dropped off the cliff.  Nobody really knows why and I’ve been attracted to try to figure that out.

So I ran this session and I had everybody in the room, walked around the room.  I said “Walk around the room once for one minute.  We’re going to walk around the room and I want you to be yourself.”  And then I said “Walk around the room next and I want you to pick the energy that’s the opposite of yourself.  So whether you identify as a female, walk around the room as male, whatever that energy is for you that’s the opposite of what you are, I want you to walk as that.  And just take a look at the other people in the room and see how everybody was doing.”

And then the third time I had them walk around the room I said “I want you to be neutral.  Don’t be yourself but don’t be anything else either.”  What was mind boggling about that exercise; first of all, it was a great ice breaker because it made everybody uncomfortable.  So nobody had any fear speaking up after that.  The thing that was so impressive was that universally, everyone noted how much energy it took for them to try to walk around the room as something other than themselves that when they try to walk around the room as neutral, not only did it take energy, it sucked all the energy out of the room.

It basically made the room slowed down.  So people said, it made the room slowed down.  It looked like a room full of zombies.  And I said “OK, let’s think about what it’s like for people who come in to a work place with unique gifts and talents, unique life experiences.”  We hire for diversity and we have an organization full of color of every kind you can think of and we managed it all down to beige.  We tried to manage everybody the same.  That means that we have a culture where the people who are in the culture have to try to figure out what the culture is and used up a fair amount of their energy just trying to be what the culture expects.

I came away from that thinking, “This isn’t a gender issue.  This is an equal issue.”  I’ve shared that with a number of people.  I’m going to be writing some stuff about that to post on to LinkedIn and onto the RSA blog, but this is where we’re at, right?  We have beige organizations.  We have organizations where all the colors have been sucked out.

What happens is people used up all their energy trying to fit the culture and they don’t have energy left over for creativity and innovation and all the other things that we need so desperately right now, especially in cybersecurity.  We were dealing with issues that only get worse and we have to come up with some really creative ways to try to really deal with that.

The creativity is born out of a person’s feeling safe enough to express their ideas as their ideas, you see.  And if they’re so busy trying to figure out how does their organization want them to be, they’re walking around the room as something other than themselves.

Andrea:  Definitely!  It kind of goes back to that imagery that you’re using before about the person’s screaming or the judge screaming, what was it called?

Karen Worstell:  The Sage and the Judge.

Andrea:  Yeah, the judge was screaming and so then your attention is drawn to that.  You have to spend all of your time worrying about that instead of being able to listen to that voice, that other voice inside of you that’s saying “This is you, just do it.  Just be it.”  Oh it’s so good.  I love that exercise.  What a neat way to help people visualize and experience the truth of what it means to be authentic, really.

Karen Worstell: Yeah.  It took three minutes.  And I have to credit Rachael Jane Groover.  She was the one who introduced that exercise in a workshop that I attended with her.  She had 300 women in the room who were walking around trying to be neutral.  I just remember looking, “We are a room full of zombies, like there’s no differentiation, no creativity, nothing here.”  That’s what inspired that exercise.  But yeah, in three minutes, it made the point.

Andrea:  And I think you could even make that point for whether be a culture at a work place or school or a family or wherever you are when there’s this heavy expectations that drain people and make them so that they feel like they have to be something else, or they can’t be who they are.  That’s really a neat description.

Karen Worstell:  So our Make Resilience Work, what we focus on is helping people find out who they are because a lot of us have been trained not to remember right?  It’s true, right?  We have a little bit of that trained out of us.  So learn to be comfortable in your skin, in your own space unapologetic for who you are.  Understand where your path is.  What is that whisper?  Where do you want to go?

And then the third strategy is all of the tools and techniques that we can all learn to help us navigate to that place that we want to be and _____.  Now does that mean that we completely don’t ever blend in with other people?  No, it means that we make a conscious choice to fit into those places that fit us where we can really fully bring all those gifts and talents and make that contribution that everybody craves.  Everybody craves to have their work be meaningful and to matter.

We’re pretty excited about it and this is going to be…we started off with some early steps in helping people get started and people can take a look…we have three sample courses that we really want people go out and test drive and give us feedback.  So I’ll share with you a link for that so that you can try it your listeners.

Andrea:  Oh yes, absolutely!  So we’ll definitely link to this in the show notes, but do you recall what those are right now at the top of your head?  Or we just go to karen…

Karen Worstell:  Yeah, sure.  You can go to karenworstell.com.  There is a menu item there called MOJO Maker.  If you go to MOJO Maker, you’ll have the link that will take you straight _____ the website for MOJO Maker.  You can sign up for free.  We’re not going to bug you to pay later.  Really what we want to do is get people’s feedback.  We put it out there so that people can try that.  It’s three of our most important modules that will eventually be part of about 22 different modules that people can take over the course of the year if they want to.

Andrea:  So that would be www.karenworstell.com correct?

Karen Worstell:  Yeah, karenworstell.com and it will take you to…there’s a link inside there under MOJO Maker.  It will take you to the class.

Andrea:  Well, thank you Karen for spending sometimes with us today, telling us about your story and sharing your abundant wisdom and your heart for people.  I really enjoy listening to you and having this conversation with you today.  It was really, really great.

Karen Worstell:  I enjoyed it too, Andrea!  Thank you so much for having me in your show and for the chance to talk with you.

Why Her View From Home Matters with Leslie Means

Episode 54

I want your voice to matter more and I’m absolutely thrilled to bring you a guest this week who shares this exact sentiment!

Leslie Means is a former news anchor, published children’s book author, and the co-founder and owner of Her View From Home; an online platform millions of women turn to each month for positive inspiration about parenting, marriage, relationships, and faith.

In this episode, Leslie talks about how Her View From Home started, why she says we should listen to God’s whispers, her mission to help women realize their voice does matter, how she runs a successful business from home while raising three children with her husband, the impact video has had in growing her audience, what she looks for in an article for Her View From Home, and so much more!

Take a listen to the episode below!

Mentioned in this episode:

Play here (the red triangle below), on iTunes, Stitcher or TuneIn Radio (Amazon Alexa) or wherever you listen to podcasts.