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Episode 52: Feedback You Want But Don't Want

I was having this total internal battle between, "Is this my defensive mechanism coming up? Is this what's happening for me, that I'm being personally defensive and not allowing this feedback to come into play to make me better?" 

Photo by Natalie Collins on Unsplash

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The Transcript

Hello, friends. Samm Smeltzer here, the host of "The HRart of It". On this episode, we're talking about feedback, the feedback that you ask for, but secretly deep down inside, you wish that you don't receive. Let's get to the heart of it already. Here we go.

Hello again. Thank you so much for taking a listen to this episode of "The HRart of It". As always, I'm just so incredibly blessed to have listeners and us just plowing through, sharing. If you don't know, and this is the first time for you, I like to call this my plog, my blog via podcast, episode since that seems to be where my comfort level is. My blog kind of as a personal expression, talking about some really large growth things that I'm going through, and hopefully helped inspire you to dig a little deeper and move a little further on your personal and professional development journey.

It was only inevitable that we were going to have to talk about feedback. I have been hinting quite a bit on the podcast about how this summer in particular, and now we're jumping into fall, has been a great year of growth for me. I've been doing all kinds of things, a little bit of life coaching, a little bit of certification classes, a little bit of just everything, working with a speaking coach, working with some PR people, developing a personal brand in addition to the Leadership Arts brand. I've been all over. Part of that, having this great team that's assembled around you, is you're looking for that feedback. You're looking for these people to push you and guide you and shove you down the right direction. There's a trust there. I think I knew that this point was coming, but I didn't really want to process it too early. I waited for it to happen.

This weekend, my husband and I were leaving to get away just for the night. We went and visited St. Michaels, Maryland, which is beautiful, a very stunning, nice little town on the Chesapeake Bay. If you haven't gotten to go, go. I want to go back and experience it some more because I feel like our time there was just so short lived that I didn't get to really partake in everything that that town has to offer and the experience. Plus, with it being fall now instantly on the East Coast, it was too chilly to ... I shouldn't even say that, because it was really warm on Sunday. It was just that we had to leave soon and I'm one of those people that's always thinking about, "We got to get on the road. We got to get going." I didn't want to get too involved in anything. Saturday when we had arrived, it was a bit chilly and I was tired, which is just the definition of Samm lately.

We got away because next week kicks off a mini tour for me, doing some speaking engagements. I have three or four conferences coming up and they're all back to back. Everybody is usually towards the end of September/early October, and then I have a little bit of a break before we have the men's conference that's kicking off the beginning of November. We tried to get some "us time" in before all of that chaos begins, all that fun chaos, but the chaos that is my fall schedule.

While we were taking off, I finally got an email with feedback regarding some materials, marketing materials, that we've been putting into place. I really made some bold decisions lately that no one has really seen yet because that announcement is coming hopefully, I'm hoping, hoping, hoping, towards the end of this fall by like November, very last resort December. It's just some really cool marketing stuff going on. I've been pitching out what my decisions have been to so many different kinds of people to hear what they think. That mixture of people, it only makes sense that some of them are there for a purpose to be brutally honest.

I received some feedback that was 110% fair. Everything that was on there I could totally understand it. As somebody who has worked in the corporate world for over a decade before going out on my own, I totally understood why it made sense, even why it made good business sense. Inside I struggled with it, and so I really had to ask myself, trying to do a self-check as far as if it was my defensive mechanism kicking in. In the past, I had that as a habit, that my personal defensive system would kick in when anybody would give me criticism. It was very hard for me to listen to the criticism, even though I knew that feedback is a excellent part of the process. We all think that, or hope, that we do things perfectly, even though that's not the case all the time. That's not the case any of the time. I don't know if I've ever done anything perfectly. I know where I've done things right, where I felt like it was perfect in that moment of what needed to happen, but there's always something that you can change.

In my past, becoming defensive was just a part of it. Recently, I've been able to put that to rest. I've been able to be at peace and find my stillness when I'm faced with a situation where I would have typically become defensive. That's something that I have been working hard on since starting Leadership Arts Associates because I've encountered different kinds of situations and circumstance. I didn't realize becoming an entrepreneur how many more things are personal to you on the professional side because these businesses are you. They're your livelihood. They're your blood, sweat, and tears. It's natural that I would be a little more personally protective of those things. This was something, a coping skill, a growth spurt, that I needed to have.

Now the doggies are barking. I'm working from home today, that's where I do my recording, and they are barking. Ally, come here. Come on. You're interrupting the lesson. Come here, baby. Come on.

I received this feedback on Saturday. I was reading this email, and I needed to close it and really reflect on what was happening for me, if this was a situation where I was getting defensive because even though I completely understood the feedback, I was really resisting the intention to take it and use it to morph anything. I didn't really want to change my document. I didn't want to change what I had put together that I had collaborated with several people. I was trying to process this out loud, but I was trying ... I was having this total internal battle between, "Is this my defensive mechanism coming up? Is this what's happening for me, that I'm being personally defensive and not allowing this feedback to come into play to make me better?"

After thinking I'm going to say thank you for the feedback, but then not do anything, but then maybe that was the right feedback that I needed to hear and maybe be self-sabotaging myself because I'm not fully aware of my defensiveness coming across and causing me not to really listen and be aware of what's happening in this moment, and maybe this is feedback that I needed to hear to get me to the next level, I did the only thing that I could. I phoned a friend. I passed it on. I forwarded them the email with all of the feedback and said, "I completely understand what this person is saying and where it is coming from and it makes sense to me. However, through my creative process, this was the product that came out of it."

When I look at it, it feels right. It feel like my heart, which is a lot of what has happened to me over the summer. That's why the podcast has shifted the way that it has. A lot of the branding has shifted that way. My speaking engagements that I'm getting ready to do next week in my little mini tour, they have a whole other spin on them because I feel like, for the first, I've found my authentic voice. Even though I had found it, it's really hard to keep reminding myself to listen to it, so I trusted a close friend to say, "What do you think? Please be honest because I want to push myself. I don't want to make excuses, but I also just found my voice and I want to stay true to it."

One of the things that I have been trying to accept and live with, especially starting my own business, is that when I'm doing marketing and I'm growing my business and I'm growing myself, I'm not looking to appeal to everybody. I don't put these podcast episodes with the intention of as many people as possible, "How can I mass appeal?" I know that I don't click with everyone. I know that I probably irritate people. I know that there's people that probably don't think very highly of me. That's okay.

The episode that I recorded last week was talking about I'm a teacher, and when you fully accept that role, that I am a teacher, the students that I am meant to teach will show up in their time. I'm not meant to teach everyone. Everyone in the world is not my student. I fully accept that. Part of my marketing strategy is that it's me, is that it's my authentic voice, so that those students that I am meant to teach will show up. I truly believe, through whether you want to call it manifestation, if you want to call it faith, if you want to call it fate, that having that mentality and living a life that is fully aligned, I will be provided with the abundance that I need to do the work that I am purposely intended to do.

Today, Gabby Bernstein, who I am a huge fan of, she released last week a deck of cards for her newest book "The Universe Has Your Back". They're beautiful. I'm a huge fan of these cards, these affirmation cards. We have the other one, her older deck, which is the "Miracles Now" deck. We always have it in the office. It's probably my number one gift that I give to people. It's the one deck of cards that we actually sell in the office, that people buy. I'm probably going to end up with a couple of these decks too because they're just stunning. If you want to check them out, please do that.

They are affirmations that were created from her most recent book. I like to pull a card and read the affirmation and really reflect on how that relates to my life right now. I pulled one before recording this episode, and the card that I pulled is, "The moment I embrace my peace within and surrender the outcome is the moment that the universe can truly get to work." I recorded an episode, I guess, two weeks back now that's called "My Truth of Today" and talking about the stillness and this peace that I have been able to feel and almost has become a sense of stillness within me that I have been able to surrender to and had, as a result, an awareness that is so much deeper than I've ever had before. Pulling this card really made me think the moment that I embrace my peace within and surrender. Finding my authentic voice, trusting my intuition, trusting who I know that I am and who I want to be, is the moment that I can clearly communicate to the universe what I want and allow it to get to work.

A conclusion to my story, I phoned a friend and she basically reiterated to me exactly what I was feeling. It's that, "I feel exactly what you feel when you look at these marketing materials. I can totally get why they are you. I can also understand the feedback. However, I agree, you're here to resonate with your authentic voice and trust yourself and represent your heart, and that's the direction that you're going. I think you should stay true to it." I thanked her because this is a new habit for me. For however many years, two decades, of establishing a habit where putting on a higher pedestal the opinions of others about me rather than my opinion of myself, and now flipping that and saying that, "You don't define my worth and my value or even who I am or who I should be or how I should do this, but I'm going to do that."

I think feedback is very important, but I think the lesson that I learned this weekend, for the first time, is that we can't truly use it as an avenue of growth, of productive growth, until we can truly have an internal peace that separates us from what we are hearing. It is so easy when the feedback is positive. However, I don't think that even the feedback is negative. I think it truly is constructive with someone just helping to push and make us better. Sometimes, it is completely what we need and we don't want to hear.

I think back to even the story that I shared in the episode of "My Truth Today". There was some stuff that I was being told that I think I needed to hear and I needed to process. Same thing on social media. If you want to talk about current events, there's a whole lot of stuff that is being told to people that they don't want to hear. What would happen if we took two cents and could find inner peace so that we could truly surrender and figure out what the outcome or the lesson we're supposed to have from that moment? I really have come to the belief that that is what we're working towards and that's what we're striving towards.

That is what was on my heart today. Thank you so much for listening. If you know anyone who you believe this podcast or this episode in particular may serve, please feel free to share it via any social media channel. Also, to support the podcast, the number one thing that you can do is if you're on the iTunes app, you're on the iPhone, is to leave us a quick rating. That's the only way that we start moving up and getting a little more attention on iTunes. As always, if there's any questions or thoughts, feelings, wants, or needs that this episode sparked, I love when you share them with me. You can email me at samm@leadershipisart.com. Other than that, have a great day. I will talk to you soon. 

Episode 51: I am a Teacher

I am a teacher and I am meant to teach. And those that are meant to be my students will appear when I am ready to teach them. 

Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

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The Transcript

Well hello there and thank you so much for listening to The Heart of It. My name is Samm Smeltzer and I am so incredibly blessed to be your host. And thank you for joining me this week as we talk about answering calls, like truly answering calls. And you'll see what I mean about that in just a minute. Here we go.

Thank you again so much for joining me for today's episode. And I'm pretty proud of myself. I think we've cranked through a whole month of episodes where I've really sticked true to my commitment of kind of putting out there what I'm living through and the lessons that are materializing for me. Last episode, which was episode 50, which is pretty epic. This podcast is going on three years old in November and we're already done 50 podcast episodes. I remember looking at three episodes and thinking, "There's no possible way this is gonna keep going. I'm going to totally give up on this." And it's really cool to see those things kind of build and materialize.

So I hinted in the intro I want to talk about answering calls. And I guess this should just be a theme of the show because it's come up so many times over the last month is I am a big believer of when things repeatedly show up that it is a signal that you need to pay attention to it. And that signal could be from whoever it is in your belief system, whether it is God, whether it is the universe, if it's a sense of energy, any of the other high end ascending religious masters that are out there. But I truly believe that. When something keeps showing up, I think sometimes it gets more blatant if we're not paying attention but it's trying to get our attention. And so therefore now when I see repeated things happening I just naturally gravitate there, I don't fight it anymore.

And so over the last month I kept prefacing, like I think this is something that keeps showing up so I feel like it's something that I should talk about. But really it's not even something that I should talk about, it's really something that I need to process. This week it's interesting how it all kind of played out because I think it turned into something that I really should talk about which is why I'm talking about it today.

So yeah, so let's back it up a little bit. So one of the things very early on in my career when I transitioned into corporate training I really enjoyed being in front of people and helping people. One of the things that I didn't do when I transitioned into corporate training as an industry and as a practitioner is label myself as a teacher. It makes sense, typically that is what you are, you are a teacher, you're teaching people, typically adults, training them in something for their job, but I never really viewed myself as a teacher. When I opened up Leadership Arts Associates and I started diversifying my portfolio professional development options I did do a large amount of work initially with spiritual teachers because I wanted to learn about the exercises that they use because what I was really fascinated by was these studies done on being brave and being vulnerable and what happens in those moments of vulnerability and when we process them.

And that was introduced to me by Dr. Brené Brown. And so the first year I really was reading all of Brené Brown I was turned into reading and following Gabrielle Bernstein. And as I was doing that one of the things that Gabby Bernstein kept mentioning was that doing the spiritual work, working with people, doing that ministry, that you are teachers. Once you progress to that next level you are teachers and you're here to teach and there are certain students that you are meant to teach, which is why she uses it in the context of basically sharing that everybody has a place. If you feel called to do that kind of work in that spiritual arena you have your place. There is your students that are waiting for you to show up in that arena and accept that. And I think I just totally combined Brené Brown and Gabby Bernstein in that whole kind of example. But that's okay.

And so this idea of being a teacher really resonated with me and I made a lot of sense. It also was kind of reassuring to know as somebody who was just starting their own business in training and now referring to myself as a teacher that if I showed up and refer to myself as a teacher that my students, those that I am meant to teach will show up. And I'm meant to teach them to be teachers, and then their students will show up. And so that picture for me was very very beautiful in my purpose and what I was trying to achieve.

Now what I found is that I thought that I had fully stepped in and accepted, "I am a teacher, this is who I am, and so let my students come." And I think I treated it a lot like that really old school movie A Field Of Dreams. If you build it they will come. If you build it they will come. Well you build it and they don't come. And I shouldn't say that. Some did come. But when I say some it was one. One at a time, two at a time. And I was so used to working in a corporate environment where people are number one, mandated to come take your classes, and then number two, once you become a known entity, like people know what they're getting, it's a lot easier to market in a corporate environment than it is to the entire world who you are. And your cheerleaders who you thought that you had so many but when you realize they're all in one corporate organization, once you go out that reach only goes so far. And then in corporate life it goes so fast so it's almost like it kind of fades away a little bit. Not out of anybody's malicious intention or negative intention, it just is a natural kind of thing that happens is that everyone moves on, life keeps going forward. And if we don't have those new cheerleaders you're kind of left out in the dust.

And so I had this large amount of passion. I felt like I was embracing this new phase of being a teacher but I didn't really have a large amount of students. And I've struggled with this for most of the time that Leadership Arts has been open. I go back and forth between it, between ... It was really something I probably shoved back saying like, "This is not a sign that you are failing, this is not a sign that you don't know what you are doing, this is not a sign that you're not on the right path." Because it's very quickly to absorb that and say, "They're not showing up, there's no one here, there's no one registering for these programs, my programs are stupid, they don't serve a purpose. Who am I to be here to share any of this with anybody? Who am I to think that I would have students who want to learn from me? Who am I to think that I am at a place where I am a teacher and not a student?"

And the truth is that I was a teacher, but I also was a student. And at that moment over the last two years the people who have showed up have showed up because they are my students. They are the students that I am ready to teach. And looking back if I had 20 show up at a time, would I have been ready for that? And this really came to the forefront of my mind because I guess that it's two weeks now. Two weeks? Or just last week, we facilitated a workshop called Engagement Recharted which is my newest training that I have developed in a long time, one that is a training that is a heartfelt training. It's one that I truly serves a purpose as to providing a solution or working towards providing a solution that I'm passionate about. This one in particular is employee engagement. And removing the power for me to be engaged as an employee, removing the power only on the employer.

Every article that you read out there you either have two sides, you have self care or you have as an organization what you're supposed to be doing for your employees. So if I'm an employee just trying to take care of myself and make sure that I can stay in a proper mindset I got to do self care. But those are basically just survival techniques to go against what this organization is doing or not doing to provide an environment that I can be actively engaged in in a positive manner. And so what I wanted to design in this workshop is to be able to flip that, that you can be in this work environment and you can find out exactly what you need to engage and to be engaged. And that empowers you to either number one, ask your employer for it, maybe empower you to make some changes because you can, maybe they're not that big. Maybe it is a minor adjustment within yourself, maybe there was a personal or professional growth that was necessary that the leaders, because we always assume the leaders above us know everything. They don't know everything. They also don't have all the time in the world. And so instead of us waiting for them to identify that we are able to be empowered and identify that and then move forward and be one step closer to where we want to be, and as a result become ultimately engaged.

And so Engagement Recharted is all about flipping this concept. And when I first designed it, it's almost a year old in November. November seems to be the big launch month for us here at Leadership Arts Associates. I don't know why but it seems to be a tradition now because this year we have a big launch happening as well. But when I designed it I was so excited about it, like, "This just makes perfect sense and I don't know why there's nothing like this out there." And so I put it out and I expected just magically people to show up. Once again the whole idea if you build it they will come. They did not come. Well I take that back, four came. Four came that first round, showed up and surprised me and came through. And the reaction was positive. I was surprised, I was nervous, but I built it, they came, and those are the students that were meant to learn from me at that time.

And then we put out ... We started in digital and I thought, "Oh it's because Samm's better live. Everyone wants to see Samm. Nobody wants to watch these videos of me. I look weird on videos." And so we did live sessions. And once again I scheduled them, maybe ran some Facebook ads, but I basically built it and said, "Oh, they're gonna come." First one, one person showed up, but we canceled because it didn't make sense to hold it for that one person. Second time two people showed up, and by that time something inside me kind of was nudging saying, "Don't cancel, you need to do this." And I'm so glad that I didn't because I think this is when it really started to sink in that I am a teacher and the students who I'm meant to teach will show up in their time, the time when I am ready to teach them.

And there's a lot of growth, and you're hearing that piece on this podcast. A lot of growth that is happening in between me facilitating these programs and this workshop is a very intense labor of love. It's taking people through deep rooted self reflection cycles, it's holding that space for them, making sure that they feel safe while they're interacting with each other and going into these places, and then they put their trust in you to bring them back out into a place where they can kind of migrate back into society and to culture and their everyday lives without having some sort of internal shock.

And so doing that, holding that space for ... Once again I didn't hold it at all in the digital class because I didn't see them, and then I didn't know what I was going to be holding when I canceled that first one and I, if anything I went back, I wish I would have held that. I wish I would have. That is exactly what I needed at that time. That student came to me to be taught and I should have held that class for that one person. And then moving onto the second class for the two people that were there and I chose not to cancel it. It was one of the most impactful classes for me and I think for the two that were there. And that's certainly what they share in their testimonials. That was the way that it felt when they left. That is the way that it feels when I still see them through our common social circles and networking professionally.

And when I finished that session then and I realized how much more labor of love it is to facilitate that session live I kind of realized that it was a blessing that it was two that showed up instead of 20. I don't know if I would have been in a place as a teacher to handle 20. But after we did these two I was like, "Whoa, I'm ready. We're gonna schedule another one and it's gonna fill." I went all in with some kind of marketing tactics. I was trying to blast it everywhere, share it everywhere, get people there. And when it was all said and done and the registrations came through we ended up with eight. And my goal, as time went on and I was getting like ... If we get two almost immediately, which is always interesting to me. So it's like I get exactly what I had before. And part of me is like, "I got to get to five. If I get to five that's a really good group." And so when we got to eight I was pretty ecstatic. My original goal was to like, "Let's sell it out, let's sell every spot that I have." And when I realized that I wasn't getting the traction like that that's when I was like, "Let's do five. Five will be good. Five is like a good growth in the trend." And when we got eight I got so excited.

And then I got very overwhelmed. Facilitating for two was so much. Now facilitating for eight. What is that going to be like? And it changes. It changes when the group size gets bigger and how the discussions go. And then it also changes with the people that you have in that space. And so I went and did it. And this is when, two weeks ago, that it really sank in. I am a teacher and I am meant to teach. And those that are meant to be my students will appear when I am ready to teach them. And that's exactly what has been happening over the last year, over the last two years. If you were to take the path of my personal professional growth and the stats of what is happening at Leadership Arts Associates in regards to our programming, they are perfectly aligned with what I have going on there and kind of what that equates to over there.

And so the last reason why this really came to the forefront of my mind that I needed to share it and speak about it is because of what we are launching in November. So the program that we're launching in November, if you have not seen it floating around Facebook, if you have not heard me talk about it or seen any of the videos, and for whatever reason I have not really talked about it on the podcast, and that's a shame on me because I need to. And that's why I'm talking about it now. But the project that was launching, the conference, the experience, the workshop, whatever you want to call it that is launching in November is called The Gentleman's Architecture Conference. It is a day devoted, it is almost like a retreat, a shared space that is devoted for men, to create a safe space for men to facilitate a dialog that is not commonly happening with men. And more importantly it's to create the space for that dialog to happen because it doesn't really exist, at least not anywhere that we have found.

And this project, this launch that is happening did not just happen over a brainstorm of this year, it happened within the first 90 days that I opened Leadership Arts Associates. I knew that I wanted to provide something for men, I wanted to be of service to create something that really had the power to make a difference. And people ask why. Leadership Arts Associates is a women-owned business. It just so happens that most of my staff as I've hired throughout the years are women. And here I am so passionate about a men's conference. And I'm sure when they see the posts and if they follow the [inaudible 00:19:02] trail back to who's hosting it, why? Why a woman is hosting a men's conference? Is this about a woman trying to tell men how they should be? And that's absolutely not what it is.

In fact one of the things that really kind of was the final push to motivate me to start bringing this to life is I was sitting at a event, a women's only event, you can call it a women's empowering event, a women's networking event, and they had a speaker that was there that had some very strong opinions, but the conversation that began to happen amongst the women in the room was talking about fixing, fixing men, making a space for us to teach them the proper way to be who they should be. And that really hit a cord within me.

Like who are we to tell anybody who they're supposed to be? And I don't care if you're a man or a woman, I've always expected and I've been incredibly blessed that I have worked with men who have treated me like their equal. It's never ever come up about my gender and that being in my wheelhouse of my ability to achieve something. I've had a couple of instances where it's been age, because of the way that I've grown through there. So as a young woman I worked with a lot of men, professionally a lot of them were my mentors, a lot of them took me under their wing. A lot of them were the ones that affirmed me the most, that got me to succeed professionally and keep going down this path and to push and drive harder and harder. And none of them ever, ever brought up the fact that I was a woman. And I don't know what their backstories are, I don't know what their childhoods were like that got them to a place where they can interact with me like that. But I know that they had a huge impact on me.

And as I look at my friends and my friend's marriages, when I look at my marriage, and start to have a relationship with a man where you can have these vulnerable kinds of conversations, you start to realize that many of them don't have any other place for that. So the hope is that they find a bond with a partner where they feel safe that they can be vulnerable. And in some of those relationships it's not a safe space, whether it's because of gender stereotypes of who you're supposed to be as a man, and one of them is not being weak or vulnerable. But we're all human. We're human. At the very base of this we are all human. We all have feelings and we all have a desire to connect. We all do that in our own ways. We all have our own what we like to call at Leadership Arts mode, which is our own stylistic way of tackling life. There is no playbook for men and playbook for women of, "This is how you have to do everything. These are 110% proven the only behavior that is acceptable for you to be successful."

And I know that I went a little bit on a tangent, but these are things that I have been encountering, these are things that I have been feeling, and this is why we are now launching this men's conference. I know that I am a teacher. This is not a conference for me to teach men. However, what I am good at and what my background is is in training and development, designing programs, creating educational programs that create a space and the environment for the transformation to occur, and create the environment to increase that likelihood for it to happen. And so my skills and abilities are truly on the backside. They are more so being the teacher or the facilitator for those that are showing up to facilitate this dialog, these architects that have volunteered their time, who are so gracious to allow me to be the leader to lead them into this and to trust the design that I put in place, the architecture that I put in place for this conference for men to go through.

And so once again here's a product that has been built and I'm not sitting here waiting to see if they will come. I'm doing as much as possible to invite people to come to this event. This event, it's called a conference, it's more of a retreat, it is a shared space for men to come together and have the conversations that they may never know where to have. I have not found a lot of those spaces there and I wanted to create one that had a overwhelming welcome.

And really when it comes down to the three takeaways that I want to have come out of this conference, and the outcomes that I know you will have on some level, I can almost guarantee that you will have on some level if you show up and share this space, is number one, a sense of clarity. You will be clearer on something, where it is where you came from, the stories that you've told about your childhood and what they mean to you and why they really mean to you, why something may have happened to you, or if you're meant to be a teacher and there's going to be students that you're meant to teach at this conference, and they're gonna come and listen to you in those breakout sessions. So a sense of clarity. I truly believe you're going to get clearer, clearer on something. It could be as small as just a clearer memory, it could be as big as seeing the bigger picture.

Number two is I want you to share, and you will have the opportunity to share, to come and just once again, facilitate this shared space, so that sharing can occur. On whatever level. That could be I share my name and where I'm from and I connect at that level to the bigger, "I want to have a vulnerable moment, I want to share something that I've never had the space to actually talk about."

And then last but not least is change. At the core of this is that I want to start making a difference. I want to be part of a change. And whatever fashion that needs to happen. I don't claim to have all the answers here, I'm creating a framework for this conversation to occur. And at the end there will be a change. And once again it could be as small as a change of like, "I thought this was going to be weird but it was a really great day," to a complete change of perspective. And I think every architect that has signed on for this project really truly believes that, and that's why the want to be a part of it.
So that conference is happening on November 2nd from 8:00 to 4:00 here in York, Pennsylvania. So if you're local to the region. If not and you want to come, please don't hesitate to reach out, I'll be happy to help get you connected with what are the best hotels in the area. In fact the event is happening at a hotel, so you can stay there. But to find out more go to BeTheManOfYourStory.com. BeTheManOfYourStory.com and learn more about it. And if this entire episode has sparked any kind of questions for you please do not hesitate to reach out. You can email me at Samm with two M's, S-A-M-M@LeadershipIsArt.com.

And just to leave you with I think all of us are teachers, whether we want to accept it or not, one day you will. And when you do accept it the students that you're meant to teach will show up. They will, without a doubt. And if what I'm saying about this men's conference, the design of what's happening and what we're trying to achieve, if you know someone that it will serve, please share with them, invite them. I know that the greatest invitation to this conference comes from those who can have the trust with those individuals. And I promise, I wholeheartedly promise to protect this space and make sure that it is safe and that you will leave clearer, with a sense of clarity, with an opportunity to share, and we're gonna make a change. Thank you so much for listening.

Episode 50: My Truth of Today

I think back to my childhood and how loosely, as a child, I would use this term about hating people, and there's some people who do some awful things. They do awful things, but to truly hate someone is bringing up an emotion within you that is just so dark and so heavy. When I see it being present in any form, my heart breaks and my heart breaks for the person who is feeling the hate and unable to see it through a lens of love. It makes me concerned and worried about where that path is going to take them.

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The Transcript

Well, hello there and welcome to this episode of The HRart of It, my official plog. Obviously, my blog via podcast episodes. My name is Samm Smeltzer and I, as always, am incredibly blessed to be your host on this podcast. Today I really struggled with, if I wanted to record this or not, but it seems once again, and this is just like what I talked about in the last episode, when something keeps reappearing, when it keeps coming back up, I feel like it's something that needs to be talked about and this this topic, I've been not hesitant, but very ... I'm not even cautious. It's almost like I have just been so sad about it, it does something inside of me that I've been speechless. I guess that's really what it is. When it comes down to it, I have truly been speechless as to what to say or how to respond.

Social media is such a powerful channel that is out there, and I guess you could call me a Facebook stalker or a comment stalker. I've never really gotten into forums, but I actually really like to look at the comments and the discussions that people engage in on a certain post, whether it's an image, whether it's a current event, and that's something that I do frequently. With all the current events that have been happening recently, there have been a lot of hot, hot topics, some very topics that resonate, and not resonate, but really hit on people's individual value set systems, a lot of topics hitting on who we are as a country, talking about who we are as Americans. It has been interesting. I mean, it's been interesting since the election occurred and then on top of that, it's become even more and more just sad.

I think when the election was going on I had words to articulate how I felt at that time, and now just watching the magnitude of the events and how they have grown to certain things, things that are on a national level, things that are happening at the local level, I've just kind of become speechless, which is kind of showing in this podcast, but about, I guess, a little over a week ago I had something happen to me that kind of hit me personally. It really kind of resonated within me on the similar kind of value set system that happens when I read these current life events and these things that have been happening. It comes from basically this viewpoint of hate and not seeing things from a lens of love and wherever is fueling from. That's something that's really hard for me to wrap my head around, is when someone is coming from a severe place of hate.

Hate is such a strong emotion. It's such a strong emotion that leads to actions that just are really unfathomable to me to know that and to be able to tolerate it. It just breaks my heart. It really just breaks my heart, and there's been a couple of things that I was reading today on Facebook and then Twitter. I know those aren't true primary news feeds, but then also just watching the news. You know, I think why social media hits me on such a strong level is that my feed is filled with people that I care about, that I love, and to see either those people going after each other, to see how those people are being impacted directly by the occurrences that are happening, it just is completely heartbreaking. I truly believe in my heart that hate on any level is not okay and it does not get us back to a path where we can truly be who we want to be as individuals.

I think that's across the board regardless of what effort we are talking about, whether it is race and diversity in general, whether it is how I feel about another person just because I don't like them. You know, I think back to my childhood and how loosely, as a child, I would use this term about hating people, and there's some people who do some awful things. They do awful things, but to truly hate someone is bringing up an emotion within you that is just so dark and so heavy. When I see it being present in any form, my heart breaks and my heart breaks for the person who is feeling the hate and unable to see it through a lens of love. It makes me concerned and worried about where that path is going to take them. You know, as a mother, I definitely have the mother card kick in about security and safety and what that means in the greater good.

As typical, I don't like to get political and I think that comes from my HR background. I don't like to get political or really religious on any of my venues in regards to anything I'm doing for my business. This podcast rides the line very closely because it is more so for me in talking about my healing process and allowing me to put those emotions out there, but I don't want to directly relate to just a current event that has been happening, which I think is very relevant, but I want to talk about a personal experience that did happen to me that I was mentioning about a week ago, that really hit me in a similar fashion. I don't want to give away too many of the details because it was such an ugly incident in the way that it occurred, but long story short, it resulted in miscommunication that empowered somebody to make a judgment that resulted in them having a horrible, a very toxic thought process towards me.

For the first time in a long time, when I looked at this individual, I could feel their hatred for me. I could feel their anger towards me. I could feel their strong desire, almost feeling of necessity to take physical action towards me to resolve whatever they were feeling. Like I said, this summer has been a huge summer of growth for me. I've done a lot of personal reflection. I've done a lot of really digging deep and trying to get very clear about who I am as a person, what my values are. When this person confronted me, well, number one, I had my daughter with me, so a little bit of defense did come up because I was concerned for the safety of my daughter in a situation where somebody was so strongly angry with me, putting me in a bucket of descriptors of a category of people that they clearly did not like, that they hated.

When I was looking at her and seeing this strong emotion in her eyes, I couldn't help but see a mirror, and having it funnel back to me and challenging me to really think about who I am and why this emotion bothered me so much, and this is just how I processed it. This is not how anyone else needs to process it in dealing with these ... These things that are happening are hard. They're just very, very hard and I don't even know the words to say because there are no words to make any of it okay or any of it right. One of my, I guess you can call her spiritual teacher, somebody that I look up to as a role model, is ... Oh my gosh, I can't even say this, but she is author, teacher Gabrielle Bernstein. One of the things that she has instilled in me through many of her lessons is that the shadows that I see in you reflect directly the shadows that I see within me. The light that I see within you is a direct reflection of the light that I see within me.

I've done this practice, I've learned this lesson, and I've done it so many times with situations that were not this heavy, being confronted with someone who had this large amount of anger and hate in their eyes directed at me, towards me, full on, and having me fully process it and then taking that lesson to really challenge myself and say, "The shadows that I see in you are the shadows that I see in me." As hard as it was to admit, the things that she saw in me, that she was very vocal about what she saw in me, at some level, no matter how big or how small, I agreed with some of them. I saw them within myself. Whether I had buried them deep, maybe there are years of people saying them and I just tucked them away somewhere, that is still a shadow that I have within me that I haven't healed, and there's no doubt why wouldn't I be the first to heal it. I mean, it's something that is so vulnerable. I mean, it's so intimate to me.

It is something that has to do specifically with my identity and who I am, and it really comes down to the fact about me judging myself and if I'm worthy, if I'm enough, if I even matter, or I'm a failure. This judgment, this shadow that I saw within myself, all attributed to those kinds of thought processes, those ones that I have been trying to heal because those are things that I don't know if you do, but I know I do. I think all the time, not as much so, but they still creep in. The ego still drops. Maybe not all those statements, but periodically throughout my day, if I don't have a great interaction with somebody, it falls down and says, "Who are you? Who are you to be doing this work?" Then it will come out of nowhere of, "My gosh, you are totally not worthy of your husband. Why do you think that he could ever love someone like you?"

I mean, they always creep in somewhere, and me healing them over the last three years is not going to take care the 30 plus years of junk that has accumulated, and created these habits and thought processes. Now I guess I could make an argument that it was a beautiful gift to confront me, to have someone to confront me with such a strong emotion that made me look deep within because I wasn't going to engage. I wasn't going to fight back. I knew for a fact that my primary goal was ... this person was not happy with me, possibly wanted to do a physical altercation. I was with my six year old at the time, and my main goal was to make sure that my daughter wasn't more afraid than she currently was and that I could get out of the situation safely and hopefully with minimal amount of engagement, and doing so in trying to diffuse the situation and not engaged. Just force myself deeper and deeper into this reflection, and that's kind of where it ended.

I watch these things that are happening around us in the world today and all of it is just ... I shouldn't say all of it. A lot of it is sad. It's very, very sad. It is heartbreaking. My heart breaks for so many people that are experiencing this every day, who have experienced loss because of it, and I challenge you that if we can all do our peace and recognize that the shadows that I see in you are the shadows that I see within me, the light that I see in you is the light that I see within me, at least ask yourself the question. Ask yourself if there are shadows there and really, really challenge yourself because for us to be light in the world, to be the good in the world, to make the change and restore it back to the place that we love, we have to do the work internally just like we want others to do the work internally.

That is my episode for today. I hope at least some piece maybe resonated with you, and perhaps it made no sense. Perhaps it brought up emotions for you that maybe ... I don't know. Hopefully doesn't cause you to never listen to this podcast again, but I promise that real time lessons that I'm learning and sharing those, and this is what I felt compelled to share at this time, so until the next time. Thanks for listening to my heart. Bye.

Episode 49: What Are You Afraid Of?

But as I'm going through this and I'm getting real with the fact that I'm terrified about my dreams, about my goals, about my future, about discovering if I ... not if I, but accepting that I am worthy and my dreams are real and that I can make them happen. I started to realize that I'm not alone in this venture. Around me there's several people that are being held back by fear. 

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The Transcript

Hello, hello. Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Heart of It. My name is Samm Smeltzer and as always, I am incredibly blessed to have you as a listener today and have you joining me for this little chat. And today on the episode we are talking about fears.

I'm a very strong believer when something keeps resonating up a couple of times that you got to talk about it. You got to process it. Its the lesson that's very strong for me and in the last, my gosh, summer has been the summer of personal development for Samm Smeltzer. I have been basically turning over every rock of my past and trying to see where the lessons are and it just so happens that a lot of them have been leading me back to fear.

And the path that I went down this summer was really sparked, actually by my personal trainer, Brittney Russell, which I'm kind of on a hiatus because I've been going through this whole big personal and even semi-spiritual journey as a result. But the first person to kind of nudge me to start flipping rocks over is Brittney Russell and she just launched a brand new podcast with Leadership Arts Associates called Relentless Radio. Because she is such an inspiration to me, she is such an incredible motivator, which you will know that because of the incredible community that backs her, but if you want to check that out please do and it'll give you more insight into the incredible person that she is, that was able to just nudge me to get this process going.

But the way that Brittney did this, and she probably did not know that she did this, but it started one day at the gym and we were doing I think, I believe, work with the sled. So the sled is ... you think of a traditional sled but with a large amount of weight on it and pushing it up and down a sixty-yard turf. Not a sixty-yard, its a thirty-yard turf so its a total of sixty yards, thirty yards both ways. That's the kind of work that we were doing.

And so I'd gotten really good at pacing myself, being able to deliver on the task, but I would rest accordingly, typically probably around the fifteen-yard mark. So half-way I would take a quick breather before pushing whatever amount of weight was on this sled, whether it was two-hundred, three-hundred pounds. So, this in particular day, I knew what the drill was but before I started, Brittney actually stopped me and said that she really wanted me to push myself and not allow myself to be comfortable. And so those pauses or those breaks that she was watching, she actually viewed them as me hanging out in my comfort zone and she wanted me to push through them.

I thought that was a little hysterical because a lot of the things at the gym, there's not really anything that I would consider comfortable. I think everything is uncomfortable but yeah, when I did have the opportunity or I knew how, I would try to minimize my discomfort. And a large piece of that is because I have aerobic induced asthma so I was always fearful about triggering an asthma attack, which is just a slippery, downward spiral slope thingy.

So, she put this in my head and as I remember pushing the sled and knowing not to stop because that's not what my coach wanted me to do so pushing through it, and trying to push through that discomfort, I realized there wasn't really much in the tank to push through. And this goes back to a question that she was always asking me, was "Why are you here?" Like, "Why do you come and show up in the gym routinely? Why are you trying to lose extra pounds? How many pounds do you actually want to lose? You say you want to get stronger, but why? Like, what is the real, true reason?"

A really nice, easy default for me which is still very, very important is my children. My husband wanting to be around, wanting to be healthy, wanting to be able to stay active with them and keep up with them, wanting to be able to perform at my highest level, those are really great things, but there is always something else. There's always something else that's there and I knew that I had not found that deep rooted kind of 'why' answer because it ... That would have been the true fuel to make sure that I kept moving forward and I didn't have that.

I didn't have something that would push me in those moments of true discomfort in the gym to say this is why you're here, this is what's going to happen. I had enough motivation that kept me going two or three times a week and getting through the workouts but I wasn't pursuing like those people that you see even on reality TV, when they get to that point where they are pursuing their health goals and they're all in. I was maybe, and I think Brittney would even say this to me, you know, 75 to 85 percent in which is pretty good but not enough when you're making life changing results.

So that was the event that really started to trigger for me, started to push me, I think, you know why am I doing anything? Why did I start the business? Why do I do what I do for a living? Why do I pursue certain things in life? Why am I constantly doing that? Why am I working all these hours and not with my children? Why did I have children if I was going to pursue ... all these kinds of questions that start whirling around in your head of trying to really answer that fundamental of, who am I and what am I here to do?

And I kind of always assumed that I knew and I did know at a certain level and I finally hit this point where I needed to go further. And so it was interesting as while I was doing this work and I was doing this work for a variety of different methods which I highly recommend to anyone, there's not one way to ... its not fixing yourself, its healing yourself. There's not one way to do that. There's going to be a variety of things that come into your life; a variety of people, a variety of methods, that are all unique to what you need at that moment. Mine was a combination of Brittney and some life coaches, and business coaches, and my husband, and the whole blend was going to come together to help you heal what you need to heal and help you go down this path of uncovering so that you can heal appropriately.

When I started really getting into the deep work of figuring out and running out of path that I think I kind of had been taking detours on and slowly walking down because I didn't want to find out what was at the end. What was at the end of each of them was fear. Like, I didn't want to provide the answer because I was afraid. I was extremely afraid, terrified that whatever dreams that I had, whatever goals that I set for myself, if I put them out there that I wouldn't be able to meet them. If I had dreams it very easily turns into, "Who are you to have that dream?" When it came to my health and who I want to be and how I want to feel, there was a fear there of what would happen if I reached those goals and who I would be as a person as a result which is very ... what is that word? Almost counter-productive to what your goals are health wise because if I'm trying to get there but really there's a fear there that's like, "Hey if you get here these horrible things are going to happen to you or you're going to become this horrible person." I was almost self-sabotaging myself and going backwards and that's a lot of the healing work that I'm doing now.

But as I'm going through this and I'm getting real with the fact that I'm terrified about my dreams, about my goals, about my future, about discovering if I ... not if I, but accepting that I am worthy and my dreams are real and that I can make them happen. I started to realize that I'm not alone in this venture. Around me there's several people that are being held back by fear. And I found myself saying that to a lot of people who were giving me ... you know, asking questions, they would give me a response and its a completely valid response to the question of "Why do you do what you do? Who are you?" But at the same time you could feel that its not as deeply rooted as it could be.

If that's where you are and you're okay with that, that's perfectly fine. But if you are not okay with it, I really challenge you to ask yourself, what are you afraid of if you were to push yourself beyond that? If you were to say, what I am saying or the answers I'm giving are essentially politically correct for myself. These are the answers that I've given that I think will suffice in most situations and not offend anyone or not cause any kind of conflicts so I won't have to defend it. So its my politically correct kind of response. But what would happen if I just got raw and authentic? And I guarantee before you could even get raw and authentic if there's going to be a fear that is there because that's what ... well not just because I discovered it, but I've also seen it in a lot of other people. And whether you, like, accept that you're afraid then jump over it to get to that raw, authentic kind of dialogue that needs to happen, there's still always going to be a fear that's associated there.

My big question to you is what are you afraid of? That's a question I've been asking myself a lot. Its a question that this week were doing some professional development with the Leadership Arts Associates team and I'm going to be asking them that same question. I don't think that most of us realize how much fear holds us back. We think so much fear is ... fear of the dark, fear of roller coasters, I look at my children and what they're afraid of ... I just took Zoey to the amusement park and what rides she refused to get on and not experiencing that. But if you take that kind of imagery and you put it to anything else in your life, if you're so terrified to get on the ride, you never know what incredible freeing sensation it may be. I mean I love roller coasters. I love the big dips. I love the big hills and I just love the feeling that I get when I go on those roller coasters and I would have never ever known that I love that until I got over my fear of doing that.

Same thing maybe with sleeping in the dark. My children have night lights. I know that I never liked to sleep in the dark but I also ... I don't remember it but I also know how restful I sleep when I finally could sleep in the dark. And so fear really holds us back in a lot of capacities and those two it's, you know, holds me back from an experience but also something that's holding me back from my health and wellness. A very restful night of sleep can be a very powerful for you and your body and the healing process and taking care of you ... and physically and mentally.

So ponder on fear. Ask yourself in certain situations when you feel that level of discomfort if the discomfort is ... yes ... its a sign of a place for growth but ask yourself first if its signaling a fear because identifying that fear first is what is essential to getting beyond it and then really being able to get into the true, raw, authentic work that most of us need to get to to have the kind of lives that we want to lead.

So there is my heart full thought for this week, as always, if you love what you're listening to and you think it could serve others, I would appreciate it if you would share it via social media any channel that you'd like. You can also subscribe to us via iTunes Stitcher or the RSS feed on your own player that you wish to have. And also the best way to get us out there, especially on iTunes is to leave us a review, so if you could do that I would greatly appreciate it as well. And last but not least, one of the best things or my favorite thing about podcasting is when I get feedback from all of you. So if there was something that you were thinking, feeling, wanting or needing that arose as listening to this episode, please don't hesitate to reach out to me at Samm with two m's at leadershipisart.com and until next time, I will ... Until next time have a great day. Bye.

Episode 48: Building Your Tribe

If you don't think you need one I would truly evaluate how could a tribe like this add value or add to your fulfillment for your life? And then on the flip side if your trying to get one and you feel like you can't find these relationships and you're getting dead ends. What assumptions are you making? 

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The Transcript

Hello, hello. You are listening to The Heart of It. The official plog as I'm calling it which is basically a blog via podcast episodes because that is my medium of choice as an artist to share all my thoughts and insights with you and who is this person? My name is Samm Smeltzer and I am the founder of a company called Leadership Arts Associates who is responsible for the production of this podcast. And this podcast has gone through a lot of changes, we're settling into this new brand, talking about things that are truly resonating with the heart of what empowers me to do what I do every single day, which is working with people and helping them find their purpose, their potential and keeping an optimistic point of view on the idea of possibility.

Today I want to talk to you a little bit about tribes. This is a big buzzword out there. I've read it on several different blogs and people like to talk about having a tribe, the importance of having that support around you. And if you haven't heard about this tribe kind of concept, really what it comes down to is having this support group, knowing that you can go back to. And this is materialized in several different kinds of ways for people. Some of it which is very popular is Facebook groups. So when I first found out about Facebook groups or how to use them as a tool I was really excited now I'm a part of probably, my gosh, it has to be like 30 or 40 of these groups where tribes exist. And I actively can't engage in all of them and I have pick and choose.

LinkedIn has something similar with their groups where you find the support system. There are websites that have memberships. So this online kind of tribe. My spiritual mentor Gabby Bernstein has one called, The Miracle Membership. Way back in the day, Carrie Green has, The Female Entrepreneur Association which I absolutely love and I'm a huge fan of. So if you're just starting as a female entrepreneur you want to check that out with Carrie Green. And there's, she was one of my very first podcast episodes in series I like to do in November called The Grateful Showcase. So that's one avenue.

Then you have just your powerhouse of girlfriends and that's really popular. You're hearing girls talk about their tribe which is all their core group of friends who support them. And lately I've been making jokes about how I for the first time have a tribe that's around me. And when I was using it it was actually in the terms of having girlfriends 'cause I've, except for way back when when I was first growing up I had a core group of best friends which was three other lovely ladies who all live out in California, have their lives. Incredible women, nowadays. But between that time and then when I moved here when I was 16 in Pennsylvania until about now, so we're talking about another 16 to 20 years difference here, I haven't really had a lot of girlfriends that I could just call on. And if I ever did have one it was one. It was a girl friend that I had a very close relationship on.

One of which is very public to most of you who listen to the show is MaryRose Ritter who is my business partner at Leadership Arts Associates. She is also my best friend and the godmother to my beautiful little children. My little girls and her son is my godson. So obviously that relationship has been in the making, we've known each other for eight to 10 years now. And that relationship was typical. Like I used to have a girl friend it was never as long as I have been friends with MaryRose so that's actually been a really strong relationship for me. But beyond that I never really had this core group of friends. And now I actually have recently. I have a group of girlfriends that I can call when I want to go have lunch with somebody, if I want to get coffee. I have a couple options on my phone which is new for me. Its very new for me, it's a great feeling.

But I want to talk about tribes on a much larger scale. So yesterday we had our LA premier picnic 'cause Leadership Arts Associates just launches a brand new brand. So new logo, new feel and to celebrate we did, basically a company picnic that we opened up to all the people who love and support us, that surround the company because our company is all about people. It's not just the people who are working for the organization but those that surround it. And so we had our picnic yesterday and it flew by. It was three hours, it was incredible. We had about 35 people that stopped out to say hello, hang out, bring their families, do some fun arts and crafts like squirt gun art and salad spin art and we did some tie dye which I've never done that before so it was all new experiences. Squirt gun art too. It was a lot of fun. It was about as close as you could get to feeling like you were at a family event.

And I think that was a big realization for me. There was a couple moments yesterday where I stopped to look around at this picnic and realize that I'm surrounded by this fantastic support group that is in all different shapes and sizes. From people who are staff, people who are coming on as part time creative collaborators and building their service lines. Their loved ones that support them. We have people who I've met at conferences briefly who have now started to get more involved in our organization. We have our creative partners. I talked about him in the last episode and Tony Hernandez was there at this current, at the picnic yesterday. And that relationship. Huge, huge supporter for me personally but also for the organization.

And then just so many peers and colleagues that have just been there throughout the entire time and really it is because of them that the organization has grown the way that it has. And it's because the people who love and support them empowers them too, it all works together. And I was just really touched by the fact that I have this amazing support system. That I, if we went back five years I don't think I ever envisioned that. I can be brutally honest and say that I felt very alone even though I had an amazing husband, I was married, I had a pretty much, I was very social at work. At the end of the day when I was by myself I felt very isolated. And I don't feel like that anymore and that's because I believe I've really surrounded myself with people who truly not to sound cheesy, but complete me.

And so obviously today I'm full of tons of gratitude which is kind of what inspired this. But I also think that I want to share with you how I think that this happened. It's one thing to talk about how appreciative I am and how blessed I am that these people are surrounding me and supporting me and supporting my organization but how do you get there? And I think that's something that a lot of people ask me. Whether directly or indirectly. And originally I would respond, I don't know. It just kind of happened. But that's not true. There are some things that I put into place at the very beginning which really empowered this to all happen and I want to take a few minutes and share that with you.

First and foremost when I first started Leadership Arts Associates and I was in a place that was better but not best. One of the things that, a rule that I set for myself is that I wasn't going to say no to any opportunity especially because it was uncomfortable. So I did some really strange things. I don't know, I don't think they're strange. But for example the phone was not ringing very much so answering them and there's a lot of advertisers cold calls that are happening. Most of us don't answer our phones anymore because we see caller ID and we just kind of ignore it. Well I answered them and if somebody wanted to meet with me I said yes. So even though they wanted to sell me something, I took that as an opportunity to meet with somebody, to interact with them because it was something I was not very good at.

And my husband would be taken aback by why are meeting with that vendor and this vendor 'cause I met with a lot at the beginning even though I didn't really have an organization, didn't really have a need for any of those things. So like payroll companies, I was upfront with them, I told them exactly where I was, I told them about my vision. But I met with these people and some of those turned into relationships others not so much. But I never said no. So anytime somebody called me and had an idea, asked me if I wanted to come visit a group, if I wanted to meet with somebody, I said yes. I said yes, I said yes, I said yes. And that really made a difference.

The other piece that I think is even more important is not only did I have this rule about not saying no as opportunities presented itself no matter how irrelevant they seemed to me is that I didn't judge them. And I think that we have this really good automatic almost filter that we all built in and I talk about this a lot with some of the staff here at Leadership Arts Associates is that we think that we know people almost automatically. And if there's anything that I've learned from working at Leadership Arts Associates and trying to figure out who is my target audience, who is my client, is that you can't assume. You can't assume who these people are, where they are, what they're open to. Because it's just it's not that easy.

When I was in my first year of business I did a presentation for the bi-local coalition here in York Pennsylvania and I was doing it on diversity, talking a little bit about privilege and perceptions and that's where I met Audrey Gregis who is an amazing very wealth of knowledge when it comes to the world of nutrition. And when she listened to my presentation and was touched, one of the things that she shared and you may have seen this on the website in her testimonial is that she says that I taught her that it's like everybody, the world looking at people is like a walking library and you're only seeing the cover and what do we do to take a couple steps to actually look inside the book and understand really what its contents are.

I think that's a really good analogy 'cause for most of us we are books. But we're just covers. There's not even for a lot of us, there's not even a fancy summary or testimonials in the back. Every once in a while you get that. You get friends who will recommend somebody, tell you a little bit about that person. Sometimes if you live in an area like where I live in York PA you can find almost the six degrees of Kevin Bacon of who's connected and put some things together. Others maybe you're introduced to them at a conference where you actually get a bio or they have a really nice LinkedIn profile so you kind of get a summary. But for most of us we're going into a space and we're strictly looking at the cover. We're strictly looking at how somebody is acting in the space or the limited information that we get for most. If you go into a networking event it's my name and my title. Which is no different than a title of a book and the author. And then we're making quick assumptions.

When I started, I removed that. I fought that. And even if it was a mechanic who wanted to meet with me, I went out and had a conversation with him. And I can tell you that in that situation I went out and met with an auto mechanic who I guess would you call that my ideal client? Would you think in grand perspective when they're asking you to vision and say who is your ideal client, I don't know if that industry or that description would ever come into mind. But that was one of the most engaging and thought provoking conversations that I've ever had in the three years of my networking experience and I never saw it coming and I could've said no.

The other thing is I have a client today who's been around for almost two years and he owns a moving company. When I met with him I never thought that a moving company, a family owned company would have any use for our services and was I wrong. From sharing he asks questions and sharing about our business I remember it was one lunch and by the end of it he was asking how he can sign up and do something and try something with us. You just don't know. You have no idea and the more that we assume, the more that we judge the covers of the book without really truly giving a genuine effort to find out what's inside of them and understanding them, we're doing ourselves a really big disservice.

And going back looking at my past I can tell that I did that for years and years and years. Even in my professional career and maybe that's why I had so many blocks and hit so many dead ends because I would go into these spaces and automatically assume and create who was worthy to be for me to engage with versus who was not. Or who I thought would be willing to engage with me and who I thought would not.

'Cause I totally did that and there's another episode if you go back, the Grateful Showcase from this past year with Becky Stauffer I talk a little bit about that in that episode because she had so much wealth and experience as a tenured HR professional that I thought that I wasn't at that level where somebody like that would be able to affirm me or see the value in what I could provide and she totally changed that for me which was a huge game changer for me and my business. For me as a professional and now she's a huge promoter, supporter for me and my business and it's been, not even in my business, for me as a person, she's taken time to care about me and mentor me in certain situations. Look for opportunities for me that I am so grateful for. But that all comes from removing those assumptions initially. And how long have I been in her circle and not really engaged with her, we could've had a relationship a lot longer if I had gotten over those assumptions way back in the day.

So I guess my biggest challenge to you is if you're looking to have tribe, if you don't, I ask you to really evaluate what do you think that would add to your life? And if you're thinking I'm not a social butterfly, I like to be alone. Hey, totally get you. I know everyone calls me a liar, I'm introverted by nature. I have to be extroverted for my job so I step out of the box and I do that. But people truly do drain me and I have to spend a large amount of time by myself to rejuvenate myself and get my energy back up. And so it's really is a, it's like a dance that I do with myself to make sure that I stay healthy and mindful to be at the top of my game. And that something that I'm still working on and maybe that's a whole another topic for a different day.

Even I have now learned the value of the tribe and the supporters. And when you build those genuine relationships, know that people will learn about you and know and respect your boundaries. 'Cause your true tribe and supporters will understand that. And so these are not fake relationships, these are truly authentic relationships which are the only true ones when you're talking about having the kind of relationships where you feel like you can reach out to anybody whenever you truly need them.

Number one, if you don't think you need one I would truly evaluate how could a tribe like this add value or add to your fulfillment for your life? And then on the flip side if your trying to get one and you feel like you can't find these relationships and you're getting dead ends. What assumptions are you making? I interact with one individual on a regular basis that I've tried to reach out to on a couple of occasions and they routinely are putting up walls. And it pains me inside just because I know what that's like 'cause I've been there before where I put up those walls.

And I try to hit the wall every once in a while to see if I can get it to crumble a little bit and bring that person along. But I truly believe that at some point she will embrace it as well and be coming onboard and finding that tribe that she is actually desperately seeking. And she puts it out there but yet she doesn't realize the walls that she's putting or the blocks and obstacles which a lot of us put in place which are basically populated I really believe by assumptions and judgements that we're making and we don't even know.

If you want a tribe and you're struggling with that, what assumptions are you making? If you are struggling with not understanding what obstacles you may be putting up and you can't see it, phone a friend. Phone me, that's a lot of what I do, that's what I love to do. That's truly at the core and the heart of the work that I do with clients and my favorite kind. So with that I'm going to leave you. I'm in a great place today of gratitude, I'm so appreciative. Anybody who's listening that came to the premier picnic yesterday, thank you so, so much you have no idea how much you impact my world and how grateful I am for all of you because you truly, if you had an influence, if you're questioning if you have an influence on anyone's life, that doubt should be put to rest because you've had an impact and an influence on mine.

With that I will talk to you soon when I cover the latest and greatest of what's oozing and pouring from my heart. Have a great day, bye.