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ET-092: A conversation with Ms. Colleen Slaughter

ET-092: A conversation with Ms. Colleen Slaughter

and your host Wayne Brown on March 12, 2024

and your host Wayne Brown on March 12, 2024

Episode notes: A conversation with Ms. Colleen Slaughter

Hello and welcome to the ET Project. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and as usual, we’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET.

Today we head to Lyon, located on the southeastern side of France and not too far from the borders of Switzerland and Italy, and we’re here to visit our guest, Ms. Colleen Slaughter, Managing Partner of Authentic Leadership International.

As a Senior Executive Coach, Top Team Facilitator and Leadership Development Advisor, Colleen serves leaders and top teams focused on innovation, growth, leading in uncertainty and making a positive difference with clients such as 2020 Nobel Peace Prize recipients and other top leaders of Fortune 500 companies and startups.

Here is an extract from our conversation as we start to get into it…

The more that I can make choices in alignment with myself, with a capitalized like my values, what I feel appeases my highest self, the more serene I am. And that’s that inside-out because I can’t control most of what’s going on out there, but I can control me most of the time. Sometimes I’m a little bit rebellious. Another question. And so that’s layer one. And layer two is how does that translate that? What is it that helps me feel more serene? It’s when I am being my full self and helping, as one of my dear colleague says, raise consciousness. Help remind all humans I get the pleasure of working with who we really are. And most of us, most of us are limiting ourselves in one way or another, including this one. And so having that support, that’s what I would say is my purpose. And so it’s helping leaders step into even a bigger version of themselves…

Today’s Guest: MS COLLEEN SLAUGHTER

From being nicknamed Miss Independent and moving to Paris alone when she was just 21 with no money and not even speaking the language, Colleen knows a thing or two about making bold moves.

Building from this, Colleen’s unparalleled experience working abroad in a variety of cultures and across an array of industries gives her an uncanny ability to help individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds achieve the deep lasting transformation they need to flourish. Colleen obtained her MBA from HEC Paris, and an Executive Master’s in Change through her organizational behavior studies from INSEAD. She’s also studied under Gita Bellin, the legendary global transformational visionary, and her coaching practices via the ontological teachings and foundations.

Final words from Colleen:

So the working title, talk about transformation and butterflies, is The Caterpillar’s Journey And it’s 365 Moves To Bolder Leadership. It started from the weekly bolder move, which by the way, if you’re interested, I always promise not to sell ’cause I cannot stand when people bombard me with emails, and are trying to sell to me, but if you’re interested, if you go to boldermoves.com, it’s in the first folder, you just click on the yellow button and you can get a bolder move of the week. Again, two to three lines, I will not sell to you. But the book got started, I thought it would be low-hanging fruit, and so I started from the bolder moves a decade ago. I thought I’d just put them all together and make a book, easy-peasy, but it didn’t work like that because I noticed that I’m not quite the same person I was 10 years ago. Then I started seeing ways to make the book even more useful, so it has exercises and therefore embodying the practices. And there’s no expectation that one reads from cover to cover and gets all of them down. That would be like, wow, I don’t think I can do that. But there is a whole tone there, if you will, for anyone that wants to shake up the way they do things or get inspired for different ways of thinking…

Transcript:

[music]

0:00:02.9 Wayne Brown: Hello. I’m your host, Wayne Brown, and welcome to the ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this podcast for executive talent all over the world whom we’re affectionately referring to as Team ET. Today we head to Lyon, located on the southeastern side of France and not too far from the borders of Switzerland and Italy, and we’re here to visit our guest, Ms. Colleen Slaughter, Managing Partner of Authentic Leadership International. As a Senior Executive Coach, Top Team Facilitator and Leadership Development Advisor, Colleen serves leaders and top teams focused on innovation, growth, leading in uncertainty and making a positive difference with clients such as 2020 Nobel Peace Prize recipients and other top leaders of Fortune 500 companies and startups. From being nicknamed Miss Independent and moving to Paris alone when she was just 21 with no money and not even speaking the language, Colleen knows a thing or two about making bold moves.

0:01:01.5 WB: Building from this, Colleen’s unparalleled experience working abroad in a variety of cultures and across an array of industries gives her an uncanny ability to help individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds achieve the deep lasting transformation they need to flourish. Colleen obtained her MBA from HEC Paris, and an Executive Master’s in Change through her organizational behavior studies from INSEAD. She’s also studied under Gita Bellin, the legendary global transformational visionary, and her coaching practices via the ontological teachings and foundations. Team ET, you’re in for a real treat with this conversation, so ensure you’re primed and ready to fully engage as we tackle higher purpose, meaning quotients and a whole lot more, and we look to inspire bolder transformation for leaders across the globe with our guest, Ms. Colleen Slaughter.

0:02:00.7 Intro: Welcome to the ET Project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown, as we unpack an exciting future together.

[music]

0:02:16.9 WB: All right. Well, welcome, Team ET. Great to have you here again. I wanna start today by doing something a little bit different, and that is, I wanna challenge all of you, whilst it’s unknown for you, I also haven’t spoken about it with our guest, Ms. Colleen Slaughter, so we’re going to be building our conversation today very much off the cuff. And yet I’m, for some reason, feeling quietly confident that Colleen is deeply aware of that topic and we’re gonna have a lot of fun with it. So, here’s what I’m proposing, I’m asking you to challenge yourself, maybe pack your beliefs, your biases, your assumptions at the door, open your mind to say, new horizons, new possibilities and allow yourself to stretch beyond what’s probably become something of your mainstream thought process. So allow yourself to engage by thinking a bit broader. And at the same time, try and be as conscious as possible of your emotions and even the body language as you listen to see whether there’s any new self-awareness triggered or awakened from this conversation. Colleen, great pleasure to have you here.

0:03:23.9 Colleen Slaughter: Indeed. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

0:03:27.6 WB: Colleen, I know you enjoy shifting to a higher level of thought and that you’ve been a student of Gita Bellin with your coaching practice, you centered around ontology, essentially exploring ways of being. I’m curious about your higher purpose. What is it you believe you’re searching and striving for in the future that potentially your current activities are leading you outwards? 

0:03:55.1 CS: Yeah. Well, wow, what a question to start with. So, you didn’t ask this, and we didn’t prep this just so your listeners know, but intuitively if it’s okay with you, I’m gonna form a bridge. What the heck does higher purpose have to do with leadership? What would be the point of such a question, probably? And in the work that I do, and one thing to note is that I work really closely with, really with a strategic consulting firm. So I keep my skills really up-to-date. And so a lot of what’s going to be talked about today, just so you’re… Everybody here listening and knows, it’s not so much out of left field as one might think. The purpose with leaders, what’s the point? Well, that is exactly, at least in my definition of leadership. So there’s so many definitions out there. People even can confuse the definition of leader with the definition of manager. Shall we even go there? 

0:04:50.4 CS: But let’s say, if we’re really gonna talk about a leader, my favorite definition is one by one of the founders of my coaching school, which is a leader is someone declares possible what other people do not, and that’s precisely what makes them a leader. So if we’re going to really be that person that has a vision, that sees the vision, where is that version coming from? For most of us, that most creative vision comes from another part of our brain, not just our left brain, not just our rational, this is what makes sense, this is what’s gonna get me what I want. But it’s going to be more the right brain as well balancing, but bringing in much more of the right brain, which is much more around our true creativity, not necessarily getting out a paintbrush, I don’t mean that, but true creation, isn’t that what vision is? Vision is, I see something you don’t, we’re creating something new. And so purpose is what has people drawn to us as leaders, that inner.

0:05:48.8 CS: So it’s a difference between outside-in, meaning, “Okay, I’m gonna shape my behavior by what makes you like me, by what gets me more money, by what might get me promoted, by what get me the sales I need.” That’s outside-in. And then there’s inside-out leadership, which is values, purpose. And which one is more powerful? Well, we can all take a couple of seconds and think about that, who do we like to be around more? We wanna be around a genuine person that really stands for his or her own vision, really. And so for me, thank you very much, my vision, or my purpose, it’s… I’m stumbling a little bit on my word, not because I don’t know it, but because I’m realizing I have two layers of it. There’s a layer with myself that I wanna feel as serene as possible. I live in the same world we all do, I’m not in la-la land. I know how tough this world is. [laughter] I was just talking with you earlier, Wayne, about one of my frustrations, right? It’s not that I’m…

[vocalization]

0:06:54.5 CS: But the more that I can make choices in alignment with myself, with a capitalized like my values, what I feel appeases my highest self, the more serene I am. And that’s that inside-out because I can’t control most of what’s going on out there, but I can control me most of the time. Sometimes I’m a little bit rebellious. Another question. And so that’s layer one. And layer two is how does that translate that? What is it that helps me feel more serene? It’s when I am being my full self and helping, as one of my dear colleague says, raise consciousness. Help remind all humans I get the pleasure of working with who we really are. And most of us, most of us are limiting ourselves in one way or another, including this one. And so having that support, that’s what I would say is my purpose. And so it’s helping leaders step into even a bigger version of themselves.

0:07:57.3 WB: I’d like to backtrack a little bit. So, what led you on this journey in the first place? 

0:08:03.2 CS: I had been in consulting just after my MBA, the boutique firm I was working for, and everyone probably hears my accent or lack thereof, depending on perspective, it’s always… [chuckle] But American, North… US American, as I say, for my wonderful Canadian friends and Latin American friends. But I live in France. And so this boutique consulting firm was in Paris and right after my MBA, and the owner of the consulting firm also had a coaching school, and I just remember my body lighting and going, “That’s gonna be me. I know that is what I’m… ” ‘Cause I also have a very strong intuition. And by the way, and I know we talked about this when we first met, Wayne. So it seems important to say that, I work with a lot of engineers, so I would not be surprised if listeners are going, “Intuition? I need to base it on fact.”

[laughter]

0:09:00.8 CS: Yeah. Let me say this, even engineers have found what I’m saying helpful, as a complement, not as a substitute, by the way, as a complement to their choice-making. That’s the invitation, not get rid of, add to. Okay. So, I can just feel that I’m very intuitive, and I could feel it. But I wasn’t ready yet. Personally, if we talk about stages of life, I was early 30s, had a boyfriend, I was just all about him and all about making money, and for me, it wasn’t going to be, “Change career now, why? Why backstep? I’m on this path. I don’t wanna,” in my view, at the time, “backstep.” But what happened is I went to the States, moved back, had an enormous reverse culture shock, enormous, I just wanted to move back to Europe. And I started coaching myself ’cause I said, “Well, you can move back, but only when you make a step change in your career,” because I had been complaining, mumbling to myself. By this time I wasn’t, still in the boutique consulting firm, I had moved on to an organization that no longer exists but was specializing in purchasing solutions. It just was too… For me, and we’re talking about purpose, what felt, that expansive energy? I didn’t… I wasn’t feeling it here. So I had done a lot of complaining to myself and I said, “Okay, but we’re not gonna go back and get in the same situation, we’re gonna do something different.”

0:10:29.1 CS: So then I started researching, I actually had had an interview with the company I thought I wanted to work with, because by this time there I was in North Carolina US, now there is a lot to say about. It’s a beautiful state, very warm, friendly people. Not far from the beach, thank gosh, one of my favorite things about it, almost. However, not very international. And it was really missing that international touch. And I could visualize it, ’cause I’ve been in the heart of it when I’d lived here, and then had moved back. And so I interviewed on the phone with this company, and they said to me, “Well, you’re not a fit,” at the end of it, they said, “at this time.” Now, this is huge for me because those who start reading things that I write, including an upcoming book that we might talk about later, and it’s okay if we don’t, but just to say, I talk a lot about being a people pleaser, a recovering people pleaser. The old me would have said, “Oh, no, you don’t want… ” This me said, “Okay. So what would make me a good fit?” And she said, “Okay, you need to do this and that, and you need to go to coaching school.” I said, ” Great.” I had already done research. “Which one?” And she said, “Well, most of our people do this particular school.” I’ll just say it, Newfield Network.

0:11:43.3 CS: And I’m not advertising for them, but let me say, I’d had a coach at the time that was asking me to go to a different school, but ended up going to Newfield because it brought in the body, and the body intelligence. So just to say, there’s a lot of very smart people that bring in the body. So even… And I had started coaching school as a way to, basically, as I speak in metaphor a lot, have a feather in my hat, so that I could go back into corporate life, in HR, maybe org design, talent management, something like that, and that this coaching certificate would supposedly give me the fluff, literally and figuratively, I might need. But midway through that training, I realized, forget the feather, this is the hat, I love this. And I also realized because my specialty in my MBA was entrepreneurship. And so it really… Most coaches, most of us, not all, but many of us have our own businesses, so it was perfect in terms of a setup logistics, plus yeah, there we go, my heart energy. Which by the way, again, science, they’re more… Ah! I’m gonna forget the word. Sorry, more neurons, I think. Neural pathways running from the heart. Huh? 

0:13:01.3 WB: Yeah. Yes.

0:13:02.0 CS: From the heart to the brain and the brain to the heart. So the heart is actually wiser, not to say we don’t need the brain, but the heart picks it up first. But anyway, not to keep belaboring that, but the point is, it was lighting me up and I knew I needed to do it, and I had the joy of being laid off right around that time. [chuckle] Joy, ’cause I really was happy about it. And actually, it was really interesting ’cause I had this moment, right in coach… I was in Colorado with the school, like class, in middle of class, and I get this call from the company that just laid me off and I had just felt this body light up from realizing, “This is what I wanna do, I wanna start my own coaching company.” I get this call from the company and they’re like, “We wanna take you back. We’ll offer you your position back.” And I knew, I asked for a few hours to think about it, and I knew that… Well, first of all, let’s be real, I didn’t trust them fully because they said, “But we can’t guarantee you that if you leave again, that you’ll have all these benefits that we’re offering now as part of the layoff.” So I knew… Just… Let’s be… The truth is I also didn’t trust them, that’s part of the equation. But mainly I knew that if I went back and worked with them, I would never launch into my coaching business ’cause I would find one reason after another. Or excuse, is a better way to say it. Not to do it.

0:14:35.0 CS: So that’s what I did. And then, one of the things also I started seeing, I really believe this, I believe I’m a born coach, born facilitator. One of the main teachers at the school and he’s somebody I found really, really inspiring, his name is Julio Olalla. He’s a Chilean man, he’s lived in the States a long time. But he says, and I quoted him in my book, “We coach from our wounds.” And again, not belaboring this, but having gone, done a lot of research on this topic, having been… I literally have both volunteered to help, have worked directly with, then helped by no small figure to say thousands of people, particularly women, but not only. I can say a lot of people in the world are affected by what I’m about to say, but just a lot of dysfunction in our home childhood life, that affects us today and affects how we think today and affects our choices today. And because I had that and I had also been working on myself not only to be a coach, but for personal reasons, because I wanna just feel better, where I get to that place of serenity. And by the way, as with it, so without, which we both know that. The better I feel inside, the better my life starts looking and feeling outside. I had that aspect that I felt Julio was talking about.

0:16:00.8 CS: Plus as an American, a Kentuckian at that, who made a life in France, very interested with friends all over the world and interested in all kinds of cultures and languages. And that’s what he said, three things make up a great coach. He said It’s, yes, a formal training, just to get the structure. He said it’s, like a devotion to our own growth, ’cause we can’t give what we don’t have, and I wouldn’t try. For me, yeah, if I don’t know, would I say it? And the third is just a general true interest in people and all kinds of people, as exemplified through languages or movies or books, all different kinds of culture, but the way which different kinds of people express themselves. So I felt like I was also getting these messages like, “Okay, Colleen, you’re on the right track.” And then things have just followed the yellow brick road, basically. That’s the one thing about our purpose, I believe, is once we say yes, “Okay, I will give into this expansive feeling because I have this nagging thing going on inside until I do.” Once we give in, my experience, doors just start opening. So that’s what’s happened, and that’s how I found myself now back in France, with a global coaching company, etcetera. And speaking to you today, of all joys. Yeah. That was a very long answer, I’m sure, but hopefully, that was helpful to people.

0:17:31.4 WB: I wanna shift a little bit here and start bringing in some reference points. I’m sure many of the listeners have heard the abbreviation IQ, EQ, maybe CQ for curiosity quotient.

0:17:49.6 CS: Never heard of that one.

0:17:50.3 WB: AQ, whether that’s adversity or adaptability. Then there’s also one, which we call SQ. Now, SQ could mean social, but in our case, Colleen, we’re gonna talk about spiritual. It’s a nice fit to this conversation because for many companies, it’s almost a taboo topic. But there are some companies like, I believe Nike, Ford, even Boeing have embraced this spiritual quotient to some extent. For many companies, it still conjures up this, I don’t know how you would explain it, but it’s not a positive thought process. I’m a little bit interested why you might think there is this negativity around, what are some of the beliefs that people hold when they hear us talk about this? 

0:18:42.4 CS: Well, that is such an awesome question. Rather than… Truly, rather than just launching into why SQ and all the benefits, like exactly, why not SQ? What the heck? I think there’s gonna be… The answer will differ according to national culture or family culture. But there are some things that I’ve heard. For example, I live in a country where it’s actually illegal to bring in anything “religious.” And a lot of people confuse spirituality with religion, if I may with respect, which in my view, they can go together, but they don’t have to. For some people, they do, but it’s not a hard and fast rule that they do. In fact, I’ve often heard, and I believe this for me, religion is for people afraid to go to hell and spirituality is for people who’ve already been there. That just resonates for me. And so I think that’s the first thing, is living in this country where really it’s like a taboo type of thing, it’s considered… Therefore, it can be considered quite woo-woo, whether that’s here or somewhere else.

0:19:55.2 CS: I actually grew up in the Catholic system, so I did 16 year… 12 years, excuse me, of school, from the age of 6 to 18 in Catholic school. But I don’t consider myself practicing. There’s a lot of things around Catholicism, even Christianity, I would say I don’t necessarily agree with, but not really the teaching itself, but more around the structure. And the more that I… As I mentioned earlier, I work one-on-one with a lot of people, both me giving help, them helping me. And I hear a lot of religious abuse happening as well, where there are people that can be kind of battered with… Told they’re not good or not good enough, they need to do what this religious figure or that religious figure would think or do. That actually happens more than we might think, that kind of pontificating, pontification, can be used as a justification to shame people. I’ve heard, I didn’t personally have that happen to me, but what I came to find for me was that…

0:21:04.8 CS: And even now, I’ll be really honest, as you’re talking with me, I’m probably a little too honest sometimes, that it can be hard to go down this path where we’re opening ourselves up to a different kind of thinking and a different kind of solutions. Especially when in the past, those of us who may have been raised in a particular religion, maybe we’re still told we should be in it, maybe our culture tells this we are. Or maybe we just fully do believe that. I don’t know if I’m going down a track that’s helpful, but I’m just speaking intuitively, but what comes to mind for me is as long as we’re truly a choice of what’s right for us, that it feels like it’s the right thing. But at the moment where we feel like we have to, it’s a duty, we’ll be looked down upon, that’s where I believe we start mixing around what’s our right path. At least, that’s my experience. But that’s where I think when we start shooting on ourselves or we’ve had stuff shooted on us, is where people back off from it, because they don’t wanna be told how to live, which of course, who does? 

0:22:13.6 WB: If we’re looking to introduce more around this approach, I think you might have even mentioned to me when we spoke the first time, that instead of referring to it as spiritual, we now refer to it as a different, or under a different terminology, MQ. What does MQ mean in your understanding? 

0:22:35.8 CS: Yeah. That is a way that we introduce the SQ [chuckle] to clients in a way that could be more digestible, that here we’re talking meaning quotient. So it ties in with what you’ve asked at the very beginning around purpose. What gives us a sense of meaning? What draws us from the inside out? And it doesn’t have to have any kind of… Again, it doesn’t mean it’s the same thing as religion, unless we want it to be. Can be just connecting with our values. It can be connecting with a cause, the environment, peace on earth. Everything, the world is in so much need of attention, causes, it’s like there’s no limit to that. And so meaning quotient. And very often, by the way, just to tie in, when we both in one-on-one coach, but also leadership workshops, at the very beginning part of the workshop is it always goes more slowly than most people are comfortable, and there’s a reason for that, and it’s science again, here we go. The reason is, when we’re talking really fast and we’re trying to get blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, right here in the left brain, can be very helpful, they’re moments we need that, no ditching.

0:23:53.2 CS: And if we wanna add more solutions, the slowing down part allows us to connect more to the right brain. And I just… Yeah, I did touch my left, so there’s my right. Allows us to connect more to the right brain, that’s like, well, facing you different, it’s gonna look different, but that’s okay. Allows us to touch the right brain. But even more, and we do use this word, we use this word and think of Fortune 500 companies all over the world, going from the head to the heart, because when those two are aligned… But first we have to go with the heart, understand what it’s saying, check it with that. And we do that by slowing down. And by the way, we don’t just stay there and kumbaya. Yes, kumbaya is there as a team together, and we mix it with the head and get the concrete way forward. But not just a performance-based what rationally makes sense, also, what has meaning for us, and then how can we pull that out as well.

0:24:55.3 WB: I can imagine a lot of leaders would feel more comfortable if you introduce it under the guise of meaning versus spirituality. So, it makes a lot of sense. What I’d love to do, Colleen, if you don’t mind, is bring in the teachings of Gita Bellin, and if you don’t mind, introduce her and what is the work she’s doing, but more so, how has her work influenced your own? 

0:25:23.8 CS: Talk about meaning. Gita’s changed my life. And most people would describe me as spicy, so I’m a rebel with a really good cause. I have a tendency to be direct, I’m learning more and more to soften it. People who know me know I have an enormous heart. And Gita is all of those things. She’s very direct and so much love for humanity. She’s devoted her life to helping people. This is my word, but wake up to augmented level of consciousness. So Gita, just to give people an idea of this wonderful person. She grew up in the UK. There’s a lot more to her history that I’m skipping over, but one of my favorite parts is with her then husband, they drove across Europe and Asia, to Nepal, [chuckle] where she moved for multiple years to teach meditation. So she’s a character. Now she lives in Australia, actually, in the Bush. I don’t know exactly where. I think an hour or two outside of Sydney. But what did I learn most from Gita? I learned so much, but here’s the biggest piece. With this person me, that, I mentioned early about being a recovering people pleaser, and with that, if we go look at the levels of needs from Maslow, Abraham Maslow, what is it really? It’s wondering, “Do I really belong? Am I really likeable?”

0:26:57.4 CS: Every human I work with has this, every human. So, is there a place at work to talk about this? Well, people might not be comfortable, but I can tell you it goes on anyway, so we might as well name it. And so what I picked up from Gita is the true distinction between my essence and my behavior. In other words, essence is always good no matter what, it’s that our behavior first in line again, which can be questionable, because that’s a different thing, and that’s what we can adjust. But it’s not that we’re bad because we did so and so. And then an alignment with essence and this ties in with purpose. This is perfectly orchestrated. I don’t know if you did this on purpose, Wayne, but this ties in, because it’s like, it’s just very similar to… And I’m not sure if it was Marianne Williamson or Nelson Mandela. I hear two different versions, but where they talk about, basically, “Who am I not to shine?” There’s this talk that… Again, Nelson Mandela gave it and then I think Marianne Williamson wrote it. I’m not sure, I will attribute it to both. Essentially, that my purpose, living it is my business. Living my purpose is my business. What other people think of me is not. That’s the way that I can best say it. So that has shifted everything for this former recovering people pleaser.

0:28:30.3 CS: Because when I am, for example, putting content out on LinkedIn, when I’m speaking here with you, when I’m in front of a room and there are very senior leaders in the room, I used to not be able to do that because always running in my mind was, “What will they think? Let me adjust my behavior here, blah, blah, blah, blah.” And now I realize that my behavior is so much less dependent on what I’m worried they will think, it’s so much more on, what is the best way to convey this purpose? I’m more connected in with that and letting go. And even now, I will push back to very senior people, always with a great intention, by the way. I never would have pushed back before. “Ooh, look at old me, why would they listen. ” And now it’s like, I don’t mind what they think about me as a person, I’m standing for the principle. Do you see what I mean? And so that has shifted enormously. There was this brand, I also did a yoga teacher training, I’m a big yogini, that has helped me in business because I can just be so much more relaxed and it’s helped me and always in life, but at the studio where I used to teach, where I didn’t teach. Where I used to take classes, there’s this brand called Spiritual Gangster, and there’s that S word again, I know. But it reminds me a lot of what I think Gita has instilled in me.

0:29:56.2 WB: I know you have a branding, or at least I look at it as a branding where you talk about bolder moves. Is it your tag or your tagline or your branding to explain the organization’s approach or? 

0:30:11.9 CS: It’s a really good question. I’m still… Even as you were saying that, I was thinking, “Wow, I still have more connecting to do.” But basically when I got to the title… I got to the title Authentic Leadership International, because I asked my colleagues in coaching school primarily, “How would you describe me?” And everybody said, “Well, what you see is what you get. Authenticity. And you’re extremely global.” I’m in a system, both where I went to school and particularly consulting from my work with where there’s a lot of international people, so I’m not the most international person, but let’s say compared to average Jane, I’m quite international. And so that’s where the name of my company came from. But what happened is, as I told you, I had been in the States when I moved back, and this is my experience, and I can probably share this with you because you’re not American, ’cause I have shared this before with US Americans, and I can feel…

[vocalization]

0:31:16.7 CS: When I say this, but as an American, I can say those, I noticed because of the culture in many of the companies, that a lot of people held themselves back from saying their truth, ’cause there’s such a fear about getting fired. And over there, can get fired like this and there’s no… I live in Europe, so then there’s a care there around… We wouldn’t have that care here, is what I mean, around medical care in particular, but not only… Anyway, I don’t wanna go down and it’s not judging. I noticed a big difference and quite surprised about how closed-up I experienced a lot of people. And so I realize, “Wow, it really takes a lot of courage to be who one is and say it.” And so actually the truth is, I started bolder moves before it was cool to use the word bold. I started it in the winter of ’14, so it’s been 10 years. And I just started making these… I had this idea, that every week I would send a bolder move of the day… Of the week, sorry, to my mailing list.

0:32:30.0 CS: In fact, one just went out 40 minutes ago. It’s like every Tuesday. And it’s just two or three lines. Then with the website, ’cause the website is not Authentic Leadership International, the website is boldermoves.com. So it can get confusing, and I honor that confusion and I get it. It just felt like it’s more of what we do, it’s what we wanna help people, exactly what you said, ingrain that habit. Because if we take a very simple model of three concentric circles, where in the middle it’s comfort zone, and then learning zone, and then freakout zone. The idea of a bolder move is stepping out of our comfort zone. And to learning, like you’ve challenged all the listeners today. But the thing is, is many of us very smart people, we tend to… We’re high-achievers. We can even say, hello, over-achiever. We can easily… I can say that about myself, and I work with a lot of over-achievers. So what does that mean? For many of us, just stepping out of the comfort zone into learning is not enough, they wanna go all the way into the freakout zone.

0:33:39.2 CS: But when we do that and we’re working on changing our mindsets, because it’s mindset, and then behavior, if we just change our behavior, we’re not sure that that will last, that that will be a transformation. We can easily go back to the old behavior, if we’re not also working on our mindset. And so what happens more of the time when we pressure ourselves to change too quickly, is that we go into the freakout zone, and then we’re freaking out. All of us have very busy days, things come in, we don’t expect, it’s life. And so on that day, if we’re trying to have that new mindset, we likely won’t ’cause we’re pushing too hard. But when we stop and we just adjust it and do a little bit everyday, out of comfort into learning, out of comfort into learning, out of comfort into learning, very gently, but consistently, gradually the comfort zone expands. And that for me is the bolder move, because there are things which… You know what’s hard for me? Going to bed before midnight. Seriously. And I coach people all over the world about resilience, self-care. Going to bed…

0:34:49.4 CS: I’m serious. That’s challenging. But other people are like, “Well… ” I’ve worked with people that are in bed by 9 o’clock every night. I’m just saying, we all have our thing. And so, that idea of practicing, what might be bold for me is not bold for you, but practicing in small gentle ways, because that’s the other thing, we can be so darn hard with ourselves. And when I heard to be gentle with myself, I threw it out the window at first, like, “What? That is not how I’ve gotten from here to there before.” But I started realizing that my old way really doesn’t work, because I need to be with me 24/7. So when I can be kind and gentle, but still do it, it got done so much better, I felt better, it was actually better quality, I didn’t burn bridges along the way. And so that’s where the bolder comes in because it’s more than just the action, it’s my whole approach to my own transformation journey, which starts with these tiny little steps.

0:35:53.6 WB: It gives a lot more clarity around the whole premise that underlines it, so thank you. We’re really tight on time, I apologize, Colleen, but I would love to know the name or the title of your book and when it’s going to be released.

0:36:08.4 CS: Yeah, thank you. So the working title, talk about transformation and butterflies, is The Caterpillar’s Journey And it’s 365 Moves To Bolder Leadership. It started from the weekly bolder move, which by the way, if you’re interested, I always promise not to sell ’cause I cannot stand when people bombard me with emails, and are trying to sell to me, but if you’re interested, if you go to boldermoves.com, it’s in the first folder, you just click on the yellow button and you can get a bolder move of the week. Again, two to three lines, I will not sell to you. But the book got started, I thought it would be low-hanging fruit, and so I started from the bolder moves a decade ago. I thought I’d just put them all together and make a book, easy-peasy, but it didn’t work like that because I noticed that I’m not quite the same person I was 10 years ago. Then I started seeing ways to make the book even more useful, so it has exercises and therefore embodying the practices. And there’s no expectation that one reads from cover to cover and gets all of them down. That would be like, wow, I don’t think I can do that. But there is a whole tone there, if you will, for anyone that wants to shake up the way they do things or get inspired for different ways of thinking.

0:37:33.5 WB: There’s a book on stoicism by one of the American modern day thinkers, philosophers and he released the book with 365 days with insights, stoic insights, you just prompted me to recall that I actually read it.

0:37:52.1 CS: Oh, cool. All right. Well, hey, Wayne, you’ll be more than welcome if you want to.

[laughter]

0:37:57.4 WB: Absolutely. I look forward to it. Do you have a release date at this stage? 

0:38:02.3 CS: Well, it will be probably early summer.

0:38:05.5 WB: And you’ve mentioned your website, so boldermoves.com. What about anywhere else for people to connect with you? 

0:38:12.0 CS: First, bolder, some people for some reason think it’s the city in Colorado, it is not. It’s B-O-L-D-E-R M-O-V-E-S dot com. My email, which is colleen@boldermoves.com. And then I would love, love, love to connect with you on LinkedIn. So find me on LinkedIn, Colleen Slaughter.

0:38:29.7 WB: I know we can talk for a lot longer but unfortunately we’re out of time. Loved the conversation. Thank you for being on the show and wonderful sharing those insights.

0:38:39.9 CS: Thank you, Wayne. I had fun as well, really enjoyed it.

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0:38:45.3 Outro: Thank you for joining us on the ET Project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, e-books, webinars and blogs at coaching4companies.com.